Friday, July 11, 2008

In Praise of Bootlegs

Dan Slott - he hates downloading comics!While Dan Slott and I might not see eye to eye on downloading comics, there is one thing we can agree on - bootlegs of arcane tv shows are awesome.

It's strange, but in many ways, illegal bootlegs of tv shows are every bit as, well, illegal, as say downloading this weeks DCP comics torrent, but most comics fans don't seem to be too concerned with that.

I think that because we say that because the powers that be are never going to put the Martin Caidin Cyborg movie on DVD, that I can buy a bootleg of said movie at a convention without feeling guilty.

I don't know. Driving over the speed limit is just as illegal (if not moreso) as downloading this weeks issue of Secret Invasion, but ask around at the local comic shop which is a as worse crime, and I'm betting a lot of people will say downloading comics is worse.

Yet, when was the last time someone was killed accidentally because another person downloaded a complete run of Suicide Squad?

Anyway, before this begins to sound too much like an 11th grade english essay (too late?) let's get back to topic of bootlegs.

I love 'em.

I happen to own quite a few, having been collecting and capping (video capture using my computer and a high end graphics card) them over the years. Here are a few of my favorites...

Thundar The Barbarian - I actually capped my own set of Thundarr DVD's but you can buy a set from the great guys at

Thundarr the Barbarian was a Saturday morning animated television series, created by Joe Ruby and produced by Ruby-Spears Productions. It was broadcast during the early 1980s. Action figures of the three main characters were released by Toynami in 2004.

Comic book writer-artist Jack Kirby worked on the production design for the show. While many people believe that Kirby was the primary designer of the show (mainly due to his similarly themed Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth), the main characters were in fact designed by fellow comic book writer-artist Alex Toth, who also designed the popular character Space Ghost for Saturday morning television. Toth, however, was unavailable to continue working on the show, so most of the wizards and other villains and secondary characters that appear on the show were designed by Kirby. He was brought onto the show at the recommendation of comic writer Steve Gerber and comics and animation veteran Mark Evanier, who realized that the same imagination that produced Kamandi could contribute significantly to the series. Indeed, the evil wizard Gemini, the only repeating villain on the show, resembles Darkseid, an infamous Kirby villain.

In this setting, Thundarr, a muscular warrior, and his companions Princess Ariel (who was a formidable sorceress) and the Wookiee-like Ookla the Mok travelled the world on horseback, and battled evil wizards who combined magical spells with technologies from the pre-catastrophe world. Other enemies included werewolves, a predatory, malevolent alien being, humanoid lizards, and mutants. Intelligent humanoid-animal races include the rat-like Groundlings and the cat-like Moks.

A little known Flashback Universe Fact: I once contacted the guys a Ruby Spears about making a Thundarr comic book, but apparently the rights to the character are tied up at Time Warner. I tried to contact TW, but the person I was directed to no longer works for TW. :(

Another show I have is Pirates of Dark Water, again which I capped myself, but now is readily available as a streaming movies thanks to the guys at

The Pirates of Dark Water is a fantasy animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera and Turner Entertainment in the early 1990s. The series followed a group of adventurers on a quest to collect the Thirteen Treasures of Rule, which possessed the combined power to stop an evil substance known as "Dark Water" from consuming the alien world of Mer.

The show first premiered in syndication in early 1991 as a five-part mini-series titled Dark Water. Following a number of animation tweaks and other changes by Hanna-Barbera, those episodes were rebroadcast later in 1991 as the first five episodes of the regular series. Most notably, the original mini-series featured the voice of Roddy McDowall as Niddler, whereas in the revised version, the character was voiced by Frank Welker. The first season aired on ABC, while the second season aired in first-run syndication as part of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera.

Here's one you probably never heard of - DANGER ISLAND!

Long before the guys writing Lost were probably even born, this show was showing kids all across America as a feature on the crazy Banana Splits show.

Danger Island was a live-action adventure serial produced by Hanna-Barbera and originally broadcast in 1968 as a segment on the Banana Splits Adventure Hour. It was directed by future Superman and Goonies director Richard Donner and featured Jan-Michael Vincent as Lincoln 'Link' Simmons.

Intended as a live-action version of the animated Hanna-Barbera series Jonny Quest, Danger Island centered around the adventures of a trio of explorers in an unnamed tropical island group. Prof. Irwin Hayden, an archeologist; Lincoln "Link" Simmons, the professor's youthful assistant; and Leslie, the professor's blonde daughter, who serves as both a love interest for Link and the series' token damsel-in-distress.

This specific bootleg can be found at

A word about RetroSuperHeroes - I have bought many DVDs from them and found them to be VERY fast with their turnaround, and extremely good about replying to email questions. The quality of their DVDs are as good as you can get with bootlegs.

So, with that off my chest - what Bootlegs do you own?

- Jim


Caine said...


Interesting topic. I've acquired the first 45 episodes of GARGOYLES created by Greg Weisman. It ran from 94 - 97 with lots-o-fan fare as it utilized (at least: Marina Sirtis & Jonathan Frakes) two actors from Star Trek The Next Generation as primary voices on the show.

I've also got the single (and entire) season NOWHERE MAN. Created by Lawrence Hertzog, NM was about Thomas Veil, a photo journalist who had supposedly taken a photograph that was so incriminating that those in danger of being taken down by it began "erasing" Veil's life. This way he couldn't spill the beans (as no one would believe him - a man with no life), and Veil had nowhere to turn to get help or mount an offensive. His wife was married to someone else, and claimed to have never met Tom. Even his dad was in on it.

All of The DRESDEN FILES (Which is MUCH MUCH better than the books - in my opinion). Which is running on HULU now!

All of JOURNEYMAN, that had lots of potential. A bit of SLIDERS and QUANTUM LEAP modernized for the new millennium.

Finally I have CRUSADE, the Babylon5 spin off.

Unknown said...

Is it wrong that on some level I find Thundarr a more appealing idea than Kamandi and wish Jack had made a comic of it?

You know, it's not that Dan Slott doesn't have a point but the thing is the people who actually pay him are using what is already at its core a 1930's business model funneled through distribution channels that worked in the 80's and 90's in the year *2008*. If fans are to blame for taking money out of his pocket then at least some of that blame has to go to the people writing his paychecks for being stubborn, short-sighted, and unwilling to adapt to a publishing medium that would save us AND them money. I love drawing on it but for printing purposes it's not like paper is getting any cheaper.


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