Missing my Nemesis

Everyone needs a nemesis. Superman has Lex Luthor, He-Man has Skeletor, and Peter Popoff has James Randi.

When two polar opposites eventually throw down, it’s going to be something special. More than just another fight, this is a clash of irreconcilable ideals that will reverberate throughout the universe. TMW takes a look at the best clashes of good and evil throughout the ages.

Darth Vader Vs Obi Wan/Luke Skywalker

Speaking objectively, the first Star Wars film is great, even if behind the scenes George Lucas was going bald from stress and Alec Guinness was renegotiating his contract every five minutes. It introduced us to classic characters and ideas that will forever be embedded in our hearts and the hearts of our grandchildren.

"Daddy! Why won't you hug me!?"

“Daddy! Why won’t you hug me!?”

Obi Wan Kenobi’s fight with Darth Vader is remembered as one of cinema’s great moments. Or should that be misremembered? Watching it today, in Space Year 2015, the whole thing seems a bit of an anticlimax.

The lightsaber battle is dull – I’ve seen slicker moves when my grandma sweeps the kitchen floor. And the old wizard decides that while he could use his Jedi magic to drop a spaceship on Vader’s shiny black noggin, he’ll just stand there and die. Although the concept of death in the Star Wars universe doesn’t seem to be clearly defined.

What’s the disadvantage of death, exactly, if you can come back as a sparkly ghost and perv on Leia taking a shower? You know you would, don’t lie. Lies lead to the dark side.

"Strike me down and I will see more boobs than you can ever imagine"

“Strike me down and I will see more boobs than you can ever imagine”

The later battle in Return of the Jedi between all growed-up Luke and Vader is pretty hardcore by comparison, even if he does spend twenty minutes being called chicken-shit by Mumm-Ra The Emperor.

It all gets pretty heavy when poor old Papa Vader kicks the bucket, but it’s a happy ending after all when Han Solo, two robots and the semi-incestuous Jedi twins have a dance with the teddy bears.

Optimus Prime Vs Megatron

This is when most of us learned that heroes sometimes fail. You probably learned this with tears streaming down your face, your tiny little hands balled into fists in a display of smoldering, primal rage.

"Oh, and Santa Claus ISN'T REAL. Mwhahaha!"

Back in the 80s, film characters stayed dead, kids.

This was the battle of the decade – after all those years of threats and posturing, Prime finally gave Megs the fight he asked for. And boy, did he give him a whupping. Optimus takes Megatron apart – it’s like watching Muhammad Ali take on that Mr. Glass guy from Unbreakable.

For all of us watching, it was intensely satisfying. Prime saves the day, and he has Megatron at his mercy. It was all going to be okay…

In 25 years, people will see how much of a pussy Megatron is in HD!

In 25 years, people will see how much of a pussy Megatron is in HD!

So mere human words cannot describe the horror of seeing the cowardly Megs take a hostage and blast Prime in the face with a concealed handgun.

Prime dies in an awfully protracted deathbed scene that mentally scarred 50% of the pre-adolescent population in 1986. For many of us, it was the day our childhoods died. For the rest, that probably happened some time in the mid nineties when they got their first modem.

The Shredder Vs Splinter

There was always a bit of “will they won’t they” with Splinter and the Shredder. Mortal enemies, their paths rarely crossed. So when they eventually did meet, you knew some serious shit was about to go down.

"No! It's step, jump, THEN sashay!"

“No! It’s step, jump, THEN sashay!”

Shredder always seemed to have an unfair advantage over Splinter. He was about four feet taller and covered in blades, for a start. But Splinter is like Yoda. Small, wrinkly, but still able to kick an ass or two.

Their first proper battle in the Technodrome sent our pulses racing, even if it was a proper rip-off of Star Wars. Shredder even seems to pull a sword from nowhere (he’s never again seen using one), furthering the obvious parallels.

"Your powers are weak, old man!"

“Your powers are weak, old man!”

Still, we didn’t care. The Shredder was one of the great cartoon villains – just hammy enough that you could laugh at him when the Turtles threw custard pies at his metal-plated face, but just scary enough that you took him seriously.

