Following up on a recent post about an unusual link between Lost in Space and Doctor Who, comics archivist N. Scott Robinson kindly sent us some covers of Lost in Space / Space Family Robinson comics published around the world.
Created by writer Del Connell and artist Dan Spiegle, with Gaylord DuBois taking over as writer on #8. the US Gold Key Space Family Robinson title, usually featuring painted covers by George Wilson, ran over total of 59 issues, from 1962 to 1982, the first issue published in December 1962. With issue #15 (January, 1966), the “Lost in Space” title was added to the cover, capitalising on the arrival of the eponymous TV series produced by Irwin Allen, and ran for 36 issues until October 1969.
The cancelled title was revived October 1973, in part due to the popularity of the Star Trek TV series then enjoying renewed success in syndication the issues between #37 and #44 featuring tag “On Space Station One”.
The title was cancelled again with #54 (December, 1977, #49 a reprint of #38. A further new story was published in Gold Key Champion #1 in 1978, then the comic was revived as a reprint title for issues #55–59 (1981–1982) under the “Whitman Comics” line. New stories also appeared in March of Comics #320, 328, and 352.
In the comic, the Robinsons were scientist father Craig, scientist mother June, their teenage son and daughter, Tim and Tam, along with pets Clancy, a dog and Yakker the parrot. They lived in Space Station One, a spacious moving craft with hydroponic gardens, observatory, and two small “Spacemobile” shuttle craft. Selected by computer to be the most mentally and physically qualified to man the space station the family left the Earth in 2001 an in the second issue, a cosmic storm deposits them far from their home world.
A backup series, titled Captain Venture and the Land Beneath the Sea, ran through issues #6-36 (1964–1969). Gold Key would publish two reprint issues in 1968 and 1969.
Dark Horse issued two reprint volumes of Gold Key’s Space Family Robinson in 2011.
Lost in Space star Bill Mumy worked as creative consultant and then writer on Innovation‘s Lost in Space comic featuring art by Australian artist Michal Dutkiewicz, which launched in 1991 and ran until 1993. He wrote the second year alone in one large multi chapter story titled “Voyage To The Bottom Of The Soul” which was reprinted as a graphic novel by Bubblehead Publishing.
The title ran for 18 regular issues and two annuals, with collections also published. There’s a listing here on Atomic Avenue.
Still wandering the cosmos, the crew of Jupiter 2 stumble upon an artifact from an ancient warrior civilisation in a three-issue Lost in Space mini-series from Dark Horse, published in 1988. Although there’s no sign of the warriors themselves, the fight hasn’t quite gone out of their technology.
The three issue miniseries picked up directly from the end of the feature film released the same year, directed by Stephen Hopkins and was written by Brian McDonald, pencilled by Gordon Purcell, inked by Terry Pallot, with covers by Gary Erskine and Gordon Purcell. The series is listed here on the Dark Horse web site.
In 2016, American Gothic Press published Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space: The Lost Adventures, a six-issue series based on two unproduced Lost In Space scripts originally written for television by Carey Wilber, adapted by Holly Interlandi, illustrated by Kostas Pantoulas and Patrick McEvoy. The series is available as a collection.
“The Curious Galactics” was adapted into a three-part tale that sends John Robinson, Will Robinson, and Major Don West from a run-of-the-mill radar scouting mission into a potentially deadly alien maze. Their relationships and strength of character are truly tested in the name of the aliens’ “experiment”.
The second three issues form “Malice in Wonderland”, a decidedly more silly episode that follows Will, Penny, Smith, and the Robot as they find themselves in a different dimension where Lewis Carroll characters seem to roam free.
Most recently in the United States, the rebirth of Lost in Space as a series on streaming service Netflix was accompanied by a new comic series from Legendary Comics, part of the company that also makes the new show.
Lost in Space: Countdown to Danger delivered all-new, untold adventures features the full crew from the show – the Robinsons, the Robot, Doctor Smith and Don West – offering missions you didn’t see on screen, as the heroes struggle to survive in an unknown world full of new creatures, unexpected visitors, and new danger.
