Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Colonizers

I've been wanting to give a non-Marvel nod to a series that's one of the jewels of my comic collection--the adaptation of Lost In Space published by Innovation in the early '90s. You always had to keep an eye out for this book on the racks, since Innovation's funds were generally in a state of flux and its various titles were published when the money was available. (The company went out of business in 1994, which gives you some idea of the juggling involved.) But for the short time Lost In Space was in production, it was clear that the book was a labor of love and that its creative staff was putting in the time.

The series took on a somewhat darker tone than the television production, and dealt with several things that the show steered away from, particularly when its second season made clear that the show would take a sharp turn from the serious and become more frivolous in both its scripts and stories. And there was a wealth of subjects for the comic to "revisit" or otherwise expand on. For instance, Zachary Smith's association with the mysterious Aeolus 14 Umbra:

Or the circumstances of the Jupiter project and the destruction of its first ship:

There were also the lives of John and Maureen Robinson, and the events leading up to their decision to take their entire family and leave Earth:

Also, the Robinsons' primary mission of Point A to Point B colonization made it clear why the Jupiter 2 wasn't exactly suited for space travel with conscious passengers:

There was also Alpha Centauri itself, and the less-than-warm welcome the mission's destination planet gave the Robinsons when they finally arrived:

And there were the characters themselves to explore. Maureen's background in biochemistry; Judy's decision to give up a career in musical theatre in order to join her family; John Robinson's status as an ordained minister. And Will, growing into a young man, had some issues, as well:

There were stories of Lost In Space written by both Bill Mumy and Mark Goddard, with some early work by Mike Deodato and Peter David. Before Innovation folded, the series produced only 18 issues (along with two annuals and two or three special editions). The comic helped to show me the importance of treating a comic book adaptation as a separate entity from its television or film predecessor--in much the same way that we can't expect film adaptations of comic books to cling to every detail of their namesakes in print. For example, I found in the comic that there was less of a tendency to bring in an Alien Of The Week for each issue; and more flamboyant characters like Dr. Smith and the Robot tended to be played down in both characterization and limelight. Your mileage may vary as far as how the differences affect your reading experience.

I hope you're able to pick up and sample the series at some point.  Until then, here's something to get you in the mood:  a cool retrospective of the Jupiter 2, courtesy of the Sci-Fi Air Show.

1 comment:

Doc Savage said...

Never knew there even was such a comic.

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