MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL #15 STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE

“Star Trek The Motion Picture”
Writer: Marv Wolfman based on screenplay by Harold Livingston. Story by Alan Dean Foster & Gene Roddenberry.
Artists: Dave Cockrum & Klaus Janson

A mysterious alien craft appears in the Klingon sector and destroys three cruisers. It is headed toward Earth and Starfleet assigns the Enterprise to investigate. Admiral James T. Kirk manages to get command of the ship which causes some resentment from its current captain Decker who is reduced to executive officer. The ship meets up with the alien ship which is called V’ger. It is from an alien civilization of sentient machines. V’ger is going to Earth to meet up with its creator. It views carbon based life as some sort of infestation and plans to destroy it. Now Kirk and the crew must stop V’ger.

“Star Trek the Phenomenon”
By Tom Rogers

An article of the popularity of the series. An interesting fact is that the series was to be cancelled after the second but a massive write in campaign forced the network to renew for a third season to stop having to deal with all the mail. Of course the executives put it at a time that guaranteed its failure. Luckily syndication kept the series alive. Interesting to read this article since it was before all the spin-off series and movies.

“Touching Base with Reality An Interview with Jesco Von Puttkamer”

Puttkamer was the science adviser to the movie and a scientist from NASA. He talks about the future of NASA and its new shuttle program. Sad because of the tragic fate of two of the four shuttles. Also sad that America has no active space program these days.

“Star Trek The Motion Picture Glossary”
By Tom Rogers

A glossary of the people and terms from the new movie. A useful glossary.

So this adaptation was a good faithful adaptation to the movie. Now I haven’t seen this movie since it first came out 38 years ago. I remember I was impressed with the visuals but the story seemed lacking. It was basically recycling a mediocre episode from the old series. Of course its main appeal was the nostalgia for this series which I loved and still do. Reading this I have a new appreciation for the movie and will have to seek it out and watch again. After all while the movie itself was so-so it did set the stage for The Wrath of Khan which is probably one of the finest movies of all time. Not to mention all the spin-offs and other cool movies.

Advertisements

MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL #13 WARRIORS OF THE SHADOW REALM

“The Soul Shrine”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: John Buscema

Tyndall, Velanna and Mud-Butt are learning the origin of the Darklens Gems. Darklens the evil dark god who was exiled to Weirdworld after challenging the other dark gods. Darklens was not happy and decided to get back in the good graces of his fellow dark gods. So he came up with a plan to destroy Weirdworld so he could impress them. The light gods sent a comet that crashed into him. His followers the Dark Riders managed to transfer his soul into the crystals. The crystals were somehow lost before the solstice.

So Zarthon transports our heroes to the Tomb of Limbo where the remains of Darklens is located. There they are to use the crystals to burn his bones and thus end the threat he poses. So they get there and get in a fight with some savage elves that are guarding the tomb. They convince the elves they are on the side of good and go to the tomb. There instead of burning the bones they find the body taken over by Zarthon who now is evil. The Dark Riders come and get into a fight with Zarthon who turns into Darklens. Luckily the innkeeper comes who is a mage for the light and turns into the giant white wolf and destroys both Darklens and the Dark Riders.

“Encounter At Half-way Earth-Weird”
By Doug Moench

A fictional interview with the cast of Weirdworld by Moench. He comes on them while walking in Pennsylvania and discusses their adventures. Kind of an interesting way to explain the writing of this series.

“Over the Hills and Far Away”
By Ralph Maccio

An article on the history of fantasy in literature. Kind of a dry boring article.

“Polychromatic Effulgence”
By Richard Marshall

An article on the early fantasy illustrations in America. He has examples from cartoon strips that appeared in newspapers around the turn of the century. This didn’t hold my interest.

The final issue in the trilogy. Now the story did seem to fall apart for me at the end. I mean Zarthon was good then evil. That wasn’t really explained well. Also the main characters were reduced to spectators. They just watched what was happening. To be fair thought the main draw for this series is the stunning artwork. Buscema claims this was his best work and I would agree. Once again we get spectacular double page full spreads. In one instance another three page pull out with a map on the back. The artwork is truly some of the best I have ever seen. It is a shame that this concept never was given the series it deserved. The Weirdworld was such a well developed world with endless story possibilities. Maybe some time in the future this concept will gets its day in the sun.

MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL #12 WARRIORS OF THE SHADOWREALM

“The Darklens Gems”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: John Buscema

Tyndall, Velanna and Mud-Butt are enjoying a meal in the tavern when the warning goes out that the Dark Riders are in town. They usually come only to hunt someone. A mysterious figure in a cloak decides to get up and leave in a hurry. He bumps into Mud-Butt and knocks his head into his fork as he is lifting it. This causes a fight that tears the cloak off and reveals the person as the savage elf they helped earlier in the last issue. He is obviously the one the Dark Riders are hunting for they take off after him.

Tyndall decides to help him but they are too late to save the elf. They do manage to take his pouch with a plea to get it to Zarthon. The three then run away and are lead by a white wolf to an inn. The innkeeper gives them a safe room and the trio discover the pouch is full of five gems. At night the gems become demon wraiths but the white wolf comes and defeats them. In the morning they find out from the innkeeper where Zarthon is located.

So they go to a house build above a lake in a crater. There Zarthon tells them the gems are the Darklens gems. These gems hold the soul of the evil wizard that created the Weirdworld. His soul can be released by the silver light of the moon and his minions the Dark Riders are searching for these gems to release him.

“How This Book Came to Be”
By Unknown.

An article on how the artwork is done from the drawing to the coloring. A dry article.

“The Stuff of Which Dreams are Made”
By Richard Marshall

An article on the history of fantasy illustration in the US. Another dry article.

“A John Buscema Scrapbook”

Some samples of John’s early sketches for this book.

