Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Church of Minos #4

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

beginning | previous | next

CHAPTER TWO - LITTLE GREEN MEN?
Part Two

-This is a first draft-

She led me upstairs, pausing for a few moments at the coffee maker so that I could pour myself a cup and seal it with a lid.

The coffee maker was at one end of a large room where all the action was. Two rows of four desks made up the center of the room. Only one desk was occupied.

Pat and I walked straight through to the interrogation room at the back of the building. We entered the adjacent observation room where we could see the fella through the one way mirror, just like on television.

The fella sat cuffed to a table that had been bolted to the floor in the center of the room. He wore an orange jump suit and his hair looked as if he’d just finished kissing a light socket. He sat facing the window, though from his side it would look like a mirror. His eyes darted about like a frightened animal. They made me nervous.

On the other side of the table, her back to us, sat a uniformed officer of the Eudora Police Department. She had black hair that had been pulled back into a tight bun on the back of her head. She had a file folder opened up on the table in front of her and though we couldn’t hear her, I could see that she was talking to the man.

“Who’s that?” I asked. “You get a new officer while I was sleeping?”

“That’s Officer King,” Pat sat. “She just transferred in from out of state.”

Officer King sat up a bit straighter, as if she could hear Pat talking about her.

“Okay, so who is this guy?” I asked.

“We don’t know. Officer King found him behind the Happy Hamburger an hour ago. He was naked and babbling about aliens.”

“Naked.” I said. “Fun.”

“We’re running his prints now, but with all the alien talk, I thought you might want to see him.”

“He said his girlfriend was abducted?”

“Yep.”

“And you’ve corroborated this?”

“We can’t find her,” Pat said. “At least, she’s not where she’s supposed to be.”

“And who is the girlfriend?”

She flipped through the file in her hand.

“Maggie Keaton, twenty-three. Happy Hamburger carhop and student currently attending KU. Lives on her own in Cedarwood.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s all we have,” Pat said. “Other than her name, he’s given us a nice pile of nothing so far.”

Pat flipped a switch under a small speaker to the right of the window and Officer King’s voice crackled through.

“. . . need to know what you were doing behind the Happy Hamburger.”

“Hamburger patties,” the man said. He still hadn’t moved anything but his eyes, which shot about the room as if he was attempting to look everywhere at once. “Milk stained violence. They came from the earth. Red mist. The green. She’s gone. They came from the earth.”

He stopped talking as quickly as he’d begun. There was silence in the room for a moment.

Officer King stood, turned, and walked over to the mirror. She was tall, almost as tall as me at six feet. She had a crooked little smile plastered on her face like she knew the punchline to a joke that the rest of the world wasn’t aware of. She also had a streak of white, about an inch thick, in her black hair. It started just above her right eyebrow and swept back to be engulfed by her bun.

For a moment, as she was looking into the mirror, our eyes met. It lasted for just an instant, but in that moment I felt as if she could actually see me there through the mirror. I’m sure she was aware that someone was there, watching, but to think that she could see me was probably due to not being fully awake quite yet.

I took a sip of the coffee and nearly moaned with pleasure.

“Let’s start with your name again,” Officer King said. Then she turned back to the man.

The man did not respond.

“Your name?” Officer King said. “What is your name?”

“The snakes are everywhere,” he said. “Elephants wearing trousers and spinning records on the sun.”

“Tell me again about your girlfriend,” Officer King said, ignoring the man’s ramblings.

“Maggie?” The man said. “Maggie Keaton. They came from the earth and took her. Little green men. Red mist. They took her down with them!”

“Little green men?” I said.

Pat switched off the speaker.

“Aliens,” she said.

“No, he said ‘little green men’. Has he mentioned aliens at all, or has it always been little green men?”

Pat flipped through the file folder.

“From Officer King’s original statement it says: ‘They came from the earth and took her. Little green men. Red mist. They took her down with them’.”

“The same thing he just said. The exact words,” I said.

“Yeah,” Pat said. “Aliens.”

“No, not aliens, Pat. Not aliens at all.”

She turned to me, a quizzical look on her face.

“It makes sense, his behavior, little green men coming out of the earth. I know what took Maggie Keaton.”

