"Soviet Spacemen" (Bob Brant and the Trouble-Shooters foes)

"SOVIET SPACEMEN"

Membership: Five cosmonauts (none identified, although one name -- "Ivan" -- was mentioned)

Purpose: Upon completion of a spaceship, they were to fly to the Moon and claim it for Russia.

Aliases: "Those Commie monkeys" (as called by one of the Trouble-Shooters)

Affiliations: Josef Stalin

Enemies: Aborigines, Bob Brant and the Trouble-Shooters (Bomber, Daffy, Feathers), Lance Brant, unidentified scientist

Base of Operations: Somewhere in Australia

First Appearance: Man Comics I#27/3 (June, 1953)

History: (Man Comics I#27/3 (fb) - BTS) - In an attempt to claim the Moon for the USSR, Russian leader Josef Stalin instigated a plan to construct a spaceship. Stalin sent five cosmonauts and an abducted American scientist to an Australian jungle, where they cleared a launch-site, built a dome structure, and began to construct the rocket (see comments).

(Man Comics I#27/3) - In a meeting with his military and governmental underlings, Stalin read a telegram from the spacemen informing him of their progress -- the spacemen reported that construction of the rocketship was almost completed, but a spy-plane had flown over the launch-site. Although one general felt the whole project was nonsense, Stalin explained to him that once they were on the Moon, they could set up rocket installations on the lunar surface, which would allow the Soviet Union to target the whole world with their guided missiles -- the Western democracies would have no recourse but to throw down their arms and surrender!

   In the United States, Bob Brant and the Trouble-Shooters had just entered Bob's home when they overheard a conversation between Bob's brother Lance and his father -- their discussion concerned Lance going on a mission for the United Nations Council to investigate reports of a Russian rocketship. The boys were curious about the spaceship, so they decided to hike over to the private airport just outside of town where Lance's plane was kept so they could find out more about it. As they walked down the street, the boys passed by Carol Carter and Bess; Carol invited the boys to go along with them to Packers Field to watch a new jet plane demonstration, but Bob fibbed and told her that he and the Trouble-Shooters were going hiking to do some bird-watching (...much to Carol's disdain).

   When the boys got to the airport, Daffy suggested that they look at what kind of gear Lance was taking so they could figure out where the spaceship was. The boys climbed into the cargo-hold of Lance's private plane, but they inadvertently became stowaways when they were accidentally locked inside; Lance took off, unaware his plane was also carrying "passengers".

(Man Comics I#27/3 - BTS) - When construction of the spaceship was completed, the Red rocketeers locked the American scientist in the dome and made preparations for launch.

(Man Comics I#27/3) - Lance flew his plane to Australia, and after he landed, the boys secretly followed him through the dense jungle. When they came upon a clearing, they saw the launch-site, the rocket, and the Russian spacemen. Lance was captured by one of the spacemen, but the Russians were pressed for time because their rocket was set to automatically launch in moments. Suddenly, a tribe of savage Aborigines attacked the launch-site, so the spacemen quickly locked Lance inside the dome with the scientist and boarded their spaceship. With the Russians inside the rocket, the Aborigines instead turned their attentions to Bob and the Trouble-Shooters and began to attack them -- Daffy managed to catch one of the Aborigines' boomerangs.

   Surrounded by the Aborigine tribesmen, the boys saw that their only refuge was inside the rocket, so Bob and the Trouble-Shooters climbed aboard and into the airlock. But then the rocket's exterior door sealed behind them, the spaceship began to shake, and it launched. Pinned to the floor by the force of the acceleration, the boys all felt queasy; Bob surmised that the rocket had taken off and they were headed for the Moon.





   The boys cautiously opened the inner door to the main compartment and peered inside; they overheard the Russians discussing their plans to build a guided missile base on the Moon, so Bob and the Trouble-Shooters dashed in and tackled the Soviet spacemen. During the struggle, Daffy gave the boomerang to one of the Russians and tricked him into throwing it at Bob, but the weapon returned and hit the spaceman instead. Then Bob located the lever for the airlock and threatened to open it and let all the air rush out of the rocket unless the Russians surrendered -- seeing they had no alternative, the Soviet spacemen complied; Bob and the boys made the Russians remove their spacesuits and tied them up.

   Looking out the window and seeing that the rocket would soon reach the Moon, Bob was struck with an idea, so he told the other boys to look around the spaceship for some red, white, and blue cloth.




(Man Comics I#27/3 - BTS) - After finding the requested materials, the boys sewed a makeshift American flag, then they put on the Russians' spacesuits (see comments).

(Man Comics I#27/3) - When the rocket landed on the Moon, Bob and the Trouble-Shooters went out, planted their flag, claimed the Moon for the United States of America, and used their pocket-knives to carve their names on a large rock. Then Bob noticed that the rocket was beginning to vibrate, and he figured its automatic controls were preparing it for lift-off, so the boys climbed back aboard. The rocket launched and made its return voyage to Earth, where it landed back at the Australian launch-site. Bob and the Trouble-Shooters marched the captured Soviet spacemen to the dome and unlocked the door to free Lance and the scientist, then they ran back to hide on Lance's plane before he spotted them.

(Man Comics I#27/3 - BTS) - Lance flew his plane back to America (presumably he had turned over the Soviet spacemen, the spaceship, and the scientist to the proper authorities, but their respective fates are unrevealed); Lance was unaware that his kid-brother and his pals were hiding aboard the plane, and apparently he knew nothing of their lunar excursion.

