Issue(s): Dazzler #12
This time he attacks personally, but Harry is finally able to get through to him and make him realize that he wasn't responsible for the accident that injured his face and caused him to replace his hands with powerful mechanical ones. After saving the Techmaster's life, the Techmaster agrees to leave Harry alone from now on.
Techmaster had been spying on Osgood through a creepy little Buddha (?) statue.
Oddly, the Techmaster had been working on technology that converted sound to light, but he wasn't aware of Alison's powers.
Before she saves his life again, Harry sends Dazzler to his associate Sid Sterling for work. Sterling handles less prestigious gigs, and has Alison singing at a fast food restaurant opening.
Harry is mad at Alison for disappearing for days without an explanation. Dazzler doesn't think he'll believe that she was in outer space with Galactus. They resolve matters after she helps Harry.
Paul, Alison's doctor boyfriend, is beginning to wonder if Alison is too frivolous and uncouth for him. But she is oblivious to it.
As for the obligatory "Dazzler in her undies" shot, i thought we were going to get away with the relatively non-exploitive scene of her coming out of the shower and sitting around in a nighty for the first two pages.
But then later, we get this.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Moving this issue back in publication time to account for the Enchantress' appearance in Defenders #107-109, which must occur after Dazzler #16.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showCassandra Ferlenghetti, Dazzler, Harry Osgood, Lance Steele, Paul Janson, Sid Sterling, Techmaster
I feel like the book suddenly got worse.
So far it was so over the top that it was kind of fun; now it just reads like something from the silver age to me. But maybe it's also the art.
Posted by: Karel | September 22, 2017 6:47 PM
@Karel- From my vantage point, the art very well could contribute to your dissatisfaction. It more resembles a romance comic (understandable since that's where Vince Colletta cut his artistic teeth) or even the old episodic newspaper strip "Rex Morgan, M.D.".
Posted by: Brian Coffey | September 22, 2017 9:01 PM
Well I feel the story really gets worse, too,
One issue, Dazzler is with Galactus. Just two issues later, she is in a badly written court drama. It feels like a different character and different era really
Posted by: Karel | September 22, 2017 9:30 PM
@Karel- I recall picking up some issues when they initially came out. To me the book seemed to suffer from an identity crisis. Were they going for a straight superhero story or spandex soap opera? Also, while I enjoy a good hero team-up book for the interaction, it seemed at a point to lean too heavily on guest stars to drive sales, IMHO.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | September 22, 2017 9:36 PM
"Dazzler" the series had no coherence. One issue she's fighting cosmic villains, the next she's engaged in ridiculous boring romantic subplots that make the cosmic villains seem gritty and realistic. The reliance on guest-stars robs the series of any chance to find a coherent theme. Seen from a 21st Century perspective, it's probably what it was like to be Britney Spears. Gotta tour, gotta hit the recording studio, gotta team up with whoever, gotta sleep, gotta eat. Film videos, do interviews, do make-up and hair. Rehearsals. That's a 48-hour day right there, never mind fighting villains or having romantic subplots or giving her a single moment to think.
At least Britney had earned her fanbase. Ali has to whine about how repulsive she is as a blonde large-breasted babe in skimpy clothing, because mutants!!!
Posted by: ChrisW | September 23, 2017 3:06 AM
@ChrisW- Loved your assesment of the of this series and the comparison to Britney Spears. Another handicap not covered, and this is merely one man's opinion, is that if the creators had developed a stronger, more interesting supporting cast around Ali, there wouldn't be a need for so many guest shots and cameos.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | September 25, 2017 10:28 PM
I never understood why they picked her to get a series. IMO, there were plenty of other under-developed characters who were more deserving of a series than her.
Posted by: clyde | September 26, 2017 9:45 AM
Because Dazzler was "the chosen one," Marvel's first slightly-successful attempt to build a multi-media franchise. Put it this way, without Dazzler, Hugh Jackman has no career and Patrick Stewart is 'that guy from Star Trek' Dazzler made that happen, and they're rich and famous while she's still trying to line up singing gigs on Sunset Strip.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 26, 2017 11:37 PM
How exactly was it Marvel's "first slightly-successful attempt to build a multi-media franchise", when the other media failed to materialise, leaving them with just this comic book?
