Andre The Giant The 8th Wonder Of The Comic Book World

Welcome to Rotten Ink’s main event for the night as we witness First Second Book’s own Box Brown step into the ring with the one and only 8th wonder of the world, Andre The Giant! It’s no surprise that growing up I was a huge fan of pro wrestling, and you long time readers know this about me.  One of the biggest names around when I was a kid was Andre The Giant who was always billed as the biggest man in the world and seeing him dwarf the likes of King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd and Killer Khan was a sight to behold. So this update will be all about the man, the myth, the legend known around the world for being the biggest athlete in sports entertainment, Andre The Giant! So get ready to cheer for Andre as we take a look not only at the bio comic but also the man who was the true giant of pro wrestling!

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Andre Rene Roussimoff was born on May 19th 1946 in Grenoble, France, and by the age of 12 he weighed 240 pounds and was 6’3” and dropped out of school by the 8th grade to work on a farm as well as other manual labor jobs. By age 17, he became a pro wrestler after a promotor saw that he could make money off Andre’s size and the fact he was a true giant thanks to the fact he had gigantism. Going under the name Great Ferre, he wrestled for promotions in France, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. In 1970 Andre, under the ring name Monster Roussimoff, dominated the Japanese federation International Wrestling Enterprise even winning the tag team titles with Michael Nador. After Japan Andre went to wrestle in Canada as well as a few dates for AWA (American Wrestling Association)  In the US, he meet Vince McMahon Sr. who turned him into Andre The Giant and changed the character into a unstoppable monster, and together they made lots of money in the WWF as well as off other federations that Vince would lend him out to. Andre The Giant started WWF in 1973 as one of the company’s top good guys and had many great feuds with many great and talented wrestlers like Killer Khan who he defeated in a Mongolian Stretcher Match, Big John Studd who he had a body slam challenge match against as well as had his long afro hair shaved off by Studd, Ken Patera and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd even got Andre suspended during this run, and he returned as a masked wrestler called Giant Machine and teamed with the tag team The Machines. Durning this run as a good guy Andre was also the king of Battle Royals even winning one at Wrestlemania II by throwing out Bret Hart. Beloved by fans, Andre was a top draw as well as a main attraction for the WWF, but something was about to change!

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In 1987, Hulk Hogan was WWF Champion, and Hulkamania was in full swing.  On Piper’s Pit, the interview segment hosted by Rowdy Roddy Piper, Hogan was given a trophy for being champion for three years. And during this time of celebration Andre The Giant came out with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and ripped the shirt off Hogan as well as his cross necklace and challenged him for the title, changing himself from a fan favorite to a heel in the matter of minutes! Hogan and Andre clashed at Wrestlemania III, and Hogan won under some controversy. After Hogan’s win, he also began a feud with Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase who could not beat Hogan but wanted the title.  So DiBiase hired Andre to win the belt for him, and he did in 1988 making it the first and only time Andre was the WWF Champion.  But this win was also very controversial, and the belt was taken away from him and put up for grabs at Wreslemania IV in a tournament that was won by Randy “Macho Man” Savage. This sparked fights between the Mega Powers (Hogan & Savage) and the Mega Bucks (Andre & DiBiase) that ended with Mega Powers getting the upper hand and would spark the next major feud for Hogan as he and Savage split off. Andre from this point on was stuck in tag team matches and feuds with such superstars as Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Ultimate Warrior. He would also team with Ted DiBiase for a while as well as Haku, who he would win tag team gold with under the name The Colossal Connection. In 1990, they lost the belts to Demolition at Wrestlemania VI, and at this point Haku and Bobby Heenan turned on Andre who ended up beating up his partner and turned from Heel to Face.  This ended Andre’s major role as a full time wrestler for WWF. And besides some angles with Earthquake and Jimmy Hart, Andre’s health was so poor that he left WWF in 1992. His last TV appearance was for WCW during their Clash Of The Champions XX event on TBS. This is the era of Andre that I remember the most, and boy when I was younger, I thought no one could beat him.  When they did, I was awe struck! I mean other wrestlers in the back would call Andre The Boss because they all respected and some feared him. Andre was a strong good guy but in my opinion was a way better bad guy and his feud with Hulk Hogan was legendary. Now being a grown up and watching old matches on VHS and DVD, I find some of his later in ring work very sad to watch as you can tell he was in pain just barely moving around and had to use the ropes to walk around the ring. It’s sad to see Andre The Giant in that kind of shape, and you could really tell he was in the twilight of his career and his health was in decline. I should also say that sadly Andre died in his sleep on January 27th 1993 from heart failure while in Paris to attend his father’s funeral. This update is dedicated to Andre who entertained this pro wrestling fan all through my youth, not just in the ring but also in movies and TV.

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So I should get a little more into Wrestlemania III, the pay per view event that shattered attendance records for a live sporting event as well as truly brought WWF into the main stream culture. Wrestlemania III took place on March 29th 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan in front of 93,173 fans locking it in as the largest recorded attendance for a live indoor sporting event in North America! The card was filled with many great matches like Ricky Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Belt, Billy Jack Haynes took on Hercules in a Full Nelson Match and Honky Tonk Man took on Jake “The Snake” Roberts who had rockstar Alice Cooper in his corner! But the main event was Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant for the WWF Championship, and I can remember all the build up for this match.  All the while WWF did a fantastic job of making Hogan look like the underdog having Andre best him on many altercations that happened before the match. During the match, it was clear that Andre was not in the best of shape and Hogan was having to carry the match for the most part, but when Hogan tried to slam Andre for the first time and buckled under the weight and was almost pinned, the odds really did look against the champ! But later in the match when Hogan slammed Andre and hit him with the atomic leg drop and got the three count, the torch was passed and Hogan’s star shined brighter. I can remember many kids from school who were WWF fans talking about the slam heard around the world and the feat of Hogan picking up Andre seemed something straight out of a comic book or greek myth, but as I grew up and became wiser to the world of pro wrestling I found out Hogan had slammed him before when Andre was good and Hogan was bad early in his career.  Also to slam Andre was El Canek and Harley Race. No matter who you were in 1987, you knew that Hogan slammed Andre, and WWF was the major force in pro wrestling.  But we have covered Andre in wrestling so it’s only right we cover his acting career briefly!

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Besides being a pro wrestler, Andre was also an actor, and one role I remember him playing was the Bionic Bigfoot in the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man. Andre played Bigfoot in two episodes called “The Secret Of Bigfoot I & II” that had Steve Rogers running into the famed creature and after doing battle with it finds that it’s a robot! The original episode aired in 1976, and the follow up aired in 1976 as well. Even after Andre stopped playing the role, the Bionic Bigfoot continued for three more episodes and was played by Ted Cassidy, better known for playing Lurch on The Addams Family. The episodes and character of Bionic Bigfoot were so popular that action figures at the time was made based on his likeness. If you watched Six Million Dollar Man, I am sure you remember Bionic Bigfoot like I do!

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Andre’s most popular acting role was the 1987 comedy fantasy film “The Princess Bride” where he played Fezzik the loveable giant friend of Inigo who helps in the kidnapping of the Princess as well as later helps rescue her along side Westley the film’s lead. Fezzik turns from a bad guy to a good guy and was loved in the film for being loyal to his friends and having a big heart. Growing up, I loved this film and watched it many times.  One of the best Andre lines from the movie has him offering peanuts to other characters. It’s funny to think that in 1987 Andre was in this move as a loveable character and also turned on Hulk Hogan and became one of the most hated men in pro wrestling!

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One role many people do not know about that Andre The Giant played was that of the horn God Dagoth in the 1984 fantasy film “Conan The Destroyer”! That’s right, one of the world’s top pro wrestlers wore a rubber suit and fought Arnold Schwarzenegger who was playing Conan in a fake blood drenched scene….and I must say that’s awesome! And in fact, I did not even know Andre played that part until recently, and this helps add to my enjoyment of this film. I loved the Conan movies, and I will tell you readers this when the new Conan movie comes out in the coming years, a Marvel At The Movies Conan edition will be going up!

Dagoth

Andre The Giant was also an animated superstar as he was used in the fun Saturday Morning Cartoon “Hulk Hogan’s Rock N Wrestling” as one of Hogan’s good guy friends along side the likes of Junkyard Dog, Wendi Richter, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Hillbilly Jim and a few other WWF wrestlers. The cartoon would have Hogan and the gang having to stop evil plots by the bad guys lead by Rowdy Roddy Piper and aired for 26 episodes lasting two season starting in 1985. The series was made by DIC Entertainment who also made such cartoons as M.A.S.K., Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors, The Real Ghostbusters, COPS, Camp Candy, The Legend Of Zelda, Swamp Thing, Street Sharks and so many other classics that entertained the youth. Andre in the cartoon was portrayed as a dimwitted giant who would fumble and bumble around all the while never meaning to harm nor break the stuff he did.  So in looking back, he was the slapstick goof of the cartoon.  He was voiced by Ron Feinberg, who also lent his voice to such characters as Ming The Merciless in Defenders Of The Earth and Vladimir Goudenov Grizzlikof in Darkwing Dunk. Growing up I loved this silly cartoon and watched it any chance I got and that was mostly on USA Cartoon Express.  While Andre was silly and goofy, he still was one of the characters I liked. While the cartoon has long been off the air and has not been released on DVD or Blu-Ray, you can find episodes on VHS and the grey market.

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So Andre was a part of TV shows, movies and even cartoons, but he also tackled music videos when he had a cameo in the video for Cyndi Lauper’s hit song “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” where he played a genie from a bottle who runs off debt collectors played by the likes of Roddy Piper and Iron Sheik! This video is epic for many reasons, and I will share them all with you real quick! The first thing about this video that I loved when I was younger was Cyndi Lauper herself as I found her cute as well as fun to watch as she could sing her heart out and never took herself seriously. The second thing was the fact that it starred Pro Wrestlers as characters and some of the WWF’s best bad guys were great running around as pirates…imagine Iron Sheik as a pirate! The third amazing thing about this video is that it’s attached to The Goonies, one of the most iconic adventure kids films of the 80’s and one I loved, not to mention The Goonies themselves show up to help Cyndi get away from the pirates! I guess I should also explain what the music video is about; Cyndi and her family own a gas station and are about to lose it when Piper and the rest of his goon squad show up to take it away! Cyndi has a map to treasure that could help save the gas station, but while on the hunt Piper and goons become pirates and try to stop her until The Goonies show up and help.  In the end, she uses a lamp and frees Andre The Giant dressed as a genie who runs off the bad guys, and they save the gas station. It’s a great music video for a catchy song that will get stuck in your head after you hear it.

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Honeycomb was a popular kids breakfast cereal in the 80’s, and the one and only commercial made about it that would air during Saturday Morning Cartoons that I remember had Andre The Giant playing a giant and trying to grab kids and their robot while they were eating Honeycomb in their club house. The kids are scared of the giant, but when they share some Honeycomb with him, he mellows out and they gain a new friend! I should also say that after they share the cereal, the cheesy jingle starts that goes “Honeycomb’s Big….Yeah Yeah Yeah! It’s Not Small…No No No! Honeycomb’s Got..A Big Big Bite! Big Big Taste In A Big Big Bite”…you’re welcome. The jingle will be in your head all day now. I always liked seeing Andre in this commercial, and it has always stuck with me; thanks to Youtube I can watch it again!

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Because he was one of the biggest superstars in WWF history, Andre had a lot merchandise come out that used his likeness, and much of that came out via WWF itself and could be bought from their catalog like posters, magazines and the classic t-shirt with his red handprint on the front. LJN had three Andre The Giant figures come out for their WWF Wrestling Superstars series.  One Andre had the afro hair, the next had short hair and the third was the bad Andre. Hasbro made an Andre The Giant action figure come out via their WWF line, and not to mention tons of other stuff like VHS tapes, trading cards, drinking glasses, DVDs and much more! My favorite Andre toy I owned was the short hair LJN figure that I would bring to school and win matches during the WWF events we would have at recess, a great figure with Andre’s good guy smile intact. So if you like Andre The Giant, there are some great collectibles out in the world for you.

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Andre The Giant has also been in some video games, starting with WWF Wrestlemania for NES and even in the most recent WWE Game, WWE 2K15. Also Andre was in the arcade game WWF Superstars that had your team having to will a series of matches to take on Andre and Million Dollar Man to win the game. But the one I played the most was WWF Wrestlemania made by Acclaim in 1989 for the NES, and I must say Andre was one tough cookie to beat and Hulk Hogan was the only character that was able to slam him! One odd Andre The Giant in video games has to be the 2011 THQ game WWE All Stars where Andre was overdone as were all the wrestlers, who look like cartoon characters. So if you’re a gamer and like wrestling, there are many games out in the world that you can play as the one and only 8th Wonder Of The World.

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Before we get to the comic, I should also talk about the underground phenomenon known as Andre The Giant Has A Posse created by Shepard Fairely for the skateboarding culture and beyond as an experiment of phenomenology. Stickers, flyers and posters of Andre The Giant with the phrase Has A Posse began popping up in Rhode Island and then went around the USA and spread like wildfire. The craze went on for many years and even when WWF tried to sue over it, the stickering did not not slow down. Over the years the sticker has changed and now has a closer image of Andre’s face and instead of him having a posse, it now reads “Obey”. I can remember seeing these stickers around town when I was younger and always getting a chuckle from them.

Andre Has A Posse

So now that we have talked about Andre as a wrestler, actor, video game character and everything in between, I think we are ready to look at him as a bio comic character! I need to thank Mavericks for getting this graphic novel in stock for me and also should remind everyone that I will grade this on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s lace up the boots and step into the ring with the 8th Wonder of the World, Andre The Giant, and First Second Books.

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Andre The Giant: Life And Legend  *** Released in 2014   Cover Price $17.99   First Second Books   #1 of 1

Andre lives in France and when he was 12 years old, he already was a giant and could not even ride the school bus and had to catch rides in the back of people’s pick up trucks. Years pass, and Andre just keeps growing and taking odd jobs around town.  By the late 1960’s he became a pro wrestler in his homeland and became a major attraction cause of his large size. Andre leaves the European wrestling behind and heads to Japan to make a name for himself and then goes to Canada where he starts out as major star selling out events, but his attraction starts to run thin and he finds that fans are sick of seeing him. Andre goes to the United states and with the help of Verne Gagne and Vince McMahan Sr., he becomes a super star as they travel him around from territory to territory and make him unbeatable in some cases even beating two men at the same time! This also starts Andre’s run working for WWF, where he was one of the company’s top baby faces. But while things were looking good for Andre, around this time his health began to decline.  He was drinking a lot, and he had many run-ins with fans and fellow wrestlers like Bad News Brown and Black Jack Mulligan outside the ring. During a feud with Big John Studd and Bobby The Brain Heenan, Andre takes some time off to get surgery on his back to release pressure and pain due to the fact his giantism disease is causing him to still grow, causing much pain in his joints and bones. During his time away from wrestling, Andre also takes a role in Princess Bride, and then he gets the call from Vince McMahan Jr. that he wants him to come back to WWF and be a bad guy and wrestle Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III! Andre comes back to wrestling and becomes one of the company’s biggest bad guys and is in pain but does so due to his friendship with Vince. Andre sticks around in the WWF for a while even after his feud with Hulk Hogan ends until his body just can’t take it any longer and the fans could see the pain in Andre’s face when he moved. Andre after WWF went to Japan one last time and did a few gimmick matches before his death in 1993.

The first thing I want to say about this comic/graphic novel is that the artwork is not what I would want for this style of comic, but it does hold a very Jason Young of Veggie Dog Saturn look to it so that makes it a little cooler. But while I feel the artwork is a little weak. I know many fellow comic readers who loved its style though.  What makes the comic good for me is the fact that the story of Andre’s life is nicely wrapped up in a little 240 pages bundle and most of his life highlights are showcased. In fact my write up leaves some elements of his life out as I would really encourage you, if you’re a fan, to give this graphic novel a read. One thing I really enjoyed about this comic is that lots of it focused on Andre’s life outside the ring from his medical issues all the way to how he treated fans showing that while he was larger than life in the world of Pro Wrestling, he still was real person with issues. At times Andre comes off lovable, while other times he comes off a a jerk by being rude to his fans, starting fights at parties and even telling inappropriate jokes on the tour bus that cause drama among some of his fellow wrestlers. One thing I learned from this comic is that after leaving the WWF for the last time, he did a few matches in Japan and was in no shape to do so but did them for a paycheck. The book ends on a higher note with Andre on a plan playing poker against a fellow wrestler and only in a small paragraph mentions that he passed away from heart issues.  This was the right way to end it as I feel to go all the way to his death would have really been a downer. It also has lots of humor like Andre watching Princess Bride with Terry Funk over and over again while Funk kept falling asleep! Box Brown did a fantastic job with this Bio-Comic, and I would love to see him do some more like it based on wrestlers like Macho Man Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior or even Big John Studd. Reading this made me very nostalgic and miss the days of classic wrestling.  So if you’re a fan of independent bio comics or of Andre The Giant I would recommend checking this one out I am glad I did.

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Even if you don’t like Pro Wrestling, or as it’s called now Sport Entertainment, you still have to respect the performers who go from town to town and entertain the crowds of people who pay to see them. Much like the Road Warriors, this update was one comic I was happy to bring to you, and I can safely say look for other wrestling-inspired comic updates in the future. One other thing I should bring up about Andre The Giant is that I remember when Hulk Hogan and Andre had to sign a rematch contract for Wrestlemania IV.  With the encouragement of The Million Dollar Man, the 8th Wonder Of The World used Hogan’s head as the stamp of approval and tipped a table over on him.  Now that’s when wrestling was wrestling! Well our next update will take us out of the squared circle and into the woods along side comic strip icon Andy Capp.  So with that I am going to end this update with Rest In Peace Andre The Giant, and thanks for all the memories.

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I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost Of Dracula

Welcome back, readers!  I know that one of the top questions on your mind is what did I do for Friday The 13th in September 2013…did I go to Cap’n Johnny’s Whiz Bang at Gillys Jazz Club to see bands Nightbeast and Todd The Fox with performers like Sunny Wonderland? Nope. Did I stay home and watch Horror Host Riggor Mortiss on DATV hosting the film Five? Nope. What I did was something I love to do, going to a haunted location in Ohio with friends to see if we can experience anything from the unknown.  That night we decided to go to Fudge Road in Gratis, Ohio. Fudge Road is spoken of as being filled with legend and myth, and depending on who you talk to, it’s either the most haunted road in all of Ohio or is a road that is filled with nothing but B.S. stories. Now before I get into the story of us going there and what we saw or didn’t see, I want to give you all a little run down of all the odd things/creatures/people that are suppose to be on the road.

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Cry Baby Bridge

Every small town has this legend.  The small village of Gratis is no exception, and has a few stories about the bridge. One is that sometime in the 1800’s, a mother tossed her baby over the bridge, and the infant’s spirit is suppose to haunt the cold waters below. Another ghost that is supposed to haunt the bridge is that of a truck driver who drove his rig off the side of the narrow road and into the ditch near the bridge, and he died at the scene. Another legend speaks of the ghost of a woman who was killed on the bridge by a biker gang who beat her with baseball bats even knocking one of her eyes out.  She is said to haunt the bridge and the woods around the bridge. The most famous ghosts of the bridge are those of a mother and child.  When the child passed away, the mother was so struck with grief that she hung herself on the bridge, and now late at night you are supposed to park on the bridge and say “Mama” three times and wait to hear a baby cry and sometimes see the ghost of the woman who in turn seems to be looking for her child. Also some people who have gone to this haunted bridge have claimed that they have seen dead animals such as deer and dogs hung up and gutted hanging by the neck from the rails under the bridge!

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The Cocker/White Fur Monster

The Cocker is a white furred humanoid, Bigfoot-type creature who is said to have been spotted numerous times around the woods near the “Midget House”. The creature is known to make loud high pitched screams sounding like a woman and seems to not have a pattern on when and what time to witness it. Some accounts say that the creature is more of a killer and is known for killing animals and leaving their mangled bodies as a warning to all those who enter his domain. The creature is said to be about 6 foot tall with long white hair all over and is ape-like in appearance. Some also think that this creature is from another dimension and moves through portals and that’s why it’s seen less than other spooky “attractions” on the road.

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The Midget House

There is a strange tiny house that sits back aways from the road on a plot of land that is said to be a place that houses giant pigs or also sometimes reported dogs that are used in scarifies for witches and or the KKK. The pigs in some stories also are said to be man-eaters, and those who trespass on the land could find themselves in their bellies! The house is said to also be a source of evil, and those who walk around it get odd feelings and feel as if they are being watched. The white furred Cocker monster has been spotted around it a few times making it a major source in spotting it. The house cannot be seen at night via the road as it has no lights in or around it and is surrounded by a barbwire fence. Also around this part it’s said that a barn sits somewhere nearby that was the site of 17 teens who were murdered. The Midget House location is one of the most popular attractions on the road next to Cry Baby Bridge.

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Crazy Old Witch Lady

The locals of Fudge Road don’t like wanna-be “ghost hunters” or thrill seeking teens to drive up and down the road, and one of the worst for hating these people is a shotgun carrying old woman who also video tapes everyone that drives up and down and also is known to chase them down the dark and narrow road. She is said to own all the houses on the road besides one and that many of the houses are really empty but she leaves a lamp on in each to make it look as if someone is home. Some reports have her riding around with an older man in a black/red truck and chasing people down the narrow road video taping and firing guns in the air as warning shots. Some reports also have her hiding in the woods and the corn fields on the road ready to call the police or even fire her trusty shotgun at you. Many say that she is a witch and that she is known for killing animals and having large satanic gatherings in the woods and can place curses on those who drive down her road. Is she a witch or just a batty old lady with a shotgun? All that’s really known is it’s not safe to ask her!

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So on that Friday The 13th after work around 8:15pm at night Stephen Alexander II, Josh Weinberg and myself decided to go visit a haunted place for the night.  We went through a list of possible locations that included the classics like Carpenter’s Road and Frankenstein’s Castle, but Fudge Road ended up being the winner so we piled into Stephen’s white Lumina and headed out to the famed road in Gratis.  On the ride there, I used Stephen’s smart phone to look up stories to read aloud in the car to help build the mood of the spooky road we were about to visit. We found the road with no issues and turned onto it.  On one side was a farmhouse with lots of land and a shed, while on the other side was a massive corn field.  We made jokes about Children Of The Corn and even killer Scarecrows as we slowly drove down it keeping our eyes open for a white furred monster, ghosts and yes, the crazy old lady with a shotgun! As we reached the bridge, we saw that it was blocked off.  So we turned around all hyped on just how creepy this smaller part of the road was. and we knew we had to find the other end of the road to see what spooky horrors it held. We stopped at a small gas station and filled up with gas and some drinks and headed back out to find the road. After driving a few minutes, we found the other side of the road and traveled down it.  The road was dark, and the worst part was the road was barely big enough even for one car, let alone two! We passed a carload of kids who were leaving the area and clearly were also there to find a good scare, and they were nice enough to pull all the way over to allow us to get past them and get deeper down the dark road. The sites from the road were odd as many of the houses did seem empty with just one single light on in each, making me wonder if the crazy old lady really did own most of the road. We past one house that was boarded up with a big fence around it as well as no trespassing police tape, but it was clear that someone or something had lifted part of the fence to allow people to sneak onto the land. Some parts of the road had some wicked turns and with it being pitch black and both sides covered with deep woods, you had to pay more attention more where you were driving. When we made it to the other side of the closed up Cry Baby Bridge, we parked the car and we all got out.  While Steve and Josh walked over to the bridge, I began snapping pictures around the car wanting to get as much of the creepy atmosphere as I could so that I could share it here on Rotten Ink. The Bridge was covered with graffiti with words like R.I.P and a number of names, and as I snapped pics, a flash of light went off in the woods near the car. I waited and saw it again…it was super fast and almost reminded me of a cellphone being awoken from sleep mode.  So I alerted the guys, and we headed back to the car and got out of dodge! We began talking about what we thought the light could be, and I stuck with my cellphone theory.  As we pulled out of the road we noticed a cop drove by, turned on Fudge Road and blocked it from anyone else going down it.  I truly think that the light was the Crazy Old Woman calling the cops on us! On the way home, we talked about the creepy feel of the road and wanted to find another haunted location to visit.  We ended up not going to another and while we have talked about going back to Fudge Road, we never have made the journey back. While we didn’t see any white furred monsters or even giant pigs in a tiny house, we did, it seems, have contact with the Old Lady of the road, and while no shotguns or car chases happened, it’s clear as day she doesn’t want you around. Below are some of the pics I took that night of the road near the bridge as well as the Corn field straight out of Children Of The Corn.

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But enough of Fudge Road, let’s talk about Count Dracula also known as TV’s Count Dracula of “Horror Incorporated” that ran from 2000-2002 on Channel 45 in Minneapolis. Count Dracula began his hosting career in 1984 on a show called “Count Dracula Presents” that lasted for two years on Channel 29 out of Minneapolis, and after the show ended, he came back to TV and did a few more shows before landing the host gig on Horror Incorporated that for years was a un-hosted program.  This was in 2000, and for two solid years he hosted the show with his vampire charm. I just wanted to make you readers aware of Count Dracula and don’t want to spew too much knowledge about him just yet because who knows, maybe in the future I’ll do a Horror Host Icon update about him!

