Top 22 Lost Silent Horror Film Countdown

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  For this update we will be talking about Silent Horror Cinema and to be more specific we are talking about Lost Silent Horror Cinema, those films that have been lost to time due to poor film preservation, studio vault fires and the greed of private collectors. The sad thing is that many film professors and historians think that over 90% of silent films are lost and many of them we have zero clue of what even was made way back when. So to be more direct we have zero clue on what all Silent Horror Films are lost that did not have remaining posters or stills found to prove its existence so it’s crazy to think that their was films made that no one will ever see again, heartbreaking I know. I grew up a Horror Movie fan from a young age I watched Universal Monsters, King Kong, Godzilla and Hammer Horror and was hooked and Horror Hosts like Commander USA, Grampa Munster, USA Up All Night, Saturday Nightmares and Dr. Creep with their shows introduced me to so many films with Commander really being the one to bring Slasher films into my life. Magazines and Books also showed me a world of so much different Horror Films. And the home media like VHS and Beta played a big part in me discovering Silent Horror Films as I would buy them cheap and hurry home to watch and I would find so many of them at a Dollar Tree in Sugarcreek Township in Ohio and that’s how I first saw the likes of Nosferatu, Hunchback Of Notre Dame, The Golem and Phantom Of The Opera to name a few. And for me Silent Horror has always captured my imagination and love for the genre of Horror. And that’s why I feel I need to bring you this list of My Top 20 Lost Silent Horror Films that I want to see!

Lost Films Archive Lot

This list is my personal Top 20 picks of what I would love to see found and I spent so much time going through lists and films that fit in the Horror genre and did research on each film and even followed leads to see if copies are at Film Archives in order to come up with this list, and heck I am sure that many of these if not all of them are and will be on your list as well, as each of these films I choose sound so interesting. So let’s dust off our Silent Horror Film knowledge and get to the theater and talk about these lost gems that we all hope one day are found.

# 22

Wasei Kingu Kongu 1933

Wasei Kingu Kongu
Year: 1933       Director: Torajira Saito     Country: Japan

Very little is known about this lost short film from Japan that is one of the nation’s first “giant monster” movies. The movie’s plot is suppose to be about a man named Santa who is a loser who does not have a job and makes all his money finding loose change on the streets of Tokyo. When his girlfriend dumps him and starts dating a new man he does find a job at local theaters as he dresses in a gorilla suit and becomes King Kong to advertise for the film’s Japan release. Well, one night while on stage crushing fake miniature buildings he spots his ex and her new man and decides to go on a rampage of his own chasing after her new man and beating him up.  The crowd loves it as they think it’s apart of the show and this gets Santa a raise and allows him to earn the respect of his former girlfriend and her father and the two love birds get back together. This sounds like it’s a mish-match of film genres that has part of drama, comedy and a hint of horror and that’s why I have this one so low as I feel its very interesting but it not fully a Horror Flick, but keep in mind it is a part of King Kong cinema history so that’s why it has made it to this list. The film is said to star Isamu Yamaguchi, Yasuko Koizumi and Kotaro Sekiguchi and this silent film is said to be lost forever due to the bombings of World War II, as sadly so many of Japan’s cinema was lost due to this.

# 21

The Ghost Breaker 1922

The Ghost Breaker
Year: 1922       Director: Alfred E. Green     Country: United States

This Horror Comedy is about Warren Jarvis and his servant friend Rusty Snow escaping a family feud and meeting Maria who owns a her family’s mansion that is haunted by ghosts, and she hires Warren and Rusty to get ride of them! But are the ghosts real or is someone after the gold that is hidden in the mansion? This sounds like it could be a very fun film that mixes in Horror, Mystery and Comedy and starred Wallace Reid as Warren Jarvis, Walter Hiers as Rusty Snow and Lila Lee as Maria Theresa. What makes me want to see this film is I have always been a fan of classic cinema Horror Comedies as they have their own silly nature of classic stage style antics. The one downside to this film but yet sadly was a product of its time is that actor Walter Hiers plays the character Rusty in blackface, and that is not something I enjoy about classic cinema. Also I really would love to know what the ghost effects of this film looked like and I should note that actor Wallace Reid died shortly after the film’s release of withdraws from a drug addiction.

# 20

The Dream Woman 1914

The Dream Woman
Year: 1914      Director: Alice Guy     Country: United States

This short Horror Drama feature is about a man who is plagued by a recurring dream about a woman in black standing over him while he sleeps and trying to stab him. On his travels he gets lost and stays at an inn were he once more thinks he sees the woman, and this causes him great stress and is a mental drain. Finally he meets a woman named Alice and falls in love with her, but she has a dark side, as she is an alcoholic and after a bad fight she threatens to kill her husband while he sleeps…and after separating Alice ends up finding her one time husband and kills him with a knife. The film’s final is said to take place in the spirit world. Or so it’s rumored that this is the full plot of this missing frighten thriller flick. The film starred Fraunie Fraunholz as Francis Raven the man tormented by his dreams and Claire Whitney played The Woman In Black and Alice Warlock the wife and the knife dream killer. The film sounds really interesting and is based on the novel by Wilkie Collins and I like the idea of a dream world knife swinging Woman In Black being a warning to what the future holds for our doomed lead character. Sounds interesting and I have heard that the film was a super short and as well have read that it was way longer then reported. Let’s hope that this film is found and we can see The Woman In Black for ourselves.

# 19

The Haunted Bedroom 1919

The Haunted Bedroom
Year: 1919       Director: Fred Niblo     Country: United States

Betsy Thorne is a news reporter from New York that travels down south to look into the case of a man who has gone missing and worse she finds out that all reporters are banned from the area, and Betsy being quick witted scares a newly hired maid and takes her place at the home to get her story. But while there for two nights she sees a ghastly figure creeping around the chapel as well as the family cemetery! Can Besty and solve the crime of who the figure is, can she find the missing man and will she be able to do so with out alerting the police so she can get her big break news story? Well all signs point to yes but sadly this film is one of the many lost Silent Films from the Horror Genre. This Horror Drama sounds like a mystery film that would both scare as well as even have the viewers on the edge of their seats as the lead character Betsy tried to solve this case. The film starred Enid Bennett as Betsy Thorne as well as actors like Dorcas Matthews, Jack Nelson, Lloyd Hughes and Otto Hoffman. I think this one would be a blast to watch and almost feels like the early prototype of the classic Horror Mystery films that followed and even to a point Scooby-Doo. One can hope that this film is found someday as it seems like a really fun Horror Mystery film.

# 18

Alraune 1918

Alraune
Year: 1919       Director: Michael Curtiz & Edmund Fritz    Country: Hungary

A scientist creates a child from a union between a mandrake root and a woman and the child is very demonic and evil. Not much is known about this film besides a very basic plot and the cast and crew thanks to some surviving posters. Also the release year as been reported as both 1918 and 1919 with many saying they think 1919 is right. This could also be one of the world’s earliest mad scientists films and that makes me really want to see it. Plus I love that it’s a Hungarian Silent Horror Film that has Sci-Fi elements. The film stars Rozsi Szollosi as Alraune as well as other actors like Gyula Gal, Kalman Kormendy and Boske Malatinszky. It makes me wonder just how demonic and evil Alraune is in this lost horror fright flick and if it played more with the Horror or Sci-Fi elements in its production.

# 17

A Son of Satan 1924

A Son Of Satan
Year: 1924       Director: Oscar Micheaux     Country: United States

A man takes a bet to spend a night in a haunted house that is filled with evil spirits and bad visions. The film is called a “Race” film as its cast and crew were all African Americans and of course due to this the film ran into some distribution issues that lead to many states not playing it and also is what lead to the film being lost now. The censorship board attacked the film for scenes that had a man choking his wife to death, a KKK member being killed and sadly they kill a cat on screen! They claimed all these elements and more that included the name of the film would be “offensive to Southern ladies” and so it was quickly shown and buried with sadly no fan fair. The film was said to star many members of Broadway Musicals with names like Aubrey Lyles, Adelaide Hall and F.E. Miller having parts. Other cast members included Andrew S. Bishop, Lawrence Chenault and Edna Morton. This film sounds very interesting and it would be great to see how well they pulled off a Haunted House and how “brutal” these deaths really are that caused all this drama with the film boards back then. Also it would be amazing to see this Race Film that is a major part of Horror History and more important Black Cinema. The reason it’s so low on my list is if the rumors are true of a cat being killed on screen are true, that element turns my stomach as I am a cat owner. But with that said let’s hope that one day this film is found and we are able to see it.

# 16

The First Men in the Moon 1919

The First Men In The Moon
Year: 1919       Director: Bruce Gordon     Country: United Kingdom

Samson Cavor is an old man inventor who created something called Cavorite and along with a man named Rupert Bedford they travel to the moon thanks to his creation that neutralizing the law of gravity! But things go south when Bedford leaves Cavor on the moon and returns home and steals the old mans invention. But thanks to the left behind old man’s niece Susan and a young engineer named Hogben they find away to talk to her Uncle and Susan turns down Bedford’s advances and marries Hogben and together they show the world the Bedford is a fraud! And Samson himself stays on the moon and lives with the Selenites the alien race that inhabits the moon. This film is based on the H.G. Wells novel of the same name and is even on Brittan’s “75 Most Wanted Films” list, and I would love to see the film as its clearly one of cinemas earliest Sci-Fi films as well as the aliens themselves look so cheesy and cheap that I would love to see them in action. With United Kingdom on the hunt for a copy of this film we can hope that it will be found sooner than later.

# 15

Balaoo The Demon Baboon 1913

Balaoo The Demon Baboon
Year: 1913      Director: Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset     Country: France

Dr. Coriolis has turned an ape almost human by the name of Balaoo the Dr. and his niece Madeleine look after this creature who ends up getting captured in a trap set by the evil poacher named Hubert who ends up using Balaoo to kill off his enemies as well as has him kidnap Madeleine…but can this creature truly be controlled and rampage or will it’s human side make the decision to stop these killings and know right from wrong. This sounds like it could be a very cool film if found as it was based on the story by Phantom Of The Opera writer Gaston Leroux and sadly all he have of this film is about four minutes of footage, posters and some stills. In the film Lucien Bataille played Balaoo and other actors include Camille Bardou, Madeleine Grandjean, Henri Gouget and Josette Andriot. The film sounds like it could have been a early version of Nature Runs Amok Horror and while the look of Balaoo was pretty much done with grease paint this is one film I would love to see in full and lets hope someday the missing footage is found and that we will all be able to see this film in all its glory.

# 14

The Last Moment 1923 Poster

The Last Moment
Year: 1923       Director: J. Parker Read Jr.     Country: USA

Alice Winthrop is a young woman who has two men trying to win her hand and they are Hercules and Harry and the three make the mistake of going to a waterfront saloon and become the kidnapped victims of the sinister Captain Finn that makes them go to his ship and who himself wants Alice as his mistress and if she refuses she will have to be looked into a cage with a half-man and half-beast monster who ends up escaping and kills the crew and Alice, Hercules and Harry have to fight for their life in order to get ashore and away from the monster on the loose. This film starred Doris Kenyon, Henry Hull, Louis Calhem and Jerry Paterson and sadly the film has been lost for many decades now and what we have are the poster as well as some publicity stills and the monster looks amazing! This sounds like a very interesting early Horror Cinema creature feature that would be a great chilling watch if it could every be found, but as of this update no known copies are in any Film Archive. Let’s hope this film is found in a private collection or in an archive pile of films that have not been checked yet…we Horror Fans need to see this classic creature feature!

# 13

The Hunchback and the Dancer 1920

The Hunchback And The Dancer
Year: 1920       Director: F.W. Murnau     Country: Germany

This film’s plot was about a man named James Wilton who has a massive hunchback who is a foul man who ends up becoming rich after finding a diamond mine in Java and he ends up dating a young dancer names Gina who is heartbroken after a bad breakup. But things get worse for her when she decides to leave James and return to her past boyfriend who dies after kissing her…as James has tainted her with a poison that really gives her the kiss of death. Gina once she figures it out tries to find out a way for James to kiss her as she wants revenge and only his life could pay the debit she feels she’s owned. The film starred John Gottowt as the Hunchback James Wilton and Sascha Gura as Gina. This sounds like an interesting Horror Thriller that would be a blast to see as its some early work of F.W. Murnau and seems like it could deliver some spooky moments. The film also stars actors as Paul Biensfeldt, Bella Polini and Anna Von Palen. Makes me wonder just how creepy this film is and how evil the character James Wilton is and just how Gina figures out how to trick him into kissing her to poison him and get her revenge. Let’s hope that this film is found in some film vault or even a private collection soon.

# 12

TheGorilla 1927

The Gorilla
Year: 1927       Director: Alfred Santell     Country: United States

A killer wearing a gorilla suit is committing murders and after killing a man his daughter wants to find out who the costumed murder is as she has been blamed for the crime! This Horror film has elements of Crime and Thriller and brings a costume killer to the silver screen and even spawned two remakes one in 1930 and another in 1939! The weird thing about this film is that it also had elements of comedy, as many Horror films did this to bring in a bigger audience and downplay the spooky elements. This film starred Alice Day as Alice Townsend the accused Daughter as well as Charles Murray, Fred Kelsey, Brooks Benedict and Aggie Herring. What makes me want to see this film be found and released so I can see it is that I like the idea of a killer in a massive Gorilla suit causing death and our poor hero having to prove her innocence. But also the deeper you dig into this films history is that many enjoyed the Horror and Mystery aspects of the film…they did not like the silly comedy aspects. Only time will tell if this film will ever be found and how modern Horror Fans will react to this Horror Comedy.

# 11

The Wizard 1927

The Wizard
Year: 1927       Director: Richard Rosson     Country: United States

Professor Paul Coriolos is a man with a plan to get revenge on jury members who sent his son to be hung who he thinks was innocent. In his laboratory he creates a creature that he sends out to kill those he blames, and it’s up to Detective Murphy and reporter Stanley Gordon to uncover and stop the killings as the Judge and his daughter are on the hit list! This creature feature sounds like it would be a fun classic creepy watch that also would have had elements of crime thriller. One major thing I would love to see this film for is the Gorilla Monster in action as from the remaining stills of the film he looks great and he was also played by pro wrestler George Kotsonaros who was killed in a car wreck in 1933 when the car he was driven flipped over. The rest of the cast included Gustav von Seyffertitz as the Professor, Perlie Marchall as Murphy and Leila Hyams as Anne the judges daughter. Sadly the last known print of the film went up in flames in 1931when Fox had a bad studio fire. This film for many fans of Silent Horror is considered one of the most sought after to be found, and here is hoping one day it will be.

# 10

Life Without Soul 1915

Life Without Soul
Year: 1915       Director: Joseph W. Smiley     Country: United States

Dr. William Frawley created a Brute Man with a fluid who has a twisted mind and on the night of William’s wedding his creation kills the Bride and escapes into the darkness. As Brute Man travels across Europe his creator Dr. Frawley is hunting him and once he finds his creation he ends its life with a bullet, and then dies himself from exhaustion. This is the second film based on Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein and The Monster in this version is very toned down and is just a very strange looking man that was played by actor Percy Standing. I should also say that some people who cover this lost film say that Dr. Frawley killed his creation in the room of his dead wife, that Brute Man dies only after his creator does as well as The Monster was called The Creation and not Brute Man and some reports say that it was a statue given life while others say it was a corpse. Every classic Horror fan loves Frankenstein and I know that I am not the only one who would love to see this version be found so we can see how this one did at bringing the classic horror tale to the silver screen. Plus if Brute Man really was a statue to start with this also kind of has a Golem feel to it and that as well really makes me want to see it! Sadly no clips have survived of this film and only some production stills and ads have.

# 9

The Golem and the Dancing Girl 1917

The Golem And The Dancing Girl
Year: 1917       Director: Rochus Gliese & Paul Wegener     Country: Germany

This film is the second in the Golem trilogy and is also the second one to be lost from the trilogy and is a Horror Comedy that spoofs the original film. The plot for this one is very loose and is pieced together from many sources so we can not 100% be sure that this is really what the film was about. It’s said that in this film actor Paul Wegener plays himself and loves that the character he played The Golem has put fear in the hearts of movie goers and decides to have a little fun as he puts back on the costume and heads to a party in order to charm a young dancer named Helga as well as scare the attendees. This film peeks my interest because I would like to see how The Golem the first monster to have a trilogy of films become a comedy act in one of them. I am not sure how I would feel about this film and that’s why I hope that one day it’s found so I can see it for myself…will it be a great Horror Comedy or would if be a Unfunny mess, lets hope one day this second film in The Golem series is found. Sadly not much remains of this film besides some “Posters” and a promotional shot.

# 8

The Werewolf 1913

The Werewolf
Year: 1913       Director: Henry MacRae    Country: United States

The Werewolf is a lost film that needs to be found for a number of reasons like it is the first Werewolf film made and the other is it’s the first Universal Monster film made! The film is about a Native American witch who’s daughter as well gets powers and turns into a wolf in order to get revenge on white settlers and does again 100 years after her death. The film is a short one running about 18 minutes and stars the likes of Phyllis Gordon, Clarence Butyon, Marie Walcamp and William Clifford and the last known copy of the film burned up in the Universal Vault fire of 1924 that sadly destroyed so many classic cinema films. I would be really interested in seeing if this silent film had a werewolf transformation scene and if it did would it be cross dissolve effects, happen off screen or would it be make-up? I am a huge fan of werewolf films and this is one I would love to see as it really is considered the first film to showcase that creature, plus its great that this film had a Native America legend to it. Lets hope that one day Universal finds another copy tucked away in a vault or some private collector comes forward with a copy. Only a “poster” remains for this film.

# 7

A Blind Bargain 1922

A Blind Bargain
Year: 1922       Director: Wallace Worsley     Country: United States

This sadly is one of many of Lon Chaney Sr. Films that are lost to time due to poor film preservation from the silent era and is one that sounds like it would have been lots of spooky fun to see. Failed writer Robert Sandell is down on his luck and has an ill mother and decides to rob someone and chooses Dr. Lamb, but when the Doctor alerts him that he might be able to help his sick mother, and all Robert has to do is volunteer to help him in his experiments and want to become a published author. But soon Robert finds out that Dr. Lamb is a madman and has ruined many peoples life with failed experiments turning them into mindless monsters and in the end Robert must survive Dr. Lamb as well as his twisted creations. This film sounds amazing and had Lon Chaney Sr. playing two roles as he was Dr. Lamb as well as a hunchback assistant who was made that way because of Lamb. The film was rumored to have gotten a standing ovation at its premiere and the effects used for the experimented people looked fantastic with the Ape Man being the standout for me. Sadly the last prints of this film were lost in a vault fire at MGM in 1965 and lets hope one is found so we can all see this Lon Chaney Sr. Horror film. The film also starred Raymond McKee as Robert Sandell, Wallace Beery as Beast Man and Virginia True Boardman as Mrs. Sandell. Only the poster and some promotional shots remain of this film.

# 6

The Monster of Frankenstein 1920

The Monster Of Frankenstein
Year: 1920       Director: Eugenio Testa      Country: Italy

This is a very interesting sounding film as it was one of Italy’s early Horror Films and was made just before that genre was banned from cinema by Mussolini when he raised to power as well is the third film to be based on the Frankenstein story by Marry Shelley! The film also was considered too scary and was censored by many Nation’s as the film would screen in many languages all over the world. The films plot has Dr. Victor Frankenstein creating a life with not soul out of dead body parts and the creatures escapes the lab and goes on a rampage and must be stopped by Victor who confronts his creation in a cave and is forced to destroy it. The film has gone missing after it’s very long run and no print from any Country that showed is knows to have survived and all that we have left is some stills and promotional items. The film starred Luciano Albertini as Victor Frankenstein an actor who sadly ended up in an Asylum in his later years and Umberto Guarracino as The Monster who was not overly made-up like The Monster has been in more modern Frankenstein films. I would love for this film to be found as it being one of Italy’s early horror films as well as the fact it was censored so much due to its scary factor makes this a must. Lets home some day this one is found and is unleashed on viewers once more.

