Welcome back to Rotten Ink. It really is hard to believe that this little blog of mine is 10 years old; what started out as just a silly way to feel nostalgic for things that I grew up loving has now turned into a way for many of you readers as well to take trips down memory lane about the topics covered. With that said, today’s update is no exception as growing up my brother and I loved the Police Academy films and we would watch them all the time, but in 1988 they also made an animated series…that was not watched all the time and this update is about that animated series and the Marvel Comics under the Star Comics branch comic series based on it. Who would have ever thought that Police Academy would get a cartoon and comic book series? I know growing up it seemed like Marvel and DC Comics did more oddball releases like this, and now they play it way too safe. So if you are ready let’s head to the station and see what is going on with Mahoney and his friends.
The Police Academy Cartoon series started airing on September 10,1988 and was a syndicated show that was based on the movie series that was being released by Warner Brothers at the same time. The cartoon would follow Mahoney and his fellow Cadet friends as they bust crime and try to take down the evil Kingpin who is a member of the Council Of Crime and other baddies include Mr. Sleaze, Claw, Numbskull and Big Burger. The cartoon was made by Rudy-Spears and was released by Warner Bros. Television and would last for two seasons and a total of 65 episodes, as it would end on September 2, 1989. None of the movies cast would voice their cartoon counterparts and names like Dan Hennessey, Ron Rubin, Greg Morton and Frank Welker would lend their voices to help make the characters come alive. Growing up very few of my friends at school watched this cartoon as it really was not popular at all and to be honest while I did watch it from time to time it was not must see TV for me, and looking back this is a little odd as I was a big fan of the movies. I will say that the animation for the cartoon was good and that classic 80’s style but I do always remember not being a fan of the voices of the characters, as they sounded nothing like they should and even the kid friendly humor fell flat. The series would get some home media releases with select episodes making it to VHS and part of the series would get a DVD release. Now keep in mind while I was not a major fan of the cartoon I will say I enjoyed if even with all its flaws.
While I was not a mega fan of the cartoon series, I was a fan of the action figures based on it that was released by Kenner that started in 1988 and ended in 1989 and only lasted three series. The first wave of figures featured Mahoney with Samson the dog, Tackleberry, Hightower, Jones and Zed for the heroes and for the baddies you could get Cat with Mouser Cat, Numbskull and Mr. Sleaze with FooFoo Dog. Wave one also had some cool play sets like the Precinct Police Station that was really just the Real Ghostbusters fire station re-done. Wave 2 had new versions of Tackleberry and Jones and then added baddies Flung Hi and Kingpin to the mix, and a mail away figure was Captain Harris that is very rare. The third and final wave that is called “Special Assignment Rookies” the cops added was House, Sweetchuck with new versions of Zed and Mahoney and no new baddies were added. They also had vehicles released that included Crazy Cruiser and Crash Cycle. And growing up I had several of these figures like Jones, Tackleberry, Mr. Sleaze and Cat and got them from of course Big Bear and Hearts. The one I always wanted was Hightower as he was at the top of my favorite characters in the films series as well as the animated one. Its weird as very few of the kids I grew up with had the Police Academy figures and I knew no kid who watched the cartoon, I do however knew a few classmates who had the Marvel Comics based on it. And to be honest I do not even remember Harts stocking them for very long and can not even remember them being at Hills Department Store, though I am sure they were as Hills was the place for Toys!
And when I became a teenager I got ride of my Police Academy figures and regretted it later in life, so I did what any nerdy adult would do and I bought many of them back plus the ones I didn’t have when I was a youngster! And below is a group shot of the figures I have in my collection and I wanted to share it with you readers. No as you can see I do not have the full set as some figures are way over priced like House, Sweetchuck and Captain Harris as they are rare and while I had a chance to buy Sweetchuck at a local store I decided not to pay the price they were asking. But as you can see I do have a good amount of them with my two favorites being Hightower and Tackleberry as I do think they are good figures and are two of my favorite characters from the whole Police Academy series. But check below to see the figures I have, and yes over time I do hope to get more and complete the set, and when looking at them I really need to get more of the bad guys as I need Claw and Mr. Sleeze back.