Count Dracula (host)

As you all know, I am a video game player and enjoy sitting with my controller in hand and playing the newest Resident Evil or WWE game on a big TV screen. Growing up during the good old days of handheld games, I always found myself not buying a Gameboy, Game Gear or even an Atari Lynx and would choose a console game or even a Tiger Handheld game instead. So this last winter, my girlfriend Juliet’s mom and dad gave us an Apple iPad, and the only thing we use it for is games. Juliet plays a game called Smurf Village, and I play Simpsons Tapped Out and an odd little gem called Zombie Cafe, where you build a cafe and have zombies and monsters act as your waiters! As of June 13th 2014 I have a total of 6 main waiters on staff that include Mummy Fritz, Female Mummy Megan, Zombie Hipster Gary, Female Zombie Eliza, Zombie Construction Worker Jason and my long time staff zombie Alex. This game is silly and a way to waste time on a bored night. The game also allows you to send your workers to another cafe and attack them and some of these cafes are owned by the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster! If you’re looking for a fun, simple and free game to play on your iPad, I would say check this on out. Below are most of my staff minus Mummy Megan as she joined the staff a little later on.

Zombie Cafe Workers

Growing up, for one Christmas I got some Imperial Universal Monster toys for The Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster, and I loved them and played with them a lot.  I even have them to this day, and then when Juliet and I went to Monster Bash this year I was able to finally get my hands on The Mummy.  With him I was only missing one of the figures from the series so I pulled the trigger and ordered it from Ebay and that figure was for the Vampire King Count Dracula! The figure has a very loose likeness to Bela Lugosi and stands taller than The Mummy. The figure I was able to win at opening bid of .99 due to some paint loss to its fingers and hair, but over all I think its a nice display figure. If you’re a classic Universal Monster fan and collect action figures based on them make sure to check out the Imperial line.  They fit in very nicely with your Remco and Marx figures. Check out the pic below for what the Dracula figure looks like.

Imperial Dracula Toy

Now that we talked about Fudge Road a haunted location in Ohio, iPad game Zombie Cafe and a little about Horror Host Count Dracula, I think it’s time we get to the main attraction, Eternity Comics’ mini series called Ghost of Dracula! Now I have to be honest many years back when I was a teen I had some of these issues from this mini series that I got from Mavericks, but when I could not find all the issues I never fullly read them and they got sold way back when with almost all my comics to pay rent for me and my then girlfriend Misty. So it being 2014 and getting the whole set thanks to Dark Star Books, I can finally read the whole series. Just a friendly reminder I graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s sit back and see what kind of Ghosts Dracula has, and if we should also call the Ghostbusters for him!

Ghosts of Dracula 1

Ghosts of Dracula  # 1  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #1 of 5

The year is 1925, and the city is London as a man named Mr. Beck is asking for help not to fall asleep from a doctor who in turns makes the mistake of drugging the patient who then transforms and kills his would be savior. Meanwhile in New York, Count Dracula is roaming the streets and snacking on people late at night! In Amsterdam, Professor Van Helsing is dealing with his wife who has slowly slipped into madness and is in an asylum, and returns to London when a rash of murders breaks out that has victims with ripped out throats. Dracula meets Harry Houdini who exposes a fraud medium, and the two exchange stories of trying to contact old loved ones.  Dracula turns into a bat and disappears as Van Helsing finds that Mr. Beck, his old friend, is in fact the killer and is a demon! Dracula barely makes it back to his coffin in time and it’s shown he has a female vampire named Ellen who he does not care for but uses her to keep his coffin safe.

This is a fun issue, and a great way to kick off a mini series based on Count Dracula! I love the way it has numerous stories going at once and not only shows you what Dracula is doing but also shows that a demon killer is on the loose and shows all the crappy stuff that is going on in an aging Van Helsing’s life. The addition of real life magician Henry Houdini is also bad ass and a great way to keep a person like me truly interested in the story. The issue’s plot is this: London has a killer that is a demon, and Van Helsing goes to stop him thinking it to be Dracula, while Dracula himself is in America looking for a way to contact his old love. I also like Ellen who is clearly crazy and wants nothing more than to be a full fledged wife of Dracula, all the while he wants nothing to do with her and treats her like a cheap porn star! The art work is that pure 1990’s independent horror comic look, and Count Dracula has short curly style black hair and a classic 70’s porn mustache and looks like the love child of Burt Reynolds and Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Van Helsing looks like a crazy old man, a perfect look for an aging hero. Over all I dig the art work and think that issue 1’s cover is just okay. I am looking forward to see where this story goes. Oh I should also say that for a horror comic this has very little blood and is more of a story driven issue than a blood bath.

Ghosts of Dracula  2

Ghosts of Dracula  # 2  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #2 of 5

Harry Houdini is a mess after seeing Dracula and comes to grips that vampires are real, but in acting strange, he is pushing is girlfriend Bess away! While Dracula himself is hung up on Lucy (from the novel), Ellen uses her blood and charms to seduce the vampire king, but makes the mistake of mentioning Lucy causing Dracula to freak out and set her free no longer in his control or bond.  This leads to Ellen jumping off a cliff to her death. Van Helsing meanwhile tries to get an ageing friend to help him in his Dracula/demon hunt and is turned down and returns home to find Mr. Beck there asking for help! Houdini, after one of his shows, gets information about a person who can help him, but is warned by Dracula not to go and if he does death awaits him. In the end we see that the man Houdini is supposed to meet with his Van Helsing and the threat from Dracula does not work as he prepares to travel to London. Meanwhile at the town morgue, Ellen is alive and well and is now a fully fledged vampire!

Issue two slows the pace a little, and with this much story, it makes sense to flesh out the true missions of each of the characters. I like how it’s clearly showing that Harry Houdini is being geared up to be the mini series’ hero and Van Helsing seems to be spinning his wheels and knowing he is too old to do this alone.  Also I am not 100% sure yet, but I think the friend he goes to and asks for help from was none other than Sherlock Holmes! While the issue does not say the detective’s name, his look and hat are a giveaway, and I hope that this is looked at further in the series. Dracula in this issue seems to be an emotional mess and has Lucy on the brain; he even makes the mistake of giving into Ellen who he hates! Plus love the fact Dracula could kill Houdini but doesn’t because he respects him as a human.  Wow, Dracula must love magic in order to spare his life! Mr. Beck almost seems like a Jeykell and Hyde type character as the good side wants help and the evil side just wants to kill. The art is still great in this one, and this time they add a tiny bit of blood and the cover is a tad bit better than issue 1’s. Over all the story in this one is good but a little crammed making this one a solid issue just not as impactful. I can’t wait to see what issue 3 has in store and hope that these characters all start interacting I mean a Dracula and Mr. Beck demon fight could be epic! So let’s get onto issue 3.

Ghosts of Dracula  3

Ghosts of Dracula  # 3  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #3 of 5

Both Dracula and Houdini cross the sea to Europe to get the answers they seek. Van Helsing takes Beck to a church where there is a young girl named Angelica who has the power to heal anyone she comes across that needs to be saved, but each time the young girl does this she herself becomes more and more weak and even gets the wounds of Christ. Not to be left behind, Ellen also comes across the sea to be close to her beloved Vampire King! Beck is taken to the church’s dungeon where he once more turns into the evil Demon and scares all the nuns as Van Helsing gets a late night visit from Dracula who now has Houdini as his servant after he forces him to do his bidding! Dracula and Helsing meet outside on a cold snow filled night in a epic stare down.

Wow, this issue takes some twist and turns and takes Harry Houdini who you think is going to be the hero of the series and turns him into Dracula’s slave! I didn’t see that coming at all, and in fact, you find yourself cheering for Harry to break the spell. Dracula in this issue is pissed and kills a bunch of sailors and dock workers letting everyone know that he is not to be messed with. Ellen as well shows a little more of a mean streak and kills a young woman who is thinking of suicide and takes a dock worker who has a family as her slave. Beck as the demon is one scary soul stealing creature of hell, and when even being inside a holy place doesn’t seem to bother him, you know Van Helsing has his hands full. Speaking of Van Helsing, old age seems to have slowed him down a little, but he still is a warrior of fighting for good. Angelica is an interesting character that is as pure as snow and seems to be a young woman with such amazing power. The story is starting to heat up, and now all in one place are Dracula, Van Helsing, Demon Beck, Angelica and Houdini so let’s just get into issue 4 and see what big battle is about to go down! Oh yeah, the art work is still good, but this cover is a little lame and has zero to do with the comic.

Ghosts of Dracula 4

Ghosts of Dracula  # 4  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #4 of 5

Demon Beck has escaped and has kidnapped Angelica and taken her to a castle that belongs to Dracula! A horrified nun runs out in the middle of the Dracula and Van Helsing stare down and tells them that Angelica is gone.  The two along with Houdini put all their differences aside and decide to team up to save the young girl who is the key to something they all want or need. For Van Helsing, she is the key to saving the soul of his friend Beck; for Houdini she is the key to talk to his dead mother and for Dracula it’s so he can talk to Lucy, his lover who died many years back. Ellen travels to Dracula’s castle and has visions of what, why and how Dracula became the vampire he is to this day, but while there she sees the demon and tries to save the young girl and get this demon out of her master’s house.  She fails as Dracula and crew come in and challenge the demon!

This is a good issue that serves as mostly the back story of Dracula, and while it’s cool and a fun read, I almost feel they just added this all in as filler and to get one more issue out for this mini series so that it would be one issue longer. Dracula and Van Helsing having to team up to save Angelica is a cool concept and makes one wonder what if Universal or Hammer decided to do this in their films, how would fans have taken that idea. Plus it’s nice that already Houdini has broken the hold Dracula has on him and is like yeah, this ain’t happening no more. Ellen once more shows that she is way too in love with Dracula who up to this point uses her and dislikes her to the point of hate, but it is cool to see her try and take a stand against the demon Beck even if she does lose fast. The players are all set for an epic battle of good & evil and something in-between. The artwork is the same as other issues, and Dracula still looks like a porn star of the 70’s mixed with Tony Stark.  The cover this time around is pretty cool and eye catching.  The use of the bright red I am sure helped it get some attention on the stands when released in 1991. So with this let’s move onto the final issue and see how this epic final battle plays out.

Ghosts of Dracula  5

Ghosts of Dracula  # 5  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #5 of 5

The demon Beck is not impressed with the team-up before him, and it’s clear that Dracula is the only one who stands a chance in fighting him. Dracula sends wolves after demon Beck, and Van Helsing rams a stake through its body allowing Beck to turn human for a few moments.  Houdini shoots him in the head killing Beck, but this frees the demon who now is ready for all out war. While Dracula tries his best to fight the demon, Van Helsing and Houdini take Angelica away and try to get her to safety. Dracula puts up one hell of a fight but is no match for the raw evil power of the demon, who then goes after Angelica who in turn awakens and is able to defeat the hell spawn herself. After the battle, Van Helsing goes and rams a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Angelica uses her powers to answer many questions.  For Houdini, she tells him she is truly able to speak to the dead; Dracula even in death in now able to find peace, and Van Helsing comes to the realization that his wife is a vampire and must not be protected but destroyed for his own mental health.

If this issue and even series teaches you one thing, it’s don’t mess with Dracula even if you are a demon from Hell, cause when he’s mad he is going to try his best to kill you! Dracula in this issue is still a a bad guy but he knows that he must team with these humans in order to rid the world of an evil demon that is trying to open the gates making the world a dangerous place for humans and vampires alike. Dracula, while a mean blood sucker, also shows compassion and love as he is shown to care for Lucy, and in death is finally able to find that inner peace and light that he has been lacking for centuries. 70’s porn mustache Dracula is a well written character and is clearly the antihero from start to finish. Van Helsing is still a noble hero, but it’s clear that he is old and broken down and has the stress of the world on his shoulders.  His hatred for Dracula is out of control and consumes him at times. The real cool aspect of the character this time around is that his true love has been affected and now a vampire herself, and he is in denial that she has becomes what he hates most. Plus while Dracula gets a happy ending, Van Helsing only kind of does and he kills his wife and then spends his time in a cell for murder! Angelica is a powerful young woman who has unknown powers racing through her body.  It would be cool to have seen just all the things she could do, and would have been a great ally for Van Helsing if he would have continued to hunt and kill creatures of the unknown. Houdini is a character that adds something to the story that’s hard to place your finger on.  While he doesn’t do anything too heroic nor does he kill any of the enemies at hand, there is just something so cool about this magician’s appearance that helps add a level of cool to this mini series. The demon is one mean sucker who kills and torments anyone who gets in his way.  It’s saying something when you as the reader are worried for Dracula, the world’s most powerful vampire when he has to step toe to toe with this powerhouse of hell fire might. This was a well done series that showed with the right writers and artists, a Dracula comic series can be done well.  I for one would have loved to see another mini series done with Houdini, Van Helsing, Dracula and Angelica going up against another major threat to all kind. The artwork in the series is done by Seppo Makinen and is fantastic and has that classic early 90’s horror comic look to it, and I would like to see some modern Dracula comics done by Seppo. While a horror comic, the series is bloody but not too over the top adding a level of Hammer Horror charm turned up a bit for more shocking aspects. Over all this is one fun comic series and was worth revisiting and completing for sure! Below are some of the artwork from this mini series of Dracula and his ghosts.

Ghost of Drac Art 1Ghost of Drac Art 2Ghost of Drac Art 3

Folklore and magic collided in this comic series that was surprisingly very good! It was nice to see yet another adventure being done around Count Dracula and taking him out of the same old same old element and placing him in a position where he must come face to face with evil that is straight from Hell. Taking an iconic horror character and turning him more good was really cool to read and was way ahead of the Dracula TV series on NBC that was kind of doing the same before it was canceled. And it looked like we didn’t even have to call in The Ghostbusters to help with Dracula and his Ghosts! Well, while May is in mid month, our next update will be about a giant and not just any old giant but that of an icon of the squared circle known as Andre! I want to also remind everyone that Ghost of Dracula was supposed to go up in August 2014, but due to the issues being misplaced before my write up was complete, it was placed on the back burner, and finally Dracula got his time in the sun…oh great I forgot he dies in the sun! So make sure to go out and enjoy this weather, and visit a amusement park or two, read a comic under your favorite tree and watch a big blockbuster movie at your favorite theater and as always support your local Horror Host.

Andre The Giant Logo

Bugs Bunny The King Of Saturday Morning Cartoons

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, a zany place to relive my childhood and remember back the things that made me as well as many others happy and shaped us into the people we are today. Growing up, Looney Tunes was a major part of my childhood as reruns were still being aired on Saturday mornings as well as Sunday mornings, and many times I would rent VHS’s based on the characters from the public library or just buy $1.00 VHS tapes from Dollar Stores. I can remember drawing poor versions of characters like Daffy Duck, Road Runner and of course Bugs Bunny in art class and playing video games like Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Blow Out for the NES. Also, when we were younger candy maker Esther Price used to have a big Bugs Bunny doll in their window display in a classic car or doing other silly things.  Sadly they’ve retired him, and modern kids won’t get the joys of watching what Bugs would be up to next in that candy store window. I can also remember reading the Little Golden Books about Bugs as well as reading old comic books on him we would find at garage sales. My mom had a Bugs Bunny cookie cutter and used to make sugar cookies that looked like the famed cartoon character. I can also remember drinking Kool-Aid and chocolate milk from an old Pepsi Bugs Bunny glass. So as you can see, Bugs Bunny was a huge part of my childhood, and this update is all about that crazy grey furred rabbit! So grab a carrot, tune up your sense of humor and let’s have some fun with Mr. Bugs Bunny!

Bugs Bunny 1

So for those of you who are too young, or maybe just lived under a rock, I am going to tell you a little about Bugs Bunny and who he is.  For those of you who already know, sit back and have a good reminiscence with me. Bugs Bunny is a grey furred rabbit who walks on two legs, talks with a New York accent and enjoys pulling pranks as well as snacking on a good old fashioned carrot all the while wearing white gloves. His major catch phrase is “Eh….What’s Up Doc” that is usually said to annoy the person he’s talking to. Bugs is quick witted and always comes out ahead in bad situations. Bugs has many enemies that include hunter Elmer Fudd, cowboy Yosemite Sam, space martian Marvin as well as Taz, a tasmanian devil. One bad guy I always liked was Gossamer, a monster who is covered in red hair and had long yellow and black finger nails and wore white shoes. Bugs Bunny was such a cartoon icon that Warner Brothers used him as their official mascot and places his image on all types of products from microwave kids meals to video games. Bugs was so popular, he even was used to pitch Nike Shoes, credit cards and even Kool-Aid. Bugs Bunny also had movies on the silver screen with such titles as The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, Bugs Bunny’s 3rd Movie and Box Office Bunny, but his most popular was the 1996 film Space Jam that had him playing basketball along side NBA superstar Michael Jordan against monsters. But I should not forget that he was also in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and shared the screen with Disney icon Mickey Mouse, making for an epic first and last time that the two had shared the screen. He also had many TV specials like Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales and Bugs Bunny’s Thanksgiving Diet. One special I remember the most was called Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue and was an anti-drug promotion that had Bugs Bunny teaming up with the likes of Alf, Papa Smurf, Silmer, Winnie The Pooh, Garfield, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo and many others to help a young boy whose brother is doing drugs. Before we move on, I want to also tell a few more fun facts about Bugs.  He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being in the most short and feature length films of any Cartoon character, and he is the second animated character to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! So as you can see, Bugs Bunny is truly the main hare when it comes to the world of classic cartoons!

Classic_bugsbunnyclip-art-bugs-bunny-210336bugs-stance-gloveless

Now that we covered who Bugs Bunny is, we should also talk about those people who brought the furry little guy to life.  The first appearance of the rabbit that was to become Bugs Bunny was in a cartoon called “Porky’s Hare Hunt” in 1938 that featured a wise talking rabbit that was given no name.  The cartoon was directed by Ben “Bugs” Hardaway and Cal Dalton. Hardaway and Cal Dalton were the creators of the character and had the bunny show up in a another cartoon sealing the popularity of the character, and Bugs was finally named by artist Charlie Thorson after several prior appearances marking the year 1939 when Bugs Bunny was used as a name for the rabbit character. All this time Bugs Bunny looked a little different then the Bugs we all know and love as well as he was portrayed more as crazy than quick whited. In 1940 the cartoon “A Wild Hare” directed by Tex Avery features what’s considered the first modern version of Bugs Bunny and is the true kick start to shaping the character that he is to this day. Bugs Bunny was voiced by a legendary cartoon voice actor named Mel Blanc, who also voiced such characters as Woody Woodpecker, Barney Rubble, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Speed Buggy among many others! So here is a big thank you to Warner Brothers, Ben Hardaway, Cal Dalton, Tex Avery, Charlie Thorson, Mel Blanc and everyone else who helped make Bugs Bunny come to life; this blog update is for you as well as all the fans who have kept the character alive.

Ben  HardawaybugsevolutionhrMel Blanc

Besides home media releases, Bugs Bunny has been turned into all types of merchandise that include Halloween costumes, books, comic books, dolls, action figures, video games, cloths, posters, school supplies, drinking glasses, frozen meals and so much more! If it was a product they could put Bugs Bunny’s face on, they did it! Besides the Pepsi glass that I would drink from, some other things of Bugs I loved was an eraser pencil topper that was green that was of Bugs Bunny’s head, the small Arby’s kids meal toy that had Bugs relaxing and of course I would have to say the Playsation game Bugs Bunny Lost In Time. So I don’t want to spend too much time on the merchandise of Bugs Bunny because we would have to spend the whole update about all the different items, but if you had some sort of Bugs Bunny merchandise, you know how important it was to you in your youth.

Bugs Halloween CostumeBugs Drinking GlassBugs DollBugs Arbys ToyBugs PSX Game

As you readers know, I am a fan of the internet video game reviewer The Angry Video Game Nerd, and I should talk about his feud with Bugs Bunny that has raged on for two episodes! In Bugs’ first AVGN appearance The Nerd was playing Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Blow Out for NES, and Bugs himself shows up to annoy him while he is playing. All through the episode The Nerd beats up Bugs, and in the end he ends up beating the Bunny up super badly and poops on his face in a cheesy and fun sight gag. In the second episode, Bugs shows up again and forces The Nerd to play the Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle series all the while this time beating up The Nerd! The Nerd finally gets an upper hand and finds out the true secret of who Bugs is, but I won’t spoil it for you readers. Great work from The Nerd, and they remain funny and entertaining no matter how many times I’ve seen them.

AVGN Bugs 1AVGN Bugs 2AVGN Bugs 3

So now that you know a little more about Bugs I think we are ready to dive into a few issues from the Whitman reprints that I got from Jason Young and his mom.  So I want to say a big thank you to them for making this update possible. Now this is by no means the whole set from them, but these are all the issues I have so I want to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So if you’re ready, let’s go down the rabbit hole and spend some time with our old childhood friend Bugs Bunny.

Bugs Bunny 173

Bugs Bunny # 173   **1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price .25   Whitman   #173 of 245

The Long-Eared Genie” is the first story and has Bugs Bunny helping a young girl named Jennie who has been ripped off by a con man who has sold her a magic lamp that is for her father’s birthday. Bugs tricks him into thinking the lamp really works and tricks the con into paying back all those who he ripped off in order to get fake wishes! “Hare Tonic” has Elmer Fudd wanting to be a rock star with a full set of long real hair and offers Bugs a hundred dollars to help him out.  Bugs goes to an old witch friend of his for a potion and runs around town to get the missing ingredients that includes dust from a Mummy’s tomb! In the end the potion works too well, and Fudd offers him another hundred to make him bald again. The third and final story is called “Two For The Treasure” has Bugs and Yosemite Sam going after a pirate named Singood who is stealing treasure in Sam’s territory.  While on the hunt, Bugs crashes the ship into Singood’s ship, sinking them both! As Sam and Singood sword fight, Bugs takes the treasure chest and buries it.  In the end Bugs makes them carve him a canoe from a log, and he sets out to sea and tells them where the treasure is that turns out to be costume jewelry.

This is a nice way to start off this review of Whitman Bugs Bunny comics as the stories in this comic feel straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon. The best of the three stories has to be Hare Tonic as watching Bugs play a Mummy in a b-horror film as well as deal with a witch who lives in a swamp is a cool sight to see and read about. The weakest has to be Two For The Treasure.  While not a bad story, it almost has a been there, done that feel to it. One odd thing I noticed is that both Elmer and Yosemite Sam seem to be friends of Bugs, not his enemies, which kind of takes away from the overall magic of their classic toon rivalries. I can’t seem to find a name of the artist for this comic, but I must say whoever it is captures the spirt of Bugs Bunny very well, and whomever is the writer also did a good solid job. The issue also had a great rotten ink smell, and sadly a loose middle page but that defect didn’t stop me from enjoying the issue. I’m puzzled why the cover has Tweety Bird, Porky Pig and Sylvester with Bugs watching a Baseball game when the issue has no baseball and none of those other characters! But let’s see what’s up next for Mr. Bunny and see what zany thing he does next.

Bugs Bunny 175

Bugs Bunny # 175  **1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price .25   Whitman   #175 of 245

The Secret Of Horsefeather Canyon” has Professor Pigfeat of Hamm University sending Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny to canoe down a river that has terrible waves to see if the legends of Horsefeather Canyon being the home of flying horses is true. They crash, sink the canoe and meet Buffalo Bruce who is a cowboy and herds flying cows with his flying horses! Bruce tells them that they are stuck in his valley and that they can never leave because he don’t want his animals in a zoo and wants no scientist in his land. Porky and Bugs steal a flying horse to escape and are caught but make it to safety in time. They make a promise to Bruce not to tell the outside world about his ranch, but they do con him into doing a flying rodeo once a year at Hamm University. The second story called “Fudd Foolery” has Elmer Fudd going to an art museum and Bugs follows along. Fudd takes the radio tour in which he is walked through the museum and told the history of items by a DJ, and of course Bugs get bored and takes over the tour by lying to the DJ. While Bugs has fun toying with Fudd, a thief steals a painting and exits the museum right as Fudd figures out Bugs is being a prankster! Fudd chases Bugs out of the museum.  The crazy rabbit breaks a vase, and Fudd on accident stops the art criminal. In the end Fudd is offered a job as the night security guard, and Bugs has to work as the janitor at night to pay off the vase he broke. The third and final story of this issue is called “Small In The Saddle” and has Bugs and Yosemite Sam being the law in a small western town that is being robbed by a pip squeak crook who always seems to get away with the help of smoke pellets, but when Bugs wises up to the crooks tricks and finds him horsing around by hiding in a plastic horse the town is saved from the tiny terror.

This issue is packed with three solid and good stories.  Each was as entertaining as the last, and that’s a great and rare thing from a kids comic from the 70’s. Bugs is quick witted and is looking for a way to have fun with his friends as well as make a quick buck. The 1st story is pretty fun and has flying horses, and Bugs and Porky dressed in flannel and looking like extras from the Bigfoot horror film Night of The Demon. Not to mention Buffalo Bruce reminded me of the mascot for generic potato chips company Rodeo Bill, who was a cowboy who rode a giant potato! The second story that has Bugs at the art museum reminded me of the movie Bean about the classic BBC character Mr. Bean, and it was fun to see Bugs taking in a little culture…well ruining a little culture for Elmer. The last story is pure cheesy cowboy stuff and should have been a team up between Bugs and Roy Rogers…now that would have been cool. I could not pick a favorite of the three as I feel all of them were as good as the other.  However I must say that the artist did not get credit for his fantastic work again. So far I am two issues in, and I am enjoying these comics and think this far they are great examples of kids comics done right.  So let’s not waste no more time and get onto the next issue.

