Posts Tagged ‘Star wars’

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.

JackKirbysFourthWorld

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.

Kirby Creations2

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**

Computer awakens

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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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.

Gardners debut

 

 

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.

Guy confronts Batman

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!!

I Bite Guy Punches

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…

The Punch

With ONE Punch…

Guy Recovers

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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Today I have gathered the Satellite crew in the main cabin for what I like to call..reading time. Yes, a foreign concept in this technical world of cell phones and computers. Gather round the virtual library and marvel at some classics that may have passed by a whole generation of kids..Yes today is Scholastic Day at The Satellite!!

Begin Transmission: April 1 2016

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I was a fan of school..although the younger me would dispute this many mornings struggling to get up out of bed. Overall if I look back I would not trade one day of the public school system. In our home town there were none of today’s craziness with guns and drugs and bullying..we came to school…hung out with our friends and at time at the most an odd fight would break out but would be settled in the court of the playground. Yes my fellow school goers were generally a civilized bunch and it was always good times. One very memorable thing that I looked forward to every month was a little 4-6 page pamphlet that teachers would hand out so you could order books and have them delivered to your school. The Scholastic Book Order was the Sears Wish Book of Public School!

Scholastic was an American based publishing company that offered discounted literature to school districts all over Canada and The United States. They distributed order forms to schools for kids and parents to browse and order books through their services. Scholastic did a great job marketing their titles to kids as they had access to all the latest trends, movies or show publications and would feature them prominently in their pages of their flyer. The flyers were usually 4-6 pages in length and each page would feature plenty of books and items for order. The front Splash page usually featured the most current popular books and deals while the inside of the flyers would offer a variety of offerings from various authors. Of course Scholastic was careful to have multiple circulars for all different age groups so that offerings to elementary school children would not be the same as the offerings to Teens in Jr. High.There were literally hundreds of books from time to time and the prices were never at gouging level..and they also had great savings on bundle packages where you could get a full series of books for one low price.

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I ALWAYS looked forward to these book orders. Once you made up your mind on what books you wanted or could afford, you filled out a long rectangular order slip in the last page of the flyer and noted the items you wanted. You then bugged your parents to fork over the cash and depending on what they donated to the cause decided your literary fate for that month. I feel I always fared decently well..Now where to start??

 

Dynamite Droids

Banannas FactsOfLife

I fondly remember some of my classic hauls. Early on in our elementary days I loved kids magazines such as Dynamite and Bananas. Both were variety magazines which usually had celebrities from the favorite TV shows of the day and an interesting interview or story about them on the inside.

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Dynamite was the better of the two as it had a more serious approach and featured the things I loved as a kid like Star Wars, Different Strokes, The A-Team and Knight Rider to name a few. It also featured plenty of puzzles, quizzes and cartoons to keep you reading!

Before the internet I got my movie and TV news through Dynamite!! Bananas was a comedic almost Mad Magazine style of publication which looked and felt a lot like Dynamite in terms of content and layout but went more for laughs than telling news stories or interviews.Both were great launching points into reading.

 

As my interests changed so did my literary intake. Fun puzzle books and gimmicks were always a staple in the order forms.We didnt have the large selection of media offerings with CDs and video games like kids of today..nope..we had to write our own fun with great stuff like Mad Libs!

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As a long-standing comics fan Scholastic offered higher brow reads so instantly I was drawn to my version of high education..Garfield!! The classic strip bound in a soft cover format were always a favorite of mine and one of my first ever grabs as a kid!! Yep I was introduced to everyone’s favorite Lasagna eating, ideological Cat on the ground level with this classic!! This was MY kind of literature!! Others in my class had advanced deep into The Hardy Boys , Nancy Drew and The Bobbsey Twins books so this Hero was being left behind at the bottom of the literary food chain..that had to change..I couldn’t be ordering kids stuff when the rest of the class was ordering the equivalent to Shakespeare.

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I traded in kids magazines and comic strip books like Garfield, and Mad Libs for novels.I will admit some of my need to dip into the adult side of the pool was because of my love of cover art. I fondly remember buying the Lloyd Alexander Collection. The artwork was very fantasy like and it drew me in like a tractor beam. I will admit to merely skimming the adventures of young Taran but I had to have that art.If not for the fine folks at Scholastic I would never have dared take a chance on such an author!

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So I would quickly realize that literary classics like a Wrinkle In Time and Oliver Twist would not be for me..nope..I loved movie adaptations! So while others read higher brow selections I grabbed such classic as The Karate Kid!! It was perfect for me..it was short, easy to read and had a color photo section from the movie!!

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Of course Science Fiction was always my “go to drug” so when I gazed upon Star Trek 3 The Search For Spock in the book order, I knew I couldnt wait! I could finally find out what happened to Spock after Wrath Of Khan! Our town didn’t yet have a movie theater so this book was one of the few ways of knowing the “Spoilers” that would happen in the movie!! Yes it was still the era of the VHS tape and I would have to wait sometimes over a year before our video stores would have this movie so I put the “X” in the box next to that novel on my book order and loved it when it came! It had a foil embossed logo and all! Nerd Heaven when it wasnt cool!!

 

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As cool as Star Trek was my first passion was always Star Wars and Scholastic super served our kind with their variety of Star Wars fun!! I grabbed my Return Of The Jedi novel with awesome hand and light saber cover!! Guess what..didnt read a page! I devoured the 8 pages of color photos inside scrutinizing every last detail! As with Star Trek it would be a long time before I watched the film on VHS!

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There was the holy trinity of Star Wars books :The Jedi Masters Quiz Book! Not for the casual fan. This book was written by a kid named Rusty Miller and was insanely detailed and the 425 questions would challenge George Lucas himself!! I fact I am certain that old George would not correctly answer some of these questions!!

 

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I opted not to read much of the Return Of The Jedi Novel because truth be told, Scholastic had THIS Bad boy…The Return Of The Jedi Storybook!! The fully illustrated photo story book with a ton of photos from the film and plenty of narrative that made you feel like you were getting the whole story!! Years later I would get this same book in a hole in the wall book store in Buffalo New York with a hard cover!!