Of course, in the Turtlesverse good always triumphs over evil, and any adventure usually ends with high-fiving and delicious pizza. Except in the 2003 cartoon, where Leonardo cuts Shredders fricking head off. But that’s a story for another time.

"Hmm"

“Sounds like a pain in the neck”

We all know that Master Splinter is the real hero of the series, anyway. He taught us all that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but what is in your heart… As long as you have serious kung-fu skills. If you don’t, then you’re just a HIDEOUS FREAK.

He-Man Vs Skeletor

He-Man fought his nemesis all the time. It was like they had a playdate or something. They’d meet outside Castle Grayskull every Wednesday, exchange puns – occasionally waving a sword or staff menacingly in the others’ direction – and then go home.

"Take THIS!"

Spare a thought for the poor bastard on the tower in the background

Let’s not kid ourselves. No-one in the He-Man universe ever hurt or wounded anyone else. He-Man’s Sword of Power could have been used to slice and dice the entire evil horde, but instead he just used it to deflect lasers or cut conveniently-placed ropes.

Not that he even needed his sword at all; He-Man could rip Skeletor or any one of his minions in half like a Jelly Baby and feed them to Cringer. But he doesn’t. Because he’s a goodie, and with great power comes great… Uh… wimpiness?

Anyway, was Skelly really all that bad? In the He-Man Christmas Special, Skeletor kidnapped some children (admittedly a little bit evil) but then made lovely winter coats for them so they wouldn’t freeze to death (not at all evil). He even takes the time to cuddle the green robot puppy.

"Nyaa!"

“Nyaa!”

However, in the 2002 series, Skeletor was plenty evil, and made sure to keep his place on Evil Monthly’s Top 20 Maniacs list by throwing the reigning monarch off a cliff, throwing the crown prince off a cliff (the guy likes cliffs), and beating up He-Man’s pet cat.

Naturally, He-Man goes ape shit over that last one [Ape-Shit? I don’t remember him – Luke] and single-handedly takes down Skeletor’s entire army in an act of vicious but censor-pleasingly nonviolent retribution.

Sonic Vs. Super Sonic

Fleetway’s Sonic the Comic was awesome. We’re dead serious. Given the loose premise of Sonic the Hedgehog – in that there wasn’t one – the creators were free to do as they wished, and they crafted an unimaginably deep and dark universe for the Fastest Thing Alive.

Shit!

Not even Superman can make a 90 degree turn in mid-air!

It’s not too surprising that Sonic ended up with an evil alter ego – the concept is everywhere in the world of comics and cartoons – we have Judge Death, Bizarro, Captain Pollution, and Faker to name but a few.

Where Sonic is a cool, easygoing character, his opposite persona Super Sonic is enough to turn your blood to ice, despite having a slightly redonkulous name.

Super Sonic lived inside regular Sonic (or Sonic: Original, take your pick) and would come to the surface whenever he got stressed or angry. Sonic was basically a ticking time bomb, like Bill Bixby but without the flares.

Uhh, Bob Holness?

Uhh, Bob Holness?

Unstoppable, insane, and with an appetite for carnage and destruction, Super Sonic gave plenty of readers nightmares and caused all sorts of problems for Sonic and his chums. Things hit a high point when the ‘Super’ was split from Sonic and given form all his own, creating a menacing villain who was present 100% of the time, and hit a low point when Super Sonic lost his memory and went on lovely adventures with a magic cat lady and her friend Pajamas.

For real.

Depth Charge Vs Rampage

This one had us on the edge of our seats.

Beast Wars was high on character development, low on toy advertising. It’s the Star Trek of Transformers franchises, and despite the lack of ‘red shirts’, the creators of the show weren’t scared to blow a brother away.

The evil robot Rampage is introduced early in the second season, and he lives up to his name. Apparently indestructible, he’s a sadist who loves killing, maiming and listening to One Direction. He turns into a big crab which is a lot less stupid in practice than it sounds on paper. He has a long-term rivalry with goodie Depthcharge, and they clash several times throughout the series.

