The Adventures Continue

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TAC Table of Contents
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Review by Scott Summitt
The Adventures Continue
Copyright 2002 Scott Summitt. All Rights Reserved.


By Michael Bifulco
Published by MJB Books - 2002

 Michael Bifulco

Author Michael Bifulco is best known by superhero fans for writing books like Superman On Television and the Batman movie serials of the 1940s. His independently published books are often found in the collections of many Superman enthusiasts.

His love for the vintage Adventures of Superman television show led him to cast his hat into the arena of fiction writing with his latest book, SpaceMan Lost.

Based on the mysterious death of actor George Reeves, SpaceMan Lost spins an effective story of tension, jealousy and mystery set against the nostalgic tableau of Golden Age Hollywood.

Bifulco doesn't let the flashiness of Tinseltown blind the reader to the tragic circumstances leading to the death of Gordon Reed, the fictional star of a popular 1950s television show.

Instead, he paints a telling picture of life in the waning days of Hollywood's Golden Age, introducing readers to the praetorian world behind the glittering facade of Hollywood Babylon.

He effectively sets up the events leading to the mysterious shooting death of the fictional Reed and offers an interesting take on an unsolved Hollywood mystery.

The first half of the story takes readers on a trip behind the scenes through the dusty studio backlots and trendy Hollywood bistros where Bifulco introduces his cast of characters.

Lars Jacobson, a long retired actor from the 1950s SpaceMan TV show, serves the main proponent of the story. With the impending release of a new blockbuster SpaceMan film, Jacobson is invited to speak about the vintage television program at a weekend convention.

But the invitation comes with a price as the reticent Jacobson is forced to relive the memories and unlock secrets surrounding the untimely death of his heroic co-star.

Jacobson's down-to-earth demeanor and sly sense of humor make him an instantly likable character in the vein of real life actor Jack Larson. Characters like savvy starlet Lana Taylor also add a low key undertone of comedic sexuality to the story which this reader finds most appealing.


SpaceMan Lost maintains a familiar proximity to its inspirational source and carries all the hallmarks of the original case -- romantic entanglements with the wife of a powerful studio executive, a mysterious shooting, multiple suspects, conspiracy theories, and unanswered questions.

Names of many characters are close to the original people on which they are based -- i.e. George Reeves and the fictional Gordon Reed. Because the fictional story closely parallels the Reeves case, there is an underlying sense of tragedy and solemnity that permeates throughout the book.

Part detective story, part Greek tragedy, the story sometimes skates too near the source of its inspiration, but Bilfulco manages to make several imaginative twists on the subject.

In the spirit of the vintage TV program it undoubtedly celebrates, the book occasionally lets its technical flubs show. Repeated use of phrases (he replied, she replied, he replied again) peek out from the narrative like the "invisible" wires that once suspended TV's Man of Steel in flight.

To the critical eye, this repetition might be a setback, but Bifulco's warm and respectful telling of the story more than makes up for any grammatical shortcomings.

The fictional story is treated with the same familial allegiance that fans of the vintage TV show reverently hold today. Bifulco has obviously put a lot of love and devotion in crafting his narrative, and his sincerity indeed carries the story along to its satisfying conclusion.

SpaceMan Lost is a promising debut from an author with a flair for good storytelling. Bilfulco's budding style shows flashes of genuine imagination and an easy going amble which evenly paces his story between scenes in present day and the almost obligatory flashbacks of 1950s Hollywood.

Fans of genre fiction will surely appreciate this book for its unpolished charm and warm admiration for a beloved television actor whose portrayal of a legendary hero touched countless lives of many a generation.

A long time Superman fan, Scott Summitt is a freelance writer and actor living in Los Angeles, CA . He is the author of the on-going series, The Superman Enigma, which appears in the SuperPlanet Chronicles at can e-mail him at

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