From Horror Movie To Horror Comics: Blade The Iron Cross

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update series. For this one we got something very fun that I have been looking forward to covering on here since it was announced as I am a fan of the character, the film series he is from, a fan of the production company as well as all the comics that have been released around his universe…and this pint size terror is the main star for many of the fans of the films as he is very cool looking and is one badass dealer of death to good and bad people depending on who’s pulling his strings! And if you have not guessed it yet, I am talking about Blade from the Puppet Master film series created by Charles Band and his Full Moon Entertainment! And Full Moon Entertainment understands that comic books are an amazing way to promote films and even opened their own company to release them! So if you are ready, let’s head into the world of Puppet Master and chat about everyone’s favorite tiny knife handed killer Blade!

Let’s take a look first at Blade and his was of dealing death to foolish humans that cross his path or set as his target. Blade is 1’9” tall puppet that wears a black hat as well as a black trench coat and shoes. He has a white face with spiked bullet eyes and white hair. His left hand is a hook and his right hand is a razor sharp knife and all this above is part of his tool to set up the kill as it puts fear into the hearts of those who see him. Because of his small size, he is super fast and can use it to rush in for an attack as well as can use it to hide from those he wishes to get away from or be undetected. His hook and knife hands are booth sharp and he uses them to cut, stab and slash human flesh and are the main tools of his death dealing. He also has two tiny blades in his eyes that can cut and stab through human flesh. The soul that resides inside Blade is that of Dr. Hess, a surgeon who was forced by the Nazi’s to use his skills in order to try and create super soldiers, and when his kidnappers killed him, his soul was placed inside one of Andre Toulon’s puppets. Blade is also very much a pack hunter as while he kills on his own he is also kills alongside his fellow Puppets and when they kill together he is very much more dangerous. The fact that while Blade has a soul it for the most part don’t effect his personality as what really does is who controls him at the time, and because whomever is the Puppet Master at the time brings us to one of Blade’s weakness…the fact he can be controlled and told what to do as via all his movie appearances Blade has went from a good guy to a bad guy several times. Another weakness of his is that he needs a serum made of brains to survive as that is what makes his puppet body and gears come alive, but if he don’t have it he will become weak and at some point just stop moving and go into a freeze state. His small size, while a good for attacks and hiding, also can be a weakness as people can knock him around if they get their hands on him. Blade can be broken as well and stuff like gunshots, fires and dismemberment can stop him and cause him to have to be repaired…stopping his killing spree cold. While Blade is pint sized, he is super dangerous if you become one of his attended victims.

Now that we know just how deadly Blade is, I think we should take a few moments to talk about the film this one shot comic is based on! The film’s write up is coming from our friends at IMDB and then I will write about the film’s production and history as well as my thoughts of the film. So if you are ready, let’s talk about this film in Full Moon Entertainment’s Deadly 10 film releases.

Blade: The Iron Cross (2020)

“In 1945 a psychic war journalist gains a telekinetic link to a murderous puppet and uses its help to sabotage a top secret Nazi experiment that involves using a Death Ray to transform people into zombies.”

In 2019 Charles Band, the owner of Full Moon. made a major announcement that sent shockwaves through fans of independent horror films when he talked about the “Deadly 10” film releases and showcased the 10 films on the list. Fans were super excited when titles started to be announced as new titles like Grim Rapper, Hourglass, Shadowheart Curse and Weedjies peaked interests, but the sequels were what drew everyone in as we finally were getting new films in the worlds of Subspecies, Necropolis, Sorority Babes In The Slime Bowl-O-Rama, Head Of The Family, Femalien and of course Puppet Master with it being a solo Blade film! Full Moon teased fans with not only the titles but also posters of the titles as well with the bombshell that the only way to see them first was to subscribe to their streaming service called “Full Moon Features Streaming” and that they would be released over the next several years. The film went into the filming stages and as always Full Moon did a fantastic job of showing clips and on set images to build up the release of the film. They also released a comic book based on the film to promote it and many Horror Websites covered the film coming out and kept building the hype for the film. The film had John Lechago as the director who had directed many of the companies Killjoy sequels and had such actors and actresses as Tania Fox, Vincent Cusimano, Griffin Blazi, Angelica Briones and Roy Abramsohn in big roles and even indie film director and creator Dustin Ferguson as a production assistant, not to mention Richard Band doing the score music! And finally when the fright flick was released in 2020 it was met with mixed reviews with many fans enjoying it and even some critics enjoyed it! After a little time of it being on the streaming platform it was released on both DVD and Blu-Ray for collectors to own. The film was one of three of the Deadly 10 films released in 2020 with the other two being Necropolis: Legion and Weedjies, both who also got comics and will be covered her on Rotten Ink soon! Blade: The Iron Cross was one of the biggest releases for the Deadly 10 films and made its impact on the world of Puppet Master as that is a massive indie horror franchise and this film is apart of its legacy.

When Full Moon announced the Deadly 10 releases, I was super hyped as I have been a life long fan of the company and even a member of the old fan club, I joined it when I was a teenager! I was really the most excited by Subspecies V: Blood Rise as them bringing back Anders Hove as Radu and Denice Duff as Michelle with Ted Nicolaou back as director was something I was waiting for many years now, but a solo Blade movie was also on my radar as the Puppet Master series hands down is Full Moons most iconic movie series. As the film was in production I noticed many websites as well as Facebook groups I was apart of promoting it and then I noticed that even indie filmmaker Dustin Ferguson was on the crew showing that as always Full Moon was helping up and coming filmmakers get their name and experience in film. I of course bought the comic when released and waited for the film to be released on home media before watching it as I am a fan of physical media and theater and not so much of streaming a film as I feel the streaming aspects makes the movies seem disposable. Juliet and I choose to watch the film in January 2021 while eating a good meal from Ajanta a great Indian food restaurant. And the first thing we both noticed was the weird bigger size of Blade as he was way to large and his jaw was weird looking, but Blade looking weird aside the film was an alright watch that had some pretty cool kills and made me more of a mega fan of actress Tania Fox who has played the character Elisa Ivanov in two Puppet Master films, she is a great actress and very lovely. The over all acting of the film as well was good with a few bit part players being way to over the top and hammy, I also would say that the film needed more Blade as the first solo film in the Puppet Master series he sure did seem to take a back seat in much of the plot. But I would say that while the film was flawed it was over all a fun watch on a late cold night, Juliet thought the same as said it was “Ok”. Puppet Master is Full Moons main franchise and Charles Band knows it and this I think will be the start of many more solo films featuring the Puppets to come.

The Deadly 10 is a great concept from Charles Band and allowed Full Moon fans a look at films to come and had films for everyone, while Blade: The Iron Cross was not a mega hit with critics or fans it still is a film that fits into the legacy and story of the series. Now let’s take a look at the comic that was released along side the film a very cool promotional item that helped spark even more interest for the film. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for getting me a copy of this comic and would like to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what Blade has in store for the Nazi’s in this Horror Comic one-shot!

Blade: The Iron Cross # 1  **1/2
Released in 2019    Cover Price $3.99    Full Moon    # 1 of 1

The year is 1939 and Andre Toulon and his young apprentice Peter are about to go to bed, but they first welcome Blade to their puppet family. You see Blade is really German Dr. Hess a man who was working on a project that would bring dead soldiers back to life for the Nazis, you see while he had to work for them he was not loyal to them and was killed when he helped Toulon escape a camp. Once Toulon is asleep Blade gets up and runs out into the streets and towards his old lab and watches as two Nazis are talking about stealing the dairy and notes of Hess and sealing them to the Americans so that both sides can kill each other off! Once inside they find the notes just as Major Vogt enters and takes the notes from them as he wants the glory for turning them into the Reich. As the two soldiers grab more from the lab Blade ends their life by slitting ones throat and then rips another out with a hook! As Vogt and another Soldier enter they as well fall victim to Blades vengeance as he slashes the belly of the soldier, and then massacres Vogt by cutting his eyes and removing both his tongue and head! But Blade is not done and also kills the Nazi truck driver before returning back to his new home with Toulon and his fellow puppet brothers. But the solider with the belly slash is not dead and has the notes and escapes into the night.

What a fun comic based on Blade of the popular Puppet Master film series! The story has Blade trying his best to get rid of loose ends from his human life and he wants to stop the tests to try and bring the dead back to life as well as deal good old fashioned death to some Nazi scum. The issues main bad guy is Major Vogt who serves the Third Reich and wants to be the one who gets the glory of finding the notes of Dr. Hess so that the tests and project of re-animation can continue, he clearly was a man driven by ego and greed and that’s why he gets the most gruesome death in the issue! The Nazi soldiers as well are spineless worms who are looking out for themselves and would sell away secrets that will coast many of human lives for their own gains, and that’s why its nice to see them pay…well, all but one maggot that is able to get away. Andre Toulon and Peter are just trying to hide and get some sleep in a war stricken building, and deep inside I think Andre Toulon knew that Blade was going to go and massacre some fools that night as when the puppet returns its as if Toulon was waiting for him. Blade is on a mission in this comic as he heads to his lab, listens to plans, sizes up how many targets he has and then takes his shot and brings them all down super fast and super brutal. He is silent, tiny, deadly and focused and shows that while the puppets from Puppet Master can be pack killers they are just as deadly on their own. The comic is pretty violent and is filled with blood and gore as a head is removed, blood is pouring out of massive slash wounds and a tongue is ripped from a skull, great stuff for a Horror Comic like this! I should also note that this comic is opened and closed by The Gore Collector from the Bunker Of Blood series that was released by Full Moon that showcases clips from their most popular films. The story was written by Shawn Gabborin who is a great writer for Horror Comics is the man behind the stories for Action Lab comic series like Puppet Master and Black Betty to name a few and his story for Blade: The Iron Cross fits really great into the world of the films and shows that Shawn understands the Full Moon world he is writing in. The cover I have is very eye catching and has Blade standing on a mountain of skulls with the Charles Band Deadly Ten logo at the top, very cool! The interior art for the Blade segments is done by Yusup Idris and is fantastic stuff and he is super skilled in the world of Horror Comic art, I would love to see him tackle more comics based on spooky films. Over all Blade: The Iron Cross is a great comic book that is well written and fits like a glove in the cinema world created by Charles Band. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Idris and you will see just what I am talking about when I say I want to see him do other Horror Comics based on films.

I am glad that Charles Band has opened up Full Moon Comics and has the likes of Shawn Gabborin who was once the main man at Action Lab Comics on staff. As Full Moon has so many great characters that would make for great comics like Castle Freak, Killjoy and Tourist Trap all films that have never gotten the comic treatment. Blade is the most popular puppets in the Puppet Master series it was cool seeing him not only get a solo film but also a solo comic adventures and I hope more of these type of films and comics are released in the future as I am looking forward to a Jester ones if they every decide to do them. Well for our next update I will be turning over Rotten Ink to Juliet and she will be covering a Horror Hostess that she loves as she will give Stella Desire the Horror Host Icon treatment! So that should be a great update for Horror Host fans like myself and until next time read a Indie Horror Comic or three, watch a Full Moon film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a update with Stella and her show Saturday Night Deeeeaaaddddd.

SOV Flashback Classics – Suicide 2

Welcome back to another SOV Flashback Classic update and another entry from the history of Independent B Movie’s video vault! We are on the fourth film in the history of this Dayton, Ohio shot-on-video company and marked the end of Fairmont Productions and the start of Independent B Movie and all its sub branches that include Acid X, Dark Soul Productions and Jive Turkey. And the film that is the topic today is the first sequel we ever made and one that for years was considered our most watched film as it always played at parties and gatherings and was considered our peak film for quite a while. I am talking about Suicide 2, the hit sequel to our first film Teen Suicide! I am very much looking forward to looking back on Suicide 2 as this film is the one that the likes of co-founder of Independent B Movie Brandon Womeldorff always looked at as the best film in the company’s long history of shot on video films only rivaled by 2002’s “Razor” in his eyes, and really was the film that kicked off years of films to follow as it was the bar that was set for them to reach. So if you are ready, let’s go back to 1999 when Matt returned to get his revenge on those who tormented him and forcing him to attempt to take his own life!

In 1999 after making the films Teen Suicide, Twisted Batman, Cask of Amontillado and The Things They Carried, I graduated High School and so ended my time at Fairmont and I also thought maybe could have ended our movie making days as a group of friends because we had always used the school’s cameras and editing systems to pull off them all besides Twisted Batman. While I was out of school, the rest of the guys Matt Hoffman, Brandon Womeldorff, Dan Salter, Dave Wean, Rion Neeley and Linda Webb were all still students starting their senior year, and we all stayed close friends as while they were at school, I was working a job at the grocery store Krogers as a bagger. And the thing that was killing me was the fact I knew that they could and would make more films that year and maybe if I was lucky I would be asked to act in them, and then the idea happened. One day while eating lunch at fast food restaurant Wendy’s Brandon pitched the idea of making a sequel to Teen Suicide and calling it Suicide 2…and during this talk many ideas were thrown around from it following another kid from the school who was being picked on by the same group of bullies, the idea of a unknown masked killer stalking the bullies was very briefly discussed and also the idea of having Matt survive the suicide attempt and going for revenge was chatted. And after everyone saying their ideas and which ones they liked, it was decided that Matt had to return as he needed his time to shine and fight back. Plus this time it was not going to be a silent film and would be more of an Action Horror flick with lots of supernatural elements.

The film was cast first before the script was even written and of course Matt Hoffman was back as Matt, Brandon Womeldorff once more played The Car Thief Bully with Scott Harman back as Bully 3 with a name change to Karate Killer Bully, and I was Bully 2 this time around called The Silent Predator! Dave Wean was the Crazy Man Bully, Dan Salter was Skate Boarder Bully with Rion Neeley being Roof Man Bully, who rounded out film’s baddies. We also added to the cast was Linda Webb as the Girlfriend and Jacquelyn Maxwell as a streetwalker. And once the names were in place, Brandon got hard at work on doing the script and also took ideas that both Hoffman and I added as I wanted to add a dark satanic element to the bullies and Hoffman picked the ways he would get revenge on the bullies. After only a week, the script was done and Suicide 2 was ready to film! And the film was shot on a Super-VHS camera for those wondering.

We started filming and tried to stay in order of the script as the film was made in the middle of the school year for them, and graduation was just around the corner so as we filmed it, Brandon was editing away on the Avid Editing Machine and I was asked to also run camera for many scenes as well as produce it, as I had a job at the time and could pay for some of the small amount of supplies. The first day of filming took place on a sunny day just after a night filled of thunderstorms, and we headed back to State Farm Park and the “Suicide Hill” location only after stopping at K-Mart once more and picking up some ketchup to use as blood. The first day of filming used a very small crew as it was Hoffman, Brandon, Dave and myself and with me getting the honor of squirting the “blood” on Hoffman’s head started the production of Suicide 2 and set the mood and tone of this second film. The production of this film took a few months as it had the biggest cast we ever worked with and they were lucky that they were able to film during the school day so Brandon and Hoffman were able to film with the likes of Dan Salter, Linda Webb and Scott Harman during the day, and in the evening and weekends I would join the film team again as well as play the part of the Silent Predator who was now the leader of the bullies as well was a Satanist who was using dark arts to help gain “powers” for myself as well as my bully crew, and man I had a blast playing this character as he was mean and just scummy and took joy in tormenting Matt who was just trying to live his re-given life and figure out a way to get revenge.

The film during production had many fight scenes and they are some of the worst we have ever filmed, but at the time we thought they looked great…but they were so bad with us looking super stiff and awkward doing fake style moves on each other…but of course because none of us were trained, accidents did happen as on one scene I gave Hoffman a running clothesline while he was sitting on a swing, and well I hit him a little too hard! On many of the Dave Wean and Hoffman fight scenes, things got a little rough and poor Hoffman was on the bad end of a move. In one scene Hoffman is getting beat up by Rion, Dave and myself and by accident I kicked him in the gut and knocked the wind out of him. We also thought that we could pull off many stunts and like with the fighting we were wrong and people ended up getting hurt like in one scene Rion Neeley was hit by a car by Hoffman and the car hit him a little harder then it should have and when he fell to the ground he screwed up his back. Another amazing thing about making this film is that we filmed part of it after the Columbine High School Massacre as were able to pull off fake guns in the schools parking lot as well as show fake bullying in their hallways. Plus the satanic elements of my character were based on my high school time at Fairmont and was a way to make fun of the label that school workers placed on me. Plus we also played with lighting in this film that was a first for us, and Brandon during editing found his love for the use of slow motion to draw out the drama and action of the movies he worked on in the future.

The final shots of the film took place in Hills & Dales Park in Kettering and then Waynesville, Ohio and it was Matt’s showdown revenge with The Silent Predator, and was filmed very late at night with the first part being shot at a shelter at the park with car headlights and a red light used to build the eerie feel, and the Silent Predator even spits out blood like a vampire (it was food coloring and it tasted gross) and after the final fight, we packed up and headed towards Waynesville and at the side of the road we filmed a scene of The Silent Predator with candles and chants bringing back the Car Thief from the dead…it was silly and was cut from the film in the end. Once done Brandon worked super hard to polish the film up and make it look just right and placed music throughout that was mostly just 90’s Techno and Alternative Rock tracks, and once he was done, we had a massive gathering at Linda Webb’s apartment that was complete with pizza, pops, chips and other drinks and we watched the film as a group and we all had a blast laughing and goofing on each others performances. And from then on at many house parties and gatherings Brandon would bust out Suicide 2, and I cannot even count how many times I have seen the film, and for the longest time it was considered the top of the line for our filmmaking group…but that would change a few years later. When Independent B Movie was finally created and we started selling our films Suicide 2 was released on VHS and sold pretty well and made its rounds also doing some small screenings at Conventions, and even played a handful of times on a local Public Access station. Later it would be paired with Teen Suicide on DVD and was our first DVD release that even included commentary and extras and was put together by a young filmmaker Henrique Couto.

Suicide 2 was the main film that kicked off our want to keep making movies as a group as we had a blast making it. I mean sure, at times Matt Hoffman and Brandon Womeldorff would get into drag out verbal fights and would be at odds with each other for days while filming it still was something that just felt very special that we all created together. Even now in 2021 when watching this film it holds a special place in my heart. So I want to say that for these I.B.M films I will write about its plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for Independent B Movie/Bloodline Video films. So if you are ready, let’s take a look at Matt’s second round of fighting for his life against bullies, and also his quest to find death.

Suicide 2
Starring – Matt Hoffman & Linda Webb     Directed by Brandon Womelforff
1999     Not Rated     54min     Independent B Movie     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Matt awakens in the field with blood all over the side of his head five days after he put a gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. He is confused and stumbles away from the scene. We then join the Car Thief as he picks up the Kung-Fu bully from school, he is still driving Matt’s car and the pair discuss the return of Matt after the suicide attempt and that they will make Matt pay for not dying. Once back at school Kung-Fu Bully has a run in with Matt and leaves him once more beaten up. The next day Matt is beat up by the High School Security Guard and the next day he is beat up by The Silent Predator and the Crazy Bully! Day after day Matt finds himself the victim of beat downs at the hands of all his tormenters including a new ones called the Roof Man Bully and Skateboard Bully as they all beat him up by themselves or in a groups. Matt’s girlfriend is cheating on him with the Car Thief Bully and even a Prostitute degrades him when he goes looking for love. Day after Day Matt is made fun of and bullied…and he snaps and this time suicide is not his first answer as revenge is on his mind! One by one Matt hunts down his tormentors armed with his gun, car and bare hands and makes them pay by dealing out death. In the end he has a showdown with the Silent Predator and after shooting him all his bullies are dead! Matt then returns home and makes a bomb and straps it to his chest and blows himself up…ending his torment as well as the lives of his bullies.

Thoughts: Watching Suicide 2 after all these years was very cool as so many great memories came back to me about filming this “epic” shot on video backyard film as it was a blast to be once more being creative with my friends from school. Plus I think the making of this film made us all even better friends as we all got to hang out all the time and not only film, but also plan more films as well as other creative outlets even forming a band and well as going on ghost hunts together. The film allowed many of us to also give our ideas and develop our own characters with poor Matt Hoffman being he one who ended up having to be the one who had to be the butt of all the on screen jokes and butt kicking’s. But I must say that Hoffman is the one who got to pick the way we killed off each of the characters that made his characters life miserable and I think he enjoyed that as he got to really build the films action climax. One thing that was also lots of fun was just traveling around town at all hours of the day and night armed with our trusty school borrowed camera setting up shots and situations. This was also the first time in a shot on video film that I used food coloring as blood, and learned that putting a bunch in your mouth to spit out does not look good when you do it way too fast. While this was the fifth film in the history of what would become Independent B Movie it was one that was a blast to make and was our biggest and boldest made for the time as we pushed the limits of what we could get away with while many of the creators and actors were in school. Is it my favorite film we made…not at all…but it is one that I say helped push us all into making the movies that followed that got us some attention in the world of backyard shot on video films.

Grade: B-

Suicide 2 was to also be the start of a series of Suicide films that would have starred Hoffman as the undying anti-hero Matt as he would face off with not only the bullies but later would have fought Asylum workers, demons and even The Devil himself, but this franchise was just not meant to be even though it started production many times and went through many of scripts over the years with Brandon, Hoffman, Wean and myself all have written a treatment at some point. But who knows, while I doubt if a third movie is ever made, I would not rule out Suicide 3 from one of the many scripts being made into a Blood Scream Comic one-shot issue. And also for those interested the character Matt from Teen Suicide and Suicide 2 does make a comic book appearance in the first issue of the Sparkle Comic anthology comic called “Weird Sci-Fi Tales” with the story and art being done by Bruce O’ Hughes. And a “technical” third film was made in 2003 that also acted as a remake called Teen Suicide and was directed by Henrique Couto and featured a female lead being bullied. Well I hope you enjoyed this look back at this SOV classic from not only my past but that of Independent B Movie, the little indie company that could and did. For our next update we are walking away from the shot on video world and entering the world of Puppet Master as we will be taking a look at the Deadly 10 Comic based on puppet Blade for a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! So until next time read an indie comic or three, watch a SOV film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a Full Moon Entertainment Comic good time.

Horror Host Icon: Crazyman

It’s Saturday night in 1974, and Saturday Night Live has just ended and as always the comedy skits of Belushi, Aykroyd, Murray, Radner and Morris have tickled your funny bone but you need more! You are watching KVOA-TV Channel 4 in Arizona and you are still up and looking for entertainment as you finish your drink and bowl of snack food and to your delight Crazyman TV is on and he is hosting a cheesy horror movie for the night.  In other words you get more comedy and a dash of Sci-Fi and Horror. And while Crazyman might not be a household name when it comes to the world of Horror Hosting, he for sure means something to his viewers as when looking into him, the viewers of the show surely loved every second they spent with him on those light nights. So if you readers are ready, I know I am ready to bring you Horror Host Icon: Crazyman! So let’s enter the dungeon cell or asylum room and chat about this true crazy man of Horror Hosting.

