The Conspiracy Of Sexy Cyber Vampires From College

Welcome back to another update here at Rotten Ink.  It’s crazy to think that 2016 is already here, and this is shaping up to be one heck of a year for horror films as well as super hero flicks as this year we get a new Conjuring, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Phantasm as well as a new Captain America, X-Men and Superman! For this update I decided to take a look at a comic based on a film and maybe share some more stories of working on one of my own micro budget flicks! The comic we will be covering is the last of the Draculina photo comics based on a film called The Vampire Conspiracy, and the film of mine we will take a look at is The Sadness.  So get your mind ready for the world of low budget films and enjoy this update.

VHS the forgotten art of making movies

In 2005 I was itching to make a movie.  At the now defunct  Precinct 13 Video in Kettering, I was talking to my friend and shop owner Jason about an idea I had about a supernatural style killer who targeted women and video taped the aftermaths of his crimes. Jason liked the idea, and I went to the normal Independent B Movie alumni Dave Wean and Josh Weinberg and told them the idea as well, and got the same feedback! The idea stewed around in my brain for a few months, and I decided that the killer I created for “Long Dead Winter,” a film never finished by Mike Ritchie, would be used as the killer.  His name was The Sadness. I kept the idea from the unfinished film of The Sadness hearing his father’s voice in his head driving him to kill no matter what.  The Sadness went from a serial killer to a cold blooded Michael Myer style slasher in a blink of an eye. At the time I had just gotten out of a long relationship with a young woman named Misty, who viewers of our films know for her parts in Razor and Farmer Joe, and had just met a young woman who I fell head over heels for named Lindsey who was a sweet and caring person.  This was to be a short lived thing as all things in life change and she stopped calling and we stopped hanging out with one another…but with this came the motivation to complete my script and make The Sadness come alive on the TV Screen. I spent months with my notebook and wrote scene after scene. I added a character named Jason played by comic artist Jason Young who was as confused as me about a woman he cared for.  I added a radio DJ character as we had access and permission to film inside Wright State University to use their media area.  Garrison Kane came back to play The Sadness just as he did for the footage for Long Dead Winter. I then cast the rest of the spots with great actors and friends like Josh Weinberg, Mindy Becker, Andrea Seay to name a few, and production was soon on it’s way. The script was mostly a dark mood with lots of effects kills and lots of drama elements between characters. The plot has a woman witnessing the murder of her neighbor and decides to talk about it on her collage radio show.  Big mistake as this draws the killer to the college as he is silent, deadly and never leaves a witness alive! I should also say that The Sadness is a cold blooded killer who does not talk, does not feel pain, does not have remorse and wears a red and black mask, has long black hair and always has a black suit on. The dumbest mistake we made with the character was trying to use and change up a WWF Kane mask as his face plate.  If I could go back, I would change it 100% to just a solid red mask like all the character’s promo art. I should also note at the start of filming I had just met and started dating Jennifer.

The Sadness Killer 1

We decided to shoot all the college footage first as it was the most demanding of the sets as students were still in the building even as we filmed for many days starting at midnight! The area we picked next to the radio booth was perfect for our location as lots of scenes took place in the radio room as well as the waiting room.  On the first day of shooting things were going pretty well for the most part. Jason, Sam and Mindy were hitting their marks but things went south pretty quick as I would soon find out the Mindy had snuck alcohol in and was getting more and more drunk as the filming went on, and by 5am she went missing in action! I was annoyed but realized that she did not mean to get that out of control.  So I filled the rest of the first night with shots of The Sadness wondering around the college. The second day of filming was way more relaxed with everyone showing up and having fun, I even allowed for some ad-libbed lines that were comical to bring the mood up for the DJ characters to show they were just fun loving students. But we did have an accident that night as Garrison as the Sadness could not see out of his mask and wig and really stabbed Jason in the back! After checking the wound and seeing that it was not that deep, Jason was a sport and continued the shoot. After all the DJ stuff with The Sadness as well as the final scenes of the film were shot, I finished up all the inside college shots of The Sadness chasing Jason as well as him stalking the hallways. As I got this footage shot, Jason Wilson from Precinct 13 Video was uploading it and started to do the first edit of the film. What followed next was some of the outside shots of The Sadness killing random people, getting the voice over of his father played by a co-worker of mine named James as well him preparing for his kills and other small fill in shots. By this time Jason Wilson informed me that the film needed another kill so I had to add in a couple of new college kid characters and re-film at the school of them being introduced and the female one being killed off, for these shots I had to have Josh Weinberg fill in for The Sadness as Garrison was swamped with his day job. Jason added these scenes into the film and made the pacing a little better for a drama slasher film the extra kill added some more horror to a film that was quickly becoming a drama about lost love. In a odd twist I was able to talk Lindsey into playing the part that was based on her and she did a fantastic job of what lines she was give, it was nice to see her and for her to understand that I had to make the film and way I needed to as I was a person who was amped up and need to get the hurt, anger and ideas out of my brain and into this movie. Josh Weinberg stepped up and became my assistant director and even filmed some shots as I was also at this time hired to play a big part in a film directed by my film mentor Andy Copp called Fun In The Old Town Tonight. The final day of filming was the films opening kill and I was so hyped when my close friend Andrea Seay took the role of the first victim and we spent the whole night filming the scene that I not only had to direct but also do the special effects for, this being the end of the movie that was a personal one made my emotions run high as I was one happy film maker to get this off his chest on questions of why people drift apart, and like a bonehead I made a terrible mistake that coasts me my best friend and someone who I still care about to this day as one of my actions made Andrea and my friendship come to an end. Looking back all this time away from this film and production while it was a great experience to be able to get heartbreak off my chest and that came via Misty who I had to break up with for both of our sanity and Lindsey who just was not meant to be, got to work on special effects and watch a killer from my own mind come alive, have friends come together to make something personal of mine alive, the worst part of this production was loosing Andrea as a friend as she was always their for me as I was always around for her. Even if I have not spoken to her sense 2006 I still think very highly of her and hope that some day the wounds can be healed.

The Sadness Killer 2The Sadness Tub Kill 0The Sadness Killer 3

As Jason Wilson finished editing, I obtained music for the film and was able to get tracks from the likes of Centerfold, Winter of Discontent, Patrick Neeley, Society’s Whore, David Wean and Ed vs. Radio, and with their music, we added a whole new level of entertainment to the film. The film premiered at Precinct 13 Video in 2006 and showed at midnight.  I was happy to see that the place was packed and many people were hyped to watch the film. It was super cool to hear people clap when my name popped up as director and even cooler to hear them clap and cheer when the film ended. Many people who attended came up to me and loved the idea of a drama slasher film and got the nature of the film.  Others came up to me and didn’t like that the film was more dark and only had some comedy to it as they wanted more Werewolf of Ohio type films from me….it was very split and this was really amazing to hear the two sides out. For me the film was made to let out stress and was packed with drama, comedy and horror with a touch of cheese and was meant to just entertain and allow me to make a killer like Michael Myers of Halloween who is my favorite slasher icons and I did what I set out to do! The film came out on DVD by Bloodline Video for a short time, would play on local TV, and screen at conventions as well as come out via Warlock Home Video a few years back. The film is pretty much out of print nowadays, and while it may be gone, it’s not forgotten as I have had people make comments to me about the film in the past year as well as The Sadness himself will have a cameo in the comic series We Kill The Dead alongside the likes of other independent horror characters. In 2008, I started to work on The Sadness II that would have followed up right after the events of the first film.  We filmed a first kill scene, and quickly it was clear that the rage was missing from the script and it was nothing more than a slasher film that would have been packed with way more gore and boobs and no heart and plot.  So as soon as I started filming, I quickly pulled the plug on the film. Now in 2016 I have the bug again and really want to make a reboot to The Sadness and bring him to modern times and explore his back story, his anger and his legacy.  So who knows, maybe soon I will film this and share the experience with you readers. Out of all the old no/low budget films I have shot, I think I am the most proud of The Sadness as it truly did capture what I was trying to pull off, and while it is flawed, I still find it to be one of the best things I did for Independent B Movie and Bloodline Video. Below is the cover for the film’s first DVD release.  Yeah, it was cheesy and was made by Patrick Neeley.

Original The Sadness DVD Cover

On January 1st 2016 my cousin Stephen had a get together at his house to play a POG tournament! That’s right POGS the game that I had not played sense I was in the 9th grade mostly against my friend Jade during breaks in-between classes and during lunch. For those who don’t remember this game you would stack 10 or more cardboard POGS on a mat or the ground and use a heaver metal or plastic round disk and slam it onto the pile hoping to turn them over and for each one you got a point, in the end the player with the most points wins. I remember that I use to collect POGS and that we would play for keeps, as the winner would win all the caps they turned over during the match. My go to Slammers where a Universal Monster Dracula one that was made of plastic and a thin metal one that had a big haired red skull face skeleton creature on the front with the message No Drugs on it. I owned many other slammers like Star Wars and other comic and cartoon characters as well as other generic ones but those two were my favorites. This POG rebirth sparked from a small POG Tournament set we bought in at Game Swap and after seeing it Stephen bought it and we chatted and before we knew it a tournament was set for New Years Day! Looking at the invite that was sent out on Facebook and seeing the likes of friends like Thomas Smith, Josh Weinberg, Garrison Kane, Spencer Lucus, Jeremy Hoyt and Theresa Lopez to name a few all saying they were entering I new the competition was going to be tough and then hearing that comic artist Jason Young as well my own girlfriend Juliet were entering I knew I had to get the perfect Slammer Team in order so I hit Ebay and Amazon and dug deep to find what I considered the best of the best in Pog winning greatness, and now I will present them to you in all their glory, also cue Sirius by Alan Parsons Project! The first one I bought was “Jaws” a red light metal slammer featuring the icon of cinema of the same name, the second Slammer to join the team was a light plastic one featuring a large sharp toothed islander looking guy called “Da Cruncher”, next was a metal slammer that featured the MTV cartoon character “Butthead”, then I was lucky and found the red skull big hair skeleton just like I had when I first played so “No Drugs” became my third metal Slammer and my final main roster Slammer was a Universal Monster thicker plastic one that I call “Universal The Mummy” as that character was featured on the front and that those were the ones I selected as my starting line-up. I also for safe measure I brought a few fill in Slammers just in case any of my A-Team failed me in a match and they where a plastic Star Wars one that had “Han Solo” on it and for good measure I brought the worst slammer in the world called “Bad News” that featured a Grim Reaper on the front and was a medium plastic one that had no grace or style. Below is a picture of my Slammer Team and the back ups.

Pog Slammer Team 2016

Juliet and I showed up ready for battle as my Slammer Team was about to be put to the test as the competition all seemed ready with their chosen Slammers. My first opponent was my good friend Jeremy Hoyt and my slammers of choice were Butthead and Bad News and with a semi quick match I won and moved on in the tournament thanks mostly to Butthead who was a slamming beats! The Second round I faced Stephen Basile a really nice guy whom I have meet through my cousin Stephen with the same slammer combo I started out strong but by the end of the battle Basile smoked me and gave me my first loss. But with this loss I was not out of the game as I dropped to the lower bracket and would have to earn my way back into the race for the trophy and the $10.00 prize, my third match was against Justin Barlow and this was one epic pog match as we ended up at a tie and had to go into sudden death the first of the night, just barely I was able to pull off the win thanks to slammers Butthead and Jaws! Moving back up my opponent was Charles “Bubba” Walters who is my uncle and Stephen’s dad and I must say I really stunk in this match and Charles made quick work of me as Butthead and Jaws really failed to deliver and with this loss I was out of the running to win. Juliet however beat her first round opponent Jennifer Barlow and then forfeited her spot as she had to bartend at her second job….yeah she left the game. But this was a blast and I am hoping that Stephen decides to do this again next year as I for one would enter again and try even harder to win a torphy and bring it back here to show off on Rotten Ink. For those wondering who won the rundown is this Josh Weinberg won 3rd place, Charles “Bubba” Walters won 2nd place and the 1st place winner was Theresa Lopez! And the best part about it was that Theresa didn’t lose one match she cleaned house and is one amazing pog player! Oh I should also say that other players that have not been mentioned yet who entered and played were Thomas “Maurice” Smith, Garrison Kane, Ashley Knox, Nate Stevens, Dan Lopez and Spencer Lucas all great Pog warriors who made the event even more fun!

Pog 2016 thrid place WeinbergPog 2016 second place BubbaPog 2016 Champ Theresa Lopez

On February 3rd 2016, a quest to visit a Haunted location was on the books and Josh Weinberg and I traveled to Camp Chase Cemetery, a Civil War graveyard that houses over two thousand confederate soldiers who were prisoners of the war, many of whom died from smallpox and lack of food. After the war, the camp became mostly a forgotten cemetery with cheap wood makers placed for tombstones with no care the site started to fall into shambles. It was not until 1895 that the poor souls buried at Camp Chase got the proper respect as retired Union Colonel William Knauss took it upon himself to lead an effort to restore the site and give the soldiers stone tombstone markers as well as held a memorial service for those who were buried there. By 1902 a new stone wall was built around the cemetery as well as a statue of a rebel solider above a boulder with the simple word American on the archway. The ghost that is said to haunt the area is Louisiana Rainsburgh Briggs aka Lady In Grey who is said to have been in love with a solider that died and is buried there named Benjamin F. Allen a private from the 50th Tennessee Regiment, and it’s said you can see this woman in grey wonder around the tombstones and cry at the grave of Private Allen as well as leave flowers for her lost love. On this day the weather outside was sunny with a cool breeze blowing as it was in the upper 50’s when finding the cemetery the first thing I noticed is that it sat between a home and a closed for the season ice cream shop with a school being behind it. We parked at a nearby BP Gas Station and walked to the iron gates and entered and noticed that the area was way smaller than we expected, we walked the among the tombstones looking for Ben Allen’s tombstone and when finding it we first noticed that no flowers were at the grave, we then waited around hoping to see or hear the Lady In Grey and all we could hear was the mass amounts of traffic that was driving on the busy street the cemetery is on. As we left we both agreed that while the area was amazing for the history aspect as a haunted location it was lacking as the noise of the busy city killed the element of atmosphere and the Lady In Grey was nowhere in sight. Fun trip over all and great place to visit and see a history landmark, check out some pictures I took below including the grave of Ben F. Allen!

Camp Chase GatesBen Allen Grave at Camp ChaseCamp Chase Graves

After the long yet fun holiday season and the tragic loss of my cousin Norman D., I decided that once more Juliet and I needed to have a Horror Movie Marathon to unwind from the stresses of work and the post holiday blues so Tuesday February 9th 2016 became the date with horror film destiny. We decided to do a pre-show Monday night and we started off with the cheesy film “Guru, The Mad Monk” about a crazed monk and his vampire girlfriend and hunchback assistant who all run a church where the guilty go to die.  Throw in a love story between one of the jailers and a woman from his past, and you have this no budget cheesefest. “Teenage Slumer Party Massacre” is about some girls having a sleepover on Spring Break and being stalked by a goof in a old man mask wielding a power drill.  This one was a real stinker! To my surprise. Juliet enjoyed Guru, and we shared lots of laughs about its terrible yet fun nature. Teenage Slumber Party Massacre was a complete bore and could have been best summed up with cute girls talking about guys and hotdogs with very little slasher action, super lame. After the films, I read a couple of comics and went to bed with visions of horror films in my head.

At 7am Tuesday we started the event and as always loaded up on snack foods and prepared Breakfast Casarole and made slow cooked a roast in the crockpot for dinner. The film to kick it all off was a Universal film called “Night Monster” thats stars Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill and is about a mansion that holds murder and mystery when doctors end up dead while staying with a patient they left crippled. The 2nd film of the day was the zero budget film called “Alien Beasts” that is about enter dimensional beings attacking Earth and a group of government agents that try and stop them. The 3rd haunting flick was “Amityville Theater” about a young woman who’s parents have died and she inharites they old theater only to find out like everything in Amityville the ghosts and demons don’t rest! The under rated slasher “Alice Sweet Alice” was the 4th film of the day and is about a murder of a young girl that is blamed on her sister, but did she really do it? Paul Naschy as the Mummy Amenhotep was in the 5th film of the day called “The Mummy’s Revenge”, a Horror Movie Marathon is just not the same without a Naschy film But sadly we did not get to finish Mummy’s Revenge as two different copies of the film on DVD-R’s had such bad digital breakup that the film would freeze, DVD-R’s really suck and anytime we have had issues at a marathon it has been with films on this format, for shame that it had to be the Nachey film that had issues. The 6th film of the day “Born Of Earth” is about creatures that live in the ground and steal people and one mans fight for the truth about his missing children. Movie # 7 was the Full Moon Entertainment flick “The Dead Want Women” thats about 1920’s silent actors who were murdered by a fellow actor return to to life during present day to find sexy ladies. “The Reeker” was the 8th film of the marathon and is a monster slasher film about a group of friends out of gas in the desert and a foul smelling ghoul with death on it’s mind is stalking them one by one. The 9th film is a guilty pleasure film for me called “Rocktober Blood” about a 80’s Hairband Singer who slashes his friends from beyond the grave or is he? Number 10 keeps the slasher theme as its “Cinco De Mayo” about a killer in a Mexican skull mask killing collage kids who don’t want to learn about heritage. Another slasher film called “The Mutilation Man” was the 11th movie and was about a killer getting revenge on some people that got away with a crime from the past, also this is not to be confused with with Andy Copp’s film of the same name. The 12th and final film of the night was “Daughter of Dr. Jekyll” that follows the Daughter of Henry Jekyll who is battling her families curse that is mixed with the werewolf folklore and makes you wonder is the curse real or is someone trying to drive her mad!

Another great Horror Movie Marathon in the history books and it was the pefect way to combat a day that was filled with snow and cold winds! As always, after the films Juliet and I sat and chatted about the films of the day and picked our worst and top 3 best of the day.  This was a pretty tough one as I enjoyed many of the films we watched. For me the turkey of the bunch was The Mutilation Man as I found it to be boring and kind of bland in terms of the reveal of the killer’s identity.  The gore worked pretty well, and the acting was okay’ for this films budget level. Juliet’s Golden Turkey of the day went to Alien Beasts as she felt it made no sense and was too scattered to be entertaining. My top three list goes like this: # 1 hands down is Alice Sweet Alice, a film I grew up watching on TBS and find to be a great slasher with twists and turns and some great creepy moments. # 2 goes to Rocktober Blood, a film I have been a fan of since I was a teenager.  The music rocks, the story is silly, and the killer Billy Eye is so cheesy they should name a shredded cheese after him! And # 3 has to go to Daughter of Dr. Jeykll, a great classic black and white horror film that captures the mood and feeling of the book the film’s characters spawned from. Plus a femele version of Mr. Hyde who is represented as a werewolf is some great early horror film stuff even if they were just nightmares. But I also really enjoyed The Reeker, Night Monster and The Mummy’s Revenge that would have taken the # 3 spot it we were able to finish it. Juliet’s Top 3 went like this: # 1 Alice Sweet Alice, # 2 Cinco De Mayo and her # 3 was Rocktober Blood with The Reeker coming very close to making her list. Once more this was a great way to unwind, and I am looking forward to the next big one I will be holding in April, and of course when it’s over I will cover it here on Rotten Ink.

Guru The Mad Monk DVDTeenage Slumber Party Nightmare DVDNight Monster DVDAlien Beasts DVDThe Amityville Theater DVDAlice Sweet Alice DVDThe Mummy's Revenge DVDBorn Of Earth DVDThe Dead Want Woman DVDReeker dvdRocktober Blood dvdCinco De Mayo dvdThe Mutilation Man 2011 DVDDaughter Of Dr. Jekyll DVD

One film that I would love to see be turned into a comic book that’s also about sorority girls is Evil Toons.  It was released in 1992, directed by Fred Olen Ray and stars David Carradine, Dick Miller and a ton of beautiful woman like Michelle Bauer, Monique Gabrielle, Susanne Ager and my favorite of the bunch Madison Stone. I first saw this film when my brother and I rented it on VHS from K&L Video in Kettering, and from the start, I found myself loving this film and went and found it on VHS to buy. It’s about a demon who is accidentally unleashed from a spell book by four sorority girls who have been hired to clean a old big house before the new owners move in. The demon, who is a cartoon, attacks and kills the girls and anyone else silly enough to get in his way. This is a perfect source for a mini-series of comics that has the book of spells being delivered once more to a wrong address, this time a sorority house filled with all types of college babes.  On Halloween night, they all have a mass sleepover where they watch horror films, eat junk food and by mistake read a spell that sets the demon free, and it runs loose in the dorm killing and possessing as many young woman as he can! The lead in the series would be a sweet woman who grew up in a small town and was taught not to mess with evil and her knowledge is what keeps the few who live alive! The comic would be part horror and part comedy and have enough blood and nudity to please fans of the film. And if they really wanted to spice things up you could mix Evil Toons with Ghoulies and have mayhem at the college as both set of demons try to out do each other in the kill department. If this comic was to get made I would like to see Fred Olen Ray’s own company Retromedia release a line of comics based on his movies, and if one of my friends were to tackle this project I would say Bruce O’Hughes or Damien Brunk as both would understand the cheesy sleazy nature of the comic. Maybe Ray is reading this update (doubtful) and will like the idea and make a comic based on this film as well as his other work come alive…

Evil Toons 1Evil Toons VHSEvil Toons 2

So while I have the chance, I should also talk about Madison Stone from Evil Toons as I won’t get the chance to for any other update, and with the lack of info about actresses from The Vampire Conspiracy, this seems like the best time. Madison Stone was born on January 12th 1965 in Miami, Florida and started her acting career in adult films where she ended up starring in over 100 titles with such classic names as Jail Babes, The Anus Family and Voodoo Vixens. Her adult film career was so big, she is a member of the AVN Hall of Fame, and in 1993 she was voted XRCO Fan Favorite! Madison went on to be in “mainstream” movies like Evil Toons in 1992 and Daylight in 1996 alongside Sylvester Stallone! Madison continued to appear in adult films until 2004 when she retired. She is known for her raven dark hair and now for her tattoos and piercings, even having one named after her The Madison Piercing that’s at the front of her neck! She is now a tattoo artist and owns her own shop in California called “Madison Tattoo Shoppe” and sings in bands like Kiss The Monkey and Four Ugly Women. Even now at the age of 51, she is as stunning as the first time I saw her in Evil Toons! If I ever were to make another independent horror film and had a good budget and she was willing to come out of retirement, I would for sure cast her as well as it would be cool to have her on a episode of Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. Check out some classic pictures of her below.

Madison Stone 1Madison Stone 2Madison Stone 3

The Vampire Conspiracy is directed by Geoffrey de Valois and was released in 1995 to the direct to VHS market as filler for ma & pa video rental stores around the good old USA. The film starred such talents as Heather Lemire, Liddy Roley, Barbara Savage and Jasmine Jean and is clearly a softcore film sprinkled with horror elements as the plot is about cyber vampires selecting a collage sorority to be their breeding slaves…this film reeks of pure sleazy cheese and to be honest while I have seen the cover box on video store shelves and on the pages of Alternative Cinema Magazine, I never took a chance at renting or buying it as it looks like it’s terrible. That’s the thing that younger people who didn’t have the joys of walking around a good well stocked video store will never have, the memories of walking around and looking at all the cover boxes and wondering what film awaited you on the VHS tape or DVD disc. Reading this comic will be the first time I have had any contact with this film so I am pretty hyped to see how it stacks up against the likes of Lust For Frankenstein, Tender Flesh and Mari-Cookie in quality and enjoyment. Before I even open this book, I want to make a few predictions on what this photo comic will showcase and that’s lots of bare female breasts and terrible lines of seduction. Below is the VHS Cover as well as the only still from the flick I could unearth on Google. Another thing I could not find much on was the actresses, so sadly no showcase on any of them.

The Vampire Conspiracy VHSThe Vampire Conspiracy still 1The Vampire Conspiracy Vampire

So we covered The Sadness, Evil Toons, a recent Horror Movie Marathon, a POG Tournament and took a look at the film for The Vampire Conspiracy so now I think it’s time we let the cyber vampires feast! The clouds have uncovered the moon and the dust has settled, as I am proud to say Rotten Ink is at the final issue of the Draculina Photo comic series as I have finally gotten my hands on The Vampire Conspiracy thanks to Ebay! Before I dive into this photo comic I should remind you that I am grading this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to battle some large chested cyber vampires, we should jump right into this review with garlic and some holy motor oil!

The Vampire Conspiracy 1

The Vampire Conspiracy # 1  *1/2
Released in 1998    Cover Price $4.95    Draculina    #2 of 4

Lisa is a strange woman who wants to join The Beta Sorority and is at the beach with the girls who all dislike her because they find her odd. But things are cut short when a vampire woman named Jana attacks and kidnaps some of the sorority girls to take to the Vampire HQ so that they can be breed with vampire DNA and the mindless offspring can be used as slaves. The lead vampire also runs a adult video company and makes vampire female centerfold videos, as Jana tortures the prisoners. As Lisa is dealing with her personal issues, the video that’s sent out is a way for the vampires to turn some viewers into vampires who have a trait in their blood, and shocker, Lisa turns out to be just that person.  After killing the coeds that teased her, she heads to Vampire HQ and decides that she wants to be the Queen of the Sorority and saves her fellow students and kills the Vampire King with a cross! In the end she is still a vampire as is her friends, and they decide to open a new all female vampire sorority.

Yep, this is what I thought it would be: page after page of naked boobs and a story that is as weak as ice melting in the hot summer sun. So the “plot” of this stinker is vampires want to use young woman as breeders for hybrids that will be used as slaves, and they are using all types of ways to turn people into vampires including a VHS tape that has the power to make people turn.  It’s up to the oddball girl to chose between saving her fellow coeds or joining the King of the Vampires. The main character is Lisa, a pretty woman who wants to be voted queen of her sorority and feels like she never fits in.  She is turned into a vampire by the video and kills those who tormented her and even takes out the Vampire Queen! Is Lisa a good person…no not at all as she kills her fellow coeds as well as her shrink in cold blood. The Vampire King who is the main bad guy is pretty lame and mostly barks orders, makes love to his assistant and gets his ass kicked really easy in a fight with Lisa. Lana is a sexy vampire in leather who gets joy in torturing her prisoners, but while she is badass in beating up humans, she as well goes down like a chump. The rest of the characters are all disposable and add nothing but pairs of boobs to the story. While the woman are nice to look at, the photos put together loosely make a story and for the most part this is a very forgettable read. After this photo comic I don’t think I would ever really track down the film to watch as I didn’t enjoy what I saw and read here. Not much more to say; vampires and boobs are cool, but that only takes a photo comic so far.

Vampire Conspiracy Art 1

So that’s the end of the Draculina Photo Comics, and I must say it ended the way I thought it would and that’s on a low note! While photo comics are a good idea and Draculina was onto something that could have been an amazing idea, I think they chose the wrong films to do this with as the films they gave this treatment already had weak stories and became even weaker when squeezed into a comic. But let’s wash the taste of this vampire comic out of our mouths as our next update will take a look at the Queen of Horror Hosts, the one and only Vampira! So until then read a comic or three and enjoy being around your loved ones.

Vampira Logo 0

The Plagued Journey Of The Dust Devil

Welcome to Rotten Ink.  Our topic today is about dust devils, you know those whirl winds of dust that happen in the desert; they swirl like a tornado while most of the time harmless they can sometimes grow more powerful and cause damage to people and property! Oh wait, we are not chatting about those dust devils so we must be talking about the vacuum cleaners named after those whirlwinds that took homes by storm with their technology of sucking up dirt action…right…oh that’s not the topic either. Well are we talking about the Dust Devil villains in the online multiplayer games World of Warcraft or RuneScape or are we chatting about the song Dust Devil by 80’s ska band Madness or even the DC Comic character Dust Devil who is a member of the Blasters team? But while all those things would make for an odd update, the Dust Devil we are covering is the 1992 film by Richard Stanley and the small promo comic that came with the DVD when released! So grab your sunblock and cover your eyes we are heading into the harsh sand to tail a killer who might be a little more than human.

Dust Devil VaccumDust Devil WhirlwindDust Devil pc

But before we travel into the weird world of Dust Devil, I got an order from Indy Planet not too long ago that had an interesting looking horror comic in the batch and I figured we could take a look at it here real quick to help add to the horror theme of this update. So here we go as we take a look at “Ghastly Goodies,” a comic put out by Almost Normal Comics.

Ghastly Goodies 1

Ghastly Goodies # 1  ***
Released in 2015   Cover Price $2.99   Almost Normal Comics   # 1 of ??

