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If you are a fan of this blog then it comes as no surprise that I love Marvel 1980 Star Comics imprint!! Well there is no better time than Super-Blog Team-Up month to talk all things STAR with a very special Halloween issue of Peter Porker The Spectacular Spider-Ham!!

Before we begin..for folks who are not readers..enjoy this episode via audio Podcast in the link below!!

For those who enjoy the written word..enjoy the blog!

The existence of STAR comics came out of almost nowhere due to a failed rights acquisition from Marvel comics! More on that later! First let discuss it’s origins!! The imprint began in 1984-and lasted until 1988 and was blatantly aimed at younger audience demographic. Star comics would only see the light of day due to a failed purchase of Harvey Comics famous for such characters as  Richie Rich, Hotstuff The Little Devil, Wendy The Witch, and of course Casper The Ghost. Marvel wanted in on the Childrens market which at this point was almost solely owned by Archie and Harvey (Gold Key and Charlton both had years of liscenced history too but we’re long gone at this point publishing wise) at the time almost exclusively. 

They had dipped their toes in the liscenced market a few times with projects like Smurfs and the A-Team with mixed success. Acquiring Harvey would fill that demographic hole in their print line up! It was not meant to be after months of what felt like a done deal between the two companies fell through when one of the Harvey brother pulled out and killed the Harvey sale to Marvel. Harvey as a company went on to fold as a publisher shortly after this but they did so while still maintaining their property rights!

Despite the loss Marvel decided to continue to create a new imprint in its place even going so far as to use now out of work former Harvey staffers and created a Harvey Adjacent line of original characters like Planet Terry, Wally The Wizard, Top Dog, Royal Roy. I loved the look and feel of these characters and if capturing the Harvey vibe was their goal than mission accomplished. These looked and felt like Harvey publications both in art style and reading!! all You didn’t have to look to deep under the surface to see these were Harvey clones.. too close actually because Harvey comics would sue Marvel over Royal Roy being too close to Richie Rich… and he was. Old Roy was a red haired version of everyone’s poor little rich kid and Harvey just knew that there wasn’t a court in the world that would not see that!!  In 1985 the lawsuit was brought forward forcing Marvel to the plug on Royal Roy after 6 issues. The problems were already creeping in and we were not off of the ground floor yet. 

Keep in mind the next big phase for STAR was literally to create a “STAR” studded line up of liscenced properties that were popular at the time boasting Masters Of The Universe, STAR WAR’S, The Muppetts, Thundercats and many many more!! You may ask yourself.. how could this fail!! Well it found a way!! 

STAR hung its hat on a multitude of pop culture liscenses from Toy and Cartoon related franchises!

Trivia question!! What title did STAR COMICS launch with? The answer would be the first book to arrive with official STAR Comics branding would be … drum roll please… The Muppets Take Manhattan movie adaptation!!

But there were many many many more! Here is a non comprehensive list of most of the STAR Comics imprint!!

Let start with their Original titles

Misty (six-issue limited series (1985–1986) this was a bizzare one! After acquiring the majority of the most popular franchises for children missing from the list curiously was Barbie (Which Marvel would get in the early 90s!!). Misty was the niece of Stan Lees favorite Marvel fashion plate Millie The Model and she was essentially… Barbie.. straight up. Can’t get the original… let’s make a clone.. or an echo as Rob Liefeld once coined! Misty was a strange comic filled with all things fashion and fame and even cut out doll clothes to lower the value of this 6 issue limited series which was already worthless so I assume they OWE me money maybe?

Anyways…back to our list..

Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham (1985–1987)

Planet Terry (1985–1986)

Royal Roy 1–6 (1985–1985)

Top Dog (1985–1987)

Wally the Wizard (1985–1986)

Licensed titles: just take a look at this list!!! 

Air Raiders (1987–1988; #1–2 under Star imprint, continued under Marvel imprint)

Animax (1986–1987)


Bullwinkle and Rocky (1987–1989; #1–2 under Star imprint)

Care Bears (1985–1989); #1–14 under Star imprint)

Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos #1–4 (1987)

Count Duckula (1988)

Defenders of the Earth (1987)

Ewoks (1985–1987)

The Flintstone Kids (1987–1989) #1–4 under Star imprint)

Foofur (1987–1988; #1–4 under Star imprint)

Fraggle Rock (volume 1: 1985–1986 under Star imprint; volume 2:1988 under Marvel)

The Get-Along Gang (1985–1986)

Heathcliff (1984–1991)#1–22 under Star imprint)

Heathcliff’s Funhouse (1987–1988) #1–5 under Star imprint)

Hugga Bunch (1986–1987)

Inhumanoids (1987)

Madballs (1986–1988; #1–8 under Star imprint)

Masters of the Universe (1986–1988)

Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture (1987)

Muppet Babies (1985–1989) #1–17 under Star imprint)

The Muppets Take Manhattan 1–3 limited series (1984)

Popples (1986–1987)

Silverhawks (1987–1988; #1–5 under Star imprint, 6 & 7 under Marvel)

Star Comics Digest a.k.a. Star Comics Magazine (1986–1988)

Star Wars: Droids 1–8 (1986–1987) bi-monthly with four issues and issue 5’s cover of the series were drawn by John Romita, Sr.

Strawberry Shortcake (1985–1986)

ThunderCats (1985–1988; #1–24 under Star imprint)

Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light (1987; #1–6)

How did this fail?? How!!?? Marvel is a company that saved itself from Bankruptcy with Star Wars…a liscenced property that not only saved the company but gave new life to the industry. So using that logic.. if you own ALL the famous and popular IP’s then you will be set for life.. right? Well actually the answer would be no. Each liscence costs Marvel money in either straight up payouts to hold the license or an impact to bottom line profit. Keep in mind some of the rights holding companies who leased the property to Marvel gets a portion of the profit action.. and at times a significant portion of profits. To add to the debacle the rights holders also sometimes serious amounts of creative control. It’s possible to actually make zero dollars! In some instances that was indeed the case! For all the profits and losses the STAR comics line, though doomed from the get go legally, had such a vast array of titles it kept me coming back to the spinner rack for one or two new titles every month some I kept and others I abandoned quickly but I sure did enjoy the perks of seeing all the cool toys and cartoons in a comic book form!

But onto our story at hand… Spider-Ham the Halloween issue!!

Spiderman Vol. 1 13 January 1987

Old McDonalds House of Horrors 

Written : Mike Carlin (Somewhere Rob Liefeld is swearing and I was as well a little later.

Pencils: Joe Abelo (Spider-Ham 10-19, What If, 34 What If The Watcher was a Stand Up Comedian?) stumped? I was as well so I did my research and found that while not doing Spider Ham did indeed draw in What If number 34… for one… single… page!! Yes… and here it is! 




Anyways back to our book!!

Editor Larry Hama GI Joe! 

Executive Editor Tom Defalco

EIC Jim Shooter

Now.. the character himself. For folks who didn’t read a single STAR comic or see the film Into The Spiderverse there is a chance you have never met Spider-Ham! Let’s catch you up!

