Friday, December 31, 2010

Iron Man Cartoon Stuff: Robot Vs. Robot

One of the rather comically amusing things about the Iron Man cartoon from the '90s is that there was a perpetual rivalry between Stark Industries and Justin Hammer's company (whatever it was named-I can't be bothered to look it up at the moment), even though anytime the two's products were compared, the Stark product blew the other out of the water, and even though Stark Industries had to be rebuilt from scratch every third episode.

During the episode "Silence My Companion, Death My Destination," the fundamental nature of this rivalry is highlighted in truly spectacular (and amusing) fashion.

Here's Hammer's design for his bid for the US arms contract that they're competing over this time, the Invincible Guardian:

It has pop-out weapons.

Here's the Stark Industries competitor, the Watchman.

To be honest, these screenshots rather distort their relative sizes-they're actually mostly similar in size.

Those are Justin Hammer, James Rhodes, and a two-star general who apparently lost an arm in some war.

Despite the fact that it'd make more sense to 1) evaluate these robots doing their job, which is guarding stuff from outside interference, and 2) that there should be a costs/benefits analysis between the two machines, the test consists of the two robotic vehicles attacking each other until only one survives. Hmm...

The Invincible Guardian comes out, guns blazing, as the Watchman sends out its weird little triangles to spin around it with apparent intent to block weapons fire.

Hammer prematurely declares victory, but the weird countermeasures deployed by the Watchman are apparently impervious to both cannons and missiles, and it is unharmed.

And capable of doing something that only a cartoon military vehicle would do.

And the Invincible Guardian apparently is so surprised...

...that it doesn't know how to react to that. Not that I would either.

And it falls to little pieces after being zapped.

Hammer remarked a short while later that $40 million had gone down the drain... which sounds kind of low for developing and building a tank type robot, really.

Of course, it turned out that it was all part of the Mandarin's plan to give the Watchmen a computer virus which would cause them to destroy the stuff they were supposed to protect...

Oh, yeah, happy New Year's Eve 'n' stuff.

-Signing off.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Totally Forgotten Cartoon Profile: Sectaurs

There's a pretty good chance that you've never heard of Sectaurs.

Sectaurs was a toyline that spawned tie-in comics and a cartoon back in the '80s. (There was a lot of that.) I'd never have heard of it, but the local dentist's office for some reason had two copies of the exact same pack-in minicomic in its goodie box, and I grabbed both of them over the years.

So I know, well, more than nothing at all about it.

Here's the intro to the cartoon.

Notice that the scientist performing experiments in the first bit was a rather attractive woman wearing, of all things, a tie? On a distant planet in the far reaches of the universe?

And the main villain grabs his second-in-command and tosses him at his enemies so he can make a getaway.

And now you know almost as much as I know about Sectaurs.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Again With The Stupid Lack of a Real Post...

Unfortunately, this just isn't happening tonight. Sorry.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Golden Age Triple Moment of the Day (60)

I've posted a few of these moments of the day lately that feature scenes from Samson, a feature from Fantastic Comics, which also featured Stardust the Super Wizard.

This brief sequence from Fantastic Comics #9 shows that Samson, while a "powered" hero instead of a "super wizard" hero, was otherwise cut from much the same absolutely merciless mold as Stardust.

Here we see that Stardust Samson [EDIT: Whoops!], who is on an island full of monsters, has a huge bird tucked under his arm. Why is he after that boulder?


And of course, he had the bird under his arm so he could have it carry him away from the island.

So Samson, rather than be willing to let these monsters live, decided he was going to drive them into extinction.

He probably broke the bird's neck later and gave it to somebody as a substitute holiday turkey, too.

-Signing off.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Iron Man For Christmas (Again)

Years ago, there was an Iron Man cartoon that was generally on at something like 5:00 in the morning (alongside a contemporary Fantastic Four cartoon and, of all things, Dragonball Z). I adored that cartoon, and learned how to get up that early consistently on Saturday morning in order to watch it.

I've mentioned in the past that it was the primary reason I was excited to watch the Iron Man movie (which, as noted in the past, seems to have drawn a bit from the second season of this cartoon).

Well, my kind and wonderful sister got the complete DVD collection for me for Christmas. Alongside my purchase of a computer for the whole family for Christmas which has DVD-playing capabilities, it's pretty much the best thing I've gotten for Christmas in a while.

