What Could Have Been: Super Powers Season Three by Jerry Whitworth
When Star Wars debuted in theaters in 1977, it not only changed cinema but the action figure toy market. The Kenner line of Star Wars gave rise to the collectible action figure market that saw such titans as Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and Mattel’s Masters of the Universe emerge. DC Comics, wanting to take advantage of this developing industry, awarded a contract to Kenner to produce what became the Super Powers line. Featuring figures modeled after the DC Comics Style Guide drawn by José Luis García-López, Super Powers became one of the most successful lines of the 1980s. As with other notable brands around this time, Super Powers was promoted via comic books and cartoons. For the latter, Hanna-Barbera resurrected Super Friends that saw veteran Batman voice actor Olan Soule (nearly eighty years old by that point) replaced by Adam West (who famously portrayed the character in the 1960s on television) and abandoned the Alex Toth character models in its second season for that inspired by García-López. Sadly, the action figure market bubble burst in 1986 and the Super Powers toyline died after three waves joined by its animated counterpart after two seasons (sixteen episodes in total). In the ensuing years, we’ve come to learn what future waves of the toyline would have entailed. But, we’ll never know where the cartoon would have went. Lets speculate, then, what could have been.
When businessman Martin Goodman dipped his toe into comic book publication with his new company Timely, his first title was Marvel Comics in 1939. In time, Marvel became the name of the company and featured prominently within the books’ continuity itself. From Black Marvel to Blue Marvel, the loosely connected Marvel Family has largely been overshadowed by the group of the same name created by Fawcett Comics beginning with Captain Marvel in 1940. While Fawcett added the Lieutenant Marvels, Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, Uncle Marvel, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, and Freckles Marvel, Timely largely missed the boat on capitalizing on its popular title that brought the company Namor the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch. When National (today, DC Comics) and waning interest in superheroes killed Captain Marvel (leading DC to later buy the character and re-brand it as the Shazam Family in recent times), L. Miller & Son in the United Kingdom was forced to make their own version of the brand resulting in Marvelman, Young Marvelman, and Kid Marvelman, but more on them later. By the late ’60s, Timely had become Marvel and they picked up the lapsed name of Captain Marvel for themselves. But before that, there were two Marvels that Timely created during the time of Fawcett’s Marvel Family.
Royal Family Values: Atlantis and Wakanda by Jerry Whitworth
As rumors circulate about the content of the sequel to 2018’s hit film Black Panther, speculation has the 2022 film bringing Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after years in limbo with Universal Pictures. In the comics, the characters are no strangers to each other. In addition to both royals being Avengers, Namor came to blows with T’Challa’s grandfather Azzuri during the events of World War II, sat together on Iron Man’s clandestine Illuminati (though, T’Challa stepped away after the initial meeting), and both of their nations went to war with each other to vast mutual devastation. Lets take a look at some of the notable players and the similarity in their roles.