...as Odo, the metamorph from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, my first genre exposure to a very young Rene was in 1972, when the young up-and-comer played...Spider-Man!
Let me explain...
Art by John Romita Sr
LP records adapting comic strip and comic book characters into audio adventures date back to the 1940s.
The heyday was during the 1960s-70s when both brand-new adventures (often in stereo) and re-presentations of classic radio dramas competed for shelf space in record stores.
Art by John Romita Sr
But this album, from 1972, was a whole new approach to the genre...a superhero musical, loaded with genre-related talent!
Ron Dante, the voice and composer behind The Archies (remember "Sugar, Sugar"?), and his band performed the album's music as "The WebSpinners".
Besides Rene (who also voiced Dessad on both the 1980s Super Friends and 1990s Justice League animated series, and played several other characters in the Star Trek multiverse), there was Thayer David, known to genre fans as the villainous Arne Saknussenn in Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), multiple evil roles on the 1960s gothic soap Dark Shadows. and the blackmailing villain in the 1977 pilot for the live-action Amazing Spider-Man tv series, as The Kingpin!
The script and music were penned by Stephen Lemberg, who not only did this album, but the Fantastic Four dramatic radio show and the infamous A MARVEL-ous Evening with Stan Lee at Carnegie Hall! (Nobody's perfect.)
Here's the album's gatefold interior, featuring art by John Romita Sr, which enabled you to follow the story...and yes, that's Dr Strange as both Steve Ditko co-creations battle the Kingpin!
After Queen Gedren and her men kill Sonja's parents and brother, torture her and leave her for dead, a goddess/ghost manifests itself and grants her the strength and skill to avenge herself.
Months later, Gedren attacks the Temple of the Talisman before the warrior-priestesses can destroy the Talisman, a mystical object which has been growing in power and now threatens to destroy the Earth.
The only surviving guard, Varna, tries to escape and is shot by an archer.
But she is rescued by Conan...er...I mean...Kalidor...who then goes to find Varna's sister, Sonja, and bring the warrior-in-training to her mortally-wounded sister...
To Be Continued Saturday at... Heroines! Trivia: Sandahl Bergman, who starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian, turned down the role of Red Sonja to play Queen Gedren.
In fact, it's so full of cheese that it takes twoRetroBlogs to present it in all its' "glory"!
The action starts at Heroines! on Thanksgiving, continues here on Black Friday, returns to Heroines! on Saturday, and concludes back here on Sunday!
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(Note: it seems some of the foreign distributors couldn't make up their mind if the movie was Poe-esque or Verne-esque since the Italian title shown above translates into "20,000 Leagues under the Earth", yet the tag line mentions Edgar Allan Poe!)
Where were we?
Trapped under the sea in a crumbling city left behind by an ancient civilization of mer-men, our heroes (and heroine) are led to The Captain, who explains he and his men were smugglers who found their way there a century ago, and the weird combination of gases in the underwater atmosphere has rendered them ageless and immortal!
The gill-men are the savage descendants of the builders of the city, who have forgotten the technology their ancestors used to create the underwater metropolis.
The scientists were brought to the city to repair the failing systems, but a nearby underwater volcano may render the attempt moot...
The adaptation was illustrated by penciler John Tartaglione and inker Dick Giordano.
The writer is unknown, but is believed to be either Don Segall (who did many of their movie books) or Dell editor DJ Arneson.