The Super Powered Cow Heroes Of Chick-fil-A!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, can I take your order? Wait what am I saying!? I am in the mood to talk Fast Food again, and this time around we are leaving McDonalds, Dominos and KFC behind and will be looking at the chicken place Chick-Fil-A and their kid’s meal comics called “Amazing Cow Heroes” that features super powered cows who want the world to eat more chicken! In this update we will be taking a look at not only the comics they made but also the history of the company, its founder, their mascots and of course I will eat a meal from there and review it as well! So if you’re ready to once more dive into the greasy world of fast food restaurants, let’s slide our way into Chick-fil-A and see why this is Americas favorite chicken place.

So let’s start by taken a look at Samuel Truett Cathy, who was the founder of Chick-fil-A and was more than just a man who wanted to sell chicken sandwiches! Samuel was born on March 14, 1921 in Eatonton, Georgia and when older went to Boys High School in Atlanta. Once able, he joined the army and survived during World War II. Once back he opened his first restaurant in Atlanta called the “Dwarf Grill” and while the owner he and his brother Ben created what would be the signature chicken sandwich for the chain of restaurants they would call “Chick-fil-A”! And in 1948, he married his wife Jeannette and had a total of three children all of whom now own and run his chicken empire. Samuel was also a very religious man and was a Baptist who taught Sunday School for 50 years at the First Baptist Church in Jonesboro. He made it that his Chick-fil-A as well as his pizza place called “Upscale Pizza” closed on Sundays in order for workers to spend time with their families as well as attend church. He also had scholarships for his workers and was given many awards over the years like President’s Call to Service Award and he was named a Georgia Trustee! He also wrote five books and even became a motivational speaker and was well respected by his friends, family and community. And in 2013, he retired from being the CEO and chairman of Chick-fil-A and turned it over to his son Dan. Sadly Samuel passed away on September 8, 2014 at the age of 93 from complications from diabetes and so ended his legacy of being a visionary when it came to fast food. During his lifetime, Samuel built himself an empire of chicken and even pushed that all his restaurants food quality be very high and never settled for processed and low-grade food. While some people judge him for his overly religious views and how that’s reflected in the current Chick-fil-A, the one thing many of us can agree on is that their chicken sandwiches are pretty dang good.

Chick-fil-A was created as its own brand in 1967 and was an offshoot of a restaurant called Dwarf Grill both created by Samuel Truett Cathy who used a pressure cooker for his chicken that would rival the cook time of any burger place. Many people may not know that the first Chick-fil-A was in the Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta, and from there, the expanded and wound up in many malls all over the USA making them a must eat for many mall goers. The first stand-alone store was in Atlanta as well and opened on North Druid Hills Road in 1986, and this helped spark them to grow even more. And besides malls and stand alone restaurants, Chick-fil-A is now in hospitals, colleges and airports making it a very popular place to eat for people in a hurry. Over the years Chick-fil-A has dug its claws into the world of fast food chicken and has taken the lead money maker in that fast food fight and has made KFC have to step up their game and has left “Lees Famous Recipe”, “Krispy Krunchy Chicken” and “Popeye’s Chicken” way behind when coming to bringing in money. But while they are a very popular chicken restaurant, they have also had their share of issues with fast food eaters and people in general as they have been questioned about the ingredients of their food as well as the use of antibiotics in their poultry, all things they are claiming to be fixing or have fixed. But the biggest hit against them comes from their stance on same sex marriage and LGBTQ rights, and current owner Dan Cathy has gone on the record denouncing marriage equality as well as had their company donate to many anti-LGBTQ churches and groups. This, of course, sparked heat on them as people are upset that a Fast Food place would take a stand that would deny human rights, while other sides were proud that they stood strong in the religious beliefs that their company was founded on. While nothing has been really settled about their political agenda, Chick-fil-A continues to be a money making fast food place who for a short time after marriage equality became federal law tried to distance themselves from political issues. But let’s move away from that as Rotten Ink is about fun and not politics and religion which seems to be the source of lots of anger. As of today they have over 2,200 stores and plans for more in the cards, not to mention they are a company worth billions of dollars! If you like chicken sandwiches, they are a place to go…unless it’s Sunday…then you will have to go elsewhere for your fast food.

Here in the Dayton, Ohio area the Chick-fil-A that I knew of was in the Dayton Mall and is still there to this day in 2019! And I can remember eating there when I was a youngster with my parents as well as cousins and always enjoyed their waffle fries and a chicken sandwich with cheese. Over the years now they have gone into all our indoor malls as well as stand alone restaurants have popped up, and I have found myself eating at them more often than before because of co-workers at work who enjoy them and one of my ex-girlfriends also really enjoyed them. So for this update I am going to go and get myself a meal from there and grade it! For this update I ordered myself a Chicken Sandwich with Cheese and a large order of Waffle Fries with a chocolate milkshake to drink from the location that was near Town N Country on September 18, 2018. I will grade this meal on a scale from 1-4 stars and keep in mind this scale is based on fast food level and not on the scale for a good home cooked meal or a higher end restaurant. So let’s start with the chocolate milk shake that was well made and had a rich taste with a fresh taste, I would gave it 3 stars as it was very tasty! The waffle fries that normally are my favorite part of the meal at Chick-fil-A this time around were a little bit of a letdown as they were just kind of bland and I even had to use Texas Pete to spice them up and give them a little more taste, I would give them 2 stars for this visit. Now the main event is the chicken sandwich with cheese and pickles, and man I have to say this was one tasty juicy sandwich that gets a 3 ½ star rating from this comic reader as the taste was top notch and the mix of chicken, pickles and cheese was a great combination. Oh and I would say the over all experience at the restaurant would be 3 stars as it was a nice and clean and the workers were all nice people and did their jobs well. Over all I would say this was a good meal from a place that does chicken sandwiches right.

Most fast food places have a mascot like Burger King has the Magical Burger King, McDonalds has Ronald and Dominos had The Noid to name a very few, and Chick-fil-A is no different as they have Cows as theirs….yep cows….beef….and the slogan “Eat Mor Chikin” was made for them as they want you to stop eating burgers and eat chicken instead. These cows are always trying to warn and get their message across that red meat is not good and chicken is tasty! It also seems like their main target is “McDonalds” that is called “Circus Burgers” in their world. These cows do silly things in the commercials from stealing fast food burgers from humans all the way to interrupting football games with their messages. The thing that sets the Chick-fil-A Cows apart from most other fast food mascots is that they are not just geared toward youngsters but are fun and silly for all ages. But while they are meant for all ages, this also makes them a little less fun and iconic as the other mascots meant for kids as they are nowhere near as iconic as Ronald McDonald, but I would say they are on par with Mr. Delicious from Rax who was also more geared toward all ages. But while they might not be that colorful or over the top entertaining, they still have made their mark on the world of fast food advertisement and many fast food eaters know who they are and have enjoyed them over the years.

I want to also bring to you reader’s attention that the superheroes the Amazing Cow Heroes were pretty popular, and Chick-fil-A really pushed them hard by making not only the comic books but also a t-shirt and wall calendar! They even had them in a few commercials showing that they really did stand behind their heroes. It would have been crazy if this group of cows ended up taking off and taking the comic world by storm…would we be all flocking to theaters to see the newest CFA Properties Inc. shared universe movie? Would Netflix have a show based on Cold Cuts that millions would binge watch? And would Hasbro be releasing action figures of the Gristle Missile! All these questions could have had the answer yes if only Amazing Cows would have hit it big with comic readers.

So now that we have taken a look at Chick-fil-A as a restaurant, their cow mascots and even their founder S. Truett Cathy, it’s that the time we take a look at the comic books based on their cows who are now superheroes! These comics were promos in their kids meals and started in 2010 with a total of five issues, and then in 2012 it came back for another five issues. The first five issues are adventures of a single cow, and think of them as the “Marvel Premiere” issues as they showcase our cast of heroes with the last five being more like “Marvel Team Up” as it pairs two of them together in an adventure. So for this update I decided to only cover the first five issues as they seemed like the more fun ones plus they all had amazing and silly covers as you will soon see, plus for some reason these comics are pretty pricy for something so silly. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comic as well as Amazon for having these issues in stock for making this update possible. And these cows are standing next to me and want me to remind you 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. And I should say these are first time reads for me and my first impression is that I am going to dig Gristle Missile the most. So if you’re ready, let’s eat a chicken sandwich and take a look at these super powered cows brought to us by Chick-fil-A!

Amazing Cow Heroes # 1  **1/2
Released in 2010      Cover Price $0.00      CFA Properties Inc.      # 1 of 10

Sir Brisket, the owner of Royale Beef Buffet has a sinister plan to set free a cloud that will make the people of Burgerburgh crave only burgers from his restaurant, and this evil plan is being carried out by burger robots! But before this plan can happen, cow hero deciBell and her super sonic moo saves the day and defeats the burger bots and destroyes the cloud machine. The cops and deciBell are clueless to what fast food burger place had this plot at hand and deciBell finds some scrap metal from the machine and decided to run some tests on it to find the mastermind behind this plot! Meanwhile King Brisket is ragging mad at his plot failing as he wanted to make tons of cash and his sidekick Amazing Merloin has a magic lasso that he can use on people and make them crave burgers from their restaurant, and they start using it on the good people in town. Meanwhile deciBell finds BBQ sauce on the metal and traces it back to King Brisket and she informs the cops who head to Royale Beef Buffet as does she. But when she gets there, to her horror, the cops are all eating burgers as is the good people of Burgerburgh as the lasso has turned them all into mindless red meat eaters! deciBell does what she knows will work and that’s sonic moo at them all and it breaks the trance, and she along with the cops head towards Sir Briskets homebase and bust him, but not before he himself is lassoed by accident and now craves chicken sandwiches!

Wow, this was a silly read and yet I found myself enjoying this kids comic as I feel like it fits perfectly with many of the comics that Archie, Harvey and even Star released in the 80’s and early 90’s. The plot is very simple and has our super sonic voiced cow hero deciBell stopping plots by a greedy fast food burger tyrant that only cares about money and not the food he is making for people to eat. The Amazing Cow Hero we meet in this first issue is deciBell who has the power of a sonic moo that can defeat enemies as well as break trances and brainwashing people are under. She is also super smart and can run analyzes on clues as well as can drive a van. Her goal is to protect the good people of Burgerburgh and to spread the word that people should eat more chicken. Our main villain is Sir Brisket, a fat mascot and owner of a fast food burger place that really loves money and will do under handed and illegal things to make people crave and eat at his restaurant and is a parody clearly of the Magical Burger King and maybe even a little Roy Rogers thrown in as he owned a chain of Roast Beef food chains. Sir Brisket is also surrounded by other weird characters that are a mix of medieval and cowboys including the even more goofy Amazing Merloin! No joke, while the story is very cheesy, it does serve a purpose as making a cow a likable hero could turn young readers away from eating red meat as it humanizes and gives cows a bigger more lovable personality and pushes for them to eat chicken. The cover is great and also for some reason reminds me of a milk ad and for a kids meal promo comic cover, it’s pretty eye catching. The interior art is done by Jason Howard who many of you comic readers might know from his work on the Image Comic series Amazing Wolf-Man, and his art is really good and fitting for this type of kids comic. Over all this is a great start for a comic series given away by a fast food chicken joint.

Amazing Cow Heroes # 2  **
Released in 2010     Cover Price $0.00     CFA Properties Inc.     # 2 of 10

A cow is involved in a very bad tractor accident that leaves her head and limbs damaged. Her owner Dr. Waffl Frize rebuilds her using parts on an old broke down mechanical bull turning her into Cowborg, a half cow and half machine creature who has powers beyond any normal cows including super jumps and the power to lift things with her fake eye! Dr. Waffl Frize and Cowborg decide to go to the county fair and enter the cow judging contest, and there they meet the evil The Judge who disqualifies her and then fails all the other cows and tries to steal them to turn into hamburger meat! And while the townsfolk are in an uproar Cowborg goes into action and has to save the people on a ferries wheel that The Judge has sabotaged as well a stop a rampaging monster truck! Finally Cowborg is able to track down The Judge and save the cows from the slaughter and have this crooked crook judge arrested.

