Horror Host Icon: Dr. Terror

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another of my Horror Host Icon updates that will breakdown a legend in the world of TV Horror Hosting, and to me there is not a too big or too small Horror Host as no matter how long their show ran or where they aired on from TV to the internet, they had a following and meant something to their viewers and for that they deserve to get this update treatment. And for this update we are traveling to England to take a look at their first and only Horror Host who went by two names with Dr. Terror being his most popular! Imagine living in England and not having a Horror Host to guide you through late night movie watching till 1992, and it’s crazy that Dr. Terror does not get more respect and fanfare just for that fact! So if you’re ready to travel to scary old England and pay a visit to the one and only Dr. Terror, we should begin this Horror Host Icon update!

In 1992, the BBC2 aired an All-Night Halloween Marathon that was hosted by Dr. Walpurgis and featured five horror movies that included Creepshow and Curse of the Werewolf alongside mini documentaries and specials based on horror media. This horror marathon was a major hit and helped spark the idea of a full time Horror Host for the BBC. But in 1993, Walpurgis got a name change, and he became Dr. Terror and got his own show called Vault Of Horror that ran for a total of three seasons and chilled the spines of British TV watchers. Dr. Terror himself is a strange demon like man who has a serious sinister side but also has a goofy, silly side that helps mellow his scare factor. His appearance is very monstrous as he has a long face with a big chin as well as very big pointed ears. He also is very fashionable as he is always wearing a very nice suit. He also seems to have a sense of humor and sometimes it’s a little dry. Dr. Terror also seems to be very educated and for the most part is very well spoken showing that he knows his facts about the night’s movie or movies. He also is known for hanging out in a library or at a twisted and haunted amusement park. We as the viewer never do get a clear answer to what Dr. Terror is, or besides the love for Horror Movies, why he hosts movies on the BBC. I want to also really stress that when Dr. Terror originally started he was more straight-laced and grim and by his later years he was more fun loving and filled with bad jokes. Say what you will about Dr. Terror, but if you have seen one of his episodes or even host segments then you know that this guy is a fantastic host and should be in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame!

Guy Henry was the actor who played Dr. Terror, and he is quite the actor in British TV and beyond and is well respected. Guy began his acting career in 1967 on a TV Series called “Look And Read” that lead to him playing the part of Sherlock Holmes in the 1982 TV Show “Young Sherlock: The Mystery Of The Manor House” and with playing Sherlock Holmes opened the door to many more roles in films and shows that include “Another Country” 1984, “Lady Jane” 1986 and “Rumpole Of The Bailey” TV Series from 1987 and this role of becoming Dr. Walpurgis aka Dr. Terror England’s first Horror Host in 1992 hosting spooky Horror Movies in “The Vault Of Horror”. Guy Henry became an in demand actor over the years and some of his biggest roles that I would like to highlight are playing Guy Reynolds on the TV Show “Walking Dead” and nope not the AMC show based on the classic Image Comic Book. In 2005 he played Heyer in the comic book movie “V For Vendetta” and in 2007 he played Cassius in the cable show “Rome”. He would also be casted as Pius Thicknesse in the films “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & 2 from 2010 and 2011 respectively. And in 2016 he stepped in and was the body double for a CGI Peter Cushing in the film “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and with this I heard many people compare him to this generations Cushing and really makes me wish Hammer would hire him to star in a Horror Movie. And the last role I will touch on is that in 2017 he played Dean Of Westminster on the TV Show “The Frankenstein Chronicles” showing that this guy should be hired more often in Horror. While Guy Henry is not a household name he is a great character actor who seems to not be slowing down anytime soon.

We are at the point of this Horror Host Icon update where we will take a look at the episodes I have of Dr. Terror who has always captured by attention with his look and style. I want to thank all the Horror Host trade lists for getting me these episodes and making this update possible and mostly Stumpy Disks for having many of these episodes. So let’s take a look at these episodes of Vault Of Horror! Oh and I need to also stress that I am not sure if these episodes are full broadcast versions or if they are fan reproductions. And yep I notice as well that the DVD covers have the wrong name for the show!

Vault Of Horror: Body Parts
Starring – Jeff Fahey & Kim Delaney      Rated R      1991  

Host: Dr. Terror in this episode is at his haunted amusement park hangout and talks about medical issues of the minds of those who make some of the shows for BBC! He as well introduces us to his “wife” that is really just a long haired, bearded man standing behind a picture cut out of a circus fat woman.

Movie: When Bill Chrashank loses his arm in a car accident, the arm of an executed death row inmate is grafted on in its place. The only problem, as Bill soon discovers, is that the arm is possessed by a force he cannot control.

Note From Matt: This episode seems to be missing its end segment as well as any middle ones if this episode had those.

Vault Of Horror: The Ghoul
Starring – Boris Karloff & Ernest Thesiger     Not Rated     1933

Host: In this episode Dr. Terror is hanging out with a laughing clown at the amusement park and talks about the night’s movie (not really) as well as brags about the master actor that is Peter Cushing!

Movie: Aga Ben Dragore, a knife-wielding, enigmatic Egyptian Arab, is seeking a sacred jewel which has been stolen from an ancient tomb. The thief tells him that he sold it to Professor Morlant, a fanatical Egyptologist who fervently believes in the pagan power of the ancient Egyptian gods. Dying from a mysteriously disfiguring ailment, Morlant entrusts his faithful manservant to bandage the jewel in his hand and warns him of dire consequences if his dying wishes aren’t carried out. After his burial in an Egyptian-type tomb on his estate, an anonymous robber steals the precious stone from the corpse. Although the ghastly-looking dead man rises at the next full moon to seek revenge, neither he nor the audience know which member of the household possesses the powerful jewel.

Note From Matt: This episode is clearly a fan edit as the film he talks about in the opening segment is the 1975 film The Ghoul that starred Peter Cushing and the film shown on this DVD is the 1933 film The Ghoul starring Boris Karloff. This episode also has no end or middle hosted segments.

Vault Of Horror: Legend Of The Werewolf
Starring – Peter Cushing & Ron Moody     Not Rated     1975

Host: This time Dr. Terror is in front of the Haunted Hotel trying to get people to come see the amazing wolf boy and also talks a little about the night’s film and praises Peter Cushing.

Movie: A travelling circus in 19th century France adopts and showcases a feral “wolf boy”, who grows into adulthood only to kill the one-man band. He runs off to Paris, where he develops a jealous, overprotective crush on a prostitute, leading him to attack her client, incurring a pursuit by a determined police surgeon.

Note From Matt: This episode is clearly a fan edit and only has the opening segment.