The Police Academy film series started in 1984 and followed Mahoney who is a cadet at the Police Academy who is a prankster and a ladies man who is hated by Lt. Harris, and worse his fellow cadets would follow his lead and they would become good cops who worked well with the people they are protecting. The series would spawn five sequels a cartoon and even a short-lived live action TV Show. The film series would star names like Steve Guttenberg as Mahoney, Bubba Smith as Hightower, Michael Winslow as Larvell Jones, David Graf as Tackleberry, Marion Ramsey as Laverne Hooks, Bobcat Goldthwait as Zed McGlunk to name a few. The first film in the series was the biggest success bringing in $81,198,894.00 at the Domestic Box Office but with each sequel the profits dropped hard as the sixth film in the series “Police Academy 6: City Under Siege” only did $11,567,217.00 showing that the series did not have much legs behind it in the end, but to be fair to the later sequels they did do great on home media and the rental market and did their job of keeping the series alive. I have worked for several used media stores over the years and have had many of customers ask if we had Police Academy films in stock, and mostly they are looking for the sequels so that’s a sign at least that they do have a fan following. I think that if I had to choose my top three films in the series I would say that for me “Police Academy”, “Police Academy 4: Citizen’s On Patrol” and “Police Academy 3: Back In Training” make up that list with my least favorite film in the series being “Police Academy 7: Mission Moscow” a barely in the theater film that had hardly none of the original cast and had many jokes that just fell flat, but to be fair the film did star Christopher Lee and Ron Perlman as Russians. Rumors of an eighth film have been floating around for years and Steve Guttenberg has also fueled those rumors in 2018 by claiming talks are taking place, but I think sadly this sequel will never happen and if anything a remake will be made that will go direct to streaming. Say what you will but Police Academy in the 80’s was a big comedy franchise that sparked so much other media and helped make Warner Brothers some money and brought laughs to movie watchers around the globe.
I want to also take a moment before we take a look at the score for the first Police Academy film that was done by Robert Folk who is also know for his music work on such films as “Toy Soldiers (1991)”, “Beastmaster 2: Through The Portal Of Time (1991)”, “Rock-A-Doodle (1991)”, “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)”, “Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996)” and “Beethoven’s Big Break (2008)” to name a few. But while all the above mentioned and even the none mentioned scores are good it really is his work on the Police Academy film series that is his crown jewel as the Main Title for the series is so iconic and when it starts to play almost everyone knows that its from the film and still even more will hum along to the catchy tune, and funny enough I still even hum this song at random from time to time. And my niece plays in a marching band and my brother use to try and get her to ask her teacher if they would play the Police Academy Theme at football games, he of course said no but it was worth a try. The soundtrack was released for a limited time on CD and I was lucky enough to nab a copy before it went out of print and to be honest the whole score by Folk is really good and if you can find it cheap enough and enjoy movie score soundtracks give it a listen.
And yet still before we review these comics we should talk about my three favorite characters in this series with my first being Hightower who was played by Bubba Smith in the films and voiced by Greg Morton in the cartoon, and the reason he is my favorite is he is as strong as a bull, is fair when busting crime, is as big as a pro wrestler and just is a very cool character. Next would have to be Tackleberry who is Rambo with a badge and carries a massive handgun and is really unstable who comes from a family of cops who all act just as intense as he is, Tackleberry is played by actor David Graf in the films and was voiced by Dan Hennessey. And my third favorite is Zed who was a one time criminal who turns a new leaf and joins the Police Force, but he is just as crazy as he was when he was a bad guy he is played by the awesome Bobcat Goldthwait in the films and voiced by Dan Hennessey in the cartoon. And now that you know who my top three favorite characters are I want you to take a few moments to think who yours are as I think every fan of this series has their most as well as least favorites.
Well as you can see we have somehow found ourselves in Comic Book Jail all because we said we enjoy old Marvel Comics over old DC Comics in a Warner Brothers part of town and now we have to wait for Mahoney to get here to straighten this mess all out, but while we wait lets take a look at the comic book series from Marvel Comics in connection to the Star Comics brand that of course is based on the super kid friendly animated series of Police Academy. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic as well as Lonestar Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. I also want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So with that let’s find a bunk and see what this comic series has in store for us. And on a side note I do remember reading the first issue as a kid and the rest will be first time reads for me.
