Category Archives: Comics

Posts about comics

What Could Have Been: Secret Wars the Animated Series

What Could Have Been: Secret Wars the Animated Series by Jerry Whitworth

The success of the Star Wars toyline from Kenner almost single-handedly jump started the collectible action figure market that helped give rise to Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and Transformers and Mattel’s Masters of the Universe. DC Comics wanted to capitalize upon the growing phenomenon and courted toy companies to develop a line adapting its properties. Previously, the Mego Corporation produced the World’s Greatest Superheroes line which incorporated characters from both DC and Marvel (which later evolved into Pocket Super Heroes following Kenner’s success with Star Wars). By 1983, Mego had gone out of business and Kenner snagged DC’s license. On the chance that superheroes might be the next big fad (as Tonka rushed production of GoBots to set the stage for Transformers to dominate toy aisles the following year), Mattel sought Marvel to have its properties competing for space against Kenner’s Super Powers toys. Previously, Marvel had worked closely with Hasbro to develop its G.I. Joe and Transformers brands including comics and cartoons to promote the lines. With Mattel, Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter envisioned a limited series bringing together the company’s most prominent heroes and villains. The toy company’s test groups demonstrated the words “secret” and “war” were popular with boys providing the name Secret Wars for the comic and toyline. Sadly, the series only spawned two waves of figures (with three figures dropped exclusively in Europe to dump them), ending a year before the action figure market bubble burst in 1986. However, could the line have performed better had it been accompanied by an animated series?

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Imps, Imps, Imps: The Many Miniature Magical Mischief Makers of DC Comics

Imps, Imps, Imps: The Many Miniature Magical Mischief Makers of DC Comics by Jerry Whitworth

When Mister Mxyzptlk made his debut in 1944 in the pages of Superman, he heralded a wave of magical allies and enemies of DC’s various heroes. An imp hailing from the Fifth Dimension, Mxyzptlk originally sought to conquer Earth but quickly became an annoyance to Superman every ninety days with the ability to remake reality as he sees fit. Just as Superman developed a family of friends and allies, Mxyzptlk would be joined by various other members of his race. The first of these annoyances was Bizarro Mxyzptlk, the creation of Bizarro No. 1’s son Bizarro Junior while playing with the Duplicator Ray (Super Friends introducing their version of the character as Mr. Kltpzyxm). Mxyzptlk V, the original’s descendant who troubled the Legion of Super-Heroes in the future (in the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon, they faced a similar threat in Zyx) and Nzykmulk, the original Mxyzptlk’s older deranged cousin, followed in the ensuing decades. Superboy had to contend with the imp Gazook who became involved with fledgling hero Yellow Peri. Superman and Power Girl faced a godlike being from another dimension called Maaldor the Darklord. The Superman animated series in the ’90s finally delivered a romantic partner for Mxyzptlk in the vivacious Ms. Gsptlsnz. All-Star Superman introduced Klyzyzk Klzntplkz, a Fifth Dimension descendant of Superman, while Ultraman of the Anti-Matter Universe faced his own imp in Mixyezpitellik. As what occurred fairly regularly in the Silver Age, what was good enough for Superman was good enough for Batman bringing about the creation of Bat-Mite.

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Filmation vs. Hanna-Barbera: the Golden Age of DC Comics Animation

Filmation vs. Hanna-Barbera: the Golden Age of DC Comics Animation by Jerry Whitworth

With hits like The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, and the Yogi Bear franchise grown from series like The Ruff and Reddy Show and The Huckleberry Hound Show, Hanna-Barbera was a powerhouse in the burgeoning animated television series market. As shows like Atom Ant, Sinbad Jr. and his Magic Belt, Space Ghost, and Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles reached airwaves, the studio was quickly making superheroes a popular sight on Saturday mornings. DC Comics, who had previously seen its most popular character Superman animated for theaters in the 1940s and was about to take the nation by storm with the Batman television series, looked to edge into the lucrative market. In the 1950s, Adventures of Superman was a cultural phenomenon derailed by the untimely demise of its star George Reeves. A planned spin-off in the Adventures of Superboy never made it past the pilot but animation looked to be new ground to tread with the brand. Mort Weisinger, Superman editor for DC Comics and story editor for Adventures of Superman, approached young studio Filmation to tackle the project.

