Gross For One….Gross For All….Madballs!

Growing up most kids I knew had a baseball to play with, but some of us kids of the 80’s had something better to toss around with friends; we had Madballs!! And that’s the topic of today’s update, those monster and gross balls that swept the nation of must-have toys on the playground for a short time. Growing up, I can remember seeing kids on the playground tossing around the Madball of Screaming Meemie.  My friends and I even tried to play baseball with it, but it was a very poor ball to use in a game as hitting it never seemed to equal a home run. I can remember being at my cousins Dino and Norman’s house playing in the pool and throwing Madballs at each other, and as they would hit they would make a splat sound.  We also used Touchdown Terror at their house to play football on Thanksgiving one year. For my birthday one year I can remember getting a Madball birthday card from my parents that also included a metal button of Slobulus if memory serves me. It’s weird, in my youth I never owned an original Madball, but my brother and I did each have a Head-Popping Madball that our dad got for us from Hills Department Store one winter night as a way to keep us entertained when my parents took us to one of my dad’s work friend’s houses. My brother got Wolf Breath, and I got Lock Lips.  They were very cool, and I can remember our Mom yelling at us to stop shooting the heads at each other! We both had these figures for years, but sadly, like some of the other toys of my youth, they were given away or sold at a garage sale. Weirdly enough, in my 30’s I now own two Madballs, with Mavericks Cards and Comics selling me Slobulus and Horn Head for cheap prices about 3 years ago as well as my friend Max Ervin who gave me Screaming Meemie around the same time. It’s odd to think that while I never owned any of the original Madballs in my youth, they remain one of the most iconic toy lines in my mind.  Below is a picture of the original Madballs I own now as I hope you enjoy this update as much as I enjoyed writing it!

  • Note From Matt – In April 2016 Roar Comics started up a new Madballs comic series!

My Madballs

American Greetings is the company who created and produced Madballs.  They were started in 1906 by Jacob Sapirstein and are the 2nd largest greeting card company in the world, and to this day they are still run by the Sapirstein family! Over the years they continued to make greeting cards and also became sponsors for TV shows like Entertainment Tonight and Dragon Tales and ventured out into toys and cartoons. American Greetings has created iconic toy characters like Madballs, My Pet Monster, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Lady Lovely Locks and Popples, and after owning many of them for so many years, they sold Strawberry Shortcake in 2015 to Iconix Brand Group for $105 million. I should also point out that American Greetings is an Ohio founded company showing that we Ohioans really are creative people. I wanted to share a brief look at the company that created Madballs and show them some respect before we move onto the fast pitch of this update.  So here is to you, American Greetings, for making some amazing characters who helped shape many kids’ childhoods!

American Greetings Logo

Madballs hit toy shelves in 1985 and were aimed at capturing the attention of young boys who loved horror films, horror hosts and monster comics. The gross balls were made of rubber and foam and were supposed to be used to scare your friends as well as play sports with them. The commercials for these toys flooded Saturday Morning Cartoons and started a wave of kids begging their parents to get them one.  I will admit that my brother Bryan and I were those kids that they marketed them to, and sadly and strangely, as I noted above, my parents never got us any! Series One consisted of 8 characters that included “Screamin Meemie” a baseball with a face and a large Rolling Stone’s logo tongue, “Slobulus” a green creature who’s got one hanging eye and slobbers, “Aargh” was a blue skinned Frankenstein Monster also with one eye, “Horn Head” is a purple skinned Cyclops with a nose ring, “Skull Face” is a skull, “Crack Head” a cracked head with his brain exposed, “Oculus Orbus” is a giant eyeball and “Dust Brain” a green skinned Mummy! The original Madballs were a huge hit with the kids in Waynesville and were a major talking point between my brother and me for a short time. Parents flipped out over the toys, saying they were too gross and had terrible names, and this changed Crack Head’s name to Bash Brain due to the slang use of the term crack head being used for drug addicts. The worst part about Madballs was that they cracked and parts of the paint would fall off and expose the foam underneath, very annoying and one of the flaws of this toy line for sure.

Madballs Series 1

The popularity of the toyline sparked a second series that showcased “Wolf Breath” as Werewolf, “Swine Sucker” a mutated looking boar, “Bruise Brother” a messed up looking biker, “Freaky Fullback” a freak football player, “Snake Bait” a Gorgon, “Lock Lips” a monster with locks over one eye and mouth, “Fist Face” a hand holding a eyeball and “Splitting Headache” a half peeled face monster! The second series was popular but also was at the point where I noticed the kids at school had shifted towards other toy lines.  Madballs were cool but no longer the must have toy. This second set has many great characters that I would love to have had back in the day as well as even to this day: Wolf Breath, Swine Sucker and Lock Lips! Below are some pics from the second series that will show you also how the designs of the characters got better and how they dipped into the pool of classic monsters (Werewolf & Gorgon) as well as real life goons that scared people (the jock & biker). Also, in the 2000’s Madballs made a small comeback and were brought back to toy shelves as squishy toys.  They made a small impact before once more being sent off to toy heaven.

snakebaitwolfbreathswinesucker

Super Madballs were bigger and were not in the shape of a baseballs but the sport they were named after.  They were “Goal Eater” a soccer ball with teeth, “Touchdown Terror” a football missile monster and “Foul Shot” a basketball with a face and worms in his eye! These were big and bulky, and my cousins were the only kids I knew who had one of them. By the point Super Madballs were released, the steam was out of the line and over time Madballs faded into the world of forgotten toys.  I was not a fan of the Super Madballs back then and still don’t really have a soft spot for them. So let’s move on past, them shall we?

Super Madballs

Head-Popping Madballs featured the popular characters from the toy line, this time with bodies and the ability to launch their heads off as well as swap with other characters. The bodies were made of hard plastic with movable arms and legs, while the heads were rubber and detailed. The line had Screamin Meemie, Horn Head, Oculus Orbus, Slobulus, Dust Brain, Skull Face, Wolf Breath, Bruise Brother and Lock Lips who I had as a youngster like I said earlier. While the original Madballs were really cool, these figures were the ones I really liked, and I can remember playing with Lock Lips alongside my Masters Of The Universe figures. You see the Head-Popping Madballs were action figures, while the Madballs were, well, just balls! For a long time at GameSwap, the body of Skull Face was floating around, and many of us dug through a bin of old toy parts hoping to find its head that we sadly never did. Below are some examples of this series of Madballs, enjoy!

Head Popping Lock LipsHead Popping OrbusHead Popping Wolfbreath

Besides these toylines, over the years many other cool merchandise has been released based on The Madballs like greeting and Valentine Cards, stickers, wind-up toys, t-shirts, VHS tapes, comics and video games! That’s right, Madballs had a video game in 1988 that was made by Ocean for Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum that had you playing a Madball rolling around a maze and collecting your fellow Madballs. The game got very poor reviews and never made it to the NES. In 2009, a game for the X-BOX Live Arcade called Babo: Invasion featured two Madballs as characters, Horn Head and Oculus Orbus! So while a modern generation of kids might not know what a Madball is, for us kids of the 80’s there was lots of great merchandise to choose from back then and even a little now!

Madballs Wind UpMadballs Video Game (C64)Madballs TShirt

In 1986, Madballs got the cartoon treatment, and oddly enough, the toons were not made for TV viewing but only for the home video market by Nelvana on VHS. The first cartoon was called “Escape From Orb” and has the Madballs living on Orb, a place that music is banned.  They want to escape to Earth so they can tour as a band, but Commander Wolfbreath and the Badballs want to stop them. The second tape was called “Madballs: Gross Jokes” and had our stars acting out silly skits. I can remember renting the Escape From Orb cartoon from Mary L. Cook Public Library and being super hyped to watch it and rushing to pop it into the old VCR.  After the cartoon I was so disappointed at the back story given to these characters and hated the fact that they were aspiring rock stars…so lame and to me it came off as trying to cash in on the popularity of The California Raisins who were singing their way into hearts around the same time as well as cashing in on the success of bands like Bon Jovi and Poison who were as well very popular at the time with youngsters. Plus I was not a huge fan of the personalities they gave some of the Madballs as they should have been a little more gross and a little more mean. But while I may not have liked the story of the characters, I did find that animation to be pretty cool and it made me wonder why they went the home video route and not the Saturday Morning Cartoon one that could have given the series a shot in the arm and made them last a little longer on the must-have toy list. And before you ask, no I never did own the VHS tapes as a kid and only did get them when I got older and found them dirt cheap at a thrift store.

Madballs VHS 1Madballs CartoonMadballs VHS 2

While Madballs became popular, they also sparked knock-off toys like Bonkers The Ugly Ball, a grey skull face with a grin, and even Odd Balls, a series that had a Devil and even a Mummy as part of its line. Now I must admit that I did have two Odd Balls growing up as I can remember that they were very generic rubber balls that stung when being hit with one during a came of ball tag. The ones I had were Dirty Devil, a goofy very generic devil complete with evil twisted mustache goatee combo as well as buck teeth, and the other was Evil Knievel, a Mummy with purple skin and blood stains on his wrapping. Evil Knievel is the one I played with most, and I can remember tossing him around the backyard, rolling him off the roof of the house and shed and even tossed him over in the neighbor’s yard when my school crush was visiting her just so I could come over and say hi to her…yeah, I was such a monster kid dork back then that I used a Odd Ball to talk to a crush. Below is Ugly Ball as well as the two Odd Balls that I used to have when I was a kid.

Ugly BallOdd Balls - Dirty DevilOdd Balls - Evil Knievel

So we are at the core of this update, the Star Comic reviews! My brother and I had the first three issues of Madballs growing up, and I can remember that we both thought that our issue # 1 was going to be worth a fortune when we grew up.  To no one’s shock, it’s only worth a few dollars and is really common to find in local comic store’s dollar bins. Star Comics was so cool in the 80’s and made so many amazing comics based on toys and cartoons of the time, and Madballs was one of the lucky few that were chosen to be a three issue mini series and went on to be a total of 10 issues! I am pretty hyped to see if the final issue is a true final issue or if it will just end like so many other Star Comics at the time, quickly and dirty with no respect for the readers. Before we go bouncing around with The Madballs, I need to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank Mavericks, Bell Book And Comic, Lone Star Comics and 2nd And Charles for having these issues in stock for this review. So let’s get ready to get totally gross with Star Comic and The Madballs!

Madballs 1

Madballs # 1  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   # 1 of 10

“The Evil Dr. Frankenbeans” A delivery truck loses 8 rubber balls from the cargo it’s carrying.  They bounce down the road and land in a pond of chemicals at the R.U.I.N. laboratories and turn into Madballs that include Screamin’ Meemie, Horn Head, Dust Brain, Crack Head, AARGH, Skull Face, Slobulus and Oculus Orbus.  They find a nearby park and meet some youths led by Tommy playing baseball, and the two groups quickly become friends. Meanwhile R.U.I.N. head scientist Viktor Frankenbeans and his dim-witted assistant Snivelitch spot the Madballs and want to capture them as Frankenbeans thinks they will lead to him winning a Nobel Prize! When Snivelitch fails to capture them, Frankenbeans plays dirty and uses free drinks to give Skull Face everlasting hiccups and tries to kidnap the Madball but is stopped thanks to Slobulus who uses his slime to trip up Frankenbeans making him fall into his own chemical pond and swearing revenge on our round heroes. In the end, Skull Face is cured of his hiccups with a look in a mirror that causes him to scare himself. The second story is called “Corn-Ered!” The Madballs are playing hide and seek with Tommy and the kids when the corn comes alive and takes the kids captive to an old barn where the Madballs come face to face with Colonel Corn who was once a normal piece of corn until he fell into the chemical pond of R.U.I.N. and now wants to take over the world! Colonel Corn uses puns and a floating ball of kernels he calls Cornball to defeat The Madballs, but they are not down for long as Screamin’ Meemie gets so mad the heat from his anger turns Colonel Corn and Cornball into popcorn!

This first issue was just as cheesy and fun as I remember it to be way back in 1986 when I first read it! This issue shows how the Madballs came to be and uses the chemical pond as a way to turn normal rubber balls into talking scary and gross living creatures who have hearts of gold and befriend the local youth as they just want to have fun. None of the Madballs stand out as the leader and each are just filled with bad puns and really silly bad habits like drooling and screaming. It’s pretty amazing seeing a kids comic use the name Crack Head as the character is used in many spots and gets his time to shine. Dr. Viktor Frankenbeans is a mad scientist who is working for R.U.I.N. and is making terrible chemicals that not only smell bad but also are causing harm to nature and people.  He seems not to care as he is only seeking fame in this issue. He reminds me of a cheaper version of Gargamel from The Smurfs as his look and attitude are kind of matching. Snivelitch is a goon who is shown to not be very bright and is the whipping boy for Frankenbeans who jumps at any chance to put his goof assistant down. I am sure Snivelitch will act as the comic relief as I can see him screwing things up in the coming issues. Colonel Corn is the master of puns and with his play on words is able to beat down The Madballs, but when he is defeated and his head kernels are popped and turned into popcorn, he is just a husk head of a man watching as the kids and The Madballs eat what was once his face…. I want you to think about that….it’s like being weak and defeated and watching as zombies ate your face flesh meat while watching the Care Bears…sick twisted stuff. The cover is top notch and fantastic and I am sure caught the eye of many kids on the newsstands.  The art inside is also well done for this style of kids comic and was done by Howie Post (Howard Post) who is known for his comic strip The Dropouts as well as his work for Harvey Comics. He also did the artwork for some issues of Wally The Wizard for Star as well as the Centipede promo comic from DC, both of which I’ve covered here on Rotten Ink. An A-list artist for kids comics was on board for this one! Over all I can say I enjoyed this comic back when I was a kid and still did when I read it again.  So let’s see how issue two holds up.

Madballs 2

Madballs # 2  **
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   # 2 of 10

“Dr. Frankenbeans Returns” The Madballs are having fun with the kids when Oculus Orbus decides to go bird watching and goes on an adventure of his own. Meanwhile Dr. Frankenbean has come out of the chemical pond and comes up with a plan with Snivelitch to get The Madballs under his control.  It includes getting the help of Miss Tic The Mystic who hypnotizes The Madballs to be under Frankenbeans’ control so he can have them turn on the kids! In the end Oculus Orbus returns and reverses the spell and has Frankenbeans, Miss Tic and Snivelitch thinking they are ducks and swimming in the pond. “Meet Weirdbeard The Pirate” Tommy and the kids are fishing with The Madballs.  They enter a fog bank that takes them back in time where they are kidnapped and forced into slavery by Weirdbeard and The Madballs are tossed into the sea. Weirdbeard needs this crew as he wants to find the hidden treasure of Peg Leg Peg.  On the Island The Madballs with the help of a octopus save the kids and find the fog to get back to their time.  As for Weirdbeard, he gets himself gets captured by Peg Leg Peg who makes him her slave!

This second issue is good but did slip a little as it’s not as fun as the first issue.  In fact, the stories in this issue seemed a little rushed and both would be better as backup stories in an issue with better plotted stories. The return of Dr. Frankenbean is a letdown as his plan to get revenge is taken apart in moments by Oculus Orbus who turns the table on him and once more places him in the chemical stew pond. Miss Tic is a goth woman who has the power of hypnotizing the weak of mind and can also read minds, funny thing about that is Snivelitch has dirty ideas in his mind when it comes to Tic! The atmosphere for the first story’s castle of Miss Tic is well played as it reminded me of a set used on a Horror Host show from the 70’s. The second story of Peg Leg Peg and Weirdbeard was not my thing and for the most part I was bored reading it as it had a very generic feel. Here is to hoping we won’t see Weridbeard or Peg again but that we will see Miss Tic again as I could see her joining the fight against The Madballs more often. Oculus Orbus is the only Madball who stands out this issue as he uses his power of being a big eye to reverse the hypnotic spell and save his friends from being mindless slaves. The rest of The Madballs all kind of do what they do and that’s deliver puns and have fun doing things with their friends Tommy and his crew. The cover is well done and once more eye catching with the first story’s art by Howie Post and the second one by Roberta Edelman.  Both do a great job with the art even if the stories are a little lackluster. I’m going to move on from this issue to the third one and hope that it has better stories.

Madballs 3

Madballs # 3  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   # 3 of 10

“Attack Of The Bad Balls” Dr. Frankenbean and Snivelitch hide and listen to The Madballs and the kids talking about how the chemical pond turned 8 regular balls into their gross friends they call The Madballs. Frankenbean returns to R.U.I.N and tries to make his own version of talking gross balls.  Only after nearly giving up and using bowling balls does it work and out come The Badballs who are Smasher, Crasher and Trasher.  They have a rumble with The Madballs that leaves our heroes having to make a run for it! But once more Crack Head comes up with a plan that leaves the Badballs falling back into the chemical pond and turning back into boomerang balls that knock out Frankenbean and Snivelitch as the Madballs spin some more puns. The second story is “Now Museum, Now You Don’t” that has The Madballs running loose in a museum and the security guards are trying to stop them as hijinks run wild that leaves them all crashing into a big gross mess and being mistaken for art! The third story is “ Spaced Out” The Madballs bring down a U.F.O as they fear it might attack Tommy and the gang.  Inside is Rojad who came in peace but feels The Madballs are attacking him so he uses his shrink gun and turns them to the size of peas! As he grabs them, they muster all their power and take Rojad for a quick ride.  The alien and The Madballs patch things up, and they soon find out that his ship is out of fuel and the fuel he needs is the drool slime of Slobulus who he tries to kidnap. The Madballs must tangle with Rojad again, but after the fight they become friends as Slobulus fills his tank up and even gets a gold tooth as payment!

This third issue is a fun goofy ride and, like issue one, captures the gross nature of The Madballs and adds in some trouble for them to face that seem like actual threats. This issue also has three stories instead of two, giving you more silly adventures for the 75-cent price tag. The best story of the three has to be “Spaced Out” as I like the idea of The Madballs fighting an alien who wears yellow and has a robot like face.  The idea that drool slime fuels his ship is also classic 80’s toy and comic stuff. The Madballs in the issue are shown to be fighters and thinkers as they outsmart not only The Badballs but also Rojad and do so with smarts and might. They are also very protective of their human friends.  If they think they are in danger, they will attack and defend with all their round might. Oh yeah, Crack Head once more shows that he is smart as he comes up with a plan to defeat the Badballs that works! Like in all of the issues up to this point, the Madballs spend lots of time spewing out cheesy puns that young kids would laugh at. The Badballs are three tough as nails bowling balls who are bullies, but soon find out that their heavy nature helped them in the fight but also was their downfall. Rojad was not really a bad guy but did have The Madballs on the ropes with his shrink gun.  For an alien that came in peace he sure did turn evil when it came to kidnapping poor Slobulus! Dr. Frankenbean and Snivelitch once more come up with a plan to get revenge and as always fail at that mission. The cover is great and would catch the eye not just of Madball fans but also Monster Kids as it has a very Frankenstein feel to it, or at least I think so. The art is once more done by kids comic legend Howie Post and shows why he was a go to guy for these type of comics. I’m glad to see the series back on track with this issue, and I hope the fourth keeps it up! Plus, this is a Star Comic that went on after its 3-issue mini series, now let’s take bets if it has a true final issue.

Madballs 4

Madballs # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 4 of 10

“The Madballs Meet The New Madballs” Dr. Frankenbean is depressed about not being able to get his revenge on The Madballs, and this has taken over his life until he and Snivelitch come up with a plan that has them throwing eight more rubber balls into the chemical pond.  Out comes eight new Madballs that are Wolf Breath, Swine Sucker, Snake Bait, Lock Lips, Fistface, Freaky Fullback, Splitting Headache and Bruise Brother! Frankenbeans tricks his New Madballs into going to the park and rumbling with the old ones, and boy do they, as each team has members fall.  It comes down to Horn Head and Bruise Brother clashing head on that causes the ground to crack, and Tommy falls in! When all The Madballs and New Madballs awaken, they figure out they are all brothers and they save Tommy and chase off Frankenbean and Snivelitch and all sixteen Madballs make their home in an abandoned dance hall. “Anchors Away” Tommy and the gang along with Madballs Screamin’ Meemie, Slobulus, Dust Brain, Wolf Breath, Snake Bait and Fist Face are rush home to watch the news, but before it comes on Wolf Breath along with Snake Bait and Slobulus all go for the kitchen for a snack and don’t see that news anchor Ben Defax has hypnotized his viewers into giving him all their wealth.  He’s also begun wearing a mask in the shape of a boat anchor and calling himself Anchor-Man! His power comes from his microphone, and the three Madballs figure out a way to defeat him and break his hold on the viewers when Wolf Breath’s bad breath breaks the hold on the fellow Madballs and Snake Bait uses his snakes to crush the microphone.

This issue is the first for The Madballs to break the mini series banner and become a full series as Star Comics listened to the readers and gave them more gross out adventures than what was planned. Plus this issues adds in the eight Madballs that were released in series two into the plot and has them joining the others as well as Tommy and his friends in having fun and foiling the plots of Frankenbeans. I must say that adding the New Madballs to the cast was really cool as seeing Wolf Breath and Swine Sucker in action is cool, but it also dilutes the cast as now some Madballs seem to take a backseat and others seem to be the focus as Snake Bait is showcased more in this issue than Oculus Orbus, AARGAH and Crack Head (who is now being called Bash Brain) combined! It’s nice to see Frankenbean and Snivelitch come back to the now on-going series, and they and the R.U.I.N. Lab are great as the major bad guys to the series. The main baddie is Ben Defax aka Anchor-Man, who wants to use his fame of being on TV and his hypnotizing microphone to steal from his fans.  He’s a real ego driven jerk who wears a dumb giant boat anchor mask to add fear to his life in crime. In this issue we also find out that The Madballs are make home in an abandoned old play theater and this run down setting is great for their gross home base. I enjoyed both stories equally, and it was nice to see The Madball rumble in the first story as it’s clear only a Madball can defeat a Madball. The art in this issue is done by Howie Post once more, and it’s fantastic and the cover is good.  Over all this is a solid kids comic based on a toy line, and so far I am enjoying it as much as I did when I was a kid and first read them.

Madballs 5

Madballs # 5   **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 5 of 10

“Plus 3 Makes 19” Dr. Frankenbean is very upset over the 16 Madballs and how they have foiled his evil plans.  When Tommy and the gang go to get ice cream, he steals their soccer ball, football and basketball and tosses them into the chemical pond and out pops The Super Madballs named Touchdown Terror, Foul Shot and Goal Eater.  He sends them out to beat up The Madballs, and the rumble starts and ends soon as Freaky Fullback and Touchdown Terror find they have lots in common and they discover that they are all one big gross family! The Super Madballs chase down Frankenbeans and Snivelitch and toss them into the chemical pond, and all ends well for the ever growing Madball family. “Veg Out” has Dr. Frankenbean getting help from a hypnotist after his last defeat at the hands (or is that heads?) of The Madballs that has him now focusing on growing vegetables.  After a mistake made by Snivelitch, instead of water he sprays his garden with liquid from the chemical pond and out comes The Vegeterribles that include Rotten Tomato, Crushroom, Paul Onion, Spud-Nick, Pea Shooter and Iceberg Lettuce who he wants to send after The Madballs! The two groups rumble in the old Abandoned Theater, and Frankenbean and Iceberg Lettuce freezes Tommy and the kids in blocks of ice making The Madballs surrender. In the end Horn Head and Swine Sucker rush to the R.U.I.N Lab and save The Madballs, and Swine Sucker eats The Vegeterribles and they bury Frankenbean and Snivelitch as if they are vegetables!

This is another good issue but I must also point out that this comic series is also becoming very paint by numbers as many of the stories has The Madballs having a run in with some sort of bad guys who they beat is some cheesy pun filled way.  Frankenbean uses the chemical pond to create new versions of the Madballs who turn on him in no time and so on and so on. But with that out of the way, let’s take a look at this issue as both stories have select Madballs fighting against another group of mutated baddies with the first ending in friendship and the second with victory as their enemies are eaten alive! Dr. Frankenbean is becoming more and more mad with revenge as this series continues and he is even willing to put children in harm’s way in order to destroy The Maballs.  If he continues down this path, by the final issue it looks like he will have a collection of bodies buried in the basement of R.U.I.N Labs all the while thinking the clock on the wall is telling him when it’s “Revenge” time….In other words, he is going crazy! None of The Madballs really stand out as at this point, there are just too many of them and they are having to be split up just to try to work them into the plot.  Some are so loosely in the story that they don’t really add much. The Super Madballs are cool to see, but I really hope this issue is the only one they appear in though I have a bad feeling they will return and clog up the weakening stories even more. The Vegeterribles are cool but kind of a waste as they are killed, and I mean murdered, by the end of the second story. The cover is great but shows you just how clustered the characters are getting with the art from the first story being done by Howie Post and the second done by Michael Gallagher.  Both are good stuff. Over all I am being a little generous with this issue’s star rating as it’s more like a two, but I did have fun reading it.  However, if things don’t change up in the next issue I will not be as kind.

Madballs 6

Madballs # 6  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 6 of 10

“Mad Love” Dr. Frankenbean and Snivelitch find one last rubber ball near the lab and along with some make-up they toss it into the chemical pond and out comes MadBelle, a gross female who causes Horn Head, Foul Shot, Fist Face, Swine Sucker and Bash Brain to fight amongst themselves to win her heart when he tricks them to come to the lab for a party. Just as they are about to ram themselves into a tree to see who wins a date with her, Madbelle stops them and tells them she is in love with Snivelitch, and The Madballs figure out they have been set up and turn the tables once more on Dr. Frankenbeans. “Maiden Hong Kong Blues” Chin, one of Tommy’s friends, is shocked when he finds that his dad’s restaurant has been wrecked by Maiden Hong Kong and her bodyguards sumo wrestler Topknot and ninja Ninjun Joe who want bad fortune cookies given out! In the end The Madballs, come up with a plan to stop Maiden Hong Kong from getting her request and send her to jail.  After the victory they have a great Chinese food meal.

Once more Frankenbean tosses a ball into the Chemical Pond to create something to get his revenge on The Madballs.  By this point I am getting pretty sick of this format and starting to wonder why they are doing this plot over and over again. I mean, I get the comic is based on a toy and that they are trying to do a cartoon style format with it, but good God enough is enough! Madbelle is lame and her whole reason to help bring down The Madballs is thrown out the window as she is just used to deliver dumb puns and fall in love with Snivelitch. Speaking of Snivelitch, he and Frankenbeans once more are just around for blah revenge and in the end both get what’s coming to them. The second story is the better of the two by far and has select Madballs having to tangle with a sumo wrestler and ninja all in the name of fortune cookies! But still nothing new over all and in fact it’s as stale as the last issue.  While enjoyable, the been there, read that feeling creeps into your brain and makes it slightly less enjoyable. If not for the second story, this one would have been rated lower. The cover is okay, and the art is done by Howie Post and Michael Gallagher again marking at least good art quality making up for the lack of story in the first segment. Also I am pretty sure we have not seen the last of Maiden Hong Kong and her goons as I think they will be out for revenge soon, but I hope this is the end of Madbelle as she was kind of a waste. Let’s just move onto issue seven and hope it steps it up next issue.

Madballs 7

Madballs # 7   **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 7 of 10

“Body Builders” Madballs Skull Face, Dust Brain, Slobulus, Snake Bait, Lock Lips and Wolf Breath are feeling down that they do not have bodies and come up with a plan to trick Frankenbean into making them bodies! After a trick that has them breaking down a old building, Frankenbean thinks they have turned evil and shares with them his new invention the FrankenTank that will be used to cause panic and help him take over the world! With the help of the chemical pond and the bodies of dolls, The Madballs now have bodies and rush off to test them out. Unbeknownst to Frankenbeans, they are really building vehicles to combat his and in the end they are able to destroy his tank and save the world from his evil plan. “Tourist Trap” has select Madballs like Screamin’ Meemie, AARGH, Goal Eater, Fistface and Bruise Brother all going on a vacation to an island where they meet the scum bag Bermuda Schwartz The Terrible Tourist, who uses his cheap cigar smoke, freezing camera and tacky shorts to rob people and places, but with the help of a cheap mirror and luck, Fistface is able to turn the tables on this terrible man and send him to jail while they enjoy the rest of their vacation.

Finally a slight change of pace that kept lots of the same feeling but added a little seasoning to spice it up. The first story has select Madballs getting bodies and tricking and defeating Frankenbeans as the second story has select Madballs stopping a terrible tourist from robbing banks, hotels and people! The second story is short and is a nice backup to the first, even if it lied and used the name Tourist Trap as I did not see Chuck Connors as Mr. Slausen from the film of the same name.  But really it’s a cool fun short story with a funny baddie set up for them to knock down as Bermuda Schwartz is the perfect example of a person who takes the fun out of being places with his only-me attitude. Frankenbeans in this issue goes from hating Madballs, to loving Madballs like they are his children to hating them again! He is who he is and while paint by numbers, I will say he is the perfect 80’s kid comic/cartoon bad guy! None of The Madballs stand out once more and share about the same panel time, but the stand out in this issue for me has to be Fistface, who is the one who beats Schwartz at his own annoying game. The art is done by Post again, and the cover on this one is pretty cool even if it misleads a little as Frankenbeans never rides a cycle and Horn Head is not in the issue at all. Over all, it’s good standard kid comic stuff that for the most part is doing these toys justice.

Madballs 8

Madballs # 8  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 8 of 10

“Younger Than Springslime” Our story starts with Frankenbeans and Snivelitch running up a mountain from Touchdown Terror, Wolf Breath and Horn Head who caught the R.U.I.N Lab workers trying to blow up their home! But while hiding in a cave, Frankenbean finds the fountain of youth and comes up with a plan that leads to the three Madballs diving into a small pool of the water and turning them into Baby Madballs! But he soon finds that the toddler Madballs are driving him crazy with trying to win his attention, and after a dip in the Chemical Pond, they turn back into adults and decide to drop Frankenbeans and Snivelitch into the youth water giving them a taste of being young all over again! “Weather I’m Right” is the second story and has Skull Face, Goal Eater, Lock Lips, Snake Bait and Screamin’ Meemie heading to the TV Station to yell at weather lady Gail Warning who reported it would be sunny but in fact it’s a severe thunderstorm! They meet up with reformed former bad guy, Ben de Fax aka Anchor Man, who tries to warn them but it’s too late as Gail is indeed evil and she controls the weather! After freezing them and sending them to the North Poll, The Madballs find away to return to town and thanks to Snake Bait’s snakes they are able to get her weather wand and break it and safely deliver her to the cops as she is booked on crimes against nature.

The Madballs in this issue turn into babies and fight the weather, and readers are treated to these two silly stories that are pure kid comic gold.  This is a fun way to showcase The Madballs as they do good and in some odd way are teaching some sort of lessons like don’t mess with nature and be proud of your age. The Madballs that stick out in this issue are Goal Eater, who saves his fellow Madballs from freezing to death, and Snake Bait, who uses is snake like charm to rid the world of the weather wand. Frankenbeans and Snivelitch are pretty much the same as every issue as revenge is on their minds, and they know that their plan will end badly but they still take the chance. Nice to see Ben de Fax aka Anchor Man back in a cameo and that the TV Station didn’t fire him even after he robbed viewers. The new TV Station evil on air personality is Gail Warning, and she is a hot to trot blonde who for some reason gets joy in reporting the weather wrong…yeah, what an odd motivation. The best story of the two I would say is Weather I’m Right as I liked the flow a little better and the story moves at a wacky and fun pace. The art for the first story was done by Post and the second one was Gallagher, and like I broken record I will say it was fantastic and fitting.  The cover as well is pretty dang cool and showcases the Madball Babies! On a side note before we move onto the next issue, this marks the final issue under the Star brand name as the next two will sport the Marvel Comics logo.

Madballs 9

Madballs # 9  ***
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 9 of 10

“The Return Of Everyone” The twisted mind of Dr. Frankenbeans comes up with an idea to free Miss Tic The Mystic from jail, and when he and Snivelitch do so, they also free some of the other Madball baddies like Anchor-Man, The Bad Balls, Weird Beard The Pirate, Maiden Hong Kong and Colonel Corn.  Their plan is to attack five locations unless money is paid to them! The city calls on The Madballs for help who break into five groups to try and stop the madness and return these bad guys to jail. The first group goes to the Midwest, and they are Goal Eater, Snake Bair, Oculus Orbus and Screamin’ Meemie as they take on Colonel Corn! While in China, Dust Brain, Lock Lips, Bash Brain and Swine Sucker tangle with the sinister Maiden Hong Kong! In L.A. Wolf Breath, Splitting Headache, AARGH and Horn Head find the wicked Anchor-Man up to his old tricks, while on the Atlantic Ocean Skull Head, Fist Face, Freak Fullback and Touchdown Terror battle on a ship with Weird Beard who has kidnapped Tommy and the gang of kids! While at R.U.I.N Lab, Foul Shot, Slobulus and Bruise Brother must come face to face with the team up of The Bad Balls, Dr. Frankenbeans, Snivelitch and Miss Tic! And with the readers help to solve puzzles like cross word, connect the dots and word find The Madballs defeat their enemies and make them all jump into the Chemical Pond.

