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

Note: I have changed the name of this story from Arrokoth to Light of Mirigan.

Fred never flew in his life, but there he was sitting with his dad in the cockpit. Looking down his youthful eyes could see the lights from the rides at Luna Park, and soon those sights were replaced by the blue of the the ocean. Often he dreamed that his dad would take him to Tasmania, they always talked about going there sometime. Now the sun was setting, and looking out into the black void below, Fred could sense that something was off.

“Mission control I got a craft following me. It’s getting pretty close to my tail.” His father said over the radio.

“There’s no identified craft in your area.” The radio crackled back.

“Don’t bullshit me.” His father barked back. “I see four lights behind me, looks like landing lights.” 

“Captain I don’t know what you’re seeing but it’s not one of ours.” 

Before Fred could see it, he could hear it, this incredible screeching sound, as if the atmosphere itself was screaming. Then he could see it, it was like the X-wing straight out of Star Wars, and it flew over them. 

“It looks like this thing is toying with me!” The Captain said in frustration as the screeching sound hit again and the unknown craft darted to the east. 

“Shoot em down dad!” Fred said excitedly.

“Captain, you are probably seeing lights from some atmospheric phenomenon.” the voice said dismissively over the radio.”

“Don’t tell me it’s fucking Venus!” His father said angrily as the craft now orbited his plane. “I can see it’s got a metallic surface and there’s some kind of green light on it.”

“Dad!” Fred screamed as their engine began to sputter. The plane shook hard in the air as smoke bellowed from it’s engine.   

“Can you identify the aircraft?”  The voice on the radio asked. 

His father grew eerily quiet. Fred could see the beads of sweat forming on his foreheard. Never in his young life had Fred had seen his father scared. Then, in a quiet trembling voice his father answered, “It’s not an aircraft.”

Green light bathed the cockpit as his father froze. Fred couldn’t bring himself to say anything, and he realized that he himself couldn’t move. His vision locked on the image of his father, a coffee cup he kept near his seat floated in the air as if it were in zero gravity. For a moment there was no sound, but then he heard it, metallic scraping sounds all over the aircraft. 

Fred now was plunging toward the black sea, he could feel the moisture from the salt water rushing up to his face. An image of his mother floated before him, looking up from outside their home, calling out his name in tears. 

Fred’s whole body shook on the mattress when he awoke. He hadn’t dreamt of his father in a while. Fred was only 13 when his dad disappeared, it was quite the news story for a while. He had been flying off the shores of Melbourne when his plane disappeared. Most people figured he had simply crashed into the sea, but his plane was never recovered. Then there were the UFO nuts, people that said he was abducted by aliens. There was one part of his dream Fred knew to be true. His family was allowed to hear the recording from the flight that night, and there was that last thing his father said, the last thing he would ever hear him say. “It’s not an aircraft.”

A morning jog through the city was probably the best thing to clear his mind. Today he was meeting with the Melbourne chapter of Australia First Fitness; a local fitness group. The usual crowd was there, his friends Dennis and David. Zane came today, he was the oldest of the group and didn’t always come. 

“How is your mom doing?” Alexander, the head of the local chapter asked. 

“She’s ok I guess, thanks.” Fred answered as they jogged by Fitzroy Gardens. The giant branches of the trees reached out over the trail, providing some shade from the summer sun.

“She still in the hospital?”

“Yeah, the Dr. says she’s stable, nothing serious lately.”

“I’m glad to hear that Fred.” Looking back at a young couple, who were two new members of their group. “You think they’ll last?” 

Alexander laughed when Fred answered “Doubt it.” Fred laughed to, as he understood what the group leader was getting at. As Fred himself looked back at the pack, he noticed Harry running along. He was also a new member who’d been coming the last few weeks. “Harry is here.” Fred observed.

“Yes we are definitely happy to have him.” Alexander said with a smile. “He is going to fit in just fine.” As they were running they drew closer the Melbourne Cricket Center, commonly known as the MCG. Looking at the large grey circular structure, Alexander noted. “In fact I hear he’s a hell of a cricket player.” 

Fred kept looking back at Harry, who on the surface he seemed like an ideal member, but Fred couldn’t shake this uncanny feeling that something was off.

As Fred was laughing he knew the new couple wouldn’t last long. The eyes of the dark skinned girl widened in revulsion back at the bagel shop. The group always stopped there after the jog, as it was owned by Alexander. Her and her boyfriend quietly went out the door once Alexander told his joke. 

“Don’t come back now ya here.”Fred jested as everyone else laughed. Alexander nodded at Fred in approval. “PC shit was destroying their nation.” Fred thought to himself. 

“Alright now that that’s out of the way let’s get down to business.” Alexander said, and he proceeded to hand out several envelopes to the remaining group.

The young aborigional youth stared defiantly at the policeman’s finger as it pointed to him accusingly. “If I catch you tagging buildings again I’m gonna send you off to juvi, you understand!”

“Police always want to put my people in jail.” 

At first the child’s mother was mortified at her son’s attitude, but she couldn’t help but laugh a little as she saw the look on his face when he heard his native tongue spoken by the policeman. “I promise you,” officer Eades said in the language of the Gundungurra people, “no one at this station wants to see you be anything but a strong and good man.”  Then in English he finished with, “Now go on go home.”

“Thank you officer. And don’t worry, Derek here will be under house arrest with me.” The mother said as she took her child out of the station. 

Officer Eades sat down at his desk as he saw Harry enter the station in his street clothes. “How was the Hitler marathon?” Eades asked. “Doesn’t look like you broke a sweat.”

