Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sky Marshall of the Universe by Dave Goode

I remember when I got my very first leather jacket as a kid. I didn't pretend to be Brando in The Wild One cool. Or even Eric Von Zipper cool. I imagined being Commando Cody cool. For those of you who might not be old enough to remember, Commando Cody was the hero in two 12 chapter serials from Republic Pictures. Actor George Wallace played him in Radar Men from the Moon(1952). And Judd Holdren portrayed the character in Commando Cody:Sky Marshall of the Universe which was originally shot as a television series in 1953. Judd Holdren portrayed a character named Larry Martin in another serial titled Zombies of the Stratosphere(1952) in which he was more or less playing Command Cody. Zombies of the Stratosphere is best known for featuring the original Mr.Spock from Star Trek,Leonard Nimoy, in a small role as a Martian invader. Commando Cody:Sky Marshall of the Universe would be released in theaters in 1953 as a serial. No doubt confusing young serial fans. And would eventually find it's way to television syndicated by NBC television as a 12 episode TV series.

The "Rocket Man" suit that Commando Cody wore made it's first appearance in an earlier serial King of the Rocket Men(1949) starring Tristram Coffin as Jeff King.And despite the chapter-play's title there was only one "rocket man" in this movie.Still the image of the Rocket Man has become almost iconic to sci-fi and movie serial fans.A black leather jacket with a rocket backpack and an aerodynamic bullet-shaped helmet. Obviously an inspiration for Dave Steven's Rocketeer character. Shots of Rocket Man taking off,flying and landing would be reused in the Commando Cody serials.

One of the things I remember most about the Commando Cody television series was the hero's futuristic military costume. It looked like something that a comic book reading kid in the 50s and early 60s could imagine a military uniform of the future to look like. Commando  Cody even wore a mask which gave him an air of mystery. Years later I read an article where Judd Holdren said the producers had the actor wear the mask so he'd be easier to replace with another actor if he asked for more money.Of course I was wondering why there wasn't a Commando Cody comic book.And for anyone else who might have wondered what one might have looked like here's a faux page illustrated by my buddy Vance Capley.

See Vance Capley at work! Click here :)


  1. I couldn't resist creating this page with Vance Capley.Commando Cody was never given a back story in the serials.I thought it would be a natural to make him an Army Air Corps. veteran.

  2. The Rocket suit always gave these serials the "Cool" edge that set them apart. I always wondered why a holster was not fitted to outfit. He sometimes tucked his 38 into his belt.

  3. I always wondered why his butt didn't burn off!

    1. I think we all wondered about that. Ha ha ha.

  4. Cody worked for the government in SKY MARSHALL and I seem to remember that they required him to wear the mask. I loved his simple controls: UP, DOWN, FAST and SLOW. Like Superman, he would aim himself downwards head first but land on his feet. Did we miss a summersault somewhere? Cody was one of my favorite - but little used - genres: superscientic space hero set in present day. A good example was Magazine Enterprise's JET POWERS - the entire 4-issue run available for free download at Digital Comics Museum. And then of course there was his more recent counterpart - Captain Proton!