DC War Superstars Featuring Sgt. Rock!

In the words of Edwin Starr “War, huh, yeah…What is it good for…Absolutely nothing.” While the lyrics to that song make lots of sense, they also forget the fact that war is good for something as without it, the world would not have American Heroes in comic books like Captain America, Fighting American, The Shield and Super Green Beret to name a few. And let’s not forget literary and movie heroes like Rambo and Colonel John Matrix. For this quick update, I will showcase a DC Comics one-shot issue that reprinted a classic war story that featured some of their top characters of the time that included Sgt. Rock, Lt. Johnny Cloud and Haunted Tank driver Jeb Stuart as they have to work together to save and deliver one of America’s only hopes in an agent that’s very unusual. So if you are ready, strap on your helmet and let’s head to war DC Comic style!

I am sure you longtime readers know that the update after the July 4th has always been about my trip to the Horror Convention Monster Bash with Juliet, but sadly this year the summer event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak that pretty much shut down the world and changed lots of events that I had planned. I 100% understand why events like Monster Bash, Horror Hound, Cinema Wasteland and others were cancelled as lots of people attend them and the virus could spread very easily from attendee to attendee causing more illness and even deaths. But while I do understand, I was also very disappointed as every year I look forward to going to Monster Bash and enjoying all the amazing restaurants, sites and friends I get to see while in Cranberry Township. So while I am bummed, maybe later this year if all this clears up, Juliet and I will take a trip and I will cover it here on Rotten Ink.

Typical none-superhero War Comics were never my thing growing up, and the only one that I really enjoyed and still do to this day is DC Comics character The Unknown Solider who I will 100% cover some year soon for a July 4th American Hero update as he is a true comic icon and hero in this blogger’s eyes! Growing up I can remember my brother getting some issues of DC war comics from our Grandma Brassfield when she would get them from garage sales for him, and for the most part I would barely read or look at them with Sgt. Rock being the only one I would once in a blue moon read as the action in his comic was slightly more fast paced. But one comic from those hauls that always caught my attention was called “Battle Classics” that brought Sgt. Rock together with many of the other War characters teaming up to save the life of a person stuck in a metal suit, and to be honest, the cover showcasing the metal suit is why I checked it out! When planning this update I figured that I should give a little brief bio on each of the heroes that are showcased in this issue. So sit back, relax, and let’s chat about DC Comic’s battle stars, only after I talk about the July 4th Holiday Horror Movie Marathon 2020!

With Monster Bash not happening this year, Juliet and I decided on the long July 4, 2020 weekend that we would have ourselves a Horror Movie Marathon! On July 4th we had ourselves a pre-show of four frightful films as we ate pork chops, baked potatoes and corn! The first film of the day was the 1958 Horror/Sci-Fi film called “Frankenstein 1970” that is about the last relative of Frankenstein trying to create a life in his image all the while hosting a TV Film crew trying to make a Horror series that are clueless to his plan of creating a monster. Next up was the “horror” western film “Rawhide Terror” about a masked killer who is killing people of a small town for crimes of their past. Fun side note: this film was done by Al Adamson’s dad! We then watched the 1970 made for TV version of the George Dibdin Pitt story The String Of Pearls with “Mystery And Imagination: Sweeney Todd” about a killer barber who is slipping into total madness. And the last film of the night was “Mystery And Imagination: Dracula” that was released in 1968 and is about vampire Count Dracula and attempt to turn Lucy Weston into one of his undead brides.

This was a super fun Holiday night of horrors as the food was great and the films were very entertaining! The Golden Turkey of this pre-show for both of us hands down was “Rawhide Terror.” While it was a very cheesy and poorly made western, the “horror” aspect was not in sight and to be honest the film had some many plot holes and dead ends that it made Swiss Cheese look solid. The best film of the night for me was “Mystery And Imagination: Dracula” as I felt this short film captured the book well in 75min with Susan George who played Lucy being not only beautiful but also fantastic in the role, and Denholm Elliot was okay as Dracula…even if we nicknamed him Chubby Dracula! Juliet picked “Frankenstein 1970” as she loved the vibe and feel of this Sci-Fi Horror film and thought The Monster was cheesy fantastic! For the Golden Turkey of the Pre-Show, Juliet and I both picked “Rawhide Terror” as it was kind of a mess plot wise, and while it had a killer on the loose, it was not pulled off very well at all…in other words this Horror Western was a miss. To sum it up, a great night as after the movies we sat and listened to the booms of the fireworks outside.

The main day of The Holiday Horror Movie Marathon Weekend took place on July 5th and started at 8am, and of course this day was as well packed with good food that included breakfast casserole, chips and dip, mixed nuts and burritos! We started our day with the 1958 Sci-Fi/Horror flick “Colossus Of New York” about a genius that dies in an accident and his father & brother put his brain into a massive robotic man. We then viewed “Pharaoh’s Curse” about a tomb being opened in Egypt that turns one of the expedition team members into a walking Mummy! For the third movie we stayed in the 1950’s and watched “Invasion Of The Saucer-Men” about aliens that land near a lovers lane and a couple trying to prove that they are real to the adults and the law. “The Gallows Act II” was the next fright flick and it was about a young woman who craves fame and makes the mistake of taking “The Charlie Challenge” on a YouTube Video. Space themed Horror Flick “Plaguers” was next on the blood tap and is about a space crew and space pirates fighting for their lives against infected mutated humans. The super cheesy and sleazy “Dracula In A Women’s Prison” was next and follows Dracula and his vampire brides running a prison, while a former victim’s sister tries to kill him. Indie film “Moon Of The Blood Beast” was next and is a sort of sequel to the film Track Of The Moon Beast that’s about a killer monster on the loose in a park. Next up was “A Nun’s Curse” a film I helped crowdfund that is about an evil sprit of a Nun called Sister Monday who has become a life long obsession of a young woman. The unlucky number nine film of the day was the reboot/sequel film “I Eat You Skin” about a group of photographers in the Philippines trying to take a picture of a rare bird, but instead one becomes a murderous zombie! The next indie fright flick to try and scare us was “Straight Edge Kegger” about a group of Straight Edge young men who snap when a member leaves the group and goes to a party, and all they can think of is to kill the drinkers! We then watched the 1989 Italian Horror Flick “Paganini Horror” about a popular female singer shooting a music video in a haunted mansion, that turns out to be a true nightmarish terror for her and her band. The final film of the night is the Bela Lugosi film “Invisible Ghost” about strange killings that take place in a respected Doctors home, who’s the killer and why are they killing? Over all as always this was a great day spent with Juliet as we watched many great films and ate some amazing food and was a great way to forget the Virus Crisis for just one day.

So something happened on this Horror Movie Marathon that has never happened before: Juliet and I picked the same films in the same order for our top three films of the event and we both choose the same film as the Golden Turkey! For The Golden Turkey we picked “Moon Of The Blood Beast” and while it was not a bad film at all, the only thing that took us both out of the film was the long segments that just showed footage from the old flick “Track Of The Moon Beast” which is a kind of prequel to this film. Otherwise, the monster was cool and plus seeing Alana Evans in a none adult film role was great to see. Our # 3 pick was “Straight Edge Kegger,” a really cool indie Horror Movie that starts out as a drama of a young man struggling with the Straight Edge militant lifestyle and then turns into a mix of The Purge and You’re Next! Our # 2 was Paganini Horror a silly and yet entertaining Italian spooky ghost mixed with a slasher film with a very cool killer and silly 80’s music! And our # 1 went to “Colossus Of New York” as it was a great classic Sci-Fi Horror Film that mixed the elements of both very well and even had a cool looking robotic monster that racked up a decent body count. I also want to note that Invisible Ghost almost took my # 3 spot as I really enjoyed the cheaply made Lugosi film. This Marathon from start to finish was packed with some great films and even the Golden Turkey ones we picked were good and entertaining in there own way.

So The Golden Massacre Award goes to the Straight Edge Warriors from Straight Kegger as they racked up a body count of over 15 people in brutal and quick ways! One of the most brutal has a poor partier who had drain cleaner forced down his throat via a beer funnel! The Straight Edge Warriors killed people in a pack and had a very brutal mentality when dealing death and sadly think that their killing of people drinking and using drugs is right. So here is to the Straight Edge Warriors who made this July 4th 2020 marathon a little more bloody.

Sgt. Franklin John Rock is part of the infantry branch of the U.S. Army during World War II and later became the head of a unit that was called Easy Company that would get into the dangerous missions. He joined the Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor as he was working in a steel mill and was set off by the sneak attack. His time in the military he was well respected by his peers and feared by his enemies as he was a great combat fighter, a crack shot, is hard to kill, seems to have a weird sixth sense when it comes to battles and is a quick thinker under extreme pressure. Sadly the Earth 1 Sgt. Rock was killed at the end of the war by the final bullet fired by the enemy. He is a true icon of War Comics and a true Comic Book American Hero.

LT. Johnny “Flying Cloud” Cloud is a Native American fighter pilot that is very skilled and respected by most of his peers as he single handily killed many Nazi pilots by gunning their plans down in firefights. His unit of fighters was called “The Happy Braves” and later became a member of a group called “The Losers”. Johnny would also go on to be promoted to Captain and by the end of the war he was thought dead, but it turned out to not be true and he went on to live a normal life. A very interesting and cool character that played up on the treatment of Native American people at that time, worth checking out if you like war comics.

Jeb Stuart is the commander of a tank in World War II that is dubbed The Haunted Tank as the spirit of his ancestor J.E.B. Stuart, a General in the Confederate Army, haunts the tank and helps Jeb in battle against the Nazis. The Haunted Tank was DC Comics second longest running War Comic character and would over the years go on to make appearances in comics. I would like to also point out to those who might not know that J.E.B. Stuart was indeed a real General during the Civil War. The Haunted Tank is a cool concept for a character but not one I have must interest in.

So before we get to the review section of this update I want to take a moment to talk about a 1980’s shot on video fan film called Sgt. Rock that was done by Red Planet Films on a budget of only $300.00! This short film’s plot is about Sgt. Rock being thirteen years old and fighting cyborgs, zombies and the evil Queen that controls them. Along with two of his best soldiers they travel behind enemy lines and come face to face with a skilled ninja, a killer Cyborg with massive firepower and after defeating them and stealing the armor and helmets of two other Cyborgs Sgt. Rock and his one surviving ally enter the Queens base and blow it up with her inside it.

And after watching this short fan film I must say it was lots of fun and these guys clearly loved the comic series Sgt. Rock and as well loved Horror and Sci-Fi films as they mashed them all together like a big bowl of mashed potatoes and delivered a really fun and entertaining flick. The acting is pure backyard film stuff, but I must admit it is better than most I have seen. The Cyborgs and Zombies are nothing more than Halloween masks and helmets with one actor wearing an old Darth Vader helmet! While it’s not perfect, it is a really fun little fan film that you should check out on YouTube after you read this update.

So I can see you readers are ready to gear up and head into Battle Classics so let’s not talk about our fellow soldiers on the suicide mission, let’s not talk about fan films and let’s talk about how I am grading this comic on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. And if not for those brave soldiers at Bell, Book And Comic for having this comic in stock this Classic Battle could not be talked about…so grab your MRE Full Meal and pull up your seat as it’s time to talk about Sgt. Rock and his war time buddies.

Battle Classics # 1  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .50     DC Comics     # 1 of 1

“Suicide Mission” Fighter pilot Lt. Johnny Cloud is given a very top secret special mission that does not even allow him to open until he is in air and away from enemy lines and is given orders if captured to blow himself and the orders up! After taking a Nazi plane, he opens his orders that is to pick up an agent named “Martin” and get him to a military base as he has info that could help end the war as well as save lives! Johnny Cloud arrives at the pick up point and finds a fatally wounded man who shows him a man in a heavy iron suit that is Martin, you see the Nazis trapped him in the suit so he could not get away, and just in time Johnny is able to help Martin into the plane and they fly off as a Nazi gunner shows up missing his time to bring them down. And while in the air Johnny has another air battle with Nazi planes and bringing them down, he gets help from an American tank lead by Jeb Stuart who gets Martin and Johnny into his super tank as Johnny’s plane is down for the count after the battle. Jeb in his tank with his new passengers inside goes up against a Nazi tanks and when things look bad the Ghost of a Civil War General that haunts the tank helps guide them through, and things look good until they hit a land mine! Sgt. Rock and his men are nearby and start to make their way to the stalled American tank when a blast from a Nazi tank leaves them all dead, besides Sgt. Rock who with every bit of energy he has fires a bazooka at the tank blowing it up. Sgt. Rock makes his way to the US Tank and is meet by Jeb Stuart and Johnny Cloud and all three men help Martin out of the tank and they start their journey to home base. Along the way Sgt. Rock gets Jeb and Johnny to help him get Martin out of the metal suit and find that Martin is really female French Agent Mlle Marie! Now the four of them make their way faster to the US Military Base, but they get stopped by a Nazi Tank close to the base and with quick thinking Sgt. Rock is able to use his skills and blow up the enemy tank and saving all their lives as they were all marked for death. In the end for delivering Mlle safe and she tells the secrets that she knows Sgt. Rock, Johnny Cloud and Jeb Stuart all receive promotions for their bravery in what was called a Suicide Mission.

This World War II war comic from DC Comics is a fantastic read that brings together some of their best characters from this genre of comics in one single issue on one epic mission that they all have to work together in order to pull off. Suicide Mission is a great title for this story arc as pilot Lt. Johnny Cloud is given a mission to pick up and rescue a French informant that has info that could help win the war and has orders that if he is captured to self destruct his plane! And when things go south after he gets the informant, they must depend on American soldiers to get the informant safe to the Military base. Lt. Johnny Cloud is awesome and is a Native American pilot who wants to make his tribe and country proud of his actions, and he is damn good at what he does! He is a character that I knew about but never read any issues off besides this one and now as an adult I find myself wanting to find some issues to enjoy. Jeb Stuart and his Haunted Tank that has a ghost of a civil war general that haunts it is a little silly, but yet still pretty cool as DC blends their war and horror comics together. While Jeb Stuart is interesting and very noble to the cause of bringing down Nazi’s he was the weaker of our heroes, as I don’t think they let his personality really shine. Mademoiselle Marie or Mll. Marie for short is the female agent that is stuck in the iron suit and goes by the name “Martin”, and she herself is a hero of DC war comics and is really a Nazi butt kicker in her own right. And Mll. is the true hero of the issue as she is the one that has all the information of the super weapon that the enemy planned to use! And the main star of the comic and the most iconic is Sgt. Rock, a tough as nails soldier who has no fear and risks his own life in order to save his fellow fighters and to help completer the mission at hand. I also like how Sgt. Rock brings down a tank with some grenades like it was something he does every day! The Nazis are total scumbags and as the reader you find yourself cheering for our heroes to deal out death to them, as they are super cold blooded and egotistical and deserve it.

This comic really did hold up for me and in fact I think now that I am older I enjoyed this comic even more and was even able to understand the stakes a lot better that each of our war heroes faced. The cover is great and fantastic and eye catching and is what made me read it when I was a kid from the stack of comics my Brother got that day, and to be honest that cover has always stuck in my mind when I think of comics from my youth. The interior art is done by the iconic artist Joe Kubert and is fantastic, but what do you expect from an artist who had his own art school named after him that is still going to this day. Over all I am not a major fan of War Comics but I will say that this comic as well as Unknown Solider issues are worth checking out and if you find a copy of this at your local comic shop make sure to pick it up and give it a read. Check out some artwork bellow from this issue and check out the style of Kubert.

I hope you enjoyed this quick update and that maybe it has also sparked your interest in checking out this one shot issue as it really is a good read for fans and even none fans of War Comics. While I am very much bummed out about not attended Monster Bash and being in Evans City walking around the NOTLD Cemetery I am very thankful for all of my family, friends and you readers being well! For my next update I am going to be turning over Rotten Ink once more to Juliet who is going to be covering the HBO Vampire show True Blood, so you know that’s going to be a good one. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two, support your local Horror Host and let your loved ones know you care. See you next update for a good old glass of True Blood to keep those hunger pains away.

American Hero: Super Green Beret

July 4th is a very special day for America as way back in 1776 we as a nation declared that we were no longer under British rule and that we would be our own nation and the United States Of America became one of the world’s biggest and best. This day every year since has been filled with fireworks, friends & family time and of course grilled out food! This year for July 4th my lady Juliet and I decided to hang out and enjoy the day and good conversation about movies, comics and of course Horror Hosts and times like these are what make memories that will last. For this Independence Day American Hero update, I have chosen an obscure war hero named Super Green Beret who lasted only two issues and is a character that fits perfectly for Rotten Ink. So if you are ready to spend a little of your holiday time with me here at Rotten Ink and chat about Super Green Beret, then let’s grab a cold drink and get ready for the fireworks to celebrate our freedom.