Our first twisted tale is called “The Hand Of Glory” and is about a thief who cuts off the hand of a hanged man that is supposed to be a good luck charm if you light candles around it’s fingers.  It works for awhile until the crook soon finds out the hand has a mind of its own and is killing the victims he is only stealing from! The second story is called “The Howling Jar” and has two young boys spying on their old neighbor that they think is a witch as she drinks from a large jar in her basement.  They break in to see what’s in the jar and find out the old woman is a witch, and they are the next drink in her jar! Third story is “Dance Of The Corpse Worm.” Ed’s uncle has passed away and during the funeral he strikes up a one night stand with the young attractive mortician who worked on his uncle.  He soon learns that this young lady really “loves” her work and passes on a nasty little pet to Ed! “The Sickness” is the final story and has parents being attacked by their ill baby who wants them to be just like him!

This is a great little independent comic that is much like Tales From The Crypt and Creepshow in its anthology styling. Its host is a strange man in a black hat with candles around the brim with a handlebar mustache wearing a straight jacket who acts as the pun master after each gruesome tale of terror…or is that ghastly tale of terror? Each story has its own charm and each seem like they could have easily been a story in Creepy or Vault Of Horror as each doesn’t end well for those involved and the outcome is always gruesome and fitting for their fates. It’s hard to pick a best and worst story as all of them were well done but I will say the weakest story was The Sickness as the zombie baby with a knife killing its parents was creepy but also the shortest and tamest of them all. The best one was tough to pick, and I had to think about it for a day before choosing, but I finally picked one and it is the opener The Hand Of Glory.  The reason I picked it was because it had a classic horror story feel to it and for some reason reminded me of a Hammer Horror Film! Warren E. Elliott is the writer and artist for this comic, and his style is great and holds a charm of 60’s underground comics mixed with late 80’s horror independent comics charm. This needs to be an ongoing series, and I wish my local comic shops Mavericks or Bell Book And Comic would stock it if a full series is in the works. I would recommend this to fans of classic horror anthology comics as I think the over all creepy and fun feel to it is sure to please. One last thing before I give you some samples of the artwork is I want to know who the host of these tales is!

Ghastly Goodies ART 1Ghastly Goodies ART 2Ghastly Goodies ART 3

But before we get to Dust Devil, I should talk about an area here in Ohio that is said to be a portal to Hell called “Satan’s Hollow” in Blue Ash, Ohio.  It’s said that Satanist use this place to meet and sacrifice people and animals and was even said to have opened a gate to Hell and that Satan himself appeared! This is a place that I have wanted to visit on one of my adventures into the Unknown Ohio but never got the chance as stories of it being on private property among rumors that it is also used as a drug hub always pushed it back on the list of stuff to do as none of us wanted to mess with any of that kind of drama. But over the years I kept looking into Satan’s Hollow as a place that is said to have housed Satan for a short time peeked my interest and this is something that I think at some point this coming year Stephen, Josh and I might take a look into. But I have heard that it’s just really a drainage tunnel that kids have turned into an urban legend about Satan that they have spray painted with creepy messages and that the tunnels the further you get back into them get tiny, but I still want to see for myself. Below is a photo of Satan’s Hollow from the blog Creepy Cincinnati.

Satans Hollow

I first heard of director Richard Stanley from my friend and film mentor Andy Copp who was a huge fan of his renegade film style and would often talk about him in the same breath as Quentin Tarantino and Alejandro Jodorowsky showing his amount of respect for his directing style. Stanley was born on November 22 1966 in Fish Hoek, South Africa and at a young age followed his mother Penny Miller as she traveled the world to document witchcraft and folklore from all over the world for her books as she was a artist and anthropologist. Stanley got the film bug in High School when he joined the Young Filmmakers Workshop and created a 8mm short film called “Rites Of Passage” that won him an IAC International Student Film award! He would go onto follow it up with another 8mm short film called “Incidents In An Expanding Universe” and it as well won a IAC award showing that this young filmmaker had a bright future in cinema and he continued making short films. Stanley now older moved to London, England and started making music videos for bands like Public Image Limited and Fields Of The Nephilim and did a documentary on the Soviet war in Afghanistan called “Voices Of The Moon” that followed the lives of Afghani people. In 1990 he made his leap to feature films with “Hardware” a cyberpunk film starring Iggy Pop and Lemmy of Motorhead! The film made a splash and the Weinstein Brothers picked it up for distribution exposing the film to a wider audience. In 1992 he made the film “Dust Devil” and had a terrible time with the production as the budget was small and distributor Miramax kept messing with the editing of the film, this was his first bad taste of Major Hollywood studios. His next project as well was a headache as he worked with band Marilion on a video for their concept album Brave and this to was messed with during editing, so much so he disowned the finished product! His next project came in 1996 when he landed the writer and directing gig for his dream project a telling of “The Island Of Doctor Moreau” for New Line Cinema and this turned out to be a doomed project as it was plagued with lots of setbacks, heartaches and disappointments and this lead to Stanley being fired only a few days into production. Most of the drama for Stanley came from star Val Kilmer who clashed with the director and caused lots of problems for many of the cast and crew. This was the final straw for Stanley as after he watched his project get taken away he walked away from film making for awhile and returned to making documentaries and short films including 2008’s werewolf epic called “Black Tulips” among many others. Stanley also started writing films and comics for others and 2011 he directed a segment for the film “The Theatre Bizarre” called Mother Of Toads. In 2014 Stanley was interviewed for a documentary about The Island Of Doctor Moreau called “Lost Souls: The Doomed Journey Of Richard Stanley’s Island Of Dr. Moreau” that told his side of the story of what happened on set. Stanley has also hinted that his original version of Dr. Moreau might be made into a comic and a film sometime soon, and this is something I would love to see. While Stanley has been mistreated by Hollywood the man is very talented and I would love to see him make more stylish Horror Films in the future. This was just a quick look at Stanley as he is a very interesting person with some creative beliefs and if you get time you should Google him and read more about not only his cursed productions but also his interviews.

Richard Stanley 1Richard Stanley 2IMG_0448.JPG

Dust Devil started filming in 1991 in Namibia, and the story was loosely based Nhadiep, a serial killer who was said to have had dark magic powers that helped him in his killings. The film’s plot follows many paths including a cop, a female traveler as well as the killer known as The Dust Devil! IMDB has the film’s plot described like this” “A shape shifter comes from the desert in search of victims, a spirit the locals call ‘The Dust Devil’. He prays on the lonely and the unloved, those who have already lost everything but life itself. Wendy has broken up with her husband and wanders aimlessly in her car. She picks up a stranger and begins having misgivings about picking him up when strange things begin to occur. Meanwhile a local police officer tracks the killer. Aided by a shaman’s admonishments about witchcraft he sets off to try and stop the beast before it can complete its grisly task”. Late in 1991, Stanley cut the film to 120 minutes and then to 110 minutes hoping that the longer cut would be the European version as Miramax had the US rights and they wanted a much shorter film, and boy did they chop it down to a runtime of 87 minutes when they released it on VHS and Laserdisc. Off and on the film was getting cut by Miramax until finally Stanley was able to get the film prints back and cut a final cut of the film that lasted 105 minutes and later a directors cut that lasted 114 Minutes long was released on DVD by Subversive Cinema in America. The film is a weird one, and I can remember buying the DVD when I found it at a local second hand media store in Dayton called Second Time Around, and my then girlfriend sitting with me to watch it…yeah she didn’t last long as she was bored pretty quickly of the odd story line and pacing of the film. In 2015, my friends Jason Young and Eric Shonborn covered Dust Devil on their podcast Gutter Trash and that was a fun listen. Love it or hate it, Dust Devil is one strange horror film that has made it’s mark on the world. This update I would like to dedicate to Andy Copp as I am sure he would have enjoyed this one.

Dust Devil Movie 1Dust Devil VHSDust Devil Movie 2

So are you ready to face The Dust Devil in this short promo comic? Are you ready to see what kind of horror this has in store for us? I mean what kind of murder will this fiend commit on these pages and even better will it keep to the film’s odd nature? Before we travel to with the Dust Devil, we should grab some water or your choice of a cold beverage, and I need to remind you that I am grading this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. Also thanks to Game Swap in Kettering for having this comic in stock as now I have two of them as one was also placed inside by single disc DVD release. So let’s get ready to witness a tale of madness!

Dust Devil Comic 1

Dust Devil  # 1  **1/2
Released in 2006   Cover Price FREE   Subversive Cinema     # 1 of 1

The Dust Devil is looking at why he does what he does and talks in thought about how the souls of his victims call to him even before he has murdered them.  To top it off he also shares that he has been around for decades and even was there to kill Hitler! He says it’s the scent of his victims that draw him to places. He shares that over the years he has taken the look of animals and even things in-between human and animal but has as of late settled for a human look which opens him up for the weakness of pleasure and wanting to sex up the women. He loves what he is and loves what he does, and the thrill is wandering the world and not knowing were the scent of victims will take him.

This comic is short and sweet and is used to give you a inside look at the Dust Devil and all his bloody deeds from being the real Jack The Ripper to killing a young woman who he meets and has sex with and then decides to kill her with a knife! It shows that he collects the fingers of the famous people he kills and that as a human he has the desires of humans. I love the fact also it has taken the shape of animals as well as monsters and has disposed of many people. The Dust Devil is clearly evil and in this comic it shows that he loves to kill and that he does not care who is on his list of death. The comic also does a great job of helping you really understand the film and is a nice counter piece as it teaches you a little more about the character before you watch the film or even after! The comic is pretty violent but doesn’t go overboard on blood but does keep the sleaze and uneasy nature of the film. The cover is pretty bland, and if this was a issue that could be picked up at your local comic shop I am sure you all would look over it as would I.  The art inside is pretty cool and is done by Phil Avelli who also wrote the script.  His art is cartoonish yet holds a horror appeal. To sum it up, while very short, it is a great comic that fans of the film will surely enjoy as much as I do.

Dust Devil Art 1

Well this was a fun quick update that allowed me to relive the film Dust Devil as well as enjoy this cool promo comic that added more layers to the legacy of the film. I truly wish that more companies would make comics based on films they release besides Arrow Video.  I would love to see Troma and Pop Cinema get back in the comic game as well as would love to see companies like SRS Cinema, Tempe and Retromedia Entertainment make comics based on their films. Speaking of films being turned into comics, our next update is yet another of the Draculina Photo Comics based on The Vampire Conspiracy so make sure to grab some garlic and cover your neck for that one. Until then, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local horror host! Oh yeah and beware of the Dust Devil as he could be anywhere, even at your local coffee shop….beware take care…beware…see what I did there worked in a little Ed Wood Jr. for the fun of it!

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Marvel At The Mighty Black Goliath

Welcome back, my friends, to Rotten Ink.  It’s amazing to think we are in 2016, and my little place on the web has been going for over three years now with my first official update being about The Smurfs and the Marvel Comic series based on those little blue guys back on September 10th 2012.  It’s grown so much from there and has allowed me to cover such topics as horror hosts, movies and video games as well as talk about my life as a child and adult and cover things from making no budget movies to old school crushes and everything in-between! People have asked me over the years what my favorite update I have ever done is, and while I have enjoyed them all and have put my thoughts and memories into each, I would have to say it was “Start Halloween With The Universal Monsters!” as I got to cover Dell Comics takes on the classic monsters like Dracula and The Wolf Man as well as got to talk about what the Halloween season reminds me of, a great trip down memory lane for sure. Lots of readers and friends have also asked me what my favorite comic company is to cover.  That’s an easy one as I have to say classic Marvel Comics.  While I do love companies like DC, IDW and Dell, Marvel has always been my top choice to read as all my favorite superheroes come from that company: Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Conan and Man-Thing. Another question I get is what horror host am I most looking forward to covering on a Icon update.  My top two that I knew that were a must for me, I have already done,Commander USA and Dr. Creep, but as for the ones I have not covered it’s a tie between Sammy Terry, Joe Bob Briggs, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Grandpa Munster, all of whom have influenced me in the world of horror hosting as well as no budget filmmaking. The question that I always look at is what your most read topic is, as of this update, the top three go like this Hellraiser III, Smurfs and Rob Zombie’s Bigfoot. One last question I will answer is people ask what of my old media projects would I like to see turned into a comic book series, and while of course the answer is Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre that wish could be coming true thanks to my friend Damien Brunk so out of the other stuff I would say my old slasher film The Sadness who is a killer who murders women and video tapes it all the while doing these horrible acts to please his fathers voice that echoes in his brain. So in closing, if you are a long time reader or just discovered me, I want to say thanks for taking the time to check out my little place on the web, and here is looking forward to the next three years and beyond. This update we will take a look at Black Goliath, a classic 70’s Marvel Character who was a cash in on the Blaxploitation cinema of the time.  So here is looking on to the future and bringing more fun updates to you my friends and readers.

Happy 3 Year

Once many centuries ago, it was believed that giants could have walked among us, even the Bible has Goliath a giant warrior who was killed by a stone from David’s slingshot. It’s been said that giants even battled early settlers here in America and that when their bones are found, the Smithsonian covers it up! In pop culture giants are among us from pro wrestler Andre The Giant to comic character Giant Man. But one giant that has always peeked my interest is The San Diego Mummy, a giant mummified body that measured 8 foot 4 inches and was found in a cave by prospectors in the early 1900’s.  It’s said that you could see the twisted teeth and giants ribs trough the skin and it looked like the Aztec Mummy from the classic south of the border horror film series to me. The Smithsonian was all over this discovery and even bought the body for a large sum of money. They came and looked at it and were hyped by what they saw, but the story goes that once they tested parts of the giant’s skin they found it to be a hoax and made of gelation and claimed the remains were a fake and deposed of it. This is where things get crazy as many people claim that the Smithsonian was on a fever pitch to buy large skeletons and many people claim they claimed hoaxes on many that are believed to be the real deal including the San Diego Giant! The odd thing about San Diego Giant is where is it now? Did they dispose of it? If he is real, why are they storing him and not sharing him with the public? And why are the people of Smithsonian trying to buy and hide all the giant skeletons in the world? So many questions un-answered! On a side note, the body also reminds me of the Atlas Comic character The Brute…could this be the body that inspired that comic series?

The San Diego Giant Mummy

WWE 2K16 came out on October 27th 2015, and this year the main attraction was that it had the largest roster in the game’s history as well as had a spotlight on the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin, whom I have never been a fan of during his WWF/WWE run but the possibilities of other wrestlers he had faced made for a interesting wait to see who was announced. Plus they added a ton of names from NXT and this as well made me hyped and ready for the game.  The downside was the pre-order bonus wrestler, as it was the T-800.  Yeah, that’s right, a Terminator…a fake movie character who has never been in a WWE ring…Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor who plays the character has and at least would have made a better choice as he is in the WWE Hall Of Fame…yeah, terrible bonus for sure. But terrible bonus and all, this was one game I was super hyped to play as I found that the new additions of Finn Balor and Kalisto and legends like Bret Hart, Sting and Ultimate Warrior made this a must-have video game for me. Plus any wrestling game that sports the largest roster in WWE game history, I had to play!

WWE 2K16 Ultimate WarriorWWE 2K16 PS4WWE 2K16 Sting

But like THQ before, 2K has also been snubbing wrestlers that should be showcased in the game! I know that WWE has lots of say on who is in the game and who is left out but so does the company who is distributing the game, and the following 3 wrestlers are my picks of wrestlers who were down right snubbed and should have had a place on the 120 on-disc roster or at least DLC. So sit back and take a look at my picks and in the comments feel free to leave your list of snubbed wrestlers from WWE 2K16!

wwe 2k16 Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan

Let’s start off this list with the biggest and most iconic name left out of this game, as well as one wrestler who was slated to be in the game but pulled amidst controversy. First we should talk about why they pulled him from the game; in 2012 Hogan was recorded making dumb and hurtful raciest comments that were centered around his daughter Brooke’s personal life and music career.  It should be noted that he made these commits at the lowest point in his life when he and his wife were splitting, he was sleeping with one of his best friends wife and he was suicidal. Hogan has done his best to do damage control and clear his name of not being a racist person; wrestlers and stars have come to his aid and yet WWE has washed him from their records and fired from his deal, canceled all his upcoming merchandise and pulled him from WWE 2K16. Now let’s look at why Hulk Hogan should have been in the game and the reasons are many! I mean he was a top wrestler not only just in WWF/WWE but also AWA, WCW and TNA as well was an actor in movies and TV. He has been WWF/WWE champion as well as World Heavyweight Champion a number of times, has headlined not only the first Wrestlemania but many more over the years and is one of the biggest icons in the business. While he should have been let go from his WWE contract or even suspended and made to make his dumb decision right, his fans should not be punished by taking him out of the game as he would have been a great grappler to have in the world title mix against the likes of Triple H, Roman Reigns, John Cena and Kevin Owens.

WWE 2K16 Jimmy Snuka

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka

Jimmy Snuka, much like Hulk Hogan has had a bad 2015 as he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and then picked up on murder charges of his then girlfriend in 1983! While I’m not sure if he was suppose to be in the game, I am sure if he was he was pulled out of the mix pretty quickly. But like all crimes Jimmy is innocent until proven guilty, but to WWE and 2K he is guilty until proven innocent. Jimmy Snuka was one of the biggest wrestlers in the 1980’s and was a top draw for WWE over his career and had epic matches against the likes of Don Muraco and Roddy Piper, and even when coming back in 1989 he was a solid mid-card worker who took on the likes of The Honkey Tonk Man, The Undertaker and Rick Rude! Jimmy even had a good run in AWA and WCW and remained a fan favorite. If Jimmy Snuka would have made it into WWE 2K16, I would have put him in NXT and would also use him on the main roster as matches against Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, Kalisto and Seth Rollins would be booked for many of my Raw’s and PPV’s! The sad thing is even if proven not guilty, I see Snuka not being in any upcoming WWE games.

Jim Duggan

“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

It’s crazy to think that Hacksaw has not been in a WWE main game in years given that during the 80’s and 90’s he was a huge fan favorite and is on great terms with the company and has had no run ins with the law in decades. Hacksaw had a great run with WWF/WWE from 1987-1993 and had great matches against the likes of King Harley Race, Andre The Giant and Bad News Brown. In 1988, he was even the first winner of the Royal Rumble that aired on the USA Network. When Hacksaw’s star started to drop in the WWF, he moved onto WCW and became a major draw once more winning many belts and having matches with the likes of Stunning Steve Austin, Bunkhouse Buck and Diamond Dallas Page. He left WCW in 2002 and worked some independent federations before returning to WWE in 2005 for another short run that would have him being used to put over younger talent.  This run ended in 2009 but for many years after, he appeared from time to time one WWE programing. I would love to have Hacksaw as part of my roster and would make a new tag team with him and Jack Swagger that would be trying to win Tag Team Gold! Very disappointing that Hacksaw seems to have been forgotten by not only WWE but also 2K.

It’s a shame these legends of wrestling have been left out and only time will tell if any of them will be in WWE 2K17, and I want you all to keep in mind none of these guys made it into the game but the T-800 did…shameful.

WWE 2K16 Finn

So in 2015, four of my favorite artists released new albums and of course I had to buy all three of them on CD from Amazon. So let’s start off with the softest artist on the list and one that I have been a huge fan of since the 1995 release of her first album called “Pieces of You.” Of course I am talking about Jewel; her new release is called “Picking Up The Pieces” and this her counter piece to her first release. The first thing I noticed after listening for a few minutes is that Jewel’s voice is as soothing as ever and made me fall in love with her all over again. The sound was a mix of folk and country and is clearly a record to work out some of her personal issues and as always her heart is in every song. I really enjoyed the whole CD, and I think my two favorite tracks off the disc have to be “Everything Breaks,” a song of changing love, and “My Father’s Daughter,” a sweet song about family that is a duet with Dolly Parton.  I also really liked the song “Mercy” and for the most part liked every song on the disc. I cannot praise Jewel enough as I feel she is one of the best singer songwriters of my generation, not to mention she can blend pop, country and folk together so well that it shows just how talented she is. I recommend this CD to fans of hers as well as fans looking for a heartfelt album with outstanding songs. The other artists that we will be covering at a different update are Danzig, W.A.S.P. and Alice Cooper with his all-star band called The Hollywood Vampires! So make sure to check back in and see my thoughts on their newest releases soon.

jewel picking up the pieces cd

When I was younger I had lots of Marvel Comics as did my brother Bryan, and I spent lots of late nights reading issues before bed or just kicking back in my room on a rainy day and reading them as the rain hit the widows.  One character that I saw a lot of over the years is Black Goliath.  I always had this idea that he was good friends with The Thing as I mostly remember his from issues of Marvel Two-In-One that had The Thing of Fantastic Four fame teaming up with a fellow Marvel hero. One other thing I can remember about him was that he was dying from an illness that was caused by his ability to change size and The Thing was really upset by this. But this is all I really knew about the character until I did some research over the years, so here is a quick bio of Black Goliath. Bill Foster is a biochemist who is from Los Angeles California who works for Tony Stark’s Plans And Research Division and was Hank Pym’s lab assistant who helps Pym turn to normal size when as his alter ego Giant Man he was stuck being a giant. Sometime later, Bill Foster starts taking the formula Hank did so that he as well can grow and takes on the name Black Goliath and teams with the likes of Luke Cage Power Man, The Thing and even Spider-Man to take on and defeat all types of super baddies. Black Goliath even joined the superheroes team The Champions and would later go on to change his name to Giant Man taking over the role from his friend Hank Pym. As Bill Foster, he at one point found himself working in the Savage Land for High Evolutionary and once he figures out that his employer is up to no good he calls in the West Coast Avengers and they put a stop to his evil scheme of a genetic bomb. Sometime later Bill Foster loses the power to grow and becomes a staff member for Centers For Disease Control and lend his brain to The Avengers to stop a bio-weapon. Later he once more regains his growing powers and joins a short lived team alongside Luke Cage, Brother Voodoo, The Falcon and Iron Fist as well as teams with the likes of Spider-Man and The Thing on separate missions. During the Civil War of Superheroes, Black Goliath took the side of Captain America in that heroes should not have to register their identities and during this conflict he is killed by a clone of Thor.  His death changes the balance in teams as many leave Iron Man’s side to join Captain America’s. Up to this point Bill Foster aka Black Goliath is still dead and that’s a shame as I feel he is a great classic Marvel Character who had many more adventures to bring us readers. I should note that during the Dark Reign storyline Black Goliath’s clavicle bone is stolen by Norman Osborn in hopes to be used to track down Hank Pym and his spirit can be seen in Erebus, a realm in-between life and death alongside Baron Zemo, Jack Of Hearts, Jack O’Lantern, Wasp and even Elvis Presley!

Black GoliathBlack Goliath and The ThingTHE THING

So now I am sure if you didn’t know who Black Goliath was, you do now as I hope my little history of the character helped. I really would like to thank Mavericks Cards and Comics who in June 2015 bought a huge comic collection that contained so many amazing issues and full runs from companies like Marvel, DC, Charlton and many more and Black Goliath was one I was lucky to be able to buy for this update! I was lucky enough as my friends Jason Young and Jeremy Hoyt both work for Mavericks and allowed me to go in the back and look through the boxes before they were priced and put out for the masses! I was able not only to get Black Goliath but also issues of Amazing, Spectacular & Web of Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Jungle Action with Black Panther, Master of Kung-Fu and a few other titles. So a big thanks goes to Mavericks and their crew for making this update possible. I should also note that while as I stated before I mostly knew Black Goliath from his appearances in “Marvel Two In One” and “Marvel Team Up”, growing up my brother and I did have issue # 3 of this series and I remember very little about it. So let’s grab a glass of milk so we can grow up to be big and strong and set out for a five issue adventure with the one and only Black Goliath.

Black Goliath 1

Black Goliath # 1  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #1 of 5

Bill Foster is walking in the rain down a ghetto road in Los Angeles remembering back to the days of his youth growing up in the neighborhood playing baseball in the streets with his friends as well as the old soda shop that he use to buy cokes from for a dime. While wandering the streets, he comes across some punks who try and rob him and turns into Black Goliath and teaches them crime don’t pay! Bill goes home and is torn between becoming a full time superhero or only focusing on his scientific career that was given to him by Tony Stark.  While trying to come to a decision, he gets a call from Hank Pym who tries to push him into a career into crime fighting. After visiting his assistants called The Whiz Kids, Bill decides to become Black Goliath and stop the next robbery that will be for the lab he works! Atom-Smasher and his goons show up at a warehouse to steal some Radium and take out the two guard posted at the front and to their shock they run into Black Goliath who makes quick work of the goons, but is chopped down by Atom-Smasher who blasts him with a energy beam and is about to finish him off with an even more powerful one as our issue comes to an end!

This first issue is fantastic and captures the 70’s Blaxploitation cinema vibe and mixes it very well with the classic 70’s Marvel and is very much on par with Luke Cage Power Man! The plot of this issue has Bill Foster having a internal war with himself over becoming a full fledged superhero or being a full fledged scientist! And when robbers keep stealing shipments and breaking into labs, Bill decides that he must embrace his super powers and become Black Goliath to stop these crimes. Black Goliath is a very interesting character as he got his powers from helping Hank Pym when he was stuck as Giant Man and took that formula and improved it.  What also makes him stand out is the fact he was once a  ircus sideshow performer who lied to his girlfriend by telling her he could not control his size and was beaten up by Luke Cage who in turn walked away with Bill’s now ex! Black Goliath is a man who is quick witted and has an edge of take no bull attitude making this issue a fun read as it leaves you wondering what he is going to do. The Whiz Kids (Herbert Bell, Dale West & Talia Kruma) are nice back up characters who a being set up to be inventors of gadgets that Goliath can use in his crime busting. Atom-Smasher is a cheesy yet powerful villain who rocks his bald head and powerful energy well, in fact he seems not to be bothered by the size of Goliath as he fires an energy blast and cuts him down to size. Atom-Smasher can control matter and can use his power to go through walls and even fire powerful blasts from his hands. The cover for this first issue is fantastic and very eye catching.  Plus the art inside is well done and is done by the talented George Tuska who does a fantastic job of capturing the mood and vibe of this comic. This first issue makes me hyped to read issue # 2 and see how Goliath gets away from the deadly hands of Atom-Smasher so let’s not waste anymore time and get to it!

Black Goliath 2

Black Goliath # 2  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #2 of 5

Black Goliath uses all his strength to dodge a fatal blow by Atom-Smasher and turns the table on the high energy villain! But the fight doesn’t stay in Black Goliath’s favor for long as once more Atom-Smasher is able to beat him up as well as causes a huge fire that was heading toward the L.A. airport’s fuel tanks! As Smasher escapes, poor Goliath is weak and trying his best to not to catch fire or drown in the water from the firefighters’ hose, and passes out to wake up in the care of Celia Jackson who was a stewardess for the airport and saved him from being fried to a crisp. Returning home as Bill Foster, he gets The Whiz Kids to create a tracking devise to locate Atom-Smasher.  He gets the drop on Smasher and his goons ending his reign of terror, but unknown to Black Goliath, an assassin is watching and getting orders from a hidden in the shadows crime boss to take him out!

This second adventure of Black Goliath is a very good follow up to the first and retains all the wonderful 70’s Blaxploitation action and one liners making fans of such films as Hammer and Foxy Brown happy as well as comic readers who enjoyed Power Man. In this issue Black Goliath suffers a terrible defeat, but it does not slow him down as he not only stops the bad guys in the end but also has time to make it with the young woman who saved his life! In this issue Black Goliath at first tries to only depend on his power to bring down the bad guys, but by the end learns that using his power as well as his mind is the best way to get the victory. While at first he does doubts how good of a superhero he will be, he turns it around in the end to embrace that he is new to the crime fighting game and can make mistakes. The Whiz Kids once more are used as helper characters and with their super smarts are able to make a tracking device to hunt down the location of Atom-Smasher. The tricky part is that Bill lied to them and said the device was made for the police. By this point we also are picking up on the personalities of the Whiz Kids with Herbert being the worry wart, Dale being the goofball troublemaker and Talia being the more private one who keeps her private life to herself leaving her open to be the most interesting one of them all. Celia Jackson seems like she could be a new love interest for Bill or could be just a one nightstand as the next panel after he leaves her house, Bill thinks to himself how he “scored” with her. At the warehouse Atom-Smasher puts up a fight that leaves the giant hero on his butt and proves he has power, but in the last battle when taken by surprise he goes down pretty easy as Black Goliath knocks machine parts on him and then bonds him in graphite. The Smasher’s men are about as helpful to him as cats would be in a fist fight against ninjas as they are knocked around and run like chickens. The cover is once more very eye catching, and the art done by George Tuska is fantastic.  I should also note the story in this issue was done by Chris Claremont who is best known for writing Uncanny X-Men and is the brain behind so many of that series top arcs. So far I‘m really liking this series and am looking forward to each issue that follows! Let’s see if the third issue can keep up the charm of Black Goliath.

