Gross For One….Gross For All….Madballs!

Growing up most kids I knew had a baseball to play with, but some of us kids of the 80’s had something better to toss around with friends; we had Madballs!! And that’s the topic of today’s update, those monster and gross balls that swept the nation of must-have toys on the playground for a short time. Growing up, I can remember seeing kids on the playground tossing around the Madball of Screaming Meemie.  My friends and I even tried to play baseball with it, but it was a very poor ball to use in a game as hitting it never seemed to equal a home run. I can remember being at my cousins Dino and Norman’s house playing in the pool and throwing Madballs at each other, and as they would hit they would make a splat sound.  We also used Touchdown Terror at their house to play football on Thanksgiving one year. For my birthday one year I can remember getting a Madball birthday card from my parents that also included a metal button of Slobulus if memory serves me. It’s weird, in my youth I never owned an original Madball, but my brother and I did each have a Head-Popping Madball that our dad got for us from Hills Department Store one winter night as a way to keep us entertained when my parents took us to one of my dad’s work friend’s houses. My brother got Wolf Breath, and I got Lock Lips.  They were very cool, and I can remember our Mom yelling at us to stop shooting the heads at each other! We both had these figures for years, but sadly, like some of the other toys of my youth, they were given away or sold at a garage sale. Weirdly enough, in my 30’s I now own two Madballs, with Mavericks Cards and Comics selling me Slobulus and Horn Head for cheap prices about 3 years ago as well as my friend Max Ervin who gave me Screaming Meemie around the same time. It’s odd to think that while I never owned any of the original Madballs in my youth, they remain one of the most iconic toy lines in my mind.  Below is a picture of the original Madballs I own now as I hope you enjoy this update as much as I enjoyed writing it!

  • Note From Matt – In April 2016 Roar Comics started up a new Madballs comic series!

My Madballs

American Greetings is the company who created and produced Madballs.  They were started in 1906 by Jacob Sapirstein and are the 2nd largest greeting card company in the world, and to this day they are still run by the Sapirstein family! Over the years they continued to make greeting cards and also became sponsors for TV shows like Entertainment Tonight and Dragon Tales and ventured out into toys and cartoons. American Greetings has created iconic toy characters like Madballs, My Pet Monster, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Lady Lovely Locks and Popples, and after owning many of them for so many years, they sold Strawberry Shortcake in 2015 to Iconix Brand Group for $105 million. I should also point out that American Greetings is an Ohio founded company showing that we Ohioans really are creative people. I wanted to share a brief look at the company that created Madballs and show them some respect before we move onto the fast pitch of this update.  So here is to you, American Greetings, for making some amazing characters who helped shape many kids’ childhoods!

American Greetings Logo

Madballs hit toy shelves in 1985 and were aimed at capturing the attention of young boys who loved horror films, horror hosts and monster comics. The gross balls were made of rubber and foam and were supposed to be used to scare your friends as well as play sports with them. The commercials for these toys flooded Saturday Morning Cartoons and started a wave of kids begging their parents to get them one.  I will admit that my brother Bryan and I were those kids that they marketed them to, and sadly and strangely, as I noted above, my parents never got us any! Series One consisted of 8 characters that included “Screamin Meemie” a baseball with a face and a large Rolling Stone’s logo tongue, “Slobulus” a green creature who’s got one hanging eye and slobbers, “Aargh” was a blue skinned Frankenstein Monster also with one eye, “Horn Head” is a purple skinned Cyclops with a nose ring, “Skull Face” is a skull, “Crack Head” a cracked head with his brain exposed, “Oculus Orbus” is a giant eyeball and “Dust Brain” a green skinned Mummy! The original Madballs were a huge hit with the kids in Waynesville and were a major talking point between my brother and me for a short time. Parents flipped out over the toys, saying they were too gross and had terrible names, and this changed Crack Head’s name to Bash Brain due to the slang use of the term crack head being used for drug addicts. The worst part about Madballs was that they cracked and parts of the paint would fall off and expose the foam underneath, very annoying and one of the flaws of this toy line for sure.

Madballs Series 1

The popularity of the toyline sparked a second series that showcased “Wolf Breath” as Werewolf, “Swine Sucker” a mutated looking boar, “Bruise Brother” a messed up looking biker, “Freaky Fullback” a freak football player, “Snake Bait” a Gorgon, “Lock Lips” a monster with locks over one eye and mouth, “Fist Face” a hand holding a eyeball and “Splitting Headache” a half peeled face monster! The second series was popular but also was at the point where I noticed the kids at school had shifted towards other toy lines.  Madballs were cool but no longer the must have toy. This second set has many great characters that I would love to have had back in the day as well as even to this day: Wolf Breath, Swine Sucker and Lock Lips! Below are some pics from the second series that will show you also how the designs of the characters got better and how they dipped into the pool of classic monsters (Werewolf & Gorgon) as well as real life goons that scared people (the jock & biker). Also, in the 2000’s Madballs made a small comeback and were brought back to toy shelves as squishy toys.  They made a small impact before once more being sent off to toy heaven.

snakebaitwolfbreathswinesucker

Super Madballs were bigger and were not in the shape of a baseballs but the sport they were named after.  They were “Goal Eater” a soccer ball with teeth, “Touchdown Terror” a football missile monster and “Foul Shot” a basketball with a face and worms in his eye! These were big and bulky, and my cousins were the only kids I knew who had one of them. By the point Super Madballs were released, the steam was out of the line and over time Madballs faded into the world of forgotten toys.  I was not a fan of the Super Madballs back then and still don’t really have a soft spot for them. So let’s move on past, them shall we?

Super Madballs

Head-Popping Madballs featured the popular characters from the toy line, this time with bodies and the ability to launch their heads off as well as swap with other characters. The bodies were made of hard plastic with movable arms and legs, while the heads were rubber and detailed. The line had Screamin Meemie, Horn Head, Oculus Orbus, Slobulus, Dust Brain, Skull Face, Wolf Breath, Bruise Brother and Lock Lips who I had as a youngster like I said earlier. While the original Madballs were really cool, these figures were the ones I really liked, and I can remember playing with Lock Lips alongside my Masters Of The Universe figures. You see the Head-Popping Madballs were action figures, while the Madballs were, well, just balls! For a long time at GameSwap, the body of Skull Face was floating around, and many of us dug through a bin of old toy parts hoping to find its head that we sadly never did. Below are some examples of this series of Madballs, enjoy!

Head Popping Lock LipsHead Popping OrbusHead Popping Wolfbreath

Besides these toylines, over the years many other cool merchandise has been released based on The Madballs like greeting and Valentine Cards, stickers, wind-up toys, t-shirts, VHS tapes, comics and video games! That’s right, Madballs had a video game in 1988 that was made by Ocean for Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum that had you playing a Madball rolling around a maze and collecting your fellow Madballs. The game got very poor reviews and never made it to the NES. In 2009, a game for the X-BOX Live Arcade called Babo: Invasion featured two Madballs as characters, Horn Head and Oculus Orbus! So while a modern generation of kids might not know what a Madball is, for us kids of the 80’s there was lots of great merchandise to choose from back then and even a little now!

Madballs Wind UpMadballs Video Game (C64)Madballs TShirt

In 1986, Madballs got the cartoon treatment, and oddly enough, the toons were not made for TV viewing but only for the home video market by Nelvana on VHS. The first cartoon was called “Escape From Orb” and has the Madballs living on Orb, a place that music is banned.  They want to escape to Earth so they can tour as a band, but Commander Wolfbreath and the Badballs want to stop them. The second tape was called “Madballs: Gross Jokes” and had our stars acting out silly skits. I can remember renting the Escape From Orb cartoon from Mary L. Cook Public Library and being super hyped to watch it and rushing to pop it into the old VCR.  After the cartoon I was so disappointed at the back story given to these characters and hated the fact that they were aspiring rock stars…so lame and to me it came off as trying to cash in on the popularity of The California Raisins who were singing their way into hearts around the same time as well as cashing in on the success of bands like Bon Jovi and Poison who were as well very popular at the time with youngsters. Plus I was not a huge fan of the personalities they gave some of the Madballs as they should have been a little more gross and a little more mean. But while I may not have liked the story of the characters, I did find that animation to be pretty cool and it made me wonder why they went the home video route and not the Saturday Morning Cartoon one that could have given the series a shot in the arm and made them last a little longer on the must-have toy list. And before you ask, no I never did own the VHS tapes as a kid and only did get them when I got older and found them dirt cheap at a thrift store.

Madballs VHS 1Madballs CartoonMadballs VHS 2

While Madballs became popular, they also sparked knock-off toys like Bonkers The Ugly Ball, a grey skull face with a grin, and even Odd Balls, a series that had a Devil and even a Mummy as part of its line. Now I must admit that I did have two Odd Balls growing up as I can remember that they were very generic rubber balls that stung when being hit with one during a came of ball tag. The ones I had were Dirty Devil, a goofy very generic devil complete with evil twisted mustache goatee combo as well as buck teeth, and the other was Evil Knievel, a Mummy with purple skin and blood stains on his wrapping. Evil Knievel is the one I played with most, and I can remember tossing him around the backyard, rolling him off the roof of the house and shed and even tossed him over in the neighbor’s yard when my school crush was visiting her just so I could come over and say hi to her…yeah, I was such a monster kid dork back then that I used a Odd Ball to talk to a crush. Below is Ugly Ball as well as the two Odd Balls that I used to have when I was a kid.

Ugly BallOdd Balls - Dirty DevilOdd Balls - Evil Knievel

So we are at the core of this update, the Star Comic reviews! My brother and I had the first three issues of Madballs growing up, and I can remember that we both thought that our issue # 1 was going to be worth a fortune when we grew up.  To no one’s shock, it’s only worth a few dollars and is really common to find in local comic store’s dollar bins. Star Comics was so cool in the 80’s and made so many amazing comics based on toys and cartoons of the time, and Madballs was one of the lucky few that were chosen to be a three issue mini series and went on to be a total of 10 issues! I am pretty hyped to see if the final issue is a true final issue or if it will just end like so many other Star Comics at the time, quickly and dirty with no respect for the readers. Before we go bouncing around with The Madballs, 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. I also want to thank Mavericks, Bell Book And Comic, Lone Star Comics and 2nd And Charles for having these issues in stock for this review. So let’s get ready to get totally gross with Star Comic and The Madballs!

Madballs 1

Madballs # 1  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   # 1 of 10

“The Evil Dr. Frankenbeans” A delivery truck loses 8 rubber balls from the cargo it’s carrying.  They bounce down the road and land in a pond of chemicals at the R.U.I.N. laboratories and turn into Madballs that include Screamin’ Meemie, Horn Head, Dust Brain, Crack Head, AARGH, Skull Face, Slobulus and Oculus Orbus.  They find a nearby park and meet some youths led by Tommy playing baseball, and the two groups quickly become friends. Meanwhile R.U.I.N. head scientist Viktor Frankenbeans and his dim-witted assistant Snivelitch spot the Madballs and want to capture them as Frankenbeans thinks they will lead to him winning a Nobel Prize! When Snivelitch fails to capture them, Frankenbeans plays dirty and uses free drinks to give Skull Face everlasting hiccups and tries to kidnap the Madball but is stopped thanks to Slobulus who uses his slime to trip up Frankenbeans making him fall into his own chemical pond and swearing revenge on our round heroes. In the end, Skull Face is cured of his hiccups with a look in a mirror that causes him to scare himself. The second story is called “Corn-Ered!” The Madballs are playing hide and seek with Tommy and the kids when the corn comes alive and takes the kids captive to an old barn where the Madballs come face to face with Colonel Corn who was once a normal piece of corn until he fell into the chemical pond of R.U.I.N. and now wants to take over the world! Colonel Corn uses puns and a floating ball of kernels he calls Cornball to defeat The Madballs, but they are not down for long as Screamin’ Meemie gets so mad the heat from his anger turns Colonel Corn and Cornball into popcorn!

This first issue was just as cheesy and fun as I remember it to be way back in 1986 when I first read it! This issue shows how the Madballs came to be and uses the chemical pond as a way to turn normal rubber balls into talking scary and gross living creatures who have hearts of gold and befriend the local youth as they just want to have fun. None of the Madballs stand out as the leader and each are just filled with bad puns and really silly bad habits like drooling and screaming. It’s pretty amazing seeing a kids comic use the name Crack Head as the character is used in many spots and gets his time to shine. Dr. Viktor Frankenbeans is a mad scientist who is working for R.U.I.N. and is making terrible chemicals that not only smell bad but also are causing harm to nature and people.  He seems not to care as he is only seeking fame in this issue. He reminds me of a cheaper version of Gargamel from The Smurfs as his look and attitude are kind of matching. Snivelitch is a goon who is shown to not be very bright and is the whipping boy for Frankenbeans who jumps at any chance to put his goof assistant down. I am sure Snivelitch will act as the comic relief as I can see him screwing things up in the coming issues. Colonel Corn is the master of puns and with his play on words is able to beat down The Madballs, but when he is defeated and his head kernels are popped and turned into popcorn, he is just a husk head of a man watching as the kids and The Madballs eat what was once his face…. I want you to think about that….it’s like being weak and defeated and watching as zombies ate your face flesh meat while watching the Care Bears…sick twisted stuff. The cover is top notch and fantastic and I am sure caught the eye of many kids on the newsstands.  The art inside is also well done for this style of kids comic and was done by Howie Post (Howard Post) who is known for his comic strip The Dropouts as well as his work for Harvey Comics. He also did the artwork for some issues of Wally The Wizard for Star as well as the Centipede promo comic from DC, both of which I’ve covered here on Rotten Ink. An A-list artist for kids comics was on board for this one! Over all I can say I enjoyed this comic back when I was a kid and still did when I read it again.  So let’s see how issue two holds up.

Madballs 2

Madballs # 2  **
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   # 2 of 10

“Dr. Frankenbeans Returns” The Madballs are having fun with the kids when Oculus Orbus decides to go bird watching and goes on an adventure of his own. Meanwhile Dr. Frankenbean has come out of the chemical pond and comes up with a plan with Snivelitch to get The Madballs under his control.  It includes getting the help of Miss Tic The Mystic who hypnotizes The Madballs to be under Frankenbeans’ control so he can have them turn on the kids! In the end Oculus Orbus returns and reverses the spell and has Frankenbeans, Miss Tic and Snivelitch thinking they are ducks and swimming in the pond. “Meet Weirdbeard The Pirate” Tommy and the kids are fishing with The Madballs.  They enter a fog bank that takes them back in time where they are kidnapped and forced into slavery by Weirdbeard and The Madballs are tossed into the sea. Weirdbeard needs this crew as he wants to find the hidden treasure of Peg Leg Peg.  On the Island The Madballs with the help of a octopus save the kids and find the fog to get back to their time.  As for Weirdbeard, he gets himself gets captured by Peg Leg Peg who makes him her slave!

This second issue is good but did slip a little as it’s not as fun as the first issue.  In fact, the stories in this issue seemed a little rushed and both would be better as backup stories in an issue with better plotted stories. The return of Dr. Frankenbean is a letdown as his plan to get revenge is taken apart in moments by Oculus Orbus who turns the table on him and once more places him in the chemical stew pond. Miss Tic is a goth woman who has the power of hypnotizing the weak of mind and can also read minds, funny thing about that is Snivelitch has dirty ideas in his mind when it comes to Tic! The atmosphere for the first story’s castle of Miss Tic is well played as it reminded me of a set used on a Horror Host show from the 70’s. The second story of Peg Leg Peg and Weirdbeard was not my thing and for the most part I was bored reading it as it had a very generic feel. Here is to hoping we won’t see Weridbeard or Peg again but that we will see Miss Tic again as I could see her joining the fight against The Madballs more often. Oculus Orbus is the only Madball who stands out this issue as he uses his power of being a big eye to reverse the hypnotic spell and save his friends from being mindless slaves. The rest of The Madballs all kind of do what they do and that’s deliver puns and have fun doing things with their friends Tommy and his crew. The cover is well done and once more eye catching with the first story’s art by Howie Post and the second one by Roberta Edelman.  Both do a great job with the art even if the stories are a little lackluster. I’m going to move on from this issue to the third one and hope that it has better stories.

Madballs 3

Madballs # 3  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   # 3 of 10

“Attack Of The Bad Balls” Dr. Frankenbean and Snivelitch hide and listen to The Madballs and the kids talking about how the chemical pond turned 8 regular balls into their gross friends they call The Madballs. Frankenbean returns to R.U.I.N and tries to make his own version of talking gross balls.  Only after nearly giving up and using bowling balls does it work and out come The Badballs who are Smasher, Crasher and Trasher.  They have a rumble with The Madballs that leaves our heroes having to make a run for it! But once more Crack Head comes up with a plan that leaves the Badballs falling back into the chemical pond and turning back into boomerang balls that knock out Frankenbean and Snivelitch as the Madballs spin some more puns. The second story is “Now Museum, Now You Don’t” that has The Madballs running loose in a museum and the security guards are trying to stop them as hijinks run wild that leaves them all crashing into a big gross mess and being mistaken for art! The third story is “ Spaced Out” The Madballs bring down a U.F.O as they fear it might attack Tommy and the gang.  Inside is Rojad who came in peace but feels The Madballs are attacking him so he uses his shrink gun and turns them to the size of peas! As he grabs them, they muster all their power and take Rojad for a quick ride.  The alien and The Madballs patch things up, and they soon find out that his ship is out of fuel and the fuel he needs is the drool slime of Slobulus who he tries to kidnap. The Madballs must tangle with Rojad again, but after the fight they become friends as Slobulus fills his tank up and even gets a gold tooth as payment!

This third issue is a fun goofy ride and, like issue one, captures the gross nature of The Madballs and adds in some trouble for them to face that seem like actual threats. This issue also has three stories instead of two, giving you more silly adventures for the 75-cent price tag. The best story of the three has to be “Spaced Out” as I like the idea of The Madballs fighting an alien who wears yellow and has a robot like face.  The idea that drool slime fuels his ship is also classic 80’s toy and comic stuff. The Madballs in the issue are shown to be fighters and thinkers as they outsmart not only The Badballs but also Rojad and do so with smarts and might. They are also very protective of their human friends.  If they think they are in danger, they will attack and defend with all their round might. Oh yeah, Crack Head once more shows that he is smart as he comes up with a plan to defeat the Badballs that works! Like in all of the issues up to this point, the Madballs spend lots of time spewing out cheesy puns that young kids would laugh at. The Badballs are three tough as nails bowling balls who are bullies, but soon find out that their heavy nature helped them in the fight but also was their downfall. Rojad was not really a bad guy but did have The Madballs on the ropes with his shrink gun.  For an alien that came in peace he sure did turn evil when it came to kidnapping poor Slobulus! Dr. Frankenbean and Snivelitch once more come up with a plan to get revenge and as always fail at that mission. The cover is great and would catch the eye not just of Madball fans but also Monster Kids as it has a very Frankenstein feel to it, or at least I think so. The art is once more done by kids comic legend Howie Post and shows why he was a go to guy for these type of comics. I’m glad to see the series back on track with this issue, and I hope the fourth keeps it up! Plus, this is a Star Comic that went on after its 3-issue mini series, now let’s take bets if it has a true final issue.

Madballs 4

Madballs # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 4 of 10

“The Madballs Meet The New Madballs” Dr. Frankenbean is depressed about not being able to get his revenge on The Madballs, and this has taken over his life until he and Snivelitch come up with a plan that has them throwing eight more rubber balls into the chemical pond.  Out comes eight new Madballs that are Wolf Breath, Swine Sucker, Snake Bait, Lock Lips, Fistface, Freaky Fullback, Splitting Headache and Bruise Brother! Frankenbeans tricks his New Madballs into going to the park and rumbling with the old ones, and boy do they, as each team has members fall.  It comes down to Horn Head and Bruise Brother clashing head on that causes the ground to crack, and Tommy falls in! When all The Madballs and New Madballs awaken, they figure out they are all brothers and they save Tommy and chase off Frankenbean and Snivelitch and all sixteen Madballs make their home in an abandoned dance hall. “Anchors Away” Tommy and the gang along with Madballs Screamin’ Meemie, Slobulus, Dust Brain, Wolf Breath, Snake Bait and Fist Face are rush home to watch the news, but before it comes on Wolf Breath along with Snake Bait and Slobulus all go for the kitchen for a snack and don’t see that news anchor Ben Defax has hypnotized his viewers into giving him all their wealth.  He’s also begun wearing a mask in the shape of a boat anchor and calling himself Anchor-Man! His power comes from his microphone, and the three Madballs figure out a way to defeat him and break his hold on the viewers when Wolf Breath’s bad breath breaks the hold on the fellow Madballs and Snake Bait uses his snakes to crush the microphone.

This issue is the first for The Madballs to break the mini series banner and become a full series as Star Comics listened to the readers and gave them more gross out adventures than what was planned. Plus this issues adds in the eight Madballs that were released in series two into the plot and has them joining the others as well as Tommy and his friends in having fun and foiling the plots of Frankenbeans. I must say that adding the New Madballs to the cast was really cool as seeing Wolf Breath and Swine Sucker in action is cool, but it also dilutes the cast as now some Madballs seem to take a backseat and others seem to be the focus as Snake Bait is showcased more in this issue than Oculus Orbus, AARGAH and Crack Head (who is now being called Bash Brain) combined! It’s nice to see Frankenbean and Snivelitch come back to the now on-going series, and they and the R.U.I.N. Lab are great as the major bad guys to the series. The main baddie is Ben Defax aka Anchor-Man, who wants to use his fame of being on TV and his hypnotizing microphone to steal from his fans.  He’s a real ego driven jerk who wears a dumb giant boat anchor mask to add fear to his life in crime. In this issue we also find out that The Madballs are make home in an abandoned old play theater and this run down setting is great for their gross home base. I enjoyed both stories equally, and it was nice to see The Madball rumble in the first story as it’s clear only a Madball can defeat a Madball. The art in this issue is done by Howie Post once more, and it’s fantastic and the cover is good.  Over all this is a solid kids comic based on a toy line, and so far I am enjoying it as much as I did when I was a kid and first read them.

Madballs 5

Madballs # 5   **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 5 of 10

“Plus 3 Makes 19” Dr. Frankenbean is very upset over the 16 Madballs and how they have foiled his evil plans.  When Tommy and the gang go to get ice cream, he steals their soccer ball, football and basketball and tosses them into the chemical pond and out pops The Super Madballs named Touchdown Terror, Foul Shot and Goal Eater.  He sends them out to beat up The Madballs, and the rumble starts and ends soon as Freaky Fullback and Touchdown Terror find they have lots in common and they discover that they are all one big gross family! The Super Madballs chase down Frankenbeans and Snivelitch and toss them into the chemical pond, and all ends well for the ever growing Madball family. “Veg Out” has Dr. Frankenbean getting help from a hypnotist after his last defeat at the hands (or is that heads?) of The Madballs that has him now focusing on growing vegetables.  After a mistake made by Snivelitch, instead of water he sprays his garden with liquid from the chemical pond and out comes The Vegeterribles that include Rotten Tomato, Crushroom, Paul Onion, Spud-Nick, Pea Shooter and Iceberg Lettuce who he wants to send after The Madballs! The two groups rumble in the old Abandoned Theater, and Frankenbean and Iceberg Lettuce freezes Tommy and the kids in blocks of ice making The Madballs surrender. In the end Horn Head and Swine Sucker rush to the R.U.I.N Lab and save The Madballs, and Swine Sucker eats The Vegeterribles and they bury Frankenbean and Snivelitch as if they are vegetables!

