Posts Tagged ‘Super-Blog Team Up’

 

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

 

Transmission Date: June 24th 2020

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

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

MASK animated SBTU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

MASK VHS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you come to comics? 

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

Tell us about your journey to become an artist?

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

Did you create your own characters as a kid?

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

Who are your artistic inspirations? 

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

How would you describe your style?

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

Describe your process and tools. 

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

What is your best reference material?

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

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

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

What Toy-lines did you have growing up?

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

 

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

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

Describe your collection? 

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

What are your favorite pieces in your collection?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What were your favorite MASK toys?

WACK: CONDOR. CONDOR. CONDOR…and Vampire.

Were you a fan of the 80s Cartoon? 

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

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

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

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

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

What other projects do you have in the works? 

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

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

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

Thanks!!

 

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

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

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

Transmission Ended…

 

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

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

 

Between The Pages Blog: Fantastic Forgotten Star Wars Characters

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

 

Comics Comics Comics – The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

The Telltale Mind: Archie Andrews – Superstar

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

 

Radulich In Broadcasting: Flash Gordon Universe

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

 

The Source Material Comics Podcast: TMNT/Ghostbusters

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

The Daily Rios – Little Shop of Horrors

http://thedailyrios.com/

Coming Soon




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

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



Pop Culture Retrorama: The Phantom Universe

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

 

Cavalcade of Awesome – Jumper Universe

https://blog.paxholley.net/

COMING SOON

 

MichaelMay.Online: Treasure Island Universe

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



DC In The 80s: The TSR Universe

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

sbtu redemption banner

**Deep Space**

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

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

 

bat rdemption

Transmission Date: Jan. 23rd 2019

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

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

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

 

wd redemption

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

tony moore wd art orignal

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

charlieawd

 

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

the gov sbtu

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

negan2019sbtu

 

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

Leaders rise…followers Follow.

negan sbtu

 

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

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

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

 

dwight iron

No Turning Back..

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

 

death of glen

 

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

 

The Seduction of the Innocent.

negan carl sbtu

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

negan carlpology

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

 

negans goes to war

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

rick cuts negan

 

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

The Confinement

jailbird negan

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

Redeeming The Irredeemable.

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

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

alphadeath sbtu

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

Making Peace

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

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

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

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

End Transmission..

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Begin Transmission : May 4th 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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With ONE Punch…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Begin Transmission: Dec 16th 2015

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

 

 

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The STAR WARS EARLY BIRD CERTIFICATE PACKAGE (1977)

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

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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!

Star Wars Original Collection

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

 

Original 1978 Star Wars Commercial

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

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

Death Star Vintage Toys

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

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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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Welcome Back Heroes..

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

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

SHS Computer

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

 

 

Satellite Warp GIFWelcome To Skartaris….

Warlord toys

 

Begin Transmission: Oct 26 2015

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

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

Universals Monster Collection

 

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

My General Lee Collection 1

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

 

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REMCO Warlord Toy ad 3

 

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

 

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

REMCO Warlord Collection

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

 

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

1st Issue Special Warlord

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

 

Warlord REMCO

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

 

Warlord and Friends via Cosplayers!

                                                Warlord and Friends via Cosplayers!

 

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

 

Hercules REMCO Figure

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

Hercules 1Hercules Unbound

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

ARAK REMCO

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

ARAK 1

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

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

Deimos REMCO

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

Machiste REMCO

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

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

Mikola REMCO

 

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

 

Warlord Insert Comic REMCO

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

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

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

Warrior Beasts

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

ScareGlow

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

 

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

Conan Remco

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

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

 

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

CrusadersToysSHS

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

Crusaders

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

 

RemcoAWA

Other great Remco toys included!

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

 

SBTU Contunies

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

Hero Out..

Transmission Ended…

 

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

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

Begin Transmission: May 6th 2015

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Batman and The Outsiders 1

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

End Transmission…

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Smurfs STAR

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,,

Spider-Ham

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.

Spider-Ham

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..

Royal Roy 6

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..

Top Dog 1

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!

Top Dog #10

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!

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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!

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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!

