Publication Dates: 16 September 1989 – 1989
Number of Issues Published: 6 (#1 – #6)
Color: colour cover; some colour interior
Publishing Format: was ongoing series
Publication Type: magazine
Abruptly cancelled after 6 issues, leaving most storylines on cliffhangers. Followed by Ring Raiders Special in 1990 which completed the stories and included posters which were artwork that were done for future issues of Ring Raiders.
Information thanks to the Grand Comics Database
Ring Raiders is an animated television series based on a 1980s toy line made by Matchbox.
Set in the year 1998, the world is on the brink of a cataclysmic war. An organization dedicated to taking over the world, through the brutal use of air power, is about to realize its goal. It is known as the “Skull Squadron”, founded by a band of renegades whose planes are capable of time travel. These pilots fall in love with the power they hold and see that they can use their planes to take control of the world. There are always pilots who, twisted by war’s cruelties, are willing to join the Skull Squadron, causing it to grow bigger and more dangerous. In the 1990s, Skull Squadron is finally powerful enough to scramble for the master mission in its bid for world domination.
By now, almost too late, the great nations of the world are aware of Skull Squadron’s plot. They band together to produce an aircraft that gives them a fighting chance against the onslaught—the Justice-class air carrier, which can travel through time. The carrier is outfitted with a small crew, then sent back in time. The Justice crew beams the best planes and pilots right out of history’s greatest air battles to train them to fight against the Skull Squadron.
A handful of pilots are selected as “Ring Commanders” to train and supervise the hundreds who remain. Ring Commanders are identified by their special signal ring, through which they can summon (or be summoned by) a fellow Ring Raider in times of need.
“Ring of Fire”, “Scorch’s Revenge”, “All the Right Stuff”, “The Best Man for the Job is a Woman” and “A Pilot’s Faith” were all pilot episodes, but the series was never taken up as a full season show.
The animation art design was done by Peter Chung, based on the Those Characters From Cleveland art and toy designs of Mark Spangler and Jim Groman.
The show used the catchphrase “The command is in my hand” when characters wished to transform their planes, using their rings to make them more powerful. Their improved forms could only be held for a short time, or the pilot risked burning out their nervous system.
A Ring Raiders comic book was published by Fleetway Publications in mid-1989. The comic was published fortnightly and ran for six issues. Rather than running self-contained stories, each issue would run 5–6 serialised stories. One of these was usually a one-shot featuring the origin story of one of the featured characters.
Like the TV series and the toyline, the comic was a short lived. It was abruptly cancelled at the 6th issue, with most stories ending in cliffhangers. Save for a brief notice on the letters page stating this was happening “beyond our control”, there was no indication that this was a final issue aside from the “Next issue” boxes at the end of each story now being blank.
As promised, Fleetway released a big, thick special edition the following year around March, which concluded all the stories which had been left hanging and included another origin story. Also included were “mini posters” which were the already completed covers for what would have been the next few issues, and a couple of the airplane fact-files which had also already been completed for publication.
The comic followed a different continuity from the cartoon series. The characters looked rather different from their animated counterparts, with several having radically different origin stories, their looks and origins tying in more with the original toyline on which the comic and cartoon were based.
*This title is complete*