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How I Fell in Love with CHIKARA

 

Welcome wrestling fans, and join me as I introduce you to the fantastical universe of CHIKARA Pro Wrestling.

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Doom: A Brief History on Super-Villain Team-Ups

Doom: A Brief History on Super-Villain Team-Ups by Jerry Whitworth

In the pages of Scott Snyder’s Justice League series, the proper Legion of Doom is finally making its way to the primary continuity of DC Comics. Finding its start in 1978’s Challenge of the Super Friends, the Legion of Doom is likely the most iconic and best-known super-villain team that interestingly enough never translated into the comics quite like its animated counterpart until now. Of course, the Legion of Doom was not the first super-villain team to combat the Justice League. The precursor to the Justice League of America in the Justice Society of America faced a team of foes known as the Injustice Society in 1947. Later, some of those villains teamed with Justice League enemies to form the Crime Champions in 1963. Earth-Two’s Wizard, Icicle, and Fiddler aligned with Earth-One’s Felix Faust, Dr. Alchemy, and Chronos to exchange identities and foes to get the better of the other world’s superhero team. This prompted the first team-up between the League and Society to defeat their assembled enemies. But prior to that, the League faced an organized threat from their own cast of rogues.

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The Outsiders are Coming to Black Lightning

The Outsiders are Coming to Black Lightning by Jerry Whitworth

In a recent interview with Newsarama, Black Lightning executive producer Salim Akil said that in the show’s second season, it will move towards assembling the Outsiders. Further, Akil mentioned the inclusion of Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) in the first season was a conscious effort toward this development. In the comics, when the Justice League refused to take action in a foreign country on Batman’s behalf, he left the group to work on his own with aid from Black Lightning. Therein, several more heroes emerged leading to the formation of the super team. Several members of the Outsiders have appeared thus far in the Arrowverse including Katana, Green Arrow, Arsenal, Indigo, Huntress, Dr. Light, and of course Black Lightning and his daughter Thunder. At this time, it’s unknown which Earth the Black Lightning series takes place upon as such won’t likely be known until the upcoming December five-part crossover that will introduce Batwoman. Further, with the upcoming Titans series dropping in the fall when DC Universe comes out of beta testing, it’s likely Nightwing, Starfire, Terra, Red Robin, and perhaps even Geo-Force (given Terra’s connection to the Titans) will be unavailable. Not to mention the likely upcoming Batwoman series which might embargo Batgirl/Orphan, Creeper, Owlman, and the Signal. Lets then see what heroes could show up to round out the team.

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On Leather Wings: Batwoman Comes to TV

On Leather Wings: Batwoman Comes to TV by Jerry Whitworth

Two years ago, it was rumored Batwoman was coming to Supergirl. Such did not come to pass but next year, it’s expected the heroine will get her very own television series. At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International, it was announced Batwoman will be joining the Arrowverse as part of a five episode crossover event that will also place Black Lightning in that same multiverse. At this time, it’s unknown what Earth the character will be placed upon (Bruce Wayne was only just referenced by name on Arrow last season as Batman has been alluded to but not named on Supergirl) or if such a question will even be necessary (details of the event are, again, yet known which then does not rule out an adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths). However, just after Comic-Con came the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour where we learned Batman exists in the Arrowverse but is not scheduled to appear, Batwoman lives in Gotham City, and that a pilot is being filmed for the mid-season to determine if there will be a series (however, it was also stated none of the Arrowverse shows are in any danger of being canceled which likely means executives are high on the brand and thus its extension). Recently, it was announced Ruby Rose (xXx: Return of Xander Cage, John Wick: Chapter 2) will be playing the eponymous character. Working with virtually no details, lets take a look at the character and speculate upon what a Batwoman television series could entail.