This is another good issue but I must also point out that this comic series is also becoming very paint by numbers as many of the stories has The Madballs having a run in with some sort of bad guys who they beat is some cheesy pun filled way.  Frankenbean uses the chemical pond to create new versions of the Madballs who turn on him in no time and so on and so on. But with that out of the way, let’s take a look at this issue as both stories have select Madballs fighting against another group of mutated baddies with the first ending in friendship and the second with victory as their enemies are eaten alive! Dr. Frankenbean is becoming more and more mad with revenge as this series continues and he is even willing to put children in harm’s way in order to destroy The Maballs.  If he continues down this path, by the final issue it looks like he will have a collection of bodies buried in the basement of R.U.I.N Labs all the while thinking the clock on the wall is telling him when it’s “Revenge” time….In other words, he is going crazy! None of The Madballs really stand out as at this point, there are just too many of them and they are having to be split up just to try to work them into the plot.  Some are so loosely in the story that they don’t really add much. The Super Madballs are cool to see, but I really hope this issue is the only one they appear in though I have a bad feeling they will return and clog up the weakening stories even more. The Vegeterribles are cool but kind of a waste as they are killed, and I mean murdered, by the end of the second story. The cover is great but shows you just how clustered the characters are getting with the art from the first story being done by Howie Post and the second done by Michael Gallagher.  Both are good stuff. Over all I am being a little generous with this issue’s star rating as it’s more like a two, but I did have fun reading it.  However, if things don’t change up in the next issue I will not be as kind.

Madballs 6

Madballs # 6  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 6 of 10

“Mad Love” Dr. Frankenbean and Snivelitch find one last rubber ball near the lab and along with some make-up they toss it into the chemical pond and out comes MadBelle, a gross female who causes Horn Head, Foul Shot, Fist Face, Swine Sucker and Bash Brain to fight amongst themselves to win her heart when he tricks them to come to the lab for a party. Just as they are about to ram themselves into a tree to see who wins a date with her, Madbelle stops them and tells them she is in love with Snivelitch, and The Madballs figure out they have been set up and turn the tables once more on Dr. Frankenbeans. “Maiden Hong Kong Blues” Chin, one of Tommy’s friends, is shocked when he finds that his dad’s restaurant has been wrecked by Maiden Hong Kong and her bodyguards sumo wrestler Topknot and ninja Ninjun Joe who want bad fortune cookies given out! In the end The Madballs, come up with a plan to stop Maiden Hong Kong from getting her request and send her to jail.  After the victory they have a great Chinese food meal.

Once more Frankenbean tosses a ball into the Chemical Pond to create something to get his revenge on The Madballs.  By this point I am getting pretty sick of this format and starting to wonder why they are doing this plot over and over again. I mean, I get the comic is based on a toy and that they are trying to do a cartoon style format with it, but good God enough is enough! Madbelle is lame and her whole reason to help bring down The Madballs is thrown out the window as she is just used to deliver dumb puns and fall in love with Snivelitch. Speaking of Snivelitch, he and Frankenbeans once more are just around for blah revenge and in the end both get what’s coming to them. The second story is the better of the two by far and has select Madballs having to tangle with a sumo wrestler and ninja all in the name of fortune cookies! But still nothing new over all and in fact it’s as stale as the last issue.  While enjoyable, the been there, read that feeling creeps into your brain and makes it slightly less enjoyable. If not for the second story, this one would have been rated lower. The cover is okay, and the art is done by Howie Post and Michael Gallagher again marking at least good art quality making up for the lack of story in the first segment. Also I am pretty sure we have not seen the last of Maiden Hong Kong and her goons as I think they will be out for revenge soon, but I hope this is the end of Madbelle as she was kind of a waste. Let’s just move onto issue seven and hope it steps it up next issue.

Madballs 7

Madballs # 7   **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 7 of 10

“Body Builders” Madballs Skull Face, Dust Brain, Slobulus, Snake Bait, Lock Lips and Wolf Breath are feeling down that they do not have bodies and come up with a plan to trick Frankenbean into making them bodies! After a trick that has them breaking down a old building, Frankenbean thinks they have turned evil and shares with them his new invention the FrankenTank that will be used to cause panic and help him take over the world! With the help of the chemical pond and the bodies of dolls, The Madballs now have bodies and rush off to test them out. Unbeknownst to Frankenbeans, they are really building vehicles to combat his and in the end they are able to destroy his tank and save the world from his evil plan. “Tourist Trap” has select Madballs like Screamin’ Meemie, AARGH, Goal Eater, Fistface and Bruise Brother all going on a vacation to an island where they meet the scum bag Bermuda Schwartz The Terrible Tourist, who uses his cheap cigar smoke, freezing camera and tacky shorts to rob people and places, but with the help of a cheap mirror and luck, Fistface is able to turn the tables on this terrible man and send him to jail while they enjoy the rest of their vacation.

Finally a slight change of pace that kept lots of the same feeling but added a little seasoning to spice it up. The first story has select Madballs getting bodies and tricking and defeating Frankenbeans as the second story has select Madballs stopping a terrible tourist from robbing banks, hotels and people! The second story is short and is a nice backup to the first, even if it lied and used the name Tourist Trap as I did not see Chuck Connors as Mr. Slausen from the film of the same name.  But really it’s a cool fun short story with a funny baddie set up for them to knock down as Bermuda Schwartz is the perfect example of a person who takes the fun out of being places with his only-me attitude. Frankenbeans in this issue goes from hating Madballs, to loving Madballs like they are his children to hating them again! He is who he is and while paint by numbers, I will say he is the perfect 80’s kid comic/cartoon bad guy! None of The Madballs stand out once more and share about the same panel time, but the stand out in this issue for me has to be Fistface, who is the one who beats Schwartz at his own annoying game. The art is done by Post again, and the cover on this one is pretty cool even if it misleads a little as Frankenbeans never rides a cycle and Horn Head is not in the issue at all. Over all, it’s good standard kid comic stuff that for the most part is doing these toys justice.

Madballs 8

Madballs # 8  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 8 of 10

“Younger Than Springslime” Our story starts with Frankenbeans and Snivelitch running up a mountain from Touchdown Terror, Wolf Breath and Horn Head who caught the R.U.I.N Lab workers trying to blow up their home! But while hiding in a cave, Frankenbean finds the fountain of youth and comes up with a plan that leads to the three Madballs diving into a small pool of the water and turning them into Baby Madballs! But he soon finds that the toddler Madballs are driving him crazy with trying to win his attention, and after a dip in the Chemical Pond, they turn back into adults and decide to drop Frankenbeans and Snivelitch into the youth water giving them a taste of being young all over again! “Weather I’m Right” is the second story and has Skull Face, Goal Eater, Lock Lips, Snake Bait and Screamin’ Meemie heading to the TV Station to yell at weather lady Gail Warning who reported it would be sunny but in fact it’s a severe thunderstorm! They meet up with reformed former bad guy, Ben de Fax aka Anchor Man, who tries to warn them but it’s too late as Gail is indeed evil and she controls the weather! After freezing them and sending them to the North Poll, The Madballs find away to return to town and thanks to Snake Bait’s snakes they are able to get her weather wand and break it and safely deliver her to the cops as she is booked on crimes against nature.

The Madballs in this issue turn into babies and fight the weather, and readers are treated to these two silly stories that are pure kid comic gold.  This is a fun way to showcase The Madballs as they do good and in some odd way are teaching some sort of lessons like don’t mess with nature and be proud of your age. The Madballs that stick out in this issue are Goal Eater, who saves his fellow Madballs from freezing to death, and Snake Bait, who uses is snake like charm to rid the world of the weather wand. Frankenbeans and Snivelitch are pretty much the same as every issue as revenge is on their minds, and they know that their plan will end badly but they still take the chance. Nice to see Ben de Fax aka Anchor Man back in a cameo and that the TV Station didn’t fire him even after he robbed viewers. The new TV Station evil on air personality is Gail Warning, and she is a hot to trot blonde who for some reason gets joy in reporting the weather wrong…yeah, what an odd motivation. The best story of the two I would say is Weather I’m Right as I liked the flow a little better and the story moves at a wacky and fun pace. The art for the first story was done by Post and the second one was Gallagher, and like I broken record I will say it was fantastic and fitting.  The cover as well is pretty dang cool and showcases the Madball Babies! On a side note before we move onto the next issue, this marks the final issue under the Star brand name as the next two will sport the Marvel Comics logo.

Madballs 9

Madballs # 9  ***
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 9 of 10

“The Return Of Everyone” The twisted mind of Dr. Frankenbeans comes up with an idea to free Miss Tic The Mystic from jail, and when he and Snivelitch do so, they also free some of the other Madball baddies like Anchor-Man, The Bad Balls, Weird Beard The Pirate, Maiden Hong Kong and Colonel Corn.  Their plan is to attack five locations unless money is paid to them! The city calls on The Madballs for help who break into five groups to try and stop the madness and return these bad guys to jail. The first group goes to the Midwest, and they are Goal Eater, Snake Bair, Oculus Orbus and Screamin’ Meemie as they take on Colonel Corn! While in China, Dust Brain, Lock Lips, Bash Brain and Swine Sucker tangle with the sinister Maiden Hong Kong! In L.A. Wolf Breath, Splitting Headache, AARGH and Horn Head find the wicked Anchor-Man up to his old tricks, while on the Atlantic Ocean Skull Head, Fist Face, Freak Fullback and Touchdown Terror battle on a ship with Weird Beard who has kidnapped Tommy and the gang of kids! While at R.U.I.N Lab, Foul Shot, Slobulus and Bruise Brother must come face to face with the team up of The Bad Balls, Dr. Frankenbeans, Snivelitch and Miss Tic! And with the readers help to solve puzzles like cross word, connect the dots and word find The Madballs defeat their enemies and make them all jump into the Chemical Pond.

This issue is hands down one of the best in the series and tells one story that brings back almost all the series’ main bad guys for one final battle! Plus it also showcases all The Madballs, New Madballs and Super Madballs making it feel like a one issue Madball version of Secret Wars. Miss Tic The Mystic is the brains behind the newly formed team of haters, and she is also one of the last to fall in battle.  It was great seeing her again as well as all the other baddies. While the fights are not fully shown as the puzzles act as your way to defeat them, it was nice for many of them to get that one last shot at being in the comic and trying to get revenge on those dang Madballs. Once more none of The Madballs stand out as they all play a part in trying to save the world from paying these goons to not do evil deeds. I like the idea of the puzzles being the way for The Madballs to win as it gave kids a challenge and made their minds work to solve them to further the story. My favorite bad guy who returns has to be Colonel Corn who uses his corny puns to defeat his enemies, and like before The Madballs pop his head into popcorn! Plus is clear that Snivelitch wants some Miss Tic booty and even dresses up to try and impress her. The cover is great and showcases some of The Madballs as well as some of the Bad Guys and is eye catching for fans of the series. As always Post does the art and rocks it! For the first issue being done under Marvel, this one is better than almost the whole Star Comic run and that’s because this one has action, fun games and a solid story.  Let’s see how the final issue holds up!

Madballs 10

Madballs # 10  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 10 of 10

“Fantastic Voyeurs”  While walking in the field near R.U.I.N Lab,Dr. Frankenbean finds the shrink gun of Rojad and wants to use it to shrink The Madballs into micro size terrors he can deal with but Touchdown Terror, Bash Brain and Fist Face come crashing in and cause Frankenbeans to have a breakdown and a virus called Unchained Melody is running rampant in his body! Snivelitch begs them to let him shrink them so they can save Frankenbean from death’s door and after thinking about it, they agree and enter Frankenbeans throat to save his life! But they only have 20 minutes to do so as the effects of the gun will run out and they will grow normal size stuck in his body! But in the end they beat the virus and escape his body and all things go back to normal. “Compose Yourself” this last adventure has Swine Sucker, Freaky Fullback, Oculus Orbus and Screamin’ Meemie going up against Grammar Moses, an old lady who uses a grammar stick to beat people who abuse the words! After being knocked around by her, thanks to giant question marks and quotations Screamin’ Meemie uses his loud words to bust her hearing aid and is able to defeat her, but they see she is a good person and it ends with her being a tutor to them so they can speak better.

The final issue is not a farewell issue, and the series does not get its ride off into the sunset instead it just ends like so many other Star Comics and Marvel titles before it. The first story is like the film Innerspace and has The Madballs entering a human body to save a life, dumb silly and a fun read for sure. The second story is a grammar lesson and has them fighting an old lady with her board that she has dubbed the board of education. The Madballs final battle with Frankenbeans and Snivelitch is really more of a rescue mission, and I am okay with that as in my head this could be the moment the feud ended between them. Grammar Moses is pretty silly but fitting when used to educate about the use of words and grammar. Touchdown Terror is the standout in the series as he seems to be calling the shots in the first story when some of The Madballs are shrunk. Would you like to know my top four Madballs that appeared in this series? While I liked them all in my own way, I would have to say my favorites in order are Horn Head, Swine Sucker, Wolf Breath and Crack Head (Bash Brain) with Dust Brain and Fist Face also coming in very close. The art is done by Howie Post again, and I will say that his work shines in these kind of kids comics, and he would be the artist I would have loved to have seen make a Commander USA comic for Star. The cover for the final issue is okay, nothing ground breaking but would for sure get the attention of fans of the series and toys. Again to sum up this series, it was pretty good and I would say it’s on the level with such other Star Comics we have looked at like Inhumanoids, Foofur, Hugga Bunch, AniMax and Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos but not as good as Thundercats, Wally The Wizard and Defenders Of The Earth. If you grew up with the toys and enjoy comics based on toys check it out, if you like Star Comics and kid comics in general check it out. Below is some artwork from the series that showcases select Madballs in action, enjoy!

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Madballs is a good average kid comic series based on a toy line but it’s also very limited as they are just flying balls who can only really fight with the power of being gross and headbutting…so He-Man or G.I. Joe they are not, but entertaining they were. For our next update, we are heading back to the old theater as we take our third look at Marvel At The Movies! So make sure to come back for that one as we will be covering some fantastic adaptations in it. Until then, read a comic or three, collect your childhood toys and support your local horror host! And make sure to bring enough popcorn to share with others for the next update.

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The Horror In Amityville, New York!

Do you believe in haunted houses? Do you believe in ghosts? How about urban legends? Well one of the most well known haunted houses in America is a home with the address 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York, the location of a brutal family murder and later the site of a terrifying haunting.  This update on Rotten Ink is about Amityville and the horror of that house in honor of the upcoming film in cinemas from Dimension Films called “Amityville: The Awaking”, that will be released  in 2017.  So get your ghost hunting nerves in check and bust out your proton pack as we are traveling to Amityville to see if this haunting is fact or fiction.  We take a look at the murders, the haunting, the films and the comic based on this nerve shattering spooky experience.

112 Ocean Avenue House

On November 13, 1974, Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. armed with a Marlin 336C rifle shot and murdered his parents and his four siblings at around 3am. After he killed them, he rushed to the local bar and asked for help pretending he found his parents shot. When the police arrived, they noticed that all of the family members were in bed on their stomachs with each of the kids killed by a single gun shot, while the parents were shot twice. Ronald claimed to the police that he thought the murders were done by a mafia hitman and even supplied them with a name.  This lead turned out to be bogus as the hitman was out of town when the murders took place. The next day Ronald confessed to the killings and said that once he started he could not stop, and took them to where he hid the rifle and his blood stained cloths. Ronald, who was 23 years old at the time of the murders, was a drug addict who had many fights with his father Ronald Sr. and during trial claimed that he heard the voices of his family plotting against him and that’s why he killed them all. The judge convicted Ronald on six counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced 25-life six times. Ronald is still in jail at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Beekman, New York and all attempts at parole have been shot down.

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What was an open and close case for Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. also has its fair share of theories and conspiracies thanks to amateur detectives and Ronald himself.  In 1986, Ronald claimed that his 18 year old sister Dawn was the one who killed their father and that his mother, in a fit of revenge, killed her children and in self defense he killed his mom and claimed he took the blame as he was afraid his grandfather who had mob ties would kill him for speaking ill of his daughter. 1990 saw yet another story from Ronald who claimed that his sister Dawn and a unknown male killed the whole family and that he only killed her in self defense while trying to get the rifle away from her.  The judge dismissed this, but it did not stop Ronald from spreading more of his stories. In 2000, during a interview with author Ric Osuna, Ronald claimed that his sister Dawn, two friends and himself killed his parents, and he killed Dawn after he found out that she killed their siblings. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the stories about happened that November night as stories of evil spirits, an Indian burial ground, a very unnatural relationship between Ronald and Dawn, insurance money fraud and so many others are talked about and shared. While we may never really know what happened that night, one thing is for sure, six people lost their lives in a senseless act of violence, and may the DeFeo family rest in peace.

Butch being arrested

After the murders, the house on Ocean Avenue was put up for sale, and for 13 months it sat empty until December 1975 when George and Kathy Lutz bought it for only $80,000.00 and moved their newly formed family in. You see, Kathy had two sons, Daniel and Christopher, as well as a 5-year-old daughter named Missy from a previous marriage, and they had a family dog named Harry. While moving in, a friend of the Lutz family encouraged them to have the house blessed as it was the scene of the grizzly murders a little over a year before they bought it.  They did so and the priest who blessed it heard a voice tell him to “GET OUT” in one of the second story bedrooms, and after leaving the home he developed a high fever as well as blisters. When trying to call the Lutz family to warn them not to go into that room, his call was interrupted by static. For 28 days the Lutz family lived in the house and each of them reported strange and creepy things like doors & windows slamming, green ooze pouring from walls and keyholes, a demon face was seen in the fireplace. Missy became friends with a imaginary friend called Jodie who had the body of a pig.  Hoof prints were found around the yard of a giant pig.  Glowing red eyes were seen outside, items moved, family members shape shifted, foul orders filled the air, large amount of flies would gather in the house and George even found a room he called the red room that freaked out the family dog! And this is just the drop in the hat of what the Lutz family claimed happened to them during their time living in the house. George claimed that he would even wake up every night at 3:15am and have the urge to check out the boathouse.  The time was that of the DeFeo murders! During this time The Lutz family themselves tried to bless the house on their own, and one time a chorus of voices said “will you stop?” The final straw happened on January 16th 1976, when the Lutz said something so horrific and terrifying happened that they left the house for good leaving behind all their belongings, never to return.

The Lutz Family

After the Lutz family fled the house on Ocean Avenue, it became a hot bed for ghost chasers and thrill seekers as the story spread quickly of the evil spirits within its walls. On March 6 1976, the house was investigated by demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren as well as reporter Michael Linder for Channel 5 News to find if the house was indeed haunted.  What they found that night via time lapse photos was a image of a demonic glowing eyed little boy who was captured at the foot of the staircase. The Warrens went on to claim that the house indeed was home to many malevolent spirits and was indeed haunted. For those who don’t know who the Warrens are, they are the basis for the Conjuring horror film series and have been said to have captured and stopped many hauntings and are even said to have cured a man who was a werewolf! Below is a picture of the Warrens as well as a picture of the demon boy captured by their camera.

The Warrens Ghost HuntersDemon Boy of Amityville

In 1977 The Lutz Family told their story to Tam Mossman, an editor for a publishing house who introduced them to writer Jay Anson, who, alongside 45 hours of footage about the terrible events at the house on Ocean Avenue, wrote a book called “The Amityville Horror” that became an overnight success as people were drawn to read about this real life haunting. The book’s name was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s book The Dunwich Horror and would go on to sell over 10 million copies but also spark lots of talk if the haunting was fact or hoax! Many things have risen the eyebrows of people who want to debunk this haunting as no other residents of the house have ever reported any strange occurrences.  The book came out after The Exorcist hit theaters, and many think that it was a way to cheaply cash in by using it as a marketing tool to sell the book, not to mention the priest who is said to have blessed the house has changed his story a number of times and even made a appearance on the Leonard Nimoy hosted show In Search Of…, claiming to have heard the voice tell him to get out. The Lutz family made lots of money off the book as well as selling this story to newspapers, magazines, TV and film, and George would later go on to say that most of what’s in the book is true. George and Kathy would get a divorce in the 80’s, but both claimed the haunting was real all the way up to their deaths. Kathy passed away in 2004 from emphysema, and George died in 2006 from heart disease. Do you think 112 Ocean Avenue is haunted? Or do you think it was a hoax and a way for the Lutz family to get fame and money from a terrifying story? I’m not 100% sure what to believe, but one thing is for sure, it’s one hell of a good yarn and is the stuff campfire tales are made of. But here are some fun and creepy facts about the house: actress Christine Belford who is known for her roles in such TV shows as Chips, Incredible Hulk and Silver Spoons lived in the house for years, and her parents are the ones who sold it to the DeFeo’s! Peter O’Neill lived in the house for 10 years, and he sadly lost his life in the September 11th attacks. The address to the home has been changed, and renovations have been made to keep tourists and sightseers off the property, as the residents get very annoyed by all the attention the home gets. But if you find you have some extra time this year and want a good read around the fall and wintertime, give The Amityville Horror book a read and see what you think is real and what’s fake.

The Amityville Horror Book

So of course, the book being a best seller sparked Hollywood’s attention, and in 1979 they made a film based on the events. So below we are going to talk about the films and all the sequels that spawned off the original film,.  I got the write ups from our friends at IMDB, and after each write up I give a little information about the films. So be prepared to get a quick crash course on the Amityville Horror flicks!

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The Amityville Horror (1979)

Based on a true story that was claimed by writer Jay Anson, The Amityville Horror is about a large house on the coast of Long Island where newlyweds George and Kathy Lutz and their three children move into the house that they hope will be their dream house which ends up in terror. Despite full disclosure by the real estate agent of the house’s history, George and Kathy buy the house. George says, “Houses don’t have memories,” but they turn to their family priest Father Delaney who believes the house is haunted and performs an exorcism on the house. But the evil spirit in the house causes him to become blind and makes him very sick. With the help of another priest Father Bolen and a police detective, George and Kathy face the fears of the house, but not knowing the spirit is planning to possess George and then the children…

The film was a major hit at the box office, bringing in a total of $86.4 million and was the # 2 film of the year! It beat out such films as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Moonraker, The Muppet Movie, Meatballs and Alien! Stuart Rosenberg directed, and it stars James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Murray Hamilton and was released by American International Pictures.

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Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

An Italian-American family move into a house built on an ancient Indian burial ground. The oldest son is possessed by an evil spirit, and is forced to murder his family. The family’s priest feels responsible, and tries to save the possessed boy’s soul.

This second film mixed possession and slasher and did okay for Orion Pictures, bringing in a total of $12,534,817.00.  It was # 61 for the year, beating such films as Silent Rage, Savannah Smiles, Trail Of The Pink Panther, The Beast Within, Cat People and The Last Unicorn. This film was directed by Damiano Damiani and starred Burt Young, James Olson, Moses Gunn and a very lovely Diane Franklin, and remains a cult classic.

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Amityville 3-D (1983)

A man who is separated from his wife moves into the infamous Amityville House. Their daughter dies in a boating accident (after being told that she is not allowed to go to the house) and now the mother sees her deceased daughter “alive” in the house. Mr. Baxtor calls a paranormal investigator in to help and the investigator finds out the source of the household problems.

The film was not a hit for Orion Pictures, bringing in a very low $6,333,135.00 and was # 88 for the year. It did beat such films as The Hunger, Chained Heat, Smokey & The Bandit Part III, Curse of the Pink Panther, The Evil Dead and Pieces. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer and featured Tony Roberts, Tess Harper, Robert Joy and Meg Ryan in the cast.  While a misfire, it still remains a cheesy classic for fans.

