Richard’s grandmother was surprisingly agile as she climbed over the stones. She had led Richard and his young friend Fred deep under the earth. Fred was beginning to wish he had brought a jacket as his mother suggested before he left, as the crisp subterrenean air nipped at his skin. As many times as Richard explored these caves, he was still amazed as he turned off his flashlight to find himself not in total blackness, but in the green glow of phosphorescence emmenating from the rocky walls. 

Fred watched his friend anxiously run down one of the cavern pathways while he followed his friend’s grandmother down another. Soon they found themselves in an immense cavern, too big be believed. It was filled with an underground lake, the water shimmering in the phosphorence.

Fred touched his fingers in the cold water, and when he turned around he saw the old woman standing before him. It was an image like out of a dream, she stood before him in a shroud of mist, the green light now turned white, shining behind her. “You have the light of Mirigan.” She said. Young Fred was confused at what she meant. “You have a power that comes from the stars.” He did not see her lips moving as his mind registered her words. Then, as though she could hear his internal confusion, she continued. “You will learn in time. Know now you’re current allies will betray you. Rekindle your lost friendship, and your mind will be at ease.” What was she talking about? He had been friends with Richard for a few years now, ever since fifth grade math class.

In his apartment off Batman street, Fred awoke to the sound of pounding on his door.  Now surrounded by darkness he asked “Who is it?” 

“It’s me Fred, open up.” He thought the voice sounded familiar, and when he cracked the door open he saw a familiar dark skinned man waiting for him.

“G’day Fred.” Officer Eades said. “May I come in.”

“Do you got a warrant?”

“Come on man let me in. I just want to talk.”

“Not without a warrant.” Fred attempted to shut the door but the officer’s foot was blocking it.

“Bunch of stores were vandalized last night.” Officer Eades explained. “All “ethnic” as you would say. You wouldn’t know anything about that would you?” 

“Wasn’t me.”

Eades could see the poster for the group on the wall. “Funny,” he said, they all belonged to the local fitness group. I guess that’s just a coincidence eh?” 

“Must be.”

“So what’s next, you gonna get a Swastika and be the next Fuhrer, or maybe you should get a white robe like the yanks.”

“What’s it to you? 

“Come on man we both know what this is about.” The officer was both agitated and disappointed. “You’re not the only one that lost your pop! My dad died too you know!”

“Are you done?”

The policeman pointed his finger sternly as if Fred were a child. “If you get caught doing this shit, I can’t help you.”

Removing his foot from the door he walked down the walkway. Fred kept the door open and watched the policeman leave. “Funny,” the cop said as he continued walking. “I had a dream about grandma last night. Never dream of her you know. We were kids, back when he would take us hiking through the blue mountains.” He stopped to turn around, “Remember that?”

Fred was at a loss for words, but nodded his head.

“Just don’t do anything too stupid alright?” Fred’s former friend pleaed. “Take care of yourself.”

“You too Richard.”

Richard stopped in at the bagel shop before going to work. “What happened last night!” Was the first thing he heard walking in. David was real pissed off.

“Somebody snitched on us!” Another guy said. 

“Keep it down we got customers coming in.” Alexander ordered from behind the counter. 

 “Never mind that.” Zane said sitting at his seat. Did you hear about Luna Park?” 

“What about it?” David asked. 

“People saw lights in the sky. They’re back, and they’re watching us.”

“What are you talking about?” Fred asked. 

“I saw on the news,” Zane explained. “NASA found Ultima and Thule in the Kuiper Belt. Some say that’s where we descended” He looked at Fred and said “You know, they were here 15 years ago. Now they’re back.”

“Man shut the fuck up with that shit!” Fred lashed out. “Come on David we gotta get to work. I’m parked outside.”

Soon the crew that followed Alexander left, Alex asked an employee to man the cash register while he went in his small office. 

Closing the door behind him, he saw the blank image on the screen, his benefactor never revealed his face. “How is the land down under?” The seemingly disembodied voice said. 

“We had a few new recruits, but there was a bust last night, we lost a few.”

“You weeded out those that were week.” The voice said mysteriously. “I’ve been watching. You are ready for the next phase. Our representative will meet you soon.”

Fred didn’t talk to David much during their shift at the Warehouse. Usually there wasn’t much time to socialize anyway. David didn’t usually ride with him, and on the way was asking him a lot about last night. Fred was confused himself. The police seemed to be right there, and how did he get on that roof. Fred almost felt like the whole thing was a dream. Could he ran up a fire escape and blacked out? His mind couldn’t pathom the events he had just experienced.

After his shift he waited in the parking lot for David. The weather was starting to cool, summer was almost over. He looked up at the stars and remembered his father. He hadn’t thought of his father for a while, but there he was, remembering his father flying through these very skies. “What was that asshole talking about?” He thought to himself, remembering the older guy at the bagel shop. He was always going on about UFO’s and the like. He’d had enough of that shit.

Suddenly he felt a clubbing blow to the back of his head. He fell to the ground and was met with a series of kicks to the body. “You snitched on us you asshole!” David shouted while kicking him. There was another man with him, he didn’t know who he was but he held a tire iron that now dripped with his blood.