Black Goliath 3

Black Goliath # 3  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #3 of 5

As Black Goliath is about to take Atom-Smasher to the police station, the sniper attacks and grazes Goliath in the forehead causing him to drop Atom-Smasher and try to find cover. Atom-Smasher breaks free from his bonds and tries to escape, but before he can he takes a bullet to the back showing that he was the target.  Before Black Goliath can get to the sniper he is gone, but something worse happens as he starts to feel ill and as if he is dying! Meanwhile back at Stark Labs, The Whiz Kids are covering for Bill Foster as he is not at work and a very angry Tony Stark needs to speak to him, and worse a motorcycle gang breaks into the lab and steals a important package and causes mayhem to the workers including Dale and Talia who are injured in the attack. The cops give chase to the gang but soon meet their leader Vulcan, a super strong hunchback with laser shooting wristbands who kills a rookie and injures a veteran female officer. Black Goliath shakes off the sick feeling and goes after the gang to get the package back and makes quick work of the gang, even giving Vulcan a beating, but once more making a rookie mistake he goes for the stolen package and takes a laser blast from the downed Vulcan that causes a building to fall on him and let the bad guy escape. In the end some of the cops are mad about Black Goliath not saving the killed rookie and this makes Goliath mad as he has no plans on stopping being a superhero.

This third issue now adds the motorcycle gang craze of the 70’s to the mix and even adds a touch of horror as Vulcan the gang’s leader is clearly a weird looking hunchback. The plot of this issue is that someone hired an assassin to kill Atom-Smasher as they looked at him as a loose end.  Black Goliath is still a rookie at being a hero and makes some mistakes but during this time he is also having some issues with his powers as he is feeling ill. Throw in a biker gang who has been hired to steal a package from the lab and you have this issue. Black Goliath is getting better at stopping crime and is not backing down from bad guys and will do anything he can to save a life, even if he is always late at doing so. The main question is what is making Black Goliath sick and feeling like he is going to die? My thought on this is that he is straining his body as he is using the powers more often and this is causing his insides to become damaged. The normal Bill Foster part of Goliath’s life seems to be spinning out of control as he is neglecting his day job and could be facing a pink slip if he isn’t more attentive to his work. The Whiz Kids are pretty helpful in this issue as not only do they try and cover for Bill, but Dale tries his best to fight the biker gang and protect his fellow workers, and we learn that Talia is the way she is cause she left a loved on to die in the jungle to save her own butt! The Sniper and the Shadowy Big Boss are still a mystery as their identities are still unknown, but I am thinking that the big boss could be The Kingpin. Poor Atom-Smasher after being captured tried to run to fight another day, but is killed as I think they felt if the cops got ahold of him he might snitch. Vulcan is a brute, and while he is good at smashing cars and killing cops, he is not so good at fighting people with above average powers as Goliath whoops him pretty good.  While he packs some laser wristbands and leads a gang of bikers, he just does not seem like a major threat. I should also mention that Tony Stark who all Marvel Comic readers as well as the movie watchers know is Iron Man comes off as a butthead in this issue as he yells and screams and threatens to fire Bill for missing one day of work, talk about a horrible boss! The cover is once more top notch, and the team of Claremont and Tuska are back and proves that when the right team work on a book no matter how big or small the character is, they can make quality work. So with this let’s move onto issue number four.

Black Goliath 4

Black Goliath # 4  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #4 of 5

Black Goliath stops some bank robbers and even breaks a stolen weapon that could kill many innocent people if used, all before heading to work where he gets chewed out by Tony Stark over the stolen package.  That leaves the two at odds, and a man named Ballard being odd and wanting to keep what’s in the box from Bill.  It’s clear the two have a past with each other. Bill changes into Black Goliath and heads to the police station where he gets news from Keith who is the nephew of Celia Jackson, the stewardess who Goliath “scored” with that the bank is being robbed.  As Black Goliath and the cops arrive, they soon find that the robber is not a common man but the super villain Stilt Man who is mad and wanting to make a statement and does just that as he manhandles Black Goliath and to prove a point uses his new Z-Ray gun on Black Goliath, Keith and Celia making them vanish into thin air as the police look on in horror.

This forth issue is good but I will say slipped a little as I feel with this one they took away the cult feel and made it more of a main stream comic that could have as easy been an issue of Spider-Man or Captain America. The issue’s plot has Bill Foster being mad at Tony Stark his boss and goes head to head with a villain who matches him in size and power and by the end uses a ray that turns our hero into nothing as he just disappears. Black Goliath is pretty cocky now at being a superhero and seems not to be bothered by having to choose between it and his career. Plus it looks as if the cops are now on his side and want his help on trying to stop crime. Bill Foster seems to be blowing off his work in this issue and even mouths off and makes his boss Tony Stark wait. The Whiz Kids take a backseat with nothing major to do besides telling Bill that Tony is on the phone for him. Tony Stark is still acting as a terrible boss, but does show that he likes Bill as a person and a friend. Ballard, I am not sure what his deal is, but he seems to have a chip on his shoulder and have a strong dislike for Bill. Celia Jackson and her nephew Keith are clearly fans and friends of Black Goliath and it’s nice to see that she is just not a one night stand. Stilt Man is a major threat in L.A. and wants to be that town’s crime lord and starts his path of doing so by robbing a bank and beating the city’s protector with little to no effort. Stilt Man is proving that he is not a joke and while the likes of Daredevil and Captain America have beaten him, Black Goliath was just out matched. The way this issue ends and with only one issue left in the series it makes me wonder how in the heck are they going to wrap up who the shadow crime boss is, where is Black Goliath at and how will he get back as well as how will he defeat Stilt Man. This issue’s cover is great like the others, and while Chris Claremont wrote the script, they changed the artist as the team of R. Buckler and Don Heck take over and do a solid job. Well it’s time to move onto the final issue.  Let’s see how Marvel wraps this one up or will it get the Steel: The Indestructible Man treatment where DC just upped and cancelled it before the story is finished.  Well let’s see, shall we?

Black Goliath 5

Black Goliath # 5  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30   Marvel Comics   #5 of 5

Black Goliath along with Keith and Celia find themselves on another planet called Kirgar, thanks to Stilt Man’s Z-Ray Gun that during the day the temperature is so hot and by night it’s freezing, leaving them will little hope of survival. One night while they are sleeping, they are visited by a friendly alien named Derath, who gives them clothes that will help with the severely changing weather and together they try to find a shelter area that has parts on it that can send them home! Along the journey they come across a Dune Cat who tries to make Celia lunch but is quickly dealt with thanks to a laser pistol blast from the gun of Derath. Once they make it to the shelter they soon have to tangle with Mortag, a giant of a man monster who is the protector of the shelter and kills Derath with his mighty axe! The murder of his alien friend puts Black Goliath into a rage and the battle leaves Mortag in pieces as they find out that he was a robot. In the end Black Goliath, Celia and Keith use the equipment around to try and get back home.

This final issue of Black Goliath feels like they mixed superheroes with Flash Gordon as it has a very science fiction feel to it. The plot has Black Goliath along with Celia and her nephew being stuck on a planet where they meet an alien who helps them and together they must try and find a way home and battle an ancient guardian who is protecting the only building on the planet that has they stuff to send them home. Black Goliath in this series really grows as a character as he starts off not being too sure of his hero-like abilities and by this issue he is a protector of his friends and ready to fight for what right. I can 100% say that my opinion of this character changed after reading this limited run series as he went from being a cheesy character who was friends with The Thing to being an interesting hero who brought so many genres together from Superhero to Blaxploitation and a little of everything in-between like bikers and sci-fi! Celia is very much like Pam Grier in the way that she is sexy and tough with a touch of gentle. It was cool to see her go from a one nightstand to a full fledged girlfriend for Black Goliath. Keith is kind of just a background player who is used to give Celia a little more depth and draw out that she is just a normal person with a family. The Whiz Kids are really cool background players who start out as bickering co-workers and by their last appearance, it’s clear they all are good friends and care about each other.  I wish they had a little more to do before this series ended. The worst part of Marvel just pulling the plug on this series is that this issue ends with Black Goliath still on another planet and as he beats his final foe in passing he says something about them getting back home.  It’s really lame that Marvel at least didn’t give this one last issue to really tie it all up. In the letters page in this issue they did have the courtesy to warn the readers that this series was cancelled due to low sales. This final issue’s art was done by Keith Pollard, and it looks great and holds up the quality that this series had. Pollard is a fantastic artist who is known for his work on Amazing Spider-Man, The Mighty Thor and Fantastic Four in the 70’s and 80’s. This issue’s story is written by Chris Claremont again, and as always he did a pretty great job of telling a tale of adventure the Marvel way. I should also note that throughout the series Black Goliath tangled with some powerful super villains like Stilt Man, killer robot Mortag, pure power Atom-Smasher and hunchback biker Vulcan each of which you can believe as a threat to our hero. Over all, I can say that I enjoyed this series from the great art, fun stories all the way to the rotten ink smell this was for sure a great way to spend a January day reading. Below is some artwork from issue 4 done by R. Buckler and Don Heck, enjoy!

Black Goliath Art 1

Black Goliath is a Marvel Character that for the most part is forgotten or even misused and that’s a shame as he is a very cool and interesting character who could have held his own with other African American super heroes from Marvel like Luke Cage and Black Panther. But our next update we will be leaving Marvel behind and will be looking at a promo comic based on the 1992 film Dust Devil! So until then read a comic or three, support your local Horror Host and make sure to have a safe and fun February.

dust devil logo

YARS’ Attacks

Welcome back to the Rotten Ink Arcade.  For our second update of 2016, we are going to take a look at Yars’ Revenge, the super popular game from the early 80’s created by Atari! Like most kids of the 80’s and 90’s, I loved to go to the arcade and hit the toy stores and video game stores, playing video games and shopping for the next pixel quest I could embark on. One of my favorite video game stores was Funcoland, a cool mall chain store that used to sell regular Nintendo games for dirt cheap. I can remember me and my friend Jason Gilmore going to the mall just for this store and leaving with handfuls of NES games as well as Playstation ones. It’s such a shame that Funcoland was bought out by Game Stop (as was EB Games) who closed all the locations and became one of the biggest soulless video game stores in history, that overcharges for used games and drives up the prices on games to warp the market. I can also remember for years going to the arcade in the Dayton Mall with my brother Bryan and playing all types of games from WWE Wrestlefest to Guns n Roses Pinball and having a heck of good time a our arcade of choice, Crazy Cats, by this time sadly had been put out of business by the fine folks who run Kettering, Ohio who gave that poor arcade a hell of a time cause they didn’t want teenagers hanging out in front of Krogers who shared the strip mall with them. Nowadays arcades are making a comeback here in the Dayton area with Hole In The Wall bar, Retro-Media Arcade and Scene 75 to name a few of those popping up and sharing the digital arcade love. Game Swap in Kettering also has its fair share of arcades, and I am proud to say that I spearheaded that and even in my own little way helped bring this popular style of gaming back to the area. Game Swap has many different machines up for play like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong Jr., Popeye, Captain America and The Avengers, Super Contra, Hydra, Centipede, Superman, Marvel Superheroes and so many others! Sometimes, if I get to Game Swap early and get things done and have a pocket full of quarters, I will play of few of the arcade machines before open,  Most of the time I play Superman or Street Fighter II Championship Edition. I miss the days of the classic arcades but thanks to places like Game Swap and Arcade Legacy, the retro arcade will live on for a new generation of gamers to play. Below are some of the arcades that are at Game Swap, so check out the selection and connect with your inner gamer.

Game Swap Arcade Machines

In 1982, Howard Scott Warshaw created a video game for the Atari 2600 that was the console’s top selling original title for the whole run of the 2600, and this game was called Yars’ Revenge. The game started as a licensed port of a game called Star Castle, and after so many changes to the code, it took on a life of its own as Warshaw ended up just making a new game he called Yars Revenge! One video game urban legend says that Warshaw named the game’s home planet Razak basing it around the C.E.O. of Atari, Ray Kassar’s, name and that he did so to see who would be a snitch and rat him out to he boss! The game’s plot has you playing a Yar who must get past a force field and pin point the base of your enemy who must be killed by a giant cannon. The first time I played Yars’ Revenge was at Bard Burn’s house, a neighbor who lived across the street. I can remember being very bad at the game but trying like hell to win. When I was an early teenager, I can remember playing the game again at my Grandma & Grandpa Brassfield’s house and doing a little better while my cousin Nathan watched me play. Now as an adult and thanks to Game Swap, I got the game as well as an Atari 2600 and have relived playing the game many times. When it came out, the game was a hit with fans but many critics were not too kind to it calling is boring and comparing it to a sleeping pill! But love it or hate it, Yars’ Revenge has made it’s mark on the world of Video Games and remains a classic title from the days of cart games.

Yars Revenge screen 1Yars_Revenge_coveryars_revenge screen 2

Besides the Atari 2600 video game and Warner Brothers promo comic, some other merchandise was made around Yars that includes a record that had a radio drama based around the game as well as the game’s “theme” song! A lunch box was made that showcased Yars alongside Missile Command and Warlord among others. Also a Ben Cooper Halloween costume was made allowing kids to become a Yar themselves. Over the years ports, remakes and reboots have been made for consoles like Game Boy Advance, Atari Flashback and Xbox 360. I have even heard stories of fans creating their own Yars arcade machine! So while Yars’ Revenge might not be a household name for modern gamers and also might be forgotten and not yet discovered by others, one cannot downplay its impact on the world of home console gaming as it sparked some cool merchandise.

Yars Revenge VinylYars Revenge Halloween CostumeAtari Lunchbox

Back in the 1960’s, America and Russia had a race to see who could send a human to space and bring them back alive to share what they saw and to have bragging rights on what nation was the first to do so. Many failed attempts were made that cost the nations money, time, machines, lives and lots of poor primates were lost in the unsuccessful attempts. Also in the 1960’s, amateur radios were very popular and many people spent time trying to pick up the messages used by both sides.  The Judica-Cordiglia brothers from Italy did just that on the Russian side and captured the last broadcasts from many of the poor souls who were sent into space and never returned. They heard many sad broadcasts from astronauts who sent out SOS signals as they drifted out into deep space, ones running out of oxygen and suffocating.  It’s sad to think about these poor people who died in a space race between two nations who had a beef with each other. The one audio broadcast that really got to me was recorded in 1963 and was the voice of a female Russian astronaut who was in a shuttle heading back to Earth as it’s catching fire and breaking apart in the atmosphere and she is calling for help and talking about seeing fire and how hot she is inside her metal death prison. Her words are in Russian but her panic frantic tone of voice lets you hear the fear in her voice and makes me sad to think how scary and terrible her last moments alive were. I put myself in her place and a shiver went up my spine as you think about the feeling of being alone and helpless and knowing that your fate was moments away. I should also share that while many people think this recording is real, it does have its detractors who claim that the woman’s voice clearly has an Italian accent and that the brothers hired a woman to make the recording to keep up the local and national fame they got from sharing these broadcasts with the news. I for one don’t know if this recording is a fake or not and will end it by saying if it was real I hope this poor woman’s soul has found rest.

Old School Radio

Moving away from depressing radio use, let’s take a look at a CD that a friend picked for me to listen to. My friend Garrison Kane is a fan of Nintendo and collects all types of products from the games to mini figures based on their characters.  With this update being about a video game, I figured that this would be a good time to listen to a CD that he picked for me to listen to from his favorite band and his favorite album by them, that’s Asia with their 1982 self title release. The first song of this disc was Heat of the Moment, the only song I really knew from the band as it is played on local soft rock radio stations to this day.  This was a nice way to start this listen to this album as this song is pop rock fun with a hint of bands like Alan Parsons Project and Toto. What follows for the next eight tracks is soft rock goodness that is sure to please the ears of those who like catching lyrics and smooth melodies of rock stars who know what they are doing when playing their instrument of choice. The music to the song Time Again is really good and was caught in my mind after hearing it.  The lyrics are okay though a little cheesy, but I would say that this is one of my favorite songs off the CD alongside Sole Survivor, Heat Of The Moment and Cutting It Fine.  To be honest, none of the songs on this one are bad, and I really enjoyed listening to it while I wrote this blog as I felt it was great background music that made focusing a lot easier than having a heavier band’s CD on. I should also say that some songs like Wildest Dreams have messages about war and the way TV covers such events, or at least that’s what I got out of the song! Steve Howe is a very solid guitarist, and I find that his work on these tracks holds up, as does the piano work of Geoff Downes. I will say Garrison picked a really good CD for me to listen to as I enjoyed almost all the tracks and will listen to this one again for sure.

Garrison Andrew Kane aka Dr GakmanAsia - Asia CDAsia

I wonder if Atari in 1982 ever thought about putting music by Asia in one of their games or at the least making a game based around them like they did with Journey in 82.  Wait, Yars’ Revenge, Asia’s self titled album and the video game Journey Escape all came out in 1982…what a year that must have been! Well we are at the point of the update where we will be taking a look at the comic book based on the subject, and I must thank a customer from Game Swap Kettering for giving me this comic to review.  That was super cool of him, and this update is for you, my good sir! I want to remind you readers that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s plug in our Atari 2600, grab a trusty joystick and see what Warner Brothers has in store for us with this promo comic based around Yars’ Revenge!

Yars Revenge 1 comic

Yars’ Revenge # 1   **1/2
Released in 1982     Cover Price Free     Warner Brothers     #1 of 1

A new Yar recruit enters the office of his commander who decides to give him a history lesson of why they are at war and who they really are. You see their race comes from normal houseflies that hitched a ride on a spacecraft that later crashes in the Razak solar system where those houseflies mutated into Yars. Now this young recruit gets his mission to attack their enemies, The Qotile, and try to bring down their force field so that they can blast them with a Zorlon Cannon and take back their lost land and live peaceful lives once more. It ends with the Commander Yar hoping that this war will come to an end soon and no more lives of his people will be lost.

This war in a galaxy far, far away was not fought by Luke Skywalker or even Captain James T. Kirk and his crew but was fought by a race of super flys called Yars. The plot of this 9 page comic is super simple and is just the plot of the video game for the Atari 2600 as we find out that the Yars, who are mutated Earth houseflies, are at war with an unknown race called the Qotile who blew up one of their planets as well as made a base near it to keep attacking the Yars. The issue ends how the game begins and has you going out into space and trying to fight their base and its force field. The Yars who are this the comic’s main characters seem like a peaceful race until they are pushed to fight, and when they are pushed they put on metal armor and blow stuff up with the help of their massive cannon. The humans, who have a cameo at in the issue, seem clueless and are just fill-ins to show how houseflies made it into space. The Qotile who are faceless and are not seen at all seem like a bunch of buttheads who love war and destruction and seem to be the bullies of that galaxy! I really wish more modern game companies would get behind giving the player a comic based on the game they had just bought.  I mean imagine getting a comic book based on the newest Assassin’s Creed game or one for horror games like Until Dawn or Summer Camp! While comics based on video games are being made, they are full size issues that pack a $3.99 or $4.99 cover price and are coming out via companies IDW and Dark Horse.  While these are fantastic comic series with top notch stories, they are not a free promo comic inside the video game you just bought as I feel most modern game companies are pushing for giving the buyer less with their digital only agenda. The cover for this comic is classic and is taken from the box art for the game.  The inside art and color is fantastic and is done by the team of Frank Cirocco, Ray Garst and Hiro Kimura who make this little mini comic shine for what it’s suppose to do and that’s teach the player the back story of the game. Over all to sum it up, I would say worth a read for fans of the game.

Yars Comic Art

Atari giving out promo comics might be a thing of the past as are video game companies giving away any cool promo stuff with the game you bought without getting a more expensive edition that they can charge you for.  But while things always change, it’s the excitement of what the future holds that keeps this video game player, music listener, comic reader, movie watcher and Horror Host maker & fan hyped for the unknowns of those creative media worlds. Thanks for reading this quick little update as our next update will be about Marvel Comic character Black Goliath! So make sure to come back for that one so until then make sure to play a video game, read a comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host!

Black Goliath logo

Matt Goes To The Movies 2015

Matt Goes To The Movies 2015 Screen Logo

This past year was pretty solid for the movies as fans of all genres had something to look forward to with three of the top choices being The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Jurassic World and Star Wars: Force Awakens! But while many movie goers were waiting for those three films, I was silently waiting for the new Mad Max, Rocky and Terminator sequels as well as all of the horror films that were released last year. This time, I didn’t just see movies at my favorite theater Cinemark at the Greene but also watched flicks at Regal, Cinemark Dayton South and Cranberry Cinema and watched films along side the likes of Juliet Fromholt, Josh Weinberg, Jeremy Hoyt, Stephen Alexander II, Anne Rotolante, Patrick Steele and my brother Bryan and his family! I ate many bags of popcorn and drank many Icee’s and loved the cinema experiences…well for the most part! This year was flooded with lots of other moviegoers who brought rowdy kids to the films, morons on cell phones and of course the loud talkers, but even these pesky people couldn’t bring down the mood and feel of the cinema. The ones who annoyed me the most were the loud talkers and kids during horror films, as their behavior took away from the atmosphere of films like Woman In Black 2, Green Inferno and Insidious Chapter 3! But let’s not waste too much time on cell phone zombies and talkers; let’s get to the Rotten Ink Theater and discuss the films I saw! Be sure to read on with caution as some write ups might have spoilers!

MMMMMM Popcorn

As always, we are going to take out the trash first as I present to you the worst films of the year…and oddly enough, I didn’t see too many bad films this year.  Only one film has made the list and while it was not terrible, I found it to be a major letdown.  So let’s get to the worst!

WORST 15 logo

# 1

Vacation 2015 poster

Rusty Griswald decides to take his family on a trip, not to Europe, but to Wally World, the same place his father Clark took him to so many years back. So Rusty hits the road with his wife and two sons, and along the way, they run into all types of crazy and crude adventures till they reach their goal of Wally World.  Throw in cameos from Clark and Ellen Griswald, and you have Vacation. The things that work for the film is some moments will make you flash back to the other films in the series, the downside are the moments that reminded me of the crude humor of American Pie and The Hangover. While I didn’t hate this film, I was just very much disappointed with it as I was really looking forward to a true National Lapoon’s Vacation sequel, not a crude humor cash in. The film did just okay for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office bringing in a total off $58,863,141.00 on a $31 Million Dollar budget. Again, if you have not seen this yet, skip it and just pop in the DVD of the original and enjoy a comedy classic.

So now that the stinky worst film has been taken out, let’s take a look at action…and oddly enough, this year I didn’t see too many action films and that’s a shame as it’s a genre I enjoy seeing in the theater! I missed the new Fast And The Furious film as well as several others, but here is the list of the ones I did get to see! I even added a sports drama in the action section to help add depth.

Action 15 logo

# 2

No Escape (2015) Poster

No Escape” was a fun action thrill ride that has Owen Wilson playing a father who took a job overseas in the water service and soon finds that who he works for forced themselves into the market.  Now a group of rebels have risen up and are killing anyone who they think is ruining their county.  So Wilson has to save his wife and two daughters and get them to safety before they become victims in a bloodbath of anger. This was a fun edge of your seat movie that had many moments that made you wonder how the family was going to survive this riot uprising! The film also adds in Pierce Bronson as a man who is trying to help the family out but also has his own reasons for being there.  Really, this was a good action flick that mixed in just the right amount of a thriller to make it work. The film did pretty good for the Weinstein Company and brought in $27,079,507.00 just in the US Box Office on a $5 million dollar budget. Well worth the watch in the theater, even if the person I went with was Josh Weinberg and he kept texting throughout it!

# 1

Creed Poster

Creed was hands down one of the best films of the year for me and was one that I was most looking forward to as I have been a fan of the Rocky franchise since I was a youngster.  This movie lived up to everything I wanted from it, from drama to sports action, it had it all. Adonis Johnson-Creed is the son of Apollo Creed from a woman he had an affair with.  He fought his whole life to prove something to himself and thanks to the guidance of Rocky Balboa, he stands a chance at becoming a famed fighter like his father. Adonis must learn not only to fight as a trained boxer but also balance his life with his mom (Apollo’s wife), girlfriend Bianca and learning that Rocky is sick. I don’t want to spoil too much of the film’s plot nor the ending but fans of Rocky and Rocky II will eat it up. Sylvester Stallone is fantastic as the aging Rocky and gave the performance of a lifetime, and Michael B. Jordan is amazing and makes Adonis Creed a likable character and delivers the “Rocky” of this generation. The film had a great showing for Warner Brothers bringing in a total in the U.S of $98,756,653 on a $35 million dollar budget as of Dec 30th 2015. Again, I can’t stress enough how great this film is and when seeing it in the theater with my girl Juliet, she teared up at moments of well written and acted drama.  Do yourself a favor, and check it out on DVD or Blu-Ray.

Yeah, I really was slacking in the action department.  I mean I had to add a sports drama film to the list, but it counts because it has Sylvester Stallone and boxing action in it, right? But what I did not slack on is science fiction and fantasy films that had some major heavyweights duking it out, not just at the box office but also for my # 1 spot! So let’s take an epic journey and see who won the pick to be the best 2015 had to offer.

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# 8

Pixels Poster

Aliens have sent Earth a challenge and are using our classic video game characters like Frogger, Pac-Man and Space Invaders as their warriors to battle our top arcade players of the past in a best of three match that pits the humans against real life pixel characters. This film got a lot of hate for no reason and many judged it because it starred Adam Sandler who for some reason is now the kiss of death for a film.  But while it’s no masterpiece of cinema, it is a fun space invader comedy film with cool retro video game characters like Donkey Kong, Space Invaders & Q*Bert and some fun chuckles. Pixels failed at the US Box Office only bringing in $66,412,189.00 for Columbia Pictures on a $88 million production budget. If you watch this film on DVD or Blu-Ray, go in with a clear mind and all the pre-online hate washed from your brain.  You might find yourself having a good time.

# 7

seventh son poster

The evil witch Mother Malkin has escaped and is causing death and terror.  The only hope is Master Gregory, a monster hunter who captured her many years back.  But when his ward dies in battle, he must find a new one who has to be the seventh son of a seventh son and finds him in a young farmer named Tom who he trains to become a killer of witches. Things get tricky when Tom falls in love with a witch and Malkin has called some of the top generals in the world of supernatural.  Gregory must face massive odds to save the world as we all know it. This is a cool fantasy film set in the age of knights that has many monsters and over the top battles that are sure to please most fantasy film viewers. The film was panned by critics, and sadly it tanked at the box office.  I feel like this is yet another of those films that got unfairly judged due to all the delays this production was plagued with. With that said, though the film does have some goofy moments like the over the top accent Jeff Bridges uses while playing Master Gregory, but for the stuff like that there is a dragon, attractive women and a foul troll like monster to make up for it. The film only grossed in $17,223,265.00 at the US Box Office for Universal on a $95 million dollar budget, but luckily it did a little better overseas.

# 6

jupiter ascending poster

Jupiter Ascending is one of those films I think was unfairly judged before it even opened in the theaters, due to delays, and the so called internet “press” before it came out was very negative.  Many moviegoers listened to these “critics” who said it was no good before even seeing it…this is what I call The Lone Ranger Effect. Juliet and I happened to enjoy this sci-fi flick that seemed like a mixture of many genre classics of the past thrown together. It felt like Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon and Masters Of The Universe had a child that was filled with lots of explosions and air chases. The story follows a young woman named Jupiter who works as a maid for a cleaning service run by her family, but she soon finds out she is much more as she has the soul of a reincarnated galaxy queen in her genes.  The Queen’s two sons and daughter want to manipulate and kill her to retain all she left them when she died in the past! But one lone bounty hunter along with his allies want to keep her safe and allow her to rule without the harm of her children’s greed. How can one woman change the fate of the world, and how will a simple maid deal with all the power and drama? This film’s plot has so much more to it but I don’t want to spoil too much as I think it’s worth a watch for sure. The film stars Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and Sean Bean, and all of them do a good job pulling off their characters.  The film was directed by The Wachowski’s who are known for The Matrix films. It did poorly for Warner Brother only bringing in $47,387,723.00 at the US Box Office, but while it did poorly in theaters I can see this film gaining a cult following on the home video market.

