<![CDATA[ - RETRO REWIND ]]>Sun, 13 Dec 2015 21:47:46 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[ART ATTACK!]]>Fri, 04 Jan 2013 14:01:10 GMThttp://thecomicscode.weebly.com/retro-rewind/art-attackPicture
Yes, I know, it has been ages since my last post. Yeah, sorry about that. We've been quite busy here at Comics Code Central.

Anyway, how are you? Have a good Christmas?

Well, over the festive period I was having a look through the net for more retro fun and what did I stumble across? Oh, only this beauty to the left!

This is a battle damaged Red Ranger, brought to life by the genius that is Dave Rapoza! Now, we have given Dave a shout out before, thanks to his stunning work on the Turtles, but when I saw this I couldn't let it pass. It's the Red Ranger for cripes sake!!!

I also couldn't pass up the chance to show you these amazing images from Masters of the Universe, Samuari Pizza Cats and TMNT! For more of Dave's work check out his site.

<![CDATA[SAVING THE DAY!]]>Mon, 28 May 2012 19:57:35 GMThttp://thecomicscode.weebly.com/retro-rewind/saving-the-dayPicture
In previous posts I've discussed the important role superheroes have played in the lives of impressionable youngsters. Whether it was road saftey from SuperTed or drug awareness with Michelangelo, these guys have offered much needed guidence and advice when no one else could.
Today's post looks at just some of the ways in which these heroes have dealt with issues that may have changed lives for the better.

If you grew up in the 1970s (and lived in the UK) then there's a good chance that you'll remember The Green Cross Man. Played by former body builder (and at the time soon-to-be Star Wars actor) Dave Prowse, The Green Cross Man was a superhero who specialised in road safety. The character appeared in a series of public information films sponsored by the Central Office of Information, for the UK Department of the Environment. The Green Cross Man became a staple of British TV until 1990, saving lives by instilling viewers with an important message: "I won't be there when you cross the road, so always use the Green Cross Code."

A more familiar face that cropped up on TV screens during the 1970s was Spidey. However Marvel's mighty mascot ditched web-swinging in order to help youngsters with their reading. Appearing on TV show The Electric Company, Spider-man communicated through the use of word balloons to encourage kids to learn to read. The show may not have depicted Spidey as the most amazing arachnid in TV Land, but it certain got its viewers attention.

Next up another Marvel superhero tackling important issues was the Incredible Hulk. Whilst working as a school janitor, the Hulk's alter-ego David Banner uncovered a case of child abuse in the episode 'A Child In Need'.

The story was arguably one of the series' best episodes and helped to expose a subject that at the time was not being discussed on TV.

Following a similar theme Marvel also tackled child abuse in the pages of  a one-shot comic featuring Spidey and Power Pack.

Published in 1984 in cooperation with the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse, the issue featured two stories.

The first story - written by Jim Salicrup - tells the story of a young boy abused by his babysitter, whilst the second story - written by Louise Simonson - saw Power Pack help out a young girl who was being sexually abused by her father.

The comic was designed to reach out to kids who were afraid to speak out and was given away for free. 

Discussing the comic with Bleeding Cool in 2011, Jim Salicrup said: "I believe strongly in comics being an excellent way to communicate, and this was an important message for children."

He added: "Marvel chose to be associated with the subject in a positive way. Aware of the vast amount of younger fans they had at that time, the opportunity to do something to help prevent child abuse seemed like a smart and resonable thing to do."

And finally (for today at least) TV show He-Man and the Masters of the Universe regularly helped viewers by providing a moral message at the conclusion of each episode. The messages covered a variety of subjects (always related to each story) and were delivered by the heroes of the tale.

Here's an example from the episode 'Teela's Quest' about adoption...as told by Teela herself:
"In today's story I went in search of my mother. I found her but I also found something else; that the man who cared for me since I was a baby, who loved me as he would his own daughter, was just as much my father as any parent could be. So whether they are someone we were born to, or whether they chose us to adopt, it doesn't matter because they are the ones we call mother and father, and they deserve the same kind of love from us. Until next time..."
<![CDATA[SPIDER-MAN'S EXPLOITS!]]>Thu, 10 May 2012 08:56:20 GMThttp://thecomicscode.weebly.com/retro-rewind/spider-mans-exploitsPicture
Nowadays if I want to get my comic fix I can head to a comic store or download the latest issue using a phone App, but back when I was growing up in '90s things were not so simple.