This second issue is just as silly as the first and has the plot of a cow that is rebuilt with mechanical parts and given super powers having to save other cows from being kidnapped and turned into hamburgers! Our Cow Hero in this issue is Cowborg who is clearly based off DC Comics Cyborg with a little of TV’s Six Million Dollar Man thrown in. Her superpowers are she is able to run fast, jump super high and far, freeze things, short out wires and has a tractor beam eye. While Cowborg is cool, she is also lacking a personality like deciBell and seems to come off kind of you know robotic. Her owner Dr. Waffl Frize is a goof who clearly cares about cows as imagine all the hard work and money that was spent to turn one injured cow into a superhero. The Judge is a bad guy who has a big ego and seems to enjoy bulling others and really just wants to make money on selling stolen cows for their meat, and he doesn’t mind injuring and possibly killing people to get what he wants. This issue does have a great kids comic vibe I just found it to be a little slower and lacking slightly in the charm department. The cover is good and looks more like a poster and not a comic cover, and the interior art is solid and is done by Dan Panosian who is known for his work with Marvel Comics and heroes like Hulk, Conan and Iron Man. Over all it’s a good silly read that is nothing special and is used to spread the message of red meat is bad and chicken is good.

Amazing Cow Heroes # 3  *
Released in 2010     Cover Price $0.00     CFA Properties Inc.     # 3 of 10

All across America hamburgers from Circus Burger have become missing off the company’s grills as well as out of customers hands! And the CEO Seymor Greez of the company decides to send in three clowns to solve the mystery, and they find out that the cow hero Swatter is to blame. Seymor hires a pair of rodeo clowns, and they are able to sneak attack Swatter and tie up his tail that leaves him captive and at the mercy of Circus Burger. Seymor ends up having a big circus event in town and uses the captured cow hero as the main attraction as he is going to force him to do the trapeze with no net and his tail still tied up! As the evil CEO pushes Swatter off the platform, our hero’s tail becomes untied and he is able to pull off some amazing stunts and even leave a message drawn on the ground by his tail that says “Eat Mor Chikin”!

This superhero cow adventure kids comic is sadly not all that good and is really bland and kind of boring. The plot of this issue has Swatter, a cow hero stealing grills and burgers from people at Circus Burger with his super long and fast tail, and this makes the CEO mad who ends up kidnapping the cow hero and tries to force him to do a stunt and die in front of a crowd of people…only for his plot to fail. Swatter is thus far the only male hero in our comic series, and I guess he should be call Amazing Bull Hero! His superpower is that he has a long tail that he can use as a whip…yep, that’s it. The main bad guy is Seymor Greez, who is the CEO of Circus Burgers who has hired clowns as goons and doesn’t mind taking an animal and trying to make it have an accident in front of a ton of families who came to a circus for good times! So think about that, this guy wants kids to watch a cow fall from the sky and splat on the ground. This guy could be the worst in our villains thus far as he is cold blooded, not only to cows but other humans. Over all not much to say about this issue besides it was pretty lame and not much adventure goes on in it. Oh and it’s clear that this one is making fun of McDonalds. The cover is good, and Gregg Schigiel who is known for his work on Spider-Man for Marvel and is just okay in this comic as its nothing special does the interior art. So with that, let’s move onto issue four and see if they can get this moootastic series back on track.

Amazing Cow Heroes # 4  **
Released in 2010     Cover Price $0.00     CFA Properties Inc.     # 4 of 10

A massive ship at sea is caught in a terrible thunderstorm and lightning hits the side of the ship causing a hole, and one of the cows being shipped falls through it and is left to freeze in the water. Once the cow turns into a solid block of ice, a whale helps get her to land and penguins unfreeze her and give her a superhero suit as now her breath can freeze things and she is now known as Cold Cuts! While mastering her powers she even saves her new friends the penguins from a hungry seal by freezing it and knows she must find the ship she fell from so she can save her friends from becoming people’s dinners. Cold Cuts uses her ice breath to build an ice bridge and catches up with the ship and takes down the captain and his crew and frees her friends and sails the ship back home as her mission is clear and that’s to spread the word that people need to eat more chicken.

This is another fun but average kids comic featuring the hero cows of Chick-fil-A who really are trying their best to make kids fall in love with cows so they will stop eating at McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s and other fast food burger places. This issue’s plot is bare bones and has a cow freezing and getting powers to freeze other things with her breath stopping a ship filled with cows who are slated to be killed for their meat. Cold Cuts is very much inspired by Marvel Comics Iceman and can use her breath to not only freeze objects and people but also can use it to communicate and tell a story. She is a pretty cool cow hero and one of the better ones thus far behind deciBell. The bad guys in the issue are the ship’s crew but they put up no fight and are super weak and are defeated really fast. I dig the idea of Cold Cuts’ friends being penguins and that at the end of the issue she is steering the ship…I just picture her still lost at sea as clearly she can not read a compass! The issue is over all pretty good but really gives not much to talk about as it’s so simple and only has two real messages and that’s eat more chicken and be a good person. The cover is pretty great and eye catching, and the interior art is done by John Sprengelmeyer and is good as you might know his work for well Chick-fil-A! Over all fun kids comic read and showcases cows can be heroes!

Amazing Cow Heroes # 5  **
Released in 2010      Cover Price $0.00     CFA Properties Inc.     # 5 of 10

As a young calf, Gristle Missile came in contact with a meteor from space and gained the ability to run super fast! Once grown up he has had enough as his owner the farmer is grilling out hamburgers and he decides to zoom by and take them as well as leave a message for him to eat more chicken! The farmer is mad and gets on his lawnmower and starts to chase the Gristle Missile who makes the run of his life as he zooms past race horses and wins the big one. He then zooms past a cop who joins the chase and he is able to out run them all! Once away from the farm, he knows his mission in life is to stop people from eating burgers and sets his sight on Beefytown Burger and always steals all their meat! Well they set a trap for him that backfires as Gristle Missile escapes it and saves the day by taking down the Beefytown Owner and exposing his plan to take over the town! In the end Gristle Missile gets the key to the city and is the town’s savior.

This 5th issue in Amazing Cow Heroes not only shows our second male hero but also is a pretty solid kids comic issue that features a hero who means business when it comes to people not eating red meat! The plot has a cow getting super powers from a meteor that allows him to run super fast and this scares evil people who push hamburgers on people as his goal is to make sure they don’t! Gristle Missile is silent yet super cool as I think he is my favorite of the cow heroes as his speed is like The Flash and he has a go get them attitude and really hates hamburgers. Plus he doesn’t treat people like the enemy only the meat is. The issue’s main bad guys are the Beefytown people as they push terrible burgers on people and are placing restaurants all over town with the goal being to over run and take over, plus I think they really hate Gristle Missile as he steals their meat giving new life to the saying “Where’s the Beef?” that Wendy’s made popular in the 80’s. So while the plot is pretty standard, the over all feel has a nice mix of Fast Food Promo Comic and Kids Comic making it a fun and enjoyable read for youngsters and the young at heart. The cover is eyecatching and reminds me of a Flash cover with the interior art being good and done by Josh Adams. Over all a great comic to end our look at Chick-fil-A comics on and is one I enjoyed. As I said before, this comic series has five more issues but they are team up issues and I only wanted to cover the solo issues so if you have any interest make sure to track them down. Below is some art from some of the first five issues so you can get a feeling for the series.

So as you can see, Chick-fil-A entered the world of fast food promo comics and over all did not do that bad of a job bringing enjoyable kids comics to readers. In fact, I would like to see them return and offer more solo Amazing Cow Adventures featuring new super powered cows done by new artist and writers. But I think it’s time we leave the world of greasy fast food behind and take a look a classic Horror Movie character! Yep, we will be taken a look at The Hunchback From Notre Dame from the 1956 version! So until next time Eat More Chicken, Read a comic or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a bell ringing good time!

Samson: Mighty Hero Of Movies and Comics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Captain Klutz The MAD Goofy Hero That Time Might Have Forgot!

Welcome back friends and readers to another update to Rotten Ink, my blog here on the world wide web. Can you believe that we are so close to Thanksgiving 2018? That means we are at our first update in our countdown to this Turkey Day Holiday and also means we need to take a look at a forgotten hero from comic books of the past as over the years we have taken looks at such backburner superheroes as 3-D Man, Holo-Man, Solarman, Red Demon and Drastik to name a few, his year I have chosen to cover a hero that is a little different than all of them as he is a comedy goofball hero who graced the pages of MAD Magazine paperback books named Captain Klutz that was created by the amazing artist Don Martin! So sit back and get ready to get your funny bone tickled as we travel to Megalopolis and witness Captain Klutz do his best to stop crime….man, this masked hero is a true goofball.

Ringo Fonebone was a strange kid who didn’t do things normally; from eating to learning to walk he was just a little off. While other kids his age played outside and acted normal young Ringo sat alone reading comic books! As Ringo grew up, he still lived with his parents and only read comics all day long until they kicked him out, but his comic reading didn’t stop and caused him to hold no job nor home as he was kicked out of his flop house with just his boxers and his pajamas to his name. Broke and lonely, Ringo decides that he must kill himself as he has been a failure to his family and Wonder Woman, and as he falls from the top of a building, he bonks his head several times and even gets a hat on his way down. Before he hits pavement, he crashes into a bank robber who is caught by the police and so Captain Klutz superhero is born! The thing is, after his attempted suicide, Ringo doesn’t remember who he is and truly thinks he is indeed a superhero called Captain Klutz! While he is a superhero, he still is not respected and is by all accounts a goof who sometimes happens to fall backwards into stopping crime and villains. His only ally is Police Chief O’Freenbean who don’t respect him but does call on him for help with the odd cases the city is being plagued with. Captain Klutz is also very poor and at times is homeless or staying in a slum house filled with roaches and trash. Captain Klutz has no super powers and is by all accounts just a normal guy in a costume who read too many comic books and wants to fight crime and make his city safe. While he might not be as strong as Superman, as rich as Batman or as skilled as Spider-Man, the masked hero Captain Klutz is doing what he can to try and stop crime. Below are some pictures of Captain Klutz including one that shows some of his famed rogues gallery.

So know that we know a little about Captain Klutz, let’s take a look at the man who created him. Don Martin was born on May 18, 1931 in New Jersey and was into art from even a young age. In 1952 he graduated form the Pennsylvania Academy Of Fine Arts. After he graduated he took several odd jobs that included doing covers for Jazz Artist albums like Miles Davis and Stan Getz, and by 1956 he starting appearing in MAD and would be the magazines top artist for decades. Martin would use his artistic talent to deliver not only original comedy comic strips but also for parodies, pin-ups and stickers and this lead to him to be called “Mad’s Maddest Artist” and built him a huge fan base. He worked for MAD until 1987 with his last contribution being printed in March 1988. After leaving MAD, he jumped ship and joined Cracked Magazine who were super happy to have him on board even teasing MAD by calling Martin “Cracked’s Crackedest Artist”! If you’re wondering why Don Martin left MAD, it was because he and publisher William Gains got into it over royalties as they were not paying Martin for reprinting his work in paperback books and magazines, and Martin even testified before a Congressional subcommittee over the rights of freelance artists and both sides MAD and Martin seemed to have had enough of each other. Don Martin worked six years for Cracked Magazine and was happy working for them even though they were not as well respected by comedy magazine readers, and later he made his own very short lived comedy magazine called “Don Martin Magazine” as he also worked on a comic strip called “The Nutheads” that was syndicated in newspapers. During his time as a comedy magazine artist he won many awards such as the National Cartoonist Society in 1981 and 1982 and even was inducted into the Comic Book Hall Of Fame in 2004. Don Martin suffered from eye issues his whole life and even had two surgeries on them and later in life needed special magnifying equipment to draw. Don Martin was a quite man who enjoyed spending time with his family and playing jokes on tourists near his home in Florida and loved drawing and creating his off the wall characters and stories. Sadly Don Martin passed away on January 6, 2000 of cancer at the age of 68 and up until his death he was still at odds with MAD Magazine and was still a very respected comic artist. While Don Martin is gone, his work still entertains readers and his style influences many artist still to this day.

I am sure many of you like myself grew up reading MAD and or Cracked Magazine and enjoyed the silly nature of the jokes and parodies, and I am sure many of you like myself always enjoyed the work of Don Martin as well as fellow comedy artist like Wally Wood, Al Jaffee, Don Edwing, Antonio Prohias and Sergio Aragones who delivered funny comic strips to these magazines. And I am also sure many of you remember the amazing Captain Klutz, who was a favorite of my brother Bryan and I growing up as we had his paperback book adventures. And I am very happy to be going back to my youth and revisiting this goofy hero and his zany adventures and would like to say a big thank you to Game Swap Kettering and an Amazon Seller for having these paperback books in stock so that I could go back and revisit them for this comedic update. Wait a minute, my phone is ringing….and it’s a collect call and it’s Captain Klutz himself who wants me to remind you that I grade these comics 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 gear up and hit the streets with Captain Klutz and see if these comic paperback books are as good as I remember.