Police Academy # 1 **1/2
Released in 1989 Cover Price $1.00 Marvel # 1 of 6
Mahoney and Jones are acting as a two man parade for all of the higher officers at the academy, and this is bad news as they the higher ups showed up a day to early and this annoys many of them and worse when Hooks, Zed and Sweetchuck have made a float head that looks like criminal computer and tech mastermind Mad Byter! This gets Mahoney and his friends in hot water and they are sent on duty in a terrible part of town and while directing traffic Mad Byter and his henchmen drive by and the cops give chase, but the criminal makes it to his base that is a massive movie sound studio! Mahoney gets an idea and as he and the rest hide inside of the Mad Byter float head that they will have Sweetchuck drop off as a gift to the criminal and this will allow them to be inside the hideout…and it works! Once inside Mahoney and his fellow officers find that Byter is using props from movies against them and when he makes his escape Mahoney uses one of the props to capture him and get back into the graces of the higher ups. “Little Boy Blue” is the second story and is about Buster a kid who won a contest to be a police officer for a day, the downside is that he is a brat and Mahoney and Jones are the ones who end up having to take him out for the day. Buster is running wild and Mahoney comes up with a plan for him and Jones to wear ski masks and fake kidnap Dusty to teach him a lesson about manors, but a pair of real kidnappers beat them to it and this causes Mahoney and Jones to save the day and in the end they do teach Buster a life lesson on how to act.
This first issue of Police Academy is pure silly stuff and has one longer story as well as a small back up and both pack the same silly humor and jokes and while it is entertaining it does have lots of flaws including characters being in spots they should not be and jokes that are eye rolling bad, you know the type like a bad dad jokes. The first story has Mahoney and company screwing up a parade and being forced on a terrible part of town that they end up saving the city from a very bad man who is a computer hacker that robs places. And that baddie is Mad Byter and he does rob a place and even uses movie props to stall and keep the cops at bay as he and his goons try to escape, they do fail but at least he tried. The second story is shorter and has Mahoney and Jones having to watch the Mayors nephew and have to save him from kidnappers, and the odd part of this plot is that Mahoney himself has a plan to kidnap the kid to calm him down…very odd coming from a cop. Mahoney is clearly the leader of the cadets and is as snarky as ever and while he saves the day often he still is a joker who does so by falling backwards into being the hero as really in this comic he is very bad at his work! Jones is kind of the sidekick to Mahoney and because they are friends he seems to be roped into helping, even when the idea is a bad one. The rest of the characters like Sweetchuck, Zed, Hooks and so on are around they do very little in the stories and play background to Mahoney and Jones. So far this comic held up to what I remember it being as a kid and while the jokes are bad and I cannot stress that enough it was a very entertaining read and while the characters act nothing like they do in the film series they do act like their cartoon counterparts. The cover is eye catching and features the whole cast and the art by Howard Post is good kid friendly art, I do have to say that his Mahoney in some panels looks like an old woman. With that lets see what issue two has in store for us.
Police Academy # 2 **1/2
Released in 1989 Cover Price $1.00 Marvel # 2 of 6
While on a date at the beach Mahoney sees a sea monster and rushes back to the station to warn his coworkers of this danger, and unlucky for him and his normal bank of fellow officers they get sent to the beach to stakeout and capture the creature! But when the sea monster eats Zed while he was surfing, it’s Mahoney and Jones that have to go after him in a tiny submarine that looks like a goldfish. They soon find themselves out of the sub and diving toward a sunken ship that is being robbed by diver, and Mahoney and Jones get caught in a net and captured by a Captain who is holding them and Zed prisoner as the sea monster is really a submarine that he and his crew are using to scare people away as they steal the safe from the boat! And when the criminals get the safe and try to escape, its Mahoney and Jones that escape the net and use the gold fish sub to attach onto the creature sub and crash them onshore! As the Captain and his men make a run for it with the safe to get to a van our officers go to work as Hightower makes one faint and Callahan uses her martial arts to take down another. As the Captain and one of his goons make it to the van it’s Tackleberry armed with an ice cream bazooka and Sweetchuck that brings the Captain down. The second story is “The Cookoo Commandant” and has Mahoney and his fellow officers being yelled at and sent on strange missions by Commandant Lassard who is acting very different and this has lead to The Chief to force the now missing Lassard to step down and Harris to take his place, but Mahoney thinks something is going on and after seeing an old year book he thinks he might have figured it out. Mahoney along with Jones, House and Sweetchuck head to a live taping of a kids show and soon find that the host was a former cadet at the academy at the same time as Lassard and was jealous of him because he got promoted and while the real Lassard was on vacation he wanted to show up and ruin his reputation. In the end all goes back to normal as Lassard returns from vacation and is just as laidback and silly as before.