Spider-Ham is the super hero alias of one Peter Porker a fictional superhero Marvel Comics. The character is .. get ready for this… an anthropomorphic pig and a cartoon animal parody version of the classic Marvel Spider-Man.Spider-Ham was created by Larry Hama, Tom DeFalco and Mark Armstrong respectively. Curiously he appeared in a comic BEFORE the launch of his own book.. he would debut in a special one shot called Marvel Tails Starring Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham from November 1983! Hunt this one down kids for us who love the first appearances!! Even get this slabbed!! Lol… don’t do that. Please. Read the book. That’s all I will say..

This one shot was then followed by an ongoing bi-monthly series, Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, in May 1985 under Marvel’s Star Comics imprint!! For continuity lovers Porker and his supporting cast exists on Earth-8311, a full  universe populated by anthropomorphic funny animal parody versions of then modern Marvel superheroes and villains. 

Now that you are armed with knowledge let’s dive into the book!

Peter Porker The Spectacular Spider-Ham Vol. 1 issue 13, dated January 1987 in a story titles

“Old McDonalds House of Horrors”

Yes… Old MacDonald .. because.. you know.. he has a farm! You remember the nursery rhyme right? I mean … let’s stop here. Yes, THIS is the type of low hanging fruit to expect from this Carlin led team. Lower your expectations kids.. after all these titles are aimed at children not 45 year old man babies.. like me. 

On to the story..

An innocent duck is putting up a billboard late at night when Quakula Scares him away.. we see that the billboard was all about a Mega Mall opening soon in 1986.. hmmmm. The 80s… a property in danger.. a large corporation going to shut down an old town favorite location to build its fancy new what ever!! It’s the plot lol heisted from every 80s kids film from the Goonies onwards.. again.. it’s a kids book. Bottom line.. someone doesn’t want to pave paradise and put up a parking lot!!

Later we see Peter Porker in his apartment watching an old Horror film and he is scared. He laments that despite being a Super powered hero he is still scared of a silly horror film. Outside his window he hears gun fire. He leaps into action changing into Spider -Ham to check it out! It’s the Pinhead of crime and the police are shooting at him. Pinhead is a Kingpin echo but is the size of a building and is a large white rat/mouse in a pin stripe Blue Suit and has a body shape like a bowling pin!! He is wreaking havok in the city but it’s because he wants something.. or someone!

He is calling out Spider-Ham and by for Porker in full spider regalia  answers the call. After a quick tussle Spidey hits Pinhead with a rolling web bowling ball knocking the giant on his ass as the police swarm him! An easy win for our porktacular hero!

With his heroing complete Peter makes it back in time to watch the last half of the horror film he was watching!! We see that Peter has an irrational fear of vampires and werewolves but then he sees a very scary Egyptian Cow Mummy and literally hits the roof when the phone rings!!

It’s J Jonah Jackel from the Daily Beagel with a late night assignment for Peter! After having his job threatened Peter is there.. Instantly before Jonah even hangs up the phone! Is this a statement on workplace culture? Does Peter not have a right to refuse work? Does he need a mental

Health break? Nope this pig goes to work!

Jonah is sending Peter to the Catskilled Mountains where there have been reports  of hysterical construction workers claiming to have seen monsters! Porker is scared.. of course he is. It’s the only plot thread that is consistent in this story!! He hates monsters if you dont remember and he tries to back outta this mission citing he has to alphabetize his Alvin and The Chipmunks record collection and offers up his office supporting cast for the job! Does anyone else find it fascinating that STAR Comics never featured Alvin and The Chipmunks yet we had two.. count them two Heathcliff comics! What’s up with that?

Bunson, Upton and Jeremiah are some seriously stereotypical characters.. we have time let’s review. Bunson is the super intelligent plaid shirt wearing nerd character who will come in handy building gadgets and explaining science at opportune times. This was a time prior to Big Bang Theory need acceptance. Next is Upton.. a jive talking black cat… I’ll leave that where it is. Last is Jeremiah the pink wearing roller skater who wears thigh high socks a certainly a thinly veiled homosexual personality. So there you have it.. the 80s everyone!! Back to our story..

As a boss that would not be conducive to 2022 workplace sensibilities J Jonah Jackal ain’t buying it and demands Porker go alone! Peter has a bad feeling about this!

Porker drives to the Catskilled Mountains to a farm area hopefully he gets mileage but something tells me it’s on his own dime. He gets on the move investigating the place hoping these reports of folks seeing Monsters are all a hoax. He sees something that scares him ..and he rushes into a barn!! That’s what I always do when I am scared.. I find a deserted barn and run inside for safety! Once inside he encounters a scary figure with a pitch fork!! Suddenly from his travel bag leaps his co workers Bunsen, Upton and Jeremiah!! They begin snapping pictures trying to beat each other to the scoop. 

It’s nothing more than the farmer that owns the farm named conveniently Old MacDonald! He ain’t one for snoopers in his farm and his pitch fork Bessie likes em even less!! Peter pulls out his Press credentials and explains to Old MacDonald that he is there to investigate the reports of Monster sightings! Old MacDonald suddenly becomes interested that they are going to report on these monster sightings and to stay away from the farm as a result of this scary news! Hmmmmm…

The farmer is suddenly pleased that these kids will keep folks away from his farm and tells them they can stay as his personal guests and stay in the barn! Almost too easy…thinks Peter! He is right!

That night it rains.. like it does in every horror story and Peter is trying to get some sleep but his colleagues are not interested. They decide to investigate the barn that they discover has secrets of its own!! The gang discovers a secret laboratory with its own mad scientist! 

The time has come for Doctor Chickensteins greatest experiment!! The weather is perfect and all that remains is the doctor to pull the giant level! There is a body covered in a sheet on a operating room style table… the room is filled with computers and electrical gizmos..the level is pushed electricity goes everywhere!! The mad scientist marvels that the experiment is working … the doctor is about to unveil after years of experimenting …

Doctor Chickensteins monster!! It’s a huge fruit and vegetable based monster with a lettuce for a head, banana for a nose, watermelon torso, corn arms and zucchini legs, you get the idea. The monster rises from the table menacingly with its arms held high in triumph as the doctor rejoices as Peter’s colleagues snap up photos like crazy as Peter slumbers!!

The mad doctor hears the reporters camera clicks and sends the monster after Peters friends! Hearing the commotion in the next room Peter awakens and quickly suits up into Spider Ham to protect his friend and leaps into action!

The farm house becomes overtaken by monsters. Spidey faces off against the Mooomy…a cow like beast wrapped in bandages who looks VERY familiar.. almost like a farmer we know!

Overcoming his fear Ham drops the Cow Mummy with webbing around the legs and swings into the next room suddenly feeling heroic!!