MAD Adventures Of Captain Klutz # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1967    Cover Price .50     Signet Books     #1 of 2

“Sissyman” in this first adventure Captain Klutz is awakened from a nightmare by his archenemy Sissyman, who taunts him with names and causing our hero get onto his scooter and track Sissyman down at his mom’s home! While getting lost trying to find the house, he runs into Police Chief O’Freenbean who informs him that diamonds have been stolen by Sissyman and when they get to the crime scene they find a handkerchief that has the evil goofy thief’s address on it. Captain Klutz goes to the house alone and uses a disguise to get into the home but is soon trapped under ice cream thanks to Sissyman’s new gun and now he is off to steal gold. After escaping the ice cream trap, Klutz gets a message from Police Chief O’Freenbean that Sissyman has just robbed the bank and is now heading to a jewelry store, Klutz jumps into a phone booth to get into a new disguise that is Count Of Monte Cristo and by accident strips down a woman who was using the phone! As she runs away naked, he enters the Jewelry store and stops Sissyman only to be himself put under arrest for stripping down the woman and in this story crime does win as Sissyman gets away free for his crimes. “The Case Of Chicken Soup” is the second goofy adventure and has Captain Klutz getting ready to give Granny Santini an award for all her good work with the homeless, and before Captain Klutz leaves, he gets a call from his downstairs neighbor who is jarring her famous pickled pigs feet and needs fast drying pectin to finish her batch. After getting the pectin, he meets the Mayor and they stop into Granny’s soup kitchen. After the Mayor tries the chicken soup he along with the homeless turn into mindless zombies who go to work at Granny’s gift shop and soon it’s seen that Granny Santini is evil and has Captain Klutz hung above a vat of boiling chicken soup! But thanks to the bag of pectin that rips, he just bounces off the once scalding soup and is ready for action and hides in a totem and shoots and kills Granny and soon finds out the effects of the soup will wear off on the homeless and mayor in a few days. Our third adventure is called “Captain Klutz Meets Gorgonzola” and has a father and son being chased by the giant spider named Gorgonzola. They run into Captain Klutz who is homeless sleeping on a bench and who says he will help them until he notices that he is face to face with a very mean giant spider and he passes out! Once awakened he and Police Chief O’Freenbean travel to a carnival on Gorgonzola’s trail. When they find him, the giant spider beats up Klutz until our hero figures out the spider is really just a machine and after plugging his leg into an outlet the man inside the suit pops out and it was Lousy Louie, a man who has been arrested before for Trick Or Treating with out a license and now is going to jail for life for his last stunt in a Halloween costume. “ Captain Klutz Meets Mervin The Mad Bomber” has our hero waking up in his rundown apartment he answers a help wanted ad from Police Chief O’Freenbean who needs help to stop and capture a mad bomber loose in the city! Captain Klutz finds that he and the police are the target of the bombs and call after call Klutz finds himself getting blown up! Finally he figures it all out and saves Police Chief O’Freenbean who is tied to a giant bomb and brings Mervin The Mad Bomber who has been disguised as the Police Chief and saving the day once more our hero in the end is blown up once more by the very last bomb he thought he stopped.

Wow! This was just as silly and enjoyable as I remember it being and I must say that Captain Klutz is a character that I wish would still be around till this day and could even have cross overs with other goofy heroes like Impossible Man from Marvel or Bat-Mite from DC! This paperback has four main adventures and two small gag stories and all of them follow Captain Klutz in Megalopolis as he tries his best to stop crime and not get hurt to bad doing so. The thing about Captain Klutz is that while he is a nerd who at times gets beat up and or passes out from fright he does in the end always find away to bring down the baddie in front of him with Sissyman being the only one to escape and Granny Santini being one that he murders with gunshot wounds. Plus you have to feel bad for him as most of the time he is homeless sleeping on the cold streets while other times he is in nasty gross motel rooms. I must say that I also dig that Captain Klutz rides around on a cheesy little shooter and looks like a fool doing it! Police Chief O’Freenbean is a gruff man who while talks down to Klutz still calls on him when the police need help, he is like a mean cornball version of Commissioner Gordon! The baddies of this book are as following Sissyman, a mama’s boy who is a nerd and likes to rob places of their riches! Granny Santini, an old woman who hides behind being super sweet and wanting to help the homeless, but really is using her chicken soup to turn them into zombies to make them slaves in her sweatshops to make cheap products for he gift shops. Gorgonzola is a spider suit warn by Lousy Louie in order to trick or treat and scare people around him. And lastly and the most dangerous is Mervin The Mad Bomber, who enjoys placing bombs in the city and watching them go BOOM! While none of the bad guys are as sinister as Batman or Spider-Man’s foes, they are perfect for the world Don Martin created for his masked hero. The humor of this comic paperback works as well as did the characters and holds up to this day given that its nothing more that sight gags and slapstick style humor, but a few things do stand out as cringe worthy like one of the names of a comic he is reading is very much a slur for gay people and is a little out of place. The cover is eye catching and the art by Don Martin is classic silly stuff and I would say that for me this book has held up and I still enjoyed it every much like I did when I was a kid and am looking forward to revisiting the second book next!

Captain Klutz II # 2  **1/2
Released in 1983    Cover Price $3.50   Warner Books    #2 of 2

“To Brusha With Love” in Brusha their leader Ivanovitch Eyebrowski and Comrade Stupidska have a plan to clog high stacks at power plants to cause poison gas clouds and to kill the good people of America and their plan works and three toxic clouds are floating around the city! Meanwhile Police Chief O’Freenbean needs the help of Captain Klutz to stop the clouds and before our hero can come to the rescue he inhales some of the toxic cloud and it gives him superhuman powers like the ability to fly and super muscles! Captain Klutz by accident captures the Brusha Spy who set up the clouds and then just as Comrade Stupidska and more Brusha soldiers are about to attack the city Captain Klutz explodes injuring Chief O’Freenbean, killing the Brushins and leaving Captain Klutz in pieces! “Hollywood Whodunnit” actress Deanna Drano is having her life threatened as accidents keep happing to her while she is filming her movies and she has hired Captain Klutz to protect her, and after more accidents happen to her and Klutz keeps failing at his task she finally comes clean and admits she did this to herself to draw press for her failing career and she and the director run off to get married as Captain Klutz tries to make up a story about when he knew it was her all along. “Agendum For Secret Messages” our masked hero Captain Klutz follows clues that were left behind by his friend Police Chief O’Freenbean and each clue leads him to a new place for only at the end to find out that O’Freenbean thinks this is a silly way for them to talk and cancels these type of meetings. Our final adventure tale is called “The Major Catastrophe” and has Captain Klutz having to watch his cousin Elmer who is a walking disaster causing major destruction everywhere he goes! And when Klutz gets a call from Police Chief O’Freenbean that the mayor has been kidnapped by drugged out terrorist he must suit up his cousin and calls him Major Catastrophe and together they save the mayor and cause the city and the mayor lots of harm!

This second book that features Captain Klutz is good but sadly not as good as the first book as this one is filled with lots of filler pages and short stories to make the page count. In fact in this book we are not only treated to some short adventures but also sound effects and a long song about our hero…each while fun also take away from some of the main stories that seem to have rushed endings. Keep in mind while this is still a really good read and does pack a few good chuckles. Missing in this issue is true super villains as we only get Ivanovitch Eyebrowski and Comrade Stupidska who are only briefly shown and sadly are no major threat as the toxic gas they unleash only brings on their downfall as it gives Captain Klutz even more power. Captain Klutz here is still as silly and goofy as ever and once more falls butt backwards into stopping crime, but odd to say he is lacking a little of the charm that made him fantastic in the first book and I cant put my finger on why he feels off he just does. Police Chief O’Freenbean and the police force are around but they seem like background characters and O’Freenbean and Klutz don’t have the same chemistry that made them a dynamic duo that we all enjoyed from the past book. Not much else to say about this second book besides the cover is really cool, the art and humor stories by Don Martin is good and this was a great blast from the past and was very cool to relive reading it even if it did coast me over $30.00 to do so and it was not as great as book 1! So below I think this one piece of art form these books captures the art style of Don Martin and the spirit of Captain Klutz.

While Captain Klutz might not be a household superhero name that the young and young at heart talk about, he is one that for those who remember him entertained with his goofy adventures and cheesy humor. It was lots of fun going back to the days of sitting in my brothers room in Waynesville and reading MAD paperback books and chatting about the one and only Captain Klutz! If memory serves me right, at one point my brother when he was a youngster wanted to or did make a Captain Klutz fan made comic book! I’ll have to ask him about that and see what he says and if he did we will have to cover it on a future update. So for our next update we are leaving the world of MAD behind us and will be going to Tennessee to visit vampire Horror Host Icon Sivad! So until next time read a comic of three, read a classic MAD Magazine or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a shocking good time.

Garfield vs. The Ghost Pirates On Halloween Night!

October is almost here. The air is turning cold, and the ghouls and ghosts are gearing up to run the streets in preparation of Halloween, which is only slightly over a month away! For this third countdown to Halloween update I wanted to take a look at something that I owned as a kid. The TV special it was based on was something I watched every year, and of course I am talking about “Garfield Halloween Adventure” that was shown on local TV and was something I truly had to watch when on. Garfield is a comic strip character I grew up reading in the Sunday Funny Papers; next to Peanuts it was a must. I also grew up watching all of his TV specials as well as his regular cartoon series. While I love the toon “Garfield and Friends,” the specials all hold a special place in my heart. Not to mention I also would buy his books, and between my brother and I, we had many of his toys and stuff animals. Garfield really is an iconic character who for the most part has withstood the test of time, and it’s with great pleasure that on this update we not only get one step closer to Halloween but also take a look back at things from my childhood. So get a costume on and let’s go trick or treating with Garfield and Odie.

On October 30th 1985 CBS premiered the 24-minute “Garfield Halloween Adventure,” which combined two of my favorite things Halloween and Garfield! My brother Bryan and I were glued to the TV and watched with pure delight as the cartoon special brought some scares and lots of entertainment. We also made sure to tape it on Beta and watched it all the time year round. The best part of this airing was that it was paired with the very classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and made for the perfect Halloween season viewing. I can also remember many of the kids on the playground chatting about it, and everyone flipped when the comic strip book adaptation of it was offered in the Scholastic Book Club order form, with almost every kid I knew ordering it. The cartoon also did well in the TV ratings and almost all critics loved and praised it making it a staple for the holiday up until 2015 when it was finally taken off the schedule for good. The special also won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program and was the third Garfield special to win it, showing that he was one of the 80’s most popular cartoon characters. After its airing, the special would go on to be released on VHS and DVD and still is a well loved classic Halloween TV special.

So at this point I am sure you’re ready to take a Halloween Adventure with that lasagna loving fat orange cat Garfield and his simple minded canine friend Odie. I know that I am as I have not read this comic strip book since I was a kid, and am looking forward to seeing if it holds up as I loved it when I was a kid and re-read it every Halloween up until I was a teen. This is in my opinion is a great way to gear up for October and is a perfect third update for our countdown to Halloween. Before we get our trick or treat bags ready, I need to remind you that I am grading this book on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I want to think Amazon for having this in stock and making this update possible. So lets costume up and go out with Garfield and see how much candy or even rocks we can get!

Garfield In Disguise # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price $5.95     Ballantine Books    # 1 of 1

Garfield is awoken by Binky The Clown on TV who screams and demands that all of the viewers exercise with him, and right as Garfield turns off the TV, he hears the words Free Candy and quickly turns it back on to find out that it’s Halloween! Garfield goes around the house under a bed sheet and scares Jon and Odie and even has a little breakfast before tricking Odie into going trick of treating with him so he can get double the candy. Garfield and Odie go to the attic and look through old clothes and items and decide to go as pirates when finding costumes in a chest. After stealing Jon’s lasagna dinner, Garfield and Odie head out and start trick of treating! As they wander the streets getting candy and being spooked by real life ghouls and ghost, they end up getting into a rowboat and by accident they lose the paddles and float until they land on shore.  The only house around is an abandoned one lit by a fire. Once inside, they warm themselves by the fire and are surprised by a very old man who warns them that the island is haunted and that the ghosts of pirates from a hundred years back will be back at midnight to claim their buried treasure! While Garfield and Odie are shaking with fear, the old man steals their boat and leaves them at the mercy of the coming ghost pirates! Garfield and Odie hide in a cabinet as the ghosts appear and bring up their hidden treasure, and when a sneeze alerts the ghosts who chase them out of the house, Garfield steals a ring from the treasure chests. He and Odie jump into the water and swim to shore. Once on shore they find their candy and the boat and head home only to be attacked by the ghost pirates who followed them home. Once Garfield returns the ring they disappear, and Garfield and Odie go home where Garfield shares the candy with Odie and Halloween comes to an end.