The United States Army Special Forces, known as The Green Berets, were founded on June 19, 1952 and are the best of the best when it comes to Army soldiers. Growing up in a small village during the Gulf War really exposed me to the military as American Pride was very high. I mean sure, before that I knew a few people in the military like my Grandpa Salyers, but he would never really talk much about it. This was my first real look at military pride as in school for months we had to sing “Proud To Be An American” by Lee Greenwood and our music teacher acted like our Soldiers would know we were singing this for them. When I was older and in my early 20’s, the tragic events of 9/11 happened and once more pride in our military was high as they waged war on terrorism and nations who supported it. And of course this war still rages on to this day as many of our troops are still in areas of high fighting. Also here in our area is the famous Air Force Museum as well as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, making the area very big for military personal as well as those who are into the history of our fighting forces. So here is to all the brave men and women who have served in our military and have fought for our freedoms and in their own way helped make this blog and update possible.

I’m just going to very briefly touch on the origin of this amazing American Hero known as Super Green Beret! Thile working for Lightning Comics, the team of C.C. Beck and Otto Binder created a war character called Tod Holton Super Green Beret that first hit comic racks in 1967 and was a way for them to deal with the Vietnam War as well as the stress of the time of war that was rippling through America. Super Green Beret lasted a total of two issues before Lightning Comics went out of business, and this was the only comic series made from the company. The character Tod Holton is a high school student who, when he wears a magical Green Beret and salutes, turns into the ultimate hero solider Super Green Beret! When thinking of War Comic characters, names like Sgt. Nick Fury, Sgt. Rock, The Unknown Solider and Enemy Ace come to mind, and sadly Super Green Beret really is a Forgotten Hero who in the world of comics is an American Hero.

Before we get to the comic reviews and before the fireworks fill the sky, I would like to chat a little about a cool toy line that I remember from my childhood that was made by Mattel in 1986 and featured soldiers as well as ninjas! This toy series was called GUTS! and they were all the rage for a very short time among my friend group. I can remember these little guys being everywhere when I was a kid. From the playground all the way to my cousins’ house, it seemed these army toys were super popular. I even owned some of them and can remember playing with them outside in the yard. To be honest, I think that the kids of my generation really liked them as they were a cooler version of the classic Green Plastic Army Men that have been must-have toys for generations. The series would not only feature Army Soldiers and Ninjas but also Laser Fighters and Underwater Attack Forces and not to even mention it had two vehicles released in the series. And the crazy thing being, with about 58 figures made, they all came out in the same year and the toy line only lasted that one year. It was clear Mattel wanted these figures to be a big hit as each character in the series got its own name. The downside to the figures was they fact they were not pose-able and had zero moving parts; plus they were only about 3” tall, a size that did not make them fit in with G.I. Joe figures and was bigger than even the M.U.S.C.L.E. toys making them a very awkward size. It makes one wonder if Mattel will ever try and release a new series of GUTS! and if they will change they style in order to make them more modern. Below are some pictures of GUTS! that include the back of a package that showcases some of the soldiers, an ad for the figures on sale and a group of the figures that was at Game Swap Kettering a year back.

Well at this point I hope you have a grilled cheeseburger or hot dog in hand and your favorite beverage by your side as it’s time for use to take a look at the comic series Super Green Beret from Lightning Comics. I need to first thank YouTube show Comic Tropes for bringing this American Hero character to my attention, and I also would like to thank sellers on Amazon and Ebay for having these comics in stock making this 4th of July update possible. I want to remind all you readers that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. So let’s see what Super Green Beret brings to the world of war hero comics!

Super Green Beret # 1  **1/2
Released in 1967     Cover Price .25       Lightning     # 1 of 2

“Super Green Beret” Captain Roger Wilson is on leave from the Vietnam for two weeks and visits his nephew Tod Holton and gives him a gift that is a glowing green beret that was given magical powers by a Monk that Roger saved from a wild boar. And when Tod puts the beret on, he becomes an adult that is in complete Green Beret Gear, and he and his uncle find out the magic is real and that Tod has now become Super Green Beret! After his uncle leaves, Tod finds out his magical beret also can pick up war transmissions, and he rushes to Vietnam to save American soldiers that are pinned down inside a cave using his magic to get them out and back to base safely all the while bringing down the enemy. “Rebel Rat-Hole” the President of a Latin American country is under attack by rebels who want to end his life as he wants freedom for his country, and when Tod hears about the attack he puts on the beret and saves the life of the President but also loses his beret to a rebel who steals it and runs away. With the magical beret gone, he turns back into Tod and gets captured and taken to the rebels camp where he is to be shot and killed and asks to die with honor of wearing the green beret and turns into Super Green Beret and beats up the rebels and turns them over to the government. “White Magic In The Black Forest” Tod is at home and working on his history homework about World War II when he gets a message from the past and decides to time travel to the Black Forest of Berlin to aid some American Soldiers against a band of Nazis, and the ultimate payout for this mission is to stop Hitler from getting on a plane the day before he kills himself! The final story is “Sorcery Against Saboteurs!” Tod nexts picks up an evil plot by the Vietcong that has them wanting to blow up a bridge that American trucks are driving on, and when he gets there to stop it his beret falls off and into the water and he is once more taken prisoner but not before he stops the explosion! They then throw Tod into the river where the beret is and with the help of an alligator he is able to get the beret back on and stops a suicide boat that next tries to crash into the bridge. In the end Super Green Beret is able to save the Army Truck filled with soldiers, repair the bridge with magic and then lead the US Soldiers to the enemy base and once more Super Green Beret saves the day!

This first issue is King Sized and featured 4 action packed Super Green Beret adventures and one just normal war story and gives the readers a full dose of a war comic hero that Lightning was hoping would have been a major hit with comic fans and would have been their top character and could have launched them into a major player in the comic industry. Each of these stories featuring Super Green Beret are different and yet still the same as it follows a very simple formula of Tod getting a message from the beret, he puts the beret on and uses magic in order to help American soldiers and from time to time he loses the beret during the battle and turns into normal teenage Tod who most of the time easily gets it back. And while by modern comic standards this would be considered a very boring issue, I enjoyed the fact that it was clearly a product of its time and tried its best to deliver a message of USA is the best and anything is possible in a world so seriously strange…wait isn’t that the catch phrase of YouTube star Rob Gavagan? Tod Holton is a teenager who wants to grow up and be like his uncle and become a war hero, and when he gets a magical green beret he becomes a supernatural soldier hero that always saves the day. Tod is a smart kid who knows his history and can think quick in order to problem solve and have a plan to defeat the enemies of freedom. Super Green Beret is really just an adult version of Tod that is protected by magic and can use this magic in order to protect American Soldiers and use against the foreign armies. Over all Super Green Beret appears during the battle or event, uses his powers and like a phantom in the night is gone and returns back being Tod. The bad guys are the Vietcong and even the Nazis and the ones they show are bloodthirsty, terrorist freedom hating goons who are dangerous and dumb. The cover is pretty great and is eye catching at is show Super Green Beret kicking some butt and the bright yellow background makes it stand out. The interior art is done by Carl Pfeufer, and while very classically simple and not ground breaking, I like it for the most part besides some of the over exaggerated features of the comics bad guys, I could do without that. Over all Super Green Beret # 1 is a fun read, and while not amazing, it’s a great American Hero style comic that’s perfect for your July 4th holiday.

Super Green Beret # 2  *1/2
Released in 1967     Cover Price .25       Lightning     # 2 of 2

“The Lion God Of Mokuru” A pair of American Peace Corps members are about to be thrown into lava on the orders of Simba The Lion God as they want to bring electricity to a small village, and Simba is not having it. The Monk that has the beret power calls on Tod to become Super Green Beret who saves the two men and fights off the villagers, who now are begging him to protect them from Simba’s rage! Super Green Beret starts looking around the volcano and ends up getting poisoned and taken prisoner by Domo Yamata, who is the President using the legend of Simba to make his people fall in line. Domo then tries to murder Super Green Beret by placing him in an active volcano with dynamite that will explode and set off some rumbles that will scare the villagers to think Simba is mad at them. Super Green Beret escapes the trap, but the explosion sets free Domo’s pet lion who goes after the Presidents son with Super Green Beret arriving at the right time and saving the young man, stops the lava from hitting the village and these actions make Domo the leader of his people he should be and that includes allowing the electricity to come to the village. “Dawn Of American Freedom!” Tod is hanging out with his classmates at a soda shop and remembers he needs to write a paper on 1776 and rushes to the library only to find it closed! He then decides to do the next best thing and that’s put on the magical Green Beret and time travel to 1776 in order to learn about that years history and battles. And right off the bat saves some Americans against British Soldiers and meets Martha Page and takes her to a ball hosted by General Howe. Once there he is found out to be an American Spy and is set to die via firing squad and escapes just in time in order to help the American Soldiers defeat the British ones. “Ambush” a small village in Vietnam is supporting US troops, but the North Vietnamese keep stopping any and all food shipments making the American Soldiers and the villagers starve. Super Green Beret arrives in time to save the village’s leader who sadly turns out to be a spy and has been helping the enemy all along as he is getting food while his people go hungry. Super Green Beret figures this out, but is attacked by the Village Leader’s Wife and they drop him off to the General of the bad guys that wants to kill him after they stop the next food drop off attack. But thanks to a young kid, Super Green Beret escapes and sets up his own plan and along with American Soldiers they take down the Vietcong with their own ambush. Super Green Beret gets the soldiers and villagers food and then returns home and his life as teenager Tod.

Wow, this second issue of Super Green Beret is really bad, and for the most part, sad to say, is super boring with poor storytelling! Some of my biggest problems with this issue are the fact they cannot keep their own lore straight as in the story “Dawn Of American Freedom” Super Green Beret walks around with the magical beret off, when every time before this made the hero turn back into a teenager, not to even mention his magical powers seem to go away for the most part and are replaced with super strength, and the Monk who placed the magic in the beret seems to be the one now who contacts Tod via the messages coming from the magic hat…like they really needed to get their character folklore down. While in the first issue I found myself enjoying every adventure equally as they each had a fun nature to them, in this second issue I found that I really was not much into any of the stories and “Ambush” would be the only one I can say had a glimmer of hope at being a solid War Hero comic story. Tod in this issue seems to kind of just have a smirk on his face at all times and has no issues blowing off his school work to go play hero, and even at one point turns into his alter ego just so he can try and catch up on a history paper he was slacking off on. So in other words Tod has changed and is not the teen that we meet in the first issue. Super Green Beret also has gone through a change as he is no longer super magically charged and now has the power of a weight lifting steroid addict! He also for some reason delivers some really bad one-liners while he is fighting the baddies even at one point talking about how he is from the Pepsi Generation…just terrible. The bad guys in this issue as well come off as dummies that have the upper hand and are defeated quickly when they fumble around. The cover for issue two as well is pretty dang good and eye catching, not to even mention the interior art is once more done by Carl Pfeufer and is great simple classic style stuff. Over all while I have never been a major fan of War Comics, I did find the first issue to be an enjoyable read and Super Green Beret to be a noble and patriotic character that was worth a read, and found the second issue to be the opposite and very much a boring poorly comic adventure. So Super Green Beret is a comic American Hero, and while he is no Captain America, he did do his part to fight for Freedom! Check out the artwork below to see the style of artist Pfeufer.

So I hope that you enjoyed this look at Super Green Beret on this 2020 July 4th Holiday update! And I hope that during this virus crisis we are all going through together, you are getting to spend some safe/socially distanced time with your loved ones and eat some great grilled out food and that there are some fireworks in your area to fill the night sky. While this crisis is scary, I do also hope that it’s made us all appreciate our family, friends and co-workers even more than ever have before. For our next update, I am going to keep The American Hero theme going as I will be covering a DC Comic One Shot issue called Battle Classics that brings together many of their War Comic Heroes including Sgt. Rock! So until next time, enjoy your holiday and tell your family and friends that you care about them. See you next update for another round of War with comic book heroes.

 

From Horror Western Movie To Horror Western Comic: Night Of The Grizzly (1966)

Nature can be scary as we have talked about here before on Rotten Ink with my updates on that subject like “Final Plague” and “Giant Spider Invasion” and with this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update we are going to take a look at something in that genre and yet a little different. The film and comic we are going to be taking a look at is Night Of The Grizzly, a hybrid of Western, Adventure with a dash of Horror movie that as back in the late 1960’s got the DELL movie adaptation treatment. So I know many of you readers right now are scratching your head and saying, “Night Of The Grizzly is not a Horror Movie,” and for the most part you are correct, but I and others do feel that it at least has Horror Movie elements that tie into Nature Runs Amok Horror films like Grizzly, Night Of The Lupus, Day Of The Animals, Frogs and The Birds to name a few. So let’s travel to the old frontier and watch out for ragging grizzly bears as we take a look at From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Night Of The Grizzly.*

*Note From Matt: It’s got Horror elements…sort of….just roll with it and have fun reading this update.

Satan The Grizzly Bear is this film’s main killing machine, and I think we should take a look at what makes him so dangerous and deadly. Satan is a massive brown furred grizzly bear who has a killer instinct and not only kills for food, but also kills for the fun of it. Satan loves to kill and almost seems to take joy in taking the lives of animals and humans alike. To kill, Satan has multiple tools of death like his razor sharp teeth and claws that he can use to shred and mangle flesh. Satan can also use his massive size and weight to his advantage, plus his size and look also helps strike fear in the hearts of his victims. Satan is also smart for an animal and can use his brains to trick and sneak up on his kill. Not to even mention that Satan is strong, fast and can take lots of damage from guns. Satan also is very vindictive, and once he has his prey’s scent, he goes after them and all they love until they are dead. But while Satan is one tough grizzly, he still is a living animal and can be hurt and killed by bullets, fire, massive falls and stabbing. His downfall comes with a ton of bullets from a rife and even being stabbed! So as you can see, Satan is one tough animal who might not be supernatural, he just is mean as all hell with a thirst for death.

Now that we have learned how the Grizzly named Satan deals with humans and fellow animals, I feel it’s time to take a look at the film he killed in! For this update I will be taking the films write up from our friends at IMDB, and after I will write about the film’s production as well as my thoughts about it. So if you are ready, let’s see what the night brings the grizzly.

The Night Of The Grizzly (1966)

“Marshal “Big Jim” Cole turns in his badge and heads to Wyoming with his family in order to settle on some land left him by a relative. He faces opposition from a neighbor who wants that land for his own sons, and from a grizzly bear, nicknamed “Satan”, who keeps killing Cole’s livestock.”

In the 1960’s both Westerns and Horror Movies were profitable at Drive-In Theaters, and moviegoers could not get enough. And Paramount Pictures decided to slyly blend the two with a film called The Night Of The Grizzly that was about a former lawman rancher who has issues with his property thanks to some troublesome folks who want his land and for good measure they also threw in a convict he arrested years back, and the icing on the cake and the true Horror element of the film is the giant grizzly bear that is tormenting the ranches by killing folks as well as livestock. The script was written by Warren Douglas, and Joseph Pevney was hired to direct, who was known for directing films like “The Strange Door” and “Man Of A Thousand Faces (1957)” not to mention that Leith Stevens was brought in to score the film. When it came to casting the film, the main role of Big Jim went to Clint Walker with Martha Hyer, Keenan Wynn and Candy Moore rounding out some of the cast. The film did pretty well for Paramount at the cinema and over all the film also did well with most critics and movie watchers. When released it was alongside other genre films like Manos The Hands Of Fate, War Of The Gargantuas, The Brides Of Fu Manchu, The Ghost And Mr. Chicken and Africa Blood & Guts to name a few. If you like animal attack films as well as westerns give Night Of The Grizzly a watch.

Night Of The Grizzly is a movie I can remember that used to play on cable network station TBS a lot when I was a young kid growing up,  and I can remember watching it once or twice as I had always been fascinated with Grizzly Bears as I find them both amazing and terrifying as they really are massive meat eating killing machines! But to be honest, I didn’t remember a thing about it besides it was a bear attack film. So when gearing up for this review, I ordered a DVD of it from Amazon and on a cold night in October I gave it a watch…and man this is a fun film for those who enjoy westerns with some comedy elements as well as a dash of horror when Satan the grizzly is on screen. I can say it’s a pretty fun film if you like the 60’s style western films. I think what works the best for this film is just how good Clint Walker is as Big Jim and just how strangely powerful the Grizzly is. Plus as a person who thinks big old Grizzly Bears are scary, this movie does a great job of showing just how massive and blood thirsty they can be. Over all it’s a good little film that I can remember watching as a kid and enjoying more as an adult.

So as you can see, Satan is one mean killing machine grizzly bear who also seems to have some sort of supernatural healing power! We also know that the film only has a tiny, small amount of Horror…but that tiny amount is truly Satan! But let’s get past the question whether this has Horror elements or if it just a normal western adventure and take a look at the Dell Comic Adaptation. I want to remind you all that I grade this comic on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I want to also thank Ebay for having this comic in stock and making this update possible. So with that let’s head to the ranch and try not to be eaten alive by Satan.

