Star Trek : The Intergalactic Icons Of Space

Space is a vast place filled with all types of mysteries and things that we have yet to discover.  Many people my age grew up with space and planets like Mars being things that sparked imagination as well as discussion in and out of school.  Not to mention things like Star Wars, Flash Gordon and The Last Star Fighter were popular films, and some even had toy lines that all kids still played with. But one space themed show always got my attention was Star Trek.  Characters like James T. Kirk, Spock and Leonard McCoy were all interesting and already had iconic status in the mid 80’s when I first remember watching the show. So for this update, I figured that in honor of the new Star Trek film in theaters, the announcement of a new TV series in the works and the fact that earlier this year Juliet spoke about Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was time for me to take a look at Marvel Comics series based on the original crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise! So set your phasers to stun and be ready to beam aboard as we boldly go where Rotten Ink has only gone once before!

Enterprise Ship In Space

Gene Roddenberry was born on August 19, 1921 in El Paso, Texas and later with his family moved to Los Angeles and became a fan of stories about Tarzan and John Carter Warlord of Mars. Roddenberry majored in police science but found his calling in aeronautical engineering that lead to his stint with the United States Army Air Corps and would lead him to later working for Pan American World Airways.  During his time as a pilot, he would be involved in a total of three crashes, two as the pilot with and one as a passenger. The last crash, while working for Pan American, was so bad that 14 people lost their lives and many others were seriously hurt.  A short time later this lead to him stepping down in the company and pursuing his love for writing fiction and working for the Los Angeles Police Department as a traffic cop and later as a member of the Public Information Division as his writing was really good. During this time, he was also able to serve as an advisor for such shows as “Mr. District Attorney” and “Highway Patrol” in the 1950’s. These shows kicked off Gene’s dive into television as a producer and writer, and he delivered for such shows as “The West Point Story”, “Bat Masterson”, “Have Gun Will Travel” and “The Wrangler”, but in 1966 it was “Star Trek” that made Gene a true icon of science fiction Television. Gene would go on through out the 70’s and 80’s writing and producing shows and the Star Trek movies. His next TV hit would be the 1987 series “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Gene was married twice with his last wife being Majel Barrett who is the voice actress of the starships in the Star Trek universe as well as played Nurse Chapel in the original series and Lwaxana Troi in the Next Generation. He also had three children with his son Rod following in his footsteps in becoming a TV producer with his biggest upcoming work being the new 2017 Star Trek series! Sadly this icon of TV writing and producing passed away on October 24, 1991 at the age of 70, and while gone, his work lives on and entertains viewers still to this day. This update is for you, Gene Roddenberry, as well as all the cast and crew who made Star Trek possible.

Gene Roddenberry 1Gene Roddenberry 2Gene Roddenberry 3

I first watched the original Star Trek TV Show with my dad who would tune in when it aired in reruns. I can remember always being so hyped to see what strange alien was going to be on next, and Spock was my favorite character as he had pointed ears. My dad also use to tease my mom about Captain Kirk as she was not a William Shatner fan and used to say he couldn’t act.  I was around 5 or 6 years of age at the time, and as I grew up I have always had a very big attachment to this series and love it still to this day. Star Trek first aired in September 8. 1966 for CBS and was produced by Paramount and quickly became a hit for fans of science fiction television who loved the futuristic tech talk and quickly bonded with the likable crew lead by the Starfleet rebel Captain Kirk or so you would think! The truth is when Star Trek first aired, it did very poorly on the Nielsen ratings and was canceled by NBC after 3 seasons and a total of 79 episodes, and it was not until its syndication run that it built up a major cult following that sparked it into the major science fiction brand it is today. Imagine that, when originally airing the show was not catching on and was not gaining viewers, and once it was cancelled and shown in reruns it became a mega hit, much like modern shows like “Family Guy” that was cancelled and fans were able to bring it back for more seasons that lead to it wearing out its welcome years ago. Once the show picked up steam in the world of syndication, this lead to a string of movies as well as a ton of spin off TV series. It’s odd that to me as a kid, Star Trek was just so magical and filled with so much high tech wonder and was as enjoyable to me as Star Wars and Flash Gordon, both of which I also grew up with. In 2017 a new Star Trek series will be released for CBS and the premier episode will air on broadcast TV with all following episodes only available via their subscription based streaming service called “ CBS All Access,” and to me, this is a really dumb and not only limits the amount of people watching this series, but also cheapens it. I should also note that in 2006 Paramount and CBS decided to re-master and re-due the effects for the original series and once more it went into syndication, and I can remember my friend and roommate Patrick Neeley watching them at night and talking to me about them the next day. The original Star Trek series has been in my life for as long as I can remember from watching with my dad to popping it in on DVD for my viewing enjoyment, it still remains an amazing series that defines the term science fiction.

Original Star Trek Cast On Set

As I said the cheesy wonderful aliens were one of the reasons I loved this series when I was a kid, and hell, even to this day, because who could forget such characters as the lizard race Gorns, the fuzzy furballs the Tribbles, the one horned white gorilla Mugato or the Salt Vampire, not to mention the Klingons and the likes of the powerful Khan! While much of the time the aliens were just guys and women in greasepaint or rubber suits, something about these basic looking aliens was a draw for viewers like myself. I can remember as a kid loving the Gorn and Salt Vampire and wishing toys were made based on them so I could have them attack my Star Wars figures! Plus the show was our first taste of Khan who would go on to be one of the most sinister bad guys in Star Trek history. So if you’re a fan of aliens and all the different races that could be out in our shared universe…or just like cheesy TV shows with actors with greasepaint on their faces or wearing big old rubber suits, make sure to check out the original Star Trek series as its sure to please that alien need. Check out the pictures below to see some of the aliens from the series and to show you just how different they all are from each other.

Star Trek Khan TVStar Trek GornStar Trek Salt Vampaire

One thing I need to briefly talk about is the episode called “The Devil In The Dark” that has Kirk, Spock and McCoy traveling to Janus VI, a planet that has lost over 50 miners to a creature that lives underground. As the episodes goes on, Spock learns that the creature is called a Horta after a mind meld and later finds out that the Horta is just protecting eggs that will allow its race to continue. The Horta in appearance is compared to a silicon-based lifeform that has a rock and lava look. But for me as a youngster, it reminded me of meatloaf…not the singer, the food! I can even remember eating meatloaf and joking about it being on Star Trek. I mean really look at it, it’s like meatloaf with ketchup and marshmallows on it! Compare the picture below, and you be the judge.

hortaGood Old Meatloaf

Many Trekkies considered “Star Trek: The Animated Series” to be the fourth season as many of the actors returned to lend their voices to their animated versions as well as it continued the five year mission they were on. Star Trek: The Animated Series first aired on NBC on September 8, 1973 and lasted 2 seasons and a total of 22 episodes that were 24 minute long that followed Captain Kirk and his crew of the USS Enterprise on all type of adventures in space. The series was made by a team-up between Paramount Pictures and Filmation with Gene Roddenberry overseeing its production. Filmation’s original idea for the series was to have young teen characters being cadets following the main cast around turning it into more of a straight kiddy show, Roddenberry put his foot down, and that idea was later used for the 1977 live action series Space Academy. But like all Filmation Cartoons, the budget was low, and the series suffered with poor reused animation and many other small errors. The series did have William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Majel Barrett and Nichelle Nichols all return to voice their respected characters but sadly Walter Koenig did not return as Chekov was replaced in the cartoon by two characters called Arex (a three armed thin alien) and M’Ress (a female cat person) who were a major part of the crew now. While after its run ended and some years later, the film series started, the animated series seemed to be left out of canon as many issues and characters from the toon seemed to be missing and forgotten. The series during its run was not a huge hit with kids watching Saturday Morning Cartoons, but was respected by reviewers and parents who found it entertaining. Growing up I only saw episodes on reruns as well as on VHS, and I can remember liking it but also was confused by it as by that point I had watched the live action series as well as many of the movies. Love it or hate it, Star Trek: The Animated Series is a part of Trek history, and I for one enjoy every cheesy moment of it. Those looking to watch the series it has been released on VHS, DVD and Laserdisc and from time to time pops up on Netflix.

Star Trek The Animated Series 1Star Trek The Animated Series DVDStar Trek The Animated Series 2

With the animated series being canceled in 1974, fans would have to wait for their next Star Trek fix until 1979 when Paramount released “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” to the theater going audience. The film was directed by Robert Wise and brought back all the major actors and characters from the classic series with a budget of $46 million dollars and had a run time of 132 minutes.  It also had a score from Jerry Goldsmith and was produced by Gene Roddenberry. The film brought in $82,258,456.00 and came in at # 5 for the year beating out such films as “Alien”, “The Jerk”, “The Muppet Movie”, “Moonraker”, “The Black Hole”, “Mad Max”, “Tourist Trap” and “Zombi 2” among many others. The film was met with mix reviews with many critics being down on the film’s plot that they said was too thin and spread out for over two hours, but fans were a little more behind it as they got to see their favorite characters back on a all new adventure. Growing up I can remember watching this movie and while I found it entertaining, I think mostly cause the fact it was Star Trek. I was always more drawn into “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan” and “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” when wanting to watch them on VHS via a library rental. I don’t want to get too much into the plot of this movie as the Marvel Comic series first 3 issues in the series are an adaptation of the film so I will save it for those. While not as well loved as many of the sequels this film started it all for the film franchise that is still going to this day.

Star Trek The Motion Picture 1Star Trek The Motion Picture 2Star Trek The Motion Picture 3

Star Trek also has amazing music that helped not only the TV Show but as well as the Movies! The original TV Show soundtrack was done by the likes of Sol Kaplan and Gerald Fried among others with Alexander Courage being the man behind the Original Series title theme. With the movie soundtracks being done by the likes of Jerry Goldsmith as well as other composers like James Horner, Cliff Eldelman, Leonard Rosenman and Dennis McCarthy. The most iconic theme for the films that would latter be the opening theme for Star Trek The Next Generation was done by Jerry Goldsmith and remains a very iconic piece of score music. The soundtracks for the TV Show as well as the Movies starring the original cast has been released on many different formats from Cassette Tapes to CDs and are must haves for fans of the movie and show. I for one own many of these soundtracks on CD and play them on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO many Sunday nights, one of the listeners favorites is a track called “The Mountain” off the Star Trek V: The Final Frontier soundtrack. So if you’re a score music fan, make sure to check out some of the Star Trek movie releases they are well done and great songs to relax to.

Star Trek CDStar Trek TV SoundtrackStar Trek The Motion Picture soundtrack cd

Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise have not only jumped from TV to movies but also to video games! Some of the top games starring the original cast include “Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator” was originally a arcade game and in 1984 was ported to the Atari 2600 and has you taking control of the Starship Enterprise and defend against invading Klingons. Next up “Star Trek: The Rebel Universe” for the Commodore 64, IBM PC and Atari ST in 1987 and has you take control of the bridge and try and find the secrets of the Quarantine Zone. And lastly “Star Trek: 25th Anniversary” was released in 1992 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and has you take control of Kirk, Spock and McCoy and try to solve the mystery of the tear in space-time! And of course this is just a drop in the hat of video games that was released starring the original Star Trek cast, but these three are the ones I remember best from my younger days! So what is your favorite video game starring Kirk and the crew?

Star Trek The Rebel Universe C64Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator Atari 2600Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES

The Original Star Trek series has had its massive share of merchandise based around it and cover all types items like Halloween Costumes, Drinking Glasses, Trading Cards, Toys, Video Games, Lunch Boxes, Novels, Comic Books, Magnets, Shirts and so much more! Growing up I can remember playing a strategy board game with my Uncle Thurman that was lots of fun and I am sure we drove him mad as at my brother Bryan and I’s young age we didn’t get the rules all that well. Growing up I also had a Captain Kirk 3 ¾” Mego action figure I got from a garage sale that joined my Toy Wars alongside Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. I also when a youngster owned many of the Novels and Book and Record sets based on the TV Show and Movies as well as some of the Marvel Comics. Funny enough early this year while working at Game Swap a young lady brought in a large box filled with vintage Star Trek figures and toys and what was really neat was seeing the Mego dolls mint in package! So if you’re a fan of Spock, Kirk or any of the other crew members of the Enterprise many amazing products are out in the world for you to collect.

MEGO Star Trek dollsStar Trek LunchboxStar Trek Novel original cast

Playmates was a major force when I was a kid in bringing action figures into the hands of the youth with such toy lines as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Toxic Crusaders, Dick Tracy, Darkwing Duck, Monster Force, Barnyard Commandos, The Addams Family, Earthworm Jim to name a few and also on this iconic list is Star Trek! The toy line for Star Trek mostly focused on Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as the newer TV series that followed like Deep Space Nine and Voyager, but also in the line was the original series that showcased some of the characters in their younger selves and in some waves them older. While I had maybe a couple when I was a kid the older I got for some reason I started to collect them, I bought myself all the original series crew as well as Voyager and Juliet the Next Generations crew and together we have gotten many of the Deep Space Nine crew members. The Playmates figures for some reason have a collectable appeal for me and as I find them cool looking and the fact they covered not only the Starfleet crew but also many of the aliens from the past to the then present. Below is a picture of my original crew figures as well as some of the Aliens from their show and movies.

My Original Star Trek Playmates Figures

You know what just for the fun of it and cause I love going back and playing old NES games on my trusty old RES (Retro-Bit Retro Entertainment System) I picked the day May 25, 2016 to just play around and try to see how far I could get in Star Trek: 25th Anniversary in just 1 hours of play! Now this game is one I played when I was younger and never could get very far as I have found it to be a very hard play, but will it be as difficult as I remember? The weather outside was around 84 degrees with the sun pocking out from some hazy clouds, I decided to go up against the game around 6pm and stop at 7pm and see just how far in the game I could get! So with a tall glass of water I was ready to travel to 8-Bit space. I started these two hours with big dreams and hope that I would make it far and to no one’s shock I didn’t make it off the first level…as frustration of playing the same opening stage sent me into a poor game play frenzy! At first I forgot that the Blood Worms can hurt you if you don’t bring the flower to the medicine man of the village and then after getting the eye key and once in the tunnel I kept screwing up the patterns you had to memorize on the wall to get through the doors and by the time 7am came around I was still on the first level! During my little 8-Bit quest my landing Party was me as Kirk and always Spock but sometimes I would switch McCoy with a Security Officer. The game play on this game is a little clunky and has your characters follow a grid to get from point A to pint B. Still as challenging as I remember and I recommend old school gamers to give this one a try, as it’s a fun play that offers enough tough moments to make for long time play. Below is some pictures I took while playing the game.

Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES in the RESStar Trek 25th Anniversary NES RES Still 1Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES Res Still 2

Want to just touch up on this as I fell many Trekkies will agree that there is nothing more sexy than a woman who embraces geeky culture like Comic Books, Video Games and Science Fiction Films/Shows and a woman in a Starfleet uniform is pretty top notch stuff. I mean who could resist the beauty of my favorite cosplayer Ivy Doomkitty dressed as a Starfleet officer? I know I cant! But I just wanted to let all you true nerd girls out in the world that you are appreciated and keep being you!

Ivy Doomkitty star trekhottie star trek fanblonde star trek fan

So before we get into the Marvel Comic Star Trek Original Crew Series I would like to take a brief moment and just kind of give you a crash course of the main crew members of the USS Enterprise, I feel that many of you all ready know and love the characters but I figured on a slim chance their could be some newbies reading this update to the Star Trek universe I should do my duty and educate you with some slight knowledge and research. So sit back and relax and get to know the crew of the Enterprise, as I will guarantee that by the end they will seem like old friends.

Captain James Tiberius Kirkwilliam shatner

James Tiberius Kirk is the Captain of the USS Enterprise, he was born in Riverside, Iowa and as a youngster witnessed a massacre that claimed 4,000 lives by the hands of a madman. Kirk went on to join the Starfleet Academy and became the only person to every pass the Kobayashi Maru test that was designed to be unbeatable; he did so by thinking outside the box and reprograming it! He survived on many ships and even thought a class at the Academy all the while getting promotions until finally becoming the youngest Captain in Starfleet history! Kirk took over the USS Enterprise for a five year mission, and along this journey he made friends and lots of enemies as Kirk always did what was right. Kirk is also a ladies man as he has hooked up with not only human women but also a few aliens! Kirk is noble, cocky, adventures and smart and has earned the love and respect of his crew as well as higher ups of StarFleet even though he tends to break lots of rules and disobey orders. Actor William Shatner played Captain Kirk in the series who is also known for his TV Roles in shows like T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911, The Practice and TekWorld! Shatner is an icon for Sci-Fi fans and remains active in acting even at his age of 85!

Chief Science Officer SpockLeonard Nimoy

Spock is Vulcan who’s mother is human and this gives him slight emotions, something that full blooded Vulcans find illogical! His father is the very wise and highly respected Sarek, who loves his son but also finds his friendships on the Enterprise odd. On the U.S.S. Enterprise Spock has two roles: science officer and first officer and is best friend to Captain Kirk and will do whatever it takes to keep the ship and its crew safe and is very loyal to the Starfleet, Spock even gave his own life to save the lives of the crew when Kahn attacked the ship causing a radiation leak. After being reborn thanks to the Genesis Project, he rejoins the crew and takes his position on the Enterprise again and later becomes a federation ambassador where he tries to patch up the relationship between them and later also tries to help Romulus from a supernova that leaves him trapped in a parallel timeline. Actor Leonard Nimoy played Spock in the series who is also known for his TV roles in such shows as Mission: Impossible, In Search Of, Ancient Mysteries and Fringe. Sadly on February 27, 2015 the world lost Nimoy from complications of COPD. Leonard Nimoy was and still is a icon of geek culture and beyond.

Dr Leonard Bones McCoyDeforest Kelley

Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy is the medical officer for the USS Enterprise and is also very close friends with Captain Kirk. He is divorced and would later marry Natira, the priestess of Yonada, and has one daughter. McCoy at one point has to take the essence of Spock who has passed away and return it to his body on the planet Vulcon in order to return his friend and some time verbal punching bag Spock back to full life. While he gets annoyed with Spock and his logical ways, it’s clear throughout the series and movies that he really does care about him and looks at him as a good friend. While he is good at what he does in the medical field,  McCoy can be very tense and can get very angry when requests are made he feels is impossible or to demanding. One thing that has eaten away at McCoy his whole life is the fact he helped his father commit suicide when he was gravely ill, and after his father’s death a cure was found that would have cured him. McCoy is a loyal sometimes cranky crew member who is the best damn medical doctor you could ever ask for, and later in his Star Fleet career he would become an Admiral. Actor DeForest Kelley played McCoy in the series who is also known for his roles in such TV shows as The Lone Ranger, Route 66 and Bonanza among many other western shows. Kelley would sadly pass away on June 11, 1999 at the age of 79 from stomach cancer. The world lost a great character actor and one of my favorite characters of the Star Trek universe.

Commander Montgomery %22Scotty%22 ScottJames Doohan

Montgomery “Scotty” Scott acts as the Enterprise’s second officer and chief engineer and is truly the man who makes the star ship come alive and keeps up the maintenance and acts as the miracle worker when things need to be fixed in a pinch or even under pressure of battle. While many of the crew are his close friends, he looks at the Enterprise as a son and treats it with high respect and acts as if the ship is truly his responsibility. When both Kirk and Spock are off ship, Scotty becomes the acting commander of the ship, even though he would rather just be the ship’s engineer. After his retirement from the Star Fleet, Scotty gets aboard a shuttle that crashes in a Dyson Sphere and uses the transporter to store himself in the buffer for decades and is recovered by the USS Enterprise-D and its commander Captain Picard, and even in the future he saves the ship he loves one last time. Smart, witty and lovable, Scotty is a guy who is loyal to his fellow crew members and his ship. Actor James Doohan played Scotty in the original series and is also known for his TV roles in Encounter, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The F.B.I. to name a few. Sadly in 1994 James Doohan passed away at the age of 85 from pulmonary fibrosis. Scotty is a great character and really is the blood that keeps the star ship up and running.

Lieutenant Hikaru SuluGeorge Takei

Hikaru Sulu is the third officer, a Lieutenant and senior helmsman of the USS Enterprise and later becomes a Captain and commands the USS Excelsior. Sulu is very wise and good at what he does and has pulled the starship out of danger many times. He is a master of fencing, botany and gymnastics and when need be could and has taken control of the Enterprise as acting officer in charge. Sulu would later in life go on to have a daughter named Demora Sulu who as well is working for Star Fleet. Actor George Takei plays Sulu in the original series and also starred in such TV Shows as Batman Beyond, The Simpsons and Archer to name a very select few. Takei is still active in acting and even runs his own social media that is filled with some funny thoughts and posts.  He is 79 years old as of this update going up.

Lieutenant Nyota UhuraNichelle Nichols

Nyota Uhura is a lieutenant and chief communications officer for the Enterprise and is well respected for her talents and skills. She is skilled at singing and has entertained her fellow shipmates with songs during off duty get togethers. During her time with the Federation, she has been promoted to lieutenant commander and then full commander later on. She as well as the rest of the crew also get in trouble when they disobey orders to get the reborn body of Spock off Genesis and goes back to just being communications officer under Kirk’s crew. It’s implied that she and Scotty might have been romantic together and in the new Trek universe she is dating/romantic with Spock. Actress Nichelle Nichols plays Uhura in the original series, and she has also been on TV shows like Futurama, Batman The Animated Series and Heroes. While slowed down, Nichelle is still active as an actress and is 83 years old as of this update posting.

Ensign Pavel ChekovWalter Koenig

Pavel Andreievich Chekov is the navigator for the Enterprise and is super smart and an honor graduate from the Space Academy. When needed he can also fill in as the ship’s science officer when Spock is away and is very capable of doing so. He later gets promoted to a lieutenant as well as tactical officer and chief of security. He is loyal to Captain Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew and even helped Kirk hijack the Enterprise so they could get the newly reborn Spock off of the Genesis planet. Actor Walter Koenig played Chekov in the original series and also made appearances in such shows as Ben Casey, Columbo and Babylon 5. Koenig is still active as an actor and is 79 years old as of this update’s posting.

Nurse Christine ChapelMajel Barrett

Christine Chapel is the head nurse of the Enterprise and works under the orders of Dr. McCoy. She mostly stays on the ship when others explore planets but has left from time to time. While originally she was trying to work things out with her fiancé Dr. Roger Korby, his disappearance left her without a man, and she began finding herself having feelings for Spock.  The fling would end up going nowhere. Later in her career, she becomes a doctor aboard the Enterprise and later is stationed at the Starfleet headquarters. Actress Majel Barrett played Chapel.  She was the married to show creator Gene Roddenberry and appeared as the voice for the computers in many of the Star Trek shows and movies. Barrett passed away in 2008 from leukemia.  She was 76 years old.

Spock Kirk Scotty

So that was just a very brief look at the crew of the USS Enterprise and many great facts and achievements from them have been left out of this quick look as I really think that if you have never watched this show or movies, you really should check them out for yourself as they are truly great science fiction watches. So I guess we should beam onto the Marvel Comic series based on Star Trek’s original crew, and I should also thank Mavericks Cards And Comics, Bell Book And Comic, Dark Star and Lone Star Comics for having issues in stock so that I could do this review. I am also getting a message from my communicator from Kirk telling me to remind you that I grade these 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 i’s art and story. So if you’re wearing a red shirt, you might want to change out of it now as it’s time to go on 18 missions with the crew of the USS Enterprise. So beam us to it Scotty!