This comic strip book is a great mood setter for Halloween as it captures the playful nature of trick or treat and the spooky feeling of that night. Our story has Garfield and Odie going out for Halloween in order to get lots of free candy.  When Garfield gets greedy, he leads them to an old abandoned haunted house, and they are witnessed and stalked by ghost pirates who have returned after 100 years! As I said the feel and atmosphere of this comic strip book is fantastic and much like “Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” really captures the feel of Halloween. Garfield lives up to his normal behavior and is self-absorbed, self centered and always looking for food to gorge on, but while he is sarcastic, he also does have a caring and grateful side. Odie is your typical dog that is loyal, goofy and smart and several times in this adventure saves Garfield’s butt from danger. Jon is just around in this one, mostly carving pumpkins and tying to enjoy meals that his cat ends up stealing. The old man who once worked for the pirates some 100 years ago is creepy and seems to get joy scaring those who stumble into his old home, plus the Ghost Pirates are very much mean and scary but really just want their treasure. This comic strip book does justice to the made for TV cartoon special and does a great job of capturing the mood and only thing missing is the musical numbers. Jim Davis, who is the creator and mastermind behind the world of Garfield, does the art and story, and both are well done and show why Garfield has remained a popular comic strip character all these years. The cover as well is amazing and eye catching and has a real kid friendly Halloween look to it. If you enjoy Garfield and love Halloween, this is a great read and one that brought back lots of great memories of my youth, and this comic strip book held up well and is a great read. So check it out as well as the art from it.

I hope that this update has put you into the Halloween spirit like it did for me writing it! Made for TV Halloween specials are something that almost seems as if they are dying off as most broadcast stations only focus on their current shows and allow them to do a Halloween episode that most of the time are not very good with only a handful of series being able to pull it off. But for me just like “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” the Garfield Halloween Special is a one of my all time favorites and is one I suggest you watch every year. But now we have to leave the world of Garfield and the ghost pirates behind for our next update as we are now in full countdown to Halloween mode and our next one will have us looking at another in what I call “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” as we look at the killer Metalface and his film series Playing With Dolls! So until next time, read a comic or two, watch a cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a bloody good time.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: I Sell The Dead

Not all Horror Movies have to be scary; many are laced with humor, and Horror Comedies have been very popular with viewers many of years now.  One of these Horror Comedies is called I Sell The Dead and was released in 2008. While I Sell The Dead never reached the popularity of other Horror Comedies like Shaun Of The Dead or Zombieland, it has built a cult following and even spawned an Image Comic book one shot that we will review here on this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! So grab a shovel and pick a cemetery, it’s time to become a ghoul and dig up the graves of the undead for some quick cash as we dive into the world of I Sell The Dead.

Before we get into the movie, lets take a look at the monsters that make up I Sell The Dead as it’s filled with many different types. We will start with the weakest of the batch, the Alien Corpse that is freezing cold to the touch and even freezes the land it’s buried under. The thing about the dead Alien is once he is unearthed, he will be beamed up by a U.F.O and taken back to space. The threat of the Alien Corpse is not high as it will cause cold chills and once beamed up to the mother ship it will blind you for a moment and deliver a wicked headache to humans around. We next have the female vampire. This bloodsucker is killing machines who want to suck the blood of the living. She is super fast and strong. The harm she can do to humans is drain them of their blood and kill them. Her weaknesses are crosses, garlic and a stake to the heart! We also have zombies; these flesh eaters are primed to kill the living around them and will do so with their teeth and their hands with which they try to rip and tear flesh. Also their bite can turn humans into one of them, the walking dead. The zombies are not shown to have any weakness in this film so I’m not sure if head trauma would work to stop them. While this film is filled with many ghouls and monsters, none of them are major killing machines but each have their own threats to mankind to make them all a thorn in our collective side. The major baddy hands down would be the female vampire as she is quick, strong and deadly. Below are some pictures of some of the zombies and the female vampire from the film.

So as you can see, this small town in Ireland used to be crawling with all types of monsters who were undead and thirsty to kill the living. I should also note that while the monsters are indeed just that, the true evil is the rival gang of grave robbers called The House Of Murphy…but we will get into them during the comic review. We are now at the point where we need to chat a little about the film. As always we will take our film write up from our pals at IMDB and following that I will talk about the production of the film as well as my first time viewing and thoughts. So let’s not delay and take a quick look at I Sell The Dead, the movie.

I Sell The Dead (2008)

“18th century justice catches up with a pair of grave robbers. With only a few hours to go before his date with the guillotine, Arthur Blake tells his life story to Father Francis Duffy. Before long, Arthur spills the beans on how he got started in the grim corpse peddling business with seasoned ghoul Willie Grimes.”

I Sell The Dead was an independent horror comedy film that was written and directed by Glenn McQuaid.  It was based on a short film he made in 2005 called “The Resurrection Apprentice” and was a film production that was filled with love and allowed McQuaid to work with friends and crew members and actors he had worked with before. The film cast iconic horror actor Angus Scrimm as well Ron Perlman, Dominic Monaghan, Larry Fessenden and Heather Bullock. The film was filmed with no major set backs and when done, IFC picked up the film for distribution in the USA in 2009 and released in on DVD and Blu-Ray. The film was met with pretty good reviews from critics and fans and built itself a very good cult following.

I first saw I Sell The Dead in 2018 as I found out about it via Ebay when looking for comic books that were based on Horror Films and found the Image Comic based on the film listed. I ordered the comic and the movie from Amazon and both got to me around the same time.  Before I read the comic I wanted to watch the movie and chose a very cold late night in January to do so, and as the rain storm outside raged on I turned off all the lights and started to watch the film to see if it chilled my blood or tickled my funny bone….and I have to say that while it was not all that scary, it did have some goofy moments that made me chuckle. The acting was well done and seeing Angus “Tall Man” Scrimm in the role of an evil doctor was very cool as he was a very underrated actor. The film was not that bloody, but they use blood well when it does come into play as the effects are really solid for an independent film. My favorite side character in the film was Valentine Kelly, a white mask wearing female who was set on fire by an ex-lover who now works for The House Of Murphy as a grave robber and enforcer, but sadly I think she is down played really bad in the film. Over all I really enjoyed the film and even watched all the extras on the disc before going to bed that night. I would say if you like Horror Comedies, you should check this film out.

So now that we have taken a look at the film as well as the monsters that dwell in the universe of I Sell The Dead, we are at the point where we will be taking a look at the comic book based on it put out by Image Comics and see if it holds up the charm and fun spooky nature of the film. I want to thank an Amazon seller for having this comic in stock for this review and would like to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So we are in the graveyard and it’s time for us to read this comic based on a Horror Comedy.

I Sell The Dead  # 1  **1/2
Released in 2009      Cover Price $4.99      Image Comics      # 1 of 1

Our tale starts with the beheading of grave robber Willie Grimes.  His friend and helper of selling the dead Arthur Blake is in his cell being visited by Father Francis Duffy who is there to get the young man’s life story of crime. Over some wine Arthur shares his story that starts with him at a young age helping Willie get bodies from the cemeteries all for the super wicked Dr. Quint who pays the pair poorly  for the bodies and also is always threatening them with the law and death! One night Arthur and Willie find the body of a young woman with a stake in her heart, and after removing it, they find out she is a vampire.  After she attacks, they stake her again with some luck and deliver her to Quint who removes the stake and meets his fate…and this frees our grave robbers from his evil grip. Once free, they start stealing bodies for all types of clients and making more money than before. When stealing the body of an Alien, they have a run in with a UFO that steals the body.  They also start hearing rumors of crates that have zombies in them that the owners of the crates have lost some during a ship crash that have washed up on an island and they are paying to get them back! And while the money is good, the pair get a little scared when they hear that The House Of Murphy has been hired to get the boxes back.  The house of Murphy is lead by the father Samuel Murphy and his gang includes his son Cornelius, burnt faced Valentine Murphy and brute Bulger.  But they decide to take the job before them thanks to Fanny, a call girl who is their friend and wants a cut of the money. Once at the island Fanny sneaks up on Bulger and cuts his head off and as they start to remove the crates, a zombie escapes and bits Willie in the arm before they can force it into a cage. As they celebrate and before they can get another zombie crate, a knife is thrown and kills Fanny as Cornelius and Valentine are there, and they are pissed! But things go south as the zombies escape and kill Cornelius and Valentine as Willie and Author escape the island and are later arrested. As the story comes to an end, Father Francis Duffy shows that he is really Samuel Murphy and he is there to kill Author for leaving his gang on the island to die, but before Samuel can kill Author, the decapitated Willie, now a zombie, comes in and saves the day and the pair escape the jail cell. In the end Cornelius now as a zombie is coming from the water and wants revenge.

This adaptation does a great job of capturing the horror comedy aspects of the film and delivering it onto the pages of this comic. The main plot of this comic follows two goofy grave robbers who over their adventures have run into all types of strange creatures from aliens to zombies.  Upon being caught, they are to be executed for their crimes and besides the law they are also wanted dead by a rival gang of body snatchers who some of their actions have left members of that faction dead. Our main hero is Author Blake, a young man who from a young age has had to steal bodies in order to survive and always avoid danger and the law. While he has done bad things he really is not a bad person and has never killed in order to get money or to survive, but he also is not one to go out of his way to help others in need unless you’re in his inner friend circle. Willie Grimes is a gruff life long criminal who as well is not 100% a good guy nor bad guy and is driven by greed. But with him, he is willing to kill and even when a zombie he still remains his own goofy gruff selfish person. The comic is filled with lots of ghouls like a female Vampire who is hungry for blood and is pure evil.  We also have aliens who just want the body of their dead friend back and of course zombies who want to eat some flesh. But our main baddies in this comic are the House Of Murphy who are cold blooded killers who hate those who stand in their way and will do whatever it takes to get their job done. Samuel Murphy is the leader of this group and calls the shots, but when his son and “daughter” are killed, he finds a way to try and get revenge by acting as a Father! Cornelius Murphy is a mean man who is a master of knives and does like to kill! Valentine Murphy is a woman who was burned in a fire and must wear a mask to hide her disfigured face; she as well is a cold blooded killer. Lastly we have the super strong brute Bulger who is the muscle of the group. While they don’t get to really shine in this comic as being badass bad guys, the way the other characters fear them show that they are terrible people. Also Dr. Quint is a terrible person who clearly does not value life or death and uses people and bodies for his own causes. The comic follows the film pretty well, but does add its own touches in order to keep it feeling a little fresh and make it feel slightly like something new. The cover is okay and looks like a cheap independent zombie comic and does a poor job of letting you know it’s based on a film. Brahm Revel does the interior art and while it’s good and has it’s own style, it at times does not fit the mood of the comic. Over all this is a pretty good Horror Comic based on a Horror Movie and fans of the film will really enjoy it as well fans of fun natured zombie comics. Check out the artwork below to see the style used in this comic.

I Sell The Dead is one of those Horror Movies that many people do not know about and has slipped under the radar of many horror comedy fans and even I feel slipped past many readers of Horror Comics based on films as I only even found out about it this year. So while this comic and movie are not ground breaking, I do think that it should have a cult following and people should give them both a chance. For our next update we are leaving the world of the dead behind and will be taking a look at a Horror Host as we do an Icon update on Tennessee-based short lived host, Benedictine The Mad Monk! 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 next update for some quality time with a mad monk!

From Horror Comic To Horror Movie: Killer Condom

The world of Horror in film and comics has all types of killers and monsters that make them up, from masked slasher killers to blood sucking vampires and everything in between. In this new update, we will be taking a look at a comic book that sparked an independent horror comedy movie that’s about a ravenous contraceptive condom monster! I will let that set in for a moment…and I am sure by now you know I am talking about the Troma film called Killer Condom.  This will be a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic that has a twist as it was not a movie first but was a comic that was turned into an independent Horror Movie. Here in the US, the film is better known as the comics were German and not really released here until the movie was released. So if your ready to dive into this From Horror Comic To Horror Movie update (see what I did here) lets practice some safe comic reading and explore the weird world of the Killer Condom.

It’s time to take a look at our monster killers that just so happen to be a bunch of condoms with teeth! The Killer Condoms are living organisms that do not have to eat to stay alive but do enjoy biting the privates off males. The Killer Condoms were created by a captive Professor who created them for an overly religious female doctor who thought she was doing God’s work by killing off people she viewed as impure. They are living organisms who attack males and sometime females when they least expect it. While they are a pack, they only mutilate their victims one at a time, and when they attack, they go for blood. The Killer Condoms look like regular condoms up until they turn killer and then they grow flexible razor sharp teeth, are slimy inside and turn from playful to blood thirsty crotch butchers in seconds. Killer Condoms use their teeth to chomp of their victim’s targeted area from private parts all the way to noses. They also can use the element of surprise in order to sneak attack as no one suspects a condom will kill! The weakness of the Killer Condoms is that while they do have a brain, they are not that smart and can be tricked. They also can be killed by gunshots and other manner of attacks humans can inflict on them. So while they mostly only chomp off private parts and are killable, the Killer Condoms are still a pack of evil little monsters who are a threat to mankind and who have a very wicked bite!

