Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Welcome Back Heroes!!

Its another installment of the SHS Podcast and this is one you are NOT gonna want to miss!! Click the link below and start listening but check out this blog post first for plenty of visual eye candy!! If you are a toy collector look no further than this action packed episode!!

Begin Transmission: 1/28/2021

Super-Hero Satellite Podcast Episode 2 is HERE!! In this episode we deep dive into vintage toy collecting. I share my memories of growing up a Toy Collector and all the memories around Christmas toy hauls and random stories of how I came upon some of the most classic toys there ever existed! I also brought in an expert to provide professional analysis as Mr. Scott Kinney, who happens to be the executive producer of The Game Chasers Motion Picture as well as the Executive Producer for Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest Youtube Steaming Series joins me in the conversation!! Hang with us as we discuss our favorite childhood toy lines, collecting stories and plenty of industry discussion.

Scott has been a long time collector and has amassed an amazing collection of some of the greatest and rarest toy-lines out there!! Our discussion goes deep into his passion for collecting and many of the stories attached to finding some of the essential key collectors toys in the wild. Scott is no stranger to selling vintage toys and always finds himself at Flea Markets and conventions buying and selling some of the worlds most coveted collectibles. Dont believe me? Check out the proof below!! You may need to sit down as this collection is staggering!!

You are not a true Toy collector without showcasing Kenner’s Super Powers collection!! A key collection featuring the best DC Superheroes and villains all on display right here. For those with a kean eye..yes that is the mega rare Cyborg figure behind Clark Kent in that picture!! Dont forget one of my favorite pieces as well that Super Powers Hall Of Justice!! Just a beautiful set right here!!

Serious Toy collectors know the value of the next set of toys the Super Elusive Shogun Warrior figures, but not just the Shogun warriors but BOTH versions of Godzilla from that line. These are considered the crown jewel of that collection and the Godzilla variant is on the very top of Vintage Collectors checklists of holy grails!

Possibly the most incredible collection of Shogun Warriors I have ever seen. Do a careful scan of this picture and just see the deep cuts that exist in this wall of toys. A true collector knows that when it comes to vintage hot toys there is nothing as pure as what is on this photo. We cover all the details of Shogun Warriors in the show so be sure to check out the stories associated with acquiring this giant collection.

One of my favorite Toy lines is one that many times gets lost in the conversation and that is Sectaur’s. Sectaurs: Warriors of Symbion was a line of action figures released by Coleco in 1985 and were a deluxe and often time very expensive toy-line that I ate up as a kid. The central collectible of the collection is The Hyve Action Play-set. A super rare massive play set that is highly sought after by collectors that finds its home in the incredible Kinney Collection! (Super jealous Scott!! LOL)

Scott’s collection has also been highlighted by the amazing Netflix series dedicated to Toy Collecting called “The Toys That Made Us” As you can see in this picture the incredible vintage 12″ Star Wars figures as well as a load of vintage Boba Fett figures THE hottest Star Wars toy burning up collectible websites everywhere these days hot off the heels of Disney’s Star Wars: The Mandalorian! You gotta hear our reflections on the Star Wars figures and that incredible Kenner line of amazing collectibles in the show!!

Find Scott on Twitter at @kidkosmic and as well at @Popculturequest and enjoy all of his tweets which happens to be heavy with amazing pics of collectibles and other super nerdy and fun stuff!! One would be remiss to not tell you of Scott’s own attempt at making his OWN Toy!! I present to you Brogun Warriors! Yeah they look a little familiar but that’s the point!! The first toy was commissioned by http://toyworth.com as an NYCC exclusive. The first pic was a mock up Scott put on Instagram and was then contacted and asked to produce a limited number for NYCC!!. The toy was even bought by Robert Bruce while at the con and was showcased online!

Making our own toys is what dreams are made of!! If you ever wanted to make your own toy what would you make?? Let us know we would love to hear! In the meantime thanks for checking out the blog and I hope you all dig the show…its a real labor of love for me! If you are a visual person and a Youtube only type of person you can see the completely unedited discussion right here as well!! Now that’s being SUPER SERVED!!

Drop us a comment here on the blog or on my Twitter @Charlton_Hero or on email at charltonhero@gmail.com! We would love to hear from you! Come on back in February for the 3rd of 4 episodes of The SuperHero Satellite Podcast as we tackle Sci-Fi Television…and a little thing called “V”…Oh yeah!!

Till Next Time Heroes!!

Transmission Ended..

Hey gang!!

Look what blog just got it’s very own podcast!!! Today marks the long lamented debut of The SuperHero Satellite Podcast! Blog fans can now listen to me as we cover all the great retro things we enjoy right here on this blog! Today we chat with the inspiration for my podcasting venture Comic Geek Speak and The Daily Rios own Peter Rios joins the show to discuss our comic book origins!

Keep in mind this will NOT replace the regular blog posts but will be an addition to this site as additional content! Strap in heroes..SuperHero Satellite Podcast begins NOW!

https://podcast.app/shs-ep-the-origin-story-e126091867/?utm_source=ios&utm_medium=share

Hey Satellite Subscribers!

Myself and a curated selection of fellow bloggers and podcasts joined up for a new project called Super Book Club Team Up where we discuss a Book, Series or what ever else can be consumed reading the English language and this is our first effort as we dissected The Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips Book The Fade Out.

Check out content creators Mark Radulich on Twitter for his many many hours of podcast content! Find him on Twitter @markradulich and on the W2M podcast network for all his amazing content! Last but not least Super Blog Team Ups JJ Goldstein can be found @bigox737 and on his blog https://comicscomicscomics.blog/

Now.. enjoy this preview! Feel free to leave a comment! Tell em Hero sent ya!

https://superblogteamup.wordpress.com/2020/08/26/super-book-club-team-up-vol-1-the-fade-out/?fbclid=IwAR0z8SN76dlFplyE3nC2t7iQDIS8jRWJocsba4EYZ1YnLgnY2i4CI2exGas

Below is a sample of the Teams analysis! For the COMPLETE article you have to click the above link! For now enjoy!!

Posted: August 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

Super-Book Club Team-Up: Vol. 1

The Fade Out:

Plot:

Charlie Parish, a Hollywood screenwriter suffering from PTSD, is fronting for his blacklisted best friend, Gil. When Charlie wakes from a blackout in the same room as a murdered starlet, he and Gil set out to bring her killer to justice. As they follow leads trying to piece together the night leading up to the murder, cooperative witnesses are punished by the studio’s fixer. Charlie is prepared to quit when Gil tries to blackmail the head of the studio by anonymously claiming he “knows what happened” with the starlet. 

Misunderstanding the threat, the studio head tries to destroy evidence that he had sexually abused her when she was a child actor. Charlie and Gil are able to retrieve a folder of photographs and decide to keep fighting for justice. They plan to kidnap the other studio co-founder, who is now suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and will freely admit to the past sins. They arrive at the co-founder’s mansion at the same time the fixers are murdering him to prevent him from talking. As the two friends are escaping from the fixers, Gil is shot and killed. When Charlie resigns himself to working in the corrupt culture, the fixer reveals the actress was murdered by an undercover FBI agent who was looking for communists in Hollywood.

Creative Team:

Ed Brubaker: Writer

Sean Phillips: Artist

Elizabeth Breitweiser: Colors

“The Fade Out is a crime comics series created by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips with the help of colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser and research assistant Amy Condit. Twelve issues were published by Image Comics between August 2014 and January 2016. The story has been collected into three trade paperback volumes and a single hardcover collection.The story, partly inspired by the life of Brubaker’s uncle, is set in 1948 and stars Charlie Parish, a Hollywood screenwritersuffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and fronting for his blacklisted best friend, Gil. When Charlie wakes from a blackout in the same room as a murdered starlet, he and Gil set out to bring her killer to justice. As they learn more about her troubled past, they find themselves up against powerful Hollywood elites who do not want to upset the status quo.Although Brubaker had been concerned the premise was not commercial enough to have wide appeal, The Fade Outsold better than any of the authors’ previous collaborations, and early issues went through several printings. The series received positive reviews from critics.”Credit Wikipedia

The Score Card:

Take the survey below.https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7C2KNH5

The Art

:Charlton Hero: The art was incredible. It 100% captured early Hollywood and the period it was intended for. Rich detail which was obviously well studied as I did no at anypoint feel I was not immersed in this world. The visuals on the characters all inspired by real Hollywood actors and that as well added to the authenticity of the book. Sean Philips details on the architecture, vehicles and dress was carefully studied and the noir style coloring of the book really added to an old school cinematic effect they were clearly striving for. In the letters pages it was noted that the creative team scoured photos, magazines and what ever else hey could find from the period to make each detail authentic. You didnt see cars or technology that didnt belong from that year or earlier. This was well studied and a joy to look at. The character renderings which is the most important of all were perfect and life like. I fully bought the characters of Charlie,Maya, Gil and Brodsky as full fleshed out real people. The aer was VERY strong in this area. There are really no flaws at all that I can point to art wise that is of any value to write here. It was as perfect of a reflection of the time and period as you can hope for. Perfect.Mark Radulich: This isn’t my favorite style of art but it matches the setting and prose style. It’s clear enough to understand what’s happening. It looked like there was use of water colors in some panels, which I enjoyed.

Jeremiah Jones-Goldstein: At first I was not enjoying the art. I felt like it was trying a little too hard to look moody and ape Frank Miller’s work on early Sin City. After I got into the story though I really started to appreciate it. I got into the mood of the story and references to real world people, just slightly off, worked well. Like Hero said, the details in buildings, costume and cars made for an immersive experience. I did feel like the art was reminiscent of Tim Sale, Howard Chyakin, and Frank Miller. And that is a compliment. Stories like “The Long Halloween”, “Black Kiss” and “Sin City” are modern classics (and in the case of Black Kiss infamous classics). Phillips’ work on this series deserves to be in the same discussion with these stories.

Story:

Charlton Hero: The overall story of Hollywood corruption and illusion was captured perfectly here. The goal of the author to portray the bright lights and pearly whites of the Hollywood illusion was perfectly detailed by Brubaker. The story of the seedy under belly of celebrity is on full display. The illusion of perfection in stardom, the abuses actresses took from producers and co stars, the fake celebrity relationships, the seedy corrupt movie politics and of course the mob like dumping of the bodies gave you a real eye opener to how dark this business actually is.The who dunnit style mystery kept me intrigued and on a rollercoaster that felt genuine and not conjured up but rather something very plausible and legit. Seeing the lengths the studios went through to make and break stars as well as control the overall scene was a great sneak behind the shady curtain. The deplorable treatment of women and writers was very well written as well and documented in the legit history of Hollywood in the 40s. Seeing the two worlds on display of celebrity and reality is very much illustrated by Maya and Vals characters who are two high society actresses who appear happy onscreen but their off screen personas are tormented and much different, The character of Dotty is also an interesting focal point who created the illusion of celebrity for these characters. The idea of a secret closed society with a specific agenda to promote a certain persona was rather fun. Mark Radulich: The story feels very LA Confidential to me. That’s a compliment. There’s also elements of Sunset Boulevard in there. Overall it’s a fun Hollywood Noir story.

Jeremiah Jones-Goldstein: This comic was an excellent case of Hollywood Noir. The movie that came to mind for me was Chinatown. For me that is because the more Charlie and Gil dig, the worse things get. They cannot help themselves though. They have a need for resolution. Charlie and Gil are characters, that as the reader, I am rooting for right from the beginning. Their lives are complicated with PTSD, Alcoholism, and infidelity but somehow these things are not entirely their fault.Charlie has suffered in the war in the European theater. Gil is a talented writer who was run over by Hollywood culture. Neither character can get out of their own way. And even at the end of the story while there is resolution, neither is much better off than when the story started. The character development for all the characters is wonderful. As the story progresses we learn more about each of them, Phil, Maya, Val and Malba are more than just props in the mystery that Charlie is trying to solve. Phil really stands out for me as the guy you want to hate, and should hate but by the ned of the story we realize he is just a pawn who is trying to survive in this horrible world.

Favorite Moments:

Charlton Hero: Easily the Charlie and Maya moments are the high point of the story for me. It feels organic and something that would play very well on screen. The relationship served as the perfect separation between what we see on camera and reality. Maya and Charlie were two broken souls making a living in a bankrupt moraless business. Maya was literally a second tier actress plunged into the spotlight to take the place of super star Val Sommers following her death. She is self conscious and feeling undeserving of the spot but trying with help from her PR girl Dotty to play a role steps above her actual status yet struggling to still be herself.Charlie is much the same. He could be a major writer with many credits but his obligation to Gil holds him back. He can’t relish in his wins because he knows that it affects Gil his Blacklisted friend. Charlie our up with tons of abuse from studio reps despite his ideas being better than anything they can come up with. He holds back because he has a friend he has to support and Ghost write in Gil and his wife but also because of his secret that he was there the night Val Sommers died and trying to piece together that mystery. Together him and Maya work. Two cogs in the wheel of a much bigger and phony corrupt business that pays their bills and they it it as much as the business needs them. Charlie and Amaya’s weekend getaway was my favorite part of the entire book.

Mark Radulich: My favorite moment is Brodsky explaining what happened. I know I was questioning things about the plot until the end. Brodsky shows a bit of humanity and vulnerability. I liked the exchange, “Don’t be an asshole!!” “I’m not, I just telling you how it is.”

Jeremiah Jones-Goldstein: I have to agree with CH on Charlie and Maya. The part of the story with their weekend getaway is one of the most tender and natural feeling parts of the story. It comes at a point where we are really looking for the story to move forward and figure out who ‘dunit but then this issue comes along and gives us some real emotion and relief from the seriousness of what we know happened to Val as a child and how horrible the heads of the studio really are. I also really loved the part where Gil and Charlie get into the big fight and we get the rest of their back story. Learning more about Charlie’s PTSD, about what happened between him and Malba, it all just made me like these characters so much more. I was also pleased, like Mark was, with the end of the story where we learn what happened from Phil. I had the thought that the story might end without getting the explanation and that would have worked for me as well it was better with it than without. I was very well done with Phil only suggesting what might have happened inside or just flat out spoon feeding it to the reader. There is still some room for the reader to question what happened and add their own thoughts to it.

The Characters:

Charlton Hero: The characters of Charlie and Gil as two writers trying to make it in a corrupt landscape was a great backdrop to the entire story. Charlie a genius writer covering for his buddy who was blackballed by the industry was a great central story. We get to see much more than surface level relationships. We see Charlie and Gil as reluctant friends that depended on each other for basic survival. Charlie Ghost writing for Gil so he could provide for his family was a great element. Gil knowing that Charlie had a relationship with his wife and not acknowledging it out of obligation to Charlies work was a pivotal moment as well. The Maya and Charlie relationship was truly my favorite part of the book. Mayas persona as a Hollywood Starlett and then a self conscious regular girlfriend to Charlie. Their getaways and secret relationship away from the eyes of the Hollywood Press was a fun part of the story. The fact that she stays with Charlie and doesnt succumb to the virtues of being a “Star” was a great piece of character. Gil was also a favorite of mine. A blackballed writer who has a shaky marriage where he knows that his wife has been sneaking around on him and he feels to be a disappointment to his family. He is dependant on Charlie who he knows has slept with his wife yet needs him to make a living. When Gil goes rogue and wants to blow the lid off of the secrets within the studios of Hollywood is where his character really shines. Desperate and broken but wanting to do the right thing. The characters of Dotty and Brodsky were well done as well. Dotty is a seasoned PR person who KNOWS what is really happening behind the scenes and is fully aware of the abuses and corruption but her job as a spin queen is handled really well as she weaves her magic setting up phony camera friendly scenarios and romances for her onscreen talent to create the illusion of the Hollywood Icons she is in charge of creating. Dotty is a powerful character in that in her position she can skyrocket someone to stardom or tear them down with her position. Then we have Brodsky who looks to be a character straight from Sin City. A tough as nails brooding studio henchmen who keeps folks in line and knows exactly what form of scum he is working for and loves it. We get to see an interesting dichotomy with Brodsky as he appears as a pure villain at first who is out to get our main protagonist but just turns out to be a guy who doesnt take anything personal and just doing a job he knows is shady.

Mark Radulich: There was a lot to keep track of here. I think the artist did a fair job of keeping the men distinct enough but the women sometimes blended together.

Jeremiah Jones-Goldstein: The characters were very well developed. I’ve already mentioned how much I liked Charlie and Gil. The women of the story really shine though. Val is incredibly complex I thought. We learn new things about her all the way through the story. I really figured that she a Charlie would get together at the end but that would have been too “Hollywood”. It was much better that she continues to climb the Hollywood ladder with her marriage to star Tyler Graves.Melba, Gil’s unhappy wife, though was a great foil for Charlie. She pushes him because she knows that he’s really a good guy. That is not to say that Gil wasn’t, after all he was the father of her children. No, think that she knew she couldn’t save Gil from himself. Her comments to Charlie at the end of the story really were sweet and the patience and room she was giving him were touching.

End of preview

And that’s the end of the preview!! If you want the FULL post click below for our criticisms and overall score of the book

Our goal is to get these out on a quarterly basis if not more in between Super Blog Team Up Events! I hope you enjoy this and follow any updates on our Facebook group Super Book Club Team Up!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SuperBookClubTeamUp/

Be safe be well and behave!

Hey Heroes Welcome back!! The Superhero Satellite has been reawakened by the one event that brings me back to my blogging roots, The Super-Blog Team Up!! If you are unfamiliar with the Mighty Marching SBTU we are a group of like minded Bloggers and Podcasters who get together 3 to 4 times a year to blog on a singular theme!! This month marks our first ever dual branded installment where we have divided the team into not one but two factions, kSBTU RED and SBTU GOLD!! If you have already checked out SBTU Red that team tackled the topic of CREATOR where the discussion centered around the creators who make the magic in the pages of the medium that we all enjoy called comics! Now if you are on Team GOLD then you are entering the world of one of my favorite topics “WHAT IF!!” The concept takes a classic storyline or character and puts a new spin on a familiar topic and takes it in wild new areas of possibility…like we will do today!! So if you ever wondered “What If??” then you have come to the right place!! Strap In tight Heroes this Satellite is going to take you back in time to ponder the question…WHAT IF PETER PARKER HAD BECOME SPEEDBALL?

Begin Transmission: 12/16/2020

I held in my hands The Amazing Spiderman Annual number 22 as I perused the comic racks in my local pharmacy. The cover showcased a brand new character that caught my eye..and now that I think of it it literally may have been ONLY my eye but never the less the tagline “Move Over Spidey Enter: Speedball” captured my imagination. The character was emblazoned with an old school vibe and a vintage style costume that hooked me right away!! I wanted to know more about this character so I laid down my coins for the book and Speedball came home with me.

I had been a Spiderman fan in the 80s and had amassed a prized run of the Amazing Spiderman of about a hundred and fifty issues!! I was especially fond of the original exploits of Spiderman that I rediscovered in the pages of Marvel Tales the reprint book which gave you the original Spidey stories with an updated cover! Much of the early art of course was handled by the legendary Steve Ditko! Many can argue that it was Ditko whom created Spiderman all by himself but the truth seems to lie in the middle with the disputed claim that Stan Lee created our friend Spidey but that’s an argument for another day. Ditko was disenfranchised by the way Marvel and Stan in particular had treated his work by changing portions of his creative stories or characters with out his knowledge. Steve was an Objectivist had a very staunch belief system in the manner justice was handled in society and those views often crept into his stories with our wall crawler. Stan and Steve were very much at odds and eventually it was too much for Ditko to bear so he walked away from Marvel a bitter creator

Ditko was a loner in the comics world in part do to his beliefs in Objectivism. He lived and breathed the teachings of philosopher Ayn Rand and much of his work was heavy handed in the way he approached a character and how were portrayed in the comics. Ditko passed over many jobs and as a result was turned down for several other opportunities for he was garnering a reputation as being hard to deal with. Spiderman and Doctor Strange were Steve Ditko’s masterworks that he was most famously known for but now Ditko chose to search out work elsewhere namely in DC comics and Charlton comics as well.

Ditko created a host of characters for DC including The Creeper and Captain Atom and Blue Beetle for Charlton. These creations kept Ditko working at least. His days at Marvel were not officially in the rear view window as he would be contracted to do odd jobs on titles like Rom SpaceKnight and dubious titles such as Marvels Star Imprints Chuck Norris and The Karate Kommandos. Ditko had seemingly run out of gas. He had become something of a Pariah in the industry. He was viewed as being a little “too weird”, and his art style had not updated with the times which would be a criticism of his latter day career.

As it would happen Marvel happened to be experimenting with a new concept about a new set of characters living in a stand alone Universe outside of the Marvel Continuity dubbed the New Universe. It created a host of new characters such as Star Brand, DP7, and Nightmask, to name a few. The New Universe however did not make it due to creative issues and lack of interest in the product. The Speedball concept was originally created by Ditko as a New Universe character but the imprint became extinct before the character could see the light of day. Ditko was struggling to get any sustained contract work and as a favor to a friend editor Tom Defalco went to bat for Ditko and the Speedball concept at Marvel resulting in getting the green light as a regular ongoing series. Steve Ditko was about to get the chance that had eluded him in recent times. As it would come to pass Speedball made his debut in The Amazing Spiderman Annual #22 and as I I stated above grabbed it off the rack immediately. I loved this new character. He had a vintage look, cool powers and was a perfect fit in the classic Marvel Universe and was to be penciled by the man who brought Spiderman and Doctor Strange to life. It was a sure fire hit….right? Well as with hindsight in mind this book was doomed to failure as Steve Ditko was almost set up to fail.