The second issue in the Police Academy comic is slightly better than the first issue as the two stories just flow better and had less flaws in the art and character placement. The first story has Mahoney at the beach with his fellow officers and they put a stop to a sneaky Captain who is using a fake sea creature in order to rob a safe from a ship that had sunk, and in this story we see that Mahoney is a jerk as he is one a date trying to be smooth with the woman that he keeps forgetting her name. And the Captain is kind of a goofy bad guy for the story as his goal is to get the safe off the ship and he runs around like a goof on the beach with a stolen safe to get into a van! And I love how Mahoney and Jones leave Zed tied up on the ship so that Mahoney can be hero again, man Mahoney is really a jerk! The second and shorty story has a kids show host who went to the academy with Lassard being mad at him and using his master of quick change into characters to try and ruin his reputation at the academy and of course Mahoney is to smart to fall for that. Over all both stories are good fun natured stuff and Mahoney is always the hero of the day, the comedy is slightly less bad but still very goofy in nature. And like before this does a great job of capturing the feel of the cartoon series and does justice to the characters even if some are not getting the time to shine of these pages. I must also say that Tackleberry and his ice cream bazooka is amazing and I wish they would do more with him as well as Hightower as both officers are pushed back into just almost cameo roles. The cover is good and eye catching and has the officers along with the sea creature as sea and as before the talented kids comics artist Howard Post does a great job on the interior art and I like the way he draws Tackleberry! Over all a good solid kids comic that was a fun read and while the plots are simple and silly that is kind of the point with kids comics.
Police Academy # 3 **1/2
Released in 1989 Cover Price $1.00 Marvel # 3 of 6
House has eaten way to many pizzas and hamburgers and has landed himself in the hospital and Mahoney and his fellow officers go to visit him on a stormy night, and when they are asked to leave the room so the doctor can look at him they learn that the doctor was a fake and now House is missing! Mahoney comes up with an idea that has them all act as staff at the hospital to find him as well as the crazed doctor. They soon find a trail of jellybeans and when they follow it they find a hidden lab and House is tied up and meet Doctor Jockensteen and his assistant Clarence who have an idea to take part of Houses brain to put into a robot monster that will be the biggest sports jock the world has ever seen. And when Doctor Jockensteen is mad cause Mahoney frees house the Jock Robot Monster goes on the attack and as the officers run off Mahoney, Jones and House jump into an ambulance and drives off only to be chased down by the robot monster, that they end up getting addicted to jellybeans and have him reprogramed to play on the youth policed baseball team. “The Singing Smash!” has Hightower being charge of a singing group that is he and his fellow officers singing, and because Zed is a fan of pro wrestling he sets up a gig at a wrestling event and they get booed out of the building but they stumble on a plot as a manger has a team kidnapped in order for his team to win the match and Mahoney comes up with an idea to teach them a lesson as Hightower, Zed and Callahan take the match and win the titles and Hightower even gets to sing for his victory.
The third issue is as well fun and the features two stories that have elements of some of my favorite things and that’s Horror and Pro Wrestling! The first tale takes place in the hospital and has a mad doctor on the loose that is trying to build a robot jock and wants to use an injured officers brain to keep it hungry for the win. While the second story has the officers having to enter a wrestling match to stop a con man from winning titles and also get the crowd to be on their side when it comes to singing Christmas carols. Mahoney as always is the main focus and the hero of the day when it comes to the first story but it is nice to see Hightower be the main officer in the second and his size and power comes in play as he beats three wrestlers pretty much by herself by slamming the whole ring on top of them! I also like that Zed as well as even House get a little more time to shine on the pages as they each have some stories, and while Mahoney and Jones are around they are not the full heroes of the issue. The main bad guy of this issue is the sinister Doctor Jockensteen who works for the hospital but is really working on his own experiments and all he cares about is making a robot that will be perfect at every sport, and the robot it’s self only follows orders and while it can be mean its only following orders. And I have to say I am glad Hightower got to be more showcased a little in the comic series, now if he can get them to do so for Tackleberry all would be good. The cover is good and fitting for a kid’s comic series and like before Howard Post did the interior art and is good for this kind of comic. With that let’s see what issue four has in store for us.