The four-part graphic novel series was written by Richard Dinnick (Doctor Who, Thunderbirds) and Brian Buccellato (Detective Comics, The Flash) with stunning artwork by Zid (Skull Island: Birth of Kong, Trick ‘r Treat: Days of the Dead).
There doesn’t look to be any sign of a tie-in with the second season, which is already being teased on social media, although no launch date has, as yet, been announced.
LOST IN SPACE – A GLOBAL COMICS PHENOMENON
Western, the owners of Gold Key, were adept at exploiting their strips in
pursuit of higher sales, since, as Mark Evanier has noted, sales of their books was the only way they could make money from them, unable to license characters for merchandise like US rivals such as DC and Marvel.
Gold Key comics were distributed in the UK, distributed by importers like Thorpe & Porter (although inconsistently as, Steve Holland noted in online discussion, it depended on what was left over by American youngsters).
But Gold Key also licensed its strips for other localised editions worldwide. Here are some examples…
Australia’s Rosnock Publications was Magazine Management‘s primary comic publisher in the 1970s, and reprinted a range of Gold Key titles, including issues of Space Family Robinson in the “Magman Standard 1979-1984 series”, in 1979. There’s a listing here for the title on Aus Reprints.
You might also find the Australian publication listed as being published by South Pacific Publications, who handled the localised editions of Space Family Robinson published in the Philippines.
In both countries the publishers are listed as “co-published by”, with South Pacific Publications handling the Philippines and Rosnock handling Australia. Each of these editions had localised pricing and advertising
There were two series of Space Family Robinson reprints published in Brazil: A Família Robinson – Perdidos no Espaço which launched in 1968, published by O Cruzeiro. Running for 12 issues, the title restarted at #1 in 1969, running for a further four issues. There is a gallery here on guiadosquadrinhos.com
Idéia Editorial launched Os Vencedores with A Família Robinson in 1976, but the title was short-lived, running for just three issues. There is a guide here on guiadosquadrinhos.com
Some adventures were also published in Denmark in the 1960s as Rumfamilien Robinson, co-printed, presumably, with some of the other Scandinavian editions There’s a gallery here on Comics.org
In Finland, Space Family Robinson was published as Matkalla Avaruuteen by publisher Kuvajulkaisut from 1967 onwards, running for at what seems to be a run of ten issues. You can find the issues here on ensipainos.fi using the site’s search facility for Matkalla Avaruuteen.
In 1970s in France, Sagédition published three collections of Les Robinsons Perdue dans L’espace – 80-page plus “bumper” reprints of Gold Key stories, beginning with Les robinsons de l’espace – l’exilé de la 3ème planète / La guerre des monstres (Exile from the Third Planet/ War of Monsters) in 1976. There is a listing here on bedetheque.com.
Published in 1978 in Germany by Condor-Verlag, Die Superhelden Comic-Taschenbuch Nr. 1 (“The Action Heroes” was a bumper softcover title that featured Magnus Robot Fighter, Turok Son Of Stone, Dagar Held von Tulgor and “Weltraumranger Robinson Familie”, reprinting Gold Key’s Space Family Robinson: Lost in Space #45.
The title ran for 14 issues: the German Strip Guide has a listing here, in German.
Space Family Robinson also saw publication in Arabic in Lebanon in المغامر, or “Adventurer” comic (#131). Numerous US and British heroes also featured in the title – there are some examples here.
A different series was العملاق (Al-Umlaq, The Giant). Here’s #206 (1980, Classics Illustrated) عائلة الفضاء means “Space Family” on the cover.
Two Space Family Robinson titles were published in Mexico: the Gold Key strip was republished in Domingos Allegres, launched in 1964 from #513 onwards, published by Editorial Novaro, who reprinted the strips in 1979 in Aventura, from #931 onwards.
Adventure Classics (in Dutch, “Avontuur Classics“) was published in the Netherlands between 1966 and 1970, running for 163 issues, by Classics Nederland, re-publishing Gold Key comics with a variety of characters in the lead, including The Lone Ranger, Bonanza , Turok , Magnus, Robot Fighter , Mighty Samson and Space Family Robinson – the latter first featuring in #14 (“De macht van Gorko”/”The Power of Gorko”), and appearing in 17 more issues over the title’s run.