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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/

 

 Transmission date: Oct. 16 2014

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Welcome back to the Satellite heroes! Put on your sunglasses as we are about to revisit a Cult classic very popular all the way up here in Space. Ill let you figure it out. Read On! In 1987-88 I was the biggest Wrestling fan you could imagine. I did not miss a show..or a magazine on the rack. I taped everything I could with my handy RCA VCR. Saying all that I was a fan of Rowdy Roddy Piper. The Kilt wearing loud mouthed heel who in 1987  had recently turned into a good guy. He really appealed to me and I wore my Hot Rod T-shirt to school with great pride despite the constant cat Calls..I was a wrestling fan and really in 1987 , so was everyone else. Hogan vs Andre was at the top of all the conversations in grade 7 in my class anyways. The build to WrestleMania 3 was the center of my universe and the buildup to it was all I could focus on. The Rowdy Scott was about to wrestle in his last match before moving into a different world…Hollywood.

 

 

 

 

Roddy Piper had wrestled his supposed last match in March 27 1987 at the Pontiac SilverDome in Detroit. Piper who spent years on the wrestling circuit as a heel headlining two previous Wrestlemanias, had been shuffled to the Mid Card on the biggest wrestling card of them all..the legendary Wrestlemania 3. Piper and The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as it was known at the time, had been not seeing eye to eye as Piper wanted to capitalize on his wrestling fame and try his hand at acting. The WWF sought to own and capitalize on the fortunes of their performers but Roddy was a free spirit . Piper had banked a tremendous amount of money from his wrestling career to that point and the lure of Hollywood projects offer much more of a pull than the squared circle could give him. For once it was Piper who was in control. It was at this cross roads that Rowdy Roddy Piper would go on to wrestle on the Mid card of WrestleMania 3 in what would be his farewell retirement match against his longtime antagonist Adorable Adrian Adonis. My anticipation for this match was so high it may as well have been the main event. Roddy Piper was my  favorite WWF Super-Star at this time and I could not fathom the idea that Piper would lose to Adonis and retire. Of course Piper would be victorious in his match and I watched my hero ride off into the sunset..and on to the silver screen.

 

 

 

The story goes that at WrestleMania 3 Roddy Piper had met horror film director John Carpenter and was instantly kept in mind for a project that Carpenter had been crafting called They Live that was inspired by a short story called “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by author Ray Nelson. Carpenter was well-known on the film scene as he was most famous for such classics as The THING and this classic…Halloween!

 

As a wrestling fan I had read in wrestling magazines and on the very few entertainment shows on TV, that Piper had been selected for the lead role in this new John Carpenter film called “They Live”. In the era where the term Internet meant nothing it was up to you to find out what you could on foot and not through any new wave computer terminal. With Roddy in the front as the lead Carpenter weaved his tale based on his dislike for the commercialization of society. The 80s in particular was heavily focused on TV ad time. Commercials for Soft drinks, Movies, and anything else you could endorse was being sold in a way never seen by society. Those wishing to capitalize on the commercial market were plugging everything that could turn a dime and celebrities were out in full force cash in. Carpenters vision was to exploit this alarming commercialization of society by tacking a Sci-Fi narrative to the issue. With the aid of special sunglasses our heroes in the film can see the sad truth of society.

 

 

We have been overtaken by Aliens who use a Satellite Signal to that project a special broadcast that alters human perception and camouflaged the aliens to resemble everyday human beings. With this signal the aliens control the media specifically advertising, and television to subliminally take control over our minds and thoughts. All the while under the guise of mind control The Aliens ulterior motive is to strip the Earth of the resources and eventually kill us off with Global warming before moving on to another planet to pillage! They have one problem..one man named John Nada (Roddy Piper!) Nada looks at the world a little differently and slips onto the Aliens evil plot where a stranger trys to warn him that the world is not what it seems and gives him a special pair of Sunglasses!

 

When looking through the lenses of the glasses the satellite signal used by the aliens is blocked and the wearer can see the world as it is…including the Aliens true form!! A bit of context here. Looking through the glasses the images are all in black and white this was essentially a direct shot by Carpenter to well-known billionaire Ted Turner who at the time in the 80s ran a multimedia conglomerate and had a very unreasonable share in the Television industry. One of Turners notorious Faux Pas was his colorization of classic movies originally created in Black and White. The coloring however looked so unrealistic and sterile that it was met with worldwide disdain. Hence the glasses and the movie itself was an intentional attack on moguls like Turner who Carpenter thought was the REAL alien!