Vault Of Horror: The Mummy
Starring – Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee     Unrated     1959

Host: Once more at his amusement park hideout, Dr. Terror is riding in a boat traveling down a dark tunnel and chats to us about the Hammer Horror movie The Mummy! But not before telling one of his bad jokes.

Movie: In the 1890s a team of British archaeologists discover the untouched tomb of Princess Ananka but accidentally bring the mummified body of her High Priest back to life. Three years later back in England a follower of the same Egyptian religion unleashes the mummy to exact grisly revenge on the despoilers of the sacred past.

Note From Matt: No ending segment here as well, makes me wonder did he even have an end segment for his show?

Hands down, Dr. Terror is an amazing Horror Host who delivered great scares and a spooky good time to viewers in the U.K. and I am glad that he has gained a small cult following here in America. And to me it’s crazy that he has not been inducted to The Horror Host Hall Of Fame as he is the first host of the U.K and just his shear delivery of being a Horror Host is top notch. I am going to try my best to get him in the class of 2020! So for our next update we are going to leave the world of Horror Hosting behind but still stay in the world of Horror as I will be doing another From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update (or is that From Horror Comic To Horror Movie?) as a part of our countdown to Halloween, and I will be taking a look at the movie Rottentail! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a killer bunny man good time!

Oh and on a side note Dr. Terror is now on the 2020 ballot for the Horror Host Hall Of Fame!

Avengers Assemble…We’re Needed

Welcome back, True Rotten Ink-lievers!  Juliet here, on this momentous occasion where we’ll be covering one of the greatest team-ups to grace both the page and the screen. I’m talking about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, John Steed and Emma Peel.  That’s right, I’m joining you to talk about The Avengers….but not those Avengers. We’ll be looking at the spies played by John Macnee and Diana Rigg in the 1960s British television show, The Avengers, and their 2012-13 comic book series from Boom Studios.  So grab a bowler hat and a stiff drink, readers, we’re needed.

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Although knowledge of the show is more widespread these days, there are many people that don’t realize that the Avengers existed both before and after the Emma Peel years.  The show premiered in 1961 from the English ABC (Associated British Corporation), focusing on the espionage adventures of Dr. David Keel with Patrick Macnee’s John Steed showing up in the first episode offering his assistance.  Steed would remain in the assistant’s role for all of series one, which was cut short due to an Actor’s Equity strike. When production resumed in 1962, Steed was now the focus of the show partnering briefly with Dr. Martin King and Venus Smith and more permanently with Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman.  It was during this time that the show as we know and love it really took shape: Steed’s look was established as the bowler-wearing English gentleman spy, while Cathy donned leather catsuits, which Emma Peel would also adopt along with the latest in mod fashion.

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In 1965, the show was sold to the American Broadcasting Company (also ABC) and became one of the first British shows on to air on American television. The show moved from shooting on videotape to 35mm film, and in October, Diana Rigg debuted as Steed’s new partner Emma Peel.  We’ll discuss more about Steed and Peel momentarily, but for now let’s focus on the show itself. Along with Emma Peel, this new era of the Avengers introduced science fiction, fantasy and the occasional fetishistic elements to the plot. With the fifth series (aka season since we’re talking about British TV) in 1966, the show began shooting in color.  This was also the year that several of the show’s signature elements were introduced.

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Two of the best known elements that in truth only lasted for 15 episodes, are “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed” and the “Steed does/Emma does” tags, both appearing at the start of an episode after of course the murder or inciting incident for the case had been established. We’d see Emma doing something ordinary. She’d then receive or encounter the message “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed” at which time Steed would appear from seemingly nowhere and their adventure would begin.  The tag would show up under the episode title and give a comedic description of each character’s actions during the episode. For example, in “The Winged Avenger,” the tag is, “Steed Goes Birdwatching. Emma Does a Comic Strip”

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Diana Rigg left the show in 1967, gone was Emma Peel and gone were the sci-fi/fantasy elements with her.  The producers opted to return to the more realistic spy adventures that viewers had seen in the Cathy Gale era, and this time Steed’s partner was Tara King, played by Linda Thorson.  This sixth series would also introduce the characters of Mother and Father who would be central characters in the 1998 movie remake of the Avengers (more on that further down). But series 6 was to be the last as, although the show was popular in the UK and Europe, in the U.S. it was airing opposite the then number 1 show in the country Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and just couldn’t compete.  When the show cancelled in the U.S., the finances became unsustainable and Avengers ceased production in May 1969.

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Now that we’ve talked about the history of the show, let’s get into the characters and the people who portrayed them.  Born of a noble family and having served in the RAF in WWII (like his portrayer Patrick Macnee), John Steed is an agent in an unnamed British intelligence agency that some claim exists in the same universe/canon as James Bond.  In his initial appearances in Avengers, Steed was less refined than the character we’d come to know and love, but fairly quickly, he adopted the signature suave look of a three-piece suit, bowler hat, and umbrella, which would become his signature look. Steed is both sassy and sauve, and although he can be playful, when the time comes, he’s an ace spy and is well verse in hand to hand combat and swordsmanship. The role of Steed came around at the precise right time for actor Patrick Macnee.  After serving in WWII for England, he began his acting career in Canada with smaller roles but didn’t meet with much success. By the late 1950s, he was smoking and drinking to excess and had nearly given up on acting opting to produce documentaries when he was offered the role of John Steed, which he would play until 1969. Macnee helped establish the character’s look and personality, insisting, for example, that Steed never use a gun, in part because of the horrors that Macnee had witnessed in WWII.  He wrote two novels based on The Avengers and later hosted a documentary about the show. Macnee would go on to be in a James Bond film, Magnum P.I., The Howling and more, including a cameo in the 1998 Avengers remake (I promise, we’re getting there). Patrick Macnee died in June of 2015 at the age of 93.

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Dame Diana Rigg made her stage debut in 1957 and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959.  When Elizabeth Shepherd, originally slated to play Emma Peel, left the production, Rigg auditioned for the role having never seen The Avengers.  She was an instant star, despite making very little money for her work on the show, which is what ultimately drove her to leave after two years. Rigg went on to star in both film and television roles, including a stint hosting Mystery on PBS (taking over for Vincent Price), and she continued her work on stage. More recently, she’s captivated a new generation of TV viewers as Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones.  As for Rigg’s most iconic role, Emma Peel is a great mix of brains, battle-readiness, and sex appeal. She’s an accomplished scientist and martial artist who dabbles in many other fields, especially when it aids her investigations with Steed. Born Emma Knight, Mrs. Peel’s husband Peter is a pilot whose plane went down in the Amazon rainforest prior to her work with Steed. Peter was presumed dead for many years, returning as a plot device to write Emma off the show and introduce Tara King when Diana Rigg decided to move on.  Though the leather catsuits were introduced in the Cathy Gale era of Avengers, they became Emma Peel’s signature look along with the mod styles of the day. A quick wit with a silver tongue, Emma was the perfect verbal match for Steed, and their back and forth was part of what made the show such a joy to watch.

