We roll our eyes at how contrived and ridiculous American comics can get, what what with their interlocking continuities that require Masters degrees to comprehend and that are rebooted whenever sales droop and all. But British comics can get just as contrived, usually right from the get-go, as an editor finds himself with two blank pages to fill every week for three or four months. What do British kids want to read about, he asks himself? They want a realistic down to earth story that's swarming with magical space children, that's what!
And thus we have The Boy From Jupiter, an amazing space being from the fifth planet who travelled hundreds of millions of miles just to use his "gamma powers" to become a British schoolboy. Fantastical tale of whimsy, or thinly disguised biography of David Bowie? Let's find out!
Jimmi's pal George is about to get "pumped" - "both ways!" Man, you leave these British schoolboys unsupervised for one single minute and they start shooting an adult film. Luckily Jimmi from Jupiter was ready. Don't know exactly how, don't want to know.
Suddenly the mysterious "gamma" powers strangle one student and drown another. I guess they don't show "Carrie" in British schools, so they never learn to leave the weird ones alone.
Mud pies of Mercury, just goggle at this! It's Bicycle Theft From Outer Space! A finer mix of the prosaic and the fantastical you will never find.
Glad to see that all-powerful outer space beings travel vast distances just to switch bikes around and dump kids into canals so they get a proper thumping when they get home. I don't know if this is the most efficient use of the incredible energies involved in interplanetary voyages. Things on Jupiter must be really boring.
And before you know it Jimmi is rooming with George's family, because if they said "no", he'd use his "gamma powers" to lay waste to the countryside and turn England into a smouldering pile of corpses. But instead he's going to make Brookwood "sit up"! That's good, I think!
Right away Jimmi gets into trouble at school for being unable to distinguish fact from fiction. That's what you get for watching Fox News, Jimmi! But since 'broomsticks can fly on Jupiter', it looks like we're about to get an amazing lesson in gamma powered witchery!
And with the full panoply of science-fiction wonderment at hand, the authors of "The Boy From Jupiter" instead churn out a tired old wheeze about witches and flying brooms. Well, they're cranking out fifty of these things a week, they can't all be gems, I guess.
Yeah, I bet you thought you were going to get out of this British schoolboy story without at least one panel of a headmaster brutally abusing a student, huh? Well you were wrong! Now turn around and take your punishment like a proper British schoolboy.
However, all's soon put back to rights again once Jimmi uses his gamma powers to erase memories and soothe sore backsides and give himself good grades. The moral is: be a superior being from Jupiter, or face the wrath of your betters!
But space-related hijinks aren't the only charms mid-century British comics have to offer the modern reader. Girl readers were often offered helpful household tips in cartoon form!
It's England's answer to "Goofus And Gallant", Mary Lou and Softy Sue. Sue can't seem to do anything right, but luckily her pal Mary Lou is always there with a sharp knife to solve any problems that can be solved with a sharp knife.
You too can refinish those old leather chairs with some walnut-stain, a duster, some wax polish, and saddle soap. Even Softy Sue is rolling up her sleeves and getting with the program!
But what about repairing damaged PEOPLE? Does Mary Lou have advice for that? Sure she does.
Sue caught one right in the honker and now she's bleeding like a stuck pig! What's the best way to stop a nosebleed, Mary? Sit down quietly for five minutes? Why, that's your answer for everything. What if the nosebleed doesn't stop, huh? What then?
Well, you soak a piece of cotton wool in salt water and then stick it up your nose while staring vacantly into the middle distance, questioning your decision to become a photo model for "Mary Lou And Softy Sue". And if you have a lot of nosebleeds, then you should maybe go see a doctor. And if you need more information about boys from Jupiter or girls who repair leather, consult your nearest pile of British comics!
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