Publisher: John Lawrence
The Magazine: Four vintage stories from the pages of Lone Star Magazine and annuals featuring Space Ace originally published by Atlas Publishing & Distributing Co. Ltd in 1958/59
The Review: John Lawrence, both friend and former agent of the late, great British illustrator and comic artist Ron Turner, has released another terrific collection of Space Ace – four complete stories Ron drew for a number of years in the 1950s, beautifully re-coloured by John Ridgway.
An A4-sized 40 page title, the strips reflect just how much Space Ace was a labour of love for Ron, a point noted by John in the first collection. “It attracted possibly the lowest page rate ever compared to much of his other work, but it was free from any editorial constraints,” he recalled, a point brought home in a fascinating interview with Ron in this volume, where he explains that it was only the financial reward of painting covers for Practical Mechanics magazine that led to his departure from the strip as regular artist. (Although he did draw four stories later, the series never recovered from losing him).
As I’ve noted before with Space Ace, the stories of derring-do and alien adversaries intent on invasion and mayhem are of their time and should be taken in that spirit – enjoyable space opera and great fun, enhanced all the more by John Ridgway’s skilled colour enhancements. Warring humanoid aliens on the surface of Neptune and Saturn, and jolly space pirates lurking in the Asteroid Belt seem risible by today’s standards – but as comic creator and archivist Lew Stringer notes in his review of this thoroughly enjoyable publication, “that’s irrelevant to collectors and enthusiasts of Ron Turner’s artwork. In fact it’s part of the attraction of such material. We really need more old strips archived like this before they’re forgotten forever.”
Ron Turner’s work was and remains distinctive, an artist who went on to what many would argue are greater glories with his work on “The Daleks” for TV Century 21. But Space Ace is a cracking series in its own right, and deserves this “re-visitation”.
While it’s by no means a cheap publication, if you’re a Ron Turner fan you really shouldn’t let this magazine pass you by.
John tells us that work has already begun on Volume 4 which will feature Ron’s very first Space Ace story and, with steady sales and John Ridgway’s availability, he hopes to bring out a new issue every six months.
• Copies of Space Ace Volume Three are available priced £8.95 each (UK), 13GBP (Europe), 14GBP (International) including postage and packing. Order your copy via PayPal at: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Also on downthetubes: Our review of Space Ace Volume One | Volume Two | Volume Three | Volume Four | Volume Five | A “Sneak Peek” of Space Ace Volume Six | Review of Space Ace Volume Seven | Volume Eight | Volume Nine | Volume 10 | Volume 11 | Volume 12 | Ron Turner’s Beyond
All images © The Ron Turner Estate
• 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
Categories: British Comics