Super Steins

Super Steins!

Ghoul Mourning Maniacs!!

Did you ever wonder where the art for a product came from? It can be created specifically for the product or be art that gets repurposed. I submit to you my personal sleuthing to solve a question I had, regarding the 1974 Thermo-Serve Batman Super Stein.

The Super Steins were released by Thermo-Serve in 1974 and the available characters were Wonder Woman, Batman, Shazam and Superman. At some point, my sister and I received a Wonder Woman and Batman Stein. You can figure out who got what. A great selection of art. An iconic full figure illustration by of Batman racing across a field with a full moon overhead. The other side sports Batman punching out a noodnik! “WHOK!” Ok, where did the art come from?
Super Steins

Aha! Time to dig into my comic book library. ( But first, I must flip up the head on my Shakespeare statue and hit the button! Oh, I wish! ) The full figure Batman art was somewhat easy to identify. It’s by Neal Adams and is the cover art to a large format Treasury Edition comic. But, that’s not the complete origin,as that image is a variation of Neal’s Caped Crusader, in Batman 251. In that comic, Bats is missing his utility belt and the background is different. Still, an iconic Bat piece!

Now, to figure out the smaller artwork, which looked like long time Bat artist, Jim Aparo’s work. Aparo worked on many Bat books, so I had some perusing to do. Using 1974 or earlier, I had my bracket of books to look from. I couldn’t place the image, but was determined to figure it out. Mainly, because I’m a dork!

“WHOK!”

I found it in an issue of “Brave & the Bold.” Number 115, to be exact. Batman teams up with the Atom in “The Corpse that Wouldn’t Die!” A great story in which Batman is grazed by a bullet and rendered brain dead. The Atom shrinks and operates Batman’s body from inside, racing from synapse to synapse and animating him. Well, looking at the panel and comparing it to the Stein, they changed the dialogue in the word ballon and kept the “WHOK!”

I have yet to determine the origins of the other Super Stein artwork. I might in the future. I recently asked my sister if she knew about her Wonder Woman Stein and she punched me for being a dork! Ok, I deserved that, I guess. Sheesh! If you know the other art origins, please comment and we’ll super sleuth the heck out of this!!

While it has nothing to do with Super Steins, why not listen to Denny O’Neil discuss both Batman and Neal Adams?

[Via] The Comic Archive

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Psychology: Lassoing The Truth

Before I get into the new book Wonder Woman Psychology: Lassoing the Truth, edited by Dr. Travis Langley and Mara Wood. I felt I should take a moment and share my thoughts on the character herself as well as my first introduction. Like many of you that visit The Retroist I’m willing to bet the first time you learned of Wonder Woman was thanks to the long running Super Friends TV series.

[Via] THX1968

Of course a few years after that the popular live action Wonder Woman TV series debuted on ABC. Starring the talented Lynda Carter, the first season took place in the 1940s. Afterwards the show jumped ship to CBS and was placed in the current day. In addition to becoming The New Adventures of Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman

All thanks to the Wonder Woman TV show in fact, I would pick up the DC comics. To this day when I think of the power and beauty of the character. It is the illustration of the legendary José Luis García-López that comes to mind. To say nothing of the impact that George Perez had on Wonder Woman!
Wonder Woman

With a film version set to hit theaters on June 2nd. It is a great time to take a closer look at the origins of the character as well as her creator, William Moulton Marston. Hard to overlook the fact that the man who invented the polygraph machine bestowed his creation a lasso of truth, right?

Except for he didn’t create the lie detector test as the book points out. Although he did in fact create the systolic blood pressure test. Which is used in polygraph tests. Furthermore there are some that cite it was his Wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, who helped in the research of said test. Fitting as she was the one to suggest the gender of William’s creation for All -American Comics!

“…one who would triumph not with fists or firepower, but with love. “Fine,” said Elizabeth. “But make her a woman.””

I have shared the pop culture psychology books by Langley before. And Sterling Publishing was kind enough to send me Travis and Wood’s latest for review. Right off the bat, Dr. Langley cuts to the truth by challenging the reader. To not get hung up on certain elements of Marston’s creation. Like “bondage” for example. Not without understanding what William was intending readers to understand.

There are 20 essays included in Wonder Woman Pyschology: Lassoing the Truth. Featuring not just a foreword by Trina Robbins but the likes of Chris and Caitlin Yogerst, Laura Vecchiolla, Mike Madrid, and Rebecca M. Langley. As well as Tim Hanley, Martin Lloyd, Wind Goodfriend, Annamaria Formichella-Elsden. In addition to Janina Scarlet, Lara and Nina Kester, Erin Currie, Eric D. Wesselman, J. Scott Jordan, J.C. Lobato, Jenna Busch, E. Paul Zehr, Jeff Pisciotta, and Alan Kistler.

The essays cover such topics as Feminist Psychology: Teaching How to Be Wonderful by Mara Wood. Balancing the Warrior and the Peace Ambassador by Eric D. Wesselman. It’s a Man’s World: Wonder Woman and Attitudes Toward Gender Roles by Erin Currie. And another favorite Snapping Necks and Wearing Pants by Travis Langley.

Wonder Woman Psychology is available for purchase tomorrow at most book dealers.

Starman

Super-Blog Holiday Team Up: Christmas Knight

Do you hear that? That isn’t the hoof beats of eight tiny reindeer. That is the call to action for a Holiday edition of the Super-Blog Team Up. That time when writers across the internet come together to discuss and celebrate pop culture.

For this go around since it ‘Tis the Season – I will not only be talking about my second favorite Holiday. But a comic series near and dear to me as well.

Starman.

[Via]Ucara 14

No, not that Starman by the late and great David Bowie. I’m referring to the character co-created by the talented James Robinson. Although I am willing to bet he is a fan of Bowie as well.

For my entry in the Super-Blog Holiday Team Up I will be choosing a special Holiday themed story from the 81 issue run of Starman. Issue 27 of the series to be precise, entitled Christmas Knight.
Christmas Knight

Before I get into the details of Christmas Knight let me tell you a little about Starman. Originally making his appearance in September of 1994 in Zero Hour #1, Jack Knight, is in fact the youngest son of DC Comics’ Golden Age character.

James Robinson took a different approach to Jack Knight as a hero. For one thing he didn’t want to be one. Furthermore he took the mantle from his Father, Ted Knight, only after his older brother was murdered.

So guilt more than a sense of duty is why Jack took up the cosmic staff. As is also plainly evident from the panel below, Jack didn’t go for tights. Choosing something a little more casual…not to mention cool.

Here is another thing that Robinson did that made me a fan from issue one. He too loved the Golden Age of DC Comics. The writer didn’t make fun of the heroes of DC’s past like the Red Bee or Fair Play or even the original Red Tornado.

He embraced them. He masterfully helped cement the legacy of DC’s comic book past. Over and over again. He also gave Jack an interesting obsession. Not just a fan of things past but an avid collector of retro items. This new Starman is just as interested as protecting the citizens of his home town of Opal as he is tracking down some vintage View-Master reels or some original 1950’s Pyrex dishes.

As an author for The Retroist I think you can see why I was drawn to this comic series back in the day. Robinson and co-creator and original artist Tony Harris made Jack Knight incredibly human.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the character, let’s talk about Christmas Knight itself.

Don’t let that cover of this issue up above fool you. Despite it tugging at your heartstrings it is most certainly a Holiday tale of redemption and happy endings. Jack Knight is running late to a dinner he has been invited to by the O’Dares. A law enforcement family that have strong ties to the Knights and Opal City. Flying through the night sky he notices a man in a Santa Claus suit crying and lands to check on him.
Christmas Knight - Starman

Starman agrees to help the man find his missing locket. The two end up searching the city and Jack doesn’t bust heads to get the information he needs. He realizes the plight of these homeless citizens. Instead he gives money for the info the two need and also helping the poor souls they meet in the process.

Having said that there comes a point when action is needed. Dispatching the two thugs, Jack finds a situation where he is powerless. The clerk of the pawn shop has suffered an heart attack. Jack doesn’t know C.P.R. but thankfully Santa does.

While Jack and as we learn, Pete, part ways. Starman is left feeling like there is something more he can do for this man. This homeless vet who has no Family or friends to take comfort with.

