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Dateline: 1966... the success of TV Century 21 pioneered a path for sister publication Lady Penelope. Kim Stevens examines a curious exploration into the worlds of television tie-ins and comic adaptations... - - - - - - - - - - - -
Space Family Robinson:' Lady Penelope, 1966'''''Lady Penelope was the comic for girls who love television, and a strip based on Irwin Allen's Lost In Space would have been an excellent choice for its first year. If that was the intention, then there may have been some surprise when it came to buying the rights. There was no comic tying in with Lost In Space, but there was a Space Family Robinson comic, published by Gold Key, and having no connection with the television series. They dealt with the adventures of a family, the Robinsons, who were looking for the way back to Earth after their Space Station is thrown off course. The first issue came out in late 1962, and when Irwin Allen's new series was mooted, with the same theme and title, there may have been concerns about copyright. Whatever the wrangles between Gold Key and Irwin Allen (Gold Key would later have the licenses to publish comics for the series The Time Tunnel and Land Of The Giants), by 1965 the comics were published under the title Space Family Robinson: Lost In Space, and there was no direct tie-in comic portraying the television family. So, the Gold Key Space Family Robinson comics would have been the closest thing to Lost In Space available. But its inclusion in Lady Penelope may have caused some confusion amongst those readers who watched Lost In Space on television. Why were Penny and Will now called Tim and Tam? Where was the robot and Dr. Smith? Why was everything different? 'The Gold Key Robinsons were created by Gaylord DuBois & Dan Spiegle, and differed from those which would later be seen in the Irwin Allen television series. There were four central characters: Craig, June, and their two teenage children Tim and Tam. There was no robot among the crew of Space Station One, but Tam did take along her two pets, a terrier named Clancy and a parrot called, appropriately, Yakker. They would explore in Space Station One, a huge machine designed to house a crew for long periods, and which can roughly be described as an observation platform flanked by two supporting towers. As well as living quarters, it has laboratories, an observatory, hydroponics and even a sun deck! They also had two small vehicles, named spacemobiles, capable of traveling in space and through the atmosphere of a planet, each seating five people. 'The Lady Penelope stories kept to the format and hardware of DuBois and Spiegle, but, with the exception of the first story, they were completely original, not alternative versions of the American comics. Were there any differences? Yes, the most obvious being the size. Where the DuBois/Spiegle comics were ten by seven inch letterpress printings, the Lady Penelope comics (or should that be 'magazines'?) were fourteen by ten-and-a-half inch photogravure. The other obvious difference was that the UK stories were not in colour. If the lack of colour sounds dull, think again. The strips were illustrated by John Burns, an artist who did not need to rely on the use of colour to create exciting and vibrant work. Although he does not recall reading any of the Gold Key comics, John Burns was given reference material for the hardware, and kept to the designs as drawn by Dan Spiegle. However, the faces of the Robinsons are not the same as those drawn by Spiegle. When asked why, John Burns replied that there was no conscious decision to alter the appearance of the characters, but that he only had the scriptwriter's description to work from. It is clear that his depiction of Tam is based on the fashions of the time, as can be seen if you compare her hairstyle with that of Cilla Black from the sixties.
There was another difference. In the Gold Key comics, the Robinsons wore a variety of outfits, with June and Tam sporting a variety of exotic costumes courtesy of Dan Spiegle. In the Lady Penelope stories, the Robinsons wore the same outfits throughout, the only variations being spacesuits or heat-protection suits. In this, the stories are closer to the the television programmes, where the Robinsons would wear the same outfits throughout a season. '
What of the actual stories? It is tempting to say they were better than those of the Gold Key Space Family Robinson comics, most of which were written by Gaylord DuBois. The Lady Penelope stories, most, if not all, written by Brian Woodford, are less formulaic than those by DuBois. However, this view has been made with an incomplete knowledge of the American stories, and may need revising. Whether or not they are the best, Brian Woodford's stories are exciting and well worth reading. These adventures are likely to be new to many with an interest in the various incarnations of the lost Robinsons. To those for whom they are new, you're in for a pleasant surprise. 'A Note on the Dutch Reprints'All of the weekly installments were reprinted in the Dutch comic TV2000 under the title Ruimtefamilie Robinson. These were high quality reprints, with no alterations, apart, of course, from translating the text into Dutch. They ran between 8th September 1966 and 2nd September 1967, with the strip being absent from issue No.30, dated 29 July 1967. - - - - - - - - - - - -
Space Family Robinson strip guide'First Story (no title)'Author: Brian Woodford Artist: John Burns. 1 page, b/w 'Part 1: Lady Penelope Issue 01, dated 22 January 1966'After a farewell from the President, the Robinsons travel by spacemobile to the Space Station waiting in orbit. A final instrument check, and then their journey begins... 'Part 2: Lady Penelope Issue 02, dated 29 January 1966'The Robinsons begin to settle into their new home. Reaching their planned orbital position, they have a meal. Afterwards, Tam takes Clancy for a walk in the Station's corridors. Suddenly there is a violent explosion outside the ship... 'Part 3: Lady Penelope Issue 03, dated 05 February 1966' The explosion knocks Tam unconscious. A second and more powerful explosion occurs, and the Station is knocked from its course. Main power is offline and the auxiliary units do not have sufficient power to allow course changes. Checking the stars shown on the viewer, Craig realises they are ‘Lost in Space!’ '''Reprinted:'''''TV2000 (Holland): issues 8 - 22 September 1966'''
Notes: • 'The essential details of the accident are identical with those in the Gold Key comic, Space Family Robinson #2, which was published in March 1963. It is highly likely that Brian Woodford had read that issue, but this is not a slavish copy. He adds nice touches to it, such as the Robinsons having their first meal in space, and Tam taking Clancy for a walk. There is also a difference in the degree to which the explosions alter the position of the Stations. In the Gold Key story, they end up two million miles outside the solar system. In the case of the Lady Penelope Robinsons, they are somehow translated to another galaxy! Given that some writers of science fiction (especially in its early days) use 'galaxy', 'solar system', and even 'planet' as if they were interchangeable labels, it might be wondered if Brian Woodford really meant 'galaxy' in this case. The evidence it not conclusive, but it seems that he did.'• 'The mission statement is given: to travel to a point five hundred thousand miles beyond Pluto and then to orbit the Solar System and chart it.'• 'Tam's pets, Clancy and Yakker, had been taken up to the Space Station by Rocket Transporter earlier that day.'• Although the opening text of part 2 gives the impression that the Robinsons have now been in space for some time, it is apparent from the story that it has only been a matter of hours. '• 'A clear impression is given that the Station is huge and has a maze of corridors. It also has a recreation room.'• 'Craig decides they will stick to Earth hours on the Station and that they will set aside time for relaxation and enjoyment.'• 'June and Tam are responsible for preparing meals, and food is cooked using a Laser Beam cooker.'• 'They intend to watch television after dinner.'• Clancy needs to be taken for walks through the Station's corridors. Full marks to the writer for not missing that point. • When Tam is knocked unconscious, Clancy leads Craig and June to her. What's that you say, Clancy?
