Time for some Cover Redux!
First up this time is Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, issue 60 on the left, and the reprint issue #156 on the right! At a glance, it just appears that it's colored differently... but look closer, at the top behind the logos! The original has the brick wall going over the top, so they're entering a building -- the new one makes the brick just a wall they're walking past. I wonder why they made this change? Doesn't make sense.
...an action figure line! Well, maybe I should rephrase that... It should've been a toy line.
What the heck am I talking about? Well, you'll recall the Marvel comic book series ROM, Spaceknight, right? Based on the Parker Brothers electronic toy?
Well, I think Marvel screwed up by not buying the ROM rights outright from Parker Brothers, and then when they started their partnership with ToyBiz (or even before then), should've started producing a line of ROM and the Spaceknights action figures, all based on the comic book, and all to scale with other Marvel figures. Oh, there could still be some kind of electronic stuff -- maybe a light flashing or something (although I would love it if they could've come up with something for Rom's analyzer, either ultraviolet or infrared, that when shown on cardboard cutouts of people would cause some to flash an image of a Dire Wraith instead). Any of the other Spaceknights could be included, and of course, there would have to be some Dire Wraiths -- both science and magic. Heck, since Rick Jones was in the book for a while, he could be included in the series, as well!
Of course, I'm thinking that all of the Spaceknights should have vacformed chrome, instead of the dull gray that the original ROM figure had, and have the standard poseability of the time. I'd also steal an idea from Kenner's Darkseid Super Powers figure, and have a panel on the top of the Spaceknights' heads that would allow light to come in and be reflected to cause their eyes to glow!
Naturally, the entire line would HAVE to come with mini-comics, even if some of them ended up just being retellings of stories from the Marvel comic.
An added advantage of this is that all of those comics guest-starring ROM wouldn't have to be excluded from the Essentials, plus we could have Essential ROM volumes now!
I'm pretty sure I've written about these before, so forgive me if I repeat myself. Aurora had, of course, been successful with their monster model kids in the 1960s and early 1970s, but model building started shifting a little in the early 70s... snap-together kits were becoming more and more popular, and Aurora responded by changing from their standard monster models to the Monsters of the Movies line, which also had smaller boxes! Well, actually, they kind of spearheaded the snap-together thing, I suspect, with the Monster Scenes before these!
Anyway, to start off, here's Ghidrah (as they call him on this box). Too bad they did him and Rodan (after the jump) but didn't do a new Godzilla kit in the same scale!
Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Pencils by Steve Ditko, Inks by Vince Colletta, Letters by Art Simek.
Supporting Cast: General Ross, Major Talbot, Betty Ross
Villain: The Leader, the Chameleon (cameo)
Hulk Intelligence: With this issue, the Hulk stops dropping the definitive article and refers to himself entirely in the third person... “Now it is Hulk's turn!” etc.
Plot: At the Soviet weapons base, the Hulk and his new friend are suddenly ambushed by the leader of the base, firing a proton gun. The Hulk's friend dives in front of the ray, sacrificing himself. The Hulk becomes enraged and pursues the leader of the base, who flees because the proton gun takes an hour to recharge between blasts. As the Hulk pursues his quarry through building after building, the stress begins to take its toll, and the Hulk changes back to Banner. Outside the base, tanks and soldiers arrive on the scene. Back in the USA, Major Talbot is informed that Banner is behind the Iron Curtain, and that he must be rescued or silenced. Talbot volunteers to get Bruce, but he's denied. At General Ross' headquarters, Ross gets word about Banner's whereabouts, and Betty overhears. Betty, of course, can't believe Bruce is a traitor. Talbot arrives and insists Bruce is. At the Leader's HQ, he contacts the Chameleon to see if there's any word about Banner's location, and when he hears Banner's behind the Iron Curtain, he figures the Hulk is there, too. The Leader contacts the Commissar, and asks about Banner, learning that Banner's at the weapons testing center. The Leader decides to take no action, but wait for new developments. At the base, jets fly over searching for the Hulk, but can't spot him, mainly because he's still Banner. When the jets spot Banner, they open fire on him. Banner runs, and passes by the corpse of the Hulk's friend. The sight causes him to change back into the Hulk just as an artillery blast strikes! Angry, the Hulk leaps into the air holding two large pieces of debris, which he throws at both jet planes, destroying them instantly. When he lands on the ground again, he starts walking toward the armored task force.