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Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

The demonic force lurking in Amityville for over 300 years escapes to a remote California mansion. It encounters a struggling family living together by uncertain means. The beast manipulates a little girl by manifesting itself in the form of her dead father. Soon it will be able to possess her completely… is it too late for a young priest to defeat the demon and end the curse?

This film was made for TV for the fine folks at NBC and never made it to the big screen of theaters! The film was directed by Sandor Stern and starred the likes of Patty Duke, Jane Wyatt and Fredric Lehne.

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The Amityville Curse (1990)

Five people spend the night in an abandoned house, the Amityville haunted house, and soon find themselves terrorized by assorted ghosts, venomous insects and ghostly apparitions.

This was the first in the film series to go direct to video, released by Vidmark and was directed by Tom Berry and starred Kim Coates, Dawna Wightman and Cassandra Gava.

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Amityville: It’s About Time (1992)

When an old clock arrives at home as a gift, strange things begin to happen. The family that proudly assigned a privileged place to the clock in the living room, is unaware that this thing is a link to an old and evil house…

Another direct to video sequel that was directed by Tony Randel and starred Stephen Macht and Shawn Weatherly and was released by Republic Pictures.

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Amityville: A New Generation (1993)

Photographer Keyes is given an old mirror from an homeless person he photographs on the street, takes it home and gives it a friend. He doesn’t know yet that people see horrible things happen to themselves in the mirror and later these things come true. Are these really suicides or is there a demonic force behind the mirror?

Another direct to video release that was directed by John Murlowski and stars the likes of Ross Partridge, Julia Nickson and Lala Sloatman.

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Amityville: Dollhouse (1996)

A dollhouse that is a replica of the infamous Amityville haunted house is given to a little girl. Soon after, all sorts of horrible unexplained accidents start to happen. The family must work together to fight off the terrifying evil that has inhabited their lives.

You guessed it, this went direct to video and is directed by Steve White and stars Robin Thomas, Starr Andreeff and Allen Cutler.

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The Amityville Horror (2005)

Newlyweds are terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a large house that was the site of a grisly mass murder a year before.

This was a remake of the 1979 film produced by those goons at Platinum Dunes and brought in $65,233,369.00 and was # 38 for the year.  It beat out such films as Red Eye, White Noise, Corpse Bride, The Skeleton Key, Boogeyman, Legend of Zorro and House of Wax. The film is directed by Andrew Douglas and stars Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George and Chloe Grace Moretz.

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Amityville: The Awaking (2017)

Belle, her little sister, and her comatose twin brother move into a new house with their single mother Joan in order to save money to help pay for her brother’s expensive healthcare. But when strange phenomena begin to occur in the house including the miraculous recovery of her brother, Belle begins to suspect her Mother isn’t telling her everything and soon realizes they just moved into the infamous Amityville house.

This movie is up against some other great horror films next year and is making me really hyped to see not only which one will take the highest spot at the box office but what will rank highest in my year-end review for 2017. 

Amityville Horror House

While those above are the more “official” sequels, many independent and no budget companies have made films to cash in on the Amityville name. Amityville Death House, Amityville Asylum, Amityville Theater, Amityville Haunting as well as many documentaries and even short films like High Hopes, a school project flick from my friend Dusty Austen from Wooster made that breaks down the DeFeo murders, all have flooded video shelves as well as streaming sites. The cool thing about these films are that while Hollywood would backburner the “official” series, these films kept the story fresh and added new twists to the terrifying haunting tale. Baron Von Porkchop even hosted High Hopes by Dusty on one of his Halloween special adventures, and he was able to share that film with viewers who may have never gotten the chance to see it. So if you’re a fan of Amityville Horror, make sure to give some of these independent films a watch.  Who knows, they might scare you more than the official films!

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My close friend and filmmaker Henrique Couto has also released a Amityville film this year called “Amityville No Escape” that is a found footage style film.  One of the coolest thing about this film is that my cousin Stephen Alexander II and myself have cameos in it. That’s right, I am in an Amityville Horror-inspired film! I play a worker at a shop in Amityville that is being asked questions by the film’s lead, and I am not ashamed to say I ham it up on the screen telling him that he doesn’t want to go around that house. The set we used was Game Swap in Kettering and being asked to star in this film came at the right time as I was all ready doing research for this update. So make sure to check out this film when it’s out DVD and also support your local hometown filmmakers as they are the new breed of creators that will bring films to the big and small screens across the world. I am proud of my friend Henrique as well as my other filmmaking friends Dusty A, Chris Seaver, Chris LaMartina, Fred Vogel, Matt Hoffman, Eamon Hardiman, Eric Widing, David “The Rock” Nelson and so many others all who are talented and skilled masters of what they do.

Amityville No Escape Teaser Poster

I would also love to take a moment to talk about the 1979 score soundtrack for The Amityville Horror done by Lalo Schifrin. The score is something that I bought on CD many years back when I started to collect horror film scores.  The main theme is something I have played for many years on WYSO’s Alpha Rhythms Halloween Special, and it always gets high remarks and “thank you” for playing messages. The main title is pretty iconic and most old school horror fans can name that tune only a few bars into the song, but the rest of the score as well is really well done and fits the mood of the film and is great background music when working on a blog update like this or any other horror themed update. If you enjoy creepy mood music that is the perfect background to not only your halloween party but also your relaxing comic book reading time, I would say check out Schifrin’s score as it is well done and is sure to please any score music fan.

The Amityville Horror 1979 Soundtrack CD

Before we move on, I want to talk a little about my connection to The Amityville Horror book and movies. Growing up, I can remember my Mom and Dad talking about The Amityville Horror when it was coming on TV, and my brother Bryan and I wanted to watch it. My Mom being her normal self told us that while the film claimed it was based in fact, it was indeed not and that she thought that the family made up the haunting in order to get rich. I can remember watching it in the dark sitting in the living room at our house in Waynesville and being a little creeped out by the glowing eyes looking in the home via the window, but also being slightly bored as I wanted to see the ghosts! Over time I can remember seeing the book at garage sales and second hand book stores and always asking to get it to read but my Mom always saying no.  When she finally gave in, I remember reading most of it and saying this is good but not nearly as scary as I was led to believe. As I grew up, the Amityville Horror films found their way into my VHS collection, and I found a new love for how cheesy and over the top the sequels were. When I met my friend Mike Ritchie, who was working at Blockbuster Video at the time, his love for The Amityville Horror helped spark our friendship and still to this day I look at him as one of my nearest and dearest friends. Plus I can remember being a young teen and thinking just how hot Margot Kidder, who played Kathy Lutz in the first film, and Diane Franklin, who played Patricia Montelli, were and marveled at their near nude scenes. Nowadays I own all the official Amityville Horror films on DVD and even have an import of Amityville: The Curse to complete my collection and have a soft spot in my heart for this series as growing up it always seemed more of a major franchise than it was. Check out the pics of Kidder and Franklin below to see why the younger me had horror film crushes on them.

Hot margot kidderHot Diane Franklin

Okay, I think it’s time that we gear up to enter the house at 112 Ocean Avenue and see what Rosen Publishing has in store for us! I want to thank Amazon for having this in stock for me to review. Wait, did you hear that? It’s like a voice out of the darkness saying that I should also 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 with that message from beyond, we should step over the green ooze and see what horror awaits us in these comic pages.

Ghosts of Amityville 1

Ghosts In Amityville # 1  **
Released in 2006    Cover Price $7.95    Rosen Publishing    #1 of 1

In 1975, The Lutz family move to Amityville, New York in a big house on Ocean Avenue, but their dream house has a dark side as a year earlier a young man murdered his family and claimed voices in the house commanded him to do so. The Lutz Family start to hear noises late at night, see shadows and ghosts as well as a sinister pair of glowing eyes that watches them from the outside from the windows. The youngest Lutz child makes a friend with the spirit of a child and more odd things start happening around the house including George being sick many nights, him waking up at 3:15am in the morning with the urge to check the boathouse, loud doors slamming, moving shadows and furniture that arranges itself in the middle of the night. Things kept getting worse including finding giant hoof prints outside, and finally the family has had enough and leaves the house never to return. After the Lutz leave, a paranormal investigator group comes to look at the house and makes a judgment that something wicked does live there.

This felt like a stub on a Wikipedia page; it gave you some basic information but over all by the end you fell like you really didn’t learn anything new. The story of the comic is based on the tale of the Lutz family and has them moving into a house and being scared off by ghosts and evil spirits. None of the Lutz family is fleshed out, so you don’t build up to much of a bond with them.  The father, George Lutz, is the only one who kind of shines as he is shown to have gotten sick while living in the house and is the last of the family to see a ghost as they flee the house for good. The evil spirits on the other hand are pretty mean and seem to enjoy tormenting the family and even at one point try to kill the family dog! The comic is not scary and has zero blood show.  This is pretty normal as it is a kids horror comic meant to help kids to read and learn about a unknown phenomenon. The comic goes by fast and seems to be more pictures than dialogue and most scary moments are dulled down in the art as they didn’t go for many scares. At the end, the comics has Did You Know Facts, Glossary, Index and a link to websites taking up space that could have been used to flesh out more of the story. The art is done by Q2A and is pretty good stuff, basic but good as the story is written by Jack DeMolay and is summed up as good for the level of reader this comic was made for. Over all this is a cool little graphic novel comic for horror fans and was at least a tool for me to write a fun update. Check out some artwork below…sorry for the quality, I had to take it with my cellphone.

Ghosts of Amityville Art 1

So we made it out of Amityville, and it looks like the evil spirits might have been on vacation as this Jr. graphic novel failed to deliver a scare or even a chill. But with it being for kids, I knew that it would not be to over the top in scares or blood. It was really fun talking about Amityville and was something I wanted to do for a couple of years now, but our next update might be even scarier than the haunting in Amityville, and I am sure grossed out kids of the 80’s…that’s right, we will be taking a look at Madballs! So until then, go on a ghost hunting adventure with friends, read a comic or three and support your local Horror Host!

Madballs Logo

Harland Sanders The Fried Chicken Colonel Of Kentucky

Who doesn’t love some good old greasy fried chicken? Well maybe vegetarians, vegans and people who are watching their weight are not so much fans of this crispy fried death. When I was a youngster, my Grandma Salyers was an amazing cook and made lots of great southern style meals complete with collared greens, green beans with salt pork, fried green tomatoes, green onions and of course fried chicken! I loved eating at my Grandma’s house as her home cooking could not be beat and her fried chicken was at the top of my request list next to her homemade chicken or beef noodles and fried green tomatoes. One of the best parts about the meals also was that all the veggies were picked from their garden.  Man, I miss those days and more importantly miss my grandparents who sadly both have passed away. The theme of this update is fried chicken and one man, who along with 11 herb and spices made a recipe that took the United States by storm and gave us the fast food restaurant called Kentucky Fried Chicken.  That man is Colonel Sanders! So let’s order a bucket of chicken with some mashed potatoes and gravy and some biscuits with honey and talk about this Kentucky icon.

KFC Bucket Of Chicken

Harland David Sanders was born on September 9, 1890 in a small house near Henryville, Indiana and was the oldest of three children. He grew up going to church and enjoying a good farm family environment, but things got a little rougher when his father passed away and his mother had to take a job. Harland was forced to act as his siblings’ caretaker, but at this young age he learned to make food and do some creative things with meats, breads and vegetables. At the age of 10, he also took a job as a farmhand for a to help out with money. In 1902, seven years after his father’s death, his mom re-married, and they all moved to Greenwood, Indiana.  Harland found himself at odds with his new stepdad, and this lead to him dropping out of school in the 7th grade and taking lots of jobs in the surrounding towns. At the age of 14, he moved away from his mother with her blessing and lived with his uncle in New Albany, Indiana to work as a steelcar conductor. In 1906 Harland joined the United States Army as a teamster and survived in Cuba until being honorably discharged in 1907 as he lied about is age.  He then moved to Alabama where another of his uncles lived and worked for the railway as a blacksmith’s helper and later cleaned ash pans of trains, and at 16 he became a steam engine stoker. While working for the railway of Alabama, he meet Josephine King who he would marry and have one son and two daughters with.  Sadly his son Harland Jr. passed away very young from infected tonsils.

The Sanders family would next move to Jackson, Tennessee as Harland took a job for the Ilinois Central Railroad as steam engine stoker and studied law at night via La Salle Extension University. Harland lost his job at the railway when he got into a a brawl with a fellow worker. He found work at another railway company and his law work came to an end when he once more got into a brawl with his own client in court! Harland and his family had a rough time as he floated from job to job and even was fired from selling life insurance for insubordination. Things turned around for him in 1920 when he established a ferry boat company on the Ohio River that operated from Jeffersonville and Louisville. In 1922, he took the job of Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, Indiana but was not very good at the job and left his post less than a year into it. Sanders made a boneheaded move when he sold off his shares in the ferry boat company to open  an acetylene lamp manufacturing plant that failed after Delco sold electric lamps on credit. Sanders moved to Winchester, Kentucky to work as a sales person for Michelin Tires but once more was let go after one of their manufacturing plants closed.  He then went on to work at a Standard Oil Gas Station as a manager, but it closed during the great depression in 1930 leaving him once more jobless.

But his luck would once more save him as Shell offered him a service station in North Corbin, Kentucky rent free as long as they shared a percentage of sales with them! Sanders started to make good home cooked meals that he would sell at the station like country ham and steaks as well as chicken and would later attach a restaurant to the gas station which became a huge hit with visitors. Sanders did have his enimies at this time as Matt Stewart owned a rival station, and a fight over a street sign lead to Stewart shooting and killing a Shell Oil official and being convicted of murder, eliminating his only competition. In 1935 Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon commissioned Sanders as a Kenticky Colonel as his popularity and reputation of serving great food grew and grew. Over the years Sanders opened more restaurants that were also attached to hotels and motels and would do his part to help during Word War II and the gas shortage. In 1947, Harland divorced Josephine and married his mistress for many years Claudia Ledington-Price in 1949.  By this time he had also perfected his fried chicken that was the talk of the town as his 11 secret herbs and spices as well as his style of cooking the chicken became a signature flavor. By 1952, Sanders allowed his “Kentucky Fried Chicken” meals to be franchised to a man named Pete Harman of South Salt Lake, Utah.  Pete saw his sales triple, all of it coming from the fried chicken! A fun little fact is that Don Anderson, a sign painter hired by Pete, came up with the name Kentucky Fried Chicken as he used the term to draw people into his restaurant in Utah as the customers loved the southern sound and style of this tasty chicken.  Plus, Sanders made .04 off each chicken sold at this location.

But by the age of 65 Sanders sold his restaurant, and he and his wife Claudia opened a new restaurant and headquarters in 1959.  Sanders would travel around to places and try to sell the franchise rights to his friend chicken.  This would include him making a batch of his famous chicken and having workers eat it, and when they liked it he would work out a deal with the owners on the price of the deal.  This was the birth of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fast food restaurants that are still going strong to this day. Sanders would later just sell all the US rights to the chicken concept but retained the rights in Canada and Englund and would remain the spokesman and mascot for the fast food joint to this day. But Sanders and KFC had feuds over the years as both have slung lawsuits at each other over all types of things such as bad mouthing gravy all the way to misusing Sanders’ image on products.  Sadly Sanders’ time came to an end as on December 16 1980 he died of leukemia at the age of 90, but his legacy and chicken still lives on to this day.

Colonel Sanders 1Colonel Sanders Logo usedColonel Sanders 2

Colonel Sanders was known for his white suit, classic southern black bow tie as well as his white goatee. But here are some weird a fun things you might not know about Sanders: at first he treated the whole Kentucky Colonel thing as a joke but later would take it seriously.  He was a foul mouthed man when it came to food quality and would visit KFC restaurants in the 70’s and if the meal did not live up to his standards he would cuss and shove the food to the floor! He used his own stock holdings to create the Colonel Sanders trust as well as Colonel Harland Sanders Charitable Organization that were used to aid charities as well as scholarships. Japan’s Hanshin Tigers baseball team has an urban legend called “Curse of the Colonel” that has them performing poorly after some fans in 1985 tossed a statue of Colonel Sanders into a river that lead to the statue being lost. In 2011 in KFC’s archives, a manuscript was found written by Colonel Sanders that had recipes as well as life lessons.  They claimed that they were going to try some of these recipes and put the 200 page writings online but to my knowledge they never did. Lee Cummings, the nephew of Colonel Sanders traveled around with his uncle selling the 11 Herd and Spices as well as pressure cookers in 1952 to franchises, and in 1966 Lee made his own recipe that he called his “Famous Recipe.”  He is the creator of the chicken restaurant known as “Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken,” one of KFC’s big competitors in the fast food chicken world.

Colonel Sanders 3Colonel Sanders 4Colonel Sanders 5

Growing up my parents were not fried chicken eaters, and we would get KFC only time to time as my Dad always thought the buckets cost too much.  As I stated before, most of the time we did have it was at my grandparents’ house as my parents would get a big old bucket so my grandma didn’t have to cook as she and my grandpa were big chicken eaters. As I got older, my brother had a KFC kick, and he and I used to go out to eat.  Most of the time he chose between Taco Bell and KFC, and now I think he enjoys eating Lee’s more than KFC. At work we seem to eat KFC pretty often as Todd The Fox loves himself some fried chicken or a famous bowl, and Garrison Kane loves his double down sandwich. For those who don’t know what a double down is, it’s two chicken patties that act as the bun to some bacon and cheese…yeah it’s an artery clogger for sure. When I eat at KFC this is my standard order: 3 piece dark meat meal with mash potatoes and green beans with water to drink. So what do you enjoy eating at KFC?

KFC Choose Your Bucket

I covered KFC’s birth above, so I figured I would skip the huge history lesson on KFC and what big company owns them and how many times it’s been sold and such and decided to instead cover the classic KFC Commercials that use to air on broadcast TV and can now be found on Youtube. It’s really cool to see these classic commercials from the late 60’s and 70’s and watch Harland Sanders in his white suit and cane prepare chicken or watch cooks make chicken, all the while the catch phrase “It’s Finger Licking Good” is said to highlight just how good the chicken at Kentucky Fried Chicken is thanks to the secret recipe. Also, you can see commercials from the 80’s. 90’s and even the modern stuff with the “fake” Colonel Sanders…we will get into those a little later in the update. It’s really crazy to think that while other fast food joints had more colorful mascots like Ronald McDonald for McDonalds, The Magical Burger King for Burger King and The Noid for Dominos Pizza to name a few, KFC more played up Colonel Sanders, a Southern gentleman who lived the American Dream. So if you’re bored and have a few minutes to kill, check out these commercials on Youtube and learn why the chicken is finger licking good as well as how you can get buckets of chicken to go for that after church dinner!

KFC Commercial 1KFC Commercial 2KFC Commercial 3

Over the years besides the two comics we will be diving into on this update, many other great merchandise has been made based around Colonel Sanders that includes Halloween costumes, penny banks, PVC kids meal figures, hand puppets, clocks, t-shirts, vinyl records, bobble head, a Let’s Play At Kentucky Fried Chicken playset and statues to name a few. It’s great to see Colonel Sanders live on with lots of these collectable items, and while I don’t own any of these things besides the comics I have mentioned above I have seen the penny banks at many antique stores and have thought about buying one many times. So if you’re a collector of fast food mascots or just love KFC, you might want to try and track down some of these collectibles for your own collection.

Colonel Sanders puppetColonel Sanders bankColonel Sanders pvc figureColonel Sanders clock

With the original Colonel Sanders passing away in 1980, KFC thought of other ways to use his image like in the late 90’s they had an animated version who was cartoony in nature and was voiced by actor Randy Quaid. In 2015, we had two actors playing the “role” of Colonel Sanders, both former Saturday Night Live actors.  The first was played by Darrell Hammond, who had a touch of creepy to his portrayal.  This caused a huge backlash on social media from people who found it disrespectful to turn a classy gentlemen into a giggling chicken obsessed freak. I for one enjoyed the silly nature of Hammond’s version of Sanders, and it’s a shame they fired him from the role. During Hammond’s commercials he would sing little songs about fried chicken like “Chicken In The Bucket, Chicken In The Beans” or the classic about the $5.00 Fill Up Meal in which he explains that you not only get taters and gravy but also a big ol cookie! Norm Macdonald took over the role of Sanders and plays him more straight laced, but no matter how much or is it how little he tries, he just sounds like the Norm Macdonald we all grew to love while he was on SNL. During his commercials, Norm also explains that Hammond was an imposter trying to act as if he was the real Colonel Sanders. So will these three be the last to play the gone but not forgotten Colonel of Fried Chicken? Only time will tell. I should also note that it’s nice to see them at least use Colonel Sanders again as sometime in the 2000’s I can remember them wanting to drop his image from their marketing and wanted to embrace the KFC name and phase out that it stood for Kentucky Fried Chicken as health food nuts of the net went on a smear campaign against fast food joints.

Colonel Sanders cartoonColonel Sanders HammondsColonel Sanders Norm

For this update, co-workers Stephen Alexander, Garrison Kane and I ordered some food form our nearby KFC, and I wanted to break the meal down and give each food item a grade like on a report card! I ordered a 3 piece meal dark meat (leg, thigh, thigh) with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans and a lemonade to drink. The meal cost about $8.50, and let’s see if it was worth it! Let’s start with the sides, the green beans were fantastic and had a nice mix of diced onions mixed in, and the flavor was really good. I would get them a B+! The mashed potatoes and gravy were okay. The potatoes tasted great, but the gravy was so-so. I would give them a grade of C. The biscuit was dry and tasteless, and I only ate a small part of it before I gave it to Stephen; I would give it a D. The lemonade was really good and tasted freshly made so I would give it a solid A! The main event was the chicken, and man it was dry.  The chicken leg was so small and dry, it was a waste of frying! The two thighs the meal came with were a little more meaty but tasted kind of bland, and I had to use the Finger Licken Good Sauce to make it pop with flavor.  I would give the chicken a C – as it was not great but not total garbage. Over all, it was an average meal from KFC that did its job of filling my tummy on a long day of work.

Winner Winner KFC Chicken Dinner

Speaking of eating chicken, while working on this update I thought of yet another idea for a comic book that I would like to see made and that’s one based on a Troma Movie that has a metal teethed maniac who bites the heads off chickens, murders people and can only speak with clucks…that’s right, I am talking about Luther The Geek! This 1990 film was directed by Carlton J. Albright and was about a man named Luther Watts who as a child got his teeth knocked out while at a freak showing watching a geek eat the head off a live chicken.  He had his missing teeth replaced with steel ones and became crazed and craved human flesh. After being in prison for twenty years, he is paroled and sets back out biting people’s necks in order to taste their blood, and sadly for Hilary and her daughter Beth, their farmhouse becomes a nightmare as Luther comes to roost.  I should also mention Luther does not talk but clucks and crows like a rooster! Luther kills anyone foolish enough to get in his way as his thirst for blood knows no bounds and no age, gender or race is safe from his metal teeth of death. I first saw this film on VHS when my Brother and I rented it from K&L Video, and from that moment on, it became a film that I enjoyed for its over the top nature and creepy killer. I also want to mention that Stacy Haiduk, who played Beth, is a stunning raven haired beauty in this movie and is also helped fuel my like for this film as she has a great shower scene! My idea to make this into a comic would take place after the events of the movie and have Hilary being insane and locked up in an asylum, but little does she know that the body of Luther is missing and he is on the hunt for his “hen” as he thinks that she is now his mate! When Luther sets the crazies of the asylum free to run the nut house, Hilary must gain her wits back in order to survive as Luther is on the prowl and hungry for human blood and flesh. The best part of this comic idea is that Luther, while in the Asylum would also be attacking other inmates as he does not understand friendship. I would also throw in the original geek that inspired him to become one, who would be really old and the end would have the two fighting over Hilary like two roosters. I would love to see Troma make this comic themselves, and if not them, then I would say Blood Shed. From my friends, I think Bruce O’Hughes or Jason Young would do fantastic work making it come alive. Who knows maybe one day this comic idea will come alive!

