Do you believe in monsters? How about the unknown and things that we do not and cannot understand? Well if you do, and you were a kid in the 80’s, then I am sure you loved the Inhumanoids, the giant monsters that were set free and want to destroy the Earth. That will be the Star Comic series we will take a look at in this update. One thing I have always been into is the unknown and cryptozoology. Ohio has its share of ghosts, ghouls and the unknown, but the one that has always made me chuckle and yet I am still totally fascinated with is the Loveland Frog. I am sure many of you don’t know the story of the Frog Man that was spotted in Loveland, Ohio so let me give you a brief rundown of the story before we get into the Inhumanoids.
In May 1955, a business man on his way home from work spotted some 3 foot tall frog-like men under a bridge. They had the features of a frog and had leather-like skin. One is said to have held up a metal rod that shot out sparks. Many years later on March 3rd 1972, a policeman named Mark Matthews is said to have seen a 3 foot tall Frog Man on a bridge over the Little Miami River. The creature looked at him and as the officer pulled his gun and fired, the creature leapt over the guard railing and into the cold unforgiving water below. That same month a local farmer claimed to see the Frog Man riding a bike near his home. Then the case went cold and no other major sightings have since been reported, although some claim that in the early 80’s the Frog Man did show itself again and was chilling on a family’ front yard while they snapped pictures of the confused creature. What is the Frog Man; is he some unknown species? Is he an alien from another planet or could it even be a human that is so badly deformed that his facial features are twisted? Many, many years ago when I was a teenager, my friend Kevin and I drove to the bridge and hung around for awhile. Sadly we never did see the creature, but the feeling of waiting for the unknown was amazing. I remember that we went on a very cold December night and the sky was black and water below seemed so uncaring. But enough of the Loveland Frog, let’s talk Inhumanoids!
The Inhumonoids started in 1986 as both a cartoon and a toyline. My first major introduction to the characters was seeing the giant 14″ versions of D’Compose, Tendril and Metlar at Hills Department store and wishing that I could take these giant monsters home to fight with my Imperial Godzilla! Hills, much like Big Bear & Hearts, was an amazing place for me to get toys. They would stock the shelves full of all the newest action figures and would sell them at amazing prices. One of my alltime favorite toys came from Hills, my Marvel Secret Wars Captain America figure that I had all the way up to the age of 17. By then the paint had worn off and his shield was long missing. I gave the toy to my next door neighbor in hopes of winning brownie points with his hot blonde sister. I think it worked a little! But for those who don’t remember Hills toy department you are missing something special as they always had end caps with huge clear bubbles that had toys set up inside with giant play sets showcasing just what you could own if your parents would fork over the cash. It still makes for one of the best marketing ideas I have ever seen. Besides toys, Hills was also known for the free popcorn that they would give to their customers. Imagine walking into a store and smelling fresh popped popcorn and then someone handing you a bag for free – now that’s what I call customer service. Also Hills is where my brother and I would get our WWF shirts and is where I got many of my Ultimate Warrior t-shirts. Sadly in 1999, all the Hills stores closed though for my area it was sooner then that. But much like the now gone Big Bear, Hills will always be one of the coolest places to shop.
That was one thing about moving back to Kettering that made things a little easier was the fact that the girl who lived next door was (and still is) the amazing cute girl next door. When I moved from Waynesville, I still was very much hung up on that one girl I wanted to ask out, and even during the move and while starting a new school she was all I could think about, though given the fact I was a teenage boy that’s really no surprise. But while my dream girl was still on my mind, I meet Sarah, the super cute and sweetheart girl that was a few years younger then me that lived next door, and spent much time trying to get her attention from blaring loud music such as Billy Idol, Motley Crue and Guns N Roses from my bedroom window, to walking her to a friends house late at night to make sure she was safe. Sarah helped a lot at the time for I was a young man filled with rage who would start a fight at the drop of a dime, and she was the one person who kept me level headed and kept me out of trouble. Sarah was a big part of my teen years, and while I never did get a date, I did get a friend for life who I care about. So this is a big thank you to Sarah for being the person she is.
