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!

The Universal Dracula: Blood Drive Countdown To Halloween

I Bid You Welcome! The moon is full, and we are at our third update in our countdown to Halloween.  A thick mist is covering the ground as we all wait for the carriage of Count Dracula to take us to his castle. This is an update that I have been looking forward to since I started Rotten Ink over three years ago.  As all you long time readers know, I grew up a Monster Kid and loved everything Universal Monsters. Not only did I have such things as a Christmas themed Frankenstein Monster t-shirt and VHS tapes of many of my favorite monsters, I also spent much of my time drawing pictures of Dracula and all of his Universal pals in art class and at home. This update I get to cover one of the true icons of Universal Monsters, the one who brought the studio back from approaching closed doors after having too many films that did not perform at the box office, a character that also brought Universal into the monster movie business again and proved that horror was a hit with moviegoers. I am of course talking about the 1931 masterpiece Dracula.  For this update we will be taking a look at not just the film and it’s Spanish counterpart, but also Universal Dracula in merchandise, culture, my connection to the film and the main attraction will be the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of this classic flick.  So let’s wait here at Borgo Pass for our ride to Castle Dracula and chat about Universal Dracula in film, comics, toys and more. And to be safe, if you believe the rumors about Count Dracula, you might want to wear those cloves of garlic around your neck!

Dracula 1931 Poster 0

Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was a hit when it was released in 1897, and in 1922 filmmaker F.W. Murnau made his silent masterpiece “Nosferatu” based around the book.  He did not, however, get permission to do so and he was sued and all prints of his film ordered to be destroyed. Lucky for us some prints of the film did survive but that’s for another update based on the comic adaptation of the film and the series that followed. During that time a young film producer named Carl Laemmle Jr. bought the film rights and wanted to make a silent monster movie that would follow in the footsteps of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom Of The Opera (1925) and wanted to use the script from the stage play, that was a huge hit on Broadway, and even Nosferatu for inspiration to bring his version to the silver screen that would not be a silent film but now a talkie. While casting Laemmie passed on stage actor Bela Lugosi who was the talk of the town for his performance of Dracula on the stage and talked to actors like John Wray, Ian Keith and Paul Muni, while the films Director Tod Browning wanted to cast Lon Chaney Sr., but sadly Chaney passed away from cancer before the film’s production started. Lugosi lobbied hard and tried all he could to get the role he felt he was born to play not only on stage but also on the big screen and finally won over Universal and the executives when he took the small pay of $500.00 a week for seven weeks of work. The production of the film was slightly disorganized as director Tod Browning was not fully behind the film and at times would even leave the set and have his cinematographer Karl Freund take over shooting and directing scenes.  You see, at the time of this film Universal had gotten away from making horror films as they thought it was beneath them as a company, but after some shake up from inside the company, horror films were back on the slate but not taken too seriously as the company had major financial issues.  In my opinion, that is why Browning didn’t take this film as seriously as he should have because he looked at it as a low budget throw away film. The film had its premiere at the Roxy Theatre in New York on February 12, 1931, and as part of its marketing Universal reported that people fainted while watching the film.  This helped the big buzz for Dracula when it opened wide two days later. Dracula was a gamble for the studio but proved to be a risk worth taking as it was a major hit and bringing in the highest profit for them in 1931 as it did better than any of their other films released that year. The film received mixed reviews with most being positive and some negatives with complaints that it wasn’t too scary and comparing it to the stage version.  But most all agreed that Bela Lugosi was fantastic as Count Dracula. I don’t want to get into the film’s plot as I feel that the Dark Horse Comic adaptation we will be reviewing will take care of that.  Instead I would like to talk briefly about the first time I saw Dracula.  The Christmas after the one that we first got our VCR, my brother Bryan bought me Dracula as a gift.  I was pretty excited to see it, as the year before, my parents got me Frankenstein and my love for Universal Monsters was at an all time high! Like before, after the Brassfield side of the family came and went from our house in Waynesville, we sat down as a family and watched it, and I was hooked and loved every second of it. Bela Lugosi, who I had drawn pictures of for years as Dracula, crept his way into my brain and became the true Count Dracula in my eyes. Dwight Frye, who played Renfield, a sad one-time sane man who becomes Dracula’s bug eating slave, is fantastic.  Edward Van Sloan plays a cool and wise Van Helsing, while Helen Chandler was stunning and well cast as Mina Seward, the woman who captures Dracula’s eye. So before we move on, I want to give a big thanks to my brother Bryan for getting me that VHS tape all those years back and allowing me to see the film that inspired monster kids for generations.

Dracula 1931 Still 1Dracula 1931 VHSDracula 1931 Still 2

In 1931, at the same time as the Browning production of Dracula, Universal was filming a Spanish language version, rolling at night after the American production wrapped for the evening, that was directed by George Melford and starred Carlos Villarias as Count Dracula.  The cast and crew had the lucky advantage of watching the dailies from the American production before they would film and would try to one up them with better lighting, angles and acting as they wanted to be the better of the two productions. While the two films are very similar and both filmed using the same script, the Spanish Dracula changed things up and tried to make scenes more creepy for the time and was able to push the “sex appeal” up a notch by allowing their actress, Lupita Tovar, to wear more risque clothing as she played Eva who took the place of Mina in this version. This version of this film was also a hit with moviegoers of the 30’s and chilled the bones of those who watched it. But over time, the film became lost and a print of the movie would not be found until the 1970’s when it was restored so that a new generation of horror fans could enjoy it. Many critics and fans think that the Spanish version is better than the American version, and while it’s fantastic, I still find the Lugosi version of Dracula to be the better of the two.

Spanish Dracula 1931 Still 1Spanish Dracula 1931 VHSSpanish Dracula 1931 Still 2

After the runaway success of both Dracula and Frankenstein, Universal decided to make sequels to those films and poof! franchises were made. Dracula’s Daughter was the first sequel and came out in 1936.  It follows Countess Marya Zaleska, who is Count Dracula’s Daughter, who wants to be cured of her vampire ways..or does she? The next sequel, in 1943, had Lon Chaney Jr. as Count Alucard and was called Son Of Dracula. Count Dracula would go on to make appearances in both House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula for Universal that would combine all their classic monsters into the films.  In these two films, the part of Dracula was played by John Carradine. Bela Lugosi would play the role of Count Dracula again for Universal in 1948 in the horror comedy film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.  This sadly would make the second and last time Lugosi would play the role in the movies. In 1979, Universal made a “remake” of Dracula that starred Frank Langella as Dracula and was a nice update to the film series. I would love to get more into films like Dracula’s Daughter and Son Of Dracula, but at some point in time I want to have some one of a kind comics made based on those films so I will hold off talking too much about them.  I really enjoyed each of the films I mentioned above and have spent countless hours watching them over the years and have owned them on VHS and DVD.

Draculas Daughter VHSSon Of Dracula VHSDracula Remake VHS

Bela Lugosi, who’s real name was Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko, was born on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, a small town in the Kingdom of Hungary (now Lugo, Romania) and was the youngest of four children. By the age of 12, he dropped out of school and got into acting and by 1903 had roles in many local plays, not only having small roles but also major ones which him to getting great roles in Shakespeare plays. In 1911, he moved to Budapest and had a long a great run in many theater performances.  Lugosi would claim he was the leading actor of Hungary’s Royal National Theatre, but many factors go against his claim. From 1914 to 1919, Lugosi was an infantryman in the Austro-Hungarian Army and during World War I he was ranked Captain of the ski patrol and was wounded during combat and awarded medals for his service for his country. During this time, Bela also was taking on many roles in Hungarian films like The Colonel and The Caravan Of Death. During the 1919 revolution of Hungary, he was forced to flee his homeland when the actors union went crazy causing many actors to find work elsewhere.  This lead Bela to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1920 and also lead to him using the last name Lugosi in honor of his birthplace Lugos. Bela Lugosi moved to New York and by 1931 became naturalized as an American citizen. While in New York, he and other immigrant actors formed a stock company and entertained fellow immigrants with small production plays, with his first English Broadway play being the 1922 production of The Red Poppy and soon after The Devil In The Cheese, a comedy fantasy play as well as many other theater productions. His first American movie role came in 1923 for the film The Silent Command and this lead to many more roles in silent films cast mostly as the villain. His big break in Hollywood came after he wowed audiences with his portrayal of Count Dracula in the play Dracula that lead to him getting the role in the 1931 Universal Monster classic Dracula! This sparked him to be asked to play Frankenstein’s Monster in the Universal film Frankenstein but Bela turned it down as he felt that the part was not acting and just grunts and thus beneath his talents…or so rumor goes. Many more amazing horror film roles followed as Bela starred in White Zombie, Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Raven, Son Of Frankenstein, The Black Cat, Ghost Of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man and Black Friday to name a few. His role as Ygor in Son of Frankenstein is looked at as one of his finest roles by many horror fans. But Bela would not stay on top of the horror world forever as his addiction to opiates and his box office appeal was slipping.  This lead to him taking roles in many B-movies like such titles as Mother Riley Meets The Vampire, The Ape Man, Return Of The Vampire, Voodoo Man, Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla and The Black Sleep. During his decline, he started taking roles in a young filmmaker named Ed Wood Jr’s film like Glen or Glenda and Bride Of The Monster.  His final film appearance was in Plan 9 From Outer Space as old stock footage Wood shot was added into the film. Bela was able to get off the drugs before his death in 1956 at the age of 73 from a heart attack, and he was buried wearing one of his Dracula capes. Bela Lugosi remains one of my favorite horror actors of all time and his work lives on to frighten and entertain a new generation of Monster Kids.

Bela Lugosi 0Bela Lugosi as Dracula

Carlos Villarias was born on July 7, 1892 in Cordoba, Spain and was acting in his first movie in 1917 with the Spanish film “El Pobre Valbuena” and would star in many more Spanish productions throughout the 1930’s.  In 1931, he landed the role he was best known for, the Spanish version of Dracula for Universal. He continued to make movies for many years that followed and had roles in films like “The Mystery Of The Ghastly Face”, “Nostradamus”, “Tropic Holiday” and “The House Of The Fox” to name a few. His final film was in 1953 in a film called “Decameron Nights”. Carlos passed away in 1976 at the age of 83. While he might not be as well known as Bela Lugosi to horror fans, his acting and portrayal of Count Dracula for the Spanish market is amazing, and I am sure he chilled the bones of all those who watched him in the role back in 1931. I just wanted to touch on Carlos Villarias’s life as he is just as important to the Universal Dracula history as Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning and everyone else on the crew that made this movie come alive.

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Don Post is considered the godfather of Halloween by many and made some of the worlds first latex masks.  He also attached himself to makings masks based on some of Hollywood’s top ghouls and monsters from The Wolf Man to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and of course he made several based on Dracula; the most important ones were based on the likeness of Bela Lugosi’s portrayal for Universal. Growing up, I can remember old ads in and on the back cover for Famous Monsters Magazine that acted as an order form to buy this classic mask. I always wondered why Dracula’s skin is green and also marveled about just how awesome the ad made the mask seem, and ideas of wanting the mask to run around my neighborhood would spring into my brain. Years later I would get to see the mask in person at the Magic Hat, a store on Brown Street, and while a great looking mask, it did not live up to the epicness of the ad. Check out the ad picture below and try not to be tranced by its latex greatness!

Don Post Dracula Halloween Mask

In 1963, Hasbro unleashed a board game to masses called “Dracula Mystery Game.”  It would allow 2-4 players to kill time and chill their bones with the horror of Dracula. The plot of the game has you and the other players rolling dice trying to avoid Dracula who wants you dead! I own this game, but sadly when I bought it from my friend David J. Getz it was missing the Dracula pawn piece, making it so that we in the Dayton Board Game Society never played it during a meeting. The game is pretty pricey and on Ebay, depending on condition, can go form any were from $20.00 – $300.00! So if you like cheesy board games, try and track this one down and give it a play for a spooky good time.

Dracula Mystery Game BoardDracula Mystery Board GameDracula Mystery Game pawn

Back in the 1960’s, kids loved to put together and paint models.  For Monster Kids, the ones everyone wanted were the 1962 Aurora Monsters, and one of the most popular ones in that line had to be Count Dracula.  The Dracula model had a Bela Lugosi looking Dracula standing in a stone and grass field next to a dead tree that houses bats. When I was a very young kid and living in Waynesville, I had one of the Dracula model kits but only the Dracula piece that was unpainted as my Mom got it for me from a garage sale. I can remember setting it up on a shelf next to Wizard of Oz dolls I had and always wishing it was an action figure and not a model. Nowadays I have seen the original model kit at many antique malls for around $30.00 – $50.00, depending on how complete it is as well as how poorly it was painted and on Ebay I have seen them go for around $10.00 to $250.00, once more depending on condition and paint job. I wish I sill had my old Aurora Dracula Model Kit, but sadly he is gone in time.

Aurora Dracula boxAurora Dracula model

In 1964, Palmer Plastics released 3” PVC mini figures based on monsters from horror movies as well as science fiction ones. And of course one of the figures released was based on the Universal Dracula. The figure was crudely designed and would come in many colors and would be sold in a three pack or even singly, all for a super cheap price. I sadly never had a Palmer Dracula, but they can be found time to time on Ebay and go for around $20.00 to $60.00 on average.

Palmer Dracula Figure

Remco was a classic toy company who, in 1980, made a deal with Universal to make action figures of their monsters, and of course Dracula was in the line. They made two styles; the first was 9” doll that had cloth clothes with movable limbs.  The Dracula one was very cool but looked nothing like Bela Lugosi. I can remember seeing this figure at flea markets and antique stores, but even loose it always carried a high price tag that my mom would not spend in order to get it for us. To this day, I do not own one but do however own Frankenstein’s Monster thanks to my friend David J. Getz. In 1981, they then released the 3 3/4” action figure versions of the Universal Monsters, and Dracula of course graced this line with his blood drinking presence. These figures were the size of Star Wars and were ones in our youth we so badly wanted but never could find them at garage sales nor flea markets. The Dracula figure’s face glowed in the dark, and he came complete with a vinyl cape.  The downside of these figures was the fact the paint chipped off very easily, and poor Dracula’s nose always had a bare spot as did his fingers. While I never did own one of these figures in my youth, a few years back for my birthday my friend Jason Young gave me almost the full run of the figures as well as the Lab playset! And yep, the Dracula had paint missing on his nose and fingers. The 9” Remco Dracula on Ebay in good shape goes for $35.00 to about $65.00, and the 3 3/4” version goes for about $8.00 – $36.00 dollars loose and in good shape. Both of these figures in package sell for over $100.00 and for collectors like myself are well worth the high price tag.

Remco Dracula DollRemco Dracula figure

Imperial Toys didn’t want to feel left out of the Universal Dracula toy releases, so in 1986, for their Universal Monster toy series, they made a Dracula that was made of hard plastic with moveable arms and head.  For some reason his face and hands are a very bright white, and he has bright red lips and cheesy rings on his fingers. The figure was sold two ways; one was loose with a tag attached to his neck and the second was in a package that showcased his castle in the background that was covered in spider webs and dust. I can remember seeing the Imperial Dracula figure at Kay-Bee Toys and wanting it to go alongside my Imperial Frankenstein’s Monster and Wolf Man that my Mom and Dad got for for Christmas that year. Sadly in my youth I never did get Dracula nor The Mummy but with in the last 3 years I was able to get them both.  Thanks to Ebay, I was able to snag Dracula with The Mummy coming from Monsterbash Convention. If you’re looking for Dracula on Ebay, this Imperial figure in good shape goes for around $4.00 all the way up to $25.00, and I must say the likeness of Bela Lugosi on this one is pretty far off, but what did you expect from a cheap toy company that made low cost figures.

Imperial Dracula

But these were not the only figures based on Dracula that have been made over the years, they were just the most popular ones. Some other amazing ones include Ben Cooper’s Dracula Jiggler and the other knock off companies that made versions. Just Toys made a very cool Dracula Bend-Em for their Universal Monster collection, and this is one figure I did own and once more got it for Christmas one year alongside The Wolf Man. Imperial also made Universal Monster Pogs that featured Dracula, not only on the milk caps but also on his very own Slammer, and yep I had this in my youth. Those are just a drop in the hat of all the cool toys made based around the Universal Dracula character. So needless to say, if you’re a toy collector and you also love Universal’s version of Dracula, you can find many great collectibles for your collection!

Dracula JigglerDracula Bendie ToyDracula Pog SlammerBig Head Dracula Figure

When I was a kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of the most popular cartoon as well as toyline, and in 1993 when Playmates, the makers of the toys, decided to combine the Turtles with Universal Monsters, an amazing thing happened for Monster Kids like myself. Ninja Turtle Donatello was the one combined with Count Dracula, and the figure came with not only a cape but also weapons like a wooden stake.  Growing up I never had the Don as Dracula figure, but I did have a few of the others and over the years have seen this figure at many places for sale like Mavericks Cards And Comics, Game Swap Kettering and Feathers. On Ebay, the figure in package sells for about $25.00 – $40.00 dollars and loose and incomplete for about $2.00 – $4.00. So if you want this figure for your TMNT collection, it’s not too expensive.

TMNT DON AS DRACULA

World Candies produced a sugar candy stick in a small box that featured a monster of Universal Studios fame, and as far as I can tell, these began in the 1970’s and were simply called Monster Candy. I remember them in the late 80’s and early 90’s because around Halloween time at Odd Lots or Big Lots, they would sell these candies by the bag full for like $1.00 or two and I would get them to give out and pig out on. The candy back then was a flat stick, and two would be in a box and on the candy would be monster faces.  Now they are more like candy sticks aka candy cigarettes. These candies were a big part of my childhood, and while they were kind of gross, I still love the idea of them to this day. Check out the super cool box for Dracula.

Monster Candy Dracula Box

In Waynesville, I lived very close to the Library and would walk there with my brother Bryan, mother, father, and we would rent VHS movies, books and comics. One of the book series I would check out the most and even make copies of the pictures on a copy machine was the Crestwood House Monster Books. I used to love sitting and reading about each monster and all the classic films that featured them.  The books would also fill you in on old legends about that monster and even talk a little about the source material they were based on whether it be a urban legend or a novel. They put out a second series that were more like kid novels based on the movies like Dracula’s Daughter. The Library used to also have a huge sale where they would sell you a bag of books for so many dollars, and I was lucky enough to snatch up many of these titles when they decided they didn’t need them anymore and still have them to this day. I find myself from time to time still dusting them off and enjoying these fun books of my youth. Some of them were based around Dracula and many of those books are a fun read for fans and the young at heart. On Ebay, you can get a used copy of the Crestwood Monster Dracula book for $10.00 – $20.00 depending on condition and if it’s a hard or soft cover.

Crestwood Dracula BookCrestwood Daughter Of Dracula

Puzzles have been a staple for kids of all ages, and to this day, puzzles are put together by kids and adults alike.  It comes as no surprise that Universal licensed out Dracula’s image to companies to make ones based around this icon of fright. The puzzles have some great artwork and are clearly geared towards younger kids with them being mere 100-200 pieces. Not much to say about these, but I figured they should at least get some respect here on Rotten Ink.

Universal Dracula PuzzleDracula Puzzle

Back in the 90’s, Doritos Chips gave away Universal Monster stickers in the bags you would find at your local grocery store, and I found myself begging my mom to buy this snack food so that I would be able to collect the whole set of these stickers. So every time we would go to Ellis, a small store in Downtown Waynesville I would get a bag of this chips.  Now I should tell you, I HATE Doritos – always have and always will – and this shows you my love for Universal Monsters as I suffered through eating those nasty chips. I can remember how happy I was when I got the Dracula sticker for the first time, and I proudly put it away for safe keeping.  When I got an extra, I put it inside the VHS tape giving my tape a little something extra. No matter how hard I tried and how many bags of powdered death, I ate I never did get a full set of these stickers making all my efforts even that more sad. I still have the stickers to this day, and they are stored away at Independent B Movie studio waiting for the day that I will proudly display them in my home. But check out below and see how cool the Dracula one is.

Doritos Dracula Sticker

I grew up in the age of breakfast cereal, and some of the best out there were the General Mills Monster Cereals with Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry and the wonders of how the world works when they put the cereal mascots alongside Universal Monsters! Let’s first breakdown Count Chocula as a character and his cereal. Count Chocula is vampire who is brown and wears brown clothes.  He is a friendly vampire to kids but hates Frankenberry and Boo Berry and thinks his cereal is the best. His feelings can be hurt when people run away from him, and he is scaredy cat. It’s clear as day that he is inspired by Lugosi’s version of Dracula because the mascot sounds like a poor man’s Bela. The cereal has a chocolate flavor to it and is my favorite out the the monster cereals.  It is one that I could eat every morning! But sometime in the late 80’s early 90’s, they put Lugosi as Dracula on the box with Count Chocula making a cool box for us kids to look at in the morning. Many items have been made in the image of Count Chocula including stuffed dolls, pencil tops, toys and shirts.

count choculacount chocula dracula boxCount Chocula Figure

Dracula has also made it to handheld video games like the ones made by Micro Games of America in 1994 and even ones made by Tiger have graced the hands of gamers. He has also been in pinball games at your local arcade and has been in a few PC games, and even had a full fledge game called simply Dracula for the Game Boy Color that was an official Universal Monsters product.  Not to mention, the mountains of other games that the character Dracula has appeared in making him one of the top classic monster bad guys used the most in video games.

Dracula Handheld gameUniversal Dracula Game Boy Color Game BoxGame Wizard Dracula Game

In 1997, fast food joint Burger King decided to have Universal Monster toys in their kids meal, and Count Dracula was one of the cheesiest and least wanted figure as for some reason his skin was flesh colored and it looked nothing like the classic Lugosi played vampire. Standing about 4 inches tall, the figure had a removable cape, a coffin and a glow in the dark sticker. The figure was perfect size to fit in with those kids of that day who played with G.I. Joe and Star Wars toys, and the best part was, they got it free for eating a cheeseburger and fries.  A pat on the back to Burger King for also bringing Dracula to a new generation of kids with these kids meal prizes even if the figure was lame in appearance.

BK Kids Club LogoBK Dracula Figure

Not to be outdone, another fast food hamburger joint also gave away figures based on the Universal Monsters, and unlike Burger King, they also included The Bride and did it twice! The first batch came in 1999 and had Dracula who looked just like the Burger King version in skin tone but had a weird grabbing feature as his action. Then in 2002, they put out a quick change magic trick Dracula that would have him turn from human into a bat via his coffin.  These figures are really cheap looking and kind of cheesy, but still worth owning for those who love all things Dracula. I don’t know much about these because there is no Jack in The Box in my area.

Jack In The Box Logo 0Jack In The Box Dracula Figure

The Universal Dracula Series has also been a big part of horror hosting as the films were a part of The Shock Theater and Son of Shock movie packages that allowed local TV stations to air the films with a host. Many of the old shows are lost like hosts such as Vampira, Sammy Terry, Dr. Creep and Melvin hosting these classic films but a few have survived, and some hosts have hosted them as late as early this year, 2016. But here are a few of the hosts I have that brought you some films from the Universal Dracula including Morgus The Magnificent and Baron Von Wolfstein.

Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 1Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 2

But this is called Rotten Ink and is a blog mostly about comic books, so we should talk about comics that are based around Dracula that are licensed by Universal. Off the top of my head, I can only think of two; one being released by Dell in 1963 as part of their Movie Classics line called “Dracula”, with it later being paired with The Mummy by Dell. The other is the Dark Horse comic “Universal Monsters Dracula” that was released in 1993 and is the subject of this epic update. The Dell comic is a new story about Dracula, while Dark Horses is just based on the script and is a movie adaptation. Both of these are comics we will get to at some point here on Rotten Ink as well as Marvel’s Tomb Of Dracula series.  I am looking forward to bringing you those.

Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell 10Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell with Mummy 20

One of my favorite internet shows has to be The Angry Video Game Nerd.  What is not to like about a funny character playing old video games from my youth and making fun of the flaws that have tortured many kids that played them. The Nerd is played and created by James Rolfe who also grew up as a Monster Kid watching the classic Universal Films, Horror Hosts like Joe Bob Briggs, making his own films and loving all things spooky. Every Halloween, he has a Nerd Special where he reviews a horror themed game, and in 2008, The Nerd covered Dracula themed games and he was in fact a vampire in the episode himself wearing a cape and all. But of course, the games he plays are terrible, including the NES unreleased game Drac’s Night Out, and uses the suns rays to commit suicide so he didn’t have to play any more terrible Dracula games. Every HalloweenJames Rolfe also has a show called Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness where he talks about Horror films, and one year for this show he did sequels and covered the whole Universal Dracula series. Fun shows and worth checking out at http://cinemassacre.com.

AVGN as DraculaAVGN Art Dracula EpisodeAVGN as Dracula 2

On Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 12:50pm at the Cinemark theater at The Greene Juliet, her mom and myself went to see the 1931 Universal Dracula on the big screen just in time for Halloween! We were all pretty hyped as the event was supposed to have a cool new intro from a film historian and was to be followed up by the Spanish version of Dracula.  With some candy and drinks in hand, we were ready for some classic horror film frights. There was a decent amount of people in the theater including mothers with their children who were talking about how scary the movie was when they where little.  This put a huge smile on my face as this classic Universal film was being passed down to a younger generation of Monster Kids.  Joining us were senior citizens who came to relive watching Lugosi in all his caped glory. But what was going to be an epic afternoon of Universal Horror once more turned into the ultimate blunder of Cinemark as they cut the new intro by the film historian, started the Lugosi Dracula film after the opening credits and to boot never showed the Spanish version! I was pretty annoyed by this as Cinemark at the Greene is my go-to theater, and they fouled up showing a classic monster movie event.  But with all blunders aside, it was great to see Dracula on the big screen along with Juliet and her Mom, who also loves a good classic Horror fright flick! So while fun, I still want to say shame on you Cinemark, for charging full price for an event you didn’t show fully.

Dracula On The Sign at CinemarkDracula Ticket CinemarkThe Theater Gearing Up To See Dracula 1931 at Cinemark

So we have arrivied at Castle Dracula, and I can see our host making his way down the long stone stairs so while we wait for him to bid us, welcome I should thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this Dark Horse adaptation in stock. I also hear the children of the night telling me to remind you all that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. Plus I want to say that I am really happy to present this update to all you readers and friends this close to the Halloween season, and hope I did this classic, iconic and impactful film justice with this update. Our host is here and inviting us in for a glass of wine, so let’s head on in and take a look at this blood sucking comic!

Dracula 1 Dark Horse Comics

Dracula # 1  ***
Released in 1993    Cover Price $4.95    Dark Horse    # 1 of 1

Renfield arrives at Castle Dracula in Transylvania to meet Count Dracula, a client who is buying the Carfax Abbey in England, but during his first night there, Renfield is bitten by Dracula who is a vampire. The next day Renfield is now the slave of Dracula, and they are aboard a ship bound for England when Dracula comes from his coffin and kills the crew during a massive storm. Renfield is the only one found alive on the ship when it docks, and he is found to be mad and taken away to an asylum as Dracula walks the streets sucking the blood of a young lady selling flowers he stumbles upon. Dracula goes to the symphony and meets the Dr. Seward who runs the asylum near the Carfax Abbey, his daughter Mina, her fiance John Harker as well as her best friend Lucy. Later that night Dracula targets Lucy to become his first bride and bites her on the neck as she sleeps, and by doing so kills her and turns her into a vampire. Dr. Seward goes to his friend Dr. Van Helsing for answers to Lucy’s death, and he in turns knows that Renfield must be the helper to the vampire that is stalking England, but he is not sure who it is. Meanwhile Dracula has now selected Mina as his next bride and also wants to use her to help bring down her father and Van Helsing only slightly turning her to a vampire and more as a slave that will do his bidding. The next day while Mina explains a bad dream she had to her father, John and Van Helsing, they spot two bite marks on her neck and as Count Dracula enters and thanks to a mirror, Van Helsing figures out that Dracula is the vampire they seek. Dracula returns later that night and allows Mina to drink his blood forming a bond between the two and later takes her to his safe place at Carfax Abbey. John and Van Helsing follow Renfield who has escaped the asylum to the Carfax Abbey, and Dracula rips the heart out of his one time slave and rushes to his coffin.  The sun is coming up after he spots John and Van Helsing have entered his home! Van Helsing drives a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Mina snaps out of her trance and returns home with her lover leaving this nightmare behind.

I first want to state that I enjoyed this comic book adaptation of the classic 1931 Universal Monster film Dracula from Dark Horse, but I also want to say that writer Dan Vado took some liberties with the story by doing such things as cutting Dracula’s Brides out of the opening, having Dracula cut his own arm for Mina to drink from, shows the stake going into the heart of Dracula, Renfield has his heart ripped out of his body by Dracula, Lucy just disappears once she becomes a vampire as well as adds blood to the hand of the flower girl that’s bitten by Dracula after he exits the ship. The story is this Dracula comes to England from his home in Transylvania and tries to turn two friends into his vampire brides but is soon on the radar of a highly intelligent doctor who is aware of the vampire legend and travels to the dark side of the world to free the soul of his friends daughter who is in danger by the curse of Dracula’s bite. So lets break down our cast of characters starting with Mina Seward who is the eye candy for Dracula who is your typical naive young female character who is under the spell of evil and does nothing to help herself to escape. But with that said Mina is a great character as she fits the part of the damsel in distress that is needed in all great fairy tales. John Harker is a man who loves his fiance and will do what ever it takes to keep her safe, while he talks a good game he is not the man who steps up and saves Mina from her fate. Van Helsing is the real hero of this tale as he is the one who knows the vampire legends, understands what can stop them, figures out who the vampire is and is the one who ends up driving the stake into the heart of Dracula ending his terror. Dr. Seward is just like John while he wants to keep his daughter safe he just has no clue how to do so. Renfield is a man who is driven insane and has enter battles with what his dark side tells him to do and what he knows is right. The poor fool who does what ever he can for Dracula is rewarded with having his heart ripped from his body as it was clear the vampire had no real care for his insane slave. Count Dracula is suave, violent and very cold as he don’t care about life and only wants his needs meet as he did not care who’s lives he ruined in his quest for new brides. Dracula in this comic is so much more evil in the film as he seems to get joy from killing and has no remorse for when he does kill. Lucy as well as the asylum workers and maids are all just secondary characters and fit their roles well. The odd thing about this adaptation is that it takes a classic black and white horror film that is known for it’s lack of blood and gore and decides to add in both! While I am sure some readers disliked these changes I looked at them as the artists and writers trying to add their own spin on this classic story. The art is done by John D. Smith and is a very cool paint style that captures the look of Lugosi very well as Dracula, but oddly enough NONE of the other characters look like the actors who played them in the 1931 film with them even going so far to give Van Helsing a beard. But while Dracula might be the only one who looks like he should I found myself really liking the art as well as the cover that is really amazing and showcases just how talented Smith is at capturing the creepy feel of Bela. Over all this was a great read and an amazing read to lead us into the month of October! If your a fan of classic Universal Monsters and love comic books I would say for sure check it out! Check out some of the art below from this comic and see just how cool it looks, I must say sorry for the poor quality of the pictures as I had to use my iPhone in order to get them and not a scanner.

Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 1Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 2Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 3

So we have made it out of Castle Dracula alive and with all our blood intact, and we should count ourselves lucky as this far we have not only survived Count Dracula with out countdown to Halloween but also this far Jaws and The Tallman! This update was lots of fun to write and really helped me get into the Halloween spirit as Universal Monster movies always kick of the spooky mood and feeling that goes along with the months of October and September for me. I hope I did this 1931 film and its legacy justice with this update as it’s in honor of Bela Lugosi, who is a true horror actor icon. But I am sure you’re wondering what’s next for out countdown to Halloween.  We are leaving Castle Dracula and heading to Ireland to come face to face with the one and only Rawhead Rex! So until next time, read a comic or three, see a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host…See you next update my ghoulish friends and readers.

PDVD_000

Rotten Ink Calling Dick Tracy…You There Tracy?

Calling Dick Tracy, come in Tracy – we wanted to let you know that you’re the topic for this Rotten Ink update! Ever since I was a youngster, I loved to read Dick Tracy comic strips, comics as well as watch the movies based around his adventures, and I have been itching worse than Itchy to bring to you friends and readers this update, as Tracy is one of my favorite characters of all time. I can remember the first time I read a reprinted Sunday comic strip at my Grandma and Grandpa Salyers’ house during one of our way too few visits and being hooked on his crime fighting adventures. This flame was sparked more by the Warren Betty film, the action figures and the reprinted comics that started to spring up at the local comic shops that my brother used to buy from a small five and dime near our grandparents’ house back in the early 90’s. Updates like this are one of the main reasons I love having this blog as I get to share and relive many characters from my past that helped fuel my imagination and made me into the overly creative person I am today. So check your wrist radio and make sure you can read this loud and clear as we are about to travel to the mean streets alongside Dick Tracy and clean them up from all the scum that’s ruining them!

Dick Tracy panel 1

Let’s first take a brief look at the man who created Dick Tracy so that we can get in tune with this iconic character. Chester Gould was born on November 20, 1900 in Pawnee, Oklahoma and by all accounts had a pretty good childhood as his father was a minister. At a young age, Chester was a fan of comics and was hired early on to make strips for Chicago Evening American and over his time there made such strips as Fillum Fables, The Radio Catts and Why It’s A Windy City. In 1926 Chester married Edna Gauger, and they had a daughter Jean a year later. In 1931 Chester created a comic strip for the Detroit Mirror that was based on a New York detective that caught the cartoonist’s eye for being interesting, and later it would morph into a strip based on a fake detective that he called Dick Tracy. The comic strip became a mega hit, and he would spend the next 46 years of his life drawing it as fans eagerly awaited the next strip. But things didn’t stay positive as by the strips decline, many readers turned on it for being too supportive to the police and the fact he added sci-fi elements by having Tracy visit the moon and even had a crooked lawyer character who sent readers into a fury and had newspapers dropping the strip. But many did stick with it through the ups and downs, and all were entertained by this yellow trenchcoat-wearing cop and his odd rouges gallery. Chester Gould passed away on May 11, 1985 leaving behind a legacy of comic strips and one of the world’s most iconic fictional detectives Dick Tracy. Over his career Chester won many awards such as the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award in 1958 and 1977 as well as an Edgar Award in 1980 to name a select few.  For those wanting to learn a little more about Chester, his only child Jean wrote a book about her father called “Chester Gould: A Daughter’s Biography On The Creator Of Dick Tracy” that was published in 2007 that is worth checking out. So here is a big thanks to Chester for creating Dick Tracy as well as to all the fans who have kept the character alive after all these years.

Dick Tracy Comic Strip CharacterChester Gould 0Sunday Funnies Tracy

The character of Dick Tracy was so popular that the comic strip spawned not only film serials but also movies that hit theaters and entertained the masses. The serials started in 1937 with the first simply being called “Dick Tracy” and had actor Ralph Byrd step into the role.  He would go on to play the character in the rest of the serials that followed such as “Dick Tracy Returns”, “Dick Tracy’s G-Men” and “Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc” with each of them being very popular for movie goers. Starting in 1945, RKO Radio Pictures decided to make Dick Tracy movies with the first being once again just called “Dick Tracy” with actor Morgan Conway as Tracy. The next picture once more had Morgan as Tracy and was released in 1946 and was called “Dick Tracy vs. Cueball” with actor Dick Wessel playing Cueball. In 1947, the third film was released in the series and was called “Dick Tracy’s Dilemma” and had Ralph Byrd return to the role of Tracy and The Claw, the film’s main bad guy, being played by Jack Lambert. Later in 1947, the fourth and final film in the RKO series was made.  It was called “Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome” and had Ralph Byrd again as Tracy and horror icon Boris Karloff as Gruesome.  Growing up, sadly, I never saw the serials, but I do remember the the RKO films and have memories of watching them though I’m not sure what station I saw them on.  If I had to guess, I would say TBS, WGN or AMC. The movies as well as the serials both have been released on VHS and DVD, and those fans wanting to watch these classic films can do so thanks to companies like Alpha Video. I  also should note that many Horror Hosts have also hosted these Dick Tracy films over the ages. But while the 1940’s was a big time for Tracy, it was the 90’s that he ruled for kids like me…but I’ll save that for a little further in this update.

Dick Tracy Ralph ByrdDick Tracy Meets Gruesome PosterDick Tracy Cueball

Besides the big screen, Dick Tracy also made his way to television thanks to the UPA who in 1961 made a cartoon show called “The Dick Tracy Show” that followed Tracy’s patrol cops like detective Joe Jitsu – a super smart character who knows martial arts, the police bulldog Hemlock Holmes, the apple stealing Heap O’Calorie and the speedy Manuel Tijuana Guadalajara Tampico “Go-Go” Gomez Jr. Tracy was never the main focus of the episodes that would rotate between the above characters who would always foil the crimes of Mumbles, Flattop and Pruneface, among other classics from the Tracy rogues’ gallery. The episodes were about 5 minutes each, and the show ran for a total of 130 episodes before being cancelled in 1962. Dick Tracy was voiced by Everett Sloane, and classic Warner Brother voice actor Mel Blanc lent his voice to characters like Flattop. I can remember when I was a kid, my brother used to wake up really early on Saturday Mornings and would start his cartoon watching early with a big bowl of cereal.  He would always tell me about this classic Dick Tracy cartoon he was watching, and after a month or so of him telling me about the show and me not believing him, he woke me up early per my request as I was wanting to watch this cartoon based on my favorite comic strip detective…and would you know the show didn’t come on.  My brother was so mad as it made him look as if he was telling a fib about the show and it would not be until many years later till I would finally be able to watch the show with my own eyes. While now the cartoon is pretty much forgotten, it’s worth tracking down on DVD and watching for Dick Tracy fans.

Dick Tracy Animated 1Dick Tracy Animated DVDDick Tracy Animated 2

Here is something many of you might not know; back in 1967, a TV pilot for a Dick Tracy series was produced by William Dozier, the man responsible for the 1966 Batman series starring Adam West, and was shopped around to ABC and NBC with neither company picking it up. Actor Ray MacDonnell stepped into the role of Dick Tracy, and the villain for the episode was Mr. Memory played by Victor Buono. While he was no Ralph Byrd or even a Warren Beatty, the overacting MacDonnell would have been a silly good TV version of Tracy. The reason the series was not picked up was because Green Hornet was a flop and the ratings for Batman were starting to slip, and no company wanted to invest in a comic hero series at the time. I was lucky that back in the day my brother was able to get a grey market VHS tape of this unaired Dick Tracy pilot, and alongside friend Andy Copp, we all gave it a watch and laughed and thought it was a fun and silly program. One thing that has stuck with me is the show’s theme song, that proclaims this mighty line: “Dick Tracy…He’s a good cop.”  And while he is one heck of of a cop, the networks in 67 just didn’t think he was a rating winner waiting to happen.

Failed Live Action Dick Tracy TV Show 1Ray MacDonnell as Dick TracyFailed Live Action Dick Tracy TV Show 2

In the summer of 1990, Touchstone Pictures released a big budget action film based on Dick Tracy that had the kids of the world craving everything they could get based on this classic comic strip character. Dick Tracy was directed by Warren Beatty, who also played the role of Tracy, and had big stars like Al Pacino as Big Boy Caprice, Dustin Hoffman as Mumbles, Paul Sorvino as Lips Manlis, Madonna as Breathless Mahoney and William Forsythe as Flattop, to name a very small few. The film had music done by Madonna with the score being done by Danny Elfman. The budget of the film was $47 million and at the US Box Office, it brought in a total of $103,738,726.00 making it a pretty good success for Touchstone. In 1990, Dick Tracy was the # 9 film of the year and beat out such films as Back To The Future Part III, Edward Scissorhands, The Godfather Part III, Misery, Goodfellas, Hard To Kill, Robocop II, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Rocky V, Ernest Goes To Jail and My Blue Heaven to name a small amount of hit and cult films. When I was about 10 years old, Dick Tracy hit theaters, and I was drawn into the commercials on TV promoting the film and begged my parents to take me to the theater to watch it.  They were not having it, and I had to wait to see it on VHS, renting it from the video store. But while I didn’t get to see the film, I was able to buy the toys, novels and read the comic books that were coming out and my brother was buying. I had Tracy fever and even wore several t-shirts that had Dick Tracy characters on them with my favorite being one that showcased Flattop. Upon finally seeing the film, I was a fan and can remember chatting about the bad guys of the film with friends and my brother and hoping and waiting for a sequel to be made. A sequel was just not to be as the rights to the characters in films became a nightmare of companies claiming to own it, but after years of fighting, Warren Beatty was proven to be the real owner of Dick Tracy’s film rights. Beatty himself keeps claiming that he has a sequel in mind and has hinted that Tracy will grace the silver screen once again in the future. Say what you will about the 1990 Dick Tracy film, but for me it was a must watch film alongside many other classic films from my childhood like The Goonies, Gremlins, Beastmaster and Legend to name a few. If you haven’t seen Dick Tracy, give it a watch, and if you have seen it, watch it again.  It’s a true classic comic to movie classic.

Dick Tracy WarrenDick Tracy 1990 PosterAl as Big Boy

Straight off the score for the 1989 Batman film, Danny Elfman was asked to do the score music for Dick Tracy and hammered out good quality music to accompany the film.  Was it as iconic as his score work for Batman, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure or Edward Scissorhands…well no, but it was still top notch stuff that I find myself playing from time to time on Alpha Rhymes on WYSO. Around that same time, pop music icon Madonna also released a CD called “I’m Breathless” that had music from the film she sang as Breathless Mahoney as well as songs inspired by the film. It’s a good CD from Madonna as my favorite song on that album has to be “Sooner Or Later” as it’s a well structured song and showcases a more bluesy sound from Madonna. This release was met with mixed reviews and was not one of her bigger hits. If you’re looking for the score or the music by Madonna you can find them on CD and Cassette, and they are worth checking out if you’re a fan. Below is the pictures of the CD’s as well as one of Tracy bad guy 88 Keys as he is the music man of this comic strip.

Danny Elfman Dick Tracy Score CD88 KeysMadonna Dick Tracy CD

In 1990, Bandai released a Dick Tracy video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System that was a must buy or rent for many kids. We all quickly learned that the game was hard and really unforgiving in its challenge. Every kid I knew who owned a NES in Waynesville and my cousins Dino and Norman had this game in their collection and not a one of them ever beat it. I could not even crack and complete the first case as the snipers on the roof tops always took me out. The game has two modes: one is a top down car segment where you drive around town to gather the clues, and the second is side-scrolling beat em up action.  The game is truly impossible to finish unless you cheat. While the NES version of Dick Tracy is the most popular for old school gamers, many other Tracy titles were made for such systems as Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Commodore 64 and DOS to name a few. So if you feel confident in your gaming skills and are up for a hard 8-Bit challenge, play some Dick Tracy for the NES and see how far you can get before snapping and breaking your system.

NES Dick Tracy Screen 1NES Dick Tracy in BoxNES Dick Tracy Screen 2

For the 2008 season, The Angry Video Game Nerd covered the Dick Tracy NES game, and just like I mentioned above, he was tortured in his youth by the game’s overly hard nature and the over powering gunshots from the roof snipers. But while watching him fail and play the video game is the funny part of his review, for me the highlight was when he talked about the Dick Tracy mania that was sweeping his school and how all his friends wanted to get all the Tracy stuff they could get their parents to buy them.  He even goes so far as to show old video of him on Halloween as a kid dressed up as Dick Tracy and getting a rock in his bag just like good old Charlie Brown. The youth of today have no clue how big of a deal the 1990 movie was to kids of my generation and how Dick Tracy was for a very short time as popular as other comic characters like Batman, Superman and Spider-Man.  I think this AVGN episode does a great job of briefly showing and sharing just how popular and loved it was. So if you’re a fan of AVGN, I am sure you have already seen this episode, and if you’re not and are not bothered by cussing and over the top humor, make sure to give it a watch.

AVGN Tracy 1AVGN Dick Tracy LogoAVGN Dick Tracy Cart

Dick Tracy has also had his fair share of merchandise for fans to collect, and besides the comic books, video games, soundtrack CD’s and home media releases of the films and shows, his yellow trench coat image as graced trading cards, tin toys, t-shirts, Halloween costumes, action figures, plush dolls, bubble bath products, novels, posters, hats, toy guns, and radios.  Pretty much anything you can name, he has graced it with his image in some way.  Growing up, I can remember seeing many of the old tin toys and books at the antique stores in downtown Waynesville and can even remember sometimes findings old Dick Tracy stuff at garage sales.  In both cases, the price tags were way too high for our mom to buy it for us. My favorite Dick Tracy merchandise I owned as a kid were the Playmate action figures.  I had Dick Tracy, Flattop and Itchy as well as the NES game and a paperback novel that I loved (I’ll get to that next). So fans and collectors, what Dick Tracy stuff did you own and love, in your collection now or even better that you had as a kid?

Sierra Exif JPEGDick Tracy SoakiePlaymates Dick Tracy Toys

My favorite Dick Tracy paperback novel when I was a younger lad was called “Dick Tracy Meets Angeltop: Flattop’s Little Girl” and was released in 1979.  It was done by Max Allan Collins who took over for Chester years back, keeping the Dick Tracy comic legacy alive. I found the book at a place called Half Priced Books and can remember reading it from front to back in one sitting while hanging out in my room and enjoying every crime filled page. I used to love the comic book paperback books that used to be made and to this day own many of the ones from Marvel and DC that I have had since I was a kid, but like a fool I did not keep this one. What stuck out to me was the fact that this was a story that pitted Tracy against the daughter of my favorite Tracy rogue who was long dead in the comic strip by the time this was released. Plus Angeltop, just like her father, is a gun firing fiend who clearly wanted to end Tracy’s life and avenge her father, building on his crime legacy. If you want a good read that pits Tracy against a mean spirited gun firing lady, check this one out as it’s worth the read for sure.

Angeltop panel 1Angeltop paperbackAngeltop

My favorite bad guy from the Dick Tracy Universe has to be Flattop Jones Sr., a strange looking mobster who had a flat head and a take no prisoners attitude. Flattop’s first comic strip appearance was on December 21, 1943 and little background is given on the character besides that he was a freelance hitman from Oklahoma and he was involved with the Kansas City Massacre, a real life incident that took place in 1933 that left four officers of the law dead. It’s believed that Chester Gould based the character off the real life mobster Pretty Boy Floyd who had a similar background and was involved in the Kansas City Massacre. In his first appearance, Flattop is coming off a five person killing spree and is hired to kill Dick Tracy for $5000, but of course comes up short. During his appearance in the comic strip, he has been shot and almost killed, attacks Vitamin Flintheart, been stuck in a chimney and stung by bees, knew Tracy during World War II and finally meet his end by drowning after being caught in the struts of a replica boat. Flattop was one of the biggest villains in the comic strip, and he spawned many relative characters to try and capture the original character’s magic with readers like his wife Stilleta Jones and his children Flattop Jr. and Angeltop Jones. He had a drunk father named Poptop as well as brothers Blowtop and Sharptop also had a grandchild named Hi-Top among others. The character has appeared in other Tracy media like a radio show, TV series and cartoon as well as the 1990 movie and many toys and video games. Growing up, one of my favorite t-shirts was a Flattop Jones Sr. one, and I can remember wearing it with pride even after many of the kids on the playground gave me guff for wearing a bad guy on my shirt, but as years passed they learned to expect my love for comic, movie and horror villians. To this day Flattop is one of my favorite comic book bad guys and would still easy make it into my Top 10 of all time!

