Andre The Giant The 8th Wonder Of The Comic Book World

Welcome to Rotten Ink’s main event for the night as we witness First Second Book’s own Box Brown step into the ring with the one and only 8th wonder of the world, Andre The Giant! It’s no surprise that growing up I was a huge fan of pro wrestling, and you long time readers know this about me.  One of the biggest names around when I was a kid was Andre The Giant who was always billed as the biggest man in the world and seeing him dwarf the likes of King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd and Killer Khan was a sight to behold. So this update will be all about the man, the myth, the legend known around the world for being the biggest athlete in sports entertainment, Andre The Giant! So get ready to cheer for Andre as we take a look not only at the bio comic but also the man who was the true giant of pro wrestling!

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Andre Rene Roussimoff was born on May 19th 1946 in Grenoble, France, and by the age of 12 he weighed 240 pounds and was 6’3” and dropped out of school by the 8th grade to work on a farm as well as other manual labor jobs. By age 17, he became a pro wrestler after a promotor saw that he could make money off Andre’s size and the fact he was a true giant thanks to the fact he had gigantism. Going under the name Great Ferre, he wrestled for promotions in France, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. In 1970 Andre, under the ring name Monster Roussimoff, dominated the Japanese federation International Wrestling Enterprise even winning the tag team titles with Michael Nador. After Japan Andre went to wrestle in Canada as well as a few dates for AWA (American Wrestling Association)  In the US, he meet Vince McMahon Sr. who turned him into Andre The Giant and changed the character into a unstoppable monster, and together they made lots of money in the WWF as well as off other federations that Vince would lend him out to. Andre The Giant started WWF in 1973 as one of the company’s top good guys and had many great feuds with many great and talented wrestlers like Killer Khan who he defeated in a Mongolian Stretcher Match, Big John Studd who he had a body slam challenge match against as well as had his long afro hair shaved off by Studd, Ken Patera and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd even got Andre suspended during this run, and he returned as a masked wrestler called Giant Machine and teamed with the tag team The Machines. Durning this run as a good guy Andre was also the king of Battle Royals even winning one at Wrestlemania II by throwing out Bret Hart. Beloved by fans, Andre was a top draw as well as a main attraction for the WWF, but something was about to change!

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In 1987, Hulk Hogan was WWF Champion, and Hulkamania was in full swing.  On Piper’s Pit, the interview segment hosted by Rowdy Roddy Piper, Hogan was given a trophy for being champion for three years. And during this time of celebration Andre The Giant came out with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and ripped the shirt off Hogan as well as his cross necklace and challenged him for the title, changing himself from a fan favorite to a heel in the matter of minutes! Hogan and Andre clashed at Wrestlemania III, and Hogan won under some controversy. After Hogan’s win, he also began a feud with Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase who could not beat Hogan but wanted the title.  So DiBiase hired Andre to win the belt for him, and he did in 1988 making it the first and only time Andre was the WWF Champion.  But this win was also very controversial, and the belt was taken away from him and put up for grabs at Wreslemania IV in a tournament that was won by Randy “Macho Man” Savage. This sparked fights between the Mega Powers (Hogan & Savage) and the Mega Bucks (Andre & DiBiase) that ended with Mega Powers getting the upper hand and would spark the next major feud for Hogan as he and Savage split off. Andre from this point on was stuck in tag team matches and feuds with such superstars as Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Ultimate Warrior. He would also team with Ted DiBiase for a while as well as Haku, who he would win tag team gold with under the name The Colossal Connection. In 1990, they lost the belts to Demolition at Wrestlemania VI, and at this point Haku and Bobby Heenan turned on Andre who ended up beating up his partner and turned from Heel to Face.  This ended Andre’s major role as a full time wrestler for WWF. And besides some angles with Earthquake and Jimmy Hart, Andre’s health was so poor that he left WWF in 1992. His last TV appearance was for WCW during their Clash Of The Champions XX event on TBS. This is the era of Andre that I remember the most, and boy when I was younger, I thought no one could beat him.  When they did, I was awe struck! I mean other wrestlers in the back would call Andre The Boss because they all respected and some feared him. Andre was a strong good guy but in my opinion was a way better bad guy and his feud with Hulk Hogan was legendary. Now being a grown up and watching old matches on VHS and DVD, I find some of his later in ring work very sad to watch as you can tell he was in pain just barely moving around and had to use the ropes to walk around the ring. It’s sad to see Andre The Giant in that kind of shape, and you could really tell he was in the twilight of his career and his health was in decline. I should also say that sadly Andre died in his sleep on January 27th 1993 from heart failure while in Paris to attend his father’s funeral. This update is dedicated to Andre who entertained this pro wrestling fan all through my youth, not just in the ring but also in movies and TV.

