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

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

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

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

I am sure many of you like myself grew up reading MAD and or Cracked Magazine and enjoyed the silly nature of the jokes and parodies, and I am sure many of you like myself always enjoyed the work of Don Martin as well as fellow comedy artist like Wally Wood, Al Jaffee, Don Edwing, Antonio Prohias and Sergio Aragones who delivered funny comic strips to these magazines. And I am also sure many of you remember the amazing Captain Klutz, who was a favorite of my brother Bryan and I growing up as we had his paperback book adventures. And I am very happy to be going back to my youth and revisiting this goofy hero and his zany adventures and would like to say a big thank you to Game Swap Kettering and an Amazon Seller for having these paperback books in stock so that I could go back and revisit them for this comedic update. Wait a minute, my phone is ringing….and it’s a collect call and it’s Captain Klutz himself who wants me to remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s gear up and hit the streets with Captain Klutz and see if these comic paperback books are as good as I remember.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who The Heck Is Drastik? I Mean Really Who Is He?

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and to our first update in the countdown to Thanksgiving! Just like covering a Hercules comic series on Thanksgiving, covering a Forgotten Hero is now a tradition for November, and for this one I am picking a hero from 2004 that seems to really be lost with time as finding information on him has been dang near impossible and I am talking about Drastik! As I said his name, I can hear the crickets from you readers as many of you I am sure just said out loud “Who?” and maybe, just maybe, this update will inform you a little about he is and what he is about. So sit back, relax and enjoy this fine November as we take a journey into the comic world of Drastik….and I will say this will be a very short journey!

The company who made Drastik was called Critical Element, and they appear to have had their home base in California.  The company was owned and run by Robert Rowe and by all research and accounts that I could find, this is their only comic release! When looking up Robert Lowe to see what he has done in the world of comics, it as well turned up to be a dead end unless he is one of the following people with the same name: Robert Rowe the writer of music and audio research, or Robert Rowe who is a real estate agent for RE/MAX in Columbus, Ohio, or he could even be Robert Rowe the actor in such films as The Living And The Dying and The Stone House! So I am going to guess that it’s none of the above and that this Robert Rowe is just a normal independent comic writer and creator who believed in his comic and character and opened up a comic company to try and get his vision out into the world and into the hands of comic readers! The comic artist on this book is James E. Lyle, who is an independent artist who has done work for such companies as Solson Publications, IDW and Zenescope and is a journeyman of comics. But I have heard that artist Fred Carrillo also is said to have done the art for this comic…so who knows, but I’ll soon find out once I read this comic for the first time. And it appears that comic legend Gil Kane did the cover art, and all classic comic readers will know him from his work with Marvel and DC. So that’s about all I could dig up on the folks who brought this comic alive and again I have to praise the fact that this small company tried to make a mark on the comic world and did so no matter how small it was.

This update for some reason also reminds me of an odd piece of superhero merchandise that was released in 1975 and was a rock opera based around Spider-Man! This musical release was called “Spider-Man: Rock Reflections Of A Superhero” and shows that Stan Lee would whore out the mighty Marvel characters to anyone who had cash and would offer him a place on the project –  of course Lee narrates this musical journey of Spider-Man. This rock opera is about Peter Parker’s struggle of being a college student and a web slinger superhero and is a mixed bag of singers and musical artists making this come alive with such names as Marty Nelson, William Kirkland and Terence P. Minogue and characters that make appearances include Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. And I should also note that one of the funniest things about this is they act as if other Marvel Superheroes are playing the instruments as they have Incredible Hulk on drums, Luke Cage on bass, Silver Surfer on keyboards, Conan The Barbarian on strings and many of the other heroes lending their talents. That’s what I love about the good old days of comics, so many off the wall merchandise was made in order to spread the heroes to new set of eyes and try and bring in new readers. This weird Rock Opera was released on vinyl and late on CD, and after hearing about it I made sure to track down a CD copy of it and I must say this is one weird and wild ride and it should be turned into a stage musical play as I would 100% pay to see it! Do yourself a favor, if you enjoy Spider-Man and cheesy 70’s Rock N Roll, find this CD and give it a listen.