The Night Of The Grizzly # 612  ***
Released in 1966   Cover Price .12   DELL     #612 of ???

Big Jim Cole is a retired sheriff whose grandfather left him a ranch in his will, so along with his wife, daughter, niece and family friend Sam, they want to start a new life of being ranchers so Jim can leave the dangerous life of the law behind. Once at the ranch they settle in and start to clean up the old house and get animals ready for stock, but late one night, Jim’s bull is killed by Satan a grizzly bear that has tormented the countryside. Jim even shots Satan who shrugs off the wound and flees into the woods. The next day Jim trades in some of his former law goods to get a loan, but this would be his last loan as Jed Curry, the ranch’s former owner is rich and owns the largest part of the banks and wants his land back from the Coles. Jim and old Sam head to the woods to hunt Satan who sneaks up on them, and Jim is able to fire a few shots into the beast before the men have to run for their lives. Months pass, and the Coles are doing very well and the town seems to have really warmed up to them, and even better, no one has seen Satan for awhile, that is until the Cole Family gets home and all their livestock and chickens have been killed by the murderous bear. The next day, Jim Cole has to get a loan to buy new animals and has to make a deal with Jed Curry who makes him place his land as collateral, and Curry also puts a large bounty on the head of Satan as the bear killed many farmers’ animals that night. Jim and Sam take the bounty, but so does Cass Dowdy, a man that Jim put in jail for two years and has a chip on his shoulder, and Jeb offers Cass a thousand dollars if he can kill Satan before Jim does. Once home Jim and Sam set traps for Satan and head out to kill the beast, but once more the grizzly gets the jump on them and attacks and leaves Sam dead. And after the funeral, Jim is even more set to kill the bear as his wife is pushing for them to just sell the farm and leave the farm as she is worried Cass or Satan is going to kill her husband. The next day Jim sets out and finds all his traps have been messed with and gets into a fight with Cass, and this fight sparks a huge fight with his wife who threatens to leave…his son overhears the fight and that night sneaks out to kill Satan and he does not return by the next day. Jim sets out to find his son and once more runs into Cass, and the pair are mad but work together to save Jim’s Son and in the end Cass dies protecting the young kid. Jim kills Satan and gets the reward and saves the farm.

This adaptation does a pretty good job of bringing the film alive on comic pages, and while it cuts massive parts of the film as well as characters out, this helps the comic’s pacing. To be honest, the comic cuts all the comedy and goofy moments out, and this comic really does play more like a Nature Runs Amok Horror Movie like Grizzly. The plot follows a former lawman and his family who want to settle down and become farmers but they have so many issues as they must face a killing machine grizzly bear, a greedy rich land owner and even a bounty hunter from their past. Our hero is Big Jim Cole, a man who loves his family and wants to leave the dangerous world of being a lawman to become a farmer and family man, but because of his past he also will not back down when faced with bad odds! He is a tough man who truly is a hero that will remind you of all the classic western heroes you seen in movies and on TV. The Cole family as well are just good people as is Sam, who is an old man who would do anything for them. Jed Curry is a scumbag who throws his power and money around as he thinks these things will get him what ever he wants…he really is a bad person. Cass Curry is a former convict turned bounty hunter who has a grudge with Jim Cole who was the man who put him away, but while a tough guy, he still has a heart as he sacrifices his own life to save a young boys. Satan, the grizzly bear, is pure evil as he kills just to kill and seems to also keep grudges against those who have tried to stop him from his murdering ways. The comic has no blood and guts but does have two kills of humans and the deaths of some farm animals. The cover is great and has a Horror look to it, and the interior art is done by an un-credited artist and is pretty solid classic Dell comic art. Over all this is a great read and worth the pick for fans of Dell movie adaptation. Check out the artwork below.

So as you can see, Night Of The Grizzly is a weird hybrid of multiple genres and delivered one entertaining comic book. Again, this one is up for debate on whether it’s a horror movie or not, and over all I am not sure myself as I do feel it has elements but they are very slim and are mostly just when the killer bear is on the screen. But I will leave it up to you, my readers, to make up your own mind. For the next update we are leaving the Cole Ranch and will be traveling the greater Dayton area in search of the best fried chicken in the land. So until next time, readers and friends read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a deep fried good time.fried-chicken-1000x498

Black Bow And His Indie Superhero Forgotten Friends

Being the owner of an indie comic company has just really cemented my love for true independent comics. You know the ones I am talking about, the comics that are made by creators who sell their books directly to readers at conventions, public appearances and at local comic shops. These creators are the true backbone of the comic industry as their passion and love for their creations shows. While the Marvel and DC both just see marketing tools for blockbuster movies and streaming TV shows nowadays, it’s the indie guys that are delivering amazing reads and fresh new characters. So with this update I have decided to once again dig through the cheap boxes at comic shops and search the web for some superheroes from indie comics that didn’t get a fair shake when it came to getting the popularity of Spider-Man or Superman as well as even the courtesy of getting more than a small handful of issues released. I really did have a blast back on February 3, 2019 when I covered the likes of Rottweiler, T-Bird and Blood Bath and with that I am going to add a fourth hero to the update as like all good “sequels” you need to up the action! So if you are ready, let’s take a look at some truly amazing forgotten and over looked Superheroes of the comic shop cheap bins. Below is the comic book case at Game Swap Kettering when they first started carrying higher end comics.

First up is a character named Black Bow from a company called Artline Studios. I heard about this comic on an episode of Cartoonist Kayfabe!, a YouTube show hosted by comic creators Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor who also seem to enjoy these type of indie comics. Artline Studios looks like it opened its doors in 1990 and boarded them up in 1992 with a total of four titles released, all only lasting one issue each. The comics they released besides Black Bow were the following: DeathWind, Tekknights and Sting/Killer Synthetic Toads…and yes all of them at some point will get the Rotten Ink treatment. From what I gather Artline Studios was based out of Illinois and was a collective of artist coming together to create the company and bring new and fresh superheroes into the hands of readers. And like so many Indie companies before them and even after them, Artline Studios made a small mark on the world of comics and created many heroes that make you wonder what if they would have lasted or caught on with readers.

So to start this review off right, we are going to start with the character Black Bow that made me want to do another of these updates about indie heroes that never got the chance to becomes icons. I got Black Bow off Ebay from Mile High Comics and am pretty hyped to read it for the first time. This comic and all the ones that follow I want to remind you all that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s enter the world of Black Bow as well as the heroes that have been selected for this update.

Black-Bow # 1  **1/2
Released in 1991    Cover Price $2.50     ArtLine Studios    # 1 of 1

Black Bow lives in the sewers of Chicago, and on this night he stalks a drug dealer. Before shooting him with arrows, he gets the name of his supplier. The main drug dealer is John Atkins, who not only is a drug seller but also a man who deals in illegal porn and runs his own Satanic Cult. Once Black Bow breaks into his mansion, he soon finds out that it’s a trap and he is caught in a pentagram on the floor that has hands trying to pull him down to Hell. Black Bow fires arrows at his demonic enemies and escapes the pentagram trap and is then confronted by a demon named Slaze who goes on the attack, but Black Bow knows he is on bad footing and escapes the mansion and heads into the dark with the idea of returning and ending the Demon and his master. We then cut back to the drug dealer who awakens from being shot with arrows and questions his life of crime. And worse, a woman appears at Black Bow’s mother’s house and alerts her that her baby is indeed Black Bow’s!

This series ends on a major cliffhanger and it stinks, as I really would have loved to read other issues featuring Black Bow and see how he would bring down a satanic drug lord and his demonic forces. The plot of issue one has Black Bow getting the location of a very evil man who is doing lots of very bad things who has been waiting for our hero and sets a trap for him that leaves Black Bow almost dragged to hell and forced to flee the fight in order to stay alive. Add in the side plots of Black Bow’s girlfriend alerting his family he has a child and the drug dealer who ratted out his boss rising from what appears the dead after being shot with arrows, and you have this fun indie issue. Black Bow is a pretty cool hero who has a very late 80’s indie hero look complete with a metal facemask and hood. I really like the idea of a hero with a mystical bow living in the city’s sewer who wants to clean up the streets of all the crime that is running rampant. I also like the fact he is a full fledged vigilante and has zero tolerance for criminals. The issue’s villain is John Atkins and sadly we never do get a look at him, but we do know that he is a massive drug lord, deals in porn, owns a massive mansion and has his own cult that worships Satan. We also know he has opened a portal to Hell and has many demons under his control including one named Slaze who seems to almost be John’s bodyguard. The comic is a very quick read as it also has two back up stories with one being the origin of Black Bow and how he got his power, and the other features another costume hero named Alley Cat. Both of those backup stories are worth reading. The cover for this issue is eye catching for fans of Indie Comics and would have been a comic I would have picked up if I had seen it as a kid. The comics interior art was done by Ed Decker, and I must say it pretty dang good, oh and Ed also created the character! Over all I must say Black Bow is a very solid comic with a pretty cool character who never got his time to shine. Check out the art below to see the style of Ed Decker and see just how cool Black Bow looks.

While looking around the cheap boxes of comics at Bell, Book And Comic, I found an interesting issue in the box of $1.00 # 1’s called My Name Is Mud, and I knew this hero was perfect for this update as he was a hero that only lasted one issue from a company no one has heard of. Incognito Comics looks like it started and died in 1994 and only had this one comic under its belt. I am guessing that the company was owned by artist and creator Brian Denham who went on to work for companies like Marvel, IDW, Image, DC among many others. So as you can see, this company’s rise and fall came with the same issue. So here is to you, Incognito Comics, for making a tiny speck in the world of comics.

My Name Is Mud is a comic when that I saw it, I knew that this had to be one of the forgotten heroes I covered on this update as he fit perfectly as he only lasted one issue, was released by a very short lived comic company and had an interesting look! So let’s see what Mud is all about.

My Name Is Mud # 1  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50     Incognito Comics   # 1 of 1

Kid Chaos is a young teen who has the powers of a God and when bored he decides to go on a rampage in the city streets as people watched on in fear. As he tires of the destruction, he floats away and from the shadows Mud appears, a hero who was enjoying his day off and knew he was no match for the evil doer. Later on Mud returns to the police station, his home away from home, and finds out that a fellow officer has been murdered and his boss wants him on the case even if it’s his day off. Mud must break off his date with girlfriend Liz ,and she is angry telling him not to come back, and in his gut Mud has a bad feeling about his new case. After heading to a pub to drink a beer and get a ham & cheese sandwich, he meets an old man who tells him he can see his future and he will be going on a major journey…and before they can talk some more, Kid Chaos is back and sets up a fight with Mud. A few hours pass and Mud arrives at the meeting spot and Kid Chaos hits him with a massive energy blast that leaves our hero hurt. Filled with rage Mud goes on the attack and looses control and beats Kid Chaos to death! After he murders the teen, Mud decides to quit the force and move away from the city and finds that he is just wondering around a canyon when he happens upon a young woman who ends up being his new love interest.

This one was a little surprising and was a really solid read that created a world that I would have liked to have seen more of. This comic follows the massive superhero Mud who works for the police department, and while he loves his job, he does also enjoy his time away from it, and when he must battle an overly powerful teen that leads to the youngster’s death, the hero must face what he is doing with his life. This is a pretty great superhero comic and takes a turn in the end that I did not see coming as I was shocked that our main hero beat a teenager to death with his bare hands, even if the teen was a super powered villain. Mud himself is a costumed hero who is hulking in size and loves his job as a law enforcement officer, but also battles in his own mind as he knows he is over worked and his free time he wants to spend away from crime and with his lovely lady Liz who sadly he has to break so many dates with as duty always calls. While a good guy superhero, Mud also has a temper and seems to loose his cool when he is scared and has been injured. Kid Chaos is an ego driven teenager who has the power of a God and doesn’t mind using them against innocent people as he seems to get joy in striking fear in the hearts of the townies. But with his ego also comes his downfall as he uses his might against a hero who got the better of him in battle and paid with his life. The world that creator Brian Denham made for Mud was very interesting, and I would have liked to have seen where this comic series would have gone if it lasted more than this one issue. I also have to give Brian credit as he was a one man show of this comic as he was not only the artist but also write, colorist, letterer and even editor! I also find the cover very eye catching on this issue. My Name Is Mud might share a name with a popular Primus song, but this comic stands on its own and was a really solid read. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Brian that I found very good…even if I could see pencil lines left behind.

Dimension Graphics seems to have started around 1986 and closed up shop in 1986 with only four titles under their belt and only one series lasting more than one issue. Series include Hero Man, Secret Doors, Happy Birthday Gnatrat and ElfTrek, the only comic to get a second issue. It appears that Dimension Graphics was run by editor Marcus C. Lusk who truly believed in and loved his company. Like all the indie companies we are covering on this update, there is very little information on Dimension Graphics as it lasted so shortly that it was a blip on the screen of the comic shelves.

So when picking which four heroes to cover on this update that celebrates indie superheroes that never got a fair shake, I landed on Hero Man because all the rest of the heroes we are covering are very serious and I felt the goofy ones also needed to get a little respect. I want to also thank Bell, Book and Comic for having this comic in stock and making this update a little better.

Hero Man # 1  **
Released in 1986     Cover Price $1.75     Dimension Graphics     # 1 of 1

Louis Oak Riley is a Scout Leader who while out in the woods gets crushed by a bowling ball spaceship driven by alien bowling balls who feel bad for crushing him and design a suit for him and give him superpowers and with these powers he becomes Hero Man! Louis works a day job at a factory, and his boss is the man his wife left him for. His life is very bad and his co-worker wants to cheer him up and makes plans for the two of them to travel to amusement park Drexelland to pick up single moms and have a good time. But Louis feels weird going there to pick up women as his daughter Rocks-Ann works there as a clown. So Louis runs to the bathroom and changes into Hero Man as he feels this would go over better with the crowds, and once entering the park fully he runs into his daughter and knocks the balloons from her hand causing her to have to talk to her boss. Once she heads to the office, she finds herself as well as her boss being taken hostage by terrorist who make them stand atop a ice cream mountain and shout demands, and when he notices his daughter has been taking hostage, Hero Man rushes to the rescue and grabs a massive spoon and eats his way to the top of the mountain and beats up the bad guys and saves his Daughter and her boss. In the end the ice cream hurts Hero Man’s stomach and when his co-worker brings two twins with ice cream to him for a date…he pukes and so ends the adventure of Hero Man.

This silly superhero comic is a fun read and Hero Man is lot of fun, but sadly some of the politically incorrect humor took me out of the comic in spots as it was just bad. The story is very simple as a down on his luck guy is granted amazing powers by aliens and even though he is a superhero he still gets no respect and must rise to save his daughter from terrorist. Hero Man is a hero who lacks respect and knowledge and clearly saves the day by coming up with silly ideas. His costume is goofy looking as well but was made of bowling items that his creators the bowling balls from outer space made for him. I also like that he is just a normal guy with normal problems, and even while he has superpowers, he doubts his own ability when it comes to stepping up. Plus I love that Hero Man’s origin is tied into Superman’s as the reason the bowling ball ship crashes to Earth is because baby Superman’s ship crashes into it! The bad guys of this issue are called the P.P.L.O. and are dressed as mascots from the park and threaten to kill hostages and use bombs to blow people up, but while they seem dangerous they are taken out very fast by Hero Man who shows them no mercy. And while I enjoyed this Indie Comic, I need to state I do not find it funny when you as a creator poke fun at a person’s religion or race and do so with nasty names and stereotypes. I also need to say I do not think the creators of this comic had mean intentions at all, but the bad jokes/name calling just doesn’t hold up to modern readers. The cover for this comic is very eye catching for fans of goofy superheroes, and the interior art done by John Cummins is really good as it has a fun almost kids comic look to it. If you like bumbling heroes with cheesy jokes and sight gags, make sure to give Hero Man a read. Check out the artwork below to show the style of Cummins.

Our last hero comes from the company Brainstorm Comics that was started around 1989 and was an indie comic company that delivered all types of styles from Horror to Super Hero and would last as a company until around 2000. Many of the company’s comics were based on Vampires and had a very adult nature to them packed with violence and nudity. Brainstorm lasted a little longer then the other companies on this update and to be honest I have seen more of their books in comic shops then all the others above combined! While Brainstorm Comics was not a major player in the world of Indie Comics, they at least left behind a body of work that is still being collected to this day.

So from Brainstorm Comics I decided to choose Hammer Girl to talk about as she only lasted two issues and feels like she belongs in the world of Forgotten Heroes. I want to thank Lonestar Comics for having both issues in stock, and I have to say this is the first time I will be reading this comic series. So let’s see what Hammer Girl has to offer.