# 5

Das Phantom der Oper 1916

Das Phantom der Oper
Year: 1916       Director: Ernst Matray     Country: Germany

Das Phantom der Oper is a lost German Silent Horror Movie that is the first film to be based on the novel Phantom Of The Opera by Gaston Leroux and is one that I would love to see found as one of my favorite classic movie monsters is The Phantom and I would love to see how this one compares to the more famous 1925 version that starred Lon Chaney Sr. in the role of The Phantom! This early version has very little knows about it but what has been said is that the film is about up and coming singer Christine Day who is being trained by a mysteries man in the shadows known as The Phantom and when Raoul comes into her life The Phantom is now pleased and sets out to force her hand in marriage as well as end the life of her young suitor. It’s said that at the end of this lost film The Phantom is killed when a boiler explodes and he is caught in the blast. The film was not only screened in Germany and the surrounding areas but also the Netherlands and its during these out of country screenings in 1917 is when it’s believed that the film was lost. The film has actress Aud Egede-Nissen as Christine Daae, Ernst Matray as Raoul and Nils Olaf Chrisander as The Phantom! And I am sure you readers as well would love to see how Nils Olaf Chrisander appearance and performance as The Phantom compares to Lon Chaney Sr.’s version. Let’s hope that this Phantom doesn’t stay lost forever.

# 4

The Head of Janus 1920 Poster

The Head Of Janus
Year: 1920       Director: F.W. Murnau     Country: Germany

The mastermind of German silent Horror films F.W. Murnau who was known for the films Faust and Nosferatu also had his own version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that was called The Head Of Janus, but like with Nosferatu with the novel Dracula by Bram Stocker he did not get permission from Robert Louis Stevenson estate to do the film so many changes was made to the story. The story fallows Dr. Warren a man who bought a statue bust of the Roman god of the doorway Janus as a gift for his lady Jane Lanyon who takes one look at the creepy bust and rejects the gift forcing Dr. Warren to keep it himself. That night the statue turns Dr. Warren into a sinister character that goes by the name Mr. O’Connor and he goes to Jane’s house and kidnaps her and brings her back to the lab, the next morning when he turns back to Dr. Warren he is shocked by his actions and tries to get rid of the statue at an auction and finds himself bidding and buying the statue back showing that it has a hold on him. He once more turns back to Mr. O’Connor and goes and a violent rampage and once the law comes after him the crazed man commits suicide by poison with the curse bust statue in his hands. This sounds like it would be an amazing spooky classic film to see and you know that with F.W. Murnau in the director chair this one would have been a masterpiece. Conrad Veidt who played Cesare in The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari played Dr. Warren and Mr. O’Connor so again you know that he had to have turned in a very amazing performance! Other actors in the film include Margarete Schlegel, Magnus Stiffer and most amazing is Bela Lugosi who played The Butler! This film needs to be found as I am sure that it will be another Silent Horror Classic that will be in the same prestige as Nosferatu, Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Phantom Of The Opera, Haxan and so many more. Let’s hope that its found in out lifetime and is able to be seen my viewers once more. Sadly all we have is a few promotional material for the film as of this update.

# 3

The Golem 1915

The Golem
Year: 1915       Director: Henrik Galeen & Paul Wegener           Country: Germany

The first film in The Golem trilogy is sadly lost just as the second film is and this one is a film that I would love to be found, in fact I myself have written to film archives all around in order to try and see if a print is locked away in a vault someplace…and sadly at this point besides around 3 minutes of the film nothing has been found. The plot has Troedler an antiques dealer searching an old Jewish temple and finds the clay statue of a Golem that was brought to life by an amulet and helped save Jewish people from persecution, Troedler decides to take the Golem home and use him as a servant but sadly things go wrong when the Golem falls in love with Jessica the dealers daughter and when she does not show back the same affections the Golem goes on a rampage of damage and murder. This sounds like it would have been amazing and when you watch the three minutes of film that was found via YouTube it will really make you want this film to be found as it looks fantastic and super classically spooky. Paul Wegener is one of my favorite Silent Film Horror actors and this being the first in his Golem series makes it a must find and what is crazy so many rumors are around that prints are out in the world in the hands of private collectors who are hording them and not allowing them to be seen by Horror fans, in other words they want to be the only ones with the rare lost films. Let’s hope that one day this film is found or if the rumors are true a private collector lets this film be re-mastered and put back out so the world can see the horror of The Golem once more. The film has some footage and very little promotional material is what we have.

# 2

Dracula's Death 1921

Dracula’s Death
Year: 1921       Director: Karoly Lajthay           Country: Hungary

This lost Dracula film is not like your normal vampire Dracula fright flick as it plays more on mental illness, power of suggestion as well as a nightmarish dream world. The films plot is about a woman who visits an asylum and meets a man who claims to be Dracula and this torments her, as the man also seems to be in her dreams now causing them to become nightmares. The woman cannot take it anymore and escapes the asylum and later in life gets married and starts a new life…but she cannot escape Dracula in her dreams. And the big question is if that inmate is really Dracula or just a mentally disturbed man in the asylum. I think this film sounds fascinating and I for one would love to see if the man in the asylum was really Dracula and if so why has he targeted this young woman as a person to torment with terrible dreams. Many of rumors are going around about the film with most saying it is 100% lost and a few sources claiming a Hungarian Film Archive has a print in their collection and have never shared it. I reached out the film archive to see if I could get answers and as of this update they have never responded. Let’s hope that they do indeed have a print and one day they let the film see the light of the moon for us Silent Horror fans. As of right now we have a poster and production pictures to show us glimpses of this film.

# 1

London After Midnight 1927

London After Midnight
Year: 1927       Director: Tod Browning           Country: United States

I am sure the # 1 spot is not a surprise as London After Midnight really is the Holy Grail of lost Horror films and is one of the worlds most wanted lost film to be found! Over the years so many rumors have circled around the film being found in private collections from all over the world, some even are saying that Cuba has a print in their archives and I tracked this lead and never got a response from the archive. The plot of this film has a man named Sir Roger Balfour being found dead in his home of what is ruled as a self inflected gunshot wound by Inspector Edward C. Burke who is also an amateur hypnotist! Time passes and the new owners of the house are being haunted by a vampire looking man called The Man In The Beaver Hat and a undead looking woman, and the couple calls in Inspector Edward C. Burke who wants to solve the case as he does not think that Balfour killed himself and wants to use his hypnotist powers on the dead mans family members to find out who killed the man who is now missing from his tomb! And who is The Man In The Beaver Hat and his undead female friend and how do they tie into Inspector Edward C. Burke? This sounds like such a fun film and lets be honest all us horror fans love the look of The Man In The Beaver Hat as Lon Chaney Sr. once more designed such a creepy and awesome looking character as the actor played that role as well as Inspector Edward C. Burke. Other actors in this film included Marceline Day, Edna Tichenor, Claude King and Polly Moran. We do know that films poster, promotional stills, the script as well as some still have survived as the films last print is thought to have burned up in the MGM Vault Fire of 1965 along with so many other silent films. London After Midnight is a film that has some many film buffs and historians looking for a print that I think one day we will all be able to see this film again. The film was remade back in 1935 by director Tod Browning and starred Bela Lugosi in the role of the vampire. And TCM also did a fan reproduction of the film using stills from the film and lots of text cards. Lets hope that London After Midnight as well as every film on this list doesn’t always remain lost films.

London After Midnight 1927 1London After Midnight 1927 2London After Midnight 1927 3

Well that’s my list of Lost Silent Horror Films that I hope are found sooner then later and that not only I but all you classic horror fans get to see in our lifetime. And to be fair there is a few more films that could have made it to this list with one being the 1913 film called “The Vampire” from England that is about a Vampire Woman who could turn into a giant snake as well as “Robbing Cleopatra’s Tomb” from 1899 about a man who chops up the body of Cleopatra and by doing so brings her back to life and this one was directed by Georges Melies. And I have not given up my own quest to try and track down these films and will do all I can to try and help bring these lost Horrors back to the silver screen and TV screens the world over, and not to even mention the Silent Film Universe comics that we are doing at Blood Scream Comics to keep these films and characters alive. And over the years this far I have been able to find one “Lost” film in a overseas archive and am working on trying to get the film re-mastered and screened at a local Ohio theater and then get it out on home media…that is if I can get the very large amount needed to do so, but keep your eyes open for details of the film found and if I am able to get it saved. And sorry for not sharing yet I just don’t want to jinx myself with this one and I will say this film is not on this list and is a Silent Horror Comedy film. Well sense this is the Countdown To Halloween 2022 season as well as apart of Rotten Ink’s 10-year anniversary we will be sticking with the Horror theme and will be taking a look at another Anniversary that happened way back in 1998 and I am talking about Halloween H20! So until then read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Silent Horror Film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for Michael Myers big 20-Year Anniversary of being one of cinemas biggest horror icons.

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Malibu Comics Ultraverse Memories: Hardcase

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers, and welcome to another trip down memory lane with Malibu Comics and the Ultraverse line of heroes. For this one we will be taking a look at Hardcase! Growing up Malibu Comics characters were on my radar as I found them to be very cool modern heroes.  Cool looking characters like Prime, Sludge, Prototype and Mantra were all ones I felt I had to read and others I was lukewarm on as their looks didn’t get my attention like the Ultra Hero that we will be covering here, the powerhouse known as Hardcase who just looked like a generic hero and a knock off of Wonder Man from Marvel Comics.  But over the years I have come to really enjoy the heroic adventures of Hardcase and am looking forward to this update, so with that, let’s check out the Ultraverse world and the join Hardcase in it.

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Tom Hawke was a down on his lucky actor in Hollywood who was looking for a big break with a big role, and after the “Jumpstart Effect” was unleashed by the aliens to bring out the Ultra Powers of some people, he gained some abilities that included super strength, durability and decides to team with fellow Ultra Heroes and so with Starburst, D.J. Blast and Forsa they formed the team The Squad! And Hardcase and his friends became heroes who helped stop crime as well as did what they could for charity events. But after a fight with an entity called the NM-E, his superhero life was changed forever. And after returning to Hollywood he would become an action star actor and as well would once more be forced back into being a superhero, and would become a mainstay in the world of Ultras and be involved in many of the big events. His super powers include being super strong, can leap over a mile, is able to shrug off almost all battle damage, extreme temperature change does not effect him he also can hear and see long distances away. He would later team up with a female Ultra Hero called Choice who has the power to fly, fire beams from her eyes and is super strong. So as you can see Hardcase is one of Malibu Comics big Ultraverse heroes and some would say he is the leader when it comes to all the heroes having to come together to stop world shattering threats.

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If the characters of the Ultraverse ended up in the Marvel Universe in modern times and I was writing it, this is what I would do with Hardcase! I would first start out Hardcase as a three issue mini series and set it in California and have Tom Hawke getting a gig starring as the lead in a big budget action sci-fi movie that is much in the style of films like Mars Attack and Independence Day and soon he finds out that the Alien Invasion is real and that the director of the film is using the production of the film as a contact spot to bring the aliens who are from another dimension to Earth with the goal of taking over! Hardcase would also be dating Choice and in the end he feels good about being a hero again and alerts his lady that he is returning to be a superhero and will be joining The West Coast Avengers! And from here on I would place Hardcase and Choice into The West Coast Avengers and the team members would be Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Moon Knight, Tigra, War Machine, Doctor Druid and Wonder Man, and I would play up a big rivalry with Hardcase and Wonder Man as both are Hollywood actors and at some point Wonder Man gets a crush on Choice and this would be like the Jean Grey, Cyclops and Wolverine story arch but this will end up with Hardcase and Wonder Man having a massive fight that takes the team to break them apart! And from there I would have Hardcase out of the team and being embarrassed he leaves the group as well as Choice and becomes a loner as he goes missing and I would have him end up going to the Philippines and fighting super villains, pirates as well as drug runners in his own on going series and at some point would have Choice tracking him down and trying to get him to come back to The Avengers. I really do think that Hardcase could fit into the modern Marvel Comics Universe and let’s cross our fingers that someday Disney the owners of Marvel will get the guts to bring all the Malibu Ultraverse characters back to the world of comic books.

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Hardcase was one of the heroes that appeared in the short lived Ultraverse cartoon along side Prime, Prototype, Topaz, Nightman and The Ghoul and this cartoon spawned a short lived action figure line from Galoob. And because I am a fan of Malibu Comics I of course have the Hardcase figure that while cool that it was made it is a little cheesy as he comes with a glider as his accessory. The figure has the characters look down with gold shoulder pads as well as his trademark pony tail and for some reason his eyes are a little crossed and he looks like he is trying to stare into your soul. Glad I have this figure and while he is not my favorite in the series he still is a cool one that looks great alongside the others in my collection. Oh and on a side note does anyone remember the old six-minute music video made by Malibu Comics and Wizard Magazine that featured kickboxer and actor Gary Daniels as Hardcase? If you want to watch it look it up on YouTube as it’s a fun and weird watch.

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So now that we have chatted about Hardcase and who the character is and what I think Marvel Comics could have done with the character if they did not fail the fans of Malibu Comics like they did, it’s time for us to dive into the review of his comic series! Some of these issues will be a re-read for me while others will be a first time read and I am very much looking forward to diving in as I have really loved doing these updates that allows me to talk about these Ultra Heroes as well as revisit the comic series. I want to thank Bell Book And Comic, Lone Star Comics and Game Swap Kettering for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets go on an epic Ultra adventure with Hardcase and see how he holds up all these years later.

Hardcase Comic 1

Hardcase # 1  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 1 of 26

Hardcase is hurt bad he is bleeding and his arm is dislocated and he is watching as one of his fellow The Guard member Forsa is being killed by a strange looking alien robot, his other friends D.J. Blast and Starburst are on the ground and are in very bad shape, as D.J. tells Hardcase to grab Starburst and get away as fast as he can and our hero does so just as D.J. forces himself to explode taking down the Alien thing. And Hardcase gets even more bad news as it looks like Starburst may never wake up as the fight left her with server brain damage. A year after this event and Hardcase is now a full time actor making action films based around himself and his co-star in all these films is a one time washed up teen actor named Justin Kuttner who is a royal jerk and still has an ego. While waiting for the next shot to be set up Hardcase is in his trailer when a cop stops by and asks him to sign a poster and tells him he wishes he was still a superhero as what he and The Squad did was very helpful to them, Hardcase tells him that his hero days are over…just as a call goes out about a bank robbery and the cop rushes off. At the bank a Ultra powered villain named Head Knocker is killing the cops who have came to stop his robbery and even their bullets seem to not affect him. When Hardcase still on set hears the gun fire he leaves the movie to help and finds the massacre, in a rage he fights Head Knocker and beats him with a car and swears he will never loose again and then tells the media that is on hand that he is back as a Ultra Hero! Meanwhile in a underground base a naked man named Rex Mundi is watching this news and is very mad to see him return to being a hero, and it’s clear he is responsible for sending the Alien Robot now named NM-E out to kill Ultras and looks like he might just do it again.

This first issue of Hardcase is lots of fun and is a great way to kick off a series as it drops you smack in the middle of a fight that has our Ultra Powered heroes loosing with them being ripped apart and blood everywhere! And out first look at the books title hero has him bleeding, broken and beaten by a very sinister looking robot alien thing. And from there the comic is about Hardcase finding his way back to being a Hero and trying to overcome the fear of loosing and letting his friends down. Hardcase is a pretty interesting character as he is super strong, has super hearing and can leap for miles but also has issues like all of us as when he was beaten up and two of his friends killed before his eyes and another beaten so bad she has yet to wake up it effects his mind and causes him to step away from who he wants to be and instead he plays the hero he wants to be in movies. I also like that when he sees that other Ultras are running around and doing very bad things he steps back up and smacks them down and finds that spark to be the hero that he knows he is. And at this point I am not sure who all will be main characters in our story but I am sure we will see more of NM-E as well as Rex Mundi who lives underground and hates Ultras and I also think maybe Justin Kuttner that weasel will also come into play and will probably be a trader and do something to screw over Hardcase. This comic is also way more bloody then I would have thought as limbs are ripped off and skulls are crushed! The cover is a little puzzling and while it showcases Hardcase it also looks very generic and not as flashy as other first issue releases in the Ultraverse. The interior art is really good and is done by Jim Callahan and his work has the classic early 90’s look. Over all a great first issue that drew me into the story of Hardcase and is making me wanting to see what the next issue has in store for him now that he has returned as a hero.

Hardcase Comic 2

Hardcase # 2  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu      # 2 of 26

Choice is on the run as she is being hunted down as a company wants her back as they use her as a spokes person for products, and she hates her life with them and wants to find Hardcase in order to get help. Meanwhile Hardcase himself is at the funeral of the cop he meet at the film set that was killed by Head Knocker and meets his brother who is also a cop and the two seem to build a friendship. Once back home Hardcase gets a visitor in Choice who tells him that the company she works for has messed with her mind and body and she needs his help, he agrees just as her attackers appear with orders now to kill Hardcase and bring Choice back to the company. They even blow up Hardcases home and this sets him off and he and Choice take out the attackers with one being killed as he was run over by a semi truck. It looks like Mr. Dixon of the Choice Cooperation is the one who sent them and now Hardcase and Choice are heading to his headquarters to get answers.

This second issue is good and introduces us to new characters as well as shows that Hardcase is a hero who feels lots of guilt if he feels that people have died that he could have prevented if he would have arrived quicker. The plot has a runaway Ultra being hunted down by a big company and having to find Hardcase in order to get help. Choice is the new Ultra we meet and she is very cool and has some great powers like she can fly, shoot laser beams from her eyes and also shrug off attacks…but only for an hour and when she is wearing a special suit. The raise the question that she is not really an Ultra, that she might not even be a human and also that she is crazy and only future issues will answer these questions. Hardcase is willing to help Choice as its clear he finds her attractive and he is still trying to show the world he is back as a hero and what better way to showcase his return then helping a beautiful product spokes woman! I also like that he has built two new friendships in this issue with one being Choice and the other being Officer Chuck Brown who I hope comes back into play in a future issue. Mr. Dixon and the Choice Corporation who are into making profits and as well trying their best to out do UltraCorp who has Prototype as their mascot of sorts. And while at this point they are not super threatening they do have armored suit assassins on their payroll who have no issues killing people. This issue also has a little bit of blood as one of the metal assassins is ran over by a truck and his blood is splattered all over the street! The cover for this issue is good and eye catching and has Hardcase standing looking mad and ready to fight with fire in the background. The interior art is a mixed bag as a group of artists known as Cranial Implant Studio worked on the issue with some art looking great others is 100% not my style of art. Over all a good issue that takes our hero into his first mission back as a Ultra Hero and does a great job of expanding his world and cast of characters.

Hardcase Comic 3

Hardcase # 3  **1/2
Released in 1993      Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 3 of 26

Mr. Dixon is holding a meeting as things have gotten out of hand as Choice has beat his forces and he fears that she and Hardcase are on their way, but we soon find that Rex Mundi who lives under ground has offered to help him stop the two Ultra Heroes and lends them a new team he has made called Omega Team (Gun Nut, The Needler & Trouble) to get Choice back as well as kill Hardcase. Meanwhile Officer Brown arrives at the destroyed house of Hardcase and warns him that the Choice Cooperation is very powerful, and Brown stays at the destroyed house and tries to get the press out of the home as Hardcase and Choice head to the beach as Choice is acting weird and saying things that contradict what she has said before and this causes Hardcase to question if she is sane, and they are attacked by Omega Team who start off by trying to blow our hero up with a missile. Omega Team strikes hard and end up taking Choice down and its Hardcase that ends up beating the three up and he and Choice talk to the press about the attack were part of Choice’s brainwashing kicks in and has here take up for the Choice Cooperation. In the end Hardcase and Choice head to another of his homes only to find the Ultra Hero team The Strangers are waiting for them.