So as you can see, the Killer Condoms are true pint size terrors who have terrorized in the world of comics as well as film…and that brings us to the part of the update where we will need to take a look at the film that was made based on these little critters. I will get the film’s plot from our pals at IMDB, and I will write a little about the films production as well as my link to watching the film for the first time. So lets get to our look at Killer Condom in the world of cinema.

Killer Condom (1996)

“The plot takes place in New York, and in the present. In a Hotel called “Quicky” a professor blackmails a student of his into having sex with him. But when the professor puts on a condom, the carnivorous condom bites off his penis and disappears. Detective Mackaroni who gets the case thinks that the college girl just bit off her teacher’s penis! Mackaroni goes to the motel himself to check out the crime scene, in the lobby he finds a gigolo named Bill and he asks him to follow him to crime room, there the two men attempt to have sex when they are suddenly interrupted by the attack of a killer condom.”

Killer Condom was originally a comic book by artist Ralf Konig and in 1996 was turned into a Horror Comedy Movie that was a German production. The film had a fun and quick production and even had help from artist H.R. Giger as a consultant on the Killer Condom designs. In 1998 Troma was the US company to release it and promoted it at the Cannes Film Festival even having a man walking around in a Killer Condom costume. In fact the film was met with good reviews from critics as well as fans who praised the film for its humor. Plus the film got a very limited theatrical run and helped spread the dark strange world of Killer Condom to moviegoers. The film was directed by Martin Walz with Ralf Konig helping him on the screenplay, with actors Udo Samel, Iris Berben, Peter Lohmeyer and Meret Becker in roles. The film in 1996 was released alongside such other Horror Movies as Scream, Hellraiser: Bloodlines, Licantropo, Mary Reilly, Bad Moon, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Craft and Island Of Dr. Moreau to name a very few. While it might not be a household name when people think of classic Horror Movies, it is however a cult film that has made its mark in the world of cinema.

I can remember when Killer Condom came to VHS and DVD as I was very much into collecting Horror Movies and was a big fan of Troma, but the term Horror Comedy used to always scare me away from buying it and giving it a chance. When walking around Dayton Mall and going into stores like Suncoast and FYE with friends like Jason Gilmore and Josh Weinberg, we would see it on the shelf and would always just chuckle at the silly name, but none of us would ever pull the trigger on buying it. Believe it or not, just now in 2018 did I finally breakdown and buy the film on DVD off Ebay and watched it for the first time…and I must say I found it enjoyable. I know one other reason I had stayed away from it was because my pal Andy Copp had seen it and told me it was not very good so I took his word and skipped it. So what has been cool for me doing the update is that it’s my first time seeing the movie as well as reading the comics. One other thing I do remember as well is that at the time of its release, a windup toy of the Killer Condom was made.

So as you can see, Killer Condom is one of those cult films that when released was well reviewed by critics and has maintained a good following and fan base still to this day. So we are at the point of this update where we will be taken a look at the comic book that spawned the cult film and I want to thank Amazon for having both of these books in stock. I want to also remind you all that I grade these books on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So lets see what Killer Condom has is store for us in the world of Horror Comics.

Killer Condom   ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $9.95     Ignitel Entertainment      # 1 of 2

A man returns home in New York to his wife and bratty kid after turning tricks on the street in order to get drug money, but something went wrong as the man who paid him for sex was in massive pain and next thing they both knew, his penis was detached and stuck inside the man! Once home he passes it out only for something to jump out of the toilet and attack him. Cut across town and a professor has taken one of his students to a sleazy hotel with the idea of sleeping with her in order for her to graduate. She gives in after the creep pushes her, and once he puts on a condom his penis explodes! The young woman is under arrest as they think she bit the penis off of her professor. Detective Luigi Mackeroni is on the case and heads to the same hotel taking a young man to the room to make love to when they witness a condom coming alive and biting off the right testicle of Mackeroni! His partner Sam doesn’t believe him about a Killer Condom and blames the young man for the attack, but once out of the hospital Mackeroni and the young man head to the hotel and set up a hidden camera in a room in hopes of capturing the Killer Condom. But while they wait in that room, the Killer Condom attacks in another! After the attack, the story gets into the press and Sam is pissed about it as he does not think the Killer Condom is real. More and more people are being attacked and having their private parts bitten off, and Mackeroni will not give up until he can stop the Killer Condom. While home Mackeroni takes a shower and gets a phone call from the young man who has fallen in love with the cop who now finds that the Killer Condom is alive and well in his own home looking to bite off his privates! After battling the Killer Condom and even losing one of his fingers, Mackeroni with the help of the young man is able to trick the Killer Condom into biting a gas hose and then throwing it out the widow and shooting it causing it to explode and ending its reign of terror in the city.

The comic and the movie, while similar in spots, are very much different, and oddly enough I think the movie does a better job of bringing the character Mackeroni to life and this is strange as the comic came first. The comic’s plot is about a sleazy hotel that is used by prostitutes and people wanting to remain under the radar to have sex at, and when many visiting males are having their privets bitten off, one Detective is called in to solve the case and finds that its all being done by a razor sharped teeth condom! Our hero is a snarky detective named Luigi Mackeroni who loves his cigarettes and loves his casual sex. Plus he is the only one in law enforcement who knows that a condom is really doing the mutilations. He is both unlikable and likable, and you find yourself cheering for him to get his revenge on the condom for ripping off his testicle. The side characters all fit their parts and do what they need to do to keep the plot going and add to the New York created for this story. The Killer Condom is a mean razor sharped teeth private part eating machine that has no remorse for his blood soaked deeds, plus it has no background on how or why a condom is now alive and a chomping machine. This horror comic does have lots of blood and gore but it’s all done in a cheesy cartoonish nature. It also has lots of sex and what’s funny is the art style reminds me of MAD Magazine who never would have done this style of raunchy. Ralf Konig was a one-man show on this comic as he did the art, cover and story and its all-good stuff. One thing I do want to stress is that hands down this comic is not for youngsters. It’s really an adult comedy horror comic that is really odd and packed with lots of themes that will make even adult readers squirm as private parts are being bitten off! Over all this was a fun comic, and I can’t wait to see the second book has in store for me.

Down To The Bone  **1/2
Released in 2011     Cover Price $14.95     Ignitel Entertainment     # 2 of 2

New York wakes up on New Years Day to find three dead bodies all connected to the gay club scene. Detective Luigi Mackeroni is asked to take the case, and he of course is not to pleased about it. Mackeroni arrives at one of the crime scenes where his captain informs him that he will be teaming with Officer Plumley and that the victims are only skeletons now and no blood, flesh or organs were found! So Mackeroni and Plumley set out to check out the crime scenes and get some leads about a gay porn star who is in town that one of the victims was trying to flirt with. Meanwhile a muscular stranger in leather is the one going around and having sex with men who are sucked into his crotch area and their bones are spit out of his mouth showing this massive and quiet stranger is indeed the killer. Mackeroni sends Plumley dressed in leather to the bar to interview the porn star who seems to be sad and not into his work as he feels people only want him for his body. Mackeroni and the porn star hit it off and hang out for the night and are about to make love when Plumley shows up and has a heated talk with Mackeroni. This allows the Billy the porn star to escape, and he or someone who looks like him is the killer who is really a weird looking mutant in a flesh skin costume! Mackeroni finds an old professor named Smirnoff who once made fake flesh and condoms. He and his Asian assistant are prime suspects for who made this killer Mutant and the Killer Condom! Mackeroni soon finds a hidden lab that has all the answers to his questions as he learns that Smirnoff has been kidnapped and forced by drugs to make a mutant monster who eats gay men and the Killer Condom who has a spawn in the lab as well! He also learns that a trusted female doctor who is really a crossdresser and the Asian assistant are part of a religious cult that forces these creations to be made to kill of all the impure. In the end Mackeroni and Plumley are able to kill the mad doctor and all her evil friends including the Killer Condom and save Smirnoff from his captors. Mackeroni is able to clear the name of Billy who quits porn and the two become close friends.

This second issue in the Killer Condom saga has Mackeroni on the case of a killer who is stripping the flesh off victims that turns around to be connected to the Killer Condom! In this issue, Mackeroni has lost his boyfriend as well as his drive to be a cop and is called once more to crack a weird case that is effecting the gay community. This time he is forced to work with a partner and finds new love when he meets a porn star named Billy. Just like before, he outsmarts his foes, saves the day and stops the plot that’s in place to kill many innocent people just because of their sexual orientation. His partner Officer Plumley is a straight laced guy who is forced on the case by the Chief and soon finds that he himself is attracted to men. He also saves Mackeroni twice in the final battle! Professor Smirnoff is a crazy old man who is addicted to berry jelly that has been laced with drugs and is a whiz at creating artificial flesh as well as strange creatures. The flesh-eating monster takes on the look of famous male porn stars and eats people in order to survive. He also spits an acid like venom and while a killer is not fully evil. The Killer Condom’s spawn is alive and well and is mad as hell and wants to attack and chomp on any privates he can find, but I should note he plays a very small part in the over all story. The evil crossdressing cult leader is crazy and wants to clean the Earth of the “impure” and when she gets hers in this comic, I was happy. The story this time around was only okay, and while entertaining, it dragged in spots and felt a little more crude for being crude’s sake. I will also say that I felt that Mackeroni also seemed a little off and not like he was in the first issue making it feel a little off. I did notice that elements of this comic were used in the film but much of it was cut out. The comic as well has blood, gore and lots of sex and is clearly not for kids. Once more, the art reminds me of MAD Magazine and the work of Don Martin. It is fun and silly and once more done by Ralf Konig who also wrote and did the cover. Over all the Killer Condom comics are a fun and silly read that helped spawn a goofy cult horror film. Check out the art below to see the style of Konig.

As you can see, the Killer Condom is one mean S-O-B, and while in the comics only two of them were ever made, in the movie several of them were in New York chomping away. But no matter the amount, Killer Condom is one Horror Movie baddie I would never want to meet! For our next update we are staying in New York but instead of looking at a Horror Movie, we will be taking a look at a Six Fingered Hand that hosted them and of course that must mean Chiller Theatre and another Horror Host Icon update! So until next time, watch a Horror Movie or two, read a Horror Comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a real CHILLLLLEERRRR!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Humans vs Zombies

Welcome to another of our From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates that will be taking a look at another Horror Comedy featuring zombies as our villains. One of the most interesting aspects of this one is that it’s also based on a Live Action Role Playing Game that was created in 2005 and is mostly played on collage campuses with the humans using Nerf Guns as protection. In 2011 it was made into a film that was also turned into a comic book that was given away with the purchase of the DVD.  More independent horror films should have comic books based around them released, and it’s shocking how little filmmakers take advantage of comics as promotion. So if you’re ready to take on the hordes of zombies, grab your Nerf Gun and lets walk into the world of Humans vs Zombies. I want to also note that due to the update not being done in time due to Sparkle Comic work, Juliet’s look at Forbidden Planet will be rescheduled for some future update.

In this film, zombies are our main villains.  They were created by a virus that escapes from a lab, and it spreads through out the world turning people into flesh eating zombies who crave human meat and move as fast as normal people. The zombies in this film hunt and kill in packs and are driven by hunger-induced rage.  They seem to be able to smell the living even when they are hiding in shelters. The zombies have pale skin, foaming mouths and bleeding eyes, and their look also scares the living and helps them in the kill by striking true terror into the heart of the humans. The zombies kill in packs and use their teeth to rip flesh and also infect the living to add more to their numbers. They use their hands to rip and claw at the human body, and they also use their mass numbers to overpower and overwhelm humans who soon become their lunch. The zombies do have weakness as extreme head trauma seems to finally put them down for the count; they can also be killed with fire and explosions. These zombies are very aggressive and are pure killing machines that threaten the humans that live in their sad decaying world. Below are some pictures of some of the zombies you will see in this independent horror film.

So as you can see, these zombies want to eat our guts and are by no means used in the dark comedy elements, making them truly “scary”! So now that you know the savage nature of the zombies, lets take a look at the movie that was spawned by a college campus role playing game that would later spawn a comic book. The film’s plot, as always, will be taken from our friends at IMDB, and after that, we will chat a little about the film’s production as well as my thoughts and experience seeing the film for the first time.

Humans vs. Zombies (2011)

“Dark Comedy and Horror unite in this satirical thriller based on the “Live Action Role-Playing” game of the same name. Students on summer break are exposed to a deadly virus that is spread rapidly through direct human contact. The infected become enslaved by the invading “swarm” intelligence and driven by an insatiable appetite to consume human flesh. Returning home, the students spread the infection to their fellow classmates and other unsuspecting townspeople. One by one, more students fall victim to the plague, triggering an epidemic that spawns a horde of ravenous zombies. The zombie horde grows and spreads quickly. Amidst the chaos, a campus security guard, obsessed with conspiracy theories, leads a group of students to safety as they and a small band of uninfected townspeople set out to find other human survivors in an attempt to discover the source of the “zombie” virus and save the world.”

