Amazing Wiggly Jiggly Jell-O Man!

Who doesn’t like eating a big old bowl of Jell-O for dessert after a good meal? It’s been around for over 120 years, has been enjoyed by billions of people in that time and has become a food product that is a major part of American pop culture. When working on blog updates this year, I needed a quick and fun update to fill a small time frame and looking through my comic collection I found my copy of the promo comic The Adventures Of Jell-O Man and Wobbly and knew that I needed to talk about it as it’s a perfect quick update topic about something very weird and yet very fitting for Rotten Ink. Why don’t more companies make promo comics based on mascots of their products? Like why aren’t comics based on say The Burger King, The Green Giant and Chuck E. Cheese? I also always question why Indie Horror Filmmakers don’t make comics based on their films, as many of them would make amazing reads and are a prefect way to promote the fright flick. But let’s not harp on what should be, and let’s talk about what is and that’s Jell-O Man! So if you’re ready for this quick update, I am ready to talk all about this fruit flavored snack.

Pearle Wait created Jell-O in 1897 as he and his wife May found out a way to add fruit flavors to powdered gelatin. In 1899 they sold it off to Genesee Pure Food Company owner Orator Francis Woodward, and thanks to new ways to make, package and store food, he was able to get his new product onto store shelves. At first it was not a hit with shoppers. In the early 1900’s they really started to push the product more, taking out ads and adding new flavors to the line even making cookbooks to hand out that used Jell-O making it increasingly a household name and a must eat for after family meals. And from there it really did become a hit with shoppers. When Genesee Pure Food merged with Postum, they became General Foods and started to add more products to the Jell-O line as well as more flavors and kept really pushing it as a brand that was in many cupboards all over America, and for years this was the case. But starting in the 1960’s and all the way to the 80’s, sales for Jell-O started to decline, and they had to once more use ads and celebrities to bring sales back and to try and bring in a younger clientele…and once more it worked! Over the years Jell-O has had many ups and downs in sales and has lost many of the flavors they used to make, but one thing is for sure, they are not going anywhere soon and still remain a very popular dessert that is now added to all types of other meals. Jell-O has now also become a very iconic brand and has sparked all types of merchandise based around the brand as well from molds all the way to shirts and even a comic book.

When I was a youngster, I can remember that if I was not feeling well my mom would heat up Jell-O and make a hot drink for me that was suppose to help settle my stomach as well as deliver a shot of energy. I can of course remember eating classic Jell-O from time to time and can safely say my favorite flavor was Lime. To this day I get cravings for it! My mom used to also make this multiple layer Jell-O dessert, and man was it fantastic and something that was a joy to eat. It’s very odd to think about, but when I was a kid Jell-O did seem like a very big brand and like it was made just for us kids, but it was also something adults enjoyed. The way this product was marketed was very smart as it made kids crave it and adults think it was a great treat for youngsters. Next I will talk a little about the commercials shown when I was a kid and the celebrity they used.

Growing up Jell-O was everywhere from snack packs that kids in school had while eating lunch, all the way to TV ads that were played during cartoons and kid shows, and at this time, the spokesman was comedian Bill Cosby! Way before he went to jail, he was considered on of the world’s top comedians who entertained young and old alike with the likes of The Cosby Show and cartoon series Fat Albert. Growing up I was a big Bill Cosby fan as I watched not only the two aforementioned shows but also liked him on “The Electric Company” as well as his movies like “Ghost Dad”, “Leonard Part 6” and “The Devil And Max Devlin” and even when I got older, I bought many of his stand up routines on CD. When he was the spokesman for Jell-O, I can remember seeing the commercials and finding myself craving it as a snack as well as wanting to try such things as Jell-O Jigglers that allowed you to eat it with your hands. Plus having Bill Cosby sell the product gave it credit to parents when they wanted to treat their kids to a tasty treat. I don’t want to go too much into it, but let’s just say that I was really disappointed in Mr. Cosby when the terrible things he did came to the light, as he was always an American Icon and was considered Americans’ Favorite TV Dad. But while he turned out to be who he was, the memories of trying to sell me Jell-O when I was watching cartoons will always be a fun, silly and will bring a smile to my face.

Back in 1981, a comedy metal band was created and called themselves Green Jello and toured around performing silly and heavy songs and building a small following. Their big break came in 1992 when they released the song “Three Little Pigs” and metal fans as well as fans of pop rock music went crazy for it! The song was off their Cereal Killer album and because of the popularity of the song, Kraft Foods swooped in and filed a lawsuit against the band as they claimed a trademark infringement on the name Jell-O. Of course the band lost and had to change their name to Green Jelly and all their music releases as well as their merchandise had to have the name change. While the band’s name is one of the factors that made Kraft mad, it was the slogan they used “Green Jello Sucks” that really set them off. The band was a one hit winder with Three Little Pigs being their claim to fame, but keep in mind, they are still a band to this day and still have a cult following. I also want to say that the band was also sued by Metallica for stealing a rift from the song Enter Sandman as well as Kellogg Company for the use of Toucan Sam that they used in art and video and called him “Toucan Son Of Sam”.

So as you can seem Kraft is very protective of their Jell-O brand and have always tried to keep up their family friendly image safe and untarnished, but they cannot stop culture. The rumor going around the campfire is that they dislike the popular party drink called Jell-O Shots that takes the product and mixes it with mostly vodka. This “drink” is very popular at college bars, parties and even Horror, Comic and Anime Conventions. But the thing that bothers them the most is Jell-O Wrestling, a sports entertainment activity that mostly has young women in skimpy cloths rolling around an inflatable pool filled with Jell-O as men cheer. This event goes hand and hand with mud wrestling and is played up as a sexy sport and has even spawned many leagues as well as websites. I just wanted to touch on both of these things as they do go hand and hand with the legacy of Jell-O and is part of American culture.

From Bill Cosby to alcoholic drinks to a comedy metal band, we have talked about many different things connected to Jell-O, and now I feel it’s time we talk about their short lived mascot named Jell-O Man and his trusty dog Wobbly and their comic book adventure. And I think while I read this comic, I am also going to eat some lime Jell-O and enjoy this promo issue. I want to remind you readers that I grade this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s see what Wobbly and Jell-O Man are all about.

Adventures Of Jell-O Man # 1  **
Released in 1991     Cover Price FREE     General Mills     # 1 of 1

“The Outrageous Origin Of Jell-O Man And Wobbly” Dr. Goodtaste along with his friend Snackens and robot Grabby are watching a computer that helps stock all the world’s stores with Jell-O products and this is upsetting Grabby who wants to also be able to eat some of this tasty snack and has an idea to do so and uses the energy from a experimental hologram laser cannon to super power his own robotic energy! Grabby traps his one time human friends in the lab and reroutes all the delivers of Jell-O products to be delivered to him as he wants it all for himself. But in the lab Goodtastse and Snackens watch in wonder as the hologram of the Jell-O logo transformers into to two beings made of the tasty snack, Jell-O Man and his dog Wobbly! Jell-O Man helps the humans escape the lab and returns and tricks Grabby into self-exploding and allowing Goodtaste to set the delivers back on track. “The Natural History Mystery” this story has Mrs. Sherman and her fourth grade class on a field trip to the museum when someone steals all the Jell-O snacks that were for dessert! But one young man calls up Jell-O Man who, along with Wobbly, vows to get their snacks back, and after wandering around the museum, he finds that the dinosaur called Snackosaurus has stolen them and after tripping the beast up is able to take back the snacks and save the field trip. “The Outer Space Case” has Jell-O Man and Wobbly on the planet of Gumongo to introduce them to Jell-O, and unbeknownst to them the evil Shoveler has followed them and steals all the snack from their refrigerators while the aliens sleep. The next day Jell-O Man comes up with a plan to capture The Shoveler and uses Jigglers to do so, as Shoveler bounce around on the giant Jell-O Jigglers the aliens and Jell-O Man bring him down and save their tasty treat from being stolen ever again.

This promo comic features three silly stories featuring Jell-O Man and his dog Wobbly and does its job of making readers think that Jell-O is a tasty treat that all kids love to eat. The three stories are pretty normal, kids comic stuff and has Jell-O Man’s origin as well as takes him to a museum and space to show that people all over the universe love pudding and gelatin. Jell-O man is a cool as ice hero who only worries about making sure people have Jell-O snacks to eat! He also sports cool whip hair and can detach his head and use it as a weapon to take down his enemies. He also talks like a cool hipster of the time and even at one point seems to be hitting on the school teacher as I think he wanted to show her his wobbly jiggler…yeah, I know that’s a cheesy joke. Speaking of Wobbly, he is pretty useless and only runs around and says “Yeah, Yeah” lots, so in other words he is a useless sidekick. Our villains in this comic are the robot Grabby, the purple dinosaur Snackosaurus and the shovel handed freak named The Shoveler, and while they are all bad dudes, none of them are major threats to mankind as all they really care about is stealing Jell-O…but if I had to pick one that I would say could more easily turn rouge and bring down mankind, I would choose Grabby as he seems very power hungry. The over all feel of this comic is fun and upbeat but spends most of each story really hammering home the idea that Jell-O is what we all need to be eating at all times and if you don’t have it, your life is depressing. None of the adventures seem that dangerous nor do the stakes really feel that big making it really just one big commercial ad for the Kraft products. The cover for this one is pretty eye catching and showcases our hero Jell-O Man and his trusty sidekick dog Wobbly. The interior art is done by Richard Howell and has a very simple style to it and yet also very cartoonish in spots and is perfect for this style comic, you long time readers will also remember that Howell did the artwork for The Shadow War Of Hawkman that I covered sometime back. Over all this is a fun promo comic that is nothing special but serves its purpose in delivering a goofy good read for kids and promote the product it was based all around. Check out the artwork below to see the style Howell used for this comic.

Jell-O Man was not a major hit in the world of mascots, and while he starred in some commercials, his main claim to fame is this promo comic as over the years of comic book shopping at stores I have seen this comic in many of .25 and $1.00 bins. And doing this update about a promo comic makes me look forward to covering more of them in the future. My next update will take us away from the world of Jell-O and place us into the world of Horror as for Saint Patrick’s Day we will be re-looking at the one and only Leprechaun! 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 green beer good time!

The Bright Colored Fur Balls Known As The Popples!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my place on the World Wide Web that brings my past and present together and allows me to chat about things I enjoy from comic books, movies, video games, music and Horror Hosts. It’s crazy to think that it’s already 2019 and 2018 is in the history books. Before we start our look at Popples, I am going to answer a few questions that I get asked by readers and friends about what are some of the most popular posts on this blog! I will break them down and share the top two posts for some of the most popular update themes, “Horror Host Icon” and “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic,” the ones you readers seem to love the most and the ones I get the most requests to cover. The “Horror Host Icon” updates are hands down one of my most popular themes as they hit home for many of you readers who grew up watching Hosts on TV and even modern viewers who catch their favorite’s on the internet. The top three most read Horror Hosts I have covered as of this posting are: Morgus The Magnificent being the most read Icon update followed very closely by both Commander USA and USA Saturday Nightmares! As for the From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update that has been the most read, that honor goes to Phantasm and is followed by I, Frankenstein and The Willies! So there you have it and with more updates in both of those themes, who knows what updates will be the top in 2020! So with that out of the way, I think it’s time we once more visit that magical world of Star Comics and chat about their mini series based on the popular 80’s plush dolls The Popples. So get your cool 80’s gear on and let’s travel back to when plush dolls were cool and no one had a smart phone glued to their face.

Popples were stuffed dolls that were weird looking animal creatures who could roll up into a ball and were a craze for a short time in he 80’s. So let’s take a look at Popples: the doll, cartoon and comics! American Greetings company Those Characters From Cleveland (TCFC) was the company behind the creation of Popples as their employee Susan Trentel was the designer who invented the roll up action of the dolls as she drew inspiration from rolling up socks! Susan was also the designer who brought to life Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake showing that she was a pioneer of 80’s toys and characters. She along with Thomas Schneider created the first Popples prototype. They went to toy company Mattel, and in 1986, these stuffed dolls were unleashed in toy aisles as well in the world of cartoons thanks to DIC Entertainment and comic books thanks to Star Comics. The dolls would last until 1988 and would have many waves and styles released during this short run including Pocket Popples, a line that was almost like action figures. The cartoon would run for 44 episodes and would go off the air in 1987 with three episodes never airing. The comic series would last for 4 issues and would come to an end in 1987. This sadly is much like many of Star Comics releases based on toys and cartoons. But while the Popples did not make their way into the 90’s and the toy industry moved on, they had two short lived comebacks with the first being in 2007 when Playmates released new Popples figures that only lasted four releases and in 2015 Netflix did a new cartoon series for their streaming service and toy company Spin Master ended up doing a toy line based on this new show. What does the future have in store for the Popples? In 2018 they were sold to Hasbro leaving them open to be made into more toys, cartoons, comics and even video games!

Growing up a kid of the 80’s and 90’s was glorious. As you have heard me say before, we had so many amazing movies, video games, comics and toys and it really was a great time growing up! In these times before the internet was all the rage, many of the big deals that were the talk on the playgrounds was stuff like video games, wrestling, comic books and the newest toys that were on everyone’s must own list…and I can safely say that while I heard them mentioned from time to time and even saw some of the girls have them, the Popples were never a major deal at my school. I remember my neighbor Joanna had some and that’s how I got to first interact with one, and while it was cool that they could turn into a ball, I never did want one as by the time they were released so many other toys, games, comics, horror movies and one special girl were on my radar. Now I need to stress I had nothing against the Popples, they were just clearly more geared toward girls and they were just not something many boys were flocking to. In fact I can remember many toy ads for these plush dolls showing up in comic books I was reading at the time, showing that the toymakers were really trying to make youngsters pay attention to them and help create the demand for them to be on every child’s Christmas and Birthday list. So while Popples were around and a part of my youth, I never really had a major connection to them and by all accounts they just were viewed by my friends and I as girl toys.

