Monday, November 30, 2015

1980's Flashback: The Rocketeer

Pacific Presents #2 (Apr.1983)
The Rocketeer is a fictional character created by writer-illustrator Dave Stevens. The character first appeared as a backup feature in the Pacific Comics series Starslayer in 1982, and is an homage to Saturday matinee serial heroes of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

The Rocketeer was the secret identity of Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovered a mysterious jetpack that allowed him to fly. His adventures were set in Los Angeles and New York in 1938, and Stevens gave them a retro, nostalgic feel influenced by the King of the Rocket Men and Commando Cody movie serials (both from Republic Pictures), and pinup diva Bettie Page. The title also uses fictional pulp heroes of the period such as Doc Savage and The Shadow, plus real life horror film icon Rondo Hatton inspired one of the books notable villains.

Dave Stevens passed away in 2008 at the age of 52. I’m glad that I had a chance to meet him in person back in the early 1990s.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving, or in lieue of participating in the traditional holiday feast, a decent day off (or something)?
I've been playing Star Wars: Battlefront this week and since I celebrated my own feast a day early, to allow my grown children to spend time with their significant others and their families, for me yesterday was a marathon day of blasting enemies and/or getting the living hell blown out of myself in return. So far, I'm pretty happy with the new SW game and while there are umpteen dozen blogs, video chats and reviews by the usual assortment of egocentric gamer nerds slamming the new release from EA Games/DICE, to me there is really nothing wrong with turning off your brain for a while and simply immersing yourself in the world of Star Wars for some good old fashioned horde mode slaying. I do wish that some of their alien races were available earlier in the game, but most won't unlock until at least level 40 and I am currently only at level 22 (alas).

With the imminent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens boasting record setting ticket pre-sales, this is another great way to pass the time and get in your Star Wars fix before December 18 lures you into the nearest movie theater. The Catacombs recommends Star Wars: Battlefront 2015 for everyone who wants to have a good time (and just ignore those dumb bigmouthed geeks who lost their fun gene about the time that someone opted to listen to their pitiful little complaints).

Friday, November 20, 2015

1970's Flashback: Giant-Size

1974 and 1975 saw Marvel Comics introduce their popular Giant-Size format where for $.35 (soon $.50) fans were treated to 52 pages of pure magic from the House of Ideas. Often these annual-sized volumes were filled with reprints, but many ran original stories expanded to take full advantage of the extra story pages. A small handful presented new characters and concepts, such as the retconned WWII team-up of The Invaders featuring Captain America and his sidekick Bucky, the original Human Torch and his partner Toro, and the Sub-Mariner. Another revealed the story behind the transformation of Greer Nelson, formerly known as The Cat, into her more familiar role as Tigra. I seem to recall one that revamped the old x-Men team into something all-new and all-different as well? There were several standalone one-shots focusing on a single hero like Thor, the Hulk, or Power Man and a select few ran for several issues such as those starring Conan, the Avengers or the Man-Thing. If you happen to find affordable copies at conventions in great shape, my suggestion is to snap them up and enjoy much more bang for your buck!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

1980's Flashback: Xenozoic Tales

Mark Schultz celebrated series Xenozoic Tales is set in a post-apocalyptic future where Earth has been ravaged by pollution and natural disasters. Humanity has built vast underground cities in which they have lived for approximately 600 years. Upon emerging, they discovered that the world had been reclaimed by previously extinct lifeforms including dinosaurs. In this new 'Xenozoic' age, technology is extremely limited and those with mechanical skills command a great deal of respect and influence.

 The two main characters are mechanic Jack Tenrec and scientist (and love interest) Hannah Dundee. Tenrec operates a garage in which he restores cars, particularly Cadillacs. Given that the post-apocalyptic world no longer possesses the ability to refine oil, Jack modifies his cars to run on dinosaur guano. These cars, of course, are frequently chased by rampaging dinosaurs in pulp style action-adventure stories. Publication began in 1986 with a story in the comic anthology Death Rattle. This debut was shortly followed by Xenozoic Tales #1 in February 1987. The comic series ran for 14 issues from several publishers including Kitchen Sink Press, Marvel Comics and Dark Horse Publications.

The series proved moderately successful and under the title “Cadillacs and Dinosaurs”
spawned an animated TV series on the CBS Network, arcade games from Capcom and Sega, action figures, trading cards, candy bars, and a role-playing game. The title "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs" and likenesses of classic Cadillac automobiles were used with the consent of General Motors, who holds the phrase "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs" as a trademark and has licensed it for the comic, the videogame and the animated series.