From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Gamera Guardian Of The Universe

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, and welcome to our second update for 2020’s Kaiju Month as we take a look at a giant monster that is friend to all. Of course I am talking about Gamera. While most fans of Kaiju movies respect Gamera, I do feel that he plays third banana behind the likes of Godzilla & King Kong so I think it’s time he gets the Rotten Ink From Horror Movie To Horror Comic treatment! I think most kids my age growing up in the 80’s and 90’s have seen at least one Gamera film as they could easily be found on cheap VHS tapes and would air on TV from time to time. I even knew some kids in High School who would say they even liked Gamera better then Godzilla showing that this Kaiju turtle monster made an impact on those that who grew up watching him. Oddly enough now, even as an adult working at a media store, I have had people tell me that they are bigger fans of Gamera than Godzilla or King Kong…wrap your head around that…as many see him as the top Kaiju in the world. I am sure you are wondering what my thoughts on him are. All I can say is that we will get to that a little further in this update. The Gamera we will be covering on this Kaiju Month update is the one from 1995’s Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe and had a comic mini series made by Dark Horse Comics. So if you are ready, let’s take a look at that destructive turtle named Gamera.

So as always, let’s first take a look at Gamera and the powers of destruction he showcases in this film and what kind of methods he could use to not only fight off other massive Kaiju monsters but also humans that get in his way. Like all Kaiju, the massive size and appearance of Gamera can easily put the fear in the hearts of both fellow giant monsters and humans. His massive size also means he could stomp the life out of a person with one step and his size also offers massive claws as well as teeth in a big mouth that could eat hundreds of people with one gulp. I should also note that Gamera would stand over 262 feet tall making him massive and as stated very scary to human eyes. Gamera can attack on land, water and air as he is a super fast swimmer as well as can soar through the air at a fast speed making him a true triple threat. Gamera can also breath fire that that is one of his main weapons against his enemies as well as the fact his mind can bond with a human mind giving him more smarts then his average opponent. But his bond with a human is also his weakness as he can be controlled and can lose the link making him opened for attacks. He can also be hurt like all living things by violence from fellow Kaiju Monsters as well as some human weapons of war. But while he is not the most dangerous Kaiju in the world, he still is a force to be reckoned with and thank the heavens he is on mankind’s side!

Now that we know what Gamera is capable of and what he can do on a rampage, it’s time we take a look at the film this version is from. As always, I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB and then I will write a little about the film’s production as well as my thoughts about the film and Gamera’s legacy. So if you are ready, let’s talk about the film Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe.

Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe (1995)

“A hibernating species of giant carnivorous birds is awakened on a Japanese island shortly after the military encounters an unidentified mass moving beneath the water off-shore.”

The cinemas in Japan in the early 90’s was being dominated by Godzilla when it came to giant movie monsters, aka Kaiju films, and Toho was the studio behind these films…and shockingly enough, they also released the 9th film in the Gamera series that was a reboot to the long running series and was the main rival to Godzilla for box office dollars as well as the attention of kids. The film was directed by Shusuke Kaneko and was written by Kazunori Ito, who wrote a part of the 1993 film Necronomicon, and the series would spark off and have 2 sequels and bring back the popularity of Gamera to not only Japan but also worldwide. The film was met with pretty great reviews, and critics and fans shared a common word on the film, that it was a fun watch and added a film to the Gamera series that was on par with Godzilla films of the time. The film did good at the box office in Japan and in its release year, was joined by such films as Halloween: Curse Of Michael Myers, Project Metalbeast, Sleepstalker, Jack-O, Leprechaun 3, Howling: New Moon Rising, Night Of The Scarecrow, Castle Freak and Vampire In Brooklyn to name a few. While Gamera might not be as impactful as Godzilla, he does have a very loyal fan base who enjoy his saving the universe from other Kaiju monsters.

Growing up I can remember seeing Gamera films, and while I enjoyed them, I was never a massive fan and in fact found many of the films to be way to cheesy and the kid characters who all loved Gamera always annoyed me. The reason that Gamera stayed on my radar was because I really did like his appearance. I was a Godzilla fan, and he reminded me of a character from that movie series. In 1995, I can remember seeing the new design for Gamera on the cover of Horror and Sci-Fi Magazines, and while I dug his new more monstrous updated look, I was in no major rush to check it out. I would see the film on VHS all the time at stores like Suncoast at the Dayton Mall and would pass on it to grab films like The Gates Of Hell Part 2 or another odd Horror Movie. To be honest I could not tell you when I finally did see Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe and who I watched it with or if I even liked it…I know, readers and friends, it’s shameful to say but this film just never left that big of an impression on me, and I didn’t even own the film on DVD until late 2019 when I bought it again to re-watch for this update. And while I am sure many of you are saying “Matt, it sounds to me like you just don’t like Gamera!” I want to assure you I do indeed like the flying turtle, I was just never a mega fan like I am of King Kong and Godzilla. And after watching Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe again in 2020, I find the film to be fun, slightly silly boring and one that took Gamera in the right step of making him an icon in the world of Kaiju films. And while Gamera is not one of my top favorite Kaiju monsters, I do respect the character and would say he is the third most popular giant monster in the Kaiju monster universe.

As you can see, Gamera is a monster who can hold his own in the world of giant monster fights and while he is not as powerful as Godzilla he could sure put up a fight at least. But now it’s time to take a look at the Dark Horse comic based on the film Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe that was released to help promote the movie in America. I want to thank Bell Book And Comic, Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what Gamera has in store for us in this four issue mini series.

Gamera # 1  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 1 of 4 

Young lady Asagi is in Mexico with her friend Mayumi Nagamine who has been hired by he rich lady Patty Smith to search her island for a very rare and massive bird, and what she finds instead is a pile of droppings that belongs to the flying Kaiju Gyaos! Meanwhile Asagi is left behind as she was not welcomed on the island just yet and decides to take a plane ride from Lutz who is a small time business man looking to make a living, while flying around Asagi tells her new friend about how she has a link to Gamera via an amulet and as they are talking it starts to glow as Gamera knows that Gyaus is back! Meanwhile Gyaos has flown inland and is attacking while Mayumi learns that Patty is not who she claims to be as she is really Doctor Karbone and she is guilty of creating Gyaus who escaped his jar and is growing fast, and she wants her help to make giant monsters that are controllable! Meanwhile Gamera has arrived and is fighting Gyaus now in the city and when Gamera is hurt the wound is shared with Asagi who is kicked out of the plane by Lutz, and as Asagi rushes to be closer to Gamera she is knocked down by the scared townspeople who are running for their lives.

This first issue is a nice start for this series as it brings a little history lesson of the film this is a sequel to as well deliver the giant monsters fighting in the city! Plus they do a great job of bringing back characters from the film that help it feel right at home in the series of films. The plot is simple crazy mad doctor Karbone has brought back a Gyaus monster with the idea of being able to control it, but when it runs amok she fakes an identity to con a ornithologist to her island lab to help make her dream of weaponized giant monsters a reality, while Asagi friend of Gamera is also around and must help her giant turtle friend battle once more as Gyaus is destroying a city in Mexico. This far our main hero is Asagi a young woman who has a link with Gamera via a amulet and has a mental link with him while she wears it, while she herself is not strong her will to help mankind is. ornithologist Mayumi Nagamine and small plane driver Lutz are background players at this point but you know as this series gets further they will play an even bigger part of the story. Gamera is as massive as ever and is 200 feet tall and is looking to stomp the life out of Gyaus who is the issues true baddie as its destructive and clearly will kill what ever is in it’s way. Doctor Karbone and her assistant Gusano while crazy are not super evil as I think in a weird way they think what they are doing and have done is the right thing to do! The issue is filled with lots of destruction and a fight between the two big monsters and this helped add a great layer of entertainment to this issue. I must also say at this point I feel that all the characters are likable and interesting and made me look forward to reading the second issue! The cover for this issue is great but also a little cheap as it’s just the films VHS/DVD cover, and the interior art by Mozart Couto is great and has the 90’s Dark Horse look. Over all a very solid issue and one fans of Gamera should check out, now lets see if the rest of the series can hold up.

Gamera # 2  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 2 of 4

Lutz decides that he can not leave young Asagi alone in the city when two Kaiju’s are frighting and comes to her aid, and together they make their way to the battle area and she sends Gamera a message via their minds and he is able to defeat Gyaus, before she is two weak to move. Lutz gets he medical help and also swipes the amulet and gets back into his plane to follow Gamera. Meanwhile Mayumi Nagamine is being kept prisoner as she refuses to help Doctor Karbone with her quest to control the giant monsters she is creating, and worse the mad Doctor has a bound with the squid looking Viras who is in control of her mind! Mayumi Nagamine ends up escaping when she sets a fire using a flare gun and while the monsters in tubes are destroyed by the blaze Viras is saved by Doctor Karbone and Gusano who escape with him on a hidden sub. Meanwhile Lutz is having a bad time as his plane runs out of gas and sinks, and he is picked up by French Military who think he is an eco terrorist and he is places under arrest. While on the ship in a jail cell the ship is attacked by a giant fish monster and Gamera once more appears to try and stop the massive threat, but is hurt really quick into the fight and as Gamera is knocked out sinking to the bottom of the ocean we see that a female alien on a ship in space is upset about something.

This second issue steps up the monster battles as Gamera not only defeats Gyaus but also kills him by setting him on fire and burning him alive! Gamera don’t mess around when it comes to protecting the Earth and seems to have his finger on the pulse of giant monster attacks! The story in this issue as well is very fast paced and has a great action, drama and sci-fi blend to it as they give you a some human story and then give you a taste of the main attraction of the comic series the monsters quickly after. Asagi saves the day in Mexico but sadly she is taken from the issue really fast as she is hurt and has to get medical attention, while Mayumi Nagamine is the issues main hero as she is able to get herself free from being a prisoner and while doing so is able to get some backstory from Gusano and as well sets a fire that kills off many soon to be giant Kaijus! Lutz is a goon who steals the amulet from a young girl that he has zero clue how to use, flies his plane over the ocean to run out of gas to be picked up and thought to be a terrorist…he really is a terrible “hero” and is more of a pain then a help. Doctor Karbone is crazy and clearly is in the grip of her greatest monster creation Viras whom she has put her own DNA into, in other words she really is nuts! Gusano is just a man in love who turned away from being a black market dealer in order to be with Karbone as he would do anything for her, and hates the fact she spends all her time with Viras in her lab. Gamera is a butt-kicking machine at the start, but does at the end of the issue leave you on a cliffhanger on if he will get back up and stop the fish monster from destroying the French Army sub. The cover for this issue is great and the art by Mozart Couto is still fantastic! Over all this is another great issue in this mini series that makes me look forward again to the next issue.

Gamera # 3  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 3 of 4

Lutz has survived the attack on this ship and is now sitting in prison, when he gets a visit from Mayumi Nagamine and he tells her that Gamera was who saved the ship as when he was knocked out a weird sub shot a missile into his head waking him up and making him very angry and he snatched the fish monster and took to the air with the beast and dropped it into a volcano! While in this meeting Lutz tries to trade the amulet for his freedom when he is roughed up as the guard is really Gusano who gets away with it as Lutz and Mayumi Nagamine are teleported aboard the aliens ship, her name is Freena and she is from Broomark and the giant fish monster was from her planet and she was ordered to take it back, but with it dead she now needs another monster to take home to her client! But things get crazy when Viras attacks their cloaked ship and when the army appears to attack Viras this squid beast is saved by Gamera who is protecting it as The Guardian Of The Universe is now under the ultra crazy Doctor Karbone control now!

Like all good giant monsters you just cant keep a good Kaiju down as it shows that while he was dazed for a moment once he got his second wind that massive fish monster did not stand a chance! The plot thickens in this issue as Doctor Karbone really wants to destroy Gamera and to do so needs to take control of him…and she does with the help of the amulet that her lover and assistant Gusano is able to easily get from the derpy Lutz. That’s the thing about this series Lutz is the one telling the story and he is the one good guy character in the whole series who makes terrible decisions and makes bad actions that ends up causing way more issues for everyone…really Lutz is a Putz! Mayumi Nagamine once more is wise in her words and wants to help capture and stop Doctor Karbone who she knows is a true menace to all human life if she can gain control over Kaijus. Doctor Karbone really is a great villain for this series this far as she is crazy on her own and now mind melded with the sinister Kaiju Viras she is more dangerous. Speaking of Viras he is a very smug giant monster, as he knows he cannot be stopped if his creator is able to control Gamera and has no remorse when it comes to the deaths and destruction he causes. The moment you see Gamera under her control you feel dread as our favorite flying, fire-breathing turtle is taking so much damage from heavy weapons. The cover is great like the others and Couto’s art once more rocks, and like a broken record I have to say this issue made me look forward to reading the next to see just how this storyline will end.

Gamera # 4  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse    # 4 of 4

Doctor Karbone is on the Eiffel Tower controlling Gamera making him take all the punishment the French army is delivering and he cannot take too much more! Mayumi Nagamine has herself teleported to the tower and with the help of Gusano who she alerts to the fact Viras is controlling the women he loves and will kill her when he gets what he needs from her, he snatches to amulet and they both fall from the tower and Gamera returns to normal and takes the fight to Viras! Meanwhile Freena’s ship is damaged and she is out fixing it, Lutz is trying his best to fly it and of course crashes it! Gamera is weak from all the damage he has taken from the army and in one last heroic moment Gusano lifts a fuel take and the fire explosion gives Gamera the bust of energy he needs and he makes quick work of Viras impaling the giant squid on a building tower! In the end Gamera flies off, Gusano is dead, Doctor Karbone’s body is missing, Freena is stuck on earth and is trying to blend in while in Paris, Mayumi Nagamine quick thinking helped truly save the day and Lutz is set free from the French prison. But when Lutz find’s the amulet on the ground he is unsure if he will give it back to Asagi or if he will keep it and go on another bad idea adventure.

Wow this was a fun ride of a mini series and really did a great job of bringing Gamera alive in the pages of comics! The plot of this issue has Gamera returning to normal and going crazy on Viras who does not stand a chance! The baddies Doctor Karbone and Gusano come to a violent end with me thinking Karbone is not really dead as he body is not found and I think she is still out in the world looking for a way to control her lab made giant monsters. Mayumi Nagamine once more proves that she is the stories real hero as she is the one who talks reason into Gusano to get the amulet off of Karbone. And Lutz proves he is useless as ever as he crashes the space ship and steals the amulet again in the end…he is such a goofy character. So I guess I should talk about the elephant in the room for me about this series and that’s alien Freena, I find her character so unnecessary as her street talk and her part that means nothing really to the over all series is why I just feel no need to really speak about her as she really does add nothing. The monster fights in the series are all really cool and seeing Gamera kicking some butt is what Kaiju fans enjoy about the movies as well as the comics. I should also say that I feel this series was done right as they showed respect to the source material and fans alike and delivered a fast paced mini series that shows movie monsters like Gamera can make for good comic series. The cover for this issue as well is great as his Couto’s art and this was a treat to read as I found myself enjoying it more then the film that spawned it! If you are a Gamera fan and you have not read this series tack them down at your local comic shop and give them a read. Below is some art by Mozart Couto that I think shows just how awesome his art is in this comic series, enjoy.

While Legendary let me down by moving Godzilla vs. Kong from this month, the fact that here on Rotten Ink I can still make March fun for fans of Kaiju and Giant Movie Monsters I hope makes the wait a little better for you fans, like reading these and writing this month has helped me. And again I want to stress that while Gamera movies are not my favorite of the Kaiju films, I still do enjoy the movies and the character and would love to see him return with a new film and better yet be apart of the Monsterverse Legendary is creating. For out next update we will be traveling once more to Skull Island to spend some time with King Kong and Dark Horse Comics again as they did a comic based on the 2005 film by Peter Jackson! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. See you next time on Skull Island, Kong is waiting for another visit from us.

Beneath The Planet Of The Atlas Vampires

Space is a vast place and so much of it is undiscovered. Sometimes we consider Pluto as a planet and other times we don’t! Image what and who is out there in the parts of space that we cannot explore and discover…imagine if many of our film/TV/Video Games/Comic aliens and space explorers were real…like what if Star Wars, Star Trek, Flash Gordon, Alien, Predator, The Black Hole, John Carter Warlord Of Mars, Destroy All Humans, Mars Attacks, Last Star Fighter, Space Invaders and all other matters of science fiction in media was real….like what if right now in the universe Buck Rogers is battling Crypto for the last slice of Pizza The Hut and The Predator is trying to hunt down some Klingons as he feels they are the ultimate prey! But in reality, it really is amazing that mankind in my lifetime will never really know what is truly out their in the Universe…heck we don’t even know much about our own deep oceans! For this update we are going to take a look at Atlas Comics and their series that blended adventure, sci-fi and horror together as of course I am talking about Planet Of The Vampires. So sit back, relax and go on a space travel with me here on Rotten Ink and let’s see what these bloodsuckers are up to in the cosmos.

When I was a youngster and first discovered Atlas Comics and it’s series Planet Of The Vampires thanks to Bookie Parlor I first thought this title was based on a 1965 film of the same name that was directed by Horror Icon Mario Bava, well that was until I read it and discovered it was its own world. Mario Bava is the master of Italian Horror and was the director of many great Horror Movies like Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Blood And Black Lace, Kill Baby…Kill!, Hatchet For The Honeymoon, A Bay Of Blood, Baron Blood and Lisa And The Devil to name a few showing that he is a true icon of the genre. American International Pictures released Planet Of The Vampires in 1965 to theaters and drive-in’s and they were happy too do so as they had made a good profit off Bava films from the past. Planet Of The Vampires is a film that follows astronauts who go to an undiscovered planet and find themselves fighting among themselves and learn that something or someone on the planet is causing them to turn on themselves. This film is really good for a b-grade Sci-Fi film and really should have gotten the Dell Comic adaptation treatment, but to make it clear this Atlas Comic series is 100% not based on this film.

Disney has superhero movies on lockdown as the box office numbers for the Marvel Comic movies have broken records! Warner Brothers are still making some great superhero movies as well that are raking in the money with their DC Comic flicks. Well Paramount Pictures and Steven Paul with is SP Media Group want a slice of that comic book movie pie and Paul himself has bought the rights to Atlas Comics and want to turn the characters into movies as well as possible TV Shows! While this has been announced nothing as of yet is set to come out and what characters will get the movie or even streaming TV treatment. And for a long time reader of Atlas Comics I can say that this news is very cool and I can not wait to see movies based on the likes of Grim Ghost, Tiger-Man, Planet Of The Vampires and The Cougar to name a few. But lets also be honest with ourselves just like Atlas failed comeback to the world of comics in 2010 this could end up being gone before it even starts. So only time will tell if Atlas Comics will make an impact in the world of movies and I for one welcome these characters back to all forums of media.

On January 19, 2020 we decided to have a Horror Movie Marathon in order to celebrate the end of the Holiday season and we kicked off the day at 8am with the 1965 fright flick “Blood Beast From Outer Space” about a strange object that falls from space that brings with it a space traveler who is kidnapping Earth’s women to bring back to his home planet. The cheesy “Return Of The Killer Shrews” was next on tap and is the sequel to the 1959 film Killer Shrews and has ship boat Captain Thorne Sherman going back to the island and once more being attacked by killer shrews. The third film of the marathon was “Bat Outta Hell” about a group of wannabe filmmakers being attacked by 4 feet tall bat creatures. Next on the blood tap was the Universal International film “Curucu: Best Of The Amazon” about headhunters, explorers and a monster by the jungle river. Hammer Horror movie “The Abominable Snowman” starring Peter Cushing was next and was about climbers and explorers looking for the mythic monster the Yeti. The 6th film of the day was the indie Kaiju film “Reigo King Of The Sea Monsters” and has the Japanese navy fighting for their lives against a giant monster. “Prison Of The Dead” by Full Moon Entertainment was next and had a group of fans at an old funeral home that evil spirits and killer dead executioners are roaming around in. The Shudder exclusive film “Boar” starring Bill Mosley and Nathan Jones was next a film about a giant killer boar in the outback. What we watched next was “Camp Blood 8” a slasher film that featured the clown masked killer once more on a rampage of blood and carnage. The slasher film “Pickaxe” was next and was about an unstoppable killer returning from death and targeting a group of friends going to a rock concert. The final film of the night was “Haunt” that has a group of friends going into an extreme haunted house that’s ghoulish performers are out for flesh and blood. As always a great time watching Horror Movies with my lady Juliet. Oh and I know many of you readers like to know what we had to eat for the Marathon and we had Breakfast Casserole and Chicken with Oh My Garlic Sauce and for snacks we had Peanut Butter M&M’s and Potato Chips.

So for this Horror Movie Marathon we watched 11 films total and all from different subgenres in the world of Horror. And when it came to the Golden Turkey of the evening Juliet and I agreed that the worst film of the day was “Bat Outta Hell” as some of the acting was terrible, the CGI creatures effects looked cheap and it was kind of boring. But I must say Pickaxe for me almost made the Golden Turkey spot as I was very much disappointed in it and found it to be just kind of bland. For me the top three films of the day was simple as I would go # 1 Haunt as it was a pleasant surprise filled with great gore effects, some creepy moments and likable characters. My # 2 had to go to The Abominable Snow Man as it’s a classic Hammer Horror film and you cannot top Peter Cushing. And lastly my # 3 spot went to Boar as it was a great animal/nature run amok throwback film with some gruesome boar kills. I should also say that Camp Blood 8 was really solid and one of the better sequels that has been released these past few years. Juliet picked the following as her top 3 films of the event # 1 Haunt, # 2 Boar and for # 3 she picked Prison Of The Dead. I love having these marathons whether it’s with just Juliet or a room full of friends, it’s a great time to celebrate the world of Horror.

The Golden Chainsaw Award for most kills for the Marathon goes to the one and only undead slasher killer Alex Black from the film Pickaxe! This hulking killer racked up a body count of over 15 people and did so with brutal glee. One of his best kills is when he guts and kills a cheating boyfriend! While the film was not to best of the Marathon nor did it even come close to making either of our Top 3 lists, Pickaxe’s killer Alex Black did walk away with the Golden Chainsaw Award as he raised the bloody body count and made the event a little more splattery!

So now that we have talked about Atlas Comics and its possible future of being movies at your local cinemas soon as well as talked about the first Horror Movie Marathon of 2020, I think it’s now time that we land and take a look at the Planet Of The Vampires! I want to say that I read this comic series when I was a young teen and can remember liking it then. I want to also thank the gone but always iconic comic store Bookie Parlor for introducing me to Atlas Comics all those decades past. I want to thank the combo of Bell Book And Comic as well as Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock making this update possible. I want to remind you readers that I am grading them on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s sit back and see if these vampires have the bite to still capture my attention.