So like all good 80’s toys at the time Popples were just not dolls and action figures as these little puffballs have graced all types of other merchandise! The Popples also had the cartoons released on VHS. They had their own vinyl records, books, coloring books, lunch box, board game, shirts, cake pan, bowls, TV tray, stickers, valentine cards and much more. In other words the Popples were everywhere, and they were being pushed to really be a powerhouse in the kids market. While they had a good run, they never did capture the market like Care Bears, Smurfs and Strawberry Shortcake did before them.

Stuffed Dolls in the 80’s and early 90’s were very popular among the youth as besides Popples ones like Pound Puppies, Care Bears, My Pet Monster, Rainbow Brite, My Buddy and Teddy Ruxpin were all on kids must have lists and many of my friends as well as myself had many of these plush. So let’s now dive into the world of Star Comics who made a very short lived comic series based on the cartoon version of the Popples and see how well they were as kid comic stars. I want to think both Lone Star Comics and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock and making this review possible. I must also say that I am very shocked and yet really not that Star Comics decided to do a comic series based on Popples in 1986 as they ignored some vey popular toys from the time like Teddy Ruxpin, Jem And The Holograms, My Pet Monster, Nerfuls and so many others. Plus I still really wished that they would have done a comic series based on one of my childhood heroes and icons Commander USA, who was a Horror Host that would have made an amazing kids comic book hero. But let’s not talk about would could have been and instead, let’s focus on what was, as we take some fun adventures with the Popples. Oh and what would an update be without me reminding you all that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.

Popples # 1   *1/2
Released in 1986      Cove Price .75       Star Comics      # 1 of 4

Youngsters Billy and Bonnie have gone into New York to go shopping, and after some time passes, the Popples decide to follow them and wind up wandering the city. While walking the streets they come across a dog who has stolen an orange from a stand and follow it back to a limo where they find Alice the young daughter of the ambassador, who has decided to run away from home and hide in her father’s car. Some of the Popples follow the dog into the mansion and find out the young girl’s babysitter is really Madam Spy who is looking for top-secret information! When Alice decides to go back home, the Popples warn her of Madam Spy and they all escape in the limo as a Popple uses magic to drive and Madam Spy puts on jogging shoes and gives chase! Madam Spy wants to get to the Ambassador first so she can take him hostage and find out the big secret, and Alice with the Popples want to get to him to warn of the spying! In the end the Popples and Alice warn her father of the danger and Madam Spy and her helper are arrested with Alice learning the big secret is she is going to be a big sister! In the end the Popples find Bonnie and Billy who hide them in their shopping bags and set out for home.

This Star Comic first issue based on an 80’s toyline is not very good and is so far the weakest I have read from Star to date as I found this kids comic very boring and the characters of the Popples really annoying! The plot of this issue has the Popples going to New York and helping a sad young girl to warn her father of the evil Madam Spy who wants to steal all the secrets he has. The Popples who are the heroes of this comic are riddle talking, bouncing around little fuzzy goofballs who just want to have fun and help capture a spy by accident by stumbling in on the crime. Plus I need to say the Popples also all have weird names like Potato Chip, Party and Puffball to name a few. Madam Spy is the main baddy in the issue and she is by no means dangerous, she just really wants to steal secrets and bring them to the league of spies. Alice, Billy and Bonnie are all just goofy kids who enjoy shopping, oranges and having fun. The thing about this kids comic is that it really is kind of dull and never once did I feel like Alice, her father or the Popples had any danger around them. The cover is pretty eye catching and has that true 80’s kid comic charm, and the interior art is good and done by John Costanza and has that Star Comics style. Over all I don’t have much to say about this issue besides it was a below average read, and it makes me hope the rest of this series is not this bland.

Popples # 2   **
Released in 1987      Cove Price .75       Star Comics      # 2 of 4

Bonnie and Billy come home from school super sad, and the Popples find out that they have both lost their positions on the sports teams and are down in the dumps over it. Some of the Popples stay home to try and cheer up the kids while the others go to the school to see who replaced their friends on the teams. And while there, they meet Tina Terrific a young lady who never jokes and laughs and is good at everything and have replaced Bonnie as head cheerleader and Billy as quarterback. All the other kids fear and dislike her as she shows them all that she is the best and likes to rub it in their faces. After practice a Popple tries to make Tina laugh and find himself being kidnapped by her, and as the others find out the all give chase to get their friend back and that includes Billy and Bonnie. Finally the Popples are able to get their friend back and try to make Tina laugh, and even inform her that people dislike her over her behavior and attitude. This upsets the young girl who runs away and into Billy and Bonnie who end up inviting her to a party at their house and find a new friend in her as she also changes her way of thinking and becomes a fun person.

Issue two brings this kids comic in the right direction as it offers a lesson as well as a fun and goofy adventure for our heroes the Popples. This time around the Popples meet a young girl who pushes herself to be the best at everything and has an ego about herself that drives her peers away, and our fuzzy little friends must show her the error of her ways. This comic has a message and that’s make sure to have a little fun in your life and don’t treat all other around you as if you’re better than them, it also has a message of don’t judge people before you really get to know them. The Popples in this issue are the same fun loving, cheesy joke spewing fuzz balls who just seem to be wandering through life spreading joy and laughter. Tina Terrific is a lonely young girl who has no friends and is so good at everything she walks around school like she’s pro wrestling icon Ric Flair! The thing is she is just a sad youngster who would love to have friends but doesn’t know how to make them. I want to also point out that Puzzle Popple is a jerk as he with no thought tells a young kid that nobody likes her, I mean my gosh I was surprised he didn’t just tell her to kill herself! Puzzle Popple, you’re a terrible little creature with no respect. The pacing of this issue is better than the first issue and while better is still about and average kids comic based on toys. The cover on this issue is just okay and nothing special and this time around again John Costanza does the interior artwork. Over all not a terrible issue and was entreating for the most part, so let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

Popples # 3   **1/2
Released in 1987     Cove Price .75      Star Comics      # 3 of 4

The Popples are on a camping trip with Billy and Bonnie and have decided that they wanted to explore the wilderness for awhile and have fun by building a campfire and telling stories. Meanwhile at one of the nearby cabins, a young man named Seth who only watches TV that features aliens is forced to go outside by his mother and freaks out when he sees the Popples in the woods as he thinks they are aliens! As the youngster runs for his life he runs into real aliens Yuckle, Buckle and Clive of the Kelvin Empire who look like normal people and decide to investigate these fuzzy aliens the youth is telling them about. And once the aliens find them the Popples welcome their new friends to spend time around the campfire and play and this scares the aliens out of their minds! The aliens think that the Popples are bloodthirsty war machines and run for their lives as the Popples chase them thinking they are playing chase, the aliens make it to Seth and them have themselves beamed back up to their mother ship. With the aliens gone the Popples end up talking and playing with Seth who learns they are not aliens and has made new friends.

Issue three of the Popples this far is the best in the series as it really captures the true fun and silly nature of a kid’s comic and brings more personality to them. The plot has the Popples on a camping trip were they meet a new friend who is a fan of Sci-Fi films and as well unknowingly save the Earth from an alien invasion as their fun ways chase them off. The Popples in this issue are in nature and enjoying life by playing and telling stories by a fire, and thanks to their good nature attitudes they are able to scare off aliens who wished to do us all harm. The Aliens who look like little kids start off as war focused and fearsome on wanting to take down Earth and soon turn into cowards when they come face to face with the Popples magic. What makes this issue work for me is the fact it’s a camping issue as I feel that kids comic based around doing this activity always makes for a good atmosphere and brings back so many memories of being a kid running around the woods. The cover is pretty good and is eye catching with the use of the color yellow that always makes a cover stand out. The interior art once more is done by John Costanza who really does great work in the world of kids comics done by Star as it has a really cartoonish look. Over all this is a solid and fun read and mixes Kids comics with Sci-Fi comics and this far is the best issue in the series, I wonder if the next and final issue will be as good or better…so let’s not wait and find out.

Popples # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987     Cove Price .75      Star Comics     # 4 of 4

Bonnie and Billy are down in the dumps as they do not have enough money to buy their mother a gift for her birthday, and this even has the Popples a little down. But when Billy comes home with a flyer for a pet show that pays $50.00 to the winner the Popples are go out into the world and is going to find a pet for their friends they think could win. While across town at the mansion of the Van Ritz their pet French Poodle Prince who is sick and tired of being treated like a puppy by his owners and escapes the house via the fireplace that turns his fur black and while on the streets he is being chased by a dog catcher and is saved by the Popples who take him to Billy and Bonnie as their new pet they name Champion! But things look rough as Champion due to being babied his whole life does not know any tricks or the ones he does he completes them all wrong. But the Popples and the kids don’t give up and end up training Champion so well that he becomes the winner of the contest! But during his award ceremony Champion has an itch and by scratching he knocks off the black color and the Van Ritz come alive when they see their lost dog Prince is in fact Champion! So the Van Ritz’s get their dog back and Billy and Bonnie win the money and end up buying a puppy for their mom for her birthday.

The fourth and final issue in the Popples comic series from Star Comics is a pretty good read for fans of these fluffy plush dolls and those who love 80’s kids comics. This issue’s plot has the Popples and their human friends finding a stray runaway dog and training him to win a dog show so they can get the prize money and buy the mom a great birthday gift. This one is fun as it really felt like a cartoon episode that you would have seen on Saturday Morning Cartoons back in the 80’s and as well had a little Harvey Comics feel. That’s the one thing that for me always set Star Comics apart from the other Kids comics being made in the 80’s and even early 90’s is they always delivered entertaining adventures for home grown characters as well as others that came from toys and cartoons. And while I do think that the Popples is one of the weakest series they released, it still holds lots of nostalgic fun for a reader like me who grew up in the 80’s and know what the Popples are. The Popples not only in this issue but in the whole series are silly, happy go lucky fuzz balls who enjoy pranking, partying and laughing and its clear P.C. Popple is the leader of this group as he has the true magic touch and can do what ever he wants just by snapping his fingers. Billy and Bonnie are just good kids who enjoy as well having a good time but also show they focus on being active and doing the right thing. This ones cover is ok and is eye catching for fans of these guys and once more John Costanza does the interior art and shows that he has true talent for drawing kids comics. Over all this comic series was just ok and this could be one of the cheesiest and lowest rated from me this far on Rotten Ink, but I still had lots of fun reading it and revisiting the 80’s and when Popples originated no matter how little they impacted my youth. Check out the art below to see the style of Costanza and see what I mean that his style really does fit for kid’s comics.

So now that we have had a fun time with the Popples and shared some flashback memories with many of you readers, I think my next update will be something cool from my past that did mean something to me and impacted my youth and that’s the original Star Trek and the film Wrath Of Khan! As I promised back on my update for the Marvel Comic Star Trek series, I think it’s time to start the adaptations of the films and our next update will do just that. So until next time, read a comic or three, buy a 80’s toy or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for another space adventure with Captain Kirk.

 

Look In The Sky! It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s Hawkman!

DC Comics has been in the comic book game since 1934, and for the longest time was the top comic company in the world until Marvel Comics came onto the scene in 1939. Over the years, they have traded places off and on being the top company in the game. DC Comics has brought the world some amazing superheroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash who over the years have all been on many fans’ top Superhero lists as well as have done their share of bringing in money and readers to DC, but while those heroes are household names, many of DC’s heroes slip under the cracks like Red Tornado, who I covered last year. For this update I am going to cover another hero that I feel does not get the respect and attention he deserves. I am talking about the Justice League Of America and All-Star Squadron member Hawkman, who has always been one of my favorite DC heroes and who I feel has been underrated by comic readers for many years. So let’s travel to the DC Universe and enter that Shadow War as we talk about Hawkman and breakdown his 4 Issue Mini-Series from 1985! I hope you have packed a snack as this one might get a little long as Hawkman has been around for many decades and has lots of cool stuff to talk about.

The DC Universe is filled with many Earths, each with a different history for characters and even in some cases names are changed and even characters have died with new people stepping into the shoes of the fallen hero. But while Katar Hol and Fel Andar have been Hawkman, for me, the only guy to wear the bird mask is Carter Hall! Back in the days of ancient Egypt, Prince Khufu was kidnapped and killed by his arch nemesis Hath-Set, and in the 1940’s Khufu is reincarnated as Carter Hall, an archaeologist from America who soon gains the memories of his past life and is able to figure out that his life means more to the world and that his enemy of the past is also wandering the Earth as a scientist who has kidnapped a woman. This causes Hall to become a costumed hero named Hawkman! As Hawkman he wears a mask, wings and created a gravity belt out of Nth Metal. After saving the woman Shiera and falling in love with her, she later becomes Hawkwoman! Hawkman would go on to be a member of the super hero team Justice Society Of America and even joins the Air Force and fights in World War II. Along with the JSA during the 1950’s, he took on Congress when they wanted all the heroes to tell them their real identities causing the bulk of the team to retire for some time. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when the JSA comes back and somehow meets with Earth-1’s Justice League Of America, who, for some reason over the years keeps the kids of the JSA members from joining the team and is thus responsible for the creation of the team Infinity Inc. Due to the massive age difference and after the events of Crisis On Infinite Earths, they explain that Hawkman’s aging has slowed down thanks to a super villain who put a spell on the heroes and their spouses…yep now that’s an evil deed, am I right? Now during modern times both Carter Hall Hawkman and the original Hawkman Katar Hol were active in the same Earth, and over the years Hawkman has died, been brought back, joined teams like the Justice League of America, become a terrorist and so much more! This is just a very brief look at Hawkman as sadly the world of DC Comics is one mixed with lots of silly different Earths and reboots that sadly, for the most part, becomes a tangled mess of nonsense. But one thing I must stress is that Hawkman is one kick butt character, and if you like the brief bio I supplied you readers with, make sure to visit your local comic shop and buy a few comic issues that star this mace-carrying winged hero. Check out the images below to see Hawkman in all his glory!

