The Mighty Titan Atlas

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! For this update I think that we will take a look at another Greek Mythology/Sword And Sandal film icon, but his time it’s not Hercules or Samson, though I have taken a look at them in the past…this time around I am looking at a titan and a man who holds the world on his back, the one and only Atlas! When I was a youngster, Greek Mythology was a something I always tried my best to read about as I found all the Gods, Titans, Demi-Gods and Mortals that made up the myths to be very interesting. When it came to Sword And Sandal films, I was always more of a Hercules fan, but I did enjoy the Atlas movies I watched as well. So if you are ready to go on a big classic hero adventure with Atlas, let’s get this update started, shall we?

Atlas is a Titan and brother of Cronus and was one of the rulers of the world and spawned many children including Hyas and Calypso and was super powerful. When the Olympians went to war with the Titans, the mighty Atlas made the wrong decision and decided to fight alongside the other Titans. When they got defeated, the new king of the gods Zeus gave Atlas a punishment that had him walk to the western edge of the Earth and he is forced to hold up the sky on his shoulders for eternity. And only once was he able to relive his burden of sky lifting when Hercules during his 12 Labors needed Golden Apples from the Atlas’ daughter’s garden that was protected by Ladon, a fierce dragon, and the Titan switches place to get the apples and tried to trick the powerful youngster into just holding the sky up while he delivered the apples, but Hercules did not fall for it and tricked Atlas back into holding up the sky leaving the Titan once more stuck in place. And this version of Atlas’s story is just one of many as there is several variations of it over the centuries, as this is the most known and popular. Of all the Titans I would say that Atlas is the most popular with maybe Cronus being the only one that comes close. And I will say this at some point Atlas and many of the Titans might show up in future issues from Sparkle Comics as this writer and editor in chief has a few ideas knocking around his mind.

In 196,1 the world of cinema was flooded with Sword And Sandal films as movie watchers seemed to not be able to get enough of muscle bound heroes. Italy was the nation to rush them into production to flood the market and quench the thirst of movie goers. During this boom of Italian Cinema, other countries tried to cash in and America of course was one of them as Roger Corman, the master of B-Movies, had to jump on the Sword and Sandal bandwagon and get his slice of the pie when he directed and produced Atlas. This version of Atlas stripped away the Titan mythology and just had our hero as a muscle bound do-gooder who would fight for the weak and do what he thought was right. The film was shot in Greece on a very low budget, and Corman brought in actors Michael Frost, Frank Wolff, Barboura Morris and Walter Maslow with Frost and Wolff being actors he had used in the past. The film did okay when released but did not bring in the numbers or gain the cult statues of the Steve Reeves Hercules film that spawned it. The film at this point in time is believed to be in the Public Domain and has been released on DVD by companies like St. Clair and Cheezy Flicks and has been hosted by Horror Hosts as well as has found itself on multipack DVD releases. On another fun note when the film was being developed writer Charles B. Griffith wanted to call the film “Atlas, The Guided Muscle” because he wanted to base it on the SM-65 Atlas ballistic missile. Atlas is one of those films I have seen many times and while it’s not one of my all time favorite Sword And Sandal films, it is one that I enjoy as its cheesy and fun.

Michael Frost is the actor who played Atlas in 1961, and he has had a long career in the world of cinema and TV. Frost was born Gerald Michael Charlebois on April 17, 1929 in Harvey, North Dakota and had a pretty normal childhood and even went to college where he got a degree in English and Drama. But he discovered that he wanted to be an actor in 1955, and his first role was as Pug in TV series “Lux Video Theatre” and from here he could not be stopped as he took roles in shows like “Highway Patrol” and “Studio 57” and in 1957 he even had an unaccredited role in the Universal Monster film “The Deadly Mantis”! From there he had many other roles in some pretty great shows like “The Adventures Of Rin Tin Tin” in 1957 & 1958, “Zorro” in 1958 and “The Rifleman” in 1959 showing he was making his mark on TV! In 1959 he made his return to Horror Movies when he plays Gil Jackson in the film “Beast From The Haunted Cave” and TV Series “One Step Beyond” in 1960 episode Encounter. With many more roles in film and TV in 1961, he landed the main role in “Atlas” a film directed by the great cult director Roger Corman! Over the following years he would take roles in such shows as “The Outer Limits”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Perry Mason”, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”, “Gunsmoke”, “Days Of Our Lives”, “I Spy”, “Branded”, “Gilligan’s Island” and in 1967 he got one of his most popular roles when he played Apollo in an episode of “Star Trek”. And this is just a drop in the hat of films he has done as he is also known to most Anime fans as he has lent his voice to many films such as Crying Freeman, Mobile Suit Gundam, Street Fighter II V and The Twelve Kingdoms, to name a few. And at the age of 90 he is still active in acting with his last role being in 2019 in the short film “When The Train Stops” playing the character Marshal Preston Booth. While he is older, Forest’s love for acting is not slowing down and I hope one day that the Monster Bash will bring him in as a guest at one of the conventions I am attending.

When growing up, I can remember in Kettering, Ohio a giant workout gym was on Wilmington Pike and they had a massive Atlas holding the world statue out front, and this was something my brother and I when kids always looked forward to seeing when we would be in town to visit family or eating out at Captain D’s that was near by it. When the gym closed a short time later, the Atlas statue disappeared and the gym’s building was turned into many different things over the years like Pep Boys and is now a micro brewery…but I always wondered what happened to the Atlas Statue. I had heard rumors that it was at a car wash on Airway Road, but to my best memory I don’t remember seeing it ever on Airway. But then one day when Juliet and I were driving to Danbarry Huber Heights for a Horrorama event and going down Troy Street at a local gold and jewelry business right out front was the classic Atlas statue and I proceeded to talk to Juliet about it and how awesome it was. And in 2019 when I first started this update I wanted to take a picture of the statue for this blog update, but sadly the Dayton area was rocked by very bad tornadoes in one single night on May 27, 2019 with 15 of them touching down and causing lots of damage and injuries. Juliet and I even had to hide in our basement as the Tornado Warning went off in our area. And during this night of Tornado Terror sadly Troy Street was hit and the Atlas Statue was hit and by the looks of it, the statue was damaged and gone. But thanks to Flickr user Scott for taking this picture back in 2010 (Wow 10 years Ago) I can share this amazing statue with you readers. So take a look at it and enjoy.

So as you readers see, Atlas is a Titan who has the all the power in the world and it’s because of him that the world does not fall into the sun or spiral out of control…or so they used to say. But while he is a Titan, he seems to not be talked about as much as others these days as Cronus seems to always be the most popular. For the comic based on this Titan, I decided to choose the mini series done by Dark Horse Comics. 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 it’s art and story. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these in stock. So if you are ready to stand with the weight on your shoulders with Rotten Ink and Atlas, let’s get to these comics!

Atlas # 1  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50     Dark Horse     # 1 of 4

It’s a normal day in New York, and a group of homeless people are wandering around the abandoned warehouse district looking for a place to stay for the night. The group is lead by old man Monti Harper, mechanic Troy Maxwell and youngster Andrew Ray, and for them this day turns weird when they find a giant that appears to have fallen from Space and crashed into the warehouse! The Giant is holding a goldenrod, and when Monti touches it he feels pain and also sees that this Giant is really a God and was fighting just about Earth with another, and when his friends get him away from the rod, they are all startled when the Giant wakes up and tells them that he is the Titan named Atlas and that the other gods want Earthlings to go back to being primitive so they will worship them once more. Atlas decides that he is going to use the goldenrod and make the homeless group his soldiers to help fight the evil that is coming, but before he can, he captures a little monster that has been set free on Earth by The Keeper who is tracking the Titan in order for an attack to take place on him. Atlas leaves his new “friends” behind and does battle with The Keeper in front of the people of New York, but things turn really bad when another massive Titan like being shows up and clearly wants to do battle!

Let’s start by saying that this is a fun comic that brings the classic Titans and old world Gods into modern times and does a good job of building Atlas as mankind’s protector. The plot has the Gods in the sky being pissed off with the people of Earth are no longer worshiping them and have become too obsessed with electronics, and the only Titan that is on the side of man is Atlas who has stolen the powerful goldenrod and is fighting with his fellow Gods! But when he falls to Earth after a terrible fight in space, he soon finds that he has lead the war to Earth and his only new friends are a trio of homeless people who seem to be craving the power of the goldenrod. Atlas is kind of cocky in attitude, but yet also very heroic and friendly. He can change size from being a massive giant Titan to becoming human size. He is a skilled fighter and with the help of the powerful goldenrod, he is almost unbeatable. The Homeless Trio come off as nice people at the start but after two get a taste of power of the Gods, I do not trust Troy or Monti as they seem more into becoming godlike and not about the fact the world is in big trouble. The Keeper is a freaky monster looking man who holds a box that allows monster to come out and do his will and that includes fighting and tracking, but while he is a fighter, he is also older and out powered by Atlas. I for one cannot wait to see whom the other monstrous Titan is and how the fight between it and Atlas goes! This is a pretty interesting story so far, and I like that Atlas himself mentions that over the centuries he has been called many different names making it clear that all the gods of ancient times are they same ones just given a new name by whatever society worships them. The cover is pretty eye catching and has a Greek Myth meets Indie Comic look to it, and the interior art is interesting and done by Bruce Zick and has an almost classic Heavy Metal Magazine style to it. While this is not a full Sword And Sandal style comic as its based in modern times, I must say this first issue has made me interested in seeing what issue two has in store for me.

