Posts Tagged ‘Comic Books’

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Welcome back heroes! The Satellite is very pleased this month to indulge into something that three years ago when I started this thing, was intended to be one of my first topics. Every time I would begin to write I felt I wasnt doing it justice so I finally decided to jump into the fray. As we sit in the briefing room of the Satellite we must become acquainted with the art of war. This Satellite is about to touch down in 1980s Springfield..

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Computer: Captain, this destination is NOT recommended ..Springfield at this time is under occupation..

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Hero: *Smiles* That’s why we are going there computer…initiate landing sequence..

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Computer: Captain, my programming is telling me to inform you this is no ordinary threat that surrounds Springfield..its a terrorist organization known as COBRA!

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Hero: I have a feeling a few friends are about to show up to help rectify the situation…all together with me shout.. “YO JOE!!”

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From Toys to The Page…

I Was introduced to GI JOE initially by the 1982 Marvel comics series G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero. On the way to a summer camping trip on a stop over to a local Pharmacy (Thank You Budget Drug Mart) I scored me an issue of G.I. JOE #2 to take along for long trip ahead. I was hooked! G.I.JOE must have been huge in my home town cause those books were available EVERYWHERE! Not the usual suspects like convenience stores and pharmacies..these crept onto magazine racks in smokeshop’s in Woolco and coloring book racks at Dalfen’s! I could not wait for each issue to hit the stands! I grew up with Hawk, Stalker, Scarlett, Flash, ZAP, Breaker, Clutch, Rock N Roll, and Of course..Snake Eyes!! The Original Joe’s always had a special  place in my heart to the point that when newer Joe’s were introduced I rejected many of them up front if they replaced my originals in the comics!

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The marketing team at Hasbro were smart enough to realize that the more characters they created..more figures could be made and more stories could be written! As a G.I. JOE fan in the 80s we got super served!! Both toy shelves and comic book pages were lined with scores of new Joe’s every few months..but this was something different. The Toy company for the first time used the comic book as its creative foundation!  Many criticize “Toy Books” in the comics industry as being just a cheap money grab that are usually short-lived. Only a small handful were successful like Micronaughts, ROM and of course STAR WARS which all are remembered in high regard. It was the G.I. JOE comic that would forever set the pace for changing the game of the stereotypical “Toy Book” that not only surpassed its life expectancy and expectations but it became the flag bearer for all licensed titles to come.

Gi Joe 1 When you talk how important a comic is to a franchise there is no better example than the Larry Hama written Marvel Comic G.I. JOE : A Real American Hero. This book literally dictated the toy line and the cartoon. Larry Hama MADE G.I. JOE and anyone who is a fan owes this man a debt of gratitude. Hama, at the time was a struggling writer fighting to get a permanent paying writing post at Marvel. On one fateful day he pitched an idea about a splinter group of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents consisting of futuristic Super Soldiers known as “Fury Force”. As with other jobs Fury Force did not get the green light but before the concept was dropped Hasbro came knocking. They were a toy company looking to relaunch an old property from the past G.I. JOE. G.I. JOE was an army based 12″ action figure line that was very successful in the 50s and 60s. Hasbro had the property evaluated but decided to partner with Marvel to develop a back story for their concept..and so was born G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero..and finally a full-time paying writing gig for Larry Hama.

 

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In the meantime Hasbro representatives held court with with Hama, Jim Shooter, Tom DeFalco, Archie Goodwin, and Nelson Yomtov to hash out the direction of their new G.I. JOE concept. It was actually Archie Goodwin who came up with the concept of G.I. JOE’s number one nemesis..C.O.B.R.A.! Hasbro had not factored this enemy force into their original plans. It would be a meeting that Hasbro felt represented what they considered good for this new property and a partnership was born. G.I. JOE rested on the very capable shoulders of Larry Hama who would take great pride in making it work. Faced with the task of bringing character’s to life Hama jumped in and wrote elaborate profiles for each original Joe..much of which made it to the actual packaging of the action figures in the form of classified dossiers for each toy!

 

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Suddenly characters like Scarlett Clutch, Hawk and Stalker had detailed histories. These were not your generic army men..each Joe had personality! Clutch the VAMP driver from the toy line was a womanizing hotshot with a big mouth, Snake Eyes was a silent but violent Ninja with a deep history and a romantic interest in Scarlet. To add an extra layer Hama wrote Snake-Eyes physically unable to tell her his affections due to a war injury that left him speechless. Each one of these characters were something special and were far from generic.

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Hamas first 10 issues would be your classic one and done sort of issues with Herb Trimpe manning the pencil duties and making Joe jump off the pages! Issue one for example featured two short stories. Operation : Lady Doomsday was the official story-line debut of the new and innovative G.I. JOE team in the pages of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero Vol. 1 #1 in 1982. Some highlights of the first 10 issues were issue #2. As mentioned above the classic Joe’s Snake-Eyes, Scarlett, Stalker, and Breaker are sent to the North Pole on a recon mission where they meet  a special operative named Quinn who is having problems with the terrorist organization C.O.B.R.A.!!

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Issue four screamed to me on the shelves..one of my all time favorite G.I. JOE covers with a very simple group shot with Hawk in command leading the Joe’s into battle! This time the Joe’s REAL leader (Sorry DUKE fans) Hawk, along with Grunt (Who rarely ever appears in the pages of the book after this), and Snake-Eyes infiltrate a cult like military camp suspected of being funded by Cobras.

 

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We were introduced in GI JOE #6 and #7 to a radical concept of a Russian version of G.I. JOE..the Oktober Guard who begin as bad guys only to join the Joe’s against a common enemy ..C.O.B.R.A. With the political Superpower race in the early 80s this concept of a Russian Military group being portrayed in a positive light was controversial for its time. Hama was given the keys to the kingdom and he made the absolute best of his situation. In these issues Stalker leads the Joe’s ( Scarlett, Clutch, Steeler, Grand Slam, and Breaker )on a mission into Afghanistan where they get into a three-way firefight with Cobra and the Oktober Guard. The teams set aside their differences and work together  to stop C.O.B.R.A. from getting control over a Top Secret weapon of Mass Destruction!

 

By issue six Hama continued to pump out great characters as we got our first two-part story..we begin to establish early signs of continuity. Larry was a military man himself and had served in Vietnam. As a result many of the character names and traits were said to have been based on those whom he served with as a tribute! Hama didnt stop at the toy-lines, instead he developed his own set of characters that existed in the G.I. JOE Hamaverse as it was dubbed. We meet Kwinn the massive Eskimo who has no love for Cobra, We meet Dr. Venom(Seemingly The Precursor to Dr. Mindbender) the evil genius behind Cobras experiments and technology. Believe it or not Cobras own femme fatale The Baroness, was a creation of Hama and team and was one character of which Hasbro created an action figure based on the comic book character!! Hama was one of the pioneers of showcasing strong women characters not only on the G.I. JOE team but for the bad guys as well! This fact attested to the strong female readership the title boasted during its run!

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No issue showcased this like GI JOE #9 The Diplomat which showcased Scarlett chasing down a Cobra agent who threatens the lives of thousands as the clock ticks in a fast paced manhunt that shows the girls could go equally as hard as the guys.

As great as the first 10 issues of the book were they were just scratching the surface of what this book would be. At this point G.I.Joe was a certified smash on the newstand and Marvel had another huge hit!! This was no “Toy” book this was a real comic that fans were passionate for..one that would only get better as time went on!

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The Rise of C.O.B.R.A.

The book would carry many central themes that would play out till the books end. First was the rise and self-destruction of C.O.B.R.A.! The origins of Cobra Command and their mission lay in the beginnings of a down on his luck sales man in the town of Springfield. This man hell-bent on making money builds a pyramid scheme that would eventually move from a capital building project to a massive bid for world domination. The elusive Cobra Commander would start from nothing but using his salesmanship to rally a small band of individuals  into a Nazi like cult of industrial terrorists who would begin a war on U.S. soil. Many of Cobras early missions surrounded them trying desperately to arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction only to be turned away at every turn by the Joe’s.

 

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Cobra Commander would go on to build his inner circle with three main unsavory characters. Early on we would be introduced to a weapons manufacturing organization nicknamed M.A.R.S. ran by the silver masked renegade named Destro. Not far behind was the sexy but deadly Baroness the director of central intelligence for C.O.B.R.A. and Destro’s love interest. To fill out his upper brass came the chameleon like Zartan. A master of disguise able to change his identity to perfectly match those he chooses to impersonate. There would be many more added to the mix but these three usual suspects would assist the Commander in all his deadly plans.

