Aug ’18 – MMM: “By The Tail Of The Great Comet!” – Ulysses 35

Posted: August 25th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

Now cascading through the second half of the second disc, Agent Rob bears witness to some of the show’s finest visual moments in a star cluster of stellar episodes. Choice picks as ever those lovingly restored by Adam Adamant….

EPISODE 14

“You will experience exquisite sensual delight forever in death”

The episode begins with Yumi playing a beautiful, if haunting, melody on a flute, which she claims she heard in a dream. Suddenly an “unidentified flying object” is approaching the Odyssey. This stone coffin is from the wreckage of a space exploration vehicle and, recognising it too from her dream, Yumi uses the beautiful melody to open it. The body within is holding an electronic card and suddenly, by piloting via The Black Sun and the planet Sirena, Ulysses realises they can obtain a complete map of Olympus. However, the map is guarded by the mysterious Sirens….

On the surface of the planet Sirena they are captured by space pirates and Ulysses and Nono are sent to find the treasure, the children kept behind as collateral. And so Ulysses and Nono set sail, disappearing into the fog. Disconnecting Nono‘s hearing circuit Ulysses asks to be tied to the mast in an attempt to resist the Siren‘s call. This plan fails, however and he dives overboard. The children, having made their escape are close behind and must hope to save Ulysses, find the map and evade the angry pirates….

EPISODE 15

“Ooh! I could do with a swig of anti-freeze.”

The Odyssey orbits a planet like Earth (only of 200 million years ago) with a different polar axis. Ulysses, Nono and the children take a shuttle to the surface to investigate, narrowly escaping after being attacked by huge Black Firebirds. Taking refuge in what they believe to be a cave they happen to find a lift that takes them to a giant underground city….

As Shirka loses contact due to a “strong atmospheric disturbance” Yumi activates a hibernation chamber to revive Sauria, one of the planet’s inhabitants. It transpires that these slaves to the Gods took refuge in a huge ark to escape a great flood, waiting until it was over….

Unfortunately a second flood is now just beginning, leaving Ulysses and Nono to devise a plan to escape to the ark (and to avoid the invading Black Firebirds) in time. As Telemachus and Yumi help revive the rest of the planet’s inhabitants from their hibernation the situation worsens, a reverse polarization of the planet’s axis imminent….

EPISODE 16

“It least I know your face. I will remember you, Ulysses.”

After a another somewhat melancholy introduction – Ulysses and Telemachus thinking of their distant Penelope – our heroes fall into a deep slumber and the Odyssey enters an “unknown dimension A”….

With their spaceship held by an unknown force Ulysses takes a shuttle to investigate a planet they suspect could be Earth. Nono, meanwhile, encounters a mysterious energy cloud on board the Odyssey. Seeing the Odyssey suddenly head towards the planet surface Ulysses crashes his shuttle, meeting a forlorn character called Hermes who, so he claims, is the only member of his crew not captured and enslaved by Circe, “the enchantress who bewitches”….

With his companions turned into pig-people and set to work building Circe‘s tower of knowledge – the means by which she hopes to become more powerful than the Gods themselves – Ulysses comes to the rescue. On discovering his identity Circe promises to free everyone and to give them a video map of Olympus… on the condition that Ulysses promises to stay by her side and challenge the Gods. Ulysses agrees… only Hermes, now revealed as the messenger of the Gods, has other ideas and sets the Tridents to attack. Ulysses and his (momentarily revived) companions must try and escape, leaving poor Circe to witness the destruction of her beloved tower before the Gods pass judgement on her….

EPISODE 17

“Anyone who has gone inside the Labyrinth has never returned.”

The episode opens with Ulysses talking to Aegeus and, after consulting the Oracle, he is persuaded to follow their advice and seek Theseus, the son of Aegeus (for he alone knows the route back to Earth). Unfortunately King Minos is angered by the relationship between Theseus and his daughter, Ariadne, and so condemns him to the Labyrinth, where he will face the Minotaur. Ariadne defies her father and takes off in a spaceship, intent on following Theseus (in)to the maze….