My time with Speedball was a treasured childhood memory of mine. It is a strange story because during hot summers myself and my friend John would make our weekly walk to our local drug store, pick up a cold Slush Puppy ice drink a bag of Hostess chips and of course a bag of comics!! We LOVED our comics and it was the center pin of our universe. Every conversation was about comics, we consumed them every minute we could. We had an odd ritual especially when it was hot or rainy. We had a huge drain pipe that was in a river alongside the stadium next to our mall that we would walk through in the dark almost like a game of dare for each other. At the end of the tunnel the pipe dropped off into a small river and we liked to sit at the pipes end and get comfy and read our comics. It was strange but it was part of growing up!! I sat in a water tunnel next to our stadium and I held Speedball #1. As we sat that day and studied these colorful tabloids I wanted so bad for this book to be the next big thing. I felt like I was on the ground floor of the next generation of Marvel heroes. Honestly the cover to issue one was a let down. Where as the cover to his first appearance in ASM Annual #22 was everything I looked for in a comic book, his debut issue one looked like a panel you may find in the middle of a comic as a part of a sequence of action but not a cover shot for an #1 issue? This was a bad Omen. Instead it showed the character battling a group of mono colored generic bad guys back on? The main character of the title was not really featured prominently on the cover of his own book? His design was not visible as he was depicted back on?? and this cover was an epic failure in one mans opinion. The interior story inside gave me hope. We met Robbie Baldwin and his family. Robbie, aka Speedball, acquired his powers the old fashioned Marvel way through a laboratory accident. Hammond Research Facility had been playing with the idea of Interdimensional energy sources which of course is never a good thing. Robbie ends up smack dab in the middle of a lab accident but finds himself surviving the incident but suddenly surrounded by Kinetic Energy Bubbles and dressed in a super cool blue and yellow costume. As with classic Marvel his pet cat Niels, is also affected by this incident and adds a comedic element to the issues. The Cat even adopts the name Hairball as a play on the name Speedball. This was the last stand for Steve Ditko at Marvel and Speedball The Masked Marvel lasted only 10 issues. The title was like a property out of time. There was little support from Marvel either. Historically when a title is struggling for sales Marvel would usually go for a final Hail Mary to save the title by bringing in Co Stars from other books. Where were the “HOT” appearances of Wolverine, The Punisher or even Spidey himself? Where were the Superhero team ups? Where were the wars against established super bads? Speedball was given no form of life support and it was obvious by all who were on the pulse of comics at that time that this title was given the death sentence from issue one. This was the brain child of one of the founding fathers of the Marvel Universe, but the publishers, the company, the industry, and the fans had given up on Speedball and more importantly Steve Ditko.

I always wondered What If Speedball had been the character that Ditko created in the 60s…What If Peter Parker had become Speedball instead of Spiderman!!?? What would that have looked like? Well in classic What If? form we take a look at a reality where Peter was never became your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man but instead became the Bouncing Marvel known as Speedball. Word of warning readers…this one does not end well folks…enjoy…

What if Peter Parker became Speedball!!

We all know the story. Peter Parker was your typical social outcast, unpopular with the ladies but a genius in the Labratory. As the story goes Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider which of course gives him heightened Spidey senses and other spider like abilities. But WHAT IF that the Spider that bit Peter Parker was irradiated with the kinetic energy that makes up our favorite bouncing ball! Your friendly Neighborhood… Speedball!!??We begin on college campus laboratory which is occupied by a young Peter Parker who has been working on a synthetic bond which allows molecular bonds to expand and retract like a rubber. Peter and his fellow student Gwen Stacy have formulated a rubber like substance and are putting it through a series of tests with light radiation testing. After hours Parker continues to play with his discovery alone in his lab. A spider gets trapped in the light beam and causes a disruption in the experiment. Peter notices the Spider and attempts to brush it away which he does only to knock over the beam and rubber like specimen to the floor. Peter is trapped as he struggles to get out of harms way as he is infused with the rubber like properties and radiation as the Spider he tried to swipe away bites him for his efforts! Peter, after his recovery discovers he now has enhanced abilities and is able to bounce and kinetically alter his body in ways not seen before. He keeps this ability a secret but knows he has uncovered a major scientific breakthrough. He now has the ability to create a kinetic energy field around him which is about to come in VERY handy soon as his life is about to take a BIG turn.

Peter presents his discovery to Hammond Research Laboratories in Springfield Connecticut who immediately wants the patent. While striking a lucrative deal with HRL Peter instead opts to take his discovery back home so he can be with his new love interest Gwen Stacy and instead sells the discovery to his childhood best friends father one Norman Osborn of Oscorp industries. Norman is a staunch business man who has been perfecting military grade flight devices on a contract for the U.S Military but has yet to be able to master his creation of a weaponized glider and protective warfare Armor suit. Osborn eyes Peters discovery and pays off Peter and his family handsomely for the rights to the experimental kinetic shield. Unbeknownst to Peter, Osborn stumbles upon a way to weaponize the shield powers for his glider craft and his own body Armor that he has been secretly working on. Going against protocols Osborn’s lucrative contact is cut off pending a very serious security breach leaving him bankrupt. This drives Norman to the brink of insanity and he does not cope well with losing his life’s work.

Peter on the other hand is living his best life. Now rich beyond his means Peter and Gwen have become engaged and has moved out of his Aunt May and Uncle Bens home to become a successful publisher as he has purchased the rights to buy the Daily Bugle outright. Peter has begun selling photos there only months before working as an intern selling photos of a bouncing crime fighter making waves in New York The Amazing Speedball!! Peter proudly has set his Aunt and Uncle up in a rich estate paying off their home and bills so they can retire. His Uncle Ben has a conversation with Peter whom he feels is losing sight of his self and getting a bit of a big head on his shoulders. Ben warns Peter about staying grounded and being careful with his newfound power and fame. He tells him that “With Great Wealth Comes Great Accountability” something that sticks with Peter forever. Peter however feels Ben is being ungrateful and alienates himself from Ben and May feeling that despite raising him they need to be grateful happy with the new found wealth he has accumulated and shared with them.

The Daily Bugle is another source of stress for Peter. His staff namely one trouble maker and former editor J Jonah Jameson has been giving Peter and his office huge problems since his termination and trying to spin a bad reputation for fake news on The Bugle. Peter in hast ups the anty buy delivering stories that only he as Speedball can! However as we find out someone knows his secret that individual being one Eddie Brock. Brock was a young reporter that in one of his first acts as Editor In Chief Peter fires him in a tantrum something that burns Eddie to his core! Eddie takes a dark turn and decides to keep a close watch on his rival and lurks around Peter’s house and lab to get to the bottom of this Speedball deal. While alone one night after breaking into the lab, Eddie unlocks a sealed locker. Inside is the irradiated Speed putty. It shockingly leaps and attaches itself to Brock!!! Brocks new symbiotic kinetic Symbiote is a force to be reckoned with as he can now deflect his body off of any object without harm and deflect any attack. V-Ball is born and he is out to seek redemption on Parker aka Speedball. Peter however is too busy to notice and is consumed with his celebrity as the publisher of the biggest circulating news media outlet in the city. He ends his relationship with Gwen after she is sick of his new arrogant public persona and rejection of her. Peter has begun spiralling in his personal life drinking his sorrows away but manages to find the very public glance of actress Mary Jane Watson who is a media darling in her own right.

Peter continues to work on the Speedball formula in his lab discovering it has been tampered with. Peter is met with the scary reality that the formula has been stolen and has fallen in the hands of V-Ball, the very man he fired..Eddie Brock. Brock is being spotted all over the city causing disruptions as Peter decides he needs to stop his former co worker who is dragging his name and new Super hero persona through the mud. Unlike his other Rogues Gallery V Ball is not easily silenced and leaves Peter fearfull for his life after Brock with his new powers and symbiotic kinetic powers has Speedballs number each time. Peter goes to Gwen Stacy whom he had left behind in their relationship to reveal his identity and asks her to help him find a vulnerability in the Speedball powers. Upon their research Mary Jane shows up to find the two together and promptly storms off slapping Peter in the face. Peter is distraught as his supposed perfect life , despite his money and powers are tearing him apart! There is little time to worry about that as he knows he has to deal with Brock first for everyone’s safety. Brock and Parker meet again for the final time as Eddie attempts to seize control of the Hammond labs. Using a new injection that Peter and Gwen had worked on Peters powers as Speedball are amplified as his Speedball costume is now a Black symbiotic suit in its own right as he overwhelms V-Ball neutralizing the Symbiote as Brock goes to jail. The media embraces the story as Speedball is heralded as a hero. With positivity goes his way Peter decides to make things right with MJ buying her flowers and rides to her Apartment in his Limo to take her out on the town. When he arrives he notices her apartment has been vandalized and MJ is gone. Upon inspection he find a note from Norman Osborn who threatens Peter who he knows is now Speedball to surrender his Speedball secrets or MJ dies! The new formula Peter has injected causes rages and a vengeful viscious Speedball in a all new black suit born out of an emotional reaction with Peter and his powers.

Peter bounces to the location a high atop Osborn industries when Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin holds MJ hostage. The media has been alerted to this encounter as J Jonah Jameson was given the right to the exclusive story of Speedball finally taking on his nemesis the Goblin. The building is surrounded by media and onlookers and it is somewhat of a media storm. Peter sees MJ who yells at him NOT to engage with all she is worth but Peter is seeing what he always sees in times like these an opportunity to save the day and get noticed! He bounces into motion sailing right towards a waiting Goblin who not only threatens Peter but teases that he will throw MJ to her death.. then he does. Just like in another place in time whete Gwen Stacey falls to her death at the hands of the Goblin this reality has MJ about to suffer the same fate as the onlookers watch on. Peter takes his attention off of the Goblin and dives off the roof of Osborn industries to save his girl. Before she can hit the ground Peter cushions her fall acting as a human crash pad to the excitement of the crowd and flash bulbs of the media. Speedball embraces Mary Jane as she awakens kissing him as the crowd cheers…but this celebration would end ABRUPTLY. This was all a carefully designed trap by Norman Osborn who has now been exposed to the media as the Green Goblin and with nothing left to lose he had a diabolical plan…Oscorp has been loaded with detonators designed to go off at this very minute. The building erupts into a masssive city level concussion blast…Peter is propelled out of the explosion as his powers manage to shield him from the blast as he deflects off of buildings and cars , through glass before finally careening through the side of a building trapped beneath rubble momentarily. Once Peter regains his senses he stands obviously critically injured overlooking his city. Mary Jane runs towards him and she is alive but injured herself however was sealed off from the blast as Peters speedball powers diverted the explosion outwards saving her. Peter knows the death toll is massive as he breaks down…Mary Jane leans in to him weeping but manages to utter the devastating words that his Aunt and Uncle May and Ben Parker were in the crowd as well and didnt make it…Peter collapses to his knees in distraught as his whole world has come undone as he sees The Goblin hovering over the fallen taking in the scene..

This is the last straw…Mary Jane tries to hold Peter back but his rage is too strong as he rockets off towards the Goblin soaring in the air towards his enemy strikes him with a percision blow knocking him off his glider. Peters rage over comes him as he batters Osborn stripping him of the Goblin mask. The Goblin is thrown into buildings , slammed into the road and harshly battered. Osborn is broken and battered and is kneeling up with blood pouring from every pore. Osborn yells at Peter to finish him as he manouvers his weaponized glider behind Speedball who is unaware due to his lack of senses. The Glider takes flight flying directly at the head of Peter…but Speedball knowing every move the Goblin typically makes spins and grabs the front of the glider and rides it directly into a shocked Normal Osborn Peter delivers a fatal head shot to the shock of the few remaining bystanders. The Goblin falls over…very much dead and Peter stands over the fallen foe trembling with rage and overwhelming grief from the loss of Aunt May AND Uncle Ben as his Uncles words “With Great Wealth Comes Great Accountability” echos through his mind. He sees flashbulbs go off and waiting like a vulture in the lurch is J Jonah Jameson who takes a picture of a maskless Speedball standing over the Goblin as he yells “Murderer” while capturing the scene for prosperity on behalf of his new Newspaper company. The area promptly fills with squad cars and ambulances as Jameson stands with an accusatory finger waving it at Peter shouting MURDERER as the police move in. Mary Jane tells Peter to run as he looks at her for the last time with fear in his eyes for what he has caused and glares at Jameson before bouncing off into the night as police bullets fill the air deflecting off the injured soul of Peter Parker …fugitive. We wrap up this tale with a cautionary message wealth and its corruption of the best of humankind. Do not trade your morals and good will towards others for wealth it ALWAYS ends up bad…. as with the sad story of Peter Parker…Speedball.

Well….thats certainly NOT what you expected now is it?? Well that wraps up our journey to the sometimes disturbing world of What If? If that didnt satisfy your blog hunger I assure you my team of Super-Bloggers will surely scratch that itch!! Check out all the links below of both groups of topics from our Red and Gold groups this round!! I wish you all a Happy Holidays and thanks for joining me on another fun ride through comics.

End Transmission

Looking for more? Check out the rest of The Super-Blog Team_Up Gang by clicking the links below!! Happy Holidays everyone!!

A love letter to the folks who blazed the trails for the medium we so dearly love. SBTU Creator examines the folks behind the curtain, the genesis of a character, or concept and the rollercoaster of creating worlds, stories or events. Ideas are born of the hearts and minds of people who changed the business. Unforgettable characters and happenings that keep us coming back to the medium we know as comic books. It began with a brush stroke or a tap of a typewriter and changed our culture forever. Bear witness to the Creator!

Between The Pages Blog – Scrooge McDuckTales Woo-oo!

Scrooge McDuckTales Woo-oo!

Daves Comics Blog – Blue Devil Creation

https://davescomicheroes.blogspot.com/2020/12/blue-devil-creation.html

Magazines and Monsters – Comic Book’s Unsung Heroes! Steve Gerber!

Comic Book’s Unsung Heroes! Steve Gerber!

In My Not So Humble Opinion – Kurt Schaffenberger, The Definitive Lois Lane Artist of the Silver Age

https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2020/12/15/kurt-schaffenberger/

Comics Comics Comics… – Sergio Argones

Super Blog Team-Up: Red

Ever wonder “What If” your favorite Character or story went in another direction? Based on the long running classic Marvel title “What If” SBTU Explores new spin, concepts or realities on our chosen topic as we come up with our own alternate perspective and all the consequences and fall-out that result.Join us on a brand new look at an old concept where the team takes you along for the ride on a brand new never seen before reality where possibilities are just the beginning!

The Telltale Mind: Arak Son Of Thunder: A Lost Adventure. https://thetelltalemind.com/2020/12/16/arak-son-of-thunder-a-lost-adventure/

Pop Culture Retrorama – What If The Sinister Dr. Phibes Had Been Produced!

https://popcultureretrorama.com/2020/12/10/super-blog-team-up-what-if-the-sinister-dr-phibes-had-been-produced/

Source Material – What If Captain Confederacy

https://www.spreaker.com/user/5870686/sm-sbtu-cpt-confed-1

Comic Reviews by Walt – What if the Ultraverse Had Continued?

https://comicreviewsbywalt.com/2020/12/16/sbtu-gold-what-if-the-ultraverse-had-continued/

SuperHero Satellite – What If Peter Parker became Speedball instead of Spider-Man?

Hey you are already here!!

 

So I have those butterflies again. It’s not often that after years of reading comics, blogging, podcasting or whatever your vice is that you get that fresh burst of inspiration. Today however amidst everything that is happening in the world I am so glad you joined us to step outside of our current situation and just for a moment, read something (hopefully) enjoyable and fun. If you didn’t know today is June 24th and its #SuperBlogTeamUp day! If you are unfamiliar with our work we are a group of like minded bloggers who get together 4 times a year to blog on a singular topic and put our own spin on that theme!! Today our Bombastic Blogging Brigade has chosen to discuss “EXPANDED UNIVERSE’S”. (Thanks to BTP of Between The Pages Blog for this topic!!) What is an Expanded Universe you say? Well I am glad you asked!! When you think of Expanded Universes many peoples minds instantly go to such high profile topics such as Star Trek or Star Wars (Yes we will be discussing Star Wars calm down!!) but what many may not know is that these franchises are only the tip of the iceberg for Universes that started in a certain medium such as movies, comics, novels, TV, you name it but grew in spite of itself to become a far reaching universe on to its own thus reaching many pockets and facets of modern pop culture!

 

Transmission Date: June 24th 2020

So on this day, June 24 2020, Super-Blog Team-Up explores Franchises with rich histories and fascinating expanded universes in various media from movies, to toys, television, novels, animation, and of course comic books just to name a few. These universes further a character, story line, or a whole world adding texture and new history to a property unleashing worlds of new ideas a concept’s. With some properties these universes advance the franchise forward giving their legions of fans fun new concepts to digest while other properties sink once bright ideas to mere corporate shells of themselves. Super-Blog Team-Up is BACK to explore some uncharted territory as we open up the Universal gateway to expansion. God save us all. So with all that subtext out of the way its great to be back at the helm of this blog the long dormant Superhero Satellite!! I have set Satellite coordinates back of course to the mid-1980’s to September of 1985 to be exact! Strap in tight Heroes, we are headed back to the place I wanna be…Back To The 80s!!

It was September of 1985 and this writer was a mere 11 years old and at that time was headed back to school for the fall season. Now as a kid that was not something to celebrate but being a young chap going to Horwood High the one thing that I did enjoy was getting home via bus everyday and sitting in anticipation of the after school cartoon block on ASN (Atlantic Satellite Network). It started at 4:30 pm daily and was known to feature such shows as Snorks, Turbo Teen, Bravestarr, Transformers, Robotech, Jem and The Holograms, Centurions and the topic of today’s Superhero Satellite M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand). Satellite!! Cue the music!

MASK animated SBTU

Every season ASN would change up its after school line up which only on very few occasions did it produce mixed results. Usually it was something mind blowing to my 11 year old self and I loved almost everything I was fed. It was destination TV! On this particular occasion I was treated to a show that was brand new to me called Mobile Armored Strike Kommand aka..M.A.S.K.!!

For those living in a cave the show itself centers around corporate millionaire industrialist named Matt Trakker who discovers a criminal organization known as the Vicious Evil Network of Mayem…yeah you guessed it that spells V.E.N.O.M.!! Seeing the threat that V.E.N.O.M. poses around the globe Trakker recruits a group of colleagues to create a strike force to combat the evil criminal element. He brands his new team M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Command) which is an amazing name, however V.E.N.O.M. will not be toppled easily. Luckily Matt Trakker has been secretly developing a series of seemingly ordinary military vehicles “Masked” as everyday Cars, trucks, vans, and planes but with incredible hidden transformation and weaponry designed entirely to combat the evils of V.E.N.O.M. Of course my first taste of M.A.S.K. was from THIS commercial!!

Transforming everything was all the rage!! My Brother and I grew up on all things 80s and we devoured Go-Bots our transforming robots of choice! We also loved G.I. Joe, Transformers, Masters Of The Universe, She-Ra, BraveStarr, Star Wars..you name it we dug it!! So I started seeing M.A.S.K. Toys on shelves in 1985 after being bombarded by toy commercial’s during my Saturday Morning cartoon watching binges! Being at the height of my Joe collecting I had to track down these wonderful toys. The TV show was quickly becoming a favorite of mine and that theme song was infectious!! You can still catch me singing it from time to time as a 45 year old man as my wife likes to remind me but I don’t care I love M.A.S.K. It would be a Christmas at the end of 1985 that the tree was lined with generation 1 of the toy-line! I got three M.A.S.K.toys that Christmas along with a play set that I though was simply amazing that we will discuss in detail! Lets just pull up the Satellite archives and ill show you the pieces that made up my collection!

The pride of my collection was the Thunder Hawk that came with Matt Trakker action figure. I was always a fan of the lead characters and when it comes to M.A.S.K. Trakker was my guy! The Thunder Hawk was so cool its doors lifted up to become its wings and it had blasters mounted to the sides of the doors!! On the road or in the air this flying car was enough to sell me on the entire line!! A good guy is not much use without someone to fight and M.A.S.K. had just what the evil Doctor ordered in Miles Mayhem!

The ultra-cool Switchblade Viper helicopter was the main ride for V.E.N.O.M. super-bad Miles Mayhem! This toy featured pop out wings to covert from Heli-mode with a hidden propeller to a full on jet! Its slick dark purple design was every thing a super-villain could want in a ride!

Then there’s the “Beast” of the collection!! M.A.S.K.’s RHINO was the crown jewel of all the vehicles for me. This one featured many points of transformation, The front grill launched forward to crush bad guys in its path. The dual smoke stacks we movable side cannons! The back “Sleeper’ section of the trucks cab opened up to become a full featured missile launching computer lab! If that wasn’t enough the back half of the truck separated to becomes its own separate all-terrain vehicle!! My Rhino came with another version of Matt Trakker and Alex Sector!! Originally the vehicle launched with Matt and another character Bruce Sato but I was not lucky enough to grab Mr. Sato!

Of course a couple of the other great vehicles that rounded out my collection purchased at a later date were the super mean Blue flaming vintage auto the glorious Hurricane complete with Hondo Maclean figure was a sure fire eye catcher!

