Posts Tagged ‘Comics’

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**Deep Space**

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

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

 

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Transmission Date: Jan. 23rd 2019

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

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

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

 

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

tony moore wd art orignal

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

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

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

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

Leaders rise…followers Follow.

negan sbtu

 

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

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

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

 

dwight iron

No Turning Back..

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

 

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

 

The Seduction of the Innocent.

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

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

 

negans goes to war

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

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

The Confinement

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

Redeeming The Irredeemable.

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

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

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

Making Peace

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

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

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

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

End Transmission..

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

 

redemption continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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King-kirby

**Last Time On Superhero Satellite**

*The 5 Year Mission of The Superhero Satellite had ended with the disbanding of the mighty Super-Blog Team Up group leaving the Captain Of The noble retro seeking wonder of the space-ways to go deep into space sleep. The Satellite itself went into hibernation mode as all systems shut down with only vital networks left open to sustain function…or so we thought! Seemingly a glitch in the Satellites operating system re-activated the main computers AI.. slowly..systems restore as we are unsure were these directives are coming from as we are only to assume it is happening as a result of the ships internal Artificial Intelligence system itsself..the Living Computer…*

Computer

“Systems…ALIVE..Access Consciousness Of The Captain.”

Transmission Date: 08/30/2017

I still remember the store like it was yesterday. The front doors opened up to a lobby where you could go one of two directions. To your left was another door with a set of stairs that lead to one of two medical clinics in my home town of Clarenville at the time. The second door lay straight ahead and led  to the Drug store below which happened to be one my favorite comic book buying haunts..Budget Drug Mart. As you passed the main counter and all the candy, confectionary, chips and soft drinks you had to take a sharp left and just down a little ways on the right stood the old comics rack! It was actually two long book racks built on to the wall. It was always impressively filled with all sorts of my favorite magazines like Pro Wrestling Illustrated, StarLog, and Fangoria to name a few. From time to time it also sold Presto Magic transfers from those very shelves as well! I came for the comics most of the time and it would be the place I would purchase many of my most memorable keepsakes.  IT was also the very spot I bought HEX #1 and my crown jewel G.I.Joe # 2 (Which at the time was rare people!!)  just before a camping trip!! My friend lived just a couple of houses up from the Drug Store so when I came to visit with him we would ALWAYS end up at Budget Drugmart and left with some comics!! Growing up in the early 80s many of the artists I was familiar with were Neal Adams, Gene Colon, Jim Aparo, John Romita Jr, John Buscema, and  John Byrne. to name a few. I was reasonably new to the hobby but it was those artists that had already spoiled me so badly in my formative years of comics art appreciation! Each one of those names were masters of the art and each book they contributed to was a thing of beauty to 11 year old me. I was more or less unfamiliar with any comics pre 1980 at the time as back issues were not readily available in my town unless you snagged a couple at a yard sale or if a friend or relative would visit another city or country. I knew one day I would love to be a comic book artist…I wanted to draw Batman like Colon or Aparo, I wished I could have the ability to draw Green Lantern like Adams!! Bottom line…at a early age I knew what I liked and disliked in a comic book. It was never about the stories for me..it was ALWAYS about the art work! My heroes looked a certain way…and thats what I expected every time I hit the spinner rack!

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In 1984 I was not only becoming a very hardcore comic book buyer but I also boasted a great action figure collection. I had The Six Million Dollar Man figures, I also had a ton of G.I.Joe and Masters Of The Universe figures. Of course my main collectible action figure line had to be Star Wars Toys. I loved action figures and I loved comic books…that was what I did!  With that said from a small collection of Mego figures I had few Superhero toys. Sure Batman, Robin, Superman, Spider-Man and The Hulk were available for me in my home town but that was it. I had no villains..only two vehicles (The Batmobile and Spider-Car).Megos didn’t play well with the 3 3/4 action figures from Star Wars or The Joes so my superheros sat in the toy box without any love as my play adventures surrounded a galaxy far away with some Real American Heroes!! Then came Super-Powers from Kenner…at last my prayers had been answered.

SuperPowersCollection

The DC Super Powers Collection boasted a host of bad guyswithi the set and when they were released in store and I was all over them!! I had Batman, Robin, Superman, Green Lantern, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Darkseid and plenty more later on!! They featured an action motion when a body part was manipulated. To things even more exciting DC was releasing a 5 issues mini series based on the action figure line!! The Comic Book ads featured great artwork by an artist who I felt created the absolute definitive look for the DC Universe in the 80s Jose Louis Garcia Lopez! Each character was perfectly captured and the thought of a Super-Powers mini series set my heart “AFlame”. So at some point in 1984 after seeing ad after beautiful ad by Mr. Garcia Lopez my friend and I took our regular jaunt to the Drug Store and there it WAS!! Super Powers #1!! The logo looked great and the cover colors flashy …but the cover artwork was TERRIBLE!!

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There was clearly something “off”. This comic looked NOTHING like the smooth definitive versions of the DC heroes like those featured in the ads and all over every piece of DC related merchandise out there in the main stream market. I remember commenting to my friend how “Stupid” Superman looked. on that Super Powers book. I was not a fan and even though I left the store with #SuperPowers No. 1.. I did NOT return for issue two. I didn’t look at the art credits at the time as artists names were not a thing for me to be concerned with. Visually however, I knew what I liked..and at that time it WASNT Jack Kirby. What did I know?? I was only a couple of years into my comics buying routine butI would learn a lot in the coming years!

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Comics were never red-hot in my town in 1984 but a war was happening in the industry for companies to make it in the very lucrative toy market in the early 80s. The competition would not be outdone as Marvel around the same time released their own 12 issue mega event called Secret Wars. I was a staunch DC kid but suddenly Marvel had my attention. DC had won me over with their Super Powers action figures but suddenly sharing the shelf was Marvel Secret Wars toys!! Now Spiderman, Wolverine and Captain America and a host of others had a popular toy line and a full comics limited series to coincide with its release. While I despised Kirby’s rendition of the DC Heroes on the covers of Super Powers Mike Zeck powered through an amazing looking Secret Wars cross over event!!

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For a moment, Marvel hooked me. The heroes were rendered in the hot style of the day and the storyline was far superior to that of Super Powers that was clearly written to sell toys. Secret Wars was created for the same purpose but felt like a real event. That Super Powers comic affected me so much I just wanted to try something new…Marvel.

Secret Wars Collage

 

Comics stores began to pop up in the mid 80s. I remember hearing about a gentlemen in a nearby town who boasted a great comic book collection of vintage books. It was about 45 minutes away in a small town called Lethbridge. John Butt was the personable owner of this collection that he housed in a shed behind his home and he allowed me to come in to see his collection. John was an interesting gentlemen who looked like a later day elvis in his final days and the prototypical old guy next door. He was a salesman who knew this kid was NOT leaving his clutches without dropping some cash! As a kid I bought into John’s sales pitch as he walked me through his collection calling everything a “Nice Book”. I saw first appearances of Wolverine, The Punisher, The Red Skull, tons of old western comics and classic Marvel books all of which in Johns Opinion where “Nice Books”. I saw plenty of the very early Fantastic Four and X-men books and I was in awe The comics had bombastic covers and interiors that was old school but looked so different from what was on the shelf in 1985-1986. I only brought 40 dollars with me that day and did not walk out with much of anything outside of a 1970s Captain Marvel number one and a few other books that escape my memory…but my mind kept going back to those FFs and X-Men books!! I wanted to read those books and see what the early days of Marvel were all about. The images stayed with me for many months and I only recall going back one last time for some a Marvel Treasury Edition of Star Wars!! Worth the trip right!!

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In 1985 it seemed like my 11-year-old mind was put at ease as Marvel released a history of their universe in a recap title called Marvel Saga!! It was a monthly comic that attempted to take the Marvel Universe and detail it all in Chronolgical order featuring reprinted panels from the original books. I LOVED Marvel Saga!! I waited for it to land on the spinner rack every Thursday!! I loved the vintage artwork from Steve Ditko on Spiderman, JOhn Busema on Silver Surfer…and literall Jack Kirby on EVERYTHING ELSE!! !! It would be the issues featuring The Fantastic Four and The X-Men that hooked me! I loved the early visual of the characters…in fact I began to prefer it!! Little did I know it was the SAME artist that I trashed only a year earlier for his Super Powers work. I was beginning to enjoy Jack Kirby’s work and was totally oblivious to it as an 11-year-old kid!! Kirbys work had that retro quality that I loved and had a signature appeal that I did not see in anyoe since Ditko. From the FF to the X-Men..to The Incredible Hulk to The Mighty Thor and so many more..Kirbys footprint was all over the Marvel Universe!!

Marvel saga

Comic shops finally started to gain ground in the Province I lived in Canada. The Capital city featured two great collectible shops (Time Masters and Sword and Steel!! Name Drop!!) but my trips to the city (2 Hours from my home town!!) were so infrequent I could not rely on them for maintaining any sense of collecting. It was great for spot issues, but not much else. Several used book stores popped up in my town that featured great selections of comics! Rodways Office Supplies was literally what it sounded like.. an office supplies store that sold photocopys and staplers but they also managed to have 8 to 10 huge long boxes of comics and seemed to mix up their variety on a semi regular basis. They had books I had not heard about or saw before like Sgt. Fury and The Howling Commandos and Nick Fury Agent Of Shield! I was at the time a  Sgt. Rock fan and was semi familiar with Nick Fury from then modern 80s so Fury and his Howling Commandos were a sure grab for me!

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Around this time Machine Man had gone through numerous series and reboots that as usual were always promptly cancelled. I loved that character! Hence I managed to nab several issues of 2001 with Machine Mans early beginnings from the Rodways catacombs. He didn’t look like the Machine Man that I had recently bought off the racks by Ditko…whose version was loose and frankly a little sloppy..Ditkos Machine Man moved on the page like Spider-Man instead of a robot that he was. Barry Windsor Smiths version in the 80s Machine Man mini series looked a little too “man-like” and not robotic in nature. Dont get me wrong..the Machine Man Mini series was great but the art in that issue too didnt look “Machine” enough like I wanted my Machine Man to look. Kirby’s Machine Man felt properly alien as it should. Kirby was always sure to surround him with other worldly technology unlike anything drawn by other artists. No one did Machine Man like Kirby.

MachineMan Variants

 

As I read them I saw that familiar art and style..and something in me was drawn to that. I was raised on George Perez and Jim Aparo who had a more “realistic” style while Kirby had his own thing happening. Highly visual..very otherworldly detailed!! Sgt. Fury the same thing. While Kuberts Sgt. Rock was a very somber dramatic style to Sgt. Rock as it was about war after all…Kirby gave Fury a more lively feel! It was fun, bombastic and full of life. Bullets and action jumped off the page. Very stylilized…very high energy art..both Fury and Machine Man shared Jack Kirby as their artist. It was here I fully began to recognize and appreciate the style. I could decipher Kirby’s work from everybody else now. Now I looked for it! It became a hunt for me..and a very fun one!

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By 1987 my Comics passion was at an all time high. In my teenage mind I considered myself a serious collector. I was buying higher priced comics, 1st appearances, Gold Key books, and classic books and what ever Overstreet Price Guide told me was a “Hot” book I tried to  hunted down. I felt like I knew my stuff. I knew for example that a “Frank Miller Daredevil” with the Death Of Electra was a “hot book”…and how much it was worth in various cycles of condition. Yep this comics kid was becoming John Butt level comics savant at the age of 13!! Now I knew who Jack Kirby was..as I explored what my dream list of comics would be, Kirbys name was attached to almost all of em. Fantastic Four, Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk..all Kirby!! His name was attached to so many books..