Bugs Bunny 176

Bugs Bunny # 176   **1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price .30   Whitman   #176 of 245

The Search For The Sun Gems” has Bugs Bunny traveling via a blimp with Elmer Fudd and Lord Bertie Brumly to try and trick some island natives so they can steal Sun Gems that were created in a falling meteor.  But when Bugs doesn’t want anything to do with the heist, Fudd knocks him from the plane and his good luck has him landing safely and becoming a God to the natives! But when the natives figure out Bugs isn’t a God and that his pals Fudd and Brumly are there to steal the Sun Gems, he must use all his good luck to get them out alive. The second story is called “In Stew” and has Beaky Buzzard inviting his pal Bugs over for carrot stew, but when Beaky’s meat eating brother Basil shows up for dinner he must save Bugs from becoming part of the menu! In the end Basil is out smarted by his dimwitted brother, finds that he in fact loves carrot stew and they all eat bowls of it together. The third and final story is called “The Cannonball Caper” and has Bugs being stuck between a feud that is raging on between Yosemite Sam and Sagebrush Sarah over a debit that Sam owes her.  They decide in order to pay it all back with interest that they will hold a garage sale. Bugs and Sam go to advertise the sale in town and an accident leaves Bugs riding a runaway cannon and causing mayhem along the way. In the end, Sam sells the cannon to the city gardener for $100 but is fined by the cops for the mayhem leaving him broke.  Worse, Sarah sold all his stuff, and he returns to his empty ship with nothing.

I want to first point out that the cover to this issue has zero to do with any of the three stories in this issue.  In fact Porky Pig does not even have as much as a cameo in it either! The best of the three stories is The Search For The Sun Gems.  It had a real Bugs Bunny cartoon feel to it even though I find it odd that Elmer Fudd is more of an annoying friend to Bugs than an enemy who has wanted him dead for years. Much like in the cartoon when the odds are against Bugs, he finds away to come out squeaky clean and always ahead. The weakest of the stories has to be The Cannonball Caper as I felt it was clearly a throwaway short.  One other odd thing is that Yosemite Sam also comes off as a friend and not an enemy. So between all the bad guys in this issue, I feel that Basil Buzzard was more of a threat to Bug’s well-being and I am pretty sure he would have eaten him if he would have caught him. Over all this issue is pretty standard kid comic stuff and was a solid and fun read that had the classic rotten ink smell of the decomposing ink. I could not find who did the art in this issue, but I do think that it captures the look and vibe of Bugs Bunny! So yeah, those was some zany Bugs adventures.  Let’s see what the next issue I have has in store for us!

Bugs Bunny 209

Bugs Bunny # 209  **1/2
Released in 1979   Cover Price .40   Whitman   #209 of 245

Hocus Pocus Hare” has Bugs trying to learn magic during rabbit hunting season, and when Elmer Fudd comes a hunting Bugs tries to wow him with a handcuff trick that leaves them stuck together as a pack of braindead hunters tries to shoot them! Along the way Bugs uses his magic and all attempts fail.  So what does he do but call on the calvary for help! In the end Elmer and Bugs get free of the cuffs and patch things up for a few moments until Bugs uses his squirting flower to annoy Fudd who starts his hunt all over again. The second story is called “Funny Money” and has Bugs running a hotdog stand for Petunia Pig while she runs some errands and is conned out of the day’s money by the sleazy crook Silky Fleece who replaces what he calls dirty money with counterfeit new bills that have invisible ink on them! Once Bugs figures out he’s been had, he goes to get Petunia’s money back and does so with the help of the cops as they arrest the con man.  Bugs not only gets her money back but also a reward that he uses to buy the hot dog stand and turn it into a carrot stand! The third and final story is called “Cool Head Fudd” where Bugs Bunny claims he is the master of making Elmer Fudd mad but Daffy Duck says he does it better.  So as Daffy goes off to anger Fudd, that quick witted rabbit Bugs tells Fudd to remain calm and that will annoy Daffy instead, but Fudd’s new cool head annoys both Daffy and Bugs who leave his house not liking his new cool as ice attitude. In the end, Fudd waits till they leave and blows his top at how annoying they both are.

This is another fun issue that captures the fun and silly nature of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. So in this issue Bugs learns magic, helps capture a con man, uses Elmer Fudd as a pawn more than once and even almost gets shot and killed a couple of times…so yeah just normal Bugs Bunny activities. The best story in this issue is Funny Money as I love the whole con man tricks a rabbit running a hot dog stand into given him all the money from the register only to have it all blow up in his face. Plus I can’t help but get the vibe that Bugs and Petunia Pig might have a little something going on with each other on the side…poor Porky Pig doesn’t even see it happening before his eyes! I think the weakest story in the issue is Cool Head Fudd.  While it’s cool to see Daffy do what he does best and that’s be crazy, the whole story seems very pointless and really goes nowhere in the end. I also have to say I kind of feel for Bugs as at all times it seems like some hunter or even friends like Elmer want him dead, and he is consistently having guns pointed and fired at him. The cover once more is not connected to the issue unless I guess you could say it’s Bugs annoying Fudd like in Cool Head Fudd, but I think I am grasping at straws there. The artwork is really good again and once more I can’t find a name to the artist! Let’s see if Bugs will almost be shot again as we move onto the next issue I have!

Bugs Bunny 210

Bugs Bunny # 210  **1/2
Released in 1979   Cover Price .40   Whitman   #210 of 245

Our first Bugs Bunny adventure in this issue is called “ The Fountain Of Youth” and has Bugs and Porky Pig travel to the everglades to find the famed fountain of youth and are sent by Professor Pigfeat of Hamm University. While in the swamps, Bugs and Porky get into all types of trouble even sinking in quicksand until an Indian who’s 170 years old acts as their protector. When they find the fountain, Bugs accidentally drinks the water that they were bringing back as proof and turns young again! In the end Pigfeat doesn’t think the world’s ready for the power to become young again, and they leave the young Bugs at a daycare until he grows bigger in the following week! The second story is called “Tall Tale Talk.” Bugs is hanging out with Yosemite Sam on his ship hearing over the top stories when they get a distress call from Sam’s best friend Nick Neptune who has been attacked by Captain Sigh who wants the location of a treasure! Bugs and Sam sail in for the rescue that is short lived when Sam himself is captured and it’s up to Bugs to save Nick and Sam! When Bugs out smarts the pirates and rescues Nick and Sam, they hit the sea again as Bugs is treated to more over the top stories. The third and final story in this issue called “The Bugged Carrot Patch” has Elmer Fudd using boobie traps and a radar to stop Bugs from stealing his carrots until Bugs figures out that he can wrap himself in tin foil to defeat the radar and eat all the carrots he wants after he scares Fudd into thinking he is a alien from space!

Bugs Bunny and Whitman Comics have delivered another fun light hearted kids comic issue that I am sure entertained the kids of 1979 with Bugs being silly. I really loved the vibe and story of he and Porky trying to find the fountain of youth, and the whole adventure truly reminded me of something that you could see on a Looney Tunes episode! In fact all three stories in this issue are really well done and made for a good read. Once more I am a little puzzled to why Yosemite Sam and Bugs are friends in this comic, and this issue even has them hanging out of Sam’s ship as he is telling over the top stories! Shouldn’t Sam be trying to shoot or stab Bugs cause in the cartoons he hates him! Oh well I guess murder in a kids comic is probably not a good thing, let alone in 1979. This issue also adds a character named Nick Neptune who for the most part is useless and only adds to the rescue aspect of the Yosemite Sam adventure. Over all good stuff and once more can’t find the artist! Oh and for once the cover kind of ties in with a story of Bugs stealing carrots from Fudd’s garden. So far we are four issues in to the eight I own and I am having fun, so let’s move onto the next shall we?

Bugs Bunny 211

Bugs Bunny # 211  **1/2
Released in 1979   Cover Price .40   Whitman   #211 of 245

Magic Eye Of Ahni-Kon” has Bugs Bunny helping Sinbad with his magic flying carpet when it starts to rip after his time travel.  For his help Sinbad takes Bugs on a ride, and they end up a thousand years in the past and are being stalked by bad guys who want a magical glass eye Sinbad has and worse a dragon! In the end Bugs uses the eye as well as its other half to stop the bad guys and gets a one way ticket back to his time on a special magic carpet. The second story is called “Flooded Out” and has poor Bugs Bunny’s hole in the ground being filled with water from a nearby creek thanks to work by the city! Bugs gets an idea to talk to the governor to try and get him to stop the water work, but getting time to talk to him is tricky as the guards will not let him in. When Bugs finally gets a chance to talk to the governor, he finds out that there’s nothing he can do to stop the creek from being moved. In the end Bugs figures out that he will surround his house with stone and make his own little island. The final story is called “ Caped Capers” and has Bugs stealing carrots from Elmer Fudd’s garden and only leaving him one. Fudd has an idea to scare Bugs and becomes a masked hero called The Carrot Avenger who scares Bugs. But all good things come to an end when Bugs finds that Fudd is the Avenger.

Man, Bugs Bunny is a thief in these comics and almost takes pride in stealing carrots from Elmer Fudd! At one point he even says he doesn’t want to buy them implying he would rather steal…wow Bugs, just wow! I am sure it started with carrots, then he moved up to candy from 7-11’s and then he moved up to DVD’s selling them to get carrots….it’s a sad day when you have to come to terms that one of your favorite cartoon characters as a kid is a home invasion carrot robber. Plus Elmer in this comic series is one of his friends and really think about it, he steals from his friend. The best story in the issue is Flooded Out as I feel it captured the spirit of the cartoon and my least favorite is the opening story Magic Eye Of Ahni-Kon as I felt it just kind of was bland and pointless. The cover is pretty good and ties in to the fact Bugs is a thief. The comic has cameos by Petunia Pig and Porky Pig, helping addto the Loony Tunes feel. Once more Whitman does a great job of reprinting this Bugs Comic, and I for one once again enjoyed reading it. No artist credit again so let’s get to the next issue and see what Bugs steals next. I am going to guess Petunia Pig’s heart or all her jewelry.

Bugs Bunny 235

Bugs Bunny # 235  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Whitman   #235 of 245

In the opening story called “Hero Hare” Bugs Bunny wins a stay at a fancy resort and finds that his neighbors in the room next to his are there to rob the place! The manager doesn’t believe Bugs and kicks him out into the woods nearby. But Bugs being noble helps save the day when he captures the crooks with stolen money in hands. The second story is called “ Mutiny Of The Bunny.” Bugs is robbed and kidnapped by two pirates who plan on leaving him in the cold dead water. While trapped, Bugs meets a rat named Ripley who tries to help him escape with the help of cold hard cash! Together they learn that the ship is filled with stolen cargo and Bugs outwits the baddies along with Ripley and try to hitch a ride to port! The third story is called “Clowning Around” and has Bugs trying to help two lost clowns who have their car destroyed in an accident, and it’s up to Bugs to get them back on track. The fourth, yeah a fourth story, is called “Between Two Pirates” and has Bugs and his pirate uncle Barnacle Bunny going to visit Yosemite Sam.  Bugs finds out that his Uncle and Sam dislike each other over an old treasure map they each have a part of. So together they go look for the treasure with Sam and Barnacle at each others’ throats the whole time. In the end Bugs loses the treasure in the sea and becomes the target of Sam and Barnacle, making the two old pirates friends.

This one added a fourth story, and while the issue is good, the addition of the fourth story seemed to make the others too short and not fleshed out in any way. The better of the stories has to go to Mutiny of the Bunny, a fun sea adventure with Bugs making fools of this pirate kidnappers. The worst story had to be the very pointless Clowning Around that was clearly just a filler story. The only old familiar face in this issue besides of course Bugs was Yosemite Sam who once more acts as a friend and not a foe. New additions were Ripley the Rat and Barnacle Bunny who both added some level of fun to their respected stories. Once more the art is fantastic and it’s clear that several artist worked on this issue as the styles are slightly different. The cover once more has zero to do with any of the stores and makes me wonder what kind of carrots the designers were eating when they picked it! Over all this is the weakest thus far of the Whitman Bugs comics I own, but I still enjoyed reading it. So we only have two more issues to go and as I stated I am having a good time reading these comics and am looking forward to this next one as well!

Bugs Bunny 236

Bugs Bunny # 236  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Whitman   #236 of 245

In “Royal Pen Pals” Elmer Fudd and a King have become psychic pen pals, and Bugs Bunny intercepts a mental message that the King is in trouble! So he and Fudd fly to his Kingdom and find Red Duke, a one time friend of the King is trying to place an impostor in his place so he can rule the Kingdom! Bugs and Fudd team up and foil this plot and rescue the King. The second story is called “Bunny Talk” and has Bugs and Yosemite Sam jogging in the mountains together, but when Sam breaks off and falls into an eagle’s nest, Bugs must find away to save him from the angry mother bird and must also learn to talk eagle to save his own hide! The third story is called “Wheeling and Dealing” has a motorcycle path being put in next to Bugs’ whole and when his Congressman refuses to move the path, he takes matters into his own furry hands and detours the bikers to Fudd’s house! In the end Fudd and Bugs turn up the heat on the Congressman by telling him he will lose a vote and he reworks the route again…that goes by Bugs hole again! The fourth and final story is simple called “Bugs Bunny” and has Elmer Fudd and Bugs trying to hypnotize each other and of course only Bugs can do it.  But it all comes in handy when they run to an old abandoned house to get out of the rain and meet two brothers who are robbers! Bugs uses his mind tricks and has Fudd save the day when he thinks he’s a pro-wrestler!

This is another four story issue and once more is pretty good and has some fun wacky Bugs adventures. Once more this issue shows that Elmer Fudd is restless about Bugs always stealing his carrots and wants to use mind control to get him to stop! The best story is Royal Pen Pals and is cool to see Elmer and Bugs really working together and saving the day for a King who was in major trouble. The weakest story is Wheeling and Dealing.  It’s funny to think that a congressman in Looney Tune world cares about one vote when in real life they will just buy the election. The cover once more is misleading and has nothing to do with any of the stories, and the art is again unknown but really well done. One thing I can say is that the comics thus far have done a fantastic job of capturing the playful mood and attitude of Bugs Bunny, and I can only imagine how much kids of this time loved to read and collect these issues. There’s not much more to say about this issue.  So we are now on the final issue and I must say that all these issues thus far have that great Rotten Ink smell and that has helped make this update even better as it captures the true meaning of the name of the blog. So with that let’s see what final adventures Bugs gets into!

Bugs Bunny 237

Bugs Bunny # 237  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Whitman   #237 of 245

Lost Valley” has Bugs Bunny and his Uncle Buckskin find a hole in a cave that leads to a valley that time has forgot.  The people are being bullied by Grugg and his men who want them all to never leave and must mine for gold to make them rich. Bugs and Buckskin unite the villagers and all together they teach Grugg a lesson in respect. “Shipping Out” has Bugs Bunny stopping two bikers who have stolen Yosemite Sam’s ship and plan to rob yachts! Bugs uses his brain and gets the coast guard to the rescue Sam’s ship that he has got stuck in sand, leaving the bikers in their hands. “Well Suited” has Bugs working for a company called Rent-A-Thing where he has to wear a dog costume and pretended he is a dog for Elmer Fudd, but when Fudd finds out he’s been had, he gets mad and Bugs’ boss shows up to save him or is it kill him when the rabbit can’t pay for the rent! The final story is called “Getting Grey Hares” and has Bugs and Porky Pig taking jobs as truck drivers for explosives to get money for Porky to go to Hawaii to visit Petunia Pig who’s birthday is coming up. In the end they make the delivery after some close calls of being blown up only for Porky to fly away, and Petunia to fly in!

This was another solid issue that was a nice way to finish up my look at Bugs Bunny in comics! Bugs in this series is super loyal to his friends and even those he steals from he still feels the need to help them whenever he can. The best story from this issue had to be Lost Valley as it was nice to see Bugs unite a town and get the last laugh on a greedy no good bully! The weakest link story and once more the on that felt like filler was Well Suited as the whole gag is just for Bugs to eat Fudd’s carrots while in a dog suit and to be chased by his new boss for not paying him to dress as a bear…yeah, just kind of weak. It was cool to see familiar faces in this issue as well because not only do we see Elmer Fudd but we also get Petunia Pig, Pork Pig and Yosemite Sam making this final issue I have a nice closing.  In fact looking back at these comics felt almost like a reunion with old friends that you miss. The cover is great but once more is not connected to any of the stories, and as always no artist is credited but the art work is great and captures the nature of Bugs Bunny. These Whitman reprints are really fun and are good classic kid comic stuff, these are the type of comics that I could see parents still buying to this day for this young kids who are wanting to get into comics! It’s also fun to think that the comics I read were the comics my friend Jason and his older brother Joe read many years ago and that they got into comics by reading these type of issues along with the Disney ones. I guess now that I have praised these issues I should also point out a few things I felt could have been done better. The first real puzzler is that they took Bug’s enemies and turned them into friends taking away any real danger and drama.  These classic bad guys and Bugs going at each other is what made the cartoons so special and taking that element away made for cheaper bad guys who fell short in the danger department. The second thing that I found odd is that many of the stories followed the same formula of Bugs getting into hot water mostly with thieves and always out smarting them in no time.  It’s like the story writers passed around the same outline to everyone in the office and they each made slight changes to come up with their version of the story. And the final thing that was puzzling and also kind of funny is something I already touched on, and that’s Bugs stealing from his friend Elmer Fudd, I mean if I were Fudd, I would not invite him around anymore! But all those flaws are pretty minor in my book and don’t change the fact that these are fun comics that were well worth the read. Below is some artwork from this series, and I picked an image of Bugs and Porky on a flying horse because this sums up the silly and fun nature of these comics.

Bugs Bunny Art 1

So there we have it, a look at Bugs Bunny and the Whitman comics based on him and his friends. This won’t be the last update that will cover Loony Tune characters as the box of comics I got from the Young’s had many more so that’s something we can all look forward to! But our next update is leaving the warm safe world of Bug Bunny and finally getting to take a look at a comic series that was supposed to been looked at in mid 2014, The Ghosts Of Dracula!! Be ready to walk the night with Dracula, and until then, read a comic or two, support your local Horror Host and watch a cartoon from your past and as always stay nerdy!

Ghosts of Dracula Logo 2.0

Horror Host Icon: Sir Graves Ghastly

It’s 1967 in Detroit.  It’s Saturday, and the time is 11:30am.  You rush home from playing with friends to turn to channel WJBK TV2 because your favorite Horror Host is about to show a spooky or cheesy horror film and you can’t wait.  That host is Sir Graves Ghastly, and this scenario was real life for many kids and adults who grew up watching Sir Graves. This update to Rotten Ink will be all about Sir Graves Ghastly, a host that also spread his hosting humor from Detroit to Cleveland, Ohio as well as Washington D.C.! So wear some garlic and bring a cross because we are going to be looking at the vampire of goofy fright as Rotten Ink is proud to bring you Horror Host Icon: Sir Graves Ghastly.

Sir Graves Ghastly 1

For those of you who don’t know who Sir Graves Ghastly is, I must first say shame on you.  Second, he is a fun loving vampire who, while a blood drinker, was an over all nice undead being who had a deep voice and an iconic laugh that went like this “Nyaaa-aaaaaah”! He would start and end his show in a coffin and would be joined by all types of wacky characters with the upside down singing mouth on the moon, aka The Glob, being his most popular. Sir Graves Ghastly’s back story is that he came from an Italian family who moved to England during the time when the Romans controlled it.  While there, Graves got into an argument with The Queen who had him hung in the Tower of London, and when this didn’t work he returned as the tongue in cheek vampire we all love! Many Horror Hosts have also been inspired by Sir Graves like fellow vampire Dr. Pureblood of Tales Of The Graveyard Shift from Tennessee. Sir Graves’s impact on television in the Detroit area can still be felt to this day as many people were influenced by and idolized the funny vampire. Sir Graves’ appearance always had him in a long black cape, gloves and a black suit. His hair was always slicked back with a Superman curl in the front; he also rocked a goatee and a curled mustache. While Sir Grave has been off the air for many years now, nothing can take away his impact to the world of Horror Hosting.

Sir Graves Ghastly 2Sir Graves Ghastly logoSir Graves Ghastly 3

Sir Graves Ghastly was played by Lawson J. Deming, who was born in Cleveland Ohio on April 23 1913 and got his first big break in media via the radio as a freelance worker and eventually an announcer for a Florida station. Radio was a great gig, but in the late 1940’s TV caught his eye.  Upon returning to Cleveland, he began working for an NBC station and hosted a movie show called “One O’Clock Playhouse” all the way until 1956.  By the early 60’s he also took work as a puppeteer and voice actor for a local Cleveland kids show called “Woodrow The Woodsman” as he lent his voice to many of the animal puppets as Lawson had mastered 27 dialects thanks to his radio work. When the NBC Cleveland station did away with locally made kids’ shows in 1965, WJBK TV2 in Detroit picked up Woodrow The Woodsman in 1966 and also offered Lawson a time slot to become a Horror Host, filling the time that super iconic horror host Morgus The Magnificent use to air at on Saturday afternoons.  This was the birth of what was originally called “Sir Graves Big Show,” and Lawson and his wife came up with the goofy vampire character Sir Graves Ghastly to be the show’s main host. The show took off, and Sir Graves became a well loved Host and lasted for 15 seasons as well as several specials including Halloween ones. Detroit’s TV watching public seemed to be drawn to the silly vampire and his odd sidekicks, and Sir Graves became popular not just with kids but also adults who enjoyed his humor. Also during this time in the 70’s Lawson offered the show idea to Cleveland and Washington D.C. and changed the character’s name to Count Alu Card, and while they picked it up, the show didn’t capture the magic it did in Detroit and was dropped. In 1983 TV had changed, and college football games were starting to air on Saturdays.  This marked the end of Sir Graves Ghastly, who was cancelled officially in 1983 but had been put on hiatus in late 1982. After the show ended, Lawson went back to doing voice work for a few years until he retired from show business and moved near the Styx River in Medina Ohio. In 1989, he returned to TV to do an interview for a Detroit morning talk show called “ Kelly & Company” where he was able to speak about his long career as a Horror Host. Sadly in 2007, the world lost Lawson J. Deming at the age of 94, but while he is gone, his work as Sir Graves Ghastly lives on in the hearts of those who watched him and fans of Horror Hosting. In 2011 Sir Graves Ghastly joined the first class inducted into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame forever honoring his legacy as a Horror Host.

Sir Graves Ghastly 4Sir Graves Ghastly Horror Host Hall Of FameSir Graves Ghastly 5

So when you look at the moon, what do you see? Well those who watched Sir Graves Ghastly saw The Glob, a face on the moon who loved to lip synch to silly songs like “King Kong Stomp” and “ I Want To Bite Your Hand” with style and cheeseball grace.  Sir Graves had many sidekicks like his maid and somewhat girlfriend Tilly Trollhouse, the gravedigger and caretaker Reel McCoy among others but none were as popular as The Glob! I am sure you’re wondering who played The Glob, well let me tell you, it was Lawson J. Deming who would lay flat and tilt his head back and paint eyes and a nose on his chin and would lip synch the songs as the blood would rush to his head…now that’s a man who loved the art of Horror Hosting! In fact I should say that Deming played most of the characters in the show, even Tilly as he would dress in drag to play the part. So here is to you, The Glob and other sidekick characters!

The Glob 1The Glob 2The Glob 3

I had always heard the name Sir Graves Ghastly when talking to fellow Horror Host fans and even hosts that I have been friends with for years, but besides small clips on Youtube, I couldn’t seem to find any full broadcast shows to learn more about him. I really learned a lot about the character thanks to the documentaries American Scary and Virginia Creepers.  I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy learning all I can about Horror Hosts and enjoy hearing stories from fans about growing up watching their home town host or even their favorite syndicated one. So I am going to have a friend of mine tell you a little about growing up watching Sir Graves Ghastly!

Sir Graves Ghastly 6Sir Graves Ghastly 7Sir Graves Ghastly 8

As as I mentioned above, Horror Host friend of mine Dr. Pureblood was inspired by Sir Graves Ghastly, and he was nice enough to write a little something about him so enjoy.

Horror Host Dr Pureblood

I grew up in Monroe, Mich. And no matter what I was doing Sat I made sure when it was time for Sir Graves to come on CH 2 I was glued to the TV set for 2hrs. I remember getting upset every time Sir Graves was not on Sat for some dumb baseball game. When I created my host character he is based about 95% on Sir Graves. A original die hard fan that grew up watching him can see the similar stuff during the show. I wanted to keep the same spirit of Sir Graves showing movies for kids 9 months to 99yrs old. And kind of show a little of Sir Graves to the generation that missed out on seeing him. Yes Sir Graves influenced me as a child. So when I got the chance to be a host I wanted to pay back what he gave to me in the same way. My most prized part of my Sir Graves collection is 2 autograph pictures from him. Plus I still have the special CH2 Sir Graves presents KING KONG iron on transfer, that was only a mail in giveaway, still in the original CH2 envelope. If I only knew the TV station didn’t save any of his shows I would of hooked up a vcr and recorded every show.”

Thanks, Dr. Pureblood, for sharing your story about growing up and trying to never miss an episode of Sir Graves.  I agree with you, I should have taped every Commander USA episode when I was a kid! That’s one of the sad things that we host fans always have to face is the fact many of our favorite hosts episodes are missing and were taped over or thrown away by the stations that aired them. But I always have faith that many of these Horror Hosts who have shows M.I.A. will be found on 2” Quad Tapes, Beta or even VHS and guys like The Northeast Video Hunter are proof that they can be found as he has unearthed Fort Wayne Indiana’s own The Shroud of Nightmare Theatre hosting the Universal Monster film The Deadly Mantis! So here is to hoping that more episodes of Sir Graves Ghastly will see the light of day and land in the hands of fans.