Flattop From Comic StripFlattop from 1990 MovieFlattop from Animated series

Actor William Forsythe played Flattop in the 1990 film, and his portrayal is fantastic and really hammered home my love for the character as he brought the take no bull crap attitude and blood lust to kill some suckers with his trusty tommy gun. Forsythe is a fantastic actor and has appeared in such films as Cloak & Dagger, Once Upon A Time In America, Raising Arizona, Out For Justice, Stone Cold, G-Men From Hell, The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween (2007) and Dear Mr. Gacy to name a very select few and show how amazing an actor he is.  Over the years and the many conventions I have done with the likes of Andy Copp, Independent B Movie and Baron Von Porkchop I have seen William Forsythe many times and spoke to him from time to time as he has always been super approachable and friendly to his fans, but it was not until 2014 during a Horrorhound Weekend that alongside my friends Horror Host Icon Fritz The Nite Owl and Mike McGraner that I finally got to tell him just how impactful his portrayal of Flattop was to me as a kid.  He seemed very happy to hear it as I am sure at these cons most people talk to him about Devils Rejects. So I doubt if he ever reads this but again, thanks Mr. Forsythe for rocking in the role as Flattop and thanks for just being you and being very cool and chill with your fans. Below is a picture of Fritz, Mike and I with William Forsythe.

Frtitz, Mike and Me with William

Do you readers remember when Dick Tracy was out in 1990, and McDonalds had a cool contest going on that would let you get a scratch off ticket that would have you win prizes, free food and money if you could match up mug shot of Tracy villains to a number? My parents were never big McDonalds eaters, and when we would go to the restaurant, it would be because my brother and I would beg them to take us as we wanted something in the Happy Meal or thought we could win a contest like this. I can remember getting a few of these scratch off tickets and always revealing a character called Measles Enog who was a dope smuggler who had red spots on his face and was nothing but a two bit crook! I never won any major prizes on this game, but I did win a small fry. Do you readers and friend remember playing this game at your local McDonalds?

Dick Tracy McDonalds Game

Before we get into the review section of this update, I want to take a moment to give you all a personal opinion of mine that I truly believe. In comic books, a hero is only as good as the villains he faces and some of the most iconic bad guys attached to heroes all are just as known and important to the comic series as the hero is and bring their own twisted charms to fans. I mean let’s be honest, two of the biggest names in comic book history that have some of the best bad guys are Batman and Spider-Man.  What would Batman be without the likes of The Joker, Two Face, Catwoman, The Riddler, Killer Croc, Bane, Scarecrow and so many others; just like what would Spider-Man be without Doctor Octopus, The Lizard, Venom, Green Goblin, Kraven The Hunter, Scorpion and a mountain of others. For me, Dick Tracy also fits this list as he has battled some amazing and colorful characters over his long comic career like The Brow, Flattop, Big Boy, Itchy, Mumbles, Steve The Tramp, B-B Eyes, The Mole, The Rodent, Pruneface and so many other mean and original bad guy characters all with their own strange quirks and their own plots to kill Dick Tracy. For me, the top five comic/comic strip characters that have the best villains would be: Spider-Man, Batman, Dick Tracy, Captain America and X-Men..but I should also note that Superman and Incredible Hulk also have amazing bad guys and would make it into the top 10 for sure. So all I am saying is show the baddies the same respect you show your comic heroes because without them how boring would your comics be?

PrunefaceBrowItchy

Well we are here at the police station and Dick Tracy alongside his friends Sam Catchem and Pat Patton are in the other room getting some information from Little Face so I think that we should start getting to the review section of this update. I am not going to lie, when selecting what to blog about this month I decided that I was going to pick topics that meant something to me growing up like Super Scary Saturday, and I knew that Dick Tracy had to be a part of this month’s theme as I have been a long time fan and respect the characters and creators that made this Sunday Funnies strip into something that put a smile on my face for over 30 years. I want to thank Mavericks Cards and Comics and Lone Star Comics for having these comics in stock. I want to also re-thank my brother Bryan for buying this series called “The Original Dick Tracy” when we were kids and letting me read his copies when he was done with them. I need to also remind you all that I grade these issues on a 1-4 star scale and base it on these factors: how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So strap on your badge and put on your favorite hat and coat, as we dive into the crime world of Dick Tracy!

Original Tracy 1

The Original Dick Tracy # 1 ***
Released in 1990    Cover Price $1.95    Gladstone Comics    # 1 of 5

Dick Tracy VS Mrs. Pruneface” It’s a dark and stormy night as Dick Tracy and Pat Patton are filing old finger prints and decide to head home.  While Pat leaves first and gets a cab, Tracy decides to walk it in the rain and is attacked and knocked out by a whip swinging amazon of a woman who is Mrs. Pruneface, the widow of a mobster who Tracy has killed.  She takes the detective to a hideout where she and her servant Emil chain Tracy to the wall and keep him captive. Junior and the Police are worried when Tracy does not show up for work the next day, and when his pen is found in the ally, they know something wicked has happened to their friend and the city’s top detective. Meanwhile, Tracy is being mentally abused by Mrs. Pruneface who will not tell him who she is and why she has a plan to seal him up behind a brick wall after he has been killed thanks to a spike that has been driven through a board and placed on two 100 pound blocks of ice that will stab him in the heart thanks to the oven that will be left on as well as the old icebox that is left on top of the board to add weight. Mrs. Pruneface finally tells Tracy who she is and sets the trap that will end his life.  As she and Emil go to a tavern to wait for the morning news to report of Tracy’s death, the Detective uses his own quick wit to survive the death trap and is rescued by his fellow officers. Now wanted for attempted murder, Mrs. Pruneface uses stage makeup and changes her looks and gets a job at a hotel as a cook as Emil is ordered to stay at their new hotel room hideout, but being a goof Emil accidentally drops one of Mrs. Pruneface’s whips out the window and a cop picks it up and gives it to his son who is friends with Junior who informs Tracy and the rest of the cops were it was found.  Mrs. Pruneface is furious about Emil getting into her weapon bag and beats her one time servant to death with a lamp and goes about her new life as a cook. When Tracy and the cops find the body of Emil, she leaves the hotel and starts cooking for the mayor where she murders one of his daughters’ friends who accidentally finds out who she really is, and now with Tracy and the cops on her tail she holds the mayor’s two daughters hostage with a pot of boiling soup threatening to pour it on them if they don’t keep quiet quite as they police look around the house trying to find her. In the end, the daughters turn on a fan in front of flour that blinds Mrs. Pruneface who slips on the soup she drops and cracks her head open on the oven.  The daughters run for help, and Tracy and the others rush to the kitchen when they hear two gun shots and find that the mayor’s wife as put two bullets into Mrs. Pruneface’s head in self defense. And so ends the case of Mrs. Pruneface, who is now dead just like her husband.

This Dick Tracy adventure is as amazing and silly as I remember it to be when I first read this comic in my youth thanks to my brother who would buy every issue of this series. The plot is very simple and has Mrs. Pruneface trying to murder Dick Tracy to avenge her husband who was killed.  She fails and tries to go into hiding but is busted in the end due to her own evil and mean spirited nature. Dick Tracy goes from being a tortured prisoner who is almost murdered to a detective on the heels of those who almost did him in. The best part about Tracy in this issue is that he is so cheesy and yet so cool that he shows why he is a true icon of Sunday Funnies. Mrs. Pruneface is such a cruel and complete and interesting character as she was once a vaudeville performer who is the widow of crime boss Pruneface, is a master of make-up and stage effects, can cook like a professional chef and on top of it her face is messed up because she was fleeing her country during the war in a tank and took a face full of gasoline and fire.  Also I should throw into the mix that she is a master with a whip and is as strong as a body builder…this woman is badass! She is also very cold blooded and does not mind killing those who get in her way as she beats her own servant to death with a metal lamp and then drowns a young man in the pool both for different reasons and with zero remorse. It’s crazy that she meets her end by the hands of the Mayor’s wife who up to that point was never seen and was supposed to have been confined to a wheelchair, but somehow is able to walk again and place two bullets perfectly into the head of Mrs. Pruneface who was across the room…maybe it’s the Mayor’s wife that is the true bad ass as in the matter of minutes she is a master marksman and decides that she will not be handicapped no more. One other odd (and yet so fitting for the time) thing they keep doing in this issue is because Mrs. Pruneface has a burnt and ugly face they keep referring to her as not human because of her looks.  Tracy is not only a great detective but he is also cruel like a school yard bully. Over all this is a great way to start off “The Original Dick Tracy” comic series from Gladstone, and the cover is very eye catching and has Tracy walking down the street with Mrs. Pruneface whip in hand about to strike as the rain pours down. The art inside is done by Chester Gould himself and is what Tracy fans would want. I can’t wait to see if issue two holds up as well as issue one did, and while the writing of this issue might be dated and not super well done, it fits for the time when Dick Tracy was a must read when your Sunday paper was delivered.

Original Tracy 2

The Original Dick Tracy # 2  ***
Released in 1990    Cover Price $1.95    Gladstone Comics    # 2 of 5

Dick Tracy And The Evil Influence” In the cold of night, a car and a dead body are dumped in the pier by Influence and his henchman who have decided to stick around town.  With the power of persuasion, Influence uses his creepy power on Vitamin Flintheart to use his little diner as a hangout, and they also decide that they are going to take over Flintheart’s life as Influence makes him close his diner for good, make a fool of himself for his amusement and even break off every friendship he has ever had.  Influence also makes him remember that he owes them tons of money and that he flaked on paying his gambling debit to them. The old diner Flintheart owned is burnt to the ground, and with his friends chased away, the old man is warped into a person with no will power who is now 100% under the control of Influence who wants to make Flintheart into a money maker, killer and slave for his needs to gain money and power. Dick Tracy and Pat Patton become worried about their friend when they find his place burnt down and him missing, and thanks to some clues and his reputation, they figure out that Influence must be involved not only in this mystery but also the murder of the man pulled out of the pier. Influence has used his control over Flintheart to introduce him to a rich widowed stage actress who is now also under his control and is slowly emptying her bank account and giving it to him, all the while Influence has also taken over her mansion and has big plans to make himself rich. During this crime Influence comes in contact with Pat Patton, and after knocking him out with brass knuckles, he tries to burn the officer alive in the city dump, but thanks to the two way wrist radio Dick Tracy is able to save his friend and find a clue of a ripped piece of newspaper that is stuck to his friend’s jacket that has the address of the actress who is being controlled. Before Tracy and the cops can get to the mansion, Influence kills the actress and sets a trap for Tracy that leaves him in the hospital and the evil doers escaping to a winter resort. They allow Flintheart to go and wipe his mind and dispose of the hat and coat of Tracy they stole that is found by a young woman who returns it to the injured detective. Dick Tracy follows the lead of where his coat and hat were found and stumbles onto the hideout location at the resort and thanks to a pair of contact lenses and a chain he is able to beat Influence down and crack the glass contacts that give him his hypnotic powers.

This second issue is as good as I remember, and this time has Tracy going up against a hood who can use tricks to make people do what he wants, but he makes one mistake when he decides to kill and loot in Tracy’s part of town. Dick Tracy uses the clues he can find and the information on a known criminal to crack the case wide open and to figure out the secret of how one low life man can use the power of mentally controlling people thanks to contacts. Tracy, who is the main hero in this issue, still gets beat up as he is tricked, rolled into carpet and hit in the head with a metal pipe then gets his trademark yellow hat and coat stolen…so while Tracy does end up saving the day, he does take some damage. Pat Patton is also a good cop and is a loyal friend to Tracy, and while on the case he almost dies when he is bashed in the face with brass knuckles and then set on fire! Vitemin Flintheart, the aging actor turned hamburger diner owner, is used and abused in this issue as his old debts are called upon to be paid and he loses his own will, his business and the life of his old stage friend in the process. I never liked Flintheart as a character as I always found him to be a pompous ass so seeing him have to sleep on a brick and ordered around did kind of make me happy. Influence is a man driven by greed as he will do whatever it takes to get money in his hand and that even means murder as he kills three people and attempts the life of at least one other during his crime spree in this issue. I like the fact that he is a con man who uses tricks of contact lenses to bend the minds and will of people he has targeted for his scheme. Just like the first issue, this one has some blood, and it’s shocking that a comic strip used the red stuff to get across the act of violence. The cover is well done and reminds me of an old noir/detective film poster, and once more the art is done by the man Gould himself. Over all this second issue packs the same amount of punch now as it did back in my youth, and I can’t wait to read the third issue and see how well it holds up to this long time comic reader.

Original Tracy 3

The Original Dick Tracy # 3  ***
Released in 1991    Cover Price $2.00    Gladstone Comics    # 3 of 5

Dick Tracy Exterminates The Extortioner” Radio DJ Christmas Early and her date are wrapping up a evening late at night when he is mugged and killed.  Dick Tracy comes upon the crime at first thinking it was Christmas but soon puts it together that someone else has murdered the man without the young woman knowing as someone knocked him down and out and the spinning door Christmas was pushing on would crush the man’s throat and killing him. Gargles is a man who has a love for fine cigars and gargling mouth wash, and he has a get rich quick scheme that has him strong arming and forcing store owners to buy phony mouthwash he makes.  He is the one who killed Christmas’s date as he was a store owner that was going to alert the cops to his game of fraud. Gargles shakes down many store owners and gets more and more money for his bootleg mouthwash, and while in his hideout he even starts to fall for Christmas Early as he likes the sound of her voice.  Gargles also makes a mistake when he drops a cigar band with his initials into a jar of his foul mouthwash that Dick Tracy finds at one of the stores he ripped off. With the help of Christmas Tracy links the cigar band to a fan letter Gargles sent to her and finds the makers of the custom cigars and Gargles’ the address.  Tracy and Pat kill his two helpers as Gargles uses a hidden tiny room in his flowerbox to avoid being captured as he has been tricked into thinking Christmas wants to go on a dinner date with him when really she is setting him up to be captured, but while in his hiding spot he over hears Tracy sharing the date details with fellow officers and Gargles is able to alert some more underlings who are able to trick the cops and remove the flower box away from the apartment and saving Gargles from being captured, and this crook is not happy with his one time radio crush. Gargles finds a room to rent with Themesong and her mom, two friends of Dick Tracy who are unaware of his evil ways as he is unaware of their friendship with his pursuer.  This makes for a time bomb ready to go off at any minute. It all comes to a head when Dick Tracy finds out that Gargles is staying with his friends after he murders Themesong’s Mom and a shop owner and hides in a tool box on a repair truck that is then hit by a car crushing the box and hurting the fugitive bad. Once at the repair shop Gargles is finally able to free himself from the mangled tool box and kills one of the workers but has been tracked by Tracy who uses bullet proof glass to shake Gargles who trips and falls out of a window and is killed by chunks of glass that impale his body. In the end, Christmas is cleared of all charges and starts a friendship up with Themesong who is now an orphan, and Dick Tracy is once more the town’s hero.

Who in the world thought of the idea to have a major plot point of a comic being a character named Gargles who is addicted to using mouthwash extorting money from shop owners by selling them bootleg mouthwash….yes, you read that right bootleg mouthwash….Chester Gould is the man who came up with this amazing plot, and I loved every moment of it. While the idea of bootleg mouthwash is something I am sure many of you readers are chuckling about, it’s clear as day this was really a way to talk about prohibition without pissing off real mobsters as well as government agents who were battling the bootleg alcohol runners and makers. In this issue, Dick Tracy is super smart in some ways and in other makes some really bone headed mistakes. For the good, he figures out really fast that Christmas Early could not have killed her date as he was attacked from behind, but then a little later on he makes the mistake of blurting out a set up in place by Christmas when the scene was not secured poperly alerting the target to the plan. Speaking of Christmas Early she is pretty smart and uses her radio show to help law enforcement in tracking down and stopping Gargles on his path of bootlegging and killing. Gargles is a strange characters who is a germaphobe, has an addiction to using mouthwash multiple times a day and also loves to smoke cigars who gets him money by strong arming shop owners into buying hundreds of gallons of his fake nasty germ infested mouthwash. He also is not afraid to kill if someone tries to rat him and his racket out to the cops, is he as major of a threat as Mrs. Prunface or Influence? Not at all he is more small time but he does have is own henchmen who do as he requests and are loyal enough to die for him. But in the end he dies by being impalied by shards of glass and his crime spree comes to a bloody end. The one character I can’t stand is the young Themesong who is a snarky loudmouth little girl who is rude and is annoying, and I just don’t like her at all. The cover on this issue is pretty cool, and once more the art is done by the legend Chester Gould and is fantastic and is the look we all love for Dick Tracy. This is another great issue that captures the magic of the golden age of classic funnies and brings it to a new generation to enjoy! I can’t wait to relive the next issue, so let’s get to it shall we?

Original Tracy 4

The Original Dick Tracy # 4  **1/2
Released in 1991    Cover Price $2.00    Gladstone Comics    # 4 of 5

Dick Tracy Confronts Itchy Oliver” the goofy B.O. Plenty has became rich by taking Breathless Mahoney’s money and is now the target of Itchy who wants to use Breathless’s mother Elia as bait to lure the millionaire into a room so he and his goons can rob him! Once Elia lures B.O to Itchy’s hideout they torture him and get the location of his money thats hidden in his hotel room, but unknown to Itchy is that Dick Tracy and Pat Patton are waiting to chat with B.O and a shoot out happens that leaves Elia dead, Tracy nicked by a bullet and Itchy escaping with the money! To get ride of B.O Itchy and his goons tie him to a board and let him float away in the sewer as Tracy and the cops rush to Itchy’s hideout that was given to them by Elia’s dying breath. As Tracy, Patton and the Cops close in Itchy kills one of his henchmen and leaves the other behind so that he can steal all the money and while escaping hurts Patton and escapes via a car in a wedding service. But things don’t go well for Itchy when the wedding party figures out he is a mobster and try to hold him at bay until they can call the cops, but this leaves one man dead and Itchy stealing a car and on the run again. But lucky for the cops Junior and Tess where at the scene and were able to call Tracy and are following Itchy in a car so that he can not fully get away. A car chase leaves Itchy wrecking and faking his death only in turn to knock out Junior and kidnap Tess who he forces to steal Tracy’s car! After some quick thinking Tess wrecks the stolen car and traps herself and Itchy in it, but once more Itchy escapes and this time steals a police car but this time Dick Tracy sneaks into the trunk, and this causes Itchy to drive to a house owned by Kitty the widow of B-B Eyes a mobster that Tracy killed 5 years past and the pair of criminals keep Tracy hostage and start a plan to starve him to death! But thanks to some great detective work from Junior, Dick Tracy is able to get free and kill Itchy and arrest Kitty before they can truly do him in.

This issue is good but I must also say that much of it is wasted on car chases and grand theft auto as Itchy steals so many cars and goes on the run that you will think your watching a dated Dukes Of Hazzard episode during a long drawn out chase scene. The plot has Itchy stealing some money from B.O Plenty and going on the run to get away from Dick Tracy who is hot on his trail. Dick Tracy in this issue seems to always be three steps behind Itchy, and for the most part seems to be off his detective game as he is not only always behind on catching Itchy but also is captured and almost killed by the mobster and if not for Junior he would have been dead! Junior steps up his game and tries his best to not only beat up Itchy but also figures out the mobsters hideout and has the guts to go into it and help Tracy escape. This issue leaves B.O Plenty a hill billy with money in the sewer and makes your the reader wonder is he dead? Great seeing Tess Trueheart as she is a great character and is as brave and noble as any officer of the law in this series. Pat Patton is around doing his crime busting thing and even after being injured still does his job and tries to track down and capture Itchy and his goons. Itchy Oliver is all about the money and not only kills innocent people but also kills his own partners in order to keep it all, this mobster is just not greedy but also a cold blooded killer who meets his end at the end of a gun when he just cant let himself get captured. I love the fact that Itchy is called that cause he can not stop scratching and that quirk is what makes him stand out as well as gives him his nickname. Kitty the widow of B-B Eyes is also very mean and is the one who comes up with the fact that they will starve Tracy to death and will only give him water twice a day that sticks to a fork and his meals twice a day is a tiny bit of a turnip, she is cold blooded and in the end will go to jail. While this issue has the biggest name in Tracy’s rouges gallery this far as the main villain, it story and delivery is just kind of weak and not as charming as the issues that came before it. This also really does mark the death of Itchy who is shot in the chest and throat by Tracy, very brutal way to die. The cover on this issue is just ok and while eye catching for Tracy fans would not draw in new readers.  The art inside is fantastic and done once more by the master of Sunday Funnies Chester Gould. While this is not the best in the Gladstone Comic reprint series, it still was a fun and solid read and enjoyable till the very end.

Original Tracy 5

The Original Dick Tracy # 5  ***
Released in 1991    Cover Price $2.00    Gladstone Comics    # 5 of 5

Dick Tracy Rubs Shoulders” while walking down the road Dick Tracy is stopped by a little girl named Themesong who for spare change will sing you your favorite song, this is a set up as a two bit crook named Roach who is also the young girls father steals Dick Tracy’s wallet…or so he thinks as Tracy has been on to them and after roughing up Roach he arrests him and takes Themesong in as well. The crook Shoulders pays for Roach’s bail and beats him with a belt to teach him a lesson as Pat and Tracy follow Themesong home to see what clues they can find out of who is the man in charge of this street pick pocket crimes. Tracy follows Themesong home and tries to speak to her sick mother but it goes no where as Themesong makes it impossible for the two adults to talk. Shoulders is worried about the cops being onto him sho he sends his woman Honey Doll to fake act like she has been robbed to see if she can get any info from the cops on leads and their next move against street crime. Tracy is onto Honey Doll and dont play her game of trying to get information, meanwhile Themesong goes to Shoulders apartment to warn her father and his crooked friends of the cops looking for them and this send Shoulders into a rage that leaves Themesong being knocked out via a lamp thrown in her face and Rouch being shot twice and dying from his wounds. While Shoulders and Honey go on the run Tracy is called to Themesong’s family apartment were the body of Roach now lies. Tracy along with his wrist radio trick Themesong via her radio to tell the police who shot her father dead, but just as she is about to Shoulders knocks out Tracy and shoots Themesong twice in the gut and decides to flee the area leaving behind Honey Doll who is heart broken and in turn tells the cops what plane Shoulders is leaving on! But the crook Shoulders is to smart for theme and decides to go to a small airfield were he steals a plane and during take off crashes it into a gas tank blowing himself up! While at the hospital Themesong is doing better and recovering from her gunshot wounds. While all this craziness is happing B.O. Plenty is getting married to Gravel Gertie and Breathless Mahoney is mad in jail as she was apart of the same crime as B.O who has yet to be sent to trail and sentenced! The anger and bitterness forces Breathless to fall ill and die, while B.O is finally placed in jail only to be set free when the only witness to the crime Breathless passed away making it a happy ending for the new Bride and Groom.

This last issue in this “Original Dick Tracy” comic reprint line has Dick Tracy busting a pickpocket gang and as well attending the marriage of a friend who could be sent to jail on his own wedding day! Tracy is taking no prisoners and wants to make the streets safe for the citizens as he is onto who the key players of this petty street crimes are and even in the process decides to try and change a young girls life around who is involved in this crime ring thanks to her no good father. Tracy is a good cop and a great person as he also shows he cares about his friends as he tries to help B.O Plenty not to go to jail for the rest of his life. Themesong that annoying young girl is showcased lots in this issue as its her origin story and this time around she is a brat who mouths off to the cops screams how she wants a “Mouthpiece” to talk to them and is shot twice and bounces back faster than Superman. I really dislike this character as I find her annoying and just so dang unnecessary to showcase as much as they do. When she is shot I found myself cheering for Shoulders and was hoping that this would have been the characters end, even though I new that it was not. Roach and Honey Doll are two great sidekick characters who put their trust into Shoulders who in the end ends up betraying them both and leaves Roach dead and Honey Doll a woman scorned and left in his dust. Shoulders is a mean spirited man who only clearly cares about money as he kills, beats up a child and smack a woman around in order to get what he wants, his downside is his own ego as he thinks he can fly a plane and does to right into a gas tank blowing himself up and ending his crime spree once and for all…well until later in the comic strip and not shown in this issue when its shown Shoulders lept out of the plane and faked his death. Poor Breathless Mahoney meets her end in jail from sickness and while near death she is very upset on how B.O is being treated and not spending jail time like she is for the same crime, but right before death she forgives him. B.O Plenty and Gravel Gertie are in love and are two white trash lovers who find happiness with each other and while annoying they do make a great pair and it’s cool to see B.O get out of spending any real jail time when the states main witness Breathless passes away. This final issue in this volume of the series is really cool and I enjoyed Tracy’s cat and mouse hunt for Shoulders with the only downside of this issue being is the whole last part is just spent on the marriage of B.O and Gravel and while fun and silly I also felt it killed the pace of the crime story that the beginning built up. The cover is eye catching for Tracy fans and the inside art while slightly sloppy is still Chester Gould gold! Over all a great comic series that brought back great memories of car rides to Grandma’s house and visiting old small town stores and looking back when Dick Tracy claimed the imaginations of the youth. Below is some pics from this series and shows you just how cool and old school this comic strip truly is….I love it!

