Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lost in translated comics

After almost a week since my last post it´s finally time for me to stop with the research for the next posts and write something. Because researching comics is all I did this week and it all started with MYKROS.

I mentioned them in my last post and when fellow blogger Terry Hooper - Scharf from the excellent COMICBITS ONLINE ( you DO check it out on a religious basis, right ? ) mentioned in the comments section how a lot of his BASTEI MYKROS issues were stolen I went looking in the catacombs of my vast comic collection to see if I could come up with a few issues.

Which would have been a more successful search if I hadn´t looked in the pocket book section. Because while MYKROS was published in german by BASTEI ( apparently until issue 21 ) there were no pocket books among them. But I DID find pocket books 8 and 9 of DAS RUHMREICHE STAR - TEAM which was Condor´s german version of THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS.

For some unknown reason the name of THE SHIELD was changed to STAR MAN in Germany and so the team was called THE FAMOUS STAR TEAM.

Which later on led to a lot of confusion on my part because I thought that John Carpenter movie was a comic book adaption. I was disappointed.


There have been a lot of different Starmen in comics ( not counting the one from Star Team ) and according to when you were born - or which comics you read - your Starman is either the original, Ted Knight,

a blue skinned alien named Mikaal Thomaas,

another alien ( with pinky skin ) called Prince Gavyn,

another alien played by Jeff Bridges in that sci fi classic STARMAN,

 finally a guy from good old planet Earth called Will Payton

and last but not least ( verily his is one of THE best comic series EVER ) legacy hero Jack Knight who was rather reluctant to pick up the mantle from his brother who had a far too brief stint in the original costume.

You can say what you want about ZERO HOUR but there were some great books coming out of that reboot book´s fallout and it was my starting point for happily engaging - once again - in the Legion of Super Heroes.

Which had a member, Thom Kallor, called Star Boy, who later became tied into the Starman legacy by James Robinson ( as most of the other Starmen at some point of the book ) and who played important parts in two of my favorite reads : Justice Society of America´s THY KINGDOM COME and LEGION OF THREE WORLDS. Both comics were - strangely enough  - written by Geoff Johns who was really firing on all cylinders.

But I don´t want to go into all the details of the different Starmen ( some like Ted Knight and Prince Gavyn will pop up in my next posts anyway ) because that would be a post on its own and it has already been covered at length by Professor Scott Tipton in his great COMICS 101 Starman posts ( Ted Knight / other Starmen / Jack Knight part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4 / part 5 / part 6 / part 7 / part 8 / part 9 / part 10 / 101 archives ).

So let´s get back to DAS RUHMREICHE STAR TEAM, shall we ?


Going over the contents of issues 8 and 9 I realized that two of the artists on the book - Tony DeZuniga and Dick Ayers - have passed away since.

Now with Tony DeZuniga it´s not such a big surprise that he did some of the inking on this because during the time I started collecting comic books he was everywhere. There was no genre where he wouldn´t pop up sooner or later and no matter if you were a DC guy reading JONAH HEX, a Marvel guy reading THOR or you picked up such indie titles like NOW´s TWILIGHT ZONE he was there. It would be probably faster listing the DC and Marvel titles he didn´t work on and if you are reading the ESSENTIALS or SHOWCASE editions his name will be appearing in the credits again and again. He was one of Marvel´s house inkers together with other stalwarts like Romeo Tanghal and Steve Leihola - in fact Tony DeZuniga was on Peter David´s first issue of THE INCREDIBLE HULK.

As for Dick Ayers, his list of work is even longer ( you can find out more about it here ) since he did every genre from monsters to westerns to war comics to superhero stuff like The Fly, Freedom Fighters, Iron Man, the Avengers or Red Wolf and even Femforce, one of my brother´s favorites.

So on STAR TEAM they both worked on it although the german credits don´t clearly state who did what. Rich Buckler also did some of the art and he´s also one of those unsung comic artists who keep popping up lately in my reading material like All - Star Squadron, DC Comics Presents or Avengers. One of those days I´ll have to do a post about him and that other dude who always did the art in the comic books I read, Keith Pollard.

Back to STAR TEAM, re - reading the pocket books wasn´t easy because one story began in number 8, was continued in number 9 and probably beyond while the rest was filled with other stories with different heroes.

Which was one of Condor´s many problems. According to The Mighty Crusaders homepage " the series was running in Germany from 1982 - 1984 in paperback form. The stories inside have been shortened and panels have been rearranged. Covers are not the original ones either. The paperbacks had just one newly made or pasted cover - the single issues covers are missing. The series was not very popular due to the lousy combination of several series in one book without any chance of continuity. " And the bad translation didn´t help sell it much either.

So it´s no wonder I have only two of the books in my collection.

If you want to know exactly which issues were in which german pocket book or if you want to check out all the full size cover scans ( I had to cut them down in size a bit ) here´s the link to THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS .


Once again I have to finish the post sooner than planned as it has gotten longer - and in different directions - than anticipated but not before the usual things have been taken care of. While looking for covers of the post ZERO HOUR Legion I found issue 78 of LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES

which of course is an homage to this ADVENTURE COMICS cover

which was used for this crossover that never happened.

Another homage is issue 101 with Ayla taking the place of her brother

from the classic THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF LIGHTNING LAD storyline that reached its culmination in ADVENTURE COMICS 312

which was reprinted in issue 403 of the same title. And if you are still not a Legion fan CBR´s article DON´T FEAR THE LEGION might convert you.

So that´s it for Today as I really should have spent most of the day with sleeping the Odin Sleep - as they say - to be fit for work on Saturday instead of writing these long postings. But we will continue this topic with more Condor, more german comics and spanish comics in our next post.

And since Today´s post started with german comic series STAR TEAM the video at the end of the post is one of Germany´s funniest comedy duos MUNDSTUHL with their sketch on Superman vs Batman. " Hitzeblick ! "

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best


Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

So many Star men?!!! I liked the original and there was a Steve Ditko Star Man (unless I'm getting confused?)but avoided all the new ones but maybe I'll re-think that attitude!

As for the Archie Crusaders...I was having a phone chat with their PR man Rik Offenberger about three years ago and he mentioned the difficulty had selling the series The CRUSADERS to Arabic publishers!!! I pointed out that "Crusaders" is not a very loved name or word in the Middle East -apparently they realised that after!!!!
The Shield in German would be der, that'd still work and I can't find any German characters by that name that might have caused copyright problems. Was it Lancelot Strong called the Star? That's him on the cover but with Crusaders that would be the original Shield...WHAT did they call Lancelot Strong??

Nice post as usual! Now I need to rest my eyes!

SUBZERO said...

Yes, the post ran a bit long and since it took forever to load I have put part of it into a separate post.

The Crusaders thing is funny. It´s like the story where a company couldn´t sell a cleaning cream in Japan because they read from left to right. So the pictures in the instructions looked to them like you were dirty after putting it on. Who buys something to get dirty ?

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Are we talking porn DVDs???? They just turned up -I NEVER ordered them!!!!

SUBZERO said...

Yeah, that´s what they all say, bub. Tell it to the judge. ;-)