“What?”

“Goblins.”

Here ends Chapter Two



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Friday, June 24, 2016

The Church of Minos #3

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

beginning | previous | next

CHAPTER TWO - LITTLE GREEN MEN?
Part One

-This is a first draft-

MONSTERS ARE REAL.

They’re out there now, living among you. They eat at the same restaurants, shop in the same stores, and their kids go to school with yours. They sit next to you in theaters, work just down the hall, go to prom, and deliver your mail. Vampires, werewolves, shape changers, and others. They are all around you, and like most of us, they just want to live their lives, raise their families, and contribute to society.

Then there are the others.

Some monsters give themselves over to what us humans believe them to be.

Monsters have this little voice inside them that tells them to kill, to feed on human flesh. It’s there in all of them. They’re born with it. It’s part of their genetic makeup. It would be like that voice that we humans have that urge us to to take another drink, to buy that useless gadget there by the register, or to go all in even when all you’re holding is a pair of Jacks.

Most of us can ignore that voice.

It’s the same with monsters. That voice is inside of them, quietly pushing at them to do all those little nasty thing that make them monsters, but most of them can tune it out and get back to mowing the lawn. Like that voice inside us, it isn’t that difficult to ignore.

Some give in to the voice because they want to be bad. They hate the human race. They think we are weak, and it offends them that despite our weakness, there are so many of us. We run things and they don’t, and that just plain pisses them off. So they want to rid the planet of us, one at a time.

That’s why I do what I do.

I keep the monsters at bay. I’ve been doing it for a great long time. Meaning I’ve gone up against my fair share and have seen most of what’s out there.

But aliens?

“Aliens?” I said.

Pat just smiled.

“Aliens.” I repeated.

“That’s what the guy said.”

There’s no such thing as aliens.

“I’ve told you before, Pat,” I said. “Aliens ain’t real.”

“What about vampires?”

“Sure.”

“Werewolves?”

“Of course.”

“Zombies?”

“Well, yeah. But aliens? Come on, Pat.”

She said nothing, just stared.

“No aliens,” I said. “I’m not wasting my time on it.”

She continued to stare.

I gestured to the door. “Just, you know, get the door open, gimmie my stuff back, and I’ll be on my way.”

It was like talking to a stone.

“I have to see someone about replacing the window in my office, Pat.”

“I’ve already done that, Norman. And I put plastic over it in the meantime.”

“Who’d you call?”

She just stared.

“When will they be out? I should be there when they arrive. It ain’t good to leave an installer alo— ” That’s when it hit me. “What’s that?”

“What’s what?” She said, her smile growing larger.

“That . . . Aroma? Smells like—” I took a long sniff. “Coffee.”

“Oh, yeah. We got a pot of coffee brewing up there,” she said, nodding to the ceiling.

“Coffee?” I looked up at the ceiling. The scent was almost heavenly. It marched straight down nasal passages and set up camp. “What kind of coffee? Cop coffee?”

“My coffee.”

I felt weak in the knees and nearly swooned. Pat’s coffee was famous. She was a frugal woman, you had to be on a cop’s salary. But when it came to coffee, she splurged and bought only the best of the best. She sent away for a bag of beans once a month, beans that had passed through the digestive track of some kind of squirrel or raccoon in Southeast Asia. Which, of course, sounds disgusting on most every level, but damn if it doesn’t make one perfect cup o' joe.

I continued to look up at the ceiling as if I could see through the layers of wood, plaster, and insulation to the coffee maker upstairs. I thought I could smell the coffee, and maybe I could.

“Where’s this fella?” I said, my eyes still glued to the ceiling.

“We’ve had him cooling his heels in Interrogation Room One all morning.”

“Interrogation Room One?” I said, and laughed. I tore my eyes from the ceiling and gave her a look. “You’ve only got the one interrogation room.”

“Yes we do, Norman, that’s why it’s called Interrogation Room One.”

“Okay, let’s go see him.”

To be continued . . .