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Occasionally if you order a promotional set of titles or spent a certain dollar amount Scholastic would reward that lucky kid with an awesome free poster!! They usually had some pretty cool giveaways. Luckily it was not always a cute cat poster..from time to time you would get awesome posters like this!! Always an incentive to spend more!!

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Over the years I amassed a very large book collection but there was one book that always stuck with me that may be my favorite book of all the selections I ever ordered…yes the Coup De Gras is THE GREAT SUPERMAN MOVIE BOOK!! This book was visually striking and loaded with pics and info all about one of my favorite superheroes of the day!! It had a giant Superman poster inside, and talked all about the Superman films and behind the scenes of them. This was the Internet before the Internet was the Internet..Just go to Amazon and get this one..tell em Hero sent ya. Anyone out there have this one? Share your thoughts below!!

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So to the fine folks at Scholastic, a big thank you from this adult who grew up reading because you offered it! Tons of great Scholastic memories still stay with me! The anticipation of order day arriving and getting that wonderful stack of books is just a great visual etched in my brain. So as we close the Satellite Virtual Library we want to hear from YOU our valued readers! What did you get in your Scholastic Orders? We want to know.

Till Next time heroes…Class time is over. Now back to your stations!!

Transmission Ended..

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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.

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(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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!!

 

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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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Super-Blog Team Up has returned for its 5th installment bigger and better than ever. Multiple Blogs Unite Under One Banner, With One Topic, To Shatter the Blogosphere To Its Core! This time we have not only grown in size but rather have many more new ways to enjoy the S.B.T.U. through a plethora of multimedia, from our original Blog format, to V-Blog, to the Podcast arena..Super-Blog Team Up is back...this time we discuss Parallel Universes and Alternate Realities..The Super-Hero Satellite will be unleashing the multiple realities of Marvels STAR Comics line from 1984. The Satellite will go to familiar places such as Eternia (He-Mans home world as discussed in SBTU 4!!) to Thundaria, To The Moon Of Endor all the way to the Palace of Royal Roy..Strap in Heroes..its time to go back to a world created to print money and put smiles back on kids faces.Could these world possibly have ever truly ties into the Marvel Universe as we know it? The answer is YES!! So before Marvel relaunches this year..this is a celebration of a part of the old Marvel Universe that is often neglected..

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Welcome Back Heroes,

In 1984 I was just beginning my comic collecting venture and my collection was in its infancy. I had not yet come to terms with a defined favorites list outside of the usual suspects like Spider-Man, Batman and Archie. Every now and then something outside of these titles would rear its head in my collection as was the case with Harvey comics. Occasionally an issue of Ritchie Rich or Sad Sack and The Sarge would grace my book shelf and welcomed they were! Those not familiar with the comic publisher Harvey here is your 10 second catch up. In 1941 New York publisher Alfred Harvey created Harvey Comics, a company that found its legs in the licensing market. They were all about purchasing character rights from Paramount Pictures and Famous studios cartoon favorites such as Casper The Friendly Ghost, Mutt and Jeff and my personal favorite the comedy war book, Sad Sack to name a few. It would be their original characters that would be their eventual drawing card for years to come. Ritchie Rich, Hot Stuff, and Wendy The Witch would be among the company’s flagship books well upon till 1982. While the comics market itself was in flux, change was in the air as kids titles and things such as funny animal books, popularized in the 50s and 60s were out of vogue. The industry was preparing for a big change into books tailored for a more mature audience. The comics buying audience had seemingly moved on from kids books and was about to grew up as a result Harvey comics founder Alfred Harvey retired from publishing in 1982 and closed up shop behind him selling off some of Harvey’s properties. Marvel Comics expressed interest in buying up the rights to the Harvey properties and with talks sitting in limbo they decided to launch an entire brand separate from their own Marvel Universe proper..thus was born from the ashes of Harvey Comics..The Marvel STAR Comics Imprint!

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The STAR Comics Imprint model was not a new one..in fact it was the exact model devised by Harvey Comics in the 1940s. It would begin with the acquisition of licensed properties mainly from the exploding 1980s Cartoon Line Ups and Toyline’s at the time. (Satellite Cheap Plug..Read all about the Cartoon Explosion of the 80s as well as Hot toy properties of the 80s in link provided Super-Hero Satellite: R.I.P. Saturday Morning Cartoons.) The STAR line actually began with a One shot that parodied one of Marvels most popular titles, Marvel Tales. The Book, not yet under the STAR banner was the debut of the flagship character of the entire line..Peter Porker, The Spectacular SPIDER-HAM!!

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Marvel Tails acted as a test launch for the brand and was a trial run for the Spider-Ham character. One more licensed property would be used to launch the brand and one that would ironically not resurface after the launch… was popular 80s Cartoon show The Smurfs! These three apples high blue dwarf like creatures called Smurfs would officially be the first STAR imprint based property acquired by Marvel. (Smurfs never officially wore the STAR banner on its cover but were the first true grab for the imprint. The 1982-83 three issue Limited Series was directly based off of actual cartoon episodes as well as older foreign Smurfs publications. The importance of getting the Smurfs property cannot be understated..this would be the first of many HUGE acquisitions for the potential future of the STAR line.

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So it would begin in the July of 1984 (Cover Dated November 1984) STAR Comics would begin with yet another unusual title a 3 Issue Limited Series based on the Family Motion Picture The Muppets Take Manhattan.

STAR Comics Officially Debut!

It would officially debut the STAR Comics Imprint Logo in the Corner Box officially giving STAR Comics a beginning. It would be 5 months later that we would see what STAR Comics would actually look like! In an interesting choice of promotion, the original STAR Comics promos would feature their original characters over the upcoming licensed characters which would be Mammoth in scale! So the world was introduced to the likes of Planet Terry, Wally The Wizard, Top Dog. Spider-Ham also officially joined the fold as an ongoing character!

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Licensing up to this point had been a very profitable venture for Marvel with smash successes of the likes of GI Joe, Transformers, Smurfs and not so much with Starriors. (*Nothing wrong with Starriors gang!) A very unheralded toy and comic book! Starriors fans unite!! LOL..Okay forget that. Moving on..bottom line licensed properties made money so Marvel was willing to build an entire universe around it!!