Also, as far as I know, the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon was a moderate success, and the Hulk live-action TV series (which began in 1978) definitely was popular. So it's not like all the previous attempts to adapt Marvel characters in other media were failures.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 27, 2017 4:54 AM
I'm not quite grasping the logic behind claiming that the success of the X-Men films somehow depended on Dazzler.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 27, 2017 10:53 AM
Because Dazzler was an attempt to manufacture a multi-media franchise. It's all speculation on my part, but Bill Bixby wasn't planning to release records [Banner songs on the A-side, Hulk songs on the B-side?] Dazzler wasn't an established character who got optioned for Hollywood. She was created specifically for a Hollywood option that encompassed records, movies, comics and other licensing. She wasn't created to specifically replace another character like Firestar and HERBIE.
Ill-conceived as the "Dazzler" project was [I still love you, Ali! MWAH!] she was Marvel's first real attempt at going to Hollywood as a creative player. I've seen the argument made for both comic books' acceptance by Hollywood and creators rights accepted by comic books. Some young guys love the idea and push for it. [Example: Stan Lee was pushing for movies and tv shows early on.] The established people don't. The studio heads don't even consider the idea. Creators rights started being written into contracts when Jim Shooter, Paul Levitz and a few others were promoted high enough to have a real say. Hollywood started embracing comics in similar ways. Now the young firebrands who led the way are in charge, or appointed the people who are.
If you think it's a simplification to say "Dazzler" made this happen, I'll agree. But I think the circumstances that led to Dazzler's creation was an important step towards widespread creators' rights and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 27, 2017 9:17 PM
Actually, it was widely reported in fanzines at the time that the improved creator's rights and royalty plans instituted by Marvel and DC were due to the fact that independent publishers like Pacific, Eclipse, etc. had been offering them from the start, and an increasing number of mainstream creators were flirting with them because of it.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 28, 2017 8:50 PM
Hence Marvel's attempt to create a character aimed at other media outlets. I've never pinned down precisely when they started offering royalties [certainly before "Secret Wars"] but someone with a calculator had surely worked out profits from a "Dazzler" album on the Billboard charts - how much would Stan Lee get for writing the lyrics to one song? - and movies, t-shirt sales, etc.
By this point, Marvel fanboys had reached executive levels in Hollywood just as Jim Shooter, Paul Levitz, Dick Giordano, etc. had at Marvel and DC. At least Levitz and Giordano were dealing with Warner Brothers executives who could speak that language, Shooter had to deal with whoever owned Marvel at the time [Cadence?] who had little-if-any experience with matters like that.
"Dazzler" was Marvel's first direct sales-only title, and it looks to me like they gave her an enormous push to make her a superstar.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 29, 2017 8:47 PM
You have everything backwards. Marvel's attempt to establish Dazzler at Casablanca had already failed by the time Dazzler #1 came out in early 1981. The independent books(ones that actually came out on a regular basis, anyway) started further on in 1981, got much more frequent in 1982, and it wasn't until then that Marvel and DC started even formulating royalty plans and expanded creators' rights. The creative folks who did Dazzler #1 may have received a bonus for the high direct sales, but none of them got any royalties. When the plans were implemented, it was books like X-Men, New Teen Titans, and Legion of Super-Heroes that had the highest payouts; Dazzler was never highly placed on any royalty statement articles.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 30, 2017 12:26 AM
And even if you accept that questionable claim that Dazzler's failed outside-of-comics media push somehow led to Marvel movies being made, you're forgetting that X-Men wasn't the first Marvel movie. That was 1986's Howard the Duck, which audiences did not respond favorably to. Then there were Dolph Lundgren's Punisher and Matt Salinger's Captain America, both of which got extremely limited exposure due to their utter awfulness. Then there was Roger Corman's Fantastic Four, which was so horrible that it never got released. If anything, X-Men's film existence is owed to the success of 1998's Blade and James Cameron's persistence in getting involved with the first Spider-Man film. It's illogical to claim that studio heads remembered a Dazzler pitch that got passed on, but somehow developed amnesia about those subsequent multiple Marvel flops.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 30, 2017 12:40 AM
I have read somewhere that the 1993 Fantastic Four movie was never intended for release, but rather to secure the rights for a while more.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 30, 2017 2:36 AM
I've read the same thing about the 1993 FF movie. According to wiki, the story is true.