I'm gonna take so many screenshots, you guys.

-Signing off.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Junk

I've been doing Christmas Eve type things with my family today, so I'm not in much of a mood for blogging.

Have a safe, sane holiday of whatever sort you practice with people you care about, and I wish you well.

Even if you're not actually reading this.

-Signing off.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Not at All Transformers

This video bills itself as "almost Transformers," but it's not even close.

I have to admit, it is a pretty stupid kind of funny, though.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Moderately Belated Book Review: The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings is this century's first great epic fantasy.

A bold statement, yes, but I'm not the first to make bold statements of praise about this book. Howard Tayler, creator of the webcomic Schlock Mercenary, made some far bolder ones in his brief review of it when he received an Advanced Reader Copy.

This book was my biggest purchase during a recent shopping trip to Borders. I considered it to be a mild gamble purchasing it instead of waiting to see if the library would pick it up, but only a mild one. While I respect Tayler's opinion greatly, nobody agrees all the time. Lucky for me, the book immediately dug in its hooks, and while it took almost a week, snatched mostly from random moments in my day, for me to read (it's just over a thousand pages), it was time well spent.

To say that The Way of Kings is this generation's The Lord of the Rings is a comparison many will likely make, but I'll rather presumptuously say that it's rather more than that. Huge books can often afford to be split apart into smaller pieces or reduced in length for economic reasons, but this one couldn't (although its sheer length clearly was a lot of work for whoever edited it-while the number of typos and mangled sentences was admirably low, a number of them were within the space of two pages).

Why not?

Because the world it's set in is a construct that is crucial to the story, and blazing through it would only confuse the readers. If time wasn't taken to allow people to absorb it, its uniqueness would be lost.

And it is unique. The world is wracked by storms, which have apparently stripped away nearly all the world's soil. (One region has soil because it's been sheltered by mountains from this weather, and it generally more closely resembles Earth.) Plants somehow obtain all their moisture and nutrients from those storms and the rock of the ground. Animals as we know them couldn't survive in such a world, so the animals of most regions are arthropods and tough amphibians and reptiles, using shelter or tough carapaces to escape harm. The largest land animals are crablike creatures called greatshells, which somehow grow precious gems inside their bodies.

These gems are important, because gemstones are the only thing that allow people to harvest magical energy from the great highstorms that wrack the world. Without magic, there would be no way to build the durable stone structures necessary to endure the regular hurricane force winds. Magically powered transmutation drives much of the economy-stone structures will often be constructed through the carving of wood into the desired forms, and then transforming the wood. Ironically, wood is scarce, so it is common to get wood by transmuting stone. Magic is so important that gemstones, the only things that can hold it for an extended period, are the primary form of currency.

There's plenty more to like about the world, but consider what I just explained: In this world, magic is money. All things considered, this seems to be the logical conclusion if magic has economically viable uses.

(There's another aspect to the world-there are spirit-beings called spren which are something like Shintoism's kami, in that they pervade everything. Interestingly, they are often visible, appearing in response to things such as extreme fear or pain, and they come in numerous varieties. I fail to mention them above because I couldn't figure out how to work a mention into the above paragraphs.)

To actually talk about how well constructed the plot is, to go into the journey of each character, and to talk about the brilliance of the revelations in the later part of the book would be epic spoilers, and I'm not going there.

Oh, yes, and it's also important that the book introduce the world as well as it does because it's only the first book in a series which, according to some, may run for ten books in all.

If this book gets the acclaim it deserves, in thirty years or so, we can look forward to its themes and ideas seeing a huge amount of bleed into the general pop culture in a way to rival The Lord of the Rings. If it doesn't, well, I'll be sad. I mean, I like the LOTR-derivative paradigms as much as anybody, but the old formulas need some spice mixed in, and this series is definitely an original, new creation which is truly distinct from it.

You should read this book. Just be sure to set aside a lot of time, and don't start in on it late at night, because you'll realize it's almost morning far too often.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Computer Chess

I was playing around with a computer chess game today (I won't name any names [well, actually, I will-"Chess Titans"], but it was intended to be a Solitaire-type game such as is found on most computers) and got, well, just a bit frustrated.

