As promised in my first post of the year here is a post on Jerry Ordway´s FANTASTIC FOUR work during John Byrne´s legendary run on the title.
Now those who read that post might remember that I said I was only going to do one post about it but as always thing´s didn´t work out that way.
At first I had barely enough for one post but being the perfectionist I am I did a little research to find more original art. And if I have more original art then I need to have those pages in color to go with them and before long there were so many exciting moments that I wanted to add that I have to expand it to two posts - at the very least. Maybe there will be a third post some day but at the moment it looks like I can cover this all in two posts.
I hate to throw my readers into the cold water so to speak so let me wax philosophic a bit about the issues that are going to be featured here and in our next post - which will be the prequel to this post but I am going to post it later. That kind of makes no sense but this is how we roll here.
Okay, let´s get back to Jerry Ordway on FANTASTIC FOUR. Taking the entire run of John Byrne on the FF Jerry Ordway only inked a small fraction BUT I think it´s a very important part. Not only because it was around the time I became a regular reader of the american issues of the book but because a lot of significant things and changes took place. In fact one of these changes is the reason why this is the first post and not the second post.
Longtime readers already know how I came to read super hero comics in the original american issues so I won´t bore them with repeating the story ( all others have to check out older posts or wait until the fancy strikes me ) but what I can´t spare them is something that I can´t stop talking about because not only is it my favorite company - wide crossover of all times and basically my introduction to those original american comics I just mentioned but it also ties into the issues that make up Today´s post.
SECRET WAR, YEAH, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR ? ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING !
Yes, I´m talking about SECRET WARS II. Some people are probably rolling their eyes right now or face - palming but I have a bit of nostalgia for what was basically just supposed to be a quick after shot for one of Marvel´s most successful mega - events but then became so much more. As always there are comic readers who don´t like big events and there are good events and bad events. And I´m not talking about the stories here. For me a bad event is one where you HAVE to read other titles to understand the main event. Which means you have to spend money on books you don´t want to buy. A good event is one where you DON´T have to read other titles to understand the main event but you do it anyway because they are just so good. Like INFINITE CRISIS where the build up took 3 years.
The reason why SECRET WARS II became such a favorite crossover of mine is on one side that it took place when I entered this brave new world. I mean I had read american super hero comics before but that was mostly in the translated versions for Germany or Spain. And it´s not like I hadn´t read original american comics before because we got a big stack of mostly CONAN THE BARBARIAN by John Buscema ( which effectively ruined me for any later incarnations of Robert E. Howard´s most famous creation ) from one of my uncles who was a G. I. But this was the first time I had an outlet where I could buy those issues myself on a semi - regular basis.
Now I´m saying semi - regular because I hadn´t found a proper comic store - yet - so said outlet was the international newsstand at the main railroad station in Stuttgart which was just one subway station from where I did my apprenticeship to be a car mechanic or motor vehicle mechanic like it was called in them days. And every few days I took the subway to drive one more station and buy whatever issues I could find there. And I mean WHATEVER issues I could find. Because one month I would get FANTASTIC FOUR then the next months I wouldn´t and I would read HULK or THOR. Whatever comic they got, as long as it looked interesting I bought it.
You might ask how I could afford to be so casual but for one distribution was very sporadic so this was more out of necessity as you never knew which series would be available when you got there. And back then it didn´t cost you an arm or a leg like nowadays where comic prices are at five bucks. In those days comics cost 65 cents and as I was getting a bit of spending money for the first time in my life ( my parents didn´t believe in allowances so when I was doing the apprenticeship I was allowed to keep part of the apprentice´s due ) you could get a big stack of comics for 20 or 30 bucks and I would spend the whole weekend just reading comics.
So I was getting scattershot issues of multiple titles with not much to connect them - except SECRET WARS II. I had the fortune ( or misfortune for some people ) to start during that crossover and while most of the issues I got were from different series there was this weird almost godlike guy who kept popping up in more and more of those books so that they were all bits and pieces of a larger story. And like Donald Trump would say, this story was HUGE and involved every character in the Marvel universe.
Sooner or later. Because that´s the thing. The reason why I rate SECRET WARS II as one of the good events is that there was the main title and the crossovers. If you wanted to read only the main story you could just read the main title and you didn´t need to read any of the crossovers. And if you wanted to read how certain characters interacted with this weird guy you could read the crossovers and you would get more facets of the story.
But you really didn´t need to read the crossovers. And it wasn´t like Today where an event comes along and all titles during that event deal with it. One month HULK or THOR or FANTASTIC FOUR would cross over then the next month it would be other books. Some were more involved others like MICRONAUTS or ROM only had one connection. In fact ALPHA FLIGHT only has one issue that crosses over and it´s only for a few pages.
I´m still happy that it did because that means that I got an additional ALPHA FLIGHT issue by John Byrne in my SECRET WARS II omnibus.