The interesting thing about Cobra Command as a group would be the inner turmoil. It was a terrorist organization always on the verge of Civil War. The key players in the organization were never able to trust each other which lead to many interesting stories. Cobra Commander would always be leery of Destro and the fact that he was the provider of weapons to Cobra and thus yielded a lot of power and influence. The two would butt heads many times and like an old married couple they would break up and reunite many times. To make matters worse Baroness was romantically involved with Destro so Cobra Commander could never truly trust her either. It would be Zartan that often proved to be the glue that secretly kept C.O.B.R.A. together. Zartan was instrumental in allowing Cobra their greatest victories over G.I. JOE. He helped them by infiltrating the Joe’s very headquarters and stealing secret intel that would be key to C.O.B.R.A.s mission. The unique dynamic between the central players would prove to be one of Hamas most exciting tools in his tool box when writing C.O.B.R.A.

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The Snake Eyes /Storm Shadow Dynamic.

I cannot recommend G.I. JOE #21 enough. Its dubbed “The Silent Issue” and its a simple story of Snake-Eyes attempting to rescue a kidnapped Scarlett from the clutches of C.O.B.R.A. and Storm Shadow in a castle. Not one word outside of the Title of the story “Silent Interlude” exists in this story and it a master piece of story telling!! It also tells us that no words are needed as the writer has given you all you need to know about these characters and you are completely absorbed in this collection of silent panels. Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes were bona-fide stars in this book and their story is probably the most important one we see in the book!

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One of the most exciting things about G.I.JOE was Snake-Eyes. Clearly the most popular of all the Joe’s, the Silent Ninja Snake-Eyes would be written with high intrigue as his origin was a mystery that haunted readers during the early issues. Slowly Hama twisted the knife slowly revealing Snake-Eyes Story but not giving away the whole story. Snake-Eyes was a truly tragic character. Snake -Eyes would often run military missions with his close comrades Stalker and the man who would become C.O.B.R.A’s number one assassin..Storm Shadow!! A terrible accident would occur where Snake-Eyes would be horribly disfigured in a Helicopter accident on one tour of duty and left for dead. Ignoring orders Storm Shadow would come to his rescue and bring Snake-Eyes back to safety and out of the war zone. Snake-Eyes underwent serious facial reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to his face and heal his wounds of war but would never look normal again. To make matter worse upon his return home he was told that his parents were killed in a car accident leaving him with nothing.

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Snake-Eyes did not give up..in fact he accepts an offer to study the ninja arts with Storm Shadow’s family, the Arashikage Clan. Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow became brothers, battling for the attention the Hard Master. Snake Eyes was touted to take over the Arashikage clan in favor of Storm Shadow. Snake-Eyes turned down the offer noting the issues it would cause with his brother. It would be Zartan—on the direction Cobra Commander, who believed the Joe was responsible for the death of his brother—sent an order for the death of Snake-Eyes. Zartan using an arrow he stole from Storm Shadow mistakenly struck and killed the Hard Master. The Clan was officially dissolved and Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes would from that point on be blood enemies  as Storm Shadow was now believe responsible for the death of the Hard Master. Upon returning to America the Sword brothers would be recruited by opposite military factions, Snake Eyes became a Joe and Storm Shadow donning a White Ninja uniform would join C.O.B.R.A.s ranks and were now blood rivals. This was truly better than I can do justice to describing it. Their respect for each other never goes from the book and Hama takes advantage of that every time these two characters are on the page..Good friends…fierce enemies..this relationship is pure magic in this book!!

 

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Finally one of the most important themes in the book is The Revolving Door. The title essentially was still a “Toy Book”. The main focus of the book was a 24 page advertisement for the Hasbro Toy-line. Larry Hama did such a great job of writing it seemed the toy-line was based on the comic not vice versa! The reality was that Hasbro had to sell toys and as tastes changed the toys changed to meet the times. New characters, vehicles, play-sets all were developed that also had to appear at some point in the pages of the comic book for better or worse. As a result the cast often rotated. The Original 13 Joe’s that I loved so much did not make it 20 issues before they were replaced with new fresh Joe’s that Kids were buying on the Toy shelves. Main Stays like Snake-Eyes, Stalker, Scarlett and others remained but many were replaced…even their fearless leader Hawk.

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I remember some of the biggest changes such as when Duke officially took over leadership of the Joe’s over Hawk. The Rock and Roll’s and Breaker’s of the world were cashed in favor of fan favorites Road Block and Gung Ho. Steeler and Zap were replaced with Sgt. Slaughter and Shipwreck. Even Duke and Scarlett were put on the back burner for Flint and Lady Jaye. Every time however Hama made us invest in these newcomers and I loved them. The Aforementioned Duke to Flint switch was exceptionally tough for me to swallow. I had began to accept Duke as the Flagship Joe only to have Hasbro sneak Flint (Very temporarily) in that role…I didnt buy it. Sorry Flint..you suck..and your Lady Jaye too!

 

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C.O.B.R.A. was NOT Immune either. Replacements were all over the board. Storm Shadow was momentarily phased out for FireFly, Dr. Venom was killed off to be replaced with Dr. Mindbender. Even Cobra Commander at two separate times was unseated from Command of his own army. Once by Mindbender’s science project the very dumb Serpentor and was even once “Killed off ” and replaced by one of his own Crimson Guardsman Fred. Anyone remember the awful New Cobra Commander suit?

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Yikes. All in all the main cast were rotated back into the mix and the replacements took their rightful backseat. It would be the changes and rotations that would essentially begin the slow death of the title. As Hasbro began going off the deep end with new creations and variations on new characters the book began to feel less special and began to show signs of it being a “Toy Book”. C.O.B.R.A. brought in horrible characters like Boa (Cobras Boxer) , Croc Master (Cobra needed a Crocodile Handler apparently??) and the ultra stupid C.O.B.R.A Accountant,Raptor the teams very own Bird Man? Like every good project the G.I.Joe series suffered in this writers opinion due to a lack of creative direction on Hasbro’s design team who served Larry Hama a plate of crap to attempt to make a steak dinner but to no avail. The title of the book changed in its dying days in a last-minute hail mary to rejuvenate the title by having the book named after Snake- Eyes…and here it comes…Ninja Force!!!??

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Yes even Snake-Eyes who now led the title was saddle bagged with a neon  colored  Ninja team who simply fought neon colored foes in a spectacular heap of awfulness. As much as I hated it..the book I loved simply did not exist anymore. I kept buying though..no longer with the same vigor..if I missed an issue or two it was okay. Finally someone with good sense (Hama!!) stopped the Ninja Force experiment dead in its neon tracks…then it got WORSE. In a gimmick to save the book that s when Marvel went to the crossover well and Transformers appeared in a story arc with Snake-Eyes and the Joe’s teaming up with C.O.B.R.A. to cause havoc.

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I will give credit where credit is due..Hama attempted to go back to his roots with GI Joe in 145 with a return to many of the original team members but declining toy sales created desperation in new character development. Horrible concepts like GI JOE’s S.T.A.R. Brigadewere introduced…yes Joe’s special Space task force arrived sadly in the pages of the book. S.T.A.R. Brigade made Ninja Force seem like an Alan Moore project in comparison. The End was near…

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The End…

Then IT happened. Long before the days of the internet there was no good way accessible to me to read up on future happenings in titles..so as I picked up G.I. JOE number 155 off the newstand a wave of sadness hit me as the caption on the top of the cover yelled “This is it..The FINAL Issue of G.I.JOE A Real American Hero. I was on my way to a friend’s house on my bicycle and that day at “Butlers Grocetreria” I collected  the Final issue of G.I. Joe. The only time I had ever felt like this was at the cancellation of the Marvel Star Wars title in 1986. Part of my childhood was killed off and I knew at that moment I would never collect comics with the same passion again..which remained true for many years. The book was more to be that 24 pages of throwaway action it represented every ounce of joy I had discovering the comic, and the action figures as a kid. It was a memory of the sheer adrenaline rush I had when the original mini series debuted on TV…it was a huge cache of memories that I kept alive with that one comic!!

 

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I have a passion for the things I collected growing up but these particular comics gave me so many memories of what it meant to be a comic kid back then. Many kids these days wont have that same rush you get rotating that spinner rack and seeing that new issue of your favorite title for the first time and rushing home to see what great story was inside. Thank you to Larry Hama for making this simple Toy-line into a fond childhood memory. So as we head back into orbit I can’t help by throw my fist in the air alongside my comrades and yell a hearty “YO JOE”!!

 

Till Next time Heroes!!

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The mighty S.B.T.U. has returned and welcome back heroes to our sixth official event! For those new to Super-Blog Team Up, welcome to a blog experience like no other. For those faithful out there..a hearty WELCOME BACK!! As you all know the S.B.T.U. are a collective of like-minded comic book bloggers/podcaster’s who have come together to save blog readers from the boring abyss of the blogosphere. The team comes together quarterly to each take a turn putting our unique spin on a singular topic!

This time around its everyone’s favorite topic.. TOP TEN LISTS! Don’t worry there will be no bait clicking here.All lists will be contained within one page of each blog..no clicking each number of the list to get to number one!! Well enough formality…you are now on-board the Super-Hero Satellite. We ask that you strap in tight..this Satellite is equipped with the technology for time travel. Todays destination will be the 80s and in the offices of DC Comics! We present the Top Ten 1980s DC Comics that were cancelled before their time.

