In the 80’s, while I decided to go “legit” and took a job as a Graphic Artist with the MAC Project’s Pensar division, My brother William continued to explore the Comic Book Dream.
Around 1985 he was approached by Blackthorne publisher Steve Schanes and asked to do a series. William showed him some ideas he was working on at the time, but Steve had a concept in mind. He wanted a comic on mutated animals. Contrary to popular opinion on the web, the series was not then, nor has it EVER been a “parody on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles“. While Steve’s now defunct company, Pacific Comics had been a small player in the comics industry since 1971, and Steve MAY have traveled to the east coast and seen the tiny original fan-based print runs of TMNT in 1984 (pure conjecture on my part), the turtles were never discussed or held up as an “idea to emulate” (or parody).
William set about creating his take on the publisher’s concept with Michael Kelly. Together they crafted a tale of Dr. Poindexter and his band of genetic, reptilian freaks known as the “Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos”:
Rivit – Frog – Super strength – Super-powerful legs
Nerves – Lizard – Increased sense of danger – Lightning reflexes
Sarge – Crocodile – Highly tactical military mind – Leader
Radion – Chameleon – Change skin color (camouflage) – Change body shape
Early in the story, the well meaning Dr. is forcibly removed, and they are subjected to the whims of his replacement, the evil Dr. Wurmhauser (shown above). He convinces them that Poindexter has been kidnapped by enemy agents and dupes them into secret missions, always using the Dr.’s rescue as an impetus. By issue #3 the jig is up and Wurmhauser is exposed as the real enemy. He wants to make a super Commando using the best parts of the 4 commandos and Poindexter’s brain (“because mine is in use”)
Seen below are the first 5 issues. Also shown is the cover of Rivit #1, but that my friends, is where I made MY return to Comics and is the subject of tomorrow’s post.