From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Kong Skull Island

Christmas is creeping up on us, and as always, this time of the year makes me think of things from my past that still bring me joy to this day. That’s why I decided to choose to once more take a look at King Kong, a giant movie monster that has always brought me joy, and what better way to kick off our countdown to my Christmas Eve update then to do a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update that breaks down Kong Skull Island and the Legendary Comic prequel comic series released to promote it. Now I am sure some of you readers are saying “What!? Kong Skull Island is not a Horror Movie but an Adventure film!” My answer to that is that I have always considered King Kong and Godzilla films to be giant monster horror films that have elements of fantasy, adventure and science fiction…plus if Fangoria and other horror magazines covered Kong, then it has elements of a Horror Movie. So let’s sit back and take a look at From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Kong Skull Island.

Before we explore Skull Island we should first take a look at its ruler, King Kong! King Kong is a massive giant gorilla that stands about 104 feet and makes his home on Skull Island. He is very protective of his home and most of the creatures and primitive humans that live on it. No one is really sure where King Kong and his massive family blood line came from; all that is known that in the Legendary Pictures timeline is that he’s the last of his kind up to this point. He is massive in stature and stands more like a human than a primate and is super strong as well as smart when coming to survival. He also uses the land around him to his advantage, and while not overly aggressive toward man, he could easily kill one in seconds. King Kong uses his pure power and size to crush, smash and pummel his target. He also can use his fists to deliver massive hits to his enemies and can use his huge sharp teeth to rip and tear his foe. His brain allows him to make better decisions, making him more dangerous than most of the monsters his size. We should also note he can use things like trees and chains as weapons! But while Kong is massive, he does have weaknesses like all living creatures such as fire, bullets, bites and beatings. All can hurt and even possibly kill him. King Kong also bleeds and wounds effects him like they would normal gorillas. But while he can be hurt, it’s very hard to keep King Kong down as his heart and will to survive is a true force of nature.

So now that we know the power and attack style of King Kong, we should take a look at the film that this version of Kong comes from. The film’s write up will be coming from our friends at IMDB and it will be followed up with a little production history of the film as well as some of my memories of watching it for the first time. So let’s dive into the movie that inspired this comic mini series.

Kong Skull Island (2017)

“A washed up monster chaser convinces the U.S. Government to fund a trip to an unexplored island in the South Pacific. Under the guise of geological research, the team travels to “Skull Island”. Upon arrival, the group discover that their mission may be complicated by the wildlife which inhabits the island. The beautiful vistas and deadly creatures create a visually stunning experience that is sure to keep your attention.”

In 2014, Legendary Pictures was going to team up with Universal Pictures to make a King Kong movie, but this plan quickly changed when Legendary switched to Warner Brothers in order to add Kong into the world of Godzilla. The next step for them was to find a director and many names were suggested like Guillermo del Toro, but they ended up picking Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Next up was the script that had lots of writers attached with names like Max Borenstein, John Gatins, Dan Gilroy and Derek Connolly and the finished product had elements from each writer’s ideas. Next they worked on the design and look of King Kong for the movie and then cast names like John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L. Jackson for major roles. On October 19, 2015 filming started, and it was over all a smooth production that ended on March 18, 2016. The only bump this film had was a lawsuit from writer and artist Joe DeVito who wrote about Skull Island and felt this film stole many of his ideas. The film’s budget was $185 million and brought in $168,052,812.00 at the US Box Office and $398,600,000.00 foreign. The film was also scored by Henry Jackman, and his music was very well done and fitting. The film was # 20 for the year and beat out such other Horror and Sci-Fi films as Split, Annabelle: Creation, The Mummy, Alien: Covenant, The Shape Of Water and Happy Death Day to name a few. The film was meet with mix reviews from critics and fans with most finding it very enjoyable.

Kong Skull Island was one of my most anticipated films of 2017 and was one of the films that I along with my gal Juliet and friend Jeremy Hoy went to on opening night at Cinemark Dayton South. I was blown away by it as the film lived up to what I wanted and that was King Kong fighting other giant monsters with a fun human story. On my “Matt Goes To The Movies 2017” update Kong Skull Island was my top Horror Film of the year. Since I was a youngster, I have always been a big fan of King Kong and when this film was released I made sure to get the film on DVD as well as got the CD of the score that I have played on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO Public Radio. Kong Skull Island leads to Kong’s next appearance for Legendary Pictures in 2020 that will have him taking on Godzilla with the makers of this film saying there will be a clear cut winner! While I also really love Godzilla, I am cheering for King Kong as he has the brains and raw power to stop Godzilla’s rampage and rage. Do yourself a favor if you have not seen this film yet and make sure to check it out as it’s a giant monster film packed with action and adventure and even a little horror.

Kong Skull Island was a prefect choice to make a comic series based around it, as the movie starts with a young Kong with his family already dead. So this comic series brings his past to light and allows us to witness the sadness and rise of Kong to really be the King of Skull Island. I also really want to say that I have been looking forward to sitting and reading this comic series since it was released as I truly do enjoy King Kong in films, comics and novels and this one being tied to the newest film in the Kong series really peaks my interest. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for getting me these issue for my pull file and would like to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see what Legendary Comics brings to the table with this mini series.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 1  **1/2
Released in 2017    Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 1 of 4

The year is 2012, and a group of sailors find a Monarch recorder and return it to the company. It turns out that the recorder belonged to Aaron Brooks, a solider for the company and son of Houston Brooks that has been missing sense 1995. Houston unlocks the recorder and starts to listen to Aaron’s words. He lead a team to Skull Island as he doesn’t trust Kong to keep the islands’ monsters in check. Before Aaron and crew can land on Skull Island, they are attacked by giant flying monsters that cause them to have to leap out and the pilot and helicopter to crash. As Aaron and his crew move, they are attacked leaving one of his people dead and another missing a leg when dinosaurs attack, and if not for Kong they all would have been killed. After they regroup, they are soon greeted by natives who are speaking English, showing that Skull Island is changing!

Skull Island has become a place that has been hidden and kept secret by the government and Monarch as they just keep an eye on it as well as its King the great ape named Kong. But a young worker for Monarch does not think it’s right that the world does not know about the monsters on the island as well as relying on Kong to keep the monsters in check, so he and some other hotshot workers travel to Skull Island to expose it to the world…and this was a big mistake! Aaron Brooks is a young hotshot who thinks that he knows it all and wants to expose the world to the giant monsters, and at this point all he has done is get some of his crew members injured and dead on an island he has no business being on! His crew are all go getters, but now it’s clear they are second guessing going along with Aaron’s plan. Our baddies at this point are the creatures that live on the island, and they are just hungry and want to eat what they can kill. Kong himself appears briefly as he smacks away man eating dinosaurs who were eating our cast for lunch, and as quickly as he saves the day he also disappears. The Natives seem to be educated, which makes you wonder who has taught them and why they think Aaron and his crew are special and been foretold would come for decades. This first issue is a build up for our mini series, and while good, is a little slow and bland and thus far only adds a hint of Kong and a heck of a lot of Aaron and his cocky way. The cover is great and very eye catching for fans of King Kong and the interior artwork is good but not my style and is done by Zid. Over all this is a good issue but nothing special, and I am looking forward to issue two and hope Kong has more of a part and we get some answers to questions this issue has presented.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 2  **1/2
Released in 2017     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 2 of 4

Aaron and his crew find themselves the guests of the IWI who are nursing them all back to health and are telling them that they have been waiting for them to come. Aaron finds out that one of the young tribesmen learned English from Hank Marlow, a downed U.S. air force pilot who taught his father many years back. Aaron also begins to notice one of his own men is becoming addicted to the juice the natives are given them and is having visions of the islands past and the bloodline of King Kong! The young tribesman and some warriors take Aaron and his crew on a very important pilgrimage to the parts of the island and along the way they find some history of Kong and the people who live on the island and are almost even attacked by a massive water animal, but they also find old weapons left behind by Monarch from years back. But before they can use them, the mighty roar of Kong echoes out and the creature goes back into the water as Aaron and his crew gear up and head out to finally meet King Kong.

The second issue has Aaron and his crew being taken in by Skull Islands natives and being healed of wounds and shown the history of the Kong bloodline. While Aaron and most of his crew are cautious and focused, one of his members is acting odd and over drinking a juice and claiming to be linked to the island and filled with visions. Aaron is kind of just a man who rushed into something thinking he was going to be the hero of the day and in return just got his crew lost and in some cases dead.  Thus far to me, he has also really come off as a self centered person who craves to be that guy who sticks it to the system. The rest of the crew are just around, and one is clearly slipping into madness and is one I think will be the downfall of not only the crew but also himself. The natives seem nice and mean no harm to the crew and even seem like they would die to protect them. Kong is not seen, and we only get treated to quick flashbacks of his family from the past. While this second issue is a good read, it also is a very slow burn and even with a monster showing up and “attacking,” nothing really seems to happen and it feels like a filler issue. The issue has no blood and scary spots, and the biggest issue this comic has is that Kong, the main attraction of the mini series, is nowhere in site. The cover is cool and showcases Kongs fighting skull crawlers and the interior art is fine and done by Zid again. Over all not much to say about this issue so let’s move onto number three.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 3  **1/2
Released in 2017     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 3 of 4

Aaron and his crew, while looking for Kong, find the body of the sea monster as Kong has killed it and all the other giant beasts are coming to the area to feed.  While the feeding frenzy takes place Aaron gets word from his pilot that he is alive and the helicopter can still fly and they plan to meet up in the bone graveyard and end their trip to Skull Island! When getting to the graveyard they soon find it crawling with Skull Crawlers and must take shelter in a cave and in a vision from one of the crew, they are told about the death of Kong’s parents as well as his birth that all took place on the same day…baby Kong witnessed as Skull Crawlers killed his mother and father before his young eyes. Aaron has heard enough, and as they all rush to the approaching helicopter they witness it get shot out of the sky thanks to their crazed fellow crew member who also shoots one of his own dead and demands they all go and see Kong!

This issue brings our story more on track as Aaron and his crew decide that Skull Island is not for them and just as they are about to leave, they are forced to stay due to one of their own turning crazy and downing their helicopter killing the pilot as well as one of his fellow exploring crew! Aaron in this issue is finally becoming a character that’s likable as he knows now that he has made a big mistake in coming to Skull Island to try and test the rule that Kong has over it, but while he finally sees his mistake, he still has lead three people to their deaths. The crazed crew member is a psycho who really thinks Kong is a god and is willing to kill his own friends just to be able to see the great ape in person. The Skull Crawlers are around and are as mean as ever, and lucky for Aaron and his crew they have not been spotted and became dinner…yet! King Kong is shown as a baby in a heart breaking part of this comic as he as a newborn watches his parents die! As an adult we only get to see the aftermath of his fight with the sea creature that is dead. Two things I really like about this issue is that we do get to see Kong’s parents in action as they take on a horde of Skull Crawlers and that when Kong kills something, the rest of the beast around come and feed on the corpse of the fallen. This issue has lots more action and suspenseful moments making it the best issue in the series thus far as it delivers a more classic Kong feel. The cover for this issue is heartbreaking for fans of Kong as it shows him as a baby crying over the bodies of his Mom and Dad. Interior art again is done by Zid who I should also say did all the covers as well. Over all, a good solid issue that was a fun and quick read and really does make me look forward to see what happens when Aaron and crew finally do get to see King Kong in all his hairy glory.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 4  ***
Released in 2017     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 4 of 4

Aaron along with what’s left of his crew and the tribes men are being held captive by a Wildman who has lost tough with reality and is taking about blowing up the fence around the village to see if Kong will protect them all and prove he loves mankind. Aaron and the rest escape the madman when some creatures from the jungle appear and attack letting them get to the village, but they are too late to warn the villagers as the madman blows up the walls and allows giant spiders to enter who start attacking and killing any one they see. They even kill Aaron’s last crew member besides the madman and all hope seems gone, until Kong shows up and starts smashing the spiders and saves human lives. After Kong runs off the spiders, he also smashes the madman and looks at Aaron letting him know that he is as people say the true King of Skull Island and a protector of man. Aaron decides to stay on Skull Island and help the IWI rebuild the wall and sends his recorder on a small-unmanned boat into the ocean. We end back in modern times and Aaron’s dad at his retirement party tells his former co-workers that he is going on a cruise to some place warm.

Now this is what I have been waiting for in this comic series as we get King Kong beating up and smashing giant spiders and saving human lives and even taken one of a clear crazy man! The issue’s plot has Aaron and his crew being taken out one by one by the creatures of Skull Island as well as one of their own who has flipped his lid and believes he is one with the island as well as linked to Kong. The mad man also decides to test the nature of Kong and blows up the wooden fences around the IWI village allowing all the creatures to enter and attack and kill and waits for Kong to save them…what a nut and he does get to witness Kong who appears and saves the day but he also get the wrath of Kong who smashes him into the ground! Aaron learns that some secrets are best left hidden and that he must stay on Skull Island to help rebuild what he and his now all dead crew destroyed. And Kong proves that he really is the King of the island and that he does understand that he must help the weak and small humans from the beasts that make up his home. This issue is filled with action and adventure and really allows our characters to learn from mistakes and witness the wonders they questioned. Aaron who at first was an unlikable rebel character by the end turns into a guy you come to understand and cheer for as he does the right thing. This issue has violence but no gore or mass amount of blood and does have an adventure horror feel to many of the scenes. The cover is eye catching for fans of King Kong and has him doing what he does best and once more like the interiors is done by Zid. This comic mini series is a slow burn just like the Pacific Rim one I took a look at early this year, but unlike it, I found this one to be entertaining even with the lack of Kong in issues. Over all if your fan of Skull Island and King Kong in general check this series out. While it is not the best Kong has to offer in the world of comics, it’s at least a solid one with a fun story. Check out the art below to see the work of Zid and see what King Kong the 8th Wonder of the World looks like in these issues.