Part 1: Lady Penelope Issue 04, dated 12 February 1966 Tam regains consciousness and realises the seriousness of their position: they are lost in another galaxy, far from home. While June sets about photographing the new galaxy and Tim works on increasing the wavelength of the radio, Craig assesses the damage to the Station. He discovers that the main power cells are completely burnt out. Tim picks up a radio signal which originates from a point two thousand miles from the Station. When Craig and Tim investigate the source in a spacemobile, they find a capsule floating in space...
Part 2: Lady Penelope Issue 05, dated 19 February 1966 'Craig and Tim tow the capsule to the Station. X-Rays reveal nothing of the contents, so they decide to take it aboard the Station for closer examination. Tam presses a button on the exterior of the capsule and it springs open, revealing two cylinders, each containing a young girl. They are identical twins, and Tam wonders how they came to die so young, but then Craig tells her that they are not dead.... 'Part 3: Lady Penelope Issue 06, dated 26 February 1966'Raising the temperature of the two girls brings them to consciousness. They wear headbands which allow them to understand any language and so are able to explain that they are Feda and Tosta, daughters of the king of Fettnam, a planet at war with its neighbouring planet, Cettnam. When their mother was killed in a Cettnamian attack, their father, Fella, swore he would destroy the planet Cettnam. He had his daughters put into suspended animation and sent into space to ensure their survival, and now the twins realise they have no hope of returning to their home planet... ' 'Part 4: Lady Penelope Issue 07, dated 05 March 1966'A time recorder in the capsule shows that the twins have only been in space for just over a day, which means that their planet must be close. Working on the basis that there cannot be many double-planet systems in their vicinity, Craig locates their home. Using a spacemobile, Craig and Tim take the twins to their planet but on the way they are attacked by two Cettnamian battle craft... 'Part 5: Lady Penelope Issue 08, dated 12 March 1966'Craig reports their situation to the Station, but the signal is interrupted. As aprecaution, June decides to put the Station into orbit around the twin planets. Meanwhile, Craig tries to evade the Cettnamian ships, but is forced to land in the capital city by a magnetic ray. They are brought before Togan, the ruler of Cettnam, who believes them to be Fettnamian spies and orders their execution..'Part 6: Lady Penelope Issue 09, dated 19 March 1966'Craig explains that he and Tim are not Fettnamians. Togan's twin sons support Craig's claim but Togan will not listen: the execution will take place on the following day. Taken to a cell, they can only hope that the message Craig sent to the twins' father has got through. Meanwhile, four Fettnamian ships approach the Station and Fella demands proof that his daughters were there. Thinking the capsule will serve as proof, June and Tam set about ejecting it. But the Fettnamians think the Robinsons are about to launch a missile, and they prepare to attack the Station... 'Part 7: Lady Penelope Issue 10, dated 26 March 1966'The Fettnamians fire a missile at the Station but destroy it when they recognise the capsule. Fella offers June and Tam the hospitality of his planet. On Cettnam, Togan's sons, Raag and Dona, are sick of the war and they visit the captives. Craig explains to them that he has a plan to end the war, but he will need their help. Moments later, the captives are led to the execution dome where a huge crowd will witness their deaths. Craig thinks his plan has failed when he sees Togan press the button which operates the execution chamber... 'Part 8: Lady Penelope Issue 11, dated 02 April 1966'Expecting to be disintegrated, the captives are surprised to see the doors of the chamber open. Told by his sons that the twins are Fella's daughters, Togan has decided to keep them as hostages rather than kill them: he will release Craig and Tim after the attack on Fettnam has been carried out. Later, Tim is told that Raag and Dona wish to travel in the Robinson's spacemobile and that he will be required to pilot it. In the spacemobile they are free to talk, and Tim finds that the boys intend to follow Craig's plan. Back on Fettnam, Fella joins June and Tam after holding a war council, and is told that a lone craft is approaching.. ' 'Part 9: Lady Penelope Issue 12, dated 09 April 1966'As the craft approaches, June and Tam recognise it as their spacemobile. After it is forced to land, Tim explains that Raag and Dona have come as voluntary hostages, and that if Fella and Togan will meet at the Station, Craig will prove that neither Fettnam nor Cettnam can survive without the other. Meanwhile, Togan is furious at the treachery of his sons. Standing over Craig with a hand gun, he asks Craig to give a reason why he should not be killed... 'Part 10: Lady Penelope Issue 13, dated 16 April 1966'As Togan is about to kill Craig, a message arrives from Fella: Togan must come to the Station, bringing Feda and Tosta. Craig convinces Togan to agree, and they travel to the Space Station, where they find a Fettnamian ship has also arrived. Acting on Craig's plan, June moves the Station to a nearby asteroid belt. Craig points to two asteroids which circle each other, and asks Togan to destroy one of them. When he does so, the other asteroid wanders out of its normal orbit. Craig explains that Fettnam and Cettnam are similarly dependent on each other and the destruction of one will mean the disaster for the other. Togan ponders this lesson, but then one of his soldiers exclaims that the Fettnamian ship is attacking them... ' 'Part 11: Lady Penelope Issue 14, dated 23 April 1966'Thinking the Fettnamians are attacking his ship but without missiles to retaliate, Togan decides to ram Fella's craft. But then the missile reaches its true target: the rogue asteroid, which was about to collide with Togan's ship. Agreeing to end the war, Fella and Togan meet on the Space Station and thank Craig for bringing peace. Learning of the Robinson's plight, the two rulers devote the skills and resources of their planets to repairing the Space Station, and the Robinsons continue their search for home. '''Reprinted:''TV2000 (Holland): issues 29 September - 03 December 1966'''Notes: • 'The Fettnamians and Cettnamians appear to be at the same technological level, the only differences being those of stylistic design. No indication is given as to how long this war has been fought: it could be years, it might be generations. Whichever it is, they have reached the point where each could literally destroy the other's planet.' This is a common plot device of the time, refelcting the political situation between Russia and America in the sixties. No cosy resolution is offered here. The Fettnamians and Cettnamians do not settle their differences, nor do they come to the realisation that, with little difference between their two cultures, there is no reason to fight. Peace is made because they have little other choice. The peace is pragmatic, and maybe all the better for that.'• 'The story follows on directly from the previous one, with Tam regaining consciousness after being knocked out by the cosmic explosions which have pushed them off course. It might seem an arbitrary decision to split the first fourteen installments into two stories but the events which lead to their being lost are so central to the whole that it seems reasonable to regard them as a separate story.'• 'Presumably the photographs Craig asks June to take are for navigation purposes.'