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Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Church of Minos #2

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

beginning | previous | next

CHAPTER ONE - I AIN'T DRUNK
Part Two

-This is a first draft-

The cell they’d put me in shared a large room with five others that were identical to mine. Apart from the stainless steel toilet and the dull gray blankets that sat rumpled on the cot where I’d lain on them, everything in the big room was white. White floors, white ceiling, even the bared walls of the cages were white. It was like waking up in a dang mayonnaise jar.

I quickly scanned the other five cages and found that I was the only occupant. The cells ran the length of the room, three on one side and three on the other, with a walkway set between. The walkway was wide enough that two average sized people could walk along between the cells without worry of an inmate being able to reach out and take hold of them.

At one end of the two rows of cells, the end furthest from me, was a door that lead to a guard station, beyond which were stairs. At my end of the room was another door. I had no idea where that led.

The back wall of each cell was concrete and painted white, leaving the other three walls made up of bars.

We were underground and there were no windows to the outside world. They’d confiscated my pocket watch when I was brought in, so I had no idea how long I’d been out, though I’d guess I’d been sleeping for a few hours based on my physical state. Every injury I’d suffered before I’d been locked up were now fully healed and I felt refreshed and whole.

My name is Norman Oklahoma. I’m a private investigator who specializes in the supernatural, the unexplained, and the just plain weird.

Sometime earlier, this morning maybe — I wasn’t sure what time it was — a walrus had tried to kill me in my home.

No, I ain’t drunk.

I’d managed to put a bullet in each of its knees, putting it down long enough for the local constabulary to come collect him. Little did I know that they wanted me as well for a scene I’d made earlier that morning at a local bar owned by Victor Lemonzeo.

Lemonzeo had been the one who had sent the Walrus to me in the first place, and I’d gone to pay the man a visit. He’d had a couple of vampires there with him at the time, and I’m afraid my natural hatred against such creatures caused me to act more than a little irrationally. Sure, I’d shot the place up, but that ain’t no reason to throw a man in jail.

Actually, it is the very reason to put a man in jail, just never thought it would be me . . . I mean, shooting an ornery vampire is the kind of thing that just simply needs be done from time to time, I just got lucky enough to be the man to do it.

But Patricia McCrea — Pat — the Chief of Police for Eudora, Kansas, took issue and locked me up. Can’t say that I really blame her.

Besides, it gave me a chance to get some real sleep.

I leaned against the bars and rubbed my eyes, clearing the sleep so that I could make out the clock at the end of the hall. It was coming up on four. But whether it was four in the afternoon or four in the morning, I hadn’t the slightest.

“Hello?” I called out. “Anyone out there?”

There was no answer.

Six cameras, also in white, hung from the ceiling and looked into the cells, one per cage. I looked up at mine and waved, not knowing if anyone was watching.

There was nothing more to do at that point than wait. I turned my back on the camera and eye-balled the toilet. The sight of the thing sticking out from the back wall stirred something in my bladder and I sighed. I’m not one to make water in front of an audience, but I was alone among the holding cells, so I did my business. There was no sink in the cell so my hands remained unwashed.

A buzzer sounded and the door at the far end of the room swung open. Chief Patrica McCrea strode in, a smile on her face.

“Morning,” she said as she approached my cell.

“Morning?” I said. “Still? Feels like I’ve been here for hours.”

“Almost twenty of them,” she said. “We brought you in yesterday.”

“Twenty hours? Dang, Pat.”

“Indeed,” she said. “Open six,” she called out.

Another buzzer sounded and the door to my cell clanked and then swung open about two inches. Pat pulled it open the rest of the way.

“You fell asleep almost immediately,” she said.

“You could have woke me.”

“You looked like you needed the rest,” she smiled again.

“This mean I’m free?”

“Abner, as I predicted, did not press charges.”

Abner “Bud” Lemonzeo. Eudora’s version of a crime boss. But don’t let the small town fool you, Bud wasn’t any less dangerous based on our lack of urban population.

“So I can go?” I said.

“Of course,” she said “But . . . ”

“But what?”

“Well,” she looked back at the door she’d just come through, stepped closer to me, and spoke so that no one out there might hear. “One of my officers brought in a guy about twenty minutes ago, and frankly, I’m not sure what to do with him.”

She paused, throwing another glance back at the door.

“And?”