Hammer Girl # 1  **1/2
Released in 1996   Cover Price $2.95   Brainstorm Comics   # 1 of 2

A group of scientist who are playing with time and space have had an experiment go wrong, and John, one of their team members, is now missing in time, and they must figure out a way to rescue him. And while the scientist have a meeting about rebuilding a machine to bring John back, a repair woman known as a Hammer Girl speaks up and tells them they could just send her back in time to fix his transporter and this is the plan they decide to go with. So along with Sonia and a male guard, Hammer Girl travels back in time of the dinosaurs to find the missing man and fix his gadget, but what they find is that they miscalculated time, and John is now a crazed caveman who thinks he is a God and they are there to attack him! Hammer Girl uses a rubber mallet and knocks out John and they find his hidden cave and his transporter that Hammer Girl fixes in no time and once they use it something goes wrong and they are dropped off in an unknown time and once more John is missing.

This first issue of Hammer Girl is just ok and reminds me slightly of a weird mix of “Tank Girl”, “Cadillac and Dinosaurs” and “Super Mario Bros.” with a dash of Anime and while that mash up sounds weird, it kind of works here as it’s a very simple comic with a simple plot and a likable, underdeveloped hero. The story is this a repair woman is sent back in time to fix a stranded scientists gear, and finds herself now stuck in time travel with two others on a quest to get home. Hammer Girl is a hero who is bright, strong willed and will do what ever she can to get the job done she is hired to do. He also get the feeling that she loves her job of being a fix it woman who uses hammers to get most of her work done. The two scientists that are with her while smart and by no means survivors and they are good side characters for Hammer Girl to play off of. The dinosaurs of the world they travel back to are well dinosaurs with the T-Rex being the most dangerous! John who was once a wise man of science is now a caveman who has a delusion of being godlike and while mad they crew sent back still want to help him. Over all this issue is a fun read but also is nothing that special as the story is very normal indie comic. The cover is eye catching for the most part and has a very American Anime style to it. The art is done by Lloyd Meek and is pretty good and his style really makes this story pop. So the first issue is pretty good and makes me want to see what issue two has in store for me.

Hammer Girl # 2  *1/2
Released in 1996   Cover Price $5.00   Brainstorm Comics   # 2 of 2

Hammer Girl and her friends find that they are no longer even on Earth and are on another planet! Meanwhile a race of Eagle humanoids are holding gladiator games in a arena and their champion is Byrdax who after make show work of an alien is challenged by John, and after a quick fight and before he can kill the looney scientist Hammer Girl with a massive hammer enters the arena and challenges Byrdax. The battle starts off very brutal and as the crowd and King watch Hammer Girl wins the fight, and to save face and to find out how they arrived on their planet the King invites them to stay in the Kingdom and even gives them a tour and tells them of the history of their race. Once in their rooms they find their time travel devices and Hammer Girl and the Scientist decide to use them and return home with the still knocked out John. When they arrive back at home they whole city is destroyed and they find that the Bird Race had used the info they learned from them and their time travel equipment and have taken over!

This second and last issue in this series leaves the reader on a major cliffhanger as the Earth they return to is destroyed and over taken by an alien race of bird people and they are super aggressive and only crave worlds to take over and make their own. In this second and final issue in the series Hammer Girl shows that she is not only skilled at fixing stuff, but can also swing that hammer and defend herself like a true warrior. That’s the thing about Hammer Girl as these issue went on you seen more layers to who she really is. The Scientists and John are around and while John tries to fight he is easily beat by the Bird Warrior and the Scientists stand around in fear…in other words they are not helpful. The Bird People are sneaky and creatures of war as they attack and once defeated they lie in order to get information they need in order to find out about Earth as they want to conquer it! When you think about it the end of this comic takes very much from the end of the movie “Planet Of The Apes” with the world being taken over and destroyed by human/animal hybrid people. I think the weird thing about this comic as well is the fact that Brainstorm Comics upped the cover price from $2.95 to $5.00 and I think that hurt sales as this was the final issue in the series that was slated to last lots longer. The cover for this issue is good but does have an adult comic look to it. The interior art is done by B. Dallas Patton and while good it is very much off from the style of Lloyd Meek from the first issue. Over all this canceled series was entertaining but was nothing groundbreaking or new. Check out the art below to see the art style used in these issues.

So like before when I covered Rottweiler, T-Bird and Blood Bath each of these characters have sadly been forgotten by the masses as maybe to less of issues and impact have left them in cheap bins at local comic shops. I mean how many of you readers out there talk about Black Bow, Mud, Hero Man or Hammer Girl with your friends? How many of you even own issues of these characters…while I am sure some of you do the large majority don’t and it’s a sad thing as these characters really are forgotten heroes. And like before I am sure you are all wondering who of the four characters we covered here is the one I would have liked to have seen continue on in the world of comics…I know you are all wondering who I will choose, and like before I am going to show the winner via a Fantasy Warfare battle! So sit back an enjoy this battle between forgotten heroes.

It’s a hot summer day in Chicago and the temperatures are in the high 90’s and it’s around lunchtime as a line at a local pizza joint is out the door as this place is said to have the best deep dish pizza in town. In this line is Louis Oak Riley who is on a lunch break as he has been sent to Chicago by his factory job to supervise the manufacturing of a weird product he don’t even know what it does! Also on a lunch break is Hammer Girl who has spent all morning swinging her hammer to fix some high-end equipment for some high tech company paying her a fortune to maintenance their mechanical junk. The restaurant is hot as the ceiling fans and air conditioner just can’t keep up with the blistering heat from the bright sun and the pizza ovens, and worse tensions inside the restaurant are starting to boil over as the person in the front of the line is taken forever to order his food, and finally after have been waiting for over 17 minutes in the same spot Louis Oak Riley snaps and screams at the front of the line that “other people want to eat lunch too lard ass!” after he says it he feels bad almost instantly as that’s not him he is normally a very nice person, but he really regrets it when the person holding up the line is a massive man that is known as Mud and he is mad at the comments as he is on a date with his lady and cant not be made a fool of and turns to see who was so rude, and when everyone in line see’s how massive he is they all point at poor Louis who is now turning red and knows that this is going to turn south really fast. Mud makes his way over to Louis and grabs him by his shirt so they can be face to face and asks him what he just said with his fist ready to punch his block off, when another voice echoes out that says “Leave Him Alone” and as Mud away from Louis he sees Hammer Girl standing there with a hammer in hand, as she says “I Am Not Going To Say It Again”, Mud laughs her off and goes back to screaming in the face of Louis about manners when Louis tries to apologize he by accident spits a tiny drop on Mud who them backhands Louis across the restaurant and he falls into the Pepsi machine! As this happens Hammer Girl enters the fight now and smashes Mud across his face and this makes him stumble through the front window and Hammer Girl rushes out after Mud who she has now deemed a threat to the people of Chi-Town. Louis gets up covered in Mountain Dew and stumbles into the bathroom and a few moments later comes out in his Hero Man costume and joins the side of Hammer Girl as the massive Mud shakes off the hammer hit and is now really pissed off.

Across the street from the pizza place on the rooftop a masked hero has just sat down to have himself a loaded Chicago Hot Dog that he had just bought off a street vender and he has been looking forward to lunch all day and the heat has been terrible and he had just gotten done bashing a demon that had returned to Earth thanks to a silly cult running out of an abandon building. As he takes his first bite he looks down at the street as a commotion has caught his attention and their stopping traffic in front of the pizza place is Mud who is in a full rage and is charging Hero Man and Hammer Girl who are standing their ground as well ready to take down this rampaging hulking hero man down who only wanted to order 16 pizzas for lunch so he and his date can enjoy a meal together. As Black Bow keeps eating his Hot Dog he watches as Mud and Hero Man lock up in a test of strength the ground beneath each start to crack and crumble as each gain a little ground then loose it, and finally Mud gets the upper hand and knocks Hero Man against a near by van and then follows up with several punches to Hero Man’s face, and now the costume hero is out for the count…as Mud turns around he is meet with a shot from Hammer Girls hammer knocking him to his knees. As Mud looks up he see’s Hammer Girl about to swing down to smash him on the head and he lets her know he will not hit a woman.

Black Bow takes the last bite of his Hot Dog and wipes his fingers off as he then removes a special arrow out and pulls back his bow string and fires just before Hammer Girl is about the smash Muds head like a melon, the arrow lands and sticks into the road next to the fighting heroes and a green gas pours out and fills the lungs of Hammer Girl and Mud and causes them to pass out in the street next to the already knocked out Hero Man. Black Bow makes his way down to street as people have gathered around to watch and among the crowd stories of what Black Bow is going to do to the fallen and short tempered heroes starts to spread as things like execute them and blow them up with an exploding arrow is the top gossip among them, but they are all shocked as he walks passed them all and into the Pizza place and buys a bottle of Pepsi to drink plus a several two liters of Mountain Dew plus orders around four pizzas and once done he walks back out takes a drink from his Pepsi and calmly walks over to the heroes and uses smelling salts to wake them all up and says something to them all that the crowd can not hear and they all follow him. And a few minutes later in an abandon store front Black Bow has brought Hammer Girl, Hero Man and Mud together for a pizza party and all ends well as the one time feuding heroes are now chomping down on some deep dish sausage and extra cheese pizza.

Winner: Black Bow

So as you can see, I really do think that Black Bow would win in a battle against the others and also had the best comic out of the lot and the one that I think had the biggest potential to be a full series with interesting stories to tell about his battle against drugs and Satan worshipers. Plus while the look of Black Bow screams 90’s Indie Comic hero he could be updated and made into a very cool Green Arrow meets The Punisher Character. And if we had him at Sparkle Comics I would place him in the world of Black Jack, Spring Heeled Jack and Adventure Man and would also give him his own mini series that would have him taking on a Satanic Cult that is killing women in the Purple Church in Oklahoma and they make the mistake of selecting Black Bow’s baby’s mother to kill and he goes on a rampage to get her back. But sadly Black Bow will never join the Sparkle Comics world and it’s a shame as he is a great character that would be entertaining readers again.

Before I end this update I want to also share with you readers about a epic Horror Movie Marathon that Juliet and I had starting on March 27, 2020 as we decided that it was a good day to sit back and relax and get away from the drama of scariness of the real world and enjoy the horrors of the home screen. And for the Pre-Show we ordered Wing Zone with a split can of Coke and selected two films to enjoy for the night as a kind of a Pre-Show kick off with the first one being “Unknown Terror” a 1957 film that is about a cave of the dead and a group of Americans that go looking for it and find that the cave holds a dangerous living fungus and the people infected by it. The second film is slasher film “The Furies” that is about a group of young women who are kidnapped and dropped in the woods and are hunted and also protected by masked killers! And I must say this was a great way to start this three-day Marathon event.

For the main day we of course loaded up on good eats that included Breakfast Casserole and Burritos and a few snacks the classic chips and dip combo and started at 8pm with the 1957 drive-in cult classic “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein” that has Dr. Frankenstein creating life from dead teenager parts in order to show the scientific world his genius. Found Footage Cult Classic film “The Mcpherson Tape” was next and is about a family filming a kids birthday party that is attacked by aliens. The third film was “The Curse Of Buckout Road” about a haunted cursed road that has set its evil sites on a group of collage kids who shot a documentary debunking the legends. David Sterling produced “The Yeti Experiment” was next and followed a group that travels to the Himalayas to search for answers at a science base that has went dark, only to find a Yeti on the loose! The fifth film is the 1985 cult film “The Strangeness” about a group of people that go into an old gold mine only to find that something evil is down there with them. “Dark Light” was on tap next and is about a mother who must save her daughter from light head creatures that live under their house. We next watched the super cheesy “Thankskilling” about a killer Turkey who wants revenge on white people and can only do so once in every 505 years. Unlucky flick number eight was “The Snarling” about a low budget zombie film being shot in a small town that is being plagued by murders done by a werewolf! The Monster killing in the woods film “Clawed” was viewed next. The next terror film was “Cupid” about the arrow shooting Valentines Day icon going crazy and killing kids at a school to stomp out love. The next film was one I finally got to see and was the slasher film “Curse Of The Slasher Nurse” about an escape mental patient who targets a group of friends at a cabin in the woods. And the final film of the night was the indie film “Pumpkins” about a pumkinheaded slasher killer carving up people that get too close to his yard. Over all another fun day of watching Horror movies with more fright flicks to be watched the next day!

The After Party to this very epic Horror Movie Marathon that took place on March 29, 2020 starting at 10am and we kicked it off with the 1934 Horror Mystery Thriller film starring Lon Chaney Jr. called “A Scream In The Night” that is about the police trying to stop a murderous crime lord called Johnny Fly. The second film is the remake of the 1959 spooky film “Attack Of The Giant Leeches” that has a local cop trying to stop the killing ways of giant leeches in a swamp in Louisiana, the film was done by indie filmmaker Brett Kelly. The third film of the day is “Restricted Area” about some soon to be laid off steel workers who go camping and run into a very dangerous cult. The fourth and half way to the end of the Pre-Show film is from Full Moon Entertainment and is called “Birth Rite” and is about Rebecca an 18 year old girl who is a leader of a witch cult that she just finds out about and is torn to her personal life and those of the black arts. Then we watched the 80’s film “Fatal Games” that is champion athletes fighting for their place in the Olympics and their lives against a masked killer. What we watched next was “Polaroid” a supernatural film about a cursed camera that kills anyone that has their picture taken with it and a young woman who is trying to break the curse. The next film was the remake of the David Cronenberg film by the Soska Sisters called “Rabid” that is about a woman who after an accident has a stem cell treatment that leaves her blood craving and a virus carrier…or is she? The final film of the marathon was another modern remake of a cult classic film “Gila” is based on the 1959 film The Giant Gila Monster and is about Chase a hot rodder well liked young man who’s home town is being attacked by a giant man eating Gila Monster! A great time once more being spent with my lady Juliet and watching some great Horror Movies on the small screen while enjoying good food.

So by the end of this marathon we had watched a total of 22 films over the span of three days and ate some really good food all while safe and sound in our home. And of course we picked our Golden Turkey for the event with Juliet selecting “Thankskilling” as she found it to be a film that tried to hard to be like a Troma Movie as well as a Full Moon one like Gingerdead Man. I picked “Pumpkins” as the events Golden Turkey as I found it to get generic and disjointed and just not good. And because we had so many films we picked our Top 6 films of the Marathon and we will start with Juliet’s with her # 1.) Rabid, # 2.) I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, #3.) Birth Rite, # 4.) Cupid, #5.) The Strangeness and #6.) The Furies!

And for me my #1.) was “Rabid” as I found it to be a very interesting take on the Cronenberg story and was filled with some great effects, plus funny to see wrestlers CM Punk and AJ Lee in roles. My #2.) was “The Furies” as I liked how they pulled off a Beauty And The Beast in a twisted game of life and death with some great kills and cool looking masked killers. For my # 3.) spot I picked “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein” as it was a great black and white chiller that shows a then modern take on the story and man Dr. Frankenstein is a huge jerk in this one. #4.) was “Gila” as this 2012 remake was lots of fun and added some new elements to the story to make it feel like it’s own fright flick, plus you cant go wrong with that classic Horror feel. The #5.) spot went to “Cupid” as I found this monster movie a fun indie watch filled with some silly arrow kills and a evil killer winged monster. And my final spot that that wicked #6.) was a tough one but I chose “Fatal Games” as I found it to be a fun 80’s slasher film filled with over the top kills and lots of nudity. So as always The Horror Movie Marathon was a great way to take ours minds off the sadness of the real world and delivered hours and entertainment.

Many of the killers and monsters from this extra long Horror Movie Marathon racked up a massive body count but only one can be awarded The Golden Massacre Award…or can it be several as this Marathon has a three-way tie with them all having 12 confirmed kills! The first is the Bear Claw Monster who slashed and ripped apart is body count! Joining him was Uncle from Pumpkins as they pumpkin headed monster slashed and hacked his way to this tie. And finally The Killer Nurse from Curse Of The Slasher Nurse tortured and brutalized her way to hang with these two. So a big thanks goes out to all three for making this epic Marathon one bloody and gruesome good time.

So as you can see the world of comic books is filled with forgotten superhero’s as so many companies have came and went over the years from major players to micro companies with each creating their own hero’s and villains that are now blown away in the sands of time and lost to the masses never to see the light of day again with a new adventure. Like Rottweiler I 100% find that Black Bow had the potential to grow as a character and not to mention you could have built a good rogues gallery for him based on demons, monsters and even cults…but only lasted one issue and being placed in the Long Box in the Sky made Black Bow a true forgotten hero with lots of potential. But for our next update we will be walking away from Unknown and Forgotten Heroes and will talk a look at a Horror Host that has went under the radar by the name of Tim The Enchanter and his show Scary As Hell Theater that was seen only on VHS to a select few! So until time read a indie comic or three, watch a indie film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Get ready to be scared as Hell on my next update.

Wrestling’s Original Sunny Days!