Luther The Geek 1Luther The Geek DVDLuther The Geek 2

With all this fried chicken talk, I am sure many of you readers are craving some KFC or some sort of other chicken restaurant like Lee’s, Churches or Popeyes so I am now going to bring out the main course of this review, the comics based on Colonel Sanders! One of them was made by KFC themselves, while the other was made by DC Comics and has Sanders teaming up with The Flash and Green Lantern to stop bogus chicken from being served trying to ruin KFC’s good name. I want to thank both Amazon and Ebay for having these comics in stock and I need to remind you that I grade these comics on a 1-4 star ranking and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So let’s bring out a 500pc bucket of Chicken and get looking at the comic adventures of Colonel Sanders!

Colonels Adventure 1

Colonel’s Adventure # 1  **1/2
Released in 2015    Cover Price FREE    KFC    # 1 of ???

Colonel Sanders is sitting on a stool and decides to share his life story with the readers.  He explains about his childhood, from losing his father at the age of 5 to cooking meals for his siblings when he was only 7. He goes on to tell of his teen years lying about his age and joining the army where he was stationed in Cuba to watch after the donkeys.  He then tells of his time working for the railroad as well as later opening and selling a boat company on the Ohio River and losing his money when putting it all into gas lamps. This issue ends with Sanders opening his gas station and restaurant and having a shoot out with his rival who had been painting over his sign, that left one man dead, his rival wounded and sent to jail and Sanders still alive and kicking ready to make some chicken!

This promo comic is fast and straight to the point and is 100% a marketing tool to show the weird and wild life Colonel Sanders lived before and during making his world famous chicken. The story is basic and nothing is really fleshed out as each life event and milestone for him is summed up in a panel or two, and no names are used besides his own. The one nice thing is also you get a mini history lesson as they give you the dates when the phone, jazz music and electric lamps all came into culture during his lifetime. Some things I didn’t know were that he had a terrible car wreck on a bridge when he was selling tires and was lucky to be alive and that he spent time also delivering babies! Also, the father of a new born baby in this comic looks a lot like Don Knotts! The bottom of each page as a tiny adventure of Colonel Sanders going on, and at one point he runs into The Incredible Hulk.  Yeah, how weird is that?! The art in the comic is pretty good but has a kind of souless digital look to it and was done by Dan Burke.  The cover is pretty kick butt and makes Colonel Sanders look like The Lone Ranger! Over all, this is a cheesy quick read comic used to make one learn and respect Colonel Sanders. Check out some artwork from this comic below.

Colonel's Adventure Art 1

Now let’s get onto the next comic based on Sanders done by DC Comics that was given away at Comic Con and features some famous superheroes and villains.

The Colonel Of Two Worlds 1

Colonel Of Two Worlds # 1  **1/2
Released in 2015    Cover Price FREE    DC Comics    # 1 of 1

Captain Cold and Mirror Master are sick and tired of being on the losing end of fights with The Flash, and they decide to join forces with Colonel Sunder who came from another dimension called Earth-3. They open a restaurant called Easy Fried Chicken where henchmen go out and rob people to get money to open more of these lousy fried chicken joints, while Mirror Master and Captain Cold serve lousy food for cheap prices to customers. The Flash and Green Lantern stop a bank robbery, and The Flash goes to look into Easy Chicken as crime has went up when they moved into town.  As he is about to enter, he runs into Colonel Sanders who is pissed off about this fake looking Colonel making chicken the easy way when the world knows it tastes better when you do it the hard way! Colonel Sanders confronts Sunders, and the pair fight as Sanders mops the ground with not only Sunders, who is using a pink slime gun, but also his henchmen.  All the while, Captain Cold and Mirror Master watch in shock as their hope to be crimelords is tossed back into a portal that leads him to Earth-3 where he belongs! In the end The Flash and Green Lantern visit Colonel Sanders at KFC and find out that both Mirror Master and Captain Cold are working there as part of community service as Sanders has taught them that working hard is better than the easy way.

This comic is as silly as the description above sounds. First off, the plot is about another world Colonel Sanders coming to our world and trying to make cheap gross fried chicken restaurants as his way to take over the world and rip people off of money.  Along for the ride are two of The Flash’s top bad guys who are forced to work in this gross fast food restaurant as they think this will lead them to world domination! And the kicker is that the real Colonel Sanders is the one who kicks butt as the superheroes just watch in amazement and later offer Sanders a seat in the JLA…yeah, this is truly a strange take of crispy strange goodness. Colonel Sanders is so heated up when he finds out someone looking like him is selling gross friend chicken that he marches down to his restaurant knocks The Flash out of his way and starts to rumble with anyone who stands in his way! Colonel Sanders in this issue is a badass and by the looks of it could have gone toe to toe with Doomsday if he was selling chicken that was not of high standards. While they do stop a robbery, the Flash and Green Lantern are clearly just background players in this silly game of chicken. Colonel Sunder is a black suit wearing lazy Sanders look alike who on Earth-3 is the king of poultry but here is just a no good thief who sells gross food and is such a bum that he won’t even lift a finger to take over the world. I do like how he uses guns that shoot chicken nuggets as well as pink meat slime! Captain Cold and Mirror Master as well just take backseat roles, but they do take a strange role in the end as both work for KFC and seem to enjoy doing so! It also makes the pair of baddies aware that they are looked at as a joke when it comes to super villains. The cover is amazing as it shows the two Sanders clashing as the DC characters watch on in amazement. The art inside looks like most of your modern DC issues and is done by Tom Derenick.  While not my favorite style of art, it works well for this promo comic. Man, they should have had Colonel Sanders join the JLA as I would have loved to seen him beat The Joker to death with his cane or even uppercut Darkseid through a window as this issue makes Sanders out to be a ticking timebomb of pride that, if pushed, nothing can stop! Check out a piece of art from the comic below, and if you like weird promo comics featuring mainstream heroes, then make sure to add this to your must-read list!

The Colonel Of Two Worlds Art 1

I hope you enjoyed this deep fried look at Colonel Sanders and his chicken.  It was a fun one to write as I always like talking and researching mascots for fast food restaurants. But while many of you might think that KFC’s greasy chicken is scary, our next update will be about that famed haunted house in New York that spawned many movies, books, theories and yes, even a comic.  That’,s right be prepared to be scared as we look into The Amityville Horror! So get your nerve of steel as we will enter the house and expose the curse, but until then, read a comic or three, support your local Horror Host and enjoy some fried chicken if you eat meat!

Ghosts In Amityville Logo

The Undead Files: Resident Evil

I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on the game that captured my imagination and was one of the key deciding factors for me to buy a Sony Playstation over a Nintendo 64 and other game systems. The year 1993 was the major kick off for what is called the fifth generation of gaming with such systems as the Panasonic 3DO and the Atari Jaguar hitting the market late in the year and both claiming to be as powerful as systems that came before them like The Sega CD, Phillips CD-I and the Super Nintendo.  But both failed to capture the market for many reasons, one being 3DO’s high price sticker on both the games and console and the Jaguar had terrible in-house games and very few third party releases. Sega responded to these systems with an add-on for the Genesis called the 32X in 1994 and then again a year later with stand alone system the Sega Saturn, but the console wars was about to heat up when on September 9th 1995 Sony released Playstation and Nintendo released the N64 in 1996 as well making an all out war for who would be the king of home consoles. The year 1996 also marked the death of Atari and Panasonic being console makers as both the Jaguar (who even tried to stay alive with a CD game add on) and 3DO hit the electronics graveyard, while Sega and Nintendo held on with the Saturn and N64 it was the Playstation that became the king of the home fifth gen. Consoles!

Sony Playstation System 0

As you all know, I am a gamer and have been since the days of the NES, and horror themed games have always been my cup of tea.  So I figured I would talk real quick about one of my favorites for the NES, based on the horror film series Friday The 13th by LJN. And before everyone gets worked up, this game is by far NOT the best horror theme game for the NES, but it is by far the most mistreated and underrated and seems to be the punching bag for cheap Angry Video Game Nerd rip-off reviewers the internet wide. So let’s take a quick look at Friday The 13th for the NES.

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Camp Crystal Lake is back open for business.  Six counselors are in charge of the campers, but the hockey mask killer Jason Voorhees is back and is making chop steak of the kids.  He is not alone as zombies, wolves, birds, bats and his mother’s floating head all try to slow you down from the rescue. Your weapons are rocks, knives, an ax, pitchfork, torch and machete, and your goal is to light all the cabins fireplaces, kill Jason’s mom’s head to get her sweater, save as many of the kids as you can, fight off Jason in and around the cabins, and live through three days of terror. The gameplay is a side scrolling action game that adds in a maze style when you enter the cabin, and the maze controls can be confusing and cause the player to get turned around. The side scrolling also doesn’t follow the rules, and when heading right you are really going left! But once you get used to this terrible control set up, the game starts to become really fun as you hurry from cabin to cabin lighting the fireplaces and running to the cabins Jason is attacking. Jason not only will fight you in the cabins Punch Out style, he will also surprise attack you during the side scrolling section and try his best to kill you! The game is a challenge for many reasons; yes, one is being the bad controls, but also because it’s a race against time and survival of all the little campers and fellow staff members is in your hands and it can add some pressure as the Jason Alarm (a loud beep) goes off and you know that people are dying! This game is one that I used to play all the time with my brother Bryan and cousins Dino and Norman Dimitrouleas, and all of use would spend hours trying to beat it.  The first person I saw beat it was Norman, who was shocked to see that he finally beat it! I would later go on to beat it as well, but Norman was still the first and the trail blazer to beat what was a hard game. The game has a special place in my gaming heart and will be one of those games I will always remember that I played and beat.

Friday The 13th Nes Screen 1Friday The 13th Nes Title ScreenFriday The 13th NES in Cabin Screen

The game’s graphics are nothing special.  The camp counselors have no facial features, and the backgrounds are standard woods, lake, cave and trails with nothing major standing out. The normal enemies look like stock characters and could easily be placed in other games of the horror nature. Jason looks great in an odd way, as he wears a purple jump suit and has a bright blue mask and gloves on. For as long I can remember, people made fun of this look for Jason, but the funny thing is that for all those goons who laughed at the look and the game, they all sure did flock to by the super cool action figure from NECA toys! Jason in Friday the 13th for the NES made by LJN will always be one of my favorite games for the NES and once more will say that its very underrated by gamers, but I will admit that the AVGN episode was really funny as The Nerd meet Jason who was forcing him to play the game or be killed!

NES Jason SideJason NES punchout styleNES Jason ToyAVGN Friday The 13th

It was spring of 1996 when I first saw Resident Evil on the Sony Playstation made by Capcom at my cousins’ house.  Dino and Norman were always up to date on video game consoles, and besides Nintendo Power and Game Informer Magazine and my friend Jason Gilmore, they were always my key to what cool new games had came out. They much like my brother and myself were into horror films and enjoyed a good scare and that’s why Norman told me he wanted me to come see his new zombie game. I can remember that the Playstation was downstairs in a furnished basement that had a pool table as well as a giant couch.  As soon as Norman pushed power on the Playstation and that amazing chime echoed off the walls and I saw the games first cut scene of actors running from an unknown attacker, I could feel myself being drawn into the story of the game.  You have a choice of playing two members of an elite group called S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics And Rescue Squad) Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield and along side fellow members Albert Wesker, Barry Burton and helicopter pilot Brad Vickers must search a giant mansion for fellow members, all the while fighting off hordes of zombies and other nasty baddies. This is the true birth place of what is called Survival Horror in game genres, although many would say that it’s Sweet Home, a game made by Capcom back in 1989 for the Japanese version of the NES called Famicom and based on a film of the same name, but to me Resident Evil is the true starter of this style of game. I can’t express the moment I saw the first zombie in the game slowly turn around as he was munching on one of your team mates and comes shuffling after you.  Now thats’ a true scary iconic moment in gaming and something super cool that my cousin shared with me knowing I would eat up every horror filled bite! Sadly early this year the world lost Norman D, and thats heartbreaking as he was a kind hearted man who not only had friends and family who loved him but also left behind two children. This update is for you Norman…Love You Cousin.

Resident Evil Zombie Turn

I sat and watched Norman play the game and was drawn deeper and deeper into the story and wanting him to find the next key or item to move onto the next room in the giant abandoned mansion and was hyped when a zombie or infected dog or monster would appear. After we left and went home, I was craving more Resident Evil, and when I bought my Sony Playstation, Resident Evil and WCW Nitro were the first two games I bought and me and my friend Jason Gilmore spent many late nights playing the heck out of those games. After that I can remember buying Resident Evil 2 and 3 from Blockbuster Video as well as Resident Evil Survivor, and these games made me a loyal fan of Capcom as well as fueled my love for Playstation. So in a major way this update is a big THANK YOU to Capcom for making the Resident Evil series and bringing Survival Horror games to the front of the class during this era of gaming. So here is to you, Capcom, for all the years of making games that have entertained the masses and have brought us all types of iconic series from Resident Evil all the way to Street Fighter.  Keep doing what you do best and that’s make games that make players happy.

capcom

The present day world of gaming is filled with first person war shooters, terrible digital download fluff games and a heck of a lot of cellphone games.  For me, the only games that make me rush to my local game shop and preorder are survival horror and always at the top of that list is Resident Evil alongside Silent Hill and TellTale Games Walking Dead seasons when the retail discs are made available. So before we get into the Marvel Comics promo comic that was given away for free back in 1996, we should first take a look at Resident Evil in games, movies and pop culture.  So grab some healing spray and stay close as we are about to travel a path filled with the undead as we enter the world of RESIDENT EVIL! The write ups will come to us thanks to IMDB and their contributors, as I tend to babble when I write about things I love like these games.  However I will also add my thoughts to each to add my own flare.

Resident Evil 1Resident Evil PSXResident Evil 2

Something bizarre is happening in Raccoon City. People are being eaten with no clue why. S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team goes to investigate more on the situation in Raccoon Forest. The team is supposedly wiped out and S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team is sent in to find out what is going on. The team, comprised of Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton, and Albert Wesker, find strange mysterious goings on. They retreat into a huge mansion where the horror and terror begins. Throughout the game, truths about the problem in Raccoon City are revealed.”

This is the groundbreaking game that started it all.  Not only was it filled with scares but also puzzles that made you think as well as taught you not to just run and gun down the zombies as bullets were hard to come by. Not to mention, it was great how you could pick to play as Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield with each having their own adventure and cut scenes. The mansion was a perfect setting for this type of game as you felt almost as if the walls were coming in, and the atmosphere of being alone and not knowing where your friends are could send shivers down a gamer’s spine while playing late at night. The game is so classic that it got a Directors Cut on Playstation, a remake on Nintendo Gamecube and an HD Remake on PS3 and other systems. Over all this in one great horror themed game and ranks for sure in my top 10 video game for the original Playstation.

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“In this sequel to Resident Evil, the genetically made zombies are back and it’s up to two new heroes to stop them. Leon S. Kennedy picked a bad day to join the racoon police department. He finds the town of Raccoon City crawling with zombies. Along the way, he meets Claire Redfield (the sister of Chris Redfield from the first game). Claire has come to the town to find Chris. Leon and Claire decide to separate and search for survivors on thier way to the police station. Along the way, they meet some interesting characters. Leon meets Ada Wong, a mysterious woman who doesn’t like talking about what she is up to; Claire meets Sherry Birkin, a troubled little girl searching for her parents. The game comes on two separate disks to follow the separate adventures of Leon and Claire.”

This second game is also a classic, but I cannot lie, when it first came out I was a fan of it..BUT thought that it was a little overrated by all my friends who would say it was the best Survival Horror Game and better than the original. Taking the location to the city and away from the old mansion certainly helped add a new level of horror to the series. I can remember playing this game in my parents’ basement with Jason Gilmore and trying our best to beat it, and he did! Over all, it’s a great follow up to the original game with great new characters added to the storyline wth Claire Redfield, Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy who are now mainstays in the over all story arc.The game also not only has zombies but also super tall super strong trenchcoat wearing baddies called Tyrants.

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Just days after surviving the grisley disaster at the mansion lab, Jill Valentine resigns from S.T.A.R.S. and attempts to escape a nightmarish city in ruins. Trapped in a town crawling with hordes of flesh-eating zombies, hideous mutants, and a relentless new nemesis, she must rely on cunning and brute force to stay alive. What she soon discovers is that the evil created by Umbrella Corporation’s bio-tech terror is even more horrifying then she ever imagined…

This is hands down my favorite game in the series! I can remember that I bought this game from Blockbuster Video when I worked there and was super hyped to pop it into my Playstation and give it a play.  From the moment I started running around the zombie filled streets as Jill Valentine to the moment I first saw the one monster brute killing machine Nemesis, I was hooked and became a superfan of the story and characters of this 3rd game in the series. I loved hearing the booming voice of Nemesis screaming “STARRRRSSSS” and this game reminded me for some reason of my favorite zombie film Day of the Dead.  I have a story about why, but I will save it for when we take a look at Dead Dog Comics Day Of The Dead comic. I can remember when I finally beat this game I totally felt like I accomplished something major.

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Six years after the viral outbreak that destroyed Racoon City, former police officer Leon S. Kennedy is a federal agent sent to Europe to search for the President’s daughter. Unfortunately for him, he stumbles upon a scenerio frighteningly similar to what he encountered back in Racoon City…

The 4th game in the series is one that most fans of the series will tell you is the best one next to Resident Evil 2, but for me it was a fun play with a pretty cool and creepy storyline but is way overrated as being called “the best” in the series. Gone were the hordes of zombies and in their place was infected people who mutate. Gone away was the tank style controls as it was replaced with over the shoulder style aiming and movement. The game is a fun spooky play with blood, guts and gore, and while not the best in my eyes, it did change and shake the series up.

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Sent in by the BSAA, Chris Redfield has a new mission. It takes him into South Africa where he encounters a new horror and relives an old past.”

When I first started to play Resident Evil 5, I straight out was not enjoying it as the A.I. partner I had was always getting stuck and dying causing me to have to start over again. I was so frustrated that this game sat on a shelf for about two years until my friend Jeremy Hoyt said he would play the game again and with a fellow human playing the second character, the game was fun and yet still challenging. Word of mouth on this game has been very split since the day it was released, with some fans loving the more action horror approach while others hating the fact the survival element is gone as guns and ammo are aplenty. I myself am very split on this game as the one player mode would get a D- and the two player mode would get a solid B, worth the play with a friend.

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The war on bio-terrorism continues as Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy, and other famous Resident Evil stalwarts battle a seemingly familiar adversary. However, as these veterans of survival horror pursue this latest threat, their nightmare reaches critical mass when it is discovered that it is in fact Ada Wong’s dark clone, Carla, who is championing the most deadly bio-weapon yet – the C-Virus. Chris and Leon have eradicated some of the worst viral strains, from Raccoon City and beyond. But can they overcome this most deadly strain yet? Moreover, when push comes to shove, can they shed old compassion and take down their former friends? How will a conflicted young Wesker come to terms with his lineage, and where will his true alliance fall in this deadly chess match?”

This 6th game in the series was met with mixed reviews, and I feel like it was was too harshly judged. I enjoyed the fact that the game took three different paths and each would cross at times and would get you ever so closer to the over all store of this installment. The game had the right mix of horror and action and was a fun co-op game as me and Jeremy played and beat this one as well. Lots of a gun play, some zombies as well as bosses made this one a good time. I will say that it’s by far the weakest in the series, but again, not as bad as some would have you believe.

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In 1998 a disaster struck the quiet midwestern residence of Raccoon City. An uncontrollable outbreak of the Umbrella created T-Virus transformed the city into an inescapable death trap. To stop the outbreak from spreading, Umbrella Incorporated was forced to wipe out the entire city. However, this was not the only location where an outbreak occurred…”

I wanted to cover this game real quick as it was another Resident Evil game that was one the original Sony Playstation that I spent tons of time trying to beat when I was in my early 20’s! The game was not a third person one but took the route of being a first person shooter as you took the role of a man who forgets who he is and must survive the zombie outbreak. As of the last 2 years I replayed this game, and while it’s nothing special, it still has a place in my heart. My friend Jason Gilmore hated this game so much, and I can remember him getting so pissed off at it having to use the controller instead of a light gun. Below is also is a picture that acts as a who’s who of the Resident Evil Video Game World from Zero to 6!

Who's Who Of Resident Evil

Resident Evil’s main story only has 6 installments up to this point but has a ton of spin-off games that help add to the legacy of the series, and these have been made on many systems over the years like Gamecube, Nintendo DS, Sega Dreamcast, Playstation 2, XBox 360 and many more! Some of the great games in this series are Resident Evil 0 – a game that acts as a prequel, Resident Evil Revelations that has sparked two games thus far and is a cool way to add to the creepy nature of the series as the first game in the series has you stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean! But these spin-off games have also had some bad games like the Resident Evil Outbreak series that had you picking from a cast of everyday people and trying to survive and escape the odds as well as the shoot em up cheese fest Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City that while fun for being a no brainer kind of game was very much a major time waster as well. Love or hate these side games, one things for sure, they at least help add to the Survival Horror legacy that the series help start.

Resident Evil 0 GamecubeResident Evil Outbreak PS2Resident Evil Dead Aim PS2Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City Xbox 360Resident Evil Survivor Revelations PS3

Besides the video games, Resident Evil has also broke into the world of Hollywood as several live action and some animated films have been made featuring the characters and even making some up along the way. The live action movies follow Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, with the first film coming out in 2002 and a total of 5 films thus far made for the series with the 6th on planned for a 2017 release. While they are by no means classic zombies films and fall flat when you compare them to the likes of Romero’s Dead films or even the first three of the Return of the Living Dead films, they still deliver some zombie horror filled with over the top Matrix style action scenes. While I have seen the live action Resident Evil films, many of them even in the theater, I have not seen that animated ones though I hear that they are fantastic and are better.  My friend Jeremy who is a Resident Evil fan like myself really enjoys the animated ones and recommends them to you. So if you dig the games and can’t get enough R.E., make sure to check out the films as they may hold you over till the next game.

Resident Evil Movie DVDResident_evil_retribution_posterResident Evil animated movie

One thing that has always been really cool about Resident Evil is that lots of toys have been made of the characters with some of the first ones I remember coming out via Toy Biz who were known for making the X-Men and Marvel Toys when I was a youngster. What I remember most about these toys was that they did ones for parts 1 and 2 and that they would come in two packs that would feature a hero like Jill and with a zombie! They would be packed with all types of weapons as well as sometimes other goodies. I know over the years I have had some of the zombie figures, and I think in my parents basement somewhere there is a Jill but what I remember the most about these figures is when Game Swap in Kettering first opened my friend Max brought some of his figures in and he placed them on the shelf above the DVD Boxsets.  To this day, they sit on that shelf in his honor. Looking back at it, he was also big fan of this video game series, and I would like to dedicate this update to him as he was truly a great friend and will forever live on to all those who knew him.