Jokingly pointing to the gut of his superior officer, Harry answered “I ran it faster than you ever will.”

“You got that right!” Officer Eades leaned back in his chair laughing. “So what do you got for me?”

“Nothing big.” Harry handed an envelope across the desk. “Just some petty shit going down night.” 

Looking through the contents he then heard Harry say. “You know I could understand teenagers doing shit like this, but grown adults?”

“Oh I hear you.” Officer Eades reflected. “When I was thirteen I once got caught graffiting.”

“Really?” Harry was surprised. “An upstanding Aborigional citizen like you?”

“Yeah, I didn’t know it was the Police museum.”

“Bullshit!” 

Eades raised his hand as if taking an oath. “Swear to your god hahaha.”

“Holy shit man!” Harry laughed, slapping his knee. “Let me guess you wrote fuck da police?”

“No, man,” Eades answered, pointing to a piece of aborgional art on his desk. “I was trying to make a dreamtime picture, but to the police it was all the same.” Both men were now laughing out loud, drawing the attention of everyone else at the station. 

The expression on Eades’s face then changed as he looked at a note Harry included. It was a list of people at the meeting, mostly first names. He grew quiet for a moment as Harry continued laughing, then Eades smacked the paper on his desk exclaiming “Ah shit!”

“What?”

Eades’s index finger pointed to one name on the paper, Eades asked “This bloke, Fred, you didn’t catch his last name?”

“No sir.” Harry said,

“How old do you think he was?”

“Bout the same as us I suppose, why?”

Brushing the paper away and looking away Officer Eades concluded, “Ahh, never mind, good work officer, that’ll be all.”

This was an important mission, one where he and his friends were going to take back their country. They would be regarded as heroes, saviors of their civilization. This is what Fred thought to himself as spray painted “Go Home” over the sign at the Middle Eastern Restaurant. He and Dennis had been assigned Elizabeth street, where, well past midnight, they would wreak havoc in the name of spreading their message. That afternoon Fred’s group had been put into pairs by Alexander and each assigned an area of the city to hit, and a message would be sent to who the country belonged to.

Officer Eades rode in his cruiser toward downtown, fearing the worst regarding the activities that were to go down tonight. “Officer Eades,” he heard over his radio. 

“I’m on my way to my position.” Eades answered.

“We’ve been getting a few calls about some weird lights down by Saint Kilda beach.”

“Can’t someone else cover that?” The officer said. 

“You’re the closest available, it’s probably nothing just go check it out.”

“Look at this shite!” Fred heard Dennis yell. “Bunch of shapes and colors in a big mess. They call this garbage art.” Dennis was standing at the window of an Aborigional art gallery looking in at the paintings. Fred had to stop himself, as in the past he would have immediately  explained the picture. In his youth his best friend was Anatjari, whose dad would take them camping in the Outback. His friend and his dad were artists and he learned some of the symbolism of Gundungurra people. These memories were quickly shattered by the sound of breaking glass as Dennis threw a trash can through the gallery window.

“It’s not an airplane.” A late night beach goer told the officer as he pointed to the green lights in the sky. Officer Eades walked slowly on the beach watching the object. In the moonlight he could barely make out what looked like a metallic object, but it had four green lights shining from it. It hovered still in the sky as the ocean waves slowly crashed near their feet. 

“Why do you think it’s not an aircraft?”

“Officer, I’m telling you, I saw this thing zipping around the sky,” the man explained, frantically moving his finger throughout the air. “No aircraft can do what thing was doing.” 

“Doesn’t look like it’s doing much now.”

Looking at the shattered glass Fred cracked up laughing “We’re gonna wake up the whole neighborhood!”

“Good!” Dennis boasted recklessly as he hopped through the window and knocked the indigineous paintings down. Fred followed behind and snickered at the destruction. A western style painting was spared from the wrath of Dennis, something else made childhood memories return to Fred’s mind. It was a scenic image of the Blue Mountains from New South Wales. The image again reminded him of his excursions to the outback. The rocky formations formed cylindrical like shapes that erected out from the greenery of the trees. The sun shining through the sky giving the mountains a tint of blue. Then the blue began to flash in intensity, and then became mixed with flashes of red. Fred could sense danger was near.

Back at the beach Officer continued to observe the unknown object in the sky. It remained still, but then, as impossible as it seemed, it expanded in size. Could it have possibly been moving this fast. The civilian fell back in the sand as he feared the object was coming straight towards him. Officer Eades reached for his radio, but then, before he could say anything, the object disappeared from sight. 

“Jesus Christ Fred how did you get over there that fast!” Fred now saw his partner from a distance as his chest heaved heavily. He didn’t remember bolting across Elizabeth street, and looking down the empty street he felt as confused as Dennis

The street was not empty for long as a patrol car raced towards Dennis with lights blaring, then another from the opposite direction. “Fuck man!” Dennis yelled. Fred immediately ran away as he heard from behind “Get down on your knees!”

Another set of flashing lights approached as he ran through a parking lot. He turned back to see he was being pursued as he made a right on Therry street. “Stop right there!” Fred heard over a bullhorn as he turned into a street that ran behind the Victoria market. The red and blue lights reflected off the concrete buildings around him and he could hear the engine of the patrol car drawing closer. 