Atlas # 2  **
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50      Dark Horse     # 2 of 4

Atlas charges into battle with Sh’en Chui, and the gods go at it with Atlas using the goldenrod but not to its full power as he does not want to hurt the people around the docks watching the battle. After the goldenrod is knocked out of Atlas’ hands, he quickly goes into withdrawal as the power it holds is now something he craves, and once getting it back he makes the decision to use its full power and he “kills” Sh’en Chui with a power blast from the rod. As the people watch in shock, Atlas walks away not answering any questions from the press who has swarmed the area. On his way back to the warehouse, Atlas runs into an old enemy named Bol who threatens him that once he gets stronger a rematch will happens and then points out he seems to need goldenrod to fight his battles. Once back at the warehouse Atlas turns it into a home base that now looks like a place from mythological Olympus, and with this he also gives his new human friends a taste of power and gets mad with them when they crave the power. Meanwhile in the land of Gods, Neo figures out a way to prevent Goldenrod that is a living being as well from getting the sun energy it needs to have all its power, and this causes Atlas to be stuck in the middle of nowhere as Goldenrod loses its power while Atlas was trying to find the old God’s hang out to show to mankind to ease their fears.

This second issue has Atlas “kill” another god like creature in front of tons of New York, give and get angry with his human “friends” when they love the powers he gives them and takes back, scares the world with his battle and killing making him realize he needs to show them who he is and why he is…and lastly its clear that he is a junkie for the power that Goldenrod gives him as without it he withdraws! That’s right, Atlas in this issue is like a strung out addict who is also a cold blooded murder who commits his crime if front of hundreds of eyes…in other words while he might be a Titan, he has some major personal issues. We also find out that Goldenrod is alive and that its power comes from the sun and that all Titans and Gods want to control its power. The Homeless Bunch as I am going to start calling Andrew, Troy and Monti as I sadly at this point don’t think they are good people as they just want the power as well, and that’s sad as they could and should have been the true heroes of this mini series and lets hope that they come around and become it. Sh’en Chui, who looks like a badass at the start, gets knocked down to size real quick and is murdered by being blown into chunks, but I have a feeling he or something he will become will return. The Keeper meanwhile seems like a rat as he just barks orders and tells on whomever to get points with those above him. And Neo I am not sure about yet, he is definitely against humans and Atlas but it’s clear he takes orders from someone else. This issue is just an average read with long dialogue coming from humans that drags the pacing way down, and that’s a shame. The art is good again done by Bruce Zick and the cover is eye catching…but to wrap this issue up, it made my excitement sadly slip slightly, and I hope it becomes less talky and more action in issue three.

Atlas # 3  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50     Dark Horse     # 3 of 4

Atlas is holding a press conference for the people of the world and has given them the locations of God sites around the world so that they can discover the trueness of who he is and the others out in the universe. Once back at his new warehouse home base, he goes into a temple he built that has a statue of his love Eia and talks to it about how much he misses her and her advice…when he talks about Goldenrod loosing power and how he can stop the blocking of the sun rays he gets an idea and sends his homeless friends to go and get some powerful weapons, but this also causes a rift between the friends as Monti does not want to be a pawn in Atlas’s game of War of the Gods, while Troy is selected to go with Atlas in order to free Aox, a God who has been punished by the other Gods. Atlas asks Aox to get energy from a hidden well that has knowledge as the punished Titan is the only one that knows were it is. As Aox and Troy go on the quest to find the well, Atlas gives Andrew and Monti costumes that will give them a little god energy as he can not use Goldenrod. Meanwhile Neo now tells Bol that if he finds the location of the well he can and will give Bol back his beauty that the Gods centuries ago took away. As Aox and Troy enter the underworld, she is able to see a glimpse of the past and future that Aox is feeding her, meanwhile Atlas is feeling all alone and decides that he himself must go on a vision quest.

Man this series started out so promising and issue after issue it has became a very slow moving overly wordy so-so average read that does not deliver enough action this far. This issue is filled with so much set up as the plot is that Goldenrod is weak and Atlas himself is losing faith in himself and mission. Monti is getting jealous that Troy and Andrew are following the orders of Atlas as they find him wise. While Neo is just around his Kingdom getting updates and barking orders and Bol is just lying around giving said updates. This issue has zero action and is just filled with long drawn out drama and plot that could have been done way better in a faster pace. I do like that Atlas in this issue is more down and out as in the past issues he was very much ego driven as he knew he had the massive power of Goldenrod, speaking of Goldenrod it’s loosing power and life and this is a bad thing as it really is a tool for good…but I guess if evil has control of it bad things could happen. Aox is a Titan who was punished by the Gods and now is helping Atlas and has fallen in love with Troy, who in this issue is clearly the only one of the Homeless Bunch that has potential to be a hero. The rest of the characters are around and do nothing important. I should also say that the chunks of flesh of Sh’en Chui are up to something as they are moving around in the harbor. The cover for this issue is okay and not overly eye catching as it looks more like a pin up in an issue, and the interior art is good and done by Bruce Zick again. Over all this is a bland issue and did zero to build up the final issue in the series and created zero excitement for me to read it, plus it took me days to read this issue as I found myself getting more and more bored after every page.

Atlas # 4  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50     Dark Horse     # 4 of 4

The chunks of Sh’en Chui has spawned tiny little demon like monsters who are now attacking New York and Atlas along with Monti and Andrew (whom he has give power to via Goldenrod) try and save the day, but the odds are not good. Meanwhile Troy and Aox are still on the quest to the well and as they bond and Troy tells of her time as a nurse in Vietnam they reach they well and soon find that Bol and some demon minions are also there and a fight against the odds happens for them as well. While in New York the demons start to bring down tons of buildings and Atlas turns giant again and holds them up and people below run for their lives and Andrew and Monti have lost their powers and are helpless to save Atlas who gets crushed after all the people below are safe. While back in the Underworld the demons are swarming Aox and Troy as Bol barks out insults and orders and after being beaten down Troy finds her inner strength and breaks Aox free from his captives and he kills Bol and then makes the sacrifice of his life as he takes the energy of the well into himself and they travels fast with Troy to New York and gives Goldenrod and Atlas all of the raw energy and after Atlas and Goldenrod destroy all the demons, Aox falls dead as Atlas and his Homeless friends morn the loss. In the end Atlas and his friends burn the body of Aox and he tells them that this battle might have ended but the war is not over.

This final issue in the Atlas mini series is pretty much a let down and while the issue is action packed, it seems to end way too fast with no real pay off to this lackluster story and they could have done more to make a good ending if they wiped out the terrible long winded dialogue from the previous issues. The plot of this issue has Atlas going to New York and fighting demons and with a weak Goldenrod and Aox killing himself to give power to Goldenrod and in seconds the end battle is over and Aox is dead….yep its that cheesy of an ending and no major clash between good and evil, Neo is never seen at all and all of a sudden Aox and Troy become madly in love…this is just so cheesy. Atlas in this issue is the hero that Earth needs as he fights off demons and then risks his life to hold up tons of crumbled buildings to save lives as people have to run to safety, but think about this Atlas is also the Titan who held up the sky…but buckles under buildings…so they made this Titan a hero but also weak and not living up to his legend. Aox is just around and is creepy flirting with Troy and in the end is the real hero as he gives his life to save Atlas and Goldenrod from being crushed to death. And Goldenrod in this issues is weak, gets a little bit of power to help and then fails only to drain power from a Titan…and then is strong again. Andrew and Monti are a waste in this issue as they get powers for seconds and help a few people while Atlas fights the demons, and we do see that Monti cares about Andrew and looks at him almost as a son. Troy finds her inner power as she lets out her hurt of not being able to save lives in Vietnam, and oddly enough she also finds love with a Titan. Bol who is stuck in the body of an ugly grotesque creature is truly slimy as he finds the well and does what he can to make sure Aox can not save his friend by delivering the energy, but lucky for New York Bol is killed in the fight by the well. Neo and the Demons are waste and have zero backstory in this series and make me as a reader not care. And the end “battle” of this series is just so bad and lackluster it made this series a major dud for me. The cover this time around is good and eye catching and the interior art is once more done by Bruce Zick who tried his best as well writing this boring comic series based on a great Titan of legend. While I am not a fan I would say make sure to check it out if you like indie comic based on Mythology characters. Also check out the art below to see the style of Zick.

While I hate to say it this Indie Comic mini series by Bruce Zick and released by Dark Horse Comics was just not a well told story and has so many plot holes and filler that it makes for one boring read. And while the comic ends with the door wide open for a second mini series, it would never see the light of day as far as this blogger could tell, and while I was not a fan of this series and its style of storytelling, I would have for sure checked it out to see if Zick’s writing would have changed to deliver a solid Atlas comic story. But for our next update we will be walking away from the old sky holder and into the world of the seven seas as we take a boat ride with Morgan The Pirate, that’s right we will once more be taking a look at a Steve Reeves movie and the comic based on it. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a High Seas adventure!

