ROM: A Post For The Greatest Of The Spaceknights

Two hundred years ago, the evil Dire Wraiths threatened the peace-loving planet, Galador. 

In their homeworld’s darkest hour, a thousand, brave young Galadorians sacrificed humanity itself to become Cyborg Warriors, a last desperate line of defence.

Though hopelessly outnumbered, these Spaceknights triumphed, and pursued the remnants of the Wraith horde across the universe…

rom05

“By The Gates of the Golden Galaxy, what transpires here?! …The plain plandanium doors that were once so foreboding – have been replaced by golden portals emblazoned with the heroic deeds of… myself!” – ROM The Spaceknight.

The Shogun Warriors seems an unlikely source for a life-changing event, but nevertheless, on page 18 of ish #18, there is an ad for (what was then: 1980) the newest kid on the Marvel block – and what a striking page it is too (above; what else could this Post have begun with?): personally, it is one of the most important pages printed in comic book history.

Sometimes, this ish would be kept on top of the pile, just to skim over to that page! The design of ROM The Spaceknight himself turned out to be instantly electrifying.

That was it!  

At whatever cost to life, limb and pocket money allocations, this moppet would stop at NUTHIN’ until ROM soared his way into my burgeoning collection.

Agonizingly, the breakthrough would not come until taking shelter from a sudden downpour in a newsagent whilst on holiday back in 1982 – and stumbling across the unlikely form of…

the ROM Summer Special 1982. 

Rom Spaceknight UK Summer Special 2

mentus1

“A better question would be: who are you? I would wager that so uncertain are you about everything just now… that you even wonder about your own identity! Are you the real Rom?” – Mentus. 

Essentially, this Summer Special is a Marvel UK reprint of ish #25. 

After two centuries dealing with the Dire Wraith threat on a distant planet called Earth, ROM returns to his homeworld and is amazed to discover how different it looks.

But nothing can prepare him to confront his new foe: himself!

In a fiendish plot, the disenchanted spaceknight known as Terminator has been remodelled to look like the Greatest Spaceknight, thereby luring other unwitting spaceknights back to Galador… to destroy them! 

Therein, we were treated to a fine and sinister turn by Mentus: one of the most menacing – and coolest – comic book villains ever to cross my senses. 

With the aid of Starshine: a female Spaceknight, ROM must attempt to teach their treacherous comrade-in-arms the error of his misprogrammed ways, and persuade him to help them defeat Mentus. 

After 34 years, it remains superlative stuff.

romgalactus01_by_dynamo1212-da8z2hc

1428905_original

“I liked the character. And I liked what they did with it. I thought the concept was quite good. It was unique… I almost hate to say this, but it was pretty easy to draw, too” – Sal Buscema.  

Originally called COBOL, he was renamed ROM (read-only memory) by execs @ Parker Brothers: the company that produced the spaceknight as a toy. To “build interest” in their product, they licensed the character to Marvel Comics. 

There, an intriguing background, including his own origins, personality, not just one, but two, love interests, a set of supporting characters –  and villains – were created. With emphasis on his cyborg nature – rather than being just a plain robot – someone who made the choice to sacrifice his human existence (and all the freedoms and relationships that that entailed) to help save his planet, ROM was allowed to develop into such a fascinating character, forever questioning what it means to be human.

“Bathed in the crimson glow” of his “Energy Analyser,” its rays would reveal to his cyborg eyes the wraiths in their deceitful human guise; and then ROM would summon forth his Neutralizer to banish them into Limbo.  

Guess who wanted to do that when he was seven…

Although the toy was a major flop, under the wonder-team of Mantlo/Buscema, the comic developed into its own unique and innovative brand. 

Ingeniously, ROM got woven into the Marvel Universe, interacting with such special guest-stars as the Torpedo, Ant-Man, The Jack Of Hearts and even the Uncanny X-Men!

