Saturday, August 14, 2010

LASTIKMAN 1995


Art by Rol Enriquez

Lastikman Komiks ran weekly for 14 issues from September 28 to December 28, 1995. A typical issue featured a 15-page Lastikman story and three 5-page back-up strips: 2 of these were Turbogirl and Lastikdog (yes, there was a Lastikdog), while the remaining spot was occupied by the alternating strips Amazing Amazons and The Raptors. Sonny Trinidad served as regular cover artist.


THE REQUISITE MAD SCIENTIST

Lastikman faces the mad toymaker Professor Gilmor. Abused as a child, the brilliant but twisted genius came to believe that grown-ups are the root of all evil in the world, and aims to exterminate all adults with his murderous high-tech toys.


A recurring villain, Professor Gilmor menaced Lastikman anew in issue #9.

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THE BRAVE AND THE GOLD
(As you can see, I take excellent care of my comic books.)
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Issue #4: Gold
October 19, 1995
Wrier: Ron Mendoza
Artist: Toti Cerda


A chunk of gold recovered from the planet There ("So what planet did you get it from?" "There." "Where?" "THERE." "Can you be a little more specific?") turns out to be a shape-shifting alien lifeform. Though not necessarily hostile (unless provoked), it nonetheless causes a panic when it wanders into the city.


It turns out that all the lonely gilded visitor wanted was a little love, which it finally finds in the arms of a bronze statue. Aaaawww...






MUD LOVE
Issue #5: Lastikman vs Taong Putik (Lastikman vs Mud Man)
October 26, 1995
Writer: Mike Tan
Artist: Rol Enriquez
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In my opinion, Mike Tan (co-creator of such series as Trigger 2000 and Kampeon) has to be one of the best komiks writers of the 1990's, and it shows in his interpretation of Lastikman. While most of the other writers depicted him as a traditional bland do-gooder type, Tan imbued him with more of a personality and a sense of humor. It's just too bad that this was his only Lastikman story.

After a botched chemical plant heist, one of the frustrated thieves throws a chemical canister into a boggy creek. Sometime later, a man falls into the contaminated water and emerges transformed into a massive mud-encrusted monster...
... with heat vision!
By coincidence (yeah, sure), the man behind the mud happened to be secretly in love with Dr. Manuel De Lastico/Lastikman's girlfriend Cecile. Sure enough, the lovesick lump of loam cuts in on his rubbery rival for the fair damsel's affections.

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THE HOT CHICK
Issue #6: Pyrona
November 2, 1995
Artist: Rod Manuel
Dr. De Lastico finds an injured young woman on his doorstep. He nurses her back to health for over a week, after which the recovered girl abruptly decides to leave his care. Soon after, industrial plants are being attacked by a flame-powered villainess named Pyrona.

Obviously, Pyrona and the mysterious girl Dr. De Lastico treated earlier are one and the same. And eventually, Pyrona herself realizes that her opponent Lastikman is none other than the kind doctor who helped her.
I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW.
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Anyway, Pyrona reveals that her actions were not altogether malicious. She's actually a fugitive from another planet who crashed to Earth while trying to escape her world's authorities. A rebel leader opposed to the modernization of her homeworld at the expense of its environment, she sees the Earth treading a similar destructive path and decided to take drastic action, as misguided as her method may be.
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SMALL BUT TERRIBLE
Issue #7: Earthquakes
November 9, 1995
Writer: Ron Mendoza
An evil dwarf named Gummo awakens from a 100-year sleep. Enraged to see towering skyscrapers in place of his beloved forest home, he causes a devastating earthquake that lays waste to an entire city, and threatens to do the same to every city in the nation.
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CREATURE FEATURE
Issue #8: Creatura
November 16, 1995
As the story opens, we learn that Lastikman does not age. His girlfriend Cecile decides to break up with him, concerned that she would someday look old enough to be his mother while he stays forever young. The heartbroken hero then takes his frustrations out on the bad guys.


Meanwhile, a crippled orphan named Bobet is befriended by a giant sea monster (is there any other kind?), which he names Creatura. But although friendly, the continued pollution of its water habitat eventually drives Creatura to go on a destructive rampage.
Of course, the creature isn't the real villain of the story, but rather the unscrupulous chemical plant owner responsible for the pollution.

