The Flights of Flopear

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Due to popular demand, or, more precisely, the demand of a single individual ("graylien"), I hereby present another offering from the Bunty Book for Girls 1983. "More Flopear content! More Flopear content!", he begged. Wish granted.

"The Flights of Flopear",1 for those unfamiliar with Bunty's bonkers slice of Sci-Fi, told the story of young "Tessa Worth", who had been "transported from Earth inside a wonderful rabbit-shaped space-ship called Flopear". The circumstances which led to her being thus "transported" are unclear, but reading between the narrative's lines (and panels) one can't escape the feeling that some form of child abduction was at play.

The introduction initially paints a vivid (and charming) picture of interplanetary adventure by informing us that "Tessa and Flopear were ‘planet-hopping’ from one strange world to the next". In the same "breath", however, we are reminded that Tessa is, in fact, "Stranded in outer-space…trying to track down a piece of the elusive fire-crystal which would provide them with the power to make the long journey back to Earth". Suddenly it doesn't sound like such a laugh…

Those who quickly grew tired of Star Trek's dreary fourth incarnation, Voyager, will no doubt see a familiar narrative structure at work. Our heroes/heroines are lost far from home. Their journey's end is routinely promised but the means to secure this return is always just (by story's end) out of their grasp. Next week they try again…and so it goes, ensuring an endlessly forestalled resolution.

A curious feature of "The Flights of Flopear" is that Flopear exists both as the ship itself…

Flights of Flopear

and as a sort of avatar of himself within the ship's computer:

Flights of Flopear

Mention should be made both of the above panel's tasty bit of shorthand intertextuality (Dr. Who, TARDIS) and Flopear's rather unimpressive array of in-flight entertainments. Space Invaders might be a seminal part of gaming history, but one might expect more from a rabbit who'd perfected the art of interstellar travel. Tessa is certainly not overly enthused, a point not lost on an increasingly disturbing (and disturbed) Flopear…

Flights of Flopear

We're heading into the dark territory of the abuser/abused relationship here. Wolfgang Priklopil and Natascha Kampusch (in space) come suddenly to mind.

The rest of the tale is straight out of The Odyssey's "Land of the Lotus Eaters". Flopear detects a fire-crystal on the planet "Smarnia". They land. Tessa meets a slave race (with noses) and a ruling class (without noses). She becomes intoxicated by the smell of the Smarnian flowers and soon forgets all about fire-crystals, choosing instead to stay on Smarnia and become a lackey to the nose-less ones. Flopear is not amused:

Flights of Flopear

After overhearing Smarnia's queen telling her cohorts "No visitor ever leaves Smarnia…The perfume makes them forget there are other worlds, beyond ours. They are content to remain here working for us", Flopear decides, "Feck this", and prepares to flee Smarnia leaving Tessa to her fate. However…

Flights of Flopear

One enforced bout of sense-recovering hay fever later (long story) and Tessa is snapped out of her stupor. Back aboard Flopear she hops. But what of the precious fire-crystal?

Flights of Flopear

So much for the (apparently) compassionate Flopear. Here he reverts to his established "I'll always find excuses why you can never leave me" form.

And so the search continued, deep into the blackness of outer-space…

Flights of Flopear

Update 23/10/07: The mighty "philcom55″, over at the comicsuk.co.uk forums, has just uploaded the first page of the first ever Flopear story for us. Click here.

Footnotes
  1. Drawn, I've been reliably informed, by Robert Macgillivray. [back]

October 22, 2007

13 responses to The Flights of Flopear

  1. Green Ink said:

    I never miss an opportunity to berate Voyager. It was evil in it’s shiteness.

    I’d also offer lazy writing rather than knowing intertextuality with the TARDIS reference.
    This really reminds me of that sequence from Speilberg’s Taken where the kid follows the cartoony-looking squirrel into a cartoony-looking house and as the squirrel closes the door he pauses and sneers through the gap. It was one of the most (in this case deliberately) sinister moments I’ve ever seen on television.

  2. fústar said:

    fustar.infofustar.info
    Green Ink,

    I (like a lot of Sci-Fi fans I’d imagine) have mixed feelings about the Star Trek “franchise”. I (still) love the original series, and loved both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine…at the time.

    Leaving aside the original series, and taking the others in turn, here are a few brief thoughts -

    TNG – Occasional preachy tone and comfy, self-satisfied “lounge in space” feel often threatened to scupper it. What saved it were numerous very well-written and well-executed episodes and the superb central performance of Patrick Stewart. I honestly feel if it weren’t for him lending gravitas and depth (in a sea of daytime TV regulars) the show would have flopped and the subsequent iterations would never have gotten going.

    Deep Space 9
    – Possibly my favourite of the bunch (apart from the original). Took ages to get going but the arrival of the Defiant really opened things up. Often epic in scope and mercifully willing to take a critical look at the scarily squeaky-clean Federation (Julian’s encounters with Star Fleet secret service etc).

