Thursday, January 26, 2006

GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL #2 DC Comics, 1993

In 1993 DC Comics released a series of inter-related annuals called “Bloodlines” that followed a time-honored tradition in the television world: the spin-off. While most TV spin-off shows feature cast members from the original series (think Frasier or Angel or, if you must, Joanie Loves Chachi), some spin-offs come from stealth pilots.

What’s a stealth pilot, you ask? A guy that flies an F-117? Yes, but in this case I’m referring to the sneaky practice of incorporating a guest character into a regular series with the sole purpose of spinning them off into a new series of their own. The new series is only tangentially related to it’s progenitor. Stealth pilots are a sneaky way of testing the water and trying out new characters/concepts on a target audience before committing to a whole new series. In effect you’ve broadcast the pilot of your new series on an unsuspecting audience. Hence the term “stealth pilot.”

Lots of TV shows do this. Walker, Texas Ranger begat Sons of The Dragon and (I think) Martial Law. The Practice begat Boston Legal. The Golden Girls begat Empty Nest. And, of course, comic books do it, too.

Ever read Uncanny X-Men #261, featuring Hardcase and The Harriers, a group of tough, forgettable mercenaries? What about the Cyberforce and WildC.A.T.S. issues that Chris Claremont wrote featuring The Huntsman? Those are stealth pilots.

The most blatant example of the stealth pilot are the Bloodlines annuals. They should have just called them: “Do you like this character?”

In the Bloodlines books, a group of evil shapeshifting aliens who look like a cross between H.R. Giger paintings and cow skulls come to earth to suck the lifeforce out of the back of their victims’ necks. Some of their prey, however, are mutated into superhumans instead of dying. It’s a lame “just add water” approach to a superhero origin that is as lazy as it is unimaginative. Each of these suck-ass new superheroes debuts in one of the Bloodlines annuals and gets exposed to readers who might not otherwise take a chance on a whole new series.

In Green Lantern Annual #4, we’re introduced to Nightblade, a young man who loses his legs in an accident but develops incredible regenerative powers when one of the cow skull aliens tries to swallow his soul. His legs grow back, and he decides to fight crime or something. Through trial and error he discovers his regenerative powers, meaning some alien-possessed goons chop off his arm:

As somebody that can regenerate, he takes the obvious superhero name: Nightblade! I guess he can, um, throw steak knives, too. I’m to assume that if Nightblade had ever caught on and starred in his own series, he would lose a limb in damn near every issue so the reader can see how his power works. “Hey, Nightblade! Will you get this fork out of my garbage disposal for me?”

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of Nightblade. Nobody has. If you look up Green Lantern Annual #4 in the Overstreet Guide, it will read: “1st appearance of what’s-his-face.” The beauty of stealth pilots like the Bloodlines annuals is that if the characters don’t catch on, no harm done. Nobody will remember the other Bloodlines characters like Layla or Argus or Ballistic. DC published a few mini-series featuring “Bloodpack” characters, but unless I’m mistaken, and I often am, the only character from this series to actually catch on and get a regular series was Hitman.

Oh, yeah.

Green Lantern is in this comic, too. I almost forgot.

In Coast City, Hal Jordan’s former girlfriend Carol Ferris is being stalked by one of the shapeshifting cow skull aliens. This one can turn itself into a hypnotic tramp in order to seduce people before sucking out their spinal fluid. Hal crosses paths with Nightblade and the two team up to stop the cow skull alien and her horde of demonic pawns. Wackiness ensues.

This issue was written by Gerard Jones, who was everywhere in the nineties, with art by Mitch Byrd and inker Dan Davis. Jones is a competent writer and I’ve always kind of liked Byrd’s work, so their work raises this annual above the other Bloodlines annuals, which mostly sucked ass. There’s a surprising amount of gore in the book, which has some strange sex/violence subtext going on. It’s all Comic Code approved, so enjoy kids!

Yikes. Somebody's seven-year old son got this back in the nineties and now they're a serial killer - all because of this book!