Sir Graves Ghastly 9

One thing that I find interesting is the fact Sir Graves changed his name to Count Alu Card and went to different markets with his show. It’s clear as day he had to change the name because his parent station owned the trademark or so he thought. And since Sir Graves did this, it makes me wonder how many other horror hosts have changed their name and character.  Off the top of my head I can think of Count Shockula who became Dr. Paul Bearer…but I know several others have.  So if you’re a fan of Horror Hosts and know a Host who has changed their name and character post it in the comments below.

Update: According to Sir Graves fan and Horror Host Lon Madnite, he can remember both Sir Graves Ghastly and Count Alu Card being on in Cleveland at the same time and that the two hosts while played by the same person had a sort of feud with each other! I could only imagine how magical that must have been for viewers watching the two vampires take tiny pot shots at each other, and then it makes you wonder if sides were chosen and if some kids didn’t watch one show cause of the rivalry? But thanks Lon for bringing this cool tidbit to my attention.

Count Alu Card

So we are at the point where I cover the episodes I have of the Host, and while I do have two “episodes” of Sir Graves Ghastly, I hate to say they both are very poorly put together fan reproductions that cut in the lip synching segments from the show’s original airings and this footage of the singing is all of the original material that is known to exist right now from Sir Graves Ghastly’s show run. So let’s get ready to hang out with Sir Graves and all his zany friends!

Sir Graves Ghastly Return of the Vampire DVD

Sir Graves Big Show: The Return Of The Vampire
Starring – Bela Lugosi & Matt Willis      Not Rated    1944

Host: Sir Graves comes from his coffin, welcomes us to the show and ushers us into the tale of terror! We start off with two little guys singing a song about hillbillies. Then Sir Graves joins in and lip synchs a silly song, The Glob sings about King Kong! Puppet Skeletons dance to classical music. Then Sir Graves once more comes in and swoons the viewers with another lip synched creepy classic song and ends the episode.

Movie: In 1918, an English family are terrorized by a vampire, until they learn how to deal with it. They think their troubles are over, but German bombs in WWII free the monster. He reclaims the soul of his wolfman ex-servant, and assuming the identity of a scientist who has just escaped from a concentration camp, he starts out on a plan to get revenge upon the family.

Sir Graves Ghastly Shock DVD

Sir Graves Big Show: Shock
Starring – Vincent Price & Lynn Bari    Not Rated    1946

Host: Sir Graves comes from his coffin, welcomes us to the show and ushers us into the tale of terror! What follows is Tilly Trollhouse sings a love song to us as well as tells us a story about three bats, and a few more silly songs one, even having to do with Dracula! Sir Graves joins in the music fun and plays a musical coffin trick and later The Glob sings about King Kong! Puppet Skeletons dance to classical music and throw in a few more tiny lip synch music numbers and you have this fan reproduction.

Movie: A psychologically distraught woman is committed to a private sanitarium by the man whom she witnessed commit a murder.

Sir Graves Ghastly 10

It’s sad these very poor fan reproductions are all that is available for fans at this time.  If you have any complete broadcast episodes of Sir Graves, please contact me! Sir Graves Ghastly is a legend in the world of Horror Hosting and his silly antics meant so much to so many people and have helped inspire people to become horror hosts themselves as well as inspired the young and young at heart to enjoy a cheesy horror flick every week. This update is dedicated to Sir Graves and all his fans out in the world who remember the impact he had on TV airwaves all those years back. I also want to thank Dr. Pureblood again for sharing his memories with us as well as my brother Bryan and Stumpy Discs for hooking me up with the fan reproduction episodes. In closing I must say Sir Graves Ghastly is one vampire who truly deserves to be called a Horror Host Icon. Our next update is about another type of icon but not in the Horror Host world rather that of the cartoon world as we take a look at the rascally rabbit Bug Bunny and some Whitman comics I have starring him.  So until next time, support your local Horror Host and read a comic or three!

Bugs Bunny Logo for Rotten Ink

Marvel At The Movies Part 2: Rise Of The Machines

Welcome back to not only Rotten Ink but also Marvel Theater, a place where we can talk about those amazing comic adaptation made by the comic juggernaut back in the 80’s and 90’s. I really wish that Marvel had not been sold to Disney some years back as I feel that the overall vibe of the company switched from solid stories and fun events and adaptations for the readers, to making huge budget movies and large “epic” events that con people into buying mountains of issues they don’t need. But I guess we can’t change the past…or can we? You see for this Marvel At The Movies, we will be taking a look at the likes of Terminator 2, Transformers The Movie and Robocop 2, and if T2 taught me anything, it’s that the past can be changed to save the future! But really I chose these three films as I feel that in the 80’s and early 90’s robots and cyborgs were some of the most popular subjects in comics, video games and movies, and these three best fit that time of the robotic obsession. So grab some popcorn, get yourself a large soda or Icee and let’s get the perfect seats as we step into the theater for Marvel At The Movies Part 2. marvel-at-the-movies 2 I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material, and I will give these comics a little slack on not keeping 100% to the film because they have only so many pages to contain it all in, but it will only be a little slack. I also want to thank Lone Star Comics, Half Price Books, Bell Book And Comic, Ebay as well as Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock.

Transformers Movie 1Transformers Movie PosterTransformers Movie 2 Released in 1986 by DEG, this first animated film was a showcase for the Transformers and a way for them to pass the torch from Optimus Prime to the new hip character Rodimus. The film has the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons raging hard and leaves Optimus Prime dead and Megatron injured at death’s door. But things change when the Matrix of Leadership is passed down and the Decepticons become the henchmen for the living robot planet Unicron. This animated film was a hit with the Brassfield brothers as we watched it many times on VHS that our parents would rent for us from the rental store. The film of course was based on the Hasbro toys as well as the Toei Animation cartoon that was super popular and helped secure Transformers’ spot as a top brand in children’s entertainment. I can remember many kids on the playground in Waynesville talking about this film as it shook the foundation of what we all knew and loved about The Transformers! The film did poorly at the box office, only grossing $5,849,647.00 but remains a cult classic film that is loved by young and old. So let’s not waste anymore time, and let’s take a look at Marvel’s three issue adaptation of Transformers The Movie. Transformers The Movie 1

Transformers: The Movie # 1 ***
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #1 of 3

Unicron is a planet eating robot who is on his way to eat the planet Cybertron that is being controlled by Megatron and the Decepticons but cannot when the Matrix of leadership is still fueling energy to the Autobots! Megatron, thanks to Laserbeak, finds out about a plan that has some members of the Autobots going to Earth, and this allows Megatron to get an upper hand as they kill all the Autobots on board and and hide on the ship coming to the Earth base. Rodimus Prime watches as the ship lands and all the Decepticons come out and attack the Autobots.  During the battle Optimus Prime and Megatron come face to face in a brutal showdown that leaves Megatron wounded and Optimus Prime at death’s door. The Autobots run off the Decepticons as Optimus dies and passes the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus, who now becomes the leader. The Decepticons turn on the injured Megatron and the other hurt Decepticons and throw them into space where the are greeted by Unicron who heals Megatron and makes him more powerful.  He even gets a name change as he is now Galvatron and has the goal to destroy the Matrix of Leadership!

This is a great comic adaptation, and I must say changes enough from the animated movie to give it a slightly fresh feel. The plot of this issue has Megatron and Optimus Prime duking it out in order for both of them to be wounded bad enough that Prime dies so he can pass the Matrix down and for Megatron to be near death’s door and have his own robot companions turn on him allowing him to make a deal with Unicron to become more powerful and get a make over complete with a name change. The action is fast and brutal, and the death of Optimus Prime is impactful and handled well, even if it doesn’t capture the full sad moment like the film does. Optimus Prime is outstanding as the issue’s lead hero and stands his ground even when the odds are against him. He, much like Duke from G.I Joe and Lion-O from Thundercats, is a perfect example of an 80’s leader. Megatron in this comic is cold blooded and wants to kill and conquer and almost seems to be getting gleeful as he kills fellow robots. Unicron is just a giant hungry planet in this issue and reminds me of Marvel Comics bad guy Glactus with all his world eating. The art in the issue is fantastic and captures the look of not only the movie it’s based on but also the comic series that Marvel had going on about the Transformers. To sum it up, great first issue, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store in the other two issues left in this adaptation! Transformers The Movie 2

Transformers: The Movie # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #2 of 3

Starscream is about to be crowned the new leader of the Decepticons when Galvatron and his new more powerful men show up and kill Starscream.  By doing so, they get the rest of the Decepticons to join their side in getting the Matrix of Leadership. Meanwhile Ultra Magnus, who is now the leader of the Autobots, gets a call that a living planet has eaten one of the moons of Cybertron.  He gathers the troops to help when they are attacked by Galvatron and his men but luckily are able to lose them by causing a meter shower in space. Hot Rod, Kup and the Dinobots are on a shuttle and are attacked and crash on a planet filled with a race of robots who run a crude court that leads to death penalties for Hot Rod, Cup and Grimlock who are all to be eaten by small razor toothed bots called Sharkticons, but are saved when the rest of the Dinobots join the fight and Grimlock scares the Sharkticons into being his followers and they attack their old masters! Hot Rod and crew meet Wheelie who says he has a ship they can all escape on.  Ultra Magnus and crew have been found by Galvatron.  Their main shuttle is shot down, so they get inside a tiny one that’s loosing control.  Galvatron is called back to Unicron, who has just eaten human Spike and Bumblebee!

This second issue does a nice job of moving the story along and does a fantastic job in showing the odds that are now stacked against the Autobots and just how evil Galvatron and Unicron are, as power seems to be their motivation in killing and destroying anything that gets in their way. I do also like how they show Galvatron not really wanting to be loyal to Unicron and if he could he would turn on the world eater. The plot has the Autobots on the run as Galvatron and his army are out to kill them and collect the Matrix of Leadership.  Ultra Magnus is being pushed to the limit as he must come up with a plan in order to defeat the Decepticons and stop Unicron from eating anymore planets. Ultra Magnus, while a strong leader type, also seems to be a little cold as he shrugs off the would be deaths of some of his fellow Autobots, and really as of yet hasn’t taken the fight to his enemies. Galvatron just doesn’t care and wants to kill as many Autobots as he can so that his pact with Unicron can come to an end.  he also gets joy in killing Starscream and does so with no remorse. This issue ends with a nice cliffhanger as it makes you wonder if Bumblebee and Spike are dead, as they both are eaten alive by Unicron! The artwork is done by Ian Akin & Brian Garvey and is fantastic and captures the movie as well as the on-going Marvel series’ look and feel. Over all this is a pretty solid issue and does a good job of bring the film to comic.  So let’s see how the final issue in this adaptation ends. Transformers The Movie 3

Transformers: The Movie # 3  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #3 of 3

Ultra Magnus and crew crash on a planet of junk and meet a race of TV talking robots who watch as Galvatron attacks and rips apart Ultra Magnus, who could not open the Matrix.  This allows Galvatron to steal the Matrix, and he thinks he can use it against Unicron and make the giant planet eater his slave! As Galvatron leaves, Hot Rod and his band of Autobots have tracked Ultra Magnus to the junk planet and finds him dead and the TV Robots hostile! But after talking with them using a nonsense greeting, they become friends with the Autobots and rebuild Ultra Magnus.  They all join forces to stop Unicron and Galvatron from destroying anymore planets! Galvatron tries to use the Matrix against Unicron and fails and is eaten for his backstabbing and as further punishment Cybertron will be his next planet meal! As Unicron attacks Cybertron, Hot Rod and the Autobots come to the rescue and attack the giant robot and enter his insides via his eye! While inside Unicron’s body, Hot Rod runs into Galvatron, and the two start fighting and during this fight Hot Rod is able to open the Matrix of Leadership and becomes Rodimus Prime and not only beats Galvatron but also destroys Unicron from the inside causing him to blow up.  Rodimus saves all the remaining Autobots who were stuck in Unicron’s belly and takes back control of Cybertron!

The final issue of Transformers The Movie comic adaptation is good but also very rushed as the plot seems to fly by and the end payout is very lackluster. Hot Rod finds out he is the chosen one and becomes Rodimus Prime and leads the Autobots into war with Galvatron and Unicron and in a matter of minutes is able to beat them as well as the Decepticons who had taken over Cybertron. Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime is a good hero and only in the first issues does he show any immaturity and pretty much from the start shows that he has good leadership skills. Ultra Magnus is useless; not only does he get his butt kicked and the Matrix stolen, he also is ripped apart and goes down like a chump. It’s sad to see both Optimus Prime and Bumblebee killed off in this comic while Prime dies in the movie, Bumblebee does not but in this comic he sure does as does human Spike and many other old school Autobots. Megatron/ Galvatron is again one mean son of a gun who kills with pleasure and is so power hungry that he even tries to turn on a more powerful robot who controls him with unworldly powers. Unicron is a big bully who likes throwing his huge size around and while powerful, can be beaten with the light power of the Matrix. Ian Akin & Brian Garvey do the art again, and it’s fantastic and shows that Marvel did put some time and care into this movie adaptation even if it did feel rushed in the end. This is a nice kick off to this second Marvel at the Movies and makes me wonder how Robocop 2 and Terminator 2 will compare in quality. So to sum up the Transformers The Movie comic mini series, I would say solid work that was entertaining and was a nice counter piece to go alongside to movie for fans.

Transformer Movie Art 1Transformer Movie Art 2Transformer Movie Art 3

From Rodimus Prime to Robocop, we now move from a giant robots to a police cop cyborg! Robocop 2 Movie 1Robocop 2 PosterRobocop 2 movie 2

The original Robocop was a blockbuster Action/Sci-Fi film.  So in 1990, when Robocop 2 was coming out fans like myself were super hyped for a new adventure for the law enforcement of the future! While the first film was dark and brutal, this second film took a more silly cheesy approach and made Robocop even more appealing for kids. The film had Robocop, during a bad time for the cops of the city, going after a drug lord who is slinging his new toxic fix onto the streets.  Both sides clash, and the drug lord himself is turned into a metal cyborg.  The streets of Detroit are wrecked as the two cyber men clash. I can remember that this film was very popular with the kids I knew.  My brother and I also enjoyed it, and we would watch it along with the first movie many times on VHS and HBO. Looking back at it now, it’s still a fun cheesy film, but it does lack the charm of the original.  The story that was written by Frank Miller is a little over the top and filled with eye rolling moments. But what I always thought worked for the film is the fact they got Peter Weller back to play Robocop and that they had him fight yet another out of control machine that was twice his size. Rumor has it that many of the actors of this film were very displeased with not only the shooting of the film but also many of the changes that were made to the script. This film would also mark the final time Weller played the future of law enforcement. The film did pretty well at the US box office bringing in $45,681,173.00 and a decent money maker for Orion Pictures. As I stated, I liked the film growing up and even still don’t mind it as an adult so I can’t wait to see what Marvel does with this three issue adaptation. Robocop 2 1

Robocop 2  # 1  ***
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comic   #1 of 3

Detroit is in deep trouble as the police are on strike. The O.C.P corporation has loaned the city money, and because they missed the first payment, they now own the city.  Plus they are trying to make a more updated version of Robocop that has been leading to many suicidal cyborgs.  Worse, a drug called Nuke made by a man named Cain is flooding the streets! But not all cops are off the road as Robocop, his partner Lewis and a few other cops are still busting crooks and trying to have a war on Nuke! Robocop learns that Cain has a few trusted associates that include a 12-year-old boy named Hob, femfatale Angie and cop turned drug addict rat officer Duffy. Robocop busts Duffy red handed who spills the beans about where to find Cain.  Robocop goes to but him but sadly is outwitted.  Cain and his gang of thugs rip Robocop apart and leave his destroyed body in front of the police station as a warning.

This first issue is great and really captures the action of the film as at no point does the story really slow down; it’s action and sci-fi adventure from page to page. The plot of this first issue is simple, a drug is on the street called Nuke being made and distributed by a man named Cain and his thugs.  The town’s only hope is Robocop, who sadly is outmatched and turned into a tin can by the end of the issue. Throw is a major corporation trying its best to disrupt the city so they can own it.  Robocop is as noble and on point as he is in film and comics and makes for one likable good guy. What works about Robocop is the fact he is more then just a machine as it’s clear some of his human side comes out and he wants to do the right thing by stopping Nuke from corrupting the youth of Detroit. Robocop even disobeys orders to try and stop the mastermind of the drug, but sadly it backfires and he gets his metal butt kicked.  So far all we know about Cain is that he is a murderer, a very mean guy and makes a drug called Nuke…so yeah, he is a terrible person. Officer Anne Lewis is his partner on the streets, and while she takes a back seat in this issue I am sure she will have a bigger part in the upcoming issues. The end panel of Robocop’s body being seen by the cops is stuff of nightmares! Really good comic adaptation so far, and I am looking forward to the rest of the issues. Mark Bagley does the art, and it’s pretty solid and captures the film as well as has that early 90’s look. The cover is great and has Robocop being shot by punks, and he don’t look happy as he is returning fire making it very eye catching. So let’s move on and see if Robocop can be rebuilt and take down Cain. Robocop 2 2

Robocop 2  # 2  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comic   #2 of 3

Robocop is on life support, and O.C.P is dragging their feet on helping him and are moving ahead with a plan to build a Robocop II from the brain of a killer instead. Cain and his men kill Duffy as they feel he had ratted them out.  This is to also serve as a message to those who stand in Cain’s way. By the time they do fix Robocop, they fill his program data with all types of weird orders that take away his ability to be a good cop by being light on major criminals and overreacting to people who smoke and cuss. Lewis is upset about the changes in her partner and along with his handlers at the department, they discuss a way to try and remove all the bad commands.  One idea is use a large amount of electricity. Robocop hears this and on purpose grads high voltage higher and rids his mind of the bad commands and fires up the cops on strike.  Together, they go after Cain and his men! Robocop busts Cain and roughs him up doing so.  In the end O.C.P pull the plug on the dying Cain and are going to use his brain for Robocop II as the young Hob takes over the drugmaking racket.

Robocop might have been down and out in issue 1, but a little ways into issue 2 he is back and ready to kick Cain’s drug making butt! This second issue’s plot has Robocop being rebuilt and taking down his most-wanted tagert Cain and does so with aggression and authority. Robocop, when reprogramed, was a weather loving, pep talk giving odd ball who would be lucky to arrest a 85 year old woman who just stole coffee from the local grocery store. Robocop back to normal is fired up and wastes zero time in going after Cain and ramming a motorcycle down his throat. Cain is sleazy as ever and thinks he’s untouchable until he himself is at death’s door and smacked down to reality. One odd thing is, why and the world would O.C.P want to use a man’s brain who is a drug making, murdering addict who craves power and thought of himself as a god….all I can say is they are doing this to themselves, and once more shows even in comics based on a movie, huge corporations are just out of touch. I really like this issue as well, but I felt like the plot and story in this one seemed rushed and besides Robocop, no other character is fleshed out. Mark Bagley does the art again, and the second issue cover is good by not nearly as eye catching as the first. With another good issue, let’s move onto the final adaptation issue and see just how well Marvel did with Robocop 2. Robocop 2 3

Robocop 2  # 3  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comic   #3 of 3

Robocop, who was once Officer Alex Murphy must tell his one-time wife that the man she loved is dead and that he as Robocop is just a tribute to his memory. The Mayor of the city is holding a telethon to try and save the city from getting into the hands of O.C.P and gets a call from Hobs who wants to make an offer to help save the city with cash in exchange to the city to back off on busting the selling of Nuke. O.C.P finds out about the meeting and send Cain now as the massive cyborg Robocop II to kill everyone.  While the Mayor escapes, Hob, Angie and many others are not so lucky as they are killed in cold blood. Robocop figures out the O.C.P is behind this and breaks into their lab and finds that they used Cain’s brain in the new machine, and he knows he must stop it. The deadline is here, and O.C.P now runs the city.  During the live take over on TV, they also introduce Cain as Robocop II to the audience, but when Cain has other things on his mind and starts to run wild, Robocop comes in and saves the day.  As the two battle it out on the streets of Detroit, it’s Robocop’s mind the beats the robo Cain who is still addicted to Nuke, and he uses that against him and is able to rip the brain from the machine and crush it on the street, killing it on impact. In the end O.C.P play the blame game on one of their own and get away with all the crappy things they did.

A really good, yet once more rushed finale to this Marvel Comic adaptation that captured the action of the film on comic pages. The final act in this series has Robocop finding out that O.C.P is using the mad man Cain’s brain to power a new robot cyborg who has just killed a warehouse full of people on the orders of the evil big business. And when Cain acts out, it’s Robocop who comes to the rescue and battles it to the death. Robocop, in this comic series, is a badass and even when the odds are against him as Robo Cain is more powerful and has way more weapons, he still finds a way to beat his stronger opponent down and even smash his brain on the street like roadkill. Cain as Robocop II is cold blooded and don’t care what it hurts as it even turns on its creators and only wants power and Nuke.  In fact he is a very classic movie bad guy as he is as soulless as they come. Poor Hob is shot and killed, and Angie gets stabbed leaving two criminals dead at the hands of their one time friend Cain. Officer Anne Lewis is Robocop’s loyal friend and partner, but her part never seems to pick up and she seems lost in the rushed shuffle. I will say that while I felt that the adaptation was sped along and at times things seem to happen without explanation as the lead up was cut out of the comic. I still really enjoyed this comic adaptation and felt that for the most part it did everything right. Mark Bagley did the art again, and it’s fantastic and really well done.  The cover for this third issue is just ok and is kind of sloppy looking. Another solid Marvel adaptation and so far chosing the winner will be very hard! Below is some art from the series for your robo enjoyment. I should also say that the art does make the characters look like the actors for the most part and Robocop looks fantastic.

Robocop 2 art 1Robocop 2 art 2Robocop 2 art 3

The Future of Law Enforcement to a robot from the future.

terminator 2 1terminator 2 2terminator 2 3

Terminator 2 was the biggest film of 1991 beating out many other great films like Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, Silence Of The Lambs, JFK, The Rocketeer, Star Trek VI and Freddy’s Dead The Final Nightmare to name very few, and it also marked in many peoples eyes, a sequel that was better then the original. The film follows another Terminator coming back in time to protect John Connor, the leader of the rebels in the future from another terminator who is made of liquid metal. The film was directed by James Cameron and brought back stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton from the original and turned up the action full blast and added a more drama to the mix as John builds a bond with his metal machine protector. In 1991, this film blew my socks off and was a movie I watched many, many times along with my brother who got the film on VHS for Christmas. The film was so amazing I can remember playing with G.I. Joes and acting as if they were characters from the movie, and then when the official toys came out, I rushed to buy a Terminator T-800. The film pushed Arnold as an even bigger top of the line action star and launched the career of Edward Furlong as well helped James Cameron become an in-demand director. The film rocked the US box office, bringing in a total of $204,843,345.00 making TriStar very happy. While I have read this Marvel comic adaptation before as the old library in Waynesville use to allow you to check out comics, I am excited to reread them and wish I still had one of my old Terminator 2 shirts so that I could squeeze into it to relive the time when T2 ruled the world of movies.

T2 1

Terminator 2  # 1  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #1 of 3

John Conner is the target of Sky Net again, and this time they plan on taking him out while he is a teen and send a T-1000 model after him who is liquid metal and takes the look of a police officer.  The John Conner of the future sends a T-800 back that looks like the original Terminator. Meanwhile John’s mother is at an asylum and is trying her best to get to medium security so she can get visits from John and she fails her review, but The Terminators are on the track of John and find him at the mall’s arcade.  Both try to nab him, but John escapes on his motorbike as they both give chase. The T-800 saves him and tells him the truth of why he is here, and they both head to the asylum to save Sarah who is also being targeted by T-1000! Throw in Miles Dyson a worker for Sky Net who is working with the hand from the original Terminator as part of the cover up over the original attack from the future. Sarah Conner meanwhile is trying to escape the asylum on her own and ends the issue with taking her doctor hostage with a needle filled with drain cleaner.

The # 1 film of 1991 got the Marvel adaptation, and I found this first issue to be pretty good and keeps the action up and still finds enough time to put in that pesky plot to tie it all together. The plot in this one has two Terminators coming from the future to the past to get John Conner.  One wants to kill him, while the other wants to protect him, so it’s a race to John! Also throw in the fact his mom’s in a nut house and a big corporation is working on making the robots that will kill off the human race in future. The T-800 at this point is all business and orders and has no issues killing people that are not John in order to protect the teen, but is also loyal to John who even as a teen can order him around. The T-1000 is a cold steel killing machine who can change his appearance and even turn his hands into knives and spikes to use to kill off the humans who get in his way.  He can also mimic the voice of people he steals the appearance of. Sarah Conner is a woman who is sane in a world of the insane as she is looked at as a loony tune all because she knows all our fates in the future, but even while she is a prisoner ,she still has a fighting spirit. While the issue has some action, it also has the build to the story that while rushed, is well done and at all points I get what’s going on as they didn’t cut out important elements. Now for the downside of this issue and it’s one that really stands out and is in your face, that’s the bad art done by Klaus Janson. I am sorry I am not a fan of the sloppy 90’s art that plagued many comics at this time and for some reason Marvel went the sloppy art route with T2. The cover is great and reminds me of an old T-Shirt I had with the same design when I was younger. So a pretty solid start and can’t wait to get onto issue 2 and see how well Marvel keeps up with the film.

