Space fights off the Trekurs of Planetoid Bloodu, while Dianna looks on nonchalantly. Artist: 'Hank Christy'.

SPACE SMITH

Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Fox Feature Syndicate
First Appeared: 1939
Creators: Unknown writer and “Hank Christy” (artist)
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Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon are without a doubt the greatest superstars among space heroes in comics. Lesser stars of the genre include Brick Bradford and Sky Masters. Not so very star-like are Spacehawk and …

continued below

Tommy Tomorrow. And then there's Space Smith, who is about on the level of DC's Space Cabby, only not nearly so well-known.

Smith didn't have any particular origin. He just turned up in Fox Feature Syndicate's Fantastic Comics #1 (December, 1939), alongside Samson (a superhero wearing furry trunks), Sub Saunders (a submarine skipper like Commander Battle or the early Captain Savage) and Professor Fiend (title tells all).

However he came to be as he was, Space Smith flitted around the solar system with his companion Diana, who apparently combined the functions of girlfriend, co-pilot, and sounding board for dialog. Together, they cleared the shipping lanes of space pirates, defeated menacing aliens, and anything else a pair of good guys, who didn't suffer the angst that comes from deep characterization, might busy themselves with in six-page stories.

The stories were signed by "Hank Christy", who was obviously the same guy who created Fantomah for Fiction House (Kaanga, Señorita Rio) under the name "Barclay Flagg". He also created Stardust the Super Wizard in the same issue, using the name "Fletcher Hanks", which is believed to be his real name. Whatever he called himself, his work was characterized by wooden artwork, wooden dialog, and all-around disregard for the principles of sound storytelling, but some readers take "guilty pleasure" in its quirkiness.

Space Smith lasted one issue less than Fantastic Comics itself, ending in the 22nd issue (September, 1941). Despite the fact that he's been lying around all these years, with no owner available to defend its rights to him, nobody has ever bothered to revive him except one or two Internet reprinters.

— DDM

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Text ©2007-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Fox Feature Syndicate