The Deadly Hands Of The Dragon, The Quick Bite Of The Cobra!

Here at Rotten Ink I love martial arts and not just in comic and movies but also in the world of MMA! Growing up I used to watch Kung-Fu Theater on USA Network and always looked forward to a special they had on USA Network called Kung Fu June, not to mention from time to time Commander USA would host a martial art film.  Because of all this I became addicted to watching Kung Fu martial art films. Names like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and The Shaw Brothers became staples in my young mind and were at the top of the list of stars in this genre. But what also helped kick off my love for Kung Fu films was a book I found at Waynesville Antique Mall called “Kung Fu: Cinema Of Vengeance” by Verina Glaessner that was all about the films and actors of the genre.  I learned so much about the genre at a young age thanks to this book and USA Network, not to mention films like The Karate Kid and all the Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris action films I grew up watching! So this update is for martial arts fans all over the world who enjoy the art of fighting and self defense.

Kung Fu Cinema Of Vegeance Book

One of my favorite martial art films I saw on the USA Network was called “Chinese Super Ninjas,” made by The Shaw Brothers in 1982 and is also known as “Five Element Ninjas.” It’s about a young man whose teacher and fellow students are killed by a ninja.  Lost and filled with rage, the young man finds a new teacher and fellow students and learns a new style of martial arts.  Together with his new friends, he must take on ninjas who represent the elements like wood, water and fire. When I was a late teenager, I moved back to Kettering and was close to a Blockbuster Video (that I would later work many years at) where I picked up a bunch of old martial arts films on VHS in a discount bin for .99 each that included such titles as “Chinese Samson”, “Fearless Hyena”, “Snake Eagle Crane” and one of my personal favorites called “Chinese Hercules” that starred the one and only mountain of muscle Bolo Yeung! Chinese Hercules was made in 1973 and is about a peaceful man who swore off fighting and works for a dock that is taken over by mobsters.  The workers are mistreated by him and his muscle bound goon who is the Chinese Hercules.  The man is forced to fight to stand up for what’s right. When I started to work for Blockbuster, they where still renting out VHS and during one of our shipments we got a classic martial arts film in for sale.  It was called “Five Deadly Venoms,” and I was taken back on how kick ass the film was when I bought it! My friend Jason Gilmore also saw the film around the same time and he was also a super fan and we both cracked up when rapper O.D.B (Old Dirty Bastard) used samples from the film on one of his CD’s. The film was another Shaw Brothers production made in 1978 and follows five students who are trained in many styles based on poisonous animals like snake, toad and scorpion.  While all are trained by the same teacher, they all don’t know the true identity of the others and some are good and some are bad.  In the end the two sides clash in a breath taking kung-fu showdown! This is just a tiny taste of the martial arts films I truly like but these three are very much at the top of the list of some of my all time favorites. I could also list quite a few Bruce Lee films but I figured I would talk about three that some of you fine readers might not have known about, so if you have not seen any of these and enjoy classic Kung-Fu flicks, I say check them out.

Chinese Super Ninjas PosterChinese HerculesFive Deadly Venoms DVD

Bolo Yeung is one of my favorite classic Kung-Fu actors and is one of cinema’s best bad guys of the 70’s and 80’s. Yang Sze was born July 3rd 1946 in China and before he became an actor, he was a completive body builder and was Mr. Hong Kong Champion, a title he held for 10 years! Bolo also studied many styles of martial arts from many teachers and mastered the art of self-defense that helped him when he decided to become an actor in action films. Bolo started acting in 1970 in Shaw Brother films with his first role being in a film called “The Wondering Swordsman” and took roles mostly as bad guys in other films like “The Oath Of Death”, “Tiger”, and “The 14 Amazons.”  His biggest role was in the Bruce Lee film “Enter The Dragon” where he played a character named Bolo. Many other great roles followed like “Chinese Hercules”, “Soul of Chiba”, “Bolo The Brute”, “Bruce The Superhero” and “Fearless Hyena 3”. In 1988 he played the role of Chong Li in the film “Bloodsport” that starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and would be in another Van Damme film called “Double Impact” in 1991. Bolo continued to star in several action films through the 90’s and into the 2000’s, and it appears he will be in a film this year called “The Whole World At Our Feet”! Love him or hate him, Bolo Yeung is one of the best badass actors who made playing a bad guy cool during his career on the silver screen.

bolo yeung

The 1970’s in the world of comic books, most companies rode the wave of the popularity of martial arts films and many great characters came out of this time. Marvel Comics has two popular characters that were hand to hand combat experts, Iron Fist and Shang-Chi The Master of Kung-Fu. Growing up I had issues of both of these characters and with Iron Fist I had mostly the ones were he teamed up with Luke Cage Power Man.  For Shang-Chi I had many of his issues and enjoyed them a lot.  A couple years back, I had a pretty good run of Master of Kung-Fu’s and like a numb skull I sold them to a web based comic store….I know a run of them would have made a great update. DC Comics had Richard Dragon Kung Fu Fighter and Val Armorr The Karate Kid. I never owned an issue of either of these characters and sad to say had zero interest in both characters. The martial arts was so popular in the 70’s even independent comic companies got into the market of making comics based of karate characters like Charlton’s House of Yang and Hong Kong Phooey based on the popular cartoon. While many of today’s super heroes know karate and martial arts, the magic of the 70’s kung-fu fighters will always live on.

Master Of Kung Fu ComicKung Fu Fighter ComicHouse Of Yang Comic

I have been watching The Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) since the start thanks mostly to my uncle George who would order the PPV and invite us over to watch them with him.  It was a blast watching George get worked up over the fights! You see my uncle George is a bad ass when it comes to the martial arts and I am sure could and would have done very well in the early days of UFC. I can remember sitting at his house along with my dad, brother and cousins Dino, Norman and Nick and watching the likes of Don Frye, Royce Gracie and Maurice Smith duke it out and do whatever it took to get the win under their belts. Over the years the sport of MMA and the company UFC have changed, and UFC has become of the biggest mixed martial arts companies in the word running others like Pride FC, Strikeforce and EliteXC out of business. And along this long journey of watching the sport and seeing it evolve, I have a list of fighters that I love and loved watching in the ring and really briefly I would like to share some of them with you.  This list is in no order, and I picked my top five MMA stars.