T2 2

Terminator 2  # 2  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #2 of 3

John and T-800 get to the asylum and save Sarah, who at first is freaked out at the sight of The Terminator who looked like the one who tried to kill her in 1984. As John calms her down and they try to escape, the T-1000 also makes his move, and they all just barely escape his sharp pointy hands. Sarah thinks about destroying T-800 when they stop at a run down gas station to rest and they switch his brain chip to learn like a human, but John talks her out of it and the three travel to the desert to visit Sarah’s friend who houses all her guns and they prepare for war. While in the desert John and T-800 are starting to have a bond, and The Terminator is learning lingo and about human feelings. But things go south when Sarah leaves to kill Miles Dyson, and John and T-800 go after her to stop the murder.

The second issue starts off with action in the asylum but is really just the build up for the bond between John and T-800 making this issue one I have dubbed “A Boy and His Terminator.”  This is by no means a put down as I feel the issue is great and really well done and held my interest as I enjoyed every page. T-800 is now becoming more like a person than a machine in this issue as he learns not to kill people and how to use words like jerkwad. John Conner also turns from punk teen to caring teen that starts to come to terms with himself being the hope for the future and also shows he cares about human life. Sarah Conner, while a caring mother, is also overbearing and doesn’t show her son the affection he needs and is more about living the future then the present. T-1000 is badass but was slightly behind when it came to killing John at the asylum and then takes a back seat for the rest of the issue besides killing another cop along a stretch of highway. The cover is pretty eye catching and has John and T-800 on a motorcycle.  The inside is sadly once more done by Klaus Janson and has that same sloppy look. The art is truly the only thing taking me out of this otherwise solid Marvel adaptation, but let’s not let the terrible art get me down and move on to the third and final issue.

T2 3

Terminator 2  # 3  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #3 of 3

Sarah Conner can’t kill Miles, and when John shows up with the T-800, they fill him in on the future and the rise of the machines. Miles takes them to the lab, and together they try and destroy any and all research that has to do with the original Terminator. Miles gives John the original Terminator’s hand and chip, and the police show up and open fire hitting Miles who has the trigger to the explosions they have set.  As John, Sarah and T-800 get away, Miles passes away and the building goes boom! As they flee, the T-1000 finds them and a chase happens that ends at a steel plant where the T-800 and the T-1000 have a final showdown.  While it looks bad for T-800, he has an ally in Sarah, and together they defeat T-1000 by knocking him inside a vat of molten steel. As John throws in the arm and chip, the T-800 says farewell to them and jumps into the molten steel and gives the thumbs up as mother and son watch their friend melt away.

This third issue slips a little in the quality story department and rushes way too much of the film’s finale as the big end fight between T-800 and T-1000 is way too fast and loses all the excitement of the film’s fight. Not to mention, they cut out the scene when T-800 uses the mini gatlin gun on the police cars from the lab’s window. Plus I feel the death of Miles Dyson has no impact in the comic as he is shot and left to die via explosion really quick. For that matter, the death of the T-800 is handled all wrong too as in the film he lowers himself in as the sadness builds in the comic he leaps in like a kid in a swimming pool. The plot of this final issue is this John and group destroy all the research being done that would create The Terminators and then have a final battle with the T-1000 in a steel mill where they defeat him and T-800 learns why humans cry as he must end his own life. T-800, while outdated compared to the T-1000, shows that newer is not better as he takes a beating and is still able to defeat his predecessor by burning him alive in molten steel. Not to mention he is the true hero of the story and does whatever it takes to protect John even risking his own mechanical body. T-1000 is still just a killing machine who sadly spends a lot of the issues looking for John and having brief fights with T-800.  That’s one thing that kind of stunk about this adaptation, the main villain felt like an after thought. And to be honest, besides killing a few humans and beating up T-800 for a few panels he goes down pretty easy in the end. John and Sarah stay the same as they did in issue 2, and Sarah only changes slightly as now she knows that she needs to show love and affection toward her son and not just bark orders. The comic while having violence never shows blood and keeps the comic very PG, and I’m okay with that as you get the point when people are being hurt. The characters in this film/comic would and could have made a great series from Marvel making this a tough on to pick what of the three films should have continued on as a comic, but again the thing working against this series is the bland and sloppy art of Klaus Janson that is just so cheesy bad that many times I found myself being annoyed by it. Below is some samples of the terrible artwork and you can be the judge for yourself if you like it out not.

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So before I choose which of these films should have gone on to become a full series from Marvel Comics, I want to once more have a Fantasy Warfare match that will pit all the bad guys from the series against each other to see who rules supreme of the world of robotic bad guys! The setting will be AK Steel in Middletown Ohio during a very cold winter and a snow storm has just hit toward the end of the day. So let’s sit back and read about the chaos that could have been if these titans ever fought. So get ready for Galvatron vs. Cain vs. T-1000!

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Jim Wilson Jr. is the last man to leave AK Steel that night as a major snow storm is hitting in Middletown, you see Jim is the janitor and while the workers got sent home for the evening due to driving risks his boss decided that Jim needed to mop all the floors and change some lightbulbs before he could leave to get home to his studio apartment at the Dayton Towers. Jim is about to lock up when he hears a noise from inside the factory that startles him, and it’s coming in from some molten steel that was just brought in from another steel plant early that morning as Jim slowly makes his way to the noise he lets out a very weak sounding “Is some one there?” as he turns the corner his fear turns to terror as he watches a liquid mass turn into a human form of a cop and it’s none other then the T-1000 who turns toward the janitor with his arm transforming into a knife and has murder in it’s cold eyes. Jim starts to run when he hears a massive rumble at on of the loading gates as the door bursts apart and in comes a Robot Cain who is covered with snow and his high on Nuke and is out of control with rage, Jim before Cain can see him hides behind the forklift as Cain spots the T-1000 and thinks that it’s a real cop and goes on the attack! T-1000 turns it’s sights from Jim to Cain as well and leaps into the air and tries to drive it’s now spiked hands into Cains head, but the attack fails for a moment as Cain catches T-1000 in air and rips him in two! Cain gloats with his “win” but to his surprise the T-1000 melts in mid tear in the air and reforms into his police cop shape and his hand a giant spike that he rams through the right shoulder of Cain, who in turn flings T-1000 off slamming him into the wall. As T-1000 stands up behind him, in the shadows giant red eyes appear and an echoing voice rings out saying “ENOUGH” and a fire blast erupts from the darkness blasting T-1000, the heat is intense and extreme and melts the liquid robot into a puddle! Cain looks on as oil is pouring out of his shoulder, Galvatron emerges from the shadows and raises his fist and comes down and crushes Cain like a pop can ending the battle fast and allowing Galvatron to go back into the darkness and find the rest he was seeking. After the battle has died down and Galvatron is napping Jim comes out from behind the forklift and looks around the plant and see’s the crushed body of Cain and the melted mess that was T-1000 and rushes to his old beat up Ram Truck parked outsides, the snow is falling even harder now and the Janitor is happy to have escaped his work alive this night.

Winner: Galvatron

Like Cain and T-1000 had a chance against a giant pissed off robot with a cannon arm! But while Transformers’ Galvatron might have won easily the Fantasy Warfare, I can say that Transformers: The Movie didn’t win The Marvel Comic award that I would like to see turned into a full series.  The reason being that Marvel already had a long running Transformers series going, and the fact I don’t know how hyped I would be to read about the adventures of Rodimus Prime. Robocop 2 was followed by a Marvel Comic series based on Robocop and again, not sure how much more life they could have gotten out of Cain. So the winner hands down would have to be Terminator 2, as I would like to see the T-800 take on the T-1000 again as well as see how John and Sarah deal with the rise of the machines not being over. But while I picked T2, I should also note that I would choose it only if they took Klaus Janson off the comic and put someone like Herb Trimpe on the art!

Winner T2

The Marvel Theater is getting ready to close, and the clean up crew is waiting for us to get out so they can clean up all the popcorn on the floor.  So I should tell you that our next update is going to be another Horror Host Icon as we take a look at that cool Detroit Vampire, Sir Graves Ghastly! So with that we should head out.  Make sure to read a comic or three, watch a movie at your favorite theater, and support your local Horror Host.

Sir Graves Preview Logo

The Witching Hour Is Close At Hand

Greetings, Inkerinos!  It’s Juliet, once again reporting for guest writing duties here on Rotten Ink.  The last few times I’ve been here, I’ve primarily talked about comics based on TV shows that meant a lot to me at one point or another.  Today, we’re going to do something a little different and talk about a comic series that was not based on a TV show but something else that had a huge impact me on me, Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour.49712

For many people, the instant association you make upon hearing Anne Rice’s name is Interview With A Vampire, and while I love that book and the series of books based around the original title, The Witching Hour and the subsequent Lives of the Mayfair Witches series (which did end up crossing over with the Vampire Chronicles books at a few points) remains my favorite of her work.  The Witching Hour was released in 1990.  At the time Rice had already released several Vampire Chronicles novels, the Sleeping Beauty erotica trilogy written under the name A.N. Roquelaure (that I maintain is infinitely better than 50 Shades could ever dream of being, and by the way, a new installment, Beauty’s Kingdom, is being released this month!!!), and many one-shot novels like Cry to Heaven, The Feast of All Saints and The Mummy or Ramses the Damned.  Before I tell you too much about the plot of The Witching Hour, I want to share with you a bit of how I came to read the book, and why Rice’s work is so special to me.

Broadway Opening Of 'Lestat' - Arrivals

Anne Rice

My mother grew up in New Orleans, which is where Anne Rice is also from and where the majority of her books take place at least in part.  There are few authors who hail from and/or celebrate New Orleans in their writing that I can recall my mom reading, talking about, and when I was old enough, sharing with me:  Anne Rice and mystery writer Julie Smith.  More recently I fell head over heels in love with the writing of Romanian-born Andre Cordrescu and was happy to return the favor in a sense by sharing with my mom his New Orleans, Mon Amore. I knew who Anne Rice was long before I actually read her books and actually briefly met her prior to that as well.  The occasion was a book signing here in Ohio at what was then a great, independent local book store (that’s now sadly owned by a chain), and I believe it was for the release of Servant of the Bones.  Because we knew the lines were going to be insanely long, my mom and I went to the bookstore right after I got out of school.  Two things stick out from that day:  my mom and Anne Rice chatting for quite a while about New Orleans and seeing some of the best-dressed goth kids in my young life in line to have their books signed and thinking that I’d LOVE to dress that way.

The Garden District in New Orleans

The Garden District in New Orleans

It would be only a couple more years until I read The Witching Hour, my first time being from the signed hardcover edition my mom had gotten that day.  The book had both an immediate and lasting impression on me as both a reader and writer.  At the time, The Witching Hour was the first adult book that could be considered to be in the horror genre I had read, but even after I moved on to other works by other authors in the genre, it has a special place in my heart because the worldbuilding and family history that make up the story felt really akin to the numerous fantasy paperbacks I spend several summers checking out from the library.  It was a perfect entrance into the horror genre for that, and the fact that it meshed gothic horror with a modern story and an added twist of ritual and magic (which is basically what I would later spend my college career studying…well, the Ancient Greek version of ritual and magic).  I was already writing when I read The Witching Hour, but it’s the first book I can remember reading and thinking, “I want to read more things like this” and then thinking, “maybe I should write things like this” and examining what it was about the story and its structure that worked for me and thinking about how I could apply those elements to what I wanted to write and how to bring a story together to make it effective for a reader.

This is the real house in New Orleans that the Mayfair mansion is based on it.  Anne Rice lived there for many years, and yes, I've made it a point to go see it on every trip to New Orleans since reading the book.

This is the real house in New Orleans that the Mayfair mansion is based on it. Anne Rice lived there for many years, and yes, I’ve made it a point to go see it on every trip to New Orleans since reading the book.

So what is it about?  Without giving away too much, it’s about a family of witches.  But it’s far more complicated than stake burnings and spells.  There’s a mysterious being known as Lasher whose attachment to the family goes back centuries and a prophecy involving the thirteenth witch, all of which is revealed through present-day action and a comprehensive history of the Mayfair family compiled by a strange organization called the Talamascha.

The Witching Hour spawned a sequel called Lasher, and a third book, Taltos followed. In 2000, Merrick began weaving the Vampires Chronicles and the Lives of the Mayfair Witches together.  This would continue in Blackwood Farm and culminate with Blood Canticle, in which Rowan Mayfair and the vampire Lestat finally meet face to face.  At the time, Blood Canticle was to be the final volume of both series as Rice was leaving the horror genre supposedly for good.  Now that she’s returned to her roots with Prince Lestat and a new volume of her Sleeping Beauty erotica series, I can’t help but wonder if (and get super excited at the remote possibility that) Anne Rice might give us another Mayfair Witches story at some point.

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Unlike the Interview With a Vampire/The Vampire Chronicles, which had a bit of merchandise and a higher pop culture status because of the films based on two of the books, The Witching Hour/Lives on the Mayfair Witches was pretty contained to the books themselves.  The one notable, though to my knowledge unintended, tie-in was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called Sub Rosa that had a plot very similar to the Witching Hour.  Millennium Comico began what was intended to be a 13 issue series based on The Witching Hour in 1992, perfect timing as Lasher was coming out in ‘93.  We’ll talk about the fate of the series after the comics so remember that we grade these on a 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true the books stays to the source martial.  So let’s travel to New Orleans’ Garden District and meet the Mayfair Witches.811556_01

The Witching Hour  #1  ***1/2
Released in 1992     Cover price $2.50    Millenium Comico    #1 of 13

This first issue opens with a doctor who’s been haunted by strange dreams ever since his meeting with a strange Englishman named Aaron Lightner who works for something called The Talamasca.  In their conversation, the doctor had recounted to Lightner how he had first encountered the Mayfair family in their New Orleans Garden District home when he had been summoned to treat Deirdre, a young woman in a seemingly waking coma who was under the care of her three aunts.  As the doctor began to explore treatment options with many roadblocks from the aunts, it was revealed that Deirdre has a daughter in California, and there are strange signs and mentions of “Lasher.”  Then one day, a strange man appears on the front porch.  He’s there to visit Deirdre and oddly, she seems to respond to him, even calling the name Lasher.  But just as soon as he appears, the man disappears.  Lightner tells the doctor that he’s recorded other stories, ghost stories, from the Mayfair house in which people claim to have seen the same man.  We then move, via a tabloid cover, to California where Michael Curry is grappling with both his strange psychic powers and a recent near-drowning from which he was saved by a mysterious woman he’s now obsessed with finding.  Michael reflects on his childhood in New Orleans, thinking he saw the ghost of a man in the Garden District and then blacks out dreaming of being visited by an Englishman there to hear his story.  Next we meet Father Mattingly, a New Orleans priest who recalls Deirdre as a troubled child who claimed to have visions of visitations from a man who her aunts claimed was the devil himself. It’s revealed that Deirdre’s grandmother, Stella, was murdered by her brother Lionel – a crime that the family covered up, and Deirdre’s mother Antha committed suicide by jumping out the window of the house.  There’s talk among the older priests of the legacy of the Mayfair women; their vast wealth and jewels, the fact that even when they marry they do not take their husband’s names, and, of course, the mysterious man who seems to haunt the family.  Father Mattingly wanders to the Mayfair house and notices Deirdre on the porch, but is interrupted by Aaron Lightner who invites him to lunch.  Later that evening, he passes by the house again on his way back to the rectory and notices a young man standing on the porch caring for Deirdre and muses that although he could not save her, he’s glad that this man is there to help her.

As I’m sure you noticed, there’s A LOT going on in this first issue, and yet we barely got anywhere.  I had kind of figured that would happen.  Actually when I agreed to cover The Witching Hour comics for Rotten Ink, I remember telling Matt that I had no clue how they could possibly manage to turn the book into a coherent comic because, as I mentioned above, it’s massive and in-depth and spans years and locations and characters.  This first issue, however, does a damn good job of it.  It’s a really visual book with beautiful, at times water-color-esque artwork that I think really works for this type of story.  A lot of attention was obviously paid to the way the visuals could do what Anne Rice’s prose does in terms of moving the story along and giving you the necessary information to start to piece together the story.  I’m already concerned, however, as to how in the world they’ll ever get this story accomplished in a mere thirteen issues.  I suppose that From Hell was originally done in eleven issues, but those had twice the page count of this first issue.  I fully acknowledge that some things will have to be cut for clarity and space, but it’s not obvious to me what that will be — I’d assume it’s going to be a truncated version of the Mayfair family history as Rowan’s story will probably begin to take precedent as we get further into the series.  Let’s get to issue two and see if that’s indeed the case.512HF8oJwKL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

The Witching Hour  #2  ***
Released in 1993     Cover price $2.50    Millenium Comico    #2 of 13

Issue two begins with Dr. Rowan Mayfair watching a TV broadcast featuring an interview with Michael Curry where he implores the woman who saved him from drowning to come forward so he can thank her.  Rowan recounts the events of Michael’s near death experience, but we learn that she has secrets of her own.  Like Michael, Rowan is plagued by abilities she cannot control; she can kill people via some kind of telekinesis, which we see play out in a flashback from her childhood.  Nevertheless she finally agrees to meet Michael, and with Aaron Lightner looking on from the shadows, the pair form an immediate connection, sharing their deepest, darkest secrets through conversation and their powers which give them an almost psychic bond.  But, Michael is due on a trip to New Orleans, which has Rowan very apprehensive because she was born there but forbidden by her adoptive mother to explore her family history.  Michael’s first stop in New Orleans is to the Garden District house from his youth, the place where he saw the so-called ghost, the moment he attributes to awakening his powers.  At the gate, he sees the man, unchanged from his childhood, and then the figure comes at him, passing through him and confirming that it’s some kind of otherworldly being.  Aaron Lightner is there to witness the whole thing and informs Michael that it’s imperative that they talk.  The book ends with a page of text about a dark ages magician and alchemist called the Talamasca, the first historian of the mystic and the order that grew out from his followers, saying that only its most experienced members deal with witchcraft.IMG_0177

And here we go!  At least I think so.  I hope so. Okay, I should back up.  This issue begins by establishing Rowan and Michael, their powers and their relationship.  It’s a lot to cram into a few pages, and I wonder if people who’d not read the book would understand the depth of the connection and all of the psychic powers information.  Then again, I’m not sure if this is the type of comic that would have gotten a lot of attention from people who hadn’t read the book.  Maybe…maybe not.  It’s odd because this issue felt both slow and rushed until the very end – then it was just right.  When Michael finally arrives in New Orleans and has the experience at the house, I was excited.  Perhaps it’s because that’s the first real moment of action in this issue that wasn’t just a flashback or vague psychic vision.  Actually, and this going to sound weird, the text-only page was the most exciting for me.  I adore the Talamascha. I’m a bit of a sucker for secret societies that study the mystic, and I love that this is one of the things that connects the Mayfair Witches series to Rice’s Vampire Chronicle books (David Talbot is a high ranking member).  I haven’t found any evidence to prove this theory, but I’ve often thought that it was the inspiration for the Watchers Council in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  To make things cooler, this comic included tear-out Talamasca calling cards AND my copy had both cards in tact.  How cool is that?!  Check out the picture above.  Speaking of pictures, the art in this issue was good. It definitely wasn’t as clever in the layout department as the last one, but still a very solid offering.  Let’s get to the next one.218898-19377-116150-1-anne-rice-s-the-witc

The Witching Hour  #3  ***
Released in 1993     Cover price $2.50    Millenium Comico    #3 of 13

Rowan awakens from a dream about an incident in her past at a strange hospital.  As she catches her breath, she realizes that someone is standing outside her house and comes face to face with the vision of a man, the same man, she realizes, that Michael has been seeing.  Meanwhile in New Orleans, Aaron Lightner formally introduces himself and the Talamascha, explaining that Michael holds a enormous power and mistakenly thinking that it was Rowan who sent Michael to New Orleans because the infamous belongs to the Mayfairs and will be hers.  Back in California, Rowan receives a call from one of the aunts who had cared for Deirdre, her mother, who is now dead.  Rowan is torn between joining Michael in New Orleans and keeping the promise she made to her adoptive mother to never set foot in the city.  Aaron continues to explain what he and the Talamascha know about the Mayfair family, saying it’s strange that the man made himself visible to Michael because he ought to be after Rowan.  He goes on to say that the Mayfairs are a family of witches and that the man has been attached to the family for centuries.  We see, in a flashback, the circumstances under which Deirdre was made to give up Rowan and learn that there’s a green jewel that’s passed down to the Mayfair women.  Aaron becomes panicked upon learning that Rowan is traveling to New Orleans for the funeral and gives Michael the Talamascha’s journals on the history of the Mayfair Witches.

And here we have a shift from the first part of the book to the second.  But first let’s talk about covers.  The cover for this one is a bit confusing to me because it’s kind of more appropriate for what I assume will be the topic of issue 4, the original Mayfair witch.  Regardless, there’s A LOT happening in this issue, and we move back and forth from Rowan in California to Aaron and Michael in New Orleans with flashbacks sprinkled in.  I think the back and forth worked really in terms of the page layout – without much need for explanation, the reader could move seamlessly from place to place.  That can be challenging in the wrong hands, even with visual support from the artwork, which was the most straightforward/regular comic style we’ve seen in the series so far.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m curious about the pacing of the issues.  It’s taken us three issues for the set up, which seems about right, but the history of the Mayfair Witches is pretty exhaustive so I’m curious how they’ll pull off that AND the actual story of Rowan, Michael and Lasher.  So let’s get to issue four and see what happens.

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The Witching Hour  #4  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover price $2.50    Millenium Comico    #4 of 13

The history of the Mayfair Witches begins as told by Petyr Van Abel, an agent of the Talamascha in the 17th century.  Petyr arrives in a small French village, where a comtesse named Deborah is to be burned in the square as a witch.  As a child, Deborah had escaped Scotland with the help of Petyr after her mother, Suzanne was also burned for witchcraft. On their journey from Scotland, Deborah refused to speak, save for conversations in the night with someone or something Petyr could not see.  At the Talamascha motherhouse, Deborah had exhibited a strange power, the ability to read the mind of anyone she touched with bare hands through visions, a similar power to Michael’s, and she calls upon a being known as Lasher.  Petyr finds himself falling in love with Deborah, but his loyalty to the Talamascha prevents him from acting on his affection.  Later, when she’s about to be married, Deborah visits Petyr for one night of passion, and he does not see her again.  Back in the village, we learn that Deborah’s daughter Charlotte has escaped the village and it’s persecution, and Petyr vows that he’ll do anything to save Deborah including calling upon “her devil” if need be.  We end in the present with Michael realizing that Deborah is one of the figures that’s been plaguing his dreams and realizes that Lasher is the first word he said after coming back to life from his near-drowning.

I adore the history of the Mayfair Witches so it was fun to finally see it getting under way in the comics.  It’s a very detailed story, but I thought that for the most part, the visuals helped move things along.  The only flaws with the artwork were that the handwriting sections of Petyr’s journal (used as narration) were a bit hard to read and transitions between years and places weren’t as obvious as they were in the last issue.  A couple of times, I had to go back and re-read a section to be sure I was in the right place.  Again, not sure how that would go for someone who hadn’t read the book and was coming at the story completely fresh.  Speaking of the book, this issue did a great job of capturing the feeling of unraveling the story of the witches along with Michael as you and he read the history.  So let’s find out what happens to Deborah and where her daughter Charlotte ended up in issue five, which came out 3 years after issue 4…..uh oh.2901137-ann5

The Witching Hour  #5  **
Released in 1996     Cover price $2.50    Millenium Comico    #5 of 13

It’s the morning of Deborah’s execution, and she’s brought out the village square to burn for her crimes.  She claims innocence but then summons Lasher whose presence is made known in a violent storm.  Deborah is transported to the top of the highest building in the town and then throws herself from it, falling to her death at Petyr’s feet.  Back in the present, Rowan has arrived at her mother’s funeral and is overwhelmed by the large, strange Mayfair family.  Aaron Lightner arrives to apologize for Michael’s absence and accompanies Rowan to her mother’s coffin.  We return to Petyr’s narrative as he arrives in Port Au Prince to visit with Charlotte, who’s revealed to be his daughter.  Charlotte’s husband has fallen ill, and she seduces Petyr in the hopes of baring a daughter who can also communicate with Lasher.  Ashamed of what he had done, Petyr leaves the house later that night and sees Lasher himself, who tortures him with visions of Deborah and the undead.  Petyr’s final letter to the Talamascha reveals that he’s gone mad, terrified to leave Port Au Prince for fear of Lasher.  Back in the present, Aaron tells Michael that with Petyr’s death, the Talamascha decided not to engage with the Mayfair’s directly, but simply to observe them from afar, which is what they’ve been doing ever since.  He then tells him that it’s imperative that Michael continues to read the history.

…..And that’s it.  Seriously.  The series just ends.  Not only do we miss out on the rest of the history of the Mayfair witches, which is an awesome story, but we basically entirely miss out the whole Rowan-Lasher story, which is a big freaking deal because (spoiler alert): she’s the thirteenth witch.  The writing was all over the wall, or rather, the page with this one.  First of all, it came out three years after the rest of the series and was only labeled as issue #5, not #5 of 13 like the others.  The artwork was different than (though trying to mimic the style of) the rest of the series, and even the paper seemed cheaper.  It strikes me as more strange that they even bothered with a slapped together fifth issue so far after the fact rather than just never continuing the series after issue 4.  After waiting that long, it must have been such a disappointment to original readers/fans of the series.  Obviously they didn’t know that they wouldn’t finish it when the book was planned, but part of me wonders if it wouldn’t have been wiser to do a series focused exclusively on the history of the Mayfair family rather than incorporating the modern story into the book.