Begin Transmission: May 6th 2015

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10: Ambush Bug: Poor Irwin Shwab a down on his luck shlem. His friends Arg Yle The sock and Cheeks The Wonder Toy, were companions to Bug who was a man with a mental condition who thought he was a superhero. Irwin had the ability to teleport with a device inside a green insect like skin suit he found. Ambush Bug was an intentionally a comedic character who gathered quite a following in the mid 80s. He popped up in a number of titles and was the DC universes very own nuisance. After a one shot special and two mini series, Ambush Bug drifted into obscurity as fast as he entered the DCU. He would re-appear out of the blue several times more but the honeymoon was over. The comedic aspect of these books would not fit in with the new direction of DC today…however in the 80s..this was comic gold. Ambush Bug was not a case of cancellation but rather a case of what was not meant to be. After the strong reaction to his mini series, the Bug was primed for a solo series debut, however with shifts in creative at DC and changes in the comic book landscape..poor Ambush was simply shelved and not revisited. Ambush Bug remains a soft spot in my heart as it was on a trip as a kid to the “Big City” that I visited a local Comic Book Store and purchased my first Ambush Bug issue (Son Of Ambush Bug #1) along with an issue of the Direct Only Legion Of Super-Heroes #1 Baxter Series!! It was also on this day that I passed on a book that the comic store owner told me was great..Watchmen #1. Who wanted that right? Especially at cover price…Besides it had a stupid cover. Yikes..what was I thinking!! Hindsight my friends..

 

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9. Night Force: In 1982 the comics industry Horror market had, with all intents and purposes, died. Hits like Tomb Of Dracula had expired and interest in the genre had waned. So it came as a surprise when Marv Wolfman of New Teen Titans fame decided he wanted to do a new horror title which would be a hard sell to DC or any company at that time. Wolfman convinced DC and along with Horror master artist Gene Colan, they went to work on this new horror concept, Night Force. It was cool because it avoided going to the cliche well by not going with classic horror movie monsters (Like Dracula) and they created a new group of Horror characters. It centered around a sorcerer Baron Winters, who played the puppet master to a team of Supernatural Demon Hunters. They tracked the Supernatural in what ever place or time it existed. Winters could send his team back in time or where ever the threat may appear. The Night Force cast was not consistent (One of the knocks on the series) and the series rotated members in and out which always kept the book fresh. The high hopes that Wolfman preached did not add up to sales on the newsstand. The cancellation was based on early direct sales numbers which Wolfman contested. The Newsstand sales had come in much later, the book had actually performed pretty well. It was too late as the book was sentenced to its death. I compel you to find these issues in a back issue bin somewhere as these books were ahead of its time. It was brought back (sans Gene Colan ..which was the heart of the book IMO) twice, but the magic was not there. One cant help but think Night Force would make a great AMC or Netflix Series these days…you heard it here first kids!

 

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8. Vigilante: Screw the Punisher.In 1983, after the pending demise of Night Force, Marv Wolfman paired up with one of the  best artists in the industry, George Perez. Together they created a hard-hitting, very adult themed, violent book based loosely on a Golden Age western character of the same name. The Vigilante was an exercise in unevenness. Obviously inspired by Marvels Punisher, The Vigilante began his campaign of revenge following the murder of his family by a gang of Mobsters. Adrian Chase, was a successful District Attorney hell-bent on seeking vengeance for his family. The Vigilante was different in the sense that he didnt “Have it all together” sometimes his violence escalated into killing the innocent. He even gave up his identity for a period of time with two others taking up his mantel. When he made the call to return to the hood..the sad part was it was too late. *Spoilers* The Vigilante spiraled into a dark place and went on a killing spree that included bad guys, police, and whoever go in his way. Upon realizing his mistake he was taken over by overwhelming grief. The Vigilante took his own life which at the time was groundbreaking. This book was overlooked by many which is a shame as some writing credits went to Alan Moore and Paul Kupperberg. This was also one of the early Direct Market only books which many newsstand fans may have totally missed out on. If you like great writing..and you like the Punisher, then read the book that set the bar for violence in the 80s!

 

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7. Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew : I loved Harvey Comics and I loved Funny Animal Comics! DC was not exactly known for their kids books…but boy they went out and delivered one of the best one that was ever published. Like a Heavy Metal band writing an amazing ballad, DC swung for the fences making one of the first Super-Hero Funny Animal teams!! I grabbed every Captain Carrot book I could find with my allowance money of a very rich 20 bucks. (Thats was BIG money in the 80s as a kid people!!) The Zoo Crew was the funny animal version of the JLA..and this kid was hooked. You had Captain Carrot (Superman), FastBack (The Flash), Alley Cat Abra (Zatanna) Yankee Poodle (Captain America meets Wonder-Woman) Rubber Duck (Elongated man/Plastic man) and Of course the Metal Pig…PIG IRON (The Thing meets the Hulk!) Interestingly enough..the Zoo Crew as they were called, often crossed over with regular DC Cannon. Cap met with Superman several times and even battled Starro just like the original JLA!! Of course after a great start and hot sales, Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew became lost in the shuffle. The final nail was driven into the coffin of the era of the funny animal books. Cap of course would return in several cameos throughout the years but I am still looking forward to the day a full on Zoo Crew book is relaunched!! To Read more about the Zoo Crew, the Satellite has covered these crazy super animals in detail..check out this link!!

https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/super-blog-team-up-4-prequel-capes-and-carrots/

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 6. Manhunter: Anyone remember Marvels Secret Invasion? You know, its the one where The Skulls infiltrated The Marvel Universe and stole a number of heroes identities. No one could be trusted. They could be a Skrull!! Well anyone who collected comics back in the mid 80’s knows of a little DC Comics Crossover event known as Millennium. The Green Lantern’s old nemesis, The Manhunters, infiltrated the DC Universe long before any Skrull! Once again..No one could be trusted! Manhunter’s literally took the place of many people in the DC Universe. Well as successful as Marvels Secret Invasion series was..Millenium was equally unsuccessful. DC seemingly produced a great crossover until it went off the rails at the end as its conclusion. It was notorious for spawning a brand new Super Team..The New Guardians. Sounds great right! Guess what..they absolutely SUCKED. Anyways..On to this Manhunter Solo Series. This Manhunter was yet another public defender named Mark Shaw, who as well was disillusioned with the justice system who sought out a mysterious underground sect of crime fighters called the Manhunter’s. Historically the Manhunter’s were a group of crime fighting Androids who’s mantra was “No One Escapes The Manhunters” . Eventually the Manhunter androids would go too far in Shaw’s mind as they attemoted to take over the Guardians and destroy the DC Universe!  Shaw would escape their ranks and go on to don a Ninja influenced uniform and spent his time kicking ass. I will admit back in the 80s I was a fan of Ninjas..and while this book comes off as total **** today..in its time..in its place..I thought Manhunter’s were the coolest thing ever!!

 

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5. Blue Devil: When you collect comics one of the best thing about the hobby was trading! Cashing in a few of your undesirables for some brand new books that you wanted. One mans garbage is another man treasure…as was the case on this particular trade. While I cant remember what the book I traded, I fondly remember grabbing Blue Devil #2. Blue Devil was brand new to me at the time and just looked damn cool!! He was a muscled up Blue skinned, Big Horned…uhhh well Devil! He wore a big giant collared singlet and toted a super charged pitch fork. Well while it may sound terrible..Blue Devil was charming. The title didn’t take itself seriously and there was a lot of self parody. You better believe the rouges gallery were one for the ages. The Devil combated the likes of Shockwave, Godfrey Goose, Roadmaster, The Green Gargoyle and more. I always though the fact Blue Devil was never a member of  Keith Giffens Bwah Ha Ha version of the Justice League was a missed opportunity. I think DC mishandled his return to the New52 most recently, making him a dark Demon Hunter who killed off Demons with his Trident Of Lucifer!! I  cant help but think this book deserved better! In the right comedic hands this book could return or he would make a great accent to a team!! By The way…he was good enough to be on the Justice League Unlimited TV series so that has to stand for something…right??!!

