The Final ’80s Countdown, Part Three and a Half.

§ April 19th, 2023 § Filed under final countdown, indies § 10 Comments

Got an early morning doctor’s appointment, so I’m not staying up late to do a full ’80s indie entry, but I wanted to address a couple of questions from the last post.

First, in regards to my inability to recall where else Dalgoda had appeared, Damien rushed in to the rescue:

“There was a Dalgoda story in issue 4 of the British anthology A1 by Jan Strnad and Kevin Nowlan. That might be the one-off you were thinking of.”

Yup, that’s the one. I have it (the full British run, and the later Marvel/Epic mini…didn’t follow the later ones), and I could picture some of the art in my head, which is how I knew it wasn’t original artist Dennis Fujitake on the story. But Nowlan is a good replacement. At this late date I can’t recall the actual plot, but I do remember being surprised to see the character again, even if it was just for a bit.

Customer Sean asks, hopefully facetiously

“Did Cutey Bunny and Omaha the Cat Dancer ever have a crossover story?”

While it’s possible they were both in the same jam drawing or something somewhere, as far as I know the two characters never met. Certainly the tone between the two is different (Cutey Bunny being very silly gag-filled stories vs. Omaha’s melodrama) and the naughtiness levels were certainly night-and-day (Cutey at most a little risque with no nudity, Omaha just full-on tab-A-into-slot-B action). So beyond the superficial element of each being sexy anthropomorphic animal types, they’re quite different.

Brad Walker notes

“You won’t get all the jokes in Laffin’ Gas #5 if you haven’t read Boris the Bear #1; likewise, you won’t appreciate the opening of Boris the Bear #8 (Return of the Ninja Critters) if you haven’t read LG#5.”

Well, I have read and enjoyed all of Boris the Bear, still one of my favorite runs. As such, I should get all the jokes in the LAffin’ Gas parody…which I should have in my hands Any Day Now as I found a run of issues #1-5 for cheap on the eBay. And I’m looking forward to seeing how that parody enriches the experience of Boris the Bear #8.

Which reminds me I made a…“joke” on Twitter about how I wanted to get a complete collection of 1980s black and white boom comics, sorta inspired by my purchase of those Laffin’ Gases. Now I’m likely just going to keep the #5, but I’ll look through #1-4 but those are probably destined for resale in my shop. I seem to do okay with these black and white books of the period. But all this, thinking about b&w boom books, doing the ’80s book thing here, has got me in a nostalgic mood, and those boom books are scratching that itch a little.

How far am I going to go? I mean, I have been on a search for Shadow of the Groundhog for quite some time. I imagine more will come up. I’m pretty sure I have an issue or two of Geriatric Gangrene Jujitsu Gerbils in the shop right now…will I keep them? Will I start seeking out those elusive issues of Fat Ninja? We’ll see!

Anyway, Brad has a link to a review of Laffin’ Gas #5 from a few years back in case you don’t have a copy for your own perusal.

That’s it for now, back Friday for more ’80s books!

10 Responses to “The Final ’80s Countdown, Part Three and a Half.”

  • It would be ironic if, 40 years later, those B&W glut books finally became the hot collectors’ items that their publishers always hoped they’d be.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    The world needs a Destroyer Duck, Cutey Bunny, and Omaha the Cat Dancer one-shot comic…with a cameo by Neil the Horse!

  • Lane says:

    There was a Dalgoda story in the back of Doomsday Squad #1. That was Fantagraphics reprint of John Byrnes Doomsday+1. Each issues had a new backup story, one issue had a Usagi Yojimbo.

  • Brad Walker says:

    Issue #2 of Doomsday Squad had a Lloyd Llewellyn story that was a thinly-veiled jab at Byrne’s taking over Superman, which was especially brazen because Doomsday Squad was only being issued to capitalize on Byrne’s name.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Brad Walker:

    Lloyd Llewellyn is actually my favorite work by Dan Clowes.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “How far am I going to go?”

    Will you go as far as to buy Solson comics?

    Samurai the 13th? Texas Chainsaw Samurai?

    Only time will tell.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Snark Shark:

    As a T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents completest, I actually bought Solson’s unauthorized “T.H.U.N.D.E.R.” comic from 1987–it’s not half bad and it would have been interesting to read issues 2-4, which never saw publication.

    Here’s the mycomicshop synopsis:

    “Rumble! Story by Michael Sawyer. Art by James Lyle and Ron Wilber. An alternate-future take on the legendary T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents from Solson, the company run by the son of Marvel comics veteran Sol Brodsky, created during a legal dispute between the original series creators. In a future America torn by xenophobia, isolationism and incipient fascism, the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents return in response to skirmishes between gangs of self-declared patriots and resident aliens. Intended as a four-issue miniseries, but this was the only issue published. “

  • Snark Shark says:

    “In a future America torn by xenophobia, isolationism and incipient fascism”

    So, now?