It wasn’t until officer Eades got in his cruiser that he realized, whatever he saw, it never made a sound. After radioing in what he just witnessed he slowly cruised down Cavell street. The lights at Luna Park were off, but a few kids were still loitering about. “Doing just the usual stuff” he thought to himself, smoking, getting high. His presence caught the eye of some of the kids. Most of them just stood in their tracks, a few slowly crept away. Turning right on Carlisle street he saw a familiar face. It was Derek. He was sure his mother didn’t go easy on him, but there he was, standing in the street. The kid showed no fear either, as he recognized the officer slowly riding by. He simply nodded his head, giving him that cocky grin that Eades seemed to see on all kids these days.

In the alley the police car stopped and two officers got out. “Hold it right there!” One of them shouted. Fred found himself at a dead end in the back of the alley. Then he felt it, it was like his dream, but opposite in a way. He felt the night air brushing against his face when he realized there was nothing below his feet. It felt like he was falling, no, not falling, more like he was, no, not that, it couldn’t be true. Next thing he knew he felt something solid below his feet. He was baffled as to what took place, but way below him he heard the voices.

“Where did he go?”  

“I don’t know, but we got enough of them, let’s go.”

It was only then he realized where he was. Looking down at the dead end where the cops were standing, he couldn’t believe it. Only one thought came to mind.

“How the hell did I get on the roof?”

Next week comes the final new entry of the blogverse. In Los Angeles, the grandson of a Mexican wrestler stumbles into the world of underground fighting. 

In two weeks, the fan favorite Ghost City returns with all new thrills and mysteries.

Jaquar returns in three weeks. Who is the mysterious benefactor and what do they want?

And of course come back in thiry days for issue #2 of the Lights of Mirigan. What are the mysterious lights over Melbourne, and is Fred’s group merely a bunch of hoodlums, or are they up to something more deadly. Find out in 30!

It felt like laying on a stone, this small pillow wasn’t helping her sleep. These blankets weren’t any better, smelly and itchy on her skin. She missed her old King sized bed. After a hard days work she would sink into her mattress, back then she took for granted that feeling, like she was floating on a cloud. Her old carpet was also gone, her feet hit the cold concrete floor as she lined up for count.

She could hear the boots coming down the hallway as the guard counted each person in their cell. “You better straighten fix that bunk or that’s a shot!” The guard shouted, eying Mamoketsi’s unkept bed. She’d slept late again and lined up just in time for the count. 

“Yes Ma’am.” Mamoketsi said as she turned back to fix her bunk. As she straightened her sheets she looked at the picture of her husband. What would he think if he could see her living in a place like this? Needless to say her cell mate’s bed was fine. Watching with a smile as her cellmate fixed her bed she quipped, “Ah Miss Jaguar, haha, my how the mighty have fallen.”

“I’m not supposed to give you an apple.” The inmate behind the foot counter meekly said. 

“Prerposterous. You girls were done starving me out.” 

“Sorry,” the girl said, almost at a whisper. “I gotta do what the boss said.”

“Bitch you’re gonna give her that apple or I’m gonna come over there and shove it up your ass!” Monique towered over Mamoketsi, the girl behind the counter, the counter itself, just about everything.” Her outburst drew the eyes of a few guards and inmates. 

“You know I’ll get in trouble” The girl pleaded.

“Well then give me two!” Monique commanded, slightly lowering her voice. Mamoketsi moved down the line and the girl quickly put two apples on Monique’s tray.

Once the two sat down,  Monique put the second apple on Mamokesti’s tray, who quickly stuffed it in her uniform. “What are you doing, you don’t need to keep it secret?”

“Did you question your boss on the outside?” Mamoketsi asked. “Poor girl was just following orders. No need to get her in trouble.” 

She also knew that poor girl wasn’t one of the girls that “worked” for her and her husband. A lot of the other girls were, and were happy to see at least some shrivel of justice in their former pimp “Jaquar” being locked up with them. They made it really hard on her in the early going. She got jumped more than once, and for a while some of the girls made sure she didn’t eat. Starving her out they called it. Sometimes when she did get good it would have a loogie in it, or sometimes worse.

They did seem to be laying off her recently. Partly because of her new “friend” Monique. The Jaquar herself still had a few connections, and Monique could find something extra in her commissary for helping out Mamoketsi. 

“Don’t tell me the Jaguar’s getting soft in her old age?”

“We can go out in the field to see how soft I am.” Jaguar said, biting into her sandwich.

“Ahh there’s my girl.” Monique raised her fist with a smile. Her boss reluctantly met her with a fist bump. “So we got some new fish last night.” Monique added, nodding her head to the table behind Mamoketsi.

Jaquar briefly looked back to see a young girl, pretty blonde hair, she could tell, even through the baggy prison outfit that she was pretty fit. “Some of these girls are chomping at the bit to get a taste of her.” Monique said, licking her lips.

“She’s not from around here?” Mamoketsi observed.

“Honey you know there’s a big ole world outside of Johannasburg right?”

Still focusing on the new fish she replied, “No, there’s something about that her, something’s not right.”

“I’ll tell you what’s not right, you causing trouble in the line.” One of the guards said as he approached their table.

“Trouble?” Monique said. “The only trouble is my girl is getting starved out again.” 

“Yeah well we found something in your cell too. You’re coming with us.” Two gaurds came immediately behind Monique and picked her up by the arms.

“What, get your hands off me, I didn’t do nothing!” she protested as they drug her away. “What did you find in my cell? You didn’t find shit in my cell! Man this is bullshit?” But it was all in vain. Some of the inmates laughed and mocked Monique as she was drug away by the gaurds.

