Manta Force

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Manta Force
Company Bluebird Toys
Availability 1986–1991

Manta Force was a line of toys produced by a British company called BluebirdPlc in 1987. The toyline was initially divided into two main factions: the heroic Manta Force and their opponents, the evil Viper Squad. Following the popularity of the Manta Force toy range, an additional enemy was introduced in 1989; known as the Karnocks. In the subsequent year, Bluebird PLc also released the Skinkhorns, who were the enemy of both Manta Force and the Viper Squad. By the early 90s however, the popularity of the toy range began to decrease and eventually production was stopped.

Background Story[edit]

By 2012, humans had colonised many planets throughout the solar-system, including Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. The planet Earth however, had become polluted and over populated. In an attempt to save mankind, President Battaille ordered the creation of the M.A.N.T.A ship. M.A.N.T.A was an acronym for Multiple-Air-Naval-Terrain-Assault Force and was the most advanced Earth ship ever built. It was designed to work in any environment and its engine was fuel by a substance called Thorium.

Following the successful launch of the M.A.N.T.A ship, the World Government created the Red Venom to help Manta Force colonise New Earth. On Saturn however, many of the people had grown tired of living in plastic bubbles and believed New Earth should belong to them. During its test runs therefore, the Red Venom was hijacked by a group of highly skilled soldiers called the Viper Squad. Under the command of Major Vex, the Viper Squad attempted to use the Red Venom to hijack the M.A.N.T.A ship, so they could be the ones to colonise New Earth.

Later the two opposing sides joined forces to fight off attacks from an alien known as Karnock who was served by an army of robots. Another enemy emerged as well in the form of Stinkhorn who led the 'vile' Stenchoids who appeared to be either another alien grouping or the native dominant life-form on New Earth.

Toys[edit]

Below is the list of Manta Force toys.

Literature[edit]

In September 1987, Eagle Comics released a comic-strip based on the Manta Force toyline. Starting with a prologue illustrated by Ian Kennedy in issue 285, the main series ran between issues 286 - 305. It was written by Alan Hebden and illustrated by Mike Dorey. The purpose of the comic-strips was to provide a back-story to Manta Force universe and help to promote the Bluebird toy range. Following the conclusion of the comic-strip in Eagle Comics, Marvel Comics UK produced a one-shot special in 1989. Presently, it is unknown if Marvel Comics UK had planned to produce additional one-shot specials or even an on-going series. Bluebird also published two promotional comics in the late 80s, to promote the Black Barracuda and Vile Stinkhorn toy ranges. These promotional comics were generally found in the packages of other Manta Force toys. In July 1989, Carnival released two books based on the Manta Force toyline. Both books were written and illustrated by Royston Drake. Similar to the comic-strips found in Eagle Comics and Marvel Comics UK, these books were designed to provide a more detailed back-story, while also promoting the

Eagle Comics

Issue Writers Illustrators Release Date
Eagle Comics # 286 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 12 September 1987
Eagle Comics # 288 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 26 September 1987
Eagle Comics # 289 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 3 October 1987
Eagle Comics # 290 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 10 October 1987
Eagle Comics # 291 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 17 October 1987
Eagle Comics # 292 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 24 October 1987
Eagle Comics # 293 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 31 October 1987
Eagle Comics # 294 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 7 November 1987
Eagle Comics # 295 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 14 November 1987
Eagle Comics # 296 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 21 November 1987
Eagle Comics # 297 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 28 November 1987
Eagle Comics # 298 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 5 December 1987
Eagle Comics # 299 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 12 December 1987
Eagle Comics # 300 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 19 December 1987
Eagle Comics # 301 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 26 December 1987
Eagle Comics # 302 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 2 January 1987
Eagle Comics # 303 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 9 January 1987
Eagle Comics # 304 Alan Hebden Mike Dorey Monday 16 January 1988

Marvel Comics UK

Issue Summary Writers Illustrators Release Date
Manta Force - Winter Special # 001 Royston Drak Royston Drak Winter, 1989

Bluebird Comics

Issue Summary Writers Illustrators Release Date
Manta Force - The Black Barracuda Attacks Example Unknown Unknown 1989
Manta Force - Vile Stinkhorn and his Stenchoids Example Unknown Unknown 1990

Carnival Books

Issue Summary Writers Illustrators Release Date
Manta Force - The Enemy Within Example Royston Drake Royston Drake Monday 17 July 1989
Manta Force - Red Venom Attack! Example Royston Drake Royston Drake Monday 17 July 1989

External links[edit]