In 1984, Kenner released the first series of their DC Super Powers toy collection, and in that first wave was Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and others that included Hawkman! When I was a youngster, my brother and I tried our best to get any and every Super Powers we could find at local stores with many of ours coming from Hills or Children’s Palace.  The first figures from this series I owned were Superman and The Joker that I got on the same day! Later on I would get Hawkman, who was one of my favorite figures from that toy line. It’s funny to think that as a kid, even though I read comics with Hawkman in them, I always made him super strong in battlers, like he has Superman level power! In 1991, Kenner, the maker of the Super Powers figures, reused many of the figure molds when they started making figures based on the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves and the body of Hawkman was used for the Dark Warrior as well as Little John. In 1990, Toy Biz made a figure that looked like a cheap knock off of the Kenner Super Powers Hawkman, and it stunk up toy shelves. These two figures are only a small amount of toys made based on Hawkman, and for me are the two I remember the most from my youth. Check out the pics below to see what they look like.

Back in 1967, Filmation created a cartoon called “The Superman/Aquaman Hour Of Adventure” that featured 6 minute cartoons featuring the likes of Hawkman sandwiched between longer Superman and Aquaman toons. Hawkman would also go on to star in many other cartoons through the ages like Challenge Of The Super Friends, Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Justice League Unlimited, The Batman, Batman: The Brave And The Bold and Young Justice, to name a few. It’s crazy to think that Hawkman has been a star in so many cartoons that spanned over many decades, and he is not nearly as remembered or loved by comic readers and those who grew up watching these toons. But again,, while he is not as popular as Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman the winged hero Hawkman still has made his mark on the world of cartoons.

Besides cartoons, Hawkman has also appeared in many live action shows and showed that while DC might not treat him with that much respect, young fans did indeed like Hawkman. In 1979, two episodes of a show called Legends Of The Superheroes were made that had Adam West and Burt Ward once more playing Batman and Robin. They were joined by many other heroes like Captain Marvel, Green Lantern, and yes, Hawkman who was played by Bill Nuckols and wore the classic outfit and hammed it up for both silly comedy kid friendly episodes that were called “The Challenge” and “The Roast”. Years later Hawkman would appear in several episodes of the hit show Smallville and was well liked by viewers, but sadly just like in the comics, they decided to kill the character off in Smallville. He was played by actor Michael Shanks. Hawkman, played by Falk Hentschel, would then go onto be in many other modern CW Shows based on DC Comic heroes like The Flash, Arrow and Legends Of Tomorrow and while he has yet to be in any live action films, here is to hoping that sometime in the future he will appear in a Justice League film. My favorite live action version of Hawkman is hands down from Legends Of The Superheroes as it’s super cheesy and his over dubbed loud hawk yell is the stuff of legend when it comes to bad TV from the 70’s, complete with laugh track. Plus while the other actors did a great job in their roles, they did not have the muscles and build to pull off the character right. Below are images from all the actors who have played Hawkman on these TV Shows and each have made their mark on the legacy of the character.

I first discovered Hawkman thanks to old comics that came from garage sales, and I was drawn in as I found the comics weird and entertaining. Besides the comics, the Kenner Super Powers figure was also a very big introduction to the character for me. Much like many of the Superheroes from DC, the main issue is that they have silly costumes and names and always seem dated as they fear making major changes to them and this causes lots of modern comic readers to dismiss some of the characters as out of time. But for me, the outdated look and Boy Scout attitude is what makes DC characters so different from those of Marvel. Over the years of buying comics from all the local shops, I always find myself picking up copies of All Star Squadron or Justice Society from .25 and $1.00 bins if Hawkman is on the cover as I enjoy reading about him trying to save the day. So this update is for Hawkman and Hawkwoman and all the creators behind them from the past and present.  While he might not be an A-List hero, he is a great hero who this comic reader has always enjoyed and it’s because of their hard work that made him so awesome.

So we are at the point of this update where we will be reviewing some Hawkman in the world of DC Comics.  The series I chose was The Shadow War Of Hawkman because I remember reading it when I was a youngster and want to see how well it holds up now that I am in my 30’s. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having all the issues in stock and allowing me to be able to re-read them as it’s been too long. One thing I want to stress to all you comic collectors reading my blog is don’t be like me and sell off your collection at an early age to get money to help a girl you were dating at the time.  While I enjoyed my time with that girlfriend, I also have always regretted getting rid of 90% of my collection. With that, let me also once more remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get your flight wings on, as we are going to war with Hawkman and Hawkwoman!

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 1  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

Mousy Mason is a down on his luck cat burglar who one stormy night is visited by a race of mean aliens who bully him into taking a heist for them to steal the anti gravity units from Hawkman and Hawkwoman and threaten him with harm if he refuses. Meanwhile in the city Hawkman and Hawkwoman stop a gang of crooks who have been targeting the elderly, and after making short work of them, they fly off and chat about their old home planet and whether it’s right to read the minds of humans if it is to help them. The pair change into their human identities of Carter Hall and Shiera and start to go to work as they need to set up an exhibit for Mavis Trent and her press agent Joe Tracy, but before they can start, an alarm goes off that someone has broken into their home.  Hawkman heads home to bust the intruder, and Shiera stays behind to work. As Hawkman gets home, he finds Mousy, and the pair are attacked by the aliens who murder Mousy with their vaporize gun and as quickly as they attack, they retreat. Hawkman figures out that this was just a distraction and rushes back to Hawkwoman’s side at the museum but finds that the aliens have been there and that they have used their terrible vaporize gun on Hawkwoman who is now nothing more than a shadow on a wall!

This first issue is as good as I remember it being and showcases why Hawkman is an amazing character that is underrated! The plot of this issue has Hawkman, who has just patched things up with Hawkwoman, at war with himself over the use of his alien powers to look into the minds of man. As he is dealing with that, a race of aliens with a powerful burning vaporizing gun have targeted our heroes as they want the technology that allows them to fly. Hawkman is a man deep in thought who knows that helping people is the right cause, but hates the fact that he can enter the mind of man and see what they are thinking. He is also very much homesick as he misses his home planet and it’s clear that all of this has been a strain on his relationship with Hawkwoman even though they are both very happy being with each other. While battling his own inner thoughts, when it comes to fighting Hawkman in this issue pulls no punches beating up thugs and aliens alike. Hawkwoman is such a cool character who clearly loves her mate as well as fighting crime.  She also has a sense of humor and sadly while fighting against aliens who attack her while at her day job, she is “killed” by their zap gun or so it seems. The aliens in this issue are true scumbags who use their weapons and powers to try and intimidate and kill those who they think are in their way.  They even kill two people just so they can steal a belt! Mousey Mason is just a crook who makes a living breaking into peoples homes, and he becomes the target of the aliens as they use him to distract Hawkman so they can attack Hawkwoman. This poor guy loses his life trying to help battle the aliens that have forced him to enter the home of Hawkman. Mavis Trent and Joe are great side characters with Mavis being a snob who has a crush on Hawkman and Joe Tracy is her smart mouth press agent who likes to tease her as it almost appears he has a crush on her. The cliffhanger of this issue, the “death” of Hawkwoman, is really well done and leaves the reader wanting to find out if she really is dead, and if so, how is Hawkman going to avenge her! The part that works really well for this comic is the fact that writer Tony Isabella mixes this superhero comic well with elements of drama, action, science fiction and even some comedy making for a solid read for fans of Hawkman. The cover for this first issue is fantastic and very eye catching and would surely draw in fans of the character as well as first time readers. The interior art is done by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and is great stuff and showcases the great 80’s DC art style. Over all this is a great comic and held up very well for this comic reader and now makes me very much look forward to reading issue 2 again after all these years.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 2  ***
Released in 1985    Cover Price .75     DC Comics    # 2 of 4

Eddie Hamilton is a young man who dares to dream of one day being a superhero.  He has the power to grow wings and fly if he thinks hard enough about it and even has a name he wants to be known as, The Icarus Kid! While training to control his power of flight in the farmlands of Kansas, those pesky aliens show up and use a new gun to shoot Eddie from the sky, and the blast burns him alive…the aliens have killed yet again! Meanwhile Hawkman is alone in the Museum room looking at the brunt shadow on the wall that was once his wife.  As he leaves the room he asks police Captain Frazier if he could chat with him for a moment, and Hawkman even snaps at artist Mavis Trent as he does not want to speak to the woman who has a crush on his alter ego. Hawkman opens up to Frazier and tells him who he really is and allows him to witness as he disposes of alien tech that he fears is the cause of this alien attack. Hawkman asks the Frazier to keep his men at the museum as he goes off the fight the aliens alone. Hawkman talks to the birds around his house and finds a hint of radiation and is able to pick up the aliens trails that leads him to the side of a mountain that is the hideout for the aliens. As Hawkman enters and make short work of some of the aliens, he soon finds that these aliens are from his own home planet of Thanagar and are working on orders from their government that wants them to conquer the Earth first and then the rest of the universe!

This second issue has the plot thicken as we learn why the aliens are attacking and that they are attacking superheroes in order to get them out of the way before the invasion that’s planned happens! This issue has Hawkman gearing up to avenge his wife’s murder as the aliens are killing and gearing up to attack the planet Earth in order to take it over. The shocking part of this issue is that the aliens are from Thanagar, the same home planet of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, and that their home world is now on a path to try and take over the universe! It also is shown that the alien who killed Hawkwoman was not supposed to, he was only told to capture her! Hawkman in this issue is heartbroken over the loss of his wife and wastes no time getting rid of the high powered tech he has hidden and sets out to bring the aliens to justice. Captain Frazier is a good cop who Hawkman respects, and our hero tells him his true identity as well as gets his help to keep the museum safe just in case the aliens come back. Mavis Trent is upset that the superheroes have caused her some delays and bad press for her art showing, but does seem to have something important that she would like to tell Hawkman, but he just blows her off. Joe Tracy in the issue really is a terrible human as he is more worried about bad press than he is that a brave hero just died before his very eyes. The aliens are super cold blooded and are cruel to mankind and even toward each other, and they clearly have lots of high tech weapons that could kill anyone who gets in their way. And poor Eddie Hamilton aka The Icarus Kid is killed before he can truly be a hero of the world. This issue is really great and had enough drama mixed into the action to build the mini series’ story up. The cover is great as is the interior art once more done by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala, making this second issue just as good as the first. This issue holds up to my childhood memories, and I can’t wait to see if issue 3 does as well.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics    # 3 of 4

The alien who killed Hawkwoman gets a punishment from his fellow kind as they make his mind and soul bound to a computer, making him a living instrument of information and mind reading. Meanwhile Hawkman is trying to get answer from the aliens he has just beat up and finds that his home world has lost all technology and that they are no longer advanced in the ways of weapons and that’s why they targeted him and his wife. As Hawkman gets his answers, he is attacked by a group of the aliens who beat him down and bind him and just as they are going to steal his anti gravity belt, the aliens are blasted by a stun blast fired by Hawkwoman!! The heroes escape the base and after they are safely away, they take a moment to catch up with each other and Hawkwoman explains that she was not killed in the museum, and it was Mavis Trent who was killed as the artist was the one in the costume, and after she was murdered, Hawkwoman quickly dressed as her in order not to be attacked and killed herself. The pair decided that they can not get any help from anyone as they cannot allow the enemy to find out about their hidden ship and tech and travel to JLA Headquarters in order to erase their history and to do so ,they must stun Aquaman and Elongated Man, but just as they are to erase their history from the computers the screen shows a message from the aliens who have found their old war ship and are on their way to attack and kill them!

Wow, this issue is a roller coaster of emotions as we go from thinking Hawkwoman is dead to finding out she is alive and well! This issue’s plot has Hawkman and Hawkwoman attacking and retreating the aliens and having to sneak around and attack fellow Justice League Of America in order to keep the war they are fighting in the shadows and protect the Earth and all the people on it including those with super powers. The aliens meanwhile have figured out a way to read minds and all the world’s computer information and have highjacked the hidden spaceship of the Hawks and are on a path to use the ship to kill them! Hawkman in this issue is filled with rage and wants to not only get information from the aliens but also wants to beat them to death! His mood changes when he finds that his wife is alive, and he is filled with joy but also has the will to save the world from an unknown terror that they do not know is coming. Hawkwoman is alive and is sad that Mavis Trent died in her place, but also knows that she must pull it together and with her husband stop this Shadow War. One cool thing also in this issue is having Aquaman and Elongated Man in cameos, and it’s sad as both Hawkman and Hawkwoman feel bad that they had to stun their friends with guns in order to achieve their goal. This third issue also does a great job of building the story of the Shadow War and makes the readers wonder how Hawkman is going to stand up to a space ship that is hellbent on killing him! The cover for this issue is as well great and has Hawkman fighting with both Elongated Man and Aquaman, and the interior art once more rocks and is done by the team of Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and is such great 80’s DC style. With the alien ship heading toward our heroes and this issue as well holding up to this long time comic reader, I think it’s time to read the final issue in this mini series.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 4  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 4 of 4

The aliens of Thanagar have started their war with earth in secret as they have used their mind reading computer to get the dirty little secrets of people in power and will use it against them unless they go along with what they say. Meanwhile Hawkman and Hawkwoman leave the JLA Headquarters with Aquaman and Elongated Man still knocked out and beam themselves aboard their old ship and are met with aliens who want them dead! Our heroes fight off the waves of gun firing aliens and make their way to the ships second control room in order to override its controls as they find out the ship is going to crash land in Detroit on purpose starting the war and making a statement for all mankind. While Hawkwoman works to overwrite the controls, Hawkman battles an alien and gets stabbed as they also cut off the air supply to the ship. Hawkman wounded takes over the controls and does what he thinks is best to save lives and that is he blows up his own ship just as he and Hawkwoman beam down to Earth and the explosion kills all but one of the aliens as the leader of this task force also beams down, but he meets his fate at the hands of the mega mind reading computer who uses all its last energy to blast it’s one time captain. The bleeding and wounded Hawkman and his wife Hawkwoman have saved the world from a war they did not even know was happing. In the end the new artist hired at the museum is shown to be a spy from Thanagar and the Shadow War has really just began!

The Shadow War comes to an end thanks to the heroic efforts of Hawkman and Hawkwoman who had to put their own lives, friendships and even ever returning to their home planet on the line, and the sad part is no one besides the aliens they beat and themselves will ever really know what they did to save the Earth. This final issue in the mini series plot has Hawkman and Hawkwoman beaming aboard their highjacked war ship and beating up some aliens and then blowing up their own ship that has been set to blow up Detroit by the aliens! Hawkman in this issue once more shows that he is a skilled fighter, but also is super smart and can use his brain to also defeat his enemies. Hawkwoman as well shows that she is smart and super skilled in combat and proves why she is not a sidekick but a full fledge equal in the superhero partnership. The Aliens from Thanagar so wanted to kill our heroes as well as start the war full force showing that they were cold blooded and murder and mayhem was what they enjoyed. While they might now have been super powered super villains they still were a major threat to the world as we all know and love it. The thing that works so well about this comic mini series is that at all times the odds seem against Hawkman and Hawkwoman and they seem to be trying so hard not to alert Earth to the battle and war that is gearing up to crash down on them, and all this dread and heroic moments makes this feel really more epic than it should feel. And this is why as a kid I really liked this comic series and even now as an adult I find myself still very much enjoying it. The cover of the fourth and final issue is well done and has our heroes beating up the aliens and the interior art once more is crafted by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and show that they are a pair of artist that work so well together. Over all this is a great read for fans of the character Hawkman as well as those who enjoy 80’s era of DC Comics as this is a cool mini series that showcases why Hawkman is still around to this day in comics, no matter how neglected I feel he is by DC. Below is some cool artwork from this cool comic series, so check it out!

So now that we have witnessed Hawkman win the Shadow War, I think it’s time we walk away from the world of DC Comics and their underrated heroes and into a world with giant monsters that come from the deep where our only hope is giant two person controlled robots….that’s right, we will be entering the world of Pacific Rim! Thanks for spending some time with me here at Rotten Ink, and I really do hope you friends and readers enjoy my updates as much as I do writing them. 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 update as we talk about war ready robots!

Alien Invasion: Alien Nation

Imagine if tomorrow we found out that there is life on other planets.  Now imagine them coming to Earth and working everyday jobs alongside us; how would your mind handle this? Would you fear them because they were different and not born on Earth? Would you embrace them as fellow living beings? What kind of languages, religions and cultures would they share with us? I for one would be very interested to learn about and from them and would embrace them as fellow living beings….that is unless they are like the aliens from Mars Attacks or Independence Day.  Then I would say we as the world would need to come together and drive them from our planet! Today’s update is an Alien Invasion update that brings aliens to Earth who want to become productive members of our very own society and want to be treated with respect.  These aliens are The Tenctonese aka the Newcomers and are from the film Alien Nation that spawned a TV show, comic books and novels, and we will be digging into the DC Comic adaptation of the film as well as explore the world of the film that was released by 20th Century Fox in 1988! So sit back look to the skies and think about alien friendship, as I am proud to bring you Alien Invasion: Alien Nation.

So let’s start this invasion off right and take a look at the film that this comic is based on, as without this film Alien Nation would not be a cult classic film that many Sci-Fi fans enjoy and love still to this day. The movies write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB, and after that, I will write a little about my first time seeing Alien Nation as well a few more memories of its legacy.

Alien Nation (1988)

“A few years from now, Earth will have the first contact with an alien civilisation. These aliens, known as Newcomers, slowly begin to be integrated into human society after years of quarantine but are victims of a new type of discrimination. When the first Newcomer police officer, San Francisco is assigned his new partner, he is given Matthew Sykes, a mildly racist veteran, the animosity between them soon gives way to respect as they investigate the Newcomer underworld, and especially Newcomer leader William Harcourt.”

I can remember the ads on TV and in the newspaper for the release of Alien Nation. It really piqued my interest as growing up in the 80’s, just like Horror and Fantasy films, for me Science Fiction was a big genre as films like Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Enemy Mine, Blade Runner, Back To The Future, Planet Of The Apes and Last Starfighter were all popular with fans and my generation as a whole. But sadly, I was not able to go to the theater and see Alien Nation as my parents did not want to go to see it, plus it was rated R so could not see it on my own as I was only around 9 years old when it was out. It would be some years later when I first got to see it thanks to a VHS rental from a local video store on a weekend. I can remember the whole family watching it and all of us enjoying it as it felt like it was a film that had a deeper meaning behind it and yet felt like a true modern style science fiction film. After the first time watching it, we saw it a few other times as it would later go on to be shown on paid cable stations we had, and at some point I ended up buying it on VHS. The film had an amazing cast that included James Caan, Terence Stamp and Mandy Patinkin, all of whom were fantastic in their roles with Stamp and Patinkin being unrecognizable in their roles as aliens. After seeing the film I can also remember watching the TV Show Alien Nation that started in 1989, and I remember finding some of the comics from Adventure Comics years down the line at The Bookie Parlor and can remember going crazy when I got to read the cross over mini series they did with Planet Of The Apes called Ape Nation in 1991. But by the mid 90’s sadly Alien Nation had lost its footing in the world of pop culture as the TV Show was cancelled after only 22 episodes and the comic series from Adventure Comics ended in 1992. But while Alien Nation never got a movie sequel or even a more modern comic series, it still remains a classic 80’s Science Fiction film that I think everyone should check out.

The Tenctonese are from the planet of Tencton and are human like in appearance besides their heads, which have no hair on them and are slightly bigger with reddish spots on them that also run down their spines. They are stronger than a normal man as well as smarter as they were born and bred in order to be slaves. They eat food raw and that includes meat and veggies and in order to get drunk, they gulp down soured milk! They can be poisoned and die by such things as chocolate, tobacco and fluoride with salt almost being like acid to them as it can burn their skin. Their nerves and organs are different than ours as is the way they make love and things that can harm humans seem to have no effect on them including many types of poisons. They also look at sex as something special and not taboo and find adult movies childish. So what I am trying to say is that while they can be killed, they are definitely smarty and stronger than us and if they were real and here on Earth we would be smart to work with them and not against them as they could very much be our downfall!

So we have talked about the film as well as the Tenctonese, and I think it’s time to take a look at the DC Comic adaptation of the film and get this invasion going! I also just want to say that one other reason I think I have always enjoyed Alien Nation is the fact besides being a good science fiction film it also is a good buddy cop film! But if you look in the sky, a message has just been written in the stars and it says, “I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story”! So let’s get to it and see if the comic holds up as good as the movie.

Alien Nation # 1  ***
Released in 1988       Cover Price $2.50       DC Comics       # 1 of 1

It’s been three years since the Newcomers came down from space on their ship and became part of the populace in America.  This anniversary is all over the news and is causing people to remember where they were when the aliens landed. While on duty, cops Matthew Sykes and Bill Tuggle are involved in a shootout with some robber newcomers who leave Bill dead and Sykes very bitter toward Newcomers. He decides to team up with promoted Newcomer officer Sam “George” Francisco as he thinks he might be able to help him find who killed his partner as a rash of fake robbery murders have been taken place targeting the aliens. Sykes and Francisco follow the leads and find out one of the gunmen from the robbery worked at a gas plant and that’s the connection between the cop killing and the Newcomer killings. The pair of cops go around and uncover clues and even along the way start to build a friendship as they both see that their job and family is what matters in both of their lives. And soon George opens up to Sykes and lets him in on a Newcomer secret that there is a powerful drug that was made that all Newcomers took when they arrived and some got addicted to it.  The drug has side effects, and he thinks that this drug is the reason for all the killings. They finally are able to figure out that Newcomer William Harcourt is the man behind the killings as well as the man behind making the drugs, and when George and Sykes go to arrest him, he overdoses on the drug and turns into a raging hulking alien monster who stalks Sykes down trying to kill him.  This fight leads them to the ocean, and Sykes is only able to beat Harcourt when he pushes the supped up alien into the salt water that acts as acid and burns him up. George is able to pull Sykes out of the water and into a helicopter and they solve the case, destroy all the drug, take down the super powered alien bad guy and still make it to Sykes daughter’s wedding.

This DC Comic adaptation of the film Alien Nation is a great read and holds the magic of the film and even quickens the pace slightly and delivers a great buddy cop science fiction comic. The film’s plot has a cop whose partner is killed by an alien and his next partner is from the same alien race that murdered his last.  He must learn to put aside his hatred in order to solve the case and become a more tolerate person. This comic does a fantastic job of blending all the elements that made the film special together to make for a quick pace comic. Matthew Sykes is a cop who is good at his job but fails in life at being a good person as he has a rough and hateful attitude, but as he goes long on one of his most important cases he learns to try and be a better person and not hate those who are different from him. Officer Sam “George” Francisco is a Newcomer and the first of his race to be on the force and climb the ranks, he is a good cop who is by the book and he as well learns by the end of this case to lighten up and finds friendship and understands its value in life. Our main bad guy is William Harcourt who is as well a Newcomer and is a rich alien who is very slimy and is involved with drug making, selling and the murders of his fellow race! And once he is discovered to be a scumbag he overdoses on his own drug and causes himself to become a hulking mutant alien and does his best to murder our two main characters! This comic is filled with action, drama and even a little dark humor and this helped add to the enjoyment of the read, and proves that many comic adaptations of films can be well done. The cover to this comic is well done and is eye catching for fans of the film, and the interior artwork is pretty good and is done by Jerry Bingham. Over all this is an entertaining and good comic based on a cult classic film and is worth a read for those who enjoy Aliens and Buddy Cop stories. Check out some artwork below and see what this comic has in store for you.

Alien Nation is a great science fiction film about an alien invasion that allows them to live among us and not try and take us over like say Independence Day or hunt us for sport like Predator that I have covered here at Rotten Ink in the past. But I think it’s time to leave this Alien Invasion behind and crank open another Undead File for our next update as we will take a look at the Original Walking Dead series! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch an Alien film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a zombie gut munching of a good time!

 

Marvel At The Thanksgiving Might Of The Mighty Hercules

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that while you are reading this your home is filled with the smell of turkey, stuffing and all the other foods of this holiday. I am once more over at my parents’ house getting ready to chomp down on some turkey all the while chatting with my parents and watching football on the TV. This year has been a crazy one filled with great moments to be thankful for like the birth of Sparkle Comics and the continued success of Baron Von Porkchop as well some very rough moments like losing my cousin Norman D. 2016 has been a year filled with great moments with my girlfriend Juliet from going to Pittsburgh, to Horrorhound Weekend and everything in-between! So far Hollywood has delivered some fun films to watch in the theaters that I was able to see with friends. Video game companies have released some great games for me to play on my PS4 and even my NES with Homebrew and hacked games. Marvel, DC, Titan and IDW have put out some amazing comics for me to read from Sam Wilson Captain America to Tales From The Darkside. I am thankful for friends like Josh Weinberg, Henrique Couto, Todd The Fox, Queen V, Garrison Kane, Dusty Austin, Dan Harkless, David J. Getz, Geoff Burkman, Chris Seaver, Louis Justin, Spencer Lucas and so many more for giving me great friendship and moments that impact my life everyday. I am thankful for my friends from the Sparkle Comic family like Jason Young, Jeremy Hoyt, Jeff Potter, Wheeler Hall, Damien Brunk, Natalie Claude, Jason Gilmore, Scott Scarborough, Tom Amrhein and Joe Grunenwald who are all so talented at what they do and are making a Dayton, Ohio based comic company come to life…it truly is comics made by friends for fans. I can’t forget my Horror Host family as people like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Halloween Jack, Fritz The Nite Owl, Dale Kay, Janet Decay, Dr. Pureblood, Baron Von Wolfstein and Riggor Mortiss who are all amazing people with amazing shows that offer such great friendships and programs that are inspiring. I am very thankful for my cousin Stephen Alexander who makes Baron Von Porkchop come alive as well as he is one of my near and dearest friends. I am thankful you all, the readers of Rotten Ink who make this blog even more fun for me to write! And of course I am thankful for my family as they are truly the people in my life that keep me sane! Man, so much to be thankful for, so before we take a look at Hercules as done by Marvel Comics let’s go grab a plate of food and stuff our bellies as we travel to the world of Greek mythology once more.  This time around we’ll see what the world’s top comic company does with the son of Zeus. I should also note that this update will be a quick one as Hercules from the Marvel Universe demands that I spend more time eating mashed potatoes and turkey, and less time writing about him!

Thanksgiving Day Feast With The Trimings

The 1960’s saw Hercules being pulled from his time of Ancient Greece by Immortus to fight Thor or was it? That version of Hercules was really just a space phantom, and the real Hercules would meet Thor in his next Marvel Comic appearance. Hercules would defeat Thor in battle when Odin punished his son for falling in love with a mortal Earth woman named Jane Foster. But the two would turn into friends and would join each other in battle with Thor even rescuing Hercules from Hades when his uncle Pluto tricked him into becoming the ruler of the land of the dead.  Hercules would also go on to have brief fights with Hulk, The Avengers, Sub-Mariner and Dragon Man to name a few. After being banned from Olympus by his father Zeus for coming to Earth without his permission, he would go on to join The Avengers and seal himself being a true iconic modern day superhero helping them on many missions. Hercules also join such teams as Heroes For Hire, Damage Control, The Defenders and The Champions.  In all of these groups, he not only lent his Godly strength but also his mind for war and battle, making him a major and important member of each of the teams he has joined. During his Marvel Universe Hercules journey has also battled Ares, High Evolutionary, Mister Hyde, Mongoose and Doctor Doom to name a few. He also took over for The Incredible Hulk during the events of Planet Hulk, and after Hulk returned for the story line World War Hulk, Hercules teamed with Amadeus Cho for a while. And during Civil War, Hercules took the side of Captain America as he calls the Superhuman Registration Act supporters “Traitors”! During the Secret Invasion storyline Hercules lead a team called God Squad whose members included Snowbird and Demogorge to fight the Skull. These adventures are just a drop in the hat of the adventures Hercules has had in the Marvel Universe. Hercules is super strong and is skilled in boxing, pankration, archery and Greco-Roman wrestling and as well has a healing factor. His first appearance was in Journey Into Mystery Annual # 1, and Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created this Marvel Comic version of the Greek hero who is still being used by Marvel this day. As a young comic reader I used to buy Thor comics off the newsstand, and when Hercules was guest starring, I can always remember looking at those as a treat. While not even in my top 20 favorite Marvel Comic characters, Hercules is still one I enjoy reading about, once more proving that the classic heroes of time never fully go away, they just get modernized for a newer generation.

Marvel Hercules 1Marvel Hercules 2Marvel Hercules 3

Marvel’s Hercules has had his share of merchandise that includes besides the comics, action figures in the Marvel Legends line and more, statues and busts done by such companies as Bowen, many board game and table-top game pieces like Heroclix and has appeared on posters as well as many video games. Hercules is just one of those characters that lends himself into being made into merchandise and also was a perfect fit for comic books. Over the years I have played HeroClix off and on with friends and have used the Hercules piece before in battles.  While a solid figure who can deal out damage, he falls a little short if the luck of the role is not on your side. So if you’re a fan of Marvel’s Hercules make sure to check out many of the items I mentioned above as they can add great options to your collection.

Marvel Hercules bustMarvel Hercules action figureMarvel Hercules heroclix

So there you have it, a quick look at the history of Hercules in the Marvel Universe as well as a peek at the cool merchandise based on him.  I don’t know about you, but I am ready to take a look at this 4 issue mini series that I should thank Mavericks for having in stock those many years back that I bought them. But before we travel to Greece and see what Herc is up to, I should also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that I think we are ready to climb Mount Olympus and see just what mischief Hercules will get into, and if memory serves me correctly, this series is lots of fun and I am looking forward to re-reading it. So it’s Adventure Time!!!

Hercules 1 Marvel

Hercules: Prince Of Power # 1  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 1 of 4

Hercules climbs to the top of Mount Olympus after years of being away and finds the day of his return is not filled with a feast but is to be spent in quiet in honor of his father Zeus. Hercules is bored and decides to horse around in his room with the wine maids and causes great noises that anger Zeus who in turn bans Hercules from Olympus and sends him into space until he learns a lesson.  With Apollo’s Chariot he enters The Andromeda Galaxy where he meets and spends the night with aliens of the Rigellians race, who record data for study.  They send a Recorder Droid with Hercules who continues his quest in space! Hercules lands at a planet that has a massive casino, and he and Recorder spend time drinking.  Hercules spends time telling stories to the waitresses to impress them, but he soon has the whole bar against him when he attacks with no cause a massive muscle alien who is actually a gentle giant! As Hercules and Recorder leave with their heads down, a spacecraft wrecks outside and Hercules saves the passengers as well as the town as he flings the fuel tank into the sky before it explodes.  Once more he becomes a hero and learns a valuable lesson of forgiveness.

Take Greek mythology and mix it with the adventures of Han Solo of Star Wars fame, and this is what you’re in for reading this fun adventure comic.  The plot is simple and very much inspired by many films based on Hercules as his reckless and self-indulgent attitude angers his father Zeus who bans him from Mount Olympus until he learns a lesson, but the twist this time around is he is not sent to Earth but instead to outer space where he quickly makes friends and has a robot sidekick named Recorder who will follow his adventures. Hercules is very cocky, and it’s clear his whole world revolves around himself and he expects everyone to roll out the red carpet when he comes around.  Most of the time, he thinks with his muscles and not his brain and thinks that fighting is the way to get respect from strangers. But he also knows what he must do when lives are in danger as he was willing to risk his own life to save those of aliens. But while Hercules is self centered, he still is a very likeble character as he is a brat but he doesn’t know he is a brat. Recorder is bland and around just to learn, but you can tell this android has a personality that will shine through by the end of this mini series. Zeus is just not having his son’s brash attitude anymore and wants to prove a point that his word is law on Olympus, and he is a character the demands and earns his respect. So far we have no major bad guys as this issue clearly is just the build up on how to get Hercules from Olympus to space. The cover is amazing and very eye catching, with the inside art being done by Bob Layton (who also wrote it) that is truly that classic 70’s and early 80’s magic! So let’s see what’s next for Hercules and see what he learns on what is his new quests.

Hercules 2 Marvel

Hercules: Prince Of Power # 2  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 2 of 4

Hercules and Recorder lose a drag race in space, and this causes the pair to have to come up with money to pay off their debt.  This also leaves Apollo’s Carriage in the hands of the aliens who won, and the horses are not too pleased when the pair try to tamper with the gold carriage. Hercules goes on a rescue mission to rescue the kidnapped Layana Sweetwater, who is the daughter of a powerful galaxy politician. During the rescue Hercules beats up the space pirates and Recorder get his hand blown off, but they succeeds at the rescue, only to find out there is no reward money! Hercules and Layana fall in love, and while having a private time in their rented room, Recorder is arrested as they think he is a peeping tom robot! Hercules, after lying about why he and Layana can’t stay together forever, soon finds out that she ran away from home as her promised husband, who is a lizard man by the name of Count Igwanus who is “evil”, busts in and is not pleased to see his soon to be bride in bed with another man! Hercules takes the fight to Igwanus and his men but soon finds out that he has been played for fool as Layana lied about Igwanus, who in fact is a noble lizard man she was in love with and to marry the day she was kidnapped! After the matter is settled, and Igwanus takes Layana home.  He also pays Hercules the reward money, and he pays off his debt to the racers who are in the hospital now because of Apollo’s horses and Recorder is bailed out from jail.

The second issue of this mini series is just as charming as the first and once more follows Hercules and his adventure into space…wait, they should have called this “Hercules & Recorder’s Excellent Space Adventure”! The plot of this issue has Hercules and Recorder saving a young woman from pirates only to find that the money promised for her safe keeping was a fraud as are the lies Hercules and the rescued woman tell each other. Hercules is as cocky as ever but also noble as he wants to pay off his debts to a pair of space racers he lost to.  He’s also a liar as he beds a young blonde woman he rescues and then in order to get her from not falling in love with him lies about a lost love of his past. I will say that Hercules also seems to learn a lesson in this issue as he finds out lies have fall out and that when wrong, you must try to make things right. Recorder is not just a robot that is recording all what Hercules does but is also a hero as he steps up in the rescue effort and even loses his hand in the fight. The Horses of Apollo’s Chariot are very protective and it’s shown they will turn into fire eyed wild stallions if crossed that will put you in the hospital. Layana Sweetwater is a cute young blonde who was kidnapped and tells lies in order to try and get Hercules to let her stay with him.  By the end, she seems to not have learned a thing. Count Igwanus is just a Lizard Man in love who is confused when Hercules attacks him and his men, but he soon finds out that his soon to be bride lied to the Son of Zeus and even after all the fighting he still loves and wants to marry Layana. This issue was lots of fun and also has Hercules change his costume from his famous green and orange to a slick black and red one! Comedy, action, adventure and science fiction all come together so well in this issue, and for sure this was one hell of a fun read on this holiday! The cover is great once again, and the art inside is done by Bob Layton who also handled the story again. So far I would say Marvel is doing the Hercules character right, and I am having a blast with this one on this Thanksgiving Day! Let’s see what old Hercules and Recorder get into next, shall we?

Hercules 3 Marvel

Hercules: Prince Of Power # 3  ***
Released in 1982    Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 3 of 4

Hercules and Recorder are under attack from a fleet of spacecraft ,and after trying to reason with them, Hercules gets mad and leaps into space from his chariot and takes over the aliens ship and lands it back at their base to inform them they mean no harm and only want to travel to a planet they heard had great wine.  While Hercules is trying to explain this, he meets Commander Malin who informs him that the reason he was under attack by his men was because he was flying in a restricted area as planets from this part of space have gone missing over the years and they have been put in charge to make sure no more go missing.  As Hercules and Recorder become guests of the massive war ship, they soon find that they are all under attack.  All of the fighters for the protection of the planets are destroyed, and it’s up to Hercules to stop this invading menaces.  He soon finds himself bound to the wall, the prisoner of a race of insect like aliens who worship a god they claim they must sacrifice planets to! Poor Recorder has his legs blown off, and Hercules powers up and breaks free and saves the target planet.  He and Recorder escape just in time as the aliens commit suicide after they think they failed their god. Commander Malin is pleased with the Lion of Olympus, Hercules and has Recorder’s legs replaced.  They all think things have ended well….that is till we find out that the god they worshipped was none other that the world eater Galactus!

This issue is all about planets going missing and Hercules having to step up and face odds that are against him and his robot friend.  Aliens from a planet long gone think that they must give other worlds to the one who ended theirs in order to please him for letting them live.  The one cool thing about this issue is that the good aliens are from different parts of the galaxy that must work together as a galactic Air Force in order to keep worlds safe from an unknown source of destruction.  It reminded me of the film “The Last Starfighter” as it also had aliens from all over teaming up to save worlds from danger. Hercules in this issue is brave and puts others before himself as he knows that he must stop the insect aliens from stealing planets to appease their god. In fact he goes into a brutal rage by the end and knocks the snot out of many of the bad guys and then uses a metal rod to blow up their device that sends the planets to Galactus! But what Hercules also does by saving that one planet is kill off two huge ships filled with insect aliens who kill themselves for failing and as well has pissed off the powerful Galactus, who now is on the warpath! Recorder can’t catch a break as he gets his legs blown off and must get odd shaped new ones as replacements. Commander Malin and his men are brave and noble but are also outmanned and outgunned, but they still go down with a fight. The insect aliens are cold blooded killers but do what they do in order save many planets.  They look at it this way, give one planet to save many, and when they fail to deliver this time around, they would rather die than face the wrath of Galactus. Speaking of Galactus, he only appears at the end of the issue, and man is he mad! The things I enjoyed about this issue is that it’s like they tossed elements of Greek mythology, Aerial Combat, The Last Starfighter and classic Marvel Comics into a blender and this space opera action drama is what was created. Bob Layton is on art and story again and does fantastic as he has done with the past two issues, and this time around the cover is good as the crazed madman look in Hercules’ eyes says a thousand words – all of them are cuss words and threats of bodily harm! Well let’s see what the fourth and final issue in this series has to offer on this glorious turkey day holiday update.

Hercules 4 Marvel

Hercules: Prince Of Power # 4  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 4 of 4

Hercules and Recorder are now on the planet they just saved and a massive feast with tons of wine, beer and brew is being served in his honor.  He even receives the most powerful of all alcoholic drinks in the world as the alien’s gratitude. Galactus is mad that his followers have failed and sends his new female herald Nova, who prepares the planet to be drained of its life by her master.  But Hercules finds out about the approaching doom and he decides that this planet is under his protection and will act as its savior once more. Hercules sweeps Nova off her feet and after he beds her, he takes Apollo’s Chariot and Recorder to Galactus’ ship and attempts to stop the world eater.  He soon finds even his mighty power and strength is not match for Galactus, who after beating the Son of Zeus still is on plan to drain and eat the energy of the planet. Hercules takes a few moments to think of a plan and decides to slip the whole bottle of the most powerful alcohol into Galactus’s drink.  This of course does not work but makes the world eater laugh and decide to leave the planet alone.  As Recorder returns to the Rigellians for repairs as well as with a memory filled with stories, Hercules returns to the alien planet and goes on a date with Nova who is now taking some time off.

This final issue is lots of fun, but also seems a little rushed and is not the note I would have like to see Hercules and Recorders’ space adventure end as they separate from each other and Herc just goes on a date with Nova. The plot has Galactus wanting to eat a world, and Hercules who is being treated like a king (or is that a god?) is enjoying the huge party on the planet and sets his sights on stopping Galactus from eating away his world that’s filled with good wine and drink. I love the idea that Hercules is so ego driven that he thinks he can stand toe to toe with Galactus and even tries his best to punch out the mighty icon of Marvel who dines on worlds and has zero feelings. Hercules, while still very much a muscle bound meat head, learns in this issue once more that he can use his mind and win a fight over using his fists, and that others in the universe are as well important as just himself and his fellow Greek gods. He also once more shows that he has the charm as he beds Nova, a female who is on fire and is the herald of Galactus. Recorder is beat up and has tons of replacement parts, but you can tell he has built up a friendship with Hercules and is very bummed when the Rigellians come to reclaim him for his information and to stop the use of their credit that the pair had ran up. Nova at first comes in like a Horseman of the Apocalypse ready to spread gloom and doom, but by the end acts more like a love struck high school girl. Galactus is as wise as he is hungry and is amused by the tricks and bravery of Hercules and decides to spare the world and allow his herald time off to amuse his new Greek hero friend. As I said before, what I didn’t like is that the team up adventure and friendship of Hercules and Recorder come to an end here and while they battle one of the Marvel Universe’s most dangerous characters, it’s hardly a battle and more like a scuffle that ends with drinks afterwards. The cover for this issue is okay and has Galactus looking as if he is melting Hercules with beams from his eyes. The art and story inside is once more done by Bob Layton and is great stuff, and really makes me wish that the series lasted a little longer. So with this being Thanksgiving and all, I would like to wrap this up by saying this was a solid and great adventure starring Hercules and shows that Marvel knows how to comic book the Greek hero right. Check out some artwork below to see how epic this comic series is!

hercules prince of power art 1

So now that we have returned from space on Apollo’s Chariot and from yet another Thanksgiving adventure with Hercules, I would like to wish you all once more a safe and fun holiday season and hope that this update helped brighten your day even a little bit. I want to also note that in the future i will cover the next Marvel Hercules mini-series based on his adventures in space. Our next update starts our countdown to the big Christmas Eve update and will be about those warrior trolls known as the Stone Protectors who I am sure made at least a handful of Christmas’s brighter when youngsters got the toys, VHS tapes or comics for gifts. So until, then eat a little more turkey, read a comic or three and spend some time with your loved ones! See you next update.

Stone Protectors Logo 0

Alien Invasion…Independence Day

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, or, if this is your first time visiting, thanks for checking out my tiny little spot on the web. It’s June, and that means we are at the start of the Summer Blockbuster season at movie theaters.  Hollywood is about to unleash all types of films for our viewing pleasure like they have for many years now, and one film coming is the sequel for Independence Day that was 20 years in the making! It’s crazy to think that Independence Day is 20 years old and that Hollywood has just now decided to make a sequel. Could you imagine if this movie was a reality and all the nations all over the world had to come together to fight off a galactic enemy who wanted to take over our planet, I am sure us Earthlings would not go down without a fight! So lets gear up and get ready to fight for mankind as we dive into this Alien Invasion update that pits Rotten Ink against those world stealing aliens of ID4!

ID4 Aliens in cases

Before the war to settle the July 4th score takes place, I would like to talk about an alien sighting in Carmel, Ohio on December 12th 2014 that left the two eyewitnesses shocked. That night the married couple were driving home down Carmel Road when just passed the church a large grey skinned being ran in front of their truck and into the woods across the street, the alien was described as being about 7 feet tall, with no arms or face with long backward legs that where very muscular in nature. The couple called the cops and reported the sighting,but nothing was found in the area. The husband, who’s not UFO believer as well as an Ex-Marine, drew a picture of the alien creature for the police, which you can see below. I should also note that the area has had UFO sightings, and the case is still open to this day. I think that Josh Weinberg and I should go on a road trip and try to hunt and capture on video this Carmel Alien!

Carmel Ohio Alien

Independence Day was released in theaters on July 2, 1996 by 20th Century Fox and is about aliens trying to take over the world and Earth fighting back on July 4th as we will not go down without a fight. The film was directed by Roland Emmerich and stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Randy Quaid, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch, to name a few.  It was one of those overblown summer movies that had the hype machine behind it before it even rolled on the movie screen. Kids at my school were all talking about the film and how they went to the theater to see it and how it was the best movie they have ever seen, and in the back of my teenage mind I thought, you all said that about Toy Story and Batman Forever last year. My parents didn’t want to see this one in the theater and neither did my Bother and I, so we all waited for it on home video. I can remember renting this film from Blockbuster Video on VHS and the family watching it after dinner and we all walked away from it saying it was ok but man was that cheesy! The acting and dialogue are all over the top and at some points so damn silly you forget this is a big budget action film and not just some direct to video Sci-Fi film. Over the years I have seen it a few more times on DVD and still to this day I find it to be a silly over done film that serves it’s purpose in entertaining the viewer all the while delivering eye rolling moments. The one thing I can say I really did like about this film was the alien design as the tiny little guys wearing these giant scary suits that make them look like some odd looking Gamera of Godzilla villain mixed with a H.R Geiger painting. But it didn’t matter if I seen the film in theaters or not as it was the # 1 film of the year brining in a total of $306,169,268.00 and beating out such films as Scream, Jerry Maguire, Twister, Star Trek: First Contact, Mars Attacks! and Island of Dr. Moreau to name a few. When this film was released did you love it? Like it? Or Hate it?

ID4 Movie 1independence day posterID4 Movie 2

Like all good over blown summer blockbuster movies of the past, lots of merchandise was released to cash in on the popularity of Independence Day and to milk those few extra dollars out of the wallets of fans.  Besides the Marvel Comics adaptation, other items included widescreen edition trading cards by Topps, novels, video games, soundtrack on CD, t-shirts as well as action figures and a PC game that was so cheaply made the diskette we had never loaded right. For years to follow, I can remember finding the action figures on thrift store shelves for as cheap as .09 a figure.  Yeah, less than a dime. The soundtrack is something I never have picked up over the years and that’s odd because the music is done by David Arnold who also did scores for such films as Stargate, Last Of The Dogmen, Tomorrow Never Dies as well as many other James Bond films. But who knows, maybe some day I will get the CD and play it on Alpha Rhythms as Arnold is also doing the music for part two and that’s for sure on my to-buy-and-play list!

ID4 ToyID4 SoundtrackID4 Trading Cards

While the PC game that came with the figures is the first video game based on the movie I ever played, it’s the one for the Sony Playstation that sticks in my mind the most as it could have been one of the weakest and hardest to play movie tie in games for that system I have ever played next to “The Crow: City Of Angels.”  It’,s not so much that the levels are hard its more that the controls keep it form being playable and enjoyable. Fox Interactive was the company that put out this game and I can remember renting it from Blockbuster Video and me and my friend Jason Gilmore playing it and being so annoyed with it that we turned it off pretty quick as the fun factor was nowhere in sight. After many years passed and when I was doing small Video Game Reviews for Bloodline Video I ended up getting the game from Game Swap in Kettering with the idea of reviewing it for the site and after trying to play it again I found it just as terrible as it was when first released and never did review it. To sum it up if you like bad games tied to movies or just want a terrible flying shooter with bad controls then check it out for sure.

PSX ID4 1Independance Day PSXPSX ID4 2

On July 4th 2009 The Angry Video Game Nerd took a look at the terrible PS1 Independence Day game and also found it to be a clunky mess of pixels and un-fun gameplay. Everything he says about the game from the terrible graphics to the poor controls is the same feeling I had when I first played it when it was released. So if you want to see the wonders of how bland this game is, make sure to check out this episode as The Nerd will fill you in on just how bad it is. That’s one thing I like about The Angry Video Game Nerd; he does fun themed holiday episodes, and this was the perfect bad game to showcase on July 4th. So what are you waiting for, go check out this episode on YouTube or his official site at Cinemassacre.

Angry Video Game Nerd ID4 1Angry Video Game Nerd ID4 2Angry Video Game Nerd ID4 3

So now that we are all brushed up on ID4 and ready to hit theaters to watch the sequel Independence Day: Resurgence, we should get to the meat of this update and take a look at the Marvel Comic Movie Adaptation of the film as well as the extra issue, #0, that acts as a prequel of sorts. I want to thank Bell Book And Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock for me to use for this update. I want to remind you readers that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So lets join the fight for our Independence against those pesky aliens as Marvel Comics lead the charge.

independence day 0

Independence Day # 0   **1/2
Released in 1996     Cover Price $0.00   Marvel Comics   # 0 of 2

In Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, late at night during a massive thunderstorm three aliens crash their spaceship into the desert land owned by Mac Brazel who calls the sheriff.  He brings the army and covers up the crash by claiming it was just a downed weather balloon. While at the military base, Dr. Rose is trying to save the life of the only surviving alien and soon finds out that the aliens are not peaceful as the creature bonds their minds for a brief moment with the only message being the word “Kill.” The army takes all the alien bodies as well as technology and hides it all away in a secret base where in the year 1967 new head of the CIA Albert Nimziki visits the secret base and meets Dr. Rose who is retiring from the base very shortly and informs him that in 20 years they have not been able to crack the alien technology or their writing. They hire a young hippie named Brackish Okun to take over the department, and Dr. Rose warns him not to trust the CIA and names Nimziki as the one to stay clear from. Flash forward to 1986 where we meet Russell Casse, a crop duster who is abducted by aliens on his way home from work and is tortured by the aliens before placed back on Earth.  The thing is no one believes him, and he becomes not only a drunk but also a laughing stock in the town. We also meet a young man named Steven Hiller who wants to be the first African-American astronaut, as well as Senator Thomas J. Whitmore who is running for President and wins the office in 1993 and hires both Albert Nimzicki and General Grey to his cabinet as well as Connie Spano who’s now ex-husband David punched him in the face many years back. By 1996, Steven Hiller is an Air Force Pilot and President Whitmore is loosing support during a reelection year, but none of this will matter as over the Earth a massive alien spaceship is taking its place to declare a war to all the people of Earth.

So did you ever wonder about the backstories of the characters from the film? Well this issue is your dream come true as it covers decades and showcases just how these characters got to the places they were when the alien attack starts. Our story starts with the famous UFO crash of Roswell New Mexico in the 40’s and ends with the giant alien mother ship hovering over Earth, ready to star a war. The coolest aspect of this comic was the fact that briefly at the start they covered the Roswell cover-up and reading it made me flashback to the old Unsolved Mysteries TV Show when they covered it complete with the odd metal with alien writing on it. The aliens themselves are shown to be very mean spirited and want nothing more than to kill humans and torture them for study. Now let’s breakdown first impressions of the major players in the upcoming issues who are explored here. First up is President Thomas J. Whitmore who comes off as a good man who might be in way over his head running the country as he is breaking under pressure and the American people have seemed to turn on him for his lack of knowledge. Albert Nimzicki, the head of CIA and now cabinet member of the President, is a jerk, He comes off as a slime ball and it’s clear none of the other characters really like him. General Grey and Connie Spano are good people who are loyal to the President and want him to get elected for a second term. Brackish Okun is a goofy man as a college student in the 60’s and is an aging goof in 1996 as poor Russell Casse is a man that can’t get any support from anyone with his tale of being abducted by aliens. And lastly Steven Hiller was a young man with goals in the 80’s and by 96 he is even one step closer to his goal of being in space, and oh yeah, he’s in love with a stripper. Over all not some much action is this issue as it’s more of a history lesson about the characters. The art is pretty good, though it’s style I like for comics.  The characters loosely look like the actors who play them, and I mean loosely. I should also note that many artist made this issue and they are Terry Pallot, Steve Moncuse, Larry Welch, Steve Erwin, Rod Whigham, Phil Moy and Gabriel Gecko. Over all it’s a pretty cool issue if you’re a fan of the film as this helps bring these characters more alive by explaining a little about them. But I think we spent enough time on this issue and we should move into #1.

independence day 1

Independence Day # 1   *1/2
Released in 1996     Cover Price $1.95   Marvel Comics   # 1 of 2

People of Earth have picked up a faint message from space near the moon, and they know it’s alien in nature! President Whitmore along with his wife Marilyn and young daughter Patricia are interrupted by a call from General Grey who calls for a meeting of the staff. At the meeting Whitmore, Grey, Connie and Nimzicki find out that the large ship by the moon has launched several other smaller ships that are heading for Earth and this makes them alert the military to get ready for the unknown. But when the Alien ships start hovering over major cities all over the world, it’s clear that something wicked is up! All over we see how people are responding to these UFOs as Russell Casse’s kids watch on in front of their mobile home.  We see Steven with his girlfriend Jasmine and her young son Dylan watch in horror, plus David Levinson (Connie’s Ex-Husband) and his father Julius and boss Marty realize that the satellites they run have been hacked by the aliens and is broadcasting a countdown! David and his father rush to the White House to fill them in on the countdown as Steven reports for active duty to fly in a fighter jet if needed.  Connie, General Grey and President Whitmore watch on is horror as the alien craft blows up military helicopters. David makes it and shows them the warning as they all leave the White House just in time as the aliens attack and blow up major landmarks all over the world!

Oh man is this issue boring! Even with the aliens gearing up for the attack, there’s just hardly any action, but there is a whole lot of talking about what’s coming and what can they do about it. While reading this, I found myself zoning out and thinking about such things as Amazing Spider-Man comics and even what would I do if I ever made a new Werewolf Of Ohio. The plot for this first section of this adaptation is this: alien ships come to Earth and take up key spots around the world.  As the Earthlings watch in wonder and plan for the best and worst cases, all our heroes wander around trying to be ready for what needs to be done and by the end the aliens strike first blowing up buildings and landmarks. President Whitmore is trying to be strong and lead America in this frightful time, and Connie and General Grey stand by his side no matter how nervous they are getting. David and his father Julius are on a mission to warn many of the important people in government about the countdown signal in the cable satellites. David comes off as a conspiracy theory nut but it’s clear he still loves his ex-wife. Russell Casse is still a drunk who’s own kids don’t respect him, but it’s the opposite for Steven Hiller who’s girlfriend and her son love him as he is noble and willing to fight the fight if he’s needed. The characters, while okay, all seem like generic stereotypes taken from all types of different science fiction comics, novels and films making them familiar but nothing special. The cover is eye catching for fans of the film as it depicts the films most famous scene of the White House being blown up by a UFO laser blast. The art inside is really not my style and looks sloppy, and like before, the characters kind of look like the actors who play them.  The artist is Leonard Kirk, who is known for his work on other Marvel titles like Agents of Atlas and Dark X-Men. Over all this was not a very good issue in my opinion and was so boring that I feel as if I should just walk away from this issue and move on to # 2.

independence day 2

Independence Day # 2  **
Released in 1996     Cover Price $1.95   Marvel Comics   # 2 of 2

The Air Force and the alien starships are fighting in the air, and Steven Hiller takes one down by tricking it with fancy movies and causing it to crash. Meanwhile President Whitmore and members of his cabinet and guests head to Area 51 and meet Brackish Okun who informs them of the alien ship they have stored there for over 40 years and how in the last 24 hours the ship seems to have activated itself. Hiller captures one of the aliens, and they take it to Area 51 to be studied.  The alien is alive and awakens during the study and speaks through Okun informing them that the aliens want humans dead as they want the Earth for their own! President Whitmore’s wife is involved in a helicopter crash and sadly dies, but David finds a way to drop the alien ships force fields and a world wide attack is planned and joining the air force fight is the President, Hiller, David and even Russell Casse who arrived at Area 51 to get help for his sick son. As David and Hiller take the old UFO and enter the mother ship in space armed with the computer virus and a nuclear warhead, the Air Force with President Whitmore and Russell fight the UFO’s that are attacking Earth.  In the end Russell sacrifices himself and blows up one of the big battleships as David and Hiller sets off the warhead in the mother ship bringing it down! Earth wins the fight against the aliens and all ends well as America saves the day again.

The final issue in the adaptation has lots more build up and then comes in for the kill with a sky battle that pits Earthlings against the Alien invaders! Really that’s the plot … it starts with lots of science and cheesy pep talk dialogue and then turns into some under whelming air battle that ends pretty quick. President Whitmore bounces back from the death of his wife pretty quickly and turns the politician side of his life on pretty quick and not only gives a eye rollingly lame hype speech to the people of the world but also jumps into a jet and takes the fight to the aliens in the sky. Whitmore is so over the top, and his I love my country and will “Fight For Freedom: Wherever There’s Trouble, President Whitmore’s There” attitude is stuff of laughable b-movies of the past. Brackish Okun spent decades studying dead aliens only to be killed by the first live one he tried to study. Steven Hiller has no fear and flies a UFO into space, blows up the mother ship and then still returns to Earth to be with his stripper girlfriend. General Grey takes a backseat and just acts as the yes man of the President and Albert Nimzicki kind of just vanishes. Russell Casse decides to do something good and flies the plane that blows up the battle ship and in the process kills himself and leaves his kids orphans. David Levinson is the real hero of this comic as he is the one who figures out how to take down the UFO shields as well is on the ship that goes to space to nuke the mother ship. Connie falls back in love with her ex-husband and his father is proud of him for being a hero. Man, this movie just didn’t make a good comic adaptation as for the most part it was boring and the dark letters on dark dialogue boxes made for some hard reading at times. The cover is just okay.  The art by Leonard Kirk is as blah as the last issue, and I think I am ready to leave this invasion behind. Below is some artwork from the comic that I think looks the best of what was presented.

ID4 Art 1

While the movie is okay, this Marvel Comic adaptation was a snore fest and should be used in hospitals for people with insomnia as I am sure it will have people sawing logs in no time. With that said, I am pretty hyped to see Independence Day: Resurgence in the theater as I am a fool in my old age for Summer Blockbuster films. Plus the Aliens go down pretty easy and the threat of this invasion was easily defeated by Earthlings. But lets leave ID4 behind for something a little more sports entertainment like and that’s step into the wrestling ring and come face to face with the Master of the five count King Kong Bundy! So until then, make sure to go see a movie in the theater, read a comic or three and support your local Horror Host.  See you next update!

King Kong Bundy Logo

Alien Invasion…The Predator

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. In this update we are going to take a look at aliens, you know, little green or grey men who travel around in outer space and beam us aboard their ships to be studied. I am going to review Dark Horse Comics first 4 issue mini series based on the film Predator; we will also break down Predator in film, video games and other media. But before we get into the ultimate hunter, we will take a look at Roswell, New Mexico and the 1947 UFO crash, and we will also talk about that mystery place known as Area 51 said to be where the government hides the UFO and aliens! So watch the skies and get your tin foil hat ready, ’cause we are going deep into space and looking for the truth about aliens!

Little Grey Men

In 1947, a U.F.O fell from the sky and crashed on a ranch in Roswell New Mexico.  The flying saucer was banged up pretty bad when the ranch foreman William Brazel found the wreckage, and he and his son, not thinking much of it, cleared the debris.  They only told of the wreckage after reports of a flying saucer being seen in the area and thought that what they cleaned up might just be that. Now here is where it all gets sticky, and many different reports and stories go around about it.  What Brazel “found” was something made of paper and tough plastic or so it was said.  Other stories claim that it was a full fledged spacecraft complete with bodies of aliens that had died from the impact. It’s said that the spacecraft and the bodies were shipped to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for study and that Hanger 18 is where they remain even to this day. The Air Force’s statement was that the wreckage was from a weather balloon that had crashed and was nothing for the public to worry about.  Years later it was also reported that the wreckage was really a spy plane sent over from Russia that was shot down. The mystery of this event had made it the stuff of legend, and everyone who has ever looked into the event has a theory on what and how it came to be. I for one can see both sides; I can see it truly being a weather balloon that came crashing down, and in 1947 I am sure the sight of these balloons was not common at all. I could also see it being a Russian spy plane.  At the time we were having a “Red Scare,” and both they and us wanted to get dirt and intel on the other side. But I can also REALLY see that if it was in fact a ship from outer space driven by little grey men, our government would indeed keep this info from us and study them to learn from what they know…so what do you readers think…was it a weather balloon? Was it a Russian spy plane? Or was it a U.F.O straight from outer space?

New Mexico Dead Alien

Nevada is the home of many great things such as Las Vegas, birth place to actresses like Dawn Wells, Jenny Lewis and Jenna Jameson and even Horror Host Zomboo but it also is the home of one of the world’s most puzzling places, a place that “doesn’t” exist according to our government.  That place is Area 51! Not much is really known about this place but many stories are told of unknown planes in the sky around it, odd sounds and even claims that aliens work alongside humans inside its guarded walls. What is known is that you can’t cross a line on the ground and in the sky, and that the guards around the area have the right to shoot you dead.  You can’t even takes photos of the area! So what is this place really? Many people say that it’s where the Air Force tests its new planes and drones and it’s all very top secret so the new weapons to keep us safe don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people. Others think that it’s a place where the government keeps aliens and makes contact with other worlds in order to get ideas for new technology. One thing is for sure, Area 51 is one big mystery that many Americans would love to find out it’s secrets, and who knows maybe someday we will. But it does make you wonder if they do have aliens there, are they willing guests or are they being held captive? Are they smart and nice or are they mean spirited and power hungry? I for one hope they are nice and are guests if they are indeed at Area 51.

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Coast To Cast AM is one heck of a great radio program for those of us who like the unknown and conspiracies.  From the start of the show you know you’re in for a treat as the theme for the film and the old NWA Wrestling Tag Team, The Midnight Express starts playing and your current host George Noory welcomes you to the show. I first heard of the radio show thanks to a co-worker at Blockbuster Video. I worked a lot of closes at the video rental store, and some nights before going home I would drive around the back roads of the countryside listening to music and unwinding from the long day, and they suggested that oe night I give Coast to Coast a listen because they knew I was into Bigfoot, werewolves, aliens and such. That night I gave it a listen and was hooked ever since.  Back when I first heard it, the host was Art Bell who was hosting on the weekends and was the founder of this cool show. One episode of this show that has become the subject of many discussions is the one that focused on Area 51 where one of the call-in lines was for current or past employees of 51, and after a number of calls he got one that chilled the blood of many listeners and triggered a black out of the radio signal. The caller was a man who was in a panic and was a past employee who had been let go on a medical discharge.  The man claimed he was fleeing from some unknown trackers; while on the phone he spilled his guts on what Area 51 really is.  He claimed that it’s filled with inter-dimensional beings who are directly involved in our military and know about some major natural disaster events that are coming and will not warn us because they want many of the world’s population to be wiped out so that the ones of us around can be more easy to control. During the call the man gets more upset and more scared sounding and as he is telling us the listeners more, it sounds as if he has been found by his unknown stalkers and poof, the satellite that hosts Coast To Coast AM goes offline and the callers final words the listeners never get to hear. The show is off the air for over 2 minutes before coming back live, and Art seems puzzled and at a loss as he says that the man on the phone screamed and it sounded like a gun shot before the line went dead, and that the odd part of the satellite going down was it focused in the part that broadcasted his show! Callers after seemed to be bothered by the frantic call as past “employees” of Area 51 called in and claimed that no one will ever hear from that guy again. Now this call has been proven real and proven fake by many and is 100% up for you to make your own judgement. The first time I heard it, my skin crawled and thoughts about turning it into a movie crossed my mind.  I for one think that there might be some truths to what he is saying about there being beings from another dimension here on Earth with us now. Some time later a caller called in and claimed to be the Frantic Caller and said his call was a hoax and that when the show went off the air he himself got scared and thought he might have been onto something with his fake story.  Many think that this caller was the frantic caller, while once more others think the second caller was the hoaxer. So have you heard the call made to Art Bell? Do you think the call was real? Was it a hoax? No one will know for sure and it will remain a mystery just like Roswell and Area 51 itself.

Coast To Coast AM LogoArt Bellno Greys Logo

If aliens are out there in space or even already here on Earth, Hollywood has taught us one thing, and that’s alien chicks are Hot!! Star Trek showed us green girls are sexy; Mars Attack showed us they can wear masks to make themselves stunning, and even genetic put together aliens like Sil from Species are knock outs. So here is to you, hot Hollywood alien women, for making the unknown sexy!

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So you have gotten some brief history and thoughts on Area 51 and the crash at Roswell New Mexico; now it’s time to give you a little background on this update’s star, the Predator! Not much is really known about the Predators as we humans don’t even know what planet or universe they even come from.  Such names as “Hish” and “Yautja” have been given to their race, but these are just names given to them by humans trying to place a label on them. Things we do know about them are this: 1st they can travel through space and seem to have very powerful ships, 2nd they have amazing weapons that are far more powerful than ours from stealth suits to an awesome shoulder cannon. They have the means to make things dead. 3rd they are very strong and have more strength than a human body builder making them a hard fight to go fist to fist with, 4th they love hot summers and heat, and lastly they are hunters and love to collect trophies (skulls) from the prey they hunt. The Predators have also fought with the Xenomorphs and have collected humans and other alien species to drop into a wooded planet to use as practice! While not much is known, one thing is for sure you don’t want to mess with a Predator!

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Predator hit theaters in 1987 and is about Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his group of commandos who go to the jungles of South America on a bogus mission set up by George Dillon (Carl Weathers) who really wants them in the jungle to find a pod that fell from space! Dutch and his men soon find out that they are not alone as an unknown attacker is hunting and killing them one by one. Who will make it out of the jungle alive and can any of these hardened war hounds stand a chance against the Predator! Growing up I saw this film on HBO when my Dad let me and my brother watch it one late night.  From the moment it started I loved it. I was glued to the action and suspense of the hunt. For days I wished that they had made action figures of this film so I could have The Predator hunt the likes of Snake Eyes and Han Solo.  I bought the novel movie adaptation of the film from Half Price Books and was all about The Predator. The film did well at the box office with a gross of $98,267,558.00 worldwide. One of the best sci-fi films of the 80’s in my opinion, and with a creature design by Stan Winston Studio’s you know the film is quality.

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1990 saw a sequel simply called Predator 2 hit the theaters, and this time around it’s taken out of the jungle and into the hot streets of LA. during a turf war over drug sales. Lieutenant Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover) is a good cop who along with his team are stuck in the middle of the war on drugs during a major heat wave and to make things worse something is killing both cartels as well as the cops themselves! And when one of his own cops is murdered and creepy Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) has his agents take over the case, Harrigan must take the law into his own hands and find the truth of the murders.  He ain’t going to like what he sees when it’s hunting season again, and a Predator is loose in the city! The sequel is good but not nearly as cool as the original, and I will say that I also went out and bought the novel adaptation of this film as well. The sequel made $57,120,318.00 gross at the worldwide box office, making it a solid money maker for Fox.