Some newsagents carried comics - most didn't - and so reprints were mostly the best way to keep up with more recent stories. Of all the titles to feature reprinted material my favourite was without a doubt The Exploits of Spider-man!

The first issue launched in 1992 and was packed with four reprinted Spidey stories – including Amazing Fantasy #15 – and the first issue of Marvel UK’s Motormouth comic.

Each issue of Exploits of Spider-man cost £1.99 and contained 100 pages of Spidey action, along with a poster, the odd free gift (trading cards, badges etc) and a bunch of competitions. One such competition was even run in conjunction with popular children’s TV show Rolf’s Cartoon Club, and you didn't get much better than that!
As each month passed, The Exploits of Spider-man featured some of Spidey’s greatest villains including Scorpion, Vulture, Venom and Chameleon and Carnage even made his first full appearance in #10. All of the material in the comic was reprinted from the original US comics, however with a good mix of modern and classic tales the comic made for a great read, especially when the epic Maximum Carnage storyline cropped up. Featuring guest stars such as Captain America, Deathlok and Firestar, Maximum Carnage saw Spidey and Venom team-up with a number of Marvel’s mightiest heroes to take on Carnage and his rag-tag gang of super villains as they ran riot in New York.

Sure these stories had already appeared on shelves a couple of years before, but for comic fans in the UK, picking up reprints during the '90s was far easier than trying to track down a comic store for the original comics.
By #14, the Motormouth strip was dropped from the comic – and replaced with Spider-man 2099 – and the book continued on with just Spidey as its sole focus. Clearly this was something that should have happened from the very first issue (readers were buying it because it featured Spidey), but hey-ho the comic got there in the end.

The final issue of Exploits of Spider-man was billed as a complete Spidey epic and contained just one multi-part story. After 40 issues the comic came to an end in 1995 and although it was replaced with alternative Spidey comics it is sadly missed.

<![CDATA[60 MINUTES!]]>Tue, 08 May 2012 21:27:07 GMThttp://thecomicscode.weebly.com/retro-rewind/60-minutesPicture
Ah, the '90s. A golden age for Marvel animation, right? Well, not exactly. With both Spider-man and X-Men animated shows proving to be smash hits it wasn't long before more Marvel characters made it to the small screen, including Iron Man and the Fantastic Four.

Appearing as part of a 60 minute back-to-back programming block known as the Marvel Action Hour the two toons took to the airwaves for what can only be described as  an hour of boredom. Well, sort of...

On paper The Marvel Action Hour seemed like a great idea. The combination of an Iron Man show and a Fantastic Four series all in one programme was surely enough to send any Marvelite into a frenzy, especially as it featured a number of heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe! Unfortunately the series was pretty lame. The writing was weak, the animation was just as bad and it paled in comparison to the Spider-man and X-men shows. With episode titles such as 'Rejoice! I Am Ultimo, Thy Deliverer' (that was an Iron Man one) it wasn't all that surprising that kids didn't care for it all that much.

So why post about it? Well, despite it's pretty obvious flaws it did have a couple of things going for it. Before I get to those, why not check out a sample of some screen shots!
OK, so despite the negative elements of the shows (just look at how cheesy the FF toon is) the fact that Marvel fans got an hour of superhero animation was a good thing. Back during the '90s I too was a young Marvelite and so to get 60 minutes of the FF and Iron Man seemed like a dream come true. However as I was a UK viewer there was an added bonus!

In the UK the series was broadcast on BBC1, a TV channel that does not show commercials. With both episodes of Iron Man and Fantastic Four lasting for approximately 40 minutes the BBC needed to draft in another toon to make up the running time. Step forward the 1982 Incredible Hulk cartoon to fill in the gap.
The show may have been over 10 years old by the time The Marvel Action Hour was on air, but the inclusion of the Incredible Hulk was a genuine highlight to the show. Sandwiched in between both shows the inclusion of the Hulk was a perfect match for the (then) modern toons and made The Marvel Action Hour suddenly seem more epic!