Fred knew he didn’t have a lot of time. The blows continued when Fred felt a rushing sensation throughout his body, like a strong current of electricity was running through it. Instinctively he raished his hand toward David, desperately trying to shove him away. All three were shocked as David’s body flew through the air at an impossible length. The tire iron again was swung down toward him. Now on his knees, Fred gripped it with his other hand. The man immediately began convulsing, his hair stood on end as if he were being electrocuted.  Only when Fred released his grip did the convulsing stop and the man crumbled to the ground. Fred himself went back down to the ground, Between the blow to his head, and the shock of recent events, he knew he was about to pass out. His last thought before his eyes closed was, “What’s happening to me?”

Warehouse, out in parking lot, hit with a lead piple. Fell to the ground, you snitch I know it was you, hit, his head was throbbing, but it slowly subsisded, he felt a buzzing sound and an uncanny sensation in his head, as if  his wound was closing. The man rushed, he raised his had up to stop and the man flew through the air. Shocks the other rone to death. 

I hope everyone has been keeping safe. The weather is getting much nicer and things are slowly beginning to open up again. Hope you have enjoyed this story. Come back in 30 for more tales of uncanny lights and conspiracy tales.

Next week is round two for the Flying Fox! Be here for tales of the world of underground fightning.  

In two weeks our most popular tale returns. Jennifer meets other foriegners in her knew home. What insights will they have in this mysterious Ghost City?

Jaguar number three will come in three weeks. Finally out in the field, will Jaguar partake in her mission, or will she strike out on her own? Stay tuned for the latest tales of the Blogverse!

Jaguar #2

Posted: May 13, 2020 in Blogverse, Jaguar
Tags: , ,

How long ago was it since she’d slept in that King sized bed. Her prized possession, a stuffed Jaguar she killed herself, rested in the corner of her room. She gazed at its sharp teeth and mighty claws as she lie there in her husband’s arms.  “Thabo, my love,” Mamoketsi said, “Are you at peace with Sifiso? I’d never seen you disagree with him before.”  

She felt her husband’s chest shake as he laughed. “Sifiso is a snake in the grass. Better to have the snake in your own garden where you can keep an eye on him.”

“But he has been our friend for years?”

Thabo looked around the room at the ornate paintings and sculptures that decorated the room. “Money paid for all this, not friendship.”

“But the Russians have money too,” Mamketsi said, recalling a secret deal that Thabo turned down. “And they have influence everywhere.”

Holding her close, Thabo said “We play a dirty game Mamoketsi, make no mistake of that. But it is our game to play, in our own yard. If we play on a board too big, eventually, all our pieces will be knocked away.”

At that Mamoketsi heard a sound, it was the sound of something smashing, like one of her plant pots outside hitting the ground. “What was that?” she asked.

“Shhh,” Thabo held his finger to his lips. His eyes gazed out the window as his ears strained to hear outside. Another sound shot through the night air, “prat prat prat”, they both knew it was the sound of gunfire.

Mamoketsi immediately sprung from the bed. Just as quickly Thabo slipped on a pair of trousers. His wife moved towards the closet when he said “Wait” Through the curtains at the window, they both could see the shadow of a man on their balcony. Mamoketsi got down on her hands and knees, continuing to crawl toward the closet. Glancing back at her husband he saw the shadow fall to the ground and let out a gasp in pain.

Thabo instantly opened the door to find Vincent, his security chief, bleeding from the gut. The sounds of gunfire crackled louder through the open door. “Vincent!” Thabo cried out to his life-long friend. Vincent looked up at him, “Board filled, too many pieces.” Thabo cradled him in his arms, he cried for just a moment before grabbing his fallen friend’s machine gun. Raising up to peer over the balcony, he looked back at his bride, now dressed in a robe, herself armed with an AK-47. He was always so proud of her. She was like her prized Jaguar, fast and deadly, a true warrior spirit, but he could not bear the thought of losing her the same night he lost his friend. “Stay here!” He pleaded, before leaping off the second story balcony onto the terrace below.

Thabo must have known his Jaguar would not stay put. Only a moment later she heard gunfire from the first floor. She cracked her bedroom door open to find two men coming up the stairwell. Immediately they were struck down by her gunfire.

Jaguar could hear her husband firing outside. The garden they both planted was now filled with the screams of the fallen enemy.  Approaching her stairwell a wave of gunfire swept above her as she rolled out of the way. Finding her way to the starwell another intruder awaited below. He looked up to see Mamoketsi, her robe partially opened during the action. She smiled as he stopped in his tracks to give an admiring glance, before shooting him in the head. 

Outside, bodies were everywhere. Across the garden she could see Thabo crouched down behind a marble horse statue. He fired a few shots off in the distance. Then, she saw him. Sifiso fired a few shots off into the air. She was relieved as he rushed to his aid. She always knew him to be honest, he was a rook to his King, perhaps now, she reasoned, Thabo could see the error in judgement. 

Instead, Thabo was met with a bullet. Mamoketsi would cry out, shocked at the betrayal of the long time friend who fired the fatal shot, but her body made no such sound as a bullet struck her in the gut. Somewhere off in the distance, an unknown assailant had tagged her. She crumpled to the ground, her eyes leerily looking up at the home that they built, now filled with bullet holes and broken glass. The blood of Vincent dripping still dripping from the balcony was her last sight before blacking out. 

Her gut wound still hurt as she lay in the gurney. In this secret location, whereever it was, a television monitor hung close to her. On that screen was an image that made her recoil, it was the man she knew took her love away from her. “Who are you people?” she asked. The last thing she remembered she was laying in the prison shower. She wasn’t able to deduce where she was, but she knew she was no longer behind bars. 