The Crazyman is a strange man with a bald head who wears a lab coat and was spending his life in a dungeon cell for his crimes against humanity! All he has in his cell is an old radio, a coffin to sleep in, and an eclectic chair, and he spends most of his time having fun hosting the movies and getting orders from The Warden off screen who is keeping him in the cell for what’s best for all mankind. But from time to time Crazyman was allowed visitors that were fans of the show or even his only true friend, a talking floating head by the name of Streamline. The Crazyman had a very loud voice and was over all very good natured as in some episodes it seemed like The Warden loved to pull pranks on him like dumping food items on his head as he talked to viewers. At some point due to his good behavior and bringing so much laughter and chills to his viewers, The Crazyman was set free back into the world and his journey ended for many years. But in 2010 he was minding his own business driving down the road and was chased by the cops, and this time is forced to spend his life in an Insane Asylum! So as you can see, for some reason those in power here in America really want to keep Crazyman away from the population and want to keep him locked away and forced to entertain those who watch his shows. While he has been off the airwaves and web streams for a while now, who knows when and if The Crazyman will appear again and where this time they will keep him locked up. Crazyman was played by Gary Craig who is a man of many talents as he is not only a Horror Host but is also an actor, writer, radio host, comedian and is known for his roles in movies like Echelon 8 (2009) and American Hustle (2013), and for those who want to learn more about Gary Craig, you should read his book “Tugging On The Sleeve Of Fame” about his life as an entertainer.

The Crazyman Show started in 1974 and aired very late nights on KVOA-TV Channel 4 and was one of those the makers paid to have it played right after Saturday Night Live. It took viewers by storm as it gained a cult following but sadly only lasted a couple of years before going off the air. But while only lasting that short amount of time, the Crazyman Show made an impact of viewers of Arizona TV, but some might find it also interesting Crazyman also was on the Radio as part of Gary Craig’s show. But after decades off the airwaves, The Crazyman Show would appear again this time via YouTube with an all new season of short shows that would have him hosting a clip from a popular movie that he would add himself into. This Internet version of the show would last 5 normal episodes and would also have a small handful of Holiday Specials, and would show that Crazyman still had lots of laughs yet to deliver. The fun thing about both the broadcast TV show and the YouTube web show is while they really are very much different in appearance and location (Dungeon Cell to Asylum Room), the vibe and zany humor is still there for both. While Crazyman Show is not having new episodes, I do have a gut feeling this is not the last we will see of it and its host Crazyman.

As I have said before, all good Horror Hosts have their fair share of great sidekicks and cohosts and Crazyman had his fair share. His most used had to be The Warden, a voice that echoed out in order to tell his prisoner things as well he always liked to mess with Crazyman during segments and tried to throw him off his hosting game. Also around in the Dungeon Cell was Streamline, the talking head that would stop in to visit Crazyman and carry on talks about things going on. Both these sidekicks added their own level of fun and silly moments to the show, and they each had their own fans that looked forward to seeing what they would be doing on their next appearance on the show. While The Warden and Streamline are not in the hosting history books, they were great characters that made The Crazyman Show a better watch for viewers. I also want to give a shout out to The Head Docto,r the voice from the speaker box for the rebirth of the series that took place around 2010/2011.

Crazyman is a host that I discovered via YouTube and after watching clips of his classic show from the 70’s, and I laughed at their silly nature and knew I had to see more! I searched far and wide to see if anyone had any full episodes as I checked trade lists and sadly it appears that there just aren’t any classic episodes in the world. One thing that I 100% noticed is that The Crazyman borrows lots from Florida Horror Host M.T. Graves, most notably with the prison setting, The Warden being an off camera co-host and even a head that was the hosts friend. And it’s clear the makers of this show were huge fans of M.T. and his influence is felt in the Crazyman’s episodes. I myself like to think the two are linked and The Warden is the same Warden who went from imprisoning Graves to Crazyman and enjoys what he does. What drew me into Crazyman is the fact that everyone who made the show come alive seemed to have a blast filming it and The Crazyman with his voice is just silly fun stuff. The comeback series of The Crazyman that was started in 2010 was more of a comedy skit with a dash of Horror Hosting and is very different in appearance, but still in my opinion holds the charm of the 70’s show.

So for this Horror Host Icon update I searched every Dungeon and Asylum looking for Crazyman as I wanted to take a few moments and ask him a few questions, and lucky for you and me…. I found him!! So here we go 5 Questions with a true Crazyman!

Me: Welcome To Rotten Ink Crazyman, my first question for you is what or who got you into Horror Hosting?

Crazyman:  I’ve been in radio and TV since 1971.  Worked at numerous radio stations, and had different TV shows in a few states.  Hosting came naturally to me. Loved to be on camera, and to be totally in charge of writing and performing the episodes.  Early in my career, Charlie Baxter was very kind to me.  He had a character named M.T. Graves and was very popular in Florida.  I performed on his show, and “borrowed” a few ideas from his show when I was writing mine.

Me: M.T. Graves is a true legend of Horror Hosting! So out of your first classic episodes what was your favorite movie you got to host?

Crazyman: That’s a tough one because I didn’t really pay that much attention to what the movie or show was…too busy writing and producing my portion of it.  I do remember we had some Doctor Who episodes.  I do remember years later in Hartford Connecticut.  I hosted the film, “Gorilla at Large” and I did it IN a gorilla costume.

Me: Ha that’s great! So if you could host any film what would you pick?

Crazyman: It would be difficult to pick a film now because it would depend on what I would do in the episode…and if I were doing it today, I would be reacting specifically to the film.

Me: Understand that, What does the future hold for you Crazyman?

Crazyman: UPS just arrived with 40 cases of Purell.  I’m going to put my hazmat suit on and watch some Elvira episodes.

Me: So finally what advice do you have for any future Horror Hosts reading this?

Crazyman: Yes. Youtube

I want to thank Crazyman for taking his time to answer these five questions for me here at Rotten Ink, and I hope you readers enjoyed it! It’s very interesting that he sees the future of Horror Hosting being YouTube and I can see what he means as it’s one of the best ways for any creator to get their work seen by millions of people, but I also do think at times some very talented shows and Hosts on that platform get overlooked as its an outlet that is very much over saturated, and things get lost in the shuffle. I think that YouTube along with Public Access TV and streaming stations like The Monster Channel, Shudder and The Vortexx working together will be what is what will keeps Horror Hosting alive for generations to come.

So now that you understand The Crazyman a little more I think it’s time that we get to the episodes I have of his, and like I said sadly the 70’s episodes as of right now are lost to time with only a few clips surviving and being shared on YouTube. So what I will be reviewing is Crazyman’s 2010 returns episodes as well as the holiday specials he did. I want to remind you that I will not be giving these episodes a star rating and watching these for the first time just for this Icon update! I will be taking the films’ writes up from IMDB and will be writing the host segments breakdown myself. So let’s go visit Crazyman in the place he feels right at home in the Asylum.

The Crazyman Show: Season 1
Starring – Dr. Phil & Morris Katzman     Not Rated     2010/2011

Host: “Episode 1” The Crazyman is on the run from the law and when he is captured while at a cigar and joke shop, he is sentenced to spend his life at the Happydale Mental Hospital! Crazyman gets locked in a room and over a speaker The Head Doctor informs him that he will never be released and that his word is law, The Head Doctor also tells him that people are watching and he needs to show them a movie and he does just that as it’s a clip from “Wizard Of Oz” and Crazyman inserts himself into the scene. The clip is interrupted by a phone call from David Letterman who gives him a Top 10 List of things to do in a mental hospital. In the end Crazyman sits down and reads a book about straight jackets. “Episode 2” Crazyman gets a visitor and it’s his accountant, and as the visitor is making his way to his cell Crazyman shows a clip from the movie “Saw” and like before he places himself into the film. And after being told he is broke he has a flashback of being a late night talk show host and is like Johnny Carson and even chats with Donald Trump. When back to reality Crazyman can’t picture himself as a host on TV. “Episode 3” Crazyman this time gets a phone call from his agent as he thinks that if me makes some entertainment deals he could get out of the Asylum and offers him a Capital One commercial, and of course Crazyman botches it by not getting the lines straight and ends with the crew annoyed with him for it. “Episode 4” Crazyman is dancing around and gets a visit from Dr. Phil who informs him that Oprah is the only person who can free him from the asylum, but she is mad at him for eating all the Twinkies, and gives him a mental test that ends with Dr. Phil telling him off. We then see a clip of Crazyman in the film “Forest Gump” and right after a nurse enters his room and gives him an injection, right after The Head Doctor gets on the speakers and warns everyone that the nurse is a fake and is really a patient and to not let her inject ya…we end with Crazyman looking at the viewers. “Episode 5” Crazyman starts the show off with a visit from rock n roll icon Ozzy Osborne who is lost and can not find his room that is 212, after Ozzy leaves The Head Doctor calls and reminds him that he has a meeting with the hospital shrink today and Crazyman shows a clip of the film “Psycho” that has him of course in it. Crazyman while talking to The Shrink tells him about a dream he had about being on the show The Apprentice and that Donald Trump fired him! And after Crazyman spills his guts on all his weird dreams, we find out the Shrink is not listening and is looking at a gentlemen’s magazine.

The Crazyman Show: Specials
Starring – Dr. Phil & Morris Katzman     Not Rated     2010/2011

Host: “Crazyman Gets A Gift” It’s Christmas at Happydale and its snowing outside and The Head Doctor has allowed Crazyman to spend the holiday at his house, but with one condition that he behaves himself…he then has Crazyman open a gift that turns out to be a generic Apple iPad! “Happy New Year At Happydale” Crazyman is feeling down as it’s New Years Eve and he is stuck spending the day at the Asylum, when The Head Doctor gives him an old TV for his room so that he can watch the ball drop, while Crazyman and a female nurse plug it in he shows us a clip from “Casablanca” that of course has him in the movie. We then join Crazyman as the ball drops and he is clearly down, as a Doctor comes in his room and he gives him a party favor and a pat on the shoulder. “The Crazyman Is The New Pope” The Crazyman is now the new Pope and is given a speech about new rules as well as just silly crazy talk! “Halloween At Happydale” Head Nurse Sunny Valentine alerts all the patients that they will be having a gathering and The Head Doctor forces Crazyman to attend and then promises that maybe he will allow him out for an hour to go Trick Of Twerking! Crazyman imagines what it would be like to be free for awhile to get candy and after he thinks the world would be mean to him he decides to stay safe and sound in the asylum.

There you have it – Crazyman is a Horror Host that lives up to his name and his show really is crazy and over the top and heck of a lot of fun! One day I hope to see not only new episodes but also that someone will find complete episodes of the classic show! While The Crazyman is very much inspired by M.T. Graves, he adds his own touches to the formula and creates something very special on its own and delivers lots of laughs! And who knows maybe one day The Crazyman will find himself in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as I feel he should be as he delivered the antics and shows that entertained the people of Arizona and later YouTube. But for our next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting and the Happydale Mental Health Asylum and will be taking a look at the Shot On Video film Suicide 2 that was released by Independent B Movie! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update SOV fans!

Malibu Comics Ultraverse Memories: Prototype

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my little spot on the web where I enjoy looking back at things I enjoyed from my past all the way up to present day.  For this update I think it’s time that we again take a look at a hero from the world of Malibu Comics that was part of their Ultraverse comic line and one I can remember reading when I was a kid. The hero I decided to choose for this one is my third favorite character from the Ultraverse who was their version of Iron Man, and of course I am talking about Prototype! And if you are ready I am ready to talk about Malibu Comics and another hero from the Ultraverse.

Malibu Comics was, for a short time in the 90’s, the third top selling comic company in America and wanted so badly to topple Marvel Comics that was sitting at the top of the mountain, and they thought that the Ultraverse was the way to do so, as they created characters that were very similar to some of Marvel and DC’s top heroes.  With the character Prototype, they wanted to have a strong contender to Iron Man! So let’s take a brief moment and talk about who Prototype is and what powers he wields. Jimmy Ruiz is a man who works for Ultra-Tech and was an Ultra Human himself as he had his own internal energy source that was perfect for their Prototype Armor as he could power it himself. But in order to get the armor Jimmy had to allow them to surgically implant the cybernetics that allows him to also control the armor. You see Ultra-Tech on purpose injured the original wearer of the armor by the name of Bob Campbell so that they could replace him with Jimmy and the pair later on team up to break free of Ultra-Tech and become the heroes they know they are supposed to be. And after this Jimmy would go onto join the superhero team UltraForce! Jimmy’s powers are that his body acted as an energy source for the suit, with the suit on as well he could control powers he had such as the ability to fly and fire blasts from hands as well as lift up to 100 tons! And what of Bob Campbell you ask, well after Marvel Comics took over Malibu Comics, during the Black September Event they wiped away Jimmy and had Bob be the only Prototype, but before that while still being under Malibu Comics, he had a new set of Armor given to him by the group Aladdin and called himself Ranger. So that was a quick crash course on who was the hero known as Prototype.

What they could have done with the character in the Marvel Universe? Of course place him in Iron Man Comics! As Tony Stark is testing new armor and weapons, and he hires Jimmy Ruiz to test them out for him, and the reason he chooses Jimmy is he himself is a metal armored hero known as Prototype and could handle the pressure of using the armors and weapons. Imagine this in the Marvel Universe in an Iron Man comic storyline that has him teaming with Iron Will, War Machine and Prototype as they have to all come together to stop a terrorist group that has hijacked tech from a Stark Industry warehouse of old weapons of war! It’s the Iron Family vs. those who want to take over the world…in my book Prototype fits so well into the Iron Man family tree. You could also use Prototype as a member of The Avengers or even bring back the team Ultraforce and have the team being lead by Prime and the members be Prototype, Hardcase, Ghoul, Mantra, Sludge, The Night Man, Rune, Firearm and Solitaire and they are the outsiders of the Marvel Universe and stick together and fight crime and evil all the while earning the respect of the Marvel Heroes. No joke, I really do think that Prototype should be dusted off and placed in the Marvel Universe…in fact all of the Malibu Characters should be.

Okay, let’s talk about this again as I think that its worth talking about often and that’s the fact that Marvel Comics has really dropped the ball with buying the Malibu Comics library and characters as they have done nothing with them and for the most part the characters have sat around collecting dust and allowing most modern comic readers to even forget they ever existed with some never even knowing they did. We readers and fans will never get the real reason of why these comic characters are being benched and sent to the Comic Character retirement home, and that is just such a major waste of characters as I feel they all have so much more to offer to readers. I don’t think that the 5% profits to creators of the characters is really a factor as 5% of sales is really not much even with how poor comic sales have been for the past few years. The fact that former Malibu Comic owner Scott Mitchell Rosenberg is the producer for all Malibu projects could be a factor as rumor has it that he is very hard to deal with and could be making their comic returns just to miserable for Marvel to want to deal with, and this I think could be a possibility and would make more sense to why they are not being used. And it could be what Marvel Comics Tom Brevoort was speaking about when he said its had nothing to do with the 5% on why no return and the explanation could not be talked about due to a non-disclosure agreement…that makes me think that the deal must have been real bad that Marvel made to buy Malibu back in the 90’s. Plus there is always the rumor that has floated around that at the time Marvel’s powers that be decided that they disliked the Malibu characters and that they didn’t fit into the Marvel Universe vision, but I don’t believe this one and think that’s just fan/readers speculation.

Whatever the reason, I feel that Marvel Comics should work it out as they now have the power of Disney behind them and get these characters back into the pages of comics as well as get them into the Marvel movies, shows and video games! In fact why doesn’t Marvel Comics just bring back the Ultraverse characters as well as all the CrossGen characters they have bought and shelved as well like Simon Archard, Emma Bishop, Arwyn, Gareth and all the others that are being hoarded and hidden away by Disney! Why not give these characters another shot at making a splash in the stale world of mainstream comics? Why not allow Prototype to smash some baddies or have Arwyn go on anther epic adventure? But sadly I think with the sad state that mainstream comics are in right now, these characters will be left in the Retirement Home Long Box all itching to be unleashed at least one more time so they can show readers what they can bring to the table. But I really do hope that one day Marvel just opens the door and allows Ultraverse and CrossGen into the Marvel Universe as the character could work very well and add the spice needed to make their stale stories much better.

Before I get to the comics, I want to take a brief moment to remind you readers about the very short lived 1994-1995 cartoon series UltraForce that not only features Prototype but also had team members like Prime, Hardcase, Topaz, Contrary and Ghoul and they fought such characters as Rune, Sludge, Lord Pumpkin and Atalon. The cartoon would also have cameos from heroes like Night Man and the hero team The Strangers. The cartoon lasted a total of 13 episodes and aired on the USA Network. And sadly the show was met with very poor reviews from critics. And also during this time toy company Galoob did a very cool toy line for the show that allowed you to get some of your favorite Malibu Comic Characters as action figures! I have had the figure of Prime for awhile now and just recently got myself a figure of Prototype for my collection, and yes I have picked up several of the other figures and will show them off when we cover their comic series. Below is a look at the cartoon series that has never gotten an official DVD release and my figure of Prototype!

Well I don’t know about you, but I am really ready for the review part of this update as it’s been a while since I have read the comic adventures of Prototype and I want to see if they hold up as I can remember really enjoying them in my youth. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering, Bell Book And Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these in stock and making this update possible as well as by stocking these I was able to put them in my comic collection again. I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s dive back into the Ultraverse and spend some superhero time with Prototype!

Prototype # 0  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50    Malibu Comics   # 0 of 18

Stanley Leland is sitting on a couch talking to a psychiatrist as he is one of the heads of Ultratech and is talking about Bob Campbell, the original Prototype! Campbell was an ex-military and working as a stuntman on cheap Sci-Fi and Action films when he meets Leland who hires him to wear a tech suit for a demo reel that would be seen by the military powers that be, and Campbell does such a great job he is put on Ultratech payroll and travels around in the Prototype suit. But this power goes to Campbell’s head as he starts becoming a real life hero and saving the day, this angers Leland as every time he takes the suit out it coasts the company money and if pisses of Campbell’s wife Felicia as well who watches as all the ladies of the city swoon over her husband even though they can not even see his face! Campbell started drinking again and would spend his time traveling to make public appearances and fight with a metal suited bad guy named Arena that kept showing up! Bob Campbell over times keeps having a short fuse and is at odds with his employer as they want to place implants into his body and he refuses. They even create a genetic man named Glare to bring him down as they would like to see Bob die now as they just want him out of the way in order to bring in a younger man to use the Prototype suit. After Glare fails, Ultratech gets their wish when an “accident” happens that leaves Bob losing an arm and losing his job with Ultratech and that’s when Jimmy Ruiz is hired in to become Prototype.

This issue zero is a great way to try and get readers hooked on Prototype…but wait a minute this comic came out a year after the first few issues in the series was released…oh you have to love the gimmicks of 90’s comics! This comic does a fantastic job of showing the history of the original man in the Prototype suit Bob Campbell and his rise and fall of becoming the hero he thinks he was supposed to be. We see that the stress of being in this powerful suit forces him to become a hero as well and makes him start to drink heavy and even ignore his wife. Thinking about it, Bob Campbell takes to drinking just like Marvel’s Tony Stark aka Iron Man did…showing that Prototype and Iron Man really do go hand and hand. Bob Campbell aka Prototype is a military man who after serving finds himself working in movies as a stuntman and is hired by a tech company to test and showcase their new suit, but because he has a good heart he uses the suit for good and saves the day for many people who are in need, but the stress of being a hero that he thinks he needs to be drives him to drink as well as causes him to lose his wife. In the end all the good he has done for people leaves him missing and arm, no wife and no job…he is a broken hero with no suit as well. Stanley Leland, one of the heads of Ultratech, is a true scumbag as it’s clear as day that he is the one who set up Campbell’s fall from grace as he is the one who steals his wife and its very much hinted he is the one who caused the accident that took his arm as well. Stanley Leland is also the type of guy who puts profits before human life and is so greedy that he will do anything to gain cash. Arena and Glare are two villains who are clearly created by Ultratech to help show off the powers of the Prototype suit, so in other words, they are just pawns in this company’s war games for profits. I like that this comic is from three different prospective of what happened with Bob Campbell and gives you more of a look into his life and his want to truly become a hero. The cover is eye catching and shows the Prototype we all know and not the bulky suited original version that was Bob and the interior art is great and done by Gordon Purcell and is great Malibu Comics stuff. So with issue zero done, let’s see what the first issue has in store for us!

Prototype # 1  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics     # 1 of 18

Bob Campbell wakes up in the morning and remembers back to his accident as the Original Prototype that caused him to lose his arm as well as job for Ultratech and he heads out as Ultratech has a shareholders event that afternoon. Meanwhile running wild in the streets is Glare who is now on a rampage, as he wants revenge on Ultratech and Stanley Leland for turning him into a green skinned monster and he is using his power to blind people on the streets. Meanwhile at the Ultratech shareholder conference and Bob sneaks in and watches as they show the new Prototype suit that is way thinner and lighter than his old bulky suit, and the new suit, while slimmer, is having some tech issues. After Prototype heads to the backstage lab, he alerts the workers and Leland that he is having bad headaches from the suit, while out front Bob is thrown out after asking about a lawsuit he has against them about his firing after the accident. After taking some pills, the new Prototype goes out to shake hands and get his picture taken with the holders at the lunch line, but before he can do so, Glare is out front of the building taking on the police force and Ultratech send Prototype into action! Outside the building the press is filming and broadcasting as Glare and Prototype start fighting it out, but the news is not the only ones watching as Bob Campbell as well as a man from a group called Aladdin are collecting details and judging the new suited hero. The fight ends with Prototype beating Glare and it appears as if he has killed him and the onlookers are not so sure what to think of this new version of Prototype.

The first issue of Prototype starts off with a bang as we follow the rise of a new man in the Prototype suit who is being judged by the original who has been shunned by the company who made the suit. We also see that Ultratech is truly a company who does not care about people as much as they care about money and fame. The new Prototype is younger and really seems to be digging his job as the man in the suit, well besides the head splitting headaches that come with the implants and the suit that glitches. The new Prototype is also very trusting of Ultratech and seems to worry about what they think of him and the job he is doing. Bob Campbell has a new mechanical arm and is super bitter of being let go from Ultratech as being Prototype was all he had left in life, and he so wants to make them pay for firing him. Stanley Leland is as big of a scumbag as he ever has been as he only worries about getting on the news as well as making large profits for Ultratech.  It’s clear as well that he will do whatever he can in order to protect himself from failure or danger and will put others in that spot to do so. And of course Glare, who was an Ultratech experiment gone wrong, is now wanting revenge as he feels that they have to pay for what they did to him…and that’s made him a green skinned monster with freaky blinding powers of light. And for his revenge filled hate he ends up dying at the hands of the new Prototype. When reading this as a new reader you get also some mysteries that will get you hooked, like who is this guy watching the fight from Aladdin and also when will heroes like Prime and Hardcase will show up as they are both mentioned. The one downside to the first issue I feel we get more character development from Bob Campbell then we do for the new young man in the Prototype suit, and they should spent a little time building him as he is the hero we will have going forward. The cover is great and eye catching and has that 90’s charm that hooked so many buyers back in the day…wait that was because it had the # 1 on it. The interior art by David Ammerman is very well done and shows why Malibu Comics had its own house style and charm. This first issue is great and has held up for me and is making me looking forward to reading some of these issues again as well as reading many for the first time. So with that let’s get to issue two!