I know you can see where this is going but in the very spirit of the season, Jack invites Pete to come with him.

What more could you wish for in a Holiday themed story? Both Jack and Pete have earned their just rewards. The warmth of friends and family. They have in fact helped others have a better night and Holiday. We leave the two with laughter and good cheer instead of sorrow.

In all honesty I have left quite a bit out of the telling of Christmas Knight. As I hope you will actually pick up the issue, moreover take the time to read the entire series. It is a shining point for DC Comics in the 90’s and is available right this second over at Comixology.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little of why I love Christmas Knight so much. But remember that there are other Super-Blog Team Up posts:


Between The Pages – The Ghost of Supergirl Past
The Superhero Satellite
The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu – Impact Winter Special #1
Chris Is On Infinite Earths – Christmas with the Super Heroes #1
Longbox Graveyard
DC in the 80s
The Unspoken Decade
Coffee and Comics Blog
The Daily Rios

Underoos

1980’s The Empire Strikes Back Underoos Commercial!

You might imagine that The Empire Strikes Back was kind of a big deal when it was released in 1980. You know what was also incredibly popular at that time? Fruit of the Loom’s Underoos of course!
Underoos

It is rather a simple thing to see why those of us growing up in the 80s loved these. While the original idea for Underoos came about in 1977 thanks to Larry Weiss. The concept was sold to Fruit of the Loom – in fact they were the company Weiss hired to provide the shirts and underwear that characters would be printed on. Furthermore the company that was originally interested in the children’s line of clothing was Hanes.

Equally important are the popular properties that Fruit of the Loom went after for their Underoos. It is a rather astounding number of cartoons, toy lines, comic books, and films. The A-Team, Gremlins, Transformers, and Star Wars of course to name a few.
Underoos

This 1980’s commercial only showcases four sets of Underoos. In addition to Boba Fett, Darth Vader, R2-D2, and C-3PO. They also offered Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing pilot outfit. Princess Leia in Hoth attire, and two different colored versions of Yoda.

Star Wars TV Archive

It bears mentioning that Underoos didn’t offer anything for 1977’s Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back marked the first offerings. Although they continued with Return of the Jedi as well as The Ewoks animated series in 1985.

What was the first set of Underoos that I received?


Why none other than DC Comics’ Scarlet Speedster. The Flash!

Now I hope you will forgive me but I have to leave The Retroist Vault. I have tickets to go see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I will let you know however if while standing in line I happen to spy any fellow Star Wars fans wearing some Underoos!

Masters of the Universe

Retro Records: Masters Of The Universe (1983)

Welcome back, friends. For this offering on Retro Records we are going with an absolutely epic LP. The 1983 Masters of the Universe record produced by Kid Stuff. Not only that but this was released in two different versions. The more common album cover you see at the top of the post in addition to a phono picture disc.

Image courtesy of the T3 Universe Blog.

Image courtesy of the T3 Universe Blog.


A very big thanks to the T3 Universe Blog for the personal images of those stunning picture discs.
Masters of the Universe - Phono Disc Side B - T3 Universe

Now bear in mind by the end of 1982, the Masters of the Universe toy line had already been hugely popular. So it naturally made sense that the merchandising arm start to spread out. I ask you, what child of the early 80s wouldn’t want to hear the adventures on Eternia? And Kid Stuff certainly ran with the early storylines of the series. In particular I mean the fantasy aspects of Masters of the Universe.

Image courtesy of He-Man.Org

Image courtesy of He-Man.Org

However this record was produced after the vintage DC Comics miniseries and classic Filmation series it seems.
Masters of the Universe - DC Comics

As He-Man is no mere barbarian in the jungles of Eternia as presented in the minicomics that came with the toys. But the alter-ego of Prince Adam. On the other hand instead of visiting the Cave of Power to transform he holds aloft the Power Sword. Having said that though you won’t hear Cringer or Battle Cat speaking or such on this record. In fact it’s like Kid Stuff combined elements of all three versions for their story.

Did I forget to mention the first record includes a five minute Masters of the Universe theme song?

So pour yourself a bowl of your favorite cereal and join us as we listen to the adventures of the Masters of the Universe!

[Videos Via] Cash Presley