Wherever she was, she was surrounded by people working at computers, others walked around carrying briefcases and files. Finally, someone answered. Mamoketsi, your reputation proceeds you. He spoke english, sounded Portugeues. He had dark skin, but not black like hers. Maybe he was Brazillian. “I hope that bed is more comfortable than  the ones they have in prison.” 

“What do you want.” 

Pointing to her the man said “I got that silk blanket straight from India.” 

“What do you want?”

“I see you know Sifiso.” The mystery man said pointing to the screen. “How would you like to help bring him to justice.”

Hope everyone has been keeping safe. Here in the states some places are re-opening but we’re not out of the woods yet. In the meantime thanks for checking this story out. Come back in 30 for issue #3. Jaguar gets out in the field, will she follow orders, or will she seek her own justice?

Next week is the Lights of Mirigan #2. What are the strange lights over Melbourne, and how do they connect with the local extremist group?

The Flying Fox returns in two weeks. Diego has stumbled in the world of Underground Fighting, will he survive to tell the tale?

In three weeks, the blogverse most popular tale returns in Ghost City #3.  Jennifer meets some of the other foreigners in her new home. What insight will they ad to the mysterious goings on? 

In the meantime, take care and be safe.

Jennifer smiled as she looked up from her journals as several elementary students came rushing into the office. “Candy, Candy!” they yelled.

“Oh look at these wonderful students.” said Steve, another foriegn teacher. Sitting at his desk, he put his hand up to his chin and mused. “They must want something. I wonder what it could be?”

“Candy candy!” They excitedly declared.  

“Candy! Oh my gosh, well let me see if I have any.” He opened up his bottom desk draw and the kids cheered as they saw a big bag of chocolates.

After the students ran out of the room with their prize Steve pointed to them pretending to be stern. “Now you behave in class now!”

Kelly entered the office carrying her books as the kids were leaving. Half laughing she said “You know the kids aren’t supposed to be in our office right?”

“It’s ok, it’s ok, because I am super-teacher!”  He said, proudly giving himself a thumbs up.

“Ha ha of course you are Sam.” Turning to Jennifer, Kelly asked “How has your first week going so far?”

“Pretty good.” Jennifer answered as she went through her students journals. “My ninth graders are pretty good. I’ve been going through their writing. It’s not too bad.”

“Yeah they are a good group. The Chinese teachers like them a lot too. Hey what are you doing after school the next few days?”

“Well I just have one more class then I want to finish cleaning this desk out. I’ll probably stay in tonight, I want to Skype with my family. Why?”

“That’s fine, well tomorrow night some of the foreigners that work at other schools are going out.” 

“That sounds great, I can do that.” 

“Would you like to come, Steve?” Kelly asked.

“Oh I would love to but my baby is sick so I have to stay home with my wife.”

“Oh I’m sorry to hear that.”

“That’s ok Kelly. Will you go to KTV?”   

“You know it.”

“Ah, I am so sorry I cannot go. Next time yes, because you know I am the best singer!”

“Just like you’re the best teacher!”

“You got it.”Sam said pointing back at Kelly while playfully winking at her.

 Later, back in the classroom, a question was asked. “Teacher, do you own a gun?” 

Jennifer was perturbed by this question. “No Leo, I don’t own a gun.”

“Why teacher? I thought Americans had gun.”

“No Leo, we don’t all own guns. I don’t like guns.”

“Why teacher, I like guns!” He formed his hand into a pistol. “I want gun!”

She had to bite her tongue in this moment.“Ok let’s move on with our lesson.” As she passed the student notebooks out Farrah came in, smiling from ear to ear.”

“Linda, you’re are late.”     

Gesturing playfully with her hand “I was in Brad’s office.” Jennifer then continued her lesson. Occasionally she had to correct Farrah for being on her phone or not paying attention, but for the most part the class went well. She did notice Deborah, who was missing the first day she taught them, was really quiet. After class Jennifer approached her desk, Deborah sat looking down at her phone. Jennifer noticed the picture on the phone’s screen. She didn’t recognize the girl at first, but it was Deborah, with a big smile on her face. Next to her was another young Chinese girl whom Jennifer did not recognize. 

“Are you ok Deborah.” The student gave no answer as she quicky put her phone away while giving the teacher a look, saddness mixed with a dash of anger. 

“Sorry teacher” Meera said as she gave Deborah a friendly pat on the shoulder. Meera said soemthing to her in Chinese and they both left the room.

Back in the teachers office Jennifer was now cleaning out her desk. The last teacher left a lot of papers and knick knacks behind. While throwing out some papers she noticed a small envelope with a note inside. Curiosity got the better of her and she decided to read it.

“I know you say we cannot be together, but we need to be together. You are my star. You are my star and we must be together. I dream of going to Hollywood with you. Let us go to America and we will both be star, We must my love, we must. Meet me at secret place and I tell you why we must be together.” 

It read like a students writing, and from the pensmenship she suspected it was a girls writing. The note gave Jennifer an uneasy feeling, and she decided to talk to her supervisor.

Brad looked very sad as he sat at the desk reading the note. “I am sorry you found this.”

“What is it?” Jennifer asked, sitting down in his office. 

“Well you see, Sam was a good teacher, the students miss him.” Brad explaind. “But he had a, ina-, how to say, he had a relationship with a student that, it wasn’t proper.”

Jennifer’s stomach turned as she immediately got the implication. “With one of my students?” She asked, her disgust simmering beneath the surface.