Scan 50

This was a disappointing end to a promising series, and it feels like an extra shame because there’s so little out there about the Witching Hour.  Perhaps if another Lives of the Mayfair Witches book does come out, a great modern company like IDW or Dark Horse will take on some kind of comic adaptation of one of the stories.  Here’s hoping. While I go back to my bookshelves, it’s time for you to join Matt on a field trip to the Rotten Ink theater for another installment of Marvel at the Movies, coming up next time.

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Have You Seen This Lost Dog: Foofur

Welcome back to Rotten Ink!  This update is all about that blue dog Foofur. Dogs are a man’s best friend, and they are loving as well as loyal.  Growing up I have only had two dogs in my life but have been around many.  From the chubby old dog Two who lived at my grandparents’ house all the way to Conan who is my cousin Stephen’s hyper little Chihuahua, I have always been around dogs. The first dog that we had was a mutt named Droopy, who from what I understand was a very fun loving little guy who loved my brother Bryan and I. The sad part is I was very young and don’t remember him all that well, and to add to his sad story while my family was away, my uncle was watching him and someone stole him from the backyard! I mean what kind of scumbag steals a family pet? The second dog we got was Stella, a German Shepard, when I was around 16 years old.  She was a sweet dog who was my best pal when I first moved back to Kettering.  She used to follow me around the yard, and we would have all kinds of adventures walking around the neighborhood. Stella was a scaredy cat for the most part, but if she thought I was in trouble, she would spring into protective mode. Stella lived to an old age and I find myself missing that goofy knucklehead. If you’re a dog owner, cherish the time you have with your furry buddy and give them an extra treat after dinner. Below is a picture of Bryan and I with Droopy, and I have to make a note that for some reason I can’t find my pictures of Stella I took when I was a teenager.

Bryan and Me with Droopy

Back in the day, many of the top watched cartoons were made by Hanna-Barbera who was the company who brought us such great characters as Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, Jabber Jaw and Huckleberry Hound, all popular and beloved cartoon characters. Hanna-Barbera were at the top of what they did, but by the late 80’s while their classic work was still popular, many of the newer stuff was not as iconic as the past work.  Shows like Yo! Yogi, Flintstone Kids and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo were all great shows and all ones I watched when they aired in the 80’s and early 90’s, but most of those shows didn’t have the life and staying power as their classic toons did. In 1986, they made a character that was pretty well liked by the kids of Wayensville but now in 2015 is pretty much forgotten, and that’s the loveable blue dog Foofur. In 1986, on NBC during the station’s Saturday Morning Cartoons, a cartoon made by Hanna-Barbera called Foofur started airing and is about a skinny dog named Foofur who finds a mansion to live in that’s abandoned! But living in the big house by himself is lonely so Foofur, along with his niece Rocki, free fellow dogs from the kennel, and they all now live with him and dodge the dog catcher and a realtor who wants to sell the house from under Foofur’s paws. Foofur lasted for two seasons and a total of 46 episodes and was canceled in 1988, but for those of us like myself who watched Foofur when it aired those two seasons were very entertaining and had that Hanna-Barbera charm. It’s odd, with WB putting out their Warner Brothers Archive Discs for many Hanna-Barbera shows, that this series has never made it to DVD on demand. While his run was short, Foofur still made his mark on Saturday Morning Cartoons and remains a cult favorite among the fans that remember his adventures.

Foofur Cartoon 1Foofur Cartoon 2Foofur Cartoon 3

While characters like Scooby-Doo had tons of merchandise from toys to keychains, poor Foofur had very little merch.  So if you were a fan, it was pretty slim pickings to get collectibles of your blue furred pal. So let’s take a quick second to talk about some of the things that were made that included VHS tapes of some of his episodes that quickly came and went at retail stores.  I can remember finding some of these tapes in the cheap bin at Hearts and Gold Circle. Sticker story books of FooFur also came out and were geared toward young readers that helped kids not only to read but also survived as a way for kids to get more FooFur hijinks. The last thing I can remember is the stuffed doll of Foofur made by R.Dakin Co./ Phil Mandez productions that was very long and looked as lazy as possible and captured the goofball loving nature of the character. I never had any of these items, and I can remember that someone I knew had the doll and it was either my friend Joanna or my cousin Nick…but I am not 100% sure on that one.

Foofur DollFoofur BookFoofur VHS

So we just learned a little about the show as well as the merchandise so now I figure we should take a quick crash course on the side characters that made up the show. Let’s start with Fencer; he is a black and white furred cat who loves karate and thinks he can fight. Louis is a strong as an ox bulldog who can fight as well as be a loyal friend to all his fellow housemates. Annabel is a sweet female dog with long bangs that cover her eyes and is the girl of Louis. Fritz Carlos is a proper dog with a sweet mustache and has total manners as well as tall tales. Hazel is a curly eared female dog who is a clean freak and is buddies with Fritz. Dolly is Foofur’s girlfriend who is owned by a well to do woman and her best friend is Burt a snob dog. The show had many “bad guys,” but we will get to them when we cover the comics. I should thank Lone Star Comics and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock and should as always remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So with that let’s head to the old mansion and see what Foofur and the gang are up to, shall we?

Foofur 1

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

Curly Tale” has Foofur and the gang almost being found in the mansion when it was being looked at for purchase.  Once they are safe, Dolly stops by and invites Foofur to her tea party that will be attended by many of the town’s top dogs! Foofur gets the help of Hazel to look nice for the party but uses too much conditioner and ends up putting a curl to all his fur! When he gets there, at first he’s looked at as a joke, but when the smart fashion dog likes the look, he becomes a trendsetter. “Alone Again” has that Kung-Fu cat Fencer doing his moves in the house and annoying Foofur and Annabell, who are cleaning the attic of the mansion.  When he goes outside and thinks that his pals are captured by the catchers, who he actually frees is the Ma Baker gang who kidnap Fencer and hide in Foofur’s mansion.  Once inside, they beat up Fencer and Foofur, but the gang of bad animals meet their match when the raging bulldog Louis shows up and beats them up and makes them run to the dogcatchers to be captured and safe away from him! “Trial And Error” has a group of rats living in the mansion who want to throw out Foofur and the gang and get the help of a lawyer rat who banishes Rocki from the house.  When the young dog is sad and is crying over being kicked out, Louis shows up and beats up the rats and throws them out of the mansion!

This is another kids comic that takes the route of doing multiple stories in a issue instead of one solid onem and while in the days of Goldkey and Whitman, that style worked for the likes of Bugs Bunny and Pink Panther, in my opinion it does not work for Foofur in 1987 as it clearly should have been one continuous story that helped add to the world that the cartoon was building on Saturday mornings. Each of these stories, while cheesy, packs a fun feel, and I must say I really like the abandoned mansion backdrop. Thus far only three of the characters shine and that’s Foofur, Louis and Fencer so I will give you a little of my first comic book impression of these three characters. First up is Foofur; while he is very laid back, he clearly cares about his friends and is trying his best to keep the mansion theirs. The one negative thing I noticed is when is niece Rocki is crying, he pays no attention and keeps playing cards, and it’s Louis who checks on her and takes care of the issue. Speaking of Louis, he is one tough bulldog who whoops butt not once but twice in this issue and is clearly the muscle of the group. But while he might be the meathead, it’s clear that he cares about his friends and will protect them at all cost. When I was younger and watching the cartoon, this next character was my favorite and it’s the cat who knows karate named Fencer who while noble at heart is really just a goofball who tries more then he knows, and means well when trying to stick up for his pals. Now I should also pick the best story out of the three, and I would say Alone Again not only because it shares the name of a power ballad sung by Dokken but because I love the idea of a gang of rough and ready animals taking orders from an old dog named Ma Baker who is straight out of Batman 66 if that show was played by animals. The art is pretty solid and is done by Ben Brown who captured the look and mood of the cartoon, really good stuff and reminds me of Archie and Harvey comic art. So far I would say that this Star Comic series based on the cartoon Foofur is pretty entertaining and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this series goes, so let’s move onto issue # 2!

Foofur 2

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

The first story is called “Unreal Estate.” In it relator Mrs. Escrow is trying to sell the mansion and fills it with furniture to give it a more homey feel.  So Foofur takes an idea from Fritz Carlos, and they put the furniture in crazy places! As the open house starts all the people are mad at Mrs. Escrow and think she pulled a joke on them because of this, but it backfires as one strange man loves the mansion and the way it’s set up and agrees to buy it the next day! Foofur and the gang spend the night making the mansion look normal again and stops the buy when the man gets mad about how normal the house looks and Mrs. Escrow in the end thinks the mansion is haunted. The second story is called “Costume Canine Caper.”  Those rats are at it again and use a dog costume to try and sneak into Foofur’s group to gain secrets on how to get rid of them, but the plan is cut short when the rats are captured by the dogcatchers and must ditch the suit.  Fencer witnesses it with his own eyes, and Foofur in the end scares off the rats by wearing a giant rat costume! “User Unfriendly” has the Mayor firing Mel and Harvey from being the city’s dog catchers and replaces them with a robot named 4-D who can capture dogs super fast! 4-D goes on a capturing rampage and even gets Louis, but all things backfire on the robot when Foofur over loads its circuits by using a ton of wind up dog toys! At the end Louis breaks free from the pound and 4-D ends up in a trash can.

This second issue is just like the first issue with three stories and a one-page joke, and like before, each of the stories have a charm and each are well done and silly. Much like before, most of the time the plots are set in and around the mansion making the old structure almost feel like a character on its own. Foofur in this issue is much like the first and does show he has a prankster side as he helps move around couches and place beds in the kitchen not to mention wears a costume to scare off those pesky rats. Fritz Carlos is a proper little dog who is very British and very much a supporter of the abstract. So we should also take a look at the “bad guys” of this series.  Let’s start with the three rats who are named Sam, Chucky and Baby.  They want the mansion all to themselves and are trying to do whatever it takes to run the dogs off.  Sam is the brains of the rats and bullies the other two. Mrs. Escrow is not fully bad in the comic and is only doing her job of trying to sell the mansion, but her little dog Pepe is a jerk and hates Foofur and the gang. The last two are the dogcatchers named Mel and Harvey who once more are just doing their job but do seem to target Foofur and the gang and patrol that area a lot. Out of all these “bad guys” I would say the biggest threat to them has to be the Rats as I feel they would murder Foofur in his sleep if they could figure out a way to do so! The best story out of the three this issue has to be Unreal Estate as I like the fact Foofur and the gang are running around changing things to save their home from being sold, and I could see the Three Stooges doing something like this. The art is once more all done by Ben Brown and is fantastic for this kids’ style of comic.  I must also point out for some reason I really like this cover with the rain and Foofur being so tall he is blocking his friends from getting wet. This is another good issue, and this makes me hopeful that this whole series will stay entertaining and steady with the two and a half star ratings.

Foofur 3

Foofur # 3  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #3 of 6

Foofur and the gang’s first adventure is called “History Defeats Itself!” and has Mrs. Escrow selling the mansion to land developer Cashman who wants to build a condo in the spot where the mansion sits! Foofur, along with Dolly and the gang, try to figure out how to stop the buy and most importantly stop the mansion from being torn down. They try to use some of Fritz’s old arrowheads to get the historical society to step in but that turns into a bust.  Finally Louis has an idea just as things look bad and gets a giant bone from the butcher shop and the demolition stops.  Cashman rips up the contract after what he thinks is all a waste of his time, and the mansion is saved and once more put up for sale. The second adventure is called “A Close Encounter” has an alien landing on earth and meeting the rats who he thinks are the kings of the planet.  They tell him that they are indeed and are under attack by the K-9s! The Alien takes Foofur and his friends off the planet and is about to leave them when he finds out he has been played by the Rats! And with the help of Foofur, the Alien is able to scare the Rats away from the mansion. The last story is called “Plant You Know, Dig You Later.” Annabel has her sister and her kids over at the mansion, and her sister brings her a plant as a gift and they leave it on the porch. During the visit the plant grows and grows and covers the mansion! Louis uses his brain and grabs the plant’s root and places it in the freezer causing the plant to die and detach from the mansion.

Issue three is another solid Foofur adventure packed from page to page with cartoon inspired goodness. Much like all the issues before, all three stories are well done and each hold their own charm.  If I had to pick one as my favorite, I would say History Defeats Itself would take the spot, not just cause it’s a good story but it also makes me think of the big mansion and woods in Sugarcreek that was torn down so they could build a soulless Coastco…but let’s not harp on that. But A Close Encounter comes in close second and that’s because I love the whole alien comes to Earth story that reminds me of so many classic Sci-Fi films I watched when I was a kid. Foofur remains the same in this issue, and it’s really clear he loves to play cards, cares about his pals and his girlfriend Dolly. Annabel is a sweet dog that has bangs that block her vision as this is said many times o far in the series.  We also get the fact she has a sister and is the aunt to many puppies, and she is married to Louis. Ben Brown is still doing the art, and it’s fantastic and really does make it feel like the cartoon.  One other thing I should note is that the inking in this series so far is very bright and this helps add to the over all fun feel of the comics. Not much more to say besides another good issue that brings all the Foofur action to comic readers.

Foofur 4

Foofur # 4  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #4 of 6

Fernando’s Hideaway” has Foofur and his pals finding hiding spots for when Mrs. Escrow comes to the mansion to show it to a buyer. After they master the art of hiding, they all go to take a nap when crooks break in and are hiding from the police. Foofur and the gang use their new hiding spots to act as if the mansion is haunted, and the crooks run back into the arms of the police. In the end, all ends well besides the fact The Rats are mad about them being around the inside of the walls for the hiding spots claim that’s their territory! In “Show Business” Fritz Carlos is on a date with Hazel, and they see a hypnotist that by accident hypnotizes Hazel and turns her into a slob when she is the clean freak of the gang! When home she trashes the place, and worse the house is about to be shown, so Fritz and Foofur rush back to the hypnotist and have the spell broken get he back to the mansion just in time to clean it up and all ends well. The final story is called “The Buddy Guard” and is about Louis and Annabel wandering the streets looking for food when a gang of dogs led by a pitbull shows up and start calling Louis a chicken, and instead of fighting, the bulldog leaves! Foofur tells Annabel, who is worried about her man, that the dogs they ran into was once lead by Louis and he left them to become friends with Foofur. The Rats hear this and bring in the gang who attack the house, but the bad dogs soon learn Louis is no chicken as he wipes the floor with them and proves he is a smart fighter.

Louis once more shows that he is the biggest and baddest bulldog in the comic world as he beats down a pitbull and a pack of other dogs by himself! Plus I like the backstory given to him that he once was a bad dog who ran the streets and would beat up other dogs just because he could, but once he met Foofur he changed his way and became a dog who only fights when it’s called for like to protect his friends. But to play What If like The Watcher does for Marvel, imagine a world were Louis beat up Foofur instead of friending him, would Louis go on to beat up the likes of Snoopy, Odie, Scooby-Doo and so many more K-9’s in comic and cartoons…makes one wonder. My favorite story has to be The Buddy Guard just for the backstory of Louis and the fact it has Foofur being put in some major danger as a pitbull wants to rip his head off. The other two stories are well done, and I love the fact they have taken them out of the mansion and into the world a few times in this issue. One thing that I also think this series is doing right is while Foofur is the clear star of the comic, he is not over used and each character has their time to shine even if it’s only for a panel or two. The Rats are back also in this issue and once more try so hard to chase off the dogs, but as always fail at their plan. The art is done by Ben Brown again and as always looks like a classic 80’s kid comic. I should also note that this is the final issue of Foofur to come out under Star as the next in the series has the Marvel logo. So let’s see of Marvel put the care into Foofur like their kids branch did.

Foofur 5

Foofur # 5  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #5 of 6

The Bear Facts” is the opening story and is about Mrs. Escrow having the mansion treated for termites that has Foofur and the gang going camping, but before they leave they also warn the rats who think the dogs are up to something! Rocki can use the trip to get a badge in the scouts, and while out in nature, a nearsighted mama bear takes Rocki by accident as she thinks she is one of her cubs. In the end Foofur uses cola bottles and makes the bear glasses, and she and her cubs hang out with them and get food as a way of saying thanks. The second story is a continuation of the first story and is called “Fur Better Fur Worse” and has the Rats taking fur from Fencer and pull mean pranks on the fellow house dogs trying to get the K-9s to turn on the cat. In the end Louis and Foofur are the voice of reason as all the others in the house are ready to beat up the karate cat.  In the end Louis finds out the Rats are the ones causing the issues, and he gets even by placing them on a log in the harbor! The final story is called “Pipe Down” and has those two numbskull dogcatchers Mel and Harvey get a magic flute that attracts dogs, and it’s up to Fencer and his trusty baseball to save his friends from being captured.

Marvel took over Foofur after closing Star and was smart enough to keep all those working on it intact. Foofur as a character in this issues shows compassion and that he really wants to make the world he lives in a better place as he helps a bear to see and even warns the Rats that they could be caught or killed when a exterminator comes. Say what you will, but Foofur, while a silly comic based on a cartoon ,does have some positive messages and teaches readers to honor friendship, keep positive as well as try not to hold grudges. Louis in the issue goes 1-1 as he is able to beat up Mel and Harvey in an ally but gets knocked out when he tries to tackle the nearsighted bear. My favorite story has to be Pipe Down because who doesn’t like a silly take on the Pied Piper legend? Ben Brown takes the duty of art again as like the others it’s solid and shows I think he enjoyed doing this series. So are our next issue is the last issue of Foofur so let’s see if it can end as a solid cartoon adaptation comic.

Foofur 6

Foofur # 6  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #6 of 6

Raising Spirits” opens our last issue and has the mansion being the subject of being called a haunted house and brings an oddball to try and find if the legends are true. Of course the oddball sets up the house to appear haunted so he could buy it dirt cheap,and when Foofur finds this out, he turns the fraud haunt back on them and scares them away. “Smitten Kitten” has Fencer falling for a cute grey cat named Miss Mitzi and asks her out on a date.  To get ready for the date, Fritz tries to help him get manners and ditches the karate look for a more preppy look. During the date, a group of cats start trouble and Fencer kicks into action and finds that Mitzi likes him for him and that’s the karate cat. The final story for the issue and the series is called “The Outcast” has Dolly’s snob friend Burt, a purebred dog, thinking he is a mutt and running away from home to stay at the mansion and after getting himself caught by Mel and Harvey. Foofur and the group go to save him and in turn get caught! In the end Burt saves Foofur and finds out he is indeed no mutt!

So much like the cartoon, the comic series of Foofur comes to an end way to fast! This final issue is well done and doesn’t lose a step from the rest of the series and is a good kids comic based on a cartoon that was only mildly popular. Foofur is a cool dog who has a kind heart and a sharp mind and always thinks about the well being of his friends…for the most part because if he’s playing cards he shuts down on caring. I am a cat person, and I have to say Fencer in this issue gets to shine as he goes on a date, learns manners and even whoops some butt on cats who are hassling his girl. Burt, who is a friend of Dolly’s, is also a snob and stuck on himself and treats Foofur like a fleabag.  It’s only after he thinks he’s a mutt that he shows Foofur and the gang respect. Marv and Harvey almost, and I mean almost, have Foofur in this issue but are once more outsmarted by a pack of dogs.  These two guys are as goofy as they come and are great “bad guys” in a comic series like this. What made Foofur work as a comic is the over all good nature of the stories and characters. I mean most kids love talking animals, and Foofur is a perfect fit for those type of readers. Hanna-Barbera and Star made a perfect team on this, and I wish the team up would have continued with other properties they made like The New Yogi Bear Show, The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley or even Paddington Bear! Imagine a Star Comic based on Ed Grimley.  I know that I as well as many others including Jason Young would have read it. Ben Brown did the art for the whole run, and his style is the kind of art I love for kids comics based on toys and cartoons, I would like to see Ben make more comics of this nature. With Disney owning Marvel Comics, I am not sure why they have not reopened Star Comics and make retro style kids comics based on old Disney Shows like Ducktakes, Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck and Gummi Bears, all that wonderful stuff that was played after school in the late 80’s and 90’s. But to wrap up the look at Star’s Foofur I will say it’s a series that stayed true to its quality and stayed steady on entertainment and held true to it’s source material so I would give this series a must check out for fans of the cartoon. Below is some of Ben Brown’s artwork for the series, and it showcases the main cast to the series.

FooFur Art 1Now I am sure many of you readers don’t remember Foofur and those who do probably only slightly do so I hope that this update helped inform you about his existence in the world of comics and cartoon. One thing I should also point out is the fact that much like many classic kid comics of the 70’s and 80’s, the cover to most the issues has nothing to do with the stories inside.  Not once did they go skiing nor did Foofur and Rocki race a kangaroo and joey! And while the rats and dogcatchers were a threat to them somewhat, the main drama comes from them always living in fear that the house they live in will be sold from under their feet and they will all be homeless. Our next update will have us leaving the mansion of Foofur behind as I once more will turn Rotten Ink over to Juliet and she will take a walk on the dark side with The Witching Hour! So until next time make sure to pet your pet, read a comic or three and support your local comic shop.

The Witching Hour logo

Atari Centipede Invasion!

Welcome to Rotten Ink Home and Garden Edition.  Today’s topic is centipedes and how to rid your garden of them, but first before we learn how to get rid of them we must first come to understand them. Centipedes are arthropods who are elongated metameric little fellas who can have 20 to over 300 legs! They are carnivorous and live for 3-6 years given what species they are. They are eaten by mice, snakes, birds and even beetles. Some centipede bites can be fatal to small children as venom is used when they bite; in adult humans a bite will just cause the person to be ill. Wait a minute, this is not the centipede we are talking about for this update!!! Oh we are talking about The Human Centipede, that shocking 2009 Horror flick directed by Tom Six about the mad doctor who sews peoples mouths to others’ butts to make a weird human centipede thing right? Wait, I am wrong again.  We have to be talking about the DC Comics character Crimson Centipede who was created by Ares The God of War to to fight Wonder Woman and rob banks….wait….Oh I know what the topic is about!

Vietnamese CentipedeCrimson CentipedeHuman Centipede

In 1981, Atari produced an arcade machine that was designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey that had you defending against the likes of centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas in a field of mushrooms, with the player being an elf trying your best to defend yourself.  This game was called Centipede. The machine was a hit, and many players of the day dropped many of quarters into it. For many years, alongside the likes of Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Pong, it sat as one of the kings of the arcades. Nowadays classic gamers still enjoy playing this simple yet challenging game, and any retro arcade place must have it among the games to play. Game Swap in Kettering has this game, and when it first showed up I was lucky enough to have my name on the score board.  Now, a few years later, I have been knocked off. One thing that sets Centipede apart from other arcade cabinets is the fact that it uses a trackball for movement and not the traditional joystick; this gave the player the feeling of more control of their character. So for this blog I decided to grab a lucky quarter and head to Game Swap and have a showdown with the Centipede arcade machine! I really enjoy the game and on this day, January 12, 2015, the air was cold and it was after a freezing rain storm.  I went to Game Swap Kettering an hour before it opened and popped my quarter in and began my mission of conquest. And after playing it for several minutes, I ended up making it to the board but only in the # 4 spot! But nothing can beat the sounds of several arcade machines playing at the same time.  If you’re an old school gamer, you know what I mean. I should also note that at Game Swap as of this posting there is a feud going on to have their name in the top three spots and its between Garrison Kane, Josh Weinberg and a customer named Dan Little, this far Dan has the # 1 spot and looks like the others have their hands full to claim it.

Game Swap Centipede

Beside the arcades, the one place many people could play Centipede was at home thanks to their Atari 2600! The cart was put out by Atari themselves and came packaged with a special DC Comic Book that is the comic we will be reviewing this very update! Centipede was a solid selling game for Atari 2600, and those few kids that I knew who had a 2600 all had this game. While the port of this arcade game to home console was a fun play, it did lack the smoothness of the arcade as well as the graphics were below mind blowing. But I am sure if you own an Atari 2600 now or even then, I would almost guarantee that you have or had a copy of Centipede, and you have some great memories of playing it.

atari 2600 centipede bixcentipede 2600Atari 2600  Centipede cart

If you didn’t have an Atari 2600 or an arcade near your home there were many other ways to play Centipede at home as it was also ported on Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, PC and many others! A new and improved version of Centipede came out for PC in 1998 and for Sony Playstation and Sega Dreamcast in 1999 that changed the vibe and core of the classic game. Instead of the Elf, the player now played as a ship called Shooter who was fighting the bug and mushroom invasion. I can remember the hype being around the reboot game, and I for one bought it when it was released as well as the many other PSX reboots that followed like Frogger, Pong and Blaster Master. So no matter how you look at it, if you play video games at all there was many of ways to play Centipede at home!

Centipede Box Atari 7800Centipede psxcentipede C64

So we took a quick look at Centipede at the arcade and home consoles, and now I am thinking it would be a good time to take a look at the mini comic book made by DC Comics based on this video game! Now for those of you who don’t know and are wondering why and the world did DC make a comic based on Centipede to be a give away when gamers bought the game, the answer is simple: as DC’s parent company also bought Atari and to modernize and utilize their assets, they had DC help make an extra bonus for those who bought the game. So with that I need to thank Game Swap Kettering for having this comic in stock and I also need to remind everyone that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So grab a pocket full of quarters, cause we are headed to the DC Comic Arcade to read a little Centipede and maybe even get the top score!