Last but not least the Firefly Dune Buggy with driver Julio Lopez!! This awesome vehicle transformed from an all terrain Dune Buggy to super flying machine!! With one click of the back button the front of the buggy separated to create another flying machine that would compliment the Thunder Hawk perfectly.

Now if you know me you know that no action figure collection is worth its weight in salt with out a play set! Boulder Hill was just that!! This was the ultimate command center for my toy Masked Crusaders who always worked overtime fighting crime!

Boulder Hill moonlights as a cliff side gas station only to covert into to a full loaded weaponized operations base! Tops of gas tanks became cannons, the store sign opened up to reveal blasters. The mountain top launched a projectile boulder at intruders! The side walls opened up to reveal the inner command center and place to hide your favorite M.A.S.K. vehicle!

Of course I could go on all day about my M.A.S.K. Toys on to the point. From this beautiful collection spawned the M.A.S.K. Animated series!! As mentioned above the series debuted September 1985 and lasted little over a year ending production in November of 1986. The series despite lasting that short period of time managed to produce 75 episodes in during its run. The show was produced by animation powerhouse DIC and ICC Production’s and they brought this world of Kenner plastic toys to an all new level. Around this time another DIC cash cow had earned great reviews for young viewers when they launched Hasbro’s GI Joe cartoon series from 83-86 so these new action adventure stars were destined to be a huge hit that would carry on for generations after that right!!? Well sadly you would be wrong.

You know the old saying, size is everything!! One problem with the toy-line at the time was cross compatibility. Toy companies like Remco built a company around cross compatible toys from other IP’s that would play well with popular toys of the time. For example If G.I. Joe was red hot they released Sgt. Rock toys. Mattel’s Masters Of The Universe drew record sales in the early 80s and Remco launched the very similar Warlord line of toys which were the exact scale of the He-Man toy line. There was synergy. That didn’t happen with M.A.S.K. unfortunately despite several unsuccessful attempts. The popular 3 3/4 inch action figure size was the popular go-to size of G.I. Joe A Real American Hero series. M.A.S.K. figures and vehicles attempted to launch in a more reduced scale to mixed results. The basic premise of M.A.S.K. was genius. It came out during the very lucrative era when the G.I. Joe and Transformer toy lines dominated store shelves. The action adventure and transforming toy craze was at its peak so M.A.S.K. spoke to both genres. It had the recipe for success with amazing action adventure characters AND transforming vehicles how can you lose right?!! It was sure to be red hot and initially it WAS!! Then came the size problem. The original series one of the toys were ordinary looking vehicles that transformed to showcase weapons and armor but they were all scaled to fit the two inch figure sets meaning that your Joe’s or Star Wars toys could not play alongside M.A.S.K. without an incredible amount of imagination.

 

Other toy lines got in on the small scale market as well such as Hasbro’s 87s Air Raiders, a Sci-Fi based air battle based vehicle line with the M.A.S.K. compatible 2 inch action figures as well. Air Raiders toys were a great compliment to M.A.S.K. and heavily featured air based toys that were unique in design  from the average flying toys. Air Raiders was also backed by the Marvel comics STAR imprint. It seemed to be popular in my home town but literally vanished from toy shelves seemingly overnight.  Kenner would not be left out in the cold as they thought there was still money left untapped in the 2 inch market and they produced the Sky Commanders line as well which again did not hit the heights of popularity that G.I. Joe or the Transformers were still doing at store check out lanes despite being backed by a Hanna Barbera cartoon series of its own. Other toy lines tried the formula as well with similar failed results such as the cartoon backed Tyco Dino Riders line which tried to incorporate the M.A.S.K. 2 inch figure scale paired with large Dinosaur toys. To make matters worse in 1988 a Dino Riders show was even backed by the Marvel Action Universe block of cartoon show but lasted only 14 episodes as the toy-line suffered a similar fate despite heavy Saturday morning commercial rotation. Point of this story..size mattered back in the early to mid 80s and if you didn’t stand at certain height you were discount bin fodder.

M.A.S.K. by 87 was suffering as well despite the deluge of compatible toys in the market. By the third wave of M.A.S.K. toys the air was out of the sales of The Mobile Armored Strike Kommand. By the time 1987 was ushered in the TV Series had been cancelled. The story of the show itself was a weird one. As stated before M.A.S.K. aired a total of 75 episodes 65 of which were done in the first season and surprisingly a mere 10 for season 2! The show had even switched themes from the action adventure based G.I. Joe clone to a Racing show in season two. The toy line’s 3rd wave even reflected the shift to the racing element as they toys started to become enabled with pull back friction engines which made them move. Much of what we remember of M.A.S.K. on Television and on Toy-shelves were memories of season 1 of the cartoon and waves 1 and 2 of the toy line. Distribution levels of wave three were sparse across North America making that last U.S. wave of toys much rarer to find for collectors. Toy production DID however continue in international markets with some great toys and figure produced but don’t think for a minute that you can rush out and get these with out owning a bank somewhere.

I loved the M.A.S.K. toys as well as the animated series but one of the other piece of M.A.S.K. lore that many fans remember were DC’s comics based on the TV series! The original series began in a popular format at the time as a four issue mini series which admittedly was crude yet popular enough for DC to revisit. The original series was written by Michael Fleisher and Michael Chen on pencils. My biggest gripe with the series is that they didn’t put an all-star creative team on the book. It seemed doomed to failure but the popularity of the cartoon and toy line kept these books moving on store shelves. I was excited to see the title on the racks and managed to grab the first mini however part of me felt a little disappointment about the whole deal as Chen’s loose almost McFarlanesque style didn’t win me over. Little did I know DC had MORE M.A.S.K. in store for us..this time a monthly title was in the works!

 

The monthly series was EXACTLY what I wanted. Fleisher was back on the writers seat while art duties were handled by Curt Swan who I absolutely loved as one of my all time definitive Superman artist’s. He was backed by Kurt Schaffenberger inks and this time the package was much tighter! The pencils looked sharp and professional and the story was allowed to breath unlike in the mini series where they were trying to tell one story over 4 issues. The monthly allowed single issue adventures which saw MASK crusaders travel all over the world in all sorts of adventure and hi jinks. The monthly M.A.S.K. book felt more like the cartoon and had a more enjoyable vibe and believe me.. I was all in. I could not wait for each issue to hit the stands! The only problem was M.A.S.K. the overall property had changed. The television series had just wrapped up its meager second season which as mentioned above had only a mere 10 episodes that took the series in a new and decidedly unfortunate direction as an adventure racing show. VENOM decided to call a truce with the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand and to take their bitter feud to the race track. I am NOT making this up. To make matters worse the toy line had also slipped in popularity and distribution had moved across the pond where the TV series had legs in syndication. So as issue 1 debuted cover dated Feb. 1987 M.A.S.K. the property was for all intents and purposes dead. The kids had already moved on to the next big thing and yet DC proceeded with the first issue of its M.A.S.K. comic book despite a crumbling franchise in its wake.

 

DC’s M.A.S.K. lasted a mere 9 issues but with the M.A.S.K. property moved out of most mainstream cartoon line ups and into after school syndication time slots. At the time a third season of the animated series did not come to pass and as a result a decision was made abruptly to make issue nine its last issue.

For those wanting to know how the series sent our M.A.S.K. Comic book sent our heroes into the sunset we will break format and straight up do a poor mans comic book review! Our story begins in Istanbul where a group of radicals hold a airliner hostage but not before M.A.S.K. agents Bruce, Gloria and Ace pose as airline pilots and intervene on the flight and subdue the terrorists.

Meanwhile on the South Pacific seas Miles Mayhem and V.E.N.O.M. agents are on a boat and in search of a treasure beneath the sea. This is no ordinary treasure though as beneath the water lies the damaged robotic body of female samurai warrior JACANA who we met in issue 6. It is unknown what Miles wants with this robot but we are about to find out! JACANA was one of DC’s individual creations to dont waste a day on eBay looking for an action figure of our lethal femme fatale!

We head over the the Trakker Estate where M.A.S.K. leader Matt Trakker is getting dressed up for a big date. His son Scott and our favorite mobile robot companion T-Bob wonder about his relationship with a new love interest Audrey Isles who runs a non-profit organization set up to assist reformed ex-convicts get jobs. Scott warns his father not to run off and get married without his permission. RED FLAG Matt!! A person helping Ex-Cons to find “Work” hmmmmm…( Dont get excited..the series is canceled before Audrey is revealed as a V.E.N.O.M. agent!)

Meanwhile in V.E.N.O.M. Laboratories Miles Mayhem and his henchmen are fast at work rebuilding their secret find from beneath the ocean… JACANA.

JACANA as we discover was a product of an imprisoned Japanese Robotics engineer who created her to pose as his own flesh and blood daughter who was trained to seek revenge for his imprisonment and dispose of the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand. In her first comic book appearance she discovered that she was indeed not a real person but a programmed robot something that changed her mindset against M.A.S.K. It would be V.E.N.O.M. who would cause her to fall to her watery grave that is until they recovered her and wiped her memory clean of the revelation. JACANA was now once again an enemy of M.A.S.K. but now an agent of V.E.N.O.M!!

JACANA attacks just as Matt is in the middle of his date with Non-Profit friend of the criminals, Audrey! Of course when it comes to “BLOCKERS” a flying samurai robotic warrior female trying to end your lives definitely puts a damper on Matt’s late evening plans! Despite Matt using the Thunder Hawk to elude JACANA sadly finds his date night is OVER with a captial “O”..and not the good “O” either.

JACANA is not done. While Matt is calling up his M.A.S.K. friends to assist with the latest V.E.N.O.M. threat the robot abducts Matt’s new girlfriend and her son! Mayhem of course projects all the chaos and the abduction LIVE over the air so M.A.S.K. now knows the stakes are very high. Trakker loads up the team and the M.A.S.K. fleet of vehicles and heads to V.E.N.O.M  H.Q. where Miles Mayhem’s men are awaiting them in a brand new repurposed weapons factory. Once Matt and team arrive they immediately surrender as the terms of an agreement to have the hostages released. Mayhem, ever the man of his word turns the tables by locking the M.A.S.K. team and their hostages in a room and setting a timer to flood the room with radiation that would kill them in seconds. JACANA calls out Miles on his rouse noting that the hostages were supposed to be freed upon the delivery of the M.A.S.K. Crusaders. Mayhem laughs at how gullible JACANA is and has one of his henchmen shoot her. The bad guy’s flee leaving our heroes and an innocent mother and her son to perish in radiation!

With only seconds at their disposal Matt show’s JACANA, who was left behind to die as well, that she is indeed a robot built by her Father who did commit crimes and was jailed as a result. JACANA is shocked. She has been stabbed in the back by Miles Mayhem and decides to help the M.A.S.K. team escape. With the radiation beginning to pour in under a door JACANA leaps into action using her robotic strength to muscle the door closed to stop the radiation poisoning but while in the act she literally melts away to a pool of liquid metal while saving the team. JACANA gave her robotic “LIFE” to do one final act of bravery.

The issue ends (As well as the series) with the teams discovery of a fallen JACANA and the team while upset, rationalizes that she wasn’t really alive and just a robot..However Matt Trakker being the ever resilient leader, pontificates that JACANA loved the “Life” she had and that there was nothing more heroic than her sacrifice. Yes kids…”Thats One To Grow On!”

DC however seemingly pulled the plug because well…they had better things to do? No joke. The cancellation announcement came in the letter pages without warning. Mike Gold broke the news by saying basically thanks for writing in and for the suggestions but we are moving on! Mike Fleisher is STILL working on Warlord (Which he had always been at this time so this was nothing new), Curt Swan was also occupied with projects including an adaptation of Superman 4 (no laughter please..I can see you!!) and a prestige format project with John Byrne. Dont forget Mike Carlin.. cause he’s working on all three Superman monthly titles!! Yep…everyone is too busy to bother themselves with M.A.S.K.!!

 

For all its cheesiness I loved DC’s M.A.S.K. series. Despite only getting nine issues it was at that time the ONLY way to enjoy the franchise. By 1988 the lights went off completely on M.A.S.K. If you were lucky your video store may still of had the M.A.S.K. VHS tapes which were “Interesting” compilations of the show. Kideo Video were the main tape distributors stateside but the international versions is where the gold was found. M.A.S.K. The Movie was the most curious tape to hunt down as it edited together several episodes together to make a “Full Length Movie”. There was even a second M.A.S.K. film which combined episodes from the ill fated last season from the “Racing” era of the TV series. These would be he last remnants of M.A.S.K. that you could hunt down for many years, Fans like me clung on to anything I could find but it became impossible to find anything M.A.S.K. related in stores during the pre-eBay era. Those last episode were amazingly bad and such a sad way to end the series..but don’t take my word for it!! Watch it HERE!

MASK VHS

Then the lights went out on M.A.S.K. for more than 30 years this franchise laid dormant. There were a few fan sites established such as Matttrakker.com and the episodes of the show made its rounds on video services such as Youtube ,Daily Motion not to mention the Torrent universe. We did managed to get various collections of the cartoon on DVD but that was it. Hardcore collectors hunted down M.A.S.K. related merch on their favorite online collection sites and auctions. It was a gem lost in time that was only a faded memory but one that fans still had very fond recollections of. Rumors circulated that a M.A.S.K. live action film would be released but as fans anticipation went through the roof noise dampened as finding a suitable team to create the thing was apparently a hard task. It would not be until February 2020 when an announcement was made that M.A.S.K. had found a Paramount studios film had been green lighted and written by Bad Boys for Life Co-Writer Chris Bremner and F.Gary Gray was set to direct!!…and then a virus struck and blocked all things Hollywood and there we were.. back to the unknown again.

One glimmer of hope came from a comic’s company named IDW. This company had touted some of the world biggest fandom franchises such as G.I.Joe, Transformers, Micronauts, ROM, just to name a few! Some of these books were highly reviewed by certain segments of the fan base but myself I never acquired a taste for IDW’s interpretations of these properties. My issue was that what made these properties special was that they once belonged to and were interconnected to the Marvel and DC Comic’s Universes. It seemed there was more than a little magic lost without the Marvel Universe in the backdrop. Of course that’s one mans opinion as many of these books are highly revered. In 2016 IDW announced that M.A.S.K. would be returning to the comics page with an all new series from the company. M.A.S.K. was different than the other books I had listed in the sense that its original comic interpretation was produced by DC comics but it did not interplay with the DC Universe so there would not be any real loss when it came to storytelling switching companies. With all things considered I could not wait to see my M.A.S.K.Crusaders back on comics racks to revisit my old friends and read great all new adventures! What could go wrong? Then…THIS…

IDW took my anticipation and threw it in the garbage. Its time for me to be the old man on the lawn. Visually the characters and vehicles looked great!! Art was NOT the issue with this title. Its just not M.A.S.K…. at least not MY M.A.S.K. I know there was some controversy when they changed Matt Trakker into a Black man but honestly it was the updated story-line and changes to the concept that really sent me running far from this book. IDW promised a crossover with all their Toy properties converging in what should have been the ultimate fan boy dream and that Revolution Crossover fell flat as well. I couldn’t understand it. Making M.A.S.K. a part of G.I.Joe should have been cool right? Making M.A.S.K. more diverse was a great idea right?? (despite the fact that the original team was super diverse to start with..but that’s good right?) Sadly…it was a no for me. It had a M.A.S.K. logo and had people in suits and cars that were part of the original concept but it left me cold. Now I do not want to discourage anyone from buying the IDW incarnation of M.A.S.K. because once you remove my fan rage bias it IS in-fact a good book. So check it out and never mind this bitter old man. I was resigned to the fact MY M.A.S.K. was never coming back. There was a vocal segment of the fan base who thought so as well…but all was lost. That is until someone did something about it!! Now on to better things I would like you to meet a friend of mine…everyone meet Kerowack!

As I waved the white flag of surrender I resigned myself to the fact that M.A.S.K. is now being handled by the youth of the world and would never see its 1985 roots ever again….that is until one of my Twitter friends would give me EXACTLY what I wanted. @gaulergolf aka Kerowack as per his pen name. Now I had seen some of his work on twitter and I was impressed with his style and the fact he covered classic 80s toys. I saw some of his M.A.S.K. work he was doing and had to write him to tell him a couple of things, number one how good it was to see classic M.A.S.K. again! Then he hit me with a bomb shell. He had not only drawn the characters in classic M.A.S.K. style but was not trying to mirror the Cartoon series but instead his designs stayed faithful to the TOYS!! They were exactly like the damn toys!! The art was bright and it popped off the page at me. I got to know Kerowack over time and Brian as he is actually named is a very talented artist who I am profiling here for a reason. You see like me, Wack has a very distinct love for 80s toys and cartoons and wanted to see what he enjoyed as a kid back on the comic page. Sound familiar? Brian took it many steps further as he self authored not one…but TWO amazing M.A.S.K. mini series!! The old saying goes if you want a job done right you do it yourself and the proof is in the pudding! Introducing M.A.S.K. 85-86!!

If you haven’t read these amazing mini’s stop reading this article and read them!!

READ M.A.S.K. 85-86 HERE!!! CLICK THIS LINK!

Go on! Scram!! Still here? Very well then we will continue. M.A.S.K. 85 centers around the origin of the team and sticks to what we know just adding some layers to the already amazing story without changing anything! See what he did!! Kids..Wack told a good story without breaking the furniture! Amazing I know! What caught me so off guard with this was the art itself  is that as mention previously it stays on track with the exact visual of the toy-line. This guy is just winning points from me all the way around! First when I got to know Brian I commented to him how much I appreciated the toy specific visuals.

 

Look at the image above and tell me what you see? If you are a M.A.S.K. Toy fan you will see that Matt Trakkers uniform is exactly as it was on the toy! The Boulder Hill Gas Station below is taken directly from the play-set!! Now the centerpiece of the image..The ThunderHawk. Look at the coloring of the decals on the car! The checkers on the cars spoiler!! Those are my toys on the page!! Brian, just take my money wont you!! As great as M.A.S.K. 85 was our artist friend didn’t have that itch fully scratched as he mapped out a sequel which of course was M.A.S.K. 86!!

M.A.S.K. 86 is everything you would want from M.A.S.K.. This 3 part mini takes the team across the globe as Trakker trys to stop Miles from attaining a powerful item. There will be no spoilers but this one takes M.A.S.K. in an awesome direction you may not expect!! Bottom line what I will tell you is that these fan made books do a better job of showcasing old school M.A.S.K. than anything the big companies have done since DC! I am so excited to introduce you to the man responsible for bringing MY M.A.S.K. back from death and without further adieu I present a Super-Blog Team-Up first! Welcome to Q& A SBTU Style where I ask the hard hitting questions (Basically just stuff I wanted to know..lol. You are welcome.)

Well here we go! First of all Welcome to Super-Blog Team Up Sir! Tell our Satellite Heroes all about yourself!

WACK: My real name is Brian Gauler, but most people online know me as kero wack.  Its an old aol handle that I made when I was 19 years old because I was obsessed with the author Jack Kerouac.  Once I became a teacher, so many kids were finding my social media pages online that I went back to it.  When I put my work out there I figured more people would remember WACK than Gauler.  

I grew up in Long Island, NY.  Ive been drawing all of my life and was always making comics or cartoons based on either my favorite toy-lines or just things I made up (nothing has changed).  When I was younger, I wanted to be a comic artist and ended up graduating from the School of Visual Arts with a bachelors in Illustration and Cartooning.  While I was there, I was lucky enough to study under some of the greats.  Joe Orlando,Carmine Infantino and Jack Potter.  So many different styles really had me playing around with my own work to find what made me stand out.  I ended up interning at MTV on the show Daria and on the last day, was offered a job as a production assistant.  I ended up working on the final two seasons and feature length films for that show.  After we got cancelled, I don’t know why, but I was burnt out on creating art.  I went back to school and got a degree in education and I am currently teaching art at the high school I graduated from.  I’m married with two kids.

Aside from art, I binge watch the same five shows and try to golf as often as I can (even though I am lucky if I stay lower than 100).

How did you come to comics? 

WACK: I was obsessed with comics as a kid.  I don’t know when I started reading them, but I started looking at them as soon as I found my uncles old comics at my grandmas house.  Tons of 70s DC and early 80s Marvel.  I was obsessed with G.I. Joe , the Fantastic Four and the Justice League.  As an adult, I still lean DC, but my favorite comics involving superheroes are probably Watchmen and Jeff Loeb DC stuff.  Kirkman’s Invincible will never be topped though.  Its the ultimate superhero story.

Tell us about your journey to become an artist?

WACK: I always drew cartoons and toys.  That’s what I was obsessed with.  For a while I drew mostly sports icons, but always ended up making my own comics involving their exploits or making reenactments of famous games.  I was weird.

Did you create your own characters as a kid?

WACK: When I was in middle school, I had a whole stable of characters that I thought would be the future of image comics.  When I look back, some of them still have a chance and others are basically straight ripoffs of characters I was into.

Who are your artistic inspirations? 

WACK: As a kid, my inspirations were my art teachers and cartoons.  As I got into comics, I was obsessed with the same guys everybody I knew was. Mcfarlane, Jim Lee, Liefeld and those early image artists.  As an adult, I’m REALLY into Jack Kirby, Darwin Cooke, Doc Shaner, Ryan Ottley, and Mike Allred.  Tom Whalen is probably my favorite working artist today though.  His prints are basically what my basement consists of.