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The line roared to life with a number of Hot properties five months later but stretched their debut over a two month period. Entry titles included Fraggle Rock, Heathcliff, Planet Terry and Strawberry Shortcake were released in the first month to a good reception. Month two launched The Ewoks, Get Along Gang, Muppet Babies, Royal Roy and Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham

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Month two launched The Ewoks, Get Along Gang, Muppet Babies, Royal Roy and…my personal favorite of all the STAR Original core titles..

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Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham,,

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Of Particular Interest to me in the entire line were the original characters so for anyone wondering what original characters that the STAR line created..well look no further..Satellite pull up the STAR file on the video wall for our Heroes to observe!

The original titles had all were “inspired” more than anyone would care to admit, however Marvel really did their homework to capture the genre. Below we discuss the STAR Originals, what they were about, and what their inspiration was.

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Spider-Ham: The title was a straight up parody of Marvels lead franchise player Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man. It was truly well done and the titled lampooned the real Amazing Spider-Man title very well but modified his origin like you would not expect. Peter Porker, you would expect to be a pig bitten by a Spider, but Marvel changed course and actually started Peter Porker as a SPIDER who bit an irradiated swine one, May Parker. (May of course was a parody of Aunt May in the core Spidey titles!) and transformed into a spider power pig himself! This would later be contradicted in Spider-Ham #6 when a flashback shows Peter being raised (As a pig NOT a Spider !!) by his Aunt May! This would never be clarified. The title had the full cast of characters to parody such a J. Jonah Jackal (J. Jonah Jameson), Mary Jane Water Buffalo (Mary Jane Watson), The Cravengers (The Avengers) The Punfisher (Punisher!), and The likes of The Hulk Bunny (The Hulk..duh!). The title was Bi- Monthly and notoriously lasted a mere 17 issues which was surprising to this writer as I always assumed that this would be STAR’s flagship title!It would be another anthropomorphic Funny Animal would fill that slot as longest running STAR title….Heathcliff the cat!  More on that later. Spider-Ham would not disappear though as he would return in a reprinted back-up story in Marvel Tales for several issues. Spider-Ham would go on to appear on an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man as well as a video game, fill in data.

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Planet Terry: The gimmick is that the name of the book is a play on words related to the word “Planetary” This familiar looking character was greatly visually inspired by Harvey Comics characters but was original all at once. Based in deep outer space, Terry as a child, was mistakenly launched from his parents spaceship into the outer reaches of space. His parents fearing the worst assumed that Terry and his space ship were done for and moved on with their lives. They were wrong. Terry and his spaceship, The “Space Warp”, actually survived intact and would begin a star spanning search to find his parents. Joined by a female Robot rescued from a junk heap named Robota and a large Lizard skinned alien Omnus. Terry scans planet after planet to find his parent but discovers that his journey will not be easy. In fact after only 12 issues Planet Terry was discontinued with STAR Comics and the character or the fate of his search was never revisited and remains one of comics lesser known incomplete story arcs. (Side Note: All Original STAR Characters would see print once again in the Marvel X-babies title in a brief updated appearance) Several hints and references to the Marvel Universe in the book indicated this title is happening in or parallel to the Marvel Universe proper of 1984-1985! The design of Planet Terry was directly imagined by former Harvey artist Lennie Herman who used a very familiar look Harvey Comics style look for the character. This was a deliberate as Marvel who had been in talks with Harvey Comics to buy out some of the existing Harvey properties after they closed their doors however as patience wore thin in negotiations, Marvel not willing to wait any longer, decided to create their own “Harveyesque” cast of original characters. This move that would get them in legal hot water out of the gate and almost doomed the STAR lineup from the get go..because of the next “Original” character..the notorious..

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Royal Roy: Lets be straight up..Royal Roy was a DIRECT carbon copy of Harvey’s Ritchie Rich The Poor Little Rich Boy character. Like his inspiration Ritchie, Roy was similarly surrounded by wealth. Ritchie had a girl friend named “Gloria Glad“..while Roy had her clone” Crystal Cleer“. Ritchie had “Mayda Munny” who always attempted too swoon him out of his wealth..Roy had the oddly similar “Lorna Loot!” the writing was on the wall for Royal Roy as Harvey Comics took legal action on Marvels STAR Imprint citing that the Royal Roy series was a copyright infringement on the Ritchie Rich property. As it was..Royal Roy lasted a mere 6 issues before the plug was quickly pulled. The idea of making an in-house version of Harvey’s properties was seemingly a bad idea..and Marvel found out the hard way.

Ritchie vs Roy

From money vaults to Magic, Dragons and Princesses in distress..

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Wally The Wizard: This title lasted 12 issues and harkened back to the days to wizards and magic. It took the Harvey formula once again and tried to adopt some Disney tropes to introduce young wizard Wally! Using all the medieval classic stories from the Sword and The Stone to The Princess and The Frog, Wally The Wizard was one of the weaker entries to the line and never really seemed to catch fire. It told the story of Wizard Marlin (A play on Merlin!!) whose young adventurous apprentice Wally and his friends Conrad and Jay get into plenty of magical hijinks.

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Through battles with dragons, water monsters and his main antagonists Vastar the Vile and the Wicked Wizard ,this child wizard has his hands full!! Wally competes in tournaments, journeys to the top of mountains, and casts all the spells you can imagine. Wally’s one inspiration is Princess Penelope of whom Wally simply came to her rescue at every turn! This title had little to offer in the way of originality and was not on many people’s priority lists. This title is not terrible and for its target audience of 5-12 year old’s there was enough in here to keep pages turning. From The Penthouse, To The Castle all the way to the Dog House..The next Original STAR Title may have been its most original..even though its run was a tragic 14 issues…lets jump into The Secret Life Of..

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Top Dog: From somewhat unoriginal ideas to one of STARs most unique properties..we get Top Dog , a uber- intelligent, talking dog who is also a former government intelligence agent and now Super Spy! Living and teaming up with his human confidant Joey Jordan. Joey swears to keep Top Dogs background and abilities a secret! The duo is a proverbial super team, ala Batman and Robin and go on many undercover spy adventures. As the series progresses we learn much more about Top Dog and his past life as government agent extraordinaire “Mr. X”!! Other characters crossed over with Top Dog like the afore-mentioned Royal Roy, and fellow talking anthropomorphic animal, Heathcliff The Cat!

