Samson: Mighty Hero Of Movies and Comics

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my tiny spec on the World Wide Web and the place I like to chat about things I enjoy. For this update I would like to chat about Sword and Sandal Hero and Biblical strongman Samson! Plus I will be having an NES First Play Challenge as I play for the first time and try to beat the super rare game Little Samson on my good old RES! We will also be talking about Brad Harris, my favorite actor to have played Samson in film, plus Samson from the Bible and I will talk about Samson from Sparkle Comics and review Samson ½ released by Samson Comics! So as you can see, this is a very Samson heavy update wherein I have said Samson a total of nine times up to this point and we have not even really started. So if you’re ready to get your mighty power of Samson on, let’s get into this update and bring the walls down!

The Israelites and the Philistines were at war with each other with Israel being on the losing side, when one day an angel from heaven told a couple that their son would be the one chosen to be the start of the tide to change. The new born baby Samson was Nazirite from birth and that meant he could never drink wine, he could not shave nor cut his hair and could got touch the dead nor graves! But I am not going to get too much into Samson of the Bible as later in this update I have a feeling we will be looking way more into it and will break it down…and maybe even review it as a comic book. But all I can say is that Samson is a great tale and has a strong man fighting for the good of his people and is tested and broken and still finds his inner power to be the hero he was born to be. Also if you want to read about a man killing an army of men with the jaw bone of a donkey, I would recommend you giving this Bible story a read or watch the 2018 movie Samson starring Taylor James as the muscle bound hero.

The film Samson from 1961 is hands down my favorite Sword And Sandal film to star the character, and for me actor Brad Harris is the best actor to play the mighty hero as he fits the strong man role well. In Italy films based on muscle bound heroes were very popular in the 1960’s, and the Italian cinema cranked out films as fast as they could make them and flooded the market with what is known as Peplum or also Sword And Sandal. But by 1965, these films were replaced by the Spaghetti Western and the Eurospy Film and would sadly never make a comeback at the cinemas worldwide. But you’re not here for a history lesson on Peplum Films, you’re here for Samson from 1961! The film was directed by Gianfranco Parolini and follows Samson as he joins forces with a Queen who has been overthrown by trickery of her Court Counselor. The film was a hit and stripped Samson of his biblical history and just turned him into an adventure strong man character and spawned four other films in the Samson series. Samson was released alongside such other films in the Sword And Sandal genre as “Hercules In the Haunted World”, “Mighty Ursus”, “Atlas”, “Ursus In the Valley Of the Lions” and many more! Samson is a film I can remember seeing on VHS when I was a kid and would be one I would go on to buy both on VHS and DVD and is one of the first Sword And Sandal films I introduced my girlfriend Juliet to when I was on one of my kicks of watching one a night.

The film’s star was Brad Harris who was born in Idaho on July 16, 1933 but was raised in California where he went to Burbank High School and got a scholarship to ULCA for his athletic accomplishments on the football field. While in college he took up bodybuilding when nursing a knee injury that lead to him building a muscular physique. By 1957, he decided that movies were his passion and took film work as a stuntman and stand-in with his first role being “Monkey On My Back” where he played Spike McAvoy with many other roles to follow and was in such films as “Li’l Abner”, “Ocean’s 11” and “Spartacus” to name a few. His first Sword and Sandal role was in 1961 when he took on the part of Goliath in the film “Goliath Against the Giants” after which he stayed in Europe and made films in the genres of Italy and even became very big in German cinema as he not only acted but also became a second unit director, stuntman and coordinator making him a very popular man to hire in cinema. By 1968, he would go on to also executive produce films including films like “King Of Kong Island” and “ Mutations” dabbling in the world of Horror. His final film role was in 2012 as he played the Captain in “Shiver,” a thriller that starred Danielle Harris, Casper Van Dein, Valerie Harper and Rae Dawn Chong. But besides movies he also had roles on TV with his most popular being on soap opera “Falcon Crest” where he played Deputy Duffy from 1984-1989. Besides work in media he also had his own company called Modern Body By Design about health and working out and eating right. Sadly Brad Harris passed away on November 7, 2017 at the age of 84 after battling an illness. But hands down when it comes to the character of Samson, I think of Brad Harris…who oddly only played the role once. But while gone his work in cinema will live on forever as he is at the top of the list of Sword And Sandal actors.

As many of you readers know, I am the owner of a small independent comic company called Sparkle Comics that started in late 2016 with our release of “Shocking Macabre Theater # 1” that was a horror anthology comic featuring Ohio Horror Hosts like Dr. Creep, Baron Von Porkchop and A. Ghastlee Ghoul drawn by Damien Brunk. In 2017 we launched our first Sword And Sandal comic title, and it was Samson and was written and drawn by Don Stephenson based on an idea by me! The plot of the first issue takes our muscle bound hero Samson and his crew on a journey through China were they see the great wall as well as other marvelous sites and creatures all set in ancient times. Here at Sparkle, our comic’s version of Samson is inspired by Brad Harris and we even slightly based the characters appearance around him in his honor and dedicated the issue to his memory. While Sword And Sandal Comics are not in demand at comic shops and are sadly mostly a niche market, our goal at Sparkle Comics is to make it a must read genre of comics again! While not out yet Don Stephenson and myself have chatted about the second issue and it looks like Samson and his crew might just end up in Egypt! Check out below for some art from Samson # 1 as well as the cover and make sure if you’re into Sword and Sandal Comics to check out the Sparkle Comics website and order yourself a copy.

In 1992, the action game Little Samson was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and was developed by Takeru and released by Taito! In Japan the game was called “Holy Bell Legend Lickle” and the main characters name was Lickle and not Samson. And in the game Little Samson is joined on his adventure by friends like Gamm the Golem, Kikira the Dragon and K.O. the Mouse who are like his crew all who have their own pros and cons when playing as them. The games director was Shinichi Yoshimoto who worked on such other classic video games as Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and Strider. The game was met with great reviews and many players and critics hold it as one of the best side platformer games for the NES. Sadly this game was kind of lost in the shuffle as this was released only three years before the NES was retired and was already on the ropes as Sega Genesis, Sega CD and Phillips CD-I as well as Super Nintendo were all in the game in 1992 when Little Samson was released. With this game coming out late in the NES’s life, it also meant that it did not sell like gangbusters and is now a very pricy game in the used market bringing in around $700 to over $1,000.00 on Ebay and in stores. Little Samson is a very popular collectors game and for this Mini NES Challenge I just bought a fan reproduction cart and with that let’s get to the challenge! Oh and I also want to say that from all accounts Little Samson has nothing to do with the Biblical hero nor the Sword And Sandal Film one.

So I chose January 30, 2019 to play this game as the weather outside was below freezing and my car would not start in order to get to work at Rockstar Pro Wrestling. So I opened a bottle of Asylum Orange Cream Soda and began my first time playing the game Little Samson. This was my first time playing this game and man all I can say is that this is a fun hidden side scrolling gem on the Nintendo! It’s the right amount of challenge and the right amount of rage inducing action that brings me as a player the right amount of enjoyment. Picking and playing as four different characters is a great way also to add more play as some characters are harder to play than the others with the mouse being the hardest and Samson being the easiest. After playing the game for a few hours, I got pretty far and will plan on playing this again soon and see if I can beat it as the game is worth putting time into. Below are some pictures I took that day to document the first time ever playing Little Samson.

So I think it’s time for us to get into the comic look at Samson who is a great classic powerhouse hero that is perfect for the world of comic books. So before we get into this issue I want to remind you that I grade this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready I am ready to see what Samson ½ has in store for me!

Samson # ½   1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Samson Comics   # ½ of ½

This comic is nothing more than a sampler of comics that Samson Comics had in the works and we get no real stories from the few pages of story and many of the previews are just pin-ups! This was a major letdown and a waste of my time and almost ruined this update as it has zero to do with Samson even if he is on the cover.

As you can see this Samson comic has zero to do with Samson and is just an over priced sampler from an independent comic company that did a terrible job of letting comic readers know what they were buying by having a very misleading cover and title. In fact I do not even want to waste anymore of my time on this issue so let’s just say it’s terrible and move on past it and look at a comic that is about Samson and truly saved this update and allowed it to happen thanks to Kingstone Media for making the comic and Amazon for stocking it.

Samson # 1  ***
Released in 2010     Cover Price $3.99     Kingstone Comics   # 1 of 1

The Israelites are under the rule of the Philistines and things are what they are for the people. Israelite couple Manoah and his wife who cannot have children are visited by an Angel who lets them know that she will have a miracle child that will be the one to bring the Israelites into steps to become something more. The catch is that the son must be Nazirite in order to have the massive strength that will be needed. The son is born and named Samson and as he grows he starts to develop feelings for a Philistine woman and he sets to marry her. Samson on his way to visit her one day killed a Lion and days later comes back to the corpse and touches it in order to get honey from it breaking his vow to the Lord. At the wedding a feast is held for seven days and Samson has a bet on a riddle with some Philistine soldiers who cannot crack it and force his wife to find out the answer so they can win the cloths that are on the line. After getting the cloths to settle the bet and with this he robs Philistines, and worse his new wife is given away to another and this sparks a feud between Samson and the Philistines that has fires being set and people being murdered! And things come to ahead when Samson armed only with a jaw bone of a donkey is able to kill a thousand of Philistine soldiers and with this be becomes the ruler of the Israelites and has angered the King who wants him dead. But when Samson meets Delilah his life is about to change as she has been hired by the King to bring him down and she does so by gaining knowledge about who he is and his secrets of Godly powers comes from his hair and after cutting his hair he is taken prisoner by the King. Samson is blinded and forced into slavery and all the while he begs for forgiveness and for one more chance to serve God, one day Samson is to be tortured and after beaten for the masses to cheer to he is able to use his Godly strength once more and bring down the house killing thousands and becoming the true hero of God he was slated to be.

This Bible tale makes for a good read that is filled with action, faith, death and a hero who finds his inner power even when his Godly given super powers are taken away. The story follows Samson as he rises to power in order to lead the Israelites in their “war” with the Philistines who treat them like second class citizens. Samson is a man who takes his power and strength for granted and while he has a good heart he makes bad decisions that leads him down a path of self destruction as his lust for women and his loose lips of his weakness is what ends up leading him to his own death. When Samson falls from grace his life is very terrible as he is blinded and forced into slavery with daily beatings and verbal degrading. But it’s very powerful when he finds his inner power and is able to murder all his tormentors in one powerful move that breaks the support pillars of the building causing it to fall and crush them all. The King is a man who does not like to be shown up in front of his people and thinks that the Hebrew are nothing more than scum, and is willing to sacrifice thousands of his own soldiers in order to bring down Samson. Delilah is a woman who is willing to set a man up for money and seems to have no remorse for bringing Samson down and leading a man to extreme torture. The story of Samson and Delilah is one that is filled with lots of messages and meanings and the main one being for me is never take for granted gifts that are given to you. The comic is down played the violence of the Bible story and many of the battle scenes are done in one or two panels. The cover for this one is pretty fantastic and if you like Sword And Sandal films this is eye catching. The Interior art is well done and is done by Danny Bulanadi who is a veteran in the comic world who has worked with both DC and Marvel. To sum this up this comic does a good job of putting the Bible story onto comic pages and delivers an entertaining read for those who enjoy this tale. Check out the art below to see the style that Bulanadi used in this issue.

Samson is a Biblical and Sword And Sandal hero that I think works very well as a comic book hero as he has the power and look of a classic superhero and that’s why Samson has a home in the pages of Sparkle Comics. I always enjoy talking about and reviewing Sword And Sandal heroes, and this year we still have to look forward to another Thanksgiving update with Hercules! But for out next update we will be walking away from a epic heroes, and I will be turning over Rotten Ink once more to Juliet who will be talking about The Avengers…no, not those Avengers. She will be chatting about Steed And Peel from the British TV Show The Avengers. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Sword and Sandal film or two, and as always support your local Horror Host. Be ready for a smashing good time next update!

Marvel’s Fastest Gun In The West…Rawhide Kid

Once upon a time western comics were all the rage for young readers, and cowboys like Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Billy The Kid, Roy Rogers and so many others entertained and captured imaginations. In fact besides comic books, westerns also use to rule the box office as well as TV airwaves and cheap paperback novels, and it seemed like every kid wanted to be the cowboy when playing “Cowboy And Indians”. But like all super popular media, it, of course, also had a big fall and has lost its hold on the youth today who seem to prefer video game heroes to those from the old wild west. Growing up, I loved films like Once Upon A Time In the West, Magnificent Seven, Young Guns and Quick And The Dead, not to mention the classic true tales of Billy The Kid, Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok! Plus no joke. The Rifleman is one of my all time favorite TV shows, and Lone Ranger was a hero of mine when I was a kid! So while westerns in media even by the time of my youth were not as popular of a genre, they still had their hooks in my entertainment. I mean let’s be honest, many of you readers growing up have played Cowboys and Indians and even looked up to the likes of Roy Rogers or John Wayne. For this update we are going to take a look at a western hero from the Marvel Universe and after looking at all the options, I decided to take a look at Rawhide Kid and his 1985 mini series. So get your spurs on, find a trusty horse and let’s head out to the wild west and see what Marvel has in store for us when it comes to Cowboy heroes. This update will be a quick one and should be a fun one for fans of classic Marvel western heroes.

Some of you younger readers I am sure do not remember the Rawhide Kid as Marvel Comics over the years have not really done much with him besides give him a MAX series and turn him into a raunchy character to try and be edgy in 2003, and then in 2010 he had another mini series put out this time again simply released by Marvel. But before we dive too deep and start the review of Rawhide Kid, I want to share a little of the character’s back story and history with you readers who might be unfamiliar with Rawhide Kid’s slinging ways. As a baby, Johnny Clay had most of his family killed by Indians, and he was left behind as his brothers fled and one was even captured and taken. Ben Bart, a fast Texas Ranger gunslinger, took in the infant Johnny and raised him as his own family on an old ranch, where Johnny at the age of 18 became the fastest gun in the west. One day Johnny heads to town for supplies, and while away, some gunslingers sneak onto the ranch and kill Ben and this sparks Johnny who finds the body to become on a quest of revenge. Once tracking them down and out-dueling them both in a gun fight, Johnny turns his adoptive father’s killers in and decides to change his name to Rawhide Kid and to use his fast shooting skills to help others. And after having it out with an evil ranch owner that leaves the man shot, the Rawhide Kid becomes a wanted man when a sheriff fails to see that the Kid was only saving the day. But even as a wanted man, the Rawhide Kid used his gun skills to help people and to fight crime. Over the years Rawhide Kid has teamed up with the likes of Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt, Phantom Rider and even Iron Man! This character ran from 1955 -1979 and lasted 151 issues for his first solo run and would come back in 1985 for a four issue mini series. While Rawhide Kid is not a popular Marvel Comic character nowadays, he was one who made his mark for the company and is one that deserves respect for being one heck of an entertaining western comic character. Growing up, I read many of his adventures from comics that my Grandma Brassfield would buy for my brother from garage sales, and can remember enjoying them pretty well but still always preferring the superhero and horror comics. If you like classic western movies and TV shows and also enjoy reading comic books, give Rawhide Kid a chance as the early stuff is lots of fun and holds a real classic feel. Oh and I should also note that Rawhide Kid’s drink of choice is milk, and him asking for it at bars and saloons is a running gag in the series.

Cowboys also made a mark in the world of video games with most modern gamers agreeing that the Red Dead Redemption series is one of the over all best games going! But one of the earliest western games I remember was for the Atari 2600 and was called Outlaw and has you having to outdraw an outlaw in order to score points. And when getting this update together I figured it would be fun to take a small NES Challenge on a western themed game for the Nintendo and decided to settle on Gun.Smoke released in 1985 by Capcom. So I picked January 22, 2019 as the day to play this game and hooked up the RES (Retro-Entertainment System) and was ready to just sit back for a few minutes and just have fun and play this game and see how far I could get. My goal this time around is to not even beat the game but to just replay it after all these years, I want to thank Game Swap Kettering for having the game in stock for me to buy and make this quick play a reality. So after pouring myself a tall glass of water and eating a good meal of home made chicken and dumplings, I set out to take a shot of surviving the 8-bit wild-west! And the game was just as fun as I remember as I just ran around shooting all the baddies in town with my goal being to collect a bounty put onto the head of a criminal. The longer I played the more I enjoyed it, but also the longer I played it my hands became more and more cramped as the game forces you to always move up and you must be dodging and shooting at the same time. Capcom should make an updated version of this game and make it like an alternative to Red Dead Redemption and have the player play as a man on the side of the law whose goal is to capture some of the worst gun slingers the wild west has ever known…just an idea. If you enjoy classic NES games and also like wild west shooters, make sure to check out Gun.Smoke as I think it’s a forgotten gem for that system that is worth your play time.

I am not a big soda drinker, but from time to time I do enjoy a good soft drink, and for those wondering it really is hard to pick between Pepsi or Coke as each I think go well with different types of meals with Coke being the best with Pizza and Pepsi going well with Mexican food. But in October 2018 I must say I had one of the worst sodas I have ever tasted (minus those weird ones like Ranch and PB&J) and it was called “Moxie Original Elixir” and my gosh it had one of the worst after tastes of any soda I have drank as it tasted like cough syrup…it was so gross! So this is just a warning for you cola soda drinkers, stay clear of Moxie unless you have a bad cough cause who knows it might help ya!

While working on this update, I got thinking about the old steakhouse Ponderosa that was really inspired by the old west and flavors of the past as well as the TV show Bonanza. Growing up here in Ohio, we had a few of them around and I can remember that my Grandparents on my Dad’s side really loved eating there. I can remember eating the salad bar and loading up on small steaks and baked potatoes and chatting with my brother about toys, comics, video games and horror movies as we ate. But while they were popular places to eat here for a while, they faded away from the Dayton market and all went out of business with the longest one to hold on being on Airway Road. So I wanted to have a meal at Ponderosa in order to celebrate Rawhide Kid and Marvel Western Comics and to relive a little bit of my youth. The nearest Ponderosa is over an hour away from where I live and is in Hillsboro, and after calling up my pal Josh Weinberg, we hit the rode to have a good lunch at an old staple restaurant for our family growing up. The only downside is that I no longer eat red meat and must find some food I can eat from a place that is a steak house. We hit the road on January 15, 2019 to the good old Ponderosa, and on the drive there we chatted a little about the future of the Wolf Hunter movie series as well as a wrestling and baseball talk. It took a little over an hour to get there, but once we did, the place was pretty epic and from the outside was one of the biggest Ponderosa’s I have ever seen! The setup inside was very nice and clean, and Josh and I decided to eat the salad bar buffet. Our waitress was super cute and looked like she could have been a model or a pop star country singer. I chose water as my drink of choice and during my lunch I had chicken wings, mashed potatoes with two types of gravy, mac & cheese, green beans, ham and chicken noodles. And I must say it was all pretty good with the mac & cheese and chicken wings being the stand out and the most tasty. Over all while the inside was very Texas Ranch looking, the meal was good southern style cooking and flavors. On the ride back we talked lots more about MLB aka the Cincinnati Reds and had a hoot as we spotted in someone’s yard a statue of the Apple Pie Tree from McDonalds. It was worth the drive to eat once more at Ponderosa Steakhouse and over all was a fun cold day in Ohio. Below are pictures I took on that day.

So now that I have my belly filled with some good old Ponderosa food, I think it’s time we sit around the campfire with a cup of coffee and start our look at Marvel Comic western hero The Rawhide Kid and the 1985 mini series I have chosen to cover for this update. Now I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready readers and friends, let’s review the Wild West adventures of The Kid! Oh and I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this whole mini series in stock.

The Rawhide Kid # 1  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 1 of 4

The Rawhide Kid is an old man now and is making his way atop Nightwind to town when railroad workers spot him, and the oldest member of the team shares the story of Rawhide Kid being the fastest gun in the west and how he avenged the murder of his adoptive father. After hearing the story, a young city boy on the rail team decides to quit his job to follow Rawhide Kid into town and asks him to train him in gun slinging. Rawhide Kid finds a saloon to relax in as the youngster also enters the bar and hears some of the men talking about the greatest gunslingers of the west and he chimes in Rawhide Kid and points him out to everyone as being the best! The saloon owner refuses to serve Rawhide Kid a good breakfast now as he thinks he is an outlaw and worse as he is about to leave some of the railroad workers have shown up for lunch and bait Rawhide into a massive fist fight that he is winning and is broke up by Sam the town Sheriff and friend of his who takes his old friend to the jail in order to give him a place to rest. That night the City Boy breaks down the wall of the jail to “free” Rawhide Kid who was not even locked up, and this makes the town go crazy as they all start firing at him and his new young goofy friend! But Rawhide Kids still keeps them safe and the Sheriff is able to calm the towns people down, as the City Boy comes to learn that the Rawhide Kid is really in town to put a flower on a grave of a young kid he gunned down in the city many years back.

This Marvel Western Comic is lots of fun and this first issue was a fantastic read to kick off a mini series as it blends his old adventures and his current story really well and brings new readers up-to-date on who the character is and was. The plot of this issue has the Rawhide Kid now an old man who returns to a town that he killed a young gun slinger in and soon finds that the town dislikes him and look at him as an outlaw, that his friend is now the town Sheriff and he also has a young city boy who idolizes him and wants to learn to become a gun slinger like him. Rawhide Kid is an aged fast draw gun slinger who is a man that is haunted by his past as he has taken so many lives with his guns. Plus I like that even though he is an old man he don’t take guff from people who want to try and test him and his legend. I also like that he just wants to avoid trouble and that all he really wanted to do in town is have some ham, eggs, bread and of course a glass of milk before visiting the grave. The City Boy is a young man who gets wrapped up in the stories of how great Rawhide Kid is and decides that by being trained by him will lead him closer to fame and fortune instead of working hard for his money. While he is a good kid, he also is a screw up and causes Rawhide Kid lots of issues with the locals in this issue. The townspeople are all mostly judgmental who hate Rawhide Kid due to old wanted posters that use to hang, forgetting that he was the one who gunned down a madman who killed many of the townsfolk many years back. Sheriff Sam is the only one who seems to know that Rawhide is a good man and he has to be the voice of reason when it comes to them getting trigger happy. And Nightwind is still the same old fast horse long time readers love. It’s great to see that Rawhide’s trusty horse is still alive and helping his owner to get out of tough spots. The comic does a great job of building up a good story that shows our hero is an aging man who still is as skilled as he was in his youth as the world around him is changing and his good deeds are out shined by damning words from the past. The cover is great and has a real classic look and the interior art is done by the iconic Herb Trimpe who is one of my favorite classic Marvel artists. I am surprised on how much I enjoyed this issue, and I am very much looking forward to reading what’s to come in issue two. So with that let’s see what Rawhide Kid gets up to in his next adventure.

The Rawhide Kid # 2  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 2 of 4

Rawhide Kid and City Boy board a train to get out of town and to check one of Rawhide’s bank accounts in a nearby town as he is owned money from a writer who has been writing dime store books about Rawhide Kid’s past adventures as well as tall tales about him and who has not paid! While on the train City Boy gets real nervous when two men approach and even tries to shoot them with a gun he has hidden in his boot causing panic on the train and for Rawhide Kid to also be the target of the two men who turn out to be the law as City Boy is a wanted man! Rawhide Kid and City Boy escape the train and the law as City Boy shares his story of how he accidentally murdered his old boss in Chicago defending the honor of his sister. The pair find an old abandoned shack and spend the night there only to wake up and find that they are in the practice area of Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show! And after some talk Rawhide Kid joins the cast of his traveling road show as does City Boy. While working for the show he runs into the writer who he makes pay him all the money owed and also runs into Annie Oakley who was an old fling of his. But the lawmen also show up and he and City Boy must race off as Oakley and the rest of the crew run distraction.

This second issue has Rawhide Kid once more being on the wrong side of the law thanks to his new student City Boy. We find out his real name is Jeff Packard and he is wanted for murder back in Chicago of a slaughterhouse owner who employed him and his sister. Our plot of the issue has two main storylines with one being City Boy and his running ways from the two officers out to get him and the other is Rawhide Kid who has been ripped off by a writer who owes him lots of back pay money for books he wrote about the living legend. Rawhide Kid is very noble and not only wants what’s owed to him but also wants to teach and protect him from the law who wants to take them both in. Jeff Packard aka City Boy is a young man who still has the idea of being a gunslinger will bring him money and tells a tale of why he is wanted in Chicago that involves a man using and abusing his sister, and when thinking about it, I am not sure I believe him and I think he killed the man in a botch theft as City Boy is very much into money and is saying this in order to get the help of Rawhide Kid to escape the law. What really is cool about this issue is the fact they add in real Wild West people like Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley and have them at the Wild West Show! Makes me hope that more real cowboys show up in this mini series! The over all feel of this issue is the great chase as our heroes spend the issue on the run from the law who are outclassed by the fast and adventures style of Rawhide Kid who always is one step ahead of them. The cover for this issue is great and holds a classic western comic look and once more Herb did the interior and is fantastic. Over all this second issue is, as good as the original and I cannot wait to see what issue 3 has in store.

The Rawhide Kid # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 3 of 4

Rawhide Kid and City Boy have made camp outside of a town were Rawhide is teaching him how to be fast with a pair of six shooters. Meanwhile the law has hired a former slave now turned bounty hunter to bring in the pair of “fugitives”. While at the camp, Rawhide Kid goes for a quick swim as City Boy goes to make breakfast and is attacked by the law and Bounty Hunter who informs him that his sister is fine and is now to be married off, but thanks to Rawhide Kid and Nightwind, they are able to free City Boy and they ride off to find shelter and a place to hide and regroup in the near by town. Once in town they find that it is made up of former slaves and all the males have been killed and the women and children are hiding in the church and tell Rawhide kid that a hate group killed all the males and are returning for them all because they want the town cause oil has been discovered under it. The Bounty Hunter leaves the law behind and tracks his bounties down to the same town. Once the Bounty Hunter finds them in the church a showdown is about to happen until the hate group shows up and they have to join forces in order to save the locals as well as themselves. In the end the good guys win and kill and chase off the hate mongers and the Bounty Hunter drops out of turning them in and decides to stay in the town and help them rebuild and protect them from others trying to steal the oil. Rawhide Kid and City Boy ride off still on the run but also as heroes.

Wow this is a great issue and shows that Rawhide Kid is a good man who does what’s right and is also teaching City Boy the same morals. This issue has Rawhide and City Boy being hunted down by a skillful Bounty Hunter who ends up joining with his bounties in order to protect a town that is being slaughtered by a group of hate and greed filled men. Rawhide Kid is still a man trying to avoid his legend as he knows that much of it was made up by writers and storytellers, and while some think he is an outlaw, he is really a man who does the right thing and even risks his own life to save others. He also has zero tolerance for those who hate due to skin color and has no issues standing up for what he thinks is right and putting haters in their place or even six feet under. So I have to say I was wrong about City Boy as it looks like he was telling the truth about killing the man over his sister, and he in this issue is learning not only to be fast with a gun but also how to be a better person and to help others. The lawmen are desperate in this issue and go looking for help to capture their “outlaws” by hiring a bounty hunter and once more when they go for the arrest they fail. The Bounty Hunter is a former slave who also fought in the civil war and is now super skilled with a gun and always gets his man and seems very happy to be hired to take down a legend like Rawhide Kid, and in the end he learns that he needs to also look at valuing innocent human life and not just look at all people as dollar signs. This issue really does take a look at racism and does it in your normal Marvel Comics way and shows that they tackled all types of issues in their comics. One of my favorite moments in this issue is when the Bounty Hunter tricks members of the hate group into a barn and traps them inside and burns them alive…very brutal! The cover for this issue is great and showcases true comic western action and interiors is once more done by Herb and is fantastic! With the next issue being the final in the series, I am wondering how this will all wrap up and if City Boy will be reunited with his sister and if Rawhide Kid will find the retirement he so badly wants. Well let’s not delay and see what issue four has in store for our cowboy hero.

The Rawhide Kid # 4  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 4 of 4

Rawhide Kid has a terrible nightmare about having to save a faceless woman from a pack of skull faced baddies who all represent death while the town around them burns! City Boy is startled but warns him that it sounds like one of the tall tales from one of the dime novels written about him and they go back to bed after Rawhide burns the book in the campfire. The next day they ride into town and Rawhide Kid finds it’s the same town from his dreams and after City Boy goes to feed the horses a woman runs to Rawhide asking for help and out comes a pack of men who are the law looking for City Boy! Rawhide Kid tells the lady to warn City Boy to leave town and out smarts and moves the lawmen who warn him they will never give up till they get him! Rawhide Kid finds City Boy who is sick of running and is going to stand his ground against the lawmen and even sucker punches and knocks out Rawhide Kid who tried to talk him out of fighting. When Rawhide Kid comes to he finds that City Boy has been shot dead by the Lawmen and in a dazed state he refights the ghosts of his past leaving them once more dead. When he comes to he finds that he has killed all the lawmen who killed his new friend and this also allows him to bury his past and embrace his legend and to move on in what’s left of his life into the sunset.

This fourth and final issue in the mini series brings together all the stories that ran through it and gives a closing to Rawhide Kid who just wanted to retire and get away from his legend. The plot of this issue has Rawhide’s nightmare of a burning town with people trying to kill him coming to life and while he is able to face his inner demons and let go of his past, he also loses his new friend City Boy in the process. Rawhide Kid is an old man who has a bad rep with some people and others view him as a hero…and all he really wants is to be left alone and enjoy the time he has left on this world without having to fear that some upcoming gunslinger wants to put a bullet through him. The thing about Rawhide is that he is very loyal to his friends as well as to his morals of what he finds right, and because of this as reader I found myself feeling bad for him as trouble always seems to find him. In other words Rawhide Kid is a western hero who has baggage and guilt for those he has had to gun down in the past and would love to just disappear and never shot another person again. Poor City Boy I really did judge him all wrong, and he is no liar or coward in fact he is a young man who has warped views on how to be a good guy and what it means to be a true gunslinger, but means well. It’s crazy that in this issue he is gunned down and his body is just left on the back of his own horse for the town to see…no wonder Rawhide Kid has to go all quick shot on some lawmen ass! The major downside to City Boy dying is that he does not get to see his sister before he died. The lawman in this issue are very cold blooded and seem to get joy in trying to gun down the “outlaws” and are proud the shot and killed a young man who only killed to protect his sister. But while they are cocky at first, they all end up dead when they piss off Rawhide Kid who out classed them and leaves them all dead in the dusty streets. The end gun fight between the lawmen and Rawhide Kid is well down as he is still dazed from being knocked out by a sucker punch and envisions old baddies he has killed as well as loved ones he has lost, and with each re-kill or re-lose he is letting go of his past that haunts him. This mini series is great and really shows that Marvel has always made the best western themed comics with some of the most interesting original characters. The cover for this issue holds a little horror element to it and is very eye catching and as I have said before Herb Trimpe’s interior art is amazing! If you like westerns, cowboys and classic Marvel Comics check out this mini series!

So while Marvel Comics has left the Wild West far behind and have not had an ongoing series for decades their ones from the past live on for readers to discover at their local comic shops as well as conventions. I would recommend tracking down such titles as Kid Colt Outlaw, Two-Gun Kid and of course Rawhide Kid if you enjoy old western films and comics as they are really entertaining reads. For our next update we are going to stay in the world of Marvel and take a look at one of their most popular Superheroes The Amazing Spider-Man…but there is a twist as we will be looking at his Power Records Book and Record release that features an original story! So until next time cowboys and cowgirls, read a comic or three, watch a classic western film or two and as always support your Local Horror Host! See next update for a web slinging good time!

A Garfield NES Christmas Eve Challenge!

Merry Christmas Eve to all my family, friends and readers!  I am sure that you’re like me and are looking forward to spending your holiday with loved ones and remembering the past Christmases. When thinking about what topic to cover for this Holiday update, I racked my brain to pick one that would be not only fun but also nostalgic for all of you. I thought about covering an Amazing Spider-Man storyline that took place during Christmas, I thought about covering one of the following toys that had comics Dino Riders, Air Raiders or Battle Beasts that are all toys from my youth. I even thought about covering the Horror Movie Krampus and the comic based on the film. But in the end I decided that I was once more going to cover Garfield as looking back on his Halloween Special a few months ago made me want to re-read his Christmas Special! So make yourself a mug of hot coco and be ready to spend a part of your holiday with Garfield and me as we have a cheerful good time.

Jim Davis is the creator of the Garfield comic strip, and I think we should take a brief moment to talk about him and his life. Davis was born on July 28, 1945 in Marion, Indiana and lived the farm life with his family and their 25 pet cats! Davis was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity while at Bell State University where he studied business and art, and in 2016, he himself became an adjunct professor at Bell State. In 1969 Davis worked for an advertising agency and helped on the comic strip Tumbleweeds as well created his own strip called Gnorm Gnat that ran in Indiana newspapers. He would create Garfield in 1978 and it would become a major hit in the world of comic strips with over 300 million readers on a daily bases! With the popularity of Garfield, Davis opened up Paws Inc. in 1981 in order to manage the high demand of the character as well as created the Professor Garfield Foundation that helps promote children’s literacy. Along the way he also created the comic strip “U.S. Acres” and “Mr. Potato Head” based on the classic toy. Over the years, Jim Davis has been married twice and has three kids. He has won a number of awards for his art and comic strip work. At the time of this update, Jim is 73 years old and shows no signs of slowing down and continues to deliver a high quality entertaining comic strip based around a character that is well loved worldwide.

On December 21, 1987, the cartoon animated special “A Garfield Christmas” was first shown and entertained the young and young at heart. Being a youngster who was really into Garfield, I can remember waiting and counting down the days to when this was coming on, and as always, my parents were super cool and let my brother and I watch it as they always did for Holiday Cartoon specials. And I must say most of Garfield’s holiday specials have always had a special place in my heart just like the Peanuts ones as they were always must watches for the holidays for me and my brother. A Garfield Christmas special was loosely based on Jim Davis’ holidays with his family, and he added some dramatic plots to spice it up and give it that make sure to always cherish your loved ones vibe. The special was nominated for awards and was well liked by viewers and critics and would run on TV all the way till 2000 before finally being taken out of broadcast rotation. In 2004, the special was released on DVD and was a big hit with buyers who wanted to watch this holiday special again. Say what you will but if you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, I am pretty sure you watched and enjoyed this special at least once in your life. I want to also note that before the DVD this special was also released on VHS for fans to own and watch when ever the mood struck them.

Growing up, between my brother Bryan and I, we had lots of cool Garfield toys and one of the oldest things we had was a very old plush doll of the fat cat. It was my brother’s, and I am not sure were he got it from, I just remember it was around in our youth. We also had several PVC style figures that I can remember playing with in my Toy Wars as Garfield was always on the side of the Jedi and was always back at the Rebel base alongside other “good guy” figures. I can also remember growing up having some Garfield items that came from McDonalds like glass mugs that was released in 1987 and can remember drinking Kool-Aid, Milk and Pop from them while watching cartoons or Horror Host shows on USA Network. I also remember owning a few of the Happy Meal Toys from 1988 that had a mini Garfield figure and a vehicle. Not to mention, we also had many of his comic strip books that I would get from School book fairs and from Half Price Books. So as I have said, Garfield was always around in my youth.

The Nintendo Entertainment System was a major force in the 80’s and 90’s as home console video games were at a fever pitch, and any kid who wanted to be cool had to have a system and tons of games to impress the neighborhood kids and school yard pals. In fact, we Brassfield Brothers got our first video game system that was a Nintendo for Christmas one year, and we could not get enough games fast enough. One game that was made but never released here in America was one called “A Week Of Garfield,” a side-scrolling game released in Japan on home computers that was met with very mixed reviews that has you as Garfield having to save Odie in a week in game time. But thanks to the fine folks at Fan Brew Games I am able to get my hands on a copy of the game that plays in the RES System and one I can have a NES Challenge with! So take a drink from your Hot Coco as we are about to go gaming, and see if we can save Odie for this Holiday season of 2018.

After waiting forever for Fan Brew Games to send me the game as it was a special order, I chose October 16 2018 to play the game as the weather outside was perfect to stay indoors and get my retro game playing on. So I hooked up the good old RES (Retro Entertainment System) and put the game into the system and hit power and was ready to save Odie! And sadly my original RES died, and I had to select another day as I had to buy a new one. So the next day I selected was December 19 and I poured myself a tall glass of water as well as some cola and set my sights to focused on my mission at hand and that’s to beat A Week Of Garfield for the NES well or at least give it a good play. My first impression of the game when firing it up was that this game had a cool soundtrack as well as some good classic 8-Bit graphics…but then I started to play this game, and all I can say is, wow is it boring! As Garfield, all you can do is walk, crawl, look up and kick and for the most part all you do is dodge bugs, frogs, mice and other animals and when hit, your blood goes down pretty fast. You start with only one life and this leads to you playing the same levels over and over…and sad to say readers and friends, all I can say is this is one I walked away from after playing for a little under an hour as it’s just so bland and I felt I could do something better with my day before work like watch some Horror Movies and read some comics. So in other words, avoid this game unless you’re a massive Garfield fan and like games about walking.

I also want to let you all know that the Cinemassacre did a video play through this game that had James Rolfe and Mike Matei trying to play and review “A Week Of Garfield” back in 2017. And hearing these two play this game was lots of fun as they pointed out the flaws and over all cheesy nature of this kids game. And for those who enjoy video game and movie reviews and discussions, check out their Youtube station as it’s always packed with fun uploads. So did they like it, well you will have to watch the video and find out!

So now that you have all seen me fail at beating a kid’s game of Garfield for the NES, we should gather around the warm fireplace and take a look at the comic strip book adaptation of the Garfield Christmas Special! I want to thank an Etsy seller for having this book in stock. Plus as I sit here near the fire, my cat Leslie wants me to remind you all that I am grading this book on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the book stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So take a drink of your eggnog or hot coco as it’s time to spend a part of Christmas Eve with the Arbuckle Family as well as Odie and Garfield!

A Garfield Christmas # 1  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $5.95     Ballantine Books   # 1 of 1

Garfield is having a dream about a mechanical Santa Claus that will give him any gift he can think of, and just as he is getting all the jewels and riches he can think of, he is awoken by Jon who needs him to get ready for their trip to spend Christmas with his family. Jon along with presents and his pets Garfield & Odie hit the road and arrive at the family’s farm in no time. They are all greeted by Ma and Pa Arbuckle as well as Grandma and Doc Boy who is Jon’s brother. Jon goes out and helps his dad and brother do some chores around the farm as Odie and Garfield as well must go outside and “help” before they all can have a good home cooked meal. After dinner as a family they set up the Christmas Tree, sing a carol together and even Pa reads them all a Christmas tale! Garfield all the while bonds with the Grandma who feeds him food during dinner and sits in a rocking chair and pets him while remembering back to her husband who is no longer with us. That night they all go to sleep with joy and love in their hearts as the next day is Christmas and it’s a perfect snowy night. The next morning Jon and Doc Boy open their presents, Garfield gets one from Odie and the final gift given is when Garfield finds old love letters in the barn written by the deceased Grandpa to the Grandma when they first started dating! In the end the Arbuckle family are happy to have each other for the holiday, and Garfield lets everyone know that the best thing about Christmas is love.

This comic strip book captures the good feelings of Christmas and showcases the small country feel for this holiday as family is very important and chores still have to be done. The plot of this one is simple and has Jon, Odie and Garfield visiting Jon’s family at their farm for Christmas and all spend time together and just enjoy being around each other and partaking in family traditions. Jon Arbuckle is a man who loves his family and his pets and while he has been away from the family farm, he still lends a hand when needed and tries his best to do it the best he can when clearly he is rusty at farm life. Garfield while still being himself in this books shows lots of love to his family and is not only super kind to Odie but also has a real bond with Jon’s Grandma who is clearly having a rough time missing her husband who has passed away, and while Grandma is a very strong woman with a big personality she still has a soft side that enjoys sitting by the window watching the snow come down and petting a cat. Odie is as fun loving as ever and even makes Garfield a present that’s a back scratcher. Once more Odie shows that he is just an all around good dog. Ma and Pa Arbuckle are good folks who enjoy their farming life and celebrate the holidays with big meals and lots of love. Doc Boy who is Jon’s brother is a farm boy who enjoys having his brother around as they always seem to be picking on each other. What really works for me the most about this comic strip book is the atmosphere as who doesn’t want to spend the holidays with loved ones with good food, great talks with snow fall coming down and no place to go! There is just something very special about this book and Garfield in general for me as I really does bring me back to my childhood and when times were simple and everything seemed larger than life. The cover for this book is fantastic and has the Arbuckle Family with Garfield and Odie sitting around a piano and the tree enjoying carols. Jim Davis’s art is as always on point and is classic 70’s and 80’s Comic Strip stuff. This was a prefect read for me and was one great flashback as well, so if you like Garfield and want to read a simple Christmas comic strip this one is for you. Check out the art below to see the holiday cheer that are packed into each panel of this book.

Thanks for spending a part of your Christmas Eve with me here at Rotten Ink as this update. I hope made you think back to your connection to Garfield as well as the NES and just brought a little cheer to your day. Well for me I am going to sit back with a mug full or eggnog while sitting in my backyard and look back at how great this year has been for me when it came to creative stuff! But I will not take up any more of your Holiday time and with that I will see you next update as I break down my best in cinema for 2018! I think I hear Santa and his reindeer, so I need to say I hope you all have a great Christmas and I will see you here again in 2019!

A Very Merry NES Challenge Christmas Eve: Dragon’s Lair

Merry Christmas Eve to all you readers and friends, and this year has been a weird and wild ride for me as lots of great things have happened, from moving into a new home to making amazing comics with my friends at Sparkle Comics and even getting to travel to Evans City Cemetery twice this year! But sadly this year has also been a rough one for fans of horror as we lost many of our icons like George A. Romero, Tobe Hooper, Martin Landau, Michael Parks, Bill Paxton, Umberto Lenzi and Lon Madnight and each loss was very sad. Not to mention the world of entertainment lost many other names like Tom Petty, Bernie Wrightson, Adam West, Jerry Lewis, Chuck Berry, Ivan Koloff, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, George Steele and Basil Gogos to name a few. So make sure this holiday season to cherish your family, friends, co-workers and celebrities and anyone who offers something to your life. So let’s get back to the joy of the holiday and our topic at hand: Dragon’s Lair in the world of video games, cartoons and comics, and yes, I will even have an NES Challenge and try my best to try and beat the game! So grab your armor and helmet as we are about to go on a winter wonderland adventure with Dirk The Daring!

The hero of the world of Dragon’s Lair is the one and only Dirk The Daring, a high ranking knight for the kingdom who is selected to save the Princess Daphne from all the evil that keeps trying to kidnap her and do her harm. Dirk is well respected by the Kingdom as he is very loyal and brave and later even becomes the husband of Daphne, making him an heir to the throne! Dirk was trained at a young age to be a brave knight as he was in the Squire Scouts and even earned top badges during this time. When ready for battle Dirk gears up with his iconic armor that includes his orange over shirt and uses his sword as well as his fists, feet and head in order to fight off his enemies. I should also note that Dirk The Daring was only chosen to save the Princess after all the other knights in the Kingdom failed and were killed on this quest! So to sum up Dirk The Daring it would be this, he is a brave, loyal and smart knight who is willing to risk his life to save the Princess from a dragon and wizard and for this selfless action even finds himself the heir to the crown! Dirk The Daring is a very simple character who embodies the classic knight of old lore and is one iconic and yet sometime forgotten classic video game character.

In 1983, arcades were all the rage as machines were all over the place from pizza parlors to grocery stores.  These machines gobbled up many of players’ quarters as games like Pac-Man Jr., Donkey Kong 3 and Mario Bros. had eager gamers waiting in long lines to get a chance to try to get the top score on the machine! And during this early day of arcade machine domination, cartoonist Don Bluth and writer Rick Dyer created an interactive animated laserdisc game that as well took the arcade world by storm and even sparked sequels and many homeports of the game! The arcade game was such a hit that it, along side Pong and Pac-Man, are the only three arcade machines stored at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.! The game has been ported and remade for many home systems like Sega CD, Xbox, Playstation 2, CD-I, Nintendo DS and so many others including cell phones! In 1990, the game was released by Imagesoft, who made the game more of a side scrolling adventure game and took away the animated character of Dirk The Daring and made him into a 8-Bit hero of the home console generation as the game followed the same plot of the arcade game and turned up the difficulty to deliver a true challenging game. But with this change and the difficulty level came frustration as Dirk can be killed with one hit and almost everything can kill him including closed doors. This made gamers and critics go crazy, and the game was not well received and is considered as one of the worst games for the NES. So now that we have a brief history of this game and we learned about its over all poor reception from gamers, I can’t wait to spend a day trying to beat it on the NES!

Really quick I also need to briefly talk about the episode of The Angry Video Game Nerd where he took on Dragon’s Lair for the Nintendo Entertainment System! Back in 2007 for episode 37, The Nerd took a funny and frustrating look at Dragon’s Lair and went crazy trying his best to beat the game for the NES and found out that the game is brutal and unforgiving and nothing at all like the arcade game it was based on. Try after try he ended up losing his character’s lives and losing his cool in the process! This is a very funny episode that has the nerd drinking to try and deal with the brutal nature of the game and ends with him bumping into a close door and dying just like the character of Dirk in the video game. If you like crude and funny humor videos on YouTube, give this one a watch as it’s a good one.

In 1984, a cartoon of Dragon’s Lair was released by Rudy-Spears Productions for ABC and was part of the sadly long gone Saturday Morning Cartoons. The toon followed Dirk The Daring as he once more did his best to save and protect the lovely Princess Daphne from evil such as Singe The Dragon and Phantom Knight and at the end of each episode we are left with a cliffhanger leaving the viewer wondering how Dirk is to escape his approaching doom. The cartoon was short lived and only lasted 13 episodes and would later be replayed in reruns on USA Cartoon Express and Boomerang where it found a new audience. Voice actor Bob Sarlatte voiced Dirk The Daring while Ellen Gerstell lent her pipes to Princess Daphne. While this cartoon was not super popular and never made a huge impact in the world of toons, it was released on DVD thanks to Warner Brothers and now fans can relive it or even discover it for the first time. I remember barely it and know that I have seen episodes on USA Network but sadly don’t remember much about it besides I liked it.

Before I get into the NES Challenge part of this update, I want to also talk very briefly about some of the cool merchandise that has been made based on Dragon’s Lair that included coloring books, picture books, DVDs, comics, video games, stickers, plastic toys, trading cards, lunchbox and even very cool action figures! So what I am trying to say is that if you’re a fan, you can get yourself some cool items or heck maybe even ask Santa for some next Christmas! I think the action figures are pretty dang cool and are something that I feel I must track down.

So I decided to take my NES Challenge of Dragon’s Lair on November 8, 2017 as Juliet had to work all day and I was itching to try and tackle this legendary hard game! So starting at 9pm I hooked up the old RES (Retro-Bit Entertainment System) and grabbed my NES Controller and was ready for the show down of a lifetime! I poured a large glass of water, grabbed my iced coffee and opened a small bag of chips and cleared my head of other projects I was working on and knew that I had to take control of Dirk The Daring, as he needed to save Princess Daphne…so here is what happened in my showdown: upon starting the game up I noticed that the good old RES is starting to have some issues and that the controller has having major issues as it acted like it was not plugged in, and after working on it, I finally got it to work and my first impression was wow this game sucks as the controls seem delayed and this causes you to be open to the attack of the sea monster that is the first baddy you encounter! Plus while bats only drain your energy such things as rocks, doors, fire and most other bad guys can kill you in one hit! After playing for a few moments and lots of frustration, I was able to get into the castle and then that’s when the major frustration kicked in as the slow sloppy controls, one hit kills and random pop up enemies all kept causing Dirk to die and me to start the quest all over! No matter how much I tried, I was stuck in that damn dungeon and was driven to anger on just how terrible this game I was playing really was! After several hours of playing I really built up a strong dislike for the game and quickly forfeited to its suckiness, and I am not ashamed to say I did not beat Dragon’s Lair for the NES as its terrible controls made it a waste of time in trying to play as it seemed like it was fighting you not to advance. Below are some pics of me playing this game….man it was so bad!

So that NES Challenge was a waste as I found myself really disliking the game play and the delay really annoyed me to the point I just needed to walk away. But we are now at the point of the update where we will be taking a look at the comics based on Dragon’s Lair, and we will start with the Cross Gen series and work our way into the Arcana release. So as we sit here waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney, the snow man in the front yard would like for me to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story! So grab some hot chocolate or even some eggnog and let’s take an epic Christmas Eve journey with Dirk The Daring! I also want to thank Lone Star Comics, Ebay and Amazon for having these comics in stock so that I could do this update.

Dragon’s Lair # 1  ***
Released in 2003     Cover Price $2.95     Cross Gen     # 1 of 3

The evil dragon Singe has his sights on revenge when it comes to Dirk The Daring, and this revenge has also sparked pure hatred and bloodlust of wanting to see our hero dead for all of the dragons he has killed in the past! Princess Daphne has been asked to run the Kingdom while the King is away, and as she and Dirk are on their way there, they are attacked by Singe and his smaller sidekicks.  Soon Dirk and Daphne find out that this dragon is super powerful as he defeats Dirk and takes Princess Daphne prisoner. After waking up from his defeat, Dirk The Daring heads to the Kingdom and finds a group of heroes that want to help on his quest to get the Princess back that are Leraene, the female Captain of the Royal Guard, and Drake, a young wizard’s apprentice who uses what little knowledge he has to look into the flame and sees lots of enemies and the dark castle that Singe is hiding the Princess in. Dirk tells his friends they must stay and guard the kingdom, and he finds that Daphne is being held in a magical bubble that in two days will warp her mind and cause her to be Singe’s slave and that the only way to kill Singe is by using a magical sword called the DragonFang that is as well in the castle. Dirk has the info he needs and gears up and heads out to save the day as our first issue ends.

The is a very fun and slow burn fantasy adventure comic that does its best to bring the video game characters and universe to the comic book world, and in my opinion they do a pretty good job of doing so. The plot is simple, that the granddaddy of all dragons Singe is mad at Dirk The Daring for killing many of his kind and wants revenge and sets out his plan that includes kidnapping the princess and taking her to a place that will be filled with lots of dangers all with the hopes of ending the life of Dirk! Our hero is Dirk The Daring, a noble and strong knight who does not back down in the face of danger and will do whatever he can to protect The Princess who he respects and loves. Dirk also kind of has an ego but not to the point that he is narcissistic or cruel to characters around him he just is very confident and don’t have time for those who drag their feet around him. Daphne, while a princess, is also very much a skilled fighter, and while she was kidnapped during this issue, she at least tried her best to fight back even biting the dragon, so clearly she is not your typical weak princess kind of character. Singe is a massive dragon who is not only powerful and filled with fire breathing rage but also is super smart and has hatched a plan to get revenge. I really cant wait to see what Singe has in store for our heroes. Drake is a goofball but his limited magical knowledge could come in handy, and Leraene is skilled and a great warrior to be at Dirk’s side in this rescue quest. I also am looking forward to seeing what they will offer in the upcoming issues. While the action of this comic is at the start and the rest is building up the story, I found this first issue to be a solid read and showed that CrossGen understood the folklore and character history of Dragon’s Lair. The cover is eye catching, and I am sure not only brought in fans of the video game but also adventure comic fans. The comic’s interior art was done by Fabio Laguna, and is top notch classic animated looking art showing they hired all the right people to make this comic book work! Over all I am looking forward to reading issue two, and can’pt wait to see what Dirk The Daring and his friends are planning on this rescue mission.

Dragon’s Lair # 2  ***
Released in 2003     Cover Price $2.95     Cross Gen      # 2 of 3

Dirk The Daring enters a creepy swamp, and after finding a Hydra Snake, he finds himself in quicksand and must hope that his trusty horse saves him in time. Meanwhile Singe thanks that Dirk died from their first battle and Princess Daphne soon finds out that the Dragon has many human brides that were once princess as well and that soon she will loose her free will and become one of his brides as well! As Dirk is saved by his lucky horse who is named Bertram ,and they find themselves at a dark castle that belongs to the Lizard King who is helping Singe and wants to do his best to kill our hero! As Bertram leads the alligator henchmen away from the castle Dirk and Lizard King have a fight that leads the evil Lizard King falling out of a window and into the mouths of his hungry alligators who eat him alive, as Dirk The Daring and Bertram head toward the dark castle of Singe.

In this second issue, Dirk The Daring fights the Lizard King (no, not Jim Morrison of the band The Doors!) as well as all the creepy crawlers of the swampland and gets one step closer to rescuing his true love. Dirk The Daring is focused on his quest at hand, and once more proves he is not scared to risk his own life in order to save his Princess. I also really like that Dirk on his quest is really leaning on his trusty horse Bertram for backup and boy does this horse help pull his fat out of the fire a couple of times. Dirk is a great hero in comics just like he is in video games, and in this issue he acts like a true knight! Singe is once more shows that he is cold blooded as he enjoys the fact that he has enslaved many of Princesses and that he killed Dirk The Daring or so he thinks. The Lizard King is a loud mouth little reptile man who tries his best to end the quest of Dirk but is out classed when it comes to battle and finds himself dinner for his very own pet gators! I really like the dingy swamp atmosphere in this issue as it adds a feeling of dread to the quest and is filled with snakes, spiders and killer lizards showing that many sinister things are going to stand in the way of Dirk’s rescue mission. While the first issue was part action and part story drama, this second issue goes for mostly action and only a small part drama making for a quick and fun read. The cover is pretty cool and once more eye catching for fans of the game and adventure comics. The interior art is once more done by the talented Fabio Laguna and is great stuff. This second issue is just as entertaining as the first, and I can’t wait to see what the third and final issue has in store for Dirk The Daring and us the readers.

Dragon’s Lair # 3  **1/2
Released in 2003     Cover Price $2.95     Cross Gen     # 3 of 3

Princess Daphne finds herself stuck in the bubble, and none of the other Princess will help her escape as the mind washing of free will is creeping even closer, and Singe himself has the only key to open the bubble around his neck! Meanwhile Dirk The Daring and Bertram have entered a graveyard and soon find that they are being surrounded by zombies and skeletons that want both man and horse dead as they are craving death and souls! Dirk and his trusty horse fight the horde of the undead and even trick a massive skeleton into destroying himself! After they escape the graveyard they make their way even closer to the castle of Singe.

This issue is lots of fun but also slips a little as I found it to be a little lackluster on the adventure part, and Dirk fighting the undead seemed like it was just him running through them and them exploding into piles of bones…and I never felt he was in danger in this issue like I did in the past two. But while this issue is not as solid as the past two, I still want to stress that it is a very good issue even with this slight flaw. The issue’s thin plot has Dirk The Daring charging through a graveyard filled with the reanimated dead while Princess Daphne tries to figure out how to escape the magical ball she is trapped in as it’s trying to drain her of her own will and mind. Dirk and Bertram in this issue are once more working as a team and do well for themselves in this battle, and Dirk’s sword cuts down their enemies, as does the mighty back kick of Bertram.  They make a great comic duo and are top notch heroes for sure. Princess Daphne, even while captured, proves that she herself is also a warrior as she is not giving up and tries all she can to escape the odds that are clearly against her. It’s a shame that CrossGen lost the rights of Dragon’s Lair comics, and this was the final issue in their series as it leaves the story unfinished and Daphne still in that dang bubble! Singe is a sinister and sleazy dragon as he eats people, bosses princesses and makes them dress sexy and seems to get joy in causing death and destruction. The Undead, while they swarm in masses, they just were outmatched by Dirk, and they mostly just fell apart after one hit making them no major threat. I think what works for me about this series this far is the fact they did a fantastic job of blending the Dragon’s Lair video game and the cartoon together to make a fun and entertaining comic series that brings all the elements that made Dragon’s Lair special together. The cover on this third issue is okay and in my opinion is a little generic, but still also somewhat eye catching and the interior art is once more done by Fabio Laguna and is top notch stuff as he captures the mood and spirit of the characters. I think the downside to this comic series is that CrossGen dropped the ball when they did not finish the story arch as three issues are missing to make this series complete. But lucky for readers, in 2006 independent comic company Arcana decided to finish this series and allow readers to see how the adventure quest ended. I feel its my duty to track those down to give you all a true look at Dragon’s Lair so let’s see what is next of Dirk thanks to Arcana! And not to confuse any of your readers I will number them as if they are part of the CrossGen set, but keep in mind while it will say its issue 4 for Arcana it’s only issue # 2!

Dragon’s Lair # 4  **1/2
Released in 2006     Cover Price $3.95       Arcana     # 2 of 4

Dirk The Daring and Bertram find themselves at a flowing river of lava and must split up in order to get across. Dirk dashes across on boulders and finds that he is not alone as Mud Men appear and attack! Dirk decides instead of fighting them and wasting what little time he has left to save the Princess, he dives below into a river that ends up leading him to the castle of Singe. Meanwhile inside the castle Princess Daphne tries to trick Singe and his slave women into believing that she is indeed wanting to be a part of his harem but soon finds the dragon king is smart and knows she is playing games in order to escape. Dirk meanwhile has entered the castle and finds all types of ghouls and baddies waiting for him that includes small purple ones that are multiplying! Dirk outsmarts them but soon finds himself behind a door that leads to a fire pit and attacking purple enemies behind it!

Dirk furthers his quest as he makes it past the Mud Men, out runs tiny purple knife swinging goblins and makes it to the castle of Singe! While this is a great adventure and continues the quest, I did once more feel that none of the baddies he faces are any threats to stopping him! Dirk The Daring as always is super brave and shows that he is also smart as when time or the odds are against him, he knows just they way to get away safe. Bertram is barely in this issue as he breaks away from Dirk in the lava river and disappears.  I hope they don’t write him out of the series and that he comes back in the next issue. Drake and Leraene also make a small cameo as they can see what the Princess is doing and mostly chat about her sexy outfit…weird. Princess Daphne however is still not giving up the fight and wants to murder Singe with her own bare hands if she can escape the bubble! Singe is getting cocky as he thinks Dirk is dead and that the Princess will soon be mind wiped and his slave forever. The Mud Men and Purple Goblin guys are cool but are easily tricked and are left in the dust for the most part. I do like the idea of Mud People and for some reason it made me think of the Muck Men in the 1980’s horror film Spookies. The cover for this issue is pretty fantastic, and the interior art is once more done by Fabio Laguna and is topnotch stuff. So over all it was great to see the next issue in this series after Cross Gen dropped the ball withnot finishing it. So let’s see what the next issue has in store.

Dragon’s Lair # 5  ***
Released in 2006     Cover Price $3.95       Arcana      # 3 of 4

Dirk The Daring is stuck on a small ledge above a fire pit with the creepy little purple goblins behind him and climbs his way out and dodges a horde of bats before entering a chamber where a beautiful dark haired woman is asking Dirk for his help. The woman is brainwashing Dirk that she is the true one she needs to help and while seducing him, he notices that she is not a hottie but a green skinned witch! Meanwhile Princess Daphne’s will is starting to break as she is down and almost given up as Singe tries to tell her he is not the bad guy that Dirk is as he has killed many of his dragon children and he is doing this for revenge…and that he is evil! Dirk meanwhile fights off the trance, and the witch calls in the Black Knight, an armored killing machine, who throws Dirk around and just as he is about to choke our hero to death the Black Knight gets his arms cut off by a gasping Dirk who then also kicks his armless foe out of a window. The Witch is now very mad and tries to use a spell to turn Dirk into a statue, but our hero is too smart for her and her spell bounces off a mirror and freezes her. As Dirk leaves her room he falls through a trap door!

This fifth issue is really good, and my only major complaint is that for some reason Dirk The Daring spews one-liners like Ash from the Evil Dead movie series, and it’s just not fitting for Dirk. The plot of this one is very simple Dirk is now in the castle where his true love is being held captive while she is being tormented by the evil dragon. Dirk in this issue gets seduced, wises up and hacks up a knight who is trying to kill him…so as you can see Dirk is a man on a mission and will not back down from his quest at hand. Singe is an evil dragon that really does get joy is torturing his captive prisoner and who clearly likes being powerful and in charge. I also like how Singe at first makes it that you feel bad for him as he talks about the reason he is doing this is cause Dirk killed so many of his children and he felt he needed to get revenge for them, and then says plus he is just evil and enjoys all the bad he does. Poor Princess Daphne is starting to loose her strong will as it appears she is stuck with no hope of being rescued before the next full moon and her mind is turned to mush and she becomes another bride of Singe. The Witch is sinister and uses the appearance of a very hot woman to lure Dirk in and when he finds out she is not what she appears she wants him dead and is indeed a threat! The Black Knight as well is very much a threat as he only has one thing on his dark mind and that’s to kill Dirk and even when his arms are chopped off and is kicked out of a castle window he still is silent and its clear he would still fight Dirk until his very last breath! The plus for this issue for sure is the fact The Witch and Black Knight appear as if they could in fact kill Dirk and both at least put up a major fight. The cover is super cool and I am sure caught many eyes of comic readers and the interior once more is done by the talented Fabio Laguna and man its really sad that we only have one more issue to go in this series so lets see how this quest ends.

Dragon’s Lair # 6  ***
Released in 2006     Cover Price $3.95       Arcana      # 4 of 4

Dirk The Daring falls hard to the ground after stepping onto a trapdoor and shakes off the effects and finds himself at the gold treasure room of Singe who is fast asleep.  As he makes his way to Princess Daphne, it’s clear the bubble is starting to make her dumber and when all the other slave women freak out over seeing a real man, a screaming match breaks out and this awakens Singe who is ready for battle. Dirk tries all he can to defeat the dragon from his trusty sword, an ax and even a spear and nothing seems to slow Singe down, but this is all a plan as Dirk tricks Singe into melting the stone that traps the DragonFang sword, and he uses this blade to slay Singe and is just in time to get the key from around the dragon’s neck and free Princess Daphne from the bubble, and by shattering the bubble, this also frees the minds of all the other slave women and once more Dirk The Daring is the hero!

This final issue is fast paced and has a good and fantasy final battle between Dirk and Singe that leads to an ending fitting even for the game, as almost the whole issue is the final battle and it ends with a sword to the heart of the dragon. Dirk The Daring shows why he is considered the top knight of the kingdom as he uses both skill and smarts to slay the dragon and free the Princess. That’s one thing about Dirk throughout these six issues he stays as noble and heroic making him a true hero and icon of video games and comic books. While he can also be goofy and stumble around, it was the one-liners in issue five that was the only thing I didn’t like about the comic version of this character. Princess Daphne in this issue is becoming dumb and her will is almost broken, but once save she is the kick butt woman she needs to be and becomes a great character that can also defend herself. Princess Daphne is a great character and while her captive outfit might border on porn star look, she still is a very strong female character who does not play the victim even when she is in trouble. Bertram is a loyal horse who in his own right is a hero as he saves Dirk’s life many times in this comic and is also very brave, the down side is when Arcana took over doing the comic series this horse takes a back seat and only appears at the start of issue 4 (2) and does not show back up to the very end of issue 6 (4) making him a minor player when he should have been major. Leraene and Drake are very much background hero characters and in fact add nothing really cool to the story and could have been cut out and it would have not mattered to the story. Singe is a great bad guy as he is not only a massive dragon but he is also sleazy and dangerous who enjoys all aspects of being evil! I also like the fact he is ready to fight and kill any hero who dares cross his mean spirited path. The other baddies in this comic series are just speed bumps in Dirks quest with The Black Knight being my second favorite villain in this series being Singe. I must say I do think that the creative team behind these comics really did a great job of capturing the fun and epic feel of the Don Bluth’s video game. The cover for this final issue is pretty great and show cases Dirk with Singes image in his sword. The Interior art is once more done by Fabio Laguna and is good stuff as even some of his rushed looking panels are still amazing! I also like how in this issue a panel has golden statues of Orko from Masters Of The Universe as well as one of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker! I also really like the fact that this comic series when dropped by the original publisher was able to be finished three years later thanks to a Publisher who picked up the slack and allowed fans to get the full story. If you’re a fan of the video game and or the cartoon this comic series is for you! Below is some artwork form this fun adventure series.

So as you can see, while the NES game based on Dragon’s Lair is a stinker, the comic series was not. Growing up I never had a full connection to these characters but always did at least find them cool, and I really wished I had read these comics when released in 2003/2006 as I think I would have even enjoyed them back then. But I just finished my last glass of eggnog, and I think I can hear reindeer hooves on the roof so I think we should get some slumber so Santa can do his work. Our next update will be my Best Of Cinema of 2017, and man ,I am looking forward to you readers checking it out. So have a wonderful Christmas, and I will see you all next year!

NES Challenge: King Kong 2

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another NES Challenge.  This time around in honor of my favorite giant movie monster King Kong coming back to the silver screen in “Kong: Of Skull Island,” I decided to try my luck at beating King Kong 2 from Konami on the good old RES! I am sure many of you are scratching your head and saying “King Kong 2 that was never made for the Nintendo, this must be a homebrew game!” This is only half true as the game was made by Konami for the Famicon in Japan and thanks to the team up of my friend Brett from Bad Or Rad, Pac N Sac Dave and Todd The Fox, I was able to get a custom version of this game that plays on all American systems and even has a custom box and label! So sit back, relax and take a trip with me as I look back on King Kong Lives and try to beat King Kong 2 on the good old RES!

So before we play the game, let’s discuss a little more about King Kong 2 that’s American title is King Kong Lives!

King Kong Lives (1986)

“A giant ape King Kong, which was shot and fell off the World Trade Center tower, appears to be alive, but is in coma for 10 years and desperately needs a blood transfusion in order to have an artificial heart implanted. Suddenly, in the rainforest, another gigantic ape is found – this time a female. She is brought to the USA, and the heart is successfully implanted. But then King Kong, having sensed the female ape, breaks loose.”

When I heard about a new King Kong movie in 1986, I was hyped as the giant monkey has always had a special place in my heart, but I would not get to see the film in theaters as my parents had no interest in seeing it.  In fact, my Dad made fun of the concept of King Kong living with a over sized pace maker. So I would not get to see it until it appeared on Home Video, and I will get to my thoughts after we touch a little on the films history and production. The De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, headed by the famed movie producer Dino De Laurentiis, decided that after the hit King Kong remake they made in 1976 the world needed a sequel ten years later, and so King Kong Lives was put into production and unleashed onto the movie going masses. The film had John Gullermin in the director’s chair again as he was for the 1976 remake, and the film cast such actors as Linda Hamilton, Brian Kerwin, John Ashton and Michael Forest and had a huge marketing campaign around it before and during its release. The film’s score was done by John Scott and is solid work; while not memorable, it’s still good. The film was a major flop when released in theaters, and critics and fans both panned the film for the silly storyline and its overall “boring” nature. Famed and respected film critic Roger Ebert gave the film 1 out of 4 stars and as of this update it holds a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes! The film had a budget of $18 million and only brought in $4,711,220.00 making it lose lots of cash.  It was # 113 of the year, only beating out such other cult films as “No Retreat, No Surrender”, “The Wraith”, “Deadtime Stories” and “Night Of The Creeps” at the box office. And while before it hit theaters it had a massive roar, once in it went out with a whimper.

When my parents rented King Kong Lives for my brother and I, I can remember I was pretty hyped to watch it as the box cover was amazing and had King Kong looking pissed off on it! When watching the film, I can remember my brother not being into it as I was glued to it with wonder.  While the film was not good, in my young mind it didn’t matter as on our TV screen was a new adventure of Kong! As a kid I always took that stand with bad movie sequels: at least we got to see the character again.  Sadly I still have that thought pattern to this day with some films like Halloween, which had some bad sequels under its belt, all of which I enjoy. After seeing King Kong Lives for the first time via a VHS rental, I would go on to watch it on cable tons of time as well as on TBS when shown edited for TV. And later on, I would go on to own it on both VHS and DVD and still dust this silly movie off from time to time and enjoy Kong’s rampage to save his lady. The things I really like about this film are that King Kong, Lady Kong and Son Of Kong look great for the time, and the rubber suits, while dated now, captured my young imagination! Another thing I liked about the film is the quick shot of actress Linda Hamilton’s boobs; as a kid that was always a highlight! I also liked the score music and the scenes when King Kong took on the army. The downside of this film for me was the fact that in many spots it does drag, and at times it seems to forget that viewers are watching to see King Kong.  The other part that’s silly is how they explain that Kong is still alive after falling off the World Trade Center and must have a pacemaker put in so that his heart will function, only to die of a heart attack in the end. While King Kong Lives is not a perfect sequel and is riddled with silly scripting and flaws, I still find it to be a fun entertaining film that I enjoyed from my past. If you have not seen it, go in with a clear mind and enjoy King Kong doing what he does best and that’s be a giant gorilla on a rampage.

While the film was a flop, it still sparked some merchandise that includes the film itself being released on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD. Plus the Famicom game “King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch” was released and entertained the gamers of Japan. Movie posters for the theaters and for video rental stores were made to try to entice movie watchers to check it out. The score soundtrack to the film found its way to vinyl, cassette and CD, and yes indeed, I own the CD and have played it on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO! These are just the items I can think of that came out based on this film, as I am sure other merchandise was made, official and unofficial! I wish at the time of release that a comic book adaptation, paperback novel and action figures were made as I would have loved to have owned them all. So if you’re a fan of King Kong Lives, there is some cool stuff that you should add to your collection.

In 1986, to go along with the film King Kong Lives, video game company Konami decided that the world was in need of a video game version.  So they made King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch to satisfy the demand from gamers in Japan that wanted a game based around the film. The game allows players to take control of King Kong as he goes on a rescue mission to save Lady Kong from the government scientist and must battle the army as well as other large creatures in a top down maze adventure that lasts for a total of nine levels. The goal of course is to rescue Lady Kong who is the love of your life and who also saved your life by giving blood when you were in a coma for 10 years. The game was not a major hit in Japan and never made it to the US for a release. I should also note that a game based on King Kong Lives was also made in 1986 for the MSX home computer called “King Kong 2: Yomigaeru Densetsu,” once more only for Japan and also made by Konami.  This time around you played as the human Mitchell, and it was a role playing game! While neither game set the world of video games on fire, they still left their mark for gamers who have played them.

So we have taken a look at King Kong Lives the movie, and we learned about the video game that I am about to challenge and hope to conquer! I have failed at trying to beat Werewolf: The Last Warrior and Adventures Of Bayou Billy for the NES, but I am going into this game with a positive attitude and the will to beat this game! So here it is, my NES Challenge: King Kong 2!

I selected the day March 7, 2017 to have my showdown as the weather outside was in the 50’s and rain fell most of the day with grey skies in between. After running a few errands that involved Sparkle Comics business I filled up my glass with water and heated up a chicken leg and was ready to save Lady Kong! Once settled into my chair I turned on my RES (Retro-Bit Entertainment System) and grabbed my NES Controller and was ready to save Lady Kong. I started my adventure and punched and jumped my way through what looks like a valley leading to a military base that is protected by green blobs and collected rocks and also found hidden doors! Each of these doors led Kong to a new area and finally to a giant bad guy who reminded me of a shell throwing shells! After dying and wandering around some more, I ended up finding a giant spider to get another key in my quest! My next challenge was fighting three green dragons who wanted me dead, but thanks to my trust rocks that was not on the menu! So far in the game I was feeling pretty good, while I did die a few times I was doing really well and collecting the keys and stomping out enemies with my punches, jumping stomps and rocks. I was also puzzled as to why the underground levels looked like the military base was an alien star ship, but I guess they needed to spice it up to make the video game pop more. After wandering around more and smashing and jumping over things I kept on my goal of collecting keys and smashing monsters! While wandering around the same areas and going into doors that lead nowhere was the majority of the game up to this point, I would get lucky and find a door that would lead to a enemy. The areas would change as I found myself also wandering the streets and smashing things, but mostly I found myself just jumping over bad guys to usher Kong into the next area and collecting more keys. Finally after a few hours of playing, I was lucky enough to make it to the end and fight three rows of giant robots that my rocks helped me smash through and after beating them I was at the door and rescued Lady Kong! In the end, I got a cool cut scene of King Kong and Lady Kong back on Skull Island and it shows Son Of Kong! Finally I did it! I conquered a NES Challenge and beat King Kong 2, and I find this to be a perfect way to celebrate the release of Kong Of Skull Island in theaters! While the game was somewhat of a challenge I found it to be more puzzling than hard as most of the game I found myself just wandering around looking for the right doors. The enemies of the game were hard with the final three rows of bosses being the most difficult. To sum it up, this game is worth playing if you like King Kong and movie tie-in games otherwise it would be very forgettable to most gamers besides diehard Kong fans. But once more I have to say…I did it!

The majority of this game offers the same enemies, blobs and helicopters, but some of the bosses at least put up a good fight! So here is to all of the military forces, the blobs and all the bosses that did their best to keep me away from rescuing Lady Kong. So while they didn’t stop me, here is to all the bad guys from this game who tried their best to keep me at bay; from the weird Shell Monster all the way to the three rows of suited assassins, thanks for making this game a challenge! Below are some pictures of the bad guys from King Kong 2, and I should also note NONE of these baddies are in the movie.

I also just wanted to touch up on one bit of King Kong bizarre news before we get to the comics.  For the premiere of Kong: Skull Island in Vietnam, they had a huge event planned that showcased live actors & dancers and a huge set complete with a 16 foot King Kong! There was dancing and a light show, and for the main attraction the giant King Kong was to shock and fill the crowd with wonder and excitement, but sadly it filled them with fear as King Kong burst into flames and became a towing inferno as the crowd fled the area while others armed with their cellphones took video and pictures of Kong burning to the ground! Lucky for everyone, no one was hurt, and the massive fire was put out 15 minutes after it started, but sadly by that time old King Kong was roasted and toasted. No one is sure how the fire started some say that it was caused by the heat from the lights, others claim that it was a misplaced torch from one of the actors on stage while others blamed Godzilla! One thing is for sure that while King Kong might have turned to ash his box office draw is legendary…you get it…never mind. Check out the picture below for the flaming Kong in all his glory.

So with a win under my belt, I think it’s time we put away the RES and turn our attention toward the main attraction of my blog the comic book reviews! While doing this update, I thought long and hard about which King Kong Comic series I wanted to tackle.  I really had three choices: the 1991 King Kong adaptation from Monster Comics, the 2007 mini series by Markosia or the current 2016 series going on by Boom, and to be honest, I almost considered the 2017 comic series by Legendary that ties into the film Kong Skull Island! After sitting and thinking about it all, I decided to go with the Markosia series called “Kong King Of Skull Island” as I felt it was a wise choice and added new adventures for King Kong to go in the comic book world. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for ordering me these issues years back for my pull file, and I can hear the Kong worshipers telling me to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready let’s walk away from the video game and head through the giant wooden gates and into the world of comics and see what King Kong has in store for us! I should also note that I really do love King Kong and when he clashes with Godzilla for Legendary Pictures in 2020, I will be cheering on the big gorilla as he has always been one of my favorite giant movie monsters, and that’s no disrespect to Godzilla as I love him as well….just not as much as Kong. Oh and I want to also alert you my friends and readers that this comic series is based on the novel by Joe DeVito who tried to sue Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures as he claimed they stole his idea for their movie from his book! Did they who knows but one things for sure I am looking forward to reading this comic series again and some issues for the first time!

Kong King Of Skull Island # 0  **
Released in 2007    Cover Price $1.99    Markosia    # 0 of 5

Carl Denham is on a massive ship on his way back to Skull Island after the events of New York that left King Kong dead and his reputation dragged through the mud and piled with lawsuits against him. His friend Englehorn is the Captain of the ship an they are remembering back to their first time on Skull Island when a pterodactyl attacks and picks up Denham and once over the ocean a giant sea monsters pops out of the water and attacks the pterodactyl causing Denham to plunge into the cold water below.

Issue 0 acts as a very small build up for the comic mini series and follows Carl Denham and Captain Englehorn heading back to Skull Island after King Kong was shot down and killed on top of the Empire State Building. While on this journey back dinosaurs attack and leave Denham floating in the ice cold water, leaving us the reader wondering how he will survive and just why he has left America in order to return to Skull Island. Carl Denham in this issue seems lost and upset over the death of Kong and all the lawsuits he faces from New York, but while down and out he seems very happy to be at sea along with his friend Captain Englehorn whom seems not to be judging him on the incident.   Captain Englehorn seems to be just along for the ride even if he doesn’t want to go near Skull Island again he is willing to do so to help his friend. This issue has some drama and action but is a little weak as with no Kong and mostly talking on the boat its does not have the “epic” feel that most King Kong comics and films have. The cover is eye catching and has Kong looking over Skull Island and the interior art done by Dan O’Connor is fantastic as is the story by Chuck Satterlee based on the novel work of Joe DeVito. Not much more to say about this very short issue 0 besides it good and does it’s best to build up the coming story.

Kong King Of Skull Island # 1  **1/2
Released in 2007     Cover Price $3.99     Markosia     # 1 of 5

The year is 1957 and Vince Denham the son of Carl is a paleontologist who doubts that his dad’s discovery King Kong ever truly excited and was nothing more than a hoax. His friend Jack Driscoll witnessed Kong and tries his best to prove and tell what he knows about the event that shocked New York as Kong’s body has been missing and never seen again and he wants them both to travel to Skull Island and see the legend for himself. Jack Driscoll takes Vince to the island and things get bad when the massive ship takes some damage and needs major repairs. As Jack and some of the crew work on the ship Vince and others take a row boat to the island but don’t make it to shore when they are attacked by a underwater creatures that leaves the crew dead and Vince badly injured. Jack himself makes it to the Island and goes on a hunt to find Vince and comes across the bodies of past explores as Vince is having his wounds treated by a Islander story teller and her young female assistant and neither will tell Vince of his fathers whereabouts.

This first issue tries to bring us up to date on the characters from the classic film. Ann and Jack are now married and Jack owns his own shipping boats, Carl Denham has went missing some time back and his son Vince is wanting to find his father and get answers about King Kong. Captain Englehorn is also missing and no one seems to be on the look out for him. And King Kong’s body has gone missing after his tragic death in New York and some think he was nothing more than a hoax. The plot of this issue has Vince getting family friend Jack to take him to Skull Island to find answers and all he has found this far is wounds and weird Islanders who will not answer his questions. Vince Denham seems like a young man who had his life in order and loves his job as a paleontologist but also seems to have a black spot on his soul, as he really wants answers from his father who has vanished and left him and his mother to answer for the crimes he committed with Kong. Jack Driscoll is a man who is loyal to the Denham family and found his true love thanks to the original trip to Skull Island, he seems to be wise in age now but also loves the thrill of adventure. The Storyteller Islander seems to know more than she is sharing and I cant wait to see what her story is. The comic is very wordy and not much action happens till the end of the issue but it does a great job of setting up our story and introduce and reintroduce our cast of characters. This far I think my favorite character is Jack Driscoll as I find him to be the classic hero type and knowing what he has been through thanks to the movie he is just a great classic character. The cover for this issue is eye catching and has Kong beating up a giant snake and the interior art is done by Dan O’Connor and has a classic comic feel that brings this story to life. Over all this first issue is lots of fun and like issue # 0 is a great way to build the mini series. Lets see what adventure issue two has in store for us.

Kong King Of Skull Island # 2   **1/2
Released in 2007      Cover Price $3.99       Markosia       # 2 of 5

Vince’s fever from his wounds has broken and The Storyteller and her assistant Kara show Vince a old statue of Kong and she decides to tell him a story of the past the was about one of the Islands Princesses who wants to save her people and bring peace and the old wall’s gate being struck by lighting and man eating creatures called Deathrunners escaped and how the young Princess became friends with The Storyteller, but this does not interest Vince who wants to know about his father and Kong. Meanwhile Jack must fight his way through the jungle and even must kill a giant lizard with a stick! Vince soon finds that Kara hates him and wanted him to die in the water as The Storyteller stops her rant and gears up to share more of the story of the past.

This second issue is once more very wordy and packs some action and adventure but is more about the story of the past and Vince wondering why he is hated so much by one of his rescuers. This issues plot has Vince regaining his strength and listing to a tale from The Storyteller who is speaking of the wall, the political tribe tension as well as Kong. And all the while we follow Jack who is trying to find Vince and is trying his best to survive the jungle. While the story this far is interesting I am also getting a little annoyed that we are only getting brief moments of King Kong in flashbacks and I for one want more of him and less of long winded story telling of events of the past. I mean a book about Kong should have more than a few panels of Kong over the course of three issues at this point. The only other funny thing I noticed in this issue is that Vince seems to be more of a whiner and is very concerned why Kara dislikes him and less about the fact every one on the rowboat with him is dead. We also get to see Deathrunners strange lizard like creatures who clearly eat humans and they are pretty cool but again have very little panel time. Not much more to say about this issue besides more plot build up, less action and adventure and the cover is great and show Kong beating up Dinosaurs. Oh and the interior art is done by Dan O’Connor and is still great. Lets just move on to issue three and see if we get more stories or more action.

Kong King Of Skull Island # 3   **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $3.99     Markosia     # 3 of 5

Vince Denham listens as The Storyteller gives him a little more of the story as in the past a tribes holy man is wanting to give human sacrifice to a giant lizard they named Gaw, this does not set well with the Princess who along with her lover a warrior head into the jungle to find herbs that they think will make the giant beasts tamable. As they get deeper into the jungle they come upon a young Kong and his father under attack by Gaw and Deathrunners and after a brief fight the larger father Kong is killed and the young escapes into the jungle with Gaw and his minions hot on his tail. The Princess and The Warrior move a little further and find a ship and white men looking for help! As she tells this Kara enters and is mad that The Storyteller is given all this information to Vince as she still thinks he is a bad person and will bring more explores to their island. While all this story telling is going on Jack is still roaming around looking for the son of his friend and is getting closer to his goal.

The story telling continues and this issues plot has the Princess and her warrior boyfriend traveling to the jungle in order to find some herbs they think will help make the giant monsters around them more controllable, but some of the tribes are starting to worship the giant monsters as Gods and worst the one named Gaw has made Skull Island his and even has killed a Kong and is on the hunt for a smaller one. All the while Vince is listing to The Storytellers tale and is also still on watch as Kara truly wishes him dead. So as you can see we get more tribe politics but we do also finally get a quick Kong fight that leaves one of them dead and shows that our books main villain is an evil reptile killing machine. Vince at this point is getting a little stronger but is brain is now an open to the tales of the old woman as he is trying to understand the history of the island and how his father ties in. Jack is still just stuck in the jungle looking for his friend and is doing his best to survive. The Storyteller and Kara are at odds with one another over how much they should share with Vince, but the while at odds respect is still in play. The Princess and The Warrior while in the past are doing what they can in order so save peoples lives as the primitive ways are trying to come back and with that means human sacrifice. The two Kong’s are father and son and while strong the father is just out numbered and killed as the younger giant ape is now on the run and I am sure he will be the one we will later know as King Kong. The Gaw is a red skinned lizard giant monster who is brutal and attacks with fury and worse the Deathrunners seem to help him bring down his prey. While we do get some action and adventure this issue is much like the others and more about the story of the Island and I am ok with that I just hope we get a great fight in the end between Gaw and Kong. I must say the cover for this issue is very eye catching and is sure to please fans of King Kong but the interior art this time around is done by artist Scott Larson and I must say I am not a fan of his style of art as I found it sloppy and not able to capture the epic nature of Kong and the world of Skull Island. While this issue is not amazing it still was fun and for all the lack of Kong action I am enjoying the tale of Skull Island and lets see what issue four has in store.

Kong King Of Skull Island # 4  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $3.99     Markosia      # 4 of 5

The Storyteller continues her tale of the past to Vince as she shares that the white sailors where lead by Captain Magwich and their boat was in need of major repair and they are welcomed in by the villagers who in turn ask them for help to capture the last Kong. The Warrior and the sailors enter the jungle and disappear for awhile but finally return with the captured young Kong. The Holy Man still pushes for human sacrifice and with one they set up Gaw and pour super hot boiling oil on him and this also sets the captured Kong off who breaks free and rushes into the jungle looking for a final fight. Sadly for the Princess her father the King has passed away and her people are still at odds as the Holy Man and the Sailors are still around and could be ready to cause problems. Meanwhile in modern times Jack wonders the jungle and soon finds tribe people who have a Kong under their control and he himself is now taken captive and lead to Vince who is happy to see his long time family friend and for the major surprise The Storyteller takes him to see his father Carl who has lived this whole time on the island!

This time around the story is how in the past the islanders captured the young Kong in order to control and defend them from Gaw who has been their tormentor for way to many years, but also how outsiders are starting to influence some of the people and with their firearms they could help the Holy Man gain control of the island. All the while Vince is hearing this history lesson and by the end of this issue Vince is reunited with both Jack and his father Carl. The Storyteller and Kara seem less at odds and seem to get slight joy of letting Vince see his father again. I really like how the outsiders are a factor now in the past storyline as it’s clear they could tip the scales into the favor of what ever side they decide to take if they take any by the end. I also enjoy the fact that the Princess is the only one who showed the young Kong compassion and brought him food, drink and tended his wounds from being captured. I also like how the villager’s fights back against Gaw and catch him on fire with oil and this also makes you wonder what he will do in the next issue for revenge against them for turning on him. It’s nice to have Carl Denham back into the story and see him and Jack Driscoll reunited as it gives a real classic feel to see the films two main heroes together again. Kong while he does not do much its still great to at least have him around and know that in the final issue coming up he is going to have a battle to the death with Gaw! The cover for this one is awesome just like the all the covers that came before it. The Interior art is a team up of Dan O’Connor and Scott Larson with the later’s sloppy art sticking out like a sore thumb. Over all a good issue while nothing special I found it to be a good read that made me look forward to the Kong vs. Gaw final fight, so with that lets move onto the final issue.

Kong King Of Skull Island # 5  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $3.99     Markosia     # 5 of 5

Carl Denham and son Vince exchange words and son is not happy with his father as he feels that he left him and his mother to deal with the drama of King Kong, but The Storyteller calms everyone down and they all enter Skull Islands skull cave and find that Carl brought the remains of King Kong with him to return him home! Meanwhile in the past The Queen finds the herbs that helps tame the beasts in the lost city but she and her people also soon find that Captain Magwich have other ideas that is not about helping them kill Gaw but to help himself to the islands gold! But when the Holy Man finds out that the sailors have turned on them he summons Gaw who kills the Captain and turns his sights on the others but they humans are saved when King Kong shows up and kills Gaw and ends his path of revenge! When back at the village The Warrior is killed, The Holy Man rises to full power and The Princess goes into hiding and has become The Storyteller and she shares that Carl has been writing their stories down and when he is about to get praise they find that he has died in his sleep. Vince and Jack return to the fixed ship and they sail home and Vice has a new respect for his father and Skull Island.

In this fifth and final issue we get every storyline from this series tied up, King Kong’s body has been brought back to Skull Island, Vince finds his father and gets the answer as to why he has been missing all these years, Carl has spend years helping the Islanders teaching them English as well and taking down their story, Jack gets out of the jungle and finds his missing friends and The Storyteller passes down the tales and lets Kara know that she is now Queen of the people! This comic is more drama than adventure and while the story was lots of fun I really did wish for more King Kong fighting action. King Kong in this comic series goes from being a frightened youth to a vengeful fighting machine and while not in the mini series that much when he is shown he demands the reader’s attention. Vince and Carl Denham serve their parts in the story as two outsiders to Skull Island whom are trying to find answers and peace and must find it not only with the people of the island but also with each other. Jack Driscoll is a man who is friends with the Denham family and even when the odds of survival looks grim he still never gives up. Captain Englehorn we are to guess has died on the island as besides issue # 0 he never makes an appearance. The Storyteller and Kara as well both have a purpose to the story as they are tools to share the past as well as share forgiveness and fear as Kara is clearly fearful of what the white man can bring to their island. The Holy Man and most of the Sailors from the past as well show that greed and power can make people do sinister and evil things to benefit themselves. Gaw the giant god lizard was also a very evil beast who ruled Skull Island with an iron claw and seemed to get joy out of killing, so its fitting that he is killed by Kong by being impaled! What worked for this comic mini series based on a book is the fact it had a fun story that opened up the past and history of King Kong as well as Skull Island plus most of the characters are likeable and all feel like golden age Hollywood stars. The downside of this series is that in some parts is boring, not enough King Kong and some issues the art is blah! This issue has yet another amazing cover but the inside art was done by Scott Larson and is a little weak for the final fate of our characters. To sum this up this comic mini series based on King Kong and a book is a good read for fans of Kong but does have flaws that distract from what could have been an epic four star comic adventure. Check out the artwork below to see the styles used in this comic series for King Kong and Gaw that has both artists work.

I have always had a soft spot for Giant Monster movies and grew up watching them on TBS and shows like Super Scary Saturday and while I love Godzilla I have always had a place at the top of my heart for King Kong and with the release of “Kong Of Skull Island” to theaters this year I knew I had to revisit the giant ape here on Rotten Ink and I am glad I did as I have had this comic series in my boxes since they came out and never got around to reading the full series. But for our next update I am leaving Skull Island and heading to the golden age of comic book heroes as we take a look at the one and only Red Demon a sadly mostly forgotten hero from the late 1940’s! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host, see you back very soon for our look at Red Demon.

NES Challenge: The Adventures of Bayou Billy

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! I am sure you’re wondering why we are here in the bayou of Louisiana in the middle of gator ally.  Well, we are here waiting on the one and only Bayou Billy! So you readers know what that means, we are at another NES Challenge.  This time around we will be playing The Adventures Of Bayou Billy on the good old RES (Retro-Bit Entertainment System) to see if I can beat it once and for all! Bayou Billy is a game for the Nintendo that almost every kid I knew owned, and not a one of them could beat it much like Dick Tracy and Goonies II that seemed almost impossible to beat and made for many hours of frustrating play. My cousin Stephen Alexander hates this game as he also has never beat it and in fact can barely get off the first level, and he is a pretty good old school NES game player with over the last few years beating such titles as The Karate Kid, Monster In My Pocket, Jaws, Karnov, Metal Fighter and Super Mario Bros, to name a few. So as you can see I have a pretty tough challenge ahead, but I am up for it as for this play through I am going to pig out on Cajun style food and drink to get me into the mindset of Billy! So let’s watch out for gators and see if we can lend a hand to Bayou Billy as he tries to save his lady from the evil grasp of Godfather Gordon!

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In 1989 Konami unleashed The Adventures of Bayou Billy onto the masses in North America, and a cult game was born. The game is a hybrid of side scrolling beat-‘em up, jeep driving and light gun shooter that follows Billy from level to level as he fights his way through a total of 9 of them. The plot of this adventure is pretty simple: you take control of Billy West, a former U.S. soldier turned vigilante who goes by the name Bayou Billy who is going up against crime boss Godfather Gordon’s smuggling operation.  For this, the crime lord kidnaps his girlfriend Annabelle Lane! This of course is a trap and leads Billy on a butt kicking New Orleans high stakes adventure to get her back and to stop Godfather Gordon’s reign of terror. The game was originally released in Japan in 1988 by Konami under the title “Mad City.”  When coming to America, the game went through some changes as they decided to make the game way harder, added in voices and laughter plus changed some background layouts & colors! The game was a pretty big hit for the NES and is one that most kids of the late 80’s had in their game collection.

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I first learned of The Adventures Of Bayou Billy thanks to TV commercials that aired on TV during Saturday Morning Cartoons as well as after school toons and can remember being pretty hyped to play the game as the hero reminded me of the movie character Crocodile Dundee. My parents decided that we did not need The Adventures Of Bayou Billy in our collection and did not buy our household a copy, but lucky for me, neighborhood kid brothers Jeremy and Aaron did and they would invite me over to play the game or try to as I can remember it being so hard that it became almost a challenge between us to try and beat it…we as young kids failed. The next run in with The Adventures Of Bayou Billy came when my cousins Dino and Norman had the game, and once more we played it and failed and I even borrowed it from them to try and beat it and could not even get to the final battle with Godfather Gordon. When I was older, I ended up buying a copy of the game from a second had store around here called Replay Media, and this time around my good pal Jason Gilmore and I tried to beat it and just like before, we failed…so as you can see, failure and Bayou Billy go hand and hand for me as a gamer. And just last year I bought a copy of the game complete in box from Amazon just for this update, cause now at 37 years old I am looking forward to trying to beat this game for the first time…but to be honest I would be surprised if by the end of the day I get to the end screen…I know I have no faith in my abilities of being an old school player. Check out below for a look at the copy of the game I will be playing as well as its box and booklet.

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The Adventures Of Bayou Billy TV commercial was one I remember as it had an actor playing Billy in the heart of the swamp wrestling with an alligator all the while he was telling us about the game play of it being three styles in one from side scroller, to driving to shooter, all the while doing a terrible and over the top bad Cajun accent. The alligator in most shots was a rubber one with one close up of a real one. This overly done and cheesy commercial worked on the youth at the time as it made this game a must have for kids as Konami built it up to be so grand that we just had to have it to impress our friends and to be cool on the playground.  Not to mention that we had to try to beat the amazing adventure that awaited us. Video game commercials like this were a great way for companies to get the attention of the youth who would see it and talk about it at school and with friends building a buzz around the game that caused many kids to bug their parents enough to get it. Nowadays I feel like YouTube and sites like IGN are the tools that spread the hype and game trailers to the target audiences. If you feel like having a good flashback or even want to see the commercial for the first time, check it out on YouTube and be ready for a laughable good 31 seconds with the one and only Bayou Billy.

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Besides the TV commercial, Konami pushed Bayou Billy by running sales on the hit game in toy store ads like Children’s Palace, Toys R Us and Kaybee Toys making it easier for kids to get the game by showing their parents the marked down sale price. They also made a handheld version to give young gamers another way to play the game besides on the NES and to get more money from what they saw as a franchise I am sure. Thinking about it now, I wonder why Konami never made a sequel to Bayou Billy as it would have been neat to have seen the character make the leap to the Super Nintendo or even the Sony Playstation. But any chance of Bayou Billy making a return with a new game on any video game systems is slim to none as Konami is a shell of a company they use to be and many of their workers have left them as they are focusing on gambling machines mostly…so sad.

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Bayou Billy also made the leap to the cartoon world as he appeared in two episodes of the 1989 cartoon series “Captain N: The Game Master” and was resident of Bayouland in the Videoland universe. In the cartoon, Billy had a pet gator named Loafer and helped main character Kevin Keene learn to survive in the swamp land as his game was one that Kevin could never beat, sounds like the story of many gamers’ lives. The episodes that Billy appeared in were called “How’s Bayou” and “Having A Ball,” and this once more showed that both Konami and Nintendo really wanted to push this game and title character to the moon by even adding him to their popular video game themed cartoon. The Billy character in the cartoon acted like the movie character Crocodile Dundee and this was a plan again, to help push the character as Mick Dundee was very popular in pop culture at the time. If you want to see these episodes, make sure to check out the Captain N: The Game Master complete series DVD boxset put out by Shout Factory, but be warned, it is out of print and carries a high price.

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Before we get to the NES Challenge and the Archie Comics Bayou Billy comic reviews, I would like to take a moment to take a look at the band Zebra and their first album that was self-titled as they were formed in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1975 and fit perfectly for this bayou themed update! The band members are Randy Jackson, who is the vocalist and guitarist, Guy Gelso on drums and Felix Hanemann on keyboards and bass, and this line up is still going to this day! They built their name playing clubs around Long Island, New York and covered songs by bands like Rush, Led Zeppelin and The Moody Blues, and this got the attention of Atlantic Records who signed them and released their self-titled album in 1983 making it a huge hit for the company and band. Over the years they released a few more albums via Atlantic like No Tellin’ Lies (1984), 3.V (1986) and Live (1990), but none of them did as well as their first release.  They were dropped in the early 90’s from Atlantic and took a break as a band while Randy Jackson made a side band he called Randy Jackson’s China Rain, but fans would be happy when Zebra would return in 1997 and in 2003 would release their final studio album to date Zebra IV. While not a band that is a household name, Zebra is still active and rocking clubs in New York and New Orleans showing that this band knows how to rock.

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I decided to cruise around Kettering, Ohio in my 2004 Ford Mustang and listen to Zebra’s 1983 release, and on this day the weather was chilly with slight rain and the sound of Zebra was fitting for the smooth and peaceful ride. The first thing I noticed about this album is that it has a weird mix of styles.  The best way I can describe it is if you mixed bands like Keel, Asia, Alan Parsons Project and slightly Cinderella into a blender and poured it all into a glass that had the logo of the band Fastway on it! With that said, this is my type of rock n roll as I enjoy the sounds of 80’s rock, and singer Randy Jackson has the pipes much like Ron Keel of Keel and Dave King of Fastway. Many of the tracks on the disc are solid and great tunes with the two most famous tracks off the disc being the best and those are Who’s Behind The Door? and Tell Me What You Want with the latter being my favorite as it is catchy and has great guitar rifts. Another great track is Take Your Fingers From My Hair, a ballad that is soothing and well structured, so much so that band Dream Theater even did a cover of it back in 2009. I don’t want to spend too much time on this CD, but if you enjoy good clean 80’s metal, make sure to check this disc out as it’s a good one.

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I selected the day January 24, 2017 for my showdown with Adventures Of Bayou Billy, and for this epic day of another NES Challenge, I decided I needed food and drinks that fit the New Orleans bayou theme of the game. Juliet, whose family is from Louisiana, bought me some snacks that are favorites for the bayou like Zapp’s Potato Chips, and to drink I stuck to my classic ice water. She made some chicken and sausage jambalaya as sadly I am allergic to shrimp, and it slowly cooked in the crockpot. The weather outside was grey and cloudy with slight rain with the high of only 45 degrees so it was perfect to sit inside and try and beat this classic Nintendo game! Below is a picture of the jambalaya and Zapp’s that we ate during this epic NES Challenge.

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I started my quest to beat this game at 12:00pm in the mindset that I had to beat this game as it has tormented me for years, but I must also say that doubt also was lingering as the visions of just how hard the game is kept creeping in as did the failure of my last NES Challenge of trying to beat Werewolf The Last Warrior. But I shook those thoughts off and fired up the RES, took the controller in my hands and began my quest to save Annabelle Lane from that evil crime lord Godfather Gordon! To my surprise, after only a few tries I was able to defeat the first level only dying a few times kicking at the alligators and moved onto the second level that was an easy shooter where I had to take on a helicopter while using my d-pad for the gun. The third level was the start of me having a real hard time with the stage boss who is big, mean, and ready to fling Billy around like a rag doll. After losing on stage 3 and wasting all my continues, I took a break and watched Hatchet III for the second time to keep with the New Orleans bayou feel of the day. I jumped back into my quest to save Annabelle after the movie, and I failed really hard as I was not in the groove and kept dying on stage one! I walked away for a moment, and Juliet gave it a shot and sadly she didn’t last long as she allowed Billy to be beat worst than S.D. Jones against King Kong Bundy in a WWF Wrestling match! I cleared my head of the butt whooping I had just taken, and after taking a deep breath, I turned on the RES for the last time of the day and got into the zone of trying like hell to help Bayou Billy get his girlfriend back! I started out strong once again kicking the crap out of the bad guys who are just hit sponges who take way too many hits, and after losing my cool after cheap enemy hits I came to the conclusion that this game is just way too hard for no reason and instead of busting a blood vessel to try and beat it I would rather just turn off the RES and sit back and relax and read some comics because this game was not worth the anger it induces.  All joking aside, this game was just too hard for this aging gamer to beat in one day. But with that said, I must say that the Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtators potato chips and the homemade jambalaya were fantastic and made this day of defeat a heck of a lot better!

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To no surprise I was unable to beat The Adventures of Bayou Billy as I find it to be one of the hardest games in the whole Nintendo library! But I need to give a shout out to all the henchmen and crazed animals who all tried their best to keep me away from their boss. I need to show some respect to Godfather Gordon, that man who made this adventure so hard to beat not only because of his toughness but also his ability to hire the right muscle to keep me and Billy at bay! I also need to speak about Gordon’s bodyguards Rocky and Rocco who show their power by stopping you into the ground like you were just a tiny ant under their boot. In other words, all these bad guys do their jobs of making this game almost impossible to beat very well! So here is to all of them for making this old school gamer once more walk away from his RES a defeated man.

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So while beating the game was a complete bust, I still was able to enjoy some good bayou style food and a fun filled silly day of playing a classic NES game on my RES while hanging out with my girlfriend Juliet! I also want to thank Konami for making this classic game because while it has tormented me for years, it still has added entertainment to my life. But now it’s time to tackle the Archie Comics series based on this video game that thanks to the team up of Lone Star Comics, Darkstar and Bell, Book and Comic I was able to collect, read and review for this NES Challenge Update. And as Bayou Billy dusts himself off after the butt kicking we both just took, he wants me to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So grab your giant Crocodile Dundee knife and let’s head back into the swamps and this time enjoy some comic books based on this video game adventurer Bayou Billy.

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Adventures Of Bayou Billy # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989   Cover Price $1.00     Archie Comics   # 1 of 5

Bayou Billy is on his way to testify in court when he stops some street punks from robbing an old couple on vacation from New Jersey. Once in court the words Billy says and the fact he can point out the perpetrator who started some wicked fires named Hurricane Hank, leads to the pyro to be found guilty, and along with Assistant District Attorney Annabel Lee he is able to get one of Godfather Gordon’s henchmen off the streets. That night Annabel gets an anonymous call to meet some people who have the dirt on the Gordon Crime family only to find herself the target of a hit that leaves her shot and wounded, but luckily she knows karate and is able to steal the hitmen’s boat and finds herself weak at the doorstep of Bayou Billy’s home deep in the swamp. Godfather Gordon is mad at his son Rock Gordon for botching the hit as now they know Billy is now at her side. Rocco Gordon, Godfather’s stepson, comes up with an idea to send their mercenary team F.I.S.T to kill not only Annabel and Bayou Billy but also his Delta Force friends who were heading to the home to join their friend in the approaching war. Bayou Billy is joined by trap master Broadside, Tracker a Native America tracker and fighter and lastly the eye-patch wearing Sureshot who is a master of the bow and arrow and together they protect Annabel and defeat the likes of Mr. T.N.T and Cut Throat. In the end the battle leaves Bayou Billy’s swamp home destroyed but he and his team have mopped up some of Gordon’s top henchmen and saved the town’s Assistant District Attorney who is now out to get Godfather Gordon in a jail cell.

This first issue sets the groundwork that Bayou Billy is a bounty hunter who once was a Delta Force solider who still has war buddies and is a legend around New Orleans as criminals think that he can not be killed and will not die…hey wait, just like The Phantom! The story for this issue is that Annabel Lee has become a target of the Gordon Crime Family as she has been very outspoken about their crimes.  This leaves her the target of a hit that she is lucky to escape from, getting help from the town’s hero Bayou Billy who along with his own team are ready to tackle crime and bring it down. Bayou Billy is a little cocky yet very loyal and committed to doing the right thing.  You can tell he has a crush on Annabel Lee, who doesn’t have the same feelings for him. He has no fear and tackles trouble head on laughing off threats from baddies. His Delta Force buddies Sure Shot, Tracker and Broadside are loyal friends and clearly guys Billy can depend on for the coming turf war. Godfather Gordon and his two sons Rock and Rocco are pure evil crime lords who have their hand in all types of crimes and don’t care who they kill in order to get what they need and want. Their elite team called F.I.S.T is made up of all types of criminals from the hitmen Cut Throat and Creole all the way to helicopter pilot and gunner Wild Bill.  But while they are all skilled at what they do, they are just out classed by Billy and his group. Annabel Lee is a woman who wants to use the justice system to put criminals away and does a great job at doing so; she is also pretty and can defend her self as she as a green belt in martial arts. Over all this is a fun kid friendly adventure comic that takes some liberties with the video game it’s based on.  One of the major changes is that Rock and Rocco are the sons of Godfather Gordon and not his bodyguards. But while changes like that might upset The Adventures of Bayou Billy diehard fans, I can look over it, as I found they mixed action, drama, crime and war comic well to make for a kids comic that packs a gator sized bite. The cover is great and is a more cartoonish version of the NES cover box.  The interior art done by Amanda Connor is fantastic and she helps bring Bayou Billy to life on the comic pages. I should also note that The Adventures of Bayou Billy is apart of the Archie Adventure Series line and joined its place in history along side other titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, The Fly, Sonic The Hedgehog and ManTech Robot Warriors for delivering quality comics aimed toward early teen readers. But with issue # 1 being a great read, I am looking forward to seeing what issue # 2 has in store for us.

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Adventures Of Bayou Billy # 2  **1/2
Released in 1989   Cover Price $1.00     Archie Comics   # 2 of 5

That firebug Hurricane Hank is having nightmares in prison about his last run-in with Bayou Billy that not only landed him in jail but also minus a hand! He wants so badly to get out of jail and get his revenge once and for all and must come up with a plan. Meanwhile Bayou Billy pays Godfather Gordon a visit, and after roughing him up, is able to get money to build a new house as his F.I.S.T agents blew up his last one so Billy finds it fair that the crime boss pays to build him a new one. Worse for our heroes is that the whole F.I.S.T group is freed, and Hurricane Hank does escape jail and sets into motion a scheme to kill Bayou Billy! Tracker however followed Hurricane Hank and alerts Billy as the Gordons alert Annabel Lee to where he is hiding as they find their one time henchman too much of a loose cannon now. Bayou Billy knows it’s a trap and shares a story with Annabel from his Delta Force years about how he was set up by a Gordon back then that left him dead for a short time and was only brought back thanks to the effort of his friends.  He shares the story of the second time he was dead and saved when a hitman sent by Godfather Gordon named Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill used a nerve gas that took his breath away.  If not for an old man living in the bayou named Papa Jambo, he would have once more been in a grave. Bayou Billy takes Annabel Lee to his friend Grease Monkey and her garage as he goes after Hurricane Hank.  A battle breaks out that leaves a warehouse burnt down, Bayou Billy bruised and sore and Hurricane Hank once more on the losing end of life.

This second bayou adventure is a fun kid friendly read that loses the charm of issue # 1 slightly as this one just was kind of middle of the road and comes off as almost a watered down version of a Dick Tracy story. The plot is: a criminal who Bayou Billy put away and cost him to lose one of his hands escapes jail more crazy than ever. and his madness to get revenge is what leads to his downfall. Hurricane Hank is a man who had slipped into madness as he is plagued with nightmares of losing his hand and every moment of his life is used plotting the death of Bayou Billy and setting the world on fire. While once a respected henchman for Godfather Gordon, his mental state has even made the crime family turn on him. Plus his ego gets the better of him as when he had Bayou Billy down for the count and could have fried him like chicken on a boat, he instead chooses to try and kill our hero with his bare hands that just leads to him being out smarted and out classed and at the bottom of the water. Godfather Gordon as well as his sons and F.I.S.T stay out of this fight and pretty much lay low after the last beating they took, but Godfather does at least call in a tip so that Hurricane Hank can be found with the hope he and Billy will just kill each other! Tracker, Broadside and Sure Shot act as distractions so Billy can get Hurricane Hank and each play their part well.  We also meet Grease Monkey, the cute redhead female mechanic and friend of the Delta Force group who works on their trucks and boats. Annabel Lee is now clearly in love with Bayou Billy and is still trying her best to put the Gordon crime family behind bars, but is faced with lots of setbacks and bribes to judges. I also enjoyed Papa Jambo who not only saved Bayou Billy from death but also taught him all his tricks of the trade in the swamps. The fights in the issue between Hurricane Hank and Bayou Billy are great and reminded me a lot of classic comic book fights you would have seen in Mighty Crusaders and other independent hero comics. The cover is just okay with the black lines being used as shadows on Bayou Billy being a little cheesy.  The interior art is also a little off and is done by a team up of Amanda Connor and Mike Esposito who both normally do great work. While this issue is just okay, I did have a good time reading it and enjoyed the idea that Konami and Archie Comics put time and thought into trying to make this comic series based on a video game work. Well let’s see what issue three has in store for us. Oh and I have to say, I want to know more about Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill ,the man who killed Bayou Billy for the second time and wore a trench coat, a hat and a gasmask!

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Adventures Of Bayou Billy # 3  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00     Archie Comics   # 3 of 5

The New Orleans Police Department is having a heck of a time trying to break down a man named Blackie Blue who is in fact really a creature that is part human and part ferret thanks to a scientist to did an experiment on him while on death row in prison! After Blackie makes short work of the cops, he rushes away and the job of finding him goes to Tracker, Sure Shot and Broadside as Bayou Billy goes out on his own to try and find Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill, the man who killed him many years back. But when Billy joins his friends, he soon finds out that Blackie Blue is as strong as an ox and escapes our heroes with ease. Later Bayou Billy and Annabel Lee meet up and return to Billy’s new home paid for by Godfather Gordon’s money, and they are as well visited by Tracker, Broadside and Sure Shot and plan to talk over a cup of coffee when Blackie Blue attacks and pulls Billy underwater almost killing him if not for the help of the alligators of the swamp who attack and keep Blackie at bay! As Billy fills his lungs with air and warms up, Annabel Lee comes up with a plan to capture both Blackie Blue and Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill by pitting them against each other! Bayou Billy likes the idea and sets up the trap that works as a charm as Gaskill is knocked silly by a mighty punch and Blackie is knocked out via gas grenades and all Billy has to do is cuff them and bring them to face justice. In the end as Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill is in court he escapes thanks to a smoke grenade and a terrible lawyer who allowed him to get his hands on one.

This issue’s plot has Bayou Billy on a mission of revenge as he wants to bring down Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill, a hitman who was hired to kill many years back, but to add to the madness an inmate that had been experimented on has escaped and is now more beast like and he has his sights on killing Billy! The two fights between Bayou Billy and Blackie Blue are one sided as the beast man is way stronger and has raw animal instincts to kill his targeted prey making you really feel as if our hero could be taken down! Blackie’s fight with Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill is also pretty much one sided as the beast pushes through the madman’s gas attacks in order to knock him silly and only after he complete his goal does he fall. In this issue Bayou Billy is as noble as ever but does have the nagging want for revenge that keeps him off the case of the major threat at the time as he wanted to stop his old foe who had been laying low for years. Plus I like the fact that Bayou Billy is very loyal to his friends as well as his girlfriend and that they all hang out not only in town but also in the swamp…that’s what I call friendship goals! Blackie Blue is an interesting bad guy as when human he had an accident that dyed his skin and hair blue and it’s hinted that Batman was responsible and that his partner in crime was The Joker! Blackie was on death row and because he didn’t want to die, he was chosen to be a subject in a experiment that turned him into a wereferret that has raw power and the need to kill his prey! As the beast Blackie’s appearance is this blue fur all over, sharp teeth and claws and wearing a prison jumpsuit.  For Wolf Hunter 2 fans, think Panthor. Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill on the other hand has a hideout in a shack near an old farmhouse and is still toying with making new gas grenades and is taken by surprise when he is attacked by Blackie, but is smart enough to escape in court. This issue was lots of fun and had just the right amount of action, adventure and even a dash of horror to keep this 37-year-old comic reader entertained. The cover is pretty cool and showcases the horror element with a dash of late 80’s Marvel Spider-Man cover appeal, and the art inside is solid again and done by the team of Amanda Connor and Mike Esposito again showing that they work very well with each other. We are three issues in and over all Archie Comics as part of there Adventure Series is doing a great job of making this Konami video game character a very fun comic one, well worth reading, and I can’t wait to see what the next issue brings.

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Adventures Of Bayou Billy # 4  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00     Archie Comics   # 4 of 5

Bayou Billy is having a nightmare about the death of his first wife Laurie who was blown up with a car bomb that was meant for him.  The hit was placed on him by one of the Gordon family and after quitting his job as a New Orleans police officer, he became the bounty hunter he is today…that was two years ago to the day and he still wants answers to who wanted him dead. Once more he gears up and sets out to look for Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill whom he thinks might have the answers and heads to a rough bar called the Rue Morgue.  A lead brings him to loan shark enforcer Two-Head McGraw and after a brief fight, they send him to a slimy man named Snitch who spills his guts that Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill is hiding in an old chemical plant. Bayou Billy shows up and tries to get the jump on his old enemy only to find himself on the receiving end of a gas bomb that leaves him disorientated! Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill goes to Grease Monkey’s garage and knocks out the young mechanic and steals one of Billy’s monster trucks.  Once Billy awakens to try and find Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill, he is attacked with his own truck! But with the aid of a can of red paint and good luck, Billy is able to trick Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill and use his own jeep as a bomb that leaves the killer gas man at the mercy of Bayou Billy who gets the name of the man who placed the bomb that killed his wife.  It’s Hurricane Hank, the man who drowned two issues back, but with this shattering news he also has delivered Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill to the cops and justice….but through out his adventure a shadow figure has been following him!

This issue works really well as we get a good background on to why Bayou Billy does what he does and why he hates the Gordon crime family so much.  Plus his reasons are legit as they tried to not only kill him but killed his wife! Bayou Billy has spent the last two years of his life hunting down criminals in the big easy all to find out who of the Gordon’s paid for the bomb to be placed that killed his wife, and sadly at the end of the issue he does not get the answer he seeks. Also packed into this issue are many of the criminals who work for the Gordon Crime Family like Snitch a skinny eye glass wearing weasel of a man who will spill his guts for the right price, Two-Head McGraw who are joined twins who act as muscle for Rock Gordon when people cant pay pack the loans he has given them, and lastly Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill who we all know is the gas mask wearing killer who tried to murder Bayou Billy a few years back. All the bad guys are pains in the butt this issue but all fall to the hands of Bayou Billy who is a man on a mission to get answers. Grease Monkey, the female mechanic and friend of Bayou Billy, also comes into play as she is attacked by Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill who knocks her out and steals one of the monster trucks she has in storage.  Lucky for her, she was not killed. This issue is packed with drama but also an equal amount of action making for one heck of a good kid friendly comic read! The cover on this issue is a little downbeat with Billy at the grave of his wife, and I am sure scared some parents away from buying the issue for their child. The interior art was done once more by the team of Amanda Connor and Mike Esposito and is great as always.  In fact, the month this issue was released, Amanda Connor was Archie’s Artist of the Month, way to go Amanda! Over all this was a great issue and worth reading for sure, now sadly we are at the last issue in the comic series based on The Adventures Of Bayou Billy.

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Adventures Of Bayou Billy # 5  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00     Archie Comics   # 5 of 5

Bayou Billy robs criminal La Rue and his henchmen Mitts and Slugger of a briefcase filled with dirty money, and now he is wanted for questioning by the local law.  This shocks his friends Tracker, Sureshot and Broadside as they don’t know why Billy did it! Also at this time, fellow bounty hunter Black Gator is very upset that the media only pays attention to Bayou Billy and wants to shutdown his competition permanently! We soon find out that Godfather Gordon has hired Schwartz N. Eiger, a criminal ex-soap opera actor to play as Bayou Billy and pull off the crime so that his enemy will take the rap for the crime and be out of their hair for awhile.  Meanwhile Billy himself is having bad dreams about a black gator and is under arrest for a crime he did not commit when he wakes up, but lucky for Billy he has some tricks up his sleeve and escapes the cops only to run into Black Gator who wants to kill Bayou Billy to prove he is the best bounty hunter.  All the while Godfather Gordon is watching as it all comes to a head when Bayou Billy, Black Gator, The Cops, La Rue and Schwartz N. Eiger all meet up at an abandoned theater where Billy clears his name and comes out the winner in the fight with Black Gator.

This final issue was clearly not intended to be so as many questions are still left unanswered like how will Bayou Billy get his revenge of the Godfather Gordon family for putting a hit on him that backfired and killed his wife as well as many bad guys are still out in the world including Black Gator who clearly wants to kill Billy and ruin his reputation at being the best bounty hunter in the bayou. But with that said, I must also say this issue has a fun vibe to it as it pits our hero Bayou Billy against a Black Gator, a man who wears a ninja outfit and is as skilled as he is in fighting! Plus throw in washed up actor Schwartz N. Eiger as well as smaller crime lord La Rue and his baseball dressed bodyguards Mitts and Slugger and you have a recipe for a fun kid friendly crime caper. This issue as well is really cool as many of the faces of the past issues are around like his mentor Papa Jambo as well as Godfather Gordon and his sons making this a cool send off for the comic series. Bayou Billy is a solid character who is badass when he needs to be as well as a quick thinker when the time calls for mind over muscle.  I also like that while he kicks the crap out of people he is also shown getting his head knocked around to making him a more believable character than many comic heroes based on video games. Tracker, Sureshot, Grease Monkey and Broadside are all great sidekick characters who help add to the story as well as each have their own generic yet so good personalities. Annabel Lee is a cool character as she is not only a lawyer but also Billy’s girlfriend and not a female character that is always needing to be saved by the hero! Godfather Gordon and his sons Rock and Rocco are slimy, and you want to see them get theirs.  They also employee so many colorful and odd mercenaries & scumbags like Schwartz N. Eiger, Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill, Hurricane Hank and Wild Bill to name a few! Not to mention this series had some other cool bad guy characters like Black Gator and the werewolf-like Blackie Blue both who were foes that Billy had a hard time with. I think the best fight in the whole series took place in this issue as the Billy and Black Gator’s fight was epic and was what comic book fists fights are all about. The cover for this issue is good and reminds me of something you would have seen on a Marvel Comics G.I. Joe cover. The art inside is solid once more and is done by Amanda Connor and her partner in crime for this final issue Robert Downs, and it’s great kids comic work. Over all Adventures of Bayou Billy was a very good kid comic series that showcased a Nintendo game character in a great way and gave him even more of a personality, and I am sure it drove some comic readers into buying the game, just like the game forced people to look into buying the comic. I for one wished the series had more issues as I enjoyed reading this for the first time for many of the issues and again for others. Check out the art below for a sample of what you will see if you read this comic series.

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While I might have failed at beating The Adventures of Bayou Billy on my RES, I did get a victory in getting to read the Archie Comic adventures based on the character! I am also very shocked that this game never did get a sequel as like I said, many kids I knew owned it and for the most part it’s a pretty beloved game for many old school gamers. But for our next update, we are going to be leaving the bayou and heading into the world of animals running wild with the taste for human flesh as we take a look at the Action Lab: Danger Zone series The Final Plague! So until next time friends and readers, play a video game or two, read a comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host.  See you in about 10 days!

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NES Challenge: Werewolf The Last Warrior

When I was a kid, Nintendo was the main source of video game entertainment at home, and while Atari tried to hang on, the original NES was just unbeatable even giving arcades a run for their money as almost every kid I knew had a NES.  My friends and I spent lots of time talking about what games we had played and would always brag if we beat one as it was almost like earning a medal. I have lots of fond memories of playing games like Friday The 13th, Castlevania, Contra and Legendary Wings with my cousins Dino and Norman, Kranov and Excitebike with cousin Nathan, Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, Kung Fu, Ghost N Goblins, Gologo 13 and WCW with my brother and parents, Karate Kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II The Arcade Game with cousin Stephen, not to mention Festers Quest, Blades Of Steel and Double Dribble with friend Mike Cessna.  So you can see, the NES was a system that brought many great moments into the lives of those who picked up the controllers. So for this update we are going to take a look at a promo comic given away with the Data East game Werewolf The Last Warrior, plus I am going to try my best to beat the game in one day! So grab some Mountain Dew and load up a bowl with some potato chips as we are going back to the past to play a game that always kicked my ass…the one and only Werewolf The Last Warrior!

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SAS Sakata developed Werewolf: The Last Warrior, and Data East released it in 1990 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  It was a side scrolling action game that mixed in elements of horror and even a touch of super hero and was a solid success. In Japan the game was known as “Super Werewolf Chronicle Warwolf” and was released there in 1991 as well as in Europe. The game’s plot is this: on Red Earth, the second colony planet, the evil Dr. Faryan along with his evil mutants have taken over and enslaved mankind and it’s up to a man named Ken who can transform into a werewolf warrior named Warwolf to save us all. During the game you can transform back and forth between being a man or beast, and you must grab W’s to do so; the red ones turn you into a werewolf, the blue ones turn you back human and by collecting five bubbles you will be transformed into a super werewolf that can jump higher. Playing as Ken, your attacks are weak but playing as Warwolf, your attacks have a longer range and you gain the ability to wall climb. The game also got the Official Nintendo Seal meaning it was a game they green lit to come to the system.  Back in the day, Nintendo was very select on how many titles a company could put out on their system, and the seal was supposed to act as a seal of quality. For years after being released, rumors of a sequel popped up, but nothing ever came from it making this game the only one in what could have been a series.

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The first time I ever played this game was sometime in 1991 or 1992 when Mike Cessna rented it from a video store, and we all played it for a little while in his living room after school. But my time of really getting to play it and trying to beat it came in late 1992 or early 1993 when my Grandma and Grandpa Brassfield bought it from a garage sale for my cousin Nathan who would stay with them for long periods of time. When Nathan was over at my Grandparents’, he would not want to play this game and would always have us all try and beat “Karnov” or “Wizards And Warriors,” but when he was not over I would spend lots of time playing Werewolf or hooking up the Atari 2600 and try to beat Spider-Man.  Both games were super hard, and I never did beat them in my youth. But as I got older and was 19 years of age, my close friend Jason Gilmore and I started to collect old Nintendo games from our youth, and while I kept many of my old ones, there were ones I never owned and Werewolf was on the top of my have to have list as I knew I must have a showdown with this game as beating it was long over due.  Jason and I spent many nights playing and beating Video games and sadly Werewolf was one that defeated us as we could not beat it. Now I am 36 years old, and I still own my copy of Werewolf: The Last Warrior.  I think I am ready for one last showdown with this game that has defeated me in the beating the game department, and thanks to “Phasers On Stun” and owner Ron and worker Spencer, I was able to get a complete copy of the game with box, comic and booklet just for this review and showdown, so thanks guys!

My Werewolf The Last Warrior Complete In Box

Before I get to deep into this challenge, I want to chat about a few other things that I truly enjoy just so I can get myself in the right frame of mind to play and finally beat this NES Game.  First up, I want to talk about Golgotha, the newest release from one of my favorite bands, W.A.S.P., fronted by the underrated song writer Blackie Lawless. Over the years the band has gone through many changes with mostly band members coming and going but one thing that has always stayed besides Lawless is the ability to write and perform amazing Rock N Roll songs! When I pre-ordered his CD back in late 2015 it was with the hopes that it would live up to the hype I created in my own mind as I was in need of a fix of classic sounding 80’s rock and I was banking on this release to deliver, but the main question on your mind is did it. I decided to listen to this CD in my 2004 Ford Mustang as I drove around town as I wanted to mimic the days when I was a youngster and driving blaring music was my way to unwind, and the first thing I must say is that the sound W.A.S.P. delivered with this release was that of a true to life 80’s Hairband sound! The downside to this release is once more Lawless thinks every song needs to be long epic ballads with almost all songs being over 5 minutes long! Another thing I noticed is that while Lawless has been born again, this has not affected the raw feeling of these new tracks and only thing missing is cuss words and sexual undertows of his songs past. I should also note that Golgotha was released 6 years after W.A.S.P.’s last release that was Babylon that was released in 2009. The best track on the CD for me has to be “Scream” as it made for a great tune to cruise around to with the windows down and really did remind me of a classic 80’s W.A.S.P song. My least favorite track was “Golgotha” and while not a terrible tune just was more of a song I would think you would hear on a Christian Rock release and not a Hard Rock one. Golgotha is a great solid release and shows that while Blackie Lawless might be in his 60’s the man still knows how to deliver a fist pumping, head banging rock n roll record, fans of the band should check it out and I for one cant wait to see what the bands next release will bring. And who knows maybe the next release will see the return of Randy Piper, Chris Holmes and Tony Richards to the band! And for those wondering Golgotha or also known as Calvary is the name of the spot beyond Jerusalem’s walls were Jesus was crucified, just wanted to share.

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On April 10, 2016 I held another Horror Movie Marathon over at my cousin Stephen’s house and as always it was a fun time filled with good friends, tasty snacks and cheesy horror flicks! On April 9th we held the pre-show once again and in attendance was Stephen, Jeremy Hoyt and Garrison Kane and we ate Wing Zone and started off the night with “Jack ‘O’ Slasher” put out by SRS Cinema and is a no budget film about a haunted house that is run by Satanists who summon a killer Pumpkin Man to murder people who attend as well as find them a virgin. The second film was released by Wild Eye Media and was called “Morbid” and was a horror comedy about a small town being stalked by a masked killer called The Business Man who kills for the joy of it. The final film of the night was “Bunni” also released by Wild Eye Media and is about a group of young adults breaking into a closed down magic and sex toyshop during the Halloween season only to find themselves being stalked and killed by a white masked female killer who wears a corset and fishnet stockings. It was a fun time as listening to Jeremy who is not a horror fan, get worked up over the plots and characters made for some fun discussions after the films. Plus the wings from WingZone where great as I got mine with the Cool Ranch Dry Rub and it made the perfect meal to watch the splatter on the screen to. Stephen and myself choose our best and worst film of the night and we both agreed hands down the worst was Jack ‘O’ Slasher as the film lacked a good enough story and killer to suffer through all the random shots and off brand style of a director who was clearly into Rob Zombie films and was trying to make his own version of House Of 1000 Corpses thanks to a Haunted House he had at his disposal. While Jack ‘O’ Slasher had some fun and silly kills it was just kind of lacking. My favorite film of the pre-show was Bunni as I enjoyed the atmosphere of the closed up store front as well as loved the fact Bunni was a female killer who killed for the sake of killing before she can be hurt by them as she was once a abused wife. Plus Bunni had some great gore effects as well as some funny acting and even characters dressed up like Hulk Hogan and a TMNT for Halloween. Stephen picked Morbid as his flick of the night as he enjoyed the silly horror comedy nature and he liked the look of the killer known as The Business Man. Over all a good night of horror and a taste of things to come the next morning at 7am!

Jack O Slasher DVDMorbid DVDBunni DVD

The Horror Movie Marathon started at 7am with just Stephen and I up and ready to watch some Horror Flicks! We started off with a Universal Classic called “The Black Cat” that starred Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff who are mortal enemies after a war that leaves one of them a prisoner and the other swooning the captured mans wife, and when a couple stumble onto this death feud they become the pawns in a sick twisted game of revenge and Satan Worshiping. The second film was suppose to be the 1971 Philippino film called “Curse Of The Vampires” but due to a bad DVD we ended up watching “Monster High” a 1989 Horror Comedy about Mr. Armageddon and his team of monsters that include a Mummy and two dim whited aliens attacking a school to bring on the apocalypse and some teens and a game of basketball that stands in the end of the worlds way. “Dr. Jekyll And The Werewolf” was the third film of the day and starred Paul Naschy as the cursed Waldemar Daninsky who goes to Dr. Jekyll for help to cure his werewolf ways but soon finds that his very own Hyde said is waiting in the shadows of his mind! The fourth film was another Horror Comedy called “Monsturd” about an escaped killer who mixes with some contaminated water in the city sewer that turns him into a killer giant poop monster! The space alien creature feature “XTRO” was the fifth film to make the line up and follows a man who went missing for three years returning home to be with his family, but things are not what they seem as he has some very strange powers. “Demon’s Rook” was the sixth film and has three evil demons being set free on Earth thanks to a young man who as a child was kidnapped and by a protector demon that turned over the job to him, now he must stop them before they find him and kill innocent people. The seventh film was “Suburban Sasquatch” about a Bigfoot on the loose in a small town and a reporter and a female Native American huntress trying to team up to stop its rampage. The Outback deformed slasher film “Charlie’s Farm” was the eighth film of the marathon that starred Tara Reid, Nathan Jones, Kane Hodder and Bill Mosley and delivered a bloody good time. “Elves” the holiday themed horror film about a killer Elf who works along side modern day Nazis to impregnate a young virgin and must be stopped by Grizzly Adams was the ninth film of the day. The 1995 giant bug movie “Mosquito” starring Gunner Hansen was the tenth film of the day and entertained with its nature run amuck and cheesy special effects. The eleventh film was “Madhouse” starring Vincent Price and Peter Cushing about an actor known for playing a character called Dr. Death being looked at for possible real life murders, but has the actor lost his mind or is something more sinister happing. The final film of the night was “Half Human” a found footage Blair Witch Project style film about two guys and some girls they picked up at the bar heading to a state park and soon find that they are not alone as bodies are found and something or some one is watching and stalking. People who attended this Marathon besides Stephen were the following Juliet Fromholt, Thomas “Maurice” Smith, Garrison Kane and Jeremy Hoyt and while not a massive turn out it still was a fun time.

The worst film of the Marathon was Suburban Sasquatch as both Stephen and I picked this film as it was very boring, the mostly digital effects were laughable bad, Bigfoot was just a man in a cheap gorilla suit and the main character The Reporter was a unlikable turd who I was begging would die a cruel death. The only thing Suburban Sasquatch had going for it was some of it was so bad it made you laugh out loud and the fact actress Sue Lynn Sanchez who plays the bow and arrow huntress was attractive. Picking my top three best films of the Marathon was pretty tough as I enjoyed many of them for different reasons but after a couple of days of thinking about it I have decided this is my picks and the reasons why. My # 1 is Madhouse as Price was fantastic as the shaken actor and the twists and turns are fantastic! # 2 for me was Dr. Jekyll And The Werewolf a great gothic Spanish werewolf film mixed with the Jekyll and Hyde story, Naschy is as always fantastic as Daninsky. And my pick for # 3 was one I had to really think about as many films were entertaining but I had to stick with Demon’s Rook as the effects and story of this demon tale was well done and was a nice mix of art house and horror film. But I also need to stress that Black Cat and XTRO also get a shout out for almost making it into my # 3 spot! Stephen choose for his top three #1.) Madhouse, # 2.) Black Cat and #3.) Demon’s Rook! His shout out for almost making his list went to Monsturd! Another Horror Movie Marathon is in the books and once more a great time filled with cheesy flicks, good food and great friends.

The Back Cat DVDMonster High DVDDr Jekyll And The Werewolf DVD (sc)Monsturd DVDXTRO dvdThe Demons Rook dvdSuburban Sasquatch dvdCharlies Farm dvdElves dvdMosquito dvdMadhouse dvdHalf Human DVD

The day I choose for my showdown was May 2, 2016 as it was a day that I could tag team the game along with my good friend Todd The Fox who as well as me loves this game but yet it has tortured him for years on not being able to beat it as it has me! The weather outside was cool and cloudy. We choose to play the game with an original NES Controller but the system was a Retro-Bit Retro Entertainment System or a RES that I got from Game Swap many years back. My mood was calm and focused as I knew that I must become one with Chief WarWolf in order to over come this amazing quest to save Red Earth from the evil mutants that want to destroy it! Todd was as well focused and wanted to finally put an end to the Mutant attacks. We started out really good blowing through the first level and made short work of sub-bosses The Giant Head and boss Green Slime Man whom never was a factor to stop us on our mission! Stage 2 known as Mad City gave us some trouble as Area 2 has Werewolf on top of a building dodging lightning that kills you with one hit, both Todd and I tried this level many times but once we figured out were to go it became easy and boy did we have to replay not only this level but all the levels before it as the boss of this level Iron Head had our number! Todd and Myself fought Iron Head many times and for some reason he kept beating us, until I figured out a way to beat him once and then the tables turned as he became pretty simple to beat and this allowed us to continue our quest to beat this NES game.

RES with WerewolfRES Werewolf Last Warrior LevelRES Werewolf level

Stage 3 – Stalactite Cave & Madness Base became our major thorn in the thumb and the level that would crush our hopes and dreams of beating Werewolf: The Last Warrior! Todd was the skilled gamer on this level and while as skilled as he was the level was brutal and we lost many continues and had to restart the game many times as our continues would run out. While the level was super challenging it was the main stage boss that kept us at bay and made us fail at our mission and that killer of a boss was called Fireman who was so fast and brutal that the fights with Werewolf made our hero look like a helpless puppy. No matter how hard we tried and no matter our game plan we came up with Fireman was our messenger of death! Fireman showed us mercy as he would kill us quick and with no suffering, and I could almost swear that he was taking great joy in watching us fail at our task at hand. And with our many failed fights with Fireman came the cold hard reality that we were not going to beat Werewolf: The Last Warrior creeped into our brains and failure was the word looming in the air. Sad to report to you Readers and Friends we did not beat the game this day, but this I will say now I will have a rematch again soon and I will conquer this classic NES game once and for all. Below is a picture of Todd and Me as he pose with the game that beat us at its own game.

Me and Todd Failed At NES Werewolf

Werewolf: The Last Warrior is a great side scrolling game that is challenging and mixes Action and Horror really well and sprinkles in Native American and Japanese touches to make it something of its own. WarWolf the Werewolf is a great hero who might not be as iconic as Mario or Simon Belmont, but for me has his place in the 8-Bit Video Game Hero Hall Of Fame. But also what makes this game work is the bad guys who make your journey to the end challenging so for this brief moment I want to give some respect to The Big Head a character who shows up many times and wants to stop you at any coast. Green Slime Man who sludges along and even will turn himself into two bouncing balls just to beat you around. Iron Head who stomps, punches and throws chunks of rock at you to smash you into the ground. Lets not forget Fireman who zooms in and out with the fury of a runaway comet trying to burn you to ash. And lastly Monster and Lord Faryan whom I have never fought but both who I am sure wanted to snuff out my characters life. Like all media the good guys are only as good as the bad guys who challenge them and this game has the right characters in play. And on a side note am I the only one who thinks Lord Faryan looks allot like the X-Men villain Magneto?

The Big HeadGreen Slime ManIron HeadFiremanMonsterDark Lord Faryan

Man I enjoy playing a good NES game and had a blast playing Werewolf even if I didn’t beat it, Todd and I still tried our best to do so and had fun doing it. So I guess it’s time to take a look at this Data East Mini Comic that came with the game when you purchased it from your local store, and I must also say that no matter how hard people and companies push me to go digital for my video games I would rather own a disc or cart with cool packages then a file on my system. But while you find your Power Glove or your NES Max I am going to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So lets hit the power button and see what this cool promo mini comic has to add to the world of Werewolf: The Last Warrior.

Werewolf The Last Warrior Comic 1

Werewolf: The Last Warrior # 1  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $0.00   Data East    # 1 of 1

Chief War Wolf is a man whose spirit quest has lead him to the world of wolves and more importantly Werewolves! His small tribe lives in peace in an area off the beaten path and away from the evils of the rest of the world. Dr. Lawrence Faryan has been sent on vacation by the government as he has become obsessed with bio weapons.  When climbing a mountain and finding a cave, he unleashes an evil being that possesses him and he heads back to Washington with an idea that sends a goo into space that will turn the world into slime monsters and mindless drones all willing to do his evil deeds and the lucky ones die from the exposure! War Wolf along with his tribe’s Medicine Man Kinju travel to a cave where War Wolf spends weeks with the Great Spirit and transforms into a sword handed werewolf ready to battle evil. Leaving the cave, he finds his friend Kinju dead and this sparks rage, and War Wolf the Werewolf is ready to destroy Faryan and everything he stands for!

I wish this comic would have lead into a full comic series based on this game and its characters.  I would have loved to have seen Blackthrone Comics as the company to put it out, but sadly this never was meant to be as this promo comic was the only issue ever released. Chief War Wolf is a good hero character, and while a man of few words, he knows what he must do in order to protect his tribe and get revenge for the death of his friend and medicine man Kinju. As a human War Wolf is brave, and as a werewolf with razor sharp blades for hands, he is a warrior. Medicine Man Kinju is very wise and knows that his friend and chief is the only hope and knows that once he takes him to the world of werewolves, things will never be the same, but yet the world will be saved. Dr. Lawrence Faryan is a man who is in love with war and once taken over by an evil spirit, he turns into a pure war and death hungry fiend! Besides shooting some green goop into space and turning a man into a slime monster, Faryan doesn’t do much…in fact the comic has pretty much zero action, but the story is good and short and well done. What works best for this comic is the fact it’s a nice lead up to the video game and brings depth to the characters and gives a little more of a backstory. The art is fantastic, but sadly I could not find who did it, but whoever it was sure did know how to draw a werewolf! Over all this is a short and very entertaining comic for fans of the video game while people who aren’t familiar with the game might get a kick out of it, I am sure they will find it bland and pointless…so I guess what I am trying to say is, if you love the game make sure to track this down and give it a read. Below is some artwork from this comic, and you can see just how good it is!

Werewolf Last Warrior Art 1Werewolf Last Warrior Art 2Werewolf Last Warrior Art 3

So while this game might have whipped me like a stray dog, I still had a good time reading this comic and playing a video game alongside my good friend Todd. But I think it’s time to set down the controller and turn off the power on the good old RES and once more try to hand Rotten Ink over to Juliet so she can take you into warp drive and deliver her look at Star Trek: The Next Generation and the DC Comic mini series based on that hit series! So until then, read a comic or three, play a video game or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you in space for the next update, my friends.

Another STTNG Logo

The Undead Files: Resident Evil

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

Sony Playstation System 0

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

Friday_the_13th_cart

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

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

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

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

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

Resident Evil Zombie Turn

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

capcom

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

Resident Evil 1Resident Evil PSXResident Evil 2

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

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

Resident Evil 2 -1Resident Evil 2 PSXResident Evil 2 - 2

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

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

Resident Evil 3 - 1Resident Evil 3 PSXResident Evil 3 - 2

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

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

Resident Evil 4 - 1Resident Evil 4 PS2Resident Evil 4 - 2

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

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

Resident Evil 5 - 1Resident Evil 5 PS3Resident Evil 5 - 2

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

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

Resident Evil 6 - 1Resident Evil 6 PS3Resident Evil 6 - 2

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

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

Resident Evil Survivor 1Resident Evil Survivor PSXResident Evil Survivor 2

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

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

Who's Who Of Resident Evil

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

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

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

Resident Evil Movie DVDResident_evil_retribution_posterResident Evil animated movie

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

Resident Evil Toys

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

Resident Evil Jill CosplayNemesis CosplayResident Evil Ada Wong Cosplay

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

Resident Evil Promo Comic 1

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

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

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

Resident Evil Art 1

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

KFC Logo

YARS’ Attacks

Welcome back to the Rotten Ink Arcade.  For our second update of 2016, we are going to take a look at Yars’ Revenge, the super popular game from the early 80’s created by Atari! Like most kids of the 80’s and 90’s, I loved to go to the arcade and hit the toy stores and video game stores, playing video games and shopping for the next pixel quest I could embark on. One of my favorite video game stores was Funcoland, a cool mall chain store that used to sell regular Nintendo games for dirt cheap. I can remember me and my friend Jason Gilmore going to the mall just for this store and leaving with handfuls of NES games as well as Playstation ones. It’s such a shame that Funcoland was bought out by Game Stop (as was EB Games) who closed all the locations and became one of the biggest soulless video game stores in history, that overcharges for used games and drives up the prices on games to warp the market. I can also remember for years going to the arcade in the Dayton Mall with my brother Bryan and playing all types of games from WWE Wrestlefest to Guns n Roses Pinball and having a heck of good time a our arcade of choice, Crazy Cats, by this time sadly had been put out of business by the fine folks who run Kettering, Ohio who gave that poor arcade a hell of a time cause they didn’t want teenagers hanging out in front of Krogers who shared the strip mall with them. Nowadays arcades are making a comeback here in the Dayton area with Hole In The Wall bar, Retro-Media Arcade and Scene 75 to name a few of those popping up and sharing the digital arcade love. Game Swap in Kettering also has its fair share of arcades, and I am proud to say that I spearheaded that and even in my own little way helped bring this popular style of gaming back to the area. Game Swap has many different machines up for play like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong Jr., Popeye, Captain America and The Avengers, Super Contra, Hydra, Centipede, Superman, Marvel Superheroes and so many others! Sometimes, if I get to Game Swap early and get things done and have a pocket full of quarters, I will play of few of the arcade machines before open,  Most of the time I play Superman or Street Fighter II Championship Edition. I miss the days of the classic arcades but thanks to places like Game Swap and Arcade Legacy, the retro arcade will live on for a new generation of gamers to play. Below are some of the arcades that are at Game Swap, so check out the selection and connect with your inner gamer.

Game Swap Arcade Machines

In 1982, Howard Scott Warshaw created a video game for the Atari 2600 that was the console’s top selling original title for the whole run of the 2600, and this game was called Yars’ Revenge. The game started as a licensed port of a game called Star Castle, and after so many changes to the code, it took on a life of its own as Warshaw ended up just making a new game he called Yars Revenge! One video game urban legend says that Warshaw named the game’s home planet Razak basing it around the C.E.O. of Atari, Ray Kassar’s, name and that he did so to see who would be a snitch and rat him out to he boss! The game’s plot has you playing a Yar who must get past a force field and pin point the base of your enemy who must be killed by a giant cannon. The first time I played Yars’ Revenge was at Bard Burn’s house, a neighbor who lived across the street. I can remember being very bad at the game but trying like hell to win. When I was an early teenager, I can remember playing the game again at my Grandma & Grandpa Brassfield’s house and doing a little better while my cousin Nathan watched me play. Now as an adult and thanks to Game Swap, I got the game as well as an Atari 2600 and have relived playing the game many times. When it came out, the game was a hit with fans but many critics were not too kind to it calling is boring and comparing it to a sleeping pill! But love it or hate it, Yars’ Revenge has made it’s mark on the world of Video Games and remains a classic title from the days of cart games.

Yars Revenge screen 1Yars_Revenge_coveryars_revenge screen 2

Besides the Atari 2600 video game and Warner Brothers promo comic, some other merchandise was made around Yars that includes a record that had a radio drama based around the game as well as the game’s “theme” song! A lunch box was made that showcased Yars alongside Missile Command and Warlord among others. Also a Ben Cooper Halloween costume was made allowing kids to become a Yar themselves. Over the years ports, remakes and reboots have been made for consoles like Game Boy Advance, Atari Flashback and Xbox 360. I have even heard stories of fans creating their own Yars arcade machine! So while Yars’ Revenge might not be a household name for modern gamers and also might be forgotten and not yet discovered by others, one cannot downplay its impact on the world of home console gaming as it sparked some cool merchandise.

Yars Revenge VinylYars Revenge Halloween CostumeAtari Lunchbox

Back in the 1960’s, America and Russia had a race to see who could send a human to space and bring them back alive to share what they saw and to have bragging rights on what nation was the first to do so. Many failed attempts were made that cost the nations money, time, machines, lives and lots of poor primates were lost in the unsuccessful attempts. Also in the 1960’s, amateur radios were very popular and many people spent time trying to pick up the messages used by both sides.  The Judica-Cordiglia brothers from Italy did just that on the Russian side and captured the last broadcasts from many of the poor souls who were sent into space and never returned. They heard many sad broadcasts from astronauts who sent out SOS signals as they drifted out into deep space, ones running out of oxygen and suffocating.  It’s sad to think about these poor people who died in a space race between two nations who had a beef with each other. The one audio broadcast that really got to me was recorded in 1963 and was the voice of a female Russian astronaut who was in a shuttle heading back to Earth as it’s catching fire and breaking apart in the atmosphere and she is calling for help and talking about seeing fire and how hot she is inside her metal death prison. Her words are in Russian but her panic frantic tone of voice lets you hear the fear in her voice and makes me sad to think how scary and terrible her last moments alive were. I put myself in her place and a shiver went up my spine as you think about the feeling of being alone and helpless and knowing that your fate was moments away. I should also share that while many people think this recording is real, it does have its detractors who claim that the woman’s voice clearly has an Italian accent and that the brothers hired a woman to make the recording to keep up the local and national fame they got from sharing these broadcasts with the news. I for one don’t know if this recording is a fake or not and will end it by saying if it was real I hope this poor woman’s soul has found rest.

Old School Radio

Moving away from depressing radio use, let’s take a look at a CD that a friend picked for me to listen to. My friend Garrison Kane is a fan of Nintendo and collects all types of products from the games to mini figures based on their characters.  With this update being about a video game, I figured that this would be a good time to listen to a CD that he picked for me to listen to from his favorite band and his favorite album by them, that’s Asia with their 1982 self title release. The first song of this disc was Heat of the Moment, the only song I really knew from the band as it is played on local soft rock radio stations to this day.  This was a nice way to start this listen to this album as this song is pop rock fun with a hint of bands like Alan Parsons Project and Toto. What follows for the next eight tracks is soft rock goodness that is sure to please the ears of those who like catching lyrics and smooth melodies of rock stars who know what they are doing when playing their instrument of choice. The music to the song Time Again is really good and was caught in my mind after hearing it.  The lyrics are okay though a little cheesy, but I would say that this is one of my favorite songs off the CD alongside Sole Survivor, Heat Of The Moment and Cutting It Fine.  To be honest, none of the songs on this one are bad, and I really enjoyed listening to it while I wrote this blog as I felt it was great background music that made focusing a lot easier than having a heavier band’s CD on. I should also say that some songs like Wildest Dreams have messages about war and the way TV covers such events, or at least that’s what I got out of the song! Steve Howe is a very solid guitarist, and I find that his work on these tracks holds up, as does the piano work of Geoff Downes. I will say Garrison picked a really good CD for me to listen to as I enjoyed almost all the tracks and will listen to this one again for sure.

Garrison Andrew Kane aka Dr GakmanAsia - Asia CDAsia

I wonder if Atari in 1982 ever thought about putting music by Asia in one of their games or at the least making a game based around them like they did with Journey in 82.  Wait, Yars’ Revenge, Asia’s self titled album and the video game Journey Escape all came out in 1982…what a year that must have been! Well we are at the point of the update where we will be taking a look at the comic book based on the subject, and I must thank a customer from Game Swap Kettering for giving me this comic to review.  That was super cool of him, and this update is for you, my good sir! I want to remind you readers that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s plug in our Atari 2600, grab a trusty joystick and see what Warner Brothers has in store for us with this promo comic based around Yars’ Revenge!

Yars Revenge 1 comic

Yars’ Revenge # 1   **1/2
Released in 1982     Cover Price Free     Warner Brothers     #1 of 1

A new Yar recruit enters the office of his commander who decides to give him a history lesson of why they are at war and who they really are. You see their race comes from normal houseflies that hitched a ride on a spacecraft that later crashes in the Razak solar system where those houseflies mutated into Yars. Now this young recruit gets his mission to attack their enemies, The Qotile, and try to bring down their force field so that they can blast them with a Zorlon Cannon and take back their lost land and live peaceful lives once more. It ends with the Commander Yar hoping that this war will come to an end soon and no more lives of his people will be lost.

This war in a galaxy far, far away was not fought by Luke Skywalker or even Captain James T. Kirk and his crew but was fought by a race of super flys called Yars. The plot of this 9 page comic is super simple and is just the plot of the video game for the Atari 2600 as we find out that the Yars, who are mutated Earth houseflies, are at war with an unknown race called the Qotile who blew up one of their planets as well as made a base near it to keep attacking the Yars. The issue ends how the game begins and has you going out into space and trying to fight their base and its force field. The Yars who are this the comic’s main characters seem like a peaceful race until they are pushed to fight, and when they are pushed they put on metal armor and blow stuff up with the help of their massive cannon. The humans, who have a cameo at in the issue, seem clueless and are just fill-ins to show how houseflies made it into space. The Qotile who are faceless and are not seen at all seem like a bunch of buttheads who love war and destruction and seem to be the bullies of that galaxy! I really wish more modern game companies would get behind giving the player a comic based on the game they had just bought.  I mean imagine getting a comic book based on the newest Assassin’s Creed game or one for horror games like Until Dawn or Summer Camp! While comics based on video games are being made, they are full size issues that pack a $3.99 or $4.99 cover price and are coming out via companies IDW and Dark Horse.  While these are fantastic comic series with top notch stories, they are not a free promo comic inside the video game you just bought as I feel most modern game companies are pushing for giving the buyer less with their digital only agenda. The cover for this comic is classic and is taken from the box art for the game.  The inside art and color is fantastic and is done by the team of Frank Cirocco, Ray Garst and Hiro Kimura who make this little mini comic shine for what it’s suppose to do and that’s teach the player the back story of the game. Over all to sum it up, I would say worth a read for fans of the game.

Yars Comic Art

Atari giving out promo comics might be a thing of the past as are video game companies giving away any cool promo stuff with the game you bought without getting a more expensive edition that they can charge you for.  But while things always change, it’s the excitement of what the future holds that keeps this video game player, music listener, comic reader, movie watcher and Horror Host maker & fan hyped for the unknowns of those creative media worlds. Thanks for reading this quick little update as our next update will be about Marvel Comic character Black Goliath! So make sure to come back for that one so until then make sure to play a video game, read a comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host!

Black Goliath logo

Atari Centipede Invasion!

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

Vietnamese CentipedeCrimson CentipedeHuman Centipede

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

Game Swap Centipede

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

atari 2600 centipede bixcentipede 2600Atari 2600 Centipede cart

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

Centipede Box Atari 7800Centipede psxcentipede C64

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

Centipede # 1

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

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

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

centipede art 1centipede art 2centipede art 3

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

King Cactor #1

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

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

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

King Cactor Art 1

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

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