Marvel Age - Cover

Marvel at this issue of Marvel Age featuring Questprobe!

Marvel Age was a sort of comic book that was published from 1983 until 1994. It actually was kind of an extension of the Marvel Bullpen Bulletins. Which of course offered news about upcoming books and events that all of us Marvel Zombies needed to know. Marvel Age went a step further by offering previews of new titles. In addition I was always impressed with the great interviews with some of the superstars of the time.

Furthermore how can you balk at a publication that featured none other than Crystar? I realize I may in fact be in the minority for my love of Remco’s crystal warrior. But that first issue of Marvel Age totally has a cover by the legendary Walt Simonson as well!
Marvel Age

I have in the past shared my memories and thoughts on the line of Questprobe games. The graphic and text based adventures by Scott Adams. While certainly they might appear to be rather dated in contrast to the Marvel games being made today. I think it’s equally important to remember that in 1984 – when Questprobe featuring the Hulk was released. These were a big deal and offered a new way to experience the adventures of our favorite Marvel Comics characters.

For one thing, you should keep in mind that one of the best Marvel Comic games at this point was 1982’s Spider-Man for the Atari 2600!

[Via] Retro Game Commercials

I certainly hope it doesn’t sound like I’m knocking the Atari 2600 Spider-Man game. As it is in fact one of my favorite games for the system. However when your text based actions help to trigger the transformation of Bruce Banner to the Hulk! That is a magical moment indeed!
Marvel Age - The Hulk

Which brings us to this particular issue of Marvel Age. Knowing my love of the Questprobe series of games. The esteemed Gary Burton picked up this issue at a flea market a little while back. Within the pages there are excellent interviews with the likes of then Editor In Chief Jim Shooter as well as Scott Adams of course. To say nothing of what looked like a bright future for the Questprobe series.
Marvel Age - Chief Examiner

How could they fail? They had twelve games in the works with the most popular Marvel Comics characters at the time. The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, and even the duo of The Thing and The Human Torch! In short these were the only three games to be produced which was a terrible shame. The concept was intriguing and moreover they almost had the X-Men game finished when the plug was pulled.
Marvel Age - Spider-Man
Marvel Age - Human Torch and Thing

At the very least we still have those three Questprobe titles and they are readily available to play. Likewise there were 140 issues of Marvel Age to enjoy and they still are an excellent snapshot of the time they were produced.



Now that you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy issue 18 of Marvel Age. Why not check out my earlier posts on the Questprobe games?

For all of you fans of the Incredible Hulk – Here is my article from back in 2011!

Don’t you worry true believers! I also covered Questprobe featuring Spider-Man!

Eclipso - Batman Card Header

Eclipso ’66…Playing Cards With Batman – Part One

Welcome to Best Event Ever, an annual team-up of podcasts and blogs. Last year, we looked at Bloodlines, this year we’re tackling the 25th anniversary of Eclipso: The Darkness Within.

Eclipso - 25 Logo

Eclipso: The Darkness Within was the 2nd attempt by DC Comics to turn the character into a major villain like The Joker, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid. Believe it or not, DC’s first attempt to make him famous occurred all the way back in the Bat-tastic Year 1966.

There is so much cool Eclipso ‘66 stuff, that it will take three separate posts to cover it. This is my 2nd post about the character. My first post – Eclipso ‘66…What A Puzzling Beginning! – looked at some wonderful Batman ‘66 puzzles made by Whitman.

Eclipso - Batman

Writing this post has been hard, because while working on it, Adam West passed away. I wrote a tribute to Adam West as well as Vic Sage.

If you would like to see what Vic had to say about the passing of Adam West

In addition to amazing puzzles, in 1966 Whitman released a wonderful Batman ‘66 card game.
Eclipso - Batman Cards

Images of these cards come from Vintage Batman and Willie Baronet.
Eclipso - Batman Card Game
Eclipso - Rules

The game is a variation on old maid with Batman…
Eclipso - Batman

…and Robin. With Robin replacing the Old Maid.

Mixed in with Batman’s friends and foes are certainly two unusual choices:
The star of our post!

Last time out, I promised I’d introduce the femme fatale of Eclipso ‘66! So without further ado, let me introduce – The Queen Bee!

Other than the Batman ‘66 puzzles, the Queen Bee and our star villain went hand in hand back in 1966. So the Queen Bee will also be returning in my final Eclipso ‘66 post. What I find interesting is that while these two were a matched set, there wasn’t any chemistry between them. The Queen Bee was already engaged to … But I’m getting ahead of my self. For that story, tune in same Eclipso time, same Eclipso channel for part 3 of this trilogy.