Still trembling Spiderman faces off against Chickensteins monster and uses the old web bowling balll trick again and what do you know it works!! Ham is surrounded! The Moomy, Quakula , Chickenstein and the monster all converge on him and his friends but as Spiderham uses the bowling ball on the Monster his part fly everywhere revealing The Moomy as old MacDonald the farmer! The jig is up!!

Old MacDonald explains that he was upset that he was going to lose his farm as a result of the Mega Mall being built. He and his farm hands Dick and Rick concocted the whole monster story deal to scare off contractors in hope they would leave his farm alone! Spider Ham sympathizes with the old cow and has a solution!

Months later we see that Old MacDonalds Monster Fruit Stand is now inside the new mall selling the worlds biggest veggies and fruit fruit fruit!! The gang laments that Old MacDonald will be selling parts of his fruit monster for years to come! Another happy ending.. compliments of The Amazing Spider-Ham!!

It gets worse..

Back Up Story 

Nick Furry Agents of Sheep! The low hanging fruit like these funny animal titles keep the laughs going.. right?

We see Nick Furry and DoDo Duggan inside SHEEP HQ and we see that Deathsquak (Deathlok) is on the loose. Furry sends out an all points bulletin that the chicken cyborg must be taken down!

Despite great weaponry Deathsquak is a trouble soul desperately lamenting the meaning of his existence!! Deathsquak roams the countryside upset that he hasn’t discovered his reason to live while Furry and DoDo try to bring him down and he stops them at every turn all the while lamenting his flight! Maybe it was his childhood that made him this way? Maybe it was his teacher.. his parents… maybe kindergarten!!??

Furry has the last straw.. he pounces on Deathsquak and presents him with what he has always wanted.. his blueprints! Deathsquak finally has his answers.. his reason for being!! He pulls a plug in his side and … cooks himself. Yes.. he becomes a whole rotisserie cooked chicken..his insides were a microwave oven and he cooked himself! That’s the joke! Dodo falls over from

The revelation.. and so do we.. The Mericful end.

There is a letters page!

In summary…Folks are demanding that Peter Porker get his black suit!!

We also have someone ask when this comic will end to which they say there are no plans to cancel the book despite it ending several issues later!! 

One would like to see Peter Porker on TV like many other star comics! We may have to wait a few years but it will be worth it Christian D!! He also wants a Secret Furs cross over.. editorial suggests Secret Warts!! And we wonder why this thing didn’t last!! C,Mon!

Fan Ian Frater buries the book! He refused to buy issues 3 and 4 because it didn’t feature Mellors work!!? Called the art cheaply done and bland!! Seriously? This is what you print!? Marvel editorial always did these things to send messages and would openly allow criticism on certain creators to show their discontent with something happening inter office and these letters pages and info pages were often passive aggressive inter office memorandums 

Overall Thoughts

Art.. Perfect for its subject matter! I mean for funny animal fare it’s more than passable! In fact the Spider-Ham portion may simply be perfect for what it’s aiming for.  

Story : We have seen this plot line in movies a hundred times. Capitalizing on Halloween is cool but what about using the Marvel horror characters in anamorphic form to appear like Manthing? Morbius, Werewolf By Night! So much missed opportunity here. 

The story may be too juvenile and happily spent time simply enjoying the name puns on all the characters .

Cover is great! I would still have bought and did buy this upon release! 

That’s it.. and if you had any question how this post relates to the Super-Blog Team-Up Goes To Hell theme now you know!!

The Satellite will return again soon before Christmas!! Until then..

Transmission Ended..

 The fun keeps on rolling as The Mighty SBTU has many more entries for you to enjoy!! Thanks for joining us yet again and here are the links for the rest of the internets best blogging and podcasting contributors! 

Between The Pages Blog – Hostess Comic Book Ads Were Hot Stuff

Magazines and Monsters: Bonus Episode! – Marvel Spotlight 12 & 13 (Damon Hellstrom)- with Charlton Hero!

The Telltale Mind – The Ballad of Patsy Walker To Hell And Back And Back And Back

Source Material Comics Podcast – Batman/Punisher “Lake of Fire” – Evan Bevins and Jesse Starcher

Mark Radulich : Alternative Commentary on Hell Comes to Frogtown

Ed Moore: News Print Commando Rex Zombie Killler from Bad Dog Ink/Panda Dog Press 2013

Dave’s Comics Blog: Superman: The Blaze/ Satanus War

In my Not So Humble Opinion: Savage Dragon Goes To Hell

Asterisk 51 Blog – Sunday school with… Hellboy?!?!?

Comics Comics Comics Blog – The Son of Satan and the preacher’s kids – Will looks at Son of Satan and the Defenders

The Superhero Satellite: Spider-Ham in the world of Licensing Hell!

Relatively Geeky Presents #43: Afterlife with Archie Issues 1 – 6.

Transmission Date: May 18th 2022

Hey Satellite Subscribers,

The long awaited Superhero Satellite Podcast Episode 3 has arrived! I feel this needs explaining. I promised 4 episodes of The Superhero Satellite would be produced and had a very specific set of guests lined up to participate. All of them relevant to my likes growing up. Industry people who really knew their area of expertise! Episode one I was honored to have one of my personal podcast mentors and blogging friend Peter Rios, he of Comic Geek Speak and The Daily Rios Podcast fame to join me for a discussion on Podcasting, comics and everything under the sun. Episode two was dedicated to my love of toys growing up. I was joined by supreme toy collector and Executive Producer Of Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest Mr. Scott Kinney to go deep on the top 10 toys of our childhood and general industry talk!

Suddenly as I planned Episode 3 I had planned to discuss a childhood favorite Television series of mine and even lined up guests from that very show. If you follow me on Twitter you may take a guess on exactly what that show may be but for now we will leave it for another episode! The planning was fine, the scripts were done, intros and outros recorded and then we ran into our first delay. One individual had taken issue with the script and wanted a rewrite to which I happily agreed but this was the first delay of about three weeks. Finally the script came back with their proposed rewrites…it was a considerable difference but I was okay with it. I sent off a potential schedule times and was ghosted…again two more weeks of delays. I enquired and landed on tentative dates but again..more drama. At this point my point of contact went missing and was being shaky on a time frame so I aborted the show. It maybe something I will look at down the line but when something no longer becomes fun we step away. I promised myself I would NOT put out another single show unless it was special, had importance to myself based on one of my passions and was FUN! Well I found it! My Blogging squad the Super-Blog Team-Up are a group of like minded rock solid comic fans who love to produce content on the subject so we choose something that meant a great deal to yours truly growing up…The debut of Image Comics! We all know the deal. 7 of Marvels top artists leave in one mass exodus from the number one comics publisher to embark of the biggest single creator owner revolution the comics industry had ever seen taking a massive gamble by betting on themselves and creating Image Comics! The story of Image is an incredible one with amazing highs and deveastating lows that shook its foundations to the core! Alliances made, friendships broken, million dollar checks, and a brand new landscape of comics is born and we talk about it all!

