Thursday, May 19, 2016

Who's the Best... Spacefaring Hero?




Martinex1: From the depths of inner space to the reaches of the outer ring, from a galaxy far, far away to where no man has gone before, artistic creators from the 20th Century introduced a new breed of heroes to the pulp and punk generations... the adventurous spacefarer. Whether a space cowboy, a cosmic guardian, a scientific genius with a laser gun, a sportsman with a penchant for interstellar travel, or a cyborg bent on justice, these star-spanning celebrities offered countless hours of entertainment. In books, magazines, comics, television and film these adventurers sparked our imaginations. So which  spacefaring hero is the best?




 

18 comments:

Colin Jones said...

I feel obliged to mention Dan Dare, iconic British space adventurer created in the 1950's - but I've never read any of his stories and I know almost nothing about him beyond his name. And there's Doctor Who of course. And Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock - and Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager, the best Trek captain after Kirk. And Flash Gordon (Buster Crabbe, not the 1980 film). And Colonel Taylor who traveled to the Planet of The Apes. In comics there's Captain Marvel, Rom and the Silver Surfer - and don't forget Reed Richards who was always leading the FF to distant planets/solar systems/the Negative Zone.

Colin Jones said...

Yes, I know Planet Of The Apes was Earth - but Taylor still traveled into space lol.

Thomas F. said...

My personal favorite cosmic superhero is the Silver Surfer. The story behind him is that Jack Kirby, independent of Stan Lee, took the initiative and decided that a being as powerful as Galactus deserved to have a herald, and penciled him into the pages of the Fantastic Four, to Stan Lee's surprise.

The Silver Surfer, formerly Norrin Radd of the planet Zenn-La, is a tragic figure. His endless burden, for a man with a conscience, is that he must determine who is to survive and who shall perish throughout the universe. To save his home world, he agreed to serve as an explorer for the planet-consuming Galactus, seeking out life-sustaining planets in advance for the giant devourer of worlds. His bond to the entity Galactus is indefinite, yet the Sentinel of the Spaceways yearns to eventually return to Zenn-La and his beloved, Shalla-Bal.

The Silver Surfer series, by Stan Lee and John Buscema, ran for 18 issues from August 1968 to September 1970. Highlights of this stellar series include: #4, featuring an epic battle against Thor; #14, which guest-starred Spider-Man; and #18, which featured the Silver Surfer versus the Inhumans, another creation from the pages of the Fantastic Four.

In 1987, a new, more modern Silver Surfer series was introduced. It was produced by a strong creative team, Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers, the same team who had collaborated to make Detective Comics an acclaimed hit in the mid-Seventies.

Often overlooked is the one-shot issue of Silver Surfer that was released in June 1982, written by Stan Lee and drawn by John Byrne. >>> http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/marveldatabase/images/8/84/Silver_Surfer_Vol_2_1.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20100903214908

Another often overlooked one-shot issue is Super-Villain Classics #1, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, which hit the stands in May 1983. This book details the origin of Galactus. >>> http://static4.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_large/3/38919/825850-super_villain_classics__1.jpg

Here's hoping that if Marvel ever gets a Fantastic Four movie right, it will star the Silver Surfer and Galactus and involve stakes that are no less than the survival of humankind.

Redartz said...

If I had to pick a favorite; it would probably be Adam Warlock. Another tragic figure with a load of great stories. Plus he has Thanos as a primary adversary, sometimes the opponent makes the hero...

Also I'd like to throw in the name of Arthur Dent. A reluctant and often bumbling hero, yes, but we all learned to Hitchhike the Galaxy along with him. And he kept his towel...

J.A. Morris said...

Solo, no question.

If we're limiting it to comic book superheroes, I pick Mar-Vell.

david_b said...

I'll second Colin on Doctor Who..., while I came in during the Tom Baker years, I'd put him neck-to-neck with Jon Pertwee as my favorite space (and time) faring heroes. Runner-up nods to Peter Davison and David Tennant.

I guess if I'm asked to choose who I'd travel the Universe with, that's your answer.

Victor Bergman (Space:1999) would be another great choice.

Redartz, nice thought on Arthur Dent, I was going to throw in Marvin from Hitchhikers...

Doug said...

I loved me some old Flash Gordon serials (Buster Crabbe) when I was a wee lad. Those were a lot of fun, immediately preceding the Tarzan flick of the week.

As I've said in the past, I'd like to delve more into Adam Strange comics. And I liked the Hawkworld mini-series by Tim Truman.

Doug

Colin Jones said...

