Tag Archives: Jerzy Drozd

Spotting some fun stuff in the new Robo Force comic!

So, as I mentioned last month the 1980′s era toyline Robo Force has made a triumphant return with new customizable figure sets from the fine folks over at Toyfinity.  Along with this relaunch of the toys, head honcho John Kent has tapped Jerzy Drozd to help him bring the story of the new Robo Force to life with a webcomic.  The first handful of pages have begun to update and the latest page is slap full of some fun, hidden, 80s cartoon and toy homages!  I thought it would be fun to break them down and see all the cool stuff Jerzy packed in the panels…

Robo Force Comic Page Six labeled

1). First and foremost there’s a little bit of foreshadowing on this page.  In the large middle monitor you can see the shoulder spikes, arm, and chest of Robo Force villain Hun-Dred!

Roboforce 3

2). Speaking of 80s Robot Evil Villains, there is a decimated Slaughter Steelgrave on the floor.  Arch nemesis of Hot Shot from the Starriors figures by Tomy.  I’ve talked about my love for these rad interchangeable wind-up figures before

Slaughter Steelgrave

3). Now I didn’t catch this at first (I needed a hint from Jerzy to figure it out), but up in insert panel you can see the avian hood ornament from the Masters of the Universe Wind Raider!

Wind Raider

4). Speaking of cool animal-themed 80s vehicles, jutting out from underneath that insert panel is none other than one of the arms from the ThunderCats Thunder Tank!

thunder tank

5). But not all of these references are from the far flung corners of the galaxy, off to the right in that above mentioned insert panel you can catch a glimpse at part of Cobra’s Weather Dominator from G.I. Joe!

Weather Dominator

6). If you’ve been following this Robo Force comic then so far we’ve seen a very wrecked looking Wrecker and the sad sight of Maxx Zero (Maxx Steele from the original toys) in pieces.  Looks like he could use this next item to light his darkest hour, the Autobot Matrix of Leadership from the Transformers!

Autobot Matrix

7 & 8). The next two hidden items get a little more obscure and are linked to the same character.  The helmet and power staff of the villainous Cravex from the Visionaries!

Visionaries_Cravex_Cut_Bubble

9). This last hidden item made me blush, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that… ;)

So, if you’re a fan of 80s toys and haven’t had a chance to pick up one of the rad new Robo Force figure sets, keep your eyes peeled on the Toyfinty site for an announcement on the next drop of new stock.  In the meantime head on over to their comic and keep up as the story of the new Robo Force unfolds with a new page each week!  I’ve known Jerzy for a number of years, have tabled with him at conventions, talked at length with him and other friends about 80s cartoons and have loved reading his comics work over the years so believe me when I say that he’s putting his all into this new Robo Force comic and it’s well worth your attention!

 

My Trap Jaws are Ver-Clampt…

So while taking the below picture this morning I realized two things.  One, I need better lighting in Branded HQ, and two, I think Trap Jaw might be edging out Merman as my favorite character design in the Masters of the Universe toy line.  It worries me a little as I wonder if I’m falling into the Boba Fett trap (no, not the pit of Carkoon, the one where he gets a lot of love based on his design and not the actual character.)  Think I need to watch some more MOTU episodes this weekend and reacquaint myself with the character…

I just got my new 2000-era Trap Jaw in the mail and it seemed like an opportune time to snap a picture of it with one of Jerzy Drozd’s awesome crayon-colored sketches I have framed.  One of the things I’ve been trying to do this year has been changing the way I spend my Amazon Associates kickbacks.  Instead of just buying DVDs, I’ve been saving them up and buying some of the 2000 reissues of the MOTU toys for the walls at Branded HQ.  They go great next to the 25th Anniversay G.I. Joe figures and the vintage-style Star Wars toys.  Love starring at this stuff while I podcast.

Talking about some stuff I LOVE TO DEATH!