How would you describe your style?

WACK: I have tried to create a style that would let you know its me without seeing the signature.  I basically try to keep it simple like a classic 80s cartoon, but also with a hint of comic book detail and styling.

Describe your process and tools. 

WACK: I currently work on a Samsung tablet and use the Medibang app to do EVERYTHING.  I occasionally will draw the panels on paper, take a picture and clean it up with the digital pen. With the M.A.S.K. comics, I was literally holding the figures and posing them to get the outfits the way I wanted and would set the vehicles up like a still life. 

What is your best reference material?

WACK: My toys, myself and my wife.  I cant tell you how many times I ask my wife to pose her hand or take a picture of myself on the phone so I can use it as reference.  With the tablet, I see SO MANY artists just tracing photos and toys online and I tried that initially and everything looked stiff as a board.  So I basically keep my phone next to me and most of the pictures are of my wife’s hands or my toys.

You are a fan of Toys! Describe your history with Toy-lines and why do you use them in your art? 

WACK: If it came out from 1980-1987, I probably had something from the line.  I obviously use them in my art, because its practically all Ive drawn in 2020.

What Toy-lines did you have growing up?

WACK: M.A.S.K., Masters Of The Universe and G.I. Joe were clear favorites. Also I loved Kenner’s Super Powers collection and Mego super heroes.

 

If you could have one Toy Grail what would it be and why?

WACK: Ive owned basically every holy grail I ever wanted and sold most of them.  If I could choose ONE though, I’d have to say I own it and they are my Tom Servo and Crow T Robot prop replicas from MSt3K.

Describe your collection? 

WACK: My collection is NOW only vintage stuff with a few modern statues thrown in.  I cant collect new lines.  I binge on them and within three months I’m posting them on eBay.  They don’t hold the same feeling for me.

What are your favorite pieces in your collection?

WACK: I love every single M.A.S.K. toy I own. I love my Centurions.  My G.I. Joe….I feel like I love every one of them equally.  Put it this way, If I sold one M.A.S.K. figure, they would all go.  I wouldn’t be able to look at the rest without the missing one.  I’m not a completest, but I know exactly what I want.

Talk to me about your History with M.A.S.K.. 

WACK: Loved the cartoon.  Wondered why nobody else loved it as much as me and my brother did.  Kids were Transformers crazy and I didn’t even like them.  As a kid, Brad Turner was the man!

(Check out WACK’s own creation MASK-FORMERS combining our Mobile Armored Strike Command with Those Robots In Disguise!!)

Why did you choose M.A.S.K. to create comics for? 

WACK: I chose M.A.S.K. because its one of those properties that hasn’t gotten the motor running again.  I had the idea for M.A.S.K. 85 in my head YEARS ago.  I even posted about it on message boards with a synopsis of the plot and all.  One day I decided to challenge myself and put my work out there.  It had been years since I had drawn regularly.  I went in with the motto finished is better than perfect”.  So, I did finish 85, but its not perfect!

Why did you choose to do your own MASK books? Tell us about them. 

WACK:  M.A.S.K. 85 is my origin story for the team.  It doesn’t stray too far from what we know and just adds to it to give it more depth.  I always thought Matt’s brother Andy was a pivotal figure that connects Miles Mayhem and Matt Trakker and I wanted to show that.  I also found it fun to try to give each character a voice.  I based my designs entirely on the toy-line I was staring at on my shelf.  I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.  Mask 85 suffers from my lack of familiarity with the technology, my rusty art and it was the first time I had put a comic together entirely by myself since high school.  I would LOVE to redraw it, but I’m busy doing a million things so I’m gonna wait on that.  But when people read it, I hate that they see the rushed version of my art.  I did like a page a day fully written and colored.  Even when I wasn’t happy, I just kept plugging along.  With 86, I took double the time to draw it and I think it shows.  Plus, I was much more comfortable with the tablet and knew what I was doing.

What have you brought to the MASK genre and how has been the reception to your work?

WACK: I think Ive been able to please fans by giving them what they want…classic M.A.S.K.!  I kept it VERY FAMILIAR with 85 and told a story I thought was unique.  85s story is solid, its the art that is rushed.  With 86, the art is what I want it to be and the story came together.  When I started I only had the ending in my head.  And I wrote to it.  86 is MUCH riskier as far as what I do to the characters, but I said M.A.S.K. 85 is for the fan base and M.A.S.K. 86 was for ME!  Lol..I knew killing off a bunch of favorite characters was a lot to digest, but surprisingly, I’ve gotten nothing but love!

What have you added to the M.A.S.K. expanded universe? 

WACK: Andy Trakker getting much more screen time?  The cold war as an impetus for the creation of the technology.  86 I go nuts, but it would all be spoilers.

What were your favorite MASK toys?

WACK: CONDOR. CONDOR. CONDOR…and Vampire.

Were you a fan of the 80s Cartoon? 

WACK: The best cartoon to me was M.A.S.K.. And it still holds up.  Have you ever tried to go back and watch a He-Man episode?  It’ll numb your brain!

Will there be more M.A.S.K. related comics to come?

WACK: I think I’m done with M.A.S.K. but I’m not done with comics.

What other properties may we see you do comics for??

WACK: If I ever dive back into a fan comic about an 80s cartoon its definitely the Bionic Six.  I have a seriously awesome origin story that is a little like 86…dark, but uplifting.

What other projects do you have in the works? 

WACK: I have two graphic novels I want to finish that have NOTHING to do with superheroes or cartoons.  One is a coming of age story about a boy who lives on an island and the other is about a family who bonds after the death of their father.  So I basically have attracted a little audience who likes my 80s cartoon art and now I’m gonna swerve the pickup and hope some hold on!

Where can we contact you and what else can we expect in 2020? 

WACK: 2020 will be TONS of 80s inspired cartoon art. And I even want to set up a shop for prints.(Ive been getting messages lately and its time to stop dragging my feet).  I’m also looking into creating baseball card packs that feature my art and call them Wack Packs.  I just need to find the right place to create them.  But, I’m sure if you follow @gaulergolf on twitter you will see new art daily.  Follow or don’t!  I’m gonna draw either way!

Thanks!!

 

Well, I certainly hope you guys and gals enjoyed that interview but one last thing before we head out into the sunset. How would YOU like to see yourself as a M.A.S.K. agent? Our good friend and yours, Kerowack is taking requests for commissions. Do you have what it takes to save the day as a M.A.S.K. Crusader?? Check out the tweet below and join the team!!

Well folks…I don’t know about you, but that’s a wrap! I sincerely hope you have enjoyed our trip back to 1985-86 and our visit with Brian! I am very glad to be back writing on this blog as I have missed doing so and of course I missed chatting with my readers. I hope I didn’t disappoint!

That’s all for now Heroes, lets return to our chambers as we have another secret mission in store the NEXT time Super-Blog Team-Up returns! Stay safe and be well..Oh and don’t forget SBTU doesn’t stop here!! Join our many other contributors on the links below!! That’s…One to Grow On!

Transmission Ended…

 

Super-Hero Satellite: M.A.S.K.: The Road To Revolution.

https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2020/06/22/super-blog-team-up-presents-the-expanded-universe-of-m-a-s-k

 

Between The Pages Blog: Fantastic Forgotten Star Wars Characters

https://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2020/06/super-blog-team-up-fantastic-star-wars-characters-that-youve-completely-forgotten.html

 

Comics Comics Comics – The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones

https://comicscomicscomics.blog/2020/06/24/super-blog-team-up-expanded-universe-the-further-adventures-of-indiana-jones/

 

Comic Reviews By Walt: SBTU – Expanded Universe: Aliens and Predator

https://comicreviewsbywalt.wordpress.com/?p=17474

 

Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog: Logan’s Run Marvel Movie Adaptation

https://davescomicheroes.blogspot.com/2020/06/logans-run-marvel-movie-adaptation.html

 

Crapbox Son Of Cthulhu: 2001: A Space Odyssey #3 & #6

https://crapboxofcthulhu.blogspot.com/2020/06/super-blog-team-up-expanded-universe.html

 

 

The Telltale Mind: Archie Andrews – Superstar

http://thetelltalemind.com/2020/06/24/archie-andrews-superstar/

 

Radulich In Broadcasting: Flash Gordon Universe

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/30676120

 

The Source Material Comics Podcast: TMNT/Ghostbusters

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/32535480

 

Unspoken Issues: Mad-Dog (Marvel Comics, 1992)

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/32550135

 

Bronze Age Babies: Seven Decades of Apes-mania, and We’re Afflicted! https://bronzeagebabies.blogspot.com/2020/06/super-blog-team-up-seven-decades-of.html

 

Echoes from the Satellite – Tales from the Forbidden Zone – The Pacing Place

https://echoesfromthesatellite.blogspot.com/2020/06/super-blog-team-up-planet-of-apes-tales.html

 

Black & White and Bronze Comics – Beast on the Planet of the Apes Review https://blackwhitebronzecomics.blogspot.com/2020/06/super-blog-team-up-beast-on-planet-of.html

 

 

The Daily Rios – Little Shop of Horrors

http://thedailyrios.com/

Coming Soon




Lost N Comics Youtube – Expanding the Medium: Motion/Audio Comics

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJXEjtBJ-mkUVVaA5oOFNlA/videos



Pop Culture Retrorama: The Phantom Universe

https://popcultureretrorama.com/2020/06/24/super-blog-team-up-the-phantom-expanded-universe/

 

Cavalcade of Awesome – Jumper Universe

https://blog.paxholley.net/

COMING SOON

 

MichaelMay.Online: Treasure Island Universe

https://www.michaelmay.online/2020/06/treasure-island.html



DC In The 80s: The TSR Universe

http://www.dcinthe80s.com/2020/06/when-tsr-imprint-had-its-own-line-of.html

SBTU Chromium Banner

Welcome Back Heroes!!

This writer is glad to be back with you to share another edition of Super-Blog Team-Up!! If you are unfamiliar with our group we are a group of like minded bloggers/podcaster’s who get together 3 to 4 times a year to write about a singular topic related to everyone’s favorite topic, comics!! There have been many SBTU events in the past covering a wide variety of topics but THIS is one topic I think many will find intriguing!! Super-Blog Team-Up Presents Chromium: The Era Of Excess. You know what that means right? Gimmicks!! Gimmicks in all their forms and glory. From the inception of comics there were always gimmicks used to hook and entice a potential reader to buy a particular book. Many of us took the bait!! Some more than others like this writer before your eyes today! From “Special Double Sized issues, to Annuals, to Variant covers, to first issues, to reboots!! The methods of reeling in new readers are as old as time. Many folks consider the era of Excess to be the wild collectors boom of the 1990’s and they would have a point however these tactics have existed all through out comics history in so many formats almost too many to mention. Today Ill weave you a tale of joy and of woe as your faithful author was lured into spending his money on the diabolical gimmick known as….The photo cover!!! Strap in tight heroes as The Satellite moves all the way back to 1982 through 1986 to a special time in my fandom.

Surfer Chromium

Transmission Date: January 22nd 2020

As a kid working with my father on his cola delivery business had its benefits. I couldn’t lift the heavy cases of two liter beverages like he could and my knees buckled at the weight of just one single tray of Coca-Cola as I would lumber my way inside a local convenience store swaying from side to side to manage the weight. In my youth would often find myself “Helping” my Dad as my Mom worked. You see instead of being babysat on evening that Mom worked ..I “worked” My parents were good like that. A day’s work was something my father instilled in me as a kid. “Ya gotta go to work boy!” he would say in his jovial yet stern manner. “Pull up your socks and get to work” was his mantra! I live by it to this day. The trips to these stores even though it involved “Hard work” at least in my 8 to 10 year old mind. In reality it was really only something my dad did to occupy me while he did deliveries. Often I was left to wander the store while he did his deliveries so I would check out the magazines, toys, and junk food often landing some potato chips or some other delicious treat. Yep..it wasn’t so bad at all. One evening in particular I remember one trip to a little store across the train tracks in my home town gave me a little surprise that I still remember to this day. I remember the store well. It was run down on the exterior yet hadn’t been there for very long. Inside, the large overweight man greeted my father with a smile directing him where to lay the stock near the back coolers. As I struggled to lift in my single case I did my normal wander about the store. The shelves were not full like other stores. The chip rack looked sparse and basically empty. Looking back I probably would have feared dates on the products now that I know about food safety but we didn’t worry about that back then. As long as the chips still had a “Crunch” they were “FINE!!” Shelves looked cluttered and unkempt.

It’s clear why this place didn’t last long. The musty stale rat trap like aroma certainly could not attract many customers could it? Either way it gave my dad another stop on his delivery loop and more income, so it really didn’t matter in the end. While more than a little disgusted by my surroundings on a small cardboard box near the register sat 6 or seven comic books!! I had been a fan and had been buying them for a few years now but these were unique. They were not new comics..in fact they were old, well read and the prices were marked in thick black marker right on the covers. On top of the counter pile was a Charlton Comic! I always loved the thrill of hunting Charlton books cause they would pop up in the oddest of locales including this dump. On the top of the pile was a Bionic Woman comic, number 4 to be exact from 1977!! I still remember the bright red cover, it was well faded at this point but still had a small shine to it almost like it’s last shimmer of hope! It was priced dramatically at a quarter and I knew this because the shop owner scrawled “25 Cents” on a key part of the cover showing the characters! It was musty and damp but I didn’t care it was a comic and I was thrilled!! As my Dad finished up I was nosing through the book vigorously.

BW4

I vividly remember inside the book The Bionic Woman had to complete a maze. One of the pages was a splash page and was an actual maze that you the reader could do if one wished. I didn’t have to worry about that because the previous owner, who I suspect was the portly store owner had completed the maze with a thick black sharpie marker!! I can only imagine the value of this book today in less than “Good” condition, and emblazoned with a large poorly written 25 cent price smeared on the cover along with the fully completed maze inside to boot! My children’s university fund would not be propped up with a resale of this issue that’s for certain. None of this story is out of the norm for me…it was almost routine at this point..all that is until I was about to leave and for no apparent reason behind the cash rested an over-sized DC Limited Collectors Edition of SHAZAM The World Mightiest Mortal!!

Shazam live saction

It glowed from its shelf position with a bright yellow cover with the words SHAZAM blazing in bold red. The main feature that stood out to me was the cover. It didn’t feature the normal Shazam character I was used to seeing by artist C.C Beck, noooo..it featured a live action Shazam!! Living in small town Newfoundland during the pre-cable TV-internet era I never knew such a thing existed! There was no Youtube for me to discover episodes of rare retro television at my fingertips!! Heck the closest thing I had was a handfull of episodes of the Nicholas Hammond Spider-Man Television series or the classic Bill Bixby/ Lou Ferigno Incredible Hulk live action shows! I even recall George Reeves as Superman existing from an old VHS tape that circulated in discount bins in Woolco at Christmas times…but Shazam!!?? Impossible!! However it WAS possible! I was staring right at it! Time had stopped. The book was HUGE! It would be in my adulthood before I would ever see a single episode of the Shazam. The Shazam TV show starred Micheal Gray as Billy Batson and Jackson Bostwick as Captain Marvel something I surely would have loved as a kid!! As fate would have it though my fathers truck was ready to leave the store as he yelled out to me to join him back in the truck to head to the next stop on our travels. I couldn’t even ask him to buy the book as he had already left the store. I however was excited to return and get this book the following week. Comics were not yet popular in my home town at that point and I felt like the “only” collector out there and knew in my heart of hearts that this book would definitely still be there when I went back! I would never acquire the book. Apparently the dirt, lack of stock , co-mingled with the putrid stench of the place did not equal sales and the store had closed before we had to do our next round of soft drink replenishment. I was sad. This book was burned into my mind! It was so unique!! Over-sized!! Limited Edition!! Photo Cover!! I didn’t realize it back then but I was just roped into a dark corner of comic book marketing!! Little did I know I was DC’s target demographic, a word that I am certain didn’t exist back then. I had just got switched on to the world of “Gimmicks!!”

Shazam SHS

These were not new..photo covers had existed long before this issue of Shazam. My location on earth dictated however that this particular book would be my first look at a photo cover comic. In my hometown Comic book stores in the early 80’s did not exist. Comics as a full on collectible hobby was not prevelant. (To my knowledge) at that point. It was a shock to the system for me!! Revolutionary! That book stayed etched in my head for years!! With no means of seeing or buying any back issues it would be quite sometime before I discovered another issue with this type of live action photo cover!!

OSPriceguide

It was now 1986 and my friends and I had a little routine started based around comics collecting. We collectively set aside time for the art form known as “Trading”. You faithful readers must understand I considered myself the more informed “collector” amongst my inner circle. You see it would only be during a vacation to the “Big City” (which was exactly two hours from my hometown) that I nabbed my very first Overstreet price guide. It was empowering. It gave me a distinct advantage when entering the lion’s den that was comics trading. It was an art to the form, almost a poker like game that positioned you in a place to make a great “get away” from the scene of the crime when you felt like you came out of this bedroom negotiation the victor. My price guide allowed me to manipulate prices and make informed trades in a professional manner. So as it would come to pass on one evening during a lengthly trading session I had laid out some chips (Comics from my collection) on the proverbial trading table.

Trades

On the block this day were my Mike Mignola Cosmic Odyssey and A Wolverine and Havok “Meltdown” deluxe book first issues. Both volumes had caught the attention of my friend. I was not a fan of parting with the Wolverine book but I had not let my anguish show. Even the Mignola book which I had gotten months earlier from a New England Comics ad made me anxious as I was in no rush to part ways with that book either. I did not show my anguished poker face. His long boxes were now placed on the end of the bed and I lifted the top off the long box and began flipping through the books at a rapid pace. I barely had to look. I knew the covers just seeing the top inch and a half of a title. I knew the comic scene in my area quite well. I knew “who” had what in a collection and who didn’t. I knew who was getting “serious” about comic’s and who the “casual’s” were. It was all a game really but with my Overstreet Price Guide I was a self made authority. It was one of the few areas of my life as a kid where I had a “little” reputation as a “Comics guy. My flipping stopped at an issue of Amazing Spider-Man. As I pulled the book from its trappings I noticed it featured a live action Spider-Man , however unlike the one I instantly recognized from the ill fated late 70’s TV show starring Nicholas Hammond. The individual playing Spidey on the cover was an actor/stunt man named Scott Leva, who was at that time doing a ton of promotional material for a potential Spider-Man film by Cannon Films circa 1985…

But why a random photo cover? Well there is not much else to speculate about that mystery other that Marvels main man and editor in chief, Mr. Jim Shooter, simply liked the idea of doing a photo cover. Issue 262 was a gap filling issue featuring the pencils of one Bob Layton so he thought that this issue was as good as any place to try one out. Scott Leva had played Spidey several times during promotional tours for Marvel and could even pull off his Spidey like moves and nuances. He was a stunt man by trade hence the reason he was a top prospect for finding a Spidey to fill a comic cover! Sadly no Canon Spider-Man movie was ever made despite several weeks of production between the Spider-Man films and a new Masters Of the Universe picture filming consecutively. Only the Masters of The Universe film ended up getting made as production budgets spelled the demise of the Spidey picture before it got started and forced serious production and planned effects changes to the He-Man film. The studio was left holding the bag and a suitcase load of unpaid production bills. Coincidentally they were however left with a deluge of costumes and sets. These were mostly all re-purposed for a low budget Jean Claude Van Damme film know as “Cyborg!!” True story.

asm262 (2)

On the cover itself Scott was dressed as Spider-Man, had his mask off as a photographer snapped a picture of him exposing his secret identity! I lost composure for a minute letting my guard down, showing my cards with my excitement at the find!! My friend looked at me knowingly with arched brow knowing that “something” had my attention. I had to shake off the enthusiasm for just a minute as to carry on my “uninterested” facade but it was too much, too late. I was exposed and I put the book to one side on the bed as I continued on through the remaining books in the long box. I remember seeing issues of X-Men, Byrne era to be exact. I also recall I saw some Gene Colon Marvel horror comics and passed by both of them. Although the only thing I remember leaving that room with that day was an issue of Comic Reader featuring Machine Man as I stood firm not loosening my grip on my Mignola DC prestige format book nor the Wolverine/Havok book. It was considered sacrilege to give up a prestige format X-Book at the time!! At the time all the New England Comics Ads in comics had these comic books listed as “Hot” and surely some random issue of Spider-Man was not an equal trade. To me this was yet another time when a book with a photo cover passed by my radar. I really wanted that book. Now, like the Shazam book I had two damn books that eluded my grasp!!

Spidermansbtu

I did manage to hook up a Spider-Woman photo cover issue but the thing was in such disparaging shape that it was barely worth hanging on to…yet I did. It was painful having this book and not being able to hold it high for all to see but it was more or less a birdcage liner condition wise. The great photo cover comic hunt would have to continue another day.

tumblr_m9hgpyj9Oz1qzoglfo1_1280

One thing about me is that I would keep hunting…my issue of geography held me back and thank god for little blessings because I fear I would have accumulated so much debt due to comics collecting that I probably never would have been able to purchase a device to even type these few words for you today. The Spider-Woman book WAS a special book now that I look back it was a special issue. It was the 50th issue and the last issue all at once Why not go out with a bang…and a photo cover!! I didnt buy many issues of Spider-Woman previous to this issue yet ..the damn photo gimmick managed to steal my money!

