In Review: Space Ace Volume 9

Space Ace Volume 9 - Cover

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

The Book: 40-page anthology comprising three stories featuring “Space Ace” by Ron Turner, colourised and re-mastered by John Ridgway. The title includes the first of a series of in-depth features on the history of the Space Ace character and an lively letters page.

Space Ace Volume 9 - Fire Ship

Space Ace Volume 9 - Fire Ship


Space Ace Volume 9 - The Space Ace Story

The Review: While some purists who recall or regard the original with fondness continue to ask for the original versions of the “Space Ace” stories, as originally presented in black and white, I’m not one of them. For me, the arrival of a new issue of Space Ace from artist Ron Turner’s longtime agent and friend John Lawrence is always a delight, and this issue once again delivers an inventive re-work of the source material for a modern audience.

Of course, the purists mentioned above also, perhaps rightfully, will claim that since they are the only comic fans aware of this title, then they’re right to call for the originals. But I’d argue that if this magazine is to have any chance of breaking out of this potential “ghetto” and reach new, younger SF comic fans, then publishing in colour is the best way to do it, especially when the results are this good.

The problems of providing “original” editions can’t be ignored, either. I’m well aware from both an article in Space Ace Volume Eight and my own conversations with Commando and Dan Dare artist John Ridgway, who works tirelessly on this title, just how much work has to be done to restore the pages even before they are remastered and coloured with such consummate skill.

In this issue, John Lawrence may have pushed the re-mastering a little further than usual – re-drafting and combining three original stories (“The Fire Ship” from Lone Star Volume 3 #10, “The Fishmen of Formonda” from Lone Star Volume 3 #8 and “The Exiles” from Lone Star Volume 4 #7) into one longer story. His introduction to the issue indicates these tales were, he felt, a little lightweight compared with other Space Ace action SF tales; by merging them (and those new to Space Ace would never know it, unless he’d admitted it!), you get a much stronger story.

John Lawrence deftly melds three stories into one in "Fire Ship". You can't see the join.
John Lawrence deftly melds three stories into one in “Fire Ship”. You can’t see the join.

Aware that such interference with the originals might rankle some, it’s too his credit as an editor that John went ahead and did it, and the story – which sees Space Ace battling against the clock to stop an alien accidentally destroying the Earth! is page turner of a tale, with all the usual weird aliens and stunning visuals you’d expect from the late Ron Turner, who’s perhaps best known for his work on TV Century 21’s “The Daleks” strip.

Space Ace Volume 9 - Weed of Death

Space Ace Volume 9 - Weed of Death

Space Ace Volume 9 - The Plunderers

Space Ace Volume 9 - The Plunderers

The back up stories – “The Weed of Death” and “The Plunderers” are straight restorations of the original stories from the 1950s Lone Star magazine, full of the usual leave-you-brain-at the door SF action these wonderful stories of galaxy-spanning adventures always offer.

Both are entertaining, throwaway fun throughout – as they were when first published! Don’t expect any high concept moralising or deep thought – but do expect old-fashioned heroes saving both humanoid and alien races from many weird and wonderful bad guys.

Space Ace is just smashing fun. Long may this magazine continue!

• 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: 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 (replace AT with @). Non UK orders, please contact Bryon for costs

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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