The world of Pro Wrestling over the ages has been filled with many great companies with WWE being the top and companies like IMPACT, AEW, Ring Of Honor, AAA, New Japan, NWA, CMLL, All Japan, Rock Star Pro, Wrestling Revolver and MLW as well delivering top notch wrestling to fans worldwide. Not to mention companies like AWA, WCCW, WCW, XPW, GWF and ECW all companies that are gone now but also brought so much to the table when it came to Pro Wrestling. But one federation brought female wrestling to the front and that federation was GLOW who had such talent as Little Egypt, Babe The Farmer’s Daughter, Corporal Kelly, Draculetta and Matilda The Hun to name a few. And this update is about one of the female grapplers from GLOW, the fan favorite Sunny The California Girl! This will be a short and fun update as her career was very short lived. So let’s get ready for some singing Knock, Knock jokes and see how well Sunny goes from the ring to the comic pages.

Gorgeous Ladies Of Wresling (GLOW) started in 1986 and was a pro wrestling federation that was made up of all female talents and was owned by Meshulam Riklis and was the brainchild of David McLane. Back in the day McLane worked for WWA and pitched his idea of a female run wrestling federation to owner Dick The Bruiser who turned down the idea as he thought that it would not work in their base area of Indianapolis. So after thinking about it, McLane decided to try it again and ran an ad in Hollywood and got a massive amount of responses. After casting and training done by Mando Guerrero they decided to hire wrestling veteran Princess Jasmine to wrap up the training as well as be a member of the roster with a name change to Pepper. GLOW would go on to then lock a TV deal as well as find a location for their events that was at the Riviera Hotel And Casino in Las Vegas. Most of the wrestlers on the roster were models, actresses and athletes who wanted to use this as a way to rocket their careers. And with the TV deal also came the signing of Sylvester Stallone’s mom Jackie Stallone who played the fake Owner of GLOW on screen. The live events for GLOW were used for the TV Show and over all it did well lasting 4 seasons and ending its first run in 1990. Glow would try and make a comeback in 2001 under new ownership, and it as well only lasted a short time. And in 2017 the wrestling federation became a show on Netflix that will air its fourth and final season this year. While GLOW is ranked among the worst wrestling federations, it still delivered some good matches and interesting female grapplers for viewers to enjoy.

Sunny The California Girl started her wrestling career around 1986 and was originally a model, actress, and athlete and worked as a councilor. Growing up watching pro wrestler and being pushed by her father, she join the new federation called GLOW. Sunny was known for her singing of knock, knock jokes and was one of the popular grapplers in the ring. She had a bubbly and easy going personality and a classic 80’s style female wrestler in ring work. While she was never a true main eventer she still put butts in the seats and worked hard to climb the rankings. After GLOW closed in 1990, she never did go on to work for the likes of WWE or WCW and would only make small appearances mostly at GLOW reunion shows. While she might not have been the biggest name in women’s wrestling nor was she ever a champion, one thing is for sure those who watched GLOW all loved Sunny and her cheerful jokes and in ring style.

So as you can see, both GLOW and Sunny The California Girl had a very short run in the world of Pro Wrestling, but both managed to make their marks in the industry. And now I think it’s time to dive into the comic book based on Sunny that was released by Squared Circle Comics. I got it via their Kickstarter to fund it. I would like to remind you that I grade this issue on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready to step into the squared circle with Sunny, let’s see what this bio comic has in store for us.

Sunny The California Girl  # 1 *1/2
Released in 2019     Cover Price $8.00    Squared Circle    #1 of 1

Patricia Summerland was born in 1964 and was raised by her Aunt and Uncle with her cousins being like her brothers. Patricia was very athletic growing up and competed in so many sports, and while swimming, her never back down nature left her drowned and flat lined for four minutes before she was brought back my paramedics. With a new outlook on life she took up a modeling career and during this time as well she learned about her real parents and was angry and set on a life of partying in the LA scene. But once back home, she was pushed by her Uncle to tryout for a new wrestling league called GLOW and after some hard work she was selected for a roster spot and took the name Sunny The California Girl with her character being based on actress Jayne Mansfield. Her first match was a tag team bout that took place on a Nevada gambling boat where she lost due to her opponents cheating. Her biggest feud was with Big Bad Mama, a wrestler who used her voodoo powers to beat Sunny in their big match. In 1988 Sunny’s father fell very ill and she took time away from the ring to visit him on his death bed, and once he passed she attempted to return to GLOW, but the federation had closed and so ended her in ring career in 1989. While retired, Sunny wants the world to know that she could come back to the square circled any time and could once more try her best to climb the ranks of any federation that hires her.

This wrestling bio comic in my opinion is very loose and does not pack much of a bite, let alone really let us into who Sunny is and what she had done for the world of Pro Wrestling. In fact the comic has very little dialogue and does a very poor job of telling us readers anything really about her at all in and out of the ring. The issue’s story briefly touches on Patricia Summerland as she rises from model to wrestler and her part in GLOW before retiring just as quickly as she began. The little tiny amount we get to know about Sunny shows that she was a hard worker who grew up loving and respecting wrestling, she also was a family person who loved her adoptive parents. There is not much to say about this comic besides it pretty lackluster and that’s a shame as I enjoy all the other Squared Circle Comics I have read up to this point. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and eye catching for fans of Sunny. The interior art is solid indie art done by Rich Perotta who seems to be the company’s in house artist. Over all this is a so-so comic and I would say if you are a fan of GLOW and Sunny The California Girl give this a read, otherwise I would stay clear. Check out the art work below to see the style of Perotta.

While this Squared Circle comic was not very good, I do recommend them as they have done some great issues based on classic wrestlers like Bruno Sammartino, The Rock & Roll Express, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and The Fantastics to name a few, and yes many of these will be getting an update here on Rotten Ink. But for my next update I am going to leave the world of pro wrestling behind and will be taking a look at the world of short lived and overlooked superheroes as Black Bow and his friends will be the topic. So until next time, read an indie comic or two, watch a wrestling PPV or two and as always support you’re local wrestling federation! See you next time for an unknown hero good time.

Marvel Horror Showcase – The Zombie Simon Garth

Marvel Horror was a gateway for me to the world of Horror Comics. As I have stated before the likes of Werewolf By Night, Man-Thing and Tomb Of Dracula all were comics I would read late nights in my nearly darkened room. One of my favorite past times was reading a Marvel Horror comic as it rained or a thunderstorm raged outside. I would grab an issue I had not read and listened to the storm as I read the eerie story that unfolded on the pages. But one classic Marvel Horror Monster that seems to not get as much respect as he should is Simon Garth, also known as The Zombie who was the main character in Marvel Horror Magazine “Tales Of The Zombie”! So I feel it’s my duty as a comic reader to bring you an update that is long overdue and one in my “Marvel Horror Showcase” themed updates based on Simon Garth The Zombie. So sit back and enjoy this spooky and yet heroic update.

Simon Garth was a mean businessman who treated everyone near him badly as he felt they were below him and his successful ways. One day he made the mistake of his life when his behavior and snooty ways lead to him firing his gardener, and this sparks his former employee to snap and kidnap Garth and stab him to death near the swamps of New Orleans! Once dead he takes the body and forces a Voodoo Queen (who happens to also work for Garth) to turn him into a mindless zombie that can be controlled with two necklaces that are worn by the zombie and the one who wants to control him. The gardener filled with a new sense of power uses the Zombie to do his will, but soon finds that even the undead can fight back when a line is crossed and he was commanded to kidnap his own daughter and instead fights the order and kills his master! For a while The Zombie wandered the Earth with many people controlling him when they got the amulet necklace, and at one point the necklace went missing and he roamed around until he could get it back and that was only after having a run in with Spider-Man. Sometime later the amulet landed in the hands of vampire Lilith Drake, and this time around Zombie had to team up with Spider-Man to get it back, and once they get it back Zombie returned to his slumber for years. His body would be found and taken to a morgue where he would once more rise and this time took a corpse bride before returning to his slumber. The Zombie would later be recruited to be a member of the supernatural team “ The Howling Commandos” alongside other Marvel Horror characters like Man-Thing, The Living Mummy, Golem and Frankenstein’s Monster. The Zombie would rise from time to time, and his most recent appearance came in 2018 that is the issue we will be reviewing shortly. As you can see, while Zombie is not a major character in the Marvel Universe he is one that is well loved by us readers who have always enjoyed the dark world of Marvel Horror.

Tales Of The Zombie started in 1973 and was a Horror Magazine that was created by Roy Thomas for Marvel Monster Group, and the character Zombie was taken from the 1953 Atlas Comic Menace # 5 with the character being created by Stan Lee. You see, in the 70’s Horror Comics became big money as the Comic Code Authority had become more relaxed and allowed werewolves, zombies, vampires and ghouls back in comics and violence and blood could also be added. The series lasted for 10 issues and had one Annual, and along with original stories, each magazine also had reprints of classic horror comics as well as showcased some other characters from their horror line like Brother Voodoo. Tales Of The Zombie came to an end in 1975 ending his spooky ride for a time, but like any good zombie, you can’t keep him down. Simon Garth The Zombie would return and make appearances in such Marvel Comics as Daredevil, Spider-Man, S.H.E.I.L.D., Deadpool and Marvel Zombies to name a few. Even in 2008 for the Marvel Max line, The Zombie once more had a mini series that lasted four issues and entertained readers who enjoy this character. His most recent comic appearance was in 2018 with Marvel Zombie a one shot issue that brought him into the world of an alternate Marvel Zombies universe. Who knows what Marvel has in store for the future of Zombie, and one wonders if he ever will get his own series or mini series ever again…and this even makes one wonder if he ever will make an appearance in a Marvel Movie Universe or TV show! One thing for sure, if you have never read a comic book featuring Zombie, I would say do yourself a favor and get an issue or two and give them a read.

Over the years Marvel Comics has dusted off the Zombie when someone working for them had a great idea for him, and this made his fans very happy! And one cool thing that happened in the world of Marvel in 2018 was when they released a One Shot issue of Zombie and set it in a world of gloom and doom, and this is the comic we are going to review for this Marvel Horror update as I stated earlier. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this copy in stock. I want to remind you readers that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready to walk on the undead dark side of Marvel, let’s take a look at Zombie!

Marvel Zombie # 1  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $4.99     Marvel Comics     # 1 of 1

The Marvel Universe is in bad shape as a plague has infected the world and has caused most of the population to turn into bloodthirsty zombies. Simon Garth is wandering the decayed world enjoying his undead life, some humans still remain and are protected by The Defenders that are Daredevil, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Moon Girl, Devil Dinosaur 2.0, Hawkeye and Misty Knight who fight off the zombie horde. While the heroes battle the horde, young Donny finds a necklace and puts it on and during the fight he falls and is about to be eaten alive by zombies when all looks dark he is saved by Simon Garth and the pair start up a friendship. The heroes return to base and Moon Girl has figured out a way to use a bomb to dispose of a large section of the zombie horde. When Donny returns to base with Simon at first the heroes were going to kill the zombie until he proves he is different and a hero like them, but then things turn bad again when they want to use him to wear the bomb and become their suicide bomber! Falcon is another hero that is still alive and he returns to base with news that a massive horde is on the way and that they need to act soon, and this sets the suicide bomber plan into action. Donny is upset by the decision that Daredevil made to send his friend on a death mission. When the time comes Donny talks to Moon Girl about the original Devil Dinosaur and compares their friendship to his friendship with Simon and this causes Moon Girl to take the bomb off him and The Defenders die when they are swarmed waiting for the suicide bomber to appear. In the end with the heroes gone, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur 2.0 go their own way as do Donny and Simon Garth.

This was a great read, and I read this comic in the middle of a cemetery on a chilly day with my car windows down. The plot of this comic has the world being overrun by zombies with only a small amount of people and heroes left alive. And when a young boy finds the necklaces of Simon Garth, he controls the zombie and he chooses friendship over the fate of the world. Donny is the main character of this comic, and while he is a youngster he has lived his whole life in a world filled with flesh eating zombies, and when he befriends one he chooses to save the life of one undead creature to the masses as he allows all the rest of the worlds superheroes to be eaten alive. Think about that… Donny allows the world’s only hope to survive to be killed in order to have a “friend”…. Simon Garth is a zombie with a mind who is living in a world filled with zombies who only want to feed and kill. He is a good soul who protects those who has his necklace. Daredevil is the leader of The Defenders and with his crew of heroes, he thinks that there is a hope to save the world, and sadly his master plan backfires due to a young kid’s selfishness and leads to his own death as well as that of all his fellow heroes. What works the best for this issue is the fact is a self-contained issue and has a “Marvel Zombies” meets “What If?” feel to it. I like the aspect of Simon wandering the world filled with other zombies that he has nothing in common with and is almost super thankful when the young kid finds the necklace that controls and bonds with him. The comic does have some blood and violence and proves that Marvel still knows how to do Horror. The cover I have is amazing and very eye catching, and the interior art is top notch and done by Stefano Raffaele. If you like classic Marvel Horror characters, make sure to check this out as it’s a great read. Check out the art below to see the style of Raffaele and see how Simon Garth looks like in this issue.

This one shot Marvel Zombie issue to me proves that they as a company should do this more often! Why not make a one shot issue based on Tomb Of Dracula, Werewolf By Night, Living Mummy, The Golem and Man-Thing to introduce the classic Marvel Horror characters to new readers as well as deliver something new to their long time fans. I truly do think they should make these type of comics a Halloween season tradition. They should also use Simon Garth the Zombie more often in the regular Marvel Universe. For our next update, we will be walking away from Horror and will once more be stepping into the wrestling ring as we take a look at GLOW wrestler Sunny! So until next update, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Get ready for the original wrestling Sunny days next update so I will see you then.

Malibu Comics Ultraverse Memories: Exiles

Remember back in the 1990’s when both Marvel and DC had some competition when it came to superhero comics with companies like Image and more important to me Malibu, who had some amazing heroes like Prime, Mantra, Prototype, Sludge and Night Man to name a few fighting for readers’ attention. Malibu also had many superhero teams like Freex, The Strangers and Exiles with the latter being the topic of this update. It’s sad that in modern times the comic industry is struggling to gain readers and most fans of superheroes don’t read the issues and only know the character from the movies or TV shows based on them. Now that I am thinking about it, I do believe that Sparkle Comics is trying to keep the world of Indie Superheroes alive with such comics as Black Jack, Silver Bullet, Black Lion and Spring Heeled Jack…so I feel good that the company I own with my friends is doing its part! Also this update really did make me miss the days of when comic companies took chances and comic shops had way more variety for readers to choose from. Around here in Dayton, I would say Bell, Book And Comic and Super-Fly Comics do the best job of offering more indies and even locally made comics to their customers and are inviting to readers. So if you are ready, let’s take a quick look at Exiles from Malibu Comics.

Malibu Comics was struggling in late 1993 as sales had dipped. The comic market was being flooded with comics and gimmicks that were hurting many of the independent companies as buyers just were not buying as many comics; the interest was fading as big events and foil covers started to annoy. And going into 1994, things got worse for Malibu as they did what they could to stay afloat and even started to cancel lower selling series as a way to cut costs and stay around in the industry. But like all mega money sharks, both DC and Marvel smelled blood in the water and opened up their checkbooks and both made bids on buying out Malibu to own their characters, logos, back issues and their coloring style and most importantly, so that the other company didn’t own it! And on November 3, 1994, Malibu was sold to Marvel Comics who became the owner of so many great superhero characters. Marvel wasted no time canceling all of the Ultraverse titles and re-launching some of the more popular ones and even crossing them over with such Marvel Characters like Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk and Wolverine all through 1995. But by 1996, Marvel Comics pretty much walked away from the Ultraverse and cancelled all their titles and just stopped using the characters sending them to the long box in the sky and leaving readers and fans of the characters wondering if they ever would return. Over the years rumors have always been talked about in comic shops, comic podcasts as well as websites about the return of the Ultraverse as well as what Marvel could do with the characters to add them into the Marvel Universe.

So before we get into the comic reviews, I am going to take a few moments and give my opinion on how they could add The Exiles into Marvel and where they would fit in. So let’s use the core original group of Exiles that includes the likes of Trax, Deadeye, Tinsel, Dr. Rachel Deming, Mustang, Catapult, Amber Hunt and Ghoul and say that events of the original comic series change when the worlds of Malibu and Marvel meet in modern times. We will also say that all of Marvel’s past Exiles teams were around, just in namesake only and had nothing to do with the original team made by Deming. I would love to see The Exiles be mixed in the world of X-Men with many of the members being mutants – they fit it really well, and to start I would love to see Dr. Rachel Deming use her team as the alternative to the X-Men and allow them to be more flashy in order to make citizens see them as stars and heroes. I would have it that Dr. Rachel Deming and Professor X have a respect for each other, they just have different ideas on how to get things done with their mutant teams. I would also have it that Dr. Rachel Deming and her Exiles open their own school of gifted students as a way to recruit for Exiles. This of course would cause friction between the two mutant groups, and while their respective leaders respect each other, the teams themselves do not and do what they can to outshine the others. I would play up on Wolverine and Mustang really disliking each other and clashing lots. While rivals, I would also make sure to have The Exiles come off as good guys who just are the Pepsi to X-Men’s Coke and are more flash as they have decided to not hide in the shadows in a world filled with super beings. The Exiles could not only be a team in Uncanny X-Men and other X-Men titles but could also spin off into their own series. One thing that would be great for The Exiles is that many of their team members are powerful and could hold their own against the likes of evil mutants like Magneto, Sabertooth and Black Tom to name a few. Just a thought of mine to bring them back, and sadly the way things look for Malibu is that Marvel and Disney have zero plans for them and if the rumors are real, the deal Marvel made when buying them was so bad that the fate of these characters are forever sealed in limbo. That’s right, the story goes that if Marvel does any new comics with characters created by Malibu they have to pay a percentage to the former owner of Malibu as well as the creators of said characters leaving the profits very low for comics being sold and not worth the time and resources Marvel would put into them…or so Comic Store Urban Legend goes.