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Top Dog was an interesting case study as it is the one title that seems to legitimately fuse the original Marvel Universe directly to the STAR Universe. A direct crossover with Spider-Man (A costumed knockoff!!) in a story that actually contained the true blue, Peter Parker. Unlike Planet Terry..it not only teased a connection to Marvel Proper but was deliberate about it.  Amongst these adventures were several crossovers with other Star Comic characters such as Heathcliff and Royal Roy. The One story that involved a Spider-Man team-up way the crown Jewel of the series. Although it was actually an actor in a Spider-Man suit, the real Peter Parker does make an appearance. The series ran for fourteen issues after which, the character continued to make appearances in Heathcliff comic books (starting in issue #22) in both crossovers and backup stories. The ambiguity between STAR’s existence in the actual Marvel Universe is still a debate. Most however. discredit these comics as funny “What If” style stories that happened outside of cannon. Thats okay..it still does not take away the joy of STAR Comics. While we would be here for a while if we had to cover all comics produced in this line I will go through my personal top five titles outside of the STAR Originals! Satellite..pull archives..display TOP FIVE..

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5. Ewoks: If one has read one of my all time favorite posts that I have ever written for this humble little blog you would appreciate my love for 1980s cartoons. Few did I enjoy more that tuning into the Droids-Ewok’s Hour. Ewok’s the Star Title continued the joy of the show and delved into new original storylines and the artwork remained consistent enough to make it feel like a good follow-up companion to the TV show. Ewoks would perform better than most STAR titles and lasted a total of 14 issues!

Check out The Super-Hero Satellites  super post on The Ewoks Television Movies!! Super-Hero Satellite: A Caravan Of Ewoks

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4. Droids: The best Star Wars cartoon ever on TV! Droids packed a punch..but that didn’t translate on the printed page! Lasting only a mere 8 issues The Adventures of R2-D2 and C3P0 was one title that I loved grabbing on the shelf..however Star Wars fans did not flock to the shelves in as many numbers as Marvel would have would hoped. It continued original stories based on the Droids cartoon show but the biggest drawing card was the John Romita artwork! The series finished with a three issue continuing story that featured Darth Vader and was actually quite good! If you were a fan of the original Star Wars Marvel Series then do yourself a favor and grab Droids 6-8! You are welcome!

Karate Kommandos

3.Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos. When a group of kids and martial arts superstar Chuck Norris team up against the ninja terrorist organization known as VULTURE the result is..a Four issue STAR Comic series! That’s right..Four Issues. Matters are made worse when you discover that Marvel legend Steve Ditko was the artist during his dieing days as a Marvel Artist. The Comic Books based on The 1986 Ruby Spears cartoon show Chuck Norris Karate Kommando’s was also a very popular Toyline at the time..so how could it miss right? Ditko was not on his game and seemingly phoning it in with small odd jobs around Marvel who had not been giving this amazing artist any high-profile work. Sadly Karate Kommando’s was one of his last official Marvel works outside of his excellent Speedball series! The artwork was very loose and almost devoid of any intricate details and felt very dated. One can only speculate how much effort Ditko put forth given his Inevitable exit from the company a short time later. What was sad was that the TV series itself was only 5 episodes!! A show and comic that lived on in the hearts of comic book fans..well at least this one fan!

ThunderCats_Vol_1_1

2. Thundercats: This title despite what anyone says about the STAR line, it was a case study in how you do a licensed property based on a Thundercats Saturday Morning Cartoon and famous Toyline. Original fun stories that matched the joy of this excellent cartoon. Issue one will always register in my memory banks for its bombastic cover. It was one of STAR’s longest running books coming in at a very respectful 24 issue run over 3 years! The title would begin like many STAR books in Bi-Monthly format but after 8 issues it was deemed more popular than imagined and went monthly until its 24th issue! This one had it all..engaging storyline’s true to the source material, great artwork to match, and killer hard to resist covers! I ran to these books as a kid..even though sadly it would be much later before I got to see a full episode of the Cats! Due to my location in Canada Thundercats was not found on local cable in many markets during its original run! What is the deal Canada..seriously? Fortunately the YTV network and much later Teletoon gave us all the vintage ThunderCats we could handle! Great save!

MOTU1

1. Masters Of The Universe: Okay, so there were many He-Man related titles from many companies but this one nailed it! The cartoon was amazing and no title recreated the magic of the cartoon than this particular series. Original and faithful are the best words to describe this book. The cartoon built to sell toys gelled well with this great title. It was filled to the brim with all the a MOTU fans every wish. It had the most obscure characters featured..it was loaded with the amazing line of castles, vehicles and worlds of Masters Of the Universe. The final two issues of this issue series were the Death and Re-Birth of He-man and absolutely were the best books in this series. He-Man fans out there..if you do not have this series in your collection you should not call yourself a fan!

Other Titles in The STAR Collection:

Air Raiders (1987–1988; #1-2 under Star imprint, continued under Marvel imprint) Airlandia is in grave danger. The Evil Tyrants of Wind have taken over of the planet’s air supply. Cue the heroic  Air Raiders, the only ones brave enough to fight back against the evil tyrants. A war for the freedom of  Airlandia begins in these pages.

 

  • Animax (1986–1987) Warriors in Amimax gear battle to claim power in this lame duck series that lasted only 4 issues. Riding the coattails of Thundercats and He-Man this uninspired mess was thankfully as shortlived as the comics!

Bullwinkle and Rocky (1987–1989; #1-2 under Star imprint) A Moose and a Squirell who foil dastardly villains in globe-trotting adventures. Nuff said!?

Care Bears (1985–1989; #1-14 under Star imprint) I may or may not have enjoyed this show as a kid..CareBears Countdown 4-3-2-1~!!! What ever happened to Professor ColdHeart?

Unofficial STAR Title. Count Duckula was always positioned as a STAR title but never had the imprint on their covers.