Episode 3 is a super powered discussion on comics and more specifically the debut of Image comics! I am joined by the host of The Source Material Comics Podcast Jesse Starcher to discuss our thoughts on the launch of Image comics and when we discovered this hot new brand. We also break down the Image 7 founding fathers and give our score card on their history and the contribution to Images launch!! Its a fun discussion that you wont want to miss!! As a special bonus we will air a clip of a huge interview done by myself and Adam Pope for the Wizards Files show for The Wizards Podcast Guide To Comics by former Co-Founder and Publisher of Malibu Comics and an individual instrumental in the creation of the 90s super imprint the Ultraverse Mr. Dave Olbrich. The clip showcases the genesis of the meeting between himself and the Image team to start the revolution of the Image group!

Be sure to check out Mr.Olbrich’s amazing YouTube channel Geekview Tavern where our friend Dave talks comics shop with his guests and so much more! His shows are certainly a favorite of this author and he would enjoy having you visit the tavern and join the conversation! Click the link below to visit GeekView Tavern! Tell em Hero sent ya!

All this and more..its Superhero Satellite Episode 3 and it starts right now!!

Click The Link Below!

End Transmission.

Thank You for joining us for the show now check out the rest of our amazing team of super bloggers/podcasters!! Super-Blog Team-Up continues below with tons more Image Comics related content. Check out the rest of our amazing contributors by clicking the links below!! Check us out our back catalogue and past events on Twitter by using hashtag’s #SuperBlogTeamUp or #SBTU

Between The Pages Blog: Killer Walking Dead Cakes

Asterisk 51: Better Late Than Never: Spawn #1

Dave’s Comics Blog: Images Big Bang!!

Comics, Comics, Blog: Image Comics: Remembering my early days

Superhero Satellite : Image Comics: The Road To Revolution SHS Ep. 3

Comic Stripped: Term life

In My Not So Humble Opinion: Astro City: That Was Then…

The Source Material Comics Podcast- Darker Image!!! –

Cable Eats a Bagel: the de-imagification of Nathan Dayspring Askani’Son Summers

**In DEEPEST SPACE lie’s the dormant Superhero Satellite, a hulking historical archive long abandoned by its crew sits in dark silence. A lone beacon light flashes to indicate functionality. A suddenly flicker illuminates the main monitor as the ships living computer for no apparent reason activates its internal systems. The hum of the onboard fans and motors whirl into almost life like a life support system kicks in. Yes despite its abandonment this Satellite is very much functional..very much still alive technologically speaking. The screens fill with images…comic panels of its former owners youth. Images of a Universe wide Crisis, others showcasing a female Amazon Warrior doing battle, Super Teams from different universes colliding, the birth of a universes most versatile villainous threat donning a fearsome gauntlet. As the screen toggle’s through thousands of images it lands on the image of their creator…a legend in our archives and this writers introduction to a life long hobby. That name is George Perez. Welcome home heroes this blog is back for a celebration…a celebration of artistic excellence. *

I was spoiled as a comic’s fan. My introduction to comics, I will argue, is a case of starting out on top and then everything else is a downhill situation. My first comic that I bought on my own free will was the George Perez/Marv Wolfman New Teen Titan’s number 1. I was absolutely hooked. It shined with brand new characters, plus my favorite DC character at the time was Robin, he of Batman fame! The book was electricity to this 6 year old’s eyes. I didn’t know it at the time but this was my gold standard that all else would be compared to. Perez was special..if there was such thing as a PERFECT draftsman it’s George. On December 7th George announced to the world he had terminal pancreatic cancer and had 6 months to a year to live. The outpouring of love for George on social media was nothing short of incredible and heartwarming. This article is not an obituary. It is not a career retrospective this is simply a note to George to thank him and tell him how much his work impacted me. So Mr. Perez.. this ones for you.

First, an introduction to our Mighty Marching Super-Blog Team-Up (YES I KNOW it doesn’t rhyme work with me here!!) Super-Blog Team-Up is a collective effort that occurs quarterly and involves blogs, podcasts, YouTube networks and more to create content on a single theme and launch on one specific day. We all know the amount of content out there in 2022 in regards to podcasts and video platforms can be overwhelming and the blogging format often takes a back seat. The folks at the SBTU believe that great work should be shared and this is the heart and soul of our band of brothers (and Sister!) to keep the heart beat of bloggers and content creators alive and visible. If you enjoy this post the good news is there is much more to enjoy. At the bottom of these writings you will see a whole host of links for more Super-Blog Team-Up action. If you are a Twitter nerd like me why not use the hashtags #SuperBlogTeamUp or #SBTU for access to all of our past events! Now with formalities out of the way on to the reason we have all assembled to celebrate the works of one special artist in our industry Mr. George Perez.

I had read plenty of comics growing up. I was reading nearly everything on the rack and grocery cash lanes. The All-Star artist’s of my era were John Byrne, Frank Miller, Neal Adam’s, Jim Aparo, Gene Colan just to name a few..a heavyweight line up if there ever was one. Another “Hero fact” was that I was a tried and true DC Comic’s kid! Batman and Detective were my go-to books first every month. 

I had noticed George’s work on the Avengers but at that young age I did not have a discerning eye enough to say “that’s George Perez book!!”.. or “That’s a John Byrne book.!!” You just knew what felt right. You just knew that this was what the characters were meant to look and feel like. One of the biggest qualms I have with looking at a modern comic is that they simply didn’t feel like a comic. Digital artwork simply doesn’t look like pencil on paper. It just doesn’t. There is a defined rule set that makes great comic art for me. They are simple rules magnon

First it’s the visual. Do the characters look they way they should? Did the artist get Superman’s face right? Were Batman’s ears big enough? One of the biggest disappointments of my life was reading Jack Kirby do Super Powers. Superman just wasn’t right, Wonder Woman looked like a cro-magnon cross dresser. I realize now looking back the issue was not Kirby….it just wasn’t George.

Two. Is the artist able to convey realistic characters in not only action poses but just acting and living on the page like regular humans??

Three. Bombascity. Did the work jump off the page. Was it exciting? Visually challenging? 

Finally. The details!! A good artist can draw a solid character shape on the page. A great artist can design a living and breathing world for these characters to live in with great backgrounds, lush environments and mind blowing original sets that just send you deep into your imagination. 

For me Perez checks everyone of these boxes and in many cases wrote the book on them!! Character’s looked and felt alive inside the pages. He conveyed emotion in all the characters he created and drew and for that 15 minutes you held a Perez book in your hand you lived in his world because it was real! 

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Back to New Teen Titans. Starting with just the cover alone this book was special. The covers made the books “MUST SEE” and it featured a toy box of new characters like Raven, Starfire, Beast Boy and Cyborg who were born under George’s pencil. Whether it was battling Deathstroke, or Brother Blood you had someone making these hero’s and villains live on the page. Robin a character decades old never looked so good and George matured him and it felt “right”. The New Teen Titans were my team!! 