UFC Red Logo

So let’s step into the octagon and see what I would call Rotten Ink’s MMA Hall of Fame Class 1!

vitor belfort

Vitor Belfort

Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort has always been one of my favorite fighters ever since I saw him KO the likes of Tank Abbott, Wanderlei Silva and Scott Ferrozzo in the early days of UFC. He is trained in many fighting styles like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Judo, Shotokan and Boxing with the latter truly being one of his strong suits as Belfort can throw wicked fast punches with knock out power in each strike! Belfort started his fighting career at the age of 19 at an event called SuperBrawl 2 in Hawaii and beat the much larger Jon Hess by KO in 12 seconds into the first round! Some key names he has also beaten in the sport include Gilbert Yvel, Heath Herring, Randy Couture, Marvin Eastman, Rich Franklin, Anthony Johnson, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson. To this day, Belfort is one of my favorite fighters to watch and here is to hoping that he holds the middleweight title for a long time! His record thus far is 24-11 and his career looks as if it will not be slowing down anytime soon.

Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman

Mark “The Hammer” Coleman is the godfather of ground and pound as well as the first ever UFC Heavyweight champion! Much like Vitor I have always been a fan of Mark Colman as in his early days in the sport he was one of the most dominate fighters to step into the octagon and pound his opponent down. Another great thing about Coleman is the fact he is also an Ohio boy who in college was a freestyle wrestler and went to OSU (The Ohio State University) and as well made it to the Olympics. Coleman first entered the UFC in 1996 at the point when each event was a tournament, having the fighters at some points fighting up to three times a night! Coleman’s first fight was against Moti Horenstein that he won when he pounded Moti in to sudmission! Coleman would not stay in the UFC his whole carrer and would go on to become a even bigger star in Japan fighting for Pride FC. In 2009 Coleman made his UFC return at the age of 45 and had a short run before being let go and later retiring from the sport. During his amazing MMA run he went 16-10 and beat such talents as Gary Goodridge, Don Frye, Dan Severn, Igor Vovchanchyn, Mauricio Rua and Stephan Bonnor. Mark Coleman is also in the UFC Hall of Fame and still remains a major figure in the history of MMA.

Ken Shamrock

Ken Shamrock

The World’s Most Dangerous Man Ken Shamrock was the sport’s first major megastar who helped bring MMA into the main stream. Ken was the first fighter to use a shoot style and would show the world that Royce Gracie was human after all as he wore out the legend in a 36 minute fight that ended in a draw. Shamrock also was the head of a training camp called The Lion’s Den that dominated the octagon for years and had/has such fighters as Guy Mezger, Vernon White, Frank Shamrock, Maurice Smith and Roy Nelson showing the talent that has come from his camp. Shamrock fought not only for the UFC but also companies like Pride FC, Rage Cage and Pancrase and was a major draw for each. Ken’s biggest feud in the sport was against Tito Ortiz, and their first fight was one of UFC’s top purchased PPVs.  The next three times the fighters stepped into the cage was a draw for viewers. Ken Shamrock was also on the UFC reality TV show called The Ultimate Fighter as well acted in some films like Scarecrow Gone Wild. Ken has victories over such fighters as Bas Rutten, Maurice Smith, Dan Severn and Kimo Leopoldo to name a few.  In his career Ken holds a fight record of 28-16-2, and while he has fought this year 2015 and lost in the first round to Kimbo Slice, Shamrock claims he is not retired and might fight sometime again. Ken is trained in many styles of fighting but is best described at a shoot fighter. Ken Shamrock as well is in the UFC Hall Of Fame.

Tito Ortiz

Tito Ortiz

The Huntington Beach Bad Boy Tito Ortiz is one of those fighters you like or hate, and I find myself being a fan of Ortiz who brought back ground and pound to the UFC when he busted onto the scene in 1997. Ortiz early in his career made an impact with fans with his take no crap attitude and his outlandish opinions of his opponents. I mean what other fighter can you name that in a short time could piss off a whole fight camp like the Lions Den and to back up his mouth was able to beat down many of the camp’s top stars! Ortiz has been a Light Heavy Weight Champion, a coach on Ultimate Fighter, a short lived pro wrestler, acted in movies and shows like Zombie Strippers and Crow: Wicked Prayer and married adult film actress Jenna Jameson. Ortiz was never one to keep quiet on things and has had falling outs with UFC and it’s president Dana White on many occasions and most of the times worked things out to return to the octagon. Ortiz is now fighting for Bellator after UFC wanted him to retire from the sport. Ortiz is a well rounded fighter and learned many types of martial arts to become the fighter he is and one of few to be inducted into the UFC Hall Of Fame. Ortiz in his career thus far has wins over such talent as Guy Mezger, Wanderlei Silva, Evan Tanner, Ken Shamrock, Vito Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Ryan Bader and Stephan Bonnar. His record in the sport as of the day this update was posted is 18-11-1 and here is to wishing Ortiz more wins and one last title run.

