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Saturday, October 15, 2016




Created by: William Moulton Marston, Harry G. Peter and Elizabeth Holloway Marston  First Appearance: ALL STAR COMICS #8 (1941)

Wonder Woman is without a doubt one of the most important superheroes ever created. While being the first "true" female comic book superhero character, she is also a founding member of the Justice League, Queen of the Amazons and a full-fledged demigoddess who can kick some serious ass. In her homeland on Paradise Island, she is known as Princess Diana of Themyscira, and to the outside world, she is known by her secret identity Diana Prince. But no matter where she, Wonder Woman commands the utmost respect! She's so respected in fact, that she is a member of the "holy" Trinity of DC Comics (Superman and Batman are the other members), so nobody can deny her influence and value to the comic book world.

Created by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston, with his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston, and artist H. G. Peter. Their cohabitant, Olive Byrne, is credited as being Marston's muse for Wonder Woman's physical appearance. Marston was also inspired from early feminists, and especially from birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger. This idea of an all-powerful female character that could stand out in a boys world and give the girls something to cheer for was ingenious. So ingenious in fact that both boys and girls continued to follow her comic book adventures every month (and that was something never really done up until that point in time).

Wonder Woman was sculpted from clay by her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and given life along with superhuman powers as gifts by the Greek Gods. However, in recent years she has been depicted as the daughter of Zeus, and jointly raised by her mother Hippolyta and her aunts Antiope and Menalippe. Her Amazonian-training helped to develop a wide range of extraordinary skills in strategy, hunting, fighting and weapon mastery. She possesses an arsenal of magical items, including the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a golden tiara, and an invisible jet. In older stories, she had a wide-range of devices based on Amazon technology. Although Diana is 5,000 years old, her first exposure to non-Amazon society will have only come within the last 100 years, so she is still learning to understand the world around her. While the Amazons were originally created to protect "man's world," they ultimately abandoned it.

Wonder Woman was created during World War II and was initially depicted fighting the Axis military forces as well as an assortment of colorful super villains, although over time her stories came to place greater emphasis on characters, deities, and monsters from Greek mythology. Many stories depicted her rescuing herself from bondage, which inverted the "damsels in distress" trope that was common in comics during the 1940s. But the character always managed to sustain throughout the years and has developed into one of the most powerful superheroes in the DC Universe who is arguably second only to Superman. 

With that type of a reputation, you know Wonder Woman had to earn her stripes by battling it out with the worst the DC Universe could throw at her. And that is what this write up is all about. So presented to you, for the first time ever is Wonder Woman's top 5 greatest battles! Battles that defined her into the comic-myths and showed us readers that any character no matter what color, nationality or sex can endure forever and become an icon for all.

5.) UNLIMITED ACCESS #1 (1997)

Writer: Karl Kesel  Art: Pat Olliffe and Al Williamson

Access returns from an adventure with Spider-Man and reverts to his identity as Axel Asher. At that moment, Mantis attacks his school and Spider-Man tackles him when Juggernaut and Wonder Woman enter the fray and brawl it out. This fight is particularly interesting because Juggernaut is one of the heaviest-hitters from the Super-Heavyweight class in the Marvel Universe and Wonder Woman is one of the "royal" elite Super-Heavyweights in the DC Universe - how would they match up one-on-one? Well, the Amazon Princess bestowed with the power of the Greek Gods proves to be far superior to the magic of Cytorrak and totally pummels Juggernaut in hand-to-hand combat. Now working together with Spider-Man, they both knock out their enemies, who are then mysteriously teleported away. This fight proved that Princess Diana is clearly in a class all by herself by giving Juggernaut one of his biggest beat downs ever.