# 5

Cinderella Poster

Disney has been doing a great job of making live action versions of their classic cartoon films, and Cinderella, much like Maleficent, is a perfect example of that. The story follows Ella, the daughter of a traveling merchant who sadly loses both her parents but not before her father remarries and she has to take care of her stepmom and two step sisters. They treat her not as a family member but more like a slave as they make her cook, clean and wait on them hand and foot. Poor Ella is even made fun of, and they start calling her Cinderella as they tease her looks after she cleaned the fireplaces and had ashes on her. The Prince of the kingdom is having a ball and with the help of her fairy godmother, she is able to attend and steals the Prince’s heart.  After she leaves before the magic of her glamorous life runs out, she leaves behind a glass slipper that is used in finding her. The classic story has never looked this good on the big screen, and I really liked all the actors casted as Lily James is perfect as Cinderella and Helena Bonham Carter is fantastic as The Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett is sinisterly good as the Step Mother. The film did pretty well for Disney at the U.S boxoffice bringing in a total of $200,025,513.00 proving that the classic stories never go out of style.

# 4

Terminator Genisys poster

The fifth film in the Terminator series was one of the films I was looking forward to this year as I heard that it was a film that would change the series timeline as we know it.  After viewing it, the film lived up to what I wanted it to be. In the future John Conner sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother Sarah, but when he gets there he finds things are not like they should be as Sarah alongside a Terminator she calls Pops are hunting down and killing every attempt that’s made by Skynet to take her life! They travel through time and soon find out that John Connor himself has been compromised by Skynet and he is the ultimate Terminator! Can Sarah, Kyle and Pops stop the coming of judgement day or is all hope really lost for mankind? The film has lots of action and some cool twists that made it a solid sci-fi action adventure, and while Juliet and I both liked it, it appears that the moviegoers in America were not as hip to the idea of a 5th Terminator film and would rather have spent money on such classic 2015 films like “50 Shades Of Grey”, “Get Hard”, “Spy” and “Trainwreck”! The film did very poorly at the US Box Office, only bringing in $89,760,956.00 on a $155 million dollar budget. While this film was suppose to be the lead in to another trilogy of films, it appears Paramount has pulled the plug on that idea ending the threat of Skynet once and for all…or until they remake it…ugh!

# 3

jurassic world poster

Finally, after 14 years of being closed, Jurassic Park reopens with the fourth film in the series called Jurassic World, and it was amazing and well worth the wait! The film is packed with the charm of the original series but also brings in a touch of horror to make the dinosaurs a little more scary. The plot has the park opening and becoming a huge attraction for families around the world to come and see living dinosaurs, but like all big business comes the want and need to bring in more visitors.  So in come genetic hybrid dinos, but they make a mistake with one that becomes the ultimate killing machine and worse it escapes and is on a killing warpath! Throw into the mix a park big wig and her nephews as well as a trainer who has bonded with a pack of raptors, and you have one fun rampage film! The film stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt and B.D. Wong, who fans of this series will know as Henry Wu. The film was a mega hit all over the world and brought in $651,519,326.00 for Universal at the U.S. Box Office, and by doing so, left itself open for many sequels in the coming years.

# 2

Star Wars The Force Awakens Poster

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box office records and washed the bitter taste of the prequels out of the mouths of fans with a solid and well done sequel directed by J.J Abrams, the man who also rebuilt the Star Trek movie franchise. The story has Luke Skywalker missing and in the shadow of the Empire arose The First Order who is also trying their best for galaxy domination! Scavenger Rey alongside one time stormtrooper Finn must deliver a droid called BB-8 to the rebels lead by Leia Organa and get help from some familiar faces, namely Han Solo and Chewbacca! Throw in a new sith named Kylo Ren and add in some drama, action and heartbreaking moments and you have one hell of a great space war movie! Plus the new characters of Rey and Finn are likeable and great additions to the Star Wars universe. I saw this in IMAX 3-D opening weekend, and the place was packed.  It was amazing seeing how many grown men and women cried during this movie and how many got swept up in nostalgia when the opening credits popped up or when Han and Chewie first appeared. The score was fantastic and done by John Williams once more, and I can’t stress how amazing after all these years it was for me to see iconic characters like Luke Skywalker, C3PO and R2D2 on the big screen again. The film is doing fantastic for Disney bringing in an amazing $629,034,583.00 as of the day this update went up just at the US Box Office! If you enjoy Star Wars movies, video games, comics, novels, cartoons or toys then check this out for sure as major things happen, some that just leave you stunned and heartbroken.  It’s worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray when released.

# 1

Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max Fury Road was one of the films that I was the most hyped for in 2015, and it lived up to everything I wanted and more! The film follows Max who is kidnapped by a group of wasteland warriors known as War Boys and is used as a human blood bag for their ill warriors. Furiosa is a driver for the War Boys and their leader Immortan Joe.  On a run to get gas, she steals some things that mean a lot to Joe, and he will do whatever it takes to get them back! Max ends up free and tags along for a wild and furious ride with Furiosa that pits them against Immortan Joe and his War Boys! This movie is filled with lots of amazing car action and lives up to what a Mad Max fan would want from a new film in the series. While I did miss Mel Gibson as Mad Max, Tom Hardy does a pretty good job filling his boots. Immortan Joe who is played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Toe Cutter in the first Mad Max film, is fantastic and is one screwed up false idol! The film is not so much about gas as it’s about the shortage of water and how one crazy person/company in the future could control it all…cough: Nestle. The film also stars Charlize Theron as Furiosa who has become a very popular character and is a cool strong female character. The film did okay at the U.S Box Office for Warner Brothers as it brought in $153,636,354.00. Here is hoping that this film did well enough to make another sequel as I am ready to travel in that wasteland again in my favorite local theater.

There were so many sci-fi and fantasy films this year and to boot, so many great ones! But sorry, Star Wars and Jurassic Park, while you both were great, you’re just no match for Mad Max on the Fury Road! Next up, we move to the topic of comic books as we once more were treated to many super hero films in 2015.  So grab your cape and let’s take a wild ride to see what hero took the # 1 spot for me!

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# 3

Fantastic Four Poster

Fantastic Four was another movie that suffered from being judged before it even hit theaters, all based on a poorly put together trailer and the fact they changed the Human Torch Johnny Storm’s race.  Like Pixels, I think people were way too hard on this movie. Now I must say that this film does have lots of flaws and at times it felt as if the actors had no real direction or motive to put in a powerful performance. The film’s plot has Reed Richards being offered college tuition as he has mastered sending objects to another realm and along with Victor Doom and brother and sister Sue and Johnny Storm, they make a machine to send humans to that dimension.  An accident leaves them all with super powers and turns them into freaks of nature, even his best friend Ben Grimm is suckered in to this mess and transformed. Reed gets the power to stretch his body, Sue can turn invisible and create forcefields, Johnny can turn into a walking talking fireball, Ben turns into a living rock creature and Doom becomes something more and builds a godlike complex that leave the four having to battle Doom in the other dimension to stop his takeover of Earth. The film is silly, and the characters at time seem lost or as if they are bored, but over all I had fun seeing it at the theater. The film did poorly for Fox and is considered one of the biggest bombs of the year as it only brought in $56,117.548.00 at the US Box Office on a budget of $120 million! Love it or hate it, the film entertained me so it did its job.

# 2

avengers age of ultron poster

The Avengers came swinging back into action in 2015 and was an entertaining summer popcorn film that combined two of my favorite things: movies and comics. Iron Man wants to save the world, and by accident, he creates a living robotic being named Ultron who wants to clean the world of humans and start over! Tensions mount as The Avengers are defeated for the first time by Ultron and his two new mutant helpers Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver! But in the end, the team comes back stronger than ever and gets the help of the twinsas well as a clone of Ultron named Vision who all soon learn Ultron is a menace.  Together they save the Earth and defeat the robot armageddon. The film was a lot of fun, but I didn’t feel as it was as strongly as the first film and some subplots seemed out of place and were too Wheadon “Buffy” for me as now Black Widow and Bruce Banner have a forbidden love..silly. With this said, I enjoyed this superhero mega budget action movie and am looking forward to Avengers 3! Avengers 2 did amazing for Disney bringing in a total of $459,005,868.00 at the US box office showing that these heroes still pack a punch for movie watchers.

# 1

Antman Poster

When I first heard they were making a movie based on Ant-Man, I chuckled and thought who is going to play Hank Pym! Then when I heard Hank Pym was being played my Michael Douglas and he was not the focus of being Ant-Man as that was going to Scott Lang played by Paul Rudd, I thought Marvel had lost their minds putting an actor who’s been in a bunch of cheesy comedies as the title hero. But when I saw the trailer, all those doubts flew out the window and I became even more hyped to see this film based on a B-grade Marvel Comic character. The plot has Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, having to trust a master cat burglar named Scott in order to stop his one time company from getting the shrinking human technology.  So Scott becomes Ant-Man, and along side Hank and his daughter Hope, must stop this from happening as well as defeat the sinister Yellowjacket! This film is not only a superhero one but also part heist with a dash of comedy. Paul Rudd surprised me and turned in a great performance, and everything from the acting to the soundtrack worked. In my opinion, hands down this was the best superhero film of the year! The film did well for Diseny at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $178,780,134.00 on a budget of $130 million and at the foreign Box Office add on another $275,900,000.00! Say what you will, but Ant-Man packed a big punch for movie fans.

Never in my life would I think a film about Ant-Man would beat out a film that had Captain America and Hulk in it.  Crazy, but it did and took my # 1 spot! Up next is my favorite genre of films and one I look most forward to writing about for this Best Of update, horror! Once more this year was filled with lots of ghost and possession films as Hollywood thinks that’s all we horror fans want to see at the theater, but I think they are starting to learn as many of these titles did good but not great at the box office. Give me Slashers and classic monsters back and keep the ghost films away for awhile.  I would like to see more Halloween, Friday The 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre films in the theaters. But let’s waste no more time and jump into my top 15 list of horror films I saw in the theater this year!

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# 15

The Boy Next Door Poster

Jennifer Lopez looks fantastic in this horror thriller that has her playing a single mom who is a high school teacher that is trying to move on past her ex-husband who is trying everything in his power to get her back! Her neighbor is a sick old man whose nephew has come to live with them after his parents died in an accident.  This young man befriends J-Lo’s son. After a bad date and a few glasses of wine, she is seduced by the young man next door and they have sex.  This starts her downward spiral as the young man is unstable and becomes so obsessed with her that it leads to possibilities of losing her job, her husband and possibly her life! This film was a fun cheesy thriller that has some moments of suspense and even violence that help it along to be entertaining.  While the plot is mostly predictable, it was still very much worth watching. I saw the film with Josh Weinberg, and he also thought the film was okay. The film at the US Box office has brought in $35,423,380.00 for Universal on a lower budget making it a good solid hit for them.

# 14

the lazarus effect poster

Is there a afterlife? And what if science could find away to bring you back after death? This is the plot for The Lazarus Effect. Zoe is the leader of a research team that includes her fiancee Frank.  They are being filmed by a student as they embark on using a serum they created to bring the dead back to life and have success in bringing back a dog. But things go wrong when the college pulls funding and their research becomes property of a major drug company! Zoe and her crew sneak into the lab for one last test, and an accident leaves Zoe dead and her team using the drug on her.  But when she comes back, something is different, and their beloved co-worker is now an evil killer who is out for blood and can’t get past the major sin of her past. The film was a fun watch, and on the day we saw it, Juliet and I were the only people in the theater watching. The film has some cool yet cliched spooky moments, and Olivia Wilde who plays Zoe does a great job of being the sweet doctor who turns into a black eyed demon.  But the film does have some major plot flaws and characters who make some of the dumbest decisions in any movie I have seen this year, with Frank being one of the most annoying characters I have seen in a long time who seems to be as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to the fact his mate is not his sweet girl anymore. The film was not a huge hit at the US Box Office but did well for Relativity bringing in $25,784,902.00.  While not a great film, it was worth watching for sure.

# 13

The Gallows Poster

The Gallows was one of those lower budget horror films that when I heard about it piqued my interest and was one that I wanted to see if it could be the next franchise in the genre.  Sadly, while I had a good time watching it in the theater, it was a letdown for the most part. When I saw the name New Line Cinema attached and the trailer dropped the names of Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees and compared them to this film’s villain, named Charlie, I thought for sure we would get a supernatural slasher film, but instead we got another Paranormal Activity clone with a killer that is hardly seen. The film is about a young man who is hanged by accident during a play in 1983, and in 2013, the school is trying the play again.  A group of teens get trapped in the school at night and are hunted down by the ghost of the dead actor who wears an executioner’s mask and carries a noose. The film is bloodless and is of the found footage nature, making for lots of moments of shaky camera work and jump scares but has no really bloody moments. The film’s main attraction for me was actress Pfeifer Brown, who plays the character Pfeifer, the queen of the drama department who was easy on the eyes, as well as the setting of an old creepy school at night which worked in spots. The film did okay for its low budget for New Line and brought in a total of $22,764,410.00 for them at the US Box Office. It could have been better and could have been worse.  This is a film I might watch one more time when it hits DVD to see if I missed anything that might have made this scary.

# 12

Unfriended Poster

Laura Barns was a girl in high school who was filmed passed out at a party after she had an “accident.”  Someone posted the video to Youtube, and so Laura’s harassment and bullying began, which leads to Laura killing herself. On the anniversary of her death, a group of friends meet up for a Skype chat that is hijacked by the account of the dead Laura wanting answers about who posted the video, and if it doesn’t get the real answers people begin to die! One by one the friends drop off but not before each person’s dirty little secrets are shared.  In the end does the spirit of Laura get the answers she seeks? Check out this horror film that takes place almost solely from the view of a computer screen.  While silly in parts, it at least tries to have a message about thinking before you put something on the world wide web that could be hurtful to others. The film’s murders are a little cheesy and amateurish, but they at least get an A for effort in having the guts to murder someone with a curling iron. The only major downside to the film is the ending that felt tacked on and takes away from a more powerful ending that it could have had by having one of the characters have to live with her mistake and secrets out in the world, but instead they went the route of spooky ghost coming to get you. The film made some money for Universal bringing in a total of $32,482,090.00 at the US Box Office. While not a fantastic horror film by any means, I still was entertained by this modern digital way to showcase horror by adding in social media and the cruel nature of high school drama.

# 11

poltergeist poster

This is one of those cases when you look at a film that been remade by Hollywood and ask yourself why would they do that? The original Poltergeist is a perfect rated-PG horror film that scared kids and parents alike and was a team up between Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg that was just a good scary flick. Sam Raimi and his Ghost House Pictures decided that they needed to remake it, and while they believed in their remake, moviegoers didn’t as the film performed very poorly at the theater. The film follows the Bowen family who are down on their luck and must move into a house in a not so nice neighborhood that seems to have some odd issues with the lighting and static electricity. After they learn that the house was built on top of a graveyard, their young daughter Maddy is taken away by spirits, and the family along with paranormal investigators must find a way to save her before it’s too late! The film adds some changes that help make it different from the original, and by all accounts Raimi should have made a sequel and not a remake.  Over all it was okay and was a nice summer popcorn film. The film only brought in $47,425,125.00 for MGM and shows that maybe movie goers are getting tired of remakes of classic horror films. I should also note that I am not a fan of kid actors, but the ones in this film do a good job!

# 10

The Green Inferno Poster

The Cannibal gerne was alive and well in 2015 thanks to Eli Roth, the director of Hostel and Cabin Fever. The film follows Justine, a young college girl who gets wrapped up in helping an activism group try and stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.  After they help slow it down, their small plane crashes and they become captives of a tribe of cannibals who kill not only to eat but also for ritual. Justine must muster up the inner strength to make it out alive.  This really gives a new meaning to who will survive and what will be left of them! The film is brutal, but not as brutal as one would think of when watching a cannibal film of the 70’s as only one scene really pushes the envelope on the splatter. Lorenza Izzo plays Justine and is fantastic as she is likeable and you find that you don’t want her to end up as dinner for the tribe. The film was supposed to be released last year but was pushed to this year and made High Top Releasing $7,105,595.00 on a $5 million dollar budget in the US.  So while this leaves itself open for a sequel, it was by no means a hit at the box office.

# 9

krampus poster

The Engel family have gathered for Christmas but when young Max looses faith in Santa Claus, he unleashes the sinister Krampus and his helpers who are out to ruin his Christmas or is that save it? One by one Max watches as his family disapear by the hands of Krampus and his minions.  As they fight back, the odds seem grim.  Can Max take back his Christmas and save his family…watch and find out! This film is one part horror and one part comedy and is brought to you by Michael Dougherty, who also did the holiday themed film “Trick r Treat” and made for a fun watch in early December when it was released in theaters. The film had a good atmosphere as the family is stuck at home with their neighborhood deserted during a freak snow storm with no power and no cellphone reception, and one pissed off shadow of Santa Claus looking for some new souls to take! The creature effects are pretty cool with twisted elves wearing human masks being the most freaky and killer gingerbread men being the silliest and dumbest.  Over all the film was okay and nothing too special. I found other Christmas themed horror films like the original Black Christmas and Silent Night Deadly Night to be way better to chill the holiday season. The film did okay for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in this far $41,333,325.00. If you like Christmas themed horror films or are looking for a fun watch, check it out.

# 8

goosebumps poster

Goosebumps was a popular book series and TV show when I was a youngster, and it’s still popular with today’s youth.  When I heard a film was being made I was pretty hyped, but when I heard Jack Black was in it playing the series creator R.L. Stine, I lost some steam on wanting to see it. But all that changed when I saw the first trailer and all the classic Goosebump monsters on the prowl – I was sold on the idea of seeing it! The film follows a young man who is new in town and in next door to a strange man and his daughter.  You soon find out the man is R.L Stine and that when one of his Goosebumps manuscripts is opened, it frees the monster from within its pages.  Worse, the books are in the hands of that evil ventriloquist dummy Slappy all thanks to the young man accidentally opened one and caused a panic. Can R.L. and the teens stop this monster invasion of their town or will they end up being the monster capital of the world! This is “The Monster Squad” for this generation and was lots of fun, even for me at the age of 36.  It’s well worth seeing in the theater and was a nice change of pace to see a family friendly horror film in the theater! The film made $78,121,323.00 at the US Box Office for Sony, making it not as big of a hit as they were hoping but still one heck of a fun watch for those who wanted to see zombies, a yeti, a werewolf, gnomes and so many others ghouls and monsters at their local theaters.

# 7

Crimson Peak Poster

Edith Cushing is the daughter of a wealthy New York businessman who can see the souls of the dead.  As a child she gets a visit from her mother, who had passed away, warning her to stay away from Crimson Peak. Grown up and after the death of her father, Edith moves away to England with Sir Thomas and his sister Lucille and soon finds that their crumbling mansion is filled with not just red clay but also ghosts, all disfigured and haunting.  Once Edith figures out she is at Crimson Peak, can she not only survive but also solve the mystery of this dreaded family and their home? This film is a gothic romantic horror film that embraces the ghost genre but also tries to add its own charm and atmosphere the way only director Guillermo del Toro can. The film has lots of twists and some surprises that sadly I could see coming 5 miles away.  While this did make the movie slightly less enjoyable for me, it did not take me out of it and I will not spoil the surprises and twists for you here. What kept this movie entertaining for me was not only the set designs and the gruesome ghost effects, but the acting that was top notch with Mia Wasikowska who played Edith being the stand out.  She is fantastic, and I found myself cheering for her to escape Crimson Peak! The film was not a US Box Office winner, only bringing in $31,090,320.00 for Universal on a $55 million dollar budget. While this is not del Toro’s best horror film, it was at least entertaining and had some great moments mixed in with the predictable ones.  It’s worth checking out if you like gothic horror.

# 6

insidious chapter 3 poster

Insidious Chapter 3 is not so much a sequel as it’s a prequel to this new popular horror series. Quinn is a young woman who lost her mother to cancer and wants to have one last chat with her.  She goes to talk to a retired Elise, a former medium who had to give it up after her husband died and an evil spirt tries to attack her whenever she now does a reading.  Her mistake is that she tries to do one for Quinn and by doing so, has a spirit called The Man Who Can Not Breath (an old looking ghost with a oxygen mask on) start to follow Quinn! A bad accident happens that leaves Quinn in a wheel chair with broken bones and even had her flatline in the hospital.  The spirit claims half of her soul when this happens, and it’s up to Elise and Quinn’s father to save her from its evil grips! The film once more is filled with pop up frights as well as a cameo from the series original evil ghost The Black Bride, and adds more to this series back story and shows that while a horror film is slow, it can still back many good scares as Juliet, who I saw this with, jumped out of her seat many times! The film did okay at the U.S Box Office for Focus Features, bringing in a total of $52,218,558.00. The film ends with a possibility of an Insidious Chapter 4, and it will be interesting to see what they did with the new spirit thats introduced at the end.

# 5

The Woman In Black 2 Poster

Hammer Horror has cranking out films about ghosts and possession since their comeback and don’t skip a beat with this sequel to The Woman In Black. The film takes place in England during World War II and follows a group of children and their teachers leaving the city for the safety of the country.  One little boy is targeted by the spirit of a vengeful mother who is The Woman in Black, and she wants him to die like her child did so many years back. It’s up to one brave school teacher and an air force pilot to save the child and find out the secret of this evil spirit. The film has some great atmosphere with the old house and ocean scenery and a chilling soundtrack but is plagued with cheap loud jump scares and a predictable story. Over all The Woman In Black 2 is a fun PG-13 rated horror film that was a nice way to kick off the horror films of 2015 as it was the first to be released to theaters. The film brought in $26,501,323.00 for Relativity and sadly was not a big money maker, but will hopefully do so on home media and digital.

# 4

The Visit Poster

Paula has been at odds with her parents for years after a big blow up causing them never to meet their grandchildren until one weekend that has Rebecca and Tyler meeting them and staying with them after a train ride. Rebecca brings along some cameras and wants to make a documentary for her mother about the trip, but what seems like a fun time with the grandparents turns into a bizarre creepy one as they act odd, complete with good old Grandma running around the house like a wild woman late at nights! This film has a twist ending like all M. Night Shyamalan films, and this one works better than most. The film is not a blood bath and has none of the red stuff flowing.  What it does pack is spooky elements and creepy old people doing odd things that makes you as the viewer uneasy. I don’t want to spoil the ending and twist so I will just say check it out on DVD or Blu-Ray and have a creepy good time with a film set out in the middle of nowhere! The film did okay for Universal and brought in $63,882.720.00 at the US Box Office on a small $5 million dollar budget! Check it out if you want to see a cool film with great atmosphere.

# 3

Victor Frankenstein Poster

Victor Frankenstein suffered from bad marketing and a trailer that made it look more like a dark comedy than a sci-fi, horror drama film that it really is. The film follows Victor Frankenstein and his assistant who he names Igor after rescuing him from a life of being a hunched back clown for the circus and their scientific journey into creating life! The pair build a primate creature, and this leads to the main goal of bringing a man back to life.  Along the journey Igor wins the heart of his dream girl and the pair do business with a rich cut throat scientist and must dodge a police officer who is obsessed with stopping them from messing with God’s nature. This was a fun classic monster film that showed that done right the classics will never go out of style…well at least for fans of the classic monsters. The acting is well done with James McAvoy playing Victor and Daniel Radcliffe playing Igor.  The pair blend the horror, sci-fi, comedy and drama elements perfectly together, and they make the characters seem like legit friends. The moving going public once more did not come out and support this film making it a bomb for Fox and bringing in a very small $5,747,301.00 in at the US Box Office, showing that Americans would rather spend their money at the theater seeing Kevin Hart or Melissa McCarthy play the same roles over and over again. The Frankenstein Monster shows up at the end of the film and is a pretty cool design and the action that takes place in the final battle is pretty fun and packed with fantasy epic moments. Do yourself a favor, and check this film out when it comes to DVD and Blu-Ray.

# 2

Sinister 2 Poster

Sinister II is yet another film this year that I feel was unfairly judged by critics and fans that caused it to strike out at the box office when it was a solid follow up to the original that was packed with creepy moments and some brutal deaths. The film follows Courtney Collins and her two sons Dylan and Zach who live in a old farmhouse hiding out from their father who is abusive.  Meanwhile Deputy So & So is on the hunt to figure out who has been killing families that leaves one child always missing. But we all know that Mr. Boogie and his ghost kids are to blame, and when one of the kids is targeted to watch 8mm films of brutal deaths the cycle continues! This film was lots of fun and have some really disturbing deaths as well as some jump scare moments, I for one really like the Mr. Boogie character and would like to see a part 3 sometime in the future. This film does not just rely on gruesome deaths to chill the bones of the viewer it also uses lots of cult and paranormal elements to add more shivers. The film has some great surprises and elements that are sure to shock and scare. The film didn’t do that well at the US Box Office for Focus Features only bringing in $27, 714,992.00, sadly not sure if this will ger a sequel but here is hopping it does as it was the closest thing I got to a Slasher film this year overrun by films about ghosts and possessions.

# 1

IT Follows Poster

It Follows is one of those independent horror films that shakes up the world of horror and shows that not every film this generation needs to be a ghost or possession story. The film is about Jay, a college co-ed who goes on a date with a young man.  After they make love, he knocks her out and when she awakens, she is tied up and he tells her that she will now be followed by It, a shapeshifting walking thing that if she is touched by she will die! The only way to save yourself is to sleep with someone else and pass it along. The film follows Jay as she comes to terms with a thing that follows that her friends cannot see, just so desperately want to help defeat. The movie is filled with surprises and twists that will sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. I saw this film at the Regal Cinema in Beavercreek with Jeremy Hoyt, and we both agreed that this was a top notch thriller with an original and entertaining plot and is worth watching for sure. While this was a hit at filmm festivals and art house theaters when it opened wide, it brought in only $14,674,076.00 in the US for Radius, and thats a shame as I would have hoped horror fans would have went to the theater and supported this great film.

It was a great year for movies at the cinema, and it was made better by all my friends and family that came with me to the theater. It was amazing seeing sequels to films like Star Wars, Mad Max, Terimator, Rocky, Jurassic Park, Sinister and others that didn’t take the cheesy remake or reboot route. The Horror Films of the year did a pretty good job of scaring viewers when they were suppose to. This year is also filled wall to wall with great films and will be another year of films that will make me nerd out! So up next we are going to take a look at the mini comic based on the Atari 2600 game called YARS’ REVENGE so all you old school gamers and comic readers make sure to come back for that one! In the comments below make sure to let me know what you favorite film of 2015 was as I would love to see what you my friends and readers are enjoying these days. So until then watch a movie or two and support your local movie theater.

Yars Reveng top of game logo

DC At The Movies: Superman (The Christmas Eve Special)

Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas to all my friends, family and readers on this special Christmas Eve update to Rotten Ink. I hope on this day you are surrounded by loved ones and sharing good stories and memories with one another. Last year for Christmas Eve I took a look at DC Comics movie adaptations of the early Batman films, and this year I have chosen to cover the one and only Man of Steel, Superman, and the films from the Christopher Reeves years and those that followed and were inspired by it. So pull up a comfy chair near your heater or fireplace and pour yourself a glass of eggnog or your favorite choice of holiday drink, and let’s take a fly around the world of Superman as we enter DC At The Movies: Superman!

Superman The Movie Logo

Before Batman in the late 80’s and Marvel’s The Avengers were the top notch comic book movies in the world, Warner Brothers had Superman a series of films that made kids and the young at heart super hyped to visit their local cinema and watch the adventures of Superman on the silver screen. Superman was no stranger to being the world’s most popular comic book hero as before the 1978 film, he had already taken over the world of comics with Action Comics as well as had a very popular radio drama and TV show called The Adventures Of Superman along with many other forms of media like cartoons and movie serials. But in ’78, he took over the world of movies and held the top spot until 1989 when Tim Burton’s Batman took the mantel away. I sadly was not born when Superman: The Movie came to theaters and was only a tiny baby in 1981 when Superman II was released, but I do remember the hype for Superman IV: The Quest For Peace as my brother Bryan and I wanted to rush to a theater and watch it in 1987.  For some reason I want to say we did go and see it at Beaver Valley Cinemas and when asking my Mom, Dad and brother, they said that they think a family member took us to see it and our main guess was my Aunt and Uncle, Laverne and George. Christopher Reeve to me was the perfect Superman and Clark Kent, as he was able to balance the boy scout do-gooder aspect of Superman and the goofy, nerd aspect of Kent.  To this day, I feel no actors before or after him have 100% captured the character like he did. I was so sad when in 1995 Reeve had a terrible accident while riding his horse that left him paralyzed.  His condition later lead to his death at the age of 52 in 2004. I can remember watching these films many times when they aired on TV and buying them on VHS and enjoying every cheesy moment of them.  When Reeve passed away, it looked as if the Superman series was over with, that is until Bryan Singer, who made the X-Men movies, decided to make a sequel to the first two Superman films and cut out parts 3 and 4.  The film was Superman Returns and cast Brandon Routh as The Man of Steel.  It had charm but was not in the league of the originals. But before I ramble on and decide to give you a full rundown and review of each of these films, I should instead give you all a quick rundown of the films’ plots as well as who played Superman, the films’ main bad guy as well as the lead actress. I took these write ups from our good friends at IMDB as I would have been too long winded. So enjoy this quick rundown, and I hope this triggers good memories of watching these films.