Resident Evil Toys

Before we get into the Marvel Comic promo issue, I would like to take a moment to say that I have been to many horror and comic conventions over the years, and it’s always cool to see people dressed up cosplaying as their favorite characters from film, video games and comics.  I always like to see was the people who dress as characters from Resident Evil! Always nice seeing a good looking goth girl running around in a S.T.A.R.S. Uniform like I use to for many years at Horrorhound Weekend. But I have not seen her the last few times I have been, so below are some pictures of people cosplaying as Resident Evil characters Jill Valentine, Nemesis and Ada Wong, so check them out and enjoy!

Resident Evil Jill CosplayNemesis CosplayResident Evil Ada Wong Cosplay

So we have made it to the Town Hall here in Raccoon City and have dodged many zombies.  Along the way, we have talked about Resident Evil in video games, movies, toys and cosplay, and we are now at the point where we will be talking about Resident Evil in comics.  I chose to review the Marvel Comic over Wildstorm’s because this was the first R.E. comic and is a direct tie in to the original game. So while you use the health spray and pick the green herbs to mix with the red ones, I need to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So let’s get ready to enter and hope we can find a rotten ink ribbon fast!

Resident Evil Promo Comic 1

Resident Evil # 1  **1/2
Released in 1996    Cover Price Free    Marvel Comics    # 1 of 1

Richard Aiken is a member of S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team and is alone in a mansion with “things” that are watching him as he tries his best to call back to base and his boss Albert Wesker for help, but soon finds that the wires in his phone box are cut! Aiken’s team has been attacked and many of them killed.  What was just a search for missing hikers has turned into a massacre of his friends. Meanwhile Wesker gets a phone call from a shadowy figure that tells him that he must keep a secret from being discovered and that he did a good job of sabotaging the Bravo Team’s chopper. As Wesker hangs up, Barry and members of the Alpha Team show up to see if he has any news on the missing team, and this makes Wesker decided to call on his top team to find out what’s going on in the area near the abandon mansion. Meanwhile Aiken is in the mansion running from shadows, poison gas and worse a giant snake! Wesker gets his team ready that includes Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, and together they chopper to the site of the missing team and bail out in order to find them.

This comic is a pre-equal to the Capcom PlayStation video game and does a nice job of quickly explaining what happened before the events of the game and shows you some of the fate of the Bravo team. The plot is this simple: a group of special forces go missing in a area where people have vanished.  They themselves get into a world of trouble as what is waiting for them is something pure evil and their only hope is another team who is on the way to save the day. Richard Aiken is the first member of S.T.A.R.S. we meet, and sadly by the time we catch up with him, he is filled with fear and is running for his life. But he does fight to stay alive all the way up to the giant snake crossing his path and for all accounts ending his life. Albert Wesker, who is the head of the S.T.A.R. teams, is clearly a scumbag as he is shown to be hiding something from the start and is more into keeping that secret then saving his missing men. Jill, Chris, Barry and the rest of the Alpha Team are all side characters, and they clearly take this back seat as they are more important in the video game so I think they wanted them to be around but not the stars. This comic shows no zombies besides in shadows and the only “monsters” shown are the giant snake and the green gas of death. I do wish they would have shown the zombies, but again, if they did I think it might have taken away from the game when you first meet the flesh eaters, a true double edged sword. The comic has zero blood and is only a total of 12 pages with the cover the same as the game’s cover and has art done by Dave Johnson who worked on other books like Detective Comics and Action Comics. Over all this promo comic was a fun read and helps add to the story of Resident Evil but it also is way too highly priced for what it is.  So fans of the game series should check it out for sure.  Casual fans might want to stay away from a comic with little action and no true scares. Below is some artwork from the comic to show you the style of the book’s art.

Resident Evil Art 1

So while this Marvel Promo Comic might not have been great like the game it was based on, it still was a fun read and a part of the history of Resident Evil. For our next update, we are leaving the undead-infested Raccoon City and entering the fast food world of fried chicken as we are taking a trip into the 11 herbs and spices of KFC and learning about its spokesman Colonel Sanders! So from zombies who eat human flesh to a Colonel who eats friend chicken flesh, our next one is for sure going to be a great time. Until then, read a comic or three, play a video game or two, support your local horror host and watch out for the undead!

KFC Logo

Porky Pig The Swine Of The Hour..The Pig With The Power!

Welcome to Rotten Ink once again as we take a look at another icon of the cartoon world, Porky Pig. When I was a youngster, the stations had battles to get young viewers to watch their shows over the others.  They packed in lots of great programs to get the ratings; from cartoons to horror hosts, they did whatever they could to get those eyes glued to the TV and pump our young minds full of commercials for toys, snack food and video games that you had to have to be cool like all your friends. I miss those days, and it’s sad that Saturday Morning Cartoons are a thing of the past and most parent groups and hipsters with a twitter account have blocked so many fast food mascots from being used to promote products all cause they are making kids fat…not the bad parenting of buying said food all week for kids. But while some things are gone with no signs of returning, some things remain timeless, and that’s how I feel about Looney Tunes which is why to break up all the negative news in the world, let’s travel down memory lane and hang out with that hip pig Porky! So grab your acme chair and sip on some Hi-C, it’s time to have some silly fun!

Porky Pig 0

Porky Pig is the longest active Looney Tune character in use and predates Bugs Bunny by 3 years! So we should talk about who this strange cartoon pig is who made many Saturday mornings fun for kids who enjoyed his silly stuttering antics. Porky Pig is a walking and talking pig who wears mostly red bowties, a blue jacket and sometimes white gloves who also has a stutter when he talks. He has a laid back attitude for the most part and is the butt of many jokes from friends like Daffy Duck who loved to drive him crazy. Porky is a hard worker who has worked for many different places in many different trades including a baseball announcer! Porky is also an uncle as well as a ladies man as he has a girlfriend named Petunia Pig who he loves. Warner Brothers in the early days really pushed Porky Pig as one of the premiere Looney Tunes characters, but by the time my generation came around, the focus was on Bugs Bunny and Road Runner. But even with that said, his impact was still around as he was a favorite of many of my friends at school and the old ads in comic books showcasing him made it apparent to many young minds just how important Porky was to the cartoon series and beyond. TV Guide had a countdown of 50 top Cartoon Characters, and he ranked in at 47.  While a little low, it still showed that he had some popularity lefty in his chubby body. I should also say WB must have had some love for him as he became the poster boy for the end of the cartoons as he would bust his way out of a drum and stutter “That’s All Folks,” creating a phrase that is used by many still to this day. Porky was never my favorite of the Looney Tune characters but I still owned many of his VHS tapes as well as always enjoyed his toons on TV playing mostly on WGN, but this update is for all you Porky fans out in the world of the web as you help keep this character alive in pop culture.

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Friz Freleng is the man who created Porky Pig in 1935 for the cartoon “I Haven’t Got A Hat,” and while Porky was only a minor character, his popularity grew fast. For those wondering, his name was inspired by nicknames of two schoolmate brothers that Friz grew up with. By the time that Tex Avery was hired in 1936, he featured an adult Porky Pig in his toon “Gold Diggers Of ‘49”  While in a minor role, Porky got many of the laughs, and they knew they had a new star on their hands. Voice actor Joe Dougherty was chosen first to voice Porky as he had a real life stutter, but when his recording sessions took too long, the studio brought in Mel Blanc to be the new voice of their star pig. Blanc started his voice in 1937 with the cartoon “Porky’s Duck Hunt” and continued to voice Porky until his death in 1989 then Bob Bergen took over the duties. During the early years, the character of Porky would change from young to old and his attitude and such would change depending on the director of the cartoon.  This helped and hurt Porky at the same time as it was hard for people to latch onto him when he kept changing, but this did not slowdown P. Pig as he starred in many cartoons. But his time at the top was short lived, and he quickly became a sidekick character alongside the likes of Daffy Duck and Sylvester Cat, pushing this one time kingpin Piggy out of the spotlight and into the supporting cast. Porky Pig would however be pushed again towards kids as in 1964 he was the star of “The Porky Pig Show” that ran until 1967, and in 1971 he had another show called “Porky Pig And Friends” that was geared towards kids to attach themselves to the character and a way to repackage the old cartoons of the past. Unlike Bugs Bunny, who is WB’s top character, Porky would end up as a character in some Hollywood movies like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Space Jam” to name a few. While Porky might have taken a backseat and was the butt of many jokes for the likes of Daffy, his straight man approach is what makes many of the cartoons he’s in enjoyable. Thanks WB, Friz Freleng, Mel Blanc and all the other creative people who made Porky Pig a household name and a character we all know and love!

Friz FrelengPorky Pig The ManMel Blanc voice of Porky

Like all good cartoon iconic characters over the years, Porky has got many amazing pieces of merchandise made in his image, and if you’re a child of the 60’s all the way through the 90’s, it’s very possible you or a family member had something that featured Porky Pig like: Halloween costumes, drinking glasses, dolls, action figures, t-shirts, posters, buttons, scissors, jewelry, video games, VHS tapes, cards, cars and so much more! Porky was everywhere and was sure to please the fans of his antics. Growing up, my favorite Porky Pig things I owned were the Pepsi drinking glass that I would drink Kool-Aid and chocolate milk from, the VHS tapes I bought form a Dollar Tree that I would watch lots and the Arby’s figure that I had gotten from my cousin Nathan. If you had a favorite Porky Pig merchandise item, please share in the comments below.

Porky Pig costumPorky Pig glassPorky Pig toyPorky Pig ArbysSNES Porky Pig

James Rolfe who plays The Angry Video Game Nerd during the month of October does Horror Movie reviews once a day and calls it Monster Madness.  They are one of the things that I look forward to every Halloween, and in 2009 he covered the 1932 film Freaks and made a very solid point when he showed a stuttering character who sounded just like Porky Pig and wondered if this was the inspiration.  Looking at it, I think he might just be right as Porky didn’t come around until 1935, a total of three years after Freaks played the cinema. Was the stuttering sideshow worker the blue print used to make Porky Pig? Is it just an odd coincidence that the two sounded the same? What ever the case is James Rolfe brought this very interesting comparison to the light for me as a good topic to chat with friends about who know and respect both the film and the Porky. If I had to guess whether the stuttering character from Freaks was the inspiration for Porky Pig, I would have to say yeah, probably, slightly as the patterns of how each talks and change the word they are having issues with is just too close to say it was not. Make sure to give Monster Madness’ episode of Freaks a watch and see what you think of the connection when it’s done.

Freaks screen grabAVGN (P-PIG)Porky Pig 4

So now that we have refreshed ourselves on all things Porky Pig, we should pour ourselves a big bowl of cereal like Golden Crisp or Lucky Charms and get ready for the reviews of Porky done by Whitman and Gold Key! This time around, I dug deep into the box of comics I bought from Jason Young and his mother and pulled out every issue of Porky Pig.  While most are done by Whitman, I did find a few Gold Key and decided to just go ahead and review them all as the Whitman issues are just reprints of the Gold Key ones. So I must send a big thank you to Jason and his mom for selling me these comics as I have had a blast digging through them and picking out cool Loony Tune issues to review here at Rotten Ink. I should also remind all 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 stuff our faces and pig out with the one and only pig of the hour, the swine with the belly laugh power, Porky Pig!

Porky Pig 68

Porky Pig # 68   **1/2
Released in 1976    Cover Price .25    Whitman    # 68 of 110

Misadventures In Tacoland” In this adventure, Porky Pig and his nephew Cicero Pig are taking a trip to Tacoland and take Tweety Bird along with them after he is chased by Sylvester Cat. Tacoland is a place filled with temples, jungles, small towns and tons of Tweety Birds as it’s the homeland for the species. Sylvester Cat sneaks into the luggage and upon arrival finds out that the locals hate cats, and they run him off. Porky goes to the temple with Tweety and Cicero, and Sylvester follows.  The groups stop a couple of illegal treasure hunters, and in the end Sylvester gets a treat of all he can eat tacos! “Disguise The Limit” Porky and Petunia Pig are on a date to a costume ball for charity at the mansion of Mrs. Giltstone when Juciy James steals all the money as well as everyone’s wealth.  Porky goes after him and by luck stops the criminal and returns the money. “Star Performer” Cicero is practicing tight rope walking and Porky thinks it’s too dangerous and urges his nephew to get a small part time job.  Cicero gets one at the circus, and Porky thinks his nephew is the new tight rope walker and risks his own life to try and stop him but soon finds out his nephew is only selling ice cream!

This is the first issue of Porky Pig I have read in over 30 years, and I found it to be a good refreshing classic kids comic that was packed with lots of familiar Loony Tune faces and really showcased Porky Pig as a character as I got to see lots of his sides from protective uncle all the way to worry wart. The first thing I must point out is that Porky’s stutter is gone as this comic has him talking normal without a stammer. This was kind of odd as the whole appeal of Porky Pig for many kids was his stutter that was used for comedic moments. It’s odd, even without the stutter as I read this comic in my head ,I could hear his voice and the dialogue was complete with the stutter. I also found myself very much attached to Porky and liked seeing what he would do in each of these adventures. Cicero Pig, while a youngster, is not annoying and adds some level of youth to the comic as Porky is a adult who is not prone to some of the excitement his nephew leads him into. Petunia Pig is a caring woman who is in charge of a charity in this issue and is clearly very proud of her boyfriend. The issue’s bad guys are two treasure hunters and a robber who dresses like a crook from the old west, and while all are up to bad things, none of them are super threatening. It was really cool to see Tweety and Sylvester make a cameo appearance in the opening story and even cooler that they stop a major crime alongside Porky and Cicero. The comic had a fantastic rotten ink smell and took me back to the good old days of working at Mavericks and pricing old comics from the back room. The cover, like all Whitman/Gold Key Looney Tune tie in comics, is misleading as Bugs Bunny does not show up in the issue but Porky and Petunia Pig do indeed eat ice cream in the final story. The comic’s art is well done but sadly no credits are given to who the artist is! If I had to pick a favorite story from the issue, I would have to say Misadventures In Tacoland as it was a cool adventure that took Porky into a jungle and had him along with friends be the heroes. Plus I wish Tacoland was real….man, now I want tacos….sigh, I guess Taco Bell for lunch. Over all while they changed Porky in a major way by dropping the stutter, I still really enjoyed this comic and found it to be a solid kids comic that I am sure the Young brothers enjoyed just as much as I did.

Porky Pig 69

Porky Pig # 69   **1/2
Released in 1976    Cover Price .25    Whitman    # 69 of 110

The Return Of Awful Alfie” Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny are in the town of Awful Mountain when one time train robber Awful Alfie returns and threatens the whole town that if they don’t leavem he will squash them with a giant bolder he will roll down his mountain home. The Sheriff quits and appoints Porky as the new one, and he and Bugs try to talk to Alfie but soon find out why they call him awful! Porky and Bugs use an old train as bait to capture Alfie who in turns uses sneezing powder that causes them all to have a sneezing fit that echoes and causes the bolder to roll down the train tracks toward the town and toward Porky, Bugs and Alfie on the train! Porky uses his head and saves the day as Alfie also turns over a new leaf and is elected the town’s first mayor. “Snow Job” It’s summer time and hot outside, and Porky buys a snow machine from Daffy Duck.  Porky decides to use it and charge kids .50 to cool off in a winter wonderland he created with the machine. Daffy Duck gets mad that Porky will not cut him into the deal and ruins the business with heaters sending all the kids home. But in the end, when one door closes, the pair team up and make snow cones and make extra money. “The Poultry Pig” Once more, Porky and Petunia are dressed up after a costume ball.  Porky is dressed as a chicken and this makes Henry Hawk the Chicken Hawk think Porky is a big old chicken that is ready to be eaten! Henery chases Porky all over town, and it takes Porky showing him his license before the chicken hawk finally stops trying to make P. Pig his meal.

This another fun issue that has Porky Pig in all types of silly adventures! Porky once more has no stutter and is showcased as a pretty stand up guy who doesn’t back down from danger when it comes to a gun shooting midget mountain man but runs in fear from a tiny chicken hawk! The best adventure in this issue has to be the opener, Return of Awful Alfie, as I love the fact Porky becomes the sheriff of a small mountain town and with the help of Bugs Bunny they return law and order to the community. Petunia Pig makes returns and for the most part is just a background player in a story that has her once more returning from a costume ball…man, does all she do is party? The comeos from other Looney Tunes characters in this issue include Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Henery Hawk. The main bad guys in the issue are Awful Alfie, a small outlaw with a bad attitude who ends up turning good at the end and Henery Hawk, who is just confused and hungry. The artwork just as the last issue is well done and credit-less, and the cover on this one, while on track with showing Bug Bunny, is way off as the pair do not treat sick trees. I know this is odd, but I am really finding myself enjoying these Porky Pig comics and after reading these issues I find myself looking forward to seeing what adventures await this chubby cartoon pig! So to sum it up, this issue is a fun read and is one I would recommend for the young and young at heart to check out if they are a fan of Looney Tunes.

Porky Pig 70

Porky Pig # 70   **1/2
Released in 1976    Cover Price .30    Whitman    # 70 of 110

The Farm That Wasn’t” Elmer Fudd has just bought a ten acre farm and takes Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny to take a look at it.  The downside is that while he bought it for a cheap price, he did so sight unseen. When they get to the farm, they find out that it’s a fraud and nothing more than a dollhouse made to look bigger! While Fudd has a breakdown, Porky and Bugs find the crooks and bust them and get Fudd’s money back. “The Nightwatcher” Porky Pig is working as a late night security guard at a toy factory.  Tweety Bird is running from Sylvester and they set off the alarm! While Porky breaks up the two, a real robber comes in and tries to steal the new toy line and Porky, Tweety and Sylvester team up to save the day. “The Indian Givers” Two Native Americans, Standing Bull and Big Skunk, have come to town with a deed that entitles them to the whole town, and they kick Porky and everyone off their land. The two Indians turn out to be crooks who are fakes and are there to rob and loot, but Porky talks to real Indian Chief Little Owl and he learns of the swindle and along with the real Native Americans bust the robbers and take the town back.

Porky Pig as a nighttime security guard for a toy factory is one of the coolest ideas and should have been used in many other issues as it was clearly the best story of this issue. Something about a gun carrying none-pant-wearing talking pig guarding top secret toys is the stuff fun kid comics and cartoons are made of! Porky Pig, in the issue, is a savior or the town, stops Elmer Fudd from being ripped off and protects toys.  In other words, he is a pig of all trades. I should also note that in a modern kids comic, no well-loved cartoon character would have a gun, so it shows how much comics have changed and how parent groups and social media warriors have impacted the way comics are made. Petunia and Cicero have a cameo in the final story and are not given much to do. The cameos in this issue are Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird and Sylvester, and all are used really well and help add to Porky’s adventures. The way the comic portrays Native Americans is a little suspect as its shows that “palefaces” traded useless beads for land and that they would not want the land back as they like living on the reservations. The art work is great, and I really like the way the artist draws Porky. The cover is once more misleading as Porky and Bugs don’t play golf in any of the stories. Over all this is another great comic and had a slight rotten ink smell, and was well worth the read.

Porky Pig 71

Porky Pig # 71  **1/2
Released in 1976    Cover Price .30    Gold Key    # 71 of 110

Operation Deep Freeze” Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny are in a sub on a quest for Hamm University to track down the 200 year pirate ship that belonged Redbeard in the arctic. When they get to the arctic, they not only find the ship but also a hot springs that houses the Great Great Grandson of Redbeard along with other descendents.  But when an earthquake sparks an avalanche, Porky and Bugs must use the sub to free the pirate ship as well as all the pirates from a snowy grave. “Monkey Business” Porky must babysit the son (Mildew) of his boss and brings Cicero along with him.  The kid is a brat and a tattletale and keeps threatening to get Porky fired! But when a batch of monkeys escape into the woods, they all use teamwork to capture them and return them back to Monkey Island, and Mildew learns a lesson in friendship. “The Stand-In” Petunia Pig is a stunt woman for Pam Pig on a popular police TV Show and while she’s giving Porky and Cicero a tour of the set and sample of her stunt work, Cicero by accident knocks out a thief who is trying to steal Pam’s jewelry and once more a crime is stopped and pig justice prevails.

Okay, we are four issues into the Porky comics I own and they all have some sort of thieves in them, which makes me wonder why Porky, Cicero and Petunia have to stop so many crimes! I mean is their town that overrun with scumbags who want to steal from others to buy their addiction of choice? Porky, as always,is on track of being one stand up kind of Pig who wants to make sure he does all the right things to help out those who need it. Cicero not only helps show a rich spoiled brat the meaning of friendship and teamwork, he also showcases that he doesn’t listen to grownups and still ends up stopping a robber in the process. Petunia gets a job of being a stunt pig for a famous actress and shows she does not fear danger and is very proud of working for a paycheck. The only cameo in this issue comes from Bugs Bunny who once more is helping HAMM University alongside Porky Pig. I would say my favorite story in this issue is the opening Operation Deep Freeze as it was cool to see Porky and Bugs in a sub saving the lives of pirates who could have died under a pile of snow. While this issue is a good one, it did slip slightly from the past three issues as this one seemed more like the comic series b-game and not the a-game of the others. The art is fantastic as the cover once more lies as no baseball is played. It’s a standard fun issue –  not much more to say so let’s move onto the next.

Porky Pig 79

Porky Pig # 79   **1/2
Released in 1978    Cover Price .35    Gold Key    # 79 of 110

The Hypnotic Eye” Porky and Cicero are on vacation when a crooked hypnotist named Knich tries to con Porky out of money with the help of a circus performer and his business partner. In the end Porky under a trance along with Cicero perform in the circus and help the police capture Knich and his friends. “Every Drip Counts” For a school project Cicero learns about saving water so he and Porky go around the house and do what they can to save water from leaky sinks, but things get out of hand when Cicero starts saving even shower water and dishwater to use in Porky’s tiny garden that is quickly growing as he planets more and more to keep up with the water. In the end, Porky comes up with a better way to use the saved water and that’s to open up a dog washing business. “Escape From Time” Porky and Petunia are traveling looking for antiques and stop by an old man’s house.  They touch an antique locket that transports them back in time where they come face to face with some evil pirates and must out step them in order to return home.  After reopening the locket they return home and are done antiquing for awhile.

This issue is pretty good but is slightly less enjoyable than all the others that have come before it.  While it’s not bad, it just seems like it’s missing something that made the others feel more fun. While I liked both Escape From Time and The Hypnotic Eye and found each to have a classic Looney Tune cartoon feel to them, Every Drop Counts comes off as a PSA for saving water that has some gross moments that include washing dogs with water that was used in Porky’s shower as well as his dishes. In this issue, Porky shows that he cares about the environment as well will do what he can to make Petunia safe and happy. Petunia in this issue is now into collecting old antiques, and Cicero loves to save water and relax on vacations. The bad guys of this issue include pirates and Knich, a hypnotist who loves to steal money,  While cool, none are that threatening towards Porky enough to make you worried about his health. The cover is as misleading as ever as this issue has no Bugs Bunny and no ice skating.  The inside art is as good as all the others. Over all, it’s a good issue that did its job of entertaining a 36 year old comic book reader.

