Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review and Commentary On The Free Charlton Comic book Classic Outer Space Issue #18 For Your Old School Space Opera Campaigns

Grab It Right Over

Way back in the late Fifties and early Sixties, space exploration was a very trick thing in the public imagination and television such as the Twilight Zone and comics reflected this. Same as this cover with a test pilot getting his cock pit widow punched in by a sky ogre something related to that gremlin thing that terrifies William Shatner's character on that famous plane right through the skies of the Twilight Zone.  And a much slicker version later tortures John Lithgow's  character in the Twilight Zone movie which brings us to this issue of Outer Space issue #18 by Charlton Comics.
Outer Space was a comic that was chalk full of science fantasy anthology goodness in the Charlton comics tradition. Now free in the public domain this issue can be used as fodder for any number of  mini adventures or quick encounters for your old school campaigns. This issue starts off with 'First On Mercury'. the story starts out with some vintage comic book rocket sci fi porn. Love the design of the rocket ship, it looks like an atomic drive or an ion drive for inter system planetary exploration. We get a look at a pretty nice little Mercurian life form that could be used for any number of encounters but this story makes an excellent 'quick encounter' for Xplorers.
'The Old Robot" introduces an obsolete robot and his upstart replacement, things don't go well for the upstart as the original unit Robbo gets a new body by story's end. If you need an experienced robotic NPC unit then Robbo just might be your unit. According to the story he served a variety of masters and might come into your party's hands. He might also be out in the wasteland of some lost post apocalyptic wasteland. Not bad NPC style characters but the story is a bit insipid.
" For  Amusement Only" introduces a quick mutant plant apocalyptic world wide event, this might make an excellent alternative Earth encounter point or as another Prime Material plane infested with a variety of mutant plant menaces. The story also introduces a nice generic planet of super science villains in the form of Zoba in the sixth magnitude. A whole planet that a DM could easily write in the background of his choice.
 Space Dictionary gives a whole cloth background of science terms and such from the comic book's astronomical background. Vintage but of little use to me except as a curiosity.
 'Assignment Treason' is perfect old school pulp sci fi fodder for an adventure encounter with a twist. The villain is vile if minor in this one and a party could make short work of the plot. This a good one for either a vintage Stars Without Number or an X plorers interlude mid game encounter.
 'Repair Stop' is an amusing little story with a nice little cross over potential with an old school D&D style adventure but it might mean breaking the story's actual premise. Shrugs. The other bit here is a nice design for a technological race in the form of the wooden faced humanoids. They might actually be a cool NPC race for players to encounter.
 All in all Outer Space issue #18 is a pretty good little download, the stories are not going to spark a science fantasy revolution.But they  make some clever and interesting mid level gaming encounters and minor adventure events between major action points in a science fantasy campaign. All in all not a bad download for a free comic book from Charlton. 

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