Space Circuses

August 11th, 2008 by

I have finally finished reading Space Circus, written by Mark Evanier and drawn by Sergio Aragonés. I’ve been writing this post for almost as long as I’ve been reading it. (Like a week or so.) Unfortunately, the comic was just okay. The art was (mostly) fantastic, and there were fun little things to look at in the background of the panels on almost every page. (My biggest qualm with the art, and this is pretty nitpicking, was that Aragonés, like most artists, has no idea how to draw people juggling. Generally the objects either just get scattered in the air above someone’s head, or they get drawn in a giant circle or arc from one hand to the other. I’m a juggler, so this bothers me.) Anyway the story was pretty mundane, in spite of its rich and enjoyable premise: basically about a boy who accidentally stumbles onto the Space Circus space ship while they’re making repairs on earth after having been set upon by space pirates, and the hilarity that ensues. Except, unfortunately, there is less hilarity than expected, or desired.

But I did manage to enjoy this anyway, and along the way I wracked my brain for additional references to circuses in space. (I did some web searching too.) More space circuses after the jump.

Apparently Batman and Robin join a space circus in World’s Finest Comics issue #130. I wanted to see this so bad that I managed to “find” it online. Actual copies tend to sell for a pretty penny, so I’ll post the only really relevant panels here. You can see Batman and robin doing the flying trapeze, and Batman on a tightrope on a unicycle, with robin on his shoulders! There is also a rather disturbing William Tell reference.

Valerian features a space circus in the last story. I’ve talked about that some in one of the podcasts, but I should really have written a review. It’s a translated (french) TPB I brought home from the library, and liked it so much that when I found it on Amazon (for cheap) I bought it anyway.

Then there is a novel called Lord Valentine’s Castle that is the first in a series by Robert Silverburg that I absolutely adored when I was about 13 or so. I haven’t read it since, but it’s the reason (along with Stranger in a Strange Land) that I used Valentine for my first online alias. Basically, a prince loses his memory, and falls-in with a traveling troupe of alien jugglers.

An episode of the TV show Lost In Space was called “Space Circus“, and apparently features one. You can watch it on Hulu.com, but I haven’t yet. There is also an episode of Super Friends that features a space circus, also unseen by me.

Circus World is a science fiction novel by Barry B. Longyear, about a world where the entire population is descended from a space circus that crash landed on the planet centuries before. It’s actually part of a trilogy. I’ve only read this one, but when I realized it was missing from the disambiguation page, I added a very short entry for the novel it to wikipedia.

Unread by me, Beast Master’s Circus is another science fiction novel, written by Andre Norton and Lyn McConchie. It’s actually the 4th in a series.

I also have a game for the N64 laying around somewhere called Starshhot: Space Circus Fever, as I recall, it was a pretty awful platformer, and I never played more than a few minutes into it. (Obviously I bought it for the theme alone.)

There’s a myspace page for a hardcore band called Space Circus. Also, little closer to my musical tastes, (anyway, easier to listen to) a band from the 70s called Return to Forever has a clip labeled Space Circus on youtube. I’m pretty sure it’s the name of a song.

That was it, that was all I could find or remember. Many of the top results on google are to a weird educational site in the UK, but I didn’t include it here because it’s neither sci-fi nor really a circus. If anyone has any additions to this list, I’d LOVE to hear about them. I really feel like there must be a ton more that I’m forgetting, or just don’t know about.

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2 Responses to “Space Circuses”

  1. Susie Says:

    I thought of two sorta space circuses. The Cirque Du Soliel tv show, I think it was called Solstrom. There was a guy on a moon or satelitte conducting acts from space or something, it was hard to follow. And in the opening scene of a Firefly episode, probably the Message they are at a carnival/freak show. And there was a recent episode of Torchwood with evil spirits from a carnival/freakshow, attacking people. Not in space but still cool.

  2. Martin Says:

    Thanks Susie, these are great! I even have Solstrom on DVD.

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