Original Tracy art 1Original Tracy art 2Original Tracy art 3

It’s a real bummer that Gladstone comics “The Original Dick Tracy” only lasted 5 issues as I would have loved to have read more adventures in this modern comic format featuring other top villains like The Brow and Pruneface, but sadly they canceled the series and later in 1990 the did a second series of The Original Dick Tracy that were bigger sized issues with card stock covers making them a little less charming for this reader. But it was great going back and reading these comic issues as I have not since 1990 when my brother was buying them from the local drug stores and newsstands.  This just reignited my respect and enjoyment for classic Tracy adventures. Our next update will be another topic that meant something to me growing up and will take us off the mean streets ruled by gangsters and into space where we will have to look out for Klingons as we take a look at the original Star Trek series and the Marvel Comics based off it. So I hope you’re ready to leave dry-dock and go on one wild ride with Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise! So until next time, read a comic or three, check out the local papers Sunday Funnies and as always support your local Horror Host, and see you in space next time around.

Original Star Trek Logo 0

Alien Invasion…Independence Day

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

ID4 Aliens in cases

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

Carmel Ohio Alien

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

ID4 Movie 1independence day posterID4 Movie 2

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

ID4 ToyID4 SoundtrackID4 Trading Cards

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

PSX ID4 1Independance Day PSXPSX ID4 2

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

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

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

independence day 0

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

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

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

independence day 1

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

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

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

independence day 2

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

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

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

ID4 Art 1

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

King Kong Bundy Logo

The Undead Files: Resident Evil

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

Sony Playstation System 0

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

Friday_the_13th_cart

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

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

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

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

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

Resident Evil Zombie Turn

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

capcom

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

Resident Evil 1Resident Evil PSXResident Evil 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resident Evil Survivor 1Resident Evil Survivor PSXResident Evil Survivor 2

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

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

Who's Who Of Resident Evil

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

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

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

Resident Evil Movie DVDResident_evil_retribution_posterResident Evil animated movie

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

Resident Evil Toys

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

Resident Evil Jill CosplayNemesis CosplayResident Evil Ada Wong Cosplay

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

Resident Evil Promo Comic 1

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

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

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

Resident Evil Art 1

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

KFC Logo

The Spooky, Kooky Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Boo! I’s sure that I scared no one with that, but welcome to this very spooky Pre-Halloween update here on Rotten Ink that’s sure to chill the bones of at least a few of you readers as we take a look at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in all media including the book, movies, video games and of course, comics! This update we will look at all types of things from a creepy voice mail to a horror movie marathon Juliet and I had, as well as take a look at another independent horror comic and of course the history of Mr. Hyde! So open the windows and let that chill fill the room because it’s going to be a creepy and spooky good time with Mr. Hyde and all his bizarre friends! In the world of classic monsters, most people think of Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Wolf Man and even The Mummy but many seem to always forget about Mr. Hyde, a character who is so twisted and brutal that he enjoys turning people’s stomachs as well as murder.  So this update is for fans of the mostly over looked classic horror character.

All Hallows Eve Hyde Mood

In 2009 a voicemail message was uploaded to Youtube by a member named Hellsinger85 that had a man warning him not to answer they door if he came to it because it wouldn’t really be him.  As the message goes, the man lets out a yell and seems to turn into something sinister complete with evil laugh and his last words are a name, Kaylee. Hellsinger, the uploader, seemed puzzled and a little scared of the message as he did not know who the strange man was on the other line and wanted help to see if it was a prank or really some sort of psycho with a Mr. Hyde side. He claimed that a CD arrived in the mail and that the message was what was on it taken from someone’s answering machine.  It’s complete with a message left by AT&T. Now for some time this message was up for debate on whether it was real or a stunt cooked up by Hellsinger85, who was working on a movie about the strange things going on in and around his town of Amory, Mississippi that included zombies and sewer people.  His work on this film has many people thinking it’s a hoax and all part of the plan for his film and website. So if you’re not too scared make sure to look it up on Youtube under the title “Creepy Voice Mail” and give it a listen and see what you think…is it real or fiction? Is there a Mr. Hyde running loose in Mississippi? Only those who have come face to face with him when he came to the their door knows for sure. So during this Halloween season if you get a knock on the door, think twice before opening it.  Who knows, it could be Hyde.

Creepy Voice Mail

So before we get to far into this strange case of a doctor with a split personality, I would like to take this time to look at an independent horror comic book that I got from a cool little website called Indy Planet that only deals in small independent comics that you can buy digitally or print on demand.  Since I am an old school comic reader, I buy the physical copy because digital just doesn’t have the soul of a paper comic in my hands sitting in my favorite spot. But any way let’s see what this spooky comic made by Zak Greene Comics has to offer on this creepy update!

Tomb Of Madness 1

Tomb Of Madness # 1  **
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   Zak Greene Comics   # 1 of 1

The first spin tingling tale of terror is called “ The Creeping Vine” and has a man in the middle of the jungle with a broken GPS and a cellphone battery that’s about dead.  He finds a flower he has never seen before and when asleep at night, the vine of the flower infects his foot and body with a rash that causes open wounds! The man must stop the infection the only way he knows how and that’s with a very sharp machete! The second story is a slasher called “Night of The Massacre” and has a masked killer butchering a dorm of college girls but get the surprise of his life when they return as zombies!

This horror comic is entertaining in its own right, but I should also point out that it’s by no means original as many elements of the plots of the two short stories are lifted from horror films like The Ruins, Maniac and Slaughter High. The first story, The Creeping Vine, is a nice way to start the comic as it’s a very simple plot with some very gruesome moments as the flesh is peeled away around the wounds as well as the fact the man chops off his own body parts with a machete.  The reader never finds out  who the man is, and I like it that way. The second story had some major potential and is the better of the two stories as it follows a masked killer who is killing off some coeds but gets the tables reversed on him as the girls begin to rise again in death…are they zombies or demons…I couldn’t tell you. In my mind I would like to think that this segment took place right when the zombie outbreak is happing in the film Return of The Living Dead or if they are demons, then some one read the book of the dead like in Evil Dead. The killer is a mix between Michael Myers of Halloween and ChromeSkull from Laid To Rest, and once more we have zero background of who he is nor do we even get a name to attach to him. And the lack of backstory on this story is what hurts it from becoming a solid horror story. The art is good and is done by Zak Greene and has a very independent comic look to it. As far as I know a follow up issue was never made, and the Tomb of Madness only stayed open for one issue, so who knows what other terrors awaited us if Greene would have made an issue two. Over all fans of cheesy independent horror comics might get a kick out of this one as I know I did. Also just look at the killer’s mask…it reeks of cheap and cheesy slasher films and reminds me of the Conscious Killer from the film Frightmare released in 2000.

Tomb of Madness Comic Killer Art

Man, I love a good Horror Movie Marathon, and Juliet and I decided to have another on August 11th 2015 to relax and watch the horrors that our DVD player had to offer. I really enjoy having these events with Juliet as well as a house full of friends who all have fun dissecting the films after they have completed. We skipped doing the pre-show as I was worn out from work and went to bed early so that I could be fully charged for the day of horror watching that started at 7am! As always we loaded up with all types of yummy snack foods like potato chips, M&M’s, hummus and trail mix and ate breakfast casserole for brunch. We spiced up dinner this time around as normally we always fix a bunch of chicken wings but instead we went for a roast cooked slowly in a crockpot and it was fantastic! The first movie to kick off the marathon was “Night Of Terror” starring Bela Lugosi about a scientist who invented a serum that can bring someone back to life after 8 hours without oxygen.  But during his test run a killer is one the loose around his mansion and twists and turns take hold. The next film called “Curse Of The Witching Tree” has a mother moving her two children into a farmhouse that some terrible crimes took place in, and now the spirit of the witch hung in a near by tree wants revenge for her death. “Tales Of Dracula” is a black & white film that’s in the spirit of the classic Universal Monsters movies that has Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and a Werewolf all arriving in a small village around the same time and each have their own reasons.  It’s a fun film but a terrible ending that is tacked on for a sequel. The next film has a slasher that will appear in the We Kill The Dead comic book and was called “Billy Club” about a baseball team getting back together to honor some of their teammates that had been murdered way back when by a fellow team member.  Now someone dressed as an umpire is killing off the rest of the team. “IT Follows” was next an amazing film that was great when I saw it in theaters and was just as great on watching it on DVD.  The film follows a young woman who is being stalked by an unknown force. The sixth film was “Jinn,” a flick that pits a man against an evil Jinn who has cursed his family for centuries. A found footage style film called “The Den” was next and was about a woman who is on a chat site that’s targeted by a killer who ruins her life along his hunt. Next was another found footage flick called “The Pigman Murders” and follows a group on a hiking trip being killed by some hill people who wear pig masks. “Jessabelle” is about a woman who is injured in a car wreck and must return to her Dad’s home and finds some freaky tapes that her mother made before she passed away, and worse some evil spirits are on the loose, and the story has twists and turns. The reboot to “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” was next and followed a young woman in 2013 who was attacked by the Phantom Killer and her race to figure out who or what the killer is. Low budget slasher flick “Blood Slaughter Massacre” was next about a clown masked killer on the loose and a cops quest to stop him. The last film and another slasher that will appear in the We Kill The Dead comic called “Jonah Lives” is about some youngsters playing with a oujia board and bring back a zombie who has blood lust on his brain! The event was a blast and Juliet and I had a lot of fun watching all these different types of horror flicks and as always we had a blast picking our worst film and our top three best! We both agreed for the worst film as The Pigman Murders was a boring bland film with no real horror elements to it.  In fact, by the time the killers start their murder party, I found myself not caring about the people they were killing off. Juliet felt the same way and this was the only film of the day I couldn’t wait for it to end. My top three best of the night are # 1. IT Follows as I love the atmosphere, characters and creature of the film.  I don’t wanna say too much about this film as I think it’s well worth the watch for those have not seen it. # 2. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a movie I waited for a long time to come to DVD and it lived up to what I wanted.  While by no means a must see film, I love the small town feel as well as seeing The Phantom Killer once more on a rampage was a fun time. And my last # 3. was The Den, a cool film that mostly takes place as if you’re watching it from the lead character’s laptop.  It’s filled with suspense, horror, good looking women and even some funny moments, good stuff and if you like found footage films check it out! Billy Club and Jessabelle almost made it to the list as I found them both really cool as well. Juliet’s top three are as follows #1. IT Follows, # 2. The Den and # 3. Jessabelle, all good choices for sure! Horror Movie Marathons are a fun time, and I suggest that if you and your friends like horror get together and have one.  It’s a fun way to share your love for horror and be around good friends all day long.

Night Terror dvdCurse Of The Witching Tree DVDTales Of Dracula DVDBilly Club dvdIT Follows DVDJinn dvdThe Den dvdThe Pigman Murders dvdJessabelle dvdThe Town That Dreaded Sundown 2014 dvdBlood Slaughter Massacre DVDJonah Lives DVD

So I think its time to take a quick look at the man whose mind created Mr. Hyde as well as the first time I fully read the book! Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13th 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland and from a young age was a very sickly person as his body was sensitive to cold weather giving him coughs and colds very easy.  This caused the family to move several times and affected his schooling and ability to make friendships. His father’s family’s trade was in lighthouse design, while his mother’s side has his grandfather being a preacher. Much of his education came from tutors as he was sick more often than not and could not attend school, but as he got older and well in health he attended many schools and universities and formed friendships that helped shape him into a worldly person. Over the years Robert became a traveling man and visited France, United States and all over the South Seas, all the while writing and becoming very good at it! In 1880 Robert married Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne who was a divorcee with two children at the time of their wedding from her first husband who was a solider in the Civil War.  He fell madly in love with her the first time he met her and risked his own health to travel to be with her as he fell ill many times on his journey. When better and now a married man Robert did some more traveling and took his journeys as inspirations for his writing.  That’s one of the coolest things about him, he used life experiences and things he had seen as the foundations for many of his wonderful stories. Sadly in 1894, his life would come to an end when trying to open a bottle of wine for he and his wife he collapsed after asking her if his face looked strange.  He died a few hours later to what’s believed to have been a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 44. The man lived a life full of adventures and illness and wrote some of the world’s most classic stories like Treasure Island in 1883, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886 and The Master of Ballantrae in 1889, to name a few.  Not to mention, he co-wrote in his later years with his stepson Lloyd as well as authored tons of short stories used in magazines and such. This tiny write up doesn’t do the man justice so I encourage you to go out and read more about this interesting and talented man who’s mind brought us all Mr. Hyde.

Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was a young kid, I used to love to get paperback novels and read them, and The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was one of them that I owned but for some reason I never got around to reading the whole book until about three years ago when I picked up another copy of it on paperback from Half Price Books and spent a cold winter day relaxing on the couch with the novel in my hand and under covers, and I was blown away by it! The atmosphere of the writing and setting really draws out a dark and grim picture, and I am sure scared people of 1886 silly as he wrote about Hyde’s twisted deeds. The original novel I had was from Wal-Mart when they had a ton of classic literature paperbacks two for a dollar.  I loaded up and read many of them like The House of Seven Gables and The Invisible Man, but for some reason I never got around to reading The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and if memory serves me right, I am sure I didn’t cause I was starting to work on a comic series based on Bat-Bat from Mighty Mouse and was getting into also writing my own horror short stories. But if you have not gotten around to reading this classic novel, please take the time sometime this winter and give it a read, I know I was glad I did!

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 1The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 2The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 3

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde over the years has been transformed from the pages of the novel to the silver screen in many film adaptations with some good, others bad, and some just plan odd like Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde and Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde. But whichever are your favorites below I am going to give you a quick rundown of five of the most popular classic ones that chilled the bones of movie goers from the 1910’s all the way to the 1940’s and one from the 50’s that tickled funny bones. The write ups are taken from IMDB, a good site to learn all those who were involved in your favorite horror films as well as all other type of films. So enjoy this quick look at Mr. Hyde in cinema!

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1913 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1913 2Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1913 3

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1913)

“Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.” On imdb it has 5.4 out of 10 stars.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – King Baggot

Utterson – William Sorelle

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1920)

“Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story: Doctor Henry Jekyll’s enthusiasm for science and his selfless acts of service have made him a much-admired man. But as he visits Sir George Carew one evening, his host criticizes him for his reluctance to experience the more sensual side of life. Sir George goads Jekyll into visiting a music hall, where he watches the alluring dancer Gina. Jekyll becomes fascinated with the two contrasting sides of human nature, and he becomes obsessed with the idea of separating them. After extensive work in his laboratory, he devises a formula that does indeed allow him to alternate between two completely different personalities, his own and that of a brutish, lascivious person whom he names Hyde. It is not long before the personality of Hyde begins to dominate Jekyll’s affairs.” It’s imdb star ratting is 7 out of 10!

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – John Barrymore

Utterson – No One The Character Does Not Appear

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 1 Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1931)

“Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Henry Jekyll believes that there are two distinct sides to men – a good and an evil side. He believes that by separating the two man can become liberated. He succeeds in his experiments with chemicals to accomplish this and transforms into Hyde to commit horrendous crimes. When he discontinues use of the drug it is already too late.” This is my favorite film version of the story and has a 7.7 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Fredric March

Utterson – Arnold Lacy

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1941)

“Dr. Jekyll believes good and evil exist in everyone. Experiments reveal his evil side, named Hyde. Experience teaches him how evil Hyde can be: he kills Ivy who earlier expressed interest in Jekyll and Sir Charles, Jekyll’s fiancée’s father.” This version has a 6.9 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Spencer Tracy

Utterson – Cut from the film again

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 1Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 posterCostello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 2

Abbott/Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1953)

“Slim and Tubby are American cops in London to study police tactics. They wind up in jail and are bailed out by Dr. Jekyll. Jekyll has been murdering fellow doctors who laugh at his experiments. He has more murders in mind. At one point the serum that turns Jekyll into the murderous Hyde gets injected into Tubby.” This fun and silly comedy has a 6.7 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Boris Karloff

So as you can see, Jekyll and Hyde have been on the silver screen quite a bit, and these are only a drop in the hat of the films based on the characters as I left our such ones as “Mary Reilly”, “Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde” and “Dr. Black And Mr. Hyde” to name a very few more. But they were not just in movies. I should also note that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has also been turned into TV mini series and made for TV Movies as well as turned into a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. So let’s spend some time taking a look at the video game that haunted many players’ dreams. In 1988 Bandi and Toho teamed up to release a side scrolling action horror game that followed Henry Jekyll trying to get to the church in time for his wedding but for some reason the towns people are not having it and attack the good Doctor as he walks through the town. As Jekyll, you have no weapons to defend yourself so you must try and dodge and jump your way to safety, but if you take to much damage you go into a nightmare world and become Mr. Hyde who can punch and use his Psycho-Wave powers to fight off strange creatures. As Hyde you play the stage backwards and if you don’t calm down by the time you reach where Jekyll transformed, you will be stuck by lightning and die ending the game and causing you to start over. The game is very challenging and as Jekyll it’s almost impossible to dodge every bomb placed for you and every crazed animal out for your blood. As Hyde it feels like a normal side scrolling game were you as the player are trying to get from point A to point B. I can say that I have beat this game some time back and found it to be one of the hardest NES games I have every played. The game is pretty much hated by most gamers and has been the butt of many jokes on the net. I will say while it is a pretty bad game it is not as bad as people say it is and I for one have played a lot worse.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES 1Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES BoxDr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES 2

The Angry Video Game Nerd hates the NES Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  He considers it the worst game in history and has made two videos about just how terrible it is! The first one is just him sitting in a chair cutting to gameplay as he rips the game apart. The second one is fantastic and has him playing the game more in-depth all the while he is drinking hard liquor and getting more and more worked up over the game. Finally he gets so drunk that he blames Robert Louis Stevenson for ruining his life and turns into Mr. Hyde and goes to the graveyard and digs up the body of Stevenson who is now an evil skeleton who overpowers the Hyde Nerd. When Nerd wakes up he finds that the game he has hated for all these years is in fact a deep game that teaches players about Good and Evil and after playing a few more seconds he remembers that nope the game just sucks. If you’re a classic game fan and enjoy good old comedy, check out his video for this game.

AVGN Hyde 1AVGN Hyde 2AVGN Hyde 3

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have had such an impact on society that many other products have been made with their image from posters, t-shirts, toys, model kits, comics, Halloween masks, magazine covers, video games and so much more! There is something to be said about a horror character who was created in 1886 who has had so many items based in its image even in 2015! Some of my favorite Mr. Hyde items have to be the NES game because while its cheesy and frustrating it still has childhood memories for me, the Marx model kit and the Silent Screamers action figure. One that I wished I had was the Don Post Halloween Mask as if I would have had it in my teen years I would have surely made a film that pitted The Werewolf of Ohio against Mr. Hyde, and if I had it now as an adult you would surly see it on an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre! So from comics to toys, if you are a fan of the sinister Mr. Hyde there is merchandise out in the world to make the collector side of you very happy.

Hyde on Famous Monsters MagazineMr. Hyde Halloween Mask 0Reel Monster Hyde Figure

My favorite comic company has to be Marvel Comics and even to this day I find myself buying golden, silver and bronze age issues from local comic stores and beyond. And while we are on the topic of Mr. Hyde, I feel the need to talk about the character that has had many appearances in Marvel issues! While he has been featured in Marvel Classic Comics and Supernatural Thrillers, the one we are going to look at is Calvin Zabo who after drinking a serum turns into the super strong criminal Mister Hyde. Mister Hyde was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck in 1963 with his first appearance being in Journey Into Mystery # 99 where he fought Thor who would go onto be the thorn in his thieving side alongside other superheroes like Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America and Ghost Rider. The character’s appearance in the Marvel Universe is a twisted and brutish face, muscle bulk with messy hair, and most of the time wears a green coat. He is super strong and has a very bad attitude as greed and power is what drives him to commit the crimes he does. I don’t want to spend to much time on Marvel’s Mister Hyde, but I must say I did really enjoy the storyline that had him on the hunt for his one time partner in crime The Cobra who he blames for them getting busted and ratting him out.  He is so filled with rage you know that he would crush his skull like a melon if you could get to him, but thanks to Spider-Man, no Cobra head smashing happened. Below is a picture of Marvel’s Hyde, not as scary as he’s described in the novel but still a great character in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel Mister Hyde

So are you scared yet…are you thinking about that odd voice mail or text you have gotten this past week? Are you thinking about the horror film you just watched or the survival horror game you just played? Or maybe deep inside you fear Mr. Hyde because you realize that we all have a monster side just itching to get out and do whatever your primitive urge is…or maybe you’re just scared because we are getting so close to Halloween! So to keep up the cold chills running up and down your spine it’s time we look at Classic Illustrated look at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a classic comic adaptation of the novel. I need to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this issue in stock and need to remind all you ghouls that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get your lab coat on as we are about to help Jekyll defeat his evil Hyde side, or at least witness this strange case unfold on comic pages that are given off a true rotten ink smell.

Classics Illustrated 13

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde #13   ***1/2
Released in 1968   Cover Price .25   Classics Illustrated   #13 of 169

Dr. Henry Jekyll is acting odd and calls his close friend Mr. Utterson to his estate and draws up a will that leaves everything to a man named Edward Hyde, and when Utterson tries to ask questions, he is asked to leave. The next day Utterson goes on a walk with his friend Richard Enfield who tells him a story of a man who ran into a young girl on this very street and stomped on her! He chased the man down and made him pay the parents of the young girl for her pain, and this creep’s name was Edward Hyde! Utterson now wants to know more about Hyde and wonders what he has on Jekyll that makes him leave all his wealth to this strange looking man. Hyde and Utterson meet, and the meeting does not go well, nor does the one with Jekyll after to tell him of the foul things Hyde is doing in town. Later that night it’s shown that Jekyll, after taking a serum, turns into Hyde who goes out on the town and this goes on for awhile until one night Mr. Hyde stomps and beats a man to death as Jekyll’s maid witnesses the attack.  Now the police and Utterson are on the hunt to bring the murderer to justice. Utterson goes to Jekyll and finds that his old friend looks sick and makes a promise that Hyde will never be seen again, and gives his old friend a letter written by Hyde but is found out to be written by Jekyll! Time passes and Hyde is not seen, and Jekyll seems to be doing better health wise that is till he once more drinks the serum and turns into Hyde and robs and causes mayhem. Worse now Jekyll is turning into Hyde without the serum and sadly his secret is known by a fellow Doctor friend who watches him turn from Hyde to Jekyll with his medical help the think they might have found a cure.  This sadly is not the case and in the end Hyde/Jekyll take a lethal dose of what could be a cure and dies.