• 'The speech translator is mentioned for the first time. The Robinsons try using it on the radio signal, but without success.'• 'As Craig and Tim prepare to investigate the source of the signal, we see part of the spacemobile launching bay. (Craig calls it the ‘spacemobile garage’)'• 'When June attempts to revive the frozen twins, she raises their body temperature to that normal for humans, but notes that it might be different for the girls as they are aliens. Similarly, when Tim and Tam first try to speak with the twins, June remarks that they probably will not understand English. Points to the author for including those observations, all too often missed by other writers.'• 'Feda and Tosta have been placed in suspended animation by their father in order to ensure their survival. It is left open to conjecture as to whether he intended this as a short term or long term measure, but it is tempting to think the latter. Had he meant merely to get his daughters out of the way while he completed the destruction of Cettnam, he could have done so without resorting to freezing them. It seems more likely that he was taking into account the fact that his plan might fail drastically, and the suspended animation was intended to be long term, giving the girls the chance of finding a new home elsewhere.'• 'Feda and Tosta wear headbands which allow them to understand any language. Was this to make sure they could communicate with anyone who awoke them from suspended animation? Possibly, but all the Fettnamians and Cettnamians the Robinsons come into contact with wear similar headbands. Perhaps the two enemies simply preferred a technological solution to communicating rather than learning the other's language, and it was customary to wear the headbands at all times.'• 'The Fettnamian time recorder speaks the time (in Fettnamian).'• 'The Robinsons need ‘Alphasant’ in order to repair the Station. They hope to find some on one of the double-system planets.'• 'The name of the Cettnamian capital is Togall. This is the first time Feda and Tosta have seen it. They think it very beautiful and consider it a shame that their father intends to destroy it.'• 'Craig is surprised that the city shows no sign of having been attacked, but one of the twins explains that Togall is protected by a Defence Ray which covers the whole city with a shield. Although it is not stated in the story, it would seem likely that the Fettnamians have similar devices. This leaves open the question as to just how Feda and Tosta's mother died. Perhaps not all cities have these defence rays or their mother was not in one of the cities at the time of her death?'• 'The Cettnamians have what appear to be jet-propelled vehicles which can travel at 200 miles an hour. They travel a few inches above the surface of the city's roads.'• 'The Cettnamians appear to have robots.'• Togan's sons are a rather good red-herring, leading one to think peace will be forged because the rulers' children fall in love. '• 'June and Tam don spacesuits, sans helmets, before pushing the capsule into the airlock.'• 'The moment when Togan presses the button is a very good cliffhanger. The button is not labeled, but the assumption is that it activates the disintegrator: it actually opens the door to the chamber. The opening text of the next installment reads, ‘Togan, the ruler, throws the lethal switch’ but in the artwork he clearly presses a button.'• 'It seems convenient that Craig is able to find two asteroids orbiting each other, but he may have already noticed them when he was searching for Feda and Tosta's home planet, perhaps using the photographs June took.'• 'The cliffhanger of part 10 is another good one, leaving one wondering what possible reason the Fettnamians could have for launching a missile.'• 'Togan's sons seem keen to have Tam stay rather than continue her journey.'• 'After peace has been declared, the Robinsons stay for one month in the Fettnamian/Cettnamian system before continuing their search for home.
'Third Story (no title)'Author: Brian Woodford Artist: John Burns. 1 page, b/w 'Part 1: Lady Penelope Issue 15, dated 30 April 1966'The Robinsons are approaching the Galactic Rift and nearing home, when the Station begins to pitch and roll. The power fails, and when the turbulence has subsided they find the Station has been moved into yet another galaxy. June discovers they are heading directly toward a star, but they are unable to alter course because the Solarium batteries have burnt out. With only two days remaining before the Station crashes into the star, the Robinsons load both spacemobiles with mining equipment and set out for the only planet which appears to have deposits of Solarium... 'Part 2: Lady Penelope Issue 16, dated 07 May 1966'The spacemobiles pass through a meteor shower before entering the planet's atmosphere. Craig thinks they will find the much need Solarium in mountainous regions, and they split up so as to cover a larger search area. To their surprise, the spacemobile instruments do not register any Solarium. Tam suggests they search the Ocean, and they find a large Solarium deposit in a cave on an island. While they are gathering it, there is another meteor shower and, fearing the spacemobiles will be damaged, they return to the vehicles and take off. June and Tim's spacemobile is hit by a meteor and descends towards the ocean, where an enormous sea monster breaks the surface and opens its cavernous mouth to swallow it...' ' 'Part 3: Lady Penelope Issue 17, dated 14 May 1966'The sea creature grabs the spacemobile in its jaws. Craig pilots his vehicle into a steep dive and smashes into the sea monster, forcing it to release the spacemobile, which falls into the ocean. Craig lands alongside and helps June and Tim into his spacemobile. Tim is unconscious. They are about to take off when a sea creature snatches them in its mouth and dives deep beneath the surface. Ahead of them they can see a strange, encapsulated city on the ocean floor... 'Part 4: Lady Penelope Issue 18, dated 21 May 1966'The creature takes the spacemobile to the city and leaves it in an airlock. The water is pumped away and a magnetic clamp lifts the spacemobile from the chamber. They hear a soft sound which Tam thinks might be an attempt at communication, but Craig finds the noise makes him sleepy and fears they are being hypnotised... 'Part 5: Lady Penelope Issue 19, dated 28 May 1966'The Robinsons fall into a hypnotic sleep and are questioned by telepathic beings. On being woken, they are told that Tim is very ill and must be taken to a hospital immediately. The alien introduces himself as Dr. Zek, leader of the Gondas. In the past, the Gondas lived on the surface of the planet, but frequent meteorite storms destroyed their cities, forcing them to make their home beneath the ocean. The sea creatures - Dr. Zek calls them ‘Giant Eels’ - have been trained to bring meteorites - a valuable source of mineral ores - to the city. In the hospital, Tim is diagnosed as needing an operation. Craig trusts the skills of the Gondas, but is concerned that there are now only twenty hours before the Space Station burns up...'Part 6: Lady Penelope Issue 20, dated 04 June 1966'Dr. Zek explains that the Gondas have no space vehicles of their own but they can repair the damaged spacemobile. While the repairs are being carried out, Dr. Zek invites the Robinsons to his home and introduces them to his wife, Zel. When the repairs are completed, Craig sets off for the Station alone, or so he thinks: Tam has hidden herself on board the spacemobile... 