4.) WONDER WOMAN #9 (1987)  

Writer: Len Wein  Art: George Perez and Bruce Paterson

Myndi Mayer and Princess Diana arrive at Barbara Minerva's penthouse who easily tricks Diana into handing over her magic lasso. But Barbara is then forced to tell the truth when she holds the lasso and her deception is revealed. Diana is furious, and unfairly blames Myndi for the deception and takes her lasso and leaves. Later, Barbara uses the magic of the god plant to transform into the Cheetah and heads out to hunt the Amazon Princess. She finds Diana asleep in the woods and ambushes her to gain the upper-hand. Cheetah's new magical powers prove to be truly dangerous with her claws cutting Diana and hurting her badly. Diana eventually turns the tide of the battle by catching Cheetah in her lasso, but the magic of the god plant protects her from the lasso's power. Cheetah attacks again and now overpowers Diana, but before she can capitalize on it and land a killing blow, she's stopped by a gunshot from Julia Kapetelis. Cheetah is then hurled into a lake and when Diana goes looking for her arch-nemesis, she cannot be found.


Back Cover

Writer: Gerry Conway  Art: Jose Louis Garcia-Lopez and Dan Adkins

In June of 1942, Wonder Woman stops a group of Nazi Suicide bombers from kidnapping a scientist and then stops their leaders when they assault Albert Einstein. When she tries to explain it to her boss, he says the FBI deny anything like that happened. Doing some investigating on this, Diana discovers an agent and professor are working on something called "Project Manhattan." As Diana breaks into a vault in the War Department and steals a file on the Manhattan Project, she is horrified at what she reads.

As Clark Kent and Lois Lane return from Midway to finish their story, Perry tells them that Chicago is being attacked by Wonder Woman! Soon Superman flies to Chicago to reason with her, but she has decided to eliminate all nuclear weapons no matter who gets in her way. As the two greatest heroes in the DC Universe clash in a battle of the ages, they realize that fighting in the city will just get someone hurt. They decide to continue their slugfest on the moon. Simultaneously, Baron Blitzkrieg is poised to attack the Manhattan Project research center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee while Sumo Samurai gets ready to attack the Manhattan Project research center in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Realizing that Earth is trouble, Superman and Wonder Woman, cease their battle and return to Earth.

There they split up to find the two halves of the reactor: Diana faces Sumo in Japan and Superman hunts down the Baron. The two heroes defeat the villains and bring them and the two halves of the reactor to a small island where the villains betray each other and perish in an explosion. The heroes return to Washington D.C. where President Roosevelt assures both of them that the United States would never use the bomb to kill anyone (yeah, rrrright). Satisfied, the heroes take their leave.

2.) WONDER WOMAN #28 (1948)

Writer: William Moulton Marston  Art: Harry G. Peter

This issue not only tells one of Wonder Woman's greatest battles ever, but it also signifies the first time a group of super-villains form a team. Wonder Woman's most deadly rogues; Giganta, Queen Clea, Byrna Brilyant, Dr. Poison, Blue Snowman, Hypnota, Zara, Cheetah and their leader Eviless form the dreaded Villainy Incorporated! Together their plan is simple; take control of Paradise Island and destroy Wonder Woman.

While the villainous team manages to capture the Amazons along with the Queen Hippolyta, Wonder Woman eventually comes to the rescue and sets them free. Banding together with the Queen and the Amazons, Wonder Woman attacks Villainy Incorporated and defeats them all. While the plot is pretty simple and straight forward, this is classic Golden Age super-heroic storytelling at its finest and truly an iconic moment within the Wonder Woman mythos.

1.) WONDER WOMAN #219 (2005) 

Writer: Greg Rucka  Art: Tom Derenick, George Jeanty, Karl Kerschel, David Lopez, Rags Morales, Nelson DeCastro, BIT, Bob Petrecca, Mark Propst and Dexter Vines

Wonder Woman confronts Maxwell Lord at Checkmate headquarters while a mind-controlled Superman is suffering from delusions that someone is attacking his loved ones. Diana attempts to talk Max into releasing her teammate, but he refuses, and uses his powers to cause Superman to attack her without any hesitation or restrain. Thus begins the greatest battle of Wonder Woman - a life and death struggle against the Man of Steel who will stop at nothing to destroy her. A slugfest so brutal, that it takes her Amazonian strength and skills to their absolute limits. During their intense fight, Max begins recording it by using the Brother Eye satellite just to show how dangerous the two combatants really are to the world.