Centipede # 1

Centipede  ***
Released in 1983   Cover Price 0.00   DC Comics   # 1 of 1

Oliver is the littlest elf of his village on Mt. Mushmore where he and his parents harvest mushrooms. Oliver’s best friends are insects that live in the forest like Spider, Scorpion, Flea and Centipede and they all play games and eat berry jam and mushroom bread together. Well one day the evil Wizard who lives nearby turns all of the mushrooms into poison toadstools as he hates shrooms but loves stools! Oliver’s Dad gets all the other elf villagers together and leaves Oliver to watch over the family farm as they all storm his castle and try to get him to stop his evil ways.  This of course backfires, and all the elves are turned into Toadstools! Oliver is the last elf left, and the Wizard goes after him and a chase ensues that ends up with Oliver getting the Wizard’s wand and the Wizard using his magic glance on his insect friends to turn them bad.  They hunt Oliver down in the forest and against their will, they are out to kill their little elf friend! But Oliver uses the wand and turns his attackers into mushrooms, and right when he is about to turn the wand on The Wizard the two come to terms and The Evil Wizard turns his frown upside down and becomes friends with the elves that are turned back into humans.

This is a pretty fun promo comic made by DC for Atari and almost has a Smurfs feel to the whole thing that gives it a family fun vibe. The story is pretty simple and true to the spirit of the game with a evil wizard making toadstools and turns the forest insects into blood thirsty creatures.  The world’s only hope is the smallest elf in town who outsmarts the Wizard and saves the day. Oliver is a likable hero who is very simple and enjoys life with his insect friends and helping on the mushroom farm his family owns.  While he is the smallest elf in town, he has a big heart and courage to back it up. Think of Oliver like this Willow Ufgood from the film W.I.L.L.O.W. meets Wally The Wizard with a dash of Papa Smurf. The Centipede and the fellow creatures of the woods are fun loving and only turn evil when a spell is placed on them.  One weird thing is that the Centipede’s whole body is made up of tiny circle smiling faces that when they come apart each section has a mind of its own. The very evil Wizard is your generic old sorcerer who hates all the nearby villagers and wants to ruin their crops in order to plant his own and can do so thanks to his trusty magic wand. Without the wand, he is no threat and in fact even with it all he does to stop you is turn you into a toadstool, but of course he is taught a lesson by Oliver and he turns his frown upside down. Think of the Wizard as a cheap imitation of Gargamel from Smurfs with the look of Jarvis the Cookie Crisp Wizard.This comic is really well done and gives more depth and character to a video game with zero story on screen and tiny spirits as the characters! DC could have turned this into a kids comic series, and I am sure it would have done better then the likes of Atari Force, a series DC made that we will have to cover at some point here at Rotten Ink. The art is done by Howard Post and Robert Smith and looks fantastic and holds the charm of a classic 70’s kids comic! To sum it up, this is a great promo comic that did its job in adding something more special to the source material. Check out some of the art samples below and enjoy the video game inspired goodness.

centipede art 1centipede art 2centipede art 3

We finished with Centipede way early so I figured why don’t we take a look at an Independent Comic I got off the website Indy Planet that is based on the classic Sci-Fi comics of the 60’s thats called King Cactor! So let’s go leave the safety of Oliver the elf and see what a giant angry monster can do!

King Cactor #1

King Cactor  # 1  ***
Released in 2014   Cover Price $3.00   James Rubino Comics   # 1 of 1

King Cactor is a giant cactus man who has just emerged from the hot sand near Las Vegas and is on a destructive path going towards towns.  The army is trying to step in and stop him, but to their horror, nothing they have is fazing him! By the time he hits a small town, the army drops a nuclear bomb on him killing the over a thousand residents and barely hurting the green prickly skinned beast! The general has no other options as he calls on a creepy scientist named Professor Tarterez who spends two weeks and over two billion dollars on an aircraft that he tells them will drain the water from King Cactor’s body leaving him a dried up husk! This is a set up as Tarterez uses the craft to gain mind control over the giant beast and use him to destroy all the humans! Professor Tarterez thinks he is about to rule the world with his mind controlled King Cactor, but he forgot about Benefield, a solider who never trusted him and snuck aboard the craft and saves the day! As the craft crashes to the ground with both Professor Tarterez and Benefield inside, King Cactor heads into the heart of the desert away from towns and people. But like any good sci-fi story, this is not the end as it shows that Benefield is alive, but is he human?

This is a fun science fiction throwback comic that captures the feeling of a 60’s comic books that inspired it, and I must say that I fully enjoyed this comic and all the cheesy action it packed inside the pages. The story follows a giant monster who has returned after a few years of hibernation and is back causing destruction.  The military, who is powerless against it’s rage, has to count on an evil Professor who will do what he can to make things go his way. King Cactor is a giant cactus monster who is super strong and can shoot needles and can survive all types of bombs and guns! Professor Tarterez is an evil man who looks like the Devil and wants to rule the world and kill off many human lives.  One thing about him is that I am not sure why he is so anti fellow human. Tarterez is clearly a bigger bad guy than King Cactor as he is doing is evil deeds with a human mind and it’s been thoughtout. The Army, who are the good guys, are noble but are also outmatched by the pure power of King Cactor, and this makes them have to do so drastic things like bomb a whole city killing everyone who lives there. Benefield is clearly the issue’s true hero as he cares about his fellow man and even sacrifices his own life to save the world from more destruction. The comic has a great pacing, and I would read every issue if this was to be turned into a full fledged comic series. I should also say that King Cactor was used in another comic before this issue called Tales From The Seventh Galaxy # 1 making this the big guy’s second comic appearance. The art is done by Thomas Ahearn and looks fantastic and captures the right feel for this style of comic. I say check out this independent comic if you’re a fan of old school sci-fi comics starring larger then life giant monsters.

King Cactor Art 1

So from an arcade classic turned into a DC comic to a giant Cactus monster who runs amok, this update is coming to an end, and I still must say I could not knock Josh Weinberg off the # 1 spot on the Centipede arcade machine at Game Swap Kettering, but one day he will drop to the # 2 spot and my name will be the new champ of the machine! Our next update will be all about that lovable rich blue cartoon dog named Foofur! So until then, read a comic or two, visit your local comic shop, play a classic video game and as always have a good time!

Foofur logo

The Strong Arm Of The Law Of Marshall Bravestarr

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, a place were we can talk about classic toys, cartoons, movies, horror hosts, video games and so much more.  For this update we are going to travel to space and meet a cowboy who is the law on the planet New Texas that goes by the name Marshall Bravestarr! That’s right, a planet called New Texas is where we will be traveling for this update, but I should warn you that while we are traveling on the BlackThorne Comic Express we will need some 3-D glasses for this adventure. Thinking about it, is New Texas on the Planet Texas that Kenny Rogers sang about in his super cheesy song called “Planet Texas”? Just ponder that for a while.  So I hope you’re ready for a Texas size good time! I must also say that growing up I was not a super fan of Bravestarr, but did watch the cartoon from time to time so this will be nice to go back and try to reconnect with a character I have not thought about in years. Oh yeah, and on the last picture below does it look like maybe Bravestarr ate the wrong kind of mushroom or he just witnessed something very, very bad that marked his very soul?

Bravestarr sprit animalsBravestarr open logoBravestarr 0

So before we move onto Bravestarr, I finally must touch up on WWE 2K15 for the PS3, and wow, I must say 2K Sports who took over the IP when THQ went sadly out of business REALLY dropped the ball this first year of them being solely in charge of the wrestling game. The roster is the weakest it’s been in years and the lack of push and updates to their website show just how little they care about the fans of this game series. The fact the major WWE Summer Slam roster reveal panel was incomplete and left out many of the superstars in the game just shows you how lazy 2K is about doing anything with this. I mean when they crammed out NBA 2K15, they really pushed it! This year the major focus of the game is legendary feuds in WWE History like such “major” beefs like Triple H vs. Shawn “HBK” Michaels, Christian vs. Randy Orton and who can forget John Cena vs. CM Punk…..yeah no Hogan vs. Piper or Austin vs. Bret Hart, this feature is super lame on most accounts. Some of these feuds come as DLC as well; they are making you pay to play Orton vs. Christian as well as get a terrible storyline pack for Mark Henry that only adds The Great Kahli to your roster besides some arena and outfits! The only really awesome feud pack that will be released is one that follows the career of The Ultimate Warrior that adds many great legends to roster like Hulk Hogan, Macho King Randy Savage, Sargent Slaughter, Honkey Tonk Man, Ravishing Rick Rude and Andre The Giant. They also will have a WCW roster pack that will add Lex Luger, Diamond Dallas Page, Bam Bam Bigelow, Fit Finley and William Regal that will be a pretty good addition. They also have a story pack based around the rookies of NXT that helps bring the next generation into this generation and legends.

WWE 2K15 Hulk HoganWWE 2K15 HBKWWE 2K15 Goldust

But while 2K tries to make the theme of this year the terrible feuds, for me and others this game belongs to Sting! That’s right the icon of WCW, Sting, is in the game and not only do we get the Crow version but we also get the late 80’s/early 90’s blonde hair one as well! Who would have thought that in 2K15 fans would be treated to Sting in all his video game glory allowing you to have him wrestle the likes of The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels and rematch with Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin. Not to mention many other faces of his past are present like Ravishing Rick Rude who he had a great set of matches with in WCW, his friend and some times enemy Lex Luger and not to mention his old tag team partner The Ultimate Warrior.

WWE 2K15 StingWWE 2K15 PS3WWE 2K15 Sting (Crow)

So let’s take a look at 5 wrestlers that had great matches with Sting in WCW that should have been included in this game instead of being snubbed and left out in the cold.

Big Van Vader

Big Van Vader

One of the best big men in the business, Big Van Vader should have been in the game and could have had great matches not only with Sting but many others on 2K’s roster. Starting his career in 1985 in AWA under the name of Baby Bull and later changed to Bull Power, he took the scene by storm with his large size and powerful moves. In 1987 he went to New Japan Pro Wrestling and changed his name to Big Van Vader and dominated the competition becoming one of the biggest stars the company has ever had. He had great matches and feuds with the likes of Stan Hansen, El Canek, The Great Muta and Antonio Inoki and was feared by the Japanese audience. During this time New Japan was trading talent with WCW and would have Vader come in for pay per views and take on the likes of Tom Zenk and Stan Hansen, but by 1992 Big Van Vader had left New Japan and took full time work in WCW where he was managed by Harley Race and was the company’s new major heel! Vader dominated once more the competition with matches against the likes of Cactus Jack, Nikita Koloff, Dustin Rhodes, Britsih Bulldog Davey Boy Smith and Sting, and with Sting he defeated and became the World Champion. As years passed and new talent came in, Vader found himself still a draw but taking a back seat to the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage who had jumped ship from WWF to WCW. By 1995 and before the first WCW Monday Night Nitro Vader had left the company. In 1996 he returned very briefly to New Japan Pro Wrestling to finish his feud with Antonio Inoki. WWF came calling in 1996 as well, and Vader made his in ring debut for them at the Royal Rumble.  Very soon after coming in he was managed by Jim Cornette and it looked like he would be pushed once more as a monster heel, but sadly this never was as he seemed to be lost in the shuffle thanks to the likes of Shawn Michaels and Diesel. But during this run he did have some great matches with The Undertaker, Yokozuna, The Patriot and Kane. Vader left WWF in 1998 and went on to wrestle for All Japan Pro Wrestling as well as other independent federations, and still makes appearances from time to time in WWF (WWE).

Key Match Against Sting: WCW Slamboree 94

Barry Windham

Barry Windham

Bad Boy Barry Windham is the son of legendary tag team wrestler BlackJack Mulligan and is a super talented and hard worker who was also a member of The Four Horsemen in NWA/WCW. Barry began is career in 1980 and worked for many NWA territories including Florida Championship Wrestling. He feuded with Kevin Sullivan and later went on to capture tag team gold alongside Mike Rotunda. By 1984, WWF came calling and Barry and Mike went to New York and became the tag team known as U.S. Express and had a short year run winning tag gold and losing it to teams like Iran Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff and The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine), making the U.S. Express run out of gas by 1985. In 1986 Barry, as a singles wrestler, returned to NWA and took on the likes of Ric Flair and even formed a tag team with Ron Garvin as they had a good feud with The Midnight Express. Around this time Barry became allies with Lex Luger who would later turn on him and join Ric Flair’s stable known as The Four Horsemen. Barry floated around for a while having matches with Dr. Death Steve Williams, Black Bart and Rick Steiner. In 1988, Barry and Luger, who had left the Horsemen, had patched things up and took the tag titles away from Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard who were members of the Four Horsemen, but when defending them Barry turned on Luger and became the newest member of the Horsemen that consisted of Flair, Anderson, Blanchard and Windham. During this heel run, Barry would become NWA United States Champion and take on many top names in the wrestling world like Sting, Dusty Rhodes, Brad Armstrong and Bam Bam Bigelow.  He would later lose the title to Lex Luger, and in 1989 he left the NWA. Once more he went to WWF and took the name The Widowmaker and played an evil tough cowboy character who went undefeated for over 4 months, but this was very short lived and he once more left the company as quickly as he entered. In 1990 he returned to NWA now WCW and rejoined the Four Horsemen and even helped his fellow member Sid Vicious win the world title from Sting, as Windham dressed as Sting and allowed Sid to pin him! This run in WCW would see him turn from face to heel and make allies and enimies out of the likes of Dustin Rhodes, Brian Pillman, Stunning Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat and The Great Muta, as well during this time he would win many titles and become a solid worker for the company. But once more he left the pastures of WCW and went back to WWE in 1996 to become a character called The Stalker a crazy outdoors hunter type who was a babyface.  Thank God that in 1997 they changed his character and teamed him up with Justin Hawk Bradshaw to become The New Blackjacks, but this as well didn’t last long as they had Windham turn on Bradshaw and join a faction of wrestlers who were pro NWA. And once more as quick as it started Windham left WWF and went back to WCW to be part of a team called The West Texas Rednecks alongside the likes of Curt Henning, Bobby Duncum Jr. and his younger brother Kendall Windham, and they all were a bunch of good old boys who hated rap music. Barry and Kendall would team up and become Tag Champions before they both were fired in 1999. Barry after this release would go on to wrestle for many small independents around the world where he still was able to make an impact. While all the Four Horsemen should be in this game, we do already have Ric Flair so it would have been nice to see the likes of Barry Windham to have feuds in 2K15 with Sting and even guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Rob Van Damn.

Key Match Against Sting: WCW Clash of The Champions # 22 – Barry Windham, Vader, Paul Orndorff vs. Sting, Dustin Rhodes, Cactus Jack.

British Bulldog

British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith

It’s a crime that Davey Boy is not in this game and more so that he is not in the WWE Hall Of Fame! Davey Boy began pro wrestling in 1982 in Stampede Wrestling and had a series of matches against his cousin, the Dynamite Kid. He later went to New Japan Pro Wrestling and had tournament style matches against Dynamite Kid and The Cobra, and after this he and Dynamite formed a tag team they called The British Bulldogs and shocked the world when they jumped to All Japan Pro Wrestling. But during this time they also caught the eye of WWF who signed them as a team to a contract in 1985 where they came in as a baby face power house team who had many great matches with teams like The Hart Foundation, The Dream Team, The Islanders, Rougeau Brothers and Demolition and won tag gold and became one of the biggest tag teams for WWF. But by 1988 they were released from their contracts due in part to Dynamite Kid’s reputation of being a bully backstage. In 1989 they returned to Stampede Wrestling and stuck around for a year, but issues between the cousins arose and Dynamite went to All Japan while Davey Boy went back to the WWF as a solo wrestler in 1990. Davey Boy returned and became a popular star having matches with the likes of The Warlord, Mr. Perfect Curt Henning, The Mountie among others. During this run at SummerSlam 1992, he defeated Bret “Hitman” Hart for the Intercontinental Title and became even bigger of a draw and a star! Davey Boy lost the belt to Shawn Michaels on Monday Night Raw and a little later on he and the Ultimate Warrior were released from WWF for using growth hormones. By 1993 Davey Boy signed to wrestle for WCW where he paired with Sting to feud with Big Van Vader and Sid Vicious, but once more trouble appeared and Davey Boy was fired from WCW over a brawl he had with a fan at a bar over his wife. Davey Boy floated around small independents in England for awhile before coming back to WWF in 1994 where he joined in the family feud between brothers Bret and Owen as he is in fact their real life brother in-law! After that died down, he formed a tag team with Lex Luger called The Allied Powers, but this didn’t last long as Davey Boy turned heel and joined Jim Cornette’s stable of wrestlers that included Owen Hart and Yokozuna. During this time Smith would have matches for Tag Titles as well as The World Title and even became the first ever WWF European Champion! Davey Boy would later join Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart and Brian Pillman to form The New Hart Foundation.  Davey Boy left WWF alongside Bret and Jim when at Survivor Series 1997 Vince McMahon screwed over Bret Hart during the world title match against Shawn Michaels by pulling real life underhanded dealings. Davey Boy joined Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart in WCW in 1998 where he floated around the midcard tag team division until he seriously hurt his back in the ring and was served his pink slip via FedEx while in the hospital. In 1999 Davey Boy returned to WWF with a new attitude and look as he simply wore blue jeans and boots and won the Hardcore title from Big Bossman.  He later turned heel and set his sights on the world title and had a few title matches against The Rock who was the champ, but Davey Boy never could get the gold away from the peoples champ. Davey Boy was pushed down the card and had matches against the likes of Crash Holly and Val Venis. Davey was let go in 2000 for having an addiction to pain pills among other drugs and sadly passed away in 2002. Besides teaming with Sting in 2K15, I would also love to have him in matches against the likes of Ryback, Mark Henry and Rusev.

Key Match Teaming With Sting: Beach Blast 1993 – Sting & Davey Boy vs. Big Van Vader & Sid Vicious

Black Scorpion

The  Black Scorpion

Okay I know what you’re all thinking, how could I pick such a cheesy wrestling gimmick as The Black Scorpion as my pick for being snubbed from the game, as others would say he wasn’t he just Ric Flair in a mask? And the answer is yes to both! While The Black Scorpion was discovered to be Ric Flair, many wrestlers played the part, and Ole Anderson who came up with the storyline said it was not supposed to be Flair but him! The Black Scorpion appeared in NWA cutting odd promos about then World Champion Sting claiming that he was from his past and making people believe it was one of his former tag team partners like The Ultimate Warrior or Angel Of Death. During his taunts to Sting, the black masked Black Scorpion would do simple magic and illusions to try and confusing Sting even during matches sometimes multiple versions of him would appear. Every time Sting would get close to unmasking The Black Scorpion during a match, the masked wrestler would be saved by a clone of himself or Sid Vicious who was also having a feud with Sting at the time, never letting him see the identity of his foe. This all came to a head at Starrcade when Sting beat The Black Scorpion in a steel cage and when unmasked, it turned out to be Ric Flair! The character was dropped after this even though rumor has it that he was supposed to go on. The Black Scorpion could have easily been in the game if 2K didn’t cheapen out on his “Feuds” campaign and gave Sting one as he could have been a alternate attire for Ric Flair even! If The Black Scorpion would have been in the game as his own character I would have not only feuded him with Sting but also The Ultimate Warrior and The Undertaker.

Key Match Against Sting: Starrcade 1990 – Sting vs. Black Scorpion in a Steel Cage

Vampiro

Vampiro

In 1984 at the age of 16 Vampiro wrestled his first match in Canada and from that moment on, he was hooked on being a Pro Wrestler. His career would lead him to Mexico where he would wrestle for many promotions and have great matches against luchadors like Konnan, Dr. Wagner Jr., Silver King, El Dandy, Dos Caras and El Canek to name a very few. During this timem he also worked a little in Japan but landed a job in WCW in 1998 where he made a splash in the midcard division and formed a stable alongside Rappers ICP and ECW Original Raven called The Dead Pool, and while very short lived, they had a great rivalry with Konnan, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Eddie Guerrero. His next major matches came when he brought in Punk Rock Band The Misfits and took on Dr. Death Steve Williams. Vampiro then formed a team with Sting that they called The Brothers In Paint, but Vampiro had other plans as he turned on Sting, and while most times Sting always got the upper hand, Vampiro won the “Human Torch” match and set Sting on fire causing the icon to disappear from wrestling for awhile. After beating Sting, he set his sights on The Demon, a wrestler who was based on the rock band Kiss, and after a Graveyard Match, Sting returned and set the wrongs right. Vampiro then went on to team up with The Great Muta and win the tag team titles from KroniK that they lost the next day to Rey Mysterio Jr. and Juventud Guerrera, causing Vampiro to turn on Muta and later sparked a three way match with Sting. After this he went on to have a few matches against Mike Awesome and while injured WWE bought out WCW and his contract was not picked up. Vampiro returned to Mexico and even made a few appearances for companies like TNA, JCW and Wrestling Society X. Vampiro is currently working as an announcer for Lucha Underground, a show on El Ray Network featuring matches from wrestlers from AAA. If Vampiro was to be in this game besides Sting I would have him in feuds with The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio Jr., Alberto Del Rio and Goldust!

Key Match Against Sting: Great American Bash 2000 – Sting vs. Vampiro in a Human Torch Match. 

So those are a few names I would have loved to seen in WWE 2K15 for a Sting Rivalry/ Feud story line! I know that Sid Vicious is supposed to be in the game as a manager, but not a wrestler because that makes a lot of sense, 2K, and the fact that none of the Four Horsemen besides Ric Flair is in the game makes me really want to see them in next years. Plus I would love to see guys like The Great Muta in a WWE game, but sadly I see this never happening. While this could be the worse WWE game roster in a long time, here is to hoping they get their act together next year and give us long time fans something better.

WWE 2K15 Sting with Bat

For those of you wondering and don’t know who Marshall Bravestarr is, let me tell you a little about the character. Bravestarr is of Native American decent and is a very good man who wants to uphold the law and help those who can’t help themselves. Bravestarr can call on his spirit animals and gain superhuman powers for a short time.  For example, if he calls on the Bear, he gains its strength, and if he calls on a Hawk he gains super sight and so on and so on. His best friend is his trusty cyborg horse name Thirty/Thirty who not only walks on all fours but can also walk on two legs like a person and fire a gun to help. He also has a small deputy named Fuzz, a green powerhouse bartender named Handlebar, a female Judge named J.B. McBride and has many other strange and helpful allies in New Texas. So if you find yourself in space and in need of help just call for Marshall Bravestarr as he will be there to lend a hand.

Marshall Bravestarr 1Marshall BravestarrMarshall Bravestarr 2

Filmation,the same company who made “Masters Of The Universe”, “Ghostbusters” and so many more great cartoons in 1987, decided to make a cartoon about space and then they had the idea of mixing in the old west! Back in 1984 while they worked on Ghostbusters, they created an evil ghost cowboy named Tex Hex as one of the series baddies, but the character was pulled from the list as founding member of Filmation Lou Scheimer liked the character’s look and didn’t want him to be a second banana villain so Tex never made it to the cartoon. Tex Hex sat around for 3 years until 1987 when they began to develop the space western animated action cartoon Bravestarr. The series would run for 1 very long season with 65 episodes total as well as a film in 1988. When I was a young lad, I knew very few kids who watched Bravestarr and even fewer kids who owned any of the toys! If I remember right, I think Jeremy Patton had a few that he would bring to the playground in Waynesville, and Grandma Brassfield had Tex Hex and Bravestarr at her house. I can remember watching the cartoon from time to time and while it was fun, it just didn’t catch my attention like other toons released the same year did like Ducktales, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, not to mention other cartoons still running at the time like Muppet Babies, Dennis The Menace, The Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Snorks and so many others were things I watched. Plus at this time I was watching horror hosts Commander USA and Grandpa Munster who started Super Scary Saturday on TBS in 1987, so sadly Bravestarr was just not a shinning star for a young Matt to be watching all the time. The show also just like many other Filmation cartoons always ended with a lesson to be learned and would teach not only the characters but of course us the viewers. While I was not a loyal watcher, I do have a fond likeness for Bravestarr, and even went out and bought all the seasons on DVD.

Bravestarr 1BraveStarr 2Tex Hex 2

In 1988 “Bravestarr: The Movie” was released to limited theaters and was a bomb at the box office as it mostly showed during the day on weekends for its short run. The film was trashed by critics and even fans of the show were not sold, and the film fell off the radar. The film was groundbreaking on some small levels as it was the first animated film to use computer graphics, and was the first animated film to come out after the original show was off the air. The film’s plot was an origin story and followed how Bravestarr and Tex Hex became bitter enemies and showed that the Bull Skull named Stampede is the true evil mastermind. I barely remember the film coming out and for some reason think that it might have had a showing at the movie theater that use to be inside the Dayton Mall. The film did come out on VHS and twice on DVD, one being on a single disc release and the other being part of a best of.  So if you want to watch the origin story of the law of New Texas then you have options.