'Part 7: Lady Penelope Issue 21, dated 11 June 1966'Tam explains that two people have a better chance of saving the Station than does one. Craig accepts her help and they make their way to the Station. The remote controlled hatch to the spacemobile garage will not operate, so Craig leaves the spacemobile and opens the hatch manually. In the process one of his hands is severely burnt, and he tells Tam that she will have to carry out the repairs... 'Part 8: Lady Penelope Issue 22, dated 18 June 1966'Following Craig's instructions, Tam uses the Solarium ore to make new fuel rods. With the Station now operational, they are able to halt its drift towards the star and head for Gonda. The second spacemobile joins them in orbit: aboard are June, Tim, now fully recovered, and Dr. Zek. The Robinsons show Dr. Zek over the station and it is agreed that the principles of the Station's anti-meteorite device might be adapted to protect the planet, thus allowing the Gondas to live on the surface again. Farewells said, the Robinsons continue their search for home. ' '''Reprinted:''TV2000 (Holland): issues 10 December 1966 - 28 January 1967'''Notes: • 'The ending is somewhat abrupt. Almost certainly the Robinsons do share the anti-meteorite technology, but it is not explicitly stated and their leaving seems all too rushed, unlike the ending of the previous story. The aliens are morally advanced. While the Robinsons are in a hypnotic sleep, they are shown images of the Gondas so they will not be disturbed by the difference in appearance. Later, Dr. Zek tells the Robinsons that they were telepathically questioned whilst under hypnosis. What a pleasant change from much comic SF where aliens all too often have sinister intentions.'• 'It is likely that the Galactic Rift is the Great Rift, clouds of interstellar dust stretching between the Orion and Sagittarius arms of the Milky Way Galaxy. Earth is located in the Orion arm. But are the Robinsons approaching Earth from the direction of the Sagittarius arm, or from outside the Galaxy? This is an indication that Brian Woodford is not mistaking the word 'galaxy' for 'solar system', and that the Robinsons really were thrown into another Galaxy.'• 'They appear to hit the area of turbulence when they encounter the Great Rift, but whether the rift is itself the cause is open to question. There is no explanation given as to why they are thrown into another galaxy.'• 'Tam says that they are ‘in another strange galaxy’: this would be their third if their home galaxy is counted. How frustrating, to have travelled so close to home only to be translated far away at the last moment.'• 'After passing through the turbulence they discover that they cannot change course because the Solarium batteries have burnt out. In the first story the main power came from Selenium cells, but maybe they have a number of different powers sources.'• 'Once again, June takes photographs of their surroundings, and this time it is clear that they are intended for navigation purposes.'• 'Tam takes Clancy and Yakker to the planet. Pets might seem a little out of place on an emergency mining trip, but perhaps it was a precaution just in case they could not save the Station.'• 'They find Solarium in a cave. They are later told that the meteorites are a valuable source of minerals, so possibly this Solarium deposit came from one of those rather than being native to the planet.'• Although the Station has anti-meteorite technology, it appears that the spacemobiles do not. • The spacemobiles have an emergency port on the roof of the rear section. '• 'Spacemobiles can float.'• 'The hypnotic sound works on Clancy too, but it is unknown if it works on Yakker.'• 'The Gondas can communicate by spoken word and telepathy. Presumably they learnt English while telepathically questioning the Robinsons.'• 'The Gondas city has a monorail.'• 'Dr. Zek and the other Gondas we see have solid colouring to the top of their heads, with the exception of Zel: her colouring is mottled. Perhaps this is a difference between the sexes?'• 'The Robinsons have at least two different kinds of environment suits. Throughout most of the story they wear spacesuits, but when Craig and Tam repair the Station they wear heat suits.'• 'One of the panels in this story clears up the mystery of the fifth seat in spacemobiles. Sometimes there are three seats in the rear of the cabin, at other times there are only two with a doorway between them. Here we see that the middle seat in the back row is attached to the door, which swings inwards into the rear compartment.'• 'Interestingly, there is a Star Trek story in TV21 (New Series issues 52 to 57, 1970) which has some similarities to this adventure of the Robinson family. The Star Trek story has a species forced to live beneath the sea bed when torrential rains transform the surface of the planet into one enourmous ocean. This species, the Tekkorians, have enlisted the aid of one of the types of sea creature inhabiting the ocean, and in one frame of the story a shuttle craft is grabbed in mid-flight.
'Fourth Story (no title)'Author: Brian Woodford Artist: John Burns. 1 page, b/w 'Part 1: Lady Penelope Issue 23, dated 25 June 1966'While June and Craig are relaxing on the sun deck, Tim and Tam are in the control room. The instruments indicate that something big is heading for the Station and the Videoscan reveals the object to be a comet. Caught in its wake, the Station is dragged through space. Craig attempts to reach the controls and fire the retro rockets... 'Part 2: Lady Penelope Issue 24, dated 02 July 1966 'The retros fire and the Station pulls away from the comet. Assessing the damage, Craig finds that the Directional Aid Stays have been damaged, and he puts the Station in orbit around a nearby planet to make repairs. Tim and Tam decide to use the time to explore the planet. Approaching the surface in a spacemobile, they see a beautiful city, but when they land the city seems to have disappeared... 'Part 3: Lady Penelope Issue 25, dated 09 July 1966'The City materialises before them and a group of people approach. The leader introduces himself as Wymar, leader of Tevor, and explains that his people have the ability to alter the construction of matter through the power of their minds: that is how they were able to make the city disappear and reappear. Wymar wants Tim and Tam to recover the Ancestral Stone of Tevor which has been stolen by the inhabitants of a neighbouring city, Seron. The Serons posses the same mental abilities as the Tevors and would detect the presence of anyone who attempted to retrieve the stone. However, something in the bodily structure of humans makes them immune to thought detection, so Wymar thinks they may be able to succeed where his people would fail. Tim and Tam explain that they must return to the Station, but Wymar changes the spacemobile into a fountain and tells them it will remain that way until they retrieve the stone. To help them, he gives each aThought Transformer which will increase their mental powers and allow them to change their body structure, and Tim and Tam set out in a rowing boat on their quest... 'Part 4: Lady Penelope Issue 26, dated 16 July 1966'They reach the island of the Serons and climb a steep cliff. On reaching the top, they are spotted by Seron soldiers. They make their way to some trees, but Tam's thought-phones become snagged on a branch. Tim wastes time trying to reach them before he remembers that his own phones can transform him. He changes into a giant eagle, helps Tam retrieve her thought-phones, and begins to fly her to safety. But a Seron soldier draws his bow and takes aim at Tim... 