This action puts her on a “collision course” with the Odyssey and, after a narrow escape, she is taken on board, the pursuing ships of The Kingdom of Minos duly defeated. By using her string of pearls to allow Shirka to track their “electromagnetic path”, Ariadne, Ulysses, Yumi and Nono enter the Labyrinth hoping to find Theseus….

As the walls of the maze suddenly shift, Telemachus, concerned at the loss of contact, takes a shuttle to the rescue, the ships of Mino‘s close behind him. Meanwhile Ulysses and Theseus must face the mighty Minotaur if they are to have any hope of escape….

EPISODE 18

“Ulysses, quickly! The universe is toppling over!”

The children are in the garden when Shirka announces there are “galactic ice flows directly in our flightpath.Ulysses attempts to resist the gravitational pull but Yumi, who feels the presence of something, encourages him otherwise….

Ulysses takes a shuttle into the ice flows and, with the aid of a mysterious other, is directed safely to where he can land. From there Ulysses descends a strange staircase whereby he meets Mercurius, the bubble-dwelling “grandson of the gods“. Naturally Mercurius has plans for Ulysses, hoping to use him to steal the jewel from the forehead of Atlas for the presence of any god would awaken this sleeping giant who holds up the universe….

The reward? Of course, it is a promise of the route back to Earth (and potential power over the gods for Mercurius). Ulysses and Nono climb up the huge static body of Atlas and when they reach the top Ulysses, by this time blindfolded so as to not look into the jewel for fear of death, attempts to prise the jewel free. Unfortunately Atlas begins to stir, his great heart begins to beat, and the universe is knocked off balance by the meddling of Mercurius. Can Yumi or Telemachus help Ulysses replace the crystal in time to restore the order and balance to all things….


Aug ’18 – Nine From The Vault – The Dog Who…

Posted: August 3rd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: From The Vault | No Comments »

After the runaway (from) success of The Campbelton Bogle it seemed the next logical step for Agent Rob was to become quickly embroiled in another long (but quickly) drawn out attempt to bring a children’s book (by a different writer) to published life….

I think the only real change was (at the writer’s request) trying to break away from my default ‘hooded brow’ look and adjusting the dog’s nose. Again, like The Bogle, these pages are scanned from tight pencils, contrasted and then digitally coloured – looks like I was aiming for (and widely missing) a crude felt tip pen effect here. Well, I guess I got the ‘crude’ part bang on target, um….

Unfortunately The Dog Who didn’t even make it to (self-)print and only these pages were finished(-ish) for the author’s proposed publisher punting. The resounding silence that followed can only mean it stands rooted, waiting patiently at the gates to development hell….


Jul ’18 – MMM: “By The Cosmic Dust!” – Ulysses 34

Posted: July 27th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

And so we speed through the first half of the second disc, putting episodes 10 – 13 under the cosmic microscope….

EPISODE 10

A nice sedate, somewhat yearning opening to this episode, Telemachus watching the video memory of his mother. Again, an earth-like planet is detected in the Odyssey‘s path. It transpires this is a living museum and our heroes are pulled in and shrunk to suit by a magical prism. Landing the Odyssey in the sea, preferring the open water, Ulysses sets out to find the source of the mysterious transmission and is trapped in a giant clam….

The children set out in pursuit, traversing a graveyard of spaceships, in the hope of finding Ulysses. Both are separately swept up by the slaves of The Great Antipotese and end up within the museum itself, Ulysses‘s ship encrusted and mistaken for a pearl. Can our tiny heroes evade Antipotese (and his wild cat) long enough to use the prism to restore themselves and their ship…?

EPISODE 11

“…even in death you will find no peace.”

The Odyssey is passed by a remote control capsule which turns out to be an empty Trident Transporter. Ulysses follows it, hoping it will lead them to the base of the gods and provide clues as to the route back to Earth. Suddenly the Odyssey encounters and unknown energy zone and is sucked into a vortex, crossing into a new dimension, arriving at The Stairway of Olympus….