The cover is awful, but Mitch Byrd’s interior art is pretty solid. Byrd draws dynamic action scenes, the “camera” is always well-placed, and his figures look three-dimensional and real. His art has a distinctive look; all his characters have button-noses and seem a little over-rendered. Plus, he draws every woman with thick legs and plump butts. Mitch Byrd is the Ass-Man of comics, the counterpoint to Jim Balent’s breast fetish art. Seriously, the man is like Sir Mix-a-Lot with a pencil – he likes the flank steak.

Mitch Byrd’s not the only one who likes rump – check out Hal:


It’s his duty to please that booty! Watch out, Hal, she only wants you for your spinal fluid.

Big butts aside, the other noteworthy thing in Green Lantern Annual #4 is how many times Hal Jordan gets smacked in the head. I’m going to have to scan some panels and send them to Scipio over at The Absorbascon, who collects images of Hal getting brained. It’s actually kind of funny how many times he gets clocked in the noggin.


How embarrassing. What, he can’t set his ring to warn him about sucker shots? Ultimate weapon of the universe my ass!

Green Lantern Annual
#4: the best of the Bloodlines annuals. That’s damning with faint praise, but it’s true. If only Nightblade had caught on… Sigh.

65 comments:

Patrick said...

Actually, the TV show that spun off of Walker, Texas Ranger was Sons of Thunder, and Martial Law was unrelated but did cross over with Walker at one point and oh my God I am such a nerd.

I wish I could un-watch CBS Friday nights of the mid-90s.

arizonateach said...

I think what you meant to say is only ONE good series, Hitman, came out of it. There were also Gunfire (he's like Gambit...only lamer!), Anima, and it seems to me a team-miniseries...Psyba-rats or something?

Anyway, all they were good for is that I can vaguely remember some joke in another book where Gunfire accidentally charged and blew up his ass.

And, did you just kind of make fun of Chuck Norris there, because you've gotta know how foolish that was.

Cole Moore Odell said...

In that last panel, is that a banana on Hal's face or Starro in disguise?

Scott said...

Anima wasn't that bad, and Argus showed up in Flash with some regularity, and even got his own mini-series at one point.

Here's a list I compiled of Bloodlines characters a while back...how many do you recognize at all?

Steven said...

That "other" book with Gunfire (actually a gunfire clone) turning his own ass into a grenade was, of course, Hitman (#1,000,000).

And I honestly thought that the Demon Annual that introduced Hitman was better, if only because it featured the Demon hitting one of the aliens in the head with the corpse of one of his victims and Tommy killing one half of an evil conjoined twin.

(I also liked Sparks)

Chaz Ervin said...

What's sad is that the previous Annual crossover, Armageddom 2001, gave us some decent stories, with some varying of quality. It wasn't really a crossover as much as a bunch of books exploring the same theme with different characters. They were pretty much self-contained, but worked as a "big" story too.

Anyway, when I heard about this one I thought they would try something similar, even interesting. I was wrong.

Scipio said...

Until your post, I'd been holding to a strict "Bloodline never happened and I will deny all knowledge of it" policy.

But Hal on the ground in the garbage with a banana peel on his face?

I can't fight that, man....

David Cutler said...

Didn't Marvel do something like this with their annuals around the same time? Nightwatch and the like?

We'll have to agree to disagree on the art in this one, I guess. Definitely not my cup of tea.

Cassino said...

Didn't Marvel do something like this with their annuals around the same time? Nightwatch and the like?

Yeah, and the marvel ones had both (a) trading cards featuring each of the new characters (I still have my "Battling Bantam" card), and (b) if possible, a worse track record than the Bloodlines characters. None of the Marvel characters ever got their own series, and only a few (the X-Cutioner, Adam X - the eXtreme! and Bloodwraith) ever appeared again. Poor AdamX - he doesn't even get to be the Summer's half-brother any more.

A man named K said...

"The Ass-man of comics", Dave? Surely that's Crumb or Los Bros Hernandez?

Anonymous said...

My favorite Bloodlines character was Joe Public he had the same name as a Bel Biv Devoe clone at the time. Joe Public had the hit single "Live and Learn"

Dweeze said...

The hell with Nightblade comics - I want big booty hypnotic alien tramp comics.

call me jack... said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
call me jack... said...

nightblade kinda reminds of mr. immortal of the great lake avengers. er, great lake x-men now I guess.
...or Deadpool. or any number of other hyperviolent slapstick characters. I guess what I'm trying to say is that chopping limbs off is comedy gold so long as it's kept in moderation.