King Kong will always be my favorite giant movie monster and while I also love Godzilla, Kong will always be the tops for me. Plus I really do think that Kong makes for a great comic book character and hope that more issues of his rampages and adventures will come out sooner than later! Kong Skull Island was one of my favorite movies of 2017 and was a perfect film to go alongside the original 1933 film. So with this being the Christmas season and all, I think that my next update will be something everyone loves to chat about for this Holiday time of the year and that’s the 1961 giant ape film Konga! Wait what? You don’t gather with loved ones and chat about Konga over a glass of eggnog while sitting by the fire? Well if you have not, you don’t know what you’re missing! So we will be leaving Skull Island and go to London for our next update, and until then, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always enjoy your Holiday season with all your loved ones. See you next update for a Konga good time.

Hercules: The Turkey Day Wars

Happy Thanksgiving readers and friends, and welcome back to another Rotten Ink Turkey Day update all about the one and only mighty hero of Greece, the slayer of the Nemean Lion, the pride of Olympus and the hero who has been a main stay in culture and media as he has muscled his way into books, movies, TV, comics and video games. Of course I am talking about Hercules! Writing about Herc on this holiday as truly become something I look forward to doing; this sword and sandal hero was always one of my favorites growing up as his labors and adventures always captivated me. So while your turkey or ham is cooking and those potatoes are waiting to be mashed, let’s take another turkey day adventure with the one and only Hercules and this time the company who has brought us this adventure is Radical. So sit back, hit mute on the football game and get ready to spend some quality time with Herc and me here at Rotten Ink!

As I am sure you readers know what I am about to say and it may come as no shock, but I am going to say it anyway: I am a fan of the legend of Hercules from the myth all the way to cinema and have always enjoyed the fact you could take this hero and place him in any situation and watch as he saves the day. I mean think about classic style films “Hercules Against The Moon Men” and “Hercules Against The Mongols” that took our hero out of his normal settings and had him battle people and things not from his era.  Somehow, they just worked. But one of the biggest adventures Hercules has ever had was from the myth and would be his 12 Labors. Ever since I was a kid, one of my favorites of his 12 Labors was when he took on the Nemean Lion, a true battle of man and beast. The Nemean Lion was a massive beast that had super sharp claws and his skin could not be pierced by weapons. He tormented the people of Nemea and was rumored to been created by Typhon and Echidna. King Eurystheus was in charge of giving Hercules his labors, and his first one was to kill Nemean Lion who was a super lion and who was said to be unkillable, Hercules started his journey by buying arrows and talking to locals about the location of the beast, and once he found its cave, he blocked one entrance and forced the lion to fight him in closed combat where he was able to nab the lion into a headlock and choke the life out of it. Once dead, Herc used the animal’s own claw to skin it and carried the dead animal back to the kingdom where he both amazed and scared the King who banned him that moment on from entering the Kingdom after his labors. Hercules would go on to wear the hide of the Nemean Lion as part of his armor. I am not sure why I like the first labor as much as I do….I am sure it has to do with the fact I have always liked lions and Hercules and having them fighting each other in a death match is pretty epic. I want to also say that The Nemean Lion, while dead in the mythology world, just might live again in the pages of Sparkle Comics, but you will have to wait and see how and what comic it comes back in. And I want to say this is just the start of Hercules’ Labors as we will be taking a bigger look at his labors on another update in the future.

In 2014 Radical Comics was able to have a movie made based on their Thracian Wars comic series thanks to Paramount Pictures who released it worldwide to the joy of modern sword and sandal fans. The film was directed by Brett Ratner and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Hercules along with such actors as Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell and Reece Ritchie and was a great action film with lots of Hercules moments of power…well sort of. The film is about Hercules and his friends creating a legend about himself that allows them to get paid in order to do amazing things like defeat the undefeatable and wage one man wars, all the while the story goes out about it being Hercules, when in fact it was he and his crew. But they soon find themselves being tested when one kingdom doesn’t buy into the stories, and Herc and his crew must fight for their lives. I really do like the twist in this film as it makes you wonder if Hercules really the son of Zeus or is it all made up in order to build his legacy, then at moments he is as great as he says he is…so I think it is really up to the viewer to decide. I saw the movie in the theater when released, and it was fantastic even making the # 5 spot on my “Matt Goes To The Movies 2014” update for Superhero Movies and was one I recommended to friends who ended up seeing it and enjoying it. Oddly enough, in 2014 another Hercules movie was in cinemas called “Legend Of Hercules.” While entertaining, it was not in the same league as this one. The film did poorly at the US box office only bringing in $72,688,614.00 on a budget of $100 million and was 46 over all at the cinema. But it did however bring in more than many other cult films released that year like “Purge: Anarchy”, “Robocop”, “Dracula Untold”, “Muppets Most Wanted”, “John Wick” and “Birdman” to name a few. So if you like Hercules films or just like fun action films starring The Rock, make sure to check this movie out!

So now that we have chatted a little about Hercules in myth as well as in modern cinema, I think it’s time we get to the comic review of the five issue mini series from Radical, because I am sure you are ready for some tasty thanksgiving dinner like I am! So let’s get into this one. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for pulling these comics for me when released. Yep, this is a comic mini series that I made sure to get when released as I worked for Mavericks at the time and had to check out a new Hercules book. I want to also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are 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 join Hercules as he goes to war, we should get to the comic reviews.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 1  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $1.00     Radical Comics     # 1 of 5

Iolaus and Meneus are traveling to a poor and sloppy kingdom on Amphiaraus’ promise of gold and victory as the young King has hired Hercules and his crew to bring Thrace back together by winning a war. But these barbarians of the Kingdom all take turns making fun of Hercules as well as his mother to try and get under the skin of Meneus and Iolaus before Herc arrives. But once Hercules and the rest of his crew show up, their words and mood changes as they see they truly are warriors and can back up their words and Hercules is a man with a loyal & brutal band of friends. But when Hercules is pushed too far by the words of one of the barbarian warriors, he is forced to kill him and orders his friends to kill every man and woman in the throne room and they do just that! Hercules, who was hired to bring Thrace together and train these barbarians to fight, became their Grim Reaper, as he delivered nothing but brutal death. After the slaughter Hercules and his men soon find out that the king and his guards were not the true King and his men as outside is the true King Coyts and his men looking well armed, trained and angry.

This first issue started out a little slow and was worrisome onwhether it would deliver a fun Hercules adventure, and by the end it turned into a bloodbath slaughter that would make Conan The Barbarian happy! The comic’s plot is this: Hercules and his crew are hired mercenaries who arrive at a terrible kingdom with a jerk King and a room full of drunken slobs that end up pushing the son of Zeus’ buttons that leads to them all getting slaughtered only for Hercules to find out he has been set up as the real King is outside with his massive army! Hercules is very cocky in this issue and partly lazy and is willing to start a war over being insulted. He also very much depends on his crew in order to win battles as well as scout the way of the land before he even arrives. I also like that he is wearing the hide of the Nemean Lion. His crew are loyal to Hercules and are amazing warriors who are brutal and all have their own weirdness from one having visions to another who is a cannibal. The fake King and his drunken goons are rude and crude and all find themselves very dead and have no skills when it comes to battle! While we barely see King Coyts in this issue, you can tell he is going to be one proud and strong fighter. The one thing that I liked in this comic is the fact that while Hercules is our main hero, he is also very arrogant and showcases that he is not fully a good guy. I also really like the fact that this comic is very bloody and had kills that would fit in most Horror Comics! The cover is very cool and very eye catching for fans of Sword and Sandal and Greek Mythology style comics. The interior artwork is done by Admira Wijaya and is pretty great and very fitting for this style of comic. So I will say the first issue is a great set up for this mini series and was a great way to try and bring Hercules back to the world of comic books. So with that let’s see how Herc and his crew deals with the army that is waiting for them at the end of this issue.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 2  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 2 of 5

Hercules and his crew stand their ground as King Coyts and his army order them all to stand down and follow him into the hall where Herc and them slaughtered all those people only to find that King Coyts set them up to test how brutal they were as fighters. Hercules and his crew have now gotten the jobs to train the soldiers for war and Coyts’ daughter seems to have taken a liking to Hercules, but our heroes also seem to be very on edge on this job they have taken as things just seem very odd. Plus the army’s general Sitaces seems to also to be keeping an eye of Hercules. After months of training, the army is ready for war and they decide that night to kill a young boy to appease their God, and this act sickens Hercules and his crew. Sitaces makes his army and Hercules attack small villages and slaughter all the people they come across, and finally right before the big battle, Sitaces must return to King Coyts and tell him of their victories and as he leaves, it’s clear Hercules and his people have been set up as they are attacked by a sky full of arrows!

In this issue Hercules and his band of warriors are paid lots of money, wine and good times in order to train an army of soldiers who are just brawlers, but along the way they soon find that this army are scum and they kill to bully and their general seems to have another mission and that’s to ride the world of them! Hercules in this issue is a great teacher of war and seems to be pleased with spending time with the King’s daughter as well as have the thrill of battle, but while enjoying it all, he also seems to be on edge and aware. We also get to know female warrior Atalanta who is a lesbian and has a love hate friendship with fellow member Meleager a warrior who was a ladies man and has fallen head over heels in love with her. Sitaces is a very bloodthirsty warrior in King Coyts’ army and rocks a wicked scarred face and seems to not value any human life. And as far as King Coyts, he is a man drive by ego who will do what ever it takes to be the ruler. I really like the ending of this one as hundreds of arrows are falling from the sky and could kill not only Hercules and his crew but also any of the army who have been left behind with them. This also makes you wonder if Sitaces set them up or if it the scouts did! The cover is great and eye catching for fans of Hercules and Sword and Sandal and the interior art by Admira Wijaya is great and fitting. Over all a great second issue and one that helps build up this adventure for Hercules. So with that let’s see how Hercules escapes this deathtrap.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 3  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 3 of 5

Hercules and his crew are like lambs to the slaughter as the enemy is all around them and they are stuck in a valley, but like all heroes Hercules pushes back and drives his enemies lead by Lord Rhesus back and now have them on the ropes. Hercules himself, while wanting to end the battle, is also very mad at one of his crew Tydeus, who is bloodthirsty and not listening to orders causing them to be at odds. Hercules and his crew now have Rhesus and his guards backed against a cliff, and it’s clear they are not going to just give up and push the fight until only Rhesus is left standing and instead of dying at the hands of Hercules flings himself off the cliff! As Hercules and his crew sit for a while, an arrow comes from nowhere and kills Meneus and this sets Hercules into a rage who rips the attacker apart with his bare hands. Once they bury their friend, they head back to King Coyts with a story of victory and also slightly accuse Sitaces for the set up, but it’s quickly smoothed over as Hercules goes off with the King’s daughter and a big feast is planned. Later that night after the feast Hercules sneaks up and hears King Coyts praying to his Gods in order to get the power to his newly trained army to attack Greece and Mount Olympus!

Man, this was one pickle that I was sure would leave Hercules injured, but instead sees him win against all odds and end a war with one brutal battle. This issue’s plot has Hercules and his crew being set up, and they must fight for their lives in order to escape the valley. Once they do so, they lose one of their own members to a sneak attack and return to employer only to learn he is a scumbag who wants to over throw Greece and kill Zeus on Mount Olympus! Hercules in this issues shows why he is a true iconic fighter as he does not stress over the attack and leads his group to a victory. He also shows he is pure power as he rips a man apart in a bloody gory rage! His crew are all great fighters and sadly their youngest member Meneus is killed with an arrow to the head and Tydeus is out of control and is a warrior who just enjoys killing and eating his victims! King Coyts and Sitaces are pure scum who both crave power and terror as they just used Hercules and his crew to train an army for them that they will in turn be used to attack them and their homelands! What I really like about this comic series is that while Hercules is our “hero,” he really is no hero and is just a demi-god doing bad things for others in order to get gold! I also like that his crew, while all warriors, do seem to care about each other, well all but Tydeus who cares about no one but himself even if the others watch out for him. The cover for this issue is great and the red brings out the wicked look of Hercules who clearly is in a rage for war. The interior art once more is done by Admira Wijaya and is good stuff. Over all this is another great issue in this mini series and makes me look forward to reading the final two issues.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 4  ***
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 4 of 5

Hercules is talked out of attacking the King in the temple, and this is a bad thing as he finds the tracks of Hercules in the snow and places he and all his crew under arrest until he can figure out a way to kill them all. Hercules tries to use his charm on the King’s daughter but soon finds that she has been using him all along and spying for her father and for him escaping and plotting against the King, Hercules is taken and tortured by Sitaces who is taking joy in his evil deed! Sitaces admits that he has been with the King’s daughter and he was not the one who set them up, all the while he is whipping and burning Hercules’s flesh. But Hercules has had enough and with his power he breaks free and smashes and kills two guards as well as breaks the back of Sitaces and brings the dungeons walls down on top of him! Hercules then rushes to his crew, and they make their escape in a bloody fight that leaves King Coyts in a rage and wants all of them dead! Hercules and his friends regroup around a campfire and decide that they will not run to Greece, and they will bring the fight to Coyts as they want to bring him down.

