Hi, I’m Jude Deluca and this is Nostalgic Bookshelf. You know, we like to have a good laugh on this site, but you know what’s not funny? This opening joke, because it’s totally not appropriate at all.
If I hadn’t found this comic at the store, I don’t know if I would’ve had the idea to do this recap. As Wing knows, I’ve been struggling to finish a recap of Richard Peck’s ”Are You In The House Alone?” for Point Horror. Not because of the content, I just haven’t had the energy to complete the draft.
This was made with help from the National Committee For Prevention Of Child Abuse back in 1984. It’s a rather small comic with only two stories, featuring Marvel’s Spider-Man and the Power Pack. I’m guessing most of you know Spider-Man, but for those who haven’t heard of Power Pack a brief explanation.
Title: Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils – “Jagged Image”
Writer: Steve Gerber
Pencils: Amanda Conner
Inks: Jeff Albrecht
Colors: Michael Higgins
Letters: Janice Chiang
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor-In-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Summary: A group of suburban ninjas must face a demonic threat in New Jersey.
With the American Girl recaps finally done, I can freely focus on doing 90s comic recaps without feeling guilt. This particular recap’s been left unfinished since 2018.
Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils is one of my favorite one-shot comics from the 90s, and it is bizarre as the title leads you to believe. Its two immediate claims to fame are being written by Steve Gerber and penciled by Amanda Conner. Gerber’s famous for co-creating Man-Thing and Howard the Duck, while Conner would go on to be recognized as THE Power Girl artist and one-half of the modern day creative team behind the current Harley Quinn mythos (alongside her husband Jimmy Palmiotti). It’s a little weird, because you can recognize Conner’s artwork but this is back when she had more of an adult Archie Comics vibe (well before Riverdale and the rebooted line).
The title immediately brings to mind Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, being published in 1991 (two years before Saban adapted Zyuranger for American audiences), I’m led to believe TMNT was the main source of parody for this book. Not surprising, as a LOT of people enjoyed doing parodies of the TMNT concept. This makes sense since the original TMNT comics were meant as a joke.
Despite being a Marvel comic, the story doesn’t really have anything to do with the Marvel Universe. Gerber throws in a couple of references but not enough to really give a sense these women operate in the same realm as the Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man. After publication, the title’s never been referenced again and I’m not even sure you can buy it on Comixology or Marvel Unlimited. I stumbled upon this comic several years ago among a collection of stuff someone brought to the store. It’s an obscure comic, but not obscure to the point it goes for $25 on eBay.
I’m not sure if the reason the book’s never mentioned in the Marvel Universe was due to Gerber’s wishes, or no one particularly cares enough TO reference it. It sucks they didn’t get picked as part of the 50 State Initiative in the post-Civil War status quo, or get referenced during the 2010s Secret Wars event. So once again it’s up to me to bring some cultural to your sad, sorry lives.
One last thing before we begin. Whatever happens in this comic, remember, JUST GO WITH IT.
Title: Generation X Holiday Special – “Yes, Jubilee, there IS a Santa Claus,” a.k.a. “The Nanny & Orphan-Maker Christmas Kidnapping Extravaganza”
Writer: Joseph “Joe” Harris
Penciller: Adam Pollina
Inkers: Morales, Faber, Leigh, Wong and Wiacek
Colorist: Paul Tutrone
Editor: Frank Pittarese
Editor-In-Chief: Bob Harras (Boooooooooo! Boooooo on you sir!)
A mutant boy named Matthew has trouble with bullies, who torment him until he uses his powers to repell them and they call him even more of a freak than before. You may say he’s “special,” but he’d probably disagree.
Matthew thinks kidnapping Santa Claus will solve all his problems, but the truth is his real problem is with Orphan-Maker and Nanny, who want to celebrate their Christmas tradition of making a mutant child into an orphan. Luckily, Generation X and Santa put a stop to their plans.
For the holiday season it’s time to talk about one of my favorite X-Men teams created by one of my least favorite writers of all time.
Before Marvel sold the movie rights to the X-Men and ended up ruining everything with “House of M” and “Decimation,” they developed at least one teen X-Men group for each decade. Starting in the 1980s, there were the New Mutants, the 90s had Generation X, and the early 2000s started off with Academy X until Marvel stupidly depowered 98% of their mutant characters. From the mid 2000s to this year they burned through several different young X-Men groups that were lucky if they ever managed to make it to double digit issues before getting cancelled. Hopefully, Jonathan Hickman’s “Dawn of X” titles will finally fix the damage.
