From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.197
And after about a month away, we are back! Welcome to our all-ages comics column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! What are you looking forward to this weekend? Maybe it’s the Olympics continuing to rock, or Suicide Squad continuing to possibly rock if its attendance keeps holding up, or marathoning Yokai Watch on Netflix, or best of course: a huge pile of comics for you to sit and read the day away with?! I know the last one threw you for a loop (joking, of course), but hey, really, there are lots of options for you in this world of globalization! Yes, in this modern world, everything has become smaller, easier to get, and things that were once overlooked years ago or maybe even never would’ve been released here in the past can be found these days. This week’s column is a great example of that!
You see this guy on the back of Overstreet, “Eric,” below?
Well, I know “Eric,” I know him so well I don’t even have to put his name in quotes, but I will for comedic purposes. “Eric” and I go back a good chunk of years, and one day before I knew it he was a comic book buying master! I visit a store on and off in which “Eric” is said buyer/adviser for their selection of good classics they carry for collectors. However, when I was at that store, do you know what they had when I visited? This gem, which I guarantee “Eric” did not buy for them:
Mantech: Robot Warriors
Publisher: Archie Comics
Art: Dick Ayers
Story: Rich Margopoulos
Ah, yes, Mantech: Robot Warriors. There’s no way “Eric” bought this. In fact it was bagged upside down with the board backwards when my eyes gazed upon its glory. I would be convinced someone’s Mom dropped in and sneaked these into the store, leaving them there now that her forty-year-old son finally moved out of her basement, if you told me that is what happened.
Now, despite my intro to the article here, Mantech is not a bad comic. Yes, it ties into a forgotten 1980s toy line produced by Remco that no one really bought, because they instead bought the superior Micronauts toy line. However, Remco was making the toy line based on Archie’s Mighty Crusaders at the time, and so hired Archie to make comics to be packaged inside the toys, like the Masters of the Universe line, and produce a bi-monthly comic book series. The series sadly only lasted four issues, although it sounds like they were planning more. The plot of unreleased issue #5 is advertised in the final issue, and in the letters column the editor, writer Margopoulos, got the hopes and dreams of fans up and said they hoped the comic would run over 100 issues (Shaun P. Barry of Easthampton, MA 01027, issue #3 – Shaun, I hope you sued Archie for psychological damages you received as a child when they cancelled after issue #4 and never gave you your hundred plus issues, most likely ruining your childhood). I cannot find any information on why it was cancelled, but my guess is between the 1984-1985 four-issue run, sales were low for both the book and the toys (really, does anyone have them), and so Remco asked them to close shop on it.
So what is Mantech about? Three astronauts end up on an alien planet where, after being brought out of hibernation, their saviors realize their bodies are deteriorating and they will die, and thus replace their bodies with mechanical bodies (that can interchange parts, just like the Remco toys). Col. Solomon Sunn becomes Solartech, Commander Cliff Stone becomes Aquatech, and Lt. “Laserray” Larson becomes Lasertech, also known as the Mantechs! This origin stated, the world they awake to in their new robot bodies is far from perfect, and the evil Tyranik commands a robot army at his disposal to conquer the planet and destroy organic life! Our heroes, Mantech, are this planet’s last hope!
The story is a little standard 1980s toy line tie-in setup, pitting good against evil while carefully executing the toy’s gimmick, and trying to give depth to these characters (in which by issue #4, the writer succeeds in doing!). On the art side, the work by Ayers captures the toys while carefully crafting a layout with the right amount of action to visually flow in all the right directions.
Look, although “Eric,” if that is his real name, didn’t buy it, and back issues can frequently be found under two bucks per issue, Mantech is worth the look! In a world of reboots and everything having adult spins or undertones, sometimes you have to gaze back at the books of yesteryear in your local back bins to find gems like this.
Hunt it down and check it out.
Now wait–you’re saying, Hey, Drew that example is one about it being a “small world,” a guy knowing a guy so he runs into something new, that was not about globalization at all! Well, you are right, dear reader, UNTIL WE GET TO MY NEXT TOPIC! Let’s talk about the worst cartoon show I have seen in ten plus years: Galaxy Racers!
Streaming On: Amazon Prime
I’m not going to lie to you: this show is a steaming pile of crap.
So why would I write about it? Simple: to warn you.
We live in a globalized world, and honestly I would never want to take that back. When I can read a French comic literally at my fingertips on my tablet, or watch an anime show day and date with its airing in Japan, I realize we live in a golden age for nerds.
That said, not everything is perfect. Some streaming services are so desperate for content they’ll air anything, and some of the more established ones will take piles of crap to build filler content that their competition doesn’t have, to sell the hard worker subscribers that buy it that they have something new that isn’t elsewhere.
At some point, Amazon Prime picked up a piece of Chinamation from a few years ago, called Galaxy Racers. Galaxy Racers is both grossly uninspired and extremely poorly animated. Both the translation and lack of title cards during credits is a joke. The dub is something from the early 1990s, but not in the good nostalgic way, in the I thought we ended this shit way.
The show rips off plots from the Tamiya race car anime, Speed Racer, Beyblade, and many more mass market young-shonen anime, and gives us a soulless husk that is only good to unintentionally laugh out loud at. China built this as one of their first official toy-and-show tie-ins, and I can only pray the toys weren’t as cheap as this work of animated slag.
Do not share this show with your children, unless your goal is for your children to grow up and murder you in your sleep when they become unstable teenagers.
I am always one to give everything a positive spin in my column, so I will say, if you HATE children, you should show them this and ruin their childhood. Also, maybe if you are an adult who likes getting drunk or high, and then indulges in terrible film and television, well here is your new six-pack favorite.
I cannot recommend this show. I can recommend that a petition should be started to take this dumpster fire off of streaming forever.
That’s it for this week! I’m gonna go text “Eric.” See you next!