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I first encountered The Avengers on VHS at my local library.  I was lucky enough to grow up with two awesome libraries close by, one of which had an amazing selection of science fiction paperbacks and the other sported any amazing VHS selection, featuring a lot of British television and foreign and classic films. In the same way I have an affection for both really good and really cheesy science fiction, I adore both really good and really cheesy spy movies and TV shows, and I feel like The Avengers fall right in the middle.  It’s as classic as James Bond, but has an entirely different feel that’s so completely of its era. In the last five or six years, I’ve managed to watch the entire Emma Peel run of the show on DVD thanks to Matt, who bought me the Emma Peel Megaset after we found it at Half Price Books. In the same spirit as ST:TNG and the X-Files, I have certain favorite episodes that I go back to again and again, but I can also watch the series as a whole all over again and enjoy it, securing The Avengers’ spot among my all-time favorite TV shows.

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In 1998, Warner Brothers and director Jeremiah Chechik (of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation fame) sought to revive Steed and Mrs. Peel for a new generation on the big screen.  The film, simply titled The Avengers starred Ralph Fiennes as John Steed, Uma Thurman as Emma Peel and Sean Connery as weather obsessed villain Sir August de Wynter. Rumor has it that Warner refused to pre-screen the film for reviewers to prevent negative reviews after test screenings prompted the studio to cut it from 115-minute to 89 minutes, removing key plot elements.  An original cut of the movie has never emerged, though Jeremiah Chechik has offered Warner Brothers a director’s cut for free. The movie as it stands is universally regarded as one of the worst movies ever, but I have to tell you something, dear readers: I love it. Okay, okay, it’s by no means a cinematic masterpiece, but I see the campy potential in the look and feel. Plus, it came out at a time in my life where I was actively seeking out very cheesy spy films and novels, the more bizarre, the better….and this one is certainly bizarre.  To parrot Stefon from SNL, this movie has everything: Uma Thurman with a bad English accent, giant teddy bears, a weather device, human sized hamster balls, Patrick Macnee as the Invisible Man, Eddie Izzard. If you have an open heart for utterly ridiculous trash, give it a try. It has little to nothing to do with the original TV series, but it’s silly fun if you’re up for that sort of thing.

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In terms of merchandise for the TV show, the modern fan can enjoy the series on DVD as well as a plethora of Steed and Mrs. Peel-themed goodies on sites like Etsy.  More classic gear includes trading cards, and most interesting, paperback books. The first novel, simply titled The Avengers and written by Douglas Enefer, was published by Consul Books in 1963.  It’s the only book of the original run to feature Cathy Gale. Many novels featuring Emma Peel and Tara King would follow in the UK and US, including several co-written by Patrick Macnee who was one of the first actors to write licensed spin-off fiction of their own shows.

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The Avengers first made it to comics in the U.K. as comic strips in TV listing magazines (similar to the US’ TV Guide).  Their first American outing was a 1968 collection of these strips released by Gold Key called John Steed Emma Peel because, of course, Marvel made it impossible for them to release a comic called The Avengers. In 1990 Eclipse released a three issue series called Steed and Mrs. Peel with script by Grant Morrison and art by Ian Gibson.  Boom Studios would re-release that series in early 2012. For our purposes, however, we’ll be covering the 2012-13 Steed and Mrs. Peel series from Boom Studios, written Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe. Before we begin our adventure, I must remind you that here at Rotten Ink, we grade comics on a 1-4 star scale and look for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s get started, dear reader, we’re needed.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #0  *** 1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #0 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel investigate the mysterious of Agent Colin Whitcomb. Although the cause of death is straight forward (he was shot pointe blank), the strange part is that the missing agent has aged significantly.  Their only clue is the scent of a particular cheap perfume on Whitcomb’s body, sending the daring duo to the Hellfire Club, or rather the “New Hellfire Club” to investigate. There they meet the future obsessed Cartney who leads Steed into a fight with Father Time.  Meanwhile Emma outwits Futura, the automotan, and dons her outfit as a disguise to locate the missing Steed. Steed awakens older and grayer discovering that it’s no longer 1966, but the year 2000, and that he’s now a part of the National Archives, having served as an agent of much acclaim.  But of course Steed is on to the true plot of the Hellfire Club, using an aging serum to fool intelligence British agents. With Emma’s expert martial arts skills, the baddies, which include their old Hellfire nemesis Cartney, are defeated. With the aging serum’s effects wearing off, Steed treats Mrs. Peel to a concert.

When I first heard that Boom Studios would be doing a comic based on The Avengers, I was nervous to say the least.  The charm of the show is so particular – there’s a formula to the stories, but moreover the way Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg portrayed the relationship between Steed and Peel is so very specific.  I was hopeful once I saw that Mark Waid was writing, and he did not disappoint. This introductory issue was everything I had hoped for – it felt right at home in the universe of the show, teasing a time jump but keeping things firmly in the 1960s.  Longtime fans of the show got recollections of the Hellfire Club (**find out the name of this episode) and Emma’s spiked collar, cybermen (who also appeared in Doctor Who), the familiar “We’re Needed” start to the action. Most importantly, the dialogue was perfect.  I could hear MacNee and Rigg’s voices in my head as I was reading. Steve Bryant’s art is a good balance of realistic and stylistic and captures both the feel of the 1960s and the action well. I was pleasantly surprised by this one when I first read it in 2012, and 7 years later, it’s still a great read.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #1  ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #1 of 11

Masked men infiltrate a secluded base and launch a missile attack on London.  Steed and Mrs. Peel watch the carnage, along with Lord Bailey, in an underground bunker, but just as everyone has a moment to absorb what’s just happened, an alert sounds and our heroes leap to action.  A fire in the bunker forces Emma and a fellow scientist to lead everyone in the bunker topside, but once there, Mrs. Peel discovers something unusual. Although London is leveled and their instruments are showing radiation, there’s no effect on the soil or water.  There’s no time to question it further, however, because their fellow survivors spot a figure in the distance rapidly coming towards the group. The figure is some sort of mutated creature, and it’s not alone. Steed and Mrs. Peel battle the horde of monsters, and the book ends with them getting a vital assist from none other than the Hellfire Club.