As you can see, Malibu Comics is a company over the years I find myself thinking about what could have been if they could have survived the Comic Book Crash of the 1990’s and even what they could be if Marvel would do anything with the characters. But we are now at the point of the update for the reviews, and I want to remind all you readers that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic and Game Swap Kettering for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. So if you are ready, let’s gear up and hangout with The Exiles.

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

Amber Hunt is a high school student who one day is bored in class when an explosion rocks the school, and she sees that bad guy Supreme Soviet along with his Cybernoids are fighting with members of the superhero team Exiles (Trax, Deadeye & Tinsel) all over her! The battle leaves many of the Cybernoids destroyed, Supreme Soviet tricked and defeated, and Trax injured and having to be rushed back to their base. They also take Amber Hunt who still is confused and angry on why she is being targeted. Once at the island base, Amber meets Dr. Rachel Deming who is the keeper of the team as well as the one who has cured them all of the Theta Virus and soon will also cure Amber Hunt who is infected and has special powers she just doesn’t know about yet. While there, Amber is acting like a brat and even meets team member Ghoul who she also treats terribly! Meanwhile in L.A. Supreme Soviet visits his boss Mr. Malcolm Kort who wanted Amber Hunt killed and for his failure Supreme Soviet is forced into a tube and injected with a virus that kills him and shows that Kort wants to really use this virus as a bio weapon! Meanwhile in a neighborhood in San Diego a young man named Timmy is taking out the trash when he is surrounded by Bloodbath and Bruut who have been sent by Mr. Kort and thankfully Exiles members Catapult and Mustang are near by and step in to help the kid from meeting his maker. The heroes get the upper hand but when Bruut attacks Timmy’s mom an accident happens and Mustang with his electric powers falls into the water from the broken sink and fries and kills Timmy’s Mom as well as Bruut! Bloodbath knocks out Catapult and escapes with Timmy.

This first issue of Exiles is a very good solid read that showcases the style and world of the Ultraverse. It also sets up that our heroes the Exiles are a team of powered beings who are brought together to do the right thing and are watched by after Dr. Rachel Deming going against entertainment tycoon and evildoer Mr. Malcolm Kort and his band of super powered hired guns. The story while it is your normal superhero fare the main plot of the issue is the Theta Virus and one side wanting to cure it and the other side wanting to use it to gain power as a weapon. The Exiles are a rag tag team that has many members who all have special powers and in this issue we meet Trax, Deadeye, Tinsel, Ghoul, Catapult and Mustang all who work well together and have one goal and that’s to save the youngsters who are virus carriers. This far I think my two favorite members are Tinsel as I dig her look and she can fly and fire energy from her hands, I also like Catapult who comes off as a surfer metal head guy who has the power to easily lift and throw things. I also like Ghoul as he is a green skinned zombie who we gather can talk to the dead…but he has not done much yet to make him a favorite. Dr. Rachel Deming who is the watcher of all the team is a very wise and smart woman as she has the cure for the Theta Virus and I am going to guess she as well has some sort of powers. Amber Hunt is a terrible young lady who is self centered, rude and mouthy who treats not only the Exiles like crap even after they saved her life but also fellow classmates as she calls one young lady a “cow” as they are trying to get away from the opening battle! Mr. Malcolm Kort is cold blooded and has no loyalties to even his own hired super powered beings as he will kill them if they fail him! Speaking of his hired guns Bruut, Bloodbath, Hot Rox and Supreme Soviet all are trained killers who don’t mind killing women and children as long as they get paid! This far I like the story that is being set up and it makes me wonder what the outcome will be once the Exiles and the Kort side clash all over a virus. The cover for this first issue is totally 90’s and for me not very eye catching as it looks super cheesy. The interior art is done by R.R. Phipps and is really good and embodies the art of the 90’s superhero titles. So with this lets see what happens next in issue two and see if Mustang can get his revenge for accidentally murdering a young man’s mom.

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

Mustang and Catapult are standing in the home of Timmy with the bodies of his mom and super villain Bruut when they are surrounded by the cops who want to take them in for questions, but Bruut is not dead and awakens and goes on a rampage that leave many cops hurt and dead and both Mustang and Catapult can not stop him from escaping by stealing a helicopter. And before the remaining cops can regroup our heroes escape and head back to their island base with news of their failed mission. While back at the base news is spreading of the fight at the house and Dr. Rachel Deming tells Amber Hunt it’s her choice on if she wants to be cured of the virus as it will cause change and Amber learns she has the power of fire. While Malcolm Kort and his team of scientist are trying to force Timmy into letting them “cure” him so his pain will stop as his hand keeps growing and shrinking back to normal. Rachel Deming now calls on the Exiles team and the order is to do a full attack on Kort’s entertainment building and get Timmy back before he can be turned into a henchman tool for evil. Before the Exiles leave Amber informs Rachel that she will take the treatments once the team is back from the rescue mission. In the end young Timmy is being treated by Kort’s science team and things go wrong as Timmy turns into a massive beat man with tusks and breaks free and knocks even the Exiles out of his way as he escapes into the city.

In this second issue the Exiles are forced to face lots of difficult things from one of their members accidentally killing a woman, being caught on camera and now the world knows that they are in town as well as must face a failed mission that clearly looks like is going to cause them major problems in the very near future. The Exiles try so hard to keep their existence low-key, as the world is not keen on the super powered humans walking among them. And worse is the team itself is torn about if they should come out and be seen or hide in the shadows and save the world. Dr. Rachel Deming is clearly in charge of the group and she also knows that they must do all they can in order to save as many of those infected by the virus as they can and do so before Kort and his goons turn them into raging monsters. Mustang in this issue feels terrible and he blames himself for the death of Timmy’s Mom and his powers of electricity is what lead to her neck being crushed by the unstoppable Bruut, even though he played a part in the death he is over taken with guilt. Meanwhile the rest of the team are ready to go to war and try and get the kidnapped kid back and cure him before he is mutated by the bad guys or killed by the virus. Kort once more shows he is an evil man as he forces a young man to be experimented on and all he cares about is power and control. Meanwhile his goons Bloodbath and Bruut one time partners are at odds as it’s clear within their group its all about the money and every super powered man for themselves. Poor Timmy in one day looses his mom, learns he has a deadly virus, is kidnapped and then forced to be turned into a raging monster. And man I cannot see this hulking tusked monster tangle with the Exiles in a battle that I am sure is going to be epic. The one thing that does stink about this issue is that one of my favorite characters Tinsel is just a background team member, and it’s a shame as I would have loved to seen her kick some butt. The cover for this second issue is way better and eye catching as it showcases our team looking like they are ready for action. The interior art is done by R.R. Phipps again and is good stuff. Over all this second issue is very entertaining and has locked me in as a fan of this team this far, and I cannot wait to read the next issue.

Exiles # 3  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 3 of 4

Timmy lands on the street below and is confused and just wants to be left alone, but also landing on the ground is Tinsel as well as Ghoul who try and talk to the enraged teenage monster who don’t want to hear it and just our heroes luck they are attacked by Hot Rox who takes them both prisoner as Timmy escapes deeper into the city. The remain Exiles team chase down Timmy who hides in a closed mall and they try to talk to him, but he attacks causing destruction and injuries before turning back into a young man and running off into the night. Meanwhile back at the lab Amber Hunt is trying to push Rachel Deming’s assistant into given her the treatment as she don’t wanna die from the virus and has no faith in the Exiles returning, the assistant refuses. While back at Kort’s building Ghoul has been thrown into a waste bin and barely escapes as they set it on fire with the hopes of killing him. Meanwhile Bloodbath has Tinsel in his room and is about to sexual assault her, but she is able to use her power and blind him (as she is blind as well) and he grabs his guns and fires wildly into the air and sadly kills her as Ghoul gets to her way to late and this sets him off for revenge!

Well Malibu Comics and Exiles gone and done it they killed off my favorite hero on the team and did so very brutally! You see Tinsel in this issue is taken prisoner and we learn she is also blind and needs her visor in order to see and when she wakes up she is in the room of Bloodbath who wants to rape her….and when she fights back and tries to get away he shoots her a dozen times ending her life! Why would they let a hero die like this? Don’t get me wrong it was very effective and wants me as the reader want to see Bloodbath get his, but it also makes you a little mad at the rest of the Exiles besides Ghoul as they left her in the hands of the baddies in order to save a teen who is now a monster who just wants to be left alone. That is pretty much the major plot of this issue is the Exiles trying to reach a scared Timmy who is now a massive wooly mammoth monster man who don’t trust anyone. Kort and his goons pretty much stay out of the hunt for Timmy as they figure they will just attack and get him back once the Exiles do all the hard work and get him to a safe place. Bloodbath is enemy # 1 for this comic reader as I am glad he is blind now and hopes it permit and that Ghoul once he catches up with him is able to eat his heart out! I must also say I do also really like the look of Timmy as the monster who is called Mastodon because he seems like he could be a villain for the Incredible Hulk and is well designed. The cover for this issue is also very eye catching and is a perfect cover for a 90’s superhero comic. The interior art once more is done by R.R. Phipps and is great stuff and has the 90’s look but yet also still holds a very 80’s style as well. This third issue is a great read and I cannot wait to read issue four that is the final in this very good series.

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

The Exiles decide to give up tracking down Timmy and return to the base so they can regroup and figure out a better plan. While at the lab Amber Hunt decides that she is going to just sneak and give herself the treatment so that she can survive the virus. Meanwhile Ghoul makes contact with the soul of Tinsel and gets the name of her killer Bloodbath and sets his sights to really get revenge and massacre the super powered hitman. As Bloodbath gets painkillers and head back to his room he is attacked by Ghoul who is crazed with anger and after a brief fight he is able to kill Bloodbath and not only end his life but also his soul! And once he drained him Ghoul grabs some guns and starts his one-man war against Kort and his people. While at the lab Amber has done the treatment wrong and the machine is over loading and the Exiles and Rachel Deming are rushing back to try to stop the explosion as well as save Amber from dying. Ghoul blows up the generator at the Kort building and the explosion seems to have killed anyone in it. While back at the Exiles Lab the tank and machines explode and kills many of the Exiles in the process as Heather the Assistant, Trax and Mustang are all killed with Catapult, Deadeye and Rachel Deming are all severely injured. In the end, Amber Hunt is now a flying flaming super powered woman who’s selfish nature has killed many.

This comic series had guts as many of the team members meet their maker by the end with most being killed by the hands of a terrible narcissistic spoiled teenage girl that they were helping who ended up dooming anyone around her when she decided to treat herself. This issue’s plot brings everything together for the most part but also leaves lots of things unanswered as this was a lead in to a series called “Break-Thru” that they wanted readers to buy next…and that was always one thing that annoyed me about Malibu Comics and their Ultraverse as they tied in all their comics together so in order to finish stories you would have to buy another title in order to do so, and that was some of the silly stuff Marvel Comics also did very badly in the 80’s and still do it somewhat to this day. Amber Hunt is a terrible person who becomes even more terrible when she gets power beyond most other heroes in the Ultraverse. When you really think about it all the true evil villain of this comic series is Amber Hunt as she is narcissistic and does not seem to care about others or how her actions effect anyone around her. Rachel Deming is a woman who does want to help those with powers, but also slightly seems to be doing so to stroke her own ego as some of her decisions help lead to the teams downfall. Ghoul in this issue is a true badass as he goes for revenge of the death of his friend in the last issue and does so in a brutal way…Ghoul is very cool and a great character that walks the line of superhero mutant and horror character. This series really is a great read and shows why Malibu Comics was a great alternative to Marvel and DC as they delivered good solid stories about interesting characters who had a vast world. The cover on this fourth issue is not as eye catching nor as cool as the three issues that came before it, but while a little plan it still ok. The interior art is once more done by R.R. Phipps and is good and has a very 90’s comic look and to be honest has what I would say is the Malibu Comic house style. For me Exiles is a great series and one that fans of X-Men and all their clones should check out as these characters and stories could fit in very nicely with the Universe that Marvel Comics created for their readers. Check out the artwork below to see the style of R.R. Phipps and see what I mean when I say this looks like Malibu Comics house style.

Exiles is a great team from Malibu Comics who never got the respect from Marvel Comics when they bought the characters rights way back in 1994 and even when they did use the team they only did so in name only. It’s a shame as I do not think comic readers ever will see new adventures of the Exiles as I do feel they had many more in them, but truly only time will tell if Rachel Deming’s team will see a new series. For my next update, I will be stepping away from comic books and will be once more taking a look at a Horror Host from the Dayton area as I take a look at Rayne of Studio Cinema! So until next time read a Malibu Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a spooky good time.

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Godzilla King Of The Monsters (2019)

Kaiju Month comes to an end with none other than Godzilla King Of The Monsters.  He is probably the world’s most famous Kaiju Movie Monster as he has spawned so many films and is a household name all over the world! In fact I have even heard people refer to all giant monsters in movies as Godzilla, showing just iconic he is to the world’s culture. And again as we wait till November for Godzilla vs. Kong, I think Rotten Ink Kaiju Month at least can help add some giant monsters into your life and make the wait a little better. For me, one of the biggest movies announced so far for 2020 is Godzilla vs. Kong as watching these titans clash will surly be a great experience for all us monster movie fans. So let’s not waste anymore time as The King Of The Monsters doesn’t like to be left waiting.

Let’s take a look at the tools of destruction that Godzilla had at his disposal in this film to deal with the enemies he faced. Godzilla stands a massive 393 feet and weighs more than 99 tons, making Godzilla one massive Kaiju that can uses his appearance first and foremost to scare the life out of any human that is silly enough to be in his path. Because of his massive size, his feet also become a weapon of death and destruction as if he steps on a person, it’s instant death! Godzilla’s tail is also a method he can use to dispatch a target and is also very effective against other giant monsters, and would annihilate a human. Godzilla also has razor sharp teeth that he can use to chop down on flesh of his enemies, not to even mention his hands have claws. Godzilla is also pretty smart and uses his brain in his attacks, and even more to his advantage, he does not back down from any fight and will stand his ground. His main attack is his radioactive fire breath that will melt human flesh and bone and even burns and hurts other massive Kaiju, and this power gets even stronger and dangerous when its mixes with the spirit of giant Kaiju moth Mothra! While for the most part Godzilla is unstoppable as he shrugs off bullets and missiles, one human made weapon can zap him and bring him to a very weak state and it’s called the “Oxygen Destroyer.” Godzilla also gets his strength from radiation and if he can find a high source of it, he can heal himself. He can also be hurt by other powerful Kaiju monsters, but as I have stated, only one man made weapon could hurt him. Godzilla is truly one of the most powerful monsters we have covered here on Rotten Ink on one of our From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates. Godzilla is truly one of the true King Of The Monsters.

So now that we have talked about Godzilla and his power from 2019 we should now talk about the film he is from. So as always we will be taking the films write up from our pals at IMDB and the films production and of course my thoughts & connection will be written by me! So lets seek some shelter and talk even more about Godzilla.

Godzilla King Of The Monsters (2019)

“The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient superspecies, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.”

Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers once more teamed up to bring the moviegoers another Godzilla rampage for their Monsterverse, and this time around decided to add more Kaiju that fans know and love like Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah to the plot and used this film to build up the clash between King Kong and Godzilla that will now be out in theaters later this year. For this second film, they brought in Michael Dougherty to direct who had built up a name in the Horror genre with films “Trick ‘r Treat” and “Krampus. He also had a hand in writing this massive film. When it came to casting, they did not pull any punches and brought in heavy hitters like Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Zhang Ziyi, Bradley Whitford, Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler. And like all big budget film (they spent over $200 million on it), they had their fair share of production woes from script rewrites all the way to studio interference, but they pulled it off. When the film was done, they brought in Bear McCreary to score the film and when they started to release the trailers, no joke both Juliet and I thought they were the best trailers of 2019 as they built the hype so well and did a fantastic job of blending the movie footage to classic and creepy versions of classic songs like “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. The film did pretty good for Legendary and Warner Brothers bringing in a worldwide total of $386,600,138.00! The film was released alongside other Horror and Cult films like “IT: Chapter 2”, “Doctor Sleep”, “Happy Death Day 2U”, “Brightburn”, “Black Christmas” and “Midsommar” to name a few.

