Star Comics: The All-Star Collection Vol. 1
Star Comics All-Star Collection Vol. 1 (Marvel Comics)
By Lenny Herman, Stan Kay, Bob Bolling, Sid Jacobson, Warren Kremer & Howard Post
Back in the 80s, Harvey Comics went on one of several publishing hiatuses that would eventually lead to the demise of the company. Marvel, noticing the gap in kids’ comics, launched Star Comics to try to fill the void. Along with licensed properties like Heathcliff, Thundercats, and ALF, the line also included several original characters. With those Star heroes returning (kind of) in the recent X-Babies miniseries, Marvel has brought back their earliest adventures in this paperback. Having read many of these comics when I was a kid, I was reluctant to pick this book up — I was afraid it would be a case of the reality not living up to my memory. I was surprised to find that many of these books, even through the prism of 20-plus years experience, aren’t that bad. Lenny Herman and Warren Kremer were behind three of the four titles presented in this issue. First there are two issues of Planet Terry, a sort of kid version of Buck Rogers. Terry roams the galaxy searching for the parents that lost him in an accident when he was a baby. The two issues here show him meeting a new crew of friends and finding a lead to his parents. It’s not bad — there’s an ongoing storyline, which helps considerably, and while Terry is a little bland, the outer space setting allows for some creativity with the villains. The two Royal Roy issues, on the other hand, are total duds. Roy is who Harvey star Richie Rich would be if he was a prince. Seriously, there’s absolutely nothing else distinctive about him. He’s got rich parents, the poor girlfriend, the rich girl who wants him for herself — it’s virtually a carbon copy. Even the money jokes are the same. Top Dog was my favorite of these books as a child, and the three issues presented here are my favorite of this book as well. Young Joey Jordan has found a talking dog, Top Dog, and convinces him to come home with him and live in the comfort of a real family. Being a talking dog, of course, Top Dog gets into some trouble now and again. This was easily the best Star original. The characters were well-developed and had full personalities, and the mystery of Top Dog’s backstory was actually a great mystery. The book finished with Wally the Wizard, the first issue of which was done by legendary Little Archie creator Bob Bolling. Wally is the apprentice of the great wizard Marlin (you may have heard of his younger brother), but Wally isn’t that good at it. He finds himself having to use his wits to compliment his lesser magical powers. The second issue, by Sid Jacobson and Howard Post, isn’t quite as good, but it’s not bad. I’m actually surprised at how well most of these comics have held up. Except for Royal Roy, they’re still pretty funny, the art is timeless, and I think kids today would enjoy this book just as much as their parents who read these comics the first time around.
Rating: 7/10 (Would have been 8 except for Roy)