Toward the end of this huge back and forth brawl, Diana finds herself overpowered and badly injured with a broken wrist. She will call upon flocks of birds to distract Superman, while she ties up Maxwell Lord in her Lasso of Truth. While the Man of Steel quickly attacks again, she brings him to his knees (and back to his sanity) by slicing his neck with her magical tiara and demands to know how to end the mind-control once and for all. Under the influence of the Lasso, Max reveals that the only way to end his control over Superman would be to kill him. Diana realizes that this is the only way she can put a stop to the immense threat of an insane Superman running amok in the world. She then makes her decision and breaks Maxwell Lord's neck, killing him instantly.

Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!

Check out other "THE TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF..." here:

   John "The Mego Stretch Hulk" Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles". He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John still thinks he's really Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow on twitter at @Elastic_Hulk and have some fun.

Sunday, August 7, 2016




Created by: Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema  First Appearance: THE AVENGERS #69 (1969)

While Hyperion is an unapologetic "Superman/Captain Marvel" hybrid copycat, he does have a nice reputation within the Marvel Universe and with comic readers in general. Actually, there are several notable versions of him flying around to date since his first appearance in 1969... sheesh. But the reason why Hyperion worked so much better than other Superman clones in comics was because he was never intended on being a serious character, he was suppose to be an obvious carbon copy of Superman. And throughout the years after several writers began throwing their takes on the character, Hyperion started to come into his own despite how similar he was to the Man of Steel.

As stated, Marvel has introduced various versions of Hyperion, each originating in a different dimension of the Marvel Multiverse. Sometimes he's a villain part of the Squadron Sinister, sometimes as a hero among the Squadron Supreme or Avengers and sometimes a tyrannical ruler of an alternate universe. But despite what incarnation of Hyperion shows up, he will most definitely be bringing a whole bunch of power to the table. Hyperion easily ranks among the greatest of the Super-Heavyweights in the Marvel Universe, side by side with the likes of the Hulk, Thor, Sentry, Silver Surfer, Juggernaut, Gladiator and Thanos and can even match fire with the most powerful of the cosmic gods in the known universe and not just hold his own - actually win!! Hey, they don't call him the "Sun God" for nothing!

So, with that much power at his disposal, Hyperion is a fearsome opponent for any character in comics and that has lead me to make this list. Interestingly, despite the many explosive battles Hyperion has had over the years (in all his incarnations), never has a list been compiled for him. Well, don't say I don't love you comic readers and Hyperion himself because I'm fond of being the "first" to do things. So here, for you - for the first time ever - is a write up on the 5 greatest battles Hyperion has ever had regardless of which version of him showed up to the dance. All hail the mighty Sun God! 

5.) THE AVENGERS #3 (2012)

Writer: Jonathan Hickman  Art: Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver

Historically, all versions of Hyperion have always had problems when dealing with Marvel's resident Super-Heavyweight champion the Incredible Hulk. Truth be told, the Green-Skinned Goliath usually pounded on Hyperion when the Squadron Sinister clashed with the Defenders. But this new incarnation of Hyperion from Earth-13034 (and fellow teammate on the Avengers at the time) seemed to have a little extra "fire" within him and held his own with the brute when the Hulk was possessed by the villain Abyss. Hyperion and the Hulk go back and forth in an epic clash until Abyss finally loses control of the brute and bringing forth Bruce Banner. Luckily for him, Hyperion stops in mid-swing and welcomes the good doctor back. All hail the mighty Sun God!

