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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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 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!
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.
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.
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!