Porky Pig 84

Porky Pig # 84   **1/2
Released in 1978    Cover Price .35    Gold Key    # 84 of 110

Sir Coss And The Dragon” Porky and Cicero are camping in the woods near an old castle when they witness a knight on a horse disappear before their eyes! That night they share legends of Sir Coss, the brave knight.  In the morning they head to the castle ruins and soon find themselves in a time warp and are stuck in the time of Sir Coss and his feud with a dragon. Soon Porky and Cicero trick Coss and the Dragon into being friends and find a way back to the time warp and return home knowing they changed history. “Computer Date” Porky is mad at Petunia and decides to break up with her and take his chance of finding a new girlfriend via a computer dating service and meets Patty Pig, a rough and tough woman who scares Porky so much he runs back to Petunia and patches things up. “Shaker Breaker” It’s Porky’s birthday dinner, and by accident he breaks Petunia’s prized salt and pepper shaker and must rush to the late night department store to replace them. Along the way he runs into Bugs Bunny who goes along to help find the replacement shakers, but what they find is a store jewel thief who has hidden his loot inside the shakers Porky has just bought! With the help of a shotgun carrying Elmer Fudd, they bust the crook, and Porky makes it back in time for a nice dinner with his lady.

This issue was lots of fun, and each story had a charm that made me feel as if I was watching Saturday Morning Cartoons! Porky sadly does come off as a jerk in the story called Computer Date as he throws away his relationship with Petunia over her being afraid of a bug on the wall that causes Porky to drop his pie and spill his milk.  He is so cold when he breaks up with her and wastes no time in trying to find a new girl to wine and dine. Of course once he finds out that Petunia is a perfect woman for him, he comes crawling back with some cheap flowers. The one thing that’s cool with these comics is while the characters stay the same, they also evolve and change after almost every adventure. The Looney Tune guests in this issue are Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd both, who help once more bust a crook, and once more showcases that Porky’s town is filled with crooks who are fiending for some drugs and will steal what they can. I should also mention Patty Pig, the butch woman Porky took on a date.  She was scary as she beat up a biker gang on her own and seemed like she could have been a man in drag! My favorite story has to be Sir Coss and The Dragon as I love the atmosphere of Porky and Cicero camping and being put back in time via a time warp. And I know this is weird, but I also for some reason kept thinking about Porky Pig and Cicero being attacked by The Blind Dead near the old castle.  Now that’s a comic I would love to read! I should also say I was happy to see them use Cicero and Petunia well in this issue as they seemed very important to each story they were in. The art is great.  The cover is once more misleading, but this is another great issue in this run of Porky Pig comics I have thanks to the Youngs.

Porky Pig 86

Porky Pig # 86   **1/2
Released in 1979    Cover Price .35    Whitman    # 86 of 110

The Queens Quaker” Porky, Cicero and Daffy Duck head to Ducktoria, a place where ducks are treated like royalty, and the Queen’s duck has been kidnapped and held for ransom! But the royal duck lands in good hands as she escapes her captures, and Porky and friends out smart the kidnappers and return her to the Queen and help aid in the capture of the crooks. “Troll Mountain” Porky and Bugs Bunny are on a trip and stop to visit Porky’s Uncle Hamfat, who owns a gold mine whose workers have quit because of trolls that live in the tunnels. Bugs and Porky decide to enter the tunnel and mine for gold and come face to face with the trolls lead by King Trog who tells them they eat the gold nuggets.  But soon the Trolls find a new food source as Bugs introduces them to carrots, and the Trolls start to work for Hamfat as he gives them carrots for the gold they bring up for him. “The Vase Chase” Porky and Daffy Duck buy a vase from a auction and soon find that two crooks want the vase as well as it holds a combination to a rich man’s safe! Porky and Daffy think fast and set the pair up and save the riches of a millionaire!

This is another fun Porky Pig comic adventure that proves that Whitman/Gold Key knew how to make entertaining kid comics that showcased popular characters from cartoons of the time. The best story out of the three hands down has to be Troll Mountain as I like that Porky and Bugs are deep into a gold mine and become prisoners and put on trail by trolls.  This is the stuff of cheesy b-movie horror films! Porky’s uncle Hamfat is a man who owns a gold mine who is behind on bills but will not go into his own mountain to get gold and instead cons his nephew and his friend into going in for him, what a lazy butt. Porky once more is a crime stopper and loyal to his family and comes off a good guy like always. Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny are the cameos in this issue and both add to the adventures they appear in. The bad guys in this issue are crooks, ducknappers and King Trog and his troll subjects, and out of them all the main threat was King Trog cause if he didn’t like carrots, I am sure he would have killed them for stealing his gold food nuggets. The art is fantastic, the cover is a lie and as always it’s a fun solid kid comic.

Porky Pig 94

Porky Pig # 94   **1/2
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Whitman    # 94 of 110

Klondike Porky” has Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny visiting Alaska.  They buy a map to a gold mine and a work moose from a man named Sourdough Sandy, but they soon find out that the mine is bare and that he has sold this same combo to another person! Porky, Bugs and the other Man in turn trick Sandy into buying back the mine with a fake bag of gold that turns out to be carrots! “Unwelcome Guest” Caesar is another of Porky’s nephews who comes over to spend time with him and Cicero, but Caesar is a prankster and pulls many pranks and tricks on Cicero that causes him to be in trouble. When Porky’s TV is stolen and Caesar was the only witness.  He is not trusted and has to trick his uncle into following him, and they bust a ring of crooks. The final story in this issue is “Finders Reapers” has Porky Pig being too poor to take Petunia out on dates and this is taking a strain on their relationship.  After finding a missing dog and getting reward money, Porky starts trying to find missing animals for extra cash but his good deeds leads him into the arms of jewel thieves and with the help of his dog friends he busts them and once more saves the day and is able to take Petunia out on a date.

Yet another solid issue and once more shows that the town Porky lives in is filled with crooks and people who will steal whatever they can! I mean really how bad is the drug issue in this town? Porky in the issue is a miner, an uncle and a finder of lost animals, and as always does each of these with piggy style. The dark side of this issue, besides the growing crook population in town, is the fact Petunia is down right rude to Porky as she wants to be taken out and wants no dates at home no more. I would guess Porky could not charm her with Netflix and Chill as she clearly more an IMAX and Climax kind of woman! Besides Petunia, regular nephew Cicero makes an appearance as does another nephew named Caesar who is kind of a prankster and while all in good fun, is the kind of kid in school who would do something bad and blame it on a fellow classmate. Bugs Bunny stops by and adds to Porky’s Alaskan adventure, helping lock another fun good old cheap kids comic. The cover is a lie, and Porky never paints a picture and there are no mice, but the inside artwork is great and once more done by unknown as they are not credited. This marks the end of the issues I got from the Young’s but I have one more issue up my sleeve!

Porky Pig 96

Porky Pig # 96   **1/2
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Whitman    # 96 of 110

Forest Adventure” Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny are on a nature walk in the woods when they go off the trail and become lost.  They find a tiny village of elves who are being tormented by goblins, and Porky and Bugs act as the tiny town’s aid. The second story is “The Cookie Caper” and has Porky buying stock in a cookie dough company, and he is worried about his stock dropping.  Daffy and Cicero pull a prank on Porky with a fake headline about a Cookie Batter Beast, and this prank leads to Porky falling into some batter and making people think he is indeed this made up monster! In the end, with the help of Petunia and Cicero, he is able to pull a prank over on Daffy. “The Smashing Success” Porky quits his job as a janitor all because of a self-help book and goes to a jewelry company to apply and gets the job of Vice President and also gets to back a suitcase full of rare jewels.  But he soon finds out his boss is really a crook who has tied up all the real workers, and once more Porky stops the crook and gets a job as the janitor of the jewelry company.

I first must note that this issue was not part of The Young Family comic buy and was one I picked up at Game Swap in Kettering. Secondly I want to say this issue had a very strong rotten ink and cellar smell to it. But onto this final issue for me to look at, I must say that just like the others it was three short fun adventures of Porky Pig who throughout the issue was a janitor, savior of tiny elves and a stock investor and shows that Porky can and will be whatever he wants! The issue was packed with guest stars as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck both made appearances and series regulars Petunia and Cicero also were shown and added to the stories they were in. My favorite story in this issue was a tough one to pick as all three were lots of fun, but if I had to pick one I would say The Cookie Caper as it was fun to see Porky scaring people covered in cookie batter and for Daffy to be a butt and pull a mean prank on one of his “friends”. The artwork in this issue is great and keeps the same mark of quality that ran through out these issues I read. The cover as always is misleading and Porky and Cicero never paint a fence in the whole issue. I want to also point out that once again the town Porky lives in is over run by crime as this time around he runs into a jewelry thief that he must stop. This is a very solid series that brought lots of joy to this comic reader and took me back to a time when Saturday Morning Cartoons, Commander USA and weekend adventures were the most important things to look forward to every week. Below is the piece of artwork that I think sums up this fun time we just had with Porky Pig as he hopes he doesn’t shoot himself in the foot with his own gun….Porky Pig and a gun something kids comics of today would never showcase in a issue.

Porky Pig Art 1

That was lots of fun, and I am really glad I bought that long box of comics from Mom Young as many of the issues have and will be great updates for Rotten Ink, and it gave me a chance to talk a little about Porky Pig and his impact on cartoons and culture. For our next update, we are leaving the safe silly side of Porky and heading to Raccoon City for a zombie outbreak! That’s right, I will be taking a look at Resident Evil not only in the video games but also the Marvel Comics promo Iissue so make sure to come back and join me on that one! Until then, read a comic or three, support your local horror host and stay young at heart, my friends.

Resident_Evil_logo

The Failed New-Verse Of Marvel: Spitfire

Marvel Comics has always been my favorite comic company as they had characters that captured my imagination as well as stories that were simple yet highly entertaining and also well placed real life drama into them from death of a loved one to drug addictions making the stories seem more real no matter how over the top the heroes and villains were. Characters like Spider-Man, The X-Men, Captain America and Iron Man all made impacts on the youth reading them and even held on to readers who were growing up with this kind of storytelling style.  What was nice was each character had history and each had baggage and drama that shaped them into the hero they became up to that point. In modern comics from Marvel, in my opinion, when it’s convent they just hit the restart button if they back themselves into a corner or build up too much history for the character or sometimes they just want to sell yet another # 1 issue of a character fans love. But Marvel in the 80’s still was holding on to the 60’s and the true history of each character created by the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and even Stan Lee. So enter Jim Shooter and his idea of creating an all New Marvel Universe that would feature new heroes who didn’t have over the top powers and would be set in real time. For this update, I looked through the list of New Universe characters like Justice, Star Brand and Nightmask to name a few and decided to cover Spitfire, a giant red robot whose covers caught my eye many years back but I never read till this very update.  So I’m pretty hyped to finally see what the character is all about. So forget about all you know about the Marvel Universe and let’s dive deep into the New Universe.

On a side note Juliet’s look at Star Trek: The Next Generation was late being turned in and will be posted when done some time in the future, I want to say sorry to you readers who where looking forward to it.

Marvel New Universe Banner Logo

Jim Shooter started reading comics at a young age but stopped when he was 8 years old.  His love for them started up again when he was 12 and was in the hospital for minor surgery began reading the comics the hospital provided and found that Marvel was better at telling stories than DC (who he had read more of in his past) and found himself more into the Marvel characters as well…at that moment he knew that DC “needed the most help” and spent a year reading as many comics from both companies he could get his hands on. At the age of 13, Shooter sent DC some drawn out stories featuring the Legion Of Superheroes.  They loved his stories and bought them hiring him to do a few more for Supergirl and Superman.  DC hired him to become a writer for them full time a little while later. Shooter took the job to help his low income family and began working on titles like Action Comics, Adventure Comics and Legion Of Superheroes to name a few and even created the characters Karate Kid and Superman bad guy The Parasite! He was also one of the main brains behind the first race between Superman and The Flash! By 1969 Shooter had graduated high school and applied for a job at Marvel Comics as he would be going to college at New York University.  While Marvel hired him as a editor and co-plotter, Shooter decided to not go to college and only lasted a short time at Marvel as he had no money and lived at a YMCA! Shooter moved back to his home town of Pittsburgh but got the bug to work in comics again and returned to DC for a short time writing Superman and Superboy And The Legion Of Superheroes. But after a feud with the editors of DC and a phone call from Marvel’s editor-in-chief Marv Wolfman, he returned to Marvel and this is were he became a legend! Shooter rose to power within the company pretty fast and by 1978, he became the 9th Editor-In Chief for Marvel that was growing and becoming the top comic company in the world.  With this Shooter started doing some great things for artist including royalties for great selling issues, the return of original artwork to artists and even help bring Star Comics to life in that showcased comics based on toys and cartoons like Thundercats and Star Wars: Ewoks! Shooter also did some amazing big crossover events for Marvel like Secret Wars, Secret Wars II and Contest of Champions. He cleaned up the Marvel Universe comics that hit shelves that were stale and had low sales.  He allowed Frank Miller to really bloom on his Daredevil line.  He allowed comics like Dazzler to be sold only at comic shops.  He wrote the second Spider-Man and Superman crossover comic and so much more that helped put Marvel truly as the king of comics! But for all the good Shooter did for Marvel, he also lead to lots of drama and turmoil in the Bullpen as he was a little over controlling and set rules that had to be followed.  Rumors also spread that he wanted to kill off many of the companies top heroes like Captain America, Spider-Man and Thor and start over with them so that they didn’t have all the old history to remember for the characters. This idea pissed off lots of the old workers at the office and this lead to what was known as New Universe that was launched for Marvel’s 25th Anniversary and was Shooter’s baby that had no ties to the ongoing Marvel Universe and would have no over the top superpowers, no hidden races, gods, mythological beings, super technology and magic in the books that included Star Brand, Spitfire, Kickers Inc. and many others. The New Universe was met with mixed reviews and many of the titles struggled, and after the Marvel workers and Shooter falling out of favor with each other he was fired in 1987. Shooter went on to do some cool things after Marvel like helped create Valiant Comics and Defiant Comics among lots of other great creative things. Say what you will about Jim Shooter, but I will say what he did for Marvel and comic readers in his time as Editor-In-Chief is top notch stuff. I would have loved to see what he would have came up with if he would have gotten to stay at Marvel past 1987. Before we move onto Spitfire, let’s chat a little about some other stuff shall we?

Jim Shooter 1Jim Shooter and Stan LeeJim Shooter 2

Did you know that in 1986 New World Pictures was the owner of Marvel Comics? This is something very fascinating to me and explains why Marvel did comic adaptations of such films as “House II”, “Elvira Mistress Of The Dark”, “Pinocchio: An The Emperor Of The Night” and even comics based on the TV Show “Sledge Hammer”. At the time of New World buying Marvel, they were an expanding movie company who were using profits not just to make more movies but to consume other companies and that’s where Marvel came in as they knew they could option the characters for films and TV as well as have comics made around their properties. But this also makes me wish they would have made comics based on many more of their films like C.H.U.D., Godzilla 1985, Children Of The Corn and Creepshow 2 to name a few. Man, the missed opportunities of cool horror Marvel titles is sad.  Could you imagine a three issue run based on the C.H.U.D.’s or even an adaptation of Creepshow 2! But by the early 90’s, the New World Pictures owning Marvel came to an end and none of these films that should have gotten the comic treatment did. I should also note that Pinhead and the film he’s from, Hellraiser, that was one of New World’s top Horror properties, got comics from Marvel’s sub branch Epic. What New World Pictures movie or TV Show would you have liked to have seen turned into a Marvel Comic?

Godzilla 1985 PosterNew World Pictures LogoCHUD Poster

Since I started Rotten Ink over three years ago, I have had one tiny little cat cheering me on as I not only read the comics or wrote the update but also as I watched the horror host shows and did the research.  That cat is Leslie my 10 year old calico cat that I have had since she was a tiny kitten. Leslie was a gift from my girlfriend at the time Jennifer as a way to help me deal with losing my job and not finding one right away, Leslie was at a pet store called Jack’s Aquarium and Pets, and as I was walking by, her tiny little paw came out of the cage and grabbed me.  She started talking and doing all she could to get my attention and after taking her out of the cage I knew she had to be mine…and for $60, she was! I named Leslie after the character Leslie Graham played by Lisa Orgolini from the 1986 horror film “Trick or Treat” and from the moment we bought her, she became my best friend as she would follow me around meowing (something she still does to this day) and would sit in my lap and watch horror films throughout the nights. Leslie is not a people kitty and for the most part will avoid all others besides Juliet and myself, but she does warm up fast to my cousin Stephen Alexander. She has a very strong dislike for our other cat Streets J, who we rescued from the streets of Dayton, and her birthday I say is July 4th as I tell her the fireworks are also in her honor! Juliet for some reason gave her the nickname Beans and calls her Leslie Beans. Leslie is such a great cat and one of my favorite pets I have ever owned.  I am writing all this because as I am working on this update, Leslie is right here cheering me on, or wait maybe she is screaming because she wants wet food with extra gravy….but whatever the reason she is meowing, thanks for always being a great sidekick, Leslie!

Leslie The Cat

So after my “Matt Goes To The Movies 2015” update in January I had lots of you readers and friends ask me why I cut the best survival horror games of the year ranking from it.  The reason I cut it was I felt that it slowed down the pace of that update….but for those who are wondering about that, I will chat a little about it on this one, better late than never right? This year I upgraded from a PS3 to a PS4 and throughout the year bought a few games and got a few games as gifts with titles like WWE 2K16, Mad Max and Batman Arkham Knight to name a few. And a total of three survival horror titles that will be my list here! So let’s get our controller in hand and see what horrors PS4 had in store for me! I should also note that I did buy Resident Evil: Revelations 2 for PS3 this year!

Best Horror Games 2015

# 3

Godzilla PS4

Godzilla lets you take control of the giant King of the Monsters as you smash your way through Japan fighting off the military as well as fellow Kaiju like Rodan and King Ghidorah and growing bigger and more powerful in size. The game also offers just monster battles as well as VS. mode that lets you and a friend fight it out. The game is simple and fun and is a total no brainer, but that’s also its downside as it’s not too challenging and can get boring after an hour of gameplay. While this might not be the best Godzilla game ever made, I will say Bandai really tried to make a game that felt as if you were indeed Godzilla stomping around town. Plus you can upgrade your Godzilla and get other skins, changing his appearance. It’s worth checking out if found cheap enough and you’re a fan of the Godzilla movie series.

# 2

Zombie Army Trilogy PS4

The Nazis are losing World War II and unleash their ultimate weapon, black magic and Zombies! Choose your fighter and make your way across Europe as you fight off the hordes of the undead. This game is lots of fun and for some reason made me super nervous when I was playing it.  I am sure it’s due to the sounds of and the hordes of zombies and weird voices chanting. The game is a spin-off of the Sniper Elite series and allows you to sniper off zombies as they approach with direct kill shots to the head showcasing the X-Ray effects of the hit! Zombies might be overdone in the world of movies, comics and video games, but this one was lots of fun and worth playing if you’re looking to kill some time and if you like sending Nazi zombies to hell!

# 1

Until Dawn PS4

A prank goes terribly wrong and leaves two sisters missing in the mountains. Sometime later their brother has a reunion with 7 of his closest friends, all of whom were there the night his sisters went missing, but something wicked is in the air as friends start to be attacked by a masked killer who seems like he is out for revenge! But all things are not as they seem as the game takes twists and turns and leaves you as the player in control of the fate of the playable characters as your choices have effects and you must choose wisely! What made this game really great was not only the atmosphere but also the characters who some are really likable while others are jerks and this makes you become attached to some of them and forces you to choose wisely. This is hands down the best horror game I played this year! For those wondering, my two favorite characters are Sam and Ashley, both of whom I was trying my best to keep alive.  One survived; the other sadly did not…and I am not sharing who was who.

Until Dawn Screen Shot 1

We have covered Jim Shooter, survival horror games of 2015 and my cat Leslie up to this point, and I think it’s time that we take a quick look at Spitfire, the hero of our selected New Universe comic series as I am sure many of you readers like myself are not too familiar. As I said above, I selected Spitfire to be my pick for many reasons that include the fact that it’s a robot comic from the 80’s (and I’ll say this till I am blue in the face like a Smurf: kids of the 80’s love robots).  The covers for the series looked interesting and eye catching too even though I knew nothing about Spitfire and The Troubleshooters.  Lastly and most importantly, it had a good run that did not last too short or too long. When looking up and reading the first issue of this series, the first thing that took me by surprise was that Spitfire is just a suit worn by a female professor. I had no clue that this series was about a female hero and that made it seem like an even better choice to start my travels into the Marvel New Universe. So really quick, these are the basics of what you need to know: Professor Jenny Swenson is well liked by her students and the school she teaches at.  When her father is set up and killed, she along with some rebel students that call themselves the Troubleshooters try and get to the bottom of the crime and unlock a whole world of secret societies and people pulling the strings! She is opposed to war and acts of violence and wants to only use her father’s technology for the betterment of mankind. Those are the basics of who Jenny aka Spitfire is and below is some art of what her suit looks like as well as what she looks like.

Spitfire Armor 1Spitfire Armor 2Jenny in Spitfire

So are you ready to dive into Marvel’s New Universe? Are you ready for comics based around non-gods or super beings? Are you ready for a world where the Amazing Spider-Man does not exist? Well I know I have some curiosity to see just what this comic universe is like, and I must admit I have owned some of these New Universe comics for years and never have read a one of them! I should thank my friend Eric Shonborn for lending me the audio book of “Marvel Comics The Untold Story” by Sean Howe that sparked me to want to do an update about the New Universe as well as a thanks goes out to Bookery Fantasy for having the whole run of Spitfire in stock for only a dollar each issue! I also like always want to remind you that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s get to these reviews and see how Spitfire stacks up to the main Marvel Universe comics.

Spitfire 1

Spitfire # 1  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 1 of 13

The Massachusetts Institute Of Technology is the place of learning for a group of students called The Troubleshooters who are super smart but also pranksters! Their young red headed teacher is Professor Jenny “Spitfire” Swensen whose father has just been killed in what was ruled an accident while working at his lab. At the funeral, Jenny meets Mr. Fritz Krotze who was her father’s boss who informs her she must come and get her father’s stuff from the lab in 24 hours! When at the lab, Jenny is being watched by security as she quickly checks her dad’s computer and finds a hidden message that informs her who killed him and why! But before she can finish reading, she is asked to leave as her time is up.  She returns to school and gets the help of The Troubleshooters to break in and read the rest of the message. Mr. Krotze, meanwhile, is showing off a mech-suit called M.A.X. 1, and it’s clear that Krotze killed her father who created a better suit called M.A.X II nicknamed Spitfire! Jenny and Troubleshooters succeed in breaking into the lab and finds the message that tells them Krotze was indeed his killer.  Jenny wears the Spitfire armor, and together they move the lab that can transform into trailers! In the end Spitfire beats M.A.X. I and lets Krotze know that once she has 100% proof he will be going down for her father’s murder.

Going into this comic, I had to throw out all the thoughts of classic Marvel and go in with a fresh mind and a realization that Spitfire was not going to be a larger than life hero like Iron Man and would be more rooted in technology that would and could be more possible.  So with that said, I must say that issue # 1 of Spitfire is an average comic adventure set around a C list comic hero. The plot is generic and has a young and cute professor having her father murdered by his boss over technology that later falls in her hands.  Throw in some youths as her sidekicks and some small time action, and you have this issue. Jenny Swensen is a hip cool Professor who is not only a good teacher but also is well respected by her students as she is fun and fair with them.  She is cute and a red head, and she comes from a family of very smart people as her dad was a inventor.  Her father is also the one who gave her the nickname of Spitfire. The downside, besides the fact she wants revenge, is that she don’t have much of a personality that shows through.  I’m so looking forward to seeing her grow as a character. The Troubleshooters are a bunch of smart kids who as well are okay but have no personalities besides that they like to pull pranks and are loyal to their teacher. Mr. Krotze comes off as a generic rich bad guy who wants to take research projects and turn them into a military weapon and will kill and screw over whoever he can to make money and get power. M.A.X. II or called Spitfire is a cool suit that is bright red and is supposed to be used for construction, and while not equipped with guns or lasers, it does have some killer buzz saws and super strength. As I stated, this issue is just average yet fun, and I am looking forward to seeing what the next issue’s has in store for me. I should also note that Herb Trimpe did the art for this issue, and he is one of my favorite old school artist who worked on Incredible Hulk issues in the 70’s! His classic style art helps bring this story to life for sure. I also must say I really like the cover for this issue as it showcases all the main characters.