I'm not a chess master, but I don't think I'm a slouch at it either. So why can't I beat the easiest setting on this particular chess game? The best I could manage was a draw because I eliminated all of the opponent's non-king pieces (admittedly, that shouldn't really be counted as a "draw," but chess can be weird), and at the second lowest setting, it utterly crushed me. And this was when I used the undo button several times. (Further granted, I don't play chess that often, and my game is probably a bit rusty.)

The problem is that the computer 1) can't be psyched out, faked out, or have its head messed with, and 2) it never makes mistakes, even at its absolute lowest difficulty. The only change seems to be in its aggressiveness.

If you wonder why I make the remark on psychouts, fakeouts, and so on, chess is a heavily psychological game as played between its masters. Why? Partly because most of them are, pardon my language, completely insane. One chess expert, after losing a game thanks to a stupid mistake, went to a chess parlor and used a meat cleaver to chop off the "heads" of all the queens in the establishment (the piece he moved when he shouldn't have was the queen), and that isn't necessarily the craziest chess story. No, that would be when the inmates from Bedlam's asylum beat an expert university chess team.

Yes. That happened. In real life.

Anyway, in case you were hoping for a visual component to this blog post, here's an embedded YouTube video with a clip based on the old Battle Chess video game (although be warned, there's a rather creepy sequence where the rook eats the queen-yes, eats the queen).

There's also this... less graphically sophisticated version, where if you look closely, you can see one knight dismembering another in similar fashion to the Monty "It's just a flesh wound" Python scene (so people say, anyway-I've never seen that movie myself).

And on a somewhat unrelated note, here's a Battle Chess game based on Chinese "chess."

You notice that one red pawn/peasant type piece? He takes out something like a quarter of the blue pieces unaided. That's kind of funny.

There's also Battle Chess 4000, which is really cartoonily amusing, but I probably shouldn't embed too many videos, and there aren't really any long videos for that one.

-Signing off.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (59)

From Fantastic Comics #7's Samson story comes this moment.

... You know, she didn't actually ask "why did you just break down the door and smash that antique chair?" She asked what you did to her father.


-Signing off.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Look, A Christmas-Themed Video!

I was going through older posts and correcting errors here and there (egregiously, I found that I had linked the same thing twice in one post, and it made the comment I made on the second link incomprehensible), and in the process of doing so, found this Christmas-themed movie trailer.

Be warned, it's pretty disturbing.

Kind of inevitable a movie like this would get made, I suppose.

-Signing off.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Game Review: Creeper World

Creeper World is a game that can be found in several forms; among these are online versions and a downloadable demo, and also a full version that can be purchased for about twenty dollars.

The crux of the game is that you have to fend off something called the Creeper. The Creeper is an amorphous purple something that is supposedly all but unstoppable and has wiped nearly all of humanity (on thousands or millions of worlds) out. In practice, it's far less terrifying. In fact, it's extremely similar to the "Smooze" from the My Little Ponies movie (I watched that with my sister once, and remember it considerably better than she does-it's probably the trauma), except that instead of driving it back with a bunch of magic flying horses, it's driven back by a massive series of fortifications and weapons systems that you must build.

Why do I make this comparison? Because the Smooze was hyped up in an extensive and annoying musical number as being unstoppable, and there's a rather extensive intro for the Creeper that plays it up similarly... and it just isn't true.

As a matter of fact, I've discovered that it's often rather easy to hold the Creeper back indefinitely. There are several key features of the game that impose difficulty on you, and there are several key features that let you fight off the Creeper with great efficacy.

First off, you need to control as much area as possible. The green area on the map represents the places that you have energy producing Collectors in; if you cluster them tightly, they're less efficient.

Second, on later maps (in the demo, you're introduced gradually to each new feature-I'm assuming that it essentially works simply as the earliest part of the full game) you must build SAMs, which are used to hold off Creeper spores, which periodically rain down and devastate areas they hit by filling those spots with Creeper.

Third, if Creeper reaches and touches one of your buildings, it starts very rapidly draining its health, sometimes taking it out instantaneously.

Fourth, if the Creeper has the high ground, your most efficient weapon, the Blaster, doesn't work on it.

However, that's just about all the bad news there is.

Taking territory from the Creeper is extremely easy if you have the high ground. It's harder without it, but not impossible.

The spores are less of a threat than they're made out to be-they're barely even a nuisance. They always come from the same direction, and you can dynamically place your weapon turrets, so you can just push forward with your SAMs after you get enough to protect your front line, and they'll cover your entire base.

