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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Strange Sports Stories 6 - pulled into a hole and sailing in the sky, as Strange Sports Stories ends

Nick Cardy does the cover again for Strange Sports Stories 6 (July/Aug 74), the final issue of the run.

The lead story, which gets the much larger of the two cover images, is by Elliot S Maggin and John Rosenberger. It looks great, but is a bit of a disappointment. It centres on two friends who enjoy competing against each other in various sports. One day as they are playing golf they each wind up pulled into the hole by an alien hand.

The aliens transport them to another realm, and then send them into a variety of competitions against each other. Usually these are normal, human sports, though at one point they race as centaurs. There is no overlying threat to this situation, so it's fortunate that they enjoy competing for the fun of it.

The big plan of the aliens is to draw the "victory" factor from the two men as they compete. The aliens have lost this drive, and want to overthrow some evil leaders on their own world. Once they have extracted enough of this, which does no harm at all to the two humans, they send them back to Earth safe and sound. The story really needed some bigger threat, something for the men to triumph over.

The second story in the issue, the final story of the run, is better, but still kind of flat. Rosenberger does the art again, and Marty Pasko does the story. It deals with a young man who like to go sailing, but who falls overboard and through a whirlpool into the future.

In that time the Earth has become dangerously polluted, so people live in floating cities, and travel between them in flying ships. He gets brought aboard the ship of a police man who is taking part in a cross country race. One of the other ships in the race is carrying a bomb to destroy the city at the finish line.

There are some great visuals in this one, but less drama than there might be. The cop figures out who the bomber is, and stops him. No bomb goes off at all.

And at the end the kid falls overboard again, and once again passes through a time whirlpool, winding up back in the present.

Strange Sports Stories would return in a couple of years for a one off issue of DC Super Stars.

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