After continuing in the shuttle for some time, and having defeated the gods‘ ‘Immortal Army‘ Ulysses, separated from the children is given a choice – will he choose the armchair on the left or right, will he choose the route back to Earth over the children? The choice is an easy one, of course, the episode then ending somewhat abruptly (but not without Shirka mournfully echoing that they are “lost in the universe of Olympus. Lost. Lost….“)

EPISODE 12

“The crew. Save the crew.”

The Odyssey is drifting in deep space when it comes across a luminous object that is in fact “remnants of an old spaceship” from 2001 Earth. Hoping to find the route back to Earth on the ship’s computer our heroes stumble across a crew member in suspended animation. Before falling back into a deep sleep the captain warns Ulysses that the crew can be found on the twin planets of fire and ice….

Ulysses speeds to their rescue leaving the children to puzzle over the true identity of the surviving “captain”…. The Sign of the Trident reveals that he is, naturally, a tool of the gods and that Ulysses, his shuttle now trapped in a brilliant vortex between fire and ice – “…either way your fate is sealed…” – is in extreme danger. The children speed to his rescue while Nono tackles the creepy, Terminator-esque “captain”….

EPISODE 13

The children are playing hide and seek when Yumi suddenly declares that Zotra, “The White Planet” is coming. It is, in fact, a “meteoric object” that is approaching and Ulysses manages to just avoid it by carefully piloting the Odyssey. Yumi is convinced it is a part of Zotra and persuades Ulysses to follow it to be sure. The meteor leads them to a swamp planet and Ulysses and Umi travel down to the surface to investigate. Unfortunately they come under some sort of attack and static interference means the signal back to the Odyssey (and the anxious Telemachus and Nono) is jammed and eventually lost….

Ulysses and Yumi suddenly return to the Odyssey and order Telemachus to turn the transmitter off and to leave the planet’s orbit at full speed. Telemachus has his suspicions and, while his real father battles multiple copies of himself on the planet surface, he must evade this dangerous duplicate, switch on the radio and send a shuttle in time to save them….

Hmm, unlucky 13 for this episode as there seems to be a real dip in quality in terms of both the rendering of the characters and the animation, making for a pretty ropey experience throughout….


Jul ’18 – A Philip K. Dick In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush….

Posted: July 7th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

Clans of the Alphane Moon

(pub. 1964) – Voyager, 1996

Chuck Rittersdorf, a 21st century CIA robot programmer, decides to kill his wife by remote control. He enlists the aid of a telepathic Ganymedean slime mould called Lord Running Clam, an attrective female police officer and various others, witting or unwitting. But when Chuck finds himself in the midst of an interplanetary spy ring on an Alphane moon inhabited entirely by certified maniacs, his personal revenge plans begin to go awry in this brilliantly inventive tale of interstellar madness, murder and violence.

I doubt there’s a book that is more completely and utterly Philip K. Dick than this one…. Just imagine, a seceded (Terran) moon colony on Alpha III M2 derived from an abandoned hospital area  – over 25 years the clans of the title have separated into groups comprising the several sub-types of mental illness, the ‘Heeb’, ‘Pare’ ‘Mans’, ‘Poly’, ‘Dep’ ‘Skitz’ and ‘Ob-Com’s. (I’ll not delve any deeper into their origins as, as ever, the joy is in PKD‘s gentle drip drip approach to his terminology and world building.) Meanwhile back on Earth the somewhat directionless Chuck Rittersdorf is programming CIA simulacrums and, as his marriage crumbles – PKD again employs a young temptress in part to help usher our hapless, hopeless, clueless “Joe Blow” on his way – he slowly, via the offer of writing for television, stumbles upon conspiracy within conspiracy. Just who is actually working for who, and quite why, to what ends? There’s no pipes connecting the kitchen sink here as for once PKD opts to skip the notion of overlapping or underlying realities, but that doesn’t detract in the slightest from what is a highly accessible, imaginative and rewarding read….