As they dragged her away, Jaquar noticed Rosina had eyes on her. On the outside she was just a low level pimp outside, and was one of the girls who gave her a lot of shit when she was first locked up. Once Monique was taken away, Rosina gave Mamokesti a smile before picking up her tray and going back to the cell.

The water was always freezing, even showers weren’t pleasurable in prison. Mamoketsi didn’t have time to worry about that as she thought back on her day. What could Monique have been busted for? She was no angel obviously, being in prison and all, but she was one of the only people she knew that didn’t do drugs, so that was out. She could certainly hold her own in a fight and usually didn’t need a shank or any kind of weapon. The guards were on her case about what happened in the food line, but they ignored much worse than a little outburst.

There was no more time to ponder this as the shower curtain slid open. Jaquar turned around to see the new girl, Rosina, and two other girls standing before her. “No one’s got your back now bitch!” Rosina shouted as two of the girls rushed her. 

Knowing she had to keep her back against the wall in this enclosed space, she grabbed her bar of soap and thrust it in one of the girls eyes, then immediately dropped the bar and with both hands grabbed the other girl by the hair, bouncing her head off the tile wall then off the head of the other girl who was now partially blinded. Still with a handful of hair she shoved her attacker out of the stall toward Rosina and the new girl. 

The blinded girl was now on her knees, desperately reaching out to her opponent. Jaquar raised her leg and smashed her knee into the side of the girl’s head. The force of the blow made her head bounce off the wet wall. 

As the Jaquar placed this strike the new girl took a towel by two hands and managed to quickly wrap it around Jaquar’s leg. With one swift yank Jaquar fell on her side and was drug out of the stall. The new girl managed to hop around and get behind her. Instantly she wrapped her legs around Jaguar’s waist. Mamoketsi tucked her chin in as felt her opponent’s arm coming around her head attempting a rear naked choke. Mamoketsi realized this girl really knew what she was doing as she punched the girl’s calf, trying to keep her feet from locking which would make it extremely difficult for her to escape. She then elbowed the girl’s gut as hard as she could, which allowed her to wiggle her wet body out of the hold. 

It was too late though, as soon as she rose to her feet she felt a sharp pain in her side. Rosario shanked her. Falling to the ground screaming she saw Rosario holding the knife to her face proclaiming “This is my yard bitch!” 

“Wait.” The new girl said. Mamoketsi could see her white arm raised to brace Rosario. “She’s had enough.”

Rosario was stunned as she turned to her new accomplis, “I say when she’s had enough!” She turned back to meet the jaws of the Jaguar. The shower was filled with the sound of bones crunching as jaws clamped down on Rosario’s  nose. Blood splattered into her mouth and mixed with the water below. Rosario’s fist squeezed, then released, dropping the shank to the floor. She pushed Rosario on top of the new girl and managed to get to her feet. 

“Help!” she screamed. She expected a crowd of spectators, but the showers were empty. She held her side as she struggled to get out of the showers. There in the hallway waited a female guard. “Help!” she cried again. “I was jumped.”

The guard looked at her, unsurprised. Spotting her wound she pulled out her nightstick. Mamoketsi looked back to see if her assaulters were behind her, but they weren’t. 

“My daughter was one of the girls you pulled off the street.” She said almost at a whisper before she knocked Mamoketsi in the head.

Her head felt like it was floating on a cloud. That was the first thing she noticed. Next she noticed the sensation of the blanket, so smooth around her body. Only when she turned did the sharp pain in her gut return.

“A lot more comfortable than prison beds eh?”

Mamoketsi realized she was now strapped to a bed, but not in the prison hospital. She knew all too well what that place looked like. This as cleaner, and it wasn’t a hospital. She spotted a few people walking around in suits, seemingly from various nationalities. In front of her was a large TV monitor. She gasped when she saw the image on it. “Who are your people?”

“Lets just say someone that managed to get you out of that hell hole.” said the same voice. “We have a certain, job for you. I take it you know the man on the screen. We want you to help bring him to justice.”

Looking at the image, she knew if she ever saw that man again, she wouldn’t be sending him to prison, she’d send him straight to hell.

I thank your for the success of last week’s debut of this new writing project, and hope you have enjoyed this story as well. Tune in next week for the first issue of Azzorath, a tale of Nazis and UFOs from the land down under!

In two weeks come the last new installment, The Flying Fox. A teenager in Los Angeles, and grandson of a famed Mexican Wrestler stumbles into the world of underground fighting.

Ghost City returns in three weeks. Who is the mysterious girl Jennifer sees in her apartment building, and how are they tied to her new school?

And of course come back in one month for issue two of Jaguar. Who are these mysterious benefactors, and will Jaguar accept their help? Find out in 3

This is the first of a new series I am planning about the movies, comics, toys, etc of the 1980s. In this entry I will briefly cover four genre films of 1980, Mad Max, Empire Strikes Back, Superman II, and Flash Gordon.

American science fiction started off bleak in the new decade with the release of the dystopian film Mad Max. Origionally released in Australia in 1979, Mad Max first played in American theaters on February 15th of the following year.

Written and directed by George Miller, a young Mel Gibson plays “Mad” Max Rockatansky, who drives a supercharged V8 powered Black Pursuit special through a dystopian Australia. He is a highway patrol cop who comes into conflict with a motorcycle gang (played by real bikers) led by a character named Nightrider.

Miller was inspired by his time working as a Dr. in Sydney where he saw many patients from car accidents, as well as witnessing car wrecks as a child. (1) The film was also inspired by the 1973 oil crisis which effected car owners both in Australia and around the world. His film would inspire (to date) three sequels, and made over $100 million world wide.