 

Nada quickly tries to convince others about what he has discovered but many do not believe him. In one of the most hilarious scenes in the film Piper tries to convince co-star Keith David (Frank Armitage) to simply look through the glasses to expose the aliens. Frank thinks John is out of his mind and refuses leading to one of the most hilarious fights ever seen in a movie. Pipers wrestling background comes to play as the two men basically  wrestle a no hold barred falls count anywhere match in an alley complete with a backdrop and all so John Nada (Piper) can convince his friend Frank to just peer through the damn glasses.

Piper is successful and finally Nada has a friend to help him combat the secret invaders. Teaming up with other resistance fighters John, and Frank wage a war against the aliens which includes the most iconic line since Arnold yelled “ill be back” Piper belts the phrase..“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass..and I am all out of Bubblegum.”

 

 

 

So this is the part where I spoil the ending…okay you were warned. In the days of the Hollywood Action film formula, movies usually ended with the good guys finally getting the upper hand on the bad guys and riding off into the sunset victorious and everyone lives happily ever after.

 

 

They Live dared to break that mold.While Pipers character finally exposed the Aliens to the world..John Nada actually dies at the end crushing the Satellite system the aliens used to camouflage themselves from humans. This left many movie goers shocked and confused…even the Aliens themselves were not defeated as such but Nada had exposed them for what they were now Earth was prepared to fight back..thats where we left off! That takes a set of balls!!

 

So why did I like They Live so much? Number one without a doubt..it starred Roddy Piper. He was big..brazen and just magic on-screen. Great actor? Nope..horrible at times but Piper owned this film and I was locked in for the full movie! This was the Roddy Piper show! It also had a unique concept. The sunglasses..the grand illusion of the aliens..it was just fun!

 

They Live was filmed on just slightly over a 3 Million dollar budget that would not pay for most credits in movies today and they nailed it!! The movie originally scheduled to open late October was pushed back to a November 4 1988 as it would have been in direct competition with another Carpenter created franchise Halloween which was launching its 4th installment at the end of October to a very strong audience!

 

The movie was considered a Box Office disappointment ringing in slightly over 13, 000, 000. It did however open at number one at the box office. I was convinced as I watched Entertainment Tonight the week of its release that Roddy Piper was the next big Hollywood Star. Sadly that did not happen but there will always be They Live!

 

 

End Transmission…

 

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Transmission Date: 8/ 16/ 2014:

Welcome back Heroes. If you have ever wondered whats in Charlton Heroes  Comic Book Collection then lets dip in the old longbox storage unit deep in the storage area of the Satellite There are those comics that you read as a child that leave that mark on you that you always fondly remember when you grow up. Such was the case with a small arc in the pages of Batman and Detective in 1982. I called the run “Blood Sport” others may call it Batman vs. The Vampiri..but what ever you want to call it I LOVED this small story arc. Hence our little get together today. Batman issues #349-352 as well as a cross over in Detective Comics #517-518 contain the full Blood Sport arc. As a kid horror movies were a big deal. Friday The 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and of course greats like Fright Night were what we were raised on in the advent of the VCR! Many a weekend did myself and my friends cower under sheets and behind pillows trying to survive yet another viewing of great R rated horror movies that none of our parents thought would be an issue as The Vampire craze didnt only extend to 2000s Twilight era, the 80s loved Vampires too! Thus DC’s Vampire savant the great artist Gene Colan known for his work on dark Vampire titles like Tomb Of Dracula for Marvel, fit the tone of this run.

Batman 349 cover

What is significant about the Blood Sport Storyline is that it marked the modern-day return (at least the 80s return) Of a very old Batman Villain, The Monk. The Monk first appeared in 1939 in the pages of Detective comics #31 . This version of the Monk is a revised updated version who was once a slaver who is tricked into a Voodoo ritual and forced to live out the rest of his life as a living undead Vampire!!  Batman #349 begins as Batman fresh of an investigation of the Academy Of Crime decides to check in on Robin and Alfred at home. However the call is unanswered as we discover that The Boy Wonder has been abducted and is bound. Robin at this point in comics had fallen in love with a girl named Dala. What Dick doesn’t know is that Dala has a dark secret. Dick not being one to let his guard down investigates and follows Dala home only to discover a terrible secret about his new mysterious love. As with all of Grayson’s past loves, nothing is ever easy in love and life as would be the case with his latest heartbreak Dala. Upon tracking his own girlfriend under the guise of Robin, Dick walks into a trap…

349 Robin Dala Dala apparently came from money as her home was a giant mansion..of course of the scary, semi haunted, Scooby Doo variety like all mansions in comics. Grayson deciding to do some extreme B&E on his newest interest is met with a club to the back of his head and a free fall down over an elaborate set of steps. He is an intruder..lets be clear here. …he awakes bound and shackled..