I used to also count the 1977 Nicholas Hammond Spider-Man TV pilot movie, horrible though it arguably was, even though it was only shown on TV. I counted it because, to me at the time, it was technically the first to be billed as a "movie," and because it wasn't a cartoon. The TV actors' performances weren't really all that terrible, but the costuming and special effects were.
There was also a 1977 Incredible Hulk TV pilot movie starring Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby, but if I remember correctly, the Spider-Man pilot came first.
I never counted the 1944 Captain America serial movies, even though they do technically fit the definition of "movies," because, even though I now have copies of them, I found them too horrible and off-model to actually watch all the way through. Cap didn't even have a shield; he carried a gun. I first learned about them in a 1966 or 1967 black and white magazine called, IIRC, "Super-Heroes on TV," even though the serial movies were probably never on TV...
Posted by: James Holt | September 30, 2017 3:21 AM
James, the 1944 Captain America serials were probably not meant to feature Captain America when conceived.
According to their Wikipedia article, the studio (Republic) had adapted Fawcett characters previously and the script seems to have been hastily adapted from what would originally be a Mr. Scarlet feature.
There was a parody of sorts of that serial in Captain America #219 (reviewed in the 1978 entries of this site). Don Glut wrote a book on the 1940s serials, and also scripted #219.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 30, 2017 4:26 AM
Thanks Luis. I vaguely remember that Captain America issue and look forward to checking it out again when I work my way up to 1978.
I liked Dazzler better when she was first introduced in the X-Men comics. Marvel's efforts to court Casablanca Records might've worked better if they'd just put a little more effort into this series.
Posted by: James Holt | September 30, 2017 6:07 PM
I find it interesting that Marvel would be courting Casablanca when the record label was entering its decline due to artists moving on. With disco fading, Donna Summer, the Village People, and even Cher were gone. Elsewhere, Lipps Inc. (of "Funky Town" fame) and the label's biggest rock signing, Kiss, were soon out the door. The glam rock outfit Angel never amassed more than a cult following. I can't believe I'm saying this duo's name on a comics site, but even the Captain and Tenielle had parted ways with the company. This would leave R & B star Stephanie Mills and funk legends Parliament (of course featuring George Clinton and Bootsy Collins) as Casablanca's mainstays. So it seems strange that Marvel would attempt a multimedia blitz with a company on shaky footing, although a package tour featuring a Dazzler lip-syncer, in full costume and makeup, opening for P-Funk would have certainly been a sight to behold!
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 1, 2017 12:50 AM
Mark Drummond already said this above, but Marvel was not courting Casablanca anymore by 1981. Originally, the Dazzler comic/record/movie was supposed to come out in the late 1970s, when disco was still shit-hot and the idea of disco singer superhero made more sense. And it was actually. Casablanca who proposed the idea to Marvel, not the other way around (As you can see in the "Comic Book Legends Revealed" article I linked, Dazzler was originally conceived to be black and resembling Grace Jones, which I guess makes sense, since she was one of the few disco singers with a superhero physique.) But for whatever reason the project kept being postponed, and I assume with the utter failure of the Village People (who were in the Casablanca roster at the time) movie "Can't Stop the Music" it was pretty obvious no Hollywood studio would be making disco movies anymore. So by the time Dazzler #1 came out, no one at Marvel would have thought there was still some film and records coming out. As for why Marvel still decided to give Dazzler her own title despite all of this, I have no idea.