After the role playing game became super popular and zombie films made a major comeback, it was decided that a film version had to be made! The film was directed and written by Brian T. Jaynes, and it starred Christine Bently, Cody Callahan and Dora Madison. When released in 2011, the film was met with very mixed reviews with many critics and horror fans not showing it much love, and it pretty much was lost in the shuffle of horror films released in 2011 as it joined other releases like Scream 4, Red State, You’re Next, Quarantine 2 and Hellraiser: Revelations, to name a very few. Sadly this film was lost in the shuffle as I had not heard of it until 2018; that’s a bad sign as I watch lots of independent horror movies. There’s not much more to say about this film’s production as it was pretty standard low budget film making stuff.

I discovered this film while on Google and found that it came with a promo comic copy in the DVD release and knew I had to have it to cover on one of my From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates. So I ordered a copy of the film from Amazon, and when it arrived, I watched it on one cold day in January and went in with very low expectations.  By all accounts, it was nothing special but not nearly as bad as the reviewers that gave it one star acted like it was! The film is pretty slow moving for the most part and follows the college kids and the war vet security guard more than it does the zombies and even their battles with them. The film does have some great blood and gore effects, and actress Dora Madison is stunning. It’s a standard cheesy Horror Dark Comedy film that is complete with a terrible Jack Black inspired actor who over acts with the best of them. I also really liked that the film had a very downbeat ending making it feel just like the ending to almost every Italian zombie film. To sum the watching of this film up, I would say standard plot, some cool zombie effects, interesting score and music and some good actors mixed with bad ones. I would say fans of horror comedies that are not over done with comedy and cheesy zombie flicks will eat this one up like the zombies eat guts in this film.

So we have made it past the hordes of fast moving flesh hungry zombies, and if you’re like me, you’re running very low of Nerf darts and this small shed we found to hide in doesn’t seem like it’s built for the force of the zombies gearing up to push their way in so we should make this look at this promo comic happen now so we can get to another safe place. I want to thank Amazon for having this comic and DVD combo in stock, and I must remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So lets take a look at this twisted zombie promo comic before we seek our next shelter.

Humans vs. Zombies: The Beginning # 1  **
Released in 2012       Cover Price FREE      Hannover House     # 1 of 1

Deep in a research facility, a very powerful virus is being tested, and one mistake has a doctor dropping a vile of it on the ground and being infected by it…what he becomes is a flesh eating zombie and worse, it spreads all through the lab to many of the employees! The lab’s security are called in to try and contain the infected.  They are lead by a sword carrying woman who is mad as she had plans to have dinner with her child. Some of the lab workers commit suicide as they do not want to be infected, and the odds start to be against the security team as they are out numbered and they start to fall by the hands of the dead. Finally the last to fall is the sword swinging female who hits a self destruct button before she dies blowing the lab up killing everyone inside…that is besides the one zombie who escapes and is wandering the beach!

This quick little promo comic is a cool read and shows what happened in the lab before the main part of the film takes place. The plot is very simple and has a lab worker dropping a vile that has a very bad virus in it that spreads quickly and leads to the death of everyone working that day. The main hero of this tale is the sword swinging security guard who does her best to fight all the way till the end and all the while is thinking about never seeing her child again.  She is a badass, and as a reader, you find yourself cheering her on as she cuts zombies’ heads off, but you also feel for her as you know her time is short. The zombies are very hungry and show no mercy to the living and kill with no remorse and are truly evil undead killing machines. The comic has some cool bloody moments mostly coming from our hero chopping up the zombies, and while not over done, it is nice to see some zombie attacking moments. For those who want to read this comic and watch the movie, make sure to read the comic first as it’s the start of the virus outbreak and blends into the movie very well. The cover for this promo comic is pretty cool and reminds me of the more Sin City style underground comics.  The interior art is done by Russell Fox and is not my chosen style of art, but I am sure some Horror Comic readers will dig it. Over all not much to say besides this short promo comic does a great job of keeping in the world of Humans vs. Zombies and is a cool item for fans of the film or fans of comics based on Horror Movies. Check out some of the art below to see the style of Fox.

So as you can see, these zombies pack a wicked bite and truly are horrible horror undead nightmares. While this comic was a free promo comic that came inside the DVD, it was a very cool read and helped add to the film’s over all presentation. For our next update we are going to stay in the world of Horror and have yet another From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update as we take a look at the Boris Karloff film Die, Monster Die and the Dell Comic adaptation of 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. Oh also make sure to watch out for zombies and monsters…..

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Killdozer!

Back in the 70’s and 80’s made for TV films were very popular and were the networks’ way of trying to keep viewers staying at home instead of heading to their local cinemas. And in 1974, thanks to ABC a Horror/Science Fiction hybrid film based on an old 1940’s novel was unleashed on viewers and sparked a cult following…that film is Killdozer! This made for TV movie not only got the comic book adaptation treatment from Marvel Comics but also has been talked about in TV shows like Beavis And Butt-Head, Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Tonight Show as well as in the film Planet Terror. In fact, some people think that the real life rampage of Marvin Heemeyer, who used a bulldozer to cause panic and destruction in Colorado, was inspired by this film and even the media used the name Killdozer when covering the tragically ending event. So as you can see, this film really has become a cult film and is the newest entry in my From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update. So put on your hardhat, as Killdozer is ready to strike fear into our hearts and souls!

Before we get to the film and the comic, we must first get to know and understand our “monster.” Killdozer started out as a normal giant bulldozer that was doing work on an island. It makes the mistake of trying to remove a metallic rock that fell from space, and in turn, the alien rock takes over the bulldozer and turns it into a human killing machine that runs on its own and seems to have a mind as well with one goal, to kill. Killdozer does not talk, does not listen to reason, and almost seems to like to stalk its human prey before going for the kill. Killdozer’s power came from the rock that fell from space and not much is known about its full power and whether the glowing blue life force that left the rock to enter the bulldozer was indeed a living being. Killdozer pretty much ruled the small island it was on and used much of the environment against the humans. Killdozer is massive in size, and his main tools for killing are its large blade plate with its other tools of death being its continuous track that can run over and crush as well as its ripper that can shred human flesh. Killdozer can withstand fire and explosives and even can keep moving without fuel. But while Killdozer might seem unstoppable, it does have some weaknesses like it can be tricked and out maneuvered as it is slower moving, and it as well does not like electricity. So while Killdozer can be stopped, it will take lots of will to live and strategy to do so, and while only a machine with a mind of it’s own, it still is a killing machine that humans should be afraid of.

So as you can see Killdozer! is a several ton terror that is driven by unknown powers from space and almost seems like it could be a prequel character to the Stephen King story and movie Maximum Overdrive! Now we are at the point where we will take a look at the film and its legacy as well as my first time viewing of the film. The movie’s plot will be taken from our pals at IMDB, and the rest will be written of course by me. So let’s take a look at the film that was inspired by a book that sparked a comic.

Killdozer! (1974)

“Construction workers building an airstrip on a small Pacific Island encounter an ancient non-material lifeform which has lived in the ruins of an ancient temple for millenia. The entity is of course malevolent and commandeers the earthmoving equipment to the general detriment of all concerned.”

Killdozer started out as a novel by Theodore Sturgeon and was released in 1944. Thirty years later, ABC along with Universal Television developed a made for TV movie based on the book in order to scare viewers and keep them from going to the cinema to watch a horror film. The film premiered on February 2, 1974 on ABC and was met with mixed reviews by critics and viewers. It would be many years before Killdozer! made its way to home video when Universal, through their DVD-R on demand service called The Vault, released it. Killdozer! It was released on TV the same year as these other Horror Films scared viewers on the big screen: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell, The Bat People, The Ghost Galleon and It’s Alive, to name a few.

I watched Killdozer! for the first time on January 16, 2018 via the Universal Vault DVD-R release…and I must say that while it’s was nothing too special, it had a fun early 70’s cheesy horror film feel to it and was very entertaining. What worked for this movie was the atmosphere as it was set on a very small island that gave our contract workers a very small area to hide in from the killing machine. The film starred Clint Walker who was in other made for TV Horror movies like Scream Of The Wolf and Snowbeast. It co-starred Neville Brand, who was in a number of Horror Films that include the 1977 Tobe Hooper film Eaten Alive, and they, along with the rest of the cast, do a great job pulling off that they are scared of a killer bulldozer. Another thing that shocked me is how good the score for the film was as it added to the over all Sci-Fi and cheesy nature of the film and was done by Gil Melle, who did scores for such other films as The Sentinel, Blood Beach, Frankenstein: The True Story and Death Scream, to name a few. Over all I must say that if you enjoy movies that have machines that running wild and try to kill every living person they see, then Killdozer! is one you will want to watch. I should also note that this film is bloodless, and all the deaths do not show harm coming to the characters.

Killdozer! found itself getting the comic book treatment the same year as the film aired on TV thanks to Marvel Comics and their series called Worlds Unknown that features cool science fiction and horror stories in every issue.  They have covered the likes of The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad, to name a select few. And for issue 6, they adapted Killdozer! and even played up the fact it was also a made for TV Movie! I want to thank Amazon for having this in stock for this review. So before we frightfully dive into this comic, I need to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s travel into the comic world and see what kind of mayhem Killdozer! has in store for us.

Worlds Unknown # 6  **
Released in 1974     Cover Price .20     Marvel Comics     # 6 of 8

A war in space that took place long before our written time caused a killer cloud that took over machines and made them act as if they had a mind of their own. And during this battle, one of these machines was blown out of space, and it fell to Earth on an island where it remained for many centuries! Tom Jaeger and six of his workers are dropped off on the island a billion years after the cloud has fallen, in order to make a landing strip for the air force in three weeks. One of the workers finds a temple and after hitting it with his bulldozer, he unleashes the cloud that takes the machine over and kills the worker driving it and turns its attention toward Tom who does his best to shut the machine down. The bulldozer does not stop there and targets and kills two more of his crew, causes Tom’s own workers to think maybe he is the one doing the killing. But once the Bulldozer goes on a rampage again, Tom and his worker Chub figure out a plan to stop it once and for all by making it enter the water and then electrocuting it! As they set their plan into motion, Al the other living crew member tries to sell out his fellow man, but if does not work as Tom’s plan kills the Killdozer.  He and Chub then watch as Al loses his mind.

Marvel Comics tried to take the novel and movie based on Killdozer and make a comic adaptation of them, and sadly, after reading it, they fell a little short. The plot is about seven construction workers on an island who become the target of a killer bulldozer that has been taken over by a cloud alien from outer space, and the humans must stay strong and together in order to stop the dozers killing rampage. The story has elements of the film as well as some of the novel and blends them together to sadly make a mediocre horror comic that does not pack any major chills and all the kills happen off panel. While it is only mediocre, it still is a fun read and it’s very cool to see Killdozer itself as a comic character. I do enjoy that in this comic Tom’s crew start to turn on him and wonder if he is the one killing them off until they finally see the Killdozer roaming around on its own. I also liked the idea of a temple being built around the cloud from an ancient civilization in order to keep it prisoner. The downside to this comic is none of the characters are that likable nor do we really get to know them at all. The pacing is fast and yet still pretty lackluster. Tom is a focused man who tries his best to warn his crew of the Killdozer! and Al is a coward who is willing to throw his fellow man under the dozer in order to save his own butt! The rest of the crew members are throwaway characters who are all manner of generic. The cover to this issue is very eye catching and showcases Killdozer about to kill. The comic interior art is done by Dick Ayers and is well done and has that classic 70’s Marvel look. Over all, this was a fun read and is a cool comic for fans of the film or novel of Killdozer but is not what I would called a must read for Horror Comic readers. Check out the art below to see Killdozer in all its Marvel Comics glory!

So while Killdozer did not set the comic world on fire, it was still very cool to see a comic based on a made for TV horror film. And while Killdozer has a very small cult following, it still made its mark in the world of Horror Films and Horror Comics, no matter how small the mark is. My next update will be about another DC Comic Superhero that I feel is very under used, and that’s Hawkman! 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 next time for our flying adventure with Hawkman.

The Undead Files: Original The Walking Dead

Welcome back to another Undead File here at Rotten Ink. For this update we are going to dive into a comic series that shares a name with one of the world’s most popular zombie horror comics turned highly rated TV Shows ever made, The Walking Dead! Yes, back in the late 1980’s, a comic series was unleashed at comic shops from Aircel Comics that was about the living battling the dead and was a true independent black and white horror comic! I am sure many of you readers are wondering if this series helped inspire the current series, and once I give these issues a read, I will be able to answer that question. So get your zombie repellent ready as it’s time for us to once more walk among the dead as we truly take a deep look at The Walking Dead.