This third issue has the story of what is the deal with Choice thicken as we learn fully that they have messed with her mind that limits what she can say about the company in public as well as they really want her back as they think she is a investment as she sells products for them and that’s all that really matters. Poor Hardcase is confused as she says lots of things that makes him question her sanity and sense meeting her has to fight Ultras as well as lost his home all for trying to help her. I like the character of Choice she is powerful and yet also flawed and not due to her own will and this makes her more interesting. Hardcase is clearly falling for Choice but is also a little shaky on her as he is not 100% sure if he can trust her as he knows that clearly something is off about her. Mr. Dixon and his company at this point are shown that while they are bad, they need help from truly bad people in order to do the bad stuff they do as Rex Mundi and his created Ultras are clearly the true evildoers as they only at this point want one thing and that’s to kill Hardcase as they have something against him. This is a good issue that keeps the story going and keeps in interesting as it shows us readers that Hardcase has found his groove and is really ready to be a hero again as he totally kicks the butts of Omega Team. The downside is I am not to happy that they already have a crossover set up as the story and issue could have done without The Strangers. The cover for this issue is ok and has Hardcase being shocked and the interior art is once more done by Jim Callahan and is good stuff and again really is the style I think of when looking back at the Ultraverse. So with that lets see what issue four has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 4

Hardcase # 4  *1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 4 of 26

Hardcase and Choice are ready to fight The Strangers as they do not know them, but when tempers get in check Hardcase meets his new guests by his pool as they are new to the Ultra Hero business and are asking him for advice. The Strangers start by introducing themselves as well as their powers, next Hardcase tells them about how he got his Ultra powers during a film audition and how he meet those in his original hero group The Guard and they decided to use their powers to be heroes and stop crimes in California. Hardcase then tells them about the battle against NM-E that left almost all of his friends dead and gave him mental scares of having to witness it all. Hardcase then starts to think that maybe the Aladdin Company is who sent NM-E to kill them all those years ago and along with Choice and The Strangers they head to Groom Lake in order to find the answers but are meet by Ultra Villains he attack and get all our heroes as prisoners.

This issue is just a set up for the reader to but an issue of The Strangers and that really stinks as the Hardcase story really suffers from this. While in the issue we do get to see that Choice and Hardcase are getting closer and that maybe just maybe someone form the Aladdin Company is who wanted him and his old team killed! Other wise it’s mostly filled with flashback moments to the early days of Hardcase. Really disappointed in this issue and I honestly don’t have much to even say about it. Choice in the issue is very protective of Hardcase, as she gets a little jealous of the attention he is getting from one of the female members of The Strangers. Hardcase himself is stull trying to be a hero and tries to give advice as well as takes the rookie team on a mission with him, that ends up getting them all beat up! The cover is a pull out one and is pretty cool and showcases Hardcase as well as The Strangers and Choice and is eye catching. The interior art is done by James Hudnall and is well done. The reason this issue is getting such a low star rating is that it just feels like a comic that Malibu released in order to get Hardcase readers to buy the next issue of The Strangers, and I am not a fan of that tactic that comic companies use to do. Over all the Hardcase stuff that furthers his storyline is good the cheap add on stuff of The Strangers is not. Lets just move on and see what issue five has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 5

Hardcase # 5  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 5 of 26

Hardcase and Choice go and visit Officer Brown at the station and he informs them that he has never been to Hardcase’s home and that means someone acting like him showed up and watched the home after the attack, and this puzzles them all. But before the dive to deep into that Hardcase heads to the office of Mr. Dixon as well and tells him to leave Choice alone…the meeting does not go well. And while all this is going on a Ultra killer is murdering drug sellers as he is called Hardwire and is a killer for hire, and he has now been hired by Rex Mundi to kill Hardcase! A woman shows up and warns Hardcase and Choice about Rex and his hatred for them, but our heroes ignore the warning and go on a date for the night. Hardcase and Choice go dancing and have a late dinner and on the way back home they stop at a gas station and while Choice uses the restroom Hardcase is attacked by Hardwire who’s razor like nails cuts the skin of Hardcase and this shocks our hero as his skin is tough, but things get worse when Hardwire stabs Hardcase with his nails and our hero starts to bleed to death. As Choice rushes to his side unknown what has happened Hardwire is sneaking up behind her. And worse on a beach two friends find the head of NM-E and it takes over one of their bodies and wants to rebuild it’s self and finish its job of killing Hardcase it’s self.

In this issue we have zero clue on what happened at Groom Lake with The Strangers and our story picks back up with Hardcase and Choice wanting to get Mr. Dixon off her case and the meeting does not go well as its clear that he still has control over Choice. We also learn that a shape shifting Ultra is acting like Officer Chuck Brown and is keeping an eye on Hardcase and we also find out that a killer that has Ultra Powers has been hired by that scumbag Rex Mundi to kill our hero. And crazy enough we also now see that NM-3 is back and is wanting a rematch to finish the job of killing Ultra Heroes and all Hardcase wanted to do in this issue is stand up for his lady and have a nice night out with her. The issue also is a little bloody as when NM-3 takes over one of the teens he uses his powers and blows the guts out of the other with a blast! It also stinks that Mr. Dixon has a grip on Choice and can even make it so that she cannot speak at all, and that she really is living in fear as she has no control of herself when she is around him. Also Hardwire is a snuff film watching razor nailed slashing nut job that really does love killing anyone he is asked to slaughter. And another big question that I cannot wait to see how it plays out is who is the fake Officer Brown and are they friend or foe? I also wondering how Hardcase is going to survive the attack as he has been cut and stabbed pretty bad and he is bleeding out in a parking lot late at night, makes me wonder if Choice will have to go full power on Hardwire to save them both from being killed. The cover for this issue is eye-catching cause it has Hardcase bleeding and it’s more rare to show the comics hero bleeding that bad. The interior art is done by Scott Benefiel and is pretty good and while a little too sketchy for my taste I can see how some comic readers would enjoy it. I am glad this comic series is back on track and the focus is on Hardcase and Choice as they are what is making this series very good.

Hardcase Comic 6

Hardcase # 6  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 6 of 26

Hardcase is in the street dying and Choice activates her shields as well as ability to fly and dodges Hardwire and gets Hardcase to a hospital and he is lucky as he is able to heal fast and bounce back. Meanwhile Rex Mundi sees the news that he is not dead and then goes into a room that is filled with tons of Ultra Villains and they are told that they have all been hired by Rex as he wants to steal and take over The Moon! Hardware gets another visit from the mystery woman Regina who tells Choice and him that she can help them get the answers they are seeking and also tells them the location of Hardwire who is on another mission to kill. So not fully healed Hardcase and Choice head to a street that is the home of several gang members and find Hardwire there killing the crime members, but this time our heroes are prepared and they beat up the razor nailed bad guy and Hardcase even dislocates Hardwire’s shoulders to make it impossible to hurt the cops who show up to arrest him. In the end Hardcase goes home to sleep and thinks back to when he was dying and how he seen the spirit of Starburst who told him it was not his time to die.

This was another good issue in the Hardcase comic series as it starts with Hardcase at deaths gate and leaving his own body and encounters the spirit of his friend who is in a coma, and we also follow Hardcase as he heels up and gets his revenge on Hardwire they man who almost killed him! And while Hardcase and Choice are able to get their revenge on Hardwire who is brought to justice for not only the attack on them, but also all the murders he has done. But lots of new plot twists are thrown in including Regina still going out of her way in order to try and “help” our heroes, though I am not sure if I trust her as she seems to be promising lots. We also learn that while Hardcase has tough skin he can be cut by Ultra’s and can in fact die, even though he does heal fast. And the biggest new plot is why does Rex Mundi want to go to the moon and what is his end game plan for his Ultra Villains when they get there? This issue does also a great job of showing that Hardcase can be super tough and even slightly mean spirited as he uses his super strength to rip both of Hardwire’s arms out of their sockets and leaves him in pain! And due to all this other drama we still are not closer to finding anything out about Choices past and what has been done to her, and I am hoping that in the coming issues more of her backstory will start to unfold. The cover for this issue is ok and while not my taste, it does reek of 90’s Indie Superhero comic. The interior art is good and done by Scott Benefiel and looks a little less sloppy sketchy then the last issue. So another good issue that has new bait on the plot hooks to reel readers in.

Hardcase Comic 7

Hardcase # 7  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95      Malibu      # 7 of 26

Hardcase and Choice stop a pair of carjackers and head to the business office of Hardcase as she meets his employees who are working on trying to figure out a way for her to get out of the contract with the Choice Cooperation. Meanwhile NM-E has created a new twisted body and is looking for more Ultra Heroes as he wants to kill them all. Later that night Hardcase and Choice meet up with Regina for a late dinner and she tells them about how Ultra’s are born and it all comes from waves from The Moon! She tells them they need to get to the Moon before Rex and his crew do as there is an object up there that needs to be rescued from their grips, and Hardcase soon finds out she is making him team with the Ultra Team called The Solution. Once back home Hardcase and Choice notice an explosion on a near by island that triggers a tsunami and our heroes do they best they can to save lives before it its, they save some but sadly many die. Before our heroes have a moment to think Regina shows up and takes them to a massive space ship and alerts them its time to get to the moon.

This issue of Hardcase is pretty interesting as we now know that an object on the moon is what has give some people on Earth their Ultra powers and that included Hardcase. We learn that Rex hates Ultras and is the one who wants them dead, and is using them in order to get a power source from the moon. Regina has some answers and gives a little and is also hiding some to keep Choice and Hardcase in line to help her. And poor Hardcase feels like a pinball as he is being attacked and tricked as well as is doing what he can to help his new girlfriend to break free and discover her dark past. And this issue while not action packed is used to further the plot of the item on the moon as well as adds a little more drama with Regina knowing lots about our hero’s pasts. Plus lets not forget that we have added the team The Solution to this mission and a few members clearly do not think highly of Hardcase as they see him as an armature hero. The stuff with the tsunami is sad stuff as our heroes have to watch as many people die, and I wish they would have played out this part as their sadness is way to short due to Regina’s appearance to summon them to get to the ship. The cover is good and has Hardcase and Choice about to be hit by the tsunami, and the interior art is once more done by Scott Benefiel and is good for the most part with some panels I feel very much lacking. Over all a good issue and I cannot wait to see Hardcase on the moon!

Hardcase Comic 8

Hardcase # 8  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 8 of 26

Omega Team and the other Ultra villains have failed on the moon and are heading back to their ship only to watch it take off as Hardcase and the heroes have taken it to return to Earth leaving them stuck on the moon. They call Rex for help who tells them that he will not send a rescue ship as they have failed and if they make it back to Earth alive he will allow them to keep the money he has given them. Meanwhile back on the ship Hardcase and The Solution are starting to wonder what Regina’s real connection is to Rex as its clear that the two know each other and have the same goals, but before they can find the answers the ship is blown up by Rex still in space! Meanwhile Omega Team and the other Ultra Villains are able to get back to Earth but land in a desert when one member uses all his power to bring them home. Meanwhile in space Hardcase, Choice and The Solution survived the explosion and all head back to Earth. Once back home Choice alerts Hardcase that she has little bits of memory of her past and they find a note and some money left by Regina that tells them to head back to Groom Lake for more answers about Choice. Meanwhile Rex thinks he has killed Hardcase and is even more happy with NM-E arrives home as he now has his ultimate Ultra killing machine back.

Man Malibu Comics is really bad for these cross over series that start in one series and makes you buy another to finish the story, and with this one we miss all the moon stuff and you would have to buy Break-Thru in order to see the battle on the moon and I say that is B.S. and one reason Malibu frustrates me. The plot of this issue has our heroes coming back to Earth from the moon and wondering what Rex and Regina are all about before having the ship blown up and them having to drift their way back home. And we also see that Rex leaves his bad Ultras stuck in space and they have to use there wits and powers to as well return home. And the biggest things we get from this issue is that NM-E has returned to Rex and that Groom Lake really is the place that has the answers to Choices past. Cover is cool but miss leading as Hardcase fights no one let alone a creature in this issue and the interior art by Scott Benefiel is ok but he also uses lots of big panels to film out this rice paper thin plot of this issue. Over all just a fill in issue with some new plot elements sprinkled in.

Hardcase Comic 9

Hardcase # 9  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 9 of 26

Hardcase is at the hospital talking to Starburst who has been in a coma for over a year, and he is telling her he is sorry as she was his girlfriend and he fills her in on events that just happened that is the following. While on the set of his new movie Choice visits him and is upset that he has a love scene with an actress, as she wonders why he has never made the move on her yet, he explains he feels odd doing so over Starburst and the fact he does not want to take advantage of her. The next day they have a run in with a monster Ultra named Turf that has been killing celebrities and now wants to crush the life out of Hardcase, you see Turf is an Ultra who uses the soil around him to become the monster and who is a psychopath who is obsessed with famous people and is mad when they do not write back to his weird fan letters. When Choice shows up the heroes defeat him, as like always Aladdin shows up to take Turf away. Once home Hardcase and Choice finally fully fall in love and that brings us back to the hospital were Hardcase tells Starburst that he is in love with Choice and that he is sorry. As he leaves Starburst sheds a tear.

This is a good issue as it pushes the fact that Hardcase and Choice are now a couple and that they love each other, it is also lets Hardcase finally be able to not live in the past and dwell on his failures and opens his heart to his one time lady. While you feel good for Hardcase, you have to feel a little bad for Starburst who clearly has her heartbroken as the one she loved is now walking away from her when she needs him the most. The villain Turf in this issue is very much inspired by the Greek Mythology giant named Antaeus as they both get their powers from touching the land. But Turf is crazy as he brutally murders famous people that he feels disrespected him by not responding to his crazy letters, and while as the mud looking monster he is creepy as a person he is really just a chubby dude with no confidence. While the only major thing that happens in this issue being that Hardcase and Choice start dating, it still was a very good issue that was a way to move past the old and bring in the new plot elements. The cover is action packed and shows Turf beating up our heroes and the interior art by Brent Anderson is good and I like the way he draws the monster version of Turf. Lets see if our next issue gets us on track to once more crash into Groom Lake to find out the truth about Choice.

Hardcase Comic 10

Hardcase # 10  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu      # 10 of 26

The Aladdin Company has been watching and listening to Hardcase for weeks unknown to him and Choice, as they are thinking he is a threat to them and know that Regina has left him a note to head back to the Groom Lake base to find out about Choices past as well as her powers. Right before our heroes are set to go to the base Choice shares some memories that are conflicting like having loving parents in America as well as being orphaned in Vietnam and having to hide on a cramped boat with others to travel to America to find freedom. And after hearing these details Hardcase gets super mad and says that they Aladdin will pay for all this, as its clear he is hiding something more that is making him very mad. Agent Malik is one the case of killing Hardcase once he arrives at Groom Lake and he is allowed to release two captured Ultra Baddies in order to help his team of Ultra Heroes Dirt Devil, Foxfire and War Eagle bring down the actor turned hero, and he chooses Head Knocker and Hardwire to join the cause as each of those two hate Hardcase. And as Hardcase and Choice are driving to Groom Lake a helicopter appears and the Bad Ultras start jumping out.

Well we know that The Aladdin Company has been watching Hardcase as they do not like this Ultra Hero and want him dead now that he is trying to once more get into their base. Agent Malik is the man who has been given the duty of watching Hardcase as well as be the one who leads the task force to try and kill him. While he is clearly loyal to Aladdin his mission is clearly making him nervous. The return of Hardwire and Head Knocker is a nice touch as both of these Ultra baddies clearly want revenge of Hardcase the hero that beat them both and allowed them to be captured and placed in this situation via Aladdin, but it does make me wonder if these two will work well together as well as along with the other Ultras that have been sent to stop and eliminate Hardcase. Speaking of Hardcase his rage over Aladdin is clearly deeper then what he is sharing and he kind of rages and seems to almost forget that the mission is to help Choice and not his own grudge. This is a pretty cool issue as I like the idea that a company is spying on a Superhero as they find him to be a threat to their plans and are willing to kill him in order to have zero interruptions. And with only two Ultras against five it makes you wonder how Hardcase and Choice will survive. The cover is ok for this issue and the interior art by Kelly Krantz and is pretty good. Over all a good issue that builds up to the next issue that I am very much looking forward to reading, as I want to see how our heroes get out of this mess.

Hardcase Comic 11

Hardcase # 11  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 11 of 26

Hardcase and Choice are ready for a fight and after their car is blown up our heroes go on the attack! As Hardcase takes down Dirt Devil and Choice brings down Foxfire things turn bad for War Eagle who is also taken down. Choice tells their fallen foes that they better not see them at Groom Lake or next time they will not be so nice. Meanwhile Hardwire and Head Knocker have already headed back to the Aladdin base and are waiting for the heroes to arrive so they can attack and get their revenge on Hardcase. Our heroes decide to take a rest before attacking the base to find the answers as Choice needs to have her powers recharge but their rest is cut short, as Head Knocker and Hardwire have found them.

This issue is packed with action and has our heroes dealing with other Ultra powered heroes and this time the good guys are fighting hard as they have been pushed to far, and Hardcase is mad that all of his cars keep getting destroyed! Choice as well is more aggressive and that is because she is so close to getting the answers to her past. The team of Dirt Devil, Foxfire and War Eagle are just over powered and are defeated fast, and even Foxfire is forced to spill the beans on who sent them as well as how Aladdin has been keeping tabs on Hardcase and Choice. I have to say the team of Hardwire and Head Knocker are the smart ones as they do not rush into the fight and instead wait for the heroes to already have had a fight and need a rest before they go in for the kill, and leaving us on that cliffhanger was a great way to make readers look forward to the next issue. The cover is ok and has Choice crawling on the ground and the interior art by Scott Benefiel is good and has the classic Malibu look. Over all a good action packed issue that felt like a really quick read and with that lets see how our heroes deal with Head Knocker and Hardwire.

Hardcase Comic 12

Hardcase # 12  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 12 of 26

Head Knocker attacks Hardcase as Hardwire goes after Choice as the agents of Aladdin watch the battle via radar. Head Knocker is just as strong as Hardcase and lands some big punches and keeps our hero on defense and makes him worried for Choice who is being slashed at by Hardwire who has killing on his mind. And with the odds against them Hardcase makes the decision to grab Choice and retreat as he knows that they might not win this fight and they leap away. And with that Head Knocker and Hardwire decide that they are not going back to Aladdin as they are free and head towards a highway to try and steal a car to escape in. Meanwhile Hardcase tells Choice that they are going about this all wrong and when FireFox, War Eagle and Dirt Devil show up at their location they make a deal with Aladdin that they will both just leave each other alone…and the deal is accepted. Hardcase then tells Choice that he has another idea to get the answers about her past that is not them attacking the base at Groom Lake and they head to a hotel in Las Vegas and put a call to Tech from the group The Solution who will arrive in a few days, but while they wait they decide to have fun around town. Tech shows up and they raid the files of Aladdin and are all shaken badly when they find out that part of Choices brain is that of Starburst the ex-girlfriend of Hardcase that is in a coma.