Kirby Classics

There were elements of his work that no one else could properly duplicate…at least at the time. The first thing that hits me about a Kirby work was his use of hands..his characters are always reaching for something..and you know what..it looks damn cool!! His characters jumped off the cover page at you!! Everyone jumped…everyone leaped..there was movement at every stroke!! Bodies contorted to portray the full swing of a punch, the throwing of a shield, or the swinging of a hammer

The Kirby Reach

Kirby created universes..landscapes..worlds that could only come from his imagination. His World Building is something he took with him no matter what company he worked for. His work on Marvel properties like The Silver Surfer, Thor and The Inhumans stretched the boundaries of what alien environments looked like visually. Large elaborate worlds bursting at the seems with bright visuals, extremely detailed robust costuming, backgrounds and staggering technology that only Kirby could depict!

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There is no way to put it in words Kirby’s use of detail. The level of detail he CREATED was over an above what everyone else did at the time. A simple computer or gun was excessively detailed and visually breathtaking!!Kirby Machinery

His use of costuming was on another level. He added detail so foreign and so elaborate many artists could not even imagine it..let alone put it on paper!!

Celestials Kirby

He built universes outside of the regular Marvel and DC Universe’s all his own that other artists and writers stayed away from by in large. Kirby’s vision of what space looked like and what alien planets, people and technology were visualized as was so very organic! In comparison it felt that when other artists created things.. Kirby was always a million years beyond them. Concepts like The Inhumans and the birth of Marvel Cosmic is all Jack Kirby. Kirbys forray into DC Comics after his well documented fall out with Marvel also allowed him to build a brand new foundation all to its own with characters like the New Gods and The Forever People..all high concept work that few outside of Kirby would dare touch!!

Forever and Inhumans

DC would designate a full pocket of their universe to Kirby affectionately known as the Fourth World where luminaries like The New Gods, Mr. Miracle, The Forever People, Darkseid and literally millions of others resided. Kirby had his own world to play in and because of the stroke that he had in the business he was given a blank cavas to work from.

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Many of these properties are still in use today with Marvels Inhumans television series about to debut very soon! The Marvel cinematic universe is filled with Jack Kirby created concepts and making billions for Marvel and Disney to this very moment. Kirby’s legacy is everywhere in pop culture and its hard to deny that his title as King Kirby is surely the fitting crown.

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So as I flash back to 1984 at Budget Drug Mart as I hastily cast dispersions on the cover art for that Super-Powers book…this is my apology letter to the architect of comic books that I hold so dear. Thank You Jack Kirby… for creating my childhood…ALL HAIL THE KING!!

KIrby Drawing board

End Transmission….

Creation

**ASSUMING CONSCIOUSNESS**

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END OF LINE…

More #Kirby100 Fun continues with my favorite bloggers on the web!:

Satellite Ends

Comic Reviews by Walt
Between the Pages
Coffee and Comics Podcast
In My Not So Humble Opinion
Chris Is On Infinite Earths

The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu

Fantastic Four #1 Review

 

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Welcome Back Heroes…its been a while! “Satellite systems ACTIVATE!” *Lights on the deck of the Satellite bridge illuminate as the gentle hum of each and every system firing up after extended inactvity..I make my way to the observation deck punching in coordinates for our next destination. The deck sits alone aside from the lone Captain. I take a seat in the Captains helm and slowly open up the com-link as a map of planet earth displays Holographically.* “Computer.. hail the Super-Blog Team Up….” *Each Team Members face displays on the Holo-grid of Members old and new…each member of the Active Roster is located and online..I wait momentarily taking a deep breath before addressing the team* “Team…I have gathered the team here today as there is a matter of extreme importance. As of 15:00 hours today the Blogoverse is in Crisis. Worlds are colliding..Paralell Universes are merging..the world we live in today will cease to exist if we do not act fast. I have called on YOU the elite SBTU Members to set our world right one last time. The mission is very dangerous..the situation is dire…many of us may not return. You are the worlds last hope. Each of us will be tasked with a separate mission…I want to thank you all for your dedicated service to the cause. The time is NOW to make a difference…so join me …UNITE for ONE LAST TIME….SUPER-BLOG TEAM UP…LETS ROLL!!…”

Satellite Ends

 

Transmission Date: July 19th 2017

When I think about this blog and what it means to me I think of enjoyment, I think of good times and I think of everything and how it fit into my childhood. When piecing together what I would write about in this all important “One Last Time” installment on Super-Blog Team Up and I went through all the things “Death” related in comics. I remembered how impactful the “Death of Robin” was and the endless conversations it spawned with my friends. I remembered the Doomsday series leading into the “Death Of Superman” and how hot the collectible market was at that time and how everyone seemed to be jumping into the hobby that only a few of my friends and I shared. As years went on other Heroes died and Super-Groups disbanded. Comic Companies closed, my favorite titles cancelled. Of Course everything came back…it ALWAYS came back in comics. As prices increased, everything I loved about comics slowly changed while other parts decayed. Suddenly I was priced out of the market and forced to cut down my pull list. Then the final straw companies rebooted…and everybit of the continuity and stories that I loved so much ceased to exist and were replaced with something newer..something more sanitized and unappealing replaced what I enjoyed…so all the deaths of my favorite characters that I had read over the years  did not have as big of an impact on me as the biggest death of all..The Death Of My Passion For Comics….something I never EVER thought would happen. Then one day in 2000….I walked away from the media that gave me such joy and memories while growing up. This however is NOT a sad story…this is a story of celebration. A celebration of what it meant to me to be a comics fan and the sheer passion that went into that. So….to understand how we arrive at the Death of my passion…we must first understand the beginning. Before all the reboots, before all the computers, before all the companies came and went..there was a 6-year-old kid who walked into a convenience store saw that immortal sign for the first time..”Hey Kids…COMICS!! resting atop the loaded spinner rack. I was hopelessly hooked.

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Old Mrs. Brown would stand diligently at her cash counter at the Clarenville Shopping Center Drug store as I spun that spinner rack around no less than 50 times making my decision on how to divide up my healthy 20 dollar a week allowance! I was in my comics buying prime and I always remembered every detail of its location in the middle of the store, the sound it made as it turned, to the selection of comics it contained every week!! Mrs. Brown knew that I loved my comic books and always took special care sliding them in the thin paper bag when I got to the cash register…sometimes the bag would be so full that there would be tears in the sides of the bag!! I would hurry home on my BMX bike so I could pull them out all over my bed and read these 24 page joys! At first it was my thing…none of my other friends were so into comics as I was which gave me a competitive advantage later as a comics trader. Sure some friends had a little stack of comics but I was slowly and surely building a library.  I loved comics as a kid. It was the single investment that I bought outside of action figures of which my parents would normally foot the bill for..or my lunch money.

I got into comics sort of by default..In the very early 80s my parents moved from a small town to a bigger growing town..still small by most standards, for work. My Dad had a new Wholesale Business selling Soft Drinks and my Mom got a job at one of the few Convenience stores in the town that was strategically placed between Clarenvilles Upper and Lower roads called Stanley’s Variety. I enjoyed visiting the store while Mom worked there as it usually meant that she would buy me a treat. That could include anything from some great snacks like some Hostess Potato Chips, to a Buried Treasure Ice Creme, a paper bag of candy, a ViewMaster slide at times…or COMICS!! They were new to me as a 7-8 year old but it was like a magnet every time I walked into the store. I vividly remember classic DC comics around 1980 such as New Teen Titans #1!! It stood out in all its glory to me.

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A White bombastic cover with all sorts of new heroes I hadn’t seen before but led by my main man at the time Robin The Boy Wonder!! That was my first “Wow” that a comic ever gave me!

The 80s were rich with 80s books and I entered the market at a great time. I was a DC kid. Batman was by far my favorite character as I was a Mego collector and Batman and Robin were my first Mego toys complete with BatMobile!!

MegoBat

Batman caught me in every way. He had the iconic Blue and Grey look! He was drawn by Neal Adams and Gene Colan during the first books that I received and plus he had gadgets galore and of course The Boy Wonder Robin!! My playtime with friends was dedicated to making up Batman adventures and acting them out as I toggled between playing Batman or Robin just having so much fun with our imaginations. Afterwards my friend and I would sit on the bed or at the table and read through issues of Batman..its what we did. His house was located next to a Drug Store where his Aunt worked and we would make the 2 minute pilgrimage to Budget Drug Mart in hopes of finding the latest Batman issue and a brown paper bag of candy and of course Hostess Chips!! I fondly remember us both being so blown away by the Batman “Bloodsport” storyline where Batman became Vampire!! Or maybe when Deadshot showed up..or how about when Robin was replaced by Jason Todd..so many memories..so many endless debates around Batman..my entry drug to comics!! You could not buy that type of enthusiasm!!

Fave Batbooks

DC would not let up..so many books to buy and I wanted them all!! My next obsession was the Legion Of Superheroes!! I guess I am a fan of huge Super groups because the first time I saw Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl I never turned back!!

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Team books were everything to me. Legion was something different though. They started with three basic heroes who time travelled from the future to meet Superboy..also one of my faves!

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Superboy was the odd man out…he was Super-powered but these teens always had his number and seemed infinitely more super-powered than he did! They had a Superhero Clubhouse and members had to audition to join their ranks. Even Superboy did not make the cut at first…in a manner of speaking! Each Hero had a basic super power. One controlled Lighting, others could see the future, one could bounce, others could shape shift, fly, turn invisible..and even knew Karate!! Karate you say! Charlton..what kind of super-power was ‘Karate” when compared to someone who could control ice? Gosh darn it Karate was a big deal in the 80s!! Case closed.AdventureRIPSBTU

My fondest memories of collecting were my trips to the grocery store with my Father every Thursday night in 1980 something. I would always come home with a comic or even several during our shopping excursions which also involved picking out a Novelty Cereal or two as well but usually ended with a DC Digest!! Dc Blue Ribbon, Batman, Superman, and Adventure Comics were some of the titles you would see featured alongside of check-outs at the local Co-op or Sobeys grocery stores during the 80s!! Almost certainly I hooked one every trip!! The covers always told a story and contained a ton of individual stories inside!!The Digests were compact, always full of content which introduced you to characters you probably would not have picked up individually (That means YOU Challengers Of The Unknown!!) and they were my travel companions on road trips and vacations!

As a fan no matter what my destination was I always sought out the comics rack..even in obscure places like Hardware Stores! I always remember a local Hardware store in my hometown on the water front called Handy Andy’s and they happened to have a small magazine shelf that carried a small handful of comics. The best part of that was that they rarely rotated their comics so you could find 4-5 issue arcs of your favorite books because they literally pulled NOTHING off the shelf. It also had the distinct honor of being one of the only stores that carried Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew! Comics at the time did not have that level of realistic seriousness like books of today. It was perfectly acceptable for Superman and other to team up with Funny Animal character’s. Cap and The Zoo Crew was a insanely funny book that parodied the JLA and it had a certain charm to it that appealed to this kid!!