Holy crap!  It’s freaking Podcast-a-polooza here at Branded today.  I have not one, but two new shows that went live this morning.  First up is episode 4 of the Cult Film Club, the show I co-host with Paxton Holley and Jaime Hood.  This is our Valentine’s Day episode, and for us that meant sitting down to watch the mostly naked Marc Singer, the topless Tanya Roberts, and John Amos’ butt cheeks in the amazing 1982 flick The Beastmaster!

For those uninitiated with the flick, it follows Dar, a warrior with the power to communicate with the animal kingdom, on his quest to avenge the destruction and mass murder of his village by the tyrannical wizard Maax.  Along the way there are plenty of painted tigers, hot-bodied Stygian witches, and freaky bird people that make this film a true fantasy cult classic!  In the episode we discuss the fantasy/barbarian genre, the violence and adult content in the film, cinematographer John Alcott and his amazing use of lighting, the special effects, and the wonderful score by Lee Holdridge.  We take a closer look at some of the actors in our regular segment, Hey Do I Know That Guy, as well as playing Hollywood moguls in a segment we like to call It’s Time For a Recast!

You can head on over to the Cult Film Club, or you can download it directed by right-clicking and saving here!

On the other end of the Valentine’s day spectrum I joined back up with the Saturday Supercast, this time talking with Jerzy Drozd and Dave Roman all about what it was like being a boy growing up in the 80s who watched girl’s cartoons…

We kick off with talk about the surprisingly intense My Little Pony: Rescue at Midnight Castle, then move on to The World of Strawberry Shortcake, and close with a chat about outrageous rocker gals on guitar-shaped motorcycles, Jem!  You can find the episode at Sugary Serials.com, or you can right click and download it here!

If these shows don’t say “I love you”, then I don’t know what does…

Come out and meet me at the Up! Fair this Friday and Saturday!

Just wanted to break radio silence one more time to remind everyone that coming this Friday and Saturday I’ll be at the 1st Up! Fair!  What’s the Up! Fair you ask?  Well, I’m joining Jerzy & Anne Drozd (of Tiny Astronaut, Make Like a Tree Comics, and the Art & Story Podcast), Sara & Brian Turner (of Cricket Press and Make Like a Tree Comics), Mark Rudolph (of Control Voice Comics, the Requiem Metal Podcast, and the Art & Story Podcast), Kevin Cross (of the Art & Story Podcast, as well as being a swell freelance artist), and my wife Carrie Robare (demonals.com) in putting on one heck of an independently minded comic book and zine fair in Lexington, Kentucky.  You can get an idea of what we’re shooting for in the below comic by Sara Turner and Jerzy Drozd…

We’ve all put a good year’s worth of work into this project and we’re bursting at the seams to see it finally realized.  If you’re in the Lexington, KY area and would like to stop by and meet me and the other organizers, we’d love to see you.  Admission to the event is free to the public and we’ve got a great roster of artists and writers on hand selling their stuff as well as leading all sorts of awesome workshops (you can download a pdf of the program by right-clicking and saving here.)  I’ll see you at the Up! Fair!

Saturday Supercast Episode 22: A continuation of the discussion on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe!




I’m really excited to be back this week with episode 22 of the Saturday Supercast!  In this episode Jerzy, Kevin and I finish off our exploration of the first season of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  Again, for those not familiar, in the series He-Man and his friends, the Sorceress, Man-At-Arms, Teela, Ram Man, Orko, and Stratos wage an endless battle defending Castle Greyskull and the planet Eternia against Skeletor and his evil warriors, Beastman, Evil-Lyn, Trap Jaw, Merman, and Triklops, who want to conquer and rule the world.  The series, produced by Filmation Studios in 1983, was a landmark cartoon mixing fantasy and science-fiction, reinvigorating children’s television with a sense of action and adventure, as well as helping to instill a solid sense of morality for an entire generation of kids.   Masters of the Universe was also one of the first series to break through the governmental ban on interweaving existing toy lines and cartoons, not to mention paving the way for first-run syndicated animation, defining the distribution format for shows through the 80s and 90s.


Join us as we deconstruct the series, diving into another four of our favorite episodes:


The fan favorite Evilseed




…as well as the Dragon’s Gift




Quest for the Sword




…and Prince Adam No More.