    Voyager
    – Criticising it is like punching dead kittens in a barrel of shit but this is undoubtedly where the wheels came off. Weak cast, soap-style emoting, juvenile comedy, a laboured and tiresome premise, endlessly rehashed narratives from previous shows and (lest we forget) the worst moment in Trek history…the Tuvix episode.

    Enterprise
    – Nice attempt at a grittier, more “human” and home-made brand of Sci-Fi. Tried to match (and anticipate) some of the things that made/make Firefly, Battlestar Galactica (etc) so involving. Ultimately failed by (once again) retreating to familiar ground (Not another “crash-landed on a planet with your nemesis” episode, please!!), and turning an intriguing premise into something pretty banal and boring.

    Overall the Trek universe lacks the balls to go to the dark (or, even, “less than perfect”) place often enough. Less carpeting, less shininess, less “self help” touchy-feelliness, and lots more dirty, flawed, ambiguous “stuff” is needed if it’s ever to bounce back.

  3. Green Ink said:

    Ha! The Tuvix episode was foremost in my mind when i wrote that! Where TV sci-fi always falls down is the magic button… you know, that gnawing contrivance in a script where there just happens to be the right ingredients to make everything right. In the A-team it was being locked in a shed with a chassis and a FAS course-worth of welding equipment. In Voyager (which I couldn’t in the end watch for fear my eyes would puke) and Enterprise it was time-travel. If time-travel ever came up in a ST iteration I did like I just did a mental squint with the whole episode and made like it didn’t happen. Doctor Who has one magic button per episode, but I actually can get by most of them as I love the direction it’s taken, as a study in loneliness. Yes it’s silly, but the moments of pathos are worth it. His dwindling stock of mercy is another clincher for me (Family of Blood).
    Oh yes, I’ve just remembered Catherine Tate has been added to the cast for the new series.

    Here comes a mental squint.

  4. Simon McGarr said:

    In contrast, I’ll watch anything with a time machine.

  5. graylien said:

    Yay – Flopear! It’s like Christmas come early!

    As for Trek – yes, the Tuvix episode sucked but it wasn’t as bad as that TNG episode where Beverley Crusher had a fling with a Scottish ghost. (Sub Rosa)

    I’m still undecided as to which is the most irritating Star Trek character – Neelix or Wesley Crusher. You certainly wouldn’t want to get stuck in a lift with those two.

  6. fústar said:

    graylien, I’d forgotten about “Sub Rosa”. Christ, that was wretched…

    I’d still opt for Neelix as most irritating character. He just ticks every conceivable box of awfulness. Wesley, in fairness to him, did become slightly less annoying as the years passed. His colourful, intergalactic, transdimensional love affair with that traveller fella from Tau Alpha C (or wherever) was also far less winsome than Neelix’s relationship with that pixie woman.

  7. graylien said:

    Also, I suppose there was much more of Neelix. You couldn’t watch an episode of Voyager without him rearing his ugly head at some point. Whereas there are plenty of TNG episodes unmarred by the presence of Crusher junior.

    Come to think of it, that holographic doctor was pretty annoying, too. Not to mention Capt Janeway’s annoying voice.

    Jeez – no wonder that crew was so tense. Whatever part of the ship you tried to hide in, you could guarantee that someone really annoying would be along in a minute.

  8. fústar said:

    The ubiquity of Neelix seemed motivated by a perverse desire (on the part of the producers) to give the show’s most loathed character as much screen-time as possible. The more they tried to “build him up” and give him some (ha!) substance, the more I wanted to punch him in his muppety face.

    The Doctor was crap too. Another “hilarious” side-kick type character who dragged the show further into the realms of a kiddy, sci-fi, sitcom.

    As for Janeway’s voice (which I can still do a fair impression of), it was never more tooth-grindingly awful than when pleading the right of “Mr. Tuvix” to live, love and be free. Oh and the other 1/2 of the Tuvix symbiote (Tuvok) was rubbish as well.

  9. Green Ink said:

    Neelix= Jar Jar Binks.

  10. fústar said:

    Neelix= Jar Jar Binks.

    Absolutely, but lame as the Star Wars prequels are, one can’t help but admire the direction Jar Jar was taken in.

    In Attack of the Clones he is left as acting representative to Naboo in the Galactic Senate (with predictably disastrous results). He calls for a vote to give Palpatine emergency powers – a decision which leads, ultimately, to the creation of the Galactic Empire! It’s like a Three Stooges short where the lads are left in charge of a china shop.

    Does this show that, contrary to all appearances, ol’ fat-head Lucas actually has a sense of humour?

  11. MACGILLIVRAY said:

    yes you are correct, thats my dads art work.

  12. MACGILLIVRAY said:

    YES THATS MY DADS ART WORK

  13. fústar said:

    Welcome to the blog, Macgillivray family representative. You are most welcome. That is one glorious looking story.

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