Dan Coyle said...

Confession time- I owned EVERY issue of Anima, some even signed by co-writer Elizabeth hand, who I geeked out over at a con once.

The Sons of Thunder pilot was laughably bad; one "memorable moment" is the lead character's female partner eating lunch at some outdoor cafe on a high rise... and just as she admits she's fallen in love with him, she's taken hostage by her stalker, has her throat slit, and then the killer (Wade Andrew Williams!) parachutes of the balcony onto the street.

Chris said...

“Hey, Nightblade! Will you get this fork out of my garbage disposal for me?”

Great, Dave, thanks. Now I owe my company a new monitor to replace the one that has the coffee that came out of my nose from laughing all over it.

How about a little responsibility now and then? Would it kill ya? :-)

Kyle L said...

I also remember the Marvel attempt at this. X-Cutioner seems to be the most noteable but didn't we get Squirrel Girl from that as well?

Married with Children did the stealth pilot at least twice. The first actually got its own series. It had Matt LeBlanc playing a (surprise) dumb womanizing Italian who, with his dad, tried to be gigolos at a country club. And the other involved some schlubs at a collage radio station. It had the ever popular Steve as the program manager or something.

Dan Coyle said...

Kyle: nay, Squirrel Girl appeared in a Marvel Super Heroes issue a year or two before Marvel did those annuals.

I think Annex was the only character that got his own miniseries out of that.

Gee. Annex. Now there's a name that tickles the imagination.

Jon said...

ANNEX got a miniseries? Really? That's just astonishing.

Shaenon said...

Gerard Jones, of course, went on to write the nonfiction book "Killing Monsters," in which he posits that violent/sexual fantasy entertainment is vital to children's developing psyches. So, actually, every kid who read Green Lantern Annual #2 should've grown up to be a doctor or a Surpeme Court justice or something.

Kyle L said...

So I looked up this... Annex. Oddly enough his profile trashed the 1993 marvel annuals and stated that the only one "who made it big" was Legacy. Son of Captain Marvel?

Shoot me.

Save Ferris said...

That banana peel is yellow! Hal has no defense against it!

Mike P said...

Nightblade should be a Vertigo title, so he can REALLY show off his regeneration power. Imagine what they could show getting hacked off and whatnot.

zailo said...

"it's all fun and games until somebody loses an arm" my mom used to always say.

I remember the failed stealth plot attempt on a CHiPs episode featuring Fred Dryer as a leader of a ninja police squad. Ponch and Jon were in the episode at the beginning and end for like four minutes, tops. The rest was this team of ninja police tracking terrorist who had stolen a misile.

Don't belive? Go here:

http://www.chips-tv.com/Guide/Episode/527.shtml

jay Nickola said...

Stealth pilot though he may have been, James Spader was the only reason to watch the last season of "The Craptice."

Scott said...

Star Trek even tried for a stealth pilot in the forgettable orignal series episode "Assignment: Earth." Gary Seven (played by Robert Lansing) was supposed to be spun off into his own series. Thankfully, it never happened.

Jake said...

Stealth pilot is a good term. I was trying to explain this phenomenon after a Knight Rider episode that aired on SciFi channel last Friday. KITT and Michael are tracking down a Mexican drug lord along the California border when they run into some dude who has all kinds of crazy ninja skills and has the power to conveniently be near trampolines at all times, allowing him to jump from a patio to a second story balcony. Anyway, Michael and KITT check in periodically, but the show is all about this guy and his Defense Department secret society and I knew it had to be a failed attempt to make a spin off.

Another failed attempt was on an episode of Webster. For some reason, Webster went to visit his "uncle" who ran a foster home with about seven kids all of varying races. At the beginning, Webster says hello to everyone then takes his suitcase upstairs to unpack. We don't see him again until the end of the first commercial break when he's sitting at the table finishing breakfast. He thanks his "uncle" and immediately runs upstairs again to make his bed or something. He shows up one last time at the end of the show to say good bye and thank his uncle for letting him come have such a good time. All that was missing was for him to turn to the camera and add, "I sure wish there was some way I could continue to follow your crazy, heartwarming adventures every week."