Wow! This fourth issue is great and showcases just how badass Hercules is as he bashes, smashes and slaughters any and all who get in his way. In fact I would say that this is the best issue this far in the series and is action packed and had a real feeling of dread and danger as the issue’s plot has the King and his army holding and bullying Hercules and his friends until they have had enough and push back! I also like the fact that the King’s daughter was just a pawn in her dad’s game as she in real life hates Hercules and Greece and was only using him to get information. Hercules in the issue really has been pushed as not only does the King plan on attacking his homeland of Greece but he also has been used and now abused and this means war in his eyes. His crew are also being treated like scum and are forced to stay inside a building and are not being feed and bullied into not having weapons and are all marked for death. King Coyts is a ruler who has used and abused his way into being even more powerful and is wanting to bring down Greece and Zeus as he has zero respect for those Gods. His daughter as well is scum as she uses sex in order to try and manipulate her target. And Sitaces the army leader is sadistic and gets what he deserves as he is broken and crushed leaving him a none factor now in the coming blood battle. This issue is filled with lots of action and lots of blood and feels like a true Sword And Sandal film from the 60’s with added modern style gore. Plus I really like the cliffhanger of Hercules and friends gearing up for a battle that they are the underdogs in, but they show no fear in the face of death. The cover is great and Admira Wijaya’s interior art is as always solid. Over all this issue is a great one to build up to the final in the mini series and is making me really looking forward to see how this adventure comes to an end.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 5  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 5 of 5

Hercules and his crew sneak back in the kingdom and start their slaughter and take out many of the guards by setting a fire in their quarters while they sleep. Once inside the castle, Hercules and his friends kill even more guards and even ram a spear into the King’s Daughter! King Coyts sees that his days are numbered and runs to make his escape as Hercules and friends follow him into a chamber of mazes and traps. But after dodging traps and almost capturing the evil King, Hercules and his crew find themselves trapped in the chamber as Coyts escapes….into the waiting ax of Tydeus who beheads the King and will dine on his brain after he frees his friends. Once free Hercules and pals find the gold room and steal all they can carry and as they leave the castle, they are greeted by Rhesus who they thought was dead and now has a new army and allows Hercules and them to leave with their lives, but not the gold! In the end Hercules and some of his friends sail away on a new adventure as Tydeus and others go their own way ending The Thracian War.

Hercules and his friends have gotten revenge after being set up and have stopped an attack on Greece but as always walked away empty handed when it comes to being paid for training an army to fight. So everything they did in this war really only caused death to people and only made them look like heels in the eyes of the people who witnessed their slaughter and training of a tyrant’s army. Hercules in this issue really just wants to end the life of King Coyts and his daughter and wants to stop the planned attack on Greece and while he does get to stop the act of war and gets to kill the daughter of his enemy, he is sadly not the one who gets to kill King Coyts. That honor went to Tydeus who is crazy and is a berserker when it comes to attacking and is really the most scummy of all of Herc’s teammates and by all accounts is just a cold blooded murderer. King Coyts is not only scum but also a coward who runs when it comes to battle and the odds are not in his favor. His daughter, on the other hand is a fighter and does not die without putting up a fight. The issue while bloody and filled with action seems to be more of a fast paced issue and the action seems to go by way too fast. But with that said, I will say that I do think Radical Comics really does know how to make a good comic mini series based on Hercules and writer Steve Moore shows he really does understand the world of Sword And Sandal. Plus the art by Admire Wijaya is very fitting and is perfect for this style of comic books. The cover for this issue I have is also very eye catching and reminds me of Frank Frazetta. Over all this is a great mini series and was an enjoyable read and fun review this Thanksgiving update, and I would recommend if you like Hercules to check this series out. Below is some artwork from this series so you can see the style of Wijaya.

Thanks once again for spending a part of your Thanksgiving holiday with me here at Rotten Ink as I am sure you’re much like me and are very much looking forward to diving into a tasty dinner and a chatting with family and loved ones. So next year, meet here again and we will once more talk about Hercules and cover another comic adventure of his! But to wrap this up as mashed potatoes are calling my name, make sure to spend some time with your loved ones as the Christmas season is just around the corner. Oh and I must also share with you that my next update will be a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update, and we will be traveling to Skull Island to once more visit Kong! So until next time, read a comic or three, eat a second plate of food and as always support your local Horror Host. See you all back for another tour of Skull Island on our next update.

Horror Host Icon: Sivad

GOOD EEEEVENING! The people of Nashville, Tennessee were treated to a show in the 60’s that lasted into the 70’s featuring a vampire undertaker that would treat them to horror, thriller and science fiction films.  This show was called Fantastic Features, and its host was named Sivad. He was must watch television for young and old alike. Sivad has been a big part of the culture of Tennessee, and his show has influenced many creative people and helped create many monster kids from the era. Much like Ohio, Tennessee has a very large amount of Horror Hosts that have entertained over the decades like Dr. Lucifur, Sir Cecil Creape, Dr. Gangrene and Dungeon Doug to name a few, and at the top of that list is Sivad, who is a true icon of that state. So it’s with very high honor and respect that I give to you my readers Horror Host Icon: Sivad! So sit back, relax and let’s take a look at a truly amazing Horror Host.

Sivad was a vampire who dressed as an undertaker.  He loved the world of cinema and enjoyed presenting the movies to the viewers, many of whom were seeing these classic monster movies for the first time via their televisions! While a bloodsucker, Sivad was a goofy vampire who loved to share jokes and spew cheesy puns! He wore a black top hat, a black suit, cape, white gloves, a bowtie, a red belt and a sash that featured his family crest. Sivad had long fangs, bushy evil looking eyebrows, and spoke with a thick Tennessee ascent that was muffled due to his fangs. While Sivad looked evil and mean, he was very much a lovable vampire who enjoyed hosting his show and sharing these shocking films with his viewers. Besides hosting his show Creature Features on Channel 13, he also loved to make appearances at state fairs and local movie theaters and each time was a main attraction as hundreds, if not thousands, would flock to meet him! It’s also said that he sold over 800 tickets at a movie theater in Jackson, Tennessee while hosting a double feature, and during his introduction and before his song, he was drenched in coke that the kids in the audience threw at him, and he would not return to that town for years to this incident! Sivad was not only an amazing Horror Host but he also was a very good musician and would treat fans to songs. Sivad hosted Creature Features from 1962 to 1972 and walked away from it when he felt they ran out of classic horror films to show. Besides a handful of public appearances in the 70’s, Sivad retired from the Horror Hosting game but still remains as popular as ever even still to this day. I want to also make note that Sivad hosted Creatures Features live and like most live-aired shows there is little to no footage that survived, but that’s how talented this vampire was, he hosted live multiple times a week at times!

Watson Davis was the man who behind Sivad, and he was a man who was made to entertain! Davis was the advertising director for Malco Theaters in Memphis area and would do all types of great things to promote the films like dressing up as Frankenstein’s Monster and even building a giant King Kong to thrill movie goers. He would make these films entertaining for movie goers and would come up with great gimmicks to get them into the theater and would even do prize giveaways that the winners would win spooky trips complete with actors putting on a show for them like he did when winners of a coloring contest got a trip to Goat Island. The thing that set Davis apart from many theater advertisers is that he truly loved the Horror, Thriller and Science Fiction films they showed and would put lots of efforts into making their showings special. He even won an award for his work doing these promotions and got to meet his favorite actor Vincent Price! He developed Sivad while still working for Malco Theaters, and the name Sivad is just is last name Davis backwards as he wanted his Horror Host character to be just one name that stuck out like magician Houdini’s did.  While still working for the theater he started work on Fantastic Features as well. After retiring from both Malco Theaters and Creature Features, Watson Davis spent the rest of his days enjoying life and fishing while living in a small mobile home and stayed there until is death in 2005. While retired Davis would still for a short time play Sivad at fairs, paradise and public appearances and even at one time there was talk of having him as Sivad along with fellow Tennessee Horror Hosts Sir Cecil Creape and Count Basil to host some films at a theater, but sadly that never came about. Watson Davis enjoyed playing Sivad and doing these promotions for Malco Theaters as he enjoyed to entertain kids, and he was a truly great person who is missed by all those who knew him in real life and as Sivad.

Like all good Horror Hosts, Sivad had some great merchandise behind him that gave his viewers and fans something a little more special to enjoy and showed just how popular this Horror Host was! His fans were able to get their hands on such cool items as a Sivad Halloween Mask that kids in the 60’s could wear and scare their friends and neighbors. They could also get their hands on an official “Horror Club” fan club card that was endorsed by Channel 13 and Sivad and was a sure way to impress all your friends on the playground! For kids who liked to make art, a very cool Sivad coloring book was made and allowed them to make masterpieces for the family refrigerator. Also in 2010, a cool book called “Sivad Scrapbook” was released and showed old ads from the 60’s and 70’s that featured our classic Vampire host. Not to mention his image has graced many magazines, posters, ads and fan art. And the most amazing collectable for Sivad fans to sink their fangs into is the 45 rpm record of two songs he sang called “Sivad Buries Rock And Roll” and “Dickey Drakeller.” These songs played on Memphis, Tennessee radio and this record is now highly collectable. So as you can see, Sivad was and still is a true icon of Tennessee who is one of the states most beloved TV Personalities.

In 2013, Sivad took his place as an official member of the Horror Host Hall of Fame and secured that he is in fact one of the most beloved and influential host to grace viewers TV Screens. He was among such hosts as Svengoolie, Commander USA and Shock Armstrong who were part of the third class to get this high honor. The Horror Host Hall Of Fame is an honor for hosts who were and are at the top of their game to the respect they deserve, and Sivad, in my opinion, should have been inducted in the first class as he was truly an amazing host who set the bar for many who followed.

So we are at the point of this Horror Host Icon when we will be taking a look at the episodes I own, and the one I do have is clearly a fan reproduction episode because as of this writing, no full episode has been uncovered. So this is what us fans have to watch. I will not be giving this episode a star rating. The movie write up will be taken from our friends at IMDB and the host write up I myself will be writing. So let’s sit back and pretend its 1962 and we are watching Creature Feature, and Sivad is about to take us on a thrill ride!

Fantastic Features:  Fortress Of The Dead
Starring – John Hackett & Conrad Parham     Not Rated     1965

Host: Sivad rides in on his horse-drawn hearse carriage and removes the coffin from the back and we are set for Creature Freatures! Sivad then in studio welcomes us to the show and interrupted by a voice of a producer who tells him to talk about the TV Shows and other programs from WHBQ-TV Channel 13. We go into the movie as Sivad makes a joke about how pushy the producer is. When we join Sivad next he is wishing us a good evening and ending the show.

Movie: Guilt-ridden sole survivor of a unit wiped out on Corregidor in WW2 returns to the island 20 years later.

Note From Matt: This is a fan made reproduction of a classic episode of Fantastic Features and used footage from when Sivad hosted a promo for his home base station

Sivad was a host that made his viewers feel as if they were close friends, and while a scary looking vampire, he had a warm and inviting feel to him that captured the hearts of his viewers. While the world of Horror Hosts has its fair share of vampires and while many of them are legends and top notch hosts, they all still fall a little short of the magic Sivad had. As we leave the world of Horror Hosting, our next update brings us back to Greece as it’s Thanksgiving and that means we will be joining Hercules once more. This time around, we will be seeing what Radical Comics has to offer when it comes to our favorite demigod! So until next time, watch a Horror Host Show or two, and as always, support your local Horror Host! See you next update for the The Thracian Wars and for another great Turkey Day Holiday.

Captain Klutz The MAD Goofy Hero That Time Might Have Forgot!

Welcome back friends and readers to another update to Rotten Ink, my blog here on the world wide web. Can you believe that we are so close to Thanksgiving 2018? That means we are at our first update in our countdown to this Turkey Day Holiday and also means we need to take a look at a forgotten hero from comic books of the past as over the years we have taken looks at such backburner superheroes as 3-D Man, Holo-Man, Solarman, Red Demon and Drastik to name a few, his year I have chosen to cover a hero that is a little different than all of them as he is a comedy goofball hero who graced the pages of MAD Magazine paperback books named Captain Klutz that was created by the amazing artist Don Martin! So sit back and get ready to get your funny bone tickled as we travel to Megalopolis and witness Captain Klutz do his best to stop crime….man, this masked hero is a true goofball.

Ringo Fonebone was a strange kid who didn’t do things normally; from eating to learning to walk he was just a little off. While other kids his age played outside and acted normal young Ringo sat alone reading comic books! As Ringo grew up, he still lived with his parents and only read comics all day long until they kicked him out, but his comic reading didn’t stop and caused him to hold no job nor home as he was kicked out of his flop house with just his boxers and his pajamas to his name. Broke and lonely, Ringo decides that he must kill himself as he has been a failure to his family and Wonder Woman, and as he falls from the top of a building, he bonks his head several times and even gets a hat on his way down. Before he hits pavement, he crashes into a bank robber who is caught by the police and so Captain Klutz superhero is born! The thing is, after his attempted suicide, Ringo doesn’t remember who he is and truly thinks he is indeed a superhero called Captain Klutz! While he is a superhero, he still is not respected and is by all accounts a goof who sometimes happens to fall backwards into stopping crime and villains. His only ally is Police Chief O’Freenbean who don’t respect him but does call on him for help with the odd cases the city is being plagued with. Captain Klutz is also very poor and at times is homeless or staying in a slum house filled with roaches and trash. Captain Klutz has no super powers and is by all accounts just a normal guy in a costume who read too many comic books and wants to fight crime and make his city safe. While he might not be as strong as Superman, as rich as Batman or as skilled as Spider-Man, the masked hero Captain Klutz is doing what he can to try and stop crime. Below are some pictures of Captain Klutz including one that shows some of his famed rogues gallery.