'Part 5: Lady Penelope Issue 27, dated 23 July 1966'The soldier fires his arrow, but before it hits, Tim and Tam transform themselves into feathers. They land on the surface of a river and allow themselves to float downstream before returning to normal. They are twenty miles from the Seron city, and Tim suggests they are less likely to be seen if they become much smaller. Shrinking themselves to a few inches high, they decide to dry their clothes before going any further. Meanwhile, soldiers have been sent to the area to locate the intruders, and one takes the thought-phones, Tam having left them on a rock to dry out. Without the phones they cannot return to normal size, so they follow the soldier... 'Part 6: Lady Penelope Issue 28, dated 30 July 1966'The soldier joins the rest of the search party, and they ride away. Realising they will be unable to keep up with the soldiers on foot, the twins use an empty acornshell as a boat, and the swift current allows them to keep the soldiers in sight. But then they meet with rapids and the makeshift boat is capsized. Reaching the shore, Tim calls to Tam but there is no answer... 'Part 7: Lady Penelope Issue 29, dated 06 August 1966'Tim dives beneath the surface and searches for Tam. Caught in an underwater current, he is swept through a narrow tunnel. When at last he is able to raise his head above the surface of the water, he finds himself in what appears to be a cave, and is reunited with Tam. Now on foot, they walk to the end of a gloomy tunnel and find themselves outside the castle of the Seron leader, Borg. As they watch, the soldiers who took the thought-phones ride into the castle... 'Part 8: Lady Penelope Issue 30, dated 13 August 1966'Searching for a way into the castle, the twins find a mousehole. Before they enter the hole, Tim breaks a thorn from a plant to use as a weapon. They encounter a mouse which, in their miniaturised state, towers over them. They run for their lives and almost reach daylight, but then Tam trips. Tim wields the thorn, but it is knocked from his hand by a powerful claw, and the mouse moves in for the kill... 'Part 9: Lady Penelope Issue 31, dated 20 August 1966'The mouse is about to attack when it is swept up by a cat. Some time later, Tim and Tam find themselves in the cellar of the castle and are faced with a flight of enormous stone steps. They search the cellar and find a sewing basket. While Tam gets a length of cotton, Tim bends a pin into a hook, and with this makeshift grappling iron they make their way to the top of the stairway. Through an open door they see Borg and the soldiers who took the thought-phones, but then they are discovered... 'Part 10: Lady Penelope Issue 32, dated 27 August 1966'Captured, the twins are taken to Borg. Tim realises that the Seron leader is conceited, and thinks he may be able to use that trait to outwit him. He challenges Borg to return the thought-phones and face him fully-sized. When the twins have been de-miniaturised, Tim asks Borg to give them a demonstration of his powers. Borg transforms himself into a ferocious tiger, but Tim scornfully asks if he cannot do better than that... 'Part 11: Lady Penelope Issue 33, dated 03 September 1966'Borg transforms from a tiger into a giant bird of prey. Tim continues to mock him, asking if Borg is able to transform himself into anything other than an animal or a bird. Goaded, Borg becomes a cloud of poisonous gas. This is the opportunity Tim has been waiting for. He grabs a cover from a chair and beats at the cloud, disrupting its structure. Borg is unable to transform while divided in this manner, and the twins escape in the panic. Still looking for the stone, they enter Borg's appartment. Inside is a jewelled casket, and opening it they discover the Stone of Nephor! 'Part 12: Lady Penelope Issue 34, dated 10 September 1966' Taking the Stone, they transform into sparrows and fly to the ground. Changing themselves into horses, they race for the coast where they are to meet Wymar's ship. Borg and his soldiers ride in pursuit. On reaching the coast, a mist prevents Tim and Tam finding the ship. Pursued by Borg's soldiers, they run down a narrow path only to reach a dead end at the edge of the cliff. Tim trips and drops the Stone, which then begins to change...'Part 13: Lady Penelope Issue 35, dated 17 September 1966'Tim can see an image of Wymar's ship within the Stone, and he realises it is a seer stone - something like a crystal ball. With their pursuers closing in, Tim and Tam leap from the cliff, into the sea. They are taken on board the ship, and Wymar thanks them for returning the Stone. As a reward, he offers to grant them anything they ask. Tam asks if the Seer Stone can guide them back home to Earth, but that is beyond its power. However, Wymar is able to tell them that their way home lies beyond the galaxy of the Scorpion. On returning to the Space Station they tell their parents everything that happened to them on the planet, and, hoping that Wymar is correct, Craig sets course for the Scorpion galaxy. '''Reprinted:''TV2000 (Holland): issues 04 February - 29 April 1967'''Notes: • 'An exciting story which doesn't stop to catch its breath once Tim and Tam begin their quest. If it has a fault it is that all the flora and fauna appear to be identical to those found on Earth. Well, almost. Take a look at the horses Borg's soldiers ride. A cursory glance might lead one to think they are ordinary horses, until you notice the tails. They seem to be a cross between a horse and a dinosuar! Regarding the similarity of the rest of the flora and fauna to Earth's: given the fairy tale nature of the story, it could be argued that all is merely appearance and the actual nature of everything was quite different from how Tim and Tam perceived it... perhaps.'• 'The Space Station has a sun deck (presumably in one of the towers).'• 'The Directional Aid Stays sound like they might be what keeps the Station on course.'• When they first meet Wymar, Tim asks if the disappearance and reappearance of the city is accomplished by magic. Wymar replies that it is not magic, but the power of mind. This is a nice way to allow the appearance of magic without invoking the supernatural. '• 'If Wymar's people can alter their shape, why cannot they become humans and get the stone back themselves? Or are the changes ones of appearance only?'• 'For all his apologies, it's difficult not to think Wymar is a bit of a cad in forcing the twins to retrieve the stone. They could easily have been killed on the quest, either through hazard or the maliciousness of Borg, and Wymar must have been aware of that. Still, at least he didn't send the twins because of cowardice, but through what he saw as necessity.'• 'The Thought Transformers are variously referred to as ‘transformer phones’ and ‘thought-phones’ They look like a cross between a helmet and a pair of headphones.'• 'How do Tam's thought-phones become tangled at a level too high for Tim to reach?'• 'Being smaller might make them less noticeable, but it also means they have a much greater distance to travel to the city. If they are only a few inches high then the twenty mile journey has now become one of hundreds of miles relative to their size.'• 'How did the soldier notice the thought-phones? Miniaturised, they must have been tiny and quite difficult to see.'• Is the tunnel through which Tim and Tam are swept a drain or a way of bringing water into the city? Its opening looks too regular to be natural. • Would it not have been pitch dark in the mousehole, or was their enough daylight entering to enable them to see? • Tim's ruse of goading Borg to change into a cloud of gas is reminiscent of the trick used to get a Genie back into its bottle in the Arabian Nights. • How did Tim and Tam carry the Stone of Nephor when they transformed into animals? It may be that the Stone was dropped from the window before they changed into sparrows and they retrieved it on reaching the ground, but there is no indication of that. Perhaps the transformation includes anything they are carrying at the time. It is clear that the Thought Transformers are themselves changed when a person uses then to alter shape, so why not objects being carried. • Wymar's course advice seems a little vague. • The Scorpion galaxy as shown on the videoscreen appears to actually be scorpion shaped. Fifth Story (no title) Author: Brian Woodford Artist: John Burns. 1 page, b/w