For some reason, that and the bedwetting episodes are the only two Webster episodes I remember.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about stealth pilots and no-one mentions the weirdest....Mork & Mindy spinning out of Happy Days.

As to Bloodlines. everyone KNOWS the coolest character to spin out of that event was Jamm.

He was totally rad, dude! Awesome!


Paul Newell

Chris Arndt said...

Patrick said what I was going to say.

Also: that thing with the Huntsman in WildC.A.T.s was not a stealth pilot.

Huntsman was actually Chris Claremont's entry into the whole Image bargain when he originalyl was going into the company along with Larsen, Liefeld, McFarlane, Lee, Valentino, and the other guy. Then he decided not to do it. Huntsman was like Liefeld's Youngblood, Larsen's Dragon, McFarlane's Spawn, Lee's WildC.A.T.s and all that. But Claremont didn't go in. So it was no a stunt pilot. It was more like the Trek episode "The Menagerie" with Christopher Pike. It was more like a tribute to what might have been but also what definitely wasn't.

Now Assignment: Earth was a Star Trek episode that was a stealth pilot. That failed. Gary Seven is dead.


What Patrick said is true. It doesn't make you a nerd to have a good memory.

http://www.poobala.com/martialandwalker.html is a relevent page.

And Bloodlines was not the only DC Comics Annual event existing solely to make stealth pilots out of Annuals. and some of them kinda worked. Remember Psyba-Rats? You don't? foo'!

Ragnell said...

I remember Planet DC, I think that may have been a series of Stealth pilots.

(It's sad, but now I have to go find this GL annual)

JR said...

There were alot of these "introduce a bunch of new characters through an annual" events during the nineties. I think I still have the Superman and Batman annuals for this one.

Mitch Byrd drew this? I'll have to hunt it down, as it would be nice to have something he did that isn't Guy Gardner, Warrior. Big fan of his work, just like Hal there is, and probably Sir Mix-a-lot to... ummm, yeah..

Rhune said...

Man, the CCA was/is a joke. First it was over restrictive, then eventually it became over permissive (I prefer company self-rating if a system has to exist). I'm still haunted by seeing Peter Parker tortured to death by Kulan Gath in some reprints of those X-Men comics that it occured in. I didn't need that image seared in my brain. And now I have no choice but to control my demons with periodic self-mutilation.


Just kidding.

Or am I?

Yeah I am.

David Cutler said...

All this talk about stealth pilots and no-one mentions the weirdest....Mork & Mindy spinning out of Happy Days.

Say what!?!

Paul Newell said...

Yep. The character of Mork first appeared in Happy Days but was written off as a dream sequence. Gary Marshall liked the character and came up with the idea for Mork & Mindy. He wanted to use Pam Dawber as Mindy, She'd just been in a failed sitcom, so he took footage from that and cut it together with footage from the Mork episode to make it look like the two were interacting and sold the idea.

So they Mork then appeared in a second episode of Happy Days to prove that it wasn't a dream sequence and to use that ep as a lead in to the upcoming series.

To establish the ties even further, they had an early episode of Mork & Mindy where Mork shares a vision of his first date with Mindy.

Basically he asks Fonzie for advice and then goes on a date with Laverne from Laverne & Shirley.

Alex said...

"This is what happens to junior detectives, snotnose!"
Snotnose? Snot. Nose. Thats gotta take pride of place in the Lexicon of Crap Insults. I mean, seriously, in the same panel as Nightblade getting his arm cut off thats the best insult they could come up with? Come on, its not even a "hilarious" pun, the normal failsafe of all comicbook villain insults. Plus, judging from the "hey, sexy" image I hardly think those aliens are in a position to be criticizing people about having excessive mucus.

Jake Saint said...

Here in Sir Mix-a-Lot land, we call those backdoor pilots, bub.

SanctumSanctorumComix said...

The was ONE other character (intoduced in the MARVEL equivelent annuals) that showed up fairly frequently (for a time).

KILLIAN from DR. STRANGE.

Killian was this angry Irish kid (orphan?) who had been given 'mystical tatoos" (looked more like burns into his skin) that were Celtic characters or somejunk.