Another Night Of The Living Monster Bash Vacation (2019)

It’s that time of the year again when Juliet and I pack our bags and put them into the old Mazda 3 and head to Cranberry Township to enjoy yet another Monster Bash Convention and some relaxing days in Cranberry Township taking in all the local stores, sights and restaurants the area has to offer. As always, I was very much looking forward to getting some time away from work, comic book making and filming and being able to sit back and relax and spend some time with Juliet as well as all the classic monsters at Monster Bash! This year’s theme was very heavy on Hammer Horror as guests like Martine Beswicke, Veronica Carlson and Christopher Neame were all on hand while other guests included Ricou Browning, Tom Savini, John Russo and Horror Host Son Of Ghoul! So if you are ready, grab a snack pack, jump on in and let’s have some fun as we celebrate the best Horror Con in the world and all of cool wonders around it!

We started our quest on June 20th and hit the road at around 11:30am after eating a breakfast that Juliet from Dorothy Lane Market. Once on the road we chatted about wrestling, comics and goofy stuff! We also talked about our plans for the night and made a stop at our normal Ruby Tuesdays where I had a meal of Bourbon Salmon, Loaded Baked Potato and Dirty Rice and as always it was a good meal that helped give me energy for the road. At around 5:30pm, we made it to our hotel that was yet another new one for us to stay at as both of the ones we stayed at before were filled so we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, and I must say that first impression was it was nice and the staff was friendly! After relaxing for a few minutes, we headed out to go to New Dimension Comics so I could pick up a few good reads for the weekend. As always I found some cool comics that included issues of Thor, Uncanny Tales From The Grave, Tower Of Shadows and Comet Man from Marvel. From DC, I got issues of Batman, The Comet and Super Friends. And finally I also got some indie comics like Ex-Mutants, The New Krofft Supershow, Escape To The Stars and Radical Dreamer. For dinner we decided to have Eat’n Park and I had a Hot Turkey Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes and a Baked Potato! For the rest of the night I read some comics, watched some TV, chatted with Juliet and geared up for the first day of Monster Bash! Oh and I should note that the day was filled with lots of rain and muggy weather…making it a perfect day to hang out in the hotel and read and write.

On June 21st marked the first day of Monster Bash and sadly the convention did not open until 3pm so in the morning we got up around 9am and after eating a quick breakfast from Starbucks, we headed out and our first place to visit was The Living Dead Museum in Evans City as its been a while since we got to visit it and when in the Pittsburgh area you have to spend time with the living dead! I really like The Living Dead Museum as it celebrates the rich history of the Romero Zombie films as well as zombies in Horror Movies in general. And when we arrived, Juliet and I were happy to see our friend and Nashville Horror Host Dr. Gangrene also waiting to enter the museum and even better he was going to be at Monster Bash and the area all weekend! The Museum was as great as always and after walking around and taking some pictures, we bought a t-shirt and a pin and headed back toward the hotel to gear up for Monster Bash. And after a meal at Max & Erma’s, we headed to The Bash!

As Juliet and I made our way to Monster Bash I wondered what statues would greet us and what cool car would be parked up front…if I had to make a guess on car I would say once more the Dragula from The Munsters, and as far as statues, I would guess Hammer Horror as it seemed like the theme of this year. And as we made it to the front of the hotel we noticed no car was in place yet and the wait to get tickets was not too bad. The dealer room was packed with people, and it was great to see so many people enjoying the world of classic movie monsters, and what was nice this year was I saw some younger kids in the crowd enjoying the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster. After walking around to all the dealer tables and making several purchases (more on that later) we also took time to chat with our Horror Host friends Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri about Horror Hosting and cool classic local TV! Much like last year, some of the people looking around were kind of rude and would step in front of you while you looked, would stand really close and sometimes just stand in the way of items as they looked off into space or at their phone…while annoying, I have been to Horror Conventions where this behavior is a lot worse. As we were leaving, we ran into indie filmmaker and friend David “The Rock” Nelson and we chatted for awhile about the production of his newest film Howl Of The Werewolf. It’s always a blast to see David. Over all a very cool first day of Monster Bash that once more showcases why this is my favorite show. Oh and as for the statues, this year they did have Hammer’s Frankenstein’s Monster as played by Christopher Lee many of them were based on classic Universal Monsters as well as a few Silent Horror Icons and even one of Bela Lugosi from White Zombie!

So I am sure you are wondering what the first day’s haul was like…well it was really good! I picked up a Universal Mummy bendy toy by JusToys for $8.00, Masters Of The Universe He-Man drinking glass for $10.00, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell Wooden Plaque for $25.00, The Werewolf from Sungold Monsters for $15.00, Two Knock-Off Mini Figures of Phantom Of the Opera and Yeti from a series called “Un Mundo De Figuras” for $10.00 each, Eerie Greatest Hits Graphic Novel for $5.00, The Tomb Of Dracula # 37 comic for $5.00, The Creation Of King Kong Novel for $4.00, Predator Movie Adaptation Novel for $3.00, The Adult Version Of Jekyll & Hide DVD for $7.00, two episodes of The Son Of Ghoul Show that has him hosting The Hideous Sun Demon & Lady Frankenstein for $10.00 each and what would Monster Bash be without me buying David “The Rock” Nelson movies as I got Mummy A.D. 1993 for only $20.00 and Howl Of The Werewolf for $25.00! So as you can see, this was a pretty amazing day 1 of Monster Bash goodies!

So for the first night we wanted to have Dinner and a Movie at the hotel so we chose to eat our favorite restaurant in this area, Wing Kings where I had Garlic Wings and Cheese Fries with a Coke to drink. The night’s film was Howl Of The Werewolf, the newest no budget monster movie classic from David Nelson. The film was over 3hrs and 30min long and was pure classic Rock stuff complete with Detective Rock eating and random attacks by the film’s monster. And I will give all you readers a little info on something very cool….Sparkle Comics will be doing some comic books based on David “The Rock” Nelson films and Howl Of The Werewolf will be the first one released in 2020! The script will be written by Juliet, and the art will be done by Don Stephenson. So keep your eyes open for more news soon on this comic release. Over all a great night of good food and a super fun film and this ended the first night of Monster Bash!

On the second day of Monster Bash we woke up early and had popped into Monster Bash really quick before heading to Pig Iron for an amazing breakfast! Once done we headed back to Monster Bash and soaked in all the amazing sights of classic monsters! This year I noticed that more vendors had DVD’s and Blu-Rays and people were buying like crazy showing physical media is alive and well. Juliet and I also were able to look around a little better as while packed again people seemed to be aware of others around them and this allowed us to shop for not only ourselves but also our friends. We then chatted some more with Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri and once walking around and buying some more we headed out of the Bash and into the world of Cranberry!

The second day of Monster Bash goodies was also great pick ups as I got a Phantom Of The Paradise Wood Plaque for $25.00, Two more Un Mundo De Figuras of Dracula and Werewolf for $12.00 each. A Scary Monsters Magazine Vampire Detection Kit for FREE and lastly I got two episodes of Gunga Jim of him hosting Revenge Of Dr. X and Assignment Terror on DVD for only $5.00 each! So while this time around I did not buy as much, they still are some great finds.

After Monster Bash we headed back to New Dimension Comics as they had a massive store sale so we loaded up on some comic books as I got issues of Silver Surfer, Roger Rabbit, Ex-Mutants and G.I. Joe all for only .30 each! After that we relaxed for a few minutes and then headed back out and ended up at Barnes & Nobles and looked around at books, magazines and POP figures all before we headed to get a tasty treat at TCBY Yogurt that is always a must for Juliet when we come to Monster Bash. The traffic on this day was terrible but at least the weather was nice and sunny with a high of only 73 degrees. Once back at the hotel we watched The Mummy Returns on SyFy and later for dinner Juliet wanted to have Moe’s and as always I had a Chicken Burrito, and as always it was a good meal and made us both miss Moe’s being in Dayton.

After dinner we ended the night with a Horror Host feature as we watched Son Of Ghoul hosting Lady Frankenstein! The art of Horror Hosting to me goes hand and hand with classic monsters, and I wish Monster Bash would do a massive Horror Host gathering at one of the conventions as this year was pretty great as on hand was Janet Decay, Grimm Gorri, Drac, Countess Carita, Son Of Ghoul, Gunga Jim and even Dr. Gangrene around! Always a fun time to end a Saturday Night with a Horror Host and why not do so with one from Ohio!

June 23rd not only marked the final day of Monster Bash 2019 but also was the birthday of the late great Dr. Creep who was a great friend and a true icon in the world of Horror Hosting. For the last day we walked around for a few minutes and enjoyed the classic monster atmosphere as well as ran back into Dr. Gangrene and we chatted about classic amusement parks and roadside attractions. And after one more sweep through to pick up some last minute goodies we left Monster Bash for the last time in 2019 and looking back I truly feel that this is an event that if you love classic monsters should make the trip to as it’s a great and is filled with good times, great guests, top notch vendors and spooky monsters.

The final days Monster Bash Goodies was very small but pretty dang cool as I had to buy four more Un Mundo De Figuras figure and this time I got The Mummy, The Fly, Jack The Ripper and Swamp Creature for $10.00 each. These little things are amazing and I feel now I need to collect the whole set. And lastly I bought the double feature DVD of The Beast Within and The Bat People and the main movie I wanted on this set was Bat People and I paid $20.00 for this out of print MGM release. Another great year of pick up’s, as Monster Bash has never let me down!

After we left Monster Bash, we headed to a little amusement park called Conneaut Lake Park as they have a classic Horror Ride called “The Devil’s Den” and we heard about it thanks to Dr. Gangrene. It was around an hour away from Monster Bash, and the ride to it was nice and filled with some small towns and really beautiful landscapes, and when we arrived at the theme park it was everything we ever wanted and more! After parking in a field, we walked to the main gates and found that we had to buy the wristbands from a stand that is in the middle, and walking to the stand we saw many of the classic style rides like Tumble Bugs, Paratrooper, Music Express, Bumper Cars, Carousel and Blue Streak an amazing wooden roller coaster…and no joke people who grew up in the Dayton, Ohio area will know what I mean when I say my first feeling was “Wow, this has a Fantasy Farm and Americana Amusement Park feel”! And after a short line to get our admission wristband we headed straight to The Devil’s Den as this was the main attraction for us, and man I have lots to say so we will get to it shortly. The rides were also connected to a water park as well as a lake and all around us were families and couples having fun and this helped added to the great atmosphere of the park. Not to mention all of the park workers seemed very nice and helpful. After Juliet and I rode The Devil’s Den, she rode The Blue Streak and had a blast and from there we went and rode the train that went around Blue Streak and the park all the while we would pass wooden cutouts of famous cartoon characters. From there, Juliet rode the Tumble Bugs and after we ate some loaded fries and funnel cake from one of the food stands and just soaked in the park. After leaving Juliet and I both agreed that we will come back to Conneaut Lake Park as it was a very fun time!

The Devil’s Den was everything in a classic Horror Ride I could ever want! We got at the park right at open so the ride had no line and Juliet and I were able to walk right up. Sadly the cars were tiny and we had to ride separately and as the worker pushed my cart into the track, the spooky ride started! Now keep in mind I loved the cart and while it would have been fun to ride with Juliet, it also was an amazing ride to experience alone. And Devil’s Den was filled with creepy paintings, spooky sounds, flashing lights, darkness, a gum caked wall and the Devil and his minions. This made me flashback to the old Horror Ride that was at Fantasy Farm and I had a massive smile on my face the whole ride as each dark turn made me come face to face with another monster. The highlight for me is when I got to see The Devil that looked just one straight from a B-Horror Movie. The ride had some great old school scare moments like string hanging down to touch your face in dark rooms and had lots of twists and turns. This was a fantastic way to feel like a kid again as I enjoyed every moment of this ride and I think that if you are in the Pittsburgh area, you need to take a trip to Conneaut Lake Park and pay the $10.00 entrance fee and do yourself a favor and take a ride on The Devil’s Den and after doing so soak up all the amazing attractions of a true indie amusement park. The pictures below come from the rides official Facebook page at CLP Devils Den so make sure to check it out and give it a like. No joke, this was a perfect attraction for Juliet and I to spend a good part of our day at….and oh yeah I also bought myself a Devil’s Den T-Shirt!

After Conneaut Lake Park we headed toward The Snowman as I needed a good old Yeti Shake and to my shock and sadness, the horses were gone! While I was sad not to see the horses again, the shake was fantastic as always! Later in the day we ate dinner at a restaurant called Burgatory and it was fantastic and I made a custom chicken burger that was one of the best I have ever had! The waitress we had was super nice and the restaurant itself was very welcoming and had a cool look. We ended the evening once more watching an episode of Son Of Ghoul that had him hosting The Hideous Sun Demon as I figured what better way to end the final day of Monster Bash than with a Horror Host program.

June 24, 2019 marked the first day of after Monster Bash blues, but marked the first full day of lets go do cool stuff in Cranberry! We started out morning with a breakfast from Einstein Bros Bagels and then made our way to see the remake of Child’s Play at Cranberry Cinema, as I have said before this is a great indie ran theater that has a great feel and no joke I also really enjoyed Child’s Play! From there Juliet and I had lunch at Moe’s and just like last time the meal was really good. After lunch we headed back to Evans City and visited the Cemetery, as it’s a must every time we are in PA. The drive to the cemetery is so peaceful and once there we soaked up the sun, nature and just the over all creative vibe you get when there. The cemetery was filled with chipmunks again and besides the caretaker, no one else was around and made for a very peaceful visit. After enjoying the wonders that is Evans City Cemetery we headed back to the hotel and waited for dinner…that was Wing Kings of course and then we watched WWE Raw on the USA Network.

June 25 marked our last day in Pennsylvania and on this day we started out by going to Target to pick up some road snacks. We then headed to Mars and had some coffee from Mars Brew House and walked around the small town for a few moments. Juliet and I chatted about our time at Monster Bash as well as talked about Horror Hosting and even about Rotten Ink. We then went and filmed the UFO in downtown Mars to send to my pal Victor for a project for Rockstar Pro Wrestling. But this was just the start of our journey back to home as I wanted to make a stop that was very important to me…and that was to visit the grave of a true wrestling legend.

Before we made the long drive back to Dayton we stopped at Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh so I could pay my respects to WWE Legend and Wrestling Icon Bruno Sammartino. For those who don’t know who Bruno was, I first want to say shame on you, as he is the longest WWE Champion in history and was one of the world’s most popular wrestlers in the 60s-80s and hands down is one of the best in the business. And after paying my respects Juliet and I walked around the massive cemetery and we talked about how important Bruno was and still is to the legacy of the WWE as much like Hulk Hogan he was what kept them in business for decades. And I am making a promise to all you readers that when Inverse Press finishes the comic series based on Bruno Sammartino I will cover it here on Rotten Ink and truly talk about this icon of the squared circle. Once we left the cemetery we headed back to Ohio, but not before stopping again at Ruby Tuesdays for a quick meal.

Once we ended up back home I had to deliver copies of the Sparkle Comics release of Spring Heeled Jack # 2 to local shops as well as spent some time with family and friends and even went to the theater to see Annabelle Comes Home! I also ended up filming a one off cheesy Horror Host show with my pal Damien…more on that in the future. But on June 29, 2019 we decided to have a Horror Movie Marathon that would be packed with some great Horror, Science Fiction and Thriller films. We started the marathon at 8am and started with the Universal Horror film “The Thing That Couldn’t Die!” that is about a cursed head tormenting a group of people on an isolated ranch. The second film was “Zarkorr! The Invader” about a massive space monster on a rampage to test earthlings that must be saved by a postal worker. We then watched “Golem” from 2018 that brings the silent film and classic Jewish folklore and is about a woman that brings to life a Golem to protect her village. The 1995 thriller “Mommy” starting Patty McCormack was next and was about an evil woman who will kill those who get in her young daughters way…and more so her own. Our fifth film was the Sc-Fi classic “Target Earth” about a group of strangers that wake up in a city alone during a mechanical alien invasion! “The 27 Club” is about a musician who sells her soul to the devil to get fame, but it comes with a price on her 27th birthday. The shot on video film “Masked Mutilator” was next and is about a group of kids in a halfway house that are being killed by a crazed masked pro wrestler. Indie Horror Movie “Close Calls” starring the lovely Jordan Phipps is about a young woman who is battling drug addiction being grounded as strange and deadly things are going down at her home. Our 9th film of the marathon was “Leprechaun Returns” the newest sequel in the long running series that has him coming back again to claim his gold and torments a group of sorority girls. And the final film was the 1975 fright flick starring Peter Cushing “The Ghoul” about a mansion that holds a terrible secret and a murderous thing in the attic.

This was another great Horror Movie Marathon filled with some great flicks and amazing food and snacks! After we watched the films, as always Juliet and I sat and talked about them and picked our best three as well as our Golden Turkey. For Juliet she selected Masked Mutilator as her Golden Turkey as she did not hate the film she just felt it dragged in spots, and I choose Zarkorr! The Invader as I found it to be a little to slow with a so-so hero and a lackluster final battle. My Top Films went as following # 1 went to Golem as I found this to be a very fun and bloody way to bring this classic horror icon back to modern viewers, plus it was well acted, well shot and the blood effects were really good. # 2 for me was Leprechaun Returns as I felt this was a fantastically silly and fun sequel and washed the bad taste of Leprechaun Origins out of my mouth, plus the film was way more gore in it than I expected. And my pick for # 3 was The Ghoul as I found it to be a fun spooky atmospheric classic style Horror Flick that once more showed why Peter Cushing is one of the best actors in Horror ever. And for me Close Calls was a runner up as I found myself still thinking about the film way after it ended as it left me thinking about what the ending meant. Juliet’s picks were as follows # 1 The Golem, # 2 The Ghoul and # 3 went to Target Earth, but she wanted to let you all know that the film The Thing That Wouldn’t Die almost made it on her list and was her runner up. So as you can see, another great Marathon and a great way to end my Monster Bash 2019 vacation!

This Marathon’s Golden Chainsaw Award for most kills goes to Golem as he had about 13 on screen kills and a ton of off screen! While he looked like a child this creatures was brutal and ruthless when it came to murdering those who crossed him or his creator. The Golem’s best kill for me is when he would make peoples heads explode into a mess of bloody goo filled with chunks of brains! So thanks Golem for not only being the best movie of the Marathon but for also making it a little bloodier!

It’s crazy to think that the world lost George A. Romero over two years ago. I mean the man delivered some of the most iconic zombie films of all time with titles like Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead, Land Of The Dead, Diary Of The Dead and Survival Of The Dead, all amazing films in their own right. But many others love his none-zombie horror work like Season Of The Witch, The Crazies, Martin, Knightriders, Creepshow, Monkey Shines, Two Evil Eyes, The Dark Half and Bruiser all films that delivered chills and entertainment to viewers. They just don’t make filmmakers like Romero anymore who had a vision and brought a group of creative minds together like he did in the Pittsburgh area. While George might be gone and no one can make zombie films like him no matter how they try, his legacy will live on forever not only in his work but also in all those film creators who he inspired.

George A. Romero’s masterpiece of zombie horror cinema Night Of The Living Dead is truly a film that has inspired and has been imitated by so many filmmakers and media creators. I mean NOTLD is even a film that has been hosted by so many Horror Hosts around the world, and I would even bet that it’s the most hosted movie of all time! And oddly enough, beside the official sequels like Dawn of The Dead, Day Of The Dead and Land Of The Dead to name a few it has also spawned a remake from effects master Tom Savini and a ton of unofficial sequels that all branding the name Night Of The Living Dead….now I am sure your wondering how this is so, right? Well the film has fallen into the public domain and this allows creative minds to do what they want with the title and the film itself and this is how these “sequels” and “ different takes” are able to be made and viewed by Horror Movie viewers world wide. So let’s take a moment and talk about some of these films that cashed in and continued the legacy of NOTLD. And let’s talk about what we will call The Good, The Bad, The Ugly And The Turkey as I will pick what one I find to be the best, the so-so, the worst and the golden turkey! So be ready as they are coming to get you readers! They’re coming for you….look here comes the rip offs now!

The first film in these unofficial sequels is “Night Of The Living Dead 3D” that was released in 2006 and stars the likes of Sid Haig and Brianna Brown and follows Barb and college student Ben as they try and survive a zombie horde while finding shelter in the farmhouse of the Cooper family. But when the zombies arrive, things get bad for the survivors, as they cannot stop the living dead! Next up is “Night Of The Living Dead Re-Animation 3D” that was released in 2012 and is a prequel to the above mentioned film and stars Jeffrey Combs and Denice Duff and follows a mortician who foolishly exposes dead bodies to medical toxic waste that brings them back and hungry for the living. “Night Of The Living Dead Resurrection” was as well released in 2012 and stars Sule Rimi and Kathy Saxondale and is about a group of humans hiding in a farmhouse as the dead rise and they drama inside the house seems to be worse than the horrors outside. And lastly is “Night Of The Living Dead Darkest Dawn” that was released in 2015 and stars Danielle Harris and Tony Todd and is an animated fright flick that changes the location to New York as humans hide out in an apartment building as the dead try and get them! So these are the dirty undead four, and man all of them are the same and yet all so different! I would say The Good For me would be Night Of The Living Dead Darkest Dawn as it’s a weird take and the voice acting from some of the greats of the horror world was a nice addition. The Bad, who is not terrible but average, would go to Night Of The Living Dead 3D as it is cheesy and bad but Sid Haig is solid in it. The Ugly that is bad but not the worst would go to Night Of The Living Dead Re-Animation 3D, an underwhelming sequel to NOTLD 3D and is just nothing special and an average lower budget zombie film. And the Golden Turkey is Night Of The Living Dead Resurrection as it’s just very, very boring and is clearly a cash in on the namesake of NOLD. So there you have it, a quick rundown of the knock off films of Night Of The Living Dead…and if you want to see a good zombie film just watch the original or even the remake as they both are leaps and bounds better than all the films mentioned above.

While we took a look at the films that cashed in on the legacy of NOTLD, I also want to take a brief moment to talk about a cool tribute short movie called “Flowers For The DEAD” that was released in 2013 and is directed by Joe Barbarisi who clearly loved the classic work of Romero and even shot parts of the film in the Evan City Cemetery that the original film shot in. The films plot is about Linda a woman whose parents have passed away who finds herself in the cemetery during a zombie outbreak and to make things worse she is being stalked all through the massive cemetery by zombies who want to make her their dinner and she has no signs of help. Now Lisa must fight for her life and find a way to out step the dead and get back to her car! Does she make it out alive…or does she become another meal for the living dead…watch this film on YouTube and find out for yourself! This short film is well shot and making it black and white was a very nice touch as it helps make it feel right at home with NOTLD. The zombies as well are well done for an indie film with some being make-up and others wearing masks, and again this added to the vibe and feel of the film. I want to also say that I really dug the films score as it fit the film perfectly, and to be honest I would love to have it on CD! I love indie horror, and this was a fun one that someday I would love to show at an Indie Horror Showcase event that is put on by Horrorama Dayton and Blood Scream Comics! So I want to just say good work to Joe Barbarisi and his cast and crew for making such a fun and classically spooky Horror Short film.

So now that we have traveled to the land of the living dead once more and had a great time at Monsterbash, I think we should see what the second series based on Night Of The Living Dead by Fantaco has in store for us! So before we find a good crypt to hide in, I should 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. I also want to thank a vendor at Cinema Wasteland many years back for having these comics in stock. So if you’re ready to once more walk with the Living Dead, let’s see what this Fantaco mini series has in store for us.

Night Of The Living Dead # 0  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $1.95     Fantaco     # 0 of 3

Actress Kate Koresh is taking a vacation in Haiti and becomes the target for a voodoo cult who wants to sacrifice her to zombies of the sea, and unlucky for her, they kidnap her and take her to the beach to do the ceremony. Meanwhile zombie hunter Randy Von Richtofen is also on a getaway in Haiti as he is staying at the hut of Papa Shaka while he is away, and Randy is lucky when he meets Amber and Bianca two beautiful women who are the trainees of Shaka. While relaxing in the hot tub, Randy hears the drums on the beach and rushes off and he and the ladies end up saving Kate from being eaten by zombies and they kill not only the undead but also the voodoo cult! In the end Randy and the ladies return to the hut as Kate returns to America never wanting to see a zombie again! We end with the government talking about a satellite in space and hope that this time around it does not start another zombie outbreak.

This quick read is an odd one as it was a fun read and really does capture the indie zombie horror comic feel of the 90’s from that time…but it also has a weird very cheesy over the top nature that is nothing like the spirit of Night Of The Living Dead as it all just seems a little off! The plot follows two people on vacation, one being an actress and the other being a zombie hunter who cross paths when a cult wants to feed and please the undead from the ocean. Our main hero is the sleazy and overly gun happy undead basher Randy Von Richtofen who is a man who has seen and done so much to rid the world of the zombies that have infested it. We know he loves the ladies, and he loves to blow away zombies. Bianca and Amber are two hot women who are loyal to their teacher the voodoo master Papa Shaka and who are very handy with guns and taking down zombies. Our would-be victim, the snooty actress Kate Koresh, is also a survivor as she as well fights for her own life and takes on cult members as well as zombies to escape. The Cult, who are the issue’s baddies, are silly and love bikinis and want to please the zombies of the ocean that are divers, swimmers and seamen and are no major threat as they are taken out with ease. The comic, while horror, also has a dash of comedy to it, as the over all feel really is cheesy as well as comic indie action moments. Thus far as well I am not 100% sold on Randy and am more cheering for Amber and Bianca who seem more like the heroes of the book and are not just into killing zombies to be macho and brag about it. I do like the nice addition of the government once more making a mistake in space and this could spark another zombie upraise and spell doom for mankind. The cover for this issue 0 is not all that eye catching and besides the name does not make one think of NOTLD! The interior art is done by Rik Rawling and is pretty standard indie horror stuff. Over all this is an average comic that offers some blood and kills but is not scary and was worth the read. Let’s see what this story arc has in store for us with issue # 1.

Night Of The Living Dead # 1  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $3.50     Fantaco     # 1 of 3

The Government’s Star Wars satellite is set to be used in a foreign land in order to test if it can do mind control when the machine decides to choose another target and hits in California and hits the set of Kate Koresh’s TV show killing many of the crew as well as infects others to become zombies! Para-gliders Phil and Phred land and find that zombies are all around and want to eat some human flesh, and as they flee the beach they come across Kate Koresh who has returned from Haiti and finds herself as well being attacked by zombies and the two dudes with attitudes try and save her! After the pair kill the zombies attacking her the trio rush off to a house in the hills to wait out the outbreak! Meanwhile the Government is in damage mode and realize that they once more have created a undead uprising again and set to come up with a plan to neutralize it. Meanwhile the safe house for Kate, Phred and Phil is being swarmed by zombies, and the guns they are using to protect themselves are running out of bullets when they remember an ad in the newspaper and call Randy Von Richtofen who shows up and kicks some undead butt! They all team up and trick the infected townspeople into entering a meat factor and fill it with gas blowing it up and containing the outbreak in California, but the satellite has fired again this time in Florida!

The first issue in the series as well lacks the true charm of Night Of The Living Dead and once more is a little too sleazy/cheesy and not so scary, making me a little puzzled why they moved away from their first style of NOTLD comics and went for more of a The Dead and the original Walking Dead mood and feel. The plot has the satellite firing in California causing a zombie outbreak that once more poor actress Kate Koresh is stuck in, but she is lucky enough that two goofy dudes are around to protect her and that once more zombie killer Randy Von Richtofen is back in town as well! This issues main heroes are Phil and Phred who are a pair of beach bums who enjoy chicks and paragliding, but while goofy when the dead start to rise and crave human flesh these two step up save a life and protect themselves and others. Kate Koresh can not win to lose as she returns from vacation were she was attacked by zombies only to once more find herself on the menu for lunch, but just like before she defends herself well and has the survival instinct. Randy Von Richtofen is still the same as the last issue and is a butt-kicking machine with no real personality. The Zombies in this issue attack in hordes and are hungry for human meat and flesh, not much else to say about them besides they are lined up to be slaughtered by our heroes in gory fashion. The real bad guys of this issue are the Government as they with their Star Wars program are what has caused all this chaos, seems they learned nothing from the outbreak they causes in 1968! The issue has some great bloody and gory kills and the pacing is good keeping my attention throughout. The cover is eye catching for fans of zombie comics and the art by Rik Rawling is ok. Over all another average and entertaining zombie book that is an odd direction for one based on such an iconic film.

Night Of The Living Dead # 2  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $3.50     Fantaco     # 2 of 3

The amusement park McKie Moose World in Florida is hit by the laser from the Star Wars Satellite next and this causing employees to turn into flesh eating zombies! Randy Von Richtofen sees the reports on the news and calls in a favor to Papa Shaka and his two trainees Amber & Bianca for help to rid the park of the undead. Meanwhile at the park, the President’s Daughter is enjoying here time when the zombies attack and she is stuck with a Secret Service who is scared and offers her no protection! Meanwhile when out zombie hunter group lead by Randy shows up they use the voodoo skill of Papa Shaka to flood the park and kill off the zombies who infested it. Meanwhile the Government tries to destroy the satellite and fail as now it begins to fire randomly all over the planet!

This second issue is a mix of horror, comedy and sleaze and comes together pretty well and is an entertaining read. The plot follows once more Randy as he takes care of a zombie outbreak that this time takes place at an amusement park. And he brings in voodoo master Papa Shaka and his lovely ladies to help! I really love the idea of a zombie outbreak taking place in an amusement park all the while the President’s daughter is stuck inside as the Government and a group of zombie hunters are the only hope for those stuck inside…and while this sounds fantastic right, the issue never offers any real moments of danger as they are easily killed and are wiped out by water! The zombies in this issue are not scary or a threat, the Government this time around come off more like fools and not major baddies leaving a void for any serious threat. Randy Von Richtofen shows slightly more of a personality when he knows that he is out numbered and needs help to take out the zombies that was eating people in Florida, a cool generic badass hero character that so far just doesn’t do much for me. Papa Shaka shows that he doesn’t need a gun as the man’s voodoo skills are great, and he wipes the floor with the zombies. Amber & Bianca are very much downplayed in this issue and are more eye candy than zombie fighters, very disappointing as they could be very cool characters. Again the setting for this issue is great, the feel and mode are off, the comedy didn’t work for me and the horror is very slight. The cover is great and eye catching for fans of 90’s Horror Comics and the interior art done by Rik Rawling is the same level as the other issues. Over all this issue was slightly better than the previous two and was worth reading, let’s see what the final issue has in store for us.

Night Of The Living Dead # 3  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $3.50     Fantaco      # 3 of 3

Outbreaks are taking place all over the world as the Star Wars Satellite has gone crazy and fired its ray all over creating zombies everywhere! The American President knows that things are bad and that under his watch this terrible thing has happened so he calls Randy Von Richtofen to help give pointers to S.C.U.D (Specialist In Cannibal Undead Destruction) a team that is government based and are ready to save the world. Randy agrees to give them some pointers and is shocked when he finds that actress Kate Koresh is one of the team’s leaders and he soon finds that he is being forced to join her group of soldiers as they head to Germany to ride the area of zombies that are breeding! The team is made up of Jane Redhawk, Jimmy Woo, Waylon Creole and Lunk. Once there they find out that the zombies are way more powerful and that this mission is going to be very hard tor pull off and survive. Kate takes Randy and Redhawk on a recon mission and they pair soon finds that they are at odds with each other as both have different ideas on how to deal with the zombies all around them, as those who are left behind at the base camp must fend off a wave of zombies. Once they make it to a massive tower made of dead humans that is acting as the base for the zombies, they find that the undead are reproducing at a fast pass and the only way to bring them down is to get into the tower and blow it up! Once back at camp Randy leaves the group behind as he thinks this is nothing more than a suicide mission, and Kate gets super mad and leads her team on the mission and to her horror one by one they are taken out by the zombies! Kate starts to lose her mind and shuts down as Redhawk is able to get them both to the center of the tower and as the zombies close in Randy appears again with his zombie bashing car and saves Kate as Redhawk sets off a bomb killing herself and also bringing down the tower and the zombie horde around it. In the end Randy and Kate stand at the graves of her fallen soldiers and pitches the idea of her and Randy becoming a team as he gives a none committed answer.

This final issue in this mini series goes out as average as it started as the story wraps up with no major impact nor does it have horror in sight. The plot of this issue has Randy joining Kate as she leads a rag tag team into the heart of a major zombie outbreak in Germany that is the worlds last defense to truly get this undead emergency under control. And I must say that the stakes in this final issue are bigger and it does feel as if the dead could truly win the final battle as they are all over and ready to kill and eat our heroes. And this is refreshing as through out this mini series I never found the zombies to be a threat nor dangerous as they were easily taken down and barely killed any one who could see. Our series main hero is Randy Von Richtofen, who is a man who enjoys killing zombies and has no real personality at all, and while I did not hate this character, I also had no real connection to him as he also just felt to dang generic. Our second main hero would be Kate Koresh as she grows as a character and goes from cheesy actress to leader of a military team! She is way more interesting of a character she just lacks the major will to kill like Randy does. The side characters in this series are pretty good and I would say my favorites would be Jane Redhawk, Amber & Bianca as they all had potential and all could have been better used in this series. As you long time readers know, I am a major Horror Comic reader and have always enjoyed a good zombie comic and love Night Of The Living Dead and its legacy and I think would have enjoyed this series a little more if it did not carry the NOTLD name as the comics holds none of the spirit of that film and again really comes off as a clone of other dark indie zombie comics that came out before it. The series does have some great moments of carnage and bloodshed, but does not get too overboard. The cover for this issue is just okay and is nothing special, the interior artwork is again is good normal indie style done by Rik Rawling. The best way to sum up this comic mini series is that it’s entertaining and also very disappointing. If you like dark horror comedy comics this might be one you will want to check out, if you’re a pure NOTLD fan you might find yourself finding this one a little of a letdown as even the zombies just feel all wrong. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Rawling used in this series.

So while this Fantaco NOTLD comic series has not the best zombie comics I have ever read, it still delivered an entertaining read for this update. It’s odd that no comic company is making comics based on Night Of The Living Dead as it just lends itself to be an amazing comic series. I want to also stress that if you love classic movie monsters, comics books and cool old toys you need to do yourself a favor and go to one of the Monster Bash Conventions as they are great events that deliver a spooky good time. So to keep up my love for classic monsters I think our next update we will be taking a look at the Marvel Horror character The Golem! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a classic monster movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for my first Marvel Horror Showcase.

American Hero: Fighting American

Happy July 4th! If you’re like me, you can smell the hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill and are ready to pig out on that tasty grilled meat as well as loads of potato chips and all types of salads from macaroni to pasta. Like last year I hope I can add a little fun to your holiday by bringing you another “American Hero” update that showcases a comic character that embodies the spirit of America.  This year I decided to choose Fighting American, and out of all the companies that had released adventures based on him, I chose the DC Comics version to review as I feel that this 1994 series was the closest to my youth, and I feel like DC is lacking the love here on my blog so why not give them another holiday update! So sit back with your favorite summer time beverage and spend just a moment of your Independence Day before the fireworks with me here at Rotten Ink, as we are about to get into the world of Fighting American!

When I was a kid, lunch time was always really good in Waynesville Schools as they had amazing cheese pizza that was made even more tasty with salt and even the hamburger with a pickle on it was good. But the one thing I always looked forward to was drinking milk.  From 2% to chocolate milk with my meal, I really enjoyed that as my drink of choice.  In fact, I still love a good tall glass of milk from time to time. One of the cool parts of the milk cartons was seeing Safetypup, a superhero puppy who wore a mask, cape and costume who would give a message of safety to us kids. My brother was the first to tell me about Safetypup as he called him “Superpuppy,” and I can remember he brought home the carton so I could see him! Growing up I have always wondered why they never made a Safetypup comic book, you know, like a promo comic that they could have given away at schools and family events.  Imagine comics where Safetypup could teach us about stranger danger, drugs and Halloween safety! Another thing that would be cool is that Safetypup has a walk around mascot costume, and it would be amazing to have him on an episode of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre teaching kids safety tips alongside BVP! So I just wanna thank Safetypup for making my childhood safe and for all his years of making milk cartons cool in school.

Jack Kirby and Joe Simon were the team that created Captain America for Timely Comics in 1941, and after the company was bought out by Atlas Comics, their character was continued without their permission.  This angered the pair and caused them to create a new American themed character called Fighting American, and in 1954 the first issue came out for Prize Group and lasted a total of 7 issues. The character was created to fight The Communists as at the time the Red Scare was in full effect and the comic reading world needed an outlet to release the fear they felt. The most important thing about Fighting American is that he is, in fact, the first comic hero to tackle the Cold War and was also the first to switch gears and just become a fun superhero comic thats Kirby had fun with. After the character’s seven issue run, he has returned to comics via many different companies like Marvel, DC, Harvey, Awesome and Dynamite! Fighting American is really Nelson Flagg who has his mind and life force placed into the corpse of his brother who was a murdered star athlete and war hero, thanks to the top secret military project dubbed “Project Fighting American” to seek revenge and fight the Red Scare and other costumed baddies. Over his original adventures, he also had a sidekick named Speedboy who is a teenager that worked at the same place as he and his brother. While Fighting American might not be as iconic as Captain America or even as known as The Shield, he still truly is an American Comic Icon that stands for the red, white and blue that we all love here in America. Check out below for three looks at Fighting American over the years in comics from different companies.

So we have taken a look at the history of Fighting American as well as a brief character bio, but for many of you like myself the grill is still going and the fireworks are about to go off, so I think its time we dive into the DC Comic mini series based on this true American comic hero. The sky flowers are wanting 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. I also want to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having issues in stock to make this update possible. So if you’re ready let’s grab old glory and head into the battle against those who wish America ill will with the one and only Fighting American.

Fighting American # 1  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 1 of 6

Big Brother is with two of his wrestling federation’s pro wrestlers Bear and Bull watching the madness of the New York stock exchange when Fighting American appears looking for a man named Little Brother.  After making short work of the wrestlers, he loses Big Brother in a car chase that leaves Fighting American falling off a bridge and into a boat filled with garbage! He is called back to Washington D.C. and finds that the government scientists lost monitoring contact with him and that he has pleased the Army who is financing his superhero adventures. Fighting American flashes back to how he became a hero and remembers the story of two brothers Johnny Flagg and his younger brother Nelson who make a TV talk show that pushes lots of buttons.  When Johnny talks ills of Ivan Brotski, he becomes a target for a hit that leaves him dead and Nelson at a cross roads as the government has offered him a way to merge with his dead brother and become a fighting machine for America.  The catch is the merge will take years! He snaps back to present day when he is reamed by one of the scientist for failing and is told one attack on his brother’s killers was enough, but he soon finds that Big Brother and his Pro Wrestling federation has a show that night and after making short work of their champ Mister Fixit he is able to bust Big Brother who is being taken away by cops after admitting his part in the Flagg murder and also informs him that Ivan has been missing for years. On his way back to the base, Fighting American finds Ivan who is now homeless and dies in front of him of a heart attack. Meanwhile a secret meeting is held by people in shadows, and the topic is how to deal with Fighting American.

What we have here is DC Comics trying to update a character from an era gone-by and make him hip and cool for readers of the 90’s, and for the most part it works. The plot of this first issue shows how two brothers became the target of a hit when they talked about the wrong crime family on their talk show.  With the help of science, the two brothers become one person and are now a tool for America to help with domestic terrors. But also revenge is on the mind of our new hero called Fighting American as he wants to bring down those who gunned down one of the brothers causing them to become this science experiment. And when getting to the one he thinks is responsible, his revenge is snatched from him due to natural death! Johnny Flagg is a talk show host who was a former soldier who speaks his mind on his TV show as he believes in America and what it stands for, and while a stand up guy, he does get gunned down before we truly get to know him. Nelson Flagg is a nerdy kind of guy who idolizes his brother and gives up his own life in order to merge with his dead brother, kind of weird but I guess that’s the American way! As Fighting American thus far all we get from him is that he is a superhero who works for the government who is more wrapped up into revenge than following orders. Big Brother, “Poison” Ivan Brotski and Mister Fixit are all just scumbags who were tops of the crime world but quickly fell from grace as they lost power, and all they have left is one Pro Wrestling Federation! It was nice to see Fighting American fail at his first attempt at revenge and later gear up and head into the lion’s den (or is that wrestling ring?) and try again until he was victorious.  It shows he has heart but is not going to be a puppet for anyone. The cover for this first issue is pretty eye catching and showcases the modern era Fighting American really well.  The one change to the costume that I find just silly if his blonde hair flopping out of the top of the mask…just silly and reminds me of The Shield that we covered last 4th of July. The interior art is done by Greg LaRocque and is pretty great stuff and is truly a capture of 90’s mainstream comics appeal. Over all this first issue was a great way to start off this series, and I am looking forward to see where the story goes and how our hero grows.

Fighting American # 2  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 2 of 6

Fighting American has become a media sensation after he gave an interview after saving a cat from a flag pole high above the city. The Shadow Organization are plotting a way to bring him down in the people’s eyes while the Government has decided to give him his own TV Show back as Johnny Flagg and has come up with a story that he has been MIA because his plan crashed in a jungle over 10 years ago, and this is were he meets his new producer Mary Loo. Meanwhile the ones who want to ruin him hire a band of performance art terrorists called Media Circus that has members like Anchorman, Spin Doctor, Sound Byte and Satellite Dish who are going to ruin Fighting American’s image and start by manipulating video of the kitten rescue to make it appear he placed the frightened cat on the pole to start with! The smear campaign hits, and the people turn on Fighting American and even on his show as Johnny Flagg.  He must cover the topic and Media Circus are the guests, but as the show goes on Mary Loo and a show worker find the tapes that clear Fighting American’s name as Johnny shows the whole world he is in fact the star spangled hero and along with his show crew they clear his name and take down the Media Circus as the evil shadow people are not happy.

This second issue lets the cat out of the bag as now the whole world knows that Johnny Flagg is the one and only Fighting American as he is sick of living a lie and telling untruths to the American people. The plot has a band of terrorist using TV to smear the name of the superhero, and he and his friends not standing for it and taking them down for the count. The Fighting American is a good man who does what he can to save the day no matter how big or small if he can help he will. As Johnny Flagg is out of touch with the times but is finding his way as he is now making friends thanks to the return of his TV Show and is also very much into his cute producer Mary Loo. The Media Circus are a band of weird looking carnies who can be hired to ruin someone’s life, and they try so hard but fail in their mission as they were just out classed and out matched by the pride of America. This issue does a great job of balancing both the character development of our hero as well as delivers lots of fighting action! The only downside to this issue is that Media Circus are not major threats and when push comes to shove they are beaten and exposed as frauds super fast giving the reader a lack of a really powerful villain. The one thing I do like is the fact Johnny no longer has to hide is identity as he has told the world he is the superhero that they all need. The cover of this issue is pretty cool and showcases the weird and wild look of TV mixed with the circus and a touch of costumed hero! The art is once more done by Greg LaRocque and is good stuff! Over all this is a solid second issue and really makes me look forward to reading the third to see what’s next for Fighting American.

Fighting American # 3  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 3 of 6

Fighting American is a hit with the American people again and has taken on a sidekick named Kid who works for his TV show that is also a ratings hit! But next the evil shadow group has hired Gross National Product, a fat yellow skinned man who is in Government power and who eats and eats.  He and his conman sidekick Def Izzit have caused madness with the people all in the name of greed and excess. Madness is running wild in the streets and people are attacking each other, not helping their fellow man and even has Fighting American arguing with his sidekick and during a fight almost breaks the finger of Def Izzit who in turn has the superhero arrested! In the end, the Fighting American is in jail waiting for a lawyer and gets the news that the head professor of the program has been kidnapped!

This third issue has Fighting American in a battle of good and greed as he is outsmarted by the hairy, fat, spaced toothed Gross National Product who has used his powers of persuasion to trick the people of America into being self-absorbed mindless tools. And when Fighting American gets the upper hand, he still is in the wrong and goes to jail for assault. Fighting American in this issue is still the pride of the goody two shoes but also has an edge to him as he has been mind tricked by his foe. His new sidekick, who they have not given a name to, is on his way to becoming the next Bucky as he is skilled and yet still young and sloppy in battle. Mary Loo in this issue takes a back seat, and while she shoots down Johnny Flagg’s dinner dates, it’s clear that she is a lesbian as her date shows up to take her to lunch and it’s a woman. Def Izzit is annoying and talks in riddles and rhymes and is one character that I hope gets the tar kicked out of him! Gross National Product is a great villain as he is pure evil and uses his powers to cause chaos and enjoys the evil he does and gorges himself while doing it on food, paper, boots and whatever else he can shove down his fat neck! The cliffhanger of Fighting American being in jail and his friend and the program doctor being kidnapped makes for a great way for the reader to want to see what’s next. The cover is pretty cool and showcases not only Fighting American but also his new sidekick and Gross National Product allowing the readers to know what they are in store for. The inside art is once more done by Greg LaRocque and is again great.  So to sum up this issue good classic superhero stuff with a touch of the 90’s.