Many years later, various back issues would be swept up into my gleeful clutches. Naturally, the earliest editions are the best, particular #12, in which ROM must fend off one of Marvel’s most enigmatic heroes: the Jack Of Hearts; while the next ish: #13 saw the fantastic Saga Of The Spaceknights (reprinted in the Marvel UK weekly: Future Tense).

rom-spaceknight-issue-marvel-comic-cover-art

rom4

rom11

e21900ee470e62b4541e43683b3da012

“I cannot command that you carry on the fight, Rom – I ask! You were the first to volunteer – the first to enter the Hall of Science and go under the laser-knives of the cyber-surgeons – the first to become a Spaceknight!”The Prime Director Of Galador. 

At last! After what seemed like an eternity… he’s back. 

What about this revival of ROM The Spaceknight currently appearing in a specialist stockist near you? Having perused through the debut ish, there are, unfortunately, mixed feelings. 

Yes, Galador’s greatest deserves to make a comeback, but in this incarnation?

The magic that brought the original series to such phenomenal life is simply not there. Perhaps these are early days (early issues) – and this Bronze Age Boy is being a tad unaccepting – but this new series does not do anything for me… yet. 

Unlike other – blatantly juvenile – brands such as Transformers and the Micronauts, ROM The Spaceknight – from his electrifying debut ish in December 1979, up until the cancellation of his series in February 1986 – transcended his simple plastic toy origins to become not only a noble and dynamic comic book warrior, but the Greatest Galador could offer.  

rom13

“Our love can never die, dearest Rom. Go! Finish this war! End the threat of the Dire Wraiths forever, then return and reclaim your humanity!

“I-I will be waiting…” – Ray-na. 

Advertisements

The Whole Cake And Nothing But The Cake: Trial Of A Timewaster

Bally Bunny Hero In Krazy Kangaroo Court!

trial-of-a-timelord

“What kind of government you guys got here? This is worse than California!” – Miles Monroe. 

Cor!

Brad Fartlighter

and his feckless fearless band of troubadours:

Brad Company,

 subjected to an interrogation by the (usually) despicable 

Zegreatme, Dark Overlord of the Zandokan Empire 

on the normally boring and inhospitable planet of Fridgia, managed to turn the whole silly thing into a very cushty dinner-party -yay! 

Everything is going really peachy-keen until-!

“‘Ere, this tea don’t ‘alf taste funny…”

And in that split second, Brad was caught in a pulsating shaft of light. He gasped in bewilderment as flickers of lightning darted across his fingertips.

“Madre de Dios!” shouted Nacho.  

“Jeez, Brad!” Lexi cried aghast. “What’s goin’ on?!”

“Why ya askin’ me, lov? I dunno what the blazes this is!” 

A sharp crackling sound filled the hall; it made Brad jump.

“Aww, bloomin’ ‘eck! I dropped me cake…”

The light show intensified. 

“Grud!” yelled Harris. “You’re disappearin’, mate!”

The ex-Battleforce Commander stared in horror as his washboard abs began to fade.

“Blimey Charley! I do look a tad faint…”

“Don’tcha worry, Commander. We’ll find out what’s happ’nin’ an’ try an’ getcha back!” 

“Yeah, man!” shouted Nacho. “Ev’rythin’s gonna be alright.”

“Cheers, lads, I feel so much-“

“It’s gettin’ worse!” Lexi yelled incredulously.

True, the searing orb surrounding your hero became almost blinding, and the fit figure of Fartlighter therein slipped swiftly from view. Critical Mass seemed imminent.

“Hey, Lex,” Brad croaked solemnly. “Tell my Mother that I l-“

And with that, Brad had had it.

*

On the other side of the galaxy, within another grand, opulent hall, the same startling light show re-energised. An assembly of Imperial bigwigs awaited a very special arrival with considerable glee.  

In a flash, the human subject of their foul intent abruptly materialised afore them.

“-left the pie in the microwave-HEY! What th-?! Fer cryin’ out loud, what am I doin’ in a Zandokan courtroom?” Brad stormed.

A truly repugnant alien stepped forward to gloat at him.

