Earthman #1 1990 $1.75 Space Publications
by Bob Nunn
Well, my friends. This was something special (as you may have already guessed by the above image). While exhibiting at the recent Miami County Comic Con in Troy, Ohio my pal Matt Brassfield and I decided to peruse the fifty cent comics at the adjacent table. I found some good reads but it was Matt who happened upon this gem that I had somehow missed. He immediately pulled it from the bin and handed it to me, saying it looked like something that might be up my alley. Indeed, he was correct!
Many great comics were found for a dollar, fifty cents, even a quarter each at the show but this one was the first of my finds that I curled up with, knowing it would find a home on The Bewildering. So without further ado... let's get into this thing!
The comic opens with a couple of futuristic solider dudes (Majors Galax and Starr) talking to some fishermen who have found a body drained of it's blood in the river... the Dracilis River!!!
They decide to investigate the nearby town of Dracilis to see what they can find. Not long after beginning their trek through the woods it gets dark and they decide to camp for the night. But just as they're about get some shut eye they're attacked by some kind of human like creature with fangs! What kind of monster could this bat-like creature from Dracilis possibly be?!?
They shoot at her with their oddly phallic pistols, but to no effect! One of the officers pulls out a crucifix and it scares the vampire who turns into a bat and flies off. The officers walk on into the village where they encounter a witch like crone, named Granny Witchet, who commands them to "Gooo Awaaay!" But another towns-person walks up and tells Granny to step aside so he can talk to them. He tells them it is indeed a vampire that has been plaguing their town, but no one knows who she is.
One of the officers concocts a plan. They'll hold a town meeting at noon and whoever doesn't show up is obviously the vampire. And what a foolproof plan that is. I know the only way I'd miss a town meeting was if my flesh burned in the sunlight... fuckin' LOVE town meetings!!!
But a townsman explains that people who live in Dracilis believe that evil spirits search for them in the daylight to mark them as victims for the vampire, so they hide during the day. He suggests an early evening meeting just before the sun goes down. Not a perfect plan by any means, but all agree it's their best bet.
The next evening one of the officers calls the town meeting to order and begins making everyone there look at his crucifix. One lady dressed all in black freaks out when he dangles it in her direction. She runs out of the town hall screaming. Naturally they assume she's the vampire and chase after her.
By the way, did you notice the stain on the right hand side of that last panel? This comic was stained throughout and it honestly adds a whole extra layer of weird to the reading experience. Is it water? Beer? Pee? Who knows!
So anyway, one officer, Alex Starr, stays behind as the villagers paint crosses on their foreheads so the vampire won't attack them on their way home. A cute villager named Iris flirts with Alex, who paints a cross on her forehead and offers to walk her home. Go, Alex, go!
She declines and goes on home alone (and I assume Alex masturbates in the men's room off panel). Soon after, her body is found with two holes in her neck and her skin very pale. Doesn't look good for Iris.
One of the officers is quick to pronounce Iris dead... but the other one (I can't tell these guys apart) notices she's clinging to life and will just need a blood transfusion to pull through (I guess he'd seen Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark).
They take her to Granny Witchet and her robot pal who knows how to handle this.
This robot is almost as cool as Dr. Droid from last month's post! I think he deserves to be the subject of my artistic tribute this month!
The officers go to Vixena's castle to confront her and determine if she is indeed the vampire responsible for all of the murders and such.
In her castle, she tries to fool them with the old "reflection-less mirror" routine, but these guys are way too smart!
They leave to go check on Iris but to their horror find a note on the robot doctor's front door proclaiming that Iris has died. Bummer! But soon enough who should saunter up to the officers but ole Iris herself! She reveals that the robot announced her death a little prematurely, claiming robots make mistakes too. Well, that's it... I'm not drawing that quack of a robot doctor after all. Screw that guy! If he can't even tell when a person's dead or alive he should have his practice taken away from him, the lunkhead.
Alex decides the vampire must be Granny Witchet and flies off to stop her! Meanwhile, Galax stays behind with Iris. Once they're alone Iris makes a confession... she's in fact the vampire!
He's not surprised though, claiming to have figured it out all detective style. He explains that he remembers her having Alex paint the cross on her forehead at the town meeting and deduced she couldn't look in a mirror to do it herself, having no reflection and all.
Also, he tells her some convoluted thing about how he noticed the direction a phone was hung up on the rocker the wrong way. Whatever, Sherlock.
He suggests she then pretended to have been attacked by the vampire so they would give her a tasty blood transfusion at the doctor's office. She then forged the fake death notice in the handwriting of the robot (which I would imagine takes skill. I mean, I'd imagine robots probably have pretty impeccable penmanship). So, the robot didn't make any bad diagnosis afterall! Aw man... I can't believe I said all those nasty things about him earlier! Now I feel really bad. Sorry, robot.
Galax tries to stop the vampire but she flees into the cavern under Granny Witchet's place. Galax snoops around until Iris suddenly leaps out at him! He throws a boulder at her but it merely shatters into dust when it hits her head. She has the strength of a legion of demons! But Galax, thinking quick, fires his schlong range pistol at the roof of the cavern, letting in sunlight!
She runs and hides in her coffin but Galax finds it and opens the lid. She's asleep in the form of Iris once again. Alex shows up and says he wants to be the one to drive the stake through her heart and end this whole thing (I can totally relate. Every time a woman turns me down for a date I just want to hammer a piece of sharpened wood through her chest and watch her dissipate into a smoky pile of ash. I assume that's not overreacting). Unfortunately Alex can't seem to do it, pussy that he is. Luckily, Vixena shows up and does it for him!
She reveals that she is in fact Iris's sister and knew all along that Iris had been the one tormenting everyone. Our story ends with Vixena asking to let the memory of the town of Dracilis be buried with the dead. And I guess that's what happened.
It does leave me wondering why it was called "Earthman". Is the titular character Alex? Is he the only Earthling in the story? Are the other officers aliens? Does that mean that this is not taking place on Earth? On the cover the vampire refers to herself as "Andromedian"... so maybe this is all happening on the planet Andromeda? I honestly have no idea. But regardless of that conundrum, it was a heck of a tale! It's like Sir Arthur Conan Bram Stoker's Plan 9 From Outer Space. And maybe the coolest thing about the book is the inside back cover where readers are urged to contact their local newspapers to try to get them to print Earthman comics in the funny pages:
Dear Lord, I'd love to see this side by side with Garfield and The Lockhorns. Holy shit, that would be amazing!
Sadly, I don't think that ever happened and no more Earthman comics saw the light of day. It's a shame.This was a kooky book but I THINK I liked it... and I'd probably read more if there were any. But who could really say? This was just so frickin' weird. I like the design of the space officers and the spooky imagery of the Witch's house and whatnot... but everything else looked kind of rushed and half heartedly drawn. And what the hell's with that cover? I would've loved to see a cool montage of all the sweet characters and devices on the cover.
In fact, here's what that would've looked like:
Well, I'm really looking forward to next month's pick... Night Masters #1! Join me in thirty to see what this one's all about. Happy New Year everyone!