In 1987, a Tony C. Caputo, company president of NOW! Comics, had just bought the American licensing rights
to Astro Boy from an individual known only as Suzuki & Associates. This Japanese man had no access to Osamu Tezuka's characters,
however, as Tezuka's copyrights were in legal turmoil in early-eighties Japan.
NOW! Comics planned a series anyways, with a young artist and Tezuka fan named Brian Thomas set to be the
lead artist and co-writer of Astro Boy. Another artist, Ken Steacy, offered to do full-colour cover artwork much
like he had done on The Real Ghostbusters, a series Thomas was working on at the time. And then, Steacy offered to
do full-colour series artwork and be paid in Canadian dollars, and with the hopes of saving money, Caputo hired Steacy instead.
Michael Dimpsey was assigned as lead writer until issue eight.
Steacy's artwork ranged from the okay to the unintelligible, and with Andrew Pratt's assistance on art
touch-ups, he was the lead writer from issues 8-17. Brian Thomas was brought in as artist for #17, and became the writer-artist
up until issue twenty, when the series was cancelled. Despite sales booming with Thomas's version, NOW! Comics had just put
all its titles in newspaper circulation, which made more copies of the Astro Boy comic, but not enough people to
buy those extra copies.
In mid-March 2007, twenty years after the series was first planned, a fourteen-year-old girl found tiny cover
images of the Astro Boy series on an Australian website. She then proceeded to search a secondhand comic book store,
found material copies of the series, and embarked on a three-year journey to tell the world that they existed and to solve
the mystery of how they came to be.
The Issue Reviews
Chapter One: Astro's Origin
Chapter Two: War And Human Life
Chapter Three: Astro Vs. Steacy
Chapter Four: A New Beginning
I've been writing these for some years now, and you can see the level of information I had about the series
increase with each review. That first page was little more than a clipshow accompianied by jeers and pointed fingers at all
staff involved, but it evolved soon enough. These reviews are wild, crude, and open about what makes them mad.
The NOW! Comics Challenge is a festival of parodies, mostly done by me with a small selection by others.
Within, I mostly drew Tetsujin characters in Steacy's style, pretended that Skunk was in the comic, and made volatile Rocky
Horror Picture Show references.
And the reviews...well, they're the main exhibition of this site. I'm pretty sure reviewing them is what
brought life into Toontown. I've spent my pubescence studying these comics, scanning them for everyone to see and keeping
track of the characters and Twizzler of a plot. I grew up with these things. And right now, I hope you enjoy
these reviews seventy times more than I enjoyed handling the comics.