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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
UFO: Kidnap UFO
"Kidnap"

Countdown #1, February 20, 1971
Writer: Unknown (possibly Dennis Hooper)
Art: Jon Davis

 

The aliens move to kidnap a couple of Earth scientists.

 

Read the story summary at Technodelic

 

DIDJA KNOW?

 

This story is actually untitled. I've chosen to apply the title "Kidnap" to identify it in the chronology.

 

On the Technodelic website, their feature on the history of the UFO comic strips in Countdown magazine speculates that Countdown editor Dennis Hooper may have been the author of this story.

 

This story is quite similar to the earlier one titled "The Snatch", published in UFO Annual 1970.

 

NOTES FROM THE UFO CHRONOLOGY

 

The introductory narrative on page 1, panel 1 of the story suggests it is still 1980 at the time of these events.

 

DIDJA NOTICE?

 

The image in panel 1 is a photo of a spinner UFO from the TV series rather than pencil art.

 

Page 1, panel 9 of the story is actually a photo from the TV series of Commander Straker rather than pencil art.

 

On page 2, a Professor Robinson of the Central Space University is reported missing. Central Space University appears to be a fictional institution.

 

Page 2, panel 7 of the story is actually a photo from the TV series of Colonel Freeman rather than pencil art. The photo appears to be a scene of Freeman at Moonbase, not at SHADO headquarters as the story seems to present him.

 

On page 2, panel 9 of the story, Freeman says to himself, Too dark to be certain, but I'm sure these tracks are fresh... But "certain" and "sure" mean essentially the same thing!

 

Freeman encounters an alien and before he falls unconscious from a knockout blow, his gunshot damages the alien's helmet, allowing the green fluid within to spill out. In "Identified" SHADO learned of the liquid-filled spacesuits used by the aliens.

 

The footprints Foster has found lead into the ruins of Mersham Abbey. I have not been able to find evidence of a real world set of ruins known as Mersham Abbey, but the reference may be related to the village of Mersham, Kent County, England (about 60 miles from London).

 

Page 3, panel 6 of the story appears to be a photo of the helmetless alien seen in "A Question of Priorities".

 

Foster remarks to Straker that the earthbound alien can't survive too long without his protective liquid. But SHADO does not really know this to be the case; in "Identified", it was instead speculated that the fluid allows the aliens to breathe and also survive the G-forces of high speed space travel, not necessarily that the fluid would be required to survive on Earth. In fact, later episodes depict the aliens moving around on Earth without helmets for an extended period.

 

This story introduces a cylindrical UFO never seen in the TV series, able to hold up to five passengers.

Cylindrical UFO

 

Page 4, panel 3 of the story is a photo of a lunar module from the series (referred to here as a ferryship).

 

As the cylindrical UFO enters Earth space, a lunar module happens to be on its way to the moon and fires missiles at the approaching alien craft. This is the only instance of the lunar modules depicted as having weapons in the UFO series.

 

Page 5, panel 4 of the story is a photo of Sky 1 rather than pencil art.

 

The final panel of the story is a photo of Commander Straker rather than pencil art. 

 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

 

Why did the aliens want the two Earth scientists Robinson and Sinstad?

 

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