In this Saturday Supercast episode we touch on a lot of the talent that made He-Man possible including series producers Lou Scheimer (who also voiced half of the cast of characters including Orko and Stratos), voice actors John Erwin (He-Man and Beastman) and Alan Openheimer (Skeletor and Man-At-Arms), as well as some of the writers and artists such as Larry DiTillio, Tom Sito and Michael Reaves.


We also dig into the immediately identifiable synthesizer music of He-Man (as well as its Wagnerian themes, lush quality, and a debate on whether or not it helps to bind the sci-fi and fantasy genres of the series or just dates it), the series’ budgetary constraints as both boon and bane, 65 episode syndicated seasons vs. the more traditional (at the time) 13 episode Saturday morning seasons, jump-scares, Evilseed’s secret under his robes, Billie Holiday’s haunting rendition of the tragic song "Strange Fruit", Star Trek the Animated Series, solving problems with book smarts and the RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program, Ray Harryhausen, the Rankin/Bass Hobbit cartoon, horrible Irish stereotypes, the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock, Ents, the Visionaries, He-Man inspiring public office, Andy Mangels and his awesome work on the BCI Ink & Paint editions of He-Man on DVD, Bustatoon’s He-Man & She-Ra Blog, Matty Collector’s amazing new line of Masters of the Universe action figures, and the insanity of the Bollywood He-Man stage show!


If you’re curious about watching this great series you can purchase a copy of season 1-part 1, or season 1-part 2 at Amazon, or head on over to Hulu where you can watch 13 of the 1st season episodes for free.


As for us, well you can find more of Jerzy’s work at:

Make Like a Tree Comics

jdrozd.blogspot.com

Art & Story Podcast


Kevin is freelance illustrator, comic creator, and podcaster whose work can be found at:

Kevin Cross.net

Big Illustration Party Time Podcast


And you’re probably already familiar with my work here at Branded.  

If you have any questions, comments, or heck, even complaints, you can drop us a line at Saturday Supercast

You can find the direct download for the episode here, or you can subscribe to the show via iTunes and find out more over at Sugary Serials.

Also, the Saturday Supercast is on Facebook and Twitter, so if you’d like to stay up to date with the goings on at the podcast, go on over and become a fan or follow us.  You won’t be sorry!


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Saturday Supercast Episode 21: Deconstructing He-Man and the Masters of the Universe!




The Saturday Supercast is back this week with our 3rd cartoon deconstruction episode.  This episode is part one of a two part discussion on the landmark 80s cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the universe.  Join me and my co-hosts, Jerzy Drozd and Kevin Cross as we dig into the He-Man cartoon, trying to figure out why we like it so much, what could be better, and why the show was so important to an entire decade of animation that followed in it’s wake.





For those who may not know, He-Man and his friends, the Sorceress, Man-At-Arms, Teela, Ram Man, Orko, and Stratos wage an endless battle defending Castle Greyskull and the planet Eternia against Skeletor and his evil warriors, Beastman, Evil-Lyn, Trap Jaw, Merman, and Triklops, who want to conquer and rule the world.   The series, produced by Filmation Studios in 1983, was a landmark cartoon mixing fantasy and science-fiction, reinvigorating children’s television with a sense of action and adventure, as well as helping to instill a solid sense of morality for an entire generation of kids.   Masters of the Universe was also one of the first series to break through the governmental ban on interweaving existing toy lines and cartoons, not to mention paving the way for first-run syndicated animation, defining the distribution format for shows through the 80s and 90s.


Join us as we deconstruct the overall series, and dive into three of our favorite episodes:


The Diamond Ray of Disappearance





Teela’s Quest




and The Wizard of Stone Mountain




In this episode we touch on a lot of the talent that made He-Man possible including series producers Lou Schiemer (who also voiced half of the cast of characters including Orko and Stratos) and Hal Sutherland, voice actors John Erwin (He-Man and Beastman), Alan Openheimer (Skeletor and Man-At-Arms), and Linda Gary (Teela, the Sorceress and Evil-Lyn), and some of the writers, directors and artists such as Paul Dini, Larry DiTillio, Tom Sito, Bruce Timm, Robby London, and Michael Reaves.

