Tag Archives: Alien Invasion

Sandra and the Space Invaders

Plot

Only Sandra Harris knew that the ten Space Invader games supposedly sent by market research people to a selection of people in Brentown, were really mind control machines due to be activated by aliens very soon, in a bid to take over earth. Sandra set out to destroy the “games”.

Notes

Appeared

  • Sandra and the Space Invaders –  Tracy: #141 (12 June 1982) – #149 (7 August 1982)

When Time Runs Out…

Plot

It is Monday morning in the sleepy village of Falconridge – but during the night a strange light visited the barn whee the local children play. Now a frightening change has come over the children and Beth, a blind girl is trying to find out what’s going on.

The Nightmare has begun – a nightmare that could last a lifetime -or end at midnight…

Notes

  • Throughout the story there is a countdown to midnight.

Appeared

  • When Time Runs Out… – Suzy: #66 (10 December 1983) – #73 (28 January 1984)

The Spaceship in Our Kitchen

Plot

A band of aliens, the Jinjees, take up residence in the kitchen of the Hugget family while their spaceship recharges. It is plugged into the kitchen light flex for the very purpose. The Jinjees threaten to “supercallifrate” the Huggets if they tell anyone, but also make themselves helpful to the Huggets. They cook them meals, make them cups of tea, fetch their slippers, etc.

Notes

Appeared

  • The Spaceship in Our Kitchen – Diana: circa #332 (19 April 1969) – (?)

The Pink Peril [1965]

Plot

Britain is invaded by the Starpeople and their giant pink butterflies, dubbed “Pinkies”. They change the winter season to a tropical climate, which causes the flora and fauna to grow at astonishing speed. The Pinkies emit a spray that renders people unconscious. Mandy Muir, her cousin Joan, Professor Trymer and writer Andrew Wilson become immune to the spray after one exposure. While Mandy is separated from the others, the Starpeople try to assure her they mean no harm, but she does not believe them.

(The Pink Peril – Diana 1965)

A remake of this story was published in Debbie with art by Norman Lee and some character name changes. Britain is invaded by the Starpeople and their giant pink butterflies, dubbed “Pinkies”, who change Britain’s autumn season to a tropical climate. Mandy Traynor and her family are the only ones who seem to be immune to the effects of the Pinkies, which emit a sleep-inducing spray. Then the Traynors meet soldiers, who mean to destroy the Starpeople and their Pinkies.

(The Pink Peril – Debbie 1978, Art: Norman Lee)

Notes

  • The story originally appeared in Diana, then a remake of the story was published in Debbie in 1978, with Norman Lee as the artist.

Appeared

  • The Pink Peril – Diana #140 (23 October 1965) – (?)
  • Reprinted [with new art] – Debbie: #289 (26 August 1978)  – #296 (14 October 1978)

 

Sister of Hate (1984)

Plot

Suzanne Hammond is pleased at first when a baby, Lucy, shows up on their doorstep, but then a day later Lucy has grown up and looks exactly like Suzanne. The evil double passes herself off as the twin sister of Suzanne. Then more of these doubles appear in every household in the neighbourhood. It turns out to be an alien invasion.

Notes

Appeared

  • Sister of Hate – Suzy: #106 (15 September 1984) – #115 (17 November 1984)

 

 

The Frightening Fours

  • The Frightening Fours  Judy + Emma:  #1027 (15 Sep. 1979) – #1038 (01 Dec. 1979)
  • Artist: Paddy Brennan

 

Plot

In Midham Village, Sally Barnes has taken her four year old brother, Billy, on a picnic, when he suddenly gets scared by a large Black Cloud. Sally agrees to take him home but on the way she gets stopped by her friend Lila, who has found her parents unconscious. Sally leaves Billy with Lila and her young brother Roger, while she goes to the doctor’s for help. She arrives at his house only to find him and his wife unconscious too.  Soon it’s apparent that all the adults in the village are unconscious, not only that, but the phones are not working and when Terry one of the teens tries to leave the village to get help, he returns alone, dazed and speechless. The remaining people in the village gather in the church and establish that the only people not affected is those between the ages of 4 and 15. Then Billy arrives holding a gun at everyone telling them they are going to do what “the Fours” tell them.

