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Starlee and the Moonbeams: The Lost Episode

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 15, 2018

Starlee and the Moonbeams
Episode S04E24: “Rock, Scientific Papers, and Scissor Kicks” (Unaired Series Finale)

Episode Synopsis: Uh, pretty much everything said. Plus, a subplot about “Starlee’s Saved Ones,” an orphanage run by the band where kids can learn musical skills and Krav Maga while hurtling on a comet because there isn’t enough room for the children on Starlee’s spaceship The Island Universe.

Reason Episode Never Aired: Syndication network partners demanded the addition of a “happy ending” as well as voice-over narration to make it easier for viewers to follow the plot’s rather Byzantine complexity. Series’ creators demanded that blood could spurt that far depending on how you approach the jugular. Creative standstill led to episode never being aired first-run, in later syndication packages, or in the 2002-released DVD collection Starlee and the Moonbeams—Greatest Hits, Kicks, and Stabs.

Series Synopsis: American animated television series that ran from 1986 to 1989 on first-run syndication. The series focused an all-woman intergalactic punk band, with each episode featuring two original songs by the Moonbeams and one better one by the group’s major nemesis the Darkstars—led by Carina—as well as the occasional dance-off that inevitable resulted in brutal hand-to head combat. Each member of the Moonbeams had a specific science degree, codename, and an instrument that could be quickly employed as a deadly weapon or detonation device, which were used on missions as they travelled the cosmos in their ship “The Island Universe” helping all the people of the galaxy while not battling either the Darkstars for musical recognition and high-grade, highly unstable plutonium or Starlee’s unscrupulous former (and Darkstars’ current) manager Ray Ricmond, (whose hemorrhaging in the finale was one of many reasons that episode never made it to air).

Band Members:
Starlee—Lead Singer/Guitarist. Degree: Astrophysics. Weapon: Rickenbacker Samurai Sword/Musical throwing Stars/Pulse cannon earrings.
Aurora—Lead Guitarist/Backing Vocals. Degree: Geomorphology. Weapon: Heavy-Gauge .020 Electric Guitar Garrote Strings.
Jova—Bass Guitarist/Backing Vocals. Degree: Astrobiology. Weapon: Bass Multi-Effects Sonic Blaster/EMP Processor.
Proxima—Drummer/Backing Vocals. Degree: Exploration Systems Design. Weapon: Nunchuck Drumsticks.

Voices: Karla Philips (speaking/singing voice); Various other voice actors who failed to negotiate getting screen credit.

Production Companies: Filmation/Ruby-Spears/Toei Animation/DiC Entertainment/Sunbow Entertainment/Hanna-Barbera Productions/Film Roman

Number of Seasons/Episodes: Four seasons/96 episodes (95 aired)

Holiday Special: “Starlee and the Moonbeams: I Saw Three Starships (Come Crashing In)”

Merchandise/Tie-Ins:
Starlee Doll—Recalled because doll replicated characters fireball-shooting fingers by attaching matchbook striking surfaces to each hand.
Carina Doll—Recalled because doll’s evil laugh was both unplanned and unstoppable.
The TestaRosetta Stone—Starlee’s car covered in alien hieroglyphics. Recalled because it went 92 mph backwards the moment you opened the box.
Lonely Sun god Ra-Ra—Recalled because when turned on it burned through tabletops, flooring, and the earth’s crust.
The Island Universe—Starlee and the Moonbeams’ spaceship. Recalled after a small child fired one of its missiles only for it to go straight through a nearby Vermeer painting.
Lunatick—Space creature. Recalled because it was filled with almost a gallon of unrefrigerated pasta sauce to simulate sucked blood.

Recognition/Awards: Cited 147 times by Action for Children’s Television for excessive violence and encouraging young viewers to bash each other’s skulls in with whatever musical instrument or simply untethered item was handy.

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Sally Forth Comic Con: Just How Many Mechagodzilla Heads Does that Theme Park Sell?

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 14, 2018

Jim Keefe completely surprised me with a cosplay nod to the Forths’ big summer trip last year to Tanaka Kaiju World! Read about it right here! (Also, I’m quite a fan of how he bookended the first panel with two yellow cosplay helmets peering off in opposite directions. Clearly Ted also approves.)

And speaking of cosplay headgear, Nona’s week of trying on new disguises continues with the motorcycle helmet for Celty Sturluson (Celty the Headless Rider) from the anime Durarara!!

And Big Reminder: Tomorrow you get to see an actual episode of Starlee and the Moonbeams, complete with the Darkstars, an original song, and what may be references to 47 Jem and the Holograms episodes! Don’t forget to tune in, only at Sally Forth and Trystero Con 2018!

Sally Forth Comic Con: There Is No One Best Era

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 13, 2018

There is no one best period for art, for literature, for music, for any imaginative and expressive pursuit. What happens in a generation speaks to that generation but it is crucial to be heard and read and seen by others for us all to have rich, full lives. Yes, we have our favorites moments. I still listen to a lot of 80s/early 90s alternative music. But it’s crucial to look outside of your own history. Look back on what others have done before you. Look ahead at what may come with great excitement. And keep your eyes wide open to what is happening right now in every creative endeavor.