So know that we know a little about Captain Klutz, let’s take a look at the man who created him. Don Martin was born on May 18, 1931 in New Jersey and was into art from even a young age. In 1952 he graduated form the Pennsylvania Academy Of Fine Arts. After he graduated he took several odd jobs that included doing covers for Jazz Artist albums like Miles Davis and Stan Getz, and by 1956 he starting appearing in MAD and would be the magazines top artist for decades. Martin would use his artistic talent to deliver not only original comedy comic strips but also for parodies, pin-ups and stickers and this lead to him to be called “Mad’s Maddest Artist” and built him a huge fan base. He worked for MAD until 1987 with his last contribution being printed in March 1988. After leaving MAD, he jumped ship and joined Cracked Magazine who were super happy to have him on board even teasing MAD by calling Martin “Cracked’s Crackedest Artist”! If you’re wondering why Don Martin left MAD, it was because he and publisher William Gains got into it over royalties as they were not paying Martin for reprinting his work in paperback books and magazines, and Martin even testified before a Congressional subcommittee over the rights of freelance artists and both sides MAD and Martin seemed to have had enough of each other. Don Martin worked six years for Cracked Magazine and was happy working for them even though they were not as well respected by comedy magazine readers, and later he made his own very short lived comedy magazine called “Don Martin Magazine” as he also worked on a comic strip called “The Nutheads” that was syndicated in newspapers. During his time as a comedy magazine artist he won many awards such as the National Cartoonist Society in 1981 and 1982 and even was inducted into the Comic Book Hall Of Fame in 2004. Don Martin suffered from eye issues his whole life and even had two surgeries on them and later in life needed special magnifying equipment to draw. Don Martin was a quite man who enjoyed spending time with his family and playing jokes on tourists near his home in Florida and loved drawing and creating his off the wall characters and stories. Sadly Don Martin passed away on January 6, 2000 of cancer at the age of 68 and up until his death he was still at odds with MAD Magazine and was still a very respected comic artist. While Don Martin is gone, his work still entertains readers and his style influences many artist still to this day.

I am sure many of you like myself grew up reading MAD and or Cracked Magazine and enjoyed the silly nature of the jokes and parodies, and I am sure many of you like myself always enjoyed the work of Don Martin as well as fellow comedy artist like Wally Wood, Al Jaffee, Don Edwing, Antonio Prohias and Sergio Aragones who delivered funny comic strips to these magazines. And I am also sure many of you remember the amazing Captain Klutz, who was a favorite of my brother Bryan and I growing up as we had his paperback book adventures. And I am very happy to be going back to my youth and revisiting this goofy hero and his zany adventures and would like to say a big thank you to Game Swap Kettering and an Amazon Seller for having these paperback books in stock so that I could go back and revisit them for this comedic update. Wait a minute, my phone is ringing….and it’s a collect call and it’s Captain Klutz himself who wants me to remind you that I grade these comics 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 gear up and hit the streets with Captain Klutz and see if these comic paperback books are as good as I remember.

MAD Adventures Of Captain Klutz # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1967    Cover Price .50     Signet Books     #1 of 2

“Sissyman” in this first adventure Captain Klutz is awakened from a nightmare by his archenemy Sissyman, who taunts him with names and causing our hero get onto his scooter and track Sissyman down at his mom’s home! While getting lost trying to find the house, he runs into Police Chief O’Freenbean who informs him that diamonds have been stolen by Sissyman and when they get to the crime scene they find a handkerchief that has the evil goofy thief’s address on it. Captain Klutz goes to the house alone and uses a disguise to get into the home but is soon trapped under ice cream thanks to Sissyman’s new gun and now he is off to steal gold. After escaping the ice cream trap, Klutz gets a message from Police Chief O’Freenbean that Sissyman has just robbed the bank and is now heading to a jewelry store, Klutz jumps into a phone booth to get into a new disguise that is Count Of Monte Cristo and by accident strips down a woman who was using the phone! As she runs away naked, he enters the Jewelry store and stops Sissyman only to be himself put under arrest for stripping down the woman and in this story crime does win as Sissyman gets away free for his crimes. “The Case Of Chicken Soup” is the second goofy adventure and has Captain Klutz getting ready to give Granny Santini an award for all her good work with the homeless, and before Captain Klutz leaves, he gets a call from his downstairs neighbor who is jarring her famous pickled pigs feet and needs fast drying pectin to finish her batch. After getting the pectin, he meets the Mayor and they stop into Granny’s soup kitchen. After the Mayor tries the chicken soup he along with the homeless turn into mindless zombies who go to work at Granny’s gift shop and soon it’s seen that Granny Santini is evil and has Captain Klutz hung above a vat of boiling chicken soup! But thanks to the bag of pectin that rips, he just bounces off the once scalding soup and is ready for action and hides in a totem and shoots and kills Granny and soon finds out the effects of the soup will wear off on the homeless and mayor in a few days. Our third adventure is called “Captain Klutz Meets Gorgonzola” and has a father and son being chased by the giant spider named Gorgonzola. They run into Captain Klutz who is homeless sleeping on a bench and who says he will help them until he notices that he is face to face with a very mean giant spider and he passes out! Once awakened he and Police Chief O’Freenbean travel to a carnival on Gorgonzola’s trail. When they find him, the giant spider beats up Klutz until our hero figures out the spider is really just a machine and after plugging his leg into an outlet the man inside the suit pops out and it was Lousy Louie, a man who has been arrested before for Trick Or Treating with out a license and now is going to jail for life for his last stunt in a Halloween costume. “ Captain Klutz Meets Mervin The Mad Bomber” has our hero waking up in his rundown apartment he answers a help wanted ad from Police Chief O’Freenbean who needs help to stop and capture a mad bomber loose in the city! Captain Klutz finds that he and the police are the target of the bombs and call after call Klutz finds himself getting blown up! Finally he figures it all out and saves Police Chief O’Freenbean who is tied to a giant bomb and brings Mervin The Mad Bomber who has been disguised as the Police Chief and saving the day once more our hero in the end is blown up once more by the very last bomb he thought he stopped.

Wow! This was just as silly and enjoyable as I remember it being and I must say that Captain Klutz is a character that I wish would still be around till this day and could even have cross overs with other goofy heroes like Impossible Man from Marvel or Bat-Mite from DC! This paperback has four main adventures and two small gag stories and all of them follow Captain Klutz in Megalopolis as he tries his best to stop crime and not get hurt to bad doing so. The thing about Captain Klutz is that while he is a nerd who at times gets beat up and or passes out from fright he does in the end always find away to bring down the baddie in front of him with Sissyman being the only one to escape and Granny Santini being one that he murders with gunshot wounds. Plus you have to feel bad for him as most of the time he is homeless sleeping on the cold streets while other times he is in nasty gross motel rooms. I must say that I also dig that Captain Klutz rides around on a cheesy little shooter and looks like a fool doing it! Police Chief O’Freenbean is a gruff man who while talks down to Klutz still calls on him when the police need help, he is like a mean cornball version of Commissioner Gordon! The baddies of this book are as following Sissyman, a mama’s boy who is a nerd and likes to rob places of their riches! Granny Santini, an old woman who hides behind being super sweet and wanting to help the homeless, but really is using her chicken soup to turn them into zombies to make them slaves in her sweatshops to make cheap products for he gift shops. Gorgonzola is a spider suit warn by Lousy Louie in order to trick or treat and scare people around him. And lastly and the most dangerous is Mervin The Mad Bomber, who enjoys placing bombs in the city and watching them go BOOM! While none of the bad guys are as sinister as Batman or Spider-Man’s foes, they are perfect for the world Don Martin created for his masked hero. The humor of this comic paperback works as well as did the characters and holds up to this day given that its nothing more that sight gags and slapstick style humor, but a few things do stand out as cringe worthy like one of the names of a comic he is reading is very much a slur for gay people and is a little out of place. The cover is eye catching and the art by Don Martin is classic silly stuff and I would say that for me this book has held up and I still enjoyed it every much like I did when I was a kid and am looking forward to revisiting the second book next!

Captain Klutz II # 2  **1/2
Released in 1983    Cover Price $3.50   Warner Books    #2 of 2

“To Brusha With Love” in Brusha their leader Ivanovitch Eyebrowski and Comrade Stupidska have a plan to clog high stacks at power plants to cause poison gas clouds and to kill the good people of America and their plan works and three toxic clouds are floating around the city! Meanwhile Police Chief O’Freenbean needs the help of Captain Klutz to stop the clouds and before our hero can come to the rescue he inhales some of the toxic cloud and it gives him superhuman powers like the ability to fly and super muscles! Captain Klutz by accident captures the Brusha Spy who set up the clouds and then just as Comrade Stupidska and more Brusha soldiers are about to attack the city Captain Klutz explodes injuring Chief O’Freenbean, killing the Brushins and leaving Captain Klutz in pieces! “Hollywood Whodunnit” actress Deanna Drano is having her life threatened as accidents keep happing to her while she is filming her movies and she has hired Captain Klutz to protect her, and after more accidents happen to her and Klutz keeps failing at his task she finally comes clean and admits she did this to herself to draw press for her failing career and she and the director run off to get married as Captain Klutz tries to make up a story about when he knew it was her all along. “Agendum For Secret Messages” our masked hero Captain Klutz follows clues that were left behind by his friend Police Chief O’Freenbean and each clue leads him to a new place for only at the end to find out that O’Freenbean thinks this is a silly way for them to talk and cancels these type of meetings. Our final adventure tale is called “The Major Catastrophe” and has Captain Klutz having to watch his cousin Elmer who is a walking disaster causing major destruction everywhere he goes! And when Klutz gets a call from Police Chief O’Freenbean that the mayor has been kidnapped by drugged out terrorist he must suit up his cousin and calls him Major Catastrophe and together they save the mayor and cause the city and the mayor lots of harm!

This second book that features Captain Klutz is good but sadly not as good as the first book as this one is filled with lots of filler pages and short stories to make the page count. In fact in this book we are not only treated to some short adventures but also sound effects and a long song about our hero…each while fun also take away from some of the main stories that seem to have rushed endings. Keep in mind while this is still a really good read and does pack a few good chuckles. Missing in this issue is true super villains as we only get Ivanovitch Eyebrowski and Comrade Stupidska who are only briefly shown and sadly are no major threat as the toxic gas they unleash only brings on their downfall as it gives Captain Klutz even more power. Captain Klutz here is still as silly and goofy as ever and once more falls butt backwards into stopping crime, but odd to say he is lacking a little of the charm that made him fantastic in the first book and I cant put my finger on why he feels off he just does. Police Chief O’Freenbean and the police force are around but they seem like background characters and O’Freenbean and Klutz don’t have the same chemistry that made them a dynamic duo that we all enjoyed from the past book. Not much else to say about this second book besides the cover is really cool, the art and humor stories by Don Martin is good and this was a great blast from the past and was very cool to relive reading it even if it did coast me over $30.00 to do so and it was not as great as book 1! So below I think this one piece of art form these books captures the art style of Don Martin and the spirit of Captain Klutz.

While Captain Klutz might not be a household superhero name that the young and young at heart talk about, he is one that for those who remember him entertained with his goofy adventures and cheesy humor. It was lots of fun going back to the days of sitting in my brothers room in Waynesville and reading MAD paperback books and chatting about the one and only Captain Klutz! If memory serves me right, at one point my brother when he was a youngster wanted to or did make a Captain Klutz fan made comic book! I’ll have to ask him about that and see what he says and if he did we will have to cover it on a future update. So for our next update we are leaving the world of MAD behind us and will be going to Tennessee to visit vampire Horror Host Icon Sivad! So until next time read a comic of three, read a classic MAD Magazine or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a shocking good time.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Halloween (1978)

Happy Halloween! I have decided to do something a little different for this haunted holiday update as I will not be having “5 Questions With A Horror Host” or even visiting a haunted place as this year I am going to bring you a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update as I have a blast doing them.  Plus I wanted to do this update in honor of the new Halloween movie in theaters right now thanks to Universal and Blumhouse! The Halloween movie series has always been one of my all time favorites and has always entertained and chilled my blood since I was a youngster, and I have been very much looking forward to covering it on Rotten Ink since I started this blog in 2012. So if you’re ready, travel to Haddonfield, Illinois on this Halloween in 2018 with me and not only go trick or treating but also be look out for the Boogeyman known as Michael Myers as the one thing I have learned over the years is that you can’t kill the Boogeyman.  No matter where you hide, he will find you!

Now I think we should start by taking a look at our killer, The Shape. Michael Myers started his killing ways at 6 years old when he brutally stabbed his sister on Halloween night while she was in her room. He was locked away at a mental ward where he never spoke and was considered pure evil. But many years after his first murder, he escapes and returns to his hometown in order to kill again and again. Michael Myers is very mechanical and cold in his movements and is a slow stalker who watches his victims before he murders them. His means of killing are brutal as he uses all types of weapons from knives, axes, needles and often his bare hands to choke the life out of someone or even snap their necks. His appearance also strikes fear into the heart of his victims as he wears a white mask and coveralls making him a very blank slate embodying the faceless horrors we all fear. Michael is also un-killable as he has been shot, beaten, stabbed, set on fire and electrocuted and only stays down for moments before getting back up to attack and kill some more. He is also very strong and has above human strength as he can easily pick up, break and impale a human with brutal power. The combination of all of the above mentioned makes him one of the most, if not the most powerful killer we have covered on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! As far as weakness goes, Michael has very few but I would say his slowness can work against him and leave him open for counter attacks.  He also seems to only kill on a cycle making one safe for most months minus October. As you can see, Michael Myers is a killing machine who cannot be stopped and will come back again and again to kill and butcher.

So now that we have taken a look at Michael Myers aka The Boogeyman aka The Shape, we should take a look at the first film in the series that was released in 1978 and was directed by John Carpenter and sparked 10 sequels as of this update. I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB, and after, I will write about the film’s production as well as my connection and thoughts on the original film. So if you’re ready lets head on down to the Myers house and chat about one of the Grandfathers of Slasher films, Halloween.

Halloween (1978)

“The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it’ll be too late for many people.”

