Thursday, March 16, 2017

Is vodka still around in the 25th century?

No, I'm not breaking out a bottle of Stoli; I'm just looking at the selection for today's post and wondering how communist Russia managed to survive over 500 years.

But you're puzzled, I'm sure!  There is no more Soviet Union.  It didn't even last a hundred, much less 500 years, much to the chagrin of Berkeley commies and BAMN (again, I refer you to Google).  But Marvel writer J.M. DeMatteis just happened to be moonlighting at Gold Key/Whitman in the early 80s and cranked out this Buck Rogers story where Soviet Russia has been transplanted onto a planet some light years away.  Why?  I don't know!  Perhaps world politics at the time this was written had something to do with the mood of this story.  J.M. probably figured, hey if an episode of Star Trek can feature a planet of Nazis, why not give this a shot?  And I can't imagine an editor at Whitman doing nothing more than rubber-stamping most things that come across the desk, so this Buck Rogers tale made its way into plastic-bag-sealed 3-packs (yeah, remember those?) and shipped to department stores all across North America.

So now I give you this strangely crafted Buck Rogers story, part of a series published when Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, starring Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, and Mel Blanc as the voice of Twikkistruggled to gain an audience over 2 seasons, much like Glen A. Larson's other series, Battlestar Galactica.






Actually, this is a good likeness of Erin Gray as Colonel Wilma Deering.  But all we see is her detached head floating in space.  What about the rest of her torso?  And can anyone hear her shout "Buck!" in space?  Especially with a lack of a word balloon?


So the Cossack dance is alive and well in the 25th century!  Good to know some traditions never die even among the ruins of a nuclear-decimated USSR.  But has the guy on stage really been doing the dance for fourteen hours???  Ouch!!!


Wilma might be regretting her decision to intervene at this point.  OK, you're welcome!  Let it go already!!!


Yes, Ersta is this deceptively peaceful looking world that looks like a giant eyeball.  Yes, the planet and its inhabitants look peaceful....but do or say the wrong thing and heads are gonna roll....literally!


See what I mean?  That's Arabs for ya, man; that's how they roll!


Ten feet tall?  Wow, what are they feeding these Amazons?  Whatever it is, an obvious side effect is lack of hair growth!  One can only imagine how she's going to torture this "craven dog."


Or rats! Could've been rats!


Sounds like Buck majored in Russian history at the Air Force Academy!  Or maybe he's a card-carrying commie bastard!



Milkniz?  Is that anything like a parsec?  


"But, sir, that's one of OUR ships!" 


Again, gotta watch what you say around these hypersensitive nutjobs!  You're lucky he slaps like a girl and even luckier he doesn't call the giant bald chick to rough you up!


Yeah, bet they're glad to be so blessed to die for this crazy asshole!  And I have a feeling he's going to regret turning Veesar's siblings into space dust.  He's all cavalier about it now, but...someday...


Hey, Twiki, Flavor Flav called; he wants his clock necklace back!


Well, she's right!  You Corens can't even handle the quarter rides outside of a K-Mart.

And just like that, the Corens are going to take flying lessons from Wilma and Buck!  Hope those fighters are insured, but probably not.


No, Buck, he's not overbearing; just your garden variety perv!


Hey, HEY!!!  Let's focus on the mission, people!  There'll be plenty of time for the Dating Game later...if you come back, that is!


So it WAS a rat; a big fat one with a table cloth on his head!


Gee, Veesar, you're just now figuring this out?  Mitos is a special kind of crazy, that's for sure!


See?  This is what a lack of focus can result in!  Now the book is going to be cancelled because the star just got blown up...oh,wait....that's probably the BEST thing that could happen.  RIP, Buck...


Wow, what a twist!  Mitos is a damn robot!!!  Wonder if his insides are filled with Milk of Magnesia like Ash from "Alien"?


NOOOOO!!!  NOT THE RED DESTRUCT BUTTON!!!

Funny, though, how easily accessible it is!


