COVER STORIES:Growing up with Superman and Dan Dare

Alien Vets Vol 2 Cover
I was lucky. Superman, Dan Dare, Beano, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Flash Gordon, and many more comics were being delivered to our postbox when I was a kid.

I was exposed to some of the great comics, and great stories, of all time.
It’s no coincidence that many of them have been, or are now being, made into films and TV series.

I guess that’s where my love of science fiction grew. I mean, nearly all of the contemporary literature was off-planet, weird, and, often, revolutionary. Sure, I read Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, and other stuff, but comics were the weekly staple.

Then I moved on to Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Phillip K Dick, and many other great works by great science fiction writers. Wow. Their characters weren’t just having adventures, they were having them on other planets! A double adventure.

For a writer, Sci-fi has to offer one of the greatest freedoms. Not only do you get to create great characters, but you can give them superpowers.Or make them round and squishy like a blancmange, or massive like a sphinx, or whatever the hell you want. They’re your characters. In your space. Literally.

So it was that characters like the squat and powerfully built cat-people, the Musthou, and the tall and lethal super-race, the Rickxl, were born into my stories. Both character types are more powerful than us humans, and the Rickxl are just plain smarter and faster than us at everything.

Why would I create such characters? Because I love the human condition of overcoming, of triumphing over the impossible. After all, didn’t our ancestors go out with wood and stone spears and bring down mammoths? Also, how long were we the underdogs for? Small apes with few things going for them – no big teeth, no big claws – but big hearts.

So that’s why. Because we love the underdogs. Somewhere in our past, we all were.

Now we stand supreme. And that is also a problem. Many of us have forgotten where we came from.
Hence the Rickxl. Faster, stronger, smarter than us by a country mile. They are our incentive. To wake up, to step up, to get back to who we really are, and grow again.Or die, once and for all, leaving the future to a species more victorious than ourselves.
Would we settle for that?
So. Welcome to the conflict. And the journey.

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