… But his eyes. He had an alert yet warm quality; she rose and stood facing him. Over the TV the strength of his gaze did not register. This was not mere intelligence on Bunny’s part; this was more, a perception of – she did not know what. And – 

          All about Bunny an aura hung, an aura of suffering. His face, his body, seemed sopped with it. Yes, she thought, that’s what shows in his eyes. Memory of pain. Pain that took place long ago, but which he has never forgotten – nor will he. …

 

… She smiled, and once again he marvelled at her teeth; they transformed her face, made it beautiful; as long as she smiled and she was delightful to behold, and it seemed to Chuck that this told something about her. The quality of beauty arose from within; inside, she was lovely, and he realized that over the years, as she aged, it would gradually work its way outward, influence the surface. By the time she was thirty or thirty-five she would be radiant. …

Dr Bloodmoney

(pub. 1965) – Millenium, 2000


Seven years after the day of the bombs, Point Reyes was luckier than most places. Its people were reasonably normal – except for the girl with her twin brother growing inside her, and talking to her. Their barter economy was working. Their resident genius could fix almost anything that broke down. But they didn’t know they were harbouring the one who almost everyone left alive wanted killed.

An excellent Philip K. Dick novel (which I first encountered in its truncated form as ‘A Terran Odyssey‘ in the ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale‘ short story collection). This time we have everything and the kitchen sink in this tale of a post-apocalyptic California. However, the book has quite a gentle pace and a sunny, pastoral feel, the restructured society, though obviously chaotic, is still mostly beholden to the very same personal troubles that inflict us as individuals (but here it’s mixed with a whole host of the furthest-out PKD characters and scenarios). Some of PKD‘s very best ideas reside here, in what is a hugely satisfying read….

    Stuart said , “Now.” He knew it was now; he knew that the bombs were going off – he felt them. It seemed to occur inside him. Blam, blam, blam, blam, went the bombs, or perhaps it was the things sent up by the army to help, to stop the bombs; perhaps it was defense. Let me down, Stuart thought. Low as I can be. Let me into the ground. He pressed down, rolled his body to make a depression. People lay now on top of him, choking coats and sleeves, and he was glad; he did not mind – he did not want emptiness around him; he wanted solidness on every side. He did not need to breathe. His eyes were shut; they, and the other openings of his body, his mouth and ears and nose, all had shut; he had walled himself in, waiting.
Blam, blam, blam.

 

         He (Walt Dangerfield) struggled up, disconnected himself from the straps, saw through the port the world below. Clouds, and the ocean, the globe itself. Here and there on it matches were lit; he saw the puffs, the flares. Fright overcame him, as he sailed silently through space, looking down at the pinches of burning scattered about; he knew what they were.

          It’s death, he thought. Death lighting up spots, burning up the world’s life, second by second. 

          He continued to watch.


Jul ’18 – One From The Vault – The Campbeltown Bogle

Posted: July 3rd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: From The Vault | No Comments »

The original character rough loose pencil sketches, contrasted and coloured for The Campbeltown Bogle and the Farmer. Undertaken to give the writer an idea of the general direction of the art (and in doing so helping nudge some of his latent ideas along)….


Jun ’18 – A Chronicle Of Doom….

Posted: June 21st, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: John G. Miller | Tags: , | No Comments »

“Laugh it up, fuzzball!” Er, waitaminnit, isn’t that the wrong franchise! Then again, with the whole ‘wurld’ in supposed thrall to another type of ‘fuzzball’ then what better time to visit Our Man In Pester Wails, a man more than capable of naming every Avengers starting eleven. And so it was on ‘Chewsday‘ that Agent Rob made a welcome return to Ice Station, braving the long journey from Bear Island HQ to join Agent Johnny in a long overdue ‘view to a swill‘. In fact, it was very nearly an own-goal, but thanks to Agent Austin‘s canny managerial strategy our two Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to scramble it off the line (and thus head in happily over their heels together)….