“Well, I was hoping you might want to come have a look at him.”

“Why would I want to look at him?”

“Because you deal with all this weird crap.”

“Weird?”

“He says his fiance was abducted last night.”

“Ain’t nothing weird about that. Uncommon around these parts, sure, but not necessarily weird.”

“Yeah, well, this guy says she was taken by aliens.”

Here ends Chapter One.



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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Church of Minos #1

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

beginning | previous | next

CHAPTER ONE - I AIN'T DRUNK
Part One

-This is a first draft-

FOR AS FAR BACK as I can remember I’ve only ever had the one dream.

Well, that ain’t quite true, there’s always a bit of difference from time to time, but there’s a definite theme going on.

I’m always bound to some sort of object, that never changes. The differences come in what I’m bound with, and what I’m bound to. I could be strapped to a chair, handcuffed to a radiator, even chained to mountain top. Regardless, I’m stuck for good. Despite my best efforts, I can never manage to get loose.

What also doesn’t change is that sooner or later, as I’m struggling to break myself free, someone, or some thing, comes along, opens up my belly, and then casually begins to pull my insides out. I usually wake screaming at that point. Then it’s off to the kitchen for a warm glass of milk.

Eventually I’ll fall back asleep, but then it starts all over again. It tends to make for a fairly restless night.

Fortunately I don’t have the dream all that often.

Unfortunately, I was having the dream now.

I was strapped to a hospital bed, my arms and legs bound by thick, leather manacles. Above me are lights that burn and stab at my eyes. They blind me so that I see nothing else. That is until two figures step into the light, standing over me. They are some sort of doctors. But like none I’ve ever seen before. They dressed in surgical scrubs, but over the top of them these fellas wore long, leather aprons, stained with the blood of countless patients . . . or victims, I suppose. I couldn’t see their faces neither due to the gas masks that covered their heads, which, in a clinical situation, could be found to be somewhat off putting.

They spoke to each other as they gazed down on me, poking at me with fingers like steel rods. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. It was alien, like the chattering of birds mixed with the backward masking of an old record. One of them pulled a syringe of pale liquid from somewhere out of my line of sight. He attached a needle to it, screwing in on in a casual manner as the two continued to converse.

I tried to speak but nothing came out. I struggled against my bonds but it was no good. I was held fast and would have to endure whatever it was the doctors had in store for me.

Once the doctor had the needle on the syringe, he pressed the plunger and a thin jet of the pale liquid arched out to land on my chest where it popped and fizzed, eating through the gown they’d put me in.

Then the liquid then came into contact with my skin.

The pain was almost unbearable and I thrashed about on the bed, straining against the straps and screaming a noiseless scream.

The two doctors began to argue at that point, and though I couldn’t understand what they said, the meaning was quite clear. The one with the needle wanted to stick me, the other — who’d produced a foot long blade with a wicked looking hook at the tip — clearly wanted me awake when he cut into me.

I continued to struggle, hoping that with enough pressure the straps would snap and I’d be free to deal with these monsters in my own way. But it was clear that my strength would give out before the straps did. Didn’t stop me from trying, however.

In the end the doc with the knife won out and he bent over me, lifting the gown to expose the skin of my belly. He sliced into me and I found that I couldn’t move, I was frozen in place as the doctor made his incision.

To make matters worse, a surgical mirror appeared above me so that I could see every little thing that they did. I tried to close my eyes, but they wouldn’t respond. So I had to watch it all.

The incision reached from one hip, curved up to sail just under my belly button, then ended at my other hip. The other doctor dropped the needle and reached into the incision, using both hands to grab onto, and then pull out what I preferred to keep inside me. There was no medical reason for what the doctor was doing, he just simply reached in and came out with my guts, holding him out to his partner who used the knife to separate them from my body and then place them on a little tray next to me.

Satisfied that they’d gotten what they needed the doc with the knife placed the blade on the try next to my innards. He reached up and lifted the gas mask away from his face. Underneath was not a human face.

His face was that of a vulture, its red eyes staring into me.

I woke with a start and rolled off the bunk, my breath whooshing out of me as I hit the cold, painted concrete floor. I lay there and let my breathing relax before grasping hold of the bars of the cell to pull myself to my feet.

