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March 3, 2010

Wacky Comic Wednesday: Stone Protectors

Stone Protectors #1

The Stone Protectors comic is an anomaly to say the least. There’s nothing odd about a comic book marketing toys to children, but this comic was a whore in the red-light district of toy merchandising. This team of roided-out trolls were a strange fusion of early-nineties preteen pop-culture that shamelessly borrowed from the era’s popular trends. A more fitting name for this ‘industry darling’ would have been Teenage Mutant Mighty Morphin Power Trolls, which is basically what they were. In an attempt to sell Treasure Trolls to boys, these freakish imps were given chest jewels, as opposed to the standard belly-button gem of their cutsie counterparts. In addition, they where armed with the most peculiar weapons of any toy line I‘ve ever seen. Here’s the Stone Protectors’ line-up and their arsenal:

Clifford: Toilet Plunger and a grappling hook
Angus: Pistol, and an ice cream cone
Cornelius: Electric guitar and microphone nunchucks
Maxwell: Bow that shoots monkey wrenches, roller blades, and a machete
Chester: Cat of nine tails composed of rotary telephone parts

I’m pretty sure this idea was pitched as a ‘slam dunk’ to Ace Novelty, the company that picked up the toy line. To understand why, you have to flashback to 1993 when the Stone Protectors comic was released. At that time, the most popular trends were Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Roller Blades, Professional Wrestling, Treasure Trolls, and Grunge/Punk bands. All of which were incorporated into the team’s persona.

The Stone Protectors Premier Issue by Harvey Comics told the origin of the team, and served as a 28 page commercial for the toy line. If you missed this colorful footnote in the history of popular culture, don’t sweat it. This review should tell you everything you need to know.

The comic opens in the alternate dimension of Mythandir, a mystical world of crystal that is being attacked by the evil Zok. In an act of desperation, Empress Opal (the ruler of Mythandir) sings an ancient melody which breaks a sacred stone, called The Great Crystal, into six sentient pieces. All escape Mythandir but the black gem (which is captured by Zok as it’s floating away). As the five remaining stones travel to earth, they mistake a band’s music for a sacred Mythandiran hymn. After busting through a stone wall (Kool-Aid man style), the gem’s unite with the  musicians and transform them into to the ungodly abominations known as the Stone Protectors. Amazingly, they think this is a result of a prank TV show, and the audience doesn’t even flinch.  While still in Mid song, their tour bus magically hovers onto stage with no explanation, and transports the band into the vehicle via tractor beam. Soon after, it morphs into a spaceship and is given the name,  The Rolling Stone. Meanwhile, the dialog reads like a lame movie script from the late 80’s, with words like egregious, euphonious, and audacious used to describe the unusual circumstances.

Before

After

Back on Mythandir,  Zok (with the aid of his henchman, Zink) kidnaps the empress, and takes over her castle. Then, he uses the black gem to breath life into a lava monster which he appropriately names Volcano Monster. When the Stone Protectors first see the kidnapped princess, Cliff yells, “babe alert!” Upon closer inspection, Cornelius soon trumps his teammate by declaring the situation a “super double babe alert” (this babe joke continues to be a painfully repetitive gag throughout the comic). The monster is quickly defeated and blown to oblivion by the sound waves of the Stone Protectors’ souped up instruments.

Simply Suggestive

During the battle, the villainous Zok is waving a snake in the empress’s face, and threatening to give her a toothache (I’m not sure if this scene contains a double entendre, but it sounds dirty).  Shortly after its destruction, Volcano Monster is brought back to life, and is easily defeated one panel later by a musclebound Treasure Troll on roller blades. Cornelius (the group’s lead vocalist) blows molten lava out of his mouth, and sets the throne room ablaze. Then, the team flies away in their spaceship with the empress as the castle explodes, and the villains escape. When she explains that the group’s skin has been permanently fused with the stones, Cornelius muses with a smile, ‘Then we really have become the Stone Protectors!” This is an abnormally upbeat response, considering the severity of their gem-induced deformities. What follows is a series of splash pages that can only be described as promo art for the toy line. The only actual ads that appear in the comic are for Stone Protectors merchandise. Inside the back cover, there’s an ad for a Stone Protectors T-shirt with a phone number. I dialed them up, and to my dismay, the line has been disconnected. I must admit, I was disappointed. At this point in my life, I would rock a Stone Protectors T-shirt with no shame.

Stone Protectors T-Shirt ad

I bought this comic way after the craze was over, and these toys peaked soon after my innocence faded into the dark abyss of my teens. I wonder if anyone holds these characters as true nostalgic memories, or if anyone remembers them at all. I’m genuinely curious.

Gratuitous Stone Protectors advertisements disguised as splash pages:

Cornelius is Magical samurai rock-star who also talks like Elvis.

Cliff never goes rock climbing without his lucky plunger.

Angus is a disfigured freak who enjoys murder and ice cream.

Maxwell Roller Blades while holding machete and often prays for the sweet release of death.

Dominatrix Chester lays down the law with his rotary phone whipping device.

Zok's Skeletor costume is always a hit at the Mythandir comic-con.

As Zok's henchmen, Zinc has access to an unlimited supply of cherry flavored Kool-Aid, but unfortunately, there's no dental benefits.

Click here to see the Stone Protectors cartoon intro. I dare you not to get this song stuck in your head!

Josh Jones
josh@comicattack.net

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8 Comments



  1. looool I think I had a few of these as a kid.


  2. Drew

    I loved the Stone Protectors


  3. billy

    Clifford definitely has the best weapons. lol



  4. I hated these things…a lot



  5. Oh man, I remember these commercials:

    “We’re the stone protectors! Our stones of power GLOW! We’re the Stone Protectors!”

    lol

    I think I owned one or two of these guys. They were always the chump dudes for my Ninja Turtles, X-Men, and Batman figures to kick the shit out of.

    “Then, he uses the black gem to breath life into a lava monster which he appropriately names Volcano Monster.”

    LOL! A house of ideas they ain’t!

    “When the Stone Protectors first see the kidnapped princess, Cliff yells, “babe alert!” Upon closer inspection, Cornelius soon trumps his teammate by declaring the situation a “super double babe alert” (this babe joke continues to be a painfully repetitive gag throughout the comic).”

    That’s f—ing highlarious.

    …you called the number for a t-shirt? Dude, that’s awesome. Imagine if someone were still sitting by that phone today, waiting for Stone Protectors t-shirt orders…

    Oh and where have I heard Mythandir before?… oh, that’s right: Mithrandir, Gandalf’s Elvish/Gondorian name.


  6. Drew

    Does anyone know where you can still get a Stone Protector’s t-shirt (I really want to wear one to a party just to be “that guy”, although someone may confuse me with a hipster then)



  7. @Drew- You can still score the SNES game, figures, and vehicles through online auctions.. but the T-Shirt has proven to be most elusive. I couldn’t even find a pic of one via Google image search.

    I concur with your hipster concern, but as long as it’s not worn with a pair of American Apparel skinny jeans while holding a can of PBR, you should be fine.



  8. […] not least, historyjka obrazkowa. Harvey Comics wydało 4 zeszyty z przygodami Opiekunów Kamienia. Warto sprawdzić recenzję numeru 0 na stronie Comic Attack. Na zachętę przytoczę jedno zdanie, będące równocześnie idealnym podsumowaniem tematu: […]



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