Spiderwoman sbtu

As time went on during the very late 80s and early 90s pre boom era began and brought along with it a whole new issue in comicdom…yes thus were born the “posers”. What is a “Poser” you ask? They were people who scorned comics growing up who had now put away their Hockey card collections to overtake MY hobby. In a strange cultural twist in social circles these “Posers” were viewed as being somehow “Cooler” as a hobbiest than kids like me who were there day oneish! B.S. I say!! Comics for me was a passion, a sense of imagination and inspiration. It’s what my closest friends and I talked for hours about. Endless conversations about heroes and villains, favorite artists, or our favorite wish list books we all wanted, but now there were strangers on our island. Strangers that hunted the very books we wanted…dreamed of, fought about! It was truly a war of legitimacy. I felt “Legit”. I had a certain “Status” damn it! Surely that meant something right!!?? Right?

MTUP 128

I stood at the end of a longbox in my new town comics shop as the “Strangers” raped and pillaged the bins of number ones, first appearances, and gimmicked books. They were taking over. Even shop owners now catered to this new audience of strangers more than the kid who spent 20 dollars a week on comics since 1982!! As they demolished the already depleted stocks, one issue of Marvel Team Up surfaced, number 128 to be exact featuring Captain America and Spider-Man and had caught my eye. One of the “Strangers had pulled it out for purchase but was far from done in his buying spree. He continued adding to his pile, pulling books out and laying them on top of each box for collection later once he finished his shop. As I got closer to his pile which was made up of Marvel Punisher and Wolverine books, that were red hot in the day, I could see the Team Up book more clearly and I wanted it…Bad! . It was a photo cover!! It featured a live action Spider-Man and Cap standing on a poorly green screened city backdrop. I loved it! I brushed the other books over to the side to observe it and my stomach turned knowing this guy who had no passion, and a “Fake” collection only had intended to buy these books to resell them and make his fortune off their pages. I looked up the aisle the kid was still going intently sifting through the other boxes pulling out what had to be 30 plus books at that point. My pile had some Marvel Star Wars, an issue or two of Groo and a Gi Joe…all standard fare for me. That Marvel Team Up was only $2.50. I looked up at its claimer who was now engaged in conversation with the owner about hockey cards or something gave me an idea. I did something I never did up to that point. I was about to cross the line. With the swift hands of jesus I lifted the four books covering that issue from his pull pile and I nabbed that glorious issue number 128 photo covered Marvel Team up and shoved it quickly in between my selections and moved swiftly to the cash register. The lady at the register was the owner’s wife and fortunately knew little about comics but unfortunately took forever manually entering the prices of each of my books. I was doing everything to block the view of the counter but the lady was really bad at her job and made mistake after mistake and seemingly lingered on that Team up book holding it in her hand seemingly forever on display to the world of my shameful crime. Finally she got it right…two dollars and fifty cents was the cost and it was now purchased. The full amount of my selections added up to about 25 dollars but as the other customer collected his bin pulls behind me he was now in line at the counter as well. I felt like he knew. He knew that I had committed an offense like no other by grabbing his “claimed” book. I was sure he knew..I could feel it. I could feel the eyes of everyone in the place as the owner’s wife slowly, painfully, slid the books into a thin brown paper bag and presented them to me with all the grace and speed of a sloth. I snatched the bag not sure if I even said thanks I had to get out of dodge to my getaway car which was no car at all but a cheap grey mountain bike. My trusty steed. I loved my bike and I liked it even more once I peddled furiously away. I had gotten away with it! My first photo cover was the cause of my first “Collectors Crime”. I just loved those books but now it was affecting my morals!! There was a code among collectors but I justified it as taking back our hobby from pretenders. A bold statement, a bold and possibly unfair judgement but one that causes me zero guilt to this day. The Dazzler book was next.

Daz Photo cover

Outside of issue number 1 I was NOT a Dazzler fan. However.. Dazzler issue 21 was priced at $1.00 and was a :”Special” issue. It claimed to reveal Dazzlers “Shameful Secret Past!!” I didn’t care so much for the reveal but rather it was the cover that sold me on the book. It was a November issue from 1982 and the dollar cover price back then was very steep. The cover itself featured a Canadian Model named June Macdonald standing ina white body suit and standing in a dark room with only the lights from her hands shadowy illuminating the room just enough to make out the silhouette of this blonde Dazzler like lady. I was instantly enamored. However as stupid as this may sound It came too easy. There was no hunt, there was no one trying to steal the book from my cold dead hands. Instead it was in a forgotten longbox in the corner of a comic store neglected. Untouched and alone.

Dazedit

The collecting game had gone mainstream and back issues while still in demand had taken a backseat to new methods of comic book selling. Gimmicks. I almost hate saying the word even though I was as guilty and passionate about them as the next guy. This was now 1993 and gimmick covers were all the rage. Chromium covers, Foil Covers, Pre-Bagged books, Trading Card giveaways, GateFold covers. You name it…they tried it! I did enjoy that era…in fact I have a great passion and recollection of those times. I bought into every gimmick you could name and they were fun..but NOTHING grabbed like the photo covers did!

Reflecting back to that time I know many Gen X Collectors look back in wonder remembering the “Good Ole Days” of comics. The Bronze era was certainly a great time for me as a collector and certainly the height of my passion for the hobby. It funny that today “New Books” utilize the same gimmicks and hooks they always have except I dismiss them as trash. I dismiss them as being less than or cheaper versions what I grew up with. I almost have a sympathy for kids in comics shop rummaging through the slew of variant covers that serve more to annoy me than fascinate me. I always feel that these kids will somehow not ever experience the thrill of the “Glory Days”. Do kids still trade comics? Do they still engage in the “Can Superman take Spider-Man in a fight” conversations?? Do they? I hope so…I really do. Coming to grips that my hobby is no longer about or for me hurts a little. In fact it downright stings. I am at peace with the fact that I had what I had and I damn well loved my time as a collector. I loved my comics..my generations gimmicks and to this day they still give me great joy! One day I will find my DC Limited Edition Shazam book and I will finally buy it! I may even blog about it if blogging still exists at that time. The Spidey book can be gotten easily with a simple click of a mouse but I still enjoy the hunt. The discovery…the gimmick! Friends, no matter what you grew up with if you were passionate about it…embrace it. Remember it! Share it! One day you will be the dinosaur in front of your computer or god knows what device typing out your memories to hold on to them. To store them and have others enjoy them. One day my kids..my friends..my wife will finally read my words and somehow understand their fathers, their husbands , their friend as someone with passion and read my story which is this little blog. The blog I update when I feel I have something to share!! To my readers I thank you. I leave you with one request. If you love comics..and gimmicks..and just the thrill of the hobby by all means leave a comment! Click the links listed to check out a few friends of mine below and read along as they share their memories of the era of excess!! Thank you for joining us for Super-Blog Team-Up and I hope in some small way our stories will make you smile, remember and maybe share a story with a friend or colleague. We have the greatest array of blogging talent the internet has yet to discover. Curl up with your device of choice and enjoy…

Oh yeah…I almost forgot…Tell Em Hero Sent Ya!!

Till Next time Heroes…

End Transmission.

SBTU Continues Below

Super-Blog Team-Up Is…

Super-Hero Satellite: 70s-80s Photo Covers. A snapshot of pre 90s era of gimmicks, the evolution of a trend through the years.

https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2020/01/19/super-blog-team-up-chromium-the-great-photo-cover-swindle

Chris is on Infinite Earths (Blog): Adventures of Superman #500 (White Bag/Lenticular Cover/etc.)

http://bit.ly/AdvSup500

Chris is on Infinite Earths (Podcast):

Episode 33: Team Titans #1 (1992)

Five Variant Covers… and five variant stories!

https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-wh7un-d061a0

Comic Reviews by Walt:

The ’90s Revisited: Shiny Covers

https://comicreviewsbywalt.wordpress.com/2020/01/22/super-blog-team-up-the-90s-revisited-shiny-covers/

Source material: Spider-Man Torment (issues 1-5) by Todd McFarlane – https://www.spreaker.com/episode/21862584

ComicsComicsComics.blog

Daredevil 319-325 Fall from Grace

http://comicscomicscomics.blog/2020/01/22/superblog-teamup-chromiun-daredevil-fall-from-grace

The Telltale Mind (Geoff) – Worlds Collide – The Intercompany Crossover

http://thetelltalemind.com/2020/01/22/worlds-collide-the-intercompany-crossover/

Between The Pages

Guerilla Marketing

https://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2020/01/guerilla-marketing.html

DC In The 80s

Justin’s 5 most memorable DC “gimmicks” (1990 – 1995)

Mark’s most memorable DC comic cover “gimmicks” (1980 – 1989)

Comics In The Golden Age (Mike)

Fawcett’s Mighty Midget comics.

Unspoken Issues

Darkhawk #25 – https://www.spreaker.com/episode/21862604

Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog Connected Covers gimmicks

New Teen Titans 37/Batman and the Outsiders 5

https://davescomicheroes.blogspot.com/2020/01/batman-and-outsiders-meet-new-teen.html

When It Was Cool (Karl)

Polybag It! The Blight of the Polybagged Comic Book

http://www.whenitwascool.com/superblog-team-up-polybag-it

Pop Culture Retrorama

Chromium… Glow In The Dark Covers

https://popcultureretrorama.com/2020/01/22/super-blog-team-up-chromium-glow-in-the-dark-covers/

In My Not So Humble Opinion

It Came From the 1990s: Force Works #1

Pop-Up Cover

https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2020/01/22/it-came-from-the-1990s-force-works-1-3

Black & White and Bronze Comics Blog

Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine 1968. Stan Lee’s foray into the magazine format.

https://blackwhitebronzecomics.blogspot.com/2020/01/super-blog-team-up-shades-of-gray.html

ONEMORESBTU

Welcome Back Heroes!!  I am super glad to be back aboard the Satellite again today as its my favorite blogging day of the year…Its Super-Blog Team Up time!! For those of you who are unfamiliar with our team let me explain. The Mighty SBTU are a group of like minded Blogger’s and Podcaster’s who get together 3 to 4 times a year to write on a singular topic. The idea is that we share each others work so YOU the reader can get a sonic boom of content from a host of blogs and podcasts that you may not have seen before. Your new favorite blog could be right under your nose! Before we get started I urge to to check out the links of our other contributors below! There are a ton of excellent creators out there who are waiting to meet you and share their incredible library of work!

SpideyMj SBTU Immortal

If you have been living under a cave you may have noticed our topic this round is IMMORTAL!! One of comicdom’s greatest tropes in general is the notion that “No one ever REALLY Dies” in comics and characters always, in some form or fashion, come back from the “Dead”. You will see multiple takes on this theme in our sister blogs below. Our take, for all intents and purposes, is in my opinion comics most turbulent relationship. The love story of Peter Parker our webslinging hero (also known as Spider-Man for the one person in the world who does’nt know!!) and his true love the fiesty red haired party girl and future super model..Mary Jane Watson (Parker). As you will see their relationship would survive everything from super villain attacks, stirring revelations, multiple kidnappings, a clone debacle, a plane crash and even the devil himself!!

Strap in tight Heroes the saga of The Immortal Love of Peter and MJ is NEXT!! Catch ya on the other side!

SBTU IMMORTAL

Begin Transmission: August 28th 2019Peter Meets MJ

 

“Face It Tiger…You Just Hit The JACKPOT!”

For Spider-Man fans these 8 simple words would launch the long confusing, troubled and beautiful relationship of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in the pages of Marvel’s “The Amazing Spiderman” #42.  Like the majority of their storied life as a couple Peter and MJ’s union did’nt start like any typical comic book relationship with love at first sight. No sir…it would be the culmination of a year of Peter dodging blind date bullets as Aunt May and her friends tried to set up the young Parker with a beautiful young woman named Mary Jane Watson. Now Peter was not known for being super popular with the ladies but he had dated other girls previously in the past in the comics. Nothing had ever stuck relationship wise for the web slinging hero. Peter had been blowing off the notion of being set up by his much older Aunt and was of the mind that this Mary Jane was obviously no prize and that he would certainly NOT be interested in her. So after many hi-jinks by Lee and Romita, Mary Jane emerged from hiding (Editors note: Mary Jane was literally hid from view until her reveal in ASM #42.) They had gone through great lengths to block her face with objects to keep her appearance secretive. So when MJ shows up at her Aunts door for her blind date with Peter, both the reader and Peter himself are left gasping as Mary Jane Watson was no down on her luck homely girl, instead she is the breathtaking red haired party girl that would become the single most important person in the life of Peter Parker….but nothing would come easy for these two as there were more than a few bumps along the way.

Peter and MJ dated but their initial courtship did not last long at all and Peter would rekindle his relationship with Gwen Stacey. As a note Stan Lee was originally not in favor of a Mary Jane and Peter long term relationship. Stan felt that Gwen Stacey was the character that belonged in a relationship with Parker. As a result the Mary Jane character was paired with Peters best friend (And son of the original Green Goblin) Harry Osborn. The blood feud between Spider-Man and the Goblin would be the catalyst that would forever push Peter and MJ together. The Goblin (aka Norman Osborn) would discover that Peter Parker was actually living a double life as Spider-Man. Praying on this knowledge, Osborn as the Goblin, went after the one thing Peter held most dear…his blond haired beauty Ms. Gwen Stacey. The Goblin would kidnap Gwen but Spider-Man would be in hot pursuit of his nemesis. Peter would find them both perilously in danger high atop the Golden Gate bridge to which unbeknownst to him would be the very last time we would see the real Gwen Stacey alive again. During the battle between the Goblin and Spider-Man high along support pedestals of the bridge, Gwen Stacey would ultimately plunge to her doom as the Goblin would strike her causing her to fall from the bridge. Despite Peters attempt to save her life with a last minute web line to catch her it would also be the very thing that would kill her. Peter’s girlfriend in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man was DEAD. Gwen Stacey was gone and there was NOTHING that even Spider-Man could do to prevent it.

Gwenstacey is dead

On a personal side note I got Amazing Spider-Man 121 given to me in a stack of comics for FREE!! For a long time it sat unattended in my book shelf with my other Spidey books! I had seen the cover a million times in price guides and on comic shop walls but I did not know at the time this issue was the Death of Gwen Stacey! Happy surprise to me when I found out!!

ASM121bnw

I didn’t read my old issues of ASM at the time so instead it would be a reprint that I got from a trip to the local drug store spinner rack where I finally read the story for the first time. I discovered the story in a special edition of the Spider-Man reprint title Marvel Tales #92 which collected the two issues into a double sized reprint. I remember being moved by the story for the first time ever from a comic book.

Marvel Tales Gwen

I grew up on the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon show so I was always aware of the never ending blood feud between The Green Goblin and Spider-Man. For me it was strange to see the Goblin in a different light in the comic book. In his cartoon persona old Gobby was a comedic pumpkin throwing side-villain and not the bat sh** crazy murderer I saw in the pages of these Spidey books. Seeing Peters reaction to Gwen’s Death was a powerful real legit touching moment. The tragedy however would be the glue that would forever bond Peter Parker to Mary Jane. No matter how much Peter focused on Gwen, MJ would always pop into his life, something that Gwen herself would bring up to him on occasion.

MJ Gwen

Their lives would often collide but this time something was different..something was realized once and for all. Peter Parker finally saw that no matter where life brought him his only constant was that he ALWAYS had Mary Jane. In good times and at the very worst of times. Whether they double dated, argued, or went out with each other the fact was MJ was ALWAYS there. This single panel at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man is one that I consider the most profound comic page in comics and it really hit hard for me. (Thats right Jacko…its MY Panel!! ) For the first time I actually had an emotional response from a comic. This page captured the relationship of Peter and MJ and it was a wash of sadness, yet also comfort in knowing that Peter would be okay…because he has MJ. There is something very raw and truthful in that single comic page. It was a relationship deeper than all the classic comic book relationships.

asm122 Best page MJPeter

This page was not overstated and the last 3 silent panels still hits me in the feels to this day. It was bigger than Tony Stark and Pepper. It was much more than X-Men’s Scott and Jean. In fact I feel it is more significant than even Clark Kent and Lois Lane. The strength of Marvel comics was its ability to create “Real” people beyond their super heroic characters. Peter and MJ were real to me and in one single page..one so epically emotional and rendered as such, I knew this was THE comic book couple that I would always enjoy reading. There is something about Peter Parker that many boys growing up could relate to. He was not rich like his friend Harry Osborn. He was not the popular super jock like Flash Thompson either.

13rjY

WITH GREAT POWER

Becoming that popular ladies man was what almost every kid aspired to be like and we each have our reasons why we didnt land all the votes to be crowned King at the school prom.. of course we all secretly wanted to be. Most of us identified with Peter. Maybe we were overlooked by the fairer sex. Maybe we didnt get all the dates on Saturday night however maybe we did well in school. Peter was no Football star, but secretly he was more of an athlete than his rival Flash. As a superhero he just could not show it. Peter was given a mantra by his co-creator Stan Lee that guided the character throughout his early years in comics that was the Immortal (See what I did there??) “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” tag line.

Great Power

So while Peter could have easily dispatched Flash and looked good in front of the girls or the press, Peter had a responsibility to not only himself but to his loved ones. His relationship with MJ was his victory dance. In the end the every-man got the girl and it was blissful! So Peter and MJ became officially a couple and all was right with the world…for the moment.

Spidery MJ Hammock

As with everything Marvel no one can be at peace for too long and it would be Peters secret life as Spider-Man that would always be the catalyst for drama in their early relationship. As you recall The Green Goblin used his knowledge of Peter Parker’s identity and his relationships to haunt him and weaken him. This would be the story of Peter and MJs early relationship as well as they flip flopped in and out of their relationship but they always seemingly found each other. It was serendipity. Mary Jane was no Gwen Stacey. MJ was her own free spirit and one that was not naive to the ways of the world. In my books it is THE reason it puts her one step ahead of Superman’s Lois Lane. MJ discovered Peters secret and knew he was Spider-Man….for a long time!

MJ Knows Peters secret

THE MARRIAGE

Peter and MJ’s relationship would take turns, round corners, fall off cliffs, yet only at the end of the day would seemingly land safely. When you take a step back and look at all the events that the couple have endured it’s almost comical…but kids remember, it IS after all comics we are talking about. After the iconic Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 21 Peter and MJ finally were wed. Marvel would make a huge deal out of this even creating a mock ceremony in Shea Stadium to add media coverage to the event. Peter and MJs marriage was front page news even in media outside of the comics bubble.

ASM Annual 21SBTU2

It’s an interesting thing that many writers fail to consider leading up to an event like the marriage of a popular set of characters is …”What do we do now?” The easy part of writing a relationship story is the chase and of course the hills and valleys getting there. Writers were tasked with now writing a married couple and had to keep readers invested. Usually that is the kiss of death…just ask the TV industry! I firmly remember popular shows as far back as the early 80’s such as Threes Company. The lead character, Jack, was pegged to continue the shows lore with a spin off called Three’s A Crowd where Jack marries his love Vicky. Audiences were not thrilled with the stories and the Jack and Vicky marriage dynamic. Just like that, after one season, even sitcom Power house John Ritter could not carry the marriage bag. Then there was another famous example of Moonlighting which starred celebrity on the rise Bruce Willis and Cybil Sheppard who were a flirty but feisty couple of investigators who had a strong sexual chemistry on screen that audiences loved and tuned in week after week to showcase strong viewership numbers to see if David and Maddie would finally hook up. Of course they would eventually and the air went out of the room and ratings proving that the money is in the chase. For comics fans there was no better example than the show Lois and Clark which like the above mentioned examples of marriage, kills ratings and was the poster child for issue marriage deflation. As it was with comic book shows, they were not at their apex of popularity on the small screen like they would be in 2019 but Lois and Clark held their own in the ratings. Led by Dean Cain and Terri Hatcher, audiences fell in love with Superman all over again for the first time since the Christopher Reeve fronted Superman films. Despite a solid push on the comics side of DC’s business to create marketing synergy with TV and Comics and have Clark and Lois wed in the comic books the curse of the golden ring was in full force and the show ended that very season the marriage occurred and did not return.

LOis and Clark wedding

As for Peter and MJ,their marriage in comic books was one of the few sure fire things that survived many corporate restructurings at Marvel. New writing teams, multiple kidnapping story-lines, a Ill fated plane crash and even a Clone Saga debacle where it was revealed that this Spider-Man we were reading all these years may very well be a clone dating all the way back to an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man in the 70s! If it wasnt a Super-villian taking a crack at the couple, it was their work-life balance. MJ had taken on a very successful modeling career and Peter had been bouncing from reporter/ photographer to running a company. The family’s fortunes seemingly changed..but so had the comics industry. The big two, DC and Marvel comics were faced with a serious decline in sales and comics availability in the main stream. The 90’s comics bubble had burst and sales numbers were the buzzword in every company meeting leading into 2007. Marvel had done several line enhancement shake ups since 1996 starring with the Heroes Reborn initiative. It was an attempt to get back to basics in the main stream comic books such as The Avengers and Captain America. With sharp continuity issues bogging down some of key franchises the idea was to relaunch many heroes with a new revitalized cannon. The results garnered an increased sales boost for Marvel. Only a short 4 years later the line overhauls continued with Marvels Ultimate’s and it is here we would get the first vibe that there was trouble in Spider-ville. Marvels Bendis led Ultimate’s line was an attempt to sidestep the years of worn out, supposedly played out back history of the Marvel Universe and create a new jumping on point for new readers with familiar characters like Spider-Man except updated to meet with the Status Quo.