 

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4. Hex: The Future was never the same when Jonah Hex was teleported from 1875 to the year 2050 with guns a blazin!! I may not be joined by many on this but, this was my all time favorite incarnation of Hex! From the gunslingin wild west to the post nuclear Mad Max inspired dark industrial future, Hex took on a Futuristic Batman, Giant metal Robots, a Chain Saw wielding crazy cyborg and even fought his own girlfriend Stiletta! The book lasted a mere 17 issues due to poor sales and a horrendous creative switch late in the series. Mark Texiera was the titles original artist and visually made the book look and feel cant miss!! However..Keith Giffen (Who has been mentioned several times in this article) at the time had adapted completely an abstract noir art style that literally put the fork in the title. It was THAT bad. While this series gets no love on the web..this reader would insist on the HEX title returning for one more run! Hey,there’s a new Mad Max movie coming out this year…its time for Hex to return back to good ole 2050!! I go into extreme detail on this title and more in one of my favorite Satellite posts “Hex Style”. https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/hex-style/

 

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3. Booster Gold: On what Earth did a slick talking, Super Jock Celebrity Thief, from the year 25th Century get cancelled? No justice I say! Booster Gold was originally portaryed as a disgraced character from the 25th Century who was caught cashing in on Football Games that he was playing and intentionally throwing for his own personal financial gain. Well one night as he was working his new blue-collar security job (After being fired from his career in disgrace!) in a Space Museum Micheal Jon Carter would steal everything he needed to get his life back! Lifting a slick magnetic Gold Power Suit…one Legion Flight Ring and even a Force Field belt..he was transformed into the Futures #1 Superhero Celebrity..whether they were ready for him or not! With his Robotic companion Skeet’s, and as well his Time Traveling buddies like DC’s father of Time, Rip Hunter, Booster was set for sure success upon his solo debut in 1986 . With Dan Jurgen’s at the helm Booster lasted a mere 25 issues and his last issue came out during the ill fated Millennium crossover. With these characters and creators on the books side, the character had unlimited potential.While Booster was highly positioned in big events several times over the years and even received his own book again, he can never seem to keep readers at the door. This is DC’s most underrated and misused character and Booster deserves better. Booster was given a lease on life after the cancellation when mastermind Keith Giffen (I am still mad at him for ruining Hex!!) used him for his infamous Bwah Ha Ha Justice League book where he became a comedic buddy cop team with…well he happens to be next..Its Blue Beetle!!

 

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2. Blue Beetle: Years ago companies like Charlton Comics were in an industry Turf war to stay relevant in the comics landscape of the 60s and 70s. Charlton had Marvels former number one artist Steve Ditko,fresh off his run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Ditko was famous in Charlton Editorial Offices for churning out book after book ,hoping something would stick..well one that didn’t interestingly enough but would be brought to life years later in the DC Universe was Ditkos Ted Kord..The Blue Beetle! No not that Jamie Reyes crap..Ted Kord damn it! Beetle debuted around the same time that DC was trying a bunch of new titles in 1986 for a minimal 24 issue run. Like the aforementioned Booster Gold, DC would have plans for Booster and Beetle in the new 1980s mega popular Justice League where they became the new dynamic duo of slapstick. Both characters were reborn in a new comedic light but did not receive their own team book at the time when they were white-hot which was a critical mistake. So much has happened to both characters that this book would not make sense to reunite them without the pre 52 history intact. There’s still hope DCs newest crossover Convergence can fix some of the lost magic!

 

Outsiders1

1. Batman and The Outsiders: Batman shouted “I’ve had ENOUGH of your two-bit JUSTICE LEAGUE…from now on these are my NEW PARTNERS!!” as he quit the JLA on the front cover of one of my favorite all time comic books….Batman and The Outsiders #1.

Batman and The Outsiders 1

I was a HUGE Batman fan as a kid. It’s all I wanted to do was role play the dynamic duos adventures with my best friends. Of course Batman was a key member of the Justice League as well and I loved that he was part of a bigger team. It always seemed that the Caped Crusader was held back in the JLA…so when I heard he was quitting and making his own team I couldn’t wait to see who this new team would be! In 1983 in a special insert edition within the pages of The Brave and The Bold the Outsiders debuted! The shape shifting Metamorpho, was joined by the electric cool Black Lightning, Sword wielding Katanna, the dreamy Halo, and earth shattering Geo-Force whom along with Batman himself made up this unconventional team of heroes. I loved them…they were not mainstream but they were my Super Group! After 32 issues Batman left the group and the characters went on their separate ways. The book was never the same… The Outsiders have been brought back to life several times in many failed efforts but Batman and the Original Outsiders never reformed. (Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 2 came close!!) It was one of the lost Gems of the original DC ..one I would love to be reborn in the New52 era. Get on it DC!!

End Transmission…

 

Well..thats all folks...I would love for those who agree or disagree with this list let me know what YOUR picks are below in the comments section. My list is just that..MY LIST..it is by no means meant to be a definitive list created from years of data and opinion. Maybe you like it…maybe you dont..but you have a right to be wrong..lol. Anyways..lets not stop there…as promised the team has loaded the deck with ton more of awesome Top Ten lists..but dont take my word for it…take it away team!!

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There are plenty more Top Ten Lists to go…Please Visit the REST of the Super-Blog Team Ups Family Of Blogs!!

 

1. Longbox Graveyard: Top 10 Super-Dogs – http://wp.me/p1yye7-2IH

2. The Unspoken Decade: Top 10 Avengers Moments – http://theunspokendecade.com/2015/05/04/sbtu-presents-top-10-biggest-avengers-moments-of-the-1990s/

3. In My Not So Humble Opinion: Top 10 Avengers Sketches – https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/top-ten-avengers-sketches/

4. Legion Of Super-Bloggers: Top 10 Who’s Who Legion Entries – http://legionofsuperbloggers.blogspot.com

5. The SuperHero Satellite: Top 10 DC Comics Titles That Ended Before Their Time- https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/super-blog-tea…ore-their-time/.

6. Flodo’s Page: Top 10 Green Lantern Ring-Slings …That Don’t Appear In Modern Continuity – http://flodospage.blogspot.ca/2015/05/top-10-green-lantern-ring-slings-that.html?spref=tw

7. Fantastiverse: Top 10 Avengers Greatest Super Battles – http://fantastiverse.com/ Coming Soon!

8. Mystery V-Log: Top 10 Avengers Covers – youtu.be/6cX1THVk3-k NEW!!

9. Idol Head Of Diablou: Top 10 Most Important Martian Manhunter Villains – http://idol-head.blogspot.com/2015/05/podcast-top-10-most-important-martian.html

10. Marvel Superheroes Podcast: The Top 10 Avengers (An Age of Ultron Tie-In)

http://marvelshp.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-top-10-avengers-age-of-ultron-tie-in.html

11. Chasing Amazing: Top 10 Favorite Moments Of The “Chase” – http://www.chasingamazingblog.com/2015/05/06/super-blog-team-up-top-10-moments-of-chasing-amazings-chase/

12. Between The Pages: Top 10 Wackiest DC Comics Covers –

http://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2015/05/top-10-wackiest-dc-comics-covers.html

13. Bronze Age Babies: The Top 10 Bronze Age Characters (x2!) – http://bronzeagebabies.blogspot.com/2015/05/super-blog-team-up-top-10-bronze-age.html

14. Too Dangerous For A Girl!: Ten Best Super-Heroic Hairstyles –

http://dangermart.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/super-blog-team-up-top-ten-worst-heroic.html

15. Vic Sage Via The Retroist: TBD – Top Ten Comic Character Deaths

http://www.retroist.com/2015/05/06/super-blog-team-up-6-top-tens/

16. I’m The Gun: The 10 Best All-Star Squadron Covers!

http://imthegun.blogspot.ca/2015/05/super-blog-team-up-10-great-all-star.html

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spaceages satellite

 

Welcome back Heroes. Today we are gathered in the Satellite briefing room for information regarding our next mission into days gone by. One of the small joys of being a kid in the 80s for me was getting to spend as much time as I wanted at a comic book spinner rack! I would love walking to the store with my hefty 20 dollar allowance and blowing every cent on a fat bag of comics, which, in my buying prime, were 65-75 cents each!! So I came out with everything I wanted. I hit Pharmacies, Drug Stores,  Grocery Stores and the occasional comic book store / Kiosk in my hunt of comic book treasures! One thing that always heightened that experience were Team – Up Issues! Marvel Team Up and Marvel 2 in 1 saw Spider-Man and The Thing team up with almost every famous Marvel hero at the time.  The thrill of seeing Spider-Man team with Captain Britain, Or The Thing and The Hulk were a fan boys wet dream!!I was a DC guy mainly in the 80s so while Spider Man and The Thing were teaming with Marvels best I was loving DCs versions of Team Ups. Batman and SuperMan were the Worlds Finest. DC marched their two biggest heavy hitters to team up with every major DC character in two classic titles created to explore the team dynamic!! DC Comics Presents featured Superman teamed with everyone but the kitchen sink. Brave and the Bold Teamed Bat-Man with everyone you could name INCLUDING the kitchen sink. DC reached for everyone you could think of from a team up such as A-Listers like Green Lantern to Z-Listers like Ambush Bug. Just when you thought there was no one else for The Man Of Steel To Team-Up with then came…THIS!!