Now this is what I call "space opera!" Sonya sacrifices herself for her beloved Rodian.  Hard to say if Rodian is either upset or angry as he shouts her name!  Maybe kinda like Kirk screaming "KHAAAAANNNN!!!"


Oh, only now do we realize Rodian was in love with Sonya.  And after he spent the majority of the story hitting on Wilma.  

And, staying true to the comic book story convention that if you don't see a body then the character isn't dead, Buck nonchalantly comes strolling in without so much as a scratch.  So, Wilma, is that part of you still dead or did it somehow come back to life?

Well, that's a wrap!  But before signing off, something completely different!  Enjoy:


Wow, check out this cool ad on the back cover!  Might want to Xerox the order form so as not to diminish the potential value of this awesome comic!  Thinking about putting John Travolta up on your bedroom wall?  Let's hope the postal service will deliver it with the utmost care!


Don't care for the Saturday Night Fever/Grease heartthrob?  Plenty more to choose from!  How about Garfield knockoff Heathcliff?  Or those dreamboats from the hit ABC family drama Eight Is Enough?  Swoon!!!


Wanna piss off your mom?  Put one of these beauties on your wall!  Your mom will drag you to confession faster than you can say a "Hail Mary."  No kid of hers is going to have pictures of devil-worshiping freaks in the house!  A member of the KISS army, too?  She'll see to it that you're discharged!


Hey, your mom might approve of these guys instead!  Scottish pretty boys The Bay City Rollers!  She'll even buy you a tartan if you pick one of these over Gene Simmons!


Flaming Vader?  REALLY???  Who knew he was that way?

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That concludes this post!  So keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!  Till next time....



Excelsior!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Swimming pools, movie stars, no Beverly Hillbillies but there's Hollywood superstars???

Once again, I rummaged through the eclectic selection of back issue comics at my local Half Price Books recently and came across this gem!  Back in the day, I was enthusiastic about the output of comics from Marvel's Epic Comics imprint.  I really enjoyed Dreadstar, Alien Legion, and yes, even Steelgrip Starkey and his All-Purpose Power Tool (yeah, I can hear you snickering; knock it off already!).

Hollywood Superstars is one of those oddities that seems to have escaped my comics radar back in '90.  Not sure why I never picked this up.  Maybe I thought it was a bit pricey at $2.95.  It certainly wasn't because of the creative team of Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle (the same guys who brought us Crossfire from the now-defunct Eclipse Comics).  But for a dollar, I took a chance on this one.  Definitely not worth the nearly three dollar cover price.  Not sure if it's worth a buck, but I'm not going to get my money back, so here we go:


Lots of stuff going on on this cover.  Looks like the set of Apocalypse Now

To be fair, I'm a fan of Crossfire,  a series by the same creative team of Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle.  It debuted about 5 years before this series and was a spinoff of another Evanier-created series The DNAgents.  It must have been difficult for Mark to write this series as there are no superheroes, mutant, or masked vigilantes to be found anywhere.  Still, I'm sure he was happy to be getting a paycheck from Marvel with a better page rate than Eclipse.  He was already getting better pay through his scripting of Groo The Wanderer, so I'm sure he had few obstacles selling this to Archie Goodwin (the late editor who was then in charge of the Epic Comics line).  But enough digression; let's dive right in!


Yeah, this kid's real cocky!  He could get himself into some trouble here!


Yep, the director doesn't give a damn about his stunt people!  As long as he gets the shot he wants, all others are expendable!  Kinda like John Landis directing the "Time Out" segment of The Twilight Zone Movie!  I'll spare you the grisly details, so google it if you want!


Why the dialogue before the next pic?  You'll see!  And it has nothing to do with whether or not Melody is a Catholic name!  Never heard of a St. Melody, but girls who run off to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune are a dime a dozen.  And when will Patricia/Melody's mother and her friends get to see her big debut?  Just read on!


And that "very important part" looks to be an Ex-Lax commercial.  Nothing to be ashamed of, Melody.  Lots of Hollywood stars got their start in commercials.  It could be worse; you might have had to audition for a Depends commercial.  