The dark trend would continue with what would be the highest grossing film of the year, The Empire Strikes Back. Released on May 17th. Empire was the sequel to the 1977 surprise smash hit Star Wars, which launched the first modern multi-media franchise that inspired everything in it’s wake.

Based on a story by Star Wars creator George Lucas, Empire was directed by Irvin Kershner with a screenplay by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. Set three years after Star Wars, this film has the heroic rebels on the run from the evil Empire. Famous for ending with the villains on top, Han Solo gets captured, and in one of the great twists in film history, Darth Vader reveals that he is Luke Skywalker’s father. (When filming that famous scene, actor David Prowse, who played Vader, read the fake line “Obi-Wan killed your father.”)

As first film, Empire had an extensive action figure line that ran until 1982 (In 1983 the toyline shifted to that year’s Return of the Jedi film.) It is noteworthy that toy company Kenner also tried a new minature die cast toy line in 1982 called the Micro collection, which included vehicles and playsets. While the traditional action figures were succesful, Kenner lost money on the Micro collection.

Initially having mixed reviews, Empire is now considered the best Star Wars film. During it’s initial run it grossed $547 million worldwide.

Another film that was a part II would be released just about a month later in Superman II. Based on the DC comcis character, its predecessor was released in two years prior, but the studio actually filmed both movies back to back. Richard Donner directed the first film, and was fired from II with around 75% of the film completed. Richard Lester would finish it, his work included a new beginning set in Paris and a new ending.

Banished to the Phantom Zone in the beginning of the first film by Superman’s father Jor-El, Superman II has General Zod, Ursa, and Non accidentally freed to wreak havoc on Earth. Unlike the first film, where he fought Lex Luthor, Superman now faces villains his physical equal, all the while wishing to become an ordinary man and settle down with Lois Lane.

Lex Luthor appears in this film as well, assisting the Kryptonian villains in their conquet of the planet, on the condition that Luthor would rule Australia.

Superman II premiered in America on June 19th, though it was previously released overseas. It would make $190 million at the box office.

Also of note is that over 25 years later, in 2006, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut was released on DVD. This version has a new beginning which cuts the Paris scene, a different ending where Superman reverses time again (as he did in the first film) and footage of Marlon Brando returning as Superman’s Kryptonian father Jor-El.

The last science fiction film of 1980 was an old character that inspired a lot of science fiction, but their own film was not nearly as succesful. Flash Gordon was origionally a character created for newspaper comic strips and debuted on January 7th, 1934. Drawn by Alex Raymond, it was created partly to compete with the already popular Buck Rogers strip. Buck Rogers, coincidentally, was in its second season of his own three year run on American television in 1980.

Flash Gordon features the titular character, a quarterback for the New York Jets, unwittingly sent into outspace along with travel agent Dale Arden and scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov. In space they encounter Ming the Merciless, played by Max Von Sydow, who plans to destroy Earth, apparantly out of bordeom.

Interstingly enough, George Lucas himself attempted to do a Flash Gordon movie in the late 70s, but was unable to acquire the rights. Failing this, Lucas would go on to create Star Wars. Flash is one of the myriad influences Lucas had in making his franchise, specifically regarding Empire, an ice planet and a floating city.

Mike Hodges would go on to direct Flash, which was co-written by Michael Allin and Lorenzo Semple Jr. Semple helped develop the 1966 Batman TV show, which was known for its campy style, a similar style would be used for this movie.

Flash made $27 million in its North American release. While it is now a cult classic and fondly remembered for its soundtrack by Queen, it is the only movie of the four sci-fi movies of 1980 to not get a sequel. Flash would go onto appear in a handful of cartoons and TV shows, but this film would be the last high profile moment of this science fiction icon.

1: Scott Murray and Peter Beilby, “George Miller: Director”, Cinema Papers, May-June 1979 p369-371

 

Greetings. This is a new experiment I am trying. Each Wednesday I will add a chapter to a short story, there will be four short stories over all. The stories that people like I will continue, stories that are not as successful will be replaced. Enjoy!

“Are you Russian?” he asked.

“No, why would you think I’m Russian.”  

Looking at her pretty blonde hair in the rear view mirror, the taxi driver smiled and said “You look Russian, haha. Where are you from?” 

“America.”

“Ahhh, America.” he said.

The sun was setting over the city, the yellow ball was dwarfed by the large concrete apartment buildings that went speeding past in a blur of gray and brown color. Conscious of the speed they were travelling Jennifer soon realized the highway was almost empty, which the taxi driver could tell surprised her.  “I know.” he said. “You were expecting a lot of people.”

She remembered how packed and stuffy the Beijing Airport was when she arrived there, and the thick smog that was visible through the windows. The Ordos Ejin Horo airport that she just arrived at appeared so modern and new, and surprisingly, was almost empty. “Yeah I thought China had a billion people?” She said as she looked out into the clear sky.

“Over a billion.” he answered. “Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, very big, too big, haha. But this is a new city. So, I have to ask you something. Do you believe in Ghosts?”

“What?”

“This is a Ghost City.”

“What do you mean?”

“We have a few of them in China. Government built some new cities, but not many people moved into them.” The sun was set now, and the city was a vast stretch of blackness peppered with a few extremely bright balls of light. They rode past large concrete apartment buildings with only a few scattered lights visible from the outside. “I see.” Jennifer said. “It looks like hardly anyone lives here.”