Part 1: Lady Penelope Issue 36, dated 24 September 1966 'A spinning cylinder approaches the Space Station and takes up a stationary position relative to it. As the Robinsons watch, three more cylinders join it, surrounding the Station and linking together via beams of blue light. Craig tries moving the Station away from the cylinders, but discovers that they are caught in a force field... 'Part 2: Lady Penelope Issue 37, dated 01 October 1966' The cylinders move the Station into orbit around a planet, and a radio message announces that they have been brought there by ‘The Collector’. They must land and pay their dues for travelling through the Scorpion galaxy. The Robinsons take the spacemobiles to the planet and meet their captor, who demands that the Robinsons pay a duty of one quarter of the cargo they carry. When Craig explains that they have no cargo, The Collector decides he will take one of them instead, and he picks Tam... 'Part 3: Lady Penelope Issue 38, dated 08 October 1966'Craig and Tim draw hand weapons and force The Collector to release Tam. He warns them not to attempt to leave the planet or he will use the cylinders to destroy the Station. Unable to tell whether or not The Collector can carry out this threat, the Robinsons decide to make good use of their stay by making a survey of the planet. Tam is sent to find water. On the shore of a pool she runs tests to determine the purity of the water, but is grabbed by a rock-like organism. Seeing The Collector watching, Tam calls to him for help, but he tells her it will be a pleasure to watch her die... 'Part 4: Lady Penelope Issue 39, dated 15 October 1966'Deciding that Tam will be of use to him, The Collector fires a laser at the rock creature and, in return for rescuing her, demands that she now help him snare the rest of the Robinsons. Tam returns to the campsite, but makes no mention of her meeting with The Collector. Later, when everyone is asleep, the water supply is drained and the spacemobiles are put out of action. In the morning Tim announces that the water in the pool has been contaminated, and Craig is concerned that they may be unable to find more. Not far away, The Collector is watching the results of his plan on a video screen, knowing that the Robinsons will have to come to him for help... 'Part 5: Lady Penelope Issue 40, dated 22 October 1966' Craig and Tim set out to search for water. They come to a pool of boiling mud and have to beat a hasty path through spouts of scalding sulphur. Finding animal tracks, Craig thinks these may lead to water, but then they meet the animal that made the tracks, and it moves in to attack. They draw their laser guns to defend themselves ,but find that these have also been tampered with.. 'Part 6: Lady Penelope Issue 41, dated 29 October 1966'Craig and Tim race back to the sulphur springs with the creature hot on their heels. Leaping aside at the last moment, they watch as the creature, unable to stop in time, lumbers into the lake. Returning to the tracks, they follow them to a pool of water and gather supplies. Later, back at the camp, Craig announces that he thinks Tam is responsible for the sabotage... 'Part 7: Lady Penelope Issue 42, dated 05 November 1966'Tam denies the accusation, upset that they could think it was her. She runs from the camp, but Tim tries to stop her. As they struggle, he notices there is a small device behind her ear. On examination, it is revealed to be a Sonic Radio Receiver which The Collector has been using to hypnotise Tam into carrying out his orders. Then Tim hears a message being sent over the device: The Collector wants Tam to return to his ship immediately ... 'Part 8: Lady Penelope Issue 43, dated 12 November 1966 They ignore the message and begin repairing the spacemobiles, but Tam slips away from the camp unnoticed: if The Collector thinks she is still under his control then she may be able to find a way for them to escape. The Collector tells Tam that his patience is exhuasted and that he will destroy the Robinsons rather than waste more time on them. He shows her a huge Ogre with a single eye. This cyclops is kept unconscious by a machine, and will do The Collector's bidding when awoken. There is an explosion as he adjusts the machine's controls, and the creature revives. It grabs hold of The Collector, who screams for help... 'Part 9: Lady Penelope Issue 44, dated 19 November 1966'Tam runs from The Collector's ship, but deciding that she cannot leave him to die despite all he has done, she returns. She takes a laser and fires at the Ogre. The laser is not powerful enough to kill the creature, but she hopes that repeated firing will irritate it sufficiently to make it follow her. She leads it to the top of a rocky outcrop and then shoots at a boulder, causing an avalanche. The Ogre is buried under the rocks, and Tam returns to The Collector's ship hoping she was in time to save him... 'Part 10: Lady Penelope Issue 45, dated 26 November 1966'Tam returns to The Collector and, as she helps him, Craig, June and Tim arrive. They think he has kidnapped her again, but Tam explains what has happened. Bewildered by Tam's actions, The Collector decides to let the Robinsons leave, and they continue their search for home. '''Reprinted:''TV2000 (Holland): issues 06 May - 08 July 1967'''Notes:'''• 'Of all the Space Family Robinson stories in Lady Penelope, this one comes closest to the storylines used in the TV series Lost in Space. There were quite a few episodes in which the television Robinsons were tricked or trapped by an unscrupulous alien, and who would then be puzzled when the Robinsons went out of their way to save said alien's life. That the baddie here is named The Collector is interesting: in the first year of the TV series the Robinsons meet a collector of animals who calls himself 'The Keeper'. Also in the first year, in an episode called 'The Space Trader', an alien destroys the Robinsons' food supplies in order to force them to trade with him. More specifically, the Ogre bears a strong resemblance to the cyclops which appeared in an early episode 'There Were Giants In The Earth' (left). John Burns does not recall watching the television series, but perhaps Brian Woodford did and was inspired by the cyclops portrayed there.'• Clancy and Yakker are absent from this story, not even seen in the background of scenes set aboard the Station. • When Craig and Tim search for water they do not appear to have any cannisters with them, yet when they find water they fill a number of large containers. However, looking at the cannisters, it is entirely possible that they are collapsible and were carried in the backpack Tim wears. • The laser Tam uses to attack the Ogre is from The Collector's ship. She appears to know from the outset that the laser is not powerful enough to kill the creature outright, but it is unclear whether or not it was her original intention to kill it. Of course, it may be that after the avalanche it is not dead but merely injured. • The Collector allows the Robinsons to leave because Tam saves his life. But it seems unlikely that he has changed his ways. As the Collector's forcefield releases the Station, Tam wonders who will be trapped next.