We also discuss the Masters of the Universe toy line, it’s inventor Roger Sweet, and its packaging, as well as Star Wars, Clash of the Titans, and Space 1999 toys, getting toys when you’re home sick as a kid, Jack Kirby’s 4th World, the MOTU mini-comics, rotoscoped animation, Barbarian fantasies in the early 80s (including Thundarr and Conan), the 2002 Mike Young Productions He-Man cartoon, how easy and boring it is to make fun of the He-Man cartoon, alter egos and how Prince Adam is an important aspect to the ideal of the He-Man mythos, the myth of Robert Johnson and his fight against the devil, Andy Mangel’s excellent special features on the BCI Eclipse editions of the original He-Man cartoon on DVD, and our friends at the Horror Etc. podcast.


If you’re curious about watching this great series you can purchase a copy of season 1-part 1, or season 1-part 2 at Amazon, or head on over to Hulu where you can watch 13 of the 1st season episodes for free.


As for us, well you can find more of Jerzy’s work at:

Make Like a Tree Comics

jdrozd.blogspot.com

Art & Story Podcast


Kevin is freelance illustrator, comic creator, and podcaster whose work can be found at:

Kevin Cross.net

Big Illustration Party Time Podcast


…and well I’m Shawn obviously, and if you’re reading this than I guess you know my work can be found at Branded in the 80s.com.


We’re keeping the podcast’s feed over at the Sugary Serials site, so if you want to subscribe to it, you can do it over there or you can use this link. I’m really excited to be podcasting again, and can’t wait to dig into more cartoons.  So head on over to the Sugary Serials and check out episode 21 of the Saturday Supercast today or you can download it by right clicking and selecting save here!


If you have any questions, comments, or heck, even complaints, you can drop us a line at Saturday Supercast!

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Saturday Supercast Episode 20 is Live!




Continuing the discussion of the 1st G.I. Joe mini, A Real American Hero, this new episode of the Saturday Supercast delves into the final three episodes of the series which debuted on network TV back in September 1983.  Again, joining Jerzy Drozd in this episode (you can find part 1 here) are Kevin Cross and, well, me.  This first story arc featured the introduction of the conflict between G.I. Joe (the codename for America’s daring, highly-trained special mission force) and Cobra (a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.)   This mini series effectively set the tone for the episodes that would follow, not to mention having a drastic impact on the decade of animation that debuted in its wake.


The cartoon was produced by Sunbow who also went on to work on other series like the Transformers, Jem, the Visionaries, and the Inhumanoids.  Though the title screens were left off for this mini series, the episodes talked about in this discussion include:


Part 3: The Worms of Death




Part 4: Duel in the Devil’s Cauldron




Part 5: A Stake in the Serpent’s Heart




We also talk about the FHE VHS home video release of this first mini series, Larry Hama (writer of the comic series as well as a consultant on the show), Ron Friedman (writer for this and a handful of other Sunbow shows), Arthur Burghardt (voice of Destro), Chris Latta (voice of Cobra Commander), Frank Welker (voice of Wild Bill), Michael Bell (Voice of Duke), and Rob Paulsen (voice of Tripwire).  We also get into the underused original line-up of characters, in particular Steeler who gets a nice send off in the episode World’s Without End (parts 1 and 2), the myth of Hercules and Linus, Transformers Animated, the new live action G.I. Joe movie, The Rise of Cobra, the recent G.I. Joe cartoon Resolute, Warren Ellis, unmasking mysterious characters, the original Star Wars Clone Wars cartoon, Lancelot Link, Hasbro, getting into anime as a teenager, antihero boredom, and the great Jack Kirby.  You can find the 1st G.I. Joe mini series on the Season 1.1 DVD set put together by Shout! Factory, which was released this past Tuesday.