As my exposure to comic’s advanced I was introduced to such Legends as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr. , and John Buscema to name a few but none of them seemed in my young eyes to be on the level of Perez during this time. As I said at the start, I was spoiled out of the gate. Of course as years went by I learned to love all the aforementioned names but I also knew what outstanding pencil work looked like.

George who had cut his teeth on such books as the Avengers in the 1970s, as well on books such as Werewolf By Night, Fantastic Four and the InHumans…It would be the opportunities he received at DC that would propel him to superstardom. 

Perez was the man to call on when DC wanted to reset their entire run of books that they had published since 1937. Competition between Marvel and DC had heated up and the once mighty DC comics were now no longer the top dog in the industry as Marvel had found its way into the hearts and minds of comic readers. DC responded by buying up other companies such as a now defunct Charlton Comics and other existing properties in an attempt to realign their offerings. One massive problem DC thought they had was something that is very popular these days…the idea of the multiverse. The idea of multiple earth’s and realities was an issue creatively. The years of continuity was a creative hindrance for DC creative and the decision was made to wipe the slate clean with an all encompassing event known as Crisis On Infinite Earths. The idea was to streamline the years of muddled continuity into a clean linear singular universe. A massive undertaking to be sure but the question was who would bring this epic to life visually? George Perez was the man behind the 12 issue epic and it was incredible! It was here Perez showcased his magnum opus. 

All of George’s strengths were on display. Not only could George make magic in a multi person team book drawing multiple characters and scenes ..with Crisis On Infinite Earths he had to draw the entirety of the DC Universe. Every single character..drawn with style guide perfection. 

His mastery of scenery and intricate detail that was George’s signature. Every world, every space, scene, building , landscape all picture perfect. George Perez had arrived..and no one could touch him.

Every artist has their signature book..a signature Hero or maybe a team they hang their hat on. George had already made waves with epic runs on Avengers and The New Teen Titans. Now with DC rebooting its entire history it challenged it’s creative teams to re energize their core heroes to make them compelling to a very Marvel loving comics buying audience. Somewhere DC lost their “cool” factor and Marvel was the buzz at the comic shops. The first thing in DC’s plan was to inject the Trinity (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman- DC’s Big Three!) with life blood with big time creative engines. Miller revitalized Batman following the legendary Dark Knight Returns 4 issue Limited Series.  John Byrne re imagined Superman with Man Of Steel.  In 87 Perez took full creative reigns on Wonder Woman both writing and drawing the book for 24 issues but staying on the book until issue 61 after stepping away from his artistic duties For me it was the first time Wonder Woman had felt and looked significant in forever. George drew her as a strong and powerful female super heroine who didn’t play second fiddle to the boys. The books direction became grounded as Perez took steps to develop her supporting cast of Amazonian’s, and pulled deeply into her Greek god roots. It was a transformation. This version is the same model they use in her modern incarnations in comics and on the big Hollywood Screens.

Perez’s Wonder Woman is such a departure as he establishes her as a force to be reckoned with better than any arc prior to this. The third string, love sick girl running around in her underwear was replaced with a dead serious Amazonian warrior, a creation of the gods just as powerful and certainly a more experienced fighter than her trinity counterparts. Wonder Woman was finally a full fledged top shelf character in DC and the magic of this shift in narrative set the table for everything we know about Wonder Woman today.

Where does George Perez stand in the pantheon of comics greatest artists? I get that opinions are subjective. Every one has their favorite’s and have good reasons for them. I am a fan of “Comic Book” art. I know great pencils when I see them. I look for detail. I look for emotional resonance. I look for realistic character interactions and I would argue that George Perez has mastered every element of what I love in a comic. He was my introduction to the comics world and was an entry drug like no other. They say you always remember your first and as I said at the beginning I was spoiled out of the gate holding that issue of The New Teen Titans. I would love to think that George himself may some how stumble upon this blog and my words and if he does I want him to know that his work meant something. It inspired people to read and create inside this medium and future generations of artists at this very minute are trying to emulate the work that he has done. Super-Blog Team-Up was created out of love for the comics medium and I know I speak from every one of our team when I say THANK YOU George you are loved and appreciated.

This is only the beginning. The Mighty SBTU have so much more detailed analysis of the very best Perez work out there. I urge you to check out all the amazing talent that makes up the Super-Blog Team-Up and their incredible articles and podcasts all about the master of the pencil… Mr. George Perez!

Until next time Satellite Subscribers we will see you all again…after a while! For MORE Super-Blog Team-Up action you need to go right now and check out the work of my fellow collaborators by clicking the links as we continue to discuss the work of one George Perez!


  1. The Superhero Satellite: PEREZ

2. Between the Pages Blog: George Perez’s Uncanny X-Men

3. Source Material Comic Podcast: Brave and the Bold #1-6

4. The Telltale Mind: Hulk: Future Imperfect.

5. In My Not So Humble Opinion: I-BOTS from Tekno Comix

6. Dave’s Comic Blog: Avengers #150, Fantastic Four #176, Justice League Of America #184, New Teen Titans #1

7. Comics Comics Comics blog: JLA/Avengers: It Had to be George

8. Chris Is On Infinite Earths: X-Lapsed

9. . The Daily Rios: A George Pérez Celebration #2

10. Radulich in Broadcasting Network: Comic Stripped: Logan’s Run

“The Lonely and Tragic Life Of Dr. David Banner”

Hey what’s going on Heroes, it’s your old pal Charlton Hero back at ya with another installment of the Mighty Marching Super-Blog Team-Up!! If this is your first time stopping by let me fill you in on what the mighty SBTU is all about! We are a collective of like minded bloggers, podcasters and content creators who come together 4 times a year to collaborate on a single topic event and put our own unique spin on the selected theme! Then we all release our content on one defined day and share in the community that is comics and pop culture. This time out our theme is “The Doctor Is In”. This event is a celebration of “The Doctor” characters in all forms throughout Pop Culture. From the Sci-Fi World of Doctor Who, The Mystical realms of Doctor Fate to the super badassery of Motley Crews Dr. Feelgood! Doctors have existed in multiple versions and personas and are a staple of any genre. We at Super-Blog Team-Up deep dive some of the most famous Doctors all the way to to the super obscure practitioners as we let the Blog-o-Sphere know that “The Doctor Is Indeed IN!!”

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For this installment the Satellite has tracked activity in our veritable time scanning probe to the late 70s where we will encounter an old friend of ours working on an experiment on Gamma radiation that will not go particularly well for our subject today Dr. David Banner… aka The Incredible Hulk!! More specifically we are discussing the 1977 Television Series The Incredible Hulk!! We will deep dive this amazing series and walk through Dr. David Banners TV Origins, Its importance to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its overall place in the lore of The Incredible Hulk story as a whole. At the end I will provide you with my top 5 recommendations of the very best “Bill Bixby-David Banner” episodes of the series!!  

Lets not wait anymore strap into the Satellite Heroes we have a Monster to catch!! 