Notes: • The last of the stories to appear in the weekly comic and one which begs too many questions. Why did they think it was Earth given they were nowhere near the Solar System? How had the duplicate planet come into existence? What reason is there to think that the same fate which befell the Robinsons awaits the duplicates? But, despite these questions, it still has excellent aspects, most notably the high moral standards of the Robinsons. When imprisoned, Craig's main concern is to prevent the duplicates from meeting the same fate as did they, and while escaping, Craig and Tim could have killed the soldiers as easily as they destroyed the empty vehicle, but did not. This story also ranks as the only one with any real degree of violence, with the scene showing the soldiers shooting into the reeds seeming out of place in a girl's comic of the 1960s. Tam does not feature prominently either, which seems odd. It's interesting to note that the story ends with the Robinsons still far from home. Was this because the stories were commissioned and completed before the decision was made not to take it into a second year? '• 'The Robinsons appear to stumble upon the duplicate planet as if by surprise. Did they not monitor it on the long-distance scanners? At the end of the story Craig says that it was, ‘A duplicate Solar System with a planet identical to the Earth’. Even so, would they not have known they were nowhere near the Solar System (are they even in the correct galaxy at this point?), and could they not have seen that the surrounding star positions did not match with what they would see had it been Earth? The more it is thought about, the less possible it seems that the Robinsons could ever have mistaken Duplios for Earth.'• Interestingly, the concept of a distant duplicate Earth also appears in the ©1964 Fireball XL5 annual, in a strip called Solar System II, and credited to TV Century 21 editor Alan Fennell. It can only be speculated whether he had any influence on this story. • Although Tam's pets do not appear in this story, the Duplios Tam can be seen feeding the Duplios Yakker. '• 'The Duplios Robinsons have a wall mounted television set in their home. Presumably, our Robinsons do too.'• 'John Burns' design for the Space Centre car (right) is very nice.'• 'The Robinsons do not appear to meet anyone they know at the Space Centre: they certainly don't address anyone by name. Are the staff of the Space Centre not duplicates of those on Earth? It would have been interesting had the Robinsons met a duplicate of someone they knew well on Earth, but with only seven parts to the story there probably wasn't space to explore that idea.'• 'When the Robinsons escape from their cell, Craig directs them to a part of the perimeter fence where he sends June and Tam through a hole in the wire-mesh. But the Robinsons do not have any tools with them, so what do they use to cut the hole? Or was it the case that Craig, believeing they are on Earth, heads for where he knows there is a hole (and which also exists on Duplios).'• 'The guards are ordered to shoot to kill when the Robinsons escape. Would this have been the same regarding a suspected sabotage attempt on Earth?'• 'When the Robinsons escape from the Space Centre, it appears to be night: certainly the headlights on the soldiers' trucks are blazing into the darkness. Yet a short while later when Craig and Tim ditch the spacemobiles, they appear to be in daylight. Perhaps it's simply a case that more time has passed than is apparent?'• 'The cliffhanger with the soldiers shooting into the reeds where Craig and Tim are hiding is excellent, and it has a perfectly reasonable resolution too! But why didn't the officer stop to get evidence that Craig and Tim were, as he thought, dead?'• In the final part, the Robinsons learn that this is not Earth at all, but a planet identical in all but name. In some models of the universe this would have been a theoretical possibility. In the ancient Epicurean model it would have been an inevitability: given a universe of infinite extent, with an infinite number of particles and an infinite amount of time, there would indeed arise a planet identical to Earth in all but name. But that this should happen parallel with Earth's timeline, and that the Robinsons should come across it, suggests there is something very odd going on... perhaps the Mysterious Unknown Force from Space: 1999? '• 'The Robinsons could have made a home for themselves on Duplios, although it would have meant living under false identities, and certainly they could not have assumed the same positions in life they held on Earth. Would any of their friends or family have existed as Duplios doubles? Interestingly, they don't even consider the question of making a home on Duplios. It just isn't ‘their’ planet, and who can blame them?'• 'At the end of the story, Craig seems to have a somewhat fatalistic attitude regarding their inabilty to prevent the Duplios family from traveling into space. Perhaps that's why he does not make any further attempts to halt the mission.'• 'It should be noted that until they hear the name of the planet announced over the radio, they think they are on Earth. That leaves one wondering just who or what they think their duplicates are. When Tam asks her father about this, the best answer he can provide is, 'Crazy though it seems, a family called Robinson are heading for space'.'• 'What happens to the Duplios Robinsons? Do they too, as Craig fears, meet with an explosion in space which throws them into another galaxy? Do they eventually arrive at a planet which is identical to their own in all but name? - - - - - - - - - - - -
Lady Penelope Summer Extra'''Space Family RobinsonAuthor: Unknown, but possibly Brian Woodford Artist: John Burns. 3 pages, b/w'The Space Station enters another solar system. Tam and Tim are given permission to land on the planet while their parents remain on the Station to chart a new course. Despite instructions not to explore the planet, Tim insists they have a look around, and he finds a deserted city. They land the spacemobile outside the city, and the two enter on foot. Meanwhile, June notices that the Station's instruments are responding erratically, and tracks the source of the interference to Black Planet - a solid mass of metal ore with tremendous gravitational pull. This will destroy the planet Tim and Tam are on, and they have only one hour to retrieve their children and leave the system. Craig and June try to radio Tim and Tam, but the interference is too powerful, and so they travel to the planet in the second spacemobile. On the planet's surface, the children have entered the city, marveling at this creation of an advanced civilisation. The city is in ruins, and a part of it collapses as they wander its streets. Realising the danger and that they ought to get back to the spacemobile, they try one of the abandoned vehicles. It works, and they make there way along the road back to where they left the spacemobile, but find that the bridge has collapsed. With their path cut off and the planet exploding around them, Tim tries their last hope: an hypersonic frequency signal from his wrist radio. Craig hears them, and uses their signal to navigate through the volcanic smoke. He picks them up in his spacemobile and they return to the Station, June having rescued the spacemobile the children were using. The Station's engines fight against the pull of the Black Planet, and they manage to leave the system. As they continue on their search for home, Tam feels sad for the people who had to leave their homes because of the Black Planet, and her father remarks, 'At this moment they're just lost space travellers like us!' '''Notes:''' • 'As with the weekly stories, the artist for the Summer Extra story is John Burns. The identity of the writer is less certain. It may be Brian Woodford, but the style feels different from the previous stories.'