Now speaking of the story I have to make a small distinction here. The main story is not that mind - blowing although I have to say that big part of it probably went over my head because I was still too young to fully grasp it. It really is fleshed out much better by the tie - in stories which is not surprising since they give the writer more time to go into it. There are some really good stories in the SECRET WARS II crossover, specifically in the FANTASTIC FOUR title. You will find several tie - in issues on Best Of lists like the sad tale of the tragic end of Johnny Storm´s biggest fan .
Another thing that drew me into SECRET WARS II in such a big way was the fact that most of the heroes looked totally new to me. In Germany the issues were sometimes lagging years behind the US issues and change was the name of the game. Iron Man was wearing a brand new silver and red armor, Spider - Man had a brand new black costume ( that I foolishly thought he would keep from now on ), Captain America was also wearing a brand new black costume and calling himself just The Captain and Thor was also wearing armor now. And even if I was familiar with some teams like the Avengers or the X - Men the lineup was completely different. Now some people find that annoying and don´t ever want things to change but for me it was an exciting time full of new discoveries on every page turn.
Remember that I said that there were a few significant changes during Jerry Ordway´s stint on the FF ? Well, one of the most important changes of the entire team´s history took place during SECRET WARS II and with that I want to give the metaphorical microphone over to Jerry Ordway since I won´t spoil it. I just want to mention that while the name of Jerry Ordway may not be well - known to Today´s comic fans most of them have read these issues in the many omnibus or trades that exist from this run.
So there you have it. In this story Susan Richards stopped calling herself the Invisible Girl and went by the Invisible Woman and besides growing up as a character she introduced us to Malice and one of the best costumes for cosplaying. Also pretty easy to get if you are into S & M anyway. It would only be eclipsed by the costume with the 4 - shaped cleavage window she adapted during Paul Ryan´s run on the FANTASTIC FOUR.
Speaking of significant changes in the Marvel universe, most people know that one of John Byrne´s issues - Fantastic Four 286 - lay the groundwork for the following X - Factor series by bringing Jean Grey back from the dead. What most people don´t know is that the story that was published was not the original story by John Byrne. In the first draft the Phoenix was a malignant spirit and Jean Grey had to trick it into believing it was Jean Grey so that it could sacrifice itself later. Now for some reason Jim Shooter felt it wouldn´t fit the narrative so he had Chris Claremont write the version we all know now where the Phoenix is a much more positive force of the universe and it was drawn by Butch Guice. And you can find the unpublished pages on MARVEL COMICS OF THE 1980s and TAPATALK .
Because it has not been that long since our last post the only birthday worth mentioning that I already covered in years past is Edgar Allen Poe´s anniversary which was Yesterday. I have mentioned him in a few posts but in 2016 I did a post with two comic adaptions of Edgar Allen Poe stories, The Black Cat by the late Bernie Wrightson from Creepy 62 and The Raven by Richard Corben from Creepy 67 that newer visitors might want to read.
Speaking of newer visitors, while I wrote in the first Jerry Ordway post that I wanted to make this section shorter I still want to keep the blog as accessible to readers who are here for the first time. So there may be a few things here that I just addressed in my last post but it´s just that by some strange coincidence the same topics - or better cult sirens - keep popping up. Case in point : we start Today´s birthday list with sexbomb Stacey Dash, who turns 51 and appeared in such movies like Mo Money, Getting Played and Illegal In Blue but is best known for starring in the movie Clueless and repeating her role in the television version of the film.
Stacey is really the only reason to watch the Clueless tv series since she busted out on that show. Sadly she waited with posing for PLAYBOY until she was 40 years old although her pictures still turned out pretty hot.
It seems she´s in the news mostly because of her strange political views than anything else and I have to ask me what went wrong here. I mean, one moment she´s the überhot sex symbol who made all male viewers instantly hard on Clueless, she went naked in movies like Tennesse Nights and even posed naked for PLAYBOY and now what ? That´s crazy. One reason why I am mentioning her again is that she had an appearance on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air where she played a rock star Will dated.
Of course a big part of that show´s success and continued appeal around the world ( there are probably only a few people on the face of the planet who can´t recite the lyrics to the title song in their sleep ) is Tatyana Ali who grew from a cute little girl into an incredible sexbomb over the course of that series and who got to show her musical skills.
Much to the chagrin of the show´s producers she really bOObed all out in later movie appearances like The Clown at Midnight or Fall Into Darkness .
I found a video where Stacey discusses the sexual harassment charges that are currently going on in Hollywood and she looks incredibly hot.
Speaking of absolute sexbombs, Lorenzo Lamas celebrates his 60th birthday who is best known for getting beat up by the asian butler on Falcon Crest and a series that never made sense as the main character is an ex - cop, wrongly accused for the murder of his wife who hides from the law while working as a bounty hunter. By the way, if you don´t know Renegade ( how I envy you ) you should avoid it at all costs unless you´re a really big fan of Gambit or Lorenzo Lama´s hot wife Kathleen Kinmont.
