~Sunbow & Star Comics bring you: Visionaries!

   You know, I think the biggest "fault" of this show was that it was way too high-concept for kids (and even for its own damn self) at the time. -You're taking Thundarr The Barbarian, Brave*Starr, Dungeons & Dragons, and King Arthur and the Knights of Justice- and throwing them all in a fucking blender... Yes, I remember watching it, and liking it- but I did not love it... And in the end, anyone who looks back at Visionaries- just says: "Oh, yeah- those were those Hasbro toys with the holograms, right?" or as I say: The less cool Supernaturals...
   But the show was so much more than its action-figure's gimmicky-premise. I was amazed, in re-watching the series for this post, how many of the visuals from the show I remembered so vividly.
The animation was absolutely beautiful in many scenes, per episode- due to Sunbow Productions sending a large amount of it to Japan to be done by TMS Entertainment.  -Resulting in random moments of pure, detailed, fluid 80's anime-style gold!  -Particularly, I noticed, on the episode Trail of The Three Wizards...
   Issue #2, which is what I'll mostly be talking about here, is basically the last couple minutes from the end of episode 1: The Age of Magic Begins, and a few ideas/scenes from episode 2: The Dark Hand of Treachery, but reworked- with much more detail, character development, and explanations given. The exact opposite of what happened previously with Solarman...

-If you are unfamiliar with Visionaries, Google is your friend... but here's the basic outline:

 "A violent, angry man- that one..."  -It's like he's talking about everyone on the Internet! 
But if the age of technology is over- then there is no Internet. Unless... MAGIC INTERNET!

   It's clear that after this issue- the comics are taking the material in a slightly different direction than the cartoon. (Plot: Jim Salicrup, script: Gerry Conway) And that's good, if you watch/ed the show- why would you want to read the exact same thing, right?
   But here are a couple examples of the comics being more fleshed-out, like I mentioned before:
In the cartoon the knights just say their magic poems when they first use their powers- like they just fucking knew them all along. In the comic they explain that they actually hear the voice of Merklynn The Wizard (whose name sounds too much like 'merkin' if you ask me), who gave them their powers, reciting the phrase to them- in their heads:

 "Typical male-ego!" *literally bitch-slapped* CRACK!

 I want the magic power of SHAWHOOM!

(Also- none of their staffs project the entity with the specific power in this issue- the knights themselves just get said power bestowed on them... It's weird.)

-Then, in the cartoon; Mortdredd & Reekon just find the SKY CLAW ship in a junkyard, while looking for strong metal to make more chains to bind their prisoners with, and just power it up like they knew they could do it.  In the comic they are sent to a blacksmith to have armor-repairs done to Darkstorm's chest-plate... and were also told to be on the look-out for a secret weapon to tip the balance of power in their favor.
They find out that the blacksmith had built a vehicle before the age of science ended- and now it's "useless"...

-It's here that they discover the knights without power-staffs can instead power-up technology, just by touching it...

The blacksmith mentions he has another type of vehicle he never finished building- but he could with the right amount of supplies, and a little compensation. If you know the toy line or show at all- you know he is referring to the Dagger Assault vehicle.  In the cartoon- Dagger Assault just shows the fuck up with no explanation at all. I guess you are supposed to assume it also came from the junkyard?
Anyways, I liked this bit where the blacksmith gets all excited and jumps in- thinking it will fly for him too:


Staff-envy does exist in both versions, though (and remains even after they find out about the vehicles):

 And then...

And thennnn......

 "Staffs, staffs, STAFFS!  Big, long, hard, and powerful staffs!  I have to get my hands on one!!!"

The dialogue is just as awesome in the/for a cartoon, as well.   
(And the voice-acting is pretty fucking awesome too...)

   The first two issues of  Visionaries: Knights of The Magical Light were published by Star Comics, and the remainder of them under the Marvel Comics banner (after Star Comics folded)- it only lasted for six issues total, and was cancelled mid-way through a four-part adventure, unfortunately...

   Mark Bagley is drawing the fuck outta this comic, though. It is George-PĂ©rez-level-crouded in this thing. There are two comics worth of small, busy panels in this one issue- which is the only one I have so far...

   A couple moments, that I really liked from the first few episodes, that I wanted to point out: The guinea-pig powered catapult, of course! (It's just a throw-away joke in the first episode, but it really made me laugh!)  And then there is this part later on when Darkling Lord; Cindarr; in his ape-totem-form, is bringing down castle-walls on top of The Spectral Knights with glee- he stops when he hears a cat in distress, quickly changes back to human form, and digs it out of the rubble, cradling it in his arms, apologizing to it and saying how he meant it no harm... The bad guy does this. Layers, son. -LAYERS!