• 'The Black Planet is an interesting idea, but was it deliberate or the result of a misunderstanding? Black holes are familiar phenomena in today's science fiction, but how well known would they have been in the early sixties? The description of the Black Planet ('Every planet in this solar system will be drawn into it') suggests that it behaves as does a black hole. Perhaps the author knew of super-massive gravity sources, but had misunderstood aspects of the theory. What we see in the story is clearly a planet, not a collapsed mass. But then, even a non-super-massive planet would cause havoc if it passed close enough to another, so the danger is real enough. A point to consider: the fault in the Black Planet idea may be an indicator that the writer is Brian Woodford after all. In the weekly stories there are a few notions which are in part correct and in part inaccurate, and the Black Planet fits in with that.'• 'Tam takes Clancy and Yakker with her to the planet.'• 'When Tim and Tam were given permission to visit the planet, they were instructed not to go exploring 'in case the planet is inhabited'. Tim decides to ignore the instruction, and this is the only story in which we see him act in this way.'• 'Tim calls Tam 'sis'.'• 'We see the observatory telescope in operation.'• 'Tim has a wrist radio. It is not known if Tam also has one, but she appears not to.'• Craig and June try to contact their children via an Hypersonic Anti-Static Transmitter. • The Hovercar Tim and Tam use to leave the city appears to have just a single control. That makes sense: advanced machinery ought to be as simple to operate as can be achieved. Consider how easy it is for non-experts to use a computer now in contrast to the not so distant past when computers could only be operated by specialists. • We are shown a another feature of the fifth seat in Spacemobiles (the middle one in the back row): it folds up just like a seat in a cinema. • We are not told how long it is since the inhabitants had to leave their homes, nor do we learn where they go nor how they fare. They remain a mystery. • All three pages of the original artwork are still known to exist. Dutch Reprint The Summer Extra story was reprinted in the TV2000 Thunderbirds Extra in the summer of 1966. As with the reprinting of the weekly stories, this was a high quality reproduction. But there was one alteration: the third page was printed in colour! And it was good quality colouring too, not the cheaper sort which would be used for strips in later issues of TV2000. If only the whole story had been coloured for the reprint! Interestingly, it shows Tam as wearing blue tights or leggings. However, this may be a mistake. In the second of the weekly stories, Feda and Tosta clearly are wearing tights or leggings, as can be seen from the way John Burns draws slight creases on them. The same is never seen on Tam's legs, suggesting that her legs are bare. But that is a minor quibble. The colour page is well worth seeing, so we have included it here, with English text replacing the Dutch.
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Lady Penelope Annual ©1966'''Tam Meets The Trygans'''Author: Unknown Artist: Unknown. 5 pages, colour'The Robinsons are making a survey on a new planet. Tam, wanting to be treated more as an adult than a child, asks to return to the Station alone. Craig is against this, thinking she is too young, but June persuades him to let her go. Tam returns to the Station and finds it occupied by two aliens. The aliens' spaceship has been destroyed and they intend taking the Station as a replacement, but they need Tam to teach them how to control it first. Tam refuses and threatens the aliens with a laser pistol, but they take it from her by means of telekenisis. Stalling for time, Tam shows them over the Station, explaining its systems. In the galley she thinks of a way to get rid of the aliens. She tells them that the waste disposal unit is the lift to the Spacemobile bay. Bundling them into it, she presses the eject button and the aliens are flushed out of the Station. Tam locks all the Station's hatches, and the aliens return to their wrecked spaceship. Later, when the rest of the Robinsons return, Tam puts on a nonchalant air and tells them nothing happened that she could not handle. '''Notes:''' • 'This is the only story which has a title, and the only one in colour throughout. The artist is not John Burns, and the writer may not be Brian Woodford. The writing has a different feel to it, and some of the dialogue seems quite unlike that in the rest of the stories (Tam's ‘Sure, Dad. You're an angel!’, for instance).'• 'Clancy and Yakker appear in this story. Tam takes Clancy to the planet with her but Yakker is left on the Station.'• 'There is a Main Control room and a separate Radio room on the Station.'• 'The artist shows the doors to the Main Control and Radio rooms as being like those on a submarine: heavy metal doors, the Radio room door having a locking wheel.'• 'The aliens do not speak English (hurrah!) so Tam uses a Speech Translator. When (in the second of the weekly stories) Tim tries to translate the signal from the capsule containing the twins, the Speech Translator appears to be part of a console. Here, Tam wears a portable Speech Translator, and the Station has more than one of these devices. It looks like a pair of headphones but with small antennae: perhaps it is just a relay device for the actual Speech Translator operated from the console?'• 'The aliens are Trygans from the planet Trygos; neither of them is named in the story. Their spaceship has been destroyed by meteorites, and they used rocket packs to get to the Station. A rescue ship is on its way to them, but they are too impatient to wait, hence the plan to take the Space Station.'• 'The Trygans do not eat food.'• 'The waste disposal unit in the galley is a transparent cylinder with a sliding door, and is probably six feet or more tall. Why is it so large?'• 'The waste disposal appears to eject its contents directly into space without compressing them. It's a nice idea and certainly convenient for the plot, but given that the Station is a closed system intended for long periods in space, it would be more likely that they would recycle waste.'• 'One of the Trygans says ‘TSALB!’ when he is ejected from the Station. Read backwards, this is ‘Blast!’. Was this intentional? The idea was used for an African tribal language in a Supercar comic strip, so why not here. There are two other examples of the alien language but neither of those is English written backwards.'• Tam locks all the Station's hatches to prevent the Trygans gaining entrance again. Why do they not use their telekinetic abilities to unlock the hatches? • Does Tam tell the rest of the family about the Trygans? Do the Robinsons help them or leave them to wait for the rescue ship? Neither question is answered. • Although this annual story was never reprinted as a Space Family Robinson strip, the script was reused for Here Come The Space Girls in the 1969 Princess Tina Annual. The Space Girls are Fran, Sally and Kathy, three hostesses on the Space Liner X-77, and they would take Tam's part in the story. For a comparison of the two, follow this link. - - - - - - - - - - - -
Still Lost In Space'''Sadly, that is all of the Space Family Robinson stories in Lady Penelope. We never see them return to Earth, and they remain lost in space. They are not alone in this. Of all the different versions of a Robinson family lost in space, whether in print, on television or in the movies, none of them ended their search for home. The Brian Woodford and John Burns stories are a worthy addition to those wanderers of space, and for my money, they are the best of those which appeared in print. If only there had been a second year... - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History would like to thank:'''''Angus & Gillian Allan John M. Burns Ronald Kroon - for his help in dating the '''TV2000 reprints, and for information relating to the the coloured page of the Summer Extra story Howard Elson Brian Woodford - for their help with this feature.
GACCH would also like to thank The Unofficial Space Family Robinson website and the Museum of Lost In Space Collectibles, both of which were excellent sources of information on the Gold Key Space Family Robinson comics. Version 1.1 - 01.09.05 Any comments or notes about any of the strips, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.' Disclaimer: GACCH would like to point out that the version of this document held on the planet Duplios is a copy, not the original. All text © The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History, and its respective writers, and may not be reproduced without permission. All images © their respective copyright holders'