Posted by: Tuomas | October 2, 2017 3:00 AM
You guys are trying way too hard to paint me into a 'Before Dazzler, there was Nothing' position that I never actually took. Briefly, because it's bedtime and there's a character limit:
Casablanca was in a shaky position? Hey, so was Marvel a year or two earlier. Then they got this multi-media success called "Star Wars" and it turned things around. Maybe lightning can strike twice. If negotiations with Casablanca or any other company fall apart the way most media packages fall apart, Marvel can fall back on comic books which are cheaper and quicker to produce, while using them to promote Dazzler for future projects. They'd have been happy to use Howard the Duck, but that got spoiled when some no-name b-movie producer got involved. Meantime Marvel can make inroads in Hollywood with huge names like Dolph Lundgren and Roger Corman. Years pass and mid-level executives make senior levels.
Everything about Dazzler makes sense except making her a superhero, just as viable a movie property as the world's smartest guy building a rocket ship for his family and not protecting against radiation, so they become superheroes. Or a vampire hunter. Or James Cameron's latest project.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 2, 2017 11:59 PM
I suspect that Marvel gave Dazzler a series as Hollywood lost interest, because they could prove she was a star that way, and produce a couple hundred pages of storyboards in under a year. The comics market was losing interest too, so I think Marvel produced "Dazzler: The Movie" as a last-ditch effort to give her a self-contained book that could possibly become a multi-media project. It didn't work, and they pretty much gave up on her. Last I heard, she was singing at roadside honky-tonks in Australia. Poor girl.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 3, 2017 12:15 AM
Better for her to live happy doing what she loves rather than waste her life exploited by a ruthless corporation like Casablanca. At least she didn't share the fate of the Village People. Gotta respect that she was in touch with her feelings enough to not wind up as just another feather in John Derek's cap. She knew she didn't want to be a super-hero and followed her muse. Wotta gal. *snf* You go, Alison! Right on!
Posted by: James Holt | October 3, 2017 2:25 AM
I'm not sure why ChrisW keeps insisting that Marvel still had hopes of getting Dazzler into some multi-media thing after Disco died when there is no evidence of that whatsoever. Her graphic novel didn't receive any special promotion that was different than any GN of any other character, although it did get more criticism than usual due to Jim Shooter's lousy writing. The only mentions that the main book got after #1 was released were complaints about all the cheesecake panels. And in all the reports about superheroes considered for movies in the 1980s, Dazzler was never even mentioned as a rumor.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 3, 2017 6:26 PM
I don't think ChrisW was contending that the Dazzler promotional effort was terribly successful, or that she was Marvel's first or biggest cross-media attempt, but there was a question above that he tried to answer as to why she was chosen for a series, when other popular characters were not. Two articles at CBR I found suggest that she was getting a lot more attention from music industry bigwigs, at least, than any other comic book characters I can remember, esp. if you exclude Kiss, who were already successful. That would make it a wider multi-media effort than most.
This CBR article contends that the primary reason Dazzler was created was as a cross-promotion between Marvel and Casablanca, saying "In Comic Feature #7 from November 1980, Richard Howell and Carol Kalish interviewed Roger Stern, Tom DeFalco and Louise Jones about the debut of Dazzler, and how the character came about." CBR's articles are making the antique computer I'm using thrash, so I'm unable to read through the whole article.
This article follows up on that, saying "Jim Shooter wrote a Dazzler film treatment working in roles for Cher, Rodney Dangerfield, KISS, Robin Williams, Donna Summer, the Village People and both Michael McKean and David Lander!" Somewhere in these articles, Grace Jones and Bo Derek are mentioned as possible casting choices.
Posted by: James Holt | October 3, 2017 8:37 PM
I'm not sure what you aren't getting. Marvel had as many high hopes for Dazzler in Hollywood as for any of their other characters [i.e. the major ones] but Dazzler was created specifically for Hollywood. She didn't have to go through the long hard slog that Spider-Man or the X-Men did. Dazzler had Bo Derek's attention, and Grace Jones' too. Comics were in the basement of popular culture, but they were at least part of it and simply being able to drop names would be valuable. "Should we cancel Dazzler?"