“Welcome, Urfmairn. Ay em High Councillor Zorn, en’ zees eez your trial! Heh heh heh…”

article-0-0d048fc300000578-507_468x286

“You have to give yourself up! They won’t hurt you. They’ll restructure your brain” – Luna Schlosser.  

“WHOA! Back up the landspeeder for one finger-lickin’ minute, man,” spluttered the disorientated Brad Fartlighter. “I didn’ order any trial!”

“Nur, Urfmairn, but we did!”

The dimly-lit courtroom – the center of your galactic hero’s fate – heaved with a packed congregation of Overlords, Senators and other despicable dignitaries from the most rotten imperial system the galaxy had ever seen…

…all baying for Brad’s blood. 

“Fer too lonk, u hef defied ze Zandokan Empah! Ve hef hed ennuv! And beeemed you here to stend trial fer your crimz against our glurrious Empah,” the Councillor sniffed haughtily.

“As Jurdge and Prozecutor, Ay vill prezide ofer-“

“Hey, wait, Big Ears! Don’t I get a lawyer to defend me, like?”

“Nur! Nur Zandokan eez stewpeed ennuv to deffend ze laikes off you… Urfmairn.”

“Uff, that’s charmin’. Still, I expect no more from the likes of you Zandokan nerks-”

“Zylenz! Ve vill get zeez prozeedeengs undairway. And zhen sentenz you to Deff-“

“Come again?”

“DEFF! Ze Zandokan Zennat hez already decreed your fett!”

“Boba fett, huh? Sounds like bollocks to me-”

“ENNUV! Ve shell prozeed wiv ze fermaliteez immeediatly! 

“You aire Bred “Bricks” Burrito Fertlittair – formair Battlefurce Commandair of ze Galacteec Defenz Militiair?”

“Yes, I am that person. I am him; I am he…”

“Then YOU! Bred Fertlittair, aire charged vit seizink seven cruisairs of ze Zandokan Impeerial Fleet, end 608 crates ov… kek?! Zeez eez outray-jus!”

“I’m afraid your justice system does me an injustice, Yer Righteousness…”

“Oh? Vot do you mean?”

“Your records should say: EIGHT Zandokan cruisers and 617 crates of cake-”  

“Vot eez zeez inpertinenz?! Vhy zo much kek?!”

“Well, why not? It is the most fabulous object in the galaxy. There is nothing more special-“

“Oh? How about zex?” 

“Not just now, lov; I gotta headache…” 

planet-of-the-apes-see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil

“I knew it. I’m surrounded by assholes!” – Dark Helmet. 

“Raight, zhat’z eet! Tairm to breeng zeez prozeedeengs to a clurz! Ay herebah zentenz you: Bred Fartlittair, formair Battlefurce Commandair to Deff by Teedlyweenkz! Do you hef enytheenk to say?”

“Yeah, baby. Ah’m gonna miss yer rapier wit, Judge Dread-“

“ENNUV! GUARDZ! Tak heem eway!” 

As the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger stood defiantly in the dock, arms folded, he watched as a group of guards scurried forward to escort him out to goodness-knows-where. 

And in that split second, Brad was caught in a pulsating shaft of light. He gasped in bewilderment as flickers of lightning darted across his fingertips.

“By the Lord Harry,” he sighed. “Not this again.”

“VOTZEVUKK EEZ GOEENK URN?!” screamed the Judge.

“Who do ya think I am: Dr. Frickin’ Strange?! Fer the umpteenth time, man, I dunno what the blazes this is. Tell ya what tho: you can go and fff-” 

And with that, Brad had had it.

In his place, in a flash,Zandokan Dark Overlord abruptly materialised afore them.

“Vhere eez Bred now?!” he thundered, manically glancing around the room.

The gobsmacked Judge punched his chest and clicked his heels in salute.

“Zegreatme! You honair uz wiv your ezteemed prezenz! But vot aire you doeenk here?!”

“Durn’t you burr me wiv your vooleesh prettle, Zorn!” Zegreatme hollered. “Vhere eez ze Urfmairn now, eh? You bimmed heem eway frum may clutchez, en’-”

“Bimmed, my Lord?”