Prototype # 2  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 2 of 18

Prototype is in a virtual reality training program when things go wrong and he uses his own power to override the suits programing and by doing so his levels go off the chart and this impresses the workers of Ultratech, but also causes the suit to catch on fire! Once put out, he has another pounding headache and talks to his handler Hastings about the death of Glare and still doesn’t understand how his death happened and hates that the press is painting him out as a killer. Hastings does what he can to calm Prototype’s nerves over the killing and orders a woman to come down and give him a massage. Meanwhile at Ultratech headquarters Stanley Leland is mad about all the bad press over Glare dying in the streets in front of witnesses and almost wishes that Jimmy Ruiz, the new Prototype, would have died, as his main goal is a new suit called Prototype 2000! His assistant and creator of some of the tech Marjorie informs Leland that she has hired someone to take care of Campbell once and for all ending one of the company’s major headaches. At a bar Bob Campbell is buying parts from a smuggler as he is building his own suit, but he is also the target of a woman named Kaitlyn O’Hare who claims she is a stunt talent agent casting for a new Warner Brothers film. Bob and Kaitlyn end up at his place and the she shows that she is a razor clawed assassin named Backstabber who has been sent to kill him! And after almost doing so Bob saves himself thanks to help from his cat Thelma and is able to get his home made Prototype suit and is ready to fight for his life! And with the help of a buzzsaw arm he does just that, and injured he shows up at his ex-wife’s home as she is a doctor as his wounds from Backstabbers claws are deep and he needs help.

This second issue in the series once more has most of the focus being on Bob Campbell who was the original Prototype as his former employers Ultratech who wants him dead as his outspoken nature is causing them money! And to close his mouth once and for all they hire a razor clawed woman to slice and dice him! And oh yeah there is a very small amount of Jimmy Ruiz as we get he has headaches, is becoming one with the tech, feels bad about the death of Glare and that his employers are not loyal to him at all! The loose cannon that is Bob Campbell is not only trying to get answers from Ultratech about his firing but is also building his own metal suit as he wants to become a hero again. And it’s clear that while Bob is missing an arm he does not let his handicap slow him down as he fights for his life when it’s in danger and does not let him slow him down. Jimmy Ruiz meanwhile is young and seems to be enjoying his time as the main in the Prototype suit and while is comes with side effects he thinks the fame and money it brings him will be worth it. Stanley Leland is a true scumbag as he only cares about profit and the lives of Bob and Jimmy mean nothing to him, in fact after stealing Bob’s wife he also seems to now have no time for her and he lives and breathes Ultratech. The razor nailed Backstabber is a killer female who uses her good looks to bring the targets in and then takes them out, but while she is made of a metal she is not unbeatable as Bob uses a buzzsaw in order to take her out! The main thing that this issue builds up is that Leland’s end goal is a new suit of armor that he will show off in the year 2000 that is called Prototype 2000 and that he dislikes Jimmy as well as he finds him to young and annoying. We are three issues into the series when you count issue zero and all seem to be mainly focused on Bob, and I think Malibu needed to also start building Jimmy up and laying the groundwork for him to become a hero. The cover for this issue is pretty great and very 90’s and the interior art by David Ammerman is good stuff and has that Malibu Comic style. Let’s now move onto issue three and see what happens now that Bob is at his ex-wife’s house and needs help after being attacked!

Prototype # 3  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $2.50    Malibu Comics    # 3 of 18

Jimmy Ruiz and Hastings are on a plane waiting for takeoff but like always there are delays and Jimmy is getting antsy as he wants to be on the go. Meanwhile on another plane the terrorist group Terrordyne Inc. is taking hostages as a sport team is on board and they want money for them to be returned unharmed! Jimmy hears about this and suits up as Prototype and has Hastings freaks out as they need Lelands permission to do so Prototype alerts his handler he has removed the suits shut down lock and heads off to be the hero he is hired to be. Meanwhile Bob Campbell is having his wounds treated by his ex-wife Felicia and they talk about the breakup and Bob lets her know he still cares for her very much. Meanwhile Prototype takes out the masked goons of Terrordyne Inc. but soon meats their leads the super villain called The Heater who uses fire blasts to knock Prototype down, and delivers a beating to our hero before he is able to blast Heater away. But before he can deliver a beat down to Heater he finds that the Ultratech plane has been hijacked and Hastings as been thrown from the plane that is now in the air! Prototype leaves the battle to save his friend and once back on the ground Heater is gone and Hastings alerts him that lots of tech is on that plane that needs to be saved! Prototype blows up the run away plane and this angers Leland who is getting more bad press from the event. And all the while the Aladdin company has the body of Glare and they steady it and the tech that’s inside him and then hire masked hero Wrath to follow Prototype and get the chips that are needed to make the suit any way he can.

This issues plot has a great classic superhero feel to it as a terrorist group holds hostages on a plane at an airport and out hero rushes in to save the day and by doing so more subplots are open and more tension is created between he and his employers. Jimmy Ruiz aka Prototype in this issue goes from being a bored young man into a hero who’s action saves the lives of a popular baseball team as well as takes down a bunch of henchmen that work of a terrorist company group. Jimmy also shows that he has studied his suit and is really starting to master its powers and how to control it on his own while being offline. While Jimmy is being a hero its also clear that he is making Leland very mad as he does not want him to do anything besides make money for Ultratech at public events. Leland also shows that he has more tricks up his sleeves as he wants to have staff now watch every move of Prototype as well as for them to hire more young men that can take over the role of the suited hero. We learn that Bob Campbell let Backstabber live who ran off into the night vowing revenge and that he wants his wife back! The goons of Terrordyne Inc. are masked well-armed troopers who do what they are told and they as well have an Ultra named Heater who is working for them, and he is dangerous as he has the power of fire and even puts a seed in the mind of Prototype that they are both working for criminals the only difference is his people are open about their evil deeds. And lastly we have to talk about Wrath on his way to get the chips from the Prototype suit and this hero vs. hero showdown that is about to happen has me looking forward to the next issue! Plus this issue puts us on the right track as Jimmy is the main focus and his storyline is getting new parts added to his arch. The cover is pretty dang cool and the interior art is once more great and done by David Ammerman. So let’s see what issue four has in store from Prototype as he has a list now of threats that could test his skills and even take his life as Wrath, Heater and even Backstabber are around and looking for a fight!

Prototype # 4  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95   Malibu Comics   # 4 of 18

Jimmy Ruiz is living in a high rise apartment that is paid for by Ultratech and while he enjoys the life of being rich and having a job, he’s missing his friends as well as having control of his own life. While downstairs his ex Angella is looking for Jimmy and the night watchmen runs her off just as Wrath enters and drugs the guard and breaks into the hidden lab in the basement of the building to steal the chip off the Prototype suit and by trying one of the chips inside Jimmy alerts him something is wrong and he rushes downstairs to check on the suit and his punched in the face by Wrath who leaves Jimmy stunned on the floor. As Jimmy gets back on his feet he changes into Prototype and rushes to the lobby and has a back and fourth fight with Wrath with both one upping each other with hits! Meanwhile Leland gets the call about the fight and instead of calling for backup, he sends in the media to cover the fight! Wrath ends up getting the upper hand as he has been trained in fighter way better and when Prototype gets distracted by his ex-girlfriend Angella and takes a massive blast that damages the suit and allows Wrath to escape via a helicopter pick-up. With all his energy he uses a microwave ray to hit the chip and he hopes it ruined the data on it as Wrath is angry that this might have happened. Prototype who’s on fire is put out and Leland tries to pay Angella to go away but she tries her best to get Jimmy’s attention. Meanwhile Bob Campbell has finished his new metal suit and takes it for a test fly as well as uses the weapons he installed, but he his interrupted by the cops who alert him he is under arrest for breaking into an Ultratech lab.

This issue is a full fledged battle issue as we see Prototype from Ultratech take on Aladdin’s very own Wrath as they duke it out in a lobby of a building as well as in the streets of New York! Prototype in this issue goes from being a young man messing around with his hot company paid lady, drinking beer and looking at the moon to getting his first taste of a real fight with a really skilled fighter who can expose all his flaws and show that the suit can only do so much again experience. And this also alerts Jimmy to how flawed this armor is as it does not take damage well and becomes damaged very easily. Wrath is a hero who thinks he is on the right side of the tech war and uses his powers to try and right the wrongs and his powers are great as he can turn his opponent’s own blasts and powers against them! Wrath I am sure is both impressed and annoyed with Prototype and you know the two will meet again to finish the fight. Leland as always is a jerk and wants to use the fight as good press for him and Ultratech and don’t care about the safety of others. Angella is trying so hard to find and talk to Jimmy in order to tell him he is going to be a father, and instead gets money thrown at her by Leland to go away showing he don’t care about anyone besides himself. I also like that the police and Ultratech are blaming Bob Campbell for the break-in and that he has crafted his own big heavy armored suit in order to be a hero again! The cover is pretty good and eye catching for fans of Malibu and the art by David Ammerman is great and classic 90’s stuff. Really enjoyed this issue and am looking forward to see what happens with Bob as well as Jimmy cause both have really good stories going.

Prototype # 5  **
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 5 of 18

Security Guards are all around a launchpad where a rocket called JDH-3000 is set to launch the next day, but the Ultra-Powered team The Strangers (Atom Bob, Lady Killer, Grenade, Yrial, Spectral, Zip Zap and Electrocute) break in and steal the rocket as they need to get to the moon in order to find out more about why they have these powers. J.D. who owns the rocket is very mad as it was under the watch of Ultratech who he hired as the guards and the rocket coast them a ton of money to build. While at an Ultratech meeting Mr. Bell appearing only as a hologram is ripping into Leland and the others about the bad press of Prototype and Bob Campbell, and they get interrupted by J.D. Hunt who phones in and is raising hell over his stolen rocket as he wants Ultratech to pay for it or get it back. Meanwhile in jail Bob Campbell is sprung by Jake Alexander of the Aladdin Corporation who wants to discuss so very important business with him. Leland goes to Jimmy Ruiz and has him change into Prototype and alerts him that he is going to space to fight The Strangers and get the stolen rocket back and if he screws this up he can be replaced, he is also alerted that he will be joined by Empire-7 from Vietnam and team leader being the ravishing Russian Supra and they head off to space. The Strangers find that they can not control the stolen rocket as it will not allow them to land on the moon and instead lands on an abandon Russian space station and are attacked by an alien just as Prototype and his crew land at the station and come aboard.

I want to start by saying I know that I gave this issue only two stars and that it seems low as for me 2 ½ stars means that its great and above average read and this was a great read I just felt that so much of this issue is spent on J.D. Hunt screaming, Mr. Bell screaming and Leland screaming and plotting and not enough time was spent on Prototype or even Bob Campbell. With that said, it does do its job of setting up a run in between Prototype and The Strangers in space all over a stolen rocket and the need for answers of why powers was given to some people on Earth. Prototype in this issue is watching footage of The Strangers only to find himself being forced to fly to space to fight them and is forced to team with two other unknown powered people and is even threatened with if he don’t do this and get the rocket back they stole he will be replaced. The Strangers really just want to get to the moon as they think that the origin of what gave them all their powers came from there, but they find themselves instead on a rundown space station being attacked by an alien. Leland once more is a weasel who uses his gift of talking to try and smooth things over with a client and even dodges the rage of Mr. Bell and Mr. Hunt who are both displeased with him. Supra is clearly powerful and has some type of Ultra powers and is leading the Ultratech team on getting the rocket back, and I would guess Empire-7 as well has powers. I like the rundown Russian Space Station being the place that this showdown is going to happen in and adding a dangerous Alien is a great Sci-Fi Film touch. The cover is good and eye catching and this time around Roger Robinson is doing art and it’s well done. Over all this is an okay issue that builds a story and that’s pretty much all I can say about it. I should also say that this was part of the Break-Thru story arch.

Prototype # 6  **1/2
Released in 1994    Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 6 of 18

Prototype is heading back to Earth and is following Prime through the Earth’s atmosphere and is starting to burn up and is second-guessing if this was a good idea to trust Prime and the idea of The Strangers member Lady Killer who came up with the idea of using Prime as a heat shield. And lucky for Prototype it works and he get back to Earth, but his suit is burnt and molded together in a lump of metal. At the office of Jake Alexander he alerts Bob Campbell that he knows everything about him and they discuss that fact that Ultratech is using Jimmy Ruiz and when they are done with him they will have him killed, Jake they informs Bob that he wants the original Prototype to work for Aladdin and they even have made him a new suit that is big and heavy and filled with lots of powerful weapons. Ultratech have found the hidden office of Aladdin and have sent in a female killer that is invisible who’s touch and kiss can kill a person in minutes and she gets into the office of Jake and fights with Original Prototype and places a kiss on Jake before she flees the battle and forces Original Prototype to take Jake to the hospital to save his life. While back at the Ultratech Offices Leland gets a visit from a very angry Jimmy Ruiz who is ranting about his space mission and almost dying getting back home when Leland calms the young man down with a big money bonus as well as a new Prototype suit that once Jimmy has on Leland shows him that the suit now has a brain attack button that overloads Jimmy’s brain like a drug! Jimmy hates this new feature but before they can chat about it the office windows are blown out and the armored bad guy Arena is there, looking for a fight.

Malibu Comics dropped the ball as they did the one thing that I think Comics in the late 80’s and 90’s did that was really dumb and that’s make it that to finish a story they started in one series continue in multiple others the dreaded multi-book crossovers…and then they screw up even more by not really even explaining to readers what took place with The Strangers, Alien, Moon and so on in this issue as all we get is that Prototype is following hero Prime to get back to Earth. With that said and that terrible annoying comic trope exposed, this is a good and solid issue that features growth for both Jimmy and Bob who are now both officially Prototypes! Jimmy learns that he has friends with other Ultra-Heroes and that he should not fully trust the words of Ultratech as they do not have his well being in mind when they send him on mission of both no and total danger. Bob Campbell learns that he as well as new friends with the Aladdin Corporation do have his best interest at heart and even have built him a new suit and with that the Original Prototype is back in the hero business. I am guess the invisible woman who is a killer with a deadly touch and kiss, I would guess is Marjorie Fredericks who works for Ultratech and wants to cut off loose ends. Jake Alexander is in bad shape by the end of this issue and has a very deadly poison running through his veins thanks to Marjorie. I also like that Arena has returned and once more wants to clash with Prototype, but unknown to him this is a new person in the armor…but I don’t think it would change his mind much of beating him up or ending his life. This is again a great issue I just really dislike the lack of closer to The Strangers and The Moon storyline as they wanted you to buy two other comics to close the story. The cover is pretty cool and shows Bob “Original” Prototype in his new armor and the interior art is done by Roger Robinson and is really good. Issue six of Prototype really does want me to see what happens with many of the characters and also want to see how the characters will grow in more issues, so with that let’s see what issue seven has in store for us.

Prototype # 7  ***
Released in 1994    Cover Price $1.95   Malibu Comics   # 7 of 18

Prototype and Arena start a fight above the city of New York as onlooker watch as the suited up Ultra’s exchange powerful hits. As the fight goes on Prototype alerts Arena that Bob is no longer in the suit and that he Jimmy is and that he is better then the original, Arena seems not to mind as he turns up the attacks and this leads him to also drop his powerful sword to the street bellow. While at the Hospital Bob Campbell talks to the doctor and finds that he got Jake Alexander help just in time, and Bob covers for how Jake was poisoned and goes into visit his new friend. Leland is in the Ultratech Building talking with the invisible woman who is now named Veil and she turns out to be Marjorie Fredericks and she has been hired to babysit and watch after Jimmy, and while Leland wants her to still protect him she thinks they should take him out after the fight with Arena and replace him. While poor old Angella ex-girlfriend of Jimmy is being chewed out by her mother to just forget all about Jimmy and move on with her life as she says he is beyond her now. Earl and T.J are gang members who are talking to a young girl from their neighborhood when a rival gang does a drive by, while T.J returns fire the poor young girl is shot dead. The government of New York is getting sick and tired of Leland and Ultratech and they have build their own armor hero called The Manhattan Project 1994 and they plan on letting him loose soon! While back at the battle Arena is beating up Prototype and is still comparing him to Bob Campbell and this angers Jimmy who blasts his opponent with a powerful blast and is ready for a fight!

This is a battle issue that has some side stories thrown in for good measure and delivers one heck of a fun read! The plot for this issue has Arena returning for a fight and Jimmy not being fully prepared for a fight that has his enemy being more powerful than him and worse more skilled at fighting! Prototype is becoming way to cocky and thinking that his powerful suit will win him every fight, but while the suit is powerful his fighting spirit and knowledge is not good and he is slowing figuring out that he needs a battle plan before rushing in to a fight. I also like that he is getting to the point where he is sick and tired of hearing the name of Bob Campbell and is willing to now fight over it! Bob Campbell in this issue spends his time in the hospital looking after his new friend Jake, and also figures out that he should keep his mouth shut about Ultratech for awhile. Leland and Veil are watching the battle and each have their own ideas on how this one should end, and she is sick and tired of the brat Jimmy. I cannot wait to see Manhattan Project 1994 in action and see if he is with or against Prototype! Not sure what is going to happen with the gang members T.J and Earl, and to be honest what is going to happen with Angella and her baby. I also like how the Government in New York talk about Sludge living in the sewer, just a nice touch to showcase another of their character is active in New York at the same time of these events. Arena is an interesting character as he is very much into the Ying and Yang of life and is like a super powered and armored samurai who is all about battle. The cover for this issue is solid and eye-catching and like before the interior art by Roger Robinson is great 90’s stuff. This far this series is a great above average indie superhero series and this is I think the best issue to this point, even if it’s a little all over the place. Let’s see what issue eight has in store for us!

Prototype # 8  ***
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95   Malibu Comics   # 8 of 18

Arena is back up and now showcases some of his powers that once more show Prototype that he is losing the battle as he uses mini missiles to bring our hero down in front of a watching crowd. Bob Campbell is working in his garage when he sees the news and decides if he should put on his new suit and aid in the fight, but not before remembering back to all his battles with Arena…The Original Prototype does not come to Ultratech and Prototype’s aid this time. Besides the fight between Prototype and Arena, the news is also reporting on the state of New York going after Ultratech for a massive fine in the billion dollars and they also talk about the young girl killed in gang violence that was the cousin of poor Angella as she starts to realize that she is going to have to raise her child in a neighborhood that is overrun with gang activity. Arena defeats Prototype in the streets and has a chance to kill him, but does not and instead tells him to seek out Bob Campbell to be trained better for fights as he will alerts our hero he will return. Prototype is mad as the crowd hurl insults at him and he marches into Leland’s hidden panic room to have words with his boss, and Jimmy alerts Leland that he quits at being Prototype as well as quiets Ultratech and that he is going home!

What another great issue that showcases that Jimmy is really out of his league and is not ready for battle against any other super powered people and he gets beat up and knocked around by Arena and also comes to see that Leland and Ultratech have lied and used him this whole time! Jimmy who started off being super cocky and headstrong turns very humbled when he is handed his first major defeat. And he also does not take the defeat well at all cause he quits being the hero Prototype! Bob Campbell the Original Prototype is also interesting as he listens to the news as he works on his new suit and almost misses Arena as his battles with him seemed to be like hanging out with an old friend in his mind. Leland is a coward and during the fight runs and hides in a panic room and is scared when Jimmy comes in and quiets, as he knows that Ultratech is starting to crumble around him. Veil almost feels sorry for Jimmy after his loss as she knows what its like to be a Ultra and even a Prototype as her invisible suit is along the same line. Arena respects Jimmy’s spirit but also smartens him up to him not being a superhero like he thinks as he exposes the lack of training he has in combat. And let’s not forget to chat about poor Angella who’s having the baby of Jimmy who is paying her no attention and now also looses her young eight year old cousin for gang violence, this poor woman can not catch a break! I am really interested in finding out what Jimmy does from here as he is so filled with chips and tech and can he walk away from the suit or can they force him to come back to Ultratech and become their “hero” who is just a glorified mascot in many peoples eyes. Cover is pretty cool and showcases Arena and art by Roger is great like always. Another homerun issue and it seems that the creators at Malibu have found their stride with Prototype.

Prototype # 9  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 9 of 18

Ultratech is holding a job interview to find the next person to wear the Prototype suit and it’s down to three people and they are all fighting each other in a open room while wearing different versions of the Prototype suit…in the end Donovan Jones gets the job! One of the interviewees is mad that he did not get picked and talks out loud about how he is going to expose Leland and Ultratech to his friend in the news and for this he is killed by Veil’s poison touch. Jimmy Ruiz is back home and chats with Angella at her cousin’s funeral and then heads to the hangout of his old street gang The Hardboys in order to try and talk them out of all the killings, they agree to stop killing only if he brings the trigger man who killed the young girl to the cops and he has only an hour to do so! Jimmy walks into the rival gangs hideout and dukes it out with them, when the gun man pulls a Uzi on him his time runs out and The Hardboys come running in with their guns, just in time to see Jimmy float into the air and shoot fire lasers from his eyes that cuts off the arm of the trigger man and leaves Jimmy passed out…the gangs run away and The Hardboys also denounce their friendship with Jimmy as they don’t think he is human anymore. Jimmy ends up at the hospital and the doctors cannot find out whats wrong with him and while there he also is told by Angella that he is going to be a father…and Jimmy knows that he must go back to Ultratech to get money for his lady and child as well as find out what the heck is wrong with him. While at Ulrtatech Leland is showing off the New Prototype who is in a bigger suit and now is Donovan Jones.

This ninth issue in Malibu’s Prototype series focuses more on Jimmy Ruiz the man who returns home to find that his old gang The Hardboys are at war with a rival and that more and more killings are happening and that his old girlfriend is about to have his baby! Jimmy shows that he has learned a little from his time at Ultratech as he learns how to take a beating, he learns that violence is not always the answer and he learns that those he cared about are suffering while he lived high on the hog working for Ultratech. I like how Jimmy tries his best to bring peace between two gangs and even risks his own life and safety to do so, but also finds that he has hidden powers even when not wearing the suit that gives him powerful eye blasts. We also see that Leland and Ultratech just move on fast even after Jimmy quite and hires a replacement in no time and even give him a more battle ready suit! Donovan Jones is the new Prototype, and I will call him Prototype III and he seems like a man who had nothing in life and is just happy to have a high paying job and will do whatever Leland and Ultratech wants, it will be interesting to see what he thinks when Jimmy comes back looking for his job as I think Donovan will fight to keep his job. Also glad that Angella finally got to tell Jimmy that she is having his baby, and also glad to see that Jimmy seems to be happy and will take being a father serious! Also I feel like The Hardboys will come back into play and will end up helping Jimmy in some way, even if he from time to time seems to have the powers of X-Men mutant Cyclops. The cover for this issue is just okay and remind me more of Robotech than Prototype and the interior art is good and done by Roger again. Well let’s see if Jimmy gets his job back at Ultratech or if he is out forever just like Bob Campbell.

Prototype # 10  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 10 of 18

Terrordyne is back and has taken hostages at the Statue Of Liberty and even blow up the head of the statue and is killing hostages while filming! Bob Campbell and Jake Alexander are watching the news and they know that they have to do something to stop this terrorist attack and save lives, Bob once in his suit is now going by Ranger and the new friends head to gear up. While at Ultratech Leland is telling Prototype III that his time to be a hero is not now and tells him he will not be sending him to save the day…just yet. While at a government lab the android hero Manhattan Project 1994 is having some major bugs and attacks anyone in his sight, and this keeps it from being a hero as well as all eyes are on the Statue Of Liberty and at this point the state is without a hero. Karl is the leader of this Terrordyne group and while Ranger is getting into position Jake enters the area and takes a bullet to the knee when trying to work out a deal with Karl who informs him that they are making no deals. Jake stands back up and alerts them that he was wearing full body armor and that they are in deep trouble as he gives the signal and Ranger shows up and starts taking down all the Terrordyne agents while Jake and other Aladdin soldiers get the hostages to safety. Karl and Egon are the only two members of Terrordyne to escape and Ranger has to get ready as he has press interviews. After the interview Bob is loading up his jeep and is approached by Jimmy Ruiz who is asking him for help, Bob flies off the handle as he blames Jimmy for stealing his job and punches the young man who responds with his whole body being on fire begging Bob for his help!