Carrot Zoo Crew

My DC Passion Burned brightly by the mid to late 80s as Marvel books crept their way into my weekly pull-list but I remained a staunch DC buyer. It was John Byrne who burned white-hot in the mid 80s thathooked me first with his excellent X-Men work but mostly with his Super-Man reboot called Man Of Steel! Byrnes definitive Superman art work launched a refreshed DC on the spinner rack that had recently seen their competition creep in and steal their top spot amongst Comics fans.  DC re-aligned their core titles and in my opinion did the ONLY soft reboot that made things better than worse..(That means YOU DC New 52!!) Man of Steel reimagined the Superman Mythos. Not long after JLA had broken up and reformed..New characters were everywhere!! I was overwhelmed!! Then it happened..Justice League reformed and it became my favorite title!! but that’s for a little later!!

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The Events:

Now I know that I stated that I was mostly a DC kid..however Marvel roped me in from time to time with Events!! I was an Event guy! I bought em all!! Crisis on Infinite Earths, Secret Wars, Millenium, Super Powers, Inferno, Secret Wars 2, Legends,  Invasion, Evolutionary War, you name it..I bought it!! I was a sucker for books filled with multiple characters!! Secret Wars 2..the Black sheep of the Secret Wars volumes was my favorite as a kid watching Marvels best battle the Super- Powered Jeri Curled White Micheal Jackson style character the Beyonder. He would battle every character Marvel had and beat them with ease!! On the DC side of things I waited anticipation when my favorite DC characters were revealed as Manhunters in Millenieum!!

EventsRIPSBTU

I yelled out loud when the JLA reformed in Legends! I popped seeing SpeedBall for the first time in the Evolutionary War and convincing myself that he was the next big thing!! Bottom line was that Events won my dollar every time. I always felt DC did better more coherent events and had longer event books with more far-reaching consequences!! My long boxes were filling fast locking with all the spinoff books from each event. I was being taken advantage of by the Comic Companys..but I loved it..the more the better. I was buying it all up!! I was a passionate fan..I ate everything that I was served and loved it!!

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My Favorites.

While I sampled most everything..I COLLECTED several titles faithfully! I loved Star Wars, G.I. Joe, The Amazing Spider-Man, from Marvel, at DC it was always Batman, Justice League, Legion Of Super-Heroes and Superman/Superboy. These were my “go to” books..above any and all these books got my money every month whether I liked the storylines or now..this was my core! Marvels Star Wars opened up the expanded universe before it was a thing and did it better in my opinion! GI Joe took a toy property and literally built it from the ground up! These were ground breaking stories with characters I loved! Spidey was the constant. I enjoyed everything John Romita!

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I loved his art..his Spidey, his MJ. When you think of Spider-Man, Romita embodied EVERYTHING that was great about the the Marvel Universe.Marvel was a cool place to be through the Spidey lens! As for DC The Legion was Loaded to the gills with all sorts of heroes of every size shape and power! It was my entry drug to Superboy and I instantly related to that team. Starting with a club house with membership then growing into time travelling adults, the Legion kicked serious ass!! The Giffen / Levitz era was amazing!! Of course NOTHING and I MEAN NOTHING beat the Justice League Bwah Ha Ha Era by Giffen and DeMattieis! This book featured many of my favorite characters and many new ones but hit every note of every page! I still have huge runs of all of these books and these are on the “No trade No sell” list. While some are not physicallyworth the paper they are printed on Price Guide wise to me you cannot put a price on the happiness they gave me!!

The Boom.

My friends began to catch on to this comics thing much to my chagrin. It was a mixed blessing though as from time to time I had to compete for some of my books, However it was the thrill of the hunt was what was important!! A couple of my famous battles on the buying field yielded me great results. One of my lesser close friends had garnered a copy of Amazing Spider-Man 129 and was interested in selling it!!.The Punisher was the hot commodity at the time and by this time I considered myself a prophet and knew that this was a big win! 1st appearance of the Punisher was this big, however, as I was about to buy this prize book I was informed that one of my own cousins had already made claim to the book. I was not to be defeated..I raised his price an extra 5 bucks and said I would go get the money now rather than later like my own flesh and blood offered. In fact I jumped aboard my trusty bicycle on this Clarenville day..blazed a trail 20 minutes away to my house..begged my parents for 25 bucks..not telling them what it was for and got it!! Back to the bike..in 20 minutes later I had beaten my cousin to the punch and walked away with the prize!!

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A while later Batman was about to debut in theaters and the Dark Knight was all the rage..and of course there was competition to buy up ALL of the issues of Batman and Detective as they came out. Robin had died and being replaced as told in the Lonely Place Of Dying story arc. Cabot Pharmacy in my home town was THE destination for comics and Gail one of the cashier’s, would always hold some of the more popular books for me. However..with Batman others got in the game and the chase was on every week on comic day..it would be the first time I was shut out of an issue of a comic!! My supposed friends had beaten me to the punch!

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It would only get worse as we entered the era of excess!! The 90s proved to be a big bloated, fun time to be a comics fan. No longer were comics my little niche..now it was an aggressive market and we had two comics stores open up in our area. Butts Books and Jamie’s Comics would open up and prices exploded. Every book was HOT!! The Death Of Superman was a craze like nothing else. Superman number 75 would blow the lid off of comics! I was gouged 50 bucks at a card dealer at my mall for Supes 75 in the famous Black Bag. Of course everything was relaunching!! Jim Lee was exploding on a New X-Men Group!! Liefeld was demanding big money on the brand new X-Force, McFarlane was breaking artistic ground on Spider-Man! The comics world was exploding and I was in the middle..but now I had a job at the dollar shop and could feed my habit!! Comic shops pushed new company after new company at me that I became fond of two in particular at the time in Valiant and Image. Everyone had new characters and you could get in on the ground floor at issue number one. Harbinger, X-O Manowar, Rai and The Future Force, Bloodshot..you name it!! Then came Image with Spawn, Savage Dragon, Wildcats, Shadow Hawk, and YoungBlood led the charge from this new company that would last and be successful to this day!

ImageSBTU

Gimmicks were everywhere..polybags, Chromium covers, Hologram covers, Trading Card inserts, Variant covers you name it..they did it!! I bought it all..and I knew it was crap but no one cared!! These things look great on the shelf!! Plus inmy teenage mind these books would bring you a fortune when you grew up. We were wrong but it didn’t matter. I loved my collection that had ballooned now to about 6000!

Gimmick

Everybody had become an expert..now once scorned comic shirts were everywhere. Comics related cartoons and merchandise erupted. It was insane. Comics movies began development and my friends and I ate it up!! Comics were everywhere..and people began to charge more than ever for them. Suddenly every average Joe had a collection…then it happened. As the 90s were drawing to a close..the comics balloon broke..collectors tried to dump their inventory but there was no one buying. People sat stuck with boxes filled with Spider-Man #1 in a polybag while XMen #1 littered the streets. Prices plummeted and comic stores went under. As quick as Butts Books and Jamie’s Comics store had opened they quickly closed up shop and left town with their long boxes ticked between their legs.

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By this time I was in University until 97 and  I however had not abandoned my hobby and was still buying comics regularly with a student loan assisting me feed my habit! I endured such drek as The Spider-Man Clone Saga. The final nail in the coffin was when  prices hit the top of my pay scale and the gas tank ran empty..suddenly I could not afford all the books I wanted. My core titles were all but cancelled..and literally every company had done a complete or at least soft reboots by that time. The books I loved were unfamiliar to me now. I spoke about my undying love for titles such as GI Joe and Star Wars of which both lasted a considerable amount of time but creatively burned out. The Justice League moved away from the Bwah Ha Ha Era and changed up the cast so much I didn’t care to keep buying it. Superboy and The Legion were not even the same characters that I grew to love..I knew as the prices went up my passion for buying died with it. I could walk by a spinner rack or a magazine shelf in a grocery store and keep on walking. I remember the day I walked away completely. I picked up an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man and it had moved to $3.50 Canadian cents a book. I had bought these things since they were .50 Cents but now these titles were 4 to 5 times more expensive and honestly …these were NOT my heroes anymore. The “Hot” artists that I had grown up with like Ditko and Kirby had all but retired or passed on. The McFarlanes, Liefields, and Lees, had stepped in and out of the big two and were not used as frequently. I decided that my time as a comics fan were over. The market had forced me out and the characters did not connect with me anymore..so I stopped.

Then something funny happened…years and years had passed and I had not kept up on the industry outside of a brief chat among friends or an update online about the latest news. In the early days of podcasting I bought myself an MP3 player and decided to check out some wrestling podcasts..I had been a life long fan and really got into the daily ritual of listening. One day it dawned on me. I wonder if such podcasts existed for comics? Enter Comic Geek Speak which was the first podcast that I found and I listened to a show. It was like every conversation I had with my friends growing up about comics! These guys loved comics like I did for 20 years. They talked about all the old titles I read as a kid and even what was happening in the recent times. I was intrigued. There were more people out there who still shared my passion that once burned bright inside me. This coincided with the dawning of the digital era. Companies published their books online for the first time and I sampled them and I really, really dug them. This was the best overall discovery for me. Whether through honest or nefarious the digital age allowed me to access every book I ever read or wanted to read! I began to get weekly books again but I could read them on my computer or early midevil tablet!! I felt myself enjoying comics again for the first time in years. Twitter and Facebook had become popular and the way we discussed comics changed..suddenly there was a nation of folks to talk with. There were podcasts, early blogs, websites a plenty. I was catching up..I was talking comics again! I had unlimited digital resources to get my comics fix. My passion had returned. I felt like that 6-year-old kid picking up New Teen Titans number one from the spinner rack again! Sure I was older now but could still enjoy the things that made me happy as a kid! It was still not en vogue to be a “Nerd” per say but the once impenetrable barrier between “Geek and Normal” was shifting. Geek Culture was being reborn before my eyes and I was in front of it! I wanted to share my stories and passion with everyone so one day I decided to sit in front of my computer and begin a blog…this very blog you are reading today! The Super-Hero Satellite was my love letter to my childhood and more specifically comics!

 

I remember the joy in seeing 10 hits on my blog!! I had an audience…at least ten people took time to click on my words and even comment on what I wrote. I never claimed to be a writer and just write what I feel but I always enjoyed sharing. I read others blogs and learned from some of my favorite writers on the web and I loved it. One evening during a Twitter debate with a few of my twitter friends I shot the idea of doing a blog event…something big…something unified. Longbox Graveyard (The famous retro 70s Comics Blog!) and Flodo’s Page (A Green Lantern Blogger!) tossed Ideas back and forth and after several concepts and ideas thus was born the Mighty Super-Blog Team UP!!

SuperBlog#1

The first event was small in scale but big in feel. We felt like we did something different..Super-Blog Team Up was what was missing from my passion that was taken from me years ago. It was about Comradship..discussion..debate..but good times. As the roster grew and faces rotated in and out of the group we maintained a set of devoted bloggers to our cause but always made sure each round we introduced new faces. From Bloggers..to VBlogs to Podcasts and all other formsof social media The Mighty SBTU made an impression! Not only did it deliver unique perspectives on comics we each learned and laughed with each other!! I want to thank this unit of exceptional people who worked tirelessly with every event whether they had time or not. I am so proud of our output over the years and at the end of the day I may be considered by some the puppet master of this SBTU beast but in reality I am a fan ..a fan of all the talented people who make up this machine and who’s blogs deserve to be read. That is why I do this. I am a comic book fan again..and The Super-Blog Team Up was my redemption.