This issue is hands down one of the best in the series and tells one story that brings back almost all the series’ main bad guys for one final battle! Plus it also showcases all The Madballs, New Madballs and Super Madballs making it feel like a one issue Madball version of Secret Wars. Miss Tic The Mystic is the brains behind the newly formed team of haters, and she is also one of the last to fall in battle.  It was great seeing her again as well as all the other baddies. While the fights are not fully shown as the puzzles act as your way to defeat them, it was nice for many of them to get that one last shot at being in the comic and trying to get revenge on those dang Madballs. Once more none of The Madballs stand out as they all play a part in trying to save the world from paying these goons to not do evil deeds. I like the idea of the puzzles being the way for The Madballs to win as it gave kids a challenge and made their minds work to solve them to further the story. My favorite bad guy who returns has to be Colonel Corn who uses his corny puns to defeat his enemies, and like before The Madballs pop his head into popcorn! Plus is clear that Snivelitch wants some Miss Tic booty and even dresses up to try and impress her. The cover is great and showcases some of The Madballs as well as some of the Bad Guys and is eye catching for fans of the series. As always Post does the art and rocks it! For the first issue being done under Marvel, this one is better than almost the whole Star Comic run and that’s because this one has action, fun games and a solid story.  Let’s see how the final issue holds up!

Madballs 10

Madballs # 10  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 10 of 10

“Fantastic Voyeurs”  While walking in the field near R.U.I.N Lab,Dr. Frankenbean finds the shrink gun of Rojad and wants to use it to shrink The Madballs into micro size terrors he can deal with but Touchdown Terror, Bash Brain and Fist Face come crashing in and cause Frankenbeans to have a breakdown and a virus called Unchained Melody is running rampant in his body! Snivelitch begs them to let him shrink them so they can save Frankenbean from death’s door and after thinking about it, they agree and enter Frankenbeans throat to save his life! But they only have 20 minutes to do so as the effects of the gun will run out and they will grow normal size stuck in his body! But in the end they beat the virus and escape his body and all things go back to normal. “Compose Yourself” this last adventure has Swine Sucker, Freaky Fullback, Oculus Orbus and Screamin’ Meemie going up against Grammar Moses, an old lady who uses a grammar stick to beat people who abuse the words! After being knocked around by her, thanks to giant question marks and quotations Screamin’ Meemie uses his loud words to bust her hearing aid and is able to defeat her, but they see she is a good person and it ends with her being a tutor to them so they can speak better.

The final issue is not a farewell issue, and the series does not get its ride off into the sunset instead it just ends like so many other Star Comics and Marvel titles before it. The first story is like the film Innerspace and has The Madballs entering a human body to save a life, dumb silly and a fun read for sure. The second story is a grammar lesson and has them fighting an old lady with her board that she has dubbed the board of education. The Madballs final battle with Frankenbeans and Snivelitch is really more of a rescue mission, and I am okay with that as in my head this could be the moment the feud ended between them. Grammar Moses is pretty silly but fitting when used to educate about the use of words and grammar. Touchdown Terror is the standout in the series as he seems to be calling the shots in the first story when some of The Madballs are shrunk. Would you like to know my top four Madballs that appeared in this series? While I liked them all in my own way, I would have to say my favorites in order are Horn Head, Swine Sucker, Wolf Breath and Crack Head (Bash Brain) with Dust Brain and Fist Face also coming in very close. The art is done by Howie Post again, and I will say that his work shines in these kind of kids comics, and he would be the artist I would have loved to have seen make a Commander USA comic for Star. The cover for the final issue is okay, nothing ground breaking but would for sure get the attention of fans of the series and toys. Again to sum up this series, it was pretty good and I would say it’s on the level with such other Star Comics we have looked at like Inhumanoids, Foofur, Hugga Bunch, AniMax and Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos but not as good as Thundercats, Wally The Wizard and Defenders Of The Earth. If you grew up with the toys and enjoy comics based on toys check it out, if you like Star Comics and kid comics in general check it out. Below is some artwork from the series that showcases select Madballs in action, enjoy!

madballs art 1

Madballs is a good average kid comic series based on a toy line but it’s also very limited as they are just flying balls who can only really fight with the power of being gross and headbutting…so He-Man or G.I. Joe they are not, but entertaining they were. For our next update, we are heading back to the old theater as we take our third look at Marvel At The Movies! So make sure to come back for that one as we will be covering some fantastic adaptations in it. Until then, read a comic or three, collect your childhood toys and support your local horror host! And make sure to bring enough popcorn to share with others for the next update.

marvel-at-the-movies-3

Have You Seen This Lost Dog: Foofur

Welcome back to Rotten Ink!  This update is all about that blue dog Foofur. Dogs are a man’s best friend, and they are loving as well as loyal.  Growing up I have only had two dogs in my life but have been around many.  From the chubby old dog Two who lived at my grandparents’ house all the way to Conan who is my cousin Stephen’s hyper little Chihuahua, I have always been around dogs. The first dog that we had was a mutt named Droopy, who from what I understand was a very fun loving little guy who loved my brother Bryan and I. The sad part is I was very young and don’t remember him all that well, and to add to his sad story while my family was away, my uncle was watching him and someone stole him from the backyard! I mean what kind of scumbag steals a family pet? The second dog we got was Stella, a German Shepard, when I was around 16 years old.  She was a sweet dog who was my best pal when I first moved back to Kettering.  She used to follow me around the yard, and we would have all kinds of adventures walking around the neighborhood. Stella was a scaredy cat for the most part, but if she thought I was in trouble, she would spring into protective mode. Stella lived to an old age and I find myself missing that goofy knucklehead. If you’re a dog owner, cherish the time you have with your furry buddy and give them an extra treat after dinner. Below is a picture of Bryan and I with Droopy, and I have to make a note that for some reason I can’t find my pictures of Stella I took when I was a teenager.

Bryan and Me with Droopy

Back in the day, many of the top watched cartoons were made by Hanna-Barbera who was the company who brought us such great characters as Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, Jabber Jaw and Huckleberry Hound, all popular and beloved cartoon characters. Hanna-Barbera were at the top of what they did, but by the late 80’s while their classic work was still popular, many of the newer stuff was not as iconic as the past work.  Shows like Yo! Yogi, Flintstone Kids and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo were all great shows and all ones I watched when they aired in the 80’s and early 90’s, but most of those shows didn’t have the life and staying power as their classic toons did. In 1986, they made a character that was pretty well liked by the kids of Wayensville but now in 2015 is pretty much forgotten, and that’s the loveable blue dog Foofur. In 1986, on NBC during the station’s Saturday Morning Cartoons, a cartoon made by Hanna-Barbera called Foofur started airing and is about a skinny dog named Foofur who finds a mansion to live in that’s abandoned! But living in the big house by himself is lonely so Foofur, along with his niece Rocki, free fellow dogs from the kennel, and they all now live with him and dodge the dog catcher and a realtor who wants to sell the house from under Foofur’s paws. Foofur lasted for two seasons and a total of 46 episodes and was canceled in 1988, but for those of us like myself who watched Foofur when it aired those two seasons were very entertaining and had that Hanna-Barbera charm. It’s odd, with WB putting out their Warner Brothers Archive Discs for many Hanna-Barbera shows, that this series has never made it to DVD on demand. While his run was short, Foofur still made his mark on Saturday Morning Cartoons and remains a cult favorite among the fans that remember his adventures.

Foofur Cartoon 1Foofur Cartoon 2Foofur Cartoon 3

While characters like Scooby-Doo had tons of merchandise from toys to keychains, poor Foofur had very little merch.  So if you were a fan, it was pretty slim pickings to get collectibles of your blue furred pal. So let’s take a quick second to talk about some of the things that were made that included VHS tapes of some of his episodes that quickly came and went at retail stores.  I can remember finding some of these tapes in the cheap bin at Hearts and Gold Circle. Sticker story books of FooFur also came out and were geared toward young readers that helped kids not only to read but also survived as a way for kids to get more FooFur hijinks. The last thing I can remember is the stuffed doll of Foofur made by R.Dakin Co./ Phil Mandez productions that was very long and looked as lazy as possible and captured the goofball loving nature of the character. I never had any of these items, and I can remember that someone I knew had the doll and it was either my friend Joanna or my cousin Nick…but I am not 100% sure on that one.

Foofur DollFoofur BookFoofur VHS

So we just learned a little about the show as well as the merchandise so now I figure we should take a quick crash course on the side characters that made up the show. Let’s start with Fencer; he is a black and white furred cat who loves karate and thinks he can fight. Louis is a strong as an ox bulldog who can fight as well as be a loyal friend to all his fellow housemates. Annabel is a sweet female dog with long bangs that cover her eyes and is the girl of Louis. Fritz Carlos is a proper dog with a sweet mustache and has total manners as well as tall tales. Hazel is a curly eared female dog who is a clean freak and is buddies with Fritz. Dolly is Foofur’s girlfriend who is owned by a well to do woman and her best friend is Burt a snob dog. The show had many “bad guys,” but we will get to them when we cover the comics. I should thank Lone Star Comics and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock and should as always remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So with that let’s head to the old mansion and see what Foofur and the gang are up to, shall we?

Foofur 1

Foofur # 1  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #1 of 6

Curly Tale” has Foofur and the gang almost being found in the mansion when it was being looked at for purchase.  Once they are safe, Dolly stops by and invites Foofur to her tea party that will be attended by many of the town’s top dogs! Foofur gets the help of Hazel to look nice for the party but uses too much conditioner and ends up putting a curl to all his fur! When he gets there, at first he’s looked at as a joke, but when the smart fashion dog likes the look, he becomes a trendsetter. “Alone Again” has that Kung-Fu cat Fencer doing his moves in the house and annoying Foofur and Annabell, who are cleaning the attic of the mansion.  When he goes outside and thinks that his pals are captured by the catchers, who he actually frees is the Ma Baker gang who kidnap Fencer and hide in Foofur’s mansion.  Once inside, they beat up Fencer and Foofur, but the gang of bad animals meet their match when the raging bulldog Louis shows up and beats them up and makes them run to the dogcatchers to be captured and safe away from him! “Trial And Error” has a group of rats living in the mansion who want to throw out Foofur and the gang and get the help of a lawyer rat who banishes Rocki from the house.  When the young dog is sad and is crying over being kicked out, Louis shows up and beats up the rats and throws them out of the mansion!

This is another kids comic that takes the route of doing multiple stories in a issue instead of one solid onem and while in the days of Goldkey and Whitman, that style worked for the likes of Bugs Bunny and Pink Panther, in my opinion it does not work for Foofur in 1987 as it clearly should have been one continuous story that helped add to the world that the cartoon was building on Saturday mornings. Each of these stories, while cheesy, packs a fun feel, and I must say I really like the abandoned mansion backdrop. Thus far only three of the characters shine and that’s Foofur, Louis and Fencer so I will give you a little of my first comic book impression of these three characters. First up is Foofur; while he is very laid back, he clearly cares about his friends and is trying his best to keep the mansion theirs. The one negative thing I noticed is when is niece Rocki is crying, he pays no attention and keeps playing cards, and it’s Louis who checks on her and takes care of the issue. Speaking of Louis, he is one tough bulldog who whoops butt not once but twice in this issue and is clearly the muscle of the group. But while he might be the meathead, it’s clear that he cares about his friends and will protect them at all cost. When I was younger and watching the cartoon, this next character was my favorite and it’s the cat who knows karate named Fencer who while noble at heart is really just a goofball who tries more then he knows, and means well when trying to stick up for his pals. Now I should also pick the best story out of the three, and I would say Alone Again not only because it shares the name of a power ballad sung by Dokken but because I love the idea of a gang of rough and ready animals taking orders from an old dog named Ma Baker who is straight out of Batman 66 if that show was played by animals. The art is pretty solid and is done by Ben Brown who captured the look and mood of the cartoon, really good stuff and reminds me of Archie and Harvey comic art. So far I would say that this Star Comic series based on the cartoon Foofur is pretty entertaining and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this series goes, so let’s move onto issue # 2!

Foofur 2

Foofur # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #2 of 6

The first story is called “Unreal Estate.” In it relator Mrs. Escrow is trying to sell the mansion and fills it with furniture to give it a more homey feel.  So Foofur takes an idea from Fritz Carlos, and they put the furniture in crazy places! As the open house starts all the people are mad at Mrs. Escrow and think she pulled a joke on them because of this, but it backfires as one strange man loves the mansion and the way it’s set up and agrees to buy it the next day! Foofur and the gang spend the night making the mansion look normal again and stops the buy when the man gets mad about how normal the house looks and Mrs. Escrow in the end thinks the mansion is haunted. The second story is called “Costume Canine Caper.”  Those rats are at it again and use a dog costume to try and sneak into Foofur’s group to gain secrets on how to get rid of them, but the plan is cut short when the rats are captured by the dogcatchers and must ditch the suit.  Fencer witnesses it with his own eyes, and Foofur in the end scares off the rats by wearing a giant rat costume! “User Unfriendly” has the Mayor firing Mel and Harvey from being the city’s dog catchers and replaces them with a robot named 4-D who can capture dogs super fast! 4-D goes on a capturing rampage and even gets Louis, but all things backfire on the robot when Foofur over loads its circuits by using a ton of wind up dog toys! At the end Louis breaks free from the pound and 4-D ends up in a trash can.

This second issue is just like the first issue with three stories and a one-page joke, and like before, each of the stories have a charm and each are well done and silly. Much like before, most of the time the plots are set in and around the mansion making the old structure almost feel like a character on its own. Foofur in this issue is much like the first and does show he has a prankster side as he helps move around couches and place beds in the kitchen not to mention wears a costume to scare off those pesky rats. Fritz Carlos is a proper little dog who is very British and very much a supporter of the abstract. So we should also take a look at the “bad guys” of this series.  Let’s start with the three rats who are named Sam, Chucky and Baby.  They want the mansion all to themselves and are trying to do whatever it takes to run the dogs off.  Sam is the brains of the rats and bullies the other two. Mrs. Escrow is not fully bad in the comic and is only doing her job of trying to sell the mansion, but her little dog Pepe is a jerk and hates Foofur and the gang. The last two are the dogcatchers named Mel and Harvey who once more are just doing their job but do seem to target Foofur and the gang and patrol that area a lot. Out of all these “bad guys” I would say the biggest threat to them has to be the Rats as I feel they would murder Foofur in his sleep if they could figure out a way to do so! The best story out of the three this issue has to be Unreal Estate as I like the fact Foofur and the gang are running around changing things to save their home from being sold, and I could see the Three Stooges doing something like this. The art is once more all done by Ben Brown and is fantastic for this kids’ style of comic.  I must also point out for some reason I really like this cover with the rain and Foofur being so tall he is blocking his friends from getting wet. This is another good issue, and this makes me hopeful that this whole series will stay entertaining and steady with the two and a half star ratings.

Foofur 3

Foofur # 3  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #3 of 6

Foofur and the gang’s first adventure is called “History Defeats Itself!” and has Mrs. Escrow selling the mansion to land developer Cashman who wants to build a condo in the spot where the mansion sits! Foofur, along with Dolly and the gang, try to figure out how to stop the buy and most importantly stop the mansion from being torn down. They try to use some of Fritz’s old arrowheads to get the historical society to step in but that turns into a bust.  Finally Louis has an idea just as things look bad and gets a giant bone from the butcher shop and the demolition stops.  Cashman rips up the contract after what he thinks is all a waste of his time, and the mansion is saved and once more put up for sale. The second adventure is called “A Close Encounter” has an alien landing on earth and meeting the rats who he thinks are the kings of the planet.  They tell him that they are indeed and are under attack by the K-9s! The Alien takes Foofur and his friends off the planet and is about to leave them when he finds out he has been played by the Rats! And with the help of Foofur, the Alien is able to scare the Rats away from the mansion. The last story is called “Plant You Know, Dig You Later.” Annabel has her sister and her kids over at the mansion, and her sister brings her a plant as a gift and they leave it on the porch. During the visit the plant grows and grows and covers the mansion! Louis uses his brain and grabs the plant’s root and places it in the freezer causing the plant to die and detach from the mansion.

Issue three is another solid Foofur adventure packed from page to page with cartoon inspired goodness. Much like all the issues before, all three stories are well done and each hold their own charm.  If I had to pick one as my favorite, I would say History Defeats Itself would take the spot, not just cause it’s a good story but it also makes me think of the big mansion and woods in Sugarcreek that was torn down so they could build a soulless Coastco…but let’s not harp on that. But A Close Encounter comes in close second and that’s because I love the whole alien comes to Earth story that reminds me of so many classic Sci-Fi films I watched when I was a kid. Foofur remains the same in this issue, and it’s really clear he loves to play cards, cares about his pals and his girlfriend Dolly. Annabel is a sweet dog that has bangs that block her vision as this is said many times o far in the series.  We also get the fact she has a sister and is the aunt to many puppies, and she is married to Louis. Ben Brown is still doing the art, and it’s fantastic and really does make it feel like the cartoon.  One other thing I should note is that the inking in this series so far is very bright and this helps add to the over all fun feel of the comics. Not much more to say besides another good issue that brings all the Foofur action to comic readers.

Foofur 4

Foofur # 4  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #4 of 6

Fernando’s Hideaway” has Foofur and his pals finding hiding spots for when Mrs. Escrow comes to the mansion to show it to a buyer. After they master the art of hiding, they all go to take a nap when crooks break in and are hiding from the police. Foofur and the gang use their new hiding spots to act as if the mansion is haunted, and the crooks run back into the arms of the police. In the end, all ends well besides the fact The Rats are mad about them being around the inside of the walls for the hiding spots claim that’s their territory! In “Show Business” Fritz Carlos is on a date with Hazel, and they see a hypnotist that by accident hypnotizes Hazel and turns her into a slob when she is the clean freak of the gang! When home she trashes the place, and worse the house is about to be shown, so Fritz and Foofur rush back to the hypnotist and have the spell broken get he back to the mansion just in time to clean it up and all ends well. The final story is called “The Buddy Guard” and is about Louis and Annabel wandering the streets looking for food when a gang of dogs led by a pitbull shows up and start calling Louis a chicken, and instead of fighting, the bulldog leaves! Foofur tells Annabel, who is worried about her man, that the dogs they ran into was once lead by Louis and he left them to become friends with Foofur. The Rats hear this and bring in the gang who attack the house, but the bad dogs soon learn Louis is no chicken as he wipes the floor with them and proves he is a smart fighter.

Louis once more shows that he is the biggest and baddest bulldog in the comic world as he beats down a pitbull and a pack of other dogs by himself! Plus I like the backstory given to him that he once was a bad dog who ran the streets and would beat up other dogs just because he could, but once he met Foofur he changed his way and became a dog who only fights when it’s called for like to protect his friends. But to play What If like The Watcher does for Marvel, imagine a world were Louis beat up Foofur instead of friending him, would Louis go on to beat up the likes of Snoopy, Odie, Scooby-Doo and so many more K-9’s in comic and cartoons…makes one wonder. My favorite story has to be The Buddy Guard just for the backstory of Louis and the fact it has Foofur being put in some major danger as a pitbull wants to rip his head off. The other two stories are well done, and I love the fact they have taken them out of the mansion and into the world a few times in this issue. One thing that I also think this series is doing right is while Foofur is the clear star of the comic, he is not over used and each character has their time to shine even if it’s only for a panel or two. The Rats are back also in this issue and once more try so hard to chase off the dogs, but as always fail at their plan. The art is done by Ben Brown again and as always looks like a classic 80’s kid comic. I should also note that this is the final issue of Foofur to come out under Star as the next in the series has the Marvel logo. So let’s see of Marvel put the care into Foofur like their kids branch did.

Foofur 5

Foofur # 5  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #5 of 6

The Bear Facts” is the opening story and is about Mrs. Escrow having the mansion treated for termites that has Foofur and the gang going camping, but before they leave they also warn the rats who think the dogs are up to something! Rocki can use the trip to get a badge in the scouts, and while out in nature, a nearsighted mama bear takes Rocki by accident as she thinks she is one of her cubs. In the end Foofur uses cola bottles and makes the bear glasses, and she and her cubs hang out with them and get food as a way of saying thanks. The second story is a continuation of the first story and is called “Fur Better Fur Worse” and has the Rats taking fur from Fencer and pull mean pranks on the fellow house dogs trying to get the K-9s to turn on the cat. In the end Louis and Foofur are the voice of reason as all the others in the house are ready to beat up the karate cat.  In the end Louis finds out the Rats are the ones causing the issues, and he gets even by placing them on a log in the harbor! The final story is called “Pipe Down” and has those two numbskull dogcatchers Mel and Harvey get a magic flute that attracts dogs, and it’s up to Fencer and his trusty baseball to save his friends from being captured.

Marvel took over Foofur after closing Star and was smart enough to keep all those working on it intact. Foofur as a character in this issues shows compassion and that he really wants to make the world he lives in a better place as he helps a bear to see and even warns the Rats that they could be caught or killed when a exterminator comes. Say what you will, but Foofur, while a silly comic based on a cartoon ,does have some positive messages and teaches readers to honor friendship, keep positive as well as try not to hold grudges. Louis in the issue goes 1-1 as he is able to beat up Mel and Harvey in an ally but gets knocked out when he tries to tackle the nearsighted bear. My favorite story has to be Pipe Down because who doesn’t like a silly take on the Pied Piper legend? Ben Brown takes the duty of art again as like the others it’s solid and shows I think he enjoyed doing this series. So are our next issue is the last issue of Foofur so let’s see if it can end as a solid cartoon adaptation comic.

Foofur 6

Foofur # 6  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #6 of 6

Raising Spirits” opens our last issue and has the mansion being the subject of being called a haunted house and brings an oddball to try and find if the legends are true. Of course the oddball sets up the house to appear haunted so he could buy it dirt cheap,and when Foofur finds this out, he turns the fraud haunt back on them and scares them away. “Smitten Kitten” has Fencer falling for a cute grey cat named Miss Mitzi and asks her out on a date.  To get ready for the date, Fritz tries to help him get manners and ditches the karate look for a more preppy look. During the date, a group of cats start trouble and Fencer kicks into action and finds that Mitzi likes him for him and that’s the karate cat. The final story for the issue and the series is called “The Outcast” has Dolly’s snob friend Burt, a purebred dog, thinking he is a mutt and running away from home to stay at the mansion and after getting himself caught by Mel and Harvey. Foofur and the group go to save him and in turn get caught! In the end Burt saves Foofur and finds out he is indeed no mutt!

So much like the cartoon, the comic series of Foofur comes to an end way to fast! This final issue is well done and doesn’t lose a step from the rest of the series and is a good kids comic based on a cartoon that was only mildly popular. Foofur is a cool dog who has a kind heart and a sharp mind and always thinks about the well being of his friends…for the most part because if he’s playing cards he shuts down on caring. I am a cat person, and I have to say Fencer in this issue gets to shine as he goes on a date, learns manners and even whoops some butt on cats who are hassling his girl. Burt, who is a friend of Dolly’s, is also a snob and stuck on himself and treats Foofur like a fleabag.  It’s only after he thinks he’s a mutt that he shows Foofur and the gang respect. Marv and Harvey almost, and I mean almost, have Foofur in this issue but are once more outsmarted by a pack of dogs.  These two guys are as goofy as they come and are great “bad guys” in a comic series like this. What made Foofur work as a comic is the over all good nature of the stories and characters. I mean most kids love talking animals, and Foofur is a perfect fit for those type of readers. Hanna-Barbera and Star made a perfect team on this, and I wish the team up would have continued with other properties they made like The New Yogi Bear Show, The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley or even Paddington Bear! Imagine a Star Comic based on Ed Grimley.  I know that I as well as many others including Jason Young would have read it. Ben Brown did the art for the whole run, and his style is the kind of art I love for kids comics based on toys and cartoons, I would like to see Ben make more comics of this nature. With Disney owning Marvel Comics, I am not sure why they have not reopened Star Comics and make retro style kids comics based on old Disney Shows like Ducktakes, Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck and Gummi Bears, all that wonderful stuff that was played after school in the late 80’s and 90’s. But to wrap up the look at Star’s Foofur I will say it’s a series that stayed true to its quality and stayed steady on entertainment and held true to it’s source material so I would give this series a must check out for fans of the cartoon. Below is some of Ben Brown’s artwork for the series, and it showcases the main cast to the series.

FooFur Art 1Now I am sure many of you readers don’t remember Foofur and those who do probably only slightly do so I hope that this update helped inform you about his existence in the world of comics and cartoon. One thing I should also point out is the fact that much like many classic kid comics of the 70’s and 80’s, the cover to most the issues has nothing to do with the stories inside.  Not once did they go skiing nor did Foofur and Rocki race a kangaroo and joey! And while the rats and dogcatchers were a threat to them somewhat, the main drama comes from them always living in fear that the house they live in will be sold from under their feet and they will all be homeless. Our next update will have us leaving the mansion of Foofur behind as I once more will turn Rotten Ink over to Juliet and she will take a walk on the dark side with The Witching Hour! So until next time make sure to pet your pet, read a comic or three and support your local comic shop.

The Witching Hour logo

How I Spent My Summer At Camp Candy

Summertime is upon us.  That means lots of sun, swimming pools and vacations for many of us Americans and fine people from around the world, and after the snow filled winter we had this year I am sure many of you like me are ready for some sun time. When I was in school, summer break was also the thing that got me from grade to grade, knowing that at some point I would have a few months off to do what I wanted to do and not be stuck in a classroom. So in this blog update we are going to take a look at some of the fun stuff I used to do in the summer as well as places I have been including camp during school! The comic series we will be looking at is based on the Saturday morning cartoon called Camp Candy that featured the comedian John Candy as the lead counselor and owner of the camp. But first I would like to talk about my first time going to Kings Island with my Uncle Johnnie and Aunt Debbie when I was just a young lad. Most summers my family would not go on a vacation and a lot of time was spent at our house running the streets with friends or just visiting our grandparents. Sometimes my Dad would shock us and take us to Fantasy Farm or Americana Amusement Park in Middletown and those were always fun times, but mostly it was stay at home kind of time. I will admit it was pretty embarrassing when I would return to school and the teacher would have us stand up and tell the others what we did over the summer and I would hear others talk about trips to Florida, Disney World and Kings Island and all I got to do is play Nintendo and toys at my house…pretty sad indeed. One summer however my Dad got some tickets to Kings Island from his work at Cub Foods and gave them to my brother Bryan and I, and instead of him and my mom taking us they gave the other two pairs to my Uncle Johnny and my Aunt Debbie who acted as our guide to the theme park. Before we went to the top amusement park in Ohio, we talked to our cousins Dino and Norman and they filled us in on the must experience rides that included The Vortex, King Cobra, The Racer, The Beast and one of the newest coasters at the time The Adventure Express. I can remember the night before going to the amusement park sitting in my bed restless with my mind racing with all the excitement of what was to come the next day, images of ridding a roller coaster with Yogi Bear and stories of all the large hills and fast speed told to me by Norman echoed in my brain, for this summer of 1992 I was going to Kings Island!  

Kings Island Logo

The next morning my brother Bryan and I were up early and ate up our cereal super fast and waited for our Aunt and Uncle to come pick us up, they arrived right on time and I can remember rushing to get into the car with them so that my adventure of the summer could start happening. On the ride to the park I can remember my Uncle playing Ozzy Osborne’s Dairy Of A Madman from a cassette tape and he and my aunt asking us what we were looking forward to the most. For me I really was looking forward to The Adventure Express and Hanna-Barbera Land because I was a fan of Scooby-Doo and Yogi and looked forward to the rides based around them. I can remember my brother looking forward to The Beast and The Racer as the idea of the backward coaster peaked his interest. As we pulled into the huge parking lot my excitement sky rocketed as I could see the entrance to the park and knew that so much fun rides awaited me inside. As we gave the attendant our tickets and walked in I was amazed as I seen the Eiffel Tower and fountains and knew that I had finally made it to Kings Island! That day was a blast we started the day off by riding The Racer and while I rode the one that went forward by brother rode the one that went backwards, we also rode The Beast and for the first time I became breathless as the speed and the excitement literally took my breath away! The Adventure Express was epic and fun and while not a fast coaster it still was a great gimmick of riding inside of caves with talking stone statues and parts that sprayed you with mist. We rode The Smurf Enchanted Voyage Boat ride that our Mom had ridden before and hyped up and it was a pretty fun experience as was White Water Canyon a boat ride that makes you feel as if your traveling on what its named after. We rode many rides that day and I even got to see the likes of Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound wondering around and taking pictures with kids and adults. I did not get to ride The Vortex as the line was to long that day and we skipped the King Cobra cause we heard it racked ya if you were a male, I know now that it was false but as a kid you believe those type of rumors. We stayed until the park closed and watched fireworks and then headed back home, I must say my Aunt and Uncle were a blast and allowed us to be kids and have the fun we wanted…and while we went to the park a number of times after mostly with Dino and Norman and for me as I grew older with my girlfriend at the time Jennifer this first time will forever remain the most special. I have to admit that the next day after going my legs felt like rubber from all the walking and running we did that day but boy was it worth it! Oh I guess I should pick my favorite ride that first time going and it would have to be hands down The Beast as it was the one that not only took my breath away but also is the one that always stuck in my mind. 

Vortex LogoThe Beast LogoKing Cobra Logo

While during the summer I did get to go to Amusement Parks the one thing I never did get to do was go to Summer Camp and for some reason I always kind of wanted to thanks to the Friday The 13th films. But I did get to go to camp during school when I was in the 6th grade to a place called Camp Joy and let me tell ya all about the wonders of this place. Before I was set to go to Camp one of my pet mice named White Man was sick with a giant tumor that had grown on the side of her tiny body, I hated to leave her in such bad shape but I knew she was in great hands as my Brother, Mom and Dad were all going to look after her. The day of camp I had my bags packed and was ready for some fun in the woods as I was dropped off at the school and got onto the bus that was driving us there. When getting to the camp I was pretty hyped as I loved the idea of having fun in the woods with fellow classmates and boy did we do just that! We did all types of fun stuff and even pulled small animals from the near by stream to be studied and thats when the full outdoor fun ended for me as while carrying a bucket of water I tripped going down some stairs and spilled the water and sprang my ankle bad! By hurting my ankle not only did I hurt my pride but it also kept me from doing the wire walk an activity that had you rope walking high above the ground as well as a few other activities. By our last day I was limping around enough to do an activity that had us acting as slaves and escaping via the underground railroad. For me being hurt the main fun came in the cabin were at night we told horror stories, made up what ifs using Jason Voorhees, talked about girls from our grade we liked and we even went into the bathroom and played Bloody Mary in the mirror…you know the legend of Bloody Mary right? Well if not its a legend about a witch who is trapped in the mirror world or in some cases Hell that when you say her name 5 times in a mirror in a dark room she will appear in the mirror infront of you with blood pouring down her face and in some cases is said to pull you into the mirror. I can remember doing this and all us guys trying to spook the others. While I was hurt at camp I still had a blast, but sadly when I returned home White Man lost her battle to the tumor…But I would say if you have kids I would say send them to camp at least once cause I am sure they will have a fun time.  

Camp Joy 1Camp Joy LogoBloody Mary

On Halloween 1950 comedian John Candy was born in NewMarket, Ontario Canada and with this a comedy legend was delivered to the world. Candy began is acting career in 1973 by starring in a tiny uncredited role in the film“Class Of ’44” and throughout the 70’s took roles in film and TV like “The Silent Partner”, “90 Minutes Live” and his most popular role on TV “SCTV” (Second City Television) Canada’s version of Saturday Night Live. But it was not till the 80’s when Candy became the big star with roles in “1941”,“National Lampoons Vacation”, “Stripes”,“Splash”, “Little Shop Of Horrors”, “Plans Trains and Automobiles”, “Great Outdoors”, “Space Balls” and “Uncle Buck”to name a few all these films made Candy a top name in comedies and an A-List actor. Even in 1989 Candy became a cartoon star with the Saturday morning toon “Camp Candy”. But sadly the 90’s were not as nice to him and while roles in “Home Alone” and “Cool Runnings”kept his star shining he also had a string of flops at the box office like “Nothing But Trouble” and “Once Upon A Crime”making the actors roles coming fewer inbetween he changed it up and took more dramatic roles in films like “Only The Lonely”and “JFK”. His big comeback to comedy film was called “Wagons East!”were he co-starred with Richard Lewis that was released in 1994, but sadly while doing this picture Candy died of a heart attack at the age of 43. Some cool things you might not have known about the comedian are the following Candy won Emmy’s for his writing on SCTV in 1981 &1982, Candy hosted SNL on a 1983 episode, Candy was asked to play Louis in the film Ghostbusters but could not meet eye to eye on how the character should be played so the role went to Rick Moranis, he did however make a cameo in Ray Parker Jr’s Music Video for the hit song from the film. Candy alongside Hockey Legend Wayne Gretzky and racehorse owner Bruce McNall owned a Canadian Football team called the Argonauts, his crypt is bellow fellow actor Fred MacMurray best know for his role in the TV Show My Three Sons in California. I can remember growing up and loving John Candy in movies and I cant tell you how many times I have watched The Great Outdoors and Uncle Buck! While he may be gone his body of work lives on thanks to DVD, VHS and TV.

Great Outdoors PosterJohn CandyUncle buck Poster

Back in the 1980’s Saturday Morning Cartoons was a huge deal and almost every major station tried to out due the others to get kids to watch their station over the others. NBC in 1989 started to air a cartoon called Camp Candy that followed comedian John Candy as he was the head councilor and owner of a Summer Camp that was always in danger of being closed down by a rich business man named Rex DeForest III who wanted to use the land to develop condos and malls. Candy was joined my Nurse Molly and a handful of boys and girls and they would get into all types of silly adventures. The series ran for a year on NBC and lasted a total of Twenty Seven episodes before going into syndication were thirteen more episodes were made. The series last major TV airings was with reruns on Fox Family in 1998, and with the syndication episodes sometimes live action John Candy skits were attached. I watched Camp Candy when it aired originally and in fact I never missed an episode if I could help it and was a pretty bug fan of it’s simple and fun storyline. Even when Marvel Comics released the short 6 issue run based on this cartoon I got myself a copy of issue # 1 at Big Bear! The series never did get a DVD release and only a few episodes ever came out on VHS making this cartoon series one that you would have to find on the Grey Market in order to enjoy again, it’s a shame that this series never did get the fandom it deserves and even in school I remember very few kids talking about it, but the ones that did were big fans like myself I can remember my friend Jeremy Patton really liked it allot. And I can’t stress enough to the big broadcast stations when I say bring back Saturday Morning Cartoons to the glory it once was and stop just showing terrible Disney Network reruns and terrible Pokemon clone cartoons and bring back the verity and life to that magical time of the week when kids should be putting down their Iphones and Tablets and watching quality cartoons and shows. 