Marvel Star Trek 1

Star Trek # 1  ***
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Marvel    #1 of 18

A powerful light cloud being is floating in space and is destroying ships and what ever else gets in its way! It’s been years sense the USS Enterprise went on a mission and Kirk is able to finally talk his way back into becoming the Captain of it once more and is setting out to try and stop what ever this thing is from reaching anymore planets, his crew has many familiar faces on board like Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura as well as some new faces including Captain Decker who is forced out of running the ship and into a officer role on this mission by Starfleet and Kirk who is taking over causing some major heat between the two. At the Enterprise Crew meeting they watch in horror live as a space station is attacked and just vanishes thanks to the light cloud! And worse just before this the teleport was not ready on the remodeled Enterprise and many new crew members lost their lives, and this brings aboard a “drafted” Dr. McCoy who was retired and Ilia a Deltan who will act as the ships navigator on this dangerous mission. Decker and Ilia know each other and its clear that this once Captain had a relationship with her. While taking off on their mission the Enterprise gets stuff in a wormhole along side a meteor and Decker over rides Kirks command to use Phasers and uses torpedo’s instead and this saves the ship damage and gets them out of the wormhole but also causes even more of a rift between the two Captains! Once safe and back on track a small ship asks to board the Enterprise and to Kirks shock and joy the pilot of the small ship is Spock!

This Marvel Comic series starts off with an adaptation of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and to be honest it was a wise choice as it was a great way to showcase the crew as well as bring everyone up to date on what was happing with the original crew. Plus it also helped add to the amazing over all enjoyment this comic reader and Trekkie had relaxing and reading it and remembering back to the first time I had seen the movie as well as read this issue in my younger days. The story this far has Admiral Kirk hooking and crooking his way back into becoming the Captain of the Enterprise that is being sent out on a important mission to stop an unknown cloud object from reaching the planet that its two days away from. Throw in some drama between the ships former Captain as well as some old relationship baggage and your have this issue in a nutshell. Captain Kirk in this issue is a man on a mission and his mission is not just save people from the unknown that’s heading their way but to also get command of the Enterprise once more. Kirk is as cocky as ever but it’s clear he is slightly outdated when it comes to all the improvements that have been made to his ship. Captain Decker is a man of pride and he feels betrayed by Kirk and Star Fleet as he is taken off Captain duty and forced to serve under the man who weaseled the position away from him, but Decker is also a slime ball when it comes to his love life as its reveled that he just up and left Ilia without even so much as a goodbye. Speaking of Ilia she is straight business and wants to do the best at her job, but while she puts on a strong front it’s clear she was hurt by Decker’s past behavior. Dr. McCoy is upset that he was forced back into active duty as he was enjoying retirement, but quickly comes around when he sees that his good friend Kirk is the one who really wanted his help on this mission. Spock starts the issue off on his home planet trying to ride himself of emotions that his human side has and soon finds he cannot and returns to the Enterprise unannounced and is a sight for sore eyes for his friends. The rest of the original crew Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura all are present but are background players. The Cloud Light Thing in the sky is clearly a force to be wreckend with as it not only takes down a federation station but also a Klingon ship! What is this cloud…I guess we will have to read more issues to find out! The plot while slow is a good way to reintroduce the crew to fans as well as to new readers and that’s why it was wise to kick this series off with the film adaptation as it was the new Trek product out and could help kick of Trek-Mania for youngsters of 1980. The cover is cool and eye catching for classic Science Fiction fans and the art inside done by the team of Dave Cockrum & Klaus Janson (Inks) and is pretty great stuff with most the characters looking close to the actors who played them. Over all a great solid first issue to kick off Marvels Star Trek series and makes me really looking forward to the next mission…I mean issue.

Marvel Star Trek 2

Star Trek # 2  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #2 of 18

Captain Kirk welcomes Spock back into the crew as he takes his place as the science officer, but while everyone is happy to see him, Spock shows no emotions toward them and this causes some tension between he and McCoy. Spock also helps Scotty figure out a way to save fuel and go into warp drive and while flying they run into the cloud that attacks! After a very powerful blast the Enterprise is in trouble until they are able to send the cloud a message of peace and that attacks stops leaving them puzzled and relieved that the cloud has given up its aggression. As the Enterprise flies through the cloud the find at in the middle is a ship so huge its like nothing they have ever seen before, and worse a living energy comes aboard and kills a security officer and tries to steal the ships records and when Spock tries to stop it Ilia gets the beings rage and it makes her vanish into thin air. The alien cloud ship then pulls the Enterprise into its docking and sends a robotic version of Ilia onto the ship who is suppose to record the everyday functions of humans for a master named V’ger, while the real Ilia is deceased this robot has her memories and Kirk decides that Decker should be her guide on the ship hoping that the relationship between the two can help take it off course for Earth as it’s now only six hours away! In the end Spock lurks in the shadows and gives a crew member the Vulcan nerve pinch and the issue ends leaving us not knowing why he did his action.

This second issue in the Movie Adaptation part is the set up for what the story is really about as we learn the cloud is really around a giant ship that is a beings named V’ger who records and loves knowledge. The Enterprise is the only hope for Earth as they are the only ones who have gotten this close to the ship and have the key to maybe save Earth in the forum of the robotic Ilia. Captain Kirk is as sure of himself as ever and his war of words and control with Decker rises to anger in this issue as every suggestion Decker gives the Captain is ignored and this even leads to Ilia being killed causing tension between the to very hostile. The thing is Kirk is not listening to Decker but is listening to Spock who he trusts and who he doesn’t feel intimidated by, and worse Kirk orders Decker to be the guide to the robotic Ilia and try to charm this machine with the memories of his one time lover in order to save Earth. Dr. McCoy is the man who figures out the make up of the robot and is the possible key to save them all if they can teach the machine to bring the message back to it’s master that people deserve to live. Bring the question who or what is V’ger and why does he want to combine with the “Creator” and if he does what does this mean for the universe? This is the main question that should and was on the minds of readers of this comic. While besides Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Decker the rest of the crew have small parts but are all very important to the issue as their actions and jobs move the plot along. The Science Fiction action is high in this issue as we get a space battle as well as a semi fight with an alien energy being that leaves two crew members dead. Plus the issue ends on a cliffhanger as Spock knocks out one of his own fellow crew and his reasoning is left with the message “Continued Next Issue”! The issues cover is pretty great and has the energy being reeking havoc on the Enterprise bridge and the art inside is once more done by Dave Cockrum who does a solid job of capturing the actors likeness in some shots, while in others his art seems a little rushed. Over all a solid issue that moves the plot along and is doing a good job of capturing the mood and feel of the movie it’s based on. So lets get to issue three and see why Spock did what he did and who or what V’ger is!

Marvel Star Trek 3

Star Trek # 3  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #3 of 18

Decker is trying all he can to get to the memories of Ilia who is very robotic and just wants more and more data for her master V’ger who plans on absorbing the crew after he gets the information he seeks. Meanwhile Spock has knocked out his fellow crew member so that he could get into a space suit and float into the center of the ship that he has figured out is V’ger! Kirk goes out after Spock and they find the V’ger breaks down all that is kills and stores it as part of it’s own being, and when Spock attempts to mind meld with it and is overloaded with its power but finds the V’ger is a living machine that comes from a planet of living machines and his quest is to find out the meaning of its life as well as find God to get the answers. V’ger has reached Earth and is about to kill all humans living on it but Kirk as an idea and says he has the answers its looking for and after a small outburst V’ger allows the Enterprise to enter into it’s main brain frame were Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Decker and the robot Ilia exit the ship and find the V’ger is really a missing NASA satellite called the Voyager Six that went missing 300 years ago and that its real creator is man! Decker enters the satellite’s missing code ending its reign of terror as it now has the answers its seeks but this turns Decker and Ilia into light beings and the next evolution for mankind. In the end Kirk and the Enterprise crew have saved the day and head into space for many more adventures.

The movie adaptation ends here and has Kirk and the crew having to use their wits and knowledge to stop the destruction of Earth. So V’ger is really just a missing NASA satellite that 300 years ago did not get to fulfill its mission of sending back data is collected to the space station after it was lost in a black hole. So in reality many people lost their lives all over a satellite that could not share its data with NASA. Kirk is very quick with his plan as he is able to save the Earth by bluffing and then able to prove that man is V’ger’s creator when he comes up with the code that is needed to unload its data. Decker is also a hero as he manually enters the code after they learn the satellite has been damaged and this causes Decker to become something more than human and as well be with Ilia forever. Spock who was having issues of his own due to his failed test on Vulcon has his answers and at one point cries for V’ger who will not truly have his. The nice touch to the end of the comic is that the Enterprise heads out into space looking for more adventures and is the perfect set up for this Marvel Comic series. The cover is great and has The Enterprise in battle showcasing the ship and what it can do, the inside art is once more done by Dave Cockrum and is fitting and better looking than issue two. Marvel Comics did a great job of adapting this film into a comic and I could say that in the 80’s and 90’s no one did these types of comics as good as Marvel. So with this Motion Picture adaptation out of the way lets see what new adventures the Marvel Bullpen have in store for us.

Marvel Star Trek 4

Star Trek # 4  ***
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Marvel    #4 of 18

The Enterprise has been selected to transport an alien named Raytag M’Gora who is insane and was captured and must be returned to prison that he escaped from. Also on this mission they must play host to Ambassador R’Kgg who’s people are open to negations with the federation, while Kirk don’t mind given the Ambassador a ride he is very angry about the prisoner as his ship is not set up to transport a crazed alien like that. While beaming Raytag M’Gora aboard the alien breaks free and runs amok until Spock is able to use the Vulcan Nerve Pinch to knock him out and place him into his cell. Raytag M’Gora begs Kirk not to return him to the prison planet as he claims it’s a terrible place and it is what drove him mad and warns them if they get to close to the area he will not be the only prisoner! The closer they get crew members begin to see werewolves and monsters with Sulu and Chekov seeing a ghost. Kirk don’t know what to make of these supernatural sightings but believes his crew and soon comes face to face with Count Dracula who appears on the bridge and knocks security around before disappearing, adding to the mystery that is unfolding on the Enterprise. As Dracula escapes he makes his way to Ambassador R’Kgg and kills him, and after doing so the evil visions disappear until the Enterprise finds a Haunted House planet and Kirk, Spock, McCoy and other crew members beam down and find a young woman being attacked by Frankenstein’s Monster! They are able to defeat the Monster but soon find themselves surrounded by monsters and the young blonde woman tells them she has been held prisoner there for a long time and wants to leave. But no one is leaving as well armed Klingons appears and take the landing party prisoners and send a message to acting commander Scotty that they have his friends and want the ship turned over. In the cell Raytag M’Gora lets out a crazy laugh as our issues ends.

The Crew of the Enterprise vs. the monsters is the best way to describe this fun and entertaining issue, and while it does not feel like a Star Trek episode it does feel like an episode of the animated series mixed with Scooby-Doo. The plot has Kirk and crew getting tricked into a Haunted House world while trying to deliver a alien prisoner back to prison and it appears that the illusions and plan was that of the Klingons who hate the federation and want to see Kirk and his crew pay for crimes they feel the universe has infected them with. Kirk is right to not want to take this mission as the ship and crew was not prepared for the evil and madness that waited them during this one. Spock tries his best to put logic to what he is seeing as many of the monsters that appeared were based on legend of Earth’s novels and ghost stories, but he is also the one who finds that the monsters are made of a living organism. Ambassador R’Kgg seemed like a good natured alien and while killed supposedly by Dracula I think there is more to R’Kgg than what we have seen in this issue and almost think he is playing possum on the words of Raytag M’Gora who was the last person he talked to. Speaking of Raytag M’Gora while I think he is crazy and has a violent streak in him, I do think he was trying to warn the Enterprise of what was awaiting them at the Haunted House planet. Plus who is this young blonde woman and why is she in this Haunted House world? Nice to see that the Klingons are the ones behind this set up and fake haunted planet, as it makes sense that they would do whatever they can to capture Kirk and his crew. Not to mention a highlight for this Monster Kid comic reader is the fact that Dracula from the Marvel Comic series Tomb Of Dracula has a cameo as the issues also has a werewolf, ghost, grim reaper and Frankenstein’s Monster to name a few of the ghouls who attack. While again it does not feel like the TV Show nor the movie that spawned this series it does have a nice comic book feel to it and that’s what makes it fun. The cover is cool and the art is still being done by Dave Cockrum making this solid and fun issue for this reader. While again many of the crew take small roles its great to see Kirk and Spock take on monsters even if they are not real and makes me look forward to how this mission will work out for them, so lets not wait and move onto issue five.

Marvel Star Trek 5

Star Trek # 5   **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #5 of 18

The Klingons to show Kirk on this Haunted House planet they mean business kill one of his crew members as everyone watches on unable to help. They then turn on Kirk and the crew and take Spock hostage and they beam up to their Bird-Of-Pray were they tell Spock that he is the only one that will survive from the Enterprise as they have orders to kill the crew and take the ship to learn how it’s new warp drive works! While Kirk and his crew deal with the unknown woman they beamed aboard that they find out is not human and worse the Kingons attack their warp drives and leaves the Enterprise stranded in that location! Spock finds out that the “Monsters” that are attacking his fellow crew members is due in part to a man who was a Horror Movie archivist who is being used as a weapon by The Klingons! Working with the Klingons on this take over mission is Raytag M’Gora who has a projector implanted in his skull that helps bring the monsters to the ship, and we also find out that the unknown woman is the image of the “weapons” wife! Spock figures out and is able to warn The Enterprise to destroy the image of the woman that triggers the archivist to wake up that in turn over loads the projector inside Raytag M’Gora killing him and sending the monsters to the Klingons ship! Spock and the Archivist beam aboard the Enterprise and they leave the area and complete there mission and deliver the dead body of Raytag to the prison planet.

The monsters of the movies run wild on the Enterprise thanks to a horror movie fan! The plot of this issue has The Klingons using a new weapon they developed that allows a persons fears to come to life against the Enterprise so they can take over the ship and learn new federation secrets, but thanks to the brilliant mind of Spock the plan not only fails but also backfires as they become the target of the monsters. Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise Crew are helpless in this saga as The Klingons dismantle their warp drive, take Spock hostage and have the monsters under their control, but I should say while the odds were grim Kirk very lost the fighting spirit. Spock meanwhile even as a hostage keeps his wits just like all Vulcans would and is the brains behind turning the tables on his captures. The Klingons are cold-blooded killers and not only murder one Star Fleet security officer but also have plans in place to kill everyone on the Enterprise! The monsters while just made real by imagination and memories are still a force of destruction and murder, and the poor sap who is creating them is just a pawn in a sick game of ship stealing. Raytag as well is a pawn but a willing one as he felt by helping the Klingons they could save him from a fate of being a prisoner the rest of his life, as for the mystery woman she is just a sad case as she is just the memory of the Archivist’s murdered wife. The classic banter between Spock and McCoy is present in this issue and that’s always fun to read as it really made me flashback to many of the scenes from the films were the two were at odds over silly disagreements or just McCoy not understanding the lack of emotions of Vulcans. While this was a silly plot for the most part I still found myself enjoying reading it and wondering what adventures the Enterprise would have next. Being five issues in I must also say that my favorite character has to be Spock as while not done perfect and for some reason is slightly off he seems to shine more than most the other crew members. Kirk is great just as is McCoy but while they are as well close to their movie and show characters they still are slightly off. The art in this issue is done by Dave Cockrum again and while it is good for some reason some panels seem off as in one panel has Kirk looking like a pig face version of The Phantom Of The Opera and another has McCoy looking like a bug eyed monster, very odd a very sloppy. The cover is great and eye catching and leaves you wanting to see why McCoy is killing a woman with a phaser. Over all a slightly above average comic adventure of the crew of the Enterprise that leaves you wanting to see what the next adventure awaits us.

Marvel Star Trek 6

Star Trek # 6  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #6 of 18

The Enterprise is picked to escort Ambassador Phral of the planet Yannid VI to a signing that will allow them to join the federation, but after the transporter has an issue and when Phral appears onboard he has a knife in his back and is dead! Kirk calls the palace on Yannid VI and they confirm that the Ambassador was alive and well when he left to beam aboard The Enterprise and this could cause major issues of them joining the Federation. Kirk assigns Spock and McCoy to try and figure out what happened while he tries to talk peace and confirm that they will find the murderer of their citizen. While investigating Spock and McCoy find lots of odd details about this murder like that fact it appears he has dead 15 minutes before he was beamed up as well as all video of the beam up is missing due to a power surge. Tension is running wild on Yannid VI as many of the people want to join the Federation while others want to join the Klingons and this becomes dangerous when Sulu, Chekov and a female crew member DiFalco are attacked at a bar and are able to escaped when they are beamed aboard the Enterprise. Kirk has been very edgy sense the death of the Ambassador even snapping at his crew and finally comes clean and tells them about when he was younger he on accident shot Phral on a rescue mission that at the time was a prince and put the would be ruler into a coma making him miss his turn of ruling. Spock has news for the Captain as he thinks the body on the ship is that of an imposter set up by the real Phral who wants revenge on Kirk and wants to start a new life. Kirk, Spock and McCoy put on disguises and beam down to Yannid to find a famed plastic surgeon as they think she might be helping him on this set up, but she is killed and Kirk and crew are found by the Prince and his guards who blame them for the death of the Doctor as well as the Ambassador! Spock using his logical mind is able to trick Phral who has had plastic sugary into exposing his true idientity and this clears Kirk of wrong doing as well helps Yannid VI in joining the Federation as they see Kirk and crew are men of their word.

Spock does it again as just like Sherlock Holmes, Dick Tracy or Batman he uses logic and great detective skills to solve a crime of murder, set up and betrayal. This issues plot is this an Ambassador who is to sign for his planet to join the federation and who has bad blood with Kirk is killed while beaming aboard the Enterprise and this leads to Kirk being the prime suspect and puts a strain on them joining the greater cause of peace with the Federation, but thanks to McCoy and Spock they are able to find the answers to who is the real killer and expose a plan that would have not only caused Kirk to loose his career but also could have caused war! Kirk is a man with lots of stress and some guilt as he feels like an accident when he was a young Star Fleet member left a man who was to be King in a coma making him loss his chance at ruling, not to mention he was sent to save the Prince and in turn is the one who ended up hurting him. But while Kirk is short tempered he still does his job and puts his two best crew members on the case to solve who set this murder up. Spock and McCoy are fast and solve the case in short time as all the evidence don’t add up and they are onto the twisted plan that was put into place thanks to video from Yannid and the body onboard. Nice to see Sulu and Chekov get to show off a little as they sword fight off their attackers in the bar! Ambassador Phral is a bitter, greedy and lying man who set up his own “death” in order to get away with stolen money. His actions caused a Civil War on his home planet as well as could have caused a war with the Federation! Not to mention he murdered a doctor as well as some poor soul to get away with his crimes, but thanks to Spock and McCoy his cover is blown and he is taken away for punishment. This was another great adventure and love that Sherlock Holmes reference and feel to it, not to mention McCoy gets to deliver “She’s Dead Jim” during the books final. The cover is ok and nothing special and the art is done by Dave Cockrum again and is pretty good, I should also note that Marvel’s Editor In Chief at this time was the one and only Jim Shooter! To sum it up a good issue that made for a fun read that blended Science Fiction with Detective touches that entertained for sure.

Marvel Star Trek 7

Star Trek # 7   **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #7 of 18

The Enterprise is sent to a planet that in a short time will be surrounded by a poisoned cloud that will leave its 200 residents dead and the world un-livable. Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy and two security officers beam down to the planet to try and talk to its people to come with them in order to survive. Once on the planet Kirk and crew soon find that the simple minded aliens have been awaiting them and have giant statues built of the crew members in town that have been their for millenniums, and worse they will not leave as they think Kirk, Spock and McCoy will protect them from the approaching death cloud. While Scotty takes control of the Enterprise and tries to disrupt the cloud with phasers and fail Kirk, McCoy and Spock follow a alien who is about to evolve and find that these aliens are very smart and when Spock mind melds with the alien he finds that the planet has a defense system that defeats the cloud and that this alien race can see the future and as our crew leaves they have more questions than answers.

A planet is in danger over a dangerous cloud and Kirk and crew must try and stop it and save the alien race that dwells on the planet is the plot of this issue and while solid and good it does kind of feel like a throw away issue, as the dangerous cloud has a been there done that feel to it. The threat seems high for the crew as always as they must risk their own necks in order to do their job for being the saviors of the universes. The Alien race are simple weird looking creatures who are all kind hearted, but while they seem dim witted they are in fact slightly more intelligent than they appear and can also see into the future. Kirk in this issue goes to the planet to try and talk to it’s people about beaming aboard the Enterprise in order to survive but finds himself stuck on the planet and death approaching and must send his own ship and crew on what could be a suicide mission in attacking the cloud to try and break it up! Kirk is under lots of pressure but as always he holds his cool and helps lead the charge in everyone’s survival. McCoy and the security guards are just around and don’t offer too much to this issue but are at least cool to see around. Scotty steps up this issue and burns his hands bad trying to beam down Kirk and his landing party even after he warned them this was not a good idea and as well takes control of the Enterprise and tries his best to defeat the cloud and protect his fellow crew members. Spock is the true hero once more as his actions and quick thinking is what saves the day and gives him the idea of pulling a lever that activated the planets defense. The Cloud is just that a cloud that floats around space and spreads poisoned air and radiation to planets it passes by. The cover is pretty great and is very eye catching and the art inside is done by Mike Nasser and is really good! Over all a good issue but nothing special.

Marvel Star Trek 8

Star Trek # 8  **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #8 of 18

The Mox an alien race has attacked The Enterprise and has the ship in a force field that is also sending out electronic waves that is driving the crew mad with massive headaches as well as is draining their weapons and warp drives of energy and if this continues to much longer the ship will explode. Kirk and crew are in bad shape and when Spock is kidnapped and beamed aboard the enemy ship it is now not only a battle for survival but also now a rescue mission. Kirk, McCoy, Chekov as well as a few fellow crew members beam down to a near by planet that is populated by The Mox and start their rescue mission as the Enterprise is still in a bad way in space. While on the planet they are attacked with older style weapons from guns to spears and find another race is on the planet that as well are after The Mox! On the ship Professor Fowler is dying from a heart element as Dr. Christine Chapel tries to explain to her that the ship is stuck due to an attack and her life is in danger as she needs a heart transplant! On the planet Kirk soon finds out that the aliens that attacked them are called The Orgs and they are on a mission to attack The Mox who are really robots who are at war with the Orgs who they find threatening as they are battling over the planet they both share. In the end Spock is able to use his skills to free the Enterprise from the force field that was holding it and in turn Kirk uses the ships phasers to stun all The Orgs and with the help of Professor Fowler who sneaks herself onto the planet she with her new robotic heart is able to bring peace between The Mox and The Orgs and this mission comes to an end.