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While The Predator shared the screen with the Aliens in two AVP films, it was not till 2010’s film Predators that we were treated to the third film in the series. In this film, a group of people wake up falling from the sky into a jungle like place; each of them comes from a different part of the world and they come from all walks of life, but all of them have some sort of violent past.  Before they know it, they find out that they are no longer on Earth and are on some planet where they are being hunted like dogs by none other than The Predators! Twists and turns and lots of fighting to stay alive makes up this fun action film that brought in a gross of $127,233,108.00 world wide at the box office. I saw this film in the theater and loved it.  It stars Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo and Laurence Fishburne! If you have not seen this one, you should.

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Besides the big screen, Predator also has hunted its way into the video game world and has had many titles come out on many different systems! Commadore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Xbox, PS2, Xbox 360, PS3 and even Atari Jaguar all have had games come out that featured The Predator.  In fact, even an Arcade Game has been made! The one that sticks out the most to me was the one for Sega Genesis based on the film Predator 2.  My cousins Dino and Norman had it, and we all took turns one night when I was spending the night trying our best to beat it. The game was pretty hard and was an overhead shoot em up game that as levels went on, the harder it became and of course you played as Harrigan. One of the most popular games based on Predator is the one that came out on PS2 and Xbox called “Predator: Concrete Jungle” where you play as the hunter and kill humans! Predator has been in some good games and some stinker games, but one thing is for sure, The Predator is a perfect character to make video games based around.

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Predator has had more merchandise than just video games, comics and novels.  Many great items have come out based around this character, from Halloween masks & costumes, t-shirts, posters, magazines, models, statues and of course action figures! The figures that most people remember are the ones made by Kenner in the 90’s.  They made all types of versions, from the classic movie style one to ones with giant tusk. I had a few of these figures growing up and while they were cool, I always wanted a 3 ¾” figure…sadly that never happened until this year thanks to the ReAction figure line. Lost more figures were made by NECA and McFarlane, and these were great detailed figures meant for display on the older collectors’ shelves. So if you’re a fan of the character and looking for ways to collect all you can own, there is stuff out there for you that will for sure make the collector in you very happy.

Kenner Predator ToyPredators toyPredator Halloween Costume

Something else I would like to talk about before we get into the comic reviews are the soundtracks for the three Predator films and how great they are. The first two scores are done by Alan Silvestri, who was know for doing scores for films like Back To The Future, Cats Eye and Delta Force before doing Predator 1-2.  His scores for the two films are a nice mix of action and sci-fi and the main theme to Predator always seems to get stuck in my head when I am outside in the woods! The score to Predators was done by John Debney who did scores for such films as The Jetsons Movies, Sudden Death, Spy Kids, End of Days and Sin City before tackling this film.  While it’s a great score, it’s not nearly as epic as the first films. And as I am sure you all guessed that I do play some tracks off Predator 2’s soundtrack on Alpha Rhythms. If you’re a score listener like myself give them a listen, you might just like what you hear.

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So far we have visited Roswell, New Mexico, made a pit stop at Area 51, took a look at the frantic Area 51 caller and broke down The Predator in films, music and other media and we still have the comic reviews to go! So as always I want to remind everyone once again I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. So let’s get ready to get hunted as we enter the hunting zone, looking for the ultimate trophy hunter, The Predator. Also thanks to Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock.

Predator 1

Predator # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #1 of 4

Detective Schaefer has a bad feeling about his city of New York, and when he enters the scene of a crime and finds two rival gangs both slaughtered like sheep his gut feeling seems to be right! The only survivor of the slaughter was a gang leader named Carr who escaped into the night.  Things get worse when a train is attacked and victims are killed the same way as the gang members. During an investigation Schaefer gets a visit from an army general who tells him to let the murders run their course and that after the heat wave is over the murders will stop.  He also tells him that his brother Dutch also knew about these killers. After the visit, Schaefer and his partner Rasche go back to the scene of the crime were the gang was killed, and Schaefer comes face to face with a Predator who flings him out the window, ending issue one.

It’s a very cool tie in to the original film with Schaefer being the brother of Dutch, Arnold’s character from the first film. Schaefer is alright so far, but he doesn’t really have a personality. He seems to do what he wants to do and doesn’t listen to the rules of his department, and he also seems to have some weird second sight for the strange and unknown. Rasche, his partner, seems to be more likable and is a family man who seems to respect his partner of 6 years but also doesn’t know a damn thing about him! Looks like Carr is a gang leader who is your typical street punk straight from a cheesy Hollywood film complete with red make up slashes on his face. I feel like he is going to be a major problem coming up in future issues. The Predator is the main “bad guy” of the issue and only really makes his appearance at the end as he beats the hell out of Schaefer and flings him out the window! I am a little puzzled about this Predator’s killing pattern as he seems to just be killing at random in the city. This issue also has way too many moments that feel like they read the script for Predator 2 and crammed them into the story, from the attack on the subway to the attack on rival gangs. The art in the issue is that classic Dark Horse style and is done by Chris Warner and looks pretty dang good for the time. Over all this issue is really the start of the mini series and while a little slow and disjointed, it was still a good read and makes me want to read part 2 ad see what happens to Schaefer.  So let’s not wait any longer.

Predator 2

Predator # 2  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #2 of 4

Schaefer’s fall from the window five stories up leaves him banged up and in the hospital.  His stay is short as he checks himself out and stays on the couch of Rasche and his family. On Schaefer’s neck, The Predator has placed a tracker, an almost tag of some sorts so that he can track him at anytime. Schaefer goes to South America to the last place that his brother Dutch was seen, and while in the jungle along with his guide, they find a giant hole that was where the original Predator blew himself up.  At night Schaefer is attacked once more by the Predator, and this time Schaefer wins knocking the alien from a cliff and impaling him on a sharp stone. In the end the guide is shown to be working for the military general who is pissed that Schaefer killed The Predator and is now preparing for total payback.

This second issue is filled with action and takes away the city back drop placing the fight in the jungle were it all started. Schaefer is more bull headed after getting his butt kicked and shows he is not to be messed with as he takes down a Predator with strategy and anger. So one Predator is killed, and this makes you wonder why the general is so freaked out by its death.  Was this one special or do they just know it means war when they suffer a loss to their numbers? The action in this issue is pure 80’s action with lots of gunplay and fists are thrown making it feel right at home with other action/horror themed comics of the time. I do really like the jungle setting better than the streets of New York, it just has more of a mood to it. Rasche in this issue stays in New York and is told to get his family out of New York by Schaefer.  So I am thinking the next issue will be what’s going on in the Big Apple. Chris Warner does the art again, and it’s so 90’s.  It’s good and the cover is so in your face. So far at the midway point in this series, it’s a pretty good film inspired series and holds some of the charm of the films.  So let’s see how issue 3 turns up the heat, shall we?

Predator 3

Predator # 3  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #3 of 4

Schaefer in the jungle finds that he has pissed off the government for killing the Predator and is now being lead to the general, but he and his guide are ambushed by henchmen for a drug lord Schaefer pissed off some time ago in New York. While the guide is killed, Schaefer is kidnapped and set to be tortured, but he escapes and finds that an army of Predators have followed him and make short work of the drug cartel as the general comes to his rescue and leads him to a helicopter that will lead him straight to The Predators as a payment for their fallen friend.  The meeting place is New York.  Schaefer isn’t having it and knocks out the general, and when they land he is ready for a fight. While in New York, his partner Rasche finds that the city is being hovered over by Predator war ships, and this puts him at odds with the chief.  At one point he is even kidnapped by unknown government agents but escapes when he finds they plan on turning over Schaefer to them. In the end both detectives are on a path to have a show down with their alien hunters.

This issue is a mix of jungle and city action, and it works to build up the final showdown of Schaefer and The Predators in the middle of the busy city. One of the best parts of this issue is the Predators attacking and killing the drug cartel in order to get to Schaefer.  Those dope pushers didn’t stand a chance! This issue also shows that the military and the government knows about the Predators and almost seem to fear them, and will do anything to make the situation right with them after one of their own was murdered. Rasche, poor, poor man gets kidnapped by some agents.  His own boss at the department turns on him by ratting him out, and he knows that the Predators are all over and that they plan on giving his partner over to them! This issue is a nice build up to the final where you know all hell is going to break loose.  It still makes me wonder will we see a cameo from Dutch? Warner art once more, and the cover is great as you all can see.  So without any more hold ups, let’s get to the final issue of The Predator by Dark Horse comics.

Predator 4

Predator # 4  **1/2
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #4 of 4

Schaefer has escaped the army, and he and Rasche meet up and plan for war against the Predators! They know they can’t get the help of the police or the army, so they do what they have to do and recruit Carr and other thugs to help them go to war, and war does happen in the middle of New York! The Predators have ground fighters as well as their space ships, and all looks bleak for Schaefer and his rag tag army until the army shows up and are ready now to fight off The Predator invasion.  The war is heating up, and many lives are cut short but as quick as the fighting started, it stops as the Predators no longer see this as a hunt as much as a fight.  This makes them leave the Earth…for now!

To be honest, the final war was a let down, and what was built up to be epic, came off a little rushed and very anti-climatic. Schaefer barely is able to get his fist wet with green blood before they just up and leave due to “the hunt” being taken out of the fight.  In fact nothing really gets settled in this mini series as a part of New York is left destroyed.  Carr helps, and I guess, escapes.  Schaefer never finds out what happened to Dutch.  Rasche rambles about quitting the force after he is shot, and the army, who come to the aid of the cops, just let them walk away after a major battle.  It all seems like so many questions get no real answers. Rasche and Schaefer, while cool characters, for 4 issues  I never really felt a connection to them and really didn’t learn much about each of them. The Predators seem a little off.  Many of them take a pounding by the fists of Schaefer, and that’s not believable because according to the source material, the films, they are 10 times stronger than a human male. The comic series has blood but not a heck of a lot.  The action is fun and very 80’s like.  The art was well done and once more has that pure 90’s Dark Horse style to it.  Over all this was an okay mini series based on a good action sci-fi film. While not groundbreaking so far on Rotten Ink I would say it’s in good company with the likes of Dr. Giggles and Pumpkinhead. Fans of this film series should check it out if they go in knowing it has some flaws but was made for the fans.

Predator Art

It was really neat to see what comic book creators were able to do thanks to 20th Century Fox allowing them to make this almost sequel-like mini series. The writers did the best they could to tie in the original film, making the main hero the brother of the hero of the film, but as I stated the sad part is that goes nowhere. But I feel we are not done yet so let’s get into a fantasy warfare as we pit the Predator against the great stuntman of the last update, the Cougar! The setting will be the hot summer month of July and take place on the 4th. The setting is a movie set for a new John Smith film for Independent B Movie in the swamp lands of Louisiana. So let’s see what happens in the battle of the minds and wills of these two champions as the Predator takes on the Cougar!

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It’s around noon, and John Smith has called it a wrap for the day’s filming of his epic new film “Werewolf of the Bayou.” Most of the crew are heading into town for some beers and gumbo while they wait for the night’s fireworks. John walks up to the two stunt men for the film, Jeff “The Cougar” Rand and Bela Chaney, who are putting props away and discussing the next day’s big cabin on fire stunt, and lets them know he is heading into town himself to sit back and watch Morgus The Magnificent on TV host the 1931 Dracula and order room service and relax after the long morning shoot. They wish him well, and after his 95 Cavalier pulls away, Bela turns on the radio that’s playing classic rock and tells Jeff he wants to show him the prop that will be used to kill The Wolfman in this film.  Bela pulls a giant silver and red handgun out of a case and fires a fake bullet into the air.  As they both chuckle, three read lines appear on Bela’s chest and in the blink of an eye a loud noise is heard, and the stuntman’s chest now has a big whole through it! The Cougar swings into action and like in his youth he swings on the vines as blasts of a large cannon go off all around him.  He swings by the prop van again and dives inside. The Predator, who is invisible, waits for a few moments and The Cougar never comes out.  So he decides to go in after him.  As the Predator makes his way towards the van, the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife.  As he creeps up on the van The Cougar jumps out  wearing night goggles and holding a sword and slashes The Predator across his stomach causing green blood to spill onto the ground.  As Cougar swings again Predator retracts his arm blades and blocks the strike! By this time The Predator becomes visible, but the sight of the alien doesn’t even phase Cougar who has fought a vampire and werewolf before this.  The two trade swings with their blades and neither land a strike. The Cougar throws away his sword and holds up his fist and wants to fight man to alien.  The Predator takes off his shoulder cannon and his masks and lets out a roar as Cougar leaps into the air and lands a superman punch to the alien’s jaw.  The Predator shakes it off and lands a straight right to the face of the Cougar shattering his nose and breaking the stuntman’s jaw and causing him to fall to his knees and choke on his own blood, The Predator knows his foe is down and walks over and rips out the spin and skull of The Cougar ending the fight. That night on the Predators ship a new skull is placed in his trophy case and that skull belonged to a cocky stuntman who thought he could out box an alien.

Winner: The Predator

While I think The Cougar could dodge and survive for a while, I truly think the Predator’s weapons and cunning hunting style would overwhelm him after a while, and this would lead to the stuntman’s death. This was a fun update, and I really enjoyed reading The Predator mini series for the first time.  I also liked writing a little about U.F.O.’s and all the unknown that surround them. The next alien invasion spotlight will be another Dark Horse mini series as we will look at their 6 issue run based on the Alien series! For our next update, we are heading into the past and taking a look at a Jack Kirby original named Devil Dinosaur! So until then look to the sky, read a comic or two, watch a movie and support your local Horror Host!

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