 

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Begin Transmission: Aug.11.2014

That’s right…Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew. First some context is needed here. The era was the 1980s, DC had yet to streamline its massive continuity with its Crisis Event hence there was still room for `Funny Animal characters in its history..such as Captain Carrot and The Zoo Crew. Funny Animal comic books and newspaper strips had pretty much been a staple of the 50s and 60s but only small traces of those days in comics history still lingered in the comics medium of the early 1980s. Saturday Morning cartoons had retained a certain element of the talking funny animals on TV. Scooby Doo was a runaway hit, There were the Muppets, there was Mighty Mouse, and there were Disney’s Mickey and Friends. Harvey Comics still in its final days of publishing continued on the trend of funny animals books. DC not being one to buck a trend followed suit with what would be their final attempt at a Funny Animal book. Even the term “Funny Animal Book” carried a negative connotation even in the free for all early 80s. One of Comicdoms Godfathers, Roy Thomas along with Scott Shaw created The Captain and His Zoo Crew and Unleashed them onto the world in a special 16 page insert preview (Or Prevue as DC coined it!) inside the pages of the very popular Team Book New Teen Titans #16 in Feb. of 1982!

 

New Teen Titans 016-00fc

 

DC was experimenting with new titles at the time and were introducing new characters and concepts in various titles with 16 page previews wedged in the middle of their more high-profile books to provide maximum visibility to new properties! Such classic titles like Dial H For Hero, Arak Son Of Thunder, Night Force, Atari Force, Masters Of The Universe, Mask, Blue Devil, Amethyst, Flash Force 2000?? (Huh?), and Bat-Man and The Outsiders. (Damnit..thats when comics were comics..sigh..) Of course the most unusual title in the mix was Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew!

Carrot PreviewI choose to talk about Captain Carrot because this book was an absolute favorite of mine. I loved parody comics. I frequently bought magazines like MAD Magazine and Cracked and loved that style of humor..just the style Cap and his Gang were projecting! There was a local Hardware store in my hometown called Handy Andy’s that carried comics on its magazine rack and didn’t update them frequently or rotate them so it was quite common for several issues of a title would stay on the shelf en mass. Their lack of rotation landed me Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #5-#8. I was hooked! I loved DC Comics Team Books so titles Like Legion Of SuperHeroes and of course The Justice League Of America of which Captain Carrot and his crew were inspired by! On to the team and their inspirations..Captain Carrot was “Inspired” by SuperMan, Pig-Iron by Frankenstein,and The Thing, Yankee Poodle was a combination of Captain America and Wonder Woman. Rubber Duck was clearly Plastic Man. Alley Kat Abra was Zatanna, and FastBack was The Flash. The Zoo Crew Were an anthropomorphic JLA!! (Yes for the Zoo Crew aficionados there were another group of JLA Animal Heroes in the Captain Carrot Universe called Justa Lotta Animals…J.L.A…get it? More on them later!)

 

 

As discussed, the concept behind the DC Prevue inserts was to introduce the characters to a captive audience on popular books. No bigger book in that day than New Teen Titans. DC went the extra mile with The Zoo Crew however by pairing them directly with The Man Of Steel. Yes the first appearance of Captain Carrot and his Zoo Crew were in a Team Up Story!! How and why did such an event happen? Well..I am glad you asked..synopsis time!

Metropolis was experiencing an epidemic where citizens were acting like primates for no apparent reason. Superman deduced that it was the planet Pluto of which was emitting energy rays causing said effect on the people of earth. Upon investigating  the incident Superman is transported to an alternate earth know as Earth-C!!  (After Crisis it is determined that Earth -C is not a part of the Multiverse but rather a Alternate Dimension! Great backdoor DC!) Superman encountered a number of Animal inhabitants who as a result of being struck by radiated fragmented meteor! The creation of these beings were all as a result of Superman’s efforts..so in actuality it is Superman himself that is responsible for the genesis of The Cap and his entire altered animal world! After dispatching some low-level Animal criminals Superman teams with Rodney Roger Rabbit..(Copyright Check!!) aka Captain Carrot! Hell don’t let me tell ya all about it..Satellite..bring up Comic Archive..GENERATE. Now Heroes ..Enjoy!

Carrot Preview pg1 Carrot Preview Pg2

 

Carrot Preview Pg3 Carrot Preview pg4

Carrot Preview pg5 Carrot Preview  pg7Carrot Preview pg8Carrot Preview pg11 Carrot Preview pg12 Carrot Preview pg13 Carrot Preview pg14 Carrot Preview pg15 Carrot Preview pg 16

 

The result of this initial team up was almost a two year run for a “Funny Animal” book and in March 1982 Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew #1 hit the stands! It was an instant hit with my circle of fans! The very end of the prevue DC introduced the Zoo Crew as all over the world Animals were being infected with super powers as a result of this mysterious Meteorite fragments! The Superman team -Up continued into the very first issue of Cap and The Zoo Crew! Superman and the team discover the sinister mastermind behind all these strange occurrences…JLA heavy..STARRO!! Starro for those who have no idea what I am talking about was a giant galactically intelligent Star Fish hell bent on de-evolutionizing  the human race! Of course the first villain of the zoo crew would be DCs Galactic Star Fish! Very appropriate! The team fought valiantly to defeat Starro but it wasnt until the team came together as a fighting unit!

 

After dispatching the giant fish Superman and the Zoo Crew thanked each other and the Man of Steel returned to his own dimension and the Zoo Crew became the official protectors of Earth – C! DC had the most unusual Super Team in the world with the Zoo Crew and I was hooked. I regret not getting every issue in the series but my unreliable comic shops did not carry every title so Carrot was one that didnt get great representation on the shelves! The issues I did have left a mark on me and I can proudly remember buying each issue! This could easily be the next great DC Cartoon series!! You listening DC…Zoo Crew in 2015..Get On it!!

 

 

 

 

In summary DCès attempt to use the Man Of Steel as a pole vault technique to launch a new series in the 80s was a recipe for success. Carrot lasted 20 issues and even returned for another mini series (The 3 issue Oz – Wonderland War!) shortly after cancellation.The Mini series alas was not my favorite Captain Carrot Story and I cannot in good faith recommend it to Satellite Readers. The Story centers on a villain called The Nome King who enslaves the world of OZ. It is up to the Zoo Crew to assist the storied land. Not satisfied with his conquest of OZ The Nome King then attempts to overthrow Wonderland..what ensues is an all out classic fairy tale cross over that should be a good read but does not work well in the context of a Captain Carrot comic. On a POSITIVE, THE ARTWORK INSIDE THIS 3 ISSUE DOUBLE SIZED MINI SERIES IS EXCELLENT!!

 

This was a special time. DC had a less serious approach to its continuity and embraced its silly past, and Superman or Batman could literally team with anyone! These days however such continuity has been all but erased however we know Captain Carrot still exists even in the NEW 52 as he was brought back in the ill-fated Threshold series as the space rabbit Captain K’Rot! It’s not my Cap but at least the leader of the Zoo Crew is still alive and well in some fashion.

 

 

 

So before we depart to other ends of the galaxy in search of retro 80s transmissions I just want to talk Zoo Crew one more time!! Who was your favorite? I was strictly an original Zoo Crew fan. Sorry Little Cheese and American Eagle but this guy keeps it old school! Sporting The Yellow and Red with a Carrot Emblazoned on the front of his suit Captain Carrot was the undisputed leader of the Zoo Crew!

 

Of Course The Captain may have been my favorite but I could not but hold a special place for the two-fisted ever loving Pig Iron! Cap was a comic book artist something I always wanted to be, but Pig Iron simply put bad guys on their asses!! Pig Iron was the reason I bought Zoo crew in the beginning! Look at a cover gallery of the best Zoo Crew issues and Pig Iron is always front and center! Frankenstein meets the Thing and BAM..Its Pig Iron!

No team is complete with out the magician character! Always wondered what a NEW 52 Zoo Crew Dark would be like? Hey DC its worth a shot! Alley-Kat-Abra would be a shoe in for that group! Doctor Strange meets his cat, meets Zatanna. Alley -Kat is a foundation member! As many of you know I am not a huge fan of the mystic arts in comics so Alley Kat was never on the top of my list for favorite Zoo Crew members but a lot of her inter-dimensional magic was heavily lifted from the great Steve Ditko run on Doctor Strange..and thats pretty damn cool.

I was always a Plastic Man fan, Rubber Duck filled the gap. Part Elongated man, Part Plastic man RubberDuck maintained the humor of Plastic man while bearing the sensibilities of old Ralph! Rubber Duck is the only member of the team who is a celebrity! His list of Funny Animal movies is great! His character is actually based on 70s and 80s celebrity Burt Reynolds. They even gave RubberDuck a celebrity buddy named after Reynolds real life best friend Dom Deluise! Thats attention to detail!

 

Fastback has probably my favorite look of all the Zoo crew even though he is underutilized in the comic. The more I think of it, if Flash inadvertently caused Flashpoint to create the goddamn horrible DC New 52 maybe Fastback is our only hope to reverse that mess! He is also the only Turtle who is just as cool or maybe far cooler than a certain group of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

 

 

Then there’s Yankee Poodle, based on 80s gossip writer  Rona Barrett , dimension’s Cs Rova Barkitt! After the incident with the meteor Barkitt gain the powers of magnetism and joined RubberDuck as he joined the Zoo Crew. Wonder Woman meets Captain America and you have Yankee Poodle. This character was more than filler but was also an antagonist for the other female character in the group Alley-Kat Abra!!