The war between machines and humanoids takes place in this Star Trek issue as they cant get along as one wants what the other has and the other lives in fear of what the other wants to take away. Kirk and the crew are under attack as well as The Mox who are the machines go on the attack and hold them at bay as they want to steal Spock who they think can talk to some simple creatures who have strong psychic powers that live on the planet and think they can protect them from the attacking Orgs who are planning to go to total war that night, so as you can see once more Spock is the main hero who not only helps The Enterprise escape the force field trap that is about to blow up the ship from the pressure but also helps stop the war that is about to break out. So what I have learned these eight issues so far is that while Captain Kirk is in charge the really hero in Marvel Comics eyes was Spock. Professor Fowler is a character who is very sick and is in need of a heart transplant who for some reason gets a second wind knocks out several crew members, hijacks the transporter room and beams herself to the planet as the war is going on, is able to get a robotic heart and stay on the planet and brings peace to the two feuding sides. But really you could have cut Fowler out and the story would have been just as impactful and a little less mashed up feeling. The cover has Spock being surrounded by The Mox and is ok and the art inside is done by the team of Dave Cockrum & Ricardo Villamonte and looks pretty good and the characters look like the actors pretty well. Over all another fun issue and shows that Star Trek and Marvel Comics made a good team to bring entertaining issues to readers hands.

Marvel Star Trek 9

Star Trek # 9  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #9 of 18

The Enterprise is heading for some down time and while heading back to a base station they find a missing federation ship named the Endeavor that has been missing for 22 years! They try to communicate with the ghost ship and get no response, but they do get attacked by the ship and must defend themselves and shot down the attacking ship. Once the Endeavor is down Kirk and crew beam aboard it and find the crew all long dead and killed by phaser shots, and worse one of the Enterprise crew members becomes possessed and tries to murder his friends! Spock and McCoy get the possessed crew member under control and they all head back aboard The Enterprise and learn from the ghost ships logs that a madness swept the ship and caused people to become murderous and savage after picking up an 89 year old woman who was supposed to have died at the age of 36 who is the grand mother of Enterprise crew member Karen Hester who is a zoologist and one time lover of Captain Kirk. The mission is clear now and Kirk along with Spock, McCoy and fellow crew head to the freezing cold planet and find that it held a secret and illegal lab that was conducting transporter beam experiments that caused many deaths and the possessed crew members have the spirit of those who died being guanine pigs and want to kill Karen as she is related to the head doctor who conducted these experiments. In the end Kirk figures out a way to trap the possessed spirits that call themselves Unity on the planet and blows up the secret lab with them inside and in the end the infected crew members are getting better and Karen transfers off The Enterprise as she still loves Kirk and knows she has to let him go.

This feels like an episode of the classic Star Trek series as the plot has a ghost Starfleet ship being taken over by the spirits of people who were killed during transporter experiments and now want revenge against the doctor who conducted them, who has long been dead and they confuse her relative and currant Enterprise crew member as their target and its up to Kirk to save the day. The Unity is the spirits and by all accounts they are very dangerous as they can force living people to turn on each other in fits of rage and don’t care about anything else besides revenge. Kirk is calm and shows why he is the captain of the Enterprise as he is quick witted and able to trick The Unity to it’s death as well as saves his infected crew members from a death that would be right around the corner, so for this issue Kirk is the true hero! Karen Hester is a woman who while a member of the Federation is really just hung up on Kirk as she dated him for three years and can not get over the fact they broke up, she is an interesting character as he grandmother was responsible for the deaths that made up The Unity. The rest of the crew are around and play background characters very well and add their own touches to the adventures that unfolds before us readers eyes. The cool thing about this issue is that it allows Kirk to be the hero and not Spock like so many other issues in this series has allowed. The cover is pretty cool as The Unity looks great, but the crew members look pretty sloppy. The art is done by Dave Cockrum & Frank Springer and looks good and fitting for this sci-fi comic based on a TV Show and Movie. Over all issue nine is really solid and one that was a great read and captured the mood and feel of Star Trek really well.

Marvel Star Trek 10

Star Trek # 10  **1/2
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #10 of 18

Captain Kirk is getting over the flu and worse the planet the Enterprise is researching is surrounded by magnetic fields and a ground team must take some readings form it’s surface. Spock and McCoy volunteer and after crashing on the planet thanks to the magnetic field they soon find themselves without a way to communicate with the Enterprise and have even stumbled upon a primitive race that is about to sacrifice a woman named Shulu to the dragon god, and after she escapes their grip she runs into Spock and McCoy to protect her from the angry tribe that want to see her dead! Spock and McCoy’s phasers clog up as well thanks to the magnetic field and while McCoy and the girl get away, Spock is captured and forced to be a slave to the Dragon Lizard worshiping tribe as McCoy along with the smaller tribe that Shulu comes from come up with a plan to rescue Spock that has McCoy teaching them how to make and use bow and arrows. A rescue mission happens and Spock is set free and the evil tribe leader is killed and McCoy soon learns that his new friends are just as cruel as the ones they over threw and Spock and McCoy find themselves once more being hunted as the new tribe in power turns on them for questioning their customs, in the end Kirk and a shuttle comes down and saves the pair from what would have been a for sure death at the hands of primitive humanoids.

This tenth issue adventure is pretty good but also feels a little lackluster and almost like a throwaway episode of the show as they stretch the plot out as long as they could and than padded the rest of the issue with looks at the uniforms and gear of crew members to meet the page count. The plot is this Spock and McCoy get stuck on a planet with primitive man and save the life of a young woman who was going to be killed to please a false god, Spock gets kidnapped and enslaved and this forces McCoy to team with the smaller tribe and break federation rules when he teaches them how to make new weapons and defeat their enemies and saves Spock. And before the pair is saved they learn that one mans evil ways just leads to more evil ways. Captain Kirk in this issues takes a back seat as he is sick with the flu and only in the end comes to his friends aid when they are late to report back to the Enterprise. Spock is noble and stays behind to save the life of the young woman and McCoy and becomes a slave for his deeds, Spock truly is a logical and iconic hero character. McCoy shows that he is a loyal friend to Spock as well as proves he will not stand by if human lives are in danger. The cover for this issue is great and makes it look like in the issue Spock was going to gladiator fight with a primitive man and while that would have been amazing and fit the tag line “ Spock…The Barbarian” it sadly did not live up to that epicness and instead we got a middle of the road fun story. The art in this issue is done by Leo Duranona and Klaus Janson and for the post part looks rushed and seems unfinished, and besides the ships and a few panels of crew members it’s the sloppiest work this far in the whole series up to this issue. To sum it up a cool read but by far the weakest issue this far, so lets just move on past this one.

Marvel Star Trek 11

Star Trek # 11  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #11 of 18

Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise watch the logs of another federation ship that’s crew was slowly killed by radiation and the effects it had on their bodies and minds. The Enterprise is to move Dr. Wentworth and his patients off a planet that could be effected by the radiation and must beam them all aboard and take them to a new location. First beamed aboard is a young lady named Andrea Manning who is the doctors assistant and who also has a unknown strange past with Scotty who seems sad and not to pleased to see her. With the guests now all aboard Dr. Wentworth tries his best to spill his mumbo jumbo on the crew about not taking orders and to live their own lives as it’s clear his clinic is not so much for healing, as it is a cult! In the engineering room a Witch from classic folklore attacks Scotty, knocks Kirk and Spock around plus kills two security officers before disappearing. The Witch’s name was “Black Annis” and was a myth from Scotty’s youth and after seeing it he has fallen into a bad state of fear that leaves Kirk, McCoy and Spock worried about his health and mental well being. Meanwhile Wentworth has used his power of persuasion on Sulu and Uhura and they have changed course from the Starfleet base to now a vacation planet and this angers Kirk who does not know why now his crew are not listening to his direct orders. After arresting those who are uprising against orders they soon find that more Scottish folklore monsters are after Scotty and that Andrea Manning is the one who is responsible for these terrors! As Spock and McCoy try to stop Andrea from bringing more monster to life, Kirk has it out with Wentworth who is on a quest to take over the Enterprise and spread his mind control across the galaxy…but this don’t end well for the Doctor as Kirk with a well placed punch leaves the old man knocked out on the floor. And after summing the Loch Ness Monster to attack the Enterprise, McCoy quickly sedates Andrea and the monster vanishes and they crew snap out of their brainwashed trances and deliver the Cult members to the Starfleet base.

This issue’s mission has Captain Kirk and crew going up against a Cult ran by a doctor who has the power to mind control and his assistant who can bring things form your memories to life and use against you. This has a real 60’s Manson Family and even Health But Guru feel to it as Dr. Wentworth the madman with the power of mind control wants to rule the galaxy and will use other to get it all the while faking spreading the message of being once self, when really your just being his puppet. Andrea Manning while a cult member and the doctors # 1 (as The Joker from the Tim Burton Film would say) has he own reasons for unleashing monsters from Scottish folklore onto the Enterprise as she is very upset with Scotty who was once her boyfriend and who dumped her for so he could focus on his career in Starfleet, and man she wants to mentally break him before she murders him as she tries her best to scare him to a state of 100% terror. Kirk handles his crew turning against his orders, his friend Scotty being scared out of his wits and a cult leader trying to steal his ship really well and gets to work out his frustration from all these things with one well placed and powerful punch to the cult leaders face. Scotty gets the worst of it all as the fears of his youth are used against him and all because he broke up with a young lady many years back. Crew members McCoy, Spock and Chekov all do their part to stop this sinister plan while poor Sulu and Uhura fall victim to mind control. Over all this is a very solid fun issue that had the right blend of action and science fiction sandwiched in-between a cool cover of the Enterprise under attack. The interior art was great and done by Joe Brozowski and Tom Palmer and could be my favorite art this far in the series as the characters look like the actors who played them and all side characters as well looked fantastic. This issue is making me look forward to the next issue mission as Marvel at this point in time is doing Star Trek justice in the world of comics.

Marvel Star Trek 12

Star Trek # 12  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #12 of 18

Janice Rand is now a Lt. Commander of the Icarus and is married to a Phaetonians alien named Kadan who is without a body and a energy ball inside of a pyramid case and along with more of his race they are about to take on a mission to travel to uncharted space, the downside is that Rand will be the only human aboard the ship and for the rest of her life she will not have any more human contact. This upsets Kirk who has had a past relationship with Rand, as he feels that not only her time in space alone is a bad idea but so is the fact that she is married to a alien with no body! After some words Kirk gives her his blessing on this mission that turns bad quick as the barrier drives the Phaetonians mad and now her once loving and logical husband Kadan is a madman who is controlling the starship that is now gone mad killing ships that get in its way, all the while Rand is now a prisoner! Rand during the impact with the barrier gains physic powers and sends a mind message for help to Spock and this causes Kirk to spring into action and try and save his one time woman and also the planet of the Phaetonians as Kadan plans on crashing the Icarus into it as he and the crew feel homesick! Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sulu beam aboard the Icarus and fight off traps and force fields until Spock is able to join minds with Kadan and save the planet and the Icarus crew from certain death. In the end the Phaetonians are taken to a mental asylum as they have gone mad, Janice Rand goes back to normal and is now safe and feels important as she helped Spock with Kadan’s mind meld as well as now she can divorce her husband and all ends well for Starfleet.

Captain Kirk has done it again as he on this mission not only saves a planet from destruction along with his crew but also hits on a married woman and by the end of the mission opens her mind up for a divorce! Kirk is a real ladies man as well as a great Captain and friend to those aboard his ship The Enterprise. Janice Rand is still hung up on Kirk and marries a alien who has no body, but does have a big brain and chooses to take on a mission that will have her dying in space with a ship with no human crew members! Her goal is to chart un-charted galaxies and to make an impact in her life time…but in the end does so as she truly does help Spock take control of her husbands mind who is the one controlling the out of control ship headed for impact with his home planet. Spock once more is the main man who saves the day as his mind meld technics is what allows them to take control of the ship and deliver it to a safe place. What really worked for his issue was the fact that the ships Enterprise and Icarus played cat and mouse games and the chase felt like a true episode of Star Trek! I also want to note that while Kirk and crew were on the Icarus the Enterprise was being commanded by Scotty who’s idea to save the planet was to wreck the two ships together killing everyone on board both ships, and the worst part is he was going through with the idea until Spock at the last moment was able to take control of the runaway starship! Over all while this issue is nothing to special it does have a great feel to it and I found myself enjoying reading the story as it unfolded. The cover is great and has Kadan in the center as well as an illusion of what his people use to look like above Kirk, Rand and Spock who are in pain over his power…very cool Marvel Comics stuff! The art inside is ok and is slightly sloppy in spots and is done by the team of Luke McDonnell and Tom Palmer and again while ok it does not have the appeal like the last issue did in the art department. Over all our 12 mission with the crew of the Enterprise and Marvel is well done and shows that comics based on Movies and TV Shows can be done right when in the hands of creators who care.

Marvel Star Trek 13

Star Trek # 13  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #12 of 18

Hephaestus is a resort planet filled with peace, as it’s a neutral zone and important minerals wanted by the Federation so Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise is sent down to get permission form the planets president named Mukii and talks go well as he agrees for them to mine the minerals they need. But also on the planet is Klingon Commander Kagg and his crew who want to talk Mukii and his people out of helping the Federation and more allow them to protect them and act as their allies. As tension between Federation crew and Klingon crew heat up leaving Chekov in a fistfight with a very rude Klingon who was abusing a native of Hephaestus, this resort planet is slowly turning into a war zone. As Dr. McCoy enjoys a drink at the bar he is approached by his estranged daughter Joanna who lets out her rage on her father who in turn tries to defend is actions and even meets her ill Vulcan soon to be husband Suvak who during the argument passes out! The fight leaves the native Hephaestus dead and both the Klingon and Chekov in jail, with Dr. McCoy and Dr. Chapel having to perform an autopsy on the dead primate man learning that a chip is what gives them intelligence, and when Kagg shows up the plan is revealed that the Klingons want to take over the planet and want to know were the secret base that makes the chips that makes the Hephaestus people smart is and has found it and placed a bomb in the factory to blow it up and stop the only source for the chips to be made! In Kaggs escape he takes nurse Joanna McCoy hostage and this leaves to Spock and Kirk trying to track him down, as Dr. McCoy and Dr. Chapel stay with Suvak who is dying and shows true love and courage as he goes to his loves aid in the factory and holds Kagg at bay as Kirk and the rest of the crew are beamed aboard the Enterprise, but not before Kirk sends the blueprints of making the chips to his ship. The factory blows up killing Suvak and Kagg in the process. In the end the rift between Joanna and Dr. McCoy is even wider as her love is now dead, but words from Spock speak logic to Bones who ends up ending the issue beaming down to speak to his daughter and rebuild their relationship.

This is like classic Star Trek meets classic Planet Of The Apes as the natives of Hephaestus are smart ape people who look and dress a lot like the apes from that film series wrapped up into one classic Marvel Comic issue. The plot of this issue has the Enterprise having a showdown with Klingons on a natural planet that is run by smart primate people who are being targeted by the Klingons as they want to take over their planet and by the Federation who wants to have them as allies and use some of their land for mining. And throw is a couple of murders of the Hephaestus people as well as the drama of Dr. McCoy seeing his daughter after many years of being at odds as well as the fact she wants to marry a Vulcan who is dying and you have this action back issue wrapped up. While Kirk and Spock are the main focus of the hero part of the issue and both risk their lives to save the Hephaestus people, it’s Dr. McCoy who steals the show as his drama with his daughter and the raw emotions of hating the fact she is marring a Vulcan is what drives the issue into being more than just another space adventure and rescue comic. Joanna McCoy has followed in the footsteps of her father as she is a nurse, but her feelings toward her father are every bitter and she does not respect him nor want him in her life! The Klingons lead by Commander Kagg are as blood thirsty as ever and kill and bully their way into trying to conquer and take what they want, but as always they fail and end up one the bad end of the outcome. The Hephaestus is a race of Primate Aliens who have gotten their smarts from Aliens who visited their planet years back and gave them chips in the back of their necks that allowed them to become smart, I dig the fact that with smarts came the want to make money as they turned their planet into one giant spa! The cover is great and has Kagg holding a gun to Joanna McCoy’s head and Kirk and Spock about to spring into action to save her! The interior art is done once more by the team of Tom Palmer and Joe Brozowski and looks great! Over all another great issue and proved that Jim Shooter who was the Editor In-Chief during this time was one of the best things to happen to Marvel Comics, a great read about a fun mission from the crew of The Enterprise.

Marvel Star Trek 14

Star Trek # 14  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #14 of 18

The Enterprise has found a planet that looks like ancient Egypt and it’s about to be in the patch of a lethal meteor shower that will leave any living thing dead. Kirk, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura, Chekov and many more crew members beam down to look for life and warn them of the coming doom from the sky while Scotty, Spock and a small handful of others stay aboard the Enterprise to monitor the approaching meteor storm. While on the planet Kirk is possessed by the spirit of Menteptah II a long dead pharaoh who watches as the Enterprise crew have to fight off a giant sphinx robot that they finally bring down by blowing its head off with their phasers, but the crew themselves are soon on the end of a phaser blast as the possessed Kirk blasts them and keeps them hostage. Kirk then takes his new prisoners communicators and destroys them as he thinks they can help him bring his long dead people back to life, but he missed one as McCoy had taken one off of a security officer that was killed during the battle with the giant robot. When caught using it McCoy is stunned and he and Sulu are taken to a primitive sick bay that has the hole crew getting iv’s filled with drugs that will make them slaves to the possessed Kirk who has already conned Uhura into thinking she was his queen. Spock beams down to the planet and snaps Kirk back into reality as McCoy escapes the sick bay and uses modern medicine to snap the crew out of their brainwashing. The mummies come alive as they were just normal men in a state of long slumber and are beamed off the planet to a safe location away from the meteors and harmful sun radiation that was effecting their planet. Kirk and Spock were also able to save Scotty and the Enterprise that was hit by a powerful shrinking ray fired off by one of the pyramids when they figure out the ancient computer system that controls the plants defense system. In the end everyone is back to normal and once more the crew of The Enterprise has saved the day.

“Captain Kirk and the Curse of the Space Pharaoh” is what I nicknamed this issue that has Kirk being possessed by a dead pharaoh and controlled by an Egyptian God statue who wants to use the Enterprise crew to wake up his followers that have been asleep for decades. When Captain Kirk first goes to the planet he is doing so with a noble cause as he wants to save anyone that may be on the planet from the approaching meteor shower of death, but once he gets possessed he becomes a madman with power who wants slaves and wants to please his God by doing what he commands. If not for Spock Kirk and most of the Enterprise crew would have been in a trance and no longer themselves forever! Spock for most the issue hangs out on the Enterprise with Scotty and a skeleton crew, but once he hears the message from McCoy he becomes a one man army as he beams down and rescues the day. I also like the side story of the Enterprise shrinking due to a pyramid laser ray as it adds even more adventure and drama as Scotty is in total danger. The cover is classic early 80’s Marvel and the art inside is done by Luke McDonnell and Gene Day and looks fantastic! Over all this is another solid and good issue and holds the magic of the TV Show and the Characters and is worth the read for sure.

Marvel Star Trek 15

Star Trek # 15  **1/2
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #15 of 18

Captain Kirk calls a meeting in his room and when McCoy and Spock show up they are greeted by a monster who shocks them, but they soon learn that its just Kirk in a costume and that many of the crew will be wearing them as they are going undercover on a prison world! Their mission is for a four man team to act as guards and break into the death row section of the planet where prisoners are killed in brutal ways no matter the crime they committed, the second part of the mission will follow after the success or failure of the first part of the mission. The Enterprise captures the real guard ship and Spock uses mild melding to calm them and sends them back home as members of the Enterprise will be taking their place as the mission is now told as they are looking for a young man named Tak who went missing heading for the prison planet and they need to bring him back safe and find out why he went their in the first place. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Uhura put on the costumes and head for their mission were they run across just how brutal the planet and its executions really are. While sent out to find a missing prisoner Kirk and the crew find Tak as well as are busted by a guard they must knock out and leave in a ditch! Tak informs them that he wants to die on this planet as an accident he had while drunk left his true love dead! Tak once more runs away before he can be rescued and shape shifts into a prisoner about to be executed and is saved my Kirk and crew again only for they themselves to be saved by the guard they knocked out who kills the evil warden and takes over the prison and wants to run it way different. Kirk and crew along with Tak are beamed aboard the Enterprise and Tak is set to get the mental help he needs.

This fifteenth issue in this Marvel Comic series of Star Trek issues is a good read, but could be one of the weakest this far next to maybe issue ten. The issues plot has the Enterprise crew going on a top-secret mission in a territory that is hostile and must save a young alien man who has went missing on a planet that is the galaxies worst prison with the most brutal death row! Kirk tells his crew that this mission is one they can by no way connect to the federation so if they must die in order to protect their employer so be it! The crew is wearing goofy costumes most the issue, besides Kirk who’s mask is ripped off so the good old captains face is seen by not only the prison guards but also us readers. The Warden is super evil and gets pleasure in watching the killing of his prisoners as he finds that they do not deserve respect in life or death, but he meets his maker by the hands of his own guard who puts a phaser blast hole in his back as he wants to change the evil ways of the planet. The cover for this issue is pretty good as it makes it look as if Captain Kirk has turned into The Devil as the crew look on fearful! The interior art is pretty sloppy and weak and is done by Gil Kane, and that’s shocking as his work for the most part was pretty good in other Marvel and DC Comics. While this issue is not terrible and was an enjoyable read, I just found it to get semi generic and nothing special. I do like how it has a message of don’t drink or do drugs and drive as it could lead to death! To sum it up this issue is like a throw away episode of the TV series and while worth the read will be one that you would rate lower.

Marvel Star Trek 16

Star Trek # 16  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #16 of 18

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Chekov, a security guard and Themon (who is Chekov’s girlfriend) beam down to a federation planet for its annual check-up to its people but what they find instead is a tribe of trolls who attack them and kidnap Themon! Before the battle gets to fierce McCoy and an injured Troll are beamed aboard the Enterprise so they can study what they are! While Kirk and the crew fight on against the trolls they are saved by gnomes that are lead by Torval who informs them that the colony people of this planet they were looking for are dead and eaten by the trolls! Kirk and his crew are lead to a cave were the trolls live in order to try and save Themon, while aboard the Enterprise beamed up with the now un-needed supplies are two bat riding trolls who attack and are quickly captured when the crew learn they are powerless with out their hats on and once this happens they turn back into gnomes! When Kirk and crew find Themon she is trying to communicate to the trolls who are far less hostile now and seems to understand what they crew are saying! Meanwhile McCoy figures out the real trolls are in fact people and with some medicine they will turn back normal and he comes down to the planet and transforms the trolls back to normal. Kirk and Spock put two and two together and figure out Torval and his gnomes are the real bad guys who have set this whole thing up, in the end they defeat the gnomes who explain that only four of their race are alive and they just wanted a place to be left alone, and they get it as the leave them be and transport the colony away and all ends well.

