The mighty S.B.T.U. has returned and welcome back heroes to our sixth official event! For those new to Super-Blog Team Up, welcome to a blog experience like no other. For those faithful out there..a hearty WELCOME BACK!! As you all know the S.B.T.U. are a collective of like-minded comic book bloggers/podcaster’s who have come together to save blog readers from the boring abyss of the blogosphere. The team comes together quarterly to each take a turn putting our unique spin on a singular topic!
This time around its everyone’s favorite topic.. TOP TEN LISTS! Don’t worry there will be no bait clicking here.All lists will be contained within one page of each blog..no clicking each number of the list to get to number one!! Well enough formality…you are now on-board the Super-Hero Satellite. We ask that you strap in tight..this Satellite is equipped with the technology for time travel. Todays destination will be the 80s and in the offices of DC Comics! We present the Top Ten 1980s DC Comics that were cancelled before their time.
Begin Transmission: May 6th 2015
10: Ambush Bug: Poor Irwin Shwab a down on his luck shlem. His friends Arg Yle The sock and Cheeks The Wonder Toy, were companions to Bug who was a man with a mental condition who thought he was a superhero. Irwin had the ability to teleport with a device inside a green insect like skin suit he found. Ambush Bug was an intentionally a comedic character who gathered quite a following in the mid 80s. He popped up in a number of titles and was the DC universes very own nuisance. After a one shot special and two mini series, Ambush Bug drifted into obscurity as fast as he entered the DCU. He would re-appear out of the blue several times more but the honeymoon was over. The comedic aspect of these books would not fit in with the new direction of DC today…however in the 80s..this was comic gold. Ambush Bug was not a case of cancellation but rather a case of what was not meant to be. After the strong reaction to his mini series, the Bug was primed for a solo series debut, however with shifts in creative at DC and changes in the comic book landscape..poor Ambush was simply shelved and not revisited. Ambush Bug remains a soft spot in my heart as it was on a trip as a kid to the “Big City” that I visited a local Comic Book Store and purchased my first Ambush Bug issue (Son Of Ambush Bug #1) along with an issue of the Direct Only Legion Of Super-Heroes #1 Baxter Series!! It was also on this day that I passed on a book that the comic store owner told me was great..Watchmen #1. Who wanted that right? Especially at cover price…Besides it had a stupid cover. Yikes..what was I thinking!! Hindsight my friends..
9. Night Force: In 1982 the comics industry Horror market had, with all intents and purposes, died. Hits like Tomb Of Dracula had expired and interest in the genre had waned. So it came as a surprise when Marv Wolfman of New Teen Titans fame decided he wanted to do a new horror title which would be a hard sell to DC or any company at that time. Wolfman convinced DC and along with Horror master artist Gene Colan, they went to work on this new horror concept, Night Force. It was cool because it avoided going to the cliche well by not going with classic horror movie monsters (Like Dracula) and they created a new group of Horror characters. It centered around a sorcerer Baron Winters, who played the puppet master to a team of Supernatural Demon Hunters. They tracked the Supernatural in what ever place or time it existed. Winters could send his team back in time or where ever the threat may appear. The Night Force cast was not consistent (One of the knocks on the series) and the series rotated members in and out which always kept the book fresh. The high hopes that Wolfman preached did not add up to sales on the newsstand. The cancellation was based on early direct sales numbers which Wolfman contested. The Newsstand sales had come in much later, the book had actually performed pretty well. It was too late as the book was sentenced to its death. I compel you to find these issues in a back issue bin somewhere as these books were ahead of its time. It was brought back (sans Gene Colan ..which was the heart of the book IMO) twice, but the magic was not there. One cant help but think Night Force would make a great AMC or Netflix Series these days…you heard it here first kids!