 “Well, she’s, she’s not hear anymore.” 

“Did she go to another school?”

He folded up the letter. Thank you for showing this to me. Please don’t speak of this, the students will be really upset.” Jennifer nodded as she pondered the situation. Brad then stood up and said”We should close the office now. Have a good evening.”

Walking back to her apartment, she didn’t see anyone as she looked down the hallway this time. Coming in, she was relieved that her landlord finally got her a working modem. Since she arrived she had to use the school’s computers to email her family, but those computers were old and slow and the internet service wasn’t the best. She turned her laptop on and finally saw the icon lit up, indicating that she was at last online.

“It’s so good to see you honey. Are you doing ok?” Her mom appeared on the small box on her screen.

“Yes I am how are you?”

“Oh we’re all fine here. Dad is working a lot. You’re Uncle Johnny was asking about you. He was worried you were getting brainwashed.”

“No mom it’s fine. They treat us ok here.”

“Are you learning Chinese?”

“I was referred to a tutor so I’ll be starting soon.”

“Sounds interest.” She could tell her mom’s eyes were scanning what she could see of the apartment. “Well your apartment is lovely, it looks brand new!”

“Well it’s a few years old, but actually I am the first person that lived here.”

“That’s amazing. The ladies at work can’t believe how there’s no people where you live. We thought you’d be stuffed like sardines.”

“How is your friend Linda doing?”

“She is great. Looks like her daughter is going to the  Valentine’s Day dance”

“Oh really? She has a boyfriend?” Jennifer remembered when Linda was just a little girl.

“Well I don’t know if it’s a boyfriend yet but she’s been talking about maybe going with some boy.”

“Aww that’s cute. I do miss them.”

“So you don’t miss us huh?” Her mom said sarcastically.

“Oh mom of course I do.”

“I know honey. Listen I know you did what you had to do. We don’t want you to feel guilty about leaving after Reggie passed. We all have to carry on in our own way. You just have a good time over there and be safe.”

“Thanks mom.” 

“Sure honey. We love you.” Then her head turned, as if she was trying to peer over Jennifer’s shoulder. “What is that?” she asked.

“What is what?” Jennifer turned around to see nothing unusual behind her.

“I don’t know I thought I saw something for a moment. Oh well, must be getting old!” She jested.

“Must be.” Then Jennifer’s doorbell rang. “Oh that’s probably my dinner. I’m getting something delivered. I’ll be right back.”

Jennifer went to the door and it was a delivery person from the Muslim restaurant down the street. Steve recommended it to her and she took an immediate liking to it. In fact this was the third meal from them she had since he’d been there. After she payed for her food she closed the door and heard her mom shouting through the computer. 

“Mom what’s wrong?” when she ran back to her laptop she saw the screen flicker for a moment.

“Who is in your room?” Her mom asked.

“What?” Jennifer asked as she sat down.

“Do you have a student there?”

“What are you talking about?” Jennifer asked as she looked around her empty apartment.

“There’s a girl in there!” Her mom insisted. “She looked right at me. Her face was so pale it scared the hell out of me!”

“Mom there’s no one in here.”

“I’m teling you there was a girl in your room. She had a red dress on and her face was as white as a ghost. She looked pretty young so I assumed it was a student. The image on my screen flickered out for a moment, and then her face was really big on my screen, like she was looking right at me, Then the screen flickered out again and she was gone.”

“I don’t know mom, the internet here isn’t the best,” Jennifer attempted to rationalize., “maybe something went haywire with the connection.

“Honey I’m just telling you what I saw. It scared the hell out of me.”

Unpacking her dinner Jennifer said “Ok well I have to eat, I’ll chat with you later ok.”

“Ok well have a good day.”

“I already had a good day.” Jennifer laughed. “It’s evening time here.”

“Oh that’s right!” Her mom clapped her hands together laughing. “Well good night. I feel so weird saying that now.” Then they hung up.

Immediately Jennifer sprang to her feet and looked around her small apartment. There weren’t many places to hide. She felt anxious but also embarrassed as she looked in her closets and out on the balcony. This brought back memories of when she thought as a child that there were monsters under her bed. Even at that age her little brother wasn’t scared of anything. He would eagerly look under her bed and in her closet with his toy sword, excitedly hoping to find some monster he could fight. Her anxiety dropped into grief as she remembered that even at that age he was so fearless. He would have been disappointed here as well, as her apartment was empty except for her. 

Hope everyone has been safe through these trying times. Hopefully better days are ahead! Thanks for supporting this story, and tune in next month for issue three of the blogvere’s most popular tale, Ghost City!

Next week, the return of Jaguar! What do Jaguar’s benefactors want, and will she accept their help?

In two weeks the Lights of Mirigan are back on. What are the mysterious lights over Melbourne, and what is their connection to the local extremist group?

Was that something about a Valentines dance I heard in this issue? Will Diego have a hot date, or will he be caught up in this newly discovered word of underground fighting? Find out in the next issue of Flying Fox, coming in three weeks. The blogverse is on a roll!