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So I should get a little more into Wrestlemania III, the pay per view event that shattered attendance records for a live sporting event as well as truly brought WWF into the main stream culture. Wrestlemania III took place on March 29th 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan in front of 93,173 fans locking it in as the largest recorded attendance for a live indoor sporting event in North America! The card was filled with many great matches like Ricky Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Belt, Billy Jack Haynes took on Hercules in a Full Nelson Match and Honky Tonk Man took on Jake “The Snake” Roberts who had rockstar Alice Cooper in his corner! But the main event was Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant for the WWF Championship, and I can remember all the build up for this match.  All the while WWF did a fantastic job of making Hogan look like the underdog having Andre best him on many altercations that happened before the match. During the match, it was clear that Andre was not in the best of shape and Hogan was having to carry the match for the most part, but when Hogan tried to slam Andre for the first time and buckled under the weight and was almost pinned, the odds really did look against the champ! But later in the match when Hogan slammed Andre and hit him with the atomic leg drop and got the three count, the torch was passed and Hogan’s star shined brighter. I can remember many kids from school who were WWF fans talking about the slam heard around the world and the feat of Hogan picking up Andre seemed something straight out of a comic book or greek myth, but as I grew up and became wiser to the world of pro wrestling I found out Hogan had slammed him before when Andre was good and Hogan was bad early in his career.  Also to slam Andre was El Canek and Harley Race. No matter who you were in 1987, you knew that Hogan slammed Andre, and WWF was the major force in pro wrestling.  But we have covered Andre in wrestling so it’s only right we cover his acting career briefly!

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Besides being a pro wrestler, Andre was also an actor, and one role I remember him playing was the Bionic Bigfoot in the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man. Andre played Bigfoot in two episodes called “The Secret Of Bigfoot I & II” that had Steve Rogers running into the famed creature and after doing battle with it finds that it’s a robot! The original episode aired in 1976, and the follow up aired in 1976 as well. Even after Andre stopped playing the role, the Bionic Bigfoot continued for three more episodes and was played by Ted Cassidy, better known for playing Lurch on The Addams Family. The episodes and character of Bionic Bigfoot were so popular that action figures at the time was made based on his likeness. If you watched Six Million Dollar Man, I am sure you remember Bionic Bigfoot like I do!

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Andre’s most popular acting role was the 1987 comedy fantasy film “The Princess Bride” where he played Fezzik the loveable giant friend of Inigo who helps in the kidnapping of the Princess as well as later helps rescue her along side Westley the film’s lead. Fezzik turns from a bad guy to a good guy and was loved in the film for being loyal to his friends and having a big heart. Growing up, I loved this film and watched it many times.  One of the best Andre lines from the movie has him offering peanuts to other characters. It’s funny to think that in 1987 Andre was in this move as a loveable character and also turned on Hulk Hogan and became one of the most hated men in pro wrestling!

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One role many people do not know about that Andre The Giant played was that of the horn God Dagoth in the 1984 fantasy film “Conan The Destroyer”! That’s right, one of the world’s top pro wrestlers wore a rubber suit and fought Arnold Schwarzenegger who was playing Conan in a fake blood drenched scene….and I must say that’s awesome! And in fact, I did not even know Andre played that part until recently, and this helps add to my enjoyment of this film. I loved the Conan movies, and I will tell you readers this when the new Conan movie comes out in the coming years, a Marvel At The Movies Conan edition will be going up!

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Andre The Giant was also an animated superstar as he was used in the fun Saturday Morning Cartoon “Hulk Hogan’s Rock N Wrestling” as one of Hogan’s good guy friends along side the likes of Junkyard Dog, Wendi Richter, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Hillbilly Jim and a few other WWF wrestlers. The cartoon would have Hogan and the gang having to stop evil plots by the bad guys lead by Rowdy Roddy Piper and aired for 26 episodes lasting two season starting in 1985. The series was made by DIC Entertainment who also made such cartoons as M.A.S.K., Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors, The Real Ghostbusters, COPS, Camp Candy, The Legend Of Zelda, Swamp Thing, Street Sharks and so many other classics that entertained the youth. Andre in the cartoon was portrayed as a dimwitted giant who would fumble and bumble around all the while never meaning to harm nor break the stuff he did.  So in looking back, he was the slapstick goof of the cartoon.  He was voiced by Ron Feinberg, who also lent his voice to such characters as Ming The Merciless in Defenders Of The Earth and Vladimir Goudenov Grizzlikof in Darkwing Dunk. Growing up I loved this silly cartoon and watched it any chance I got and that was mostly on USA Cartoon Express.  While Andre was silly and goofy, he still was one of the characters I liked. While the cartoon has long been off the air and has not been released on DVD or Blu-Ray, you can find episodes on VHS and the grey market.