This is a great comic adaptation of a classic horror novel that keeps all the classic chills and thrills of the source material. The story is pretty close to that of the novel and has a well liked Doctor falling victim to having a split personality due to an experiment that went wrong. As Doctor Jekyll, he helps the people of London and spends time with his friends and servants, making him a model citizen. And as you the reader as well as other characters notice a change in his health and even attitude of Jekyll it makes you worry about him showing that he is a well-developed character. Mr. Utterson is like a poor man’s Sherlock Holmes who is loyal to his friend and won’t give up until he solves the mystery of who Hyde is as well as what hold he has on his dear friend. Mr. Hyde is a nasty man who is odd looking and has a face that reminds you of a mix of a primate and a drug addict who has been strung out for 3 days on a bender.  Plus it’s said he has a face that makes people hate him and look away with disgust. He is short in stature and always walks with a cane, hat and long coat. Hyde is a thief and a murderer and even gets joy on stomping on a young girl who by accident runs into him on the street.  In fact that seems to be Hyde’s thing as he also stomps a man to death in the road, makes me wonder why he stomps so much and let alone that a pretty brutal way to kill someone. I think that is what makes Hyde such a scary character, the fact he don’t care about his fellow man and he is so filled with barbaric rage that he is willing to crush them with his feet. The two sides of Jekyll also reminds me of friends who have battle drug and alcohol addiction and how when they did their said poison they became a totally different person, not quite like Hyde but one could see a change in who they were. While some of the plot is changed, and the story felt a little sped up in spots Classic Illustrated did a fantastic job on making a comic that I didn’t want to put down and enjoyed reading for his Halloween update. The cover of this 1968 reprint edition is cool and has an oil painting look to it, while the interiors is stuff classic horror comics are made of as the colors are not too bright and in many panels lots of black is used on and around Hyde. I could not find the name of the artist who did this comic, but from what others say, it’s a man named Arnold L. Nicks.  If he is in fact the artist I have to say I really like his take and look of Mr. Hyde. The comic had a great rotten ink smell to it and best of all the night I read this comic the wind was howling and the air was super chilled helping add to the comic’s atmosphere. The one downside that I must point out is that in the book it’s a nice slow burn into finding out Jekyll is Hyde, and the ending when the servants and Utterson along with the police are at the door and they find the body loses lots of impact in the comic as its rushed into a small amount of panels. But even with those flaws I would say that this is one heck of a fun read and classic horror literature fans should check it out. Below are some of the artwork from this comic so you can see the cold stare in Hyde’s eyes and the look of a madman who wants to stomp your guts out!

Screen-shot-2012-03-19-at-7.34.03-AMClassicsIllustratedStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde56525-ClassicsIll-JekyllHyde_13-04

So I hoped this update didn’t scare you too much on this cold October night but I also hope it opened your eyes to be on the look out for Mr. Hyde, a nasty guy who wants to stomp the life out of you! I can’t stress that if you have not read the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde you should and after that you should give this comic a read. After reading this comic and doing this write up this October night, I figured out that we have covered The Fly, unknown serial killer The Axeman of New Orleans, a ghost knight named Alaric de Marnac, Horror Host Dr. Creep and the mean Mr. Hyde but what’s next on the major Halloween update is a mystery to me as I am not sure what my friend and great artist Eric Shonborn has in store for us! So until then make sure to visit a local haunted place, watch a horror film or two, support your local Horror Host and have a creepy and fun time!

Whats Next logo

The Baseball Hustle Of Pete Rose

Welcome back to the Rotten Ink Ballpark, a place we will be showcasing a comic book that is based on the legend of Cincinnati’s Mr. Charlie Hustle himself, Pete Rose of Reds’ fame! Baseball is considered America’s favorite past time, and while it’s still a popular sport, it has slipped quite a bit and has never bounced back after the strike that happened in 1994-1995 when players demanded higher pay and the player pay cap, making many fans upset over the greed and the lack of games because of this strike. My dad has been a baseball fan for a long time and enjoyed listening to the games on the radio, watching them on TV, playing the sport at school and with friends as well as collecting the trading cards (that his parents would later throw in the trash – including cards that became worth lots of money).  As he got older got married to my Mom and they had my brother and me, he ended up even taking us to Red games as well as minor league teams like The Columbus Clippers and watched games on TV and even collected Topps cards alongside us. But sadly while it was a fun time bonding with my Dad, I just could not get into baseball and found the game kind of boring and things like comics, horror films and video games more interesting. One thing I will say is that while my Dad is a jock, he never has judged me for not liking sports like he does and even bought me Captain America comics and VHS as well, even horror films like Hellraiser III, when I was a youth. As I’ve gotten older, my Dad and I watch MMA, boxing and NFL Super Bowl together and have a great time. But back to baseball – when I was a kid, my favorite players were Eric Davis and Barry Larkin, and I can remember trading baseball cards with my neighbor Kelly who was a very cool and sweet person, and going to Bills Baseball Den in Waynesville and Bookie Parlor in Kettering to get cards and packs. It’s odd to think that while I barely watched the game, I still spent time and effort collecting cards for sport stars that I knew very little about, but I think that was part of the MLB magic, that it was able to make a strange monster kid like myself want to buy trading cards.  Plus I think it came down to trying to fit in with friends and having a good time opening packs with my dad, mom and brother at the kitchen table. This update is for my Dad and friends like Josh Weinberg, Nick Wiget and all the others who love this classic sport and respect all that Pete Rose has done for it. This update will be about Pete Rose, baseball and my ties to this game.  So get your ball glove ready and your cap on because we are here till the bottom of the 9th and we are ready to hit a Rotten Ink home-run!

Pete Rose Card 1Pete Rose Card 2Pete Rose Card 3

To talk about Pete Rose we must first talk about The Cincinnati Reds, and I am going to do my best to get the facts right and give that ball team the respect it deserves in a quick yet fun manner, so here’s a crash course on the history of the Reds! In 1869 a baseball team called the Cincinnati Red Stockings was the team that would morph into the Reds and did so in 1881 and became a American Association team in 1882.  In 1890, they joined the National League and became a true pro baseball team. The team has won five World Series in the years 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976 and 1990 and have played in many home town ballparks like Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium and Great America Ball Park they currently call home. In 1970-1976 under the manager George “Sparky” Anderson, the team went under the nickname The Big Red Machine and had lots of big name ballplayers on the team the included Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver and Lee May to name a few.  The team won two World Series and it became one of the biggest most popular times for the team in it’s rich history. Another big time for the Reds was in 1990 when they went wire to wire and won the World Series with players like Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Paul O’Neill and the pitching team nicknamed “The Nasty Boys” who were Rob Dibble, Norman Charlton and Randy Myers.  This team was managed by Lou Piniella. The Reds are still going strong in 2015, and while they have made it to the play-offs many times over the past few years, they have not been able to make it to the World Series, but if you ask guys like Josh Weinberg they will tell you that this year is the year they will take it all and if not, the next year or maybe the next year…yeah, you get the point.  Fans of the Reds are very loyal and have tons of respect for their team even if they do lose. So while this team has such a rich and amazing history, this tiny write up is just some of the highlights.  If you want to learn more about The Reds, check out the team’s Wikipedia or read a book based on the ball club. I should also note that the team’s mascot is Mr. Redlegs who is a baseball headed ball player.  For most of his time on the team Mr. Redlegs rocked a mustache, but when I was younger he had none and was a pretty popular mascot at school in Waynesville. Over all while I might not be a big watcher of sports, I can still respect and cheer for our home state teams and hope that sometime very soon The Reds once more become champs!

Mr Redlegs 1Reds LogoMr Redlegs 2

I am by no means an athlete.  When I was younger, I was okay at playing football and basketball, but I could have been the worst of the worst when it came to neighborhood baseball and could have had the worst batting average among my friends! One summer my dad bought us a wiffleball bat and ball.  We would play in the backyard, and it would almost always be me and my brother against our parents in a battle of home-runs hit over the roof of the house; we lost almost all the games. In the neighborhood, we would play baseball at Brad Burns’ or Mike Cessna’s house, and I can remember that being a lot of fun as all the kids from around would come and play, and even Mike’s dog Barney would join in on the fun! At my grandparents’ house I would play ball with my brother Bryan and cousins Nathan, Stephen and Tony.  While some times this was pitching, most of the time it was T-Ball. In school, we played baseball in gym, and I can remember one time we where playing outside and I so wanted to impress the girl I had a crush on my whole tenure in Waynesville and was hit in the head with softball from a pitch thrown by Ryan “The Bull” Jones.  The impact made me blackout for a second and I fell to one knee, but I was lucky and was able to shake it off! I should have probably gone to the nurse after it, and for months after I had massive headaches that would come and go, but that didn’t bother me as much as the fact I looked foolish in front of her! So as you can see my baseball “career” was very lame and filled with defeat and heartbreak!

Wiffle Bat and Ball

So at this time I think I am going to ask one of my best friends and one of the biggest Reds fans I know, Josh Weinberg, 5 questions about his love and respect for the Reds. I have known Josh for so many years now and from the first day I met him, he has always worn Cincinnati Reds and Bengals shirts, hats and jerseys as well as Ohio State gear so when writing about Pete Rose I knew I had to have my pal involved. I mean he is the guy who bought VHS tapes from a Goodwill Outlet that had the Reds winning the 1990 World Series.  So here we go, 5 Questions with Josh Weinberg!

Josh Weinberg Reds Fan

Me:  Welcome back, Josh, to Rotten Ink.  You are a legend among my friends I write about here on my slice of the web.  So how long have you been a Cincinnati Reds fan?

Josh: I have been a Reds fan since 1990, the year that they swept the Oakland A’s in the World Series. Ever since then I was hooked. I remember being at my dad’s shop listening to the games.

Me: Always cool to hear how sports brought families together.  Who are your 4 top favorite players for the Reds of all time?

Josh: My top 4 Reds players of all time are simple number 1.) Barry Larkin 2.) Chris Sabo 3.) Jose Rio and (4 Sean Casey.

Me: Barry Larkin and Eric Davis would be two of my favorites too.  Did you every play baseball for school or Little League? If not, have you ever thought about it?

Josh: I played little league growing up as well as umpiring for kids’ leagues. I had to stop because I could not keep up my grades.  Such is life.

Me: Those pesky grades and school standing in your way of being a baseball legend! So how many Reds games have you been to in your lifetime thus far?

Josh: I have probably been to between 20 and 30 games in my lifetime. With many more to come.  My ultimate is going to opening day.

Me: That’s way more games then I have been to.  If I am lucky, I think I have been to 4 or 5.  Last question for you Josh, should Pete Rose be in the Baseball Hall Of Fame, and why or why not?

Josh: Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame for one single reason: the hall is about what you did on the field not what you did off the field. He is the hit king, Charley Hustle, and deserves to be in the hall. There are plenty of things other players have done back in the day and are in now. If he had not lied about it, he would be in.

Me: I agree Pete should be in for all he has done for the sport! Thanks Josh! Do you have any closing words for the Rotten Ink readers and fans of the Reds?

Josh: Last thing I have to say is Go Reds! One of these days they will win it all again…hopefully before I die!

While I don’t think they will do much this 2015 season, sometime soon I am sure the Reds will rise to be champs again!

Reds Bumper Sticker

Pete Rose has also been involved in another sport, Pro Wrestling, where he had a feud with the Big Red Machine Kane that spanned a few WWE WrestleMania’s as well as earned Rose a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame! Pete Rose at WrestleMania XIV was the guest ring announcer for a match between The Undertaker and Kane and for some reason became the target of Kane who gave the ball player a tombstone pile driver before the match even started. The following year at WrestleMania XV, Pete Rose wanted revenge on Kane and dressed as the San Diego Chicken to attack the wrestler from behind.  This did not work as once more Rose was knocked out with a tombstone pile driver, and Kane went on to wrestle his match against Triple H. At WrestleMania 2000, Pete Rose once more tried to get the upper hand on Kane and after his tag match against DX, Rose tried to hit Kane with a baseball bat but was choked slammed! After this, Rose did a commercial for WWE No Mercy PPV and was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame by Kane in 2004. Pete Rose in 2010 was a guest host of Monday Night Raw and set a match between Kane and Shawn Michaels, after Kane lost he once more attacked the aging ball player. After this appearance, Rose has been mentioned on air as well as did an interview for WWE.COM on Kane’s attacks on him. While Pete Rose never wrestled a match for WWE, during his appearance he made some great moments in wrestling and it was nice to see a baseball player of his caliber not take himself too seriously.

WWE Kane and Pete Rose

So from the ball field to the wrestling ring, Pete Rose has proven time and time again that the man is a legend and is a very interesting person who has worked for his fame the hard way by given 110% every time. He has also proven that he is a marketing machine as his image has graced the likes of RC Cola cans, collector drinking glasses even one from Gold Star Chili, action figures from the Starting Line-Up a series made by Kenner & Hasbro, comic books, trading cards, collector coins, video game for Atari 2600/7800, TV Commercials, t-shirts among many other products and goods! The ones I remember the most are the video game for Atari 2600 that was a solid cheesy baseball game and the Starting Line Up figures that looked nothing like him and had very little articulation. But if you were a Rose fan, the world is filled with enough collector items to keep you very happy!

Pete Rose Drinking GlassPete Rose Starting LineupRC Cola Pete Rose

As I have stated before, I am a Monster Guy who loves comic books and this year (2015) I have gone through a stage where I am reading lots of 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s Spider-Man comics.  I am talking Amazing, Spectacular and Web Of and have gotten issues all over from Mavericks all the way to Lone Star Comics and many of the issues are coming bag and boarded to protect and keep the issue safe. Well one of the WORST places that bag and board their issues has to be Half Price Books as they clearly use the cheapest bags and boards and some of the worst tape in comic collecting history! When trying to open your comic the tape sticks to the plastic bag and rips holes in the bag and can even bend your comic as you try to get it open.  This has caused many annoying late night readings of Spidey and lots of curses toward these cheap bags. Also when writing this update, I was listening to Billy Idol’s 2014 release “Kings & Queens Of The Underground.”  It’s a pretty solid album.  While it’s by no means a classic, I still am glad that Billy is making music as he has been one of my favorite music artists sense I was a kid alongside Alice Cooper, Motley Cure, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella. In fact one of the best birthday presents in my adult life that I ever got was from Juliet as she got us close seats to Billy Idol at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering in 2010! The best tracks off this CD are the title track Kings & Queens Of The Underground and Eyes Wide Shut. The odd part about this disc is that almost all of the songs are ballads and not the fist pumping tracks one would expect from Billy Idol. So a special thanks goes to Marvel Comics for Spider-Man and Billy Idol for helping me while writing this update. I should also thank The Angry Video Game Nerd as I had episodes playing on the TV while I wrote and Billy Idol’s CD was done.  So I think it would be safe to say that Idol and AVGN acted as the soundtrack to this update and Spider-Man entertained my mind before I went to bed almost every night.

Billy Idol cd and Spiderman Comics

It’s Masstar Comics turn at bat, and I can’t wait to see what this bio Comic is like. I am wondering what direction they will take with his suspension from the sport and what kind of stories off the field they will share. I have never heard of Masstar Comics, and this will be my first read for one of their comics so this should be interesting. I want to thank a vendor at Peddlers’ Mall for having this comic at their booth as well as thank Jason Young for taking me there to look around. Oddly during our time at the Peddlers’ Mall, Jason and I found lots of Pete Rose merchandise and after that Mavericks even ended up putting out boxes of Rose’s ball cards, making me think that it was my calling to do this update. I should also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s see if Masstar can slide into homebase as they team up with Pete Rose and Rotten Ink to bring you this fun read at the ballpark, oh and um can I get some peanuts and a hotdog…and maybe one of those foam oversized hats?

Pete Rose 1

Pete Rose  # 1   **1/2
Released in 1992     Cover Price $2.50     Masstar Comic     # 1 of 1

Pete Rose or Pee Wee as his father called him was a young man who grew up in Ohio and was a fan of sports with baseball being his passion with football coming in second. His mother and father encouraged him to try harder at everything he did and thanks to his Uncle who was a baseball talent scout he was able to get a tryout for the Cincinnati Reds in 1960 by being put into the minor leagues and he once more busted his butt in order to impress the scouts and to get better at the game he loved. As he became better and better he finally catches the eye of Reds couch Freddie Hutchinson who hires him as second base man and allows him to prove that he has heart, but this upsets the older players who act as if Pete is not even alive and his only friends on the team are Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson who as well were ignored by teammates cause the color of their skin. Rose was not a super star from the start but season after season he became better and better and even turned up the intensity in the way he played and would go on to win the MVP Award for the year 1973 and in 1975 and 1976 he helped lead them to World Series wins. In 1979 Pete Rose turned down a contract from The Reds and took one from the Philadelphia Phillies and had some solid good seasons with them. Rose returned to The Reds in 1984 after a short time with the Montreal Expos and back with the Reds he broke hitting records and even became the teams Manager. While things looked great for Rose in 1989 it all came crashing down as he was accused of illegally betting on baseball games and the MLB Commissioner banished him from the game he loved.

Pete Rose is a ball player that is beloved by fans and has a mixed reaction from players and higher ups within the MLB all for his gambling issue. But this comic does a great job of making Rose a likable underdog who proved that hard work and support from your loved ones can make you a superstar of whatever your profession is. This bio comic follows Pete Rose from a youngster playing ball with his friends all the way to playing for the Reds coaching them and being banned from the game that he loves. The plus side to this comic is that the story is very fast paced and highlights all the major events in his life without dragging along, but the downside is the fact most major events are done in a couple of panels and don’t show much of his friendships nor rivalries with his fellow Reds and that’s a letdown. It was interesting to see why Rose left the Reds to play for Philadelphia and even more so how when he first joined the team all the older players didn’t like him so they ignored him and treated him like he was a ghost. The comic ends with Rose being suspended from baseball and leaves it making it look like he never bet on baseball when in fact he did and lied about it for years. The cover is pretty eye catching and shows Rose through the years as the art inside is pretty well done and makes Rose look like he should and is done by John Tartaglione who you can tell had fun drawing this comic. Over all this was a fun Unauthorized Bio comic on an iconic baseball player and was well worth the read and purchase. Check out the art below done by Tartaglione.

Pete Rose Art 1

We made it to home base and scored the winning point thanks to Pete Rose and Masstar Comics, and along the way I found a new respect for baseball and now understand the appeal it has for all its fans, as it’s a sport that is filled with a rich history and gives people pride in their favorite team and something to talk about around the water cooler at work. While I may or may not ever go see a Reds game again at the stadium I still have the good memories of going to them with my Dad, brother Bryan and my dad’s best friend John in my youth. Well our next update is going to take us out of the ball field and into the world of self-defense as I am going to take a look at an Atlas Comic based around the secret world of the martial arts called The Hands Of The Dragon! So make sure to come back for that one but until then enjoy the summer and read a comic or three.

Hands Of The Dragon Logo

Bugs Bunny The King Of Saturday Morning Cartoons

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, a zany place to relive my childhood and remember back the things that made me as well as many others happy and shaped us into the people we are today. Growing up, Looney Tunes was a major part of my childhood as reruns were still being aired on Saturday mornings as well as Sunday mornings, and many times I would rent VHS’s based on the characters from the public library or just buy $1.00 VHS tapes from Dollar Stores. I can remember drawing poor versions of characters like Daffy Duck, Road Runner and of course Bugs Bunny in art class and playing video games like Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Blow Out for the NES. Also, when we were younger candy maker Esther Price used to have a big Bugs Bunny doll in their window display in a classic car or doing other silly things.  Sadly they’ve retired him, and modern kids won’t get the joys of watching what Bugs would be up to next in that candy store window. I can also remember reading the Little Golden Books about Bugs as well as reading old comic books on him we would find at garage sales. My mom had a Bugs Bunny cookie cutter and used to make sugar cookies that looked like the famed cartoon character. I can also remember drinking Kool-Aid and chocolate milk from an old Pepsi Bugs Bunny glass. So as you can see, Bugs Bunny was a huge part of my childhood, and this update is all about that crazy grey furred rabbit! So grab a carrot, tune up your sense of humor and let’s have some fun with Mr. Bugs Bunny!

Bugs Bunny 1

So for those of you who are too young, or maybe just lived under a rock, I am going to tell you a little about Bugs Bunny and who he is.  For those of you who already know, sit back and have a good reminiscence with me. Bugs Bunny is a grey furred rabbit who walks on two legs, talks with a New York accent and enjoys pulling pranks as well as snacking on a good old fashioned carrot all the while wearing white gloves. His major catch phrase is “Eh….What’s Up Doc” that is usually said to annoy the person he’s talking to. Bugs is quick witted and always comes out ahead in bad situations. Bugs has many enemies that include hunter Elmer Fudd, cowboy Yosemite Sam, space martian Marvin as well as Taz, a tasmanian devil. One bad guy I always liked was Gossamer, a monster who is covered in red hair and had long yellow and black finger nails and wore white shoes. Bugs Bunny was such a cartoon icon that Warner Brothers used him as their official mascot and places his image on all types of products from microwave kids meals to video games. Bugs was so popular, he even was used to pitch Nike Shoes, credit cards and even Kool-Aid. Bugs Bunny also had movies on the silver screen with such titles as The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, Bugs Bunny’s 3rd Movie and Box Office Bunny, but his most popular was the 1996 film Space Jam that had him playing basketball along side NBA superstar Michael Jordan against monsters. But I should not forget that he was also in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and shared the screen with Disney icon Mickey Mouse, making for an epic first and last time that the two had shared the screen. He also had many TV specials like Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales and Bugs Bunny’s Thanksgiving Diet. One special I remember the most was called Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue and was an anti-drug promotion that had Bugs Bunny teaming up with the likes of Alf, Papa Smurf, Silmer, Winnie The Pooh, Garfield, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo and many others to help a young boy whose brother is doing drugs. Before we move on, I want to also tell a few more fun facts about Bugs.  He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being in the most short and feature length films of any Cartoon character, and he is the second animated character to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! So as you can see, Bugs Bunny is truly the main hare when it comes to the world of classic cartoons!

Classic_bugsbunnyclip-art-bugs-bunny-210336bugs-stance-gloveless

Now that we covered who Bugs Bunny is, we should also talk about those people who brought the furry little guy to life.  The first appearance of the rabbit that was to become Bugs Bunny was in a cartoon called “Porky’s Hare Hunt” in 1938 that featured a wise talking rabbit that was given no name.  The cartoon was directed by Ben “Bugs” Hardaway and Cal Dalton. Hardaway and Cal Dalton were the creators of the character and had the bunny show up in a another cartoon sealing the popularity of the character, and Bugs was finally named by artist Charlie Thorson after several prior appearances marking the year 1939 when Bugs Bunny was used as a name for the rabbit character. All this time Bugs Bunny looked a little different then the Bugs we all know and love as well as he was portrayed more as crazy than quick whited. In 1940 the cartoon “A Wild Hare” directed by Tex Avery features what’s considered the first modern version of Bugs Bunny and is the true kick start to shaping the character that he is to this day. Bugs Bunny was voiced by a legendary cartoon voice actor named Mel Blanc, who also voiced such characters as Woody Woodpecker, Barney Rubble, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Speed Buggy among many others! So here is a big thank you to Warner Brothers, Ben Hardaway, Cal Dalton, Tex Avery, Charlie Thorson, Mel Blanc and everyone else who helped make Bugs Bunny come to life; this blog update is for you as well as all the fans who have kept the character alive.

Ben  HardawaybugsevolutionhrMel Blanc

Besides home media releases, Bugs Bunny has been turned into all types of merchandise that include Halloween costumes, books, comic books, dolls, action figures, video games, cloths, posters, school supplies, drinking glasses, frozen meals and so much more! If it was a product they could put Bugs Bunny’s face on, they did it! Besides the Pepsi glass that I would drink from, some other things of Bugs I loved was an eraser pencil topper that was green that was of Bugs Bunny’s head, the small Arby’s kids meal toy that had Bugs relaxing and of course I would have to say the Playsation game Bugs Bunny Lost In Time. So I don’t want to spend too much time on the merchandise of Bugs Bunny because we would have to spend the whole update about all the different items, but if you had some sort of Bugs Bunny merchandise, you know how important it was to you in your youth.