Planet Of Vampires # 1  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 1 of 3

In the year 2010 the space shuttle Aries VII returns from a five-year mission on the planet Mars, the ships Captain is Chris Galland and on his crew is his wife Elissa among a few other members. Things are weird as they are not getting an response from Mission Control and after they have to land in the harbor near Brooklyn, New York they soon see the world has changed as the buildings are destroyed and crazed gangs of people are running loose and Captain Galland and his crew are saved by a costumed man who guns some of the savages down with his flying craft! Chris and his crew jump onto the ship and the man takes them to the Empire State building that now has a dome around the blocks around it and were what’s left of normal society lives after a war broke out that mostly destroyed the world. The crew are then introduced to The Proctor the man who built the dome and has kept people safe, and Captain Galland tells him about the mission on Mars they had. But as Galland and his people are walked out of The Proctor’s office they witness as guards are taking a savage to another room, and when he lets out a painful scream Captain Galland and crew spring into action and rush to the room to find that they savages are being drained of their blood! Captain Galland saves the savages who is being lead by Bruiser Culhane who comes up with a plan to split up into two teams to escape by air and by underground. Bruiser leads Galland and his wife underground and when they escape they are greeted by a rival band of savages!

The first issue of Planet Of The Vampires is one of those issues that is really slow moving, but is truly the groundwork for what this series was suppose to be all about. The plot takes elements from many different Sci-Fi films I feel like “Planet Of The Apes” and “Omega Man” and has a group returning to Earth after a long mission in space and when back the world is changed and filled with blood suckers and unruly wild gangs. Our main hero is Captain Galland who is a good captain, he is also kind of a firm jerk who seems to bully and talk very strictly to his wife Elissa, but while he is a jerk he is a hero who watches out for his crew, questions the murdering of people and saves countless lives but standing up for what’s right. Elissa seems like a nice woman and the rest of the crew is made up of Craig, Ben and Brenda all as well are good people and Ben was the brains of the team but he is taken down by the savages after landing. The savages are at war with those who live in the dome and are violent, but are the way they are in order to survive this new cruel world. The Proctor and his men claim they are not the bad ones and that they have to steal the blood of others in order to save themselves as the radiation they claim gave them a disease. But while slow the tense feeling is building as you are not sure really what is going on with those that live in the dome and why do they really need all that blood, not to mention those who live outside the dome are violent and act like savages for sure. I also like that our hero Captain Chris Galland while always wanting to do the right thing is also really kind of an ego driven jerk! The cover for this first issue is awesome and has a Star Wars comic look to it. The interior art is done by Pat Broderick and is really good and has a classic 70’s Marvel Comics look to it, Broderick has done art for many companies over the years including DC, Marvel, Eclipse and Devil’s Due. Over all this first issue is a great read that brings this world to life for reviewers.

Planet Of Vampires # 2  ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 2 of 3

Bruiser Culhane has lead Chris & Elissa Galland into the arms of some very dangerous people who want to murder them all, but Bruiser comes up with an idea that has him fighting the leader of the group Lenny with the winner taking the lead of both tribes! The fight is brutal with Bruiser coming ahead and running both tribes, he even allows Lenny to live as Captain Chris Galland comes up with a plan that will have all the tribes come together and fight for their lives against the bloodsuckers who is the world’s real scumbag enemies. And after Craig and Brenda trick their followers they land and use the little flying craft as a bomb killing the pursuing vampires. As the savage tribes come together the vampires attack in full force and the battle leaves many dead on each side, and worse Elissa and Brenda have been kidnapped with the idea that they will be baby carries for The Proctor! During the battle Captain Galland is injured, but snaps and wants revenge when Craig informs him of the ladies kidnapping.

The plot of this second issue has Captain Galland bringing all the outside savage tribes together to make an army and pushes them to clash and fight with the larger and better-armed Bloodsucking Vampires…who of course destroy them in the battle. In fact Captain Chris Galland gets the tribes all riled up and acts as if their primitive weapons stand a chance and with them listing many of the savages loose their lives. So in other words Galland did not come up with a real battle plan and uses his own rage to lead people to their deaths. The savage tribes show that they truly are fighters as they do what they can to fight the vampires, and while many lost their lives other are taking prisoners so that they can be drained of blood. The Vampires of the Dome are very mad in this issue and when they come for revenge they are swift and brutal and kill as well as take hostages. Most of this issue is about Lenny’s dislike for Bruiser Culhane and how he learns to respect his one time enemy as well agrees to be apart of the tribe army to fight back. The cover for this issue is great and showcases evil vampires, and yet nothing like this happens in the issue. The interior art is done by Pat Broderick again and is fantastic and I really do dig his style. Over all this is another solid issue and one I can not wait to reread the third and final issue again, so let’s get to it.

Planet Of Vampires # 3  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 3 of 3

The Vampire Dome soldiers are being warned about astronauts Captain Galland and Craig coming to the dome in order to get their ladies back, and while the guards laugh an old fighter plan crashes into them all killing them on the spot and near by our heroes start to make their way into the dome as their plan to wipeout their enemies worked. Captain Galland and Craig enter the dome and make quick work of many more vampire soldiers as they out smart the bloodsuckers, but Craig’s world falls apart when they find the body of Brenda who has been drained off all her blood! Captain Galland leaves his friend to grieve for a moment as he enters the office of The Proctor and kills the vampire leader with a bullet to his head. Captain Galland is then greeted by Craig who has found Elissa hurt but still alive. The three of them make their way to steal one of the bloodsuckers aircrafts and Craig stays behind at the dome as Elissa and Captain Galland take the craft and fly around looking for a safe place to live. The couple end up in LA that is as wild as New York and Elissa is attacked by a pair of giant vampire spiders and Captain Galland fights with all his might in order to save his wife…but to his horror she passes away from her injuries and Captain Galland is a man along in a savage and violent world.

The third and final issue in this Atlas Comic series ends like so many before and after it on a cliffhanger and the promise of a next issue that never was published as Atlas Comic closed its doors before they could hit the comic racks. The plot of this issue has only Captain Chris Galland and his best friend and crewmate Craig left as all the savages have been killed or taken and they want to get their wives back who have been kidnapped by the dome living vampires, and they try their best to do just that but in the end both men loose their wives to the grip of death and both find themselves sad, lonely and in a world that is cruel and unforgiving. Captain Chris Galland is a hero who throughout the series tries his best to take control and act as if his plans and ideas are what will change this savage world, and instead his ideas lead to many deaths of people as well as even his crew. To be honest while I do understand Captain Chris Galland’s want to stand up against the evil people of this new world, a part of me also felt like he did it all for his ego. His wife Elissa Galland is always the victim in these three issues and it goes from being talked down to by his wife all the way to being picked to be the mate of the creepy vampire leader. Craig and Brenda are good side characters and to be honest I think Craig is my favorite hero of the series as he comes off more real and loyal. The Proctor and his vampire soldiers have the weapons and numbers, but when push comes to shove they fall like a house of cards and are easily beaten and killed. I must say Planet Of The Vampires held up for me and I enjoyed it just like I did in my youth and while it’s very slow moving at the start it kicks in to be a very fun Sci-Fi, Action, Horror Comic read. While those looking for solid vampire horror might be disappointed as these vampires are not like Dracula, those who like science mixed in with their vampires will really enjoy it. The cover for this issue is good, and confusing as who in the hell are the blonde astronaut and the short black haired girl? The interior art this time around is done by Russ Heath and is as well has a very classic Marvel look to it. Over all Planet Of The Vampires is a great Atlas Comics series and while it’s not one of my top favorites, it is one that I have enjoyed and suggest to comic readers who enjoy Sci-Fi Horror. Check out the art below to see the style used in this series.

Planet Of The Vampires is a 70’s comic that showed that Atlas Comics had lots to offer in the world of comic books, as did the previous comic titles we covered like The Brute, The Cougar, Tiger-Man, Demon Hunter, The Destructor and The Hands Of The Dragon have all proven. It really is a shame that Atlas Comics closed its doors so quickly as it would have been nice to see were many of their classic characters would have went story wise and what new characters they could have created. But sadly, we cannot live in a world of what if and have to live in the now and lucky for Rotten Ink we have many other Atlas Comic titles to cover in the future. But for our next update we are walking away from the world of comic books and heading to the world of Horror Hosts as I cover a little unknown host named Theodore Puertoriquez who hosted Theodore’s Creepy Kitchen! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a Meow-Tastic good time!

Who Are The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos?

If you grew up reading comic books like I did in the 80’s and 90’s, you remember the big boom that happened for Indie Comic publishers after the massive success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Mirage where companies sprang up like weeds with their own dreams of creating the next fighting animal based hero team. For many, as quickly as they sprang up, they soon found themselves debunked and just a grain of sand in the comic world. And worst of all, when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got their own cartoon and toy line many, companies tried to cash in that was as well, and while some found footing, many of these cash in’s also bit the dust. In fact I have covered some of these copycats here on Rotten Ink like Biker Mice From Mars, Toxic Crusaders, Stone Protectors and Old Age Green Fighting Gerbils over the years of writing this blog. And while searching the comic stores and online outlets, I discovered that one company cranked out more TMNT knock offs then any other indie company going and that was Blackthrone! So for this update, we are going to scrap once more some of the gunk off the bottom of a soggy comic box that is rotting in the basement of a long closed comic shop and cover the TMNT knock off series the Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos! So if you’re ready to dive into the world of knock offs and generic rip offs, let’s see what these slimy green skinned heroes have in store for us.

In modern time comics, I feel like no indie comic series has changed the landscape like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did back in the late 80’s as it made indie creators feel like they could bring the world the next big hit that was not made by DC or Marvel Comics that would be on readers’ pull lists and become a must own series that would spark movies, toys and cartoon. The only thing that comes to mind would be maybe Walking Dead by Image Comics as it helped usher in a rebirth of zombie Horror Comics and made Horror Comic creators feel like they could make a big scary indie comic hit series that would strike a nerve with readers. But to tell you the truth, while Walking Dead is a good series I still feel it has not reached the iconic level of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who have spanned decades of being popular and in all types of media keeping them fresh and popular. Plus I feel that Walking Dead was not a fully original idea series and took lots from zombie comics made by Arrow and Aircel without properly creating them. Keep in mind I do very much enjoy Walking Dead even though I am not a big fan of Robert Kirkman or most of his other writing in comics. So with this update while I am covering a comic series that clearly was cashing in on them, I want to say that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are clear icons of comic books and that they have to be at the top of any list when it comes to the most impactful characters to come out of the world of indie comics.

The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos were created by the team of William Clausen and Michael Kelley in 1986 as a way to parody as well as cash in on the popularity of the TMNT. They first appeared in their self-titled comic series the Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos, and it was a moderate hit for publisher Blackthorne who wanted more and more issues to ride the successes. But while the readers were around and enjoying it and the publisher was happy with the series, it had issue keeping up to release dates and delivering new issues to comic shops, and this caused pressure as well as stress on the series production. In fact, when issues fell behind Blackthorne even created a new one-shot issue series called Rivit about a humanoid frogman to fill the void for radioactive enhanced animal people…and yes, I will cover it at some point here at Rotten Ink. But while Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos was popular for a short time and lasted for five issue, it lost steam in 1987 and was canceled from Blackthorne’s releases. Now while looking up info on why it was canceled I found a number of different theories with one being the title dropped big in sales when readers got sick of the rip off TMNT titles and just stopped buying them. Another reason I heard was that the creators being behind so much and running out of ideas lead to the comic’s doom. And the last reason I found was that publisher Blackthorne was having financial issues and they were forced to cut many titles in order to save money and cut costs. No one will really know the reasons why Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos was cancelled besides those who worked for Blackthorne, but what is known is that they made a mark on indie comics and entertained readers who enjoyed the spawns of the Turtles.

I first discovered the Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos in the mid 90’s thanks to Mavericks Cards And Comics who had some issues in their back issue section for a little over cover price. I ended up getting a copy of the first issue when my parents took my brother and I to the comic shop to get a few issues to read one winter break, and while grabbing some Marvel Comics as well as Horror Comic and Rock N Roll Comics, it was in my stack and I can remember reading it and laughing it off as being very cheesy and never really tracked down the other issues until many years later. Like all kids of the time I was a massive TMNT fan and would watch the cartoon and movies, read the Archie Comic adventures and would get as many of the Playmates figures as I could grab. And while I was annoyed and made fun of all the Turtle knock-off products, I still for some reason also very much enjoyed them and Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos was one of the comic rip-offs that has always stuck out to me. So it’s been really fun to revisit and reread this comic series for this update and see how I feel about them now as an older comic reader. But really this also makes me miss Blackthorne as a comic publisher as they did all type of knock-off books as well as very cool classic reprints and adaptations and media tie ins.

The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos might be a very cheesy fighting animal cash in comic series that never hit the success of the Teenage Turtles, but it did deliver its own tiny legacy to those who bought the issues and enjoyed reading the knock off comics. While writing this I must say I do miss Blackthorne Publishing and wish they would have lasted longer than 1990 as who knows what cool comic one shots and series could have landed in our hands. For this update I want to thank Bell Book And Comic and Lone Star Comics for having all the issues in stock. I want to remind all you readers like a broken record that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what these Chameleon Commandos have to offer when it comes to kicking bad guy butt!

Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos # 1  **1/2
Released in 1986     Cover Price $1.75     Blackthorne    # 1 of 5

The US Government has hired scientist Doctor Poindexter to work on a serum that will turn regular lizards into walking, talking, fighting machines and pay him lots of money to do so! His experiments work great, and so the team of the Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos is born with members like Sarge, Rivit, Radion and Nerves all who have their own strengths and abilities. Poindexter ends up looking at these human sized fighting lizards as his own children and they look at him as their father, but one day a group of masked terrorist fighters from the Night Brigade enter the lab and kidnap him and leave our heroes ready to get him back! The Commandos also get a new Doctor to watch after them and help them on their mission to get Poindexter back by the name of Wurmhauser who gets them on a plan and to the location of the Night Brigade. Once at the terrorist base, the Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos face all types of baddies and attempt to save a pair of Ambassadors that have been taken hostage. In the end the Commandos find out that Poindexter is not there, and they must go on another mission to save him as the Night Brigade prepare for war.

I hate to say this, but I found Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos to be a fun and solid TMNT knock off comic that had likable characters and a goof yet classic cheesy storyline. The plot for the first issue has a batch of lizards being injected with an experimental serum that turns them into human sized soldiers who are forced into battle in order to save the Doctor who created them when he is taken by terrorist. Once at the battle zone, they soon find that they are not the only super powered animals in the world as the terrorist group have their own army of them. The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos are a group of three mutated lizards that are skilled fighters and can not only use weapons but can also use their animal abilities. Thus far I think my favorite of the Commandos is Rivit who is a frog and seems like the badass of the group and who can use his tongue and mighty legs in battle. Doctor Poindexter is a skilled scientist who looks at his creations as his own kids, but I for one also get the vibe he is not the super nice caring man they think he is and if I had to guess I would almost be so bold to say that he is working with the terrorist and have created all their animal humanoid fighters. As for Doctor Wurmhauser I am not so sure what his deal is as he is the one feeding the Commando’s plans but also is the one who speed up their serum treatments, makes me wonder if he is as well not what he seems and has dark motives. But the answers to those questions about those doctors I hope will be answered later on in the series. The Night Brigade are a group of terrorist who are very feared, yet I am not 100% sure on what they do to strike terror in the hearts of the world as the only major act of terror they do is beat up and kidnap a doctor and I guess make mutated animal people to be their warriors for terror. The issue moves along at a great pace and delivers some great indie tongue in cheek action and proves that some TMNT Knock Offs can and are entertaining! The cover is eye catching and has that Blackthorne look, and interior art is done by Michael Kelley is well done. So let’s see what issue two has in store for us!

Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos # 2 **
Released in 1986     Cover Price $1.75     Blackthorne      # 2 of 5

The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos are now heroes and the world loves them, as they are now somewhat celebrities! They are being watched by the evil crime boss Overlord who wants them destroyed, and they also get a singing telegram from Doctor Poindexter to meet him in California and get a microchip and our heroes gear up and head out. While in California they are in disguise and run into a street gang who tries to rob them, but the gang soon ends up being slaughtered and left dead in the streets. The Overlord sends a group of Moles to follow The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos to Doctor Poindexter and to bring him the chip. When our heroes find the good old crazy Doctor, he is attacked and killed by the moles as Chameleon Commandos fight the moles and slaughter them all for killing their dear friend. In the end a Government agent shows up and takes the microchip to the President as the Chameleon Commandos find out that the Doctor Poindexter that was killed was an imposter and a man in a rubber mask, and now they want answers.

This second issue is a little sloppy and the plot is paper-thin showing that I think the creators truly did have no major plans for the characters and it really was just a quick cash in to get readers money who enjoyed the TMNT. The issue’s plot has Doctor Poindexter holding a microchip that is needed and the Chameleon Commandos come to get it only for them all be attacked by moles and more mysteries and questions come up! In this issue the Chameleon Commandos are filled with egos as they are being loved by the people of America and think they are the next Superman or Spider-Man, but they also still maintain their killer instinct as they do not show any hesitation when it comes to killing scum that gets in their way. Not sure why but Rivit comes off as the most ego driven Commando in this issue, and it’s a shame cause it plays down his character and makes him feel generic. The Overlord seems to be a man who wants powers and does not want any do-gooders to get in his way! One of the issues mysteries that I cannot wait to see how it plays out is who is the fake Doctor Poindexter and why did the good Doctor send a fake to deliver the microchip? The cover for this issue is good and eye catching, the interior art is done by Michael Kelley, and I must say in many spots comes off very rushed and lacks the charm of the first issue. Over all this is just a so-so issue with no real heart behind it I still cannot wait to read issue three!

Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos # 3  *1/2
Released in 1986     Cover Price $1.75     Blackthorne      # 3 of 5

The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos are upset and want to know what has happened to their dear friend Doctor Poindexter who is like a father to them and they get even more worried when they find that the mask the imposter was wearing was made of human flesh! Chameleon Commandos decide that they think the government and the workers at the lab might be in on this and hack a computer and find the locations of two secret labs and head to the first to see if they can track down Poindexter who they truly think is in danger. Once inside the lab they take out guards and find the prisoners who they set free to help bring down the remaining guards. Once the Chameleon Commandos find Doctor Poindexter in a prison cell they find he has been mutilated and his tormentor has been waiting for him!

This issue feels like a full fledge filler issue that is filled with massive panels and splash pages and it’s clear this comic series was being made part for artistic love and part cause they wanted to make that quick TMNT cash! The plot has the Chameleon Commandos breaking into a lab to save their creator Doctor Poindexter who is being tormented by a bigheaded worker for our very own Government. And that’s pretty much it most of the issue just has the Chameleon Commandos running around and beating up guards while also slightly infighting among themselves as who should be the leader of the group. None of the Chameleon Commandos stand out in this issue and all come off just as generic gun shooting late 80s knock off characters. And it’s a shame as the first issue had so much potential to be a stand out from the pack of other clones, but by this third issue it’s clear they steam ran out after issue 1. The Bigheaded Doctor who is the film’s villain does come off as a true evil madman as he seems to get massive joy in the torture and disfiguring of his prisoners. The action in this issue is one part slapstick and one part brutal as the two different artist bring their own flavor to the rescue fight. The cover is misleading as the Snake Monster on the front is not in the issue, and the interior art is done by both Michael Kelley and William Clausen which also goes for the past issue with one being good and one being not my cup of tea. Over all this is a pretty lack luster issue and there is not much to talk about with it, so let’s move onto issue four.

Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos # 4  *1/2
Released in 1987     Cover Price $1.75     Blackthorne      # 4 of 5

The evil Wurmhauser captures most of the Chameleon Commandos and forces them along with Doctor Poindexter to watch a movie he made that is about taking all of them and mixing their body parts to make an ultimate solider! Meanwhile Nerves is the only member to have escaped the trap and finds himself being held at gun point by an insect that has questions. But the unlikely pair join forces and rush into the lab of Wurmhauser who kills the insect man and uses a chainsaw to remove the arm of nerves! As Nerves lies bleeding on the floor, Wurmhauser moves in for the kill!

Sad to say this is clearly another filler issue as not much goes on and its over packed with the massive panels to use up the page count. The plots is the Chameleon Commandos being captured by Wurmhauser who wants to experiment and create a Frankenstein Monster soldier from their body parts. The groups only hope is a wheelchair bound fly and team member Nerves. I must say that Wurmhauser is truly an evil man and again will do whatever he wants to his captives. The Chameleon Commandos are the same as always with Nerves being the standout as he shows he will do whatever he can to save his brothers in arms. But like before the plot is so paper thing and nothing really at all stands out as its clear that they had a nugget of an idea here that they smashed out to make bigger and longer than what is really presented. The cover is fun and eye catching and the interior art is the same as the last two issues and is a mix of good and so-so. So not much to say about this issue besides the wheelchair fly man is murdered and our heroes are captured and Nerves is very much injured. Let’s see what the final issue has in store for us and if it will wrap up or leave us on a cliffhanger that more than likely will never be resolved.

Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos # 5  ***
Released in 1987     Cover Price $1.75     Blackthorne      # 5 of 5

The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos land in the Swamp Of The Dead and have lost all their weapons in the bad landing and soon find themselves surrounded by zombies who want our heroes dead! As they fight off the dead they are joined by Beastie Fly a voodoo master who uses his powers to blow up the zombies and save the hides of the Chameleon Commandos. They follow him back to his cabin in the swamp and eat a good meal and during the battle they all discover a little about themselves and the fact they also have special powers that can help them in battle. The Overlord however is not happy as he is watching this take place via his monitors and he has set up the wreck and lack of weapons and now he has a plan to bring them down once and for all. While in the swamp our heroes are visited by Hazel The Swamp Witch who is very angry and starts to attack when a ship from the sky falls on her and Dorothy and the Tin Man appear! After the visitors from Oz leave the ship opens and a killer robot comes out sent by The Overlord to kill them! The Chameleon Commandos work together and bring the machine down and turn its body into a ship and fly themselves to a pool to have a relaxing and good time!

Ok this is crazy as this fifth and final issue is the best in the series and while I like it, I also am confused as to why they did a hard reboot to the series and never talk about how they got away from Wurmhauser and how Nerves still has his arm and is alive…I mean I get his arm probably grew back but still a very cheesy way to just start the series over. The plot has the Chameleon Commandos having and accident set up by The Overlord that leaves them in a swamp that has them facing the likes of zombies, a swamp witch and a giant robot in order to survive. This time around the Chameleon Commandos have personalities and each are unique and interesting Nerves while always scared finds his inner strength when he learns he can shoot fire and characters like Rivit is the muscle who has a hothead and is always looking for a fight. What’s odd though is this issue makes zero reference to the events from issue four nor do they even mention Wurmhauser or Doctor Poindexter showing that they really did wipe the series after issue one. Our new hero Beastie Fly is a little cheesy and all we really know about him is that he lives in a cabin in a swamp in Haiti, and to be honest he adds nothing to the story and was just a so-so character…in other words could have done without him. The Overlord is a man who hates the Chameleon Commandos and will do whatever it takes to bring them down and does so while wearing his mouse mask. The issue does a great job of blending both humor and action with a dash of cheese and it works very well! It’s a shame that the series did not find the right formula until this last issue and its also a shame that the series just ended….but at least it ended with a none cliffhanger ending. The cover for this issue is terrible and just showcases the lame Beastie Fly in all his lame glory, the interior art is great and done by Michael Kelley who in my opinion was the best artist on this book. Over all this series was filled with a good first issue a run of three issues that were bad and a final issue that was the best in the series showing why the TMNT Knock Off comics get a very bad name! Check out the artwork of Kelley’s below to see his style in this series and check out The Chameleon Commandos if you love cheesy rip off comics like I do.