Godzilla King Of The Monsters was everything I wanted in an American made Godzilla film and was leaps and bounds better that the 2014 attempt as it delivers some amazing Godzilla moments and gives viewers more Kaiju then they could shake a stick at. When the film’s first teaser trailers hit the theaters both Juliet and myself became kids again as we knew this was going to be an amazing movie going experience, and boy we were right as we enjoyed it and it was ranked my # 1 Horror Movie on my Matt Goes To The Movies 2019 update…that you can read right here. When seeing the film, I made sure to buy lots of tickets to bring my friends along with me as this was one of the films I was most hyped for and it really did live up to what I wanted from it. I loved seeing the other classic Toho monsters on the big screen as Rodan has always been one of my favorites and watching him clash with King Ghidorah and Mothra made me feel like a kid again, not to even mention that the use of the original Godzilla theme on the soundtrack put a massive smile on my face. When my friends and I all left the theater all of us really enjoyed it and all agreed it was what we wanted from Legendary Pictures and their Monsterverse. When the film was released on home media I made sure to buy it on DVD and even after re-watching it I found myself very much still enjoying it! So if you have not watched Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, I want to say shame on you and go and see it now and enjoy the monster fights and the great acting.

So let’s get to the review part of this Kaiju update. We will be taking a look at Godzilla: Aftershock a graphic novel that takes place after the 2014 movie and before 2019’s Godzilla King Of The Monsters. I for one can not wait to read this Graphic Novel as I have had it since it was released and want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for ordering me it and having it in my file. I want to also remind you that I grade this comic on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s find a safe spot to hide, as this is surely going to be a Kaiju battle that will leave building smashed and monsters prowling.

Godzilla: Aftershock # 1  ***
Released 2019     Cover Price $12.95     Legendary      # 1 of 1

A giant Muto is attacking in Guam when Godzilla shows up and the Kaiju fight for a moment, but as the Muto escapes, Godzilla leaves by the ocean. Because of this Monarch is called in to investigate, and Dr. Emma Russell and the team are about to travel to Japan and must bring government worker Miles Atherton along for the ride. Once there, they look at the damage and the patterns of each monster with Emma being very negative toward Godzilla as she and her family lived through the events of San Francisco when they get a call that Monarch is needed in Japan. As she boards a plane, Emma is threatened by terrorist Alan Jonah at gun point and he is not able to do anything besides flee when Monarch Security Agent Tarkan Cavusgolu comes to the rescue! Now that the attempted attack is over, Emma along with Tarkan and Miles head to Japan where they enter a temple and find a massive hole that the Muto made. As they try to investigate it, a cave in happens and Tarken and Emma barely escape with their lives. They next get a report to head to Russia as another massive hole has been found. But they have issues as Alan Jonah has hacked into their entail and oddly enough Miles has been secretly talking to Dr. Mark Russell, the ex-husband of Emma. Once in Russia, they enter the hole and find frozen Muto eggs, and once more Alan appears and tries to take Emma prisoner, but this attempt fails as well as Tarken and Russian agents were waiting and take him prisoner. While in France, Godzilla once more fights with the Muto that is now being called Jinshin-Mushi, and the fight has left Godzilla injured and Monarch watching the situation as it’s now clear that Miles Atherton is watching Emma and reporting in his findings on her. It’s discovered that during the last fight Jinshin-Mushi bite and then inserted eggs into Godzilla that once hatched will end up killing the King Of The Monsters and that this seems to be a scenario that has played out for centuries! And in order to stop the eggs from hatching, Emma leads a team with heavy weapons to fight the Kaiju to save mankind from what would be a terrible event, and her plan goes wrong and leads to many deaths at the hands of Jinshin-Mushi and puts Emma in the hot seat with the government. But when things look grim, Miles Athertonx speaks up for her and she is granted another chance for Monarch to try and help Godzilla and bring down Jinshin-Mushi. And with a keyboard and speakers inside one of Jinshin-Mushi dug holes, she is able to use a few notes to kill the eggs in Godzilla who then kills Jinshin-Mushi by stomping on his head! In then end Emma and her young daughter are together, and she warns her the world is changing.

This was such a fun read and to me proves that Legendary Pictures not only makes entertaining movies but also does some damn good comic books and graphic novels and Godzilla: Aftershock is one heck of a great read. The plot of this GN has Godzilla fighting a giant ground digging Muto while Monarch is hot on the monsters tails as a terrorist is stalking them and stealing very sensitive information about the Kaiju. Godzilla is clearly very pissed off about this new Muto that is causing issues in the world and even loses a fight and has eggs placed into his body like a parasite! And while Godzilla is powerful in this graphic novel, he still shows that he can be weakened and that when hurt, his power goes down. The Muto called Jinshin-Mushi is very dangerous and is on a path of destruction and just wants to use another Kaiju to hide its eggs in to hatch and use the offspring to help take over the world, not only is it a Giant Monster killer but it also kills many humans as well. Dr. Emma Russell and the Monarch workers are working themselves almost to death as the world is in chaos over all the Kaiju running wild and a terrorist group trying to hack them and even kidnap one of their leads. Emma is really drained and worried about the fate of the world as she lost so much when Godzilla and the Muto’s fought in San Francisco as her young son was killed. I will say one lackluster part is the payout for Miles Atherton who is a government worker who seems to be collecting dirt on Emma only to help her out and then disappear. The plot of Aftermath is pretty simple and many pages showcase some great monster fights that are the true highlights of the comic, but there are some slow moments that come with Emma talking to the Government that lasts for many pages about plans and history. The cover is pretty cool and has a movie poster look to it and is very eye catching, plus the interior art done by Drew Edward Johnson is fantastic and captures Godzilla and the mood and feel of the Monstervese very well. Over all Godzilla: Aftershock is a great and fun read and does a pretty good job bridging the gap from Godzilla (2014) to Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019), even if the movie as far as I remember never mentions Jinshin-Mushi and his rampage and fights with Godzilla. Oh and before I wrap this up and tell you the fans of Godzilla to make sure to check this out, I was a little sad we did not get at least a King Kong cameo or reference. Check out the art below to see the style of Drew from this Graphic Novel.

With Godzilla vs. Kong being moved and this frightening virus spreading around the world, I really hope that this update helped make your day a little better and your wait for the film at the cinemas more bearable. Godzilla and King Kong really are two of the world’s most popular Giant Monsters/Kaiju movie monsters and each have their own diehard fans. I loved growing up and watching both these titans films on TV and VHS and they were parts of why my childhood was so awesome. And speaking of entertainment that made my childhood awesome besides Monster Movies, another thing that you longtime readers know is that Horror Hosts were a major part of my life. My next update will be about one that, along with such iconic names as Commander USA and Dr. Creep, made me the creative person I am today, and the host is Dayton, Ohio’s very own A. Ghastlee Ghoul of the Ghastlee Movie Show! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a strange and wild time with one Ghastlee Ghoul!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: King Kong (2005)

Welcome back to the third update in our Kaiju Month series. This time around we will once more be taking a look at my personal favorite Kaiju, Titan, Giant Movie Monster or whatever you want to call him, and of course I am talking about King Kong! Since I was a very young lad, I have been a fan of the giant monster movies that I would watch on TV, mostly station TBS, and would also later always rent and or buy on VHS, and at the top of my list was always King Kong! Don’t get me wrong, I am a massive fan of Godzilla as well and will always cheer him on as he stomps around fighting off other Kaiju or the pesky army…but Kong has always been my top guy. So if you are ready for some Kaiju destruction, let’s get running to this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: King Kong (2005) update!

Let’s first take a moment to take a look at 2005’s King Kong and his strength, weaknesses and ways he can deal with people and things that get in his mighty way. King Kong stands around 25 feet tall and is a powerhouse of muscle and pride and will stand his ground against any enemy that dares to get in his way. King Kong uses his bare hands to smash and crush man and monster alike and as well can use his massive size to stomp the life away from his target. King Kong is also very smart and can think of ways to win fights as well as plan attacks when not in a full rage. Kong can also use his sharp teeth to shred flesh! King Kong’s never back down attitude is both a strength and a weakness as it can lead to his downfall as he does not have any instinct to flee even when he should. Another weakness is his love for Ann Darrow, a stunning human with blonde hair that he would do anything to protect. King Kong can also be hurt with lots of bullets from military grade weapons as well as can suffer injuries from sharp objects like other Kaiju’s teeth and claws. He can also be dazed with blunt force as well as with gas leaving him open for attacks. Just like any living thing, King Kong can be hurt, but I feel sorry for anything foolish enough to try and do so. King Kong might not have the most fancy of powers, but one thing is for sure, he is one massive beast that is smart and powerful.

So as you can see, King Kong is a true force of nature, and while in 2005, he might not have been the biggest Kaiju on the block, he still was one that made an impact in all those who encountered him. So now that we know what King Kong can do when it comes to destruction, we now need to take a look at the film this version of Kong is from. As always, our friends at IMDB will supply the films plot and I will talk about the films production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you are ready, let’s talk about Kong and is 2005 film adventure.

King Kong (2005)

“Carl Denham needs to finish his movie and has the perfect location; Skull Island. But he still needs to find a leading lady. This ‘soon-to-be-unfortunate’ soul is Ann Darrow. No one knows what they will encounter on this island and why it is so mysterious, but once they reach it, they will soon find out. Living on this hidden island is a giant gorilla and this beast now has Ann is its grasps. Carl and Ann’s new love, Jack Driscoll must travel through the jungle looking for Kong and Ann, whilst avoiding all sorts of creatures and beasts. But Carl has another plan in mind.”

Director Peter Jackson grew up a mega fan of the 1933 film King Kong, and he has always credited it as one of his biggest influence in becoming a film director. After the major success of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy he was able to get Universal to work alongside him to make a modern remake, but a little known fact is that his King Kong contract with Universal started before Lord Of The Rings! That’s right, Universal who worked with Jackson on “The Frightners” was so impressed with what they saw, they offered him first to remake “Creature From The Black Lagoon” and after he said no, they offered him “King Kong” and at first he said no…but gave in. And did I mention these original talks took place in 1996 and after getting cold feet, Universal pulled out of the film at the last minute due to the 1998 Godzilla film being on the horizon. So Peter Jackson moved onto making Lord Of the Rings films The Fellowship Of The Ring and The Two Towers for New Line Cinema and with them both being box office hits, Universal once more came sniffing around and wanted him to make King Kong…and once again he agreed to do so and brought on writer Philippa Boyens to spice up his old script/rewrite it and got a budget of $175 million from Universal. Production of the film started in September 6, 2004 and filming was set in New Zealand and actors like Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Jack Black, Colin Hanks, Lobo Chan and Andy Serkis did the motion capture of King Kong himself. The production was a crazy one and was a long and crazy shoot of green screen effects as well other stunts and visual effects. They would bring composer James Newton Howard on to do the film’s score. The film would be released in New York on December 5, 2005 and would go wide on the 14th of December.

The film was meet with positive reviews from fans and critics and even Roger Ebert gave it a glowing review. The film did amazing for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in $218,080,025.00 with foreign did $332,437,332.00 on the final budget of $207 million. It was the 5th grossing film that year at the box office and beat out other Sci-Fi, Horror and Cult films like Batman Begins, Fantastic Four, Saw II, The Ring Two, Exorcism Of Emily Rose, Sin City, The Amityville Horror, Corpse Bride, Legend Of Zorro, House Of Wax, The Fog, Doom, Land Of The Dead and Kung Fu Hustle to name a few. So as you can see, King Kong was a big hit in 2005 and showed that this classic movie monster had lots to offer to moviegoers.

When I heard that King Kong was being remade I was very hyped to watch it as I have always been a mega fan…but when I saw that Peter Jackson was doing it off the heels of his overly long Lord Of The Ring films and this one as well was going to be super long…the hyped died a little as I had a bad feeling that Jackson would over bloat the story and production. And while he did do this, when I finally got off my high horse and gave the film a chance, I found that while over done, it was still an enjoyable film that helped keep the King Kong character and story alive for a new generation. Much of the film worked for me as I found all the human characters very likable and all of them had interesting backstories as well as interactions with each other. Naomi Watts plays Ann, and she is fantastic and is one of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood. The stuff on Skull Island as well is very awesome with Kong fight off two massive T-Rexes as well as the crew searching around to save Ann as they encounter all the strange animals that inhabit the island. Not to mention King Kong in this movie is as massive and protective as ever. The downside is some of the overly cheesy moments like Kong and Ann on the ice in New York…so cheesy. Over all, while this 2005 is not my favorite King Kong film, it’s still an enjoyable film that brought the world’s favorite giant New York stomping gorilla back to the big screen.

Like all blockbuster movies, 2005’s King Kong had its fair share of merchandise that treated fans to some amazing stuff like novels, comic books, t-shirts, posters, trading cards, action figures, Halloween costumes, plush dolls, score soundtrack, video games among many other items. I myself enjoyed the video game for the PS2 as I found it lots of fun to play as both man and beast, and I also really enjoy the soundtrack CD as I find that James Newton Howard did a fantastic job of capturing the epic nature of the film and is one that I play on WYSO from time to time. I also have one of the massive action figures of Kong that I bought at a thrift store shortly after the film was released on home video. So if you like Peter Jackson’s King Kong, there are so many cool items for you to collect.

Did you know that Peter Jackson’s films King Kong and Dead-Alive are connected? Well they are! That’s right, the unrated gory cult film Dead Alive about reanimated zombies and the Hollywood massive budget film King Kong take place in the same world as in the belly of the ship Venture is a crate that holds the one and only Sumatran Rat-Monkey!! Imagine what would have happened if the Rat-Money would have been on board gotten free and bit King Kong turning him into a massive zombie primate that would have been almost impossible to stop. Just wanted to share this connection as I find it very cool and something I feel many people know, but not all. Oh and if you remember in Dead-Alive the zombie plagued even started on Skull Island, showing these two films are linked!

So as you can see, King Kong truly is a force of nature and is one of the strongest and smartest Kaiju Monsters to grace a movie screen in 2005 and every version to hit the big screen. Well we are at the point now that we will take a look at the comic based on the film and I will be grading it on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering for having this comic in stock and making this update possible. So if you are ready, let’s travel to Skull Island along with Dark Horse Comics and see what this comic adaptation has to offer.

King Kong # 1  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99     Dark Horse     #1 of 3

Ann Darrow is an actress who very much wants to make it big on the stage in New York, but does not have the name value to get the parts she is perfect for. Filmmaker Carl Denham is working on his next epic jungle picture, and the movie execs are not happy with the footage or the fact he is asking for more money in order to shoot the film at an uncharted island, and when he over hears them talking about canceling the production he steals the reels and goes on the run. Denham on his way to the ship Venture finds Ann Darrow and convenes her to be his leading actress and along with his assistant Preston, scriptwriter Jack Driscoll, actor Bruce Baxter and the rest of the filmmaker crew set out to sea and toward an island they don’t know about. While filming on the ship, Ann and Jack start to fall in love with each other and soon the dock at Skull Island! Denham takes his film crew to the shore, and they start looking for places to film. They notice a massive wall built around the land and this sends shivers down many spines. As Denham and the film crew walk further, they are surrounded by spear caring natives who have taken an interest in Ann and as they are about to grab her Captain Englehorn and his crew fire gunshots into the air scaring them away. That evening while back on the ship a massive storm rages on as both film crew and ship crew prepare the ship for sea in the dangerous weather and Jack takes notice that Ann is gone and they find two dead shipmates with spears in them they head off to the native village with guns in hand and to their horror they find Ann tied to an alter and a massive gorilla that’s called Kong about to nab her.

This first issue’s plot builds up our film crew as well as builds the romance between actress Ann Darrow and writer Jack Driscoll and teases the wild land that is Skull Island with a peek at King Kong at the very end. Ann Darrow is our main character as she is a down on her luck stage actress who wants to get her one big break and thinks she has found it in this new jungle film from goofy conman director Carl Denham who is the main person who causes all the heartbreak and drama this tale has coming. Denham really is a scummy person who is even making this film with stolen equipment. Jack Driscoll is a good man who loves writing and seeing his work come alive on stage and screen, and he falls for Ann super fast and clearly would do anything to keep her safe. The rest of our characters are just around and had not been fully developed in this first issue. The Natives of Skull Island in this issue come off as savages in nature as they kill as well as kidnap in order to please their “God” known as Kong. Sadly we only get a small glimpse at King Kong in this issue, and it’s clear he is massive and pissed and wants to claim his prize of a beautiful blonde woman. I do wish we got a little more action of Kong but it was just not meant to be. This issue does have some horror adventure moments like the Natives attacking as well as the appearance of Kong, it packs some none gruesome deaths in with the spearing deaths of two ship workers. The one thing I am sure you noticed is that this comic series was suppose to be a three issue mini series with only one issue ever being released, and later they would just put the whole comic out as a graphic novel…this stinks as it would have been great to have all three issues in hand and made for this Kaiju Month update but Dark Horse dropped the ball. The cover for this issue is ok and showcases a production still from the movie and has King Kong looking very annoyed, it is eye catching for fans of the film and character. The interior art is done by Dustin Weaver and is solid and captures the mood and feel of the film very well. Over all this comic is a great read and does the film justice…it’s just a shame that Dark Horse only delivered the first issue to readers of a three issue mini series. If you love the movie, make sure to check out this comic as I feel you will love it as well. Take a look at the art below to see the style of art Weaver used in this issue.