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The next episode, Billy claims he was just playing a game. Not suspicious yet, Sally, Lila and Andy take the lead over the group. Some of the group are going to patrol to village gathering up the four year olds that seemed to have run off,  while the others cycle for help. To get to the next village they take a short cut along a cliff road, but they are stopped when a rock is pushed down on them, causing a landslide. Luckily no one is injured but Lila saw the rock was pushed by a furry hand, and the others see strange shadows watching. This leads to the theory that there are creatures on the cliff, possibly even aliens!

They all gather back at the village to discuss what could be happening. Lila and Sally talk about how their brothers started acting strange and older after they saw the Black Cloud. The creatures they saw on the cliff remind Sally of the Teddy Bear Picnic costumes from a play the school had put on. Billy arrives armed, with Roger. He tells Sally she’s finally figured it out.  Andy tries to take the gun off him, but it seems not only has he grown in intellect, but also in strength. They do overpower him momentarily but Roger calls for reinforcements. The Fours come wearing the teddy bear costumes and threaten to shoot anyone who resists. The group are taken to a cave, there is nothing they can do for now so they try to sleep. Meanwhile, the Fours tell what is happening to their master…the Black Cloud.

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The next day Sally’s group are led to  a furnace to start working on parts for a machine, Billy explains the machine will prepare the earth for their masters arrival, by destroying the “poisonous” oxygen. They are forced to work, but Andy convinces the Fours that they need to at least bring blankets back to cave. After discovering their parents have been put in storage until the completed machine will kill them, Andy points out that the Fours will die too, when the machine is turned on. But they trust in the Cloud. Sally, Lila and Andy manage to use the blankets to sew costumes and sneak past the Fours. They cycle to a nearby village but they don’t find safety, only more Fours. Captured by the Fours they are saved by a group of rebels. Taken back to their base the trio meet the guerrilla leader, Rory, whom Andy knows from playing football.  The group have a radio, but when Andy suggests contacting someplace outside of Britain, they are informed the whole world is affected.

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Soon after a Four arrives at the base, his name is Bruce, the group are cautious at first but it turns out his birthday is the next day, so the Cloud’s effect is wearing off, turning him into scared kid again. They do manage to get some information from him, knowing the machines are being put together in the mines.  The rebels come up with a plan, Sally, Lila and Andy are to go back to  Midham and trick the Fours into trusting them to get closer to the machine. They have to betray friends in order to gain trust  but it works and they are sent to work near the machine.

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While working in the mine an alarm sounds, Sally thinks at first that Rory hasn’t waited for their signal to attack but it turns out to be a bunch of Fours on horseback. It seems the Middleton Cloud has sensed an invasion in the mine. They avoid being spotted and Sally manages to take a part from machine. Meanwhile  Andy and Lila launch the attack signal. Knowing what Sally has done, Billy orders her to be found and executed. Luckily the guerrilla’s strike distracts them, so Sally escapes. Unfortunately her freedom doesn’t last long as  Billy and some Fours take her, Lila and Andy prisoner.  They try to use them as bargaining to try stop the attack. Sally shouts out to Rory that their lives don’t matter, stopping the Cloud is more important.

After regrouping and some discussion Rory comes to the hard decision that they have to sacrifice Sally and the others, and move on with the plan.  The machines are all connected though and with one link broken the Black Cloud is weakened, giving more guerrilla groups the chance to attack. The Black Cloud tells Billy he must repair the machine, Sally tells the Cloud, it can kill them but more humans will take their place and they will never stop fighting for Earth. The Cloud questions Billy can the planet not be enslaved…but the hold on the Fours is weakened and Billy doesn’t understand such big words. The Clouds seem to be called back into space by their superiors.  All over the world celebrations are had and the adults wake up to greet their children.

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Thoughts

This is a story I’ve been meaning to do for a while, as it is one of my favorites.  It captured attention from the start; “It was Sally Barnes four year old brother who first saw the Black Cloud – at least, he was the first one from  Midham Village”  rare for an open caption box to be so intriguing in its set up.  The whole first episode is well paced and the last panel with the threat of teddy bears the next week, kept me wanting to read more. Although the next episode when Billy says it was a game, doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially as the Fours need to reveal themselves if they want to get the others to work for the Cloud. Although he could have been just testing to see how they would react in order to prepare for the real reveal. Odd as well, is the amount of guns available for these kids (on both sides) in these small villages!