 

END TRANSMISSION..

 

 

 

WARNING HEROES…we are encountering a distress signal from the rest of The SUPER-BLOG TEAM UP gang…we need to immediately change course…For ETERNIA..Home of THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE...

 

SUPER-HERO SATELLITE and The All New..All Powerful SBTU returns for the next big Crossover Event on September 24 2014. Join the team for Team-Up Tear Down where, like the transmission post above we all jump into to explore the best, most unusual and peculiar Team Ups in Comics History,..This is one you Do NOT want to miss..

 

If you liked this post then by all means let us here at the Satellite know by leaving a comment. Maybe even follow me on Twitter @Charlton_Hero and join the Conversations at #SuperHeroSatellite and #SuperBlogTeamUp or #SBTU

 

Please Visit our Super Blog Team Up Hub Page for all previous editions of the Mighty Marching SBTU!! Click here!!  SUPER-BLOG TEAM UP HUB PAGE.

 

 

SBTU4 Teaser

 

aSuperherosatellite header

 

Super excited heroes to have you all on the command deck on this day. We are about to get briefed on one of the biggest recorded alien invasions the cartoon world has ever seen…but dont worry..today we have the technology! Robotechnology! (That’s your hint!!)

 

 

Begin Transmission: April 1 /2014

 

It was 5:00 p on a weekday 1980 something and I was enjoying my regular after school cartoon block on Canada’s Atlantic Satellite Network (ASN) waiting patiently for one of my afternoon favorite cartoons, BraveStarr to begin in its regular time slot. To my surprise another show was beginning on this particular day a show I would grow to love. The animation was different it was not your typical Hanna Barbera fare rather it looked a little like Battle Of The Planets, or Astro Boy..the only real Anime that I had given any of my time to in the past. Regardless I watched on. The theme music was pretty cool but I still missed BraveStarr. The main character was Rick Hunter a cocky young pilot with crazy huge hair who seemed badly dubbed in english. However it had a charm to it. It connected from episode one. By the time Rick stumbled into his giant transforming Veritech I was along for the ride. The show was known as Robotech.  Anime enthusiasts know it better as Macross..but this post is not about Macross..its about the english dubbed chopped and spliced space opera epic that I love passionately..My Robotech..more specifically my favorite of all generations ..The Macross Saga!

 

 

Made in America from three unrelated anime. The first part tells of humanity\’s first contact that ends in a war. Rick Hunter is a pilot who gets dragged along with the SDF-1 and joins with them to stop the invaders. Lyn Minmei is a singer who Rick rescues and falls for. Together they try to save the Earth and end the war without fighting, but with love. The second part deals with children of the first, the rebuilding complete; we send the SDF-3 to attack the masters. While it travels out in hyperspace to their worlds, the masters crawl into our solar system. The Earth must fight a devesting second war for a secret prize. Someone else wants the prize, the Invid. The third part gives us a world controlled by the Invid. The SDF-3 sends a probing force that is destroyed upon exiting hyperspace. A single survivor remains, a man taught to fight, with the will to free Earth. He forms a resistance with the goal of destroying the Invid hive at Reflux Point, aka New York. – See more at: http://www.waoanime.tv/anime/robotech/#sthash.AGaAjRF6.dpuf
ade in America from three unrelated anime. The first part tells of humanity\’s first contact that ends in a war. Rick Hunter is a pilot who gets dragged along with the SDF-1 and joins with them to stop the invaders. Lyn Minmei is a singer who Rick rescues and falls for. Together they try to save the Earth and end the war without fighting, but with love. The second part deals with children of the first, the rebuilding complete; we send the SDF-3 to attack the masters. While it travels out in hyperspace to their worlds, the masters crawl into our solar system. The Earth must fight a devesting second war for a secret prize. Someone else wants the prize, the Invid. The third part gives us a world controlled by the Invid. The SDF-3 sends a probing force that is destroyed upon exiting hyperspace. A single survivor remains, a man taught to fight, with the will to free Earth. He forms a resistance with the goal of destroying the Invid hive at Reflux Point, aka New York. – See more at: http://www.waoanime.tv/anime/robotech/#sthash.AGaAjRF6.dpuf
Made in America from three unrelated anime. The first part tells of humanity\’s first contact that ends in a war. Rick Hunter is a pilot who gets dragged along with the SDF-1 and joins with them to stop the invaders. Lyn Minmei is a singer who Rick rescues and falls for. Together they try to save the Earth and end the war without fighting, but with love. The second part deals with children of the first, the rebuilding complete; we send the SDF-3 to attack the masters. While it travels out in hyperspace to their worlds, the masters crawl into our solar system. The Earth must fight a devesting second war for a secret prize. Someone else wants the prize, the Invid. The third part gives us a world controlled by the Invid. The SDF-3 sends a probing force that is destroyed upon exiting hyperspace. A single survivor remains, a man taught to fight, with the will to free Earth. He forms a resistance with the goal of destroying the Invid hive at Reflux Point, aka New York. – See more at: http://www.waoanime.tv/anime/robotech/#sthash.AGaAjRF6.dpuf

Robotech was a show created by Carl Machek and had an extensive run of 85 episodes. Produced by Harmony Gold USA it began its North American run in 1985. Our Americanized version of Robotech was more or less a mish-mash of three completely unrelated Japanese Television Series: Macross,  Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA.

Made in America from three unrelated anime. The first part tells of humanity\’s first contact that ends in a war. Rick Hunter is a pilot who gets dragged along with the SDF-1 and joins with them to stop the invaders. Lyn Minmei is a singer who Rick rescues and falls for. Together they try to save the Earth and end the war without fighting, but with love. The second part deals with children of the first, the rebuilding complete; we send the SDF-3 to attack the masters. While it travels out in hyperspace to their worlds, the masters crawl into our solar system. The Earth must fight a devesting second war for a secret prize. Someone else wants the prize, the Invid. The third part gives us a world controlled by the Invid. The SDF-3 sends a probing force that is destroyed upon exiting hyperspace. A single survivor remains, a man taught to fight, with the will to free Earth. He forms a resistance with the goal of destroying the Invid hive at Reflux Point, aka New York. – See more at: http://www.waoanime.tv/anime/robotech/#sthash.AGaAjRF6.dpuf

I knew these three series as :

The Macross Saga

Robotech: The Macross Saga by far the favorite of all of my Weekday afternoon favorites in the mid 80s! This chapter tells the story of a group of humans and their trials and tribulations, loves and losses in the face of ultimate destruction against a race of aliens known as The Zentradi!

The Macross Saga part tells of humanity's first contact that ends in a war. Rick Hunter is a pilot who gets dragged along with the SDF-1 and joins
with them to stop the invaders. Lynn Minmei is a singer who Rick rescues and falls for. He is destined however not to be with MinMei but with Lisa Hayes. A love triangle, mixed with full on 
intergalactic war.Together they try to save the Earth and end the war without fighting, but with love. 

Southern Cross: The Robotech Masters.

 

The original war is over and the fight continues as the daughter of Max and Myria , Dana Sterling and her group of Southern Cross Calvary members to defend against the coming of The Robotech Masters who’s plot is to harvest the world of the Flower of Life that produces protoculture that essentially drives Robotechnology! Sets the table for the final chapter The New Generation! Masters, In my opinion the worst of the three but still has a great ending and the last several episodes of this series are must watch for any Robotech fan!!

 

Mospeada:Robotech  The New Generation

3rd Gen did not let us down and made up for the lull in Southern Cross Masters series with an all out War! Amazing Series!! Scott Bernard and team dodge incredible odds as the Invid race invade earth in search of the same thing The Masters had attempted to achieve in The Masters series. High drama and intense battles..I was big into this series but had to wait a long time to see how it wrapped up!! More on that later!!

The Earth must fight a devastating second war for a secret prize. Someone else wants the prize, the Invid. The New generation gives us a world controlled by the Invid. The SDF-3 sends a probing 
force that is destroyed upon exiting hyperspace. A single survivor remains, Scott Bernard who is  taught to fight, with the will to free Earth. He forms a resistance with the goal of 
destroying the Invid hive at Reflux Point, aka New York.

 

Before you jump in just watch the entire series here!! prerequisite to reading this post!! See ya 85 episodes from now..click on the following link! http://www.waoanime.tv/anime/robotech/

You are back? See I told you how good that show was..on to the post!

