Sy Reit, Bob White, Terry Szenics
July 3, 2018
Archie Comics Publications
Reviewed by Brian “Skull” Lewis

Hello fans of horror, fantasy, science fiction, and classic comic books, it’s your old pal Skull with a bit of light reading that might just bring some sunshine to the current grey and gloomy winter. Obviously, the classic Archie Comics rarely put fear into the hearts of their readers. So this collection of one of their side projects, Cosmo The Merry Martian issues 1-6 is about having fun. By the 1950’s UFOs, Martians, and unexpected visits from space aliens were popular topics of conversation. Most of those conversations contained a lot of fear. So in 1958, Sy Reit (stories), Bob White(pencils), and Terry Szenics(inks) introduced us to a group of Martians who were not only friendly, but a lot like us.

Issue number one has Cosmo and his pal Orbi blasting off into space with the goal of exploring planet earth. Their rocket doesn’t make it, but they do land on the moon, make the acquaintance of the moonlings all called Oogs and take a ride to earth aboard one of their flying saucers. Silly slapstick humor abounds.

Issue two sees our friendly Martians visit the dark side of the moon and meet the much-feared gillywump who is quite a bit different than the Oogs think. There’s actually an important anti-discrimination message included with all the silliness. Sometimes we have to push aside assumptions our elders have made and find out the real truth for ourselves.

Issue three brings a rescue attempt by Professor Thimk and Cosmo’s sweetheart, Astra who bring along Orbi’s dog Jo-Jo. The boys say their goodbyes only to find out that they’re not actually going home. What the heck? Turns out that the professor wants to explore the uninhabited planet of Venus. But it turns out that the most intelligent Martian in the universe might have been wrong about that…

Issue four brings us to wild adventures on Venus courtesy of some big giants and their queen who’d like to keep a souvenir of the explorers visit to her lonely planet. But she doesn’t just want a keychain, or some other small thing. No, the queen wants to keep one of them! Uh-oh, time for a rescue mission that nearly fails due to Orbi’s hijinks.

Issue five finds our merry band of space travelers in another predicament. Professor Thimk can’t take them home to Mars just yet because their rocket ship has developed a steering issue (remember it’s a comic book) Instead they head directly to Saturn, which it turns out has rings made of foam rubber around it and unique population.

Issue six finally brings our band of intrepid space travelers home to Mars, but their celebration is short lived. The evil Dr. Beatnik (another perceived threat of those times) has a plan to attack earth. Yikes! Can Cosmo and Professor Thimk stop them? Maybe but they won’t do it without the help of their new friends.

After the six original issues there are some Archie and Cosmo splices which are kind of funky in this reviewer’s opinion. Cosmo gets morphed into different versions by other artists and story writers which are kind of lame and not true to the originals. The final one looks like some kind of Sonic The Hedgehog sort of deal and doesn’t really make much sense. It also lacks the science lessons and positive messages such as celebrating each other’s differences that were included in the 1950’s Cosmo The Merry Martian. So how does your old pal Skull rate this collection? The originals are Five Star pieces, but the more modern stuff is on average about three. So Damaged Skull Writer and Reviewer rates this collection Four Stars. Don’t look for anything deep, just a fun jaunt around the universe with some corny jokes that feel good to laugh at. A good cheerer upper kind of read that’s safe for all ages.

Want more information? Then head on over to: www.ArchieComics.com where you can order a bunch of fun stuff including Sabrina The Teen Witch titles. And don’t forget to follow me, your old pal Skull, at: www.damagedskullwriterandreviewer.com It’s a great way to help your favorite independent authors, poets, and publishers. Damaged Skull Writer and Reviewer is an inclusive blog where everyone is valued, except for haters who are heartily encouraged to climb into the nearest industrial trash compactor and press start. My human host, Brian James Lewis is a disabled poet and writer with PTSD who has 3 new Beat Generation style poems in Trajectory Journal issue 23, available now! As is issue 22 which contains his terrifying short story Following My Destiny about misguided mass shooter Chance McCandless. We’re also on Twitter @skullsnflames76 and Goodreads. Until next time, stay safe and be kind to others. See you soon!

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