Superman The Movie 1Superman The Movie PosterSuperman The Movie 2

Superman (1978)

Unable to convince the ruling council of Krypton that their world will destroy itself soon, scientist Jor-El takes drastic measures to preserve the Kryptonian race: He sends his infant son Kal-El to Earth. There, gaining great powers under Earth’s yellow sun, he will become a champion of truth and justice. Raised by the Kents, an elderly farm couple, Clark Kent learns that his abilities must be used for good. The adult Clark travels to Metropolis, where he becomes a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet…and a caped wonder whose amazing feats stun the city: Superman! Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, the world’s greatest criminal mind, is plotting the greatest real estate swindle of all time. Can’t even the Man of Steel stop this nefarious scheme?

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

Superman II 1Superman II PosterSuperman II 2

Superman II (1981)

Picking up where “Superman: The Movie” left off, three criminals from the planet Krypton are released from the Phantom Zone by a nuclear explosion in space. They descend upon Earth where they could finally rule. Superman, meanwhile, is in love with Lois Lane, who finds out who he really is. Lex Luthor escapes from prison and is determined to destroy Superman by joining forces with the three criminals.

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

General Zod – Terence Stamp

Superman III 1Superman III POSTERSuperman III 2

Superman III (1983)

Wealthy businessman Ross Webster discovers the hidden talents of Gus Gorman, a mischievous computer genius. Ross decides to abuse his talents, in a way to help Webster with his plans for economic control. When the man of steel interferes, something must be done about Supes. When Gus’ synthetic Kryptonite fails to kill Superman, it turns him in an evil incarnation of his former self. The tar-laced Kryptonite pits man against himself, setting up the Clark vs. Superman battle.

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Ross Webster – Robert Vaughn

Superman IV 1Superman IV PosterSuperman IV 2

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)

Superman does a lot in his newest adventure. Archvillain Lex Luthor, determined to make the world safe for nuclear arms merchants, creates a new being to challenge the Man of Steel: the radiation-charged Nuclear Man. The two super-powered foes clash in an explosive screen extranvaganza that sees Superman save the Statue of Liberty, repulse a volcanic eruption of Mount Etna, rebuild the demolished Great Wall of China and perform many more spetactular feats.

Superman – Christopher Reeves

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

Nuclear Man – Mark Pillow

Superman Returns 1Superman Returns PosterSuperman Returns 2

Superman Returns (2006)

Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth in the epic action-adventure Superman Returns, a soaring new chapter in the saga of one of the world’s most beloved superheroes. While an old enemy plots to render him powerless once and for all, Superman faces the heartbreaking realization that the woman he loves, Lois Lane, has moved on with her life. Or has she? Superman’s bittersweet return challenges him to bridge the distance between them while finding a place in a society that has learned to survive without him. In an attempt to protect the world he loves from cataclysmic destruction, Superman embarks on an epic journey of redemption that takes him from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space.

Superman – Brandon Routh

Lex Luther – Kevin Spacey

The first Superman film was directed by Richard Donner, who did a fantastic job of showing the character’s origin story as well as balanced between Clark Kent and Superman. The second film was directed by Richard Lester as well as in parts Richard Donner, who was replaced by Lester after Donner had some bad blood with the film’s producers, but the film did add General Zob and his followers who had the same power as Superman making the threat more real for the man of steel. The third film was directed by just Richard Lester and took a more comedic turn even casting Richard Pryor as a lead for comedic relief.  This was the first film not to have Lex Luther in it. Superman IV was directed by Sidney J. Furie and has Superman trying to get the world to get along. Superman was the # 2 movie in 1978 bringing in $134,218,018.00 and beat out such films as Animal House, Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, Jaws 2, Revenge of the Pink Panther and Deer Hunter. Superman II in 1981 was # 3 and brought in a total of $108,185,706.00 and beat out such films as Stripes, Clash of the Titans, An American Werewolf In London, The Great Muppet Caper, Halloween II, The Howling, Friday The 13th Part II and Tarzan The Ape Man. In 1983 Superman III was # 12 and brought in $59,950,623.00 and bested films like Jaws 3-D, Scarface, Psycho II, Never Say Never Again, The Outsiders, Krull and Strange Brew. Superman IV in 1987 did not do well and brought in $15,681,020.00 and was # 69 but did beat out such films as Hellraiser, Creepshow 2, House II, Teen Wolf Too, Death Wish 4, Evil Dead 2 and Chipmunk Adventure. Superman Returns in 2006 was # 6 and brought in $200,081,192.00 and pulled ahead of such flicks as Casino Royale, Borat, Saw III, Rocky Balboa, Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Beginning and Pans Labyrinth. So as you can see, the original Superman series had many ups and downs, but as I stated before, they were the original superhero films that made kids and the young at heart hyped to watch at their local theater. Now we should briefly talk about the ladies of Superman, and the lovely actresses who played them.  The most popular and the one who was in a total of 4 of the films is Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane and was not only a tough, smart and independent woman who was the Dailey Planet’s top reporter but was also a cute as a button! She is Superman’s love interest in two of the films, and he spends so much time saving her from dangers and battling his own judgement of telling her he is also Clark Kent. In Superman II, while Lois Lane was his main love interest, Sarah Douglas played Ursa, the goth looking tough woman who is part of General Zod’s trio of super villains.  While good looking, she does have a goddess complex as she looks down on normal man! In Superman III, Annette O’Toole plays Lana Lang, a small town girl who went to school with Clark Kent who he had a crush on.  She is a single mother, has a sweet heart and is amazingly good looking. Superman IV has Mariel Hemingway playing Lacy Warfield, the daughter of a mogul who buys the Daily Planet.  She is a nice woman who wants to do real journalism and has a crush on Clark. Kate Bosworth plays Lois Lane in Superman Returns, and the character is now a mom and is still strong minded and looks great but somehow got younger looking…odd. If I was Superman/Clark Kent and I had to date one of these women, I would choose Lana Lane hands down.  Not only is she beautiful, but she is also a kind and loving person. But all of these women are fine choices and all of them have their pluses to why they would be dateable.

margot kidder Superman The MovieUrsa_supermanannetteotoole2Lacy_Warfieldsuperman-returns-20060428000200918

The Superman films also sparked a tie-in film called Supergirl in 1984 and had Helen Slater play the title part, the cousin of Superman. The film’s plot is this (from IMDB): “After a power source for the community of Krypton survivors is accidentally whisked to earth, Kara-El, cousin to Superman and niece to Jor-El, chooses to go to earth to find it, and bring it back. Upon her arrival, she becomes just a powerful and Super as her cousin, but encounters dangerous battles and unexpected obstacles when a mean spirited woman who practices rituals of the occult takes the power source for herself, and uses it to cause destruction and attempt zenith human status..”  Although this was to be a new blockbuster franchise, it fizzled at the US Box Office, only bringing in $14,296,438.00, placing it at # 66 of the year. It did however beat out such films as Ice Pirates, The Evil That Men Do, Terror In The Aisles and Cloak And Dagger. 1997 saw the release of Steel, based around the character who was a major part of the aftermath of the Death of Superman storyline that was rocking the comic book world.  The main character Steel was played by NBA player Shaq and had this as its plot: “John Henry Irons designs weapons for the military. When his project to create weapons that harmlessly neutralize soldiers is sabotaged, he leaves in disgust. When he sees gangs are using his weapons on the street, he uses his brains and his Uncle Joe’s junkyard know-how to fight back, becoming a real man of “steel.”  The film was a total bomb at the box office, bringing in a total of $1,710,972.00 in the US making for the lowest money maker for the Superman series of films. Steel was # 178 for the year and beat out the likes of Kiss Or Kill, The Van and The Winter Guest. But I should also mention the first official Superman film was 1951’s Superman And The Mole-Men starring George Reeves as Superman who was also the man who played him on the hit TV Show The Adventures Of Superman. Say what you will, but even with two poorly received spin offs, Superman and his friends at least did what they could to entertain us at the movies.

Superman mole men PosterSUPERGIRL postersteel poster

Now before we go on, I know may of you readers are waiting to see if I mention the Superman film that was being worked on by Tim Burton and would have had Nicolas Cage playing Superman.  To answer your questions, of course I am going to cover it, but also some of the other Superman films that never came to light. “Superman V” or also called “Superman: The New Movie” was being developed by Cannon Films before Superman IV was even out in theaters and would have had Superman dying and coming back to life in a shrunken city called Kandor that was original on his home planet of Krypton.  The film was to be directed by Albert Pyun, who was the director of such films as Alien From L.A., Cyborg and Captain America and Christopher Reeve was slated to play Superman once more. But when Superman IV was not a super hit and Cannon Films went bankrupt, the plan for this film disappeared and was never meant to be, but as many people point out, this would have had the death and rebirth of Superman way before the comics did it. In early 1993 Warner Brothers wanted to cash in on the Death of Superman comic craze and came up with a film called “Superman Reborn,” a hip take on the character that would please the MTV Generation and would make great action figures for toy companies. The original idea was to have Superman die at the hands of Doomsday, but before Sups passed on he would have his life force go into Lois Lane and make her pregnant with a baby that would be the reborn him…yep….the second idea had Brainiac teaming up with Doomsday, Silver Banshee and Parasite to kill Superman who would later come back to be reborn. This film did not come about when Kevin Smith was hired to rewrite some of it, but he decided the film was too campy and he had ideas of his own. This lead to “Superman Lives,” a film that would have had Superman dying, a giant Spider and even Brainiac fighting polar bears! The film would have had Superman dying by the hands of Doomsday who was sent by Brainiac and Lex Luther, and Superman when coming back alive must find a way to over through his enemies. The film was offered to Robert Rodriguez, but he had to decline and the directing seat went to Tim Burton and the role of Superman went to Nicolas Cage, even though Smith wanted to hire his friend Ben Affleck. Burton, before filming, would bring in his own guys and would rewrite Smith’s script.  This was the beginning of the end as many actors were attached for roles and all of them came and went.  The film died when Burton left the film as well saying he wasted a year of his life working on it. Other would-be films came after like Batman vs. Superman, a movie that would have had Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent down on their luck and being set up to fight each other thanks to The Joker and Lex Luther as well as an origin film called Superman: Flyby! One things for sure, while none of these films made it to the big screen, I am sure some of the films that have been made in recent years have taken bits and pieces from these scrips. Below is Nicolas Cage in a version of the Superman suit, and I can 100% say that I wish this film would have been made as well as Superman V.

Nick Cage as Superman

Some of the best merchandise to come out of the Superman Movies has to be the doll action figures made by MEGO as well as MEGO’s 3 3/4” Pocket Hero figure line. Growing up, I sadly never had any of these figures as they were out of stores way before I was old enough to play with action figures, and when we found them at garage sales they were always way over priced for our Mom to buy us one. My brother Bryan, on the other hand, did have a Superman one that was his favorite toy for awhile.  He even swung it around a string once when he was a kid at my grandparents house and lost it on top of their roof! By the time he got the figure back, it was dirty and gross as it sat up there for awhile.  When they finally got it down, the figure was thrown away. Don’t be too sad for him, he got another many, many years later and it sits in his hallway in his house. When I was in my mid-twenties, I was able to track down and get a full set of the Pocket Hero Superman figuresm and I must say I really wished I had them when I was young as Zod would have made a perfect ally for Darth Vader in my Toy Wars!

Mego Superman Dolls

Collector drinking glasses were super popular for fast food joints and gas stations to give away or sell dirt cheap in the 60’s-80’s, and Taco Bell and Pepsi did just that with very cool Superman glasses in 1979! The series had six different glasses, and if you bought a medium soda and payed .69, you could get one with your meal, a very cool way to get customers into your restaurant to buy food as well as give them something to take home that they drink out of and will remind them of your food. While we never had one of these glasses, we did have a Pepsi Superman glass from the comic books that had him busting out of chains, and it was one of my favorite glasses to drink chocolate milk out of. Over the years I have seen these Taco Bell/Pepsi Superman glasses at Antique Stores and Flea markets, and they are on my list of glasses to get for my apartment. I wonder if Christopher Reeve ever drank tea or lemonade from a Superman glass?

Taco Bell Superman Glass 1Taco Bell Superman GlassTaco Bell Superman Glass 2

Another popular part of merchandising back in the day besides toys and glasses were trading cards.  Topps was the king company who not only made cards on sports but also movies and TV shows, and of course they made some for Superman 1-3! Besides the base card set, each series had a sticker set, and each pack came with a stick of bubble gum. Growing up, I did have lots of these trading cards for all these films as I was a trading card fiend and would buy all that I could new from places like UDF and would buy bags full from garage sales. One thing I should say also is that at Game Swap Kettering this year someone traded in a complete set of Superman: The Movie trading cards as well with the stickers and even a unopened pack.  It was lots of fun to flip through the base card set as each were so vintage and cool.  It makes me miss the days of classic Topps Trading cards as lots has changed in that world that includes not only the price per pack but also the quality of the cards themselves. But as always you can’t stop change, and those who collect cards I am sure have at least one of these films in their collection.

Topps Superman And Superman II Wax PacksTopps Superman III Wax Pack

I was going to cut this from my update as I didn’t have that much to say about it, but I think those who had one or wanted one would like to take a trip down memory lane so here it goes. Iron on T-shirts were super popular for some reason back in the day, and I can always remember hating them as the image on the shirt after a few washes would crack and peel away leaving the shirt looking like a mess, something even as a youngster I would not wear out in public. But for those who remember these, Superman II had an iron on transfer shirt that I am sure brought joy and happiness to those who had it.  I’m not sure if the terrible lack of quality these style shirts had makes any of my readers mad like it did me but for those things ruined my childhood by ruining my Skeletor and Star Wars shirts!

Superman II Iron On Transfer

While I was working on this update I was listening to the Superman: The Movie and Supergirl soundtracks and enjoying the epic nature of these themes as I remember my childhood of watching these films and reading Superman comics. The first film’s score was done by John Williams, and his theme is so iconic that whenever people think of Superman, that theme comes to mind.  Believe me, it was a great score to have playing in the background while I read the comics. Ken Thorne did the score for Superman II and is great just as the original and captures the vibe of the film and the mood of the John Williams score that came before it. Ken returned to score Part III and once more did a great job of capturing the action and comedy moments with his music. Superman IV’s score was done by Alexander Courage and is good, while not as iconic as the scores that came before it, this score still helped add to the film’s over all vibe. Superman Returns’ score was done by John Ottman and is a solid piece of work and was fitting for the film. For those wondering, Supergirl’s score was done by Jerry Goldsmith, Steel’s was done by Mervyn Warren and 2013’s Man of Steel’s was done by Hans Zimmer. While all have their own great tracks, I would say that if you’re a music score fan like me, I would suggest buying the John Williams score for Superman: The Movie on CD, cassette or vinyl and give it a listen some late evening, and yes, I play some of these scores on Alpha Rythems.

Superman The Movie SoundtrackSuperman II SoundtrackSuperman III Soundtrack

While no direct video game has been made around the Christopher Reeve Superman films, one was made for Superman Returns that was on Playstation 2 and Xbox 360. The one I remember is Superman for the Atari 2600, where you play Superman and must rebuild a bridge that Lex Luther blew up and all this is timed! Superman also had a game for Commodore 64 made by First Star and an arcade game made by Taito that I can remember playing at a video store that had the machine.  Years later, that same machine is now at Game Swap in Kettering ready to be played by shoppers! One game for Nintendo was released by Seika and was a game that not only made The Angry Video Game Nerd mad but me as well as the game was terrible and treated Superman like a bigheaded small weakling. Sega Genesis had Superman, a game released by Sunsoft, that was a side scrolling cheesy action game that was one of the first games I ever bought for our Genesis as I used by birthday money to buy it. This is just a drop in the hat on video games that are about or even star Superman.  A big rumor going around is that Rocksteady and WB Games, the same team who brought us the Batman Arkham games, are working on a new Superman game that will be out for PS4 and Xbox One.  So here is hoping that these rumors are true. If you’re a gamer and you can’t sleep this Christmas Eve night, maybe pick up a controller and play a Superman game while you wait for Santa.

Superman Atari 2600Superman C64Superman NESSuperman Genesis

So I think at this point in the update we are ready to take a look at the DC Comic adaptations of the Superman films.  For some reason DC Comics were late to the game and did not do adaptations for Superman: The Movie or Superman II, but they started at Superman III so that is where we will starts as well. Well maybe for fun I will throw in the Treasury Editions that breakdown the first two Superman movies! I want to thanks Game Swap Kettering, Lone Star Comics, Mavericks and Ebay for having these issues in stock and while you turn up the heater or throw another log on the fire, I want to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I must say that just like last year’s Batman update I am really looking forward to reading these adaptations of Superman films and hope that like the Batman issues they do the films they are taken from justice.  So let’s look to the night sky and look for Santa..I mean Superman!

Superman The Movie Comic

Superman The Movie # 0  ***
Released in 1979    Cover Price $2.50    DC Comics    # 0 of 0

This book adds more to your Superman The Movie experience as it acts as a way to show the connections and differences between the movie and comics. It breaks down Krypton and Smallville, shows the layout of the Fortress of Solitude and speaks of the wonders of the Daily Planet and it’s workers. It also tells about Superman, Lex Luther and his fellow team of evil doers. One amazing thing is, it does a great job of showing the characters in the comic and how they look in the movies.  For some they did a fantastic job, while others they were close but not on the dot. It also gives you some history on much of the crew and makers of this film like the producer, director, costume and production designer and John Williams, the composer of the film’s soundtrack. It shares information on actors from the film from Christopher Reeve to Gene Hackman and in-between and shows some behind the scenes looks into how they made a scene. One cool thing is that they also show the two young kids who won DC Comics contest to get a cameo in the film and shows who they played. While most of this information could be looked up much quicker on the internet than fumbling through this over sized book, I still found this a fun read on a chilly night to spark the nostalgia of the film series in me.

Superman II Comic

Superman II # 0 **1/2
Released in 1981    Cover Price $2.95    DC Comics    # 0 of 0

This oversized Treasury Comic breaks down the film Superman II with a look at the actors, sets, characters and even filming elements like the films fight scenes! It covers lots of great stuff and even contains some amazing pictures of actress Sarah Douglas looking pretty hot in low cut shirts. It’s much like the first Superman: The Movie breakdown and really while entertaining, just makes you wish these were comic adaptations of the films instead of oversized magazines. So let’s move onto the real highlight of this update the DC Comics based on the rest of the Superman films.

Superman III Comic 1

Superman III # 1  **1/2
Released in 1983    Cover Price $1.00    DC Comics    #1 of 1

August “Gus” Gorman is a man down on his luck who has been on unemployment for over 36 weeks and might have found his break on the back of a pack of matches that leads him to become a computer programer for Archibald Data Processing and he does things that even his instructor never knew a computer could do! At the Dailey Planet editor Perry White lets Lois Lane take a vacation to Bermuda, Clark Kent go back to Smallville for his high school reunion and Jimmy Olsen go along to snap photos, but during the trip back home Clark must turn into Superman as a chemical plant has caught on fire and it houses the most dangerous acid in the world that could kill many if it gets too heated up! As Superman saves the lives of workers, he also must save Jimmy Olsen who breaks his leg trying to snap pictures and uses a nearby lake to put out the fire and save the day. With Jimmy Olsen having to go back to Metropolis, Clark goes to his reunion and runs back into Lana Lang, his crush who is now divorced and has a young son Ricky.  Lana is trying to dodge Brad, a drunk one time jock who is the jerk of town who wants to win her heart. Ross Webster has lost $85,000.00 from his company Webco Industries as someone embezzled it, and he know its Gorman, who he ropes into helping him take control of a satellite that can control the weather so that he can ruin all of Columbia’s coffee beans and can be the king of coffee. Meanwhile Clark in Smallville is becoming close to Lana and her son Ricky and must turn into Superman and save Ricky’s life after an accident in a field almost leaves him plant food! Gorman gets the satellite to work as bad weather unleashes itself on Columbia but is stopped by Superman who know becomes the target of Ross and his sister Vera and his girlfriend Lorelei who want to build a piece of kryptonite to use against and kill Superman! But they make a mistake, and the kryptonite does not kill Superman but turns him bad.  As the Man of Steel does evil things, Ross and Gorman set their sights on building a super computer and taking over the oil industry. Lana and Ricky move to Metropolis and find the Evil Superman.  The boy’s kind words leads to an inner fight and turns Superman good again.  He fixes all his wrongs and goes after Russ and his goon squad who have built the super computer and use it to fight The Man Of Steel! Gorman realizes that the computer is evil and tries to save Superman, but the computer is now working for itself and even turns Vera into a robotic droid of destruction! In the end, Superman uses the acid from the chemical lab and destroys the computer and takes Gorman to safety and lets the cops deal with Ross, Vera and Lorelei.

This comic adaptation is pretty dang good, but the odd thing is it takes lots of the film’s comedy aspects away.  While it’s still very light hearted, it’s by no means as goofy as the film. The plot has Superman going back to his hometown of Smallville, falling in love with his crush and trying to find a way to get her to move to Metropolis, all the while a con man named Gus is working for a big business man who wants to rule the world.  Superman must find away to stop them and their scary giant computer. The first thing that I noticed is that the comic has lots of changes like Lana in the end does not get a job with the Daily Planet nor does the fling go anywhere, also Brad, the sleazy one time jock is down played and is not nearly chasing Lana like he is in the film. All of Gorman’s slapstick over the top comedy is gone, and he is played more like a normal guy who, while a con man looking for a quick buck, is really just a nice guy. The worst part that was cut and happens to be my favorite part of the film is when Superman goes to Lana’s house for something to drink and the fake kryptonite starts to turn him bad and he gets all sleazy on her. Superman is as noble as ever and saves many lives and stops lots of disasters all the while doing so with a smile as he takes joy in helping out mankind. Superman, in this comic adaptation, is strong but seems slightly weaker than the comic book version but who really is looking at that aspect? Ross Webster and his sister Vera are rich snobs who thinks the world owes them everything because they have more money than you, are really snooty and are willing to kill Superman so that they can get more money. Gus Gorman is a man who as well is looking for quick cash, but while he will steal your cash, he by no means wants to kill or hurt someone to do so. Gus is almost a puppet to the evil Ross who is the puppeteer and is pulling his strings by using his own greed to get him to obey. Lana Lane and her son Ricky are great characters as they are used to show a human side to Superman who has a bond with the pair.  I really like Lana as well because unlike other lead female roles in these style of films, she is in no need of saving and can take care of herself. The cover is okay, but it’s odd they chose to use a blurry still of the film instead of drawing something original.  The artwork inside is done by Curt Swan & Sal Amendola and looks like a normal issue of Superman but the characters only slightly look like the actors who play them in the film.  That’s kind of a let down as I would have loved to have seen it look like Christopher Reeve and Annette O’Toole. To sum it up, while good, it does lose some of the charm of the film and is an okay adaptation of a classic superhero film I grew up watching. Below is some artwork from the issue that shows the inner battle between Clark Kent and the Evil Superman.

Superman III Art 1

So from Superman III, it’s now time to take a look at DC Comics look at Superman IV: The Quest For Peace movie adaptation.  The question is, will it capture the cheesy magic of the film or will it fall a little behind like the Superman III did?

Superman IV Comic 1

Superman IV # 1  ***
Released in 1987    Cover Price $2.00    DC Comics    # 1 of 1

In space, a Russian astronaut has an accident and is about to float away into space when Superman saves him.  Superman returns to earth and as Clark Kent has his family’s old farm house for sale in Smallville and finds a old message from his real father and a crystal that will act as a shot of power if he ever needs it. The next day on his way to work Superman saves a train full of passengers as the conductor suffers from a heart attack and when at work he gets news the Daily Planet has been bought out by tabloid tycoon David Warfield and his daughter Lacy who want to change the Planet into a trash paper. Lex Luther escapes from jail thanks to his nephew Lenny, and they steal a strand of Superman’s hair from the science museum and use radiation to create a dimwitted super guy who fights Superman in the street and is destroyed with ease by the man of steel. Jeremy is a young boy who is flown to Metropolis in order to talk to Superman as the child wants him to destroy all the nuclear weapons in the world, and Superman does just that as he flings the weapons into the sun. Lex Luther, with the help of some top war monger government army brass, sends a chemical human stew into the sun hidden into one of the missiles and so is born Nuclear Man, who feeds off the sun rays and is now out to destroy Superman on Lex Luther’s orders. The pair fight all around the world, and Nuclear Man lands a powerful blow that leaves Superman injured and oddly makes him start to age faster! While Superman/Clark Kent tries to nurse himself back to health, Nuclear Man decides he is in charge and turns on Luther and Lenny and also comes to the decision that Lacy Warfield will be his Queen, but before things get too bad Superman uses the crystal of power.  After a tough fight Superman beats Nuclear Man with the help of an eclipse and Lacy and puts the super baddy into a nuclear core where he will be drained of power and die! In the end Superman and youngster Jeremy teach all the people of the world we are all the same, and Perry White with the help of the banks buys the majority shares to become the owner of the Daily Planet.

The first thing that I must say is that all the flaws and moments of the film that make no sense are fixed and explained in this comic adaptation as no film editor took their scissors to the print to make a runtime. The plot is very simple: Lex Luther escapes jail as the world is in a nuclear weapon panic, Superman saves the day by ridding the world of all those nasty warheads and by doing so creates his own worst enemy in the Nuclear Man, all the while the Daily Planet is being taken over by a creepazoid smut news publisher. Throw in some love story with Lacy and Clark as well as Superman aging, and you have this cheesy comic storyline. While the film is a mess, I did find this comic adaptation to be lots of fun and better than part III. Superman in this comic is very noble and after fighting with his mind, listens to his heart and tries his best to rid the world of evil nuclear war weapons and truly embraces Earth as his home. Lois Lane is sassy, Jimmy Olsen is a background player, David Warfield is a scum bag, and Perry White is a man on a mission and saves his paper from being a tabloid magazine. Lacy Warfield is a rich woman who at least has some kindness in her heart as she wants to do the right thing and wants to win the heart of Clark Kent. Lex Luther once more is filled with pure revenge as world peace is not enough for him; he would rather risk that all for money and the death of Superman. Lenny is a goofball, as is the first Super clone, and Nuclear Man is a powerful narcissistic hothead who uses all his power for evil. The big things that are different from comic to film is that this comic shows the first attempt of the super clone as well as explains him getting sick when injured and turning old.  These scenes in the comic help make the whole thing make sense as some of these elements are left in the movie with no backstory. The art is really well done and is done by a handful of artists, and while they don’t look anything like the actors who play the characters in the film, it does hold the DC Comic charm and looks as if it could have been just a normal issue in the Action Comic series. So over all, this is a good comic adaptation done right by DC and really makes me wish they did ones based on the first film and Superman II, but we can’t change the past so before we move onto Superman: Returns, check out some art from Superman IV.

Superman IV Art 1

So from Nuclear Man to, you guessed it, more Lex Luther.  Let’s see how this more modern comic adaptation holds up, shall we? I should also note that while I don’t hate this film, I did find it to be just mediocre at best so it will be cool to see how this adaptation holds up to the film.