With the guest’s chair cleared of a ‘stack of books’ it was then time to sit down, crank open the swill and ‘dock’ the ‘music box’ (after a mild pause for panic while issue #2 of the recent Captain Condor reprints was successfully located). Agent Johnny seemed particularly taken with last week’s screening of Orson Welles‘s’The Trial‘ and this ‘fillum freakery’ dominated much of the ‘dafternoon’s contented chuntering, before the conversation settled into a general SF orbit, incorporating the Planet of The Apes fillums, Arthur C. Clarke and ‘Nova‘ by Samuel R. Delaney….

And just when you thought the afternoon could not get any more jammed it turned out Agent Johnny was power-packing the pencils for a mighty MARVEL-esque cover for the (proposed) John Stark: Secret Agent comic, as well as suitably eclectic takes on both (eternal favourite) Batman and (current favourite) Daredevil, events which saw Agent Rob gingerly leafing his way through some of our man’s prized 1960’s originals. Add to that two story roughs for strips featuring The (UK) Avengers and a vintage Ghostman strip salvaged from 1972(!) and you have what can only be described (at great volume) as a rip-roaring success! (Mind, you can expect the finished inks some time in 2020….) Of course, the volume was not nearly as deafening over and out at Deadhead Comics as Agents Austin and Rob peeked over the wall in deathly silence, watching as Poland stumbled, fumbled and finally fell to Senegal….

Sounds: Two From The Vault by Grateful Dead: A Saucerful of Secrets by Pink Floyd and (disc 1 of) Live 1966: The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert by Bob Dylan….

Grateful Dead – Death Don’t Have No Mercy, live 24/08/1968


Jun ’18 – “By The Quantum Leaps!” – Ulysses 33

Posted: June 12th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

On and on we travel, drifting lifeless as stone through the second half of the first (and quite possibly the most consistent in terms of story quality) disc….


EPISODE 6

The Odyssey approaches a hospital planet belonging to a (long vanished) advanced civilisation….

While Ulysses and Telemachus investigate Yumi and Nono naturally take matters into their own hands and attempt to make use of the facilities to revive the lifeless Numinor (with predictably risky results)….

EPISODE 7

The Odyssey encounters “electromagnetic turbulence” and as such the companions of Ulysses are revived. Of course, they’re under the will of the gods and only Yumi‘s calming connection with the awakened Numinor seems able to save them from crashing into The Reefs Of Space….

An episode notable for some surprisingly moody rendering of the revived crew’s faces as well as a plethora of FX – lightsabers, Artoo Detoo and blaster sounds – nabbed wholesale (and somewhat surprisingly surviving to this release) from Star Wars….

EPISODE 8

Another great episode, as the Odyssey – I think a distinct pattern is emerging here! – is drawn to the planet of the Sphinx where Ulysses must solve a riddle to ensure our heroes successful release….

Unfortunately Hermione, the daughter of the Sphinx, has other ideas – boy does she want Ulysses for herself, and the gods are only too happy to nudge her along the way! – and tricks ‘the children’ into entering the door that leads to The Mirror That Always Speaks The Truth. Angered at the news of their (unwitting) intrusion the Sphinx allows her to subject Ulysses to her own challenge – perhaps seeing her true face reflected will help resolve matters….

Some nice atmospheric scene setting in this episode – the leery lizard strolling through the palace of the Sphinx – and the design of the Sphinx himself, being particular highlights….

EPISODE 9

“It’s time that’s the fatal trap, the sure way to death.”

The very best of them all? The Odyssey comes under attack from Trident spaceships and it seems there is nothing can be done to avoid destruction…. Only Cronus, exiled from Olympus by the gods, intervenes, transporting our heroes to The Kingdom Of Time, hoping to use Ulysses to bargain for his eventual freedom…..

‘The children’ are first placed in The Timelock then escape (accidentally) to the The Chamber Of Seasons, where they begin to age rapidly. It’s up to Ulysses to save both them and the lives of their companions from the ravages of accelerated time….

I first saw the latter half of this episode as a youngster and remember vividly the scenes of Ulysses scaling the great clock tower and, particularly, the looming, gloomy (and catchy) theme that accompanied it….