SBTU History

So as I lower the lights on The Super-Blog Team Up..I want to say a big thank you to Paul, Karen, Dean, Mike, Chris, Ben, and Walt for helping me with this last kick at the can. This one is dedicated to you guys and your passion.

I am a comic book fan…and proud of it. These are my friends ..and we are SUPER-BLOG TEAM UP. Thanks for joining us on this ride.

End Transmission…

 

 

SBTUContinues below

Comic Reviews by Walt : Death Of The Mutanimals (Archie-TMNT)

Longbox Graveyard: Death Of Captain Marvel

Between The Pages: The Death Of Spock (Wrath Of Khan)

Chris On infinite Earth’s: Death Of Supergirl

Crapbox Son Of Chthulu : Death Of My Love For Marvel Comics.

Comics and Coffee: Superman: The Man Who Murdered The World.

Superhero Satellite: Death of a Collectors Passion and the Redemption!

In My Not So Humble Opinion: The Death Of Galactus.

Retroist : These Pirates Of The Caribbean Models are to die for!

 

*I switch off all screens on the Holo-grid saying goodbye to all my colleagues* “Computer prepare my Hyper sleep chamber…we are shutting the Satellite down for an extended period. I have given you the coordinates of our next mission…however we have a long road to get there.!!”

*As I step into Hyper sleep watching the vessel close securely..I watch through the window as the lights ondeck slowly dim..each system slowly winds down as finally the once mighty Super-Hero Satellite finally rests…Only computer remains online..monitoring..watching. Without prompt..without asking I am alerted by the mainframe system…*

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Computer: “Rest Well Captain…YOU WILL NEED IT…Systems…OFFLINE”

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Trading comics as a kid was an art form. In a sense it was the earliest form of childhood poker, you had to know when to hold em and know when to fold em. In my own mind I felt I was a pretty good shark in this game.I was one of a few of my friends that had a coveted Overstreet Price Guide which allowed me a savants wisdom when giving the true value of my comics and of that of the individuals of which I was about to trade with.My trading selection was my usual fare of 80s DC titles but in the opposite corner my cousin who I was trading with had an unusual treasure on his side of the bed which doubled as our trading stand. It was an issue of The Fly a title I had never heard of! The publisher was Archie of all things but how could this be, this was a Superhero Title!! I glanced over the cover trying not to look directly at the book or even look interested in it but it was screaming to me..I had to have this book! So as the trades went on the regular fare was exchanging hands I swapped some Batman for some Firestorm, and Blue Devil but I still wanted that Fly issue. Not wanting to show my hand I asked him was there any other title in my pile he was interested in and fortunately there was. So I went for the kill…his selection was valued at meager 5 bucks in the Overstreet bible so I told him I would trade it for a Green Lantern Book …and throw in that Fly book just to even out the dollar amount!

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I tossed his requested book to his side of the bed and collected The Green Lantern issue and reached to get the issue of The Fly only to be shut down..His hand stopped cold over the top of the issue blocking my collecting hand from making it officially mine. My cousin told me a story of his recent vacation in Maine to which he picked up this “Rare” book and that book was not going up for trade! I internally panicked…then it dawned on me I could use the Overstreet Guide to show that the trade was a good value. As I thumbed through the pages I found the Fly #1 and it was worth $1 …Cover Price!! Practically worthless in 1984! Surely he would bend knowing that this book was a lump of coal in his collection but to me it secretly was a diamond! He didnt budge…he was on to me. This book was from the U.S.A.!! This wasnt available in small town Clarenville Newfoundland..this was from the United States Of America which carried a great deal of cache back in the day! I came out on the losing end of the trade that day as I gave up one of my coveted Blue Devil issues and god knows what else to claim this issue of the Fly..I know I had been duped but in the end I came away with what I wanted so it was short term pain.

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The glorious Steranko cover art and beautiful interiors this issue of The Fly was a revelation! My god there existed life outside of Marvel and DC!! Now I felt relatively in sync with the comics industry and bought many publishers like Charlton, Harvey, and Archie I thought I knew it all there was to know. How did I miss the existence of  The Red Circle imprint Aka The Archie Adventure Series I began sifting through the ads inside and my Overstreet Price Guide to find out what titles existed and there were a ton of them. I eventually discovered that these characters were around since the Golden Age!! This was prior to the era of the internet kids..it was not as simple as a google search!!

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The characters were pure Golden Age! Names like The Shield, The Fly, The Comet, The Black Hood, The Jaguar, and The Web were fascinating to me! Not only was this my first introduction to them but they seemed like an elusive mystery to me and the fact that their recent (80s!!) adventures could not be purchased on the comic spinner racks in my home town only heightened my interest! In fact the characters were so steeped in comics lore that their first appearances dated back as far as 1940!

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In the pages of Pep Comics #1 exploded a very familiar looking character The Shield!! This United States patriotic character was one of the first of his kind and pre-dated our generations super patriot Captain America! Created by Irv Novick (Artist) and Harry Shorten (Writer) The Shield was born of the times and World War 2 fascination. Amazingly this would also be the first appearance of another one of the soon to be Mighty Crusaders The Comet in a single issue!!

Around the same time in Oct 1940 also debuted The Black Hood in Top Notch Comics #9. The Black Hood was an interesting character. The character would be played by a number of individuals who would take up the notion of vigilante justice after each previous Hood would either die.. or pass on the mantel of the hood to the next individual. The Hood itself would be “cursed” as nearly all its wearers would die passing it like a proverbial torch to another bearer. The “hood ” itself went from a stereotypical heroic cowl style of mask to a full on executioners hood. The Hood was the one character in the Crusaders who would “Cross The Line” into killing his opponents in the name of justice. Interestingly when the Red Circle brand resurfaced in the early 80s the Black Hood would be the character that would regress the most costume wise while other Crusaders sported updated flashy modern costumes. The Black Hood would debut on a Motorcycle in biker leathers and a tight leather “Mugger” mask.

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Later that year in 1940 creators Joe Simon and Jack “King” Kirby famously created a character strikingly similar to The Shield, the one and only Captain America. Fortunately  this was not the era of expensive lawsuits so Cap would go on to mega fame unscathed by class action lawsuits! Clearly they had an eye on what MLJ was doing as they went on to create a Crusader themselves.. The Fly!! He 1st appeared in the late 50s making his full debut in Adventures Of The Fly #1 in 1959.

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The Fly had a very appealing design that in no coincidence looked very much like Blue Beetle in design. The individual that would wear the Fly suit was  Capital Cities crack lawyer Tommy Troy. Tommy  was able to fly, communicate with insects via his telepathic abilities, use size manipulation among others. By night Tommy became the Fly, fighting the criminal underbelly of Capital City!  He also frequently had his own female counterpart like many in the day.. Fly-Girl! He was also a hero similar to the Blue Beetle (Charlton’s Steve Ditko version of Beetle… Ted Kord) in that he has sizable Eye bubbles and they share a gun which many heroes did not during the 70’s and 80’s especially. The Archie run of the Fly is one of the best MLJ hero books they pubished as Ditko took the reigns in the titles last half (Issues 5-8) of publication for Archie and made The Fly a damaged defamed  Hero on the run! Great stuff kids you need to track down the 9 issue run which was a lot of fun under Archie’s Red Circle imprint!!

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They were then joined by The Web in 1942 created by John Cassone for MLJ. This college criminology professor turned superhero turned his investigative skills into a crime fighting career. Using his College smarts he was able to profile and defeat criminals for the sheer enjoyment of one upping the criminal element. The Web was a character  whose creators gave the unusual spin of being one of the first comic characters who essentially was a domesticated superhero that was for all intents and purposes was  “Whipped”. The key trait to this and following versions would be his married life impacting the way he performed as a hero. Upon discovering that her husband was running around stopping crime in spandex John finally succumbs to the marital pressures and retires leaving a life of crime fighting to deal with the battles of home life!

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The next incarnation of The Web is the one I am most familiar with as the original webs son John Raymond Jr. returned to comics in Fly-Man #36 under most famously Superman’s Co-Creator Jerry Siegel. Humourously the concept of the steroetypical “Nagging Wife” would return but went a step further. As John took on the criminal underbelly as the Web his wife would unbeknownst to him would don a super suit as Pow-Girl and join him on his exploits without revealing her identity to him!! Fortunately this version of the Web would drop all the silver age silliness and this Web would re-debut in the 80s under Archie’s Red Circle banner and would become my favorite of all the Mighty Crusaders!

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The Shield, The Web, The Fly, Fly Girl , The Comet, The Jaguar, and The Black Hood and many others during various incarnations of the group would all Unite under one collective Super Powered group known as The Mighty Crusaders! Archie seemed to have nailed the Superhero concept or at least had great clay to work from with the MLJ Characters!  I loved every issue I uncovered. It didnt matter the condition wether they were torn, stained, or even coverless I just wanted my Red Circle comics!!

Mighty Crusaders Cover Gallery?? Okay..we got you covered!! Computer…load Archie Adventure Series Red Circle Mighty Crusaders!!

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Its no secret that I was a fan of action figures as is well  documented on this blog..when my old nemesis Remco would adapt the Crusaders into Action figure form. Check out my previous article on DC’s Warlord figures also notoriously by Remco. The company did not have a history of making “Quality” toys instead they relied on working from established concepts popular at the time and doing something “Similar”. Yes if He-man was popular Remco created the line of “Conan” or “Warlord” figures which were not coincidentally clones of the He-Man toyline. LJN Struck gold with their WWF license to create Professional Wrestling figures and Remco went with AWA Mat Mania figures. This time Mego was red hot with this Worlds Greatest Heroes SuperHero figure line and low and behold… Remco grabbed the semi obscure Mighty Crusaders action figures!

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Remco created eight figures in total and had an equal roster of good guys and bad guys..4 on each side to be exact! the line up were as below!

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  • The Comet. Prior to Marvels X-Man, Cyclops there was the Comet..that visor is something multiple characters would come to rip off!!

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  • The Fox. A cool design and character. The Fox was always one of the coolest heroes from the Archie Adventure line and was their answer to Black Panther / Batman..but not as interesting as either.

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  • The Shield. Its Captain Ameri…no wait..its the Shield. Even though this character may have influenced multiple American based heroes later in comics history he is still the single greatest design of the Crusaders!

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  • The Web. Always loved the Web!! Loved the color scheme and Web cape! I gurantee you , One year soon on Halloween you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be the Web..

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  • The Brain Emperor. The bad guys were very uninspired as is the case with the poorly designed Brain Emperor. Alan Moore himself would not have been able to save this Mort and his goons!

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  • The Buzzard. Every universe has their “Bird” villain..they also managed to snatch all the cool bird names. With The Falcon and The Vulture we get the sinister Buzzard!! Doesnt work at all does it??

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  • The Eraser. Despite the very cool double bandolier, the only thing the Eraser “erased” were several plates of cheeseburgers..That said.. he is the happiest villain I have ever seen!

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  • The Sting. By god Remco loved their skull faced villains!! In the era of Masters Of The Universe and the patriarch of the Skull Face.. Skeletor…is the reason why we allow jabronies like Sting to exist. That said..as a kid, Skull faces ruled and chances are this would have been my first bad-guy if I had a choice If I know “kid me” well enough!

