In Review: Ron Turner’s “Space Ace” Volume 5

Space Ace Volume 5 - Cover

Out: Now
Publisher: John Lawrence
Originally published by Atlas Publishing & Distributing Co. Ltd

The Title: A 40 page full colour magazine reprinting two Space Ace stories from the mid 1950s: “The Nine-Bomb Menace” and “Magnetic Meteor”, plus an extensive interview with artist and writer Ron Turner about the lead strip, talking about his influences for the  story – particularly Journey Into Space, which was airing on the radio at the time of original publication.

Space Ace Volume 5 - The Nine Bomb Menace

The Review: Editor John Lawrence has pulled a blinder with this latest collection of Ron Turner’s Space Ace stories, aided in his endeavours by John Ridgway’s wonderful re-mastering and colouring of these rare 1950s science fictions strips.

The first story, “The Nine-Bomb Menace” is a great epic – originally published in six parts in Lone Star Magazine way back in 1955. Opening with an alien robot attack on a research ship, The Discovery, the danger for Space Ace and the Earth escalates rapidly with a threat to blow up the entire solar system from the Metharons, first seen in “This Island Universe”, reprinted in Space Ace Volume 4.

Space Ace Volume 5 - The Nine Bomb Menace

Space Ace Volume 5 - The Nine Bomb Menace (S3)
Monsters aplenty in “The Nine Bomb Menace”

I’ve long ago learnt not to expect any great scientific accuracy from these Space Ace stories, but simply park my cynicism at the door when I’m reading them. The SF is secondary to Ron Turner’s stunning visuals, enhanced by John Ridgway’s careful and complementary colouring and restoration work on the tales. When it comes to to space battles, giant monsters, gruesome aliens and astonishing vistas, Ron Turner’s art is up there with the very best and his storytelling is easy on the eye (and the brain cells).

While Space Ace himself lacks the humanity of rival 1950s space hero Dan Dare, there’s no disputing his all-action credentials, and you get these in spaces in “The Nine-Bomb Menace”. Woe betide any alien crossing his path!

Space Ace Volume 5 - "Magnetic Meteor"
A page from “Magnetic Meteor”

“Magnetic Meteor” is a bit of a more tongue in cheek tale, with Space Ace and partner Bill battling disaster (and requisite alien menace) on Mercury, aided by some great robots. It’s a fast-paced tale with some great action sequences that we’ve come to love from the character across these beautifully put together collections, although surely, by now, every alien race in the known universe must know not to let Space Ace even draw breath if he’s captured, because he’ll always fight his way out of a corner, no matter the odds.

Rounded off with a lively letters column, overall, Space Ace Volume Five maintains the high standards we’ve come to expect from this independent title. If you’re after some rollicking yarns, this is definitely the place to find them!

• Ron Turner’s Space Ace Volume 5 costs £8.95 (UK) or £12 (Europe) and £14.00 (other overseas) including postage and is available via PayPal to spaceace.54@virginmedia.com or cheque or postal order to John Lawrence, 39 Carterweys, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU5 4RB

• Read our review of Space Ace Volume OneVolume TwoVolume ThreeVolume Four | Volume FiveOur “Sneak Peek” of Space Ace Volume SixReview of Space Ace Volume SevenVolume EightVolume NineVolume 10Volume 11 | Volume 12

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

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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