Bugs Halloween CostumeBugs Drinking GlassBugs DollBugs Arbys ToyBugs PSX Game

As you readers know, I am a fan of the internet video game reviewer The Angry Video Game Nerd, and I should talk about his feud with Bugs Bunny that has raged on for two episodes! In Bugs’ first AVGN appearance The Nerd was playing Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Blow Out for NES, and Bugs himself shows up to annoy him while he is playing. All through the episode The Nerd beats up Bugs, and in the end he ends up beating the Bunny up super badly and poops on his face in a cheesy and fun sight gag. In the second episode, Bugs shows up again and forces The Nerd to play the Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle series all the while this time beating up The Nerd! The Nerd finally gets an upper hand and finds out the true secret of who Bugs is, but I won’t spoil it for you readers. Great work from The Nerd, and they remain funny and entertaining no matter how many times I’ve seen them.

AVGN Bugs 1AVGN Bugs 2AVGN Bugs 3

So now that you know a little more about Bugs I think we are ready to dive into a few issues from the Whitman reprints that I got from Jason Young and his mom.  So I want to say a big thank you to them for making this update possible. Now this is by no means the whole set from them, but these are all the issues I have so I want to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So if you’re ready, let’s go down the rabbit hole and spend some time with our old childhood friend Bugs Bunny.

Bugs Bunny 173

Bugs Bunny # 173   **1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price .25   Whitman   #173 of 245

The Long-Eared Genie” is the first story and has Bugs Bunny helping a young girl named Jennie who has been ripped off by a con man who has sold her a magic lamp that is for her father’s birthday. Bugs tricks him into thinking the lamp really works and tricks the con into paying back all those who he ripped off in order to get fake wishes! “Hare Tonic” has Elmer Fudd wanting to be a rock star with a full set of long real hair and offers Bugs a hundred dollars to help him out.  Bugs goes to an old witch friend of his for a potion and runs around town to get the missing ingredients that includes dust from a Mummy’s tomb! In the end the potion works too well, and Fudd offers him another hundred to make him bald again. The third and final story is called “Two For The Treasure” has Bugs and Yosemite Sam going after a pirate named Singood who is stealing treasure in Sam’s territory.  While on the hunt, Bugs crashes the ship into Singood’s ship, sinking them both! As Sam and Singood sword fight, Bugs takes the treasure chest and buries it.  In the end Bugs makes them carve him a canoe from a log, and he sets out to sea and tells them where the treasure is that turns out to be costume jewelry.

This is a nice way to start off this review of Whitman Bugs Bunny comics as the stories in this comic feel straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon. The best of the three stories has to be Hare Tonic as watching Bugs play a Mummy in a b-horror film as well as deal with a witch who lives in a swamp is a cool sight to see and read about. The weakest has to be Two For The Treasure.  While not a bad story, it almost has a been there, done that feel to it. One odd thing I noticed is that both Elmer and Yosemite Sam seem to be friends of Bugs, not his enemies, which kind of takes away from the overall magic of their classic toon rivalries. I can’t seem to find a name of the artist for this comic, but I must say whoever it is captures the spirt of Bugs Bunny very well, and whomever is the writer also did a good solid job. The issue also had a great rotten ink smell, and sadly a loose middle page but that defect didn’t stop me from enjoying the issue. I’m puzzled why the cover has Tweety Bird, Porky Pig and Sylvester with Bugs watching a Baseball game when the issue has no baseball and none of those other characters! But let’s see what’s up next for Mr. Bunny and see what zany thing he does next.

Bugs Bunny 175

Bugs Bunny # 175  **1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price .25   Whitman   #175 of 245

The Secret Of Horsefeather Canyon” has Professor Pigfeat of Hamm University sending Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny to canoe down a river that has terrible waves to see if the legends of Horsefeather Canyon being the home of flying horses is true. They crash, sink the canoe and meet Buffalo Bruce who is a cowboy and herds flying cows with his flying horses! Bruce tells them that they are stuck in his valley and that they can never leave because he don’t want his animals in a zoo and wants no scientist in his land. Porky and Bugs steal a flying horse to escape and are caught but make it to safety in time. They make a promise to Bruce not to tell the outside world about his ranch, but they do con him into doing a flying rodeo once a year at Hamm University. The second story called “Fudd Foolery” has Elmer Fudd going to an art museum and Bugs follows along. Fudd takes the radio tour in which he is walked through the museum and told the history of items by a DJ, and of course Bugs get bored and takes over the tour by lying to the DJ. While Bugs has fun toying with Fudd, a thief steals a painting and exits the museum right as Fudd figures out Bugs is being a prankster! Fudd chases Bugs out of the museum.  The crazy rabbit breaks a vase, and Fudd on accident stops the art criminal. In the end Fudd is offered a job as the night security guard, and Bugs has to work as the janitor at night to pay off the vase he broke. The third and final story of this issue is called “Small In The Saddle” and has Bugs and Yosemite Sam being the law in a small western town that is being robbed by a pip squeak crook who always seems to get away with the help of smoke pellets, but when Bugs wises up to the crooks tricks and finds him horsing around by hiding in a plastic horse the town is saved from the tiny terror.

This issue is packed with three solid and good stories.  Each was as entertaining as the last, and that’s a great and rare thing from a kids comic from the 70’s. Bugs is quick witted and is looking for a way to have fun with his friends as well as make a quick buck. The 1st story is pretty fun and has flying horses, and Bugs and Porky dressed in flannel and looking like extras from the Bigfoot horror film Night of The Demon. Not to mention Buffalo Bruce reminded me of the mascot for generic potato chips company Rodeo Bill, who was a cowboy who rode a giant potato! The second story that has Bugs at the art museum reminded me of the movie Bean about the classic BBC character Mr. Bean, and it was fun to see Bugs taking in a little culture…well ruining a little culture for Elmer. The last story is pure cheesy cowboy stuff and should have been a team up between Bugs and Roy Rogers…now that would have been cool. I could not pick a favorite of the three as I feel all of them were as good as the other.  However I must say that the artist did not get credit for his fantastic work again. So far I am two issues in, and I am enjoying these comics and think this far they are great examples of kids comics done right.  So let’s not waste no more time and get onto the next issue.

Bugs Bunny 176

Bugs Bunny # 176   **1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price .30   Whitman   #176 of 245

The Search For The Sun Gems” has Bugs Bunny traveling via a blimp with Elmer Fudd and Lord Bertie Brumly to try and trick some island natives so they can steal Sun Gems that were created in a falling meteor.  But when Bugs doesn’t want anything to do with the heist, Fudd knocks him from the plane and his good luck has him landing safely and becoming a God to the natives! But when the natives figure out Bugs isn’t a God and that his pals Fudd and Brumly are there to steal the Sun Gems, he must use all his good luck to get them out alive. The second story is called “In Stew” and has Beaky Buzzard inviting his pal Bugs over for carrot stew, but when Beaky’s meat eating brother Basil shows up for dinner he must save Bugs from becoming part of the menu! In the end Basil is out smarted by his dimwitted brother, finds that he in fact loves carrot stew and they all eat bowls of it together. The third and final story is called “The Cannonball Caper” and has Bugs being stuck between a feud that is raging on between Yosemite Sam and Sagebrush Sarah over a debit that Sam owes her.  They decide in order to pay it all back with interest that they will hold a garage sale. Bugs and Sam go to advertise the sale in town and an accident leaves Bugs riding a runaway cannon and causing mayhem along the way. In the end, Sam sells the cannon to the city gardener for $100 but is fined by the cops for the mayhem leaving him broke.  Worse, Sarah sold all his stuff, and he returns to his empty ship with nothing.

I want to first point out that the cover to this issue has zero to do with any of the three stories in this issue.  In fact Porky Pig does not even have as much as a cameo in it either! The best of the three stories is The Search For The Sun Gems.  It had a real Bugs Bunny cartoon feel to it even though I find it odd that Elmer Fudd is more of an annoying friend to Bugs than an enemy who has wanted him dead for years. Much like in the cartoon when the odds are against Bugs, he finds away to come out squeaky clean and always ahead. The weakest of the stories has to be The Cannonball Caper as I felt it was clearly a throwaway short.  One other odd thing is that Yosemite Sam also comes off as a friend and not an enemy. So between all the bad guys in this issue, I feel that Basil Buzzard was more of a threat to Bug’s well-being and I am pretty sure he would have eaten him if he would have caught him. Over all this issue is pretty standard kid comic stuff and was a solid and fun read that had the classic rotten ink smell of the decomposing ink. I could not find who did the art in this issue, but I do think that it captures the look and vibe of Bugs Bunny! So yeah, those was some zany Bugs adventures.  Let’s see what the next issue I have has in store for us!

Bugs Bunny 209

Bugs Bunny # 209  **1/2
Released in 1979   Cover Price .40   Whitman   #209 of 245

Hocus Pocus Hare” has Bugs trying to learn magic during rabbit hunting season, and when Elmer Fudd comes a hunting Bugs tries to wow him with a handcuff trick that leaves them stuck together as a pack of braindead hunters tries to shoot them! Along the way Bugs uses his magic and all attempts fail.  So what does he do but call on the calvary for help! In the end Elmer and Bugs get free of the cuffs and patch things up for a few moments until Bugs uses his squirting flower to annoy Fudd who starts his hunt all over again. The second story is called “Funny Money” and has Bugs running a hotdog stand for Petunia Pig while she runs some errands and is conned out of the day’s money by the sleazy crook Silky Fleece who replaces what he calls dirty money with counterfeit new bills that have invisible ink on them! Once Bugs figures out he’s been had, he goes to get Petunia’s money back and does so with the help of the cops as they arrest the con man.  Bugs not only gets her money back but also a reward that he uses to buy the hot dog stand and turn it into a carrot stand! The third and final story is called “Cool Head Fudd” where Bugs Bunny claims he is the master of making Elmer Fudd mad but Daffy Duck says he does it better.  So as Daffy goes off to anger Fudd, that quick witted rabbit Bugs tells Fudd to remain calm and that will annoy Daffy instead, but Fudd’s new cool head annoys both Daffy and Bugs who leave his house not liking his new cool as ice attitude. In the end, Fudd waits till they leave and blows his top at how annoying they both are.

This is another fun issue that captures the fun and silly nature of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. So in this issue Bugs learns magic, helps capture a con man, uses Elmer Fudd as a pawn more than once and even almost gets shot and killed a couple of times…so yeah just normal Bugs Bunny activities. The best story in this issue is Funny Money as I love the whole con man tricks a rabbit running a hot dog stand into given him all the money from the register only to have it all blow up in his face. Plus I can’t help but get the vibe that Bugs and Petunia Pig might have a little something going on with each other on the side…poor Porky Pig doesn’t even see it happening before his eyes! I think the weakest story in the issue is Cool Head Fudd.  While it’s cool to see Daffy do what he does best and that’s be crazy, the whole story seems very pointless and really goes nowhere in the end. I also have to say I kind of feel for Bugs as at all times it seems like some hunter or even friends like Elmer want him dead, and he is consistently having guns pointed and fired at him. The cover once more is not connected to the issue unless I guess you could say it’s Bugs annoying Fudd like in Cool Head Fudd, but I think I am grasping at straws there. The artwork is really good again and once more I can’t find a name to the artist! Let’s see if Bugs will almost be shot again as we move onto the next issue I have!

Bugs Bunny 210

Bugs Bunny # 210  **1/2
Released in 1979   Cover Price .40   Whitman   #210 of 245

Our first Bugs Bunny adventure in this issue is called “ The Fountain Of Youth” and has Bugs and Porky Pig travel to the everglades to find the famed fountain of youth and are sent by Professor Pigfeat of Hamm University. While in the swamps, Bugs and Porky get into all types of trouble even sinking in quicksand until an Indian who’s 170 years old acts as their protector. When they find the fountain, Bugs accidentally drinks the water that they were bringing back as proof and turns young again! In the end Pigfeat doesn’t think the world’s ready for the power to become young again, and they leave the young Bugs at a daycare until he grows bigger in the following week! The second story is called “Tall Tale Talk.” Bugs is hanging out with Yosemite Sam on his ship hearing over the top stories when they get a distress call from Sam’s best friend Nick Neptune who has been attacked by Captain Sigh who wants the location of a treasure! Bugs and Sam sail in for the rescue that is short lived when Sam himself is captured and it’s up to Bugs to save Nick and Sam! When Bugs out smarts the pirates and rescues Nick and Sam, they hit the sea again as Bugs is treated to more over the top stories. The third and final story in this issue called “The Bugged Carrot Patch” has Elmer Fudd using boobie traps and a radar to stop Bugs from stealing his carrots until Bugs figures out that he can wrap himself in tin foil to defeat the radar and eat all the carrots he wants after he scares Fudd into thinking he is a alien from space!

Bugs Bunny and Whitman Comics have delivered another fun light hearted kids comic issue that I am sure entertained the kids of 1979 with Bugs being silly. I really loved the vibe and story of he and Porky trying to find the fountain of youth, and the whole adventure truly reminded me of something that you could see on a Looney Tunes episode! In fact all three stories in this issue are really well done and made for a good read. Once more I am a little puzzled to why Yosemite Sam and Bugs are friends in this comic, and this issue even has them hanging out of Sam’s ship as he is telling over the top stories! Shouldn’t Sam be trying to shoot or stab Bugs cause in the cartoons he hates him! Oh well I guess murder in a kids comic is probably not a good thing, let alone in 1979. This issue also adds a character named Nick Neptune who for the most part is useless and only adds to the rescue aspect of the Yosemite Sam adventure. Over all good stuff and once more can’t find the artist! Oh and for once the cover kind of ties in with a story of Bugs stealing carrots from Fudd’s garden. So far we are four issues in to the eight I own and I am having fun, so let’s move onto the next shall we?

Bugs Bunny 211

Bugs Bunny # 211  **1/2
Released in 1979   Cover Price .40   Whitman   #211 of 245

Magic Eye Of Ahni-Kon” has Bugs Bunny helping Sinbad with his magic flying carpet when it starts to rip after his time travel.  For his help Sinbad takes Bugs on a ride, and they end up a thousand years in the past and are being stalked by bad guys who want a magical glass eye Sinbad has and worse a dragon! In the end Bugs uses the eye as well as its other half to stop the bad guys and gets a one way ticket back to his time on a special magic carpet. The second story is called “Flooded Out” and has poor Bugs Bunny’s hole in the ground being filled with water from a nearby creek thanks to work by the city! Bugs gets an idea to talk to the governor to try and get him to stop the water work, but getting time to talk to him is tricky as the guards will not let him in. When Bugs finally gets a chance to talk to the governor, he finds out that there’s nothing he can do to stop the creek from being moved. In the end Bugs figures out that he will surround his house with stone and make his own little island. The final story is called “ Caped Capers” and has Bugs stealing carrots from Elmer Fudd’s garden and only leaving him one. Fudd has an idea to scare Bugs and becomes a masked hero called The Carrot Avenger who scares Bugs. But all good things come to an end when Bugs finds that Fudd is the Avenger.

Man, Bugs Bunny is a thief in these comics and almost takes pride in stealing carrots from Elmer Fudd! At one point he even says he doesn’t want to buy them implying he would rather steal…wow Bugs, just wow! I am sure it started with carrots, then he moved up to candy from 7-11’s and then he moved up to DVD’s selling them to get carrots….it’s a sad day when you have to come to terms that one of your favorite cartoon characters as a kid is a home invasion carrot robber. Plus Elmer in this comic series is one of his friends and really think about it, he steals from his friend. The best story in the issue is Flooded Out as I feel it captured the spirit of the cartoon and my least favorite is the opening story Magic Eye Of Ahni-Kon as I felt it just kind of was bland and pointless. The cover is pretty good and ties in to the fact Bugs is a thief. The comic has cameos by Petunia Pig and Porky Pig, helping addto the Loony Tunes feel. Once more Whitman does a great job of reprinting this Bugs Comic, and I for one once again enjoyed reading it. No artist credit again so let’s get to the next issue and see what Bugs steals next. I am going to guess Petunia Pig’s heart or all her jewelry.

Bugs Bunny 235

Bugs Bunny # 235  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Whitman   #235 of 245

In the opening story called “Hero Hare” Bugs Bunny wins a stay at a fancy resort and finds that his neighbors in the room next to his are there to rob the place! The manager doesn’t believe Bugs and kicks him out into the woods nearby. But Bugs being noble helps save the day when he captures the crooks with stolen money in hands. The second story is called “ Mutiny Of The Bunny.” Bugs is robbed and kidnapped by two pirates who plan on leaving him in the cold dead water. While trapped, Bugs meets a rat named Ripley who tries to help him escape with the help of cold hard cash! Together they learn that the ship is filled with stolen cargo and Bugs outwits the baddies along with Ripley and try to hitch a ride to port! The third story is called “Clowning Around” and has Bugs trying to help two lost clowns who have their car destroyed in an accident, and it’s up to Bugs to get them back on track. The fourth, yeah a fourth story, is called “Between Two Pirates” and has Bugs and his pirate uncle Barnacle Bunny going to visit Yosemite Sam.  Bugs finds out that his Uncle and Sam dislike each other over an old treasure map they each have a part of. So together they go look for the treasure with Sam and Barnacle at each others’ throats the whole time. In the end Bugs loses the treasure in the sea and becomes the target of Sam and Barnacle, making the two old pirates friends.

This one added a fourth story, and while the issue is good, the addition of the fourth story seemed to make the others too short and not fleshed out in any way. The better of the stories has to go to Mutiny of the Bunny, a fun sea adventure with Bugs making fools of this pirate kidnappers. The worst story had to be the very pointless Clowning Around that was clearly just a filler story. The only old familiar face in this issue besides of course Bugs was Yosemite Sam who once more acts as a friend and not a foe. New additions were Ripley the Rat and Barnacle Bunny who both added some level of fun to their respected stories. Once more the art is fantastic and it’s clear that several artist worked on this issue as the styles are slightly different. The cover once more has zero to do with any of the stores and makes me wonder what kind of carrots the designers were eating when they picked it! Over all this is the weakest thus far of the Whitman Bugs comics I own, but I still enjoyed reading it. So we only have two more issues to go and as I stated I am having a good time reading these comics and am looking forward to this next one as well!

Bugs Bunny 236

Bugs Bunny # 236  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Whitman   #236 of 245

In “Royal Pen Pals” Elmer Fudd and a King have become psychic pen pals, and Bugs Bunny intercepts a mental message that the King is in trouble! So he and Fudd fly to his Kingdom and find Red Duke, a one time friend of the King is trying to place an impostor in his place so he can rule the Kingdom! Bugs and Fudd team up and foil this plot and rescue the King. The second story is called “Bunny Talk” and has Bugs and Yosemite Sam jogging in the mountains together, but when Sam breaks off and falls into an eagle’s nest, Bugs must find away to save him from the angry mother bird and must also learn to talk eagle to save his own hide! The third story is called “Wheeling and Dealing” has a motorcycle path being put in next to Bugs’ whole and when his Congressman refuses to move the path, he takes matters into his own furry hands and detours the bikers to Fudd’s house! In the end Fudd and Bugs turn up the heat on the Congressman by telling him he will lose a vote and he reworks the route again…that goes by Bugs hole again! The fourth and final story is simple called “Bugs Bunny” and has Elmer Fudd and Bugs trying to hypnotize each other and of course only Bugs can do it.  But it all comes in handy when they run to an old abandoned house to get out of the rain and meet two brothers who are robbers! Bugs uses his mind tricks and has Fudd save the day when he thinks he’s a pro-wrestler!

This is another four story issue and once more is pretty good and has some fun wacky Bugs adventures. Once more this issue shows that Elmer Fudd is restless about Bugs always stealing his carrots and wants to use mind control to get him to stop! The best story is Royal Pen Pals and is cool to see Elmer and Bugs really working together and saving the day for a King who was in major trouble. The weakest story is Wheeling and Dealing.  It’s funny to think that a congressman in Looney Tune world cares about one vote when in real life they will just buy the election. The cover once more is misleading and has nothing to do with any of the stories, and the art is again unknown but really well done. One thing I can say is that the comics thus far have done a fantastic job of capturing the playful mood and attitude of Bugs Bunny, and I can only imagine how much kids of this time loved to read and collect these issues. There’s not much more to say about this issue.  So we are now on the final issue and I must say that all these issues thus far have that great Rotten Ink smell and that has helped make this update even better as it captures the true meaning of the name of the blog. So with that let’s see what final adventures Bugs gets into!

Bugs Bunny 237

Bugs Bunny # 237  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Whitman   #237 of 245

Lost Valley” has Bugs Bunny and his Uncle Buckskin find a hole in a cave that leads to a valley that time has forgot.  The people are being bullied by Grugg and his men who want them all to never leave and must mine for gold to make them rich. Bugs and Buckskin unite the villagers and all together they teach Grugg a lesson in respect. “Shipping Out” has Bugs Bunny stopping two bikers who have stolen Yosemite Sam’s ship and plan to rob yachts! Bugs uses his brain and gets the coast guard to the rescue Sam’s ship that he has got stuck in sand, leaving the bikers in their hands. “Well Suited” has Bugs working for a company called Rent-A-Thing where he has to wear a dog costume and pretended he is a dog for Elmer Fudd, but when Fudd finds out he’s been had, he gets mad and Bugs’ boss shows up to save him or is it kill him when the rabbit can’t pay for the rent! The final story is called “Getting Grey Hares” and has Bugs and Porky Pig taking jobs as truck drivers for explosives to get money for Porky to go to Hawaii to visit Petunia Pig who’s birthday is coming up. In the end they make the delivery after some close calls of being blown up only for Porky to fly away, and Petunia to fly in!

This was another solid issue that was a nice way to finish up my look at Bugs Bunny in comics! Bugs in this series is super loyal to his friends and even those he steals from he still feels the need to help them whenever he can. The best story from this issue had to be Lost Valley as it was nice to see Bugs unite a town and get the last laugh on a greedy no good bully! The weakest link story and once more the on that felt like filler was Well Suited as the whole gag is just for Bugs to eat Fudd’s carrots while in a dog suit and to be chased by his new boss for not paying him to dress as a bear…yeah, just kind of weak. It was cool to see familiar faces in this issue as well because not only do we see Elmer Fudd but we also get Petunia Pig, Pork Pig and Yosemite Sam making this final issue I have a nice closing.  In fact looking back at these comics felt almost like a reunion with old friends that you miss. The cover is great but once more is not connected to any of the stories, and as always no artist is credited but the art work is great and captures the nature of Bugs Bunny. These Whitman reprints are really fun and are good classic kid comic stuff, these are the type of comics that I could see parents still buying to this day for this young kids who are wanting to get into comics! It’s also fun to think that the comics I read were the comics my friend Jason and his older brother Joe read many years ago and that they got into comics by reading these type of issues along with the Disney ones. I guess now that I have praised these issues I should also point out a few things I felt could have been done better. The first real puzzler is that they took Bug’s enemies and turned them into friends taking away any real danger and drama.  These classic bad guys and Bugs going at each other is what made the cartoons so special and taking that element away made for cheaper bad guys who fell short in the danger department. The second thing that I found odd is that many of the stories followed the same formula of Bugs getting into hot water mostly with thieves and always out smarting them in no time.  It’s like the story writers passed around the same outline to everyone in the office and they each made slight changes to come up with their version of the story. And the final thing that was puzzling and also kind of funny is something I already touched on, and that’s Bugs stealing from his friend Elmer Fudd, I mean if I were Fudd, I would not invite him around anymore! But all those flaws are pretty minor in my book and don’t change the fact that these are fun comics that were well worth the read. Below is some artwork from this series, and I picked an image of Bugs and Porky on a flying horse because this sums up the silly and fun nature of these comics.

Bugs Bunny Art 1

So there we have it, a look at Bugs Bunny and the Whitman comics based on him and his friends. This won’t be the last update that will cover Loony Tune characters as the box of comics I got from the Young’s had many more so that’s something we can all look forward to! But our next update is leaving the warm safe world of Bug Bunny and finally getting to take a look at a comic series that was supposed to been looked at in mid 2014, The Ghosts Of Dracula!! Be ready to walk the night with Dracula, and until then, read a comic or two, support your local Horror Host and watch a cartoon from your past and as always stay nerdy!