There's no real defense against the Creeper killing your buildings if it touches them, but you can move your city (the big part of that network) in an emergency, so it's harder to be trapped than one might think. The Creeper moves like water, flowing downhill and filling in low-lying areas first, so it's very predictable, however. It also helps to separate the Creeper sources (those black circles deep in Creeper territory) from each other.

And finally, while the Blaster can't take the high ground, Mortars and Drones can, and they're far more potent per attack than the Blaster. The Mortar is basically the butter part of your bread and butter offensive, while the Drone is like a reusable nuke. (No pictures of the Drone, I'm afraid-I wasn't playing the demo level that had it.

One of the limitations of the basebuilding and energy supply of your base is that it happens in the form of "packets" that travel along the base's connection lines, and these packets have a definite, finite speed. There's a way you can improve this speed-constructing these red rhombus-shaped structures. It can really make an astounding difference...

...especially when you build a lot of them.

Initial inspection made me think that this game was a clone of The Space Game, but it actually has at least as much depth as the other game, and a more interesting enemy and game balance. According to the main page for the game, it also has something like 3.6 million game maps in the full version, so I'd say it has high replayability, too. I can definitely recommend playing the demo version, and if you decide you like it, I suspect that you could be playing the full version for the rest of your life and never run out of new maps to play.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hay Look Some Music

I'm afraid I burned through the day doing two things.

Thing number one: Getting some shopping, particularly Christmas shopping, done. (Only one present, but it's for my whole family and possibly even my blog readers, depending on how well it works out.)

Thing number two: Reading something else I bought today, a nice new copy of volume one of the Essential Spectacular Spider-Man.

So, um...

Here's some music from a movie I've talked about in the past.

(runs away)

-Signing off.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Video Boxes Were Better In The Old Days

Some good while ago, my mother brought home an old VHS cassette.

This isn't unusual; it seems like my family are the only people in the world who still use them, and everybody else on the planet is selling them for a quarter (okay, a dollar) apiece and then laughing at us. So we often pick up movies and things we wouldn't have found otherwise, and are often pleased with it.

This particular instance was special, for a few reasons.

First off, it was from an ancient dub of an even older Ultraman anime, and as I've stated in the past, I loves me some Ultraman.

Second, although the tape was old enough that it had acquired a permanent extremely loud buzzing sound on its soundtrack, it was entertaining (often for the wrong reasons) and had a gaggle of old previews for other tapes at the end of it.

Third, and most importantly to this post, is that the box itself is fantastic. It is seriously one of the most beautiful and incredible pieces of disposable entertainment related material I've ever seen.

It's not because of the artwork, although the front cover is actually pretty impressive (my sister color corrected it, so this image is prettier than the actual box itself!).

I'll point out that all those little spaceships were totally unrelated to anything that happened in the story. (Also, note that the company, F.H.E. [Family Home Entertainment], credits itself as "America's #1 Babysitter.")

Not even the back, really, although it has a rather typical description of ninety percent of the plot on it (darnit, you jerks! No spoilers!).

No, the thing that fascinates me and causes the box to move from merely being a typical box to something that motivates me to feel nostalgia for a time period I wasn't alive for is the fact that it's a layered box.

For those of you who don't remember the days of VHS (gosh I feel old), VHS tapes were usually sold in one of three ways. First, sometimes they would be a companion to some other item, and would have no actual permanent box to hold them. (I hate that, and it's no better when CDs and DVDs do it.) Sometimes, they would be sold in cheap cardboard packaging (which would be wrapped in plastic to be sold [much like a DVD case generally is], so that a tape couldn't be swapped out). And if the manufacturer was a high quality manufacturer (such as the Disney distributor), the box would be a large, book-shaped implement that completely protected the tape from dust and the like.

This tape's box was of the last sort, with a cardboard box to put it in. A box to protect the box.

Looking at it, I'm certain it's the oldest functional video cassette I've ever seen. Even the video store cassettes of things like Mighty Orbots and whatnot that my family used to rent were much newer than this thing. I know because most of those were also F.H.E. distributed, and by the time all of those were made, F.H.E. had completely different logos and the like.