Crabs are like Super Spiders.

“Which one of you dickheads ordered the crab!?”

Eventually, the two meet for their final confrontation, and it’s a shocker. After a long battle, the warriors end up locked in a deadly embrace. In stalemate, Rampage gives up, calling our hero’s bluff. So what does Depthcharge do….?

He plunges the sword straight into his enemy’s beating heart. The resulting explosion kills D.C and presumably doubly-kills Rampage.

Funny Fact: Beast Wars was called “Beasties” in Canada because they thought the title was too violent. Makes you wonder what they made of this episode.

“Face your tiny”

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Treat Time #2

Following on from our previous Treat Time, Adam once again travels back into the past to tantalise his tastebuds with sweet (and salty!) nostalgia…

Sonic Biscuits

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“Wear sunscreen, kids!”

Memory is a funny thing. I can’t remember a single thing from my college education, but I can still taste these biscuits. It was the height of Sonic Mania, some time in the early nineties… A friend had a bag in his lunchbox and charitably let me have one.

They tasted good, and my brother begged my mum to pick them up by the case at the supermarket. But on the lips of every Sonic fan (in addition to biscuit crumbs) was the question – why is Sally pink?

She looks somewhat denuded. Sally was, very briefly, this colour in the American comics but they soon brought her in line with the cartoon that launched alongside it, where as we’ve mentioned before, the pretty princess was a tasteful tan and brown with a shock of red hair. Burton’s obviously didn’t get the memo.

Sally was otherwise unknown on merchandise in our part of the world, and even America for that matter. Strangely enough, the distant land of Australia went Sally crazy – all kinds of dolls, clothes and other products were available. She also became the mascot for Segaworld Sydney. Upon hearing this, Luke changed into his swimming trunks and headed for the estuary, figuring to ride the E.A.C. straight into Sally’s waiting arms. If you see him out in the English channel, wish him Godspeed.

Ghostbusters Crisps

real ghostbusters packet

“WoooooOOOOooooOOO!”

Lunchtimes were great when I was in first school (yay for three-tier education!). I had a Super Mario Brothers backpack stuffed with Transformers toys, a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles lunchbox, and Ghostbusters crisps.

They weren’t just Ghostbusters crisps, though. They were REAL Ghostbusters crisps, if you know what I mean.

That’s a funny distinction to make, and the more you think about it, the less it makes sense. The REAL Ghostbusters were the dominant form of Ghost Buster, but of course they weren’t actually real, being a cartoon. But no-one called them the “real” Ghostbusters. You just said “Ghostbusters”.

If you did say “real”, you were normally talking about the movies, which you probably hadn’t seen because they had swearing in and Gozer the Destructor had serious cameltoe going on in that Gozerian leotard. Roll on the new movie, when people will have to say things like “Have you seen Ghostbusters? No, not the cartoon. No, not the Extreme Ghostbusters. The new ones. The real ones. No, not the “real” ones. The real ones!! ARRRGGH!!”

Fiendish Feet

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“WoooOO – Oh, we did that one already”

There’s something about yoghurts that attracts novelty. I don’t know why, it just does. I recall that most yogurts for kids had sweets or sugary confections inside, and some had Kinder Surprise-like toys in. Even grown up yoghurts like Muller Corner (and its sister product, Muller ‘Captain of your ship’ Rice) come in any number of tooth-rotting varieties. They always say “low fat”, too, don’t they? Like that’s a benefit when you’re spooning condensed sugar into your mouth.

Fiendish Feet were awesome not because of the yoghurt, but because of the pot. They had FEET! What madness!
Of course, as we all know, feet are a sure sign of the devil’s work so the yoghurts were declared “fiendish” by the manufacturer and appropriately decorated to resemble vampires, mummies, werewolves and so on.

These faces are etched into my memory, displacing those of family members and loved ones. At each family reunion or gathering, I look around dumbly like Mr Magoo, squinting at people as they pass. But I can recognise Fangs A Lot from a hundred paces. Weird.