“There used to be even less people, haha. We have amusement parks, concert halls, many wonderful things in Ordos, but not enough people to enjoy them. I hope you can enjoy them while you stay here.”

“I hope so too.”  

The taxi pulled off of the highway, passing a shopping mall the driver explained. “My cousin has a toy store in that shopping mall. Five story mall, but hardly any customers. You should go there sometime.” 

“I will.” she humored him.

“So are there any ghosts in the ghost city?” She playfully asked.

“Why, you want to see ghosts?” 

“Haha well I don’t know.” She said as she looked at the near empty downtown area.

“My mother always said, how do I say, don’t ask for something unless, unless, uh, my father said dont ask for something unless you really want it?”

“He sounded like a smart man.” she observed.

Soon they pulled up to one of the dark apartment buildings. There was a moving truck that obscured the view of the address on the building. The driver rolled down the window, a blast of winter air hit as he asked the truck driver in Chinese if this was the correct building. After affirming that it was the driver said “Here we are. I will go to the office and get the landlord” The driver ran inside. Jennifer got out of the car and looked up at the building towering over her in the darkness. Only a few sparse lights shown from above. She didn’t hear any traffic, pedestrian or otherwise. What she did here, was the sound of a woman crying. By the truck she noticed a middle aged woman standing on the sidewalk. Her hands covered her face desperately trying to hold back tears. Jennifer wanted to say something, but she knew next to no Chinese. 

She felt a hand on her arm before she heard the voice. “Come on, it’s ok come on.””the driver said as he opened the trunk and took out her heavy luggage. As she grabbed a smaller bag herself she saw a young girl in a school uniform walk out of the apartment and console the woman, though he looked like she was upset as well. 

Approaching the entrance, the driver stopped and pointed to a building across the street. Jennifer could see the neon glow piercing the night sky. “See that over there?” he said. “That’s Hollywood English. That’s where you will go tomorrow.”

“Ok thank you.” She couldn’t help but laugh a bit at the gaudy nature of the sign, it looked like the old movie theaters where the actresses names were up in lights.

Moving inside, the driver helped carry her luggage to the elevator and to her new apartment. “We could have taken the stairs.” She observed as he pushed button #2.” 

“It’s ok. If no one uses this elevator,” he jested with an exageratted expression, “It might die! Haha.”

“Oh no I don’t want it to die!” She joked back as the bell rang to the second floor.

Back home she would have hated living in a place like this, because every room would have been packed with people blasting their music, watching TV too loud, yelling, arguing, fighting, doing meth and whatever else. Here it was eerily quiet, Coming off the elevator, the usually grave silent hallway was now filled with the echoes of footsteps and the rolling sound of the luggage wheels. It was dark except for the light from the drivers phone, which he used to find her apartment. “Well this is your place.” The driver said.

“Thank you very much.” She said in relief as she paid him his fare.

“Thank you.” He took the money and added “Nice to meet you.”

‘Nice to meet you too.” The hallway was again black as the driver put his phone in his pocket and walked away.

Opening her apartment door she hit the lights. Her first impression of the place was that it was small, but it looked brand new. For all she knew she may have been the first person living here. It didn’t sound like she had neighbors on either side, but as she brought her stuff in she heard a sound. Back in the hallway a light now glowed from the very end of the dead hallway. A man came out of one of the rooms carrying a box. She watched as he turned around, and before closing the door the he just stared into the room. For a moment she thought maybe he was talking to somebody, but it was again eerily silent. The man stood there in the gloomy hallway, bathed by the light coming from the open door. His posture was slumped, his head facing down solomley. The picture before her looked like an image from theater. The man then reached his arm back into the room, and presumably flipped a switch as the light now extinguished. 

She gasped as the silence was broken from the sound of the door shutting. Footsteps again flooded the hallway as she could see the black silloutte of the man approaching her with his box. He again came into the light  as he drew near her apartment. He appeared a similar age to the woman outside, and himself wore a forelourgn expression. No eye contact was made as he passed, and she felt no inclination to say anything. 

As he passed she looked back down the hallway, at the end of which was a large window. Through what little light shown through she could see another shape looking back. She could tell it was a girl as it appeared to be wearing a dress. It seemed she had a neighbor after all. She smirked to herself for a moment, as he observed the deep shadow like silloute wore a head of long straight hair. Her brother would have got a kick out of this, as it looked like something straight out of those Japanese ghost movies he liked. “Ni Hao.” she said. 

Then the footsteps stopped, she turned around to see the man stopped near the stairwell. He remained silent, but looked at her for a moment, his expression unchanged,  before descending down the steps. 

When she looked back the girl had vanished. Assuming she went back inside, Jennifer closed the door and soon went to bed.

Late into the afternoon the following day she met her Chinese boss. “Hello, welcome to Hollywood English! “He said in the school office. “This is an after school program. Students come here after school to get extra study. You can call me Brad. Like Brad Pitt!” he said, triumphantly raising his fist. 

“Uh sure.”

“So do you speak any Chinese?”

“No sorry?” she said sheepishly.

“It’s ok. If you want to learn some Chinese, I can reccomend a tutor. For now don’t worry,  our student’s English level is very good. Their a; how to say, weak point is writing. Can you help them with that?”

“Well that was my major, so I sure hope so.”

“Ah very good,” Brad said. “Come this way, I will show you to your teacher’s office.”