May ’18 – “By The Countless Constellations!” – Ulysses 32

Posted: May 29th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

….and onto Disc 1 of ‘The Complete Series’. Please note that TheAdamAdamant‘s episode running order differs from the UK DVD release – Agent Rob assumes it is the original French broadcast order, hence the difference in the numbering of some of the embedded titles….

EPISODE 2

In this second episode the Odyssey encounters the seventh satellite of Zotra – a ‘holiday’ planet remembered from Yumi‘s childhood – now to be found wandering in Olympus and ruled by a strange old witch. Is she as she seems…?

A good enough episode, most notable for the leery scene above (watch to find out)….

EPISODE 3

The Odyssey approaches an asteroid that is home to Heratos and Atina. Heratos tells our heroes of how, aboard Atina‘s ship – incidentally she’s a Zotran the same race as Yumi – he saw The Black Sphere of the title, itself a map of Olympus. Naturally he was then struck blind by the gods and doomed to his lonely existence….

Of course, with the gods meddling, Ulysses does not in fact head for The Galactic Glaciers as Heratos (wrongly) instructed but instead is diverted via The Graveyard Of Wrecks and Hulks where the Odyssey collides with Atina‘s original ship. Will Yumi beat the race against destruction to salvage The Black Sphere, the map back to Earth, in time….?

EPISODE 4

The Odyssey encounters a cyclonic disturbance that puts the ship’s gravitation out of control and ends up trapped by Aeolus, King of The Winds….

And thus, on his daughter’s birthday, Aeolus pits Ulysses, “the plaything of the gods”, against his guests, the NorthSouthEast and West Winds, in a series of deadly games – akin to Target, Chess, Pinball and Bowling. Will Ulysses be able to survive and rescue ‘the children’….

EPISODE 5

One of the true classic episodes where Sisyphus, doomed to a cycle of repetition following his attempt to uncover immortality, the secret of the gods, tries to cheat Ulysses into taking his place, forcing him to repeat the same thankless task while he commandeers the Odyssey to make his escape….

‘The children’, as ever, intervene with these plans and soon our heroes find themselves beneath the surface of the planet, bearing awed witness to the hidden machinery behind the downfall of  Sisyphus‘s….

An episode notable for an especially bleak opening – the reason why this disc alone of the 3 is rated Parental Guidance? – as we witness Sisyphus foraging desperately for food (before it spoils in the baking sun) as well as the general mood of despair and hopelessness that hangs over the proceedings, especially when Sisyphus discovers the truth behind his endless tasks and the gods mock him for his suspicious, selfish behaviour that prolongs his weary isolation….


May ’18 – Three From The Vault – The Royal Weeding

Posted: May 19th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: From The Vault | No Comments »

By Royal Diss- Appoint – ment…. Seems somewhat apt to share this today. Quite possibly the strangest thing Agent Rob‘s ever drawn, published in Wasted Comic to coincide with the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The initial idea was cooked up in collaboration with the Emperor – who at that time was working with the mighty Alex Ronald on the initial Vampire Vixens strips, also for Wasted – but as the back and forth dried up I ran (at something of a directionless half-pelt) with this vaguest of ideas. That it took me until this post to christen this “The Royal Weeding”  kind of says it all. (The boy on the donkey in the final panel of page one is based on a take on the kid Mark from Gentle Ben that I used to draw in Secondary School….)

If it’s not entirely apparent (anyone?!) the strip is Prince William trying to recollect all the crazy things that went on at their wedding, his memories/flashbacks triggered by what’s happening on the beach. So there we have The Royal Yacht Britannia pitching up in a fountain in Las Vegas and Elvis helping out with yet another ceremony. And, if feverish, fizzled-out finales are your thing then this certainly fails to deliver – it seems Will has married Kate…. and (the mystery man is) Prince Harry! I think we’re missing an, “awrite, bruv?” from the second to last panel to complete the eclectic tale. Still, nice zippy art from my official “rattling any old scripts out to help plug the gaps in Wasted” period….