Police Academy # 4 **1/2
Released in 1990 Cover Price $1.00 Marvel # 4 of 6
Lassard when he was a cadet captured a mad bomber called Baby Boomer that was tormenting the city, and after being put away for 40 years he has escaped jail and he is going after Lassard to even the score. Mahoney comes up with an idea that he along with the others will really capture Baby Boomer but will once more give Commandant Lassard the credit and make him the hero of the day again. As Baby Boomer heads into an old amusement park to get his stolen loot, Lassard goes in after him as does Mahoney and his fellow officers. After many failed attempts to capture Baby Boomer it is Mahoney and Lassard that capture him on a roller coaster and are able to stop a dropped misplaced bomb from going off, and Lassard is once more the hero as Baby Boomer heads back to jail. Our second wacky story is “Jonesy’s Day Off” has Jones off duty but yet as we walks around town he keeps seeing miner crimes being committed as well as bratty kids not listening to their parents and uses his sound effects to stop it all. He even saves a street musicians tips from being stolen before finally given up and clocking in to work.
This fourth issue in the series is good but does lack a little of the charm that the last few issues have had as both stories while silly and kid friendly do lack a little bit of charm as well as even a thought out story as they kind of come off a little generic. The first story is the better of the two and has Lassard going after an old criminal who has escaped from jail, and he is the one who put him away in the first place and along with the help of Mahoney he does so again when he recaptures him. The second story is kind of bad as it just is Jones walking around town and using the sound effects he makes with his mouth to stop small crimes, and he then because of the stress of being off work and yet still working he decides to just clock in. The main villain is Baby Boomer a criminal who likes to use bombs to strike fear as well as rob places, and when he escapes he only gets the chance to blow up on thing and that’s a package bomb that he sends to Lassard. Mahoney of is the main focus in the first story with Jones being the main cop used in the second story. Over all nothing special when it comes to this issue and the stories it brings to the readers. The cover is pretty cool and has Mahoney and his fellow officers on a roller coaster and the interior art by Howard Post is as solid as ever. While not the best issue in the series this far, it still is pretty fun I guess for the most part.
Police Academy # 5 **1/2
Released in 1990 Cover Price $1.00 Marvel # 5 of 6
Sweetchuck is a big comic book reader and his favorite hero is Grasshopper and Flea Boy and he looses his mind when the movie based on the hero is shooting in their city and the cops have been asked to help keep the actors safe. But an accident on set leaves the actor playing Grasshopper believing he is the masked hero and he heads out into the city to stop crime, and this gives Sweetchuck an idea who puts on the Flea Boy costume and rushes to help keep an eye on the confused actor who ends up stopping a scam that is going on at a construction site, but as Sweetchuck makes it to the scene Grasshopper has another bump on the head and regains his memories and runs away from the scene of the crime leaving Sweetchunk to try and stop it on his own, that is until Mahoney and the others who up and help Sweetchuck become the Superhero of the city by stopping the concrete crime at the work site. “Callahan’s Big Date” is the second story and has everyone at the academy wanting Callahan to be their date at the Police Ball and Harris uses his power of being the one to select who enters the judo tournament to force a date from her, and when Mahoney and Jones tell her she should be herself on the date her power and skills scare Harris away and the date to the ball is cancelled and she still ends up being able to compete in the judo tournament.