Bob Campbell is now Ranger, a metal suited Ultra who is the hero New York is looking for as he stops a terrorist attack as well as saves the lives of many hostages, and he also now has Jake Alexander and the Agents of Aladdin at his side…and he loves every second of his new gig of being a hero! And the best thing for Bob is that his new suit of armor is better than his old and he no longer is saddled with the name Prototype as he is now Ranger! And Bob also in this issue gets to punch the face of Jimmy and man he blames for taken his job at Ultratech. And speaking of Jimmy, this young man is in a panic as he no longer has his Prototype suit, no longer has his job, his about to be a father and also has weird uncontrollable powers do to all the stuff Ultratech and is in a panic and needs help and Bob Campbell is the only person he can think off. Jake Alexander and Aladdin are trying to do what they can to keep New York safe from crime and terrorist and they along with Ranger are doing a great job. The Manhattan Project 1994 is a robotic would be hero that seems to be not controllable as he attacks even his own creators. This is a great issue and spends time building Bob back up at being the hero he loved being. Plus we find out in this issue that New York not only has a gang war issue but they are also having a terrorist war issue! The cover is pretty good and showcases Prototype and Ranger and like a broken record the interior art done by Roger is good stuff. I am looking forward to the next issue and seeing if Bob can not only help Jimmy but also if the two can bury the heat between them and become friends who both wear metal costumes.

Prototype # 11  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 11 of 18

At the Aladdin Labs the thought to be dead bad guy Glare has woken up and is on a rampage and is blinding and killing anyone who is in his way…Jake Alexander has the lab sealed and as Glare pounds his way through the steal door they call Bob Campbell asking him to bring the Ranger suit! Before the call comes through Bob Campbell watches as Jimmy Ruiz almost explodes into a total meltdown and then pass out on the street as onlookers start to get rowdy about his fire and heat glow…Bob thinks fast and picks up Jimmy and drives off just as Donovan Jones watches them and judges them by comparing them to himself. Bob calls his ex-wife Felicia to meet him at the lab and while she tries to help Jimmy, he suits up and as Ranger heads into the lab to battle Glare and the pair punch it out. Meanwhile Felicia helps Jimmy as he is having another meltdown fit and works a way to reroute the power that is coming from one of him implants put in by Ultratech as they used his body to power the suit! Glare comes busting in and is ready to blind both Jake and Felicia and Jimmy uses his surging power to knock out Glare who before going down alerts Jimmy that he as Prototype never defeated him as it was Veil who did! After Glare is down, Felicia informs Jimmy that he is an Ultra and that Ultrateh used his powers to power the suit and that he needs to get the suit back on to stop the outbursts…and Bob agrees to help Jimmy break into Ultratech and steal the Prototype suit.

This issue’s plot shows that Leland and Ultratech have been users and liars from day one and have turned Jimmy Ruiz into a science experiment and fills his body with all types of chips and circuits and have turned him into a walking dangerous battery! And while Jimmy uses his power to take down Glare he is still very much a ticking time bomb that could kill and injury people. Bob Campbell aka Ranger goes hand to hand with Glare in order to save lives at the Aladdin Lab and even ends up getting his ex-wife to help Jimmy who he seems to now understand he shares a common enemy with and that Ultratech! I like the idea of Jimmy and Bob breaking into the lab in order to steal the Prototype suit as you know that when they get there they are going to have to fight Veil and Prototype III! Plus I think it’s clear that Felicia will start helping Jake and the rest of the Aladdin Lab crew as she knows much of the tech of Ultratech and the way Ultras work. Glare coming back from the dead and causing havoc is something I did not see coming and like before it shows that revenge is all that’s on his mind as he hates Leland and wants to do nothing but kill the man he blames for his strange look and powers. I would also guess that this might not be the final time we see Glare in this series, and I for one would like to see him join the side of Aladdin and become an Ultra Hero for them and as well help bring down Leland and Ultratech. Only downside for me is that I want to see Jimmy as Prototype and not just a man with X-Men type powers…so let’s hope he gets the suit back in the next issue. Interior art work by Roger is good and this cover is great and eye catching for fans of 90’s superhero comics. Over all another great issue and shows why Prototype was one of Malibu popular characters.

Prototype # 12  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 12 of 18

At the Ultratech building Felicia Campbell comes to visit Leland and before she goes to visit him she knocks out the guard and brings in her ex-husband Bob as Ranger and Jimmy and they head to the basement so Jimmy can get into the Prototype suit as they all have payback on their minds to Leland, but before Jimmy can suit up, they are attacked by Donovan Jones aka Prototype III who is cocky and wants to showcase his power to Ultratech and impress Leland. While Jimmy tries to get his suit ready for battle with Felicia, Ranger springs into action and battles with Prototype III keeping him busy even with his suit being less powerful, finally Jimmy gets into his suit and as Prototype he enters the fight and its clear the fight between Jimmy and Donovan both who feel like they have something to prove and neither want to loose and in the end Jimmy defeats Donovan with a massive energy blast that destroys the Prototype III suit and as Donavon is bleeding on the floor Felicia treats his wounds as Ranger and Prototype head to Leland’s office. Marjorie Fredericks is in Leland’s office and turns invisible with orders to kill both Jimmy and Bob and as Leland distracts them with offers of hiring them both back as spokesmen for Ultratech Marjorie tries to attack them both but is stopped by a can of pepper spray fired by Felicia who then knocks out the invisible assassin with a metal briefcase. Prototype grabs Leland and is about to smash him like a bug when Ranger reminds him that they are heroes and that they are better than violence as revenge and then alerts Leland that they are going to bury him with a press conference! But Leland is not done yet as he calls in his last chance of killing Bob, Jimmy and Felicia, and it’s Prototype 2000 the same suit of armor that took Bob’s arm during a fight! As Prototype 2000 comes close he opens fire on Leland and then tells the shocked heroes that he is really Gordon Bell the founder of Ultratech!

So many Prototypes to keep track off as this issue has a total of five of them all with different looks and all with different names and model numbers! This issues plot has Bob, Jimmy and Felicia going to Ultratech towers to get the Prototype suit for Jimmy in order to control his powers as well as to alert Leland that they are going to expose his crimes to the world, and while trying to do so they meet his armored and invisible goons and then watch the man that has caused them all so much heartbreak be killed before their eyes by the founder of Ultratech! Bob Campbell aka Ranger is very level headed in this issue and fights when he needs to do so and also is the voice of reason to Jimmy who is lashing out in anger towards those who tricked him into becoming a ticking time bomb of energy. Jimmy is clearly getting out of hand and his power surges are out of control and if not for the Prototype suit he could and would end up killing a lot of innocent people. Felicia is showing that she has a great heart and is teaming with her ex-husband in order to expose Ultratech for the greedy scumbags they are. Leland is just as selfish and evil as ever and wants to kill those who stand in the way of him making money, that’s why it’s so shocking that he is killed…or so we think he is dead as he is blasted and knocked out of a window. Ultratech’s paid muscle of Prototype III and Marjorie Fredericks fail in their attempt to stop our heroes and end up both just knocked out on the floor. The long thought to be dead Gordon Bell being the one controlling the Portotype 2000 suit has be asking so many questions like was he controlling the suit when Bob was injured? Is he really alive or is he also just tech and does this mean Bob and Jimmy are now back on the payroll? I like were the story is going, but I have to say they need to chill on all the different Prototype suits as they keep pilling up! Also I like how Leland’s death was a touch of Robocop in it as it reminds me when the board member is gunned down by Ed-209! The cover for this issue is good and has a Marvel Comics feel to it and the interior art by Roger still and is good as always. Lets see what issue 13 has in store for us!

Prototype # 13  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $3.50   Malibu Comics   # 13 of 18

Prototype 2000 has the mind of Gordon Bell, but he is out of touch with the times and seems to be flashing back to the time he was always at the office and is enraged by the stock market drops of Ultratech! Bob, Felicia and Jimmy are confused and not sure what to do as Leland’s body has not been found and they cannot find a shut off switch to Prototype 2000 and when they try to get close to find one, the suit fights back. On the news hero Warstrike and bad guy Blind Faith are being attacked by what looks like Prototype at Yankee Stadium and this causes Jimmy to head to the ball park and fight with this imposter Prototype that seems to be a robot, and after a brief fight the robot gets away and Prototype gets no answers from Warstrike who was confused to why he and his super villain were attacked, and Prototype wastes no time using his energy and blowing the robot up leaving scrap metal behind and Warstrike in shock of Prototypes pure power. Meanwhile back at the Unltratech Office Bob and Felicia are getting nowhere on finding an off switch, but do know that a small amount of living organisms are inside the Prototype 2000 suit and Bob puts on his helmet and as Ranger blasts Prototype 2000 hoping to expose what’s living inside it only for the killer tech suit to figure out that their stock is under attack! We then show across town in a room filled with heroes including Night Man that they are the ones going for the stock!

What a silly issue in this series as the action is packed with goofy humor and an ending that leaves you interested but also having to but other comic series to figure out what and why heroes like Night Man are trying to buy mass amounts of Ultratech stocks! The plot has our heroes trying to figure out why Prototype 2000 thinks he is the chairman of Ultratech, why Leland’s body has not been found and why a robot version of Prototype is attacking a hero at a baseball stadium. Jimmy is puzzled by why a robot wearing his suit is trying to attack a hero and get him bad press and has to rush to Yankee Stadium in order to clear his name of this weird attack. Bob is watching as his ex-wife is acting like an employee off Ultratech in order to get answers of what Prototype 2000 really is! Warstrike is the hero who is under attack by the robot version of Prototype and he is knocked around pretty bad and is super confused by the end of his real meeting with Prototype. And as for Prototype 2000 he is a super powerful tech suit with the mind of Ultratech founder Gordon Bell who is acting super sexist and like he is from the 1930’s or something, his humor is silly and eye rolling and he smacks Felicia on the butt and makes groaning sexist remakes that will make you want to watch him explode into a million different pieces. This issue also ends with showing cool Malibu hero characters like Night Man, Teknight, Solitaire and more being the ones behind the hostile takeover of Ultratech’s stock and while cool its also very goofy and also leads to the crappy other comic series crossovers that force you to buy more books to finish the story. While this was a fun read its also very generic feeling and over all not a great issue. The cover is cool and screams 90’s Superhero Comic and the interior art is just ok and is done by Dean Zachary who is not one of my favorite artist from Malibu as at times I feel his work on panels is very sloppy and rushed looking. Over all a middle of the road issue that sets up a series crossover that brings stocks into play and does have some good moments for Prototype (Jimmy) to show his new outlook on life at being a hero.

Giant Size Prototype # 1  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50    Malibu Comics    # 1 of 1

Ultratech stock is dropping fast and Nuware is buying it up dirt-cheap! Meanwhile Gordon Bell in the Prototype 2000 suit is going crazy as now the building is under attack as Ultra Heroes have shown up and Ranger heads to the lower level to confront Night Man and Solution and Prototype heads up to the roof to hold off the Teknight! After fighting the heroes in the basement Ranger is taking out of commission after putting up a good fight and the heroes have a talk with him. Meanwhile on the roof Prototype and Teknight are having a massive battle with each other and both are showing that their armor and skills are pretty evenly matched! While on the street below Ultratech workers are leaving the building with many of them quitting including Marjorie Fredericks who’s invisible and before she leaves the area decides to kill a reporter live on air! Meanwhile the battle takes Prototype and Teknight into the office of Gordon Bell and they see Ranger and the other Ultra Heroes are already there as on the street bellow J.D. Hunt of Nuware makes the announcement that his company is taking over Ultratech as they have bought the majority of the shares. Gordon Bell snaps and as the heroes run from the building her destroys Ultratech headquarters and then flies off into space with a thereat that he will one day come back for J.D. Hunt and make him pay!

This Giant Size issue showcases the end of the storyline of the Hostile Takeover and shows that Nuware and its owner J.D. Hunt was the man behind the stock takeover as well as sent the Ultra Heroes into the battlegrounds to help drive it lower so he can take it all over. Gordon Bell who is looney tunes has a part of his soul and memory inside the Prototype 2000 armor and is extremely dangerous and when pushed too far and learning that his company has been taken from him goes on a rampage and then runs away to space! He is super dangerous and to be honest all the Ultra Heroes should have teamed up and tried to destroy it before it could have went made and caused a building to come down, as think about it we have zero clue how many people might have died because of this. Prototype is fighting for Ultratech just because he needs the money that a job with them brings and Ranger is fight as he is not sure what the hell is really going on! The Ultra Heroes like Night Man and Teknight are around and while they are apart of the plot there is no real rhyme or reason for them to be helping Nuware take over Ultratech. To be honest Night Man does not even say one word! The highlight of this issue is the fight between Prototype and Teknight as they two slug it out and both are equals and each do not want to loose making them fight even harder. This also finally brings Ultrateh to an end as well as Leland and it looks as if they are bringing in a new story arch for our hero. This Giant Size comic also has a backup story that has Ranger fighting Arena and finding out that it was a she behind the armor all along. The cover is really cool and eye-catching and the interior art for the main story is done by Roger so you know its good. A great issue that helps us bring an end to the series main bad guys and that of course is the people of Ultratech.

Prototype # 14  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 14 of 18

Desperate to stop the chaos in New York The Manhattan Project is brought online and even kills its creator Douglas Platt. Meanwhile Prototype and his fellow heroes watch as Prototype 2000 blows up the Ultratech building as well as attacks other parts of New York calling out Prototype for a fight! And then Jimmy snaps out of his day dream of those past events (other comic issues from Malibu) and finds out that Ultratech is now merged with Nuware and while he is offered a job its at half of what he made and it forces him to move to New Jersey, but with a kid on the way he takes the job. He meets a few of the lab workers of Ultratech who are waiting to be let go and they talk about how terrible big tech businesses are to employees, this angers Jimmy and he leaves in a rush to get his Prototype suit on before he has an energy blast out of anger. While flying around New York getting his mind clear and trying to find a better way for the energy he builds up to be used he is attacked by The Manhattan Project to knocks our hero around. Once down The Manhattan Project starts to use his powers to drain all of Prototypes energy as he is not just a machine but a living thing from space that is now wanting to feed and become the most powerful being on Earth! Prototype has had enough and breaks The Manhattan Project’s hold on him and then over loads him with pure energy ending the fight. Jimmy goes to Bob Campbell’s house and finds that Felicia and him are getting back together and that they are moving to California again as Bob is going to work for the movies again as well as part time for Aladdin, and that Nuware has given Bob a large amount of money to clear their books of lawsuits. Bob and Felicia then offer to rent their home to Jimmy and his new family.

This is a pretty solid issue as it’s all about the fight between The Manhattan Project and Prototype and also closes some loose ends to the Ultratech story arch. In this issue Jimmy finds himself being hired by the company who bought out Ultratech with a massive pay cut and also finds out that he must move to Jersey to report into work or commute everyday. He also learns that his two new best friends Bob and Felicia Campbell are moving out of state leaving him without an Ultra Healthcare worker as well as a friend who can repair his suit when damaged. Jimmy’s life is changing and he is both scared, stressed and also slightly happy. It’s as if he knows that he needed a major change but he also can not get his head on straight as he has some much anger over what Leland had the workers of Ultratech do to him. The Manhattan Project is an alien life form that is mixed with tech and is craving raw power and energy and while he is super strong he has never faced the power of Prototype when he unleashes full blast on him, is The Manhattan Project dead or will he rise again to strike…only time and other issues will answer that question. This issue also shows that the creators behind this series wanted to take it into another direction as Ultratch is fully gone, Bob and Felicia are leaving the state, Leland, Gordon and Douglas are all presumed dead. And The Manhattan Project is destroyed making all the characters that Jimmy met in the start of this series have an ending or sorts. I think that making this issue a mostly battle one was a smart move as after building up the fall of Ultratech in issue 13 and then making the conclusion happen in other Ultraverse Comics was a crappy move and they needed to try and make readers of Prototype happy. Also bringing Roger Robinson back onto interior art was super smart as it was solid and great as always. The cover for this issue is also really cool as it has The Manhattan Project chocking the life out of Prototype. Over all a good quick read with battles in the middle of two big new plot directions for the series.

Prototype # 15  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 15 of 18

Donovan Jones is getting a laser energy tattoo of a dragon and has been accepted by Techuza, a group of Ninjas who are building him up in order to fight Prototype and Ranger in order to get revenge on the now gone Ultratech. Meanwhile Prototype and Ranger are saving people from a bridge collapse and talking about what its life to be a hero, and once everyone is safe they fly off to fanfare from those they rescued. The next day Jimmy takes the train to his new job at Nuware and meets his new boss Dennis Carlen in Marketing and the building is rundown and is a major step down for Jimmy. He gets orders that when he wears the suit he gets a $5,000 bonus from the company, but any tech repairs comes from his bonus. He then is told to sit at a desk along with many other Marketing Assistants with one massive one being called Ox. That night Jimmy takes Angella out for dinner and prepossess to her, before she answers she asks him to clear it up with her mothers as it’s a family tradition. As Jimmy and Angella leave the restaurant one of the staff is talking on the phone and is alerting someone that Jimmy is leaving and the time to strike is now. As the couple is driving away they are stopped by Donovan Jones who is now in new armor and calling himself Engine Of Destruction and Jimmy gets his Prototype suit on and the pair battle as Angella watches and questions if marrying Jimmy is what’s good for her baby and herself. We then cut to a meeting of the higher-ups of Terrordyne have a block of ice brought in and once it melts we see Leland Stanley was inside it and that he will now be the leader of the terrorist group.

The more things change the more they stay the same as it looked like we the readers had gotten away from Ultratech being the source for all the negative stuff going on in Prototypes life but while the company is gone we now see that their pains are back as Leland Stanley and Donovan Jones have came out of the wood work once more to cause some issues and deal out pain. I like that Jimmy is now working for a smaller company who just wants to use Prototype to help build their bank account and become a mascot for them of sorts, but with this new job its also clear that their bank account is not as big and that they are even more tight about money. Jimmy also is trying to be more grown up and is trying to find a way to become a “Hero” as well as a father and husband and is ready to settle his life down. Meanwhile Angella seems to be happy to have Jimmy in her life, but also seems to be fearful of his hero life and all the danger he is always in as well as what could cause issues for her and their soon-to-be born child. I like that Donovan is now working for Techuza and is now calling himself Engine Of Destruction and is so filled with hate and the want for revenge that he has forgotten his morals and just wants to kill Prototype for making him look bad and handing him his first major defeat when he was known as Prototype III. I have to be honest with you I hate the fact that Leland Stanley is back as his character had a great send off and should have been left dead, and now with him being the head of a terrorist group makes me know that his ego will be even more out of control. Over all this was a pretty solid issue that had a nice mix of adding in our new characters and stories as well as had a dash of the old story thrown in for nice measure wrapped around a grudge fight. The cover is cool and has Prototype with a cool Chinese Dragon and the interior art is done by Dean Zachary and I think that in this issue his art is really good and I will say I like it this time around and none of it looked rushed. Let’s see what issue sixteen has in store for us, and let’s hope it’s not a ton of Leland nor Jimmy being yelled at by his boss.

Prototype # 16  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95   Malibu Comics   # 16 of 18

Prototype and Engine Of Destruction are fighting in the streets of New York as Angella watches on in shock and is wondering if this is what her life will be if she marries Jimmy. As the battle rages on Prototype learns that the more he hits Engine Of Destruction the stronger he becomes as the armor he wears repairs and protects itself, but by doing so it’s also making his suit more bulky and slowing him down. It works as Engine Of Destruction becomes too massive and it becomes hard for him to move around. As Angella watches, someone kidnaps her and says he is taking her to a place where Ultra babies are born. Meanwhile before Prototype can finish off Engine Of Destruction members of the Techuza attack and allow Engine Of Destruction to get the upper hand and take down Prototype and pound him into the ground, but Engine Of Destruction makes a big mistake when he removes Prototypes mask and Jimmy uses eye energy blasts to defeat Engine Of Destruction, but before he can really put him away the members of the Techuza come back and whisk their injured friend away and Jimmy sees that they also have kidnapped Angella and he is powerless now to save her as he wasted all his energy on that attack. We then see that Terrordyne doctors are working on Leland and are making him into something more than just a man.

Another battle issue that is surrounded by plot and like before this is a very entertaining issue that puts our hero in an epic battle and also ups the stakes as his lady love is taken away by his new enemies. Jimmy Ruiz who was a former gang member has a fighting nature and while it’s clear he wants to settle down and have a family, he also has way too much pride in being Prototype and cannot just stand around and allow bad guys to get away with crime. Angella who gets kidnapped also still is at war with herself as she loves her boyfriend and baby’s daddy Jimmy but also hates his fighting lifestyle. Terrordyne clearly has big plans for Leland as they have taken his corpse and are adding tech to it in order to bring him back to life to let him lead them as well as become more powerful than ever. Techuza are sneaky ninjas who watch out for each other but also seem to be very much into nabbing Angella as she has an Ultra Baby in her womb. Engine Of Destruction is a tank and can take a beating and use that beating to become stronger, but the man inside Donovan is also dealing with rage issues and this causes him to also make mistakes. The drama of Angella not being 100% sure if she can and should marry Jimmy adds that slight more human nature to this comic series and while she comes off very whinny its very understandable as who would want a life of super villains trying to kill your loved ones as well as yourself. The cover is pretty cool and eye-catching in a 90’s comic kind of way with the interior art being great and done by Roger Robinson again. Over all I have to say again a solid entertaining issue that makes me look forward to reading the next.

Prototype # 17  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 17 of 18

Stanley Leland wakes up after his resurrection surgery and has the body of a squid and is told by the terrorist group that he is the one they want to lead them and that they will help him get revenge on Prototype. Bob Campbell, Melina Campbell and Jake Alexander are working on the damage Prototype suit and they have made so very good adjustments to it making it run smoother and cause Jimmy far less pain when first putting it on. Once the armor is ready Prototype and Ranger fly off to save Angella from the grip of the Techuza and both in their own minds share how proud they are to be saving the day with the other. The heroes show up and fight off giant killer fish as well as Techuza henchmen and then finally they enter a room and their armor is scanned and Techuza alerts them that they have taken the fetus and that Angella is alive and they control the fate of Prototypes family! The Techuza also tells him that they are getting ready for war with Terrordyne and it will be fought with Ultras and bio-weapons and that Prototype should remember that he should be on their side as they control the fate of his family. Ranger tries to calm down Prototype who punches his hero friend and rushes to an image of Angella that turns into a pile of goo and he breaks down. Meanwhile the Techuza takes Angella back to New York and throw her out of a van minus her baby!