So here we are at the point of looking at the comic Drastik showing that this character made a very small mark on the world of comic heroes. So with a chill in the air this cold November day, I would like to think my pal Jason Young for getting me this comic from the Gem City Comic Con and would like to once more remind you that I grade this 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 if you readers are ready, I am as well as this will be the first time I read this comic, and I am looking forward to seeing what its really about!

Drastik # 1  **
Released in 2004     Cover Price $2.95     Critical Element     # 1 of 1

Drastik busts into a lab where an evil doctor was hatching an evil scheme and kills him for his soon to be crimes. We then cut to Los Angeles where a bank is being robbed, and the robbers decide to kill the security guard on duty! Meanwhile, while on a walk, Drastik hears the gun shots as well as the ambulance on its way to the bank and rushes there to make the robbers pay for their crime. As the robbers try and get away, our robot hero Drastik stops their getaway car and blows it up with one of the robbers still inside! As the others run away, he goes and checks and finds that the guard is in fact dead.  The police want the robbers badly, as does Drastik who is hoping to track the others down as well as the person who hired them to rob the bank. The robbers decide to set up Drastik and try to smash him in-between cars and this goes south when the robot jumps out of the way and is able to kill the robbers as well as get the name of their boss who he kills with a shotgun! Next Drastik swears that he is going to kill a serial killer calling himself the Ape-Mask Strangler and finds him and knocks him out with one punch!

This is a weird superhero comic that is very much pro vigilante justice as our robotic hero goes on a one bot killing spree of criminals! The plot of this comic is simple: Drastik has zero tolerance for criminals and goes into a rage when robbers kill a guard during a bank robbery and spends little time hunting them down and killing them and even finding their boss and murdering him all the while he also kills a mad doctor and a killer! It’s a very simple plot with not much depth to it as it was very cheesy stuff and feels very dated for 2004 when it was released with such a simple story. Drastik is a robot who acts like a human but has an ego that will not allow him to fail in his quest to stop crime for good, he is super powerful and smart and seems to have no emotions for those he kills but does for the victims of their crimes. He also is very much a smart ass as he has puns and jokes for the evil doers he is killing and for the most part is a pretty likable hero if you like vigilante justice! His friend in this comic who only is seen walking with him down the streets of LA is Valori Vane a woman he saved from a crime scene who know acts as his closest friend, she is not flushed out at all and is just kind of a background player. The bank crooks are just normal gangster looking criminals who are being lead by a homeless guy and none of them really put up a fight and all meet their end in the name of justice. The Mad Doctor and Ape-Mask Strangler are barely in it and we get no feel for who they are and how bad they were! That’s the main downside to this comic, NONE of the bad guys seem like they even stand a chance against this killing machine of a hero, and with no threat comes no suspense and that leads to an average independent hero comic adventure. The cover is pretty plan and is clearly just a sketch done by iconic comic artist Gil Kane set over a yellow background, but while simple it is eye catching due to the bright color and cool character design. The interior art is done by another iconic comic artist Fred Carrillo and is great classic comic book art and I really dig it as it reminded me of the comics I grew up reading. The story and character creation was by Robert Rowe and it makes me if he or some one he loved was the victim of a crime and this kill all the bad guys character was created as a way to deal with it…makes me wonder. But over all this was a fun average comic book that was a fun read and a great one to share with you readers as he really is a forgotten hero! Check out the art below to see the style of Carrillo and the classic look of it.

While Drastik is not a household name and is not ever going to get a big budget movie based on him, he still made is tiny mark in the world of comics and added his own brand of justice for readers to enjoy. It’s very weird to think that this character never got a second issue, and in fact, I don’t think he ever appeared again after this issue! But thanks again goes to Jason Young for giving me this comic as it was a fun one to cover on this countdown to Thanksgiving update and introduced me to a new character I would have never know was created. For our next update, we are walking away from a Forgotten Hero and back into the world of From Horror Movie To Horror Comic as we will be talking about the horror, comedy musical Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes! So make sure to join me back here for that one.  Until next time, read a comic or three, call a friend or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Oh yeah and until next time avoid tomatoes ’cause who knows, maybe they are trying to eat you!