Title: Superman Annual #6 – The Feral Man of Steel, a.k.a. “The Super Necessities”
Writer: Darren Vincenzo
Penciller: Frank Fosco
Inker: Stan Woch
Colorist: Darren Vicenzo
Letterer: Albert DeGuzman
Editor: Mark Carlin, Chris Duffy, and Frank Pittarese
Cover Artist: Mike Mignola
Once upon a time, DC Comics used to tell stories outside of their regular continuity. They called these “Imaginary Stories.” Unfortunately, the variety was a bit lacking as many of them were simply stories about who Superman would marry or who Batman would marry.
Cover Artists: Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson
Summary: The first appearance of Poison Ivy in “Beware of Poison Ivy!” Poison Ivy challenges the reigning female villains in Gotham City. Batman and Robin are on the move to stop her, but they’re both at risk of falling victim to her charms!
It’s springtime, y’all! A time of renewal, of birth and change. It’s a time… for Poison Ivy.
Title: Amelia Rules! #4 – Amelia McBride and the Other Side of Yuletide, a.k.a. “What the hell is Ninja Kwanzaa?”
Writer and Artist: Jimmy Gownley
Editor: Michael Cohen
Marketer: Karen Gownley
My first Christmas review for Nostalgic Bookshelf, and I swear to bring as much enthusiasm to this month’s reviews as I have for Point Horror. To that end, I wanted to start off with a special one-off comic review with a series I admittedly don’t have as much history with.
“Amelia Rules!” is a YA comic series written and drawn by Jimmy Gownley. It’s about Amelia McBride, a young girl adjusting to life after her mom and dad split up. Amelia has to move from NYC to Connerton, Pennsylvania, where she and her mom are now living with her cool Aunt Tanner. She gains new friends in the form of the bombastic Reggie, the stubborn Rhonda, and the amazing yet silent Pajamaman. Together, the four become G.A.S.P. (Gathering of Awesome Super Pals), and get into all sorts of hi-jinks as Amelia navigates life.
This particular comic is the fourth issue in the series, and as you can guess it’s a Christmas story. In it, Amelia and her friends find themselves wondering if there really is a Santa Claus, and the answer is different from what you’d expect. I had this in mind remembering Wing’s thoughts on Santa Claus from last year’s reviews on PH. Naturally I’m curious to see how she feels about this particular story.
How I acquired this comic is a rather bizarre, disturbing tale. In the spring of 2015, a woman came to my comic shop hoping to sell a massive collection she inherited from her dead uncle. He owned Disney and cartoon comics ranging from the Golden Age to the early 1990s. Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Disney, Sleeping Beauty, Looney Tunes, Hanna Barbera, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain. The books showcased the transition from Dell Comics to Gold Key to Whitman. He even had some picture books and old Disney Adventure digest magazines.
However, there was a LOT more.
To this day, no one has brought in the amount of furry comics and porn comics as that woman did. Omaha the Cat Dancer, Battle Vixens, Four-Footed Furries, Albedo, it was baffling. I don’t even want to remember the fairy porn issues. The man practically bought every badly done 90s manga rip off comic out there (Ninja High School, Gold Digger, etc.). And guess what? I had to go through everything. EVERYTHING. Because we needed to figure out what the conditions of the books were in so we could sell them online. I had to make sure to leaf through every single comic the man owned, checking to see if pages were falling out, if they were missing coupons, or if they had writing on them. A lot of the porn comics had pages torn out of them… and so did some of the kid comics.
I did NOT enjoy this task at all. I’m not trying to bash furries, but I am very much not fond of anything NSFW related and I don’t want to think about why so many pages were missing. Not to mention a lot of the comics were incredibly dirty and grimy. I’m just glad the pages weren’t sticky.
So anyway, that’s another chapter out of my twisted life story. Onto the recap.
Summary: As a child, the eponymous heroine is betrayed by three jealous friends who throw her into a pit and leave her to die. But Alisa perseveres: She trains herself to be smarter, faster, and more beautiful than any of them and returns for revenge. Years of living underground have left her with the silver hair of the title, so her victims can’t be sure whether the resemblance is real or only the product their guilty consciences…
For July I wanted to do some more comic related posts for Point Horror and Nostalgic Bookshelf since it’s Comic Con International time. For Nostalgic Bookshelf, alongside the Molly recap I wanted to do a manga recap and a comic recap.