Camp Candy Toon 1Camp_Candy Toon 2Camp Candy Toon 3

So before we move on to the comic series brought to us by Marvel, I should introduce the characters to those of you readers who never got to watch this fun cartoon when it aired. The adults at the camp are John Candy, the lead counselor and owner of the camp. John has a good soul and will do whatever he can to entertain and protect the kids even if he is a coward and not that bright. Nurse Molly is the camp’s nurse and mother figure to the kids; one could even get the slight hint that while she is annoyed with John at times, she also seems to almost have a crush on him. These two are the only adults shown in the cartoon and makes one wonder just how the two of them run the whole camp!

John CandyNurse Molly

The boys of the camp are as follows: Rick is the blonde haired cool kid who is the popular one, Iggy is the tall nerdy type with glasses and is super smart but is also a hypochondriac and last but not least is his little brother Binky who, while short in size, is always ready for adventure. Those are the boys who are attending Camp Candy.

RickIggyBinky

As for the girls attending Camp Candy, it goes as follows: Vanessa is the rich spoiled brat who is into fashion and looking good. Alex is the tomboy who has red hair and loves sports, and last is Robin who is all into nature and saving the animals of the forest. The girls and the boys get along well besides Vanessa, who is the one who gives everyone grief.

VANESSAALEXROBIN

The bad guy of this cartoon was Rex DeForest III, a short man with lots of money and ideas that always have Camp Candy out of business and the land his to develop into condos. His assistant is Chester, a dim witted goofball who goes along with whatever his boss tells him to do. While they always have plans, they of course never win.

REX DEFOREST IIICHESTER

Camp Candy inspired very little merchandise and had no toys or video games made based on it.  Besides the Marvel/Star Comics series, the only other stuff I can think of is a plastic lunch box, VHS tapes of selected episodes and later t-shirts made by fans. It makes you wonder why some company didn’t turn out some cool things for fans of the show.  I mean it would have made a perfect NES game where you played as John and had to rescue the kids from Rex. This poor underrated show has gotten no DVD release and had very little push for other merchandise even in its prime! So if you’re looking for Camp Candy goodies, they are few and hard to find. 

Camp Candy Bear LogoCamp Candy LunchboxCamp Candy VHS

So are you readers ready for Camp? I have my backpack packed with all the stuff I need including some comics and Tiger Electronic Handheld Games, and I have my Incredible Hulk sleeping bag rolled and tied so I think we are ready to enter the cabin and see what Camp Candy has to offer! I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. I should thank Lone Star Comics and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock, and I really look forward to reading issue one again as I can remember buying it when it first came out at Hearts and really liked it! So no further delay, let’s dive in shall we.. 

Camp Candy 1

Camp Candy # 1  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #1 of 6

John Candy is tricked by that no good Rex DeForrest III into believing that he owes 5 thousand dollars to keep the camp safe, and Candy who had proof the camp was paid up lost the papers…well his campers did. Candy doesn’t have the money to pay for the “balance” owed and is bummed out as the camp is set to close the following day, but during the last night around the campfire, Candy tells a spooky story about Headless Harry, a man who found a giant gold nugget in a cave and then left it behind to play basketball with some Native Americans.  When the basketball rolled out of the cave, a witness thought it was his head. Rick gets the idea that in the morning they should go and check the cave for the gold to use to save the camp. Rex and Chester decide to follow Candy and the Campers to make sure they don’t find money to pay for the fake bill, and Chester hides in the cave and scares them away once they find the giant gold nugget, but Candy catches on and uses his own trick to spook Chester away and he calls in an expert to look at his gold. Sadly the gold nugget is fools gold, and just when it looks like the camp is doomed, a tabloid news reporter pays Candy that amount for his story of Headless Harry and his “meeting” with the legend! 

This issue throws in the spooky camp legend around a plot that is very similar to the film “Ernest Goes To Camp,” about a rich butthead wanting to build on the land of the camp. John Candy is a total goof in this issue and seems not to be bothered that his own campers are the ones who lost the papers when they came into his cabin to find paper to use to make a fake skunk and to draw on, but to be honest the fact that he does not mind is what makes me really connect with this cartoon. Candy is very likeable, and I have a feeling he will be done right through out the series. The campers don’t fully get to shine in this issue and while bits of their personalities do, I have a feeling that as we go along each camper might get spotlight. Rex and Chester are those kind of bad guys with one smart one and one goofy one who play off each other and come up with schemes to try to get what they want. The issue is broke into two stories with the first being the longer main story and the second is a quick story thrown in to fill pages. The art in this issue is done by Howard Post, and his style is great for this type of comic based on a cartoon.  The cover is also well done and eye catching. Over all, while this is not ground breaking, it’s still and average fun comic.  Plus it was nice re-reading this issue after all these years! So let’s move on to issue 2 and have more fun at Camp Candy.

Camp Candy 2

Camp Candy # 2   **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #2 of 6

John Candy is preparing Camp Candy for the safety inspector who is on her way the next day. Rex and Chester hear this and know that if the camp gets so many marks for being unsafe, it will be closed down and leave the land open for him to buy. Rex and Chester dress up and join the camp as a father counselor and his daughter and cause issues so the camp will fail, and fail it does when the flag poll falls on the inspector, the tree house falls apart with her inside and a grizzly bear in one of the cabins chases her from the camp. Before she closes the camp, she allows Camp Candy to join in on the big canoe race among all the surrounding camps and during this Rex and Chester, who are forced as their fake characters, take the wrong path and are about to drown but Candy comes to their aid and this impresses the inspector who allows the camp to stay open. 

Yet another issue that holds the charm of the cartoon and still holds some of that “Ernest Goes To Camp” spirit making this a fun read and perfect for these warm summer nights. Candy in this issue is still a loveable goon who takes pride in his camp and really seems to care that his campers are having a good time.  The one thing that you have to question about the safety of the camp is the fact Candy allowed two fake people who were really his arch enemies to work for him without even checking backgrounds, makes you wonder if Jason Voorhees wearing hockey mask and all wanted a job, would he hire him on the spot? The campers once more take a back seat to the comic comedy and are very much background players. Rex and Chester have the same chemistry they had the last issue with greed being their driving force. The second story in this one deals with a moose and is pretty standard filler stuff. Howard Post once more did the art and once more it looks good.  I should also say Post is doing the main story art and not the back up story. Pretty good standard issue that makes me want to read the third in the series.

Camp Candy 3

Camp Candy # 3   **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #3 of 6

Rick’s cousin Trooper is at a nearby camp called Camp Kickboot, and he is feeling like Campy Candy is for nerds as they don’t do half the militant stuff the other camp does. John Candy takes all his campers to visit the camp and finds that its run like a boot camp and its counselor Nayles is like a drill sergeant. During the visit it’s set up that the two camps the next day will play a game of capture the flag to show which team is better.  The Kickboot Campers are hyped as Candy Campers want nothing to do with it! If any camper or counselor gets hit with whipped cream that means they are taken prisoner and must sit out. The next day Binky runs off with the Camp Candy flag to try and win the game as Kickboot makes short work of John, Iggy and Vanessa, and just as they are about to put their flag on Camp Candy’s poll, Rick has climbed the poll and whip creams the whole Kickboot team! Binky makes it to Camp Kickboot and wins the game for his team. Oh yeah, Rex and Chester try to get involved with a real tank shooting fireworks at Camp Kickbutt.  This ends badly as always.

This is a fun issue that reminds me of the show “Hey Dude” when they played capture the flag against each other. Rick takes a front seat in this issue, and while a prankster at heart, he still tries to live up to the macho image of his cousin who he thinks is having more fun at his camp. Of course in the end Rick shows that his camp is the best and kids should be kids and have fun. John Candy is as goofy as ever and once more has pride in his camp and campers and even gets them involved in a “war game”, still a very likable character. Rex and Chester in this issue are a waste and to be honest should not have even been in this issue as they really added nothing to the story. Nayles and his campers are kind of mean and take pleasure in breaking stuff and have an almost bully aspect to them.  So it’s nice to see them lose by being outsmarted at their own game. Plus this is the first issue that had only one story, and to me that’s a good thing as this story was more fleshed out, well minus Rex’s part. The pencil art was done once more by Howard Post, and to me this guy is great at doing kids comics of this style! The cover is cheesy fun and also with this issue we mark the half way mark of this Marvel/Star series.  So far I will say it’s a solid and entertaining kids comic series so let’s get into issue # 4!

Camp Candy 4

Camp Candy # 4   **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #4 of 6

It’s open house day at Camp Candy and all the campers’ parents are on their way to visit their kids, but this year instead of showing them boring stuff they made or collected they decide to build an amusement park for them to enjoy. Binky builds a toy horse ride, Iggy builds the worlds lowest roller coaster, Vanessa’s is a house of mirrors, Rick’s is a surfboard on wheels ride that spins around fast, Alex built a fitness ride were the kids are carried in wooden boxes by her dad and Robin has a ride a grizzly bear ride! While preparing for the parents, Binky wants his ride more scary and Rex and Chester dress as workers claiming that John hired them to help. The plan is to make the ride so scary and unsafe the parents won’t trust John and the park will close so Rex can buy it. When the parents arrive all is going well and as Binky is taking his mom to his ride, Chester jumps on it before his mom can ride it and Binky jumps on to stop him, but Chester being a moron, he forgot the track was not complete and that they are headed straight for a cliff! John sees they are in danger and jumps on the wheeled surfboard to try and stop them, and when Rex hears the tracks are incomplete, he rushes to try and help as well. In the end Binky checked his ride early in the morning and placed safety rafts at the end so Chester, John (who jumped on to try and stop it) and himself are all safe and to payback the damage they did. Rex and Chester have to also carry kids in the wood boxes at Alex’s ride. 

It’s cheesy rides and danger all around in this issue as families take turns riding grizzly bears and a toy horse roller coaster almost leads to deaths! Binky gets to shine in this issue, and he is your typical 5 year old kid who wants his ride scary, but who also in the hero by knowing safety comes first and places the rubber rafts down. John is also brave in this issue as he risks his life and safety to save Binky’s and Chester’s all while riding a surfboard with skateboard wheels. The rest of the campers are given little to do as are the parents but yet they all fit in like a glove, adding to the overall. Rex in this issue does not think out his plan very well, and his worse mistake is that he trusted Chester to be in charge on this project. Like the prior issue, this is one long story with the filler story cut out of the issue, and again I must stress I like one story better than two in this series. The best part about this series so far is that it’s stayed steady and has not lost any steam, tho it could also be said that by this point it should also be gaining steam so it’s kind of a catch-22. Howard Post once more does the art and once more does a fine job.  So with that let’s get to issue # 5.

Camp Candy 5

Camp Candy # 5   **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #5 of 6

John Candy is taking his campers on a field trip to the camp he grew up going to and speaks highly of the head counselor named Hercules who was so strong and brave. Well when they get to the camp, it’s a ghost town and the cabins are run down and Hercules now is an old man with no campers to look after and worse he has Rex DeForrest II, the father to the III, coming to take his camp away and turn it into a land fill! Rex the II and Hercules make a bet that if he can get to the top of a nearby mountain and set camp that Hercules can have the camp site for as long as he lives. John and the Campers help Hercules who proves in the end all he needed was some joy as he makes it to the top and wins the honor of the camp.

This issue is a fun one.  While not as good as the past 4 issues, it still was entertaining and held the Camp Candy charm. Taking John and the Campers away from Camp Candy was a smart move and allows them to be shown out of their environment and in a new camp trying to help an old man. Hercules is a fun crazy old coot character who still has it even after all these years, and while he is strong willed and physically strong, it’s clear as day where John got a lot of his counseling skills. Adding the dad of the Rex we have all grown to dislike is cool, but really also just made me wish they would have added some sort of new butthead who wants to run a camp out of business. The issue goes back to having two stories, and the second one is about them camping and Binky being the man, more filler stuff really. Howard Post is still doing the art and it still looks good for this kind of comic book. I will also say that this is the first issue not to say “Star Comics Presents,” and I should also point out when the little box that says that was places in an issues it looked like a bad cut and paste job, think glue stick on paper kind of stuff. So let’s get to the final issue here at Camp Candy.

Camp Candy 6

Camp Candy # 6   **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #6 of 6

A gorilla has escaped from the circus and is on a path to Camp Candy. John does not know this and takes his campers on a nature walk as Rex and Chester come up with a plan for Chester to dress like a gorilla and scare off the campers so you guessed it, he can buy Camp Candy to turn the land into condos. But of course the real gorilla shows up, and the high jinks kicks into high gear. In the end the Gorilla finds his way back the circus while driving a car with Rex who thinks it’s Chester in the outfit! There are three other smaller filler stories in this issue as well, and they are just your typical short subjects.

The final issue loses a little steam as the first of four…yes four stories is the best one and for some reason the whole time I was reading it I kept thinking about Yogi Bear and how this story would have been perfect in a Yogi Bear comic or cartoon. The gorilla on the loose who knows tricks and can drive a car is pure cartoon stuff and adds to the fun theme of the Nature Walk. Neither John nor the kids are the main focus of the issue as they all share about the same importance to the story. One thing I must say is that Rex and Chester being in every issue blabbing about owning the land Camp Candy sits on was wearing thin and new characters should have been added to make more challenges for them all to have to get past. I mean the only other bad guy in the series was Rex’s dad who has the same motives for another camp’s land. The other three stories once more are just filler and that’s a shame when the main story of the escaped Gorilla should have been more fleshed out and given more panels. Howard Post did the art and wrote the main story and did a fine job on both.  It’s also a shame that Marvel being who they were back then didn’t even give this series a final issue as this one just simply ends the series. This issue was alright and was a fun adventure with John and the Campers.

Camp Candy Art

It was nice to see that in 1990 a “Star” comic series was released with this 6 issue series based on the cartoon Camp Candy.  While I would like to think they were just shutting down Star for a re-launch that would have seen more originals and more IPs and this comic was just caught in the middle of that transition, when to be honest I am sure it all came down to when the license for this cartoon was signed over to Marvel it was under the Star branch so they just cut and pasted the logo on the first page of each issue to hold true to that original contract. I found this comic series to be silly and good solid reads that held very true to the source material making it a true treat for a person like me who grew up watching the cartoon. But while this update we had fun at camp, the next update we will be visiting Dracula’s Castle as we take a look at Eternity’s mini series “The Ghosts Of Dracula”! So make sure to join me then and bring some garlic just in case.  So until next time enjoy the great outdoors, go to camp and read a comic or two.

ghosts of dracula logo

The Dead Eyed Stare Of The Hugga Bunch

Who doesn’t love to get a hug from a loved one, the warm embrace and that feeling of being loved and safe is something special. Now think about getting a hug from a creepy troll faced doll with a cold dead stare that makes E.T. look normal and the Toxic Avenger look like Brad Pitt….you don’t like that image of hugging a troll faced doll, do you? Well the folks at Kenner and Hallmark Cards in 1985 thought that all kids would love to own a creepy faced doll to hug when they released the toy line called The Hugga Bunch. I am not sure why they designed them to look as weird and odd as they did, but I can remember these creepy little guys on the toy shelves at stores like Hills and Gold Circle, and the smaller ones were given at Taco Bell for a cheap price. The only Hugga Bunch I owned was one that I got from Taco Bell that my aunt got me when she worked there, and on the playground Hugga Bunch was ice cold.  To be honest, I don’t even remember one person talking about them and only think one girl I knew owned any. Below is a quick look at the creepy dolls, and you can be the judge on if you would want to hug one of them.

huggletHuggaBunch dollsHugga Bunch doll

1985 also saw a made for TV movie about the dolls by FilmFaor Communications that was made for over a million dollars and was the most expensive special at the time! The film was a live action family film about a young girl who travels to a magical land called Huggaland to find a way to slow down the aging of her grandmother, but while on this visit she also comes across an evil Queen who wants to spoil the fun and hugs. The special did fair with getting viewers, and it was later released on Beta and VHS, where it gained cult status for being so strange. And if you thought the dolls are creepy, get a look at the Hugga Bunch in this movie.

Hugga Bunch movie 1Hugga Bunch movie 2Hugga Bunch movie 3

Besides the dolls, more merchandise was released that included a board game, books, lunch box, stickers, View Master slides, Hallmark miniature figures and much more. This shows that Kenner and Hallmark really wanted these dolls to catch on and take the place of Cabbage Patch Kids that, at the time, were the premiere stuffed dolls. And they were smart for getting the smaller dolls into Taco Bell because in the 80’s and 90’s fast food toys were very popular and could help push a toy line, movie or kids’ book series up a few notches on the must have factor.

hugga bunch lunch boxHugga Bunch board gameHugga Bunch book

Now as I have stated, I only had one of these dolls and it was one of the Taco Bell ones so I have very little connection to these dolls.  So I looked high and low and found one of my female friends who grew up owning one of these dead eyed little creepers so I asked her to give us a look at what it was like to be a female and the target audience for these dolls. Her name is Jesy Anderson, and I have known her since high school.  She is an amazing person who is super sweet and super smart. She is co-owner of a local store called Sew Dayton that custom makes clothes and sells other sewing notions as well as teaches classes. She is married to a fellow geek guy like myself who loves horror and kung-fu films as well as comics named Jermie, who I also went to school with and as well is a great guy. So with that I am going to briefly turn Rotten Ink over to Jesy so that she can give you her opinions on The Hugga Bunch creepers.

Jesy Anderson

“Yes!”, is what 6 year old me said, when my dad handed me my Taco Bell kids meal. The awesomeness of what Taco Bell used to put in their kids meals in 1985, The Huglets! I had Hug-A-Bye. I thought it was so rad, Hallmark marketed it perfectly to my age bracket. Give Hugs! Hug everyone… Everyone… even that creepy neighbor. The Hug A Bunch Gang was flat out disturbing. From a cartoon on a Hallmark card, to plushie, and finally to movie! In 1985 “The Hugga Bunch”. It even won a Prime Time Emmy for Outstanding Visual Effects. Once you watch the movie, (you will because I know you are super curious now), you will leave with two realizations. 1. This movie is possibly the ONLY movie creepier than “The Strangers” and 2. WHAT THE *@&$ was the 6 yr old me thinking! I have great memories of being excited to get my own plush Huglet from inside my Taco Bell kids meal and watching the best made for tv movie of the summer. It’s strange how amazing awesome something is while you are a child; such an innocence. Aside from not understanding exactly how my parents pulled off saying the charaters names and still able to keep a straight face is beyond me! These Huglets are CLEARLY the result of too much “hugging” and inbreeding. All in all, the Hug A Bunch gang really worth a watch for those who haven’t and watch it again for those who haven’t seen it since the 80’s. Just remember to bring the popcorn and get ready for a disturbing movie~

Taco Bell Hugga

Thanks, Jesy, for filling me and my readers in on your Hugga Bunch thoughts. As you can see, she had a Taco Bell one as well and this makes me wonder who were the kids that went to a toy store and picked one of these dead eyed dolls out as a must have over all the other toys and dolls on the shelf.  I mean what was the draw of these things? One funny thing that I have to point out before we move on to the comic reviews, is that one of the Huglets’ name is Fluffer…for those of you who don’t know what that name means, it’s a person’s title who works in the adult film industry that keeps a male star “happy” in between takes.  So why in the holy hell would someone who named these creepy dolls name one after a person who has a job like that?! So below is the Huglet named Fluffer, and next to it is a picture of adult film star Tory Lane.  While she is no “fluffer” I want you to look at the two and tell me if you see any similarities between the two…cause I sure don’t….go on and look will ya.

flufferTory Lane

So after looking at the two, I am sure Tory will give you sweet dreams while good old Fluffer will be haunting your nightmares for weeks. So as you can see, at this point I have no connection to these dolls at all, and I am not sure what I am getting into as I am about to read these six issues based on these characters from the mighty Star Comics.  While a part of me wants these to be bad so I can really make fun of them, there is a side that is saying these might not be as bad as you think. So to ease my mind and to get this look at Hugga Bunch over, let’s move onto the wonderful comic reviews.  Remember I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So let’s stare these soulless happy little boogers in the eye and travel to Huggaland!

Hugga Bunch 1

Hugga Bunch   **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #1 of 6

The Hugga Bunch go on an adventure down a path called “Road To Riches”, but Huggins and her Huglet Hug-A-Bye get left behind when they hear that someone needs help.  Homer is a boy who is alone and has moved to a new town because of his fathers work, and is very sad that he has moved away from his friends and is feeling lonely.  His wishes for a new friend comes true when Huggins pops out of his mirror and takes him to Huggaland where they both are captured by the Pirate Captain Snake and become his slaves on his mighty ship. While at sea, Captain Snake attacks another ship and on board is a Princess who he wants to kidnap, but Homer comes to her aid and to everyone’s shock the Princess can also defend herself and with the help of a whale they run off Captain Snake and The Hugga Bunch return Homer to his room, and he finds the inner power to make friends.

This is a comic that is 100% for young girls of the 80’s as the story is so cheesy and silly that most boys would have walked away from the adventure a few pages into it. With all that said, I still would like to say that for what it is, the message and story are very positive and I am sure roped in a few young female readers and a few male ones as well. The Hugga Bunch live in a perfect fun filled world that is laced with some negative places, and these places are what make it an interesting place.  Huggins seems to be the ring leader of the fun loving group and seems to be the one who oozes more positive energy. Captain Snake is the “bad” guy in the issue who uses the Hugga Bunch as kid slave labor on his ship, and they are so fun loving they don’t even pay attention to the fact they are being used. Homer is a kid that anyone who moved into a new town can identify with as he has no friends and doesn’t know how to make new ones. Of course in the end Homer finds he does have friends and even made some with the creepy little freaks that live beyond his mirror known as the Hugga Bunch. Warren Kremer is the artist on this issue and it’s pretty much your standard kids comic fluff and looks all right. The cover is okay, but not one I would have for a first issue as it should be more eye catching. Well let’s move onto issue 2. 

Hugga Bunch 2

Hugga Bunch # 2  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #2 of 6

Huggins once more gets the feeling that someone needs help and comes through a mirror in a school locker to meet Susan, who all her classmates don’t like and tease her for being too serious. Susan goes to Huggaland with Huggins, and while there they meet a young boy who is frozen in a block of ice by the Ice Queen who runs a frozen kingdom! The boy’s name is Chipper, and he is in love with the Ice Princess who is being held captive and is not allowed to see friends or boys! The Hugga Bunch, Susan and Chipper head to the ice castle and do battle with the Ice Queen to save the Princess.  After many ice block cubes and rescues, they save the Princess who when free from her ice prison grows up before their eyes and finds that she is in fact the true Queen of the ice land.  She uses her new power to melt the ice and boots the old Ice Queen from the land. Susan returns back to her school and finds time to have fun and goes to one popular girl’s party, showing she is no square.

Well another issue with a message, and this time it’s that while hard work and school are very important, you should also spend some time, have fun and live a little. Huggins once more is the main Hugga Bunch member who once more comes from the mirror to bring a young child to her world to teach some sort of underlying message.  Wait are the Hugga Bunch like Candyman?  Do they come out of mirrors to kill….wait they help…right? The Ice Queen is the main “bad” woman, and she is 100% a generic version of any Disney Princess’s evil Queen, who uses freeze and ice as her tools of evil deeds. This issue like the first is 100% geared at girls and even throws in a generic love story between a Princess and a common boy for good cheesy measure. The artwork this time is done by Anna-Maria Coleman and is slightly better than Kremer’s work in the first issue. Over all just another average issue in a comic series based on creepy eyed dolls. Let’s get onto issue 3 shall we. 

Hugga Bunch 3

Hugga Bunch # 3  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #3 of 6

Hugsy is bored in Huggaland and wants something new besides playing and being happy all day long.  So when he hears a young girl named Bonnie crying through the mirror he comes and takes her to Huggaland as she tells the sad tale of her dog running away, but it’s because the dog is sad because she makes no time to play with him. But while they all play and talk Mr. Grabby shows up with his net, and he takes away unwanted things.  He wants Huglets and takes Hugsy’s away!! The Hugga Bunch alongside Bonnie head out to get him back and find that Mr. Grabby himself is a lonely man and after he learns his sidekick that he mistreats thinks of him as a friend, he sets all the pets and huglets free and all the pets get to go home with their owners. When Bonnie comes back to the real world she finds her dog and learns that she must find time to pay attention to her animal because they have feelings too.

Treat your animals right! Is the message of this issue and make sure to make time for them and friends because by paying no attention to them, it just might make you lose them. Hugsy is the main Hugga in this issue, and he is kind of a turd who is spoiled.  Although he learns his lesson, I was not a fan of him. Mr. Grabby is one mean man who gets joy out of taking lost and unwanted pets in his weird nets.  While he turns good and has a change of heart at the end I still would not trust him. Over all this is another average issue that holds the same mood and formula of the other two, and I am starting to see that this series will all have the same idea of a Hugga member pulling a kid into their world where he or she will learn a lesson that they will take with them when the return to the real world.  If it’s all like this I think soon it will go into yawnville! Art once more was done by Anna-Maria Coleman and looks good.  So let’s move on shall we?

Hugga Bunch 4

Hugga Bunch # 4  **
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #4 of 6

Huggins comes from the mirror and takes a chubby kid named Jackie, who overeats and is tired of hearing his parents argue, to Huggaland.  While there they meet a young cloud named Howie who wants to tell off his creator for making clouds have to do rain and thunderstorms! The Hugga Bunch and Jackie go on the adventure, and in the end with the help of Mother Nature, Howie and the rest learn why it’s important that it rains! When Jackie gets back home, he gets his parents to stop fighting and finds he has the power to have self control.

Yep, yet another lesson issue this one is to have faith in yourself and to get things done, team work is important. Huggins is the star again and is the same Huggins for the past issues, as Jackie is your typical chubby kid who doubts himself and is ashamed of his weight. While he learns a lesson of not overeating, it’s still a bland issue. The other clouds are the bad guy, and Howie is just a character to add a little more to the already so-so story. John Costanza does the art, and it looks pretty good and has that classic Harvey Comic feel to it. Over all this is just an okay issue and is nothing special, I really wish they would spice up the formula because by issue 4, I am bored with it. Let’s move on. 

Hugga Bunch 5

Hugga Bunch # 5  **
Released in 1987  Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #5 of 6

Huggins and Hugsly go through the mirror and find Alan, a young man who is super negative and looks at the downside of everything even though he has a wonderful friendship with a young lady named Doris. While is Huggaland, Alan is still negative and after kicking a tree stump he wakes up a bird named Grouse who is as negative as he is.  This little bird changes the moods of everyone he is around and is a full on mood killer! Alan gets to see how he acts towards others, and this makes him want to change as Grouse changes when he gets a massive hug from the Hugga Bunch. When Alan get back in the real world, he goes out of his way to see the positive in things and this brings he and Doris closer.

Don’t be a negative mood killer, also known as a Mood Vampire, and try to look at the good things in life as well is the message in this issue. Alan is an annoying kid who shouldn’t have any friends for acting the way he does, but changes when he sees something else act the way he does. People like this don’t change most of the time, so this one is a little lame. Huggins and Hugsly team up to bring this negative turd to their world and both are as happy and cheerful as they have been in the past 4 issues. Grouse is much like Alan and is annoying with his negative bull stuff as well. Same old, same old stuff..different kid with a different issue but it’s all stale at this point. I am so ready to move onto the last issue.

Hugga Bunch 6

Hugga Bunch # 6  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #6 of 6

Hugsly and Hugs go through the mirror and meet Danny, a young man on a baseball team that has one of the biggest egos ever! He is taken to Huggaland to enjoy the landscape, but someone is stealing the land.  Panic sets in, and Danny thinks of ideas to try and find who is stealing the land. The thief is a gnome named Satchel who uses a magic bag to suck in whatever he wants. With team work, they beat the gnome and break his bag that frees Huggaland and returns it to normal! Danny learns that there is no I in team and returns to the real world a new man and a total team player.

I need to start by saying I am so glad to be done with the Hugga Bunch series.  While not terrible, these were not something I will ever read again. This one’s main focus is the entire Huga Bunch as they must team up to clean Huggaland and later save it.  They use the power of friendship and hugs to set all right, and they let everyone know that people make the places and not the opposite. Danny is like Lex Luger when he was in the WWF and known as The Narcissist, as he likes to look at himself in the mirror.  But after some good old fashion teamwork he finds that working with others gets stuff done. Satchel is a greedy gnome who seems to be stealing the land just to be an ass, and when he gets beat, he takes his broken bag and heads right out of town. So the lesson is don’t be an ego driven ass and work with others to reach your goal as a team. Artwork is done by John Costanza again, and it looks good. So yeah, we are done.  Below is some art from issue one to show you the style of art used in this series. 

Hugga Bunch art

One thing that I must question is how this series got a total of six issues while better comics like Defenders of Earth and Inhumanoids got less! I did notice though that Star once more did not even give this series a full fledged final issue.  Oh Star, why would you never give fans closure to the series they were reading…well most of the time we didn’t get it. As I have said before besides like one girl I knew and my Aunt, no one I knew had these dolls and no one besides them even spoke of them! The thing that made this series bland and average is the fact they really did follow the same formula and like clockwork you knew at what point the troubled kid would see the light and figure out what they needed to learn. But I am so done with the Hugga Bunch, and I am going to move onto telling you what our next update is.  It’s one I have been working on all last year, my look at the films of 2013! So come back and spend some time with me at the Rotten Ink Theater as we eat some popcorn and talk about films.  Until then enjoy a comic or two, and look under your bed to make sure a Hugga Bunch is not under there waiting for you!

Films of 2013 Logo

Thundercats Are Ho..Ho..Ho!!!

Rotten…Rotten….Rotten Ink Ho! Yeah, I know that one was lame but welcome back to my little flashback place on the web, and with it being Christmas Eve, I decided to take a look at one of the heavy hitters that Star Comics has to offer, something that I watched the cartoon of and even collected the figures when they came out.  Of course I am talking about Thundercats! The cartoon hit airwaves back in 1985 and was a solid hit with the youth at the time.  The animation was done better than Masters of The Universe and had a Japanese flair to it that made us believe we were watching something more than a cartoon. I was about six years old when the cartoon was out and was in first grade and can remember kids talking about the cartoon and how epic it was on the playground at Beavertown Elementary.  This led to every boy I knew wanting to collect the action figures that were being made by LJN. I even remember one kid saying that Thundercats was better than Masters Of The Universe and many of the kids agreeing with him.  I for one was on He-Man’s side, but I could not doubt the power and impact this cartoon was having on all our young minds. The odd thing though is when I moved to Waynesville in the 1st grade, I only remember a handful of kids being totally into the cartoon and toys, and they had other top toys to worry about. The cartoon, as I said, aired in 1985 and had a total of 130 episodes and ran for 4 seasons ending in 1989. I can remember being so hyped to watch the first episode of Thundercats and after seeing it, I was not let down.  It was adventure and fantasy wrapped into a nice package and had elements of Masters of The Universe, Voltron and The Beastmaster, and this made it a must see toon for me. I stuck with watching Thundercats till the end but will admit that midway through season 3 my watching habits had changed, my interest in them lessened and I watched it sporadically at best. My favorite characters in the cartoon were Lion-O, Mum-Ra, Jackalman and Monkian.  For some reason when I was younger I always liked the bad guys more, like in He-Man I liked Skeletor, Star Wars was Dark Vader and in G.I. Joe I liked Cobra Commander! The cartoon has been released on VHS and DVD and for those looking to capture the magic of watching again or want to share with their children, you have the chance to thanks to Warner Brothers. Well I guess it would be smart of me to tell you readers what the plot of Thundercats is about now wouldn’t it? It’s about a race of feline humanoids who have to flee their planet of Thundera and find a new place to live.  They are attacked by their enemies, the Mutants of the planet Plun-Darr, and one ship is left that holds the Sword of Omens that houses the Eye of Thundera, the source of the race’s power. They crash on Third Earth and Lion-O who was a boy at the time of his escape from his doomed planet has now has a grown up body but still the mind of a young child! Mumm-Ra is an evil powerful wizard who wants the Eye of Thundera for himselfm and this begins the long battle of The Thundercats! I could explain a whole lot more, but if I did we would be here a long time.

Thundetcats Cartoon 1Thundercats Season 1 dvdThundetcats Cartoon 2

The first episode of the cartoon also helped spark the playground talk of Cheetara being the sexiest cartoon character, and that’s because in this episode she is shown nude!! Cheetara has her boobs out, and while she had no nipples, we kids thought we were seeing something naughty. I can remember one of my friends drawing pictures of her and always talking about how much hotter she was than other cartoon girls. Isn’t it great that when I was younger in the 80’s, we spent time talking about who was hotter in cartoons and comics instead of truly looking at real life girls…but the interest in girls was close at hand for many of us. Nowadays the naked female cartoon character would not pass the censors who would be in an uproar way before it hit the airwaves, and thats why I am happy to say I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s where cartoon cat girls could be naked and we kids had the freedom to think she was hot stuff! Below is a pic of Cheetara that amazed us all!

Naked!!!