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Each episode built up the tension, as we find out the Clouds plans and how widespread the invasion is. What we see in Midham is only a glimpse, as there must be struggles all over the world. The Fours are threatening enough, but also the looming presence of the Black Cloud, sensing when they cause trouble. It is interesting  that while we see the ominous Black Clouds controlling the Fours… we never see who is directing Clouds. Who are the mysterious beings who can’t live on an oxygen world and have ordered the Black Clouds to prepare the world for them. That implies some hierarchy on their home world.

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It is odd that the last episode was only 2 pages long, the story wraps up well but it does feel like an extra page could have expanded on some things, after the sudden departure of the Clouds. The art is great throughout, whether it large detailed panels such as the youths working on the machine in the mine, or the close up panels showing the emotions the protagonists are feeling. There are some nice moments where Sally reminds Billy of happier times and he slips back to his old self but it never lasts long.

This story tackles some heavy moments, the children are fighting with guns, there is repeated threats of death and big fight scenes that would have to leave someone injured. There have been many alien invasion stories, but I can’t think of one that had such wide scale repercussions. Often aliens invasion stories were more covert and subtle by having someone undercover prepare for the invasion, such as in Electra and the Evil Eye or Starla’s Spell.  Or the invasion starts off with a small test group, like another story; Simon, that also used children in an invasion plan. This story the aliens have attacked the whole world at once. This gives our protagonists even more difficult obstacles to overcome, with all the adults put to sleep, they have no-one to turn to only themselves. They have to make difficult decisions and there is a sense even though there is a happy ending they will be still changed by their experiences and their choices.

frightening fours_7 

 

Starla’s Spell

Plot

A new girl, Starla Cresswell, starts at Sarah Campbell’s school, and Sarah realises there is something strange about her, such as having hypnotic powers over people. Eventually she discovers that Starla is an alien from the planet Mornekia and the Morneks are out to invade Earth.

Notes

Appeared

  • Starla’s Spell-  Bunty: #2092 (31 January 1998) – #2103 (2 May 1998)

Simon

  • Simon – Mandy: #705 (19 July 1980) – #713 (13 September 1980)

Plot

Tania Grant is a good sister to her 3 year old brother Simon, she is always happy to play with him and take him places. One night Tania wakes up to her brother screaming, she runs into his room and comforts him. He tells her he had a bad dream about funny looking bad people. The next day Simon acts vicious at the duck pond, attacking the ducks, which surprises Tania as it is unlike him. The next minute Simon seems fine, but then later Simon has another tantrum and destroys his teddy. The last panel has strange looking creatures looking on at the events and they declare “It is beginning”.

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Simon continues to throw tantrums and wreck things. Sometimes Tania gets the blame for things, like when Simon smashes puppets and Tania is caught holding them after taking them from him. Her parents don’t believe something is wrong with Simon assuming it to be just accidents or Simon just being badly behaved. Meanwhile the last panel of each issue shows the aliens watching their plan come together. It seems that the word “love” is the trigger to turn Simon into a slit eyed scowling monster and his actions continue to get Tania into trouble. Her parents begin to believe something is wrong with Tania for trying to blame “innocent” Simon for the trouble happening.

After a talk Tania decides to stay quiet about  her suspicions that something is wrong with Simon. Her parents think Tania’s behaviour is because she was resenting having so much responsibility for Simon and jealousy over the attention he gets. When things seem to have settled down and going well, they get Tania a rabbit, feeling it might help if she has something special of her own. A song on the radio triggers Simon’s change and Tania is just in time to stop Simon from killing her rabbit.