So a gang war between Techuza and Terrordyne is about to go down and both sides clearly will be playing for keeps as they are stockpiling Ultras as well as creating weapons that will cause mass destruction as well as death. So in other words we are in store for two terrorist groups fighting each other with heroes and normal people stuck in the middle! Prototype in this issue is filled with worry as well as rage as he just wants his girlfriend and baby back and is making bad decisions along the way cause he is lashing out and not using his mind in order to rescue her. And poor Angella has been kidnapped, her baby stolen from her womb and then dumped in a New York ally like she is trash, this poor woman has been through so much in a matter of hours. Ranger is doing his best to try and keep Prototype calm and on track and teaching him the ways of being an Ultra Hero, but is learning that Jimmy while a good guy is a little unstable and is always filled with anger. Leland is around and has the legs of an octopus, he is still snarky and ego driven and is promised revenge on Prototype if he helps Terrordyne in their quest for power, I wish Leland would have been left dead. The cover for this issue is terrible and is Leland his is octopus legs and is very cheesy and lame and not eye-catching and more laughable and the interior art this time around is done by George Dove and is good stuff. Crazy to think that we only have one more issue in this series and the Prototype would be over, let’s see how Malibu ends this series.

Prototype # 18  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $1.95.    Malibu Comics     # 18 of 18

Prototype is at a department store for their 10th Anniversary when he becomes under attack by Battlewagon a tech suited bad guy with tank treads for feet! The battle is going as reporter Lacy is on the scene broadcasting it live, when Battlewagon uses his force field to knock Prototype down with a hard blast he then uses a wall to trap our hero and reveals who he is as Battlewagon in Frankie the man who use to be Jimmy’s best friend! Frankie tells Jimmy that he feels like he was forgotten as he was given a job at Ultratech by Jimmy’s request and that was as a janitor and that one day when Prototype was fight Arena they knocked down a wall that killed Maria the love of Frankie’s life and put him into a coma. He then says that it was Terrordyne who brought him back and turned him into Battlewagon in order to get revenge on Prototype for taking everything away from him. Prototype snaps to and tries to talk to Battlewagon as he has something big to tell him, but the angry villain will not listen and as Prototype once more pulls his punches as he tries to talk to his one time friend who once more blasts Prototype with a massive shot and just as Battlewagon is about to kill our hero a voice stops him and its Maria who’s pregnant and very much alive, Terrordyne has lied to Frankie and he is overwhelmed and flees the scene. Prototype thanks Maria for coming and they both stand together wondering if Frankie will ever return.

The final issue of Prototype is a fun one that is its own story wrapped up in one issue, but it also does zero to answer the questions of issue 17 like the war between the two terrorist groups and what happed with Angella and her baby? But this issue has Prototype having a fight with a new Ultra Villain that turns out to be is one time best friend who blames Jimmy for all is issues and the death of his wife who is in fact very much alive. Battlewagon is the issue’s baddie and he is pretty cool as he has the torso of a man in a tech suit and the bottom half of a tank and he has massive firepower to boot! The downside to him is he is fighting with rage and this makes him sloppy in attacks as well as makes him way to talkative as he wants to alert our hero on why he hates him and wants him dead. Prototype in this issue is annoyed that he is having to do a meet and greet at a department store then turns into hero mode when he is attacked but ends up shocked and sadden when he fights out who his attacker is and why he is fighting. The story is very much like a soap opera and it’s clear that writer R.A. Jones knew this as he even has panels showing a soap opera on a TV, and while it feels out of place and disjointed from the last issue it still very much was an entertaining read. To be honest many times this comic series in its run feels disjointed as plots and characters seem to disappear and they also do the finish this story in this other comic series nonsense that has plagued mainstream comics for so long now. I really do enjoy Malibu Comics and Prototype is my second favorite character in the Ultraverse and it was a blast revisiting many of these issues again as well as for some a first time read and I still feel that Prototype and Ranger should be in the Marvel Universe as they are perfect fits in the Iron Man series. The cover is cool and eye-catching but has zero to do with what happens in the issue and the interior art is done by Paul Abrams and is good stuff! After this issue a mini series was suppose to be released called “Prototype Turf War” and would have been more about the terrorist war and would have wrapped up the story, but sadly it was never released thanks to the fine folks at Marvel Comics who botched everything Ultraverse from day one of them buying them. Check out some artwork bellow to see they style of art used in this series and I will say if you like 90’s Superhero comics make sure to check out Prototype as it really is a good series with some cool characters.

Prototype is one of my favorite characters from the Malibu Comics Ultraverse and his series was well done and had a nice build up and showcased many characters all with their own story arches and all building the world they live in. It’s a shame that Prototype as well as all the rest of the Malibu Ultraverse characters never fully got to have a solid ending or even found new life in the Marvel Universe. While Prototype did have flaws and some issues in storytelling, it really is a fun series to read, and I know this sounds crazy to many of you readers and friends but I would say that for me the Ultravese was better then just about everything Image Comics did in their first few years minus the likes of Spawn and Maxx, but let’s not get to much into that. For our next update I will once more be celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary Of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame and will be heading to the world of Crazyman! So until next time read a Malibu Comic or three, watch an Ultraforce episode or two and as always support your local Horror Host! On a side note I wonder if the Warden will have some beans for us to eat when we visit The Crazyman?

For the Honor of Greyskull: She-Ra Through the Ages

Greetings readers – it’s Juliet, reporting back in for blogging duty. Back in the early days of Rotten Ink, 2013 to be exact, Matt asked his friends what franchises they thought should have been made into comics.  Interestingly several of my picks have become comics since then with one franchise in particular enjoying a reboot and subsequent relaunch into popular culture.  That franchise is She-Ra, and today we’ll be taking a look at both the classic Princess of Power and the modern Princesses of Power series including a modern comic for younger readers.  So saddle up your flying horse, grab the Sword of Protection and let’s head to Etheria for the honor of Greyskull!

In 1985, Filmation launched a spinoff to it’s animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  Geared at young women, She-Ra: Princess of Power followed Princess Adora, the twin sister of Prince Adam (aka He-Man), who was kidnapped by Hordak at birth and was taken to Etheria where she served as Force Captain of the Horde.  After being saved by He-Man and reunited with her family, Adora then chooses to return to Etheria as a freedom fighter in the rebellion, taking up the Sword of Protection and the mantle of She-Ra.  

She-Ra: Princess of Power introduced many supporting characters, some of whom were created by Filmation and others by Mattel, presumably so they could add toys and other merchandise featuring the new characters. The series made its debut on TV in 1985, and the five episode introduction was packed as the film He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword. She-Ra: Princess of Power would run for two seasons and a total of 93 episodes. 

The original She-Ra series is one of those cartoons that’s just always existed for me.  I was so young when it debuted, that I can’t actually remember the first time I saw the show, rather, it was ever-present throughout my childhood.  Even after it went off the air, I had a VHS copy of He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special taped off TV that I’d regularly watch.  I loved the characters, but moreover, I loved the idea of the characters and their world.  These were the types of characters that I’d make my own stories about while daydreaming (hello, future fanfiction and original fiction writer). Like many cartoons of its era, it faded away for a while but saw a huge resurgence of interest with the rise of nostalgic pop culture in the late 90s/early 00s.  And of course, the release of the show on DVD helped fuel that fire.  I have the DVDs, and it’s been fun getting reacquainted with the series, especially getting the watch the entire run in order, something I didn’t get to do as a child.  

In 2018, a new version of She-Ra debuted on Netflix.  She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was developed by Noelle Stevenson, already well known for her Nimona and Lumberjanes comic series.  It focused on a teenaged Adora’s journey of love and friendship from being a Horde force captain to taking on the mantle of She-Ra, the savior of Etheria. This series ran a total of five seasons on Netflix to wide acclaim for both its storytelling and its inclusive characters and relationships.  

I had heard good things about She-Ra and the Princess of Power since its launch, but being notoriously late to the game on Netflix shows, it took me until the fifth and final season was released to start my watch.  In all honesty, however, my timing couldn’t have been better.  I watched the entire run of the show in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and was fairly awestruck.  It was amazing to see beloved, albeit sometimes one dimensional characters from the original series reborn with intentional stories and personalities all their own in bodies and with identities that reflect the varied and awesome realities of our world with a fantasy backdrop.  And then there’s the storytelling.  I have such appreciation for shows that are geared towards younger folks that don’t shy from complex stories and don’t pander to their intended audience.  Watching She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, I was moved to tears on more than one occasion and could imagine my younger self feeling all of the feelings when watching it.  

One thing that really surprised me going from She-Ra: Princess of Power to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was which characters became my favorite from each show.  In the original show, I was a huge fan of Adora/She-Ra but also loved the looks of Peekablue and Frosta.  In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, I totally adored Mermista and, mostly surprisingly of all, became a diehard fan of Scorpia.  Both of those characters grow so much through the series, and with Scorpia, you just want her to win and find happiness.  

Before we go on, I have to talk for a moment about music.  Both She-Ra series have memorable theme songs.  The original 80s theme is a riff on the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe theme with a voiceover from titular hero and a chorus of their name, though I find the She-Ra theme to be much catchier.   The theme for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, however, takes catchy to a whole new level with the song “Warriors” performed by Aaliyah Rose.  It’s such a great anthem that’s guaranteed to get stuck in your head.In addition to the original run of Mattel figures and their accompanying playsets upon which the show was launched, the 80s version of She-Ra had plenty of merchandise both then and now including t-shirts, coffee mugs and cups, sticker and coloring books, board games, backpacks and Funko Pops. Starting in the 2000s, Mattel began to cash in on toy collectors’ nostalgia with several series of reissued He-Man and She-Ra figure sets, beginning with Masters of the Universe Classics.  This first series ran from 2008 until 2016 and featured She-Ra characters scattered among those from He-Man throughout the line.  These were good looking collectors’ figures that were based on the original Masters of the Universe sculpts rather than the original She-Ra figures (so they were bulkier and all plastic with sculpted hair).  My own collection includes both Adora and She-Ra as well as Teela from Masters of the Universe. There have been several additional reissue series in the same vein of Masters of the Universe Classics over the years with a new one that just started (the She-Ra from that series was released in February, 2021) and a line of ReAction figures.  Like its predecessor, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power also has its share of cool merchandise including t-shirts, enamel pins, stickers, a line of books and graphic novels aimed at younger readers, and an awesome line of Target exclusive figures.  

I had many of the original She-Ra figures growing up including She-Ra and a Crystal Swiftwind.  I remember always wanting the Crystal Castle playset, but alas, never actually had it (though my extensive Jem and the Holograms collection more than made up for that), but I do still have my childhood She-Ra coloring book.  I haven’t gotten any merchandise from the new show yet – save for the topic of our review, but I blame that on having watched it entirely during the pandemic and having not set foot in a Hot Topic in over a year as of this posting.  

So let’s talk about what we’re going to review today — in 2019, Scholastic (who you may know from your childhood book fairs) released a chapter book designed for grades 1-5 called She-Ra: Origins of a Hero.  Written by Tracey West, this book kicked off an unconnected series of books for the same age group that took place in the world of the Netflix show.  The fourth book, released in early 2020, however was a graphic novel called She-Ra: Legend of the Fire Princess.  It was written by D.G. Gigi and illustrated by Pauline Ganucheau with input from Noelle Stevenson.  That graphic novel, which was a gift from Matt, is the subject of today’s review. As a reminder, here on Rotten Ink, we grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and are looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get ready for an adventure of friendship and wonder as we look at She-Ra: Legend of the Fire Princess

She-Ra: Legend of the Fire Princess  ****
Released in 2020   Cover Price $12.99   Scholastic   #1 of 1

The Spirit Ember is the hot topic of the day as both the Horde and the Rebellion are seeking this lost rune stone.  As Entrapta and Catra plan their search, Glimmer tells the other princess of the legend of the Fire Princess, whose years of solitude trying to master the secrets of the Spirit Ember ended up destroying her kingdom.  Adora is disturbed by the legend, but soon her attention shifts as a Horde vehicle is reported outside Thaymor.  Queen Angela sends Adora, Glimmer and the others to investigate and permits them to search for the Spirit Ember. Meanwhile, Catra and Scorpia are on their own search, but are decidedly not on the same page about their objectives for the day.  As both teams race toward the Spirit Ember, it becomes clear that everything is not as it seems with the lost runestone and each team will have to not only decide if the rune stone is worth it, but also confront issues of trust and friendship along the way.

Comics based on cartoons (as opposed to cartoons based on comics) can really go either way: they can provide fans with additional stories that are faithful to the shows they love or they can utterly pale in comparison with the source material.  Lucky for us, She-Ra: Legend of the Fire Princess is the former. Just like the show, while this graphic novel is aimed at a younger audience, it’s a great read for fans of any age.  The story of a quest for a lost rune-stone would fit perfectly in the middle seasons of the show and, like all of the episodes, manages to balance the “quest of the day” with the larger things the characters are dealing with emotionally and interpersonally.  You can tell Noelle Stevenson had a hand in this because the tone is just right.  Gigi D.G.’s script is well-paced and gives each character time to shine, and Paulina Ganucheau’s art, which you can see below, fits perfectly with the style of the show.  Given that it is aimed at young readers, this will be a quick read for most, but it still manages to pack in a lot of story and a lot of heart.  If you’re a fan of the show and are craving more She-Ra content after the final season, definitely check this one out.

What a fun trip down the nearer and further stretches of memory lane.  When I proposed a She-Ra comic back in 2013, I had hoped that it would provide context and depth to the 80s characters.  Never could I have imagined a show as amazing as She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and I’m so happy we have it.  For our next update, I’ll be handing the blog back to Matt, but we’ll stay in the world of nostalgia as we visit the 90s for a look at Malibu’s Prototype.  In the meantime, support your local comic shop, be strong and be brave.

Captain D’s Fast Food Greasy Sea Adventures

When I was a youngster many fast food restaurants used to not only have kids meal with must have toys in them but they also used to give away comic books based on their mascots! The biggest and most popular fast food comic book hands down was “Adventures Of Big Boy” that was released by Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant here in the Dayton, Ohio area. But many others followed like McDonalds that I have covered here before as well as even Long John Silvers, but the ones I want to talk about for this update came from Captain D’s. To me, these comics were more iconic than the Big Boy comics and were ones that felt like must reads when waiting in the booth for food to be done while at the restaurant. While I was never a huge fan of Captain D’s and their fish, I did always love to eat one of their greasy cheeseburgers with an order of fries, and yes as I said before, I was teased about my choice by family members. But besides the oh so good burger and fries and free comic book, one other thing that I remember about the Captain D’s we ate at in Kettering, Ohio is the appearance of the restaurant. The outside was a dull grey color and the wood around the building was done up to look super old and as if it was near the ocean and got erosion from the salt water. The sign up front showed the company’s logo as well as features the one and only Captain D himself, and seeing the Captain’s grinning face was pretty cool to see. Walking to the doors to enter was roped off by thick wood pillars that had massive ropes through them acting as the railing like if you were on a peer. The inside was made up to have the feeling that you were in a ship and had nets, fish and even a porthole. Sadly while some of the inside decorations are still up, the appearance of our Captain D’s is now pretty modernized and lacks character that the old style had. Now I am craving a cheeseburger so I think its time to step aboard with Captain D’s and tell tall tales of adventures, fishing and of course fast food goodies.

On August 15, 1969 in Donelson, Tennessee, the first ever Captain D’s was opened and was founded by Raymond L. Danner Sr. and originally called “Mr. D’s Seafood and Hamburgers.” By 1974 they changed the name to “Captain D’s Seafood” and fish, shrimp and fries became their main focus. Throughout the 70’s Captain D’s expanded and grew at a fast rate and did its best to compete with companies like McDonalds and Burger King to capture the kids market by offering the Birthday Club, Kids Meals and of course comic books, and this worked for a short amount of time before the restaurant finally became a must eat place for the elderly with mountain of coupons and the classic senior discount. While Captain D’s was the king of fast food sea food restaurants for a short time, they did have a rival in Long John Silvers that was also created in 1969 and to this day has more restaurants opened and brings in more money marking them as king of the fast sea food. In 1984 Captain D’s was bought by Shoney’s and was growing in size and expanded their menu items. By 2012 they revamped their look and designs, and in 2017 they were bought by Sentinel Capital Partners who is looking at how to expand the chain and make Captain D’s the must east fast food seafood place in the world. I for one loved the more classic looks for Captain D’s and dislike the more modern designs to not only them but all of fast food as the new looks are very soulless and hollow looking. What will the future holds for Captain D’s has yet to be seen, and we can only hope that they return the hamburgers to the menu as well as bring back the FREE kids comics based on Captain D and his friend Silly Sailor.

As I have stated before, way back in 2012 while covering the toys and Star Comics based on the Inhumanoids, I never have been a major fan of the food of Captain D’s and the one menu item I did like was their super greasy cheeseburgers that sadly they have removed from their menu. Over the years I have had to eat at Captain D’s so many times due to my grandparents or friends and most of the time when having to order the fish or even chicken strips, the meal is average at best…but because of this update Juliet and I braved it and decided to eat a meal at Captain D’s at the very one that I had eaten from when I was a kid…and this time I am going to eat the fish! And of course due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, we ended up having to get our meal via the Drive-Thru and ate the meal at home while we played old Captain D’s Commercials via YouTube streaming off our Apple TV. I ordered a four piece fish meal with a loaded baked potato and Mac N Cheese as my sides, it came with two hushpuppies and a small Pepsi to drink. I added an order of Fried Green Tomatoes as well as they were new to the menu, and we had this for lunch on August 19, 2020! Let’s start with the drink; it was a good size for a small and had a good fountain Pepsi taste to it! The Mac N Cheese was tasty and had a creamy texture and a great taste. The loaded Baked Potato was good and had cheese, bacon, sour cream and butter bringing a rich mixture of flavor with the potato itself being soft. The Hushpuppies were on point and packed flavor that helped add to the over all meal. The fish had crispy breading that had a good flavor and the fish was tender and fluffy a total shock as it was really good! The star of the meal was the Fried Green Tomatoes as my gosh they were the highlight of the meal and makes me want to go to Captain D’s again to order more of them!! I was shocked as this meal from Captain D’s was very good and none of the food tasted bad or had and flaws for me to point out or make the meal poor, in fact I would eat their again in the future and that’s shocking as I am never in the mood for Captain D’s and yet this meal has now put them on my radar…wait am I getting old and turning into my Grandpa?

I want to thank Mama Young, Game Swap Kettering, Ebay, Lone Star Comics, Etsy and Bell Book And Comic for making this update possible and having these issues in stock, and it’s crazy that these comics are kind of hard to get nowadays, and at times when you do find them, they hold a pretty high price tag for a comic that was a free give away, but when thinking about it I am sure many of these comics were destroyed by kids with only a few adult collectors keeping them in good shape. Looking back at it, I can remember copies of the comics in the trashcan with half eaten fish parts and coleslaw on top of them, and my brother, cousin and I confused as to why someone would throwaway a free comic book. But now I am off topic as we are talking about Captain D’s trash bins of comics so with that I can hear the Silly Sailor wanting me to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready let’s sail the fast food seas with Captain D’s and his friend Silly Sailor and see how these comics hold up after all these years. Oh and keep in mind these comics had been released and rereleased causing numbering to be odd and doubled sometimes.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 1  **
Released in 1976   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #1 of 41

This first issue has a brief life story of sea captain John Paul Jones who fought the British for America in 1776 and how he went down in history for fighting outmanned and out gunned and said the phrase “I have yet begun to fight!” to the rival captain. Then we get a few puzzles and a short about Captain D himself alongside his young shipmates going to Nashville to see the sights and then get some food at guess where? If you guessed Long John Silvers, you are wrong.

This issue, while a fun very brief history lesson about American icon John Paul Jones, is really nothing more than one big advertisement for the restaurant chain and Pepsi Cola. But then again what did you expect for a free comic about the restaurant’s mascot? The art inside is pretty poorly done for the John Paul Jones segment but the Captain D’s stuff is fun and cartoony. Speaking of Captain D himself, it’s a shame that the old red beard mascot has been sent off to the great blue sea of forgotten fast food icons, and the food chain no longer uses him. Over all for a free comic, these were always fun and for the $1.93 I paid for it on Ebay, the trip down memory lane was worth it.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 12  **1/2
Released in 1978   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #12 of 41

This time Captain D tells the story of Captain James Cook, the son of a farmer who became a ship crew member and later joined a ship during the war with France. He is known for multiple things that changed the way we all sail: he introduced a healthy diet for sailors who spend long times at sea that helped them fight off sickness. He also was a very detailed navigator who drew up detailed maps and even introduced the dotted lines to map routes and dangers that one might face if following it. Sadly Captain Cook died in Hawaii when during a fight with natives over a stolen boat he was stabbed in the back. The Fish Story for this one is called “The Fish That Floated” and is about a young fish who just floats as he does not know how to swim, and his mom has to save him when fisherman almost nets him! The rest of the comic is filled with games and letters.

This issue does a great job of giving you the meat and potatoes of the life and career of Captain James Cook and they show you how he made some great changes to how the world at sea operates with one very important one is the diets of the sailors. And it’s great that it’s sauerkraut that is what was introduced to them and is what helps them fight of sicknesses like scurvy. Being from Waynesville, Ohio it’s great to see the kraut getting respect as we had a whole festival based around it! In other words, Captain Cook is an interesting icon of sea captains. The Fish Story is pretty good and again written by a kid and is about not being lazy and never giving up as one day what you need to do in life just might save your life. The cover is fine, and while not super eye catching, it’s still solid, and the interior art is great for a free promo comic and shows why these were a great tool for Captain D’s to try and capture the kids market. Good solid issue and worth reading if you like Fast Food comics.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 15   **
Released in 1986   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #15 of 41

In this issue Captain D tells us about a young Mark Twain and how when he was a young man he wanted to badly travel down the Amazon River, and learned his boating skills by becoming a “Cub” to a ship to learn how to become a river pilot! This takes him from being tested by the boat captain and also shows how he got the name Mark Twain as his real name is Samuel Clemens and this was all before he became the amazing writer we all know. The Fish Story for this issue is called “The Fish That Sang All Night” and is about an old man who while fishing hooks a very tiny fish who can talk and sing, and when the little fish begs the old man not to throw him back in the pair team up and the little fish becomes a TV star. The rest of the issue is filled with games, jokes and letters.

This is a pretty cool issue that showcases the early life of writer Mark Twain! And while he grew up near the river and waterways and had some sailing experience it’s a little crazy to put him in the same series as true Captains and Adventurers of the seas, but I am sure they knew that young readers and even older readers would know that name. The tale of Twain is super dragged out as its really just about him learning on a boat to understand the curves and shape of the waters. A good read yes but a pretty ho-hum tale that leaves you wanting something a little more ground breaking and world changing. The Fish Story is pretty fun and has a tiny singing fish becoming an over night star in the world of TV. The cover on this issue is ok and for some reason Mark Twain looks like a ghost with eerie yellow light all around him. The Interior art is good and is clearly your standard promo comic stuff. Over all a good issue but not a great issue and is pretty middle of the road as Mark Twain is cool him as a young man on a boat learning and being tested is kind of a bad choice. Oh I should also note that for some reason Captain D acts as if Mark Twain was a true hero that did so much for America via the waters…yeah poor old Captain was stretching to justify it.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 16   **
Released in 1986   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #15 of 41

This go around Captain D tells us about Captain Oliver Hazard a man who was born to be on the sea like his father before him and who once in the Navy rose the ranks in record time! He also created the phrase “Don’t Give Up The Ship” a saying still used till this day and during Americans war with Britain he won Lake Eerie and this victory helped up win the war! The Fish Tale is called “The Wise Fish” and is about a fish who outsmarts a shark at his door. As always the rest of the comic is filled with games, letters and jokes.