This issue pits Kirk and the Enterprise against Trolls and Gnomes on a planet that was set for research and once the smoke clears they find that the gnomes whom they thought were allies are in fact the enemies who are using hat magic to destroy and trick those who stand in their way of living on the planet alone! Kirk in this issues is leading not only the ship but the landing party and seems to be is a world of disbelief as he jokes off the fact that they are being attacked and saved by creatures of Earth folklore. Not sure why he is acting like those who are stating and believe what they are seeing is real are crazy, he just does. Nice to see Chekov used more in this issue and even given a girlfriend in the blue skinned Themon who seems to be just as into Chekov as he is into her. The rest of the crew serve their purpose with McCoy being the real hero as he figures out the cure to make the trolls back to normal and saving them from a terrible life. The Gnomes who get their power from the their hats are few in numbers with only four being all that’s left of their race, but when their little minds are together they can kill and disrupt to get their way of wanting to live in peace. The Trolls are savages at first but once they can calm down and understand what the Enterprise crew is saying they become as gentle as babies. The threat in this issue while small still packs a great adventure feel to it as the gnomes try their best to even crush the crew and trolls alive with a cave in! The cover is eye catching and the art inside is done by Luke McDonnell and is ok but in some spots is really bad as one panel has Kirk looking like Sloth from the film The Goonies, as he eyes are weird and off center. Over all another fun Marvel Trek mission that was well worth the read and highly entertaining for fans of the TV Show and the movies.

Marvel Star Trek 17

Star Trek # 17  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel    #17 of 18

The Enterprise is called to a planet where a federation satellite crashed, and its fuel may cause the atmosphere to become toxic when coming in touch with the air. To see if the fuel has affected the air Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to the planet that is very primitive in nature much like medieval times.  A young child witnesses them beaming down and believes they are angels. While in town McCoy heads to the town’s hospital that is a barbaric house of pain and suffering as the sick are not cured but left to heal by the hands of faith. While Kirk and Spock make the mistake of talking to a old man who studies the stars, the townspeople think they are evil so they are attacked and taken away, and when they discover Spock’s pointed ears they think he is a devil. McCoy finds that the air is poisoned and that the sick and elderly are being affected, but he as well is arrested and branded a devil worshiping evildoer.  The young child is also captured as they think she is mindlessly following the evil ones, and Gorman, who is the star researcher, saves her from being tortured and causes the holy warrior guards to give chase tricking them to leave and making it easier for Gorman and the young child visit Kirk and Spock in their cell and give them back their broken equipment that they use to free themselves, but sadly they must leave McCoy behind as he is in another cell and informs them that the air is turning toxic and they must get the Enterprise to drop the anti toxin into the atmosphere before it’s too late. In the end Kirk saves McCoy, who is about to be drowned by the Holy Warriors that think he is a witch, as Spock is able to contact the Enterprise by making a primitive radio that alerts them to drop the antidote right on time. In the end Kirk, Spock and McCoy return to the Enterprise, and Gorman and the young girl know that science is the way to cure and create things to better mankind.

This issue’s mission lands Kirk and select crew on a planet that is much like the medieval era where superstition runs wild and people still think witches and devil are out to get them.  In reality, the ones they target just understand science and want to use it to better mankind in its quest to evolve and cure illness and understand the world around them. This issue reminds me a lot of the third Evil Dead film “Army Of Darkness” as the future seems to clash with the past and by the end it all mashes together for the better. Kirk, Spock and McCoy put themselves in danger in order to find out if the planet’s people are in trouble from toxic air thanks once more to the federation who goofed up and wants the Enterprise to be the clean up crew in secret to protect its reputation. The people of the planet are so into superstition that they are on a witch hunt and are clueless that the air around them is slowly killing them. Gorman and the little girl are great side characters as they are clearly the only ones smart enough to figure out Kirk and crew are their to help and even are the key to how Spock and Kirk free themselves from the jail. The story feels like a classic 1960’s episode of the TV show, and once more, Marvel showed that they could do science fiction right when based on a popular franchise. The cover on this issue is okay and while not really showcasing what the issue was about, is eye catching to Trekkies for sure. The interior art this time around is being done by Ed Hannigan and looks pretty good like your typical B-Title art from Marvel. Over all this issue was great and a fun read that captured the silliness and epic nature of Star Trek missions.  So what I am saying is this issue was good stuff.

Marvel Star Trek 18

Star Trek # 18  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Marvel   #18 of 18

The Enterprise is being blocked by a giant ship planet that sends over probes that allows it to beam aboard both Kirk and Spock.  They meet a giant robot named Sustainer who informs them that he wishes them no harm and needs their help, but this help will have one returning to the Enterprise and will leave the other dead. Before they can get answers, Kirk and Spock find themselves on opposing pirate ships.  Kirk dies saving Spock’s life when a piece of the ship falls and crushes him. As Spock carries his dead friend and Captain, the Sustainer informs him that he can bring Kirk back to life.  This confuses the pair even more as they escape the sick bay and find they are now in some sort of mechanical maze, that this time leaves Spock dead and resurrected. Sustainer brings Kirk and Spock to the bridge of his planet ship and shows them the Enterprise on the screen and starts to use his ships power to heat up the Enterprise, slowly cooking the crew alive! The only way he will stop this massacre is if Kirk or Spock give their life for them and this time the death will be final, Spock uses the nerve pinch on Kirk and volunteers death for the lives of his fellow crew members, but Kirk awakes just in time and once more saves Spock from death’s grip. Sustainer is happy this has happened as he never wanted to kill and was only stealing the emotion of friendship and doing great things for others as his creators are in sleep chambers on this ship.  They are greedy and self centered, and by stealing these emotions from Spock and Kirk, he can now install those feelings into his creators making them a better race. In the end Sustainer sends Kirk and Spock back to the Enterprise, and all ends well as the galaxy is shaping up to be a better place for all alien races.

The final Marvel Comic mission has a message about loyalty, sacrifice and helping others in need and is told between Kirk and Spock who are being tested by a giant robot who in turn is trying to use emotions to teach his creators a better way to live their lives instead of being selfish. Kirk and Spock have respect for each other as fellow Starfleet members but also are close friends as they clearly would risk their own lives to save each other from danger and death. The rest of the crew of the Enterprises sadly are just pawns in this game of stealing emotions and self sacrifice as they are trapped in a tracking beam and later are almost cooked to death like sardines in a can. Sustainer is a giant robot that is loyal to his creators and yet knows that they are flawed and that their own selfish nature is what has lead to their almost complete extinction. His plan for help is to trick Kirk and Spock into doing tests that always leave one person dead.  Each time the death comes from a selfless act in order to help the other, as Sustainer is taking that emotion and thought process and pumping it into the sleep chambers of his creators in hope it will make them better beings. It’s strange that this story is how they decided to end the Star Trek Marvel Comic series with a moral meaning issue and not a battle with the Klingons or some other alien race, as I would have liked to have seen maybe a few more aliens from the TV show make an appearance during this 18 issue run. While Marvel only ran Star Trek for 18, far less than the 107 made for Star Wars, it still was a fun and high quality science fiction comic adventure that took classic characters and allowed them to battle Klingons, fight gnomes and even find a haunted house planet to keep their mission going and act as a way to keep fans happy as they waited for the next movie to come out in the series. The cover is okay and informs you that this was the final issue in the series and showcases Kirk and Spock in a mind meld.  The final issue art duty went to Joe Brozowski, and you could tell he gave it time and respect. Being a long time fan of Star Trek I will say that while I highly enjoyed this comic series, it does have flaws like odd character attitude changes and cheesy missions, but if you like fun with your Trek I would say make sure to give this series a read. Below is some art from this series and yes it’s all taken from when they fought the monsters as it combined two things I really love lots: Star Trek and monsters!

Marvel Star Trek Art 1Marvel Star Trek Art 2Marvel Star Trek Art 3

This month I covered things that I was a huge fan of in my youth and still am to this day including Horror Host show Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grampa, Sunday Funnies iconic character Dick Tracy and last but not least sci-fi mainstay TV and movie franchise Star Trek.  It was a blast going back to my past and re-visiting my past memories and joys that these media characters gave me and still do. Our next update will be our first in our countdown to Halloween and will take us out of the unknowns of space and into the deep blue ocean as we take a look at Jaws 2 and the Marvel Comic adaptation of the film.  So until then, make sure to take a few moments and give some thought to movies, TV shows, comics, music, books, video games, horror hosts and most importantly the people who have been impactful on your life and helped shape you into the person you are today. So read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host, and I’ll see you on Amity Island for our next Jawsome update.

jaws_2_logo

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.

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DC At The Movies: Superman (The Christmas Eve Special)

Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas to all my friends, family and readers on this special Christmas Eve update to Rotten Ink. I hope on this day you are surrounded by loved ones and sharing good stories and memories with one another. Last year for Christmas Eve I took a look at DC Comics movie adaptations of the early Batman films, and this year I have chosen to cover the one and only Man of Steel, Superman, and the films from the Christopher Reeves years and those that followed and were inspired by it. So pull up a comfy chair near your heater or fireplace and pour yourself a glass of eggnog or your favorite choice of holiday drink, and let’s take a fly around the world of Superman as we enter DC At The Movies: Superman!

Superman The Movie Logo

Before Batman in the late 80’s and Marvel’s The Avengers were the top notch comic book movies in the world, Warner Brothers had Superman a series of films that made kids and the young at heart super hyped to visit their local cinema and watch the adventures of Superman on the silver screen. Superman was no stranger to being the world’s most popular comic book hero as before the 1978 film, he had already taken over the world of comics with Action Comics as well as had a very popular radio drama and TV show called The Adventures Of Superman along with many other forms of media like cartoons and movie serials. But in ’78, he took over the world of movies and held the top spot until 1989 when Tim Burton’s Batman took the mantel away. I sadly was not born when Superman: The Movie came to theaters and was only a tiny baby in 1981 when Superman II was released, but I do remember the hype for Superman IV: The Quest For Peace as my brother Bryan and I wanted to rush to a theater and watch it in 1987.  For some reason I want to say we did go and see it at Beaver Valley Cinemas and when asking my Mom, Dad and brother, they said that they think a family member took us to see it and our main guess was my Aunt and Uncle, Laverne and George. Christopher Reeve to me was the perfect Superman and Clark Kent, as he was able to balance the boy scout do-gooder aspect of Superman and the goofy, nerd aspect of Kent.  To this day, I feel no actors before or after him have 100% captured the character like he did. I was so sad when in 1995 Reeve had a terrible accident while riding his horse that left him paralyzed.  His condition later lead to his death at the age of 52 in 2004. I can remember watching these films many times when they aired on TV and buying them on VHS and enjoying every cheesy moment of them.  When Reeve passed away, it looked as if the Superman series was over with, that is until Bryan Singer, who made the X-Men movies, decided to make a sequel to the first two Superman films and cut out parts 3 and 4.  The film was Superman Returns and cast Brandon Routh as The Man of Steel.  It had charm but was not in the league of the originals. But before I ramble on and decide to give you a full rundown and review of each of these films, I should instead give you all a quick rundown of the films’ plots as well as who played Superman, the films’ main bad guy as well as the lead actress. I took these write ups from our good friends at IMDB as I would have been too long winded. So enjoy this quick rundown, and I hope this triggers good memories of watching these films.

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Superman (1978)

Unable to convince the ruling council of Krypton that their world will destroy itself soon, scientist Jor-El takes drastic measures to preserve the Kryptonian race: He sends his infant son Kal-El to Earth. There, gaining great powers under Earth’s yellow sun, he will become a champion of truth and justice. Raised by the Kents, an elderly farm couple, Clark Kent learns that his abilities must be used for good. The adult Clark travels to Metropolis, where he becomes a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet…and a caped wonder whose amazing feats stun the city: Superman! Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, the world’s greatest criminal mind, is plotting the greatest real estate swindle of all time. Can’t even the Man of Steel stop this nefarious scheme?

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

Superman II 1Superman II PosterSuperman II 2

Superman II (1981)

Picking up where “Superman: The Movie” left off, three criminals from the planet Krypton are released from the Phantom Zone by a nuclear explosion in space. They descend upon Earth where they could finally rule. Superman, meanwhile, is in love with Lois Lane, who finds out who he really is. Lex Luthor escapes from prison and is determined to destroy Superman by joining forces with the three criminals.

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

General Zod – Terence Stamp

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Superman III (1983)

Wealthy businessman Ross Webster discovers the hidden talents of Gus Gorman, a mischievous computer genius. Ross decides to abuse his talents, in a way to help Webster with his plans for economic control. When the man of steel interferes, something must be done about Supes. When Gus’ synthetic Kryptonite fails to kill Superman, it turns him in an evil incarnation of his former self. The tar-laced Kryptonite pits man against himself, setting up the Clark vs. Superman battle.

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Ross Webster – Robert Vaughn

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Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)

Superman does a lot in his newest adventure. Archvillain Lex Luthor, determined to make the world safe for nuclear arms merchants, creates a new being to challenge the Man of Steel: the radiation-charged Nuclear Man. The two super-powered foes clash in an explosive screen extranvaganza that sees Superman save the Statue of Liberty, repulse a volcanic eruption of Mount Etna, rebuild the demolished Great Wall of China and perform many more spetactular feats.

Superman – Christopher Reeves

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

Nuclear Man – Mark Pillow

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Superman Returns (2006)

Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth in the epic action-adventure Superman Returns, a soaring new chapter in the saga of one of the world’s most beloved superheroes. While an old enemy plots to render him powerless once and for all, Superman faces the heartbreaking realization that the woman he loves, Lois Lane, has moved on with her life. Or has she? Superman’s bittersweet return challenges him to bridge the distance between them while finding a place in a society that has learned to survive without him. In an attempt to protect the world he loves from cataclysmic destruction, Superman embarks on an epic journey of redemption that takes him from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space.

Superman – Brandon Routh

Lex Luther – Kevin Spacey

The first Superman film was directed by Richard Donner, who did a fantastic job of showing the character’s origin story as well as balanced between Clark Kent and Superman. The second film was directed by Richard Lester as well as in parts Richard Donner, who was replaced by Lester after Donner had some bad blood with the film’s producers, but the film did add General Zob and his followers who had the same power as Superman making the threat more real for the man of steel. The third film was directed by just Richard Lester and took a more comedic turn even casting Richard Pryor as a lead for comedic relief.  This was the first film not to have Lex Luther in it. Superman IV was directed by Sidney J. Furie and has Superman trying to get the world to get along. Superman was the # 2 movie in 1978 bringing in $134,218,018.00 and beat out such films as Animal House, Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, Jaws 2, Revenge of the Pink Panther and Deer Hunter. Superman II in 1981 was # 3 and brought in a total of $108,185,706.00 and beat out such films as Stripes, Clash of the Titans, An American Werewolf In London, The Great Muppet Caper, Halloween II, The Howling, Friday The 13th Part II and Tarzan The Ape Man. In 1983 Superman III was # 12 and brought in $59,950,623.00 and bested films like Jaws 3-D, Scarface, Psycho II, Never Say Never Again, The Outsiders, Krull and Strange Brew. Superman IV in 1987 did not do well and brought in $15,681,020.00 and was # 69 but did beat out such films as Hellraiser, Creepshow 2, House II, Teen Wolf Too, Death Wish 4, Evil Dead 2 and Chipmunk Adventure. Superman Returns in 2006 was # 6 and brought in $200,081,192.00 and pulled ahead of such flicks as Casino Royale, Borat, Saw III, Rocky Balboa, Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Beginning and Pans Labyrinth. So as you can see, the original Superman series had many ups and downs, but as I stated before, they were the original superhero films that made kids and the young at heart hyped to watch at their local theater. Now we should briefly talk about the ladies of Superman, and the lovely actresses who played them.  The most popular and the one who was in a total of 4 of the films is Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane and was not only a tough, smart and independent woman who was the Dailey Planet’s top reporter but was also a cute as a button! She is Superman’s love interest in two of the films, and he spends so much time saving her from dangers and battling his own judgement of telling her he is also Clark Kent. In Superman II, while Lois Lane was his main love interest, Sarah Douglas played Ursa, the goth looking tough woman who is part of General Zod’s trio of super villains.  While good looking, she does have a goddess complex as she looks down on normal man! In Superman III, Annette O’Toole plays Lana Lang, a small town girl who went to school with Clark Kent who he had a crush on.  She is a single mother, has a sweet heart and is amazingly good looking. Superman IV has Mariel Hemingway playing Lacy Warfield, the daughter of a mogul who buys the Daily Planet.  She is a nice woman who wants to do real journalism and has a crush on Clark. Kate Bosworth plays Lois Lane in Superman Returns, and the character is now a mom and is still strong minded and looks great but somehow got younger looking…odd. If I was Superman/Clark Kent and I had to date one of these women, I would choose Lana Lane hands down.  Not only is she beautiful, but she is also a kind and loving person. But all of these women are fine choices and all of them have their pluses to why they would be dateable.

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The Superman films also sparked a tie-in film called Supergirl in 1984 and had Helen Slater play the title part, the cousin of Superman. The film’s plot is this (from IMDB): “After a power source for the community of Krypton survivors is accidentally whisked to earth, Kara-El, cousin to Superman and niece to Jor-El, chooses to go to earth to find it, and bring it back. Upon her arrival, she becomes just a powerful and Super as her cousin, but encounters dangerous battles and unexpected obstacles when a mean spirited woman who practices rituals of the occult takes the power source for herself, and uses it to cause destruction and attempt zenith human status..”  Although this was to be a new blockbuster franchise, it fizzled at the US Box Office, only bringing in $14,296,438.00, placing it at # 66 of the year. It did however beat out such films as Ice Pirates, The Evil That Men Do, Terror In The Aisles and Cloak And Dagger. 1997 saw the release of Steel, based around the character who was a major part of the aftermath of the Death of Superman storyline that was rocking the comic book world.  The main character Steel was played by NBA player Shaq and had this as its plot: “John Henry Irons designs weapons for the military. When his project to create weapons that harmlessly neutralize soldiers is sabotaged, he leaves in disgust. When he sees gangs are using his weapons on the street, he uses his brains and his Uncle Joe’s junkyard know-how to fight back, becoming a real man of “steel.”  The film was a total bomb at the box office, bringing in a total of $1,710,972.00 in the US making for the lowest money maker for the Superman series of films. Steel was # 178 for the year and beat out the likes of Kiss Or Kill, The Van and The Winter Guest. But I should also mention the first official Superman film was 1951’s Superman And The Mole-Men starring George Reeves as Superman who was also the man who played him on the hit TV Show The Adventures Of Superman. Say what you will, but even with two poorly received spin offs, Superman and his friends at least did what they could to entertain us at the movies.

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Now before we go on, I know may of you readers are waiting to see if I mention the Superman film that was being worked on by Tim Burton and would have had Nicolas Cage playing Superman.  To answer your questions, of course I am going to cover it, but also some of the other Superman films that never came to light. “Superman V” or also called “Superman: The New Movie” was being developed by Cannon Films before Superman IV was even out in theaters and would have had Superman dying and coming back to life in a shrunken city called Kandor that was original on his home planet of Krypton.  The film was to be directed by Albert Pyun, who was the director of such films as Alien From L.A., Cyborg and Captain America and Christopher Reeve was slated to play Superman once more. But when Superman IV was not a super hit and Cannon Films went bankrupt, the plan for this film disappeared and was never meant to be, but as many people point out, this would have had the death and rebirth of Superman way before the comics did it. In early 1993 Warner Brothers wanted to cash in on the Death of Superman comic craze and came up with a film called “Superman Reborn,” a hip take on the character that would please the MTV Generation and would make great action figures for toy companies. The original idea was to have Superman die at the hands of Doomsday, but before Sups passed on he would have his life force go into Lois Lane and make her pregnant with a baby that would be the reborn him…yep….the second idea had Brainiac teaming up with Doomsday, Silver Banshee and Parasite to kill Superman who would later come back to be reborn. This film did not come about when Kevin Smith was hired to rewrite some of it, but he decided the film was too campy and he had ideas of his own. This lead to “Superman Lives,” a film that would have had Superman dying, a giant Spider and even Brainiac fighting polar bears! The film would have had Superman dying by the hands of Doomsday who was sent by Brainiac and Lex Luther, and Superman when coming back alive must find a way to over through his enemies. The film was offered to Robert Rodriguez, but he had to decline and the directing seat went to Tim Burton and the role of Superman went to Nicolas Cage, even though Smith wanted to hire his friend Ben Affleck. Burton, before filming, would bring in his own guys and would rewrite Smith’s script.  This was the beginning of the end as many actors were attached for roles and all of them came and went.  The film died when Burton left the film as well saying he wasted a year of his life working on it. Other would-be films came after like Batman vs. Superman, a movie that would have had Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent down on their luck and being set up to fight each other thanks to The Joker and Lex Luther as well as an origin film called Superman: Flyby! One things for sure, while none of these films made it to the big screen, I am sure some of the films that have been made in recent years have taken bits and pieces from these scrips. Below is Nicolas Cage in a version of the Superman suit, and I can 100% say that I wish this film would have been made as well as Superman V.

Nick Cage as Superman

Some of the best merchandise to come out of the Superman Movies has to be the doll action figures made by MEGO as well as MEGO’s 3 3/4” Pocket Hero figure line. Growing up, I sadly never had any of these figures as they were out of stores way before I was old enough to play with action figures, and when we found them at garage sales they were always way over priced for our Mom to buy us one. My brother Bryan, on the other hand, did have a Superman one that was his favorite toy for awhile.  He even swung it around a string once when he was a kid at my grandparents house and lost it on top of their roof! By the time he got the figure back, it was dirty and gross as it sat up there for awhile.  When they finally got it down, the figure was thrown away. Don’t be too sad for him, he got another many, many years later and it sits in his hallway in his house. When I was in my mid-twenties, I was able to track down and get a full set of the Pocket Hero Superman figuresm and I must say I really wished I had them when I was young as Zod would have made a perfect ally for Darth Vader in my Toy Wars!

Mego Superman Dolls

Collector drinking glasses were super popular for fast food joints and gas stations to give away or sell dirt cheap in the 60’s-80’s, and Taco Bell and Pepsi did just that with very cool Superman glasses in 1979! The series had six different glasses, and if you bought a medium soda and payed .69, you could get one with your meal, a very cool way to get customers into your restaurant to buy food as well as give them something to take home that they drink out of and will remind them of your food. While we never had one of these glasses, we did have a Pepsi Superman glass from the comic books that had him busting out of chains, and it was one of my favorite glasses to drink chocolate milk out of. Over the years I have seen these Taco Bell/Pepsi Superman glasses at Antique Stores and Flea markets, and they are on my list of glasses to get for my apartment. I wonder if Christopher Reeve ever drank tea or lemonade from a Superman glass?

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Another popular part of merchandising back in the day besides toys and glasses were trading cards.  Topps was the king company who not only made cards on sports but also movies and TV shows, and of course they made some for Superman 1-3! Besides the base card set, each series had a sticker set, and each pack came with a stick of bubble gum. Growing up, I did have lots of these trading cards for all these films as I was a trading card fiend and would buy all that I could new from places like UDF and would buy bags full from garage sales. One thing I should say also is that at Game Swap Kettering this year someone traded in a complete set of Superman: The Movie trading cards as well with the stickers and even a unopened pack.  It was lots of fun to flip through the base card set as each were so vintage and cool.  It makes me miss the days of classic Topps Trading cards as lots has changed in that world that includes not only the price per pack but also the quality of the cards themselves. But as always you can’t stop change, and those who collect cards I am sure have at least one of these films in their collection.