Mark Kerr

Mark Kerr

The Smashing Machine Mark Kerr is a fighter that I feel is often overlooked when people talk about the legends of MMA.  Much like Belfort and Coleman, he is a fighter that I have found myself cheering for since he broke into the fighting world. Mark Kerr comes from a collegiate wrestling background and was one of the best at what he did, making people submit and dominating them with his pure power. Mark made his MMA debut in 1997 at World Vale Tudo Championship 3 where he beat down three opponents to win the event and did so with a broken hand! Kerr went on to fight for the UFC where he made a name for himself by smashing the competition.  He later went to Pride FC and became a mega star but at the time he was always battling some demons and his career took a hit for it with a string of loses in the company. After Pride, Mark went on to fight for many smaller companies and was a draw for them on his name value. Mark Kerr was the subject of a documentary about his addictions and the sport of MMA for HBO called “The Smashing Machine” that helped open eyes for many about the dangers of addiction and it also showed how competitive MMA is. While later in Mark’s career he had a string of losses those can’t take away the impact of what he contributed to the sport and showed that wrestlers can be top fighters like Mark Coleman before him. I should also state that Kerr is born in Ohio making him one of us! In his career Kerr has victories over the likes of Paul Varelans, Dan Bobish, Nobuhiko Takada and Enson Inoue. Kerr, who is retired, holds a MMA record of 15-11-1, and is sadly not in the UFC Hall of Fame.

ronda rousey

Rhonda Rousey

I am still a huge fan of MMA, but I seem to think the sport is currently lacking the type of top notch athletes that made the sport from the start, I mean who can look up to the likes of Jon Jones or Chael Sonnen? But one fighter I find myself liking is Rowdy Rhonda Rousey who is a Judo machine who even has Gold Medals from the Olympics to prove it! Rhonda who is only 27 has already won the UFC Light Weight Championship and has starred in many movies like The Expendables 3 and Furious 7 and is sponsored by Reebok Shoes. She has wins over the likes of Miesha Tate, Sara McMann and Alexis Davis and holds an impressive record of 11-0! I am keeping an eye on Rhonda as I feel she is truly the next big thing on the world of MMA, and I see her holding the title for a very long time! Plus she loves Pro Wrestling so she is A-OK in my book!

The Octogan

Well we talked about Kung-Fu films, martial arts comics and MMA so I think it’s time we jump into our comic made by Atlas Comic,s a company you long time readers know I love and learned about thanks to the gone but not forgotten comic shop The Bookie Parlor. But much like the other Atlas titles we have covered in the past, this series disappeared as fast as it appeared as the company folded up thanks to the shelf hogs Marvel and DC who made it impossible to get their issues on the news stands when they would flood the racks with tons of titles at a time. And if you think about it, they both still do it to this day – I mean how many Batman and Avengers titles do we need? The title we are looking at today is so fitting for this update, The Hands Of The Dragon, and follows a masked Kung-Fu hero named The Dragon as he attempts to stop his evil brother and avenge the death of his grandfather. I found this comic at an antique mall so I want to thank that vendor for having it in stock for me to buy and review. So let’s see what The Dragon can do, but before we do, I must remind everyone that I grade this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s karate chop our way to an adventure packed time.

The Hands Of The Dragon 1

The Hands Of The Dragon  # 1  ***
Released in 1975    Cover Price .25    Atlas Comics    #1 of 1

It’s World War II and an old man along with his two baby grandchildren (Wu Ten & Ling) have returned to Japan at a horrible time as the atomic bomb is dropped and the radiation burns the face of Ling badly.  The old man goes to the only place he feels safe, the monastery where he grew up. As the kids grow up, Wu Ten is a noble and strong young man who has mastered the art of fighting as has his scarred brother Ling but he is filled with rage and anger and has been hanging around a bad influence named Dr. Nhu.  A fight between the brothers leaves their grandfather dead by the tip of a spear thrown by Ling, and this starts a feud between the brothers that leaves them as mortal enemies. The years pass and Wu Ten moves to California and becomes a news anchor.  At night he puts on a mask and calls himself The Dragon and is looking for his brother Ling who is now going under the name The Cobra! After he finds a picture taken by co-worker Nicky he finds that Cobra as well as Dr. Nhu are in town and planning on killing the Prime Minister of Japan! During a speech at a college, the Prime Minister is shot by the Cobra as The Dragon is fighting Dr. Nhu who escapes after The Dragon himself is shot by the Prime Minister’s scared bodyguards in the back! In the end at the hospital, the Prime Minister is in a coma but comes out of it thanks to The Dragon who uses a mystic medallion to give him strength.  When The Dragon leaves the hospital in the shadows, he knows that he must find his brother and stop his killing rampage.

This is a great Atlas Comic that I had never heard of until I found it at the antique mall, and I must say I am glad I did as I think it was fantastic and had so much potential to be a great martial arts comic series. Sadly I must say that much like the other Atlas Comic series I talked about, The Brute and The Cougar, this series just ends on the promise of a new issue coming that never came to be thanks to the doors of the company closing. The plot of this comic is pure Kung-Fu movie stuff as it has two brothers on two different paths becoming enemies over the death of their “master”. The plot thus far was really well done and easily could have given Marvel’s Master Of Kung-Fu a run for its money. Wu Ten/ The Dragon is a noble and nice young man who defends the defenseless and has a sense of pride in his family and his heritage. He is skilled in hand to hand combat and can shut out pain when it comes to saving lives and stopping bad guys, and I can’t forget that he is super strong. When becoming The Dragon, he wears a mask to hide his face and hides in the shadows much like Batman…in fact The Dragon/ Wu Ten is a combination of one part Peter Parker, a dash of Clark Kent with the appearance of Iron Fist, and for good measure add in some Jackie Chan. Ling/The Cobra is not as fleshed out as his brother.  All we really know is that he is badly scarred in the face, he is filled with rage and doesn’t care about taking other people’s lives, he hangs around with shady people and he is not as skilled as his brother. The Cobra/ Ling is a mix of the following: add one splash of Storm Shadow, two parts Shredder with the appearance of Freddy Kruger and the attitude of Bolo Yeung. Dr. Nhu is a man covered in tattoos who is a bad man and is not liked by the monks, and when Ling kills his grandfather this man takes him in. Grandfather is a fighter who did whatever he could do to save his grandchildren whose parents were killed in the war.  Grandfather hates war and hates the needless violence of others. I also need to add that Grandfather had radiation poisoning and was able to kill a polar bear with his bare hands….now that’s a badass! It’s a shame that this comic series ended before another issue was able to come out as I would have liked to have seen a little more character development for The Dragon and The Cobra. The art is pretty solid and is done by Jim Craig and holds that 70’s comic feel and also looks like it could be a Marvel Comic in it’s style. Once more Atlas proves why it’s one of my favorite independent comic companies of the past and delivered another action pack character whose life was sadly cut short by lack of rack space at the comic racks at the five and dime stores.