David, I completely forgot about Space: 1999 - so I'll include Commander Koenig and Dr. Helena Russell (I didn't know at the time that Martin Landau and Barbara Bain were married in real life).

Edo Bosnar said...

I have to split them up: in comics, I agree with Redartz about Adam Warlock. A great hero with a wonderful yet tragic story arc. Mar-Vell comes in second, and I think honorable mention goes to Starman (Prince Gavyn) who appeared in some fun stories by Paul Levitz and Steve Ditko in Adventure Comics right right in late 1979 and into 1980.

In other media, i.e. TV and movies, I guess I'd say Captain Kirk, but it seems unfair to mention him without Spock, and McCoy and Scotty (and Uhura, Sulu, etc.). Also, appreciate the shout-out for Capt. Janeway by Colin - I'm another unabashed Voyager fan, but again, I feel I can't just mention her and then leave out B'Elanna, Tuvok, etc.

Humanbelly said...

It's such a huge topic!
For television I'm definitely going with Dr Who first (love the whole spectrum of him-- from Hartnell to Capaldi), but a close, close, CLOSE second is going to be FIREFLY's Mal Reynolds. The brevity of that series is the only thing that knocks him back at all. Best. Series. Ever. (Sorry, fellow Trekkies!)

Comics-- well, the "Best" might indeed be the Surfer, although in a way Superman does fill the bill, doesn't he? It's just that he's kind of a home-body, and doesn't go spacing as often as he certainly could. My own favorite, though, is still good ol' Quasar.

In films-- well, it's not exactly the same level of elevated hero, but (having just watched the first two films w/ HBGirl last week) I'm going to go with Ellen Ripley from the ALIEN franchise. Or the first half of it, anyhow. That. . . is just about the most determined "regular" individual you'll ever see on-screen, I think.

HB

Thomas F. said...

HB,

I like Quasar too, good call. I still remember buying Quasar #1 in the autumn of 1989 as a child at Saturn Comics, only three blocks away from home. Very convenient for an eleven year old! Had to pester my parents for a ride if I wanted to go to the main store downtown, Comic Castle, which as I recall was run by some rather shady characters. Quasar was one of those characters who were given that "once in a lifetime" chance to make a difference in his own way.

Martinex1 said...

I like Quasar too. Funny that he is a knock off of Green Lantern in a way, but GL rarely even crosses my mind on this topic. You all have mentioned some I had not even thought of and some I have never even seen.

Redartz said...

David_b- Marvin is a great suggestion! Can you imagine arranging a spacefight with Marvin and,say, C-3PO as your companions? It boggles the mind.

Edo- kudos to you for mentioning Starman. Very enjoyable series, and a wonderful pairing in Adventure with the clever Plastic Man series...

Anonymous said...

I'd have to go with Han Solo...he's just so cool! I also like Rey from the new movie...she's almost like an amalgam of Han and Luke.

Mike Wilson

Colin Jones said...

I forgot about Blake from Blake's 7 - the actor who played him, Gareth Thomas, died recently.

Kirk said...

Gotta go with Captain Mar-Vell! His series and Spider-Man were the first two comics I ever subscribed to, so he'll always hold a special place in my heart. Ka-Tanging his nega-bands together to swap dimensions with Rick Jones was such a cool concept. And I loved how Cap's giant ghostly head was shown hovering behind Rick to give him advice. I ran around for a whole summer with a pair of tennis wristbands just so I could slam them together in times of danger.

Anonymous said...

Sorry been MIA for a while, my computer seems to have become demon possessed once again. :(

Well, for comics I'd go with Green Lantern. For TV/movies, I'd go with Flash Gordon. Anyone who says Rocket Raccoon will get a laser blast up the head!


- Mike 'what the f*** does failure to connect to Windows Group Policy Client mean????' from Trinidad & Tobago.

William said...

For comicbook space traveling superhero I'd say you can't go wrong with the Silver Surfer. I loved Marvel's Captain Marvel (before they killed him), but I liked his Earthbound adventures better than his forays into outer space. He was the closest thing to a DC style classic superhero in the Marvel U.

As for movie/TV space heroes, I've always been partial to Han Solo. He was the wise-cracking everyman in a world of Jedi wizards, robots, and freaky aliens, and he pretty much took it all in stride. (Nice job killing him off there J.J., that was a lot of fun… NOT!)

I also can't end this without mentioning Star Trek's Captain Picard. My wife and I were avid STNG watchers back in the day, and I just loved Patrick Stewart's portrayal of the no-nonsense, fair minded, and intelligent Jean Luc Picard. One of my favorite TV characters ever. "Make it so."

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