Tentacle Tuesday: Grabby Denizens of the Airless Void

Aliens inevitably have tentacles. It’s a simple fact of life for any space explorer. Although I’m sure you wouldn’t dream of doubting my words, here are a few exhibits for your pleasure.

We’ll start off with a tentacle bonanza! This is what happens when you cross an octopus with a centipede.

Spaceman no. 6 (July 1954), cover by always-enjoyable Joe Maneely. “Speed Carter, Spaceman”  only lasted six issues, which is unfortunate – the stories are a lot of fun, with great art and intelligent-but-humorous scripts.

When “plant creatures” (who look remarkably like toothy goldfish) gone berserk deploy their tentacles to strangle you – in space, no less – , it must be Tentacle Tuesday.

Space Family Robinson Lost in Space no. 30 ( Gold Key Comics, October 1968). Cover by George Wilson, whose paintings are usually quite well executed (and this is no exception). The tentacle story, titled “Attack of the Plant Creatures”, is scripted by Gaylord Dubois and illustrated by Dan Spiegle. Incidentally, Space Family Robinson was an original science-fiction comic by Gold Key, and predates the Lost in Space TV series.

Seriously, who keeps stranding these vicious octopuses in space?

Space Ace no. 5 (1952, Magazine Enterprises), cover by Dick Ayers. I like these elegant space suits of the 50s, where naught but a small glass bubble and a tiny tank provided all the air one might need, and the costumes were tight enough to show off the guy’s muscles. The tentacle wrapped around the astronaut’s leg looks severed.
Just watch Solar-Brain nimbly dismantle an expensive piece of machinery with its tentacles. Tsk, tsk. These panels are from “The Living Gun”, a story from Metal Men no. 7 (April-May 1964) written by Robert Kanigher, pencilled by Ross Andru and inked by Mike Esposito.

Since I like pointing things like that out, please note that all the plot points of “The Living Gun” that concern Platinum (the only girl on the team) are fucking inane. She gets jealous when Doc Magnus is wooed by a beautiful model; participates in a beauty pageant while everybody else continues with their scientific research; attacks her team-mates when she’s disqualified from the pageant for not being human; quits the Metal Men in a huff and barely makes it into the epic battle pitting Magnus and his Metal Men against the murderous, power-grabbing Solar Brain. Girls will be girls… at least when a certain writer with the initials R.K. is around.

~ ds

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