Eric S Brown
At the end of the 1970s, Marvel Comics produced many property-based comics such as Star Wars, Logan’s Run, Battlestar Galactica, Rom the Spaceknight, and Godzilla. One such title was Shogun Warriors. Based on Japanese toys, the Shogun Warriors series was ahead of its time in the Western world. Marvel acquired the rights to three of the characters, Brave Raideen (called Raydeen in the comics), Combattler V (Combatra), and Dangard Ace. These three giant mechs were piloted by an American stuntman, an oceanographer from Madagascar, and a Japanese test pilot. They battled the forces of evil as defenders of the human race and were a true part of the Marvel universe. Both the Fantastic Four and Iron Man crossed over with the Shogun Warriors.
Like the Transformers after them, the mechs of Shogun Warriors were capable of turning into other things. Raideen had a Godbird mode and Combatra broke down into several vehicles. While only twenty issues were published, it gave birth to such popular franchises as Transformers and Pacific Rim. Shogun Warriors issue eighteen even featured a giant robot named Megatron long before the leader of the Decepticons existed.
Shogun Warriors toys released in America, as well as original Shogun Warriors Marvel comics issues remain high priced collectibles to this day and are still in demand. A graded 9.8 copy of Shogun Warriors # 1 often sells in the $150+ range. The toy line continues in Japan too. The original Japanese toys were stars of their own cartoons in Japan in the 1970s and have rebooted numerous times. Combattler V had a new cartoon series in Japan in the early 2000s which lasted several seasons. A new anime film featuring Mazinger, (perhaps the most popular of the Shogun Warriors internationally) was produced within the last few years.