Transmission Date : May 12th 2021

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There are things in life that you can remember the exact time and date of where you were and who you were with and as we get older sometimes these memories fade into the time. Then there are those things are are as vibrant in your memory as the day you experienced it. This is my experience with the 70s Incredible Hulk TV Series. I stumbled upon the series as a child in the very early 80s staring at a 13” Black and White TV set or if I was lucky a nice color version at my Grandmother’s house. We had two glorious channels both amazingly 100% Canadian in CBC and our local network NTV. Its all I knew and my knowledge of pop culture was limited to this tiny box to view the world through. There was no on demand, heck there weren’t even any VCR’s to watch your recording later. You had to be there!! If not these shows existed only in conversation the next morning at school. 

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The show was from the mind of Kenneth Johnson (yes he of “V” fame) and of course was based on The Marvel Comics Character created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee! He first appeared in the pages of his own title The Incredible Hulk in May 1962. His origin differs slightly than his Television Origins in that Robert Bruce Banner (Not his TV persona David Banner) is exposed to Gamma radiation while saving his best friend Rick Jones from the explosion of a Gamma Bomb. The effects of this exposure alters Bruce Banner’s life forever. When he is subjected to great amounts of stress or anger Bruce transforms into the Rampaging Hulk. As history had it Bruce is altered into the giant Grey monster The Hulk. Against his will when the moment strikes Bruce when triggered becomes the out of control rampaging monster who at times is part hero and part public menace. The Hulk was always a fixture of Stan Lee’s vision of Marvel and one of the top projects he pitched to studios around Hollywood. Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk began proceedings with their own televised series in 1977 but would be followed by an ill fated Doctor Strange TV Movie in September of 1978 on CBS followed by  two Captain America live action TV Movies The January 1979 self titled Captain America and its sequel in November of the same year Captain America 2: Death Too soon! None of the shows or movies listed had the impact or cultural importance of Johnson’s The Incredible Hulk TV Series. 

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I recall being very unsettled by the opening scene of the TV Show as a kid at about the age of 7 or 8. Take a look at that opening and tell me this would not scare the living bejesus out of any kid seeing this for the first time. The rain, the dark, the car accident and that insidious transformation into the monster. This was a game changer for me. My childhood heroes were alive and on my screen and for once they were taken dead serious. Don’t take my word for it see for yourself! Satellite Initiate Viewing Screens for our Heroes:

The Opening:

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“Dr. David Banner, Physician/Scientist,searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all humans have.

Then an accidental overdose of gamma

radiation interacts with his unique

body chemistry.

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And now, when David Banner grows angry

or outraged, a startling metamorphosis



Narrator:The creature is driven by rage

and pursued by an investigative reporter.

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BANNER: Mr. McGee, don’t

make me angry. You wouldn’t

like me when I’m angry.


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Narrator: An accidental explosion

took the life of a fellow scientist

and supposedly David Banner

as well. The reporter thinks

the creature was responsible.

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McGee: “I gave a description to all

the law enforcement agencies. They got

a warrant for murder out of it.

Narrator: A murder which David Banner

can never prove he or the creature

didn’t commit. So he must let the world

go on thinking that he too is dead,

until he can find a way to control the

raging spirit that dwells within him.


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The TV Origin!

Dr. David Bruce Banner your lead character in the show was played by the incredible (Pardon the pun!) Bill Bixby. Bixby appears in 82 episodes of the show. After the shows cancellation Bixby would even reprise his roll of the nomadic Doctor/ Monster for three made for Television movies with the 1988 “The Incredible Hulk Returns” followed the next year by “The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk” wrapping the trilogy with the 1990 The Death Of The Incredible. The following is as much as I could gather from various sources detailing the origin of our TV David Bruce Banner!

Dr. David Bruce Banner was born in Trevorton, Colorado, in the first half of the 1940s. His father, D.W. Banner wanted David to stay on the family farm and take it over from him someday—D.W. went so far as to tell David that he would pay his son’s entire way through any agricultural college of his choice. David, the son of a farmer ,had always wanted to be a doctor, as young as the age of 5 years old. For background it was noted that David’s sister, Helen, walked in on him performing a play surgical procedure on one of her dolls. David suffered trauma early in life after discovering his mother dead in her bed as a child. He harbored a sharp resentment for his Father whom he placed blame for the death of his Mom which made him want to leave his hometown to make it on his own and live his dream as a Doctor David eventually did attend medical school. It was here he met his future colleague and fellow classmate  Elaina Marks. Following school David would go on to marry Laura Banner who horrifically perished on a cold rainy night during an electrical storm. The story originates when Dr. David Banner and his wife Laura are riding in their car when a tire blows out. The car rolls over. David gets thrown out, but his wife does not. He tries to save her by lifting the car to get her out, but was unsuccessful. 

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David’s grief and loss was overwhelming  years later Elaina went on to become his colleague at The Culver Institute of California. They were working on intense research around  the mystery of the enormous physical strength that all humans possess when under stress or extreme circumstances.. The loss of Laura and his inability to alter her fate changed David’s daily existence. He became motivated to discover the secret of superhuman feats of strength that the body has the ability to access and the interviews he conducted with Elaina of people who also had had loved ones in as much life-threatening jeopardy as Laura had been in, but were able to tap into that well of enormous strength to save, accomplished little more than to make grief, resentment and frustration a major part of David’s everyday existence.

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During David’s case study he concluded that the cause of accessing  super human strength was in an elevated adenine-thymine level of a person’s  DNA. This was not possible organically so David concluded there was some other force at work, some external factor introduced into these humans to get this elevation in strength namely Gamma Rays! Dr. Banner predicted that bursts of gamma-radiation on the surface of the sun were able to reproduce the exact effect of enhanced human strength ability in a laboratory setting!  Banner went as far as to  strap himself into the Institutes  radiation emitter and subjected  himself to Gamma Radiation for 15 seconds. Unbeknownst to Banner the device had been updated to emit up to 6 times the amount of Gamma rays beyond what is considered the maximum exposure a human was said to be able to endure!! 

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With this extreme exposure Banners level of adenine-thymine was elevated beyond any normal means which as a result caused a massive transformation into the huge musclebound Monster, The Incredible Hulk which in the future would be triggered at moments of great stress or anger. 

Wow…that’s a lot to take in right? The show was actually a simple concept. Dr. David Banner on his search for a cure to his inner monster In each individual episode, Banner wanders from town to city, using false aliases  and getting by doing odd jobs to stay afloat and to continue funding his research. Each episode he is faced with a dilemma where he feels compelled to help the people he meets get out of some sort of predicament . It’s the old monster of the week design that we all know and love and with the exception of a couple of two part episodes, each show can be considered a one and done and viewed on its own merits. Of course as David attempts to help out folks many times he is triggered with anger or intense situations and metamorphosizes into the Hulk. These Monster sightings have gained the attention of Investigative Reporter and TV show bad guy, Jack McGee who is Banner’s foil for nearly the entirety of the series.The Hulk usually rages on the side of good and generally helps out those in need yet at the end of each episode he is forced to hit the road to the ominous tones of the song “Lonely man” to move on to the next town in search of one day finding a way to silence the Monster. 