Film producers Moustapha Akkad and Irwin Yablans wanted to make a Horror Film about a killer on the hunt for babysitters and sought out director John Carpenter and writer Debra Hill to make if for them! With the film to be set on Halloween night, the original title “The Babysitter Murders” was changed to just Halloween to capture the mood of the spooky holiday. The film’s $300,000.00 budget was put up by Akkad, and Carpenter would take a small fee for directing plus scoring the film as well as only 10% of the film’s profit. The film’s props were made or bought for cheap including the casts wardrobe and Michael Myers’ mask that was just a reworked Don Post Star Trek Captain Kirk mask spray-painted and tweaked. When casting the film, they originally wanted Peter Cushing to play the role of Dr. Sam Loomis but ended up getting Donald Pleasence in the role, and for Laurie Strode they wanted Anne Lockhart before hiring Jamie Lee Curtis! They also brought on other talented actors like Nancy Loomis, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers and John Michael Graham with Carpenter’s friend Nick Castle taking the role of adult mask-wearing Michael Myers. The film was shot on a short film schedule and rumor has it that when watching the film without the score, the producers were not scared and a little worried that the film would bomb, but once Carpenter placed the score music, they knew they had a spooky hit on their hands. The film when released to theaters was a major hit bringing in a total of $70 million worldwide! Plus the film would go on to be re-released in theaters bringing in more money, and in 1981, NBC paid $4 million to show the film on TV with new footage added to pad out its runtime as well as tie it into the second film that was hitting theaters around the same time. In 1978, Halloween was released alongside other Horror Movies like Dawn of the Dead, Jaws 2, It Lives Again, Magic, Grapes Of Death, Dracula’s Dog and Mardi Gras Massacre to name a very select few. Halloween would go onto spark the modern slasher film craze and was the first to bring to light the sex, drugs and death formula to all its clones. This was a very brief look at the production of this classic Horror Movie, and I suggest that if you have some spare time, look up the full history of the film and give it a read, as it’s very interesting to see how a small budget horror film changed the face of horror for generations after its release.

I can remember the first time I saw Halloween was with my older brother Bryan sometime in the mid to late 80’s when we watched it on cable TV one late night. I can remember being glued to the screen and finding myself drawn into the feeling of dread as Michael Myers stalked and killed the friends of babysitter Lorie Strode before coming after her. I can remember the true atmosphere of the holiday Halloween being captured on the screen as kids ran around in costumes as a masked killer walked among them. I can remember the lights in the room were off and the glow of the screen helped deliver the chills as the music of John Carpenter filled my ears. I can remember being wide eyed over P.J. Soles and her stunning good looks, being into Nancy Loomis as I really liked her character Annie, and most importantly I can remember becoming a fan of Halloween and Michael Myers for life! After watching that film, I became obsessed with Michael Myers and had to see the sequels and even used to draw him in art class as well as in comic strips. My brother ended up finding the score on cassette tape, and I used to sneak and listen to it on my little stereo in my room and would also tape the main theme onto another tape so that I could listen to it anytime. We would also go on to see all the sequels and own them on VHS and DVD. We would watch Halloween II on the USA Network all the time! In other words, Halloween was a staple for the Brassfield Brothers who between the both of us bought and read so much stuff about this film series. In fact over the years I have been a fan of almost all of the Halloween films with the only one I am not too fond of being Rob Zombie’s Halloween II as I find it very poorly written and directed. While many say that Halloween is the start of the slasher movie genre I would say Psycho from 1960 is but Halloween perfected it and is the one that inspired all the clones that were released in the 1980’s. To be honest, my love for Halloween is hard to put into words on this blog as it really does remind me of my youth, has inspired my own shot on video film The Sadness and just has always been one of my favorite Horror Film series, has one of the best scores in horror cinema, gave me my first and still going celebrity crushes Danielle Harris and is one I have to watch every Halloween! Before I ramble too much more, I just want to say that Halloween is an iconic film that grew into a solid franchise (with the original Halloween 2 being my favorite of the sequels) that everyone should watch at least once in their life as the film really does capture the mood and atmosphere of the Halloween season. This will not be the last time I talk about the Halloween movie series so with that bit of news I will wrap this part up.

Over the years Halloween has become one of the biggest horror franchises in movie history and like most big movies in horror it has had its fair share of merchandise! Over the years Michael Myers and the Halloween logos and images have been used on posters, t-shirts, art prints, drinking glasses, buttons, patches, magazines, hats, dolls, books, action figures and video games. Not to mention the films have been put out on Beta, VHS, DVD, Digital and Blu-Ray for fans to own and watch over and over. The score has also been released on vinyl, cassette, CD and digital! Over the years I have owned all types of cool items that Michael Myers has been on with some of my favorites being the score done by John Carpenter on CD, the McFarlane action figure and the Atari 2600 Video Game cart. So if you’re a fan of Halloween and enjoy collecting horror merch, there is so much great stuff out in the world for you to collect…I also recommend the paperback adaptations as they are amazing and great reads as I had them growing up and can remember reading them on dark nights.

Halloween has always been a very special film to me as it like Psycho introduced me to the world of Slasher Films and really opened my eyes to Horror Movies that did not have werewolves, vampires, phantoms or Frankenstein’s Monster in them. I also need to credit the Friday The 13th movies and Horror Host show Commander USA’S Groovie Movies for that as well. But now we are at the point of this update where we must take a look at the comic series based on Halloween that was put out by Chaos Comics. This is one of those comic series that when issue one was out, I made sure to have Mavericks save me back a copy and they did and in fact I still own that copy to this day. I can remember reading the copy and enjoying it.  That was 18 years ago so it will be cool to see if I still enjoy it as much. I was able to buy off issues 2 and 3 off Ebay many years back and oddly enough am just getting around to reading them! I want to also remind you readers that I am grading these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well these comics stays to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. So with that let’s dive into the Chaotic world of Halloween on this Halloween.

Halloween # 1  ***
Released in 2000    Cover Price $2.95    Chaos Comics    # 1 of 1

Survivor Tommy Doyle is now grown up and writing a book about serial killer Michael Myers and heads three hours away from his home to pick up old case files written by Dr. Sam Loomis for research. Before Tommy arrives, the doctor who is waiting for him is killed by Michael Myers who is lurking in the dark as Tommy comes and goes and no one finds the murdered body of the doctor as Myers has pinned it to the back of the door. Once back home Tommy starts to read the files and finds out that Loomis wanted to separate young Michael from the other young kids at the asylum and even with the help of Dr. Jennifer Hill (who Loomis is starting to have a relationship with) they could not get it to happen, and even after he attacks and almost all the other kids around him die, they keep Michael around others as he can never be connected to the deaths. Finally after years of terror, Michael kills Jennifer Hill and makes it look like a suicide and this makes Loomis forever be the person who will be the thorn in Michael’s side and be the one who tries to keep him locked up forever. As Tommy finishes part of the files, Michael Myers shows up in his home and tries to murder him, but Tommy is able to shoot him as well as set his face on fire and knocking him out of the window! But like before as Tommy looks down from the broken window, Michael Myers is missing.

It’s hard to believe that Michael Myers and the Halloween Horror Movie series first made their way to the comic book world in 2000 way after the likes of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, Pinhead, Norman Bates, Chucky and Leatherface! And even more crazy, it was Chaos Comics who finally brought him to Horror Comic readers! The plot of this first issue has Tommy Doyle, a survivor of the 1978 babysitter massacre grown up and now wanting to write a book and dive into the history of the killer Michael Myers who is now back and targeting Tommy! The other cool thing is that this issue showcases the files of Dr. Sam Loomis with him trying his best to warn everyone that Michael Myers even as a kid was a danger to others and shows that at one time he was in love and engaged to a fellow doctor who was killed by Michael who made it looked like a suicide. Tommy Doyle is a very focused man who wants to write the best book about his would be murderer and when faced with the fact he has been targeted by the mask killer again he snaps into action and takes the fight to his attacker. Sam Loomis as always is a hero who has his sights on Michael as he knows that the young man is a cold, evil killer who will do so over and over if and when he gets the chance. Having both Loomis and Tommy in this comic really ties it into the film series as both are featured in the first film and both have gone on to be in some of the films sequels. The rest of the workers at the asylum are fooled by Michael and his silent act, besides Jennifer Hill who kind of trusts the words of Loomis but also just becomes a victim to the pure evil youngster who targets her to get as Loomis who is his doctor. Michael Myers as a youngster and as a masked un-killable adult is a pure evil killing machine that is silent and brutal and is the ultimate in slasher killers and one heck of a great Horror Comic bad guy. The comic has some great kills and does have some blood, and while bloody, it’s not over done and not a total gorehound’s dream but will please fans of early slasher films. The cover for this issue has a classic movie photo of Michael Myers and is pretty cool and eye catching for fans of the film and the interior art is good and done by David Brewer and has a classic late 90’s style look. Over all this is a pretty great comic that does a fantastic job of blending the past and present and shows that Halloween was long overdue for a comic series. Oh and I have to say that this comic holds up for me as I enjoyed it back in 2000 when released and enjoyed it now in 2018!

Halloween II # 1  **1/2
Released in 2001    Cover Price $2.99     Chaos Comics     # 1 of 1

Tommy Doyle grabs his gun and heads to the old Myers house as he thinks that’s where Michael will return to after getting set on fire, shot and knocked out of the window. As Tommy Makes his way there, Richie Castle, a man who also came face to face with Michael in his youth, has had his life in ruin since then, as he knows he came face to face with evil and on this night wants to set the Myers house on fire! While across town Tommy runs into Keith and Lonnie who are friends of Richie and have spent their lives making fun of Tommy and his quest to hunt down the boogeyman. While Ritchie is killed in the Myers house by accident by former Sheriff Leigh Brackett who thought he was Michael and has now taken the body to hide in a field is followed by Tommy who has gotten away from his bullies.  The pair talk about the true history of the town and how it’s filled with Samhain worshipers who are the ones who made Michael the way he is and that his babysitter the old woman Blankenship is one of the leaders of the cult! Meanwhile back at the Myers house Michael brutally kills Lonnie and Keith who had shown up in order to find Ritchie who owed them weed. While back in the field Tommy and Brackett are attacked by the cult who tie them up and keep them prisoner in the basement with Blankenship wanting to kill them and the priest wanting to let them go. Michael is on his way to the church basement as the priest sets Brackett and Tommy free just in time as Michael shows up and kills the priest and stabs Brackett. Tommy is able to once more set Michael on fire and push him into a power box electrocuting him and allowing himself to pick up Brackett and escape the now burning church only to run into the cultist outside. Our issue ends with Tommy being blamed for all the current murders and fires and is sitting in an asylum figuring out a plan to escape and stop Michael Myers once and for all.

This second issue is good…but not as good as the first as this time around they added in much of the plot twists of “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” with the whole Thorn Cult.  While I don’t mind the cult aspect, I did feel they took away lots of panel time from the main star of this comic Michael Myers. The plot of this issue has Tommy Doyle on the trail of Michael running into Brackett, former town sheriff, and together they want to stop the masked killer but soon find themselves at the mercy of a cult who has protected Michael for decades and who will do whatever it takes to cover for him and try and control his rage. This time around Tommy Doyle is way more focused and is ready to take the fight to Michael, plus he is a likable character who brings a touch of the classic Halloween to this comic series. It’s also great to see Sheriff Leigh Brackett back as he really does have a bone to pick with Michael as he killed is daughter Annie in 1978 and now is back in town with revenge on his mind. Ritchie, Lonnie and Keith are the goofy younger kids from the first film that tell Tommy that the Boogeyman is coming for him, and in this, they are still very mean spirited adults who all get murdered for being terrible people doing terrible things at the wrong house. Blankenship and the cultist are all cold blooded people who will do anything for the spirit of Samhain and that includes murder, kidnapping and framing others for their crimes. Michael Myers is as always an unstoppable killing machine who’s only goal is to kill and kill some more. This issue ups the blood and gore as many of people meet their end by Michaels knife, and it really feels like a 80’s style slasher film! The cover on this issue is great and eye catching to not only Halloween fans but also fans of Horror Comics in general. Jerry Beck this time around does the interior art and I think it’s better than the art in issue one as this one seems darker and more independent in style. Over all we once more have a great issue that builds up a great cliffhanger that comic readers had to wait a year in order to see how it all works out. So let’s not wait a year ourselves and see what the third and final issue has in store for us.

Halloween III # 1  **
Released in 2001     Cover Price $2.99     Chaos Comics     # 1 of 1

Tommy Doyle has been in the asylum for two years now for the “murders” of Ritchie Castle and Brackett, and on this day he finds out that he is to be killed by the orderlies in order to make it look like a suicide via orders from the cult, but lucky for him he is able to fight back and escape. Meanwhile back in Haddonfield, survivor of the 1978 massacre and now reporter Lindsey Wallace is looking into the disappearance of Laurie Strode who went missing after changing her name and becoming a headmistress at a California academy and was attacked by Michael Myers. She also learns that the bodies of the three victims of the 1978 massacre have been stolen and that Tommy has escaped the asylum! Tommy of course meets up with Lindsey who has the private diaries of Dr. Loomis, and they talk about Laurie Strode being Michael’s Sister. But before they can come up with a plan they are attacked by Michael who ends up chasing Lindsey out of the house and down the street and right into the old Myers house. Once inside, Michael tries and kills Lindsey but Tommy comes rushing in and stabs and removes the mask to find that Laurie Strode is now crazy and has killed her brother back in California when he came for her and she as well dug up her friends and has taken over at being the Boogeyman! Tommy and Laurie have a struggle and both fall out of a window with Tommy dying and Laurie is now an inmate at an asylum not speaking a word and bidding her time to escape like her brother before her. Lindsey is left to wonder is evil real or was it all just metal illness in the Myers family.