Jennifer never expected to have an office. Teacher’s didn’t have offices in America, but here she she would go to the different students classrooms instead of them coming to her. Entering the office she saw another head of blonde hair. “This is Kelly.” Brad introduced the two as they exchanged pleasntries before Brad led her to her desk. “This is your desk.” He explained. “We only have a few foreign teachers, and you will all share this office. We are a small school, but we hope to expand our operation this year.” 

“Sounds good.” She said, noticing a stack of books and other items.  “So this is my stuff.”

“Yes, this was Sam’s desk. Sam had to uh, had to leave our school, so this is yours now. You will teach grade nine.” Brad then proceeded to go over the curriculum materials, and before she knew it she was in front of a group of ninth graders.

“You will teach grade nine. They are very good students. You will like them very much.” He proceeded to show her the curriculum they would be using, the students books, other materials, and before she knew it she stood in front of a group of 14 year olds.  

“Oh you are so pretty!”

“Oh so beautiful!” Another girl said.

“You are very handsome!” A boy said.

“Teacher is a girl.” a student she would come to know a Meera scolded. “You say she is beautiful, not handsome.”

“It’s ok.” Jennifer laughed. “Well I am teacher Jennifer, it is nice to meet you. I am from America, and I will be your new English teacher.”

“Where are you from in America?” Another student excitedly asked.

“I’m from Los Angeles California.”

A student named Denny asked “Do you like the LA Lakers.”

“Yes I do actually! I went to their games many times.”

“Oh wow you must be rich!” Denny said in awe.

“Haha no I am not rich.”

“I like the Golden State Warriors.” Denny proudly proclaimed. “Do you like them?”

“I sure do!” Jenny gave a thumbs up, humoring him. Now let me take the roll. The students had English names which she read aloud. Farrah was the first name she called that wasn’t present.

“She die!” Jerry joked.

“She died, oh no!” Jenny playfully over reacted.” to which the students laughed. Later she came to Deborah.

“She die!” Jerry said, laughing again.

“Don’t say that!” Meera scolded. “Teacher, Deborah won’t be here today. Also Linda student won’t be hear anymore.” Jerry wore a devilish smile but didn’t say anything.

“How helpful, thank you Jenny. She finished taking toll when she noticed a hand was up.

“Yes?” She aksed.

“Do you have any brothers or sisters?” another student inquired.

Jenny grew quiet for a moment, but she figured this would come up eventually. “Um, well, I had a brother.

“Did he die!” Jerry asked with eager anticpiation.

“Yes he did actually.”

“Jerry!” Meera scolded.

“Oh, I’m sorry teacher.” Jerry said in genuine regret.

“It’s ok, Jerry. Let’s just move on. Who wants to learn English!”

Jennifer always heard how good Asian kids were. It appeared to be true, at least here anyway. Her first day on the job was fairly pleasant, but she was still tired. Kelly invited her out for some drinks but she declined. She just wanted to sleep.

She was used to being wary of dark places. Back in her apartment building she found herself hurrying up the stairwell to get to her place. The sound of her footsteps thundered through the stairwell. Rushing to her apartment door she found herself laughing at her predicament. Reaching for her key she looked down the hallway. The sun had long set as it was near midnight. Near the window at the end of the cooridor, through a sliver of moonlight she could again see the form of a girl peering back at her. 

“Hello.” Jennifer said, opening her door. “I guess we’re neighbors huh?”

The black form remained noiseless, it’s shadowy long hair flowed to the sides. Jennifer looked away and removed her key from the door. When she looked back, the shape was gone.

“How rude.” She thought to herself. It was then she felt a deathly chill behind her. She turned to see the visage of a young girl. It’s unearthly black eyes contrasted to the pale whiteness of its skin. The moved toward her and Jennifer let out a loud shriek that could be heard through the entire complex. 

She rushed inside and slammed the door behind her. Sitting down at the inside of the door, she took a moment to catch her breath. “This is ridiculous.” She thought to herself. “What did that kid think she was doing?” Her legs trembled as she forced herself to rise back up to her feet. Sweat formed at her brow as she slowly drew closer to the key hole. Placing her eye against the door, she at first could only see darkness outside. The blackness grew even deeper as it was surrounded by a circle of white, dead white flesh. It was the eye of the girl looking back at her, as if it could see Jennifer as clear as day. 

Jennifer screamed again as she jumped back and fell to the foor. She watched the door rattle and shake as she could hear the child attempting to turn the knob. 

“What do you want!” She pleaded.

The shaking stopped, and the last thing she heard was a pair of footsteps running back down the hallway.

Tune in next week for hard hidding action in Jaguar. A South African woman faces hard times in prison for crimes against her nation. But one day she gets help from a mysterious source. Who are they and what do they want?

In two weeks comes Azzaroth, a tale of Nazis and UFO’s from the land down under!

Landing three weeks from now is the Flying Fox. The grandson of a Fabled Mexican Wrestler, a Los Angeles teenager stumbles into the world of underground fighting.

Come back in 30 days for Ghost City part two! Who is the strange girl Jennifer has seen, and what is her connection to her new school and the other foreigners she meets?

69989274_2421112327972934_5752406023457472512_n

On September 7th in Harbin China, Middle Kingdom Wrestling held their first Kingdom Rumble event. Cam Ferguson came to the ring first and cut a heel promo in Chinese. His opponent was KC,  which made this a match between two big guys to start the event. When coming to the ring Cam had a large chain around his neck that he would later use to win the match.

Tag team action followed with Bamboo Crusher and Black Mamba against Bitman and Buffa, who came to the ring dancing and had a Big Boom box straight out of the 1980’s. Crusher and Black Mamba managed to be victorious over their much larger opponents.

