Random Retro Issue 10

Star Wars, Masters of the Universe, and Howard the Duck
August 18, 2010

In this Issue:

Masters of the Universe Fisto with Stridor and Jitsu with Night Stalker, Howard the Duck on VHS, and Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye novel

Fisto with Stridor and Jitsu with Night Stalker

Fisto and Jitsu weren't the coolest characters from the Masters of the Universe but they did have some cool steeds. Though the pairing of Fisto with Stridor and Jitsu with Night Stalker was never made official in the original cartoon it was shown in comics and on commercials. The figures were also each sold by themselves and with their respective battle horse.

Fisto was one of the more ordinary figures in the original Masters of the Universe toyline. The thing that made him cool was his huge right hand and the unforgettable beard he was rocking.
His beard was full, his fist was rock hard, and each was just as powerful as the other.
His horse, Stridor, was a robotic war machine. Loaded with weapons, Stridor helped add a a sense of something regal to the vast Eternian army.

In the mid-80's I may have thought Fisto was a bit boring but I loved Stridor. Sitting atop the cybernetic horse added a good amount of height to any figure, helping to tower over those scum working for Skeletor unless Skeletor had Fisto's nemesis, Jistu, and his horse, Night Stalker.

Night Stalker was essentially a repainted Stridor with a few different decals included but that was not a problem at all. Stridor was perfect for a repaint and if anything it was an improvement. Jitsu's horse just screamed evil and looked even cooler than his heroic counterpart.

Jitsu was always less boring to me than Fisto. He looked mean, had cool looking armor, and a shiny gold hand ready to karate chop He-Man's face.
There weren't many humans that were a part of Skeletor's forces but Jitsu probably could have been a lot more competent than most of the beasts and monsters that Skeletor employed.

On their own, Fisto and Jitsu were lacking something to make them uber-cool to me all those decades ago but if you got their horses their popularity could really go up. As I grew up I began to appreciate a figure like Fisto more than I did as a child but even then I liked him better than the more popular Man-At-Arms figure for some reason.
Jitsu was always slightly more appealing than his counterpart. He stood out among figures like Whiplash and Beast Man and his karate chopping hand had a slight edge over Fisto's powerful punch.

Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck is one of those films that people just love to hate. It strayed far from its original source in the comics put out by Marvel. Many also considered the main character, Howard, to look too fake. Maybe the fact that I was 6 when this movie came out led to my interest which has never died. I have always had fun watching this movie and consider it one of the best movies to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

I have nothing against more modern forms of media but some movies just feel right on VHS and Howard the Duck is one of those movies. There's an added charm in popping an 80's movie into the VCR and skipping through the previews on a slow fast forward to finally get to the main attraction.

The film was produced by George Lucas and starred several popular actors from the era. Jeffrey Jones, famous from Beetlejuice and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, portrayed a doctor who turned into the movie's villian. Lea Thompson, from Back to the Future fame, played Beverly. Her character went on to have a disturbing sex scene with Howard. That scene never has sat right with me, no matter how much I like the rest of the movie.
Finally, Tim Robbins played a janitor who befriends Howard and attempts to help him get back to his own universe. It must have been a roller coaster year for Tim Robbins. He was in Top Gun, released in May of 1986, and then this hated movie came out a few months later.

Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Released in 1978, less than a full year after the original Star Wars movie, Splinter of the Mind's Eye was intended to be an official sequel. It was written with the intent of turning it into a low budget film but with the phenomenal success of Star Wars a big budget sequel was ordered instead.
The book had to have been popular in the years between Star Wars and the release of The Empire Strikes Back. At the time it was the only source for more stories from that galaxy which was so far away.

Splinter of the Mind's Eye marked the return of Darth Vader after he was blasted away from the first Death Star by Han Solo.
The story was drastically different than anything we've ever gotten from Lucas and although Empire was a great film I think this one could have been cool too. It would have had a different feel and been less epic but would have been some great sci-fi fun.

It's cool to think of how things might have turned out if this had become the second film and the Empire Strikes Back had never existed. We could still have a huge franchise like the one we have today or we could just have easily forgotten the stories of Luke Skywalker

The book is a good read for Star Wars fans and is worth picking up if you can just imagine it as a little side adventure of Luke and the gang.

Random Retro Advertisement

Captain Power as an idea was the coolest toyline that existed. You could use the toys to interact with the live action show and feel like part of the story. It's too bad it didn't work out that easily and the show only lasted one season. The toys are still worth appreciating even without an interactive show and can give a kid plenty of fun on their own.
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