If, as I was, you were born when everyone "liked Ike", and Captain Kangaroo was the nation's babysitter, if you read comic books, you knew Adam Strange! An adventurous archeologist long before Indiana Jones made the profession fashionable, he would experience a kid's ultimate fantasy, at the dawn of the Space Age...transporting to a distant planet, fighting incredible enemies armed with only a 'ray gun', a rocket pack, and a keen intellect, and winning the heart of an exotically beautiful alien girl. It was Edgar Rice Burroughs, updated, and it was IRRESISTABLE!
While his uniform was straight out of pulp SF magazines of the '30s and '40s (sort of 'Flash Gordon Meets the Rocketeer'), he never looked ridiculous, particularly when illustrated by the legendary Carmine Infantino (who, with his pioneering work on the Flash, proved that superheroes didn't have to look like overweight wrestlers). While Mike Sekowsky's earlier work lacks the simplistic grace of Infantino, there is no doubt that Adam Strange was cut from a different cloth than Superman and Batman. He was a thinking man's hero, lean and graceful, and willing to rely on his wits rather than on unbelievable powers, or an overstocked utility belt. That his intellectual exploits would earn him the title of the planet Rann's 'Champion' became an inspiration to me to study harder, and to understand that nearly any problem could be solved if you simply "used your head".
And oh, the bittersweet irony, when, after saving Rann, Strange would always be returned to Earth, before he could get more than a kiss from his beloved Alanna! Hokey, maybe, but what a hook for the next issue of "Strange Adventures"!
I never forgave DC Comics for yanking Gardner Fox and Infantino away from Adam Strange and using their talents to 'juice up' the "new" Batman of the mid-sixties. Perhaps the 'Adam Strange Formula' was a limited one, but even the lesser efforts of the creative 'dynamic duo' were a cut above anything else of the period. Certainly, under new hands, the Strange stories quickly lost their magic, and the series died. Subsequent 'limited' reappearances have only served to reduce Adam Strange's stature even further, as if DC, in turning the hero into a tragic figure, hoped to justify earlier abandoning him. Certainly, the 'Adam Strange' of recent years is NOT the hero I grew up admiring!
So treasure this first volume, when Adam Strange was pure of heart, and a whole planet believed in him...You have a treat in store for you!