“Yayyez! BIMMED!! Bimmed ‘eem eway frum mee! Eet hez tekken MURNTHS to faind ze wretched Fertlittair – en’ you – YOU! You TOOK ‘eem EWAY frum MEE een ZECONDS!! En’ now he hez gorn, Zorn – GORN!!”

His biochemech armour cranked and creaked as he strode furiously up and down. He stopped to gleer right into Zorn’s face.

“Ya kner, een zeez gret cozmeec drama unfulding beffore uz, ‘ee wuz may prizner… ya kner? Main, Ay tell you, main, main, MAIN!”

A Security Officer burst onto the scene.

“Ve hef trecked heez exact co-ords, my Lord!”

“Ah, goot! Vell, zat eez zumtheeng – zo, vhere eez Bred now?” 

“On board ze Caleesta Blockhead, sir! Bred Cumpany managed to beeem heem back!”

“Vell, eezn’dat juzt vukkin’ fain en’ dandy…” 

Suddenly, the Zegreatme screamed, violently shaking his bionic fists and cursing the Ancient Gods using the most foul, untypable words imaginable. 

After a short while, the Security Officer’s hand shot up to his earpiece. The Dark Lord paused from his wrath, panting hoarsely.

“Ennytheenk else?” 

“Oh… er, ve hef juzt rassivd verd that Bred Cumpany hef med ze jurmp to lightspeed. They should be on ze uddair zide of ze galaxy by now-“

“Of course!” Zegreatme fumed. “Vhy ze vukk vouldn’t zhey be? Ahem, tell me… Zorn, deed your agents geddu install ze trackeeng devize on ze Caleesta, hmm…?”

Zorn bowed his head in shame; none of the other Imperial personnel dared utter a word.

“Nur, thot nut… Teepical. Ay knew it. Ay’m zurrounded by vukkweetz- VUKK!!” he exhaled venomously, and fell to his knees.

“VUKK, VUKK, VUKKITY-VUUUUUUUUUUUUUUKKK!!”

to be continued...

The Prescient Visionary: H.G. Wells: A Celebration

Herbert George Wells Was Born This Day 150 Years Ago

960

“Wells occupies an honoured place in science fiction. Without him, indeed, I can’t see how many of it could have happened” – Kingsley Amis. 

As I sit down to write here amidst the shadows of vine-leaves under the blue sky of southern England it comes to me with a certain quality of astonishment that my appreciation of these amazing adventures of Mr. Wells was, after all, the outcome of the purest accident. It might have been anyone. I fell into these things at a time when I thought myself removed from the slightest possibility of disturbing experiences.

Herbert George Wells: prolific and extraordinary science fiction imagineer, visionary, author of histories and polemics, and a noted public figure of his day, is best remembered nowadays for the series of scientific romances published at the beginning of his long and successful career.

Born at Bromley in Kent, young Bertie spent much of his early years in Sussex, on the south coast of England. Following a two-year apprenticeship in a draper’s shop, in 1884 he got accepted at the Normal School of Science, South Kensington, London, where he was taught biology and zoology by T.H. Huxley, one of the foremost scientific thinkers of the Victorian era. He worked as a biology tutor before becoming a professional writer and journalist.

17229165886_e7d036438a_b

js63922347

“Wells’ scientific romances were works of art with unique relevance for our times” – Arthur C. Clarke.  

“It is obviously the work of an inexperienced writer,” wrote Wells in the 1931 Preface to his first published novel: The Time Machine (1895). This work began as a rough, intermittent draft entitled: The Chronic Argonauts during his student days.

This and the subsequent novels: The Island Of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War Of The Worlds  (1898), When The Sleeper Wakes (1899) and The First Men In The Moon (1901), stand as a formidable set, not only as pioneering examples of early SF, but as pinnacles of English literature in general.

It seems ironic that as the only one of this set to cover space travel, and be published in the 20th century, The First Men In The Moon is regarded as the most old-fashioned. The discovery of an anti-gravity metal: Cavorite to spark an elevation to our nearest neighbour sounds quintessentially Victorian.