Invention Exchange: Nothing really new this time!
Reprinted In:Incredible Hulk Special #1, Incredible Hulk (Simon & Schuster, 1978), Essential Hulk #1
Notes: Adapted as episode 10 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. It's interesting to note how on the cover that Giant-Man is still getting the lion's share of the space, eh? This story seems to be another in the endless series of tales in which Stan's just trying to fill in space while he figures out what's going on. Yes, we get to see the Hulk's reaction to losing his first friend (well, at least the first friend he remembers). And didn't Stan even care enough to provide names for the commander of the weapons base, or the prisoner whom the Hulk befriends? We got the name of a professor who was captive, and then he's gone from the story forever!
Yes, Ten of a Kind continues to focus on toys! Why not? So, in no particular order, here's some action figure lines I want someone to produce!
1. Doc Savage and the Amazing Five: They could either just do a boxed set or individually. Of course, Pat Savage and John Sunlight (the only foe to ever return) would have to be part of the line-up!
2. The Monkees: I'm thinking first release in their matching costumes (with the red double-button shirts), maybe second release as Monkeemen, and final release in some groovy threads.
3. Dungeons and Dragons: The Animated Series: Don't tell me there's not a market for these guys!
4. The Beatles: We've had two different action figure lines based on animated versions, let's get some versions based on the actual Beatles, with different waves based on different albums, perhaps?
5. Mighty Crusaders: I know, there was the Remco line, but it really sucked. We need a good line of figures!
6. Planet of the Apes: Again, there have been lines of figures, but I've never felt they were complete. I'm envisioning a wave for each of the original movies - which of course means that Taylor gets included in the first two, Cornelius and Zira get to be in the first three (as is Zaius), and Caesar is in the last two. So what? At least Caesar gets different clothes, right?
7. The Invaders: Now, maybe I missed seeing these, but yes, I'm thinking Captain America, Bucky, Namor, the Torch and Toro, Union Jack, and Spitfire!
8. The Marx Brothers: I know I'd want them on my self!
9. Hanna-Barbera Heroes: This would be a catch-all line for characters that either haven't been made yet, or need a reissue. I'm thinking Frankenstein Jr., the Impossibles, a straight Birdman, Shazzan, Space Ghost (with Jan, Jace and Blip -- perhaps included with the Phantom Cruiser), Herculoids, Galaxy Trio, etc.
10. The Banana Splits: Yes, I want a separate line of them, sold as a set with a display included that looks like the clubhouse.
Concept: As listed on the Internet Movie Database, “An astronaut, stranded on a primitive planet, fights against the tyranny of the Overlord.”
Total Episodes: 13
Original Air Dates: 1981-1982
Original Network: CBS
Geek Factor: 7
John Blackstar (George DiCenzo): The main character, Blackstar was an astronaut of a future Earth whose ship entered a black hole, sending him to the planet Sagar. He was found by the Trobbits, and defends them and the planet Sagar against the Overlord, using the Starsword.
Mara (Linda Gary): A sorceress, many centuries old, who assists Blackstar.
Klone (Patrick Pinney): Shapeshifting ally of Blackstar.
Storm (): Queen of the Amazons.
Trobbits: Short for “tree hobbits,” they inhabit the Sagar tree. Some of the Trobbits include Balkar (Patrick Pinney), Carpo (Alan Oppenheimer), Goassamer (Frank Welker) and Burble (Frank Welker).
Overlord (Alan Oppenheimr): The main villain, he plots to rule Sagar, using the Powersword. The Powerswort and Starsword can be combined to become the Powerstar, an even more powerful weapon.
Vizier (Lou Scheimer): The Overlord's right-hand man, and a sorcerer in his own right.
Geek Guest-Stars: Not applicable.