This is a solid and fun issue that showcases the heroic actions and life of Captain Oliver Hazard a man who was born to be a legend of the waters! This comic does a quick and fast job of alerting readers to what he has done to make America the nation it is today! Plus unlike the last issue Captain Hazard is a true hero of the waters and helped in battles and lived his life on the waters. The Fish Tale is ok and has a fish at home who gets a knock on his door from a shark trying to trick him to eat him, and the fish out smarts his would be attacker. The cover is pretty funny and has Silly Sailor goofing up again and the interior art is as always good for this level of promo comics. A good read for sure if you like Captain Hazard or even just goofy kids comics about history.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 18  *1/2
Released in 1978   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #18 of 41

Captain D in this classic issue tells the take of two captains who fought a battle with ironclad ships during the Civil War! For the North was Lieutenant John Lorimer Worden and for the South was Lieutenant Catesby Rodgers Jones and they sides fought a battle that lasted many rounds and neither side could make major damage to the others iron made ships. In the end both sides while no ship sunk claimed victory for the battle that was a strange one for sure that took place at America’s Civil War. The Fish Story for this issue is called “Fat Fish” about Ronald an over weight fish that is made fun of by all the other fish and this makes him run away from home, only to run into a shark who wants to eat him. Ronald swims so fast to save his life that he looses all the weight and returns home to be now popular cause he is no longer fat. The rest of the comic is filled with puzzles, letters, jokes and games.

This issue I have to point out has bright and flat coloring, but this makes this over all bland issue pop! The main story of the ironclad ship battle during the Civil War is entertaining but goes by way to fast, and the highlight is when a flash makes Lieutenant John Lorimer Worden go temporally blind and the art of it made me chuckle out loud. And I do like the back and fourth panels showing what was going on both ships. But again is way to fast and wish they would have built up the battle a little more. The Fish Story is the worst this far and the whole story is Fat Kids are to be made fun of until they loose weight…so silly and is the normal mindset of that time. The cover for this issue is action packed and eye catching for those who picked up the issue at Captain D’s and the interior art is good as always. Over all just an ok issue that has a cool yet to fast told Civil War story and a terrible messaged Fish Story.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 21  **
Released in 1987   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #21 of 41

In this issue Captain D talks about Confederate sea raider Raphael Semmes who manned one of the first war ships for the Confederate army and even brought down on of the North’s major stock ships. But finally was taken down in a battle in the Civil War and at first was a wanted man and then latter became a “Hero” in American history. The Fish Tale is untitled and is about a fish saving a King Fish from a witch who was forcing him to work in a salt mine. The rest of the issue is games, puzzles, jokes and letters.

This issue has a very quick look at Raphael Semmes and his time in the Civil war were he brought down a supplies ship and then when faced with a warship from the north was brought down, and he fled and was wanted for being a traitor and then once the war was over was honored by the US Navy…pretty standard and uneventful tale as his battles was few. The Fish Tale was fun and features a Witch and a cool creepy Salt Mine and a hero fish saving a King Fish…good silly kid comic stuff. The cover is pretty cool and has Captain D and Silly Sailor and they are doing a silly sailing joke. The interior art is good for this style of comic and once more I will say the coloring is pretty good and is bright. Over all an average good kids comic read featuring a fast food mascot.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 23 **
Released in 1987   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #23 of 41

Captain D in this issue wants to share the story of Portuguese explorer and Captain Ferdinand Magellan who fought battles as well was one of the biggest pushers that the Earth is round and not flat. After the quick history lesson there is some puzzles and games and finally Captain D shares a young readers Fish Tale called “The Fish That Got Away” that has a young boy being tricked by a super smart fish who steals his fishing boat.

In this issue Captain D gives a very quick history lesson about a very respectable world explorer from the 1400’s named Ferdinand Magellan, and while it is super fast and leaves out lots of Ferdinand’s life it does do a good job of trying to get you to want to learn more about him. The Fish Tale from this issue is pretty silly and cheesy and clearly was written by a youngster, plus I love how Captain D kind of alerts the kid that his title of the story should have been slightly different. Captain D in this issue comes off very well and seems to love sharing this issue with readers. The art in this issue is as most from this series and has a great kids comic feel, the cover is pretty good and to be honest the ones that had Captain D on them were the ones my brother and I were more into reading. Over all this issue is another average read and is one I semi remember from when I was a kid.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 25 **
Released in 1981   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #25 of 41

In this Exciting Issue, Captain D tells us about Italian explorer John Cabot who mapped the world and wanted to find a land to trade for silk and riches and after making a fake promise to the King went on some expeditions only to have failed at the task, but did find some land to claim for his King. He was badmouthed and labeled a failure and shortly after passed away. The Fish Story is called “Harry’s Close Call” and fallows Harry a tiny fish that is playing hide and seek with his friend and while hiding he is captured by a fisherman’s net and due to his small size he is thrown back into the water and is tagged by his friend. The rest of the issue has jokes, letters and games.

This issue is a standard read that features the quick history of explorer John Cabot who was an expert mapper and even “found” and claimed some land…but also told a fib in order to be able to map the areas with promises of silk and trades. I love how in one panel the people of the village call John a failure out loud so he can hear it…brutal! The Fish Story is pretty cool and has a fish playing hide and seek being netted by a fisherman and lucky for him because his size was thrown back and ends up being tagged and it! The cover is ok and for the most part is very generic and the interior art is standard. Over all an ok issue that is a fast read.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 25.5 *1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #25 of 41

In this issue Captain D brings you a look at Prince Henry of Portugal who was never going to be King as he had three older brothers in line so he spent his time training explorers and sailors in order to discover land and claim it for the nation. While he never did get to see the land the men he trained claimed, he still was an inspiration in the world of sailing for all he did. The Fish Tale in this issue is called “Fish Story” and is about a young fisherman hooking a fish on his first cast as the fish himself was eager to eat as the hook didn’t even have bait on it yet! The rest of the issue has puzzles, games, letters and jokes.

This issue is pretty good but does have a pretty weak look at Prince Henry who only trained people to explore and sail and never did so himself, while interesting it is a little silly of a choice to pick as an icon of sailing history. I will say the take is pretty quickly done and hits all the major marks it needs to. The Fish Tale in this issue is pretty weak and is just about a sloppy young fisherman who forgets to bait his hook and a hungry eager fish who wants to eat…not really all that amazing of a story. The biggest disappointment of this issue is that the cover makes it appear as if it has ghosts and a ghost ship and they do not show up in any story, but with that said the cover is good and eye catching and the interior art is solid like all others this far.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 27 **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #27 of 41

In this issue Captain D shares the story of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton who was exploring Antarctica and ran into some very hard times when his ship is sunk in the ice and he and his crew must take smaller boats in order to survive the very harsh weather and conditions. Along the way Shackleton leaves his crew in camps and makes the long journey for help as he will not give up to and finds help and saves the life of his crew. The Fish Tale is called “Little Fishy’s Dream” that is about Teenie a fish who finds a chest full of gold and when her moms says she can’t spend it or eat it she makes a deal with a fisherman that if he sends down worms she will give him gold coins, and the pair make the deal and Teenie opens up her own worm shop. The rest of the issue is filled with jokes, letters and games.

This issue is very fast paced and both main attraction stories are pretty dang good! Sir Ernest Shackleton and his strong will to save his crews life is the stuff of legend and he travels and fights against the harsh bitter cold weather to do so. Sir Ernest Shackleton shows that the human will to live and help is strong and this is a trait I hope is passed on to more humans in these modern times. The Fish Tale is lots of fun and I like how Teenie used her mind and turned gold coins into meals for her and her mother! This is a really solid and fun issue that does not drag and while the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton is rushed it’s done well and keeps you interested and invested into the story. The cover is cool and once more has Captain D and Silly Sailor exchanging a cheesy boat joke. The interior art is good and has that classic promo Captain D’s charm. Over all a solid issue that also features a goofy Dracula joke and its awesome to see the vampire in a kids comic.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 28 **
Released in 1988   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #28 of 41

In this issue Captain D shares a brief history lesson on the Battle Of Lake Champlain that was between America and United Kingdom having a massive naval battle on September 11, 1814 and had Commandant Macdonough win the battle, we also get a brief look at his life. The Fish Story in this issue is called “ My Greatest Catch” that is about a kid fishing who gets a big fish on his line and a diver tries to help him only to find the kid has hooked a big catfish who drives away driving a car underwater. The rest of this issue is puzzles and games.

This 28th issue in the Exciting Adventure starts with a half bio and half war tale of true to life American hero Commandant Macdonough who led America to victory via a sea battle. And this while again very crammed this history tale is a fun quick read that I am sure made kids at the time feel like they knew a little more about our nations history. The second tale is pretty cheesy and is a tall tale of catching a fish that ends with a joke, but I will admit its pretty cool seeing a massive catfish driving a car. Captain D in this issue comes off excited about sharing the war story and is amused by the Fish Story. The cover for this issue is pretty good, but I do not think it’s very eye catching for kids. The interior art is good and has still that true kids comic appeal. Over all this as well is just a solid average comic read that is based on a fast food mascot.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 29 **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #29 of 41

This issue Captain D shares the story of Jean Lafitte a pirate who lived in New Orleans and was a well liked figure in the city, once he had a price put on his head by the American Government and got it dropped when he helped win a battle for America against the U.K! After the war he was once more well liked for a short amount of time, but was once more turned on and ran out of America and was never seen again. The “Fish Tale” for this one is about a young girl from Iowa who stays summers with her Grandparents and her Grandpa made her “bait” out of a bike horn and this made her catch more fish than anyone at the lake that year. And as always this is filled with puzzles, games and coloring pages.

This issue wins brownie points from me as it starts with saying that the ghost of Jean Lafitte is said to haunt the streets of New Orleans, and then goes into the Pirates history of ups and downs while in America. This part is a very good read and makes me want to write a comic about the ghost of Jean Lafitte for Blood Scream Comics! The Fish Story in this issue is a little silly, but very charming as its clear a little kid wrote it who enjoys fishing with her grandpa and clearly also like to ride her bike complete with horn! I am going to say this I really wish that this issue would have been a kind of Horror Comic and would have been about the Ghost of Lafitte in the Big Easy. The cover for this issue is pretty good and showcases Captain D, with the interior art being solid and good for this type of kid’s promo comic.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 30 **
Released in 1988   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #30 of 41

This issue Captain D talks about Naval Commander Isaac Hull from his life as a youngster all the way to beating Britain’s navy in a battle in 1812, this man helped build America’s pride and helped prove that we can win our freedom and be a powerful nation. The “Fish Tale” for this issue is called Tricky Fish and is about a fish who has figured out how to steal he worms off hooks without being caught, but after getting greedy he finds himself hooked and learning a valuable lesson. And of course the rest of the comic is filled with kids letters, puzzles, jokes and games.

This is a great read and it was pretty cool to learn about Isaac Hull in a fast and very compact history lesson. Guys like him is why America is the nation it is to this day as he fought for freedom and rights. The Fish Tale is pretty fun as well and I like the idea of a greedy sneaky fish stealing worms and when he pushes his luck too much he makes the biggest mistake of his life. This issue’s cover is pretty good and the colors make it eye catching, the interior art as always is a solid kids promo comic style. While this is another average issue in this series I still find it very entertaining like the others in this series.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 31 *1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #31 of 41

Captain D in this issue shares a brief look at a man who helped sailors by exploring and making charts named Amerigo Vespucci who America is named after. He talks about how Amerigo was a cargo shipper and how he questioned some of the journeys of Christopher Columbus and due to his own wealth he and his shipmates decided to become explores and meet natives around the world that they made peace with and not war and when returning fellow explores desecrated his quest and it was not until decades later that he got the respect he deserved. The “Fish Tale” in this issue is nothing more than a quick Dr. Seuss style poem called The Fish And The Ish. And as always the rest of the comic is filled with games, puzzles, ads and fan letters.

This issue while good is a little below average and the main tale of Amerigo Vespucci goes by way to fast and I feel like he had more a story to talk about. The Fish Tale as well in this one is kind of blah and while the poem style story is fun and written by a kid from Ohio it just didn’t click. Over all really this issue is just ok and while the cover is great and has Captain D and Silly Sailor in a JAWS style situation, and the interior art in this issue seems a little rushed and not as classic as like the issues that came before it. Not much to say about this issue besides it was just kind of blah and that’s a shame as the explore they covered is very interesting.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 32 **
Released in 1988   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #32 of 41

This issue Captain D is bringing explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano who was the first white man to sail from Georgia to Maine and how he and his crew came across many Native America tribes who treated them in many different ways as this was the first time many of them have ever seen a white person. His voyages are legendary and he like all the other sailors we have looked in these comics is important to history. The “Fish Story” for this issue is called “Tale Of Three Minnows” and is about three tiny minnows who want to open their own restaurant and pick an old cave to open it, but sadly for them their first costumer is their last as a massive alligator appears and eats the three new business owners and he closes the restaurant down. The rest of the issues is filled with ads, puzzles, letters and games.

The story of Giovanni da Verrazzano is an interesting one if you like early American history and I for one find him interesting as I love to find tales of Native Americans and how they dealt and felt about white people entering their land. I also think they do a great job of bringing his story to life in the promo fast food kids comic. The Fish Story is really grim as it has three very happy go lucky minnow that want so bad to open a business only for them to be brutally murdered in their business! Pretty brutal stuff for a kids comic as it’s clearly a murder on paper. The cover for this issue is pretty good and showcases Giovanni da Verrazzano, and the interior art work is back to being good and over all this is a pretty solid issue that reminds me why I enjoyed these comics in my youth.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 33 **
Released in 1989   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #33 of 41

Captain D brings you a very brief look at inventor and ocean filmmaker Jacques Cousteau and follow how when young was very much into swimming and even created the aqualung so that divers can stay underwater so much longer. They also show that he was one of the worlds most leading maker of underwater films and as well fought for the world to stop polluting the waters. The “Fish Tale” for this issue is called “Castaway” is about a man who is stuck on an island for 20 years cause a shark keeps circling the island, and finally the man decides to try and make a swim to get to safety and finds that the shark was just made of plastic and now he lives back in the city and is happy. The rest of the issue is filled with games, jokes and letters.

This issue is pretty fun, but sadly delivers a way to fast bio on Jacques Cousteau one of the worlds most respected ocean life filmmakers and an innovator on how we all are able to now “breath” underwater thanks to his tanks. But to also be honest I think kids eating a fish kids meal probably did not care about the full life of Jacques Cousteau. Not to even mention that the Fish Tale in this issue is a little goofy and can clearly be seen that is written by a young kid. The cover is pretty great and has Captain D and Silly Sailor playing chess and really highlights the mascot for this seafood restaurant. The interior art in this issue while good also has a tad of rush look to it. Not much more to say about this issue besides it was an ok average promo comic read.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 34 **1/2
Released in 1989   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #34 of 41

This issue covers Captain Josiah Creesy who is known as the King Of The Clipper Ships who as a young man knew that he was destined to be a captain of a ship! This follows how Josiah Creesy set a world record of sailing a clipper ship from New York to San Francisco in 89 days even though he had a shipmate named Texas Jack and his friend that tried to set him up to fail to set a record. In the end they also talk about how Josiah came out of retirement to command a ship during the Civil War. The “Fish Story” is called “The Lazy Fish” about a super lazy fish who ends up being displayed by his fellow fish so they could make money off just how lazy he is. The rest of the comic is filled with letters, puzzle and games.

This issue of the Exciting Adventures is pretty dang entertaining and they do a fantastic of bring you the quick history story of Josiah Creesy and his world record run that lead him from New York to San Francisco in a short time, and its crazy he did so as the weather and even some of his shipmates tried their best to stop him from doing so. Plus I love that Texas Jack and his no good friend tried their best to in-danger the lives of all aboard just so their Captain would not get the fame. Well done also to keep kids interested in the history lesson as they show the elements of excitement. The Fish Story is silly and yet still fun on a kids comic level as it shows that they understood and helped grow creative minds of kids who wrote in with their tales. This issue is really good on a Fast Food Promo Kids Comic level and the cover is just ok and a little boring and the interior art is pretty good for this style of comic. Over all this is a good read and showcases an interesting history lesson and some simple and fun puzzles and games.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 35   *1/2
Released in 1989   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #35 of 41

In this issue Captain D shares the story of Rachel Carson a young woman who grew up the country in Pennsylvania and dreamed of one day living by the oceans. As she grew up she was a super skilled writer and went to collage for writing only to switch to science were when graduating she go a job in the field of her dreams by being able to work in and around the waters. And while working in this field she learned that humans with poisons used to fight weeds is killing many ocean life when it gets into the waters, and next came her big help to sea life as she wrote the book “The Silent Spring” a book that alerted the world and our government on just how harmful we have been to our nature. The “Fish Tale” in this issue is called “Stanley Saves The Day” and is about a family of catfish who are all talented and spend their days meowing, all but son Stanley who for some reason barks like a dog! All the other catfish dislike him as they think he is weird, that is until his barking scares off a massive shark saving lives and then he becomes a hero. The rest of the issues like always has letters, games, jokes and puzzles.

This is another one of those issues I feel they ran out of a bio topics to talk about and decided to just talk about a book writer who worked in water science who wanted to help save the little fishes from weed killer…most of her bio is spent talking about her schooling….kind of bland and not sure how kids eating their Captain D’s kids meal would feel about it. While Rachel Carson is an interesting person, not sure she is the right choice to excite kids to read. The Fish Tale in this issue is pretty fun and shows Stanley the catfish who is an odd one but also is one who stands his ground, is true to who he is and saves the day…good little story that teaches kids to be who they are. The cover is pretty good and has Captain D and Silly Sailor telling a joke and is eye catching to those who were in the restaurant, and the interior art is good and fitting for a fast food giveaway comic. Over all this issue is kind of boring with the main reason it got 1 ½ stars being that the Fish Tale was pretty good.

Captain D’s Exciting Adventures # 36  **1/2
Released in 1989   Cover Price FREE   Paragon Comics   #36 of 41

In this Exciting Adventure Captain D brings us the story of Captain Samuel Reid who by the age of 11 was working on a ship and even fought with Pirates to make the waters safe for sailors. But one night in 1814, his ship was attacked by British Warships in a neutral docking port, his small crew of brave men were able to hold them off and cause damage to many of their ships. In the end while Reid’s ship was brought down in the port the British Army had such bad damage that all three of their ships had to be docked and get major repairs…helping Americans during the time of war. The “Fish Story” in this issue is called “The Crazy Catch” is about a fisherman who rushed to the lake and forgot his bait and decides to use a picture of a fish as his bait, when he gets a bite and reels in he finds a picture of a bass on his hook! The rest of the issue is filled with letters, puzzles and games.

Ok first thing I have to say is that the coloring on the story of Samuel Reid is top notch and are so bright and well done that it rivals many of the indie comics from the same era of release. The story of Captain Samuel Reid is a good read as the issue focuses on a battle that he and his ship were out numbered and out manned, but still stood their ground and brought down a fleet of British ships. I also like that they through in the fact that he and his wife were apart of the minds that designed our nations flag. Very cool guy Captain Samuel Reid was and a true American Hero who loved his country. The Fish Story in this issue was good and silly and I am sure got a few laughs from young readers at the time. The cover for this issue is ok and nothing special and the interior art is good and again have to praise the coloring. Over all this is a solid issue of Captain D’s Exciting Adventures and brings a thrilling bio of an American hero alive on cheap newsprint pages. Check out the artwork bellow to see the style used in this fast food promo comic series.

But I do want to take a few moments before I end this update and get off this ship to also showcase this amazing art of Dracula that was used in one of these issues and I was thinking about this that for Halloween they should have done a issue of the comic that had Dracula on a ship with Captain D and Silly Sailor and play up on the vampire trying to bite them, but things keep going wrong for him and in the end thanks to Captain D’s sailing skills he saves them all from a terrible hurricane type storm, and this causes Dracula to become their friend. I also want to say that over the decades Captain D’s has had their fare share of merchandise that includes T-Shirts, Hats, Toys, Plush Dolls and of course the comics. So if you are a fan of this fast food joint you can collect some pretty cool stuff. And around 2018 they also tried a pair of new mascots called the D-Gulls (Dave and Desmond) two animated seagulls that sadly did not go over very well.

So Captain D has just docked the ship and our travels on this greasy sea has come to an end and I am really shocked on just how much these comics have aged and while they are by no means masterpieces they are fun FREE kids comic adventures that blends humor and history. I am also shocked on how good the meal was from them and I have to say the Fish and more so the Fried Green Tomatoes were on point. And I want to stress that Fast Food Restaurants should bring back the Free Comics for customers and I am looking at you Big Boy, McDonalds, Shoney’s, Burger King, White Castle and Captain D’s all places that have cool mascots that need to return to or make their comic debuts. Well now that we are back on dry land it’s time to tell you that I will be turning over Rotten Ink to Juliet for the next update as she will be helping me out this year many times so that I can focus on many of the Horror Host Icon updates and besides she wants to share her thoughts of She-Ra and the newer Netflix series that is a reboot to the classic 80’s cartoon and toys. So until next time read a comic or three, eat a fast food meal or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Make sure to come back for the Princess Of Power talk!

Horror Host Icon: Rocky Rococo

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! One thing that goes hand and hand with late night watching of Horror Hosts is a good old pizza pie! That’s right, sitting back with the lights turned down watching your favorite host deliver some laughs alongside the horrors on the small screen all the while munching down on a slice was a way of life for many monster kids over the ages. But what if the world of Horror Hosting and the world of pizza combined and made a show that was like no other? For the folks of Wisconsin this was reality as the restaurant Rocky Rococo brought viewers Masterpizza Theatre, hosted by Rocky Rococo himself, and delivered good times to those who tuned in. So for this update, it’s with great honor that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: Rocky Rococo. Make sure to get some pizza by the slice and enjoy this quick and fun update. Also this is my second Horror Host Icon update of this year to celebrate the 10th Year Of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame!

Rocky Rococo was born in New Jersey in 1948 and got his love of pizza from his mother and even spent time pushing a food cart in the streets selling pizza by the slice to hungry Jersey residents, all the while wearing down his shoes and making money for his family. Rocky did this for 20 years and decided to leave real pizza behind for a while and spent sometime selling pizza peels for ovens, selling coupons & encyclopedia books as well as running the ring the bell game for a traveling carnival! While selling the pizza peels he ended up in lots of pizza restaurants trying many different styles and while he enjoyed them, he knew he could do better…and in 1974, he proved it when he opened his own restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin and like that, Rocky Rococo became a pizza juggernaut. Rocky is a white suit wearing, wise guy talking, sunglass wearing, pizza loving nice guy who really does enjoy selling pizza by the slice. Rocky is also married to Bess Quality, and together they have one child named Dinah Mite Rococo. Besides selling pizza by the slice, Rocky also really enjoyed rapping, meeting with fans and of course hosting cheesy films for viewers. His hosting style was very fun and upbeat, and he would do skits and such in-between. While Rocky Rococo might not be a household name when it comes to Horror Hosting, he did make his mark and made a major splash in Wisconsin not only with his show MasterPizza Theatre but also with his amazing restaurants.