Assuming Dazzler ever got her foot in the door again, it wouldn't surprise me if she was considered for Madonna or Whitney Houston movies later on in the 80s. The 1990s opened with Stan Lee promoting "Night Cat" who would have the exact same multi-media approach, movies, music, comics, etc. Marvel's experience with Dazzler helped them when "Blade" and "Men In Black" became hits, and that helped them get to the Marvel Movies as we know them.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 3, 2017 8:55 PM
Thank you, James. And how did I forget KISS? Between KISS and Star Wars, Marvel must have been desperate to break out of the basement of pop culture. KISS crossed over with Marvel, even appearing in "Howard the Duck." Howard crossed over with George Lucas. Lea Thompson's role as Beverly is basically Alison Blaire without the mutant powers and re-written as being a love interest instead of the star.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 3, 2017 9:05 PM
YW ChrisW. Just between us, this is the most attention I've ever paid to Dazzler, so you can have her if you want her xD
Now I'll never be able to look at Lea Thompson the same way again, ever. Thanks! Ha
Posted by: James Holt | October 3, 2017 10:22 PM
Well, I'll do my best to fight for you, buddy, with Dazzler and Lea Thompson at my side. No thanks are necessary. Not all heroes wear capes.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 3, 2017 10:32 PM
she was getting a lot more attention from music industry bigwigs, at least, than any other comic book characters I can remember
Again, according to the CBR article you quote in your post, Dazzler wasn't "getting attention from music industry bigwigs", she was created by Marvel because one record label, Casablanca, wanted to do a cross-promotion between their records and comic books. The whole idea was Casablanca's, and Marvel created the character for them and according to their wishes. Grace Jones was never involved in the project in any way (unlike Donna Summer or KISS, she wasn't signed to Casablanca), John Romita Jr. just based the concept art on her. AFAIK no other "music industry bigwigs" were ever interested in the character, and Bo Derek's supposed involvement was because Marvel and Casablanca pitched the idea to Filmworks, for whom she was working. Also, this was before Derek's breakthrough role in "10!. So the whole Dazzler project never involved any of the biggest record labels (Casablanca was a mid-tier independent label) or Hollywood studios, no singer was ever signed to be "Dazzler", and the movie never went beyond initial concept work. I don't see how this failed project would serve as a model for Marvel's future multi-media franchising, rather than, say, the successful TV shows which starred original Marvel comic book characters (instead of new character created specifically for a movie), just like all the successful Marvel movies have done ever since.
Posted by: Tuomas | October 4, 2017 5:46 AM
Thanks for clearing that up. I never had much love for Casablanca either, 'tho' I do love many artists who appeared on their label. Read somewhere... or maybe it was a recorded interview... from George Clinton, about why Parliament and Funkadelic started calling themselves P-Funk. GC said he had contract disagreements w/ Casablanca, who owned a contract with Parliament, and BMI, who had a contract with Funkadelic. Both Parliament and Funkadelic had many of the same musicians, and both were organized by and featured GC as a principal star. I'm probably not getting all the facts exactly right, but GC was touring out with the group during the '70s, and he said both companies wanted to get paid for each gig. This added up to a lot of money, so they started billing themselves as P-Funk, and this, he said, was just to avoid paying both companies every single time. Maybe that wasn't exactly how it went, I'm not sure. When I went to see them in 74 or 75, the sign at Kiel Auditorium said something like "P-Funk Earth Tour featuring Parliament, Funkadelic, and Bootsy's Rubber Band." During the concert, the band reconfigured itself between sets and played songs that had been featured on albums from all 3 groups. Maybe that was before the disagreement or maybe it was afterwards, I don't know, but if they avoided paying any of those oppressive record co.s, that's ok by me. If this thread gets moved to the forum 'cause I've taken it off topic, I'll register this time. Thx4info, outta time.
Posted by: James Holt | October 4, 2017 8:27 AM
Yeah, please take any further conversation about this to the forum. Poor Techmaster is feeling upstaged. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | October 4, 2017 1:01 PM
Sorry. I need to learn not to click Post when I'm tired and pressed for time.
Posted by: James Holt | October 4, 2017 7:25 PM
Comments are now closed.
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