    I wonder how he thought he’d get away with bootlegging that!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Snark Shark:

    Yeah — I had the same thought when reading the mycomicshop description…that “future America” is pretty much now. I’d have to dig out the issue to see what “future year” it is supposed to be taking place in (which is probably already the past to us!).

    As to the “unauthorized” bit, you might already know about this, but the gist of the situation went something like this: Harry Shorten (who had worked for MLJ/Archie Comics, and also published paperbacks) launched Tower Comics in 1965; however, it folded in 1969. Shorten hired Wally Wood (who had quit Marvel Comics and Daredevil because he wasn’t down for being exploited by Stan Lee) to be, in essence, both the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby of Tower Comics—basically creating characters, costumes, and concepts. Wood and his collaborators (including Larry Ivie and Len Brown) created the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents–to cash in on the James Bond/Man From U.N.C.L.E. spy craze as well as the Silver Age superhero revival.

    Apparently, at some point in the late ’70s or early ’80s, John Carbonaro bought the rights to the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents from the by then defunct Tower Comics. Carbonaro had contacts at Archie Comics, and after releasing a one-shot black and white T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents magazine in 1981 (which also reprinted a Neal Adams Black Hood story and a Simon & Kirby The Fly story), Carbonaro made an arrangement with Archie Comics to publish his JC Comics imprint (this was happening at the same time that Archie Comics was launching their Red Circle Comics imprint to revive the classic Golden Age MLJ Comics and Silver Age Archie Comics utra-heroes characters). Unfortunately, JC Comics only released two full color T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents issues with brand news story content (and three “Hall of Fame” T-Agents issues which reprinted various Tower Comics T-Agents stories by Wood, Gil Kane, etc ), before Archie Comics pulled the plug. The contents for what would have been the third issue of JC Comics T-Agents run eventually ended up in an issue of Archie Comics’ anthology title, Blue Ribbon Comics no. 12.

    Next, a guy named David M. Singer, who had been working for Carbonaro, decided to start Deluxe Comics and released a comic called Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents in 1984, because, according to Singer, the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents were in the public domain due to Tower Comics never properly registering a copyright or trademark when they released the first T-Agents comic back in the ’60s. The Deluxe Comics run of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents lasted five issues and yielded several decent stories as Singer had hired George Perez, Dave Cockrum, Murphy Anderson, Rich Buckler, Steve Ditko, Jerry Ordway, and Keith Giffen to draw some of the new T-Agents stories.

    However, Carbonaro sued Singer and finally won the case, thus effectively shutting down Deluxe Comics by 1986. Before the case was won by Carbonaro, several small press publishers used the T-Agents, assuming that they were in the public domain. These included unauthorized T-Agents appearances in Thunder-bunny no. 11, Boris the Bear no. 11, and the one T.H.U.N.D.E.R. issue that Solson released. Eventually, Carbonaro sent out cease and desist notices to protect his i.p.

    Personally, I thought the two JC Comics and Blue Ribbon no. 12 T-Agents color issues were pretty decent, capturing the the overall energy and spirit of the original Tower Comics as well as Wood’s sense of humor–and the fact that Willie Bylberg inked over Lou Manna’s pencils helped, as Blyberg brought a slick, Wally Wood-esque sheen to everything. The black and white magazine was a bit more amateurish, but it had a pretty cool painted cover by Mark Texeira. The Deluxe Comics were kind of a mixed bag…cool T-Agent Raven stories by Dann Thomas and George Perez, and some decent T-Agent Dynamo solo stories and complete team stories, but also a T-Agent Lightning story arc drawn by Keith Giffen during his phase of drawing in the style of José Muñoz that didn’t really seem to go anywhere–also, because Deluxe went bankrupt, we never saw the conclusion of the various story arcs. Carbonaro got one last T-Agents story published in Omni Comix Magazine no. 3, drawn by Paul Gulacy and inked by Terry Austin–unfortunately, the rest of the story arc was either never completed or never saw publication. Now both John Carbonaro and David M. Singer are no longer with us.

    D.C. leased the T-Agents about a decade ago from the late John Carbonaro’s estate and released two piss-poor limited series written by Nick Spencer– which missed the point (and humor) of Wood’s original T-Agents altogether. A year or two later, IDW Comics released a not too bad T-Agents series written by Phil Hester–who pretty much stayed true to the characters’ core identities–but there were annoying costume redesigns. I don’t know if IDW still holds the license or not, but I think if Dynamite Comics were to get the license they might have some fun with the characters and bring back the Wood-isms. Personally, I think T-Agents works best when set in the Cold War era. Also, Michael Uslan was supposed to be working on getting a T-Agents movie made–but, as with the Micronauts movie– it never seems to get off the ground. One cool fact: Steve Ditko was the only artist to draw T-Agents stories in the original Tower Comics run, the JC Comics run, and the Deluxe Comics run.

  • Snark Shark says:

    That’s complicated, but interesting! Thanks!