King Kong truly is my favorite Kaiju, and I do feel like he not only makes for great movies but also comics and even this issue proves that. But Kaiju Month comes to an end with our next update and the next subject is the only other Kaiju who rivals Kong and is his top opponent ever and I am talking about the one and only Godzilla! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for some quality time with the King Of The Monsters.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Gamera Guardian Of The Universe

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, and welcome to our second update for 2020’s Kaiju Month as we take a look at a giant monster that is friend to all. Of course I am talking about Gamera. While most fans of Kaiju movies respect Gamera, I do feel that he plays third banana behind the likes of Godzilla & King Kong so I think it’s time he gets the Rotten Ink From Horror Movie To Horror Comic treatment! I think most kids my age growing up in the 80’s and 90’s have seen at least one Gamera film as they could easily be found on cheap VHS tapes and would air on TV from time to time. I even knew some kids in High School who would say they even liked Gamera better then Godzilla showing that this Kaiju turtle monster made an impact on those that who grew up watching him. Oddly enough now, even as an adult working at a media store, I have had people tell me that they are bigger fans of Gamera than Godzilla or King Kong…wrap your head around that…as many see him as the top Kaiju in the world. I am sure you are wondering what my thoughts on him are. All I can say is that we will get to that a little further in this update. The Gamera we will be covering on this Kaiju Month update is the one from 1995’s Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe and had a comic mini series made by Dark Horse Comics. So if you are ready, let’s take a look at that destructive turtle named Gamera.

So as always, let’s first take a look at Gamera and the powers of destruction he showcases in this film and what kind of methods he could use to not only fight off other massive Kaiju monsters but also humans that get in his way. Like all Kaiju, the massive size and appearance of Gamera can easily put the fear in the hearts of both fellow giant monsters and humans. His massive size also means he could stomp the life out of a person with one step and his size also offers massive claws as well as teeth in a big mouth that could eat hundreds of people with one gulp. I should also note that Gamera would stand over 262 feet tall making him massive and as stated very scary to human eyes. Gamera can attack on land, water and air as he is a super fast swimmer as well as can soar through the air at a fast speed making him a true triple threat. Gamera can also breath fire that that is one of his main weapons against his enemies as well as the fact his mind can bond with a human mind giving him more smarts then his average opponent. But his bond with a human is also his weakness as he can be controlled and can lose the link making him opened for attacks. He can also be hurt like all living things by violence from fellow Kaiju Monsters as well as some human weapons of war. But while he is not the most dangerous Kaiju in the world, he still is a force to be reckoned with and thank the heavens he is on mankind’s side!

Now that we know what Gamera is capable of and what he can do on a rampage, it’s time we take a look at the film this version is from. As always, I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB and then I will write a little about the film’s production as well as my thoughts about the film and Gamera’s legacy. So if you are ready, let’s talk about the film Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe.

Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe (1995)

“A hibernating species of giant carnivorous birds is awakened on a Japanese island shortly after the military encounters an unidentified mass moving beneath the water off-shore.”

The cinemas in Japan in the early 90’s was being dominated by Godzilla when it came to giant movie monsters, aka Kaiju films, and Toho was the studio behind these films…and shockingly enough, they also released the 9th film in the Gamera series that was a reboot to the long running series and was the main rival to Godzilla for box office dollars as well as the attention of kids. The film was directed by Shusuke Kaneko and was written by Kazunori Ito, who wrote a part of the 1993 film Necronomicon, and the series would spark off and have 2 sequels and bring back the popularity of Gamera to not only Japan but also worldwide. The film was met with pretty great reviews, and critics and fans shared a common word on the film, that it was a fun watch and added a film to the Gamera series that was on par with Godzilla films of the time. The film did good at the box office in Japan and in its release year, was joined by such films as Halloween: Curse Of Michael Myers, Project Metalbeast, Sleepstalker, Jack-O, Leprechaun 3, Howling: New Moon Rising, Night Of The Scarecrow, Castle Freak and Vampire In Brooklyn to name a few. While Gamera might not be as impactful as Godzilla, he does have a very loyal fan base who enjoy his saving the universe from other Kaiju monsters.

Growing up I can remember seeing Gamera films, and while I enjoyed them, I was never a massive fan and in fact found many of the films to be way to cheesy and the kid characters who all loved Gamera always annoyed me. The reason that Gamera stayed on my radar was because I really did like his appearance. I was a Godzilla fan, and he reminded me of a character from that movie series. In 1995, I can remember seeing the new design for Gamera on the cover of Horror and Sci-Fi Magazines, and while I dug his new more monstrous updated look, I was in no major rush to check it out. I would see the film on VHS all the time at stores like Suncoast at the Dayton Mall and would pass on it to grab films like The Gates Of Hell Part 2 or another odd Horror Movie. To be honest I could not tell you when I finally did see Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe and who I watched it with or if I even liked it…I know, readers and friends, it’s shameful to say but this film just never left that big of an impression on me, and I didn’t even own the film on DVD until late 2019 when I bought it again to re-watch for this update. And while I am sure many of you are saying “Matt, it sounds to me like you just don’t like Gamera!” I want to assure you I do indeed like the flying turtle, I was just never a mega fan like I am of King Kong and Godzilla. And after watching Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe again in 2020, I find the film to be fun, slightly silly boring and one that took Gamera in the right step of making him an icon in the world of Kaiju films. And while Gamera is not one of my top favorite Kaiju monsters, I do respect the character and would say he is the third most popular giant monster in the Kaiju monster universe.

As you can see, Gamera is a monster who can hold his own in the world of giant monster fights and while he is not as powerful as Godzilla he could sure put up a fight at least. But now it’s time to take a look at the Dark Horse comic based on the film Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe that was released to help promote the movie in America. I want to thank Bell Book And Comic, Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what Gamera has in store for us in this four issue mini series.

Gamera # 1  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 1 of 4 

Young lady Asagi is in Mexico with her friend Mayumi Nagamine who has been hired by he rich lady Patty Smith to search her island for a very rare and massive bird, and what she finds instead is a pile of droppings that belongs to the flying Kaiju Gyaos! Meanwhile Asagi is left behind as she was not welcomed on the island just yet and decides to take a plane ride from Lutz who is a small time business man looking to make a living, while flying around Asagi tells her new friend about how she has a link to Gamera via an amulet and as they are talking it starts to glow as Gamera knows that Gyaus is back! Meanwhile Gyaos has flown inland and is attacking while Mayumi learns that Patty is not who she claims to be as she is really Doctor Karbone and she is guilty of creating Gyaus who escaped his jar and is growing fast, and she wants her help to make giant monsters that are controllable! Meanwhile Gamera has arrived and is fighting Gyaus now in the city and when Gamera is hurt the wound is shared with Asagi who is kicked out of the plane by Lutz, and as Asagi rushes to be closer to Gamera she is knocked down by the scared townspeople who are running for their lives.

This first issue is a nice start for this series as it brings a little history lesson of the film this is a sequel to as well deliver the giant monsters fighting in the city! Plus they do a great job of bringing back characters from the film that help it feel right at home in the series of films. The plot is simple crazy mad doctor Karbone has brought back a Gyaus monster with the idea of being able to control it, but when it runs amok she fakes an identity to con a ornithologist to her island lab to help make her dream of weaponized giant monsters a reality, while Asagi friend of Gamera is also around and must help her giant turtle friend battle once more as Gyaus is destroying a city in Mexico. This far our main hero is Asagi a young woman who has a link with Gamera via a amulet and has a mental link with him while she wears it, while she herself is not strong her will to help mankind is. ornithologist Mayumi Nagamine and small plane driver Lutz are background players at this point but you know as this series gets further they will play an even bigger part of the story. Gamera is as massive as ever and is 200 feet tall and is looking to stomp the life out of Gyaus who is the issues true baddie as its destructive and clearly will kill what ever is in it’s way. Doctor Karbone and her assistant Gusano while crazy are not super evil as I think in a weird way they think what they are doing and have done is the right thing to do! The issue is filled with lots of destruction and a fight between the two big monsters and this helped add a great layer of entertainment to this issue. I must also say at this point I feel that all the characters are likable and interesting and made me look forward to reading the second issue! The cover for this issue is great but also a little cheap as it’s just the films VHS/DVD cover, and the interior art by Mozart Couto is great and has the 90’s Dark Horse look. Over all a very solid issue and one fans of Gamera should check out, now lets see if the rest of the series can hold up.

Gamera # 2  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 2 of 4

Lutz decides that he can not leave young Asagi alone in the city when two Kaiju’s are frighting and comes to her aid, and together they make their way to the battle area and she sends Gamera a message via their minds and he is able to defeat Gyaus, before she is two weak to move. Lutz gets he medical help and also swipes the amulet and gets back into his plane to follow Gamera. Meanwhile Mayumi Nagamine is being kept prisoner as she refuses to help Doctor Karbone with her quest to control the giant monsters she is creating, and worse the mad Doctor has a bound with the squid looking Viras who is in control of her mind! Mayumi Nagamine ends up escaping when she sets a fire using a flare gun and while the monsters in tubes are destroyed by the blaze Viras is saved by Doctor Karbone and Gusano who escape with him on a hidden sub. Meanwhile Lutz is having a bad time as his plane runs out of gas and sinks, and he is picked up by French Military who think he is an eco terrorist and he is places under arrest. While on the ship in a jail cell the ship is attacked by a giant fish monster and Gamera once more appears to try and stop the massive threat, but is hurt really quick into the fight and as Gamera is knocked out sinking to the bottom of the ocean we see that a female alien on a ship in space is upset about something.

This second issue steps up the monster battles as Gamera not only defeats Gyaus but also kills him by setting him on fire and burning him alive! Gamera don’t mess around when it comes to protecting the Earth and seems to have his finger on the pulse of giant monster attacks! The story in this issue as well is very fast paced and has a great action, drama and sci-fi blend to it as they give you a some human story and then give you a taste of the main attraction of the comic series the monsters quickly after. Asagi saves the day in Mexico but sadly she is taken from the issue really fast as she is hurt and has to get medical attention, while Mayumi Nagamine is the issues main hero as she is able to get herself free from being a prisoner and while doing so is able to get some backstory from Gusano and as well sets a fire that kills off many soon to be giant Kaijus! Lutz is a goon who steals the amulet from a young girl that he has zero clue how to use, flies his plane over the ocean to run out of gas to be picked up and thought to be a terrorist…he really is a terrible “hero” and is more of a pain then a help. Doctor Karbone is crazy and clearly is in the grip of her greatest monster creation Viras whom she has put her own DNA into, in other words she really is nuts! Gusano is just a man in love who turned away from being a black market dealer in order to be with Karbone as he would do anything for her, and hates the fact she spends all her time with Viras in her lab. Gamera is a butt-kicking machine at the start, but does at the end of the issue leave you on a cliffhanger on if he will get back up and stop the fish monster from destroying the French Army sub. The cover for this issue is great and the art by Mozart Couto is still fantastic! Over all this is another great issue in this mini series that makes me look forward again to the next issue.

Gamera # 3  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 3 of 4

Lutz has survived the attack on this ship and is now sitting in prison, when he gets a visit from Mayumi Nagamine and he tells her that Gamera was who saved the ship as when he was knocked out a weird sub shot a missile into his head waking him up and making him very angry and he snatched the fish monster and took to the air with the beast and dropped it into a volcano! While in this meeting Lutz tries to trade the amulet for his freedom when he is roughed up as the guard is really Gusano who gets away with it as Lutz and Mayumi Nagamine are teleported aboard the aliens ship, her name is Freena and she is from Broomark and the giant fish monster was from her planet and she was ordered to take it back, but with it dead she now needs another monster to take home to her client! But things get crazy when Viras attacks their cloaked ship and when the army appears to attack Viras this squid beast is saved by Gamera who is protecting it as The Guardian Of The Universe is now under the ultra crazy Doctor Karbone control now!

Like all good giant monsters you just cant keep a good Kaiju down as it shows that while he was dazed for a moment once he got his second wind that massive fish monster did not stand a chance! The plot thickens in this issue as Doctor Karbone really wants to destroy Gamera and to do so needs to take control of him…and she does with the help of the amulet that her lover and assistant Gusano is able to easily get from the derpy Lutz. That’s the thing about this series Lutz is the one telling the story and he is the one good guy character in the whole series who makes terrible decisions and makes bad actions that ends up causing way more issues for everyone…really Lutz is a Putz! Mayumi Nagamine once more is wise in her words and wants to help capture and stop Doctor Karbone who she knows is a true menace to all human life if she can gain control over Kaijus. Doctor Karbone really is a great villain for this series this far as she is crazy on her own and now mind melded with the sinister Kaiju Viras she is more dangerous. Speaking of Viras he is a very smug giant monster, as he knows he cannot be stopped if his creator is able to control Gamera and has no remorse when it comes to the deaths and destruction he causes. The moment you see Gamera under her control you feel dread as our favorite flying, fire-breathing turtle is taking so much damage from heavy weapons. The cover is great like the others and Couto’s art once more rocks, and like a broken record I have to say this issue made me look forward to reading the next to see just how this storyline will end.

Gamera # 4  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse    # 4 of 4

Doctor Karbone is on the Eiffel Tower controlling Gamera making him take all the punishment the French army is delivering and he cannot take too much more! Mayumi Nagamine has herself teleported to the tower and with the help of Gusano who she alerts to the fact Viras is controlling the women he loves and will kill her when he gets what he needs from her, he snatches to amulet and they both fall from the tower and Gamera returns to normal and takes the fight to Viras! Meanwhile Freena’s ship is damaged and she is out fixing it, Lutz is trying his best to fly it and of course crashes it! Gamera is weak from all the damage he has taken from the army and in one last heroic moment Gusano lifts a fuel take and the fire explosion gives Gamera the bust of energy he needs and he makes quick work of Viras impaling the giant squid on a building tower! In the end Gamera flies off, Gusano is dead, Doctor Karbone’s body is missing, Freena is stuck on earth and is trying to blend in while in Paris, Mayumi Nagamine quick thinking helped truly save the day and Lutz is set free from the French prison. But when Lutz find’s the amulet on the ground he is unsure if he will give it back to Asagi or if he will keep it and go on another bad idea adventure.

Wow this was a fun ride of a mini series and really did a great job of bringing Gamera alive in the pages of comics! The plot of this issue has Gamera returning to normal and going crazy on Viras who does not stand a chance! The baddies Doctor Karbone and Gusano come to a violent end with me thinking Karbone is not really dead as he body is not found and I think she is still out in the world looking for a way to control her lab made giant monsters. Mayumi Nagamine once more proves that she is the stories real hero as she is the one who talks reason into Gusano to get the amulet off of Karbone. And Lutz proves he is useless as ever as he crashes the space ship and steals the amulet again in the end…he is such a goofy character. So I guess I should talk about the elephant in the room for me about this series and that’s alien Freena, I find her character so unnecessary as her street talk and her part that means nothing really to the over all series is why I just feel no need to really speak about her as she really does add nothing. The monster fights in the series are all really cool and seeing Gamera kicking some butt is what Kaiju fans enjoy about the movies as well as the comics. I should also say that I feel this series was done right as they showed respect to the source material and fans alike and delivered a fast paced mini series that shows movie monsters like Gamera can make for good comic series. The cover for this issue as well is great as his Couto’s art and this was a treat to read as I found myself enjoying it more then the film that spawned it! If you are a Gamera fan and you have not read this series tack them down at your local comic shop and give them a read. Below is some art by Mozart Couto that I think shows just how awesome his art is in this comic series, enjoy.

While Legendary let me down by moving Godzilla vs. Kong from this month, the fact that here on Rotten Ink I can still make March fun for fans of Kaiju and Giant Movie Monsters I hope makes the wait a little better for you fans, like reading these and writing this month has helped me. And again I want to stress that while Gamera movies are not my favorite of the Kaiju films, I still do enjoy the movies and the character and would love to see him return with a new film and better yet be apart of the Monsterverse Legendary is creating. For out next update we will be traveling once more to Skull Island to spend some time with King Kong and Dark Horse Comics again as they did a comic based on the 2005 film by Peter Jackson! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. See you next time on Skull Island, Kong is waiting for another visit from us.