On this day, 29 September 1973: Lion and Thunder
On this day, 29 September 1973 … ‘LOOK OUT!’
‘It’s the FLYING BUZZ-SAW!’
‘The FLYING BUZZ-SAW!’
You had to be expect the unexpected in the world of Lion and Thunder. Pretty much anything could happen, regardless of sense or likelihood. In this week’s Robot Archie (actually titled Robot Archie Fights the Smasher), a giant flying buzz-saw descended (no, ‘hurtled’) towards the Spaghetti Junction. ‘It’s like a giant buzz-saw!’ yelled one of the drivers. That’s because it was a giant buzz-saw.
Elsewhere in this issue, Spellbinder Sylvester Turville was causing all manner of time-wimey wibbly-wobbliness after breaking his magic time clock. The Team Terry Kept in a Box told of the coming to life of a box of stereoscopic pictures of football players from the distant past. Adam Eterno fought giant beetles, Steel Commando led British troops on a robotic retreat to Dunkirk and The Spider and Spider-boy took on the enormous Metal Plunderer (evil creation of Sylvanus Jenkins). It’s all a bit bonkers, lacking entirely in emotional or narrative depth, but that was the deal with Lion – it was all action, and you can’t really fault the imagination of the writers or artists. It just lacks rationality.
Another way of thinking about this is to take a step back and take another look at the world we’re living in today. In the States, a self-serving, lying, racist, misogynist appears to have a fair chance of joining the ranks of dangerous lunatics running nations and corporations around the world. In Britain, our politics, our cultural commentators and our communities seem to be tipping ever further to the right, social and economic inequality grows ever wider and our news media pay more attention to sport, cakes, the cult of celebrity and whatever political or ethical agenda suits their owners than they do to an honest presentation of what’s really going on. Our environment is in meltdown, our climate is changing faster than we can acclimatise to it, new borders and walls – physical, political and ideological – are being built to satisfy xenophobic prejudice and ignorance, we spend more time looking into our phones than into each other’s eyes, drones and robots grow ever more capable, and, well, it’s just all a bit terrifying really, isn’t it? I noticed a number of tweets after this week’s US presidential debate that the only winner in all of this is the Voyager space probe getting the hell away from us all.
Lion and the other superfantastical comics of its day are far-fetched, fun and easy to mock, but let’s not pretend that the world around us isn’t just as bat-shit crazy. Now, can anyone else hear that loud buzzing noise in the sky …?