So as you can see, The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos is a comic series that has built a cult following on the facts it has a silly title and cheesy stories and while I am not a super fan of it, I still enjoy it even if many of the issues were below par and had no thought into them. But let’s leave the knock off world behind and lets take a look at one of my favorite comic heroes The Incredible Hulk! But we will not be taking a look at him in comic books, nor the movie and TV version…but we will be looking at him in the world of coloring books! Yeah you heard that right coloring books as Marvel back in the day teamed with companies and made comic like adventures with many of their heroes and I think its time we take a look at them. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a Hulk Smash colorful good time!

 

DC’s Micro Masked Hero The Atom!

Here at Rotten Ink I enjoy covering classic Superheroes from both Marvel and DC as well as Indies, and over the years I have spent a lot of time with Marvel Comics and their heroes and have also made an efferent to cover more DC characters as I feel over all they seem to always take a backseat when people chat about comic heroes besides Batman and Superman as Marvel Comics has taken over thanks to their cinema movie hits that have brought their heroes into the mainstream pop culture and made many of them household names. So for this update, I am thinking about covering a DC hero that is pint sized in nature, and of course I am talking about The Atom! I am sure most of you readers at least know who The Atom is or have heard the name in your local comic shop or even seen him is some sort of other media from TV to Video Games. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at the one and only micro hero of DC Comics The Atom.

Ray Palmer was a professor at New England school Ivy University who is working hard on a solution to the world’s over population and uses parts of a white dwarf star that fell to Earth to do so. You see, he has figured out a way to use parts of the star in order to shrink objects, but sadly they become unstable. While on a field trip with his students and girlfriend Jean Loring exploring a cave, they become trapped during a cave-in and Ray must use his shrinking lens on himself in order to get free and get those he cares about help, and to his shock he is able to shrink as well as become normal size again without exploding! Ray decides that he will use his new discovery to help mankind and becomes a costumed hero called The Atom and even helps Jean in criminal cases as she is a lawyer. Over his career of being a superhero, he has lost faith in mankind and made a choice to stay small. He has fought aliens and super villains like The Bug-Eyed Bandit & Doctor Light and was even a member of the Justice League Of America and even the Teen Titans when his powers turned him back young! The Atom was created by Gil Kane in 1961 for DC comics and made his first appearance in Showcase # 34 and is still a character in use to this day. The Atom thus far has spawned about five solo titles and has appeared in a massive amount of other characters’ books showing that he is a staple for DC and will be for generations to come. While The Atom might not be as forgotten about like some of the other DC Characters I have covered like Red Tornado, Jonni Thunder, Hawkman and STEEL: The Indestructible Man, he still is not as big as he should be in the eyes of readers…get it? Because he is small!

The Atom has become a B-league hero for DC Comics, and this has lead to him appearing in animated series, live action shows like Arrow and even in video games like Injustice 2 as a DLC fighter! As you can see, DC has some faith in The Atom and that’s why they have broken him out of the pages of comics and allowed him to show his hero skills in other forms of media. I think one of his best appearances is one that most of the world has never seen as it was a failed unaired pilot for a Justice League Of America TV Show that had him as one of the members alongside the likes of Green Lantern, Flash and Martian Manhunter, and boy was this one really bad! It was made in 1997 and was supposed to be a new hit series as DC Comics had found some fame making shows for television, and the JLA was one they thought could have been a major hit…that was until it was shown on CBS and it was trashed by fans and critics as it was deemed terrible. The film was a mix of comedy and action and would have the heroes doing interviews like the TV show The Office in between events of the show. The show did so bad that the series idea was canceled and this was buried for the most part by DC who knew they had a stinker on their hands. The Atom in the show looked terrible and his suit was bulky and made him look overweight. Below are some pictures of The Atom from all types of media which show you the different looks and styles of the character in toons, games and shows.

Like all good superheroes, The Atom has had his fair share of action figures released and they have been pretty cool looking for fans of this character. He has graced such toy lines as “DC Universe: Crisis”, “JLA Classified” and “Justice League Unlimited” to name a very few. And while these figures are cool and I do own the one from DC Universe: Crisis, it’s crazy to think that The Atom never got a figure in the classic 1984 Kenner series Super Powers! In fact the rumor of the un-produced waves of figures for that series shows that The Atom was not even considered for the series and that’s shocking as they had some very weird picks selected like Creeper and Blue Devil. Just wanted to take a few moments to let fans of The Atom know that if they collect action figures, there are options out there for you.

So as you can see, The Atom is a very cool character for DC Comics and is one I think should get a little more attention than he does. I also like the fact that he has made appearances in video games, cartoons, toys and TV shows showing that he is a great character. But we are now at the point of this review that I should take a look at the comics, and as I said, I have chosen to take a look at the four issue mini series called Sword Of The Atom for this update as I remember seeing them around when I was younger. I would like to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. So let’s see what adventure The Atom has in store for us with this 80’s series.

Sword Of The Atom # 1  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

On a rainy night Ray Palmer is waiting on his lawyer wife, Jean Loring, to get home from a late night at the office, and when he sees a car pull into the driveway and shut off its lights, he goes out to investigate and finds that his wife is making out with her new assistant! As he storms off, she gets out of the car and follows, and they two argue and share their issues about what has been going on in their marriage with much of it being the lack of time they spend with each other. That night Ray decides that they should take time away from each other and goes on a trip to South America in order to find more of the white dwarf star. Ray wires a plane to fly him over the Amazon, and he soon finds out his hired hands are drug smugglers and a fight breaks out that causes him to turn into The Atom and leading to the plane crashing with The Atom thrown from the plane and his two attackers dead! Now stuck in the Amazon, he tries to make his way to the crashed plane and finds that he is stuck being 6” tall, and worse, a snake has chosen him for dinner, but a group of small warriors help him out only to capture him and bring to their king. While in chains, he notices that a warrior named Taren is also prisoner and his only crime is he has fallen in love with The Princess. The King orders his guards to beat down Taren, and The Atom has seen enough and helps the fallen warrior. But the numbers are against them, and the pair is taken to a dungeon and their fate is to be eaten alive by rats!

This first issue in this mini series starts off with a major downer as our hero is being cheated on by his wife who has found affection in her new hired helper, and he thinks by leaving for weeks could save their marriage. Very sad stuff as it’s clear the two are in a bad way and neither are really talking to each other about the issues that have caused this split. And worse, Ray finds himself stuck in his small size in the Amazon and as the slave to a race of tiny people! The Atom in this issue goes from being a heartbroken husband, to a man focused on his work to a hero forced to stay in his small size who becomes stuck in a world he does not understand. Poor Jean Loring in this issue goes from a cheating wife to a heartbroken one when she thinks her husband she has been fighting with is dead in the plane crash in the Amazon; this poor woman’s mind is broken by the end. We don’t get much info on the race of bright yellow skinned tiny people that live in the Amazon; all we do get is that the King is a cruel man and his daughter is the object of a damned man’s affection. I like the cliffhanger of Atom and Taren being fed to a bunch of rats as the odds look really grim for them, and it makes you wonder how two weaponless 6” tall guys are going to survive the attack. I also like when Ray Palmer has to get away from his cheating wife for a bit he is attacked while on a small plane by two drug smugglers that want to knock him out and then toss him from the plane…brutal. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and has a Conan The Barbarian vibe to it as a sword swinging Atom riding a frog is fighting off a massive mean looking snake…classic fantasy comic stuff. The art is done by comic legend Gil Kane and is topnotch stuff for fans who like the classic style comic art. Over all this first issue is a great read and does a nice job of building up the story of The Atom stuck in the Amazon, and with that let’s see what issue two has in store for us. On a side note, I really should have read this comic as a kid as I am pretty sure I would have loved it!

Sword Of The Atom # 2  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 2 of 4

As The Atom and Taren prepare to fight for their lives against the rats, a canister of gas is tossed in and their lives have been saved by the King’s advisor, who wants them to be healed up and trained so they can fight as gladiators in an arena for the people’s amusement and to show the true glory of the King. Weeks pass, and The Atom is rushed to the arena and given a sword and finds out his opponent is Taren, who has been blinded to secure the fact he will be killed in battle. The crowd goes crazy and turn on the King as anarchy rules out and The Atom and Taren run to escape and find Princess Laethwen waiting with frogs with saddles. The three flee into the jungle as The King can not understand why his people hate him and is furious as he thinks the fleeing heroes kidnapped his daughter. The Atom stays with Taren and The Princess as the rebels come to meet them lead by the ego driven Voss and are taken to camp. Meanwhile back in the Kingdom, we find that the advisor is the one who is setting up events to make the people turn on their King. In the end Taren asks The Atom to lead his men into war with the King, and as The Princess and Taren talk, our masked hero is attacked by Voss who thinks The Atom is a spy, but of course The Atom makes short work of the ego maniac Voss and the showdown is set between the rebels and the Kingdom.

In this second issue adventure, The Atom finds himself being saved from the rats and forced to become a gladiator fighter for the kingdom as is his new friend Taren who is blinded as well to ensure his death in the arena. But things are not so bleak as they get help to escape and soon find that the Princess is on their side, and someone on the rebel’s side is a true mole and is sharing information. The Atom shows that he is an honorable man who will do the right thing when faced with conflict and will stand by his friends and allies when they need him. Also its’ clear that he is drifting apart from his wife he is away from as he is barely thinking of her. And Jean, his wife, thinks he is gone and at the end of the issue calls the gentleman she was cheating with to come over as she does not want to be alone….sad to say, but I think their love has faded. Taren and The Princess are shown to be good people who want to do all the right things that are best for their people. Voss is a jerk, and I would guess he is the rat who told the King and his goons what Taren’s plan was that lead to him being captured and made blind. The King, I think, is clueless and is not fully evil as his people and the rebels are lead to believe as I think his scumbag advisor is the true fiend who is cruel and a liar. What really works for this story so far is the fact The Atom is a true fish out of water and is stuck in a jungle world where he is targeted for lunch by the animals around and most of the locals want him dead as they think he is an enemy of the kingdom, and when he makes his escape riding on a frog, you find yourself cheering him on. Once more, the cover is great and has a fantasy comic look to it and the interior art is great and done by Gil Kane. So as you can see, the second issue has set up that The Atom will be leading the rebels to fight against the kingdom as the King himself is facing an uprising from his own subjects. So with that, let’s see how this plays out and, if I am right that Voss is a traitor, and move onto issue three.

Sword Of The Atom # 3  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 3 of 4

After winning the fight against Voss, the Atom decides that he wants this brave warrior as his second in command as they get ready to battle with the Kingdom. Meanwhile, the King is upset at his Advisor, who he has found out is doing experiments on a fallen star without his permission, and still the evil Advisor works to make the King look terrible in the eyes of his subjects. While in the jungle, a horde of ants attack the rebels and while trying to escape their flesh eating ways Voss, The Princess, The Atom and Taren run for their lives and after reaching safety Taren flings himself into the ants killing himself and allowing the rage to build up in The Atom and moving the war with the kingdom closer. While in the Kingdom, the rebel spy sends a message to the Advisor of Taren’s death, and this pleases him as he knows that soon an attack will happen and he will get control of the Kingdom. Back in America, Jean Loring decides she is going to travel to South America and make sure her husband is really dead and not hiding from her. Meanwhile, the Atom and the Princess have fallen in love and get the rebels ready and are heading to the Kingdom for the big attack.

In the issue, The Atom starts to see that the jungle is a dangerous place and life can be taken away very quickly and that he must really step up and be the hero the rebels need when their leader dies. And while The Atom is in this wild world, he also learns to trust those who don’t trust him and to fall in love all over again. Our hero The Atom in this issue becomes a true leader to the people as he prepares them to war, he also decides to prove his dominance of the jungle that he must kill an alligator! He also wastes no time in falling in love with the Princess after the death of her boyfriend. The Princess herself is very tough and spends very little time on being sad about her man’s death before putting the moves on The Atom. I find this quick love affair very odd as it’s clear The Princess respected him throughout this series, but now she is madly in love. Taren is a warrior who has lost the will to live and once he knows his army is in good hands decides to commit suicide by letting ants eat him alive…the strange part is while people seem slightly sad about his death, they all move on very fast with life without him. Voss is a really loudmouth and untrusting warrior who likes to stand against yet with The Atom who he blames for being a spy for the other side, when I think it’s him! The King and his Advisor are playing a chess game against each other and don’t really know they are, and both are just being driven by power. Jean Loring, who has moved on as she is with her boyfriend, now seems hell bent on exposing if her husband is dead or not. What’s unclear is if she is trying to find the truth out of love or hate. This was a pretty good issue and is a great one that builds to this final fight between rebels and soldiers, builds the tension between the King and his people, shows that The Atom is the leader the rebels needs and all pieces of this jungle action puzzle of love and war are coming together thanks to this issue. The cover is great and once more captures a fantasy comic look and has The Atom fighting the alligator, and like before Gil Kane did the interior art and its great. Very solid issue and was a great way to build up the next and final issue in this mini series, so if you’re ready, I am ready to see how this clash in the jungle ends.

Sword Of The Atom # 4  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 4 of 4

The Atom stands on the outskirts of the castle lost in his own mind of what it will take to truly win this fight when he is joined by the Princess, and the pair talk about how much they love each other when they are interrupted by Voss as they have found out who the spy really is! The spy was one of the rebel archers and before he is put to death, he spills the beans that the King’s Advisor is the mastermind behind the downfall of the Kingdom and that they all can live in the Kingdom if they pledge their loyalty to the Advisor once he becomes ruler. After the spy is killed, The Atom leads the rebels into war that has three forces with their own battle plans as the rebels must face those loyal to the Advisor and those who stand by their King! The battle rages on as the people are screaming for the deaths of both the King and his Advisor who are having words as the King has finally found out his most trusted is who ushered in his downfall. The Advisor stabs the King in the back and runs to activate the white star that will blow up the kingdom! The Atom, Voss and The Princess makes it to the throne room where the dying King informs them of his Advisor’s plan, and our heroes rush to the energy plant where the star is stored and find they are too late! Voss puts an arrow through the brain of the Advisor as The Atom rushes inside to see if he can stop the meltdown, but the power of the star turns him normal size again and is driving him mad as he rampages through the Kingdom even chasing off The Princess and Voss. After everyone is safe, The Atom stumbles around and passes out on the banks of the river and is found by fishermen and awakens in the hospital, and Jean is waiting for him down in the lobby. In the end Ray must find out if he truly loves Jean or if he wants to find his Princess.

This final issue of this mini series plot has The Atom and the new love of his life The Princess lead an attack on her father’s Kingdom only to find that his trusted Advisor has struck and killed the King and has set a meltdown due to a white dwarf star being used as a source of energy. And with everyone in danger, The Atom rushes in and soaks up most of the star’s radiation causing himself to grow big and pass out leaving his new love behind as well as his sanity as he is unclear if any of it was real. The Atom proves he is a born leader as he leads rebels into a war that they win! He also shows that he no longer would like to live his normal life as Ray Palmer and would love to stay small and be The Atom from here on out and be with his Princess girlfriend and leave his wife Jean behind forever. The Atom also goes from being a confident hero to second guessing just what he is doing with his life showing that even a superhero has his doubts. The Princess is a fighter as well who wanted her father The King out of power but is very upset when his life is taken. Plus she gets even more heartbroken when her new boyfriend The Atom grows and is taken away when found. The one weird thing about her is she really dose not mourn that much over the death of her first boyfriend who dies by suicide. Voss is a hardened warrior who I was wrong about that could be the most composed person in this comic series as he does what’s right and uses his brain in situations and not his heart. The King was a man who ruled with a big ego, but he was not as bad as his subjects were lead to believe and almost seems angered and saddened by his advisor’s betrayal and the fact his own people want him dead. And when he is stabbed and dying, he does show remorse and love toward his Kingdom and his daughter. The Advisor is the true villain of this series as he really just wants to rule and will do whatever he can to gain power including murder and using unsafe measures to try and impress the people. So when he takes an arrow to his head, I found myself cheering as he was a pure narcissistic terrible person. And poor Jean Loring is a woman who cheated on her husband and has tried to move on when she thinks he is dead, but also must come to terms that even if he is alive, what is left of their marriage. This mini series was a great way to update the dated hero The Atom and even added the realm of a fantasy comic to it and was a great way to cash in on the popularity of the likes of Conan The Barbarian. I also like that in the end they leave it open that maybe this jungle society was all in the mind of The Atom who was injured in the plane crash…so was his war with a Kingdom real or just a delusion? The cover for this fourth issue is pretty cool and while eye catching, I would say is the weakest in the series. Gil Kane’s art is fantastic and really shows that he is the best one to draw this as he created the character and knows how to bring him to life on pages. To sum it up, Sword Of The Atom is a very good mini series released by DC and was a great way to get comic readers to check out classic characters that needed a boost and might have not sold well if given a continuing series. Check this series out if you enjoy The Atom, and check out the art below for a look at Gil Kane’s art style.

The Atom might not be as popular as Batman, Superman or even The Flash, but one thing this mini series does show comic readers is that he can deliver good classic superhero adventure that is mixed with classic science fiction fantasy flare. I’m not sure which DC hero will be next to get the Rotten Ink treatment, but I do have a few in mind that include Green Arrow, Aquaman, Martian The Manhunter or even Wonder Woman! Only time will tell who will be next, but one thing is for sure, I really am enjoying reading and talking about these DC heroes. But our next update will be up on July 4th and will be another entry in the American Hero updates. For this year I have chosen to talk and showcase action movie hero John Rambo! So until next time, read a DC Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time as we see who draws first blood!

The Atlas Comics Hunter Of Demons

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers. For this update we will be stepping away from the heroes of Marvel & DC and will be once more entering the short yet amazing world of Atlas Comics to take a look at one of their many heroes that never got a fair share in the world of comic books. I am talking about Demon Hunter who sadly only lasted one issue before the company went out of business. On this update we will also take a look at other demon themed things! So get ready to bash some demon scum as we take a journey with Atlas Comics and the warrior known as Demon Hunter.

Demon Hunter was created by David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler for Atlas Comics and made his first and only appearance in 1975. Now I’ll do a quick bio of the character and kind of give you a sneak peek at what he can do before we get into the comic review a little later in this update. Gideon Cross was a solider in the army who had to do some things that changed him to his very core. Once out he was lost and felt like a man out of place. One day he headed to a place that was said to be cursed by a cult called the Harvester of Night Cult who end up giving the lost solider power and turn him into a supernatural hitman for evil. Armed with his ability to cloak himself as well as his powerful axe, he is a murder for hire who is paid in blood for his services. While he starts off as a bad guy where human life is cheap, he ends up finding his way and learns that the cult he serves is not the right way. Demon Hunter would last only one issue for Atlas Comics and the character would have a rebirth of sorts at Marvel Comics when David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler created a very similar character named Eric Simon Payne aka Devil-Slayer for them in 1977 in an issue of Marvel Spotlight.

Demon Hunter is a character I first discovered as a teenager while shopping at local comic shop Bookie Parlor. At the time I was buying any and all Atlas Comics as they were ones that owner Hal had introduced me to. I found the first and only issue in one of his cheap bins and can remember reading it once I got home and enjoying it as I found it to be on par with Marvel Comics I had read from the same year it was published. And when planning what Atlas Comic character to cover this year, the first one that popped into my mind was Demon Hunter and I am glad to be able to chat about him a little on this update as I do feel he is a pretty great character.

Here in Ohio, we had a ride that was called Screamin’ Demon and later just The Demon at Kings Island, one of our areas longest running amusement parks. The ride was designed by Intamin AG and Anton Schwarzkopf and was known for its massive loop, and in 1977 Arrow Dynamics made a coaster with this design for Kings Island that was called The Screamin’ Demon that had riders enter a loading station and get into a cart and would be follow the track through a massive loop and then be forced to do the same loop again going backwards! Each ride would fit about twenty people and was a pretty popular coaster for its time at the park. The ride was an attraction and remained a must for park goers for many years…that was until 1987 when Kings Island decided to sell the ride to Camden Park located in West Virginia who would call the ride Thunderbolt Express. The ride run until 1999 until a massive board malfunction left it down and out, and it was scrapped in 2004 ending its reign of being a classic Amusement park ride. While it might have went to the big scrap yard in the sky, for those fans of early Kings Island the Screamin’ Demon remains a great ride memory. For those wondering if I ever got to ride the Screamin’ Demon, the sad answer is I did not.

When I was a teenager, I lived in a big house in Kettering, Ohio that had a big side yard that was complete with a weeping willow tree and a massive two-car garage that had a shed and a tool/work out room attached. One night my cousin Stephen came over, and it was getting late. We were hanging outside when we noticed a weird glowing red light coming from the yard of the neighbor who lived behind us. The glow was super bright and a weird hissing noise was filling the air. This weird light and sound caused use to creep to the fence and peer past bushes to see what this was and standing in their yard next to a blocked up boat was a weird looking man with a hood or mask on who had a very weird and eerie red glow around him. Stephen and I watched this strange figure standing in the glowing red light for a minute or so, and then his parents came outside and he left while I still stood outside for a while and my imagination was already going crazy as I was in movie mode in my brain saying it was a demon straight from Hell!! In reality it was just the homeowner welding his boat…or was it??!!! I can remember that the idea of a demon living behind my house was even an idea I toyed with when it came to films for Independent B Movie. Fun and weird times was my teenage years as the love of all things Horror always played into my everyday life.

One of my favorite current female rap/pop singers is Iggy Azalea as I find her to be the top of that game with a great voice, top-notch rhymes and seems like a person who loves what she does and is who she is! On August 3, 2018, she released an EP to the masses called “Survive The Summer” that features a total of six songs and sadly was only a digital release…but a few physical ones were made and thanks to an Ebay seller, I was able to get one and do this quick write up for this update. I want to also say that this EP was her final release for Island Records as she parted ways with them and is now signed to Empire with a new release in the works as well as a possible tour. While many of the songs on this EP are fantastic and showcase Iggy’s style, the opening track and the title of the release “Survive The Summer” is the weakest track on the release as the other five songs are really solid. My favorite track is “Kream” where Iggy raps about cash and ass and the track has a great club sound. My second favorite track on this release is “Tokyo Snow” that as well has a club sound and also seems like it should be used in a crime film. Over all this is another great release from Iggy Azalea and shows that she is for me the true queen of the rap game.