Rocky Rococo and his MasterPizza Theatre started in the 1990’s and was a way for the pizza chain to showcase their food as well as have their mascot host all types of cheesy family friendly films. The show was viewed late night on Fox 47 in the fine state of Wisconsin and was a fun treat to viewers. The show would feature fun and goofy breaks featuring Rocky and was filmed in the chains restaurants and would have fellow “workers” as people around him all the while promoting the pizza and salad bars they had. They would also feature comedians as well as musical and dancing bits and all the while Rocky would have a smile on his face. MasterPizza Theatre had a fantastic and super fun vibe and was a smart why to not only entertain but also showcase the food they could get for lunch and dinner, I for one would have had friends over and ordered a couple of pizzas from Rocky Rococos and had a movie night when the show was on air…that is if I lived in Wisconsin during this shows run on TV. While MasterPizza Theatre might not be a massive household name when it comes to Horror Host shows and while Rocky Rococo is more known as a mascot for a fast food pizza place then a Horror Host…they both made an impact in the world of Horror Hosting and meant something to the viewers.

James Martin Pedersen was the actor who played Rocky Rococo and was in fact the whole face of the pizza brand as he starred not only in MasterPizza Theatre but also was in their commercials as well as in their logo. James Martin Pedersen was very well loved in Wisconsin and was by all accounts an icon of the state’s culture. But sadly James passed away on February 6, 2016, and this was indeed a sad day for fans. With his passing the people of Rocky Rococo Pizza, his fans, pizza lovers and of course his family suffered a big loss. While he is gone, the icon that is Rocky Rococo will live on forever.

I first found out about MasterPizza Theater in 2019 when the man Rocky Rococo was suggested to be considered for a future Horror Host Hall Of Fame ballot, and after getting an episode I myself became a fan of Rocky as a Horror Host as I found his style silly and very fun and I can see why the state of Wisconsin loved him so much. What was so surprising is that Rocky Rococo, who was a fast food pizza joint mascot, worked really well as a movie host, and of course it was a great way to make viewers and myself crave some pizza as they clearly used the show as one giant commercial. The thing that really made this show work was Rocky Rococo himself as he is just such a fun character who had such a fun loving attitude as well as seemed like a cartoon character come to life. I am sure some viewers at the time would get annoyed at all the plugs for the types of pizza they had on the menu, but to me that just added to the over all good natured charm. I feel that many local TV stations are missing the boat nowadays by not featuring a local or even syndicated Horror Host on their networks. I mean sure some are lucky to have a Host from their neck of the woods on broadcast TV and all those who get ME-TV get Svengoolie…but to me this is sadly not enough and as you fans of Horror Hosts know streaming services are delivering the hosting goods as Joe Bob Briggs is on Shudder and for awhile Mystery Science Theater 3000 returned on Netflix…while stations like USA Network, TNT, TBS and our local stations like Channel 22 are just playing terrible reruns of crime shows and could bring back the likes of Up All Night, Monstervision, Super Scary Saturday and Shock Theater. In other words the world needs more fun Horror Host shows like MasterPizza Theatre and hosts like Rocky Rococo.

Here in Ohio, we have no Rocky Rococo’s anymore due to the fact our state just didn’t support it when they did take a chance. Ohio, believe it or not, is a state that is filled with many pizza restaurants with some of Dayton’s most popular being ones like Marion’s Piazza, Cassano’s Pizza King, The Pizza Bandit, Flying Pizza, Happy’s Pizza, Troni’s, Cousin Vinny’s, Jet’s Pizza and The Pizza Factory. But to do this Horror Host Icon update right, Juliet and I knew we had to drive over 6hrs away to have a meal at the closest Rocky Rococo’s to us…well that was until the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 that put a big damper on our plans and canceled our trip to Racine, WI to have a slice of Rocky Rococo pizza along with our pals Scott Scarborough and Damien Brunk. Now I cannot complain too much as safety during these times should come first, and while I really wanted a piece of pizza from Rocky, it was just not meant to be. Once things get back to normal, Juliet and I will try and make this quest, and I will update this Horror Host Icon update with it!

So as you can see, Rocky Rococo pizza is pretty tasty treat for fans of the pizza chain, and now we are at the point of this update where I will take a look at the episode I have of MasterPizza Theater. I only have one episode, and I want to thank Horror Host Freakshow for hooking me up with it. I want to remind you that I will not be giving this episode a star rating and I will be taking the film’s write up from IMDB and will be writing the host segments breakdown myself. So grab a pizza by the slice, and let’s see what MasterPizza Theatre has to offer.

MasterPizza Theatre: Stoogemania
Starring – Josh Mostel & Victoria Jackson     Rated PG      1986

Host: Rocky Rococo opens the show at one of the restaurants and before we start the first part of the movie, we go to a music video with a song by Rocky who talks about the Pizza Blues. Next is a storybook skit about pizza told by Patsy and then Rocky talks about his birthday bash and a sale they have going on. Rocky next brings in a comedian named Dave to do a quick stand up act for the people in the studio of MasterPizza Theatre. And then Rocky once more promotes his pizza and then Dave returns with more comedy in a Twilight Zone skit. Next are fans trying to do lines for a Rocky Rococo Pizza Commercial, and they are all terrible. Rocky then introduces a new segment he calls “Guys That Can’t Rap” and two terrible guys try to rap and dance…and they are bad. In the end Rocky comes out and thanks the cast and crew plus the viewers and the janitor comes in to clean up. Oh and I should say throughout is commercials for Rocky Rococo Pizza!

Movie: The film centers on Howard F. Howard, an overweight everyman. Engaged to Beverly, the woman of his dreams, Howard has one problem – an overactive fixation with The Three Stooges. Everywhere Howard goes, he sees Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard intruding on his life. Determined to overcome his fixation, Howard and Beverly prepare for their wedding. But on his way to the ceremony, Howard descends into Stoogemania and finds himself walking into the city streets with other Stoogemaniacs. His only hope is commitment to the Stooge Hills sanitarium, under the care of a renowned psychologist, until the inmates take over the asylum on graduation day.

Rocky Rococo and MasterPizza Theatre is a great example of how a business can develop a Horror Host program, deliver family entertainment by choosing mostly comedies and old horror films with gorillas, all the while making them hungry for a slice or your company’s pizza or even a salad from your salad bar. I am really happy that Freakshow introduced me to this show as this was lots of fun and made a fan out of me. And I am going to do my best to track down more episodes of MasterPizza Theatre and when I find them, I will add them to this update…so make sure to check back and see! For our next update, we will be walking away from Rocky Rococo and Horror Hosting for the time being as we will be trading Pizza for a look at Fast Food Seafood as I will be covering the free promo comics from Captain D’s. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a greasy fried fish good time!

Morlock 2001 Or Should I Say How I Would Save Comics!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! Have you readers ever sat and thought about how little we as humans know about the depths of our oceans as well as the vastness of outer space? I mean think about it, who knows what ocean life lives on this planet with us that we have never laid our eyes on, and who knows what alien life forms are on planets we have yet to discover! Have you readers heard of this weird yellow blob like creature that can heal itself that was on display at a Paringings Zoo? Yeah, this slime mold has no brain and yet can problem solve; it can self heal quickly and can eat plus digest even though it does not have a mouth! The yellow blob creature can also move, and this strange fellow makes me think of strange creatures from space in media like the symbiote in Marvel Comics Spider-Man issues or even the meteor goo from the Creepshow segment “The Lonesome Death Of Jordy Verrill”…in other words Space and the Unknown is scary! And before we get into our comic review for this update that is the Atlas Comic series Morlock 2001, I do have something to say about the state of the comic book industry, but first let’s talk about ‘Wicked Lips” by Iggy Azalea!

As you long time readers know, I am a fan of rapper Iggy Azalea and in 2020 she released another E.P. that was called Wicked Lips and featured four tracks and was sold via her website. So is it any good? Well let’s give it a listen! Track one is “Lola” and features Alice Chater and is a great and catchy song. Iggy is on point with Alice singing the song’s hook and it will get stuck in your head! Track two is “Not Important” and has a catchy beat and is full Iggy. She seems to be rapping with an attitude on this track and this makes the song very entertaining, a solid song but not her best work. The third song is called ”The Girls” and is a girl power song that also features Pabllo Vittar and once more Iggy is on it with her lyrics and rap, while Pabllo delivers the song’s hook! A good song with some great Iggy rhymes. The final track is called “Personal Problem” and is a good track and feels like a diss track toward someone who has crossed Iggy, and reminds me of the classic 90’s style tracks of rappers who had beef. Over all this E.P. is a great release from Iggy to hold over fans for the next full album release. I am sure you are asking what I think the best track of this release is, well for me it’s Lola as it really is a fun and catchy song! If you like Iggy like I do, track this release down on CD, vinyl or MP3 as it’s worth a listen.

All through my youth into adulthood I have been a comic book reader.  I started like most kids my age, reading kids comics and superhero comics that I would pick up at the grocery stores or convenience stores. And characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Superman, Batman and Hawkman were all on my must read list and all mentioned still hold a place in my heart and their classic issues are all still read in my household. I can remember going to a UDF with my mom and brother and getting a copy of Transformers from Marvel Comics off a spinner rack and being so hyped to read it once I got home. I have other UDF spinner rack memories as well like getting the issue Justice League Of America # 240 and thinking the issue’s villain Dr. Anomaly was a major threat to our heroes. Of course he was not, but that issue made me think he was! I also have so many great memories of getting comic books from the magazine aisle at Big Bear, the grocery store my family shopped at, and rushing home to read the newest adventures of Captain America or The Hulk. Grocery stores and convenience stores were a perfect place for me to get comic books and helped not only get me hooked but also kept me hooked. But sadly for some reason comics have vanished for young readers to discover these comic heroes off the shelves of grocery & convenience stores.

Also when I was a kid, comic books used to target what kids liked via toys, cartoons, movies, video games and TV shows. Being a kid of the 80’s, you could get comics based on toys like Masters Of The Universe, Thundercarts, Silver Hawks, Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Transformers and M.A.S.K. to name a few. And cartoons like Camp Candy, Little Dracula, Flintstone Kids, Real Ghostbusters, Ren & Stimpy, Beavis & Butthead all had comic books as did WWF Wrestling, WCW Wrestling, ALF and so many more TV shows! Video games got into the action with Super Mario Brothers, Sonic The Hedgehog, Legend Of Zelda and Bayou Billy in readers’ hands delivering enjoyable new adventures for things we loved. And let’s not even get into the fact Star Wars, Star Trek, Last Starfighter, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Robocop, Terminator, Bill & Ted and many more film franchises as well got the comic book treatment. And what was nice was that at garage sales and antic shops you could find old comics based on classic cartoons and shows like Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear, Happy Days, Welcome Back Kotter, Scooby-Doo, Mickey Mouse, Diver Dan and even The Rifleman…they had something for every kid of all tastes in entertainment. I mean heck even fast food restaurants had comics that they would give away free to kids, like who could forget Adventures Of Big Boy or even The Adventures Of Captain D’s? Oh and let’s not forget that Spider-Man with the kids show The Electric Company had the “Spidey Super Stories” issues for kids in the 70’s that were ones that I loved as a kid! But oddly enough, it seems Marvel and DC hardly focus on making comics based on cartoons, toys, movies or games…and fast food places have cut out the free comics from their menus a long while ago.

Another amazing thing that was around and a big deal when I was a kid was the Sunday Funnies that came in the Sunday newspaper and would feature comic strips of Garfield, Far Side, Denise The Menace, Family Circus, Blondie, Andy Capp and all the others and this felt like another great way to get us youngsters into comic books as who didn’t love Garfield in the 80’s. Every kid I knew read the comic strip and bought the paperback books that collected the strips. I as well always bought the Andy Capp books as for some reason I always liked the drunk…and his snack food. Those paperback comic strip books were so amazing, and I loved getting them from garage sales and book stores and still get them to this day and read them! One other thing I feel helped myself as well people my age and older get into comic books was magazines like MAD and Cracked that had humorous comic strips that made fun of popular movies, shows and pop culture of the time of release. Plus they delivered original characters like Spy vs. Spy as well the two magazines mascots Alfred E. Newman (MAD Magazine) and Sylvester P. Smythe (Cracked Magazine) both who were well loved goofy funny men. But with time and over blown prices, the parody magazines are a shell of what they were with MAD being the last man standing and hardly published. Sunday Comics in the newspaper are hardly looked at by kids nowadays as most households only get their news online. It’s a shame as these events as well are two more ways younger readers are not discovering the joys of reading comics and building the bonds with characters.

Back in the late 90’s, Marvel and DC really did something stupid, and no, I am not talking about flooding the market with mass amounts of comic as they tried to play land grab with each other for retail space. What they did that was dumb was take their issues out of grocery stores and convenience stores and only focused on comic shops. They also sold their souls to Diamond Distribution, a direct market company that has sucked the profits and fun out of comics for so long that in 2020, DC Comics tried to run far away from these tyrants of comic sales. And with kids no longer finding comics at grocery stores or convenience stores, they had to hope that the youngsters would wonder into their local comics shop and pick up issues and discover heroes and villains they liked all the while not being distracted by all the other items at the shop like toys and card games. Marvel and DC also got away from doing kid friendly comics and started to focus on the terrible 90’s trends of poorly scripted comics that only focused on art that would be cool for posters (thanks, founders of Image Comics!) and weirdly proportioned characters. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great comics during this time as well, but there was a ton of bad ones. And when Image Comics came into the game, it really became all about releasing first issues with Marvel and DC mostly doing gimmicks that flooded the market and caused the masses to buy terrible issues with the term collectors edition, and many buyers thinking the had their kids’ college fund in them. That’s right, the 90’s created more buyers than readers, and when the bubble busted, they found out that their Youngblood # 1, Superman # 75 and X-Men # 1 were not worth the thousands they thought. And with that, these buyers moved onto the next big thing they thought would make them tons of money…and these bad stories and generically created characters chased off actual readers.

I now want to share my thoughts on how Marvel and DC can not only save the comic industry but also themselves…and keep in mind I am talking about the mainstream comic industry as the indie world is strong and is delivering amazing comics for all readers! The first thing they need to really do is cut the land grab mentality. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. Deliver comics that are well written and drawn! Marvel and DC need to stop looking at each other as the enemy and realize that most comic readers will check out comics from both as long as again they are releasing worthwhile issues. Face it guys, comics is now a niche and we need to all work together. They need to stop bringing in celebrities in to write comics, many of whom don’t help sales and or even finish the run they were brought in to do, and yet cost the company money to bring them in! Again I must also say if the celebrity is really into comics and has a track record of not flaking on projects bring them in for sure, but don’t over pay them as we all know that there is no major money in comics now.

Stop with the massive events that crossover into every book they have going to finish storylines. This disrupts the flow of comics you are reading and if you don’t care about the massive meaningless “epic” crisis, it takes the fun out of reading your titles. I mean if I am reading Superman and am invested into what’s going on with him and his story, I don’t want a crossover with whatever is going on that’s taking away from his story. Don’t get me wrong, epic events are great and can be fantastic, but don’t overuse them. Make them mean something and seem special when they do come around. The current reason they are doing events is to try and pull in extra sales and to help lower selling books by tying them in. I cannot stress enough that when they do a major event, make it mean something that is not forgotten less than six months after the final issue in order to set up the next event.

At this point both Marvel and DC need to listen to their readers and not people on social media who are not reading comics. Don’t get me wrong, fans can be negative about everything, but don’t cater to people who don’t understand comics or ever read them. Everyone has an opinion, I mean heck this essay about the comic industry is just my opinion about what I think is wrong with the world of comics right now…but the difference is that I have been a comic reader since I was a kid and still read comics to this day. And Marvel and DC are also trying way too hard to be topical with current events and topics, and while comics have always tackled real life issues, the modern effort just at times seems soulless, hollow and done for their own back patting cheers.

Stop bringing the movie/TV universe into the main comic lines. Keep them separate as the movies work for the big screen and sometimes don’t on the pages of an issue as they change the history of classic characters as well as storylines in order to fit into the moves at times…and to that myself and I know several other readers say no thank you. If you want to do comics based on the films, create a new branch like “Marvel Movie Comics” and keep the movie lore to those issues. The comics need to be separate from the other media lore.

Both Marvel and DC also have to stop forcing characters into already established characters names and costumes! I am all for updating characters and allowing them to grow, and I am even fine with established characters taking the reigns like Sam Wilson (The Falcon) becoming Captain America as it made sense…but I don’t like when they take characters with no rhyme or reason and place them in that persona just to once more please non-comic readers or just plan lazy writing. And lazy writing is my next way they could make a change for the good. Stop many of these terrible stories and lackluster series from tarnishing characters and chasing off readers!

Getting young readers back into comics is a must! Don’t get me wrong, they do a great job of promoting characters to kids via movies, toys, video games, cartoons and other merchandise…but they have done a poor job of getting them to want to read a comic book. And in order for Marvel and DC to survive as comic book companies, it is very important that they bring in young readers who will grow up and continue to read them. Right now the vast majority of readers are older and with time and bad writing and art even that readership is shrinking. In order to get young readers into comics, they need to first get comics back into grocery and convenience stores and have comic racks in them and allow kids to discover the wonders of comics and get parents to buy them as impulse buys just like candy and soda. They need to lower the cover price, make the comics affordable and by doing so parents are more likely to buy them for their kids while in line as well as allows kids to once more afford them on allowance money. Think about it if a kid has $10.00 with modern comic prices they could only buy 2 issues and not have much money left for snacks…but if they make comics geared towards kids only say $2.00 an issue, they could buy 3 issues and still have a ton of money left over for snacks. Another thing they should do is make comics for kids that are based on popular cartoons, toys, video games and even novels that kids crave and by putting them in stores and in the right areas, kids will see them and want them! I mean stock them in the toy aisles as well as near the registers and even maybe get them in places like Family Dollar and Dollar General. Marvel is owned by Disney who owns the rights to so many amazing properties and they have a playground of cool IPs they could make into comics for kids, why not make comics based on “Pirates Of The Caribbean”, “Star Wars”, “Spider-Man”, “Lion King”, “Maleficent”, “Indiana Jones” and even “Mickey Mouse”! While DC is owned by AT&T who owns Warner Brothers who owns amazing IPs that would make amazing comic books for kids like “Goonies”, “Gremlins”, “Harry Potter”, “Willy Wonkda”, “Lego Movie”, “Scooby-Doo”, “Wizard Of Oz” and even “Bugs Bunny”. And yes I can hear you readers saying but Marvel and DC do have comics based on Star Wars and Bugs Bunny…and while they do indeed they are over priced and issues on Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes characters are not even stocked at many comic shops. Plus comics based on the likes of “Fortnite”, “She-Ra”, “Pokemin”, “Baby Shark”, “WWE Wrestler John Cena” and even something like “King Kong” or “Sports Mascots” would and could bring kids in. Make comics for kids and allow them to find them super easy and build the next generation of readers.

Again bringing kids back into comics is important for the survival of the mainstream industry, as is getting comics back in grocery stores and convenience stores! Writing and drawing better issues is a must to bring in new and older readers back. Stop changing the history of characters by bringing in the movie and show lore, stop putting characters in the role of established characters, enough of just following hot topics to make yourself seem edgy when most of the time it has zero heart to said story or character. I don’t want to read my comics digitally and nor do I like graphic novels but 100% offer them for those who do.   All I am really saying is make comics fun again and make changes soon before comics as we all know it disappears.

Wow, okay I am sorry that I had to get on my soapbox. Normally I only do that for Sparkle/Blood Scream Comic releases, but I just felt I needed to get this off my chest as Marvel and DC I feel could be doing way more to help the comic industry and save not only themselves but also comic shops from going the way of the dinosaurs and sent the to long box in the sky. And I have to stress they need to bring in newer and younger readers by creating high quality comics with character we love, new characters we care about and amazing storylines that draw us in! But let’s not talk about them anymore, and let’s take a look at Atlas Comics. a great indie company that was gone to soon who got lost in the shuffle of DC and Marvel’s retail land grab of the 70’s! Morlock 2001 was a series set in the future and follows a hero who was grown in a lab and helps make the world a better place. I want to think my pal Jason Young for these issues and making this update possible. I want to also remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. Now lets see what Morlock 2001 has in store for us, and if it still holds the same feeling I had about it when I first read it way back many moons ago…see what I did there with the sci-fi themed reference?

Morlock 2001 # 1  **1/2
Released in 1975    Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 1 of 3

In 2001 Professor Kroschell is a man that is doing experiments in his greenhouse in a time when the government has outlawed books and free thinking, and while attending to his plants and genetically made massive pods, the cops appear and murder the Professor in cold blood and take his pods to a government facility. Time passes and one of the pods opens and inside is a man that they name Morlock who can speak and the government takes time studying and teaches him, and when they find out his touch infects people with a deadly mold they use him to eliminate creative enemies of the state who write poems and novels. Morlock hates killing for them and is about to quit when he meets Lynda at the park she tries to friend him as well as talk him into staying with his government job and that killing for them is the right thing to do. Morlock spends time thinking about his job, and decides that he is quitting and when entering the office he over hears Lynda talking to his boss as she is not his friend and was hired by the government to try and get him to accept his job of killing for them! Morlock in a rage transforms into a massive plant like creature and rampages through the government lab and eats Lynda before making his was to Professor Kroschell’s burnt down greenhouse where he finds his journal and learns he was the first in a line of Pod Super beings that was being made to overthrow the government and that the monster inside him can be controlled by a serum that sadly has very little left. As Morlock wonders away the government has issued a reward on his head and has labeled him a threat to society!

This first issue of Morlock 2001 is a great start to this short-lived series and showcases a world that has our government outlawing creative works like writing, books and independent thoughts and when they kill and steal a professor’s experiment they get a tool in their quest to kill those who cross them when a man is hatched from it. But they soon learn that the being can not be controlled and he has his own mind on what’s wrong and right, and well when mad turns into a killing monster! Morlock himself is a man born from a pod who is a blank slate, but learns fast and hates that he has a touch that turns people into mold statues. He knows that killing is wrong, but is torn as those who are teaching him are insuring him he is doing the right thing. You see Morlock is a conflicted and confused hero who has a dark side much like the Hulk from Marvel Comics as if he gets mad he turns into a planet like monster that kills to stop his hunger. The bad guys of this comic is clearly the government and the cops who kill and bully the world in order to fall in line, in other words they are terrible tyrants who crave power and control. Lynda is a young woman you think is truly going to be the friend of the strange planet man Morlock, but you soon find out she is a bad person who is only being nice to him to get him to kill for his job. This is a great start to the series and is way better then I remember it being when I read it as a kid, as when young I thought it was a little boring as it was not action packed like the comics I was reading at the time like Batman and Captain America…now as an adult I find the story well paced and the character of Morlock to be interesting. The cover art his well done for the time and for sure would be eye catching for readers of Sci-Fi comics. The interior art is done by Allen Milgrom and is really sold and reminds me of Marvel Comics are from the same time period. I would say check out the first issue of Morlock if you are looking into Atlas Comics as it’s a good place to start. Now let’s see what issue two has in store for us and if it will be better then I remember!