Rocky Huynh out of Vietnam defended his SPWC title against Ash Silva, who was accompanied to the ring by fellow stable members Chairman Al and Lady Marie. This was a back and forth acrobatic match with action spilling out of the ring. Despite being in the Stable’s home turf and being outnumbered at ringside, Rocky managed to retain his title via a small package pin over Ash Silva.

Women’s tag team action followed with Zeda Chang and Japanese wrestler Asuka facing off against Ray Lynn, out of Pittsburgh USA, and  the “Queen of Philippine Wrestling,” Crystal. Asuka and Crystal both were high flyers that brought great acrobatics to the match. Zeda and Asuka were victorious.

The last standard match had MKW Champion “Masterclass” Michael Su against former champion and Stable member Big Sam. The former champ came off as a heel right away, giving the middle finger to a fan who wanted to take a selfie with him. Shortly afterwards the action began out of the ring as Michael Su dove between the ropes onto Big Sam. The two fought in the crowd for a while before bringing the fight into the ring. Lady Marie again was ringside and took a bump for her troubles, and soon Su retained.

The main event of the evening was the Kingdom Rumble match, which would start with two MKW superstars, with another entering every 90 seconds for a battle royal style match. Once all but two wrestlers are eliminated, the Kingdom Rumble becomes a traditional pinfall/submission match, the winner gaining a title shot at MKW’s Bash at the Bay event in December. Nine superstars were advertised for the Kingdom Rumble match, including “Pretty Professional Producer” Peter Avalon of AEW fame, and Ho Ho Lun and Zeda Chang, who both appeared in WWE/NXT. Their were also six unknown/surprise entrants.

The Kingdom Rumble Match can be viewed here, below the video the results are listed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order of entry                                  Order of Elimination

1: Ho Ho Lun                                    1: DC Chen

2: Zombie Dragon                             2: Lin DongXuan

3: Uncle Money                                 3: VR Nikk

4: DC Chen                                         4: Steve the ESL Teacher

5: Lin DongXuan                                5: Ho Ho Lun

6: Ash Silva                                         6: Uncle Money

7: VR Nikk                                           7: Ash Silva

8: Black Mamba                                  8: Chairman Al

9: Steve the ESL Teacher                    9: Black Mamba

10: Peter Avalon                                10: Tommy Combat

11: Jalapeno Lopez                            11: Bamboo Crusher

12: Tommy Combat                           12: Jalepeno Lopez

13: Zeda Chang                                  13: Zeda Chang (With interference from Ray Lyn

14: Chairman Al                                 14: Peter Avalon (via pinfall)

15: Bamboo Crusher

 

Winner of the Kingdom Rumble Match, Zombie Dragon, who will get a title shot at MKW’s Bash at the Bay in Shenzen this December.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday August 10th, Pennsylvania Premiere Wrestling (PPW) hosted Brawl at the Mall, at the Marketplace at Steamtown in Scranton Pennsylvania. There was a meet and greet at 5pm in which many of the wrestlers had merchandise tables and signed autographs. Wrestlers at the meet and greet included Holidead, local favorite Adena Steele, and WWE Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware.

koko

The show opened with PPW TV Champion Johnny Moran issuing an open challenge, which was answered by both Michael Mint and Chubby Daddy. The boss of PPW, who sat at ringside as one of three commentators, agreed that a triple threat match would be on for tonight.

Following this was the first proper match of the evening, a tag team match between the Sons of Dogtown and the Mane Event, which was a tag team duo featuring a masked wrestler playing the part of the lion, and his partner playing the part of a trainer complete with a sparling gold hat. They had a lot of humorous bits, including the trainer holding a hoopla hoop that the lion would jump through and land on his opponent. The Son’s of Dogtown were skater punks managed by a blue haired punk girl named Delilah. They had a bit where one of them rode their skateboard in the ring launching an attack on their opponent. Never the less, Mane Event were victorious.

Mane Event

Another tag team match had Issak Ruhl and Lamar Hawkins vs Antonio Rivera and Drew Adams. Drew was a skinny wrestler who avoided action the whole match and drew a lot of heat from the crowd, especially as his partner was defeated. Other tag team action on the card included the Diamond City War Machines vs the Sambo Show.

Koko B. Ware was in a six man tag partnering with Matt Turner and John Wes. Their opponents were Alexander Bateman, RJS, and a mystery partner which turned out to be James Ellsworth of more recent WWE fame. The two ex WWE stars hassled each other on the mic, with Koko referring to Ellsworth as Vince McMahon’s gopher. During the match Koko brawled outside the ring with Ellsworth while one of his teammates gained a submission victory.

After the match Koko called the kids in the audience to come into the ring. There they did his famous bird dance and he talked to him about the importance of doing well in the upcoming school year.

Koko ring

Singles action included Clutch Adams vs Mantequilla, Charles Mason vs Breaux Keller, the PPA Champion Evander James retaining against Façade, and Scranton’s own Adena Steele won in front of her hometown crowd against Ultra Violette.

Adena

Women’s champion Christina Marie defended against Holidead,  monster like character who crawled on the mat during her ring entrance and had a painted face. Holidead was a face however, to the heel champion, who retained after hitting her opponent with the belt after a ref bump.

The final match of the night was the triple threat match for the PPW TV championship. Johnny Moran retained his title to close out Brawl at the Mall. PPW’s next show will be on September 21rst in Hazelton PA and will feature Rhyno of former WWE and ECW fame, and MMA star Frank Mir.

PPW