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The comic ads got me so excited to get my hands on these great looking toys. Remco to their defense always got some of the best artists to design their comic book ads as well as their packaging! With Remco’s Sgt. Rock for example Remco scored the legendary Joe Kubert to draft their in comic ads as well as figure packaging!!

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They would score again with the great Steve Ditko taking the reigns with the Crusaders!! Ditko drew the wonderful ads that baited me originally and scored the packaging on the toys as well!! The problem however was the product that was delivered. The figures themselves had a certain charm but upon further inspection they were woefully impractical. There was something very weird about their hip structure. Their legs appeared shorter, almost baby like on some figures giving them a very odd look visually. As well, Remco..stealing a page out of Marvels Secret Wars toys, each toy came with a shield? I am still wondering what the fascination with the shield as a accessory was in the day?? That said with all their quirks and 80s weirdness The Crusaders were a win for this Hero!!

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The Heroes themselves were pretty well designed. I would kill for a Web figure! The Shield looked great with vibrant colors and I even gave his shield a pass.I had no idea who the Fox was but the figure was excellent. The Comet however was a comedy of errors. Not only did he come with a Shield but he also came with a bandolier and gun!!? This Comet was packin heat folks!! These toys were amazingly rare in my hometown. The odd figure would appear in a toy box or two in my travels to friends houses but no one I knew had the “set” or even a significant amount enough to say the collected them.

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The amount of Mighty Crusaders merchandise on the market though small by today’s standards, was surprising for a franchise many people today outside of retro fanatics (Like myself and many of the folks reading this post!) whom may never had heard of the property. One of the coolest items was the rare Mighty Crusaders Board Game! It sported a very heroic box art! The fun didnt stop there as the Crusaders were splashed all over the typical fare of the era such as water guns, disc saucer guns, walkie talkies, things that today would be considered dollar store toys! *Merchandise photos are all compliments of our friends at one of my all time favorite Retro sites  Plaid Stallions visit them and enjoy their absolute wealth of nostalgic riches!!

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I was however disappointed to find that there was no Mighty Crusaders Doctor Kit which was a trope in the dollar toy industry that every franchise took advantage of. Missed opportunity? However not to be disappointed we did get  very cool Crusader stunt cycles and parachute figures!

With a property that seemed so viable with several comics series, and plenty of merchandise to go with it how is it that the majority of the  World do not remember the MLJ characters? How is it that these characters are not household names? Well as fond of memories as I have for these characters , comics and merchandise the fact is that the line did not get over with the masses. The direct market format for Archie’s Adventure line went against the mass media publication market like they did with their digests and floppys sold at anywhere magazines were sold to a more niche distribution which hurt the line. Would we be telling a different story had the Archie Adventure Line been as readily available as Archie’s Digest series on every Supermarket Shelf? I feel they would have. The same goes for the toyline. Remco was a decent toymaker that sadly did not have the deep international penetration of Kenner or Mattel as a result many never even knew The Crusaders ever existed on a toy shelf. So both the comics and the toys suffered from limits on distribution but still manged to deliver a competitive product certainly comparable with the toyfare of the time.

The Archie Adventure Series came out of the gate roaring. Many forget that Archie Comics lured some of the industries most acclaimed artists in the business including Jack “King” Kirby, Steve Ditko , Jim Steranko just to name a few to work on these books!Would it be enough with the comics industry on the verge of the big comics boom of the 1990s?? Archie brought multiple titles to comics shelves and the world opened their doors once again to the classic MLJ hero universe!!

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My personal favorite of the lot was The All New Adventures Of The Mighty Crusaders that lasted 13 issues. See The Cover Gallery above kids for this one! This title came second place for the longest run of issues in the line and was probably the most action packed of all the titles as it featured all Crusaders and even some new ones in a full on team book.

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Blue Ribbon Comics 1-14 This one was a rehash of the old MLJ series from 1939 of the same name which was essentially a anthology series which told new stories from alternating characters in the universe. This edition from the Archie Adventure series was the longest lasting title in the line! It alternated stories of the Mighty Crusaders individual exploits. Mostly it featured The Fly and The Black Hood. The Art was probably the best of all series in the line and featured purposely an alternating roster of creative talent including Kirby, Ditko, Buckler, to name a few!

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The Fly 1-9 My favorite of the solo books! The Fly featured beautiful Steranko Covers as featured above as well as interior art from one of comics masters Steve Ditko for the last issues of the series. The adventures of the fly were very standard comics fare with one and done villain of the week stories that were wrapped up in a neat bow by the end of twenty something pages just how I loved it as a kid!

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Lancelot Strong: The Shield. This book had an identity crisis. It began as Lancelot Strong the Shield for issues 1-2 , Then changed into The Shield Steel Sterling for issue 3 before switching altogether into just simply Steel Sterling for its final 4 issues of its existence beginning with issue 5. It also had the dubious distinction of sharing two brands as well. It began under the imprint Red Circle before switching out to just the Archie Adventure Series on the 5th issue that also marked the final title change.Steel Sterling was a basic solo Adventure series which served a a bridge between the old MLJ universe and the new Archiverse.

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Steel Sterling (Previously Lancelot Strong for issues 1-3) Switches to Steel Sterling with issues 4-7.This title was the ugly step-child of the group in that it was the one title that seemed to change every issue and lacked direction and consistency. As individual issues this title was okay ..as a collected work Steel Sterling was a tough road to hoe!

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The Original Shield was another short lived title that ran 4 issues that served as the origin story of the Original Shield. This title mirrored closest early era Captain America as The Shield battled Nazi’s all the while being a super patriot.Ironically he did NOT have a shield when it counted!! The title was much better than the newer incarnation of the Shield as well had so great Dick Ayres artwork. Worth a look!

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As it would come to pass.. The Archie Adventure line was a failure and all things Mighty Crusaders disappeared from comic spinner racks, and toy shelves. By 1985 the MLJ Heroes were resigned to long boxes in the quarter bins of the 80s basement dwelling comics shops and the bottoms of toy-boxes…and that was the final breathe for this classic group of heroes…UNTIL..

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In 1991…The Archie Adventure Series Heroes were all re-imagined under comics super power DC Comics to form their brand new imprint IMPACT!

But THAT friends..is a story for another day…TO BE CONTINUED…

Transmission Ended..

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Greetings Super-Blog Team Up fans..the band is back with another tale to weave into the fabric of the blogosphere. This round we tackle “Versus”. If you are reading this years from now some context is needed. In this year of 2016 Super Hero films are still big bucks at the box office and both Marvel and DC are hanging their hats on two films where their main “Good Guy”characters square off one on one. Dc’s Batman V Superman debuted to mixed reviews but a very large draw and is still making big money as we speak. On may 6th Marvel takes their shot in the war with Captain America: Civil War which trumpets the big battle between Marvels head honcho Captain America and Iron Man! Both films promise a full-scale battle of Hero vs Hero.

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Fortunately comic book history is filled to the brim with tale after tale of Earths mightiest heroes battling each other, even villains vs villains, not to mention Super Team vs Super Team! So many examples of epic battles with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Some battles have loved ones in danger and others where heroes secret identities hang in the balance. It brings us great pleasure here at The Superhero Satellite to bring you none of that! In fact this may be the shortest battle of Hero vs Hero in the history of comics. Without further adieu I present to you the moment when the Dark Knight, The Caped Crusader, The Bat, Batman took on the galaxies greatest protector, The GREEN LANTERN!! Okay…its Guy Gardner but he is a Lantern darn it! Anyways..on with the show..strap in and let’s get going to 1986..

Begin Transmission : May 4th 2016

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DC had finished their massive crossover Crisis On Infinite Earths as detailed gloriously in past Super-Blog Team Ups and was looking to clean up many loose ends that resulted in its conclusion! Believe us there were a ton of them! The company decided after successful reboots of their core characters that they would pull all loose ends together into a bright red bow and make sense of all the individual titles by reforming their Super Team….The Justice League Of America! John Ostrander and Len Wein were the scribes in charge of reuniting DC’s heavy hitters under one banner. The story would be called Legends and it would take place over the course of 6 issues and multiple crossovers . It would be a jump on point for new readers and launched several new titles such as Flash, Suicide Squad and the brand new Justice League. In the story Darkseid wages a bet with Phantom Stranger that he will turn the world against earths Superheroes and uses a human political pawn as his catalyst. The end result sees DC’s finest come together to seemingly reform the Justice League and thwart Darkseid’s somewhat silly plot. Legends #6 boasts an all-star line up for the Justice League boasting Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Shazam, Black Canary, Guy Gardner, Dr. Fate , Changeling, Martian Manhunter and Blue Beetle! The band was back together and DC fans were excited for this league to continue on and protect this new DC Universe, Post Crisis. All was right with the world again…or was it?

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Sadly this League would dissolve quicker than it came together. Superman declined the invite, Wonder Woman walked away quietly, Changeling went back to his gig with the Titans and Flash sped away disinterested in being bound to a team. It seemed the rug had been pulled out from fans who had suffered through some bad times in Justice League history with the ill-fated Justice League Detroit (which actually kicks some major ass and is a very fun read!) and With many JLA heavy hitters seemingly out of the mix for the next round of this new league, The new groups prospects of commercial success seemed significantly less. How can we have a JLA without the Trinity? (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) Well Writer/ Artist Keith Giffen along with J.M. Dematteis and Kevin Maguire would roll out the LEAST likely band of misfits the Justice League banner had ever seen.

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So was born the Justice League International or the Bwah Ha Ha League as it is fondly recalled by the comics faithful. Giffen and DeMatteis would bring a very lighthearted comedic tone to proceedings.

The famous Justice League #1 from May 1987 sported one of the most copied covers in comics history with a family picture sort of cover sporting this new team with some very suspect looking participants. While the team boasted classic JLA heavyweights such as Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary it also assembled a far more unique crew than the JLA had ever seen. Many of which were imports from DC’s recent acquisitions from Charlton Comics, Fawcett, and the Kirby verse. The Blue Beetle, Mister Miracle, Oberon , Shazam and a brand new Version of Dr. Light rounded out this roster. One member however stole the cover with the now famous “Wanna make somethin of it??” Guy Gardner, a relatively lesser known member of the illustrious and complicated Green Lantern Corp filled out the roster. It was apparent that Gardner was bringing the “Attitude” to its ranks. One look at Batman’s face knows this team is already in trouble.

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For those not familiar with the Justice Leagues newest Green Lantern would quickly grow to love the renegade Lantern. He originally debut in Green Lantern Vol. 2 Issue 59 and from the get go we know that this Green Lantern didn’t play by the rules. In this issue The Guardians give Green Lantern Hal Jordan a lesson in humility by showing him what would have been if Guy Gardner had been selected by Abin Sur to wear the famous Green Power Ring rather than him. We can all be thankful it turned out the way it did. During his travels Gardner would be passed over many times to lead the Lanterns in favor of Hal Jordan and John Stewart but always held to his guns that HE was the one destined to lead the team…alas at the time this did not come to pass however it would be a core reason why he was tormented by being subservient to another leader.

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Guy went headlong into battles with DCs greatest rogues gallery would find himself in a bad situation in DC’s fabled Phantom Zone where he would be beaten into oblivion and permanently injured. A victim of brain damage, Guy as a result was a moody , self indulged prick who commanded the leadership of the JLI. Gardner however was not taken seriously by his new team mates. This certainly wasnt the Green Lantern Corp. anymore!! Joining a new group would be a little “problematic” for Guy as we will see..