Topps Superman And Superman II Wax PacksTopps Superman III Wax Pack

I was going to cut this from my update as I didn’t have that much to say about it, but I think those who had one or wanted one would like to take a trip down memory lane so here it goes. Iron on T-shirts were super popular for some reason back in the day, and I can always remember hating them as the image on the shirt after a few washes would crack and peel away leaving the shirt looking like a mess, something even as a youngster I would not wear out in public. But for those who remember these, Superman II had an iron on transfer shirt that I am sure brought joy and happiness to those who had it.  I’m not sure if the terrible lack of quality these style shirts had makes any of my readers mad like it did me but for those things ruined my childhood by ruining my Skeletor and Star Wars shirts!

Superman II Iron On Transfer

While I was working on this update I was listening to the Superman: The Movie and Supergirl soundtracks and enjoying the epic nature of these themes as I remember my childhood of watching these films and reading Superman comics. The first film’s score was done by John Williams, and his theme is so iconic that whenever people think of Superman, that theme comes to mind.  Believe me, it was a great score to have playing in the background while I read the comics. Ken Thorne did the score for Superman II and is great just as the original and captures the vibe of the film and the mood of the John Williams score that came before it. Ken returned to score Part III and once more did a great job of capturing the action and comedy moments with his music. Superman IV’s score was done by Alexander Courage and is good, while not as iconic as the scores that came before it, this score still helped add to the film’s over all vibe. Superman Returns’ score was done by John Ottman and is a solid piece of work and was fitting for the film. For those wondering, Supergirl’s score was done by Jerry Goldsmith, Steel’s was done by Mervyn Warren and 2013’s Man of Steel’s was done by Hans Zimmer. While all have their own great tracks, I would say that if you’re a music score fan like me, I would suggest buying the John Williams score for Superman: The Movie on CD, cassette or vinyl and give it a listen some late evening, and yes, I play some of these scores on Alpha Rythems.

Superman The Movie SoundtrackSuperman II SoundtrackSuperman III Soundtrack

While no direct video game has been made around the Christopher Reeve Superman films, one was made for Superman Returns that was on Playstation 2 and Xbox 360. The one I remember is Superman for the Atari 2600, where you play Superman and must rebuild a bridge that Lex Luther blew up and all this is timed! Superman also had a game for Commodore 64 made by First Star and an arcade game made by Taito that I can remember playing at a video store that had the machine.  Years later, that same machine is now at Game Swap in Kettering ready to be played by shoppers! One game for Nintendo was released by Seika and was a game that not only made The Angry Video Game Nerd mad but me as well as the game was terrible and treated Superman like a bigheaded small weakling. Sega Genesis had Superman, a game released by Sunsoft, that was a side scrolling cheesy action game that was one of the first games I ever bought for our Genesis as I used by birthday money to buy it. This is just a drop in the hat on video games that are about or even star Superman.  A big rumor going around is that Rocksteady and WB Games, the same team who brought us the Batman Arkham games, are working on a new Superman game that will be out for PS4 and Xbox One.  So here is hoping that these rumors are true. If you’re a gamer and you can’t sleep this Christmas Eve night, maybe pick up a controller and play a Superman game while you wait for Santa.

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So I think at this point in the update we are ready to take a look at the DC Comic adaptations of the Superman films.  For some reason DC Comics were late to the game and did not do adaptations for Superman: The Movie or Superman II, but they started at Superman III so that is where we will starts as well. Well maybe for fun I will throw in the Treasury Editions that breakdown the first two Superman movies! I want to thanks Game Swap Kettering, Lone Star Comics, Mavericks and Ebay for having these issues in stock and while you turn up the heater or throw another log on the fire, I want to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I must say that just like last year’s Batman update I am really looking forward to reading these adaptations of Superman films and hope that like the Batman issues they do the films they are taken from justice.  So let’s look to the night sky and look for Santa..I mean Superman!

Superman The Movie Comic

Superman The Movie # 0  ***
Released in 1979    Cover Price $2.50    DC Comics    # 0 of 0

This book adds more to your Superman The Movie experience as it acts as a way to show the connections and differences between the movie and comics. It breaks down Krypton and Smallville, shows the layout of the Fortress of Solitude and speaks of the wonders of the Daily Planet and it’s workers. It also tells about Superman, Lex Luther and his fellow team of evil doers. One amazing thing is, it does a great job of showing the characters in the comic and how they look in the movies.  For some they did a fantastic job, while others they were close but not on the dot. It also gives you some history on much of the crew and makers of this film like the producer, director, costume and production designer and John Williams, the composer of the film’s soundtrack. It shares information on actors from the film from Christopher Reeve to Gene Hackman and in-between and shows some behind the scenes looks into how they made a scene. One cool thing is that they also show the two young kids who won DC Comics contest to get a cameo in the film and shows who they played. While most of this information could be looked up much quicker on the internet than fumbling through this over sized book, I still found this a fun read on a chilly night to spark the nostalgia of the film series in me.

Superman II Comic

Superman II # 0 **1/2
Released in 1981    Cover Price $2.95    DC Comics    # 0 of 0

This oversized Treasury Comic breaks down the film Superman II with a look at the actors, sets, characters and even filming elements like the films fight scenes! It covers lots of great stuff and even contains some amazing pictures of actress Sarah Douglas looking pretty hot in low cut shirts. It’s much like the first Superman: The Movie breakdown and really while entertaining, just makes you wish these were comic adaptations of the films instead of oversized magazines. So let’s move onto the real highlight of this update the DC Comics based on the rest of the Superman films.

Superman III Comic 1

Superman III # 1  **1/2
Released in 1983    Cover Price $1.00    DC Comics    #1 of 1

August “Gus” Gorman is a man down on his luck who has been on unemployment for over 36 weeks and might have found his break on the back of a pack of matches that leads him to become a computer programer for Archibald Data Processing and he does things that even his instructor never knew a computer could do! At the Dailey Planet editor Perry White lets Lois Lane take a vacation to Bermuda, Clark Kent go back to Smallville for his high school reunion and Jimmy Olsen go along to snap photos, but during the trip back home Clark must turn into Superman as a chemical plant has caught on fire and it houses the most dangerous acid in the world that could kill many if it gets too heated up! As Superman saves the lives of workers, he also must save Jimmy Olsen who breaks his leg trying to snap pictures and uses a nearby lake to put out the fire and save the day. With Jimmy Olsen having to go back to Metropolis, Clark goes to his reunion and runs back into Lana Lang, his crush who is now divorced and has a young son Ricky.  Lana is trying to dodge Brad, a drunk one time jock who is the jerk of town who wants to win her heart. Ross Webster has lost $85,000.00 from his company Webco Industries as someone embezzled it, and he know its Gorman, who he ropes into helping him take control of a satellite that can control the weather so that he can ruin all of Columbia’s coffee beans and can be the king of coffee. Meanwhile Clark in Smallville is becoming close to Lana and her son Ricky and must turn into Superman and save Ricky’s life after an accident in a field almost leaves him plant food! Gorman gets the satellite to work as bad weather unleashes itself on Columbia but is stopped by Superman who know becomes the target of Ross and his sister Vera and his girlfriend Lorelei who want to build a piece of kryptonite to use against and kill Superman! But they make a mistake, and the kryptonite does not kill Superman but turns him bad.  As the Man of Steel does evil things, Ross and Gorman set their sights on building a super computer and taking over the oil industry. Lana and Ricky move to Metropolis and find the Evil Superman.  The boy’s kind words leads to an inner fight and turns Superman good again.  He fixes all his wrongs and goes after Russ and his goon squad who have built the super computer and use it to fight The Man Of Steel! Gorman realizes that the computer is evil and tries to save Superman, but the computer is now working for itself and even turns Vera into a robotic droid of destruction! In the end, Superman uses the acid from the chemical lab and destroys the computer and takes Gorman to safety and lets the cops deal with Ross, Vera and Lorelei.

This comic adaptation is pretty dang good, but the odd thing is it takes lots of the film’s comedy aspects away.  While it’s still very light hearted, it’s by no means as goofy as the film. The plot has Superman going back to his hometown of Smallville, falling in love with his crush and trying to find a way to get her to move to Metropolis, all the while a con man named Gus is working for a big business man who wants to rule the world.  Superman must find away to stop them and their scary giant computer. The first thing that I noticed is that the comic has lots of changes like Lana in the end does not get a job with the Daily Planet nor does the fling go anywhere, also Brad, the sleazy one time jock is down played and is not nearly chasing Lana like he is in the film. All of Gorman’s slapstick over the top comedy is gone, and he is played more like a normal guy who, while a con man looking for a quick buck, is really just a nice guy. The worst part that was cut and happens to be my favorite part of the film is when Superman goes to Lana’s house for something to drink and the fake kryptonite starts to turn him bad and he gets all sleazy on her. Superman is as noble as ever and saves many lives and stops lots of disasters all the while doing so with a smile as he takes joy in helping out mankind. Superman, in this comic adaptation, is strong but seems slightly weaker than the comic book version but who really is looking at that aspect? Ross Webster and his sister Vera are rich snobs who thinks the world owes them everything because they have more money than you, are really snooty and are willing to kill Superman so that they can get more money. Gus Gorman is a man who as well is looking for quick cash, but while he will steal your cash, he by no means wants to kill or hurt someone to do so. Gus is almost a puppet to the evil Ross who is the puppeteer and is pulling his strings by using his own greed to get him to obey. Lana Lane and her son Ricky are great characters as they are used to show a human side to Superman who has a bond with the pair.  I really like Lana as well because unlike other lead female roles in these style of films, she is in no need of saving and can take care of herself. The cover is okay, but it’s odd they chose to use a blurry still of the film instead of drawing something original.  The artwork inside is done by Curt Swan & Sal Amendola and looks like a normal issue of Superman but the characters only slightly look like the actors who play them in the film.  That’s kind of a let down as I would have loved to have seen it look like Christopher Reeve and Annette O’Toole. To sum it up, while good, it does lose some of the charm of the film and is an okay adaptation of a classic superhero film I grew up watching. Below is some artwork from the issue that shows the inner battle between Clark Kent and the Evil Superman.

Superman III Art 1

So from Superman III, it’s now time to take a look at DC Comics look at Superman IV: The Quest For Peace movie adaptation.  The question is, will it capture the cheesy magic of the film or will it fall a little behind like the Superman III did?

Superman IV Comic 1

Superman IV # 1  ***
Released in 1987    Cover Price $2.00    DC Comics    # 1 of 1

In space, a Russian astronaut has an accident and is about to float away into space when Superman saves him.  Superman returns to earth and as Clark Kent has his family’s old farm house for sale in Smallville and finds a old message from his real father and a crystal that will act as a shot of power if he ever needs it. The next day on his way to work Superman saves a train full of passengers as the conductor suffers from a heart attack and when at work he gets news the Daily Planet has been bought out by tabloid tycoon David Warfield and his daughter Lacy who want to change the Planet into a trash paper. Lex Luther escapes from jail thanks to his nephew Lenny, and they steal a strand of Superman’s hair from the science museum and use radiation to create a dimwitted super guy who fights Superman in the street and is destroyed with ease by the man of steel. Jeremy is a young boy who is flown to Metropolis in order to talk to Superman as the child wants him to destroy all the nuclear weapons in the world, and Superman does just that as he flings the weapons into the sun. Lex Luther, with the help of some top war monger government army brass, sends a chemical human stew into the sun hidden into one of the missiles and so is born Nuclear Man, who feeds off the sun rays and is now out to destroy Superman on Lex Luther’s orders. The pair fight all around the world, and Nuclear Man lands a powerful blow that leaves Superman injured and oddly makes him start to age faster! While Superman/Clark Kent tries to nurse himself back to health, Nuclear Man decides he is in charge and turns on Luther and Lenny and also comes to the decision that Lacy Warfield will be his Queen, but before things get too bad Superman uses the crystal of power.  After a tough fight Superman beats Nuclear Man with the help of an eclipse and Lacy and puts the super baddy into a nuclear core where he will be drained of power and die! In the end Superman and youngster Jeremy teach all the people of the world we are all the same, and Perry White with the help of the banks buys the majority shares to become the owner of the Daily Planet.

The first thing that I must say is that all the flaws and moments of the film that make no sense are fixed and explained in this comic adaptation as no film editor took their scissors to the print to make a runtime. The plot is very simple: Lex Luther escapes jail as the world is in a nuclear weapon panic, Superman saves the day by ridding the world of all those nasty warheads and by doing so creates his own worst enemy in the Nuclear Man, all the while the Daily Planet is being taken over by a creepazoid smut news publisher. Throw in some love story with Lacy and Clark as well as Superman aging, and you have this cheesy comic storyline. While the film is a mess, I did find this comic adaptation to be lots of fun and better than part III. Superman in this comic is very noble and after fighting with his mind, listens to his heart and tries his best to rid the world of evil nuclear war weapons and truly embraces Earth as his home. Lois Lane is sassy, Jimmy Olsen is a background player, David Warfield is a scum bag, and Perry White is a man on a mission and saves his paper from being a tabloid magazine. Lacy Warfield is a rich woman who at least has some kindness in her heart as she wants to do the right thing and wants to win the heart of Clark Kent. Lex Luther once more is filled with pure revenge as world peace is not enough for him; he would rather risk that all for money and the death of Superman. Lenny is a goofball, as is the first Super clone, and Nuclear Man is a powerful narcissistic hothead who uses all his power for evil. The big things that are different from comic to film is that this comic shows the first attempt of the super clone as well as explains him getting sick when injured and turning old.  These scenes in the comic help make the whole thing make sense as some of these elements are left in the movie with no backstory. The art is really well done and is done by a handful of artists, and while they don’t look anything like the actors who play the characters in the film, it does hold the DC Comic charm and looks as if it could have been just a normal issue in the Action Comic series. So over all, this is a good comic adaptation done right by DC and really makes me wish they did ones based on the first film and Superman II, but we can’t change the past so before we move onto Superman: Returns, check out some art from Superman IV.

Superman IV Art 1

So from Nuclear Man to, you guessed it, more Lex Luther.  Let’s see how this more modern comic adaptation holds up, shall we? I should also note that while I don’t hate this film, I did find it to be just mediocre at best so it will be cool to see how this adaptation holds up to the film.

Superman Returns Comic 1

Superman Returns # 1  **
Released in 2006    Cover Price $6.99    DC Comics    #1 of 1

Superman has left Earth for over five years on a quest to find his home world in space and comes up empty handed.  He returns home to find his mother dating another man and wanting to sell the family farm to move away from Smallville. Lex Luther is out of jail and has dated an old sick rich woman who has just died and is now a millionaire and uses his new wealth to track down Superman’s Fortress of Solitude along with his girlfriend Kitty and his hired hand goons.  They learn all of the Man of Steel’s secrets. Clark Kent returns to work at the Daily Planet, and Superman returns in saving people as he saves a plane full of reporters that includes Lois Lane who is now a mom and engaged to Richard White, the nephew of Perry White. Lex Luther has found the the secret of Krypton is that the crystals can build land, and he has a plan to just do that as well sink America in the process, and along the way he kidnaps Lois Lane and her son Jason as they head out to sea. Lois is able to fax her location to the Daily Planet.  Richard takes the sea plan and Clark turns to Superman, and they both rush to the rescue. Luther has began creating land that is laced with Kryptonite, and this makes Superman weak as he is beat up by the likes of Luther and stabbed with a kryptonite dagger and thrown into the cold water. Lois and Jason was saved by Richard and in turn Lois saves Superman who lifts the newly made crystal land mass and leaves it into space, but this takes a lot out of Superman who falls to Earth and looks as if he could die! In the end Lex escapes, and Superman lives and makes peace with Lois even when he finds out Jason is his son.

First thing I have to say is I hate when DC Comics did the prestige binding for their adaptations of their films.  It just doesn’t feel like reading a comic as much as it feels like I am reading a book or a graphic novel, and sadly this was the only way you can get this issue. This adaptation is pretty good, but does suffer from what I felt dragged the film down and that’s a snail’s pace plot with not a lot of action. The plot of this comic is Superman returns to Earth after time away and must battle Lex Luther who wants to control land and also battle his feelings for Lois Lane who is now a mom. The story is not terrible, just a little weak and best of all Superman is a deadbeat dad as it’s shown Jason is his son and he has not taken care of him for over five years, and decides to not to do so even after he finds out! Superman in this issue is still noble for the most part but is not given much to do besides stop a plan crash, stop some robbers and lift a crystal land mass that really makes no sense as the Kryptonite should have left him weak as a baby. Clark Kent is not given much to do as Sup’s secret identity is more of a background player in this adaptation. Lois Lane is as snarky and strong willed as ever and while happy with her life, does still have feelings for the Man of Steel. Richard and Jason White are background players and serve a bigger purpose than Perry White and Jimmy Olsen. Lex Luther is such a so-so bad guy in this comic as I am sorry his main goal is to make new land to sell to nations as well as kill Superman…out of the the six Superman films Luther has been the bad guy in four and in this one he should have been given a rest.  It would have been nice to see Parasite or Doomsday. This comic follows the film pretty well and only has some changes like Jason killing one of Luther’s men with a piano is gone as is Kitty and Luther being stuck on a tiny island.  Not to mention that many parts also seem sped up and lose impact like Lois saving Superman goes by with a blink of an eye. The art in this adaptation is okay but is slightly sloppy and is done by Matt Haley.  This just adds to the boring nature of this adaptation. Over all while it was fun to read this adaptation, it is one that I am sure I would never read again. I would say that it was bland and boring! Check out the art below done by Haley for this adaptation.

Superman Returns Art 1

That marks the end of comic adaptations of Superman movies as none was made for Man of Steel, the film that came after Superman Returns.  So I figured why not take a look at Supergirl and Steel films that were spin offs of Superman! So up first is the Woman of Steel Supergirl!

Supergirl Comic 1

Supergirl # 1  **1/2
Released in 1985    Cover Price $1.25    DC Comics    #1 of 1

Argo City is in space and is the last of Krypton where Kara, the cousin of Superman lives.  An accident caused by artist Zaltar makes them lose the powerful and magical Omegahedron sphere as it’s sucked into space. Kara feels that she is also to blame and climbs aboard a tiny ship and follows it to Earth, during her travel she ages from a youngster to seventeen years of age and takes on the secret identity of Linda Lee and joins Midvale School. Meanwhile the Omegahedron has fallen into the hands of a witch named Selena who along with her roommate Beanca want to take over the world, all the while her one time mentor Nigel watches on trying to get his own hands on the powerful sphere. Linda has a roommate in school that is Lucy Lane, the sister of Lois, and who is dating Jimmy Olsen! Selena spots a lawn worker named Ethan and uses a love potion on him that backfires when he spots Linda Lee and he falls head over heels in love with her.  This leads to Selena trying to kill the pair on a carnival ride as well as sends an invisible monster to kill Linda Lee at school.  Both fail, and this sets the hatred up for Selena and Supergirl/Linda Lee. Later in rage, Selena kidnaps Ethan as well as Lucy Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Nigel and threatens to kill them as Supergirl comes to their rescue, but she is tricked and sent to the Phantom Zone and must use the help of Zaltar, who has been sent there for stealing the Omegahedron in the first place, to escape. When back on Earth Supergirl defeats Selena, frees her friends and heads back home to Argo City with the Omegahedron a new self confident woman.

This was a fun adaptation for a film that I grew up enjoying and owning on VHS and watched many times. I must say that growing up Helen Slater, who played Supergirl, was an actress I had a crush on and I am shocked that I did not own this comic as a kid. The comic does a good job on capturing the overall fun and silly nature of the film and while it makes some changes and rushes some others, it does not take away from the enjoyability of the comic.The plot is that Supergirl comes to earth to get back a powerful sphere that was lost from her home planet and must do battle with a sorceress who has the sphere. Throw in a love story and some friend characters who are connected to the Superman movies, and you have the story of this adaptation comic. Supergirl/Kara/Linda Lee is a gentle and sweet young woman who is not only strong on Earth like her cousin Superman but also has a very strong will and a sharp mind.  The way she rushes to her friends in need and stands up to any of the challenges thrown at her proves she truly is a hero. Lucy Lane is a nice side character as she is the sister of Lois Lane who she takes a lot of her personality from, and to top it all off she is dating Jimmy Olsen! Ethan is just a generic boyfriend character who falls for Supergirl thanks to a love potion, but his love breaks that magical spell as he truly just loves the seventeen year old Supergirl…wait he is out of school and works for lawn care…yeah, he’s a creeper! Selena is a wicked and selfish woman who is into black magic and treats her “friends” like trash as she clearly views them as lower than her. Not to mention she wants to murder a teenage girl over a man! The cover is pretty cool and shows Supergirl flying over the city, and the art inside is done by Gray Morrow.  While not my favorite style of art, it works well for this adaptation as the characters look enough like the actors who play them in the film. One nice addition to this comic are all the pinups of Helen Slater in her Supergirl outfit..very nice indeed! If you enjoyed this movie, put on the Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack for the film and give this adaptation a read.  Also check out the artwork below to see Morrow’s work.

Supergirl Movie Art 1

So Supergirl was not the only spin-off film to the Superman movies as in 1997 Warner Brothers hired Shaq to play Steel…let’s see if the comic is better than the movie, shall we?

Steel Comic 1

STEEL # 1  *1/2
Released in 1997    Cover Price $4.95    DC Comics    #1 of 1

John Henry Irons is part of a military group that tests and design new weapons that also includes Sparky, a cute and highly smart female solider, and Burke, a know it all hothead glory hog. During a presentation for a senator, an accident happens caused by Burke that leaves Sparky paralyzed and the senator dead, and Irons has to testify against his one time partner in military court. Irons quits the military when they allow Burke to walk away from the accident and he returns home to the streets of L.A. where is young brother and grandma try and avoid gang violence. After gangs on the streets have the high powered secret weapons of the military and Iron’s cop friend is hurt, he gets the help of Sparky as well as his Uncle Joe who runs a junkyard.  They make a metal suit, and so Irons become Steel and takes the fight to the gangs. Meanwhile Burke is the man behind the guns in the gang’s hand, and he is also using a video arcade store as his front and has Iron’s younger brother on his payroll! Burke sets up Steel with a bank robbery and outguns him and makes him look like a fool, and then sets him up with the cops and has Irons arrested on suspicion of being a gang member with illegal guns. Joe and Sparky trick the cops and get Irons free and he tracks down Burke and as Steel has a showdown with all the weapons and all Burkes men.  In the end Steel wins and saves the day by blowing up Burke in his super cannon powered truck.