4.) THE MIGHTY THOR #280 (1979)  

Writers: Roy Thomas, Don Thompson and Maggie Thompson  Art: Wayne Boring and Tom Palmer

Thor is walking along an avenue, unaware that he is being followed. When suddenly, a doorway opens in the air, and through it steps Hyperion from Earth-712 of the Squadron Supreme. Hyperion wants to ask the Avengers to be in a movie that his world is making about his life, but both heroes decide to clash instead (such is life in the Marvel Universe). The two gods go back and forth until they put aside their differences and talk it out. The Thunder God takes Hyperion to Avengers Mansion, and while they are not looking, a mysterious figure that had been following Thor reveals himself as Hyperion of the Squadron Sinister (who is a duplicate of the Earth-712 Hyperion).

Thor and Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme soon arrive at Avengers Mansion. After not finding anyone there, Hyperion offers Thor a tour of his world, which he accepts. Hyperion leaves Thor for a minute to check on his ship, when he is ambushed and captured by the Hyperion of the Squadron Sinister. This Hyperion then goes back down to Thor and pretends to be the Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme. Just then Emil Burbank, the archenemy of Hyperion of Earth-712, attacks. This Hyperion then flies off with Emil, where the truth is revealed. Back on the film set, Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme has returned with all his teammates. When it's revealed what happened, Emil and Hyperion of the Squadron Sinister are defeated by Thor, Hyperion and the rest of the Squadron Supreme. (Maybe this convoluted story should've been called "Hyperion, Hyperion and more Hyperion" ) All hail the mighty Sun God, or is it Gods??

3.) INFINITY #6 (2013)

Writer: Jonathan Hickman  Art: Jim Cheung and Dustin Weaver

After a massive build-up, Hyperion from Earth-13034 and the Avengers arrive to fight Thanos and his Black Order to end their threat once and for all. They break through a barrier created around the Earth and crash land in the desert. Heading to an Inhuman village, they find Abigail Brand and the Guardians of the Galaxy fighting Thanos and several members of the Black Order. The Avengers don't far well against the evil forces and begin losing badly. But as all heroes do, they press on despite the odds! The major highlight during this intense battle is when a hurt Hyperion manages to shoot his Atomic Vision into Corvus Glaive, killing him and changing the entire tide of the war. Eventually the Avengers rally and will prevail in the struggle against Thanos and the rest of his evil forces. All hail the mighty Sun God!


Writer: Tom DeFalco  Art: Bob Hall, John Romita Jr., Keith Pollard, Marshal Rogers, Jackson Guice, Ron Frenz, Tom Palmer, Bill Sienkiewicz, Al Williamson, Bob Layton, Kevin Nowlan and Bob Wiacek

As a result of the Contest of Champions, the Grandmaster had restored the Collector's life at the cost of his own. Once within the realm of Death, however, he schemed to conquer the final adversary. Now, after having pitted the West Coast Avengers against their eastern counterparts in Death's domain, he has distracted, then defeated Death itself. Bored with life, the Grandmaster has created five life-bombs which will cause a new "big bang," replacing the present universe with one of his own designs. When all the Avengers challenge him to a final game, he pits them against a new Legion of the Unliving composed of their deceased friends and foes.

Many of the match ups had definitive and even deadly outcomes. In an Arctic waste Captain America, Wonder Man, and the Wasp combat Hyperion from the Squadron Sinister (who is a duplicate of the Earth-712 Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme), Baron Blood, and Bucky. Hyperion has one of the most incredibly brutal and destructive battles of the entire war when he kills Wonder Man by driving him through the planet and into into a nearby sun. It was honestly and incredible show of power by the Sun God. In the end, it was Captain America and Hawkeye that ultimately saved the day against the Grandmaster and revived all the heroes, but it was Hyperion who had the most memorable moment of the story. All hail the mighty Sun God!

