Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Adventures of Superman OTR- The first 75 episodes

Thanks to the folks over at Internet Archive, here's the first 75 episodes of the classic Adventures of Superman Old Time Radio Show....enjoy!

Download Link

Airboy #1-#12 (Eclipse Comics, 1986)

When I was a kid in the 1980s, I was a huge fan of Chuck Dixon and Tim Truman's revamp of the old Golden Age property AIRBOY. Recently, I learned that Moonstone Graphics had acquired the license to do the character and eagerly await any new material that may be coming from them. This news prompted me to break out my old copies of the series (which ran for 50 issues, as well as a few spin-off mini-series and one shots) and re-read them....and, even though they are a nice slice of 1980s late Cold War era military action, they still hold up pretty well today. Good stuff...

Download Link

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Super Duper Comics #3 (1947)

Being a HUGE Mr. Monster fan, I've always loved the fact that "creator" Michael T. Gilbert basically took a Golden Age character that appeared a few times in a Canadian publication that had fallen into the public domain, and turned it into a career...

Download Link

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kenner Super Powers Collection Mini-Comics (DC Comics)

When I was a kid, I was infatuated with this line of toys...I mean, it was the first time in my young existence that I could actually own toys based upon my great love: comic books.

Here's Wikipedia with a little info:

The Super Powers Collection was a line of action figures based on DC Comics superheroes and supervillains that was created by Kenner Toys in the 1980s.

In 1984, DC Comics awarded the license of their characters to Kenner Toys, hot on the heels of Mattel's "action feature" heavy He-Man toy line. Winning the license away from Mego Corporation and Mattel with their emphasis on action and art, Kenner devised hidden mechanisms within the figures that would trigger an action when the figures legs or arms were squeezed. This emphasis on each figure's "super power" led to the naming of the line - The Super Powers Collection. Each figure in the first two series were also packaged with a mini-comic featuring that character's adventures.

Comic creator Jack Kirby received some of the only royalties of his long career for redesigning his characters for Kenner. Artist George Pérez also received royalties for his design of Cyborg and redesign of Lex Luthor and Brainiac. Most all other designs (and much of the packaging artwork) is based on José Luis García-López's classic DC Style Guides (other artwork used appears to be the work of Dick Giordano).

In all, three series of figures and accessories were released (in 1984, 1985, and 1986), but after three years of production the line collapsed. Coincidentally, Kenner's Star Wars line stopped shipping to stores the same year the Super Powers line ended.

Once the line was in full force a merchandising frenzy took place, with DC Comics and Kenner slapping a Super Powers logo on whatever they possibly could. DC Comics produced three comic book mini-series featuring characters from the toyline, one during each year of the toyline's existence. These comics were separate from the continuity of the regular comics featuring the characters. Hanna Barbera also produced two animated series (a refreshing of the venerable Super Friends concept), called Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. Warner Home Video used the opportunity to issue episodes of Superman, Batman, Superboy, and Aquaman produced by Filmation in 1966 on video cassette in 1985 under the Super Powers label, reissuing them again in 1996. Other tie-in products were produced, including lunchboxes and posters. Only the toy line carried the "Collection" tag; all other merchandise would have a solo "Super Powers" logo.

Highly prized today, Kenner's distribution practices of including up to 18 of one character in a case of 24 led to a glut of the core characters throughout the life of the line, and a rapid demise. Due to this practice, certain figures such as Cyborg, Golden Pharaoh, and Plastic Man remain rare to this day while the Flash and Superman are easily found. Another reason the Super Powers Collection is so highly sought after is the inclusion of both popular and little-known characters throughout the line. While the First Series featured well-known characters, the Second Series concentrated on figures from Kirby's New Gods Saga, and the Third Series mixed both DC Comics acquisitions from other companies and figures created solely for the line.

Unreleased figures

After 10 years of chronicling the history of the Super Powers Collection, in 2003 toy historian Jason Geyer's ToyOtter website revealed the never seen designs for the unmade Series Four, Five, and Six, along with vehicles, playsets and a deluxe "Power Plus" figure line. The most famous of these is the Man-Bat figure, of which an actual prototype was created.

Prior to Super Powers, one manufacturer (in this case, the Mego Corporation) licensed both DC and Marvel characters for action figures. When the Secret Wars toyline, by Mattel, came onto the retail toy scene, it was setup as direct competition for the Kenner line. These figures, similar in scale to the Super Powers Collection, introduced a competing marketing strategy between manufacturers of Marvel and DC action figures, continuing to separate the comic book publishers' character licenses. That trend continues to this day.

The Super Powers line, in many ways, inspired the 1989 Toy Biz DC Super Heroes toyline in design. This line, merging with the Batman toyline would borrow design elements from many of the Kenner figures, most notably Superman, Robin, and Penguin who were near identical copies of the Kenner figures.

Mattel's DC Universe Classics line also draws inspiration from the Super Powers figures. Several figures that were redesigned for the Super Powers line (Mantis, Parademon, and Steppenwolf) were produced for DC Universe Classics in both comic-accurate and Super Powers-accurate versions. A Cyclotron figure is also being released, even though the character only appeared as part of the Super Powers line.

Based on definitive style guide artwork, with moderate articulation and hidden action features, the Kenner Super Powers Collection eventually released 34 figures, eight vehicles, and one playset. In addition, Latin and South American toymakers introduced three characters not available in the US. In Argentina, toy company Pacipa (and later Play Ful) produced El Acertijo (Riddler), which was a Green Lantern figure in different paint. It was released in Argentina under the Super Amigos (Super Friends) brand. Brazilian toy company Gulliver produced El Capitan Rayo (Captain Lightning, but sometimes anglicized simply 'Captain Ray'), and his unique nemesis 'Hombre de las Nieves' (Yeti/The Abominable Snowman). Though most Gulliver Super Powers characters were branded 'Super Powers' (the characters that Kenner also made), the unique Rayo and Yeti were released under the 'Super Heroes' brand to distinguish them. They were available in Colombia.

Super Powers Mini-Comics Pack 1

Super Powers Mini-Comics Pack 2

For a great resource of info on the classic toy line, be sure to check out:

The Super Powers Archive

Hee-Haw (Charlton Comics)

Just proof that Charlton would license anything, here's two issues of their comic book adaptation of a television comedy/variety show that is near and dear to my heart: HEE-HAW

Dr. OldSchool from a forum I frequent had this to say:
"The comic ran for 7 issues starting July 1970 until August 1971."

#3 Download Link

#5 Download Link

Thane of Bagarth (Charlton Comics)

To continue with this lazy day of multiple post, I present some reprints from Charlton's great "Last Gasp" period of publishing (around 1985, after one last attempt at comic book publishing, Charlton finally gave up the ghost). This time it's Thane of Balgarth, a neat little sword and sorcery title with early work by Jim Aparo...

#24 Download Link

#25 Download Link

Speed Buggy #2, #3, & #5 (Charlton Comics)

Thanks to Zen Tiger for these great CBR files....

One of my favorite Hanna Barbera properties as a kid was Speed Buggy, and I've found as a comic book collector that his short-lived book published by Charlton in the 1970s is like hen's teeth trying to find....

Download Link