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Friday, May 27, 2011

Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad Is Pretty Much the World's Worst Coloring Book

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 12:40 AM

Each Friday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State basements, thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_superhero_samauri_squad125.jpg

Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad

Date: 1994

Publisher: Honey Bear Books, a division of Modern Publishing, a division of Unissytems, Inc.

Discovered at: Gorman Antique Mall in Gorman, CA, that unincorporated little patch of gas stations and off-road trails 60 miles north of Los Angeles

The Cover Promises: How sad "S" looks when it's asked to do the impossible. "Syber"?

Representative Quote:

"There's mega-trouble brewing. Help the Syber-Squad find the right path from school to Sam's computer so they can samurize."

The synical syndicated enemy of lispers everywhere, The Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad stood at the nadir of a genre without peaks: kids' shows that splices scenes of American high-school mis-adventures with low-rent Japanese monster, robot, and costumed-people battles.

Imagine Saved by the Bell with much inscrutable shouting, leaping, and violence, all conceived by someone with little understanding of the way western teenagers speak or behave. Or, wait, I think that's still Saved By the Bell:

In this case, the whole mess involved a tiny villain who lived inside computers and whose pantomiming is distinguished by the vocal work of Tim Curry.

Watching the show's opening credit sequence feels like you're a dog and the 1990s themselves are a mess on the carpet your furious owner rubs your face in for 62 seconds.

Sorry as that is, the quality control standards sank even lower when it came to the ancillary products manufactured to profit off this cheap, noisy, and deeply unnecessary show. Consider this pair cheap-o coloring books, perhaps the worst yet that your Crap Archivist has come across.

Meet Tanker, Syd, and Sam, the Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad!

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_superhero_samauri_squad_01126.jpg

Note that Syd is a full-body puppet manipulated by Sam.

Actually, Sam stands that way because he's a chunk of clip art. His image above is recycled from another page:

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_samauri_rockin134.jpg

Either the Modern Publishing art department is packed with the world's laziest bastards, or there's a message here about how young men should handle women: play 'em like a bass.

Speaking of recycled images, the publishers copy-and-paste the above image of John Travolta playing the drums.


This time the re-used image has an unpleasant surprise: from the waist down, poor Tanker is more drum than man, now.

And here's the villains!


Ever seen when Corey Feldman wears his Michael Jackson outfits? And right there on his right, of course, is that DIY costume favorite all kids were whipping up in the '90s: Spaghetti-and-Cheese-Grater Faced Vader.

On occasion, Sam, Syd, and Tanker turn into robots for some reason. (Usually to go inside computers and fight Cheese-Grater Vader.) Then, on special occasions, their individual teenage fantasy selves all combine into one teenage fantasy self, kind of like Voltron or that sex scene in It.

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Servo and Drago samurize to form Phormo.

Dervo and Frago phamurise to sorm Sormo.

Phermo and Srago famurize to dorm Formo.

Tom Servo and Bono farm for yon korma.

Domo Arrigato sodomize porn Ford Fiestas.

Bad as all that is, the true horror of these Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad coloring books comes in their dot-to-dots -- almost certainly the laziest on record. (And I've logged some doozies into said record: ever see The Rambo Coloring Book, a work so sad one of its creators left a comment on my Studies in Crap post to explain her role?)

Most are just a regular sketch with a border missing.

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_superhero_samauri_squad_dot_to_dot129.jpg

Sometimes, the creators hardly even bothered removing a border.

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_dot_to_dot_2131.jpg

And sometimes, the creators seem like they'd probably rather stop drawing and just spit in kids' eyes.

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_dot_to_dot_keyboard133.jpg

Yes, it really says "See Answer Page." It really exists. In an honest world, instead of offering tiny, completed versions of all these dot-to-dots, that answer page would just say "Because adults value you only for your allowance."

Hey, you could do worse than following @studiesincrap and the Exhibitionist blog at @ExhibitionistSF on the Twitter thing.

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Alan Scherstuhl


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