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THE GOOD BOOK
Issue #10: Dzuteh
November 30, 1995
Wrier: Rey N. Mamangun
Artist: Arnel Coronel
Lastikman battles the dark forces of Dzuteh, a Tibetan sorcerer who seeks an ancient book containing the secret of eternal life.
Interestingly, Dzuteh does succeed in finding the lost book. But the big twist in the story is what that book turns out to be...
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SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
Issue #11: Lastikman Versus Babaeng Kidlat (Lastikman Versus Lightning Woman)
December 7, 1995
Writer: Almel de Guzman
Artist: Rol Enriquez
Lastikman's powers are mysteriously fading. To find out what the problem is, he examines himself in the laboratory of his secluded spaceship deep in the mountains of Sierra Madre.
Meanwhile, a "cosmic spirit" comes to Earth and inhabits the body of a female mountaineer, becoming Thundra, the Lightning Woman. Swearing vengeance against Cosmo, the Space Gladiator who destroyed her previous body, she drains all the electricity in the vicinity, causing a massive blackout that affects even the power supply of Lastikman's ship.
Unable to restore his powers, Lastikman gets so depressed that HE ACTUALLY CONSIDERS KILLING HIMSELF.











Fortunately, it never comes to that. His ship's emergency energy reserves kick in, and he discovers that his body is low on the "foreign matters" (whatever the heck those are) that give him his shape-shifting abilities. Once a special machine on his ship replenishes those foreign matters in his body, Lastikman is finally able to take on the lethal Lightning Lady.
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STARTING WITH THE MAN IN THE MIRROR
Issue #13: Spektro
December 21, 1995
Writer: Ron Mendoza
Artist: Mhel Almeda


Spektro, the self-proclaimed God of Mirrors, has been kidnapping beautiful young women, sucking them through the looking glass and into his mirror dimension. Among the victims are movie star Minona Roder (!) and supermodel Isabella Mosollini (!!).

Lastikman manages to prevent the abduction of another victim by disguising himself as her bedsheet (ooh, clever and kinky).

I'm wondering what freaked out the girl more; that she almost got sucked into a mirror or that she was laying on top of a shape-shifting pervert the whole time.
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KNEEL BEFORE VERSUS!
Issue #14: Versus
December 28, 1995
Artist: Rey R. Santiago
The final issue featured 2 Lastikman stories. The first one introduced Versus, a criminal from Lastikman's native planet Zorak who was imprisoned in a mirror and sent adrift into outer space (HIGHLY-ORIGINAL CONCEPT!). Entering the Earth's orbit, shockwaves from the French nuclear tests cause the mirror to shatter, releasing the alien prisoner.


Versus eventually discovers that he posseses shape-shifting abilities on Earth. And just as any extra-terrestrial supervillain would do, he decides to use his powers to take over the world. This naturally brings him into conflict with Lastikman who, wouldn't you know it, just happens to be the son of Versus' jailer.
Issue #14 (2nd Story): Cyberman
Writer: Rey N. Mamangun
Artist: Arnel R. Coronel
The second tale has Lastikman going up against a cyborg bodyguard gone rogue. Nothing really notable about the story. Well, except maybe for...
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THE RETURN OF THE FLAPPING EAR WINGS! AAAARRRRHHHH!!!!
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THE FINAL STRETCH
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Following his book's cancellation, Lastikman went back to the pages of Aliwan Komiks, running for 2 more years from 1996 to 1997.
Cover Art by Lui Antonio
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Lastikman would be absent from the comics scene for about 8 years, but would remain in the public consciousness thanks to 2 movie adaptations (the silly but entertaining 2002 film starring Vic Sotto and the AWFUL 2004 version with Mark Bautista), followed by the 2007-08 TV series starring Vhong Navarro. In 2005, Lastikman returned to the comic book pages in a one-shot written by Gerry Alanguilan and drawn by Arnold Arre, published by Mango Comics.

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For the moment, Lastikman's comic book career is once more dormant. But the character remains familiar and popular even to the current generation, so it is perhaps only a matter of time until he comes back for another stretch.

Fan Art by Aris B. Panganiban

3 comments:

  1. Your titles are actually better than the actual ones. :)

    ReplyDelete
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