 

 

Made in America from three unrelated anime. The first part tells of humanity\’s first contact that ends in a war. Rick Hunter is a pilot who gets dragged along with the SDF-1 and joins with them to stop the invaders. Lyn Minmei is a singer who Rick rescues and falls for. Together they try to save the Earth and end the war without fighting, but with love. The second part deals with children of the first, the rebuilding complete; we send the SDF-3 to attack the masters. While it travels out in hyperspace to their worlds, the masters crawl into our solar system. The Earth must fight a devesting second war for a secret prize. Someone else wants the prize, the Invid. The third part gives us a world controlled by the Invid. The SDF-3 sends a probing force that is destroyed upon exiting hyperspace. A single survivor remains, a man taught to fight, with the will to free Earth. He forms a resistance with the goal of destroying the Invid hive at Reflux Point, aka New York. – See more at: http://www.waoanime.tv/anime/robotech/#sthash.gnHVE95V.dpuf

The Macross Saga was definitely my favorite of the bunch. Macross told the story of the Earths battle against an Alien Race known as the Zentradi. It is much more than a simple transforming robot show. Its the  story of Rick Hunter and his journey from being a side-show carnival pilot to become the best most revered space captain in the universe. His love triangle with Lynn MinMei and Lisa Hayes was true space soap opera material and was genuinely fully realized Their relationships were more complex and to my teenage eyes were very realistic.

ade in America from three unrelated anime. The first part tells of humanity\’s first contact that ends in a war. Rick Hunter is a pilot who gets dragged along with the SDF-1 and joins with them to stop the invaders. Lyn Minmei is a singer who Rick rescues and falls for. Together they try to save the Earth and end the war without fighting, but with love. The second part deals with children of the first, the rebuilding complete; we send the SDF-3 to attack the masters. While it travels out in hyperspace to their worlds, the masters crawl into our solar system. The Earth must fight a devesting second war for a secret prize. Someone else wants the prize, the Invid. The third part gives us a world controlled by the Invid. The SDF-3 sends a probing force that is destroyed upon exiting hyperspace. A single survivor remains, a man taught to fight, with the will to free Earth. He forms a resistance with the goal of destroying the Invid hive at Reflux Point, aka New York. – See more at: http://www.waoanime.tv/anime/robotech/#sthash.AGaAjRF6.dpuf

 

Robotech is very much the story of Rick Hunter and how he lives, loses and loves in the face of the all out threat of human annihilation! Ricks journey from being love struck with the celebrity that was Lynn MinMei , to finally realizing that his heart belonged to Lisa Hayes the entire time is an incredible piece of story writing. It is the very centerpiece to the show as spoiled and rich musical superstar Lynn MinMei whom Rick had known from her early days as a young immature girl to the biggest pop star in the world. Minmei  distances herself from Rick once famous.

 

 

Rick however longs for her affection ad meets with disappointment at every turn. The Rick / Lisa storyline is the best in the show and is actually the underlying theme consistent throughout the series. Rick a cocky sure shot pilot who is immature in his own way crosses paths with the daughter of war commander and primary leader of the command deck of the SDF-1. Hayes, is Ricks superior is at first reviled by Ricks immaturity and defiance of orders but somehow begins to develop feelings for him. Both from different places in life somehow find each other in the face of all out world / galactic warfare and go on to be the couple who would one day stop the war.

 

 

rick-hunter

The supporting cast of Roy Fokker, Max Sterling and Ben Dixon made up Ricks cast of fellow Robotech Defenders, the infamous Skull Squadron. In the episode “Farewell Big Brother” Ricks little brother /big brother relationship with Roy Fokker in particular was very well presented and when Roy meets his eventual fate its one of the few times a cartoon hooked so realistically it drew tears. No joke. I am man enough to admit it!

Roys Death

 

The journey of Rick from boy to adult is fully explored as he is hardened by war and becomes a leader to mankind. In one of the best episodes of the show is “Rainy day”. It’s an episode short on Robotic warfare and space adventure rather this episode centers around a simple conversation between Lisa Hayes and her Co-worker and friend Claudia Grant who is suffering the loss of her man Roy Fokker. It is a heart-felt episode that fully develops the supporting cast and strengthens the main romance story line between Rick and Lisa as Claudia challenges Lisa to take down her walls around Rick and finally let him in her life. Amazing 10/10 episode and potentially one of the best of the series!!

The story of Rick and Lisa was a journey the viewers of Robotech got to enjoy episode by episode!

 

Max Sterling was actually Ricks superior in regards to piloting an aircraft. Sterling is the blue haired ace pilot who falls in love with a female Zentradi warrior named Mirya. She is sent by the Zentradi to infiltrate the humans colonized aboard the SDF-1 and learn their secrets. What she finds is an emotion she did not know she had..love. In one of the better episodes entitled “Showdown” Max and the gang are visiting an arcade on board of the SDF-1 when Max sees Mirya who he instantly is entranced with. Max ends up going head to head with Myria in a game resembling actual war flight simulator. Max beats her to the shock of all present and to the sheer humiliation of the Zentradi warrior. However they eventually see eye to eye and fall for each other and even have a child that would be important to the next arc of Robotech..The Masters. Dana Sterling is born the daughter of Max and Mirya and represents the first-born half human and half Zentradi.

Humans meet Zentradi..Max and Myria the first inter race couple on Macross!

The antagonists of the show are the race of mega giant aliens are the Zentradi who race to gain possession of Robotech technology. Led by the hand of Lord Dolza, Bretai Kyrhon, and Exedor wreak havoc on Earth and the human race with a massive full-scale invasion that leaves the earth in ruins and a unimaginable body count. These were not your typical Saturday Morning Cartoon bad guys that were easily subdued with a spiderweb or a batarang, The Zentradi were vicious and unrelenting in their attack. It was  one of the first shows where characters actually died. Many of Ricks friends do not make to the end of the series as the Zentradi leave their mark on our heroes.

 

 

The Zentradi were unique in that they had no idea what to make of human emotions, music and actually feared it! Some stories involved the Zentradi soldiers actually defecting to the human side after being micronized to explore the novelty of music and love. These bad guys were fully developed and quirky unlike cookie cutter villains of the day. Watch one of the final episodes of the series as Kyrhon does a suicide run on the SDF-1 something never seen in American cartoons of the day! These villains were extreme and thus the conflict in the series always felt real. You felt legit fear your favorite characters would be killed off!

 

The ending of the series wraps up the love story of Rick and Lisa while leaving no question of who wins the war between the Zentradi’s and The Human Race. The episode “To The Stars” ties up all loose ends as the war ends and as does Rick and MinMei’s relationship as Rick and Lisa finally get together. A great scene at the end of the show when Lynn MinMei sees that Rick and Lisa are meant for each other is a very well conceived conclusion to this chapter of the series and sets up the next coming two generations of Robotech.

In a blip on the Robotech radar it is important to bring up the obscure Robotech The movie: The Untold Story. Seen by some American Robotech fans as NOT being considered cannon but this thing did exist and did relate directly to the Macross Saga hence its inclusion. I , while being a die hard fan have watched this only once and that is quite enough for me. It deals with Rick Hunters relative Mark Landry, who uncovers the government cover up about The SDF-1 s computer that is being hunted down by the Robotech Masters. The Movie itself is a collage of Masters footage and another unrelated series Mega Zone 23. The movies original test run was disastrous as promotion was almost non-existent and it faced the release of Transformers :The Movie. The fact that production struggles disallowed the production team to use any tangible connection to the Macross Saga but only the Masters series. As a result this landed with a thud in theaters and lasted only several weeks in total. It is not available on DVD or Blu ray as the original negatives for this movie were washed out in a flood in the early 90s. But for those wondering about it..for what its worth..here it is for your viewing displeasure.

 

Robotech: The Untold Story *CLICK HERE TO WATCH*

 

Classic love triangle Rick, Lisa and MinMei!

 

One of my favorite Christmas memories was getting my set of Robotech action figures and vehicles. Sears published a Christmas catalog every year and the “Wish Book” as it was known was the BIBLE of a child’s X-mas wish list. This particular year they featured Robotech toys for the first and only time!! Also comic book ads pumped these toys hard as well..I had no choice..I HAD to have em!

 

Robotech The Toys.

Matchbox Released figures for all three generations of Robotech figures and they were great!

 

They were in the line of 3.75 inches  in height and went very well when combining them with my collection of G.I. Joe and Star Wars. I hit pay dirt on Xmas 1985/86 with a fine load of Robotech figures. I was the recipient of Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes, Roy FoKker, Max Sterling, Zentradi Soldier, Bioroid Warrior , Zor Prime, Scott Bernard, and many many more!!

 

The crown Jewel of my collection!! Rick Hunter was always my favorite Robotech character and figure!

Lisa Hayes! This figure was spoiled due to the fact that they could not emulate Lisa’s long hair as you can see on the box. The toy Lisa comes with very short cut off hair and translates into a bad-looking figure!

Ricks best friend and mentor Roy Fokker! Second favorite figure of the series!! Great rendition of Roy but once again comes up short with hair!

Max Sterling gets points for the best likeness on a figure. Max’s cool blue hair makes this figure!

The most played with toy in my Robotech collection! Scott Bernard! The figure with helmet on looks amazing..but sans helmet I am not sure who they were even looking at when making this figure. This is the furthest away from the characters basic look of them all.

 

Zor Prime..my ONLY Robotech masters figure..and I am okay with that! Kinda liked Zor though. He was a savior for the show and the Southern Cross Action figure line!