Onward to Inhumanoids! In 1986 Inhumonoids started out as mini 7-minute cartoons on a show called Super Sunday alongside Jem and the Holograms, Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines and a few other shows. The short episodes impressed kids and were then converted into a full 22 minute series. The series followed Earth Corps, a group of scientists, and a band of elemental monsters called the Mutores that teamed up to defeat Metlar and the other Inhumonoids who wished to bring the Earth down. You see, the Mutores banished the Inhumanoids deep into the Earth and now that they are free they are pissed off. The cartoon only lasted one season and had 13 episodes. Even with the short run, the series and toys gained a cult following. The cartoon series has never been put out in a full series in the USA on DVD, and the two DVDs we got were cheap ones from Rhino that are now out of print. I remember watching this show and loving when the monsters were on, but was always bored when the human Earth Corps were on.
The toy line was impressive and was broken up into three groups: the Earth Core that was made up of the human figures in their armor suits with removable masks, the Mutores who were bigger than the humans and were good monsters based on trees, rocks and lava. But the third and final group was the best, standing at 14″ tall, the Inhumanoids were the ones all kids wanted. But again with many things the bigger and cooler toys cost more and lots of places did not carry them due to the size of the display box. Most of the kids I knew in school did not have the big figures but had to settle for the lamer smaller characters.
My brother and I loved the look of the toys, and we both have always been into monsters, so these figures were a perfect fit for us. While we enjoyed the cartoon it was never one of our favorites and for the most part we would catch it when we could. So of course we asked for the figures for Christmas and what we ended up getting was Granites the rock guy for my brother, and I got Magnokor the lava rock guy…..yeah…. While these toys were cool, they were by no means in the same badass league as the giant figures, but I am sure my parents thought that these creatures were the Inhumanoids so I can’t fault them. But we made dowith them and were happy to make them battle each other and other toys we owned. In 2010 I found the other figure in that set Redwoods for .49 at a thrift store, and I bought it just because.
Besides the toys, other merchandise came out for the characters that includes VHS tapes of the episodes, kids’ books, coloring books and stickers. While none of this is shocking, what is shocking is the fact that the cartoon never got a video game. You would think that a Commodore 64 or a NES game would have been made, but nope. I am sure that this did not happen after the cartoon only lasted one season as did the toy line, showing that while cool, this series just did not have the staying power everyone hoped for. And the same can be said for Star Comics who pulled the plug on the comic run after only four issues!
Now let’s get into Star Comics’ four issue run of the Inhumanoids. Remember 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, and its art and story. This review is once again thanks to the team up of Mavericks and Bell, Book and Comic.
The Inhumanoids # 1 ***
Released in 1987 Cover Price .75 Star Comics #1 of 4
A giant amber is found with a creature inside and ever since strange things are happening, But Herc Armstrong, leader of the Earth Corps, is denying any real danger. Miles away oil workers drill a hole on orders of a Mr. Shore and by doing so the earth caves in and out comes Tendril (the vine looking giant monster), an Inhumanoid that heads to the museum where its friend D’Compose (skeleton one with the open chest) is being showcased trapped in the amber. Meanwhile Herc and his men Derek, Auger and Liquidator are the guests of honor at the discovery of D’Compose as Tendril attacks the city to get to his trapped friend. As everyone flees, Earth Corps gear up and try to study the rampaging monster. In the end Liquidator and a female friend Sandra Shore (sister of Mr. Shore) are trapped as D’Compose is freed ,and he and Tindril are coming after the humans and speak of freeing Metlar, their leader.
