YARS’ Attacks

Welcome back to the Rotten Ink Arcade.  For our second update of 2016, we are going to take a look at Yars’ Revenge, the super popular game from the early 80’s created by Atari! Like most kids of the 80’s and 90’s, I loved to go to the arcade and hit the toy stores and video game stores, playing video games and shopping for the next pixel quest I could embark on. One of my favorite video game stores was Funcoland, a cool mall chain store that used to sell regular Nintendo games for dirt cheap. I can remember me and my friend Jason Gilmore going to the mall just for this store and leaving with handfuls of NES games as well as Playstation ones. It’s such a shame that Funcoland was bought out by Game Stop (as was EB Games) who closed all the locations and became one of the biggest soulless video game stores in history, that overcharges for used games and drives up the prices on games to warp the market. I can also remember for years going to the arcade in the Dayton Mall with my brother Bryan and playing all types of games from WWE Wrestlefest to Guns n Roses Pinball and having a heck of good time a our arcade of choice, Crazy Cats, by this time sadly had been put out of business by the fine folks who run Kettering, Ohio who gave that poor arcade a hell of a time cause they didn’t want teenagers hanging out in front of Krogers who shared the strip mall with them. Nowadays arcades are making a comeback here in the Dayton area with Hole In The Wall bar, Retro-Media Arcade and Scene 75 to name a few of those popping up and sharing the digital arcade love. Game Swap in Kettering also has its fair share of arcades, and I am proud to say that I spearheaded that and even in my own little way helped bring this popular style of gaming back to the area. Game Swap has many different machines up for play like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong Jr., Popeye, Captain America and The Avengers, Super Contra, Hydra, Centipede, Superman, Marvel Superheroes and so many others! Sometimes, if I get to Game Swap early and get things done and have a pocket full of quarters, I will play of few of the arcade machines before open,  Most of the time I play Superman or Street Fighter II Championship Edition. I miss the days of the classic arcades but thanks to places like Game Swap and Arcade Legacy, the retro arcade will live on for a new generation of gamers to play. Below are some of the arcades that are at Game Swap, so check out the selection and connect with your inner gamer.

Game Swap Arcade Machines

In 1982, Howard Scott Warshaw created a video game for the Atari 2600 that was the console’s top selling original title for the whole run of the 2600, and this game was called Yars’ Revenge. The game started as a licensed port of a game called Star Castle, and after so many changes to the code, it took on a life of its own as Warshaw ended up just making a new game he called Yars Revenge! One video game urban legend says that Warshaw named the game’s home planet Razak basing it around the C.E.O. of Atari, Ray Kassar’s, name and that he did so to see who would be a snitch and rat him out to he boss! The game’s plot has you playing a Yar who must get past a force field and pin point the base of your enemy who must be killed by a giant cannon. The first time I played Yars’ Revenge was at Bard Burn’s house, a neighbor who lived across the street. I can remember being very bad at the game but trying like hell to win. When I was an early teenager, I can remember playing the game again at my Grandma & Grandpa Brassfield’s house and doing a little better while my cousin Nathan watched me play. Now as an adult and thanks to Game Swap, I got the game as well as an Atari 2600 and have relived playing the game many times. When it came out, the game was a hit with fans but many critics were not too kind to it calling is boring and comparing it to a sleeping pill! But love it or hate it, Yars’ Revenge has made it’s mark on the world of Video Games and remains a classic title from the days of cart games.

Yars Revenge screen 1Yars_Revenge_coveryars_revenge screen 2

Besides the Atari 2600 video game and Warner Brothers promo comic, some other merchandise was made around Yars that includes a record that had a radio drama based around the game as well as the game’s “theme” song! A lunch box was made that showcased Yars alongside Missile Command and Warlord among others. Also a Ben Cooper Halloween costume was made allowing kids to become a Yar themselves. Over the years ports, remakes and reboots have been made for consoles like Game Boy Advance, Atari Flashback and Xbox 360. I have even heard stories of fans creating their own Yars arcade machine! So while Yars’ Revenge might not be a household name for modern gamers and also might be forgotten and not yet discovered by others, one cannot downplay its impact on the world of home console gaming as it sparked some cool merchandise.

Yars Revenge VinylYars Revenge Halloween CostumeAtari Lunchbox

Back in the 1960’s, America and Russia had a race to see who could send a human to space and bring them back alive to share what they saw and to have bragging rights on what nation was the first to do so. Many failed attempts were made that cost the nations money, time, machines, lives and lots of poor primates were lost in the unsuccessful attempts. Also in the 1960’s, amateur radios were very popular and many people spent time trying to pick up the messages used by both sides.  The Judica-Cordiglia brothers from Italy did just that on the Russian side and captured the last broadcasts from many of the poor souls who were sent into space and never returned. They heard many sad broadcasts from astronauts who sent out SOS signals as they drifted out into deep space, ones running out of oxygen and suffocating.  It’s sad to think about these poor people who died in a space race between two nations who had a beef with each other. The one audio broadcast that really got to me was recorded in 1963 and was the voice of a female Russian astronaut who was in a shuttle heading back to Earth as it’s catching fire and breaking apart in the atmosphere and she is calling for help and talking about seeing fire and how hot she is inside her metal death prison. Her words are in Russian but her panic frantic tone of voice lets you hear the fear in her voice and makes me sad to think how scary and terrible her last moments alive were. I put myself in her place and a shiver went up my spine as you think about the feeling of being alone and helpless and knowing that your fate was moments away. I should also share that while many people think this recording is real, it does have its detractors who claim that the woman’s voice clearly has an Italian accent and that the brothers hired a woman to make the recording to keep up the local and national fame they got from sharing these broadcasts with the news. I for one don’t know if this recording is a fake or not and will end it by saying if it was real I hope this poor woman’s soul has found rest.