Hands Of The Dragon Art 1Hands Of The Dragon Art 2Hands Of The Dragon Art 3

Well it’s the fifth round of this Atlas Comic title fight, and I had a blast taking a trip down memory lane of the old love I had for martial arts films as well as talking about the warriors of MMA that I cheer for as they step into the octagon. But our next update is taking us away from hand to hand combat and into the world of spooky ghosts as we not only take a look at the comic series based on Filmation’s Ghostbusters but I will also go on a local ghost hunt and tell you all the spooky details! So until then, Young Grasshoppers, be active and make sure to take some time to read a comic or three and remember: No Retreat and No Surrender!

Filmations_Ghostbusters_Logo

The Red Devil Of Dinosaur Valley…

Welcome back to my own little slice of the internet, a place that I can sit back and be one with the memories of the past as well as those of present day and even the future. So the day I am writing this is March 16th 2014, the day before St. Patrick’s Day.  While out and about with my gal pal Juliet, we stopped at an antique mall called Peddler’s Mall in Lebanon.  You see, we love looking at old stuff from vintage toys, character glasses, metal lunch boxes, classic board games, comics and all types of other random stuff.  This place had it all, but this place was also something more to me as it’s located on the site of the old Big Bear & Hearts that I grew up going to, the same place that I got many of my toys, comics, magazines and music from as a kid. Big Bear is now split into two sides with the side that was Hearts being the Antique Mall, and the Big Bear side sitting empty with paper covering the windows and doors. When walking back into it that building, a surge of nostalgia hit me like a train as I took in the memories of Hearts and a younger me and my brother rushing to the toy aisles. I also was swept up with the vintage Charlie’s Angels trading cards, a Happy Days lunch box and Elvis Presley figures. This Antique Mall was pretty cool as many vendors inside had classic toys, even some really cool Universal Monster dolls of Son of Dracula and Invisible Man that were cheaply priced at $15.00 a piece, not to mention a basket of Kenner Super Powers with such heroes as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Arrow all priced at $10.00! They also had many great vintage character drinking glasses from Looney Tunes all the way to E.T.  They had them all priced pretty well! They even had a Pepsi “Moon” DC Glass of Robin The Boy Wonder for $14.00, and it’s amazing because the glass looked brand new! They had many great lunch boxes as well.  Besides Happy Days, they had Lone Ranger, Super Friends, Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers, Six Million Dollar Man and Buck Rogers, all priced pretty well with a few being slightly over priced for the condition they were in. The place was also packed with not only customers but also books, cloths, vinyl and baseball collectibles making the trip there a very fun one. I will admit the moment I stepped in the location that was the toy department of Hearts, I felt a sense of missing them and wishing they were still around so some day when/if I ever have kids, I could have taken them there and got them whatever they liked from the toys.  But sadly we can’t live in the past or even in the world of Marvel’s What If? And I just need to be glad something moved into the building that was empty for way too long. I will also say that the customers were all polite, and the staff of Peddler’s Mall were all nice, making the trip a good one. So I am sure you’re wondering what we bought, right? Well let me tell: you we got an Officer Big Mac glass for $3.00 and a metal Muppet Movie lunch box minus the thermos for $15.00.  So not too bad of a haul….kind of wished I would have bought the Son of Dracula Doll though.

Stuff From Mall

But while speaking of the past, I want to say that when I was a kid, like many kids of my time and before and after me, I really liked dinosaurs.  They just seemed like real life monsters that roamed our world that were all killed off by something unknown. I mean scientist have many theories on why they all died, but let’s be honest, they have no clue.  While science is cool and very helpful, some things they come up with seem as if they are pulled out of thin air. Growing up I played with rubber dinosaurs and even small plastic ones and always enjoyed going to museums and seeing their bones and watching any TV program about them. In fact some of the more fun times in school were spent learning about dinosaurs that sadly seemed to be taught way too fast. It’s really not shocking that the youth of the 80’s and 90’s grew up loving dinosaurs as we were treated to Godzilla films on TV, movies like Land Before Time, Baby and Jurassic Park as well as cartoons like Denver The Last Dinosaur and Dino Riders and a hell of a lot of toys! So with this update we are going to take a look at a dinosaur that was created by comic legend Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics, and we are talking the one and only DEVIL DINOSAUR!

T-RexTriceratopsraptor

When someone mentions an icon of comic books names like Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Bob Kane, many others come to mind but one that is always at the top of the list is artist and creator Jack Kirby who is known around the world for being the creator/co-creator of such characters like Captain America, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Thor, Doctor Doom, Magneto, The Demon, Darkseid and so many more for Marvel, DC and even other comic companies. Jack Kirby, who’s real name is Jacob Kurtzberg, was born on August 28th 1917 in New York to a poor family where he grew up drawing and tracing comic characters from newspapers and books. In the 1930’s and under many different pen names he worked in the comics industry, but in 1940 alongside friend and co-worker Joe Simon for Timely Comics, they created Captain America! Captain America was a huge hit and was a very popular character for kids to read. In the 40’s Kirby and Simon teamed up to make many different characters, but they had to take time off when Kirby went to fight in World War II. When returning from war, he went on to work for DC, Harvey and a few others before working for Marvel Comics in 1960’s and with Stan Lee they created some of the company’s top heroes like Hulk, X-Men and Fantastic Four.  While he was considered one of the company’s top artists, he felt they mistreated him, and he decided to quit and work for rival DC in 1971 where he created many iconic characters such as Darkseid, Mister Miracle, Omac and The New Gods. But while there he felt that he and DC had different ideas and after being put on comics he did not care for and finding out that they were redrawing Superman’s face in issues of “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen,” he felt it was time for him to leave in 1975. Kirby returned to Marvel in 1976 and during this time he worked on Captain America and created such characters as Devil Dinosaur, Machine Man and The Eternals.  But his time back at Marvel was cut short as in 1978 he quit again, this time over employee benefits or should I say the lack thereof. For about a year Kirby worked on animation designs for cartoons like Thundarr The Barbarian, Turbo Teen and Fantastic Four. During this time he also worked on a comic strip for Disney based on their film The Black Hole. In 1980 he returned to comics working for smaller companies like Pacific and Topps and never really making the impact he had back in his prime.  While characters like Captain Victory and Bombast were cool, they lacked the punch his creations for Marvel and DC packed. Sadly in 1994 Jack Kirby passed away from heart failure at the age of 76, and this was a major loss for the world of comics as Kirby is one of the best in the biz and has influenced so many artist around the world including my friend Jason Young who runs Buyer Beware Comics. This update is dedicated to Jack Kirby, a true legend in comics! Oh and in the first picture of a young Jack, doesn’t he look like a mafia hitman?!