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Al Rio Tribute Art Book Volume Three: Interview with Terry Maltos

Al Rio Tribute Art Book Volume Three: Interview with Terry Maltos by Jerry Whitworth

The third volume of the Al Rio Tribute Art Book series has come to Kickstarter and it will be collecting work from the late artist’s 2008 portfolio. As with the past two crowdfunding campaigns, past volumes are available which are products of limited runs (meaning the only available copies of the first book are in fine condition with minor marks limited to only 60 remaining at the start of the campaign). Nerdfect Strangers had the opportunity to communicate with Al Rio’s friend and business partner Terry Maltos who is running the campaign for the eighty-page art book on behalf of the artist’s family.

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Surfing with the Alien: The Toei Silver Surfer

Surfing with the Alien: The Toei Silver Surfer by Jerry Whitworth

Finally wrapping up news coming in from San Diego Comic-Con, I had planned to take a break from the continuous stream of articles I’ve been pumping out until I came across this:

A Toei live action tokusatsu Moon Knight series? This lead me down a rabbit hole of an alternate universe where Toei beat Netflix to the Defenders punch and cranked out a multitude of live action superhero television series putting the likes of Spider-Man, 3-D Man, Moon Knight, and the Silver Surfer on to Japanese airwaves. But before we get there, a little background. From an article I wrote just last week:

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Super-Pets: A Brief History of DC Comics’ Animal Heroes

Super-Pets: A Brief History of DC Comics’ Animal Heroes by Jerry Whitworth

Recently, Collider broke the news that Jared Stern (LEGO Batman Movie, LEGO Ninjago Movie) will write and direct an animated film based on DC Comics’ Super Pets. At this time, few details are available about the project but DC Comics has a rich history with animal heroes. Comic books got their start collecting comic strips which frequently featured animal protagonists and when superheroes began to run out of fashion, animal characters made a return (in fact, Green Lantern found himself becoming replaced by his canine sidekick Streak in his own book). Animal analogies even emerged of these heroes as the Flash had a turtle version called the Terrific Whatzit and Superman received a similar treatment with Super-Turtle. By 1982, an entire animal version of the Justice League appeared in the Just’a Lotta Animals as part of the series Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! Regarding animal companions, heroes like Dr. Mid-Nite and Hawkman were some of the earliest adopters of the phenomenon with Hooty and Big Red, respectively. However, everything seemed to change around the start of the Silver Age when Superman acquired a Super-Dog in Krypto.

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Top 10: Characters for DuckTales Season Two

Top 10: Characters for DuckTales Season Two by Jerry Whitworth

When DuckTales was announced to be returning, fans expected yet another reboot but were instead treated to a nostalgia smorgasbord. Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, Gummi Bears, and Goof Troop found either mentions or outright inclusion in the series for a Disney Afternoon reunion while familiar faces like Ludwig Von Drake, Goldie O’Gilt, and Gladstone Gander made their way into a handful of episodes. San Diego Comic-Con International provided us a look at the final five episodes of DuckTales‘ first season as well as a sneak peek at character designs for season two. Among those making their way to Duckburg are Scrooge McDuck’s rival John D. Rockerduck, Donald Duck’s cousin Fethry Duck, Bubba the Caveduck, and José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles of Donald’s troupe the Three Caballeros. However, DuckTales co-producer Frank Angones has already said in regards to whatever past thing from Disney you want to see emerge on the show, “We love it too. Absolutely it will.” In that case, lets take a look at what top ten characters will likely emerge on the show in only a matter of time.