The Legend of Bravestarr 1The Legend of Bravestarr Movie PosterThe Legend of Bravestarr 2

I must mention that one of my favorite bad guys from this series was a fish faced lizard man named Sandstorm! Sandstorm’s power is that he can breath out large amounts of sand and create sand clouds, sand creatures and even can put people to sleep with his sand much like the famed folklore legend Mr. Sandman. His race is called Sand Walruses, and his kind are native to New Texas. For some reason his look reminds me a lot of Mer-Man from Masters of the Universe. Ed Gilbert is the voice actor who played the part who also did voices for characters like Blitzwing (Transformers), General Hawk (G.I. Joe), Metlar (Inhumainoids), Mr. Smee (Peter Pan and the Pirates), Major Disaster (Toxic Crusaders), Baloo (Tailspin), El Seed (The Tick) as well as many other characters in many cartoons. My brother Bryan seems to think we had the Mattel figure of Sandstorm growing up, I however barely remember owning it. So just wanted to give Sandstorm his tiny time to shine before we move onto more history of Bravestarr.

Sandstorm 1SandstormSandstorm 2

I wanted to take a brief moment to cover this: many of the women I know have this weird thing where they think cowboys/country boys are the definition of a man’s man, and even in media, it’s pushed this way from John Wayne all the way to the Marlboro Man, they are considered tough rugged good looking guys. Well I am going to take this time and be on the opposite side and say that I find country and cowgirls sexy! And I am pretty sure I can pin point the moment I found the look of cowgirl sexy, and that’s Brad from Nickelodeon show Hey Dude played by Kelly Brown started it for me and Faith Hill the country singer sealed it. Something about a pretty girl with the looks of the Girl Next Door wearing a cowboy hat and chaps is something that a guy like myself can appreciate. Don’t want to waste too much time talking about this, but just wanted to give a shout out to all the cowgirls out there. Below are some cowgirls including former WWE Diva Maria dressed as one as well as singer Jewel.

Maria as CowgirlJewel CowgirlGirl Next Door CowgirlBlonde Cowgirl

Mattel Toys started to make figures based on Bravestarr almost immediately when the cartoon came out and made them different and more “grand” then many of the figures being released at the time as they stood 8” tall and many of them came with infra red backpacks that interacted with a laser gun you could buy and have your very own shoot outs with the figures! Besides all the main cast of characters like Marshall Bravestarr, Tex Hex, Sandstorm and Deputy Fuzz, they also made the town and jail play set, the wagon and the laser gun. The figures when released came in boxes with very cool art on them and a window to peer in and see the toy. But as I stated before, not many kids I knew had these toys but I do remember seeing the toys on the shelves of stores like Hills, Hearts and Gold Circle and remember seeing lots of them in stock. I can’t be for sure on this statement, but from what I could see at a young age these toys must not have sold very well in normal department stores and must have found some tracking via discount stores like Odd Lots. Being older now and looking at the figures now I must say while they are bulky, they are very well done, and I am sure really made kids of the time happy if they were fans of the cartoon.

Bravestarr figureTex Hex FigureBravestarr Sandstorm Figure

Funny enough as I was working on putting this blog together, my friend Brett Prescott who does video game reviews called “Bad or Rad” brought almost a full set of Bravestarr figures into my work to sell! While going through the collection, a sense of nostalgia rushed over me as I looked up the going prices for each figure and even the jail/town playset. And while I knew I wanted them, looking at the figures made me want to own them even more.  So what you are looking at below are the Bravestarr figures I bought from my work thanks to my pal Brett!

My Bravestarr FiguresMy Sandstorm Figure

Besides the Mattel Toys and Blackthrone Comic series, lots of other merchandise was made to try and make money off the cartoon that includes Halloween masks, lunchboxes, a video game for home computers, pillow cases and bed sheets, Colorforms, storybooks, stickers and even water guns! They tried really hard to try and make kids of the 80’s care about Bravestarr, and for those who did, they had plenty of things to choose from. I really think that both Mattel and Filmation thought that Bravestarr would have been their successor to Masters Of The Universe and put lots of eggs in that basket that sadly for them just didn’t bring the draw that He-Man did.

Bravestarr colorformsBravestarr lunchboxBravestarr Halloween CostumeBraveStarr video game for Spectrum

So are you ready to hit the old trail and stop outlaws with our good pal Marshall Bravestarr? Before he swears us in as deputies hoever, I do need to thank Lone Star Comics and Mile High Comics for having these issues in stock and must also remind everyone that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s saddle up and go kick some Tex Hex butt as we put on our 3-D Glasses and hit the trail.

Bravestarr 3d 1

Bravestar 3-D  # 1   **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $2.50    Blackthorne    # 1 of 2

Shaman is the father of young Bravestarr who sends him away to become a Marshall at a young age, when he finds that his powers could no longer defeat his enemy Stampede. Years pass, and the planet of New Texas is a hole in the wall that’s main resource is Kerium crystals that is used as fuel sources for large ships. The planet is also filled with outlaws and that’s why law enforcement like Judge J.B. McBride, outpost owner Handlebar, Mayer Derringer and of course Marshall Bavestarr with his trusty cyborg horse 30/30 and pint size Deputey Fuzz look after the townspeople. The ghost bull skull known as Stampede sends his right hand man Tex Hex alongside Sand Storm, Skuzz and Vipra head to town and have a showdown with Bravestarr and his allies.  The fight doesn’t last long, and Barvestarr sends them high tailing it outta town. As Bravestarr is proud of his heroic deed, he gets a visit from Shaman who tells him a long fight is ahead of them all and to learn from each other. In the end to show the townspeople strength, Marshall Bravestarr, Fuzz, 30/30. Handlebar and J.B stand tall and ready for the tough fight ahead.

First thing I have to say is that I hate 3-D comics, and this is one where the “3-D” doesn’t work as well and just kind of looks blurry, so I had to order better 3-D glasses from Amazon to try and help see if I could actually read this comic and get the full effect! The new glasses did help, and I was able to enjoy the sci-fi Western with more enjoyment. The plot is really a crash course of an origin story as we are shown a young Bravestarr being sent to a Marshall station and then follow him as he makes quick work of his enemy Tex Hex to show just how noble and strong he is to the townspeople. Marshall Bravestarr is 100% pure cheesy old school western hero complete with white hat and a sense of pride and very high self-confidence. He is a great hero for this style comic, and I can see why Mattel and Filmation thought they had a hit on their hands. Judge J.B. McBride is a great female character who is pretty and also a fighter; it’s also clear that she has a crush on Bravestarr. Deputy Fuzz is your typical small annoying character that appears in most of Filmations IPs as well as many other 80’s cartoons so just think Snarf and Orko and you have Fuzz. Handlebar and 30/30 are not given much to do in this issue so I hope that in the second they are fleshed out more as they are both important in the cartoon this 3-D comic is based on. Tex Hex is kind of wasted in this issue as he is made of full of pretty quick and is knocked on his butt with a single punch from Bravestarr.  It does show however that he has powers as he turns into a giant. Other bad guys like Sand Storm, robot Thunder Stick, pint size terror Skuzz and female reptile woman Vipra are all wasted and are taken out super quick by the heroes. While the first issue is good, it also adds no real threat as we just see in matter of panels that all the bad guys can be beating with little to no effort making me wonder just who can beat Bravestarr? The art is done by Adrian Moro and is pretty dang good and looks like the cartoon.  The downside is the terrible 3-D effect put onto the art by Bob & Nancy Fritsch that worked only some of the time. Over all this is a pretty good comic that captures the cheesy feel of the cartoon it was based on. I really dig the cover of this issue, as for some reason it has a old western trading card look to it. Let’s move onto the second and final issue in this series and see just how Blackthorne Comics sent Bravestarr off into the big canceled newsstand in the sky.

Bravestarr 3d 2

Bravestar 3-D  # 2   **1/2
Released in 1988    Cover Price $2.50    Blackthorne    # 2 of 2

A group of kids are fighting and one time friends are really mad at each other as Bravestarr, 30/30 and J.B McBride come over to break it up. The kids are fighting over a item that one thinks the other stole, and J.B tell them a story of how Bravestarr meet 30/30! It begins with Shaman training Bravestarr and tells him that he must go to and find the ultimate weapon.  The young Marshall rushes off into the desert and finds a old temple and inside is a powerful gun as well as a cyborg horse named 30/30 who is mad and thinks Bravestarr is nothing more then a treasure hunting thief.  The two duke it out and cause the temple to collapse! Bravestarr saves 30/30 from the destruction and the two become friends with Bravestarr learning that friendship is the ultimate weapon. The kids learn the lesson and rush off to enjoy the day as do Bravestarr and his friends.

A heart warming issue that teaches us all that with a good friend at your side you don’t have to live in fear, that is unless you are both stuck in the path of King Kong…or you’re both cornered by a horde of zombies with no weapons…or if you’re on the bad side of Doctor Doom…or…wait you get the point. The plot of the issue is when Bravestarr met 30/30 and how they fist fought and then became best friends.  While Bravestarr comes off like his boy scout self, 30/30 comes off as a hotheaded bully who would rather fight then talk it out. Judge J.B acts as a storyteller as she is the one to speak to the kids of this epic meeting. This issue has zero bad guys and once more has no threats, making you as the reader know that nothing bad is going to happen to anyone. Art is well done by Adrian Moro once more as the 3-D effects were handled by Bob & Nancy Fritsch again.  This second cover is okay, but for some reason it looks like Bravestarr is having a stroke on it. This second issue is the same as the first a cheesy comic based on a cheesy sci-fi Western cartoon. Below is some of the 3-D artwork used in the two issues so enjoy!

Bravestarr Art 1Bravestarr Art 2Bravestarr Art 3

Well it looks like we took out old Tex Hex pretty quick, and it looks like Blackthorne didn’t truly believe in Bravestarr 3-D as a series as they pulled the plug only two issues in. While I was not a super fan of Bravestarr growing up, I found that these comic were pretty well done and the younger me would have enjoyed them and even maybe helped me care more about catching and watching the cartoon when it was airing. But as Marshal Bravestarr rides off into the sunset, I feel the need to tell you that our next update will be about the DC Comic based on the arcade video game Centipede! So until next time make sure to read a comic or two and support your local horror host.

Centepede Logo

The Road Warriors Pro Wrestlings Top Tag Team

“Ohhhhhhhhh What A Rush” it is to bring you another update to Rotten Ink and this time it’s all about Hawk and Animal The Road Warriors or is it The Legion Of Doom the world of wrestling’s most powerful and dominate tag team! Growing up I loved pro wrestling and spent many of time watching it with my Grandpa, Dad and Brother and besides WWF we watched allot of NWA/WCW and one of my favorite tag teams of all time was The Road Warriors two muscle bound face painted wrestlers who mowed down the computation and took no prisoners. I can remember having Remco action figures of The Road Warriors as well as the AWA Thumbster of Animal as also posters of them taking from Pro Wrestling Illustrated hanging on my walls. So with this update I want to give you a run down of their career as well as talk about my memories of them in wrestling, the main attraction will be the reviews for the comic series based on them called Fifth Force: Hawk & Animal made by Antarctic Press so lets get into the ring with The Road Warriors and hope they don’t knock our heads off with their finisher The Doomsday Device.

LOD Doomsday DeviceIn 1982 in Georgia Championship Wrestling Paul Ellering introduced a stable of wrestlers he called The Legion Of Doom that consisted of Jake “The Snake” Roberts, King Kong Bundy, Matt Borne, Arn Anderson, The Spoiler, The Sheik, Iron Sheik and The Road Warriors. The group was short lived and the name was taken from the old Super Friends Cartoon and later the name Legion of Doom was just given to The Road Warriors and manager Ellering who dominated the tag team division and would win the federations tag titles a total of three times. They left in 1984 to find bigger and better things. During this first run is were they got the reputation of being rough, no sellers who did what they wanted when they wanted.

Road Warrior HawkThe Road WarriorsRoad Warrior Animal

In 1984 they joined the AWA (American Wrestling Alliance) were they quickly captured the Tag Titles and went from bad guys to one of the companies top draws. They feuded with the likes of The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane & Steve Keirn) as well as The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts) and would dominate the federation for a few years. While in the AWA they would also make appearances in Japan with All Japan Pro Wrestling as well as the NWA and for both they were major draws. The Road Warriors left AWA in 1986 with their final appearance being at the Wrestlerock event.

Road Warriors 1Road Warriors 2Road Warriors 3

From AWA to NWA took place in 1986 and upon entering the federation the won the first ever Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament by beating the team of Magnum T.A. and Ronnie Garvin. And from this moment on they were major attractions for all the companies events even fighting in a Scaffold Match against The Midnight Express and later feuding with the likes of The Four Horseman who was the biggest Heel stable around. While there they turned from Good to Bad to Good again and even was around when Ted Turner bought NWA and turned it into WCW (World Championship Wrestling) and had many great feuds with teams like Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed), Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey), The Varsity Club (Steve Williams & Mike Rotunda), The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu & Samu) among many other great teams. They left in 1990 after not seeing eye to eye with Jim Herd who was running WCW at the time. And with this also marked the true end of them being know as The Road Warriors as the next places they landed had other ideas for them.

Road Warriors 4Road Warriors 5Road Warriors 6

In 1990 when they left WCW they landed in the WWF were they were known as The Legion Of Doom and quickly teamed with The Ultimate Warrior and began a feud with Demolition (Ax, Smash & Crush) that was short lived. They then won the Tag Titles from The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) and held them until they lost to the team of Money Inc. that’s members were Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and I.R.S. in 1992 and after this lose they left the company for a short amount of time only to come back this time with Paul Ellering and a ventriloquist dummy named Roco who was the teams inspiration. This terrible gimmick lead quickly to Hawk quitting the company and this ending the Legion of Dooms first WWF run, as Animal stuck around and filled out the teams contract now teaming with a repackaged Crush. During this time Animal also injured his back severally taking him out of wrestling for awhile.

Legion of Doom HawkLegion Of Doom 0Legion of Doom Animal

Hawk in 1992 after leaving WWF and his partner Animal behind went to Japan again and started a team called The Hellraisers alongside his new partner The Power Warrior (Kensuke Sasaki) and together they became a top tag team in New Japan Pro Wrestling. They even won the tag titles from Scott Norton and Tony Halme and would later feud with the team known as The Jurassic Powers (Scott Norton & Hercules) this team up also helped launch The Power Warrior from a mid-card draw to a main event star. In 1996 after his back injury healed Animal joined his old partner and The Power Warrior in New Japan for a very short run.

The HellraisersThe Hellraisers 2Power Warrior

1996 Hawk and Animal once more went back to WCW for a very short run and took on teams like Harlem Heat and The Steiner Brothers and even got a number of title shots against Tag Team Champions Sting and Lex Luger, but never did win the belts back. The Legion Of Doom quickly left again when they claimed that Eric Bischoff who was running WCW at the time lied to them over money.

WCW Legion of Doom 1wcw legion of doom 2WCW Legion of Doom 3

For a year Hawk and Animal wrestled for small independent companies till in 1997 they once more reached a deal to come back to the WWF and once more proved they were the top tag team in the world when they beat the likes of The Godwins, The Headbangers and even was placed in a feud with the heel stable The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog and Brian Pillman) having to team up with the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldust and Ken Shamrock. They even won the world tag titles in 1997 and shocked the world when they lost them to a new tag team later that year named The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & Road Dogg), The Legion of Doom tried several times to get the belts back but couldn’t and in 1998 on Monday Night Raw the partners and friends brawled with each other on television and disappeared for awhile.

Legion of Doom 7Legion of Doom 8Legion of Doom 9

Later in 1998 sporting a new look that consisted of helmets, normal hair and a new manager Sunny The Legion of Doom became L.O.D. 2000 an updated version of themselves. Sunny left the team pretty quickly and they were joined by Droz a wrestler who could puke on demand who was acting as a manager for them. Paul Ellering also returned and was now the manager for a biker tag team called the D.O.A. who was feuding with the LOD at the time. During this time they did a storyline were Hawk always seemed to be drunk or high on drugs and this was causing tension among the team as Droz was having to don the makeup and shoulder pads and help Animal. This segment ended with Hawk looking as if he jumped from the Titantron committing suicide or even that maybe Droz pushed him off leaving everyone to question was Droz the one giving Hawk the drugs. The storyline went nowhere and the team floated around for awhile and left in 1999, and began floating around the independent wrestling federations.

LOD 2OOODroz LODLOD 2000 1

In 2001 with Hawks health in question Animal resigned with WCW to become an enforcer for champion Scott Steiner who called his stable the Magnificent Seven that’s other members included Rick Steiner, Lex Luger, Jeff Jarrett and Buff Bagwell. Animals introduction to the group was a surprise as he wore a mask all the way up to his debut. The stable was short lived and later that year when the owner of WWF Vince McMahon bought WCW, Animal’s contract was not picked up.

WCW Animal 1WCW Animal 2WCW Animal 3

In 2002 Hawk and Animal signed very briefly with TNA (Total None Stop Action Wrestling) as part of a group that was fighting one time WWF writer Vince Russo who had a stable called Sports Entertainment Xtreme. Sadly The Legion Of Doom only got to wrestle one match before leaving in 2003.

Legion_of_Doom 10Legion of Doom 11LOD TNA

Hawk and Animal made their final WWF appearance in 2003 when they took on the tag team champions Rob Van Damn and Kane, while they loss the crowd was clearly happy to see them back. The Legion of Doom was hoping that this appearance would lead to a contract but sadly on October 19th 2003 Hawk passed away from a heart attack at the age of 46, marking a sad day for wrestling fans and the end of the original Legion of Doom. Animal however in 2005 would return to WWF with new partner Heidenreich the New Legion of Doom would last till 2006 when Heidenreich was fired. Animal would stick around as a solo wrestler for awhile and would simple be called The Road Warrior Animal and would drop the makeup as well as the shoulder pads from his gimmick. In 2006 Animal was released from his contract.

New Legion of DoomRIP HawkHeidenreich LOD

This was the last major run for Animal as he would go onto make some appearances for TNA, Independents as well as even for WWF as he and Hawk made it into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2011. His last televised match was in 2012 on WWF Smackdown as he took on Heath Slater in a match he dominated. At the age of 54 it appears Animals full time in ring career is over but damn did he and Hawk have a good run. For those of you wondering Hawks real name is Michael Hegstrand and Animals is Joe Laurinaitis.

WWE Animal 1WWE Animal 2WWE Animal 3

While both of them were bad asses, Hawk is the one who was more of a loose cannon and did some funny and great stuff outside of wrestling like the following things. Hawk and Randy Savage got into a fist fight backstage at a wrestling event rumored over a piece of pizza that would continue some years later backstage at a Kid Rock concert. It’s also said that Hawk beat up on Eddie Guerrero backstage and that Hawk was clearly just being a bully. Hawk also beat up a fellow patron at a movie theater when he found out that the guy’s brother killed a cop from his hometown. Hawk was also a bouncer at a bar and took pleasure in throwing out the drunks that got out of hand. Hawk also claimed that Vince McMahan and Shawn “HBK” Michaels were gay lovers on the Road Warriors RF Shoot Interview. During the 1998 WWF attraction called “Brawl For It All” were WWF Superstars boxed and grappled in real life Hawk faced Droz to a draw. Hawk also was battling alcohol and drug addiction during the LOD 2000 and Droz angle and the writers wrote this into the storyline. Say what you will but Road Warrior Hawk was a great wrestler and entertainer and I was so sad when I heard about his passing as the sport of pro wrestling truly lost a major talent.

HawkHawk 2Hawk 3

One NWA story line for some reason that has always stuck out to me was when Road Warrior Animal suffered an eye injury at the hands of The Powers of Pain (Barbarian and Warlord) during a weightlifting computation, causing Animal to miss some matches and later return wearing a Hockey Mask to protect his eye and ready to battle those who injured him. The feud ended when The Powers of Pain quit the NWA after not wanting to do a series of Scaffold Matches that they feared they could be hurt in real life doing. When Animal first came back wearing the mask my brother and I thought that it was not the real Animal and was another wrestler filling in for him, and for some reason the image of him wearing the mask has always stuck in my mind.

Hockey Mask Animal

The Legion Of Doom has been so popular over the ages, they have had a ton of merchandise based around them such as t-shirts, posters, stickers, trading cards, magazines and even fruit drinks called WWE Bodyslam. They have been in many video games like WCW for Nintendo and WWE 13 for PS3 and Xbox 360. They have had VHS and DVDs showcasing their careers made as well as books written about them. They have filmed shoot interviews for companies like RF Video and Highspots and have appeared at wrestling themed conventions. Many toys have been made based on them by companies like Remco and Hasbro allowing kids to make them tag champions of their toy wrestling leagues. Some of my favorite toys growing up were my AWA Road Warriors that were the size of He-Man and that I would use as bounty hunters to try and capture He-Man and they also would wrestle the likes of Ric Flair and Rick Martel. If you’re a fan of the LOD there is plenty of great stuff for you to collect.

WCW NES GameRemco AWA Road Warriors figuresLOD T-ShirtLOD DVD

So you just had a quick crash course all about The Legion of Doom and just how impactful they were as a tag team. I mean they were the first team that was able capture the Tag Titles in all three major federations (WWF, WCW, AWA) as well as hold the belts of many other minor and major promotions. So some time back when I found out that a comic book series was made about them I was pretty hyped to track them down, and thanks to Mavericks and Lone Star Comics, I was able to read them for the first time just for this blog update! And I must say I am pretty hyped to see what kind of action and story they come up with for this tag team. So before we enter the ring, I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So with that let’s get ready to rumble and witness Hawk and Animal do what they do best and that’s kick some butt.

Fifth Force Hawk & Animal 1

The Fifth Force: Hawk & Animal  # 1   *
Released in 1999   Cover Price $1.99   Antarctic Press   # 1 of 2

Mr. Dart is a shadow faced trench coat wearing henchman for Dr. Rancid who use their corrupt powers to frame The Legion of Doom as cheaters! When Hawk & Animal show up in Japan they meet with manager Vern who tells them they are under investigation for cheating to win the Tag Titles, and this means they are banned from wrestling and all their money is being tied up until things can be figured out. The Legion of Doom are upset and that’s when they get a visit from Mr. Dart who tells them he can make it all go away if they wrestle tonight and loose the belts; he even gives them money to help smooth over throwing the match. Hawk and Animal give it some thought and don’t see any other way out because they want to wrestle and go into the match against rivals The Kabuki Men with losing on their mind. The match is one sided as Animal takes a beating from Kabuki Men and just when all looks lost, Hawk wants to tag in and issue one comes to an end.

The Legion Of Doom are ass kicking machines who have always seemed to play by their own rules in every federation they have wrestled for so why in the world would issue one have them thinking of throwing a match all cause of some chumped up charges of cheating? Plus what the hell….so in Japan if they think you cheated to win wrestling belts, they can not only ban you from the sport all over the world, but can also tie up all your money…what federation are they working for, one ran by the Yukuza?! Hawk and Animal in the issue come off as wrestlers who have two thing on their minds and that’s wrestling and being champions, but man they also come off as mindless drones as they just go along with what a shadow faced man tells them he can do for them. Neither Dart nor Rancid come off as a big threat making this comic kind of just spin in neutral. The art is pretty cheesy and not the style I like as it has an amateur style mixed with American style Manga and is done by an unknown artist because I could not find their credit anywhere in the issue. Over all this is a very disappointing comic, and the only real appeal is the fact its about The Legion Of Doom.  So let’s not waste any more time on this simple silly comic and move onto issue # 2.

Fifth Force Hawk & Animal 2

The Fifth Force: Hawk & Animal  # 2   *
Released in 1999    Cover Price $2.50    Antarctic Press    # 2 of 2

Hawk and Animal decide during the match that they are not going to lose the belts to the Kabuki Men and pin them in the ring fair and square. After the match, Hawk and Animal get into the limo and are knocked out by gas and taken to a secret base where they are locked in a metal crate and sent to the bottom of the ocean. Mr. Dart and Dr. Rancid are also frozen and punished by Mr. Yamiyuri who in turn is blown up by the Mob for not bullying The Legion of Doom into losing the belts like they were told. In the end the news is running a story about the missing wrestling tag team champs.

Wow, this second issue is more worthless then the first.  I really hate saying that, but man, this comic series seems very pointless and it goes nowhere. The point of this issue is that The Legion of Doom will not take a fall and that this all has been set up by the mafia who for some reason really wanted the tag titles off Hawk and Animal. All the characters are the same as before, and none of them are fully fleshed out making them all just seem bland and one-dimensional and making you wonder why you should even care on what’s happing. The issue also has the same art and for some reason has a .51 price increase for the same low amount of pages. Not to mention the issue ends on a cliff hanger with The Legion Of Doom missing and at the bottom of the ocean…and the 3rd issue in the series never came out making one wonder what happened to the famed wrestling tag team. Plus I am sure that poor sales and bad reviews are why this series was dead in the water after only two issues. To sum it all up, I would say that this could be one of the worst comic series based on real life pro wrestlers ever made and even die hard Legion of Doom fans like myself will be disappointed in the comics story and quality.

Fifth Force Art 1Fifth Force Art 2

The Legion of Doom aka The Road Warriors deserved a better comic series than this and to find out that Animal had something to do with it makes it all so much worse. From what I understand the comics were going to be a way to introduce a comic series that would promote healthy living and working out, but when the first two issue bombed, the third issue that was going to lead to this plan was cancelled. This could be the biggest disappointment thus far doing this blog as I really hoped it would at least be entertaining, and all I got was a lame poorly drawn and written comic with no direction. I need something good for the next update to get this terrible comic series out of my brain so I think we will take a look at something a whole lot better as we tackle the 3-D BlackThorne Comic adventures of Bravestarr based on the classic 80’s cartoon made by Filmation! So until then, watch WWE Monday Night Raw and read a comic or two and remember the rush you got watching the LOD dominate the world of Tag Team Wrestling.

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