Turtles Apple Pizza

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Introducing the 5th Turtle: McCainangelo.

Turtles was on everything in the late eighties and early nineties. I had a Turtles woolly jumper, Turtles slippers, the aforementioned lunchbox… One time my friend even came to school in his Turtles pajamas.

I’m not sure if I ever tasted these pizzas, though. It’s not the sort of thing my mum would buy… Anything that came in a box with branding (or even colours) on was ignored in favour of the own-brand, no-frills stuff. I can scarcely believe that they’re really apple flavour – that was pretty extreme even for the time.

If anyone still has one of these lurking in the freezer, please send it in to our usual postal address. I need to taste it. On a side note, last night I had perhaps the most vivid, lucid dream of my entire life: I was a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle, and along with the rest of the gang had been kidnapped by Shredder and bundled into the back of a van. He took us to Krang, but we soon busted out and kicked Shredder’s ass. Interestingly, either because of my own gentle nature or because of the standards set by video censors in the late eighties, we only fought Shredder by doing silly things like pulling his cape over his eyes and dishing out ridiculous puns like “Have a nice trip, see you next fall!”

I’m dead serious.

Sonic Pasta

sonic-hp-pasta-shapes-1a

HP up!

Pasta was cheap. So we ate a lot of it. In fact, I still eat a lot of it. Morisson’s recently had a deal on My Little Pony pasta shapes, so I filled a trolley like I was playing Supermarket Sweep. There weren’t any giant inflatable bananas in the aisles, though. Only shame.

You could argue that this is one thing that hasn’t really changed much over the decades. We still have pasta shapes, they’re still relatively cheap and they still come in cartoon varieties. The tins are smaller, though. About one quarter of the size. This is either because:-

a) the cheeky buggers want to sell you less product for more money, or –

b) Government guidelines limit the amount of salt and sugar you can give to kids in one meal. Being primarily composed of both, the pasta serving size was reduced. But most likely –

c) All of the above.

Join us again for more shenanigans, folks. And we’re not kidding about that Turtles pizza thing.

“Denuded Sally”

Palace of Tat #1

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People buy and sell some freaky, weird stuff. TMW takes a look at some of the stranger things found lurking on eBay, at boot sales, or in the old ladies’ hunting ground of charity shops:-

you-never-know-what-youll-find-at-the-thrift-shop-26#1 Framed Magnum P.I. picture

I have a confession. For a good long while I thought this was a picture of The A-Team.

But no, it’s everyone’s favourite TV private eye Thomas Magnum and chums! People thought Magnum was a bit of a hunk, back in the day. Not exactly a huge accolade when you consider the other TV detectives of the era; Columbo only had one eye, Ironside was overweight, and Kojak was bald and smoked like a chimney until he gave up the cigs for lollipops.

We also have Higgins, T.C and the other one who’s a bit like Face but not, affectionately resting his arm on Tom Selleck’s broad and hairy shoulders. It’s very sweet, what those two have.

#2 Army of Michael Jordansthe-things-you-find-at-the-thrift-shop-35-photos-36

Space Jam was brilliant. Everyone I knew loved the movie, even though basketball isn’t really much of a thing over here in Blighty. Sexy cartoon rabbits are very much a British creation, however, so you can probably thank Cadbury for Lola Bunny.

Anyway, where did this legion of Tune Squad Michaels come from!?

He’s frozen in a sitting position, so you can only really put him on a shelf or bedside table so he can watch you sleep. His arm is extended like he’s eternally asking for a high five.

I’ll give you a high five, Mike. Because you taught me to believe in myself.

you-never-know-what-youll-find-at-the-thrift-shop-15#3 Sharon, Lois and Bram record

I’ve never heard of these people in all my life. I thought I knew most things, thanks to the internet. It turns out they’re the Canadian equivalent of Rod, Jane and Freddy.

They even have a Bungle analogue in the form of a big elephant which I assume they shot and stuffed while on safari in Tanganyika.

