Monday, April 28, 2008

Marvel Star Wars Part #1- A New Hope

Inspired by the recent Spike! broadcast of the entire saga (and playing alot of Battlefront and Battlefront II), I decided to revisit a part of the Star Wars experience that I enjoyed alot as a child: the non-canon (?) Expanded Universe stuff that Marvel Comics produced in from 1977-1985.

I actually subscribed to this book as a kid, and then later was able to score a complete run of the title during my college days in the early 1990s for a little bit of nothing, simply because at that period, nostalgia for the franchise was at an all-time low (this was prior to other Expanded Universe concepts as The Thrawn trilogy of books and the Dark Horse Dark Empire comics heralding it's return), when one could practically get Near Mint copies out of quarter bins and such.

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Star Wars (Marvel ) 1977 #1-#6 "A New Hope" CBZ Zip file

Monday, April 21, 2008

Marvel Spotlight #5 (August 1972, Marvel)

Even though I am currently boycotting Marvel's monthly output these days (over sour feelings about the whole "One More Day" fiasco), I do still have fond memories of Marvel past.

One of my favorite little niches of the Marvel Universe as a kid was the one that the supernatural themed heroes that debuted in the 1970s dwelled in. Characters such as Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Son of Satan, Werewolf by Night, and the gang from Tomb of Dracula brought much joy to my youth....especially the Johnny Blaze incarnation of everybody's favorite flaming skulled biker, as pictured above.

I had the lucky chance at purchasing a complete run of Johnny Blaze's series, along with the first Marvel Spotlight appearances, for a steal from a collector in the mid-1990s right after the speculator crash and the character's popularity (as well as his back issue prices on the secondary collector's market) were in the toilet....

Every summer, I make it a point, out of nostalgia to re-read that entire run....just to remind me how much fun and goofy the hobby can be. And I don't give a crap what anybody thinks...I actually dug the Nick Cage flick....LOL!

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Marvel Spotlight #5 (1st Ghost Rider) cbr

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Space Ghost - Silver & Beyond

Decided that it was about time for yet another trip into Silver & Beyond, this time around taking a look at Hanna-Barbera's galaxy-spanning hero: Space Ghost.

From Wikipedia:
Space Ghost is a character created by Hanna-Barbera Productions and designed by Alex Toth. He started out as a superhero who, with his sidekicks Jan, Jace and Blip, fought villains in outer space. In more recent years, he has been retooled as a fictional talk show host on Cartoon Network and revamped in a DC Comics mini-series.

Space Ghost debuted in 1966 in Space Ghost and Dino Boy, where Space Ghost shared time with an unrelated segment called Dino Boy in the Lost Valley. Space Ghost was voiced by Gary Owens along with Tim Matheson as the voice of Jace and Ginny Tyler voicing Jan. Don Messick also added his voice talent to Blip. Tim Matheson had previously added his voice talent to that of the title character "Jonny" in Jonny Quest, another Hanna Barbara adventure cartoon. That Space Ghost show only lasted until 1968, but re-appeared in all-new segments on Space Stars in 1981. 22 episodes were produced and introduced a new assortment of villains including an evil version of Space Ghost called Space Spectre, who came from an alternate universe. The Phantom Cruiser was also given a sleeker and more modernized look. Similar to the original series, Space Ghost often came to the aid of the Herculoids and vice versa. They also frequently crossed paths with the Teen Force, and it appeared that Jan and Teen Force member Kid Comet were dating as well.

In the final six episodes of the original series, Space Ghost battled the "Council of Doom" (which consisted of Moltar, Zorak, Spider Woman (also named the Black Widow), Metallus, Brak, and Creature King), and Space Ghost and his sidekicks came across other Hanna-Barbera superheroes who would later have their own shows. Creature King sent a space ape to fight Space Ghost, and Jace used the phantom cruiser's energy force to get rid of it and put both of them in a time warp, sending them to a prehistoric world, where Mightor took care of the space ape, and Space Ghost went back using his power bands. Another time Zorak put Jan, Jayce, and Blip in a capsule and sent them hurtling through space to Earth where they landed in the ocean, and Moby Dick got them to the surface. Another time, Moltar sent Space Ghost and his Molten Men to the planet Quasar where the The Herculoids help Space Ghost out. And lastly, after escaping Brak and Spider Woman, the council uses their trump card, a negative transportation ray which sends him to some magical world where he is attacked by the Sultan of Flame and Shazzan saves him and has the power to send him back.

n 1967, Gold Key Comics published one issue of Space Ghost in his own comic. The character also appeared in the anthology title, Hanna-Barbera Super TV Heroes (1968-69), which featured other Saturday morning crimefighters such as the Herculoids, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio.

Marvel Comics' "Hanna-Barbera TV Stars" no. 3 (Dec. 1978 issue) was a superhero special that featured a Space Ghost story, "Pilgreen's Progress." Ironically, it was the only time Alex Toth ever drew the character for comics.

In 1987, Comico published an adaptation of Space Ghost by Mark Evanier and Steve Rude that was an homage to the spirit and look of the cartoon.

In 1997, Archie Comics published Cartoon Network Presents Space Ghost with art by Scott Rosema, based on Coast to Coast.