349 Robin abducted

Being resilient and adaptable as The Boy Wonder is, he absorbs the attack and frees himself of his shackles only to uncover the secret…his chick is a straight up killer..but there’s more..Dala aint alone! Nope she is followed by her crazy Vampire Brother Louis Dubois..Together The Vampiri ATTACK!!

 

 

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Busting out is never easy especially when you see the result of past visitors to the mansion. As Robin makes his escape he suffers an undisclosed injury but eventually, the Boy Wonder busts loose..to safety.

349 Robin uncovers Vampire

 

As Robin runs into the street running for his life, he is struck by a car and incapacitated..but luck would be on his side as he is found by token movie Trope, the Holy Father Green!! OF course..The Exorcist movies were still fresh in people’s minds and Father Green fit the bill. However as he is rushed to the hospital, we see the effects of Robins injury..we discover he had been bitten in the neck by Dala..and Father Green being an expert on the subject determines he has been afflicted by the Mark Of The VAMPIRI!! Gene Colan may have drawn my favorite version of classic Robin in all of comics because that last panel is etched into my memory and made me more excited about a comic book than ever before as a 8-year-old boy!! This was the stuff of pure comic book escapism…I was HOOKED on Batman going forward!!

349 Robin bittenMy best friend in primary school (Jason M!! Shout out!!) at the time collected comic books as did I and had in fact amassed not as big of a collection as I did but had the better books and he landed Bloodsport! This  left me scrambling to find one. His Aunt had the inside scoop at the Drug store and always gave him a stack of comics which I had been lucky enough to have from time to time as well. This was competition damn it!! Almost impossible in the day of no comic book or hobby shops I found a copy at a local drug store!! Well it wasnt long before the next issue rode onto shelves and we were scrambling again to scour my town for its meager selection of comics. It was dog eat dog people!

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On to Batman #350..sadly I did never ever found on the shelves in my hometown...None of my friends had it either, so I was at peace with missing this issue even though I was dying to see Robins fate! Well as it turns out after the good Father Green explains to Robin all about his misfortune but Robin simply is over his stay at the hospital and leaps back into action..but something is different..

 

batman 350 Robin hospital

Back to the Robin cycle he goes and back to the warmth of the Batcave . Bruce and Alfred get the vibe that Robins sudden return is not without cause for concern.Batman being very astute, sees that Dick is not himself and tells him to catch a few winks to get over whatever got the lone Grayson in his state of disarray. Prior to retiring for the night he explains to Bruce that both of them have an engagement at Dala’s mansion of doom. Bruce accepts knowing somethings up. By god its a mystery, and Batman’s on the case! On a couple of visual notes looking back at these issues I love the simple panel layouts where very little carries over outside of the panels. In todays books the art of maintaining the integrity of a panel is dead. Read a copy of Deadpool where the panel is almost bothersome and something that is an annoyance to the story and characters are out of frame more than they are in! Yes I am officially THAT complaining old man! As well check out the “Continued On 2nd Page Following” banner at the bottom of the page to guide the reader in the case they got lost after an ad! Thats attention to detail people!

batman 350Robin Batcave

As the party goes, Dick under the trance of the Vampiri, joins right in with his former kidnappers. Bruce takes that as his clue to investigate the house of Dala and her crazed Brother!! It doesn’t take long for Bruce to surmise that something sinister is afoot! As Batman jumps into cowl mode on the outside in the garden he comes face to face with the Vampiri monk himself and the scrap ensues. As usual Batman always is startled by the strength of his adversary and struggles with him..the picture of the monk on the bottom left panel displaying his fangs is classic Gene Colan and as a kid I can truly say these images stuck in the brain. Seeings I didn’t get this issue I was free of the nightmare potential..THEN IT HAPPENED..Batman 350 vs Monk

 

As with many of the Bats fights..round one goes to the villain..this time however the Brother Vampiri leaves his mark on Batman literally.  Batman is savagely bitten on the neck as per 80s standard fare with Vampire horror standards. Not being on to lay down Batman gains his bearings after the bite and batters the Vamp with a well placed large stick and clubs him mercilessly over the back of his head only to be clocked by his own Boy Wonder who is clearly still whipped by his latest disastrous relationship. Once again look how much is neatly packed into 8 panels..not a wasted space.Its also of note when looking at some of Colans work notice how much it rains in his books. It’s almost hysterical! Makes for great cheap backgrounds though!