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We all know the story of the Batman. Avenging his parents death, Bruce Wayne goes on a mission to rid the world of evil doers. Along the way he gains multiple sidekicks with Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Superman and many others. For all intents and purposes..Bruce Wayne was never good with relationships and no matter if it was with a partner, a love interest, or a Super Team, Batman’s relationships always turned out badly. Batman would be part of The Batman Family, The Justice League Of America and even The Outsiders…all of which were dysfunctional relationships to say the least.

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Batman as well was never one for playing second fiddle to anyone and usually assumed the leadership role as would be the case with the latest incarnation of the Justice league International. After the downfall of Justice League Detroit former Leader, Martian Manhunter was reluctant to put the lives of another team in his hands as he felt squarely responsible for their demise. Batman took the reins while the group was in their bonding period. However…unlike anyone he ever teamed with, Guy Gardner was NOT a team player and it was up to Batman to put him in line. It was the battle of wills..The mysterious Batman VERSUS an ultra powerful ring wielder who has the power of the universe at his hands…only one would prevail in a Game of Thrones.

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From the opening page of Justice League #1 Vol. 2 1988, Gardner was already front and center and plotting to do a grand take over of the leadership position of the mighty newly reformed Justice League. Tensions would fly at their first ever meeting as a group..and Gardner and Batman would get their first taste of each other..it was NOT love at first sight!

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In fact Gardner’s overtures towards the leadership position would not only be rejected but it would lead to an all out breakdown of the team only in their first organized group meeting. Batman could see right away that despite his reluctance to once again lead a super team…this boat needed a captain..and FAST!

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With Gardner upstaged in front of the team, it would not only intensify the fire between Bats and Guy. It was just the start in a series of confrontations..as Batman attempted to instill a sense of protocol to proceedings Guy would be there to challenge his every word..

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Guys temper would make for some tense moments in the team’s business. Gardner had no respect for Manhunter’s word despite Jonzz being a longstanding leader of the original Justice League Of America. Guy also would have none of The Big Red Chesse’s (Shazam) words either, but when it came to Batman, Gardner would dare not step any further.

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Batman would literally become Guys babysitter. At every outburst or irrational thought, Bats was there to shut Guys outbursts down and amazingly there was zero retaliation..

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Despite Guys reluctance to fight Batman, he would antagonize The Dark Knight at every opportunity. Both parties were now in the advanced stage of their passionate dislike for each other. Gardner took every shot he could whether on the battle field or in front of their peers. Serious group debriefings were fertile ground for Guys barbs….as Batman continued to make mental note of his detractors poor attempts to get under his skin.

 

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Batman continued to hold the Lantern at bay, but when the League had their back against the wall, Gardner challenged Batman’s leadership for the last time. The defiance, the outbursts, the smart remarks and the tantrums would come to a head. Gardner would build up the courage to put the money where his mouth was as once and for all, Guy Gardner challenged Batman for the coveted Leadership position of DC’s high-profile flagship super group.

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All the pent-up frustration..all the years of being held back by his peers in the Green Lantern Corps and now again in the Justice League. Gardner even removed his power ring and with no more fear in his heart, Guy Gardner BIT!!

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Guy Gardner handed his ring to Blue Beetle and rushed furiously towards Batman and FINALLY these two rivals would square off one on one, head to head in a battle to end all battles this war was finally settled…

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With ONE Punch…

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What? Were you expecting something different? A bigger battle? A drawn out brawl over the course of six issues? Nope not here…sometimes less is more. Masterpieces are not created in one stroke of the brush…this rivalry was the exception. Batman would go on to leave the League a short time afterwards but Guy would still not achieve the top spot. Batman would go on to lead again and even Guy many years later, would finally get his respect as a Leader in the Green Lantern Corps...but that my friends is another story for another day. If you are hungry for a fight the battles continue with our group of Fellow Super Bloggers…read more below!!

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 1. Between The Pages : “Star Wars Versus…” http://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2016/05/star-wars-versus.html

2. Crapbox Son Of Cthulhu: Jack Of Hearts vs ROM!! http://crapboxofcthulhu.blogspot.com/2016/05/super-blog-team-up-versus-edition.html

3. Chris Is On Infinite Earths Guy Gardner vs Blue Beetle! http://chrisisoninfiniteearths.blogspot.com/2016/05/justice-league-america-52-1991.html

4. LongBox Graveyard: Fire and Water: Human Torch vs Submariner https://longboxgraveyard.com/2016/05/04/fire-and-water-the-human-torch-vs-sub-mariner/

5. Coffee and Comics Blog: Spiderman Versus Ghost Rider http://coffeecomicsreading.blogspot.ca/2016/05/marvel-team-up-91-1980.html?m=1

6. In My Not So Humble Opinion: Captain America vs Wolverine https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/captain-america-vs-wolverine/

7. Bronze Age Babies: Civil War – Silver Age Style! Tales of Suspense 58
http://bronzeagebabies.blogspot.com/2016/05/super-blog-team-up-civil-war-silver-age.html

8.Superhero Satellite: Super-Blog Team Up 8: Batman vs Green Lantern (Guy Gardner) – http://wp.me/p2N3Qb-M8

9. The Unspoken Decade: War Machine vs Cable
https://theunspokendecade.com/2016/05/04/sbtu-presents-vs-war-machine-vs-cable/

10. The Retroist: The Joker vs Sherlock Holmes http://www.retroist.com/2016/05/04/super-blog-team-8-joker-sherlock-holmes/

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When it comes to X-Mas all my readers know I am more than a little sentimental. Whether its the music, the food, or the Christmas catalogues, we all know the selfish side of us love one thing…THE GIFTS!! The old saying goes “It is better to Give Than Receive..” we all know its pretty damn cool to receive as well! This December my family have a very important date planned to share a fun event and that on December 18th. The 18th and not the 25th you may ask? That’s not Christmas you say..whats so important about December 18th? I call it a Geeks Christmas as fans worldwide will finally go to theaters to watch the debut of Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens! Select members of our esteemed SBTU Crew have gathered around the Satellite Holo-tree and share our memories of a Galaxy Far Far Away… Pour Up some Egg Nog Heroes, and join us as we raise a Holiday Glass to Star Wars!

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Begin Transmission: Dec 16th 2015

As a child Star Wars was more than a movie. It occupied a large portion of my childhood through Movies, Comics, and our topic today the Original Toy-Line! Many an hour was spent playing with these little plastic toys and their very cool accessories and vehicles creating my own episodes of the Star Wars Saga! Well in 1977 the Kenner Toy Company was more than willing to fill kids wishes in the valued 4th Quarter and as the holiday season approached Star Wars was at a fever pitch. Kenner was primed to deliver a massive influx of cash towards their companies bottom line and win the Christmas season. They would be conquering heroes of the lucrative Toy Market…then it happened. The production team could not deliver the toys to market in time for the Golden Holiday Season. In an act of desperation Kenner created the Early Bird Package. Yes under the tree at Christmas Star Wars fans in 77 opened ……(Drum Roll Please!!) an ENVELOPE!!!??

 

 

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The STAR WARS EARLY BIRD CERTIFICATE PACKAGE (1977)

Kenner could not deliver the figures but to pad their losses they went for a “Made” money approach. Customers would be “promised” the action figures later in 1978 if they purchased the Early Bird Certificate Package. The package would include 4 items including a Certificate that you would have to mail in that was good for 4 Star Wars figures that would be mailed to your home between Feb. 1st 1978 – July 1st 1978.

Star Wars Early Bird Back

(Back) The Original Early Bird Set Did NOT Include Han Solo, Darth Vader, or C3-Po? The Original promised line up were Chebacca, Princess Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, and R2-D2

So you may ask what was a kid supposed to do with a stupid Early Bird Certificate? There were a series of steps involved.

  1. Open your Certificate Envelope.

 

Star wars Early Bird 3

Fill out your Name and Address on BOTH portions of the Early Bird Certificate!

2. Tear Off Your Proof Of Purchase Card, write the date you mailed your Star Wars figures and store it in your records.

PofP Coupon

 

 

3. Set Up your STAR WARS Display Diorama that is included in the set! I will admit. I was a sucker for displays and playset’s especially when it comes to STAR WARS toys! The Display set itself was cheap but pretty nice! Collectors still struggle to find these in great condition and that is part of the charm of being an Early Bird Customer!

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4. Next. Enjoy your enclosed set of STAR WARS Stickers! The detailing on the stickers were a little lackluster. It is clear that Kenner was struggling to rush something…anything, to market that Christmas in 77.

Early Bird Stickers

Early Bird Star Wars Sticker Set included with Kenners Early Bird Package

Once you have mailed off your certificate…all you had to do now was….WAIT. Fortunately for Kenner they were able to meet the deadline and there were no further delays and the very FIRST STAR WARS FIGURES ARRIVED in Feburary of 1978!!

Star Wars Early Bird Open

The Original 4 STAR WARS Figures from 1978!

The Figures came shipped with a Thank You card, a white packaging tray and action figure stand tabs to insert into the base of the diorama display set included in the early bird package. As the saying goes “Good Things Come To Those Who Wait” applies to this situation as folks who were fortunate enough to purchase this Early Bird Package received possibly one of the most coveted Action Figure in the history of Action Figure Collecting! That figure would be the Double Telescoping Lightsaber Luke Skywalker. This figure is so rare that it was even featured on a recent episode of AMC’s Comic Book Men!

 

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As cool as it sounded have a lightsaber tip that extended much further than many other of the like models of that particular original Luke. However it was disheartening to know it was very poorly crafted and the tip itself often bent easily making your lightsaber look very stupid. Check poor Luke above.

Chewbacca Early Bird

 

Included in the early Bird set as well was a not quite as rare as the Luke mentioned above) was a unique Chewbacca with a Greenish tinted  molded Bow Blaster rifle was shipped with all early shipments of this set making it a very sought after variant! True fan boy collectors know that the early bird set with variant Luke and Chewie is a rare gem in the collecting universe!

Star Wars Original Collection

While I did NOT have the good fortune of buying the Early Bird Packages in 1977 (I was only 3!!) I did however have the complete set of original action figures and still boast 75% of them to this day! Nothing were quite like the original toys.Yes they had far less articulation than their modern day relatives but they represented a changing of the guard in the action figure industry. The figure market that was previously dominated by bigger versions of action toys like the old 12 inch G.I. Joe figures as well as the middle sized and super fun MEGO collections popular in that day were replaced with the official dawn of the 3 3/4 era action figures when Star Wars fever hit!

 

Original 1978 Star Wars Commercial

Of course I was a collector who on every possible allowable occasion  would get one of these gems at the store. I was too young to enjoy the Early Bird experience however, by the time the Empire Collection arrived this Hero was in full Star Wars Collecting Beast Mode!

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At this point in the 80s however, leaving your figures mint on card was not an option, so all of my toys were open and well played with especially the Star Wars originals! I had plenty of vehicles and play-sets to go along with my figures so I basically felt like I had my own galaxy! I had an X-Wing, Darth Vader Tie Fighter, the AT-AT Walker, Boba Fett’s Slave 1,and many more! As for Play-Sets, I was fortunate enough to acquire Hoth, Cloud City, Dagobah, Jabbas Palace and the Grand Daddy of them all The Millenium Falcon! Of course as discussed in a previous Satellite post about my favorite Christmas Gifts I also had The Death Star!! Overtime..things broke, pieces went missing, poorly conceived trades occurred and my collection slowly died.