  • Defenders of the Earth (1987) 1-4 Written by Stan Lee that pulled together many pulp heroes of newspaper strips and golden age comics! Flash Gordon, teams with The Phantom (Billy Zane!!) Mandrake The Magician and more. Based on the excellent cartoon of its day!

The Flintstone Kids (1987–1989; #1-4 under Star imprint) lasted 11 issues! One of the stronger runs for STAR Flintstones Kids was a HOT property at the time! Documented the Flintstones days as kids in Bedrock!

Foofur (1987–1988; #1-4 under Star imprint) Lasted on 6 issues. Comic book based on the 1980s Hanna Barbara cartoon of the adventures of Foofur, the giant blue dog.

Heathcliff’s Funhouse (1987–1988; #1-5 under Star imprint) Lasted 10 issues. Based on the classic Newspaper strip as well as 80s cartoon property. The Heathcliff character would be one of STARs only properties to have TWO titles! FunHouse lasted 10 issues!

  • Hugga Bunch 1986-87 (#1-6). 80s Toy Property makes its terrible comics debut. Comic featuring the adventures of the Hugga Bunch, who live in Huggaland and want to have fun and show everyone how happy hugs can make them. Yikes!

  • Inhumanoids 1987 (#1-4) A group of scientists, strapped inside high-tech suits of armor, explore the catacombs of the earth and discover that ancient evil creatures called the Inhumanoids lay in wait to rise up and conqueror mankind.

Madballs (1986–1988; #1-8 under Star imprint) When a Mad Scientist creates monster like balls and unleashes them on the earth you get the super fun MadBalls!

The Official Adaptation of the 1987 Masters Of The Universe Movie starring Dolph Lundgren. Yeah this movie was pretty bad..and the adaptation did not do anything to improve that image. All the same..it was He-Man on screen..how bad could it be!??

Meet Misty (1985 Marvel/Star Comics) #1-6 Its Stars Answer to Barbie and a nod to Archie’s Katy Keen. Meet Misty was a 6 issue mini series. Misty was an attempt to win over the teenage girl Barbie buying demographic.

Silverhawks (1987 Marvel/Star Comics) #1-7 Based on the TV series of the first super androids ,who come to the rescue as the galaxy is in trouble. Commander Stargazer calls Earth for help and Earth sends their new team, the SilverHawks, which consists of Quicksilver, the Copper Kid, Bluegrass, Steelheart and Steelwill, to battle the evil forces of Mon-Star. Not as great as it sounds. Great toys though!

 

 

Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light (1987; #1-2 under Star imprint Based on the very good animated series in 1987, as well as a very unique toy-line. Visionaries was a short-lived but fondly remembered property!

 

Prior to the final demise of the Star Comics imprint four more series were in development yet were never published..

  • “Commander USA”
  • Christy
  • Little Wizards
  • Young Astronauts

So the STAR Imprint now a distant memory and todays Marvel Universe (2015) on the verge of a world shattering Reboot of their universe, one will wonder if any of these worlds will ever be explored again.  Marvels use of licensed properties has always been a huge part of their business model, the question remains will there ever be room in the Marvel U again for simple fare such as what was offered by STAR! It was a simpler time and the Marvel Universe was a place not tied to a cinematic universe..or an ultimate universe..it was simply fun…and as a kid..thats all we cared about.

Satellite..punch in coordinates..we are headed to the outer reaches of the Blogosphere to meet the rest of the Super-Blog Team Up members..strap in..hold on tight…

FOLLOW THE REST OF THE SUPER-BLOG TEAM AS WE CONTINUE OUR JOURNEY TO PARALLEL UNIVERSES AND ALTERNATE REALITIES..Click the links below..and tell em Hero Sent ya!!

 

1.Amazing Spider-Talk / Chasing Amazing / Superior Spider-Talk

Spider-Man Reign

http://wp.me/p1wQNx-21n

http://wp.me/p1wQNx-21n

http://superiorspidertalk.com/category/podcasts/amazing-spider-talk-podcasts/

 

2. Between The Pages

A Tale Of Two Cities On The Edge Of Forever

http://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2015/01/a-tale-of-two-cities-on-the-edge-of-forever.html

 

Bronze Age Babies

Things Are a Little Different Around Here…

 http://bronzeagebabies.blogspot.ca/2015/01/super-blog-team-up-things-are-little.html

 

3. Firestorm Fan

Firestorm on Infinite Earths — Countdown Arena

http://firestormfan.com/2015/01/28/sbtu-countdown-arena

 

4. Flodo’s Page

An Earth-1 / Earth-2 Team-Up Featuring Green Lantern

http://flodospage.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/the-ballad-of-two-green-lanterns.html

 

5. In My Not So Humble Opinion

The Many Worlds of Tesla Strong

https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/super-blog-team-up-5-the-many-worlds-of-tesla-strong/

 

6. The Legion of Super-Bloggers

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes

http://legionofsuperbloggers.blogspot.com/2015/01/star-treklegion-of-super-heroes.html

 

7. Longbox Graveyard

X-Men #141 & 142: Days of Future Past

http://wp.me/p1yye7-2AY

 

8. The Marvel Super Heroes Podcast (i.e. part of Rolled Spine Podcast)

Epic Comics’ Doctor Zero

https://rolledspine.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/the-marvel-super-heroes-podcast-episode-029/

 

9. Mystery Vlog

Marvel & DC’s Secret Crossover: Avengers #85–86 (1st Squadron Supreme)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxVHXYjEgpE

 

10. Superhero Satellite

Marvel Comics’ Star Comics Line: Licensed Reality and Parallel Properties

http://wp.me/p2N3Qb-qZ

 

11. Ultraverse Network

Parallel Worlds: The Ultraverse Before and After Black September

http://ultraversepodcast.com/2015/01/sbtu-black-sept/

 

12.The Unspoken Decade

5 Batmen, 1 Superman, ZERO HOUR

http://theunspokendecade.com/2015/01/28/sbtu-presents-5-batmen-1-superman-zero-hour/

The Ghost in the Machine:Robocop Versus Terminator

http://theunspokendecade.com/2015/01/28/the-ghost-in-the-machine-robocop-versus-terminator-by-emily-scott/

 

SHS2ndXmasSpecial2

Hey there Satellite Subscribers, its Charlton Hero on the deck of the Super-Hero Satellite transmitting from deep space. All the crew have been sent home for the holidays so its just you and I and what better time of the year than to celebrate our second official Holiday Special. In the event you missed our first Holiday Special..take a minute and soak up the music that simply means Christmas to me personally…https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/the-1st-annual-superhero-satellite-christmas-special/

All done? Alright..This year..I thought no better way to celebrate than with Sears Wish Book Christmas Catalog Toy ads!. These were my absolute favorite toy pages as a kid and I can’t wait for you to see them..nestle in Heroes..pour yourself a glass of Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate..settle in around the holo-fireplace in the archive room of the mighty Super-Hero Satellite and enjoy.