1.) SQUADRON SUPREME #1 (2015) 

Writer: James Robinson  Art: Leonard Kirk

Hyperion from Earth-13034, Nighthawk from Earth-31916, Zarda from Earth-712, Blur from Earth-148611, and Doctor Spectrum from Earth-4290001 are the sole survivors of their native realities and formed the Earth-616 version of the Squadron Supreme. Their first mission to restore order to the world is attacking Namor, the Sub-Mariner of Atlantis, whose crime is being responsible for the destruction of Doctor Spectrum's and Nighthawk's worlds. The Squadron battle Namor, Attuma, and the forces of Atlantis head on. Eventually Attuma is killed at the hands of Zarda. Namor is able to hold on his own against the Squadron but their attack is just a diversion as Hyperion flies into the ocean and lifts the entire city of Atlantis to the surface. After mercifully allowing the Atlantean denizens to escape their city, Hyperion throws Atlantis onto solid ground and utterly destroying it. In a fit of rage, Namor attacks Hyperion, who merely decapitates the charging Sea King with his Atomic Vision ending his very life. This moment solidifies Hyperion and his Squadron Supreme as a true force to be reckoned with on planet Earth. Unknown to the Squadron, they are observed by Thundra and Tyndall, who hoped to call on them for help but are now totally unsure.

All hail the mighty Sun God!

Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!

Check out other "THE TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF..." here:

   John "The Mego Stretch Hulk" Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles". He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John still thinks he's really Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow on twitter at @Elastic_Hulk and have some fun.

Monday, May 23, 2016



Stories of Childhood Toy Triumph and Tragedy




Wrestling today is a barren wasteland IMHO. I couldn’t name 10 new wrestlers that have come from the 2000s on and couldn’t care too. As for the old veterans that still get into the ring and try to keep the dream alive? They do nothing but embarrass their legacy. It just doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. Despite wrestling’s current shape, there was a time during my youth when it was a pop culture phenomenon and everybody was talking about it. All the kids that wanted to emulate a real life, living and breathing superhero would do it by watching wrasslin’ on the tube after Saturday morning cartoons concluded at 12:00 PM. For me, this historical period in time was the 10 years from 1982 to 1992 (with 1985 being its peak year). After that, the industry started to shift and eventually issued in the "Attitude" era where wrestling had begun to take a more provocative turn (yuck!) and it has never recovered since.

During that decade, my favorite wrestlers were the Road Warriors: Hawk and Animal, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and the Ultimate Warrior. Besides them, there were still so many other colorful and charismatic characters that captivated the youth of America. It was so big that the whole industry of wrestling came out of the doldrums of cult and into the mass media of television, toys, cartoons, magazines, posters, dolls, food products, movies and music. It became more of an entertainment carnival show on steroids and many of the purists who scoffed at such blasphemy would soon join in once they got a taste of the excitement from the "rock n' wrestling connection." Yes, wrestling had changed into more of a “cartoonish” look that I related too. How could I not? Wrestling was my comic book characters coming to life! This period came to be known as the “Golden Age of Wrestling" and it truly was. 

 Doing my best Road Warrior Hawk impression on the beach back during the "rock n' wrestling connection" days at 12 years old.

"The Golden Age of Wrestling": 1982-1992

I was so into wrestling that I loved all the territories; WWF, NWA, AWA, and WCCW and watched all their programs on TV religiously. They all put on a bunch of pay-per-view mega-events like; WrestleMania, The Great American Bash, The Survivor Series and Starrcade (just to name a few) as well as my two favorite events put on by the WWF called Saturday Night's Main Event and the Royal Rumble! I can still remember the thrill I got from watching them. I would gather with friends after school and weekends and set up bed mattresses on the front lawn and have wrestling matches all day long. During this time, I have to give props to my friend Brian. I convinced him to help me steal two football pads from our middle school locker room. Once we did the dastardly deed and got back to the safety of his house; we spray painted the pads black, put six inch steel nails through them, painted our faces with make-up and shaved our heads (my mom was pissed about that). Why? To emulate the mighty Road Warriors (I was Hawk)! Yup, we were obsessed.

During the '80s arcades were also a big deal. For a quarter you got to play some of your favorite video and pinball games to see how high you could score before you had to beg your parents for more money to keep adding to it. I can fondly remember the first wrestling arcade game I ever saw; Tag Team Wrestling from Technos Japan (1983). Today, this arcade game may look like complete shit. But back then it was something totally new and totally exciting - especially for someone who was obsessed with wrestling like I was. Little did I know, the company of Technos Japan would continue to create more wrestling video games and continually feed my addiction.