This proper first issue of Steed and Mrs. Peel begins with action that’s sustained through the book.  Our heroes seem to be in some kind of post-apocalyptic disaster scenario, which is such a perfect melding of Cold War-era spy show sensibility and our modern obsession with post-apocalyptic stories (I see you, The Walking Dead and your many and varied progeny).  The action is such that we don’t get a lot of information about what’s happened other than London has apparently been nuked, and I like that because we’ll get to discover what’s happening along with Emma and Steed. The dialogue between the two is once again spot on thanks to the team up of Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe, and the artwork, this time from Will Sliney, is really great, classic looking comic style that lends itself to both action and dialogue well.  I know you’re probably wondering, like me, what the Hellfire Club is doing there and what they do or don’t have to do with this disaster so let’s get to the next issue.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #2 ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99     Boom Studios    #2 of 11

Steed, Mrs. Peel, and the British MPs they were previously sheltering with are now all guests of the Hellfire Club in their lavish bunker.  Although most of the other guests seem pretty comfortable, Steed and Emma are worried that they’ve not seen Lord Bailey, General Crampton or Mr. Stanton, the other scientist, since arriving. Although our heroes don’t yet know it, we see the general being brainwashed by a member of the Hellfire Club.  She and her brother, both the offspring of Cartney, chat a bit about how Steed and Mrs. Peel will of course be the hardest to break but it’s worth it get revenge for father. Steed and Mrs. Peel work on a plan over a game of chess. Emma goes to talk to Miss Cartney about the missing general, and gets attacked.  Later Steed stumbles into another brainwashing session and is also taken out, but when he awakens, it’s revealed that his attacker was Mrs. Peel, decked out in a familiar outfit, her Hellfire Club leather and spiked collar.

More of the mystery is unraveled and new twists appear in the second issue of this story arc.  While it’s no shock that the Hellfire Club is up to no good, what their goals are and who the mysterious Dirigent is remain a mystery. Also a mystery is whether or not this story ties in some way to the Cartney time-travel story in issue #0.  I like that we don’t know (and I genuinely don’t remember if it does from my first reading of this series seven years ago). As with issue #0, I love that this story is taking elements directly from the series and expanding them on the page, especially since they’re using one of my favorite plot elements that the Avengers shares with X-men: the Hellfire Club.  Is Emma once again brainwashed or she pretending to gain the trust of the Club? Onward to Issue #3, we’re needed.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #3 ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #3 of 11

Steed is hopeful that the leather-clad Mrs. Peel is simply undercover, but alas, that’s not the case as she sends him through a wall behind which the younger Cartney is enjoying his lavish Hellfire existence. Steed snaps Mrs. Peel out of her brainwashed state using some trigger words they had developed “after the first few times someone tried this.” After Emma knocks her brother out, Miss Cartney arrives with her henchmen leading Steed and Mrs. Peel to flee.  They commandeer a motorcycle (and a new outfit for Emma) and lead the Hellfire Club on a chase into the nuked out wasteland. After fighting hand to hand with Miss Cartney, Emma shoots a flare, signaling the British Air Force, who she and Steed had secretly been in contact with after figuring out that the nuclear attack was a hoax and they the MPs had been kidnapped and taken to the South China Sea. Steed and Mrs. Peel sail off into the sunset, and back at the Hellfire Club the Cartney brother plots his next move.

Thus concludes the first story arc in Steed and Mrs. Peel…sort of.  Although they’ve solved the mystery of the fake nuclear blast and London’s destruction, something tells me that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Hellfire Club in the least.  This one is the last issue for which Mark Waid did the story and Will Sliney the art, but luckily scriptwriter Caleb Monroe sticks around for the rest of the series. There’s a temptation to say that the story wrapped up too quickly, but honestly it felt right in line with the TV show, and the pacing of these three issues felt like the pacing of the hour-long episodes.  So what’s next for Steed and Mrs. Peel? Let’s find out!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #4 ** 1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #4 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel have been invited to a ball. In full fancy dress, they, along with many British dignitaries attend the masked party of author Lloyd Cushing.  As part of the evening’s entertainment, they meet Mr. Blackwell, an eccentric conductor accompanied by his two Butoh dancers. But a party can never be just that for our two heroes as they’re soon called upon to investigate the murder of a man who turns out to the the real Mr. Blackwell.  Trading her ball gown for more action oriented clothes, Emma joins Steed in the ballroom where all of the guests are now missing. Steed tracks them outside where the Butoh dancers are to blame for the mass exodus. Meanwhile Emma confronts the imposter conductor, who turns out to be the Hellfire Club’s hypnotist Dirigent from their prior island adventure.  Dirigent explains that he can manipulate high frequency sound to bend people to his will, but he’s no match for Emma. As Steed and Mrs. Peel continue their previously interrupted dance, we zoom out, all the way to out space where a satellite baring the Hellfire Club logo looms over us all.

Upon first glance, the is your typical post-story arc issue, a one-shot where the characters get to have a minor adventure and perhaps some fun before the next big thing.  But actually, this issue, although basically a one-shot, continues our Hellfire Club storyline and presumably is going to bridge the prior arc with the one to come in Issue #5.  Although this one has significantly less action than the last few issues, there are some really nice things happening in the dialogue, both between Steed and Peel and among the other characters.  I feel like this was perhaps Caleb Monroe’s chance to provide some of his analysis on the original show and characters, and as I fan, I really enjoyed reading it. Yasmin Liang takes over on artist duties for this issue, and although she doesn’t capture Steed and Peel’s expressions as perfectly as Will Sliney did, she’s a great addition to this story, and I’m excited to see how she tackles the action scenes that are surely coming in the next book.  So let’s get to it!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #5  **
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99     Boom Studios    #5 of 11

The fallout from last issue’s ballroom party gone awry continues as Steed and Mrs. Peel find out that his friend Trevor Seabrook has been arrested for a theft related to his wife’s disappearance from the party. The curious part is that the kidnappers tasked Seabrook with stealing a seemingly empty jar, but the truth is the jar contains something that has regenerative properties, which is of course of interest to the Hellfire Club’s Dr. Peter Glass, previously presumed to be dead.  Seabrook’s wife is returned, Steed and Mrs. Peel begin to piece things together, and Glass unveils a special piece of tech as this issue ends.

The interesting thing about this issue is that both everything and nothing happens, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like the prior issue, this one was low on the action but high on information that’s obviously leading to the next chapter in the Hellfire Club’s evil plans that Steed and Mrs. Peel are constantly working to unravel.  

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #6 **
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #6 of 11

Through a flashback and conversation, Steed and Mrs. Peel reflect on the aforementioned Dr. Glass and his death, for which Steed was an eyewitness.  Seabrook’s wife is awake but only repeating the words “bleeding heart” so Steed and Emma decide to regroup. On the way, however, Emma is tricked by Glass’ assistant Jamie and kidnapped.  Meanwhile, Steed is nearly ambushed when inquiring about Seabrook’s stolen empty jar, but soon our heroes are reunited in Glass’ lair where it’s revealed that the mad doctor survived his untimely death using special goggles sported by three versions of Jamie that allow him to time travel. As Glass is apprehended, one of the Jamie’s slips away to inform someone on the other end of a video camera that this phase of the plan has failed.  Steed and Mrs. Peel end our issue reflecting on the practicality of time travel over a drink as a rocket launches on the horizon.

One of the things that I really love about this series is the layered story.  Each arc leads to another and contributes to a larger story. This is especially interesting because the show generally did not do this, but I wish it had.  All of that said, this wasn’t the most exciting arc. Granted, this issue had more action than the prior two, but the payout felt a bit weak. Although thinking of it in the grand scheme of a larger story makes even a weak arc feel important.  So let’s get to the next one, and hopefully we’ll find out who Jamie was talking to and what dastardly plans they have in store for Steed and Mrs. Peel.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #7  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #7 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel are sent to a small Welsh mining town to investigate an unprecedented wave of suicides. Posing as scientists (though Steed is the only one posing, as he points out), they begin their investigation by consulting with Dr. Mortimor, a psychologist specializing in suicide.  After tea with Moritmor, our duo walks back to the inn where they’re staying, taking the scenic route to stop by some of the scenes of the some of the crimes. On a seaside cliff where several people fell to their deaths, both Steed and Emma seem to lose control of themselves and nearly jump off the cliff, the other stopping them just in time. They of course realize that Dr. Mortimor and his terrible tea is to blame.  The evil doctor explains that he’s not a murder, merely an experimenter in the weaponization of suicide. Steed, Mrs. Peel and the gathering crowd of villagers are less convinced of this excuse.

What a breath of fresh air after that slightly lackluster last arc!  Although the story was a bit predictable, it shone because of both the art (great panel structure in this one!) and the writing.  We got a lot of great little moments of Steed and Emma quipping back and forth while working to solve the mystery, and these moments are golden.  I didn’t realize how much of this was missing from the prior issue until I read this one. The chemistry between them, both in the dialogue and the artwork, was so spot on, and this definitely felt like an episode of the show that I would have loved. With that, let’s see what our next issue has in store!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #8  **1/2
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #8 of 11

The Cartney family is back!  Steed and Emma’s beachside holiday is interrupted with the news that Joan Cartney has been broken out of jail by a strange silver man.  While Steed and Emma investigate, knowing there’s more to this than meets the eye, the Cartney siblings are reunited with their father who is alive, but not well. Donning costumes to make them look like Steed and Emma, the younger Cartneys set out to fulfill their mission of killing our heroes by blowing up Steed’s flat, while their father undergoes a procedure to rejuvenate his body…as a Cybernaut.

With last issue’s palate-cleanser, I’m ready to dive into a new story arc, and this one sets up our story nicely.  It’s no surprise that the Cartney’s are back, and we learn that it was, indeed, them that Jamie was contacting in Issue #6.  As we set up our villain’s story, we once again get really cozy fun interactions between Steed and Peel, making me thinking that writer Caleb Monroe has gotten into the same comfort zone that Mark Waid began the series with.  I’m eager to see where the Cybernaut story is going so let’s get to the next issue!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #9  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #9 of 11

While Cybernaut Cartney shops for a suit, his children learn that even a bomb can’t take down Steed and Mrs. Peel.  The siblings’ bickering about what went wrong is interrupted when their intended victims confront them, and quickly things turn into a street fight (with swords!). The Cartneys get away, but of course that was the plan as Steed, harkening to the original Cybernauts TV episode, plans a transponder his umbrella which he allows them to escape with.  After a quick wardrobe change, Steed and Mrs. Peel head to the Hellfire Club’s base of operations where they spy General Seabrook smuggling army tech to the enemy. Although they’re able to sneak in undetected, Cybernaut Cartney uses his super strength to bust through a wall and grab our heroes.

With the last issue being mostly set up for the new story, I was worried this one would be more of the same.  But happily, this issue is heavily on wonderfully drawn action with some great dialogue to accompany it. The way the panels mimic the style in which the show was shot is a really nice touch and combined with the coloring gives the book such a great retro feel.  My only concern moving forward is that there are only two more issues, and I honestly can’t remember if the book ends at the conclusion of an arc or if we’re going to be left hanging. I guess there’s no way to find out until we get to the next issue….

AvengersComic10Steed and Mrs. Peel #10  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #10 of 11

Cybernaut Cartney is about to kill our heroes but Emma appeals to the villain’s hedonistic side, saying that if he kills them now, it’s all over. This is much to Joan’s chagrin as Steed and Mrs. Peel have been a thorn in her side for far too long, but father knows best…..only Cartney isn’t really her father. Joan and her brother discover documents in Cartney’s desk revealing that they’re a young married couple who went missing and were subsequently brainwashed by Cartney in what he calls, “my greatest practical joke of them all.” After her husband (formerly her brother) is killed by Cartney, Joan sneaks back to the prison to get help from a former ally.  Meanwhile Jamie is torturing Steed in the Hellfire Club dungeon forcing Emma to strike a bargain with Cartney – Steed’s life for her hand in marriage. The issue ends with Cartney presenting Emma to the rest of the Club as his fiance and the new Queen of Silver.

This issue has so much going on!  The reveal about the Cartney siblings (or rather the not Cartney, non-siblings) was really great.  I truly didn’t see that coming, and in addition to being a great twist, it packed an emotional punch.  Cartney’s line about this being “my greatest practical joke of them all” was an amazing touch. In this issue we get more about Cartney’s weird obsession with Emma, which is framed in both flashbacks and present moments, something I like because it really gives the reader the sense that Cartney is an absolutely twisted villain.  I also loved the touch of the Silver Court being introduced to the Hellfire Club. But my concern from last issues remains; there is a lot to resolve in one issue to wrap up both the arc and the series. I suppose the only way to know how that works out, however, it to read on.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #11 ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99   Boom Studios    #11 of 11

We open in a church where Cybernaut Cartney stands at the altar with a silver bedecked Mrs. Peel.  The officiant asks if there are any objections to the union, and right on cue, John Steed drives his car through the window of the church.  He shouts Emma’s trigger words, but she doesn’t need to be un-brainwashed this time, she was merely buying time for Steed. While a battle ensues in the church, Joan sneaks into the room containing John’s human body that’s feeding the Cybernaut and gives him the brainwashing serum, prompting the Cybernaut to seek out its human body to destroy it. Emma and Steed follow, and Emma uses the aging serum from all the way back in issue zero to prevent the Cybernaut from destroying human Cartney.  But alas, he dies shortly thereafter anyway. The issue ends with Joan escaping to make a better life, and Emma and Steed watching the sun set and reflecting on this latest chapter in their adventures together.