I must also add that I'm horribly amused at old tapes where the previews (or "prevues," as this tape spelled it-no joke) are at the end, because if you don't like them, you can just ignore them. Ironically, I'm usually more interested in the previews on those old tapes, if only because it makes me intensely curious. (In fact, I was so flabbergasted by some of the "prevues" on this tape that I'm going to blog about them at some point.)

Anyway, that's all I have to babble on the subject of old VHS stuff that nobody else in the world cares about.

-Signing off.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Those Mon Calamari Are Great Folks

Taken from this Wookieepedia page, and preserved forever for posterity in case somebody notices:

Seriously, guys, pay more attention when you're composing your pages.

But not too much attention, because then we'll have less to laugh about later.

-Signing off.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Very He-Man Christmas Special

Y'know, I'm not actually real big on the "holiday spirit." I haven't listened to Christmas music outside of pesky commercials in years, my family doesn't have big celebrations anymore, and I hate "A Wonderful Life" to death. (So does my mother.)

But recently, I've been re-watching the complete DVD collection of Filmation's He-Man (I finished last night), and I suddenly thought that it might be entertaining to see if I could find some of the He-Man/She-Ra Christmas special from back in the day.

Guess what? Apparently, a whole bunch of companies put their Christmas specials up on Hulu for the month. I watched this one yesterday; hopefully, I'll remember to catch the Jackie Chan Adventures one.

I had a lot of fun, partly because I'm willing to forgive and ignore a lot of cheesy cartoon foibles, but it's also a rather fascinating piece as part of the wider franchise that it was connected to. It also had some parts that I genuinely found to be good entertainment (as well as some awful bits).

First up-the writing credits go to Bob Forward and Don Heckman. Bob Forward co-wrote several of the best episodes in the series, most notably "The Problem With Power" (an episode so popular that it essentially was retconned into being the He-Man series finale). According to Forward in some DVD commentary, he got his start as a writer because he was doing storyboards for a Fat Albert episode and made some changes to the story without authorization for it, then got in trouble when the writer found out after the episode was finished... and then the episode won an award.

Don Heckman, on the other hand, wrote at least one episode that was so bad that my sister and I don't watch it when we go through the series.

So if it seems kind of schizophrenic, that might be why.

The story starts fairly mundanely for an episode of He-Man-Orko gets into trouble, and they need to rescue him. What's unusual is that the cast of She-Ra is hanging around the Eternian royal palace alongside the He-Man cast, because Adam and Adora are about to celebrate their birthday.

It watches like a huge crossover comic event, except that they're sitting around decorating for a party.

But I think I'll skip over that bit.

Adora turns into She-Ra and goes back to Etheria because in order to rescue Orko, they need a magic crystal that can teleport things, and for some reason, it's underwater in an area with big monsters. She sends her mermaid friend to retrieve the crystal while she distracts-by which I mean "beats the tar out of"-the monster.

One of the things I've always loved about Filmation is that as often as not, they have pretty sharp monster designs; this one isn't one of their best, but it's still pretty nice. I'm pretty sure it's essentially one of their dragons with a different head and other dragon features removed, but it's still pretty nice.

The part where the story starts using elements that are interesting is shortly after She-Ra obtains the magic crystal thing. Suddenly, the ground bursts open...

...and these sensor tentacles pop out, followed shortly... this guy.

This giant robot is leader of the "Monstroids," a group of robots who show up without any warning, buildup, or explanation, and start roaming around generally causing all kinds of trouble. (There's a toy they were named after, but there's essentially no resemblance.)

What's really hilarious is that, once they've trapped She-Ra and her flying, talking unicorn in a magic bubble, they boast a bit...

...then they transform and drive off, to aforementioned unicorn saying "They're transforming? What evil robots!"

This would have been contemporary, of course, with the Transformers cartoon of the '80s, which was one of the He-Man and She-Ra series' main competitors for the "primary boys' toy/entertainment" position. That this line may well have been penned by Bob Forward (I'm inclined to think it was), who later worked on Beast Wars, the strongest of the Transformers cartoons, is a very special kind of irony.

Momentarily, She-Ra demonstrates one of the biggest issues with her cartoon: Her sword.

It was once stated by somebody, though I can't recall who, that She-Ra's sword was basically the biggest Deus Ex Machina in the entire series. He-Man's sword occasionally saw such uses, especially in lazily written episodes, but She-Ra's explicitly had Deus Ex Machina powers. All she had to do was shout "Sword to (fill in the blank)" and her sword could turn into the second thing, in this case fire. Yes, she turned her sword into fire.