Tag Team Wrestling (1983) by Technos Japan. This was the first wrestling video game I ever saw and it totally blew my mind.

While I had an Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 at home to play video games on, they were like dinosaurs when compared to the total awesomeness of video games at the arcade. And when the Nintendo Entertainment System (also called NES) was released in America in 1985 and brought in-home video games to another level, it still paled in comparison to the graphics, sounds and gameplay of the arcade consoles. But truth be told, NES games got better with time and solid wrestling games came out for it that I loved like; Pro Wrestling, Tecmo World Wrestling and the extremely awesome WCW Wrestling (where you could actually be the Road Warriors and Ric Flair and perform their signature moves). I would play those games for hours on end. But once I walked into the arcade and saw the magical WWF Superstars from Technos Japan in 1989 - all bets were off.

 The incredible WCW Wrestling was released for the NES in 1990 by FCI...

...and first released in Japan in 1989 under the name Super Star Pro Wrestling (which still had the Road Warriors in it as playable characters). It was truly a great game due to its vast selection of wrestlers and stylistic gameplay.

But it paled in comparison to the graphics and excitement of the arcade game WWF Superstars from Technos Japan (1989). This was the first wrestling video game that took all the others to the next level.

WWF Superstars really pushed the boundaries in wrestling video games and my friends and I loved every minute of it. We played it for hours once we got past the crowds that surrounded it. I would always be the Ultimate Warrior and "Gorilla Press" my opponent and team-up with Hulk Hogan and "Leg Drop" my way to victory. Besides being the tag team duo of my two favorite wrestlers, the best part was watching them enter the ring. Never before did a wrestling video game present such an exciting build up before you actually fought it out. Now this may seem insignificant by today's wrestling video game standards, but back in 1989 it was truly groundbreaking. 

The tag team of the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage enter into the ring in glorious WrestleMania-like fashion. This was truly innovative for a wrestling video game at the time.

Sadly, for all the excitement WWF Superstars presented with innovations and graphics came a sudden backlash in replay value. After you beat the tag team bosses of Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase and then defended the belts, you basically did everything you could do and the game was over. The best way to play was always against a friend, but even that grew a little tiresome after a while from lack of character selection and moves (only 6 playable characters in all). This game eventually faded into obscurity after playing it for a few days and I went back to my NES and played WCW Wrestling. It wasn't as flashy or exciting as WWF Superstars, but it sure did have better replay value. That would all change in the next two years...


No one can deny the importance of WWF Superstars despite its flaws. Technos Japan had been on the right track producing wrestling video games since they made Tag Team Wrestling back in 1983. But who would've guessed that the next wrestling arcade game they would soon release would become the standard of all other wrestling video games? All it took was the innovations they made with WWF Superstars, crank it up a hundred notches and inject the pure magic of the WWF into the JAMMA board (arcade purists will get that joke so don't judge)!

During a warm summer's day in August 1991, me and my friends made our Saturday afternoon pit-stop at the local Cumberland Farms, and each bought a WWF Superstars Ice Cream Bar (and talked about the wrestler we were eating that was printed on the cookie part of the bar) before heading to the Dream Machine arcade. While this was our typical routine every Saturday, nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see when I walked into the arcade that day.

Me and my friends always got a WWF Superstars Ice Cream Bar before we went to the Dream Machine arcade on Saturdays.

Enter: WWF Wrestlefest.

To this day I can remember a few magical moments in my life that impacted me so thoroughly that I was literally never the same. The birth of my daughter, getting the Mego Elastic Hulk toy figure, buying my first copy of The Incredible Hulk #1, celebrating Stan Lee's 90th birthday with him, the day when... (I'll stop there so I can keep this story "kid friendly") and the time I played WWF Wrestlefest!! 

