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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
• 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: email@example.com. Otherwise cheques (UK funds only) payable to: John Lawrence, to 39 Carterweys, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 4RB
• 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 | Space Ace Special Edition
All images © The Ron Turner Estate
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.