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Sunday, 29 December 2013

Lost Comic-books from the 80's Pt. 24

Star Blazers. Written by Phil Foglio and illustrated by Doug Rice - (based on characters and situations from ' Space Battleship Yamato' credited to Leiji Matsumoto & Yoshinobu Nishizaki ). Comico Comics, published in a monthly format for a total of #1 - 4 issues, from April 1987 to July 1987, and #1 - 5 issues, from May 1989 to September 1989.
This short lived transference from popular television cartoon show 'Star Blazers', an early breakthrough in dubbed Anime that was the heavily edited for America. Taken from 'Space Battleship Yamato', that had an on-going storyline needing to be shown in order.

The Basic plot is set in the year 2199, the Earth is a radioactive dust-bowl thanks to an Alien menace and what's left of the Human race lives in cities deep under ground. At this time Earth scientists have calculated that in one year the radiation will reach fatal levels for all of Humanity, but as fate and luck would have it the earth has a new ally who sends engine blueprints for a faster-than-light Star-drive.

Earth resources are pulled together and the ancient Battleship Yamato is retro fitted and made in to a Space battleship, we then follow the crew on their journey through hostile space hoping to reach their new ally who has technology to clean the Earth of it's radiation.

[Note: I have either misplaced or lost my Comico 'Star Blazers' comics (as of writing this 30th. December 2013), I'll see if they can be found or replaced.]

[Note: In 1982 Comico was founded, and at its hight of popularity in 1985 saw the simultaneous debut release of three Robotech comics series, but sadly to say Comico ceased operations in 1990.]

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Comic-books in the 80's Pt. 23

The Original Astro Boy 12. Written by Ken Steacy and illustrated by Ken Steacy & Andrew Pratt - (based on characters and situations from The Mighty Atom created by Dr. Osamu Tezuka. 1963). NOW Comics (a division of Now Entertainment Corporation) published in a monthly format for a total of #1 - 20 issues, from August 1987 to April 1989.
In a World of the future where humans co-exist with robots in every walk of daily life, the head of the Ministry of Science Doctor Tenma built Astro to replace his young son Tobio who had tragically died, Astro could love his creator like his real son, so Astro was sold like any other robot (to a circus no less).  Luckily for Astro Professor Ochanomizu, the new head of the Ministry of Science found him and saved him from the cruel circus owner and takes him home to stay with him.
Another kids comic-book from the late 80's “The Original Astro Boy 12”, the series was based mostly on the1963 “The Mighty Atom” Japanese cartoon series of 1963, following the growing pains and human curiosity of the World's most loved Boy robot “Astro”, a self-aware robot boy, helping those in need (robots and people alike) and finding his way in the World.
At the time of the 60's when Japan had not its modern reputation electronics & technology Osamu Tezuka's little robot was at the epicentre of manga & Anime. Be he “Astro Boy” or “The Mighty Atom” to you, he is the child in us, who never grows up!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Comic-books in the 80's Pt. 22

Speed Racer. Written by Tony Caputo and illustrated by Ken Steacy (later Joe Koziarski & Kyle Hotz) - (based on characters and situations from Mach Go Go Go created by Tatsuo Yoshida (Tatsunoko Productions Inc.). NOW Comics (a division of Now Entertainment Corporation) published in a monthly format for a total of #1 - 38 issues, from June1987 to July 1990 .

Even when you are in your early 20's you can be nostalgic about the little kid you remember who was under ten years old watching Saturday morning cartoons, and Speed Racer was showing, so you pick up that kid's comic-book.
Still riding on the wave of popularity 'Speed Racer' was taken from the Japanese original kids cartoon show 'Mach Go Go Go' (1967) that was re-dubbed in America and aired in the1970's it seems to find a new audience each decade!
A simple tale of exciting race car driving with dangers on and off the track, and a family that sticks together. 

We follow our hero Speed (Speed Racer) as he drives the 'Mach 5', a state of the art race car agenst the odds, supported by his parents Mom Racer & Pops Racer, his cheeky little brother Spritle who with his pet chimp ' Chim-Chim' always got in to mischief , and Speed's girlfriend Trixie. All is not fast cars and fun as we see Speed missing his older brother, Rex who he looks up to. Rex has been secretly helping Speed disguised as the mysterious masked 'Racer X'.

Fun for all the family, from a simpler time.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Comic-books in the 80's Pt. 21

Leiji Matsumoto's Captain Harlock. Written by Robert W. Gibson and illustrated by Ben Dunn - (based on characters and situations from Space Pirate Captain Harlock created by Leiji Matsumoto). Eternity Comics (a division of Malibu Graphics Inc.) published in a monthly format for a total of #1 - 13 issues, from October 1989 to December 1990 .

“In the30th. Centry, the Earth and its colonies lost a bitter war with forces of theIllumids, a race of aliens who exist only to conquer. Now the once-proud inhabitants of Earth live as slaves-- at least the lucky ones.
Only the pirate Harlock declared he would not be a party to the occupation. With the aid of Tochiro (perhaps the greatest mechanical engineer of his time), and a crew of idealistic outcasts, Harlock left Earth in the magnificent space galleon 'Arcadia', to live a renegade's life in the “sea of stars”. But his heart, he could never truly abandon the land of his birth, nor the people who, without his leadership, would be subjugated forever.”

Clearly one of the most Iconic and recognisable characters from Japanese animation for a whole generation of fans, Leiji Matsumoto's Captain Harlock a creation of literary stature brought to our western shores, that will always have a place in our hearts.