One piece of pop culture the 1980’s are fondly remembered for is its original action adventure cartoons. Such original content did not, however, come immediately.  In 1980, many animated shows were merely reruns of previous entries such as Hanna Barbera’s “Godzilla.” Filmation ran its second year of the Flash Gordon series, and continued their “Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour” with reruns of Tarzan but new Lone Ranger episodes. Ivan Naranjo, a Native American voice actor provided the voice of Tonto, who was given more dialogue and was portrayed as more educated than he was in the old black and white TV show. Long time actor William Conrad voiced the Lone Ranger, credited as J Darnoc. Lone Ranger episodes were tagged with shorts with historical figures such as Mark Twain and Annie Oakley. Also noteworthy is one episode about the first transcontinental railroad had a plot similar to the 1999 film Wild Wild West.

The long running Superfriends series, by Hannah-Barbera, had a season in 1980. Packaged as an hour long show, it began with a half hour re-run, followed by three new seven minute shorts. 

Ruby Spears, founded by two former Hannah-Barbera sound editors, would be the studio to add something new. In an interview on Thundarr.com, Joe Ruby recalls reading in a magazine that a Conan movie was coming soon. Often a movie would come out first, then, if successful, would spawn animated series and other merchandise. Star Wars of course changed all this, and Joe bet on the idea that a barbarian like fantasy series would succeed. 

Two initial ideas for a new cartoon were pitched to ABC’s Marilyn Olin and Judy Price. One was a post-nuclear war show, and the other was a natural disaster from outer space. Given this was to be a children’s show, the then current Cold War era nuclear scenario was scrapped.

Debuting on October 4th and running until Halloween day of the next year, Thundarr the Barbarian was a post-apocalyptic warrior who fought wizards and mutants on a ruined Earth. The story went that in 1994 a runaway planet sped between the Earth and the Moon, causing natural disasters and societal collapse. A thousand years later, Thundarr, with his lightsaber like Sunsword, fought evil alongside New Earth princess Ariel, and Ookla the Mok, a Chewbacca like character. Together, they would travel across the lands fighting evil in a world that was a mix of sorcery and science, with nomadic tribes wandering through lost technological ruins. 

Legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby provided production designs. Alex Toth, another revered artist, designed the main characters, though Gemini, one of the shows villains, strongly resembled Kirby’s DC comics villain Darkseid. 

A mix on Conan, Kirby Comics, and Star Wars, Thundarr the Barbarian was the first original action adventure property of the 1980s.

Diego put his book bag in the locker room as the men around him taped up their fists. The smell of sweat and dirty clothes beat the smog Los Angeles was renowned for. Once he changed into his workout clothes Diego went out to the gym and hit the heavy bag. Once he noticed all the female trainees his footwork became more dance like as he landed several good combinations on the bag.

“Yeah check out this footwork!” Diego boasted while giving a wink to the girl hitting the bag next to him. She paid him no mind, and soon the image of her fit body in her sports bra and shorts was replaced by a large male torso. The man gave one swift bunch which sent the bag flying, his message firmly delivered.

Unable to back down Diego responded “Oh yeah but I got the speed, check this out.” Diego again danced around his back quickly landing light punches. Neither the man nor his girlfriend were impressed. Diego’s playful temperment changed once he felt something hit his ankle causing him to fall back. He yelled out loud and hit the ground hard, causing the couple, and most everyone else who saw it, to laugh out loud.

Immediately, he sprung back up to his feet with his hands up. Tony, one of the trainers at the gym, was almost doubled over in laughter. It was he who tripped the young student as a rib. “I didn’t teach you that kind of footwork. Real smooth.” he jested.

“Oh you got jokes!” Diego playfully jabbed at his mentor. 

“Let’s go in the ring, I’ll teach you some real moves.”

The pair climbed through the ropes of an empty ring. Diego had taken his gloves off, as wrestling was more Tony’s style. They practiced a few holds and did light some light sparring. The gym echoed in the sounds of bodies hitting mats, fists hitting bags, and the metal clanging of weights. At one point during sparring they were both on their feet, and Diego managed to hook one of Tony’s legs causing him to fall to the ground. “Oh that’s what’s up!” Diego shouted. “Now watch this!” he said as he hopped to the top turn buckle. In a spit second he leapt off the top rope, his body twisted and turned through the air like an aerial ballerenia. He planned to end the move with a body splash on his trainer, what he didn’t expect was Tony leaping back to his feet and catching him in mid air. Tony immediately turned around and slammed his opponent onto the canvas, knocking the wind out of his student.

“Dammit Diego!” Tony shouted as he shot back to his feet. “I told you about that Lucha shit. You do that out in the street and they’ll stab your Mexican ass!” The whole gym now had their eyes on Tony, as most of them rarely saw him lose his cool. “Now 50 pushups and get your ass outta here!”

Tony did the 50 along with his student. Afterwards Diego was ordered to get some water for the two of them. After taking a sip Tony asked “How is your grandpa doing?” 

“He’s ok.” Diego answered, while taking a drink.

“You doing well in school? You doing your homework and stuff?”

“Yeah sure.” Diego said, taking another sip.

“You better be.  Now go on hit the showers, I got a jujitsu class coming in.”

Later as he came out of the shower, Diego felt a wet sting in his lower back. Turning around, he saw the man he hassled before had struck him with a wet towel.  “Not so cocky now are you!” He said.

“You like hitting underage boys in the ass?” Diego immediately fired back.

The sound of “Ooooh!” filled the locker room in response to his comeback.

The man pointed his finger at the boy and said “You ever want real fight I know just the place.” and walked out.

While getting into his car Diego turned his phone on, which immediately started blowing up. Pulling out of the parking lot he called his friend Morea back. As soon as Morea picked up he asked quickly “Hey man, what are you doing tonight?”

