Before Social Justice and Comicsgate, there were Comic Books

I’ve written about the modern state of mainstream comic books before (DC, Marvel) including how at least some of them aren’t safe for children, and the whole comicsgate vs. social justice comic books drama. Some of this still pops up in my twitter stream, though I don’t respond because, why bother? Still, I do consider the state of the industry as it relates to some of the movies I watch (I caught Deadpool 2 on DVD the other day). And that takes me back to the comic books I used to read, many years…okay, decades ago.

I’ve read some things about the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, which seems interesting, and maps to the original Ms. Marvel comic book of the 1970s, based on a non-superpowered Carol Danvers who appeared in 1968 in this comic book:

Here, Captain Marvel was an alien spy, obeying the commands of his Kree overlords in a spaceship orbiting the Earth, but eventually, he used his space suit’s powers to help human beings, bringing his loyalty into question. Not long afterward, he got a make over and turned into this:

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Resolution by Time Travel

the time tunnel

Concept art for the 1966 television show “The Time Tunnel”.

“We cannot start over, but we can begin now and make a new ending.” -Zig Ziglar

Operation Tic-Toc physicist Dr. Anthony Newman couldn’t let Senator Leroy Clark shut down the Time Tunnel project. He’d devoted five years of his life working with an elite team of scientists and engineers to perfect time travel, but that was less important to him than the main reason he had struggled so hard to be selected to work here.

He’d lost both of his parents, his Mom to a car accident in 1940 and his Dad nearly eighteen months later on December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He’d been raised by his Mom’s sister June Landers in New Jersey but there was nothing she could ever do to fill the enormous gap torn in his seven-year-old life.

He’d been recruited by the government while still at MIT. The brilliant scholarship student who graduated with a doctorate in Temporal Mechanics was first assigned to a think tank outside of Arlington in what he thought was a project involving theoretical mathematics applied to the uncertainty principle and expressed in five dimensions. In other words, science for its own sake with no practical use.

Then on this twenty-eighth birthday, he received classified orders to report to a top secret government facility buried beneath a remote desert region of Arizona: Operation Tic-Toc. Time travel was real. Now he had to help make it practical.

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Last Flight

buckhorn

Abandoned church near the cemetery in the Buckhorn, Iowa ghost town.

“Gotta set down, boys. Oil pressure’s dropping fast.”

“What about that road? Charlie, can you make it?”

“Lining it up, Jim. You and Ted like jumping outta planes so hold your water while I land this tub.”

Pilot Charlie Kern liked teasing the two veteran skydivers, but they’d proved their courage hundreds of times. The Cessna 172 approached the dirt road lightly covered with snow opposite an abandoned church.

Paul Lambert stood in the old Buckhorn cemetery looking at their graves. They crashed fifty years ago a few hundred yards away. As their closest friend, his Dad Chuck had them buried here. Paul paid his respects and listened as the ghosts of Charlie, Ted McKeever, and Jim Buckley re-enacted their final moments on the anniversary of their last flight. Somewhere above, he could hear the laboring engine of a Cessna fighting to stay in the air just a few seconds longer.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps image and location and use it as the inspiration to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. After much editing, my word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to the ghost town of Buckhorn, Iowa. I looked up Buckhorn on the web, and according to The Vintage News:

Buckhorn is a ghost town, located in Jackson County just off of Highway 64. Some quick research reveals that it was a farmers’ cooperative founded early in the 20th century, and then was bought out by a large dairy in 1962. All that is left of it is a cemetery, an abandoned church, and this building, the old Buckhorn Creamery.

Okay, not much to go on.

I looked up Buckhorn on Google maps and it’s not particularly isolated. In fact, it’s only about a third of a mile from the Maquoketa Municipal Airport. I thought about doing a historical piece, but even consulting several sources, I couldn’t find out when the airport was established. However, looking at the airport’s official website gave me an idea, but I’d have to monkey around with history to pull it off.

When I was a kid, I watched a TV show called Ripcord starring Larry Pennell, Ken Curtis, and Shug Fisher. The show ran from 1961 to 1963 and depicted the adventures of two expert skydivers (Pernell as Ted McKeever and Curtis as Jim Buckley) who did everything from perform dangerous aerial stunts to capturing bank robbers, always with the climax being jumping out of an airplane and going into free fall.

Skydiving was new back then and the sport had just become incredibly popular, which is probably what kept the show going for its two-year run.

Actor Paul Comi played the original pilot Chuck Lambert but he was replaced in the middle of the first season by Shug Fisher as Charlie Kern. I got all these details from Wikipedia and decided to run with it, making their last flight in 1963 or ’64. Not sure if Buckhorn was a ghost town by then since it had only been bought out in 1962, but here’s where I fudge history.

In my imagination, Kern was trying to make Maquoketa Municipal Airport, but again, I have no idea if the airport even existed back then.

I created the character Paul Lambert, Chuck Lambert’s son, who would be in his early to mid 60s in 2017 combining actor Paul Comi’s name with his character’s in order to complete my ghost story.

I know. My explanation is longer than the story itself, but it was fun tying all this stuff together.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to Inlinkz.com.

I See You

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Actor Lloyd Bridges in the 1970 television movie “The Love War”.

Allan didn’t need the glasses to read but he did need them to survive.

He took a seat in the back of the coffee shop where he had a clear view of everyone coming and going. He had ordered the establishment’s trademark latte more to blend in than because he liked it.

To the world around him, he looked like a middle-aged man, blond, athletic, bronzed from the sun. He could have just finished a game of tennis or golf.

In front of him was a mystery novel by a well-known author whose name was, as they say, a household word. And yet Allan couldn’t have told you any other books the writer had penned. Like the latte, it was camouflage. Even his name was misdirection and subterfuge.

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I’m Leaving You For 1966, Dear

colbert

© Provided by Variety

“Where are you going, NaCumbea?”

Martin Fields watched the woman he had fallen in love with put on her skin-tight temporal transfer suit. Both of them were reluctant time travelers, recruited by extra-dimensional beings for the purpose of correcting time anomalies in their little corner of time-space.

She’d gone through hell and was just now beginning to come to terms with her new life. First of all she had died at the age of fourteen, but that was over 700 years ago. She was resurrected by “them” as one of their time travelers, but a rogue “them” named Vanir had captured and tortured her in an other-worldly realm for centuries.

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