We’re keeping the podcast’s feed over at the Sugary Serials site, so if you want to subscribe to it, you can do it over there or you can use this link.  I’m really excited to be podcasting again, and can’t wait to dig into more cartoons.  So head on over to the Sugary Serials and check out episode 20 of the Saturday Supercast today or you can download it by right clicking and selecting save here!


If you have any questions, comments, or heck, even complaints, you can drop us a line at Saturday Supercast!



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Joining up as a co-host on the re-launched Saturday Supercast!




Hey guys, just wanted to take a second and announce the re-launch of the Saturday Supercast podcast over at Sugary Serials.  This is a sort of secret podcasting project that I’ve been working on with Kevin Cross (comic artist and co-host of the Big Illustration Party Time podcast) and Jerzy Drozd (of Sugary Serials, MLaT Comics, and the Art & Story podcast.)  Basically we’re intending on creating a podcast that deconstructs cartoons much in the same way Tony and Ted deconstruct horror flicks over at the Horror Etc. show, or Ben and Dan do cult film over at Mondo Movie.  We’re going to try and set up a roundtable discussion that seeks to deconstruct the various cartoons we love, taking them apart and seeing what makes them tick; what works well, what doesn’t, and what it is we love about the medium.  It’s hopefully going to be a love letter to animation and what makes cartoons so great.


For the launch of this new format for the show, we decided to tackle one of the mainstays from our younger years, the first 5-part mini series of the G.I. Joe cartoon called A Real American Hero, which originally debuted on network TV in the fall of 1983.  This first story arc featured the introduction of the conflict between G.I. Joe (the codename for America’s daring, highly-trained special mission force) and Cobra (a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.)  This mini series effectively set the tone for the episodes that would follow, not to mention having a drastic impact on the decade of animation that debuted in its wake.





The cartoon was produced by Sunbow who also went on to work on other series like the Transformers, Jem, the Visionaries, and the Inhumanoids.  Though the title screens were left off for this mini series, the episodes talked about in this discussion include:


Part 1: The Cobra Strikes




Part 2: Slave of the Cobra Master




We also talk about the show’s theme song, Marvel Cartoon Productions and the G.I. Joe comic book series (including the origin of the animated series in the comic commercials), as well as the toys and file cards, Steve Gerber, Buzz Dixon & the G.I. Joe Writer’s Guide, He-Man and Star Wars toy commercials, Action for Children’s Television, a couple of the releases of the Mini Series on DVD (Battle Packs and the Shout Season 1.1 DVD), and backlit animation techniques.


We’re keeping the podcast’s feed over at the Sugary Serials site, so if you want to subscribe to it, you can do it over there or you can use this link.  I’m really excited to be podcasting again, and can’t wait to dig into more cartoons.  So head on over to the Sugary Serials and check out episode 19 of the Saturday Supercast today or you can download it by right clicking and selecting save here!


If you have any questions, comments, or heck, even complaints, you can drop us a line at Saturday Supercast!



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Day 27 of the Halloween Countdown: Branded/Art & Story Podcast crossover!

Wow, this month is flying by.  It’s already the week of Halloween, how in the hell did that happen?!?  Well, I stumbled a bit last week in terms of keeping up a daily posting schedule, but it’s certainly not the end of the world.  I am on vacation from the stupid day job this week, so I should be able to cram it chock full of Halloween-y goodness.

First up is my half of the Branded in the 80s/Art & Story Podcast cross over event.  When Mark Rudolph, Jerzy Drozd, my wife and I got together to talk about horror storytelling and Halloween we recorded enough material for both of our podcasts.  Their half, episode 61 of the Art & Story podcast is up and available at their site, and now here’s the second half.  We end up talking for around 40 minutes about some Halloween memories past (in particular costumes and some fun candy gathering hyjinks) as well as talking a bit about how we celebrate the holiday today.  Talking with these guys is always fun for me, so I hope you can get some pleasure from the conversation as well.  To listen you can either click on the banner below, or right click and save it to your computer for ipod/mp3 player listening and such.

Again, if you enjoy this podcast, take a minute to check out the Art & Story show, as Mark and Jerzy have really put together a great podcast…