His first four scientific romances, however, have endured largely because they each tap into fantasies and fears that will forever dominate the human psyche.

There is a very charming theory that the spindly, tripod war-machines that march across the Thames in The War Of The Worlds were inspired by the newly opened Daddy-Long-Legs railway at Brighton, East Sussex – the city in which this very Post has been researched, written and published. This latter novel still stands as the definitive alien-invasion-of-Earth thriller – oft-imitated, but never equalled; and it can certainly never be bettered…

His brand of science fiction did “not aim to project a serious possibility; they aim indeed only at the same amount of conviction as one gets in a good dream,” Wells wrote in 1934. “They have to hold the reader to the end by art and illusion and not by proof and argument.”

1442854167366

“There is no need to make allowances for the age of these novels; the science may be proto-steam punk, but Wells’ imagination was lively, vivid and timeless” – Lisa Tuttle.

“Her stews were marvellously honest,” Wells recalled. After years of malnourishment and student poverty, the meals prepared by his landlady in Midhurst, West Sussex, provided his first taste of good and proper grub. “And she was great at junket, custard and whortleberry and blackberry jam.” 

They certainly helped enrich his creative powers. “An important liberator of thought and action,” according to Bertrand Russell, his educational works extended to The Outline Of History (1920) and The Science of Life (1930).

It is difficult to believe now, but at the time, his sci-roms were not deemed “respectable,” so Wells had to develop more literary works; later novels such as Kipps (1905) and Tono-Bungay (1909) are notable, but they do not exude the same power to enthral. 

What is particularly striking about these sci-roms is the flourish of imagination – and a highly original one at that. While contemporaries such as Poe, James and Lovecraft accentuated the fear behind the unknown, Wells not only directly confronted the seemingly unknowable, but gave the impression that it could be scientifically explicable. 

And, by gad, all this ingenuity stemming from the mind of a former mere draper’s assistant…

4083934102_bab4f67684_b

“The Prospero of all the brave new worlds of the mind, and the Shakespeare of science fiction” – Brian W. Aldiss. 

Futurology was “an intellectual game” to Wells. He had an uncanny ability to envisage many aspects of the 20th century. He cycled “all over the southern counties,” along roads where hardly any automobile could be seen, yet he foresaw a time when four-wheeled travel would take such precedence that suburbs would spread and the landscape be transformed at an exponential rate to accommodate its rapid expansion.

Among other things, he anticipated the sexual revolution, and a phenomenon he called the “world brain” – what we would identify as a sort of proto-Wikipedia. As well as tanks, he described The War In The Air (1908), almost a decade before aerial dogfights would break out above the Western Front. In 1913, one year before the outbreak of the Great War, his novel: The World Set Free, imagined an “atomic bomb” that could be dropped from planes…

His 1933 future novel: The Shape Of Things To Come – made into a movie in 1936 – predicted the Second World War. And its catastrophic consequences…

In a letter to a friend, he described “Anticipations,” his 1902 collection of futurological essays, as: “designed to undermine and destroy the monarch, monogamy, faith in God and respectability – and the British Empire, all under the guise of a speculation about motor cars and electric heating.”

As 2016 also marks seven decades since his passing, it is fascinating to conclude that Mr. Wells’ scientific romances continue to be regarded as essential reading, and his prescient visions of the future remain unsurpassed.

Bravo, Bertie!

the-best-h-g-wells-books-u1

Herbert George Wells: “A man ahead of his time”

21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946. 

space.age02

Universal Pictures: An Exploration Of Cosmic Comics!

Because You Demanded It! Brad Goes Cosmic!

960

“I spent some time in your system monitoring your television transmissions. I learned all about Earth’s culture from watching sitcoms” – Sphinxor.

“You have teleported me here to talk,” the being known as the High Evolutionary protested. “To discuss why my planet has been stolen. I await your answer.”

“My Ring-Shippers and I were contracted to move your planet by a race of beings called the Beyonders,” replied Sphinxor, Captain of the Ringship 1, Command Vessel of the Prime Movers of Tarkus. 