This third and final issue in the Chaos Comic Halloween series does its best to try and tie in “Halloween H20” to the rest of the series and adds a two year gap in the story from issue “2” and itself. The plot of this issue has both youngsters Tommy and Lindsey who survived the 1978 killing spree of Michael Myers coming back together as adults only to be attacked again by Myers who this time around is not Michael but his sister Laurie who was the one who kept them save from the first attack! Tommy in this issue is a doomed man as the cult wants him dead as does the Boogeyman and he gives his life to save his childhood friend.  Once more Tommy makes a great hero in this comic even though he also walks the line of being crazy. Lindsey Wallace is a great reporter now who as well has become obsessed with the legacy of terror of Michael Myers and wants to write a big report about him, and she as well finds that she has the will to fight when pushed by the masked killer. The cult members this time around take a back seat and are only at the start of the issue as they want to murder Tommy and pass it off as a suicide. Michael Myers sadly is nowhere in site as he is “dead” by the hands of his sister Laurie Strode who is now wearing the mask and wanting to go on a killing rampage in her old hometown. This is the twist I dislike about this comic series as with issue 1 and 2 we have Michael Myers doing what he does best and that’s slashing and stabbing people who are in his way, with this third issue we lose Michael and have to believe that Laurie has lost her mind and has taken the spirit of Samahin in her and is now a cold blooded killer…and to that I say no thanks as Laurie to me is best being the one who wants nothing more than to get away from her past and her mask wearing brother. By turning Laurie into a killer, they also undid all the heroic stuff she did in the first, second and H20 films and just made her feel so generic. The issue also has very little blood and gore and while it’s around, it almost feels like a PG-13 movie making it the least bloody in the series. The cover for this issue is pretty great and showcases Michael Myers with a full moon. Handling the interior art for this issue is Justiniano, and while it’s okay, I would also say it’s my least favorite in the series. Over all this third and final issue in the series is a little of a letdown and the build up to this issue was so good and we got a lame payout in this Horror Comic reader’s opinion. Below is some artwork from all three issues to show you the styles of each artist and I must say while the ending is a little bit of a letdown I do recommend tracking down this series and given it a read as the first two issues are very solid.

It would be seven years after the comic by Chaos before Michael Myers would return to the world of comics thanks to Devils Due…but those comics are for another update for another year. I also hope that you readers went and seen the new Halloween film in cinemas because by doing so, maybe we can get a new batch of sequels made and have Michael Myers be a box office draw again at the cinema! Also thanks for spending a part of your Halloween with me as I really do look forward to doing these updates on this day even if this year we did something a little different. For our next update we are leaving the world of horror behind and will stark our countdown to Thanksgiving with a forgotten superhero with this year’s being one from the pages of Mad and it being Captain Klutz! So until then read a Horror Comic or three, watch a slasher film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. And oh yeah remember you cannot kill the Boogeyman even if you shoot him six times.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Darkness Falls

Many Horror Movies take inspiration for their plots from sources like real life tragic events, fever inducing nightmares and even folklore, and one of the biggest movies that did this when I was in my early 20’s was Darkness Falls, based on the legend of the Tooth Fairy turned up a notch to scare kids and terrify movie goers. In the early 2000’s Horror was making a major comeback at the cinema with lower budget horror bringing in extra cash for studios much like today with Blumhouse setting lower budgets but making great profits, and Darkness Falls was one of these films released. Fairy Tales can be scary, and the Tooth Fairly can be super scary when she not only takes your lost tooth but also your soul! So if you’re ready like I am, lets take a grim trip into this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update for Darkness Falls.

Before we get into the film itself, we need to take a look at the killing monster, Matilda Dixon or, as her victims call her, The Tooth Fairy! Matilda was a kind older woman who would give gold coins to the children of the town when they would lose their teeth as an act of kindness earning her the nickname The Tooth Fairy. When a house fire left her face burnt and sensitive to light, she would walk the streets at night wearing a porcelain mask, and when two children go missing she is blamed and hung for a crime she didn’t commit as the kids were found alive and well. Before her death, she cursed the town and the children of it.  When they lose their last baby tooth and if they look her in the face, it brings a terrible death to them as she is now a vengeful spirit. Matilda is a supernatural being who enjoys killing and placing cold fear into her victims with not only her appearance but also her sinister screams. She lurks in the shadows and pounces on those who don’t follow her rules of never looking at her when she comes for your last tooth. Matilda can fly and glide through the air to track and hunt down her victims, and once she has them, she does use her looks and noises to put the fear into them before she uses her hands to claw and mutilate. She also uses the darkness to her stalking advantage as she must stay in the dark in order to get her target. Her weakness is light; whether it’s the glow of the sun or the light of a bulb, she cannot stand it as it burns her skin and enough of it will kill her and send her soul where it belongs. So while she has a pretty big weakness in light, she is one murdering supernatural being in the dark making The Tooth Fairy a really dangerous killer for all who has not followed her rules.

So as you can see, Matilda Dixon was a woman who turned her kindness into vengeance when her own town turned on her due to her horrific appearance.  Now that we have taken a look at her killing ways, we need to dive into the movie she stars in and for that our friends at IMDB will bring us the film’s plot and after that I will talk a little about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you’re ready, we have to stay in the light and whatever you do, don’t look at her face!

Darkness Falls (2003)

“A vengeful spirit has taken the form of the Tooth Fairy to exact vengeance on the town that lynched her 150 years earlier. Her only opposition is the only child, now grown up, who has survived her before.”

Darkness Falls was released in 2003 and was directed by Jonathan Liebesman and was a team up production of American and Australian companies. The film was written by John Fasano and Joe Harris and was a twisted supernatural reimagining of the Tooth Fairy legend and was riding the popularity of The Ring that was released a year before it. It starred such actors as Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield, John Stanton and Antony Burrows played Matilda Dixon aka Tooth Fairy. The film had a budget of $11 million and brought in $47,488,536.00 worldwide making it a hit for Sony. The film also was pretty well liked by critics and fans making it odd that a sequel was never made. The film was released during a Horror Movie boom as 2003 also saw the release of such films as Freddy vs. Jason, Jeeper Creepers 2, Wrong Turn, Underworld, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Willard, House Of 1000 Corpses and Beyond Re-Animator to name a very few showing that 2003 was a good year for fans! Darkness Falls also had some merchandise released like movie poster, soundtrack, novel adaptation, an action figure and of course the comic book. So while it’s not a major franchise, it’s still one that has made its mark on the world of Horror Movies. I want to also bring to you readers’ attention that in the original script, The Tooth Fairy only showed up in the final act of the film and her appearance was way different from the one used in the final film.  If you want to see her original look, just get yourself the Movie Maniac figure as that was supposed to be her main look in the film before the change.

Darkness Falls is a film I can remember hitting theaters and the ads being on TV and posters in the theaters, and while I was very much into going to the cinema to see films, for some reason I skipped seeing this one. Honestly I think I skipped it to see Final Destination 2 as they both were released in the same month. It would be when it hit VHS and DVD that I finally watched the film as I was working at Blockbuster Video and rented it and remember watching it with my brother and I found it to be a pretty good shocker with some cool effects and a spooky monster. Once watching it I ended up getting the film on DVD and still have it in my collection to this day, and will dust it off from time to time to watch. I also ended up getting the comic book from Dark Horse Comics as well as have the music score CD that I play on the Halloween edition of Alpha Rhythms on WYSO from time to time. For me what works very well in this film is that it has a very mean and dark tone as our main villain takes joy in scaring and killing children, and I like that she does not speak and only screams and moans making her come off way more creepy. Over all while this film is not groundbreaking, I do find it to be a very entertaining and spooky film from the early 2000’s that has built up a solid cult following and is one that should have gotten a sequel as one was talked about but never made.

So now that we have refreshed our memories of Darkness Falls and its supernatural killer The Tooth Fairy, we are going to take a look at the prequel comic released by Dark Horse Comics based on the films folklore. It’s really cool that a comic was made about this film as it’s a Horror Movie that really does lend itself to be one. And I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having this comic in stock and want to remind everyone that I grade 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 lets stay in the light and enter Darkness Falls…and for the love of comics whatever you do don’t look at her!

Darkness Falls # 1  **1/2
Released in 2003       Cover Price $2.99     Dark Horse     # 1 of 1

Emma and William live in the small town of Darkness Falls.  The year is 1841, and the young man has lost one of his baby teeth and they are on their way to visit Matilda Dixon to trade the tooth for a tasty treat! Along the walk, the kids talk about how five years earlier Matilda’s husband Sonny died at sea. As they continue to walk, they run across youngster George who tells them how a year ago Matilda’s house was set on fire by accident when kids were snooping. The fire left her terribly burnt and forced her to wear a mask made of porcelain to hide her burns and disfigured face. The children were scared of her now, and she would have to leave the treats on their porches as they left their lost tooth there as well. William and Emma leave George behind after his story as it’s getting later. William’s father is mad and thinks that Matilda has done something to his son and gets a mob together to do something about her! Meanwhile William and Emma get to her house and meet her, and as she gives them treats, the mob shows up and hangs her for “killing” the kids only for them to find the kids okay and all of them are guilty of murder!

This comic is a great prequel to the film and really helps build the mood and world that the film was creating as the plot of this is all about the sad life and tragic death of Matilda Dixon. The thing that works great for this comic is that it makes you feel bad for Matilda as she was murdered for no reason and she really just wanted to make kids happy as she was just a very lonely person who always wanted to have her own children, and a town full of superstitious judgmental people took her life over. Emma and William are two kids who are on their way to visit Matilda to get baked treats for a lost tooth. It’s clear they are best friends and each kind of has a crush on the other, and while they do want the treats they also want to see her appearance as she is kind of the town’s boogeyman. And while they are the cause for her murder, they by no means meant for it to happen and just really lost track of time. William’s dad is a terrible person who bullies not only his family but also the townsfolk to do what he wants as he is a mean spirited person with a bad attitude. George the little kid who is semi friends of Emma and William is also a little jerk as he is the one who plants it into the adults mind that the kids are missing cause of Matilda even though he knows that the woman has done nothing wrong. Matilda Dixon is a woman who had faced all types of tragedies as she lost her husband to death by sea, was never able to have children of her own, has been treated like a weirdo by her neighbors and has been burnt due to plundering kids setting a fire in her home…in other words, she is the victim of this comic tale as she is murdered for no reason. Matilda is really just a lonely woman who enjoys being around youth as she fills it gives her a real purpose in life, and because of the evil deeds done to her they are the ones who forced her to become a monster! The comic’s horror comes from atmosphere and not blood & gore as the comic is pretty much bloodless but still delivers some chills. The cover is cool but is also just the film’s poster making it kind of lame as original art would have been better. The comics interior art is done by Charlie Adlard and is pretty great stuff! Over all this is a solid good Horror Comic based on a Horror Movie that could have made a really good mini series if Dark Horse would have been on board to do so, and I would say if you enjoy folklore style tales and liked the film Darkness Falls give this one a read. Also check out the art below to see the style that Adlard brought to this comic.

Darkness Falls is a pretty good 2000’s Horror Movie that featured a very classic style monster that is perfect for cinema and literature, plus is great for one of our from Horror Comic To Horror Comic update as we countdown to Halloween. As I have said before, I am really shocked we never got a Darkness Falls 2, as I would have liked to see more of the Tooth Fairy and her killing ways. But for my next update it will be our big Halloween update and we will leave the Tooth Fairy and Darkness Falls behind as we will be heading toward Haddonfield, Illinois and witness the killing spree of Michael Myers as the film Halloween will be our topic! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Oh and remember you can’t kill the Boogeyman!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Plague Of The Zombies

It’s almost Halloween and what better way to spend this spooky time of the year than with Hammer Horror and their 1966 undead romp Plague Of The Zombies! Hammer is much like Universal.  They both brought the world classic movie monsters, and each did it with their own touch and style that entertained and scared moviegoers for decades. With Titan Comics dropping the ball on their Hammer Horror comic line, I have decided to go back to and make a custom comic taken from the Hammer House Of Horror Magazine in order to cover a classic Hammer Horror for a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update this Halloween season. So if you’re ready to enter the world of gothic horror, lets take a look at Plague Of The Zombies and all the horrors of voodoo it brings with it.

Before we travel to deep into the undead voodoo cursed world of Plague Of The Zombies, we should take a look at the killers that roam this film and comic. The main villain is the voodoo priest Squire Clive Hamilton who once lived in Haiti and learned the black art of voodoo and has used it on the villagers of his new hometown in England. He is able to use his evil ways and make the deaths seem like sickness and later make the dead rise and become his zombie slaves who will do his bidding. Hamilton himself uses his voodoo power to deal out death as well as fear to his targeted victims; he also has a short temper and lashes out when angry showing he is a man who can also use his hands to cause damage. Besides his zombies, Hamilton also has a batch of humans who also do his bidding. But Hamilton is just a man and this makes him have weakness like any other man as he can die by any means of violence and his temper and ego also leaves him open to mistakes. The zombies are slow moving grim messengers of terror who do not have a mind of their own leaving them to do the bidding of their master who mostly has them work for him in the mines near his house. But while they are mostly workers, they will also attack the living if given the commands to and can easily strike fear into the hearts of victims with their grey/greenish skin, white eyes, twisted cold faces and weird noises! They also move very quietly giving them the element of surprise and use their bare hands to choke the life out of the living. They can attack in packs or by themselves and when together they can over whelm their victims for an easy kill. Being undead does not mean they cannot be killed again as they can die by beheading, fire and damage to the voodoo dolls that made them into controllable zombies. While Hamilton and his zombies are not as brutal or bloodthirsty as some of the other killers we have looked at in a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, they still are a very deadly combo who have made their mark on those they crossed their paths.

So now that we have taken a look at Squire Clive Hamilton and his voodoo zombies we should take a look at the film they come from, Plague Of The Zombies, that was released at the peak of Hammer Horrors popularity before the 70’s and a change in the world of Horror Movies closed the company’s doors. The film’s plot will be taken from our pals at IMDB with me writing after a little about the films production and my connection and memories of the film. So if you’re ready to dive into the world of zombies powered by voodoo lets get to it.