Transmission Begin: Dec 25. 2014

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If you lived in my hometown there was one thing that every kid in town anxiously awaited..The arrival of the Sears Wish Book. A compendium of the best X-Mas presents and THE BEST toys that you could only get in the pages of this golden tome! My hometown did not offer a ton of choices in regards to shopping. We had the local Woolco, Dalfens, or The Chain Store (Actual Name..although not so sure it was actually a Chain Store..) Keep in mind in, the years from 1980-1989 we did not have the luxury of online shopping or large shopping malls in our area.  There was no formal internet..it was truly the dark ages when you look where we are today..but we didn’t care! We had the friggin Wish Book!! The book usually landed on your doorstep or in the mail in late October which gave you plenty of time to dig through the pages and order what you wanted before the big day December 25th!!! It was a tradition to break out the pen and circle the gifts you “wished” you had under the tree that year!! For my own personal memories and maybe my kids if they read this years from now..here are a few pages of the joys I looked at in awe in the days before every Christmas!!

Death Star

You have to know my first stop in the Wish Book was the Star Wars section..on the page above is my favorite toy of all time..The Death Star..yup I had that Bad Boy..and it retailed for only 19.99 back in the day!! A steal for all involved!! Now check out the bottom of the page and check out the classic Star Wars Play Doh set complete with Play Doh Style X-Wing!! You had molds to create Play Doh versions of your favorite Star Wars characters!! Loved making a great Green PlayDoh Luke!! Thats right!!

StarWars

This was my era..I pulled off the Millennium Falcon (I broke the bay door assembling it myself..ugghh)..I had the Ice Planet Hoth Playset pictured above complete with collapsible Ice cave and rebel bunker!! The Hoth versions of the characters were also amazing. Plus, you were not cool unless you had the Bounty Hunters! I was never a fan of those Star Wars Micro Toys though!!

 

Gi Joes

My second love was GI Joe!! Especially the originals!! Hawk, Grunt, Flash, Bazooka, Stalker, Scarlett, Rock and Roll, Breaker, Clutch, Zap and of course..Snake Eyes!! I had the V.A.M.P. Jeep..The Missile Launcher, Motor Cycle with side gun!! The Cobra Command Headquarters was a miss for me though. Even though it was a simple cardboard diorama..it had the elusive silver mask Cobra Commander and two Cobra scrubs!! There was no cooler figure than Cobra Commander!!  On closer inspection on the opposite page you have Haunted House toys which I loved as well!! I had the Creature, and The Wolfman! On a trip to a Florida Toys are Us I also grabbed the Lone Ranger, Tonto and Their horses!! Always wanted the Lone Ranger Playset on the back of all those comic ads. Any reader ever have that particular set?  At the bottom of the second page the Christmas debut of the legendary He-Man and The Masters Of the Universe Collection!! Check out that WindRaider in the corner!! Had every piece of that collection except Man At Arms!! Why do Toyline’s not feature as much awesome stuff these days?? What ever happened to the lost art of the Playset? Back in my day there was a Playset for everything!! Now some sets barely contain the action figures!!

 

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Mego…Nuff said. I loved my Mego Spider-Man Spider Car with Spider Net! How about the BEST Bat Mobile Toy ever invented!! These have been long missing from my collection as they went to the dump many years ago after many years of play and battle damage but there was nothing cooler than playing with my Dynamic Duo and Wall Crawler action figures!! I do not recommend popping the wheels off these cars over and over again as the only thing you get is the heart break of the chassis pin breaking and your toy rendered useless! Ugghh. These were Amazing though!! Oh had Superman too!! Loved that Fonz toy but only managed a Ritchie Cunningham figure!! Never had the Planet Of The Apes Megos..which boasted the best often heralded amazing Planet Of The Apes Ape Command Tree House Playset!! This one was recently featured on Season 3 of AMCs Comic Book Men. No, I am not forgetting that wicked Star Trek set..never had that bad-boy..I would kill for a Captain Kirk /William Shatner Mego!! I am taking donations people!!

SearsWishbook.1985EC.P446

Next is a cautionary tale of Christmas past. NEVER..and I mean NEVER trade or sell one of your old Christmas toys..you WILL one day live in the waters of regret! My story occurred during an ill advised toy trade with a friend (That’s YOU John Stacey!) I lost one of my all time favorite Toys, The Star wars Rancor. I sold out my beast for a pile of vintage G.I. Joe’s..in mint condition. I think I still got the better deal but cant help but miss my Rancor!! The Jabba The Hut Playset was gifted to me at the height of the Return Of The Jedi hysteria and remains in my sons collection to this day!! One of the lost gems and the real center piece to this page was the very cool M.A.S.K. collection!! I had the Boulder Hill Playset, Transport Truck (The Rhino) and flying Sports car (The Thunder Hawk)!! For those of you not familiar with M.A.S.K. it was one of the most unique toy lines out there with a group of Super Agents equipped with transformable vehicles that they used to battle the evil terrorist regime V.E.N.O.M.!! Sound familiar? If it sounds too close to G.I. Joe… it was!! That’s why it ruled!! The M.A.S.K. collection were more or less a micro version of the Joe’s but the Vehicles and TV show left you thinking these may be the best Toys of all time..almost.