The second issue is another masterpiece. What is most stunning is the artwork. There are several full page drawing and they just look awesome. The full page spread for both Zarkon’s place from both outside and inside is just a thing of beauty. The story of course is also great. The trio are moving to a big confrontation for the fate of the world which is what these type of stories should be about. An abrupt ending but this was originally written to be one issue. I think it was a great idea to break it up. It allows for the stunning full page artwork which makes this such a treat.

MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL #11 WARRIORS OF THE SHADOWREALM

“Part The First”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: John Buscema

The dwarf Mud-butt and two elves Tyndall and Velanna are fishing in the Great Marsh. They are on their way to the City of Seven Dark Delights. They witness an elf with a mohawk come running by and Tyndall saves it from a swamp serpent. The mohawk elf continues on as if chased by something. Later nightfangs come by and follow the trail. So the three make their way across the marsh in a log with spikes to impale attacking swamp serpents. On the trip Mud-butt gets the two elves story. Tyndall found himself in a village of dwarfs with no memory of his previous life. The dwarves decide to send Tyndall to fight a darkness that threatens them. So Tyndall makes in through the shadow realm and finds a skeleton of a giant fish. Inside the skeleton is an egg that hatches Velanna. They have some adventure with an evil wizard but manage to escape.

So the group makes it to the City of Dark Delights. It is sort of the Vegas of this world. Mud-butt gives them a list of warning including if someone tries to touch you they should be killed. Otherwise have fun. So the group settles at an inn for a dinner. Meanwhile five sinister riders are approaching the city.

“The Knowledge of Elves”
By Doug Moench

A poem on Weirdworld.

“What Lurks Ahead”
A brief look at the upcoming stories with some illustrations.

“A Map of Weirdworld”
A full page map with a key explaining the major locations.

“A John Buscema Scrapbook”
Illustrations of characters from Weirdworld.

“Washed Ashore on Weirdworld”
By Doug Moench

An article on how Doug came up with the concept and the struggle to finally get this published.

“How This Book Came To Be”
By Unknown

Another article on how this issue was put together.

This series has to be one of the finest ever written. I remember as a kid being spellbound by the world. It was illustrated in bright color with several full page spreads. A pull out poster and one fold out three page spread. The world looked so beautiful and exciting. I had no problem imaging myself having adventures in this world. Even today I still have the same wonder as I did almost forty years ago. The cool map with such exciting places as the City of the Unclean or Forbidden Lagoon or Perilous Isles. There was a whole world to explore. It is a shame that very little was done with this concept. Except for this spectacular three issue run there were only a few more isolated stories run in various anthology series. A lot of imagination and thought went into this series. It sounds like shortly after Marvel had a dispute with the creator so that is why noting came of this.

MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL #10 STAR-LORD

“World In a Bottle”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Gene Colan & Tom Palmer

Starlord is having a nightmare where people that were once adoring him turn to monsters. He is awakened by a strange red beam of energy that sucks him through a black hole. On the other side is a huge ship that stretches beyond his sight. He shoots at the energy beam and the next thing he knows is he is in a jungle being attacked by griffins. He is rescued by a beautiful woman who warns him that everything isn’t what it seems. Later the inhabitants of the space ship arrive. They are an ark that has preserved the population of a planet destroyed by a meteor shower. A ship one light year long holding 2 billion people. They have been searching for over three million year. When Starlord takes a tour he sees Earth animals and finds out that this is the last remnants of Earth. The black hole he went through propelled him into the future.

Yet later he secretly meets with the woman who saved him named Aletha. She tells him the truth. They are aliens who are using a smoke to give the illusion of being human. Their leader Adam is a military dictator who wants to conquer Earth. He brought Starlord to learn about the planet. Aletha is part of a resistance that wants to overthrow the military dictatorship. With Starlord’s help they do that.

“To Sleep, Perchance To….Die!”
Writer: Marc Dacy
Artist: Ernie Colon

Colonel Jeremy Bolld is on a rocket for some mission for NASA. A system malfunction forces the rocket down on a strange desert world. Stripping down to his Fruit of the Looms he sets out to find food and water. At an Oasis he is captured by a hostile tribe known as the Tosk. He escapes and is rescued by the Alarians. They are the enemy of the Tosk and constantly under attack by them and the Vashag sea serpents from the ocean next to the city. Bolld fight for the city and wins the affections of Larissa the daughter of the leader. This earns the enmity of Corax. Corax make a deal with the Tosk. He will open the floodgates and let in the Vashag while the Tosk attack the city. The Tosk take the city and force the Alarians to destroy it with explosives planted in the walls. Bolld confronts Corax who hits him on the head with his sword. He wakes up on his spaceship with a wound to his head. A dream and he fell against the console or was it real?

“Animation and Science Fiction”
By Maurice Horn

An article on science fiction and animation. The earliest attempts was back in 1902 with “A Trip to the Moon.” The famous one where a rocket hits the eye of the moon. It later goes on about other attempts mostly European with animation. There are some familiar ones like Fleicher’s Superman cartoons. Duck Dodgers and the American TV shows like ‘The Jetsons” and Saturday morning attempts. Most are obscure European and Japanese. I found it kind of interesting. He laments the lack of American animation for science fiction which I think has come a long way since this article.

So this special Starlord was in Marvel Color and looked beautiful. There were two full spreads that I still remember from being a kid. One was Starlord looking at the huge ship that stretched forever. The other was when the hordes were attacking the city of the Alarians. Both were beautiful and epic. I actually think that the backup story was better than the Starlord feature. Yet both were very good.

One odd little tidbit was that the ark was one light year long. A light year is 5.8784991 X 10 to the 12. What it means is that is one long ship. How would you maintain communication from one end of the ship to the other?