“Well right now I’m just leaving the gym.”

“Not supposed to be driving while you’re on the phone amigo.”

“In this traffic I think I’m alright.” Diego laughed. “What’s up?”

“Hey man can you give me a lift tonight?


“Where?”

“Somewhere real cool, I’ll tell you about it when you pick me up.”  

Now Diego felt confused. “Can’t you drive somewhere real cool yourself?”

“Cars in the shop amigo. Please man help a brother out!”

“Well I can get you later, first I gotta check on my grandpa.”

“He’ll be fine man, just come get me.”  

“I’ll call you once I leave the house.”

“Ok,” Morea finally let up. “Just don’t beep the horn my mom doesn’t like that, just park down the street I’ll come out.”

It smelled like Enchiladas when Diego came home. He knew it wasn’t his mom’s cooking as she was working tonight. When he saw his grandfather working over the stove he said “Grandpa I could have made these.” 

“You don’t make them right.” He answered in spanish. “Always add too much chipotle.” 

“If you say so.”Diego laughed as they sat down to eat and continued their conversation in Spanish.   

“Lesnar’s gonna be on Raw tonight. What do you think will happen?” His grandfather asked. 

“I don’t know.” He answered, taking a bite of his Enchilada. “You’ll have to tell me tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow! You’re not gonna watch it with me?”

“I’m hanging out with Morea tonight.”

“That little bandit! I told you he was trouble!” His old wrinkled finger pointed at his grandson.

“Ah, he’s alright.” He knew his grandfather’s assessment wasn’t entirely wrong and gave no further protest. After eating he got up and washed the dishes in the sink, then helped his grandfather get back to his room. As the elderly man was taking his medicine, Diego looked around at all the pictures of old friends. Some of the photographs were even in black and white. 

“Do you think back in your prime you could have taken Lesnar?” 

His Grandfather laughed. “Maybe, if the booker agreed to it!”

“Haha I guess you’re right.” Diego noticed one of the drawers on his dresser was open. Looking up at him was grandpa’s old lucha mask, something no man had worn in a long time.

“Do you ever miss the old days grandpa?”

“Not at all.” The old man said as he slammed the door shut. “That business is filled with liars and thieves, and that’s why I don’t want you having any part of it.” 

Diego nodded in understanding as his grandfather embraced him and said “Alright now you have a good time and be safe.”

As he pulled up to Morea’s house he spotted his car in the driveway. As he slowed down he saw Morea jump out his bedroom window on the side of the house. He quickly pulled his hoodie up and sprinted towards Diego’s car.

“Thanks man” he said hopping in.

“I thought your car was in the shop”

“It was man, it was, I got grounded again.”

“So now I’m an accomplice?”

“Save the cop stuff for your mom.” Morea said as they rolled out of their neighborhood. 

“Alright man just where we’re going?” 

Soon they pulled into an auto body garage. “You’re idea of a good time?” Diego joked. It seemed strange that the parking lot was full when it was after hours.


“Trust me man.” his friend reassured him.

Once they got out of the car and approached the door they could hear the crowd inside. Kennedy, Morea’s cousin, stood at the door with a huge guy that looked like he could be Kennedy’s body-gaurd. “You’re late.” Kennedy scowled. “Next time I get a new bookie.”

“Sorry man, traffic was killer.” Diego considered Morea a good friend, but he knew he was a bullshiter. He attempted to follow Morea in when he was stopped by the large black hand of Kennedy’s body-gaurd. Noticing Diego wasn’t behind him Morea turned around and explained “Come on man he’s with me.”

Finally getting inside Diego noticed the smell of motor oil mixed with the smell of blood and sweat, as if the auto shop he was in was mixed with the smells of the gym he was in earlier. He’d never seen this many people in a garage before. “Weird place to have a party.” he thought. The people inside formed a big circle and were yelling and cheering some with drinks in their hands. It was then he saw another familiar sight, inside the circle were two bare knuckle brawlers throwing punches at each other. Diego couldn’t believe it. He’d seen stuff like this in the movies and in video games, but never dreamt he’d see something like this in person. 

The crowd roared in unison as one fighter landed an incredible roundhouse punch to his opponent, knocking him to the concrete floor. Diego just stared in disbelief. His friend wrapped his arm around him and excitedly boasted, “Just like Fight Club, but this shit is for real!”

Thank you all for the support of the blogverse this past month. This is the last new tale of this fantastic project. Next week, our most popular entry returns. Ghost City #2. What further eerieness awaits Jennifer at her new school, and how is it connected to her strange neighbor.

In two weeks, the return of Jaguar! Who is the mysterious benefactor, what do they want, and will she even help?

The Lights of Mirigan return in three weeks. What are the mysterious lights over Melbourne, and how do they connect with a young man caught up in a local extremist group?

Come back in 30 for the Flying Fox #2. Diego is enamored by his new discovery, will he take part in this deadly hobby, and if so, what price will he pay. Tune in next month for the next chapters of the blogverse!