ULTIMATE..

A new century requires a new status quo right? With creative stagnation and characters saddled with the effects of years of tumultuous baggage brought about by maintaining a linear continuity Brian Micheal Bendis delivered a new Spider-Man to the masses. Bendis and Bagley delivered a new Spider-Man and a younger and certainly more hip version of Peter Parker. Its was complete with a fully modernized updated take on the classic Marvel character for the 2000s boasting a supporting cast that would hopefully resonate with the fan base. In 2019 those words mean almost nothing as this has been done seemingly every couple of years or less. In 2000 however the Ultimates line was considered a risk…but it worked. Ultimate Spider-Man was a hit out of the gate.

ult spidey sbtu

Peter’s style and hair are updated to 2000s sensibilities. (Aunt) May Parker was no longer cast as a feeble elderly senior citizen as now she was now only a 50 year old mature lady and Uncle Ben is STILL ALIVE !!!!(At least in the beginning) Peter’s job was given a fresh coat of paint as it was updated from photographer/reporter to a Web designer to keep up with the current modern job scene. Gwen Stacey is also still alive in this Universe having never met her fate at the hands of the Green Goblin. One constant in this book was the fact that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were still a couple! Yes, even updating these characters from their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s incarnations, the one thing that remains unchanged is that Peter is with MJ cause that never goes out of style!

Speaking of style.. it was never Marvels style to let Peter and Mary Jane live happily ever after as their life together would be consistently drama filled. back in the main comic title Mary Jane’s modeling career fortunes exploded to unbelievable heights after marriage and she would fall prey to being stalked by her sleazy former landlord. This sleezeball not only sabotaged her modelling career but then kidnapped her which came as no surprise for long time fans as it sure wasnt her first time but we are not supposed to keep tabs on such things right?

How to further complicate matters? Any married couple can tell you one of the biggest threats to a marriage are…your In Laws?? Yep, if things hadn’t gone awry enough in the past now Peters long thought to be deceased Parents returned out of seemingly nowhere alive and well?  We would discover that they were life like robots sent to infiltrate the Parker’s lives though the plans of original Spidey villain and even his own former best friend Harry Osborn who was still not over that one little friendship detail of Peter causing his fathers demise. This gave a story-line explanation for Peter to have a meltdown of sorts and leave MJ temporarily. How convenient for the writers begging to write Bachelor Peter!

 

CLONES, CLONES EVERYWHERE…

Clonessbtu

One would be remiss if I didn’t mention the long lamented and lambasted Clone Saga. Spider clone Ben Riley returns from the 70s and convinces Peter that he is actually the REAL Peter and he (Our Peter Parker) has been living a false life as Peter Parker!!! OUTRAGE!!!! As one would assume this also put fire on the old wedding vows as now it appeared that MJ had married an imposter Peter?? On an interesting note Mary Jane would become pregnant but due to poisoning by one of the Green Goblins helpers. MJ delivers a still born baby…or so we think. More on that later! At this point Peter even drops the mantle of being Spider-Man as Ben Reilly took center stage as The Scarlett Spider! Of course shenanigans would be at play and Norman Osborn would return, Ben Reilly would apparently die (Dont worry folks..remember NO ONE REALLY DIES IN COMICS REMEMBER!!)  and Peter Parker..now fully cleared as the original Spider-Man would return to action as the genuine article Spider-Man but he had inherited some HUGE marriage baggage as a result of all the insanity that had just transpired!

SpideyMJ Plane crash

MJs penchant for being kidnapped turns into a full time job as a telepathic mutant who was very interested in stealing whats important to Peter (That’s MJ for those taking score here!) stages an elaborate plane crash that Mary Jane had apparently been on presumably on business. This of course gave writers another open door to write a a single Peter Parker. Even when MJ returned they were kept apart while she “Recovered”. Fans of the series saw this as just another excuse not to write Peter as a married man. The marriage was a planet sized burden to creative teams and teams were often tasked with having to create convenient temporary back doors so Peter could momentarily  return to Bachelorhood. THEN…IT HAPPENED…

In 2007 Marvel finally pulled the trigger and ended the marriage DEAD..in fact they created a huge backdoor exploit to Peter and MJs relationship so they had written them as if they had NEVER married!! This remains to this day the single most polarizing story-line in the history of the franchise.

MJscream

ONE MORE DAY

Meanwhile in real life…It would be one particularly strange trip to Florida in which we had a overnight stop over in Toronto which gave me some unusual time to browse the malls the evening before we would fly to our final destination. As my wife and kids shopped the clothing stores I checked out a small book store with no intention of doing anything except wasting time. I got to the graphic novel section which had expanded significantly since my heyday in the 80s. Marvel, DC and even other publishers had plenty of offerings but the majority of the case was given to Manga! As I browsed the books checking out small story arcs for Superman and Batman. I spotted a Spidey book. Cover looked all well and good enough then I browsed through it. The dark almost photo realistic artwork of Peter and MJ with Mephisto at the end caught my eye. I read the synopsis and it just hooked me. It checked all my boxes of interest! Of course I had no idea the book I was about to grab would become the most maligned comic arc in Spider-Mans modern history Clone Saga included! This of course would be the story known affectionately as One More Day.

ONe more vanish

The quick and dirty on this story-line is that after the revelation to the public during Civil War that Peter Parker is Spider-Man many folks are literally gunning for Parker. Tragically Aunt May is on the receiving end of an Assassin’s bullet intended for Peter and is critically injured and will certainly die. Peter desperate for help runs to his Avengers friends Tony Stark and Doctor Strange begging them to save his Aunt May. Help does not come from either…that is until an offer is presented from an unlikely source. Mephisto..Marvel comics version of the devil himself. Mephisto who thrives on misery tragedy and unhappiness makes an offer to save Aunt May from certain death in exchange for Peter and MJ’s marriage. If Peter and Mary Jane agree their marriage and years together, both good and bad, would never of happened For all intents and purposes Peter and MJ would have never have wed. This fascinated me as a fan..and more so as a lapsed fan because I had grown up on Peter and MJ. The Peter and Gwen thing was technically before my time despite having read every issue of The Amazing Spider-Man so I had an affection for the couple. As a reader this hit like a punch to the gut. Who would give up every happy moment in their lives and give the ultimate sacrifice to save a loved one. While fans hated this story I LOVED it. I put myself in Peters shoes. If I was faced with the same dilemma would I do the same? It was deep..it was dark and it was heavy.

MJ Fractured Montage

The panels where Peter and MJ agonize over making the ultimate decision to me are simply heart breaking. The art is stark…amazing and desperate. I can’t tell you how much even to this day seeing these pages affect me. Not since the final page of MJ and Peter in ASM 122 after the Gwen’s death had another comic caught my heart. This one literally got me in the feels.

 

Final minutes

As a fan for 35 plus years Spider-Man, Peter and MJ were almost part of my family. I grew up and thrilled to every story panel but now it was about to be erased. Yes of course I was upset over that but almost in a mourning sense of sorts. This book to me represented a passage. It was a book end. The end of me as a comics fan. For me giving up comics made me feel like I was missing out or giving up something but this single book. A book that upset so many was the very book that told me “Chris..its okay to let go now”. It was THE END of my comics collecting days. It was my final chapter and I too felt a loss…and end of such a fun adventurous part of my childhood. Seeing Peter and MJ break up more or less was my break up from the “obligation” of being a comic book fan. Anyone who knows what is like to have something that makes you just happy, comics was and is that for me. The joy of having a fist full of coins and dollar bills and peddling on my bike to the store to grab the next issue of Batman because he had turned into a vampire in the issue before! It was sitting in your room with friends arguing and debating who was the best superhero and trading our comics for new ones!! It was the joy of getting that key 1st appearance or first issue. These are things that only a real comics fan would understand. The most haunting images in One More Day wer at the end of the story as Peter and MJ decide to sacrifice their marriage to save May. The intensity, the words and the gut wrenching emotion of the art just made me have an emotional reaction. Not many comics have done that..in fact very few ever had! This one did it.

Goodbye

With their final embrace and MJ’s final “Face It Tiger..You Just Hit The Jackpot.” it was one of the most emotional things I had ever read. The one sure thing in comics was done. Peter and Mj’s relationship was reset. Peter’s life picked up as if he had not married MJ and fans HATED it. It was the ultimate retcon. For me it was my time to step away from the maddening hobby that I had enjoyed so much. I released myself from the pressure of collecting every issue of a certain title. I released myself from the anxiety of beating the crowds to a comic shop and hoping to land that new HOT book before a sell out. I was free. Peter Parker was “Free” as well. This of course would be the perfect place to wrap up but this Installment of Super Blog Team Up is not about ENDINGS..but this is IMMORTAL!!

Superior Spiderman

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN

While Peter and MJ spent some time apart they crossed in and out of each others lives like old times. Both would re-enter the dating world but yet always fall back to each other. Peter went on to become a highly successful business man running Parker Industries as for MJ despite Peter’s apprehension went to work with Tony Stark! Marvel had done their job teasing a reconciliation but never going all in with it. Of note the Superior Spider-Man Arc saw the actual and literal death of Peter Parker’s Spider-Man leading to Doc Ock himself possessing the body of Peter Parker and living his life Including being with Mary Jane. Doc Ock while being terminally ill, discovered a way to swap consciousness with Peter leading to Doc Ock taking over Peter’s young healthy body and putting Peters consciousness in Otto’s disease ridden near death body. MJ always the perceptive one picked up on New Peter’s strange behavior and ditched him cold again breaking up the duo. Of course Peter would find his way out of death yet again only to discover that he had again lost Mary Jane setting him back to scratch all over again.  The on again off again game would continue but fans (Me included) longed for the Peter and MJ relationship that we all grew and loved. 2015’s Secret Wars attempted to again serve as a reboot for Marvel of sorts and mending Peter and MJ would be on the menu but not right away. It would be 2018’s The Amazing Spider-Man #1 when where Peter and Mary Jane would once again give fans what they wanted…

IMMORTAL LOVE

1111

The issue ended with Peter realizing what was important in his life and he went to finally share his feelings with MJ who met him half-way before he could finish with a kiss that put smiles on hardened and cantankerous Spidey fans like myself.

peterkissASM1

While we may never see the remarriage of Peter and Mary Jane, the one constant in the Spider-Verse in the pages of comics and on the big screen is that Peter Parker’s love for Mary Jane Watson is forever.

Peter MJ Saturday Postsbtu end

 

Oh, and by the way, while I dropped off of comic collecting for many years I did return to comics later as well. Like Peter and Mary Jane, I reconciled my relationship with the medium  as I became mainly a digital reader. Istill enjoy buying collected arcs in trade format. Soooo..I guess it’s TRUE.. somethings..not matter how hard people or circumstances seem to try and break or change you, it seems we always manage find a way. Yes dear readers…somethings are truly IMMORTAL!

D7lIrWkU0AA5GIt.jpg large

Thank you for reading this humble little blog. I’ll be back soon but only when I have something to say. I want to make sure that every post on this blog is not an obligation..but rather a part of my story that I wanted to share. Now if by chance you would like another spin on The IMMORTAL theme I urge you to check out the other members of our Super-Blog Team Up below. We have the best bloggers/ podcaster’s on the web just waiting to share their work with YOU faithful reader. Give em a try!! Your new favorite blog may be waiting for you to discover them! Oh..and Tell em Hero sent ya!

 

End Transmission

SBTU Continues

 

Super-Blog Team Up continues HERE! Click the links below and check out the rest of The Super-Blog Team-Ups Offerings for IMMORTAL!

 

Comic Reviews By Walt: TMNT and Highlander https://comicreviewsbywalt.wordpress.com/?p=16361

 

The Superhero Satellite: IMMORTAL Peter LOVES Mary Jane (One More Day) Hey! You are already here! Keep going!!

 

Comics Comics Comics Blog: Dr. Fate http://comicscomicscomics.blog/2019/08/21/super-blog-team-up-the-immortal-dr-fate

 

Between The Pages Blog: Big Finish: Doctor Who’s Finest Regeneration

https://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2019/08/big-finish-doctor-whos-finest-regeneration.html

 

The Unspoken Decade: Archer and Armstrong:  Opposites Attract:  Archer and Armstrong http://theunspokendecade.com/sbtuarcherandarmstrong

 

DC In the 80s: Young Animals Bug   (Coming SOON)

 

Black, White and Bronze: What Price Immortality? A Review of Red Nails (https://blackwhitebronzecomics.blogspot.com/2019/08/super-blog-team-up-what-price.html)

 

The Daily Rios: Arion The Immortal (1992 Six Issue Mini Series)

 

Chris Is On Infinite Earths: Podcast Episode 26 – Resurrection Man 1997 & 2011  https://chrisandreggie.podbean.com/e/chris-is-on-infinite-earths-episode-26-resurrection-man-1s-19972011-super-blog-team-up/?token=b1768703b32e0ffcc76bd7e7d66bda6e
In My Not So Humble Opinion : It Came from the 1990s: Ivar the Timewalker

https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2019/08/27/timewalker/

 

 

Vic Sage “…of the upcoming Pop Culture Retrorama site.”: I am Legend

 

The Source Material Comics Podcast: Vampirella “Roses For The Dead” – https://www.spreaker.com/user/10409169/sm-vamp-final

 

Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog: Multi-Man https://davescomicheroes.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-immortal-foe-of-challengers-multi.html

 

Magazines and Monsters: Podcast episode – Kang/Immortus: Avengers-Kang: Time and Time Again TPB (Avengers 69-71), Blog post: https://billydunleavy.wordpress.com/?p=6243&preview_id=6243&preview_nonce=d756977e50&post_format=standard&_thumbnail_id=-1&preview=true&key=private_preview

 

Radulich Broadcasting Network: TV PARTY TONIGHT – Jupiter Ascending commentary – LINK GOES LIVE 8/28/19 – https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18840705

 

 

A Hero In Other Worlds…

Posted: March 23, 2019 in Uncategorized

SatelliteRossBanner

Welcome Back Heroes!!

“YA GOTTA START SOMEWHERE KID!!”

Truer words were never spoken.This post is a tribute to the fine folks who helped me grow my blogging and podcasting wings over the years by allowing me to play in their sandbox for a few minutes! Lets get on the Satellite and see where it takes us!

All Crew Members on board the Satellite Today make your way  to the Viewing Chambers as we are getting a special peek into other worlds…worlds key to the operation of this very Retro Loving Blog! We are gonna turn the dial back several years in time to when your host here Charlton Hero, was just conjuring the idea to create the works that you see laid before you. Truth is I had some help along the way. Yes I have a mind filled with memories bursting to hit the written page but it helps when your friends inspire you to step outside your space and be yourself …elsewhere! I have had the good fortune of writing and podcasting alongside some VERY good creators. Creators who I consider Friends. From time to time I have written and guest spotted on various different sites and this is a little collection of that work for my own purposes that you may enjoy as well!! Soooo..Lets start at the beginning..

Transmission date: 03/23/2019

 

Retroist

 

The Retroist:

As the internet grew up folks figured out that there were audiences out there for pretty much everything. I would always surf around the World Wide Web for anything from my childhood. Toys, movies, games, you name it I was all about it! There were sporadic sites out there but many were fly by night and didn’t update often…then I found The Retroist.  I had become a big audio listener and This Retroist site had it all. Equipped with a variety of MP3 players I blazed my way through the Retroist Podcast catalog and I was hooked! It’s an amazing podcast which I will say is still by far the best retro pop culture podcast out there! I’ll always thank the Retroist himself for allowing me to write for his site while I was working out my blogger voice as well as inviting me to be a part of his amazing podcast! I was invited to tell a Halloween story for the 5th annual Retroist Halloween Special. The beauty of this relationship was years later when myself and a group of Twitter friends began Super-Blog Team Up I invited Retroist to appear as part of our blogging event and he said yes. Vic Sage, the man I would like to call the “Hardest Working Man” on that site came to join us and that bond to the Retroist site has been there to this very day! I am very proud to showcase my old Retroist work for those Satellite Fans who have yet to see it! You can see the unpolished early stages of my Blogging style and even a little rough beginning to my mini Podcasting hobby.

Retroist Halloween Special 5

“Welcome to the Retroist Halloween Special V Podcast. Today’s show is all about Halloween memories! That’s right it is time for the 5th Annual Retroist Halloween Special. It was a fun show to put together and many of the folks associated with the site joined in to share their Halloween memories. You will hear Charlton Hero, Retro Justin, Doug, David Greelish, Weird Paul, Eric LeFeber and of course, Vic Sage.”

Finding Pulsar

 Finding Pulsar The Ultimate Man

Do you remember that elusive toy from your childhood…that one you knew you had but just couldn’t put a finger on it. THIS is my story of The Ultimate Man: Pulsar which made me question my own sanity at times. Finding Pulsar was a journey for me to piece back together my memories of a toy that had been forgotten in the Twilight Zone of my mind for years.

Then there was…STAR WARS!! Marvel Star Wars to be exact!!!

Star Wars The Marvel Way

 Star Wars The Marvel Way

I LOVED Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan of the variety that watches the movies faithfully, collected the toys, books, clothing, towels, mugs…and THE COMICS!! When Marvel Comics took the Star Wars property it hit a home run in my mind and managed to establish its own continuity and was the start of the original Expanded Star Wars Universe!

Speaking of things I loved as a kid..there was this one cartoon…

 

Remembering Captain Nemo

Remembering The Undersea Adventures Of Captain Nemo

The Captain Nemo show was not intended to be a full series rather a set of short cartoon breaks that were transitions between shows. Its theme song and quirky Canadian art style was something I fondly remember and treasure. It was also a memorable post for me as one of the creators emailed me….and basically told me to delete the embedded videos that were originally contained within the Retroist post!! Yikes. I still like the show so that’s that I guess..It was also my departure from the Retroist as I went exclusively to this blog you are reading right now! Somewhere along the road as I worked my little blog and found a presence on Twitter I landed at the lunch table with a few of my favorite Twitter peeps..The Nerd Lunch sessions began…

 

Nerd-Lunch-logo

Nerd Lunch Episode 242: Our Favorite Pro-Wrestling Things

Nerd Lunch Podcast 242: Our Favorite Pro-Wrestling Things

Since 1986 I have been a die hard Professional Wrestling fan. I have ate, breathed and slept wrestling all my life and I was super pleased to have been invited on a podcast all about my favorite topic Wrestling!!

“Get in the ring with Jeeg and a wrestling roundtable featuring Jay Ryan from The Sexy Armpit, Charlton Hero from The SuperHero Satellite, and Mike Downs from(?) The Atomic Geeks. The fellas discuss their all time favorites in several obscure categories including pre-match attire, foreign objects, and wrestling video games. Almost all corners of the pro-wrestling world from 1980s WCW to present-day WWE to Japan are covered in this heavyweight episode. Grab your favorite steel chair, tear open a turnbuckle, and enjoy.”

My first Nerd Lunch invite was to be part of their inaugural Wrestling Episode! This was one hell of a fun time for me and technically my first official group podcast! I broke out my trusty new Podcast mic and the rest is history! Wrestling has always been a love for me and to get time talking about wrestling was JUST what the doctor ordered!!

 

Nerd Lunch Episode 290: 50 Cent Bin Legion Of Doom

Nerd Lunch Podcast 290: 50¢ Bin Legion of Doom

50centbin2

“This week Pax is flying solo and is joined by Digio, Evan Hansen and Charlton Hero to draft our own supervillain teams.  The only rule, they have to be villains that can be regularly found in the bargain bin comics of your local comic shop or comic convention.  Come listen to some awesomely obscure villains! This is the sequel to our 50¢ Bin Justice League episode!”

 

This was my “Final” appearance (Come On Folks…write em and tell em ya want me back on!! I’ll send ya a check in the mail!!) on the show and a great one with a variety of “Deep Cuts” to please the comics purists. Drafting our own 50 Cent Bin Legion Of Doom was harder than it looked and some actual research went into this one!! The Obscurity is what makes this show a stand out!!

 

Best Cartoon Dogs

Nerd Lunch Episode 274: Best Cartoon Dogs :

Nerd Lunch Podcast 274: Sweet Sixteen – Best Cartoon Dogs

Returning guests Dubba and Charlton Hero join the nerds this week for the first ever Nerd Lunch Sweet Sixteen. The mission this time is to crown the king of all cartoon dogs. From classic Hanna-Barbera to obscure Saturday morning pups of the 1980s to the USA Network Cartoon Express to Marc Singer, this episode covers a lot of ground before a champion is named.”

Yes ..This is out-of-order but this episode remains my favorite of the Hero trilogy! This round Robin tournament allowed us to select several cartoon dogs to go head to head to crown a winner. Pssssstttt….shhhhh.. but I WIN!! Just sayin!! Ooops SPOILER WARNING…Too Late!

 

chris is transparent background (1)

History of SBTU

Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode 4: Justice League America #52 (1991) PLUS: The Story of Super-Blog Team-Up!

Myself and fellow Super-Blog Team Upper Chris Sheehan who happens to run one of my favorite blogs and podcasts invited to come on and chat at length about one of my favorite topics..SUPER BLOG TEAM UP! Find out the Genesis of the internet’s favorite blogging conglomerate! Tons of quips and stories about how making this seemingly easy Blogging Event take place!