This box office bomb made for one comic bomb as well as this was a dumb cheesy read that clearly was the worst of not only the Superman films, but also comic adaptations! The story is John Irons is a military weapons maker who quits after an accident and turns into a metal suited superhero when his home town streets are infected with gangs with high power weapons. John Henry Irons/Steel is a cool character who is super smart and very noble and risks his own life to try and get the weapons he help create off the streets. Uncle Joe and Sparky are great side characters who are very important in Steel’s quest as they do just as much as he does in order to rid the streets of the gang punks. Burke is a scumbag who wants to sell weapons to terrorists all over the world and doesn’t care how many people die in his quest for money.The thing that doesn’t work for this adaptation is that Steel has no connection to Superman.  In fact he is just a tall guy who is supposed to be this genius that’s bad at basketball, oh yeah they have to point out several times that he is smart and that he could never make it in the NBA…you get it… because Steel is played by Shaq…yeah, terrible. The art is okay and is done by the team of Jon Bogdanove & Dick Giordano.  This at least helps the comic to be a little better as at least characters look a little like the actors who played them. The reason this comic is so bad is because the source material was bad, and I feel like I have spent more time talking about this adaptation than the writers took to write the script so I think it’s time to end it. Check out a sample of the art below.

Steel Movie Art 1

Superman is not only a icon of comic books & the box office but he also rocked the world of comic adaptations.  While he might not have the impact he did on any of these the way he did when I was a kid, he still remains one of the most recognizable superheroes in the world. I really enjoyed taking a look back at the Superman movies and hope you had at least a small amount of good time reading this Christmas Eve update. I also hope you are having a great Christmas Eve that is filled with good times with loved ones and some great food. Our next update will be my best films of 2015 so that should be a great way to kick 2016 off! So if you’re reading this late in the evening, you should get yourself a warm glass of milk and head to bed as Santa Claus is on his way with his bag full of goodies! So have a great a safe Christmas and enjoy your time with friends and family, and I look forward to sharing 2016 with you all.

FILMS OF 2015 LOGO

Andy Capp Goes To Camp!

Here is a quick summer time update for all you Rotten Ink readers. Growing up, I used to love to eat junk food from time to time, and one of my weakness when it comes to this style of “food” is potato chips and other snacks like them. I can remember eating Mike-Sell’s chips while watching USA Saturday Nightmares and enjoying every bite. But I also have many great memories of watching WWF Wrestling or reading a Marvel comic while munching on some Andy Capp Hot Fries, and with that, this update will be about a comic based on Andy Capp.  While he didn’t have a full comic series based around him, he did have a comic that helped teach people about the do’s and don’ts of camping at a National Park! So let’s get ready to talk about snack food and the great outdoors!

andy capp Hot Fries LogoWhen it comes to Andy Capp Fries, I can safely say that I am a fan of this corn based snack and have eaten many bags in my life time thus far. In fact, for the longest time when it came to junk food all my brother and I wanted to eat was hot fries.  In late 2014, my dad even teased me about it, saying every time they went grocery shopping I would ask them to get me a bag of fries! To this day I get craving for them and will snack on them at work and very rarely at home. Andy Capp Fries come in many different flavors from the classic hot all the way to BBQ, and the best part about them is the very cheap price tag for a bag. The company that made this snack was Goodmark Foods Inc in 1971, and they licensed the character to make the snack based around him and would feature a comic strip of the character on the back of the package. But in 1998 ConAgra Foods bought out Goodmark and is now the company releasing the tasty snack to your local stores. The downside to ConAgra being the parent company to Andy Capp Fries is that it’s a company that’s been surrounded in negative vibes and press from things such as environmental issues from the factories. In 2004 five workers lost their lives when a shooter entered the Kanas City plant; they got caught weighing down grain with water to make more profit from buyers. They tore down historic structures to build plants, and they have even had outbreaks of sickness from some of their products…so yeah, they are not that good of a company. But man are the Andy Capp Fries so good! These are the flavors I like in order Hot Fries, Cheese Fries, Hot Chili Cheese Steak Fries, White Cheddar Steak Fries, Salsa Fries and in last, BBQ Fries. So let’s all go get a bag of Hot Fries and enjoy the goodness that is this cheaply made snack.

Hot FriesCheese FriesSteak FriesBBQ Fries

For those of you who don’t know who Andy Capp is, let me take this moment to introduce him to you. Andy Capp is a comic character created by Reg Smythe who is an unemployed/slacker bloke who lives in Hartlepool and spends most of his days at the pub drinking as well as playing darts, pigeon racing and football. Andy loves to sleep on the sofa and also puts a lot of stress on his wife who works and pays the bills as well as takes his threats of abuse if she doesn’t do what he wants her to do. Most of the time things don’t go well for Andy, and he ends up getting hurt in the likes of the football games he plays. Andy Capp is known for his flat cap and his black jacket and slacks, the hat always blocks his face never giving the readers a chance to see his appearance. He speaks with a thick English accent and loves to drink and can be seen with a glass of beer or booze most of the time. Love him or hate him, Andy Capp is who he is and he doesn’t care if you like him or not!

Andy Capp BoozeAndy Capp Put Em UpAndy Capp Beer

How I first came to know about Mr. Capp was via the Sunday Funnies in the Dayton Daily News.  While he was not my favorite comic strip as that honor at the time would have went to Peanuts or Garfield, it was still one I enjoyed reading. I can also remember cutting out Andy Capp himself from the paper and feeding him to our bird Roxanne just like I did to Freddy via the Freddy’s Dead ad (for those who remember I spoke about that in my update for Innovasion’s Freddy’s Dead movie adaptation series in the update called “ Was Freddy Really Dead?”). Around this time I was also picking up old paperback versions of Andy Capp that collected the comic strips.  I would get them from garage sales, The Paperback Rack and Half Price Books.

Watch Your Step Andy Capp BookHard At Work Andy Capp BookHurray For Andy Capp Book

One very cool thing that I should also point out is that in Hartlepool, England in 2007 a cool statue was made to honor Andy Capp and was placed for tourist and townspeople to visit. So think about that, in England a statue for a character who’s a lazy bum and mistreats his wife is on display for the world to see.  I for one can stand by this cause; while the character does do some bad things, he still is iconic and a staple for Sunday newspapers around the world. So if you’re ever in Hartlepool, make sure to visit Andy Capp….and bring him a beer if you remember.

Andy Capp Statue

One other thing I should mention is that Andy Capp had a video game for the Commodore 64 that was released in 1987 and was made by Blitter Animations. The game was released on Christmas and was thought to be a huge seller for the company, and has Andy Capp having to find money to give to his wife after he spent his unemploment check on booze. One goal of the game is to not get arrested after you fight a cop or punch your wife! The game was praised by fans of the comic strip, and if you have a C64 maybe you should check it out…sadly I have not played this game.

Andy Capp C64 Video Game

So now that our fingers are stained red from the powder of the Hot Fries and the heat of the summer sun is shining down on us, I think it’s time for us to go to the park with the one and only Andy Capp and see what kind of outdoor adventures we can have.  I should also note that I voted that we visit John Candy at Camp Candy like we did last year but Andy vetoed that idea! I want to thank my pal Jason Young and his mom for getting me this comic to review and I must remind everyone that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get that backpack on and get ready to hit the trail with Flo and Andy.

Andy Goes To The Parks 1

Andy Goes To The Parks  # 1  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price Free   National Park Service   #1 of 1

Flo and Andy Capp are on vacation, and they are staying in a National Park.  This is not what Andy wanted to do because there are no pubs for him to drink at. When a Park Ranger comes by to offer them tips, Andy doesn’t wanna hear it and the Ranger leaves some information with Flo on what to do and not do while in the woods. Andy Capp does not listen to the rules and is attacked by a bear after feeding it, is swept away in a current when swimming in the stream and even sets his own tent on fire when starting a fire too close! The next day Andy leaves Flo to clean up the site as he goes to town and rents a trailer and stocks up on beer gearing up for fishing, and, being Andy, he overweighs the boat and sinks it! He also almost smothers them by having a heater lit in the trailer with no ventilation.  To blow off steam Andy goes for a hike in the wrong shoes and his feet swell as he is also bitten by a raccoon! Andy Capp and Flo end the vacation, and while Flo had a good time Andy didn’t but could have if only he would have listened and followed the rules of camping.

What a fun silly free comic giveaway that I am sure added to many kids’ fun time at the parks where this was given away. The story of this comic is Andy Capp won’t listen to the Park Ranger and the rules of the park and keeps finding himself in trouble.  All the while his wife Flo is trying her best to get him to listen and follow the rules. Andy Capp comes off as ego driven as ever and clearly has the he knows more then you do attitude. Andy also mistreats his wife even threatening to punch her at one point and is lazy and worries more about booze than spending time with nature. Flo just goes with the flow and tries her best to have Andy listen to what the Ranger has said, and also seems to get joy when something bad happens to her husband when he doesn’t. The Park Ranger is the voice of reason and an over all nice man who loves his job, and if not for him Andy could have died several times!

Andy Capp Art 1Andy Capp Art 2Andy Capp Art 3

If you’re going camping this summer, I hope you will not be an Andy Capp and will follow the rules of the parks and nature in general and not wind up with swollen feet and multiple animal bites. I have wanted to cover Andy Capp on Rotten Ink for sometime now and am glad I finally got the chance to do so in this quick summer time update! But next update we are walking away from the lazy bum Capp and taking a look at some really hot b-movie actresses from Alternative Cinema and some comics based on the films they made.  So make sure to come back for that one. Until then, go out and find a nice tree to sit under and read a comic or two.

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Atari Centipede Invasion!

Welcome to Rotten Ink Home and Garden Edition.  Today’s topic is centipedes and how to rid your garden of them, but first before we learn how to get rid of them we must first come to understand them. Centipedes are arthropods who are elongated metameric little fellas who can have 20 to over 300 legs! They are carnivorous and live for 3-6 years given what species they are. They are eaten by mice, snakes, birds and even beetles. Some centipede bites can be fatal to small children as venom is used when they bite; in adult humans a bite will just cause the person to be ill. Wait a minute, this is not the centipede we are talking about for this update!!! Oh we are talking about The Human Centipede, that shocking 2009 Horror flick directed by Tom Six about the mad doctor who sews peoples mouths to others’ butts to make a weird human centipede thing right? Wait, I am wrong again.  We have to be talking about the DC Comics character Crimson Centipede who was created by Ares The God of War to to fight Wonder Woman and rob banks….wait….Oh I know what the topic is about!

Vietnamese CentipedeCrimson CentipedeHuman Centipede

In 1981, Atari produced an arcade machine that was designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey that had you defending against the likes of centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas in a field of mushrooms, with the player being an elf trying your best to defend yourself.  This game was called Centipede. The machine was a hit, and many players of the day dropped many of quarters into it. For many years, alongside the likes of Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Pong, it sat as one of the kings of the arcades. Nowadays classic gamers still enjoy playing this simple yet challenging game, and any retro arcade place must have it among the games to play. Game Swap in Kettering has this game, and when it first showed up I was lucky enough to have my name on the score board.  Now, a few years later, I have been knocked off. One thing that sets Centipede apart from other arcade cabinets is the fact that it uses a trackball for movement and not the traditional joystick; this gave the player the feeling of more control of their character. So for this blog I decided to grab a lucky quarter and head to Game Swap and have a showdown with the Centipede arcade machine! I really enjoy the game and on this day, January 12, 2015, the air was cold and it was after a freezing rain storm.  I went to Game Swap Kettering an hour before it opened and popped my quarter in and began my mission of conquest. And after playing it for several minutes, I ended up making it to the board but only in the # 4 spot! But nothing can beat the sounds of several arcade machines playing at the same time.  If you’re an old school gamer, you know what I mean. I should also note that at Game Swap as of this posting there is a feud going on to have their name in the top three spots and its between Garrison Kane, Josh Weinberg and a customer named Dan Little, this far Dan has the # 1 spot and looks like the others have their hands full to claim it.

Game Swap Centipede

Beside the arcades, the one place many people could play Centipede was at home thanks to their Atari 2600! The cart was put out by Atari themselves and came packaged with a special DC Comic Book that is the comic we will be reviewing this very update! Centipede was a solid selling game for Atari 2600, and those few kids that I knew who had a 2600 all had this game. While the port of this arcade game to home console was a fun play, it did lack the smoothness of the arcade as well as the graphics were below mind blowing. But I am sure if you own an Atari 2600 now or even then, I would almost guarantee that you have or had a copy of Centipede, and you have some great memories of playing it.

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If you didn’t have an Atari 2600 or an arcade near your home there were many other ways to play Centipede at home as it was also ported on Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, PC and many others! A new and improved version of Centipede came out for PC in 1998 and for Sony Playstation and Sega Dreamcast in 1999 that changed the vibe and core of the classic game. Instead of the Elf, the player now played as a ship called Shooter who was fighting the bug and mushroom invasion. I can remember the hype being around the reboot game, and I for one bought it when it was released as well as the many other PSX reboots that followed like Frogger, Pong and Blaster Master. So no matter how you look at it, if you play video games at all there was many of ways to play Centipede at home!

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So we took a quick look at Centipede at the arcade and home consoles, and now I am thinking it would be a good time to take a look at the mini comic book made by DC Comics based on this video game! Now for those of you who don’t know and are wondering why and the world did DC make a comic based on Centipede to be a give away when gamers bought the game, the answer is simple: as DC’s parent company also bought Atari and to modernize and utilize their assets, they had DC help make an extra bonus for those who bought the game. So with that I need to thank Game Swap Kettering for having this comic in stock and I also need to remind everyone that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So grab a pocket full of quarters, cause we are headed to the DC Comic Arcade to read a little Centipede and maybe even get the top score!

Centipede # 1

Centipede  ***
Released in 1983   Cover Price 0.00   DC Comics   # 1 of 1

Oliver is the littlest elf of his village on Mt. Mushmore where he and his parents harvest mushrooms. Oliver’s best friends are insects that live in the forest like Spider, Scorpion, Flea and Centipede and they all play games and eat berry jam and mushroom bread together. Well one day the evil Wizard who lives nearby turns all of the mushrooms into poison toadstools as he hates shrooms but loves stools! Oliver’s Dad gets all the other elf villagers together and leaves Oliver to watch over the family farm as they all storm his castle and try to get him to stop his evil ways.  This of course backfires, and all the elves are turned into Toadstools! Oliver is the last elf left, and the Wizard goes after him and a chase ensues that ends up with Oliver getting the Wizard’s wand and the Wizard using his magic glance on his insect friends to turn them bad.  They hunt Oliver down in the forest and against their will, they are out to kill their little elf friend! But Oliver uses the wand and turns his attackers into mushrooms, and right when he is about to turn the wand on The Wizard the two come to terms and The Evil Wizard turns his frown upside down and becomes friends with the elves that are turned back into humans.

This is a pretty fun promo comic made by DC for Atari and almost has a Smurfs feel to the whole thing that gives it a family fun vibe. The story is pretty simple and true to the spirit of the game with a evil wizard making toadstools and turns the forest insects into blood thirsty creatures.  The world’s only hope is the smallest elf in town who outsmarts the Wizard and saves the day. Oliver is a likable hero who is very simple and enjoys life with his insect friends and helping on the mushroom farm his family owns.  While he is the smallest elf in town, he has a big heart and courage to back it up. Think of Oliver like this Willow Ufgood from the film W.I.L.L.O.W. meets Wally The Wizard with a dash of Papa Smurf. The Centipede and the fellow creatures of the woods are fun loving and only turn evil when a spell is placed on them.  One weird thing is that the Centipede’s whole body is made up of tiny circle smiling faces that when they come apart each section has a mind of its own. The very evil Wizard is your generic old sorcerer who hates all the nearby villagers and wants to ruin their crops in order to plant his own and can do so thanks to his trusty magic wand. Without the wand, he is no threat and in fact even with it all he does to stop you is turn you into a toadstool, but of course he is taught a lesson by Oliver and he turns his frown upside down. Think of the Wizard as a cheap imitation of Gargamel from Smurfs with the look of Jarvis the Cookie Crisp Wizard.This comic is really well done and gives more depth and character to a video game with zero story on screen and tiny spirits as the characters! DC could have turned this into a kids comic series, and I am sure it would have done better then the likes of Atari Force, a series DC made that we will have to cover at some point here at Rotten Ink. The art is done by Howard Post and Robert Smith and looks fantastic and holds the charm of a classic 70’s kids comic! To sum it up, this is a great promo comic that did its job in adding something more special to the source material. Check out some of the art samples below and enjoy the video game inspired goodness.

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We finished with Centipede way early so I figured why don’t we take a look at an Independent Comic I got off the website Indy Planet that is based on the classic Sci-Fi comics of the 60’s thats called King Cactor! So let’s go leave the safety of Oliver the elf and see what a giant angry monster can do!

King Cactor #1

King Cactor  # 1  ***
Released in 2014   Cover Price $3.00   James Rubino Comics   # 1 of 1

King Cactor is a giant cactus man who has just emerged from the hot sand near Las Vegas and is on a destructive path going towards towns.  The army is trying to step in and stop him, but to their horror, nothing they have is fazing him! By the time he hits a small town, the army drops a nuclear bomb on him killing the over a thousand residents and barely hurting the green prickly skinned beast! The general has no other options as he calls on a creepy scientist named Professor Tarterez who spends two weeks and over two billion dollars on an aircraft that he tells them will drain the water from King Cactor’s body leaving him a dried up husk! This is a set up as Tarterez uses the craft to gain mind control over the giant beast and use him to destroy all the humans! Professor Tarterez thinks he is about to rule the world with his mind controlled King Cactor, but he forgot about Benefield, a solider who never trusted him and snuck aboard the craft and saves the day! As the craft crashes to the ground with both Professor Tarterez and Benefield inside, King Cactor heads into the heart of the desert away from towns and people. But like any good sci-fi story, this is not the end as it shows that Benefield is alive, but is he human?

This is a fun science fiction throwback comic that captures the feeling of a 60’s comic books that inspired it, and I must say that I fully enjoyed this comic and all the cheesy action it packed inside the pages. The story follows a giant monster who has returned after a few years of hibernation and is back causing destruction.  The military, who is powerless against it’s rage, has to count on an evil Professor who will do what he can to make things go his way. King Cactor is a giant cactus monster who is super strong and can shoot needles and can survive all types of bombs and guns! Professor Tarterez is an evil man who looks like the Devil and wants to rule the world and kill off many human lives.  One thing about him is that I am not sure why he is so anti fellow human. Tarterez is clearly a bigger bad guy than King Cactor as he is doing is evil deeds with a human mind and it’s been thoughtout. The Army, who are the good guys, are noble but are also outmatched by the pure power of King Cactor, and this makes them have to do so drastic things like bomb a whole city killing everyone who lives there. Benefield is clearly the issue’s true hero as he cares about his fellow man and even sacrifices his own life to save the world from more destruction. The comic has a great pacing, and I would read every issue if this was to be turned into a full fledged comic series. I should also say that King Cactor was used in another comic before this issue called Tales From The Seventh Galaxy # 1 making this the big guy’s second comic appearance. The art is done by Thomas Ahearn and looks fantastic and captures the right feel for this style of comic. I say check out this independent comic if you’re a fan of old school sci-fi comics starring larger then life giant monsters.

King Cactor Art 1

So from an arcade classic turned into a DC comic to a giant Cactus monster who runs amok, this update is coming to an end, and I still must say I could not knock Josh Weinberg off the # 1 spot on the Centipede arcade machine at Game Swap Kettering, but one day he will drop to the # 2 spot and my name will be the new champ of the machine! Our next update will be all about that lovable rich blue cartoon dog named Foofur! So until then, read a comic or two, visit your local comic shop, play a classic video game and as always have a good time!

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Norman Bates The Original Psycho Slasher

I write a blog on here, and you’d be more than welcome to read it if you want f.o.c. of course..free of charge! This update before our big Halloween day update is all about the one and only Norman Bates and Innovation Comics’ three issue adaptation of the film that came out in 1992. If you remember last year I had a tough time choosing what to review between Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and Psycho, and Leatherface ended up winning.  Well this year I decided that it’s for sure Psycho’s time in the jack-o-lantern candle spotlight. So while we wait for our room at the Bates Motel, we should talk about the 1959 novel Psycho written by Robert Bloch that was adapted into the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name. The novel was about a son and mother that run a motel called the Bates Motel that’s off a stretch of highway.  When a young lady goes missing and we know she has been murdered, a plot of why and who killed her comes into play as her sister and a private detective come looking for answers. The novel was a hit and was loosely based off the killer Ed Gein who just two years before had been arrested for murder and grave robbing.  It’s said that Bloch didn’t do any research into Gein’s crimes and was shocked to see just how much the Norman Bates character and the real life killer Gein had in common. The novel proved to be such a hit that it was licensed to become a film directed by the master of thrills Alfred Hitchcock, and it also sparked two novel sequels called Psycho II in 1982 and Psycho House in 1990. For those wondering, Robert Bloch wrote 30 novels and hundreds of short stories.  Some of his novels include Night of The Ripper, The Dead Beat, The Jekyll Legacy and Twilight Zone: The Movie to name a few. In the 60’s Bloch also worked on Hollywood scripts that included 10 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents as well as William Castle directed films Straight Jacket and The Night Walker as well as British made horror film The Skull that starred Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Bloch was a protege and friend of writer H.P. Lovecraft the latter who even dedicated a story to marking the first and only time the writer dedicated one of his stories to someone else. Sadly Robert Bloch is no longer with us as he passed away in 1994 at the age of 77 from cancer. But if you enjoy a good horror chiller novel then check out some of Bloch’s work. I’m sure you will get a shiver or two from them.

psycho bookNow at this point I should get onto breaking down the films in the Psycho movie series as well as talk briefly about the TV inspired programs, and I guess about the awful and unwanted remake. So as always I am going to take the films descriptions from IMDB so that you can get a little taste of what these films are about.  Warning: I am sure these write ups will have spoilers I will also at the end of each give them a 1-4 star rating just for the fun of it! So with that let’s sit down have some peanut butter sandwiches and milk and learn all about Norman Bates and his Mother Norma. I should also say that Anthony Perkins will always be Norman Bates.  The way the actor brought the character to life will never be matched. Perkins played the character in the first 4 films and sadly passed away in 1992 at the age of 60 from AIDS-related pneumonia. But let’s get to those film write ups, shall we?

Psycho – Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam’s California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother. 4 stars for sure, a true classic in cinema as well as truly one of the first slasher films.

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Psycho II – Now declared legally sane, Norman Bates is released from a mental institution after spending 22 years in confinement over the protests of Marion Crane’s sister Lila Loomis, who insists that he’s still a killer and that the court’s indifference to his victims by releasing him is a gross miscarriage of justice. Norman returns to his motel and the old Victorian mansion where his troubles started, and history predictably begins to repeat itself. A solid 3 1/2 stars and a film I can remember watching a lot when I was younger!

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Psycho III – Norman Bates is still running his little motel, and he has kept the dressed skeleton he calls mother. One of his guests is a young girl who has left the convent where she lived. To get some help he employs a young man. One day a nosy journalist comes to see him to ask questions about his past. I really like this third film and while it’s more of a slasher film than a suspense one, I still would give this 3 stars!

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Psycho IV: The Beginning – Norman Bates returns for this “prequel”, once more having mommy trouble. This time around he is invited to share memories of mom with a radio talk show host, but the PYSCHO fears that he may kill again for his beloved is impregnated with his child and Norman cannot let another PYSCHO loose in the civilized world. This made for Showtime movie is pretty good and sadly marked the last time Anthony Perkins played Norman Bates. I would give this one as well 3 Stars.