Star Wars obviously had a huge effect on the world of comic books, and the property itself had a Marvel Comics series. In fact, the first time the general public would see any Star Wars content was on April 12th 1977, over a full month before the movie premiered, (the second issue would was on stands on May 10th, about two weeks before the film’s premiere.) The first six issues of the series adapted the film, and after that featured original material. The series would run until 1986,

 

The first Star Wars comic of 1980 (issue #34) wrapped up a story about an Empire super weapon called the Omega Frost, which could freeze anything. The February issue had Darth Vader learning who destroyed the Death Star, then proceeding to seek his revenge. Subsequent issues feature Vader and Luke Skywalker in the Crystal Valley per mechanizations of the comic book series villain Domina Tagge. Issue #37 ends with Jabba the Hut, later ret-conned to be the Hut’s accountant Nimbanel. Issue #38 was to begin the adaptation of Empire Strikes Back, but due to distribution issues it was a one off story where Luke and Lea encounter an organic ship.

 

The next issue begins the Empire adaption, but unlike Star Wars, it came out about a month after the film’s premiere. No references are made to previous Marvel Comics stories, nothing of Tagge, the Crystal Valley or the Omega frost. Instead the Rebels are abruptly on the ice planet Hoth. Also noteworthy is the price of this issue went up a dime to fifty cents. One interesting note in the adaptation is that Marvel was not allowed to show the giant space slug from the film, as Lucasfilm wanted it to be a surprise. The final Star Wars issue of 1980 takes place immediately after the film, and features Luke battling an Empire droid.

 

Marvel comics themselves would have their own famous saga that took them to the stars in X-men’s Dark Phoenix Saga. The X-men debuted in 1963, and were created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Originally not a big success, the title was relaunched in 1975 and has been popular since. The original team were teenagers who were born with special powers that revealed themselves at puberty. By 1980 the cast are now grown adults, something that at the outset causes a rift between Professor Xavier, the psychic wheelchair bound founder of the team, and Cyclops, original team member and field commander.

 

Running from June to September of 1980 and written by Chris Claremont, the Dark Phoenix Saga does not get to outer space until the end. A majority of the story features the Hellfire Club, a secret aristocratic organization with mutants at it’s inner circle (And inspired by a British spy TV show called the Avengers). The Hellfire club attempts to corrupt and control original X-men member Jean Grey, who has previously come into possession of the Phoenix force, making her near godlike in power. During the course of the adventures two new characters, the popular Kitty Pryde, and the disco based Dazzler, make their debut.

 

Jean loses control of her powers and becomes Dark Phoenix. Soaring off to another solar system, she consumes a star which causes the destruction of a planet and the death of 5 billion aliens known as D’Bari, and also the destruction of a spaceship from the Shi’ar empire. (At the time the population of Earth was about five billion.) The Shi’ar, meeting with other alien races, conclude that the Phoenix Force must be stopped. Interestingly, among the aliens is a creature resembling H.R. Giger’s Alien, who debuted in film a year prior. The X-men would face a very similar alien, known as the Brood, two years later.

 

Dark Phoenix’s saga concludes with the Shi’ar abducting the X-men in an attempt to make Jean pay for her crimes. Trial by combat is held on the moon. Facing overwhelming odds, Jean unleashes her Phoenix force, but, knowing her power is too dangerous for the universe, sacrifices herself in front of her lover Cyclops. 

 

The original ending had an interplanetary council conduct a scientific like exorcism on Jean, safely removing the Phoenix Force, and Jean returning safely home. Marvel Editor Jim Shooter told X-men editor Jim Salicrup “there had to be moral consequences.” When making this suggestion, the finale was already drawn, but changes were made. (Daniels 186) The original ending would see print in 1984’s “Phoenix: The Untold Story.” Since then Dark Phoenix has been adapted or referenced in several animated shows, the X-men film franchise, is now considered a classic. 

 

As succesful as the X-men were, they were no longer teenagers, nor was Spiderman as he was when he first debuted. Fans who wanted a teenage superhero kick would get it at the end of 1980. Debuting a month after Jean’s death, and edited by Len Wien, co-creator of the X-men’s Wolverine and the new X-men, the New TeenTitans would become a much needed success for DC comics. 

 

Written by Marv Wolfman, teen titans was a concept that had been tried before. Wolfman himself actually wrote a teen titans story in the late 60s. Prior to teen titans Marv was writing team up stories and one off stories for Brave in the Bold and World’s Finest. Wishing to write a different type of story, he would write the New Teen Titans in a run lasting 16 years. Teen titans would thrive on young vs old, parent/child differences, as well as the time honored tradition of inter-team bickering. Wolfman envisioned a triangular conflict between the outlooks of the boys men and three girls on the team. Robin, the team leader, had lost his parents, Cyborg conflicted with his dad who’s experiments made him what he is, and Changeling (formerly Beast Boy) didn’t know his family. For the females, Donna Troy, Raven, and Stargirl ran the gamut on beliefs between war, peace, and pacifism. (From the Teen Titans introduction by Marv Wolfman)

 

The New Teen Titans debuted in a special preview of DC Comics Presents #26, which featured a Jim Starlin story of Superman fighting the intergalactic villain Mogul. The first proper issue of the New Teen Titans opened with a scene straight out of Star Wars, with the alien Stargirl escaping in her space ship, the Star Slider, from an alien empire. Jumping to light speed was referred to as Space Sliding, which allowed Stargirl to get to Earth, where later Changeling would call Cyborg a Star Wars reject. 