Old School Radio

Moving away from depressing radio use, let’s take a look at a CD that a friend picked for me to listen to. My friend Garrison Kane is a fan of Nintendo and collects all types of products from the games to mini figures based on their characters.  With this update being about a video game, I figured that this would be a good time to listen to a CD that he picked for me to listen to from his favorite band and his favorite album by them, that’s Asia with their 1982 self title release. The first song of this disc was Heat of the Moment, the only song I really knew from the band as it is played on local soft rock radio stations to this day.  This was a nice way to start this listen to this album as this song is pop rock fun with a hint of bands like Alan Parsons Project and Toto. What follows for the next eight tracks is soft rock goodness that is sure to please the ears of those who like catching lyrics and smooth melodies of rock stars who know what they are doing when playing their instrument of choice. The music to the song Time Again is really good and was caught in my mind after hearing it.  The lyrics are okay though a little cheesy, but I would say that this is one of my favorite songs off the CD alongside Sole Survivor, Heat Of The Moment and Cutting It Fine.  To be honest, none of the songs on this one are bad, and I really enjoyed listening to it while I wrote this blog as I felt it was great background music that made focusing a lot easier than having a heavier band’s CD on. I should also say that some songs like Wildest Dreams have messages about war and the way TV covers such events, or at least that’s what I got out of the song! Steve Howe is a very solid guitarist, and I find that his work on these tracks holds up, as does the piano work of Geoff Downes. I will say Garrison picked a really good CD for me to listen to as I enjoyed almost all the tracks and will listen to this one again for sure.

Garrison Andrew Kane aka Dr GakmanAsia - Asia CDAsia

I wonder if Atari in 1982 ever thought about putting music by Asia in one of their games or at the least making a game based around them like they did with Journey in 82.  Wait, Yars’ Revenge, Asia’s self titled album and the video game Journey Escape all came out in 1982…what a year that must have been! Well we are at the point of the update where we will be taking a look at the comic book based on the subject, and I must thank a customer from Game Swap Kettering for giving me this comic to review.  That was super cool of him, and this update is for you, my good sir! I want to remind you readers that I grade these issues 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 plug in our Atari 2600, grab a trusty joystick and see what Warner Brothers has in store for us with this promo comic based around Yars’ Revenge!

Yars Revenge 1 comic

Yars’ Revenge # 1   **1/2
Released in 1982     Cover Price Free     Warner Brothers     #1 of 1

A new Yar recruit enters the office of his commander who decides to give him a history lesson of why they are at war and who they really are. You see their race comes from normal houseflies that hitched a ride on a spacecraft that later crashes in the Razak solar system where those houseflies mutated into Yars. Now this young recruit gets his mission to attack their enemies, The Qotile, and try to bring down their force field so that they can blast them with a Zorlon Cannon and take back their lost land and live peaceful lives once more. It ends with the Commander Yar hoping that this war will come to an end soon and no more lives of his people will be lost.

This war in a galaxy far, far away was not fought by Luke Skywalker or even Captain James T. Kirk and his crew but was fought by a race of super flys called Yars. The plot of this 9 page comic is super simple and is just the plot of the video game for the Atari 2600 as we find out that the Yars, who are mutated Earth houseflies, are at war with an unknown race called the Qotile who blew up one of their planets as well as made a base near it to keep attacking the Yars. The issue ends how the game begins and has you going out into space and trying to fight their base and its force field. The Yars who are this the comic’s main characters seem like a peaceful race until they are pushed to fight, and when they are pushed they put on metal armor and blow stuff up with the help of their massive cannon. The humans, who have a cameo at in the issue, seem clueless and are just fill-ins to show how houseflies made it into space. The Qotile who are faceless and are not seen at all seem like a bunch of buttheads who love war and destruction and seem to be the bullies of that galaxy! I really wish more modern game companies would get behind giving the player a comic based on the game they had just bought.  I mean imagine getting a comic book based on the newest Assassin’s Creed game or one for horror games like Until Dawn or Summer Camp! While comics based on video games are being made, they are full size issues that pack a $3.99 or $4.99 cover price and are coming out via companies IDW and Dark Horse.  While these are fantastic comic series with top notch stories, they are not a free promo comic inside the video game you just bought as I feel most modern game companies are pushing for giving the buyer less with their digital only agenda. The cover for this comic is classic and is taken from the box art for the game.  The inside art and color is fantastic and is done by the team of Frank Cirocco, Ray Garst and Hiro Kimura who make this little mini comic shine for what it’s suppose to do and that’s teach the player the back story of the game. Over all to sum it up, I would say worth a read for fans of the game.

Yars Comic Art

Atari giving out promo comics might be a thing of the past as are video game companies giving away any cool promo stuff with the game you bought without getting a more expensive edition that they can charge you for.  But while things always change, it’s the excitement of what the future holds that keeps this video game player, music listener, comic reader, movie watcher and Horror Host maker & fan hyped for the unknowns of those creative media worlds. Thanks for reading this quick little update as our next update will be about Marvel Comic character Black Goliath! So make sure to come back for that one so until then make sure to play a video game, read a comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host!

Black Goliath logo

The Undead Panic Beats Of Alaric de Marnac!