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This show was staggering to me as a kid. Not only was it an opportunity to see my heroes on the small screen every week in my living room but it was a different time. Super Hero fare was not the norm like it is in 2021 where the amount of comic book related shows and movies often outweigh regular shows on every network. It was scary and electric. It was also tragic. Bixby as David Banner was a revelation. Outside of all the “Green Monster” fun and the “Hulk Smash” moments the story of Dr. David Banner trying to find himself always spoke to me. The plight of the lonely man misunderstood by society and battling his own large green skinned demon who in the end only wants to make things right speaks to me personally. Despite its differences to the source material this show is well above the grade of what was being aired at the time. These days the Marvel Cinematic Universe is hitting us on all levels with big budget blockbusters like Avengers: Endgame which broke records all over the world, to Netflix producing gritty street level beat cop style shows with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, the Punisher and more. Don’t forget DisneyPlus giving us cinematic quality series such as Wanda Vision, The Falcon and Winter Soldier, and Loki! We are spoiled as an audience. Picture yourself in 1977 with NOTHING else to judge it against and then you were given The Hulk!! It would be a Loooong time before Marvel would even come close to the hemisphere of beating the sheer quality of the show. 

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Let’s be debuted in the pre-CGI era and kids watching today may think that old “Big Green’ may look a little cheesy but it was the actual writing on the show that made this thing more than a show about a big green monster. You got to know the MAN…David Banner. There were many episodes that held off on the Monster side of things and dealt with Banner himself and really built the human element of the show which really spoke to me as a kid viewer who tuned in for the “Hulk Smash” but stayed for the human element. 

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First we can start with just the amazing casting Bixby and the Hulk himself. Lou Ferrigno evolved into their characters to the point I could not see anyone else in their roles. Lou was perfect as the Hulk. As said before there was no CGI but Lou a world class bodybuilder didn’t need computers to be larger than life on screen as he was an absolutely immense man of size and muscle. With a questionable wig and green oil paint Ferrigno WAS The Hulk and no one questioned his legitimacy in that role.Now that you casted the Monster now you had to find the MAN! None better than the very first choice for the role Bill Bixby who was already an accomplished actor in such roles in My Favorite Martian , Rich Man Poor Man, The Twilight Zone, Fantasy Island, The Magician and many many more. Bixby WAS Bruce Banner!! They needed someone who could project as an actor to show intensity, torment and rage but yet be likeable. I am sure if you watched the show its hard to argue that Bixby didn’t pull off everyone of those criteria! He was the everyman that you could relate to and that is what made this show sing to TV audiences all over the world.

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If you were a kid in that era you always did “The Quote” you know the one… “Don’t Make me Angry..You Wont Like Me When I’m Angry”. Seriously if you were a kid of the 80s and into comic books someone at some point got levied that particular ditty their way! 

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All you had to do was watch the opening and closing of the show and you “Got” what the show was. There does not exist a more appropriate intro and outro for a show that sets you up with all you need to know from drama and intensity. The outro in particular always stuck with me with a song titled “The Lonely Man Theme” as a song that nearly netted an Emmy award for the Incredible Hulk in 82!. If you listen carefully they even do a variation on that in the Hulks 2008 Cinematic entry!!

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The Incredible Hulk show was also unique from everything else at the time in that Marvels iconic Figurehead Stan Lee who was trumpeting Marvel in Live Action as hard as he possibly could was said to have only liked the Hulk outside of the other Marvel small screen adaptations up to that point namely The infamous Dr. Strange Movie and The Amazing Spider Man show. Calling the productions a Nightmare he was all in on the Hulk fortunately!

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 Interviews of the day saw Lee boldly and giddy expound his appreciation for the show as well! Heck as famous as the “Stan Lee’ cameos were in the MCU it was the Trial Of The INcredible Hulk TV Movie that featured his first onscreen movie cameo!! Keep in mind Lee would be waiting a LOOOONG time following the Hulk and its follow up movies before Marvel would give us another attempt at cinema in the 1990 Captain America basically direct to video release which Lee considered a step backwards again and a disappointment! 

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The show itself would be considered a big hit in the ratings for Marvel in the ONLY hit it would see until the  X-men Trilogy would release many moons later. We can argue that “Blade” was a hit but when you consider the criteria of a Superhero film Blade falls in the category of a stand alone horror film which in my mind disqualifies it as the “First SuperHero” film to be a “hit” for Marvel. 

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The Incredible Hulk Tv Series and its three follow up Made For Tv movies would begin the idea of Superhero crossovers on screen! Now we had seen shows cross over in the past but minds were blow when the likes of Thor and Daredevil made their appearances with Bixby and Ferrigno further cementing the franchise as a historically significant happening for Marvel in a time they were trying to find their way along the path to what would become the Box Office Juggernaut known as the Mighty MCU!

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Consider what Superheroes graced the screen in the past. Yes the serials produced excellent fare such as TVs Superman starring George Reeves, The Green Hornet, Flash Gordon, Batman, and  we also got Shazam and not to mention Isis on Saturday mornings! Of course the pinnace of all Super-Hero television was the 1966 Batman live action show starring Adam West and Burt Ward which up to that point was the measuring stick for comic book onscreen success! The issue was most of these were popcorn fillers and not particularly taken serious. A serial in the theaters was not considered high theater at the time, and certainly West’s Batman was intended to be tongue and cheek. The Incredible Hulk was the first show to be taken seriously and when you stack up all the others our show stands like a giant above all the others.

Now that we get the big picture on how this show was received we need to get into our theme this time round for Super-Blog Team -Up and that being “The Doctor Is In”. With all that said these are what I consider the best “Dr. David Banner episodes of The Incredible Hulk. These shows are lighter than normal on the “Big Green Monster” aspect of the show and more character pieces that flesh out the struggle of our good Doctor as he attempts to shed his Inner monster.

Top 5 Doctor David Banner Episodes Of The Incredible Hulk

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5. “Married” Our good Doctor finds himself  in the warmth and sun filled beaches of Honolulu where he goes in search of someone who may be able to “Cure” him or at least let him control his inner  Monster, a one Dr. Caroline Fields. Fields struggles with a life threatening disease of her own and David sees an opportunity to help her as he knows he possesses a healing factor that exists when he transforms into The Hulk. It’s a very touching episode as it allows Banner to have a very rare few minutes of actual happiness as he is able to fall in love again and even remarry!!. Not to spoil things but this one ends tragically. This is the one episode where David nearly gets a chance at happiness in his life again and can almost forget about the big green monster inside him. Heartwarming and tragic.

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4. “Pilot”: No better beginning than the first episode. We get everything we need to understand the tragic existence of one Dr. David Banner. Banner is grieving after the loss of his wife Laura whom he did not have the strength to save from a terrible car accident. He sets out to find out the secret to unlocking hidden human strength and decides to experiment on himself with Gamma rays…which of course is the beginnings of his eventual tragic transformation into the monster that would haunt his life forever afterwards. If you are just starting the Hulk series this is your starting point! You can mix and match episodes afterwards but this one is your base!