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Bates Motel (1987) – This film is based on, but not in sequence with, the Psycho films. After the death of Norman Bates, a man who befriended him in the institution inherits the motel. In keeping with Norman’s wishes, he tries to fix up the place and make it a respectable motel. Made for TV film that was made to try and kick start a TV series.

Psycho (1998) – Marion Crane steals a lot of cash from a man whom her boss is in business with. On the way to see her boyfriend, she stops off by an old motel, run by the odd Norman Bates. She is murdered in the shower. Her sister, boyfriend, and a private investigator try to find out where she is, while we learn more about Norman Bates. This film is a waste and has Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates. Zero stars.

Bates Motel (2013) – “Bates Motel” is a contemporary prequel to the genre-defining film “Psycho,” and gives a portrayal of how Norman Bates’ (Freddie Highmore) psyche unravels through his teenage years. Fans discover the dark, twisted backstory of Norman Bates and how deeply intricate his relationship with his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga), truly is. Airs on A&E and is on it’s second season.

The Bates Haunting (2012) – One year ago, Agnes Rickover attended opening night at the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride to see her best friend Lily’s dramatic debut. A horrific accident resulted in Agnes witnessing Lily’s fiery death in a spectacle gone wrong. After a year of obsessing over a murder investigation everyone else thinks is open and shut, Agnes goes to work at the Haunt in an attempt confront her trauma. Horrific events begin to claim the lives of her coworkers and Agnes must figure out what is behind all of the “accidents” before more people die. Generic cash in on the Bates Motel name, has nothing to do with Norman Bates or hell even the Bates Motel!

Bates Motel Made for TV MoviePsycho Remake PosterBates Motel TV ShowBates Haunting

While Psycho started as a book, it was the films that made it a household name and allowed it to be marketed and even the original motel and house set to become a mainstay tourist attraction for all those who go to Universal Studios Hollywood. Psycho as well as Norman Bates and Mother have been turned into all types of products from t-shirts, dolls, night lights, posters, comics, toys, shower curtains, video games and Halloween costumes. One of my favorite piece of merchandise is the McFarlane Toys Movie Maniac Norman Bates action figure that is Norman in dress with removable wig…classic! I should also note that I would love for a 3 3/4” ReAction Figure line based on Psycho to come out complete with Norman and Mother. So if you’re a Psycho fan, there is plenty of great stuff out there for you to collect.

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In 1988, Box Office Games made a game for the Commodore 64 based on Psycho that was a cheesy 8-bit horror themed game. The game is about a curator with a bad heart and some priceless jewels that have been stolen from a museum.  All clues point that they are both at the infamous Bates Motel! No one will take the case besides you, a detective that decides to enter the famed house and Motel late at night. In the house is Norman Bates dressed up as his mother as well as skeletons, ghosts and bats all wanting to stop you from saving the day. It’s a race against time as you must find them before daybreak and must also fight off sleep! Find the clues, keys, gun, ammo, the curator and jewels before Norman Bates finds you! Do you have the nerves of steel to search the Bates House and Motel? Can you stand up to Norman Bates? The game is okay but the lack of Norman and Mother make it feel like an updated version of the Atari 2600 game Haunted House.The graphics are your standard Commodore style so while not ground breaking, they are very charming. But over all if you’re a fan of the film and still own a Commodore 64, then this is one you might want to check out.

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One thing that makes the Psycho films work is the score music that accompanies so many of the films’ iconic scenes. The first film’s score is done by Bernard Herrmann and is a very powerful and each bit of music fits the scene it accompanies.  Who can forget the the the shower scene music cue? The second film’s music is done by Jerry Goldsmith and once more is a very solid piece of work, filled with just enough touches of Herrmann’s score style but truly Godlsmith’s own. The third film has Carter Burwell doing the score, and the fourth film is Graeme Revell and both do outstanding jobs and like the composers before them, capture the mood and feel of the Psycho world. Each of these soundtracks are worth a listen with part four’s being the hardest to get your hands on. One thing that I love to do on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO is play some of the score done by Herrmann from time to time, and it’s always a must-play on the Halloween show.

Psycho SoundtrackPsycho II SoundtrackPsycho III Soundtrack

Janet Leigh was born Jeanette Helen Morrison on July 6th 1927, and by 1945 thanks to actress Norma Shearer, she became a signed on actress to MGM even though she had no acting experience.  She got the contract just simply by her smile. By 1947 she made her major big budget film debut in The Romance Of Rosy Ridge, and after this many roles would come her way like If Winter Comes, The Stratton Story, Hills Of Home, Little Women and Touch Of Evil to name a few. Her most popular role came in 1960 when she was casted as Marion Crane in Psycho. With the success of Psycho, she landed more major roles in such films as The Manchurian Candidate and Bye Bye Birdie. During this time she also took some roles on TV shows like Tales Of The Unexpected, Columbo, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and even an episode of the 1989 Twilight Zone. She also took roles alongside her actress daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in the films The Fog and Halloween H20. Leigh has been married a total of 4 times with her third husband being Tony Curtis with whom she had Jamie Lee. Leigh sadly died in 2004 at the age of 77 from vasculitis leaving behind a husband and two daughters. To me Janet Leigh could be one of the original Scream Queens of horror and only could be matched for the “original” title by Carolyn Jones of 1959’s House on Haunted Hill and of course Fay Wray from 1933’s King Kong. But what is for sure is Janet Leigh was a fantastic actress who starred in some great films and made her mark on the world of horror.

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Growing up I watched Psycho and its sequels a lot, and one fun past time I can remember doing in my teens was talking to my mom as if she was Mother.  She hated when I did this but I always got a good laugh acting as if she was crazy and such about girls I was dating or even dinner she had cooked for us. Fun times indeed and still to this day from time to time I still bust out the “Yes Mother” just to keep the joke alive. But I just got word that our room is ready and just our luck we got room # 1, the room right next door to the office so we are really lucky! But before we enter, I just want to remind you all 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 Bell Book and Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock. So let’s go ahead and get comfy and enjoy our stay at the Bates Motel!

Psycho Comic 1

Psycho # 1   ***1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.50    Innovation   #1 of 3

At a hotel room Sam and Marion have just finished up a lunch break filled with making love, and the two talk of a “future” that they might have together once Sam can get back on his feet. Marion returns to work where she is a secretary for a real estate agent, and when a load mouth cowboy comes in with forty thousand dollar cash and she is asked to put it in the companies safety deposit box at the bank, she makes the decision to steal the money and go on the run. On her way out of town she catches the eye of a cop who follows her as she trades in her car and buys a new one.  She then makes her way to a motel called The Bates Motel during a rain storm and meets the owner Norman Bates, who invites her to dinner and while he goes to his home on the hill near the motel Marion can hear him arguing with his mother before returning with some sandwiches and milk. Marion eats in the office parlor as she and Norman talk about his Mother and running away from mistakes.  The talk makes her want to return home and return the money before things get way out of hand, and as she returns to her room Norman removes a picture in his office to show a peephole into her cabin next door!

Marion is a lovely woman who is just down and out in her love life as well are in her professional life. She decides to try and change her luck and commits a terrible crime to secure that new life, and while now she is on the path to make everything better she still feels rotten about what she has done. This sad and desperate situation she finds herself in is what draws you as a reader into really liking her character and hoping that she can make things right and find happiness another way. Norman Bates is an odd and awkward yet likeable man who really seems to care for his Mother even though she treats him poorly and rules every aspect of his life, plus his hobby is taxidermy, he likes to drink milk, he runs a motel with no guests and he’s a peeping tom…so he has to be a good guy right? Mother Bates, while we have not seen her, sounds very strong willed and not very friendly at all. It’s clear that Mother hates other women and thinks that they are all whores who want to corrupt Norman. The mood of the comic captures the mood of the film really well and for those of us who have seen the classic film, we know what awaits us but still the build up here is really well done. The art inside the comic is that painted style and is done by Felipe Echevarria who does a fantastic job with making Marion look like actress Janet Lee, but I will say his Norman Bates, while good, looks nothing like Anthony Perkins and that’s kind of a let down. The cover is fantastic and captures that noir and horror feel of the film perfect. Over all this is a perfect comic film adaptation and really sparks the mood of this Halloween season! So let’s get onto issue # 2 and see what Norman is up to.

Psycho Comic 2

Psycho # 2  ***
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.50   Innovation   #2 of 3

Norman spies on Marion as she gets undressed and writes a letter she rips up and flushes.  As she gets into the shower Norman, walks back up to his house. As Marion’s in the shower, a shadowy figure with a dress on and white hair slings open the shower curtain and stabs the young woman to death. We cut back to the house as Norman yells at mother about all the blood and rushes to the room and cleans up the blood, and dumps Marion’s body in her car into a near by lake. Meanwhile the murdered woman’s sister Lila is visiting Sam to try and find her missing sister and the money, and they become aware that a private investigator named Arbogast has been hired to find her and get the money back. Arbogast travels the highways and stops at all the motels to see if anyone has seen Marion and when entering The Bates Motel, he and Norman exchange some words when he finds that Norman has lied about the woman being at his Motel after he finds her name on the guest registry. After questioning Norman and being refused to speak to Mother, Arbogast calls Lila and Sam to tell them that Marion was at The Bates Motel and that he plans on sneaking into the house to speak to Mother, and he will call them back in an hour. Arbogast sneaks into the house and becomes another victim to Mother and her knife, and when three hours pass Sam leaves Lila to go to Bates Motel and check on what’s going on.

The second issue is still very solid, but I will say it slips a little as many of the pages are filled with overly large art with no dialogue, and then other parts are filled with overly long dialogue! Marion in this issue is killed off and her character comes to an end, sad ’cause much like in the film you find yourself hoping she does the right thing for her own life. Norman Bates is shown to be spineless when it comes to standing up to mother as well as others who are come looking for those that mother’s actions affected. Arbogast tries his best to be Dick Tracy but falls short when he becomes too nosey and pays the price of entering another person’s house uninvited with his life. Sam and Lila are gearing up to be more of the focus of the final issue as they really want to know where their loved one is! The story in this issue is more noir than horror but this works for the middle issue and is really the set up for the big surprise and blow out of the end of the story. The cover is great and captures the horror of Marion’s shower death, and the art in this issue while good seems a slight more sloppy than issue # 1 and is done by Felipe Echevarria once more in the paint style. I must also say that while in the film the shower scene is the most iconic part, in the comic it don’t hold up as well and comes off solid but not great. The murder that does work is that of Arbogast, due to the dark shadows used and the perfect way the darkness hides Mother. Very good issue that once more holds the feel and mood of the film it’s based on showing that adaptations can be done right.  So with no more wait let’s move onto the conclusion of Psycho!

Psycho Comic 3

Psycho # 3   ***1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.50   Innovation   #3 of 3

Sam and Lila regroup after he went to the Bates Motel and never saw Norman, only Mother via her bedroom window. The pair visit the town sheriff and tell them about Marion, the money and Arbogast and that all these things tie into The Bates Motel! They tell him of the phone call from the now missing private detective about speaking with Mother as well as Sam’s eye witness of the old woman sitting in the window and watching him. The Sheriff informs them that Norman’s mother has been dead for over 10 years and that he thinks that Arbogast has left town on a lead of Marion so that he himself could steal the money from her. Norman in fear that they will be coming for Mother makes her hide in the fruit cellar and the next morning is able to pass that everything is okay when the Sheriff came to the motel looking for answers. Sam and Lila still don’t think things are right at Bates Motel and head there to stay under the fake guise that they are husband and wife looking for a good night’s rest. They are taken to cabin # 6, and when Norman goes back to his hous,e they sneak into cabin # 1 and find evidence that Marion was there at some point for sure. Sam distracts Norman while Lila sneaks inside and this leads to Norman knocking out Sam when he finds that his questions are about Mother and rushes to the house as Lila hides in the fruit cellar and finds Mother who is in fact a corpse as Norman busts in wearing a wig and dress! Norman is stopped by Sam and is arrested for the murders. In the end it’s shown that Norman Bates has been crazy his whole life and killed his own mother and her lover 10 years back and has took on a split personality that has him switch from Norman Bates to Mother Bates!

Norman Bates is mentally unstable, and this makes him a great bad guy in the comic world as he has layers to his craziness, making him super dangerous as he has this way about him that while you are creeped out you see him as no danger…the key thing to most serial killers is to make everyone believe they are normal. In this final issue we get to see multiple sides of Norman from worried and loyal son to cross dressing mama’s boy with murder on his mind. Norman Bates, while defeated by the end of the comic, lives to fight another day as it’s clear he will spend his days in an asylum. Lila and Sam are good characters who won’t give up on their missing loved one and put themselves into danger to try and find the truth, and are the ones who crack these missing person cases wide open by solving the mystery of the Bates Motel. The Sheriff is just a numbskull who half asses his look into what Norman knows and offers really no help to Lila and Sam for their quest for the truth. Mother….poor decomposed Mother.  While her body is a rotting shell, her spirit is alive and well in Norman. The Mother side of his personality is the domineering and evil side that makes him lash out at pretty women and any man who gets in the way. This final issue holds the shock of Mother being dead and Norman being crazy really well, and both these aspects work really well in this comic mini series. Felipe Echevarria does the art again, and the paint style looks great still but his Norman Bates is still a little off. I wish it would have looked more like Anthony Perkins! The cover is well done but is by far the weaker of the three issues. Over all I really enjoyed this comic series, and this was a perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit even more. If you’re a fan of the film, the novel and comics then check this one out for sure.

Psycho Art 1Psycho Art 2Psycho Art 3

Well it’s time to check out of the Bates Motel and wrap this update up. This was a very well done comic series that helped capture the thrills of suspense of the film it was based on, and makes me wish Innovation would have made a full comic series based on Norman Bates and the Motel he runs. So I am sure you’re wondering what is the next update, the one that will be going up on October 31st 2014 Halloween Day.  Well I am proud to say that it will be based on Universal’s Frankenstein Monster and special comics made on the films! So until then share some ghost stories with friends, watch a horror movie and read a horror comic and what ever you do, don’t stay at the Bates Motel!

Frankenstein halloween logo

MarvelProbe: When Pixels And Ink Meet

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Today I would like to talk about video games; right now on the home console market PS4 is kicking the butt of its competitors, the Nintendo WII-U and the Xbox One and with the Steam Box and even rumored Amazon Game System in the works this generation of gaming is going to be an interesting one. Most modern Triple A titles are like playing a movie as they are heavy on plots and the graphics are top notch.  Games of this style would be like Assassins Creed, Halo, God of War and Legend Of Zelda.  When playing a game like this, you are treated to beautiful breathtaking cut scenes that help draw you deeper and deeper into the plot. Also popular nowadays are the tiny mobile games that kids and adults play on their smart phones and tablets and most of these style games have very little plot and are quick play games that can kill boredom when waiting.  Examples of these games are Planets Vs. Zombies, Minecraft and Angry Birds. But for me mobile games are just kind of bland and when I want to play a video game, I want to pop in a cart or disc and grab my controller and play. In this day and age a player does not have to use much of his or hers imagination like they did back when Atari 800 or 2600 ruled the home game market with wire thin plots and pixels that were kind of in the shape of whatever your character was suppose to be. While I am sure gamers now look at classic video games like Pac-Man, Frogger and Q*Bert as primitive, nothing could prepare them for text adventure games! Yes, in the 1980’s text based games were very popular, and while some of them had some graphics at the top of the screen, many of them did not and looked like just a bunch of words on a screen waiting for simple commands to further the “adventure” along. Think of text games like the book series called Choose Your Own Adventure where by reading and making a decision, you have your character’s fate in your hands, because let’s be honest kids want to read a bunch of text in order to play a video game….right? Text based games have been made about all types of things from Dracula to World War II but some of the most popular ones were based on Marvel Super Heroes and would you know they also made comics based on their text based adventures and that’s what our main subject will be all about! So get ready to have a text not texting good time as we jump into the world of pixels and ink.

questprobe hulk screenQuestprobe Spider screenQuestprobe Human Torch Screen

Adventure International was an early video game company run by husband and wife Scott and Alexis Adams who specialized in making games for the home computer market like the Commodore 64 and Apple II that started in 1978. Scott Adams was a big name in the world of video games throughout the early 80’s, and he was mostly known for making top of the line text based adventure games.  This helped his company lock a partnership with Marvel Comics in 1984 to make a text based game series that would focus many of their top heroes.  In fact, 12 games were planned in the line as were comics that would come out alongside the games via Marvel. The first three games to come out were adventures based on The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and Human Torch & The Thing from the Fantastic Four. The main plot had the heroes being studded by a unknown figure called Chief Examiner who would place them in odd places and situations to see how they would react to them. But sadly Adventure International hit a financial snag and closed up shop in 1985 leaving the 4th game,which was based around the X-Men, unfinished and the remaining titles in the line canceled. While his company may have closed shop Scott Adams still continued to make computer games throughout the years and even as of 2013 made a comeback after 10 years of not creating his own game made a text game called “The Inheritance” and remains an icon of PC Gaming.

Questprobe SpiderMan C64Adventure International logoQuestprobe Fantastic Four Atari

Growing up the only text based games I could remember playing were ones that my Uncle Thurman would bring to our house in Waynesville when he and my Aunt Teresa would come visit us as kids. Most of the ones he had were more like dungeon and dragons and were the strict text ones with no graphics and were all for Commodore 64. I can remember one time looking through his massive collection of games all on floppy disks and finding Dracula and asking him if we could play it but after several tries the game never did load.  That’s one of the downsides to Commodore 64, it had lots of issues loading and when it was loading the time to get your game to start was very long. Imagine kids of today who already complain about the install times of modern games trying to play a full game on Commodore where you had to wait for it to not only load the game but also most of the times each level! But I will move on and over the years text games seemed like an oddity to me and captured my attention as I never could wrap my head around why gamers of the past found them to be hours of fun, and I got a reason to buy some when I started to review Video Games on my old website for my production company Bloodline Video a few years back under the name of Xmortis. So after getting a complete working Commodore 64 with the datasette reader and floppy drive from Game Swap, I looked for a text based game that I could review and it came down to one called Wolfman and the other being Questprobe: Incredible Hulk and when a cassette version of Questprobe popped up cheap on Ebay it became the lucky winner. The game is text based but does have graphics that for the time are really fun and try their hardest to look like comic book art.  I have to admit playing the first few times I hated it and was so frustrated by the lame commands that I would get bored and shut the game off or even gasp! Die in the game! How could I let The Hulk, one of my favorite comic characters, die in a lame text game is what I kept thinking, but finally I hate to admit it but I used an online walk through for what commands to give him and beat the game by cheating. The review never made it up on the site, and I hope to someday get back to Bloodline’s site and return it to the review and production glory it once was. As for now how I feel about Questprobe Hulk, I hate to admit it but I do like the idea of it, mostly cause it was the first video game based on Hulk. Below is the cover box for the game as well as some screen shots for you to feast your eyes on and enjoy all the pixel goodness.

Questprobe hulk 1-1Questprobe Hulk C64Questprobe Hulk 1

Marvel Comics had a great thing going, not only did they have characters in video games now being written by Scott Adams but they could also get a 12 issue mini series from it that would help boost the sales of the game as also the game could boost the sales of the comics. This team up was truly a time when ink meet pixels, and the team up would have been perfect if not for the game company’s sudden shut down. Marvel during this time I am sure had a tough decision to make as they could continue a comic series based on games that were no longer being made or they could do the unthinkable and just cancel the mini series and leave fans hanging on what and who Chief Examiner was and what he wanted…and Marvel did what they always do they pulled the plug and walked away from the idea and as time passed did kind of wrap up the story in Marvel Fanfare # 33 where they printed the X-Men story and later in Quasar they added in the story of Questprobe. So on this update we are only going to cover the three issues released in the original mini series and will be graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I want to thank the vendor at Fright Night Film Fest for having issue # in stock and Lone Star Comics for the remaining two issues. So let’s pop these comics into the datasette player and type in the load keys and enjoy pixels and ink together.

Questprobe 1

Questprobe # 1  ** 1/2
Released in 1984     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #1 of 3

A race of peaceful aliens are preparing for an invasion from other aliens who are war hawks and want to kill them all as well as their planet.  They all turn on Durgan, a member of there council who wants to fight back and not just roll over and die. When Durgan leaves the meeting he knows that something has to be done so he dons a giant helmet and calls himself the Chief Examiner and heads to Earth to steal the powers of some of our top super heroes to use in a fight with the invading aliens. On Earth The Incredible Hulk is facing off with the National Guard and after making short work of their tanks, he heads off to find a place to sleep and does so in a cave on the side of a cannon. When entering the cave, the Hulk sees the Natter Energy Egg and the Blood Red Bio-Gem right as the two explode.  This event makes The Hulk tired and he falls asleep turning back in Bruce Banner and finally getting some piece and quite. Banner’s rest is quickly cut short as Chief Examiner enters the cave and tells him that he needs to have him walk through a door portal so that he can drain his power! Banner fights back and runs from the cave but soon learns that the cave is high and he is fallen to his death! Before he hits the ground he turns into The Hulk as the Chief Examiner tries to force him to enter the door portal, The Hulk doesn’t like to be told what to do and goes on a rampage to smash the dome headed alien into the ground, during this fight a group of white water rafters are knocked over when Hulk goes under water and breaks off one of the sides of the canon and pins Chief Examiner down, but by doing so the huge rock is blocking the river and causes the rafters to fall into the raging water. The Hulk dives in and pulls out all the males and see’s that the female is stuck in a whirlpool! The only way to get to her is by jumping into the portal doorway and he does so losing some of his power yet saving a young woman’s life. The Chief Examiner leaves with his prize the stolen energy as The Hulk waits to make sure the woman is okay and to remain some energy and leaps off into the sky.

This is a fun Hulk adventure that is a cool tie in for a video game and explains the strange world that the Hulk is found in during the text based adventure Game. The plot is pretty simple and has an alien who’s planet is under attack who travels to Earth to steal powers off powerful humans so that he can use it against the attackers, the first one he targets is Hulk cause of his brute strength. He tries to force the Hulk to enter his black doorway that allows him to steal/mimic his power and only does so when he forces The Hulk to make a decision to save a woman’s life and jump through the door or let her die and avoid the door. The Hulk in this issue is the simple minded version who just wants to be left alone and knows that his brute power is the best way to keep everyone away, this is my favorite version of the Hulk as he is the one truly grew up reading and the one that made me a lifelong fan next to the TV Show. I love the fact that while The Hulk is a “monster” in the eyes of humans he risks his own safety in this comic to save the life of one of them and by the end the humans seem to have a new respect for the green skin goliath. The Chief Examiner while not a full bad guy still is going about getting help in his planets soon to be war all the wrong ways, not once does he even try to explain to the Hulk why he needs his power nor does he even tell the power house about his planets upcoming doom or asks if Hulk would come back and help. Plus it’s great when The Hulk pins Chief Examiner down with a giant stone and how easily in the alien’s mind he gave up and knew that the Hulk could kill him with one punch. The comic’s art is done by the amazing Mark Gruenwald and inked by John Romita Jr. making for one powerful team that turned in a great looking comic, and the cover is amazing and is also what’s used for the video game. So in this first issue Chief Examiner gets the power of the Hulk, and now who’s next on his hit list of stealing powers?

