Starcom: The U.S. Space Force

Starcom: The U.S. Space Force is a 1987 animated syndicated television series inspired by a motorized toy franchise manufactured by Coleco.[1] The characters were adapted for animation by series creator Brynne Stephens, who also story edited the show. Starcom was produced by DIC Animation City and distributed by Coca-Cola Telecommunications. The plot detailed the adventures of an American astronaut brigade as they fought off attempted invasions by Shadow Force, a nasty collection of humans and robots led by the nefarious Emperor Dark. The toy line was popular in Europe and Asia, but was unsuccessful in the North American domestic market.

Starcom: The U.S. Space Force
StarCom: The U.S. Space Force title card
Created byBrynne Stephens
Developed byBrynne Stephens
Written byArthur Byron Cover
Barbara Hambly
Lydia Marano
Richard Mueller
Steve Perry
Michael Reaves
Brynne Stephens
David Wise
Marv Wolfman
Directed byMarek Buchwald
Voices ofPhilip Akin
Yank Azman
Robert Cait
Rob Cowan
Don Francks
Susan Roman
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes13
Executive producerAndy Heyward
ProducerRichard Raynis
Running time25 minutes
Production companyDIC Animation City
DistributorCoca-Cola Telecommunications
Original networksyndication
Original release20 September (1987-09-20) –
13 December 1987 (1987-12-13)

The show was developed with the help of the Young Astronauts’ Council, with the original intention of sparking young viewers’ interest in the NASA Space Program.[2]

The show earned poor ratings, and it was cancelled after 13 episodes.[3], however, the series was rerun in the early 1990s as part of DIC and Pax TV's "Cloud Nine" programming strand.


Like many 1980s toys, the development of the Starcom toy line preceded the development of the cartoon series.

Starcom: The U.S. Space Force debuted on television screens in 1987, and the toy line hit stores around the same time. There was plenty of variety for the pint-sized empire builder to choose from: the complete series of Starcom toys offered 23 figures, 6 playsets, and 13 vehicles on the Starcom side, while the Shadow Force was represented by 15 action figures and 11 vehicles. The action figures were two inches tall and came packaged with a backpack, a weapon, and identification cards that explained who they were and what their equipment could do. Like the figures, the vehicles and playsets benefited from a sleek, attractive design.

The most unusual aspect of the Starcom toy line was its use of Magna Lock technology. The action figures had tiny magnets implanted in their feet. Not only did this allow them to stand on the vehicles and playsets without falling off, but it also activated devices in the playsets. For instance, if one placed a figure in the elevator of the Starbase Station playset, its Magna Lock magnets would cause the elevator to rise to the top by itself. On the same playset, if one put a figure within a cannon, the Magna Lock magnets would activate a mechanism that made it turn and fire its rockets.

The vehicles and playsets also delivered Power Deploy features, which uses automatic wind up mechanisms that allows them to perform multiple actions all in a touch of a button, without the use of batteries. For example, with the touch of a button, the Starcom StarWolf unfolds its front, and both its wings. All in all, they offered plenty of moving parts (hidden compartments, cannons, folding wings, etc.). Starcom toys never caught on in the U.S. due to poor promotion and the fact that its parent show only lasted a year in syndication. They were discontinued after two years but ended up doing very well in Europe, where both the show and the toys continued to be popular long after the American toys. The toys were successful and hugely popular in Europe and Southeast Asia only after coming under the production and promotion of Mattel. That company removed the US flag and NASA details from the Coleco originals and launched the toys with a second line of promotions in the early 1990s.


Colonels: John "Slim" Griffin (Starbase Command), Paul “Crowbar” Corbin (Astro Marines), James "Dash" Derringer (Star Wing)


Shadow ForceEdit

Episode listEdit

Episode Aired Title Writer
1 20 September 1987 Nantucket Sleighride Richard Mueller
2 27 September 1987 Trojan Crowbar Steve Perry
3 4 October 1987 The Long Fall Brynne Stephens
4 11 October 1987 Caverns of Mars Michael Reaves
5 18 October 1987 Fire and Ice Michael Reaves
6 25 October 1987 Galactic Heartbeat Steve Perry
7 1 November 1987 The Boys Who Cried Dark Richard Mueller
8 8 November 1987 Dark Harvest Lydia Marano and Arthur Byron Cover
9 15 November 1987 A Few Bugs in the System Barbara Hambly
10 22 November 1987 Turnabout Marv Wolfman
11 29 November 1987 Hot Enough for You? Steve Perry
12 6 December 1987 Flash Moskowitz, Space Cadet David Wise
13 13 December 1987 The Last Star Ranger Steve Perry

Home video releasesEdit

In 2003, Sterling Entertainment released Starcom: The Search for Aliens on DVD containing 3 episodes.

