Defenders of ???
Hello and welcome to the web’s best fanpage for The Defenders of ???, one of the greatest comic series ever written and drawn by human hands. Sit down, shut up and reap the benefits of a handful of rampant aficionados and their trusty scanners!
The Defenders of ??? was a 1980s comic book series published variously by Accord Comics (81-83), Upset Simian Stomach Publications (85-87) and finally The Sunrise Investment Company PLC (88-89). The forty issues that saw print have since become collectors’ items and sell for astronomical sums when found in online auctions. A copy of issue #1, signed by the cover artist, recently fetched 26,000 USD. The final issue #40 (Death of King Turtle) is especially rare and sought after, given that only six hundred copies were printed by Sunrise, and of those only around two hundred made it to retailers.
The series was known for its eclectic and unusual cast, the various members of the superhero team collectively known as The Defenders of ???. Although the dramatis personae evolved constantly throughout the run, among the most memorable were:
The character through whose eyes we meet The Defenders of ??? in issue #1. Status Quo (civilian identity Ralph Harrison) has the power to reset the universe to a previous point in time (a ‘save point’). His frustration with the eccentricities of the team lead to him retuning reality to the point just before he decides to join The Defenders, in order that he can do otherwise. Unfortunately his own abilities clash with those of classic villain, The Sister Of Yesterday, and Quo loses any memory of his hatred of The Defenders and is trapped for all eternity in a time loop, reliving issues #1 – 6.
(Civilian identity unknown). A rabbi with a one-seater UFO style space ship, Space Rabbi appeared in every single issue of The Defenders of ???, even if only in the background of the first or last panel flying off on his way to another adventure. Space Rabbi appeared in six issues of his own comic, Space Rabbi Adventures For Boys, his own television series, Space Rabbi Storytime, and was for a time the coolest character a young person could have on his or her t-shirt. Defenders of ??? wouldn’t be Defenders of ??? without Space Rabbi’s famous catchphrase ‘Oi Vey, and for this you got me out of orbit?’
A semi-conscious man in a bath tub, wheeled around by a different ‘minder’ character in every issue, Trivia mumbled an endless series of little-known facts, one of which would inevitably lead to The Defenders of ??? vanquishing that month’s enemy. The reader was invited to guess which quip would solve the latest case. Trivia is also credited with the first dialogue of the series, when, in issue #1, page 1, panel 1 he says, ‘Singer Art Garfunkel’s brother Jerome edited the technical specification for the COBOL programming language.’ In issue #9 we discover that the security system of the Defenders’ underground base (beneath Prospect Park, Brooklyn) is written in COBOL, and the team’s only hope of survival is to tunnel into the Simon and Garfunkel concert in Madison Square Gardens using sonic spades.
Whitehouse (civilian identity Brandon Brandon) had the ability to change his form to resemble that of any President of the United States, past or present, and lent the title a satirical bent. This controversial character led to a number of lawsuits which eventually bankrupted Accord Comics. The character did not reappear in any subsequent incarnations.
The leader of The Defenders of ???, King Turtle was a tiny baby turtle which sat upon the left hand of his owner Susan, a six year old girl from Vermont. In the final issue (#40 The Death of King Turtle) the recently-released-from-an-alternative-dimension Status Quo questions why King Turtle is still a baby after 8 years of leading the team. Susan reveals that King Turtle has in fact been a series of infant turtles, each flushed down her parent’s lavatory when it grew too large for the job, and that in fact she has been in charge of The Defenders. The issue ends with the cliffhanger revelation that Susan is not actually a six year old girl at all, but an alien mind form entity from the planet Gnxxrlph, come to enslave all of Earth.
All but issues #23 and 24 were written by Daniel Baukkue, who fell into a deep depression upon Sunrise executives decision to end The Defenders of ??? series and was never heard from again. Rumour has it that he grew a beard, returned to the remote Scottish island where he was born and began living the life of a hermit. Sporadically, rumours of his death emerge on the Internet, usually leading to a swarm of eulogies from leading comics creators and celebrity fans, but his demise has never been substantiated.
Numerous artists illustrated the adventures of The Defenders of ???, most of whom went on to fame and fortune elsewhere. Shane Azzurepadi, of course, painted the cover to Grammy-award-winning rock band Shame of Beard’s eponymous platinum selling album. Oliver Goatden became an animator for Pixar and now lives in Hollywood, Los Angeles, whilst Ally Smutt became the lead artist on the wildly successful 3D pornographic comics series, I Like the Way You Look In That Jumper.
Ownership of The Defenders of ??? has become a legal minefield since the liquidation of Sunrise Investment’s assets in 1992, meaning that any return to the comics medium for these much loved characters seems highly unlikely.
Film adaptations have been hinted at by a number of high profile directors, among them Francis Ford Coppola, Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, but until the legal problems have been solved, this is also improbable.
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[CLICK HERE for BIOGs of background characters in the first 26 issues (last 14 coming soon!!!)]