spacewar.jpgWhat explains the prominence of this odd item in the Freaky Trigger Periodic Table. What is it that makes the idea of Spacewar so essential to what underpins everything Freakytrigger stands for? is it

a) The idea of thrill-power which Tom talks about here, and here, and is almost certainly embodied in 2000AD which often had massive shots of war in space to illustrate the gritty future WE WOULD ALL INHERIT.

b) Is it the fear of the US Star Wars weapons programme, and Star Wars 2, elevating the up to now depressingly mundane and earthbound idea of war to a whole new plane, one which previously had been for dreamers and optimists only. The bloody carnage of bodies floating in zero gravity with a frozen AIIIIEEEE! stuck in their gullet is a universal fear surely?

c) A tacit acknowledgement than the Star Wars films are real actual history, due to taking place “A Long Time Ago” and hence do indeed count as the pre-history of all that mankind holds dear, hence vitally important to the development of the FT Universe. Though i don’t think the 70’s was that long ago.

d) Indicate that Al Ewing, erstwhile 2000AD writer, got to pick number 2?

turnerdaleks.jpgOf course when you think about, a war in space is unlikely to be fought dogfight fashion with small spaceships. When you think about the distances involved, and the theoretical speeds involved: if two civilizations fought this would be impractical. The bugs in Starship Troopers seemed to have a better idea, just throw asteroids at your intended target. Think about the largest nuclear bomb we could make now – could it crack the planet? Possibly not but it would do enough to wipe out much of the life. All you have to do is get one of those to land and you’re away. The cost of fighting in an infantry or dogfight style war in space would be prohibitive.

That said it is an image we like. The Star Wars dogfight near the end is a perfect example of taking something we already understand (namely the Battle Of Britain) and translating it to space. The gigantic space fight at the start of Episode III: Oh My God He’s Full Of Darth shows what can go wrong with this kind of thing. Moving cameras, too many combatants. It is too confusing. But war is. “Real” spacewar is much more likely to employ a device like the Death Star, bumbling around destroying whole planets.

Still comic writers like it. And comic artists certainly do, making gigantic splash pages. (A splash page is one giant picture over a page or two. Considering the artists other work may well involve drawing six to ten panels per page, a splash page is a great saving in work for them.) This Dalek page is not a splash page, but is a striking example of lots of spaceships which illustrate nothing so much as lots of firepower in one place.