“They became aware of your experimental world while you were collecting the extra-dimensional mass to build it… This Warlock fellow looked to be a problem…” 

Yes! That’s Adam Warlock, the golden-skinned cosmic hero, and the primary reason for picking up what has turned out to be a quite scintillating ish of Marvel 2-In-1 (#63, May 1980). The Thing, Moon-Dragon and Starhawk team up to help save Counter-Earth. 

Mark Gruenwald (writer), Jerry Bingham (artist) and Gene day (inker) “join forces to concoct the wildest cosmic adventure ever!”

In this Summer’s voracious surge for Bronze Age delights, the overwhelming theme has been: cosmic. So what is it about cosmic comics that make them so enthralling?

Apart from tapping into that lifelong fascination with outer space (with which most of you would concur, right?), the joys of galactic adventures, bedecked with multitudes of weird and wonderful extraterrestrials, with supercool blasters and gleaming star cruisers is veritably the fuel on which traditional SF runs.

There are numerous reasons for why cosmic comics will forever be the best in my book (or blog).

marveltwo-in-one063-06

^ Page 10 of Marvel 2-In-1 #63 shows plenty of stellar action to satisfy anybody’s cosmic cravings.

image-53

“From what we’ve been told, the Beyonders may be more powerful than any beings yet encountered by man – greater than Galactus, the Watcher, Thanos… any of them. As a scientist, I am curious” –  The High Evolutionary. 

The cosmic brand of story-line holds greater appeal,  primarily as the imagination is allowed the freedom to run a tad wilder. Moreover, this scintillating subgenre features some of the coolest and most powerful characters in the known Marvel Universe.

Not to mention the biggest – take (on) Galactus (if you dare!).

Asked who the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe could be, Stan Lee did not hesitate to answer: “Galactus, without a doubt.”

Undoubtedly, the cream of the cosmos has to be “The Coming of Galactus” which appeared in Fantastic Four # 48-50. 

But what are the chances of acquiring this series and NOT breaking the bank…?

Our old friend John Byrne contributed exceptionally to the cause of cosmic awesomeness by creating “The Trial of Galactus” which sprawls across Fantastic Four # 242-44; 252-55; and 257-62. Have already set my sights on them, regardless of my indifference to Reed Richards…

As a huge fan of Rom The Spaceknight – keen to pick up some of his classic cosmic escapades – Galactus actually appears in ish no. 26(!)

By Jove, the Bradmonitor lit up spectacularly when that news filtered through!

Minions! To the Bradmobile!

You’ll be pleased to know that they have already been dispatched forthwith across the quadrant to track THAT ONE down.

796153

“Fascinating. I’m in outer space, yet my costume automatically creates an energy field that not only protects me from the deadly cold and radiation… but provides me with a breatheable atmosphere as well” – Ms. Marvel. 

One of the classic cosmic stories – essential to anyone’s collection – would have to be The Magus Saga.

Featured in Strange Tales #s 178-81 and Warlock – yes! him again – # 9-11, it’s the reason why Adam Warlock is one of Marvel’s most intriguing protagonists. (If you don’t believe me, check the heaving prices of individual ishs charged by some of yer leading local Awemongers…)

Have already picked up some back ishs of Future Tense, a weekly comic produced by Marvel UK back in 1980; they include some reprints of early Adam Warlock stories. Fabulous stuff, but they only make me crave more of the Warlock

My mission to find more Ms. Marvel continues apace, and has turned up some surprisingly cosmic results.

#3: “The Lady’s Not For Killing” featured the Kree-powered superwoman flying into space on an intercept vector to prevent a missile from diving into the Kennedy Space Center. Upon finding an access hatch, what should spring out but the Doomsday Man!

Bingo – the same robot supposedly destroyed by the Silver Surfer way back when. Cue a bout of feisty female fisticuffs (in orbit). 

Written faultlessly as always by Chris Claremont, and amazingly imagineered by the invincible John Buscema it’s another great addition to the collection.

Groovy.

