Author: Vintage Geek Culture

Alex Ross, Ultraman. 

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A few episodes of Thundarr: the Barbarian showed us what female Moks looked like.

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Debbie Lee Carrington, Total Recall (1990). 

Fun fact: the first person to ever yell “Avengers Assemble!” was Thor in Avengers #10, during the battle with Immortus. A lot of other alliterative phrases were used, like “Avengers Attack” but this is the one that stuck. 

Captain America is associated with the phrase, but he was a latecomer to using it – most famously on the cover of Avengers #16: 

Dave Cockrum’s The Futurians

The ad line was: “If you created the New X-Men at Marvel…what would you do for an encore?” 

If you want the very definition of a forgotten gem: read Kurt Busiek and James W. Fry’s Liberty Project series from 1987, years before Busiek became a top level creator after Marvels

The concept was, essentially, Suicide Squad: criminals are given a chance to rehabilitate themselves through public service in a superteam. But the book distinguished itself through good characterization, and a serious examination of how society makes rehabilitation and redemption difficult, if not impossible, as well as how the criminal justice system is fundamentally centered on dehumanization and humiliation, as opposed to rehabilitation. People call this “early Busiek,” like it was cruder than his later work on Thunderbolts or Astro City. To that I say he was just as good here as he was later…he just wasn’t famous yet, and fewer people were paying attention.

John Byrne’s cover for Justice Machine.

You want to know something weird? For something like 10 years, between 1983-1994 or so, whenever this or that writer in a comics fanzine did a list of “best superhero comics of all time,” they always included Tony Isabella’s Justice Machine somewhere. Now, people don’t talk about it as much. 

The premise is that the heroes are a superhero team founded on the fascistic totalitarian planet Georwell (groan) and they turn against the government of their home planet after arriving on earth and realizing the truth about their society.

When you think of fantasy tabletop game art in the 1980s, you think of Bill Willingham, who did some of the best art in the D&D Expert and Basic Set (e.g. the baby blue and bright slim red books with Erol Otus cover art). 

But did you know that Bill Willingham actually wrote some adventure modules himself? For Villains and Vigilantes, a game that has the distinction of being the first superhero tabletop RPG, though it was vastly overshadowed by Champions a few years later. But even in the early 80s, it was still put-putting along, and it had Bill Willingham going for it: he not only wrote the module but provided great comic-style art to introduce concepts in them. I wonder why more adventure modules done by artists haven’t tried that.

Bill Willingham liked the characters in his tabletop adventure modules so much that, when he created his own creator owned comic, Elementals, he brought the baddies from this module to it.