Membership: Jason Hampton, Kelly Hampton, Mikey Hampton, Rick Hampton, Wendy Hampton, Rascal, Retro
Purpose: To explore space
Aliases: "Young Astronauts"
Base of Operations: Space ship Courageous
First Appearance: Marvel Age#37 (April 1986);
(intended) Young Astronauts#1 (Star Comics, 1986)
(Marvel Age#37) - The Hampton family were involved in the space program some time after the 20th century had turned into the 21st. Family matriarch Kelly Hampton was the captain of the space ship Courageous, but her family had joined her on the high frontier, leading to all sorts of adventures.
(Marvel Age#37/Young Astronauts#1) - When Mikey's
rambunctious pet cat Rascal became trapped aboard an unmanned Rover, one
of the Courageous shuttle crafts, just as it set off to deliver supplies
to Mars, his elder siblings Rick and Wendy snuck off in a second Rover
to rescue it, aware the unmanned vessel only had a very limited oxygen
supply. Unfortunately, their Rover had been due for repairs, and as a
result its automatic pilot had been removed, a detail the pair
discovered far too late. Blaming himself for their predicament, Mikey
impetuously pinched a third Rover, and together with maintenance droid
Retro he set off to Mars in the hope of averting disaster.
Comments: Created by Denny O'Neill (writer), June Brigman (pencils), Pat Redding (inks) and Jim Owsley (a.k.a. Christopher Priest, editor).
In 1984 the Reagan administration set up the
Young Astronaut organization, split into two branches, the Young
Astronaut Council and the Young Astronaut Management Corporation,
intended to encourage American children to study
math and science using the by using the United States Space Program as a
catalyst. Later that same year the YAC struck a deal for Marvel
Productions to be their exclusive representatives for licensing deals
related to the Young Astronaut program, and to produce a cartoon and
tie-in comic to promote same. One of the first signs of this deal was
when adverts began appearing on the back pages of various Marvel titles
through 1985, promoting the program.
Meanwhile Marvel Productions began working on
a Young Astronauts cartoon, with prestigious Japanese animation studio
Toei brought in to produce the actual film cels for the first run of
thirteen episodes. Back at Marvel Comics Denny O'Neill and June Brigman
began working with editor Jim Owsley to prepare the tie-in comic. The
title of the first story was to be A Fall of Marsdust, as revealed when
the front page of the issue was sold in an online auction. As things
moved along apace, adverts were placed informing readers that Young
Astronauts would be among the new CBS line-up debuting on September
14th, 1985, alongside Dungeons and Dragons, CBS Storybreak, Charlie
Brown and Snoopy, The Berenstein Bears, Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling,
The Wuzzles and Muppet Babies and Monsters.
However, disagreements between Marvel Productions and the YAC delayed the launch, as the Council wanted a scientifically accurate show while CBS, Marvel and (apparently) NASA were aiming for a more adventurous, child-friendly show. Believing that a scientifically accurate show would deathly dull for a young audience, CBS postponed the cartoon's premiere until the differences could be ironed out, which was finally held on January 27th 1986. The YAC ultimately yielded to doing things CBS and Marvel's way, and all seemed well for the cartoon and comic.
The next day, January 28th 1986, the Challenger Space Shuttle blew up during a televised launch. Millions of people worldwide witnessed the tragic deaths of the seven astronauts on board, and the entire future of NASA's Space Shuttle program was called into question. Deciding a show intended to promote space to children who had just witnessed the real world high cost that could come with such exploration was a non-starter, on January 29th CBS contacted both Marvel and the YAC to cancel the cartoon. Despite this, Marvel Age#37, cover dated April of that year still carried an article discussing the comic and the tie-in cartoon, and Marvel Age#38, cover dated May 1986, carried a full page advert for the comic; given that comics traditionally carried a date usually three months later than actual publication (to prolong their shelf-life in shops), and that publication schedules would mean the comics went to print at least a month prior to their release in the shops, these would have actually been produced at latest in January and February respectively, the first prior to the disaster and the second either prior or so soon after that no final decision had been made to axe the comic. However that axe did fall in March 1986, when the YAC informed Marvel Productions they wanted to cancel the comic; on June 30th 1986 the contract between Marvel and the YAC was formally terminated.
The story didn't quite end there. Discovering that
despite having an exclusivity clause saying that Marvel had been to
arrange any licensing related to the Young Astronaut program, they
learned that the YAMC had struck promotional deals directly with Pepsi,
McDonald's and Coleco during their contract period, and so successfully
sued for their share of the licensing fees.
Sadly, though it seems the first few issues
had been completed, given the licensing issues, it seems unlikely they
will ever see publication.
Given the near future setting and it being a licensed title to tie in with a cartoon, it seems reasonable to assume that the setting for the stories was not Reality-616, where most Marvel stories take place, but another reality somewhere else in the Marvel multiverse.
This profile was completed 8/19/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.
Profile by Loki.
The Courageous Crew, a.k.a. Young Astronauts, has no known connections to:
Jason Hampton was Kelly Hampton's husband and the father of the Hampton children. We've got no art of him, nor do we know his profession, outside that it is something in the space program.
Captain Kelly Hampton was the commanding officer of the space ship Courageous and the mother of the three Hampton children.
Mikey Hampton was the precocious youngest member of the Hampton family.
Rick Hampton was the eldest boy of the Hampton family.
Wendy was the daughter of Jason and Kelly Hampton, and the middle child of the family.
Rascal was Mikey Hampton's inquisitive pet cat.
Retro was a maintenance robot aboard the space ship Courageous.
images: (without ads)
Marvel Age#38, back cover advert (main image, Kelly, Rick, Retro)
Captain America I#307 back cover (Young Astronaut council advert)
Marvel Age#37, p15, pan2 (Mikey)
Marvel Age#37, p15, pan3 (Wendy)
Marvel Age#37, p15, pan1 (Rascal)
First Posted: 09/21/2021
Last updated: 09/20/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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