8. Vigilante: Screw the Punisher.In 1983, after the pending demise of Night Force, Marv Wolfman paired up with one of the best artists in the industry, George Perez. Together they created a hard-hitting, very adult themed, violent book based loosely on a Golden Age western character of the same name. The Vigilante was an exercise in unevenness. Obviously inspired by Marvels Punisher, The Vigilante began his campaign of revenge following the murder of his family by a gang of Mobsters. Adrian Chase, was a successful District Attorney hell-bent on seeking vengeance for his family. The Vigilante was different in the sense that he didnt “Have it all together” sometimes his violence escalated into killing the innocent. He even gave up his identity for a period of time with two others taking up his mantel. When he made the call to return to the hood..the sad part was it was too late. *Spoilers* The Vigilante spiraled into a dark place and went on a killing spree that included bad guys, police, and whoever go in his way. Upon realizing his mistake he was taken over by overwhelming grief. The Vigilante took his own life which at the time was groundbreaking. This book was overlooked by many which is a shame as some writing credits went to Alan Moore and Paul Kupperberg. This was also one of the early Direct Market only books which many newsstand fans may have totally missed out on. If you like great writing..and you like the Punisher, then read the book that set the bar for violence in the 80s!
7. Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew : I loved Harvey Comics and I loved Funny Animal Comics! DC was not exactly known for their kids books…but boy they went out and delivered one of the best one that was ever published. Like a Heavy Metal band writing an amazing ballad, DC swung for the fences making one of the first Super-Hero Funny Animal teams!! I grabbed every Captain Carrot book I could find with my allowance money of a very rich 20 bucks. (Thats was BIG money in the 80s as a kid people!!) The Zoo Crew was the funny animal version of the JLA..and this kid was hooked. You had Captain Carrot (Superman), FastBack (The Flash), Alley Cat Abra (Zatanna) Yankee Poodle (Captain America meets Wonder-Woman) Rubber Duck (Elongated man/Plastic man) and Of course the Metal Pig…PIG IRON (The Thing meets the Hulk!) Interestingly enough..the Zoo Crew as they were called, often crossed over with regular DC Cannon. Cap met with Superman several times and even battled Starro just like the original JLA!! Of course after a great start and hot sales, Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew became lost in the shuffle. The final nail was driven into the coffin of the era of the funny animal books. Cap of course would return in several cameos throughout the years but I am still looking forward to the day a full on Zoo Crew book is relaunched!! To Read more about the Zoo Crew, the Satellite has covered these crazy super animals in detail..check out this link!!
6. Manhunter: Anyone remember Marvels Secret Invasion? You know, its the one where The Skulls infiltrated The Marvel Universe and stole a number of heroes identities. No one could be trusted. They could be a Skrull!! Well anyone who collected comics back in the mid 80’s knows of a little DC Comics Crossover event known as Millennium. The Green Lantern’s old nemesis, The Manhunters, infiltrated the DC Universe long before any Skrull! Once again..No one could be trusted! Manhunter’s literally took the place of many people in the DC Universe. Well as successful as Marvels Secret Invasion series was..Millenium was equally unsuccessful. DC seemingly produced a great crossover until it went off the rails at the end as its conclusion. It was notorious for spawning a brand new Super Team..The New Guardians. Sounds great right! Guess what..they absolutely SUCKED. Anyways..On to this Manhunter Solo Series. This Manhunter was yet another public defender named Mark Shaw, who as well was disillusioned with the justice system who sought out a mysterious underground sect of crime fighters called the Manhunter’s. Historically the Manhunter’s were a group of crime fighting Androids who’s mantra was “No One Escapes The Manhunters” . Eventually the Manhunter androids would go too far in Shaw’s mind as they attemoted to take over the Guardians and destroy the DC Universe! Shaw would escape their ranks and go on to don a Ninja influenced uniform and spent his time kicking ass. I will admit back in the 80s I was a fan of Ninjas..and while this book comes off as total **** today..in its time..in its place..I thought Manhunter’s were the coolest thing ever!!