In 2004, DC Comics (Hanna-Barbera's corporate sibling) published a Space Ghost mini-series, which featured a serious, sci-fi/space opera version of the character and showed his origins for the first time. The series was written by Joe Kelly and illustrated by Ariel Olivetti. Thaddeus Bach, a human interplanetary peacekeeper, is betrayed by corrupt fellow officers, who kill his pregnant wife and her unborn child, after which Bach himself is gutted and left for dead on a desolate planet. Bach is rescued by an alien who gives him both a reason to live and the technology contained in his suit and spaceship. His two teenage sidekicks, Jan and Jace (spelled "Jayce" here), are revealed to be orphans of Zorak's assault on their home world, whom Bach adopts as his wards. (Blip is not seen in the mini-series.) It is they who christen him "Space Ghost," after a make-believe character their parents made up to frighten them out of bad behavior. He adopts the identity to avenge his family and bring the corrupt officers who killed them to justice.

It has always amazed me that a character that seemed so well suited for the superhero comic book medium has made just a little over a dozen appearances in the printed comic book page.

The only appearance I've never been able to locate and purchase for my own personal collection is the above-mentioned "Hanna Barbera's Superstars #3 from Marvel Comics, and would love to track down a copy, being a huge fan of Alex Toth's work....
Of all the comic book adaptations of the spectral hero, I have to admit that I've had a fondness for Steve Rude's take on the character in the '87 Comico one-shot, which I purchased in junior high when it hit comic book shops and it continues to be one of the more prized books in my collection.

I kinda think that the "hyper-realistic" take on SG and his villians in the 2004 DC Comics mini is interesting to look at, at least....especially their take on Zorak....

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Space Ghost #1 (Gold Key, 1966)
CBZ file

Space Ghost 1987 One-Shot (Comico)

CBZ file

Space Ghost (2004 6 issue DC Comics mini-series)

JPEG Scan Zip File

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Six Million Dollar Man/ The Bionic Woman (Charlton Comics 1976-78)

Inspired by my recent purchase of the DVD set of the first season of the new Bionic Woman revamp (and from what the buzz sounds like, the only season....looks as if it's gonna be one of the casualties of the 2007 Writer's Strike), I figured I'd offer up scans of the 1970s Charlton Comics adaptation of the Six Million Dollar Man franchise...

If I remember properly, these were some of the first Charlton books I ever read, along with their adaptation of Space: 1999....

The Six Million Dollar Man #1-#4

The Bionic Woman #1-#5

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Captain Carrot Preview (February 1982, DC Comics)

If there's one truly oddball or bizarre sub-genre of comic books I absolutely love, it'd have to be funny animal superhero parodies. Anything from Hoppy the Marvel Bunny to Atomic Mouse to...well, this little piece of the DC Universe, Earth-C, home of Capt. Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew.

I actually subscribe to the short lived monthly book during it's days of publication and look fondly back at it as just good ol' simple wholesome fun. For download this time around, the 16 page preview that appeared in The New Teen Titans #16 (February 1982)...

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Archie Andrews Radio Show

America's favorite teenagers, Archie Andrews and the Riverdale gang, actually had a fairly lengthy run on radio in it's heyday. The first incarnation of the show debuted on May 31, 1943, and continued as a five times a week, 15 minute show on the Blue Network until October 1st, when it became a weekly 25 minute series. This did not last long, because on December 24, 1943, this incarnation of the show ended.

But, then from January 17 to June 2, 1944, it aired yet again as a 15 minute daily show on the Mutual network, then taking another brief hiatus and debuting on NBC a year later on June 2, 1945, switching back to a weekly 30 minute show airred on Saturday mornings, until September 5th, 1953, sponsored by Swift and Company.

Cast :

Charles Mullen, Jack Grimes, Burt Boyar as Archie Andrews
Bob Hastings as Archie during the NBC run.
Harlan Stone and Cameron Andrews as Jughead Jones
Rosemary Rice as Betty Cooper
Gloria Mann and Vivian Smolen as Veronica Lodge
Alice Yourman and Arthur Kohl as Mary and Fred Andrews
Paul Gordon as Reggie Mantle
Arthur Maitland as Mr. Weatherbee

Announcer : Bob Sherry
Music : George Wright
Produceer : Kenneth W. MacGregor
Sound Effects : Agnew Horine

Here's a few episodes (hosted by Internet Archive) from the NBC run of the show (just right click the link to download):

Drugstore Mixup 07/27/1946

Suffering from the Heat- 08/07/1948

The New TV Set- 05/21/1949

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Doomsday +1 #1-#6 (Charlton Comics, 1975/76)

Being a child of the 1980s, I have this incredible love for the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre that's probably of unhealthy proportions, and I absolutely love this little Kamandi rip-off that Charlton published in the 1970s.

Lasting 12 issues, it's of note because it's some of the earlier professional work of writer/artist John Byrne's that was published (prior to this, he'd done some Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch issues, of all things, for Charlton)....also, issues #7 through #12 are reprints of issues #1 through #6....

From Wikipedia:

The series takes place in a near future in which a South American despot named Rykos launches his sole two atomic missiles on New York City in the U.S. and Moscow in the U.S.S.R. The two superpowers, each believing the other has launched a first strike, retaliate. By the time American president Cole and a Russian premier with the first name Mikhail have realized their errors, their fully automated nuclear-missile systems can not be countermanded.

Only hours before the apocalypse begins, a Saturn VI rocket launches bearing three astronauts: Captain Boyd Ellis, United States Air Force; his fiancée, Jill Malden; and Japanese physicist Ikei Yashida. Weeks later, after the post-apocalyptic radiation has subsided to safe levels, their space capsule lands upon a melting Greenland ice field, where the three ally themselves with Kuno, a 3rd century Goth revived from his ice-encased suspended animation.

The four encounter a Russian scientist/cyborg in Canada, where they commandeer a futuristic jet plane; undersea dwellers; and brutish U.S. military survivors, among others.

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