Posts Tagged ‘SuperBlog Team Up’

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

Satellite Ends

 

Transmission Date: July 19th 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Events:

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

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

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My Favorites.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

SBTU History

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

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

End Transmission…

 

 

SBTUContinues below

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

Longbox Graveyard: Death Of Captain Marvel

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

Chris On infinite Earth’s: Death Of Supergirl

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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“We have a new character in the works for Strange Adventures, just a five-page filler named Dr. Strange. Steve Ditko is gonna draw him. It has sort of a Black Magic theme. The first story is nothing great, but perhaps we can make something of him! Twas Steve’s idea..!”         Stan Lee- Comics Reader Interview 1963

“When like minded bloggers come together to write on a singular topic on a singular day the blogosphere bends at their mercy….they are called Super-Blog Team Up. Their mission is to provide a “Magical”blogging experience to our readers and share the words from the edges of the blogging universe under one banner. Welcome to the mighty SBTU…for our older fans…welcome back!!”

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From the moment I saw David Copperfield make the statue of liberty disappear I knew I loved Magic. I was always the “How did they do that?” Kid. The secrets however most times were better as secrets as sometimes the belief in the trick is what makes it fun. When it came to “Magic” in comics most of what I had read came from DC in the very early 80s. Whether it was the Golden helmet of DC’s own wizard of the Supernatural Dr. Fate or the Top Hat and Fishnets of Zatanna. If I really wanted more  I also had the likes of The Phantom Stranger and Deadman.The DC is where I lived as a kid!
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While I was an ardent DC fan none of those characters ever struck a real emotional chord with me. There are stories of the infamous Marvel bullpen and all the creative inspirations that resulted from the recreational activities of Stan Lee and company. During the 60s and 70s Marvel were banging out plenty of new concepts and titles. Lee met with Spider-Man power artist Steve Ditko and proposed a new concept that played into his strengths as an artist…one that Stan Lee would actually NOT take credit for!
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Steve Ditko’s tale of a self-centered , materialistic Surgeon who is involved in a career ending car accident and reflects on a life takes to the Mountains of India to find himself. What he finds is the Ancient One who opens his eyes to the world the Mystic Arts making him into the eternal Earths defender from the evils of Black Magic!! Hence is born Dr. Strange! Strange was a classic product of the Marvel Method of making their Heroes “real” like normal people who happen to be living super heroic lives…The Doctor was no exception.

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What made Strange different was that could exist in other world dimensions. Ditko was a master of developing unique settings for his characters. His creator set Steven Strange in a bizarre geometric weirdo worlds beyond description. Ditko took simple circles, triangles and squares, mix them with moons, smoke and floating eyeballs and you have the multiple mystic dimensions in the mind of Steve Ditko and it was like nothing ever seen on the printed page before.

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Personally the character has always been a struggle for me. I loved the youthful energy in books like Spider-Man or the swagger of Millionaire Bruce Wayne and his many gadgets as Batman. Strange was always ..well..Strange to me. The middle-aged, moustached man in pajamas who was able to harness magic. He was not the Super Heroic looking enough for my 9-year-old mind. I always wondered what it would be like I drew a new Dr. Strange and what he would look like? I would do away with the pajamas and sash and by god he would be cool. Well others felt the same way I did. The Doctors title was in serious jeopardy of cancellation and the new creative team headed by master horror artist Gene Colon decided the good Doctor needed an update!

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In Doctor Strange #177 Doc’s classic costume was replaced with a flashy skin-tight unitard some slick new boots and gloves! The most glaring change was that he was also masked!!?? Roy Thomas the famous Marvel scribe penned a reason for the change where Strange’s nemesis  Asmodeushad literally taken the place of Steven Strange’s identity on Earth, while trapping  the real Doctor in another dimension.  The only escape, the Doctor needed to transform himself to free himself from his dimensional trap!

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Colon did his best to make this work and actually did a fine job of switching the character out of his geometric Ditkonian dimensions to a more realistic looking alternate universe.though as with every major costume change it would eventually revert to his original garb in issue #183. I realized after reading these issues many years later that some characters are not cut from the typical mold and intended to stay that way!! So as much as I hated the baggy panted middle-aged magician look it is one of those iconic looks that simply defies age. So if you have never picked up a comic book in your life..or just a fan of the supernatural genre pick up some classic  Strange books in the quarter bin and check out the big screen debut on Nov.4 2016!

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SBTU Continuess Below…be sure to check em all out!!

LongBox Graveyard: Doctor Strange vs. Dracula

Between The Pages: The Wondrous Worlds of Doctor Strange

DC In The 80sMagic edition: examining The Immortal Doctor Fate v1 (1985)

The Unspoken Decade:Nighttime Sunburn: Rise Of The Midnight Sons

Crapbox Son Of Chuthulu: The Makings of a Sorcerer Supreme: Optimism and Sacrifice

Chris Is On Infinite Earths Blog:Batman Visits the Sanctum Sanctorum

Coffee and Comics Blog:Review: Doctor Strange #84

The Daily Rios: Amalgam Dr Fate / Dr Strange

The Retroist: The OTHER Dr. Strange Film

The Super-Hero Satellite: You are here already!!

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

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Begin Transmission: Dec 16th 2015

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

 

 

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The STAR WARS EARLY BIRD CERTIFICATE PACKAGE (1977)

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

Star Wars Early Bird Back

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

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

  1. Open your Certificate Envelope.

 

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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.

PofP Coupon

 

 

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

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

Early Bird Stickers

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

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

Star Wars Early Bird Open

The Original 4 STAR WARS Figures from 1978!

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

 

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

Chewbacca Early Bird

 

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

Star Wars Original Collection

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

 

Original 1978 Star Wars Commercial

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

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

Death Star Vintage Toys

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

Impossible eBay Auction

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

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

 

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I remain a true STAR WARS Geek to this day!

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

 

Falcon

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

PosterSBTU

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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