Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Here's Johnny!

I've been hanging around Scans Daily quite a bit lately. For some reason this resulted in me thinking about an early example of the work of John Byrne.
Before Byrne joined up with Marvel and eventually became famous for his work with Chris Claremont on the X Men he worked for Charlton Comics. One of the titles he did was Charlton's colour comic adaptation of Space: 1999. (Charlton also produced a black and white magazine size comic of the series as well.) Issue 6 not only featured artwork by Byrne but he wrote the story as well. Frankly I think it's one of the better stories from the comic, featuring Commander Koenig nearly getting killed when an artifact from an ancient war hits his Eagle. Someone I went to grade school with gave me that issue. But it wasn't until years later that I realised that Byrne wrote himself into the story, a self insert to use a term from fanfiction. As you can see from the scan above and the photo of Byrne it's quit obvious Koenig's co-pilot in the story is based on Byrne's appearance. But even more amusing is that he didn't go to much trouble to hide the fact, naming the character Burns. This of course went right over my 8 year old head.
As a fan of Space: 1999 I ended up getting a subscription to the comic. Unfortunately it was cancelled just after I received my first issue, issue 7, which included their take on the second season opener, "The Metamorph." As I remember it I was sent a slip for changing the remainder of my subscription to something else, but while I sent it in I never saw another issue of whatever it was I decided to take in replacement. That's not a huge surprise, as Charlton apparently was already having problems, as it cancelled much of it's lineup in the late '70s. They eventually sold most of their superhero characters to DC, some of whom still exist in one form or another today such as the Blue Beetle.
June 2, 2008 Addenda:
One thing I had forgotten about when I wrote this post is that John Byrne wrote for the actual TV series Space: 1999. The British TV writer of the same name that is, who unfortuately passed away in April this year. He wrote or co-wrote more scripts for the series than any other writer, including the popular Season One episodes "Force of Life" and "Voyager's Return." His post 1999 credits include creating, and writing scripts for, the long running British TV series Heartbeat. It's funny that two people with the same name would produce material for the same property.

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