Long story short (probably too late already) he becomes DOC's apprentice (another in what has become a long list of losers and morts...have you seen the NEWEST one -featured in the new Doc Samson # 1...ugh...So, with the exception of Clea...who really had the potential of being more powerful than DOC -what with her being the neice of Dormammu and daughter of Umar, as well as a FINE P.O.A., the rest sucked @$$ - sorry Rintrah fans, but he was fairly cool UNTIL he became an apprentice...then he blew!).

Anyway...Killian is all "angry and brash" and won't learn nuthin' from DOC (who's holding him back ...wait ...Anakin??).
Oddly enough he LOOKED like Anakin from the whole Episode "you've masted your time and money" 1,2,3...

He has the shaved sides on his hair and the ponytail...a cut-off vest and lame overall look...and pissed off puss. All. The. Time.

So, he goes off and makes a deal with some demon (or Mordred...I forget now) and gets MORE POWER...to become...(wait for it)...
WILDPRIDE!!!

NOW, he looks like he's burnt all over (I mean crispy...like he was... in a ...volcano...Are we SURE Lucas just didn't swipe this guy???).
All black and charred with GLOWING RED tats...

And he becomes a villain out for revenge on Doc...for some reason.

Long story short (waaay too late, sorry) Doc had dumped him off in some other dimension for his own safety (when the world was to go "boom", or something, and just...uh...forgot about him there - kinda like he forgot to retreive Rintrah's soul from the gem that turned his body to a frozen "in Corbanite" state.

I get it now...DOC hates these little bastards who knock on his door looking to become apprentices, and one by one he "offs" them in some twisted way...

James Mandarin? Drives him nuts.

Clea? Treats her like a whore.

Rintrah? Doesn't stop him from doing something stupid and roastiung himself.

Killian? Dumps his butt in another dimension "for his own good" and leaves him there.

This new kid? Pawns him off on Doc Samson.

Too bad Mickey Mouse wasn't THAT Sorcerer's Apprentice.
DOC would have frozen his rodent hide with his creator.

Why doesn't DOC just put a "No Soliciting" sign on his door.
That works for me.
No girl scouts, or Jehova's Witnesses or pesky apprentices.

Gad...I should re-read the Killian issues to get the facts straight, but frankly, I just can't do it, and you get the general idea...

Bad idea flouders around like a halibut on the dock...wriggling for life only to get tossed on a skillet, overcooked, and tossed back to the sea as a loss.

Hmmm...now I'm in the mood for some fish and chips...and a Killian's Irish Red!

~P~
...uh...sorry for the tangents...

Scott said...

Ragnell's right, The "Planet DC" annuals from a few years later were another attempt at stealth characters, only this time with an international flavor!?

The only ones I remember showing up elsewhere were Nemesis (the female one, not the original Brave & Bold one)who eventually was killed by Eclipso in the JSA Black Reign storyline, and a Middle Eastern themed heroine (Sala) who showed up in GL then in a JLA mini-series.

Anonymous said...

You know, if you're going to talk about stealth pilot annuals, you've got to include the Evolutionary War. All three Spiderman annuals took this route. Web of Spiderman had the introduction of Poison who fought a lame-ass villain (#10) named the Slug. I think she may have made another appearance or two. Spectacular introduced the Young Gods who probably were never seen again. But, Amazing intoduced the new character find of the year: Speedball!

KevG

Dara said...

"Mitch Byrd drew this? I'll have to hunt it down, as it would be nice to have something he did that isn't Guy Gardner, Warrior. Big fan of his work, just like Hal there is, and probably Sir Mix-a-lot to... ummm, yeah.."

Then I'd recommend Mitch's free online comic over at 01comics.com, called Mitch Byrd Presents. Sort of an all-Mitch-Byrd anthology. If you're a fan of the Byrd Behind, you'll definitely enjoy the story "Stealing the Night".

Andy said...

Between Bloodlines & Armageddon, how many of these characters do think Grant Morrison has plans for?

Also: I distictly remember seeing the the Mork & Mindy episode featuring Fonzie & Laverne because the surrealism of the whole thing utterly blew my mind.

Andy said...

Sorry, I meant Planet DC, not Armageddon. Hard to keep these lousy annual crossovers straight sometimes.

Edward Liu said...