When Adventure Classics ceased its run, separate comic magazines appeared with different main characters. The series was continued in 2013 by Windmill Comics Publishing .
The numbering of the series consisted of an indication of the series (18) followed by the actual number (the first number was therefore 1801 and the last was 18163). Windmill Comics started numbering at 18164.
In Norway the intrepid explorers popped up in issues of Romserien, which enjoyed a 15 issue run between 1967 and 1968, published by Illustrerte Klassikere / Williams Forlag. There’s a listing here on comics.org
So far, we haven’t located any Space Family Robinson reprints in Spain, but their home grown character “Red Dixon“, the creation of writer Joaquín Berenguer Artés and artist Juan Martínez Osete, published by Editorial Marco between 1954 and 1957, did include a story titled “Perdido el el espacio” (Lost in Space), published in 1954. The strip was one of Spain’s most popular and long-running series science fiction comics at the time. There is a checklist of the character;s stories here on botigapereantoni.com
In Sweden, Rymden Runt (translating loosely as “Space Around”), also published by Williams Förlags, ran for 13 issues between 1966 and 1968, perhaps making this reprint the fastest out of the block. There’s a brief listing here, in Swedish, on seriesam.com.
The Gold Key titles were also reprinted in Indonesia – but we’ve yet to find examples – and the Philippines. In the latter, as noted above, distribution was handled by South Pacific Publications, working with Rosnock who published the title in Australia. Each of these editions had localised pricing and advertising
In 1966, the weekly British girls comic Lady Penelope ran its own “Space Family Robinson” stories using the same characters and technology as the Gold Key series, but utilising original scripts, not reprints.
The strip, drawn by John M. Burns, began in Lady Penelope Issue 2 in 1966 and has been ascribed to Brian Woodford as writer, a sub-editor on Lady Penelope, although there is, as yet, no contemporary confirmation. Six stories featured, reprinted in the Dutch comic TV2000. as “Ruimetefamilie Robinson”, in 1967.
In discussion on the Facebook John M. Burns Art group, archivist Shaquille le Vesconte notes there were no rights to use Lost In Space as a TV tie-in strip in Lady Penelope available, so City Magazines and Century 21 did the next best thing, which was to license their own version of Space Family Robinson direct from Western, as it would have been near impossible to split the Gold Key issues into serialised parts of a single black and white page per issue.
We can’t not mention Britain’s “Space Family Rollinson” in this item, published in Knockout, published by AP/Fleetway in the 1950s (Between Issue 772 cover dated 12th December 1953 until Issue 1013, cover dated 26th July 1958.Stories also appeared in the annual Knockout Fun Book between 1956 to 1960).
. The art on this strip is credited to Graham Coton, an artist best known for his motor racing strips in Tiger, his war strips in Top Spot and, most of all, for his dynamic covers for the War Picture Libraries. “Space Family Rollinson” appeared in Knockout in the early 1950s which was reprinted in France, Germany, Italy and Portugal.
Perhaps concerned there just might be legally-backed accusations of “passing off”, when “Space Family Rollinson” was reprinted in the short-lived Giggle comic in the mid 1960s, the Rollinsons were renamed the Carter Family for a series called “The Space-Travellers“, drawn by Italian artist Leone Frollo.
In discussion on ComicsUK, Philip Rushton notes that while the scripts were clearly based on the original Knockout storyline the artwork, appears to be new. “Also, it’s noticeable that a prominent alien character keeps the name ‘Notoc’ – which may well have been inspired by spelling the surname of original artist backwards.”
Another British curiosity is the appearance of another “Space Family Robinson”, this time in the pages of Issue 128 of Debbie Picture Story Library For Girls, the cover, possibly, the work of Terry Aspin. Published by DC Thomson in 198, was this 64 page comic a reprint of an earlier strip or entirely new?
At the time, DC Thomson produced four of these monthly series, the others being Mandy, Judy and Bunty.
Do let us know if you can provide any further information! Thank you.
With thanks to David Roach and N. Scott Robinson
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