Fighting American # 4  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 4 of 6

Fighting American is sitting in prison and is keeping his fellow inmates in good behavior all the while Mary Loo and Senator Dorkin are trying to get plan together to get him out. Gross National Product and Def Izzit have spread greed to the American people who are all now rushing to stores and spending all their money on products that they don’t need. The Kid is also inflected bad with the want to buy as he does not care about his friend Fighting American and even mouths off and steals from his parents. Mary Loo has the TV show film in the jail as The Kid snaps out of his trance and goes after Gross National Product and is able to find out that the heavyset baddie’s power comes from his sunglasses and uses it against him turning him into a man who regrets what he has done and even drops the charges against Fighting American and does work in the community to make things right! Out of jail, Fighting American goes back on the streets to save the town from evil, and we find out that Senator Dorkin is not a friend to our hero and is working with the shadow people to find whys to bring him down.

This issue should be called “Fighting American Goes To Jail” and should have been written and drawn like the Ernest movie! But really the plot has The Kid showing why he is a superhero now and with the help of his parents locking him in a back stock room, he is able to shake off the effects of the consume idea planted in his brain and single handedly defeats Gross National Product by using his own power and tricks against him and in turn gets the charges dropped against Fighting American who is now free and can do his TV Show and Superhero the streets. The Kid, who at first kind of felt like a way to make fun of classic Captain America stories by parodying Bucky, really became his own with this story, and they gave him more of a personality than just a goofy kid who tags along side our book’s hero. Fighting American takes a back seat in this issue as he is in jail all the way until the very end so he does not get to fight nor even clear his own name. Even while helpless Fighting American is still a very cool classic style superhero! Gross National Product is scum who in this issue makes the world want to buy, buy and buy all the while he still stuffs his face! But when the roles are turned and he sees what he has done, he turns over a new leaf and does good by the world and tries to keep it clean! Def Izzit is still just a rhythm-talking goof who sadly does not get his face pounded in! This issue also shows the read evil mastermind behind the attempted downfall of Fighting American and it’s Senator Dorkin! You see, he is the one works along the shadow people who want him out of the way so they can do their evil stuff. Nice twist as he seems like a friend the whole time. The poor Professor is set free and becomes self aware that the whole lab dislikes him as been the story of his whole life and becomes an alcoholic whom no ones seems to care that is free nor not returned to the lab.  I see him coming into play soon as a tool for evil…I could be wrong just have the feeling. Over all this is another solid issue with a cool cover and great art done by Greg LaRocque who is making this American Hero come alive in the pages of this DC Comic series.

Fighting American # 5  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 5 of 6

Senator Dorkin is being threatened by the shadow crime group for failing at getting Fighting American to be out of the hero business, and his last chance is the helmet wearing, mind controlling eye doctor named Phoroptor who is set to clean up the bad turn he sees America heading down and fills them with nostalgia! Meanwhile the Professor is going to blow the whistle on Senator Dorkin to Fighting American as Mary Loo herself finds that Dorkin is on the run and has a sinister past and present! While out Fighting American and The Kid are battling Phoroptor who is attacking civilians causing them to cry and go into rages over the present not being like the past. After a quick fight Phoroptor gets the upper hand and makes Fighting American question who he is as he has the memories of Nelson and Johnny and this makes him in the end realize that he is in fact both and is the hero known as Fighting American and with the help of the Professor he defeats Phoroptor and is soon joined by The Kid and Mary Loo who tells them that Dorkin has fled the USA and now they are all going to Europe to get answers and stop this evil plan.

This fifth issue of the Fighting American mini series from DC is lots of fun and crams in lots of great classic comic book hero moments as well as adds messages about America at the time. This one has the rug being pulled out from under Senator Dorkin who is being targeted by the shadow people as well as is now on the radar of Fighting American who’s TV producer has found his dark secret and the Professor is about to spill the beans on everything her knows. Fighting American in this issue is brave and fights past the crippling power of his foe and even seems to finally become one with who he really is and that’s both brothers! The Kid is around and is a solid generic style young sidekick character and shows that he as well is a good man as he saves people from the nostalgic feeling that was being spread by the evil foe in this issue. Mary Loo does a great job of piecing together the evil deeds of Senator Dorkin by entering his office and finding odd papers and a bad answering machine message. The Professor who is now a drunk is trying to turn his life around and wants to spill his guts to Fighting American on what he knows about the Shadow Group who want to ruin his heroic ways as well as keep America down. Senator Dorkin is a man with lots of power who is also now running for his life as he has gotten involved with the wrong type of people who don’t like failure! Phoroptor is a purple bubble mask wearing eye doctor who loves the past and cant stand the future and uses his special mask to make people become walking talking crybaby’s who yarn for the good old days of their youth. Over all this really is a silly and fun issue that is a great one to build up to the final issue in the mini series as we end with Fighting American on a mission to go to Europe to get answers and justice on Senator Dorkin! The cover is cool and the interior art is great and done by Greg LaRocque and not much more can be said besides this is a great and fun issue and keeps this series solid and enjoyable.

Fighting American # 6  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 6 of 6

Fighting American arrives in Ireland with his crew The Professor, Mary Loo and The Kid and soon find out that the shadow people are called The Free Association and that they have spies and workers all over.  Word gets to the group that they now have Dorkin and are taking him to a site that is said to be a gateway to another realm and soon find out that in this place has unknown spirits like Banshee’s that are really just holograms to keep people away.  Soon Fighting American and crew find themselves in the secret base of The Free Association and start to crack heads when they are trapped to the floor and an alien appears and tells them he is in fact the leader of The Free Association and that he is the one who ordered the killing of Johnny all those years back.  He is in fact the one who started the Fighting American program as he wanted to control him as a super solider for the bad guys! After some tourist stumble into the secret base Fighting American is able to break free and chase the Alien back to his UFO and ride the world of The Free Association!

The final issue of this mini series brings Fighting American and his war with The Free Association to an end and shows that the mastermind behind the attacks on our hero was a fat old alien who when confronted makes a run for his UFO and returns to space the loser in the battle. While the battle is not super epic and if not for the goofy tourist the fight might have gone another way as Fighting American was being held as bay as well as his crew and if not for the distraction the Alien had the upper hand! That’s one thing about this hero, he is just a normal guy and many times in this series luck and friends is how he beats his enemies. I also like that while he looks and is Johnny Flagg, he has the mind and smarts of Nelson Flagg and after some inner drama he is able to come to terms that his superhero alter ego Fighting American is in fact both brothers as one person. The Kid is a cool young sidekick who worked for the TV Station, and I like the fact that he comes from a family who owns a little bar that also bookies bets just to make ends meat. Mary Loo is also a cool hero who loves her job as a TV producer but also is not afraid to dig deep into trouble in order to get the truth.  I also like that she is not ashamed of being a lesbian and that the part of the character is treated really well and made me laugh when she finally told the aged Fighting American that she is gay and that’s why she don’t want to go on a date with him and at first he takes it as that she is happy…funny out of touch hero stuff. The Professor starts out as an over bearing grump who is the head of the program and after being kidnapped and made to feel useless he becomes an alcoholic only to snap out of it and join the team that is surrounding our hero. All the villains from the Alien to Media Circus to Senator Dorkin are great cheesy bad guys, but none of them feel like major threats and all are beaten pretty easily. The one thing that I really enjoyed about this comic that while done very over the top, it did have a message about how we as society at the time believed what we saw on TV, trusted all our politicians that they have our best interest in heart, how we buy things we don’t need just to spend money and so on and while its major part of the stories, it’s not super in your face. I also liked the fact that they took the main female character Mary Loo and had her be a strong gay character, and his sidekick was a young black male who broke the comic stereotypes.  Both were perfect for the roles they played in this comic adventure. Another cool thing is that while Fighting American is a fish out of water, they do not play up on that too heavily and just allow the character to accept times had changed. To me its crazy that DC Comics did not do anything with this character after this six issue mini series and allowed it him to just fade away from their company.  The only thing I can think of is super low sales or maybe the creative team moved onto another project and they could not find another team who wanted to keep the story going. The cover for this final issue is fantastic and showcases our three main heroes and the art inside once more was done by Greg LaRocque and is top notch 90’s comic book stuff! Over all I really enjoyed this comic series, and he was a perfect fit for this July 4th update as he embodied the sprit of this holiday and that’s a celebration of freedom and being American. Check out the artwork below to see what Greg LaRocque work looks like, and enjoy.

That was lots of fun, and Fighting American truly is an American Hero and is in league with The Shield and Captain America at being a true patriot superhero and a perfect fit to talk about on Independence Day. I am sure you are wanting to get back to the cook out or gear up for the fireworks so I will wrap this update up so you can all get back to enjoying your holiday! Our next update will be my vacation update where I will chat about Monster Bash and the Romero Dead film Day Of The Dead! So until next update, I want to thank you friends and readers for spending a small part of your July 4th with me and make sure to read a comic or three and support your local Horror Host! See you next update to relax with the zombies and monsters…