Something someone said reminded me of a decent stealth pilot character: Captain Marvel/Photon/Lightwave/Monica Rambeau, lately of Ellis' Nextwave, got introduced in an Amazing Spider-Man annual (#16?).

Man, I used to love those Spider-Man annuals. The annual before the "new Captain Marvel" one was written by Denny O'Neil with art by Frank Miller and had Spidey in a fight triangle with Doc Ock and the Punisher. Plus, it had origin story files and a "Who's Stronger?" set of pages in the back. Spider-Woman stands hands-on-hips and says, "Spider-Man, you've got some nerve putting me in the category below you just because I'm a woman," while the Beast is checking out her ass and saying, "Hubba hubba."

Not that this had anything to do with anything. But it was a totally awesome issue.

Chris said...

Bushido from the Planet DC annuals turned up in the last few episodes of the TEEN TITANS series.

The Crane, Poole, & Schmidt episodes of The Practice are fascinating. I wonder, are there anal-retentive David E. Kelley fanboys out there desperately trying to reconcile the differences between CP&S as depicted on The Practice with the firm as it appears on Boston Legal? Are there reams of fan-fiction dedicated to explaining how Rebecca DeMornay's character left the firm at the same time the office was re-designed?

Kyle l said...

Would Rogue qualify as a stealth pilot character then? Wasn't she first introduced in Avengers Annual #10?

And didn't she look like a 40 year old housewife (to quote somebody, somewhere who I can't remember)

Anonymous said...

Rogue looked 40 at the time because she was evil!

A man named K said...
"The Ass-man of comics", Dave? Surely that's Crumb or Los Bros Hernandez?


Crumb for sure!

Jaime is more the ass-man
Beto is more the boob-man

Wasn't "The Facts of Life" the result of a stealth pilot in "Diff'rent Strokes"?

Dan Coyle said...

Poison showed up in a Gerber-written arc in Marvel Comics Presents, in one of the Ben Reilly issues of Spider-Man during the Great Game storyline (coincidentally when London Night was debuting a character with a similar name) and was recently killed off during the "Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D" storyline in Wolverine. Which actually pissed me off, since the Gerber stories in that Annual were really good. She had potential.

Kurt Onstad said...

Anonymous said...

"Wasn't "The Facts of Life" the result of a stealth pilot in "Diff'rent Strokes"?"

Nope, that was a straight spin-off. Mrs. Garrett was the original maid for the Drummonds.

Brian Cronin said...

I prefer the term "Backdoor pilot."

Other notable backdoor pilots (I know way too many of these...hehe)...

Those three multi-ethnic orphans who were adopted by the Brady's neighbors on the Brady Bunch.

Facts of Life, I WOULD count as a backdoor pilot, because they had an episode of Diff'rent Strokes where Mrs. Garrett goes to visit Kimberly at Eastland, and ends up becoming the headmistress (or whatever her roles was). The next week (or later that night, I forget), the first episode of Facts of Life aired.

The Andy Griffith Show was a backdoor pilot of the Danny Thomas show, as Thomas gets pulled over while in Mayberry, and we get to meet all the wacky folks of Mayberry.

Speaking of the Facts of Life, the LAST episode of the Facts of Life was a backdoor pilot for a new show with Blair becoming the principal of Eastland and making it a co-ed school (Blossom and Seth Green were co-stars).

There was another backdoor pilot on Happy Days, with an angel (Random, I think his name was).

I know way too many of these...I could go on for too long, so I will stop now...hehe.

Kyle L said...

And let us not forget the All in the Family/Jeffersons/Maude grouping. I think thats how it went.

Oh yeah and then the Beverly Hills 90210 to Melrose Place connection. And didn't Melrose place give us Model's Inc?

Dan Jacobson said...

There was a show about teenage models that spun out of a stealth pilot on Who's the Boss. I think it starred Lea Rimini...

Milo George said...

Speaking of "Diff'rent Strokes," they should have built a show around Gordon Jump's DS character and his wacky child-molesting antics. It would have been more a more entertaining spinoff than "Hello, Larry" was, at least.

I like that Nightblade's arm stump looks like a cartoon steak.

"houmwcsz"

Dan Coyle said...

Jacobson: You are correct, sir.