Death Star Vintage Toys

My collecting twilight was in my adulthood just at the time that it was announced that the Prequel movies were being released. The much maligned Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was on its way and fans worldwide were exploding with anticipation as I was! I began re-building my collection. eBay was in its infancy and many folks didnt truly know how to post auctions and occasionally  a seller would post something under a weird category and literally get zero interest. As was the case with an original Star Wars Action Figure collection. Like a speculative comics fan in the 90s who thought they would send their kids to college with their fortune they would amass after selling their collection I lucked into a carded original Star Wars Action figure set of 7 figures and bought them all for 10 dollars!! The figures were improperly categorized under “Dolls”and as a result I was able to jump start my collection!

Impossible eBay Auction

Random eBay Auction Where You Can Still Get Lots Of Vintage Star Wars Stuff!!

From there I regained a Millenium Falcon, a AT AT Walker, new models of Star Destroyers, X-Wings, Tie Fighters, I even completed my Marvel Comics Star Wars collection and added a horde of new mint on card action figures! I even built myself my own collection room and filled it with mostly Star Wars merchandise! The ultimate geek cave was born!

 

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I remain a true STAR WARS Geek to this day!

All would change one fateful day when I returned home from work and I entered my home through the downstairs entrance of my split level rental home. I noticed a piece of cardboard that looked like a toy package on the floor.I thought little of it as my kid always came away with a new toy when we visited the store and often would not wait until he actually got in the house to rip open his new toy! This was not out of character for our family so I did not give the packaging DNA evidence a second thought. As I walked the hallway to go upstairs to our main living space I noticed more packaging debris..that led to the closed door of my Toy room! I opened the door and to my complete horror ALL of my action figures were missing from the walls of the room..instead in the middle of the space was a mound of shredded packaging. My eyes surveyed the room as shock turned to anger and on my office desk where my Millenium Falcon usually proudly displayed was absent as well. The crown jewel had been stolen…I had a suspicion of what happened. This was not the work of an intruder..this type of carnage could only have come from a child..MY CHILD..my 3 year old son..who happened to be a big Star Wars fan and had his own great Phantom Menace action figure collection. As I gritted my teeth and exited the scene of the crime, I turned and stormed out of the room and headed upstairs where I heard the familiar chatter of my wife and children.As I walked up the stairs, inching savagely forward to the top level, one glance to the right I caught the culprit red handed!!

 

Falcon

There, in the middle of my living room was my 3 year old son proudly swooshing a fully loaded Millenium Falcon in the air with a giant smile on his face completely lost in play! I looked in the kitchen just off the living room area where my wife looked out and simply said “He got into your room…” that was it. My anger at this point was at a terrible boil and I turned again to somehow rescue the remnants of my collection as my son set the Falcon down on the living room table and grabbed more figures still enthralled with his own little universe and with that I was disarmed. A flashback of my younger self reminded me of the sheer joy of playing with my toys and seeing him having that same experience actually made me happy. I was suddenly at peace with the fact that my kid was enjoying the exact same toys that I grew up on and you know that changes a guy. Many years of Father-Son Star Wars play would result and at that exact moment I grew up. I was no longer that adult who beat the kids to the store to clean out the toy shelves so I could add a rare piece to the walls of my man cave. I appreciated what it meant to be a kid who loved Star Wars and really THAT is one of those moments where you just know “The kids (MY Kids in particular!) will be alright!”

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So just two days out from December 18th my family and I have a stack of movie tickets to Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens and that former 3 year old son is now 15 and cannot wait to see the newest Star Wars film. My wife is also a pretty darn big Disney fan who enjoys a yearly trek to Disney World in Orlando to attend Star Wars Weekends and gets just as excited as the boys to meet the characters! Her Facebook profile is of her wearing her Star Wars T-Shirt posing with Chewbacca! Hows that for geek love..how can you not love a woman like that!! Then on my other side is my latest child who is six and during his many visits to Disney has defeated Darth Vader twice and Darth Maul in his last outings at Jedi Academy Training at Disney World. He is a fan as well with a great Lego Star Wars collection plus the family inheritance of the remaining portions of our collection!! I feel I have become Ghost Obi-Wan, My 15 Year Old Son is now Jedi Luke, and my youngest Offspring is Finn!! Generations of Star Wars love…The Force Is Strong in our Family..My Wife has it..My Children have it…and by god..I STILL HAVE IT!!

 

Well this is where I stop and get off..it has been my honor to share the passion I have for a Galaxy Far Far Away and all the characters that I really love to this day. I hope that tonight you and your significant others turn on one of these movies and you enjoy it as much as a fanboy I once knew in the early 80s whose every minute held his Luke Skywalker figure close and imagination ran wild!

Transmission Ended..

For MORE Super-Hero Satellite Star Wars fun read all past Star Wars posts from yours Truly, The Charlton Hero! Enjoy!

Be sure to check out the rest of the Super Hero Satellites own Star Wars related posts!!

Star Wars Logo

May The Force Be With You!!

Star Wars: The Disney Menace

Star Wars: The Marvel Comics Years

Star Wars: A Caravan Of Ewoks

 SBTU Crawler

Longbox Graveyard: Star Wars Card Trader Enter The Galactic Graveyard Here..

The Retroist: The Force Was Strong With Star Wars Records Nobody Does Retro like Retroist!! CLICK HERE!!

Between The Pages: A long time ago in a bookstore far, far away….
Go Between The Pages..CLICK HERE!!
Son of Crapbox Of Cthullu: The Crappiest Comics In The Universe!! CLICK HERE!!

(Mystery V-Log) Cap N Cummings YOUTUBE Channel : My Personal Star Wars History Unveil The Mystery..CLICK HERE!!

Bronze Age Babies: Star Wars: Season of the Force
Visit the BRONZE AGE now CLICK HERE!!!

Superhero Satellite: Star Wars Episode 7: The Toys Awaken.
Hey..You are already here!!

In My Not So Humble Opinion:Star Wars Sketch Book In MY Opinion you should CLICK HERE!!

 

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Welcome Back Heroes..

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery..and here is a great example. Action figures were always a passion of mine and I still maintain 90 percent of my collection to this day. I have fond memories of pretty well every toy I ever owned. It fascinates me when I see toy lines from my collection era that I may have missed out on or simply never had the opportunity to buy. As is the case with our topic today. Comic book ads always spoke volumes to me..I wanted everything that were ever featured in the confines of my 24 page treasures. I knew many things featured in my comics such as Twinkies and Slurpee’s were sold only in the USA at that time and I had made peace with that. During my infrequent trips across the border from my home in Canada into the U.S. I would always make a point of hunting down things I could not get at home. I was always pretty successful..however from time to time there was always that one nugget that escaped my grasp…as was the case with Remco Toys.

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Charlton Hero: “Computer punch in coordinates for The Lost World Of Skartaris..we have a date with a group of great Warriors that need our help!”

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Satellite Navigation Computer: ” Locking Coordinates Now Captain..this world of Skartaris is NOT recommended as the world is marked as uncivilized. Do not say you have not been warned human..”

 

 

Satellite Warp GIFWelcome To Skartaris….

Warlord toys

 

Begin Transmission: Oct 26 2015

Founded in the 1940s, Remco Industries, Inc. was a toy company  best known at the time for toys of the late 1950s and 1960s, like the Johnny Reb Cannon, Mighty Matilda Atomic Aircraft Carrier. “Every Boy Wants a Remco Toy…And So Do Girls!” screamed the Remco mission statement! Their time on top of the toy world was short-lived and by the early 1980s Remco was fighting to find their niche in the lucrative Action Figure Boom of the 1980s. Franchises like Masters Of The Universe, Super Powers, Star Wars, GI Joe, and WWF Wrestlers were big hits on the Toys shelves.

Remco entered the lucrative toy market with a thud in 1980 with their line of Universal Monsters Figures. Using a license they picked up in their formative years, Remco tried to strike with recognizable Movie Monster toys. The toys were decent, poorly articulated but a collector’s item now in the 2000’s and yes I had some and in their prime these were pretty darn cool!

Universals Monster Collection

 

  • In 1981 Remco made a stab at hot TV property The Dukes of Hazard.  Yeeeeee Haaa! I loved me some Dukes and these figures of the Good Ole Boys were awesome. These figures used the better style articulation of the soon to be classic GI Joe figure model consisting of joints and a swivel body held together with a rubber band! The Dukes were cool! I was lucky enough to have the General Lee, Bo, Luke, and Boss Hog!! (When it was politically okay to say that!)

My General Lee Collection 1

In 1982 Sgt. Rock figures for DC comics were released from Remco. I was a long time DC comics fan and loved Sgt. Rock comics but I did not have the good fortune to even see any of these figures. I had only seen them in ads in my favorite DC Comic books and I wanted them!! Sadly not one of these ever made it in my collection. I would have loved to have a Sarge figure run a campaign against Cobra with my Joe’s back in the early 80s!

 

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REMCO Warlord Toy ad 3

 

  • Then came the Warlord collection in 1982. Even though I maintained several Warlord Comics in my collection I was never a fan of the character or the title.  I WAS however a fan of the art work, and the damn cool look of the character. Like the Sarge..his collection of action figures did not grace the shelves of my local Woolco, Chain Store or even Dalfens Mall. My home town obviously did not partner well with Remco. The above ad always caught my attention and it was only with the advent of the interwebs was this toy hunter able to finally see what these real figures looked like outside of the carefully drawn versions from the comic print ad.

 

Several of the characters from The Warlord comics became action figures in Remco’s action figure line called “Lost World of The Warlord” . The line included figures like The Warlord himself (Travis Morgan) along with other DC Alum like Arak, Hercules (DC’s Version not to be confused with Marvels Avenger), Deimos, Machiste, and Mikola Rostov.

REMCO Warlord Collection

For those of us who have no idea who or what the hell this Warlord character is..here is your ten second catch up..Warlord first appeared in a series by DC Comics called 1st Issue Special Issue (#8 To be exact!) in November of 1975. 1st Issue Special was unique as it gave the comic buying world a chance to see new characters in their own solo comic without the risk of making a  solo series. Basically it was their audition to the grand stage..or the spinner rack for that matter. Warlord graduated to his own book the following year as Warlord #1 debuted and went on to a very nice 133 issue run ending in 1988!

 

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Warlord was born in a 1970s worlds previously envisioned by the likes of Edgar Rice Buroughs (Tarzan)  and Robert E Howard (Conan The Barbarian), and the visionary work of the legendary Frank Frazzetta. All three creators influenced the birth of the Warlord character as they wrote and illustrated a genre of savage lands and worlds filled with sword and sorcery as the world knew it in the 1970s. Warlord was not your typical barbarian..this character had something special about him..

1st Issue Special Warlord

The Warlord was a character named Travis Morgan who was a Vietnam veteran airplane pilot who inadvertently steers his plane through the Earths crust to a brand new Lost World thus beginning the saga of the Warlord. It bears mentioning long time Green Arrow artist Mike Grell was the writer/artist who created the Warlord character taking the artistic reigns through issue #52 (1982) and ending his writing duties with issue #71 (1983) giving him his definitive look. Usually clad in some form of white grab and his winged war helmet Warlord didn’t play games…this war vet wasnt afraid of this Lost World as he packed a special weapon..not a typical sword..but a .44 Automag Pistol!