Superman Returns Comic 1

Superman Returns # 1  **
Released in 2006    Cover Price $6.99    DC Comics    #1 of 1

Superman has left Earth for over five years on a quest to find his home world in space and comes up empty handed.  He returns home to find his mother dating another man and wanting to sell the family farm to move away from Smallville. Lex Luther is out of jail and has dated an old sick rich woman who has just died and is now a millionaire and uses his new wealth to track down Superman’s Fortress of Solitude along with his girlfriend Kitty and his hired hand goons.  They learn all of the Man of Steel’s secrets. Clark Kent returns to work at the Daily Planet, and Superman returns in saving people as he saves a plane full of reporters that includes Lois Lane who is now a mom and engaged to Richard White, the nephew of Perry White. Lex Luther has found the the secret of Krypton is that the crystals can build land, and he has a plan to just do that as well sink America in the process, and along the way he kidnaps Lois Lane and her son Jason as they head out to sea. Lois is able to fax her location to the Daily Planet.  Richard takes the sea plan and Clark turns to Superman, and they both rush to the rescue. Luther has began creating land that is laced with Kryptonite, and this makes Superman weak as he is beat up by the likes of Luther and stabbed with a kryptonite dagger and thrown into the cold water. Lois and Jason was saved by Richard and in turn Lois saves Superman who lifts the newly made crystal land mass and leaves it into space, but this takes a lot out of Superman who falls to Earth and looks as if he could die! In the end Lex escapes, and Superman lives and makes peace with Lois even when he finds out Jason is his son.

First thing I have to say is I hate when DC Comics did the prestige binding for their adaptations of their films.  It just doesn’t feel like reading a comic as much as it feels like I am reading a book or a graphic novel, and sadly this was the only way you can get this issue. This adaptation is pretty good, but does suffer from what I felt dragged the film down and that’s a snail’s pace plot with not a lot of action. The plot of this comic is Superman returns to Earth after time away and must battle Lex Luther who wants to control land and also battle his feelings for Lois Lane who is now a mom. The story is not terrible, just a little weak and best of all Superman is a deadbeat dad as it’s shown Jason is his son and he has not taken care of him for over five years, and decides to not to do so even after he finds out! Superman in this issue is still noble for the most part but is not given much to do besides stop a plan crash, stop some robbers and lift a crystal land mass that really makes no sense as the Kryptonite should have left him weak as a baby. Clark Kent is not given much to do as Sup’s secret identity is more of a background player in this adaptation. Lois Lane is as snarky and strong willed as ever and while happy with her life, does still have feelings for the Man of Steel. Richard and Jason White are background players and serve a bigger purpose than Perry White and Jimmy Olsen. Lex Luther is such a so-so bad guy in this comic as I am sorry his main goal is to make new land to sell to nations as well as kill Superman…out of the the six Superman films Luther has been the bad guy in four and in this one he should have been given a rest.  It would have been nice to see Parasite or Doomsday. This comic follows the film pretty well and only has some changes like Jason killing one of Luther’s men with a piano is gone as is Kitty and Luther being stuck on a tiny island.  Not to mention that many parts also seem sped up and lose impact like Lois saving Superman goes by with a blink of an eye. The art in this adaptation is okay but is slightly sloppy and is done by Matt Haley.  This just adds to the boring nature of this adaptation. Over all while it was fun to read this adaptation, it is one that I am sure I would never read again. I would say that it was bland and boring! Check out the art below done by Haley for this adaptation.

Superman Returns Art 1

That marks the end of comic adaptations of Superman movies as none was made for Man of Steel, the film that came after Superman Returns.  So I figured why not take a look at Supergirl and Steel films that were spin offs of Superman! So up first is the Woman of Steel Supergirl!

Supergirl Comic 1

Supergirl # 1  **1/2
Released in 1985    Cover Price $1.25    DC Comics    #1 of 1

Argo City is in space and is the last of Krypton where Kara, the cousin of Superman lives.  An accident caused by artist Zaltar makes them lose the powerful and magical Omegahedron sphere as it’s sucked into space. Kara feels that she is also to blame and climbs aboard a tiny ship and follows it to Earth, during her travel she ages from a youngster to seventeen years of age and takes on the secret identity of Linda Lee and joins Midvale School. Meanwhile the Omegahedron has fallen into the hands of a witch named Selena who along with her roommate Beanca want to take over the world, all the while her one time mentor Nigel watches on trying to get his own hands on the powerful sphere. Linda has a roommate in school that is Lucy Lane, the sister of Lois, and who is dating Jimmy Olsen! Selena spots a lawn worker named Ethan and uses a love potion on him that backfires when he spots Linda Lee and he falls head over heels in love with her.  This leads to Selena trying to kill the pair on a carnival ride as well as sends an invisible monster to kill Linda Lee at school.  Both fail, and this sets the hatred up for Selena and Supergirl/Linda Lee. Later in rage, Selena kidnaps Ethan as well as Lucy Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Nigel and threatens to kill them as Supergirl comes to their rescue, but she is tricked and sent to the Phantom Zone and must use the help of Zaltar, who has been sent there for stealing the Omegahedron in the first place, to escape. When back on Earth Supergirl defeats Selena, frees her friends and heads back home to Argo City with the Omegahedron a new self confident woman.

This was a fun adaptation for a film that I grew up enjoying and owning on VHS and watched many times. I must say that growing up Helen Slater, who played Supergirl, was an actress I had a crush on and I am shocked that I did not own this comic as a kid. The comic does a good job on capturing the overall fun and silly nature of the film and while it makes some changes and rushes some others, it does not take away from the enjoyability of the comic.The plot is that Supergirl comes to earth to get back a powerful sphere that was lost from her home planet and must do battle with a sorceress who has the sphere. Throw in a love story and some friend characters who are connected to the Superman movies, and you have the story of this adaptation comic. Supergirl/Kara/Linda Lee is a gentle and sweet young woman who is not only strong on Earth like her cousin Superman but also has a very strong will and a sharp mind.  The way she rushes to her friends in need and stands up to any of the challenges thrown at her proves she truly is a hero. Lucy Lane is a nice side character as she is the sister of Lois Lane who she takes a lot of her personality from, and to top it all off she is dating Jimmy Olsen! Ethan is just a generic boyfriend character who falls for Supergirl thanks to a love potion, but his love breaks that magical spell as he truly just loves the seventeen year old Supergirl…wait he is out of school and works for lawn care…yeah, he’s a creeper! Selena is a wicked and selfish woman who is into black magic and treats her “friends” like trash as she clearly views them as lower than her. Not to mention she wants to murder a teenage girl over a man! The cover is pretty cool and shows Supergirl flying over the city, and the art inside is done by Gray Morrow.  While not my favorite style of art, it works well for this adaptation as the characters look enough like the actors who play them in the film. One nice addition to this comic are all the pinups of Helen Slater in her Supergirl outfit..very nice indeed! If you enjoyed this movie, put on the Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack for the film and give this adaptation a read.  Also check out the artwork below to see Morrow’s work.

Supergirl Movie Art 1

So Supergirl was not the only spin-off film to the Superman movies as in 1997 Warner Brothers hired Shaq to play Steel…let’s see if the comic is better than the movie, shall we?

Steel Comic 1

STEEL # 1  *1/2
Released in 1997    Cover Price $4.95    DC Comics    #1 of 1

John Henry Irons is part of a military group that tests and design new weapons that also includes Sparky, a cute and highly smart female solider, and Burke, a know it all hothead glory hog. During a presentation for a senator, an accident happens caused by Burke that leaves Sparky paralyzed and the senator dead, and Irons has to testify against his one time partner in military court. Irons quits the military when they allow Burke to walk away from the accident and he returns home to the streets of L.A. where is young brother and grandma try and avoid gang violence. After gangs on the streets have the high powered secret weapons of the military and Iron’s cop friend is hurt, he gets the help of Sparky as well as his Uncle Joe who runs a junkyard.  They make a metal suit, and so Irons become Steel and takes the fight to the gangs. Meanwhile Burke is the man behind the guns in the gang’s hand, and he is also using a video arcade store as his front and has Iron’s younger brother on his payroll! Burke sets up Steel with a bank robbery and outguns him and makes him look like a fool, and then sets him up with the cops and has Irons arrested on suspicion of being a gang member with illegal guns. Joe and Sparky trick the cops and get Irons free and he tracks down Burke and as Steel has a showdown with all the weapons and all Burkes men.  In the end Steel wins and saves the day by blowing up Burke in his super cannon powered truck.

This box office bomb made for one comic bomb as well as this was a dumb cheesy read that clearly was the worst of not only the Superman films, but also comic adaptations! The story is John Irons is a military weapons maker who quits after an accident and turns into a metal suited superhero when his home town streets are infected with gangs with high power weapons. John Henry Irons/Steel is a cool character who is super smart and very noble and risks his own life to try and get the weapons he help create off the streets. Uncle Joe and Sparky are great side characters who are very important in Steel’s quest as they do just as much as he does in order to rid the streets of the gang punks. Burke is a scumbag who wants to sell weapons to terrorists all over the world and doesn’t care how many people die in his quest for money.The thing that doesn’t work for this adaptation is that Steel has no connection to Superman.  In fact he is just a tall guy who is supposed to be this genius that’s bad at basketball, oh yeah they have to point out several times that he is smart and that he could never make it in the NBA…you get it… because Steel is played by Shaq…yeah, terrible. The art is okay and is done by the team of Jon Bogdanove & Dick Giordano.  This at least helps the comic to be a little better as at least characters look a little like the actors who played them. The reason this comic is so bad is because the source material was bad, and I feel like I have spent more time talking about this adaptation than the writers took to write the script so I think it’s time to end it. Check out a sample of the art below.

Steel Movie Art 1

Superman is not only a icon of comic books & the box office but he also rocked the world of comic adaptations.  While he might not have the impact he did on any of these the way he did when I was a kid, he still remains one of the most recognizable superheroes in the world. I really enjoyed taking a look back at the Superman movies and hope you had at least a small amount of good time reading this Christmas Eve update. I also hope you are having a great Christmas Eve that is filled with good times with loved ones and some great food. Our next update will be my best films of 2015 so that should be a great way to kick 2016 off! So if you’re reading this late in the evening, you should get yourself a warm glass of milk and head to bed as Santa Claus is on his way with his bag full of goodies! So have a great a safe Christmas and enjoy your time with friends and family, and I look forward to sharing 2016 with you all.

FILMS OF 2015 LOGO

The Marvel Lifeform Sickness..Has No Cure!

It’s a new update here on Rotten Ink.  It’s also wintertime and the update before my big Christmas Eve update, but also during this time of the year besides snow, toys and family comes that wonderful season of colds, flu and sickness! So this quick update will be about sickness and a virus that spread throughout Marvel Comics called Lifeform and had to be stopped by the likes of Hulk, Daredevil, Punisher and Silver Surfer before it was spread around the world. So let’s get some medicine, chicken noodle soup and a warm blanket and take a trip down Sick Blvd and try to avoid the germs and illness along the way.

Chicken Noodle Soup

While many of you might think that I am immortal like Hercules, I am here to break your heart because I am as mortal as you all.  Okay, well I am sure none of you thought this, but I felt like this was a good way to lead up to one of the worst times I was sick. In about 2008 or so I was working at a place called Hotel Liquidations.  I spent time unloading furniture trucks as well as loading pieces into customers’ cars, and while working there full time, I started to get a sore throat.  Instead of nursing it, I continued to work out in the cold weather and inhaling dust from the warehouse, and my throat got worse. Finally one day at work my throat hurt so bad that I could not talk or open my mouth without pain, and I bit the bullet and finally went to the doctor’s with the urging of my coworkers.  Before I went, I was not thinking and took a cough drop that was cherry flavored, and for those who don’t know, I am allergic to fake cherry flavoring as well as real cherries and this made me break out in massive hives.  So I had to bundle up in long sleeves with a hoodie to cover my face and looked as if I had the plague.  Thanks to my close friend and roommate at the time Patrick Neeley, I got to the doctors where I was diagnosed with having a terrible case of strep throat, one of the worse he had seen up to that point! So after getting my medications I was told that I was highly contagious and that I needed to be quarantined in my room so that I did not spread it to Patrick, my then girlfriend Jennifer and the rest of the world. For a little under two weeks, I sat in my room watching films like the original War of The Worlds, The Blob, IT! Terror From Beyond Space and many other sci-fi films. Patrick was nice enough to leave me pitchers of water by my door as well as cook me chicken and beef broth for that was all I could “eat” as I could not open my mouth much at all. Jennifer would come and visit for a short time but had to wear a mask, and she was nice enough to bring me comics to read as well as gave support and love. The pain in my throat was terrible and the swelling in my glands was out of control.  The medication I was taking was what would be called the size of a horse pill and was not pleasant to take. The days went by and slowly the medications started to help along with the sleep and drinking tons of water, and finally I was better and able to go back to work…and my first day back I got Scarlet Fever from the Strep Throat.  Yep, another pain in the ass sickness that lead to more missed days of work. While I really hate being sick I must say that the only plus side to having my throat swollen that badly was I got to re-watch many great classic science fiction films and I also saw how much my friends, family, co-workers and girlfriend really cared about me as they all went above and beyond to make sure that I was okay and had what I needed to get better. So with that, here is to good health to us all, and let’s say no to harmful germs this winter!

Just Say No To Winter Germs

I want to stroll away from sickness for a moment and take a look at a horror host that could have been a household name in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on KCRG hosting the show Saturday Nightmare.  Sadly he didn’t win the casting call as the host gig went to Dr. Morbius who hosted spooky movies from 1987-1988, but he host I am talking about would have been called Slime and was played by Eric Fournier. In August of 1987, KCRG did a call to arms for horror hosts to take the hosting gig for their new late night horror show.  42 hosts applied for the job, and only one got the honor. After some digging and looking around in many haunted houses and cemeteries, I am proud to say I have found Slime who was evil enough to answer 5 Questions for you my readers, making this the official 5 Questions With Slime!

Horror Host Slime

Me: Welcome to Rotten Ink Slime! My first question is how did you hear about the casting call to host Saturday Nightmare on channel 9?

Slime: Hello Matt, and thanks for taking the time to dig me up after all these years — although it’s spring now, and I would have come out of hibernation soon. Oddly enough, I was lying dormant for several decades when a construction crew in the area had inadvertently stumbled upon me. As it happened, it was just down the street from where the auditions had been held. Actually, my girlfriend was hounding me to get a job, so I saw that the local studio was looking for a host. I thought my looks were good enough to keep her interested, but apparently I was mistaken.

Me: Growing up did you have a favorite Horror Host that you use to watch? 

Slime: Frankly, I was hatched about 200 years ago, so by the time I’d discovered “The Acri Creature Feature” in the early 70’s, I was already quite mature. Like all kids and lizards back then, I was enthralled that anyone was so interested in the same kind of things I was, much less, would dedicate a show to it. Back in those days, there were only a handful of channels available, and none of them contained the kind of programming that would show movies that featured creatures like me. Like with so many other things, cable TV ruined that too. I remember making “Creep of the Week” several times through the 1970’s, and I didn’t even have to do any drawings. I just sent in some pics taken of me by some local kids, and I won the coveted “Creep” certificate about 4 times. I didn’t realize until later that it was actually sort of an insult. I went to take my revenge on 3 of the show’s goons, Vincent Hedges (the vampire), Emmett (the Hunchback guy), and Beauregard (the Werewolf), but the gang turned out to be so friendly, that I was content to just get their autographs.

Me: Tell us how you came up with the Host Character Slime, and a little about the character’s backstory?

Slime: Truth be told, the whole thing was pretty impromptu. I had no time to prepare any bits, and as you can see in the video, I was still busy defoliating when I got the call to be on camera. The only backstory I suppose, was that I’d put so much emphasis on appearance, that I’d completely ignored what I might actually have done as the show’s host. Besides just sitting there looking pretty, I guess nothing but spout endless gobs of fun facts about the horror cinema I’d grown up loving so much. All I could do by way of any preparation was to regurgitate an old Karloff routine I’d committed to memory decades earlier.

Me: During the Audition did you see another Horror Host hopeful and think that they could take the hosting gig? 

Slime: I was running extremely late for the auditions. Like any other lizard, I was sunning myself on a rock for some energy reserves. By the time I got to the studio, most of the other audition people had fled — or at least they did when I showed up. Since I arrived so late, and was busy most of my time at the studio in a bathroom making myself look pretty, I missed most of the other would be hosts. I’d done some stand up stuff with Bruce Gantenbein, so when I’d heard that he’d auditioned earlier that day, I wasn’t surprised when he got the gig as the show’s permanent host, “Dr. Morbius.” I was saddened to hear that he has since passed away.

Me: In closing, since hosting Saturday Nightmare was not in the cards what did you go onto do in the world of entertainment?

Slime: Well, I’m happy to report that the surgery was a success, and I’ve made the transition from reptile to human being, more or less. As far as entertainment goes, I’ve done most of my work behind the camera as a videographer and documentarian. On occasion, I’ll turn up at one of the local comedy clubs and do whatever’s necessary to get some laughs. My love for the classic horror flicks hasn’t diminished, and I dabble in recreating some of them as digitally designed characters. Every now and then, I’ll still get the hankering to put on the old latex in a vain attempt to re-capture my former good looks. You see…I miss the scales!

Me: Thanks so much for your time and long live Slime! 

It was very cool to chat with Slime, and I for one really would love to see him become a full fledged host and make a show with a title like “Slime Time” or “Slimy Midnight Theater” and be shown on YouTube, DATV and The Kreepy Kastle! But here is to not only Slime, but the other 40 horror host hopefuls as well as Dr. Morbius who all entertained Iowa on that premiere episode of Saturday Nightmare. Also if you have any episodes of Saturday Nightmare hosted by Dr. Morbius, please contact me as I would love to see them and also do a Horror Host Icon for Morbius. So let’s get back to the sickness that’s about to infect the Marvel Comic Universe.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.41.09 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-15 at 2.31.28 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.41.56 PM

It’s time to climb into our HAZMAT suits and take a look at the Progamma Virus that can change normal humans into lumpy flesh eating masses of goo and just hope that along our journey none of us come in contact with it. But before we enter the danger zone, I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock, and as always I must remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So as the rock band Disturbed says, let’s get down with the sickness!

Punisher Annual 3

Punisher: Annual  # 3  ***
Released in 1990   Cover Price $2.00   Marvel Comics #3 of 7

George is a masked man who is breaking into a lab to steal a bio-weapon that causes those affected to have hallucinations, become very violent and mutate, and worse for all of us, it spreads like a common cold! During the burglary George and a security guard get into a fight, and as the guard is killed, some of the bio weapon makes contact with George’s skin causing him to fall ill. The Punisher shows up at the lab as he had news that A.I.M. was trying to break in and makes contact with George who now looks like a zombie and is out for blood! The Punisher fends off George and finds out from an A.I.M worker that political hopeful Jethro Prufrock is the man who’s responsible for hiring them to steal the virus and that he also is stock pilling weapons for a war he thinks is coming. The Punisher escapes the lab with a crazed George following and makes it to the Prufrock residence where he overhears that George is Jethro’s son as he argues with his daughter over needing the virus and how important it is for his cause. The Punisher has heard enough, comes out of hiding, and is ready for the bust when George shows up in a wild rage looking even worse from the virus and kills his father and attacks his sister and The Punisher! Normal gun fire is only slowing George down so The Punisher finds a bazooka and blasts George away “killing” him and stopping the virus.  In the end, The Punisher learns that the Prufrock family was very much dysfunctional and that he saved the day from a highly contagious virus being spread around New York.

The origin of Lifeform explodes to life in this Punisher Annual, and this is just the start of the sickness that is sure to spread through the Marvel Universe. The plot is very simple and has a son trying to hard to impress his well to do father who takes a job robbing a place to impress him.  Things go wrong, the son is infected with a incurable virus and goes on a rampage that ends at his own house with the murder of his father. Throw in a superhero like The Punisher and the sick man’s sister, and you have the first segment in this mini series. The Punisher goes in thinking he is stopping a plot by A.I.M who is selling the bio-weapon to a presidential candidate but turns out having to fight a raged filled infectious killer who seems to be un-killable! The Punisher is cool and collected in fighting the killer even when blowing him up with a rocket launcher. George, the man who becomes the Lifeform, is by all accounts a failure who wants to impress his father but deep down hates his guts for the years of disappointment his father has had in him. When he becomes the killer, he becomes crazy and has the urge to kill those who are around him and no gun can stop him. His appearance is grotesque as his skin has turned bubbly and his features take on the appearance of melted cheese or a wet paper bag with boils all over it. I like the idea of something so simple like a robbery has sparked something that could spell doom for many people all over greed and fear. The comic has two other features that includes a look at The Punisher’s arsenal and a short adventure featuring Microchip, who is The Punishers close friend and business partner. The main story’s art is pretty well done and is done by Neil Hansen who has that very 90’s Marvel style. So far this is a nice start up to a pretty cool story that links some of Marvel’s biggest misfits of superheroing! Below is some of the artwork by Neil that shows what George looks like in this annual.  I should also note that for some reason George in this picture reminds me of the film Nightbreed and the characters called The Berserkers.

Art 1

I can’t wait to see how Daredevil will deal with this terror and how George infected with Lifeform will come back from being blown up so let’s not wait any longer.

Daredevil Annual 6

Daredevil: Annual  # 6  ***
Released in 1990     Cover Price $2.00     Marvel Comics    # 6 of 10

Daily Bugle writer Ben Urich has gotten word about the theft at the lab and that some sort of creature was on the loose battling The Punisher, but while the accounts say the monster is dead, sightings have been reported and Ben wants to know what it was and why. Along the dock Lifeform George appears and is unharmed after being blown up, but his appearance has gotten more grotesque.  It seems as if the virus now has a new mission, to consume human flesh! So George hits the streets of Hell’s Kitchen and kills and eats anyone who gets in his way, but Daredevil gets wind of this and saves street crooks The Wildboys from being Lifeform’s lunch.  In the battle the monster looses an arm and disappears into the darkness. Crooked cops Hobbes and Robbins show up just in time, and not thinking Robbins touches the arm and becomes infected. Ben Urich gets a visit from a man named Lamar Kwait who claims he can make a cure for George and turn him back to normal if he could get a sample of Lifeform’s blood.  All things come to a head when Daredevil along with Hobbs, Urich and Lamar find Lifeform George and during the meeting Lamar’s spine is broken by Lifeform who is being shot by tranquilizers and turns into a pile of ooze ending his terror once more….for now!

This second part showcases Hell’s Kitchen in New York and has Lifeform going on the prowl to find human flesh to eat.  Reporter Ben Urich along with a doctor who’s looking for a cure, are on its trail but it’s really up to Daredevil to stop the sickness from spreading and save the lives of those who are on Lifeforms lunch menu. The issue has three really good side stories that has Lifeform trying to kill The Fat Boys, Robbins on his death bed and dying from being infected and also having a run in with Typhoid Mary in an ally. Poor George is looking very rough now and is more of a white glob of sickness and jelloed skin, and worse he seems to be having a battle in his own mind as the George side just wants to be cured and the Lifeform side wants to kill and spread the sickness. Daredevil is as noble as ever and wants to keep Hell’s Kitchen safe from crime and monsters. Darvedevil takes the opposite route of The Punisher and uses his fists to fight the monster and not guns. The crooked cops Hobbes and Robbins add some drama to the situation, and the nice extra story that shows Robbins dying from the virus also was a nice touch and shows you should never touch things when you’re not sure what they are. Ben Urich and Lamar Kwait also add to the story and the fury of Lamar wanting to inject Lifeform with the cure tranquilizers shows how focused he is, as well adds the question why does he want to do this so badly. Plus the issue makes good use of many other DD characters as Typhoid Mary, The Fat Boys and The Wildboys all have cameos and help add to the issue and storyline, and each are nice to see. The main story art is done by Cam Kennedy and is top notch early 90’s work.  I really dig the way he drew Daredevil and Lifeform as both are very well done.  Check out his Lifeform below.

Art 2

With Lifeform being a cannibal I really can’t wait to read this next issue as he takes on one of my all time favorite superheroes The Incredible Hulk!

Incredible Hulk Annual 16

Incredible Hulk: Annual  # 16  ***
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.00    Marvel Comic    #16 of 23

The Incredible Hulk is roaming the desert and is in a bad mood over loosing his job, women and friends in Vegas and goes nuts when he sees an army convoy driving by. Hulk does what he does best and that’s smash as he thinks they are after him, but he was wrong and after being embarrassed by the commanding officer, he leaps into the middle of nowhere and finds on old theater that used to house plays that’s now abandon and he decides to hang out for awhile. Ben Urich goes and visits Lamar in the hospital and finds out that he was not really trying to help George as he really needed him to find a cure for the virus that he is infected with as well.  You see, he was an A.I.M agent who was bitten by a test monkey that was infected with it and now he is dying. Mercy, who is a female with strange powers who does cruel things and acts as if they are acts of mercy, kills an old bum who is down on his luck and quickly finds out that just because people say they wish they were dead, it doesn’t mean they mean it thanks to an old woman who witnessed the act. Lifeform George is still alive and pulls himself back together and is looking for human flesh and sweet death.  When Mercy hears his plea for death, she decides that what she is going to do is grant him the gift of friendship and takes him to The Hulk who is still hiding out in the theater. This act of “kindness” from Mercy just upsets The Hulk who wanted to be left alone but now is being bothered by these two.  This causes Mercy to force The Hulk to come face to face with Bruce Banner as she makes him appear, and this makes Hulk even more mad and Lifeform hungry! The two monsters clash in a epic fight that leaves the theater on fire, Bruce Banner killed and Mercy sending Lifeform back to the docks and turning him human for short time in New York and Hulk coming to peace with no matter how much he hates Banner he needs him, as he finds out that Banner was really just Mercy in disguise. We also find out that Lamar is in the hospital with a hurt spine as well as infected with the virus as he was an A.I.M. clean up member and by accident came in contact with the virus that is killing him that is why he wanted to try and find a cure so bad. In the end the human George turns back into Lifeform and eats the dying Lamar to end his pain and suffering.

This issue has two monsters fighting it out on a stage in an old theater, which adds great atmosphere to this twisted tale of an infected man. The plot for this annual has The Hulk making a mistake and attacking the military, and after doing so, he goes to lay low in an old abandoned theater.  Lifeform once more rises from the muck and meets Mercy who takes him to the Hulk as she thinks the two monsters can be friends, and this, of course, is a bad idea as they fight and burn the place down. To say sorry, she turns George back to human for a short time and when turning back to Lifeform he kills Lamar who is infected and has a damaged spine in what’s looked at as a mercy killing. Geroge/Lifeform is really split now as the human side wants to die and the virus side wants to live and spread sickness and eat human skin! The Hulk in this Annual is the grey mean-spirited one who comes out during the fullmoon, and his anger is out of control, as he once more just wants to be left alone but trouble seems to follow him. He also takes the Daredevil approach in fighting Lifeform and uses fists to try and stop this infected puss bag. Plus watching Hulk dress as a hunchback and delivering lines from the film Young Frankenstein is pretty amazing. Mercy is an odd bad guy as she thinks she is helping people who are depressed by killing them, but when she is told people say things they don’t mean like “I want to die” she decides to try and help Lifeform who’s George side is begging to be killed.  Plus its cool to see Hulk get annoyed just by the sight of her. In the story Mercy also takes the form of Bruce Banner to try and talk The Hulk into becoming Lifeform’s friend and its cool to see the two interact.  It’s also cool to see Lifeform look at the fake Bruce as dinner! This issue is filled with a monster vs. monster fight and brings a coolness factor out of this annual, as does the fact it’s being told by George who has been cured for a short time and is telling this story to Lamar before he eats him! The art of the issue is done by Angel Medina and is what I expected for Grey Hulk storyline and issue.  Check below for how Lifeform looks in this annual, which I must also note is my favorite look for him thus far in the mini series.

Art 3

From the brute force of The Hulk to the cosmic energy of The Silver Surfer is how we are going to end the sad saga of George Prufrock, a man who is becoming a walking virus Lifeform.

Silver Surfer Annual 3

Silver Surfer: Annual  # 3  ***
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.00    Marvel Comic    #3 of 9

The Silver Surfer returns to Earth from space to share news with Captain America that Thanos has been killed by his hands during their last battle. While at the hospital Lifeform goes on a rampage eating doctors, nurses and patients and keeps growing into a large blob of flesh and teeth that now wants to eat anyone it sees! Nick Fury of S.H.E.I.L.D. contacts Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four to check up on the hospital, and while doing so, Reed runs into Silver Surfer who agrees to help him on the massacre that they stumble onto. It’s chaos and death as Lifeform has made a path for the ocean and is now eating fish.  Reed and the Silver Surfer follow, and Lifeform springs from the water and knocks Reed senseless, then sets his sights on killing and eating the people watching from the docks. But Silver Surfer has seen enough and allows Lifeform to eat him and by doing so he uses his cosmic power to make Lifeform float into space and onto a planet this is void of life. The Silver Surfer bursts out of Lifeform and as he does so, the spirit of George once more comes through and he begs Surfer to kill him.  This is not what the Silver Surfer does, so he leaves Lifeform alone on a planet in space.