To be continued . . .



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Monday, June 20, 2016

For the Love of Old School Fantasy - Tad Williams - Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn


Recently my first Fantasy novel launched. It's called Then a Penguin Walked In, and you can probably guess from the title that it isn't your typical fantasy book.

I have great love for the fantasy genre. I honestly don't read much of it anymore, but I cut my reading teeth on fantasy.

Back in the 80's there was this great little book store in Lawrence, Kansas called The Town Crier.

Once I was old enough to drive I would often find myself browsing their fantasy shelves looking for my next book, preferably a series. It was on one of these occasions that I came across a book called The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams. This was the first book in a series called Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn.

This was, of course, before the internet. I didn't subscribe to any kind of magazines that wrote about the latest and greatest in fantasy. So I could only do what most people did, and still do to this day really: Look at the cover and read the book description.

Well, the cover, though beautifully illustrated by Michael Whelan, didn't draw me in.

The book description however, caused me to take the book home (Don't worry, I paid for it).

This is what it says on Amazon . . . I can't be sure if that's what had been on the back of my book (I'd bought the paperback) because I no longer have a copy (though I may have a book club version up in the attic somewhere).

A war fueled by the dark powers of sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard--for Prester John, the High King, slayer of the dread dragon Shurakai, lies dying. And with his death, an ancient evil will at last be unleashed, as the Storm King, undead ruler of the elvishlike Sithi, seeks to regain his lost realm through a pact with one of human royal blood. Then, driven by spell-inspired jealousy and hate, prince will fight prince, while around them the very land begins to die.

Only a small scattered group, the League of the Scroll, recognizes the true danger awaiting Osten Ard. And to Simon--a castle scullion unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League--will go the task of spearheading the quest for the solution to a riddle of long-lost swords of power...and a quest that will see him fleeing and facing enemies straight out of a legend-maker's worst nighmares!

I remember the book opening a bit slowly. In fact, I believe I actually put it away at one point without getting past the first third of the book. I can't recall. If I did, I'm glad I decided to pick it back up again because it got really good. Really, really good.

From what I can remember of the book, you had this kid named Simon who was a scullion in the Hayholt, the castle of the great Prester John. Everyone called him Simon Mooncalf because his mind always seemed to be in the clouds. Simon is given the opportinuty to work for the castle 'wizard', Doctor Morgenes.

Doctor Morgenes, we find out, is a member of an organization of scholars called the League of the Scroll.

The Doctor is then murdered by an evil 'wizard' named Pyrates, Simon escapes from the Hayholt, and that's when it all starts blowing up.

Following The Dragonbone Chair was The Stone of Farewell and then the final book, To Green Angel Tower, which was such a massive tome that they had to split it in two when they released it in paperback.

I'll be honest here, while I've read the series at least three times, it's been over a decade or more since my last time through, so I don't recall a lot of specifics about the books. Looking into it online however, is bringing some stuff back, and I feel I need to give it another read through. Which means going through the attic to see if I still own any of the copies (because my library sure doesn't).

There are audio books out there, and though that's my preferred option at this point, they are all too rich for my blood.

I just discovered today that Williams is going to revisit the land of Osten Ard in the Spring of 2017 with the release of The Witchwood Crown, the first volume in the The Last King of Osten Ard. So I have less than a year to get myself all caught up.

Following Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Williams released a four book series called Otherland, which was Science Fiction, but I feel it needs a mention as it was the first time I strayed from the fantasy world and was an absolutely amazing series. Maybe I'll talk about it at some point in the future.

Then a Penguin Walked In can be purchased now for $2.99 from many online retailers - Click here to purchase.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

For the Love of Old School Fantasy - David Eddings


Recently my first Fantasy novel launched. It's called Then a Penguin Walked In, and you can probably guess from the title that it isn't your typical fantasy book.

I have great love for the fantasy genre. I honestly don't read much of it anymore, but I cut my reading teeth on fantasy.

After being introduced to fantasy through The Dragonlance Chronicles, I read The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. I was a freshman in high school. The Hobbit then lead, of course, to The Lord of the Rings.