I think Lisa Rinna was heavily persuaded to do this commercial ($$$).  For $2 million, I'd do a tampon commercial (but not a penny less!!!).


Hey, most everyone doesn't smile when constipated.  C'mon, Melody; you gotta look like you're actually constipated.  It's called acting!

 That director never said you actually got the part; just that you were "absolutely perfect." Perfect for what?  Who knows?  But I don't think he was to be taken literally when he told Melody not to budge until he called her.  Three weeks without food, sleep, or potty breaks?  How did she do it?  Technically she ought to be dead.


Melody didn't even notice the landlady in her apartment she was so dazed from lack of food and sleep.  Bad news, Mel; your "luxury" apartment is being turned into a condo and you have only mere hours to pack your stuff and leave.   Not even time to call a moving truck!  Only 3 hours?  Is that even legal?



And as she lugs whatever belongings she can carry, she starts to regret moving out to Tinseltown.  We get a flashback scene of her (minus the perm and the breast implants) and her boyfriend from back home.  Ron tries talking her out of her Hollywood dreams but she's determined to follow said dreams.  Say, why are they in a rowboat?  Isn't this how Fredo Corleone met his end?


So reality sinks in and Melody has to get a job waiting tables at a comedy club.  She knows how to handle customers who hit on her, doesn't she?  Novocaine?  Yeah, that could do the trick.  She should've angled for a $1000 tip, seeing as she still has no place to crash and has to resort to hassling co-workers to help her out.


Either she really finds Leo's jokes funny or she's delirious from all the stress she's been under.  In any event, Leo notices the hot blonde laughing hysterically and is instantly smitten with her.  Immediately he hassles the club manager for the name of his future wife.  Marital bliss for a few moments anyway as he believes Melody will run off with a Hispanic tennis pro at some point?   Where did THAT come from?


Leo, you're lucky you didn't get maced, sneaking up on Melody like that!  Good thing she recognized you and you started making with the jokes. Good thing she's easily amused or you'd be grabbing your testicles in pain right now.



Aww, he takes pity on her and offers to put her up.  He even offers her his bed while he takes the couch.  No strings attached.  Many guys wouldn't be so generous.  Ever hear of "gas, grass, or ass?" Hey, nobody stays for free!


Leo is thinking "Oh, thanks a lot, Naylor!  I'm about to score with this beautiful blonde and you come on to the scene and screw it up!"


Did you really think people just walk away from a movie?  This ain't no Road Runner cartoon!  Just because that coyote bounces back doesn't mean real-live flesh-and-blood humans will!


So there's a documentary crew on location doing a doc on McCormick?  Who's the doc director, Michael Moore?  Either way, this doc is going to make McCormick look bad no matter if he calls off the shot or not.  That's how the "regular guy" from Flint, MI rolls!  McCormick should have just played it safe.  Nice job capturing the genuine fear in those Asian extras' eyes, though!


WHAT???  Is Jerry really objecting to hiring Melody?  You gotta be kidding!!!  Leo's not stupid; he knows it'll be great to have something nice to look at while at the office!

And you know Melody is going to jump at the chance!  Better to be ogled in an office than getting the ass slapped while carrying a tray of Old Fashioneds!


Wow, Leo is not shy about revealing his true intentions!  Wants to take her to a Ramada Inn soooooo bad!  And what if his wish did come true?  Careful what you wish for, Leo; you just might feast your eyes on a "Crying Game" moment.  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Google it; not going to include it here! 

Hey, way to go, Jer; burst your friend's balloon by offering to put Melody up at your ex-wife's place!  Get yourself a new friend, Leo!


And as the guys speed away in search of a pay phone (yes, cell phones were in their infancy at this time, expensive, and frickin' HUUUGE!), we get some fan service with Melody in her nightie and Trilby's silhouette on the shower curtain!


AAANNNNND....here we go!  More fan service, but not so much as to incur the wrath of the Comics Code.  Oh, wait; Epic Comics were not sold at newsstands and 7-Elevens, so they didn't have to abide by the CCA.  The only thing a comic shop owner had to worry about was some irate parents pissed because this comic was sold to their kids.