Morlock 2001 # 2  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 2 of 3

Morlock is stuck in the city and the police and even citizens are looking for him as the government has a massive bounty on his head. And once found his only escape is jumping on a passing train and hiding in a freight-car and after passing out from the stress of the chase he is woken up by a trio of mask wearing goons who try and rob him of his gloves and they pay with their lives as the mold of his touch grows all over their bodies and kills them. But his luck runs out as he is discovered by a train worker and taken to the station, as the worker calls for the cops Morlock transforms into the Planet Monster and kills and eats the worker before escaping into the countryside. Morlock turns back human and takes a nap under a tree, but is woke by a scream of a little girl and he rushes to see what the trouble is and finds that she is surrounded by two shaggy leaf type monsters, and with the help of the girls father who uses a flamethrower on the monsters the threat is over and Morlock finds a new safe place with the father and daughter. The man is Bertling and he as well is working on making planet people in order to fight for freedom against the government, and his daughter is Karen a young girl who is blind but could regain her sight if only her dad could get the money needed to pay for the surgery. While Morlock sleeps, his new friend Bertling watches the news and decides he will turn Morlock into the cops in order to get the money to help his daughter see again. He then locks Morlock into a shed and rushes to call the cops, but Karen hears what’s happening and lets Morlock out and unlucky her he has transformed into the planet monster who kills and eats her! By the time Bertling gets out to the shed he finds the goo that is left of his daughter and swears to get revenge on Morlock who himself is now back human and is upset his monster side killed a kid.

This second issue is fantastic and brings a true monster side of Morlock out as he proves that he does not care who is in his way when he goes full monster! So like imagine if the Incredible Hulk on a rampage killed the kid hero team Power Pack and once turning back to Bruce Banner having the memories of doing so, cause that is the horror Morlock faces by the end of this issue! The plot of this issue has Morlock on the run from the government who want him captured, and also he finds that a scientist is working on more planet people like him, and sadly he makes an enemy of him! Morlock clearly in this issue hates that he can not control the planet beast that lives inside him, and while he kills also by his touch he also clearly has a good side as he want to save the day and do the right thing. And it’s really sad when he kills a total of four people in this issue and not even meaning to! Bertling is a scientist that is creating planet base people as well and his are always in full monster mode and attack anything, and when Morlock as his planet monster kills his daughter he becomes a true nemesis for our hero as he wants revenge more then anything! The Government is trying so hard to find their missing plant man and are hot on his trail. This is a very good issue and has a great mix of action and drama and adds a new layer to Morlock as it shows emotion and sadness from him. The cover is well done and reminds me of a 60’s X-Men Cover and the interior art by Allen Milgrom again and is topnotch stuff. Issue two is better then the first issue and once more is way better then I remember it being, and this is shocking as back in my youth when I discovered Atlas Comics thanks to Hal at comic shop Bookie Parlor I enjoyed almost all of them, and Morlock was on my list of so-so issues…and I am here to say I was wrong as they are great! Let’s see what issue three has in store for us, shall we?

Morlock 2001 # 3  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 3 of 3

The police bust into the lab of a scientist and murder him for owning books, while outside is Morlock who was going to this scientist for help and he needs more serum in order to keep his Plant Monster side at bay, but knows that he needs to turn into the monster to enter the lab and kill off the police and see if he can save the scientist! The police have burned all the books and the scientist lies dead on the ground, but what they don’t know is that the Morlock Planet Monster is outside and kills and eats many of the police before passing out and turning back into his human look. But something happens when the dead scientist as he rises and feels no pain, he is now calling himself the Midnight Man and he finds Morlock and drags him to safety! Meanwhile the government hears from two of the cops who ran away from the planet monster attack and is still gathering information about Morlock to bring him down as he is now considered a threat to the nation of America! Morlock finds himself in the now shut down New York subway system with Midnight Man and a band of freedom fighters who want to over throw the government, the group is calling themselves Midnight Men! As they are gaining numbers their hidden subway base is found out by the police and is under attack and as the Midnight Men are clashing with the Cops, Morlock is starting to turn into the Planet Monster when he is shot and killed by Midnight Man who in turns tells his team to retreat and is about to push a button that will blow them all up…and so ends the issue and the series!

I am going to say this I was wrong when I was a kid about Morlock, as reading it now as an adult I found it to be a really solid and fun read and showcases why Atlas Comics could have been a great alternative to DC and Marvel in the 70’s if they only would have lasted! The third and final issue in some ways is a major letdown as the focus goes off of Morlock and starts to focus on the scientist turned masked rebellion fighter Midnight Man and his band of fighters! Morlock in this issue goes on a rampage as the Planet Monster then passes out, wakes up asks a million questions and then when he is turning back into the monster he is shot and killed by a man he thought was his friend and could be savior…he is way to down played as he needs to be the hero not the generic Midnight Man! Speaking of Midnight Man he starts the issue off as a scientist who owns books who is then set on fire, who survives bad burns with no pain and then decides he is going to put on a mask and costume and become a leader of an army to fight the government, in other words he is very generic and lame feeling and way to much time is spent on him. The group the Midnight Men as well don’t do much besides mindlessly following Midnight Man and agree to is plans that are clearly thought up on the spot…in other words they are sheep that flow a clueless lamb who’s idea is to shoot and kill Morlock when he is the worlds best hope! The government is as cold blooded as ever as they not only want book readers, our heroes dead but also will kill their own to keep things secret. I think it’s a shame that this issue ends on such a bad cliffhanger as it looks like Morkock is dead and that the series would have continued to fallow Midnight Man as even the cover downplays the series original hero, I think a dumb movie was going to be made by this change for sure and I would guess this change was coming due to writer Gary Friedrich taking over and Steve Ditko who was on art as the idea of Midnight Man was very dated even by 70’s comic standards. The cover on this one was ok and pretty eye catching even if the books title Morlock was hidden by the Midnight Men logo. The Ditko art is great and has a real classic comic book look to it. Over all Morlock is a good comic book series from Atlas with the first two issue being sold and kind of jumping the shark with the third. Check out the artwork below to see the styles used in these three issues.

Morlock 2001 has a very interesting storyline that seems right at home with the Sci-Fi films of the 50’s-70’s like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Omega Man, Soylent Green, etc. and tells a cool story about a world that education and having your own thoughts makes you an enemy of the state. Just imagine if all your favorite books in the world where taken away from you and burned in the streets just so you could never read them and have your own ideas that where not given to you by your government…frightening isn’t it? I also really wish that Atlas Comics didn’t close up before they could truly finish their storylines, as how this stands now Midnight Man has not only killed Morlock but also himself and his men with one click of a button, and that’s truly a shame. But we can not cry over split milk and cant wish what never was meant to be, so with our next update we will be leaving the year 2001 behind and will be going out for Pizza and also talking about a Fast Food Mascot turned Horror Host and of course I am talking about the host of Master Pizza Theatre, the one and only Rocky Rococo! So until next time read an Atlas Comic of three, watch a Sci-Fi film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Oh and do you like to buy a full pizza or by the slice?

Horror Host Icon: Miko Macabre

In modern times many eyes have drifted from TV to computer screens as online viewing and streaming have became very popular ways for people to watch their favorite movies, shows and even Horror Hosts! Count Gore De Vol has been hosting his show online for many years now, and even recently Joe Bob Briggs returned to hosting and did so through streaming service Shutter and ended up crashing them as so many viewers tried to log in and watch! But for this update we are going to talk about a Horror Hostess who took YouTube by storm in 2007 with a unique show called Cryptique, and that host was the one and only Miko Macabre! Miko is one of those Horror Hostess you fall in love with upon first viewing as she has a charm and silly way of hosting that just draws you in and brings a smile to your face. So it’s with great honor and joy that I bring you Horror Host Icon: Miko Macabre. So sit back and enjoy this quick and fun Horror Host update.

Cryptique started in 2007 with the first episode being a review of the 1980’s film Night Of The Demons in three parts. You see, this show is a Horror Hosted review show that had the host Miko Macabre breakdown classic and cheesy cult horror movies in very humorous fashion all the while making fun of not only the film, but herself as well. The show premiered on YouTube and became an instant hit with viewers as the humor and quirky nature of Miko made the show a must watch. The show was very fast paced and episodes lasted around 8-10 minutes each, and besides showing clips of the film that she talked and rift over she also would do skits that were silly in nature. One of my favorites is her reenactment of “Night Of The Demons” that had her saying “You Know” and then a slang term for sex…funny and silly stuff. The set was much like Elvira’s with a couch and spooky stuff all around. But as quickly as Cryptique started, it also ended as YouTube cracked down on content they felt did not meet their standards and Cyptique was caught in their judgmental crackdown ending the show’s run in 2009 and only having a total of 5 episodes. When the show ended, many of the viewers wanted Cryptique to comeback and still even in 2020 people want a return, showing that while the show did not last all that long, it did make an impact on viewers who loved the show and Miko Macabre became one of their favorite Horror Hostesses.

Miko Macabre is a young woman who has a super silly nature and uses her humor and sex appeal to entertain viewers as she made fun of the film that was selected for the episode. Miko was filled with bad jokes that range from cheesy to sleazy, and she had a way of delivery that is very funny and oddly welcoming. Miko is just a normal young lady who wears cute dresses and hosts from her set that is made up of candles, skulls, black walls and her red couch. And besides her humor and amazing good looks, another charm she had was the fact she was a host that made you feel like a friend and you were in on the jokes of the show. Actress Sophia Baxter, who also wrote the episodes, played Miko Macabre and rumor has it that she was doing this show while in college and once she graduated and YouTube put a target on Cryptique, she walked away from the project all together…or so Horror Host rumors go. While viewers’ time with Miko was short, she made her mark on Horror Hosting and has a huge cult following that makes her very important in the history books of Hostesses and while she might never get into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame, this fan thinks she should!

So we are now at the part of this Horror Host Icon update where I will break down the episodes I have on DVD, and sadly I do not have all of her episodes as YouTube took many of them down. I will do my best to write slightly about the movies she covered and will talk about her segments as a whole. So if you’re ready, let’s spend a little time with the one and only Miko.

Cryptique: Vol. 1
Starring – Bruce Campbell & Linnea Quigley     Rated R     1988/1982/1992

Host: Miko Macabre gives the history of the show and how and why they got kicked off Public Access and then hosts and reenacts scenes from the film Night of The Demons, and even shows footage of her dancing after being demon possessed. In the next episode we meet the show’s intern Andrew and as Miko breaks down the film Basketcase and Miko shares a fake story of her having a conjoined twin and later must “pay” the prop man with “favors”! The final episode Miko is reading from the book of the dead and starts her review of Army Of Darkness and even plays a little game show with Ash from the film! Miko also shows how she would deal with mini versions of herself.

Movie: Clips from such films as “Night Of The Demons”, “Basket Case” and “Army Of Darkness” are shown in these reviews.

Note From Matt: Sadly the episodes on here are all that’s left of this show once YouTube targeted them and removed the episodes and the official website has long been down, leaving some three part episodes unfinished on this DVD.

While Miko Macabre is not as iconic as Horror Hostess like Elvira, Vampira, Stella Desire, Rhonda Shear, Penny Dreadful, Marlena Midnite or Misty Brew, she has carved her place in history as being one of the best even if she only lasted for a very short time. Her fan base is still loyal even to this day and her viewers still hope for a comeback that is long overdue. So I hope you enjoyed this quick Horror Host Icon update as Miko has been on my list to cover since I started these Horror Host updates and it was a real blast to the past to write this and share the glory that is Miko with you readers. If you have interest in Cryptique and Miko, make sure to look her up on YouTube and give her episodes a watch. For the next update, we are leaving Miko and Cryptique behind and heading to space to take a wild ride with Morlock 2001 from Atlas Comics. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a spacey good time!

The Voyage To Star Trek IV

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Once more we will be heading to space with the crew of the USS Enterprise as we take a look at Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and the DC Comic adaptation of it! Many Trekkies find this film to be one of the best sequels in the series only slightly behind Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, and I must say this film is fantastic and is one that I have seen many times. I know I have said this before and I will say it again, back when these original cast Star Trek movies were released in the late 70’s and all the way to the early 90’s they were big deals and I can remember the TV ads talking about them being in theaters. I also remember the ads in the local newspaper when they would show theater air times complete with mini black and white posters that I would cut out keep. Sadly Star Trek has lost steam at the Box Office for the most part, but has found a new life on CBS All Access with new series being made. So if you are ready, let’s step foot once more on the Enterprise and go on a space adventure with Captain Kirk and his crew.

So let’s start this off the way we should and begin our talk about The Voyage Home with taking a look at the film itself. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB and after I will be writing about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on this fourth Star Trek film. So let’s take a look at this fourth and iconic Star Trek flick.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

“The most acclaimed Star Trek adventure of all time with an important message. It is the 23rd century, and a mysterious alien probe is threatening Earth by evaporating the oceans and destroying the atmosphere. In their frantic attempt to save mankind, Admiral Kirk and his crew must time travel back to 1986 San Francisco where they find a world of punk, pizza and exact-change buses that are as alien to them as anything they have ever encountered in the far-off reaches of the galaxy. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy return as Kirk and Spock, along with the entire Star Trek crew.”

Before Star Trek III was even finished and out, Paramount Pictures was already talking about a fourth film in the series, and they wanted Leonard Nimoy to return to direct and come up with the story as they liked the way his ideas were going. You see at this time Paramount was very much behind the Star Trek property and knew they had something special in their hands and started to truly understand that it has a majorly loyal fan base…unlike most modern Star Wars fans. At first the fourth film had a rocky start as William Shatner was not wanting to return to play Captain Kirk and only agreed to after a massive raise that got him $2.5 million to do the film.   Nimoy wanted to make a more fun picture as the first three films were very serious and filled with drama, and this go around he wanted to add a little humor. The original idea had the Enterprise Crew returning to Earth to stop a virus whose only cure was destroyed way back due to the cutting of the rainforests in the past…but people dying this way was not the way they wanted to go and so they went with the idea of returning home to get a whale to sing its song to save Earth from being destroyed by a weapon that only responds to their calls. The original script had a part for comedian and actor Eddie Murphy, who is a Trekkie, to play a professor who believes in aliens…but he disliked the role and went on to make the film The Golden Child instead. The script for this film also had lots of issues as not only was William Shatner displeased with many of them but so was Paramount Pictures who brought back Nicholas Meyer to help rewrite it and he joined names like Daniel Petrie Jr, Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes and Harve Bennett all of who, had ideas and wrote parts of this script! And after rewrites, Paramount was finally pleased with the scripts, and the film went into the filming stages. Leonard Rosenman ended up doing the score for the film and when released it was met with great reviews from critics and fans, and over the years it’s rated as one of the best films in the series. When released in 1986, it was the # 5 to grossing film in America bringing in as of this date $109,713,132.00 on a budget of only $21 million and beat out other films like Aliens, Short Circuit, Pretty In Pink, Friday The 13th Pat VI: Jason Lives, Howard The Duck, Legend and Labyrinth to name a few. And when released on home media, it was a top selling film showing that this fourth film in the Star Trek series really is a great film that has kept over the decades its popularity with Trek fans.

When Star Trek IV was being released in theaters, I can remember seeing the ads in the paper as well as commercials all over TV as this one seemed to have more hype around it and to be honest is the one I remember the most from the early films as I was the perfect age. The first time I ever saw the film was in science class in Middle School in Waynesville as my science teacher Mr. York was a big fan of Star Trek and college football and would often uses a Star Trek reference during teaching. He wanted the class to watch the film to show how actions have reactions; he was an awesome teacher. Plus it was a great way to spend a few classes taking a break and watching a Sci-Fi film with your classmates. I remember liking the film as it was cool to see them in more of a modern setting as well as tackling the issue that was the world killing whales and limiting their population, something that is sadly still a struggle to this day thanks to over fishing and whalers killing them to sell the blubber for cosmetics and other products. Kirk and Spock are fantastic as they try and figure out a way to bring a whale to their time, and Scotty talking to the computer mouse is classic stuff. Plus who doesn’t laugh seeing the Enterprise Crew trying their best to fit in to the late 1980’s society and being super awkward doing so. Over the years I would go on to get the film on VHS as well as later DVD and would watch pretty often along with the other films in the series featuring the original cast. This film as well is considered one of the best in the movie series and many place it right behind Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan as being the second best over all, I however would place it in my top three for sure, but at # 3! If you have not seen this one and want to watch Spock put the Vulcan Nerve Pitch onto a Punk Rocker on a RTA Bus after he flipped off, Kirk check this one out.

Like all the Star Trek movies that came before it, Star Trek IV had its fair share of amazing merchandise for fans to collect over the years like a paperback book adaptation, comic book, action figures, posters, magazines, soundtrack, trading cards, t-shirts and even buttons to name a few. This was the one Star Trek movie from my youth that when it was released I can remember the hype train being around and many of these items at stores my family shopped at like Hearts, Hills and Gold Circle. Star Trek IV had some great merchandise and I can remember over the years owning the film on both VHS and DVD. I had and read the paperback book, owned the comic book plus of course had the soundtrack on cassette and later on CD.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home really is a great sequel in the Trek movie series and brought a more modern feel to the series that many younger viewers had started to see as dated. And while not my favorite of the sequels, it is one I 100% enjoy and have watched many, many times over the years. And we are now at the time of this update that we take a look at the comic adaptation, and I am very much looking forward to reading this one again as I have not since I was a very early teenager. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this comic in stock all those years ago and want to remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s climb aboard the Enterprise once more and go on a trip with Captain Kirk and his crew and let’s save the world and the whales!

Star Trek IV: Voyage Home # 1  ***
Released in 1987     Cover Price $2.00     DC Comics     # 1 of 1

The USS Saratoga is trying to communicate with a probe that is not responding and is draining the ship of all its power. We then cut to a Starfleet Court as Captain James T. Kirk is on trail for many counts that go against the fleet as well as the killing of the Klingon crew as well as stealing the Bird Of Prey ship. The Klingon spokesperson also accuses Kirk of using the Genesis Project and claims all the destruction it caused was part of his plan. Speaking on behalf of Kirk and his crew is Ambassador Sarek who gets the court to dismiss the claims of the Klingons who claim that they will never be at peace as long as Kirk lives! Meanwhile on the planet Vulcan, the crew of the USS Enterprise are stranded as Scotty works his magic on the Bird Of Prey so that they can return to Earth and face the courts. While getting ready to leave, Kirk allows Lt. Saavik to step down and stay behind on her home planet, as the re-born now adult Spock is learning the ways of his culture and decides to go to Earth with his former crewmates. Meanwhile the Probe is heading for Earth and is shutting down all the Star Fleet ships and even their bases and is causing the planet to be covered in a fog! As Kirk and his crew head to Earth, they get a message from the President who is warning all ships not to come close to Earth as a Probe has it under attack by creating mass flooding and can shut down any and all ships, Spock figures out that the Probe is trying to talk to a whale and that Earth is in trouble as they had all been killed in the 21st Century! Kirk decides that the way they can help the Earth is by going back in time and bringing two whales back to their time in order to answer the Probe and save the Earth. Once they travel back in time they do their best to blend in and split off into groups as they not only have to find the whales but also build tanks for them to take back as well as they need a nuclear reactor to recharge the ship’s crystal that gives it the power needed to return! McCoy, Scotty and Sulu head out to try and find the materials needed to build the tanks and even change history a little along the way, Uhura and Chekov find the place to get the nuclear power needed and Spock and Kirk head out to find the whales! Dr. Gillian Taylor is in charge of two whales in captivity, and Spock and Kirk make their way to visit. Spock dives into the tank and mind melds with one of the whales and learns that the female is pregnant and they both hate how people treat them and they are willing to go to the future to save the Earth from the Probe. Kirk goes out to dinner with Gillian after she drops Spock off at the park where their ship is hidden. Meanwhile Scotty, McCoy and Sulu find a manufacturer and give them the idea to make a stronger plastic that they can use to transport the whales on the Bird Of Prey back to the future. Meanwhile Chekov and Uhura are on a ship trying to get the nuclear energy needed they are spotted by the military and while Uhura gets away, poor Chekov suffers a head injury. And now they have to get to the hospital to save him from surgery and Gillian also returns to the park and is beamed aboard as she has bad news that her boss has shipped off the whales to the ocean! Kirk and this crew get to the hospital and save Chekov and then track the whales and save them from blubber hunters and get them on the ship and along with Gillian they return to the future and the whales answer the probe and the Earth is saved! But even after saving the day Kirk and his crew must face the court, and what they get as punishment is Kirk is demoted from Admiral back to Captain and he is assigned a new ship with his crew and their adventures continue.

First things first, this could be the best Star Trek Movie adaptation we have covered thus far as it truly captures the adventure and nature of the film! The plot of this comic and the film is pretty simple: a Probe that can destroy a planet sends out a whale song that is not answered as mankind has killed them off in the future and now they are paying the price as the probe is causing a massive flood on Earth and it’s up to Kirk and the Enterprise Crew to travel back in time and bring whales from the past to the future to answer the Probe’s call. Captain Kirk in this issue is in deep trouble with Star Fleet as he disobeyed orders in order to save the reborn Spock and even blew up his own ship that was high jacked by Klingons that leave all the invaders dead! I also should note that Kirk is an Admiral for most of this issue and even though he is in trouble he and his crew take action and save many lives as well as Earth from becoming a massive swimming pool. Spock is starting to get his mind back after being dead, and is slowly remembering his friendships and memories of being Spock. He also as always he one who figures out how to save the day as well as has the skills to talk to the whales that are needed to save the day. Scotty as well is a lifesaver as his knowledge of space crafts and compounds make the transport tanks possible. Poor Chekov while trying to get nuclear power needed for the ships crystals gets a nasty head injury and must be saved from the hospital and treated by McCoy to heal him up. And the rest of the Enterprise Crew McCoy, Sulu and Uhura are all doing their part to get the stuff they need in the past to save the future. Dr. Gillian Taylor is a woman who loves her job and cares very much for the two whales that have been in her care, and I also respect that she leaves her life behind to travel to the future to stay with them and help teach the future about caring for them. DC Comics so far has delivered two very well done adaptations of Star Trek movies and this one does a top notch job of capturing the true fun, silly and sci-fi action of the film. The thing that works the best for me is the fact that this comic does a great job of capturing the humor of this film, and while “Hello Computer” is a little weak in the comic, other gags work great in ink. The cover is really good for the time and is eye catching as the interior artwork done by Tom Sutton is great stuff as he captures the look and attitude of each character. If you like Star Trek IV, this comic is one that should be in your collection as it will surely entertain you. And to be honest I am very much looking forward to reading the comic for Star Trek V next year as these update are truly a blast for me to write. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Tom from this issue, and I picked panels that are from some of my favorite scenes from the movie.

Star Trek IV is a fun film as well as a fun comic and for me. While I enjoy the other Star Trek shows like Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and Discovery, none of them are as good as the original series and the movies that followed with them. Captain Kirk is for me the best of the Captains, and I wish William Shatner would return one last time to Star Trek and unite with the remaining cast for one last voyage. But for my next update we will be leaving space and heading to the world of Horror Hosts for our first in our celebration of 10 Years of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as we take a look at Miko Macabre of Cryptique! So until next time, read a Star Trek comic or three, watch a Star Trek Movie or Show and as always support your local Horror Host! See your next time as we cover one of YouTube’s best Horror Hosts from the past.