Spitfire 2

Spitfire # 2  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 2 of 13

Jenny and Troubleshooter member Andy are in the woods testing the limits of the Spitfire suit when some hunters in a pick up truck lose control and almost fall off a cliff till Spitfire saves them causing a news story that leaks back to Fritz Krotze who wants the suit back bad and tells his assistant Richard Faylen to bring in a top secret government project called “Behemoth.”  It’s also clear, as Faylen leaves, that Krotze is not in charge as he is taking orders from a group that calls themselves The Club. Meanwhile The Troubleshooters lead by member Eddie Giotti with a pair of metal arms raid Krotze’s labs to try to find out what he knows about the whereabouts of Jenny, and when they find out, Faylen and lots of the guards are taking a train to Jenny’s location, Eddie jumps on the train to see if he can find out the plan as the other Troubleshooters follow. Eddie finds himself being taken into the train and beat up badly as Behemoth turns out to be a Super-Tank that goes head to head with Spitfire in a battle of metal and power. In the end The Troubleshooters save Eddie from the train and guards, but his ribs have been broken and Spitfire destroys Behemoth and decides that she is no longer hiding and is going to take the war to Krotze!

This second issue is as fun as issue # 1, and sadly also just as average in story and characters. The major downside is what I like to call the Shooter Trick that has plot elements that took place in another New Universe Comic series forcing the reader to have to buy other comics in the series to get the full story.  Jim Shooter sure did love this trick and used it not only with the New Universe but also the normal Marvel Comic series. The plot has Jenny and her Spitfire suit battling the idea of limiting how often she uses it as it’s by all accounts a stolen piece of equipment.  Krotze wants and needs to regain the suit for not only himself but the secret group knows as The Club. Most of this issue is drama as it has Jenny battling her own mind on right and wrong as well as Troubleshooters going on their own and trying to be heroes but really just adding more stress to the all ready bad situation Jenny is in. I love the odd addition of student Eddie Giotti wanting to make mad monkey love to his teacher Jenny, such an odd subplot. I do also like the idea of a secret society being the true bad guys and wanting the suit as they see the power it has and with some modifications how it could be a major weapon. Jenny as a character has changed slightly as it’s clear she wants to be a hero, but hates that she must hide away from the world as she is wanted for the suit that’s stolen technology. Krotze also shows how evil he is by stopping at nothing to get the suit back, but they do a nice job of showing fear in him as The Club clearly owns his soul and pulls his strings. Behemoth The Super-Tank is not really a threat once Spitfire figures out that its nothing but a tank controlled by a thin wire…yeah, the super tank is a remote control weapon…yeah, once the line is cut it stops….terrible. Eddie Giotti of The Troubleshooter’s stands out this issue as not only a man with a great mind who creates super strong metal arms for himself but also shows he really is hot for teacher and makes dumb mistakes to play hot shot. I really dig the Troubleshooters as they are great side characters who do add to the story and drama of this comic series. The cover is again well done, and the art is done by Herb Trimpe again as well and looks fantastic. I am hyped to see how Spitfire takes the war to the bad guys so I am going to wrap this one up and move onto issue # 3!

Spitfire 3

Spitfire # 3  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 3 of 13

Jenny is planning her attack and wants to find illegal dirt on Krotze to report him to the police, but she herself is under investigation for the taking of her father’s lab and the Spitfire suit! While Eddie Giotti heals up in the hospital after the terrible beating he suffered at the hands of Krotze’s guards, the rest of the Troubleshooters build cyber body parts that allows them to run 140mph and even use their mind to hack into computers and phone lines. Jenny also notices that Theresa, the only female Troubleshooter, seems to have a dislike for her as she clearly does not fully stand behind them breaking the law to prove Krotze guilty. Meanwhile Krotze is being blackmailed by Bronson, the goon who wore the M.A.C.K. I suit that was beaten by Spitfire as well as the one who killed Jenny’s father, is himself killed in cold blood by Krotze who knew he had to cover his tracks of all wrong doing after the government is mad about him destroying the Behemoth Super-Tank! Spitfire goes alone to Krotze’s lab and by accident shoots a solider.  This causes her to second guess the mission and leaves her open for an attack that almost leaves her dead, but with the help of the new and cyber improved Troubleshooters, she is able to escape the lab with her life. Krotze is upset that he was not able to kill Jenny and get the Spitfire suit but soon gets a visit from The Club member Steel Hawk who is there to help.

The struggle of Jenny continues as she really wants to put an end to Krotze and his corrupt company, but once more her fears and doubts stand in the way as she wants to do so in a law abiding way. The plot is just as the others and has Jenny/Spitfire going toe to toe with Krotze and his men, but this time her own fears and doubts leave her open for a massive attack that almost leaves her a dead roasted chicken in her suit of armor. Jenny in this issue has way to many doubts and also is so filled with rage that its making her unstable and leaving her open for attacks and for looses to the hands of her enemies. But also it seems she talks a good talk as in the last issue when she found out Giotti was hurt she acted as if she was going to blow Krotze’s lab up and kick his teeth out in the process, but we find her in this issue wanting to sneak in again and just steal files from his computer. The Troubleshooters once more prove that they are needed as they build new helpful technology as well as save Jenny’s fat from the fire when she chokes during a fight. Krotze in this issue really does prove he will do what ever he can to save his own butt as he murders a man with no real remorse and worse uses a high power laser to do the deed. Over all this is a pretty good issue and while some things change with the plot and characters it still feels the same as the other two issues, the cover is pretty dang cool and the art this time is done by Ron Wagner who also worked on comics for Marvel like G.I. Joe, The Transformers and Morbius: The Living Vampire and it’s pretty solid work. Good issue that’s adds more drama to the story and makes me want to see just how Jenny is going to deal with the fact she shot a US Solider and she almost died, so lets head to issue 4.

Spitfire 4

Spitfire # 4  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 4 of 13

Fritz Krotze is missing, and his company is now under investigation into selling weapons to terrorist and the star witness is Jenny who explains how she wants to prove he killed her father and even exposes the fact he works for The Club on live TV! The Troubleshooters are nervous watching as they don’t want to be dragged into this political mess as Steel Hawk is enjoying it all as he has already killed Richard Faylen with a car bomb and had kidnapped Krotze and has tortured him and finally kills him with a metal bat and drops his body into a river hoping it will be uncovered.  It’s all part of a trap and set up for Jenny to take the fall. At a party hosted by the Senator, a bomb is found and Spitfire comes to the rescue but also finds Steel Hawk waiting for her.  The two fight and Hawk’s weapons are just too powerful for the suit to handle and just as all looks grim and Steel Hawk is about to put a bullet in Jenny’s head, she breaks his leg and the police show up and chase him off. In the end Jenny is looked at as a hero to some but finds herself under arrest for the murder of Krotze!!

Wow, this issue really rocks its packed with action, drama and murder and shows that setting this New Universe in a real world environment can work with the right writer. The plot of this issue has an assassin setting up Jenny with a murder he committed in order to get her off the trail of The Club, only to find that while it worked, it also brought his actions into the light. In this issue, Jenny seems to have her act together and is helping the government catch Krotze for his terrorist activities.  Plus she shows that she is really building a superhero attitude and wants to save innocent people when danger is near. The fact that she gets her butt handed to her in this issue by Steel Hawk and then gets arrested for a murder she did not commit makes me really hyped to read issue 5! Fritz Krotze, who was shaping up to be the series’ main bad guy, finds himself beaten and killed all for the amusement and punishment of The Club, and when he’s killed, I mean he is killed by a metal baseball bat! Poor Richard Faylen as well is killed by a hit from The Club that leaves him blown up thanks to a car bomb! Steel Hawk is one badass killer who takes joy in the kill as well as enjoys the set ups that go along with his evil deeds. I really can’t wait to see him return and go toe to toe with Spitfire again! The plot of this comic series is starting to really progress with this issue, and that’s cool as I did not see the murder of Faylen & Krotze coming at all! The art in this issue is done by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane who also did work for Marvel on Spider-Man, Hulk plus a few others, and I must say his style worked well for this issue! The cover as with all the others so far is well done and eye catching.  Over all, this is the best issue so far and shows that this series might have some life in it after all!

Spitfire 5

Spitfire # 5  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 5 of 13

Jenny Swensen is in jail for a murder she did not commit and her Spitfire suit is now in police custody and everything looks real grim as everyone is quick to find her guilty. The Troubleshooters are all wondering what their fate is as they want to help Jenny, but they also can’t tip the police off to their involvement in the theft of the suit and breaking into the labs. Giotti however can’t give up on his crush Jenny and along with a few others decide to break into the police station and spring Jenny from jail! Meanwhile Steel Hawk who is nursing his broken leg and gets a new assassination job from The Club as they want him to kill the Prime Minister of England who is visiting the USA in a few days.  He of course takes the hit. Jenny gets a visit from Star Brand, a super powerful man who has special powers and who had warned her in the past not to use the suit, as it would cause her issues, and as he points out..it has! Giotti steals the suit and is unaware that the core pack is about to blow up and act like a nuclear bomb killing many innocent people in the process.  Star Brand tries to talk some sense into him, but the two end up fighting that leaves Spitfire suit down and out and Star Brand able to get rid of the core pack. In the end, Jenny is happy to hear that the danger is past and finally is able to get a night’s sleep in jail.

This issue should be called “Jenny Goes To Jail” and at some point in the comic they should have shown Ernest P. Worrell dressed as his grandma…yeah! But to be serious, this issue’s plot has Jenny in jail waiting to be cleared of the crime of murder that she didn’t commit, but things don’t look good for her. For extra drama throw in Star Brand and The Troubleshooters trying to steal the Spitfire suit and you have a fun and entertaining issue. Jenny in this issue tries to put up a tough as stone attitude, but is clearly shown to be scared and emotional over what her life faces ahead. Very nice growth for the Jenny character, and I am starting to really like her as a comic character! Star Brand who had his own series running at the same time is a hero who likes to hide his power and not show it off.  This makes him come off as a little cocky as he judges other people who do use their abilities. The Troubleshooters are shown to care for Jenny and would even rob a police station for her but they are also really scared that they will be caught up in her crime of stealing the Spitfire suit that could also get them blamed for the murder. Really cool to see Giotti in the Spitfire suit try and fight Star Brand only to loose and almost blow up the city in the process, I mean I know Giotti wants some booty from Jenny but he also needs to listen and not be so reckless in his attempts to impress her. Another fun issue and once more makes me wonder how Jenny is going to clear her name of the crime and get out of jail to bring down The Club. Herb Trimpe did the art again as well as the cover that’s pretty eye catching, so with that lets move onto issue six.

Spitfire 6

Spitfire # 6  **
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 6 of 13

Jenny is set free from jail and the charges dropped when they could not come up with enough evidence to convict her of murder. Steel Hawk is back in town and ready to kill the U.K Prime Minister and is also now on the polices radar as they think he is the one who killed Krotze and want to find him for questioning. Meanwhile Terry cant take it anymore and goes off on Giotti about how he is drooling over Jenny, and how if he could get his head out of his butt he would see that she is in love with him, she is upset and embarrassed by her remarks and runs and hides in the courts restroom, were she over hears the cops talking that Jenny could be on trail again soon if they cant find Steel Hawk. The Troubleshooter decide to use their mock up smaller versions of the Spitfire suit and hack into the police computer files and track down the hideout of Steel Hawk and find Krotze’s blood and the metal ball bat that killed him! They also find the plan to kill the Prime Minister as she lights the Christmas Tree downtown, Steel Hawk has a bomb that will go off killing many…as the issue comes to an end The Troubleshooters are rushing downtown as the Prime Minister is pushing the light up switch.

She’s Free! This issue takes Jenny out of jail and back into the drama of The Club and it’s evil ways, well sort of as this issue she sits out on the sidelines as The Troubleshooters are the ones trying to track down Steel Hawk and stop the assassination of the Prime Minister of England. Terry shows that she is torn between wanting to help find the truth and hating Jenny who she is clearly jealous of. The Troubleshooters in this issue are the main focus and they act like a bunch of kids who are getting a thrill of breaking the law for good as well as having drama amongst themselves. In fact in this issue they more they were used the more I found myself not liking them as they all came off kind of annoying and bratty. Steel Hawk on the other hand is crazy and shows that while The Club might be the puppet master of evil, he has no strings to hold him down as his idea to kill the Prime Minister is to blow her up!!! So what I learned for this issue is that Jenny is the true star and The Troubleshooters are better as bit players and not the main focus as I found this issue kind of bad, with the only highlights being Steel Hawk. The art is good and done by Vince Giarrano, who worked on mostly DC Comics like Batgirl and Manhunter.  The cover on this issue is also pretty lame and reminds me of a independent 90’s comic that would be found in a quarter bin at the local comic shop. So I am ready to move past this issue and hope Jenny makes her comeback as Spitfire in the next issue, and I hope this is not the start of The Troubleshooters taking over the series.

Spitfire 7

Spitfire # 7  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 7 of 13

The Troubleshooters have saved the Prime Minister of England but now have a hit on them placed by The Club and to be carried out by Steel Hawk! The Troubleshooters decide to retire from being heroes and visit Jenny to tell her the news. Jenny Swensen is dealing with all the pressure of her dismissed trail for murder as well as the fact her students are running around playing hero is technology her father created.  This leads to her wanting to talk to her one time boyfriend Bernie about the news she just got about being fired from the collage next semester. Steel Hawk, however, is on a path of murder as he uses a rocket launcher to blow up Tim and his steel legs that leaves him near death’s door and both of his legs needing to be amputated, and kills Andy with his own laser beams, and tells the others he will see them soon! On her way home, Jenny is kidnapped and pulled inside a van leaving us wondering what is happing next…

This is a good issue that mixes action and drama really well, and man I did not see Troubleshooters being killed off like this coming at all! The plot is really just that Steel Hawk is pissed about failing to killing the Prime Minister and takes out his rage on those who stopped him. Steel Hawk is super cold blooded and his murderous ways are highlighted in this issue as he kills a homeless man, Andy and cripples Tim all with a gleam in his eye. I can’t wait to see Jenny put on the Spitfire suit and go toe to toe with this assassin. The Troubleshooters are dropping like flies, and the worst part is they were trying to retire from the hero game but got out at the wrong time. Tim may live, and I am guessing if he does he will have metal legs.  Andy is sadly dead with no coming back after taking a full laser blast to the back and through the chest. Jenny Swensen is down and out, and she clearly is snapping under the pressure. I am sure when she finds out her students are being killed, her rage and fire will return, and I feel sorry for The Club and Steel Hawk as I think she will be gunning for them. This series took a really bold step by killing off two of the main Troubleshooters and as I stated before, I did not see that coming at all. I wonder if any more of them will die in the next issue, as well as who kidnapped Jenny? The art is done by Alan Kupperburg and Tony DeZuniga and is well done.  This time I think the cover is a little generic and so far is the weakest of the bunch. This is a great issue that shows this series does have life, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Spitfire 8

Spitfire # 8  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 8 of 13

What’s left of the Troubleshooters meet at the hospital. Tim has just gotten out of a surgery that took both his legs below the knees.  This makes Giotti very upset that one of his friends is now crippled and another is dead, and he swears revenge on Steel Hawk. Meanwhile Jenny Swensen wakes up in a dark room and finds that she has been kidnapped for what she knows about M.A.X. suits.  The kidnappers want her to build them one and use a fighter named Brick to rough her up into doing so.  They give her 12 hours to build a suit to defend herself from Brick, and she spends it building a stun gun that does not work as a counterattack against Brick. You soon find out that the people who kidnapped her are betting on if she will break and tell them what she knows of her father’s work or die before doing so. While Eric is done being a Troubleshooter, Giotti and Terry hack into the F.B.I computers and find out all they can about Steel Hawk as they want him to pay for his crimes. In the end Jenny was not in any real trouble as it seems that her tests and kidnapping were done by the government.  Giotti finds Steel Hawk and almost beats him to death until he is saved by a unknown ninja.

Giotti finally gets his metal arms on Steel Hawk and delivers a massive beat down that I cannot say for sure but sure looked like it broke Hawk’s back. This issue’s plot is about revenge and self control as Giotti gets his revenge for his friends and Jenny learns that she is strong willed and in control of her own life. Jenny Swensen this time around is mentally and physical abused throughout the issue all by some government tools who want to see if they can break her into telling them the secrets of the M.A.X. suits. I really wished when they came out and told her it was a test, she would have kicked one of them in the head. Steel Hawk is on cloud nine after taking out two of the Troubleshooters but soon learns that what he thought were easy targets have the guts to fight back! Terry and Giotti stick together and use their suits to track down and deal with Steel Hawk.  I think this might lead them to the path of wanting to be heroes again. I can’t say for sure, but I think Eric who was a Troubleshooter is done, and I would be shocked if we see him again. The Ninja who saves Steel Hawk from his beat down is a mystery, and I am not sure how they will play into the future of this series. And I am sure this is the only time we will see dumb old Brick who spends his time in the issue beating up a woman.  To be honest, there sure is a lot of woman beating in this issue! Still no Spitfire suit and at this point I am not sure when it will make its comeback, but I am hoping soon as I want to see it tangle with The Club! Alan Kupperburg and Tony DeZuniga once more did the artwork, and it looks great.  The cover this time around is back to being eye catching and solid, and to be honest has a Amazing Spider-Man feel to it just replace Jenny with Mary Jane, Steel Hawk with Kraven The Hunter and Giotti with Spider-Man…go on and look and tell me you don’t agree! Well let’s move onto issue # 9 and see where our journey takes us next. I should also note that the comics title starting in this issue changed from Spitfire And The Troubleshooters just to Spitfire.

Spitfire 9

Spitfire # 9  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 9 of 13

Terry and Giotti have decided to fully retire from being Troubleshooters, and they both destroy their suits and vow never to become crime fighters again! Meanwhile Steel Hawk is in a hospital with multiple broken bones and possible brain damage after the beating he took from Giotti.  His savior Varna is trying to nurse him back to health to get revenge. Meanwhile Jenny is set free by The Government run buy a man named Roth who sends her home on a private jet alongside and man named Jake Travest who is also being watched and forced to do things for Roth.  They both soon find out that they are not being sent home but to Afghanistan to see if Russia who is invading that county has M.A.X. suits, and they soon find that they do as our issue ends with one about to grab Jenny and Jake from a horse.

First thing I must say is that this issue is pretty slow moving and most of it takes place on a plane were Jenny and Jake get to know each other and talk slightly about the past and how they both dislike Roth who acts like a evil puppet master. What’s odd about all this is Jake seems to be a Manchurian Candidate and does what he is told once the name “Slash” is brought up.  Plus not sure if I trust Jake as he knows a little too much about Jenny and her past as well as the whole deal with The Club. Jenny in this issue seems just pissed off and fed up with how she is being treated and is growing to hate the fact her father made these metal suits. Terry and Giotti seem to really mean that they are out of the Troubleshooter game and would rather focus on school and not crime busting. Steel Hawk looks like a mummy as he is covered in bandages and has pure hate in his eyes.  I’m not sure who the woman Varna is, but I am sure we will find out sometime in this series. Roth is such an ass and uses his rank and power to make people do what he wants them to do.  He’s not a likable guy, and it’s shown he can make fake VHS recordings of people like Jenny’s father and make them say what he wants. Over all, this was a slow paced issue that seems more like it should be a James Bond issue and not a New Universe title, a good read just slightly boring. Alan Kupperburg does the art, and it looks good while the cover on this one is average and has nothing to special besides it could be mistaken for a John Carter Warlord of Mars or Doc Savage cover. Let’s see if issue 10 brings back the action or brings on more of the zzzzz’s.

Spitfire 10

Spitfire # 10  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 10 of 13

Jenny and Jake are stuck in Afghanistan helping the rebels fight off the invading Russians and their black market M.A.X. suits. Jake is losing his cool a lot and seems to not be bothered when having to kill and injure the Russians, and this is making Jenny uneasy about his mental stability. Jake is able to attack a Russian Solider in a M.A.X. suit and break his arm in three places and leaves him for dead while taking the suit back to the rebel’s home base.  There Jenny, unaware it’s Jake, shows them all how you can bring the suit down with a well timed bullet to a weak spot on the suit. When they find out it’s Jake in the suit, they have a plan that is much like the Trojan Horse that will allow the captured M.A.X. suit to enter the Russians’ hideout with a device Jenny made that will render the suits unusable, but the rebels have other ideas as they place a bomb in the suit and not only blow up all the M.A.X. suits but also all the Russians at the base. In the end Jenny is upset that men had to die, while Jake tells her that’s what war is and Roth comes to get them and informs them he wants them to join a elite group.

This is clearly no longer a superhero comic and has made the leap to secret agent spy comic.  While its still good, it’s also a major letdown as I enjoyed the fact that Jenny was a woman who wore a metal suit and fought off attacks in her hometown. Spitfire is no longer the suit and her nickname, it is now her code name as a tech spy. This issue has the horrors of war as Jenny first hand sees all the terrible things that go on. She seems fed up with all the drama her father’s creations have caused her and really is pissed off at the Government and how they have tricked her into doing their dirty work. Jake is shown to be a man with split personalities as one moment he is fine joking and the next he is snapping people’s arms and being an ass to whoever is in his way. If I read this issue right, “Slash” is his other side…and Slash should not be confused with the Guns N Roses guitarist or the evil turtle from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Russians seem pretty dim and open themselves up for lots of attacks and are dumb enough to take in the M.A.X. suit after it had been missing for like two days. While only in it for a few moments. Roth is as pushy as ever and forces them into joining his little spy game group. The cover of this issue is a little weak, but the art inside, done by Alan Kupperburg, is pretty good. Over all I wish more would happen in the action department, and while the story is changing, I am not sure if it’s going in the right direction as I feel the secret agent route they are taking Jenny down just might not work. Also take a note that starting with this issue ,the comic is not just called Spitfire but is now Codename Spitfire…ugh! Well let’s see what issue 11 has to bring to this spy dance.

Spitfire 11

Spitfire # 11  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 11 of 13

Jenny starts this issue being pulled out of the ocean wearing a new Spitfire suit by Roth and some Navy workers.  She is rushed to surgery as she is badly hurt and her legs burnt. Meanwhile Jake is seen as a prisoner of a Russian general who is torturing him and enjoying doing so! We flashback and see how Jenny and Jake were on a mission that went wrong that lead to Jake’s capture and Jenny being roasted in her own M.A.X. suit. Back to current time and Jenny is weak and burnt and is told by Roth that the government wants them to leave and not go after Jake and that’s an order.  Jenny doesn’t listen and musters up all her strength and climbs into the now repaired Spitfire suit and beats the bad guys and saves Jake from a certain death. When returning to the Navy ship Jenny and Jake are taking to sickbay where they are told this new secret squad might already be facing retirement!