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3.”The First” (Parts 1 and 2). This is cheating because this is actually a two part episode but this is my blog and ill include both because I can! Deal with it!! Doctor Banner stumbles upon the news that there were “Hulk” sightings that are happening around a small town years BEFORE Banner became the Hulk!. Is it possible that there is ANOTHER Hulk on the loose?? David is determined to find out! He sets out to the small town to find out that a scientist who embarked on a similar road as David has passed away leaving an incomplete set of notes leaving his trail empty…until we meet town local Dell Frye who catches Banner transforming exposing his secret!! Frye swears himself to secret but is interested in helping David find the previous scientists notes to assist him in finding his cure. What a nice guy right!! WRONG. No deep spoilers here but Frye has his own agenda and all I will tell you is that this episode features the first Hulk vs Hulk battle ever put to film!! Go out of your way to see this one!!

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2. “Homecoming” This season 3, episode 8 show was a “Special” Thanksgiving Episode! Remember when we had “Special ” Holiday episodes!! Well Hulk fans who were expecting a super sized Green Monster episode would be disappointed as this is one that deals with most David “Going Home”. He stops , for the moment anyways, his journey and visits his Father and Sister! It’s here we see the effect his mothers death has had on him and how that fractured his relationship with his father. This one really gives us that background into who David Banner was Pre- Green Monster era took control of his existence.

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1.”Prometheus” (Season 4 Episodes 1-2).This episode opens season 4 and is another 2 parter!! See I am cheating again but these are two of my absolute favorites and very Dr. Banner heavy episodes. In this set of episodes David meets a blind woman just before a meteor strikes the location where they are at. This situation nearly triggers a Hulk transformation however something unique happens here as Banner’s transformation into the Hulk stalls midway leaving him as half man and half monster!! (Basically bulkier with green eyes!!) He is later tracked down and captured by the government who are convinced this “Man-Monster” is born of Area 51 and an alien!! Of course eventually David is able to complete his transformation, escape and disappear into the world again to start the 4th season. This set of episodes hit at the outright tragedy of the character. Instead of trying to control the rage monster inside him now the Doctor was stuck in physical limbo as he is even more tragically now part monster on the outside and tracked down like an animal. This ones hits at the heart of the Hulk character.

The Incredible Hulks Television Shows Place in Marvel History.

The Television series swings away from the established continuity set up by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in the 60s but offers its own important contributions to the Incredible Hulk Mythos.

Its the first introduction to the Green Eyes during the transformation into the Hulk. This was the audiences cue that s*** was about to get real! The show used this to its absolute perfection. Horrifying and effective when David turns to the camera the start of the epic transformation into the Monster was on!! No matter how old I get I always LOVE this part of the transformation!

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It’s also introduced us to the Hulks antagonist ace reporter Jack McGee!! The ever present McGee would track Banner’s Hulk throughout the series and appears in 56 of the series 82 episode run and eventually makes his return in 1988s Return of the Incredible Hulk where he relents on his chase of the Hulk finally and begins chasing Thor appearances!! The name Jack McGee would resurface once again in the 2008 Hulk movie as a character of the same name is introduced as a student at a school. A nice wink and a nod there!!

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One would be remiss that this show also is the official introduction to the name “David” being added to the Bruce Banner name. Mythos has it that show producers thought the name Bruce was too closely associated with the gay community which sadly in the late 70s was still struggling for acceptance and as a result those with say fought to have it changed and were successful and thus was born the new and improved (??) “David” Bruce Banner was born. Sigh…a real sign of the times with that one. I could not find official confirmation of this but this has been the lore forever. I’ll give the showrunners the benefit of the doubt and leave this one as a myth for the benefit of all involved. Origins aside I did dig the name David being added to his name especially when he needed to disguise himself in the show. 

As you can see this show not only had a huge impact on me but definitely made its mark in the eyes of the fandom and was an early brightspot for Marvel in the infancy of the live action genre. With that said this draws our discussion to a conclusion 

Well that’s all Satellite fans!! I truly hope you have enjoyed our visit to the late 70’s rediscovering the magic and vision of Bill Bixby’s Incredible Hulk show I know I have but wait…we have plenty of more Pop Culture Doctors to discover as Super-Blog Team Up keeps on rolling with “The Doctor Is In!!” Check out all of our amazing contributors below.Till next time Satellite Subscribers..

Transmission Ended…


Between The Pages Blog: The World’s Most Popular Football Holder & Psychiatrist – Lucy van Pelt

Daves Comics Blog – The Immortal Dr. Fate 

Magazines and Monsters: Doctor Voodoo

Comics Comics Comics -The Power Of Podcasting and Doctor Who

Radulich in Broadcasting Network – Doctor Doolittle 1998 & 2001

Metal Hammer Of Doom: Motley Crew: Doctor Feelgood

SuperHero Satellite-  The 1970s Incredible Hulk Television Series: The Lonely and Tragic Life Of Doctor David Banner

Asterisk51- Doctor Bong: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Pop Culture Retrorama- Dr Thirteen The Ghost Breaker.

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 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! 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!

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

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

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:


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.

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.


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!

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

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

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.

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

Source Material – What If Captain Confederacy

Comic Reviews by Walt – 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 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 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!


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 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!!


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 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?


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!



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.


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


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



The Telltale Mind: Archie Andrews – Superstar


Radulich In Broadcasting: Flash Gordon Universe


The Source Material Comics Podcast: TMNT/Ghostbusters


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


Bronze Age Babies: Seven Decades of Apes-mania, and We’re Afflicted!


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


Black & White and Bronze Comics – Beast on the Planet of the Apes Review



The Daily Rios – Little Shop of Horrors

Coming Soon

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

Pop Culture Retrorama: The Phantom Universe


Cavalcade of Awesome – Jumper Universe



MichaelMay.Online: Treasure Island Universe

DC In The 80s: The TSR Universe

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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. 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 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.


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, 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 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!!


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.


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!!


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.


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.


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 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 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.

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

Chris is on Infinite Earths (Podcast):

Episode 33: Team Titans #1 (1992)

Five Variant Covers… and five variant stories!

Comic Reviews by Walt:

The ’90s Revisited: Shiny Covers

Source material: Spider-Man Torment (issues 1-5) by Todd McFarlane –

Daredevil 319-325 Fall from Grace

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

Between The Pages

Guerilla Marketing

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 –

Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog Connected Covers gimmicks

New Teen Titans 37/Batman and the Outsiders 5

When It Was Cool (Karl)

Polybag It! The Blight of the Polybagged Comic Book

Pop Culture Retrorama

Chromium… Glow In The Dark Covers

In My Not So Humble Opinion

It Came From the 1990s: Force Works #1

Pop-Up Cover

Black & White and Bronze Comics Blog

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