Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sledge Hammer #1 - Comics From The Basement


Last month I did a retrospective on the series Sledge Hammer… and with the 30th Anniversary of the show coming up, I announced that I will be looking at the two comics published by Marvel… which brings us to today, with Sledge Hammer #1, published in February 1988, around the same time the show aired it’s final episode…. And I love the tag line on the cover, 1st Collector’s Item Issue Based on the TV Show That Refuses To Die! That is so awesome, in fact it could be applied to Star Trek back in the 1960s.

Cover Instantly Gives Impression That This Would’ve Been Better If Released In October, As It’s very Much Of A Halloween Theme, With there being a Pumpkin at the top as part of the logo, and With Sledge, Doreau and “Satana” in the middle with a number of monsters approaching them, Sledge Has His trusty .44 Magnum Out while giving his catch phrase ‘Trust Me I Know What I’m Doing

The plot: Sledge and Doreau are assigned as police protection to the host of a Creephouse, Horror movie show.  The hostess Stephanie King, as in Stephen King… get it?, dresses up like Satana a Marvel character that debuted in the early 70s

That may seem like a ‘cop out’ out (no pun intended), but its a creative way to try and get reader’s attention when seeing the cover, it does question on if that is Satana, and it keeps Sledge from fully being apart of the Marvel Universe and avoiding what happened with ROM Space Knight, a licensed property who was apart of the Marvel Universe, but when Marvel lost the rights to it, made things rather awkward.

The story itself opens with a homage to Psycho, Satana checks into a hotel that has has sign fall off saying it’s the Bates Motel, she goes to take a shower and we get a partial recreation of the famous shower scene… that sees Stephanie cold cock her attack, with a great bit of dialog. “Curtain’s Up Ms. King… It’s SHOWTIME!” “I Don’t care if You’re From HBO… No One Waves A Knife At Me And Gets Away With It!”

From there, we go to the at the San Francisco police department, where Sledge is using his gun to make a jack o’lantern … by blowing a hole in it… sure he could’ve used a knife, but he wanted it to reflect his inner being… he and Doreau are called into Captain’s Trunk’s office and they are given there assignment… with Sledge and Stephanie getting off on the wrong foot because when she’s not in costume, she looks nothing like how she appears on her show.

Through out the comic, Sledge and Doreau end up dealing with a number of famous horror creatures, a possessed car as a homage to Christine, a red sweater, green faced homage to Freddy Krueger… even a hockey mask, green jumpsuit wearing homage to Jason Vorhees up at a camp… all these ‘monsters’ and attacks on Stephanie is a plan from the man she replaced as the host of the horror film show, Vincent Van Gore… get it, Vincent  Van Gogh… but it looks more like Vincent Price… who wants revenge because when he was deemed to old and crummy and the films he presented were the more classic horror films, not the slasher flicks of the early 80s… makes sense

Regardless, Vincent is dealt with, seemingly dying in fire in a camp cabin, with Sledge appearing to die with him only to be saved by someone who dropped his hat with the name ‘Smokey’ printed on it… and the comic ends with Stephanie King saying on her show they are going to show the famous ‘Hammer Films’ as a tribute to Sledge… and with Sledge also giving great advice on giving Marvel Mini Comics to Kids on Halloween instead of Candy or ‘Healthy treats’

This comic is great, it captures the spirit of the show, in fact is similar in terms of the plot and pacing to the episode ‘The Last of the Red Hot Vampires’ that aired in November of 1987.  The writing is pretty sharp, Jim Salicup (whose work includes writing Transformers and The A-Team, and being the editor on The Avengers, Uncanny X-Men and Fantastic Four) really captures all the little elements of the show, from how Sledge speaks, how he interacts with Trunk & Doreau and other small details that may go unnoticed by those who are not familiar with the show. Because the show was a comedy, with a good bit of it being dialog driven, the jokes and gags in the story work very well, giving me the impression that if this was an actual episode of Sledge Hammer, it would’ve been an incredible one.

The artwork, done by Alex Saviuk (best known for his work on Web of Spider-Man), is also very well done, this comic easily is a good representation of the pre-90s style, with how every thing is drawn. The characters from show look like how they are supposed to look

But if you want to check this comic out for yourself, well, I know as of today’s date September 11, 2016, has it in stock currently at a $1.35, as well as issue #2.

And speaking of issue #2… I’ll be going over that… next week!

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