Once she gets back, she gives the crystal to Man-At-Arms, who uses it to teleport Orko and the spaceship that he got into trouble with back from where they ended up... Earth.

And naturally, because this is a Christmas special, a couple of Earth children come with Orko.

That's right: Orko essentially just kidnapped some kids. The only place I remember Orko doing something potentially worse was when he glued Cringer to the floor so that he could experiment on him (thanks, D.C. and Richard Fontana).

Anyway, the only concern the children have, since Eternians are nice folk and plan on returning them once the magic crystal recharges (why not send them home with Castle Grayskull? There's a suspicious absence here) is that they're going to miss Christmas, so King Randor and Queen Marlena plan to expand the upcoming birthday celebration to include Christmas.

Unfortunately, Horde Prime, the most powerful villain in the He-Man/She-Ra series universe, hates Christmas spirit, so he decides to send the other villains, namely Skeletor and Hordak, to capture the children so that it can be disposed of.

While Skeletor's apparent allegiance to Horde Prime is extremely dubious because he's always fighting the Horde, Hordak especially, I can't help but find his eagerness amusing.

We soon see just what kind of thing Christmas spirit on Eternia spawns:

Music and dancing. (The She-Ra cast member Bow actually composed a song. I couldn't listen to it and had to turn the sound off.)

No wonder Horde Prime wants to get rid of it.

Hordak shows up in a helicopter (never mind that he has trouble reaching Eternia) and kidnaps the children, who are consecutively kidnapped from him by...

...the Monstroids.

Why are they doing this? Because they expect Horde Prime to show up to get the children himself, and they apparently are planning to have a supervillain rumble with him. On Christmas.

Yes, the Monstroids are just that awesome.

He-Man, She-Ra, and some weird little robot people show up to fight the Monstroids, and utterly maul them. In the process, She-Ra once again demonstrates her sword's powers, this time by turning it into some rope. While she does this a few times in the series, it was the first time I saw her do it with this much style.

I admit, I find this a rather cool image, even though it's totally silly.

Then, Skeletor shows up on a souped up Sky Sled.

Normally, there's only space for one person on there, but his is kind of a "stretch" Sky Sled, you might say.

While it would appear at a glance that the only function of this modified Sky Sled is to give the kiddies a place to sit, there's one other thing it can do:

Pop a cannon out its thrust vent.

Unfortunately for Skeletor, he was being followed by Hordak in a much bigger aircraft, and his sneaky cannon didn't do much good. He and the kids (and a robot dog) crash land in some mountains, where the kids promptly collapse.

He shouts at them to get up for a while, until he finally acquiesces to their complaints and gives them parkas with his magic powers. His attitude seems particularly odd-why is he treating his captives so horribly?-until one realizes: He's walking around in a hood and underwear! He doesn't even realize they're cold!

Eternians are a tough bunch.

Anyway, the little girl wants to get the creepy robot dog, but Skeletor browbeats her into leaving it behind. However...

...the dog gives him a soulful and incredibly creepy look, and the kids keep crying that he'll freeze, so Skeletor goes back and picks him up.

As you can see, Skeletor isn't too pleased with this development.

They then have a hilarious conversation about Christmas, which leads to Skeletor wondering if there are lots of fights on Christmas and whether the presents explode. Dude sounds like he'd be a blast at parties, doesn't he?

They later are attacked by a King Kong sized, ice breath blasting saber toothed polar bear (a similar creature appeared in the series, but much smaller), but Skeletor defends the children from it.

They tell him he's very kind, which ticks him off horribly.

Then Hordak and his army show up and take down Skeletor, and He-Man and She-Ra show up and start fighting Hordak's army.

Then Horde Prime shows up in his space ship and attacks with this... implement.

Sorry about the imagery.

I could have sworn I had a picture of the dog licking Skeletor's face to wake him up, but I guess you'll just have to imagine that bit. (I probably already met my quota of horribly embarrassing pictures of Skeletor with the last one in here.) Skeletor gets up, shouts "I must SAVE the CHILDREN!" and blasts the living daylights out of Horde Prime's ship (I mean, it was really pretty impressive), causing it to crash.