Leiji Matsumoto's other recognisable works include “Space Battle Ship Yamato” (known in the USA as “StarBlazers”), Galaxy Express 999, The Cockpit, and to a lesser extent Queen Emeraldas and Queen Millennia, all have his signature style.

[Note: in issue #1 at the back you will find the "Afterword" by Robert W. Gibson – is, and I quote a "Labor of love".]

[Note: Robert W. Gibson stories are set two years after the events featured in the film "My Youth in Arcadia".]
[Note: a total of 28 Captain Harlock comic-books were printed between 1989 and 1993 (end-date to be confirmed) by Robert W. Gibson and various illustrators.]

[Note: details of the of the comic-book's demise rest on publishing Rights that were sold to Eternity Comics (a division of Malibu Graphics Inc.) fraudulently by parties unknown to me at this time of writing – sad news indeed.]

Monday, 9 December 2013

Comic-books in the 80's Pt. 20

Dirty Pair. Written by Toren Smith & Adam Warren and illustrated by Adam Warren - (based on characters and situations created by Haruka Takachiho). Eclipse Comics published in a monthly format for a total of 15 issues, from June 1989 to March 1990 .
The first 4 novels where originally published between 1980 and 1993 in SF Magajin by Tor Books.

[Note:Dirty Pair #1-5 (June 1989 to October 1989) - Dirty Pair II #1-5 (November 1989 to March 1990) - The Dirty Pair (III) #1-5 (April? to August? 1990 ).]

[Note:Dirty Pair book One: Biohazards (a collection collection of the first series), Dirty Pair book Two: dangerous acquaintances (a collection collection of the second series), The Dirty Pair (III): A Plague of Angels (a collection collection of the third series 1990).]

The cry of “It's not our fault!” as the impact of Manga and Japanese cartoons gained a foothold in the US of A, Toren Smith founder and translator at ' Studio Proteus' acquired rights to create comic-book versions of The Dirty Pair in a joint project with Adam Warren who wrote and drew the comic-books (quoting Fred Burke).

This very popular Space Opera that takes place after the year 2138 and follows Two "trouble consultants" agents of the 3WA (World Welfare Works Association), and their fierce cat-like being “Mughi” (an electronics expert among other-things), Kei and Yuri codenamed the “Lovely Angels”, but more commonly referred to as the “Dirty Pair” due to the destruction left in there wake (Some times on a Planetary scale, such is other people's misfortune) after completing their mission.

A fun read!

[Note: they are the creations of Haruka Takachiho, who brought us “Crusher Joe” and in the books at least they are all in the same universe.]

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Manga in the 80's Pt. 19

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Written and illustrated by Hayao Miyazaki . Viz Comics published in a monthly format broken down in to 4 parts with a total of 19 issues, from November 1988 to October 1994 . The manga was originally published between 1982 and 1994 by Tokuma Shoten. [Note: Toren Smith of Studio Proteus was credited as translator as a footnote for parts one and two, but not for parts three and four.]

Hear we see “the Valley of the Wind” a Kingdom of roughly 500 subjects untouched by the ever encroaching jungle forest of giant poisonous Fungi known as the “Sea of Corruption”. Its frailty only supported by the coastal sea breeze protecting the lush farmland and the people's way of life.

War rages between the Torumekla Empire and the Dorok Empire which threatens to spillover and remove the Valley of the Wind's autonomy, our virtuous and fearless Princess Nausicaä will discover that doing what is right thing evolves into, what is right for the 'Valley of the Wind', what is right for the Human race, what is right for the Ohmu (the giant insects that protect the earth's jungle forest), and what is right for the Planet. A warrior of great compassion, a warrior for peace!

Nausicaä is an epic story weaving Science Fiction with an ecological message set in a post apocalyptic world with ancient high technology, truly a masterpiece of literature that has a cinematic quality rarely seen.
This is an exceptional comic-book and one I always made a point of getting my hands on the next issue, even when it was that the months turned in to years of waiting!!

[Note: It was serialized sporadically and intermittently between Miyazaki's animated films from 1982 to 1994 in Japan.]

[Note: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Part One: #1-7 (Nov1988-May1989); Part Two: #1-4 (Sep 1989-Dec 1989); Part Three: #1-3 (Dec1992-Feb1992); Part Four: #1-5 (Jun1994- Oct 1994 ).]

[Note: Viz Issue 1 had an exclusive fold-out Poster by French illustrator and comic-book writer Moebius, as well as a two page dialogue between Moebius and Miyazaki.]

[Note: Viz Issue 3 had a two page article written by Hayao Miyazaki on the character of Princess Nausicaä, translated from the Japanese magazine “Animage”.]

[Note: Viz Issue 7 had full two page article by Toren Smith entitled “ Nausicaä a labor of love” - To quote “The whole thing began when Yoshiko Saito of 'Starlog' magazine in Japan printed an article I'd written about the terrible English version of the animated Nausicaä movie. Miyazaki happened to read it and contacted the well-known Science Fiction translator Mikru Abo, asking him to bring me around for a talk”.]

[Note: by Viz Part two (issue 1) Jerry A. Novick had printed 2 fan letters under the title of “Out of the Miasma” such was the overwhelming positive correspondence for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.]

[Note: When the Japanese manga was printed in book form, it was done so in Sepia to give it a more dream-like tone – the cover that was for Part 1 #3 (Viz comics) was the water colour print used for the free poster in Japanese Book 1 release.]