Ah, where to begin? Of course, being a Filmation series, you've got Lou Scheimer, the producer and voice of the Vizier, who was a co-founder of Filmation and voiced characters in probably every one of their series at one time or another! Plus, the animation staff included comic book artist Russ Heath as one of the layout artists; Bruce W. Timm was a layout artist as well, better known these days for his work on Batman: The Animated Series and the related shows. Episodes of the series were all written by Michael Reaves, Marc Scott Zicree, or Tom Ruegger. Michael's written episodes of Isis, Tarzan Lord of the Jungle, Super Friends, Flash Gordon, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Incredible Hulk (1982-1983), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, The Mighty Orbots, Dungeons & Dragons, and many others. His most recent credits include Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman and Guardians of Luna. Marc is the author of The Twilight Zone Companion, and he's also written episodes of Super Friends, The Incredible Hulk (1983), He-Man, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, The Real Ghost Busters, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and others. Both he and Michael have written an episode of Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II. Tom has been a producer or associate producer on a number of shows since Blackstar, from The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo to Animaniacs to Histeria, but before Blackstar and since, he wrote episodes of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, The Kid Super Power With Shazam!, Flash Gordon, He-Man, The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, The New Scooby-Do Mysteries, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Histeria, Duck Dodgers, and Batman Beyond.
Frank Welker, as noted many times before, has had an amazing voice career, and is best known for voicing Scooby-Doo (taking over from Don Messick) and Fred in the Scooby Doo cartoons, although that's not even a drop in the water of all the characters he's voiced! Other characters he's done include Marvin, Wonder Dog, Wheelie, Jabberjaw, Wonderbug, Dinky Dog, Dynomutt, Bamm-Bamm, Fangface, H.E.R.B.I.E., The Toyman, Buford, Heckle & Jeckle, Droopy, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Iceman, Darkseid, Kalibak, several characters in G.I., Joe: A Real American Hero, and many, many, many others! He's most recently done voices for Transformers Prime, Futurama, Happy Feet Two Monsters University (due in 2013), and will likely continue to be heard in animation (I hope) for many years to come.
Alan Oppenheimer has as his earliest geek credit providing the voice for Dr. Contrare in Gammera the Invincible, but has appeared onscreen in two episodes of Get Smart, an episode of Bewitched, and by 1970 or so, he was starting to do voice work and on-screen work more or less simultaneously. He could be heard in Inch High Private Eye, Butch Cassidy, Speed Buggy, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Hong Kong Phooey, Valley of the Dinosaurs, and many others. He was the original actor to play Dr. Rudy Wells, playing that role until 1975 (when it was taken over by Martin E. Brooks), voiced Dr. Hans Zarkov and Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon (1979), voiced Dr. Sivana on The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!, and then came Blackstar. Of course, since about 1983 or so, he's best known as the voice of Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Cringer, and others on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He's also done voices on The Transformers, voiced Pa Kent on Superman (1988), and many, many other parts. The last credit he has is voicing Alfred Pennyworth in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies in 2009.
Patrick Pinney did additional voices for Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo prior to Blackstar, and afterwards voiced Mainframe on G.I. Joe, Mighty Mouse in Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, and a number of other roles over the years, including voicing the Thing in two episodes of Spider-Man (1997), a wormguy and others in Men in Black: The Series, and most recently, he voiced a variety of characters from 2007-2011 on Robot Chicken.
Linda Gary provided the voice for Tania Frankenstein in Lady Frankenstein, was the voice of Web Woman on Tarzan and the Super 7, voiced Jane and other female parts on Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, and went on during and after Blackstar to voice Aunt May Parker in Spider-Man (1981-1982), Several characters on The Transformers, Teela, the Sorceress, Evil-Lyn and others on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Shadow Weaver and others on She-Ra: Princess of Power, and doing various voices on shows like The Pirates of Dark Water, Batman: The Animated Series, The Tick, Spider-Man (1994-1997, again playing Aunt May).
DVD Release: Complete series boxed set (out of print).
Notes: I hate to admit it, but even though I helped do the special features for the complete series DVD set, I have yet to even break the shrinkwrap on my copy of the set! I don't recall seeing the series much when it was first on... having read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit before this same out, I'd imagine I heard “Trobbits” and got way too turned off by that!
Time to check out some more comic book ads from old Gold Key Comics!
OK, here's one that appeared in Mighty Samson #26 (although I happen to have right next to me a copy of Superman #282 with it on the back cover) for Revell's Endangered Animals models, all with movable parts! Somehow, I don't think kids were buying these because of the fact that they were endangered -- I think most kids bought the gorilla kit (at least) because it was a gorilla!
Our first Kirby Kover this time around is the cover for The Invaders #12, which I believe was one of the first issues of The Invaders that I ever bought! It's pure Kirby goodness all the way, with the Invaders plus Spitfire going after some Nazis... I love it!
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