On February 17, 2015, Mill Creek Entertainment released Starcom: The U.S. Space Force- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.[4][5]


Defenders in StarCom are divided into three categories:

Astro MarinesEdit

  • Col. Paul "Crowbar" Corbin
  • Capt. Vic "Dakota" Hayes / Laser R.A.T. Driver
  • Capt. Rick Ruffing / M-6 Railgunner Driver
  • Staff Sgt. Champ O`Ryan / H.A.R.V.-7 Driver
  • Sgt. Bill Travers
  • Sgt. Hector Morales
  • Sgt. Victor Rivera
  • Pfc. John "Cowboy" Jefferson
  • Pfc. Al "Cannon" Evans

Starbase CommandEdit

  • Col. John "Slim" Griffin
  • Capt. Pete Yablonsky
  • Maj. Tony Barona / Starbase Command - Starbase Commander
  • Sgt. Maj. Bull Gruff / Starbase Station - Station Chief
  • Pfc. Shawn Reed
  • Pfc. Rusty Caldwell

Star WingEdit

  • Col. James "Dash" Derringer
  • Capt. Rip Malone / Starmax Bomber Pilot
  • Lt. Bob T. Rogers
  • Lt. Tom "Bandit" Waldron / F-1400 Starwolf Pilot
  • Lt. Jeff "Bronx" Carrier / SF/B Starhawk Pilot
  • Sgt. Red Baker
  • Sgt. Ed Kramer
  • Sgt. Bob Anders / BattleCrane Pilot


  • Laser Rat - Rapid Assault Tracker / (Capt. Vic "Dakota" Hayes)
  • M-6 Railgunner - Ground Attack Vehicle / (Capt. Rick Ruffing)
  • H.A.R.V.-7 - Heavy Armored Recovery Vehicle / (Staff Sgt. Champ O`Ryan)
  • Missile Fox - Tactical Launching Vehicle
  • SkyRoller - High Rising Supertank
  • Starmax Bomber - Transport Missile Cruiser / (Capt. Rip Malone)
  • F-1400 Starwolf - Flexwing Astro Fighter / (Lt. Tom "Bandit" Waldron)
  • SF/B Starhawk - Strategic Fighter Bomber / (Lt. Jeff "Bronx" Carrier)
  • Battlecrane - Combat Cargo Lifter / (Sgt. Bob Anders)
  • Sidewinder - High Speed Jackknife Fighter
  • Tornado Gunship - Space/Air Transcopter
  • Six Shooter
  • Double Fighter - Massive Attack Jet


  • Starbase Station - Strategic Deployment Platform
  • Starbase Command - Headquarters
  • Medical Bay - Mobile Action Pod
  • Big Cannon Fortress - Mobile Action Pod
  • Command Post - Mobile Action Pod
  • Vehicle Repair - Mobile Action Pod
  • Laser Artillery - Mobile Action Pod
  • Missile Station - Mobile Action Pod


The Shadow Force is divided into two groups:


  • Emperor Dark (Appeared only as a special edition)
  • General Von Dar
  • Capt. Mace / Shadow Vampire Pilot
  • Maj. Klag / Shadow Bat Pilot
  • Maj. Romak / Shadow Invader Driver
  • Lt. Magg / Shadow Parasite Pilot
  • Sgt. Von Rodd
  • Sgt. Hack
  • Sgt. Ramor
  • Sgt. Borek
  • Cpl. Slash
  • Cpl. Storn

Robot DronesEdit

  • General Torvek
  • Capt. Battlecron-9 / Shadow Raider Driver
  • Cpl. Agon-6


  • Shadow Bat - Battle Cruiser / (Maj. Klag)
  • Shadow Parasite - Attack Fighter / (Lt. Magg)
  • Shadow Invader - Rapid Strike Vehicle / (Maj. Romak)
  • Shadow Raider - Sneak Attack Vehicle / (Capt. Battlecron-9)
  • Shadow Vampire - Enemy V.T.O.L. Fighter / (Capt. Mace)
  • Shadow Spy - Disguised Enemy
  • Shadow Bandit - Enemy Pod Lifter
  • Shadow Blast Track - Enemy Tank/Transport
  • Shadow Upriser - Elevating Land Vehicle
  • Shadow Mini-Tank
  • Shadow Attack Trike


  1. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 587. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  2. ^ John J. Kao (2010-08-17). The entrepreneurial organization. ISBN 9780132823289. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  3. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. p. 789. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  4. ^ David Lambert (5 December 2014). "Starcom: The U.S. Space Force DVD news: Announcement for The Complete Series". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Starcom: The U.S. Space Force - The Complete Series". TV Shows on DVD. 17 February 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2018.

External linksEdit