Because to do otherwise is to stop living. Life is about experience. (It’s never been about finding the meaning of life. It’s about feeling what it means to be truly alive. In the living is the purpose.) Experience results in growth. And the moment you stop growing is the moment you start dying. So don’t become a relic. Never take pride in hardening your soul and limiting your scope. There is no accomplishment in stubbornness. There is no life in willful obliviousness or dismissal or the fear that drives both.

And to that end let’s pause for a musical message about the importance of being youthful of mind and spirit while celebrating the pop culture of any time with a video that combines a relatively recent song (2013) with footage from Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande à part (1964):

And now for today’s cosplay—It’s Nona again as she continuously puts on new headgear! And this time she’s going as Gwenpool.

And speaking of cosplay and refusing to live in any era except in one’s own comfort time zone, here’s a comment left under a recent Sally Forth strip regarding our Comic Con storyline…

So in the obvious case that this needs to be spelled out even more than has been repeatedly, this story takes place at a Comic Con. In 2018. At Comic Cons people dress up as their favorite characters, and those characters are often reflective of the current world in graphic novels, cartoons, movies, etc. Again, this is about opening yourself to new ideas, not complaining you’re not seeing a rogues gallery of only what you already know. And yes, cosplay does feature frequent nods to old favorites, but this comment is about mistaking cosplay for just putting in comic strip cameos. It’s assuming that the Forths live in a comic strip world when in fact comic strip characters should live in our world to make them truly whole. Besides, if you want to see the Forths hang out with classic comic strip characters Ted already did that when he crashed Blondie’s Halloween party, perhaps emboldened by some Shiraz…

Addendum: Oh, and if you ever get the chance to see Rob Paulsen live, do so! We did just a few weeks ago at Joe’s Pub in NYC and yes, we got to hear him sing “Yakko’s World” live (with an updated addendum for new and countries). Because of course you can celebrate what you loved when you were younger—as I am with this—so long as you remember there is so much more than that.

Sally Forth Comic Con: And Starring Nona as Minecraft Steve

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 12, 2018

Okay, before we say another word can we look at the level of immense detail Jim Keefe put into making Nona’s “Minecraft Steve” cardboard head box?

Having to create the color guide (for outsourced daily strips) for that mask alone is yet another reason why artists are allowed to kill their writer in cold blood.

As for our cosplayers, today we have Storm, Black Panther, Goku from Dragon Ball Z, ElasticGirl, and, of course, Brad Pitt as the Vanisher from Deadpool 2.

Jesus, that Minecraft Steve mask.

Starlee and the Moonbeams—This Sunday in “Sally Forth”!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 12, 2018

Sally Forth Comic Con: Fandom Is about Connection, Not Ownership

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 11, 2018

When the trailer for Cartoon Network’s upcoming ThunderCats reboot ThunderCats Roar was introduced, some angrily decried “That’s not MY ThunderCats! That’s not the serious, thought-provoking show of my youth that had cats dressed as sharks!”

Okay, they may not have said the part about the sharks. But it does go to show that no, Thundercats is not some sacred text that can never be altered. And no, the show does not belong solely to one. And if an individual wants their classic Thundercats, guess what, it’s already been made and they can watch it again. Being a fan is about connecting deeply with a work, not assuming title and ownership. And no generation has a white-knuckled grip on any self-proclaimed “best” period for TV, movies, music, books, etc. You have your thing, someone has their own thing. But it’s this sort of unearned entitlement and uninformed perspective that ultimately leads to a group of people feeling they have don’t just have the right but the mandate to remake The Last Jedi because they believe all others should only answer to their needs, that any creator should only create with a certain group’s allowance.

I loved The Last Jedi. I think it may be one of the very strongest in the Star Wars franchise. Yes, there are issues with it. And yes, I know people who didn’t care for it and who are not raving, insecure incel members. (And who are understandably quite upset that they get lumped in with such). No one says you have to like everything and everyone is free to say, “Well, that looks like it’s gonna suck.” But the ones who scream the loudest that they have been wronged are driven not by a love for art but a need for everything to flatter and fellate themselves, since no one one else is going to give them either. And they see everything that does not conform to that desperate need as trying to make a statement that they must counter.

When I introduced Duncan in Sally Forth and Jim Keefe drew students wearing hijabs in Hilary’s school, some readers angrily wrote, “So I guess you’re trying to make some sort of statement, huh?” No. We’re showing the actual world, and that world has never belonged to one type, one race, one gender. Those who think otherwise are the most easily frightened and ill-equipped individuals you will ever meet, and they are also some of the most dangerous. Not because they possess any true strength or command or valid agency but because they have a feral nature detached from reason that makes them go into frenzied, full-frothing attack. After all, when you have nothing to offer the world, your family or even yourself, you need everything else to burn so everyone else can also taste the ashes of failure.

That said, the recent Jem and the Holograms movie was an outright fiasco, because it was made on completely different terms. That film was proclaimed fan-service from the get-go, then it was made with the intention of telling the fans what they really should would want from the story. Frankly, the world would be much better off with a Misfits origin story instead.