This issue has the effect and cause set up and shows how Jenny and Jake fail at their first secret mission as a team with the goal to save a hostage who is killed.  They each come close to death’s door making it a true failure. Roth seems annoyed and yet also proud of his new team who are a rag tag bunch of misfits. Roth has grown as a character from an unlikable government agent to a well rounded respectable kind of agent. Jenny has gotten her desire back and it’s clear now that she is going to use her father’s work for good as her new Spitfire suit is built for war.  Also she seems to have come to terms with the fact people die in war as she murders soldiers to save Jake. Speaking of Jake, this issue he starts is mission out being G.I. Joe but ends up being a whipping boy for the enemy.  The cheesiest thing about him is how he says one-liners even after being beat up! Once more this takes the spy route and only has a dash of superhero, and I am not sure how I am feeling about the change in feel and direction of the series. The cover for this issue is great and eye catching. I really like the aerial combat scene, and it also lets you get a good look at the new Spitfire costume. The art this time around is done by Grant Miehm who is known for his work on the Marvel series Namor: The Sub-Mariner, and its great stuff and is second best in line behind the work of Herb Trimpe so far in the series. To sum it up, this issue is okay but feels like a filler issue when looking back at it.

Spitfire 12

Spitfire # 12  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 12 of 13

Jenny is watching tape of a failed test she just ran in her new Spitfire suit, and while upset she drops a picture of her father and finds a computer hard disk that has a program that is the attitude and beliefs of her father! Meanwhile, something wicked is going down as an air force base is attacked by terrorist Evan Reinger who steals a top-secret jet and kills all witnesses.  The government call on Spitfire to take it back and to bring in Reinger dead or alive. As Spitfire engages the jet being flown by Reinger, the hard disk of her father’s beliefs takes over the suit and almost gets his own daughter killed as his anti war feelings get in the way of her being able to defend herself as he tries to shut down the suit! Lucky for her, Roth and crew are able to eject the disk, and this gives her enough time to blow up Reinger and the jet and save her own skin. In the end Jenny says her goodbyes to the disk as she deletes the program and embraces what she is now doing with her life.

This issue is close to the end and has Jenny having to come to terms that she is now using her father’s work as a means of war.  This causes her to also have to let go of the ghost of her father whose own beliefs have impacted all her decisions her whole life. For some reason in this issue Jenny looks like a character from the cartoon Jem or could have been a woman in a Hall and Oates music video, but with her odd appearance aside, she has made another step in growing as a character and is now a fully fledged agent who wants to do the right thing. It’s a shame that the character takes the next turn of growing and it’s one issue before the final. Jake and Roth take a backseat in this issue and act as supporters who play a key part in why Jenny turns the page on using the tech for war purposes. Evan Reinger is a killer who does not seem to mind killing and his main focus is getting that plan to use for bad purposes, and when he is blown up it comes to no real loss for the world. The action and drama mix well in this issue, and I am finally glad to see that Jenny’s father will be out of the picture in the next issue we can hope. The cover is okay and is just a more chaotic version of last issue.  The art inside this time around is done by Javier Saltares who is known for his Ghost Rider work for Marvel and is a style that I am not a super fan of, but I guess it works. Well, we are at the final issue of Spitfire, and I for one can’t wait to see how they are going to end this series! So let’s get to the 13th and final issue of Spitfire.

Spitfire 13

Spitfire # 13  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 13 of 13

Celia Cliff is an agent who goes missing during a mission in the middle of the jungle, and this leaves Jenny alone with a new tech whiz partner named Willy.  The pair, along with a new version of the Spitfire suit, head out to find the missing agent and try to bring down the evil St. John who is kidnapping the local children and turning them into half human and half robot slaves! Jenny gathers information from the locals and heads to the castle that holds St. John’s empire and along the way she defeats one of his robot henchmen and finds out that they all have very little control of their own minds! When at the castle Jenny and Willy find out that Celia is becoming one of his robot soldiers.  As two of his robots attack Spitfire and St. John is keeping Willy at bay it’s the last dying breath of Celia in her new robot state of mind that is able to bring down St. John as they both die. In the end Jenny and Willy head back home, an agent down but a world safer.

The final issue of Spitfire leaves lots of questions unanswered as well as many storylines unfinished, and that takes away from the over all appeal of this series as we as readers get no closure and it just ends with a story that has no real build up! Jenny in this issue becomes a James Bond type and travels to a hostel land to rescue a fellow agent and to take down an evil mad super intelligent doctor that is also building robot suits that will be used in wars against America and our allies. She has a kick butt attitude in this issue and wants to save the agent as well as help the small town that is being terrorized by this madman. The Spitfire suit is once more redone and this time is less bulky and is lightweight and ready for hand-to-hand combat. Willy is a tech nerd who wants to follow this mission through even though he’s only really good at building and redesigning metal suits.  Plus we only know him from this issue so it’s hard to build a real opinion of him. Roth is only in the issue for a few pages as he delivers Jenny to Willy and then disappears.  Jake does not appear at all, and this was a lame move as this is the final issue and he is her partner. The remaining Troubleshooters never make an appearance, and we have no clue if Steel Hawk healed up and murdered them as this is a plot that they just dropped. St. John, who works for the Club, becomes the main focus bad guy and he for some reason reminds me of a super villain that would have made an issue appearance in Captain America comics from the late 70’s that would have gotten beaten by the end, much like what happened to him here. I mean he wears a cape and has crazy hair…I thought they said the New Universe was breaking away from the cheese of the Marvel Universe. The thing about this series is that it had so much potential, and each issue for the most part was very entertaining and was a nice break from the normal comics I had been reading like Amazing Spider-Man and Conan The Barbarian, but as a series it was a total mess as the creative team clearly had no direction as the comic’s name changed three times in the 13 issue run and the storyline as well changed and had so many holes in it that Swiss Cheese would have been envies of all those holes! I can also safely say that I liked the character of Jenny “Spitfire” Swensen as I found her very likable and enjoyed that over the issues she did grow as a character and became more tough and worldly. The final issue’s art was done by David Hoover and is well done, and the cover is pretty cool but a little cheesy. This is my first major step into the New Universe, and I can say for the most part it was enjoyable and I will take a look at another character sometime in the future.  So if you like Marvel Comics from the 80’s or are curious about the New Universe than Spitfire is worth checking out for sure. Check out the art below that showcases Spitfire in all her glory.

Spitfire Art 1

That was a fun read yes, but one thing’s for sure, The New Universe is not even in the same league as the Marvel Universe as I feel the need to read some Incredible Hulks or Captain Americas from the 80’s after I am done writing this last part of the update! And one a side note, I do know that Spitfire does appear in other books in the New Universe line and maybe just maybe one of those issues has the answers to the plot holes and questions. Our next update will take us far away from Marvel and once more into the world of Dell Comics and more important will be another look at a classic Looney Tune character! We will be taking a look at the icon of swine, Baron Von Porkchop’s favorite cartoon character, the one and only Porky Pig so make sure to comeback for that as it will surely be a great time. Until then, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local horror host and enjoy this March weather.

porky pig update logo

Horror Host Icon: Vampira

The art of Horror Hosting is something that has been going on for many decades and has showcased so many talents over the years from 1960’s The Great Zucchini of Supernatural Theatre to 2015’s Arachna of Beware Theater and so many amazing hosts in between. And like every form of entertainment there is a queen of the bunch, and in the case of horror hosting, every host pays respect to the glamour ghoul Vampira who is the first horror host in history and paved the way for them all! Imagine being a youth in 1954 and staying up past your bedtime as the glow of the TV screen filled the night air and you watched as a sexy dark haired woman glided down a hallway through the fog.  As she got close to the screen, she let out a loud blood curtailing scream that sent shivers down your spine and what followed was her hosting a classic Universal Monster movie like Frankenstein or The Mummy.  At that moment you became a fully fledged Monster Kid! That must have been something to witness as history was made and the Queen of Horror Hosting took the world by storm with her macabre appearance and pun filled one-liners. So with this update it is truly an honor to write about her as I bring you Horror Host Icon: Vampira.

Vampira 1

Vampira is a vampire ghoul who had straight jet-black hair, wore a long skintight black dress, had peaked eyebrows, long fingernails and had a tiny waist to boot and had a sexy voice and a scream that could shatter glass. Some people think she is a vampire but most know her as a ghoul who enjoys smoking cigarettes from her long holder as well as drinking a bubbling steamy drink all the while relaxing on her couch and seductively and playfully in a gothic manner introduced a cheesy horror film and entertain her viewers all the while also drawing them into not just the movie but also her exotic beauty. The thing about Vampira is her background is a mystery, and this aspect of her makes her even more interesting and draws those who want to know more about her in like a moth to a flame. Maila Nurmi, the actress who played Vampira, in a interview said that Vampira was a woman who pretends to act evil but really walks with Jesus…very strange that the character so much embraced by the goth and punk world is a fake evil doer. So is she a ghoul or is she a vampire? In the end it doesn’t really matter as Vampira is so amazing and groundbreaking she lives on until this day for horror host fans and beyond.

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Maila Elizabeth Syrjäniemi was born in Petsamo, Finland on December 11th 1922, and when she was two, her family moved to Ashtabula, Ohio where she stayed until 1939 before they moved to Oregon where she finished school and would set her sites on living in Los Angeles. While in L.A. she started modeling for Bernard Of Hollywood, Man Ray and Alberto Vargas and her beauty and charm helped land her a role in the 1947 film If Winter Comes. By 1944 she was cast in Catherine Was Great on Broadway, but was fired after star Mae West felt as if she was being upstaged by Maila who was gaining lots of attention from the viewers. But after being fired, she did not have a hard time finding work as she was cast in the creepy midnight show called Spook Scandals where she honed her skills of screaming and being seductive in a horror themed setting and later became a showgirl for the Earl Carroll Theatre as a chorus line dancer. In 1949, she married silent actor Dean Riesner who went on to write such films as Dirty Harry and Play Misty For Me. By the 1950’s she went back to being a model as she became a pin-up for such magazines as Glamorous Models and Gala, plus she worked as a hat-check girl on the Sunset Strip. Her life would change when in 1953 she went dressed as Morticia Addams to Lester Horton’s Masquerade and caught the eye of Hunt Stromberg Jr. a producer for KABC-TV who loved her gothic look and wanted to hire her to host horror films on the station as they had just bought a package of Universal Monster films called the Shock package.  Maila and her husband Dean talked about the idea.  He came up with the name Vampira, and she agreed to become the worlds first Horror Host! What’s really cool about this was Maila was really trying to get the station to do a live action version of the comic strip The Addams family, but they didn’t want to pay for the license to do so and with that Vampira the horror hostess was born. During her time on the air as Vampira, she became friends with actor James Dean and the tabloids had a field day of reporting on the rebel and his dark mistress friend. During this time she was so popular that she was even nominated for Emmy Award that sadly she did not win. Maila would get married two more times as each marriage would fail.  Her second husband was John Brinkley who she married in 1958, and her third and final husband was Fabrizio Mioni who she married in 1961. After The Vampira Show went off the air, Maila would take roles in many lower budget films like The Magic Sword, Plan 9 From Outer Space, I Passed For White and Sex Kittens Go To College showing that she was still in demand even after the show’s run. In 1962, she made her living working installing linoleum floors and refinishing furniture and would go on to open her own boutique called Vampira’s Attic that sold antiques as well as Maila’s homemade jewelry and clothing. While she was loved by many, she did also have her haters such as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper who claimed that Maila really didn’t know James Dean as well as she claimed and that she was a scam artist claiming that she could speak to Dean after his death.  Whether Maila could do this or not is up to debate as is how well she knew Dean…but those close to her all claim she and Dean were friends. But even with the haters, almost everyone who meet her loved Maila and her alter ego Vampira. One other crazy aspect of her life was on June 20th 1955, a man broke into her house and kept her captive for four hours terrorizing her with the main goal to kill her! By luck she was able to escape and call the police for help, really scary stuff and glad she was able to escape this loony tune.

maila nurmi 1Vampira 5maila nurmi 2

On April 30th 1954 at 11:00pm KABC-TV viewers got their first look at Vampira during a preview show they called Dig Me Later, Vampira in which they showcased their horror hostess and let the viewers get a peek at her stunning character. The next night May 1st 1954 The Vampira Show premiered at midnight, and the world was changed forever as the first horror host was born and Vampira screamed her way onto TV Screens all across the Los Angeles area. The show was very laid back and mostly had Vampira on her couch cutting cheesy twisted puns and enjoying cocktails and smoking, but while nothing too in your face, this was a new genre and captivated viewers who were not only drawn to watching the horror films but to just see her host them. Her theme song is very classic and eerie and sounds like it could be taken straight from a late night horror film that she could have easily shown on her show. Her set was nothing more than a couch with some tables that housed candles with the background being dimmed and black. Her late night ratings were high, and she became a superstar overnight.  For publicity, the station had Vampira ride around Hollywood, had her run for late night mayor, Life Magazine did a feature on her as well as booked her on many other sketch television shows, but none of this helped as in 1955 KABC-TV canceled the show.  Its rival station KHJ-TV picked up the show for a short time in 1956, but sadly it didn’t last. The reason Vampira was canceled from KABC-TV was that ABC wanted to own the rights to the character and Vampira was not having it so they did what any big company does, they pulled the plug on something that fans loved to watch all over the greed of money. The Vampira Show lasted for one season and had slightly over 50 episodes in its run.  While talks in 1981 were in place to bring her back to TV, this was not in the cards as she would be replaced and the show would be changed to another…but that subject will be a little later in our update. Sadly, no known episodes of The Vampira Show are around as it was aired live and the station did not backup any episodes.  The only known footage of her is taken from a promo reel she did for the station to try and get sponsors. While her show did not last long, her impact on horror hosting and horror culture is still felt to this day. I should also note that the sidekick for the show, was her pet spider she named Rolo.

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Edward D. Wood Jr. was a low budget filmmaker with a vision, and in 1956 with his small crew and the last shoot footage of horror legend Bela Lugosi, he decided to make a film that was called “Grave Robbers From Outer Space” that would later be changed to “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. Ed Wood wanted to hire Vampira for a role as one of the ghouls, and she at first refused to take part in the production and was insulted that Wood would even have the nerve to suggest she be in his production. But over time and with The Vampira Show being off the air, she took the role of a female ghoul. She claims the lines she was given were so bad she asked if she could play the part mute! The look of Female Ghoul is that of Vampira, and she looks just like her horror host self, and by doing this she marked herself even more so of becoming an icon of horror. But Plan 9 was not her only film role as she also played a hag in the 1962 sword and sandal film “The Magic Sword”, oddly enough they had her covered up with so much makeup it’s hard to tell it was her! Other titles she starred in include “The Big Operator” in 1959, “Sex Kittens Go To College” in 1960 and the short 1996 film “Dry” to name a few. She also has been in a number of documentaries talking about her horror host career or working with Ed Wood and these titles include “The Haunted World Of Edward D. Wood Jr.” in 1995, “American Scary” and “Vampira: The Movie” in 2006. While she might not have been a box office bombshell, she still made her mark on cinema for sure.

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In 1994, Tim Burton made a bio-pic on Ed Wood and casted actress Lisa Marie as Vampira, and I must say she was a perfect fit as her beauty did justice to Maila’s stunning good looks. I have heard that Lisa to prepare for the role spent some time with Maila and did as much research on her as possible in order to play her the right way. The film is my favorite Tim Burton movie next to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and if you have not seen it make sure to check it out to see not only Lisa Marie’s portrayal of Vampira but to see a fun film that captures the dream of so many no budget directors who believe in their art.

Lisa Marie as Vampira 1Lisa Marie as Vampira 2Lisa Marie as Vampira 3

Vampira was super important to the world of female horror hosting, and she has inspired many that would follow in her footsteps. I am sure if you asked the likes of Ms. Monster, Stella Desire, Marlena Midnite, Susie D. Rott and many other horror hostesses, they would say she inspired them in some way. But now we come to the point where we have to talk about the elephant in this update, and that’s the Vampira and Elvira situation! In 1981 KHJ-TV hired Vampira to come back to TV and recreate The Vampira Show.  Some say that she would have come back on air, while others claim they just wanted the name to use with a new actress. But what is known is talks stalled and Vampira quit after the station wanted to own the name, character and trademark! In 1982, a year later, Elvira Mistress of the Dark hosted a show called Movie Macabre, and the similarities between the two were astounding, and worse, the company that was slated to do the Vampira re-launch were the people behind Elvira! Vampira stated that there were 150 similarities between her and Elvira and a lawsuit was filed as Vampira took on Elvira in the courts.  People took sides and some fans didn’t seem to pay it any attention as both hostess, while similar, added entertainment late nights, plus Vampira sadly had not been on TV for decades at that point. Vampira even took to the late night TV show Arsenio Hall to talk about the case as well as deliver her trademark scream. Vampira was very angry at Elvira and took pot shots at her whenever she could, while Elvira was more hushed about it and claimed she wished the two could just get along as the plan was to have Vampira cameo on Movie Macabre. The case was later dismissed and the two made some tiny amends as Vampira stopped trashing Elvira and took her words toward the company who made the show. I for one would love to have seen Vampira return to TV, but also I can’t down play the impact and popularity of Elvira who almost all boys of the 80’s had a crush on. I really couldn’t imagine TV without Elvira, but I am also sad Vampira didn’t get one last ride to chill the blood of late night viewers while hosting cheesy horror films. Was Elvira inspired by Vampira? Absolutely. Did she rip her off? …not sure…but what I do know is that the world of horror hosting is better off with both Vampira and Elvira.

Vampira 7Vampira 8Vampira 9

Let’s move away from a dismissed lawsuit and onto some more pleasant things. One thing about Vampira is that many decades after her show ended and the mass amount of her footage were lost or taped over, this queen of gothic beauty has became an icon for many people who are into not only horror hosting but also punk rock, goth life and she had lots of great merchandise for her fans. Things like posters, t-shirts, models, soundtracks to films she’s in and even purses, jewelry and custom figures and dolls! Growing up, my brother Bryan had a poster of Vampira from Plan 9 From Outer Space in his room, and we both have had t-shirts with her image on it over the years. Working many horror conventions for Independent B Movie, Nightcrew Video, Andy Copp and Baron Von Porkchop over the years I have seen so many Vampira items like magnets, mirrors and costumes at vender tables and have seen many horror fans wearing her image. Still to this date 2016, if you are a Vampira fan, you can find something new to add to your collection. My favorite piece of merchandise I own of Vampira is a t-shirt that I will share it’s image below.

Vampira T-ShirtVampira The Movie CD SoundtrackVampira Model

One strange thing that I must point out is that Vampira, while appearing in comics based on Plan 9 From Outer Space, has never had a comic book one shot or series based around her and that’s very odd to me as she is so recognizable and is a icon of horror that it seems like a no brainer that she should have her own comic, I mean Elvira Mistress of The Dark as well as several other horror hosts have had comics made about them.  From Wolfman Mac to Sammy Terry, they have all made a leap from TV to comic pages! I would have loved to have read a comic based on Vampira when I was a teen and could even still imagine the twisted adventures she could have had along with her pet spider Rolo.  The comic series could have taken the Tales From The Crypt route and had her host horror stories or even better could have followed her life in Hollywood and had her mix it up with monsters and ghouls and gave a true look at this vampire of sexy fright. In 2014, I noticed a Vampira comic book cover that was on Google and I looked high and low for information on it.  Sadly, it turned out to be just an art print for the film “Vampira The Movie” and poof – my hope of covering a Vampira comic went up in smoke like the fog on her set. Do any of your readers out there know of a comic based on Vampira? I am sure if one was made it has to be a underground one, but here is hoping that some day soon Vampira will have her own comic book adventures. Below is some fan artwork that shows how cool she could look in a comic.

Vampira Art 1Vampira And Me Fake Comic CoverVampira Art 2

On January 10th 2008 Maila “Vampira” Nurmi passed away in her Hollywood home from natural causes at the age of 85.  This was a true sad day for horror hosts and fans around the world as the original queen of scream was no longer with us. The world on that day lost someone special: an actress, an artist, an shop owner, a painter, a horror hostess, a kind spirit, a person and so much more.  She was laid to rest in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in the Griffith Lawn section. I can remember getting the news from my brother Bryan and friend Andy Copp about her passing, and all of us were really bummed out.  I know many of the horror hosts were saddened to hear of her passing as she was a inspiration to so many. In closing I must say while I never knew her personally I want to say thank you, Vampira, for being the first horror hostess and bringing so many wonderful chills to your fans, and may your spirit rest knowing that you were loved by many. Rest in peace, Vampira…

Vampira 10Vampira's GraveVampira 11

On March 26-28th 2010 at HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana, the world’s largest gathering of horror hosts took place all to pay respects to Vampira as they held a tribute in her honor. Many great hosts came to the event to pay respects to the Glamour Ghoul, The Queen, the First Ever Horror host Vampira.  Names like Joe Bob Briggs, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Count Gore De Vol and many more came up and talked about the legacy she has paved for horror hosts of the past and present. A truly special event that ranks up there with her being inducted into the first class in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame. Sadly I missed the event as I was stuck at work.  This tribute also gave many something to worry about as Dr. Creep fell ill while at the event and was not able to participate in the tribute due to the fact he was in the hospital. But I wish Vampaira was with us and could have seen all these hosts coming together to pay respects to all she has done for this art.

Vampira HorrorHound Tribute

For most of the horror hosts of the 50’s and 60’s, episodes were broadcast lived or the tapes used were wiped and reused for other shows to save money, and this of course is the same thing that happened to The Vampira Show. But unlike many others, a reel was found of Vampira doing a few of her bits on her set and this was cut together with the film The 13th Guest and added was old commercials directed by Ed Wood Jr and out came an official reproduction of her show! So I am proud to say that I have a copy of this show and would like to share it with you all. Here is hoping that some day in the future that more footage of Vampira will come to light as well as other classic horror hosts so fans can watch again or for the first time. So with no more wait, here is a look at Vampaira “hosting” 13th Guest.

The Vampira Show - 13th Guest DVD

The Vampira Show:  The 13th Guest
Starring – Dick Purcell & Helen Parrish     Not Rated   1943

Host: Vampira glides down her foggy hallway and lets out a shriek and opens the show by drinking a vampire cocktail and delivering a few puns and smocking a cigarette. And by the end she wishes us all unpleasant dreams!

Movie: The Morgan family’s patriarch is soon to die. He hosts a dinner party for the family to tell them all he’s setting aside his last will to be opened by his nearly 8-year-old granddaughter thirteen years in the future when she turns twenty-one. Thirteen years later, she returns to the abandoned family house to open the will, per his instructions. Murder follows shortly thereafter. Police Lt. Burke and Private Investigator Johnny Smith are soon on hand to investigate when guests of the old dinner party thirteen years earlier seem to be bumped off according to the past seating arrangement.

Vampira and The Misfits

This was such a fun update to research and re-live Vampira’s influences on my own life.  It’s a shame that she has passed away and that her 1981 comeback never happened as it would have been nice to have footage and episodes of the character for young horror host fans to watch, collect and be inspired by. Could you imagine if she was still with us when Horrorhound Weekend did the tribute to her? Just imagine her coming to the event and being honored and worshiped by her huge fan base as well as all the horror hosts who were influenced by her would have gotten a chance to chat with her. For our next update, I am handing Rotten Ink back over to Juliet and she is going to cover something that is near and dear to her heart and that’s Star Trek: The Next Generation and DC Comics first run based on that epic TV show! So until then make sure to have unpleasant dreams and support your local horror host! See you next update for a true fun space adventure with Juliet and Captain Picard.

Star Trek The Next Generation Logo

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…

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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.

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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.

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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