The WWF Wrestlefest flyer that promoted the game to arcades across the country. I worshiped every word of it.

Yup, it was truly an incredible moment. This video game had everything I could ever want in it. All the wrestlers I loved as playable characters; Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Mr. Perfect, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Earthquake, Demolition: Smash and Crush, Ted "Million Dollar Man" Dibiase, Sgt. Slaughter and the Big Boss Man. And they all performed their signature moves and taunts! Not to mention the bosses of the game you had to beat in a championship tag team match; the Legion of Doom: Hawk and Animal (they were going by that name in the WWF at the time)!! They even performed their signature tag team finisher "The Doomsday Device" (mislabeled as the lame "Clothesline off the rope turnbuckle") that obliterated their opposition!! If that wasn't enough to send me into a tizzy, the game had two different playing options; the tag team championship mode with a steel cage match included called "Saturday Night's Main Event" and the 4 co-opt player "Royal Rumble" mode!!! My two favorite events right before my eyes!! And best of all - the replay value was off the charts!!! It never grew stale with its smooth 4-player gameplay to go along with the incredible graphics and cabinet design. It was almost too much for my young mind to bare as I lost my breath just staring at this mechanical game from Heaven. 

When I saw this in the Dream Machine arcade in the summer of 1991 my life was never the same.

My two favorite wrestling events were included as gameplay options; Saturday Night's Main Event...

...and the Royal Rumble! My young mind almost cracked at the sheer awesomeness of this game.

Everybody I loved were playable characters!

Only Ric Flair was missing to round out my five greatest wrestlers ever... but I wasn't complaining.

The Tag Team Champions of Wrestlefest: The Legion of Doom aka the Road Warriors: Hawk and Animal!
Mean Gene: "It's time to fight with a powerful challenge."
Animal: "Heheha! We snack on danger, dine on death!"
Hawk: "To bury every gerbil-faced geek we face... Yaarrghhh!" 

And they actually perform their tag team finisher: The Doomsday Device!! How could anything be this incredible??

It's simple to say that we played the shit outta this video game and used up all the money we had or could scrounge up. Even in the end when we had nothing left, I didn't want to leave the arcade. I just stood there watching other people play and tried to come up with ways to drag this 350 pound arcade machine out the door and put it into my house so I could play it for the rest of my life. Sadly, that was just another one of my crazed fantasies not to become a reality. It took them a while, but my friends finally pulled me out of the arcade and eventually got sick of me constantly talking about the game.


It's time to fast forward 25 years into the present.

Like I said in the opening paragraph, wrestling today is a barren wasteland. I get my wrestling thrills by occasionally watching old matches on YouTube and DVD with my daughter. She has fallen in love with Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart and Dusty Rhodes and even cried one time when Dusty was eliminated from a Royal Rumble match. While this may seem a little sad, I must point out that she watched the match a few times and already knew he was going to get eliminated - LOL! But she loves the classic stuff and today I realize how perfectly suited the "Golden Age of Wrestling" was for kids.

My daughter loved Dusty Rhodes, R.I.P. big guy...

One day I took her to an old-time arcade and educated her on how they were such a big deal when I was her age. Needless to say she had a blast playing all the games with me, especially WWF Wrestlefest. When we were leaving, she said that it would be awesome if we could take the Wrestlefest console home with us to play. And just like that, the seed was planted. My baby girl said the exact same thing I did when I first saw the console in the Dream Machine back in 1991. Was that just a coincidence? I'm not sure, but why not get one? Today I have the financial means to do it and to be honest, I'm surprised I didn't think of it earlier. Whatever the reasons, the spark was lit. It was time to go looking for a Wrestlefest arcade machine console and bring it home! Just saying that made me all giddy inside.

