Return of the Space Cadet

Whenever I’m asked to write an introduction or a short bio, I’m always tempted to quote  from the Rolling Stones’ song, “Sympathy For the Devil.” You know the line: “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste.”  The problem with that is that I’m not wealthy, and the jury’s still out on the taste question.

So, where does that leave me?  Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m a man.

Well, that’s accurate, but it doesn’t say very much. Let’s try it this way.

My name is Bill Spangler and I’m going to be blogging about comics and graphic novels for the new Amazing Stories.  I want to use this space to talk about comics from several different angles.  I’m going to be doing reviews of current comics, but I also want to talk about older books you may have missed—or should have missed– and how some characters and themes have changed over  the years.

Probably the only thing I won’t be doing is talking a lot about traditional super heroes.  Sure, a lot of super heroes have science fiction elements in their adventures, but a lot don’t. Also, since super hero action is the dominant genre in comic books,  it’s well-covered elsewhere.

BTW, I don’t claim to have any sort of foolproof method  to determine when a comic is science fiction, much less good science fiction. I have some thoughts on the subject, but I imagine they’re going to change and evolve as I do these blogs.

I’m happy to be here for a couple of reasons.  For me, science fiction and comics have always gone together. As a kid,  I was introduced to science fiction through things like If, the prose magazine edited by Frederik Pohl (among others) and DC’s Mystery In Space comic.  But I can’t tell you which one I encountered first.

As a slightly older kid, I’ve been trying to maintain that approach.  I’ve sold comic book scripts in a number of genres, but, in most cases, it would be accurate to label them science fiction. I’ve written  five original series based on Robotech, one of the first imported Japanese animated series. I’ve also written original comics based on the TV shows Alien Nation and Quantum Leap .  My most recent comic was an attempt to revive the classic TV show Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. (Quick tangent: I live in Pennsylvania and the current governor here actually is named Tom Corbett. It still startles me when I hear that name on the news.)

Along with these original stories, I’ve also adapted H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and two of  Larry Niven’s Gil Hamilton stories—“Death By Ecstasy” and “The Defenseless Dead”—into comic book format.

If you know about—or are working on—a comic that you think I should review, I’d like to hear about it. You can send a link, or a digital copy to my e-mail account here at Amazing. If you want to send me a physical copy, let me know and I’ll send you a mailing address.

Another reason why I’m happy to be here is because I think this going to be an interesting time to be involved with comics, as a creator, a reader or a publisher.  Between the new respect being accorded to graphic novels, and the new ways to publish and distribute comics, the field is going through a lot of changes. And what better place to talk about change than a science fiction magazine. Talking about change, after all, is one of the things that sf does best.

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