Long before all kids wanted were ipods, tablets, cell phones and ipads, actions figures, board games and video games were on all our minds. When LJN put out the action figures for Thundercats, kids went crazy and the toy shelves of Children’s Palace, Hearts, K-Mart and Hills were left with empty spots or characters no one wanted. These toys were so popular. I was also very much taken in by the hype and the cool designs of these figures, and for my 6th or 7th birthday my mom and dad took me to K-Mart and said for me to pick out three Thundercat figures that I wanted.  This was on a good day, and the shelves were filled with all the main figures.  The only one missing was Cheetara, but this didn’t matter to me as I was not looking for any of the members of the Thundercats. I was looking for the bad guys, and I was so happy when I found Jackalman, Monkian and Slithe! I already had Mum-Ra as I was able to gain him in a trade, and this made my legion of bad guys complete. At this point Mum-Ra and his crew in my toy playing world joined the side of Skeletor and were all trying to stop He-Man! I was so happy to get these figures, and my favorite was Monkian who I would carry around the house and even bring on a long trips to visit my grandparents who lived on a farm. Later on for another birthday I got the super cool Vultureman, and he became one of my favorite figures of the time. The kids on the playground with the most cool and modern toys always seemed to be the most popular and for a short time, and these figures made me a king….well a toy king. The figures were all well done and come with weapons and some even had light up eyes like Lion-O and Mum-Ra. The Thundercats figure lasted for many lines but as all things lost steam, and they were phased off toy shelves and replaced with the next popular toy. I should note that my cousins Dino and Norman had the biggest Thundercats collection of any kids I knew and even had the Cats Lair base playset!

mumm-ra toylion-o toyjackalman toy

I can remember one Christmasm I think it was 1986, that it was a very Thundercats and Masters of The Universe Brassfield Family Christmas. Back in the 80’s and most of the 90’s, we would always have Christmas Eve at my Brassfield Grandparents’ house, and all the cousins would gather in the living room that held the tree as well as a fireplace that would be cranking out super hot heat. Well this year I can remember that my aunts and uncles got me and my brother some really sweet action figures! I can remember that on this Eve I got a Lion-O figure as well as Mantenna from Masters of The Universe.  I can remember my cousion Nathan getting Beastman, Norman getting Battlecat, Dino getting a walking robot with a dinosaur head and my brother getting Panthro from the Thundercats….those were the days when the family would all be together and all us young Brassfield kids would spend the night playing with toys and having a blast. Below is a picture of that Christmas Eve of 1986 and all of us having a blast.  Yeah, that’s me with my Lion-O.

Brassfield Old School Christmas

In 1985 Burger King also had kid meals that came with Thundercat prizes like plastic cups featuring your favorite character, a light switch sticker cover, a ring and even a Snarf pencil topper! Of course when the news broke of Thundercats at Burger King, my brother and I had to go and my Mom and Dad gave in a few times and we were able to get the light switch cover both times that made our Dad get mad at us when we used it on our rooms light switch.  He got over it. The crown jewel of these prizes was the Snarf topper figure who kids wanted so they could use when they played with the LJN figures. We never got one from the kids meal but one day at school on the playground at Beavertown Elementary I found one and took it home.  Yeah, it was the old finders keepers rule.

BK Light SwitchBK Kids MealSnarf topper

As I said Thundercats had a video game for the Commodore 64 made by Elite, and it played like a standard 8-Bit action side scrolling game, making one wonder why it never made it to the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game’s plot is about Mumm-Ra stealing the Eye of Thundera, the source of the Thundercats’ power and its up to Lion-O to battle through 14 levels of action to get it back. It’ a very cool and challenging game and is well worth tracking down if you like The Thundercats and retro gaming.

Thundercats video game 1Thundercats video game c64Thundercats video game 2

In 2011 Thundercats was brought back to the airwaves in a new series thanks to Warner Brothers and Cartoon Network, the series only lasted one season but for a total of 26 episodes. The style and look was changed and was not the same. I only seen some brief moments of this series and lost interest quickly.  I would rather have just popped in the classic series than watch this new one. Sometimes you just don’t need to remake things because while it could be good, it’s also just not the same. Below is the new looks for the new Thundercats.

New Thundercats

Before we dive into Star Comics 24 issue run based on the classic Thundercats, we should take a drink of eggnog or whatever other holiday drink you like, and take a look at some cosplay girls dressed as Cheetara.  If your a kid of the 80’s you know this is kind of hot in a weird way.  My favorite is the woman in the middle but sit back and enjoy.

cheetara cosplay 1cheetara cosplay 2cheetara cosplay 3

When Star Comics was going strong in 1985, they were looking for kid popular IPs and were nabbing up such things as Star Wars: Droids, Care Bears, Fraggle Rock and of course Thundercats! Star kept the series going until 1988 for a total of 24 issues, and it was one of the longest running series for them next to Heathcliff and Muppet Babies. Growing up I watched the cartoon, collected the toys and even read a few of these comics so with that on this very cold night, I am going to sit back with a blanket and some hot chocolate and I am going to travel to Third Earth and review these comics.  Oh yes Santa Claus wanted me to remind all you readers that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. So with that while not a creature is stirring besides a Streets J. Cat (my cat I rescued from the streets of Dayton), I am ready to read Thundercats!

Thundercats 1

Thundercats # 1  ****
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #1 of 24

The Planet of Thundera is doomed and from space Jaga, along with fellow passengers Panthro, Cheetara, Tygra, Snarf, WilyKat, WilyKit and Lion-O, watch as their beloved planet explodes and is no more. Jaga takes the young Lion-O to an important part of the ship and shows him The Eye of Thundara, a stone that holds the power of their planet, as well as the Sword of Omen, a powerful sword that will house the eye and become the most powerful weapon in the world. While they all wait and learn of the things to come, they are attacked by Mutants lead by Slithe who wants The Eye of Thundara, and all their fellow ships are shot down leaving them the last survivors of their race.  As the Mutants enter the ship, the Thundercats spring into action, and young Lion-O swinging the Sword of Omen scares them off. The ship is damaged and the nearest planet they can land on is light years away so Jaga places them all into sleep pods and mans the ship and for this he dies in time for his friends to make it safely to their new home. As the ship crash-lands, the remaining Thundercats wake up from their sleep pods and Lion-O who went in as a young boy now has a grown up body yet still the mind of a young man! The Mutants followed them to the planet and after a quick fight they find an old castle crypt and make a pack with the evil old wizard inside named Mumm-Ra.

This is a perfect first issue based on a cartoon/toy line and is nothing more than a condensed version of the first episode of the cartoon. This issue is the origin story of the Thundercats and follows them from the death of their home planet to their landing on Third Earth. It also explains The Eye of Thundara and the importance of Lion-O who is to become the leader of what’s left of their race. It’s also great to see Lion-O as a young adult at the start and by the end of the issue, while still young in the mind, his body grows and he comes the hero we all know him to be. Jaga is the wise one who knows the history of their doomed planet and is the Obi Wan Kenobi to Lion-O’s Luke Skywalker as he can speak to him in spirit forum. The rest of the Thundercats in this issue are played up as more background characters. and you know that they will be more major players as the series goes on. This issue’s main bad guy is Slithe who leads the Reptilians as well as makes an alliance with Jackalman (leader of the Jackalmen) and Monkian (leader of the Simians) in order to steal the Eye of Thundera.  He is a strict leader who means business and will kill to get what he wants. Mumm-Ra in his old wizard look makes a brief cameo in the end to make an alliance with Slithe in order to rid the planet of the Thundercats. Now let’s get to Snarf who is the small cat like babysitter of Lion-O who whines and complains a lot and is that annoying sidekick character that plagued the cartoons of the 80’s.  While he is not terrible in this issue, the groundwork is being built that he will be very annoying in future issues. This issue is filled with action, drama and even a little comedy and this makes for one fun comic that is a great start to the series. The art is great and well done by Jim Mooney who is clearly Star Comics’ best artist of the time, and the cover is really bad ass and should have been made into a poster! So let’s see how issue 2 does as we go now to the follow up to this great A+ issue. 

Thundercats 2

Thundercats # 2   ***1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #2 of 24

A race of robot bears named The Berbils live on Third Earth and are the allies of The Thundercats and have helped them with food as well as building a giant base called The Cats Lair. While out “practicing” with the sword of omen, Lion-O disobeys Snarf and eats a wild berry that is poisonous and leaves Lion-O with a very high fever and at death’s door! Snarf goes to the old wreckage site to find Lion-O’s old stuffed animal and is kidnapped by Slithe and the other mutants who use him as bait to lure out the rest of the Thundercats into a trap! Lion-O pushes himself forward to come to the aid of his friends and by doing so helps break his fever and not only saves himself but his friends.

This second issue packs just as much of a punch as issue one and is filled with action, drama and a message, all the things one would want from a comic based on an 80’s cartoon. Lion-O almost dying helps add the feel of doom as the mutants are attacking his friends and you find yourself cheering for him to push himself to save them, but yet you are worried that the strain and stress could also lead to his death. Snarf comes off as a caring friend for Lion-O, and it’s clear that he is not just the young leaders guardian but also his dear friend. The Berbils are pretty cool and to make the connection to Star Wars again, they are just robot versions of the Ewoks. Mumm-Ra makes a small apperance once more and this time transformers into the warrior version of himself to punk out Slithe and company who are questioning him on his part of the alliance. I feel like the rest of the Thundercats again play background parts but yet they all seem important to the story arch. The cover is pretty well done and is very eye catching for fans of the cartoon and toys, and the artwork inside done by Jim Mooney is top notch stuff and looks like the work of an A list Marvel artist. So with a solid issue # 2 let’s see how issue # 3 holds up, shall we?

Thundercats 3

Thundercats # 3   ***
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #3 of 24

Lion-O is working on the roof of the Cat’s Lair and uses the Sword of Omen to call all the Thundercats to help.  When they get there and find that no danger is around and it’s just that Lion-O wanted help moving shingles, they all get mad about the misuse of the sword and leave him and Snarf to finish the job. Panthro takes the Thundertank to get more fuel for it as well as the base and comes across a human girl named Tessa who is being attacked by a horde of Rockmen who wish to do her harm. Panthro springs into action and saves her for the time being.  As the two rush off in the Thundertank, it runs out of gas just as he is able to use it to trap them in a cave and away from the swords and spears of the Rockmen. While in the cave Tessa tells him that she is from a race of warrior women and that she left her home due to uncontrollable powers she got from a spell in order to save her village from a magical giant bird that was sent by Mumm-Ra and how the power has not left her so for the safety of her people she left and was attacked by the Rockmen who, while story time is going on, are trying to still get inside the cave. Lion-O with the Eye of Thundara sees that Panthro needs help and rushes to his aid, not calling upon his fellow Thundercats and in his rush is trapped in living vines! Panthro has the woman use her powers to charge the Thundertank, and they escape and her powers are depleted letting her return home.  Lion-O escapes the vines and is shown by Jaga that its ok to call for help when it needed but something goes wrong the Jaga’s spirit is ripped away!

This is a showcase of Panthro, and it works well to highlight another member of the Thundercats besides Lion-O. Panthro comes off as a catman who has honor and risks his own life to save that of a woman he does not know.  Plus it shows that he has a sharp mind as he is able to save them both with ideas. Tessa is a good character who when unleashing her power against the magical bird shows how powerful she was.  It’s a shame she lost the power cause she could have been a major help to the Thundercats in their war against Mumm-Ra and the Mutants. Lion-O shows that he still does have the attitude of a child but is learning to be more adult like with his powers and responsibilities. The Rockmen seem like mindless brutes who want nothing more than to destroy things, and I think I see them teaming with Mumm-Ra in a later issue. The cover is pretty good but not as eye catching as the first two, but fans of Panthro I am sure love it. The art inside is once again done by Jim Mooney and is fantastic! The issue also had a ten cent price increase for those of you readers you pay attention to those details. With this issue ending with a cliffhanger of the Ghost Spirit of Jaga being ripped from the sky, I am pretty hyped to get on to issue 4 to find out why.  So let’s get to it. 

Thundercats 4

Thundercats # 4  ***
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #4 of 24

The Thundercats are all out looking for clues to why Jaga’s spirit is missing and all are worried about the reason why.  Even though Lion-O is the only one who can see him, they all still believe in his visions. They all go out to look for clues and each are captured by an unknown attacker who seems to know the ways of the Thundercats. Lion-O finds the spirit of Jaga who tells him that what had happened to him was just a change in the planets atmoshere and that he is well and with them once again, but when Lion-O leaves to tell the others the good news it’s clear this spirit is not of their friend!  Upon returning to The Cats Lair, Lion-O finds that his friends are missing and goes to try and find them only to come face to face with female one time Thundercat Lynxana The Hunter who has captured his friends for the mutants and was banished from Thundara by Lion-O’s own father some years back! The two clash only for them to be on the same page when the Spirit of Jaga shows himself to really be the mighty Mumm-Ra! After Mumm-Ra leaves them the pair of Thundercats decide to team up and rescue rest in order to ride the planet of the evil grip of Mumm-Ra.

This issue is filled with drama and action as Lion-O must face the fact that his guiding spirit Jaga is missing still and he was duped into making bad decisions and worse that his actions of having his friends look for clues leads to them all being captured and in the hands of The Mutants! Lion-O is clearly the star of the issue, and he is the brave one that goes toe to toe with whatever stands in his way to help his friends. Mumm-Ra is a tricky one as he uses his powers to trick Lion-O into trusting him and even makes him second guess the Eye of Thundara who tries and warns him of the trap that awaits ahead of him. Lynxana The Hunter is one butt kicking woman who is part Kraven The Hunter (Amazing Spider-Man) and part Boba Fett (Star Wars) in the way she handles herself.  Shes a very nice addition to the story line this far and helps add to the building aspect of the rescue that is about to happen in the next issue, because it makes you wonder can Lion-O trust her? Very good storyline that helps build the excitement of the next issue and this is truly this far what a kid comic based on a toy/cartoon line should be! The art is once more done by Jim Mooney and is top notch and the cover is a nice homage of The Uncanny X-Men #141 cover for Days of the Future Past. Well I for one can’t wait to see what happens in issue 5, so let’s get to it.  

Thundercats 5

Thundercats # 5  ***
Released in 1986    Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #5 of 24

Lynxana The Hunter has seen how evil Mumm-Ra is and makes a plan with Lion-O to rescue the rest of The Thundercats from the Mutants who plan on torturing and killing them all by Slithe orders. Lynxana takes Lion-O prisoner and marches him to the gates of the Mutant base.  She knocks out our hero and takes the Sword of Omens and delivers both of them to Slithe who now feels as if the war with the Thundercats is over. Later in the night Lynxana free’s Lion-O and steals back the Sword of Omen, and together they fight off the mutants and rescue all the Thundercats! As they all escape the Mutants’ hideout, Mumm-Ra appears and blows up the Mutant base and now wants a battle with the Thundercats! 

A very cool issue that builds upon whether you can trust Lynxana or not.  When she knocks out Lion-O and delivers the Sword of Omen/Eye of Thundara to Slithe, you start to wonder if she can be trusted and if she has just played Lion-O like a fiddle. Of course it turns out that you can trust her and she becomes a great ally in the rescue of the Thundercats. Lion-O is growing as a hero and leader and this issue shows how brave and loyal he is to his people and his friendships. Mumm-Ra takes a back seat as the main bad guy in this issue though he is such a mean ass as he blows up his allies base and wants to show off how powerful he is to anyone who can see his actions. Slithe is one dumb leader of the Mutants as he could have ended it all by killing Lion-O and not leaving the Sword of Omen in plan sight.  I guess cheesy cartoon kid show bad guys will never learn. The odds are against the Thundercats as they all band together to escape and this adds some fun action moments that have you cheering as they make their way out of danger’s way. Jim Mooney’s artwork once again is great, and the cover this time around is okay with the Lizard man Panthro is punching face being very weird looking. Well let’s see if Lynxana stays with them to help fight Mumm-Ra and how this battle will end in issue 6!

Thundercats 6

Thundercats # 6  ***
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #6 of 24

The Thundercats are shocked as it looks as if Slithe and all his mutants are all dead at the hands of Mumm-Ra who had blown up their base. Lion-O figures out that the destroying of the hideout was just an illusion done by Mumm-Ra and the Mutants come out and are ready for another battle.  But as the fight is taking place, the Giant Mumm-Ra shows up once more and attacks both sides declaring war with both sides who now must team up to stop the evil wizard from taken over Third Earth. Slithe and Lion-O make a treaty and join forces and head to Mumm-Ra’s pyramid and start attacking the Giant Mumm-Ra who seems unstoppable! During the attack Lion-O along with Lynxana and Cheetara use the Thunder Tank to drill into the pyramid and find that the source of Mumm-Ra’s new power lies in versions of himself from the other Earths and Jaga’s spirit that is trapped in a crystal.  After a fight with some stone soldiers, Loin-O busts the crystal and undoes the spells of Mumm-Ra leaving him weak. Slithe, who is about to attack the Thundercats now that the battle is over, is scared away by harsh words from Mumm-Ra.  The Thundercats are saddened when Lynxana turns down joining them for she needs to think about her life.

A team up that none of us readers saw coming, The Thundercats and The Mutants joining forces to save Third Earth from the mighty and more powerful Mumm-Ra who has gone even more mad with power. Lion-O once more plays the hero and with the help of Jaga, he brings the final blow that ends the battle and leaves Mumm-Ra weak from the battle. Slithe, while teaming with the Thundercats, did have it in his mind to turn on them once the fight is over, but when he hears that he and his band of goons are now on Mumm-Ra’s hit list, he and his men flee back to their hideout to make it stronger. Lynxana once more proves she was a great ally and sadly after they win, she leaves The Thindercats to get her head on straight and rethink her life.  I like this character and hope she comes back in future issues. I love the fact that Mumm-Ra’s new power was coming from not only the captured Jaga but as well as the Mumm-Ra’s of Earth 1 and Earth 2 who he held in his tomb! Very fun issue filled with lots of battles and some cool and interesting ideas and has the Multi Universe feel to it that DC Comics is in love with. The art is done by Mooney again but this time it seems a little rushed and not as detailed as the other issues, while good it’s just not as pretty. The cover is well done and eye catching and the Giant Mumm-Ra helps add to the “epic” feel of this issue. I am 6 issues in and this series has yet to lose steam, so here is to hoping this stays that way as we head into issue 7. 

Thundercats 7

Thundercats # 7  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #7 of 24

Third Earth is having a terrible storm heavy rain and red lightning is striking all around causing damage to the small village of the Berbils when Lion-O uses the Sword of Omen to knock the lightning away and causes it to hit the near by mountain. Lion-O is missing his home world and his spirits are down.  He feels like he does not belong on Third Earth. But when a glowing light is seen on top of the mountain where the red lightning hit, the Thundercats go to investigate.  Lion-O and Cheetara get separated after a land slide, and they find a portal that leads them to the past on back on Thundara as the rest are being attacked by Insect people lead by their queen Sectra. While Lion-O and Cheetara play the role of heroes to the primitive cave Thundercat people, the rest are in deep trouble as the insect army horde just keeps coming! In the end Lion-O and Cheetara return to Third Earth to save their friends, and Lion-O learns that home is with his friends…oh yeah and the red lightning and the insect people’s attack was all set up by Mumm-Ra!

This issue only slips a little and by no means is it a bad one.  It just is very average and seems almost like a throw away issue used to fill space in the series. Lion-O is a sad sack at the start of this issue and misses his home planet, and when he gets the chance to go to the past of his home world his spirits are lifted and he even finds love in a cave girl Thundercat.  But even in his happiness, he learns that home is where you’re loved and with your friends and family. Cheetara is also homesick but she also acts as the guardian of the young leader and even tries to smooth over his disruption with one of the Cave Thundercats who seems to not like the young heros fame among his people. Mumm-Ra is the pain in the butt who had set all this up from the insect people attacking to the portal to the past all in an attempt to once again rid Third Earth of Thundercats. Sectra The Queen of the Insect people and her army are the major threat of the issue, and they are very mean as at one point they want to pour lava on the Thundercats below.  But while mean and a threat, they were played like fools by Mumm-Ra who used them to battle his enemies. The art this time is done by Jose Delbo, and while good, it’s no Mooney and lacks the charm of his artwork.  The cover on this one is also a little cheesy yet fun. Let’s see if issue 8 can lift it back into three and four stars or drop it lower than two and a half.

Thundercats 8

Thundercats #  8  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #8 of 24

The Thundercats have built a reservoir to get fresh water to flow to the Cats Lair and decide to have a field day to enjoy themselves with sports events. But the day of fun turns into a huge argument amongst them all when WilyKat and WilyKit start fighting over tying during a race and sharing the prize. The fight leaves them all not speaking to each other, and this leads to both WilyKat and WilyKit being kidnapped by Slithe and the mutant, the reservoir being blown up and the Cats Lair being flooded and taken over by the Mutants. It takes the team work of the youngsters WilyKat and WilyKit to force the mutants out and allow the Thundercats back in.

This issue has a message that its best to work together and work out problems instead of brooding on them. WilyKat and WilyKit are the focus of the issue and their fighting and rivalry gets out of hand, but when it comes down to it they both step up to bat and help each other as well as their fellow team mates. Slithe is the main bad guy and sets up the attack on Cats Lair that actually works, once again though he and his band of mutants are out smarted and out classed. Mumm-Ra is MIA and doesn’t even have a small cameo. Over all this issue is 100% average, and there is not much to talk about for it. Art work is done by Jose Delbo and with the inks added I think it all looked a little odd and off.  The cover reminds me of that issue of Amazing Spider-Man (#33) were Spider-Man was holding back water from a cracked wall…here is to hoping issue 9 is better than 8.

Thundercats 9

Thundercats # 9  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #9 of 24

The Thundercats are building a wall to help protect the Cat Lair, and Lion-O and Panthro have been working at it all day in the heat.  Little do they know that they are being spied on by the Rockmen, and an accident leaves their Prince injured and to them Lion-O was to blame. The King of the Rockmen with a little mental push from Mumm-Ra sets up attacks on the Thundercats that leaves poor Snarf with a bad head injury, and this pushes for a full on battle between The Rockmen and The Thundercats! Snarf in a daze follows his friends into battle and meets the injured Rock Prince and the two figure out the whole fight is based on an accident and together they stop Lion-O and The Rock King from killing one another in a battle that was sure to end badly for one of them. In the end it appears as if peace has happened between the two sides and Mumm-Ra’s plan once again has failed him.

This issue gets back on track and is a pretty fun read and once more has a message packed into the pages: don’t over act on things before you get the full facts. Lion-O loses his cool in this issue and acts out of pure anger and rage and is letting vengeance cloud is judgement. Poor Snarf takes a nasty hit to his head and even with his major injury, he helps set the facts straight and stops the battle. I will say I like the fact that Snarf in the comic is not annoying and is used just right in the series and not over used. Making the Rockmen return was also cool to see showing that even these other races that live on Third Earth are not forgotten and pushed to the side like some of the other Star Comics we have read, the one that sticks out the most for doing this has to be Wally The Wizard. To sum it up this issue has drama, action and even slight humor and gets the series right back on the perfect kids comic track. So let’s not wait, let’s get to issue # 10! Oh yeah, Jose Delbo does the artwork and it looks pretty dang good as does the cover. 

Thundercats 10

Thundercats # 10  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #10 of 24

The Thundercats are on the hunt for meat as they are all a little sick of eating Snarf’s veggie stew. The hunt is going nowhere fast, but Panthro does not want to give up and breaks off from Lion-O and the rest who are all now heading back home.  Each hit a snag in their quest as Lion-O’s group runs into mutants who attack, and Panthro finds an old graveyard for an ancient race called the Si-Tare and upsets the spirit of the leader of the race named Ashtar who wants vengeance for what he thinks is disrespect from Panthro who entered their final resting place. As Lion-O and the rest escape the Mutants so does Panthro who flees from the angry spirit, and they all make it home to the Cats Lair

This issue once more is a spot light on Panthro who once more on his own stumbles into a bad situation.  This time instead of Rockmen, it’s the spirit of a pissed off king. Panthro in this issue as well really knows the odds are against him and runs away from the battle with the spirit causing even more drama as the spirit takes its revenge on his fellow Thundercats hoping this will cause a final fight with its attended target. At this point in the series its starting to become clear that Panthro does not mix well with other races/monsters of Third Earth and has caused many fights, even tho for the most part he does not intend for bad things to happen nor to piss them off. Lion-O once more gets a high fever and this makes one worried for this young heroe’s brain as it’s had some major illness dished out to it. Ashtar is sinister and while bad, one gets the feel that he does what he does for honor. This is a great issue and showcases Panthro again in just a way that makes you really start to bond with the character. While the momentum is this high, let’s get onto issue 11! 

Thundercats 11

Thundercats # 11  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #11 of 24

Small earthquakes are striking all around Cats Lair causing damage and injuries and almost leading to the drowning of WilyKit! The Thundercats figure out that it was not natures doing but that of molemen who have taken residence under that Cat Lair and this was their way of striking out at those who live above them. Lion-O leads them all underground and finds that the molemen are lead by Rix who is ordering his men to destroy the Thundercats! After a quick battle, a cave-in happens that separates Panthro, WilyKit, WalyKat and Snarf from the rest and they all find themselves prisoners, as Lion-O and the rest resurface and find that the Molemen’s past home has been taken over by an insect monster.  Lion-O figures out that the molemen are blaming them for this and decides that to get things back to normal they must team with the molemen and rid the land of this insect problem. After some heated words both sides come together and kill the monster, and a new friendship is in place.

Pretty fun issue that has Lion-O using his brain over his muscles and turning a bad situation into a new friendship and a way to help a race of people get their homes back. The rest of the Thundercats are around but none of theme really get to shine tho we do find out that WilyKat is scared of the dark and not being able to see.  We also get to find out that Cheetara loves her garden…yep. No Mumm-Ra or Mutants this issue, and Rix is the main “bad” guy who really is just a headstrong leader who thinks he was doing what was right for his people. Taking the Thundercats off the land and putting them underground was a nice touch as I felt that they were truly the underdogs…wait undercats in the battle and were out of their home turf leading to be that they could loose this fight. The Insect Monster was straight out of a horror movie as many tiny bugs come together to make one giant pissed off one, I love the fact at the end it’s set on fire and dies a painful and horrible death. The art work is once again done by Jose Delbo whose stuff just keeps getting better and better issue after issue and I am starting to really dig his style.  The cover on this one is just ok and nothing special. Over all another solid issue and fits nicely in the series this far.  Now let’s get to issue # 12 that marks the half way mark for Thundercats and let’s see if it can keep up the three star ratings. This also marks the point that the series had a price markup from .75 to $1.00. 

Thundercats 12

Thundercats # 12   ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #12 of 24

A small fishing village on Third Earth has been attacked and taken over by a band of Berserkers lead by the ax wielding Horak.  One female escapes capture and asks Lion-O for help to free her people and to run these mad man from their land. Lion-O agrees to help as Cheetara is annoyed and thinks the only reason they are going to battle is cause Lion-O thinks the young lady pretty.  When they get to the village, they see that the Berserkers are terrible people, but they also see that the villagers will not help themselves and with the odds against them, the Thundercats might just be over their heads on this one.  Will Lion-O be able to raise the spirits of his team?  Will he be able to get the villagers to also fight for their own freedom and will he be able to beat Horak in a one on one fight? Well of course he can on all these questions and along the way learns that it’s a good thing to stand up for those weaker than you.

Lion-O, once more being headstrong and not looking into facts, dives his team head first into a battle that they could have easily lost. And as always once it’s too late he looks back at his rush decision and second-guesses it. I do find the sexual tension between Lion-O and Cheetara interesting, and it’s very subtle and with Lion-O being younger, it’s less on his part and more on her’s as it’s clear she kind of has a thing for him. The villagers are odd ones as they do not lift a finger to help in the battle till the very end.  It’s almost like they are too lazy to fight for their own lives. Horak is one mean mother who carries a huge ax and is ready to fight and kill at the drop of a hat.  This is a guy Mumm-Ra needs to get on his side to help kill the Thundercats! It would have also been cool to see The Molemen or The Rockmen get involved in the fight as both have joined sides with the Thundercats and would have made great allies in the battle with the berserkers. Over all this is a great issue filled with action, a message and some great art by Jose Delbo, not to mention an eye catching cover! This is a solid issue and shows that this series at the half way make shows no signs of slowing down.  So with that let’s get to issue 13 and see if the # will be unlucky and get the series its first one star or less!

Thundercats 13

Thundercats # 13  **
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #13 of 24

Slithe has stolen a farmer’s herd of unicorns, and she rushes to the Thundercats to help get them back. The Thundercats rush to the Forest of Silence to get them back but instead they find traps set for them all and with this they become the prisoners of Mumm-Ra who had sent the mutants out to execute his plan. The only Thundercat left is Snarf who was helping some bats make nests and now has the gift to talk to the planet’s animals. When he finds out his friends have been kidnapped he goes to rescue them with the help of animals from the planet. In the end he frees them, Lion-O beats back Mumm-Ra and they all escape and return home to Cats Lair.

This issue seems like nothing more than a fill in and was very lack luster all around! The story has the Thundercats not taking Snarf serious as a fighter and in the end his skill of talking to the animals of the planet save them from doom at the hands of Mumm-Ra….so now Snarf is like Mark Singer, The Beastmaster! Not to mention now all of a sudden Mumm-Ra is afraid of his own reflection and is beat when he sees it in the Swords of Omen. Even the art of Jose Delbo is not as good in this issue making me think that 13 might be a curse for this series.  I don’t know what else to say besides this issue is a major disappointment and is bland.  So let’s waste no more time on it and get to issue 14 that I hope is better.

Thundercats 14

Thundercats # 14   **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #14 of 24

Safari Joe, a galaxy famous hunter, has landed on Third Earth and is on the hunt for Thundercats! One by one Joe uses the Thundercats’ own fears and weaknesses against them leaving only Lion-O and Snarf left as the rest are all placed in cages waiting for their own D-Day. Safari Joe comes to the Cats Lair and tries to bag himself a Lion-O but with the help of Snarf, the two defeat Safari Joe who turns out to be a coward when the odds are against him.  This leads to all the Thundercats being set free and Joe promising to stop hunting.

Another issue with a message, and this time around its about bullying and how most bullies are cowards and can’t take what they dish out. Lion-O once more uses his head and outsmarts Safari Joe and uses a simple bucket and a kick from Snarf to knock him down a peg and turn his spine into jelly. Snarf comes off again as a hero and is an up swing for the character making two issues in a row where he is a hero. Safari Joe and his robot sidekick Mule are great bad guy characters who use technology to hunt and by using his machines it also points out his preys powers and flaws making him very dangerous. Once more Mumm-Ra missed the boat and should have had him join his team of baddies trying to kill The Thundercats. The art work is pretty bad, this time done by Ernie Colon, and to me looks like sketehes and not a finished product, I am hoping they don’t let this guy take over from here because his stuff is weak. The cover is pretty good, nothing special, and sums up the issue pretty well itself. Over all no one likes bullies, and Lion-O and Snarf takes one down a peg making for a fun issue.  Now let’s see what issue 15 has in store for us.

Thundercats 15

Thundercats # 15   **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #15 of 24

Lion-O is once more homesick and is missing Thundara.  In his downtime he gets a visit from Jaga’s spirit who tells him of a crystal that holds all of their doomed home planets history that was lost during the wreckage! Lion-O makes it a top priority for them to find this, and they all head out to find this key to the past, each go their own ways and each run into the likes of The Unicorn Farmer Girl, The Rockmen, the massive Black Widow Shark and even the Molemen! In the end Lion-O finds the crystal in the arms of some cavemen who are using its power to grow food for their village.  A fight breaks out as Lion-O wants his history back but quickly gives in when he see’s that it will do more good to help feed hungry people than to live in the past. In the end all the Thundercats meet up and each feel better about the future they will all be sharing with each other.

This issue is all about looking to the future and not allowing the past to rule your life.  It also touches on putting your own selfish wants and needs to the side if your wants and needs can negatively affect others around you. Lion-O once more learns that with being the leader of the Thundercats comes the weight of others’ fates by his decisions and that they are more important than silly quests. Rix, the leader of the Molemen, is now called Mole Master and has turned bad as he is bullying his own people and The Rockmen once more go in for the attack throwing out the friendships the past issues has built up between the two races and the Thundercats. Over all this is a pure go and fetch issue and is a fun average read.  The artwork is done by Jose Delbo again and looks fantastic.  The cover is misleading.  While the Black Widow Shark is a pretty big part of the story, it also makes it look like a solo adventure for WilyKat and WilyKit that it is not. Average sadly seems to be the new norm for the series now and here is to hoping that some of these future issues capture the magic back of the past issues….wait, I must not have learned a thing from this issue, so it’s best that we move onto issue 16.

Thundercats 16

Thundercats # 16   **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #16 of 24

Mumm-Ra has yet another scheme in mind to stop and kill the Thundercats and it involves the newly hatched Spidera the Queen of the spiders who is hungry for flesh. Mumm-Ra transforms himself into a tiny fairy and goes to Lion-O for help and uses his magic to hypnotize the young leader into following him into the forest and to the lair of the Spider Queen.  Lucky for Lion-O ,Snarf follows and is able to wake him from his trance but not in time to stop him from being taken to Spidera’s web where the tiny Thundercat is used as bait for Lion-O who comes to his aid along with the other Thundercats.  Together they defeat Spidera and trap her back in the egg from which she hatched.

This seems like yet another throw away issue and has filler written all over it as large panels and very little story is used to tell the very basic plot. Lion-O seems younger and not as wise as he does in issues before this, and with Jim Mooney back on art, this makes me wonder is this issue was one that had been done for awhile and had sat around the office waiting for a time when some one was behind on the current issue so they could use this one to meet the pressing. All the Thundercats besides Lion-O and Snarf are wasted and not used, and Mumm-Ra himself mostly appears as a rainbow winged fairy and in no way comes off as a threat. Spidera is a mindless insect and when the battle gets thick is easily defeated. The reason I would say that this is an average issue that holds some fun moments is because it reminds me of early Conan The Barbarian stories and pits a hero against a giant spider. Not much to say about this issue besides feels and reads like filler and served its purpose, as I was at least entertained. 