“Yes… we’re only four episodes in… it’s another bwah-ha-ha book, but there’s a special reason for that.  And really, that’s not the meat and potatoes of this episode anyway.  This time out, Chris (@acecomics) is joined by another Chris… Chris Bailey (@Charlton_Hero) of the SuperHero Satellite who shares the origins of the Mighty Super-Blog Team-Up!

After Chris (the usual one) discusses his first offering to #SuperBlogTeamUp, Chris (the other one) shares his comic book “secret origin”!  From his early days, reading coverless comics that missed the trash can… to his introduction to the internet comics community. 

Then… the main event, from the germ of an idea of a blogging crossover, to what became the Super-Blog Team-Up!

All that… plus, a special announcement!  It’s a great time… check it out!

(The Super-Blog Team-Up content begins at timestamp 21:04)”

 

superboy xmas

 

Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode 7: JSA #55 (2004)

The Christmas Episode! I am nostalgic for all things Christmas and what better topic to discuss then a Christmas comic book favorite of mine, The New Adventures Of Superboy issue 39! “A World Without Christmas. After we dissect Superboy we get into hijinks and hilarity as we recap some of out favorite Christmas memories including two infamous Hero stories of the “Cat Piss” Criminal and The “Christmas Ham” story, two legendary tales of lore which you will NEVER forget! Jump into the spirit even it it’s not Christmas this episode is ever green…like a Christmas Tree!! Get it!!??

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, Dear Listeners!

This time out, Chris (@acecomics) discusses a wonderful Christmas-themed issue featuring the Justice Society of America… and the return of one of the more unique Golden-Age characters. After going through the issue, he tries (in vain) to qualify and affix the nebulous comic-reviewing metric known as “heart”.

“During the second half of the episode, Chris (the usual one) is once again joined by Chris Bailey (@Charlton_Hero), and together they share stories of Christmases long, long ago. It’s a great time as usual… give it a listen, if you have a free moment or thirty between tearing into all the goodies Santa left under your tree!”

Source Material Podcast banner

Next stop! I got an invite to appear on The Source Material Comics Podcast from Mr. Jessie Starcher and his two-fisted group of podcasting pundits and it was unlike all of my other appearances as this one got wild! Discussing Marvels Civil War and The Speedball solo series, To New Warriors and everywhere in between. If you liked Speedball..and I know you do cause if you don’t, we can’t be friends..lol.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Source Material Comics Podcast is back for our latest endeavor! We are pairing up with some of the greatest comic blogs/podcasts out there for the Super Blog Team Up topic “redemption.” Our focus will be on one of the most innocent of heroes, Speedball, ate up with guilt for his hand in the tragedy that started the Civil War event, Robbie Baldwin goes down a very dark path resulting in his deadly change into the pain driven soul, Penance! Tune in as myself, Ronnie Adams, Mark Radulich, and special guest Chris Bailey (@Charlton_Hero) journey alongside Robbie on his road to redemption.”

 

Source Material Podcast SBTU

This time the topic was on one of my favorite all time Super Heroes…Speedball! This was off the cuff and irreverent and a real departure from my past appearances! Put the wife and kids to bed.this one is not PG folks!

The Source Material Podcast #205 “Penance: The Redemption Of Speedball

Well that’s it for now! As more appearances are had they will be added to this page and will be advertised via Twitter at #SuperHeroSatellite  Would love to hear what you thought of my guest spots! I’ll agree it needed some polish at times but heck! Ya gotta start somewhere! I am very thankful to The Retroist, The Nerd Lunch Gang, The Source Material Podcast folks as well my good man Chris Sheehan for not only giving me a boost on their own scene but for entertaining me with their solid work every week!

Take care all..ill see ya soon!!

Hero Out!

Dont leave yet…make sure you do yourself a favor and check out these great websites and Twitter accounts!!

1. Check out the Retroist Blog and Podcast here!! https://www.retroist.com/

follow their Twitter accounts @retroist and @vicsage2005

2. Then Move on too the Nerd Lunch website at Nerdlunch.net

Follow their core Twitter accounts at @nerdlunch, @paxtonholley, and @nerdlunchjeeg

3. Dont forget to make a visit to the Blogospheres hardest working blogger/podcaster Chris Sheehan at his website www.chrisandreggie.podbean.com to get a ton of excellent historical comic book podcasts! The icing on the cake is Chris’s blog www.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com where he blogs daily! I cant reccomend Mr. Sheehan’s work enough and please follow his Twitter at @acecomics You WILL NOT be disappointed!

4. Last but not least…put the wife and kids to bed cause its time to hit up the Source Material Comics Podcast and a billion other shows at Radulich In Broadcasting

Join the gang on Twitter at @SourceMatCast and @stiznarkey

Tell Em hero Sent Ya!!

 

beheader.jpeg

 

SHS Banner Space

Welcome Back Heroes!! Fans of this here little blog know that when it comes to vintage action figures we could debrief all day. I have gathered the team here today in the viewing chambers for a very niche pocket of the action figure universe known as Adventure People. Settle in Heroes..OUR Adventure begins NOW!

When you consider the fact that my childhood was defined by action figures of the 1980s you will quickly understand why today’s topic is so vital to our meeting today. Like many I was raised on the classics, Star Wars, G.I.Joe, Masters Of The Universe were among my absolute favorites. Like all great toy-lines of the day these miniatures occupied hours, days and weeks of my youth. All of my friends were onboard as well. We shared the same interest in all the aforementioned franchises all of which boasted their own motion pictures, cartoons , comic books, TV shows you name it!!

collection

One toy line that predated them all had no such media offspring and literally existed unearthed in several of my friends toy boxes waiting for me to discover them. As was such a story as with the 1975 Fisher Price Toy Collection The Adventure People! These particular toys as we would come to find out were soully responsible for adventures to come in distant barbaric planets, on battlefields across the world and in Galaxies Far Far Away…The very Genesis of our playtime in the 80s with action figures could not have occurred without these 3 ¾ inch trailblazers. Meet Fisher Prices Adventure People.

 

 

 

Fisher Price Banner

Transmission Date: Feb 23 2019

I constantly talk about being raised in a small town with little shopping options. I think I have established that fact in my blog chronology. Whats little know is that for the first 4 years of my life I was born in a VERY small town of Harcourt NL Canada. It wasnt until I was 4 that I moved to Clarenville, NL where I would live out my childhood and have my main growing up experiences. The majority of my action figure purchases spawned from that glorious Christmas season. While I did very well over Xmas in super isolated Harcourt when I moved to Clarenville my fortunes multiplied. I remember several of my first Christmas’s at 75 Memorial Drive, one in particular my parents went shopping and not so secretly picked out many of my Christmas gifts while I was THERE!! By bringing me to a store called Lovelesses. They had a selection of everything there including a mini Toy “Department”. Exactly 4 shelves of them to be perfectly clear. As I pointed and ogled at some of these cool-ass toys in front of me I remember pointing out the Weeble Wobble Haunted House as well as The Weeble Wobble Clubhouse. Both items became childhood favorites that far outlived their expiration as being GI Joe and Star Wars play-sets long after the Weebles went to toy heaven. As a couple of side gifts I also pointed out the Fisher Price Adventure People. They were two seemingly harmless Divers in lime green swimwear. There was a guy and a girl..I thought they were cool and guess what they magically appeared under the Christmas tree on our first Christmas in our new home! Who would have guessed Santa had been blessed with clairvoyance?

Figure set18

 

I had no idea or context at the time what these toys were. I just knew they were fun to play with in the bathtub and that’s all that mattered.As time passed and I was in primary school I happened upon a strange kid with quirky hair and a different kind of look. When I think back he resembled Carmine Infantino’s Luke Skywalker in the 70s Marvel Star Wars comic book. His name was Leslie Card. “Lezz” as we called him became fast friends with me and we hung out all the time as he lived just a two-minute walk from my house. Lezz came from a small town from the west coast of our island of Newfoundland and as a result had an assortment of “Different” toys! I had become a good enough friend that I was invited to one of his Birthday parties and it was one of the first times in his home. It was a Blackstar party and we watched a Blackstar VHS tape as the main event! How amazing is THAT!!

blackstar

After this I frequented his house especially in the summer. It was common to just hang out in his backyard and read comics in his camper that his parents had parked in the back of the house while sipping “Hires” Root Beer. As we grew tired of reading books like Royal Roy, The Amazing Spider Ham and Wally The Wizard one day we drifted inside his house to his basement. Inside its cavernous interior of his unfinished basement / laundry area I noticed a fine stash of toys in a series of storage bins. While Lezz didn’t have the socially acceptable toys of the Town of Clarenville he had something DIFFERENT!! The first thing that grabbed me was that he had Micronauts…and plenty of them!!

micronauts

Instead of He-Man toys he had Blackstar figures. There were no Go-Bots to be found but there were Shogun Warriors! This was like bizarro world for me! That being said there were a few common Star Wars toys for good measure but a few things always stood out were a fleet of vehicles…toys that I had not seen before but looked mighty cool and became playtime favorites.

Adventure People Promotional Ad

In this one box I uncovered a Sports Van, a Plane, an outdoors recreational vehicle and more. I had these to be Tonka Toys before but these were different!! These toys could fit our Star Wars figures inside them!! I had no idea what these toys were but I did note that they were very well made and colorful. We played with them all the time that summer mixing them seamlessly with our other favorite toy franchises…I would later find out that these belonged to the same family of toys as my two Divers. Remember kids these two Diver toys in particular would become VERY important to the layout of the entire Adventure People line! More on that later!

 

Fisher price had not been known for their action figures. Prior to this Fisher Price handled mainly young kids with their licensed lines for Sesame Street and other properties. Typically these toys were targeting pre-school children and you could spot a Fisher Price toy from a mile away. No matter where you went, schools, day cares, Doctors offices, you name it, they had some sort of Fisher Price toy looming in its fibres. The classic pop maker, and The Fisher Price Cash register were commonly found everywhere.

pop makercash register

 

 

 

For myself I was blessed to have had two of the coolest playsets, The Fisher Price Garage and the Sesame Street Playhouse!! Both of these sets were long time stalwarts of the Hero action figure play time sets. These always doubled for other things during play of course. The Clubhouse was always a Cobra Strong hold as it was incorporated into my main line playtime. I always imagined these item as something else and that was half the fun.

Fisher Price Sesame Street Club House

 

The Parking Garage was an addictive toy that involved a multi level parking garage with a working elevator to the top floor. It boasted a ramp for cars to roll down to ground level and something so simple occupied my young mind for hours. Countless minutes spent mindlessly churning the elevator bringing my mini cars or ‘Dinkies” to the top floor and then rolling them down the ramp at a high-speed! These little cars which seated exactly one Fisher Price peg figure in its seat careened from the rampway of the garage across the kitchen floor to my delight. Mindless fun…but that was the trap of Fisher Price products. They were infinitely playable, incredibly sturdy and compact and stood the test of time while other toy lines often did not survive the rigors of the toy box.

FP Garage 2

The Fisher Price figurines were iconic and unmistakable. They did not have 10,000 points of articulation…in fact the ONLY thing they could do was turn their heads! They had a peg like body with a shortened molded base to allow them to fit into their environments. The signature piece of them were the classic round head with painted face. Sometimes the heads had an accessories like a hat or a helmet which made them decipherable from others in the line. When I see these today I cant help but smile. They were incredibly basic, but that’s all 4-year-old me needed.

fp people1

Fisher Price however would not be content with simply letting their customer base walk away when they turned 6..they had to expand…they had to capture that lucrative 6-10 demographic that other companies like Hasbro and Mattel monopolized. Hence in 1975 Fisher Price unveiled a new brand of figures..a set that would change the way we play to this very day. It was here we were about see the beginning of the fall of the 12-inch giant toy..and things were about to get smaller..3 3/4 inch to be exact!!

Adventure People Store Display

 

Adventure People encapsulated a new shift towards action figures. Action figures and dolls mostly up to that point had been of the larger variety. G.I.Joe was a primary kids toy in the 60s and 70s with each figure looming in a 12 inch variety! The vehicles were equally as massive to fit this line. The Six Million Dollar Man line of figures debuting in 1975 as well continued on the 12 inch trend. For girls at the time Barbie was equally as sizable along with all her friends , vehicles and accessories. Big was the norm during this time so with Adventure People launching in its 3 3/4 format was considered radical at the time. The FOOLS!! No one would play with 3 3/4 inch figures…right??  Fisher Price was not known to dip its toes in the big boy toy market but maybe …just maybe kids of the 70s would want their adventures on a smaller more compact scale….and they would be RIGHT!!

Actual Star wars figures

Meanwhile Kenner, the toy company known at the time for creating The Easy Bake Oven and The Spirograph was commissioned with the task of producing a line of figures for a new Science fiction movie that was by all accounts going to be popular…little did they know HOW popular. Mego another popular toy company of the day had recently declined the contract believing that this property would be a miss financially. They had already seen decline in general toy sales so taking a gamble at an unknown property was not a gamble worth taking. Besides this Star Wars thing was like all the other movie failures at the time right? That’s where up and comer Kenner came in, yet woefully unprepared to know the challenge that was ahead. The Christmas of 1977 would be a big challenge. There was pressure on to release a Star Wars toy line for the peak shopping season and demand for Star Wars was at a fever pitch. Kenner scrambled. Now you may ask..what does this have to do with Fisher Price Adventure People??

Stra Wars Protoypes

Well when toy company designers rushed production of their figures there was no time to develop physical prototype molds as was typically done in the creation of a new line. Kenner associates instead took several Adventure People toys remodeled and repainted them into prototype Star Wars figure concepts to sell to the marketers for production. The Toys were green lit and the most successful line of action figures ever made was born…with a little nudge from the amazing Fisher Price Adventure people.

Star Wars Kenner early-mockup-11group

The 3 3/4 inch action figure market exploded! Large scale toys such as Hasbro’s G.I.Joe, Mego toys and even The Six Million Dollar Man figures would all experience a sharp and sudden decline in the scale of their format. Some toys adapted with the times while others perished. On the surface level Adventure People were basic. None of the figures even had names. Which kind of worked out because pulling one of these very similar looking figures from the toy box and trying to differentiate them with a name could be a challenge for any 7-year-old. It was best off that we named them ourselves anyways! They were differentiated by their sex this group was strictly Male and female and also very super caucasian!?? The line not known for its diversity  DID include only one African American figure named “Male Pilot”(That had two variants) as well as a black female news reporter! They also had one very cool Native American male (Not pictured) as well but that was it! None o the three figures appeared as repaints later which was a little odd! I assume we will give them a pass for the times being what they were socially but this was certainly NOT the era of diversity in which we live in now.

 

They reused only a small number of individual molds to make their figures. By simply repainting them and adding accessories to make them “New” figures! Before everyone gets boo boo faced and accuses Fisher Price of  high crime, at the same time the beloved GI Joe 3 3/4 inch line did the same first when they launched . If you look closely at the GI Joe line you will notice that there was a great deal of head sharing going on. (Mind out of the gutters please we are talking plastic action figure heads people!!) Hawk, and Steeler share the same head mold. Clutch and Rock and Roll are the same guy with new hair and accessories!!! I noticed this with the Fisher Price gang as well! My Male Diver figure is also the most popular retread in the whole line as he moonlights as Male Swimmer, Male astronaut, Male TV Crew, Male Construction Worker, Space Commander, X-Ray Man…well you get the point!! No one even bothered to name them! There were other variants though few and far betwen like two female molds that played and a  host of different moldslike a race car driver, a cowboy, a Kayaker and a hang glider to name the most common assortment of Adventure People varities! All of these figures were built so they could easily be repainted and repurposed in another set! It was genius when you think of it!

 

Another peculiarity of this line were the hands. Each figure had a hand that fit onto some sort of vehicle or corresponding accessory. This was a neat feature as unlike other toy lines at the time when you placed a figure inside a vehicle they just sat there and could not grip the wheel merely sit. Not Adventure People..these figures were meant to drive,  work and heck even paddle a canoe down river and look the part! The coolest part of Adventure People however were the playsets and vehicles!! This is where play really began. Once you moved past the idea that your Mountain Climber, Male Swimmer and The Space Commander were the SAME toy then came the mega cool rides and you were over it!

 

Adventure People Ad 4

The awesome Daredevil Sport Van was one that was a common find in toy boxes around my town! The classic green color with motor cycle and kayak accessories made this toy a win! The wheels and general construction looked reminiscent of the Barbie campers of the day! These toys featured very basic but iconic paper sticker decals that made these vehicles stand out!

 

 

 

Fisher Price Deluxe sets often came with plenty of figures and extra accessories to play with. The complete Wilderness Patrol team was one of my favorites! One incredible accessory was the Pontoon Boat that paired with the Bush plane! But separate all the vehicles and you had a boat a plane and an all terrain vehicle! Hell they even stuck a Collie in this set for good measure!!

 

 

WP2

The beauty of all these sets were they were super compatible with other figure sets of the day. Who would not have loved to have this super cool Rescue Truck for your GI Joe Medic Doc!! Come on you KNOW you would have!! How about Stalker and Gung Ho figures using all the cool Wilderness Patrol toys. These sets opened up new possibilities for your other toys that may have been collecting toy box dust!

WP3

My favorite set of all the Adventure People line however was the amazing Space Collection. With Kenner cleaning up in toy stores with their Star Wars line and other lines like BattleStar Galactica trying to take a slice to the toy profit pie.  Fisher Price entered the fray with a solid entry into the game, Adventure People: Space

space4

 

Fisher Price as usual did not invest millions into making new molds for this new line of toys as with all other sets this crew was made up of repaints of the original Adventure People. Space Commander was Fisher Prices answer to Commander Adama of BattleStar fame but upon closer inspection he was merely our old friend Male Diver with a painted beard and flashy new red space duds with decals! Hang Glider Male transformed into Astro Knight! Race Car Driver became Clawtron Male! Heck Male and Female Diver became my favorite figures of the entire line with their new space garb complete with the see through green X-Ray Man and X-Ray Woman! They didnt even try to cover up the diving suits! They were literally clear green androids with robotic detailing and yellow dots literally painted over their eyes…and I loved them!!

Space5

This set didn’t just rely on its figures!! Nooooo! It also bested anything on toyshelves at that time with simply incredible vehicles!! Enter: Alpha Probe!! An incredibly designed space ship with mini adventure ship and built-in and realistic space sounds and options!

 

 

Alpha probe

Alpha Probe was the center piece to the space collection and in scale one of the largest toys in the entire collection! As with everything else in the sets its was wildly compatible with the Popular Star Wars/ Gi Joe sets of the day and just looked damn cool in anyone’s collection!

space probe ad

So your Adventure People could blast off to the stars for adventures beyond the imagination…but what happens when you get there?? They had that on lock too with more incredible set pieces, the first being the Alpha Star Space Exploration set. It came complete with the Alpha Star all terrain vehicle and full deep space exploration unit in tow! Throw in the figures, a mini explorer droid and a beast alien and this thing had it all! Oh and I didn’t mention it was motorized and could drive back and forth! These things were tough on batteries through so you would need a steady supply of D-Cell batteries to keep the action going!

Space3

Then the Alpha Interceptor! This one was a bunch of modular toys in one. It was a “Build Your Own” sort of toy that you could build basically three types of toys out of! I have not seen one of these in real life but this thing looks incredible!!

Alphanterceptor

P3290037

Now for kids on a budget Fisher Price also had you covered!! Fire Star 1 was a single vehicle black space ship that played well with your X-Wing and Tie Fighter battles in a Galaxy Far far Away!! It came with a connecting cable that attached to the vehicle and figure to give the illusion of weightlessness in space!! Yes that is good old reliable Male Diver as X-Ray Man inside the Astro-Suit!!

space2

Bottom line…Adventure People were much more than a juveniles toy. The cross compatibility alone made these toys favorites during playtime back in the day! While there was plenty of cop outs design wise these toys were incredibly well build and durable. If you look around out there in that corner closet or that down stairs storage area you just may rediscover these classics! That kids…is one to grow on!

 

Thanks for checking out the Super-Hero Satellite! Do us a favor and drop me a comment in the box below! If you would like to chat about this article or anything retro you can find me on Twitter @charlton_hero! Give me a follow!! You wont be sorry…at least not right away! Till Next Time Heroes!