jack Kirby 1Jack Kirby comic lookjack kirby 2

I felt the need to share some of the great art of Jack Kirby so that you readers who may not be familiar with his style can get a good look at what he brought to the comic table. Kirby’s style was that of his alone and over the years many artists have tried to copy it and none look as good as his. I am sure most modern comic readers who were born in the late 90’s or after would find his style dated and blocky (yes I have heard younger comic fans use these terms to describe his artwork), but to me nothing can beat the art used in comics from the 60’s-80’s.  To me that was when comics truly were comics.

Kirby Captain AmericaKirby Silver SurferKirby Darkseid

Dinosaur World is a place were time has been forgotten and dinosaurs still roam the lands and even early man is around to provide a source of food for the great beasts. This world is not of our Earth’s past but more of an alternate planet that coexists with ours. In the world is also a volcano that acts as a symbol of power and fear as man and dino know that its red lava means death for those it touches. Devil Dinosaur a red t-rex with not only power but a mind is the ruler of this planet and his own will to keep order is what makes him stay at the top of the food chain. What really sets Devil apart for his fellow Dinosaurs is that fact he seems to have a brain that allows him to strategize and feel emotions. Devil Dinosaur was born from the fire of a tribes mans torch and as a baby watched as his mother and siblings were murdered in cruel ways, and with out the help of a young man named Moon-Boy he would have died as well. The fire from the torch that burnt him left his skin bright red and this giving him the name Devil Dinosaur. As Devil grew older be became respected and feared and along with his “brother” Moon-Boy they run Dinosaur World with a tiny iron fist. So really I just wanted to write real quick a little bio on Devil Dinosaur so you the reader could maybe have a slight connection to the character as you read my reviews of his issues.

Devil Dinosaur

As young kids my brother and I always loved to read and collect comic books, we were lucky to have parents who didn’t mind buying us issues off the News Stand and Garage Sales as well as getting us subscriptions sent to our house. While my parents would buy us both comics for some reason my Grandma would go out and buy tons of comics and give them to my brother and my younger cousin and none for me….I can remember being really upset about this and even asked once why I didn’t get any and she said I was to young and wouldn’t take care of them, but what even boggled my young mind was the fact she would give them to my cousin who is like three years younger than me! In one of the stacks of comics given to my brother from my Grandmother was a copy of Devil Dinosaur and I can remember reading it and being very bored and not impressed with it back then and over time while I was still young I read a few more issues and was very lukewarm on how I felt about the characters and the story. So now being older and more mature (yeah I know) I really cant wait to read this series and see how it holds up now, so are you readers ready to travel to Dinosaur World and hang out with Devil and Moon-Boy as they travel around and get into all kinds of adventures? Well I know I am, but before we do I need to remind everyone I grade these comics 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. Also want to think my friend Geoff Burkman and Bell, Book And Comic for getting me these issues for this review.

Devil Dinosaur 1

Devil Dinosaur # 1  ***
Released in 1978    Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #1 of 9

Devil Dinosaur is in a battle with Thunder Horn, they are fighting to the death over ruling the Valley Of Flame. As the two massive dinosaurs are doing battle Moon-Boy sits and watches and cheers on his big red friend, as victory comes his way and the two head off into the on coming night. As Moon-Boy sits on top of Devil Dinosaur he remembers back on how they became “brothers”.  Some years back when Devil was a baby his mother and siblings were killed by a race called The Killer-Folk, Moon-Boy came to his rescue and the two have been best friend sense. But as they sleep this night The Killer-Folk also still remember the Red Devil and set a trap for him that will have him fall off a cliff onto spikes and equal his death! Will Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur fall to their sharp pointed end? Or will they figure out the trap and ride the land of the Killer-Folk for good? We will have to see what happens in Issue 2.

Devil Dinosaur in 1978 was that odd cross between very old school Cavemen themed books as well as the Horror Comic boom that Marvel was having at the time. This first issue acts as a quick way to show why a young cave boy is best friends with a very large and red skinned T-Rex and repairs us for the world that is known as Valley of Flame that all centers around a volcano. Moon-Boy in the first issue seems to really have pride in his friend and almost also seems to enjoy the power that comes with it’s friendship. Odd thing also is that is seems Devil understands what Moon-Boy is telling him making one wonder which is the smarter one of the two. Devil Dinosaur is all business and seems to really understand right from wrong and rules the land with an iron fist, and seems not to mind to kill to keep said peace. The artwork is great Kirby stuff and helps add a touch of comic class to the issue. While in my youth I would say that I would have found this issue boring like I did the ones we did own, over the years and rereading this one I find it to be a solid comic with a great potential of a storyline, so lets see how the other issues hold up and lets see if this will remain a good short run comic series.