Thundercats 17

Thundercats # 17  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #17 of 24

WilyKit and WalyKat are in the woods of Third Earth and try and help a man who is being robbed by Gargoyles who steal his daughter’s wedding gift that was left to her from her mother who had passed away.  Sadly they get away with the crime and take the gift to The Black Tower that is the hideout of Baron Karnor who is the king of these winged thieves. The Wily ones travel to the tower to get the gift back but while there WilyKat goes missing leaving WilyKit by herself, that is till Lion-O with the help of the Sword of Omens finds that his friends are in trouble and comes to their aid. Lion-O and WilyKit enter the tower and find that it’s filled with traps and dangers and finally they find WilyKat and get the gift back and find that Baron Karnor has been dead for years and the Gargoyles only do this because of magic! Lion-O calls the rest of the Thundercats and they destroy all the Gargoyles who were made out of stone and make it to the wedding on time to deliver the gift.

This is what I want from my Thundercats Star Comics, and with this issue they strike back being a A-List kids comic series with a good story and some great adventure. WilyKit takes the lead role in this issue and runs with it as she is the one who teaches WilyKat a lesson that it’s not nice to pull jokes on people.  She is the one who shows the pure heart as she wants to get back the stolen gift because she understands its meaning. WilyKat also has a bigger role and comes off as a jerk as pulling pranks seemed to be more important to him than helping a stranger in need as he plays dead after a brief scuffle. Lion-O of course plays a big part and flexes his muscles and leadership and helps the Wilys escape the tower. Great haunted house feel as well to the issue as the Tower is dark, scary and filled with traps making it feel right at place with a Vincent Price film, not to mention the Tower is also the main source of bad in the issue with the Gargoyles acting as its henchmen. Artwork done by Jose Delbo again looks amazing, and the cover once more is eye catching and well done. Here is to hoping that this is a sign that the series is back on the up swing and that it stays this solid for the remaining issues. So let’s get to issue 18 cause now I am back looking forward to the next issue. 

Thundercats 18

Thundercats # 18  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #18 of 24

Slithe and mutants have attacked Cheetara and while she’s knocked out, Mumm-Ra transforms himself into a Thundercat and calls himself Pumm-Ra and acts as her savior. He is welcomed into a friendship with the rest of Thundercats for his rescue and taken to Cats Lair where at night he breaks their defense systems and steals the Sword of Omen. The next morning as all the Thundercats minus Lion-O and Snarf go on a hike Pumm-Ra shows his hand and calls in Slithe and the Mutants who take over the Thundertank.  A brawl with Pumm-Ra gets the Sword of Omens back in the hands of Lion-O and together they run off the Mutants and get Pumm-Ra to show his true identity of being Mumm-Ra and they run him off as well.

The message of this issue is don’t trust strangers because they are more than likely an evil ancient wizard! Mumm-Ra as Pumm-Ra comes very close to finally beating the Thundercats but once more puts way too much faith in the mutants for assistance who are cowards and always flee when the tide turns in battles. Lion-O once more wants to rush into things and wants to make Pumm-Ra from the start a full member of the Thundercats and if not for Jaga’s ghost he very much so would have been one! Tygra for once gets to play the hero as he risks his own life to enter a vent that could be filled with fire at any moment to get inside Cats Lair after Pumm-Ra locks himself inside, and I will say I am really happy to see him finally get a heroic moment and I feel in the series he is the least used one. Ernie Colon returns to art and while still not the style I like, it’s better than the style he had in issue 14.  The cover is eye catching and has Pumm-Ra standing over the knocked out body of Cheetara, and I am sure got a few new readers at the time to give the series a chance. Over all this is a pretty good issue and is above average but by no means a true stand out issue. 

Thundercats 19

Thundercats # 19  ***
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #19 of 24

A Man-O-War JellyFish Cloud has entered the small village and has kidnapped the robot bear girl Ro-Ber-Belle right before the Thundercats eyes! As Lion-O and Snarf head one way, Cheetara rushes ahead all in hopes to save their friend. Along the way Lion-O witnesses Jackal steal the shoe off a unicorn, and Cheetara has some of her hair cut off by Slithe, all in some sort of odd way this all seems to be connected. With the help of the Sword of Omen, they find that they have taken Ro-Ber-Belle to the top of a mountain and they are doing a spell to free Mumm-Ra’s sister Ta-She from a prison that has her roam the worlds forever. Ta-She is powerful and holds the power of the Doomgaze that can make anyone do what she wants them to and to be free she must have Lion-O take her place in the prison! She uses the doomgaze on him and all looks lost until he is able to use all his power and break free and send out the call that has the rest of the Thundercats crashing the party and sending the Mutants running and Mumm-Ra and Ta-She defeated…in the end Ta-She returns to her prison as Ro-Ber-Belle is rescued.

For some reason this issue reminded me of the old board game CLUE and had me thinking Mumm-Ra with the Unicorn Shoe at Cats Lair! Mumm-Ra is the main bad guy again in this issue and once more losses with the help of the coward mutants.  You would think by now he would give up using those knuckleheads and would go and find himself some major help in his quest to kill the Thundercats. His sister Ta-She gets to do very little besides use the Doomgaze on Lion-O and to everyone’s shock it fails as his will was strong enough to break it with ease. Speaking of Lion-O, he once more shows why he was chosen to lead as his will and noble heart leads them to win and save their friend. I also once more picked up on some tension between he and Cheetara as he says in a round about way he was able to break the Doomgaze cause of thinking of her…yep, he wants her. This one was a lot of fun and I enjoyed every page and action packed moment, not to mention the artwork done by Mooney again is well done. Great issue and now let’s get onto # 20!!

Thundercats 20

Thundercats # 20  ***
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #20 of 24

Mumm-Ra looks to the past and finds the tale of King Author and his mighty sword Excalibur and decides to trick the Lady of the Lake and get the mighty sword and use it to beat the Thundercats’ mighty Sword of Omens. Making himself look like a knight Mumm-Ra gets Excalibur and comes to Cats Lair and challenges Lion-O to a duel that happens the next morning all in the name of honor. The duel is going back and forth, and both swords and their handlers are holding their own until finally the swords take to the air by themselves.  Excalibur wins by cutting the Eye of Thundara and making all the Thundercat loose their power! As Mumm-Ra brags of his win, the great Wizard Merlin appears and takes away Excalibur and returns the power of the Eye of Thundara to the Thundercats! In the end Merlin takes Lion-O to the Lady of the Lake, and he returns Excalibur to its watery resting place.

What a fun way to mix the legend of King Arthur with that of the Thundercats and to pit two of the worlds most powerful swords Excalibur and Sword of Omens against each other in such an epic way. Lion-O has the true warrior spirit and fights for the pride of his fellow Thundercats as their honor is questioned by a knighted stranger. Mumm-Ra for once has a great idea and if not for Merlin would have beat the Thundercats once and for all making this the closest he as been in 20 issues! The artwork is done by Colon and is some of his better work. At this point in the comic run it’s clear many of these stories in the issues are just adapted from the cartoon and its scripts, but at the end of this one they flex some muscle and claim from here on out they will be doing more original stories.  So let’s see how this goes shall we?

Thundercats 21

Thundercats # 21  **
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #21 of 24

Snarf is home alone at Cats Lair and finds that he has been left a baby to watch who is as strong as Hercules and as destructive as a tornado! While watching from the woods, Vulture Man thinks that Snarf has invented a formula that causes superhuman strength and with the blessing of Slithe he steals the baby and his bottle and brings it to their base only for the baby to run wild and break all that’s in its way! Snarf comes after the baby to rescue it but is meet by Slithe, Jackalman and Vulture Man who beg him to take him back! In the end the parents come and pick the baby up, and Snarf is worn out from his babysitting adventure.

They break into doing an original story and what they do is one generic and stale idea of having the un-wanting babysitter and the pain in the butt kid. Snarf is the main focus of the issue and all the “action” is done in slapstick and your very typical kid comic kind of way. While reading it I was like wow look it’s Vulture Man….wait, he being beaten up by a baby….look, Jackalman….wait, a baby just threw him into the water. It was very plain and kind of bland and so far I would say the worst issue in the series. Mooney returns for art and does a pretty good job even though there is not much to the story at all. This also marks the final issue for STAR comics as the remaining issues would be put out by Marvel, and it’s a shame that this generic issue marks the end for a company I love so much. I don’t wanna waste any more time with this vanilla issue, so let’s get to # 22. 

Thundercats 22

Thundercats # 22  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel   #22 of 24

Lion-O and the Thundercats are the guests of honor at the small fishing village, and as they go to have a fun filled day WilyKat and WilyKit are left behind to watch Cats Lair and are attacked by robot clones of themselves made by Vulture Man for Slithe. When Lion-O returns to the Cats Lair, he finds out that the Wily’s are being held ransom for diamonds and will be killed if those diamonds don’t make it to them on time! Lion-O, Cheetara and Panthro go and rescue the Wily’s and spend the day playing kickball with them to show how much they all love them.

Robot Wilykittens and a greedy Slithe make up this issu,e and this marks the first issue to be made by Marvel.  While good, once more it has that VERY average feel to it. Slithe is a evil man and means to kill his prisoners who are children all over diamonds that he can’t really spend anywhere! Vulture Man shows that while a lack,y he still has a big brain as he is the one who creates the robot clones. Lion-O once more shows he is a man of honor and risks his own safety to save his fellow Thundercats in need. Art done by Jose Delbo is good, while the cover is generic and bland.  This issue is just kind of around and was so average that I am looking forward to just moving on to the next issue, so that’s what I will do. 

Thundercats 23

Thundercats # 23  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00  Marvel  #23 of 24

Dr Dometone along with his giant robot frog named Hercules watches over a plug that helps keep Third Earths waters safe, but a bad man named Scrape has been sent to pull the plug that would cause doomsday for all that live on the planet. Lion-o and WilyKat and WilyKit go with Dometone to try and stop the destruction and finally with the help of the rest of the Thundercats, they are able to stop Scrape and protect the Plug from being tampered with.

This issue is filled with way too much slow drama and the action is very generic and bland.  While not 100% terrible, this is by no means a good issue. Lion-O, while the main hero, is wasted and given nothing to really do besides dress in a shark suit and swim around. The rest of the Thundercats take back seats and are barely used and are wasted on this lame story line. Scrape is no real threat and could be knocked out by a sneeze.  His only threat really is his eel ship. Dr Dometone is lame and talks way too much though I do love that his two giant frog robots are named Hercules and Samson. The art work is done by Dwayne Turner and has that classic late 80’s Marvel Charm.  In fact even the cheesy cover has that Marvel feel. Over all this issue is kind of bland and makes for a quick read. 

Thundercats 24

Thundercats # 24  ***
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel   #24 of 24

WilyKat and WilyKit are in the woods when they stumble on some pods that hatch and unleash evil clones of all the Thundercats that were created by Mumm-Ra! These clones’ main purpose is to help spark a war between two mountain tribes so that the evil Mumm-Ra can weaken them and then rule them! The clones keep WilyKat and WalyKit hostage and start their evil quest and succeed in getting both sides to prepare for war. But the Wilys get free and help the good Thundercats defeat the evil clones, and Lion-O with the Sword of Omen is able to get the feuding sides to calm down and talk of peace. 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is what this final issue reminded me of and in fact it had a very Sci-Fi meets Fantasy film feel to it. The Clones were darker versions of the Thundercats and each were turned up a notch to be very narcissistic and self serving. The Wileys were the main heros of the issue as they were the ones to help find the sinister plot, tell the right people of said sinister plot and were the ones who help the real Thundercats win. Lion-O once more is very noble and carries the weight of Third Earth on his shoulders as he tries so hard to keep it a peaceful planet. Mumm-Ra, while having a good idea to use clones to start a war, once more should have pushed harder and helped his evil army to succeed. The issue also had a feel of importance as at any moment a war was about to pop off and all sides would have lost many lives and each also were targeting the Thundercats. Marvel in my opinion did disrespect the series and let it end with this issue and did not give it a clear cut final issue like it deserved.  In fact I am going to say that Marvel as a whole disrespected Star Comics and did not fully support nor give them the time to grow as a power house in kids comics. The issue’s cover is cool looking, but not as epic as is should be, and the final issues art is done by Rodney Ramos and it looks okay. Over all this is a great issue and it makes me happy that at least the series ended on a high note!

Thundercats Comic Art

Thundercats by Star Comics had many great issue, and while it did have a few duds, this is by far my favorite series I have read this far by Star! I am sure you are all noticing that this update has been posted way after Christmas Eve, and I must say that I am sorry for that. I had a few roadblocks in getting this one up from computer issues and long days At work, normal holiday stuff and even had a terrible case of the flu! But I hope that you all had a wonderful Holiday season and that your 2014 is going well this far. But to get back on topic Thundercats was a big part of my childhood as with many kids of the 80’s, and I was glad to see Star give these characters comics that fans enjoyed. I will say I wish they had less issues that were just based on the cartoon episodes cause this took away the fun factor of this being your fix to the next cartoon cause when reading the ones based on episodes the element of surprise was gone. It was neat to see Marvel take up the series after they closed Star and ran it to see if it could hang with their long running Transformers and G.I. Joe series and if given the chance I think it could have. Well next update I am going to do something a little different and thats I am going to showcase a Horror Host that I love and talk about the impact they had on me, the memories of watching and even do a little episode guide of the ones I own on DVD! I am calling the updates Horror Host Icon and the first one we will be taking a look at is the one and only Commander USA, I am sure you long time readers are not shocked by this one. Till next time stay nerdy, and stay safe this cold winter! 

commander usas groovie movies logo

 

The Wonderful Wizard of Wally

Hey, all and welcome back! This time around we are going to take a look at one of Star Comics’ most popular home grown characters, Wally The Wizard. I first heard about Wally The Wizard via a free give away/very cheap subscription on the back of a box of cereal and sent away and got issue # 1 of Wally, Top Dog and Planet Terry for free/dirt cheap. While I didn’t know the character, I found myself liking his over all good nature. While Wally did pretty well for Star, it was lost in the sea of licensed based comics like Ewoks, Strawberry Shortcake, He-Man and many others making him not one most kids would talk about nor trade on the playground. While his impact not very huge, his books lasted for 12 issues longer than many of the licensed based titles, showing his sales had to be good enough to keep him afloat.

Speaking of afloat, here in and around Dayton we had many small movie theaters that aren’t owned by Showcase, The Rave or Regal, and sadly many of them over the past 15 years have slowly gone away.  I guess the small theaters can’t compete with the IMax and stadium seating. While we still have The Englewood Theater in Englewood, Little Art Theater in Yellow Springs and Neon Movies in Dayton, we have lost the likes of Chakeres The Kettering Theater, Flicker Palace in Huber Heights and most sad of all Page Manor in Fairborn. Let’s first talk about The Flicker Palace in Huber Heights, a small theater in the middle of strip mall that hosted many late night horror films and even was the first home of Horrorama (a charity event I’ve been helping with for the last 14 years or so).  Sadly I never got to step foot in Flicker but only heard the stories from friends like Andy Copp, Dr. Creep and Rick Martin about how cool the place was. I have gone and visited the run down shell that was Flicker over the years and when looking inside the windows you see that it has been gutted and I mean gutted.  From the floor up, it’s just one big empty room with gravel floor, It’s a shame that the owners of the strip mall decided doing this to the theater was a good idea and even more of a shame that no one bought this theater after closing and kept it going. Below is a picture of the theater and a picture of Andy Copp and Dr. Creep in the theater.
FlickerAndy and Dr Creep

Next up is the Kettering Theater, an amazing place to see movies when I was younger.  Sure, the seats were rock hard and you would leave with a backache, and sure, the popcorn tasted like it had been under a heat lamp for 3 months but it was still Kettering’s own little theater house before the jumbo movie house in the outside mall, the Greene, moved in. I remember going and seeing movies like Broken Arrow and Austen Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me at the theater and this is even where my brother meet Dr. Creep and sparked our love for the Dayton horror host before I even was in school. The theater’s exterior was an amazing classic style theater, and the inside was very old and should have been updated but the dirt inside also added to the charm of the theater. After the theater went under, the building sat empty for many years until in early 2013 a church bought it to transform into a new meeting place for their congregation.  So sadly, the epic Kettering Theater and its amazing building will now no longer be used for a movie going experience. Below is a pic of the theater, and the pic of my brother Bryan with Dr. Creep.

Kettering TheaterBryan and Dr Creep

Page Manor was the coolest small theater in the area and had not only two screens but also a very small video arcade and hosted lots of fun stuff from Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight to independent horror films that included one of my old shorts called Hellraiser Warehouse. One of my best memories was seeing Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation when it was finally released for its very small theatrical run and Page Manor was the only theater to pick it up. I was working at Kroger at the time and was a teen who loved horror films.  I became friends with Jason Shivadecker, a guy who was a few years older and who as well loved horror films and also made his own shot on video films. When we heard that Page was showing the new Texas Chainsaw, we were hyped and made sure to get tickets early and plan for this epic night of horror! We got to the theater early as did many fans who were waiting to see Leatherface do what he does best, and that’s when some odd early 20’s something kid was pacing around looking for someone to talk to him.  He targeted us and started to ramble on and on about how he had seen the movie every screening thus far at the Page and how he loved it and how it was the best in the series.  After a few minutes we were able to get away from this super fan and get a seat. We got our seats that were great, and the film started and what we saw was something that would stick with me, not because of the gore and scares but because the film was so silly and dumb that I had a blast watching it. After the film we drove around laughing at the film and then went to a party. Also at that theater I have been to Horrorama’s, late night horror shows put on by Andy Copp and so much more. This was my favorite theater in the area, and when it went under for the second time, a rumor was going around that it was coming back, but sadly this did not come to be and after a fire in the strip mall, it was the owners who decided to demolish the theater. Below is a pic of the great Page Manor as well as a screen grab of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Next Generation.

Page ManorLeatherface Jacks

One last one just because it was a fun place to see movies was Beavercreek Cinema that later became The Bargain Box Office.  It had multiple screens, terrible popcorn and hard seats but it was a fun time. I went to this theater when I was younger and saw films like Ghostbusters 2 and The Goonies their during their first run and saw second run films when it reopened and became the Bargain Box Office. One fun story I have about this place was when it re-opened my girl at the time, Jennifer, liked Kevin Smith movies while I on the other hand don’t like his work.  But being a trooper, I took her to see Clerks 2 and while being tortured with his unfunny dialogue, a miracle happened as a bat began flying all around the screen and in front of the projector and to me this was a sign from Count Dracula or Batman that I should be at home watching them on DVD. The Beavercreek Cinema is closed now and sits rotting in Lofino’s Shopping Center hoping one day to come back and spread the love of films.

Bargain Box Office

Those are just a drop in the hat of cool theaters that closed.  I mean I know I am not the only one who misses the movie theater that was inside the Dayton Mall. But with that let’s get away from movies on the big screen and take a look at a movie on the small screen as we talk about another Independent B Movie flick, this time directed by Matt Hoffman – none other than The Wolf Hunter or The Werewolf Hunter as it reads in the credits. After Werewolf of Ohio 2, we were on cloud nine, and this was our peak.  Many inside the group including myself really liked the idea of The Wolf Hunter character having his own spinoff movie and none spoke louder than Matt Hoffman who played the character for me. With Hoffman really wanting to play the character again, I went down into the cool basement that was Independent B Movie studios and wrote out a draft that took place before the character’s death and showed that he had his own major foe with a werewolf king called Malice. The script I wrote was about a cat and mouse game played between the two that left many dead and a final showdown that was to take place in some deep dark woods.  The film was to have a higher budget than any of the past films and was set to be the bloodiest one ever made. This, however, was not the case as Hoffman liked the script and went in to rework it, and took out lots of the blood and even the cat and mouse game and added more screen time for just the Wolf Hunter character who now was in 97% of the film, unlike the 75% that the original script had. All of Malice’s kills were cut, and he was pushed more into the background as an almost afterthought until the very end. The end battle was also changed and taken out of the woods and onto an old bridge that in my opinion worked even better than the woods! While at first I was a little annoyed that my script had gone through such a wild and extreme re-write, seeing how proud Hoffman was of this project made that go away fast, and I was happy for my friend who found a character he could truly bond with. Hoffman and I, with his script in hand, set out to cast it and we first hired Brandon Womeldorff as lead camera man and I took up being the second unit camera man. My good friend Patrick Neeley played Malice.  Josh Weinberg played Oliver another werewolf. Jason Gilmore played both werewolf Red-Eye and The Holy Bullet Man, and Amy Hoffman played Amber, the love interest of the Wolf Hunter and lastly we cast Geoff Burkman as Amber’s Father. The film’s plot followed The Wolf Hunter, a loner who takes a job rescuing a young woman named Amber from a werewolf named Oliver who when human loved her.  After her rescue, The Wolf Hunter finds that he himself is in love but makes the mistake of leaving her behind and she is killed by Malice, king of all Ohio werewolves. The rest of the film The Wolf Hunter tracks down and battles Malice to the “death” at an old covered bridge. Filming went fast, and the production had very little set backs and even less in-house fighting. One funny moment on the set had Jason Gilmore, who as Red-Eye fell into the waters of Caesar’s Creek, running around naked behind Matt Hoffman as he gave an on set interview and was clueless to the fact a naked man was moving around behind him. After the film wrapped, Brandon Womeldorff, Hoffman and myself headed to Fairmont and we edited it in two days.

Wolf Hunter VHS

After the film was done, a meeting was called for a screening of Hoffman’s first ever directed film, and the house was packed with almost everyone who was a part of Independent B Movie. Hoffman gave a brief introduction to his film, and then play was hit on the VCR and the film known as The Wolf Hunter started playing on the TV. After the meeting, the film was meet with mix reviews as most just picked it apart because Hoffman made it.  I for one think the film is super fun and cheesy and hits the spot when it comes to a late night flick watching. The film was then made on VHS and sold at conventions and did pretty well  Years later it would also get a DVD release that also sold well. The film also got a t-shirt based on one of the hunting scenes! The film has been reviewed on a number of websites and has mostly been meet with poor reviews because of its production value, but many of them point out the fun and silly over all nature of the film and see the camp value of watching it. Poor reviews aside, the film has built up a very small cult status and is still to this day talked about amongst the old group of movie making friends that made up Independent B Movie.

The Wolf HunterShowdownWolf Hunter 1

Wolf Hunter was filled with lots of “scary” werewolves that were said to haunt Ohio and here real quick, I would like to give you a quick rundown of each werewolf and how they came about. First, let’s take a look at Malice, who was played by Patrick Neeley.  The mask was bought at K-Mart during Halloween time by Hoffman who liked the look of the grey furred open mouthed mask. The character Malice was based on a short film script that was given to me many years before when I worked at Kroger as a bagger by a fellow bagger called Bark At The Moon. In the Bark script, Malice was a sorcerer who lived in the woods and was cursed by magic to become a blood thirsty werewolf. In The Wolf Hunter, we changed it so that Malice is and always has been a werewolf and alongside The Wolf Man (Werewolf of Ohio) has spread the curse all over Ohio. Malice is super strong and also super smart and is protective of his area that contains a covered bridge that acts as his home base.

Malice

The second werewolf is Oliver who was played by Josh Weinberg.  The mask was bought at Wal-Mart around Halloween time and was picked because I thought it looked like Oliver Reed’s werewolf in Hammer horror film Curse of the Werewolf. Oliver was purely based on that Hammer film, and his look in the film was as well, wearing a ripped up button up shirt and black pants.  From day one, Josh was the choice to play the part. When human, Oliver was a rich young man who was dating Amber, the daughter of a media store owner, and he was was attacked on his way home after a date and became a werewolf. Even as a werewolf, he held a love for Amber and kidnapped her and rushed into the woods of Oakwood, where he was attacked by The Wolf Hunter and Amber taken away from him. Oliver has brown fur and is strong but not a pure top powered werewolf.  He also is smart and seems to learn from his past mistakes. His home base is the woods around Oakwood, and he is very protective of his area.

Oliver

The last werewolf of the film is Red-Eye, who was played by Jason Gilmore who was going by the name Max Price, and the mask was bought at Wal-Mart and was very cheap and at first almost didn’t make it into the movie. Red-Eye was written into the film to open it up and be a target for The Wolf Hunter to show his hunting power. Red-Eye wore an old green button up shirt and tan pants and was rocking slick backed black hair and his face has brown. Red-Eye is a weak werewolf who is considered a bottom feeder who only feeds on the leftovers of more powerful werewolves. Red-Eye is weak and is very nervous around humans, and he has no home base area and spends his time roaming.

Red EyeThe Wolf Hunter has a legacy that pleases diehard fans and tickles the funny bones of those who see it as a cheesy action horror film. And while the film is no master piece and by most accounts is no budget trash, I for one am proud I had something to do with it and am even more happy to see my friend Matt Hoffman be so proud of a film he has his heart and soul in.

WH vs MaliceWolf Hunter DVDWH vs Malice Bridge

The new WWE Game has been titled “WWE 2K14” and is now being made by 2K Games after THQ sadly went out of business early in the year. This year, the theme went away from the Attitude Era and is now focused on “30 Years of Wrestlemania” where players get to play through some of the biggest matches in the event’s history like Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania III and Hogan taking on Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI.  But as with last year some top names have been snubbed from being in the game and here is my top 5 list of wrestlers that 2K and WWE should be ashamed of themselves for not including them in the game.  I will also point out key matches that they were involved in.

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I would also like to point out that while many wrestlers have been snubbed they did include a lot of great names: from the past like Andre The Giant, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy to name a few.  So good job on those inclusions…but with that let’s get into my snub list. Now for my list I looked at all the past Wrestlemania’s and even watched a few on DVD to get the full dose of matches these grapplers I picked had.  These are all legends of the sport that I truly think were snubbed! So let’s get onto my picks on who should be in WWE 2K14.

rowdy roddy piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper is a legend in the wrestling world who began his pro career in 1973 when he became a member of the roster for the AWA as what is known as a jobber (a wrestler who is thrown to the top stars to lose).  Piper then went on to wrestle in some of the industry’s top promotions like NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) and GCW (Georgia Championship Wrestling), and in these two places Piper made a name for himself as a solid worker and a master of mic skills. But while in GCW, Piper was blackballed from the territory for showing up late to a match and would work for Puerto Rico and Jim Crocket Promotions. In 1984, Piper made his way to WWF and started out as a manager to wrestlers Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff and David “Dr. D” Shultz and later became a full fledged member of the roster.  Piper was a bad guy (heel), and his first two major feuds were with Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Bruno Sammartino! But in 1985, his most important rivialy took place as Piper was picking on pop singer Cyndi Lauper and wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano sparking WWF Champions to come to their aid and sparking a fight that would take place on MTV at an event called “The War To Settle The Score.”  This match then lead to the first main event at the first Wrestlemania! The match had Hulk Hogan and actor Mr. T taking on Piper and Paul Orndorff, and history was made. Piper would come and go in the WWF/WWE for many years after this and would have many great matches with the likes of Bret “Hitman” Hart, Bad News Brown, Goldust and Adrian Adonis. From almost from the moment he stepped into the company, Piper was also given his own talk show called “Piper’s Pit” where many iconic moments took place from bashing Jimmy Snuka in the head with a coconut to beating up a jobber wrestler with one arm behind his back! Fans have loved and hated Piper over the years, and he is one of the most iconic wrestlers WWF has even had.  So to me, it makes no sense why he is not in the game and since he had many Wrestlemania moments that outshine Goldberg’s terrible match with Brock Lesner. Here is to hoping 2K and WWE wake up and make him DLC. Piper also is in the WWE HALL OF FAME as of 2005!

Key WM Matches: Piper & Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (Wrestlemania) and Piper vs. Bret Hart (Wrestlemania 8)

Paul Orndorff

Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff

Before Lex Luger, Ravishing Rick Rude and Dolf Ziggler, Orndorff was the original show off, the man who thought his body was better than everyone else’s but without the glam and with more of a kick ass attitude. Before his pro wrestling career Orndorff was a star on the college football fields and even was picked up to play for the NFL! Orndorff began wrestling in 1976 for many small promotions and even a few major ones like NWA, SCW (Southeast Championship Wrestling) and GCW before going to WWF in 1983 where he had Roddy Piper as his manager and fought guys like Tito Santana and Jimmy Snuka. Orndorff took the side of Piper in his feud with Hogan and had feuded with Hogan up until the main event at the first Wrestlemania. Orndorff would turn good and bad throughout the years and even had a match with Don Muraco at Wrestlemania II. He would have huge matches with Hogan after this event that even lead to steel cage matches and more. In 1988 Orndorff took time away to heal some injuries and would go on to wrestle for WCW (World Championship Wrestling), UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation) and Smokey Mountain. He would end his career with WCW after injuries and worked as a trainer and backstage for the company. In 2005 Mr. Wonderful was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame. Mr. Wonderful was a hard worker and a great competitor and should be in this game for helping launch Wrestlemania. Without him and Piper, the first event would not be the iconic event we fans view it as.

Key WM Matches: Roddy Piper & Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (Wrestlemania) and Orndorff vs. Don Muraco (Wrestlemania II)

Sid Vicious

Psycho Sid

Sid is a man of many names in the wrestling world from Lord Humongous to Sid Justice to Sid Vicious, but most fans know him as Psycho Sid from his time at the top of the WWF! Sid started his career out in 1987 in such promotions as Memphis, New Japan and World Class, but by 1989 WCW had gotten the powerhouse to join their federation.  The master of the power bomb was in full swing as he became a member of the tag team the Skyscrapers and would later become a member of the legendary Four Horseman with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Barry Windham. Sid left WCW after a true lack of world title push and left for WWF in 1991 where he became a top runner for the world title and had feuds with The Undertaker and Jake Roberts.  After thinking he had been overlooked for a title shot, he targeted Hulk Hogan who he thought was the man standing in his way. After a fight at Wrestlemania, Sid left the company. In 1993 he returned for a short time to WCW and then went to a few other smaller promotions before coming back to the WWF in 1995 to become Shawn Michael’s bodyguard and once more become a top runner for the world title fighting guys like Diesel, Bret Hart and The Undertaker, having many top profile matches and being one of the company’s top stars. Sid would leave again in 1997 and would finish his top company career out in WCW. Sid was a massive man, and I would love to have him feud in WWE 2K14 with the likes of The Big Show, Andre The Giant and Big John Studd! In 2012 Sid even showed back up on WWE TV with two appearances on Monday Night Raw! Here is to hoping that he is future Legends DLC in the game because I for one would love to powerbomb Daniel Bryan into a table!

Key WM Matches: Sid vs. Hulk Hogan (Wrestlemania 8) and Sid vs. The Undertaker (Wrestlemania 13)  

jake roberts the snake.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Once more Jake finds himself not in a WWE game that clearly he should be in! Roberts began his wrestling career in 1974 and was a roster member for such federations as Mid-South Wrestling, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, GCW and NWA, but it was in 1986 when Jake was called up to the WWF and became the Snake! Jake, like Piper, was given his own talk show called “The Snake Pit” and his first major feuds were with Ricky Steamboat and The Honkey Tonk Man. He would change from a heel to a face many times in his WWF run and would wrestle guys like Andre The Giant, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Ravishing Rick Rude, Earthquake, Rick “The Model” Martel and Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase.  Jake would leave in 1992 and would work for WCW, AAA and Independents before coming back to WWF in 1996 where he was a veteran and was used as a man who had battled demons in his past and was there to talk the word of God to those who would listen. Sadly, Jake was a real life junkie and had burned many bridges and failed many drug tests and this was his first full second chance of becoming a top superstar. During this late 90’s run, Jake also helped spark the “Austin 3:16” catch phrase after a match with Steve Austin at King of The Ring! Jake “The Snake” Roberts has never held a WWF/WWE title and has yet to make it to the Hall of Fame, but he remains one of the company’s top legends that still has fans to this day. Jake should be in this game and here is hoping he will be DLC.

Key WM Matches: Roberts vs. Honkey Tonk Man (Wrestlemania III), Roberts vs. Andre The Giant (Wrestlemania 5), Roberts vs. The Undertaker (Wrestlemania 8)

Note From Matt – Well, I got one right as Jake Roberts will be on the game’s final DLC Pack.

Lex Luger

Lex Luger

While The Total Packahe Lex Luger didn’t make the splash in WWF that Vince and the company were hoping for, he still was a main-eventer who should be in WWE 2K14! Lex Luger began wrestling in 1985 for NWA Florida, and a year later he was working for NWA that later became WCW where he became a main-eventer who would go on to be a member of the Four Horseman and would feud with the likes of Ric Flair, Ron Simmons, Sting and Barry Windham. While there, Luger capture the World Title and become one of the company’s top heels. Luger, however, left them in 1992 and went to work for WWF and its bodybuilding league the WBF.  His first gimmick in the WWF had him playing The Narcissist Lex Luger, a heel who was so egotistical that he would pose and look at himself in mirrors, his major matches being with Mr. Perfect Curt Henning. Luger turned face and became an all American hero type after he slammed Yokozuna on July 4th. Luger would become a top contender for the world title and would feud with such grapplers as Bret Hart, Tatanka, Crush and Ludvig Borga and would later form a tag team with The British Bulldog to be called Allied Powers. Then Luger would shock the world as he showed up on the first episode of WCW Nitro while also being on a taped WWF match the same night. Luger had switched companies and was the first major shot fired at WWF. Luger would wrestle for WCW until 2001 when the company shut down. Luger would then make a few appearances on TNA (Total Nonstop Action) before retiring from the sport due to a spinal stroke. Luger was a power house in whatever federation he was in and should be a member of the 2K14 roster! John Cena would so be put in the torture rack!