This issue does a pretty good job of wrapping things up.  Yes, the Steed crashing the wedding scene is ridiculous, but it fits the show quite well.  I really liked that the aging serum from issue 0 comes back into play, but the sequence of Cartney dying anyway was slightly confusing.  The ending with Steed and Emma watching the sunset was quite lovely, and I do like that the Hellfire Club story wasn’t so final that they can’t come back again in some future series.  Speaking of future series, Boom Studios would try for another arc in 2014 called Steed and Mrs. Peel: We’re Needed, but alas, what was to be a six issue series only made it three, and quite honestly those issues didn’t hold a candle to this series. Avengers22

Part of the reason I chose to cover this particular comic version of The Avengers is that, in my opinion, it’s the most faithful to the spirit of the show, and despite a few missteps, uses the structure of comics to create an ongoing story in a way that the show didn’t back in the 1960s (though I suspect a modern rendering would).  For our next update, we’ll be leaving the world of spies, but staying in the 1960s as Matt kicks of a month of Kaiju updates in anticipation of Godzilla: King of the Monsters with a look at Reptilicus. In the meantime, read a comic or three, and support your local horror host!

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DC’s Second Greatest Detective

Hey gang! This update is going to be a smaller one, and I am going to take a look at DC Comics’ run of Sherlock Holmes that started in 1975 and lasted one whole issue.  Yeah, believe it or not the series sadly lasted one issue, making me wonder if DC only had room for one master detective spot, and Batman was their choice. But more than likely, it was a rights issue or just very poor sales for issue one that kept this from becoming an ongoing series like planned. But before we go to the comic review, let’s talk a little about Sherlock Holmes and his impact on culture.  So we have to start at the beginning with the stories for books (4 total) and magazines short stories (56 official). In 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created a fictitious detective by the name of Sherlock Holmes for Beeton’s Christmas Annual for the short “A Study in Scarlett,” and the story was so popular that he was asked to write more stories based around this character.  He did so with glee until he grew sick of the character and wanted to move on, but the fans and publishers wouldn’t allow him so he continued unwillingly, even at one point killing off Holmes in the short story “The Adventure Of The Final Problem,” only to bring him back by fan request. But even after the books and short stories, Sherlock Holmes would gain even more fans with films and shows!

sherlock-holmes200px-Sherlock_Holmes_Portrait_Paget3_the-hound-of-the-baskervilles

The first Sherlock Holmes movie was made in 1916 and stared William Gillette as Holmes and Edward Fielding as Watson.  Many more would follow in the 20’s and had such actors as John Barrymore, Clive Brook and Eille Norwood playing Holmes. But Holmes’ true movie break started in 1939 when actor Basil Rathbone stepped into the role as the great detective for 20th Century Fox and made “The Hounds Of Baskerville” and “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.”  Both films were hits at the time, and from there Universal picked up the series and made a total of 12 films that included “Dressed To Kill”, “The Spider Woman”, “Terror By Night” and “Sherlock Holmes and The Voice of Terror”. Sadly in 1946 the Rathbone era of films ended, and many other films based around Holmes would pop up that included Hammer Horror’s “Hound of Baskerville” starring Peter Cushing as Holmes in 1959.  “The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes” had Robert Stephens in the roll and had him searching for the Loch Ness Monster in 1970.  Nicholas Rowe played a teenage Sherlock Holmes in 1985’s “Young Sherlock Holmes”, and most recently Robert Downey Jr. played Holmes in 2009’s “Sherlock Holmes” and then again in 2011 in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows”, and these are only a few films that were made about the iconic character.

DVD CoverYoung_sherlock_holmessherlock-holmes-movie1

Sherlock Holmes has also been a TV draw and has had numerous live action shows and even cartoons. Most of these series are on England’s BBC, who brought us other great shows like The Young Ones, Monty Pythons Flying Circus, Dr. Who, The Mighty Boosh and horror host show Dr. Terror Presents to name a few. The most recent BBC Holmes inspired show is called simply “Sherlock” and started in 2010 and is on its third season that starts in 2013. In September 2012, CBS began a new show called “Elementary” where the Holmes legend is set in modern times, and one time Charlie Angel Lucy Liu plays Watson. Not to mention in 1999 on Fox Kids, the animated show “Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century” aired for two seasons. Showing that Holmes is not only a box office hit but also a boob tube hit! 

AnimatedBBC SherlockElementary-TVseries

Not only has Sherlock Holmes conquered books, movies and TV, he has also stepped into the world of video games and has made a nice little mark in that digital entertainment. While there are way too many to talk about, Holmes has had games on so many systems that include Commodore 64, PC, Sega CD, Turbografx 16, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 and PS3. While some are text based adventures and point and click games, others have you fighting Jack The Ripper and clearing your name of murder. The newest Holmes game out via Atlus for PS3 and 360 is called “The Testament of Sherlock Holmes” and has been meet with some good reviews. Who knows what future systems await a Holmes game and only time will tell when he will pop up next on our home consoles to solve a crime or two.