 

Danels, Les. Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics, Harry N Abrams, Inc, Publishers, New York 1991

 

Wolfman, Marv, Teen Titans Volume One, DC Comics, New York 2014

 

Star Wars obviously had a huge effect on the world of comic books, and the property itself had a Marvel Comics series. In fact, the first time the general public would see any Star Wars content was on April 12th 1977, over a full month before the movie premiered, (the second issue would was on stands on May 10th, about two weeks before the film’s premiere.) The first six issues of the series adapted the film, and after that featured original material. The series would run until 1986,

The first Star Wars comic of 1980 (issue #34) wrapped up a story about an Empire super weapon called the Omega Frost, which could freeze anything. The February issue had Darth Vader learning who destroyed the Death Star, then proceeding to seek his revenge. Subsequent issues feature Vader and Luke Skywalker in the Crystal Valley per mechanizations of the comic book series villain Domina Tagge. Issue #37 ends with Jabba the Hut, later ret-conned to be the Hut’s accountant Nimbanel. Issue #38 was to begin the adaptation of Empire Strikes Back, but due to distribution issues it was a one off story where Luke and Lea encounter an organic ship.

The next issue begins the Empire adaption, but unlike Star Wars, it came out about a month after the film’s premiere. No references are made to previous Marvel Comics stories, nothing of Tagge, the Crystal Valley or the Omega frost. Instead the Rebels are abruptly on the ice planet Hoth. Also noteworthy is the price of this issue went up a dime to fifty cents. One interesting note in the adaptation is that Marvel was not allowed to show the giant space slug from the film, as Lucasfilm wanted it to be a surprise. The final Star Wars issue of 1980 takes place immediately after the film, and features Luke battling an Empire droid.

Marvel comics themselves would have their own famous saga that took them to the stars in X-men’s Dark Phoenix Saga. The X-men debuted in 1963, and were created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Originally not a big success, the title was relaunched in 1975 and has been popular since. The original team were teenagers who were born with special powers that revealed themselves at puberty. By 1980 the cast are now grown adults, something that at the outset causes a rift between Professor Xavier, the psychic wheelchair bound founder of the team, and Cyclops, original team member and field commander.

Running from June to September of 1980 and written by Chris Claremont, the Dark Phoenix Saga does not get to outer space until the end. A majority of the story features the Hellfire Club, a secret aristocratic organization with mutants at it’s inner circle (And inspired by a British spy TV show called the Avengers). The Hellfire club attempts to corrupt and control original X-men member Jean Grey, who has previously come into possession of the Phoenix force, making her near godlike in power. During the course of the adventures two new characters, the popular Kitty Pryde, and the disco based Dazzler, make their debut.

Jean loses control of her powers and becomes Dark Phoenix. Soaring off to another solar system, she consumes a star which causes the destruction of a planet and the death of 5 billion aliens known as D’Bari, and also the destruction of a spaceship from the Shi’ar empire. (At the time the population of Earth was about five billion.) The Shi’ar, meeting with other alien races, conclude that the Phoenix Force must be stopped. Interestingly, among the aliens is a creature resembling H.R. Giger’s Alien, who debuted in film a year prior. The X-men would face a very similar alien, known as the Brood, two years later.

Dark Phoenix’s saga concludes with the Shi’ar abducting the X-men in an attempt to make Jean pay for her crimes. Trial by combat is held on the moon. Facing overwhelming odds, Jean unleashes her Phoenix force, but, knowing her power is too dangerous for the universe, sacrifices herself in front of her lover Cyclops. 

The original ending had an interplanetary council conduct a scientific like exorcism on Jean, safely removing the Phoenix Force, and Jean returning safely home. Marvel Editor Jim Shooter told X-men editor Jim Salicrup “there had to be moral consequences.” When making this suggestion, the finale was already drawn, but changes were made. (Daniels 186) The original ending would see print in 1984’s “Phoenix: The Untold Story.” Since then Dark Phoenix has been adapted or referenced in several animated shows, the X-men film franchise, is now considered a classic. 

As succesful as the X-men were, they were no longer teenagers, nor was Spiderman as he was when he first debuted. Fans who wanted a teenage superhero kick would get it at the end of 1980. Debuting a month after Jean’s death, and edited by Len Wien, co-creator of the X-men’s Wolverine and the new X-men, the New TeenTitans would become a much needed success for DC comics. 

Written by Marv Wolfman, teen titans was a concept that had been tried before. Wolfman himself actually wrote a teen titans story in the late 60s. Prior to teen titans Marv was writing team up stories and one off stories for Brave in the Bold and World’s Finest. Wishing to write a different type of story, he would write the New Teen Titans in a run lasting 16 years. Teen titans would thrive on young vs old, parent/child differences, as well as the time honored tradition of inter-team bickering. Wolfman envisioned a triangular conflict between the outlooks of the boys men and three girls on the team. Robin, the team leader, had lost his parents, Cyborg conflicted with his dad who’s experiments made him what he is, and Changeling (formerly Beast Boy) didn’t know his family. For the females, Donna Troy, Raven, and Stargirl ran the gamut on beliefs between war, peace, and pacifism. (From the Teen Titans introduction by Marv Wolfman)

The New Teen Titans debuted in a special preview of DC Comics Presents #26, which featured a Jim Starlin story of Superman fighting the intergalactic villain Mogul. The first proper issue of the New Teen Titans opened with a scene straight out of Star Wars, with the alien Stargirl escaping in her space ship, the Star Slider, from an alien empire. Jumping to light speed was referred to as Space Sliding, which allowed Stargirl to get to Earth, where later Changeling would call Cyborg a Star Wars reject. 

Danels, Les. Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics, Harry N Abrams, Inc, Publishers, New York 1991

Wolfman, Marv, Teen Titans Volume One, DC Comics, New York 2014