Key WM Matches: Luger vs. Yokozuna (Wrestlemania 10)

So there are my top 5 wrestlers that I truly think got snubbed for WWE 2K14 30 Years of Wrestlemania. All the grapplers above were hard working and guys that impacted the event. I am not sure why they were left out but I hope that somehow some way 2K sees this list and gives each of these guys a second look at maybe being DLC. With this let’s get into our main event with Wally The Wizard!

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Star Comics officially started in 1984 with a three issue movie adaptation of Muppets Take Manhattan, and in 1985 Marvel Comics fully opened up Star as branch that dealt with strictly kids comics.  When Star opened, it had a few cartoon/toy/TV based comics like Muppet Babies, Thundercats, Fraggle Rock, and Care Bears but they also had some original characters like Top Dog, Royal Roy, Planet Terry, Spider-Ham and Wally The Wizard. While most kids flocked to the more well known characters, Wally was one of the originals that I can remember being on the comic rack at United Dairy Farmers next to Spider-Man, Superman and Transformers, and as I said before, I remember getting issue one as a free giveaway and enjoying it. While I do remember reading a few other Wally issues in my youth, I don’t have as much of an attachment to the character like I have for Spider-Ham, another Star original. Wally The Wizard is a kid who has been picked by the great wizard Marlin, the brother of Merlin, to be his apprentice.  While he is good, Wally still has a lot to learn and is in love the the princess of the kingdom. He has two best friends Conrad and Jay who he gets into adventures with, but he also has a demon guardian who is a nice guy named Gorg who watches out for him. The character is pretty simple and would have made a fun film idea if done by Steven Speilberg! The idea of a kids comic character having a demon as a friend was pretty shocking at the time of the whole Satanic Panic that was gripping America so I give the writers props for having the balls to do that. Wally The Wizard is a good mix of kid friendly adventures, fluffy magic and an element of 80’s film fantasy.

Wally The Wizard AdWally StarGorg as Spiderman

With a look back at long gone but not forgotten Dayton Movie Theaters, the rundown of Wally, WWE 2K14 snubs and the epic making of Independent B Movie The Wolf Hunter, I think it’s time now for us to dive into the world of Star Comics and take a look at one of their top home grown characters: Wally The Wizard.  I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 Star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So let’s dive into the world of a kid wizard that was way before Harry Potter and take our journey with Wally. And thanks to Lone Star Comics and Bell, Book and Comic for having these issues in stock!

Wally 1

Wally The Wizard # 1  ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #1 of 12

“A Plague of Locust” Wally is an apprentice to Marlin, brother of the famous wizard Merlin, and they are in the business of magic.  His best friends are Conrad (squire to the lead knight) and Jay (a chubby fryer), and after an accident Wally frees a demon named Gorg who pledges friendship for life. Wally makes medicine for the King and rushes to deliver it and along the way meets a dragon and helps save its child from a well. Wally makes it to the king and sees his crush, Princess Penelope, but not so faraway, the King’s evil half sister and her minions have made a giant robot Locust and set it free to bring down her brother’s kingdom. The Locust does major damage but is stopped by Wally who calls upon the Dragon he helped earlier who takes the Locust to the sun, and Gorg helps bring Wally safely back to the ground.

This is a great first issue and is a sure way to get people hooked on Wally’s and his friends’ adventures. In this issue, Wally comes off as a normal youth who questions his role with his master wizard and has a crush on a princess who clearly likes someone else.  He also seems to make friends easily as Gorg the Demon and a Dragon both come to his aid in the end. Princess Penelope is a snooty rich girl who turns her nose up to Wally and in some panels treats him as a low life. I hope she gets more likable in later issues, because as of right now I am not a fan. Jay and Conrad don’t have much to do in this issue and are your normal throw away friends who are around to add humor and friendship to the main character. Gorg is pretty badass and is an evil looking demon who talks of the future, but is an all around good creature who values friendship. One thing cool Gorg does in the issue is turns into Spider-Man and tells the kids of the past that the kids of the future love this look.  The artwork in the issue is pretty good and simple and reminds me of the funny papers in the Sunday paper. For being an original, the story is cheesy kids’ stuff that works, and the cover is very appealing with the pink demon Gorg being a nice addition to draw readers in. I only read this issue when I was younger and liked it then and still like it now.  So I really can’t wait to see what the rest of the series is like.  So with no more wait, let’s jump into issue 2!

Wally 2

Wally The Wizard # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #2 of 12

“The Magic-A-Thon!” When Marlin was a young wizard apprentice, he won a tournament called the Magic-A-Thon.  Now Wally his young apprentice wants to fallow in his footsteps and trains super hard to do so. Sleepless Knight is a pig of a man who stuffs his face and thinks of a blind date he is to have, but when his fortune cookie tells him the date will be a bust thanks to a wizard’s apprentice, he goes to rid himself of this pest who just so happens to be Wally! At the town square, Sleepless waits for Wally and attacks chopping his spell notes in half and causing him to fall inside a huge hole. After escaping, Wally makes it to the event spelless and manages to win just by using his brain. Sleepless makes one last attempt to kill Wally at the event and fails making himself look silly and running his chances with his date. In the end Wally is cheered, and his teacher Marlin is very proud of his young student.

This second issue while not as good as the first was still a fun read that kept Wally’s charm up and built more on his friendship with Marlin. In issue two, Wally is more into his magic and even makes a few spells that he learned but then also uses his brain to win the Magic-A-Thon. His appearance also changes and so do his attitude, making Wally seem as if he had grown as a character. The bad guy, Sleepless Knight, is a full fledged knucklehead, and it’s amazing that he wants to kill a kid over a fortune in a cookie. A funny flub in this issue is the fact Jay and Conrad seem to have changed who’s who as the names are given to the wrong character! Characters from issue one also make cameo appearances in this issue like Princess Penelope and the King. The art in this one is way more cartoon like, and this makes the events a little more fun.  The story is goofy and very kid appealing, and while the cover is pretty good, it could have been better. This is a good average issue # 2 and would have had me back in my youth. Let’s see if issue # 3 is any good.

Wally 3

Wally The Wizard # 3  ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #3 of 12

“Folkquest” Wally is down due to the fact he has not gotten any letters from his parents for weeks.  They are servants and seem to have forgotten about him. Wally gets the day off helping Marlin and goes to Vikk, a young Viking boy who lives in the kingdom after falling overboard his father’s ship.  The two feel sad together that is until they hear the news that a Viking ship had anchored and raided a near by castle and kidnapped the servants! Wally and Vikk start of a quest to find the ship and see their parents, but the journey is long and dangerous as they must fight off the evil step sister and giant lake monsters. In the end, only one can make it to the ship, and it’s Vikk who finds that it’s not his dad’s ship and trades his necklace (a gift from his dad) of Thor’s hammer to the captain for Wally’s parents’ freedom. In the end Wally’s parents adopt Vikk into their family leaving everyone happy.

This 3rd issues is a good fun kids comic that is filled with goofy adventure and some cheesy lines that would make any reader smile. It’s shown that Wally is far away from his parents to be Marlin’s apprentice and that he and his family are very close, adding yet more layers to Wally and making him less of a generic kid comic hero. He also gets a new friend in this issue named Vikk who is a young lost Viking boy who lives in the kingdom and is waiting for his dad. Vikk is a nice addition to the Wally family and makes me wonder if he will make more appearances in the series. Adventure and a quest also makes up the issue’s plot and is a fun way to get Wally out of the kingdom and into harm’s way as he is captured, eaten and must use his wits to rescue his parents. The art in this one is well done and much like issue 2, adds more detail to the character.  The story is well done as is the cover making this a good issue worth reading for fans of the first. Let’s check out issue # 4 now!

Wally 4

Wally The Wizard # 4   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #4 of 12

“The Wand in the Stone” Marlin tells Wally of a story of a wand that has all the power in the world that is stuck in a stone.  The story goes that a master wizard will come along and remove it and become the strongest in the world! Wally’s mind filled with wonder of the story as he and Marling go into the woods to look at the stars and moon, but Marlin has forgotten his glasses and sends Wally back who gets lost and meets a Troll to takes him to the wand in the stone.  As other wizards watch on, Wally removes the wand and becomes the target of all the wizards around who want the power. After doing battle with a few, he decides to put the wand back and is transported back to Marlin’s side with a tale of excitement. The second story in this issue, “The Barbarians Are Coming,” is about a small man named Bul-Bul who looks like a barbarian and gets all the knights in the kingdom worked up as they think an invasion is in the works, but it takes Wally to befriend him and help him get home safe.

Issue 4 is just average and for some reason has two stories instead of one.  This is a change I do not like! Story one: “The Wand in the Stone” is a take on the sword in the stone and fits perfectly in the story this far of Wally and his life/adventures and has he and Marlin charting stars and the moon together. Then Wally performs a feat that shows one day he will be the most powerful wizard. Throw in Conrad for a cameo, and add a small Troll who lives in a small house in the woods, and you have a good adventure. And it shows more adults wanting to kill the young Wally…man, this kid has equal bad luck to go with the good. Story two is “The Barbarians Are Coming,” and while short, it’s a clear throw away and seems very much off from the storyline we have going this far.  While Gorg is back for a brief moment, it mostly follows Wally as he helps a lost short strange old man.  While goofy and light hearted, I just found it to be weak and the pages it takes up should have been used to expand on the Wand in the Stone story. The art in this issue is done by Ben Brown, and while the first stories art is okay, the second seems like a rushed mess and is not appealing to the eye. The cover, however, is pretty cool and has a nice fantasy look to it. With being 4 issues in, I can say so far that Wally The Wizard is a good kid’s comic and makes me really hyped to read issue 5! So with this let’s move on to more magical adventures of Wally.

Wally 5

Wally The Wizard # 5  **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #5 of 12

Wally gets Marlin upset when he trips over a broom and ruins six months worth of work.  Marlin lectures Wally he tells him to always pay attention to things around him. As Wally leaves the lab, he misses as Princess Penelope is being kidnapped and taken to the dark castle of Vastar and his wizard Erasmo who has placed a forcefield around the castle and is keeping the knights from being able to save the Princess. Marlin and Wally figure out that they might be able enter the castle from a hole above it that lets out the smoke from the fires going in the fireplaces. Wally gets the help of his demon friend Gorg who flies him into the hole and into the castle where he is able to free the Princess and spoil the evil one’s attempt for ransom money. The second story is another short one called “Dragon Fire” where Wally outsmarts a dragon as the kingdom’s under its attack!

Once more this takes the approach of having two stories instead of one, and again the second story seems like a waste of pages. Wally and Marlin seem to be at odds at the start of the first story, and this is odd and comes off not as cheery as their friendship has in the past issues. Wally once more uses his skills and mind to figure out how to save the day and once more tries to impress Penelope who comes off as a full fledged brat and is not likable at all in this issue. I do like how Wally clogs the hole and how Gorg once more is his demon self and is a loyal friend to Wally, though I must say I HATE the way Ben Brown draws him.  I feel he rush draws him and makes the character have zero detail. Vastar is a fat evil man who is controlled with greed and power.  His wizard Erasmo looks like a very generic 80’s evil character complete with black goatee! The second story has a dragon who is talked down from attacking by Wally and has the knights once more powerless to stop the challenge that is in front of them and makes you wonder how they stay a free kingdom and not taken over. The art is okay, and while some of Brown’s pages look good, others seem rushed and a mess. I don’t understand why he takes his time on some of it and clearly rushes the next.  His deadlines must have been a nightmare. The cover on this one is also just okay and nothing special. So let’s move on to issue 6 shall we?

Wally 6

Wally The Wizard # 6   ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #6 of 12

“Terror Mountain” A volcano is about to explode as The King and his people look to Marlin and his science for help, but he has nothing and only tells them all to flee the area and let it explode! The king doesn’t like what he hears and nor do his subjects, and they start to question why the pay him.  But worse for Marlin, his brother, the great magician Merlin, is coming, and while the world thinks he’s the best, his brother knows he’s a con man and is nothing more than a showman. When Merlin shows up with his apprentice Alfred, they wow the kingdom and take two full bags of gold and say they will stop the volcano and head for the border with the money and no intention of stopping the doom of Terror Mountain. As Wally and Marlin watch, the mountain explodes and traps Merlin and Alfred in its smokey death grip.  This causes Marlin and Wally to come to their rescue, and after doing so, Wally pulls a trick of his own as he replaces the gold Merlin conned away from the king with rocks, and together he and Marlin return to the Kingdom to give the King his gold back.

This issue is 100% a blast and has Wally being a hero and showing that he was the right choice for Marlin’s apprentice. I also like that is fleshes out Marlin and shows a little of his back story in a flashback of he and his brother growing up. Also Star took a huge chance and took a character that every one loved like Merlin the Magician and has him be a complete fraud that’s nothing more than cheap tricks that fool everyone into thinking he is powerful when really he is just a thief. Doing this was a bold move because it changes the image of a character who fans of King Author really love. I also like how the true meaning of this story is science vs. magic, and they want to prove magic is fake and science is real.  Odd move for a comic that is based around a kid wizard. Alfred, who is Merlin’s apprentice, is a good hearted kid but it’s clear he is learning at a young age to fool people and to con them of their money.  I am hoping that both Merlin and Alfred show back up in this series. This issue is back to one solid story, and this is a good thing as I would say that this issue next to issue # 1 is the best issue in the series thus far! The art is good and is down by Brown again, and time was taken.  The cover is pretty good and eye catching with its use of purple. After this issue I can’t wait to see what the next issue has to offer. Also this marks the half way point and makes me wonder if this series will stay solid or start to fall apart.  Only the future issues will tell!

Wally 7

Wally The Wizard # 7  **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #7 of 12

Wally is trying to make a magic elixir and makes a mistake and makes a mess, causing Marlin once more to be mad at him and tells him to go do something helpful. So Wally along with Conrad takes on the task of hanging flyers of the kingdom’s jousting competition where the winner gets the honor of being the best.  The odds on favorite is Sir Flauntaroy who is the King’s top knight. While in a small village, Wally meets Lucretia The Witch who has a strong dislike for Flauntaroy and gives an amulet to Wally to give to him for good luck, but it’s really a cursed item that causes fear! Wally rushes back to the Kingdom to get the amulet to Flauntaroy as Lucretia sends her nephew Heinous to enter the competition and to kill Flauntaroy who shot her down for a date years before. Wally gets the help of Gorg and makes it to the event as Flauntaroy is about to take on Heinous, and the evil plan backfires as Heinous is the one scared and Flauntaroy wins the event. The second story in this issue is called “Wrong Number” and has Wally and Marlin using a crystal ball to call another wizard friend to help cure a headache.  Things get crazy when Wally uses an old pan to do the same and wires get crossed and this effects Flauntaroy, The King and Penelope who all get caught up in the crazy mayhem. All the while, two crooks try and steal gold and get caught thanks to the mayhem.

Issue seven is back to two stories, and once more both are just okay with each being about the same and neither of them being the true stand out.  If I had to pick one, I would say the first story was better and because it introduces two new bad guys with Lucretia The Witch and Heinous. This issue is not really special, and while entertaining, neither story really adds anything to the world of Wally. In both stories Wally is still the fun loving wizard in training and is as likable as ever. Conrad gets his time to shine again and shows up as a background character in both stories and is shown to have a slight ego, but yet is a good friend to Wally. Marlin walks the line again of being a grumpy old man who is short tempered with Wally and yet still very loyal to his young friend. Princess Penelope is shown once more to be a terrible brat who is unlikable in every way. Lucretia The Witch is an odd faced old crazy lady who thinks that she is hot when she is not! Heinous is a big goof with a mean streak and a small brain, nothing special just a dumb brute. The artwork by Brown is good in both stories, and the cover is pretty eye catching.  I must say though, that doing the two stories in one comic always seems to cheapen both stories overall.  I’m not a fan of the two. So let’s move onto issue eight and see if it can get this average issue out of my mind. 

Wally 8

Wally The Wizard # 8   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #8 of 12

Wally meets a gnome and saves him on accident and as a thank you he is given a magic rope that when a magic word is spoken makes whatever it’s touching disappear. Wally accidentally says the word as Sir Flauntaroy is touching it, and this makes the kingdom’s top knight disappear! Wally and Conrad rush to the mountain where he met the gnome to see if he has a word to make things appear.  While on this quest, they run into a race of ogre type creatures called the Gooniks who are very mean and are the rivals of the gnomes who save the two from being Goonik food by lowering a bridge across a ravine that separates the two enemy races.  But this is bad as The Gooniks start to build a bridge of their own to get across and end the feud once and for all! Wally gets the magic word, and Sir Flauntaroy appears and joins in on the plan to stop them from making it over! At the end Wally figures it out and tricks The Gooniks who fall into the ravine and make homes in the caves below and away from the gnomes.

This issue is pure Wally, and while side characters like Marlin, Conrad, Sir Flauntaroy and even Princess Penelope have appearances, this is a pure Wally adventure, and it’s okay. The issue is one adventure and not two, and this is the style I like. I did find this issue and the story to be filled with some fun kid friendly adventures. I am going to guess that the magic rope will never come back in any future story and nor will the Gnomes or Gooniks, and this is a shame.  A follow up story at some point to tell what has happened with both sides after the feud is over would be nice to see or even hear about. The artwork done by Brown is once more his A game and not rushed, and the cover is eye catching and makes the issue look scary and adventurous. Over all this is an okay issue and doesn’t offer up much to talk about so let’s move on to issue # 9 in the Star Wally The Wizard series. 

Wally 9

Wally The Wizard # 9  ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #9 of 12

It’s a dark and rainy night, and Princess Penelope is deathly sick.  The King and Marlin are trying everything they can to make her better and even have banned commoners from entering the castle or going near her. Wally is upset and feels that he is going to lose the love of his life forever as by the hour, she gets more ill. Wally gets the help of Gorg and travels to the past to find out that the Princess ate a poisoned mushroom which gave her the Fungus Hermungus sickness.  Then they travel to the future and find how to cure the sickness and steal a pill to make her well. When they return, it looks grim for the Princess until Wally and Gorg sneak in and give her the pill.  When The King and subjects enter the room Princess Penelope is better, and they credit Marlin for her recovery! At the end Princess Penelope knows Wally and Gorg were her true saviors and rewards them with a blown kiss at a parade.

This is a classic fun and silly kid comic story and is done really well and super entertaining! The plot has Wally and Gorg travel time to find a cure to save the Princess and for some reason this reminded me of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Mr. Peabody.”  The part that puts Wally in modern New York is just a really cool concept and brought the character closer to kids of 1985. In this issue Wally is not only a hero, but also shows a softer more emotional side as he cries thinking about loosing his love. Gorg is as cool as always and is the true reason the Princess gets cured as his time traveling skills and his Gargoyle friend are the keys to getting the pill. Princess Penelope is way more likable in this issue.  Through most of it she is sick, but it’s the end where she shows love and respect for Wally and Gorg that makes her come off more charming. Marlin is not in this issue that much, and when he is he comes off as a worried wizard who wants to help a dying girl. The art in this issue is just okay with Wally and the other humans looking a little off.  This art does have Gorg looking better than his past few issue appearances. The art this time is done by Bob Bolling.  With an eye catching cover and a solid one story, this issue is great and makes me look forward to the next.

Wally 10

Wally The Wizard # 10   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #10 of 12

Wally is having nightmares about Princess Penelope being kidnapped by Vastar and his wizard Erasmo as well as the kingdom being under attack by a giant Goblin Grape! Wally tries to warn Marlin about his nightmares that could be visions of the future and is blown off. Wally is shown some gnats who when used can eat off the clothes of those who have a salt sprinkled on them. So Wally, Jay (remember his Chubby friend) and Alaina the Princess’ young maid all travel to Vastar’s castle and find that in fact they do have a giant grape that will eat everything in its path! Wally and Jay shake the salt on Vastar and Erasmo but are caught and taken to the castle’s cell before they can release the gnats. Alaina leaves to warn the kingdom of the gobbling grape doom that is headed their way, as Gorg and a magic spell rescue Wally and Jay who release the gnats in time.  They eat the clothes off the would be conquerers several times in fact, and even getting the salt on the grape that is eaten away. This make makes the baddies flee, and the kingdom safe once again.

This issue is pretty good, but I’m not so sure as I feel it was lacking something that would have made it better. I will say the story felt more like a back up story than a full issue one like it was. Wally once more saves the kingdom and gets no credit for doing so. Wally has turned into quite the hero over these past ten issues and is a great character for kids of the time to look up to. While in the comic, Jay is not used that much and is given very little to do besides play the role of bit player as goes for Marlin in this issue. Alaina gets to shine and shows that she is a loyal, loving friend to Wally.  She has the world’s largest crush on him that has built up in every appearance she has made so far in the series. I must say Alaina is a likable character and up to this point is barely used, and that’s a shame.  She is more perfect for Wally than the Princess is and here is to hoping he sees that by the next two issues. Vastar and Erasmo return as the issue’s baddies and once more are outsmarted by a kid, making them perfect bad guys for this style of kids fantasy comic. Howard Post did the art in this issue, and it really reminded me of Archie Comics and that’s a cool thing.  The cover on this issue is just so-so and could have been better.  Overall this issue is okay but nothing special.   

Wally 11

Wally The Wizard # 11   ***
Released in 1986   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #11 of 12

The King is having a feast at the castle that has all the royalty from all around gathering to partake in the eating of great food. Sir Evilus and his mother are not happy that they were not invited to the feast and have a plan to attack and take over the Kingdom.  But in the mother’s crystal ball she sees that it is Wally who stands in their way of winning this soon to be war, but her son pays it no attention and prepares for the attack. In the morning Evilus attacks and is getting the upper hand until his men kidnap Wally and by mistake a vanishing spell by Mother only makes half his body disappear.  The young wizard’s apprentice is nothing more than a floating head scares off the army when they think he is a ghost! In the end the spell wears off, and Wally once more saves the Kingdom, but the credit goes to Marlin who poured water on the army below.

This is another light hearted fun and wacky adventure for Wally to be in and marks yet another time he saves the Kingdom and gets zero credit for doing so. Wally is good natured though and never seems to be bothered that he gets no credit and just seems to enjoy the life he was given. Marlin once more is back to full grump mode and is so pushy that magic is fake and science is real, he even skips the feast in order to work on an experiment. Conrad, Jay, Alaina, Princess Penelope and Sir Flauntaroy all make cameos but are given nothing special, besides once more Penelope is a snobby brat. New baddy Sir Evilus is pretty cool as he looks like what you would think of for an evil knight complete with black goatee and evil witch of a mother.  While a cool bad guy, he does not come off as a threat to the Kingdom, but his army does. The plot is fun and gets to add a slight horror element to this kids’ comic as Wally acts as a ghost and superstition comes into play about bad omens and haunted castles. Ben Brown is back on art, and the issue looks nice and is some of his better work in the series thus far.  The cover on the other hand is kind of blah and not as eye catching as it should be. Well we are at the tail end of Star Comics’ Wally The Wizard and have only one issue to go.  So here is hoping that it goes out with a bang and not a whisper.

Wally 12

Wally The Wizard # 12   **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #12 of 12

Wally and Jay are messing around with magic, and a mistake leaves Jay turned into a human frog! Marlin witnesses this and is angered by Wally’s mistake and tells them only a kiss from a Princess can save him from a life of being all green.  They try Princess Penelope and her kiss fails.  They then travel along with Conrad to another kingdom and that princess’ kiss fails too. Jay is upset and flings himself into a swamp and is almost killed by a whirlpool! They rush him back to the kingdom, and a true heartfelt kiss from Princess Penelope brings him back into human form. The second story is called ” The Magic Bulls Eye.” Crazy Ethelred is a wizard who will do magic for cheaper then any other wizard in the land, and when the King falls for his tricks, it’s up to Wally and Conrad to show him it’s all fake and the trickster wannabe wizard instead gets a job in the kingdom as the Court Jester.

Story one is pretty good and is a take off the Frog and the Princess.  Wally once more makes a mistake, and this time his poor chubby friend Jay pays the price. Wally is very much upset over his mistake and travels all over to make it right. Jay as a frog is a crybaby who even at one point appears he is going to commit suicide as he runs into the swamp that’s filled with all types of hazardous creatures. Princess Penelope once more is a brat and only when it looks like Jay will die, is her kiss heartfelt.  She is not a likable character, and one does wish that Wally would wake up and see that Alaina is better for him. The second story is good and is a nice add on to the issue, but also it’s nothing special and is not worth really looking into. The art in this final issue is done by Howie Post with Ben Brown doing the second story, making it cool to see that Brown at least got to do artwork for the final issue in the series. Brown’s artwork is better than Post’s, and thats not a dig at Post as his art is well down and captures the feel of 70’s kid comics. The cover however is kind of bland, and I wish it would have had something a little better. Over all this issue is okay and not the best way to end the legacy of Wally on.

Star Comics made a good solid character in Wally The Wizard, who in his 12 issue run went on many adventures, saved the Kingdom many times, made friends with creatures like demons and gnomes, fell in love, became an apprentice to a wizard, went to the future and so much more. Kids in the 80’s didn’t have many kid comic characters that they could claim as their own and in the decade of sword and sorcery Wally fit in like a glove to become a likable character they could latch onto. While again I didn’t hear kids speak of Wally, his 12 issue run proves that kids were buying, and the fact that I at 34 still remembered him shows that he made an impact for those of us who read him. I must say that this series based on a Star original is really a fun read and a very good series and makes me looking forward to rereading and reviewing Planet Terry, Spider-Ham, Royal Roy, Meet Misty and Top Dog! This also made me really miss Star and wish they would have lasted longer.  Think of the possible IP’s and new characters that could have been! At some point in 2014, I will do one more “Should Have Been in the Star Comics World” and will get a few more friends as well to tell you what they would have loved to seen. But with this I am off to read more comics and maybe play some WWE 2K14 on PS3.  So see you all next update that will showcase a guest reviewer as my girlfriend, Juliet Fromholt will take you down here memory lane as she takes a look at Topps Comics’ Season 1 of The X-Files! So be there if you want to believe….. 

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Chuck Norris as Chuck Norris in Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos!

In the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s, larger than life action stars were box office hits.  Names like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Charles Bronson, Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and many more were flooding the market and being idolized by young males across the world. I was a huge Stallone fan and loved his films like Rocky, First Blood and Cobra, but there was always one action star long before it became “cool” and a “fad” to like that always captured my dad, brother’s and my attention – Chuck Norris! Way before hipsters thought Walker Texas Ranger was funny and before his facts were an internet sensation, Norris was kicking ass in films like Missing in Action, Breaker Breaker, Hero and the Terror, Silent Rage and Lone Wolf McQuade proving that he was one of the best B-movie action stars of the time. I remember as a kid watching Missing in Action 1 & 2 and wanting toys of lead character Colonel James Braddock, and while I understood that being a P.O.W. was a bad thing, years later when I was a teenager I understood the real message in the film. Another funny story about Chuck Norris is when my brother was younger he loved the movie Meatballs and one day my dad was watching Silent Rage on HBO and told him that it was Meatballs II.  My brother sat with wonder and watched waiting for the Alien to appear, instead he got a film where Norris was going up against an un-killable killer! This freaked my brother out and added for chuckles many years about Meatballs II. If you want to check out any of Norris’s films you can find them on Beta, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and Blu-Ray!

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In 1986, Chuck Norris also was involved in a cartoon called “Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos” in which Chuck Norris plays a government operative in charge of a team of martial arts commandos that battles a organization called VULTURE lead by The Claw and his right hand man Super Ninja. It lasted one season for only 5 episodes and was made by the great Hanna-Barbera company. The cartoon also from time to time airs on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network. Growing up I never watched the show that much, and while I remember it airing, I never found myself wanting to view the animated adventures when I could just watch the live action films. The Karate Kommandos has been released on VHS and DVD-R and has become a cult classic.

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In 1986 Kenner also made action figures to go along with the animated series and much like the toon it was based on, the toy line was also very short lived. Multiple figures based on Chuck Norris were made as well as all the Kommando’s and Super Ninja. Also vehicles were made as well as plastic weapons rounding out the merchandise that was made around the short lasting series. I did however own some of the figures, and all the ones I owned were Chuck Norris.  The figures themselves were well made and well sculpted toys for the time. In school I knew a few kids that had some of these figures, and the most popular one I saw the most kids have was the purple Super-Ninja. In fact, I still have my Norris figures, and Game Swap in Kettering, a place I get some of these comics has one in store!

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Chuck Norris fever has died down a little and seems to have passed as one of those annoying hip references that made you want to punch the hipster spewing it who clearly never seen a Norris film in their self absorbed life. But this did not stop the wave of Norris-inspired merchandise that included books, t-shirts, mugs, folders, posters, notebooks, key chains, stuff dolls, bobble-heads and so many other products! So if you are a true Norris fan, there is some great stuff out there for you!

Chuck Norris DollChuck shirtChuck Book

Chuck Norris, who as of early 2012 is 71 years old, was in the Air Force as an Air Policeman, and while stationed in South Korea, he decided to learn the art of self-defense in the forum of Tang Soo Do.  This started the path of an action superstar, but not before Norris became a karate champion and a teacher of the art of self defense teaching such stars as Steve McQueen, Bob Barker and Donny and Marie Osmond in schools he opened. In 1969 Norris began his acting career in the Dean Martin film The Wrecking Crew and has been making movies since! Some of his best known film work includes Missing in Action, Delta Force, Way of the Dragon, The Expendables 2 and Lone Wolf McQuade. Norris also made it into the TV world, not only known for the 1986 short lived cartoon “Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos” but more so for his 1993 series “Walker Texas Ranger,” which ran on CBS for over eight years.  Norris also became a spokesman for products like The Total Gym Work Out Machine and the computer game World of Warcraft. Noris is also known for being a diehard Christian and Republican has also written several books on his beliefs. In 2005, Norris also became a internet hit when “Chuck Norris Facts” started to infect everyone’s Myspace page who thought of a funny way to show just how kick ass Norris is in a tongue in cheek kind of way. Norris continues to be an icon in the world of action stars and will always be known as one bad ass dude!

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Before I get into my look at the 4 issue run of The Karate Kommandos from Star Comics I would like to share some memories I have of Chuck Norris. I always remember watching Chuck Norris on the then Ted Turner owed station TBS, that seemed to always be showing a Missing in Action film or Breaker, Breaker, and I can’t count how many times I would sit and watch these films over and over.  I always remember wanting an action figure of Norris’s character Colonel James Braddock of Missing in Action because of watching those movies on TBS. That’s one thing I miss about TV, now that Turner is no longer in control of TBS and TNT, all the amazing programs those stations delivered to me in my youth. I mean I grew up watching many of the programs they would air from all the old reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, Gilligan’s Island and Little House on the Prairie to hosted programs like Joe Bob Briggs on TNT’s Monstervison, Grandpa Munster hosting Super Scary Saturday and even Dinner and a Movie with hosts Paul Gilmartin, Annabelle Gurwitch and chef Claud Mann. One of the things on TBS in the 80’s my brother and I would look forward to was watching NWA and then later WCW wrestling, and nothing was more epic then the PPV type event that was free to watch called Clash of the Champions where you would be able to watch wrestling legends like Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting, The Rock n Roll Express and many more battle in matches that had so much build up.  Those truly were the days. I have great memories of watching old NWA shows on winter Saturday evenings at my grandparents’ house as the fire place was warming the room, and my grandpa, dad and brother all sat around and watched the likes of the Four Horsemen and Dusty Rhodes. Also I love how back in the day all shows on TBS started five minutes later like 6:05.  Odd, I know but a great gimick. I wish Turner would come back to bring a new station to airwaves and give us back some of this classic shows he once aired.  Say what you will about the man, but he knew what he was doing when it came to cable TV.  I mean his stations gave you a little of every thing if you wanted to see sports, news, classic shows, movies, horror hosts, wrestling, original programs and much more then look no further then a Turner owned station. So here is to Chuck Norris, Ted Turner, TBS and TNT for some great memories growing up, and here is to hoping Turner will return to doing what he does best, making one hell of a great TV station.

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I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material.  So with that, let’s kick some butt with Chuck Norris and his Karate Komman

Chuck Norris 1Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos # 1  **
Released in 1987     Cover Price .75    Star Comics    1 of 4 

Too Much is the youngest member of the Karate Kommandos, and while at school he and his classmates are held hostage by evil ninjas led by Super Ninja, who works for Claw. They are there in order to exchange the kids for a government anti-terrorist vehicle that is packed with state of the art weapons. But things don’t go as the ninjas wanted as Chuck Norris along with his Karate Kommandos that include Kimo a sword expert, Reed a young man Norris has taken under his wing as well as his sister Pepper who is a master of repairing and driving cars, wolf the team pet and Tabe a sumo wrestler who loves to eat, all come to the rescue and clean house of the evil doers and saving Too Much and all his classmates.

This issue was pretty weak to start a series off by and focuses way too much on Too Much who for all accounts is a brat who blows off school work and uses his friendship with Chuck Norris to act popular with his peers. Chuck Norris walks around like a silent badass who only gives one liners when needed and then turns into a walking PSA about working hard in school.  The rest of the team for some reason kept reminding me of the gymnastic teens from the Mr. T cartoon mixed with the A-Team but not as nearly bad ass. I think the biggest problem with this issue is the lack of character development, like who are these Karate Kommandos and why is a movie actor like Chuck Norris the head of the team?  Who is Super Ninja and why didn’t he come to the school himself if this was such a huge operation? And why is The Claw never shown? Given the fact that the cartoon was bombing on TV and kids weren’t flocking to Children’s Palace or Toys R Us for the figures, you would think that Star would have put a little more background into this issue to help push this comic series to do better then everything else attached to it. Not to mention the storyline in this issue is weak and seems like a back up story for an issue that ran short. The artwork is your typical Star Comic look so I kind of like that, and the cover is pure cheese so it does have that going for it. Over all this issue is not impressive and a very bad way to start off Chuck Norris’ first comic book run.