batman 350Batman bitten

In a weird turn of events this issue actually carried over to another title! While common place today this was a much rarer occurrence in these days. Companies were less like a pack of gougers like they are today..well at least they hid it better back in the day..so as it would be..the “Blood Sport” storyline carried over into two issues of Detective Comics. On a side note there is a secondary story that is happening throughout all the issues and more prominently in the Detective issue. Batman’s identity is uncovered by a dirty politician who threatens to expose Batman..however Vickie Vale..(yes she was actually in a comic and not just the Tim Burton movie) investigates the situation and it is discovered to be photoshopped!! Wait photo shop didn’t exist back then but they pulled some form of chicanery to alter a photo. It was all forgotten after this issue! I didn’t know this story was in the book as I obviously could care less as a kid if the panels didn’t include a vampire! Anyways..back to the Vampire storyline..

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Boy do I miss these covers! You have an action scene that draws you into the action of what the narrative is inside the book and the use of speech bubbles! “Good Lord Batman what happened to you!!” Even though this was what I call a bait and switch cover as this scene never actually happens in the book. Robin at this point is still firmly in the clutches of the Vampiri and NOT at the Batcave with Alfred..hows that for nitpicking dissection. I love the bait covers though..they always worked on me!! Anyways I will not spend a ton of words on this issue which is essentially a fill in the gaps issue which gives the full background on the Vampiri ! First Batman returns home and discovers that he like the Boy Wonder is afflicted with the curse of the vampire!

detective 517-Batman Vamp mirror

Alfred intercepts him in the washroom of Wayne Manor and is horrified by what he sees!! Batman however has reacted differently than Grayson. He is still in control of his faculties  and pushes Alfred away and knows not to hurt him. As well look at the curious decor in the Manors washroom. The nice fish soap dish gold sink taps and green color theme. What does that say about Bruce’s tastes? I don’t know but its out there now.

 

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After Batman leaves the cave in search of the Vampiri and his Boy Wonder Alfred gets a visit from the mysterious and curious Father Green who sees to have an unhealthy knowledge of the Vampiri. He weaves the full tale to Alfred of Dubois and Dala, a brother and sister duo of post civil war slavers who treat black folks very poor in that time. Dubois is awaken by the beating of drums, so naturally he is drawn to the source of the drums only to find a voodoo like event occurring on a beach. During the festivities he is bitten by a snake and turns into the Vampiri as the black folks he had once mistreated laughed at his plight. Dala, his sister had followed him to this get together and is attacked and bitten by her own Brother! Thus are born The Vampiri who live on for centuries later up to modern-day 1982 anyways!

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As Father Green finishes up his story he knows that Batman to is now infected by the same venom that The Vampiri are infected with as well as Robin! Now as we have a problem. As well it is finally confirmed that Dalas Brother, Louis Dubois is officially calling himself THE MONK!! Thats right..THE MONK!! Now if that doesn’t strike fear into the hearts and souls of readers what will I beg? In the meantime Batman struggles with the fact he is now a Vampire..uh I mean Vampiri!! This Dark Knight is able to fight the full effect of the Vampiris mark and is still able to fight off his urges..

batman 351 001 Ì nabbed this bad boy in a quarter bin of a local comic book shop much later but somehow I had read the conclusion to the saga. The cover of Batman #351 ,even though it states it was drawn by Gene Colan and Dick Giordano looks more Giordano that Colan. The Batman is almost hysterically laughable and I always disliked the cover but the Gargoyle mast-head on the edge of the building is all Gene Colan..so it gets partial marks from me on this one. #351 is the wrap up..the Coup De Gras as it maybe! Batman vs The VampiriFinal Battle. Lets begin. Batman scours Gotham for his Ward..Dick Grayson aka Robin only to find him using his charm and wiles on the much older Vickie Vale..Grayson is not in charge of his mind as he has transformed fully into a Vampire and is about to seal the deal on Vicki’s neck when good old Bats has something to say about it all!! Vickie is Batman’s GF at the time so this is clearly inappropriate !

