Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Defenders of the Earth #1
Defenders of the Earth#1
STAR (Marvel) Comics
Cover: Alex Saviuk/ Fred Fredericks
Script: Stan Lee (With Bob Harras)
Pencils/Inks: Alex Saviuk/ Fred Fredericks
What can I say about this? It seems like a brilliant idea for a team book. Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician and Lothar... And the creative team on this book is an amazing lineup. The script was by Stan "The Man" Lee, the pencils were by Spiderman Daily (and future Moonstone Phantom) artist Alex Saviuk with inks by Mandrake artist Fred Fredericks! Why are these usually solo heroes drawn together as a team? Because the Earth is threatened by Flash Gordon's old nemesis, the diabolical Ming the Merciless!! I'm sure anyone who saw this on paper would have thought it was a home run. But it's lousy.
For one thing, Marvel published this through their new children's label, STAR Comics. The Phantom doesn't even have his guns in this. But don't worry, they gave him some sort of "Jungle Lore" powers.
For another, the heroes are paired up with their children. And, if a bunch of badly written children weren't lame enough to crush your hopes that this was going to be a cool team book, there's Zuffy. Zuffy is a small, cute, purple alien creature so toyetic I'm surprised he's not advertised on the back of this comic instead of Popples.
Also, for some reason, Ming is green and has exaggeratedly pointed ears. I have my suspicions that somewhere along the way, it was discussed that the Emperor of Mongo looked a little too Asian the way Alex Raymond presented him. At the Time Flash Gordon debuted, "Yellow Menace" villains like Fu Manchu and The Yellow Claw were in vogue. Ming was never a charicature like the Claw, but I bet someone felt somebody somewhere might find him offensive.
At any rate, I found this issue in my never-ending quest for more Phantom comics and I'm putting it up here for you to read and judge for yourself. So, with all due apologies in advance here's part one of Defenders of the Earth #1: