The Boogieman Of Wooster!

Are you scared of things that go bump in the night? When you were a child did you ever look under your bed to see if monsters were under there waiting to steal your toes? How about your cracked closet door, was an unknown creature in there waiting for you to close your eyes? These type of thoughts and stories have scared children all over the world and are the source of childhood nightmares and sleepless nights for parents. This quick and spooky update is about the king of urban legend fright, the stalker of the night, the creep who terrified kids way before Slender Man and Freddy Kruger, we are talking about the one and only Boogeyman, the true icon of fright! So pull the covers over your head and stay close to the light of your computer screen as we take a trip into a nightmare world of terror!

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You’re six years old, and it’s past your bedtime.  You have snuck downstairs and are watching Sammy Terry host King Kong Escapes on Nightmare Theatre.  You know you could get in trouble and you don’t mind because Sammy is your friend and King Kong is your favorite giant monster. Just as Sammy is talking to his pet spider George, your older brother busts you and tells you that if you don’t get to bed The Boogeyman will get you. The name sends shivers down your spine as just last week you heard from a friend that his cousin’s neighbor was taken by this evil creature so you rush to jump into bed and pray that The Boogeyman is not under your bed…waiting to take your soul.  This is a scenario that I am sure plagued many kids. The Boogeyman is the embodiment of evil and is a mythical creature used around the world to scare bad children into good behavior. He’s a tool for kids to stay good or a punishment by the hands of this creature could change them forever by stealing their toes, eyes or some other body part or worse yet could take you away to his dark world. Growing up my parents never used The Boogeyman defense to make me behave, and I can remember my brother mostly using the term when we were really little to get me to leave the basement that was his bedroom. When I was in kindergarten, his name was mentioned almost in a hush like if we didn’t talk about him he didn’t exist and couldn’t haunt your nights.  While I never believed in him, the “What If?” question did pop in my mind in my youth. The United States is not the only country who has a Boogeyman as other nations also have their versions like Sack Man from Spain, a creature who carries bad children away in his sack and Egypt’s Abu Rigl Maslukha who is a burnt man who kidnaps bad children and cooks and eats them.  These two are just a small drop in the hat of all the versions of The Boogeyman that scare children all over the world! While The Boogeyman is still around, he has taken a backseat to the modern generation of kids as Slenderman is now the creature that haunts their dreams, but that creature will be saved for a future update…but I should also say that a comic book called Slenderman vs. The Bogeyman should be made by some company or independent comic maker…IDW? Bruce O’ Hughes? Any takers? Whether the Boogeyman is real or fake is a subject that up for debate and all I can say is tonight as you go to bed, you might want to check the closet and look under your bed because you never know.

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Like any monster of myth and legend of course Hollywood has to make movies based around it. One of the most popular films based on this legend came out in 1980 called The Boogey Man and was directed by Ulli Lommel.  It’s a slasher/possession horror film about a brother and sister that are being haunted by a pantyhose faced killer who comes out of mirrors to kill and twist reality. This series sparked 2 sequels The Boogey Man 2 and Return Of The Bo0gey Man and a rumor of a Part 4 or a remake has been floating around for a couple of years now. I love these films, and while they are very low budget and very cheesy, they have a charm that make them entertaining. In 2005, a film called Boogeyman hit theaters, directed by Stephen T. Kay.  It’s about a man who witnessed a horrible event in his childhood having to go back to the scene of the terror and come face to face with the creature that caused him so much trauma as a child. This series also had two sequels, and while the original is okay, the series got worse over time and is pure direct to video shelf filler. I should also note that a Stephen King short story called The Boogeyman was turned into a film in 1982. Not to even mention that in Halloween Michael Myers is called The Boogeyman as is John Wick in the film of the same name. While the films based on this icon of fright might have slowed down, I am sure his return to film or TV will come to a rise again soon!

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I would love to see a comic mini series based on Ulli Lommel’s Boogey Man series; this could be a very fun and spooky comic series with atmosphere and bloody kills! The comic series could pick up with Lacey, the survivor of The Boogey Man curse, moving out to the country to get away from all the drama and death that has happened over the years. While in the small country town she finds life to be perfect, that is till a mirror shows up in the town’s antique store that holds the spirit of The Boogey Man who uses his evil power to turn the town into killing drones who all want to murder Lacey and put her head on a flag pole. Lacey must hide out in her farm house along with a worker named Mark who was helping fix her barn and the town’s 84 year old priest.  Together they must fight for their lives as well as come face to face with The Boogey Man with pantyhose on his head and all. This comic series would be a great way to promote the new film coming in the series and could also turn the cheesy aspects of the film into a solid scary blood soaked comic series helping bring the respect to the film series that it deserves. I would love to see IDW tackle this and of my friends I would say Bruce O’ Hughes or Eric Shonborn would be great choices as I could see them both capturing the horror and terror of the story I proposed. While I doubt this mini series would ever happen from a major company, who knows, maybe one day I could team up with one of my comic making friends and bring this series to life for Rotten Ink.

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The Boogeyman’s appearance is up to the imagination of the person telling the story or even what the mind of the terrified child thinks it looks like. When I was a kid I thought of The Bogeyman with a zombie-like face dressed in a Count Dracula-like suit with long sharp fingernails and black stringy hair, but that’s just what my young mind thought it looked like. Matchbox, with their very cool toy line Monsters In My Pocket, thought that The Bogeyman looked like slender longhaired and faced freak who wore sandals and had pants pulled up over his belly. WWE’s Boogey Man looked like a toothless red-faced muscle bound goon who ate worms, loved clocks and danced like he was having a seizure. And Halloween costume makers Horror Dome think The Boogeyman looks like a red eyed goat with grey and black fur who wears a long coat and has long fingers. Marvel Comic’s Boogeyman is a pasty-white skinned large mouthed short man who was once human and is like a shadow now and can posses the likes of Luke Cage and other super heroes. So as you can see, The Boogeyman has no solid look and can be as gross or as human as your imagination allows.

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The comic we are going to review today is called The Boogieman, and I know very little about it besides that I have owned it for years and never read it until now.  I got it at Mavericks so thanks to them for having it in stock. Nuclear Age Comix appeared to be a very small independent comic company owned by Dan Berger, who was making his books out of Wooster, Ohio and having them printed in Carrollton, Ohio making it one very cool piece of Ohio history. Nuclear only published three issues before closing its doors in 1986.  Besides The Boogieman their catalog included two issues of a comic series called Rion 2990 that looked like a Japanimation inspired adventure comic. I’m not sure why Nuclear closed shop as quickly as it started, and I’m not even sure if they continued on by printing their follow up issues on their own. Plus I am pretty sure Dan Berger is also the one that worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures for Archie Comic back in the day! So with all that in your head, I also need to remind you that I’m grading this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s go into the world of The Boogieman and see what we can scare up…    

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The Boogieman # 1  **
Released in 1986      Cover Price $1.50    Nuclear Age Comix    #1 of 1

In the back alley of an unforgiving city, a man is about to club and kill an old drunk over a dollar when a werewolf shows up and runs off the attacker saving the drunk’s life! The would-be robber runs into a police officer and tells him about the werewolf, and as the cop rushes off, the crook steals his wallet! The werewolf meets up with a masked man who is his friend and tells him to go home as he has a cure for his curse.  As the werewolf runs off, the man in the masked called The Boogieman disappears like mist as the cops give chase to the werewolf. The Boogieman visits his friend’s wife and tells her the good news that he can cure him this night.  As the werewolf is busting his butt to get home, he is shot by the police, and The Boogieman must appear and save him by scaring off the officers. Boogieman gets the werewolf home and cures him of his curse and then goes out and busts the crook from the start of the comic and drops him off right into a jail cell. The second story in this comic is about a character called Pumpkin Head, a vigilante hero who wears a pumpkin mask and has wheels for feet who kills three crooks who did his friend Greg wrong.

This independent comic is not played for scares but is more of a super hero vigilante kind of comic as the monsters are the good guys killing off the scum bag criminals that plague their streets. The Boogieman story is very simple and had him trying to help a werewolf to get home so that he can be cured but thanks to a no good crook, the police are on his tail and The Boogieman must use his power of fright to get them off the trail and end a curse.  The odd thing about the end is that it’s clear The Boogieman is owed something for curing him, and it sounds like he has the power to turn him into a monster again! With this being the only issue to come out, it leaves the reader wondering what was to come in the series – was The Boogieman getting a team of monsters together? The Boogieman is a man of few words and looks like a film noir trench coat version of The Spirit and a homeless man. He looks like a man and not a monster and wears a mask around his eyes like The Lone Ranger or even Robin and is by no means scary. The Werewolf, whose name is Glen, looks like a bulky version of The Werewolf By Night and for some reason does not have the killer instinct like most comic book werewolves. The crook is just a scumbag who tries to rob an old drunk man and an old woman and is taught a lesson by The Boogieman as he gets a one-way ticket to jail. The art is really good and holds an almost Tick look to it.  The artist and creator of the story is Dan Berger who did a fantastic job on both. The second short story in this issue, Pumpkin Head, is interesting and has a pumpkin-masked vigilante hero with wheeled feet killing off the people who murdered his pal.  The story is solid and had potential of being a good comic series on its own. The art is not as good as The Boogieman’s but holds an independent charm to it and is done by Jim Pallotta who also did the story. It’s a shame this only lasted one issue as I would have loved to have seen what else this Wooster, Ohio comic company had in store for the future, but much like Topps, Fangoria and Dead Dog Comics before them, this company came to an end way too soon. Over all while not a horror comic like you would think, this comic was well worth the read. Check out some art below. The first two are from The Boogieman with the last being from Pumpkin Head.

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So while The Boogieman in comics didn’t chill my bones or scare me into a sleepless night, it did very much entertain me and made me want to track down Rion 2990 and see what that series has to offer. One other thing that I should point out is at the end of this issue, they mention a character called Dog Man a character who looked like a wild man on a chain held by a teen with a shotgun.  It looked like it could have been interesting if it would have been made. So for our next update, we will leave The Boogieman behind and hit the open road with the one and only Biker Mice From Mars! So until then, read a comic or three, support your local horror host and try and get a good night’s sleep…

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