Sherlock_Holmes Sega CDSherlock vs The Ripper PCSherlock PS3

But wait, Holmes has also been made into a comic book hero many times from different companies like Dell, Classics Illustrated, Dynamite, IDW, Blue Water, Moonstone and so many more.  While none of his comic series had a full long run lasting more then 23 issues, he still remains a draw and has had comics based on him as late as 2012 from Blue Water comics in a series called “Sherlock Holmes Victorian Knights” that as of now is still running and with its fourth issue out soon. While he has not become a top seller in comics, Holmes remains a popular character and even has teamed up with Batman once!

classicsDELLsherlock Bluewater

One other thing I should talk about is the 1986 film “The Great Mouse Detective” by Disney that had a detective mouse named Basil, who also happens to live on Baker Street (in the same house as Sherlock Holmes) and takes the case of trying to find a missing little mouse girl who has been kidnapped by a bat.  The cool thing about this film is when you hear Sherlock Holmes speak in the film, it’s actor Basil Rathbone’s voice that was taken from his classic Holmes films.  Not to mention horror film icon Vincent Price voiced the film’s lead bad guy.  This film, like everything else animated Disney touches, was a hit and sparked all types of merchandise from stuffed dolls to a video game.  Growing up I found this film a fun little throwback that had a simple plot and a very likeable lead character.  If you have not seen it check it out for sure. 

the-great-mouse-detectivetheGreatMouseDetectiveGreat Mouse C64

Before we get into the review, there are a few other things I would like to talk about.  The first is the closing of Hostess, the company who gave us not only Wonder Bread but also Twinkies, Ding Dongs and HoHo’s.  Wonder Bread began making bread in 1921 and became a favorite of kids as they used the likes of Howdy Doody and other TV stars to promote the surgery white bread. But the company was mostly known for their snack cakes made popular by mascots like Twinkie The Kid and others like Fruit Pie The Magician, Captain Cupcake, King Ding Dong, Happy Ho Ho, Chief Big Wheels and Chauncey Choco-dile. It was a sad day when 2012 marked the end of a company that made its mark so deeply in American culture, and not to mention the fact that thousands of people are now out of work as the planets are all now closed. Times had been hard on the company, who mismanaged money and could not keep up with the health food trend that is sweeping America, and when workers went on strike over pay decreases this was the final nail in the coffin of the struggling company. I know someone will come in and buy the brands from Hostess, but it just won’t be the same, R.I.P. Twinkie The Kid and company, you and your sweet snack cakes will be missed. 

Hostess Icons

I do have a funny story about a Hostess product aimed at people my age when we were kids: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pies, a crispy pie crust with a very sugary pudding center and green icing on the crust.  Sounds great right..right? They were terrible, but I found myself asking for them at grocery store Big Bear because they gave away stickers inside the package and I had to collect them all.  So I would get my mom to buy me one, and I would force myself to eat this terrible snack enjoying the crust more than the terrible pudding death that waited for me inside. At some point I know I came close to getting that sticker set and packed away many of the Turtle Pies.  So I feel good that I did my part back then to help Hostess stay alive. I know many people did enjoy the Turtle Pies, but I for one was not a fan…but as I said I did sill eat them.

turtle pudding pies

Another cool thing about Wonder Bread was the free giveaways and mailaways.  You could get cards from football stars to DC comic heros to even Warner Brothers cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny. One of the best things they ever offered was Wun-Dar, a brown haired version of He-Man for the Masters of the Universe toy line, who was a mail away and has become one of the most collected figures in the line.  Not to mention that he is so popular that Mattel made an updated version of the character for their order direct Masters Toy Line. Companies just don’t do these kind of cool promotions anymore leaving this generation of kids having to do with out the excitement of the “giveaway”  But then again, kids in this day and age are glued to their over priced Apple products so I am sure a free toy is nothing to them.  Man, I just sounded like a grumpy old man!

Superman Cardwonderbreadwun_dar

It’s funny like everything that disappears, Twinkies have now become a collectors’ item as people have snatched up stores’ stock to sell them high on Ebay and Amazon.  Only in America would some one pay $80.00 for three boxes of Twinkies online. But enough of this depressing stuff of people loosing their jobs, the death of Twinkie The Kid and friends, nasty pudding turtle pies and the lack of giveaways. Let’s just look at this blonde girl eating a twinkie, a hottie and sexy singer Katy Perry eating ice cream.

Twinkie The BlondeSnack Food QueenKATY-PERRY

Two updates ago, I told you about the first no budget movie that I was apart of with Fairmont Productions called Teen Suicide and its sequel Suicide 2.  While we were wrapping up Suicide 2, I began working on another project with my brother called “Twisted Batman Theatre” and Brass Bros was open for business.  My older brother Bryan was in college at the time, and I was just a year fresh out of High School in 1999.  He was taking a Shakespeare class at Sinclair Community College, and for one of his projects he decided to make a video.  So he wrote this script that combined the 1960’s Batman TV show starring Adam West with the works of Shakespeare and had the idea to make the film stop motion by using his Super Powers Batman and Robin and would add Billy Dee Williams as the guest detective (a Star Wars Power of The Force Lando Figure).  The team would have to solve the cases of Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth. The script was funny and filled with pop culture references, Shakespeare quotes and one liners, and my brother also took the time to make sets for the figures that almost looked like early silent German horror films meets Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. He borrowed our grandparents’ VHS camcorder and hired me as the camera man and to do a few of the voices needed.  We set up the “sets” in the basement and began the long process of making the film. How we pulled off the stop motion was we would hit pause while recording and move the figure where we wanted and then un-pause it, and we would do this as quick as possible all the while he would be doing the voice overs as we filmed.  This process made tempers fly, and I can’t count how many times I quit or got fired from this production, only to come back for more.  Even though it was a pain, I still enjoyed working on this film a lot.  Not only did I get to make another film but I got to help my brother make his vision come to life. The filming took a few days and many hours to complete, my brother hand wrote all the credits, did his best INXS Mediate video impersonation and then edited the film on two VCR’s. The best thing about the film was he also used many of the Batman rogues like the Super Power figures of The Joker and Penguin, the Toy Biz versions of The Riddler and Mr. Freeze, The Batman Returns Catwoman and The Animated Series Bane and gave them a plan that was lifted from an old Cracked Magazine. I had a blast on this film and got to voice Paul Stanley of Kiss (Kiss was used to portray the Witches from Macbeth) and do the laugh for The Joker, and would do it again in a heartbeat. 

Twisted Batman DVD

Twisted Batman Theatre played to his class, got a great response and earned him a good grade for the project. It did so well that he was asked if they could show it on monitors in Sinclair’s then soon to be reopened media department.  Bryan of course okay’d it but was never sure if they played it. After that the film sat and collected dust for a short time until we decided to open Independent B Movie, and Twisted Batman was snatched up by us and was released on VHS at conventions we attended.  It sold pretty well to people who remembered and loved Kenner’s Super Powers toy line and not to mention to Batman fans. Years later the film had a very short DVD run, but was recalled when the disc was found to have a flaw in one of the extras. Brass Bros was going to work on a sequel to Twisted Batman in the early 2000’s but it never came about.  I had even planned sequel I was going to direct in 2007, but that never came about either. Bryan would go on to make a short film called Nightmare (that we will talk about shortly) and then had a film he started called “The Kenny Rogers Project” in which he mixed horror and humor into a film about Country Music Star Kenny Rogers alongside George W. Bush and rocker Ted Nugent who were killing people and making people sick with roasted chicken. The film had many faces in it that would become main stay actors for years to come including Matt Hoffman, Josh Weinberg, Garrison Kane and Jason Gilmore, but sadly was canceled midway through filming. Bryan would also try his hand at making a public access show years later with “Josh Vs.” a show that had my friend Josh Weinberg challenging celebs at horror convention to dumb contests like arm wrestling and push-ups. He filmed one episode where Josh had a staring contest against Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses), but lost faith in the project after the first episode footage went “missing,” and David Hess of Last House on The Left let him down on episode two. While it’s quiet now who knows what lies in the future for Brass Bro.’s Studio. 

Holy Brass BrosJoker HAHAHA

Sometime in late 2001/ early 2002 my brother took a class at Sinclair alongside Josh Weinberg that was being taught by local filmmaker Andy Copp, and one of the class projects was to make a short film.  He made another mostly stop motion film called “Nightmare” that followed an old man on his deathbed that sees visions of a bloody eyed baby doll, a ventriloquist dummy with a cracked face, a hooded masked wearing demon, death himself and a woman who holds a heart. The film was shot in my bedroom at the time, and while I did some camera my brother shot this one mostly himself.  In fact, the only live person in the film was a girl named Carley Owens who was in Bryan’s class and worked at Blockbuster Video down the road from the one I worked at. A scene was shot and never used in which I played the hooded demon who jumped up from his rocking chair and pointed a gun at the old man’s head.  Sadly that footage is lost forever. Like Twisted Batman Theatre, Nightmare found a home with Independent B Movie and was released on VHS and sold fairly well. The short film was also a extra on the short printed Twisted Batman DVD. 

Nightmare VHS

But now onto the DC comic of Sherlock Holmes! Remember 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. This review was made possible by Mavericks Cards and Comics.

Sherlock Holmes 1

Sherlock Holmes   ***1/2

Released in 1975    Cover Price .25    DC Comics   #1 of 1

Sherlock Holmes has been targeted and escapes an attempt to snuff out if life as he walks down the road.  Even at home on Barker Street another chap makes an attempt at ending his snooping ways. So he and Watson decide to get out of the country for awhile to avoid the murder attempts so they head to a snowy mountain region, and while on a snow covered mountain the man behind the attempts shows his face.  Both he and Holmes struggle atop the mountain, and both are believed to have fallen to their deaths during the struggle. Holmes knew his attacker would be there and even sends Watson away on a task before the fight. Watson returns home, and a man is gunned down in the streets with a firearm that makes no sound.  As he is looking into the murder, he is visited by a homeless man who turns out to be Sherlock Holmes alive and well and looking to help crack this case of the silent gun murder.  Once more using his brain, he is able to set the killer up using a stuffed doll of himself showing why he is considered one of the best detectives in the world. So I am sure you’re wondering he survived the fall.  To that I will say, I don’t want to spoil it all for you.

This could be one of the best Sherlock Holmes comics I have ever read and follows the classic story well, adding just a little more spice to make it appeal to fans of Batman, Dick Tracy and other hip detectives. Sherlock Holmes has only the slightest trace of the cocky attitude that he has in most of the books, making him more likeable. The chemistry that he has with Watson in this issue is top notch and again goes back to the way Batman and Robin interact and even the way Dick Tracy and Sam Catchem work together. The art style is really good and has the DC of the 70’s look. It’s strange to start your first issue off with what looks like the death of the title character, but it also works really well as it hypes you up to see just how you will survive his fall. This issue also delivers on his return, and it’s great to see the master detective dressed as a homeless man to set up a assassin who is trying to kill him if he in fact did not die in the attack. The art is top notch DC work, and the cover is eye catching and very cool  It’s a shame this is the only issue in this series as I really would have looked forward to reading them for this blog. Also, below this is a cool picture of Batman and Sherlock Holmes showing both of DC’s greatest detectives.

Holmes and Batman

The City of Chicago needed a master detective on November 22nd 1987 during a Dr. Who marathon when the broadcast signal of PBS Channel 11 was highjacked by a strange man in a Max Headroom mask.  The pirate broadcast sound was muffled as the man yelled, groaned and said all types of odd things from new Coke slogans to even humming the theme from the cartoon Clutch Cargo. The broadcast ended with his bare ass bent over with the rubber mask to the side of the camera as a person smacked him with a flyswatter. The broadcast only lasted a total of 90 seconds before the signal was cut by the pirate. This was really his second attempt at this as earlier in the night he made a small broadcast during the news on WGN Channel 9. To this day no one has been able to identify who this man was and why he did what he did.  I for one enjoyed his odd antics that I was able to see thanks to my brother Bryan and our friend Andy Copp, who had the incident on a VHS tape. The Max Headroom Pirate has never stuck again, and no one is sure if he ever will, but one thing is for sure he is still out there waiting and watching the airwaves of Chicago. I am sure that if Sherlock Holmes was a real person, he would have found out who this broadcast pirate was.

pirate

Speaking of pirate broadcasts, the other famous one happened a year before in 1986 when a man named John MacDougall going by the code named Captain Midnight was upset by the treatment satellite dish owners were getting from movie channels like HBO who were charging fees to watch.  So he hacked into their feed and placed a simple text message that ran for about 4 1/2 minutes that said “Good evening HBO From Captain Midnight $12.95/Month? No Way! [Showtime/Movie Channel Beware!].”  His message was clear, and he wanted HBO to see that the fees just were not right. But unlike the Max Headroom Pirate John was caught and forced to pay a high fine and be on a year of probation. Captain Midnight

In 1977, the United Kingdom also had a strange pirate broadcast that only affected the audio of a TV Station from an “Alien” named Vrillon who said he was a representative for the Ashtar Galactic Command and wanted to tell us Earth people that we need to get rid of our evil weapons and to live in peace and be ready for our evolution as a race. The message went on for about four minutes before he left our world. Many think this was a hoax, and the British government passed it off as one but those who heard the distorted voice think it might of really been a message from an alien from beyond the stars. Much like Max Headroom this pirate never was caught. Below is an image of what Vrillon is thought to look like.

Vrillon

Wow, this update took us from Sherlock Holmes to Hostess closing to Twisted Batman and ended with pirate broadcasts! My next update is something I spoke about in my look at the AniMax issues from Star Comics, and that’s a list of my top 10 Cartoons, Toy Lines, TV Shows or Celebrities that should have been made into a comic for Star, if they would have lasted that long and or could have nabbed the rights to do so. I will also be joined by some guests who will share their top 5, so until then, stay young at heart my friends. 

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