Want to read or listen to more about this legendary DC Comics villain? Check out the other amazing Best Event Ever members:
Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill
Chris is on Infinite Earths
Coffee & Comics Podcast
For the Non-Discerning Reader
I’m The Gun
Pop Culture Palace
Relatively Geeky Network
Rolled Spine Podcasts

Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Hope Nicholson

The Spectacular Sisterhood Of Superwomen!

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen is a 240 page tome by Hope Nicholson. While it is a fact that I have had the pleasure of reviewing some really great books lately. The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen however is not one that was sent to me. This actually came from one of my co-workers at the Arkadia Retrocade. She felt it might be a great idea to get the word out about the book. She is certainly correct on that!

In fact The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen was published on May 2nd. But I must say when my friend handed me the book this was the first I heard of it. Which is an absolute shame. Hope Nicholson has crafted a fantastic compilation of some of the most well known as well as obscure female superheroes. Adding in interesting facts and where one might be able to find the essential reading for each character.

Hope has separated the characters she has selected by decades. With an introduction for each decade explaining how the comics industry was changing. Furthermore she has provided candid commentary on the legacy of the chosen characters. As well as how many of the featured characters have been altered over the years for good or for ill. In addition Hope has selected an icon for each of the decades.
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen

Case in point on the candid nature of Hope’s commentary. An excerpt from her entry on Wonder Woman:
“But no one knows how to define Wonder Woman – what her true essence is. She’s what we female comics readers regard as or icon of strength and power, and yet she’s slippery as water to pin down.

And really why shouldn’t that be the case? Why should identity be solid, when everybody changes? Why lock down a character to just one version? And why exactly must there be only one, single, iconic, heroic female figure in comics, when there is no one major male comic book figure?”

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen takes a look at over 102+ female comic characters. Giving we the readers a nice history of how female heroes and characters have changed. Ranging from 1930’s Little Lulu up to Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) as the icon of the 2010s.
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Ms. Marvel

Of course I would be remiss to not mention how happy I was to see some of my favorite female comics characters chosen for the book. For example in the chapter for characters of the 80s, we have none other than Amanda “The Wall” Waller of Suicide Squad!
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Amanda Waller

Additionally with this many characters you will discover some you’ve not heard of before. In my case I was delighted to learn of the likes of 1954’s Tomboy, 1966’s private eye Tiffany Sinn, 1985’s Sunflower, or 2013’s Bandette!
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Bandette

If you love comics as much as I do, seek out The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen. Hope Nicholson has really done an outstanding job with this book. It is an absolute joy to read and provides a wonderful history of female characters in comics. I certainly hope she is absolutely thrilled and proud of her work.

With Wonder Woman finally getting a movie worthy of such an icon. Perhaps The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen will help to shine the spotlight on equally deserving characters?

[Via] Warner Bros. Pictures

If you are in the mood for equally engaging female heroes you might want to check out my review of Christie Golden’s fantastic Assassin’s Creed: Heresy!

Adam West

Rest In Peace: Adam West (1928 – 2017)

It very much hurts my heart to write that Adam West passed away yesterday. I was stunned this morning when I saw the various news feeds were sharing this information. I had to stop and collect myself for a few moments. As I find it hard to imagine that Adam West, the man who was the epitome of Batman in my younger years is gone.
Adam West

Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington back in 1928. Adam West got his start as an television actor as a co-host for the The Kini Popo Show. A children’s program that aired in Hawaii.

Image courtesy of Neatorama.

It was in 1959 when William moved to Hollwood with his Wife and two children that he changed his name. Picking Adam West as he once said because of how it looked and sounded with his middle name. West would appear in supporting character roles in film as well as television for about 7 years. I would say his most notable roles included his 30 episode run on 1961’s The Detectives. Furthermore he also had a memorable performance in the 1964 science fiction film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars.
Adam West - Robinson Crusoe on Mars

In fact at the same time he was appearing in the likes of Colt .45, Maverick, and Bonanza. Adam West was also busy working in various commercials.

[Via] Shock Cinema Magazine

Including the one that would secure him the lead for the Batman TV series. That was of course as the suave Captain Q for Nestle Quik!

[Via] Jon Ganahl

It was certainly that commercial that caught Batman producer William Dozier’s attention. However there was one actor considered besides Adam West to play the part of Bruce Wayne and Gotham’s protector. That was future Wonder Woman co-star Lyle Waggoner!

[Via] Just Wondering 50

While I personally think that Waggoner would have been fine as the lead. I cannot on the other hand imagine it being as fun as what Adam West brought to the role. Having said that I think we need to share this bit of information…Adam West had to stand his ground with William Dozier on how to play the character!