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So Andre was a part of TV shows, movies and even cartoons, but he also tackled music videos when he had a cameo in the video for Cyndi Lauper’s hit song “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” where he played a genie from a bottle who runs off debt collectors played by the likes of Roddy Piper and Iron Sheik! This video is epic for many reasons, and I will share them all with you real quick! The first thing about this video that I loved when I was younger was Cyndi Lauper herself as I found her cute as well as fun to watch as she could sing her heart out and never took herself seriously. The second thing was the fact that it starred Pro Wrestlers as characters and some of the WWF’s best bad guys were great running around as pirates…imagine Iron Sheik as a pirate! The third amazing thing about this video is that it’s attached to The Goonies, one of the most iconic adventure kids films of the 80’s and one I loved, not to mention The Goonies themselves show up to help Cyndi get away from the pirates! I guess I should also explain what the music video is about; Cyndi and her family own a gas station and are about to lose it when Piper and the rest of his goon squad show up to take it away! Cyndi has a map to treasure that could help save the gas station, but while on the hunt Piper and goons become pirates and try to stop her until The Goonies show up and help.  In the end, she uses a lamp and frees Andre The Giant dressed as a genie who runs off the bad guys, and they save the gas station. It’s a great music video for a catchy song that will get stuck in your head after you hear it.

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Honeycomb was a popular kids breakfast cereal in the 80’s, and the one and only commercial made about it that would air during Saturday Morning Cartoons that I remember had Andre The Giant playing a giant and trying to grab kids and their robot while they were eating Honeycomb in their club house. The kids are scared of the giant, but when they share some Honeycomb with him, he mellows out and they gain a new friend! I should also say that after they share the cereal, the cheesy jingle starts that goes “Honeycomb’s Big….Yeah Yeah Yeah! It’s Not Small…No No No! Honeycomb’s Got..A Big Big Bite! Big Big Taste In A Big Big Bite”…you’re welcome. The jingle will be in your head all day now. I always liked seeing Andre in this commercial, and it has always stuck with me; thanks to Youtube I can watch it again!

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Because he was one of the biggest superstars in WWF history, Andre had a lot merchandise come out that used his likeness, and much of that came out via WWF itself and could be bought from their catalog like posters, magazines and the classic t-shirt with his red handprint on the front. LJN had three Andre The Giant figures come out for their WWF Wrestling Superstars series.  One Andre had the afro hair, the next had short hair and the third was the bad Andre. Hasbro made an Andre The Giant action figure come out via their WWF line, and not to mention tons of other stuff like VHS tapes, trading cards, drinking glasses, DVDs and much more! My favorite Andre toy I owned was the short hair LJN figure that I would bring to school and win matches during the WWF events we would have at recess, a great figure with Andre’s good guy smile intact. So if you like Andre The Giant, there are some great collectibles out in the world for you.

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Andre The Giant has also been in some video games, starting with WWF Wrestlemania for NES and even in the most recent WWE Game, WWE 2K15. Also Andre was in the arcade game WWF Superstars that had your team having to will a series of matches to take on Andre and Million Dollar Man to win the game. But the one I played the most was WWF Wrestlemania made by Acclaim in 1989 for the NES, and I must say Andre was one tough cookie to beat and Hulk Hogan was the only character that was able to slam him! One odd Andre The Giant in video games has to be the 2011 THQ game WWE All Stars where Andre was overdone as were all the wrestlers, who look like cartoon characters. So if you’re a gamer and like wrestling, there are many games out in the world that you can play as the one and only 8th Wonder Of The World.

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Before we get to the comic, I should also talk about the underground phenomenon known as Andre The Giant Has A Posse created by Shepard Fairely for the skateboarding culture and beyond as an experiment of phenomenology. Stickers, flyers and posters of Andre The Giant with the phrase Has A Posse began popping up in Rhode Island and then went around the USA and spread like wildfire. The craze went on for many years and even when WWF tried to sue over it, the stickering did not not slow down. Over the years the sticker has changed and now has a closer image of Andre’s face and instead of him having a posse, it now reads “Obey”. I can remember seeing these stickers around town when I was younger and always getting a chuckle from them.

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So now that we have talked about Andre as a wrestler, actor, video game character and everything in between, I think we are ready to look at him as a bio comic character! I need to thank Mavericks for getting this graphic novel in stock for me and also should remind everyone that I will grade this on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s lace up the boots and step into the ring with the 8th Wonder of the World, Andre The Giant, and First Second Books.

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Andre The Giant: Life And Legend  *** Released in 2014   Cover Price $17.99   First Second Books   #1 of 1

Andre lives in France and when he was 12 years old, he already was a giant and could not even ride the school bus and had to catch rides in the back of people’s pick up trucks. Years pass, and Andre just keeps growing and taking odd jobs around town.  By the late 1960’s he became a pro wrestler in his homeland and became a major attraction cause of his large size. Andre leaves the European wrestling behind and heads to Japan to make a name for himself and then goes to Canada where he starts out as major star selling out events, but his attraction starts to run thin and he finds that fans are sick of seeing him. Andre goes to the United states and with the help of Verne Gagne and Vince McMahan Sr., he becomes a super star as they travel him around from territory to territory and make him unbeatable in some cases even beating two men at the same time! This also starts Andre’s run working for WWF, where he was one of the company’s top baby faces. But while things were looking good for Andre, around this time his health began to decline.  He was drinking a lot, and he had many run-ins with fans and fellow wrestlers like Bad News Brown and Black Jack Mulligan outside the ring. During a feud with Big John Studd and Bobby The Brain Heenan, Andre takes some time off to get surgery on his back to release pressure and pain due to the fact his giantism disease is causing him to still grow, causing much pain in his joints and bones. During his time away from wrestling, Andre also takes a role in Princess Bride, and then he gets the call from Vince McMahan Jr. that he wants him to come back to WWF and be a bad guy and wrestle Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III! Andre comes back to wrestling and becomes one of the company’s biggest bad guys and is in pain but does so due to his friendship with Vince. Andre sticks around in the WWF for a while even after his feud with Hulk Hogan ends until his body just can’t take it any longer and the fans could see the pain in Andre’s face when he moved. Andre after WWF went to Japan one last time and did a few gimmick matches before his death in 1993.

The first thing I want to say about this comic/graphic novel is that the artwork is not what I would want for this style of comic, but it does hold a very Jason Young of Veggie Dog Saturn look to it so that makes it a little cooler. But while I feel the artwork is a little weak. I know many fellow comic readers who loved its style though.  What makes the comic good for me is the fact that the story of Andre’s life is nicely wrapped up in a little 240 pages bundle and most of his life highlights are showcased. In fact my write up leaves some elements of his life out as I would really encourage you, if you’re a fan, to give this graphic novel a read. One thing I really enjoyed about this comic is that lots of it focused on Andre’s life outside the ring from his medical issues all the way to how he treated fans showing that while he was larger than life in the world of Pro Wrestling, he still was real person with issues. At times Andre comes off lovable, while other times he comes off a a jerk by being rude to his fans, starting fights at parties and even telling inappropriate jokes on the tour bus that cause drama among some of his fellow wrestlers. One thing I learned from this comic is that after leaving the WWF for the last time, he did a few matches in Japan and was in no shape to do so but did them for a paycheck. The book ends on a higher note with Andre on a plan playing poker against a fellow wrestler and only in a small paragraph mentions that he passed away from heart issues.  This was the right way to end it as I feel to go all the way to his death would have really been a downer. It also has lots of humor like Andre watching Princess Bride with Terry Funk over and over again while Funk kept falling asleep! Box Brown did a fantastic job with this Bio-Comic, and I would love to see him do some more like it based on wrestlers like Macho Man Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior or even Big John Studd. Reading this made me very nostalgic and miss the days of classic wrestling.  So if you’re a fan of independent bio comics or of Andre The Giant I would recommend checking this one out I am glad I did.

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Even if you don’t like Pro Wrestling, or as it’s called now Sport Entertainment, you still have to respect the performers who go from town to town and entertain the crowds of people who pay to see them. Much like the Road Warriors, this update was one comic I was happy to bring to you, and I can safely say look for other wrestling-inspired comic updates in the future. One other thing I should bring up about Andre The Giant is that I remember when Hulk Hogan and Andre had to sign a rematch contract for Wrestlemania IV.  With the encouragement of The Million Dollar Man, the 8th Wonder Of The World used Hogan’s head as the stamp of approval and tipped a table over on him.  Now that’s when wrestling was wrestling! Well our next update will take us out of the squared circle and into the woods along side comic strip icon Andy Capp.  So with that I am going to end this update with Rest In Peace Andre The Giant, and thanks for all the memories.

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Rob Zombie presents The Legend of Bigfoot

Ohio is known for many monsters, ghosts and beasts, and this is a great thing for a person like me who loves everything about the unknown and Cryptozoology. For those who don’t know what Cryptozoology is, Webster Dictionary has this as its meaning: ” the study of and search for animals and especially legendary animals (as Sasquatch) usually in order to evaluate the possibility of their existence”. From this form of study, one of my favorites is Sasquatch,better known as Bigfoot, and Ohio has had its share of Bigfoot sightings! So in this update we are going to take a look at IDW’s 4 issue miniseries, Bigfoot! This series is written by shock rocker and horror filmmaker Rob Zombie and Steve Niles, the man behind comic series 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. Now I know what your thinking: Matt this is not a classic Star or Marvel Comic, or even a old DC issue, and it’s not even that old only coming out in 2005.  I understand that it breaks the mold that has been set but I figured since this is a blog about my youth and fun stories, then why not take a look at Bigfoot!

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Bigfoot has been around since time has been recorded, and many Native American tribes have spoke of a giant hairy man that lived in the woods.  Even outside of the USA sightings and records have been documented about the appearance of this creature. What is always reported alongside this unknown creature is large foot prints, a foul oder, howls and yells and even UFO’s in some cases.The most famous case that even got us quick video footage of the creature is the infamous Patterson Film.  On October 20th 1967 Roger Patterson (an author) and his friend Robert Gimlin were horseback riding in Bluff Creek when by a creek bed they spotted a Bigfoot. The creature was none combative and quickly retreated into the woods but not before Patterson was able to get his camera and take some footage of the creature. The footage was a media hit and gained Patterson and Gimlin fame among believers, but many people thought the story and film to be a hoax due to the holes in the friends’ story. Patterson died in 1972 of cancer but held strong that his footage is real.  Gimlin, who is still alive and tours Bigfoot conventions as well, still holds to the story. But the debate remains to this day on whether or not this footage is fact of fiction.  I happen to think that it’s very possible that this is in fact footage of a Bigfoot!

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But with anything that is unproved without a shadow of doubt, there are hoaxes and one of the most recent ones came in 2008 when Rick Dyer and Matthew Whitton claimed that they found a dead Bigfoot in the woods of Georgia and had the body frozen in a freezer. This discovery lead the two men to press conferences on many major news outlets that included CNN and BBC, and gained them $50,000 from a Bigfoot research team for the body. But when the body was dropped off and thawed it was shown that the frozen Bigfoot was in fact a suit stuffed complete with roadkill animal guts.  The suit was purchased from The Horror Dome, a Halloween online super store. Dyer and Whitton got in trouble for being pranksters and this sparked a rash of more hoaxes. One funny thing that happened after this event was on EBAY the Bigfoot Costume’s head became up for auction inside a cooler.  When this story first broke that a Bigfoot body had been found, I was working for a used media store called Buy Backs, and I kept telling my store manager that they found him.  He had also seen the picture and thought it looked fake from the first moment, but it became our inside joke as every morning I kept saying that we finally got him. While this was a hoax, it still was a fun time that got my blood pumping. 

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One of Ohio’s most well known Bigfoot is The Ohio Grassman who is seen mostly in Kenmore.  He is said to be 7 to 9 feet tall and to have huge feet and a more human face. Many claim he is a Bigfoot, while others try to say it’s just a tall homeless human.  But whatever it is, it’s been known to attack people in the wooded areas. The History Channel had a show called Monster Quest, and in 2008 they tried to see if this thing was real.  By the end of the show they could not prove or disprove that the creature was real. Another famous Bigfoot around here is The White Eyed Bigfoot, who in Eaton Ohio in 1977 chased some kids around a bridge and through a open field, scaring the boys half to death. Josh Weinberg and I have traveled to this location in 2003-2005 and looked for this Bigfoot.  We found no footprints or any other evidence that the creature was still around. The area was very quiet, and the site would have been a perfect place for a Bigfoot to hideout. That’s another great thing, besides Josh I have many other friends that use to love to go monster/ghost hunting with me that included my cousin Stephen Alexander, Jason Gilmore, Andrea Seay, Misty Altick, Matt Hoffman, Dave Wean and Kevin Kinsley. And while most of the time we would not find anything, it was the times we did and the fun we had that made those moments outstanding. For season two of Terrifying Tales of The Macabre Baron Von Porkchop alongside Iris and Retina (of the show Mondo Smash A-Go-Go) go on the hunt for Eaton’s White Eyed Bigfoot.

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Besides tabloid magazines, Bigfoot has also made his way into film and television and here are some of the creature’s most known appearances. In 1976, a Bionic Bigfoot (played by WWF Wrestler Andre The Giant) was featured on an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man.  This episode proved to be one of the most popular in the TV series run. In 1977, a kids Saturday morning program called Bigfoot and Wildboy amazed the youth for a short amount of time. 1976 showed a slow-paced semi documentary film called Legend of Bigfoot. In 1987, a family film called Harry and the Hendersons showed a gentle Bigfoot and sparked a new love for the creature, especially in kids. And most recently Jack Links Beef Jerky runs ads about messing around with the beast and pulling pranks on it. Not to mention many more films that have been made about the creature and other ones just like it. 

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One other quick thing I want to mention before we get into the review for IDW’s Bigfoot series is that we have talked about spottings, hoaxes, local legends, film and TV but let’s talk about toys and merchandise! Yes, if Bigfoot could make money on his likeness, it would be a very rich creature. Bigfoot has had t-shirts, stuffed toys, action figures, board games, video games, lawn statues, stamps, beer, Halloween masks and costumes, books, comics, a monster truck named after him and so much more based on him. Some of the best stuff include the Monster In My Pocket Bigfoot figure, The Bionic Bigfoot action figure, the Bigfoot rubber stamp footed action figure, the Milton Bradley Board Game and the best is Mezco’s figure that came in a line alongside The Jersey Devil, Mothman and the Lochness Monster!

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So now that we have some quick facts about this famed creature, let’s take a look at a comic series that peeked my interest back in 2005 when they were released.  This makes only my second time reading this mini series since it came out so I am hyped to see what I think of it this many years removed from its first run. Remember I grade these comics on a 1-4 star ratting, so with that let’s get to the reviews!

Bigfoot 1Bigfoot # 1  ***
Released in 2005   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   #1 of 4

It’s 1973 at Happy Trails Camp Ground, and Billy Fuller is a 9 year old boy on his way to a fun time with his mom and dad. At night Billy is hearing weird noises that are filling the night air around their cabin.  Scared by this he goes to his Dad, and the two make plans to go fishing early the next morning.  As Billy goes to bed his mother and father decide to mess around, but this fun time is cut short as a Bigfoot busts in and attacks the couple.  In the fight the father is able to take out on of the beast’s eyes as Billy and his pet dog enter and the dog goes on the attack. The fight leaves his father and dog dead, and his mother is dragged off by the creature. When Billy is found the next morning he is in shock, and the cops walk into a bloodbath that they claim is nothing more then a bear attack. But one cop seems to know it’s something more. The issue ends with Billy waking up years later and older having a nightmare about his mother being raped and Bigfoot being his new father!

This is a fun take on the Bigfoot legend and turns what is suppose to be a gentle beast into a blood thirsty, perverted meat eating killing machine.  This first issue is a nice way to build the story and has main character Billy being 9 years old and shows the event that has tormented him throughout his life. The pace is very quick, and in fact this seems like a very quick read (only 23 pages) and goes for broke when in the first few pages Bigfoot slaughters a deer. The Bigfoot looks great and scaring up his eye helps add a more menacing look to an already large intimidating beast. This issue also keeps me wondering what is going to happen in issue 2, and makes me want to ask questions like was Billy’s mom ever found and if not is she still alive? What does the cop know that he’s not telling? And what is Billy going to do now? All these questions make for a comic that has captured my imagination. The art for Bigfoot is great but the humans are just too “modern” and strange looking for my taste.  Many times they look like the have been hit by Joker’s laughing gas. The cover is a nice take on the old Patterson Bigfoot footage and that’s pretty kick ass in my book. Great first issue to kick off this limited series that makes me look forward to re-reading issue 2. 

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Bigfoot # 2  ***
Released in 2005   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   #2 of 4

It’s now 2004, and a man is driving down the road when a 900 pound bear’s carcass is thrown at his moving car crushing him.  When the cops arrive they find that the man’s body is missing. Billy is now a man who has some major issues and is still haunted by the image of Bigfoot making him want to buy a big shotgun. Meanwhile in the woods Bigfoot has attacked two young girls and a pack of boys who are riding four wheelers and goes ballistic and blood thirsty on them, leaving only one girl alive. It’s nighttime as Billy packs up what he needs and leaves his wife and son behind to head back to Happy Trails Camp Ground.

Issue two is more sizzle than steak as most of the issue is spent on Bigfoot attacks, and I am okay with this! While Billy is still the focus and it,s shown that he is a man with lots of issues, he gets the nerve to take a stand and go after the one thing that scares him. I like where this is leading as Billy is now more focused and wants to hunt his tormenter. The cop is now a sheriff and we’re shown that he is going to try and cover up the bear crash. Bigfoot in this issue is one mean S.O.B who spends most his time brutally killing innocent people.  He is also shown now to be super fast as he runs and catches up to a four wheeler and gives the driver the best kill of the issue as he pounds the injured kid into the ground and splats him like a grape. The plot of this one is a nice follow up to the first issue and still in the process builds a little more to the story that we are reading to unfold. Great cheesy horror film style plot, blood and gore, decent art and a wicked cover makes issue two a fun time.  Let’s see if issue 3 keeps this pace up. 

Bigfoot 3

Bigfoot # 3  **1/2
Released in 2005   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   #3 of 4

Hicks (the cop from issues 1-2) is in the woods and finds a rotten body of a human as a female deputy comes for him to tell him they captured a man with many guns in the woods, and that man is Billy Fuller.  Hicks leaves the deputy there as Bigfoot comes calling and eats her face off.  In a jail cell Billy speaks to Hicks about his parents’ death and why it was covered up.  Hicks opens up to Billy and tells him about when he was a young boy he also had a run in with Bigfoot that left him scared of the creature in the woods. Billy tells Hicks that they both need to face the creature and kill it once and for all. As Bigfoot attacks a family’s camper, Billy and Hicks are preparing for the ultimate hunt.

This issue slows down a bit and while still good seems to be a little more filler than the last two issues. This issue’s main focus is Hicks and his fear of the beast and his patching things up with Billy who he made to look like a liar so many years ago. In this issue Billy seems to be the button pusher who wants to get help on his hunt from a man who he feels owes him. Bigfoot has only two kills in this one, the best being when he eats the female deputy’s face! This issue keeps the story going but is a little less impactful as the past issues, making this one an average issue that seems to be more about keeping the story going to make it to the four issue mini series deadline. Not much much more to say about this issue: okay plot, good art, eye catching cover and Bigfoot going ape shit once more sums up this issue that made the series loose a little steam.  Let’s see how the final issue plays out, shall we?

Bigfoot 4

Bigfoot # 4  **
Released in 2005   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   #4 of 4

Billy and Hicks alongside a rookie deputy go out into the woods to find the missing deputy and Bigfoot, and they don’t have to wait long as Bigfoot attacks them knocking Hicks off a cliff and sending the rookie running for his life.  Billy must face the beast one on one and hits the creature with some major blows as the beast takes a shotgun blast to the back and a knife to his skull but this seems to not even slow down the Bigfoot! During the battle Billy falls down a hole and lands in a cave were he finds that the Bigfoot and a mate and kids.  Billy hides in a small section of the cave as Bigfoot comes to his family’s aid and tries to reach the human to protect and kill. Billy uses his flashlight and shotgun shells to make a bomb that blows the cave up, and then bashes Bigfoot’s brains in with a rock and knocking its body off the cliff. In the end Billy finds Hicks who is still alive and suspended from trees, and the nightmare has ended for them both. While in the cave a baby Bigfoot is under some rocks as a adult Bigfoot hands remove it.

This issue seems so rushed, and while the fight between Billy and Bigfoot is cool, it just seems very thrown together and not as epic as what you would hope for and what was built up to be. The whole build up is well done, and when they finally get out to the woods two out of the three characters are not used and not even killed off, and given this Bigfoot’s track record of murder I don’t see how Billy really stood a chance. The issue is more fighting action with the art being bigger, showing, in my opinion, that they ran out of story line and used the bigger art to take up pages. I do like the fact the Bigfoot took a shotgun blast and a knife to the skull and still came after his target showing that this creature was a true fighter and protector. A neat aspect of the issue is the Bigfoot family members who are in a cave that is scattered with human bones showing that when it killed, it brought home the human meat to feed its family. But over all this is a lackluster way to end this 4 issue mini series and for me was a huge letdown. The cover art on this one is also pretty well done.

This series started out with a bang and looked as if it was going to be a fun solid Bigfoot horror book that was done in the same vein as “Night of the Demon,” an old 1980 movie where Bigfoot goes around murdering people. The character build up is well done in the first three issues and let’s you a little inside the mind of Billy and even Sheriff Hicks, two men that live in fear of the one eyed Bigfoot. One thing I did notice as well is issue 1 seemed to pull no punched with the blood and gore while the rest seemed to have blood and gore, just not so in your face with it. The storyline is fun but a little weak for four issues; this could have been easily wrapped up in 2 or 3 at the most, in my opinion showing that they made this last 4 for the sake of a contract or money. The art is hit and miss with me.  Bigfoot looks great, but the people look like big mouth freaks who have been zapped with Joker’s laughing gas! I am sure that one of the main reasons I have a soft spot for this comic series is the fact I am a Bigfoot fan, but it’s one I will sum up like this: it starts with a bang and goes down with a mere yell. 

BIGFOOT!Bigfoot crashFoot woman

Oh, I also wanted to share with you this picture of me with some friends at a Halloween party, and yes, I am the one dressed as Bigfoot! These guys are also my co-workers and are all around kick ass people. I also dressed up as Bigfoot for an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, and both times dressing up as the creature I had a blast!

Me as Bigfoot

Well let’s take a look at 2001’s One Second Too Late and its 2007 sequel Two Seconds Too Late more films put out/made for Independent B Movie! As I have stated, Josh Weinberg was in a class with my brother Bryan taught by Andy Copp and one of the classes project was to make a short film.  While my brother made the trippy stop motion film “Nightmare,” Josh Weinberg set out to make a slasher film that followed a crazed man who escapes from an asylum and kills as a detective tracks him.  He set out to make that film but really made a film about a young man who’s dad is a drunk and beats and shoves him down stairs, and the aftermath of this warps the direction of the film. Weinberg armed with a VHS camera and tripod came over for his first day of the film shoot and cast himself as the troubled young man also named Josh and cast me as his best friend.  We shot this at 10 Wilmington Place, a retirement home as we chatted in the car about him needing to move out of his father’s house, and Josh’s worries of doing so. The first day of filming was a breeze and took no time to get right. The second day of filming was more of a pain as my brother and I got into a huge argument before Weinberg came over, making me not help on most of the shoot and sit in my room playing Baseball Stars on the NES.  My brother was casted as the Drunken Father, and the tripod was used as the cameraman as Josh and Bryan acted out this emotional look at child abuse that lead to Josh being pushed down stairs or better yet running down stairs breaking my parents banister and having one of the worst “stunts” in our company’s history. The fall leads the Josh character into a nightmare world of murder and suicide that ends with a shockingly. From there Josh went home and shot some scenes of his own that involved suicide. The film’s camera was off center in shots making crotches and stuff the center of shots, but some how this worked! Weinberg during editing left the chroma key effect on given the finished project a dirty yet some how appropriate look. The film played in Copp’s class and a film class Josh was also taking and earned him a good grade in both classes. This film and Werewolf of Ohio were written about in the Dayton Impact Weekly.  While the rest of Independent B Movie snubbed the film, I for one think Weinberg did a great job.  Sadly this is the least selling movie on VHS and DVD. 

One Second DVD

A few years later Weinberg started a sequel to his film that had a group of kids being haunted by the Ghost of Josh, but after only two days of filming the film was canceled. But in 2004, Weinberg started it up again, and this time it followed his best friend (once more played by me) and his girlfriend (played by my then girlfriend Misty Altick) trying to hunt down and find Josh who has been missing, while the drunken father tried to throw them off the track. The film’s shooting was plagued with setbacks and took years to get finished, and after it wrapped, Andy Copp edited and did the music score for the film that was released quietly on DVD with the original. While these films might not be huge sellers, they still have a place in the history of Independent B Movie and mark the first two films Josh Weinberg directed.

Two Sec 1Two Sec 2

This is the most violent comic series we have looked at so far and won’t be the last.  One of the things that I loved in my youth and to this day is horror films and with more horror film-inspired comics out there then I can shake a stick at, look for every once in a while a update about them.  So be prepared for Halloween, Night Breed, Werewolf, A Nightmare on Elm Street and so many more! We also took a quick look at Josh Weinberg’s shot on video classic. And with that let’s get back to basics and take a look at another great series from Marvel Comics based on a cartoon and toy line on the first mutated super hero from New Jersey and a rag tag team of freaks.  This means I could only be talking about The Toxic Crusaders! Thanks to Mavericks Cards and Comics for this review who stocked this title in 2005 and put every issue into my pull file. See you next blog entry for a toxic good time.

Toxic Crusaders Logo