In Review: Space Ace Volume Eight

Space Ace Volume Eight - Cover

Art and Stories by Ron Turner
Colour by John Ridgway
Published by John Lawrence

The Book: 40-page anthology comprising four stories featuring “Space Ace” by Ron Turner, first published in The Book of Space Adventures in 1963, colourised and re-mastered by John Ridgway. The title includes a feature on the “colourising” process by John and an enthusiastic letters page.

Space Ace Volume Eight - Rain of Death

The Book of Space Adventures 1963 - Cover
The insipid cover of The Book of Space Adventures 1963, artist unknown

The Review: Edited by Ron’s longtime agent and friend John Lawrence, published in colour, restored and updated by Doctor Who and Hellblazer artist John Ridgway, along comes another fine collection of stories of spacefaring derring-do, the works of perhaps the best-remembered “The Daleks” artist, Ron Turner.

This time around, we’re treated to four stories from the same source, the first of four “annuals”  published by Atlas that included cartoons strips such as “Pod the Robot” alongside the “Space Ace” tales, which were garishly coloured and wrapped in an uninspiring cover by an unknown artist. Luckily for Ron Turner fans – I’m firmly in favour of the astonishing amount of restoration / colourising work John Ridgway has done – this volume of Space Ace presents those stories in a much better light, glorious, stunning colour.

The stories themselves, pitting Space Ace and loyal sidekick Bill against would-be invaders, assigned on to a dangerous rescue mission and more, are all fast-paced leave your brain at the door tales that are tremendous fun and feature all of Ron’s incredible draughtsmanship and inventive design work, for aliens, technology and more. While all of them are pretty formulaic they are still great fun.

Space Ace Volume Eight - The Revolt

Last minute editorial changes meant a page of "The Revolt" was lost, but the decision at least gave Ron opportunity to deliver some fantastic panels like these
Last minute editorial changes meant a page of “The Revolt” was lost, but the decision at least gave Ron opportunity to deliver some fantastic panels like these

These stories see Ron at the top of his game, recalled to work on a character he loved (having had to drop it in favour of better paid cover work and more in the early 1960s) and his enthusiasm, even on a story cut during the production cycle from eight pages to seven by the publishers, shows throughout.

Space Ace Volume Eight - The Conjuror

Space Ace Volume Eight - The Rescue

John Ridgway’s colourising work complements Ron’s art perfectly, and this issue includes an interesting feature by John himself that reveals just how much work he puts into remastering these stories.

A clip from John Ridgway's feature on the colourising process for these Space Ace tales, showing how much work goes into it
A clip from John Ridgway’s feature on the colourising process for these Space Ace tales, showing how much work goes into it

I know there are some out there who would rather see the “original” versions of these tales, but as you can see from this clip from John’s article, the original colouring on these Book of Space Adventures tales does Ron’s work no justice whatsoever. John has carefully studied Ron’s best-know colour work – for “The Daleks” in TV Century 21 – to try to give his fans a version of his stories the late artist himself would be proud of. For my money, he has done just that – in style.

Recommended!

Ron Turner’s Space Ace Issue 7 costs is £8.95 UK, £12.50 for Europe and £14.50 for international orders. Copies may be obtained via PayPal (please use friends and family option) at: spaceace.54@virginmedia.com. Otherwise cheques (UK funds only) payable to: John Lawrence, to 39 Carterweys, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 4RB

• Read our review of Space Ace Volume One

• Read our review of Space Ace Volume Two

• Read our review of Space Ace Volume Three

• Read our review of Space Ace Volume Four

• Read our review of Space Ace Volume Five

Read Our “Sneak Peek” of Space Ace Volume Six

Read our review of Space Ace Volume Seven

Read our review of Space Ace Volume Eight

Web Links

Ron Turner Cover Collection

Tit-Bits SF Comics Library Issue One - Cover• If you’re a fan of Ron Turner’s work then you may be interested in a collection of all six of Ron’s Tit-Bits SF Library comics, which have recently been re-published in one 400-page volume. Issue One was first published way back in 1953. Copies can be obtained for £16.50 plus £3.50 P+P from Bryon Whitworth, 2 Glen Cottages, Glen Farm, Red Lion Street, Earby, Barnoldswick, Lancashire BB18 6RH. Payment accepted by cheque (payable to Bryon) or PapPal to user218763ATaol.com (replace AT with @). Non UK orders, please contact Bryon for costs

• There are some articles on the original Book of Space Adventures here and here on the Magic Robot site

Steve Holland has posted his review of Space Ace Volume Eight here on Bear Alley

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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