This is another action packed issue that has our heroes going against two of the biggest Ultra Baddies they have fought this far, and worse this time around our heroes are both weakened from a previous battle and the odds are not in their favor to win. Hardcase who in the last two issues let his anger get the better of him shows that he can also use his mind to get the results he seeks and needs. While poor Choice finds that her mind is not her own and that she has part of another woman’s mind in hers and that very bad things have happened to her all to create a spokeswoman for a big corporation. And the people of Aladdin are clearly cold blooded and do not care who’s lives they ruin as long as their secrets do not leak out to the world. And Aladdin is also now responsible for letting two very dangerous Ultra Villains loose with Hardwire and Head Knocker who rival Hardcase in power once more in society to hurt innocent lives. The end of this issue leaves Hardcase and Choice heartbroken and crying and makes you wonder what will be in store for the Choice Corporation and Aladdin now that our heroes know the terrible backstory that lead to Choice and her powers. I really like that this issue as well shows that while Hardcase is strong he does have some major foes in Head Knocker and Hardwire who equal him in powers. The cover is pretty cool and showcases the heroes and villains fighting and the interior art by Scott Benefiel is good like before. The plot really has thickened for Choice and I like this new plot element that her brain has part of another’s and I for one am looking forward to reading the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 13

Hardcase # 13  **
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 13 of 26

Choice and Hardcase calm down and try and get their rage and heartbreak in check and sit down and start reading the files that Tech got from Aladdin. Meanwhile unknown beings are watching the two and are chatting that they need Choice in order to defeat their enemies. Choice learns that she was an orphaned child from Vietnam who was taken in by Aladdin once she arrived in America and was brainwashed and had her mind worked on by them and her memories erased when they choose her to be a test subject for make a Ultra that can be controlled. They use part of the brains of Starburts and other falling Ultras to give her powers, and even the boss of Choice Corporation used her and abused her. And when she started to regain memories of her own as well as that of Starblast they set her to be reprogramed in Brazil and that is when she escaped and ended up finding Hardcase for help. Choice takes a moment and then lets Hardcase and Tech know that a weight feels like it has been lifted from her, as she now knows her past and that with this information she will bring down both Aladdin and the Choice Corporation by releasing it all to the public. But just like that Choice is zapped away and finds herself face to face with the beings that welcome her to her new home.

We finally get the backstory to Choice who was a young woman who has had a very hard life from the start as her mother died, her father is an unknown American, when coming to USA she is brainwashed and experimented on and has parts of other peoples brains implanted in her own! When she is first forced with these facts she seems very upset and yet very shortly later seems to learn to be ok with it, and real quick I already dislike these alien being things that kidnap her…can we please leave aliens out of this, but to be fair they could also be demons. Hardcase is raged that Aladdin has removed part of Starburst’s brain and this will make sure she never will awake from her coma, and you know that he will not allow this to slide. This was a cool issue because they finally 12 issues in really do show the backstory of Choice, but I feel they do so poorly in presentation as its mostly done in text over splash pages of basic art and just kind of lacks the impact it should. And even more odd the shocking emotions that the characters have in the last page of issue 12 seems to disappear and they kind of all act normal and just more like “superheroes”. The cover is good and showcases Choice and the interior art this time is done by Kelly Krantz is ok but sometimes the screamy expressions on the characters faces is laughable. Over all an ok issue that does answers many lingering questions as well as moves stories along.

Hardcase Comic 14

Hardcase # 14  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 14 of 26

Hardcase is filled with anger and confusion and the burning desire to kill who ever has kidnapped Choice, but he is calmed down by Tech who calls Shadowmage an alien magician who is a member of the Solution and she shows up and says that is was alien magic like from her home world that made the portal that took Choice away. Hardware gets the two ladies to follow him home and as Tech destroys all the bugs in his home placed by Aladdin while Shadowmage tries to see if any magic has been in his home to also spy and she comes up empty handed. After the two ladies leave the home Hardcase pouts for a bit before heading out in order to alert the police of Choices abduction and he as well as swings by the hospital to visit Starburst. Meanwhile Rex Mundi has used his demonic forces to use little creatures to spy on Hardcase so that the newly rebuilt NM-E can watch and learn the heroes every move. And to top it all off Hardwire shows up at the home of Hardcase and is waiting for him to get home so that he can attack and kill him.

This issue is 100% filler and for the most part really boring as all it really does is set up that Rex is priming NM-E to learn all it can about Hardcase to kill him in their next fight, that Hardwire is waiting for his time for a rematch, magic is what took Choice away and that Hardcase goes to the police to report a missing person…this issue has zero action and has plot points that are dragged out way to long. Hardcase comes off like a child throwing a temper tantrum and then goes to the cops for help to find his missing girlfriend who has been taking away to another world, and the cops are even looking at him like he is dumb as what can they do about that. This is really a bad issue and it’s a shame that Malibu released it and did not add these elements of plot around at least some sort of action or even better drama. The cover is cool and eye catching and the interior art by Steve Carr are ok and is your standard indie 90s comic style. Over all a bland issue that I don’t want to spend any more time on so lets move onto the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 15

Hardcase # 15  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 15 of 26

Hardcase shows back up home and finds that not only his front door being destroyed but so is all the stuff inside all by the hands of Hardwire. And this pushes Hardcase to far who finds Hardwire in his house and the two start to fight, both want to do nothing more then destroy each other! Hardcase is really rough in his fighting style and beats the hell out of Hardwire who is still able to use his razor like nails to slice the skin and injury our hero. But Hardcase knocks Hardwire out when he rams his head through a wall and leaves him bloody on the floor. The whole fight Rex Mundi has been watching and as Hardcase wins and is injured he sends in NM-E to finish and kill Hardcase!

This is another action packed issue that has Hardcase very mad and ready to finish a feud that has been going on way to long and because of his crazy life for the past months and all the fights he has been in his fighting skill has gotten way better and he uses not only his powers but also plans out the fights better. Hardwire who is a deadly villain who has nails that slice and dice is a little to cocky and thinks the fight will be an easy win and soon finds out that he needed a better plan of action as he gets bloody and beatdown. Rex Mundi and NM-E meanwhile are enjoying the fight and will be going in for the kill when the fight is over as they both want to see Hardcase dead! The issue goes back to being bloody a trait that was missing from many issues and the fight between the two is really well done and both sides get some great hits off. This issue gives us nothing on what is going on with Choice and we focus on Hardcase and we add the new threat of the rebuilt and bigger and badder NM-E who has entered the battlefield on the last page and really makes me look forward to the next issue that I hope is as action packed as this one. The cover for this issue is great and eye catching and is pure 90’s superhero stuff! The interior art is done by two artist and one is good and the other is not my taste as the two’s style clashes and even at times they are drawing the character different! The good artist is Greg Luzniak and his style is fantastic and the not my cup of tea artist is Tim Hamilton. Over all this is a great issue and his action packed and delivers an ending that makes me really looking forward to the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 16

Hardcase # 16  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $3.50     Malibu     # 16 of 26

Hardcase has fear as he sees NM-E and knows that he must fight for his life, but like before he is no match for this monster who uses a blast that knocks Hardcase out of his home and burns his skin and even singes his hair off! NM-E also finds Hardwire and blasts him to keep him down and out of this final fight. Rex Mundi loves what he is seeing as NM-E keeps up the attack on Hardcase and keeps blasting, burning and punching him till he is near death. The media and the police show up and NM-E even takes down a media helicopter killing everyone on board. As NM-E goes in for the kill on Hardcase with orders from Rex to blow off the hero’s head he is stopped when Prime shows up and is ready to fight and protect his friend.

This is another action packed issue and has Hardcase getting his butt kicked by his worst enemy NM-E who was the thing responsible for killing his old team The Squad. And its clear from the start the Hardcase is our powered as well as his own fear is causing him to be on the loosing side of this fight, I mean his skin us burnt and his hair is gone and he looks like he just walked out of a massive explosion and he is the only survivor. Rex Mundi is loving every second of this one sided fight as he wants nothing more then to have Hardcase dead and if not for Prime I think his wish would have came true. And lets be honest seeing Prime enter this fight is great and lets hope he kicks some butt in the next issue! I like that we also went from an issue that had Hardcase being a badass to one that he looks weak and is tossed around like a ragdoll. The cover for this issue is great and showcases NM-E and really reminds me of a Dark Horse Comics cover for one of their Aliens comics. The interior art is done by Tim Hamilton again, but this time its not bad and I like the way he draws the injured Hardcase as he looks painful! Over all a great issue that now adds Prime into the action and this continues the trend of making me look forward to the next issue!

Hardcase Comic 17

Hardcase # 17  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 17 of 26

NM-E does not get the chance to kill Hardcase as Prime starts a fight with the creature and he as well finds that the NM-E can cause even him hard but the strongest Ultra pushes forward in the battle as he wants to avenge his friend Hardcase as well as The Squad. Meanwhile Regina shows up as well and takes Hardcase into the ocean and tells him to drink the water as it will help heal him and she as well tells him some tips about his true Ultra powers. Meanwhile Prime is doing what he can to battle NM-E, but the Ultra hero is not doing well as NM-E is just too strong and this causes Prime to turn back into teenager Kevin Green and just as NM-E goes for the kill he is stopped by the semi-healed yet still very burnt up Hardcase who gives Kevin enough time to run away and Hardcase himself keeps getting blasted but swears that this time NM-E will be the one who dies.

Another battle filled issue of Hardcase that sees him almost arrive at deaths door and if not for the help from Prime and Regina he surly would have been killed. Hardcase who’s really in bad shape truly learns that drinking water helps him heal and that he must put his fear aside if he wants to be able to truly fight NM-E who is a creature machine who clearly has no fear and only has a mission and that’s to kill. Rex Mundi is loving the fact that his assassin is able to beat up and almost kill two Ultra heroes and in time he thinks that this battle will lead to them both dying. And I think Rex now has figured out that Regina is working against his mission to kill Hardcase as well as other Ultras. The shocking thing about this issue is that Prime who is kind of like the Superman of Malibu Comics cannot seem to hurt NM-E and is almost killed by it showing just how much of a major threat this thing really is. Plus this also makes me wonder just who much this battle will change Hardcase and Prime when it comes to their attitudes of being heroes as now they have to think about how close they came to death. The cover is pretty cool and showcases Prime, Hardcase and NM-E and this makes it eye catching and the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good and once more I like they way he draws the injured Hardcase. Over all another good issue and like a broken record it makes me look forward to the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 18

Hardcase # 18  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 18 of 26

Hardcase is in a rage and goes on the attack of NM-E and while he himself is getting blasted and burned he keeps pushing the fight and this is draining NM-E who is finally starting show slowing down and showing signs of injuries as Rex Mundi is frustrated as he watches as he just wants to see Hardcase die by the hands of one of his creations. While Hardcase and NM-E are fighting the home of Hardcase is on fire and an unknown person enters the flames and saves the life of Hardwire and beams them out of danger. Finally Hardcase uses gasoline to catch NM-E on fire and then quickly tackles him into the ocean hoping that the extreme heat change from hot to cold will cause it to explode, and as NM-E sinks deeper into the water Hardcase comes ashore and is injured as the media swarms him asking silly questions. Big mistake to them as NM-E rises from the water and is firing his weapons wildly and some of the reporters are hit, Hardcase has seen enough and wants his redemption and uses all of his energy to destroy NM-E and the battle ends with the thing in pieces. After the fight is over Prime reappears and the two heroes check on each other when just like Choice our injured hero Hardcase vanishes as Prime screams out his friends name in anger.

Hardcase has finally done it as he defeats NM-E the creature machine that had killed his friends and been the source of his nightmares for years, and while Hardcase was injured bad as he is burnt horribly he still pushes himself to avenge his fallen teammates and his rage and anger no longer plays against him as it helps fuel him to victory. NM-E while super powerful and deadly shows that this creature machine even has its limits and when pushed beyond those limits it falls in battle, and this you know is the worst case scenario for Rex Mundi who’s plans keep failing when it comes to the killing of his Ultra arch nemesis. I also like how Kevin Green turns back into Prime as the battle is over and Hardcase questions him why he did not call in the other members of the Ultraforce. Another plot turn now is who is the person who saved Hardwire from burning to death and will he be coming for Hardcase again soon? I am not liking all this being zapped away to other worlds or dimensions as I feel it takes away from the true base hero stories of Hardcase and back then and even now I am sick of the alien, space and magic world adduction story lines that filled comic series for way to long. While I was not keen on the Hardcase vanishing in thin air ending I will say I do like the final fight between NM-E and Hardcase as it was a pretty brutal matchup. The cover is pretty cool and shows the twisted with anger burnt face of Hardcase and the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good and shows that Tim can do great work. Over all this is a good issue and a nice end to the nightmare of NM-E and with that lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 19

Hardcase # 19  *1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 19 of 26

Regina is on the beach as Prime stands over the broken parts of NM-E and the police are starting to show up as their investigation in this this battle is now underway, she wants to get her hands on the broken pieces of NM-E as she has a plan for them and tricks Prime into letting her take them by making herself look like Ultraforce member Mantra! Meanwhile Rex Mundi is mad about the loss of his # 1 assassin as well as the fact that Regina has its body parts, but his main concern is that the Ultras of the Earth need to be destroyed and Hardcase is the main one he wants to be brought down. While The Operator is mad as she has a mole in her crime group and she brings in Ultra Trauma who kills the mole for her and is now on her payroll. Meanwhile we also see Choice in another dimension and she is following some strange looking bugs and wonders if this will lead her back home.

This is another filler issue that has no Hardcase as Malibu wants you to buy their “God Wheel” mini series to find out what the title hero is up to, and things like this is why Malibu started to loose their grip on readers and would slip from being the third biggest comic company going in the 90’s. The only major plot element we get from this issue is that Regina has the parts of NM-E and has an idea for them and that The Operator who knows Rex and is the one who hired Hardwire for him now has an Ultra on her payroll with Trauma. The cover is bland and boring and the issue has several artist working on each character segment and some are good and some are ok and I don’t have much to say about this issue as it really is just a bad filler that once more I have to stress does not feature the title character as they want you to buy another mini series to see him…lets move on and hope the next issue is not bland filler.

Hardcase Comic 20

Hardcase # 20  **
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 20 of 26

Hardcase is on a floating city that is above the God Wheel and is talking to a hologram named Ogma who is going to send him back to Earth, but our hero asks to be sent to Choice so he can bring her home as well…Ogma sends him to her but alerts him its for a short time and that he will not be sending her back with him! Hardcase finds himself with Choice who alerts him that she has been fighting for the freedom of the people of this world against these evil god like beings and that she really can not leave until she wins! And then Choice tells Hardcase that she is pregnant with his baby, the to celebrate before Hardcase is whisked away back to Earth and at his burnt down home. Our hero knows that his lady love will return to him soon and he heads to his office were his staff at first do not recognize him due to his mask, but are soon very happy to see him back and alive. But others are not so happy to see him return like Turf, Rex Mundi and Omega Team.

This issue takes place after the events of the God Wheel mini series and has Hardcase returning to Earth after helping as well as seeing hi lady Choice and finding out he is going to be a father. We also see his new look that is a mask and a gold and black body suit. Choice seems to have found her new calling as she seems to love being a hero to the helpless on the God Wheel and she also clearly is in love with Hardcase who she is looking forward to getting back to once her work is done. We also are teased that some of his enemies are coming back around with Turf and Omega Team looking to even the score and Rex Mundi is still trying to figure out a plan that will kill off the hero for good. And while this brings Hardcase back to his own comic series as well as back to Earth the comics big revel is the fact that he and Choice are going to have a child together. The downside to the comic is if to did not read the God Wheel series you would be lost and I think the writers did a bad job of explaining to readers on what has happened with our hero as they just drop us all in like we know. The cover is good and showcases Hardcase putting on his new mask…that reminds me of a generic Deadpool clone. The interior art by Ken Bivins is ok and while some panels look great others seem a little rushed. Over all a good issue but nothing special and seems like just a way to get our hero back to Earth.

Hardcase Comic 21

Hardcase # 21  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 21 of 26

Hardcase at his office finds that his life has really changed after his battle with NM-E and the few days he vanished. Not only is his face not fully healed and he is forced to wear a mask to hide the scars, Hollywood does not want to hire him due to fear of Ultra Villains showing up to set and causing death and damage and worse he has no place to stay and all his friends are afraid to have him crash at their places! Hardcase gets an idea that he will buy a Hollywood prop RV and will live in it for a short time as well as set a course to find Rex Mundi and end this cat and mouse game once and for all. Meanwhile a man named The Genius is the one who saved Hardwire from the fire and has been treating him as well as giving him injections that he claims will make him as strong as his foe. And even odder a man who is phasing in and out is tracking Hardcase and acts as if the Ultra Hero is his dad!

This is back on track and this issue is pretty entertaining and I really like that they show that being a superhero is not that glamour’s as our heroes own friends and business partners are afraid of what trouble could be following him. And this shows another layer of Hardcase as clearly his feelings are hurt but he just keeps moving forward in order to try and make his life work the best he can. We also see that he gets along with his mom while his dad is another story as they both attempt to call to check in on him. And this weird costumed phasing man is he really Hardcases son trying to contact him for the future? I guess we will have to see in further issues if this is the case. And The Genius is a character that seems like he could be a heel that will be making a play for one of the series top villains as he has the means to make Ultra Villains even stronger! Also I am thinking that Hardcases secretary has a crush on him and he knows it as he rejects the offer to stay with her as he thinks of Choice. The cover is pretty great and has Hardcase look like he is hitchhiking and this is eye catching for the time. The interior art by Tim Hamilton is good for the most part, but does seem a little rushed in spots. Over all a good issue that adds in new elements to our story as well as picks up on old ones in the Hardcase and Rex blood feud. Lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 22

Hardcase # 22  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 22 of 26

Trauma sneaks around the mansion of a Russian crime lord and uses her power to kill him and his right hand man. Meanwhile Hardware visits Officer Brown and informs him that he has found Choice on another planet and that he as well was away doing a mission on another planet. As Officer Brown listens he is shocked when Hardcase asks about info on Rex Mundi who the cops think is really just an urban legend and together they start putting together attacks that could be put together! And with that information Hardcase starts digging deep and contacts Trouble of Omega Team for a meeting at a hole in the wall bar. Trouble tells Hardcase a little about what he knows about Rex and will tell him everything as well as how to find him if Hardcase promises to kill Rex once he finds him, but our hero can not take that deal as he will not murder someone. As Trouble and Hardcase are about to leave the bar we see that Trauma and Rex Mundi are there and Trauma uses her Ultra powers to snap the neck of Trouble killing him and everyone in the bar thinks that Hardcase is the one who killed him.

Hardcase is in deep trouble now as he is being looked at for murder that of course he didn’t do and was a set up by his arch nemesis Rex Mundi! Hardcase has finally figured out that Rex is the man who has caused him all this pain over the years as he is even the one who sent NM-E and killed all of Hardcases friends! And poor Officer Brown is so out of his league when it is coming to all these Ultra issues and battles, its as if the police can do nothing but sit back and watch and try to come in at the end to arrest the bad guy if he is on the loosing end. And when being told about Gods and new worlds you can tell Officer Brown is taken back by it all, but not shocked. I also like that Hardcase is driving around now in a RV and his basically homeless and broke and has nothing but bringing down Rex who is wise to the Ultras quest and is one step ahead of him. Also it looks like Trauma is working for Rex now and with her powers being able to kill some one brutally with the wave of her hands she could be the most dangerous villain in this series! And poor old Trouble of Omega Team is a bad dude who tries to help Hardcase on his quest as he as well hates Rex Mundi but his price tag of murder makes the two at odds is also the victim of Trauma and her powers that leaves his neck snapped and him dead on the floor of a nasty bar. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and has Trouble sneaking up and leaping on Hardcase, the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good and is fitting for this era of Malibu Comics. This was a fun issue to read and really is a countdown for a big fight that is surly to take place between Hardcase and Rex Mundi.

Hardcase Comic 23

Hardcase # 23  **
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 23 of 26

Loki looses a time gem that falls to Earth from space and Hardcase finds it while blowing off steam in the desert, you see Hardcase had just left the police station and is being accused of killing Trouble in that bar and he knows once more that Rex has set him up and that with Choice being gone he has no one to talk to. And when he finds out that he can travel back in time he wants to save The Squad from death at the hands of NM-E and he makes the mistake of doing so and warns his old group and even helps in the fight against NM-E allowing them to win this time around and saves all their lives as well as changes the course of history. Once back in modern times Hardcase finds that his face has returned to normal and when talking to his sectary he soon finds that The Squad still died and that he now has no connection to Choice at all as she is now the spokes woman still for the Choice Company and is helping them sell soda. Hardcase rushes to the Choice Corparation and tries to speak to Choice who has no clue who he is now, and just then Loki appears and tells Hardcase to give him the gem so that he can set the world back…this of course is a trick and once the stone is in his hands he disappears and tells Hardcase to deal with this new reality he created. Rex Mundi watched this happen and is now ready for another attack on Hardcase who has confused and destroyed his own fate out of self-pity.

What has Hardcase done to his life as because of his doing he has now lost Choice in his life and this also means they are not having a child together, his friends he wanted to save still died and that now all his battles and friendships are all gone in a blink of an eye. And while an interesting turn of events I also kind of really dislike this major change as it makes the past 22 issues mean nothing as they have all been wiped out thanks to time travel…and again I really am sick of this trope in comics as time travel, other world and space have been so over done and most of these plots do not leave our character in a better place then before said event. And the appearance from Loki really feels shoehorned in and was clearly done by Marvel Comic who at this time owned Malibu Comics and wanted to use their character to try and boost sales. And it looks also like that the only person who remembers the past of Hardcase is Rex Mundi and maybe after the two fight he can force Rex if he has the power to restore things back to normal. And another kind of bad element to this time change is that Choice is once more being abused and used by the Choice Corporation and man this makes the reader mad as we know what she has been through and Hardcases dumb plan makes her stuck in this part of her life. The cover is ok and showcases Loki and the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good, so lets see what happens in the next issue as maybe this terrible plot change will be fixed.

Hardcase Comic 24

Hardcase # 24  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 24 of 26

Hardcase goes to the office of J.D. Hunt and forces him to tell all he knows about Rex Mundi, and at first Hunt refuses to share any information that is until Hardcase threatens to expose Hunt’s dark dealings to the government. Hunt tells Hardcase about a building that has an American Flag painted on it that sometimes he meets Mundi at, and with that Hardcase heads to the location. Once inside the building Hardcase is greeted by Rex Mundi who is not there but is speaking to him via a intercom box and taunts the hero about never finding him, he then blows up the building with Hardcase in it and of course the police show up and blame him for the arson, and now he is facing two charges! Hardcase once out on bail contacts Shadowmage and Tech as he needs help finding some of the Ultra Villains that Mundi sent to the moon and they are able to locate Meathook and Death Dance who at first attack Hardcase until they find he came in peace, and after telling the hero about how Mundi left them for dead on the moon and that he also stole all their money they share the location of a entrance to a secret base of Mundi’s and of course Mundi is watching this happen. Meanwhile at Choice busts into the office demanding to speak to Hardcase just as the real Choice appears back on Earth at the site of our heroes burnt down house.

Hardcase’s quest to find and stop Rex Mundi continues and this time Rex blows up a building and blames our hero for it and also his own associates turn on him as Rex Mundi us truly an evil being who loves to ruin lives. Hardcase is really turning into a detective in this issue as he follows leads and asks questions to people that he might not be able to trust in order to get answers that inch him closer to his goal of capturing the man who has killed his friends and has by all accounts ruined the Ultra Heroes life! Rex Mundi as well is really playing a game as he is baiting Hardcase along and is very much enjoying doing so. And the biggest plot element shown in this issue is that there are now two versions of Choice on Earth with one being the one who is having a child with Hardcase and the other is under control of the Choice Corporation and it will be cool when these two ladies clash! Also I like that the law thinks Hardcase is turning bad as he has charges now for murder and arson and while they are trying to believe his stories of Rex Mundi being the real one responsible the lack of proof is giving them doubt. The cover is very fun and is based on the classic Amazing Fantasy # 15 and the interior art by Hugh Haynes is great and over all this really is a good solid issue and is getting the series back on track after the weird and kind of lame Loki crossover.

Hardcase Comic 25

Hardcase # 25  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 25 of 26

Hardcase is driving his RV to the location that was given to him by Meathook as he takes a phone call from Choice who is mad at him for showing up at he work talking weird and calling her “Amy” as well as acting as if her bosses are treating her wrong, and thinking fast Hardcase tries to defuse what he caused and Choice storms out of the office just as the real Choice shows up at the office looking for Hardcase herself. Once Choice hears about another Choice she heads to talk to this woman that she feels is just a clone, and when the two meet the Clone Choice attacks the real one who must be super aggressive to stop her attack and make sure innocent people do not get hurt. Meanwhile Hardcase arrives at the entrance location and is attacked by massive rock people who are acting as bodyguard for Rex Mundi and as the fight goes on Hardcase finds out that he has more Ultra Powers then he expected as he freezes the rock men and wins the fight and in the end enters the hidden base of Rex Mundi.

Hardcase has turned his Ultra Powers to 11 as he is now really close to having the final fight against his arch-nemesis Rex Mundi and while Rex has set traps along the way I feel as if this has been the plan all along and that Rex wants him to arrive at his base as he has a trap set for him! And it’s clear that this fight that is coming will be epic as both men clearly hate each other and we know that Mundi wants death for Hardcase it’s unclear just how far Hardcase wants to push the fight. The real Choice being back is awesome and I am glad she is back on Earth and out of the God Wheel nonsense, and the “Clone” version of Choice is crazy and is very aggressive. The story is getting good as we approach the final issue in the series and its crazy to think that this journey has built to this moment of Hardcase and Rex Mundi and we have seen the sad life that actor turned hero has had all because a evil being has it out for him, and now we are at the verge of payback! The cover for this issue is ok and has Hardcase fighting the rock men and the interior art by Hugh Haynes is good and his style brings me back to mid 90’s comics. I am looking forward to reading the final issue in the Hardcase series and I can not wait to see how the Mundi and Hardcase feud ends as well as what will come of the Choice vs. Choice battle…and more important will Hardcase and Choice be able to live happily together.

Hardcase Comic 26

Hardcase # 26  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.95     Malibu     # 26 of 26

Hardcase makes it to the base of Rex Mundi and finds himself easily captured and both are now very much confused when the Time Stone is brought up and Loki as neither man seems to know who or why he was there and Mundi is impressed by the power that Loki seems to have and wonders what has changed due to the gem. Rex Mundi then tells Hardcase about who he is as we find out Mundi is the original Ultra who was a caveman who was infected by the alien ship and that over the centuries he broke the ships hold on him and had even found a mate and love in Regina, but the two found that they did not see eye to eye on how to deal with Ultras and humans on Earth and Regina left their home base to teach mankind while Mundi created NM-E to kill Ultras and his enemies. Mundi then tells him that he is really the worlds good guy as he is trying to keep is safe from Aliens as well as the raw power of Ultras and with that he starts to drain the energy from Hardcase who uses some of his new power to time jump and stops the masked version of himself from saving The Squad and when he returns to present time Rex Mundi is ready to end this struggle once and for all that is until Regina who is inside the newly rebuilt NM-E busts in and knocks Hardcase out of the base and goes after Mundi! Meanwhile the two Choice are fighting and each hit each other with a kill blow, but things can change now that Hardcase once more changed time, Hardcase forces himself to forget how to time travel and returns home to find the real Choice waiting for him and the two lovers are back together and happy. But Loki is watching this reunion and has plans of his own now that he has the gem stones.

The Hardcase comic series came to an end with this issue and while the character would float around in a few Marvel/Malibu comic series for a short time he would be gone around 1997 as Marvel walked away from the Ultraverse and the Malibu Characters as a whole. The final battle between Rex Mundi and Hardcase is a little of a letdown as most of the issue has our hero captured and the baddie Mundi explaining his history on Earth and why he does what he does, its weird as they almost try and make you feel that he is doing what is right as he wants to save the world from the harm that Ultras and Aliens cause! And while Mundi does have a fight it’s with Regina in her NM-E mech-suit and not Hardcase and the battle is not even really shown. And the lack of a fight between Hardcase and Mundi is a letdown as is the fact that this issue has to spend time just to re-change the events of the terrible Loki Time Gem crossover that was a waste of time and was just Marvel being Marvel and that was to ruin the story being created by the folks at Malibu Comics. And even the Choice vs. Choice story goes no place as we have them fighting to the death and both die…only for it to be changed thanks to time travel again. And what the heck was the masked phasing cloaked guy that appeared issues back who claimed he was the son of Hardcase that never shows back up, that was the main issue with the Hardcase comic series is that story and characters have no payouts, plot elements go in circle and I do feel that once Marvel bought Malibu you can tell that the characters attitudes change and not for the good. And while I will say that the Hardcase series is not the best we have looked at here on Rotten Ink re-reading and in some issues cases reading for the first time really did make me become a fan of his as I think the character could be used still to this day and could be a big part of the Marvel Universe in comics, shows and films if they would just give him the chance. The cover for this final issue is ok and had Hardcase and Rex Mundi facing off and the interior art by Hugh Haynes is good and as I have said before its pure 90’s stuff. While the Hardcase comic series has some really bad issues it also had many above average ones and even a few really great ones and was an enjoyable read that really does make me miss the characters that made up the Ultraverse. And if you are a comic reader who likes the 90’s Superhero boom, give Hardcase a chance and check out some of his issues. Checkout the artwork bellow to see the styles used in this comics series.

Hardcase Comic Art 1Hardcase Comic Art 2Hardcase Comic Art 3

I have been having lots of fun looking back at the Malibu Comic characters and it seems that you readers have been as well. And if you have not checked out my other updates on the likes of Prototype, Exiles, Sleepstalker and Bones make sure to do so. I can not stress just how disappointed I am in Disney and Marvel Comics for not using the character of Malibu comics anymore as they really should be just added into the regular Marvel Universe as should the characters of CrossGen another company that they bought and have buried. And Hardcase in my opinion should have been a member of The Avengers and hell the Ultraforce team should be still around. But we can not change what is when it comes to the House Of Mouse and The House Of Ideas and with that I would like to tell you that our next update will continue our 10 Year Celebration and will take us to the world of Horror Hosting as we chat about the host of Monsterpiece Theater the one and only Alistair Cookie who lives of Sesame Street! Until then make sure to read a Malibu Comic or three, watch a superhero movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Oh remember to bring some cookies to the next update, as Mr. Cookie loves them.

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The DC Dream Warrior Known As The Sandman!

Here on Rotten Ink we love ourselves some Jack Kirby as he really is The King when it comes to the Golden Age of comics as over the years I have covered him in such blog updates based on his art and characters like Devil Dinosaur, Captain America and Satan’s Six and with many more to come this update will showcase just how important Jack is to the world of comics as well as Rotten Ink and how can I celebrate my blogs 10 Year Anniversary without covering him! While thinking about what character to cover for this update I ruled out one of his Marvel Comics characters as we have covered his Marvel work already and I also ruled out his indie work as well for the same reason and that’s why I landed on covering his DC Comics work and choose a character that I can remember reading when I was a kid and that’s The Sandman! So grab a glass of Warm Milk, Count Some Sheep and lets catch some Z’s and take a comic book superhero adventure with The Sandman, Jack Kirby and DC Comics.

The Sandman Kirby 1

Jack Kirby was a true legend at Marvel Comics as he has created many iconic characters for them along side Stan Lee like The Fantastic Four, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk to name a few, but in late 1970 after years of talking to them he made the jump to DC Comics as they wanted the creative mind of Kirby to help bring them new characters as well as his skilled art style. The contract was for three years with an option for two more years and would allow him to create multiple series and characters that would be blanketed under “The Fourth World” and would allow Jack to have his own say with his characters and build his own world within the DC Universe. And that brought characters New Gods, Mister Miracle and The Forever People to comic pages and all characters are still being used from time to time in comics for DC. During his early years he also worked on the comic Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. And Jack Kirby was loving working on his Fourth World comics and added touches of his own life into the books, as well as even his views of the youth at the time in The Forever People. At this point in time Jack Kirby had lots of bad feelings toward Stan Lee and Marvel Comics and even created a character called Funky Flashman that was a dig at Lee, and would also create during this time DC Comic’s biggest and more powerful super-villains Darkseid. But while DC Comics was hoping for that Kirby magic and help sales they also did some pretty crappy things to him like having fellow artists Al Plastino and Murphy Anderson redraw the faces of Superman in comics as they did not like his style of drawing The Man Of Steels face. Jack Kirby was so proud of his Fourth World books he even came up with the idea of putting several issues together aka the Graphic Novel and DC being goofy failed to do so, so those of you who love reading comics in Graphic Novels should thank Jack Kirby who came up with that idea. During his years with DC he would also go on to create such characters as OMAC, The Demon, Kamandi, Kobra, The Sandman and as well did a few characters for the “1st Issue Special” comic series like Manhunter, Dingbats Of Danger Street and Atlas The Great showing that the characters where flowing from his creative mind. He would also do work for the war comic “Our Fighting Forces” by doing the stories and art for The Losers. But by 1974 the honeymoon was over between Kirby and DC Comics as they started to make him work on characters he did not care for, the political games at the office was out of control and many of the classic DC Artists did not want Kirby at DC as they viewed him as an outsider and a threat to their position at DC. And by 1976 Jack Kirby and DC Comic split ways and he would return to work for Marvel for a short time, before becoming a gun for hire artist and working for Cartoons for Hanna-Barbara as well as would do spot work for indies like Topps Comics and Pacific Comics as well as even DC up until his passing in 1994. And while his time with DC Comics was not as grand as his time with Marvel he still made a great impact on that company given them some amazing heroes and villains as well as entertained readers with compelling stories. Jack “The King” Kirby really is one of the comic industries truly iconic and inspirational artists and creators.

The Sandman Kirby 2The Sandman Kirby 3The Sandman Kirby 4

I want to also take a moment to share a photo I found on the net that shows the art desk of Jack Kiby! This is a surreal image for sure as you realize that he had drawn so many comic pages at the desk, he created so many characters at the desk and he spent so much time being creative at that desk. The crazy part being is the chair, desk and his art supply cabinet was nothing overly fancy and his area he created in was near what appears to be a fire place. Imagine Jack Kirby sitting at the art table with a snow storm outside and a fire going in the fireplace as he drew a Fantastic Four page…its very inspiring as Jack really was one of a kind and a true artist who was to be looked up to and admired. I feel that Jack’s desk should be placed in a museum of art and young inspiring artists should be able to see it and get inspired by it.

Jack King Kirbys Desk

Now I want to talk a little about The Sandman a character created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in 1974 and was one of many characters Kirby created when working for DC Comics. The Sandman is a hero that lives in the Dream Dome alongside his two friends Brute and Glob who are nightmare creatures and are called in when The Sandman cannot right the wrongs that are going on in the dream world as well as reality. The Sandman can enter the dream world via a sled that takes him to the Dream Stream a place ruled by the Nightmare Wizard where all the creatures that make up Nightmares live. He can also slide into reality and can lend a hand to help during attacks and natural disasters. The Sandman wears a red and yellow costume and looks like a superhero and uses dream sand and his Hyposonic whistle to fight crime as well as to put people and things to sleep. The Sandman mostly watches over the nightmares of kids and will enter the dream if he feels the youngsters are in true danger. He is original portrayed as the mythical legend Sandman the watcher of dreams, but later in 1983 DC Comics and Roy Thomas tried to say the he was really Garrett Sanford a Professor at UCLA who was trapped in the Dream Dimension and even becomes a part time member of the Justice League, but this just is cheesy and shows once more that DC Comics had no respect for Jack Kirby’s creations. The Sandman is a character that never was used much by DC Comics and while he has his fans he never made an impact on the world of comics like so many other Jack Kirby creations.

The Sandman Kirby 5The Sandman Kirby 6The Sandman Kirby 7

It’s a shame that DC Comics treated Jack so badly when he worked for them in the 1970’s as I truly think that given more time and freedom with them who knows what kind of great reads and characters he could have given the world. And I am pretty sure that the cool art we all seen of Kirby drawing the Horror Movie character Dr. Phibes who was played by Vincent Price would have been a pitch that he would have made for DC…and I wonder why this comic was never green lighted and I would have loved to have seen what Jack had in store for Phibes! Well enough of what could have been for Kirby, DC and Phibes as we are now at the part of this update that is about the what was and for me when I think of DC and Kirby together three series come to mind New Gods, Mister Miracle and The Sandman, with the later being what I will be covering! And one reason I choose The Sandman is that Kirby teamed with Joe Simon on the book, and for those who don’t know that pair is who created one of my favorite superheroes Captain America! I want to thank Game Swap Kettering for having this series in stock and making this update possible. I also would like to say that I have read almost this whole series before this update and this makes me exited to reread them after all these years. I want to also remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets travel to the land of dreams and see what DC Comics and The Sandman have in store for me.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 1

The Sandman # 1  ***
Released in 1974       Cover Price .20      DC Comics      # 1 of 6

On Dolphin Island young Jeb who has asthma and lives with his grandfather Ezra Paulsen is having a terrible dream about a man drowning in the ocean right in front of his home that is holding a strange doll. Meanwhile in another dimension The Sandman watches the dream and awakens the boy who runs outside with hid Grandpa and pull a dying sailor from the ocean who gives them the strange doll he calls the Werblink before he dies. Jeb, who is a lonely kid on the island, spends time with Werblink and the doll becomes his best friend. One night Jeb has a nightmare that Werblink is trying to kill his Grandpa and as Jeb gives chase he slips in his dream and is about to fall to his death…but The Sandman has seen enough and enters the nightmare and saves the boys life even though the creatures he keeps in glass tubes Glob and Brute tell him to let the child die! Once saved Jeb wakes up and falls back to sleep as his Grandpa grabs the doll and smashes it and then buries it on the beach. We cut briefly to the past and see that a rebuilt solider named General Electric was the man behind building the doll and he escaped a hospital and runs holding Werblink into the night. We cut back to Dolphin Island present time and a stray dog digs up the grave of Werblink and this causes Jeb and other kids around the world to have a four alarm nightmare and even an earthquake breaks loose in California and The Sandman leaves his Dream Dome in order to help the wounded using his sand to heal those in need and then rushes to Dolphin Island just in time as Jeb has found his broken doll and a group of Nazis have appeared and taken both The Sandman and Jeb hostage. While back on the mainland we find out that General Electric is in charge of the Nazis and they are collecting all the dolls he made as by linking them it will blow up the US Capital! And before they do so they beat up The Sandman and one of the Nazis finds his whistle and blows it freeing Brute and Glob who come to their friends aid, and Glob turns up the wave length of the whistle and this blows up the glass bowl on General Electrics head that holds his brain, ending the madman’s terror and with that Jeb is safe and The Sandman with Brute and Glob return to the Dream Dome.

The first issue of The Sandman was suppose to be a one shot comic, but due to good feedback from readers it would go one to have five more issues and The Sandman proved to be a minor creative hit for both Jack Kirby and DC Comics. The plot is pretty cool and has The Sandman watching the dreams and nightmares of sleeping kids via his Dream Dome and has to come to earth when the evil General Electric has a plane that will kill many and will bring back the alliance of Japan and Nazi Germany. The Sandman is a being that is humanlike in nature but has the powers to put people to sleep with his sand as well as enter your sleeping mind and cause and change the events that are taking place. His friends Brute and Glob are creatures of nightmares and while they look like monsters they are not bad. Jeb and his grandpa Ezra are also good people who live on an island and while it’s a lonely life they do have each other. The issues main bad guy is General Electric a Japanese kamikaze pilot who survived a crash and had his head and brain repaired and created by a doctor who cannot get over loosing World War II and is masterminding a way to strike at the US and once more have the Nazis rise to power. He is as scummy as they come, but do not threat cause as you see his head exploded and it appears he has truly died this time. The plot really does have that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby feel to it and during this time Kirby was very obsessed with other worlds and Simon loved telling stories of Nazis getting their butts kicked by heroes. The one odd thing about The Sandman as while he helps save Jeb from falling in a dream and helps injured firefighters he gets beat down by the Nazis and its his friends that really win the end fight as he is tied up on the floor and never even throws a punch. This is a comic I can remember reading at a young age and enjoying it, but I think now as an adult I found myself enjoying it more. The cover is awesome and eye catching as its classic Kirby stuff as is the interior art, but I will say that this is not some of Kirby’s best stuff as its pretty basic in look and lacks the Kirby detail on backgrounds. Over all the first issue of The Sandman is a fun read featuring a hero who has the powers of dreams, so with that lets see what issue two has in store for us.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 2

The Sandman # 2  ***
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25      DC Comics     # 2 of 6

On Dolphin Island Jeb is sound asleep in his bed when two hooded men enter his home knock out his Grandpa and kidnap him to take him to Dr. Spider a strange man who is using Jeb now to bring his nightmare creatures to life and they are under his control. While at the Dream Dome The Sandman notices that the youth of the world are not having nightmares and enters the dream stream to see what is blocking the nightmares from happing. While in this realm he tracks down the old man known as Nightmare Wizard who tells him that Dr. Spider has stolen all the creatures and is going to use them to take over the world, and he approves of this horrific plan! The Sandman is furious and heads to the real world to see if he can stop this sinister plan from fully being realized and with his hyposonic whistle and dream sand he is able to bring down a few of the creatures in front of the army, only to find himself attacked by one of the hooded goons of Dr. Spider and taken as a prisoner to their hideout with the idea of also using his powers to bring more nightmare creatures alive. While at the Dream Dome Brute and Glob watch as their friend is tied up and knocked out and Brute reveals that he has his own seceret whistle and they pair free themselves from the glass tubes and travel to reality and loosen the straps holding down Sandman and then wake him up before hiding and Sandman rushes to bring down Dr. Spider. The Hooded Men try and attack The Sandman who uses the hyposonic whistle to put them to sleep, but fails to capture Dr. Spider who uses Jeb’s nightmare creatures to attack him and if The Sandman kills one of the creatures then Jeb will die! The Sandman then uses his dream sand to put the creatures asleep, then uses his whistle to send them to the Dream Stream, he then destroys Dr. Spider’s machines and this wakes up Jeb that he send back home. In the end The Sandman is to late to stop Dr. Spider who uses a submarine to escape or does he as it blows up and this makes The Sandman wonder if he really has seen the last of this new foe.

The second issue of The Sandman is really good and still holds that classic superhero feel even though both Jack Kirby and Joe Simon had nothing to do with this issue as DC gave it to a new creative team, well I should at least say Kirby did the cover for this issue. The plot brings in a new foe called Dr. Spider who is a strange man who is just a torso that’s body in a metal frame and has mechanical arms that look like spider legs. He almost looks like a mutated melted cheese face version of Spider-Man villain Doctor Octopus and I am sure this really was a dig at Marvel Comics. A couple of things I do like about Dr. Spider is that he has a good idea of taking creatures from the nightmare world and using them to bring the world to its knees and allow him to take over, he also has hooded men who look like cultist as his henchmen and that’s also pretty cool. We also in this issue meat Nightmare Wizard a creepy old man who runs the realm of nightmares and who is very bitter about the real world. Jeb is around and is nothing more then a tool in the bad guys plans who spends almost the whole issue asleep and feeding them creatures from his nightmares, in other words he is the one that is feeding the evil doers with soldiers in order to take over the world. Plus we have zero clues if Grandpa Ezra is alive after his shock he received at the start of this issue, so Jeb could have been sent back home by The Sandman only to find the dead body of his grandpa! The Sandman once more is the hero of the day…but really does not do it on his own as once more Glob and Brute are the ones who really are the heroes as they once more free the captured hero that allows him to win the battle in the end. The Sandman really has only two weapons and tools to take on evil doers and that his Sand that puts people to sleep as well as his Hyposonic Whistle that can as well put things to sleep, send creatures back to the dream world and free his two friends that he keeps locked up in tubes. Now that I am thinking about it why in the world does The Sandman keep his two friend locked up in small tubes with him only letting them free when he needs help, seems pretty unfair and makes The Sandman come off as kind of a villain. The cover is great as its Kirby and eye catching for fans of his art as well as DC Comics from the 70’s and the interior art this time is done by Ernie Chan who was going by Ernie Chua and I will say while its not Kirby I would say that its still very good, but while the issues art and story are fun and good I still miss the Kirby and Simon touch as they where a iconic team that could make great art together. Well with that lets see what issue three has in store for us and if it holds up like the first two issues in the series.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 3

The Sandman # 3   **
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25     DC Comics      # 3 of 6

In Europe the people of a village storm a castle ran by The Count and his Zombie Gorillas as they want to hang him for the decades of abuse he has put them through, but he cheats them of revenge as he drinks poison just as they find him. Once “dead” his body is taken by the Zombie Gorillas to America as this was a plan by The Count to get his body to Professor Rundhaven so that he can remove it and allow it to live inside a tank that not only allows him to speak by also gives him mental powers. The Count uses his new mental powers to zap and kill Professor Rundhaven and then uses his mental link to get into the mind of the young daughter of Scientist Ralph Ervin who has been working on experiments dealing with the human brain. While The Count is in her dream The Sandman in his Dream Dome picks up on the intrusion and heads into the dream himself and foils the plot of The Count hypnotizing the young girl and causes The Count to have to retreat. As the young girl wakes up the hold on her mind is truly broken and The Count decides to send his Zombie Gorillas to the house the next night to steal the research papers and then to also steal medical equipment to free him from his glass prison. The Cops follow the Zombie Gorillas and gun them down, but not in time as they succeed and free The Count who is now a powerful floating Brain that kills the cops and then heads to the city where it drains all the power out of the power planet and The Sandman once more returns to reality and gets himself arrested before he can stop the blackout! He then uses his whistle to free Brute and Glob who once more rescues him this time from jail and The Sandman sends them back to the Dream Dome and the tracks down The Count and uses his whistle to blow up the villain ending the terror the giant brain caused New York.

The third issue as well cut Kirby from art (besides the cover) and Simon from story and delivered an ok read that has followed the same formula as the last two issues and that recycled tale is getting a little warn thin as each story has a kid in need, a new dream world entering villain, The Sandman being captured and having to have his friends save him and lastly the bad guys meet their end by explosion. The plot of this third issue has a bad guy entering the dreams of a young girls dreams in order to get her to steal the research papers of her father, and when that fails he steals them and becomes a powerful being that is exploded by The Sandman who was arrested and saved by his Nightmare friends in order to do so. The Sandman is a dream master who watches and monitors the dreams of kids that by all accounts tries his best to be a hero, but he really is just bad at it as he seems to always get captured and has to have his friends save him in order for him to take down the bad guy and take all the glory for the rescues and world saving missions. While I as a reader like The Sandman by this issue he should be better at being the Superhero he so wants to be. Brute and Glob we are miss treated and kept behind glass are the real heroes as they are the ones who seem to always get The Sandman’s fat our of the fire and even at times take down the henchmen of those who are keeping Sandman captive. The Count is a brain who grows in size and power and while he does kill a roomful of police officers, he really is not that big of a threat as he is blown up with a whistle with ease and once he becomes all powerful all he does is drain the electric power from The Bronx, New York. The Zombie Gorilla henchmen of The Count are pretty cool and they are very loyal to their master and even give their lives to protect him. Again I have to stress that DC Comics and the creative team they had behind The Sandman series really at this point needed to get past the same story format that they had followed for three issues as it really cheapened the character and really does make him look like a zero and not a hero. The few things that I did like about this issue was The Zombie Gorillas and the secret lab of Professor Rundhaven being in a old farmhouse, but to be honest this third issue is not very well done and is an average at best superhero romp. The cover done by Jack Kirby is great and the interior art by Ernie Chan is solid and good, just to bad the story by Michael Fleisher is so weak and had clearly places a bruise on the character as the series end will come just three issues later and would force them to bring back Kirby on art. Well with that lets see if Kirby’s return to art can pull this series out of the downward spiral.

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The Sandman # 4  **1/2
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25     DC Comics     # 4 of 6

An alien race is watching Earth and the dreams of Jeb as they are coming up with an idea that will allow them to take over the world and will use the dreams and nightmares of mankind in order to do so! They come up with an idea that will have them enter the Dream Stream and take Nightmare Wizard hostage as well as the creatures of that world and the Aliens would then enter people’s dreams and control or kill them. Brute and Glob are in the Dream Stream visiting family and becomes trapped in a dome dropped by the invading Aliens UFO ships, and worse the Aliens as well are able to sneak up on and take Nightmare Wizard down given them control to enter dreams! Meanwhile on Dolphin Island Jeb is showing his Grandpa how good he has gotten with his Yo-Yo before heading to bed, and its when the youngster falls asleep that The Sandman catches that the Alien starships have invaded the Dream Stream and uses his powers to wake up Jeb and then The Sandman enters the Dream Stream to stop the Alien plan that has them dropping bombs and killing many kids while they sleep! While wondering around The Sandman finds Nightmare Wizard but before he can free him the Aliens attack and knock out The Sandman and now have him as a prisoner, and this time he uses his whistle to bring Jeb to the Dream Stream and has the young boy unties the two dream masters and even uses his Yo-Yo to knock out an alien! Once free The Sandman, Jeb and Nightmare Wizard rush to the dome and the whistle is used to free the Nightmare Creatures and a clash with the aliens breaks out with The Sandman and the Creatures winning the big fight and sending the Aliens running back to space. After the fight is over The Sandman sends Jeb back to reality and best of all he is sound asleep and having good dreams.

The fourth issue of The Sandman brings back Jack Kirby on art but keeps Michael Fleisher on writing and while better then issue three it still has some of the same old same old moments that have plagued this character and the writing style of Fleisher as The Sandman once more finds himself captured and a friend having to save him and like fore the issues bad guys get into the dream world of a youngster with plans of world domination. It’s clear that Michael Fleisher just had no real ideas for The Sandman and was just retelling the same story over and over worse then a Joss Whedon and a part of me wonders if this was also the case cause Fleisher was placed on the book and he did not care for this Kirby creation so he put zero effort into the scripts. The bad guys for this issue was a race of fish looking Aliens who want to take over the world via the Dream Stream and has plans of using bombs to wound the youth of the world and come into the dream world in full force. But while they have the firepower they also had very little knowledge in combat as the Nightmare Creatures once freed make short work of them and send them running back home like chickens. Brute and Glob for once are free from their tube and are given permission to go on vacation by their “friend” The Sandman and while visiting friends and family they are captured, but once set free they fight hard. I also like at one point Brute uses the catchphrase “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” that was made famous by Fantastic Four member The Thing a character created by Kirby for Marvel. Nightmare Wizard makes an appearance as well and gets taken hostage way to easy, as you have to think he controls everything in the Dream Stream and seems to call on none of them to set him free once tied up and left in his cave home. Jeb and his Yo-Yo skills come in handy and he pops an alien in the eye with it and is able to free The Sandman, so keep that in mind a kid is the one who had to save The Sandman this time around cause like always he got himself beat up and caught. The Sandman and his whistle in the end is what breaks the dome that sets the creatures free and cause this ends the aliens packing. The Sandman really is a terrible hero and seems to walk into battles and gets himself captured every time this far! Also he finally see that Grandpa Ezra is alive after the shock from the stun gun from issue two and that he and Jeb are the only people that live on the island. The cover is great Jack Kirby stuff and his interior art is fantastic as well showing that Kirby is what’s keeping this comic series alive. I really think that in issue five they need to make The Sandman look stronger and more hero like and for the love of The King Jack not let him get captured and have to be saved by others as his track record right now is 4-0 on that! So with that lets see what The Sandman gets into for issue five.

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The Sandman # 5  ***
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25      DC Comics      # 5 of 6

Grandpa Ezra and Jeb are on a fishing boat looking to catch some big fish when they are attacked by a giant sea creature that crushes the boat and leaves them both in grave danger of not only being eaten but also drowning, in other words they need help! The Sandman watches this unfold from his Dream Dome and rushes to the world of reality in order to save them and after hurting the sea creature he gets Jeb and Ezra to shore and sadly Grandpa Ezra dies from this attack. The Sandman gives Jeb a whistle that will alert him if he needs help. Days pass and Jeb is living along on Dolphin Island when he gets a visit from his Aunt Clarice and Uncle Barnaby who get the youngster to come live with them at their farm. At the farm he meets his cousins Susie and Bruce and finds out that his relatives are lazy people and he is forced to do all the hard work and is being feed poorly even. After getting into a fight with Bruce over the whistle, Jeb is forced to chop lots of wood as his punishment and will not even get dinner until its all done! Jeb takes a nap and gets a visit from The Sandman who has him travel to the Dream Stream to help fight the Frog People who are attacking the Winged People and have kidnapped their Queen, and after saving her and returning back home Jeb wakes up to find the wood chopped and his aunt in shock as she invites him in to have dinner. As Jeb walks into the house we see that Brute and Glob chopped the wood for him while he was out with The Sandman.

The fifth issue of The Sandman is a really solid issue with a good plot that mostly focuses on Jeb and his life after loosing his Grandpa to a Sea Creature and his journey of leaving Dolphin Island and living on the mainland with his Aunt and Uncle who treat him oddly. Jeb does really well dealing with all the major changes in his life and while he misses his Grandpa he makes do with his situation. The Sandman who tries his best to save both Jeb and Ezra from the attack at sea is also the one who has to deliver the bad news to Jeb that his grandfather has died, then gives him a whistle before leaving a young boy alone on an island right after his only guardian has died…I will say it again The Sandman is not good at being a superhero! But I do have to give him credit this time around as he at least does not find himself being taken prisoner and he does but some heads with his fists this time around and not his sand or whistle. And this time around Brute and Glob take a back seat and while they help in the end they are not the heroes of saving the day like they normally are. The Frog Men are the bad guys but they are defeated easily once The Sandman and Jeb find their hidden kingdom. The Aunt, Uncle and Cousins of Jeb are all terrible people who use the young lad to do all the work around the farm and while they eat lamb chops they feed him oatmeal, showing that they do not care if he is blood as they just want someone to work hard and get the chores done. And I have to say that I think writer Michael Fleisher did a great job on this issue and it feels like a true classic superhero comic story even if the parts with the death of Grandpa Ezra are awkward and weird and the emotions of all seem very off. The cover and interior art by Jack Kirby is amazing and outstanding like always and some of his art for The Frog Men is fantastic and for some reason reminded me of Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES. Over all this is a great issue in the series and is a great lead up for the six and final issue that we will be taking a look at right now.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 6

The Sandman # 6  ***
Released in 1976       Cover Price .25     DC Comics      # 6 of 6

The Sandman is watching the dream monitors and notices that Jeb is having a bad nightmare about drowning and worse it seems as if this nightmare is being forced and is coming from an unknown source. The Sandman goes into the Dream Stream to save his young friend but soon finds out that the youngster is not real and is a bomb that blows up knocking him out, we then see the hooded henchmen of Dr. Spider coming for our hero and taking him away. Moments later an android version of The Sandman arrives at the Dream Dome and he tricks Glob and Brute into following him back to Dr. Spider’s ship, but Brute holds back for a moment and poor Glob is zapped and held prisoner. Dr. Spider alerts the real Sandman that he plans on taking over America and his sea ship that can go from the dream world to reality is the key to doing so as is the Hyposonic whistle that now is in the hands of Spider. Meanwhile back at the farm Jeb is once more being mistreated by his family and is forced to do all the chores at the farm while they go to a carnival, and that night Bruce sneaks in and steals the whistle and gives it a blow and Brute shows up and delivers some creepy crawlers to the brat cousin and then wakes up Jeb and says that they need to get ready as he thinks that The Sandman is in danger. While back on the ship Dr. Spider is set into a rage over The President and the News making a joke of his threat to use a magic whistle to bring down Washington, and at midnight now he plans on using the whistle to teach the Government a lesson! The Sandman uses all his strength and breaks free and takes out a few henchman before being zapped by a laser gun and then tied up and thrown into the ocean as Dr. Spider has no use for him. Meanwhile Jeb and Brute arrives at the base of Dr. Spider and are not sure what they are going to be up against, and soon find themselves the prisoner of Dr. Spider and are put in a cell with Glob and all will be forced to watch the destruction of the US Capital. The Sandman escapes his watery death and even punches a shark in the face to do so and then arrives at the base and frees his friends and the heroes take out all his henchmen but are too late to stop Dr. Spider from escaping on a rocket. In the end The Sandman, Brute and Glob return to the Dream Dome as Jeb is returned to the farm.

The final issue of The Sandman is a good issue but an odd ending for the series as I think that the sixth issue was not originally meant to be the final in the series as we have no real closure for any of the characters. And I think once more writer Michael Fleisher did a good job on the story for this issue as he brought back the sinister Dr. Spider who this time wants to take over America and is going to use the magical Hyposonic Whistle to do so! The Sandman in this issue shows more superhero tendencies than ever before as he not only saves the day he even gets himself out of danger twice and does not have to have his friends to be the true heroes of the day. The Sandman also shows that he is very skilled with his fists as he punches his way through henchmen and even shows that he is strong as he breaks a crystal cage and tosses people around like ragdolls. While most of this series The Sandman has been a dud of a hero, by this final issue he shows that he was becoming more and more one. Brute and Glob are nightmare creatures who are The Sandman’s friends and allies and while they spend most of their lives in glass tubes, when needed, they always come through and do the right thing to save lives. Jeb whose life is bad now that he has to live with his Aunt is also more then just a youth having nightmares by the end of the series as a few times he helps save the day and adds elements to the story, in fact by the end of the series its clear he is part of the team. The sinister Dr. Spider is as crazy as ever and wants so bad to become a ruler of something, but seems to never be able to get the chance, he is also the only villain to be used twice and is clearly the main baddy of the series. While Kirby draws him different then Ernie Chan I still think Dr. Spider looks life a mound of melted cheese in a metal body. While I think that The Sandman is a comic series that suffered from changing creative teams, a writer who seemed disinterested in the character at the start, DC Comics lack of respect for the creator and character and a handful of other issues, I for one have always found it to be a fun and simple read and while I think many readers enjoyed The Sandman I also thank that by the mid 70’s this type of superhero was dated and readers had moved based the simple nature of good vs. evil. The cover for this final issue is ok and the least impressive of the series, but does do a good job of building up the danger aspect of what The Sandman had to face. The interior art by Jack Kirby was great and he was also inked by Wally Wood and this was a great combo and these two are amazing artists and icons of classic comics. To sum it all up I would say that The Sandman is not a comic series for everyone and while super flawed its simple plots and classic style heroes are enjoyable and worth checking out if you like Kirby and those style of heroes in comics. Check out the artwork below as I think it showcases the work of Kirby as well as captures the over all vibe of this series.

The Sandman Kirby Comic Art 1

Reading The Sandman again after all these years I can say that I really did enjoy his adventures and the character was very interesting even if DC Comics truly didn’t believe in him. Jack Kirby really was a man with many ideas and The Sandman was one of them that I feel should have been bigger then what it was, and again I say the same thing about Satan’s Six. Also imagine if DC Comics, Jack Kirby and the other creators that helped on The Sandman explored the Nightmare World better and think of the creatures, monsters and madmen that could have made up that world. Well let’s not harp too much on DC Comics always dropping the ball with a cool character and let’s talk about what I have in store for you readers for the next for this 10 Year Celebration and that a new update theme that I will be calling “R.I.W Wrestling Legends.” I will be talking about the wrestler Missing Link! So I hope you are all looking forward to that one as this will be an update series that will be around for a long time just like my Horror Host Icon updates! So until next time read a Jack Kirby comic or ten, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you all next update at the Rotten Ink Arena as Missing Link is in the main event!

Missing Link Promo Preview 1

Star Trek V: What Does God Need With A Starship?

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and one of the updates that I selected to be part of this 10 year celebration of course has to be another of the Star Trek films as they have always been some of my favorite sci-fi flicks ever made. Rotten Ink and Star Trek go hand in hand as the show and movies are truly parts of my past, and I am sure as Star Trek continues on it will as well be apart of my future. As you long time readers know, I have been reviewing all the comic adaptations of Star Trek films that feature the original cast (you know the ones with Captain Kirk and Spock) and this year we have landed on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, a film in the series that was met with mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, but one I am very much looking forward to covering as I have always enjoyed it! So with that, let’s take a look at Star Trek V as well as the DC Comics adaptation as its time to Boldly Go Where Many Comic Readers Have Gone Before and that’s on comic adventures with the crew of the Enterprise.

Star Trek V 1

Let’s start off by talking about the film itself. I will be taking the film’s plot write up from our pals at IMDB and after I will be writing about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you are ready, let’s take trip with the Enterprise Crew to a final frontier in space.

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Star Trek V: Final Frontier (1989)

“When the newly-christened starship Enterprise’s shakedown cruise goes poorly, Captain Kirk and crew put her into Spacedock for repairs. But an urgent mission interrupts their Earth-bound shore leave. A renegade Vulcan named Sybok has taken three ambassadors hostage on Nimbus III, the Planet of Galactic Peace. This event also attracts the attention of a Klingon captain who wants to make a name for himself and sets out to pursue the Enterprise. Sybok’s ragtag army captures the Enterprise and takes her on a journey to the center of the galaxy in search of the Supreme Being.”

William Shatner was finally given the opportunity to direct one of the films in the Star Trek series with this fifth film that he also helped with the story on, a story that he had been working on even before he was offered the director’s chair. Shatner’s original idea was about a false God that turns into Satan that tries to take the crew of the Enterprise to Hell…what a strange and interesting idea that also seems like it would have been an issue of the Marvel Comics series. Producer Harve Bennett was ready to walk away from the Star Trek film series after three films produced and the feuding he had with Leonard Nimoy, but after a meeting Shatner got him back on board. Then some elements of Shatner’s story needed to be changed due to the concern that the subject matter of God and Satan might not sit well with moviegoers. They changed the depiction of God into an alien being that was faking being God in order gain power and then brought on David Loughery to write the screenplay. This idea and script did not sit well with Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, and the screenplay was put on hold when Loughery was part of the Writers Guild Of America strike, holding up the film’s production. When he finally got back to work and finished it, Shatner was displeased with many of the writer’s changes to his idea and things once more had to be worked out when Nimoy and Kelley had concerns with the script. Once the script was green lit by Paramount, they started the design, production and casting processes and started to film in October 1988. The filming of the fifth film in the series was very stressful as delays, strikes and looming deadlines made it stressful for all involved, but with luck and a hard working crew, William Shatner was able to get the film wrapped and Paramount as well as fans were very pleased to hear that the film was wrapped and would be released in theaters very soon. When the film was edited, composer Jerry Goldsmith was brought in and he made an amazing score that for many is one of the highlights of the film series with tracks like “The Mountain” being a must listen in this blogger’s opinion. The film was released in theaters on June 9, 1989 and was meet with poor reviews from critics who thought it was the weakest in the series, but movie goers seemed to favor it more as with them it was meet with mixed reviews. The film brought in $52,210,049.00 for Paramount at the American box office and ranked # 25 for the year beating out such films as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures, The Karate Kid Part III, License To Kill, All Dogs Go To Heaven, A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 5, No Holds Barred and Friday The 13th Part 8 to name a few. While Star Trek V might not be the biggest blockbuster in the series, I for one always enjoyed it and think it’s way underrated and offers some fun and adventures moments.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is a film that I first saw on VHS when my parents rented it from the video store and we had a family movie night watching it. I remember that we had microwave popcorn, and me and my brother were drinking Kool-Aid. I remember enjoying and loving the film as the bonding between Captain Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy around the campfire singing songs, drinking whiskey and eating beans was awesome and something that captured the three characters’ friendship so perfect. I liked the idea of them searching for God all because of a crazed Vulcan who is a cult leader by all accounts taking them hostage and brainwashing them to do so. Over the years I have seen the film many times and each time I have enjoyed it, and no joke this film has a line that I say all the time around the house to Juliet and I will get to that a little later. I also remember that my Uncle Thurman loved Star Trek V and can remember talking to him about the film while at my grandparents’ house. While Star Trek V is not my favorite film in the series, it’s not one I dislike and find it to be very charming, It’s one you should watch for the first time or watch again with a clear mind and enjoy it for the fun ride it is. I guess before we get off this part of the review I should also point out some things I didn’t like about the film with the biggest for me being the fact that the film’s semi villain is able to use his powers to scramble the minds of McCoy and the Enterprise Crew with only Kirk and Spock being strong enough to fight it off, and damn it, McCoy should have been able to as well as Sulu! To sum it up, Star Trek V is a great sequel and a fun film that I have enjoyed since I was a kid.

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier has one of the greatest lines in Trek history and one that, as I said, I use around the house and even at times while hanging out with friends. Now to set up this line I need to explain the scene as it has Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones McCoy and Vulcan cultist Sybok breaking through the barrier and beaming down to Sha Ka Ree, the planet that is supposed to house God, well to Sybok and his followers at least. Once there they meet The Creator who demands they bring the Enterprise closer so that he can leave the planet and spread his word among the galaxies. And upon hearing that The Creator wants them to bring down the Enterprise…Kirk asks the best question ever asked in a Star Trek film “What does God need with a starship?”! Hands down, this is an amazing line! Say that phrase out loud but do it in your best William Shatner impersonation and stress the word God…Shatner should have won an Oscar for that performance as it really is something I say so much in my life as I find it to be fitting for many of life’s questions.

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Like all Star Trek films that came before it as well as after, The Final Frontier had its fare share of merchandise for fans to collect and add to their Trek collections. The film had magazines, novels, home media releases, soundtrack, toys, posters, shirts, hats, buttons, comic book, jackets, computer games, trading cards and so much more! Over the years I have owned many items based on Star Trek V like the film on VHS and DVD, the soundtrack on CD, the novel and comic as well as at one time the trading cards. So if you are a Trekkie and love Part 5, the world has many of cool items for you to own.

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Did you old school gamers know that a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) based on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was being made by Bandai that was to release around the same time as the film? Did you know that it was cancelled due to the game not playing well and losing track of much of the film’s concept? Did you know that in 2006 a ROM of the game was released that featured four of the stages? Did you know that the game has also made it way to the grey market and is now on a cart that you can play on your NES? Well now you do, and I am happy to say that I have a cart version of this game and man is it a hard one with unforgiving controls and gameplay. The game is a side scrolling adventure game as well as a space shooter and it’s a shame that the game was never finished as who knows what the level that had you fight The Creator would have been, I am guessing the Enterprise firing at a floating head that spit fireballs. The game is a really fun play for fans of classic NES games, as well as Star Trek fans and if you have a ROM on your computer or have a trusty favorite cart maker, make sure to give this unfinished game a try.

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is a super fun film that spawned some great merchandise as well as a fun half finished game for the NES, and we are now at the time of reading and reviewing the comic. I would like to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having the comic in stock and would also like to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s boldly go where no comic reader has gone before!

Star Trek V Comic 1

Star Trek V: Final Frontier  ***
Released in 1989     Cover Price $2.00      DC Comics     #1 of 1

On the planet of Nimbus III the Vulcan Sybok is on a quest to get a starship in order to find the planet Sha Ka Ree and is gathering the lost souls of the planet to help him do so by coming up with a plan that will make sure one will come. Meanwhile at Yosemite National Park on shore leave Captain Kirk, Spock and McCoy are having a camping trip and Kirk has decided to climb a mountain. While climbing Spock with rocket boots comes to speak to Kirk and this causes him to lose his grip and fall, and if not for Spock and his boots, he would have crashed to the earth below. Back on Nimbus III the ambassadors (a Klingon, Terran and Romulan) of the planet are taken prisoner by Sybok and his makeshift army, and Starfleet calls the Enterprise to be the peacemakers to help them. Also hearing of the hostage situation is Klingon Captain Klaa and he and his crew are more hyped for the idea of fighting a starship than helping. Once at Nimbus III, they try and trick Sybok when Chekov acts as the Captain and speaks to him about terms of releasing them while Kirk leads Spock, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura and a few other crewmembers on a rescue mission on the ground. But Kirk and crew soon find that this was a set up to get their starship and Sybok has even gotten to the ambassadors who believe in his journey to find Sha Ka Ree. Now the Enterprise is in the hands of a religious madman who is Spock’s brother and also Captain Klaa is on the attack! Kirk, Spock and McCoy are thrown in a cell as Sybok uses his mind powers to get the rest of the Enterprise crew under his spell…all but Scotty who breaks them out of the cell. Kirk makes it to his room and sends a call for help! Sybok catches them and tells them of his want to find Sha Ka Ree and then uses his mind control powers on McCoy and Spock by showing them past pains and freeing them from it. Kirk refuses to get his pain taken away, and then they hit the zone that will lead them to the unknown planet of Sha Ka Ree. As Sybok rushes back to the bridge, Spock and McCoy break the hold and stay with Kirk who has been ordered to stay in his room, that is until Kirk is called back up the bridge as Sybok says the ship needs its captain. Then Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sybok get into a shuttle and land on the planet to meet “God”, and when they land, they meet a powerful being that alerts them that he needs the starship to carry his wisdom away from the planet and the zone. When questioned why God needs the help of a ship, the being attacks Kirk and Spock! And the being shows its true self at being an evil being and Sybok attacks the being just as the Enterprise gets orders to blast it with phasers! As Kirk, Spock and McCoy run to the shuttle, the being now as a rock creature goes on the attack and Scotty is able to beam up McCoy and Spock, but before he can get Kirk, the Enterprise is attacked by Captain Klaa making Kirk stand alone against the rock creature. That is until Kirk is beamed aboard the Klingon ship thanks to the Klingon Ambassador who orders Klaa to save Kirk from that false god and that terrible planet. Once out of the zone and back on shore leave Kirk, Spock and McCoy finish their camping trip.

This DC Comic adaptation of Star Trek V is a great read and captures the adventure and humor of the film really well and even showcases the power of the Fake God even more by allowing him to become a massive rock creature who wants to smash Kirk into the ground! The plot is simple: Spock’s brother hijacks the Enterprise to find a planet that is said to hold the secrets of God only to find an evil being and throw in a young Klingon Captain who wants to make a name for himself by killing Kirk and you have this plot in a nutshell. Captain Kirk goes from a relaxing camping trip to a rescue mission to being a prisoner on his own ship to fighting a fake God to going back on vacation, so as you can see, he had a very busy couple of days! The thing about Captain Kirk is that he is fearless as well as loyal to his ship and crew and lives for his Starfleet command. Kirk really is my favorite Captain in any Star Trek series as he is a rebel, a ladies man, and a great strategist when it comes to battles with the likes of Klingons. Spock in this issue is trying to learn human camping stories and snacks and shows that while he cares about his brother, he is very much loyal to his friends. McCoy as well cares about his friends and we see that he holds lots of pain when he could not help his father with an illness that took his life and a cure was just around the corner. I have to say this again, nothing in the world of science fiction can beat the friendship and bond of Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy and Spock as they are the perfect trio of friends in any kind of fiction. The False God is pure evil and has been placed in the zone with a force field around it to keep it from infecting the rest of the galaxy with its evil ways, it’s violent and can take the appearance of anyone or thing and is best left on that planet. The Klingon Captain Klaa and his crew are young and crave war and want so badly to make a name for themselves in the history books and think that by killing Captain Kirk they can do so, and they come close until a high ranking Klingon forces them to help Kirk! Poor Sybok, who is the brother of Spock, is not a bad Vulcan at all and thinks that emotions are more important than logic and can even take peoples pain away and mind control them into happiness. All he really wants to do is find Sha Ka Ree, a planet he thinks God lives so all living things can find the answer to life and happiness, but instead he finds a fake and gives his life to try and help Spock, McCoy and Kirk to escape the cursed planet. The best part of Sybok is that he has a strange version of the Vulcan Mind Meld that allows him to fill a being with pure joy and take away their pain. I should also say that Sybok is Spock’s half brother as they share the same father. The comic does a great job of keeping the plot going and taking elements of the film that was cut from the film script like the Rock Creature. The cover for this comic is well done and super eye catching for fans of Star Trek and the interior art by James W. Fry and Arne Starr and is well done and captures the looks of the actors pretty well. If you are a fan of Star Trek V like I am I would say make sure to give this comic a read as I think you will enjoy it as much as I did. Check out the artwork below to see they style used in this comic adaptation.

Star Trek V Comic Art 1Star Trek V Comic Art 2Star Trek V Comic Art 3

Star Trek had to have a place on Rotten Ink’s 10 Year Anniversary year as they really are some of my favorite sci-fi films and growing up Star Trek was a big part of my childhood in both TV shows, movies and toys. And while Star Trek V is not one of the most well loved films staring the original cast by Trekkies, it is one that I have always been a fan of. And after reading this update I hope you give this film a watch and sit back and enjoy the silly ride from the mind of William Shatner. For my next update, I am staying in the world of sci-fi but the next topic has a touch of Greek myth and fantasy to it and I am talking about the 1981 classic film Clash Of The Titans! So until next time, read a Star Trek comic or three, watch a Star Trek film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Join me next time as Rotten Ink unleashes the Kraken!

Clash Of The Titans Preview Logo

Horror Host Icon: TNT Monstervision – The Moon & Narrator

Back in the 90’s, network TV had cancelled many of the amazing Horror Host shows that graced their airwaves as the TBS show Super Scary Saturday with host Grampa Munster was history in 1989 with that same year USA ended Commander USA’s Groovie Movies and even the original run of Movie Macabre with Hostess Elvira Mistress Of The Dark came to an end by the late 80’s. But in 1991 TNT stepped into the Horror Host game and delivered Monstervision to weekend viewers that became a mainstay for the station all the way to the year 2000! Most of you readers know Monstervision with its Host Joe Bob Briggs, but did you know that the show had more hosts then just him? That’s right before Joe Bob there was The Moon, Penn & Teller and Logo with Narrator’s Voice! And for this Horror Host Icon update we will be taking a quick and yet fun look at The Moon and The Narrator as I feel they are very important to the legacy of Monstervison as well. And I have been itching to talk about Monstervision and my Joe Bob Briggs update is in the works but still years away from being posted, so it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: TNT Monstervision – The Moon & Narrator! So let’s get our MOOOONSTERVISION on.

TNT Moon and Narrator 1

TNT Monstervision started on June 29, 1991 and was a way to bring viewers marathons of classic Horror and Science Fiction films plus TV Shows as special epic feeling events. The marathons would run all night and would keep fans glued to the TV Screens fighting off sleep to watch all the cheesy goodness. And our guide for Monstervision for the first year or so was a smirking Moon who was in the sky who would accompany a Narrators Voice over, and this pairing clearly got joy in bringing you classic films for your late night viewing. The Moon in the sky seemed to always be looking at the viewer and with a half grin and a sinister glee in his eye it was as if he was warning you about the classic films that awaited you that evening’s marathon. While The Moon was silent his expressions really did say everything you needed to know as you entered the world of TNT’s Monstervision! While his run as the Host of Monstervision was very short The Moon made his impact not only with the fans but also in the world of Horror Hosting. And one other very important fact I would like to point out is when The Moon was the host all the films were classics from the 40’s-70’s and stayed clear of the rated R fright flicks the show would go on to be known for.

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Sometime later before and even after comedy duo Penn & Teller took over for a very short time an amazing Voice Narrator was the soul host of the show and would talk over the shows opening as well as logo and title cards. The Narrator would make the show sound so epic as he would stress the shows title and deliver one of the best voiceovers for a Horror Host show in the 90’s. This Voice also helped co-host the show with The Moon and brought the excitement as his tone would boom! But to be honest there was two different voice actors that did the Narration for the show over the years and each brought their own touch or should I say golden pipes to the show. The Narrator would last as the host all the way up until 1996 when the show became a weekly program and had a permit host with a true icon of Horror Hosting the one and only Joe Bob Briggs who had his own announcer…so yeah I guess the show had a total of three…or at least I think three….so many classic voice work on this show!

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Growing up I was much like James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd) as I would grab the TV Guide and scroll through to find what monster movies were playing that week and when Monstervision was on it was like an all night marathon of cheesy and fun classic genre films! My Mom and Brother most of the time would remember for me what was coming on and I would rush to turn on the TV to watch the films. Monstervision through out it’s entire run was a very important part of my childhood as alongside USA Up All Night, Moraine Playhouse Theater and USA Saturday Nightmares during this time was must see TV for me and filled the void left behind of Commander USA, Dr. Creep and Grampa Munster being off the air. Crazy to think that Monstervision was the show that introduced me to many amazing classic Sci-Fi and Horror films with the one standing out the most to me being the 1956 film The Werewolf that aired on a Monstervision Marathon on Christmas night in 1993, I even taped it back then and became obsessed with that film for years after….sadly that VHS tape is long gone and I wish I had that airing for this update. While writing this update it was great to remember back to the early years of Monstervision when it was a true event when it came on and the films lasted all night and delivered chills, thrills and adventures to all those who watched. It’s a shame that TNT has followed the path of USA Network and have became a shell of what they use to be, but who knows now that they brought back wrestling to the station with AEW Dynamite so who knows maybe Monstervision’s return is in the cards as well with a new host or even back to the none hosted format, one thing is for sure if this happens I will be tuning in.

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The Monstervision Narrators are as important to the shows history as Joe Bob Briggs and while the Moon might not be as remembered he still was apart of the shows legacy and made his mark on viewers. Now it’s time to take a look at the episodes of MonsterVision I have that feature The Moon or just The Narrator and I would like to thank Ebay and my friend Scott Scarborough for making this update possible. I want to remind everyone that I will not be giving these updates a star rating and I will take the films write up from our friends at IMDB and the Host write up is done by me. So lets get ready and take a look at MooooonnnnsssttteeerrVisssion!

TNT MoonTriple Feature DVD

TNT Monstervision: Spaced Out Adventures
Starring – Zsa Zsa Gabor & Peter Graves     Not Rated        1958/1966/1952

Host: This episode is the combo of The Moon and the Narrator who bring us in and out of the movies. While The Moon looks smug and sinister the Narrator brings his A-Game of making the nights film and theme seem like the most important thing on TV that night.

Movies: Queen Of Outer Space: American astronauts are drawn by a mysterious force to the planet Venus, which they find to be inhabited only by beautiful women and their despotic queen. The Wild, Wild Planet: A deranged scientist is using his employer’s top-secret bio-laboratory to engage in clandestine eugenics experiments. When he starts kidnapping leading citizens for use in his twisted tests, it’s up to rogue cop Mike Halstead to come to the rescue of all and sundry, including his lady friend Connie, who is also being held captive by the madman. Red Planet Mars: An American scientist is able to contact and communicate with Mars with shattering political, economic, and spiritual repercussions.