As I was reading The Return of the King, book three of The Lord of the Rings (in case you weren't aware, though I'm sure most of you are), a guy at school sees me with the book and summarily suggests a book called Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings. He loaned me the book and as soon as I had completed The Lord of the Rings, I dug in.

I had been warned beforehand that Pawn of Prophecy was the first of five books in The Belgariad series and was rather excited to be diving in to such an epic tale.

The Belgariad seems like your typical fantasy book. Garion, our hero, is raised on a farm yet is destined for so much more. But first he must travel the length and breadth of the land on a quest with a group of companions to find something that was stolen. Most fantasy books, at least the ones I've read, involve a quest. What better way to introduce your readers to a new world then to take them from one corner to the other.

I was sucked in to the world of The Belgariad right way, from the deep history to the myriad of cultures,

Little did I know that by the time I'd finish The Belgariad that David Eddings would release five more books under the series name, The Malloreon.


Both The Belgariad and The Malloreon are quest books.

Quest books are rather ideal when it comes to diving into a world that the author has created because you are allowed to follow the heroes as they trek through the various lands and learn about the people that inhabit them as the story grows.

The sequel to Then a Penguin Walked In will more than likely be a quest book.

I recently just finished listening to all five of of The Belgariad audio books and all five of The Malloreon audio books, which was a lot of fun.

While there were certain things I picked up on listening to them back to back that I found slightly annoying, such as the repeated use of the phrase "I don't quite follow . . ." from most every character throughout all ten books (something I never noticed when I was reading them), spending all that time with the characters felt like going home again.

Then a Penguin Walked In can be purchased now for $2.99 from many online retailers - Click here to purchase.

The Voltron Method and Other Shows That Need It


I just finished watching Voltron: Legendary Defender on Netflix last night and I found myself full of Super Nerd Rage.

Why?

Because I wanted more.

I grew up with Voltron and as a kid thought that the idea of five robot lions that come together to form a giant robot with a sword was the tip-top of awesomeness. More so for the fact that Voltron's hands here lion heads. I mean, how much cooler can you get.

Yet, even as a young fella I grew weary of the formula. Zarkon and his witch Hagga send a Robeast (a giant monster) to fight Voltron. The team would always try to defeat the Robeast using just the five lions, but would quickly come to the conclusion that they would have to form Voltron if they were to have any chance at defeating the monster. So they would, and so they did.

But still, it always held a special place in my heart as the epitome of cool crap.

I tried the other reboots, Voltron: The Third Dimension and Voltron Force, but they failed to recapture the magic. Which, be fair, is not an easy thing to do.

Then comes Voltron: Legendary Defender.

Holy crap was this good. produced by DreamWorks Animation Television and World Events Productions, and animated by Studio Mir, they did, for me, what the other reboots failed to do: Recaptured the magic.

If you haven't watched it yet, here's the trailer followed by the opening of the original Voltron. Please, I encourage you all to click on the Youtube logo in the lower right hand corner of the video and watch all of these on Youtube and not here in these sad little squares on my web page:



But something happened to me as I watched this wonderful new show. I couldn't help but thing of the other cartoons I loved as I child and how much I wanted the people behind Voltron: Legendary Defender to do what they did for Voltron to these other series.

First and foremost in my mind was Robotech.


Robotech was my all time favorite cartoon growing up. I mean, everything else I was watching at the time were all one in done shows and here was a cartoon with one epic storyline that stretched through an entire season.

But let's continue.

How about bringing back the Galaxy Rangers:


And M.A.S.K.


A little Silverhawks maybe?


Better yet . . . we need some Voltron love on Battle of the Planets!


Okay, so I'm sure you are asking why Thundercats isn't on my list.

It is, and it isn't. Look, if we can get a Thundercats series like this Voltron series, then I'm all about it.

If not, well, they did a reboot that I enjoyed so I'm satisfied with that.

Here's the reboot followed by the original.



So let's get on that, Dreamworks Animation.

Make me happy. Make me proud.

(If I could pick only two of the above, I'd choose Robotech and G-Force . . . and Galaxy Rangers . . . . and Silverhawks.)

What cartoons from your youth would you like to see rebooted?