5. Blue Devil: When you collect comics one of the best thing about the hobby was trading! Cashing in a few of your undesirables for some brand new books that you wanted. One mans garbage is another man treasure…as was the case on this particular trade. While I cant remember what the book I traded, I fondly remember grabbing Blue Devil #2. Blue Devil was brand new to me at the time and just looked damn cool!! He was a muscled up Blue skinned, Big Horned…uhhh well Devil! He wore a big giant collared singlet and toted a super charged pitch fork. Well while it may sound terrible..Blue Devil was charming. The title didn’t take itself seriously and there was a lot of self parody. You better believe the rouges gallery were one for the ages. The Devil combated the likes of Shockwave, Godfrey Goose, Roadmaster, The Green Gargoyle and more. I always though the fact Blue Devil was never a member of Keith Giffens Bwah Ha Ha version of the Justice League was a missed opportunity. I think DC mishandled his return to the New52 most recently, making him a dark Demon Hunter who killed off Demons with his Trident Of Lucifer!! I cant help but think this book deserved better! In the right comedic hands this book could return or he would make a great accent to a team!! By The way…he was good enough to be on the Justice League Unlimited TV series so that has to stand for something…right??!!
4. Hex: The Future was never the same when Jonah Hex was teleported from 1875 to the year 2050 with guns a blazin!! I may not be joined by many on this but, this was my all time favorite incarnation of Hex! From the gunslingin wild west to the post nuclear Mad Max inspired dark industrial future, Hex took on a Futuristic Batman, Giant metal Robots, a Chain Saw wielding crazy cyborg and even fought his own girlfriend Stiletta! The book lasted a mere 17 issues due to poor sales and a horrendous creative switch late in the series. Mark Texiera was the titles original artist and visually made the book look and feel cant miss!! However..Keith Giffen (Who has been mentioned several times in this article) at the time had adapted completely an abstract noir art style that literally put the fork in the title. It was THAT bad. While this series gets no love on the web..this reader would insist on the HEX title returning for one more run! Hey,there’s a new Mad Max movie coming out this year…its time for Hex to return back to good ole 2050!! I go into extreme detail on this title and more in one of my favorite Satellite posts “Hex Style”. https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/hex-style/
3. Booster Gold: On what Earth did a slick talking, Super Jock Celebrity Thief, from the year 25th Century get cancelled? No justice I say! Booster Gold was originally portaryed as a disgraced character from the 25th Century who was caught cashing in on Football Games that he was playing and intentionally throwing for his own personal financial gain. Well one night as he was working his new blue-collar security job (After being fired from his career in disgrace!) in a Space Museum Micheal Jon Carter would steal everything he needed to get his life back! Lifting a slick magnetic Gold Power Suit…one Legion Flight Ring and even a Force Field belt..he was transformed into the Futures #1 Superhero Celebrity..whether they were ready for him or not! With his Robotic companion Skeet’s, and as well his Time Traveling buddies like DC’s father of Time, Rip Hunter, Booster was set for sure success upon his solo debut in 1986 . With Dan Jurgen’s at the helm Booster lasted a mere 25 issues and his last issue came out during the ill fated Millennium crossover. With these characters and creators on the books side, the character had unlimited potential.While Booster was highly positioned in big events several times over the years and even received his own book again, he can never seem to keep readers at the door. This is DC’s most underrated and misused character and Booster deserves better. Booster was given a lease on life after the cancellation when mastermind Keith Giffen (I am still mad at him for ruining Hex!!) used him for his infamous Bwah Ha Ha Justice League book where he became a comedic buddy cop team with…well he happens to be next..Its Blue Beetle!!
2. Blue Beetle: Years ago companies like Charlton Comics were in an industry Turf war to stay relevant in the comics landscape of the 60s and 70s. Charlton had Marvels former number one artist Steve Ditko,fresh off his run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Ditko was famous in Charlton Editorial Offices for churning out book after book ,hoping something would stick..well one that didn’t interestingly enough but would be brought to life years later in the DC Universe was Ditkos Ted Kord..The Blue Beetle! No not that Jamie Reyes crap..Ted Kord damn it! Beetle debuted around the same time that DC was trying a bunch of new titles in 1986 for a minimal 24 issue run. Like the aforementioned Booster Gold, DC would have plans for Booster and Beetle in the new 1980s mega popular Justice League where they became the new dynamic duo of slapstick. Both characters were reborn in a new comedic light but did not receive their own team book at the time when they were white-hot which was a critical mistake. So much has happened to both characters that this book would not make sense to reunite them without the pre 52 history intact. There’s still hope DCs newest crossover Convergence can fix some of the lost magic!