And a storyline about Jo photographing models was what spun off Models Inc., which ended with Carrie-Anne Moss in Hooker Hell.

jay Nickola said...

jake -- I remember only one episode of "Webster." The episode in which Webster participates in a marathon. Yeah, that's right. The latter part of this televisual masterpiece features our titular hero jogging gamely through the dark, empty streets, many many hours after the marathon has ended. Great stuff.

zailo said...

Holy cow! How did I forget the Gary Seven of Star Trek stealth plot? And what about other Happy Days spin offs? Laverne & Shirly (obviously), Joanie Loves Chachi, and wasn't there a half-hearted attempt at a "Arnold's Place"?
I am stunned that Milo George dropped the "Hello Larry " reference. Yay Milo!
Oh yeah has anybody seen the Roddenberry pilot "Spectre" with Robert Culp and Gig Young? It was a modern shelock Holmes who investigates supernatural cases. And had a left-over Gorn suit as the Devil.

Brian Cronin said...

Remember, the difference between a stealth/backdoor pilot and a spin-off is that the stealth/backdoor pilot appears on an established show, unlike a spin-off, which is just a show using characters from another program.

So, for instance, if there was an episode of Happy Days devoted just to following Lavernne and Shirley around Milwaukee, that would be a stealth/backdoor pilot. But just taking characters from another program and giving them a show is not.

Here's a good one - the stealth/backdoor pilot for Just the Ten of Us, which began as an episode of Growing Pains in the first half hour, but in the second half hour was about Coach Lubbock and his family.

Jason Fliegel said...

I was always disappointed that the stealth pilot from Who's the Boss where Sam went off to check out a modelling school never became an actual series. Vivica A. Fox and Leah Remini were models, and Michael Learned was the stern headmistress.

As for Bloodlines, the worst character had to be Jamm, the skateboarding superdude from the Legion of Superheroes Annual. The cover of the book actually has an arrow pointing to Jamm that reads "... and introducing Jamm! He's prodigious, dude!" Man, did that book suck.

My verification word was ytnxza. Ask your doctor about Ytnxza!

Jason Fliegel said...

KevG, the Young Gods were actually an early 70s Gerry Conway creation from his run on Thor. They showed up a few times in Thor over the years, popped back up in that Spidey Annual, had a solo story in Marvel Comics Presents, and were last seen in Avengers back when Bob Harras was writing it. See here for all the gory details:

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix2/younggods.htm

Poison and Speedball were back door pilots, although Posion's enemy the Slug had previously showed up in a Mark Gruenwald Captain America story. Some internet jerk makes fun of him here:

http://daveslongbox.blogspot.com/2005/11/lame-ass-villain-10-slug.html

lestat said...

You know, these occasional characters that regenerate spontaneously always made me wonder..... What happens to all of those body parts that get cut off? Do they regenerate another entire body, creating, say, more Nightblades? Or do they just wither and die? How much of the body needs to be cut off before it will grow another person? How about if we run Nightblade across a lumber saw from crotch to the top of his head? Which half regenerates?

David Snyder said...

I was always disappointed that the stealth pilot from Who's the Boss where Sam went off to check out a modelling school never became an actual series. Vivica A. Fox and Leah Remini were models, and Michael Learned was the stern headmistress.

That was a show, wasn't it? Living Dolls. Except it had Halle Berry, not Vivica A Fox.

Ken S. said...

Lestat sez:
"You know, these occasional characters that regenerate spontaneously always made me wonder..... What happens to all of those body parts that get cut off? Do they regenerate another entire body, creating, say, more Nightblades? Or do they just wither and die? How much of the body needs to be cut off before it will grow another person? How about if we run Nightblade across a lumber saw from crotch to the top of his head? Which half regenerates?"

Back in the early days of Swamp Thing, he lost an arm. Eventually it grew into a mindless version of Swampy. So at least one writer has had the same thought.

Jackk23 said...

I'm looking for a forum template similar to this sarging forum - any ideas? With the upsurge of foums lately I'm thinking of setting up my own.

Mister Sinister said...

Green Lantern is getting his ass handed to him by the cow-skull aliens

Starro will rise again.

Nightblade would be awesome except for that terrible name

Spinal Fluid... the Ovaltine of the galaxy.

verif:
ohqqulr-

The alternative to Ohhh Zagnut!

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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