What dimension are we in again?
For the love of all things rad, what’s going on?
While it makes you wonder, we rad fans are lucky in one regard. The calm, adventurous hero who gets us stoked to ride isn’t phased by the new or the strange. If anything, he’s used to them. Extra-terrestrials, glowing meteor rocks, doppelgangers from the year 2065—if it’s from the X Files, then Mug, Spike, Bonnie and Radical Rick have probably done it.
Odd as it is, and considering his gravitational effect on championships, finish lines, (and let’s face it… girls), it makes sense that the Radster is a magnet for bizarre unknowns.
Or, shall we put it… close encounters of the rad kind.
Not to be outdone by some A.I. chatbot who thinks it’s 2022, we’re counting down the times when Radical Rick went sci-fi.
The 'Rad' Files
Here we go, rad fans.
In a break with previous countdowns, we’re going chronological. First to last, and in order of when they ran in BMX Plus Magazine, here’s the times Damian’s imagination took the Rad Squad to the Outer Limits.
June of ‘81
In his second year in print, Radical Rick found himself beamed up into a UFO and examined by curious, chromoly-based lifeforms.
With handlebar antlers, and a single bike wheel instead of feet… the aliens see Radical Rick’s two-wheeled trick bike as a fascinating innovation. But when they play his memories on a projection screen, we get a classic misunderstanding—they think all the babes flocking around Radical Rick are devouring him whole.
In a way, the aliens aren’t wrong, but we digress.
In a plot twist that would make Rod Serling proud, the aliens decide NOT to invade a planet with such hideous, unstoppable, long-haired creatures.
Moral of the story?
In the last caption of the strip, Damian tells us:
“No matter what your parents say, there are positive side effects from thinking about girls. Just ask rad!”
MX Mug Meets a Glowing Space Rock
June of ‘84
This Spiderman-flavored sequence brought Damian’s own brand of sci-fi into multiple issues. It starts with Radical Rick and MX Mug saving a canceled BMX contest by blasting a half-pipe crater into a canyon… which leaves Mug to find a shard of glowing, previously buried meteorite, (it’s meteorite, not meteor… we double checked).
Sure enough, the rock emits strong radiation—enough to turn Mug’s limbs into finished spaghetti and color him a healthy shade of neon. Naturally, Mug’s piqued. In no time, he’s busting out enough bendy, flexible BMX tricks to win first place!
But even with that first place trophy finally in his mitts, Mug’s still glowing… no girls will touch him.
In an ending that kicks off yet another storyline, Radical Rick and Mug drive the Attackilac up the highest peak in Crushed Crank Canyon to launch the rock back into space .
Even more than fun-loving sci-fi, Gumby Mug’s rise and fall is really a nod to the old King Midas fable—the one with a greedy King who asks that everything he touches turn to gold… and finds out food and friends are included.
Careful what you wish for, Mug.
Purin Flashin performs a ‘Radectomy’
November of ‘86
Move over, Frankenstein.
In another multiple-issue storyline with more than a few cliffhangers, Purin Flashin attempts—and for a hot minute, succeeds—in giving Radical Rick a ‘Radectomy.’ That is, in a Transylvanian-looking lab with trapdoors, dungeons, and hordes of rats, he straps Radical Rick to a brain transfusion device and switches out his rad reflexes with those of his own hand-picked Igor… Skuzzer Switchblade.
You guessed it—use Radical Rick’s athletics in Skuzzer’s body to amaze, and one day, control the youth of America.
Fortunately, and with the help of a mysterious, brainiac helper who later reveals herself as Bonnie Brainstorm, (it’s her very first appearance), Radical Rick and Skuzzer find themselves back on the operating table for a reverse procedure.
In hindsight, we can only wonder: if a lumbering warthog possessed rad reflexes for a matter of hours… was he really rad?
And list on our list…
Radical Rick Blasts into the Future
February of ‘92
“You made a time machine out of a Delorean?”
Well, not exactly. But when Bonnie Brainstorm cooks up her own BMX racing simulation device, the effect is similar. In yet another multi-episode saga, we follow Radical Rick to the distant future of 2065.
Sure enough, and because time travel always comes with complications, when Rick returns, a hovercraft-riding future Skuzzer (dressed like Robocop and calling himself ‘Lazer’) is right on his heels.
When Lazer meets Skuzzer, royal egos flare up… but when the two hatch a plan, the real mayhem begins.
Moral of the story?
Skuzzer / Lazer is bad news in any time period… and two of him is even worse.
That’s a Wrap
All to say, and as far as we know… bikes and berms still work in the Twilight Zone.
With any luck, and granted there’s no spy balloon hovering high above your local dirt track, these unexplained escapades should get you stoked to ride.
Until next time, rad fans.