Comic Publishers

May 20, 2011

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: The Fly, Disney and Karate Kid!

Welcome back to another week here at From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! This week we look at the latest issue of Mickey Mouse and Friends from Kaboom!, old action from Archie by comic masters Simon and Kirby with The Adventures of the Fly, and a look at the 1989 animated TV series The Karate Kid which has been unearthed and given a second life by Netflix and iTunes (and is actually quite entertaining to watch)!

Before we get down to it, I also wanted to draw to your attention some amazing reprints that have been going on. Dark Horse Comics has done some delightfully cool archive editions with TheĀ Green Llama and others, but for me personally, none have been cooler than their series of Flash Gordon reprints, which I dig more and more with each volume. Check out our reviews of volume one, two, and three right here!

Out On Stands: Mickey Mouse and Friends #308
Publisher: Kaboom!
Writers: Noel Van Horn, Don Markstein, and Ted Osborne
Artist: Noel Van Horn and Flyod Gottfredson

The latest issue of Mickey Mouse and Friends has hit the stands from Kaboom!, and it’s another great issue packed with fun, featuring the tales “Metamorphosis” with art and writing by Van Horn, “Rocky Road To Ruin” with art by Van Horn and writing by Markstein, and “Mess Production” with art by Gottfredson and writing by Osborne; the first two are tales never before published in the U.S., and the 3rd not seen in print since 1934!

In the first tale Mickey goes to visit Doc Static who creates dozens of robots for his workers, but when he gets there he finds something has gone terribly wrong. Turns out his master machine has developed a will and mind of its own, enslaving Doc Static and setting his robots to be independent. Now it’s up to Mickey to fight off the machines and save Doc Static. Writing on this tale is fun and the artwork by Van Horn, specifically the array of swank little robots, is outstanding to look at. In the second tale, Mickey and Horace take over an ice cream shop as a favor, but are caught in the middle of a protection racket threatening the shop, which Mickey has a hard time explaining to Horace for fear he won’t believe him. Mickey tries to fight the racket without telling Horace, but how long can he keep it up? The art, again by Van Horn, is great, and although on the writing side it is a little predictable, I loved the fact that we got to see Horace in action. I love Goofy and Donald, but getting to see Horace in a big part was a nice touch for both a change in story and getting to see some other Disney stars in action. The final tale is a great little classic Mickey tale that will warm your heart, with classic Disney laughs (and again, featuring Horace to this reviewer’s joy).

In final thought, issue 308 of Mickey Mouse and Friends is a winner for readers of all ages. Pick it up, on stands now!

Can You Dig It (Out Of The Back-Bins): The Adventures of The Fly
Publisher: Archie Comics
Written By: Joe Simon and more
Art By: Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Al Williamson, Dick Ayers, Paul Reinman, and more

Some of the greatest stories in comic art are the ones where a simple child can transform into a being of immense power and justice. Just look at Captain Marvel, which is why it outsold Superman for years (and probably would’ve kept on if not for a lawsuit from DC Comics getting in the way). Archie Comics during the Silver Age had a slew of superheroes on shelves as well, one being a creation of Simon and Kirby known as The Fly.

The Adventures of The Fly is a fantastic comic to say the least. In reality he is a young orphan named Tommy Troy, however, when needed he uses a magic ring to change into the superhero The Fly to stop crime wherever it may lurk, giving us a being of great power with the heart of a child. Back in 2004, Archie reprinted the first four stellar issues in a nice collection that you can dig up and buy fairly cheap these days, and for the price you get Silver Age action just as good as anything Marvel or DC was cranking out. Page after page you get eye popping colors and awesome art as The Fly fights everything from frog men to the common crook, to even a leprechaun who pilots a huge robot. It’s fun, it’s action packed, and it’s awesomeness that shouldn’t be overlooked. Take the time and hunt these down.

Something To Watch: The Karate Kid

Thanks to Netflix Streaming and iTunes, you can now enjoy all 13 episodes of the 1989 animated series The Karate Kid. How good can a spin-off of a 1980s movie franchise be? Actually, it’s a lot of fun and I can say that honestly, I never review a TV show in this column without watching the entire run first, and so eating up all 13 adventures was nothing but a blast. Produced by DiC Entertainment and Saban Entertainment, it aired on NBC to not much fandom, and who could blame viewers at that time, already starting to get a little tuckered out on Karate Kid movies? Upon second look, though, all this time later it’s a good show. The show follows the plot of Daniel LaRusso (the Karate Kid) going on a quest with Mr. Miyagi across the globe to help a Japanese girl named Taki, in search of a lost statue from the temple she protects in Okinawa, which contains magical powers. In each episode we find the group in a different country around the globe, fighting against a baddie who is misusing the statue or helping out some good guy in trouble with the statue. Although the episodes all follow a formula, each one is just as entertaining as the next, with a new country and group of characters, giving each a new flavor. The quest (not to give much away) is never completed, probably to leave it open for more episodes, although interestingly they complete it in episode #8 briefly, only to have the statue plucked from its place once again. The animation on this show is fantastic as well, and just looks great; when the action flows it flows and makes it one of the reasons why it’s so great to watch. Your something to watch this weekend is The Karate Kid.

That’s it for this week, see you next, and remember, Kikaida loves you!

Drew McCabe




  1. BPS

    I heard a rap song mention Mister Miyagi. But it was the guy who beat up Rihanna, so it wasn’t as cool as it could have been.

    Rihanna should have swept the leg.

  2. I saw the Karate Kid on Netflix and started watching again a few days ago as well! Seein Miyagi wrestle an alligator was fantastic and I remember watching this show when I was a kid. I was actually impressed that I was still enjoying the episodes after so long.

  3. Billy

    I loved that crappy FG movie as a kid. Never really liked the books though. Good stuff Drew!

  4. Aaron Nicewonger

    Love Kikaider! And Metalder! And the anime! And Hakaider!

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