Chuck Norris 2

Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   2 of 4 

Chuck Norris and his Karate Kommandos are hired to protect a new super computer that has been targeted by VULTURE, but when it’s Reed and Pepper’s turn to watch the super machine, sibling fighting happens and Reed storms out and meets Margie, a young woman who’s mom is sick and has been hired by The Claw to steal it for cash to help her mom who needs an operation. Meanwhile Ninjas break in and steal the computer and kidnap Pepper.  Reed returns at the same time as his team and all get a shock to find they have failed to keep it safe. Meanwhile the ninjas as along with Margie have Pepper and are trying to force her to show them how the computer works, only for Margie to take a stand and help Pepper escape just as Chuck and the Kommandos come in for the save. In the end Chuck gives the reward money to Margie for her mom’s aid.

This is more like it; a comic filled with action, drama and takes the focus away from the youngest member of the Kommandos, Too Much, and showcases the brother and sister team of Reed and Pepper and has them showing real sibling rivalry. The messages are clear in this one: always be there for family and you should never abandon your responsibility. Chuck takes more of a back seat in this one and is only used when needed. As for action, while it’s not every page, the times it’s used it really works! The bad guys in this issue are all the generic ninjas of VULTURE and Super Ninja nor Claw make an appearance.  This doesn’t make much sense and adds no major threat to Chuck and his crew. I will say that I also feel that this issue captures more of the cheesy charm of the cartoon. Over all this is a step in the right direction for this series. The art work is same as last issue, and the cover is in your face with Chuck Norris landing a flying kick. Let’s see how issue three goes in this “action” series.

Chuck Norris 3

Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos  # 3  *1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   3 of 4 

Chuck and Kimo are practicing with swords to see who’s the best in a friendly way as Tabe is in the kitchen making himself a feast. During a break in the spar Kimo hears Tabe giving advice and life lessons to fellow Karate Kommandos.  First up is Too Much, who is having an issue that involves his friend and him being forced to have spelling bee against each other in school.  So Tabe tells him about the first time he met Chuck that had them sparing with sticks on a log to impress friends. Reed is next and talks about how some friends are going to cheat at a sporting event, and this time Tabe tells a different story about how he met Chuck that pertains to the situation.  This continues with Pepper, who is having guy issues. In the end Kimo asks Chuck who has returned to spar how he met Tabe, and none of the stories he told was correct!

Issue three is all about Tabe, the lovable slob sumo wrestler who loves to eat and as this issue exposes, tell lies! This is not a very good message to teach young readers as Tabe lies several times to trusted friends in order to give them guidance that will help them with an issue that is bothering them, but even a white lie is still a lie.  The worse thing about this issue is the fact Tabe makes himself out to be this amazing hero in every one of his BS stories. Tabe is my second least favorite character from this comic/toon series, and this issue is all about him, making this one a so-so read. VULTURE and all its members take a backseat in this issue, and at no time during Tabe’s stories do you feel that he or Chuck are in any real danger, making this pretty lackluster in the action department. Issue three is clearly the weakest so far, and while some parts are fun, like the silliness of all the different ways he says he and Norris meet, its all the other fluff that makes it bland. The artwork is as it was in the past two issues, and this kind of holds the charm of the cartoon. The cover makes this issue look way more action packed then it is, and with this let’s move on to the final issue in the series.

Chuck Norris 4

Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos # 4  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   4 of 4 

Chuck Norris has a visitor at the secret headquarters of the Karate Kommandos, and Its Jack Fredericks, who is taking over the West Coast Office that runs secrets teams like them.  While there he is witness to Chuck and gang getting a mission that has them saving the daughter of a snotty Doctor named Johan Belson who has had troubles with Norris in the past. The daughter has been kidnapped by a gang of goons who are working for Claw and want secrets that Belson knows.  With a distrust for the man they are helping, Norris and the Kommandos save the daughter and teach Belson what it is to be a man.

This is the final issue in the series, and they seemed to finally get that what they had was Chuck Norris action superstar along with a team of rough and tough Kommandos who were about fighting for freedom much like G.I. Joe.  In fact this adventure reminds me of a Marvel Joe comic. Chuck Norris takes control in this issue and uses not only his kicks and punches but his brains and out smarts the baddies and uses his leadership over his crew to get the job 100% done. Normally annoying characters like Too Much and Tabe are far less unlikeable, as members Kimo, Reed and Pepper take a back seat to showcase Norris. Again the Super Ninja and Claw don’t make an appearance, and this time they use not even the ninjas but lame normal guys who try to put up a fight just can’t.  This issue should have been the first in the series and all issues after this should have followed this style and formula to have made a good run of comics. The art work is the best it’s been in the series and seems as if someone who worked on Marvels G.I. Joe or Transformers comic lent their talents to this final issue. The cover’s pretty weak but can be compared to other late 80’s action covers from Marvel. All in all I can at least say that Chuck Norris Karate Kommando’s ended on a higher note then it started. I would like to thank Bell Book and Comic & Lone Star Comics for stocking these issues to make this review possible.

Thinking about the comic and cartoon series made me realize that the toon only lasted one more episode then the comic run making one see why this STAR comic run was doomed to being canceled from the start. And this series also got me thinking about pop group the Spice Girls because of the character Too Much having the same name as their 1997 hit song from album Spice World. Then I remember being a teen and thinking how hot those british girls in short skirts and tight cloths were and how damn catchy their songs were. My two favorites to look at were Posh Spice and Baby Spice, and I will not lie, I did have their CDs and also watched Spice World on VHS when it hit video stores. And did anyone else notice Baby Spices love for suckers, and how so wrong yet so right it was? Just take a look at the center picture, and Spice Up Your Life indeed!

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Well in this update we looked at the movie and cartoon career of Chuck Norris, took a look back at Ted Turner owned TBS & TNT and even talked a little about the Spice Girls, but in the next update the gloves are off as we look at shock rocker Rob Zombie’s take on a legend we all know…..no, not his remakes of the Halloween series but his take on the crypto creature Bigfoot! So be here for the next shocking update.

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The Old Time Defenders Of The Planet Earth

When the world thinks of super hero teams, many come to mind like The Avengers, Justice League of America, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Teen Titans, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and of course at the top of that list are the Defenders of the Earth, right? Okay, I know most of you have never heard of them or if you have, I am sure you have forgotten about them until now. So let me tell you who the Defenders of the Earth are, and I can guarantee that you will know most the names mentioned. King Features Syndicate made comic strips, and some of their most popular ones were Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake The Magician.  In 1986 they decided that it would be a great time for them to put these characters together in a cartoon that would spin off into toys, video games and comics. Flash Gordon of course is the star football player who got lost in space and became a hero when he went up against the evil Ming The Merciless.  He was so popular that the character had toys, film serials and films made about him.  He was created in 1934. The Phantom was created in 1936 and is a costumed crime fighter in Africa.  His costume is a purple skintight body suit that covers most of his skin besides his face, he also wears a small mask that covers his eyes making them seem solid white. His costume set a standard in super hero history. Mandrake The Magician was created in 1934 and is a crime fighting magician who used his tricks to bust gangsters and other forms of low life. Throw in Mandrake’s assistant Lothar and all or their kids, and you have The Defenders of the Earth! And guess what, Star Comics did a four issue run about this “amazing” team and in this blog entry we will be taking a look at them.

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The 1986 cartoon was an action adventure series that ran for 1 season but had 65 episodes. The cartoon’s plot was that Ming The Merciless had used up his home planet of Mongo and has set his sight on Earth in the year 2015 with the help of ice robot Garax and his ice robot men. Flash Gordon’s wife Dale Arden has been kidnapped and killed leaving Gordon mad with his teenage son Rick Gordon goes to Earth to protect it from harm and along the way they team with The Phantom and his daughter Jebba Walker, Mandrake and his adopted son Kshin, Mandrake’s strong and loyal assistant Lothar and his son L.J and all come together to forum The Defenders of the Earth.  The group’s headquarters also has a super computer that has the sprit of Flash’s dead wife inside called Dynak-X that helps them on the way. The cartoon was on when I was a youth, and while I watched it I never found it to be as exciting as other cartoons based on super heroes. The Phantom was the only one in the series that I was a fan of, and I am sure most of that came from his kick ass ways.  Plus it’s funny how they changed the character to give him super powers when he chanted, this changed who and what the Phantom really is from a normal guy trying to do good in an area that’s plagued with crime. While I was a fan of Flash Gordon thanks mostly to the live action 1979 film that had the rocking music by Queen, he was just not a drawing power to get me to tune in every episode. As for Mandrake, I had no clue to who he was, and while a classic character, he just didn’t make a fan out of me.  Plus adding a bunch of teenagers and kids is a sure way to lose me in any series. And to spice things up, Ming was not the only bad guy in the series but most of the others did not have the evil nature like him making them feel like filler, only there to fill up time and episodes. Again, the cartoon was not bad, it just did not, in my opinion, have that special something that made me want to catch every episode and draw me into buying the other products of the show. BCI and now Mill Creek has released the series on DVD so if you were a fan of the show, the characters or want to check it out, it is out there.

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The show’s toy line was put out by Galoob in 1986, and the figures had a dial on their backs that when twisted made them perform fighting action and came with a weapon. The line consisted of Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake The Magician, Lothar, Ming The Merciless and Garax. Not only could fans get the figures but also vehicles were made such as Defenders’ Claw Copter, Phantom’s Skull Copter, Flash Sword Ship, Garax Sword Ship and Ming’s Serpent Monster Mongor. The figures were not bad, and while I only had two I found them to be fun and for the most part well made toys.  My only issue with them is that the joints seemed to become very loose on one of the ones I owned. The first figure I ever got was The Phantom, and I got him at Odd Lots brand new for $3.00.  A year later I got Flash Gordon at a garage sale for under a dollar. One summer when we were moving from Waynesville to Kettering, we stayed at my aunt’s house while she and her family went to Greece and we waited for our house to be cleared to move in.  Behind their house was some small woods, and one day I went back there to check them out and found a lot of broken toys behind there.  I was older at the time like 16 or 17 and laughed as I found many broken Power Rangers that were missing arms and legs, and found a few that seemed to have been set on fire and this brought back memories of The 4th of July.  But one thing caught my eye as I saw a broken Flash Gordon who was missing his legs and arms and was faded from the sun.  I took the torso and later made it into a wheel chair bound Captain Pike (Star Trek) style figure for the fun of it.  Yeah, I had a sick sense of humor.

Flash Gordon toyphantom toyming toy

Like all cartoons of this time, more merchandise came out besides the action figures that included lunch boxes, VHS tapes. kids books and of course a game for Commodore 64. When all this came out in 1986, I could not think of one kid I knew who owned anything Defenders of the Earth, or if they did no one talked about it or brought it around the school yard. I think one of the things that worked against this cartoon and its products was the fact the heroes were too dated for many kids to get behind. 

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So now that you know who and what Defenders of the Earth is all about, are you ready to look at Star Comics 4 issue run? Oh and guess who helped write issue one, the one and only Stan Lee! While Lee has done a lot for the comic industry, I also feel that he takes credit for a lot of things he didn’t or had really very little to do with, but with that said ya still got to respect the guy for all he has done.  So here is to you, Stan The Man Lee! Oh and after our look at Defenders I thought a cool little bonus review was due for all you great readers out there! I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 Star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material.

Defenders of the earth 1

Defenders of the Earth # 1  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #1 of 4

 Flash Gordon crashes on Earth at the home of Mandrake The Magician, his adopted asian son Kshin and strong as an ox assistant Lothar and his son L.J.  Gordon is knocked out from the crash, and Mandrake uses his magical power to hide Flash from a race of ice robots lead by Garax who have been sent by the evil Ming The Merciless. When Flash comes to, he tells Mandrake that Ming has kidnapped his wife and son and is coming to Earth to take it over and that they must stop him! Flash, Mandrake and Lothar go to the jungles of Africa and meet The Phantom and his daughter Jebba Walker and they join the group to save Flash’s family and to stop Ming. The kids are left on Earth as the heroes head to Mongo. Dale Arden and son Rick Gordon are captive.  Rick escapes with the help of a strange creature named Zuffy, but her son’s escape leads to Ming torturing and killing Dale.  When the heroes get there they save Rick, and Flash learns of his wife’s death.  Before they can capture Ming, he and his son Kro-Tan escape and land on Earth and make a base in the Arctic. Zuffy finds a crystal and gives it to Flash that holds his wife’s spirit. With Ming loose and on Earth and to avenge the death of Dale our heroes Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake The Magician and Lothar decide to stay as a team called The Defenders of the Earth!

I must say this is a great first issue and did a great job of keeping old heroes exciting for the younger reading crowd.  I am sure that this was mostly thanks to Stan Lee who wrote this issue, and while I hate to say it, Lee does have a way to make characters interesting to kids. The plot is the set up of how the team Defenders of the Earth came together and was a way to add some major drama with the death of Dale Arden.  I am sure that for long time Gordon fans it was shocking to see a beloved character killed off in a kids comic/cartoon. Mandrake The Magician is the only one that in the comic still comes off dated, and they try so hard to get him over in this issue, even with being dated I found myself liking him. The Phantom is clearly the star of the comic and it’s so obvious that Star Comics knew that he would be the one kids would flock to. The big change for The Phantom is the fact they gave him supernatural powers that he gets from the jungle.  I am sure they did this in order to spice him up and make him appealing to kids who like heros with power like Spider-Man and Captain America. Lothar seems like a waste and really isn’t given anything to do in this issue besides be a body and an extra hero for the new team. The kids of the heroes are a waste and are very much not needed and seem to be thrown in just to make it so young readers can identify with them.  If they have more time in the following issue it could be what takes me out of the series. Like any good 80’s cartoon/comic there is a little sidekick, that while annoying always seems to be there and fall ass backwards into saving the day, and in this series it’s Zuffy, a strange tiny purple alien with a mop top hair style who can’t speak but sure as hell get his message across via movements. This issue also does a good job of making Ming the Merciless come off as a complete and total evil S.O.B and does so as he murders Dale and then comes to Earth to kill us all! Good work on keeping this close to the cartoon and good work with the art that is clearly done by some of Marvel’s top artists.  The cover is super eye catching. Can’t wait to see how issue 2 is! 

Defenders of the earth 2

Defenders of the Earth # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #2 of 4

The Defenders of the Earth need a base, and Mandrake’s mansion just wont do.  So Flash calls in an alien race called the Cryl lead by Morbius to help build a headquarters, and the crystal with Dale’s soul in it has been put into a super computer made by Rick called Dynak-X. Ming The Merciless has picked up on the area of the base and sends out Garax and his men to ambush the Cryl and kill all of the Defenders of the Earth. Flash goes up to meet his friends and takes his place in the battle as the ambush happens.  Mandrake uses his magic to make an illusion to save his friends as Kshin and Zuffy find an opening in the side of a volcano near the mansion. After outsmarting Garax and his men, The Defenders of the Earth and the Cryl turn the volcano into their new base, and use the lava to power it. Ming is very upset and sends Garax and his men to bomb the Mansion and everything around it, and as they do so, the blasts trap the Defenders inside.  With the help of Dynak-X and a well placed bomb by The Phantom, it appears as if they all die and Ming basks in his winning glory. But this of course just gives them more time to come up with a plan to bring down Ming once and for all.

This second issue is average and seems to be way more talkie than issue one.  It doesn’t keep the total action pace up, giving moments that drag. The issue’s plot is just that The Defenders need a base and while trying to build it they come under attack. The Phantom in this issue is pushed more to the back, and Flash Gordon seems to be more of the focus.  Once more Mandrake is used a lot and does the same tricks as he did in issue 1. Lothar again is wasted and just is filler, but this issue also has the teens and kids as more of a major part of the plot.  While most are okay, Kshin is an annoying little turd who I can tell is going to be a character I will hate. One thing they did in this issue is play up on the hurt and sorrow that Flash and Rick are feeling about losing Dale.  This aspect adds some deep drama that is pretty shocking for a kids comic. This issue also builds up that Kro-Tan is plotting to over throw his father and be the new ruler of Mongo and every other planet they conquer.  I hope this subplot goes somewhere and is played out. The comic’s action is spaceship battles and not nearly as cool as hand to hand. The art and cover is great again and both very much eye catching.  The plot is as stated before very average. Let’s see if issue 3 is any better. 

Defenders of the earth 3

Defenders of the Earth # 3  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #3 of 4

Everyone is trying to make the volcano hideout feel like home, and Jebba along with The Phantom have made their own little African jungle in one of the caves. But in Africa the Bandar tribe is under attack from Kurt Walker (The Phantom’s brother) and two of his goons.  Kurt is trashing The Phantom and claims he should be their ruler, and when they refuse him and his men storm off. Kurt makes the mistake of telling the goons where the tribe hide their jewels and gold and is attacked and thrown from a bridge by those who now want to rob the tribe.  The water carries him to a cave where he finds a strange suit and hood, and after putting them on he becomes a weather controlling wizard/demon named N’Dama! N’Dama returns to the tribe and freezes his two goon friends to death ushering in a huge snow storm with a threat to the tribe to take him as his ruler or die.  The Phantom and Jebba rush to their jungle home, and The Phantom must come face to face with his brother who is now more demon than brother.  In the end The Phantom watches as his brother is consumed in fire caused by his own new power, and Ming has created Frost Men who he is ready to unleash on Earth.

This is back to being a good solid issue and goes back to the meat and potato of an action comic.  This issue’s main focus is The Phantom and his daughter Jebba returning home to take on a family member who is corrupted with extreme power. The action of the comic is when The Phantom goes toe to toe with N’Dama, and while not a slugfest like a Spider-Man vs. Kraven The Hunter fight it still makes for the most exciting part of the issue. This also makes for most the drama as it’s brother vs. brother and family issues come out. Another plot that seems to be starting up is the tension between Rick Gordon and Jebba Walker who both seem to be crushing on each other but neither making a move. It also surprises me that Rick, Jebba nor L.J. get on my nerves given my track record when it comes to unnecessary teens and kids being in media for no reason. I still do however dislike Kshin and thank God he gets very little panel time in this issue. It’s clear that with this issue Star Comics knew that doing a full issue around the most popular member of the team, The Phantom, would drive up sales with kids.  I am not sure how well this plan worked but it did make this now 32 year old reader happy. Another nice thing to see is that Ming nor Garax are the main bad guys, and this gives a breath of fresh air to the series and makes it so the two main villains aren’t played out. This one also has it all: a good plot, great art and an eye catching cover, and this one is what action kids comics should be like! Let’s see how the 4th and final issue holds up.

Defenders of the earth 4

Defenders of the Earth # 4 **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #4 of 4

Mandrake thinks it’s time that he starts to teach Kshin the art of being a master magician and takes him to a special room in the now destroyed Mansion. Mandrake tells his young son of how he gained the magic that involved the death of his parents via an avalanche and being rescued by a group of magical monks. But in another dimension Dr. Dark, an evil magician, is deep in thought of revenge upon the one who trapped him there :Mandrake.  Ming picks up on the evil power he has and frees him to Earth,  Ming tells his new ally that Mandrake and all The Defenders of Earth are dead, and Dr. Dark busts his bubble with the fact they are not! Dr. Dark goes to the mansion and has a magic fight against Mandrake, as Rick and Jebba see some of Ming’s Frost Men at a rock concert, and it’s shown Jebba can read minds. Mandrake is whooping up on Dr. Dark until the evil one uses Kshin as bait and leads to Mandrake’s life ending when nearby candles burn out.  Dr. Dark leaves to get his army to team with Ming’s to battle the Earth as Kshin uses all he has learned to save his dad. In the end The Defenders of Earth know that War is coming against both Ming’s Frost Men and Dr. Darks evil servants.

Star Comics has done it again, much like Inhumanoids this series ends in the middle of a storyline, making you wonder what was to happen during this major war.  This makes me very annoyed with Marvel for pulling the plug on series from Star that should have played through. This issue’s main focus is Mandrake and his son Kshin as he teaches his son magic.  Father and son must team to undo what their main nemesis Dr. Dark has set in motion. The magic battle reminded me a lot of Dr. Strange and for the most part I am okay with that. Again it was nice to see a new bad guy (Dr. Dark) who unlike N’Dama is teaming with Ming to rule the Earth.  Plus Dark’s Phantom of the Opera face is pretty sweet. Flash Gordon and The Phantom take the backseat in this issue as Mandrake takes the wheel and Lothar has a little more panel time then normal. I also like the way this issue builds up that Ming will turn on Dr. Dark to gain his raw power. Over all this issue was an average romp that was a fun read but a terrible way to end a series.  Worse, it leaves you hanging for an issue 5 that never came.

The Defenders of the Earth Star Comic series was a good fun adventure comic that despite flaws and some annoying characters still held entertainment value. As a youth I more then likely would have judged this comic a little harder for the lack of major action and way too much dialogue, but now I can see that the comic was trying to build up a story and flesh out the characters. I find this 4 issue run to be thus far some of Stars better written stuff, but the lack of respect that Marvel gave us the readers by just ending the series is very fitting for a company who tries to over charge for issues nowadays. Plus it’s nice to see that while it follows the source martial, this series also created its own, with the only major change coming from Ming’s daughter being MIA. If you like any of the characters on the team, loved the cartoon or love Star Comics then I would say check this series out.

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As an add-on bonus, I am going to be looking at a comic that was a free give away on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2010, and cost me a dollar at The Gem City Comic Con based on Michigan horror host Wolfman Mac and his Chiller Drive-In! Chiller Drive-In (formerly Nightmare Sinema) hit TV airwaves in 2007 on public access and became such a hit that by 2009 it had been shown on RTV, a national station. Wolfman Mac is a werewolf from the 1930’s who while being chased by angry villagers stumbled onto an abandoned drive-in theater, and being a lover of bad cheesy flicks, he decided that it would be a good idea to re-open the drive-in once more. Wolfman Mac is an all around good guy (or is that creature?) who seems to worry about the viewers and tries to stop others from bad ideas.  He is a great classic style host who seems to be very much kid friendly. He is joined by Boney Bob, a 1920’s actor who died in order to avoid taxes.  In the 30’s he spent time back in Hollywood as a skeleton extra on the set of horror films, but when work dried up he was downgraded to school room skeleton at a local college.  He left the job and hid out at that same drive-in that Wolfman Mac stumbled on. Boney and Mac are business partners and now spend time rebuilding and running the drive-in. Boney, while a good skeleton, is a con man and will do anything to get money. The show also has many other characters that pop in that include Son of Froggy, Trog a robot, Professor M. Balmer, Undead 50’s Sex Kitten Rebulla, Scarlett LeFever Wolfman Mac’s dead girlfriend and many more great silly off the wall characters. Fans of horror hosts of the 70’s and 80’s will really dig the style and show of Wolfman Mac. 

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I have never gotten to meet Wolfman Mac in person but have spoken to him via Facebook, and he seems like a werewolf who loves his craft. While at Horrorhound Weekend in March 2011, Baron Von Porkchop and I were able to meet Trog and The Son of Froggy from Chiller Drive-In and that was a fun time to be had by all! And we then ran into Son of Froggy again at Cinema Wasteland in October 2011 during “A. Ghastlee Night at the Movies”. That’s one thing I will say about all my horror host friends is that they are more like family.  They understand and get The Baron and I, who are both goofy horror freaks. Baron has it rougher then me being a ghoul from the early 1800’s who I dug up in late December 2010.  He is way out of touch with most normal folks. But here are a few pictures I took of Baron along side cast members of Chiller Drive-In. 

Baron and Son of FroggyBaron and Christmas Robot

So now that you know a little about Wolfman Mac & Boney Bob, let’s take a look at this comic book version of the show. Remember I am going to grade this comic on a standard one to four star rating.  I am going to be grading the story, the art, how true it was to the source martial it was based on and its entertainment value. So let’s see if this chills my blood!

Chiller Theater 1

Wolfman Mac’s Chiller Drive-In # 0  ***
Released in 2010   Cover Price Free   Chiller Drive-In Comics   #0

 Zombies Gone NAG” All the zombies that work for Wolfman Mac and Boney Bob at the Chiller Drive-In have gone on strike and have formed a Union called N.A.G. (The National Association of Ghouls) and have demands before they get back to work that include Brain Breaks and an extra half an hour for lunch.  They use a Gravedigger to work on the deal that Wolfman Mac agrees to and rolls into the issue’s main story called “Return From The Grave.”  At a funeral a vampire pops out of his coffin and attacks all who are attending and is about to feed but before he can T. Stone McAllister, Monster Hunter, comes and saves the day. Back at the Chiller Drive-In all the Zombies are on break and Wolfman Mac is down because no work is getting done. And so ends Issue 0 for now!

 This is a nice free little comic that was a nice way to promote the show and the artist involved, and I would have loved to have had this comic to give out when I worked FREE COMIC DAY at Mavericks. The downside is that this is a very quick read and the main story seems very rushed and not as big of a build up as one would have wanted. The Chiller Drive-In parts are fun and really cartoonish and is clearly geared towards young readers as it even has an anti-smoking spot. The only two characters used in this issue is Mac and Boney Bob, and this gives it a nice feel, like part of the show’s universe. The art in both The Wolfman Mac and Return From The Grave is well done, and sticking close to the source material this is a nice fun very quick read that is worth a check out for fans of Wolfman Mac and Horror Hosts. This issue also teases a full issue # 1 in the summer of 2010, and it seems that this has not happened.  That’s a bummer; I feel that this could have been a fun read for those of us that enjoy this type of book.

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While we are on the subject of werewolves, this would be a perfect time for me to talk about the first no budget film I ever directed called Werewolf of Ohio.  After high school I worked as a bagger for Kroger in the now shut down Van Buren Shopping Center and made lots of great friends like Sarah Boian, Jason Shivadecker and Jason Gilmore, not to mention I worked with already friends of mine Josh Weinberg and Garrison Kane.  At my work is where the legend of The Wolf Man of Ohio began! While working at Kroger at Halloween time we got in a shipment of Universal Monsters Halloween masks, and I was drooling looking at them, in particular The Wolf Man one due to the fact that it is one of my favorite movies of all time. I went around all day talking about how I could make a movie based around that mask, and even spouted some nonsense about putting The Wolf Man in a “Suicide 3” movie if we made it.  After hours of hearing me talk about the film ideas I had for that mask, the cashiers and baggers did something super cool when they bought me the mask and told me to make some movie magic.  And that’s what I set out to do with Josh Weinberg who had left Kroger at this point and was working for Click Camera who loaned him a VHS Camcorder! 

Werewolf of ohio VHS

In late 1999 Josh and I, armed with our on loan camera from Click and our werewolf Halloween mask, set out in his beat up stick shift truck and hit the roads thinking of what my new Wolf Man film could be about, and while driving the story just popped into my head! Josh would play a young man who is on a quest to hunt down The Wolf Man (played by me), a werewolf who terrorizes Waynesville, Ohio and killed his parents and younger sister some years back.  Now he, alongside a camera man (originally cast as Kevin Kinsley but turned out to be played by Brandon Womeldorff), sets out to get evidence that the beast is real and to document its death at the hands of Josh.  We loved the idea and went out to film this twisted sad tale.  We drove around during and after a huge rain storm and filmed moments after the rain stopped around Bellbrook and Kettering (State Farm Park again).  It was just the two of us.  I would act as the Camera Man and Josh would talk about his anger, sadness and need for revenge.  When The Wolf Man was on screen, Josh would run camera. The Wolf Man wore a hood and robe and walked around in daylight and night, making this beast a bigger danger then most werewolf legends. We even drove to Waynesville to film the town’s sign just to add that “real” feel of this “found footage” film. We filmed the climax at State Farm Park and filmed at night as Josh spots The Wolf Man who in turn chases him and the camera cuts off ending the film, or so we thought. After looking at the film we found some scenes just didn’t fit like a talk show interview with Josh that just came off to goofy. Some just were shot bad like the ending were Josh didn’t get The Wolf Man chasing him in one frame making the film’s total runtime about six minutes. I was really disappointed in the film and knew we had to film more to save the film from being a total waste, but the film did fall onto the back burner for almost two full years. By the time I got back to the film I had worked on a few more films and was ready to “save” this film from the trash pile, so I sat down and watched the footage and wrote out a script to finish the film out, Josh was back on board, and Kevin Kinsley was going to step into the role of The Camera Man making it easier for The Wolf Man to interact with them.  In 2001 we started the process of wrapping up the film. Things were going smoothly, and then Kevin was fired for over sleeping on the first day of shooting and Brandon Womeldorff stepped into the part and proved to be a better choice as he also offered ideas and angles. The second part of the film has Josh waking up after the attack covered with blood (yep more ketchup) and buying himself a gun and once more rants and tries to kill The Wolf Man who now wears a red flannel. After the last day of filming, it was rushed into editing at Fairmont High School and Brandon had it cut and ready in one sitting! It then was packaged and ready to be sold at our first horror convention called Fright Vision. While the film sold like hotcakes on VHS and has even gotten a cult following, I have always loved the film for being my own first film but also always find flaws in it after every viewing. I also found that The Wolf Man is my favorite character I have ever played, and one day hope to step into the mask for a new film. The film was followed by a sequel and has made it to DVD in a way but that’s for another update.

Josh and Camera ManWolfmanCamera mAn

Here are some fun facts about Werewolf Of Ohio:  Local filmmaker Andy Copp once wrote about Werewolf of Ohio in the local paper as low budget films/makers you should keep an eye on. Chris Seaver of Low Budget Pictures (LBP) put The Wolf Man in his film “Mulva 2: Kill Teen Ape”. The original title of the film was Wolf Man of Ohio.  Werewolf of Ohio is the second best selling VHS release in Independent B Movie history.  At a number of conventions horror host icon Dr. Creep of Shock Theatre and New Shock Theater helped push the product to buyers,  Centerfold frontman Patrick Neeley did the end theme to the film, and its title was “An American Werewolf in Dayton. The film’s original release had random girls running and a number of other girls in the deleted scenes they were added as filler from stock footage found at Fairmont High School. My brother Bryan once said Ohio should use Werewolf Of Ohio as a travel video, due to all the scenery shots and drive scenes. I hope you enjoyed this look at my “classic” film! Below is the master tape with the original title.

WOO vhs

Well, we have Defended the Earth for 4 issues along side Flash Gordon and friend,s and we took a quick pit stop at the Chiller Drive-In to visit Wolfman Mac and took a look back at some fun young moments of my life and told a tale of the Werewolf of Ohio.  So what is next, you ask.  Next update we will take a look at an epic action star who had a cartoon and toy line and lead a group of Karate fighters.  This 4 issue series from Star Comics is CHUCK NORRIS AND THE KARATE COMMANDOS! So I will see you then.

chuck norris karate kommandos LOGO

Should Have Beens From My Friends


Welcome back to part two of the wish list of what should have been made by Star Comics/Marvel.  With my top 10 picks done, let’s take a look at a few others people’s thoughts and wants. This is going to be a long update, so sit back, scroll down and have fun looking at these picks down memory lane!

Bryan Brassfield

First up is my brother, Bryan Brassfield who is only three years older than me and also grew up through the 80’s and 90’s. Bryan is a collector of movies and toys and also enjoys a good comic. In fact, when we were younger he used to make his own comic called “Weird Tales of Waynesville,” a fun horror comedy look at our home town. Bryan has also directed a few no budget films that include Twisted Batman and Nightmare.  He also was making a film called The Kenny Rogers Project that fell into development hell. Bryan also has acted in many Andrew Copp films that include Black Sun, Atrocity Circle and Quiet Nights of Blood and Pain, and played a drunken abusive father for Josh Weinberg in his One Second Too Late series. Bryan now is married and lives peacefully with his wife and daughter in Germantown, Ohio. So without further ado, let’s get on to his top 5!

#5

suckerman logo

Most people wouldn’t give a shit, but I would have loved to seen a Sucker-man comic book with him being a crime fighter!

suckermansuckerman in boxSuckerman 2

#4

AWA

Hey WWF and WCW had their own comic books, why not the AWA! Imagine Sgt. Slaugher, Rick Martell, and Greg Gagne battling the likes of The Road Warriors and Baron Von Rashke.

Sgt SlaughterAWAOfficialLogolod

#3

Garbage Pail Kids Logo

Gross out humor comic that would be a combination of Mad/Cracked magazines with the Garbage Pail Kid gang. This would have been really cool.

Evil EddiePail Kids PackBrainless Brian

#2

Battle Beast Logo

Another comic book that would have a good cast of characters who could have dealt with the mythology and back story. If I’m not mistaken, I think it also had a Manga based on it.

 Note From Matt: Small Publisher BlackThorne had a 4 issue run of Battle Beast in 1988.

battlebeast1BATTLE BEASTSBattle_Beast_Loose_Sloth

#1

Muscle logo

They probably made a Magna out of this, but I think they could have done one for American audiences that would feature Muscle Man and his “Thug Busters” battling Teri-Bull and his “Cosmic Crunchers.”