It takes cosmic power to put a stop the rampage of Lifeform who in this short mini series had killed many of people by infecting them as well as eating them! This issue’s plot has George losing all control and the virus Lifeform taking over causing him to grow into a grotesque blob creature who kills humans and sea life before being stopped by The Silver Surfer who takes him to space and leaves him on a planet that has no life, thus making the Earth safe and poor George stuck with his sickness and not finding the death he so greatly wants. Silver Surfer is a very powerful and noble hero who saves Earth even though he hates visiting here due to bad memories.  He understands that Lifeform is a major threat and removes him from Earth so he can no longer spread his sickness. The pure power and heart of Silver Surfer has always made him a very interesting character in the Marvel Universe. Lifeform in this issue is a pure killing machine who seems to not be able to get his fill of flesh, blood and bone as all he wants to do is eat and eat like me at a cookout serving steak. Lifeform, while very much evil, is also a very sad character as he almost has a Larry Talbot Wolfman appeal to him as his human side hates what the monster side does and would love nothing more than to find peace in death. It was nice to see Captain America, Nick Fury and Reed Richards in cameos, and one thing that made me smile is how useless Reed was in the battle as one hit knocks Mr. Fantastic out of the fight game worse than Marvis Frazier being knocked out my Mike Tyson in 30 seconds in the first round. While this was a great issue with lots of mayhem and action I still can’t help but feel a little cheated with the way Lifeform was beat.  While it’s cool that it has to stay in cold space on a planet that is lonely and bare for the rest of it’s life, I would have much rather seen Lifeform destroyed or kept in a cell and used again at a later date to fight the likes of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Man-Thing and Captain America in another annual mini series. The art for this one was done by Ron Lim and just like the others is top notch 90’s stuff.  Check out the final look for Lifeform George below and see what the fate of others could have been if it wasn’t stopped.

Art 4

So all along the virus of Lifeform could have been stopped early if only The Punisher would have shot him into space, think about all the lives that could have been saved if instead of a bazooka he used a rocket ship to stop George. But all kidding aside, I found myself really enjoying this weird little storyline that spanned many characters 1990 Annuals. I love how through out the series George grew more and more grotesque and with each transformation, his human side kept dying little by little and the virus ate away at his brain and soul. One thing that made me chuckle was how come The Punisher and Daredevil never contacted the virus as they both had run ins with him and both are mortal with super athletic abilities, but both had contact with a man who was a carrier for a very contiguous disease. I mean I understand how Hulk and Silver Surfer didn’t become infected, but DD and The Punisher by all accounts should have. It would have been nice to also seen this storyline be in the 1990 Annuals for Captain America and Spider-Man as both were in New York at the time of this outbreak and Cap even had a cameo in Silver Surfer showing that he was around. Marvel, to my knowledge, never did use Lifeform again and have left him in space since 1990, makes me wonder why they never brought him back because this time around he also could have been a carrier for a space born virus and finds away back to Earth via a rocket ship and now sets his sights on infecting mankind with his sickness and pain! It could have been a cool idea, but with Marvel in the comic world now not focusing on the past and “updating” things, I am sure Lifeform really is dead in space. Our next update will be Rotten Ink’s big Christmas Eve update, and once more we will be visiting the DC Comic Theater as we take a look at the film adaptations of Superman.  So make sure to comeback for that one! Until then, have a safe holiday, read a comic or three and as always support your local horror host.

superman III Logo

Starriors: The Robots Who Ruined Christmas

When I think of the month of December, lots of things come to mind like Christmas, cookies, hot chocolate, family, snow and of course toys! Kids of my generation and before know the wonder of all the cool toys that became the must-have gifts you wanted from Santa or your parents so you could go to school and show off all your new stuff. And in the 80’s robots were super hot, and toylines were very popular and on many wish lists. One line that many kids of my time wanted was Transformers, with a smaller group wanting the likes of GoBots or Robotix, and then there was a toy line that disappointed kids with their cheap appearances and loose arm joints.  Those toys were Starriors. So as you already know, these cheap robot toys made by Tomy as well as the mini-series made by Marvel are the topic of this update. But before we move onto that I want to share some Christmas memories with you about how Marvel and DC Comics were a part of my Christmas mornings as a youth. Do you remember when you were younger on Christmas Eve night, and you were in your bed trying to sleep but you were so hyped for all your gifts the next day?  You’d be ready for when your cousins came over to play Nintendo or ball tag, weather-permitting, and by the time you finally fell asleep it seemed like you slept for only a few minutes before you were up and ready to open your gifts! Most years we would start with our stockings that “Santa” would leave, and they would be filled with such things as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cookies, Cracked Magazines, magic grow sponge animals and lots of comic books! Most of the time, it would be issues of Spider-Man, Captain America, Batman or Incredible Hulk or some other weird kids comic based on a cartoon, like Little Dracula and Count Duckula. I can remember that it was like clock-work, once Christmas was over and all the family went back home, I would go to my room and sit in bed and read the comics I got so that I could tell my brother and mom about what crazy thing happened to Spider-Man or what new bad guy he was facing. Those early years of Christmas for me were something special and filled with so many good times spent with family who would all gather to spend time together and eat a good home cooked meal that my mom would make. I miss those days, as they seem to be a thing of the past as we all got older and holidays began becoming less of family gatherings.  It’s a shame, but things change. But I would like to say thank you to Marvel, DC and all the other comic companies who made my Christmas day more special and entertained me on a day filled with lots of great memories. Below is a picture of me from Christmas morning 1990 when I was 11 years old and just opened my stocking, and as you can see that year I got Spectacular Spider-Man # 171 among my stack of comics.  Also check out that sweet Beta player, my Joker t-shirt, the warm fire going, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cookies as well as the Sugar Bear ornament on the tree!

Me Christmas Morning 1990

Sometime in 2004, an idea was floating around Independent B Movie Studios to have a slasher film made that would be shot in the winter.  Mike Ritchie was just coming off making Farmer Joe and took the project on that was to be called “Long Dead Winter,” and he came up with evil jester mask serial killer called The Jester Killer who was brutal and sadistic and who was attacking people during a massive snow storm leaving a body count.  Mike was not only going to direct this feature but he was also going to write it. One day when hanging around at Mike’s, we began to bounce ideas back and fourth on this film that’s start date was creeping up super quickly, and that’s when we came up with having a second killer added to the film that would be the opposite of The Jester Killer and not enjoy the fact he kills, and we called him The Sadness. The film began production soon after, and Mike Ritchie cast himself to play The Jester Killer, Garrison Kane played The Sadness and the two heroes were played by Matt Hoffman and Josh Weinberg and the film had the budget to add blood, gore and boobs. I acted as the cameraman, and we shot during the winter during and after snow storms to add the right atmosphere to the grim storyline. So I am sure you’re wondering what the film’s storyline was going to be, well let me tell you:  it was set in a small town during a nasty winter filled with blizzard-like weather and a serial killer wearing a twisted court jester mask goes on a killing spree.  Not to be outdone, another masked killer gets mad that his name is no longer in the town paper so he decided to go on a rampage as well.  With each kill, the killers were trying to out do each other. The town’s only hope is a pair of cops who are hot on the trail of the killers, but while they are good cops, do they have what it takes to stop the madness? The film shot for many days and was going pretty well with lots of deaths being shot from stabbings to a hammer to the skull, each done with cheesy backyard effect goodness! Sometimes the creepy vibe of the film was off track as Mike added many lame inside jokes toward friends of ours, and like Farmer Joe 2, the film stopped filming as Mike began delaying production.  Finally the film was scrapped as films like Razor, Who Keeps Feeding Grandpa and Two Seconds Too Late started productions, and Mike never did get back on track getting the film done. The footage we shot sat on VHS for many years and at some point I put it on Mini-DV and even used some shots on a couple of Baron Von Porkchop episodes! The Sadness would go on to get his own film in 2006 written and directed by me, but that’s for another update. At some point I would love to take some of the old Independent B Movie scripts and turn them into comic books, and Long Dead Winter would be at the top of that list! Any takers my comic book-making friends…Jason Young? Bruce O Hughes? Justin Wasson? Eric Shonborn? Below are some screen grabs from the VHS master tapes complete with time code.

Long Dead Winter 1Long Dead Winter 2Long Dead Winter 3

Speaking of long winters, this time of the year also makes me think of one of my favorite bands Cinderella and their album Long Cold Winter! Growing up I listened to pop music like Paula Abdul, Michael Jackson, Adam Ant and Janet Jackson, but I also listened to lots of rock due to my Dad, who is a music lover.  At a young age he introduced me to the likes of Alice Cooper, Warren Zevon and ZZ Top and from there wit the help of MTV and radio station 104.7 WTUE I started to find bands from my generation that I enjoyed like Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Billy Idol, W.A.S.P. and RATT and one of the tops on my list was Cinderella, a band that mixed hair metal and the blues so well with releases like Heartbreak Station. I can remember how hyped I was when I found the cassette of their first album Night Songs at Half Price Books. I took that tape home and almost wore it out from all the times I would crank it on my tiny little boom box radio. In 1988, they released Long Cold Winter, and I can remember seeing it in ads for places like K-Mart and wanting it so badly.  The singles off that album included Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone), Gypsy Road, The Last Mile and Coming Home, all that charted and all of them played on our local radio stations. I was lucky that my mom and dad listened to my wish list and got me it on cassette for Christmas that year and just like Night Songs, I can remember cranking it up. So after writing this, I think I am going to make myself some hot chocolate put on the vinyl of Long Cold Winter and reflect on a time when big hair ruled the music world, and to be honest if you have not heard this album, make sure to check it out!

Cinderella Band 1Cinderella Long Cold WinterCinderella Band 2

I want to also talk about something a little more creepy, something that might send shivers down your spine thinking that this thing might be real and wondering the world we all live in. In July of 2007 in Bahia, Brazil, a 15 year old girl was walking alone along a riverbed and woods when she was attacked by a horned monster who grabbed her and was trying to force mud into her face and hair for unknown reasons.  Luckily the young girl was able to escape by knocking this creature off balance making it so that she could flee and take this one single picture of the beast giving chase while in the water. The girl went home, and she and her dad released the photo, and since then another picture of it has been released from another person who saw it roaming around.  This thing is now called The Bahia Beast, and what it is is up for debate. The Beast is believed by Cryptozoology fanatics to be a mud demon, a foul creature who gets pleasure in degrading his victims before eating them. But many people think that it’s a hoax and is nothing more than a man in a cheap Halloween mask and costume roaming around to try and bring tourists to the area to see if they can spot the monster in the woods. I have also heard that some people think that the young girl’s story is fake and that she just snapped a picture of an actor in a costume while an independent horror film was being made. So as you can see The Bahia Beast is an unknown thing/person with an unknown origin, and this makes you wonder is this mudslinging demon out there waiting to make you taste mud?

Bahia beast 1Bahia beastBahia beast 2

While we are on the subject of spooky and horror I should take a brief moment to cover a comic book I got off the website Indy Planet that is about a zombie cop hunting a werewolf in the snow! I figured this update would be the best place to cover it as we are talking about the cold month of December, so let’s take a quick look at it.

Corpse Cop Arctic Wolf Front 1

Corpse Cop: Arctic Wolf # 1  **
Released in 2013   Cover Price $3.00   Black Box Comics   # 2 of 2

Corpse Cop is dropped off in Alaska as something has been killing hunters and the wildlife off and he has been hired to exterminate it. While wandering around in the snow, he finds the corpse of an animal and knows he is on the track to find the monster. Corpse Cop takes shelter in a cave for the night and while trying to warm up his undead body near the fire, he is attacked by a bear and must kill it. After the fight, a woman appears and sits with him near the fire and turns into a werewolf and attacks but is quickly killed as Corpse Cop cuts off it’s head and leaves her body to be eaten by animals.

This comic is too short for its own good with only 12 pages. I didn’t get to build a bond with Corpse Cop nor did I feel the werewolf was any threat to him. The story moves super fast and has the supernatural enforcer being dropped off in the snow doing very little investigating and killing his target, a werewolf, with ease. Corpse Cop seems to be an undead man with a sarcastic attitude and a real dislike for things of the supernatural. The werewolf is a female who seems to be in hiding in the cold caves as she knows that once she turns into the beast anything around her is as good as dead. But what stinks is that the werewolf is killed in seconds as Corpse Cop chops off its head, and the comic ends with it on a stake. While I was not to impressed with the story, I was impressed with the scratch board art of the comic done by Alan Bennett that helps add flare and style to this comic with it’s dark colors. Over all this has major potential for being a cool comic series as long as the next issues go longer than 12 pages and the characters are developed. The artist and creator Alan Bennett does not want you to share images from this comic or so I took it as via his website so out of respect I will not.  So instead I will show off some of my friend Rachel Lare’s sketch board artwork. I think she does fantastic work, and one day I hope that I can work alongside her and make a comic book just for Rotten Ink based on a cool horror film like Night of the Demon or Project Metal Beast! So check out her work below based on some icons for horror.

Rachael Lare Art 1Rachael Lare Art 2Rachael Lare Art 3

Does anyone remember those really cool comic catalogs that use to come out via Superhero Enterprises called “The Superhero Merchandise Catalog” that featured stuff like toys, posters, shirts, jewelry and all other manner of goodies that featured the likeness of your favorite hero like Spider-Man, Batman or Conan The Barbarian? It was place where you could order your Mego Toys and Spider-Man pajamas from the same order form. Nowadays, they just don’t do this kind of thing unless you count the giant Diamond ordering book used for customers to place what they want via their favorite local comic shop. I should also note that while writing this review I have been listening to two “Weird Al” Yankovic CD’s “In-3D” and “Polka Party!” and I must say it was a lot of fun going back and listening to his parodies of 80’s pop music classics like “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer and even “Beat It” by Michael Jackson and hearing him turn them into juvenile silly songs about food or some other off the wall thing. In 3-D came out in 1984 and to be honest was one of the first vinyl records I owned when I was a kid, and listening to this again after so many years was like listening to an old friend telling you stories that you heard so many times but the way they tell it keeps you happy and entertained. My favorite tracks off In 3-D have to be “Nature Trail To Hell,” a song that is about Friday The 13th and other slasher camp movies, “The Brady Bunch,” a fun take on The Men Without Hats song Safety Dance that deals with not wanting to watch the Brady Bunch on TV. “Eat It” of course is the take on Jacksons Beat It and is an all time classic Weird Al song, but to be honest this whole CD is packed with great songs and really took me back to being a kid sitting in the room with the NES playing a game and listening to this on vinyl.  Good memories, and this Weird Al album will always have a place in my heart for making me go back to the past. Polka Party! was released in 1986 and was one of those albums that I would see on cassette at K-Mart in the discount bin and for some reason my Dad would always say that we didn’t need that because it had no good songs on it! While I will agree that it’s not as great as In 3-D it does have it’s charm and some of my favorite songs from off the CD are “Addicted To Spuds” as I myself love eating potatoes and “Living With A Hernia” that’s a parody of James Brown’s Living In America is silly and fun but also makes me think of Rocky IV and the death of Apollo Creed! I should also note that this CD also has a Christmas song that adds to this time of the year, and it’s called “Christmas At Ground Zero” and is about a nuke being dropped on the jolly holiday, a grim song that’s done with a upbeat spirit makes for a fun listen. So yeah, I just wanted to share what I have been listening to these days.  I feel that music was also very important to me growing up and help shape me into the person I am today just as much as friends, family, comics, movies, horror hosts and video games did. So next year (2016), once a month I am going to let a friend of mine pick their favorite band or artist and have me listen to their favorite album by said artist. But at this point we should get back our look at The Starriors!

Weird Al Yankovic In 3-D CDThe Superhero Merchandise Catalog 1975Weird Al Yankovic Polka Party CD

In 1984, Tomy released a toy line with the help of Marvel that was a spin off of Zoids and gave the characters a storyline that involved humans going underground during solar flares and leaving robots up top to awaken them once the disaster was over. The toys were broken up into two lines, one being the good guys called the Protectors who were led by a laser chested bot named Hot Shot and the bad guys called the Destructors lead by Slaughter Steel Grave. The figures’ gimmick was that they would perform actions via windup, pullback or remote control making them more “alive” than Transformers. They also came with mini comics made by Marvel to help showcase the characters and their backstories. The series of figures would last for two waves and could be found at many department stores at the time of release. Growing up, I can only remember having one of these figures when I was super young and that was Hot Shot, but if memory serves me I am pretty sure its arms fell off and my mom ended up throwing it away.  Needless to say, this series of toys was not one that the Brassfield Brothers had to have. None of my school friends had any of these figures that I know of, and the only other people I personally knew who had any were my old Vietnamese neighbors when I first lived in Kettering and my Brassfield Grandparents because my grandma would buy toys all the time to keep at her house for my cousin Nathan from garage sales. Starriors was slated to get an animated mini series in 1985 but production on the series seems to be a mystery as it has never seen the light of day.  This is what makes this toy line so interesting, it had no back up from TV, movies or video games.  All it had was the Marvel Comics and the time put into the story shows that everyone involved believed in them and wanted Starriors to be the next big thing in action figures. I feel that Marvel and Tomy really loved the mythology of The Starriors much like Marvel and Remco loved what they came up with for The Saga of Crystar, and this helps make this toy line all the more fascinating for a person like me who grew up knowing very little about them. While I might not have been a fan or had many of the toys, I am sure some kids of the time loved them and looked forward to getting the figures to play out their own robot adventures. Below are some pictures of the figures as well as the checklist of figures so enjoy.

Starriors Hot Shot toyStarriors Character PosterSlaughter-Steelgrave toy

Before we get to the Marvel Comic mini series I would like for those readers who have had Starriors toys to reflect back to that time and remember all the adventures and battles you had with them during your youth…go on take a few moments, I don’t mind. So are you ready now to travel to a time when Earth is no longer man’s but that of machines that we left in charge? If so I need to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see if Hot Shot can bring back man and if he can stop Steel Grave once and for all. I want to also thank Lone Star Comics and Dark Star Comics for having this mini series in stock.

Starriors 1

Starriors # 1 **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel    #1 of 4

Hot Shot, Crank, Cut-Up, Tinker and Nipper are robots called Protectors, and they are helping rebuild a wall while robots called Destructors (Slaughter Steel Grave, Gouge, Sawtooth to name a few) shout orders and act as if they are slaves to them. Nipper finds a human skull and rushes to show her friends when Gouge jumps down and smashes her to pieces and tells them to get back to work. Hot Shot and Tinker take Nipper’s body to Think Tank hoping he can place her circuits into a new body, and they do. But this has caused a riff between the Protectors lead by Hot Shot and the Destructors lead by Slaughter Steel Grave that leaves Hot Shot using his laser against Gouge who was going to hurt one of his friends and Steel Grave unleashing the massive dinosaur robot named Deadeye to kill off many of the Protectors. In the end a small amount of the good robots are left alive after they flee to look for man, who they think can help them win the war.

This is a pretty cool first issue, but I did find it to be crammed with way too many characters and not enough character development for the main ones. The plot has two different types of robots fighting it out for the fate of their planet.  The Protectors are worker robots who are gentle in nature and are waiting for humans to come back, while the Destructors are mean spirited and bullies who get joy in mistreating and back stabbing. Hot Shot is wise and truly thinks that man can help them.  His main weapon is a laser, and his mentor is Think Tank who gives him advice. Slaughter Steel Grave is a robot who loves the power he holds and enjoys destroying the weaker robots using them as slaves.  He even hates humans and doesn’t want them back as he fears they will take his power away. The rest of the characters as well fit in this generic bad guy and good guy style with only a few being in the grey, who could go either way. I must also say that the names of many of the robots are just silly and not fitting for what they look like. I mean a blind all red robot who looks like a T-Rex is named Deadeye…you get it, because he’s blind. The art is well done and helps make the characters’ personalities pop a little more allowing them to be more deep than what’s been written for them.  It’s done by Michael Chen who it seems didn’t do much work for Marvel after this series and that’s a shame as I think he was a talented artist. So far this is starting off pretty good, and I am hoping that by the next issue they explain more about the characters and that it also packs in a little more fights as this issue was more drama than action. So let’s get to issue # 2 and see what Marvel has in store for us.

Starriors 2

Starriors # 2  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel   #2 of 4

Hot Shot, along with the remaining Protectors, are in the desert to look for man and are climbing a mountain towards a volcano. Slaughter Steel Grave is leading his men to go after them and has given orders to destroy the Protectors and even turns on Sawtooth and buries him under rocks as they leave him and continue their hunt. Think Tank and Crank enter the volcano to try and mind meld to get locations when they are attacked by Deadeye who is in turn attacked by a giant mutant spider! As the Destructors enter the volcano, they as well attack the spider and during this rocks fall on Crank.  As the other Protectors, escape he becomes the prisoner of the evil robots who plan on wiping out his memory and ripping him apart. Hot Shot and his men can’t let this happen as Crank is their close friend and his body also hosts the mind of Think Tank because the mind link was interrupted and didn’t allow things to go back to normal. During the fight Steel Grave and his men capture some of the Protectors and plan on executing them.  This causes Hot Shot and crew to enter the bad guys’ camp save their friends by stealing a powerful transfer ring that gets Think Tank’s mind back in the right body.

This second issue showcases just how much Slaughter Steel Grave hates the Protectors and humans and how he will do whatever it takes to stop them both even if that means killing! The search for the truth and for a better life is all Hot Shot and his followers are looking for, and they have to travel to a forbidden land in order to find the answers as well as escape the evil bots who are after them. This issue is a solid giant robot story, but it is also pretty dull in spots. I think the story is dragging along to fill out the four issues in this mini series, and this issue is a clear filler as the coolest thing that happens is a fight between the good robots, the bad robots and lava spiders.  But while this sounds amazing in words, the battle is too quick and leads to nothing but Hot Shot and his men escaping again. It’s interesting what they are doing with Sawtooth who clearly is not sold on the evil ruling of Steel Grave and is more of a leader than Grave ever will be. Hot Shot is a cool leader of the good guys and while at times he should fight back harder, he still does what he feels is right. The art is done by Mike Chen again and is well done and has a great 70’s comic toy tie-in look. While this issue is not groundbreaking and for all accounts a very mediocre issue, I still can’t wait to see what happens in the third issue so we should not waste anymore time and check it out.

Starriors 3

Starriors # 3  **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .75   Marvel   #3 of 4

Sawtooth is warning his fellow robots about the lies of Slaughter Steel Grave about man, and this leads to Steel Grave ordering the death of Sawtooth who is torn apart, and ordering his followers to get the transfer ring back! Meanwhile Hot Shot and his friends are thinking about how they must find man and fight back if they are pushed. The Protectors send Runabout to scout ahead and find the hidden base of the humans as Slaughter Steel Grave sends Speedtrap after her.  The two robots fight and both are left hurt and dying. Meanwhile Slaughter Steel Grave leads a sneak attack on The Protectors that leaves all the good natured robots slaughtered! Meanwhile a robot named Stinger comes out of the base and kills Speedtrap and brings Runabout back to life and tells her that the base had been attacked many years back by Slaughter Steel Grave who wants to snuff out mankind! Stinger gives Runabout a transfer ring, and she rushes back to the Protector camp and finds all her friends slaughtered.  She uses the ring to heal those she can including Hot Shot who tells his friends it’s time to go to war and not only save themselves but also mankind!

This third issue is really cool and has a hint of Transformers to it and that makes the story feel more epic and builds the doom of Slaughter Steel Grave who doesn’t care about anything besides himself. The story in this issue is Hot Shot and his friends are shown to be weak as the Destructors fight them and leave them all destroyed, but thanks to one robot who is kind of a chicken, they are rebuilt because she faces the odds and comes to her friends aid. Slaughter Steel Grave is shown to be even worse than before as he kills his own if they cross him and has a plan to kill off humans because he thinks he should be the one ruling the world! Hot Shot, who is an honest good robot, also finds that he needs to go against his programing and fight for what’s right and comes to see Steel Grave is one evil bot. Motormouth, who is the Protector who is telling Slaughter Steel Grave secrets, is a terrible little robot and when Steel Grave has him ripped apart for being a rat I found myself cheering for him to bite the dust. Mike Chen once more does the artwork, and it’s really good.  As I said before, the story has really picked up, and I can’t wait to see what the fate of mankind is! So with that let’s move onto the fourth and final issue in this Marvel mini series based on a cheap toy line.

Starriors 4

Starriors # 4  **1/2
Released in 1985    Cover Price .75   Marvel   #4 of 4

Slaughter Steel Grave and the Destructors are heading toward the base to rid the world of man as Stinger watches on frozen with fear, but things are not going to plan as many of the Destructors turn against orders to attack the base as they don’t want to kill man and the base has some defenses of its own to slow down the attack on it. Hot Shot and the rest of the Protectors bring back Sawtooth who joins them in the fight against Steel Grave, who he looks at as a major threat to the world. The Protectors and The Destructors have all out war that leaves many of them dead as ThinkTank, Deadeye, Stinger and Crank fall in battle, but Hot Shot won’t back down and with the help of the base, they chase off Steel Grave and are able to bring back all the hurt Protectors to life! In the end Hot Shot finds man and brings them back to life where humans and robots make an alliance and decide to stand with each other in the war against The Destructors.

The final war in this issue is filled with so much death and destruction it was like watching a war movie like Saving Private Ryan or Glory! The wrap up story of this issue has Hot Shot getting the good robots ready for war and fighting for their lives as Steel Grave is shown to be a bully, but when clearly they start fighting back, he retreats so not to be defeated. Hot Shot grows as a character by the end of this mini series.  A first, while he is kind of a wimp, he still stands up for what’s right, and by this issue he is filled with revenge and rage and even leaves Motormouth out in the sun to rust showing he no longer is going to be pushed around and has no mercy on bad robots. The Protectors are all pretty cool characters, and all of the main cast had some sort of small storyline going on from a love triangle to friendships, making them all come off human like and not just robots. I also liked how Sawtooth as well as other The Destructors turned to the side of good when they saw that the orders they were getting were that of a madbot! Slaughter Steel Grave is a robot who is on a power trip and uses power to bully and force his fellow robots into doing what he says when he says.  He took so much joy in killing either by his own hands or having it ordered that he remained me of a evil prison warden in those old women in prison movies. The humans do nothing at all, even when they wake up they are dressed as if they are in some weird superhero cult with the lead bearded man looking like he is some new age Charles Manson. I just don’t trust them…all joking aside, they don’t do much and only come into play for the last two pages of the comic. In fact the whole story to me seemed like the creators of the comic and toyline sat at a table and took elements from The Transformers, The GoBots and Mad Max and scribbled them onto a notepad and out came The Starriors, and I am okay with what they came up with for the most part. This was a great way to give these generic toys a backstory and personalities and proved that while they might not have been as cool as The Transformers, they still could deliver an entertaining comic adventure. So if you grew up a fan of these figures or even collect them today, do yourself a favor and check out this Marvel series you’ll be glad you did. Check out a piece of Chen’s artwork below to see the quality of his work and the style that brought these characters to life.

Starriors art 1

Man this update took us all over the place, and we covered The Starriors, a unfinished Mike Ritchie no budget movie, Weird Al music CDs and so much more makes me really look at and love my blog! Well it’s getting cold in here so I am thinking I am going to crawl under some covers and pop in a DVD movie or watch the WWE Network and relax this night away. I wouldn’t want to get sick! And speaking of, sickness that is the topic of the next update as we take a look at Lifeform, a man who could infect the whole Marvel Universe with an infectious disease and it’s up to the likes of Daredevil, The Hulk, Punisher and Silver Surfer to stop him from doing just that. So until next time stay warm, stay healthy, read a comic or three and have a safe winter.

Lifeform Logo

Hercules and The Three Stooges Save Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s once again that time of the year for family, football and good food, and as you longtime readers know, its time for my Turkey Day Hercules update.  This year we will be looking at when Hercules met the princes of slapstick comedy, The Three Stooges. But before we get silly with this update I want to get serious for a moment and say that I am thankful for my family, friends and readers all of whom make my life way more fun! Plus, I want to dedicate this update to family and friends I have sadly lost over the years as each of them have helped make me the person I am today and they are all missed. I should also state that once more this year I am over at my parents house this Thanksgiving and waiting to eat some amazing home cooked food and enjoy good conversations with my family. So here is hoping that the belly full of laughs from this update doesn’t counteract your belly filled with food as we take a trip down memory lane with The Three Stooges.