batman 351Robin attacks viki

To be clear Batman doesnt not have the best history with his women but those who mess with his girl usually ends up in a bad place at the end of the story. Robin is no exception..with a well placed southpaw..I honestly didn’t know Wayne was a lefty? Can anyone verify this fact? Weird. Anyways Grayson’s out cold and Vampire Bruce pulls his cheating ass off the ground and back to the Batcave for much-needed treatment! A hilarious part of this is the final panel on the page where Alfred laments that the ominous Father Green may have overstayed his welcome. Really whats weird about a man of the cloth who shows up at your door in yet another thunderstorm in the dead of night? These days we call the cops and seize his computer! Anyways..

batman 351Batman stops robin

 

 

batman 351 Batman brings robin to batcave

 

Batman struggles to get Dick some blood or possibly an antidote..but his Vampire side is fighting him and his frustration is at a boiling point..Love the old Batcave by the way. The giant coin and the Dinosaur is a must have for any home! Hey its better than the fish-shaped soap dish!! Help is on the way as Father Green finds his way to the Batcave!! How did the father know about the cave? Apparently not the hardest secret in the world as Christopher Chance who had been covering for Bruce in his public appearances as well wanders the Manor as well thinking something is up. On top of that photos of Bruce as Batman circulate so it looks like while Bats battles the vampires his whole identity has been blown to the media as well. Toss in people randomly finding out about the Batcave it looks like the jig is up for Bruce and his secret of the cowl!

batman 351 Batman mixes an antidote

Father Green explains to reverse the affliction of the Vampiri Robin needs a complete blood transfusion!! Apparently not an issue as Alfred stays to assist Dick Grayson, Batman and Father Green go to throw down with the Monk once and for all!! Not two seconds after walking into the aforementioned Scooby Doo mansion the final confrontation begins!! This time Batman’s pissed and its going to take more than fangs and a hot sister to stop the Dark Knight!! The Monk attempts a high cross body and Bats gives him the fling ding to the other side of the room. The poor Monk is about to get ragdolled!

 

batman 351Batman visits the monk

The Monk turns the tide with the nerve pinch, dropping Wayne to the floor but Father Green and his cross are here to save the day! Now even the Lord is involved in this Battle Royal!! While Dala holds poor father Green on the floor The Monk goes in for the final kill..or bite. One problem..If you have already been bitten what is the purpose of being re-bitten? Not sure what the Monks endgame is on this one but anyways Batman says NO!

 

batman 351 Monk KOBatman once again showing is left-handed punching power unloads a left hook which literally rocks the Monk into the air and between to crosses that may as well be Football uprights…this one silences The Monks efforts for this evening. Dala however has the resilient Father Green pinned to the floor and Batman, not being one not to hit a woman, stiffs her with a solid right for the win! Father Green has the healing serum and Batman asks for it before he loses control. Now I am a mere reader but would one not have asked for it earlier? Whatever its more dramatic this way darn it!

batman 351Finish Dead shot

The sub-plot throughout these issues has been the photos of Batman’s identity and Vickie Vales investigation into the matter. At the end we see Vickie search through her files to find all her pictures of Bruce and batman are missing..who or what has the photos?`Now that the Vampiri are out-of-the-way this plot now takes center stage as one of my all time favorite villains DEADSHOT arrives to go toe to toe with the Dark Knight!!

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The story actually crosses over with another issue of Detective Comics as in Detective 518 the first few pages deals with Bruce’s recovery and the final fate of the Vampiri!One of my favorite Detective Comics cover ends this series and makes up for that goddawful batman 351 cover! Deadshot is front and center and rocks it!

 

detective 518 Cured

Batman is on the mend people and has no idea that his identity is in danger at this point but is just as happy as turncoat Robin is to see Batman still alive! As Father Green administers the serum Batman is on the mend and the Vampiri..now also in the Batcave are strapped in and ready for transport Father Greens Herse. What is he up to..and what ever happened to Dala and The Monk? I guess we will never know.

 

detective 518 Fate of Monks

 

Hey Heroes if you liked this post..there are plenty of other Retro posts to occupy your taste for the 1980s. Give us a Like at the bottom of the page or leave us a comment as tell me how much you loved , or hated, or simply to say Hi! Chat all about these and other Satellite Transmissions on Twitter using #SuperHeroSatellite or chat with my Blogging Brethren The #SuperBlogTeamUp. Contact me directly on Twitter Charlton_Hero . Now..next stop we go head to head with Skeletor and his goons on Eternia as Super-Blog Team Up Returns for its fourth big team up!

 

Transmission Ended..

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

 

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Begin Transmission: Aug.11.2014

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

END TRANSMISSION..

 

 

 

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

 

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