Sally Forth Comic Con: Starlee Vs. Carina

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 10, 2018

Every hero has their nemesis. Jem and the Holograms had The Misfits. G.I. Joe had Cobra Command. And as Lisa wisely pointed out…

And so it is with Starlee and the Moonbeams and their evil counterparts, Carina and the Darkstars, the two intergalactic warrior bands engaged in a never-ending clash across the stars and in front of Lonely Sun God Ra-Ra as they each vie for the coveted Kavli Music Video Genius Grant.

Today’s strip is also the first appearance of Duncan’s mom, Marilynn, an aforementioned huge Starlee and the Moonbeams fan who favors Carina’s Darkstars since they, like the Misfits, always had the better songs. Naturally Sally and Marilynn are just staying in character and will soon be fast friends because, well, the Forths really need some friends. Let’s give everyone this one.

By the way, once again someone has written to inform me that Starlee and the Moonbeams was not a real cartoon series in the 1980s. And once again I am shocked—Shocked!—that something I made up didn’t suddenly, retroactively exist. I guess that’s yet another power I don’t possess. I can catch a stack of quarters from off my elbow, though. I…I can do that…sniff…

Sally Forth Comic Con: Overwatch

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 9, 2018

Being in that Venn diagram overlap of “Introvert” and “Shy”—two characteristics that are actually far more dissimilar than many believe and so may indicate that I am actually neither but simply socially hapless—I’ve never really gone all in on co-op or multiplayer online games. Of course, the real reason may be that I grew up in an era in which video games were mostly solitary pursuits like Atari’s Adventure, otherwise known as Speared Olive Knight Fights What Appears to Be a Giant Duck.

Or it may actually tie back to shyness. Perhaps that aspect of shyness that borders on narcissism because you truly believe everyone is watching and judging you, since I fear that I will singlehandedly be responsible for destroying an entire mission or dismantling a virtual sandbox. In short, my reaction to seeing the sky crack over Fortnite would have been a gasped, “Oh shit! I’m sorry!” Because when you’re the type of person who fears they and they alone are the cause for an interdimensional breach, then you’re dealing with some high-octane solipsism there. On the other hand, at least I know I would not have felt responsible for the disappearance of the Fortnite in-game Durr Burger sign which—in what I think is some truly remarkable PR—turned up IRL in a California desert. Then things got even gloriously stranger.

At this point you might be asking, “Um, this post’s title references Overwatch. So why are you still talking about Fortnite instead?” Simple—because my thought process is a circuitous mess. But yes, Duncan’s older brother—who has been mentioned several times in the comic in terms that best be categorized as “somewhat of an asshole”—makes his first actual appearance in the comic today cosplaying as Overwatch character Lúcio, complete with Sonic Amplifier.

Team-based and eSports video games may forever be out of the wheelhouse of someone like me who regularly articulated his arm so as to pat his own back for realizing he could make the tank in Combat go through walls thanks to a glitch that everyone exploited. But I am fascinated by the idea of professional team tournament play. Or, more to the point, that people hire coaches to improve their game. Or, even more to the point, that Overwatch League team Shanghai Dragons had a record-setting season of 0-40. Zero and forty.

Suddenly the fact I could last upwards of three minutes in Defender makes me look like a contender.

Sally Forth Comic Con: Share the Love

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 8, 2018

I got my love of comic strips and animation from my dad, who spent every Saturday morning watching cartoons with us when we were little, even if it meant stuff like Inch High, Private Eye. I got my love of movies and film history from my mom, who watched every Oscar telecast with me when I was young, meaning I’d go to school the next day very sleepy and very annoyed Star Wars didn’t win Best Picture. Share the love.

And now today’s cosplay breakdown!
First Panel: Cosplayers going as Gamora and Black Widow. Duncan dressed as Soul Evans, Hilary dressed as Maka (both from Soul Eater). Sally as Starlee from Starlee and the Moonbeams. Cosplayer going as Squirrel Girl!

Second Panel: Cosplayers going as Nebula, and Alana and Marko from Image Comics series—and perhaps best graphic novel ever—Saga. Squirrel Girl again!

Fifth Panel: Cosplayers going as Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, Spider-Gwen, and Domino from Deadpool 2 (a “family movie” appearing in a family strip). The artwork in the top right is from the comic strip Mama’s Boyz by Jerry Craft. Read Jim Keefe’s shoutout to the cartoonist here.

Sixth Panel: Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination…(But look out for Velma!)

And here’s what Jim Keefe’s line work looks like before the lettering and coloring…

Sally Forth Comic Con: All You Need Is a Can-Do Attitude!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 7, 2018

Sure, when it comes to cosplay some people go all out while others wake up the day of the Con, mutter “Oh shit,” and hastily assemble a Wampa from those Beanie Babies they’ve finally comes to terms are never going to be a financial windfall. But really, all it takes is a little ingenuity, a lot of post-house bash trash your worthless friends didn’t stick around to help you clean up, and you’ve got yourself a Mandalorian bounty hunter with a party attitude and a need to stop just buying domestic.

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