[Via] PBS

While of course the popularity of the Batman TV series catapulted all the stars of the show into fame. The truth of the matter is that for West, Burt Ward, as well as Yvonne Craig – they were now typecast. Adam West and Ward managed to make appearances in character as a way to make ends meet after the show. In addition, Adam still continued to do guest roles in popular TV shows of the time like Night Gallery, Mannix, and The Love Boat to name a few.

I am sure that Adam West couldn’t help but feel a little resentment however small towards Batman. However that didn’t stop him from lending his memorable voice to the role in numerous animated series. Such as The New Adventures of Batman, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. As well as The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians!

[Via] Hewey 1972

All in all West amassed 193 acting credits. Including playing a fictionalized version of himself in Seth MacFarlane’s long running Family Guy. In addition to lending his voice alongside Burt Ward as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in SpongeBob SquarePants.
Adam West - Mermaid Man

In fact, just last year West alongside Ward and Julie Newmar appeared in the animated Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. An exceptional love letter to fans of the legacy of the Batman ’66. In addition it was also announced last year that the three would team up once again. This time for the upcoming Batman vs. Two-Face. Moreover the actor portraying the character that couldn’t appear on Batman ’66 is William Shatner!
Adam West - William Shatner

[Via] DC Entertainment

I am of course very sad that Adam West has passed on. My own sadness is relieved a little however thanks to the many hours of entertainment he has left us as his legacy. Now I plan on going back down into the Retroist Vault and pay tribute to West. By watching what is essentially a tribute episode to the actor on the 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series

Adam West as the Gray Ghost!

[Via] Tim Geraci

Eclipso - DC Comics

Eclipso ‘66…What A Puzzling Beginning!

Welcome to Best Event Ever, an annual team-up of podcasts and blogs. Last year, we looked at Bloodlines, this year we’re tackling the 25th anniversary of Eclipso: The Darkness Within.
Eclipso - 25 Logo

Eclipso: The Darkness Within was the 2nd attempt by DC Comics to turn the character into a major villain like The Joker, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid. Believe it or not, DC’s first attempt to make him famous occurred all the way back in the Bat-tastic Year 1966. There is so much cool Eclipso ‘66 stuff, that it will take three separate posts to cover it.

In 1966, Whitman released a series of Batman puzzles. They were frame tray puzzles, i.e. puzzles which had large pieces which fit into a cardboard frame. The puzzles measured 11 1/2″ x 14 1/2″. I wanted to thank Batman Yesterday, Today, and Beyond for some of these images.
Eclipso - Batman and Robin

These puzzles featured Batman and Robin in each one.
Eclipso - Joker

Eclipso

Since the Joker was Batman’s best known foe, he was featured in more than one puzzle. You’d think there’d be puzzles featuring Batman and Robin facing Penguin or Catwoman.

Instead, they made this amazing puzzle with Eclipso. I think this puzzle is the best of the series. Robin is down on one knee and clearly injured. Batman is swinging on a chain winch over a vat of boiling chemicals, while the villain is using his black diamond to melt the chain. Talk about a great image.
Eclipso - Batman

I have a really cool story about this puzzle. When I first heard that Best Event Ever was covering Eclipso: The Darkness Within, I decided to opt out. I’d never read a comic book featuring the character and the only thing I knew about him was from his one appearance in the Justice League Animated Series.
Eclipso - Justice League

When I told my husband about the crossover, he explain to me that he has loved Eclipso ever since he was a little kid. In fact, he considers him to be the very first super villain that he was a fan of.

When my husband was little he and his brother had that frame puzzle. It was missing a piece, so he didn’t know exactly what Eclipso looked like. Plus, his name didn’t appear on the puzzle, so he didn’t even know the bad guy’s name. Since he’d never heard of him before, he had to make up his powers and back story. The only thing my husband knew for certain was that he must be a major Batman villain since he was featured in such a cool puzzle. It wasn’t until years later that my husband spotted a comic book featuring Eclipso and found out that everything he knew about Eclipso was wrong.

Remember to revisit The Retroist in a few days for the 2nd installment of Eclipso ‘66. Next time out, we’ll play cards against Batman and introduce the femme fatale of Eclipso ‘66!

Want to read or listen to more about Eclipso? Check out the other amazing Best Event Ever members:
Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill
Chris on Infinite Earths
Coffee & Comics Podcast
For the Non-Discerning Reader
I’m The Gun
Pop Culture Palace
Relatively Geek Network
Rolled Spine Podcasts