It’s October, the time of the year when the wind blows cold and a chill is in the air.  For me, this month belongs to Halloween, horror films, horror hosts and of course one good scare. Being scared is thrilling and gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing.  I can remember one time when I was a teenager, my friend Kevin and I went to a local cemetery late at night during October.  The wind was blowing, and it was very chilly as we were walking around we were talking about film ideas and even exchanging ghost stories.  The cemetery was pitch black as we walked deeper in with ideas of vampire and werewolf films echoing among the tombstones. As we reached the center, a loud clang was heard and it sounded like metal hitting metal.  I was startled, and as I turned around to ask Kevin what that noise was, I saw a shadow and a dust cloud as he was so scared he was running at full speed back to the car.  Even though I figured out it was just the flag pole making the noise in the wind, he wanted to leave. This experience also made me think of the old ghost story of the woman who used the letter opener to stab the ground in the graveyard and by accident pinned her own dress to the ground.  She became so scared that an undead force had her, she died of fright! And that brings me to this update based on the Paul Naschy film Panic Beats that is about fear, revenge and a curse and also brings up the question, could someone die from fear? So hopefully you have nerves of steel as we take a look at Panic Beats, fear and other spooky and weird things on this October update!Fear of Death

Fear is defined as “to be afraid of (something or someone), to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant) and to be afraid and worried” by Webster, and I think that at some time in our life we have all tasted fear in some way or another.  Whether it’s a fear of animals or even death itself, fear has placed its cold grip on us all. When I was a youngster, being a total dumb kid and on a dare from friend Brad Burns, I poked a nest of hornets with a baseball bat and paid the price as they chased me across the street to my home stinging and biting me all the way! Needless to say, for many years after I had a very strong dislike for bees, wasps and hornets as when they would fly at me the fear of being stung would creep into my brain.  Of course now as an adult I have come to peace with them as I realized I was the butthead in that attack and was the one who provoked that stinging frenzy. Growing up, my mom was afraid of dogs and pigs as she grew up around them and saw the mean side of them.  My brother Bryan was scared of a ventriloquist dummy named Willy Talk when he was younger,  My cousin Stephen was scared of dolls like Chucky.  My friend Jason Young feared death for a short while as we all do, and my girlfriend Juliet was scared of the thought of her home catching fire and this gave her some sleepless nights for sure.  So as you can see, fear has even gotten to those close to me! So what did or do you fear?

mean hornet

This all makes me wonder if anyone has 100% truly died of fear as we have all heard the terms “you scared me to death” and “scared to death,” and the answer is yes! You see many people have died from fear during crimes, earthquakes and other natural disasters people’s hearts have stopped from fear and being overly charged with it! You can also die from any major emotional rush like even cheering for your favorite sport teams or being so hyped playing a video game! While this is not super common, it can happen and makes one wonder has anyone every been scared to death by a Halloween prank? So I did some deep searching on the web to try and find a case, and to my shock I could not.  I found cases where pranks on Halloween went wrong and led to the death of someone like accidental hangings and such and uncovered cases of people who died of fear as they were going to be executed via firing squad, but nothing solid to say someone died of fear from a prank pulled on Halloween. But for all you pranksters out there who like to pull a good rib on Halloween as well as you sports fans cheering for your favorite team, think twice before you do so because who knows, a sudden death might await you!

2 skulls scared to death

I can recount one time in the fall that I got a cold shiver up my spine while at a local cemetery called Beavertown Cemetery in Kettering.  You see Josh Weinberg and I were in the cemetery scouting it out for the purpose of maybe using it for a zombie flick I had written called “Stairway to Heaven” that followed a small town during a zombie outbreak.  We had shot some test footage at a cemetery in Beavercreek and liked what we saw but wanted to find an alternative just in case as a road was really close to that one and we wanted more of a quiet location like the Kettering one. I knew Beavertown Cemetery well as it had been the location for press pictures for my film Werewolf of Ohio 2 and was a place I use to take my girlfriend Misty to make out so. As we were wandering around, I was near a tombstone that was as tall as me as I stand 6 ‘ 2 “ and the name I saw was Sarah Houston.  As I got closer, I heard a knock. I was taken back as the knock sounded as if it was coming from the tombstone itself! I called for Josh who came over and as well heard the knocking that was coming about 15-20 seconds apart.  We stood around for a few minutes listening to the knocks and even returned the knocks on the tombstone, but as quickly and as mysteriously as they started, the knocking stopped. Josh and I tried our best to figure out what the knocking noise was as I am sure it was not a spirit or at least I don’t think it was! But the pure emotion of that whole situation was something amazing as it sent shivers down my spine but also made me feel alive and full of wonder. That grave and that experience even made me write a short film script called Sarah’s Grave about a man who lost his girlfriend in a car wreck and by a miracle she is able to come back to him for one day before having to return to her eternal slumber. It’s been many years since I went back to visit that grave and from what I have heard some scum bag Kettering d-bags decided it would be fun to tip over and break tombstones, and it appears as if Sarah’s grave was one of these buttheads targets. I am by no means saying that the knocking was that of the undead, but I am also not 100% ruling it out all I can really say is that it was a fun experience that made that year’s Halloween a little more spooky and added to the season for sure. I should also note that the knocking only happened that one time, and Josh and I went back several times after at all times of the day and never heard it again. Below is a picture we took of Sarah’s Grave as it appeared in 1999, the year of the knocking.Sarahs Grave