Devil Dinosaur 2

Devil Dinosaur # 2   ***
Released in 1978   Cover Price .35    Marvel Comics    #2 of 9

Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur have out smarted the Killer-Folk and have gotten past their pit of spikes, but what they don’t get past is the giant rocks that fall from the sky onto them. Devil is buried under tons of rocks as Moon-Boy is taken from the rubble and is to be sacrificed to Long Legs a giant spider that lives in the mountain. Devil who is thought to be crushed to death is indeed alive and after escaping from the rocks he has to make a quick fight of another dinosaur who was looking to eat him while he was pinned down. Moon-Boy is tied up and as Long Legs comes to eat him Devil Appears and sets fire to all the grass around The Killer-Folk and Long Legs, he then saves his friend and together the squash the leader of the Killer-Folk and flee the flames. In the end Long Legs kills the remaining Killer-Folk who had to hide in his cave from the smoke and flames and some one big watches as Devil and Moon-Boy walk the path to find a place to rest.

One thing that people have learned from this issue I am sure is not to mess with Devil Dinosaur, cause he will squash you like a bug, set the ground around you on fire and pay no attention to your screams of pain. The issue also really shows the bound that is between it and Moon-Boy as he force himself into the heart of a fight even though he is injured to save his only true friend from being eaten by a spider. Moon-Boy is not given much to do in this issue as he knocked out and tied up for most the issue, though the part he is playing is very important to the over all scheme of the issue. The Killer-Folk look as if they have been wiped out and this makes me wonder if they are all truly dead or if they will return for revenge soon. As for Long Legs he reminds me of the Godzilla Kaiju Kumonga who as well is a giant spider. Over all issue two offers lots of suspense and action and with the element of Moon-Boys possible death it was a page turner and I am sure had comic readers of 78 on the edge of their seats. Kriby’s art and story telling as he also wrote many of these issues shows you that this comic legend really knew is craft and made people care about a hairy cave boy and his red dino friend.  With the tease of someone called Giant aiming for Devil at the end of this issue we should not waste any more time and we should see just who Giant is and what’s his plan to bring down the King of Valley of Flames.

Devil Dinosaur 3

Devil Dinosaur # 3   ***
Released in 1978    Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #3 of 9

While Devil and Moon-Boy are resting something is scaring and killing other dinosaurs in the jungle and for this Devil cant let what ever it is get away with it so he sets out to find what’s causing all this destruction and while tracking he his hit with a rock and taken off his feet! The next morning Moon-Boy who thinks he seen something the night before returns to the spot and finds that a Giant of a man wearing a triceratops head as a helmet is the one causing all the issue and he wants what’s his and that’s a missing youngster of his race of giants, and to make it worse the another captures Moon-Boy and tries to make him his pet as Devil who is really mad does battle with the other that leaves the giant sinking into a tar bog. Moon-Boy escapes the younger giant and puts two and two together and asks Devil to save the Giant and a respect is built between the Giant and Devil.

This issue has Devil Dinosaur meeting his match and at first it looks as if he could loose the fight, if not for his smarts and using the bog around him is it he is able to beat Giant.  Giant is a rampaging brute who kills a ton of Dinosaurs before he is stopped. All his rage and destruction is all over finding a younger Giant who is kind of a brat who likes to torment things smaller than him like Moon-Boy. Speaking of Moon-Boy he as well uses his brain and out smarts his Giant showing that much like Devil he is quick minded when faced with over the top odds. I like the fact that Devil Dinosaur also seems to look after his fellow kind when they are being bullied by some wicked foe, it almost reminds me of Godzilla ruling Monster Island and King Kong ruling over Skull Island. Fun plot that’s well written and well drawn once more by Kirby wraps up this fun third issue, with this staying at a solid three star pace I am pretty hyped to move onto issue 4.

Devil Dinosaur 4

Devil Dinosaur # 4   ***
Released in 1978    Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #4 of 9

Moon-Boy is being plagued by nightmares of terrors falling from the sky and eating up everything living in The Valley Of Flames. When he awakens from his nightmare something does fall from the sky and when he and Devil go to investigate they are attacked by Giant Robot Aliens who are there to study the planets creatures and destroy anything and everything. The fight leaves Devil knocked out and Moon-Boy once more a captive of the aliens, but when Devil comes to he makes friends with a pair of Hill-Folk lead by White-Hair and his young friend Stone-Hand and together they save Thunder Horn and kill one of the alien robots. The new team goes to the robots base and see that they not only have Moon-Boy captive but also tons of Dinosaurs and Hill-Folk! In the end Devil has a plan to use The Tower of Death as a way to fight them! What is this plan well we have to read the next issue to find out!

This issue has a prehistoric mixed with cheesy sci-fi feel and touch to it, making it really enjoyable and a really cool read. Devil Dinosaur like in last issue has come face to face again with enemies that can hurt him and possibly kill him in the Robot Aliens. And much like in the last issue Devil uses his brain to find ways to survive the attack after he gets a beat down for being to cocky and thinking his strength can always get him out of trouble. With Devil it always seems to take him getting smacked once or twice before he decides to not charm in to a battle with ego alone. Moon-Boy while the voice of reason to Devil as of late seems to always find himself being held captive by the enemy, making one wonder if Devil at this point is getting a little annoyed with his friend. I am really starting to wonder also if the Hill-Folk are also the Killer-Folk as they speak of Devil at first as if he is an enemy, but none the less I like the fact they must team up with him in order to survive this invasion. The Robot Aliens take no crap and stomp dinosaurs and blast cave people left and right. Kirby’s Story and Art are well done and the only real down side to the issue is that it kind of has the same formula as issue 3 with Moon-Boy being captured and Devil facing a strong foe, but even that little flaw don’t keep the issue form being a good fun read. So I am not sure about you, but I know I am ready for issue 5 and to find out how Devil and White-Hair are going to stop the Alien take over, so lets not wait any longer!