This issue’s main story has Officer Sweetchuck being a big comic book reader who gets to live his dream of becoming a superhero as well as working on a move set that is based on his favorite comic superhero! And he gets to also along the way stop a crime that has a crooked man strong-arming a builder into having to buy a ton of concrete. And in the end Sweetchuck learns that cops are the true heroes and his new favorite hero is himself after he and his fellow officers really save the day. The second story is all about Harris being taught a lesson when he tries to bribe Callahan into being his date for a big ball, that is until he sees that she is not a Barbie doll and is a super strong woman that scares him with her fighting skills as well as weightlifting feats. While Harris is a scummy officer the issues main bad guy is the Concrete seller who is trying to force people to buy more than they need for construction work. Sweetchuck and Callahan are the two officers that get their time in the spotlight and Mahoney this time while around is not the main focus and that is a nice change of pace. The cover for this issue is fun and while not great is surly cool for a kid’s comic, and as always the interior artwork by Howard Post is good stuff for this style of comic. Over all a good issue that brings a few laughs and none threatening baddies.
Police Academy # 6 **1/2
Released in 1990 Cover Price $1.00 Marvel # 6 of 6
The police van has broken down in front of a castle and when Mahoney and his fellow officers meet the owner they soon find that they are in the middle of a war as the former owners the Von Sluggs want it back and are using all types of weapons to attack from cannons to tanks and this has became dangerous for everyone involved. But when Mahoney decides that they are going to defend that castle the officers dress like knights and find ways to stop the attack. And it’s House that ends the war when he by accident is thrown from a catapult and brings down the helicopter that King Von Slugg was in, and they family surrenders. In the end the Von Slugg family are asked to live back in the castle and to give up their acts of war and are introduced to video games to get out their aggression. The second story is “Fast Company” has Mahoney being a terrible driver as he has wrecked many police cars over the weeks as he is ogling female officers and drives wreckless. Harris takes away Mahoney’s cruiser privileges and he is forced to use a super fast skateboard and of course he uses this to stop a car thief, and in the end Mahoney understands he drives everything to fast and buys himself an old car that only goes 30mph!
This sixth issue in the Police Academy comic series is also the final issue in the series, and clearly it was not suppose to be the final issue as a seventh issue is advertised in this issue and I would guess that maybe low sales is what did this Star Comics/Marvel Comics series in. The main story of this final issue has Mahoney and the officers fighting off a family who want to take over a castle that they have sold and are war hungry to get it back. And the second issue is about Mahoney wrecking cars and using a skateboard to stop a crime, when really the story is Mahoney is a sleazebag and harasses female officers and drives like a drunk person in order to catcall them. I do like in the first story House decides to order pizza during the battle as he is hungry, and when the delivery man is attacked and drops the pizza he goes out and ends the war so that he can eat. Both stories are ok and entertaining and do a pretty good job of bring a kids comic that captures the cartoon it was based on. While Mahoney and Jones get most of the attention throughout this series House, Sweetchuck, House, Callahan, Lassard, Zed and Harris get some stories while I think Hooks, Hightower and Tackleberry are very much underused and that’s a shame. And while some of the stories are better then the others I do find that over all they are fitting and deliver fun situations for Mahoney and the officers to solve and stop and this surly entertained young readers who enjoyed the cartoon. But while the stories are good they sometimes are way to simple and even at times flaws are all over them with even skin color of characters changing from panel to panel. The interior art work by Howard Post is good while very simple captures that perfect style of art that was used at the time for so many kids comics. The cover for the final issue is ok and has the officer dressed as knights on the castle. To sum this up the Police Academy comic series that was based on the cartoon was pretty good and did a good job of bringing the comic versions of these characters to the pages of a very kid friendly series that brought the humor side of law enforcement to readers. Check out the artwork bellow to see the style of Post used in this series.
Who would have ever thought that the 1984 comedy film Police Academy would have spawned a cartoon that would in turn spawn toys and a comic book series. And it’s also great that while all outside branding of this series says Marvel Comics inside its clear that this was a Star Comics release and I really do wish that Marvel would have ran with the Star brand for longer then they did as so many cartoons and toys could have gotten the comic book treatment. While the Police Academy cartoon was never super popular in my friend circle it still did make it’s mark in the world of 80’s cartoons and this update was a lot of fun to do for Rotten Ink’s 10 Year Anniversary as growing up the brand Police Academy was big for me growing up. But for our next update we will be leaving the police academy and will be heading into our July 4th update that will feature the America Hero known as G.I. Zombie released by DC Comics. So until next time read a Star Comic or three, watch a classic cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for some fireworks, grilled food and of course a DC Horror undead monster.