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Simon gets increasingly more dangerous,  he pushes Tania in front of car, and tries to kill his mother with a knife while she sleeps. After Tania’s accident she figures out the word “love” is is the trigger to Simon’s change. After catching him trying to kill their mother she decides she has to figure out what to do, and she doesn’t trust Simon to leave him alone with their parents. She takes him on a picnic and tries to communicate with whoever is controlling him. She accidentally slips up when she asks them to let go of her brother because she loves him. Simon tries to push her off a cliff but slips himself. Tania hesitates for a moment before pulls him up. Finally the aliens begin to communicate to her through Simon. Her strange and illogical actions have caused them to rethink their plans. Their plan was to use young children whose minds are easy to control to kill off all the adults on Earth, so their overcrowded planet could expand to Earth. Simon was the first test subject for the plan, they are impressed by Tania’s intelligence and her love for her brother (although they can’t understand such emotions), because of this they have decided to look for another suitable planet. They leave with Simon remembering nothing. Tania tests Simon to check if the aliens were lying, and she is happy that the word “love” has no effect on him and they are free now.

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Thoughts

An alien invasion using young children, this story may have been influenced by “The Frightening Fours” which appeared in Judy the previous year. “The Frightening Fours” is the superior story but this story has its good moments too. It has some very creepy and tense moments, such as when Simon enters his parents room with knife. The build up of his increasing violence is also well done.

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It’s also a very creepy alien design, while a lot of the time in these type stories the aliens aren’t revealed until the last issue or late into the story, having them appear on the last panel of every issue, monitoring events and commenting on their mysterious plan is very effective. The only issue that the aliens get more panel time is in the last issue when they reveal their plan. Here’s where the story falls down a bit, there are some serious flaws in the aliens plans. Why did they specifically pick “love” as a trigger word, that seems random. How practical is it to get toddlers to kill ALL the adults in the world, they really couldn’t come up with a better plan than that? Even if that did succeed, were they going to come down and kill all the children afterwards or raise them in this new world? Also they give up very easily on the invasion because of an emotion they think is illogical and that they don’t understand.

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Another problem is the parents. Of course the parents have to be oblivious to Simon’s actions in order for the story to work and have Tania facing more obstacles. This is a problem in many stories where someone causes trouble for the protagonist and the parents are either oblivious or easily blame the protagonists, which make them seem like bad parents. Tania has been a good and helpful daughter, yet they quickly believe that Simon, a 3 year old, would never break anything or do anything wrong, of course Tania must be lying! Even when they do find Simon acting bad, Tania still gets the blame, when Mrs. Grant finds Simon destroying his teddy she blames Tania for not stopping him. They seem to have conflicting reasons why they think Tania is blaming Simon for things, either jealousy over the Grants spending too much time with Simon or giving too much responsibility to Tania to look after Simon. Considering how much time Tania is spending with Simon and that she was the first into his room to comfort him after his nightmare, I don’t see how they could jump to thinking Tania is jealous.

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The relationship between Tania and Simon is good. Tania’s confusion over Simon’s behaviour, yet still wanting to look after him, shows the strong bond they have. The finale on the cliff is quite tense, Simon tries to kill her for the second time, but she feels terrible about her slight hesitation to save him. After it just makes her more determined to free him from the mind control.  A few missteps like the defeat of the aliens, means this isn’t the best alien invasion story but it had enough good moments to make me want to find out how it would all end.

Ten Against The Tryptons

Plot:

Long Barrow School had been invaded by girls from the planet Trypton, and placed under a “Dome of Blackness” cutting it off from the outside world. Trypton would soon no longer support life, and the girls had been sent to test the intelligence on Earth. If the ten chosen Long Barrow pupils proved to be inferior to their Trypton counterparts, then the invaders from space would come to Earth as rulers.

Ten Against The Tryptons

Notes:

  • Artist: Tony Thewenetti

Appeared:

  • Ten Against The Tryptons  –  Bunty:  #1110 (21 April 1979) –  #1121 (7 July 1979)

 

The Girl Who Can’t Cry!

Plot

On the way to her new boarding school, Linda Laker sees a spaceship and overhears an invasion plan. The aliens place a girl, who is made to look and sound human, in the school. The alien has one defect – it cannot cry. So Linda sets out to find the imposter by making anyone she suspects cry. But this is making her unpopular and getting her into trouble with the headmistress.

girl who can't cry

Notes

Appeared

  • The Girl Who Can’t Cry!  –  Mandy:   #988 (21 December 1985)  – (?)