Before we get to deep into the world of the living dead, I want to share a fun event. On January 20, 2018 another Horror Movie Marathon took place as both Juliet and I wanted a day of sitting back and relaxing while watching the horrors of the small screen since the holidays were over and winter was still with us. So I took off that Saturday, and we stocked up on snack food as well as breakfast casserole and made chicken wings for dinner. We started our marathon at 7am with “Teenage Monster,” a horror mixed with western film from 1957 that has a mother whose son is turned into a monster who kills in anger and she must protect his secret. The shot on video film “Death Nurse 2” was next up and followed Nurse Edith and Doctor Gordon once more killing their patients to collect free money from the government for their care. The sleazy America giallo film “The Rain Killer” was next and was about a killer who killed recovering drug addict women on rainy nights. This film has stared Maria Ford in a tiny role. The spooky Universal film “The Old Dark House” was our fourth film and is about travelers on a stormy night having to stay with an odd family in their mansion in order to find safety. “The Return Of The Ape Man” was next and is about a scientist who found a way to return life to people who have been frozen and makes the mistake of bringing back a caveman. This film stars the great Bela Lugosi! “Amityville: The Awakening,” the newest film in the Amityville series, was next on tap and follows a family that move into the house. Things get weird when the brother, who is brain dead, suddenly starts to get better! The 1986 cheesy horror film “Spookies” was next and is about a group of friends who make the mistake of entering the abandon home of a crazed warlock and his creepy monster friends. The next horror film to try and scare us was “Puppet Master Axis Termination,” the newest film in the Full Moon Entertainment series that follows the Puppets and their human friends trying to put a stop to the Nazi’s and their evil puppets. The slasher film “Silo Killer” was next and was about friends on a desert camping trip being stalked and killed by a masked killer. “Metalface,” a modern slasher film with a snuff film twist was next to try and scare us. The newest film in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series “Leatherface” was next and followed a teenage Leatherface and fellow inmates at a youth mental asylum escaping on a quest to get home. We next watched the 1989 slasher film “Rush Week” about a masked killer on the loose at a college that is targeting young female coeds. And the final film of our main day of the Horror Movie Marathon was the short film “Klagger” about an evil undead killer in an abandon factory stalking a worker who is their to get the building ready to sale.

This was once more a great time that I had with my gal Juliet watching Horror Movies in one of my favorite past times, The Horror Movie Marathon. We had some great snack food like chips, hummus and carrots and for meals we had Breakfast Casserole and Chicken Wings! This time around it was hard for both Juliet and I to choose our best films but was super easy to pick the worst film of the day as we both agreed that Silo Killer was the Golden Turkey of the day as it was filled with unlikable characters, terrible dialogue, lame kills, over use of a terrible yellow filter and was too long and boring. The only good highlights of the film was that the killer looked cool and it had lots of attractive naked women. As for the best films of the day, my order went like this: # 1 Old Dark House – this was hands down the best film of the day and is a great Universal film that is filled with great characters, creepy atmosphere and kept me glued to the screen every second. Plus you can’t go wrong with Boris Karloff playing a disfigured mute drunk butler! # 2 Amityville The Awakening – I picked this film as I found it to be a solid Amityville movie with a likable lead character plus is packed in lots of great jump scares, and it’s also cool to see the Haunted House on Ocean Avenue in a Horror Movie. To choose my # 3, it was very hard as I enjoyed many of the films, but I decided to go with Leatherface as it was great to see a new Texas Chainsaw movie. While the middle of the film felt like a Rob Zombie Devil’s Reject knock off, the opening and end of the film felt like a gritty Chainsaw sequel. I do want to say that Metalface and Puppet Master Axis Termination almost made the spot over Leatherface! Juliet’s top 3 films are a little different as she selected for her #1 Old Dark House, #2 Metalface and #3 Spookies! She and I both also agreed that Klagger was a fantastic short film, and we both can’t wait to see the full-length movie when it’s released. So once done for the night Juliet and I chatted about the movies and prepared for the next day’s after party films! As Juliet went to bed, I decided to stay up a little longer and watched the first Killjoy movie before counting chainsaws myself.

For the After Party, we decided to watch six more films. We started it at 10am with our first film being the newest Horror Flick from my pal Henrique Couto called “Devil’s Trail” about TV Show hosts going the Pine Barrens in New Jersey and come across witches and what could be The Jersey Devil! The second fright flick was “Bloody Drama” that as a smile face masked killer stalking a group of women who are having a pool party. “Day Of The Reaper” the 1984 Super-8 slasher film from Tim Ritter was our third movie and had The Reaper killing and eating people that got in his way. The fourth film was “Camp Blood 7: It Kills” and had the Camp Blood Clown Killer once more stalking and killing a group of friends silly enough to enter his killing grounds. “The Houses October Built 2” was up next and has the group of haunted house thrill seekers back at it again and once more run into and are stalked by The Blue Skeleton extreme group. And the final film of the night was to Todd Sheets film “Bonehill Road” that is about a mother and daughter who get stranded on a back road that is swarmed with werewolves!

This after party was lots of fun, and Juliet and I had a great time watching these films and talking about them after.  In fact we enjoyed all of them so it was hard for us to pick our Golden Turkey of the day! But we both had to choose, so I picked Day Of The Reaper as my Turkey, and this film is by no means terrible, it was just the weakest of the lot and was clearly never meant to be a blockbuster horror film. Juliet picked Bloody Drama, and she wanted to stress that it is not a terrible film either, she just felt it was the weakest one on the day’s line up. My # 1 film of the day was The Houses October Built 2 as I found it to be a great sneak peek into haunted attractions and had some great creepy moments plus I dig the character Porcelain. # 2 hands down was Bonehill Road, an amazing werewolf film that had practical effects, great transformations and likable characters…not to mention it has a great plot that also takes place that involves a creepy dude who “loves” women! And my # 3 spot goes to Camp Blood 7: It Kills as it was a solid sequel to the cheesy franchise that had cool kills and along with part 6 helped wash the taste out of my mouth of parts 4-5. Juliet’s picks went as follows #1 The Houses October Built, #2 Bonehill Road and #3 Devil’s Trail! So comes to an end another Horror Movie Marathon that makes me very much look forward to the next! I also want to thank every director, actor, producer, musician and crewmember that made these movies that I got to watch as no matter how great or terrible the movie is, you are doing your part to keep Horror Movies alive for viewers.

Oh I am sure you want to know what master of murder had the top kills from this two day Marathon While many racked up a body count, it was The Camp Blood Clown Masked Killer who took the Golden Massacre Award home with his 11 kills that he won by slashing and stabbing his victims! So here is to you Clown Masked Killer from Camp Blood 7 as your bloodletting was enjoyable and made the Horror Movie Marathon oh so much bloodier.

Back in the early 2000’s while Independent B Movie was hitting its second wind with films like Who Keeps Feeding Grandpa, Razor and Farmer Joe coming out on VHS, we had a slew of films in all stages of production. One that I was working on was to be an epic zombie film that I called “Stairway To Heaven,” and it was going to be the biggest budgeted and goriest film I ever made! The film was one that I had lots of faith in and spent lots of late nights writing the script on my old computer in Independent B Movie Studios while drinking down sodas and pacing the floor with ideas of the plot and kills pouring out of my brain and onto the screen of the glowing monitor. This zombie opus was going to be my shot on video masterpiece, and I had all the faith in it and spent my days off work scouting locations. While all this was going on, we even had students at Fairmont High School design and print us out T-Shirts for our films, and one of the films we choose was Stairway To Heaven and many of the I.B.M family would wear it to help build buzz for this film. I would spend many nights hanging out with my then best friend Andrea Seay and tell her about the ideas for the film, and she was loving it as were other friends like Josh Weinberg, Jason Gilmore and Dave Wean who I would tell about this undead flick. I also had my friend Patrick Neeley willing to score the film that would have also had an official soundtrack CD release that would have been released at the same time as the film on VHS. While I was placing the final touches on the script, I took the old VHS camcorder out to cemeteries at night and filmed around as test footage as well as for possible trailer usage. I even began casting the film with such names as Matt Hoffman, Zach Prater, Sarah Yates, Josh Weinberg, Andy Copp, Rosetta Workman and many others onboard, and my two main leads were to be played by Andrea and a young lady that worked at Blockbuster Video I knew named Leah and she was nice enough to go around and do a photo shoot in a graveyard so that I could promote the movie in one of our many email updates we sent to friends and fans. The buzz around this film was super thick and many people kept asking about its production as I continued to work on the script and raising the budget.

The film’s plot was to follow multiple people in a small town during the start of a massive zombie outbreak, one was a pregnant woman who was alone at home another was a couple who’s car broke down on the out skirts of town plus I throw in a cheerleader, a homeless vet, a preacher and random town folks and this was the cast of characters who had to survive the undead. The gore effects was going to be done by Andy Copp and myself and was going to be over the top with boobs, blood guts and gore and was very much in the same nature of the Italian Zombie films complete with gut munching and baby eating as the film’s most over the top scene had zombies ripping the fetus out of a woman and eating it as well as her as she had to watch her child die as she herself was being murdered. And just when production of this film was about to start, I was silly enough to allow others in Independent B Movie to talk me out of filming it when I wanted as they wanted to move onto Wolf Hunter 2, Long Dead Winter as well as Suicide 3 and Two Seconds Too Late and I agreed as I figured these films would be better for the group, and not shockingly, most of them during this time were filmed and never finished as the directors of those films dragged feet and lost interest in the direction of their films were going. Sadly too much time has past and this shot on video zombie epic is now in the massive pile of scripts and ideas that Independent B Movie nor Bloodline Video ever got to film, and who knows maybe if I could track down the original script maybe one day it will turn into a comic book via Blood Scream Comics. Below are some pictures that I took on a snowy winter day early this year as well as a pic of Leah as her character. Enjoy this look into a film that could have been if I would have only went with my gut and not what others wanted.

So imagine you’re outside taking a hike along a path that is near a creek, the sounds of the water is echoing and you are having a great time just soaking up nature and breathing in the fresh air. You’re a couple of miles away from your car and to avoid interruption you even left your cellphone in the trunk. But while walking you notice a strange man in a distance he is stumbling around and at first you think he might just be drunk but you soon see that his face is rotten and that he is not alive but the walking dead as you turn to run back to your car you soon are faced with a horde of zombies that have infected the woods and you have no hope of escaping! This scenario is one of many if a true Zombie Apocalypse were to break out that you could find yourself in, and the main questions that you would have to ask yourself is would you be ready for the living dead if they were to rise today? I mean many of us think we would be ready as we have watched movies and TV shows about zombies and have read novels and comics about them…but would what we read really help us to survive? Look around your house, apartment, car or place of work and think is this place safe if the zombies were to rise today? Would you be able to secure the doors and windows from the hordes of the dead? Right as you read this who is at your current location with you, would they be able to help you survive a zombie attack? Just wanted to take this part just to make you think about the possibility of a zombie attack and if you think you could survive it. No matter what we say or how we feel about it, I really don’t think any of us would truly be ready for the undead.

So the world of video games much like the world of cinema is a graveyard wasteland of zombie titles that have flooded the market. Some are fantastic and some are terrible, and I am about to play one that many say is the latter and has been the punching bag for reviewers as being one of the worst first person zombie shooters ever made…that game is called Dead Alliancem and I am about to play it for the PS4! The plot is simple to this mostly multiplayer game and has you and fellow survivors fighting each other in a wasteland of zombies that you can use as allies when using the right weapon. The game is mostly a run of the mill shooter that adds the thrill of zombies to the mix and sadly just falls a little short when it comes to being entertaining. Now the game is by no means bottom of the barrel, but it’s repetitive and very limited in area maps and even weapons and when playing the single player mode it even becomes more simple and lackluster. The game is getting trashed by gamers and has not sold well for parent company Maximum Games. While this game is below average, it still was a fun time waster to kill zombies and shoot other players.