May ’18 – “By The Great Galaxies” – Ulysses 31

Posted: May 16th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

It’s not massively common for anyone associated with Braw Towers to fall into or for the (ever-expanding-wallet-shrinking) nostalgia trap, but Agent Rob has to admit that his admiration for Ulysses 31 is about as close as he’ll ever get to indulging this modern phenomenon. There’s no doubt that his young imagination was well and truly fired – just as it was with the similar-ish Star Fleet and 80’s Doctor Who – by these highly imaginative and memorable animated ‘space adventures’. Over the course of this Manga Month (and perhaps into the mythical near future) we’ll hopefully cover every episode of this cartoon classic in detail….

Yumi, Ulysses, Telemachus and Nono

“It is the 31st Century. Ulysses killed the giant Cyclops when he rescued the chilrdren and his son Telemachus, but the ancient gods of Olympus are angry and threaten a terrible revenge….”

“Mortals! You defy the gods!? I sentence you to travel among unknown stars. Until you find the kingdom of hades your bodies will stay as lifeless as stone….”

EPISODE 1

In this opening episode Telemachus, the son of Ulysses, is ‘spacenapped’ from their ship, the Odyssey, and is to be sacrificed to the mighty Cyclops. In prison Telemachus meets (the other central characters) Yumi and her brother Numinor of the planet Zotra….

The ‘spacebase’ at Troy

The Odyssey

In their attempt to rescue these three, Ulysses and Nono – the obligatory comic relief robot – destroy the Cyclops, thus angering and defying the ancient Greek god of Poseidon. As such their ship is banished to a black hole where they will undergo many trials in the dominion of Olympus….

Shirka, the Odyssey’s computer

The Cyclops

At this juncture, while Ulysses repairs the ship’s Iris (its main source of power) for Shirka (its central computer), he is sentenced to “wander among worlds unknown” and his companions are frozen – “their bodies will remain as lifeless as stone” – until such a time as they eventually (hopefully) find the Kingdom of Hades….

Zeus

Nestor and the lifeless companions

This first episode – and one that my little brother delighted in telling me about when I came home from playing football at the park and caught the ending, knowing I would have to wait until such a time as it was repeated to finally see it – is a good enough introductory tale, essential for the initial set-up of the overarching plot, the mighty Cyclops and his eerily faithful disciples. Worth noting that it only takes 6 minutes for one of the especially memorable and haunting themes to make an audio appearance, ‘Le Cyclope et Les Moines Aveugles‘ and that after 9 & 1/2 minutes we’re treated to yet another classic bit of the ’31 soundtrack, ‘L’Odysseus‘….

Episode 1 – Vengeance Of The Gods

Agent Rob‘s been watching these episodes on an historic 3 DVD set ‘The Complete Series‘ from 2004 but the lucky(?) readers of this blog can enjoy them courtesy of TheAdamAdamant‘s Youtube Channel. Adam has, over the past four years been diligently and lovingly restoring the entire series episode by episode. Indeed, all the beautiful, crisp screengrabs on display are sourced from said videos. I’ll be sure to link/share the very best of these restored Ulysses 31 episodes here….

Not content with his services to the obvious betterment of mankind, Adam Adamant has somehow unearthed the original 15 minute (decidedly) Japanese (looking) pilot of the show – the final 1981 series was a French-Japanese co-production – taking the time to dub it into English too. This intriguing curio is (his but) yours to view above….

Of course, for many people, myself included, much of the (enduring) appeal of Ulysses 31 is the tremendous original soundtrack – composed by Denny Crockett and Ike Egan (with Shuki Levy and Haim Saban)- comprised as it is of quietly brooding, highly atmospheric, proggy space rock. And, thanks to the dedication of French composer/musician David Colin/Parallax – who obviously knows quality when he hears it – you can listen to rerecorded excerpts here or indeed invest in a lavish variety of physical versions here. Agent Rob was lucky enough to grab a 10 track work in progress sampler of the very best tracks online many years ago and, IMO, the greatest of them all is this effort (AKA the aforementioned ‘Le Cyclope et Les Moines Aveugles‘)….

Ulysee 31 Soundtrack – La Malédiction Des Dieux