Devil Dinosaur 5

Devil Dinosaur # 5   ***
Released in 1978   Cover Price .35    Marvel Comics    #5 of 9

Devil Dinosaur along with his new allies White-Hair and Stone-Hand watch the Alien Robots and try to figure out a plan of attack, and while they watch they are attacked by two of them who were sent out to kill them! Devil tricks both and by doing so he leads them both to their deaths, but he also leads himself and his friends into a very bad place as giant ants want to eat them alive! While fleeing from the ants more Robot Aliens come into the fight and are eaten by the ants as Devil and the Hill-Folk hide in the ants home (Tower of Death) and only escape after the Aliens blow up the tower causing the ants to attack them! All the while Moon-Boy and the rest of the prisoners are on the ship and Moon-Boy is selected to be studied for his intelligence, and this will also lead to his death.

This issue has Devil Dinosaur thinking that Moon-Boy is in fact dead and that’s why he kills as many Alien Robots he can shake his tail at! This adds another layer to Devil who now is shown can feel anger and has a need for revenge and vengeance when he thinks his friend/brother from another mother has been killed. But once again it shows he makes bad mistakes as he almost gets himself and his new friends killed by messing with flesh eating ants. White-Hair follows Devil blindly and does not question his new friends path of war, while Stone-Hand is kind of a pain in the butt as all he does is question why they follow Devil and it’s clear as the day is bright he hates the red skinned dinosaur. The Alien Robots are as soulless as ever, but they do show more anger when many of them are killed by Devil. The Giant Ants are the real bad guys in this issue as they really want eat and kill what ever they can grab ahold of, pretty scary stuff if they were real. The end of the issue also has Devil down and out and thinking his friend is dead, making you now have to think that Moon-Boy is going to have to try and get himself off the ship and back home on his own, and I kind of like the fact he is going to have to help himself as I feel he relies on Devil way to much! Kirby Art and Story is well done as is the cover, in fact this far into the series I must say all the covers look great. So another solid good issue lets see if # 6 can keep up the good work.

Devil Dinosaur 6

Devil Dinosaur # 6   ***
Released in 1978   Cover Price .35    Marvel Comics    #6 of 9

Devil Dinosaur is drained and must take a rest as White-Hair stays with him, Stone-Hand rushes to save a woman named Eev who is being attacked by two of the giant ants. The odds looks against the cave people but they fight on as Devil gets back to his feet and makes short work of the ants. Eev joins the group and together they watch as the Giant Ants destroy the space shit causing it to explode and for all inside to die along with it…or so they think. Devil Dinosaur sad about his loss of Moon-Boy walks off into the woods as Stone-Hand shows his true side by trying to attack Evee and knock the snot out of White-Hair and claims he is now in charge! While in the rubble of the ship many Hill-Folk escape as well as Dinosaurs and even Thunder Horn, and than Moon-Boy comes out he is shaken and scared and finds that escaping dinosaurs all around him want to eat him! Moon-Boy finds shelter in a small cave as a thunderstorm moves in, meanwhile a giant computer sits were the alien ship once sat and gets the attention of Stone-Hand, Eev and White-Hair.

This issue is pretty shocking and I am not 100% sure but I think in this issue you see an attempted rape as Stone-Hand gets wayyyyyy to forceful with Eev and forces her to he his woman…cause he likes her…yep it’s a little creepy. Poor Devil fights with all his might in this issue and crushes a few ants and even lets a few live, but sadly in the end his soul is crushed as he thinks his best friend is pushing up daisies. This shows an odd side of Devil as well cause it comes off not only as a saddened friend but also that of a pet whose master has died. Moon-Boy who at first I thought was shapping up to be his own man in this series quickly turns back into a character who just really wants his must stronger friend to fight his battles for him. Stone-Hand is just a total ass and I really cant wait for Devil to stomp him to death! White-Hair and Eev are ok and are kind of forced to follow the new rules set in place by Stone-Hand who acts as if they are his people and slaves now. The Giant Ants kick the crap out of the Alien Robots who don’t last long once they become under attack. And now I wonder what this Giant Super Computer Tree like thing is up to and how while it help or destroy Stone-Hand and his “people”. Once more Kirby does a great job on story and art and I will say that being 34 years old now and reading this series some for the first time and some for the multiple times I find this to be a great series this far and I am sure readers of 78 also thought so. So lets move onto issue # 7 and find out if Moon-Boy and Devil will finally reunite.

Devil Dinosaur 7

Devil Dinosaur # 7   ***
Released in 1978    Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #7 of 9

Stone-Hand and his followers soon find that the Demon Tree as they call it really just wants to keep them as slaves, yet if they stay with him they can have it all fresh water, fresh fruit and green grass under their feet. The only catch this paradise is coasting them their freedom as Demon Tree places them all into a force field to keep them safe and his for as long as they live. Moon-Boy leaves his cave hideout and by luck just as he is to become a snack to a hungry dinosaur Devil appears and saves him and together they wonder towards the Devil Tree, meanwhile Stone-Hand don’t want to be a slave and finds that he can not escape the force field nor can he get close enough to attack the Devil Computer Tree as it uses gas to knock him out. Eev and White-Hair want to stay in this new paradise and tell so to a now pissed off Stone-Hand who sleeps on it. In the morning Stone-Hand awakens to find White-Hair dead of radiation poisoning and this is the final straw as Stone-Hand attacks the Devil Tree and hits it with a mighty blow causing it to go into a countdown to explosion! Stone-Hand and Eev try to escape the force field and it looks as if they may die from the exploding doom, but just in time Devil shows up and flings his body against the force field several times breaking into it and freeing his two new friends just in time. In the end Stone-Hand finds respect for Devil and says he shall speak of how great he is as Devil and Moon-Boy set out find a place to relax.