 

Dukes

Boba Fetts Slave-1 was the boss of Star Wars vehicles and came complete with Frozen Han and is probably one of my favorite Star Wars toys ever made..that is until you factor in the AT-AT! I had both of these toys and I will tell you these are the standard by which all toys are to be judged!! These days if You see a vintage AT-AT Walker in a kids room and you know he has great friggin taste in toys!! One dark horse on the second page was The Duke Boys and Car Set!! Love my Dukes!! The TV series The Dukes of Hazard was a family favorite and having a wicked Bo and Luke set of figures complete with The General Lee was amazing!! The Toy line itself was very cool and I miss this set badly. The figures didnt much look like the Dukes outside of their clothes and broke pretty quickly but my time with the Dukes was a great time Yeeee Haaaa!!

 

HeManVideo games

Before The Game Boy or The 3DS there were Coleco Table Top Video Games!! If There were ever a cooler game system at the time..I dont know what it was! The Coleco Table Top games featured crude LCD graphics and were like having an arcade in your living room!! I had Galaxian (Which broke sadly..but was replaced with..) Frogger! I had Donkey Kong as well. Kong was the best of the bunch and was responsible for hours of gaming fun that Christmas..The sad reality was these things ate batteries like nobodies business!! You HAD to use the (Sold Separately) adapter or you had to mortgage your house to play these things!! They were also great due to the waaayyy cool side cabinet stickers and graphics these things still stand out in any retro collection!! Thanks Sears!!

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I cannot go out without giving a shout out to my personal favorites the Go-Bots!! Got only three items on this page from actual X-Mas gifts and those being the very cool Super Go-Bot versions of Cy-Kill and Leader-1!! They were huge..simple and great!! The other was the shameful “Go-Bots Rogun Cap Rifle” I am pretty certain this was not official Go-Bots merchandise but Sears claimed it was so I received it one fateful December 25th!! I did however own three other huge pieces of Go-Bot lore..The Go-Bots Command Center (Won in a Trade…thanks Leslie Card!!!), The Renegade Thruster (Christmas Gift!!) and the fantastic Go-Bots Power Warrior set!!! (Got this on a trip to NY City baby!!!)

SearsWishbook.1985Sectaurs

 

Countless big name franchises were just mentioned..Star Wars, GI Joe, Marvel, DC but the DarkHorse franchise was SECTAURS!! Warriors of The Symbion!! If you didnt have these figures you really missed a unique Toyline that passed by many people..but old Charlton Hero here is gonna tell ya that these figures absolutely kicked ass!! A toy based on a race of inset /human hybrids who rode massive insects and battled in the World of Symbion!! The figures themselves were a little taller than the Masters Of The Universe figures of their day but were more articulated. They had a flashy faux metal design for Armor and their “Vehicles” were large very detailed insects with real fur that you fit on your hand like a glove. The trick was that your fingers acted as their legs to add another level of creep factor to the beasts!! Prince Dargon was always my favorite but my X-Mas gift collection one great year consisted of Skulk and Trancula, Pinsor and Battle Beetle, Zak, Mantor, Skito and Commander Waxpax, the latter Four figures came with mini insects that feature a button activated feature that was unique to its owner! Then of course there was the elusive Hyve..a Battle set of Battle sets!! Sadly I never had this masterpiece in my collection. A real showcase gem of any figure collection are these toys!

Although the Wish Book still exists to this day I still get that little trickle of excitement that my kids may never truly get when it arrives at our house. If you ever were a kid of the 70s and 80s you knew what you had and appreciated this wonderful part of X-Mas! many Christmas memories were generated by these rich pages and a big part of my childhood was from the fine folks at Sears. If you worked at Sears or had anything to do with the creation of this book this guys says thanks for the memories!

So..as it is ..it is Christmas day and I urge you all to go spend time with family and friends and thank all my readers for simply coming to visit this humble little blog on ocassion. It truly means a lot that I can write this little snapshot for myself and family for years to come. Ill dim the lights in the Satellite and beam you all back home. Be good to each other and goodnight, To my friends at the Super-Blog Team Up a huge thank you for entertaining this Blogger and hang with the Heavyweights for a while. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays..or what ever it is you celebrate and see you again in 2015!

Hero…OUT!

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Heroes prepare for landing we are preparing to land on the forest moon of Endor! We have travelled back to 1980something to a simpler time to when Star Wars creator, George Lucas  was coming off a resounding success of the final chapter of the Star Wars saga, The Return Of The Jedi! Fans and producers alike pushed for more Star wars content, but Lucas at this point was done with making films, however ABC Televison persuaded Lucas to continue his Trilogy and thus plans were put into motion the 1 Hour special, The Ewok Adventure. As scripts were tossed around and the cast was assembled Lucas actually agreed to make the special a two hour television movie! The Star Wars Saga would live on..this time on the small screen! This was not the first time Lucas had been pushed for more Star Wars as only 6 years earlier a full-blown Star Wars Holiday Special was released. In the process of funding Star Wars and being able to promote it George Lucas agreed to a full length television special which would live on in infamy. Feeling the special was forced upon him he essentially disowned the project and is often quoted as wanting to destroy every existing copy of the special. This was not the case with The Ewok Adventure and its sequel, Ewoks: The Battle For Endor. Both films were good stand alone specials and the subject of today’s journey back in 1980s TV and Movie making! Spears ready Ewoks, we need to protect Endor for all those reading this in 2014!!

The Ewok Adventure, originally aired November 25th 1984 on the ABC network to hungry Star wars fans.

The movie was said to take place 6 months prior to Return Of The Jedi. The movie introduced a slew of new characters into the Star Wars Universe namely the Towani family. Parents Jeremilt, and Catarine Towani, along with their son Mace (Who looks like a young Mark Hamill from Star Wars and wears a very X-Wing pilot like uniform) and daughter Cindel (The 5 year girl looks like she stepped out of an 80s dance instructional video with 80s head band and matching while jumpsuit.) crash-land their space shuttle on the moon of Endor.