Not to change the subject, but I was quite fond Rod and company when I was a lad, even if they did dress like Betelgeuse (or Beetlejuice, whatever). My mum made me watch their “Say No to Strangers” video again and again. But having never met Rod, Jane OR Freddy, they were strangers too. So I didn’t listen.

I miss you, Old Mum.

you-never-know-what-youll-find-at-the-thrift-shop-31-photos-231#4 Teenage Mutant Hero Trolltles

Someone needs to call Shredder to make turtle soup out of these guys. But it would probably be full of hair and taste like shit.

Turtles were a 90s phenomenon. Trolls were a 90s phenomenon. This is physical proof that never the twain should meet.

the-things-you-find-at-the-thrift-shop-35-photos-12#5 Lucy Lawless… thing. Lantern, perhaps.

I missed out on Xena: Warrior Princess because it was on Channel 5. The average Brit was lucky to get four channels, even then only if the weather was good and you were born after 1982.

The show still has a loyal fanbase to this day, so it must have been pretty good. Xena reminds me a little of one of the Gladiators. I fancied the neon leotards off of those ladies back in the early nineties. Even now the words Jet, Lightning or Saracen send a little tingle through my trousers. (Saracen was a bloke – Luke)

you-never-know-what-youll-find-at-the-thrift-shop-1#6 Gizmo 90-Piece Puzzle

Did Gizmo ever drive a car in the films? I suppose he must have done, it seems like something he would do – if he can dress like Rambo and make a little bow and arrow, then he can drive a car.

But just LOOK at the expression on his face! Holy shit. He’s angry and he means business. He’ll mow you down and reverse to finish the job, just like those guys in The Toxic Avenger.

That’s the way I want to go; brutally run over by a guinea pig driving a pink Corvette Stingray.

you-never-know-what-youll-find-at-the-thrift-shop-31-photos-271#7 Cat in the Brain

More nightmare fuel. I assume this is the Laserdisc version of a film, although the website I stole the image off claims it’s a board game (it seems a bit thin for that). It can’t possibly be as grusome or as frightening as the box claims, even if it was BANNED IN ENGLAND.

But why is the box in English, then? Huh? HUH!?

See, I didn’t watch Magnum P.I. for Tom Selleck’s good looks, y’know.

The illustration is both hilarious and horrifying. The film/game is called ‘Cat in the Brain’ and it seems the artist took that extremely literally. Groo!

the-things-you-find-at-the-thrift-shop-35-photos-20#8 Painting of Two Unicorns

Ahhh… something sweet, at last. As resident unicorn expert I was called upon to analyse this painting. I was asked how you tell the difference between a lady unicorn and a stallion. One thorough and anatomically correct diagram later, the guys said they’d never ask again.

These unicorns are touching horns, which is actually an intimately sexual act for a unicorn and should really be censored.

That is all. More coming soon.

“Leotards Off”

Stuff It

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Time was, you could go to any jumble sale, car boot sale or church fete and find boxes and boxes of cool toys. Especially the eighties super-fads like Transformers, GI Joe, Care Bears and so on. There was always someone with a toy chest or shoebox overflowing with forgotten or unloved relics. They were always cheap, too. You’d grab a handful, ask how much, and the man or woman would say “For you? A quid, love”. Even relatively modern toys like Power Rangers could be had for a pittance.

"Two pounds for Boba Fett!? U FUKIN WOT M8!?"

“Two pounds for Boba Fett!? U FUKIN WOT M8!?”

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Music To Mein Ears

Dubbing cartoons is a funny old thing. All cartoons are animated from a script, and everything from body movements to gestures and lip flaps (*splutter*) reflect the words and intent of the original author. So it’s a bit of a nightmare when the time comes to release the cartoon in another territory. A great deal of stuff we watch over here is made in (or more accurately for) America, so dubbing isn’t an issue. But people in distant lands have it tough.

It would be boring to go through a whole bunch of cartoons and see how they’re adjusted for export, so instead I thought I’d choose some popular ones and, if nothing else, listen to the theme songs and see how they differ from what we’re used to. They run the gamut from surprising to plain to just plain wrong. Grab your headphones and turn it up to 11!

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