So Devil and Moon-Boy are reunited and together they save the day and help save the lives of two people that now will help spread the legend of Devil Dinosaur. Moon-Boy once more shows that really he can’t function of live with out his big red buddy, and Devil shows that he has feelings and really gets down in the dumps when he is not around his little hairy buddy. I really do like the fact that Devil Dinosaur is a true noble giant and when seeing Stone-Hand and Eev in trouble he flings his own body into danger to save them from the force field and the big boom of the computer blowing up. Plus by the end of this issue Stone-Hand who has been a butthole for the last few issues seems to have a turn around and finds respect for Devil who saved him and his woman from deaths door. White-Hair who was for staying in the bubble wonderland of slavedom at least dies of radiation poison and don’t get to truly see how evil the trees intensions are. This is a great ending to The Robot-Alien Invasion storyline and keeps the quality and entertainment level high showing why we comic readers love us some Jack Kirby. So with no more wait lets get to the next issue in the series.

Devil Dinosaur 8

Devil Dinosaur # 8   ***
Released in 1978    Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #8 of 9

Moon-Boy wishes to return to his tribe called the Small-Folk and travels to a cave with Devil in order to talk to them, while inside a pack of cavemen called the Dino-Riders attack Devil and try to make them their master Grey-Tooth’s new ride! Moon-Boy tries to rescue his friend but is quickly ran off into the near by forest. The Dino-Riders take Devil to their camp tied up with vines and try to break his spirit by placing mud in his eyes and a foul smelling mask over his face. Moon-Boy wants to help Devil so bad he returns to his people the Small-Folk and gets them to help him save Devil from their evil plans. In the end the Small-Folk trick and defeat all the Dino-Riders as Devil gets free and stomps out the life of Grey-Tooth.

This issue takes a switch as most the time Devil is the one in danger and Moon-Boy is the one who must come to his aid and risk his own life. I like this change and it helped spice up the issue as Devil’s life is the one at risk and he can’t do anything really to free himself. That’s the really cool part of this issue is how Moon-Boy is able to get his tribe together to fight to save Devil, and he then puts his own life on the line when he runs into Grey-Tooth who sprung to action once Moon-Boy got close to Devil. Grey-Tooth who is the leader of his tribe called the Dino-Riders (Not to be confused with the toys of the same name) is really just a loud mouth bully who gets stomped to death by Devil in the near by jungle. The issue also brings back the Small-Folk who have been missing from many issues and it’s nice to see that they put their fears aside to help the one thing they fear and that’s Devil. Good story and while a little weak on plot it was still well worth the read and is another solid adventure for Devil. The art is your classic Kirby style and I must say I felt so bad for Devil in the parts were he gets mud placed in his eyes and a bag of rotten tree sap placed over his nose. This issue is the weakest in the series this far and even with that it’s still very entertaining, so lets move onto the 9th and final issue of Devil Dinosaur.

Devil Dinosaur 9

Devil Dinosaur # 9  ***
Released in 1978    Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #9 of 9

Moon-Boy and Devil watch as an old Witch makes nice with the spirits and asks for more power, Devil looks at the old woman as a threat to his rule and attacks even against the wishes of Moon-Boy. The old witch gets away and warns them to get out of her land before it’s two late and that their fate is in their own hands. Devil and Moon-Boy decide to not follow the witch, but take her advice and leave. As they leave the ground gives way and they both fall into the earth below as Moon-Boy is able to hold onto some of the stones in the hole, Devil falls all the way down into a light pit that travels him to the future the year being 1978 and while there he is scaring people and being attacked by modern man. Moon-Boy is pulled up from the hole by the Witch and her Son who he begs for them to help Devil, and while at first they don’t want to the Son thinks that saving him might be for the best and together they pull him from the future and bring him back to the past. The series ends with Devil and Moon-Boy walking into the Valley to rule some more.

This is it the final issue of Devil Dinosaur and in this one we get to see him not only in Dinosaur Valley but also in modern 1978 Earth were he torments modern man as well as gets attacked by modern weapons. This issue reminded me of Jurassic Park a little were a T-Rex is the fish out of the water in a big modern city and while confused he still knows that he must fight to stay alive. Moon-Boy as always is the brains of the group but is also the one who is weak link and must get the help of others to save the day. The Witch and her Son who everyone thinks are evil really are good people who just want to be left alone and live in a dangerous part of the valley hoping to keep the spirits in check and the strangers out of their homeland. While this final story is pretty fun, I do feel that it was not the right one to end a series on and lacks the impact I as the reader was looking for to end the characters comic run. The last panel ever for the 78 run of Devil Dinosaur only reads “And Thus Endeth The Chronicle” and has Devil and Moon-Boy walking into the light nice gesture but would have liked a little more. This issue also packs a message and that’s don’t judge people before you know them, as every one judges the Witch who really turns out to be a pretty good person willing to help Devil out even after he tried to kill her. This issue is also the one I remember me and my brother having that our Grandma Brassfield found at a garage sale and got for him, I can remember us always for some reason laughing about Devil Dinosaur but for some reason we both always looked at and read this issue. The artwork in it has that amazing Kirby look and the story while good does have a normal issue feel and not a final issue one. Over all this is a good issue just not what I would have wanted to end it all with.

Devil Dinosaur art 1Devil Dinosaur Art 2Devil Dinosaur art 3

Devil Dinosaur is one of those characters that I think many Marvel fans forget about or even treat as a joke.  While nowadays the character would not fit in with the “Ultimate” or “Modern” style of comics, I do find him to be one that holds a lot of charm and captures the true spirit of comics of the 70’s. Jack Kirby, I think, took pride in the character and delivered a short lived series that was aiming to please horror comic fans as well as sci-fi comic fans and readers of such comics as Turok and for the most part delivered. As I stated before in this update I grew up thinking the series was boring when in fact if I would have just chilled out and read the whole 9 issues I am sure I would have been a fan of it. So next update I have been going back and fourth on what I want to do, and I have decided to do a smaller one before I tackle another big one so I will be looking at the comic sequel to the Lucio Fulci film “Gates Of Hell”!! So until then shop at a local antique store, watch your local horror host and read a comic or two.

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