Muscle ManMUSCLE BATTLETeri Bull

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Stephen Alexander

The second to share his list is my cousin Stephen Alexander II, who just so happens to also be one of my best friends.  At a young age Stephen lived for Bon Jovi, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Horror Films, and Nintendo, but he was terrified of Chucky from Child’s Play that lead to many pranks that I am sure warped him to this day. Nowadays Stephen is one of the founders of a beard & mustache club in Dayton called the Gem City Gentlemen of the Guided Beard who have been seen on the IFC show Whisker Wars. Stephen also is a no budget actor who has starred in such films as Wolf Hunter 2, Vampire Peeper of Greene County and Bark at the Moon: Oliver to name a few. He also enjoys a fine glass of beer and repairing old smoking pipes. He also is responsible for helping me to find and dig up Baron Von Porkchop to host the show Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. So let’s get to his top 5 list!

#5

gpkn6bi1 copy

To me this is a no-brainer, you have just the right amount of disgusting mixed with a cast of crazy characters to make a great comic.  They could have literally done anything with this (besides make a crappy movie).  A comic would have been a perfect route for this franchise.

adam bombles vegasStuffed Stephen

#4
Pog Logo

This one may take a little bit of imagination, but it could be done. The way I picture it is you follow a main character or several main characters that are on a quest to defeat arena Pog masters all over the world to be crowned Pog king or champion or whatever. While he/she/they are on their quest they run into all kinds of insane Pog warriors. I think it would have made a great series of comics, and hell I probably would have owned the whole set.

pog_classicpog-fire-sticksPOG-The-Game

#3

Creepy Crawlers Logo

I think this was another huge missed opportunity on it’s creators part. This could have been an epic journey through the mind. As a mad scientist creates these nasty Crawlers to take over the world, but one hero/heroes stands in his way. Every edition could have different ways the mad scientists makes new Creepy Crawlers, and the hero/heroes have to find a way to stop him. It would have been comic gold!

creepy_crawlerscreepy playsetcreepytoon

#2

MST3K

I loved this show as a kid, and it would have translated into comics amazingly. They could have just continued the travels of Mike and the robots through space, and we could have caught a glimpse of what happens when they don’t have to watch a terrible movie. Every comic could even be a continuation of one of the shows even. It would have been something I would have owned for sure.

mstMST3K-hoststhe-mystery-science-theater-3000-collection-volume-xviii-20100618033053045

#1

are-you-afraid-of-the-dark-LOGO

One of my all time favorite Nickelodeon shows. This could have easily translated into a comic. They would just take the Midnight Society and make them do what they do best, tell ghost stories. It practically writes itself, and they could do more with the comic that the show maybe wouldn’t allow, effects and that kind of jazz. Drawing it the pages of a comic would be much more cost effective I would think and it would have been a great comic book line for kids of all ages.

areyouafraidofthedarktaleofthelongagolocketAre%20You%20Afraid%20of%20the%20Darkareyouafraidofthedarkthetaleofthefinalwishs02e01

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Matt Hoffman

Next up is Matt Hoffman a friend of mine since high school and one of the co-founders of our no budget film company Independent B Movie. Matt is a comic fan and some would say a super fan of Superman.  Matt used to have a crush on Britney Spears and is one hell of a good cook.  Matt, known to his friends as Hoffman or Hotch, has been in many no budget films like Teen Suicide, Vampire Peeper of Greene County, Werewolf of Ohio 2, Bark at the Moon: Scars, Farmer Joe and is known for playing The Wolf Hunter in numerous films as well as writing and directing two films so far in that series. Hoffman no longer lives in Ohio but is still hunting wolves in Colorado. He also worked at Mavericks Cards and Comics as an early teen. Hoffman is a great friend and has picked some franchises that have had comics, and some odd choice ones for kid comics, but who am I to cross the Wolf Hunter! 

#5

starcraft_logo

I would have love to see this in a comic book form because it really reminds me a lot of a mix between Starship Troopers and Avatar.  Both has its own merits , but if you took both those concepts and visual graphics, it would have been a cool concept to make as a regular series. Imagine the story would continue from the first game that then leads into the second game where its a terran all out battle. The last remaining of the hive enslaves the photos to destroy the terrans last stronghold before total annihilation.

Note From Matt:  Publisher WildStorm had a 7 issue run of Starcraft in 2009.

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#4

matrix_logo

The movie left out a lot of details and information as of how things really happened and what happened there after the peace between man and the machines. I would have loved to seen the different aspects of the creation of it to the total enslavement of all humans as batteries. I see the comic story breaking into several different titles given focus on certain characters like Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus along with Agent Smith. I can see one off branch giving the pre-story while others follow each character as it leads into the movies while even finishing the story after the movie series end.

Note From Matt: Small Publisher Burly Man had a 2 issue run of Matrix in 2003.

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#3

2012

Hear me out on this one. With all the folklore and myths about the end of all supposed humanity and life will never be the same again based off of 1000 years old testimonies of a forgotten tribe, you could really have played with in so many ways. The movie was okay , but the comic could show different parts of the world or even how the world gets destroyed. The story could involve characters from all parts of the globe and how their civilizations and countries are preparing for an unknown disaster and not knowing how to prepare for it. Mass chaos would erupt and violence and devastation would rule the land. And it comes down to the exact moment, and the series ends just like that. 

los-angeles-sinking-ocean2012-the-end-of-the-world-291x300BOOOOMMM

#2

Resident_Evil_logo

Now tell me that isn’t self explanatory . The story is awesome, you can go with different stories, different levels. The action and the graphics are killer and just overall it’s my favorite game of all time. I don’t really have to create to much imagination just to have it continue on where the games and movies have left off. I would love to have known more about Leon and Claire and the town of raccoon city before it got hit with the T-virus to during the initial onslaught of the zombies. Kind of like The Walking Dead but with those characters instead.

 Note From Matt: Publisher Marvel had a 1 issue run of Resident Evil in 1996 that was a free give away. In 2009 Wildstorm had a 4 issue run and then a 6 issue run that started in 2000.

Lickers_resident_evilre legendsnemesis

#1

wolf hunter loo

Now I know you expected this one to pop up. The story behind the movies are so in-depth that they really can’t be translated to film as well as into a comic form. The vast amount of characters and villains would be ample amount of writing material to create a graphic novel/comic series. I see it picking up from after Armageddon to find that The Wolfhunter has been left blind in one eye and one of his hand has been ripped off from his battle with Ravenger. Malice has been killed and Ravenger disappeared.  The government has created a lethal army to hunt down and kill all remaining werewolves and to capture the Wolfhunter. Oliver was able to transform back to human form and is aiding in the capture efforts of the Wolfhunter. Duke and the Wolfhunter guild are in hiding while trying to regain forces to make one last stand against the Werewolves den. The Wolfhunter trains his apprentice to carry on his legacy as he fights his last battle.

MaliceDuke and The Wolf HunterOliver

Note from Matt – In 2008 a Wolf Hunter comic book was in the works and was being worked on by local comic artist Justin Wasson. The series while not fully dead in the water, is on the back burner and has been there for many years now. But never say never that this series might see the light of day, below is some art for the comic, so enjoy!

WH PromoPanthorHeaven

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A Ghastlee Ghoul

Now it’s time for a dear friend of mine named A. Ghastlee Ghoul, a local horror host from Dayton, Ohio. Ghastlee has been hosting his show “The Ghastlee Movie Show” since 1989 and has tickled the funny bone of late night TV viewers. Ghastlee also has appeared on many other shows such as New Shock Theater, Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, Media Only and many more. Ghastlee is the godfather of the Horror Host Underground, a show trading network that allows hosts to show fellow hosts in their area. He also hosts Weird Web Theater, a YouTube horror host show, and has done Friday Monstercasts on The Monster Channel. He’s also been nice enough to have me on his show to play his “son” or a crazed guy who says he is his son! Ghastlee has also directed movies like “Joe Nosferatu Homeless Vampire” and starred in films Black Sun, Songs in the Key of Satan.  He’s written books and short stories and plays music in two bands! His band Splattertude is also the official band of Cinema Wasteland Horror Convention. Ghastlee also loves a good cigar and is a master of the Karaoke arts.  I call Ghastlee Father and great friend, and a man who has inspired me in ways to create.  So let’s get into his top 5 because I could go on forever on the legend A. Ghastlee Ghoul!

#5

rock_em_sock_em_robots

One of my favorite games as a kid. Robots punching each other until their heads pop off. How cool is that? Long before Robot Jox or Real Steel, the Marx toy company knew how cool it is!”

rockem_sockem_robotstoyrockemartred robot

#4

Here Comes The Grump logo

A bizarre late 60’s/early 70’s cartoon by Dave DePatie and Friz Freleng. Vibrant, surreal art and smart writing. The show only ran for seventeen episodes, but the concept has so many possibilities. In the right hands it could still make a great comic book series today. Maybe they could write in a robot.”

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#3

forbidden-planet-original

Classic sci-fi. I’m surprised it was never turned into a comic. The Krell, monsters from the Id AND Robby the Robot?! Yes, please!”

 Note From Matt: Small Publisher Inovation had a 4 issue run of Forbidden Planet in 1992.

forbiddenplanetRobbie the Robot, from the film 'Forbidden Planet', 1956.Robby+and+Altaira

#2

academylogo

It’s a concept you could have as much fun with today as we did on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. Pre-Power Rangers stories where the kids are heroes…and, oh yeah, there are robots and things blowing up!”

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#1

Shock Theatre logo

A given for me. My childhood hero! I could see Creep as your gentle, wry guide through the world of the macabre, and then at the end of every vignette he shows up and kicks the bad guy’s butt with a mighty HOO-HAH-HAAAAA!!! The best of all worlds! And Big Robot from Clubhouse 22 could even make a cameo!”

DrCreepmysteria Creep DuffyDr Creep 3D

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Louie Lerma

Next up is my pal Louie Lerma who is known around here in Dayton for being a founding member of the lucha surf rock band Team Void and for also being Retina on Horror Host show Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go! Louie is one cool guy, and we have worked on many TV shows and concert events together. In fact Louie is also the uncle of one of my friends, Bruce.  So without anymore wait, let’s get to Louie’s List!

#5

RAY!

1960’s – Starting with one of my heroes Ray Dennis Steckler. He was an actor/director/ camera man/writer/ producer. He worked on low budgets. Ray Dennis Steckler was inspired by and used what was around him: friends/ family/ location/ costumes. He believed shooting without a script freed up the storyline which made his movies better. Scripts and props especially crippled movies because once you chase a script and must buy certain props you have stopped the movie’s creativity.

Ray’s Movie List: Wild Guitar. Thrill Killers. Incredibly Strange Creatures Who died And Became Mixed Up Zombies. Lemon Grove Kids. And so many more…

I would like to see this comic based on him as he is making one of his crazy movies. Each movie that he made is the issue title. Depict Ray putting together his movie and convincing other people to become part…. as the comic unfolds you will see the full feature itself. Just like in Ray’s movies such as the “Thrill Killers,” it starts out as an intense thriller and ends as a cowboy chase on canyon roads… wild ride plot twists always surprising and fun!!

One of my favorite Ray Dennis Steckler movie is “The Adventures Of Rat Phink And Boo Boo.” It starts out as a hostage movie, then the characters become superheroes by jumping into a closet to save the day! Leading up to the “Incredibly Strange” issue that would be a monster musical. You never know where each adventure will take you, loose storyline written as we draw up this comic using his stan!

Rat Finkblood+shackWild GUITAR

#4

svengoolie

1970’s – A comic based on horror show host, Svengoolie from Chicago on his show Screaming Yellow Theater. The comic would be drawn in R. Crumb style and follow Svengoolie as he hosts a mondo crazy movie. Each issue would open up with a special guest sneaking over to his coffin -knocking ever so gently to wake the star up!

The comic must highlight Svengoolie’s quick wit one liners firing off to the audience, draw them in left and right directions across the page, go wild with the comic like his style joke delivery. It would have to have him waving around a rubber chicken and having fun while having a blast with his guests, sketches sick parodies breaking out. Include commercial page inserts of products to use during his movies as funny jokes for breaks…

I would like to see this one made because I’m a horror show host myself and love Jerry G. Bishop as the original “Svengoolie” funny cool style.

svenhorror_svengoolie_old2sven rules

#3

reanimater logo

1980’s – A fly-on-the-wall comic based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West” and drawn Brian Yuzna style. Lead character likeness of 80-s actor Jeffrey Combs. The issues would be printed black/white using textured highlights in Re-animator neon green and bloodiest reds.

Issues begin at private research laboratory as Professor Grubber goes all through West’s career coming to experiment at America’s unsuspecting colleges. Feature his curt wit working through daily wicked routines. A day in the life of Re-animator: who he befriends to conduct experiments and his enemies due to his demoralized ethics. Have to feature taking off the Dean’s head; the head becomes a voice for devils advocate to West’s gruesome fun.

 Note From Matt: Small Publisher Adventure Comics had a 3 issue Movie Adaptation in 1991, and a 4 issue run in 1992 followed. Dynamite Comics had a 1 shot issue in 2005.

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#2

twinpeaks1

1990’s – Twin Peaks -The Comic Saga. This was one of my favorite shows through early 90s. I love mysteries but I do believe David Lynch and the writers were messing with everybody! In this series the comic will explore Laura Palmer’s death affecting all Twin Peaks neighbors: quirky characters that knew and loved her.

The comic would be taking place in Twin Peaks after Laura’s death, narrated by Special Agent Dale Cooper, FBI speaking into his voice recorder to his secretary, Diane. Interjections by D Lynch via intercom speaker, telephone, one final cameo in front of the camera.

Twin Peaks soundtrack brings the dark mood: reverb resounding echoes of everyone’s life and thoughts. Too bad you cannot hear the music while you read the comic! (2012? Yes, easily the comic cover would have a CD insert/i Phone code/ recommendation for the reader to listen to the score by Angelo Badalementi as you feel this twisted story.)

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#1

logo_crypto

2000’s – Based on true facts for paranormal and supernatural unexplained phenomena. Name this comic “Uncovered True Paranormal; Ghosts, UFO,s USOs, Mothman, Bigfoot, Sea Creatures, All Strange Creatures And Mysterious Landmarks As We Discover Them.”

Each issue would follow three cases/ encounters and their witnesses in regional proximity to each other. Maybe discover links as the comic explores the topics.

Each situation would feature experts to the scenario and bring the reader knowledge about each witnesses experiences. I would really love to see this comic use all new, latest technology invented to investigate these claims. A compelling comic series dealing in facts that keep growing as people learn more about all these phenomena and our world.

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If anybody wants to take on these comics with me, please do. Thank you for reading my thoughts about the 5 decades of my life for comic books. This goes out to my buddy Matt Brassfield who inspired me to write this page.

Yours truly,
Luis Lerma

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Bizcut

Chris “Bizcuit” Corwin is next up, and I have know this man since I was in my late teens when he was one of my managers at Blockbuster Video, and one of my favorite co-workers. Bizcuit nowadays works for a movie theater in the Greene and is also a stand up comedian that can been seen on the stage of The Funnybone Comedy Club! Bizcuit is a film lover and a comic book reader who has also was an extra in the Sylvester Stallone film Driven. So with that in mind let’s get onto the funny man’s picks for his top five should have been comics in his youth.  Oh yeah, and he was a rebel and could not keep his picks to 5.  So he did 8, and I am okay with that!

#8

MacGyver logo

I think this would be great because there were so many more stories that are to be told and situations to get out of using everyday objects, gum, and paper clips. It would be like a “How To” guide if you were ever held hostage or had to defuse a bomb with only 30 seconds left.

 Note From Matt: Publisher Image had a 5 issue run of Macgyver in 2012.

MacGyver 1MacGyver 2MacGyver 3

#7

Sheriff Lobo logo

Crooked small town sheriff and his inept deputy who moves like a jungle cat (watch the show to get that joke) and their misadventures solving crime. With guest appearance occasionally by B.J. and the Bear. I liked Lobo even though he was flawed he tried to do good.

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#6

Magnum P.I. logo

This just screams comic to me. Writers could delve in to Magnum’s history and his time in Vietnam. What is Higgins’ background? He could be a super badass and you would never know. How about Rick and CC? Plus as an added bonus it is set in Hawaii so comic book girls in bikinis.

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#5

Pennywise the Clown Logo

Stephen King’s IT terrified me as a novel but as a movie not so much. IT took the form of Pennywise more than once over its lengthy existence. I want to know what that tale is. What is IT? Where does it come from? Why the clown? I feel there is way more horror to be expounded upon.

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#4

The Shirt Tales Logo

The what? The Shirts Tales. It was a cartoon from the 80’s that starred a panda (Pam), tiger (Ty), mole (Digger), raccoon (Rick) and an orangutan (Bogey- who was voiced with a Humphrey Bogart impression) and were a group of super agent spies with all the gadgets that lived in a tree in Central Park. Seriously, do I have to say more?

The Shirt Tales 1The Shirt Tales 2The Shirt Tales 3

#3

Last Starfighter logo

Aliens use a video game as a test to find the ultimate fighter pilot and then come to Earth to take him back so he can save their world. Spoiler alert: he totally wins. Is that it though? I mean there are a lot of bad guys in the universe. There is as many stories as there are stars.

 Note From Matt: Marvel Comics Did a three issue movie adaptation of the film in 1984.

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#2

Goonies logo

Perhaps the greatest kids movie ever made. My apologies to Surf Ninjas but you know it is true. I wanted and STILL want more Goonie adventures. They live in a coastal town there has to be more treasures find and bad guys foil.

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And the number 1 thing I would have like to seen turned into a comic book is…..

#1

logo

The French Chef with Julia Child! I know you just read that and said WTF?! Yes, I said Julia Child. Why? Well quite simply I loved watching that woman cook. Yes I know they mad a crappy movie about her. Do you know what they left out of that movie? That Julia Child was a spook, a spy if you will for the Office of Strategic Services which in WWII was the forerunner to the CIA. She was Jane Bond and she could handle a knife and she could cook. She travelled the world under the guise of THE celebrity chef and was spying on people when she did it and no one saw her coming. Would anyone suspect her? Um no, because she is Julia F’n Child. It practically writes itself. Julia travels, cooks and spies. Throw in a bad cooking pun for some comedy whilst she is killing a bad guy or two and pesto! ( see what I did there) instant comic book heroine. You also get a positive role model for young girls. For those who like to cook you can put a recipe on the last page or two.

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So, that is my list. I hope you enjoyed it and thanks to Matt for asking me to do this. I had fun.

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Jason Young

I have known Jason Young for a very long time and met him via Mavericks Cards and Comics in Kettering Ohio.  He was always trying to help me to find classic back issues and Topps comics when I was a teen shopping at the store. Jason is an award winning comic book artist who makes his own bio comics called Veggie Dog Saturn that comes out via his own comic company Buyer Beware Comics. Jason is also a no budget actor and has been in many films like Werewolf of Ohio 2, Slashers Gone Wild, Wolf Hunter 2 and Cocktober Blood to name a few. Jason also loves the 80’s hairband Poison and even has the band’s logo tattooed on his arm! Jason also does a podcast with our friend Eric called Gutar Trash. I also lived with Jason for a few years, and he was a great roommate and a good cook of tofu and eggs! Jason is a man who loves comics and movies and hates Magic the Gathering and with that let’s take a look at his top 5!

#5

highwaymen logo

This TV series from the late ’80’s was more like a cartoon than the live action show it actually was. It featured not only a semi truck that could turn into a helicopter (I know right?!?) but also the Australian bodybuilder “Jacko” who used to do commercials where he screamed at the top of his lungs and burst through walls all in the name of selling Energizer batteries.

I would have bought this comic. It would’ve been drawn by Rob Liefeld and featured foil embossed covers. It maybe even would’ve included a trading card bagged in issue #1. It would’ve been so bad that it would’ve been amazing. So, so amazing.

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#4

Eagle Force logo

This was a super short lived toyline that me and my brother went crazy for… and then it disappeared. It was like a cross between M.U.S.C.L.E.S. and G.I. Joe. They were tiny little metal army guys each one with distinct personalities (the fat bearded Harley was my favorite). Although Wikipedia says there was a comic I don’t believe it. I’ve worked at a comic book shop for more than two decades and have never seen one. There were six panel comics on the back of the action figure packages and those made me long to see a full length book!

The comic would’ve been pretty much like the ’80’s G.I. Joe comic. I mean let’s be honest here… Eagle Force was a G.I. Joe rip off pure and simple (they fought a terrorist organization called RIOT which featured soldiers and ninjas and was led by General Mamba) but it still remains one of my favorite toy lines ever and I would’ve absolutely loved to read a comic book about them.

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#3

Ed Grimley logo

This was an amazing cartoon from the late ’80’s based on Martin Short’s character from SCTV and Saturday NightLive. It was bizarre and subtle at the same time and featured science lessons by the Amazing Gustav Brothers and the live action horror host Count Floyd. This show could be an adult swim show… truly ahead of it’s time this thing was.

 The comic most likely couldn’t have captured the vibe of the show but I still would’ve bought it. I definitely would’ve wanted all the different segments from the show as those were some of my favorite parts (The Gustav brother are responsible for my to this day only using unwaxed dental floss).

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#2

Garbage Pail Kids Logo copy

What young man in the ’80’s didn’t love the Garbage Pail Kids? The grossest, weirdest most hilarious trading cards ever to exist would’ve been great as a comic book! I mean, look how sweet the movie turned out? Okay, so the movie is kind of hard to watch but a comic could’ve been great especially since Art Spiegelman (a brilliant comic book writer/artist) came up with the series!

 In my mind the comic would’ve been a series of short stories involving no more than a handful of G.P. Kids at a time. Maybe like those old Richie Rich, Casper and Hot Stuff comics where you’d get a few stories each issue. That way they’d be short and sweet… and hopefully gross and hilarious!

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#1

Muscle logo copy

(Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere) : This would definitely be the ’80’s property I’d most liked to have seen made into a comic book. There were just so many great characters (like the evil Michael Jackson glove!) that it was mindblowing! When I was a kid I loved wrestling, monsters,robots and toys so this line was a no-brainer as it included all of those things. It was basically a toyline of two inch tall characters that would be right at home in a GWAR stage show… simply amazing.

I guess what I’d like to see in the comic would be quite simply: Mondo Violence! Sure you could throw in some comedy and perhaps some allegiances between some of the characters but I have to say the violence would be key. Since their name suggests they’re tiny little creatures maybe the intergalactic wrestling could take place under kids’ beds as they watch in delight while they should’ve been going to sleep… I don’t know. As long as it was uber violent and funny it would’ve been great to see.

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Eric Shonborn

Eric Shonborn is an amazing artist who back in the day worked on books like Razor Baby, and nowadays has his website Shonborn’s Carpal Tunnel where he gives his thoughts and shares a sketch a day. Eric has tried his hand at acting as well and has been on episodes of Terrifying Tales of The Macabre and starred in a movie called All The Marbles. He has also worked on many DVD covers that include Werewolf of Ohio for Warlock Home Video, Vampire Peeper of Greene County for Independent B Movie and did many covers for the releases of New Shock Theater on DVD. He also has three podcasts that include Gutter Trash, The View Masters and The Stupid Sexy Podcast in which he and his co-hosts talk comics, movies, TV shows and many more fun topics. I met Eric via Mavericks and became friends with him thanks to Jason Young and am proud to call him a friend! So with that let’s take a look at his top 5 picks!

#5

Night Court logo

My favorite sitcom as a kid, and quite frankly, as an adult. I still find it to be an absolute delight. I don’t think it’d be a great comic, but it’d be a weird comic, and 8 year old me would be all over it. During the later seasons, Night Court got more wacky and over the top and was almost like a living comic book anyway. In an actual comic, the sky would be the limit and nothing could be held back. The comic book adventures of Harry Stone and The Criminal Court Part 2 could be in session anywhere, anyway, anyhow. 

Night Court 1Night Court 2Night Court 3

#4

Max Headroom logo

Max Headroom was such an oddity. An ad campaign for Coca-Cola that took on a life of its own as a weird Britishy/American 80s vision of the post-apocalypse sci-fi tv show. Admittedly as a comic, Max would lose it’s greatest asset – actor Matt Frewer. But like Night Court, with comics there’s no budget or human limit to adhere to. The comic could up the ante in the sci-fi and apocalyptic imagery and go places the show could only have dreamed of.

max-headroomMax Headroom 2Max Headroom 3

#3

Starman logo

It’s weird. I’ve never thought of myself as a sci-fi fan, and yet so much of what I loved as a kid was rooted in it, much like John Carpenter’s rebuttal to his own earlier movie, The Thing. He wanted to create a positive, friendly alien movie and in the process created the sympathetic and heroic Starman. There was a short-lived TV show that followed the movie. I’d imagine the comic would pick up from that, and maybe even gear the lead character to be a stripped down, low-level superhero of sorts while still playing with the Stranger in a Strange Land themes.

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#2

turbo teen logo

Man, this cartoon is so dumb and ridiculous. Even as a kid, I’m pretty sure I thought that, but I still loved it. I remember watching it all the time, but can barely remember it outside of the origin of the character. A young kid gets in an accident and fuses with his car, which he then can transform into. It’s so weird. The comic would just be a continuation of the cartoon, and it would be weird and make no sense and I would devour every issue and beg for more.

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#1

url-3

This is one is kind of a cheat. There was a three issue comic released in 2008 written by William Katt himself. There’s also a great parody/homage comic from the early 2000s called “Truth, Justin and the American Way”. The show was itself a sort-of knock off of Green Lantern. Aliens give a worthy human a powerful tool to save the world, but he loses the instruction manual. Wackiness ensues. The comic would be the show, but bigger and bolder. More comedy, more action, more emphasis on the haphazard superheroics of Ralph Hinkley and his friends and perhaps more superpowers. So like I said, there eventually was a comic, but not when I was a kid – when I wanted one and when I would have loved one.

American Hero?the greatest american heroamerican hero

Blood line

Jeremy Hoyet

Next up is my good friend and fellow co-worker at Mavericks, Jeremy Hoyt, who is a man who loves almost everything from Japanese culture that includes everything from Godzilla to Manga. Jeremy also is a super fan of Voodoo from the super hero team Wild Cats and also is a man who loves the Muppets and owns a few life size replicas. He is also a fellow member of the board game club I belong to and is a fellow PS3 player that has helped me beat such games as Resident Evil 6, Lost Planet 2 and Aliens Colonial Marines. He has also acted in a few no budget films that are not completed like Long Dead Winter and Frankenstein vs. The Werewolf. Hoyt is a living legend and one cool guy to call a friend, so let’s take a look at his top 5! 

#5

RushnAttack logo

This was a great action game on the NES back in the 80’s and would make a great “period piece” comic series. I enjoyed the game and the art sensibilities of those 80’s video games would really make it stand out in the market today. A smart licensor could pair it with promotion of that show “The Americans.”

I see the story developing as a cross between political intrigue and all out action, think “Ghost in the Shell” meets “Rambo.” A group within Russia makes the calculation to launch a covert war against America and our allies and only one man, and his team of tactical advisors and espionage experts, can stop them.

RushnAttack 1Rushn Attack NESRushnAttack 2

#4

The Mysterious Cites of Gold logo

This was one of my absolute favorite cartoons back in the day, mid 80’s. I and my little sister would stop whatever we were doing when it time for the show, and it dominated our lives for an entire summer.  Fantasy adventure with a hint of a history lesson thrown in, what’s not to love.

The comic adaptation could follow the adventures of some of the secondary characters or maybe take place years before the show as a prequel. Fantasy and ancient technology merge in the midst of the Spanish conquest of South America and the subjugation of its people. Add in a possible alien invasion and boom instant classic.

The Mysterious Cites of Gold 1The Mysterious Cites of Gold 2The Mysterious Cites of Gold 3

#3

Metroid logo

This is one of those no brainers that I’m amazed never came to be. Yes, there were Metroid villains in “Captain N” and Metroid manga in Japan, but here in the states in the 80’s we got left out in the cold by Nintendo when it came to Metroid merchandise.

I don’t really need to say why this would be cool do I? Bad ass bounty hunter Samus Aran combs the galaxy fighting space pirates and monsters while in search of lost alien technology and the truth behind the living weapons known as Metroids.

Metroid 1Metroid NESMetroid 2

#2

Robotix logo

To be honest I don’t remember too much about Robotics other than its amazing theme song…ROOOBOTIX, robotix… Anyway, it was a cool build it yourself toy line of giant robots.  Transformers meets Legos. Yes, there was one issue made back in the 80’s but that was it, no series, no resolution.

Simply put I love robots, kids love robots. The possibilities of launching a franchise on the scale of Transformers would wet any executives’ appetite. Technology run amok, terrorists with giant robots to back them up, and a rag tag group of heroes working with sentient machines for the good of Earth. Oh, and a killer theme song… uhh, comics don’t have theme songs you say. Well, as a bonus the first issue could come with a soundtrack CD.

Robotix 1Robotix 2Robotix 3

#1

Final Fantasy logo

Yes, there have been manga, but as with Metroid, back in the 80’s we got none of that here in the states, and to be honest, there isn’t a Final Fantasy presence in comics today. It’s a huge franchise with limitless possibilities.

The story could literally go anywhere. Medieval fantasy epic, check, futuristic cyberpunk, check, alternate reality hoping, check, time travel, check.  You name it, and it could happen in this book. It could even be an anthology series with different creative teams and different worlds for each story arc.

Final Fantasy 1Final Fantasy NESFinal Fantasy 2

Blood line

Bruce O Hughes

Bruce O Hughes is a local comic artist who I met via Mavericks Cards and Comics thanks to my friends Jason Young and Eric Shonborn.  I quickly became friends with this talented man. Bruce has worked on many great local comics like Clobber Vance, Iron & Ink and Razor Baby, and has done many great DVD covers that include Terrifying Tales of The Macabre, Goatman of Maryland and episode 4 of The New Shock Theater. Bruce also does a comic podcast called The Break Ins where he and fellow local comic artist Justin Wasson talk about all things nerdom. Bruce has also tried his hand in acting and has been in All The Marbles and Missing. Bruce works for a local TV Station and also does some animation for Minor League Baseball Teams.  So in short Bruce is your go-to guy when it comes to your artwork needs! So let’s get a few words from Bruce and then go into his top 5.

I was born in 1978 & prone to reading comic books on the many 4 hours drives to see my Granny in Kentucky once a month so I am no stranger to Star Comics. Many of its short lived titles such as Silverhawks, Heathcliff, Madballs & Count Duckula were right up there with Spider-Man & Batman for me. I loved being able to take their adventures with me where ever I went & having the oppurtunity to sit down & study exactly what they looked like as well as the world around them. Truth be told, I probably make my own comics because of the comic books that my dad bought me at the Hook’s corner drug store before every car ride down south. Thank Gawd I was an impatient child!

#5

Flight of the Navigator logo

This is a movie I watched many times in school for some reason. I think it’s one of the few VHS tapes that the school owned so anytime we could not go outside for recess this, got crammed into a tape deck & rolled out in front of us. The story is simple in an unnecessary kind of way. There is a reason for the characters to spend some time together at odds with one another, then once they have achieved their goal they move on… but what if this was made into a Star Comic back in 1986, what would have happened after the credits rolled? I’d like to think the comic would have ignored the second half of the movie where David gets to go back in time & live a semi-normal life with his family & new alien pet. I’d like to see the comic start with Max & David showing up in the future, or an alien world, anywhere but where they wanted to go. The stories could have been about them trying to get David back home or Max completing his mission or even them returning all the other aliens on the ship to their homes. Each issue a different planet, a different problem. I would have bought this on sight!

Flight of the navigator 1Flight of the navigator 2Flight of the navigator 3

#4

Bravestarr logo

What started out as a spin off of the Filmation Ghostbusters gave me an appreciation for not only westerns but also good old fashion sci-fi! I remember coming home from school to see the namesake Marshall & his horse, Thirty-Thirty, keep New Texas safe from Tex Hex & all the other no-count outlaws. It was perfect. There was that sense of old-timey home spun morals mixed with robots, aliens & even a time traveling Sherlock Holmes! These stories ended after 65 episodes & a failed movie… but what if they continued? There was a BraveStarr comic series but it didn’t last long & was in 3D. I’m talking old school blue & red 3D. Who liked that? Yuck. I like to imagine that the adventures of Marshall BraveStarr, Thirty-Thirty, Deputy Fuzz & JD would have translated to a universe spanning epic. There could have been other Marshalls, more of the legal system could have been explored, what happens when all the ore has been mined? It’s such a broad canvas to explore.

Bravestar 2Bravestar1Bravestar 3

#3

Doogie houser logo

The teen drama that should be given credit for almost every CW show! Doogie was a super smart teen doctor. That’s it. The show had a straight forward concept but it used it to explore so many social issues… such as racism, sexism, insurance & its prices, aging, losing your virginity, spousal abuse, etc. This was a much deeper show that we would all like to admit & it ended abruptly. The last thing we ever saw was Doogie quitting his job & heading off to Europe. He was unhappy with the direction his life was going & had made the decision to leave it all behind & see what he could do with his natural talent besides make money & save a few while a majority suffered. If this story ever continued it could be the equivalent to “a hero’s journey” tale. Our young, once doctor, could travel around the world looking for something bigger than himself, stopping here & there to improve the lives of others along the way. It lends itself well to a monthly comic but even better a series of graphic novels. Hell, this may be the one idea on my list that could come back on television if done right!

Doogie houser 1Doogie houser 2Doogie houser 3

#2

Teen wolf logo

First Teen Wolf was a movie, then a cartoon, then a TV show… why not a comic book? The cartoon differed a bit from the movie.  For one, Scott Howard was still hiding his Wolf-ness from the town.  The second big change was that he had more family, two grandparents & a younger sister. The cartoon only lasted two seasons & none of the episodes pushed the envelope when it came to new or original ideas. But… if there had been a comic I’m sure someone would have seen this for what it could have been; awesome! Think of a world that already has Werewolves, now why not other “monsters”? Vampires, ghosts, zombies, etc. could have all made appearances in the Teen Wolf world. This was ripe for new stories!