The eternal wonders of space and time. The far away dreams and mysteries of other worlds. Other life. The stars. The planets. Man has been face to face with them for centuries, yet is barely able to penetrate their unknown secrets. Sometime, someday, the barrier will be pierced. Why must we wait? Why not... now? ("Cat-Women Of The Moon", 1953)
BECAUSE, that's why! Because that barrier has already done been pierced by none other than the mighty ship "Zeno-Chan" and its intrepid crew, as depicted here in this very 1950s story drawn in the very 1980s by everyone's favorite very consistent artist, Jay Disbrow! Tell us Jay, what mysteries of the unknown await our explorers?
This interstellar craft is filled with the wonders of advanced science, including doors that open and close on the command of electronic pulses! See also: every grocery store and mini-mart in the whole universe.
Come in Captain Zanda, let's together celebrate this great day for the human race, which will start to begin in 72 hours but which we're going to celebrate now anyway. Those cigars aren't going to get any stinkier!
Will the crew of the Zeno-Chan be ready for the unforseen life forms that await them on the surface of Planet X? Well, after crossing the vast distances between stars, surely they'll spend a few days in orbit observing the planet and taking all kinds of scientific measurements before attempting a landing. Right?
Nope, they're just gonna scream outta the interstellar void there like a bat outta hell, just strap in and land on that unknown planet. What could go wrong?
Enormous rock formations, titanic trees, and huge angular structures are your clue that your ship has gone through a space warp as a result of a magnetic storm, and you'll find yourself trapped on (spoiler) THE LAND OF THE GIANTS, an Irwin Allen Production, Sundays on ABC!
Perhaps if the crew of the Zeno-Chan had spent some time checking this place out before they landed, they might have some idea as to what these huge structures are. But no, let's land first and ask questions later, always good to just jump right into exploring those unknown worlds full of hidden dangers and instant death.
And if there was any doubt at all in the mind of the seven or eight year old reader who hadn't quite figured out what the twist ending to THIS little story was going to be, well, the "giant" ant here has just removed it.
Here we get to see the talent of Jay Disbrow at work, the consummate professional who learned to draw one male face, and then figured that was all he was ever gonna need.
Great Scott, it's just as I suspected! This planet is populated by great Scotts - and presumably giants with other names, too!
Meanwhile the spacemen investigate the dark, charred tunnel that seems to have been used to burn things, and has a long cylindrical attachment. It almost seems like a giant implement used for burning vegetable matter and transferring the smoke to what we can only assume are waiting T-zone pleasure areas.. But our smoking technology only extends to cigars! What weird, smooth, satisfying smoking habits have these aliens developed over the centuries?
Looks like trouble for our space explorers as their general standing around mass of confusion is turned into an upside-down mass of confusion.
Chunks of wood pulp? A giant fireball? Perhaps the sweet tang of seasoned hickory? Have they stumbled upon THE BACKYARD COOKOUT OF THE GODS?
Sadly the truth is that sometimes you smoke the pipe, and sometimes the pipe smokes you. Words of wisdom that we hope all future space travelers will heed, no matter their size!
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