Featured Columns

October 8, 2010

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Marvelman, Santo and much more!

If I was an exotic male dancer, there are plenty of songs that I could choose which would be fitting for this career. Cum On Feel The Noize by Quiet Riot would be a great choice, or perhaps something from the Scissor Sisters Night Work album. However, I am not an exotic dancer. I don’t need to worry about what my floor show song will be. I am actually a writer and director currently living in Buffalo, NY, in the United States. This just happens to be my column. This is what we call around these parts: From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays.

My first shout-out this week is to Tetsuya Shima in Japan, “Yo Shima-kun! O genki des ka?!” Tetsuya has the super-cool ability of taking classic theme songs from Japanese Superhero TV shows and transforming them into sheet music and playing them on the keyboard! He has covered an array of songs from Ultraman Leo, Kamen Rider Kabuto, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and so much more! Check him out on you-tube today! ASAP! Click here to check him out playing the theme song to one of my favorite TV shows from Japan of all time: Kikaida! Enjoy!

Collection of Awesomeness: Marvelman Classic Vol.1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer and Artist: Mick Anglo

It is no secret I adore Marvel Comics republishing the classic British Marvelman comics here stateside finally, as expressed a little bit back in this column. Now with DC comics canceling Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! with this month’s issue, I’m going to need to get my fix somewhere else. Fittingly somehow, like when the British gave us Marvelman as an alternative to Shazam!, when Captain Marvel was canceled all those years ago, Marvel Comics is giving us Marvelman again, right when things are changing. I have to salute Marvel on all fronts for both bringing this classic character in his classic adventures that barely saw the light of day here in the states back to light, and giving us such a nice presentation of the material.

Marvelman Classic Vol.1 collects Marvelman issues #25 (when the title switched from Captain Marvel to Marvelman) and issues 27-34 (not even mighty Marvel could find a copy of issue #26. Most collectors debate if issue #26 was even published, but Marvel has assured if the issue does exist, it will appear in a future volume of the collection). We get an amazing feast of fun-filled adventures, and the cook providing us with both art and writing is Mick Anglo. Anglo has provided us with brilliantly bold art, feeling right at home with any Fawcett titles, and a ton of light hearted yet action-packed stories that can entertain everyone.

Not sure if you’ll fully enjoy the swankness that is Marvelman? Check out the mini Marvelman Family’s Finest from Marvel, as I talked about here, for a sampling of what lays in the pages of this collection (also click on the article if you are wondering about the history of Marvelman and want to know more).

Lucha-Loco: Santo y Blue Demon contra el Doctor Frankenstein

As mentioned last week briefly, I’ve had Mexican luchadores on my mind lately. This whole Mexican Superhero culture entertains me beyond belief, and I’ve been fascinated for a few years now with it. I’m talking beyond what American’s know, which usually is limited to pretty much Nacho Libre and the occasional masked wrestler on TV or in a video game. I’m talking guys like Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Mascaras, and more.

Lucha libre started out in just the rings of Mexico, with masked wrestlers known as luchadore stepping up to plate to fight. The coolness factor of the luchadore comes not just with their signature wrestling moves, but also the fact they never remove their mask to reveal their identity no matter what, and most who are de-masked in the ring retire immediately to never wrestle again. This phenomenon of masked wrestlers grew in popularity and before you knew it, they were invading everything outside of the ring from movies to toys to comic books. In both film and comics, luchadores take a very interesting stance. They wrestle during the day for their jobs just like in real life, using the same identities that they use in the ring, but by night they fight crime, monsters, aliens, chupacabras, and whatever else threatens the life of Central and South America! They even have an Avengers/Justice League-like team called the Campeones Justicieros.

The most famous luchadore is Santo, the silver mask, who has starred in over 200 films, comic books, and more. The second most famous is Blue Demon, who also starred in dozens of movies and more. At one point, the marketing geniuses in Mexico thought it was a good idea to bring them together and have them fight a slew of monsters across several films, which brings us to Santo y Blue Demon contra el Doctor Frankenstein (in English Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dr. Frankenstein). The plot straight forward: after a hard day’s wrestling, champions Santo and Blue Demon have to save their friend Alicia who’s been abducted. Seems she’s been captured by Dr. Frankenstein, who is kidnapping women across Mexico to switch out their brains and bring back his deceased wife. Santo and Blue Demon take on him and his gigantic zombie Golem, all to save the day.

This film is 70s cinema at its best, provides us with great wrestling matches, colorful luchadores, and some fun monster action along the way!

Something To Watch: Casper

Back in 1995, Universal Studios gave us a great treat with a live action Casper movie, all about the friendly ghost himself. The movie did pretty well at the box office and spawned a handful of direct-to-dvd movies and a brand new cartoon series that ran on Fox Kids for a few seasons. The movie also introduced me to my childhood crush Christina Ricci, whom I then fantasized about committing Seppuku over, so I could become her dead-specter of a boyfriend.

Casper is a solid film. I enjoyed it as a kid when I saw it opening day at the cinema and I enjoy it today, whenever I catch it on TV or DVD. It tells the story of James Harvey (played by Bill Pullman) and his daughter Kat, who are hired to go into a mansion and communicate with the ghosts who are haunting it, to get them to leave so a spoiled woman can knock it down to find a rumored treasure that lays inside. They make contact with Casper, a friendly little ghost, and his ghostly trio of trouble making uncles. In case you haven’t seen it, I’m going to leave this spoiler free, however a ton of fun and adventure ensues, including some really touching moments on film. For a more family fun ghost story this Halloween season, I suggest you pick up a copy of Casper. You can find it at a ton of stores, like Target or Wal-Mart, for under 8 bucks on DVD.

Purchase of the Week: Bazooka Joe T-shirt

Come on, who doesn’t need a Bazooka Joe t-shirt? Bazooka Joe has been entertaining us along with his gang, in his comic strip featured on the wrappers of Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum since 1953. What more could you want other than sugary bubble gum and comic strips in the same package? Well here is the answer to that question: a t-shirt of Bazooka Joe himself! Awesome!

Well, that seems about it around these parts for this week. Off I go for now, and remember, Gamera love you.

Drew McCabe



  1. Billy

    So, there may or may not have been an issue #26? lol

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Gwen Turner. Gwen Turner said: From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Marvelman, Santo and much more! http://dlvr.it/6mL62 […]

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