 

 

 

Upon their arrival both parents are searching for their missing children after the crash and are sunsequently kidnapped by the evil Gorax , a giant werewolf like creature bearing a giant axe. The children how ever still in hiding escape the wrath of the monster and are discovered by a band of Ewoks With some resistance the kids are brought back to the Ewok village and befriend their new furry friends. The Ewok’s win the favor of the children after they help Cindel, the little girl back from illness and provide them food and shelter. Along with their newfound allies the kids and the Ewoks set up a caravan across Endor on Horseback to find the home of the Gorax! Upon their arrival to the giant-sized cavernous hideout of the Gorax they discover that the task of rescuing their parents will be a tough one as they have to go through the GIANT ever-changing scale of the Gorax. To put the Gorax monster into perspective it looks like a giant-sized bigfoot with a huge rat faced head with giant ears!!

The Gorax is pictured on this international poster for Caravan Of Courage!

 

 

THE BAD and THE UGLY: One interesting blooper with the Gorax monster is that the size of the beast changes from scene to scene. At the beginning of the movie the Gorax is shown menacing through the forests of Endor and looks large, but appears much more gigantic in the movie during some scenes, specifically in the lair of The Gorax. The monster looks grossly out of scale with the humans and Ewoks virtually the size of its toe. This changes from moment to moment in the final act but the effects are unforgivable. Credit is due to the Gorax, he is shot at, chopped in the toe with an axe, thrown down a raveen, survives, is hit hard in the head by a large stalactite, before finally tumbling to his death a second time into a giant raveen (The same one??) before finally giving up.

This movie is one I think many fans would love for it to get the famous or infamous, depending on your degree of Star Wars Hardcore that you rank that desperately needs an upgrade. One puppet/ stop motion animation is particularly bad. It appears halfway through the picture as a wild boar wolf creature attacks the Ewok’s and The Children. The result is laughable. Stop Motion animation is poorly handled and the combination of puppet and animation is horribly edited. The Ewok’s themselves look a little stiff and stilted and the mouths which rarely move distracts from their realism and at times its jarring how they do not look realistic as they did in Jedi!

 

As well..The Gorax has the Towani parents trapped in a large birdcage like contraption hanging from the ceiling. The caveat here is that when mace discovers them he not only manages to leap to the side of the cage that contained his parents but easily climbs into the cage as the wholes in the cage are more than big enough to escape!! The lack of logic as to why the Elder Towanis did not simply tie some clothing together and shimmy down to safety? I am over-thinking this..I know.

The human actors themselves are hit and miss. Cindel carries herself as well as can be expected for her age at the time, Mace however is another story. Many people reflect at times that the original Star Wars trilogy was not a piece of acting supremacy but Caravan hits new lows with Maces performance. A couple of stand out scenes appears during the first 20 minutes of the movie. The kids have befriended the Ewok’s but poor Cindel is quite ill and unresponsive. Mace demands the Ewok’s get her more medicine, more medicine, more medicine, more medicine…you get my point. I did not notice this as a kid so this gets a pass as well. I have to keep in mind the target audience at the time for this one!

 

 

More on the effects there are some great scenes of Ewok village which carries on the wonderful use of Matte paintings the Star Wars films are known for. There is a wonderful Ewok glider scene at the beginning of the film that still stands up for the most part.A lot of the expanded universe we see again in The Ewoks cartoon (Which is another post altogether) and the short lived Marvel STAR Comics Ewoks comic book title.I was a fan of all things Star wars as a kid and watched the cartoons dilligently and was an avid reader of the comics! The Droids/Ewoks Power Hour was a must watch Saturday Morning destination for me! Fear not subscribers old Hero here is not forgetting these series..in fact they will all be part of my expanded Star Wars coverage as we build anticipation to episode 7!

 

Rare Foreign Cover for the VHS tape of The Ewok Adventure!

I saw the movie as it aired in 1984 and my version of the movie was The Ewok Adventure. The title was changed however when the movie was actually given a theatrical release and was re-branded as Ewoks: Caravan Of Courage! I later picked up the double-sided DVD Lucas film release where the title Caravan Of Courage is officially used.

 

 

 

 

What we do get is an expanded detailed look into Endor. We see more of the expansive landscapes, the forbidden mountain ranges, new Endor Tree monsters, an in-depth look into Medicine healer Ewok, Lograys private quarters. We get to see a new Star Cruiser owned by the Towanis! This vessel was never again used in another Star Wars film outside of the Two Ewok TV Specials!

 

Star Wars didn’t have the internet behind it back in 1984 so if you were not tech savvy and own a VHS Video cassette Recorder or a BETA machine you missed this next installment of The Ewok adventure. Luckily another one of my favorite way to keep the memories of this movie alive was with the amazingly awesome Read Along Book and Record sets that featured a Story Book and a Record complete with awesome narrator that read the story to you! So with the scratch of the record player this is what we heard..Click the link below to listen to the store and scroll down as you hear the chime! I love technology!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey!! You are still here? You guys are really hardcore Star Wars fans indeed!! In summary I am a fan of The Ewok Adventure! I have fond memories of this movie and its sequel as a child and a recent re-watch on YouTube confirmed my love of the movie. Yes it aged, the effects were horribly dated , and the acting goes without saying but and its a big but..I watched it with my five year old son and something amazing happened. He laughed at the parts we were meant to laugh at, was scared of the big monsters, and enjoyed the Ewoks and the kids! So..yeah, Ewok Adventure delivers to its target audience to this day! Maybe it is not as fondly remember as it should but it still stands as one of the most very rare Star Wars TV shows ever created! The Caravan Of Courage was actually followed up with a very fun sequel called The Battle For Endor and bares mentioning here!

 

More on the Battle For Endor will be written in the follow-up post dedicated to that movie! I have to summon my hardcore Star Wars spirit and re-watch that film again and The Satellite will be back with a full on recap of this piece of Star Wars TV history!!

That’s all for now Subscribers I hope you have enjoyed your tour of the planet Endor and I promise we will be back in a few parsecs to discuss the sequel, till then lets discuss The Ewok Adventure on Twitter by tweeting me  @Charlton_Hero and use the #SuperHeroSatellite. Real Heroes leave comments below!! Dont be afraid..it doesnt hurt and we would sure love to hear from ya!!

Till Next time Heroes..I sense next time around we may enter into some possible secrets concerning the Next Super-Blog Team Up!! Look for it!!