After looking on EBay and Craigslist I found a guy in New York that had one for sale. Unfortunately, it was only a 2-player version, but it was still in great condition and working (they are almost 30 years old). So I called the guy up and made the deal. Just like that, the game was going to be mine. A few days later when it came time for me to pick it up (an 8 hour drive both ways), I called the guy and told him what time I was going to be there. Unexpectedly, the guy told me he broke our deal and ended up selling it to a friend a few days earlier because he was offered more money for it... Aarraghh! Thank god I called because the coward didn't have the balls to call me and tell me (whadda prick)! I was soooo furious at this that if the bastard didn't live so far from me, I might've been tempted to do something bad.

Over the next week I found a few other consoles, but they were either run down or not working at all. I managed to find a classic arcade company in Philadelphia that refurbished consoles and sold them. They did have a 4-player Wrestlefest that was fixed up and ready to go. While it was tempting to get the game in perfect shape, their price was a little high and once you combined it with the shipping - it was brutal. Besides, the guy wasn't gonna give me a break so I put it in my back pocket and kept looking. I finally found another guy who had a nice one and he gave me a fantastic price. One problem. He lived in Oregon. I live in Boston. The shipping alone was a 3 day trip so it would've cost me a fortune to get it. I might as well go to the company in Philly for the refurbished one... Arrrgghhh! After a while I was becoming frustrated and thinking to just shell the money over to them and get it.

Another week passed before my luck finally changed. I managed to locate a guy who had an arcade in his basement. On a whim, I gave him a call to see if he had a Wrestlefest game that he might want to sell. It turned out that he did and I somehow managed to call him at the perfect time. He was in the process of moving to a new house, but the basement was smaller than his previous one so he had to get rid of a few games. He wasn't planning on selling the Wrestlefest because he just refurbished it a few months ago with new controls, graphics, etc. WOW! I told him my story and how it was a surprise gift for my daughter. Plus, we would take good care of it. He loved the story and agreed to sell it to me at a great price. But the best part was that he actually worked for a shipping company! So he gave me his discount, on the delivery and made sure everything was packed right. How awesome is that?

Within a week the console was delivered - but not without a price. The guy driving the truck got lost and dropped it off a few hours late. And even with the assistance of my brother and a neighbor helping me bring this unbelievably heavy and awkward thing down a flight of stairs - it was incredibly difficult. I'm serious when I say it was one of the hardest things I've ever moved in my life. Not to mention, the bezel glass fell to the floor and shattered into a million pieces when we were just inches from where it had to go (cleaning that up sucked and ordering another one from the glass shop wasn't cheap). I guess it was a nice coming home present... UGH! But despite all that, I managed to bring the WWF Wrestlefest arcade console home, clean it up and give my daughter the surprise of a lifetime. Playing the game with her made the little boy in me tear up. Little John could've never imagined that one day he would have this arcade game in his house like he fantasized about all those years ago and got to enjoy it with his baby girl. It was another incredible timeless moment in my life.

My daughter Bryn with our WWF Wrestlefest arcade console as the magic of youth lives on.


You would think that the story ends there - but it doesn't. To take this celebration of wrangling the Wrestlefest arcade cabinet a step further I wanted to do something to make this childhood dream come to a perfect conclusion. Yes, it was incredible to give it to my daughter, but what about the child within myself? Well, as luck would have it throughout the years I've become a pretty big deal in the comic convention circuit. Besides being a dealer/writer/promoter, I'm also an agent. So throughout the years I've come into contact with some pretty impressive characters. And one of those characters that I've befriended is the one... and only... Road Warrior Animal!! So, of course, I had to get him to put his stamp of approval on my cabinet! Could anything be better than this? Animal even dedicated his signature on a video promo for my daughter! What a way to end the journey and fulfill a totally unfathomable, unbelievable childhood dream. Thanks big guy!

The real Road Warriors? Me and the big guy.

What could be better than this to a little Mego Stretch Hulk???

Ooohhhhh, What a Rush... indeed.

To be continued...

Other Tales From the Toy Chest:







   John "The Mego Stretch Hulk" Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles". He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars  on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John still thinks he's really Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow on twitter at @Elastic_Hulk and have some fun.