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DC Universe at San Diego Comic-Con

DC Universe at San Diego Comic-Con by Jerry Whitworth

As we creep closer to the beta release of the DC Universe streaming service and application in August, a litany of content continues to be announced as we learned a library of comics, movies, and shows will be available on the platform for $7.99 a month (or $74.99 a year with three free months). San Diego Comic-Con offered more details about what’s to come including trailers for Titans and Young Justice: Outsiders as well as the announcement of a live action Stargirl series by her creator Geoff Johns. Lets break down what original content we already know will be available on the service.

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Return of the Go-Bots

Return of the Go-Bots by Jerry Whitworth

In 1991, the transforming robot wars were officially over. Hasbro acquired Tonka and, by extension, the GoBots. While often criticized for the general cheap quality of its toys’ design as well as the cheap animation quality of its ongoing Hanna-Barbera animated series, GoBots nonetheless had some potential as part of the Transformers (at least for the more well known characters of the line). Leader-1, Cy-Kill, Turbo, Scooter, Crasher, Cop-Tur, Fitor, Path Finder… these characters were known quantities to the audience that could do well in the Transformers universe. There was just one problem: while Hasbro acquired their names and stories, they did not get their likenesses. Just as Transformers was generally an American adaptation of the Takara Diaclone and Microman toylines, GoBots founds its roots in Popy’s Machine Robo toyline (owned by Bandai). Tonka’s hastily assembled agreement with Popy saw that while they could reproduce the toys, they were only licensing the likeness which reverted back to the Japanese manufacturer. However, Hasbro has tried to capitalize on owning the GoBots property but it just didn’t work without those iconic images of the classic series. It seemed the brand would simply fade away… that is, until the latest San Diego Comic-Con International.

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DC Television Universe: SDCC 2018

DC Television Universe: SDCC 2018 by Jerry Whitworth

Starting out as an almost Batman Begins (2005) television series that instead featured a murderous Green Arrow, Arrow is going into its seventh season as spin-offs The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow enter their respective seasons five and four this fall on the CW Network (while animated spin-off Freedom Fighters: The Ray just debuted its second season online). The DC Television Universe, or Arrowverse, would incorporate Supergirl and Constantine as the former enters its fourth season and latter returned as an animated online series (City of Demons) and its eponymous protagonist has become a series regular for Legends‘ coming season (previously, Legends incorporated the ancestor of the animated series Vixen‘s eponymous protagonist). It was just learned at the latest San Diego Comic-Con International that the character Batwoman will get her own television series on the CW and she will be introduced in a five-part crossover event this December that will also incorporate the series Black Lightning (entering its second season) into the DCTVU. Two years ago, it was rumored Batwoman was sought for the second season of Supergirl but rumor also had it the idea was nixed due to Gotham on Fox (where Arrow writers have pushed for more Batman content since Gotham‘s emergence with occasional small victories). As Gotham enters its final season sometime next year with reportedly only ten episodes (which appears to fall three short of being eligible for syndication), it seems the time has come for the DCTVU to bring Gotham City to its viewers (while reportedly Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred will be getting his own television series on Epix and Dick Grayson is leading the Teen Titans on the DC Universe’s Titans series). Lets take a look at what characters are coming to the DCTVU shows this fall.

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Metalshark Bro: Interview with Bob Frantz, Kevin Cuffe, and Walter Ostlie

Metalshark Bro: Interview with Bob Frantz, Kevin Cuffe, and Walter Ostlie by Jerry Whitworth

Creators Bob Frantz (Monty the Dinosaur, “The Chase”) and Kevin Cuffe (Oathbound, “Iron Skull”) are no strangers to each other having worked on Elvis Adventures together and co-host the podcast Word Bros. The pair have come together again to produce Metalshark Bro, the story of a shark turned hitman for the devil. Joining them is artist Walter Ostlie (Shiver Bureau, Cubicles), letterer/editor Shawn Greenleaf (Escape from Jesus Island, Oathbound), and editor Chas Pangburn (Spider King, Wretches) as the project is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. Nerdfect Strangers had the opportunity to speak with Bob, Kevin, and Walter to discuss their campaign.

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