Karen: As a kid, I grew up reading a lot of science fiction. In my tweens and early teens, one of the books I really enjoyed was Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Leaving out the politics -which as I got older, became more troubling -it's a great space war story. Later on, I read and re-read Joe Haldeman's Forever War. The backdrop of war is always a rich lode for writers; you can tell so many different types of stories, when your characters are constantly confronted with choices to make, particularly choices of a moral or ethical nature. Add in the element of science fiction, and the number of choices increases.
Karen: In 1995, Fox television broadcast a show that dealt with war between humans and aliens less than a hundred years in the future. It was called Space: Above and Beyond, and sadly, it lasted only one year, 22 episodes. But luckily for people like me, who remember it fondly, the entire season is available on DVD.
Karen: The show focused on a group of Marines, the 58th Squadron or "Wild Cards", caught up in a war between a united earth (although the Marines were definitely USMC) and a group of aliens commonly referred to as the Chigs, for their physical resemblance to a chigger. There were side issues too, such as the troubling involvement of corporate juggernaut Aero Tech in the war, questions over the treatment of artificially gestated humans known as in vitros (or tanks), and the alliance of the aliens and a race of androids (the AIs) that had fought a war with humans just decades earlier.
Karen: Of course each marine had their own story: Nathan West's fiancee had been a member of a colony that was wiped out by the aliens, but she was taken as a prisoner of war, and Nathan was determined to find her; Shane Vansen's marine corps parents had been killed in the AI wars, and she needed to prove herself; Cooper Hawkes was an in vitro trying to figure out his place in not only the marine corps but with humanity as a whole; Paul Wang struggled with feelings of unworthiness; Vanessa Damphousse sought some sense of direction. The characters were well-realized, with both admirable qualities and flaws. For example, Nathan's devotion to his missing fiancee was touching, but it sometimes became an obsession that threatened the safety of his team.
Karen: Space: Above and Beyond never allowed the viewer to get comfortable; like in any war, questionable actions were undertaken at times by our protagonists, and they had to take a hard look at themselves frequently. The aliens were not always displayed in a harsh light either; they even appeared to help the Marines find their way home in the episode "River of Stars". The show also had plenty of action, with the Wild Cards fighting in both space and on land.
Karen: I wish this show had been given a chance to succeed. As Fox often did with many shows, it jerked Space: Above and Beyond around from one time slot to the next, with an erratic schedule. I missed a number of episodes, including the two final shows, which served to conclude the story, more or less. Considering the success of the recent Battlestar Galactica series, which mined a similar vein, I think that the Marines of the 58th squadron could have lasted several seasons, if only they had been given a fighting chance.
Karen and Doug are honored to have been asked to join this summer's Super Blog Team-Up. Come July, we'll be back in the reviewers' chairs and taking a look at one of the great treasuries of the Bronze Age!
Patronize our Staff Writers
Our collaborators, Martinex1 and Redartz, now manage their own space. If you have liked the sorts of topics seen here on Bronze Age Babies, then you are going to feel right at home at Back in the Bronze Age... Give them a visit!
Karen and Doug
Bronze Age Babies, Unite!
On Sunday, 4/23/17, Martinex1, Doug, and Redartz gathered for a day of fun at C2E2 in Chicago. It was great to finally meet in person after years of online cameraderie.
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Karen and Doug met on the Avengers Assemble! message board back in September 2006. On June 16 2009 they went live with the Bronze Age Babies blog, sharing their love for 1970s and '80s pop culture with readers who happen by each day. You'll find conversations on comics, TV, music, movies, toys, food... just about anything that evokes memories of our beloved pasts!
Doug is a high school social science teacher and department chairman living south of Chicago; he also does contract work for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is married with two adult sons and a daughter-in-law.
Karen originally hails from California and now works in scientific research/writing in the Phoenix area. She often contributes articles to Back Issue magazine. She is married. She hangs out with Joe Biden occasionally.
Believe it or not, the Bronze Age Babies have never spoken to each other...
We don't own property rights for any of the images we show on Bronze Age Babies -- those copyrights are retained by their respective owners. Most images are from books, etc. that we have individually purchased, while others have been copied from the Internet. All images are displayed here for the purpose of education and review within the "fair use" terms of U.S. Code: Title 17, Sec. 107. If we've used something we shouldn't have, please ask and we'll take it down. Thank you -- Doug and Karen
Dig Karen's Work Here? Then You Should Check Her Out in Back Issue!
BI #44 is available for digital download and in print. I've read Karen's article on reader reaction to Gerry Conway's ASM #121-122, and it's excellent. This entire magazine was fun! -- Doug
Back Issue #45
As if Karen's work on Spidey in the Bronze Age wasn't awesome enough, she's at it again with a look at the romance of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch in Back Issue's "Odd Couples" issue -- from TwoMorrows!
Karen's talking the Mighty Thor in the Bronze Age!
Click the cover to order a print or digital copy of Back Issue! #53