And there’s been no opp here to squeal about the Mighty Thor’s cosmic scrapes. Particularly that epic in which Galactus must call for Thor’s help in tackling a galactic foe which even he cannot smite…(!)

More mouthwatering delights yet to materialise here on Bradscribe!

Stay tuned: same Brad time! Same Brad channel!  

Meanwhile, back on that orbiting planetoid… 

“…We simply set up our stasis-rings and took off with Counter-Earth in tow…” Sphinxor droned on bureaucratically. “We kindly refer you to the Beyonders for any questions pertaining to what they intend to do with your world, okay?” 

“Then…” frowned the High Evolutionary. “You do not even know why they want my world?”

“That’s not my job, man.”

05-ff-galactus

“It just gives me the willies, bein’ taken apart atom by atom and bein’ put back together somewhere else” – The Thing. 

From All-Star To Dawnstar: Recent Vintage Acquisitions Read And Reviewed

The Quest For Classic Comics Continues…

all-star-squadron-ass2

“Silence, please, everyone! I’ve been a little worried about how to tell you this … but, in my identity as Carter Hall, I’m going to enlist in the US Army!” – Hawkman.

And with this bombshell, so begins “Never Step On A Feathered Serpent!” the fifth issue of All-Star Squadron, a title whose debut ish (in September 1981) – with its mix of of superheroes and World War II history developed into an unputdownable phenomenon in the Bradhouse. 

My only regret is that (apart from #10, ten years later), no further ishs could be found.

Staying in the UK on extended leave, belaboured over the bonce by the Mace of Nostalgia, yours truly set aside this Summer to finally track down those comic classics from the so-called “Bronze Age” that eluded me all those moons ago, as well as checking out previously unseen titles. 

Three months ago, perusing the back ish departments of some handy awemongers’ emporiums in London, the ball started rolling with the purchases of All-Star Squadron, #s 5 & 7.

Was it a good start?

  • Squadron scrambled, or brain scrambled?

Amazingly imagineered by the invincible creative team of Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler, its reserved status in my collection is well-assured! But equally astounded at how this ish could have slipped past my Radar of Ninth Metal back in the day…

#7 is equally compelling, with the introduction of the Nazi costumed super-villain: Baron Blitzkrieg! 

Already looking forward to snapping up further ishs of this great title!

0baa341106f4322e11a7353fc99044f1__SX640_QL80_TTD_

727913

“I’ll have to hit-and-run – use my speed and Kree-training to counter his brute strength – and try to wear him down!” –  Ms. Marvel.

Ms. Marvel #15 (March 1978)

“Carol Danvers a woman who had it made – until the day radiation from an exploding alien machine gave her the skills and powers of a Kree Warrior, plus an uncanny Seventh Sense – transforming a human woman into… a heroine!”

With a proposed Ms. Marvel movie in the works, now would be a good time to catch up and get to know her – if anything, isn’t everyone curious to find out what radiation from an exploding alien machine does to you? Moreover, this Seventh Sense – it sounds groovy! – could we have some?

The woman with the Kree powers must battle Tiger Shark. This villain looks supercool on that dynamic cover (see above) and makes for a mighty antagonist inside.

The script is provided by Chris Claremont – always a big plus in my book! 

But when you consider the premise: woman in leotard is punched and has cars hurled at her by lunatic dressed as a shark… 

  • Marvelous, or Ms. Fire? 

Despite this dodgy premise, this ish is fab; the art by Mooney & DeZuniga is great, and there is a craving for more of this title.

Please note: his captive (who turns out to be the cousin of Namor – y’know: The Sub-Mariner!) is actually fully-clothed during the few panels in which she appears, so no fish-scale bikinis or strategically-placed hubcaps herein…

339599-3033-21083-2-legion-of-super-hero

“The thing is: that’s my Mom up there! What’s come over her since she won the Earth election?” – Colossal Boy. 

Legion of Super-Heroes was a title hugely enjoyed as a nipper. Now, an irresistible curiosity to find out what other ishs looked like spurred me on. #273 was the ish selected. 