So now that the dead are all around us and we have even took a few moments to chat about a Horror Movie Marathon, let’s see if this original Walking Dead inspired the modern Image Comic Walking Dead series. It’s crazy to think that in my youth I never did pick up an issue of this series or if I did, it must not have made that big of an impression on me as I don’t remember it. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering, Ebay, Amazon and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock for me to cover for this Undead Files update as these were pretty hard to track down. I also want to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s fright our way through the zombie horde and hope that Aircel delivers a scary and well done zombie comic that could possibly be the inspiration for thee Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead # 1  ***
Released in 1989       Cover Price $2.25       Aircel Comics     #1 of 4

In space two breed of aliens are at war with each other and when one of them crash lands on Earth while carrying a gas that reanimates the dead, all hell breaks loose as the dead start to rise from the cemeteries, morgues and funeral homes all hungry for human flesh. While some zombies are mindless roaming flesh eaters some are more than that as they also retain their memories and know how to talk and use tools and none are worse than the undead gang called The Kidz From Hell who slaughter their own kind and eat fresh alive victims. They are lead by Jak Krak who has them shooting guns and sharpening their teeth all in the hopes to capture and kill their “meat”, and after a kill and feast the gang of zombies is attacked by ex-cop Joe Barker who kills many of their members before rushing back to his home base were he is greeted by Keith but yelled at by Max and Kris who are mad he went out alone. Our issue ends with Joe telling them he will not stop until he kills Jak and The Kidz From Hell once and for all.

In this story the zombie outbreak is started by a crashed U.F.O that releases gas that makes the dead walk again. This is origin seems like a mix between “Night Of The Living Dead” that states that the outbreak could have been started by a down satellite falling from space with radiation on it and “Return Of The Living Dead” that has it starting from a gas that sweeps around and gets into our air. The plot of this issue is to clearly set up how the outbreak started and mixed in with the different styles of zombies as well as introduces us to the evil Kidz From Hell zombie gang plus their enemy Joe Barker who is our comic’s hero. Joe Barker is a man who is angry at what the world has become as the dead have out numbered the living, he is also clearly brave as he takes on the living dead all by himself! So while all we really know about Joe is that he is fearless and an ex-officer of the law I for one like him and can’t wait to see what he does next to try and kill the undead. The Kidz From Hell are street talking, gun shooting, razor sharped teethed, flesh eating evil zombies who enjoy killing and have no respect for the living or the dead! Jak Krak the gang leader is the most evil of them all and seems like he will not rest until he kills Joe and helps the dead fully take over the Earth. One odd thing about The Kidz From Hell is that while they are dead it seems as if they also still do drugs or so one of them claims after they eat a poor man alive. I also want to see who Max, Keith and Kris are as I wonder if they are also one time cops or just survivors who have created a safe place for the living, I guess only future issue will hold those answers. The comic is somewhat bloody and gore filled, but not even in the same ballpark as The Dead from Arrow Comics with the most brutal kill being a dead husband biting the face off of his widow who is mourning at his casket. The black and white art as well as the story is done by Jim Somerville and is well done with his zombies looking like a mix of classic with punk rock. The Cover is also pretty well done and eye catching as it features a zombie eating the brains out of a skull! This far this original series and the Image Walking Dead series don’t share too much besides zombies and a group of survivors living together and the name. So let’s shuffle our way to issue # 2 and see if Joe can kill even more of the undead punks.

The Walking Dead # 2   **1/2
Released in 1989      Cover Price $2.25      Aircel Comics     #2 of 4

Peter is the President of the United States, and he gives a state of the Union address that the American people need to stay strong during this terrible zombie crisis and hints to even using nuclear bombs as the last resort. But while the President is safe behind think concrete walls guarded by armed solider is poor wife is very sick and near death’s door. Meanwhile back at the base of Joe Barker and his friends they breakdown the possibility of the government dropping nuclear bombs in order to kill zombies, when they are attacked by The Kidz From Hell who attack hard and blood thirsty, in other words they want to end the feud now! Joe and friend fight back they best the can but are out gunned and must flee the base or lose their lives, the issue being for them is the wheelchair bound Max gets trapped and they must leave him behind in order for Joe, Kris and Keith to escape the gun firing undead. As they leave and save their own skins it’s Joe who says they are going back for Max and will bring him home alive or dead, as he doesn’t want the zombies to have him either way.

The second issue in this series loses some steam as many pages are taken up with one art panel per said page showing that they were just killing pages to reach their count. The plot has the President trying to build up the spirit of the American people during the zombie outbreak as Joe Barker and his survival group is under attack by the undead Kidz From Hell who want revenge from the attack on them from issue 1. Joe Barker in the issue is still tough as nails but also is smart and knows when to run when the odds are not in his favor. I think one of the cool things about Joe is also the fact he has the no man left behind attitude and wants to go back for their friend who was left at the base during the attack. Max, Kris, Keith and the rest of the survivors as well do what they can and try with all their might to defend their base but figure out that real fast they are no match for the gun shooting zombies. I feel for Max as that poor guy is left to fend for himself once he and his wheelchair get caught in some rubble. The Kidz From Hell and their leader Jak Krak are cold-blooded killers and slaughter any living person that comes in their way. President Peter is a wild card as he has the power to blow up the world and might do so if he loses his sick wife to the zombie curse. While this is a good issue it really is just an action issue with some small plot thrown in to move the story along, and while that’s not a bad thing it still makes the issue not as good as the first that offered a nice build up. The cover is ok but reminds me more of a cheesy late 80’s action comic than a horror comic and the art is once more done by Jim Somerville and is fitting for this undead romp comic. Over all his is a solid middle of the road comic that should be checked out if you enjoyed the first issue.

The Walking Dead # 3   **
Released in 1989      Cover Price $2.25      Aircel Comics     #3 of 4

Joe, Keith and Kris go back to their old base with the hopes of saving Max but all they find instead is a note from Jak Krak warning them if they want to see Max again they will meet The Kidz From Hell at the playground! When they get there, they find Max dead crucified with his feet cut off and his eyeballs missing, as Joe breaks down from the loss of his friend a zombie attacks Keith with a knife and kills him as Kris fights back it takes Joe a moment to snap to and they pair enter a building that’s clearly a trap being set. While inside Kris as well is stabbed and Joe is knocked back and as he is about to get up and fight the issue ends.

This third issue seems as if they ran out of ideas as again lots of splash pages and even a back up story to boot fill out this issue padding it out so they can squeeze out one more issue and get zombie fans to spend another $2.25. The brief story is this Joe and crew go to get Max who has been taken to another location, once there it’s a trap and Keith and I would guess Kris are killed easy and Joe now stands alone to face the zombie gang. Oh and throw in a quick small part about the President’s wife now being a zombie. Yeah, it’s that deep of a plot in this issue. Joe shows he has a soft side as he is clearly shaken after the death of his friend Max, but it’s also clear by the end of the issue he is going to stomp some zombie butt. Keith and Kris are just in the issue to be lined up and slaughtered, but only after the shoot some slow moving zombies with machine guns. Jak Krak and The Kidz From Hell are as flesh hungry as ever as they eat the eyes of Max and taunt his friends afterwards. The slow Zombies make an appearance but are just being mowed down at the start of the issue by our heroes. President Peter is pretty much wasted and offers nothing besides the fact his wife is now dead and a zombie that he keeps in a cell. The cover looks great and eye catching for zombie fans, but the art inside done by Jim Somerville is hit and miss as at the start it looks as sloppy as the plot of this issue but as it goes on it looks a lot better. Over all this is the weakest issue in the series this far and while it does have blood, guts and gore it seems so rushed it has no real impact and this while entertaining was a major letdown and I hope the final issue is not this sloppy and brings its A Game to end the series right.

The Walking Dead # 4    *1/2
Released in 1989      Cover Price $2.25      Aircel Comics     #4 of 4

Joe is bleeding pretty bad as Jak Krak and what’s left of the Kidz From Hell come circling around, Jak offers Joe a choice to join them as a zombie gang member or to become their dinner! Joe would rather be dinner and just when Jak is about to shoot him Kris with what little life she has left fires her gun and blows Jak’s hand off and then she kills some more Gang Members before herself being blown away. With only Joe and Jak left the pair square off and Joe is armed with an ax and Jak has a switchblade knife! Joe goes crazy with the ax and chops Jak up into pieces and after killing his enemy decides that he himself must die and kills himself with a gunshot to the head.

Splash Page special is what this issue is and that makes me really mad is every page is a single panel with many pages also being one single image filling two pages….this could have been wrapped up with the third issue if they would have dropped the backup story, oh speaking of backup story, this issue has one as well! This issue’s plot is just the showdown between hero Joe Barker and zombie gang leader Jak Krak and what leads to Joe winning and killing himself. This final issue offers a true ending to the series as for some reason they take the route of Joe just ending his own life instead of fighting the fight to take back the world and to be honest he takes down Jak Krak pretty easy and makes me wonder why didn’t the survivors just attack The Kidz From Hell from the start as the whole gang is pretty much wiped out by three people! The Zombie Gang started out as a major threat and for all accounts scary but by the end they seemed like punching bags lined up to be knocked down. Joe Barker was a interesting character to start off but by this issue he becomes nothing more than a man waiting for death who had lead all his friends to the slaughter only to avenge them and then kill himself, the whole suicide thing just didn’t feel right for this character. Kris, Keith and Max in this series once more started off as good side characters but in the end just turned into one sided humans set up to be killed with no personalities shining through. Remember President Peter well writer Jim Somerville didn’t as his storyline goes nowhere and he is not seen at all in this issue and the fact he wants to nuke the world if the zombie outbreak is not under control never comes back up nor does the fact his wife is now a zombie, the character could have had just that character but bad writing and the lack of a follow through story makes him yet another tossed to the side character. The slow Zombies are just around when they need the body count to rise as they only come into play after the first issue to be shot by the two feuding sides. The final issue has lots of blood gunshots and also has some gore when Joe kills Jak with an ax but by this point I was so disappointed with this comic series it took the fun out of what should have been an epic battle and moment. The thing about this zombie series is that it started out really good and the story was drawing me in and wanting me to read more and more but by the end of the second issue on the series took a nose dive as it was clear Jim Somerville had no real idea on where the story was going and just knew he had to fill four issues worth of something. The fact that side stories go nowhere, the art gets more and more sloppy, he does cheap splash pages to pad out the issues makes me not to not track down his other work! The only major plus I can say about this issue is the cover is pretty cool and reminds me of a serial killer comic. For those who think Tony Moore and Robert Kirkman might have been inspired by this comic series when they made their Walking Dead series, I am sure the only thing they took away from this series is what not to do in a zombie comic series! Started out with a big bang but ended on a whisper this could have been the biggest letdown in comics I have read this year. Below is some artwork from this four issue mini series, while I would not say that fans of Independent Horror Comics shouldn’t check this out I would say don’t get your hopes up for an epic zombie bloodbath with a good story.

But wait, there is more Walking Dead from Aircel and Jim Somerville as in 1990 they released “Walking Dead Zombie Special” and I am hoping that this one can redeemed the series by ending with a solid and good issue…here is hoping that they pull it off.

The Walking Dead: Zombie Special # 1   **
Released in 1990     Cover Price $2.25     Aircel Comics     #1 of 1

Scav is a young boy in a town alone who acts as the law as he imagines himself as a western sheriff and the zombies in his mind are the outlaws! Billy and his motorcycle gang enter the small town looking for a place to stay for the night, this was a bad decision as Scav thinks that Billy is Billy The Kid! One by one the bikers are shot and killed by Scav until only Billy is left and with his trusty gun Scav takes out the biker and the young man goes back to living in his fantasy world of read comics and pretending this zombie infested world is the old west. The second story follows the fall into madness from a Preacher who by the end rises the dead from the church cemetery.

Well I want to say that this Zombie Special issue has some zombies but not a lot and none of them are seen eating people and only once is it implied. The fist story is the best of the two as the second story is clearly just a backup story to pad out the page count. What works in the first is the fact its from the point of view of a young kid who has lost all his loved ones and his sanity in the zombie crisis and has turned his terrible situation into a fantasy world that mirrors the western comic books he reads. Scav is a cool character who is handy with a gun and machete and has lost touch so much that he can not tell the difference between human and zombie. Biker Billy and his gang seem like nomads who just stopped in the wrong place at the wrong time and are out gunned and outsmarted by the towns “Law”. The second story is well drawn at the last two pages but is pretty much a waste. Jim Somerville once more did the art and it’s pretty good, his story telling in this special issue is average and the cover is cool and very miss leading as nothing like that is in the comic. Not amazing but good is the best way to describe this final issue in the original Walking Dead series. Here is some artwork from this issue.

So as you can see this series is not all that great, while it is entertaining and really does capture a great late 80’s independent horror comic mood it’s clear as day that they creators just ran out of ideas and needed to fill four issues and a special. The bottom line did the Image Walking Dead take anything from this comic series besides it’s name…well maybe a tiny amount, but Robert Kirkman and his guys have done a way better job with making the name into a quality horror comic book series. And now that all the living dead have returned to their graves I think it’s time to wrap up with update. But while I closed this Undead File or next update will be a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update and I will be talking about Killdozer! So until next time make sure to read a horror comic or three, visit a graveyard or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Be ready to come face to blade with Killdozer as this one will be a fun update for sure!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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