Unfortunately the BBC decided not to pick The Marvel Action Hour up for a second season (probably for the best as they would have run out of Hulk episodes) so UK fans didn't get to see season two unless they had access to satelitte TV. This sadly meant that some didn't get to see the improvements that were made during year two of both cartoons.

Below are some screen shots from the revamped title sequence for season two of Fantastic Four, which was far superior to the first season in every way. The scripts were aimed at an older demographic, the animation was revamped and although still not perfect, both Fantastic Four and Iron Man were a heck of a lot more fun.
Love it or hate it The Marvel Action Hour also provided toy collectors with a range of merchandise and that was something that really was a genuine hightlight. Featuring characters such as MODOK, Hawkeye and even the mighty Galactus, the toy range allowed fans to act out far superior scenes than those that appeared on screen. The Iron Man figures even featured a variety of different armour designs including Hulk Buster Iron Man!
Of course no Marvel show would be complete without spin-off comics and so both shows got the printed treatment too. In the UK a short-lived Marvel Action Hour comic also cropped up on shelves, however it lasted just four issues. Not a great day for Marvel animation, but the improvements did make sure that it wasn't as bad as it really could have been.
<![CDATA[AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!]]>Sat, 14 Apr 2012 16:21:02 GMThttp://thecomicscode.weebly.com/retro-rewind/avengers-assemblePicture
With The Avengers (or if you live in the UK, Marvel's Avengers Assemble) just a couple of weeks away, today is a great day to pretend you're an Avenger!  How do you do this, I hear you ask?!  Well, it's simple, you just play one of the many computer games based on Marvel's super group and use that to live out your fantasy! Hey, it's a lot easier than constructing your own suit of armour or bombarding yourself with gamma rays! So where do you start? Well, check out some of the games that have cropped up over the years to find out for yourself!

First up is 1984's Questprobe:Hulk. If you've ever seen the Tom Hanks film Big then this is the sort of adventure that the character Josh Baskin supposedly 'invented'. It's certainly not going to rock the socks of the current generation of gamers, but hey we had to start somewhere, right? This was one of three Marvel Questprobe games, with the other two featuring Spider-man and members of the Fantastic Four, but interestingly enough a fourth game featuring the X-Men was planned, before the line was cancelled. If you want to know a bit more about the Hulk game then get your ass over to this guy's site!
Next up are another couple of games from the '80s, Captain America: The Doom Tube of Dr. Megalomann (1987) and Spider-man and Captain America in Doctor Doom's Revenge (1989).
Into the '90s and there were quite a number of games featuring the Avengers, including: Captain America and the Avengers (1991), The Incredible Hulk (1994), The Avengers Galactic Storm (1995), Iron Man and X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal (1996) and The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga (1996). Oh and a few Avengers even cropped up in Marvel Superheroes Vs. Street Fighter (1997)!
Next up the '00s had yet more Avengers related games, including a few based on the Hulk and Iron Man movies. Games included: The Invincible Iron Man (2002), Hulk (2003), The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (2005), Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008) and Marvel Superheroes Super Squad (2009).
More recently further Avengers-related movies resulted in new games, including: Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor: God Of Thunder (2011) and Captain America: Super Soldier (2011), as well as social networking game Avengers Alliance (2012).
Happy gaming!
<![CDATA[NOT BEHIND THE BUS, SPOTTY!]]>Sun, 11 Mar 2012 13:22:42 GMThttp://thecomicscode.weebly.com/retro-rewind/not-behind-the-bus-spottyPicture
If you grew up during the 1980s and you lived in the UK, then chances are you would have been taught road safety from none other than SuperTed!

The pint-sized bear appeared in a public awareness video called Supersafe with SuperTed to promote road safety.

If your school didn't show you this animated short then clearly they wanted you to get hit by a car (yes you read that correctly, your school wanted to see you mowed down by a pickup truck).

However if you did happen to see this 90 second film then chances are it saved your life!

Supersafe with SuperTed was commissioned by the Central Office of Information in 1986 and featured the voice talents of Derek Griffiths, John Pertwee and Wendy Padbury as SuperTed, Spotty and Blotch, respectively.
The story saw the heroic trio travel to Earth (Wales, actually) so that Spotty could learn how to cross a road safely. A flashback in the story showed that Spotty had almost been killed whilst crossing a road on the planet Spot and so it was up to SuperTed to help his friend.