Ghosts of Dracula Logo 2.0

The 8th Wonder Of Giant Classic Comics King Kong

My mother was 7 or 8 when she attempted to watch the 1933 film King Kong with her mom when it aired on TV.  She watched as a group set out to sea to make a movie and landed on an island, and when King Kong showed up just the sight and sound of the beast scared her enough to make her hide behind her mom’s chair! She would peek around the corner and shiver in fright of the sight of the giant ape. Way before the gross out films of the 60’s made by the likes of Hershel Gordon Lewis became the norm in what’s “scary” about horror films, the likes of a giant ape with a love for blondes paved the way and terrified the young and old. While many not consider it a horror film, I have always viewed it as one as King Kong is a giant ape creature that caused panic not only on his home island but also New York, and he does kill and eat humans so yeah, it spells horror film to me. I saw the film when I was about 7 or 8, the same age she first saw it, and I can remember my Mom telling me about her first viewing and this set the bar very high as I sat down on the couch ready to watch it alongside my parents and my brother on a VHS that we rented from Waynesville’s library. From the moment the film started, I was hooked on every word and when Kong showed up I became a fan, and to me every gorilla toy became King Kong. The watch with my family was a great one and was one of many fun family night of watching a flick on the old VCR while eating popcorn and being entertained. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away of the film as that will happen as we review the Gold Key comic adaptation a little later on so I will give you the cliff notes version. The film is about a filmmaker and some sailors who take a fresh faced new actress to an island were the natives take her to appease King Kong, a giant gorilla who rules the land.  They save her and also take Kong to New York as a stage attraction, and he escapes running wild in the city until he is killed in the end. It’s an amazing classic film with special effects that were way ahead of their time.  If you have not seen this film, do yourself a favor and watch it!

King Kong 1933 1King Kong 1933 PosterKing Kong 1933 2

In the 1980’s Ted Turner owned Turner Classic Movies wanted to do something fresh and new to King Kong so they did the unthinkable…. they colorized it! To be honest it seemed like an odd kick Turner was on, taking old classic black and white films and turning them into color films to air on his classic movie station, and on the top of the list that sparked the most debate was what they did to King Kong. I can remember that my mom and dad were not pleased that they messed with a classic film this way, but being so young I was a little curious to see what the classic Kong would look like in color. I seen the color version after the black and white and still preferred the original to the tampered with version. King Kong was the first movie on VHS that I owned two versions of as I had to own them both, and I would say I watched the black and white more than I did the colorized one that I got dirt cheap brand new at Blockbuster Video.

King Kong 1933 Color 1King Kong 1933 Color VHSKing Kong 1933 Color 2

Now if you look at King Kong as a horror film like I do, then you would have to look at Fay Wray as the original scream queen, and she proves she has a set of lungs as she screams her head off at the first site of Kong. She began her acting career making short films and making westerns for Universal but left once she became a WAMPAS Baby Stars meaning she was listed as an actress to watch. As a teenager Wray was signed to a contract with Paramount Pictures where she made over a dozen films like the failure 1928 silent film The Wedding March.  Wray was able to make the transition from silent to talkie films and left Paramount to make other films for other companies, the most notable being RKO that hired her for her first horror films like Doctor X, The Most Dangerous Game and her most famous film King Kong.  She was proud of her work in Kong and that film saved RKO from going bankrupt! During that time as well she was in a few other horror films like The Vampire Bat and Mystery In The Wax Museum. By the 1940’s, Wray retired briefly from acting but came back to make more films and take TV parts being on such shows as Perry Masson and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Wray continued to act for many years and even turned down a part in James Cameron’s 1997 smash hit film Titanic. Sadly at the age of 96 Fay Wray passed away of natural causes in 2004 while she slept.  After her passing, the Empire State Building shut off all its lights for 15 minutes to honor her legacy. Wray was a true beauty, a talented actress and could possibly be the first scream queen of cinema.

"King Kong"Fay Wray1933 RKO**I.V.fay wray 2fay wray 3

Because King Kong was such a huge hit at the box office, a sequel was made in 1933, coming out only 9 months after the original. The film follows the film director from the first film who is now in hot water for King Kong running wild in New York and travels to find that the giant ape might have had an offspring.  That film was called Son of Kong! In Japan in 1962, they made a film called King Kong vs. Godzilla where they pit the world’s top giant monsters against each other, and in 1967 they made another King Kong film called King Kong Escapes that has our lovable Kong fighting a robot version of himself called Mecha Kong. Paramount Pictures in 1976 decided to make a remake of King Kong and added in more modern touches to the film and even trades in the Empire State Building for the Twin Towers as well as the stop motion Kong for a stuntman in a suit done by FX God Rick Baker. In 1986 the remake got a forgettable follow up called King Kong Lives that had the giant ape getting a pacemaker put in to replace his damaged heart and finding a mate who has also been brought to the USA. In 2005 a longwinded Peter Jackson remake of King Kong was made and besides more minutes added to the runtime, it was a good but unnecessary film. With all these spin off films, sequels and remakes this just shows you how much impact this film had on classic cinema, and I agree with James Rolfe who said that film students should watch the original in film school right alongside Citizen Kane. While none of them are as good as the original film, they are all still fun watches that help add to the legacy of Kong and prove that this primate of fright, this ape of terror, is truly a legend of cinema.

Son Of Kong PosterKing Kong Escapes PosterKing Kong 1976 PosterKing Kong Lives PosterKing Kong 2005 Poster

In 1966 America and Japanese animation studios teamed up to make The King Kong Show, an animated adventure kid show that had King Kong befriending the Bond Family and stopping the likes of Dr. Who (and no, not the BBC version) from capturing Kong for his own evil gain. This animated cartoon was teamed with another show about a tiny special agent called Tom of T.H.U.M.B. and the show would last till 1969 with a total of 3 seasons and 25 episodes. This cartoon also helped Toho make the film King Kong Escapes and also was to be inspiration to the film that became Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, which Kong was suppose to star in, not Zilla. The cartoon over the years did not hold up well and was mostly forgotten until it got released on DVD as volumes a few years back. I never remember seeing the show when I was a kid, and I think it would have fit perfect on early morning Saturday’s back in the 80’s and could have also found a place on the USA Cartoon Express. I saw the show when I was older and in my 20’s found it to be pretty cool but only from a retro standpoint.

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So as we all know Toho studios made two films with King Kong in them in the 1960’s, but did you know that there are also two others made in Japan way before this that are now lost films? The first was a short silent film called “Wasei Kingu Kongu” made in 1933 the same year King Kong was released and was a team up from RKO and Shochiku Studios. Not much is known about the film besides RKO asked them to make it and that instead of a stop motion Kong, it was a man in a suit.  It was directed by Torajiro Saito with Isamu Yamaguchi playing King Kong and all that is left of the film is one single picture that was printed. Next was a 1938 film called “King Kong Appears In Edo” that made by Zensho Cinema with permission from RKO and was directed by Soya Kumagai and had a size changing King Kong attacking Edo (Tokyo) during Medieval times! Fuminori Ohashi who some 16 years later would make the original Godzilla costume made the Kong costume in this film.  Just think about that, King Kong was really Japan’s first giant movie monster and not Godzilla like we all thought! Both films are believed to have been destroyed during the bombings of World War II and neither ever showed outside of Japan making all master prints being only stored there. I learned about these missing films thanks once more to James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd) when he did a top 10 list of lost Horror Films and the Japan Kong films were his # 1, and I agree with him when he said he hopes all the films he picked won’t always be lost films. Below are some pictures of Japan’s King Kongs, the first being Toho’s with the second being the 1933 version and last being the 1938 one.

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Tiger Electronics who are best known for making handheld games in the late 80’s and 90’s also made some console games in the age of Atari 2600 under the brand name TigerVision. And would you know it that in 1982 they made a game based on King Kong that was a follow up to their handheld games made about the big ape the year before. The game was a total rip off of Donkey Kong and had you playing as a guy who was trying to get to the top were King Kong was.  The graphics were bad and Kong was a stiff looking pixel mess. I have played the game several times and even own it and I must say that it really is a bad game. Though I do find it funny that Donkey Kong was a clone of King Kong who in turn had a game made about him that was just a bad clone of Donkey Kong. The game on release only sold moderately well and was by no means looked at as a classic.

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Ideal made a board game in 1976 based on the remake movie that had 2-4 players trying to get to the top of the Twin Towers before King Kong so that they can capture him, or you can win the game by saving the woman from his right hand via a special mission. But Kong won’t make your trip easy as he is flipping all around trying to knock your player back to the start. I own this game and played it with the fellow members of The Dayton Board Game Society who are Stephen Alexander II, Josh Weinberg, Jeremy Hoyt and Garrison Kane on one of our past meetings ,and I can remember that while the game was not all that ground breaking we all had fun trying to knock each other off the building using Kong as our puppet and it was a blast seeing just how competitive it got. If you get a chance and like classic board games based on movies then I would say check this one out, play time to complete is about 20 minutes give or take a few. I should also share we played this game on February 6th 2013 in Josh Weinberg’s basement and we also played the LJN A Nightmare on Elm Street video game for the NES and we ate Wing Zone.

Josh Playing King Kong Board GameKing Kong Board GameUs Playing King Kong

King Kong not only has been made into many video games and board games but he has also had pinball machines based around him, many comic books, novels, magazines, t-shirts, toys, Halloween costumes, soundtracks, stickers, dolls, drinking glasses and so much more. If you’re a King Kong fan, then there is something for you out there in the world of merchandise. Some of my favorite King Kong merchandise that I owned was my Imperial King Kong action figure that I use to make fight my Godzilla figure and even Kong was wrapped up in my epic Toy Wars, also would be my Crestwood Monster Series Book based on King Kong that gave the history of the film as well as some sweet photos. I also really liked my adaptation novel by Delos W. Lovelace and can remember reading it before bedtime many nights. It’s odd looking back at my youth now being 35 years old and seeing just how much of an impact King Kong has had on my life.  It’s a neat feeling knowing that a giant ape with a love for blondes truly means something to me. And for those of you who listen to Alpha Rhythms on WYSO (91.3 FM) on Sunday nights, I have played soundtrack pieces from the original score by Max Steiner as well as tracks from King Kong Lives by John Scott.

Movie Maniac King KongImperial King KongBen Copper King KongKing Kong Novel

Before we move onto The Gold Key Comic Review I of course have to talk about a ride I have wanted to go on since I first heard about it; that’s the one and only KongFrontation ride at Universal Studios Orlando that opened on June 7th 1990 and became a major attraction at the park. The ride was based on the 1976 remake as well as a ride Universal Studios had at their Hollywood park called King Kong Encounter that opened in 1986. The 5 minute ride would place you and others inside a tramcar but not before you walked down a mock New York street complete with newscasts playing on TVs to build up that King Kong is roaming the streets.  Once inside the car you are treated to explosions as well as giant animatronic King Kong’s that would roar and knock your little car around given the effect that he was attacking. In the end he would attack while you’re on the bridge but your driver would get you out safe and unharmed. This ride seemed amazing to me and just the thought of being close to a life size version of Kong was enough to make me want to go, but being a kid and having parents that didn’t like to travel out of state put a damper on getting to go. The attraction closed in 2002, and two years later a lame ride based on the terrible Mummy Remake took its place, marking the sad fact that I never got to ride the one roller coaster/attraction that I always wanted to. As far as King Kong Encounter, it had guests on a tramcar as King Kong would knock a helicopter from the sky and would end with you being eye level with the great ape on the Brooklyn Bridge as he tries to break it apart.  Of course you would make it off the bridge and would be safe thanks to your driver. The Kong animatronic was at the time the world’s largest and was so detailed that it’s “breath” smelled of bananas!  This ride as well lasted a total of 5 minutes and was one of the main attractions to the park. Sadly it as well came to an end when in 2008 a massive fire broke out and burnt the attraction up, but in Universal Hollywood they didn’t give up on King Kong and replaced it with an attraction called King Kong 360 3-D. I really would have loved to have ridden these attractions and sadly with both of them gone for good I will never get the chance to do so. But I can watch videos of them on YouTube and hear stories from my friends who did get to experience it…sigh.

King Kong RideSo I think our voyage through the sea of King Kong is over and we looked at the movies, video game, cartoon, missing films, merchandise as well as a theme park attraction but now it’s time for us to take a walk on Skull Island alongside Gold Key comics and see what this 1968 adaptation has to offer to the Kong legacy. I want to think Bell Book And Comic for having this comic in stock, and I would like to remind that I graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s man up and walk through the giant gates into King Kong’s lsland and hope he doesn’t stomp us into the mud!

King Kong 1

King Kong  # 1    ***1/2
Released in 1968     Cover Price .25    Gold Key   # 1 of 1

Carl Denham is a filmmaker who can’t find a lead actress for his top secret next project.  He even has rented a boat called the “Wonderer” along with all its crew and after an agent tells him that he will not supple him with an actress, the director walks down the streets of New York and finds a pretty thief woman named Ann Darrow who was stealing an apple due to hunger.  Denham buys it for her and hires her to be in his new film. While on board the first mate Jack Driscoll falls in love with Ann, and the two start up a relationship.  They find out that they are to port at an unknown island called Kong Island. But while at the island they find that the natives are worshiping and sacrificing women to an unknown “God” and they have set their sights on Ann who they kidnap off the boat and take to the altar where a giant gorilla named King Kong falls for her and takes her deep into his jungle home! Driscoll and Denham lead some crew members on a rescue mission and while in the jungle they find that Kong is not the only giant monster as dinosaurs and sea serpents all blocking their trail to save Ann from Kong’s grip. Kong finds that he is being followed after he beats up a pair of Triceratops and knocks all the crew members off a log killing them leaving only Driscoll and Denham left.  As Driscoll follows Kong, Denham goes back to the ship for more men and gas bombs. King Kong while trying to grab Driscoll from a cave is attacked by a T-Rex and a major battle breaks out between the giant beasts! As Kong climbs to his cave home he must fight off all types of attackers and during this Driscoll saves Ann, and the two escape via the river below. As they reach the gates Kong is in hot pursuit and it’s here that Denham uses his gas bombs to knock Kong out and then takes him to New York to use the giant ape as a sideshow, but when Kong see’s Ann again he breaks his chains and escapes his cage and takes Ann to the top of the Empire State Building where he is attacked by fighter planes that lead to his death as they use machine guns on him while he is distracted by Ann being saved by Driscoll again and he falls to his death. In the end Ann and Driscoll are safe in each other’s arms, Kong is dead in the middle of the street and Denham learns that it was beauty that killed the beast.

This is another amazingly done comic film adaptation of a classic horror film much like Comic Library International’s Edison’s Frankenstein 1910 that holds just so true enough to the source material but still adds its own flare to spice it up. The plot is your simple Beauty and The Beast and follows a young actress who gains the affection of a tough sailor as well as a giant ape and when the big primate is taken away from his home and placed in the big city, his only comfort when he escapes is his blonde bombshell but even love can’t save him from being slain. Ann Darrow is a sweet woman who turns her misfortune of being poor into fame when she takes the part in a movie that leads her to charming King Kong to be put on display. Even though Ann fears Kong she also still feels some affection for him and wishes him no ill will and even tries to save the beast as the planes shoot him down. King Kong is neither good nor bad and it’s clear he is very territorial of his land and very protective of Ann who he has fallen in love with. I love the fact that he keeps not only the natives in check but also all the other giant beasts that live on the island proving he really is the King. Carl Denham, while a money grubbing rich film making geek, still really shows he cares about his friends as Ann’s safety when being taken is a big priority to him, though he does mistreat King Kong by keeping him in chained up and taking him away from his home to be looked at by New York’s rich snobs and press. Jack Driscoll is your very classic tough guy who only cares about the woman he loves and will risk it all for her. The major changes I noticed between the comic and the film is that in the comic the ship is called The Wonderer, while in the film it’s The Venture; in the comic the island is called Kong Island, while in the film it’s Skull Island. I also noticed in the film Jack is annoyed that Ann is on the ship and it takes awhile before he falls for her, in the comic it happens fast. This was the second time I have read this comic and I found that I enjoy it more and more after each read and find something very magical about the whole reading experience. The copy I have is a classic example of Rotten Ink as the smell of the decomposing ink fills your nose when you flip through the pages, while not a beat up copy, it’s still very yellowed on the pages. The artwork is done by ummm….an unknown artist as no credit is given, but I must say the art is perfect for this comic and while Kong doesn’t capture the full look of his movie appearance it still looks the part enough to draw this comic reader in. The cover as well is very eye catching and I am sure drew kids attention to it by using lots of orange and putting a giant ape crushing planes on the cover. If you like the film or like classic horror comics, than this is for sure one you should check out. I am glad I got it and I am sure a few years from now I will read it again.  Below is a piece of art from the comic just so you can see the style Gold Key went for in this comic.

King Kong Art

Really this is a great comic with great classic artwork and really is going to help us kick off our two month long horror comic countdown to Halloween 2014! So on this update we traveled to Skull Island and got to know King Kong and see what that massive beast was about, but how about next time we travel to a black lagoon and celebrate the 60th birthday of the Universal Monster Gill-Man.  So until then read a comic or two, watch a horror film and support your local Horror Host.

Creature from the Black Lagoon Logo 2

The Saw Is Law Here at Rotten Ink!

For the second Halloween update I had a hard time choosing what comic series to do. I thought to myself, should I pick one of Marvel’s classic horror titles like Tombs of Dracula or Werewolf by Night.  Then I thought, why not do something from Dead Dog Comics or Fangoria Comics, two horror comic companies that disappeared way before they should have and had a lot to offer in the comic world in my opinion.  But finally I decided to stick to a film adaptation of a classic horror film, and I was torn between Psycho and Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.  While Psycho is the better film by far, I chose to go with Leatherface because I felt the need to speak about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre this Halloween season. I first saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre with my brother when I was young as he bought it on VHS from Half Priced Books and hyped it up to me as one of the first slasher films made.  My expectations were high as we watched it and after that first viewing I was not as impressed as he was. I was still very much into the classic black and white horror film stuff, and I just felt while Leatherface was scary he still was just a man. Now being older I see that Leatherface being just a man is way more scary then The Wolf Man who is a unreal creature because people like Leatherface are real and are the true terrors that walk among us. But even in my teens I grew to to respect the film and what it had done for the world of horror films.  Not to mention I truly thought star Marilyn Burns was a super fox! So with that let’s first take a look at the real life killer that inspired Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel, and then we will look a little deeper into each Chainsaw film among other things as we travel to the heart of Texas on this October night and stop along the way for some good old BBQ and remember The Saw is Family.  Fair warning, this update will have spoilers.

The Saw is Family

Edward Theodore “Ed” Gein is a killer from Plainfield, Wisconsin who killed two known females and may have killed others including his own brother. Ed, who was attached to his mother, slipped into madness after her death in 1945 and took to digging up bodies from the local cemetery and making not only furniture from the bones and skin but also a suit that was made up of human flesh to make himself into a woman. Ed’s first victim was Mary Hogan, a saloonkeeper that he killed with a shotgun in 1954.  His second victim was hardware store owner Bernice Worden who was also shot in her store.  Both women were dragged back to his farmhouse where they were cut up, skinned and treated like cattle at a slaughterhouse. Ed not only was a grave robber but he also took part in cannibalism as he ate pieces of his victims. Ed was busted for the second murder and was sentenced to life in an asylum where he died in 1984 from respiratory failure at the age of 77. The Gein’s farm house was set on fire, and his truck was sold to a carnival where people paid a quarter to see it after his death. Ed’s tombstone is the target for vandals and thieves as pieces are broken off for keepsakes and graffiti placed on it. As I have stated, Gein was only convicted and only admitted to two murders but there was the possibilities of many more including his brother who was found dead years before on the property during a controlled burn.  The authorities ruled that he died from asphyxiation from the smoke but wounds were found around his skull leaving some to wonder if Ed had attacked and murdered him. Ed also has been the inspiration for many Hollywood bad guys like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Norman Bates from Psycho, Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs and Ezra Cobb from Deranged. Not to mention Ed has had a few bio films based on him and has had such actors as Kane Hodder and Steve Railsback step into the role of portraying him. To this day Ed Gein seems to catch the attention of many true crime followers and seems to never be forgotten as his name lives on in film, comics and songs.

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Let’s take a look at the films of Texas Chainsaw Massacre….and these do have spoilers! I will include standard 1-4 star rating as the end of each small write up.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Sally Hardesty, her wheelchair bound brother Franklin, her boyfriend Jerry and friends Kirk and Pam are on a road trip through Texas in 1973 to see if their grandfather’s grave has been disturbed by a rash of grave robbers and to go to their family’s old home that is now in ruins. Along the way, they pick up a crazed hitchhiker who attacks Franklin before being booted from the van. They also meet a gas station owner named W.E who warns them not to go to the old house and warns them his station is out of gas. The group doesn’t listen and heads for the farm where their fun and games turn into a nightmare as a killer known as Leatherface (because he wears human skin as a mask) picks them off one by one. Leatherface uses all his tools of the trade to dispose of the teens like his trusty hammer, chainsaw and meat hooks. Finally Sally is the only one left alive and comes face to face with the true horror of Leatherface and his deranged brothers that include W.E., the hitchhiker and their wheelchair bound blood-drinking Grandpa who was a slaughterhouse worker. Sally is chased, beaten and forced to have a cannibal dinner with the family before she tries to escapes the madness with her life as Leatherface with chainsaw and hitchhiker with straight razor are in hot pursuit. In the end the hitchhiker is smashed by a semi truck, Leatherface takes his own chainsaw to the leg and Sally escapes with her life but not her mind. 4 Stars!

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II – Stretch is a DJ for a popular rock radio station that captures the deaths of two callers on her request line by the killer known as Leatherface. In town, Lefty Enright, uncle to Sally and Franklin Hardesty and a former ranger, wants to capture and kill those responsible for the murders taking place in Texas. The Sawyer clan now lives in an abandoned amusement park, and the Cook (Drayton) is now in the catering business selling his human BBQ and chili all around town and soon at the big football game. But when Lefty talks Stretch into playing the kill call live on the air, she and her coworker L.G. become the targets of Leatherface and his brother Chop-Top (a vet with a metal plate in his head) who want the tape and want them dead. The attack leaves Stretch’s co-worker at death’s door and Leatherface with a crush on her, which saves her life. The Sawyer clan heads home as Lefty and Stretch follow and get lost in the maze. Stretch is found and forced to eat dinner with the family as Leatherface’s new “girlfriend.” Meanwhile Lefty spends time trying to bring the whole place down. After he finds Stretch and saves her from the hammer what follows is a showdown between a crazed family of killers and a crazed man who lost it all when his family was taken away. The result is chainsaw duels, hammer blows to the head, the return of the blood-drinking Grandpa, the hitchhiker’s corpse as a puppet and the death of many of the Sawyer family. 3 1/2 Stars!

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Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III – Michelle and Ryan are driving cross-country and made the mistake of driving through Texas as another Sawyer body pit has been found. It throws them off the normal highway and to the Last Chance Gas Station run by a pervert named Alfredo Sawyer who gets into a fight with a hitchhiker named Tex after he catches him peeping on Michelle as she uses the restroom. Before Tex is “gunned” down for being a hero, he tells them to take a back road that leads to a run-in with Leatherface and an accident with a survivalist named Benny. With no cars and no hope, the three along with a crazy young woman who has escaped the Sawyer clan become the prey as Leatherface and his brothers Tinker (a hook handed technology lover and tow truck driver), Tex (the hitchhiker) and Alfredo (the gas station owner) hunt them down and kill them for meat. Michelle is alive after the others are killed and taken to the Sawyer farm were she gets to meet Mama Sawyer, Grandpa and Leatherface’s young daughter. But when Benny, who’s not dead, comes to her aid the two must kill or be killed to stay alive. Do they make it out of Texas alive, and if so, what is left of them? 2 1/2 Stars!