 

 

The Zentradi, These were supposed to be giant-sized figures but obviously were not made that was and were rather only 2.3 inches taller than their human counter parts. Great toys though! Tie for fave villain!

 

The toys shown above showcasing the vehicles  were released by Matchbox in 1985, there were a number of variants released later by Harmony Gold themselves of which I purchased several years later scoring a great Myria and alternate Max Sterling! The SDF-1 Playset was only released under the Matchbox line in the 80s and could be used with both the 3 3/4 and 6 inch figures.

The Elusive SDF-1 Playset!! Anyone want to send me this one free? Feel free!

 

I was not fortunate enough to grab this set as it was unavailable at the time of the order! This collection was delivered en mass on Xmas day and I had more than an inkling I was getting these toys as many evenings when my parents did their thing, I snuck into the guest bedroom in my house and sneaked a peak at my incoming toy grab for Xmas! I didn’t expect so many in one haul but I was a lucky boy on this mid 80s X-Mas!

 

Coolest toy Motorcycle out there! The New Generation Toys were amazing and I had this Armored Cyclone Cycle and have it to this day!! AWESOME!

Though my loyalty lies deep with The Macross saga, I had a passion for Robotech: The New Generation as well!! Scott Bernard and Company battling an Invid Invasion was must watch TV! It didnt matter what was on my plate, friends be damned, I would drop everything to rush home to catch Robotech every weekday!! I was a SuperFan and didn’t miss a show! In a weird turn of events good old afore-mentioned ASN loved to show the episodes in succession and in full chronological sequence but always during the late episodes of New Generation ASN would restart the entire series. So I watched the entire thing again to see if they messed up and sure enough it would cut off at the same point! I actually had no Idea what happened in the last few episodes of the series..never the less I would be victorious in my pursuit of finishing this series!! More on this later!!

More New Gen Toys!! This Invid Trooper was amazing!!

 

The Dud of the collection!! The Bioroid hover craft was very difficult to hold a figure on its base as a result a bit of a crappy toy!

 

In an interseting side note Matchbox were unable to sell the 1/55 VF-1 Valkyrie toy originally sold in Japan by Takatoku Toys due to Hasbro leasing the property as the Autobot Transformer named  Jetfire as part the Transformers toy line. Because of this, they had to  settle with distributing a non-transformable Veritech Fighter that could fit the line of the 3 3/4 inch action figures.

The Coup Des Gras of Robotech toys and I never owned it! Boo this man!

 

Toys were only part of my Robotech collection. AS STATED earlier I had yet to complete my viewing of the 3rd Robotech Generation and it haunted me. Well, as I graduated from High school years later in 1992 I did not let go of my search! Attending University brought me to the big City in our Province which meant tons of comic shops and places to search! After wandering downtown on one fateful after noon I stumbled into an old Video store named Alan’s Video which housed a cornucopia of VHS tapes..among them  Robotech Macross Saga video tapes that encapsulated the entire series!!

The big three. A bombshell discovery during my University years deep in the bowels of Alans video!

 

I rented the crap out of these things and watched the entire 1st gen once again! It did not quite have the same feel as the videos were highly edited to make each tape one super long episode minus intros and end credits and even stripping out some narration. Still it was all that was available!! I tried to buy these tapes but the owner being a glorified dick refused even though I was seemingly the first renter of these tapes for several years! So one of my tech savvy uncles rented all the tapes and pirated the days lights out of them making me two monster 8hr VHS tapes with the full series in SLP mode! It wasnt the best version, but finally I could lay claim to owning the series!! Other copies of Robotech VHS circulated around the city off and on usually containing one or two episodes per tape. I received a sweet copy of Robotech episode one Booby Trap!!

 

My Quest for video ended abruptly when I made my first visit to my Cities main comic book store, the immortal dungeon called Time Masters. After sifting through several back issue bins of comics in the corner of my eye I spied a video wall..and friggin ROBOTECH videos!! I do not recall the exact amount that I paid for these tapes but remember them being expensive (15-20 bucks was big money in 1992!! )The Paladin Books collection series had collected the complete saga on VHS but Time Masters did not carry them all but with all moons aligning they carried the COMPLETE Robotech The New Generation series!! I didn’t have the funds to buy all 6 tapes..but I damn well grabbed the last three tapes!!

The final piece of my VHS Robotech Collection were the last three VHS tapes as shown here!!

 

 

Finally I had the last piece of the Robotech puzzle!! These tapes were loaded and featured better edited versions of the series than the original F.H.E. (Family Home Entertainment) series. I ingested these videos in no time flat and completed the elusive series!! That would not be it. Yes we had toys and video tapes but my lust for Robotech would not waiver as I jumped on the barrage of novels!!

I managed to grab all books shown above with the exception of the Sentinels books. Author Jack Mckinney did an amazing job of covering the series and adding layers to the characterization of the cast of Robotech. The books elaborate on certain scenes and take the reader on parts of the Robotech story that are simply touched upon in the TV series!! PLus as an added bonus aside from being priced decently these books sport excellent post Robotech TV series art work. Symphony Of Light the final chapter of the New Generation is probably the most enlightening of the bunch as the book is able to elaborate on the eventual arrival of Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes and provide more of a back story than originally provided on the series. Due to the TV shows being originally three unrelated series at times the narrative was cheated to make sense of the connection between the shows. None more painful than the anticipation of the return of Rick and Lisa at the end of New generation. I wont be a spoiler here but you will see what I mean!! Myself not being a huge reader of regular novels..I was however a HUGE fan and religious reader of comic books!! As a Robotech fan in the 80s we were SUPER SERVED!!

What the hell was this? It was the painful first American crack at Robotech and the”Inspiration” for DC comics to launch the pathetic “Robotech Defenders” comic mini series.

 

DC took the first unfortunate crack at Robotech with a 3 issue Mini Series called Robotech Defenders. It predated the television series and was based on a collection of Models from the Revell company. This series was a very painful read with a poor excuse for art. It however was American comics first taste of Robotech Mecha..and it sucked. Gleefully unrelated to the TV series the Earth is attacked not by Zentradi but the very horrible looking Grelons. Grenlons were a “technologically advanced” alien race who used their mecha to over power the earthlings. A small team of rebels activates a Robotech Defender and inadvertently unites mecha from around several planets to assist in the defence of the planet! It is only when our heroes unlock the Robotech Defenders minds that the full strength of their warring capacity is unleashed and they defeat the enemy race. The only redeemable note from this lump of crap was the fact that each Defender had a “speciality” based on their home environment and had each different set of attacks that coincided with their home world. Example Defender Thoren was enabled with Heat and Magma powers.The only decent concept in this other wise unacceptable piece of crap.

The best part of this 3 issue limited series was that it sold so poorly that DC pulled the plug and cramped the last two issue into one ad free issue number two! Others have cited that it was Harmony Gold wanting to have all channels clear of any residual Robotech confusion as they prepared to launch the Robotech series States side. Seriously you could not have done a worse job with the franchise than with this mini series.

 

Comics would not go without Robotech however as a little while after the series roared onto the airwaves indy publisher Comico released an official adaptation of the entire three Generations at once! I was hooked! At times the art would be a little sketchy to say the least but Comico published slick-looking brilliantly colored books that wet my appetite! My 20 dollar a week allowance only stretched so far so I was only able to collect scattered issues when I could concentrating mainly on The Macross Saga, and New Generation! They matched the stories perfectly with the exception of The Robotech Masters series which was edited to avoid spoilers in the other books!

This series actually begins with issue number two as issue one was an adaptation of the Japanese series, Macross..but then jumped into straight continuity of the American Robotech series with issue two! The Robotech comics from Comico were the closest to anything that I wanted out of an adaptation! They are by far the best Robotech series in my opinion as they were faithful (With one exception) to the source material!! Below is a massive cover gallery for my favorite of the set The Macross Saga!!

 

In conclusion..my journey through Robotech was a big part of my childhood..and this post is a big reminder of that lest I forget one day! Hope everyone gets the same enjoyment out of this post and the show as I did. I have only scratched the surface on Robotech and one day I will be back with another follow up Robotech post!! Let me know what you would like to see discussed?!

 

Hope you have enjoyed our walk-through the galaxy and Robotech! If you would like to continue the conversation you can contact me on twitter @charlton_her0 and use the #SuperHeroSatellite before we go here are some great links!!

NewWaveTraders.com  For vintage toys like Robotech and for the Retro Video Game fan in your home look no further than the great folks at NWT!! follow them on Twitter @newwavetraders

Love the comic books shown in the cover gallery? Check out http://www.mycomicshop.com/  For all your comic book and Robotech comic book needs!! They have a huge selection at great prices!

Watch every episode of Robotech right now at http://www.waoanime.tv/anime/robotech/

 

See ya next time Heroes!! Strap in Heroes…next stop Symbion? (Hint!!)

End Transmission:

 

Satellite Extra: Complete Comico Robotech :The Macross Saga Cover Gallery