Three Stooges and Turkey

It’s crazy to think that I have been doing this blog for several years now, and I have yet to talk about The Three Stooges, comedians I grew up watching alongside my Dad and brother and whose classic movies and shorts still entertain me to this day. The Stooges started out in 1925 as Ted Healy and His Stooges that consisted of Ted, Moe, Larry and Shemp, and the group toured around entertaining the masses and even made a feature film called “Soup To Nuts”. Shemp left the group in 1932 and was replaced by Curly, and a brief time later The Stooges broke away from Ted Healy in 1934 after making several short films and became The Three Stooges! Ted Healy died in 1937 from unknown and mysterious causes. One thing that should be noted is that Moe, Curly and Shemp were all brothers and all had their own wacky style of slapstick style humor. As The Three Stooges much work came their way in the form of short and feature length movies, and the threesome became one of America’s top comedic acts with Curly becoming the fan favorite for his silly faces and childlike behavior. But while things were good for the Stooges, bad luck caught up to them in 1946 when Curly suffered a massive stroke that left him unable to work, and up to the stroke Curly’s health was on a decline. Time passed, and The Stooges retired for some time hoping that Curly would get better, but the signs of him coming back were growing slim so they asked Shemp to rejoin.  He did for some time, and even was a part of The Stooges’ first ever TV appearance on “Texaco Star Theater” in 1948. But once more some bad news was coming The Stooges’ way in 1952 as Curly passed away at the age of 48 from a cerebral hemorrhage caused by more strokes.  They also lost some of their supporting cast when Columbia, the studio they were signed to, decided to downsize its short film department and the short films of the Stooges were being done cheaper and faster. Then in 1955, Shemp passed away from a heart attack on his way home from a boxing match; he was 60 years old. I should also note that in many of The Three Stooges films, a stand in was used for Shemp in shots who would wear a wig; this term was called Shemping and is still used to this day. In 1956 The Stooges hired Joe Besser as the new member who was a character who was goofy and would also fight back against Moe who was the dominate Stooge.  During this time The Three Stooges lost steam, and Besser was considered the weakest link in the trio.  After only three years with them his time came to an end, and in 1959 it appeared The Three Stooges had come to an end or did they?! The old Three Stooges short films were now being aired on TV and aimed toward kids.  This gave Moe and Larry an idea to try and launch a quick comeback with new Stooge named Curly Joe, and the trio launched into making movies again, this time aimed at the young and young at heart in the 1960’s.  They became one of the highest paid acts in Hollywood and even got turned into an animated cartoon series in 1965 called “The New 3 Stooges” and even tried their hands at becoming a weekly TV show that would have been called “Three Stooges Scrapbook”. In 1969, they were given another chance at becoming weekly TV stars with a show that would have been called “Kook’s Tour” that would follow the Stooges as they traveled the world, but this was not to be as Larry suffered a heart attack ending his run with the trio as well as ending The Three Stooges.  Even a dark comedy film written by Moe’s grandson called “Make Love, Not War” or “Make Mine Manila” and was about Moe, Curly Joe and Emil Sitka (a regular in Stooge movies) being POWs of World War II trying to escape never could get a green light from a studio. In 1974 Larry at the age of 72 suffered a stroke that put him into a coma, and sadly a short time later he passed away. Moe tried so hard not to let The Three Stooges end even after the death of his long time comedy partner and tried to get many movies off the ground but never could.  His last idea was a movie called “Blazing Stewardesses” but before it began Moe fell ill with lung cancer and had to retire from acting and passed away in 1975. Curly Joe still performed for years with a group he called The New Three Stooges that consisted of Mousie Garner and Frank Mitchell that went on till 1979. Joe Besser passed away in 1988 at the age of 80 from heart failure; Curly Joe passed away in1993 at the age of 83 from pneumonia, and Emil Sitka who was the only Stooge replacement never to be in a movie or show as a Stooge passed away in 1998 from a stroke at the age of 83. The Three Stooges are icons in the world of comedy, and now that I gave you a brief history on who they were, next I will share some memories of watching them!

The Stooges 1The Stooges 2The Stooges 3

I can remember even as a young child my dad watching old Three Stooges shorts on TV, mostly on WGN, a TV station out of Chicago that use to air them a lot on Sunday mornings. I used to laugh at the silly ways The Stooges would smack each other and all the silly faces they would make when they were worked up over whatever was annoying them at the time. While my Dad liked The Stooges, my Mom was the opposite and was not amused by their slapstick antics and was by no means a fan. I think my brother liked them like I did because I can remember watching them with him and him laughing at them as well. Besides the short films, I also really enjoyed watching the Three Stooges movies with my favorite being, of course, them meeting Hercules.  I can remember watching this film on TBS and loving every cheesy sword and sandal moment.  I can also remember watching the cartoon at my grandparents’ house with my cousin Nathan on VHS. I also always wanted 3 ¾” action figures of The Stooges that I could have had as characters in my Toy Wars.  Imagine Moe slapping Han Solo or Larry poking the eyes of Captain Power; that would have been some epic stuff. Even at the age of 36, I still find myself really enjoying The Three Stooges and can say they were a part of my childhood that was good memories watching with my Dad and brother.

MBDYONA EC001

On January 26, 1962, Columbia Pictures released a comedy sword and sandal film that mixed the Greek hero Hercules with the slapstick goofballs The Three Stooges that consisted of Moe, Larry and Curly Joe at the time. The film had The Stooges helping a down and out scientist with his experiment to create a time machine, and by accident The Stooges, the scientist and his girlfriend are flung back to ancient Greece and come face to face with an evil king and his henchman Hercules. The film was filled with lots of moments of silly comedy, and the Stooges played off Hercules who was the prefect straight man who had no time for their silly antics. The film starred Quinn Redeker, Vicki Trickett, Samson Burke and Emil Sitka and was, and still is, my favorite of all the Three Stooges movies. The plot is filled with lots of fun surprises, but I figured we would save that for the comic adaptation made by Dell. I used to not only watch this film on TV but also on VHS and later on DVD.  So do yourself a favor and check it out if you’re into sword and sandal films and Three Stooges comedy.

The Stooges 5Three Stooges Meet Hercules PosterThe Stooges 6

In 1965, Saturday Morning Cartoons as well as after school kids programs on TV were very import to stations as they tried to lock viewers for their station over the other and many production companies took advantage of this as they made syndicated programs and so was born The New 3 Stooges that combined live action segments to intro the cartoon and was distributed by Normandy Productions. Each episode ran for 30 minutes and had a total of 4 seasons and 156 episodes with 40 live segments shot making many of the cartoons use the same intro, confusing the viewer. The cartoon was a pretty big hit at the time and reruns can still be seen on TV to this day on Me-TV and Boomerang as well as can be found on many cheap dollar DVDs and VHS as well as all 156 episodes on DVD thanks to Image Madacy Entertainment. It should also be noted that many of the episodes are in the Public Domain and that for some time The Stooges were in a legal battle with Normandy over the show’s profits. So I am sure if you grew up watching classic cartoons, you have seen a few episodes of this series and have fond memories of it.

The New 3 Stooges

In 2012, someone in Hollywood decided that the world needed a new Three Stooges movie that would have three new actors step into the shoes of Moe, Larry and Curly as well as recycle plots from many of their short films. This time around Chris Diamantopoulos played Moe, Sean Hayes of Will & Grace fame played Larry and Will Sasso of MADTV played Curly. The plot had The Stooges having to go into the cruel world in order to get money to save the orphanage they grew up in after they could not afford the insurance due to all the accidents the Stooges have caused. During this adventure, they stumble on a murder for hire plot as well as go their separate ways after a fight leaves them at odds. In the end, they stop the murder, patch up their friendship and get the money needed to save the day thanks to Moe and MTV…yep, the one time music station. I saw the film in the theater with Josh Weinberg, and we both thought it was okay.  I watched it again with my Dad when I bought it for him for Christmas. The film did $54,819,301.00 at the USA box office for 20th Century Fox, but was trashed by the critics. I should also say that The Three Stooges showed up on WWE Monday Night Raw and got booed by the crowd, and they only cheered when Kane choke-slammed Curly!

THE THREE STOOGESthe three stooges 2012 posterNew Stooges 2

So I am sure you are wondering who played Hercules in The Three Stooges Meet Hercules…it was Samson Burke.  Now I am sure some of you are now asking who is Samson Burke, well I am here to tell you a little about him. Samson was born on April 8, 1929 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and got a degree in physical education as well as wrestled and swam for Canada in the 1948 Summer Olympic Games. In the 1950’s, he became a bodybuilder even winning Mr. Canada, Mr. Montreal and Mr. Muscle Beach, and his pure power also lead him into becoming a pro wrestler where he went under the name Sammy Berg and wrestled such legends as Lou Thesz, Nick Bockwinkel and Johnny Valentine. Samson also got bitten by the acting bug and started to appear in sword and sandal films like “The Revenge Of Ursus”, “Toto vs. Maciest” and “The Three Stooges Meet Hercules”. When the sword and sandal genre faded, he continued to act in such films as “The Triumph of Robin Hood” and “Sartana The Gravedigger”. In the 1980’s, he moved to Hawaii and retired from acting in the late 80’s, and as of 2009 he ran his own fitness business. Samson, who is 86, still makes appearances at conventions and is a beloved icon of Three Stooges lore and remains one of the only actors to play Hercules not as a hero but as a jerk!

Samson Burke

So before we take a look at the Dell Comic adaptation, I will pause for a moment to let you get another plate of food…go on, I can wait…. you good? Okay, let’s continue then, shall we? I want to thank an Ebay seller for having this issue in stock even though they had it listed as in great shape but it came complete with water damage and mold and a very strong rotten ink smell.  So yeah, great shape it is not! Before we get to the review I want to thank you for spending a part of your Thanksgiving with me.  I should also note that I grade this issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s get on that time machine with Moe, Larry and Curly Joe, and let’s not forget our turkey leg and see just why Hercules is being a henchman jerk to a evil ruler. I am going to guess he is upset because someone ate the last corn on the cob, but that’s just a rumor.

The Three Stooges Meet Hercules 1

The Three Stooges Meet Hercules # 1  **1/2
Released in 1962    Cover Price .15     Dell Comics     #208 of ??

Moe, Larry and Curly Joe are working at a drugstore that is being rocked by the next-door neighbor inventor Schuyler Davis whose experiment to make a time machine is going a little crazy. While The Stooges like him, the owner of the drugstore, Ralph Dimsal, hates him and wants him to fail in his attempt to time travel and even tampers with his plans. Schuyler is in love with Diane Quigley, and she gives him only two more days to get his time machine done before she walks away from their relationship because he is spending all his time on it and not her. All the while Curly Joe has made some pills that calm things down, and they use it on Schuyler’s machine.  After the Stooges try and help, it causes them as well as Schuyler and Diane to travel back in time to 900 B.C.! They land in the middle of a battle and meet Odius and his right hand man Hercules and help them take the crown of Ithaca from Ulysses when his men flee that battle. Odius takes a liking to Diane and has a feast for his new friends, but when Schuyler figures out they helped an evil man get into power he has The Stooges set Ulysses free after he had been captured. Ulysses escapes, and The Stooges and Schuyler are punished to work the rest of their lives on a slave ship, but after some time they are able to taste freedom when Schuyler gains muscle mass and a King thinks that he is Hercules and asks them to kill a two headed Cyclops that has been eating the kingdom’s live stock! With the help of the pills, Schuyler beats the Cyclops, the Cretan Bull and a Hydra and builds the name of Hercules. Meanwhile the real Hercules is not pleased with the fake and gets his chance to challenge Schuyler to an arena fight when The Stooges and he come to the castle to stop the wedding of Odius and Diane. In the arena Schuyler manhandles Hercules and makes him promise to turn good and help Ulysses reclaim the throne.  He along with The Stooges save Diane and head to the time machine and return home, only in the end for Schuyler to punch out Dimsal!

This is one of those adaptations that does a great job of capturing the silly story and the goofy characters that made the film such a classic in the first place. The plot of the comic is a great mix of many genres like comedy, sword and sandal and science fiction, and they make them all blend so well together. The plot has three dim whit drugstore workers as well as a scientist and his girlfriend being flung back in time to ancient Greece, and by doing so they change history and must make things right before they return to modern times.  To make things worse, Hercules is not the hero icon we all believed but is an ego driven creep who works for the side of the evil King. The Stooges are screw ups, but their heart is always in the right place.  If not for Curly Joe’s pills, they all would be in serious trouble many times. Moe is the hotheaded and smarter of the group, Larry in this just seems like a bit player who is around to get smacked and deliver jokes and Curly Joe is the dumb one who might not be as dumb as everyone thinks. Diane is just a sweet beautiful young woman who acts as the love interest to both the film’s hero and villain. Schuyler is the main hero who turns from nerdy wimp to strong nerd and even matches strength with Hercules and brings down the evil king. Hercules is a smug ego driven super strong man who reminds you of the bully jock in high school, and funny enough he is beaten down and made to look a fool by a man who he viewed as weaker. Hercules in this comic’s good guy legend was really built by Schuyler, who forces him to stop being a jerk and be the hero he can be. King Odius is a cruel man who doesn’t get much time in the comic to show his true evil ways but is given enough for the reader not to like him. As always with most Dell Comics I could not find the artist’s name, but I must say it’s very cartoonish in nature and while good, at some times it appears like a talented 10 year old did it, but I still found myself enjoying it. Over all this is a cool comic adaptation, and while not as good as the Steve Reeves Hercules comics by Dell, it still was a perfect read for this Thanksgiving update. Check out some samples of the artwork below and see the cheesy cartoon nature of this fun issue.

Stooges art 1stooges art 2stooges art 3

It’s weird that The Three Stooges didn’t meet more Greek and mythology icons. I mean who wouldn’t want to see “The Three Stooges Meet Samson” or “Maciste and The Three Stooges Save A Roman Holiday” or better yet “Three Stooges and a Strong Man”…so many missed opportunities. Well our next update will be in December, so I am thinking that we will do something fun and toy-related so let’s take a look at Starriors, a robot toy line that was created by Marvel Comics and Tomy Toys that had a four issue mini series. So until then I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and remember to read a comic or three and support your local horror host.

Starriors logo

Forgotten Hero 101: Holo-Man

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  On this update, I want to take a look at a superhero who never quite made it to the big leagues and never become a household name alongside Superman, Captain America and Batman, a hero who had the power of holograms as well as some other science fiction style abilities…and that hero I am talking about is Holo-Man! Yeah, I know a small portion of you readers out there know about this hero, but I am sure an even larger portion are in the dark to who this bright rainbow colored hero is.  So let’s start with the basics including how I first learned about Holo-Man and his greatness. Near our house on Royston Drive in Waynesville Ohio was Mary L. Cook Public Library, a place that my family visited quite a bit to check out books and comics and rent VHS tapes, all great stuff that helped add to the enjoyment of growing up in a small village. This library is also where I discovered the Crestwood Monster Book series and is also where I would use the copy machine to make copies of pictures of monsters from books like Godzilla, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell and The Wolf Man that they stocked on their shelves.  They also had a small selection in the kids section of old Book and Record comic books that were bound in a green hardback binding and all were missing the record. I spent many of hours in that library looking at kids books, horror history books, comics and Rolling Stones Magazine, and it was a big part of my childhood for sure. I can even remember them having amazing book sales where they would sell bags of books for as low as a dollar a bag.  My Mom would take me and Bryan down there on these sales and we would load up with all types of good reads. So here is to all the libraries in the world that have helped shape many young minds and helped many in the world with good reads and a place to find peace and education. And at this library is were I first laid my eyes on and even read the first and only issue of Holo-Man as I checked it out to read. I can remember the first time I flipped through the book and saw the lack of action I knew I was in for some boring stuff and I was right! The young Matt just didn’t like Holo-Man all that much, and after this first reading he became a joke of a character between my brother Bryan and I.  At one point I think we made a beat and the loser had to check out the comic again and read it if they lost! And for some reason as a kid I thought Marvel Comics made this character, and it was not until much latter that I discovered that it was Atomic Comics and this cheesy hero was a big flop with kids and readers. So I guess I should also say thank you Mary L. Cook Libary for also introducing me to Holo-Man and his lackluster adventure.

Mary L Cook Library

Back in the 70’s, Peter Pan Records created a branch called Power Records that was a way to showcase record-based dramas featuring comic book heroes as well as TV and movie characters. Besides doing large LPs, they also started to do small 45 ones that were packaged along with a comic book and were called “Book And Record Set.”  They would be a great way for comic fans to get a little more bang for their buck as they cost more than a regular comic. Power Records didn’t pick sides in the comic war as they put out just as many DC as they did Marvel and sometimes they would even put out an independent title like they did with Holo-Man. Besides normal LPs and the Book & Record sets, they also did story books with records that were mostly based around movies of the time like Star Trek The Motion Picture. Growing up, my brother and I had lots of these style books and most of the time, the poor record would get lost or scratched and we mostly just used them as normal books! But while this style of comic isn’t not made anymore, those who had them growing up know how cool it was to read your comic/book and have a record playing the adventure you were reading acted out as a play.

Superman Book and RecordPower Record LogoIncredible Hulk Power Record

Back when I use to rent the Book & Record comics from the library, the back inside cover use to be this really cool yellow background picture that showcases many of Marvel’s top heroes as well as monsters and movie tie-in characters that included Captain America, Hulk, Man-Thing, Dracula and Apes from Planet of The Apes. I can admit this now as I ended up buying these very books from a library sale when I was a youngster, I used to try and peel off those pictures as I wanted to keep them and tape them to my cardboard playhouse I had in my room.  For some reason I really wanted Jack Russell aka Werewolf by Night as I was a huge fan of werewolves in films and comics. It was something about the black pen drawings on that yellow background that made my young mind also work into over time to set up fake fights between the characters and make up stories of how Dracula would be defeated by The Hulk or how The Thing would survive on the Planet of the Apes. I had such a great imagination when I was a kid. I am sure you’re wondering if I was ever able to peel any of them off and tape them up, and the answer is no as the picture was glued to the back of the hardback book binding and when trying to peel they would just rip and you would end up with half a character or a headless one. Below is a picture of that image and to this day for some reason I think it’s badass!

The Heroes of Power Records

While I am a old school metalhead who loves to listen to music that makes me want to bang my head and allow metal health to drive me mad, I still enjoy a good pop release that is filled with catchy songs and fun loving beats. One of the modern pop rap divas that I have found myself enjoying is Iggy Azalea, who is a beautiful young woman from Australia who has a soothing voice as she raps, well at least that’s my opinion. I first heard of her thanks to Youtube as I saw her video for a song called Fancy where she dressed up as Alicia Silverstone from the film Clueless.  The song was catchy, and her appearance caught my attention and lead me to watch more of her videos as well as listen to interviews she did. Then I noticed that she was being played on the radio more and more often as well as guest starring on many other rap and pop songs for other artists. So while I was working on this write up for Holo-Man, I was re-listening to Iggy and decided to share my thoughts on her first E.P. “Your Life” as well as her first full release called “The New Classics.”  So sit back and let me tell you about the hit and misses of these releases. In 2013, Iggy put out a E.P. to showcase her talents and build up a fanbase before her first album dropped.  This E.P. was called Your Life, and it only really has 3 songs with the rest being remixes.  This is kind of annoying but I can forgive it with it being only a E.P. my favorite song on this hands down is “Bounce,” a really catchy song that mixes pop rap with Bollywood beats.  This truly is a good song and was even used for the trailer for Spy starring Melissa McCarthy. The rest of the songs on the E.P. are okay but most are just remixes of the same song. Iggy Azalea’s first full album was the 2014 release called The New Classic, and it’s a perfect mix of rap and pop music that is filled with lots of catchy songs as well as some really silly and cheesy ones. Some of my favorite songs off this album are Fancy, a pop rap treat for the ears that has her teaming with Charli XCX that has catchy beat and some fun lyrics. My other favorite is her other radio hit Black Widow where she and Rita Ora sing about making their one time lovers hate them. But just wanted to share real quick what I was listening to when I wrote this update, and I am not afraid to say I am a Iggy fan and look forward to her next release.

Iggy Azalea Change Your Life EP CDIggy Azaleaiggy azalea new classic cd

Who is Holo-Man and what is he about I am sure your thinking to yourself, and some of my readers who have read comics most of their lives are trying to remember if they ever seen an issue of Holo-Man in their local comic shop or even on a spinner rack at the grocery store. And to answer the question, Holo-Man was only made in the Book & Record set as far as this nerd knows. But one puzzling aspect is that Holo-Man had his own fan club as well as was on a coin that was featured alongside Marvel characters who also had coins made! So it makes you wonder if Atomic Comics who created Holo-Man and Marvel had some sort of partnership where crossovers or even help distribute his comic series. Holo-Man had a huge push with merchandise, a fan club, a book & record set and the coin, so what went wrong and why was only one issue made? Did the comic sell that badly that no other issues were ordered? Did Atomic Comics go out of business and the character fell into a fate of no company to call his own? Whatever the reason that Holo-Man was not a top notch hero in the world of comics one thing was for sure is that for $5.00 you could become a HoloSquad Member!

Holo Man AdSo you know as much about Holo-Man as I do, and you learned about my introduction to this Z-Grade tight wearing hero. But even if he is a cheesy hero and his comic only lasted one issue and had to be packaged with a record, he’s still made his mark in the world of comics no matter how small the impact was. Plus you know that Atomic Comics must have had so much faith in the character and they were hoping that readers and kids would bond with the character and make him a household name like Superman and Spider-Man. I should also think Ebay for having this comic for me to review for this pre-thanksgiving update snack that is backed with enough comic sci-fi cheese that it should keep us stuffed till then. I want to remind you that I grading this comic on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to relive this comic adventure with me and see just how well Holo-Man holds up (or is that degrades?) let’s turn on a lava lamp and travel to the world of holograms.

Holo Man 1

The Adventures Of Holo-Man # 1  **
Released in 1978   Cover Price $1.50   Power Records   #1 of 1

A pair of Syrian spies break into a top secret lab in Texas and rig up a laser to explode when it’s next fired up.  They do so because The President of the United Sates is at the lab and is about to watch a laser/holographic fusion demonstration put on by Dr. James Robinson and his assistant Hugo, and they hope they all will be killed in the explosion! As the test starts and the laser overloads, James jumps in front of the President and saves him but takes a blast of Holographic rays.  This takes James to a portal in the galaxy and he meets Laserman who fills him in on his new powers of becoming the first ever living Hologram known as Holo-Man! As Holo-Man he can travel through time and dimensions, can blend in with his surroundings and can make illusions to confuse his enemies, but he must charge a charm every 12 hours or his powers become weaker. James wakes back up in the lab and finds Hugo dying who tells him that the accident was caused by the Syrians and he was the one that gave them the blueprints because they were holding his family hostage.  He also tells James that the Syrians are going to use holographic missiles to confuse the American people and then set out a real attack to take over our great nation. Hugo dies as Holo-Man rushes to the White House and tells The President about the Syrians plan, and they decide that they must stop it before it happens.  When Holo-Man leaves, his power is weaker and he must charge his disc but as he looks up the fake missiles are already filling the sky as panic people are running for their lives.

This comic ends on a cliffhanger with fake missiles in the skies as poor normal people are panicking and Holo-Man is standing around looking shocked at what he sees even though he knew the attack was in the works and that the first wave of missiles are fake. This issue is clearly an origin issue with the idea of making comic readers become attached to the hero.  It’s plot is very simple, foreign bad guys try to kill our President, a scientist who is not only super smart but brave takes the brunt of said accident and turns into a superhero who in turn must stop the bad guys from invading America. The major issue is that Holo-Man/James Robinson is not fleshed out enough for me to really stand behind him and allow him to become a hero that I would care about reading more adventures of. What I did gather about Holo-Man is that he is smart and loyal to America and while he has powers that allow him to create holographic illusions and travel in time, he does not have any type of super human strength so a well trained thug with fists of stone could knock him out with a well placed punch. Another downside to Holo-Man is the fact his powers can be drained if used too long and he must spend time to charge his HoloDisc that he must keep safe. While I understand his family was in danger, Hugo still is a traitor to is country and single handedly has helped turn America into an upcoming warzone. Laserman is a mix of Zeus and a Wizard and rocks a white long beard and just flings powers on James and gives him one of the quickest crash courses ever on what his powers are. I would say he would have to be one of the worst mentors in comic history. The President looks a lot like Jimmy Carter who would have been the President at the time of the comic and records release. While I read the comic first by itself I later did listen to the record to help add to the over all cheese and fun of this comic. I must say that this comic is slightly better then I remember it being as a kid, but with that said it still is a bland yet entertaining comic. Shame on Power Records and the creators of Holo-Man for not finishing this story as the end makes it appear that all hope is gone and that America is going to become like Red Dawn with Syrians instead of Russians taking over. The art work is done by Joseph Giella and has that classic 70’s comic look, and is well done for what is really a throw away comic. Over all this is as cheesy as I remember it being and for all accounts is a superhero that time has truly forgotten.

Holoman Art 1

Reading back to back comics about superheroes that have cheesy outdated powers and even goofer costumes gave me the idea to have a fantasy warfare that will pit 3-D Man against Holo-Man in a battle of might and power. The setting will be downtown Belmont, Ohio during a Thanksgiving Day Parade right outside Rich’s Pawn Shop in the year of 1983. So let’s sit back and see who will win this showdown of epic proportions as 3-D Man vs. Holo-Man!

Holo-ManVs Boom3-D Man

A float for Renaissance Music is going down the street as the Godzilla masked Mr. G is waving at the people watching the big parade as its followed by a Mike-Sells float that is throwing out potato chips the the hungry crowd.  One couple watching is Hal Chandler and his wife Peggy who wave back and as they do so Hal notices that near Ritch’s Pawn Shop a man in a trench coat is looming around looking as if he is a man on a mission! Hal fears that this man might be a pervert flasher and fearing that his wife might be his target he slips away and puts on his special glasses and transforms into 3-D Man.  As the red and green hero rushes off the knocked out body of Hal hits the near by dumpster and looks like a drunken fool who couldn’t handle his liquor. As 3-D Man rushes to the trench coat menace he grabs him by the shoulder and off comes the coat to show before him a man in rainbow colors and a red cape! The man turns around and screams “Who dares put their hands on Holo-Man, the master of holograms as he tries to enjoy this parade?” as 3-D Man says “ I do as I am 3-D Man the master of 3-D, and you my friend is no watcher but a flasher!” These words send Holo-Man into a rage as he is really there to watch and not show off his goods, and he places a powerful hit onto 3-D Man’s jaw knocking him through the window of Belmont Catering. A crowd starts to gather as people watch as 3-D Man leaps from the window filled with anger and knocks Holo-Man to the ground and starts pounding on the his face.  Holo-Man after a minute of having his face smashed is able to kick 3-D Man off him with the power of a mac truck and knocks him across the street, and stands to his feet his face bloody and swollen he looks at 3-D Man who is back to his feet holding his ribs.  Holo-Man knows that this is his chance as he bull rushes his opponent and starts landing punches to 3-D Man’s body like Rocky hitting a slab of meat, the punches are powerful and you can hear ribs cracking and breaking. 3-D Man falls to his knees as Holo-Man turns to the crowd to let the crowd know that the fight is over, but he should never had turned his back to 3-D Man who uses all his power to place a punch to the back of Holo-Mans head and through it as his fists exits the master of hologram’s mouth killing him on the spot. The crowd screams in horror and runs away as the police are nowhere to be found.  This buys 3-D Man some time as he crawls to Hal and enters awakens his brother only for Hal to wake up and find that his wallet, watch and shoes have been stolen and his wife had ran off with a young scientist form Dayton named Bruce Banner.

Winner: 3-D Man

So as you can see even though 3-D Man won, he still lost as his alter ego has been robbed of his wealth and his wife and as the super hero his ribs have been almost smashed into powder. But to be honest ,this would be a great fight between two very silly superheroes who are very much dated, but still have a cool factor to them. Our next update will be our traditional Thanksgiving Day update and will once more feature the greek hero Hercules.  This time he will be teaming up with none other than The Three Stooges thanks to Dell Comics and their adaptation of the classic comedy film The Three Stooges Meet Hercules.  So make sure to save some room for this cheesy and fun update after your turkey and/or ham feast. So until then have a safe holiday, read a comic or three, support your local horror host and as Bill & Ted would say “Be Excellent To Each Other.”

Three Stooges Meet Hercules Logo