The film demonstrated the best ways to cross a road and was actually a very important piece of animation (heck, I still think about it to this day when crossing the street). If you have kids, nieces or nephews, then it might be wise to show them this film next time they're bored, as it could really make all the difference to their futures. As SuperTed pointed out at the end of the animated short, he can't always be around to save you, but thanks to this little film maybe he doesn't need to be.

<![CDATA[BECAUSE WE GOT HIGH!]]>Sun, 12 Feb 2012 17:24:49 GMThttp://thecomicscode.weebly.com/retro-rewind/because-we-got-highPicture
'Don't do drugs, kids. Drugs are bad!'

That was basically the message behind the 1990 animated movie Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue and so if you're currently smacked off your tits whilst reading this, then that message didn't get through to you!

If however you're not one of our drugged up readers then congratulations, the message of the movie got through loud and clear!

Featuring some of the world's most famous cartoon characters, Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue was a movie specially commissioned to get drug-addled teens off the smack!

It was 30 minutes long, was endorsed by the then President of the United States George Bush Snr and featured a bunch of 80s and 90s animated superstars.

Hmm..so why do we care about this at The Comics Code?

Well firstly because we're all about helping kids get off the drugs and secondly (and more importantly) because the animated special featured a number of comic-book characters!

Garfield, the Smurfs, Huey, Dewey and Louie, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle star Michelangelo all made appearances in the movie, which considering how popular they were in their own respective comics and cartoons was a pretty impressive feat for the toon to pull off. They were accompanied by the likes of Looney Tunes legends Bugs & Daffy; 80s hit ALF; Alvin, Simon and Theodore of the Chipmunks; Tigger & Winnie the Pooh; the Real Ghostbusters star Slimer; and Kermit, Gonzo and Miss Piggy from the Muppet Babies.
But what was it all about I hear you ask? 

Financed by fast food goliath McDonald's, Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue told the story of troubled teen Michael and his young sister Corey as they battled with Michael's increasing addiction to drugs. Yes, back before Ronald McDonald had his Maccy-D restaurants switching their burgers for 'healthy' salads, the considerate clown was doing his best to deal with the more important problems that teens faced in the late 80s and early 90s - crack! Over the course of 30 minutes the animated movie united a number of high-profile characters to show Michael (and the kids watching at home) that getting high is for losers, and that they should keep clear of the dreaded Smoke!
Yeah it sounds all a bit preachy, and in some ways it was, especially when you consider the irony of cartoon characters coming to life to convince drugged up teens to quit smoking, but Cartoon All-Stars was actually an important toon. The likes of Michelangelo, Slimer, Bugs, Garfield, the Muppets et al were big cartoon characters (many still are) and so to have them all unite in one toon is not something that happens every day.

Just to highlight how important this movie was, it was also introduced by President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, was simultaneously broadcast on CBS, ABC and NBC and was available to rent on VHS for free! 
Speaking about the movie in 1990, Senator Joseph R Biden Jr, referred to it as 'the single most ambitious and important drug education programme ever attempted anywhere.'

He added: "If you're a parent like me you know who the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are and you know the powerful impact that those turtles - along with figures like Bugs Bunny, Winnie the Pooh, the Smurfs and ALF - have on our children."

Was he correct? Well, possibly not. I mean, come on, he clearly hadn't see that episode of Grange Hill where Zammo was off his box (now that was powerful stuff.) However he was right about the power that toons had on kids. Whether the movie worked or not, the fact that so many characters joined forces is certainly worth applauding and in what other story would you see Michelangelo team up with Papa Smurf?

Now put down the drugs or Smoke is gonna get ya.
<![CDATA[MEDALS OF HONOUR]]>Tue, 24 Jan 2012 19:34:43 GMThttp://thecomicscode.weebly.com/retro-rewind/medals-of-honourPicture
Check out these bad boys!

Back in the early '90s when Turtlemania was in full swing, Wallace International Limited produced a nifty collection of Turtley awesome medals! Dubbed the Official Medal Collection, the set consisted of 15 silver coated medals that fitted neatly inside a swish collectors' folder that...