1. Batman and The Outsiders: Batman shouted “I’ve had ENOUGH of your two-bit JUSTICE LEAGUE…from now on these are my NEW PARTNERS!!” as he quit the JLA on the front cover of one of my favorite all time comic books….Batman and The Outsiders #1.
I was a HUGE Batman fan as a kid. It’s all I wanted to do was role play the dynamic duos adventures with my best friends. Of course Batman was a key member of the Justice League as well and I loved that he was part of a bigger team. It always seemed that the Caped Crusader was held back in the JLA…so when I heard he was quitting and making his own team I couldn’t wait to see who this new team would be! In 1983 in a special insert edition within the pages of The Brave and The Bold the Outsiders debuted! The shape shifting Metamorpho, was joined by the electric cool Black Lightning, Sword wielding Katanna, the dreamy Halo, and earth shattering Geo-Force whom along with Batman himself made up this unconventional team of heroes. I loved them…they were not mainstream but they were my Super Group! After 32 issues Batman left the group and the characters went on their separate ways. The book was never the same… The Outsiders have been brought back to life several times in many failed efforts but Batman and the Original Outsiders never reformed. (Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 2 came close!!) It was one of the lost Gems of the original DC ..one I would love to be reborn in the New52 era. Get on it DC!!
Well..thats all folks...I would love for those who agree or disagree with this list let me know what YOUR picks are below in the comments section. My list is just that..MY LIST..it is by no means meant to be a definitive list created from years of data and opinion. Maybe you like it…maybe you dont..but you have a right to be wrong..lol. Anyways..lets not stop there…as promised the team has loaded the deck with ton more of awesome Top Ten lists..but dont take my word for it…take it away team!!
There are plenty more Top Ten Lists to go…Please Visit the REST of the Super-Blog Team Ups Family Of Blogs!!
1. Longbox Graveyard: Top 10 Super-Dogs – http://wp.me/p1yye7-2IH
2. The Unspoken Decade: Top 10 Avengers Moments – http://theunspokendecade.com/2015/05/04/sbtu-presents-top-10-biggest-avengers-moments-of-the-1990s/
3. In My Not So Humble Opinion: Top 10 Avengers Sketches – https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/top-ten-avengers-sketches/
4. Legion Of Super-Bloggers: Top 10 Who’s Who Legion Entries – http://legionofsuperbloggers.blogspot.com
5. The SuperHero Satellite: Top 10 DC Comics Titles That Ended Before Their Time- https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/super-blog-tea…ore-their-time/.
6. Flodo’s Page: Top 10 Green Lantern Ring-Slings …That Don’t Appear In Modern Continuity – http://flodospage.blogspot.ca/2015/05/top-10-green-lantern-ring-slings-that.html?spref=tw
7. Fantastiverse: Top 10 Avengers Greatest Super Battles – http://fantastiverse.com/ Coming Soon!
8. Mystery V-Log: Top 10 Avengers Covers – youtu.be/6cX1THVk3-k NEW!!
9. Idol Head Of Diablou: Top 10 Most Important Martian Manhunter Villains – http://idol-head.blogspot.com/2015/05/podcast-top-10-most-important-martian.html
10. Marvel Superheroes Podcast: The Top 10 Avengers (An Age of Ultron Tie-In)
11. Chasing Amazing: Top 10 Favorite Moments Of The “Chase” – http://www.chasingamazingblog.com/2015/05/06/super-blog-team-up-top-10-moments-of-chasing-amazings-chase/
12. Between The Pages: Top 10 Wackiest DC Comics Covers –
13. Bronze Age Babies: The Top 10 Bronze Age Characters (x2!) – http://bronzeagebabies.blogspot.com/2015/05/super-blog-team-up-top-10-bronze-age.html
14. Too Dangerous For A Girl!: Ten Best Super-Heroic Hairstyles –
15. Vic Sage Via The Retroist: TBD – Top Ten Comic Character Deaths
16. I’m The Gun: The 10 Best All-Star Squadron Covers!