Horde Prime isn't pleased...

...but He-Man and She-Ra run over and throw it back into deep space, which elicits a rather angry tirade from Horde Prime.

I quote, "BLAST! BLAST! BLAST! BLAAAAAAST!" Considering this is a cartoon and that "Blast!" was one of Skeletor's stock angry words, that's kind of like dropping a cluster F-bomb.

Anyway, then everybody is happy that things are better. Except Skeletor.

This image is basically my favorite He-Man/She-Ra related image in the history of ever, by the way.

So why is Skeletor upset? Because the spirit of Christmas has turned him good. Yes, really. For Skeletor, that basically means his life is over, and he stands there with his face in his hands, bemoaning the end of his career of villainy.

The heroes give him hope, however, when they explain the simple facts to him: Christmas only comes once a year. He immediately responds with "Oh, THANK GOODNESS."

The kids are later sent home, where they shock their parents by turning on the flight belts that "Santa" (Prince Adam) gave them. I think "Santa" should have asked his mother (who was originally an astronaut from Earth, in case you didn't know) for slightly more appropriate gifts.

I can't say that this is a shining star from Filmation or anything, but I certainly enjoyed it.

-Signing off.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Look! A Movie Teaser Trailer of Some Sort! (runs away)

I was planning on doing a texty post with a few images tonight, but wound up with lots of images and not enough time to do the text.

So here's a movie trailer for some thing that's coming out that you might possibly have heard of.

I don't know why that dead robot had a tiny Unicron in its head... (Oops, possible spoilers! Hur hur hur... Not that I know for a fact that it's actually Unicron.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just Plain Crazy Comics: (Nightmare and Sleepy) And The Corpse That Steals Living Men's Faces!

Been a bit since I've done one of these. Keep a hand on your face, just in case this happens.

Anyway, this story is from Clue Comics #3, and is (obviously) part of the incredibly absurd Nightmare and Sleepy feature.

We start with some guys who just watched a hearse drive past. One of their number happens to be an undertaker, and makes a suggestion.

What a great idea! Let's all make a bet where we collect our winnings over each other's dead bodies! That will surely reinforce our friendship!

This panel brings up a question that I'm curious about:

Is it actually legal to work a bet into your will? That seems strange, at the least.

Anyway, the bet soon has a result. Just a few days later...

The undertaker died first.


At the funeral, the others are wondering if they'll be able to collect from the dead man.

Funerals are guaranteed to bring out the best in people, apparently.

And now we randomly check on our heroes, Nightmare and Sleepy:

Wait, what? What? You guys are basically hobos who occasionally get paid for wrestling in local matches when you get places. How the heck do you know about this bet, exactly?

Never mind.

Anyway, they see someone climbing up the side of a house.

Naturally, this arouses their natural alertness and suspicions, so their clothes "fly to the winds" (the story's words, not mine) and go running.

They corner the mysterious individual against the wall. (Wait, did that sentence make sense? I'm not sure.)

It has no face? Why...


... Sorry.

Anyway, long story short, the mysterious figure hits them a few more times and runs away.

Meanwhile, the guy in that house finds a note from the undertaker at his window that the figure was trying to get in. (Yes, really. Although the story doesn't make that terribly clear, by which I mean I only figured it out while closely examining the panels in preparation for this blog post. I've read it probably half a dozen times before.)

The note tells him where to collect, so he goes there.

And then he dies.

The story gets very repetitive and weird at this point (and it was pretty bad already), so I'll cut to the chase.

Nightmare finally has another fight with the dude, punches him in the face, and his mask shatters... because it was a mirror. (Seriously, that's the explanation for the stolen faces schtick?)

And surprise, surprise, it turns out that it was the undertaker.

So, let me get this straight: The undertaker was of reasonably sound body (other than the obvious), and an older gentlemen, but he was also mere hours from death. And he gave Nightmare, who is, need I remind you, a guy who makes money wrestling for a living (and is darned good at it, for that matter) a really hard fight?

Was this one of those crazy diseases that gives you superhuman powers while you're dying, or what?

I'm having trouble figuring out if this was really a weirder story than the Upside-Down Town one or not.

(Previous posts that mention Nightmare and Sleepy: Golden Age Moment of the Day #22, "Checking the Checker," "The Upside-Down Town."

-Signing off.