Such characters as Wildfire and Tyroc were as cool as fudge, while others such as Bouncing Boy and Matter-Eater Lad(!) made the title unintentionally hilarious. 

One member of the Legion of Super-Heroes stood apart from the others: a graceful figure with a stunning pair of wings, her name was Dawnstar – or as her co-Legionnaire: the blond, green-skinned Brainiac 5 called her “Dawny.”

Hey, just be thankful this Post was not entitled Finding Dawny jeez, that sounds as corny as heck…!

  • So, Legend, or just leggo…?

What a swiz – she’s not in it! 

Undoubtedly, this is a compelling epic, bristling with drama!; intrigue!; the craziest super-cozzies you will ever see! And the story-line involving a revered Legionnaire framed for murder, wasn’t bad, but considering the immensity of the issue, and a high turn-out, where was the yellow, tassled one?

By the Black Nebula! It feels like your correspondent has been stood up…  

That other strong fave, Wildfire, barely got a look-in either.

Its been great to look at art not seen for 35 years – one or two other ishs will certainly be tracked down…

Even if it is just to see her again…

ff241_15-16

“I am Gaius Tiberius Augustus Agrippa! I am power! – What kind of beings are you? Is all the world now the domain of monsters?” – 

During online research for comic art a few years back, my trail led to pages for an ish of Fantastic Four. Although not a fan of this so-called “World’s Greatest Comic,” both pen an’ pencilling duties for #241 (April 1982) belonged to the legendary John Byrne.

In “Render Unto Caesar,” S.H.I.E.L.D. has detected a mysterious power source emanating from the interior of Africa. With the aid of the Black Panther, the Fantastic Four go to investigate and discover – “Jupiter!” – a being, once a soldier in a distant outpost of Emperor Caligula. Almost two millennia ago, he stumbled upon alien technology to create a fabulous city, more splendid than the Roman Empire at its height.

He even neutralises the Fantastic Four’s superpowers. Irate at being selected to be his “Empress,” Sue Storm removes his golden helmet, only to find that- ha! Well, don’t let me spoil it for you! 

indianathing

  • Really Fantastic, or just a 4-letter word?

When this Summer of nostalgic comic-collecting set forth, a mental note was taken to look out especially for this one.

That priority was well-rewarded. 

Yes! Fantastic by name – undeniably fantastic by nature. With terrific guest-star appearances by Nick Fury and the Black Panther – two characters high on my Wanted list, this story: “Render Unto Caesar” is an absolute classic.  

Particularly enjoyed the amusing nod to Raiders (above), a light moment that presents its creator perfectly at the height of his enchanting powers.  

Feel the Byrne!

fantastic_four_vol_1_241_001

1898175-x_men131_09b

“The X-Men would have trained me to use my mutant abilities more efficiently… If only I had joined them when I had the chance!” –  Dazzler.

Dr. Doom happened to be one of those characters sought after 30+ years ego, but never got him – could not find the relevant ish of the Fantastic Four that featured him.

Dazzler was a cult figure – “gifted” with the ability to convert sound into dazzling light – who got her own solo series.

The Monarch of Latveria guest-stars in #s 3 & 4. Ended up picking up the latter (it has a slightly more thrilling cover).

  • So, truly dazzling, or just dazzled off? 

Nah, this is not one of my better purchases.

The art by Frank Springer is good enough, but the prospect of a cutie mutie (…on frickin’ roller skates, fer cryin’ aht lowd!) never excited me even way back when yours truly was cute an’ supple enough to arse about with frickin’ roller skates. 

White flares are no match for a yellow, tassled cozzie. Any day… 

Good Grud, this is precisely the sort of infantile mag a chap of my age should not be bothering with – so will sell this on asap!

Hang on… 

If a character as lame as this could get her own series… and a popular fave such as Dr. Doom – or Dawnstar, for that matter! -couldn’t, well… 

Undeterred, my quest – delving further into the dense jungle of back issues – continues… 

dawnstar-larocque-stars

“This is one time… all the words in the Universe aren’t enough…” – Dazzler.