TNT Monstervision - Outer Limits Vol 2 DVD

TNT Monstervision: Outer Limits Vol. 2
Starring – Leonard Nimoy & Martin Sheen         Not Rated       1963/1964

Host: This second TNT Monstervision salute to the Outer Limits Marathon has just the normal TNT Narrator taking us in and out for breaks. We also get a sneak peak at The Moon as they welcome us to Monstervision and that more episodes are to come.

Movie: Soldier: A soldier from the far future is accidentally teleported back to 1964. The psychiatrist assigned to examine the soldier realizes that he has been bred purely as a killing machine, but he believe he can reawaken the warrior’s humanity. Meanwhile, a second soldier arrives, dedicated to hunting and killing his enemy. I, Robot: A cynical lawyer is hired by a young woman to prove that her uncle was not killed by his invention – a sophisticated robot. Nightmare: A stranded team of soldiers are captured and experimented on by demonic looking aliens. Demon With A Glass Hand: Days ago, Trent awoke with no memory of his past. Since then, sinister men have pursued him constantly. He manages to stay one step ahead of them by following the advice of his hand. Made of glass and apparently capable of speech, Trent’s hand can answer many of his questions. But it cannot tell him who he is or why his enemies seek him until he finds all of its fingers. The only trouble is that they’re in the hands of his enemies. The Bellero Shield: Richard Bellero, a dedicated scientist, is working on experiments involving sending laser beams into outer space. His father, Richard Bellero Sr., believes the scientist isn’t strong enough to take over the Bellero business empire. In the meantime, Richard’s wife Judith has more than enough ambition for the two of them. Richard, through a freak accident, reels in a being from another dimension with his laser experiment. The being has a small device that can project a shield that no force can penetrate. The alien at first wants to learn all about earth that he can and Richard cooperates. Judith, however, sees the alien and the shield-projecting device, as a means to power. While Richard is away, Judith first tricks the alien to deactivating his shield device then shoots the alien to prevent him from departing Earth. She removes the hand held device while failing to notice it was connected to a vein in the alien — whose bodily fluid is the key to operating the device. This is the … Cry Of Silence: A couple find themselves lost and in the middle of a deserted valley. Then, they come under attack by a series of rocks, tumbleweeds and animals. What could be causing this assault?

Note From Matt: This was originally aired on November 30, 1991 on a Saturday night as part of their TNT Salutes The Outer Limits II event that featured a total of nine episodes. This tape only has 5 1/2 of the episodes. The episode Cry Of Silence is only partly there. Its missing the episodes “A Feasibility Study”, “Don’t Open Till Doomsday” and “The Chameleon”.

TNT Monstervision - Outer Limits Vol 5 DVD

TNT Monstervision: Outer Limits Vol. 5
Starring –Don Gordon & Peter Breck         Not Rated       1963/1964

Host: This classic Monstervision marathon has just the Narrators Voice set over TV Screens that show clips of the show The Outer Limits.

Movie: Moonstone: A lunar exploration team from Earth encounters alien life, and must make a difficult decision. The Human Factor: At an isolated military installation in Greenland, Major Brothers has allowed one of his men to die after falling in a crevasse. Suffering from hallucinations, he goes to Dr. Hamilton. Hamilton has invented a device that allows him to read the thoughts of another person. Hamilton and Brothers connect via the device, but then a power surge causes the unthinkable: the minds of the two men switch bodies. The deranged Major Brothers is bent on destroying the whole base. Unfortunately, his mind is in the psychiatrist’s body, and the other base workers know nothing of the mind switch. The Duplicate Man: When a dangerous alien creature called a Megasoid escapes, the scientist who smuggled him to Earth creates an illegal clone of himself to hunt it down. But his plan is complicated when his neglected wife begins to fall in love with his duplicate. The Forms Of Things Unknown: Two female friends poison a sadistic blackmailer, then while fleeing happen upon an isolated house containing a time machine. Kasha, his lover, and Leonora, the daughter of the blackmail target, fight to bury him before the idealistic inventor Tone Hobart is able to re-animate the murdered man, by tilting him back into the past. The Invisibles: Aliens plan to take over the U.S. by recruiting disaffected loners who are themselves “invisible” to normal society. The alien crab-like creatures attach themselves to human hosts and control them. The recruits are assigned low-level jobs of highly appointed government officials so they can get the alien in close proximity to them. A U.S intelligence agent infiltrates the alien organization, but it may be too late. O.B.I.T.: While operating the Outer Band Individuated Teletracer, or O.B.I.T. machine, in a military base, Captain Harris is strangled. U.S. Senator Orville arrives at the base to investigate his murder and learns that there are several bases with the O.B.I.T. machine, which is capable to monitor in a video display the privacy of any person anywhere. Along his investigation, Senator Orville asks for information about the OBIT, such as who is the manufacturer, price, who bought, but no user has any information about the mysterious machine. The Guests: A drifter enters a lonely house, unaware that it is actually an alien creature in disguise. Soon he realizes that he is a prisoner, along with several other half-mad inhabitants, but he is determined to escape.

Note From Matt: This was originally aired on February 27, 1993 on a Saturday night as part of their TNT Salutes The Outer Limits V event that featured a total of nine episodes. This tape only has 6 1/2 of the episodes and at the start the commercials have been removed and later in the tape some commercials are shown and the recorders editing becomes very sloppy as parts of episodes are even cut off. The episode The Guest is only the first 17 minutes of the episode.

TNT Monstervision - House Of Wax 1953 DVD

TNT Monstervision: House Of Wax (1953)
Starring – Vincent Price & Carolyn Jones      Rated PG     1953

Host: Film Director Tim Burton opens the show talking about his love for House Of Wax as well as a little about the films production and history.

Movie: Professor Henry Jarrod is a true artist whose wax sculptures are lifelike. He specializes in historical tableau’s such a Marie Antoinette or Joan of Arc. His business partner, Matthew Burke, needs some of his investment returned to him and pushes Jarrod to have more lurid exposes like a chamber of horrors. When Jarrod refuses, Burke set the place alight destroying all of his beautiful work in the hope of claiming the insurance. Jarrod is believed to have died in the fire but he unexpectedly reappears some 18 months later when he opens a new exhibit. This time, his displays focus on the macabre but he has yet to reproduce his most cherished work, Marie Antoinette. When he meets his new assistant’s beautiful friend, Sue Allen, he knows he’s found the perfect model – only unbeknown to anyone, he has a very particular way of making his wax creations.

Note From Matt: This was apart of a MonsterVision event that was called “Our Favorite Movies” that had director Tim Burton not only hosting House Of Wax bust also the films Mysterious Island, The Time Machine and 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao. This originally aired on July 28, 1994 on a Thursday night and my friend Scott only recorded this movie.

TNT Monstervision 20 Million Miles To Earth and IT DVD

TNT Monstervision: Fiend Fiesta Pt. 2
Starring – William Hooper & Ray Corrigan       Not Rated     1957/1958

Host: The Narrator ushers us in and out of the film over clips of films with his spooky voice echoing out. This also the classic colorized film bumpers that helped push Monstervision into super popularity. Plus we get cool Monstervision bumpers and ads.

Movie: 20 Million Miles To Earth: The first spaceship to visit Venus crash lands in the sea, freeing a small native Venusian creature called the Ymir. Eventually growing to enormous size, it threatens the city of Rome. IT! The Terror From Beyond Space: In 1973, the first manned expedition to Mars is marooned; by the time a rescue mission arrives, there is only one survivor: the leader, Col. Edward Carruthers, who appears to have murdered the others! According to Carruthers, an unknown life form killed his comrades during a sandstorm. But the skeptical rescuers little suspect that “it” has stowed away for the voyage back to Earth.

Note From Matt: These are two of the films that showed on August 27, 1994 as part of the “Famous Last Words/Fiend Fiesta” themed marathon and was the last two films of the night! The first three minutes or so of 20 Million Miles To Earth is missing

TNT Moon and Narrator Logo End

TNT Monstervision in all its forums and all its hosts over the years has always been something very special to those of us who grew up watching it and is truly missed by late night TV watchers. I for one would like to see it return to air with a new host (as Joe Bob Briggs is hosting the Last Drive In on Shudder and is delivering one of the best Horror Host programs going) or even just bring back The Moon and Narrator as the world truly needs this and I feel that if Ted Turner was still in charge of TNT the show would have never went away fully as by 2001 most of what made stations like TNT and TBS special was washed away by AOL and Time Warner and as I have stated before they are both just a shell of what they use to be and only delivering a small amount of programing that is worth watching with most programs being aired are just bad reruns of crime shows. For me The Moon and Narrator for TNT Monstervision are true Icons in the world of Horror Hosting and helped make my childhood amazing! Sadly I don’t think Monstervision will ever come back on TNT, but what will be coming back in my next blog update as I will be doing another in my From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates to help ring in the Halloween season as I will be talking about Wolf Cop and the comic mini series based around it! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you soon for a ride along with a werewolf who has a badge that likes beer and doughnuts.

Wolfcop preview logo

Star Trek III: The Search For Comic Book Spock

Welcome back to Rotten Ink Update Log 434:90. As we are into 2020, a new year, it means that we will be taking another look at a comic adaptation of a Star Trek movie and this leads us to taking a look at Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, the most overlooked sequel in the series and one that I really enjoyed as a youngster and still enjoy as an adult! With Star Trek not being a powerhouse at the Box Office anymore and rumors that Quentin Tarantino might be getting his mitts on the franchise to make a R rated feature, I think here at Rotten Ink it will always have the respect and be a draw for you readers. So if you are ready to beam aboard the Enterprise and go on a search for Spock with the crew and Rotten Ink, we should start this amazing update.

So let’s start this off right and begin our talk about The Search For Spock with taking a look at the film itself. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB, and after I will be writing about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on this third Star Trek film. So let’s take a look at this third and over looked Star Trek flick.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984)

“In the wake of Spock’s ultimate deed of sacrifice, Admiral Kirk and the Enterprise crew return to Earth for some essential repairs to their ship. When they arrive at Spacedock, they are shocked to discover that the Enterprise is to be decommissioned. Even worse, Dr. McCoy begins acting strangely and Scotty has been reassigned to another ship. Kirk is forced to steal back the Enterprise and head across space to the Genesis Planet to save Spock and bring him to Vulcan. Unknown to them, the Klingons are planning to steal the secrets of the Genesis Device for their own deadly purpose.”

Paramount Pictures was riding high on the over all success of “Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan” and when director Nicholas Meyer stepped away after an argument with Paramount, they went to Leonard Nimoy who was excited by the aspect of bring Spock back and became the film’s director. Harve Bennett stepped in to not only produce the film but also write it as they loved his work on Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, and during the writing stage Bennett and Nimoy worked close together to do the return of Spock right for fans. And once the film was written and all parties involved were happy with it, Paramount gave them $16 million dollars for the budget and most of it went to the film’s special effects as they hired Industrial Light & Magic to make the film’s props and sets look just right. When filming started, Paramount and Leonard Nimoy were very protective of no spoilers being leaked and did their best to try and prevent any of the workers from spilling the beans on any of the film’s major plot points, though sadly in the end the Enterprise’s destruction was leaked before the film hit theaters. The filming of the third film was very stressful and demanding of both cast and crew, and at one point a studio fire at Paramount held up production as an arsonist had set some sound studios ablaze. Rumor has it that William Shatner among others helped battle the fire from destroying their set with water hoses as the set for the Genesis Planet almost went up in a blaze. Once filming was done, they had to add in the special effects and later the score music that was done by James Horner who was returning from Part II. Star Trek III was released to theaters on June 1, 1984 and was a hit for Paramount at the box office bringing in $87 million worldwide and places at # 9 over all for the year in America. Star Trek III beat out such films as Purple Rain, The Terminator, Friday The 13th Part 4: Final Chapter, Dune, The Last Starfighter, A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Supergirl and The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai to name a few. The critics gave the film positive reviews and fans as well seemed to enjoy it with President at the time Ronald Reagan being the only major stick in the mud when he was quoted as saying “It wasn’t too good” when asked about it after seeing it with White House staff. The film would later find its way to cable as well as home media being released on VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and Blu-Ray over the years.

Growing up I was a major fan of Star Trek, both the TV Show and The Movies starring the original cast, as it always seemed to be on my radar when a new one was being released to theaters or even home video, and for some reason this third movie has always stuck with me and I can say one reason why….and it’s cause Spock returns from the dead in the end! When I was younger and watched as Spock dies of radiation poison, I was devastated and I can remember my Mom telling me that he would be okay, and when the next movie was released called Search For Spock I knew her words was true. But I would have to wait till the film hit cable before I could see just how Spock returned, as weird as it sounds my Dad who liked the original Star Trek TV Show would never go to the theater to see the movies so we would have to always wait till it hit cable or home media before we got to watch it. After seeing the film for the first time I found myself truly enjoying this entry in the series and loved the aspects of the Klingons wanting to get their hands on the Genesis Project so they could use it for war purposes, not to even mention that Christopher Lloyd played Kruge, the head Klingon. Even some years later my mom bought my brother and I a Kruge action figure that she found at an Odd Lots. And now being an adult in his 40’s, I can say that Star Trek III still is a great film and I still enjoy watching it ever so often. It’s sad to say that so many of the original cast are no longer with us and that means we will never get a new film or show with the original cats, though I have heard rumors of a streaming show about Captain Kirk played by William Shatner being in development and this old school Trekkie hopes it’s true as I would love to see more adventures of Captain Kirk. To sum it all up, while Star Trek III is not my favorite film in the series, it is in my top three for sure and I suggest you give it a watch and enjoy the return of Spock.

Star Trek III: Search For Spock, like all movies in this series, had its fair share of very cool merchandise to keep fans happy that included action figures, posters, novels, calendars, comic books, soundtrack, card game, shirts and Taco Bell even did amazing collectors glasses! Growing up I had some of the action figures that were built more like classic 3 ¾” G.I. Joe action figures and the novel plus comic adaptation. But one of my favorites was the Taco Bell Glasses that we would find at garage sales and our Mom would pick them up. I cannot count how many glasses of Chocolate Milk, Mt. Dew and Kool-Aid I drank out of them over the years. I must also say that I still do have all these items I had from my youth. While some are not the ones from my past, I made sure to get them back when I got older.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock has always been one of the films with the original cast that has always stuck with me as I found it to be solid and also a great way to end the Genesis Project storyline. Plus no joke, I cannot tell you readers how many times I have watched this film over the years as in 2017 for the longest time I put on the original seven before bed! Well I think it’s time to see just how well DC Comics has adapted the film into a comic, and to be honest I am looking forward to rereading this comic as I had it when I was a kid and want to see if it holds up! I also want to remind you all that I will grade this comic on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. Also a big thanks to Game Swap Kettering for having this comic in stock and making this update possible and for getting me a copy of the comic again for my collection. So let’s head out to space and see if we can find Spock with DC Comics and the crew of the Enterprise.

Star Trek III: Search For Spock # 1  ***
Released in 1984     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 1 of 1

The Genesis Planet is growing fast and word is that the vessel that houses the body of Spock has landed on the man made miracle planet, and Captain Kirk’s son David along with Saavik are aboard the Grissom in order to study it. Meanwhile Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise are heading into dock and all are filled with sadness over the death of Spock, and weirdly enough Dr. McCoy is acting very strange and even acting like their deceased friend. Meanwhile rogue Klingon commander Kruge and his crew are obsessed with getting the secrets of the Genesis project, and they are now on their way to the planet to gather what information and secrets they can. When Kirk and crew return to base they are all sent on leave besides Scotty who is to report to a new fancy ship, and the Enterprise is set for retirement and Kirk is told he is not to speak nor go to the Genesis planet! Meanwhile David and Saavik are on Genesis and find Spock’s burial tube empty, but worse the planet itself starts to become unstable! While on leave Kirk and his crew are together when Sarek, the father of Spock, shows up and tells Kirk that he needs to bring Spock’s body and Dr. McCoy to Vulcan so they both can find peace, and Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise know what they have to do and that’s steal the ship, get McCoy out of Federation watch and save their friends! Meanwhile on the unstable Genesis planet David and Saavik find a young Spock who is a shell of himself with no spirit, and they now need to protect him from the world around him and The Klingons have destroyed the Grissom and a land crew are on their way to the planet to take them as prisoners. As the Enterprise reaches the Genesis planet, they get into a space battle with the Bird Of Prey ship commanded by Kruge and both ships take major damage and Kurge uses the prisoners on the planet as his bargain chip, and after killing David things get real cold as Kirk tricks a large group of Klingons to beam aboard the Enterprise as it self destructs and his crew beam down to the Genesis Planet and save the growing Spock and Saavik from the Klingon guards. Kirk makes a deal with Kurge that he will share the secrets of Genesis if he beams his crew aboard, and after doing so Kurge comes down and he and Kirk fight to the death…and this leaves the Klingon dead and the Enterprise Crew taking over the Bird Of Prey and head toward Vulcan. Once at Vulcan they are able to meld the spirit of Spock into the new body of Spock and they crew celebrates as they have their friend back.

This DC Comic adaptation of the Paramount Pictures film Star Trek III: Search For Spock is fantastic and shows that these movie comics can be done right! The plot has Kirk and his crew trying what they can to stop a rogue batch of Klingons who stand between them and the body of Spock as well as they themselves going rogue and disobeying the Federation’s rules making them outlaws now. Captain James T. Kirk is as always our hero and in this comic he breaks all the rules in order to be loyal to friendship, and while some of his choices lead to devastating actions like the death of his son David and even the destruction of the Enterprise his loyal nature to his friends is inspiring. Kirk also shows why he went from Captain to Admiral as his strategies are solid and always seem to work. Doctor Leonard McCoy in this issue has some mental issues as inside his mind is not only his own thoughts but also that of the deceased Spock! It’s also really cool to see that McCoy himself is very upset about the death of Spock and misses his friend and is willing to risk is own safety in order to try and bring him back. Spock in this issue as a person is a shell of a being who does not speak and is growing at a superfast rate, his spirit however does speak through McCoy from time to time. In the end when Spock fully returns its great to see him start to remember his friends and that his own father wanted to see his return. The rest of the Enterprise crew are around and while not major focuses they all are very much important. The Klingon Kruge is a madman who is obsessed with gaining the knowledge of the Genesis Project and has no issues killing to gain it, and he does kill and even orders the deaths of others…in other words he is very cold and self centered. The comic much like the film is a chess game as each move made has a response and each move also has an answer with some being good and others being very bad. I think DC Comics did a really great job of capturing the mood, drama and action of the movie and delivers a great read that shows just why Star Trek in all media means something to the series fans. The cover is very interesting and for the most part I really like it as I find it to be very Sci-Fi paperback novel looking. The interior art is really good and has that DC look and is done by Tom Sutton. To sum this adaptation up I would say if you are a fan of the film or just enjoy the original cast of Star Trek, I would recommend checking this comic out. Check out the art below to see the mind meld of McCoy and Spock to see they style used in this comic.

While Star Trek III might not get the respect it deserves with many fans as I think for them its over shadowed by Wrath Of Khan and Voyage Home, I still find it to be a great film that made a great comic! And be ready as next year we will be taking a look at Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and the DC Comic Adaptation of it. And when thinking about the next update I decided I was having fun in space and while we will be walking away from the crew of the Enterprise we will be joining Captain Chris Galland as he and his crew visit the Planet Of The Vampires! That’s right its time to take another look at the world of Atlas Comics. 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 as he try to survive a world run by bloodsuckers!

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!