...could flip open to reveal the medals in all their shimmering beauty.

The medals featured a single Turtle related character on one side and all four turtles on the reverse. Characters included the usual suspects such as Leo, Raph, Splinter, Shredder, April O'Neil, Bebop and Rocksteady as well as lesser known characters like General Traag.

The images below are not that great, but these little guys were pretty cool!

<![CDATA[THE BATMAN... RETURNS!]]>Sun, 22 Jan 2012 13:52:07 GMThttp://thecomicscode.weebly.com/retro-rewind/the-batman-returnsPicture
Running from 2004 - 2008, covering 5 seasons and 65 episodes The Batman was the animated Bat show that divided fans. It was like Marmite (you either loved it or you hated it) and there were two reasons for this. One reason was because it had big shoes to fill being the first Bat-toon to hit TV screens following the hugely successful Batman: The Animated Series (B:TAS). The second reason was because when The Batman began airing that same version of Batman was still appearing on TV screens via the popular Justice League: Unlimited show. However...

...taking both of those factors out of the equation when The Batman was given a chance it actually proved to be a great little show!

The first three seasons were a bit hit and miss, with every good idea undone by a number of bad ideas; but by season four and five the show had finally hit its stride as Robin, Superman and the Justice League all made appearances, helping to return the show to its more comic-book roots.

As most fans of Batman know it's the villains that really help make a Batman story good and so in The Batman the usual suspects such as the Joker, Penguin and the Riddler all appeared, with often quite radical makeovers. These guys were joined by the likes of Harley Quinn, Dr Hugo Strange and Scarface, as well as lesser known villains Everywhere Man, Clue Master, Ragdoll and Solomon Grundy. Sometimes characters didn't work so well as they had on previous animated Batman shows (Catwoman, Mr Freeze etc), but in some cases The Batman managed to provide an interesting alternative to a villain's back story. In the case of the first Clayface (there were two Clayfaces on the show in total), the character became the most interesting villain of season one and proved that there was hope for the series.

Oh and veteran DC animation actors such as Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Clancy Brown and Dana Delany also turned up during the course of the show's run.
Just like with any other Batman series there was also a whole mass of spin-off merchandise available, including an enjoyable companion comic, a range of action figures and vehicles, statues and of course DVDs of each season. A spin-off movie The Batman Vs. Dracula (2005) was also released. It may not have achieved the lofty heights and praise that other Batman shows received but The Batman is certainly worth another look.
<![CDATA[A SUPERMANS BEST FRIEND!]]>Sat, 21 Jan 2012 12:53:20 GMThttp://thecomicscode.weebly.com/retro-rewind/a-supermans-best-friendPicture
Girls get diamonds, ordinary men get dogs, and super men get Jimmy Olsen.  Yes I'm talking best friends here.  However because Superman is such a super guy he also gets a second best friend in the shape of Krypto!

From 2005 to 2006 animated series Krypto the Superdog hit TV screens, bringing 39 episodes of animal-tastic adventures with him. The show was aimed more towards pre-school viewers than most of the other animated DC toons that were doing the rounds at the time, but as it was a heap of fun gosh darn it let's take a look at some of the highlights!

As the show featured the Man of Steel's pet pooch it was inevitable that Superman would crop up briefly on the series, but there was also room for an appearance from Lex Luthor too!

This didn't mean that the show relied heavily on Superman and Lex to sell its story however,  as instead the series focused on Krypto's life with his new best pal Kevin and a whole bunch of new friends like Ace the Bathound and Streaky the Supercat! Oh and for those who aren't familiar with Ace or Streaky they're actual characters from the comics and were former pets of Batman and Supergirl respectively don't ya know!

Other characters included the Dog Star Patrol, Snooky Wookums, Mechanikat (the show's take on Metallo), Robbie the Robin (based on Batman's crime-fighting partner Robin), Isis (Catwoman's pet pussy) and Bud & Lou (the Joker's pet hyenas).
Krypto the Superdog also produced a whole heap of merchandise, including DVDs, books, statues and action figures! A short-lived comic was also produced through DC's 'Johnny DC' line of comics (which included toon adaptations aimed at younger readers such as The Batman and Teen Titans).