Meanwhile, Leo's thoughts are drifting back to Melody!  Focus, Leo, FOCUS!!!  There's work to be done!


OK, donuts!  Melody can handle that, provided she goes to an actual donut shop where they're nice and fresh instead of 7-Eleven and the snack aisle where the pre-packaged powdered donuts are.  Can't stand those!!!

And look at Leo making like he's the HR department, pointing out the obvious lack of skills necessary for Melody to perform her job at peak efficiency.  You're not fooling anyone, Leo!  We know why you hired her, and it sure as hell wasn't because of her filing skills or knowledge of Wordstar (apparently was a word processor popular in the 80s).  You can't wait to get into her denim overall shorts, which she wears thanks to that part in the job description referring to the office dress code; that is, ANYTHING SHE WANTS!

At least she's got the fetching donuts skill down pat!  Leo's right; you can never have too many donuts, especially the ones filled with bavarian creme!  Yum!

Say, is that a picture of Dr. Zaius from Planet Of The Apes on the wall?  That's......weird....


And with the guys out of the office, Melody gets cracking, enjoying a donut while watching "Geraldo."  The show for that day?  Lesbian softball players!  Hey, aren't they all???  Just kidding, just kidding!!!  Don't post angry comments or send emails, please.


Yes, the days before the internet and Google when people actually had to go to the library to look up stuff!  Not sure if Melody can handle it; she's still on that donut thing!


Oh, you guys still haven't found a way to work Melody into the payroll?  She's not gonna like the surprise she'll get come payday!


So Melody meets the guys at the library.  Looks like she ditched the overall shorts for something more professional.  The ensemble even includes shoulder pads!  Don't you just love late 80s women's fashions?

And what's with Melody asking "What does this mean?" Mark just has to have her stuck in "dumb blonde" mode, doesn't he?





That's right; how DARE someone give McCormick orders!!!  He's a big, important Hollywood director like Alan Smithee!!!  He tells everyone else what to do; all 7.4 billion of us!  Like you there, Leo!  Hand over that tape!  NOW!!!


Dammit, when McCormick says give 'em the tape, you don't ask "which one?"  He's gotta find a TV and VCR toute suite!

Melody, exactly how many directors have you worked with?  So naive!  Just weeks ago, you had one tell you to sit by the phone without budging, which you did...FOR THREE WEEKS!!!  And no call back!  Now THAT'S mean!


YES!!!  Jerry overcomes his fear of this overrated blowhard of a director and is going to open up a can of whoopass on him!  Yes, way to go, Jer!

So the whole thing was a bluff!  The tape had some lame B-grade horror movie on it, probably some schlock directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis.  As for the video store you rented that from, the manager is probably going to be more upset that you didn't rewind!!!  C'mon, Leo; be kind, rewind!


Wow, was that sarcasm there, Leo?  I think Melody can handle bagels!  Just don't ask her to go for lox and cream cheese; you might confuse her!


Yes,give her a chance, Leo!  Let her do something more than just be eye candy for you...unless, of course, she gets a part in something, then she'll drop you like a bad habit!

Yeah, OK, Leo, McCormick in all the papers...blah, blah, blah...blackmail....blah, blah,blah...will be indicted...blah, blah, blah...NOW, about US....

Melody's either not paying attention or is trying to change the subject by asking "Where's Jerry?"  Like she's either thinking "no, no, I don't want a personal relationship with you, Leo" or "I could really go for a sensitive guy like Jerry...sigh..."

You can really help with her career, Jerry?  Which one?  As an office gofer or an actress?  I'm thinking neither as you're just fishing for an excuse to drag her to dinner and then expecting something from her in gratitude afterwards.  Wonder if you'll succeed by the next issue.  I might get to see it happen...IF I decide to hunt down back issues.  Yes, this went on for 4 more issues.    Don't hold your breath, though!

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OK, that's it for this entry!  I'll have another one posted next week!  Promise!