Well as you can see Demon Hunter is a character who was very short lived but was able to help spawn a Marvel Comics character so his legacy still lives on slightly. And again for you comic readers who have not ever read an Atlas Comics issue do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Demon Hunter, The Brute, Tiger-Man, Iron Jaw or any other of their short lived characters and be ready to read solid and fun classic 70’s style superhero, barbarian, war and horror adventures. It really is a shame Atlas could not survive the war for shelf space between Marvel and DC in the 70’s. Well let’s get to the review for the one and only issue of Demon Hunter that I will be grading 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 see just how bad these demons are and how well Gideon Cross hunts them…oh and I want to also thank Bell, Book and Comic for having this issue in stock and also a thank you to the Bookie Parlor who introduced me to Atlas Comics.

Demon Hunter # 1  ***
Released in 1975    Cover Price .25    Atlas Comics     # 1 of 1

Gideon Cross with his shadow cloak becomes Demon Hunter a man who fights demons on Earth and in Hell in order to keep them from taking over and works as a gun for hire via a cult …but he also finds himself working for mafia crime boss Mr. Severs who has a price on his head and right before he is to be killed by a sniper Demon Hunter takes down the would be assassin. Once back and he collects his blood payment he gets another mission and that’s to kill the wheelchair bound mobster Harvey Aldous who wants Severs dead! After going with Severs on a dug sale as his bodyguard his employer makes big money and Demon Hunter heads to the airport to travel and finish his mission on ridding the world of Aldous. While at the airport he starts to question the motives of the cult he is a part of and also learns that Mr. Severs has been reported as to have committed suicide, and the cult has send demon Hamremmiz to kill him off as they have picked up on his thoughts of questioning their motives. After a very quick fight Demon Hunter dispatches the foul creature and returns to the cults hideout and watches as they kill a man and bring a demon up from hell to possesses and take over the corpse! Demon Hunter leaves the scene of the horrific crime and tries to figure out a plan to bring down the cult and even has the idea of having his own target Harvey Aldous join him in the fight, not knowing the man killed and possessed was indeed Harvey Aldous who has set his sites on killing the Demon Hunter.

This supernatural superhero comic was a fun read when I was a youngster and still is at the age of 39! The comic does a great job of mixing in elements from multiple comic genres like Superhero, Horror, Crime and even a dash of Thriller into one issue that showcases a supernatural superhero that was a former war vet who works for the mob as well as a cult and yet still thinks he is a good person…but only after they turn on him and want him dead. Demon Hunter, as a normal man, lost it all and found a new purposes in life after given powers of the occult from a cult what want him to do jobs for people and take samples of their blood before doing it. He has a magical cape as well as a sword that he can use on his enemies and that includes both humans and demons. Demon Hunter is kind of a stone cold cocky kind of slayer who thinks he is the end all be all, but also seems to have no real common sense. Like let’s be honest, only after watching them kill a man and throw his heart into fire does he finally realize the cult is evil….come one Demon Hunter you are not that dumb. He also weirdly takes a grandstand against evil after working for the Mob and even killed for them. It’s clear that Demon Hunter is a broken person with broken views. The main villains of this issue are the members of the cult Harvesters Of The Dark who not only have black magic and demons on their side they also have money and power it seems! They seem to have no loyalty to their members if they are to question the group’s motives and while they do like the dark world they also seem to be very motivated by money. These bad guys really are bad and mess with dark forces and have learned to use them to do very bad things. Plus now that a demon is inside a mob boss like Harvey Aldous who knows just how dark and evil they will get…as sadly the world never found out as this comic never got a second issue leaving us on a major cliffhanger. And like many of Atlas titles the true potential of the character as well as their story arch never was met. The cover for this comic is fantastic and is very eye catching and rivals anything DC was releasing at the time. The interior artwork is done by Rich Buckler and is great stuff and could easily fit in at Marvel Comics at the time. While this is an incomplete story due to the companies closure this comic is still an amazing read and is worth checking out if you enjoy classic indie superheroes that are mixed with a little bit of supernatural thrills. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Rich Buckler.

Demon Hunter is for the most part a forgotten superhero from the age of Atlas, but for those of us who have read his one and only comic adventure he added his flair to the world of comics. With so many more Atlas Comic character left for me to cover, you readers and Atlas fans do have many more updates to look forward to that will showcases these great heroes. But for our next update we will be walking away from the world of Supernatural Superheroes and will be taking a look at a Biblical/Sword & Sandal hero that is known as Samson! So until next time, read a indie comic or three, watch a indie movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for an epic adventure good time.

Marvel’s Fastest Gun In The West…Rawhide Kid

Once upon a time western comics were all the rage for young readers, and cowboys like Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Billy The Kid, Roy Rogers and so many others entertained and captured imaginations. In fact besides comic books, westerns also use to rule the box office as well as TV airwaves and cheap paperback novels, and it seemed like every kid wanted to be the cowboy when playing “Cowboy And Indians”. But like all super popular media, it, of course, also had a big fall and has lost its hold on the youth today who seem to prefer video game heroes to those from the old wild west. Growing up, I loved films like Once Upon A Time In the West, Magnificent Seven, Young Guns and Quick And The Dead, not to mention the classic true tales of Billy The Kid, Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok! Plus no joke. The Rifleman is one of my all time favorite TV shows, and Lone Ranger was a hero of mine when I was a kid! So while westerns in media even by the time of my youth were not as popular of a genre, they still had their hooks in my entertainment. I mean let’s be honest, many of you readers growing up have played Cowboys and Indians and even looked up to the likes of Roy Rogers or John Wayne. For this update we are going to take a look at a western hero from the Marvel Universe and after looking at all the options, I decided to take a look at Rawhide Kid and his 1985 mini series. So get your spurs on, find a trusty horse and let’s head out to the wild west and see what Marvel has in store for us when it comes to Cowboy heroes. This update will be a quick one and should be a fun one for fans of classic Marvel western heroes.

Some of you younger readers I am sure do not remember the Rawhide Kid as Marvel Comics over the years have not really done much with him besides give him a MAX series and turn him into a raunchy character to try and be edgy in 2003, and then in 2010 he had another mini series put out this time again simply released by Marvel. But before we dive too deep and start the review of Rawhide Kid, I want to share a little of the character’s back story and history with you readers who might be unfamiliar with Rawhide Kid’s slinging ways. As a baby, Johnny Clay had most of his family killed by Indians, and he was left behind as his brothers fled and one was even captured and taken. Ben Bart, a fast Texas Ranger gunslinger, took in the infant Johnny and raised him as his own family on an old ranch, where Johnny at the age of 18 became the fastest gun in the west. One day Johnny heads to town for supplies, and while away, some gunslingers sneak onto the ranch and kill Ben and this sparks Johnny who finds the body to become on a quest of revenge. Once tracking them down and out-dueling them both in a gun fight, Johnny turns his adoptive father’s killers in and decides to change his name to Rawhide Kid and to use his fast shooting skills to help others. And after having it out with an evil ranch owner that leaves the man shot, the Rawhide Kid becomes a wanted man when a sheriff fails to see that the Kid was only saving the day. But even as a wanted man, the Rawhide Kid used his gun skills to help people and to fight crime. Over the years Rawhide Kid has teamed up with the likes of Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt, Phantom Rider and even Iron Man! This character ran from 1955 -1979 and lasted 151 issues for his first solo run and would come back in 1985 for a four issue mini series. While Rawhide Kid is not a popular Marvel Comic character nowadays, he was one who made his mark for the company and is one that deserves respect for being one heck of an entertaining western comic character. Growing up, I read many of his adventures from comics that my Grandma Brassfield would buy for my brother from garage sales, and can remember enjoying them pretty well but still always preferring the superhero and horror comics. If you like classic western movies and TV shows and also enjoy reading comic books, give Rawhide Kid a chance as the early stuff is lots of fun and holds a real classic feel. Oh and I should also note that Rawhide Kid’s drink of choice is milk, and him asking for it at bars and saloons is a running gag in the series.

Cowboys also made a mark in the world of video games with most modern gamers agreeing that the Red Dead Redemption series is one of the over all best games going! But one of the earliest western games I remember was for the Atari 2600 and was called Outlaw and has you having to outdraw an outlaw in order to score points. And when getting this update together I figured it would be fun to take a small NES Challenge on a western themed game for the Nintendo and decided to settle on Gun.Smoke released in 1985 by Capcom. So I picked January 22, 2019 as the day to play this game and hooked up the RES (Retro-Entertainment System) and was ready to just sit back for a few minutes and just have fun and play this game and see how far I could get. My goal this time around is to not even beat the game but to just replay it after all these years, I want to thank Game Swap Kettering for having the game in stock for me to buy and make this quick play a reality. So after pouring myself a tall glass of water and eating a good meal of home made chicken and dumplings, I set out to take a shot of surviving the 8-bit wild-west! And the game was just as fun as I remember as I just ran around shooting all the baddies in town with my goal being to collect a bounty put onto the head of a criminal. The longer I played the more I enjoyed it, but also the longer I played it my hands became more and more cramped as the game forces you to always move up and you must be dodging and shooting at the same time. Capcom should make an updated version of this game and make it like an alternative to Red Dead Redemption and have the player play as a man on the side of the law whose goal is to capture some of the worst gun slingers the wild west has ever known…just an idea. If you enjoy classic NES games and also like wild west shooters, make sure to check out Gun.Smoke as I think it’s a forgotten gem for that system that is worth your play time.

I am not a big soda drinker, but from time to time I do enjoy a good soft drink, and for those wondering it really is hard to pick between Pepsi or Coke as each I think go well with different types of meals with Coke being the best with Pizza and Pepsi going well with Mexican food. But in October 2018 I must say I had one of the worst sodas I have ever tasted (minus those weird ones like Ranch and PB&J) and it was called “Moxie Original Elixir” and my gosh it had one of the worst after tastes of any soda I have drank as it tasted like cough syrup…it was so gross! So this is just a warning for you cola soda drinkers, stay clear of Moxie unless you have a bad cough cause who knows it might help ya!

While working on this update, I got thinking about the old steakhouse Ponderosa that was really inspired by the old west and flavors of the past as well as the TV show Bonanza. Growing up here in Ohio, we had a few of them around and I can remember that my Grandparents on my Dad’s side really loved eating there. I can remember eating the salad bar and loading up on small steaks and baked potatoes and chatting with my brother about toys, comics, video games and horror movies as we ate. But while they were popular places to eat here for a while, they faded away from the Dayton market and all went out of business with the longest one to hold on being on Airway Road. So I wanted to have a meal at Ponderosa in order to celebrate Rawhide Kid and Marvel Western Comics and to relive a little bit of my youth. The nearest Ponderosa is over an hour away from where I live and is in Hillsboro, and after calling up my pal Josh Weinberg, we hit the rode to have a good lunch at an old staple restaurant for our family growing up. The only downside is that I no longer eat red meat and must find some food I can eat from a place that is a steak house. We hit the road on January 15, 2019 to the good old Ponderosa, and on the drive there we chatted a little about the future of the Wolf Hunter movie series as well as a wrestling and baseball talk. It took a little over an hour to get there, but once we did, the place was pretty epic and from the outside was one of the biggest Ponderosa’s I have ever seen! The setup inside was very nice and clean, and Josh and I decided to eat the salad bar buffet. Our waitress was super cute and looked like she could have been a model or a pop star country singer. I chose water as my drink of choice and during my lunch I had chicken wings, mashed potatoes with two types of gravy, mac & cheese, green beans, ham and chicken noodles. And I must say it was all pretty good with the mac & cheese and chicken wings being the stand out and the most tasty. Over all while the inside was very Texas Ranch looking, the meal was good southern style cooking and flavors. On the ride back we talked lots more about MLB aka the Cincinnati Reds and had a hoot as we spotted in someone’s yard a statue of the Apple Pie Tree from McDonalds. It was worth the drive to eat once more at Ponderosa Steakhouse and over all was a fun cold day in Ohio. Below are pictures I took on that day.

So now that I have my belly filled with some good old Ponderosa food, I think it’s time we sit around the campfire with a cup of coffee and start our look at Marvel Comic western hero The Rawhide Kid and the 1985 mini series I have chosen to cover for this update. Now I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready readers and friends, let’s review the Wild West adventures of The Kid! Oh and I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this whole mini series in stock.

The Rawhide Kid # 1  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 1 of 4

The Rawhide Kid is an old man now and is making his way atop Nightwind to town when railroad workers spot him, and the oldest member of the team shares the story of Rawhide Kid being the fastest gun in the west and how he avenged the murder of his adoptive father. After hearing the story, a young city boy on the rail team decides to quit his job to follow Rawhide Kid into town and asks him to train him in gun slinging. Rawhide Kid finds a saloon to relax in as the youngster also enters the bar and hears some of the men talking about the greatest gunslingers of the west and he chimes in Rawhide Kid and points him out to everyone as being the best! The saloon owner refuses to serve Rawhide Kid a good breakfast now as he thinks he is an outlaw and worse as he is about to leave some of the railroad workers have shown up for lunch and bait Rawhide into a massive fist fight that he is winning and is broke up by Sam the town Sheriff and friend of his who takes his old friend to the jail in order to give him a place to rest. That night the City Boy breaks down the wall of the jail to “free” Rawhide Kid who was not even locked up, and this makes the town go crazy as they all start firing at him and his new young goofy friend! But Rawhide Kids still keeps them safe and the Sheriff is able to calm the towns people down, as the City Boy comes to learn that the Rawhide Kid is really in town to put a flower on a grave of a young kid he gunned down in the city many years back.

This Marvel Western Comic is lots of fun and this first issue was a fantastic read to kick off a mini series as it blends his old adventures and his current story really well and brings new readers up-to-date on who the character is and was. The plot of this issue has the Rawhide Kid now an old man who returns to a town that he killed a young gun slinger in and soon finds that the town dislikes him and look at him as an outlaw, that his friend is now the town Sheriff and he also has a young city boy who idolizes him and wants to learn to become a gun slinger like him. Rawhide Kid is an aged fast draw gun slinger who is a man that is haunted by his past as he has taken so many lives with his guns. Plus I like that even though he is an old man he don’t take guff from people who want to try and test him and his legend. I also like that he just wants to avoid trouble and that all he really wanted to do in town is have some ham, eggs, bread and of course a glass of milk before visiting the grave. The City Boy is a young man who gets wrapped up in the stories of how great Rawhide Kid is and decides that by being trained by him will lead him closer to fame and fortune instead of working hard for his money. While he is a good kid, he also is a screw up and causes Rawhide Kid lots of issues with the locals in this issue. The townspeople are all mostly judgmental who hate Rawhide Kid due to old wanted posters that use to hang, forgetting that he was the one who gunned down a madman who killed many of the townsfolk many years back. Sheriff Sam is the only one who seems to know that Rawhide is a good man and he has to be the voice of reason when it comes to them getting trigger happy. And Nightwind is still the same old fast horse long time readers love. It’s great to see that Rawhide’s trusty horse is still alive and helping his owner to get out of tough spots. The comic does a great job of building up a good story that shows our hero is an aging man who still is as skilled as he was in his youth as the world around him is changing and his good deeds are out shined by damning words from the past. The cover is great and has a real classic look and the interior art is done by the iconic Herb Trimpe who is one of my favorite classic Marvel artists. I am surprised on how much I enjoyed this issue, and I am very much looking forward to reading what’s to come in issue two. So with that let’s see what Rawhide Kid gets up to in his next adventure.

The Rawhide Kid # 2  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 2 of 4

Rawhide Kid and City Boy board a train to get out of town and to check one of Rawhide’s bank accounts in a nearby town as he is owned money from a writer who has been writing dime store books about Rawhide Kid’s past adventures as well as tall tales about him and who has not paid! While on the train City Boy gets real nervous when two men approach and even tries to shoot them with a gun he has hidden in his boot causing panic on the train and for Rawhide Kid to also be the target of the two men who turn out to be the law as City Boy is a wanted man! Rawhide Kid and City Boy escape the train and the law as City Boy shares his story of how he accidentally murdered his old boss in Chicago defending the honor of his sister. The pair find an old abandoned shack and spend the night there only to wake up and find that they are in the practice area of Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show! And after some talk Rawhide Kid joins the cast of his traveling road show as does City Boy. While working for the show he runs into the writer who he makes pay him all the money owed and also runs into Annie Oakley who was an old fling of his. But the lawmen also show up and he and City Boy must race off as Oakley and the rest of the crew run distraction.

This second issue has Rawhide Kid once more being on the wrong side of the law thanks to his new student City Boy. We find out his real name is Jeff Packard and he is wanted for murder back in Chicago of a slaughterhouse owner who employed him and his sister. Our plot of the issue has two main storylines with one being City Boy and his running ways from the two officers out to get him and the other is Rawhide Kid who has been ripped off by a writer who owes him lots of back pay money for books he wrote about the living legend. Rawhide Kid is very noble and not only wants what’s owed to him but also wants to teach and protect him from the law who wants to take them both in. Jeff Packard aka City Boy is a young man who still has the idea of being a gunslinger will bring him money and tells a tale of why he is wanted in Chicago that involves a man using and abusing his sister, and when thinking about it, I am not sure I believe him and I think he killed the man in a botch theft as City Boy is very much into money and is saying this in order to get the help of Rawhide Kid to escape the law. What really is cool about this issue is the fact they add in real Wild West people like Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley and have them at the Wild West Show! Makes me hope that more real cowboys show up in this mini series! The over all feel of this issue is the great chase as our heroes spend the issue on the run from the law who are outclassed by the fast and adventures style of Rawhide Kid who always is one step ahead of them. The cover for this issue is great and holds a classic western comic look and once more Herb did the interior and is fantastic. Over all this second issue is, as good as the original and I cannot wait to see what issue 3 has in store.

The Rawhide Kid # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 3 of 4

Rawhide Kid and City Boy have made camp outside of a town were Rawhide is teaching him how to be fast with a pair of six shooters. Meanwhile the law has hired a former slave now turned bounty hunter to bring in the pair of “fugitives”. While at the camp, Rawhide Kid goes for a quick swim as City Boy goes to make breakfast and is attacked by the law and Bounty Hunter who informs him that his sister is fine and is now to be married off, but thanks to Rawhide Kid and Nightwind, they are able to free City Boy and they ride off to find shelter and a place to hide and regroup in the near by town. Once in town they find that it is made up of former slaves and all the males have been killed and the women and children are hiding in the church and tell Rawhide kid that a hate group killed all the males and are returning for them all because they want the town cause oil has been discovered under it. The Bounty Hunter leaves the law behind and tracks his bounties down to the same town. Once the Bounty Hunter finds them in the church a showdown is about to happen until the hate group shows up and they have to join forces in order to save the locals as well as themselves. In the end the good guys win and kill and chase off the hate mongers and the Bounty Hunter drops out of turning them in and decides to stay in the town and help them rebuild and protect them from others trying to steal the oil. Rawhide Kid and City Boy ride off still on the run but also as heroes.

Wow this is a great issue and shows that Rawhide Kid is a good man who does what’s right and is also teaching City Boy the same morals. This issue has Rawhide and City Boy being hunted down by a skillful Bounty Hunter who ends up joining with his bounties in order to protect a town that is being slaughtered by a group of hate and greed filled men. Rawhide Kid is still a man trying to avoid his legend as he knows that much of it was made up by writers and storytellers, and while some think he is an outlaw, he is really a man who does the right thing and even risks his own life to save others. He also has zero tolerance for those who hate due to skin color and has no issues standing up for what he thinks is right and putting haters in their place or even six feet under. So I have to say I was wrong about City Boy as it looks like he was telling the truth about killing the man over his sister, and he in this issue is learning not only to be fast with a gun but also how to be a better person and to help others. The lawmen are desperate in this issue and go looking for help to capture their “outlaws” by hiring a bounty hunter and once more when they go for the arrest they fail. The Bounty Hunter is a former slave who also fought in the civil war and is now super skilled with a gun and always gets his man and seems very happy to be hired to take down a legend like Rawhide Kid, and in the end he learns that he needs to also look at valuing innocent human life and not just look at all people as dollar signs. This issue really does take a look at racism and does it in your normal Marvel Comics way and shows that they tackled all types of issues in their comics. One of my favorite moments in this issue is when the Bounty Hunter tricks members of the hate group into a barn and traps them inside and burns them alive…very brutal! The cover for this issue is great and showcases true comic western action and interiors is once more done by Herb and is fantastic! With the next issue being the final in the series, I am wondering how this will all wrap up and if City Boy will be reunited with his sister and if Rawhide Kid will find the retirement he so badly wants. Well let’s not delay and see what issue four has in store for our cowboy hero.

The Rawhide Kid # 4  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 4 of 4

Rawhide Kid has a terrible nightmare about having to save a faceless woman from a pack of skull faced baddies who all represent death while the town around them burns! City Boy is startled but warns him that it sounds like one of the tall tales from one of the dime novels written about him and they go back to bed after Rawhide burns the book in the campfire. The next day they ride into town and Rawhide Kid finds it’s the same town from his dreams and after City Boy goes to feed the horses a woman runs to Rawhide asking for help and out comes a pack of men who are the law looking for City Boy! Rawhide Kid tells the lady to warn City Boy to leave town and out smarts and moves the lawmen who warn him they will never give up till they get him! Rawhide Kid finds City Boy who is sick of running and is going to stand his ground against the lawmen and even sucker punches and knocks out Rawhide Kid who tried to talk him out of fighting. When Rawhide Kid comes to he finds that City Boy has been shot dead by the Lawmen and in a dazed state he refights the ghosts of his past leaving them once more dead. When he comes to he finds that he has killed all the lawmen who killed his new friend and this also allows him to bury his past and embrace his legend and to move on in what’s left of his life into the sunset.

This fourth and final issue in the mini series brings together all the stories that ran through it and gives a closing to Rawhide Kid who just wanted to retire and get away from his legend. The plot of this issue has Rawhide’s nightmare of a burning town with people trying to kill him coming to life and while he is able to face his inner demons and let go of his past, he also loses his new friend City Boy in the process. Rawhide Kid is an old man who has a bad rep with some people and others view him as a hero…and all he really wants is to be left alone and enjoy the time he has left on this world without having to fear that some upcoming gunslinger wants to put a bullet through him. The thing about Rawhide is that he is very loyal to his friends as well as to his morals of what he finds right, and because of this as reader I found myself feeling bad for him as trouble always seems to find him. In other words Rawhide Kid is a western hero who has baggage and guilt for those he has had to gun down in the past and would love to just disappear and never shot another person again. Poor City Boy I really did judge him all wrong, and he is no liar or coward in fact he is a young man who has warped views on how to be a good guy and what it means to be a true gunslinger, but means well. It’s crazy that in this issue he is gunned down and his body is just left on the back of his own horse for the town to see…no wonder Rawhide Kid has to go all quick shot on some lawmen ass! The major downside to City Boy dying is that he does not get to see his sister before he died. The lawman in this issue are very cold blooded and seem to get joy in trying to gun down the “outlaws” and are proud the shot and killed a young man who only killed to protect his sister. But while they are cocky at first, they all end up dead when they piss off Rawhide Kid who out classed them and leaves them all dead in the dusty streets. The end gun fight between the lawmen and Rawhide Kid is well down as he is still dazed from being knocked out by a sucker punch and envisions old baddies he has killed as well as loved ones he has lost, and with each re-kill or re-lose he is letting go of his past that haunts him. This mini series is great and really shows that Marvel has always made the best western themed comics with some of the most interesting original characters. The cover for this issue holds a little horror element to it and is very eye catching and as I have said before Herb Trimpe’s interior art is amazing! If you like westerns, cowboys and classic Marvel Comics check out this mini series!

So while Marvel Comics has left the Wild West far behind and have not had an ongoing series for decades their ones from the past live on for readers to discover at their local comic shops as well as conventions. I would recommend tracking down such titles as Kid Colt Outlaw, Two-Gun Kid and of course Rawhide Kid if you enjoy old western films and comics as they are really entertaining reads. For our next update we are going to stay in the world of Marvel and take a look at one of their most popular Superheroes The Amazing Spider-Man…but there is a twist as we will be looking at his Power Records Book and Record release that features an original story! So until next time cowboys and cowgirls, read a comic or three, watch a classic western film or two and as always support your Local Horror Host! See next update for a web slinging good time!

Rottweiler And His Indie Superhero Friends

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! For this quick update I think I am going to take a quick look at a superhero I discovered in a cheap box at New Dimension Comics in 2018 and got the one and only issue of this hero for only .50! When finding this comic, it made me think about how many independent comic superheroes are in the world that only lasted a handful to even one issue. Take a moment and think of some of the comics in your collection that fit what I just said…go on and take a moment and look. It makes you wonder whatever hero you’re thinking of could have been if only they lasted longer. Would they have been super popular now if they would have lasted and have video games, TV shows or movies based on them? It really does make me wonder if these characters could have been bigger to readers if Marvel and DC did not hog so much space on comic shop shelves and newsstands with their mountains of Spider-Man and Batman titles. So if you have some local comic book shops in your town that carry old cheap back issues in .25 to $1.00 bins, do yourself a favor and dig through them and see what kind of independent comic treasures you can find of forgotten superheroes like Rottweiler. And make sure if you’re in the Cranberry, PA area and love comic books, make sure to check out New Dimension Comics as they have lots of great comics at good prices and not only have a big $1.00 bin but also have a room that’s filled with $3.00 comics from the Golden and Silver Age! But if you’re ready, I am ready to take a look at masked superhero Rottweiler!

The comic company who brought the world Rottweiler was called August Comics and what follows is all that I could find about it. The information I gathered is from multiple websites as well as hearsay and things that I pieced together. It looks like August Comics was created in 1987 and was a very short lived company with only two titles under its belt, Stormbringer that lasted three issues and Rottweiler that lasted one. From what I have found, I think Paul Burke was not only one of the editors but also might have been the owner of August Comics. The company had smaller print runs but did make it into Diamond Previews and was a speck on the industry. But while they might have been small and not known by most comic readers and collectors, they did have a small fan base and have left a legacy behind for readers to discover in discount bins comic shops wide. And I for one am glad I found out about them as while on vacation. This was one of the comics I bought and read that night.

So as you can see, not much is out in the world about August Comics or the people who created it, and that was all the info I could dig up when looking for information. So let’s take a look at some other cool things going on in my life from the past few months. Last year, I had to have a pre-show for my birthday horror movie marathon way early as I had to work the PPV for Rock Star Pro Wrestling on September 7th and would have gotten in way too late for any movie watching! So we had the pre-show on September 3, 2018 as it was Labor Day and both Juliet and I were off from work. We started it off with the 1970 Kaiju film “Space Amoeba” about beings from space coming to earth to trying to take it over by entering an octopus, crab and turtle and making them giant monsters. Next was “The Creeps” a Full Moon film about Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, a Mummy and a werewolf coming to life thanks to a weirdo who wants to use them to take over the world, the only issue is they are all small! The 1987 shot on video film “Soultangler” was up next and is about a crazed doctor who is experimenting on putting part of his soul into young women he has kidnapped off the streets and can jump from dead body to dead body. And the final film of the night was the 2017 monster flick “Mountain Devil,” a documentary/found footage style film about a man and a Bigfoot he claimed to have killed in the hills of PA. Over all this was a pretty fun time as the heat outside was in the 90’s and the Horrors of the TV screen kept us entertained as we munched on a cheeseball. The Golden Turkey for this pre-show hands down for us both was Mountain Devil as it was so boring…and I mean boring, and worst it offered no scares at all. The Bigfoot is hardly seen, and it’s just mostly old white guys talking about Bigfoot. For me the best film of the Pre-Show was Space Amoeba as I found it to be a solid giant monster film, plus it was cool to see Gezora in action! And Juliet as well picked Space Amoeba as her favorite of the night! Fun time spent with some spooky Horror Movies and made me look forward to the main event day on the 8th!

On September 8, 2018 I held a Horror Movie Marathon Birthday Bash that had Juliet and I loading up on snack food and planning good eats for the day as always we have breakfast casserole, potato chips, and I decided that I wanted home made Burritos for dinner! We started off the marathon with the 1957 Universal Science Fiction Horror Movie called “Monolith Monsters” that is about giant space rocks that grow when in contact with water that are taken over a small town as well as killing people as it drains them of their body water! The second creature feature was “Curse Of The Swamp Creature” about a crazed scientist trying to make monster slaves out of transformed humans. We next watched the 1993 film “Little Devils: The Birth” about pint sized devils running amok in a boarding house. The fourth fright flick was “The Suckling” about a baby fetus that is turned into a killing beast by toxic waste that sets its anger on people at a brothel. Our next film was suppose to be Blood Mania the final film of Herschal Gordon Lewis, but a messed up DVD made us watch “Conrad Brooks vs. The Werewolf” that has Conrad Brooks and his brother battle a werewolf to the death. “Evil Bong 777” was next and had the Evil Bong and her stoner allies in Vegas on the run from Sexy Hell! Shot on video film “Burglar From Hell” was next to scare up some deaths as a killer comes back to life to torment a neighborhood. The eighth film was “Mental Scars” about a masked killer slashing his way through people silly enough to be in his junkyard. The supernatural slasher film “Thorn” about a masked madman killing his way to get to a young woman that is special to him in some odd way. Horror Comedy “Pool Party Massacre” about a madman killing off pretty women at a pool party was the next shocker. We then watched the French Horror movie “Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls” about female zombies who rise from their graves to get revenge on those who lead to their deaths and more! And the final film of the night was the 1989 film “Shocking Dark” about a group of well-trained soldiers fighting for their lives on a mission against mutants! As always a fun time spent watching the horror pictures on a rainy day for my Birthday!

So after all the films were over, Juliet and I sat and talked about them and we both agreed that the Golden Turkey of the day was Evil Bong 777 as this film seemed to have no real plot and was only used to make something quick to open the way for a part 8. It was a real let down as this one was just really bad…minus the cute ladies of the cast who were the highlights. Now onto our favorite films of the day I would say that my # 1 was Pool Party Massacre as I really enjoyed this campy modern Horror Comedy that was filled with great kills and attractive women. My # 2 was Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls while not a perfect film and clearly cut in spots this French Horror movie had a gritty feel and I loved the looks of the films dead girls. And my # 3 was Little Devils as I found it lots of silly fun with mini monsters who have weapons like acid and flamethrowers to kill humans! Juliet’s top three are as follows # 1 Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls, # 2 Little Devils and # 3 Shocking Dark! Plus I want to also say the next day it was still raining outside so we watched the 1963 film The Slime People and the 1963 Kaiju film Atragon!

So I am sure you’re also wondering what killer won the Golden Chainsaw Award for the amount of kills they pulled off! The winner, with well over 10 confirmed kills, was Frank The Tank from the SOV Horror Movie Burglar From Hell! That’s right, the rotten undead burglar turned killer Frank racked up the body count and snapped a lot of necks to win it all! The best kill from this rotten faced killer was when he shoveled a man’s guts while he sat on a toilet…yep, Frank is one sick zombie! So here is to you Frank The Tank for making this Horror Movie Marathon a little bloodier!

So now that we chatted about August Comics as well as a Horror Movie Marathon I held for my Birthday, it’s time we take a look at Rottweiler, a superhero who was gone before he could really start. As I said I found this comic at New Dimension Comics in Cranberry and want to thank them for having this comic in stock and making this update possible and allowing a reader like myself to discover the character Rottweiler. And as always I would like to remind you that I grade this comic 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 see what Rottweiler brings to the table of indie superheroes.

Rottweiler   **
Released in 1987     Cover Price $1.50     August Comics      # 1 of 1

Masked costume superhero Rottweiler chases off a pack of dogs that are attacking another dog, and once the pack runs off, he stays with the dog who is bleeding and dying. Rottweiler remembers back to his past when he was Mark Evans, a man who was working as a janitor at a lab and is bitten by a dog and must fight for his life to escape and when doing so passes out from the bite and the loss of blood. Mark awakens in the hospital and is hallucinating and attacks a nurse before busting out the window and heading into the woods, and this upsets his girlfriend who had just came to the hospital to visit. Mark feels different and almost like a wild dog himself and it’s clear the government has done something to him or the dog who bit him as they have sent out soldiers to get him back. Mark is able to take out some of these soldiers but ends up being caught again and taken back to the hospital. Back to present day and the dog passes away in the arms of Rottweiler, who starts to leave when he sees a cat and chases it away.

Rottweiler had a great story and a character that could have had an impact in the world of indie comics if August Comics would have stayed in business longer than under a year. This first and only issues in this series had the ground work for the characters origin that has a young man being bitten by a dog and this bite as well as his health care turns him into a superhero with the instincts of a dog. Mark Evans is a man with a job to do and that’s be a janitor to a lab that houses dogs that have had tests done to them, and while he is a normal guy, you can tell he really does not dig his new job. As Rottweiler he is filled with rage and power and wants to stick up for the underdogs of the world. He also changes who he is as Rottweiler, wears a full body suit and has an attitude to boot. None of the other characters in this comic have any development with the only thing known about any of them is that the army knows what’s going on with Mark and want him unharmed so they can study him. While the comic is a good read and is a great one to set up the story of Rottweiler, it does have some minuses that take away from it all. For one the comic has no major villain in place for Rottweiler and besides holding the dying dog and the backup story in the comic, we hardly see him in his costume leaving us with just a whole lot of Mark. The cover for this issue is pretty generic and is black with blood splatter and almost looks more like a Horror Comic than a Superhero one. The interior art is done by Ted Whittenbarger and is pretty good solid independent stuff and has that late 80’s feel. The one thing about this comic as well that I should say is that only 5,000 copies were printed, and if you like small press superheroes, you should give this one a read.

I feel the need to cover more independent and forgotten heroes and companies, as this update is a celebration of these micro heroes. ME Comix was a very small micro comic company that seems to have been owned by creator Pierre R. McNeil and was based out of Atlanta, Georgia and had a very small go at it all. From the way things look, the company only released two titles that each only lasted a total of two issues and both were all done by McNeil who at one point had a call out for artist and writers to join his dream of what ME Comix could have been. The first comic series was T-Bird Chronicles that was released in 1986 and that was followed by Peter Risk Monster Masher in 1987. And after 1987 they seemed to have closed for good or only made comics on even a smaller level. I have to give McNeil lots of credit as he was a man with a vision and chased his dream to be in the comic world and did so no matter how small its impact was…he did it. It also really makes you wonder what could have happened for ME Comix if Peter Risk or T-Bird would have hit it big with readers, or if other artist and writers would have jumped on board and created new characters that could have been the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spawn or Prime. Wonder what kind of stuff ME Comix would be making in 2018 if they were still around. And next let’s take a look at the comic shop that stocked the first issue of our next forgotten hero.

Bell, Book And Comic in Dayton, Ohio is one of my favorite comic shops in our area as it’s one that took the place of the Bookie Parlor in my eyes as it has amazing back issues as well as paperback books, toys and cool board games. The shop is run by Pete Bell, who has always treated me with respect when shopping and has helped me many times getting comics needed for this blog! The thing that sets them apart from the other comic shops in our area is that they have a massive Horror Comic section as well as section that has $1.00 number 1 issues and in this section on August 28, 2018 is where I found T-Bird Chronicles, which made me fully decide to make this update bigger and really showcase some amazing heroes from small time comic companies from the past. They also have a very cool cheap bin of comics that are three for a $1.00 as well as have a section for Milestone, Malibu, Valiant and other indie companies. So if you love comic books and live in the Dayton, Ohio area make sure to check out this shop as I am sure you’ll find something for your collection.

So I would like to thank both Bell, Book And Comic as well as Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock. I also want to say I am very much looking forward to reading this comic as I have never heard of it until finding the first issue in 2018. So I am sure I do not need to remind you of my 1 to 4 star rating scale and if you’re ready let’s see what T-Bird Chronicles has in store for us!

T-Bird Chronicles # 1  *1/2
Released in 1986       Cover Price $1.50       ME Comix       # 1 of 2

Thomas Bird works as a high priced security officer and not only drives an amazing thunderbird car, but also carries a very special super sonic gun and he is ready for action. Silver City is where Thomas lives, and he has a new assignment that will place him at the city’s nuclear power plant to look into drug trafficking. At the nuclear planet Leornodis Von Crock is working on a batch of radioactive steroids and cocaine and has to take matters into his own hands when worker Colleita Silverton is caught stealing info that could expose their criminal ways. Once he has captures the whistle blower, he keeps her captive and calls Carl to set up a meeting for them to buy large sums of money. As the pickup helicopter is showing up to get the drugs, Thomas Bird rushes to the power plant and uses his special super sonic stun gun to take out the workers and Leornodis Von Crock in a panic takes some of the radioactive steroids and turns into a hulking mass of muscle! Thomas Bird sets Colleita free and has her run to his car as he tricks the massive Von Crock follow him away from her, and to his shock Von Crock drops a bomb that will blow them both up! But Thomas Bird calls in his little flying robot friend A-1 and grabs on to it and is carried to safety as Von Crock is blown up. In the end Thomas is set to take Colleita home but not before he takes her to his place.

Wow this is one cheesy, silly and 80’s indie comic goofy book that showcases one smooth yet unprepared hero. Our story is very, very simple and has a doctor at the city’s power plant using his knowledge to make drugs more powerful and is found out by a hero who comes in to stop a massive sell of the drugs as well as save a young woman who has been held captive after she was captured finding dirt on the plant. Thomas Bird is a hero who has lots of tech at his disposal and uses a none-lethal gun that not only can stop humans but also mechanical things like cars! But the thing about Thomas is that while he has the means to stop crime, he really doesn’t do much in this issue besides stunning a few henchmen and freeing a young lady from captivity. In fact, he never once slugs it out with Leornodis Von Crock, he doesn’t even come prepared in his big fight as he only brought a half loaded clip for his special gun…in other words, he won this fight by luck and by his robotic friends and really didn’t even show up until way late in the dope selling game. Colleita Silverton is a young woman who wants to bring down the drugs coming out of Silver City and when she makes her big play, she ends up being knocked out and held captive and for some reason seems to fall head over heels for Thomas. Leornodis Von Crock is a smart and sinister man who uses all his knowledge to make a super drug made for the rich and powerful people. Also when pushed and near being busted, he has no issues using the super drug on himself to become a powerful hulking mass of muscle in order to smash his foe and get away from being busted. So let’s talk real quick about what I liked about this issue and that’s the indie style artwork of Pierre R. McNeil, really fun classic small press stuff. I also do for some reason like hero Thomas Bird…but also he is one of the dislikes I have for this issue as I found him to be a very ill-equipped hero who doesn’t do much to save the day and get the lady. I also found the plot a little weak and the climax a little underwhelming. The cover is great and has that 80’s small press charm, and as I said I like the simple art style of McNeil as it captures the true feeling of a true indie artist who was making a comic he wanted. Over all while I was not blown away by this first issue, I am looking forward to reading the second one to see how the final issue in this short-lived series carried on this hero.

T-Bird Chronicles # 2  *1/2
Released in 1986      Cover Price $1.50      ME Comix      # 2 of 2

Thomas Bird is not doing so well during his training that is being done by robots as his mind and actions seem to be other places while many miles away a new car with a one of a kind engine that would change the automotive world for ever is being tested. The creator of this car is C.J and he knows he will be rich and make his car company bigger than all others with it and the plan is to ship it out the next day. But unknown to him his own worker Emilo Lorre is working for Mr. Matrix the owner of the rival car company who plans of stealing the car as well as kill off Emilo so no witnesses can come forward to his crime. The next day the plane that has the car on it has been hijacked by some of Matrix’s goons and worst the plane is filled with celebrities! When Captain Hook shows up he knows this is a very bad situation and calls in Thomas Bird who along with his fancy gun is able to take the plane back as well as knock out all the hijackers before its even takes off! In the end C.J wants to pay Thomas to drive the car across country for a large sum of money making our hero an offer he cannot refuse and so he is off to do his new job.

This second issue is very much like the first and is a silly, weirdly paced action comic that showcases gun for hire Thomas Bird as he saves the day with his own style of grace and charm. This issues plot is very simple and has Thomas heading to an airport to save a plane that has been hijacked and does so in a matter of minutes of showing up and after doing so gets a high paying gig to drive a one of a kind car across country. Once more its odd as we start the issue off with Thomas Bird failing as his training and is almost once more setting him up as a hero who falls backwards into winning, but by the end when it matters he is very skilled and fast and saves the day like a true hero. The one thing I also find weird about the character seems to sometime lack confidence and even when his talk is big he seems like he don’t believe his own hype. The main bad guy in this issue is Mr. Matrix who does very little besides orders the stealing of his rivals new car, the hijacking of a plane and the murder of one of his spies that works for his rival…and keep in mind this guy just runs a car company and he has all this evil plans in mind! The rest of the cast are just supporting who offer nothing more than to move along the plot, plus we have a very small cameo from Colleita Silverton the lady he saved in the first issue. The plot and pacing in this issue is pure micro independent stuff and is not groundbreaking but entertaining for sure as you can tell Pierre R. McNeil who also did all the work on this comic series really did love his characters and the universe he made for them. The cover on this issue is good and captures the true micro comic company look of the late 80’s. While a third issue was suppose to have been released it looks like this second issue was the final and that’s a shame as I would have liked to have seen were this story would have went. While T-Bird Chronicles is not the best indie comic I have read, I still found its simple stories entertaining and if you like cheesy indie comics from the 80’s give this one a read. Check out the art bellow to see McNeil’s style.

But guess what readers and friends I am not done yet as I feel like looking at one more hero from the independent world and this time I have chosen Blood Bath from Samson Comics! Unlike the other two companies we have covered here Samson Comics started in the 90’s as their first comics where released in 1994 with Phobos and Cosmo and the Big Bang both that only lasted one issue each. Over the next following years they released many other issue that as well only lasted one issue each. Samson Comics seemed to want to make a massive impact in the world of Indie Comics and tried to with a verity titles, but like many they ended up making a tiny splash before disappearing to the great Long Comic Box in the sky. Who knows what heroes and adventures could have been made if Samson Comics would have stayed in business.

So as you can see just like August Comics and ME Comix not much is known about Samson Comics as they seemed to have came and went like so many others before them and have all seemed to close before they could really make their legacies and build their characters. Well lets take look at one of Samson Comics superheroes that lasted only one issue and I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having it in stock to help add to this update. And just like before I grade on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So lets see what Blood Bath had to offer the world of Indie Comics.

Blood Bath # 1  **
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Samson Comics     # 1 of 1

Greg and Taylor are young boys who find a strange man Blood Bath in the abandon lot they hang out in and decide that they need to help him in order to be heroes. Meanwhile an owner of a newspaper is loosing his mind as his life is crashing down around him. While in space aliens have locked onto two beings they want and are sending a recovery team to get them including one powerful warrior named Starguile! When Blood Bath awakens he chases off the kids who become scared and his mind as well is filled with bad memories including the deaths of his father and brother plus cannot remember how he got the costume. Once back fully on his feet her hears a woman scream and rushes to her aid as two scumbags are threating to kill her and he makes short work of one them saving her life. But one puts up a fight as he is filled with drugs and is looking to kill. But someone fires a massive gun blowing up a piece of the lot and their stands Starguile with aliens warriors ready for a fight.

First thing I want to say is that Blood Bath here is a pure product of the 90’s and would have fit in well with most of the heroes of Image Comics and I would say I am sure he was inspired by them as well as he is a mix of many heroes from the time including Venom from Marvel Comics. The plot has Blood Bath being in bad shape and waking up in a back lot in America and saves a woman from some drug fueled punks only to himself be found by aliens who are on the hunt for him. Blood Bath is shown to be a skilled fighter who has superhuman strength and a costume the puts fear in hearts, but he also seems to be confused by why and who he really is. We don’t get much out of Blood Bath in this issue but if I had to guess I would say he is a human with a living alien suit and he can be hurt like a normal person. A cool character who I wished we would have gotten more of a backstory for as we really get nothing here to fully understand and get behind him. The rest of the characters seem like background players and add nothing besides filler to the story, and that includes the newspaper owner who clearly has a demon or alien living inside him. While we have not much character development in this issue I still found the atmosphere and over all mood of the comic to be entertaining and good and I would have liked to have seen were this story and character would have gone. The cover is great and eye catching and I am sure made many of comic readers of the 90’s buy it. The interior art is good and solid and was done by Jamie Biggs and while it looks nothing like the cover its still good. Over all not much to say about Blood Bath besides he looked like a character I would have enjoyed when I was younger and I wish the second issue and beyond would have seen the light of day. Below is some art from this issue to show you just what the style was. Oh I should also say I hate being this guy but I am almost 100% sure that some of the pages in this comic were printed in wrong order…oh Samson Comics did you have any quality control?

Man that was lots of fun to read comics of heroes who have sadly been forgotten by readers and in I am sure in most cases never even discovered by many of you yet. I mean I have been reading comics sense I was a kid and have been to many comic shops, websites, garage sales and conventions and seem to always discover something new. And that’s why I enjoy digging trough cheap bins and reading and reviewing heroes like Rottweiler, Thomas Bird and Blood Bath all who could and should have been bigger in the comic world if only given longer and a chance. With myself being the owner of Sparkle Comics and if the price was right I would love to get the rights to these characters and bring on some of my friends and Sparkle creators to bring them back into the hands of readers much like we have done with Jeff Potters character Spring Heeled Jack who is given a chance to get new readers onboard. But lets have even more fun and set up a Fantasy Warfare fight between our three heroes! Lets set it on 5th Street in Dayton, Ohio on a boring day and follow Thomas Bird on his road trip to deliver the car. So lets pick up with Thomas in Ohio and see how this all plays out.

Our battle takes place on Fifth Street in Dayton, Ohio on a slow Monday night as Thomas Bird has made a pit stop at Blind Bobs and after eating a burger and fries, he goes back out to his car in order to get this high tech prototype car to its attend place when something catches his eye in the ally across the street and he springs into action and pulls out his sonic gun ready to bust what he thinks is a hired gun trying to steal the one of a kind car. He slowly and carefully walks across the street and peers down the ally when he spots a person wearing red and black hiding behind a dumpster they seem to also have spotted him! Thomas demands that the man step out of the shadows and show himself as he points his gun in the direction of the figure and fires a warning shot that is meant to stun the nerves of the figure for a short time. After a few seconds the person in the shadows steps out and it’s the hero Blood Bath, who now thinks Thomas Bird is a hired gun from the aliens who want to capture him as his weapon is nothing like he has seen on Earth! Before Thomas Bird can say “freeze” Blood Bath is on him and places a well placed punch to his jaw making Bird fly through the air and into the blind mouse statue on the side of Blind Bobs! Thomas Bird is dazed and can taste blood in his mouth and many of his teeth are now loose, and before he can rise again Blood Bath is on him and pulling him up from the ground so they can be eye to eye and informs Bird to leave him alone and to report that back to his people and before Bird can answer Blood Bath hits him super hard in the stomach and the hero crumbles. And before Blood Bath can hit his fallen defeated foe again his fist is grabbed and standing in front of him is masked hero Rottweiler, who says he “this man has had enough” and not knowing what’s going on Blood Bath reacts and starts throwing punches Rottweiler’s way! Blood Bath is in a blind fury as he just wanted to be left alone and was on his way out of town when he thought he was being attacked, and with this blind rage Rottweiler is able to out think and out move his new costumed foe and unleashes his own fury that is much like a rabid dog as he uses his fits, feet and teeth to destroy Blood Bath with the final blow bouncing his head off a brick wall causing him to be out for the count. Rottweiler goes to check on Thomas Bird who has made his way to the car and tries to drive away but only crashes into a near by pole…as Rottweiler shakes his head as the now one of a kind engine is wrapped around a light pole he heads into Blind Bobs to get himself some pickle soup and a B.L.T ending this weird superhero battle for the night and given Dayton something to talk about on a other wise boring Monday evening.

Winner: Rottweiler

So as you can see hands down for me the winner of a fight between these indie superheroes would be Rottweiler as I find him to be the one who would have the killer instinct and the skills to pull a victory off. So if any of these comics I have reviewed here on this update have peaked your attention, make sure to go to your local comic shop and see if you can find copies and better yet discover some Forgotten Heroes of your own, cause who knows what wonders await you in those long and short boxes of discount comics! For my next update though we are going to take a look at a Photo Comic Magazine that features the Universal Monsters The Mole People! And yep, it will be a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update that is sure to please fans of classic monsters. So until next update make sure, as I said, to visit your local comic shop and get a few indie comics to read and enjoy the adventures of these none main stream heroes and horrors. See you next update for an underground spooky adventure!

 

Destructor The Mighty Atlas Masked Crime Fighter!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  I think it’s once gain that time where we take a look at a character from the world of Atlas Comics.  For this update I chose the one and only Destructor to be the latest to get the update treatment! It’s always a great time looking back at the world of Atlas Comics as I really do think they are one of the best 70’s independent comic companies to be created to try and compete with Marvel and DC. In modern times, I would say that for me the companies that I find to be the best of the best in the world of Indie Comic publishers that I enjoy way more than DC and Marvel would be IDW, Eibon Press, Dynamite and of course my own company Sparkle Comics. Besides looking at The Destructor, I will also talk about a few things cool from my past and present. So if you’re ready to take a look at Destructor, let’s get our Atlas Comics on and take a trip with a hero who should still be around today!

When I was a youngster I was an occasional gum chewer, and while I was not like Violet Beauregarde from “Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory,” chewing on some Bubblicious, Bubble Tape and Fruit Stripe while reading comics or watching cartoons was something I did from time to time. And for some reason one gum I really liked was a brand called Tongue Splashers that’s gimmick was that it would dye your tongue different colors. I can remember the gum’s taste was pretty gross as it tasted like dye and didn’t last long, but I will say that the blue ones were the best and had the best flavor of them all. As far as I know, this gum is no longer made and was such a 90’s thing. I just wanted to flashback a little and talk about it as I don’t see the topic of gum coming up any time soon here at Rotten Ink.

I have been listening to lots of music as of late and thanks to a customer at my job, I found out about this very cool record store online that releases classic 80’s Hair Metal/Glam bands on CD, and of course being a fan of this style of music, I had to place and order and check them out. The site is called Demon Doll Records, and the first band I chose to look at is Miami Riot and their 1990 release of Dirty Living In The City! The first thing I need to say is that by 1990, the music scene was starting to change and rock n roll was only one year away from the grunge rock boom started by Nevermind released by Nirvana and had many rockers trading in their hairspray for flannel shirts. But for Meatalheads like myself, I was sticking to my 80’s rock and stayed clear from the first big wave of grunge bands, and I have to give Miami Riot lots of credit for making this record so close to the big change that was on the horizon. This Florida band consists of Bobbie Apel doing lead vocals, Robin Wilde on guitar, Eric Vee on drums and Micki Lords on bass, and they look like a mix of Britney Fox and Poison, true glam rockers. Once I got the CD in my hands, I listened to it on my drive to and home from work and played it very loud, and was surprised about just how good Miami Riot is and how much they reminded me of early Motley Crue with a mix of Ratt, What I also liked about this release is that it’s not overly polished and holds a grimy feel to it that brings out the style of this music. Some of the best tracks on this release are the title track “Dirty Living In The City” plus “Rock N Roll Suicide” and “Boys Are Gonna Rock” are all solid tracks and deliver a true sound and song structure that only the 80’s hair glam bands could deliver. If you enjoy 80’s rock n roll, do yourself a favor and check out Miami Riot as well as Demon Doll Records as they both are worth your time and both are worth spending money on.

On June 8, 2018 along with my friends Josh Weinberg, Victor Bonacore, and his seven-year-old daughter Riley, I headed to Burns, Tennessee.  Montgomery Bell State Park was our goal as it was Ernest Day and this location was the filming site for his 1987 film Ernest Goes To Camp! The drive was long and took about 5hr 40min and the weather outside was in the 90’s, but the trip was worth it when we finally made it. Because we arrived early, Victor and I were able to chat with a super cool Ranger as well as few other cool people who made this event possible. We also got to take a picture with the Kamp Kikakee sign before the crowds showed up. Then we all went and got some food from a near by Wendy’s and waited until the event opened. Ernest Day was very cool and was a kid friendly event filled with all types of cool event like archery, canoe rides, hikes, arts & crafts, a birds of prey show, face painting plus of course turtle catapulting! Also they had some meet and greets with the likes of John Cherry, the creator and mastermind of the Ernest universe, as well as actors from the film. They also had a museum open that featured some props from the film as well as other amazing Ernest stuff. Plus many of the cabins as well as other locations used in the film were available to visit and hang out at, and we could go to the mess hall and eat as well as buy cool stuff like t-shirts and stickers. Besides hanging out with friends, one of the coolest moments of the day was meeting John Cherry, such a cool guy and a person along with the late, great Jim Varney helped make my childhood rule. I also really loved eating a hotdog and chips in the mess hall as it felt really cool and I imagined Ernest P. Worrell walking out from the kitchen with a big plate of Eggs Erroneous. I really enjoyed Ernest Day 2018 and even though the heat was killer, the staff and Rangers were all super cool and had free water all over the place. At some point, I will definitely make the long trip back, and if you’re an Ernest fan, do yourself a favor and go to this event. Below are some pics from this cool day, check them out and yep that’s me and John Cherry!

My pal Travis Hatch is an amazing bargain finder as he goes to thrift stores, garage sales, auctions and flea markets, and during his many hunts he has found me some really cool stuff from old Incredible Hulk toys all the way to amazing Halloween makeup kits. In June 2018, he found something very cool, an item that I had as a kid and one I really loved and wanted to get back when older, a Russ Vampire bendy toy! I can remember I first got this figure when I was a youngster living in Waynesville at one of the many antique shops.  The same day I got the Vampire, I also picked up the Mummy and had them battle each other on the walk back home. Over the years I am not to sure what happened to my original one. If I had to guess, it was given away to a cousin or even sold in a garage sale. But really quickly I wanted to thanks Travis for finding me another one as it good to see the hooded caped vampire once again in my home. I’ll now also have to keep an eye out for the Mummy as he needs to also come back home. Check him out below to see him in all his cheesy goodness. I should also note that Travis also found the super cool 70’s Frankenstein’s Monster puzzle that I am using as the background and gave it to me.

On June 28, 2018 Juliet and I stopped by Jet Freeze in Beavercreek as we had just gotten back into Ohio after a long trip and we both decided to treat ourselves to some ice cream! Plus I had to try the Blue Raspberry Ice Cream, that is also known as Smurf Ice Cream and was a staple of Kings Island back in the day and is now at Jet Freeze…the rain was coming down pretty good when we pulled in, and to our luck, due to the rain, they were not that packed so we ordered and I got a small cone of this Smurfy good treat. What a great flavor of Ice Cream as it took me back to the good old days of Kings Island when Hanna Barbara cartoon characters were kings of the park and at any moment you could see Yogi Bear or Fred Flintstone walking around taking pictures with guests. The ice cream tastes like a berry cream soda and is true nostalgic bliss and a great treat for a long day spent on the road driving home from Pennsylvania. Also if you live in the Dayton, Ohio area and have not tried Jet Freeze located in Beavercreek, make sure you do as next to the Dairy Corner that was in Waynesville, it was my childhood ice cream place. Oh and on a side note at Kings Island, the blue ice cream was also called Huckleberry Hound Ice Cream due to his color being the same as the ice cream.

With this being an update about a character who sadly went away before he could really take the comic book world by storm, I wanted to also briefly talk about one who never made it to print but looks like he would have been a very cool comic character and that’s Slug Slayer Of Darkness! As you long time readers know, there was a comic company from Minnesota called Dead Dog Comics, that was created by Chazz DeMoss among many other creators, that would be at Cinema Wasteland when I was there working for Independent B Movie or even Andy Copp. Their table was a must stop for me as I had to have the new issues they released. I always really enjoyed their Horror Comics and even bought many of their none-horror books and enjoyed them…but one comic that would have been cool but sadly never made it into printing production was Slug, a green skinned warrior from the past who returned to modern times in order to battle demons and save us from Hell of Earth and was very much in the vein of Spawn but loaded up with way more medieval weapons. The comic series was written by DeMoss and was to have art by Matt Munn that was very much a 90’s style and clearly Spawn, who was very popular at the time, inspired this unpublished character. So who knows, maybe one day this character will see the light of day soon or even I will be able to track down elements and do a full update about him! In my opinion characters really should never be forgotten. Check out the pics below to see what Slug and his logo looks like.

The Destructor is one of Atlas Comics’ most popular Superheroes who had many of the industry’s top free agents working on it including Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Larry Lieber and Archie Goodwin showing that Atlas meant business when delivering quality comics to readers. Just like all of Atlas Comics, this character had a world of potential and was a hero like no other as he started out as a low life thug and due to his father’s unselfish act, he gets a new lease on life and decides to use his life now to crush baddies. But even being an interesting character, he could not fight the biggest of all villains and that’s “Going Out Of Business” as Atlas closed its doors the same year this comic series was released. I first discovered The Destructor at Bookie Parlor as many of his issues were in the cheap bin.  I was hooked on reading Atlas Comics so I gobbled them up and would read them in my room or in the living room in front of the fireplace and after reading would tell my brother Bryan about him. At a young age, The Destructor always reminded me of Captain America mixed with a dash of Spider-Man and Daredevil. He could have easily been one of Atlas’s best Superhero characters and the one that could have fit perfectly in the Marvel Comics universe. I don’t want to get to deep into The Destructor’s character’s history as the comic reviews will do that. But I also really do think that Atlas Comics saw lots of potential in Destructor and he would have been a major player for them if the company would have lasted as all the talent were in place. So check out the pictures below to see our masked hero in all his glory!

So as you can see, The Destructor is a superhero who should still be busting heads of bad guys in comics, but sadly he could not defeat his greatest enemy the closing of his publisher. We are now at the time for the review of the comics, and I am really excited to revisit this series as they are ones I bought from the old local comic shop Bookie Parlor when I was a young teen. Sadly the old issues I had were sold off a while ago in order to get some money to help a young lady I was dating in my early 20’s who had some issues at her apartment…it’s sad I sold most of my comic collection, but I’m glad I was able to help someone. The issues I have here I was able to track down thanks to Bell Book And Comic, Mavericks Cards And Comics and Ohio Antique Mall who had issues in stock. I would also like to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready like me, let’s take a look at Atlas Comic masked superhero The Destructor! I want to also dedicate this update to Steve Ditko who sadly passed away on June 29, 2018 while I was working on this update. His art and inspiration will live on forever.

The Destructor # 1  ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics       # 1 of 4

Max Raven is a crime boss of Harbortown and thinks that two bit hood Jay Hunter has seen too much and orders for him to be killed after leaving the hangout one night. Jay arrives home and talks to his father who is a scientist and has created a serum that heightens senses when the hitman enters and opens fire striking them both.  Before he dies, the father is able to give his serum to his son saving his life and making Jay rethink his life of crime. He decides to become the superhero his father always wanted him to be, known as costumed masked hero The Destructor! Max Raven has his hitman killed for not getting the job done, and Jay goes into hiding and goes out as Destructor to bring down Max’s operations one at a time.  This means war to the crime boss who calls in Slaymaster, a top underworld assassin! Max Raven sets up The Destructor at an old warehouse as Slaymaster is waiting inside and is able to get the jump on our hero, and bullets hits him in the shoulder and arm, but lucky for him the serum heals him faster. Slaymaster plays a game of cat and mouse with Destructor who in the end finally gets the upper hand and brings down the masked assassin. In the end Max Raven is set up by his own men who gun him down for losing all the rackets, and Destructor brings them all down and swears on the graves of his parents that he will be the superhero the world needs!

The first issue of The Destructor shows that besides Marvel and DC, Atlas Comics also knew how to do superheroes right in the 70’s! Our story is very simple: a young man who is heading toward a life of crime gets himself and his father shot and with both dying, his father is able to give his son a serum that heals him and gives him superhuman senses. Upon putting on a costume, he becomes a superhero and wages a one-man war with his former crime boss who is the man that wanted him dead. This comic series takes a lot from Spider-Man as both masked heroes think they have lead to the death of a loved one and now with new powers dedicate their lives to stopping any and all crime, great classic superhero stuff indeed. Jay Hunter is a young man who wants to make a name for himself in the underbelly of New Jersey and wants fast cash and respect and disrespects his father’s hard work in Science, but he makes a life change when his father is murdered and uses his own serum to save his life. Jay is also a young man who is plagued with guilt as he knows he is the cause of his dad’s death and wants to get revenge for it. As The Destructor, he is a crime fighting machine who busts heads, takes lives and cracks one liners! Destructor is very much into busting crime as he feels he owes it to his father and wants to make something better of himself. With his heightened senses he is strong, fast and can heal from wounds that should be fatal pretty fast. Our bad guys of this issue are Max Raven and his mobsters who are cutthroat and have no respect or loyalty even to each other. Max is cold blooded and once crossed will do anything to get his revenge of Jay Hunter…well that is until he dies from multiple gunshot wounds fired by his own men. Slaymaster is also a very cold blooded person who is the highest paid assassin in the world of crime.  This masked killer is skilled and is the boogie man among the scum he works for. But his skill doesn’t do him a world of good once he meets Destructor who makes short work of him and leaves him dead! The cover for this issue is amazing and the kind of comics I looked for when I was a kid and still do to this day. Plus I have to say that the interior art by Steve Ditko is top notch, and to me Ditko is just like Jack Kirby, a king in the world of comics. This first issue sets the bar high for the series as it captures what made Marvel Comics special at the time and adds its own flare and appeal to it. I loved this comic when I was a kid and it still holds up for me to this day. I can’t wait to read issue # 2 and see if it holds up as well.

The Destructor # 2  ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25      Atlas Comics       # 2 of 4

It’s a cold night in Harbortown, and Mr. Lash and his goons are on the docks trying to pull off their next heist when The Destructor shows up and busts some heads and gets a name from Mr. Lash on who is the true crime lord of New Jersey. The Destructor leaves Mr. Lash behind as someone emerges from the shadows and it’s clear our hero has been set up. The Destructor heads out into the night still thinking of his father’s murder and how he must right the wrongs of his life. He knows he must rid his town of crime and chase off The Syndicate crime family once and for all. Big Mike Brand is the name given as the main crime boss, and he lives in New Mexico, while the man with Mr. Lash is Deathgrip a killer with a metal hand that is amped up with power who has been told to kill Mr. Lash after the plan is set in motion and he does. Jay Hunter heads to New Mexico and is setting up Mike Brand by getting to know him via his daughter as Deathgrip is also in New Mexico to make sure Brand is dead and Destructor gets the blame. Jay ends up taking a job at Brand’s ranch and soon learns that Big Mike Brand is sick and that he has been set up and soon must come face to fist with Deathgrip who has kidnapped Brand’s daughter and is going to crush her in a compactor in an auto junkyard! Destructor has a brutal battle with Deathgrip who is strong and a good fighter.  Once Destructor is able to save Brand’s daughter he also tricks Deathgrip who in returns gets crushed to death in the compactor.

Issue two is also a very great read that captures the true spirit of superhero comics from the 70’s and is great work from the creative team who brought it to life. This issue has Destructor going to New Mexico in order to bring down a high-ranking crime boss or so he has been told, when in reality he has been set up by a mechanical hand madman who wants revenge on the sick crime boss and wants to kill the masked hero. This time around Jay Hunter is a man on a mission as he has been a crime fighter for about a month now and is still plagued by the death of his father. At this point he as well has used his brain and not just his fists to bring down crime. As The Destructor, he is on a mission to shut down as many baddies as he can and best of all he is able to, one racket at a time, with ease. Mr. Lash has taken over the crime scene in Harbortown and is a scumbag who helps set up Destructor and is part of a network in the Syndicate who wants to take over with a sub group, and for his deed he is also killed by his own side as they feel he is a failure. Big Mike Brand was once a crime lord who now lives in New Mexico with his daughter as well as his close friend and is in the processes of turning his entire former crime friends in. The issue’s main baddie is Deathgrip, a bold headed creep who has a metal hand that is enhanced with strength as well as extreme heat.  He also does not mind killing and is brutal in his ways of doing so. What’s cool about him is that he meets his end as brutally as he dealt death. Once more the cover is fantastic and has that great 70’s superhero look, and as always Steve Ditko’s artwork for the interiors is great and shows he really knows how to draw superheroes right! Over all the second issue helps build the world of Destructor and is a top notch read for fans who enjoy independent heroes.

The Destructor # 3  ***
Released in 1975      Cover Price .25      Atlas Comics       # 3 of 4

The Syndicate is upset over the defeat and slaying of Deathgrip and blame Dr. Shroud, the creator of his mechanical hand for the defeat. They are also upset that this might slow down a plan they have called “Darkriver Project”, but he has an answer to their worries as he sends the laser whip slinging The Huntress and her two lions after Destructor. While back in New Mexico, Destructor drops off Angela Brand at the front gates of her father’s ranch and as she gets into it with her father for being a former crime boss, Destructor sneaks back into his room and passes out. Later that night Angela goes to Jay’s room and talks to him about all her fears and anger with her father plus all the lies she has been told her whole life, and Jay is starting to crush on the young woman. The next day as Destructor heads back to the junkyard looking for answers, he is tricked and gassed and taken to a valley in a cage to be hunted live via remote cameras by Huntress, her two lions and her assistant Lobo for the crime bosses who are watching! The odds are against Destructor as he takes damage from the lions that he ends up knocking out and tries his best to dodge Huntress’s laser whip, and when Lobo goes rogue and tries to kill Destructor on his own, he is quickly tricked and beat leaving him and Huntress alone to go hand to hand that leaves Destructor tricking Huntress and having her fall to hear death! Destructor escapes the room and finds the crime bosses and beats many of them up before escaping into the night.

The third issue is fantastic and once more has a real Amazing Spider-Man feel to it as the plot has our hero being trapped and hunted by a villain that is deadly and skilled with a laser whip. Jay Hunter in this issue is torn on bringing down Mike Brand as he knows the old man is near death’s door and is trying to make a change, as well as Jay is starting to get a crush on the crime lord’s 19 year old daughter. As Destructor, he has the odds once more stacked against him as he must survive being the prey in a human hunt that’s being done by a skilled hunter and her animals and sidekick, but like before, he uses his power and brain to bring down the bad guys and save his butt. Dr. Shroud is a mad scientist who seems to hold some power in the crime world and is the mastermind of most of the attacks on Destructor as well as the powers the super villains have. The Huntress is a powerful and skilled hunter and fighter who looks at Destructor as the ultimate prey, and she enjoys having her great cats and her hulking sidekick Lobo on her side to help in the hunt. Plus she is very much dangerous and a great threat to our hero. I like the side story going that Jay is falling in love with the daughter of an ill crime boss that he is torn on if he should bring him down. Plus I love how Huntress is clearly inspired by Kraven The Hunter who is a master hunter who always tries to hunt Spider-Man, it’s clear to this comic reader that Destructor is Atlas Comics version of the wall crawler spiced up. The cover and interior art both once more are amazing and great stuff for fans of classic hero comics. This issue is a great and makes me look forward to revisit the fourth and final issue in this series, so let’s get to it.

The Destructor # 4    **1/2
Released in 1975      Cover Price .25      Atlas Comics       # 4 of 4

Destructor is hiding in a cave in New Mexico when two hired guns come looking for him to collect a bounty that was put on his head. While taking out the goons, he meets three strange humans who have weird powers calling themselves The Outcasts. The Eye, Sister Siren and Kronus take Destructor against his will to their hideout deep in the cave. Once in the cave hideout, Kronus tells Destructor about the underground city’s history that includes scientists trying to hide from the atomic weapons nations collected as well as murder of the people who funded this city by the scientists over nuclear energy! The Destructor listens to the tale and starts to feel for these oddly powered freaks and thinks that he himself might fit in their world as he like them has these powers and fights for what he thinks is right. While above ground, the Army tests an atomic bomb underground and the radiation hits the underground city and soaks them all in rays. Destructor finds that he has the power now to fire power blasts from his hands, and, along with The Eye and on the orders of Kronus, he goes above ground to take out the armies radar as The Outcasts are now at war with the army to stop the atomic bomb tests.

The fourth and final issue, like all of Atlas Comics we have looked at, ends in the middle of a storyline that never has seen the light of day due to the company closing. The story in this final issue as well goes away from the crime bosses and trades them in for weird underground mutants with powers. The plot is straight from the pages of Science Fiction comics as well as movies as it follows Destructor in an underground city befriending a race of freaks that need his help to keep their society safe from the terrible military who are testing bombs underground. I need to talk about The Outcasts first as I don’t trust them as their sinister glances at each other comes off as if they are playing our hero like a fiddle. Plus they all have weird powers like Sister Siren can sing a song that gets into your brain and Kronus can send you to another dimension. They are shady and again I would not trust them. Destructor, who has a price on his head, finds himself in a war between the army and the Outcasts and he easily tricked into becoming a foot solider for Kronus, plus due to radiation he now has the power to fire blasts from his hands making his superpowers even more powerful. And this is the thing I really liked, the masked hero taking on crime in the city and the criminals hiring weird masked bad guys to take him on…what I don’t like as well is the sci-fi direction this final issue went as I feel it changed the character and the world it had created in past issues by adding underground super powered freak beings who felt like something Jack Kirby would have added in a random issue of Fantastic Four. Plus this leaves us on a cliffhanger as Destructor and The Eye are heading to the military base to bring down their radar and we never know if they made it or not! I really wished that Atlas Comics would have lasted longer on the comic racks as they did deliver quality comics that had good stories and cool art and should have been the third biggest comic company then and even still now. I would also say that hands down I would put Destructor in my top three comic heroes from Atlas Comics as I find him interesting and his short time in the world of comics has held up with me as I find them all to be very well done and make for great reads. The cover for this issue as well is great and not to even mention that Steve Ditko’s artwork is amazing and makes me miss they days of that style art in comic books. Over all if you’re a fan of classic superheroes, the art of Ditko or just looking for a vintage comic series to read I would recommend Destructor! Check out some of the artwork from this comic series done by the icon Steve Ditko.

I know it sounds weird, but I really do think about what would happen if comic and movie companies had stayed in business and what amazing projects they would have unleashed. Atlas Comics has always been one I think about as I really do think they had some great characters and many of their comics ended on cliffhangers. But we all can’t live in the past, and we readers just are not meant to know what fate was in store for Destructor. For our next update we are leaving the world of Destructor behind and entering the world of Horror as we take a look at the 2006 film Driller! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See ya next update for a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic spooky good time.

Land Of The Monster Bash Convention (2018)

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. I hope you have your bag packed already as it’s that time of the year once again when you all take a trip with me and Juliet as we head to Monster Bash in Mars, PA for a fun time of celebrating classic monsters and 200 years of Frankenstein’s Monster! I have been looking forward to taking time away from work, filming movies and working on comics for some time now, and what better way to do so than to hang out with fellow classic monster lovers as well as my gal pal Juliet in an area that is starting to feel like my home away from home, Cranberry Township. I cannot wait to see what classic monster car is parked up front and what statues await us inside the convention. I do have a feeling that they will be of The Monster through the ages as that seems to make the most sense. Not to mention, I am looking forward to eating at places like Moe’s and Eat’n Park plus visiting Evans City Cemetery to soak in all the horror movie magic that was shot there. So lets hop into the Mazda 3 and find some music and podcasts to listen to and make our way to Monster Bash! Oh and for this update, I am sure you guessed it, that we will be taking a look at Land Of The Dead, the fourth film in the Romero Dead series and the IDW comic adaption of it! Let’s head out to the highway and have fun along the way.

Juliet and I hit the road on June 21, 2018 and spent most of the drive chatting about comics, music and wrestling and even had to make our way through random rainstorms. As always, we stopped at the Ruby Tuesdays on the border of Ohio and West Virginia where Juliet ate a grilled chicken salad, and I had blackened salmon with rice and a loaded baked potato. It was super tasty! Once back on the road we continued chatting and time seemed to go by fast…that was until we entered Cranberry, and traffic was backed up due to a car on fire! Passing the car that was being surrounded by the fire department, we both hoped the person driving made it out of the car okay. This year we also had to stay at a new hotel as our beloved Comfort Inn was filled, and so we stayed at the fancy Hyatt and man was the room big! After relaxing and watching some TV, we decided to have Eat ‘N Park for dinner where I had a hot turkey sandwich with mash potatoes & gravy as well as fried pickles! And of course, I had to have a smile cookie as what is a trip to Eat ‘N Park without one? After dinner we watched more TV and planned our next day as it was the first day of Monster Bash!

Waking up in the morning, we got ready for our day as Monster Bash did not open until 3pm so we headed to New Dimension Comics to look around for a few minuets. While there, I found a few comics to read and add to my collection like Web Of Spider-Man # 25 & 35, Hercules # 1,7 & 9 from DC, Where Creatures Roam # 8 and Southern Blood # 0. After comic shopping we headed to lunch at Max & Erma’s where I scarfed down a turkey burger with fries, and all the while Juliet and I chatted about our plans for the day. We then went to Barns and Nobles, and I found a really cool Funko Pop Figure of The Mummy based on the 2017 film from Universal. Then we returned to the room and waited for Monster Bash to start! Check out the pics below to see the fun stuff from the morning.

At 3:00pm Juliet and I headed to Monster Bash 2018, and the car outside was not around yet. We got into the line in order to get tickets, and man did it move fast! Once inside, the wonders of all types of classic monsters surrounded us as the amazing statues this year featured Frankenstein’s Monster from the ages as full body versions of The Monster were all around, from the classic 1931 Karloff version all the way to the one in Monster Squad and others had busts like the 1910 Edison version…so amazing and all well done! But my favorite one this year was not Frankenstein’s Monster at all, but John Carradine as Dracula in House Of Frankenstein! Once inside the dealer room, we saw all types of great stuff like toys, movies, comics, books, soundtracks, posters and art and much of it was really, really cool! We were also happy to see Horror Hosts Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri, who are amazing and wonderful people and are super nice. Also on hand was Son Of Ghoul, a true icon of Horror Hosting. While looking around, we saw some amazing Halloween Masks and even took a walk around a room filled with classic posters and lobby cards. Once we walked around for a while, we bought some amazing stuff and headed back to the hotel to unwind and get ready for our first dinner and a movie night. Check out the pics below to see some of the amazing sights of this first day.

So I am sure you’re all wondering what goodies I got on this first day’s haul…and man, did I find some cool stuff! For movies I got Attack Of The 50ft. Woman, Phantom Of Hollywood on DVD for $20.00 each and Creature With The Atom Brain for $10.00! Comic wise, I found The Young Witches # 1 for only $2.00! I found an Imperial King Kong for $20.00 and a King Kong windup for $5.00! And for paperback books I got Ben and Freddy vs. Jason for $5.00 each, and for only $1.00 each I got Tales From The Crypt Demon Knight and Dick Tracy: Secret Files. So as you can see, we did really well this first day and I was very pleased with what I was able to get for good prices. Check out the pic down below to see l my haul in all its glory!

We decided that the first night of Monster Bash would be our night to eat Wing Kings and watch a movie on the laptop with the night’s feature being Attack Of The 50ft. Woman as it’s been one I have wanted to revisit for some time now. So I ordered some Garlic Wings and some fried pickles and a coke to drink! When we are in Cranberry, both Juliet and I look forward to eating at Wing Kings as they have really great wings and we have yet to have a bad meal from them. So huddled by the laptop with our food, we watched a classic science fiction horror film about a massive and mean woman causing mayhem in a city gripped by fear. And after dinner and the movie, we spent the night gearing up for Day 2 and watching New Japan Pro Wrestling and LFA MMA on TV, and I read a some comic book.

Day two started with Juliet and I eating breakfast and then us heading to the Monster Bash! The weather outside was looking like bad storms coming and would make Doctor Frankenstein very happy. To me, this was very fitting weather for this classic monster convention. Once walking in again, a rush of good vibes surrounded me as I saw familiar faces and classic monster movies and memorabilia all around. That’s what sets Monster Bash apart from all other Horror Cons, the vibe is so chill and it’s all about the movies and monsters and not the parties. After walking around for a bit, we bought some amazing stuff and looked at some cool things and headed out to do some more fun stuff in Cranberry!

I am sure you’re also wondering what cool things I ended up getting on Day 2 of Monster Bash. Just like before, I think I found some pretty cool items. I got two wood plaques to hang in my house of King Kong and Gorgo for $25.00 each, a VHS copy of Konga for only $3.00 and a DVD of a documentary called Beast Of Whitehall for $15.00. Plus I got a lot of six Monster In My Pocket figures including werewolf and Lochness for $5.00! Over all another great haul and some very cool items I am looking forward to adding to my collection.

We hit the roads of Cranberry and ended up back at New Dimension Comics where I found 40 dollars books that were sold to me at half price making the whole pile $20.00 plus tax! I found lots of great indie titles as well as a few Avengers comics that I will be reading while here. We then went to Moe’s Southwest Grill for lunch, and I had a tasty chicken burrito. After that we had TCBY and chatted about creative ideas. That’s the thing about Juliet and I, we talk a lot to each other and mostly about life and creative things…it’s nice to have a partner you gel with really well. After spending some time out in the city, we headed back to the hotel to relax and plan our second night of Dinner and a Movie.

For our second dinner and a movie, we chose something more simple and ate Bob Evans takeout where I had roasted chicken with sides, and we watched the 1955 Science Fiction Horror Movie “Creature With The Atom Brain”, a pretty cheesy motion picture that features brain-dead reanimated zombies who are being controlled by a crime boss to get revenge on his enemies. The food was pretty good, and the film was okay making for a start to a fun night. For the rest of the night, we read and watched TV and chatted more about creative ideas for future comics that could be in the works for Sparkle Comics.

June 24, 2018 was the final day of Monster Bash and we started our morning by getting breakfast at Pig Iron Public House where I once again had the Chorizo Hash. If you ever find yourself at a Pig Iron for brunch, I recommend it. And once done we made our way to Monster Bash to once more soak it all in and have one last day of shopping. The last day of Monster Bash is always a sad one as the fun weekend is coming to an end, and I know it will be another year before I can do the next convention. When walking in as well we watched for a moment as they broke down the Frankenstein Monster’s and took a glance at The Blob for the last time for the weekend. We walked around and had good conversations with Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri as well as with Ken and Pam of Cinema Wasteland. As we made our final rounds, I was on the look out for my pal David “The Rock” Nelson as I wanted to pick up some more of his amazing shot on video films and wanted to chat with him about life in general, and I sent him a message on Facebook the night before that he did not get to read and it looked like we were going to miss him until the monster Gods smiled down on us, and we ran into each other at the place I selected in the message! Once catching up with David and picking up some of his movies, Juliet and I headed out, and that was a wrap for Monster Bash 2018.

The last day’s haul were great and all stuff that I wanted and most at fair prices. I got another Imperial Dracula that was in fantastic shape for only $15.00! I also picked up six more Monster In My Pocket figures and paid once more $5.00 for the lot. I got Super Powers Which Way Book 2: Supergirl paperback book for only $2.00! I got issues 1-5 of Escape Of The Living Dead signed by John Russo and released by Avatar for $12.00. And for movies I got Kraa! The Sea Monster on DVD for $8.00, Red Sands DVD for only $1.00 and the best buys of the trip being the three David “The Rock” Nelson film I got for $20.00 each that are “Bigfoot Runs Amok!”, “Dinosaur Woman” and “The Giant Horny Toad Monster” all films I very much looking forward to watching. Not a bad year for finds at Monster Bash 2018.

After leaving Monster Bash, we headed to get more bottled water for our stay and while at the store, we also picked up the Universal and Blumhouse film Stephanie. We then made our way to The Snowman where we hung out near the horses and I drank a Yeti Milkshake. As always the shake was fantastic as was the atmosphere around the Snowman as it had just rained before we showed up. We then left and walked around the small cemetery that’s connected to the Portersville Bible Church, a very peaceful place with a great view of woods and farmland. Juliet and I walked for a while and looked at the land all around as well as paid our respects to the people buried in the cemetery. Once done we headed back to the Hotel and we read, chatted and watched a little TV until dinner and a movie round 3.

For our third dinner and movie, we chose to once more get take out from Eat ’N Park and the 4hr film “Dinosaur Woman” directed by David Nelson as we are both big fans of his independent shot on video monsta movies. While the food was good, the movie was the best part of the night as watching David’s films are an event all to themselves as they are epic and filled with lots of fun and over the top horror and characters. After Dinner and the movie, we ended up watching Kong: Skull Island on HBO and planning our next day of events!

Monday June 25th marked the first day after Monster Bash, and we started our morning by going to Cranberry Cinema and seeing “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” This is a fun one to see in the theater and as always Cranberry Cinema proved why they are better than most major chains as they gave Juliet and I each a free popcorn to munch on as we watched our movie. After the film we headed back to Moe’s for lunch, and we ate and talked about the film as well as the possibility of scientist cloning saber tooth tigers. After lunch we headed back to the hotel and Juliet and I read and played “Super Powers Which Way Book 2: Supergirl” as Juliet read it out loud I had to choose the path of Supergirl! And lucky for me I was able to have Supergirl save the day and make it out of the land of OZ, yep my adventure took me to OZ! After the book adventure I read some more comic books and worked on a few things for Sparkle Comics as well as updates for future Rotten Ink updates. We chose to have Wing Kings again for dinner and watched WWE Monday Night Raw on USA for the evening’s entertainment. After Raw I ended up reading a little more and watched a little TV before bed and geared up for Evan City.

We woke up early and checked out of our hotel and hit the road heading toward Mars in order to get a morning cup of coffee from Mars Brew House as they are also a must when we are in Pennsylvania, and as always the coffee was great! We then walked to the UFO in the middle of the small town and chatted for a moment about the second issue of Wolf Hunter that we hope will be released soon from Sparkle Comics, as well as chatted about the amazing small town feel of Mars. Once done chatting we jumped back into the Mazda 3 and headed for Evans City.

After leaving Mars we ended up in Evans City and were sad when we remembered that The Living Dead Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so we could not go in for a visit. But all was well again once we pulled into Evans City Cemetery, and we walked around once more in the shooting location of Night Of The Living Dead and the atmosphere once more recharged my creative batteries as ideas for comics, movies and blog updates filled my head. This time around we also took time and read tombstones and paid our respects to those buried there, and Juliet and I just talked and enjoyed the sunshine. We spent some time in the cemetery before we headed out and ending our wave 1 of our vacation.

Back home from Monster Bash and Cranberry, I still had a few days left of vacation and so on June 30, 2018 Juliet and I had ourselves a very cool Horror Movie Marathon that was filled with lots of great and independent horror’s from our to be watched stack of DVDs. We also loaded up one some great eats like chips and breakfast casserole and decided on buffalo chicken and baked potatoes for dinner. The first movie of the marathon was the 1931 version of “Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde” that is about a poor doctor who experiment turns him into a sinister foul person who calls himself Hyde. The next film was “The Man With Two Heads” that was cheesy cult director Andy Milligan’s version of Jekyll and Hyde that follows William Jekyll and his transformation into Danny Blood. The third chiller feature was the indie horror creature flick called “Cryptid” about a pint sized government made creature on a rampage! Next up we had “Manhater” about a woman whose anger at men becomes a living demon who gets revenge for her. Shot on video film “Cemetery Sisters” was next and was about sisters who married and killed men in order to get money to open a mortuary. We then watched “Phantom Of The Opera” a modern 2014 reimagining of the classic story. The seventh film of the marathon was the spooky found footage film “Hell House LLC”. We then viewed “Dark Shade Creek 2” that is an independent slasher film. The cheesy “Ghost Of Camp Blood” was next and has the evil spirit of the clown mask killer looking for revenge. That was followed up by “Monkey Farm” a chilling tale about a research monkey that could possible be more than that. The chilling horror anthology “10/31” was next and delivered some frights. And our final fright flick of the night was “Carnivore: Werewolf Of London” about a couple at a cabin fighting for their lives against a werewolf. What a fun filled day with lots of great Horror Movies and a cool way to relax with Juliet.

The day was filled with some great films and some that were just okay and one that was hands down the Golden Turkey winner for both Juliet and myself and that’s Cryptid as this film was terribly paced and had some of the most useless main hero characters I have seen in a film for quit some time. I will say that the creature of the film was cool and well done and shows that this movie could have been something better with a good script. For me picking the top three spots was kind of an easy one with my # 1.) being Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) as this is a great classic monster film that was released the same time as Universal started making their Monster films and was Paramount’s way of cashing in, plus the acting is fantastic as is the look of Mr. Hyde. For me # 2.) was 10/31 an amazing modern horror anthology film that has every segment take place on Halloween, I found myself enjoying every segment and the score was top notch, this is one fright flick I think every one should view on Halloween. My # 3.) was a hard one to choose as I enjoyed so many but I had to go with Hell House LLC. as I found it to be one of the better found footage horror flicks I have seen in quite awhile, the mood and feel of the movie is fantastic! I must say that a runner up for 3rd for me was Manhater as I also found it well done and enjoyed the super sexy demon lady. Juliet’s top three of the marathon went like this # 1.) 10/31…#2.) Hell House LLC…#3.) Phantom Of The Opera (2014)! As always the Horror Movie Marathon is a great relaxing time and event I look forward to doing multiple times a year.

I am sure you’re all wondering what fiend for this Horror Movie Marathon won the Golden Chainsaw award, and I am here to tell you it was the weird small monster from Cryptid! This little guy racked up a body count of 16 people and possibly more…while the movie was not great and was the Golden Turkey for both of us, it still wracked up a body count. His best kill of the film is eating the skin off a woman’s face, a brutal and a cool indie effect. So here is to you, Cryptid monster for all your bloodshed.

George A. Romero made a perfect zombie Horror Movie trilogy starting with the 1968 film Night Of The Living Dead and ending with Day of The Dead that was released in 1985. For years afterward, the godfather of zombie films stayed away from the world ruled by the dead he created. But 20 years after his last film, he returned to that world when in 2005 he released Land Of The Dead to moviegoers. So if you’re ready to get aboard Dead Reckoning, and go on a supply run for the rich, I think it’s time we take a look at Land Of The Dead!

In 2004, Zack Snyder and James Gunn released a remake of Dawn Of The Dead for Universal Studios, and the film sparked interest back in fans and Universal for Horror Movies that featured zombies. While the remake of his film Dawn Of The Dead was in production, George A. Romero was trying to also get a fourth film of his Dead series into production and was dealing with 20th Century Foxfor the film he was calling Twilight Of The Dead as it’s working title. Fox wanted him to call the movie “Night Of The Living Dead” as they wanted to own the rights to a new franchise, and even when he said no and wanted to call it “Dead Reckoning,” they came back with the title “Night Of The Living Dead: Dead Reckoning” and this greedy nature of Fox made Romero seek a new studio to produce the new film.  Enter Universal once more to release a new zombie film for movie goers. The film’s script had elements of the original Day Of The Dead script, and the film’s title was changed to Land Of The Dead. Universal put lots of money into the film with the rumored budget being $15 million making it the highest budget in the Dead series! While Romero wrote and directed, he hired lots of talented actors in big roles like John Leguizamo, Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento and Tom Savini to name a few and even had such stars as Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Gregory Nicotero cameo as zombies. Filming went well, and it was released in theaters on June, 24 2005 and was meet with mostly positive reviews from both critics and fans and did pretty well at the box office bringing in $46,770,602.00 worldwide and was #112 for the year at the US Box Office. In 2005 these other Horror Movies were released Saw II, The Descent, Devil’s Rejects, Ring Two, Wolf Creek, House Of Wax, Cry Wolf, Hellraiser: Deader, The Skeleton Key and Boogeyman to name a few showing that the world of Horror was very much alive and bringing in movie goers and home video watchers. So as you can see, Land Of The Dead might have been lost in the shuffle slightly at the Box Office it still has made it mark on the world of horror and shows that no one knew zombies better than Romero.

As a youngster I was really into music and when moving from Waynesville to Kettering I was the odd Monster Metalhead Kid who had a chip on his shoulder and would spend his time after school listening to the likes of Billy Idol, Alice Cooper and Motley Crue on vinyl and cassette and would call the local radio station The Edge and request songs from the likes of Adam Ant and became friends with the DJ Scott Mallory who ended up years later giving me advanced tickets to see Land Of The Dead in the theater before its release date. I was able to bring many of my friends as going with me was my then girlfriend Misty as well as my brother Bryan and my pals Andy Copp and Josh Weinberg, and I can remember waiting in line and all of us being so excited to see it, and after the movie we all left with the fact we enjoyed it but it seemed a little too polished. And what we all liked is the message of the rich using the poor as at the time that feeling among the hardworking low income was dealing with that in George W. Bush’s America. I was also really happy that Asia Argento was in it as she was one of the best foreign genre actresses going at the time. Plus the film’s effects were good minus the use of CGI blood in spots as that always looks terrible. The things from the movie that I was not that big of a fan of was the focus of the film being the rolling armored vehicle Dead Reckoning as it was large and silly and seemed like something from a video game. The other thing I was not sold on was the lead zombie Big Daddy who is showing signs of intelligence naturally and felt pain as his fellow zombies were shot and killed. But with these things I didn’t like I over all really did enjoy this film and found it to be a great sequel to Night Of The Living Dead and proved that with a budget Romero could make something very special for fans. When the film was released to home media I bought the DVD and still own and watch it from time to time till this day. While this might not be the best in the Dead series it’s by no means the worst, as that honor goes to the 6th film in the series “Survival Of The Dead”. If you have not seen this film do yourself a favor and watch it late one stormy night and open the windows to allow a breeze to role in and enjoy this zombie filled romp.

Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek handled the score for Land Of The Dead and brought something fresh and new and yet still has a very classic feel to it. The mood of the music is dark when needed and filled with action when moments call for it. While I feel it’s not as iconic of a score as the work of Goblin or John Harrison from the past two sequels, I still find it very solid and is worth listening to and even have played it on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO during October. This score can be found on CD and via Digital and was released by Varese Sarabande and is a great release for fans who collect Horror Movie scores.

Like the films in the series before it, Land Of The Dead has had its fair share of merchandise that delivered cool items for the fans. Items like posters, soundtrack, t-shirts, buttons and comics all came out. Action figures were made by Sorta Toys that were highly detailed and figures of almost the all the main zombies were made including Big Daddy and The Butcher. Also made was a Video Game that was exclusive to the original XBOX called “Land Of The Dead: Road To Fiddler’s Green” that was a first person shooter that had you trying to fight through hordes of the undead in order to get the promise land of Fiddler’s Green, the game was not well rated by fans and critics but still offered something cool for fans of the film. Over the years I have owned the comics, mini poster and soundtrack of this film. So if you love Land Of The Dead, there is lots of cool stuff for you to collect.

As I said one of the biggest pluses for Land Of The Dead for me has to be the fact the very lovely Asia Argento was cast as main character Slack. For those who don’t know who Asia is, shame on you as she is the daughter of director Dario Argento and has acted in such classic films as Demons 2, The Church, Phantom Of The Opera, Scarlet Diva, xXx, Mother Of Tears and Dracula 3D to name a few. She also has directed some films like The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and Misunderstood. Sadly in modern news Asia was one of the victims of the scumbag movie producer Harvey Weinstein and sadly was victim-shamed in her own homeland of Italy causing her to have to move to Germany to escape the media’s hurtful words. I for one stand with Asia Argento and hope that Harvey gets what’s coming to him, and that Asia after this drama ends returns to making Horror Movies and Cult Films as I for one am looking forward to her future in films. Check out the pictures below to see Asia Argento as Slack from Land of The Dead.

So we are at the electric and guarded gates of Fiddler’s Green and that must mean we are at the point of taking a look at the comic adaption of our film of the hour Land Of The Dead that was released by IDW. And while we try and find our way in and get shelter from these terrible flesh-eating zombies I would like to thank Bell Book And Comic and Lone Star Comic for having these issues in stock to make this update possible and I would also like to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So I can hear Big Daddy groaning off in the distance which means that the zombies are on their way so let’s get to reading these comics before we all become a snack for them!

Land Of The Dead # 1  ***
Released in 2005      Cover Price $3.99       IDW      # 1 of 5

Riley and his crew that include Charlie, Cholo and Pretty Boy (to name a few) control the combat truck called Dead Reckoning and are on a supply run in a small town that is overrun by zombies. Riley is noticing that the zombies seem to be getting smarter and are trying to mimic their old human lives and seem to be communicating with each other now. This is his last night in command of this group, and he wants it to go smoothly but when Cholo goes off track and leads to a rookies death, and one of their biker members is knocked from his motorcycle and eaten by the undead his mission turned sour. The zombies now have seemed to come together and are ready to take the fight to the living. When back safe Riley and Cholo get into it over the antics back in town, and as they separate Riley and Charlie go to find a man named Chihuahua who owns Riley a car at his bar that includes a zombie fight cage! While Cholo is turned away from getting an apartment in the upper class high rise building called Fiddlers Green by the Mr. Kaufman who runs the town. As Cholo is leaving he beats up the security officers who have been told to kill him.

The dead are getting smarter and the living are still fighting among themselves over greed plus power and money! Our story follows the crew of Dead Reckoning and their two men in charge and their lives in a world of corruption and he dead. Our main hero is Riley who is the man in charge of the crew and after their last mission is retiring and is wanting to get a car and leave the area behind him. But sadly for him looks like his money has been taken and his car is just a pipedream and the man he was buying it from is clearly a con man. Charlie is a simple man who has one side of his face burnt and is the closest friend to Riley and is like his right hand man. Cholo is reckless and self-serving but also has most of the crews respect as he gets results, not to mention he also does all the dirty work for Mr. Kaufman and once his rich boss turned on him it’s clear there will be hell to pay! Mr. Kaufman is clearly a smug rich man who enjoys his power over others and does not value those who get him his supplies or keep him safe. The world inside Fiddlers Green is posh and filled with shops and restaurants with armed guards while out side the town is kept safe by electric fences and soldiers with the people being poor and fight for the scraps. The zombies are all around the town and are getting smarter and are bounding together and seem to have had enough of the living! Big Daddy in this issue is really downplayed as he takes a back seat to the female athlete zombie who is the one that uses a tool to knock a biker off his bike for them to all snack on. This first issue holds pretty true to the film it was based on and yet holds a feel of its own making it a really good read. The cover for this issue is amazing and is very eye catching and reminds me of a zombie cover that you could have seen on an issue of The Dead or Dead Walkers. The interior art is also well done and is done by Gabriel Rodriguez who also did IDW’s “Lock & Key” and “Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland”. A very good zombie horror comic first issue that shows he respect to the film and also adds and takes away enough to make it feel like it’s own experience. Lets see what issue two has in store for us, shall we?

Land Of The Dead # 2   **1/2
Released in 2005      Cover Price $3.99       IDW     # 2 of 5

The zombies now being lead by the one called Big Daddy are making their way to the city and are taking the war to the living! Meanwhile Riley and Charlie while waiting on answers about the car watch as a young woman named Slack is thrown into the arena with two spray painted zombies with the crowd voting on what one will get her first. Riley and Charlie make the decision to save Slack and shoot the zombies and even have to kill the little man who was the key to Riley’s car and this leads to them all being arrested including Slack. Meanwhile Cholo and his crew steal Dead Reckoning just as the zombies have broken into the outer walls of the city! Cholo calls Mr. Kauffman and wants five million dollars or he will use the guns and missiles from Dead Reckoning to blow up Fiddlers Green. This worries Mr. Kauffman who refuses to pay the money and brings Riley up from jail and demands that he gets Dead Reckoning back and deal with Cholo once and for all.

The corruption of the ones in power is clearly putting the poor and working class at risk as Mr. Kauffman and his power has put everyone in the small secure town at risk no only from the zombies but also the one man he crossed that has the means and anger to do something about it. Kauffman is such a smug and overly confidante man who lives a posh life style and rubs elbows with the rich but also has his fingers in the underbelly of the town’s illegal activities. Cholo meanwhile is also a very cold person who really only looks out for himself as he wants his money and walks away from a zombie attack leaving people to die so that he can steal Dead Reckoning, and then once had threatens to blow up the town in order to get money. Riley and Charlie clearly make a great team and while Riley acts tough and cold it’s clear he cares about peoples life and that’s why he risks it all to save the life of a woman he didn’t even know. Slack is that woman who is a skilled fighter, but due to her good looks was forced into being a streetwalker by Kauffman and his crime connections, and once they find she is talking to a group of rebels set on one day fighting the powers that be she is arrested and set to be killed in the zombie arena. This issue has some blood, gore and is building the mood to what is to come, the one thing you will notice is that while the zombies are around they seem to be only a background plot. This issue also shows that Big Daddy is the one who is leading the zombie revelation and he and his fellow undead are attacking smartly and have made their way to the cities outer border. The cover for this issue I have is ok and is just a photo still taken from the film and is nothing special, while the interior art once more was done by Gabriel Rodriguez and is once more great stuff. This second issue is solid and builds the story and brings us to the main meat of the story and that’s Riley and crew going out to get Dead Reckoning back. So let’s see what issue three has in store for us!

Land Of The Dead # 3  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 3 of 5

Riley agrees to get back Dead Reckoning on the condition that Charlie and Slack are set free and join him and for a car to leave the city to head north. As Riley and his crew gear up they are forced to also take three soldiers with them that’s Motown a tough as nails female, Manolete a prideful soldier who is named after a bullfighter and the massive Samoan Pillsbury who is a mountain of a man. Once out to get supplies needed they also find the aftermath of the last zombie attack and know that the city is in danger multiple ways! While getting ammo and finding a jeep stray zombies are around the leaves Manolete bitten and having to be shot by Slack, and once far away from the city Riley and Charlie pull guns on Motown and Pillsbury and let them know that they are aware that Kauffman has sent them to kill them after they get back Dead Reckoning and give them an option of going along with the plan of Riley taken the massive vehicle or getting out of the jeep and walking back to the city…they decide to go along for the ride. Cholo and his crew load the weapons and are ready to flow Fiddler’s Green away as Riley and his crew are trying to catch up with them to stop it. But while they are playing war games Big Daddy and his zombie friends have gotten across the river and are on track to attack the city!

Mr. Kauffman is upping the game against Cholo in this game of power and greed as he sends out his own task force to get his stolen war machine back. Riley clearly only takes the job of getting Dead Reckoning back in order to save the innocent people who will be killed in this little power struggle. Riley while a loner and tough as nails always does what’s right and does his best to protect the innocent. Charlie as well is a good guy, who will kill to protect his friends and those who need help he is also very skilled with a gun and always has Riley’s back. Slack who only grew up in the city has never seen the outside world and it’s clear she don’t like what she sees, but she as well is a skilled fighter and has bounded with Riley and Charlie. Motown and Pillsbury are skilled fighters who clearly work for Kauffman and would have killed Riley and his friends when he mission was over, but know that they have to play along or be left for the dead. Cholo really does just want’s what’s owed to him and does not mind killing to get it! Big Daddy and his zombie horde are causing death and destruction and make meals out of soldiers and any human they come across! This issue also brings the blood and gore and shows that while the world is under attack by greed they are the true threats to mankind. The cover for this issue is pretty great and is eye catching for Horror Comic readers, with the interior art once more being done by Gabriel Rodriguez being solid and great stuff! Over all this third issue is fantastic and is holding true to this George Romero film.

Land Of The Dead # 4  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99      IDW      # 4 of 5

Riley and his crew find Dead Reckoning and Pillsbury knocks out Motown who was planning on turning on the group and Riley and Charlie stand and meet Cholo and his crew who take the pair as hostages as Slack and Pillsbury hide in the shadows armed and ready to fire if things go south. When Riley uses a master control on Dead Reckoning to shut down its weapons Cholo and Riley get into a fight and this leads to the now woken up Motown to try and shoot them and one bullet hits Cholo and this also leads to her death as a zombie bites her and Slack putts a bullet in her brain. While at Fiddlers Green Mr. Kaufmann is stealing the cities money and is about to flee when he gets the call from Riley that Dead Reckoning has been recaptured, but when explosions in the city goes off they find out that the zombies lead by Big Daddy are in the city and want human flesh! Cholo and one of his friends decide to go and travel to Cleveland while Riley and the rest of them travel to the city and see if they can help as the city really is being taken over by the dead.

Things are really heating up as the zombies are in full force and have entered the city and are killing and eating anyone in their way. Riley and Charlie risk their own lives in order to get close to Dead Reckoning and Cholo and are able to pull off stopping the planned attack on the city. Riley once in control of the defense machine makes the decision to return to the city to help anyone he can from the zombies. Mr. Kauffman once more shows that he is a selfish person as when things get bad he tries to flee Fiddlers Green and is taking all the money of his residents! Kauffman really is a terrible person and one as a reader you really do want to see get his. Slack and Pillsbury are great back up for Riley as they watch his back during the stand off with Cholo. Speaking of Cholo that poor guy just can not win as in this issue he does not get his money, he does not get Dead Reckoning and worse gets shot and bite! This issue really has it all hit the fan as zombies are now working together and have gotten smarter and yet still want to eat and kill. The issue has lots of blood and zombie carnage and a pretty cool cover that features Slack who is played by Asia Argento predominately and again Gabriel Rodriguez did the interior art and is great stuff. So as you can see Dead Reckoning is in the hands of Riley who along with his crew are off to try and save the day. A great solid read and makes me look forward to see how the final issue plays out.

Land Of The Dead # 5  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 5 of 5

Riley and the crew of Dead Reckoning are on their way to try and save the innocent people of the city and they have to get a drawbridge to drop first and once more Riley risks his life in order to do so, and even must come face to face with some zombies! Meanwhile the now bitten and dying Cholo is dropped off near Fiddlers Green as he wants revenge of Mr. Kauffman who is also on the run as Big Daddy and the zombies have entered the building and are eating the rich. After Riley gets the bridge down they rush to the gates and find that many of the people have been killed by the zombies as the now fully dead Cholo has found Mr. Kauffman after he hid in a limo to get away from Big Daddy who had poured gasoline all over the limo and ground. The zombie Cholo attacks Kauffman by the limo and as the two tussle Big Daddy throws a flaming barrel at the limo that is covered in gas blowing up Kauffman and Cholo ending their greed once and for all. Meanwhile Riley is able save many lives when he fires missiles into a horde of zombies, as the survivors figure out what they want to do Riley, Charlie, Slack, Pretty Boy and the rest of the crew of Dead Reckoning all head to Canada as Big Daddy and the zombies head off back to the town they came from as their work and message was sent.

Wow this really was a great Horror Comic that does a great job of adapting the George Romero film and giving fans something more to have based on it. This issue has Riley doing what’s right and stopping Cholo from attacking the city, is able to keep onto Dead Reckoning and save lots of innocent lives from a zombie attack. Riley all through this comic mini series has been a real loner but it’s also clear he values the friendships he has in a world gone dead, plus it’s great that we have a hero in this comic and in the world it created that’s a true caring person with a tough edge. Charlie and Slack are as well loners who are looking for their own place in the world and find good friendship with each other as well as with Riley. It’s clear that Charlie owes his life to Riley who saved him from a very bad fire that left half his face scared. Slack meanwhile was a good soldier who was forced to be a prostitute who wants something better in life and for trying to better herself is sent to be killed by zombies in a arena cage, before she is rescued by Riley. Cholo is a man who has turned cold due to the world around him going to hell, his goal is to live the good life and once that is taken away from him he will do whatever he can to get his revenge. Mr. Kauffman is a rich scumbag who really only cares about himself and I love how in this comic series they keep his face hidden in shadow making him come off even more evil. Big Daddy and the rest of the zombies are flesh eaters who are adapting and learning and with their new smarts come’s skills in killing and eating humans. Land of the Dead is a film that translated really well to comics and IDW did a great job of making it happen and with this and as well as Dawn Of The Dead makes me wish they would have covered more of the films of George Romero like Day Of The Dead and even Survival Of The Dead. I also wish IDW would have made an ongoing comic series of Land as I would like to know what Riley, Charlie, Slack and the rest of Dead Reckoning is up to and what they found in Canada. The cover I have for this issue is fantastic and very eye catching and holds a classic indie zombie comic look, and the interior art by Gabriel Rodriguez is fitting for this title. Over all this is a very solid and good Horror Comic title based on a Horror Movie and is a nice comic series for fans of the film and is worth checking out for fans. Check out the art below to see how it looks in this comic and see the style of Rodriguez.

So as always super sad that our Monster Bash vacation has come to an end as I really do enjoy that Horror Convention and really love Cranberry, Mars and Evan City as they feel like my home away from home! Also sad as this is the last of the adaptation comics of the George A. Romero films based on zombies…I mean there are some more Night Of The Living Dead comics from the likes of Fantaco, Dead Dog and Avatar so who knows what next year will have in store for me to review for my Monster Bash Vacation. But for my next update, I will be leaving the world of Romero’s dead behind and once more be entering the world of Atlas Comics as I take a look at masked hero The Destructor! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Romero film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a bad guy bashing good time.

McGruff Takes A Bite Out Of Comics!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  One thing we all know is that crime doesn’t pay.  Sooner or later if you lie, cheat, steal or kill you’re going to be caught and punished for your crime…well most the time…I mean the original Night Stalker, Zodiac Killer, The Phantom Killer Of Texarkana and many other baddies have never seen justice, but times have changed and so have crime stopping technics and some of the times people get caught. Okay I’ll say it, growing up I really did think that the police and FBI would solve almost every crime and that bad people would get what’s coming to them. Now, as an adult, I believe that not every crime gets solved but many of them do thanks to the hard work of law enforcement. Some of the leading factors for me to think that criminals always get what’s coming to them were characters like Dick Tracy, Batman, Robocop, Officer Carey Mahoney, Inspector Gadget and McGruff The Crime Dog who would all tell me about crime on TV, Radio, Comics, Movies and even in person when talking about McGruff! So for this update we are going to have a Rotten Ink Neighborhood Watch And Read as we take a look at a promo comic featuring McGruff as well as quickly look at this crime dog’s history and connections to my life. So get your peepers peeping and your jaw working as we take a Bite Out Of Crime and flip the pages of a comic.

McGruff The Crime Dog was created by Dancer Fitzgerald Sample via the Ad Council for the government in 1980 to help educate kids about the dangers of crime and drugs. His name was created by New Orleans police officer John Isbell who won a contest, and with this McGruff and his saying “Take A Bite Out Of Crime” were unleashed on the public via billboards, radio and TV ads. The response to this cartoon dog in a trench coat was overwhelmingly positive with his anti crime messages helping kids learn that crime is not cool and to trust their local police as well as no to do drugs. His impact was felt as many of Americans had seen and took action via his PSA’s and with most people polled McGruff was a favored mascot at the early stages of his appearances with only a very small amount not liking him as they thought he was too cartoonish. Over the years McGruff was used to make people aware of such things as the dangers of drugs, stranger danger and how to take steps to make your house safe from burglars. In the late 90’s his young nephew Scruff was added to the PSAs in order to add a more kid appeal to the messages and to make him more modern in his surroundings. Also during his spotlight time, actors in McGruff costumes would visit schools with law enforcement officers as well as lots of cool items were made with McGruff’s image like comics, stuffed dolls, t-shirts, posters, jackets, bags, buttons and more. While in 2018, McGruff has slowly been pushed to the back of the mainstream attention, his appearance and messages are still being taught to this day. So here is to you McGruff, for all your years teaching kids and people that crime don’t pay and how to be safe and live your life right.

Growing up during the 80’s and 90’s was a great time, and Saturday’s meant cartoons, Horror Hosts, wrestling and Horror Movies as the TV airwaves were flooded with amazing broadcasts. And while watching cartoons I can remember seeing lots and lots of PSA’s from McGruff, and I can remember him telling me to stay away from drugs and JUST SAY NO. I can remember him trying to warn me not to talk to strangers. And then in the late 90’s when I was a late teen, I can remember them also adding McGruff’s nephew Scruff to have the youngster to tell us about stopping crime and to do the right thing. It’s funny that PSA’s that were sandwiched between toy commercials and breakfast cereal ads are things that I fondly remember about my cartoon watching on Saturdays. Again I have to ask, why are CBS, NBC and FOX out of the Saturday Morning Cartoon business? I understand that Cartoon Network, Disney and Nickelodeon run cartoon and youngster programing all day but the basic networks could step up and deliver quality cartoons that are just for their station that could draw in young viewers. But I will move on from my dislike for the end of Saturday Morning cartoons and say that while the PSAs would be very dated in 2018, I for one grew up and listened to what McGruff had to tell me.

When I was a kid growing up in Waynesville, our school did lots of cool field trips and had lots of cool guest speakers to teach and educate my fellow classmates and myself about all types of topics from the joys of reading to listening to actor Robert V. Barron (or so we were told) dressed as Abraham Lincoln telling us about the life of our 16th President…not to mention that we also got to meet Miss Ohio and Ronald McDonald at a field trip and both were super cool and nice people and bless them for putting up with a bunch of bratty kids running wild at a park. But one of the coolest guests was McGruff The Crime Dog who came in with an officer to talk to us all about Stranger Danger.  It was all standard stuff about not getting into cars with strangers and not taking candy from them as well. Of course the officer did all the talking, as McGruff was a man in a walk-around costume who would do all his talking with body actions. They showed us some videos that had PSA’s and such, and after it was all over, they gave out plastic police badges that had McGruff on it! All of us guys took our plastic badges and wore them during the day, and I could not wait to get it home and show my brother who also thought it was pretty cool. Sadly I don’t have the plastic badge anymore, and I could not tell you what happened to it, but if I had to guess I sold it at a garage sale or gave it to my cousins. Below is a picture of one of the McGruff badges that looked kind of like the one I had as a kid. Oh yeah and I can also remember one year using a Halloween trick or treat bag that had McGruff on it that was green!

I love classic mascots, and I really do think that one of the best from my generation is McGruff as he was such a great character back then and is still used to this day showing that he is a true icon of pop culture and Americana. And while they have slowed down using him and his last major TV push was to push car insurance for GEICO, he still is a great tool to let people know that they need to stop crime. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this comic in stock, and I want to remind all you readers that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So lets take to the streets and see what McGruff has in store for us and what kind of crime he is going to warn us about in this comic book adventure.

McGruff’s Surprise Party # 1   **1/2
Released in 1989     Cover Price FREE     U.S. Government     # 1 of 1

McGruff The Crime Dog is hanging out with a group of kids and asks them to help throw a surprise party for a friend as he wants to teach them to say no to drugs! As the kids run off to get board games and popcorn, Sarah, one of youngsters, asks McGruff why should people say No To Drugs. He calls back the rest of her peers, and they share facts about drugs and this is all Sarah has to hear and she now understands. The boys split off from the girls and go to the park to blow up balloons and chat about how beer is bad and that kids should not drink while the girls go to a house and make popcorn and talk about drugs and how one of the kids is no longer friends with her old pals as they tried to push her to do drugs with them! Back at the park one of the boys saves another boy from a drug dealer who was trying to push for him to try it. After all the balloons are blown up and the popcorn made, the kids go back to McGruff’s house as we learn that this surprise party is for us the readers!

This is one silly and overly kid friendly PSA comics as it breaks down the horrors of drug and alcohol abuse down so simply as saying…they are bad! This comic’s plot is super simple: McGruff wants to throw a surprise party and his friends the kids get the stuff needed to bring to the party.  All the while, they talk to each other about how drugs are bad, when the stuff is ready the return to McGruff and we find out this whole party was for the reader. This was a fun read and took me back to being a kid when McGruff really did rule when it comes to crime prevention, but this also was a little bit of a letdown as McGruff takes a backseat and the kids are the main stars of the comic as they are the ones who mostly do the talking and eat up pages with their appearance. McGruff is very thoughtful as he wants to throw a party for whoever is reading the comic and he makes sure that he gets his friends to help make it special, and while he is the spokes person for people not to do drugs, he also does not get to preachy with his message…he leaves that to the kids. The kids are all good kids who have a Charlie Brown aura around them and for the most part goofs who like popcorn and balloons. One of my favorite creepy characters from this comic is the weird drug pusher who looks like he should be a bad guy in a Fat Albert cartoon.  He is so 80’s fantastic goofy looking with a mix of late 70’s attitude. This 16 page comic also has a few activities and sports a very generic free comic looking cover, you know like comics that were free at Big Boy and Captain D’s. The interior art is done by an unknown artist and is really good and holds a classic 80’s kid comic look. Over all this is a simple comic with a simple message and that’s Drugs Are Bad! Check out some artwork below to see what this comic has to offer to young readers and the young at heart.

Man it’s weird as their just is not a lot of mascots being used in promotion any more like back in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and now everything just seems so cold and to the point. I can say I really do miss seeing them around. I should also just once more bring up that one of my founding memories of Dayton, Ohio Horror Host Dr. Creep was the old picture my brother Bryan was in that was taken at the old Kettering Theater that had him standing with Creep as well as McGruff The Crime Dog…so this mascot was even in my earliest memories of one of the greatest Horror Hosts ever. And this brings us to what we will be looking at for out next update.  I think we will stay with the theme of crime fighter and let’s also stay with the Horror Host vibe as we will travel to Cleveland, Ohio and take a look at the icon of afternoon fights and laughs the one and only Superhost! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a crime movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update as Supe’s On!