So “Alisa” is an obscure gem I learned of because of its creator, Shinji Wada. He’s the genius who created “Sukeban Deka,” a.k.a. “Delinquent Girl Detective.” It’s the story of Saki Asamiya, a juvenile delinquent recruited by the Japanese police force as an undercover detective within the country’s school system. Armed with a special yo-yo, Saki goes up against drug dealers, rapists, and international terrorists while the threat of her condemned mother’s execution is hung ovee her head.
But that is not this story.
“Alisa of the Silver Hair” is a very short story, only two chapters long, and came out years before “Sukeban Deka.” While I would’t say I’m the total authority on “Sukeban Deka” I’m familiar enough with it to realize “Alisa” appears to be some sort of prototype for “Sukeban.”
(Alisa by Retrosofa: Sal’s a big fan of Sukeban Deka so I thought he’d be a natural for a commission of Alisa)
Wada’s style evokes the shoujo tales of the 1970s, but his use of the tropes masks some truly sinister and depraved villains, many of whom are teenage girls. In fact, as pointed out over on Empty Movement, one of the later stories is eerily predictive of “Revolutionary Girl Utena,” a 90s anime masterpiece that deconstructs misogyny and incest in fiction through picking apart the Prince/Princess/Witch dynamic.
Because no one talks about this story, and “Sukeban Deka” is pretty niche itself (the manga still hasn’t been officially distributed through English markets), I decided to do a recap to shed some light on this beautiful little story of vengeance. But no, I have no idea if her name is supposed to “Alisa” or if it’s “Arisa” and the name was romanized by the translation.
It’s convention season again and I’m returning from Flame Con. It’s a con created by GEEKS OUT for queer fans of all shapes, sizes, genders, and orientations. I missed the first one because I was sick, but I’ve attended the last three. Today, National Power Rangers Day, I’m visiting a different area of 90s Nostalgia: the Power Rangers.
Go Go Power Rangers!
Any 90s child would remember the Power Rangers; five teenagers with attitude recruited to fight the forces of evil.
I’ve been a Rangers fan since I was a kid, back when the original show was on TV. I guess you’d call me a fair weather fan; I’ve lost track of the show several times over the years. There are plenty of seasons I’ve never watched, yet they remain dear to me.
I devoted Flame Con to collecting some PR sketches because I don’t normally focus on them. I ran it by Wing and offered to make this special post showcasing what I acquired. I’ll also be talking a little about who the Rangers are and how they came to be.
[Wing: I know very little about the Power Rangers except that I saw maybe one episode of one of the shows in the 90s and promptly had an intricate dream about them and that the 2017 movie combined a heartfelt chosen family high school story with a ridiculous sci-fi adventure story that included giant dinosaur robots, and I love the hell out of it.]
It’s a good thing I chose this chapter for July because I’ve been incredibly backlogged the last couple of weeks ever since I got sick around Independence Day.
Dream’s End is another oddity in the series because it provides more world building, even though it’s the shortest story at only 22 pages not counting the splash title page. It’s the only time the series explores the concept of the Lost Souls beyond their typical usage as a plot device and warning against consuming mermaid’s flesh. It also has a bit of a “Beauty and the Beast” vibe.
Title: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire #1 – The Turning
Writer: Terry West
Penciller: Steve Ellis
Inkers: Rich Perrota and Ravil Lopez
Letterer: Fred Van Lente
Colorist: Michelle Wulf and Ryan Dunlavey
Summary: I used to be a pretty average teenager. True, I didn’t have tons of friends, and I liked studying history, but I was basically not very unusual.
But that all changed when I met Phillip Lemachard. You see, Phillip is not like the rest of the kids in my high school. He’s not like anyone I know, in fact. When Phillip tells stories about history, it sounds as if he was really there. And he has this skin condition that keeps him indoors during daylight.
Now I’m beginning to change, too. And these changes are, well, really unusual.
Here’s a special little treat from a story I haven’t read since middle school. This is the first of a two-part, stillborn series of YA horror graphic novels published by Scholastic in the late 90s. It definitely shows in both the setting (the characters mention “Surfing the net”) and the artwork (it’s got that high-waisted, long thigh Rob Liefeld/Art Adams look to it).
I thought it’d be fun to pull up this old jewel for Comic Con month, and I’m planning on reviewing the second book in October for Halloweenus.