Before I wrap this up- I just wanted to mention a few more things from the cartoon: I noticed that the Buzz Dixon, and Doug Booth penned episodes are not as good as the majority by Flint Dille. The former seem to be just a bit silly in tone.
Mortdredd is my favorite of The Darkling Lords, he's just such an amusing little sycophant.
The Bearer of Knowledge was always my favorite power. -He's just so imposing!
You also have a lot of the standard 80's voice-actors in this thing, including: Peter Cullen, Jim Cummings, Bernard Erhard, and my personal favorite Chris Latta.  The amount of characters from my childhood just those four were responsible for is fucking insane!


  1. How some concepts get past editors is beyond me lol though it does set up a challenge to work "SHAWHOOM!" into my daily routine at least once this weekend! Star Comics!!! (Sigh) Whatever happened to Droids anyway?

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dan.
      Well- holograms WERE huge in the 80's! HUGE! There was even residual leakage into early 90's comic covers and "special" cards... So, that explains the toys anyways...
      Why the comic was made? I... don't know. The show was not a big success or anything... The figures weren't either. The comic took out all the holographic visuals from the cartoon and toys. -Their staffs don't project (at least not in the issue I have) and they turn into regular animals, not hologram ones. I honestly like it better, though. Post-apocalyptic-ish swords and sorcery with just a little less silliness.

      I'ma order a large pizza tonight with extra SHAWHOOM!

      Star Comics, indeed... I'd call the imprint a waste for stuff like Planet Terry, Foofur, or 27 fuckin' issues of Heathcliff! But it gave us this, Inhumanoids, Silverhawks, Masters of The Universe, ThunderCats, Air Raiders, and Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham comics... That's just awesome!
      Droids lasted eight issues... the last three being 'A New Hope' from their point of view.

  2. The Visionaries were part of a line of mid to late 80s toy lines that either had a short lived degree of minor success and those that were D.O.A at toy stores. among some of the others was C.O.P.S, Sectaurs, Starriors, Chase and the Wheeled Warriors, Inhumanoids, Air Raiders, Silver Hawks, Bionic Six, Centurians and M.A.S.K, The Spiral Zone just to mention a few. most of them had their own comic book series but i'm pretty sure none made it past 8 or 9 issues.

    1. Ummm... I......... know???
      -You trying to school ME, son? I live and breathe this shit! ...which is probably why I'm single. Nevertheless; it's "Jayce" and the Wheeled Warriors... and one thing is for certain: They ALL had amazingly-kick-ass theme songs! "FIGHT THE ZONE! ZONE-RIDERS!!!"

    2. yeah they all did have pretty good theme songs. i know you live and breathe the shit but i was in my early teens when those shows were on TV, their toys at retail stores and their short lived comic series on comic shop shelves. i bought Visionaries #1 back when all #1 issues were "collector's items" : )

    3. -Man, 80's cartoons had rockin' themes! Cartoons of the 90's and today can't compare... Although I do like the NickTurtles theme a lot. -But only because it's SO throwback! So the point still stands.
      I like this series a lot, though. More than I like the cartoon. And I never had one toy. -Had a shit-ton of Supernaturals, though!


      I was a kid too- but in many ways- I still fuckin' am. Give me something WORTH growing up for and I will!

  3. Never ran into these toys despite being a huge toy-collector as a kid back then(and now obviously;) Interesting story though, and definitely something not out of place as far as the background story and gimmicks go. A team-up with He-Man and/or Mike Grell's Warlord.
    Ahhh C.O.P.S....loved the cartoon, but only owned one toy from the line. The Longarm guy I think. Ho come that hasn't come back? Silverhawks too...Or Captain Power. Now that was hell of an interactive toy.

    1. Yeah, they weren't plentiful in the toy isles... I only remember seeing them a handful of times- and there were cooler figures I wanted! To an eight year old- something like Supernaturals looked way fucking cooler!
      Oh, man! Remember The Lost World Of The Warlord figures? They were always at the drug-stores... Fuck- he was like, the only cool thing in Convergence. He and Deimos. Big article about it here: http://comicbook.com/2015/04/29/mike-grell-on-the-warlord/
      I love that all the main-stream 80's stuff had it's big resurgence- and now it's all the cooler, obscure stuff's time to shine! That was the stuff I was always into- because it was the stuff that did not sell and was put on clearance. So those would be the toys my parents bought us.
      I hate that I got rid of so much of it in my teens- shit is always harder to get and usually worth more then any Transformers or GIJoe figure.