Plague Of The Zombies (1966)

“Young workers are dying because of a mysterious epidemic in a little village in Cornwall. Doctor Thompson is helpless and asks professor James Forbes for help. The professor and his daughter Sylvia travel to Thomson. Terrible things happen soon, beyond imagination or reality. Dead people are seen near an old, unused mine. Late people seem to live suddenly. Professor Forbes presumes that black magic is involved and someone has extraordinary power. He doesn’t know how close he is: the dead become alive because of a magic voodoo-ritual, and so they must serve their master as mindless zombies…”

Plague Of The Zombies was released in 1966 as part of a double feature alongside “Dracula: Prince Of Darkness” and was a popular double feature at the cinemas. Peter Bryan handled the script with director John Gilling and James Bernard handling the score. The film went into production on July 28, 1965 and was filmed on the same sets as The Reptile and was a pretty normal shoot for Hammer. They also brought in such actors as Andre Morell, Diane Clare and Michael Ripper to lend their talents to the characters. The film was released to theaters in the U.K. on January 9, 1966 with the US release being only three days later. When released and still to this day, the film was well reviewed by fans and critics with many even going as far as saying this movie is the best Hammer has made. I know that many of my friends who really love classic Horror Movies have said that this is one of their favorites. The film was joined in 1966 by these selected other fright flicks Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, Queen Of Blood, Manos: Hands Of Fate and Billy the Kid Versus Dracula showing it was a fun year for fans who enjoyed spooky films at the cinema and drive-ins. Plague Of The Zombies is a great film and those who enjoy classic or British horror should give it a watch.

The first time I got to see this classic Hammer Horror movie was when it came out on VHS, rereleased by Anchor Bay. My brother Bryan bought it and we watched on one of our many all night Horror Movie marathons. I can remember that while the film was very slow much like most of Hammer’s films (wouldn’t have them any other way) it had a great atmosphere and over all creepy vibe that made me enjoy it and go and get the film on DVD when released. And over the years I have watched the film a handful of times on my own as well as with friends who were major fans of Hammer Horror like Chris Workman. This is also one of those films that I have recommended to friends of mine who have gotten into classic horror as I find that it’s a good one to introduce to fans of modern zombie films as this is one that pre-dates the godfather of all zombie films Night Of The Living Dead (1968) and was after the underrated White Zombie from 1932. So while Plague Of The Zombies is not the most popular film among the releases of Hammer, it is one that is a solid and creepy film that is sure to please fans of 60’s and early 70’s gothic horror films. If you have not seen it, do yourself a favor and track it down on VHS, DVD or Blu-Ray and give it a watch. I want to also say that this film is in my top 10 best Hammer Horror films! Plus need to say that the score done by James Bernard is great and well sounding and fits so well for this film.

So as you can see this aging Monster Kid has lots of respect for Plague Of The Zombies and Hammer Horror in general as I found it a great source of classic style monsters done with more blood, busty female cleavage, color and gothic atmosphere then before, plus they picked up vampires, werewolves, zombies and Frankenstein’s Monster after Universal had drifted away from that type of Horror and was more into the atomic age horror and giant insects. But before we get into this custom comic book I want to thank Juliet Fromholt for formatting the pages while we were on vacation at Monster Bash and Eric Shonborn for putting it all together to be printed! I also want to thank Amanda for printing this comic making this update possible. I want to also let you all know that I read and reviewed this comic while sitting in Calvary Cemetery to help add to the over all spooky mood of this comic experience. And now I need to remind you readers that I am grading this comic 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, lets travel to the cemetery and see why voodoo and zombies do mix!

Plague Of The Zombies # 1  ***
Released in 1978    Cover Price 35p.   Top Sellers      # 1 of 1

Dr. Sir James Forbes and his daughter Sylvia are headed toward the small own of Tarleton on the request of one of his former students Peter who is the town’s acting doctor and is puzzled by the rash of unexplained deaths. While the father and daughter travel, they pass a fox hunting party and Sylvia gives them the wrong direction on purpose, causing the hunters to make a scene in town when they all arrive during a funeral even knocking over the casket and causing the body to roll out! The townspeople are not pleased and this of course angers the dead man’s brother who blames the young woman for causing the scene. Once at the home of Peter, they also see that his wife Alice seems to not be feeling well and Peter explains that for some reason people just keep dying and the cause is unknown and the townspeople will not help in finding out the reason. That night James and Peter hit up the local cemetery and find that the grave of the young man buried that morning is empty! Sylvia follows Alice into the woods as her friend is acting weird and is heading toward the old tin mine shafts, but before she can catch up with her friend Sylvia is kidnapped by the hunters she tricked and they take her back to the mansion home of Clive Hamilton the town’s squire who is not pleased at the behavior of his hired hands. Once back on the dark roads, Sylvia finds the body of her friend Alice as well as sees the zombie of the young man buried that morning! Peter is heartbroken over the death of his wife and even feels worse when he and James witness her rise from her grave and they are forced to chop off her head. Meanwhile Sylvia is visited by Clive who by “accident” scratches the young woman with his ring and this causes her to think about him all the time. James and Peter soon find out that Clive is a voodoo priest who is causing the deaths as he is making zombies to work for him in the tin mine shafts, and they go to his mansion to stop him. While inside the mansion, James fights with one of the hunters and during the fight a fire breaks out, meanwhile Sylvia in a trance is now in the grip of Clive who is going to sacrifice her to please his dark lords! But all ends well when the fire sets the voodoo dolls on fire that causes the zombie to be ablaze.  They turn on Clive who is eaten and burnt to death at the same time. In the end the town is safe, and James, Sylvia and Peter all walk away heroes.

I need to first start off by saying that Plague Of The Zombies is one of the Hammer Horror movies that lends itself really well to be a comic book adaptation and series, and Titan Comics really dropped the ball on not choosing this title to be a part of their very short lived Hammer Horror Comics line. The plot of this Horror Comic has a father and daughter going to a small town to try and help figure out why people are dying, only to uncover a sinister plot that involves voodoo and zombies! Our main hero is James Forbes, an old medical surgeon who wants nothing more than to solve why people are dying and why their graves are empty so close after being buried. He is strong minded and willed and even if he is old, he still will never give up until he solves it. Peter is a doctor who is also a former student of James and is baffled by the mystery of this town he now serves. He is a helpful hand but also is dealing with some bad stuff as his wife has fallen victim to death and being brought back from the dead. Sylvia Forbes is a good hearted person who cares about both humans and animals and becomes a sick pawn in this game of life and undead. And our villain is Clive Hamilton who acts as a caring member of the town even acting as the squire when in reality he is a voodoo priest who is using the town to mine tin in order to become rich and powerful and is killing people to bring back as zombies to do it. I think the fact he is a soulless murderer who allows greed to be his motivation behind taking a human life makes him a real bad guy. I do like the fact he gets what’s coming to him in the end as tons of zombies who are on fire swarm him ending his reign of terror once and for all. The comic has very little blood in it, but does have some gruesome deaths like a beheading and being burned alive. This comic adaptation while a quick read does capture the mood and spooky atmosphere of the film very well and brings a none-gory yet scary Horror Comic to readers who enjoy a classic style fright. The interior artwork is done by the team of Trevor Goring and Brian Bolland and is top-notch stuff and will remind you of artwork used in the Warren horror magazines. While this is a custom comic book, you can find this comic adaptation in the pages of “Hammer’s House Of Horror” and its worth tracking down if you like the film or just enjoy classic horror zombies. Check out the artwork below to see what the art style is and bask in its creepiness.

Hammer Horror will always be the bar just behind Universal Monsters when it comes to classic movie monsters, and they, just like Universal, deserve more comics based on their characters. I mean in a prefect Horror Comic world, we would have ongoing series based on Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolves, Mummy and Creatures from both companies and would be must reads for old school Monster Kids. Well I hope that Plague Of The Zombies helped add to your countdown to Halloween as it was a fun one for me to cover for sure. For our next update we will take a look at another “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update about the 2003 monster movie Darkness Falls! So this dark night make sure you stay clear of your local abandoned mine as who knows what kind of zombies are lurking around looking for a new victim to become just like them. So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you readers and friend’s next update for a creepy good time with the Tooth Fairy.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Playing With Dolls

Slashers are very brutal killers in the world of Horror Movies, and in comics the killers are able to up the gore and brutal nature of how they murder their victims. For this update, we are going to take a look at a very brutal slasher killer called Metalface or Prisoner AYO-886 from a movie series called Playing With Dolls. This film has spawned two sequels and is a franchise that seems to be bigger overseas than here in America. So lets prepare for a brutal look at the film and comic for Playing With Dolls as this one is prefect for a Halloween countdown From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update!

Let’s take a look at our brutal killer Prisoner AYO-886, also known as Metalface, a masked madman with murder always on his mind. Prisoner AYO-886 is a cold blooded killer who was once just an inmate at an asylum who is now a tool in a sick game of life and death as he is controlled by The Watcher Scopophilio, who enjoys watching him kill the women he sets up for him. Prisoner AYO-886 has a truly creepy look as his leathery style mask is highlighted by metal braces as well as barbwire giving him the element of fear when seen by his victims. He also is very quiet and can move quickly making him super dangerous when he is stalking and setting up his prey. He uses all type of weapons from knives to hammers to kill his victims and does so with no remorse and has no loyalty to anyone, even others who work for Scopophilio, who only can control him with threats of being sent back to his cell. While he is a mass murdering killer, he does have weaknesses as he is after all human. Prisoner AYO-886 can be killed like any normal man so if shot, he will bleed. He also is told what to do so sometimes he leaves himself open for an attack and makes it as if he does not have a mind of his own until he is told to rampage. He also seems to get sloppy when he is set to rage and this is also a weakness as it leaves him open to making mistakes. So while he is only a human madman in a mask, he is one mean spirited killer who is a true master of splatter in the world of modern horror.

So as you can see, Prisoner AYO-886 is a killer who does not care about human life and is cold blooded like many masked killers before him in the world of Horror Movies. So now that we have taken a look at the killer, lets talk about the first film in the series as it’s the only one to have a physical media release while the sequels only got digital here in the US. When released on DVD here, the film Playing With Dolls turned into Metalface and we got a DVD-R release. For this, the films plot will be taken from our friends at IMDB, and the brief production notes and thoughts will be written by myself of course. So let’s get to the look at this underrated modern slasher film.

Playing With Dolls (2015)

“A serial killer is purposely released from an asylum for the criminally insane so that he can continue his rampage.”

Playing With Dolls (also known as Metalface) is a 2015 slasher film that is directed by Rene Perez and was released digitally worldwide with some home video release. The film was written by Perez and Barry Massoni and brought in actors like Natasha Blasick, Richard Tyson and Charlie Glackin as Prisoner AYO-886, with each actor doing a great job in their respective roles. Many Horror fans will recognize Richard Tyson as he has been in many great cult films over the years like Dark Tide (1994), Big Bad Wolf (2006), Flight Of The Living Dead (2007), Bigfoot (2009) and Hayride (2012) to name a few. The film spawned two sequels, “Playing With Dolls: Bloodlust” that came out in 2016 and the following year “Playing With Dolls: Havoc” was released. These two films made it to DVD in the foreign markets and digital here in America, but I have heard a rumor of Havoc coming to DVD here as well.

I first found out about Playing With Dolls while surfing the web for cool independent slasher horror films and the look of the killer drew me in! I found the trailer for the film on YouTube and it made me know even more that I had to see this film as it had all the elements of a Horror film like this needs…cool killer…lovely ladies…lots of gore…and a creepy story. There is this guy who comes into my work that we all call VHS Steve as he loves to collect Horror Movies on VHS and has for many years now as he is in his late 50’s or early 60’s.  He always talks about the elements of a Horror Movie: blood, story and nudity, and Playing With Dolls definitely fits his requirements and none are over done to scare away the more causal watcher. Once the film was released on DVD under the title Metalface, Juliet and I watched it during one of our Horror Movie Marathons and both of us found it very enjoyable. This film also seems like it would have fit perfectly on a video rental store shelf in the late 80’s or early 90’s and would have built up a cult classic status if released then. So there’s not much more I can say about this film but if you like slasher killers who kill in the snowy weather, then check this one out.

Now that we have taken a look at the film and it’s killer we should move on and take a look at the comic based on them. The comic was released around the same time as the third film in the series called “Playing With Dolls: Havoc” and was used to help promote the film and bring interest to the series. The comic was a digital comic release and lucky for me with permission from the makers, I was allowed to make a print version of it so that I could review it here on Rotten Ink! So I want to thank artist Simon Laprise for hooking me up with the digital files to make this review happen. I would also like to remind you all that I grade 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 think your stomach can handle it, lets dive into the world of Prisoner AYO-886.

Playing With Dolls # 0  **1/2
Released In 2017     Cover Price $0.00     Rene Perez     # 0 of 0

A man is in a motel room with a prostitute and has blindfolded her and has handcuffed her to the bed. He then rushes into the bathroom to pop some pills and meets his doom as a meat cleaver cuts the top of his head off and he is just another victim of Prisoner AYO-886 who then disembowels the man and goes into the room and puts the mans guts into the woman’s mouth who is still blindfolded. Once her blindfold comes off, she notices that she has human guts in her mouth and that a masked killer is in the room with her, and he quickly cuts one of her hands off and places a hook in her flesh and throws her out the window. As the woman falls, the hook tears out her skeleton and her flesh splats on the street below as cops watch in horror. Prisoner AYO-886 then grabs the body of the man and goes to the top of the building and throws it on top of the police helicopter causing it to crash and kill all the cops below. As this happens on top of the building stands the brutal killer Prisoner AYO-886.

