PROG 29: JUST LIKE HOME
Script: Peter Harris
Art: Ron Turner
Letters: Peter Knight
Plot: Tex and Mitch land on a earth-like planet after four years using an experimental warp drive. Unsure of their precise location they are shocked to find branded cattle just as they would in Texas. After an initial confrontation with two lizard-like ‘cowboys’ the four settled down to enjoy beans by the camp-fire before Tex and Mitch leave to continue their space voyage.
Shock : As the astronauts depart the two lizard cowboys debate whether they should have told the two humans that they had come ‘full circle’ back to an earth 50 years in the future and that mankind was ‘reduced to zombies’ by germ warfare.
Thoughts: A classic 50’s Sci-Fi feel pervades this excellent strip, down in no small measure to Ron Turner’s excellent traditional art. Peter Harris, the neglected author of the ‘first’ Dredd story in Prog 2, turns out a bobbins tale that doesn’t make a lot of sense (experimental warp drives given four-year missions, navigation units being accepted as unreliable) and a description of the human condition ‘reduced to zombies’ which doesn’t match the images (the lizard cowboys ride off on hairy human-faced ‘horses’) but still it works because yes those are bonkers aliens in Roy Rodgers gear and yes that final human-horse-wildebeest image is just so weird and wrong and magnificent. And also because, lets face it, this is ‘The Last Rumble of the Platinum Horde‘ rendered as Charlton Silver-Age Sci-Fi five years ahead of Mr Moore’s more famous piece.
Shock’d? Most certainly. The story has its own separate tension, mainly the initial confrontation with earth’s new cowboys which seems sure to end badly for Mitch and Tex, and the Shock is totally bonkers and unexplained (who are these lizards?, why are they so happy to let our heroes go when they ride human-slave animals? , why are they dressed like RKO serial extras? and what’s the whole zombie thing about?) but still all is forgiven for that last panel of the pained human-horse-Sasquatches looking so miserable.