Questprobe 1-1 artQuestprobe 1-2 artQuestprobe 1-3 art

So in this first issue Chief Examiner gets the power of the Hulk, and now who’s next on his hit list of stealing powers? Let’s jump into issue two and see what he has planned for Spider-Man!

Questprobe 2

Questprobe # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #2 of 12

Spider-Man is feeling a little down in the dumps as the city is hot and he has a lot on his mind as his personal life is a mess. Meanwhile in prison, Quentin Beck comes up with a plan to escape so he can don his Mysterio outfit once more and challenge Spider-Man to a final fight! While on a distant planet the peaceful aliens watch as The Black Fleet conquers another planet and is heading their way, as Durgan also known as The Chief Examiner sets his sights now on steal/borrowing the power of Spider-Man to mix with that of the Hulk he already has taken. Tuskar is a student of Durgan and wants to find his old teacher and see if he can help as it’s shown the Black Fleet really just wants the Red Bio-Gem’s cause when put together they hold massive power, and the kicker are the Gems are alive and are kind of evil! Mysterio shows up to the Daily Bugle and holds everyone hostage as Spider-Man shows up to save them and the two fight it out, all the while Mysterio is using cheap and dirty FX inspired tricks on his foe. The Chief Examiner shows up and tries to get Spidey to go through his portal but web-head thinks that Examiner is just a costume change for Mysterio as they both wear domes over their faces, in the end Spider-Man figures out they are not the same person and is forced to dive into Examiner’s portal to escape an attack by Mysterio that leaves our hero weak, and just as Mysterio is to finish off Spider-Man the Red Bio-Gem uses its power to make The Chief Examiner try and steal the power of Mysterio given Spider-Man some breath time and getting his energy back to beat Mysterio and watch as The Chief Examiner disappears.

This issue is a good one and is a fun story to break up the normal story line that was going on in the main Spider-Man comic series at the time, but I will also say that it almost feels as if the writers of this issue in this mini series didn’t talk to the ones who made issue # 1. Because now I am not 100% sure if Durgan is The Chief Examiner or if the Red Bio-Gem on his planet is, as both seem to be in control of the dome headed power stealing loony. The Chief Examiner seems to be a little more polite in this issue and less forceful in making Spider-Man get into his portal than he was with The Hulk, but in this one he seems to be almost a ghost as nothing is under the robe making me scratch my head to as how then in issue # 1 Hulk was able to pin him to the ground and make him fear for his life. I kind of am so-so with the idea of the Red Power-Gems being alive and having the Energy Eggs around them as a way to keep them in line.  Yep, if the egg feels they are in danger it blows up killing the gem and it’s power. Spider-Man is as he was in the 80’s, filled with one liners and drama with girlfriends, but I wouldn’t want the web slinger any other way. Mysterio was the perfect  bad guy to use in this issue as he does look a lot like The Chief Examiner making for Spider-Man to have an almost “Who’s On First” kind of moments as he jumps from room to room. We will have to see what Tuskar is all about and if he will play out as a major player in the next issue. The art is by Al Milgrom and has that 70’s style Spider-Man appeal, the cover as well is just taken from the video games cover box. One smart move they did in this issue is they ask the question want to see what happened to Spider-Man’s power once he entered the portal, cause if you do go buy the game! Over all a good issue two that sadly leads us to the final issue in what was to be a 12 issue mini series.

Questprobe 2-1 art

So The Chief Examiner has collected the powers of The Hulk and Spider-Man but can he now get the powers of members of the Fantastic Four? Lets read issue # 3 and find out!

Questprobe 3

Questprobe # 3   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #3 of 12

Johnny Storm and his blind girlfriend Alicia Masters return to the Baxter Building the base of The Fantastic Four to retrieve some books but while their they get a visit from The Chief Examiner who wants Storm’s powers! Johnny Storm flames on and turns into The Human Torch just in time to fight some robots that are being controlled by The Examiner who has taken over all of the electronics in the Baxter Building. After destroying many of the robots Human Torch is sprayed with water and tuned back into Johnny Storm and he and Alicia try and escape as The Chief Examiner still is forceful that Torch goes through is portal so he can have his power! Johnny and Alicia get onto a secret elevator to try and escape and give Johnny time to dry off to become Human Torch again, meanwhile She-Hulk has returned home from grocery shopping and rushes to Johnny’s aid as The Chief Examiner forces them out of the Elevator he uses a fantasticar to try and kill She-Hulk who knocks it away and it bounces off the wall and heads towards Alicia Masters and Human Torch rushes to save her from being crushed just as The Chief Examiner places his portal in front of them tricking him into going through and stealing the power of the Human Torch and poof he’s gone and they are all safe.  The Power-Gem during this time also overhears that Durgan wants the help of Tuskar to gain more superpowers and to stop the Black Fleet. The Chief Examiner then pops up onto the alien planet that The Thing is on after the events of the Secret Wars and uses a twisted version of The Baxter Building to trick him into going through the portal and stealing his power.

This third issue is good but not nearly as good as the first two issues in the series and almost seems like a filler issue that has a touch of rush feeling. The first target is The Human Torch who The Chief Examiner tricks into getting into the portal by placing it between him and Alicia who was in danger, his intent to kill She-Hulk shows that the character is really at odds with being controlled by The Power Gem who is starting to really be the main villain of the series. It’s clear that The Human Torch is the main focus hero of this issue as the second target The Thing’s brief moments at the end of the issue is kind of a waste and not nearly as interesting as all the others who have been tricked before him. Weird enough as well is the fact the main story of Durgan also seems to be a second thought in the issue, making this one that’s kind of bland to talk about so lets just go ahead and wrap it up shall we. I will also say its odd that The Chief Examiner didn’t want to try and steal the powers of She-Hulk instead his first thought is to try and kill her, I am sure her power on top of Hulks and The Things would make him even more powerful and a force to be reckoned with.  This issues art is done by Ron Wilson and is clearly a Fantastic Four style art. Cover is like the game same as the others and I must say while again a fun read it was also very lackluster and lost the “epic adventure” feel that the other two issues had.

Questprobe 3-1 artQuestprobe 3-2 artQuestprobe 3-3 art

It’s truly a shame that this mini series and video game series was cut so short as they had so many more Marvel heroes that could have been made into both.  Just imagine this series continuing not only with the already planned X-Men but also Captain America, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Thor to name a few. I truly feel that Marvel let all the fans down of the comic mini series and the video game series by just stopping the story arch before anything was really settled. But I guess that truly was the Marvel way just stop production on series without a second thought about their fans. So next month is September, and it will be the kick off to Rotten Ink’s second Halloween update that will go up on October 31st. For those who remember last year we took a look at comics based on Hammer Horror films well this year will be a little different and something I am super happy to bring all you friends and readers. But our next update will be a secret but I will drop you a giant hint when I say he hates New York! So until then think about it, plus play a video game and read a comic or two.

Avoid The Noid In 3-D With Extra Cheese

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Today’s update we will be taking a look at that pizza hating mascot of the 80’s, The Noid, and Blackthrone’s two issue series based on the little booger. Growing up my family didn’t order out for pizza very often, and when we did, it was from places like Dagwood’s in Waynesville or we would pick up a pie from Pizza Hut or Marion’s. But most of the time we would make our own. I can remember my mom and dad letting me and my brother pick what ingredients went on our pizza and than watching it go into the oven and waiting for it to bake as the smell of cooking cheese and crust filled the air. I enjoyed eating homemade pizza, and when I was younger I always drank Mountain Dew, Kool-Aid or chocolate milk with my slices…I know the milk sounds kind of gross, but it was good! To be honest though, I have never liked pizza all that much and always found that it hurt my stomach after eating it.  Oddly enough, the only pizza that doesn’t hurt my stomach is homemade or Pizza Hut! Before we really dive into Dominos and The Noid, I should say that I am a fan of just cheese pizza, sausage and only some places deluxe like Marion’s.

Cartoon PizzaRED PLUSchocolate milk

Dominos Pizza started in 1960 when brothers Tom and James Monaghan went in together and bought DomiNick’s, a small pizza joint in Michigan, for $975.00! James gave up his half of the business in trade for a car giving Tom full control only eight months into them owning it, and by 1965 the name changed to Dominos.  By 1967 the first franchise opened sparking it to becomes a major player in the pizza restaurant war. A cool little fact is that the famous logo that has the three white dots on the blue/red domino was supposed to have more dots as they were going to add a dot for each store that opened! By 1978 they had 200 locations and more planned, so in loose terms of the rock band Megadeth: Pizza was their business and business was good! Starting in the 1980’s, they got so big that they were able to open pizza joints all over the world in such places as England and India making them grow even bigger as a Pizza Empire! In 1998 Tom wanted to retire and sold 93 percent of the company to Bain Capital for a billon dollars, and by 1999, they made David A. Brandon the new CEO of Dominos. Over the years Dominos slipped and became one of the lower pizza places.  When it came to the taste tests via customers, it tied for last place with Chuck E Cheeses.  So in 2009 they revamped their menu and used better ingredients to make their pizza better, even taking shots at themselves for making poor tasting pizzas over the years. This marketing has helped them bounce back and become a fighter once more to try and compete to be the # 1 pizza place in town. Dominos doesn’t only serve pizza though, they have added chicken wings, subs and even salads over the years. The only major media issue the company has had was with there “30 Minutes or It’s Free” promise that told customers if you order a pizza from them and it comes after 30 minutes of placing said order, then you got your food free. This pressure on delivery people was high, and many of them were involved in serious accidents as they would run red light to make it on time.  The company was sued for millions by those the drivers hurt making the promise disappear from their marketing. So after reading all this about Domino’s, are you thinking about ordering a pizza?

PizzaDominos Pizza LogoPizza Pie

1986 was the year a strange imp claymation man wearing a red body suit with bunny ears and a chest piece with a giant N creeped his way onto TV screens across America trying his hardest to ruin the pizzas made by Dominos that were out for delivery with the 30 Minutes Or It’s Free promise. The Noid became such a popular mascot with kids and adults that a computer video game was made based on him as was other merchandise. The actor who did the voice of The Noid was Pans Maar who later went on to have roles in films like Return To Oz, The Golden Child, The Blob, Theodore Rex and even played Saurod in the live action Masters Of The Universe film. His TV credits include the popular show Dinosaurs where he played multiple smaller characters. But like all good things, The Noid was put into the mascot retirement home and only gets dusted off once in a while when Dominos sees fit to try and squeeze a dime out of the little guy. I can remember watching the commercials on TV and always being so hyped to see The Noid try his darnedest to ruin the pizza. I kind of always wanted to see him be able to do so at least once just to help his self esteem.  In fact he reminds me a lot of Looney Tunes character Wile E. Coyote who tries so hard to catch Roadrunner but just can’t. In the late 80’s, The Noid was everywhere including a Michael Jackson video/movie showing he was truly an icon and always was a hit when seen by the young Brassfield brothers. It’s a shame that Dominos didn’t bring him back when they redid their menu as it would have been amazing to see The Noid try and make not only the Pizzas cold and trashed but also chicken wings, subs and cheesy bread! While The Noid has been off TV for many years and not a mascot of the pizza place any more.  His impact on pulp culture is still felt thanks to things like Family Guy, The Simpsons and The Irate Gamer all who have had the little Imp in episodes. While not as iconic as Ronald McDonald or as beloved as Billy Bob, The Noid remains a favorite to all those who remember his fun and zany antics.

Noid 1The Noid Noid 2

In the 1980’s Nintendo was the top video game system a kid could have.  Sure Atari had the 7800, and Sega had The Master System but the classic NES put them all to shame. In 1990 Capcom, the company that makes games like Street Fighter, Resident Evil and Ducktales, released a video game called Yo!Noid that was a side scrolling action game that had you playing as the red suited imp going from town to town in New York to stop the evil Mr. Green (a green suited imp) who is using slime people to ruin the city.  The promise to The Noid if he can save the day..is pizza..yep. The game in Japan is called Kamen No Ninja Hanamaru and has another hero and villain instead of The Noid and Mr. Green.  It was only in the United States that the pizza mascot was used. The game was by no means a classic but was a fun playing experience.  I can remember renting the game from K&L Video years and years after it came out and enjoying it as did my brother at the time. Over the years the game has become a punching bag by many because it’s a tie in to a massive company that sells pizza, but put all that internet B.S. and wannabe Angry Video Game reviewers reviews out of your mind and enjoy a fun silly side scrolling adventure game.

Yo Noid 1Yo! Noid NesYo Noid 2

Besides Yo! Noid for the NES and the BlackThorne comics, some other merchandise that came out included a game that came out for the Commodore 64 called Avoid The Noid, PVC figures of The Noid in all types of outfits like boxing gloves and wizards hat, stuffed dolls, bendable figures, halloween masks, t-shirts and key chains among many other small things that had his goofy face on it. The only thing I had growing up was the bendable figure that I got from a garage sale as a kid, and I can remember eating home made pizza at the kitchen table while acting as if The Noid  was trying to ruin my dinner…that damn Noid. So if you’re a collector of mascot merchandise or just a fan of the claymation character you can find some really cool stuff based on the little nut job.

Avoid the Noid C64Noid PVC FigureNoid BendieNoid Plush Toy 

All my friends can tell you I love old mascot costumes that were used at restaurants and amusement parks and try my best to buy them when ever I can find them. So I wanted to take this brief moment to share some pictures I have found that are amazing and creepy all at the same time. Two are people wearing mascot costumes being silly and the other is a odd Halloween mask that looks as if its melting before our eyes. So sit back and enjoy the wonders of these pictures!

Noid Costume On BikeNoid Costume TreeNoid Mask

Husband and wife Steve Schanes and Ann Fera opened BlackThorn Comics in 1985 after they left the defunct Pacific Comics that closed in 1984. The company started small and was built from the ground up thanks to credit cards.  The first comic to come out from them was based on the classic character Sheena Queen Of The Jungle that was reprints of her old adventures. The company grew over the years and gained attention for putting out comic books taken from old newspaper comic strips from such characters as Dick Tracy and also for breaking the mold and not just selling their comics at normal comic stores as they got their titles into Hallmarks, Spencer Gifts and 7-Elevens making them more distributed than other smaller comic companies. The company also was able to nab some important IP’s for comic series like Battle Beasts, Battle Tech, Rambo, Waxworks and Werewolf based on the FOX TV Show. They also were the masters of making 3-D comics and cornered the market with such titles as Bozo The Clown, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Bravestarr, Gumby to name a few but it was the 3-D series based on the Californian Raisins that proved to be the big hit and money maker for them. By 1987 the cost and low sales of their normal comic lines caused them to cancel those titles and focus only on the black and white reprints of classic characters and the 3-D comics. Sadly they made a very poor choice in 1989 when they over paid to get the license to the film Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker that they turned into a 3-D comic that didn’t sell well causing them to have a huge financial loss for the year. By the start of 1990, the company was on its last legs even though they were the 5th largest comic publisher in America.  That major blow they took at the hands of Moonwalker was too much, and they closed the doors for good. This really bums me out as I respected this company.  Even at a young age as I could recognized they took chances and were not so cookie cutter like many other companies at the time. I for one would have loved to see what they would have made if they would have made it through the 90’s and were still making comics to this day. Some projects have leaked on what they were working on before they closed up that included A Nightmare On Elm Street as well as a WWF comic that would have focused on The Ultimate Warrior…Now I am even more pissed off about them closing and have to say thanks Moonwalker for ruining everything! Below is some of the original art for those two never published comic series that were taken off EBAY that were up for sale. Over all to this long time comic reader, Blackthorn is truly missed.

WWF 3D 1blackthorne logoNightmare Elm Art 1

So now that you have the history of Dominos Pizza, The Noid and even Blackthorn Comics I feel we are at the point now that we are ready to dive into the comic reviews and enjoy a slice of pizza and a part of mascot history. And I must really say I would have loved to have read Blackthorn’s A Nightmare On Elm Street 3-D adaptation as well as see what the WWF 3-D comic would have been about..dang that Moonwalker, it’s a curse on comics I tell you! I need to remind everyone 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 with that let’s NOT avoid The Noid but instead see what kind of adventures he is having! 

The Noid 3D 1

The Noid In 3-D!  # 1  **
Released in 1989   Cover Price $2.50   Blackthorne   #1 of 2

The first story is Mondo Rotundo who is the overseer of mischief and mayhem, and he is very upset over the failure of The Noid who has yet to make Domino’s Pizza cold and gross for customers, so Mondo has his little electric ball side kick Fister to bring The Noid to him. Mondo takes The Noid into a room and shows him the past Noid’s and how they succeeded in their quests to be food pranksters and that The Noid himself is the reason he fails as when he was “born” to be a food ruining imp, he lost the one and only Noid handbook.  He then tells The Noid that he will give him one last chance to prove himself, so as The Noid leaves he decided to ruin Mondo’s dinner! The second story has The Noid thinking he is a super hero after he reads his own 3-D comic and wants to join the Super Hero club but is laughed at by all the other heroes.  This hurts his feelings and he decides to play some pranks on them and as well as keep them prisoner and by doing this he is asked to join the super villain club!

The first thing I would like to point out is that the 3-D aspect of the comic doesn’t really work well and for the most point while reading the comic I had my left eye closed and only read with the right.  Why, you ask, cause that’s the only way the comic even looked like it should have! I must also point out that pages in the comic were in the wrong order, showing that this title was not on the top of Blackthrones list of A-List comics. The first story was kind of lame and while very cool seeing Noids of the past, the pay out of The Noid ruining the fat Mondo’s dinner was very ho-hum. The second story as well was lame and had The Noid tricking super heroes in dumb ways.  For instance, he gave one hero who is like Wolverine a glass of milk and that fact it’s healthy knocks him out….yep. I didn’t expect much from a comic series based on a fast food mascot from a small comic company that used a terrible gimmick like 3-D to try and sell it to the masses.  I did however think that it would hold a little more entertainment value than it did. The Noid in the comic is very likable and really comes off as a goof down on his luck that was born to be a prankster who just can’t get it right. The art in the comic (via 3-D) looks a little bland with very little backgrounds and lots of use of white empty spaces. The Noid himself looks good and is how I would picture him in comic book art. I went back and fourth on what star rating I should give this issue, and I decided to go two stars only because while idea and presentation of the comic made me very nostalgic for 80’s gimmick comics and the fact it was all about that loveable goof The Noid, if your removed The Noid from the picture and inserted some Blackthorne made up character I would have given this issue a one star…so with that let’s hope issue two is better! 

The Noid 3D 2

The Noid In 3-D!  # 2  **
Released in 1989   Cover Price $2.50   Blackthorne   #2 of 2

The Noid is sick of being yelled at by Mondo over losing the Noid Handbook and decides to go back to school in order to learn what he couldn’t from the missing book. While at college he pulls some pranks like acting as a professor and tricking students.  He also joins the football team and comes up with new plays that make no sense and he also ruins Homecoming for the elected Queen by ripping her dress off. In the end The Noid is booted from the school once some frat boys learn he never even went to high school. The second story has The Noid and Fister traveling to the jungle to find a Temple of Noids that may hold secrets of the missing handbook, but while in the temple The Noid keeps making the wrong choices and Fister has to keep saving him.  In the end they both find that there is no secret as a note has been left behind that blames The Noid for the missing book!

Issue two is just as lame as the first and only really changes that were made are that the backgrounds are better and the stories are slightly more entertaining than those is issue 1. The 3-D still is bad and really is distracting when trying to read the comic, and I really wish the series would have come out not using this terrible gimmick. The Noid is still likable in both of these stories and is as goofy as ever, When reading these two issues and seeing that he is the verbal whipping boy for a fat slob and that he seems not never make the right decisions, you almost wish he would at least be able to make one of those dang Domino Pizzas cold to boost his self esteem. Mondo Rotundo who is his boss is kind of bland and just seems like a filler character as does Fister who to me seems like he should be in the Kool-Aid Man comics. The better of the two stories in this issue is the more Indiana Jones inspired Noid Temple as we get to see him out of his element and not pulling pranks but just really trying to survive! The art once more is good on characters and better for backgrounds than the past issue.  I should also note that Andy Ice does the art for both issues and I do like his cartoon looking style. To sum it up not much change from issue 1 to 2, and I found it an ok read that I wouldn’t recommend to fellow comic readers. Also below is some 2-D artwork done by Ice from his original storyboards so check em out!

Noid Art 1Noid Art 2Noid Art 3

Blackthrone gave this two issues before the plug was pulled, but I am not sure how many of you readers knew that an issue three was planned and the cover was made! Below is the mock up cover that was planned and it appears as if in the unfinished issue The Noid must have visited Mount Rushmore or had some sort of interaction with the President. Andy Ice did the cover art once more and it looks pretty dang great as did all of his Noid 3-D covers. Even though I was not a fan of this series I would have liked to have read issue 3 and see what kind of odd adventures the little Imp would have gotten into, but I still would have much rather seen the A Nightmare on Elm Street film adaptation and WWF 3-D comic over Noid issue 3. But enjoy a look at what could have been the 3rd issue in the mascot’s comic run.

The Noid 3D 3

On Monday April 14th 2014 while at work me and friend and co-worker Todd The Fox tried the New Dominos for the first time we placed our order online and was treated to Pete the Pizza Maker, a cartoon little guy who acts as the way to track your pizza as its being made placed in the oven and when it goes out to be delivered. On this day we ordered a large bacon cheeseburger pizza, spicy jalapeno pineapple chicken bites as well as an order of stuffed cheesy bread, and I was really wanting to try this new and improved food so that I could talk about it on this blog. The delivery was fast and the driver was a nice guy who even brought us extra plates and silverware just in case we didn’t have any in the store, and I should note he made it under 30 minutes. The pizza was pretty good and was a big improvement over the flat cardboard style they had in the past; the only thing I will say is that it was a little dry. The chicken bites were fantastic and had a rich flavor to them, but the best thing was the stuffed cheese bread that was mouth watering good and even more fantastic when dipped in the garlic sauce. Over all Todd and I both really enjoyed the pizza and we even had to fight off The Noid who showed up to try and ruin lunch…below is photo evidence of that little creeper being around. 

Noid At Game SwapNoid Swap Pizza

While I loved watching the Noid on TV on the classic Domino commercials and even liked my old bendie toy, I am kind of glad that I did not read this series in my youth as I think I would have hated it while the older me just thinks it is ok at best. I also find it very odd that I never even remember Domino’s ever pushing this comic.  In my mind it would have been very smart of them to give the comic out when someone would have bought a large pizza and a 2 liter of pop on carry out or delivery. Another very odd thing is that in both issues pizza is only briefly showed once…why the heck did Domino’s not have Blackthorne make the comic into one giant ad for their product! Major company marketing, who can’t figure it out? Well for my next update we will be leaving the pizza place and heading down DC Boulevard as we take a look at a relatively unknown super hero called Steel…and no I ain’t talking about the metal man one time NBA Star Shaq played in a crappy Superman tie in film.  So come back next time and learn all ’bout Commander STEEL, The Indestructible Man!

STEEL 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! 

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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.

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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. 

Wolfman Mac 1Chiller Drive In LogoWolfman Mac 2

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.

wolfman mac

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