Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Spin A Web Of Death!
To say I am an unabashed Nicola Cuti fan is putting it far too lightly. I fell in love with Cuti's writing in the comics of the 70's Charlton comics and most specifically his work on E-Man. Cuti has had a broad-ranging career as a writer, artist, editor, and film maker. The latter is mostly a work of love growing out of his adoration of the 50's space opera TV shows Space Patrol and Tom Corbett, Space Cadett. In that tradition he created Captain Cosmos, the Last Starveyer.
Captain Cosmos looks a lot like Nick Cuti and that's no accident as Nick plays the good Captain in the several homespun episodes of the "show" he has self-produced. Low budget but charming, they speak eloquently of a love for old-fashioned ideals, something I can certainly identify with.
In the novel Spin a Web of Death we get a thorough back story for Captain Cosmos, an older yet still eager space explorer who like so many folks anywhere and anytime is making a living in the real world while still hoping for adventure. As a young man he was part of an ill-fated program call the "Starveyers" which sought to accurately chart the spaceways. Now he's a man of heart and failed farmer and family man who hauls cargo for men he has limited respect for. Adventure drops into his lap when he is asked help evacuate a planet which is about to destroy itself. He finds a few strange alien races and perhaps even romance, but certainly danger as the mission becomes more about courage and even foolhardiness.
The book begins a bit slowly as we learn about the world of Cosmos, his history and his sense of duty. We learn of his fascination with old-fashioned TV shows, and this detail actually becomes quite important in a story which takes us into his mind in some odd and at times fascinating ways. I wish this story had ended before it did, as we are given a portrait of a man who does what he wants, what he needs to do despite the consequences and those choices can reap a bitter harvest. But that's not the story here. This is romance, pure and simple in all the senses of that word.
Captain Cosmos has appeared before, in four comic books written by Cuti and drawn by his E-Man partner Joe Staton. Here are the covers.