This first issue seems to go by fast and crams in so much: introductions to the Earth Corps and the anger and rampage of the two Inhumanoids, making this one a good read and a nice start to the series. Again, much like the cartoon for me when the human Earth Corps were showcased, I felt a little bored but the moment the giant monsters were on, I felt myself getting exited to see what destruction they could cause. Herc Armstrong does seem like a good leader, and his team seems a little disorganized and more into science then listening to orders. Tendril, the giant vine monster, is the main monster in this issue as he is the one doing all the damage and rampaging the city to free his friend. D’Compose spends most the issue trapped but when freed at the end his look and manner seem to indicate that he is going to be a handful to anyone who gets in his way. The art in this issue is good and is that classic Marvel of the 80’s style. The comic does keep true to the source, and the storyline is a nice starting point for the series. The cover also shows action and clues you in on who the major monster of issue 1 is. Over all this is a great start for the series.
The Inhumanoids # 2 ***
Released in 1987 Cover Price .75 Star Comics #2 of 4
D’Compose and Tindril are stopped from killing Liquidator and Sandra by the rest of the Earth Corps and the cops who shoot a missile that misses and hits a gas line causing a huge explosion, giving the Inhumanoids a chance to escape into the ocean. The Earth Corps head back to base and split up to find any clues to where the monsters are and why they are here. Herc and Auger take a sub to the bottom of the ocean, as Derek goes to the drilling site to find clues about Tindril. Liquidator goes to the forest where they found D’Compose in the amber. Each team meets with a challenge as Derek has his rope cut and caved in by Mr. Shore, Herc and Auger go up against Tindril and D’Compose and Liquidator are confronted by the trees who are a race called Redwoods who tell him the history of The Inhumanoids that involved a war against a group of good monsters called the Mutores. After each team escapes with a little more knowledge, they meet back up at their base that is attacked and crushed by Tindril. Did the Earth Corps get out in time? I guess I will have to read issue # 3 to find out.
Keeping with the first issue, this one is a fun action romp that has a little bit of everything from corrupt humans to pissed off talking trees. This issue serves more as a backstory and a brief history lesson on what the Inhumanoids are and where they have been for so long. Once more the human parts which there seemed to be a lot more of in this issue, drag and while this time what was being said and going on was interesting, you still read this comic for the monsters. Neither monster shone in this issue and both seemed to share the same amount of panel time. I will say this is a nice follow up issue that while way more talkie, it did keep me reading. While some parts dragged it still made for a good read and a nice way to build me up for issue 3 with a nice cliffhanger ending. The art in this one is much like issue one, but I did notice some half assed drawings that made some of the Earth Corps look like sketches and not finished art work. The cover art is bad ass and to be honest this was the only issue my brother and I owned as a kid, and I think that was in part because of this cover! Now lets’ see what issue 3 has in store for us.
The Inhumanoids # 3 **1/2
Released in 1987 Cover Price .75 Star Comics #3 of 4
The Earth Corps survive the attack by Tindril and drive him back underground, as Sandra finds out that her brother is a mad man and wants to free all the Inhumanoids to try and control them and use them as power. The Earth Corps go underground after Tindril and are attacked by both Inhumanoids. The humans are out-muscled and only with the help of a race of rock men and the tree people are they able to escape. Mr. Shore blackmails the senator and has him cut the funding for Earth Corps putting them out of business. But the team doesn’t give up and find a new backer in Sandra who is now a semi-member of the team. After a day of building they go back underground with their new weapons and member and meet a very pissed off D’Compose who also is commanding a pack of undead bats. It ends with Auger being attacked and looking like the end for the wisecracking crazy member.
This issue is way too much talking and not enough action. With this being a comic for kids, I am sure those who bought this issue were bored to death with all the overdone long winded Earth Core moments. When the action does happen it’s like a breath of fresh air to spice up the dull talkie parts that seem to drag the pace and story down. The issue has one very brief attack by Tindril, one attack by both Tindril and D’Compose and one just D’Compose. All attacks are very short and while fun, go by way too fast. The story is used to build up the coming of Metlar who has yet to do a damn thing is this series and is built up as being one tough monster. The art seems a little different and seems to have less care put into some panels, and the cover is super bland and boring. This being the second to last issue makes me really worried to how this series is going to end. It makes me wonder how Metlar is going to be freed and defeated in one issue. Also on a strange note this issue references Transformers and Batman. Well here’s hoping for a good ending!