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Next Generation – It’s prom night in 1994 as mousy Jenny, a young woman who is being abused by her mom’s boyfriend, is on her way to the prom with Sean and her friend Heather and Heather’s asshole boyfriend Berry. They get into a wreck in the backwoods of Texas and meet Vilmer Sawyer, a towtruck driver with a mechanical leg brace, Darla an insurance agent with fake boobs, W.E. a shotgun welding history quoting asshole and of course Leatherface. One by one, like before, the friends are killed off as Jenny is the only one left to spend a horrific dinner with the Sawyer clan, but this time it’s different as they spend time playing mind games and cat and mouse chases with her. Weirdly, they refer to all of this as a job given to them by a secret government agency. But strangely a man dressed in black, a clear member of the secret government agency named Rothman, shows up and yells at the family but lets the madness continue. Jenny escapes the house with Vilmer and Leatherface in pursuit as a plane swoops down from nowhere killing Vilmer and stopping Leatherface dead in his tracks. Jenny gets to a limo where Rothman apologies for all she has been through and drops her off at a local hospital where she sees a crazed Sally Hardesty. The two lock eyes as we end with Leatherface swinging his chainsaw as the sun sets. This film was also known as “Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. 2 stars!

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre – In 1973 Erin, her boyfriend and a van full of friends are driving back home from Mexico and make the mistake of taking the backroads of Texas. After picking up a hitchhiker who blows her head off, they are lead to Sheriff Hoyt who makes them stay until this case can be closed. Erin and her friends soon learn that something is not right with the small almost abandoned town as everyone they meet seems a little off. When Erin’s boyfriend goes missing and becomes the first victim to Leatherface’s hammer, Erin and her friends start becoming human cattle to the Hewitt family that includes crazy Sheriff Hoyt, wheelchair bound Monty, little boy Jedediah and old lady Luda May. One by one the friends die. Erin is the last survivor who must escape her hellish nightmare, but before she does she saves a kidnapped baby, kills Sheriff Hoyt and chops off Leatherface’s arm. It ends with Erin driving off as a one-armed Leatherface makes one last attempt on her life. 2 1/2 Stars!

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning – In 1939 a deformed baby is born in a slaughterhouse and is quickly thrown away in the trash can out back where Luda May Hewitt rescues it and takes it home to raise as her own. Flash to 1969, and the small Texas town is dying as the baby grows up to be Thomas Hewitt, working for the very same slaughterhouse that threw him away just some 30 years before. Brothers Eric and Dean, along with their girlfriends Chrissie and Bailey are on their way to be dropped off to go to Vietnam as Thomas kills his old boss and his Uncle Charlie kills the sheriff to protect his nephew and becomes Sheriff Hoyt. The Hewitt family stays in the town and makes a vow that they will do whatever it takes to keep the family farm, including eating human flesh to never go hungry. Eric and crew get in a wreck as a female biker tries to rob them. This brings Sheriff Hoyt who kills the biker and takes Eric, Dean and Bailey under custody and to the Hewitt farm. Chrissie comes to the rescue with the help of the leader of the biker gang. But one by one they start meeting an end at the hands of Leatherface who ends up cutting Eric’s face off and taking off his leather strap mask to truly live up to what he is to become. Finally, after being caught and watching her loved ones get killed Chrissie escapes or so she thinks. 3 Stars!

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Texas Chainsaw 3D – The Sawyer family is under attack after the events of the first film as the Sheriff wants Leatherface to come out and turn himself in.  Things go south when some good old boys show up and kill the Sawyer family and burn down the farm house. One baby survives the attack and grows up thinking she is the daughter of some of the rednecks who killed her real family. When she gets a notice that her real grandma has died and left her a mansion, she finds out the truth that she was adopted and returns to Texas to acquire her family’s estate. But she and her friends get more than what they bargain for as Leatherface is still alive and lives in the basement and worse the towns redneck get wind of a Sawyer being back in town and are not happy. In the end the young woman must join forces with her chainsaw welding cousin and stop the rednecks that wish them nothing but harm. The film was the first in the series to be shot in 3D and is a direct sequel to the Tobe Hopper original. 2 1/2 Stars!

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The films have over the years built up a huge cult following, and while none of them were huge box office winners, they all are still well made fun horror films that deserve their spot in horror history. If your interested in reading my full reviews of most of the Texas Chainsaw films, then take a look at my old review site Bloodline Video for those and many other film and video game reviews. And speaking of video games we can’t talk Texas Chainsaw Massacre without talking about the 1982 Wizard Video Game based on the film for the Atari 2600 and that turned out to be a major flop but is now highly collectible today. The game has you play as Leatherface and armed with your trusty chainsaw and a select amount of fuel, you must chase after screaming females and hack them to pieces to gain points.  But the whole time you must also dodge obstacles like bulls skulls and wheelchairs because if you get caught up in one you lose fuel and your score will drop.The game when released was considered too adult for the video game market and could only be bought from select stores that chose to stock it and was sold behind counters limiting its sales. The game tested poorly with critics and gamers at the time and over all was trashed for its terrible plot and stiff gameplay. I happen to have an original copy of the game complete with its manuel that I bought from Ebay for $150.00.  While it’s a terrible game, it still holds some charm when you think about the fact it was one of the first horror themed games and the fact that Wizard Video, who was a popular VHS horror film distributor who was owned by Charles Band (Full Moon Entertainment) was the one to put it out. Only time will tell if Leatherface will ever get a full modern game again, but at this point I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Atari 2600texas chainsaw massacre atari adAtari 2600 Leatherface

Speaking of the Atari 2600 game based on the film one of the funniest reviews I have ever seen about this game was done for The Angry Video Game Nerd’s two-part Halloween special where he looked at this game as well as Haunted House, Frankenstein’s Monster and Halloween all for the Atari 2600. In the episode The Nerd buys both the Texas Chainsaw and Halloween Game (both who were rare and released by Wizard Home Video) from a garage sale run by a banjo playing hick smart ass. When he gets home, he plays the game and rips it to shreds for being a poor programed and thought out game. After the review he gets a visit from Chop Top and Leatherface who give chase and he is attacked by the Banjo Hick who is also part of the Sawyer Family. They force The Nerd to play the game longer until he escapes and is chased by Leatherface who gets hung up on a bike and allowing The Nerd to get away. This episode is so much fun and his Halloween specials always stand out for being well done and a great way to remember the horror games of the past. If you have not seen this episode, you should check it out on his website Cinemassacre or his Youtube page.

AVGN LeatherfaceAVGN Texas Chainsaw MassacreAVGN Chop Top

A cool short film that thus far has never been released and was directed by William Hopper, the son of original director Tobe Hopper, called “All American Massacre” was started in 1998 but not fully finished, It was supposed to be about Chop Top (played by Bill Mosley once again) and picks up after the events of part 2 and has Chop Top in jail spilling his guts to a Tabloid Magazine about the history of his family. The music score was being done by strange guitarist Buckethead, and the film had a lot of buzz after a teaser trailer was released. In 2011 the film tried to get the remaining funding via Kickstarter but the online attempt failed. At a convention a few years back I spoke to Bill Mosley about the film and he expressed that he wished it would come out as well. So here is to hoping that one day fans of Texas Chainsaw Massacre will be able to see this 60 minute sequel gem. I for one would love to see this because I am a fan of the character Chop Top and would love to see how he survived the chainsaw gut check from part 2 and see how he was captured by the police. So spread the word about this film, and let’s see if we can all help get this made.

All American Massacre Chop Topall american massacre posterAll American Massacre Chop-Top

The Sawyer family is also very popular when it comes to the merchandise department and have had so many product based around them.  They have had comics, shirts, toys, a video game, models, Halloween masks, soundtracks, jewelry and so much more. So if you’re a fan of this film and or Leatherface, then you should be happy at the amount of collectibles out in the world for you to own. I for one have a cool retro Leatherface T-Shirt, the video game and some of the action figures. My favorite Leatherface item I own is the 3 3/4″ action figure that is in scale with classic Star Wars and G.I. Joe’s.  Now that’s a cool toy. And I also love my CD soundtrack done by an old website called Roger’s Basement that has music and sound clips from the first two films.  Around Halloween time I play some tracks off these on the WYSO show Alpha Rhythms.

Leatherface action figureleatherface bustLeatherface halloween Maskleatherface model kit

One little unknown fact is that back in 2001 while Independent B Movie was still going strong I wrote and was going to direct and star as Leatherface in a fan made film based on this series called “Texas Chainsaw Massacre:Return Of The Saw”! The film was taking place after the events of Texas Chainsaw Massacre the Next Generation and would have followed a beauty queen named Gabriella and her photographer friend Paul as they make the mistake of having a run in with the Sawyers who consisted of Leatherface, The Hitchhiker, Vilmer, W.E., Grandpa and Rose who was based on the young girl from part III. The film also had a bounty hunter on the trail of the Sawyers named The Cobra who was hired to kill them by a family member of a past victim. The film was slated to star all the old fimilar faces of I.B.M like Matt Hoffman, Josh Weinberg, Andrea Seay, Dave Wean, Garrison Kane, Jeff Ricks, Brandon Womeldorff and Patrick Neeley. The script was finished and most the props were bought as we got a Leatherface and Grandpa Halloween Mask, lots of fake blood and body parts and even fake brown slime to use on the fake decomposing bodies. The film was about to go into production but it was pushed to the back burner when original scripts started to come in and films like Who Keeps Feeding Grandpa, Farmer Joe and Razor were made instead. Josh Weinberg was a true sport as he acted as the producer of this unfinished project and for many years after we kept talking about getting it into production, but sadly we were never able to.  The film’s script has fallen into the big blue folder of un-shot scripts along side Dracula film Eternal Sleep, Farmer Joe 2 and Matt Hoffman’s fan made Creature From The Black Lagoon film. Below is a fake teaser poster done by my friend Eric Shonborn just for this blog so take a look and think about the no budget fan film that never was.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Return of the Saw Poster

While on the topic of Texas, I just want to also mention that I don’t watch much TV these days and when I do watch TV shows they are on DVD.  But one show that I do watch is a really silly reality show called “American Hoggers”! I know right now many of you are laughing at me and shaking your heads at how I can watch such a dumb show, so allow me to explain. Last year Juliet and I were having some issue with our apartment, and while it was getting fixed I stayed at my parents’ house or we would rent a hotel room.  While at my parents’ house I would stay up late and have the TV on. A show that I kept catching was called American Hoggers, and the first thing that caught my eye was one of the show’s stars Krystal “The Pistol” Campbell and the second was Lea Penick.  Both are good looking women who were taking down giant hogs in the state of Texas, and this was mesmerizing to me late nights. The show is about The Campbell’s, a father and his kid team that go out and get wild hogs in Texas before they can cause more damage to peoples property or cause physical harm to kids and animals.  The show is so much fun and I enjoy the wild antics of father Jerry and the hotness of Krystal and Lea who also seem like really cool people and both girls are great at what they do and are down right fearless. After the apartment was fixed I still found myself watching the show with my Mom and Dad on Wednesdays. I know it’s a sickness.

krystal pistol campbellamerican hoggers logolea penick

Now before we take a look at Northstar comics four issue loosely based comic adaptation of the film Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, I would like to also take a moment to talk about another planed adaptation from them that never happened, a mini series that was in the works based on the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. By the midway mark of the Leatherface series, the sales of this title were high and issue one was a total sell out and helped the company gain momentum who were only a gore and horror comic company who made many original titles like KlownShock and Splatter and those titles sells were never as solid as they were on the Leatherface series, making them look at The Sawyer Family as a cash cow and a quick way to become a player at the growing comic shops around the United Stares and hang with the big boys of Marvel and DC. The fourth and final issue in the Leatherface mini series revealed that the company was working on a adaptation of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and many new original Chainsaw stories that was in the works.  The adaptation comic was said to have J.J. Birch who worked on the Catwoman comic on board and was going to be the kick off to this new series of books. Fans were hyped and the comic even had advertisements for these comic books.  Years passed and the comics never seen the light of day nor did Northstar ever speak of them again making many forget that they were even in the works and others who did just moved on to other comics. I spent hours looking into why this book was canceled and could never find an answer. I for one would have loved to have read both the film adaptation and the new series and know that I would have bought them when they came out. I am wondering if the book was finished and if so who owns it and is there any chance that it would ever come out! Fangoria Comics would have been a great company to put this out if they didn’t go south way too soon. Below is one of the ads that was published in issue 4 of Leatherface so that we all can look at it and wonder what it could have been.

Northstar Leatherface adNow that we have taken a look at Leatherface in film, video game and merchandise I think it’s time that we dive into the backroads of Texas and adventure into reading this series! When I was younger I only owned issue 4 and always looked at local comic shops like Mavericks and The Bookie Parlor for the other three and was never successful in my quest. Years later thanks to the team up of Lone Star Comics and Amazon, I was able to find the other three and replace the issue four I sold off to pay rent way back when. I just want you all to remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So let’s gas up the chainsaw and have a bloody good time.

Leatherface 1

Leatherface  # 1  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics   # 1 of 4

Leatherface bashes a young woman’s head in and removes the skin around her face to make a new mask from it, as a woman outside watches in horror and flee’s into the woods. Michelle and Ryan are stuck in a traffic jam that’s caused by the discovery of a massive body pit that is housing the remains of 70 to 80 victims. When they can finally hit the road, Michelle hits an armadillo and when Ryan goes to kill it she finds a chrome skull ear ring at the side of the road. The couple stops at the Last Chance Gas Station run by a eye patch wearing goon named Alfredo who speaks like a pervert, and they also meet Tex a hitchhiker cowboy who just wants to get home.  After Tex catches Alfredo peeping on Michelle as she uses the restroom he flips out and gets a shotgun and shoots the cowboy and tries to blast the couple who speed off and turn down an old abandoned road where they are chased by a giant monster truck that throws a decapitated dogs head at the window and causes the couple to wreck and get a flat tire. As the monster truck speeds off, Ryan is trying to fix the flat tire as a noise is heard in the woods, a simple squeak noise that turns into the sound of a chainsaw as Leatherface is upon them!

This issue is a fun way to start off this movie adaptation and uses Leatherface in only two spots: killing the person at the start of the issue and the quick flash of him getting ready to kill our heros. Leatherface in this issue seems very mean spirited and is very much like he is in the film this comic is based on.  His look is also great, and he is sporting long hair and a giant knee brace. Michelle and Ryan are a good couple who are clearly at odds with each other.  In this comic they seem to argue a lot and Ryan is pretty much a pure ass who takes any chance to try and push Michelle’s buttons trying to get her to fight with him. Tex comes off as just a cowboy who is a drifter and is a puzzle as he is the one who gave them the route they took when they were attacked by the monster truck, and Alfredo is a pure sleaze ball who is crazy as Ygor from the Universal film Son of Frankenstein. The comic has a nice amount of gore to go along with the plot of a couple driving a car across Texas who are fighting over a break up that is in the works and make a mistake of stopping at a gas station that is run by the Sawyers. One nice touch is that in the body pit part two of the workers are FX maser Tom Savini and classic b-actor Dick Miller! The art work by Kirk Jarvinen is good stuff and is the style of 90’s horror comics that I like, and the cover is also well done and eye catching. I can see why this first issue sold so well, and I for one wish I would have gotten it off the stand when I was a kid as I am sure both The Bookie Parlor and Mavericks had it stocked. While it’s very close to the film, the changes are well done and make this first issue a good read.  I don’t know about you but I am pretty hyped to see what issue two brings to the table. 

Leatherface 2

Leatherface  # 2  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics   # 2 of 4

Ryan and Michelle are shocked at the side of the road as Leatherface comes at them with his chainsaw a buzzing.  Ryan thinks fast and kicks Leatherface in the balls and as the killer drops, he and Michelle speed off! Leatherface tries to stop them but breaks his chain on his saw, and they get away. While speeding Michelle crashes into a truck driven by Benny, a weekend warrior who is a survivalist, after she thinks she sees an injured Tex in the road. They couple tell Benny about Tex and the chainsaw madman who tried to kill them, as he thinks they are just talking smack after being shook up from the accident. Benny goes to the road to get his gun just in case and waiting up there is Tinker, a tow truck driver with a hooked hand, who turns out to be yet another crazy member of the Sawyer family.  Benny is able to get his gun and escape being run over just in time, but his escape is short lived as he is now being attacked by Leatherface! Benny fights his hardest but just as it looks bad, the woman who at the start of issue one saves him and has Leatherface chase after her! Meanwhile Michelle and Ryan are trying to shake off injuries when a shotgun carrying Tex comes for them and fights with the couple to keep them captive. While the poor woman who saved Benny’s life is captured by Tink and is cut up by Leatherface.

Issue two is all action and does not pull the punches with the gore, action and blood! This time around Leatherface is given more depth and at one point when he breaks his saw takes to bashing his own head against a tree as punishment! Leatherface is also way more blood thirsty in the issue and takes glee in chopping up the woman in the end, not to mention it’s super cool as they put dialogue in as to what he is thinking. Ryan is still an ass even being in danger, and the character is not likeable at all.  When he gets his face smashed with the butt of the shotgun you don’t feel sorry for him, but you feel sorry for Michelle who is left to fight of Tex alone. Michelle is likable but does make dumb mistakes in the comic just as she did in the film and the top one being getting into the crash with Benny. Tink is an odd duck who it’s clear he is now the brains of the family after the death of Drayton Sawyer aka The Cook from the first two films, and seems to love technology. Tex is shown to be a part of the family and is a sick son of gun who uses his looks to trick people into going along with what he says. The art work is now being done by Guy Burwell who also did the cover, and while his art work is good, it kind of lost some of the charm of issue one.  Plus the cover is not as eye catching. Over all this is a good issue and keeps you entertained with all the action and blood.  I also love the changes from the film like Leatherface slaughtering the girl, being pissed about his saw breaking and even Tex fighting with Michelle and Ryan; all nice touches and truly flushes out the story a little more. Let’s get onto issue three, shall we?

Leatherface 3

Leatherface  # 3   ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics   # 3 of 4

Tink and Leatherface are having a blast playing around with the body parts of the woman they had just killed, even playing baseball with her skull! Tink finds Ryan’s cassette tape walkman and gives it to Leatherface as a gift and has Leatherface do the classic chainsaw dance for his amusement. Meanwhile Michelle has escaped Tex and is wandering the woods and finds that the Sawyer family have traps set everywhere to capture and kill anyone who stumbles onto their place.  As she is wandering, she finds a normal looking house with a Little Girl sitting on the porch and asks her for help. The Little Girl takes Michelle inside and soon enough she finds out she is in the killers’ home as Tex and Little Girl try and capture her yet again. Meanwhile Benny in the woods finds a pond where Alfredo is dumping body parts of victims, and the two have an exchange of words that leaves Alfredo knocked out and thrown into the pond. Michelle meanwhile is captured and meets the family from Mama to a crazed old man who the family has taken in as their own, and she is forced to watch as Leatherface bashes in the head of Ryan who they have brought home to slaughter and eat!

This third issue is more about suspense and builds up a very gloom and doom feeling for Michelle who is truly on her own against a family of crazed rednecks. Michelle is a likable killer.  While she fights back a tad, you really keep wanting her to fight as hard as she can to get away from the Sawyer family. Ryan in the issue is nothing more than a dead man walking as his date with the sledgehammer is near. Benny is trying his best to find the couple and get rid of the Sawyer family but is always a few steps behind. Tex and Little Girl make a good team of trying to capture Michelle, and Little Girl is just as nuts as the rest of the family. Mama is not given to much in the issue but now it’s clear her word is law. Leatherface is still the mean brute he is in the first two issuea and once more seems to get pleasure in bashing in Ryan’s face. The issue is a nice set up for the big blow out you know is coming up in issue four, the final issue in the mini series, and makes you wonder what changes will be made next. Art in comic and cover is done by Guy Burwell again and once more is good work with an improvement on the cover. So with this let’s get into issue four and see how the story ends. 

Leatherface 4

Leatherface # 4  **1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics  # 4 of 4

Tink is happy with Leatherface and takes him out to the barn to give him a giant chrome chainsaw, but the gift is cut short as Benny has found them and opens fire, killing Tink with a wave of bullets.  As the war outside is going on, Michelle escapes and kills Tex with a butcher knife leaving the cowboy a bloody mess. Benny enters the house and has a standoff with Mama, but she is quickly killed as he bashes her head in with his gun.  Leatherface is now in the action and chops off some of Benny’s fingers and causes him and Michelle to flee into the woods, but while by the pond Alfredo pops back up and attacks Michelle as Leatherface catches up and fights with Benny! Michelle wins her fight and drowns Alfredo in the dirty pond water as Benny is decapitated by Leatherface’s chainsaw and Michelle uses the head to bash Leatherfaces brains in! In the end Michelle is by the side of the road, deathly sick from the pond water that was covered in disease from the dead bodies in it as a sheriff’s car drives by containing Leatherface, the old man and Little Girl as they are just driving on to make home somewhere else in Texas.

This last issue is what I would call Faces of Death of the Sawyer Family as members of the family are shot, stabbed, drowned and bashed! Michelle in this issue has had enough and kills two of the family members and even beats Leatherface down with a human skull! The change in Michelle builds up in all four issues so as she snaps and kills her would be murders, you find yourself cheering for her to get them. Tink is wasted in the issue as for the most part the whole mini series as it’s clear he’s crazy but is also kind of the brains of the brothers. Tink’s death in the film is similar to the comic as in he is shot in both. Alfredo is out of his mind crazy and is a character I love seeing both in the comic and film get his.  His death in the comic is way different from that of the film as in this one he is drowned and in the film he takes a shotgun blast to his face. Tex is the suave brother and it comes across in the comic that while he will kill and do violent acts, he just doesn’t get into it as much as his brothers. His death is way different in the comic as he his stabbed and gutted by Michelle and in the film he is set on fire by Benny during an ax fight. Mama is just around in the comic and seems not as important as she does in the film.  Her death is also way different as in the film she is shot up by Benny and not getting her brain bashed in like the comic. Little Girl is pretty much the same nut job little kid, and her character is well done because it adds the uneasy feel to all the deaths that she sees before her. The Grandpa in the comic is some coot who just babbles and his over all a waste. Leatherface in this comic mini series is a pure blood and gore crazed bad ass who is after one thing and that’s to make his family proud! I truly do like the way he is written in this mini series, and I think adding what he is thinking is a thing of pure genies when it comes to horror comics like this based around an over all mute character. The art work and cover is once more done by Guy Burwell, and while I don’t like his style as well as I liked Kirk Jarvinen’s work in the first issue, I would say that over all the artwork for the whole series is well done and fitting for such a grim story. To round up this review I would say while it kept some of the core things from the film it’s based around, it adds enough change to make this comic series seem like a “Marvel What If” version and gives the reader a new ride on what could have been a bad paint by numbers comic adaptation. As Joe Bob Briggs would say over all “Three Stars. Check It Out.”

leatherface 3 art 1LEATHERFACE!Leatherface 3 art 2

So thanks for traveling the back roads of Texas with me and looking back at Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. I do have a quick story about this film that I will share with you. Growing up I collected horror films on VHS and I had a really good collection going.  This was before the days of online shopping, and I would spend a lot of time looking at places like Second Time Around, Half Price Books, Replay Media, West Coast Video and Blockbuster Video looking for more horror films to add to my collection.  One film I always wanted was “Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III,” and the only place I could find it was at the little video store K&L Video that me and my brother would rent from and I can remember harassing him forever about buying it, and the owner Kenny would always give me some super high quote like $50-$80. Years passed and when sadly K&L went out of business I was finally able to buy the VHS, but what should have been a happy day for my collecting ways turned out to be a sad one as I would lose a place that always felt like a second home. But the next update will be our first Halloween update and I will post it on October 31st and we will be taking a look at custom comics based on Hammer horror films that I will be reading at haunted places in and around the Dayton area! So make sure to come back for that spooky good time! Until then watch a horror film, play a horror game and always make sure to read a horror comic, and stay scary!

HAMMER HORROR comic logo