Anyway, coming back to Renegade a fugitive working as a bonty hunter. Isn´t that the worst idea ever ? I mean, even if you ignore the fact that he risks being caught every time he goes into a police station to collect his money how does he know he won´t meet another bounty hunter while hunting a criminal who recognizes him from the wanted poster ?
Not that Renegade was the epitome of logic but how did they miss this one ? And they even had an episode in which all the bounty hunters met.
Now while the show never won any awards at least the casting is very favorably stacked in regards to hot babes and aside from playmate material Kathleen Kinmont you have tv screen sirens of high caliber guest starring like hasian Kelly Hu, Leah Remini, Angie Harmon, the sexorcist Linda Blair, Tracy Scoggins who outsexed Teri Hatcher on Lois & Clark, Fabiana Udenio, Janet Gunn and Becky Mullen whom I just mentioned in my last post.
Besides appearing as Sally, the farmer´s daughter on the first season of Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling and various guest appearances on every major tv show ( of which her most memorable is an episode of Married with Children opposite Pamela Anderson - see GIF above ) Becky starred in various erotic midnight movies including Sinful Intrigue where asian nympho masseur Mai Ling played by sex machine Chona Jason steals the show. With all that said german audiences know her best because she took her clothes off on Tutti Frutti . Becky´s biggest contribution to american culture however is her role in Hard Hunted and there are also two other actresses from Andy Sidaris movies who appeared on Tutti Frutti , Sandra Wild and Carolyn Liu. I wrote more about all this at length in my special Andy Sidaris edition of Casting the Justice League of America movie post .
Becky Mullen´s post is a spin - off that used to be in one post with Janet Jones Gretzky , best known for appearing in a white swimsuit in Police Academy 5 - Assignment Miami Beach and real live Power Girl Leslie Easterbrook who had the most famous scene in Police Academy 4 - Citizens on Patrol in which she emerges from a pool in a wet t - shirt .
The post also included 80s cult siren Monique Sluyter and the Tutti Frutti girls but that part got too long and I had to give it a post of its own which I re - posted in 2016 in a new and better version . I cast her as Fire a.k.a. Beatriz da Costa in the aforementioned Casting the Justice League movie special post and before getting her solo post she was regularly mentioned during the annual re - posts of italian mega soccer MILF Simona Ventura .
Closing out the part of guest stars on Renegade there are two more names readers of this blog should have heard once or twice, the first being Bruce Penhall who also starred in many Andy Sidaris where such dicktamers like Roberta Vazquez or Julie K. Smith rubbed their big boobs all over his body.
But the second and most important is PLAYBOY´s Playmate of the Month for May 1994, Shae Marks. This hot mix of cherokee, irish and french had cameos on Married With Children, Viper and Black Scorpion but is best known for Andy Sidaris Day of the Warrior and Return to Savage Beach .
Well, that was a whole litany of sexy babes with a lot of links in a short space but the good thing is that you can skip that much more easily. And I didn´t even bring up Carolyn Monroe, Power Girl or 80s cult siren Markie Post and her incredible bikini scenes on The Fall Guy like I usually do.
Anyway, we´re coming from the testosterone filled Bullets and Babes realm to the world of british pop culture, or rather british culture in general as Doctor Who has become such a big part of everyday life that there probably isn´t a person who hasn´t at least heard of Doctor Who.
And most people associate Tom Baker with the role. Really, if you ask people on the street about Doctor Who nine out of ten will mention Tom Baker because he was the most popular one, he had a really long stint as Doctor Who and he brought a lot of things that are iconic : the fedora, the scarf that went on forever, the jelly babies, Sarah Jane, K 9 and Unit.
He turns 84 and while I haven´t done a post specifically for him I did write a post on his birthday in 2016 about Power Man & Iron Fist 79 in which the heroes for hire meet Doctor Who and fight the Daleks. Well, kind of. And since I am talking a lot of coincidences in this post I had to look this up but in 1973 Tom Baker played Koura in the movie The Golden Voyage of Sinbad which also stars Caroline Munroe who I mentioned in my last post.
We make the leap from british sci fi cult shows over the pond to american tv space adventures with the late DeForest Kelley, known throughout the galaxies for portraying another famous Doctor, Dr. Leonard " Bones " McCoy who was part of the holy trinity on the original Enterprise on Star Trek.
Originally I had a video of Power Records Star Trek here but I wanted something with more DeForest Kelley in it for the obligatory music video.
Now I thought about ending the post with one of the classic science fiction cartoon shows like Galaxy Rangers, Captain Future, Bravestar or Saber Riders but instead I picked one I have never heard of : Starcom.
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