A murder took place on August 1st 2015 at 5:46 am in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one that shocked not only the world but also the internet as the lovable hitchhiking robot named hitchBOT was decapitated, arms dismembered and left like trash on the side of the road. A video of the attack was posted, but many think it was a hoax to gain hits to the website that posted it.  But one thing is for sure, someone brutally killed that poor little robot and even stole all the wires from his body and it looks like he might be beyond repair. For those who don’t know, hitchBOT was made by Canadian team David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller, and was a robot with a plastic beer bucket body, pool noodle arms & legs with gloves and boots on, with a cake saver head with a display screen face that smiled and talked to those who were nice enough to give him a ride or even pass him by on his journey. On his adventures he made it across Canada, parts of Germany as well as Europe! He went to weddings, baseball games, comic conventions and landmarks all the while documenting it via his website and Instagram account.  In other words, he was enjoying the interaction with strangers. It’s clear as day that whomever killed hitchBOT was a real lowlife scum bag kind of like the people who broke tombstones in Beavertown Cemetery and destroyed it because they didn’t understand him and probably wanted to steal his wiring to sale for scrap.  Total scummy and is sad that one/several lowlifes did this and gave America a bad name as it looks as if we have to destroy things that are here for fun. I hope that someday the freak(s) who did this is found so at least we can get an answer to why hitchBOT was killed and see if they have any remorse for what they have done.  Who knows if the poor little hitchBOT will be repaired and continue his journey as only time will tell. All silliness aside, it does really stink that hitchBOT was destroyed as I would have loved to have taken him around Ohio to visit Waynesville, Frankenstein’s Tower, Fifth Third Field, Game Swap Kettering, King’s Island and of course have him in a episode of Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre with Baron Von Porkchop! Here is to you hitchBOT, may your journey to the robot other world be a peaceful one, and to your creators, I am sorry that he meet his fate this way in our great country. Below are some pics of hitchBOT, but be warned, one is of his murder scene.

hitchBOT 1hitchBOT deadhitchBOT 2

But let’s move away from knocking tombstones and murdered robots and talk about something wicked that’s coming your way via your local comic shop! As I am sure you readers know, I am a huge fan of horror comics as well as independent horror films, and I am super hyped for a new comic mini series that’s in the works called We Kill The Dead that combines them together for what’s for sure to be a bloody good read. The mastermind behind this series is John Lepper, who also runs a horror website called The Blood Shed and grew up watching slasher flicks and became hooked when his dad showed him Halloween when he was a teen, with art done by Bryan Revell. The series will follow Joanna, a young woman who joins an elite group of soldiers who go after unstoppable killers called Supernatural Special Tactics Bureau lead by Nathan Scrimm who are on the trail of a resurrected Jack The Ripper and his undead slasher army! Sounds like lots of fun right? Well the most kick-ass part about this series will be that it will feature cameos from slashers from independent horror films! You will see the likes of Thorn from Legacy of Thorn, The Dollman from Methodic, Gurdy The Clown from 100 Tears, Porkchop from Porkchop, The Black Knight from Dead of Knight, The Bowling Bag Killer from Gutterballs, Billy from Billy Club, Dorchester Stewart from Crinoline Head, Bonesetter from The Bonesetter, Jonah from Jonah Lives!, Verden Fell from Frightworld, Jack-O from Jack-O, Stitches The Clown from Stitches, Blood Widow from Blood Widow, Mary Hatchet from Blood Night The Legend of Mary Hatchet, Charlie from High Beams: The Break In, Jimmy Fisher from Evil Night, and I am proud to say my own low budget slasher The Sadness will be slashing his way into the action! Plus he has one huge name he can not announce yet and who knows if more will be added! I am really proud to say that I helped with this comic’s Kickstarter and am looking forward to reading the issue and seeing not only The Sadness as well as the other slashers but also myself! You see I am going to be a member of the Supernatural Special Tactics Bureau as I am super hyped to have chosen that perk and can’t wait for you all to see what slasher waits me in combat. I already know, but I’m not telling as once this series is done we will have a major update about it. When the comic is done make sure to ask your local comic shops to contact The Blood Shed website and order some for you and fellow shoppers. The other thing that I can’t wait for is to see what other twisted horror comic tales are coming out via Lepper’s mind as I am sure they will be amazing. Plus it’s nice to see a new horror comic rise to take the place of the fallen companies like Fangoria Comics, Dead Dog Comics and Northstar Comics and give us fans series and issues to look forward to. Once I get the physical copies of We Kill The Dead, I will be sure to deliver an update to all my friends and readers here at Rotten Ink.

Jimmy Fisher Evil Nightwe-kill-the-dead-concept-artThe Sadness on swing

But we are now at the main course of this update as it’s time to talk about Panic Beats, a film that was made and starred the legend of Spanish horror Paul Naschy. Panic Beats was released in 1983 and was the brain child of Naschy who wrote, directed and starred in the film as Paul/Alaric de Marnac and it shows that his heart was in this film as it’s a solid chiller that has twists, turns and lots of bloody deaths that keeps the viewer glued to the screen. IMDB has the films write up as being this “The spirit of a deceased knight returns every 100 years to clean a house by graphically murdering the women who are making the life of his descendants unbearable.” and has the rating of 5.8 out of 10. While the film was a hit around the world, it only reached cult status here in America thanks to drive-in and grindhouse theaters. The issue that Panic Beats had here in America is that it was up against many now classic films like Psycho II, Sleepaway Camp, Cujo, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Jaws 3-D, Christine, Twilight Zone The Movie and Amityville 3-D! Not to mention, it was up against many other cult films like Scalps, The Final Terror, Mausoleum, Deadly Spawn and A Blade In The Dark to name a few so sadly it was overlooked and many places didn’t even show it in America until years later. I first saw the film thanks to Mondo Macabro who released it on DVD in 2005 and by this time I had already seen many of Naschy’s werewolf character Waldemar Daninsky film on VHS and was becoming a fan. I ordered Panic Beats on DVD from the Blockbuster Video I was working at and when it came in I quickly bought it and rushed home to watch it, and was blown away from the story as well as the effects used for the deaths. And when I discovered that artist Javier Trujillo who also did the Naschy comic called Return of The Werewolf also did a comic based on Panic Beats, I knew I had to read it!

Panic Beats 1Panic Beats DVDPanic Beats 2

Javier Trujillo, the artist behind this comic, has quickly become one of my favorite modern artist as his style is a blend of a Renaissance painting with a touch of fantasy and when put together, the art is absolutely stunning. Javier is the master of drawing Paul Naschy as every piece of art with his image looks as if you’re viewing a picture of the actor, not to mention the way he draws the female body is much like Art Adams as the both understand the curves of the female forum. His currant project is called Dreams, which can be bought on Amazon for your Kindle, and is a erotic comic. I am also proud to call him a friend. While I have never met the man face to face, thanks to social media I have been able to write to him and pick his brain on art as well as share good talks of physical paper comics vs. digital comics as he is sure to be a pioneer of bringing digital comics to the front with his amazing work. While he at this time has moved away from horror comics, I still will say his work on the Paul Naschy-inspired werwolf comics rank as some of my all time favorite comic series, and I am super hyped to read his Panic Beats comic and review it for you all today. In closing, thanks, Javier for being you and making quality books with top notch art.

Javier Trujillojaviertrujillo

I am a comic book reader and have been since I was a youngster, and while I love classic Marvel Comics, I have always had a soft spot for the independent comic companies as most of the time they delivered the best in the world of horror comics.  I cannot tell you how hyped I am to read and review this comic based on Panic Beats! So before we see if this comic can scare me to death, I should remind you all that I grade these issues 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 I am ready to see what terror awaits me and how close this comic captures the spooky nature of the film so with no more wait let’s take a look at Panic Beats. I want to warn readers this review does contain spoilers for both the comic and the film, so read with caution if you have not seen the film.

Panic Beats comic 1

Panic Beats  # 1 ***1/2
Released in 2015    Cover Price $2.99    Javier Trujillo    #1 of 1

A woman in a panic is running naked through the woods trying her best to get away from a knight who has bloodlust in his eyes. The knight’s name is Alaric, and he murders the woman in cold blood and seems to enjoy every brutal moment. We skip to France, the year 1983, and Paul, a relative of Alaric, has just gotten word that his wife Genevieve has a weak heart and that she needs to go to his old family house in the middle of nowhere to get fresh air and peace and quiet. The maid and her niece Julie are getting the old home ready and talking about the ghost story of Alaric and how he killed his wife and became into the occult and was executed for his crimes.  The two woman exchange thoughts and go about getting the home ready. While on the road Paul and Genevieve run out of gas.  As Paul walks to get gas, some local thieves attack Genevieve and start to rob her but she is saved by Paul who beats them up. Paul and Genevieve make it to the old family house and quickly things turn bad as Julie tells Genevieve of the legend of Alaric and this triggers nightmares, delusions and panic attacks that lead to her death! But we soon find out that Paul used the legend as well as the help of Julie and the two local thieves to drive her into complete fear and give her a heart attack. Paul and Julie team up and kill the maid as well as Paul’s secretary from work and then marry after Genevieve’s funeral. But while Paul and Julie seem like a happy evil couple, it’s not so as Julie electrocutes Paul while he is taking a bath as she only married him for the money he inherited when Genevieve died! But as this twisted tale ends, we soon find that the evil spirit of Alaric is real and he brutally murders Julie for her crime against his ancestor.

This is a fantastic example of a well made top notch comic adaptation of a horror film and once more shows why Javier Trujillo is one of my favorite artists and creators working now! The plot of this comic is filled with twists and turns and surprises that keep the reader wondering what is the true nature of characters and what is real and what’s legend and superstition. Paul is a man who, when we first meet him, you think is a loving husband who wants his ill wife to get better and is trying his best to get her well, but when his true intentions and evil side come out we see he is just a sinister spirited man who cares more about money and power than his wife whom he never loved and only married for her money. The way he uses her weak heart against her and with the help of other scumbags forces her to have a heart attack is stuff of real life nightmares. Genevieve comes off a a very weak and ill person, who believes in her husband and thinks that by going to his old family home this will help her heal, but sadly she dies never knowing her scumbag husband has literally scared her to death. Julie is a young woman who as well has a black heart as she jumps on board with scaring Genevieve to death, and then in return seduces Paul into marrying her so that she can kill him and collect all the money! Julie is the perfect evil woman who uses her looks to draw people in and then uses them to inflect doom on those foolish enough to trust her. The maid, the two hired crooks and the secretary all are great background players and all fit their part well whether it be victim of accomplice. Alaric in life was a crazed madman and even as a spirit lives up to his reputation of bloodlust and murder.  His sinister legend is what’s used to kill Genevieve and in the end his curse is what avenges Paul by brutally killing Julie for her betrayal. The comic is packed with some great blood and gore and while not over done it’s very much effective, as is the use of change of colors when a character is having a nightmare or when panic has set in Trujillo is that master of capturing the mood of these Naschy films and making it come alive in the comics. The comic’s script was based on the film’s script written by Paul Naschy and is a great twisted tale that in my opinion still holds up to this day in the creepy and moody department.  The comic that was originally done in Spanish was translated by Elena Romea Parente, and while it does have some slightly rough patches it does its work. The artwork by Javier Trujillo is top notch art and feels like a painting come alive! The way he draws Paul Naschy really makes it feel like the late actor is alive and well on the screen/pages before your very eyes. This comic captures the magic of the film and delivers a well done horror comic that should not only please the fans of the film but also those comic readers who enjoy a good fright. Check it out as it’s worth every penny, and in closing this was a perfect comic to kick off my October and I can’t wait to see what Naschy inspired comic Javier Trujillo comes out with next! Check out this piece of artwork from the comic below.

Panic Beats Art 1

This fourth update to our countdown to Halloween was a great one and has truly gotten me in the mood to read more and more horror comics and with our next update we will be leaving the world of Paul Naschy and will be heading to the lab of Dr. Jekyll as we cover Comics Classic Illustrated’s adaptation of the novel The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! I hope Panic Beats didn’t scare you too badly and that you do join me back for the next update as I am sure it will as well scare you to the bone! So with the chill in the air and the ghost and goblins of Halloween running loose it the streets, it’s my cue to bid you a fun time reading a horror comic or three, watch a Paul Naschy Horror Film and support your local Horror Host.

jekyll hyde logo

The Baseball Hustle Of Pete Rose

Welcome back to the Rotten Ink Ballpark, a place we will be showcasing a comic book that is based on the legend of Cincinnati’s Mr. Charlie Hustle himself, Pete Rose of Reds’ fame! Baseball is considered America’s favorite past time, and while it’s still a popular sport, it has slipped quite a bit and has never bounced back after the strike that happened in 1994-1995 when players demanded higher pay and the player pay cap, making many fans upset over the greed and the lack of games because of this strike. My dad has been a baseball fan for a long time and enjoyed listening to the games on the radio, watching them on TV, playing the sport at school and with friends as well as collecting the trading cards (that his parents would later throw in the trash – including cards that became worth lots of money).  As he got older got married to my Mom and they had my brother and me, he ended up even taking us to Red games as well as minor league teams like The Columbus Clippers and watched games on TV and even collected Topps cards alongside us. But sadly while it was a fun time bonding with my Dad, I just could not get into baseball and found the game kind of boring and things like comics, horror films and video games more interesting. One thing I will say is that while my Dad is a jock, he never has judged me for not liking sports like he does and even bought me Captain America comics and VHS as well, even horror films like Hellraiser III, when I was a youth. As I’ve gotten older, my Dad and I watch MMA, boxing and NFL Super Bowl together and have a great time. But back to baseball – when I was a kid, my favorite players were Eric Davis and Barry Larkin, and I can remember trading baseball cards with my neighbor Kelly who was a very cool and sweet person, and going to Bills Baseball Den in Waynesville and Bookie Parlor in Kettering to get cards and packs. It’s odd to think that while I barely watched the game, I still spent time and effort collecting cards for sport stars that I knew very little about, but I think that was part of the MLB magic, that it was able to make a strange monster kid like myself want to buy trading cards.  Plus I think it came down to trying to fit in with friends and having a good time opening packs with my dad, mom and brother at the kitchen table. This update is for my Dad and friends like Josh Weinberg, Nick Wiget and all the others who love this classic sport and respect all that Pete Rose has done for it. This update will be about Pete Rose, baseball and my ties to this game.  So get your ball glove ready and your cap on because we are here till the bottom of the 9th and we are ready to hit a Rotten Ink home-run!

Pete Rose Card 1Pete Rose Card 2Pete Rose Card 3

To talk about Pete Rose we must first talk about The Cincinnati Reds, and I am going to do my best to get the facts right and give that ball team the respect it deserves in a quick yet fun manner, so here’s a crash course on the history of the Reds! In 1869 a baseball team called the Cincinnati Red Stockings was the team that would morph into the Reds and did so in 1881 and became a American Association team in 1882.  In 1890, they joined the National League and became a true pro baseball team. The team has won five World Series in the years 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976 and 1990 and have played in many home town ballparks like Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium and Great America Ball Park they currently call home. In 1970-1976 under the manager George “Sparky” Anderson, the team went under the nickname The Big Red Machine and had lots of big name ballplayers on the team the included Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver and Lee May to name a few.  The team won two World Series and it became one of the biggest most popular times for the team in it’s rich history. Another big time for the Reds was in 1990 when they went wire to wire and won the World Series with players like Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Paul O’Neill and the pitching team nicknamed “The Nasty Boys” who were Rob Dibble, Norman Charlton and Randy Myers.  This team was managed by Lou Piniella. The Reds are still going strong in 2015, and while they have made it to the play-offs many times over the past few years, they have not been able to make it to the World Series, but if you ask guys like Josh Weinberg they will tell you that this year is the year they will take it all and if not, the next year or maybe the next year…yeah, you get the point.  Fans of the Reds are very loyal and have tons of respect for their team even if they do lose. So while this team has such a rich and amazing history, this tiny write up is just some of the highlights.  If you want to learn more about The Reds, check out the team’s Wikipedia or read a book based on the ball club. I should also note that the team’s mascot is Mr. Redlegs who is a baseball headed ball player.  For most of his time on the team Mr. Redlegs rocked a mustache, but when I was younger he had none and was a pretty popular mascot at school in Waynesville. Over all while I might not be a big watcher of sports, I can still respect and cheer for our home state teams and hope that sometime very soon The Reds once more become champs!

Mr Redlegs 1Reds LogoMr Redlegs 2

I am by no means an athlete.  When I was younger, I was okay at playing football and basketball, but I could have been the worst of the worst when it came to neighborhood baseball and could have had the worst batting average among my friends! One summer my dad bought us a wiffleball bat and ball.  We would play in the backyard, and it would almost always be me and my brother against our parents in a battle of home-runs hit over the roof of the house; we lost almost all the games. In the neighborhood, we would play baseball at Brad Burns’ or Mike Cessna’s house, and I can remember that being a lot of fun as all the kids from around would come and play, and even Mike’s dog Barney would join in on the fun! At my grandparents’ house I would play ball with my brother Bryan and cousins Nathan, Stephen and Tony.  While some times this was pitching, most of the time it was T-Ball. In school, we played baseball in gym, and I can remember one time we where playing outside and I so wanted to impress the girl I had a crush on my whole tenure in Waynesville and was hit in the head with softball from a pitch thrown by Ryan “The Bull” Jones.  The impact made me blackout for a second and I fell to one knee, but I was lucky and was able to shake it off! I should have probably gone to the nurse after it, and for months after I had massive headaches that would come and go, but that didn’t bother me as much as the fact I looked foolish in front of her! So as you can see my baseball “career” was very lame and filled with defeat and heartbreak!

Wiffle Bat and Ball

So at this time I think I am going to ask one of my best friends and one of the biggest Reds fans I know, Josh Weinberg, 5 questions about his love and respect for the Reds. I have known Josh for so many years now and from the first day I met him, he has always worn Cincinnati Reds and Bengals shirts, hats and jerseys as well as Ohio State gear so when writing about Pete Rose I knew I had to have my pal involved. I mean he is the guy who bought VHS tapes from a Goodwill Outlet that had the Reds winning the 1990 World Series.  So here we go, 5 Questions with Josh Weinberg!

Josh Weinberg Reds Fan

Me:  Welcome back, Josh, to Rotten Ink.  You are a legend among my friends I write about here on my slice of the web.  So how long have you been a Cincinnati Reds fan?

Josh: I have been a Reds fan since 1990, the year that they swept the Oakland A’s in the World Series. Ever since then I was hooked. I remember being at my dad’s shop listening to the games.

Me: Always cool to hear how sports brought families together.  Who are your 4 top favorite players for the Reds of all time?

Josh: My top 4 Reds players of all time are simple number 1.) Barry Larkin 2.) Chris Sabo 3.) Jose Rio and (4 Sean Casey.

Me: Barry Larkin and Eric Davis would be two of my favorites too.  Did you every play baseball for school or Little League? If not, have you ever thought about it?

Josh: I played little league growing up as well as umpiring for kids’ leagues. I had to stop because I could not keep up my grades.  Such is life.

Me: Those pesky grades and school standing in your way of being a baseball legend! So how many Reds games have you been to in your lifetime thus far?

Josh: I have probably been to between 20 and 30 games in my lifetime. With many more to come.  My ultimate is going to opening day.

Me: That’s way more games then I have been to.  If I am lucky, I think I have been to 4 or 5.  Last question for you Josh, should Pete Rose be in the Baseball Hall Of Fame, and why or why not?

Josh: Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame for one single reason: the hall is about what you did on the field not what you did off the field. He is the hit king, Charley Hustle, and deserves to be in the hall. There are plenty of things other players have done back in the day and are in now. If he had not lied about it, he would be in.

Me: I agree Pete should be in for all he has done for the sport! Thanks Josh! Do you have any closing words for the Rotten Ink readers and fans of the Reds?

Josh: Last thing I have to say is Go Reds! One of these days they will win it all again…hopefully before I die!

While I don’t think they will do much this 2015 season, sometime soon I am sure the Reds will rise to be champs again!

Reds Bumper Sticker

Pete Rose has also been involved in another sport, Pro Wrestling, where he had a feud with the Big Red Machine Kane that spanned a few WWE WrestleMania’s as well as earned Rose a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame! Pete Rose at WrestleMania XIV was the guest ring announcer for a match between The Undertaker and Kane and for some reason became the target of Kane who gave the ball player a tombstone pile driver before the match even started. The following year at WrestleMania XV, Pete Rose wanted revenge on Kane and dressed as the San Diego Chicken to attack the wrestler from behind.  This did not work as once more Rose was knocked out with a tombstone pile driver, and Kane went on to wrestle his match against Triple H. At WrestleMania 2000, Pete Rose once more tried to get the upper hand on Kane and after his tag match against DX, Rose tried to hit Kane with a baseball bat but was choked slammed! After this, Rose did a commercial for WWE No Mercy PPV and was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame by Kane in 2004. Pete Rose in 2010 was a guest host of Monday Night Raw and set a match between Kane and Shawn Michaels, after Kane lost he once more attacked the aging ball player. After this appearance, Rose has been mentioned on air as well as did an interview for WWE.COM on Kane’s attacks on him. While Pete Rose never wrestled a match for WWE, during his appearance he made some great moments in wrestling and it was nice to see a baseball player of his caliber not take himself too seriously.

WWE Kane and Pete Rose

So from the ball field to the wrestling ring, Pete Rose has proven time and time again that the man is a legend and is a very interesting person who has worked for his fame the hard way by given 110% every time. He has also proven that he is a marketing machine as his image has graced the likes of RC Cola cans, collector drinking glasses even one from Gold Star Chili, action figures from the Starting Line-Up a series made by Kenner & Hasbro, comic books, trading cards, collector coins, video game for Atari 2600/7800, TV Commercials, t-shirts among many other products and goods! The ones I remember the most are the video game for Atari 2600 that was a solid cheesy baseball game and the Starting Line Up figures that looked nothing like him and had very little articulation. But if you were a Rose fan, the world is filled with enough collector items to keep you very happy!

Pete Rose Drinking GlassPete Rose Starting LineupRC Cola Pete Rose

As I have stated before, I am a Monster Guy who loves comic books and this year (2015) I have gone through a stage where I am reading lots of 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s Spider-Man comics.  I am talking Amazing, Spectacular and Web Of and have gotten issues all over from Mavericks all the way to Lone Star Comics and many of the issues are coming bag and boarded to protect and keep the issue safe. Well one of the WORST places that bag and board their issues has to be Half Price Books as they clearly use the cheapest bags and boards and some of the worst tape in comic collecting history! When trying to open your comic the tape sticks to the plastic bag and rips holes in the bag and can even bend your comic as you try to get it open.  This has caused many annoying late night readings of Spidey and lots of curses toward these cheap bags. Also when writing this update, I was listening to Billy Idol’s 2014 release “Kings & Queens Of The Underground.”  It’s a pretty solid album.  While it’s by no means a classic, I still am glad that Billy is making music as he has been one of my favorite music artists sense I was a kid alongside Alice Cooper, Motley Cure, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella. In fact one of the best birthday presents in my adult life that I ever got was from Juliet as she got us close seats to Billy Idol at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering in 2010! The best tracks off this CD are the title track Kings & Queens Of The Underground and Eyes Wide Shut. The odd part about this disc is that almost all of the songs are ballads and not the fist pumping tracks one would expect from Billy Idol. So a special thanks goes to Marvel Comics for Spider-Man and Billy Idol for helping me while writing this update. I should also thank The Angry Video Game Nerd as I had episodes playing on the TV while I wrote and Billy Idol’s CD was done.  So I think it would be safe to say that Idol and AVGN acted as the soundtrack to this update and Spider-Man entertained my mind before I went to bed almost every night.

Billy Idol cd and Spiderman Comics

It’s Masstar Comics turn at bat, and I can’t wait to see what this bio Comic is like. I am wondering what direction they will take with his suspension from the sport and what kind of stories off the field they will share. I have never heard of Masstar Comics, and this will be my first read for one of their comics so this should be interesting. I want to thank a vendor at Peddlers’ Mall for having this comic at their booth as well as thank Jason Young for taking me there to look around. Oddly during our time at the Peddlers’ Mall, Jason and I found lots of Pete Rose merchandise and after that Mavericks even ended up putting out boxes of Rose’s ball cards, making me think that it was my calling to do this update. I should also remind you that I grade these issues 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 let’s see if Masstar can slide into homebase as they team up with Pete Rose and Rotten Ink to bring you this fun read at the ballpark, oh and um can I get some peanuts and a hotdog…and maybe one of those foam oversized hats?

Pete Rose 1

Pete Rose  # 1   **1/2
Released in 1992     Cover Price $2.50     Masstar Comic     # 1 of 1

Pete Rose or Pee Wee as his father called him was a young man who grew up in Ohio and was a fan of sports with baseball being his passion with football coming in second. His mother and father encouraged him to try harder at everything he did and thanks to his Uncle who was a baseball talent scout he was able to get a tryout for the Cincinnati Reds in 1960 by being put into the minor leagues and he once more busted his butt in order to impress the scouts and to get better at the game he loved. As he became better and better he finally catches the eye of Reds couch Freddie Hutchinson who hires him as second base man and allows him to prove that he has heart, but this upsets the older players who act as if Pete is not even alive and his only friends on the team are Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson who as well were ignored by teammates cause the color of their skin. Rose was not a super star from the start but season after season he became better and better and even turned up the intensity in the way he played and would go on to win the MVP Award for the year 1973 and in 1975 and 1976 he helped lead them to World Series wins. In 1979 Pete Rose turned down a contract from The Reds and took one from the Philadelphia Phillies and had some solid good seasons with them. Rose returned to The Reds in 1984 after a short time with the Montreal Expos and back with the Reds he broke hitting records and even became the teams Manager. While things looked great for Rose in 1989 it all came crashing down as he was accused of illegally betting on baseball games and the MLB Commissioner banished him from the game he loved.

Pete Rose is a ball player that is beloved by fans and has a mixed reaction from players and higher ups within the MLB all for his gambling issue. But this comic does a great job of making Rose a likable underdog who proved that hard work and support from your loved ones can make you a superstar of whatever your profession is. This bio comic follows Pete Rose from a youngster playing ball with his friends all the way to playing for the Reds coaching them and being banned from the game that he loves. The plus side to this comic is that the story is very fast paced and highlights all the major events in his life without dragging along, but the downside is the fact most major events are done in a couple of panels and don’t show much of his friendships nor rivalries with his fellow Reds and that’s a letdown. It was interesting to see why Rose left the Reds to play for Philadelphia and even more so how when he first joined the team all the older players didn’t like him so they ignored him and treated him like he was a ghost. The comic ends with Rose being suspended from baseball and leaves it making it look like he never bet on baseball when in fact he did and lied about it for years. The cover is pretty eye catching and shows Rose through the years as the art inside is pretty well done and makes Rose look like he should and is done by John Tartaglione who you can tell had fun drawing this comic. Over all this was a fun Unauthorized Bio comic on an iconic baseball player and was well worth the read and purchase. Check out the art below done by Tartaglione.

Pete Rose Art 1

We made it to home base and scored the winning point thanks to Pete Rose and Masstar Comics, and along the way I found a new respect for baseball and now understand the appeal it has for all its fans, as it’s a sport that is filled with a rich history and gives people pride in their favorite team and something to talk about around the water cooler at work. While I may or may not ever go see a Reds game again at the stadium I still have the good memories of going to them with my Dad, brother Bryan and my dad’s best friend John in my youth. Well our next update is going to take us out of the ball field and into the world of self-defense as I am going to take a look at an Atlas Comic based around the secret world of the martial arts called The Hands Of The Dragon! So make sure to come back for that one but until then enjoy the summer and read a comic or three.

Hands Of The Dragon Logo