The Inhumanoids # 4 ***
Released in 1987 Cover Price $1.00 Star Comics #4 of 4
After saving Auger from the zombie bats, Earth Corps goes deeper into the Earth and find the rock creatures fighting Tindril and D’Compose who are now so close to freeing their leader Metlar. Earth Corps joins the battle, but all is lost when Metlar is set free. The rock men flee to regroup as Earth Corps fight back the best they can. After a few near death moments, the team hides but it’s too late as Metlar comes for them. To everyone’s surprise, Mr. Shore shows up in his own metal suit and traps Metlar whom he tells he will now be his slave. But things turn sour as D’Compose turns Sandra into one of his rotted army members and Tindril sets Metlar free breaking Mr. Shores trap. So ends the final issue in the series on a cliff hanger for which we never received a conclusion.
This issue was wall to wall action and showed Metlar, the most powerful of the Inhumanoids, doing what he does best and that was well….hmmm giving orders and being out smarted by humans…wait, he was kind of a let down for all the build up. The plot was a nice build up for an issue 5 that was never made and that’s sad because I and many other readers of that time would have liked to see what happened to Sandra, how Earth Corps was going to stop the Inhumanoids and Mr. Shore would end up having to help those he screwed over to save his sister and the world. Shame on Marvel for not finishing this storyline and not giving Star Comics permission to end this comic series properly. The art in the issue is back to being well done and again has that classic Marvel 80’s look. The cover is back to being well done and eye catching. Plus the 4 issue run in my opinion held very true the the source material of the cartoon and added a fun addition to fans who wanted everything Inhumanoids. This issue was a good issue but was one heck of a terrible final issue, shame on you Marvel you owes us a 5th issue, and I want it soon!
With Inhumanoids now in the bag, I was able to get my hands on a comic book that was always free in my youth at a restaurant that my Grandparents loved. That place was Captain D’,s and the comic was Captain D’s Exciting Adventures. In my younger days I was never a fan of fish, but I found myself eating at this place many time with my parents, brother and grandparents who all seemed to kind of enjoy it. I however would always get a cheeseburger and fries! Yes, for those who can remember Captain D’s the fish place had a cheeseburger on their menu, and yes, I use to get made fun of by my father and brother for ordering it. But anyways back in the day they would also have free comic books for kids that would be about a famous sea Captain and then would have an adventure or two with Captain D himself. So let’s take a quick look at issue 1 of this free fast food comic. This gem was obtained thanks to Ebay for a $1.00 plus .93 shipping!
Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 1 **
Released in 1976 Cover Price FREE Paragon Comics #1 of 35
This first issue has a brief life story of sea captain John Paul Jones who fought the British for America in 1776 and how he went down in history for fighting outmanned and out gunned and said the phrase “I have yet begun to fight!” to the rival captain. Then we get a few puzzles and a short about Captain D himself alongside his young shipmates going to Nashville to see the sights and then get some food at guess where? If you guessed Long John Silvers, you are wrong.
This issue, while a fun very brief history lesson about American icon John Paul Jones, is really nothing more then one big advertisement for the restaurant chain and Pepsi Cola. But then again what did you expect for a free comic about the restaurant’s mascot? The art inside is pretty poorly done for the John Paul Jones segment but the Captain D’s stuff is fun and cartoony. Speaking of Captain D himself, it’s a shame that the old red beard mascot has been sent off to the great blue sea of forgotten fast food icons, and the food chain no longer uses him. Over all for a free comic these were always fun and for the $1.93 I paid for it on Ebay, the trip down memory lane was worth it
So I am undecided about the next update. It will be either about horror films that I think should be made into video games or it will be about Crystar, a Marvel owned character made to sell toys and comics. So until next time, readers, stay nerdy!