This short promo comic of Playing With Dolls is a brutal Horror Comic that is sure to please fans of gore and over the top deaths. The issue’s plot has our killer Prisoner AYO-886 in a motel on a killing spree and after killing a man and his paid for woman, he takes the battle to the cops that are waiting to take him down once and for all. The old man who is just a victim is a sleazy guy who is into paying for sex and doesn’t stand a chance once our killer shows up and cleavers his head in two. The poor sex worker also does not stand a chance and meets her end even more brutally than the man as her skin is ripped from her bones and before that, she has one of her hands cut off! Prisoner AYO-886 is quiet and brutal and showcases his killing skills as well as his mental process of getting out of trouble before getting caught by the law. This comic’s story is very basic and is your typical set up for any slasher comic or film and has a masked killer targeting a couple who are about to have sex, but what does make this different is the fact that it turns up the gore and sleaze and is a true gorehound’s delight as the mood is pure grindhouse and the blood, guts and gore are plenty. The only major downside to the comic is that it’s a very fast read and leaves you wanting more! The cover for the comic is very cool and has a great modern day Horror Comic look to it, plus it also seems like it could fit in a modern art gallery that’s theme is killers. The interior art is done by Simon Laprise and is really great stuff, In fact his style would have been perfect for companies like Dead Dog Comics, Blackthrone and B-Movie Comics and it would have been great to have seen him do work for those companies. Over all this comic might be short but is a great read for fans who enjoy their Horror Comics based on independent Horror Movies. Check out some art below to see the style of Laprise and see just how cool Prisoner AYO-886 looks as a comic villain.

Playing With Dolls is a film that could make a great ongoing series and proves that more independent Horror Movie makers should look at comics as a way to advertise their film as many fright flicks fans are also comic readers. I want to also let you readers know that artist Simon Laprise also does “Gorehound Fanzine” a great magazine that can be obtained in Canada. With it being our countdown to Halloween, we are going to stay in the world of Horror Comics and in fact our next update will be another From Horror Movie To Horror Comic, and this time it will be Plague Of The Zombies, another Hammer Horror custom comic made from the old adaptations of the Hammer Magazine! So until next time, watch out for slasher killers, read a Horror Comic or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a Hammering undead good time.

Garfield vs. The Ghost Pirates On Halloween Night!

October is almost here. The air is turning cold, and the ghouls and ghosts are gearing up to run the streets in preparation of Halloween, which is only slightly over a month away! For this third countdown to Halloween update I wanted to take a look at something that I owned as a kid. The TV special it was based on was something I watched every year, and of course I am talking about “Garfield Halloween Adventure” that was shown on local TV and was something I truly had to watch when on. Garfield is a comic strip character I grew up reading in the Sunday Funny Papers; next to Peanuts it was a must. I also grew up watching all of his TV specials as well as his regular cartoon series. While I love the toon “Garfield and Friends,” the specials all hold a special place in my heart. Not to mention I also would buy his books, and between my brother and I, we had many of his toys and stuff animals. Garfield really is an iconic character who for the most part has withstood the test of time, and it’s with great pleasure that on this update we not only get one step closer to Halloween but also take a look back at things from my childhood. So get a costume on and let’s go trick or treating with Garfield and Odie.

On October 30th 1985 CBS premiered the 24-minute “Garfield Halloween Adventure,” which combined two of my favorite things Halloween and Garfield! My brother Bryan and I were glued to the TV and watched with pure delight as the cartoon special brought some scares and lots of entertainment. We also made sure to tape it on Beta and watched it all the time year round. The best part of this airing was that it was paired with the very classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and made for the perfect Halloween season viewing. I can also remember many of the kids on the playground chatting about it, and everyone flipped when the comic strip book adaptation of it was offered in the Scholastic Book Club order form, with almost every kid I knew ordering it. The cartoon also did well in the TV ratings and almost all critics loved and praised it making it a staple for the holiday up until 2015 when it was finally taken off the schedule for good. The special also won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program and was the third Garfield special to win it, showing that he was one of the 80’s most popular cartoon characters. After its airing, the special would go on to be released on VHS and DVD and still is a well loved classic Halloween TV special.

So at this point I am sure you’re ready to take a Halloween Adventure with that lasagna loving fat orange cat Garfield and his simple minded canine friend Odie. I know that I am as I have not read this comic strip book since I was a kid, and am looking forward to seeing if it holds up as I loved it when I was a kid and re-read it every Halloween up until I was a teen. This is in my opinion is a great way to gear up for October and is a perfect third update for our countdown to Halloween. Before we get our trick or treat bags ready, I need to remind you that I am grading this book 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 want to think Amazon for having this in stock and making this update possible. So lets costume up and go out with Garfield and see how much candy or even rocks we can get!

Garfield In Disguise # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price $5.95     Ballantine Books    # 1 of 1

Garfield is awoken by Binky The Clown on TV who screams and demands that all of the viewers exercise with him, and right as Garfield turns off the TV, he hears the words Free Candy and quickly turns it back on to find out that it’s Halloween! Garfield goes around the house under a bed sheet and scares Jon and Odie and even has a little breakfast before tricking Odie into going trick of treating with him so he can get double the candy. Garfield and Odie go to the attic and look through old clothes and items and decide to go as pirates when finding costumes in a chest. After stealing Jon’s lasagna dinner, Garfield and Odie head out and start trick of treating! As they wander the streets getting candy and being spooked by real life ghouls and ghost, they end up getting into a rowboat and by accident they lose the paddles and float until they land on shore.  The only house around is an abandoned one lit by a fire. Once inside, they warm themselves by the fire and are surprised by a very old man who warns them that the island is haunted and that the ghosts of pirates from a hundred years back will be back at midnight to claim their buried treasure! While Garfield and Odie are shaking with fear, the old man steals their boat and leaves them at the mercy of the coming ghost pirates! Garfield and Odie hide in a cabinet as the ghosts appear and bring up their hidden treasure, and when a sneeze alerts the ghosts who chase them out of the house, Garfield steals a ring from the treasure chests. He and Odie jump into the water and swim to shore. Once on shore they find their candy and the boat and head home only to be attacked by the ghost pirates who followed them home. Once Garfield returns the ring they disappear, and Garfield and Odie go home where Garfield shares the candy with Odie and Halloween comes to an end.

This comic strip book is a great mood setter for Halloween as it captures the playful nature of trick or treat and the spooky feeling of that night. Our story has Garfield and Odie going out for Halloween in order to get lots of free candy.  When Garfield gets greedy, he leads them to an old abandoned haunted house, and they are witnessed and stalked by ghost pirates who have returned after 100 years! As I said the feel and atmosphere of this comic strip book is fantastic and much like “Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” really captures the feel of Halloween. Garfield lives up to his normal behavior and is self-absorbed, self centered and always looking for food to gorge on, but while he is sarcastic, he also does have a caring and grateful side. Odie is your typical dog that is loyal, goofy and smart and several times in this adventure saves Garfield’s butt from danger. Jon is just around in this one, mostly carving pumpkins and tying to enjoy meals that his cat ends up stealing. The old man who once worked for the pirates some 100 years ago is creepy and seems to get joy scaring those who stumble into his old home, plus the Ghost Pirates are very much mean and scary but really just want their treasure. This comic strip book does justice to the made for TV cartoon special and does a great job of capturing the mood and only thing missing is the musical numbers. Jim Davis, who is the creator and mastermind behind the world of Garfield, does the art and story, and both are well done and show why Garfield has remained a popular comic strip character all these years. The cover as well is amazing and eye catching and has a real kid friendly Halloween look to it. If you enjoy Garfield and love Halloween, this is a great read and one that brought back lots of great memories of my youth, and this comic strip book held up well and is a great read. So check it out as well as the art from it.

I hope that this update has put you into the Halloween spirit like it did for me writing it! Made for TV Halloween specials are something that almost seems as if they are dying off as most broadcast stations only focus on their current shows and allow them to do a Halloween episode that most of the time are not very good with only a handful of series being able to pull it off. But for me just like “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” the Garfield Halloween Special is a one of my all time favorites and is one I suggest you watch every year. But now we have to leave the world of Garfield and the ghost pirates behind for our next update as we are now in full countdown to Halloween mode and our next one will have us looking at another in what I call “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” as we look at the killer Metalface and his film series Playing With Dolls! So until next time, read a comic or two, watch a cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a bloody good time.

Horror Host Icon: Benedictine the Mad Monk

Over the decades, Horror Hosts have aired on TV stations all over the USA, and just like Ohio, the state of Tennessee has had its fair share of iconic hosts that have entertained viewers with their funny or spooky antics all the while delivering a shocking horror picture to chill the blood of their viewers. And while many of the state’s Horror Hosts had long running shows and made major impacts on the culture of the area, the one we are looking at today was a short lived host who might not be a household name. He still had a small following and meant something to his viewers who rushed to their TV sets on Friday nights to catch his show and watch his movies. So it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you my readers Horror Host Icon: Benedictine the Mad Monk! So sit back and enjoy this update and remember your time watching Benedictine or even discover him for the first time…Roll the blog update, Red!

Benedictine the Mad Monk hosted horror films on WZTV Nashville Ch17 on Friday nights for a total of about 3 weeks. He is said to have gone made and killed all his fellow monks and lived underground for centuries with his friend Red who is a skeleton with a red afro wig. For years he spent his time making wine in his cellar home and watched cheesy horror movies. But Benedictine’s perfect peaceful life comes to an end when the TV station WZTV was built on top of his wine cellar. So he does what he thinks is right and on Friday nights highjacks the airwaves and to show the films that he wanted to and generally be a thorn in the TV station’s side. Benedictine himself was kind of a crazed jokester who seems to enjoy sharing his movies with you and also likes to make and drink his wine. He has a bald head on top with long white hair on the sides. He also wears a brown monk’s robe with a rope belt. While he does not come off mean spirited, he clearly is not stable as he has killed off his fellow monks and also seems prone to fits of madness. So as you can see, Benedictine is a crazed wine making madman whose only friend is a wig wearing skeleton and one of his enjoyments in life is high jacking TV airwaves and sharing horror movies on the air.

Phil Valentine is the actor who played Benedictine the Mad Monk for WZTV for the three short weeks the show ran, and he himself was more than just an actor. Phil was born on September 9, 1959 to U.S. Democratic Representative Tim Valentine and his wife Betsy. In college Phil entered radio at East Carolina University and switched to Connecticut School Of Broadcasting in North Carolina where he majored in radio. This love for radio lead to him working for WWTN as a conservative talk show radio host who is on daily and is even in syndication airing on about 110 other stations! He also is an author as he has released three books this far all about conservative views and government greed. But he also has been in films and TV shows with 1989 being his start as Horror Host Benedictine the Mad Monk. He also starred in the film “A Letter From Death Row,”  written and directed by Bret Michaels lead singer of the band Poison. In 2003, he played a radio host on the TV Show “Threat Matrix” for one episode. He wrote, edited, produced and hosted the documentary film “An Inconsistent Truth” in 2012. Two years later he played a character named Eugene Lawson in the film “Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?”. And his last movie role as of this update was in 2015 in the film “The Secret Handshake” that also starred Kevin Sorbo and Amy Grant. So while Horror Hosting might not have been his calling in life, he found his career in being a talk radio host.

Benedictine the Mad Monk did have a sidekick that lived with him in the wine cellar and helped him make and drink his wine, the skeleton Red! Not much is really known about Red besides the fact he wears a giant red wig and is friends with Benedictine. Oh and his role on the show was that he was the one who ran the films. I am guessing that Red made very little appearances during the show’s short run, but I am sure he still had his fans. I just wanted to mention Red as I am sure he had been sadly forgotten by most for his time as a Horror Host sidekick.

We are at the point of this Horror Host Icon update where we will take a look at the episode I have of Benedictine the Mad Monk. This is the only episode of his known to have survived and was taped off TV, as his short run made it hard for his shows to have made it to the Horror Host trade lists. I want to thank my friend Larry for getting me this episode and making this update possible. So let’s take a look at this episode of Benedictine the Mad Monk! Oh and I want to also say that it looks like the show aired after reruns of Cheers.

Benedictine the Mad Monk: Taste The Blood Of Dracula
Starring – Christopher Lee & Ralph Bates       Rated R       1970

Host: Benedictine the Mad Monk starts the show by coming down the stairs and introducing himself and his friend Red Skeleton. He also is very happy to introduce the night’s film Taste The Blood Of Dracula that he says sucks! We next times we see Benedictine, he gives us pointers on Dracula as well as delivers cheesy jokes and puns! At one point he even goes over his checklist of wine that he has in his stock before he has Red roll the movie again.

Movie: Three middle-aged distinguished gentlemen are searching for some excitement in their boring bourgeois lives and get in contact with one of Count Dracula’s servants, Lord Courtley. In a nightly ceremony, they restore the count to life. However, the three men killed Courtley and, in revenge, the count ensures that the gentlemen are killed one by one by their own children.

Note from Matt: The end of the episode is missing so we get no closing segment of Benedictine the Mad Monk!

So while Benedictine the Mad Monk might not have been a long lasting host on TV and had a “if you blink you’ll miss him” career of sharing his love for Horror films with his viewers, he still had his fans and made his mark in the world of Horror Hosting. I for one really enjoyed what I saw on this episode and hope to some day track down the remaining two episodes and see what cheesy jokes he delivered on them. Once more I want to thank my friend Larry “Dr. Gangrene” Underwood for getting me this episode and making this Horror Host Icon update possible. One of my biggest goals for these updates is to showcase the Horror Hosts, and no matter how big or small their following and impact was to the art of Hosting, they have a home here at Rotten Ink as I want to share their stories and bring back memories for their fans and my readers. For my next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosts and entering the world of comic strips and paperback comic books based on cartoon TV Specials of the characters…so if you guessed Garfield Halloween, you would be right and should treat yourself to some candy and lasagna! So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a spooky good time with a orange furred cat.