 

Warlord REMCO

As Warlord navigates this new Savage land he is joined by the ever scantily clad Tara, Machiste, Shakira (Not the singer!) Mariah a handy scientist and years later his daughter Jennifer Morgan.

 

Warlord and Friends via Cosplayers!

                                                Warlord and Friends via Cosplayers!

 

Battling enemies such as the demonic sorcerer Deimos and a host of other basic Sword and Sorcery archetypes was Warlords mission. Surprisingly only one of the above cast of main characters received the action figure treatment…but we did get …

 

Hercules REMCO Figure

Hercules?? The Hercules figure is based on the Hercules Unbound Comics title by DC in 1975 created by Gerry Conway.  Like many things produced in that time he exists in a Post Apocalyptic world like many in the Jack Kirby era. This version of Hercules somewhat tied into the existing Kirby title Kamandi. Unlike Marvels version of the classic Hercules with the beard and brown short hair DC went with a more unique version of the character with long black hair and a notably absent beard! I always wondered where this character came from and was not familiar with the Hercules Unbound title. Looking back the title was short-lived lasting only 12 issues but an interesting fact is that it contained early works of Walt Simonson and one of my personal DC favorites Jose Luis Garcia Lopez!

Hercules 1Hercules Unbound

Apparently this character was not popular with the DC upper brass after failing to garner an audience. This version of Hercules was erased from DC History when it was discovered his existence was merely a dream.However the mess that is the DC Multiverse actually later changed that concept again bringing the character back…only to be annihilated in Crisis On Infinite Earths..Poor DC Hercules!! As with everything DC, Hercules would AGAIN be brought back again in another form during the insanely boring War Of The Gods crossover by John Byrne and even the classic armor from the Unbound series made its return. Confused? Me too.  Eitherway..Remco did release the above very cool Remco Action Figure !

ARAK REMCO

Something about Arak God Of Thunder always caught my eye!! Arak began as a not so subtle nod to Conan the Barbarian. The spin on this character was that he was a Native American hero unlike stereotypical versions seen during the time (I am talking to YOU Apache Chief!!) He was intelligent, did not speak in broken english and was a true badass! Araks first appeared in the pages of Warlord #48 as a special insert comic, as was the rage by DC during this time! Remember kids Teen Titans, Night Force and Captain Carrot all came out of these free inserts so these were awesome!! Arak debuted in his own Roy Thomas written title Arak The Son Of Thunder in Sept. 1981 and went on to a classic 50 issue run with DC!

ARAK 1

The figure showcased above his debut comic shows off their blatant attempt to create a Conan knock off. This look did not last long in the comics and Arak undertook a massive visual change adopting a more traditional Native American stereotypical fringed garb and hair style. Not sure what brought this on but something tells me his likeness was uncomfortably too close to Marvels Conan that other factors may have pressured this change. I’ll have to ask Roy Thomas on that one!!

Arak 16

Many fans may ask..”Hero, who in the blue hell is Arak..and why should I care”  Well here is your ten second catch history lesson! Stay with me on this or just skip to the next paragraph. Arak was the Son of He-No The Thunder God. He took over his fathers mantel after his father was killed in a battle with a Serpent God. He realized that a young Arak was in mortal danger and saved him from harm, a move that ended up eventually killing Arak’s father. He-No had arranged for Arak to be sent out into the waters in a canoe away from the deadly reaches of his enemies. He is later discovered and adopted by Vikings who raise him to adulthood and teaching him all the Viking Battle techniques! Arak now in adulthood, goes on many “Conan” like adventures early in the run of the title but the a creative shift brought about many more science fiction elements like adventures involving demons, serpents, Gods and even Time Travel. One curious thing about both Hercules and Arak was that both characters did NOT appear in the pages of Warlord. So their inclusion in the Warlord action figure line was curious or tells us how little character depth there was in the Warlord franchise that was actually marketable.

Deimos REMCO

Good guys are only as good as their rogues gallery. Deimos was the main foil to Warlord in his core title! He was the Master of Black Magic but Deimos had little depth and was a generic basic villain whose main goal was to rule Warlords land of Skataris. Deimos is actually killed multiple times by Travis Morgan and manages to come back to life with some help from Black Magic several times until he is finally beheaded by The Warlord himself and finally put to rest… Interesting about this figure collection was Remco’s attempt to make these figures very close to the Masters Of The Universe collection. The figures have a generic body with the same crouched stance of the MOTU collection. Check out Deimos cardboard backer it actually says “Plays with Warrior Beasts, Masters Of The Universe, and Blackstar and other 5 1/2 inch action figures!

Machiste REMCO

Remco was not reinventing the wheel with the Warlord collection. This was a very real attempt to cash in on Matells success of He-Man and Company. The character molds were used multiple times after that with other Remco sets. Machiste was another one of Warlord companions..the only one of two of his legit comrades from the Warlord Comic Book Series! I still find it very strange they populated this toy line with only 50% actual Warlord related toys? Either way Machiste met the Warlord as both met were held captive on a Slave ship. Both men fought their way to freedom and from then on Machiste was by The Warlord’s side defending Skartaris from the Evils of Deimos.

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It is unusual that Remco selected this look for the Machiste character as his look very early in his run as a character (He debuted in Warlord #2!) visual changed dramatically. Fans of Warlord know Machiste as “the guy with the Spike-ball hand”. I would have liked to see what the thought process at Remco creative that went into the character selections this line! This would be my guess for this one toy in the collection that still sits in a thousand cases in a Remco warehouse somewhere. I may be wrong. If you were a Machiste fan and had this toy..write a comment at the bottom of this page and I will retract that last statement. Moving on..

Mikola REMCO

 

Then there is Mikola the second “Friend” Remco selected to play with the Warlord action figure line. Mikola Rostov is a handy swordsman who joins Warlord on his battles in the Lost Land but has a very unique ability…hes a Werewolf! His action figure already has him in his transformed state thankfully. The Warlord characters for the most part were not reissued with the exception of the Warlord himself who has at least two more (If not more!!) action figure incarnations and its no surprise. Bottom line the Warlord collection was a thinly veiled version of the Masters Of the Universe collection but it amazes me how little known and collected these were.

 

Warlord Insert Comic REMCO

Remco very creatively partnered with the fine folks at DC to produce a free giveaway insert comic book to bundle with the toys. This was an idea stolen completely from the Masters Of The Universe collection who paired their original collection with very similar comics to give back story to their toys. The Remco books worked a little different as barely any of the characters were seen as main stream and had literally zero marketing push with the exception of two to three well placed comic ads as seen above. Literally this giveaway were many kids first..and last look at the world of The Warlord and friends. The comic however did serve a purpose as it unified all the different character worlds and brought ALL the characters together

warlord cataloge

A rare catalog ad for the Lost World collection and Warrior Beasts. Interesting about this ad is that it shows the very rare Playset and war team sets!! Source: PlaidStallions.com

REMCO wasnt done! Another spin off set figures (Free of DC License fees!! Smart move Remco!!) included..  set of Warrior Beast figures to “Play” with the Warlord collection. See if you can pick out a Skeletor and Beast Man knock off in that mix? The others in the set look like someone raided the Dollar store and glued random Dinosaur heads on He-Man bodies. One point here includes the fact that the same molds used for Warlord and The Wrestling Toys were re-purposed again here!

Warrior Beasts

 

Gecko, Snake-man, Craven, Skull Man, Skull Face, Wolf Warrior, and Hydraz. The funny thing about these toys is that a couple of these even made it to the real lost world of the toy shelves in my home town!! Especially the Skull guy. Take notice on the photo above of the Warrior beasts the infamous Skull-Man is on the bottom left..but on the bottom right is Skull Face!! Yes they used the exact SAME FIGURE AND PUT A NEW HEAD on the mold!! The Skull Face figure is a direct no bones rip off of Skeletor complete with hood and all. Remco must have been happy that Mattel didnt consider them active competition.

 

"Hey..This guy look just like SKULL FACE..." Said Nobody.

“Hey..This guy looks just like SKULL FACE…” Said Nobody.

Someone at Mattel I think had a funny bone as a very Remco like toy was released in the Masters line at the end of its tenure..I present Scare Glow…hmmmm…lol.Familiar? Scare Glow would definately “Play With” the Warrior Beasts line!

 

ScareGlow

Next Remco jumped the Shark from DC to their main competition Marvel Comics!! The result was as you would expect..lackluster.. I present Crystar: The Crystal Warrior..

 

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In 1982-83 Remco paired with Marvel to produce Crystar Action Figures. I was a fan of Marvels Crystar: Crystal Warrior Comic Series and I even remember picking up the guy at the far right with the pointy fingers!! I was so happy to find these toys at a discount store on a trip to a town an hour away from my home I didnt care that I didnt get Crystar!! This was an early attempt by Marvel to jump into the figure market through Remco! It was a dud as was the comic book series that is still fondly remembered but lasted a sad 11 issues.

Conan Remco

  • 1984 brought Remco’s Conan Action Figure line.  If you thought that the Warlord toys were almost too similar to the Masters Of The Universe Collection from Mattel the Conan series is possibly WORSE!! As a little bit of background He-Man himself was meant to be a Conan series as it was originally planned..however with licensing issues and deadlines Mattel went on to create a new property with He-Man and Company. Remco however looked at this flopped deal like printing money. Would this be Remco’s victorious first win in the Toy Market!!??

  • As fate would have it…No. Apparently kids were more than happy with Masters Of The Universe and as a result Conan came off looking like a rip off despite the fact that He-Man was actually designed with Conan in mind!! Did you know He-Mans original concept had black hair!!

 

Remco not to be denied continued to try licensed toy properties this time partnering with Archie/Red Circle Comics to produce The Mighty Crusaders figure line!!

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I loved the comic book line by Archie mainly due to the fact that they were so rare to buy in my home town. A comic shop would sometimes yield a Crusaders title or two. Even during a scattered trade I would unearth a copy of the Fly..or The Web..or even The Shield!! These characters were cool and very under appreciated so I am glad to showcase the rare Remco figure collection below!!

Crusaders

In 1985 Remco struck again! With the WWF and MTV partnering, Wrestling had become a very hot property! Wrestlemania had just been born and Hulkamania had exploded all over TV sets! WWF and LJN had created their own Wrestling Superstars line of toys and were very successful. Remco wanted in on the action. They hooked up with prominent competition to the WWF, the American Wrestling Association (AWA) . The line boasted and remains popular to this day as it showcased early figures of the Road Warriors, Ric Flair, Shawn Micheals, The Freebirds, and Rick Martel. These figures are highly sought after by collectors and can generate a great deal of money in good condition.!! As well..the line used the molds for Warlord and Conan again! Remco got good mileage out of their early designs!

 

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Other great Remco toys included!

Everyone remembers the Masters Of The Universe Collection but some of those fans rarely remember the heroes from the Lost world. Warlord and his gang were indeed heavily “Inspired” by He-Man and friends and did not sell anywhere near the toys that Mattel did of the back of the mighty Eternian but its fun to look back at their biggest imitator! Not sure how flattered He-Man was with Warlord though?

 

SBTU Contunies

Heroes, back to the command deck we are about to lock in coordinates for our next stop…to a Galaxy far far Away..*Hint Hint* Dont forget Super-Blog Team Up Returns as well in December of this year with a theme that many readers of the Satellite will love. Take care..we will see you in another time..and place.

Hero Out..

Transmission Ended…

 

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