(Man Comics I#27/3) - On their way back from their "hike," the boys again encountered Carol and Bess. Bess told them about all the excitement they'd missed -- Lance had captured a bunch of Reds who had a spaceship, and he even rescued a kidnapped scientist; but Carol told Bess that Bob probably wasn't interested because the thought of so much adventure would scare him silly.

   Later, Bob and the Trouble-Shooters chuckled when they thought about how the first man on the Moon would feel when he found their hand-made flag and saw their names carved on the rock.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Carl Hubbell (artist).

This group of cosmonauts wasn't identified by any particular name.

The first Moon-landing -- Apollo 11 -- didn't actually occur until 1969 (as seen in Marvel: The Lost Generation I#6) -- that mission took about eight days, the multi-stage rocket was over 300 feet high, and the astronauts were tightly packed in a rather confined space. Although the Russian rocket's top-speed wasn't mentioned, I got the impression that it made the trip to the Moon and back in a matter of hours, and their smaller rocket certainly had an interior with ample elbow-room. So how did the Russians develop such advanced technology more than a decade earlier? I have a theory...

   In the 1950s, the Deviant warlord Kro was known for being involved in plots to destabilize Earthly nations and providing sophisticated weapons to Soviet agents (@ Marvel Universe I#5), so maybe he supplied the rocket to the Russians (Which could explain why the Russians had the rocket in Australia rather than somewhere in their own territory -- Australia is much closer to Kro's homeland of Deviant Lemuria than Russia -- plus, the Russians' planned lunar missile base certainly would serve Kro's plans to destabilize the world); assuming this to be true, maybe Kro delivered the rocket in kit-form, and the Russians just assembled the components. That rocket didn't seem to use conventional chemical propellants (otherwise those Aborigines would have been vaporized instead of just scattered), so it probably used some form of advanced propulsion.  Perhaps the advanced technology was also present in the spacesuits -- maybe the suits could adjust to custom-fit the wearers, otherwise the man-sized suits wouldn't fit the smaller teenage Trouble-Shooters very well (especially in the case of the diminutive Bomber).

   Maybe that unidentified scientist was once an associate of Horace Grayson (who built a spaceship of his own years earlier @ Marvel Boy I#1/1), or maybe Ernst Gruber.

Profile by Ron Fredricks

CLARIFICATIONS:
The "Soviet spacemen" have no known connections to:


Soviet spaceship and launch-site

Located in a clearing somewhere in an Australian jungle, the launch-site had a single steel dome building near the rocketship.  The dome's entrance was operated with a single lever on the exterior; the dome had been used to imprison the American scientist and Lance Brant during the spaceship's flight.

The single-stage spaceship stood about 50 feet high, and could take-off and land vertically; it operated by automatic controls and did not require any human piloting. It had an extremely roomy interior that seemed to be equipped with artificial gravity. Its top speed and source of power is unrevealed (see comments).

--Man Comics I#27/3












Unidentified scientist

An American scientist in some unspecified field (possibly rocketry), he had been working on the plans for a spaceship for the U.S. government when he was kidnapped by the Russians and taken to their launch-site in the jungles of Australia, where he was forced to work on their rocket.

When construction of the rocket was completed and it was set to automatically launch, the Russians locked the scientist in the dome building at the launch-site while they planned to complete their flight to the Moon; government-agent Lance Brant (who was investigating reports of the Russian rocket for the United Nations) was later captured and locked up with him.

Unknown to them, the scientist and Lance were released from the dome by Bob Brant when he and the Trouble-Shooters returned from their flight to the Moon.

--Man Comics I#27/3










Aborigines

A group of about a dozen natives dwelling in the Australian wilderness, they were armed with spears and boomerangs.

The tribesmen attacked the Soviet spacemen after the Russians had just captured Lance Brant while they were preparing to launch their rocket.  The spacemen quickly locked Lance in the dome building and boarded the spaceship.  The Aborigines then turned their attentions to Bob Brant and the Trouble-Shooters and began to attack them, but the boys also climbed into the rocket.

The Aborigines were scattered by the shock-wave created when the rocket launched (see comments).

--Man Comics I#27/3










images: (without ads)
Man Comics I#27/3, p8, pan3 (three of the Soviet spacemen in main compartment of spaceship, one spaceman (Ivan?) talks about their plans to build missile base, as Bob Brant and Daffy look on)
Man Comics I#27/3, p6, pan 4 (Soviet spacemen (possibly Ivan with rifle?) capture Lance Brant)
Man Comics I#27/3, p8, pan5 (Bob Brant and Trouble-Shooters tackle Soviet spacemen)
Man Comics I#27/3, p9, pan6 (Bob Brant and Trouble-Shooters march captured Soviet spacemen from spaceship to dome) 
Man Comics I#27/3, p6, pan2 (Feathers, Daffy and Bob watching Lance spy on Soviet spaceship and launch-site) 
Man Comics I#27/3, p8, pan1 (Soviet spaceship launches into space) 
Man Comics I#27/3, p9, pan2 (Soviet spaceship lands on Moon, Bob and the Trouble-Shooters disembark) 
Man Comics I#27/3, p9, pan7 (unidentified scientist (left) and Lance Brant imprisoned inside launch-site dome as door unlocks) 
Man Comics I#27/3, p6, pan6 (Aborigines attack all five Soviet spacemen and captured Lance Brant by launch-site dome)
Man Comics I#27/3, p6, pan8 (Aborigines about to attack Daffy, Bomber and Bob Brant; Soviet spaceship and launch-site dome in background)
Man Comics I#27/3, p7, pan7 (Aborigines scattered by spaceship's launch)


Appearances:
Man Comics I#27/3 (June, 1953) - unidentified writer, Carl Hubbell (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)


Last updated: 04/27/17.

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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