Saturday, January 19, 2008

Menko Part Two: The Quickening

As we remember from our last episode, Mark Time and his rockey-jocket sidekick Bob have... wait, wrong part two. We were talking about menko cards and how they're thick little cardboard slabs decorated with off-register printing of things 9-year old Japanese boys think are cool. Here are some more!



Ambassador Magma is of course the Tezuka manga turned into the live-action television show produced in 1966 by "P Productions" and released in America some years later as "Space Giants"where it rocked our world. This card is a recolored photo of guys in rubber suits pretending to be space creatures, and if that doesn't appeal to 9-year olds everywhere, then something is terribly wrong. The next card is a different look at the same show...





Manga-style Maguma menko! Marvelous! Note the evil, scheming visage of the devil Goa, an outer space mastermind known in the United States as... RODAK!!

Next up is the faded and slightly off-model menko for a show that was instrumental in warping my young brain towards them there Japa-heeno cartoons..




Usei Shonen Papi, or Prince Planet as he was known to American International Pictures, is the story of a young boy sent to Earth and given super powers in order to defeat crime and injustice. With his friends Diana, Aji Baba, and Dan Dynamo, Prince Planet fights evil! The show was originally in black and white which meant Americans were spared the amazingly garish red and green color scheme somebody at "Shonen Magazine" forced upon the character.




This card stars Rainbow Sentai Robin, a team of super androids battling aliens and crime in the future! Created by Shotaro "Cyborg 009" Ishinomori, the menko card for this early B&W Toei series features metallic silver inks for Robin's outfit, which is kinda cool.




One of Tatsunoko's earliest shows, Space Ace came within a hair's whisker of being shown in the United States. It was actually shown in Australia, which got other anime shows the US didn't get like Ken The Wolf Boy. Lucky cobbers. Chubbier than Astro Boy, not quite as colorful as Marine Boy, and with powers far beyond those of mortal men, Space Ace here looks surprised as a rocket-straddling elf blasts through his personal space.

Next up.. Ultraman!




Not normally green, Ultraman is of course the live-action giant hero star of the 1966 Tsuburaya Productions television series of the same name. From the galaxy M78 he's come to Earth to battle monsters, including Godzilla!! Okay, he never actually battled Godzilla, but baby, menko cards don't care. Ultraman was a spinoff from an earlier SF/monster "Outer Limits" type show entitled "Ultra Q".




Because sometimes, sometimes giant spiders attack and you have to look on in horror while wearing your red suit with white polka dots.

Thanks for enjoying these menko cards. Now get back to class!


3 comments:

roast-beefy said...

"Because sometimes, sometimes giant spiders attack and you have to look on in horror while wearing your red suit with white polka dots."

I can't decide what's more frightening. The spiders or that man's fashion sense.

Stephen "FPilot" Bierce said...

For the Record, Ultraman actually fought a Godzilla. To disguise the monster suit, Godzi was covered in peacock quills that it could shoot out to attack U-Man. So U-Man had to tackle the beast, pull out all the quills, and then use the karate-chop blaster to do it in.

It was one of the last episodes of the original series. I bet by then the Tsubaraya guys were running low on monster ideas.

d. merrill said...

You are totally not trying to school me on the Ultraman. Tell me you aren't.

A Godzilla suit was used in episode #10 as the monster Jiras- a lizard-like frill was added to the neck in an attempt to at least pretend Ultraman wasn't fighting Godzilla, but Ultraman ripped the frill off early in their fight. In the American version the monster was known as "Kila".

The monster Geronimon from episode #37 is the one that shoots sharp feathers at Ultraman, and was also built from a Godzilla costume.

But in spite of their costume's origins, those monsters, they just ain't Godzilla.