Beheader

 

sbtu redemption banner

**Deep Space**

***YEARS AFTER THE SUPER-HERO SATELLITE IS FOUND DORMANT IN SPACE ..TODAY SYSTEMS ARE RESTORED***

*Systems Monitoring returning from sleep, awaken mode in affect…systems full Restored.* Welcome BACK Heroes!! It has been a LONG Time and I am SUPER excited to be BACK! There is no better time to return than with my baby..The Super-Blog Team Up! After taking a much-needed break from the blog I am back and this year will definitely be the Year Of The Satellite! More on that later!! We have so many things planned its gonna take an entire post to get to them all!! For those of you unfamiliar with Super-Blog Team Up we are a group of like-minded bloggers who come together multiple times a year to write about a singular topic on one designated day! Not only will you get to enjoy this post (Hopefully!!) but at the end you will find links to all our other top shelf writers! We have many long time authors who are back, we have a few who are making their return to the fold and several new faces (Or Pens as it maybe!!) who are now debuting members of the Mighty Marching SBTU!! Without further adieu….strap in heroes the Satellite is about to blast off to the not so distant past to talk about a subject that I had been meaning to do many years ago…The Walking Dead! The theme this month happens to be…

 

bat rdemption

Transmission Date: Jan. 23rd 2019

The first thing you need to understand is that there was a dark period in my time as a comics collector where I moved away from the hobby that I loved due to economics. When I finally got back into comics it  was on the heels of some new exciting books that spawned my returning passion for comics. In the late 90s I was driven out of comics a hobby that I loved. By the 2000s I was out of collecting completely as I had been priced out of the market. My pull list that was at 40 to 50 books a month had dropped to one or two and finally to NOTHING. It was a sad day. Through Wizard magazine from the magazine rack I stayed abreast of the business and following the big events going on in the big three. At least it was something. Podcasts however were a big source of fun for me and I was dumpster diving for whatever audio content related to things I enjoyed during the birth of the podcast market in the early 2000s. As I have mentioned many times before Comic Geek Speak was one of my go-to podcasts and the gang on there had spotlight episodes more so The Book Of The Month episodes! On August 2005 CGS put out its Book of The Month Club Selection: The Walking Dead

Click Here To Listen To CGS Book Of The Month: The Walking Dead

Little did I know I would become engulfed in this title like no other. It became almost an addiction..I could not put it down.

 

wd redemption

I had given up on most Image books around this time since many of the Superhero titles were gone by that period. Images offerings had not interested me for some time. However upon listening to the CGS crew rave about this book I wanted to know all about it. I had some time on my hands back then and I spent several hours a day reading comics on my computer. With one search, there was the entire collection..and a right-click later 35 issues of The Walking Dead were sitting on my hard drive. 35 issues was a daunting challenge but the CGS gang were rarely wrong in their recommendations so I was all in. I simply wanted to skim through the first few issues and get a taste for what my podcast compadre’s were raving about.  For those of you who haven’t seen or read anything Walking Dead related let me set the table for you. The Walking Dead is a monthly comic book published by Image Comics written from the mind of one Robert Kirkman who was a relative unknown in terms of mainstream fame in the business at that point. That would change in years to come. The book was intentionally done in Black and White which was not mainstream popular at the time but still existed in some books. The book debuted in Oct 2003 but it would be 2005 before I ever gave it a glance. I remember reading the first issue of the Walking Dead and let me tell you I was….underwhelmed. It was a “meh” for me. I know…I know..you were expecting me to say great things about this book right!! That will come later. The artwork out of the gate was by Tony Moore and I just could not wrap my head around the art. For such a book with such a serious tone I just felt Moore’s artwork not the right fit for the title. It had a loose almost cartoony feel to the work and it was just hard to take the book seriously. I compare it to Joe Staton’s artwork from Green Lantern Corp fame in the 1980s, I just don’t like a cartoony look to characters facially. Both Stanton and Moore suffer from this “Fault” in their armor.  I want to be clear it WAS good art but the damn faces drove me nuts. I was just turned off from it instantly. I valiantly read fours issues then stopped…for the time being. The story was solid enough though. A cop wakes up alone in a hospital only to discover that he is in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Sounds simple right? Well I was enjoying the story but not much else. Kirkman wasn’t just writing about zombies killing people he flipped the script and wrote about the human condition as they navigate through this new Dead Filled world. Life as we know it will be scarier, bloodier and more violent than ever….and that’s just the humans…THEN you throw zombies into the mix!

tony moore wd art orignal

The bare bones of the story follows police Officer Rick Grimes as he becomes the unofficial defacto leader of a group of Zombie Holocaust survivors as they manage their way through the harsh new world. The humans all struggle for shelter food and weapons and the real fight is with each other. In this world however there is no power or luxuries like running water or plumbing. To make matters ever worse when you get bitten by the undead YOU become a Walker yourself!! Factions are created, battle lines are drawn and as food and shelter runs out we find out that desperate people will go to great lengths to survive including imprisoning, killing and murdering each other. The people themselves..the survivors find out it is not the Dead they have to worry about, it’s each other…they themselves have become The Walking Dead! The realism of the tragedy of the breakdown of civilization and of the human condition is what makes this book amazing. As I said after 4 issues while I was enjoying the book..visually it was a turn off so I walked away. It would be 6 months later that I would see a random new issue of The Walking Dead for sale and I grabbed it to get a feel for what’s going on in the book. Things had changed…dramatically.

charlieawd

 

Tony Moore’s art was nowhere to be seen and now a guy by the name of Charlie Adlard had taken over. This moody almost gruesome brooding style was PERFECT for the book. As I thumbed through the pages I was shocked by something that happened. Core characters had died!!? It was enough for me to jump back in. I began anew with issue 5 and I have never looked back! On to the story…As Rick and his family work with a small group of survivors as they struggle to stay alive by just trying to find the basics to support life and to just live till the next day. The group are faced with the dilemma of having to kill others to survive..including their friends. They see loved ones pass and turn into walkers and have to kill them all over again. Rick is faced with the horrible prospect of killing his best friend. His wife is murdered with their unborn child. His son is hideously disfigured. Rick himself is dismembered when he loses a hand. That is JUST the Grimes family. Every character in the book is faced with an impossible disturbing task of being driven to murder to stay alive. It’s the central tragedy of this series and Kirkman masterfully weaves his characters through this awful depraved journey. What would YOU do to survive? If you look for one sentence to describe the Walking Dead is…NO ONE IS SAFE. No other book in its genre is known for killing off its core cast like The Walking Dead. You do not have to look very far to know that you best not get invested in any characters because each one comes with an unofficial expiry date! This is the central theme of the book. Well we find out that the answer to that question is that when faced with death good people become VERY bad people in a damn hurry as is the case with our subject here for The Super-Blog Team Up…Negan. But first before the Hardcore Bat swinging madman there was…this man..

the gov sbtu

The Walking Dead has had its share of villains. Stand outs like The Governor are a classic example of what this new world can do to a good human. Issue 27 of TWD we are introduced to Brian Blake, the Governor of the Town Of Woodbury. Woodbury is a town that survives and lives on like an almost normal community in the middle of a collapsing civilization. Blake is their charismatic leader whose ruthlessness and brutality are the cornerstones of Woodbury’s very existence. He leads with an iron fist and outsiders are NOT welcome unless there is something to gain by their association. The Governor was the bench mark villain for the majority of the series with his greatest hits include cutting Ricks hand off, mutilating Michonne, Killing Ricks wife and undead baby not excluding the outright brutal murder of many core characters. Central to Kirkman’s writing he always gives us this human element to even his bad guys. Later we see that despite the Governors ruthless commanding presence and heinous acts we see a real father who lost his daughter to the horrors of this new world of whom he is unwilling to let go. He keeps the “walkerized” version of his daughter Penney tied up in his apartment and feeds her body parts of his victims to her to eat. Eventually The Gov is taken down we and it is here we experience the true tragedy of this book. While the Governor is considered one of comicdom’s most ruthless villains he is but the learner when it comes to the crown prince of barbarianism himself..the Leader of The saviours…Negan! Just as Rick and The group of survivors have seemingly over come the evils of their new world and have settled into a peaceful existence in a new town and trying to rebuild some semblance of a normal life for everyone…then we meet The Walking Dead’s real super bad. His name is Negan and the world of The Walking Dead would be beaten into brutal submission by this new psychopath on the scene.

negan2019sbtu

 

So Negan’s tragic pre-outbreak story goes as such, he was a high school coach who had a reputation for intimidating and bullying his players. Negan (No last name given) lived a seemingly normal life with a job and a wife named Lucille (This name will become very crucial to our story a little later.) Negan was not a morally sound individual early on in his life and despite his outward happy marriage he was having an extramarital affair on the side. His whole world would fall apart prior to the outbreak as Negan discovers his wife has cancer when she collapses in front of him as they argued over this affair revelation. Negan rushes his wife to the hospital just as the outbreak begins, but he is too late. As his wife is placed on life support Negan desperately try’s to hang on to her and calls off his affair but it is too late. Lucille passes away when the power goes down and her life support system shuts down. As with all deaths in the Walking Dead universe our loved ones are reanimated as a “zombie” (Or Walker as we will call them moving forward). Negan has to make the decision to have his wife killed but he cannot bear to do it himself. Negan makes a deal with a child to do the honors for him, a trait we will see over and over when he becomes a leader. Out of the gate I love this origin. Every bad guy is at their best when it comes to their motivation. Negan’s guilt for his infidelity and the passing of his beloved wife scars him and drives him to become the monster we will soon see emerge.

Leaders rise…followers Follow.

negan sbtu

 

As the story goes, Negan is on the run during the outbreak but happens upon a group of survivors led by a Walking Dead core cast member, Dwight. As we find out Dwight is no natural-born leader but a scrappy survivalist who manages to keep himself and his followers alive during the devastation. As Negan is welcomed into the fold it is clear the leadership foundation is weak with Dwight at the helm. It is only a matter of time as Negan uses his natural charm and hard-nosed foundation that Negan becomes their groups obvious emerging natural leader. Once in position of power Negan renames his group the Saviors, a group of which overtime grow into the hundreds. The band discovers ways to defend themselves against the walker hordes and creates a large communal compound and series of outpost satellite locations to maintain their way of life against the horrors of the walkers. Before long as the outside world collapses and resources become scarce, everyone is chasing food and supplies. Negan being a creative entrepeneur uses his sheer brute force, charm and intimidation to bully other groups the Saviors encounter to give up large shares of their supplies, weapons and food in exchange for their “Protection”. The tactic worked numerous times over and over as Negan and his Saviors began to stockpile weapons and supplies while other groups in the wild starved and struggled under their foot. That is until Negan and group ran into Rick Grimes and his posse.

Rick and his group had found their way into a place called Hilltop, a society that was seemingly surviving and self-sustained despite the horrors of the Outbreak. They had developed a government of sorts ran by the dubious Gregory They lived a basic but sustainable lifestyle. Farming and weapons making were trademarks of Hilltop and Negan saw great opportunity to offer his “Protection” to the Hilltop natives and in turn take their food and weapons. Gregory being a weak leader was living under fear of Negan and his group and had a bad habit of caving and conformity like a coward every time when Negan and the saviors came knocking. It didn’t take long before new Hilltop inhabitant Rick Grimes observed what was happening to the citizens who were sustaining a real living to have to hand it over to these bullies with not so much as a harsh word said in retaliation or compromise. Rick had seen enough and mobilized a strike force of the usual suspects.

We get a closer look to what Rick and his group are dealing with as we peel back the layers of their newest foe. We see that this once well-adjusted High School coach has transformed into a deadly brutal sadistic cult leader. Negan’s own people were also living in fear of his shadow. His own people are not spared mercy either as Negan hoardes the saviors women for his own sexual pleasure, taking whomever he wants at any time. Anyone who does not conform with his desires are dealt with….very harshly. Public beatings of his own people are common to set the example. Many of his people whom he dubs “disloyal” are literally horrifically branded facially and horribly disfigured to bear the living reminded of what happens when you show disobedience to Negan. Even former leader Dwight is the living embodiment of what happens when you cross the boss as he wears the branding scar on the side of his face and still stands by Negan in his war against Rick and the outsiders .

 

dwight iron

No Turning Back..

While Rick and the team are attempting to extinguish Negan’s handle on Hilltop they hit one of the Saviors main security outposts by surprise and kill several of Negan’s henchmen seemingly gaining the upper hand in the first real shot in what would be a War for the ages. This would lead to the most famous and irredeemable act of Negans reign of terror in The Walking Dead saga. When Rick and his group are surrounded by The Saviors and forced to their knees in a line up and it is here that Rick and Company are introduced to the King Of Swing himself..Negan. The leather jacket clad villain debuts with a barbwire baseball bat lovingly named after his dead wife Lucille. Ricks group is threatened with death as they endure a lethal game of Eeneee Meaneee Mineee Mo” to decide who will die to pay for the death of his men. When Negan finally painfully and  slowly decides to flat-out murder core Walking Dead fan favorite Glen!

 

death of glen

 

The act is one of the most heinous deaths in the history of comics! Glen is not only murdered in front of his friends but his pregnant wife Maggie is forced to endure his brutal demise as Glen calls out to her during the ordeal. Glens graphic death is Negan’s first stamp on the world of the Walking Dead and it sets the tone for what the character will stand for. It is interesting to compare the previous super bad The Governor with his contemporary Negan. While the Governor was a vile human being capable of horrific acts, Negans level of  violence goes beyond anything the governor has dealt.

 

The Seduction of the Innocent.

negan carl sbtu

One of Negan’s most heinous acts was not in fact the list of people he has murdered, had killed or desecrated but rather his obsession with the son of Rick Grimes. Carl Grimes a battle weary hostile teen by this point in our story has seen enough blood shed and death. He has grown tires of bowing to a homicidal maniac and takes matters into his own hand and goes to take out Negan on his own killing six of Negans men in the process before getting captured and faced with his own execution. Negan stops any attempt on Carl’s life and gains an admiration for Carl’s guts in coming after him. Instead of killing the headstrong teen he takes him under his wing and shows him all the riches he has gained as leader of The Saviors. Carl sees another side of this vicious killer and even begins to warm up to the man who murdered his friends. Negan in a moment where we see he is still a human under his hostile hard-assed exterior demands Carl remove his bandage from his head which covers an awful disfiguring scar that the young Grimes has kept under wraps since an horrific incident where he was accidentally shot in the head while fleeing a Walker outbreak. Negan humiliates Carl by exposing his wound and demands to even touch the inside the hole of the wound on his head where an eye once was now leaving only a deep hole.

negan carlpology

Carl finally breaks down from the overwhelming pressure of Negans imprisonment and just the horror of the world he lives in. Seeing Carl break something happens to Negan..he finally shows sympathy for the first time and apologizes to Carl! This is a point in the character we had not seen up to that point. After this incident the Carl and Negan relationship is changed. Negan is protective of Carl and almost sees him in a Father/ Son dynamic. Negan and Carl have many interactions later through out the series but it is this odd overtone to his character that shows there may still  be a human under that brash murderous character after all.

 

negans goes to war

One of the main storyline’s in the chronology of The Walking Dead is the Epic All Out War story that documents the final end to the war between Rick and his Survivors against Negan and his Saviors. One of the cornerstones to The Walking Dead book in general is the theme of “No One Is Safe”. This is very apparent in this particular story and the body count on both sides escalates to epic proportions. The war finally ends with the main event of Negan facing his nemesis Rick Grimes. Rick and various bands of communities and splinter survivor groups come together to finally topple the Saviors regime.

rick cuts negan

 

The final battle between the leaders has not yet finished but when the bloodshed stops and its left with Rick face to face with Negan himself.  Both sides have endured grave loss and it looks like the two warriors have had enough. Negan and Rick look like they have put their weapons down and agree to a truce…that is until Rick Grimes savagely cuts Negan’s throat leaving him for dead on the battlefield to end the bloodshed.

The Confinement

jailbird negan

After all out war we are served with a time jump seemingly years into the future.Negan we learn has survived but has been imprisoned ever since the war. We see a haggard Negan who has basically given up on life and lives the rest of his natural life behind bars. For Negan this is a worse affliction than death. He has become almost unrecognizable in appearance and gone is the hulking womanizer and we now see a frail bearded long hair recluse. Of course he cleans up well and after Negan has been torn down and humiliated and that is exactly what Rick Grimes has planned he restores himself to his old look as he begins to plot his escape. All the evil this man has perpetrated to humankind his penance is to rot in a jail cell isolated eternally from civilized man….at least that was the plan.

Redeeming The Irredeemable.

Isolation has its merits. It allows a person to reflect on their life and their mistakes. I would like to say this character served his time, completely rehabed his image and spent the rest of his days making the world a better place ..right? Well in Negans own special way I guess!

Negan decides to adopt the “If you can’t beat em join em” philosophy..Negan using his persuasive powers uses a weak-minded pawn who visits his jail cell who also shares has a deep-seated hatred for Rick Grimes. With the help of his new Grimes hating minion Negan convinces the man to free him!!. The world has changed so much since Negan has been exposed to the outside world and the latest threat to safety and humanity are a group known as The Whisperers. Lead by the emotionless monster Alpha, a bald-headed female leader who along with Beta, collectively runs a group of survivors who conceal their human forms with Walker flesh and to camouflage themselves to be able to walk freely amongst the Walkers. THe Whisperers are very much still a threat despite many societal and technological advancement humanity has progressed since the original outbreak. The man named Brandon Rose the man responsible for freeing Negan tells him of this group and plans to bring him into Whisperer territory to possibly join them. Negan smelling another group takeover goes along with his rescuer ..but before he enters Whisperland, Negan murders Brandon in cold blood and goes to face them himself. Of course with Negan being the personality that he is he is almost instantly detained and imprisoned again. This time however Negan who is used to manipulating people from confinement gains the trust of their leader Alpha and eventually begins to build trust from the Whispers. Negan and Alpha begin to show moments of affection and Alpha after years of being a straight nosed emotionless leader of savage survivalists she unknowingly lets her guard down emotionally and lets Negan and his charms in. Negan shows his affection back the only way he knows how..

alphadeath sbtu

He beheads her…as a matter of fact he beheads her with a small knife in savage Negan fashion and in a weird way, but maybe not so weird for a character like Negan, THIS would be his redemption.

Making Peace

Often as humans if we have a disagreement, a fight or an all out estrangement with a friend, or family member we for the most part, attempt to make things right. We want to make amends. After the dust settles we hope to just move on with things..we extend an Olive branch. Negans proverbial “Olive Branch” was bringing the very HEAD of the enemies leader directly to his nemesis and drop it on the ground in front of him as an apology. Rick Grimes the leader and mortal enemy of Negan, who had watched his friends murdered, also who watched his own son be manipulated by this madman, and who attempted to murder him personally several times could only stand in shock. This man who was so evil, so vile, so irredeemable yet he had just ended the war between Rick’s group and the Whisperers. The man he had imprisoned for years out of public fear and outcry was suddenly loose and killing again for RICKS team!!? Negan at one point even saves Rick from certain death from a walker attack. He try’s to convince everyone his time in prison has rehabilitated him. Rick finally concedes to  Negan and agrees to no longer jail him. The deal however is  that Negan CANNOT live in their community..he will be for all intents and purposes EXILED! Negans past history could not be replaced but somehow he gained the trust and maybe a shade of respect from a man he cost so much. Negan however finds peace with the only person he was truly at war with..Himself.

redemption of negan

Both men…and hundreds of other survivors faced horrible odds and did things that no human should ever have to face. Taking lives and seeing horrific tragedy that would break a normally strong person. These people have endured unquestionable horror and to survive committed unspeakable acts. While some are considered great leaders, others are seen as cold-blooded murderers and in the world of the Walking Dead we discover that the line that separates a Rick Grimes from a Negan is very thin. Indeed the truth about The Walking Dead is that “We Are All The Walking Dead…”

we are the walking dead

 

Well that is it Satellite Subscribers!! But the fun does not end as Superhero Satellite this year we are debuting the monthly Superhero Satellite podcast this summer! Stay tuned for that!

beheader.jpeg

If you liked what you read…(or even if you didn’t) please feel free to leave a comment as  we read and respond to them all! If you want to catch up with us on social media follow us on Twitter @Charlton_Hero or read our archives right here on the site! Till next time Heroes!!

End Transmission..

Thanks so much for reading and for sticking with us despite our year-long absence I have truly missed my readers. The good news is that there is SO much more to enjoy with the rest of our rag-tag group of Mighty Marching Blogging Brigade as Super-Blog Team Up Continues RIGHT NOW! Visit the rest of our team below!

 

redemption continues

Coffee and Comics Blog: Green Lantern #100 https://coffeeandcomicspodcast.blogspot.com/2019/01/episode-31-green-lantern-100.html

Two Staple Gold: Just a Pilgrim  twostaplegold.blogspot.com

Comic Reviews By Walt: SBTU PresentsRedemption/Coming Home: Shredder https://comicreviewsbywalt.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/super-blog-teamup-redemption-the-shredder/

Comics Comics Blog : Elfquest :Cutters Redemption http://comicscomicscomics.blog/2019/01/23/super-blog-team-up-elfquest-and-the-redemption-of-cutter

The Superhero Satellite: The Walking Dead: “Redeeming Negan” https://coffeeandcomicspodcast.blogspot.com/2019/01/episode-31-green-lantern-100.html

Longbox Review: Nightwing’s Redemption http://longboxreview.com/2019/01/23/the-redemption-of-nightwing/

Between The Pages Blog:   The Secret Origin Of Spider-Man https://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2019/01/the-secret-origin-of-spider-man.html

The Unspoken Decade: What If V2 #46 and 47. https://theunspokendecade.com/

Black, White and Bronze: The Redemption of Red Sonja, Savage Sword of Conan #1 https://blackwhitebronzecomics.blogspot.com/2019/01/super-blog-team-up-redemption-of-red.html)

The Daily Rios: http://thedailyrios.com/

Chris Is On Infinite Earths: The Pied-Piper Reforms!  Flash (vol.2) #31 https://www.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

Crapbox Son Of Cthulu: http://crapboxofcthulhu.blogspot.com/

In My Not So Humble Opinion – The Other Side of the Wind: The Redemption of Orson Welles https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/

The Retroist Via Vic Sage:https://www.retroist.com/

The Source Material Comics Podcast: Penance – The Redemption of Speedball https://www.spreaker.com/user/10409169/sm-sb-final

 


%d bloggers like this: