Rotten Ink Calling Dick Tracy…You There Tracy?

Calling Dick Tracy, come in Tracy – we wanted to let you know that you’re the topic for this Rotten Ink update! Ever since I was a youngster, I loved to read Dick Tracy comic strips, comics as well as watch the movies based around his adventures, and I have been itching worse than Itchy to bring to you friends and readers this update, as Tracy is one of my favorite characters of all time. I can remember the first time I read a reprinted Sunday comic strip at my Grandma and Grandpa Salyers’ house during one of our way too few visits and being hooked on his crime fighting adventures. This flame was sparked more by the Warren Betty film, the action figures and the reprinted comics that started to spring up at the local comic shops that my brother used to buy from a small five and dime near our grandparents’ house back in the early 90’s. Updates like this are one of the main reasons I love having this blog as I get to share and relive many characters from my past that helped fuel my imagination and made me into the overly creative person I am today. So check your wrist radio and make sure you can read this loud and clear as we are about to travel to the mean streets alongside Dick Tracy and clean them up from all the scum that’s ruining them!

Dick Tracy panel 1

Let’s first take a brief look at the man who created Dick Tracy so that we can get in tune with this iconic character. Chester Gould was born on November 20, 1900 in Pawnee, Oklahoma and by all accounts had a pretty good childhood as his father was a minister. At a young age, Chester was a fan of comics and was hired early on to make strips for Chicago Evening American and over his time there made such strips as Fillum Fables, The Radio Catts and Why It’s A Windy City. In 1926 Chester married Edna Gauger, and they had a daughter Jean a year later. In 1931 Chester created a comic strip for the Detroit Mirror that was based on a New York detective that caught the cartoonist’s eye for being interesting, and later it would morph into a strip based on a fake detective that he called Dick Tracy. The comic strip became a mega hit, and he would spend the next 46 years of his life drawing it as fans eagerly awaited the next strip. But things didn’t stay positive as by the strips decline, many readers turned on it for being too supportive to the police and the fact he added sci-fi elements by having Tracy visit the moon and even had a crooked lawyer character who sent readers into a fury and had newspapers dropping the strip. But many did stick with it through the ups and downs, and all were entertained by this yellow trenchcoat-wearing cop and his odd rouges gallery. Chester Gould passed away on May 11, 1985 leaving behind a legacy of comic strips and one of the world’s most iconic fictional detectives Dick Tracy. Over his career Chester won many awards such as the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award in 1958 and 1977 as well as an Edgar Award in 1980 to name a select few.  For those wanting to learn a little more about Chester, his only child Jean wrote a book about her father called “Chester Gould: A Daughter’s Biography On The Creator Of Dick Tracy” that was published in 2007 that is worth checking out. So here is a big thanks to Chester for creating Dick Tracy as well as to all the fans who have kept the character alive after all these years.

Dick Tracy Comic Strip CharacterChester Gould 0Sunday Funnies Tracy

The character of Dick Tracy was so popular that the comic strip spawned not only film serials but also movies that hit theaters and entertained the masses. The serials started in 1937 with the first simply being called “Dick Tracy” and had actor Ralph Byrd step into the role.  He would go on to play the character in the rest of the serials that followed such as “Dick Tracy Returns”, “Dick Tracy’s G-Men” and “Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc” with each of them being very popular for movie goers. Starting in 1945, RKO Radio Pictures decided to make Dick Tracy movies with the first being once again just called “Dick Tracy” with actor Morgan Conway as Tracy. The next picture once more had Morgan as Tracy and was released in 1946 and was called “Dick Tracy vs. Cueball” with actor Dick Wessel playing Cueball. In 1947, the third film was released in the series and was called “Dick Tracy’s Dilemma” and had Ralph Byrd return to the role of Tracy and The Claw, the film’s main bad guy, being played by Jack Lambert. Later in 1947, the fourth and final film in the RKO series was made.  It was called “Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome” and had Ralph Byrd again as Tracy and horror icon Boris Karloff as Gruesome.  Growing up, sadly, I never saw the serials, but I do remember the the RKO films and have memories of watching them though I’m not sure what station I saw them on.  If I had to guess, I would say TBS, WGN or AMC. The movies as well as the serials both have been released on VHS and DVD, and those fans wanting to watch these classic films can do so thanks to companies like Alpha Video. I  also should note that many Horror Hosts have also hosted these Dick Tracy films over the ages. But while the 1940’s was a big time for Tracy, it was the 90’s that he ruled for kids like me…but I’ll save that for a little further in this update.

Dick Tracy Ralph ByrdDick Tracy Meets Gruesome PosterDick Tracy Cueball

Besides the big screen, Dick Tracy also made his way to television thanks to the UPA who in 1961 made a cartoon show called “The Dick Tracy Show” that followed Tracy’s patrol cops like detective Joe Jitsu – a super smart character who knows martial arts, the police bulldog Hemlock Holmes, the apple stealing Heap O’Calorie and the speedy Manuel Tijuana Guadalajara Tampico “Go-Go” Gomez Jr. Tracy was never the main focus of the episodes that would rotate between the above characters who would always foil the crimes of Mumbles, Flattop and Pruneface, among other classics from the Tracy rogues’ gallery. The episodes were about 5 minutes each, and the show ran for a total of 130 episodes before being cancelled in 1962. Dick Tracy was voiced by Everett Sloane, and classic Warner Brother voice actor Mel Blanc lent his voice to characters like Flattop. I can remember when I was a kid, my brother used to wake up really early on Saturday Mornings and would start his cartoon watching early with a big bowl of cereal.  He would always tell me about this classic Dick Tracy cartoon he was watching, and after a month or so of him telling me about the show and me not believing him, he woke me up early per my request as I was wanting to watch this cartoon based on my favorite comic strip detective…and would you know the show didn’t come on.  My brother was so mad as it made him look as if he was telling a fib about the show and it would not be until many years later till I would finally be able to watch the show with my own eyes. While now the cartoon is pretty much forgotten, it’s worth tracking down on DVD and watching for Dick Tracy fans.

Dick Tracy Animated 1Dick Tracy Animated DVDDick Tracy Animated 2

Here is something many of you might not know; back in 1967, a TV pilot for a Dick Tracy series was produced by William Dozier, the man responsible for the 1966 Batman series starring Adam West, and was shopped around to ABC and NBC with neither company picking it up. Actor Ray MacDonnell stepped into the role of Dick Tracy, and the villain for the episode was Mr. Memory played by Victor Buono. While he was no Ralph Byrd or even a Warren Beatty, the overacting MacDonnell would have been a silly good TV version of Tracy. The reason the series was not picked up was because Green Hornet was a flop and the ratings for Batman were starting to slip, and no company wanted to invest in a comic hero series at the time. I was lucky that back in the day my brother was able to get a grey market VHS tape of this unaired Dick Tracy pilot, and alongside friend Andy Copp, we all gave it a watch and laughed and thought it was a fun and silly program. One thing that has stuck with me is the show’s theme song, that proclaims this mighty line: “Dick Tracy…He’s a good cop.”  And while he is one heck of of a cop, the networks in 67 just didn’t think he was a rating winner waiting to happen.

Failed Live Action Dick Tracy TV Show 1Ray MacDonnell as Dick TracyFailed Live Action Dick Tracy TV Show 2

In the summer of 1990, Touchstone Pictures released a big budget action film based on Dick Tracy that had the kids of the world craving everything they could get based on this classic comic strip character. Dick Tracy was directed by Warren Beatty, who also played the role of Tracy, and had big stars like Al Pacino as Big Boy Caprice, Dustin Hoffman as Mumbles, Paul Sorvino as Lips Manlis, Madonna as Breathless Mahoney and William Forsythe as Flattop, to name a very small few. The film had music done by Madonna with the score being done by Danny Elfman. The budget of the film was $47 million and at the US Box Office, it brought in a total of $103,738,726.00 making it a pretty good success for Touchstone. In 1990, Dick Tracy was the # 9 film of the year and beat out such films as Back To The Future Part III, Edward Scissorhands, The Godfather Part III, Misery, Goodfellas, Hard To Kill, Robocop II, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Rocky V, Ernest Goes To Jail and My Blue Heaven to name a small amount of hit and cult films. When I was about 10 years old, Dick Tracy hit theaters, and I was drawn into the commercials on TV promoting the film and begged my parents to take me to the theater to watch it.  They were not having it, and I had to wait to see it on VHS, renting it from the video store. But while I didn’t get to see the film, I was able to buy the toys, novels and read the comic books that were coming out and my brother was buying. I had Tracy fever and even wore several t-shirts that had Dick Tracy characters on them with my favorite being one that showcased Flattop. Upon finally seeing the film, I was a fan and can remember chatting about the bad guys of the film with friends and my brother and hoping and waiting for a sequel to be made. A sequel was just not to be as the rights to the characters in films became a nightmare of companies claiming to own it, but after years of fighting, Warren Beatty was proven to be the real owner of Dick Tracy’s film rights. Beatty himself keeps claiming that he has a sequel in mind and has hinted that Tracy will grace the silver screen once again in the future. Say what you will about the 1990 Dick Tracy film, but for me it was a must watch film alongside many other classic films from my childhood like The Goonies, Gremlins, Beastmaster and Legend to name a few. If you haven’t seen Dick Tracy, give it a watch, and if you have seen it, watch it again.  It’s a true classic comic to movie classic.

Dick Tracy WarrenDick Tracy 1990 PosterAl as Big Boy

Straight off the score for the 1989 Batman film, Danny Elfman was asked to do the score music for Dick Tracy and hammered out good quality music to accompany the film.  Was it as iconic as his score work for Batman, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure or Edward Scissorhands…well no, but it was still top notch stuff that I find myself playing from time to time on Alpha Rhymes on WYSO. Around that same time, pop music icon Madonna also released a CD called “I’m Breathless” that had music from the film she sang as Breathless Mahoney as well as songs inspired by the film. It’s a good CD from Madonna as my favorite song on that album has to be “Sooner Or Later” as it’s a well structured song and showcases a more bluesy sound from Madonna. This release was met with mixed reviews and was not one of her bigger hits. If you’re looking for the score or the music by Madonna you can find them on CD and Cassette, and they are worth checking out if you’re a fan. Below is the pictures of the CD’s as well as one of Tracy bad guy 88 Keys as he is the music man of this comic strip.

Danny Elfman Dick Tracy Score CD88 KeysMadonna Dick Tracy CD

In 1990, Bandai released a Dick Tracy video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System that was a must buy or rent for many kids. We all quickly learned that the game was hard and really unforgiving in its challenge. Every kid I knew who owned a NES in Waynesville and my cousins Dino and Norman had this game in their collection and not a one of them ever beat it. I could not even crack and complete the first case as the snipers on the roof tops always took me out. The game has two modes: one is a top down car segment where you drive around town to gather the clues, and the second is side-scrolling beat em up action.  The game is truly impossible to finish unless you cheat. While the NES version of Dick Tracy is the most popular for old school gamers, many other Tracy titles were made for such systems as Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Commodore 64 and DOS to name a few. So if you feel confident in your gaming skills and are up for a hard 8-Bit challenge, play some Dick Tracy for the NES and see how far you can get before snapping and breaking your system.

NES Dick Tracy Screen 1NES Dick Tracy in BoxNES Dick Tracy Screen 2

For the 2008 season, The Angry Video Game Nerd covered the Dick Tracy NES game, and just like I mentioned above, he was tortured in his youth by the game’s overly hard nature and the over powering gunshots from the roof snipers. But while watching him fail and play the video game is the funny part of his review, for me the highlight was when he talked about the Dick Tracy mania that was sweeping his school and how all his friends wanted to get all the Tracy stuff they could get their parents to buy them.  He even goes so far as to show old video of him on Halloween as a kid dressed up as Dick Tracy and getting a rock in his bag just like good old Charlie Brown. The youth of today have no clue how big of a deal the 1990 movie was to kids of my generation and how Dick Tracy was for a very short time as popular as other comic characters like Batman, Superman and Spider-Man.  I think this AVGN episode does a great job of briefly showing and sharing just how popular and loved it was. So if you’re a fan of AVGN, I am sure you have already seen this episode, and if you’re not and are not bothered by cussing and over the top humor, make sure to give it a watch.

AVGN Tracy 1AVGN Dick Tracy LogoAVGN Dick Tracy Cart

Dick Tracy has also had his fair share of merchandise for fans to collect, and besides the comic books, video games, soundtrack CD’s and home media releases of the films and shows, his yellow trench coat image as graced trading cards, tin toys, t-shirts, Halloween costumes, action figures, plush dolls, bubble bath products, novels, posters, hats, toy guns, and radios.  Pretty much anything you can name, he has graced it with his image in some way.  Growing up, I can remember seeing many of the old tin toys and books at the antique stores in downtown Waynesville and can even remember sometimes findings old Dick Tracy stuff at garage sales.  In both cases, the price tags were way too high for our mom to buy it for us. My favorite Dick Tracy merchandise I owned as a kid were the Playmate action figures.  I had Dick Tracy, Flattop and Itchy as well as the NES game and a paperback novel that I loved (I’ll get to that next). So fans and collectors, what Dick Tracy stuff did you own and love, in your collection now or even better that you had as a kid?

Sierra Exif JPEGDick Tracy SoakiePlaymates Dick Tracy Toys

My favorite Dick Tracy paperback novel when I was a younger lad was called “Dick Tracy Meets Angeltop: Flattop’s Little Girl” and was released in 1979.  It was done by Max Allan Collins who took over for Chester years back, keeping the Dick Tracy comic legacy alive. I found the book at a place called Half Priced Books and can remember reading it from front to back in one sitting while hanging out in my room and enjoying every crime filled page. I used to love the comic book paperback books that used to be made and to this day own many of the ones from Marvel and DC that I have had since I was a kid, but like a fool I did not keep this one. What stuck out to me was the fact that this was a story that pitted Tracy against the daughter of my favorite Tracy rogue who was long dead in the comic strip by the time this was released. Plus Angeltop, just like her father, is a gun firing fiend who clearly wanted to end Tracy’s life and avenge her father, building on his crime legacy. If you want a good read that pits Tracy against a mean spirited gun firing lady, check this one out as it’s worth the read for sure.

Angeltop panel 1Angeltop paperbackAngeltop

My favorite bad guy from the Dick Tracy Universe has to be Flattop Jones Sr., a strange looking mobster who had a flat head and a take no prisoners attitude. Flattop’s first comic strip appearance was on December 21, 1943 and little background is given on the character besides that he was a freelance hitman from Oklahoma and he was involved with the Kansas City Massacre, a real life incident that took place in 1933 that left four officers of the law dead. It’s believed that Chester Gould based the character off the real life mobster Pretty Boy Floyd who had a similar background and was involved in the Kansas City Massacre. In his first appearance, Flattop is coming off a five person killing spree and is hired to kill Dick Tracy for $5000, but of course comes up short. During his appearance in the comic strip, he has been shot and almost killed, attacks Vitamin Flintheart, been stuck in a chimney and stung by bees, knew Tracy during World War II and finally meet his end by drowning after being caught in the struts of a replica boat. Flattop was one of the biggest villains in the comic strip, and he spawned many relative characters to try and capture the original character’s magic with readers like his wife Stilleta Jones and his children Flattop Jr. and Angeltop Jones. He had a drunk father named Poptop as well as brothers Blowtop and Sharptop also had a grandchild named Hi-Top among others. The character has appeared in other Tracy media like a radio show, TV series and cartoon as well as the 1990 movie and many toys and video games. Growing up, one of my favorite t-shirts was a Flattop Jones Sr. one, and I can remember wearing it with pride even after many of the kids on the playground gave me guff for wearing a bad guy on my shirt, but as years passed they learned to expect my love for comic, movie and horror villians. To this day Flattop is one of my favorite comic book bad guys and would still easy make it into my Top 10 of all time!

Flattop From Comic StripFlattop from 1990 MovieFlattop from Animated series

Actor William Forsythe played Flattop in the 1990 film, and his portrayal is fantastic and really hammered home my love for the character as he brought the take no bull crap attitude and blood lust to kill some suckers with his trusty tommy gun. Forsythe is a fantastic actor and has appeared in such films as Cloak & Dagger, Once Upon A Time In America, Raising Arizona, Out For Justice, Stone Cold, G-Men From Hell, The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween (2007) and Dear Mr. Gacy to name a very select few and show how amazing an actor he is.  Over the years and the many conventions I have done with the likes of Andy Copp, Independent B Movie and Baron Von Porkchop I have seen William Forsythe many times and spoke to him from time to time as he has always been super approachable and friendly to his fans, but it was not until 2014 during a Horrorhound Weekend that alongside my friends Horror Host Icon Fritz The Nite Owl and Mike McGraner that I finally got to tell him just how impactful his portrayal of Flattop was to me as a kid.  He seemed very happy to hear it as I am sure at these cons most people talk to him about Devils Rejects. So I doubt if he ever reads this but again, thanks Mr. Forsythe for rocking in the role as Flattop and thanks for just being you and being very cool and chill with your fans. Below is a picture of Fritz, Mike and I with William Forsythe.

Frtitz, Mike and Me with William

Do you readers remember when Dick Tracy was out in 1990, and McDonalds had a cool contest going on that would let you get a scratch off ticket that would have you win prizes, free food and money if you could match up mug shot of Tracy villains to a number? My parents were never big McDonalds eaters, and when we would go to the restaurant, it would be because my brother and I would beg them to take us as we wanted something in the Happy Meal or thought we could win a contest like this. I can remember getting a few of these scratch off tickets and always revealing a character called Measles Enog who was a dope smuggler who had red spots on his face and was nothing but a two bit crook! I never won any major prizes on this game, but I did win a small fry. Do you readers and friend remember playing this game at your local McDonalds?

Dick Tracy McDonalds Game

Before we get into the review section of this update, I want to take a moment to give you all a personal opinion of mine that I truly believe. In comic books, a hero is only as good as the villains he faces and some of the most iconic bad guys attached to heroes all are just as known and important to the comic series as the hero is and bring their own twisted charms to fans. I mean let’s be honest, two of the biggest names in comic book history that have some of the best bad guys are Batman and Spider-Man.  What would Batman be without the likes of The Joker, Two Face, Catwoman, The Riddler, Killer Croc, Bane, Scarecrow and so many others; just like what would Spider-Man be without Doctor Octopus, The Lizard, Venom, Green Goblin, Kraven The Hunter, Scorpion and a mountain of others. For me, Dick Tracy also fits this list as he has battled some amazing and colorful characters over his long comic career like The Brow, Flattop, Big Boy, Itchy, Mumbles, Steve The Tramp, B-B Eyes, The Mole, The Rodent, Pruneface and so many other mean and original bad guy characters all with their own strange quirks and their own plots to kill Dick Tracy. For me, the top five comic/comic strip characters that have the best villains would be: Spider-Man, Batman, Dick Tracy, Captain America and X-Men..but I should also note that Superman and Incredible Hulk also have amazing bad guys and would make it into the top 10 for sure. So all I am saying is show the baddies the same respect you show your comic heroes because without them how boring would your comics be?

PrunefaceBrowItchy

Well we are here at the police station and Dick Tracy alongside his friends Sam Catchem and Pat Patton are in the other room getting some information from Little Face so I think that we should start getting to the review section of this update. I am not going to lie, when selecting what to blog about this month I decided that I was going to pick topics that meant something to me growing up like Super Scary Saturday, and I knew that Dick Tracy had to be a part of this month’s theme as I have been a long time fan and respect the characters and creators that made this Sunday Funnies strip into something that put a smile on my face for over 30 years. I want to thank Mavericks Cards and Comics and Lone Star Comics for having these comics in stock. I want to also re-thank my brother Bryan for buying this series called “The Original Dick Tracy” when we were kids and letting me read his copies when he was done with them. I need to also remind you all that I grade these issues on a 1-4 star scale and base it on these factors: how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So strap on your badge and put on your favorite hat and coat, as we dive into the crime world of Dick Tracy!

Original Tracy 1

The Original Dick Tracy # 1 ***
Released in 1990    Cover Price $1.95    Gladstone Comics    # 1 of 5

Dick Tracy VS Mrs. Pruneface” It’s a dark and stormy night as Dick Tracy and Pat Patton are filing old finger prints and decide to head home.  While Pat leaves first and gets a cab, Tracy decides to walk it in the rain and is attacked and knocked out by a whip swinging amazon of a woman who is Mrs. Pruneface, the widow of a mobster who Tracy has killed.  She takes the detective to a hideout where she and her servant Emil chain Tracy to the wall and keep him captive. Junior and the Police are worried when Tracy does not show up for work the next day, and when his pen is found in the ally, they know something wicked has happened to their friend and the city’s top detective. Meanwhile, Tracy is being mentally abused by Mrs. Pruneface who will not tell him who she is and why she has a plan to seal him up behind a brick wall after he has been killed thanks to a spike that has been driven through a board and placed on two 100 pound blocks of ice that will stab him in the heart thanks to the oven that will be left on as well as the old icebox that is left on top of the board to add weight. Mrs. Pruneface finally tells Tracy who she is and sets the trap that will end his life.  As she and Emil go to a tavern to wait for the morning news to report of Tracy’s death, the Detective uses his own quick wit to survive the death trap and is rescued by his fellow officers. Now wanted for attempted murder, Mrs. Pruneface uses stage makeup and changes her looks and gets a job at a hotel as a cook as Emil is ordered to stay at their new hotel room hideout, but being a goof Emil accidentally drops one of Mrs. Pruneface’s whips out the window and a cop picks it up and gives it to his son who is friends with Junior who informs Tracy and the rest of the cops were it was found.  Mrs. Pruneface is furious about Emil getting into her weapon bag and beats her one time servant to death with a lamp and goes about her new life as a cook. When Tracy and the cops find the body of Emil, she leaves the hotel and starts cooking for the mayor where she murders one of his daughters’ friends who accidentally finds out who she really is, and now with Tracy and the cops on her tail she holds the mayor’s two daughters hostage with a pot of boiling soup threatening to pour it on them if they don’t keep quiet quite as they police look around the house trying to find her. In the end, the daughters turn on a fan in front of flour that blinds Mrs. Pruneface who slips on the soup she drops and cracks her head open on the oven.  The daughters run for help, and Tracy and the others rush to the kitchen when they hear two gun shots and find that the mayor’s wife as put two bullets into Mrs. Pruneface’s head in self defense. And so ends the case of Mrs. Pruneface, who is now dead just like her husband.

This Dick Tracy adventure is as amazing and silly as I remember it to be when I first read this comic in my youth thanks to my brother who would buy every issue of this series. The plot is very simple and has Mrs. Pruneface trying to murder Dick Tracy to avenge her husband who was killed.  She fails and tries to go into hiding but is busted in the end due to her own evil and mean spirited nature. Dick Tracy goes from being a tortured prisoner who is almost murdered to a detective on the heels of those who almost did him in. The best part about Tracy in this issue is that he is so cheesy and yet so cool that he shows why he is a true icon of Sunday Funnies. Mrs. Pruneface is such a cruel and complete and interesting character as she was once a vaudeville performer who is the widow of crime boss Pruneface, is a master of make-up and stage effects, can cook like a professional chef and on top of it her face is messed up because she was fleeing her country during the war in a tank and took a face full of gasoline and fire.  Also I should throw into the mix that she is a master with a whip and is as strong as a body builder…this woman is badass! She is also very cold blooded and does not mind killing those who get in her way as she beats her own servant to death with a metal lamp and then drowns a young man in the pool both for different reasons and with zero remorse. It’s crazy that she meets her end by the hands of the Mayor’s wife who up to that point was never seen and was supposed to have been confined to a wheelchair, but somehow is able to walk again and place two bullets perfectly into the head of Mrs. Pruneface who was across the room…maybe it’s the Mayor’s wife that is the true bad ass as in the matter of minutes she is a master marksman and decides that she will not be handicapped no more. One other odd (and yet so fitting for the time) thing they keep doing in this issue is because Mrs. Pruneface has a burnt and ugly face they keep referring to her as not human because of her looks.  Tracy is not only a great detective but he is also cruel like a school yard bully. Over all this is a great way to start off “The Original Dick Tracy” comic series from Gladstone, and the cover is very eye catching and has Tracy walking down the street with Mrs. Pruneface whip in hand about to strike as the rain pours down. The art inside is done by Chester Gould himself and is what Tracy fans would want. I can’t wait to see if issue two holds up as well as issue one did, and while the writing of this issue might be dated and not super well done, it fits for the time when Dick Tracy was a must read when your Sunday paper was delivered.

Original Tracy 2

The Original Dick Tracy # 2  ***
Released in 1990    Cover Price $1.95    Gladstone Comics    # 2 of 5

Dick Tracy And The Evil Influence” In the cold of night, a car and a dead body are dumped in the pier by Influence and his henchman who have decided to stick around town.  With the power of persuasion, Influence uses his creepy power on Vitamin Flintheart to use his little diner as a hangout, and they also decide that they are going to take over Flintheart’s life as Influence makes him close his diner for good, make a fool of himself for his amusement and even break off every friendship he has ever had.  Influence also makes him remember that he owes them tons of money and that he flaked on paying his gambling debit to them. The old diner Flintheart owned is burnt to the ground, and with his friends chased away, the old man is warped into a person with no will power who is now 100% under the control of Influence who wants to make Flintheart into a money maker, killer and slave for his needs to gain money and power. Dick Tracy and Pat Patton become worried about their friend when they find his place burnt down and him missing, and thanks to some clues and his reputation, they figure out that Influence must be involved not only in this mystery but also the murder of the man pulled out of the pier. Influence has used his control over Flintheart to introduce him to a rich widowed stage actress who is now also under his control and is slowly emptying her bank account and giving it to him, all the while Influence has also taken over her mansion and has big plans to make himself rich. During this crime Influence comes in contact with Pat Patton, and after knocking him out with brass knuckles, he tries to burn the officer alive in the city dump, but thanks to the two way wrist radio Dick Tracy is able to save his friend and find a clue of a ripped piece of newspaper that is stuck to his friend’s jacket that has the address of the actress who is being controlled. Before Tracy and the cops can get to the mansion, Influence kills the actress and sets a trap for Tracy that leaves him in the hospital and the evil doers escaping to a winter resort. They allow Flintheart to go and wipe his mind and dispose of the hat and coat of Tracy they stole that is found by a young woman who returns it to the injured detective. Dick Tracy follows the lead of where his coat and hat were found and stumbles onto the hideout location at the resort and thanks to a pair of contact lenses and a chain he is able to beat Influence down and crack the glass contacts that give him his hypnotic powers.

This second issue is as good as I remember, and this time has Tracy going up against a hood who can use tricks to make people do what he wants, but he makes one mistake when he decides to kill and loot in Tracy’s part of town. Dick Tracy uses the clues he can find and the information on a known criminal to crack the case wide open and to figure out the secret of how one low life man can use the power of mentally controlling people thanks to contacts. Tracy, who is the main hero in this issue, still gets beat up as he is tricked, rolled into carpet and hit in the head with a metal pipe then gets his trademark yellow hat and coat stolen…so while Tracy does end up saving the day, he does take some damage. Pat Patton is also a good cop and is a loyal friend to Tracy, and while on the case he almost dies when he is bashed in the face with brass knuckles and then set on fire! Vitemin Flintheart, the aging actor turned hamburger diner owner, is used and abused in this issue as his old debts are called upon to be paid and he loses his own will, his business and the life of his old stage friend in the process. I never liked Flintheart as a character as I always found him to be a pompous ass so seeing him have to sleep on a brick and ordered around did kind of make me happy. Influence is a man driven by greed as he will do whatever it takes to get money in his hand and that even means murder as he kills three people and attempts the life of at least one other during his crime spree in this issue. I like the fact that he is a con man who uses tricks of contact lenses to bend the minds and will of people he has targeted for his scheme. Just like the first issue, this one has some blood, and it’s shocking that a comic strip used the red stuff to get across the act of violence. The cover is well done and reminds me of an old noir/detective film poster, and once more the art is done by the man Gould himself. Over all this second issue packs the same amount of punch now as it did back in my youth, and I can’t wait to read the third issue and see how well it holds up to this long time comic reader.

Original Tracy 3

The Original Dick Tracy # 3  ***
Released in 1991    Cover Price $2.00    Gladstone Comics    # 3 of 5

Dick Tracy Exterminates The Extortioner” Radio DJ Christmas Early and her date are wrapping up a evening late at night when he is mugged and killed.  Dick Tracy comes upon the crime at first thinking it was Christmas but soon puts it together that someone else has murdered the man without the young woman knowing as someone knocked him down and out and the spinning door Christmas was pushing on would crush the man’s throat and killing him. Gargles is a man who has a love for fine cigars and gargling mouth wash, and he has a get rich quick scheme that has him strong arming and forcing store owners to buy phony mouthwash he makes.  He is the one who killed Christmas’s date as he was a store owner that was going to alert the cops to his game of fraud. Gargles shakes down many store owners and gets more and more money for his bootleg mouthwash, and while in his hideout he even starts to fall for Christmas Early as he likes the sound of her voice.  Gargles also makes a mistake when he drops a cigar band with his initials into a jar of his foul mouthwash that Dick Tracy finds at one of the stores he ripped off. With the help of Christmas Tracy links the cigar band to a fan letter Gargles sent to her and finds the makers of the custom cigars and Gargles’ the address.  Tracy and Pat kill his two helpers as Gargles uses a hidden tiny room in his flowerbox to avoid being captured as he has been tricked into thinking Christmas wants to go on a dinner date with him when really she is setting him up to be captured, but while in his hiding spot he over hears Tracy sharing the date details with fellow officers and Gargles is able to alert some more underlings who are able to trick the cops and remove the flower box away from the apartment and saving Gargles from being captured, and this crook is not happy with his one time radio crush. Gargles finds a room to rent with Themesong and her mom, two friends of Dick Tracy who are unaware of his evil ways as he is unaware of their friendship with his pursuer.  This makes for a time bomb ready to go off at any minute. It all comes to a head when Dick Tracy finds out that Gargles is staying with his friends after he murders Themesong’s Mom and a shop owner and hides in a tool box on a repair truck that is then hit by a car crushing the box and hurting the fugitive bad. Once at the repair shop Gargles is finally able to free himself from the mangled tool box and kills one of the workers but has been tracked by Tracy who uses bullet proof glass to shake Gargles who trips and falls out of a window and is killed by chunks of glass that impale his body. In the end, Christmas is cleared of all charges and starts a friendship up with Themesong who is now an orphan, and Dick Tracy is once more the town’s hero.

Who in the world thought of the idea to have a major plot point of a comic being a character named Gargles who is addicted to using mouthwash extorting money from shop owners by selling them bootleg mouthwash….yes, you read that right bootleg mouthwash….Chester Gould is the man who came up with this amazing plot, and I loved every moment of it. While the idea of bootleg mouthwash is something I am sure many of you readers are chuckling about, it’s clear as day this was really a way to talk about prohibition without pissing off real mobsters as well as government agents who were battling the bootleg alcohol runners and makers. In this issue, Dick Tracy is super smart in some ways and in other makes some really bone headed mistakes. For the good, he figures out really fast that Christmas Early could not have killed her date as he was attacked from behind, but then a little later on he makes the mistake of blurting out a set up in place by Christmas when the scene was not secured poperly alerting the target to the plan. Speaking of Christmas Early she is pretty smart and uses her radio show to help law enforcement in tracking down and stopping Gargles on his path of bootlegging and killing. Gargles is a strange characters who is a germaphobe, has an addiction to using mouthwash multiple times a day and also loves to smoke cigars who gets him money by strong arming shop owners into buying hundreds of gallons of his fake nasty germ infested mouthwash. He also is not afraid to kill if someone tries to rat him and his racket out to the cops, is he as major of a threat as Mrs. Prunface or Influence? Not at all he is more small time but he does have is own henchmen who do as he requests and are loyal enough to die for him. But in the end he dies by being impalied by shards of glass and his crime spree comes to a bloody end. The one character I can’t stand is the young Themesong who is a snarky loudmouth little girl who is rude and is annoying, and I just don’t like her at all. The cover on this issue is pretty cool, and once more the art is done by the legend Chester Gould and is fantastic and is the look we all love for Dick Tracy. This is another great issue that captures the magic of the golden age of classic funnies and brings it to a new generation to enjoy! I can’t wait to relive the next issue, so let’s get to it shall we?

Original Tracy 4

The Original Dick Tracy # 4  **1/2
Released in 1991    Cover Price $2.00    Gladstone Comics    # 4 of 5

Dick Tracy Confronts Itchy Oliver” the goofy B.O. Plenty has became rich by taking Breathless Mahoney’s money and is now the target of Itchy who wants to use Breathless’s mother Elia as bait to lure the millionaire into a room so he and his goons can rob him! Once Elia lures B.O to Itchy’s hideout they torture him and get the location of his money thats hidden in his hotel room, but unknown to Itchy is that Dick Tracy and Pat Patton are waiting to chat with B.O and a shoot out happens that leaves Elia dead, Tracy nicked by a bullet and Itchy escaping with the money! To get ride of B.O Itchy and his goons tie him to a board and let him float away in the sewer as Tracy and the cops rush to Itchy’s hideout that was given to them by Elia’s dying breath. As Tracy, Patton and the Cops close in Itchy kills one of his henchmen and leaves the other behind so that he can steal all the money and while escaping hurts Patton and escapes via a car in a wedding service. But things don’t go well for Itchy when the wedding party figures out he is a mobster and try to hold him at bay until they can call the cops, but this leaves one man dead and Itchy stealing a car and on the run again. But lucky for the cops Junior and Tess where at the scene and were able to call Tracy and are following Itchy in a car so that he can not fully get away. A car chase leaves Itchy wrecking and faking his death only in turn to knock out Junior and kidnap Tess who he forces to steal Tracy’s car! After some quick thinking Tess wrecks the stolen car and traps herself and Itchy in it, but once more Itchy escapes and this time steals a police car but this time Dick Tracy sneaks into the trunk, and this causes Itchy to drive to a house owned by Kitty the widow of B-B Eyes a mobster that Tracy killed 5 years past and the pair of criminals keep Tracy hostage and start a plan to starve him to death! But thanks to some great detective work from Junior, Dick Tracy is able to get free and kill Itchy and arrest Kitty before they can truly do him in.

This issue is good but I must also say that much of it is wasted on car chases and grand theft auto as Itchy steals so many cars and goes on the run that you will think your watching a dated Dukes Of Hazzard episode during a long drawn out chase scene. The plot has Itchy stealing some money from B.O Plenty and going on the run to get away from Dick Tracy who is hot on his trail. Dick Tracy in this issue seems to always be three steps behind Itchy, and for the most part seems to be off his detective game as he is not only always behind on catching Itchy but also is captured and almost killed by the mobster and if not for Junior he would have been dead! Junior steps up his game and tries his best to not only beat up Itchy but also figures out the mobsters hideout and has the guts to go into it and help Tracy escape. This issue leaves B.O Plenty a hill billy with money in the sewer and makes your the reader wonder is he dead? Great seeing Tess Trueheart as she is a great character and is as brave and noble as any officer of the law in this series. Pat Patton is around doing his crime busting thing and even after being injured still does his job and tries to track down and capture Itchy and his goons. Itchy Oliver is all about the money and not only kills innocent people but also kills his own partners in order to keep it all, this mobster is just not greedy but also a cold blooded killer who meets his end at the end of a gun when he just cant let himself get captured. I love the fact that Itchy is called that cause he can not stop scratching and that quirk is what makes him stand out as well as gives him his nickname. Kitty the widow of B-B Eyes is also very mean and is the one who comes up with the fact that they will starve Tracy to death and will only give him water twice a day that sticks to a fork and his meals twice a day is a tiny bit of a turnip, she is cold blooded and in the end will go to jail. While this issue has the biggest name in Tracy’s rouges gallery this far as the main villain, it story and delivery is just kind of weak and not as charming as the issues that came before it. This also really does mark the death of Itchy who is shot in the chest and throat by Tracy, very brutal way to die. The cover on this issue is just ok and while eye catching for Tracy fans would not draw in new readers.  The art inside is fantastic and done once more by the master of Sunday Funnies Chester Gould. While this is not the best in the Gladstone Comic reprint series, it still was a fun and solid read and enjoyable till the very end.

Original Tracy 5

The Original Dick Tracy # 5  ***
Released in 1991    Cover Price $2.00    Gladstone Comics    # 5 of 5

Dick Tracy Rubs Shoulders” while walking down the road Dick Tracy is stopped by a little girl named Themesong who for spare change will sing you your favorite song, this is a set up as a two bit crook named Roach who is also the young girls father steals Dick Tracy’s wallet…or so he thinks as Tracy has been on to them and after roughing up Roach he arrests him and takes Themesong in as well. The crook Shoulders pays for Roach’s bail and beats him with a belt to teach him a lesson as Pat and Tracy follow Themesong home to see what clues they can find out of who is the man in charge of this street pick pocket crimes. Tracy follows Themesong home and tries to speak to her sick mother but it goes no where as Themesong makes it impossible for the two adults to talk. Shoulders is worried about the cops being onto him sho he sends his woman Honey Doll to fake act like she has been robbed to see if she can get any info from the cops on leads and their next move against street crime. Tracy is onto Honey Doll and dont play her game of trying to get information, meanwhile Themesong goes to Shoulders apartment to warn her father and his crooked friends of the cops looking for them and this send Shoulders into a rage that leaves Themesong being knocked out via a lamp thrown in her face and Rouch being shot twice and dying from his wounds. While Shoulders and Honey go on the run Tracy is called to Themesong’s family apartment were the body of Roach now lies. Tracy along with his wrist radio trick Themesong via her radio to tell the police who shot her father dead, but just as she is about to Shoulders knocks out Tracy and shoots Themesong twice in the gut and decides to flee the area leaving behind Honey Doll who is heart broken and in turn tells the cops what plane Shoulders is leaving on! But the crook Shoulders is to smart for theme and decides to go to a small airfield were he steals a plane and during take off crashes it into a gas tank blowing himself up! While at the hospital Themesong is doing better and recovering from her gunshot wounds. While all this craziness is happing B.O. Plenty is getting married to Gravel Gertie and Breathless Mahoney is mad in jail as she was apart of the same crime as B.O who has yet to be sent to trail and sentenced! The anger and bitterness forces Breathless to fall ill and die, while B.O is finally placed in jail only to be set free when the only witness to the crime Breathless passed away making it a happy ending for the new Bride and Groom.

This last issue in this “Original Dick Tracy” comic reprint line has Dick Tracy busting a pickpocket gang and as well attending the marriage of a friend who could be sent to jail on his own wedding day! Tracy is taking no prisoners and wants to make the streets safe for the citizens as he is onto who the key players of this petty street crimes are and even in the process decides to try and change a young girls life around who is involved in this crime ring thanks to her no good father. Tracy is a good cop and a great person as he also shows he cares about his friends as he tries to help B.O Plenty not to go to jail for the rest of his life. Themesong that annoying young girl is showcased lots in this issue as its her origin story and this time around she is a brat who mouths off to the cops screams how she wants a “Mouthpiece” to talk to them and is shot twice and bounces back faster than Superman. I really dislike this character as I find her annoying and just so dang unnecessary to showcase as much as they do. When she is shot I found myself cheering for Shoulders and was hoping that this would have been the characters end, even though I new that it was not. Roach and Honey Doll are two great sidekick characters who put their trust into Shoulders who in the end ends up betraying them both and leaves Roach dead and Honey Doll a woman scorned and left in his dust. Shoulders is a mean spirited man who only clearly cares about money as he kills, beats up a child and smack a woman around in order to get what he wants, his downside is his own ego as he thinks he can fly a plane and does to right into a gas tank blowing himself up and ending his crime spree once and for all…well until later in the comic strip and not shown in this issue when its shown Shoulders lept out of the plane and faked his death. Poor Breathless Mahoney meets her end in jail from sickness and while near death she is very upset on how B.O is being treated and not spending jail time like she is for the same crime, but right before death she forgives him. B.O Plenty and Gravel Gertie are in love and are two white trash lovers who find happiness with each other and while annoying they do make a great pair and it’s cool to see B.O get out of spending any real jail time when the states main witness Breathless passes away. This final issue in this volume of the series is really cool and I enjoyed Tracy’s cat and mouse hunt for Shoulders with the only downside of this issue being is the whole last part is just spent on the marriage of B.O and Gravel and while fun and silly I also felt it killed the pace of the crime story that the beginning built up. The cover is eye catching for Tracy fans and the inside art while slightly sloppy is still Chester Gould gold! Over all a great comic series that brought back great memories of car rides to Grandma’s house and visiting old small town stores and looking back when Dick Tracy claimed the imaginations of the youth. Below is some pics from this series and shows you just how cool and old school this comic strip truly is….I love it!

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It’s a real bummer that Gladstone comics “The Original Dick Tracy” only lasted 5 issues as I would have loved to have read more adventures in this modern comic format featuring other top villains like The Brow and Pruneface, but sadly they canceled the series and later in 1990 the did a second series of The Original Dick Tracy that were bigger sized issues with card stock covers making them a little less charming for this reader. But it was great going back and reading these comic issues as I have not since 1990 when my brother was buying them from the local drug stores and newsstands.  This just reignited my respect and enjoyment for classic Tracy adventures. Our next update will be another topic that meant something to me growing up and will take us off the mean streets ruled by gangsters and into space where we will have to look out for Klingons as we take a look at the original Star Trek series and the Marvel Comics based off it. So I hope you’re ready to leave dry-dock and go on one wild ride with Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise! So until next time, read a comic or three, check out the local papers Sunday Funnies and as always support your local Horror Host, and see you in space next time around.

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Horror Host Icon: Grampa Munster

The USA Network ruled the Horror Host market on cable TV in the 80s and 90s with shows like Commander USA Groovie Movies, USA Up All Night and USA Saturday Nightmares, but cable networks TBS and TNT (both owned by Ted Turner) were not going to allow them to dominate that market unopposed when they started to air Super Scary Saturday on TBS and Monstervision on TNT, not to mention Dinner And A Movie that also aired on TBS. For this Horror Host Icon update, we are going to take a look at Grampa Munster, who hosted Super Scary Saturday and was the rival of Commander USA for a short while. Super Scary Saturday aired at noon on Saturday’s and was my source for seeing many of the Godzilla films for the first time as well as films like Willard, Ben and many of the Planet Of The Apes films that were made from the live action TV show.  This was another Horror Host show that I was glued to and always wanted to see what film he was showing by checking the local TV listings in the Sunday paper. So Beware and Be Scared as I am proud to bring to you an update I have been biting, I mean waiting, to do for years as I proudly present Horror Host Icon: Grampa!

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In 1987 Ted Turner and his TBS Superstation decided to try their hand at Horror Hosting on Saturday afternoons at 12:05 to capture the attention of all the monster kids of the 80’s who were watching cartoons and needed a fix of horror and comedy and so Super Scary Saturday was born. Hosted by Grampa from his lab and surrounded by the TBS movie vault, this vampire would select a film, and along with his pals Slim the Skeleton and Igor the Bat, they would host the day’s movies. Sometimes on his show he would have guests appear to weigh in on the day’s movie and to add a little more fun and silliness to the show. Grampa would always seem to be so hyped that the viewers were joining him for the day’s movie and would howl with laughter and spew cheesy puns and would end the episodes with his catchphrase “Be There Or Beware.”  For me that was something I always looked forward to hearing him say. One thing the show always did was imply that Grampa was Grandpa Munster, but they never said it outright.  On one episode, they even had his Grandson appear, played by Butch Patrick who played Eddie Munster on The Munsters! The opening credits and theme for Super Scary Saturday are still something I remember to this day as the song had a scary, then upbeat tempo over credits of movie monsters popping up and making us viewers play the What Movie Is That From game and also would spark the “Oh Look It’s…” excitement. Grampa was one of those Horror Hosts, like Commander USA, Dr. Creep and Joe Bob Briggs, that made me look forward to watching TV, and like them, he always made me feel like he was not just a host on TV but also a long time friend who enjoyed sharing cheesy movies with me. Super Scary Saturday was not only the first way I saw Godzilla films but also many of the Hammer Horror films and such cult classics as Williard and the 1972 made for TV film Gargoyles. But like all good things in life, TBS cancelled Super Scary Saturday in 1989 and ended Grampa entertaining me on Saturday mornings. I should also note that Super Scary Saturday was the only Horror Host show from my youth on broadcast cable TV that would many times show reruns as well as would re-use segments for different movies, but say what you will about it, this show was very important to me in my younger days and still holds a very special place in my heart. So with that I want to say thank you Grampa and all the cast and crew that made this show possible, and thank you Ted Turner for making original Horror Hosting programs for all us Monster Kids of the 80’s.

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One of my favorite episodes and one that stuck with me all these years is when Grampa hosted King Kong vs. Godzilla as not only do I love this terrible cheesy monster battle film but also because the skits for the episode were so fun that they are burned into my brain. This was also the episode that I can remember airing a few times and was also one that I recorded on an old Beta tape and watched it all the time. One of the major reasons I enjoyed this episode so much was also because it had guest NWA Pro Wrestlers Michael “P.S.” Hayes and Jim Cornette who acted as King Kong and Godzilla’s guest managers. The episode also treated the film like it was a build up to a big wrestling match and Grampa being all hyped up made me all hyped too! To this day it remains one of my favorite episodes and was a must have for me when I started to collect Horror Host shows. Below are some stills from that episode.

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Al Lewis was born Albert Meister on April 30, 1923 in New York, New York, and for years his true past was a mystery as he told many stories and many of them have no records of being fact.  Lewis has claimed to have been born in 1910 and even has said to have a Ph.D in child psychology from Columbia University which the University claims to have no record of.  Al found that his true calling was in acting and entertainment as he worked in many burlesque and vaudeville theaters as well did a few shows for Broadway like “Night Circus”, “One More River” and “Do Re Mi” in the late 50’s and early 60’s. He made the move to TV and took roles in shows like “Decoy”, “Route 66” and “Naked City”, but his first major role came in 1961 with “Car 54, Where Are You?” where he played Officer Leo Schnauser but his most beloved role came in 1964 when he played Grandpa Munster in the hit CBS show The Munsters. He would go on to have a guest role on “Lost In Space” in 1967 and then made the move to movies and throughout the 60’s and early 70’s starred in such films as “Pretty Boy Floyd” and “They Might Be Giants,” not to mention he would reprise the role of Grandpa Munster in two movies “Munster, Go Home!” from 1966 and “The Munsters Revenge,” the 1981 made for TV film. One cool yet uncredited role he played was in 1974 when he played a hotel lobby guard in the film “Death Wish” starring Charles Bronson. Throughout the 80’s, he did many TV and film projects that included “Super Scary Saturday” in 1987 and the 1988 film “Married To The Mob”. Al Lewis also starred in a few horror films like “Fright House” from 1989, the kid friendly 1992 film “My Grandpa Is A Vampire” and his final film the 2002 flick called “Night Terror”. Besides acting, Al Lewis has also worked as a game barker at Coney Island, was in a video game for the Atari 7800 called “Midnight Mutants”, opened up not only a restaurant called Grampa’s Bella Gente but also a comedy club he called Grandpa’s On New Drop Plaza, both in New York. He also did some stand up comedy and was a favorite guest of radio shock jock Howard Stern. Al also ran for governor of New York in 1998 as a Green Party candidate, but sadly did not win….he did however have his own radio show on WBAI that was a political themed show. Al was married twice and had three sons, but sadly later in life he fell on poor health and had to have his right leg from the knee down amputated as well as his toes on his left foot due to complications from heart issues, and on February 3, 2006, he passed away of natural causes. Al Lewis and his legacy of entertainment will live on through his body of work, and I will always remember the way he, with many of his roles, made my young life a very fun time!

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While Grampa was the main host of Super Scary Saturday, he had four sidekicks that made several appearances during the show’s run on TBS.  They were Igor his vampire bat assistant and the roller of the day’s film, Fang a blue fuzzy sharp tooth little creature, Slim a walking skeleton who was along for the fun ride of whatever Grampa had them doing that day for the show and lastly Deadrah a female mannequin who was created to be Slim’s girlfriend. Each sidekick had their own personality and each added something special to the episodes they appeared in. The most popular among me and my friends when we were kids was Egor as that bat was not only the projectionist but also was always trying to help Grampa or even one up him. Slim, his goofy and silent skeleton sidekick, has become my favorite now as an adult as he is always doing some silly gag from hanging himself to playing baseball all for a laugh. Poor Fang is the third sidekick who is almost always forgotten as this tiny little blue fur ball with a roar that could shake the lab always seemed to be a background player but was always nice to see in episodes. Deadrah as well is just a background player but helps add to the wacky cast of sidekick characters. While none of these characters had voices and would make noises, they seemed like real life creatures and each made their mark on this fun Saturday Morning program. Below is a picture of Slim, Fang plus Deadra, and like Grampa, I want to thank them as well for making my childhood rock!

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Besides hosting movies on Super Scary Saturday, Grampa also hosted films on VHS tapes for Amvest Video that would have him standing in front of a cheap green screen and shouting at Igor to start the movie among other back and fourths. This tape series was part of what was called “Grampa Presents.”  The back of the box would also give his rating of the film, that was of course done with bats! Grampa was doing this video series in 1988 the same time Super Scary Saturday was still airing on TBS, and growing up I would have loved to have owned this video series as he hosted such cheesy movies as The Snow Creature, Creature From The Haunted Sea, The Ape and many Bela Lugosi films like The Corpse Vanishes that our good friend and fellow blogger The Northeastern Video Hunter covered here on one of his updates.

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On March 22, 2014 at Horrorhound Weekend, as part of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame, Grampa Munster was inducteed in the 2014 class by none other than Baron Von Porkchop. This was a very surreal moment for me as I watched the host I helped create induct a host that not only entertained me in my youth but also was part of what inspired me to create a horror host show for the Dayton, Ohio market. As always, Baron Von Porkchop did great research on Grampa and was equally as honored as I was to induct such an iconic horror host and all around TV celebrity into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame. Baron’s speech went over well, and the audience gave him a nice clap and cheer for his speech.  Sadly with Al Lewis passing away, he was not able to accept the plaque but I am sure he was looking down from heaven with a cigar in his mouth and given that classic Grampa laugh.

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So now we are at the point of this update where I will share write ups on the episodes I own of Super Scary Saturday from the Superstation.  This is one of the fun aspects of doing a Horror Host Icon update, getting to re-watch the episodes and remember back to when I first watched them on broadcast TV, or in some cases see them for the first time. I want to thank many people who over the years helped me get these episodes I am about to watch like Stumpy Disks, my brother Bryan, Kristy Langford and my friend Darren, all of whom helped made this important Icon update possible. So with that, pull up a seat in the screaming room and get a little taste of what Grampa and his show Super Scary Saturday offered us who watched him back in the late 80’s. As always, the episodes will be done in alphabetical order with the film’s plot being taken from IMDB and the show’s plot being written by me.  So stock up on your favorite plasma themed drink and let’s have some fun with Grampa.

Super Scary Saturday Dr Phibes dvd

Super Scary Saturday: Abominable Dr. Phibes
Starring – Vincent Price & Joseph Cotten    Rated PG-13    1971

Host: Grampa is in the Screaming Room and is very happy to bring you the day’s film because it stars Vincent Price as a crazed doctor.  He and Igor exchange some quick ideas for a dream day that includes fresh blood and pretty bat ladies. In between commercials, Grampa delivers cheesy jokes and puns that are sure to make you chuckle. In the end Grampa is very happy, and he and Igor break down the film’s deaths then invite us to join him next week.

Movie: Doctors are being murdered in a bizarre manner: bats, bees, killer frog masks, etc., which represent the nine Biblical plagues. The crimes are orchestrated by a demented organ player with the help of his mute assistant. The detective is stumped until he finds that all of the doctors being killed assisted a Dr. Vesalius on an unsuccessful operation involving the wife of Dr. Phibes, but he couldn’t be the culprit, could he? He was killed in a car crash upon learning of his wife’s death.

Super Scary Saturday Back To The Planet Of The Apes DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Back To The Planet Of The Apes
Starring – Roddy McDowall & Bobby Porter    Not Rated    1981

Host: This episode is a poor man’s hack job as the slob who taped it did his best to cut out all of Grampa’s opening and ending segments! I got a brief look at Grampa with a bag before it’s clipped. The episode has Grampa using a time machine and has him packing for his time jump as well as making all preparations for his trip to the past. And while sitting in his time machine, he turns it on and in a flash of the eye he is gone! Grampa makes it back to with a smile on his face and a laugh on his lips…and the recording stops.

Movie: Three twentieth century astronauts travel through a time warp and crash on Earth in 3085 A.D.. One of the astronauts is killed in the impact, and the two survivors, Alan Virdon and Pete Burke, find that they have returned to an Earth where their loved ones are long dead, where technological civilization has fallen, and where humanity is subjugated by intelligent, talking simians who live in jungle cities and preside over pastoral hinterlands. The two astronauts are captured by horse-riding gorillas (the ape army) and taken before an orangutan tribunal. They are deemed a threat to ape security and sentenced to death. The two condemned men are visited in their cell by a curious chimpanzee named Galen, who is fascinated by their accounts of an advanced human civilization centuries past. After Galen accidentally kills a gorilla and is charged with murder, Virdon, Burke, and Galen all escape the ape city and are fugitives hunted by a determined gorilla named Urko. Virdon manages to salvage.

Note From Matt: I almost left this episode off my update due to the terrible record job, but decided to add it because while it might not be a full episode and have only snippets of the opening and closing segments, it’s still apart of Super Scary Saturday’s legacy.

Super Scary Saturday Ben DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Ben
Starring – Lee Montgomery & Meredith Baxter    Rated PG    1972

Host: Grampa has a rat in the lab, and along with Igor and Slim, he is trying to rid the area of these pests.  Grampa builds the ultimate rat trap that would have had a weight drop and crush the rats, but instead he finds himself with a massive headache as he is the victim of the weight as it backfires and bonks him on the head. Grampa’s next plan is to use the Red Pages and calls The Piped Piper Rat Catcher service to come to the lab and get rid of his rat issue…..but sadly the episode is not complete and cuts off at the end of the film.

Movie: A lonely boy befriends Ben, the leader of a violent pack of killer rats.

Super Scary Saturday Boy Who Cried Werewolf

Super Scary Saturday: Boy Who Cried Werewolf
Starring – Kerwin Mathews & Elaine Devry    Rated PG    1973

Host: Grampa is having a Blood Beach Party along with Slim, Deadrah and Igor and is enjoying the moon. He also sees his friends Mummy-O and The Invisible Man as they chill out on the beach. They use coffin lids as surfboards, and Grampa goes surfing alongside Slim and each try to out do each other to become king of the beach, and this causes Grampa to wipe out. They also relax and listen to the newest beach band called The Rolling Bones, and everyone on the beach lends a hand by playing a instrument or even just dancing as does the zombie babes who have joined the party. Grampa and his beach gang play one last song as the sun is about to come up, and they rock n roll their way to closing the show.

Movie: Richie Bridgestone (whose parents are divorced) goes to spend the weekend with his father at his secluded mountain cabin. During a moonlight hike, they are attacked in the darkness by a creature that he recognizes as a werewolf. During the struggle, the werewolf falls into a ravine and is impaled by a wooden fence, but not before biting his father. Upon investigation, they find their attacker to be human and the sheriff concludes their attacker was an insane drifter. He spends the rest of the film trying to convince his mother, and his therapist that his father is now a werewolf.

Super Scary Saturday Day Of The Animals DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Day Of The Animals
Starring – Christopher George & Leslie Nielsen    Rated PG    1977

Host: Grampa is using his spell book to create a ghoulfriend for Slim who is having a hard time finding a date. Grampa uses all types of odd objects, from a hourglass to a dog’s bone and stirs them into a kettle pot and takes the liquid and pours it inside a crate onto a body.  While they wait for the ghoulfriend to wake up, Grampa selects the day’s movie Day Of The Animals. While we wait for the ghoulfriend to be awaken, Grampa, as always, entertains with puns and cheesy jokes, even holding a contest to have dinner with him and win his supply of noodles he created. In the end, Slim’s new ghoulfriend comes to life and the world gets their first look at Deadrah!

Movie: The depletion of the earth’s ozone layer causes animals above the altitude of 5000 feet to run amok, which is very unfortunate for a group of hikers who get dropped off up there by helicopter just before the quarantine is announced.

SuperScary Saturday Dracula Has Risen From The Grave DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Dracula Has Risen From The Grave
Starring – Christopher Lee & Veronica Carlson    Rated G    1968

Host: Grampa along with Fang, Igor, Slim and his date are all in the Screaming Room as today they are going to watch old home movies and feel happy and reflect on the frienship they have had for many decades. Sadly, I am pretty sure the episode is missing the end segment.

Movie: When his castle is exorcised, Dracula plots his revenge against the Monsignor who performed the rites by attempting to make the holy man’s young niece his bride.

Super Scary Saturday Frogs DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Frogs
Starring – Ray Milland & Sam Elliot    Rated PG    1972

Host: Grampa is in the Screaming Room and has tired blood, and when Igor drops an iron on his head, he thinks he might have an iron deficiency! Grampa is hyped for the day’s movie like always and later wants to work on something that will pick him up. Grampa creates a drink that includes sweat from the NWA World Champion, the protection eye glasses from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a half eaten taco from Dom DeLuise and half a cup of bean sprouts…but he has the help of Slim who gives him Jack and the Beanstalk’s! Grampa drinks it and grows large and into a giant.  He needs help to shrink back to normal, and Igor goes to get help while Slim hides as Grampa is not happy at all. Igor brings a tailor from a Vampire tall and fat shop, who is no help at all, but on his own Grampa shrinks back to normal size and feels good and ready to prowl the his castle lab.

Movie: Jason Crockett is an aging, grumpy, physically disabled millionaire who invites his family to his island estate for his birthday celebration. Pickett Smith is a free-lance photographer who is doing a pollution layout for an ecology magazine. Jason Crockett hates nature, poisoning anything that crawls on his property. On the night of his birthday the frogs and other members of nature begin to pay Crockett back.

Super Scary Saturday Gargoyles DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Gargoyles
Starring – Cornel Wilde & Bernie Casey    Not Rated    1972

Host: Grampa has an alarm installed on his casket and catches Slim in the act of trying to stake him through the heart! Grampa then tries to read some fan mail but soon finds that Egor gets double the amount he gets, but this doesn’t stop him from also introducing us to Fang, his new pet! Grampa also talks about how he and Egor have been friends with Gargoyles and that the day’s movie was really just a home movie they left for us all to watch. In the end Grampa is moon bathing, and Fang is cranky and hungry and thus ends another episode of Super Scary Saturday.

Movie: After receiving word about a mysterious carcass/skeleton unearthed in the Arizona desert, a father and his daughter decide to remove it from the burial grounds for further study. Once they do so, they, as well as the town, are besieged by a colony of gargoyles living in some nearby caverns.

Super Scary Saturday Ghidrah DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Ghidrah
Starring – Yosuke Natsuki & Yuriko Hoshi    Not Rated    1964

Host: Grampa digs in the Superstation Movie Mausoleum and finds the day’s movie as he picks Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster and is very hyped to present it and has Egor run the film. Grampa comes back to deliver some quick jokes about the monsters from today’s film just to spice up those boring commercial breaks. By the end Grampa breaks down the highlights and the rules of the battle between Ghidrah as he took on Godzilla, larva Mothra and Rodan.

Movie: A princess from a small Himalayan country becomes possessed by the spirit of a Venusian (a Martian in the American version) and escapes a plane just as it explodes. As this happens a meteorite falls from the sky containing Ghidrah, the monster responsible for her planet’s destruction. At the same time, Godzilla and Rodan emerge from hibernation and not only attack Japan, but each other as well. Mothra, along with its twin priestesses, attempt to convince Godzilla and Rodan to stop their fighting each other and to team up to fight the new monster. At the same time, the princess is being hunted by a group of assassins who want to kill her so that her enemies can take over her homeland.

Super Scary Saturday Godzilla DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Godzilla
Starring – Raymond Burr & Akira Takarada    Not Rated    1954

Host: This is the first episode of Super Scary Saturday, and our host Grampa is so happy that we have joined him in the lab to watch the day’s movie! He goes to the Superstation Movie Mausoleum and digs around, passing on such films as Mommy Dearest and Death Wish, and finds Godzilla and is super hyped as it’s one of his all time favorites. Grampa sits in the screaming room and has Igor pour popcorn on his head as the movie starts. Grandpa hangs around and does a few silly puns in-between segments, and our first episode ends. I want to say that the last segment is missing from this recording.

Movie: Japan is thrown into a panic after several ships explode and are sunk. At first, the authorities think its either underwater mines or underwater volcanic activity. The authorities soon head to Odo Island, close to where several of the ships were sunk. One night, something comes onshore and destroys several houses and kills several people. A later expedition to the island led by paleontologist Professor Kyôhei Yamane, his daughter Emiko, and young navy frogman Hideto Ogata (who also happens to be Emiko’s lover, even though she is betrothed to Dr. Daisuke Serizawa) soon discover something more devastating than imagined in the form of a 164-foot-tall (50-meter-tall) monster whom the natives call Gojira. Now, the monster begins a rampage that threatens to destroy not only Japan but the rest of the world as well. Can the monster be destroyed before it is too late, and what role will the mysterious Serizawa play in the battle?

Super Scary Saturday Godzilla Revege dvd

Super Scary Saturday: Godzilla’s Revenge
Starring – Tomonori Yazaki & Sachio Sakai     Not Rated    1969

Host: Grampa is in the Screaming Room and is saying today’s movie is Monstermania and is the Wrestlemania of monster fights as Godzilla takes on all comers. Grampa also allows both monsters to give an interview (done by NWA Wrestlers) about how bad they are going to beat each other up! In the end Grampa interviews Godzilla live from the lab! Best part of Godzilla in the lab is that its a blow up toy!

Movie: Ichiro is a highly imaginative, but lonely, boy growing up in urban Tokyo. Every day he comes home to the empty apartment he shares with his railroad worker father and his restaurant hostess mother. His only friends are a toy maker name Shinpei Inami and a little girl named Sachicko. The only other kids that are around is a gang of kids led by a bully named Gabara. To escape his loneliness, Ichiro imagines that he is on Monster Island where he befriends Minya, the son of Godzilla. It is through his daydreams that he watches Godzilla and Minya fight other monsters, including one also named Gabara who is just as bad a bully as the one that is tormenting Ichiro. It is through these daydreams that he learns that it is okay to fight back and face his fears. These lessons also help him to outwit a couple of bumbling bank robbers as well as finally have the guts to stand up to Gabara and his gang.

Super Scary Saturday Godzilla vs. Sea Monster DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Godzilla vs. Sea Monster
Starring – Akira Takarada & Kumi Mizuno    Rated PG    1966

Host: Grampa enters that lab cackling like a mad man and looks in the Superstation Movie Mausoleum and digs up some movies that just wont do until he finds the afternoons movie and its Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster! He also introduces us to the Egor-Cam a small camera that is attactched to his bat sidekick! Grampa also claims that this film is the best sports movie ever made! Grampa ends the show by showing highlights from what he calls the first ever monster tennis match and shares clips of the film with Godzilla and the Sea Monster tossing a rock back and fourth.

Movie: Some teenagers want to obtain a boat to find a brother. When they look around a boat without permission, they find a thief who takes them on his escape. They are caught in a storm and arrive at Letchi Island where natives of Infant Island have been enslaved by the terrorist organisation Red Bamboo. Red Bamboo runs a heavy water factory to process a juice which holds off the monster, Ebirah, which otherwise traps them on the island. The young men meet beautiful but tough Daiyo and wake up Godzilla to put an end to the Red Bamboo.

Super Scary Saturday Island of Dr Moreau DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Island Of Dr. Moreau
Starring – Burt Lancaster & Michael York    Rated PG    1977

Host: Grampa is taking a trip down memory lane in the labs basement and is showing off items of his past like his first coffin and Blood Light a drink him and Slim use to guzzle down. He then shares that he was good friends with Dr. Moreau and drifts into memories of his past as Igor roles the days film. In the end Grampa is dressed in his old collage colors and gear and is pretty happy about his life and stays in the basement as he ends the show.

Movie: A ship-wrecked man floats ashore on an island in the Pacific Ocean. The island is inhabited by a scientist, Dr. Moreau, who in an experiment has turned beasts into human beings.

Super Scary Saturday King Kong vs Godzilla DVD

Super Scary Saturday: King Kong vs. Godzilla
Starring – Tadao Takashima & Kenji Sahara    Not Rated    1962

Host: Once More Grampa is very hyped for the days film as it pits Godzilla against King Kong in fight thats as epic as Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat and is truly the match of the centery! He also introduces the guests managers that has NWA Pro Wrestlers Michael Hayes in King Kong’s corner and Jim Cornette in Godzilla’s and each share why their monster will win the fight! Grampa inbetween commercials is still amped up the fight and is still filled with puns and site gags that he delivers with a smile. In the end Grampa shows highlights from the fight and Michael Hayes and Cornette argue on what monster really won the fight!

Movie: Mr. Tako, the chairman of a pharmaceutical company, learns the roma tomato-sized berries that grow on Farou Island are a miracle cure, and that the natives worship a god called King Kong who has allegedly grown to giant size from eating the berries. What better way to promote the product, Tako figures, than to bring the creature back to Japan? He leads an expedition with Sakurai and Furue to get the berries and the monster. Meanwhile, some American pilots discover the chunk of the glacier Godzilla was sealed in back in 1955. Sakurai’s sister’s boyfriend Kazuo is busy trying to sell an invisible but super-strong wire, which of course no one wants until Kong escapes.

Super Scary Saturday Mothra dvd

Super Scary Saturday: Mothra
Starring – Furanki Sakai & Yumi Ito    Not Rated    1961

Host: Grampa enters the Superstation Movie Mausoleum and passes on films like “Body And Soul” and “Beat The Devil” and decides to select Mothra for the days movie but before he can fully start the movie he is attacked by Mothra who is flying around the castle! Inbetween the film Grampa delivers puns and jokes about Mothra being a big Moth. In the end Grampa chats about Mothra really being a good guy but he can forgive it for being a hero!

Movie: Shipwreck survivors are found on Beiru Island (Infanto tô), which was previously used for atomic tests. The interior is amazingly free of radiation effects, and they believe that they were protected by a special juice that was given to them by the island’s residents. A joint expedition of Rolisican and Japanese scientists explores Beiru and discovers many curious things, including two women only one foot (30 centimeters) high. Unscrupulous expedition leader Clark Nelson abducts the women and puts them in a vaudeville show. But their sweet singing contains a telepathic cry for help to Mothra, a gigantic moth that is worshiped as a deity by the island people. The giant monster heeds the call of the women and heads to Tokyo, wreaking destruction in its path.

Super Scary Saturday The Mummy 2 DVD

Super Scary Saturday: The Mummy
Starring – Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee    Unrated    1959

Host: Grampa has been selected as a guest on the show “This Is Your Death” with host Carl Crypt who brings Grampa into the lab and brings people from his past back into his life, but Grampa wants nothing to do with this and tries his best to take out host Carl before the show can even go on! But the show still continues as Grampa gets a call from his Mom and she tell him to do the show so we see such characters as Slim his skeleton collage friend and co-host of Super Scary Saturday, Igor shows up who was a flight school friend and as well co-host of this Horror Host Show! Lenny The Louge Lizard a dinosour headed man who use to dig up ghouls from the grave and stole Grandpa’s best ghoul and lastly his grandson Eddie shows up and the show ends with a happy reunion.

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

Super Scary Saturday Mystery Of The Wax Museum DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Mystery Of The Wax Museum
Starring – Lionel Atwill & Fay Wray    Not Rated    1933

Host: Grampa is upset about all the bills that are pilling up and are all past due! He soons finds out that the money is being spent by Slim for his new mannequin girlfriend! The lab looses power and they must use candles to light it up and start to host the days movie, and Grampa ends up beating up Slim for using all the money! In the end Grampa gives his thoughts of the movies bad guy and closes the show with Slim who has a black eye and his head wrapped.

Movie: In London, sculptor Ivan Igor struggles in vain to prevent his partner Worth from burning his wax museum…and his ‘children.’ Years later, Igor starts a new museum in New York, but his maimed hands confine him to directing lesser artists. People begin disappearing (including a corpse from the morgue); Igor takes a sinister interest in Charlotte Duncan, fiancée of his assistant Ralph, but arouses the suspicions of Charlotte’s roommate, wisecracking reporter Florence.

Super Scary Saturday Rodan dvd

Super Scary Saturday: Rodan
Starring – Kenji Sahara & Akio Kobori    Not Rated    1956

Host: Grampa is in a great mood and comes dancing down the stairs and heads to the Superstation Movie Mausoleum were he takes the shovel from Slim and finds such films as The Exorcist and I Was A Teenage Werewolf but gets really happy when he finds Rodan and selects it as the days movie! Grampa loves the film so much he gives it 4 pints and two fangs up! Grampa, Slim and Igor ever judge Rodan’s dive into the water and as always inbetween the film Grampa delivers cheesy jokes and puns.

Movie: In the Japanese mining village of Kitamatsu, miners ares starting to disappear deep inside shaft number 8. Some of the men sent to investigate are killed but one who has managed to escape brings back a tale of a giant insect. Soon, the giant prehistoric insects are attacking the village. Not long after, something traveling faster than the speed of sound is found flying in the sky. It is Rodan, a giant flying prehistoric reptile that has come to life. It spreads terror throughout Japan and is seemingly invincible to any weapon they may throw at it.

Note From Matt: Not 100% sure if this episode is complete.

Super Scary Saturday The Thing DVD

Super Scary Saturday: The Thing
Starring – Kenneth Tobey & James Arness    Unrated    1951

Host: Grampa is in the screaming room and shares the plot of The Thing From Another World to the viewers as a planet grows bigger and bigger blocking him from the camera and the viewers. In-between the film Grampa once more tells the viewers about his contest to have dinner with him in New York to eat at his very own restaurant and also treats us to his jokes and puns based on the day’s film. In the end Grampa introduces us to Spudnic, a potato man who by the end of the show is attacked by the growing plant and is saved by Grampa!

Movie: Scientists at an Arctic research station discover a spacecraft buried in the ice. Upon closer examination, they discover the frozen pilot. All hell breaks loose when they take him back to their station and he is accidentally thawed out!

Super Scary Saturday Valley Of Gwangi dvd

Super Scary Saturday: Valley Of The Gwangi
Starring – Richard Carlson & Gila Golan    Rated G    1969

Host: Agent Friday The 13th is a part of Drac Net a group of Vampire Cops, his sidekick is SGT. Skeleton, and they must help Grampa as Slim is missing! Agent Friday The 13th gets to the castle and gets the facts from Grampa about the last time he saw Slim, and Igor even tries to help when he finds a ransom note that says the kidnapper wants pints of blood for the return of Slim. After investigating more clues, Agent Friday The 13th and SGT. Skeleton decide that they know who the kidnapper is and head toward the graveyard near the beach where the ransom blood was to be dropped off and find that the kidnapper is none other than Slim himself who wanted to prove a point to Grampa that he feels like he has been taken advantage of!

Movie: Cowboy James Franciscus seeks fame and fortune by capturing a Tyrannosaurus Rex living in the Forbidden Valley and putting it in a Mexican circus. His victim, called the Gwangi, turns out to have an aversion to being shown in public.

Super Scary Saturday War Of Gargantuas dvd

Super Scary Saturday: War Of Gargantuas
Starring – Russ Tamblyn & Kumi Mizuno    Rated G    1966

Host: Grampa is in the lab and gets a call from the Transylvania Army, and it’s his duty to report in.  His mission is to save the Transylvania Blood Bank that is being held hostage. Gramp decides to send in Slimbo, an elite fighting machine and sends Igor to get Slimbo’s pardon from jail.  When freed, Slimbo gets ready for war to free the hostages. While the battle is brutal, in the end Slimbo is able to save the day and free the hostages. Grampa also gives Slimbo a purple heart for his seek and save mission.

Movie: An experimental lab animal called a gargantua escapes from his captors and is suspected to be the creature that is killing people all over the countryside. But when the gargantua from the lab appears at the same time as the evil gargantua, the two begin to battle across Japan.

Note From Matt: This is my second favorite episode of Super Scary Saturday as it’s take on Rambo is super fun and has some of the best segments filmed for this Horror Host series. In closing “Last Blood Slimbo” kicks butt!

Super Scary Saturday Minotar DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Warlord Of Crete
Starring – Bob Mathias & Rosanna Schiaffino    Not Rated    1960

Host: Grampa, Deadrah and Slim are in the lab and wants to teach us all about Transylvania home cooking that uses such ingredients like worms and shark eggs. Grampa is truly the Monster Chef and even credits his one time friend Jaws for helping him get some of the items he needed. He teaches the art of making salads as well as navy beans soup and crab soup. Throughout the episode Grampa and his assistants show us all types of gross food as well as ones that are just terrible puns like a fish on a sword that he says is of course a swordfish.  Egor as well shows up just to add some annoyance to Grampa as he tries to cook. In the end Grampa shares the main attraction: the meal’s desserts that include lady fingers, chocolate noose and upside down cake that turns the camera upside down!

Movie: King Minos sacrifices the ‘required’ virgins to the Minotaur. As his wife lies dieing, she confesses that her daughter has a twin she has secreted to avoid giving one of the girls to the Minotaur. The daughter raised by Minos tries to have her twin killed, but failing in her first attempt, continues to try to have her given to the Minotaur. Theseus, the Greek hero, tries to prevent it.

Super Scary Saturday Willard DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Willard
Starring – Bruce Davison & Elsa Lanchester    Rated PG    1971

Host: Grampa is having a rat in the lab and along with Igor and Slim he is trying to ride the area of these pests, and Grampa builds a ultimate rat trap that would have had a weight drop and crush the rats but instead it backfires and he finds himself with a massive headache as he is the victim of the weight as it backfires and bonks him on the head. Grampa’s next plan is to use the Red Pages and calls The Piped Piper Rat Catcher servise to come to the lab and get ride of his rat issue…..buts sadly the episode is not complete and cuts off at the end of the film.

Movie: A social misfit, Willard is made fun of by his co-workers, and squeezed out of the company started by his deceased father by his boss. His only friends are a couple of rats he raised at home, Ben and Socrates. (And their increasing number of friends) However, when one of them is killed at work, he goes on a rampage using his rats to attack those who have been tormenting him.

Note From Matt: This also has the same skits as Ben and cuts off the same time, how does Grampa rid the lab of the rats, dang it?!!!

Super Scary Saturday TV Ad

Super Scary Saturday was a great way to unwind from the day’s cartoons when I was a kid and also acted as an alternative to Commander USA when he was off air for tennis matches.  While Grampa might not have been as iconic in the Brassfield house, he still was a big part of my childhood and once more I must stress he was the first to introduce me to Godzilla in movies as well as many of the Hammer Horror films and for that alone he is a true icon of Horror Hosting in my eyes. I must also note on some of these episodes they had a contest were you could win a trip to New York and have dinner with Grampa at his own restaurant or even win a life time supply of Grampa’s Home Pasta! Man, that would have been amazing to have dinner with Grampa.  If I would have won this as a kid I am sure he would have loved me talking about horror films, cartoons, toys and comics nonstop! So to wrap up this Horror Host Icon Update, I want to say once more thanks to Grampa, Slim, Igor and Fang for help making my childhood amazing and filled with monsters and horror. Our next update will take us out of the Superstation Movie Mausoleum and into the world of crime where thugs like Mumbles, The Brow and Flattop run the streets and only one man can bring them to justice.  That man is Dick Tracy, and he will be the subject of our next update so I hope to see you back here for that one. So until next time, Support Your Local Horror Host and Be There Or Beware for my next update!

Dick Tracy Logo preview

Batman vs. The Abominable Snowman: Dawn Of Winter

Forget “Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice,” this update is the real battle for Batman that you comic book readers have been chatting about at your local comic shops for years and wondering when a rematch will happen, or better yet when the movie based on this epic fight will ever make it to the big screen! I am not talking about Batman’s epic fights with such characters as The Predator, Count Dracula, Xenomorphs or even with his regular baddies like The Joker, Bane, Two Face or Catwoman.  No, this battle puts them all to shame as I am talking about his fight with the king of the mountain, the monster of Tibet, the one and only Snowman aka The Abominable Snowman! Wait what? Some of you readers seem not to remember The Snowman, a character who was a thorn in Batman’s side for two issues of his ongoing DC titles in the 70’s. For this update we will not only learn a little about The Snowman but also about the legend of the Yeti and maybe I will try to play and beat a cool custom Batman NES Batman game put out to PacnsacDave! I know it’s the middle of summer and late July, but get your warmest jacket on as we are climbing Mount Everest to become one with The Snowman as we take a look at his two Batman appearances.  So grab some hot cocoa, and let’s start our fun and dangerous hike.

Mount Everest The Home Of The Yeti

The men and woman of Tibet and the surrounding area have had stories for centuries about a half man and half primate creature that roams the mountains around them that they call Yeti, Meh-Teh and other names like The Abominable Snowman. It’s been recorded that the Lepcha People of the Sikkim region worshipped a being from the Himalayan Mountains they called the Glacier Being and was the god of the hunt. In the 19th century, stories of a wild man who was ape-like carrying a stone as a weapon were told by people of the Bon religion. Throughout the 19th Century, many strange footprints were found in the snow on the Himalayan Mountains, and tracker B.H. Hodgson claimed that his guides had seen a giant hairy creature while climbing that scared them half to death.  He would later say he thought it was just an orangutan. The mystery of this unknown snow creature grew in the 20th Century when more and more sightings and footprints turned up in the mountains and of course more rich explorers and scientists rushed to be the first to capture, kill or get proof of the creature’s existence. Many more sightings and popped up through the decades, and the term Cryptozoology became a mainstay in believers’ vocabulary. In the 21st Century the Yeti has lost some steam and most of the time when it pops up in the news it is done by pranksters and hoaxers who are looking for attention and their 15 minutes of fame. Many TV shows, scientists and hunters have given their thoughts on what the Yeti truly is: an unknown ape species, all the way to just a plain old bear. So what do you readers think, is The Abominable Snowman real or is it a hoax? Check out the picture below that is said to be a true photo of the Yeti in the mountains and make up your own mind if he is really out there.

The Yeti caught on photo

Back in 1954, a scalp that was said to belong to the Yeti was found at a Pangboche Monastery along with a hand that was also claimed to have belonged to the creature. The monks were very protective of these items and kept them safe from outsiders and thrill-seekers who were on the hunt for The Abominable Snowman, wanting to make a name for themselves in the press. These items were just the kind of thing the Daily Mail, the newspaper who fronted the expedition, was looking for, and after pleading and ultimately tricking the monks, they were allowed to examine and extract some hair and skin tissue from the items. The media buzz around this was huge, and people thought that these samples held the truth of the Yeti’s existence, making the famed footprints look like thrift store leftover evidence. The first test on the hairs proved that they were not human nor ape, but scientists could not truly identify their species of origin, which of course sparked even more of a fever for those who wanted to find out if the Yeti was fact or fiction. The hand was also tested, and at first they claimed that it had Neanderthal qualities sending more people into the Yeti loving frenzy. Years later the hand and scalp were talked about on the hit TV show Unsolved Mysteries.  They tested a sample of the hand and found it to only have “near human” properties, but this episode sparked the hand to be stolen from the Pangboche Monks.  It would turn up in a private collection via the illegal black antiquities market and would pop back up in 2011 when new tests on it found that it had the DNA of a human. So are the scalp and the hand the real deal, or are they some from some poor human and animal? I should also note that besides these two items and the footprints, many other evidence has been found to prove the Yeti real from blurry photos to poop that is said to have belonged to the famed creature of the mountains. I am not sure what to think but would not rule out the existence of The Abominable Snowman as many unknowns lurk in this world we all share.

Yeti scalp and hand

Anyone who owned a computer in the early 90’s played a free game called SkiFree that was created by Chris Pirih and released as part of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack. The game was originally made by Pirih for his own use, but when his boss at Microsoft saw him playing it, an agreement was made for it to be released as part of their software pack in 1991. The gameplay has you take control of a skier who’s on the side of a mountain and must avoid obstacles like stumps, trees and worst of all, the a man eating creature called The Abominable Snow Monster who will chase you.  If he catches you, he’ll eat you like a chicken wing! I can remember playing this game on my brother’s old PC that he bought with his own money and finding it a cheesy way to waste time. I can remember screaming as the Yeti would give chase to my skier and how annoyed I would get when I could not out run him and had to watch as he gobbled my player up. But as you can see, even with this silly cheap game the Yeti has wormed his way into pulp culture. Check out below for some cool images of SkiFree.

SkiFree YetiSkiFree Title ScreenSkiFree Running Yeti

I should also note that the Yeti aka The Abominable Snowman has starred in his fair share of horror and science fiction films over the years with many of them being cheesy classics and some of them being very entertaining! Some are the 1957 Hammer Horror film “The Abominable Snowman” starring Peter Cushing and “Werewolf vs. The Yeti” starring the one and only Paul Naschy. Some of the cheesy ones include “Yeti: Giant Of The 20th Century” that was released in 1977 and the 1954 goofy classic “The Snow Creature.” Some of the not so good include “Yeti: A Love Story” that was released in 2006 and “Shriek Of The Mutilated” from 1974, a film so bad that I for some reason find myself loving it. Some video game appearances include “Plants vs. Zombies”, “Far Cry 4” and “Tomb Raider II” to name a few. And let’s not get started on all the comic books and novels that he has appeared in, let alone cartoons and toys! So one thing is for sure, The Abominable Snowman is in our culture, and he’s here to stay.

The Abominable Snowman DVDWerewolf Vs The Yeti DVD BootYeti Giant Of The 20th Centery DVDYeti A Love Story DVD

Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, and many hikers, explores, researchers and thrill seekers have tempted their fate and tried to make the climb to the top of the mountain that is super dangerous and is not recommended for armatures or even for that fact almost anyone! The first people to successfully climb Everest were Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.  The climb was dangerous but also inspired many people to want to tempt fate and become the second, third, fourth and so on to make it to the top.  Many craved the notoriety of being one of the select few to make it to the top and back down alive. But a sad truth about Everest is that the beautiful mountain is a graveyard for the remains of many hikers who never made it down the mountain.  It’s too dangerous to bring down the dead or injured so many bodies are left frozen in time. You see, many people are not prepared for the climb to the top, and fellow climbers are told that if you find someone in a danger zone, hurt or dying, to leave them behind as those who end up trying to help a injured person end up in danger themselves and 9 ½ out of 10 times more likely end up dead themselves from the elements and brisk cold unforgiving weather. So I would like to take a moment to mourn all those who have lost their lives climbing Everest –  may their souls find peace.  I also would like to show support for all those poor climbers who have had to leave a fellow person behind as I am sure that is a terrible feeling.

Mount Everest rip

We are halfway up to the top of this update so we should take a moment to sit by the fire, warm up, and sip a warm beverage and take a look at a comic that I ordered from Indy Planet some time back and have been itching to read and review.  I think that this update is the perfect time to unleash it on you the readers. The comic is called The Railroad Killer and is put out by a company called Jimmy Daze Comics.  It was one that caught my eye when I placed my last order of independent horror comics.  So let’s sit around and use this issue as our spooky story before we go back on the hunt for the Yeti.

The Railroad Killer 1

The Railroad Killer # 1  ***
Released in 2009     Cover Price $0.00   Jimmy Daze Comics   # 1 of 1

An old drunk near the train tracks is angered as the train speeds by, but his anger is short lived as someone brutally beats him to death. The next day the police show up and the urban legend talk of the Railroad Killer spreads among the youth who are near the crime scene. Miranda Jr. is one of the cops on the scene, and he has a flashback to when he was a kid in 1985 and he and his brother and friends watched as the local hot teenage girl was murdered by the train tracks by a strange unknown man with a sledge hammer! Miranda decides that tonight he is going to prove that the Railroad Killer is real and waits around the train tracks all night to capture this supernatural killer. Later that night he gets his wish and comes face to face with The Railroad Killer for the last time. After the fatal meeting, we flashback to the year 1881 when a young Chinese rail worker is accused of raping a white woman and vigilante justice is served as he is beaten and run over by a train…and so the revenge spirit of The Railroad Killer is born!

This is a fun quick horror comic read that was a nice mix of slasher and urban legend and was done with tasteful amounts of blood and violence. Our story is simple and effective as if follows a cop who wants to face the town’s local unknown killer and stop it once and for all. Miranda Jr. seems like a good cop who has guilt over watching a young woman get murdered in his youth and not doing anything to help her, but his need for redemption just leads him onto a path of his own destruction. The Railroad Killer is a supernatural killer who was wronged when he was alive and now takes his revenge on anyone near the tracks at night. He is brutal using a big sledgehammer as well as the moving trains themselves to kill and takes pleasure in the act of murder. The very cool part of this one shot comic is the fact they give backstories for both our hero and bad guy and brings the reader into the motives behind their good and evil actions. Besides the story, the art done by Arturo Delgado Molina is really good and brings these characters to life. The most brutal kill of the issue has to be the death of Miranda Jr. who is beaten and then placed under the trail and decapitated! If you’re a fan of horror comics like me, The Railroad Killer is one that you will want to check out as it’s a spooky urban legend about an effective and brutal killer. Below is some artwork from this issue to show you Molina’s style.

Railroad Killer Art 1

That was a fun break, but I can hear the howl of the Yeti in the distance. I am not ready to come face to face with him yet so let’s just sit around a little longer and play a video game! I am on a kick of getting NES carts of “homebrew” or unreleased games, and one of the guys I have been getting items from is named Pacnsacdave who just so happened to have a homebrew game called “Batman & Robin: Shadows Of Gotham” that acts as the third in the NES Batman series that already consisted of “Batman” and “Batman: Return Of The Joker” and hell I guess you can count “Batman Returns.” Each of those games were a challenge so I am sure this one will be no different. Batman: Shadows Of Gotham is a two-player game that lets you choose between Batman and Robin.  The back of the box reads, “Gotham city, a city plagued by crime, violence and villains. The citizens are crying out for help. To cleanse the streets of Gotham…two shadows appear. They are called Batman & Robin, Shadows of Gotham.” I played this game on a RES (Retro-Bit Retro Entertainment System) with an original NES controller and asked my cousin Stephen Alexander if he wanted to join me on this epic game adventure, and of course he said yes.  We did not do an NES Challenge for this game; we just wanted to give it a good play and let you know that this video game is out in the world ready to be played.

Batman Shadows Of Gotham NES CaseBatman Shadows Of Gotham NES CartBatman Shadows Of Gotham NES Game In RES

We played it on May 14 2016, and the weather outside was very chilly and perfect for playing a video game.  I should note that Stephen and I played one player and passed the controller back and fourth, and of course we picked Batman. The game is a side scrolling action game that has Batman fighting with his hands, batarangs and other gadgets from level to level.  At the end of each level, you of course face one of his major villains, in this order Scarecrow, Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and finally The Joker! The Scarecrow and his level offered no challenge as I mastered it in one try.  Steve took on The Penguin and after a couple of tries was able to smack around the umbrella-carrying madman who was hiding in a tank.  I made a quick fight out of The Riddler, and both of us tried and tried and screamed at Two-Face who was trying his best from keeping us from beating the game! It looked like Two-Face was going to be our stopping point, but once we figured out his patterning, Steve was able to smack that two sided coin out of his hand and we were at the last level. The last level is pretty tough and will take you a few tries, or at least it did for us to make it to The Joker who also took us a few tries.  But once again, when we had is pattern down, Steve hit the final blow, and a game that we were just testing became a game we beat! The nice part about this game is that it has unlimited continues and gives you no real reason to stop playing.  The challenge is there and can be frustrating but not enough to turn it off. Over all, it’s a nice addition to the NES Batman games and once more I want to thank Pacnsacdave for this amazing cart. So if you’re a classic NES fan and are looking for a new game to play, make sure to check this one out as well as many of Dave’s other games that include the likes of Gremlins, Big Trouble In Little China, The Lost Boys and Spider-Man 2! So I guess we should start our way back on the journey to find The Snowman, but while we climb maybe I should tell you a little about him.

Batman Shadows Of Gotham NES Screen Grab

Klaus Kristin is the son of a Yeti and a human mother named Katrina, and he has the ability to shift between being a human and a Yeti. As the beast, he is called The Snowman and has the power to survive in very cold elements, has super strength, a ice cold touch and can kind of control his surroundings in a winter environment. As a human, he is an albino and has the ability to charm ladies, is an Olympic skier and comes off as a normal rich jock playboy who loves to brag. The Snowman has appeared in three comics for DC that include Batman # 337, Detective Comics # 533 and Justice League Adventures # 12 as he was a part of a group called Cold Warriors alongside Mr. Freeze, Captain Cold and Killer Frost among other cold style baddies. While The Snowman has not been officially in a game, there are two that might be loosely be based on him: the unlockable Yeti character in “Lego Batman: The Videogame” and in “Batman: Arkham City,” inmates are talking about it being cold saying “It’s colder than the Snowman’s heart.”  Rumor is, that was a nod to The Snowman, while others say they are talking about Mr. Freeze. So while not a major villain, The Snowman has made his small mark on the Batman universe, and I just wanted to share a few fun facts about him before we make it to the top of the update and arrive at the review.

The Snowman DC

As I have stated before, music has been a major part of my life growing up, and I have spent countless hours listening to many different songs from many different artists with them all acting as the soundtrack to my life. Who doesn’t have memories of driving around with friends late at night blaring music or sitting with the love of your life listening to music in your car talking about the future? I have artists that I call my must-buy-day-one-of-release favorites: Motley Crue, Billy Idol, Alice Cooper, W.A.S.P., Jewel, Cinderella, Guns N Roses and Danzig.  The last one this list brings me to a CD that I would like to briefly chat about as I feel the music from the band was a huge part of my teen years. Danzig was one of those bands I discovered on a Public Access music show called Metalmania (and I should also give props to MTV for making the song “Mother” a Buzz video) and became a fan of, as I felt singer Glenn Danzig has an almost Elvis Presley sound and being a fan of The King made this a no brainer that I would dig a harder rock version of that sound. In 1996 when “Danzig 5: Blackacidevil” was released, I can remember leaving school midday and walking to NRM Music at the Town And Country shopping center to get my hands on the cassette and listening to it on my Walkman during classes. Danzig was also a band my pal Jason Gilmore and I would always listen to and chat about our favorite songs and videos. I can also remember being at my friend Jeremy Foster’s house and hanging out while listening to a mix of Danzig and Pantera. These great memories bring me to Danzig’s 2015 release, the 10th album for the band, an album of cover songs called “Skeletons” that I got for Christmas of 2015 as I had to wait to buy it because of the holiday season. I was pretty hyped to listen to this CD, but lots of things kept me away from being able to pop in the disc and listen to what Danzig had to offer on this release…and I must say that when I got around to it I was pretty underwhelmed! Now I want to stress that this is not a bad album.  In fact, I found myself enjoying many of the tracks on the release like the Black Sabbath cover “N.I.B” and “Lord Of The Thighs,” a cover of the Aerosmith cheesy classic song from the album “Get Your Wings”. While tracks like those were good, there were some that just sounded off and un-mastered, almost like a recorder was placed in a room with a band next to some beer and they said just jam and record and who cares if it doesn’t sound polished or hell even in tune…just do it.  The song “Satan” from the biker film Satan’s Sadists is a prime example of the odd sound that many of this tracks on this CD offer in terms of sound quality.  Again, I want to stress that it’s not a bad song and Glenn’s take on this song is solid…it just sounds very off, as if his vocals was recorded in a living room. Over all Skeletons is a interesting listen but lacks the true sound that Danzig fans have came to expect…if I had to give it a Rotten Ink 1-4 star rating, I would say for me it would be a solid 2, middle of the road.  If the sound issues were fixed, I could see myself giving it a 2 ½ or 3. Danzig still remains a must-buy artist for me, and I can’t wait to see what his next release brings to the table. Well I can see the top of the mountain, and as Butthead would say, “ And it is good”.

Danzig - Skeletons CD

We have reached the top of the update, and it’s time to take a look at Batman vs. The Snowman.  I have been on a kick of reading classic Batman comics as of late and can remember reading both these issues in my youth.  When re-buying them, I knew they had to be something I reviewed here on Rotten Ink. I want to think both Game Swap Kettering and Mavericks Cards And Comics for having these in stock, and while the wind is blowing and the snow is coming down I can hear the howl of the Yeti saying “ Remember he grades these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and is looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.”  Now let’s snap this picture of the Yeti and get back down the mountain, and we should also get to the reviews of this classic and epic battle issues that pit Batman against The Snowman!

Batman 337

Batman # 337  ***
Released in 1981     Cover Price .50   DC Comics   # 337 of 713

It’s a cold night in Gotham City, and a sporting good store has a robber inside who is shooting at Commissioner Gordon and the cops.  Batman shows up, gets inside and finds that the robber is scared out of his mind and his partner has been frozen solid! When the robber is under arrest and his nerves calm down, he tells them a story of how he and his friend started to rob the place and were attacked by a snow creature he called The Snowman who stole the cash from the store and left the scene as well made him go mad with fear. Batman changes back to Bruce Wayne and heads home as he is holding a huge party.  His guest of honor is playboy Klaus Kristin who is winning the hearts of many of the woman with his tales of skiing, but Bruce notices that Klaus’s shoes have slush on them and the morning’s snow has been gone for hours. The next night The Snowman strikes again, robbing a jewelry store and killing the night watchman! While Batman is in Klaus’ room looking through his stuff, he finds a diary written by Klaus’s mom and his aunt, and it tells of how Klaus is the son of a normal woman and a Yeti, which explains why and who Klaus really is.  After his last crime, Klaus skips town and heads for Austria’s ski resort, and Batman follows and has a showdown with The Snowman on top of a mountain.  While Snowman is stronger, Batman is smarter and with the help of a flare in the eyes of his opponent, the Bat wins the fight when The Snowman falls from a high cliff and to his death.

What an epic battle, right? I mean Batman and The Snowman trade a total of one kick that Batman lands to the back of The Snowman….yep, that’s the fist to fist action you get in this issue! But even though it’s not super action packed and does not deliver an all out drag down Batman fight, it does have a fun entertaining superhero horror story with some entertaining characters. The plot is this: world class Olympic skier Klaus Kristin is a shape shifter who can change into a Yeti and is stealing money from stores around Gotham as he needs cold weather to live and must move around in order to stay cold weather.  His crime spree that leaves two people dead makes Batman spring into action and crack the case. Batman/Bruce Wayne is shocked when he finds the first body of a crook that was frozen stiff, and this makes Batman’s mind work over time as he wants to solve the crime and get this killer off the streets.  This just shows you that no matter how rich Bruce Wayne is and no matter what else is going on around him, solving crime is the most important thing in his life. Batman is truly a master detective as he pieces together who The Snowman is and where he has run to really fast.  Let alone, he make quick and easy work of this man creature in a fight that is in his opponent’s favor. Klaus Kristin is a snooty sort of bragger who thinks that because he won three medals in the Olympics and travels the world to high end ski resorts, he is better than most normal people.  He also has a weird charm that makes woman flock to him as he tells his stories of being a playboy. As The Snowman, he seems to not care about killing to get the money that he needs in order to stay where the cold weather goes, but it makes one wonder if his ego is so big that he would rather kill than to live say in Alaska or the North Pole where it stays cold year round. As always, Commissioner Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth (Bruce Waynes Butler) have cameos in this issue, and both are always great to see. Batman thinks that The Snowman might have thrown the fight as he wanted to be stopped and this was his way of ending his cursed life, but I am not so sure as it’s clear he has an ego.  I think he lost the fight because Batman out smarted him. The issue has two deaths of people who are frozen to death and has the possible death of The Snowman. The cover is super eye catching and has Batman on skis looking shocked as The Snowman, who looks like a giant, is popping out of snow ready for the attack. The story in this issue was written by Gerry Conway, and the art was done by Jose Garcia-Lopez with inks by Steve Mitchell.  All is well done, and that art has stuck with me since I was a kid as has the whole issue. I am sure many comic readers would look at this issue as just a fill in, but to me it has and will always be a key issue. I should also say this issue has a back up story about Robin! Check out some artwork from this issue to see just how massive and abominable The Snowman is, or is that was?

Batman # 337 art 1Batman # 337 art 2Batman # 337 art 3

So the first meeting is down, but there’s one more to go.  The first meeting lead Batman to believe that The Snowman was dead, as did all of us readers, so let’s see what happens in round two!

Detective Comics 522

Detective Comics  # 522  ***
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics   # 522 of 881

Batman and a guide named Chi are climbing the Himalayan Mountains looking for the famed creature Yeti as Batman thinks that it might just be his foe The Snowman returning from his supposed death. While climbing Batman and Chi are almost killed by an avalanche, Batman witnesses a tall and strong looking shadow above them, and after this near death experience they decide to spend the night in a near by cave for shelter. In the cave Batman, remembers back to being in Vicki Vale’s office and waiting for her to go on a date.  He flipped through a magazine and spotted Klaus Kristin in a photo, and this is what lead him to this hunt in the mountains. In a small village, Batman spots Klaus, and the two struggle falling into the cold water.  Batman strikes his head on a rock and Klaus pulls him from the water, but when they are back on land Klaus is shot by a villager and stumbles into the cold and disappears up the mountain.  Batman now needs to check on his one time foe who saved his life and follows the blood trail. Batman climbs the mountain and is attacked by the Yeti along the way and finds Klaus in a Buddhist temple as he is bleeding to death.  We soon find out that his dad, the Yeti, was the one who has been attacking Batman while in the mountains, and he takes his dying son into the cold as Batman watches as a father mourns his fallen son.

So the second epic battle between Batman and The Snowman is not really a fight between the two but instead has the Bat tangling with the Yeti, the father of The Snowman. This issue has Batman traveling to the Himalayan Mountains in order to look for his foe The Snowman, who is wanted for not just robbery but also murder, and soon finds that his old foe is not a threat and just wanted to find peace alongside his father! Batman has lots on his mind from drama with the ladies in his life Vicki Vale and Selena Kyle, as well as just being a crime fighter and focusing his sights on The Snowman, but he soon learns that people (or is that things?) can change. Batman also shows compassion as he could have taken down the Yeti, who has tormented villagers for years but instead lets him be with his son in his dying moments. Klaus Kristin never changes into The Snowman in this issue and after faking his own death really just wanted to be left alone.  He also shows that he has grown as a character as he saves Batman from drowning. Chi is a villager guide and acts as a good side character, loyal to Batman and trying all he could to guide him on his quest. The Yeti is in a fury and wants his son’s pursuers dealt with and tries to do all he can to stop them, but sadly he as well has a weakness and that’s bright lights from the likes of a flare. Once more, this issue is not wall-to-wall action.  It feels more like an adventure that pits our superhero not only against his foes but also nature and his surroundings. This issue as well held up all these years, and as I read it, moments came back to me in memories that proved for some reason that the Batman vs. Snowman issues had a impact on this young comic reader’s mind. The cover is fantastic and has Batman on the side of a mountain as The Snowman is lurking into battle. The story was written by Gerry Conway again with art duties this time around going to Iry Novick and Pablo Marcos, and they do a great job of making The Yeti look different from The Snowman. The back up story in this issue is a Green Arrow adventure and is worth checking out if you like that emerald archer. Check out the art below that will showcase the mighty Yeti as well as other art from this fun and entertaining issue.

Detective Comics 522 art 1Detective Comics 522 art 2

Was this a better fight than Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice? Depends on your opinion…but I will say these comics made more of a impression on me than the film. While The Snowman might not be a big name villain like The Joker, Killer Croc or The Riddler, he was one I always remembered as a kid, and for some reason I really did think he was a huge deal in my youth. I can remember talking to kids on the playground in Waynesville about how Batman took on The Abominable Snow, and many of them looking puzzled or claiming they remembered with blank unsure look in their eyes. But now that we are off the hunt for The Snowman and made it back down unharmed, I think it’s time that we take a break from comics and once more step into the world of Horror Hosting as our next update will be about an icon who like Commander USA and Dr. Creep helped shape me into the person I am today.  I am talking about Grampa who hosted Super Scary Saturday on TBS! So until next time, read a comic or three, enjoy your summer days and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a Super Scary good time.

Super Scary Saturday Preview Logo

American Hero: The Original Shield

Happy July 4th and welcome back to Rotten Ink, a place where everything nerdy that inspired me has a place to shine and be discussed! Who doesn’t love a holiday that is in celebration of our nation’s independence and is filled with cookouts and amazing firework displays? So for this update I decided to cover a patriotic super hero and had many to choose from such as Captain America or even DC’s Freedom Force with Uncle Sam, but I decided to cover The Shield, a hero who pre-dated them all and has a fun Americana feel. So grab a burger and a cold beverage, and sit back, relax and have some fun with me here at Rotten Ink as we celebrate July 4th!

Fireworks go boom

Growing up, I can remember that my Brassfield grandparents would have cookouts that would have that side of the family gathering to eat burgers, hot dogs and steaks and play some baseball, Nintendo or football with the cousins and have an overall fun time. Later in the evening, we would all go to Delco Park and watch the fireworks and celebrate our independence. But while for the most part those were fun times, I can also remember many of years drama breaking out over someone having too many beers, and fights and arguments would break out for no reason.  Maybe my friend Henrique Couto should make a follow up to his film Awkward Thanksgiving and call it Awkward July 4th cause I have some fun and silly stories to share with him on that subject! The older I got, the less the family meet up and the more I would go out with friends to watch the fireworks or attend BBQs with them.  Some of the best times I have ever had on this day had to be sitting in a football field with my friend Andrea Seay and watching fireworks, just chatting with her as we watched the sky explode with bright colors, showing me just how important she was and still is to me.  Sadly we have drifted apart due to a dumb decision I made when it came to her. I also remember having great times on this day with David & Katie Wean cooking out and eating hamburgers and hotdogs chatting about movies and music. I also remember having a good time over at Patrick Neeley’s house cooking out, chatting, listening to music and playing video games. I also always had an amazing time hanging out on this day with my brother Bryan and his family along with friends like Andy Copp, Henrique Couto, Mike Ritchie and Nick Williams grilling out and watching Couto set off tiny fireworks or blow up apples and such with firecrackers. Nowadays I spend July 4th with my girl Juliet, and we find some sort of wacky thing to do to celebrate the day. I am going to pack lots into this update, not only about The Shield but other things to do with the holiday as well as a few things that don’t! But one thing is for sure, if you’re reading this on July 4th I am sure you are enjoying some grilled out meat while being around your loved ones waiting for the fireworks to go boom!

grilled out burgers

In 2015 on July 4th for some reason I had to work for a few hours and then went to WYSO and got Alpha Rhythms done.  When I got home, Juliet and I decided to try some chicken wing sauce we bought at Jungle Jim’s that was called “Oh My Garlic.”  This was originally bought to have during one of my Horror Movie Marathons as the bottle had a pretty cool vampire drawing on it, but that idea changed as the last marathon I had was pretty large and we ended up ordering wings from Fricker’s instead. We got some fresh farm grazed chicken wings and drumsticks from Dorothy Lane Market, and when placing them in the glass pan, I put some spices on the wings and then put a little butter on them as well to help make them turn crispy and brown and placed them in the oven at 475 degrees for about 10 minutes. When taking them out I covered them with the Oh My Garlic sauce and man the smell was great.  Juliet and I knew that dinner was going to be really good and we could sleep easy as the heavy garlic smell would scare off any vampire. After about 30-40 minutes the wings were done and our feast began. The Oh My Garlic sauce was fantastic and had a strong garlic taste and the flavor mixed well with the chicken, spices and butter drawing out the garlic taste even more and really soaking into the meat. This is one sauce I will eat again and look forward to the next trip to Jungle Jim’s so that I can raid the chicken wing sauce aisle and get another bottle and see what other wonders I can uncover! The first picture is of the Oh My Garlic Sauce.  The second is the finished meal, and the third is the wings when the sauce was first placed on.

Oh My Garlic SauceOh My Garlic Done WingsRaw Wings With Oh My Garlic sauce

What would July 4th be without talking about something creepy! In 2009, a strange video was uploaded to Youtube by a user named Creepyblog that shows a very creepy female android singing a song called “I Feel Fantastic” while it moves its hands about.  It sent shivers down viewers’ spins, and the web was creeped out with many people asking what is this?! Tara The Android is the thing’s name.  No one is 100% sure of its origins and it’s true intention of being made, but like anything odd on the internet, there are a ton of theories that I would like to share them with you. Before you read on, you should watch the original video by typing in “I Feel Fantastic” into Youtube or just click the title from this page. Many people believe that Tara was made by a man named John Bergeron who made her to be a novelty concert attraction that he planned to book at clubs and art shows to show off her singing ability as well as his android work, but after not getting the attention he thought she would via her website as well as some issue with her not being that portable, the idea was scrapped. This theory is the most logical one and takes any creepy element away from Tara and her creator.  It was said that for a short time on the website that is now almost shut down, you could buy the songs as well as the “music videos” from Tara…is this fact or was the website made up to help build the legend of Tara? The next, more science fiction, theory is that Tara was made by a man who was killed by her and now the female android is on the loose looking to sing to and kill anyone who gets in her way…this one is silly and over the top and seems like it could have been an episode of The X-Files. The best, and also very believable, theory is that a serial killer made Tara and dresses her in his victims’ clothes and has her sing positive things to him as if murdering them was the right thing.  At one point Tara says “You Are Fantastic” but also says such odd things as “Run, Run, Run” and “Please Leave” adding to the killer using phrases he wanted to hear as well as what he did hear from his victims. Many videos were made and most are laced with strange lyrics and odd costume changes for Tara. Another odd thing is during the music videos random shots of a backyard are shown zooming into the ground ,and this is said to be the location of the body or bodies of victims. The background music that accompanies her lyrics sounds like weird low budget horror film score music adding fuel to the creator being a killer. No record has ever been uncovered if this is the work of a killer, and many people think this theory is just told to scare people looking for a good Creepypasta. So I am sure your wondering what I think the story of Tara is, well let me tell you that I am not sure! So what do you think, was she a would be android pop star made to make its creator some extra money? Is it a killer android on the loose who killed its creator looking for blood? Or is it the work of a killer who uses the robot to relive his crimes and feel good about his deeds? Only Tara and her creator know for sure, and they aren’t saying anything! On a side note weird stuff like this is why I do love the World Wide Web, cause it’s open to debate what is real and what’s only fiction to make a Creepypasta.

tara the android 1Tara The Android Backyardtara the android 2

On this update the CD I listened to as I wrote was picked by my friend and co-worker Dan Harkless, who is a Vietnam Vet and served his country in the war.  I always enjoy sitting around and listening to his war stories, and it’s given me a perspective into battle.  He is an all around fun person to chat with who loves Russ Meyer films and Playboy Magazine.  He’s a great swimmer who won awards, a gardener, was a fan of Sub Mariner when growing up and is a music lover. Dan picked Harry Chapin’s 1977 release Dance Band On The Titanic as his favorite, and this is interesting as I know very little about Harry Chapin besides the song “Cat’s In The Cradle” that almost every music listener knows.  So this is a very big unknown for me as I do not recognize any of the songs on this CD! The first thing I noticed is the 70’s pop folk sound of the tracks.  This was not what I was expecting at all as I felt going into it that it would be 100% folk rock, so this was a pleasant surprise! The first track that caught my ear was “Why Should People Stay The Same,” a nice song about change in relationships with a touch of religion.  It’s a good song with a catchy beat. Many other well produced and well played tracks followed including the soft folk ballad mixed with a dash of big band song called “Dark Valley (An Imitation Spiritual)”, a song that also caught my attention. While this CD was nothing I would normally listen to, I did find some great songs to write to on it and want to thank Dan for recommending it to me to go outside the borders of what I normally listen to.

Dan Harklessharry chapin dance band on the titanic cdHarry Chapin

My brother and I used to rent a lot of horror films from K&L Video.  We would look up and down the New Release Wall looking for low budget titles that would catch our attention or direct to video sequels to films like Children of The Corn, but in 1996, a cover box caught my attention for a horror film called Uncle Sam that had a picture on the back of it that made me crack up and caused us to rent it! The picture on the back that had me laughing was a man dressed in an Uncle Sam mask peeking into a window and watching a woman in the bathroom…so cheesy, yet so 90’s direct to video horror! The film was directed by William Lustig, who was known for The Maniac Cop series as well as titles like Maniac, Relentless and Vigilante, and starred names like Bo Hopkins, PJ Soles, Isaac Hayes and David “Shark” Fralick and was released by A-Pix Entertainment. The film is about a young boy named Jody who idolizes his uncle Sam Harper, who is a master-sergeant in the army and is killed in a crash, but when the body is flown home, the small town soon finds out Sam is not dead.  He is a zombie killing machine and must be stopped by his nephew who once looked up to him. You see Sam was not a good man who enjoyed beating his wife as well as killing in wars.  While his nephew thought he was a true patriot, he in fact was a scumbag. While watching the movie, my brother and I spent time spotting the G.I. Joe action figures and enjoying the over all cheesy nature of the film. Sam Harper wears the Uncle Sam costume once he kills a peeping tom who was wearing it and has two looks, one with a mask and one with a zombie like burnt rotten face.  That’s right, sadly the picture on the back cover was not the killer, but just some teen tying to sneak a peek at a girl he likes. Uncle Sam leaves itself open for a comic sequel as it looks like a film one is not in the books. The story for the comic could have a grown up Jody, who is now in the military himself, being sent to a top secret base where he finds that the government has many experiments locked away including the still reanimated body of his Uncle Sam.  They want him to lead this rag tag group of “controlled” reanimated solders into battle against terrorist, and Jody soon learns that no one can lead Sam as he takes control of the zombie army and leads a war against not only terrorist but returns home to settle the score with the town that hides his ex-wife as he wants her dead! The comic would come to an epic end battle in the small town as Jody leads a group of elite soldiers against Sam and his army of the undead! The comic could be filled with lots of blood, bullets and boobs and the home coming for Sam of course would have to take place on July 4th so that during the final battle, fireworks could be going on in the background. While no major comic company would touch this to turn into a comic series I would say that out of my friends, the ones I would love to see make this would be Eric Shonborn or Justin Wasson, both of whom I think could make this idea pop and come alive the way it should. If you like low budget horror films that have a holiday themes to them, then make sure to check out Uncle Sam as I am sure it will give you at least an entertaining watch.

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The Shield was created in 1940 by Harry Shorten and Irv Novick for MLJ Comics for a series called “Pep Comics” and was one of the first true patriotic superheroes of comics. In 1959 Lancelot Strong became the new Shield for a comic called “The Double Life Of Private Strong”, but Archie Comics pulled the plug on the series after only two issues. In 1983, Lance once more as The Shield was given another run under “Lancelot Strong: The Shield” and had two name changes during its seven issue run. Think about that; the comic had three titles for seven issues! The Original Shield, who was back to the first one – Joe Higgins, came out for Red Circle Comics and lasted only four issues. 1991 saw DC Comics (under Impact Comics) giving him a try with a series called “The Legend Of The Shield” that had Joe Higgins as The Shield for thirteen issues, and later Lt. Michael Barnes took up the mantel, in a series that only lasted sixteen issues. In 2015, Archie Comics under their Dark Circle Comics banner, has released a new version of The Shield that has Victoria Adams stepping up to do America proud. So that’s the publishing history of The Shield; up next we will take a look at Joe Higgins, who is the Original Shield!

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Joe Higgins is a chemist, whose father Tom was working on a chemical formula that would act as a super solider serum, but the Germans want it and this leads to Tom’s death.  Joe continues his father’s work, and after using X-Rays and other chemicals, he does it! He gains invulnerability as well as the ability to leaps of great distance. He dresses in a outfit that sports the American colors, takes the codename Shield and takes a job for the F.B.I. to fight threats to America as well as try and clear his father’s name and expose his killers. His adventures are part superhero and part spy game as he also takes a young orphan named Dusty Simmons as his sidekick, and the pair stop many menaces and dangers. Later in life as he aged, he formed a group with teenagers he called “The New Crusaders”. Joe’s son Bill Higgins took over the role of The Shield when his dad was turned to stone by a bad guy named The Eraser, and in order to save him he also created a team called “The Mighty Crusaders! This is just a quick crash course of the history of The Shield as I don’t want to spoil too much and would like for all you readers to take some time and check out some of his comics.

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The Shield did get an action figure in 1984 as part of Remco’s toyline based around the superhero team The Mighty Crusaders that consisted of The Shield as well as 7 other figures. The Shield figure came with a gun belt, two guns and a shield that rocked the red, white and blue colors! The figures themselves are about the size of Mattel Secret Wars but more bulky in proportions, and their legs look like liverwurst logs stuffed inside spandex pants…to sum it up, they are weird looking. The Shield figure also has a goofy looking face, and sadly the whole figure line reeks of cheapness.  While my brother and I had a few of these figures growing up, hardly no other kid I knew did. The Shield was not one of the figures we owned growing up, but I can safely say if I did he would ended up just being a foot solider for my Secret Wars Captain America on rescue missions to save Princess Leia and Scarlett from the grip of Baron Zemo!

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So I think we are all in a patriotic mood right now thanks to The Shield and it being July 4th so I think we should grab a burger or dog along with a favorite drink sit back enjoy the weather and atmosphere of being our independence day and take a journey with The Shield as he battles those who want to disrupt our way of life here in America. I want to thank Bookery Fantasy and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and helping make this holiday update special. Like always, I want to 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. So light a sparkler and take a bite of that hotdog it’s time to go to war alongside The Shield!

Original Shield 1

The Original SHIELD # 1  ***
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Archie Comics   #1 of 4

A map has been stolen from the F.B.I., and The Shield wants to find out who stole it and why.  By donning his alter ego Joe Higgins, he tracks down a fellow agent who was the spy for a bad man named Boroff and was the key in stealing the map. At Boroff’s hideout he not only has the top secret map but also Professor Newton, the man who created the maps and knows the location of the item they seek,.The Shield comes in at the last second and beats up Boroff, who is working for a secret group called Delta 3 and saves Newton from being killed and finds out that what the map is hiding is no longer a threat as the radiation from bomb testing has ruined it. But things are not all good as Boroff escapes, and while one fight ends, the battle still rages on. When retuning back to work Joe Higgins finds out that the F.B.I. as part of budget cuts is closing one of their old storage warehouses and are giving away some old robots to the museum that was created by Boroff’s henchman Klotz.  He travels to Washington with Lisa Carvin, his boss, for a black tie affair and to check on the robot.  Upon arriving, he finds that they are already gone, and a man with a gun is waiting for him.

This is classic patriotic super hero action that shows a normal man in a special suit mixed with spy situations can be a great read and would be great for fans of Captain America! The plot of this issue has The Shield stopping a plan to kill a professor and steal a top secret weapon and along the way finding a mole within the F.B.I, beating up his arch nemesis Boroff, and trying to stop the transfer of old robots that he battled in the past. The Shield, aka Joe Higgins, is a great hero who uses his wits as well as his special powered suit (that reflects bullets, fire and blasts) in order to protect America from those who wish it harm. He is strong as a well-trained boxer and packs a punch that can break robots into pieces! He is firm and harsh when need be and doesn’t like to lose when it comes to the game of fighting crime.  He also enjoys being an F.B.I agent and ridding the streets of global threats. Over all I’m big fan of The Shield at this point and am very glad to be reading about him on the 4th of July! Lisa Carvin, who is Jim’s boss in the F.B.I., seems pretty cool at this point.  It’s clear she is not a fan of Joe but respects that he gets things done.  She is also clueless that Jim is The Shield. Boroff is a pointed tooth, black Mohawk haired beast of a man who clearly does not value human life.  We only get a small dose of him in this issue but I have a feeling he will be back in the future. This issue has likable characters, a fun dated yet classic story, good art and filled with pride from those who created this issue. Now the bad side is that the story picks up in the middle of the action as you had to read “Mighty Crusaders # 5” and “Pep Comics # 1” in order to really get the full backstory of what is going on.  I still am unclear as to what the map held the location of besides these numbers 42642. But even with that flaw, I really did enjoy this comic.  The cover is classic Archie Superhero stuff, and the art inside done by the likes of Dick Ayers and Tony DeZuniga and is fantastic stuff.  I really enjoyed the art as it reminded me of late 70’s Captain America work. Well let’s see what issue two has in store for us, and I am hoping it will be as good as issue one!

Original Shield 2

The Original SHIELD # 2  ***
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Archie Comics   #2 of 4

The man with the gun is no threat, but an old F.B.I agent named Dan Hurley who served with Jim way back when has now pieced it together that Jim is The Shield as he has not aged at all! The pair get talking about the past and how, for a short time thanks to a powerful ray gun from Boroff, The Shield lost his powers. After the talk, Jim asks Dan for help and makes it just in time to pick up Lisa for the party that is being thrown by Senator Casey.  At the party, Lisa meets an old flame named Ed Crisp, and Jim sees his old nemesis Klotz who tries to murder him with a poison gas capsule! Jim barely escapes and leaves the party with Lisa as he coughs and rambles on about a 80 year old spy. Jim passes out in front of Lisa’s hotel room, and she drags him inside where he has flashbacks to his past that include his wife, son Bill and old crime fighting partners and enemies. Once awake, he changes into his Shield outfit and finds Klotz who is out of his mind and is a working for Delta 3.  Klotz drops a grenade as our issue ends, hoping to blow them both up!

The Shield does it again with this second issue as he captures the mood of a time when comics were simple and plots were cut and dry with bad guys and good guys, another solid issue for sure! This time around Jim Higgins meets an old friend, The Shield comes face to face with an old enemy and Lisa comes in contact with an old flame. Plus throw in a shady Senator, and you have a fun spy costume hero comic plot. This issue The Shield aka Jim is once more a man of honor as he chats with an old friend and comes clean to him that yes, he is the costumed hero everyone depended on in the past.  Plus thanks to the gas, we learn that he was married and had a son, and we get a little about his old crime fighting friends who went missing.  We also learn that he was frozen into a statue by a bad guy named The Eraser, and that’s why he is so young in modern times. The Shield is a class act hero who reminds me of a character that would have been a member of The Minute Men from The Watchmen from DC Comics. Lisa Carvin is also a little more fleshed out as it’s clear that while she is hard on Jim she still likes him as a person and she is not your typical one sided female character as she acts and gets things done. Dan Hurley is a old timer who lives and breathes the F.B.I and is a pretty cool little side character.  I wonder what mission Jim asked him to do; I am sure in the coming issues we will find out. Klotz is a crazy old man and with him being nuts comes the danger as it’s clear he is not sane and will do whatever it takes to kill The Shield and impress Delta 3. I don’t trust Senator Casey or Ed Crisp as both seem a little too shady for this comic reader.  Plus Ed has one of those 70’s porn mustaches mixed with Mr. Kotter’s from Welcome Back Kotter! While not a lot of fists flying, this issue still packs a mighty punch with its simple and classic plot and good characters. The cover is pretty good, and that art inside is once again fantastic and done by three this time: Dick Ayers, Tony DeZuniga and Rex Lindsey.  It’s sure to please old school comic readers. Sad to say, we are at the half way point and this series is almost at an end. l hope the next two keep up the quality of the first two as I’m really digging this series.

Original Shield 3

The Original SHIELD # 3  ***
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Archie Comics   #3 of 4

The blast kills Klotz, and stuns The Shield for a few moments.  During this time he remembers back to the day he was broken free from being a living statue thanks to his son Bill who was acting as The Shield. He also thinks how different his time in the 1940’s was from present time in the 80’s. While looking around the room he finds the final mission for the robots, to attack the White House and kill the president! The Shield rushes to the White House running as fast as The Flash and defeats them. Changing back to Jim Higgins, he, alongside Lisa, confronts the Senator who seemed to be working alongside the crazy Klotz, but after they find Ed Crisp dead in his office from a suicide with a note claiming allegiance to Delta 3 the heat is off the Senator…for now. Delta 3 however is very not pleased with their plans being foiled and put a hit out on Joe and Lisa that is taken by Mega, a strong tall stretching powerhouse and Bit, a small man with telepathic powers! As Jim and Lisa leave Ed’s funeral, they both have the feeling he didn’t kill himself but was murdered to cover up Delta 3 plans.  As Mega goes after Jim, he soon meets Shield who makes quick work of him as Lisa is attacked by Bit who is finally beat by Lisa and The Shield together.

This issue tones down the spy aspect and ups the fighting as Shield goes toe to toe with Mega and Bit who are mutants sent to do his boss and him harm.  It’s a pretty great plot and could be taken straight from a classic Spider-Man comic. In this issue, the Shield watches as one of his old nemesis dies, discovers corruption in government and fights two mutants to save his own life as well as his boss’! Lisa Carvin is also fighting corruption as her one time lover has been murdered and framed all to cover up for the evil Delta 3. Mega and Bit are mutants with special powers who use them wisely, but just are no match for The Shield who outsmarts them in battle. But to be fair, Lisa is the one who delivers the knock out blow to Bit with a vase to his head. Delta 3 shows two members named Number 1 and Number 3, and they are cheesy bad guys who are worried about being discovered and that’s why hits are placed on the F.B.I agents. The best part of this comic series so far is the fact that as we get deeper in it, the plot thickens! The cover is good and classic 80’s superhero stuff, with art this time around being done by Dick Ayers and Rex Lindsey only, and like before it’s fantastic! The sad part about this issue is that we only have one more in the series and then we are done, but I guess that’s a good thing as if you are reading this update on July 4th I am sure you have cooked out food and fireworks to get to. So let’s not waste any more time and see what the final issue has in store for us.

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The Original SHIELD # 4  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Archie Comics   #4 of 4

Jim Higgins comes to work at the F.B.I and has a special note from his old World War II friend and now Army Col. named Boyle that informs him that in New Mexico a shield that belonged to his nemesis The Hun is being placed at an army base museum and that danger is near. As Boyle gets to the base and sees the Nazi shield with his own eyes, they come under attack as the aging Hun is mad as hell and as powerful as ever! The Hun manhandles Boyle and the aging base commander. But lucky for them, The Shield makes it just in time to tangle with The Hun and is able to make short work of him thanks to his love for freedom and power. In the end the Nazi shield goes missing, The Shield captures The Hun and America is safe from a threat once more.

This fourth and final issue in the series only slips slightly as the story is good, but also seems a little rushed. The plot is simple and has a Nazi super bad guy from the past attacking a military base.  He’s taught a lesson in manners by The Shield who makes quick work of him. In the issue the Shield comes off a freedom loving hero but oddly enough lost a little charm as this issue felt like it were trying to hard to be a Captain America issue. The Hun’s is amazing as it shows him as a German boy who had murdered people his whole life getting powers from the ghost of Attila The Hun and after doing so joined the Nazi party to try for world domination. While he sounds like a bad ass, he is shown to be a good fighter but is outclassed by The Shield in every way…making him no real threat. We finally meet Col. Boyle, and he comes off as a old man who lives in the past who is a mix of Nick Fury and Thunderbolt Ross from the Marvel Universe. With this being the final issue some questions do go unanswered.  It was clearly not supposed to be the final issue as they advertise in the end for issue five. So as far as we all know, if you just read The Original Shield series, Delta 3 is still out in the world causing issues and The Shield along with the F.B.I are still battling them, and I like that. The issue also takes a jab at Marvel Comics as in the end characters named Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are asked to dump the trash where the Nazi Shield is placed among the garbage. The cover is epic and shows The Shield going into battle with The Hun as army soldiers are frozen in place. The art this time around was done only by Dick Ayers and has a 50’s style look to it.  While not bad, it’s also not the best the series has looked. I should also mention that The Coment from Mighty Crusaders makes a cameo in the issue as he is how The Shield gets to New Mexico so fast. While The Original Shield is dated by all accounts and most modern comic fans would be bored to tears with its slow pacing and World War II dated hero who’s out of time being resurrected in the 80’s, I found lots of joy in reading it, and it triggered even more patriotic spirit in me as I read it on this day that celebrates America and all it’s glory. While this series might not be for everyone, I think fans of early Captain America will love every cheesy page of it. Below is some artwork from the series with the first two showcasing The Shield and the last being The Hun.

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The Shield, a True American icon, is worth the read and receiving the honor of being the first Rotten Ink update for the 4th of July under the “American Hero” banner. But our next update will take us away from the Star Spangled Hero The Shield and into the world of the living dead and another trip to Monster Bash Convention in Mars, PA, as we take a look at the IDW adaptation of Dawn Of The Dead! So until next time enjoy the fireworks, eat a hot dog or two, read some comics and enjoy this holiday with friends and family.

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NES Challenge: Werewolf The Last Warrior

When I was a kid, Nintendo was the main source of video game entertainment at home, and while Atari tried to hang on, the original NES was just unbeatable even giving arcades a run for their money as almost every kid I knew had a NES.  My friends and I spent lots of time talking about what games we had played and would always brag if we beat one as it was almost like earning a medal. I have lots of fond memories of playing games like Friday The 13th, Castlevania, Contra and Legendary Wings with my cousins Dino and Norman, Kranov and Excitebike with cousin Nathan, Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, Kung Fu, Ghost N Goblins, Gologo 13 and WCW with my brother and parents, Karate Kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II The Arcade Game with cousin Stephen, not to mention Festers Quest, Blades Of Steel and Double Dribble with friend Mike Cessna.  So you can see, the NES was a system that brought many great moments into the lives of those who picked up the controllers. So for this update we are going to take a look at a promo comic given away with the Data East game Werewolf The Last Warrior, plus I am going to try my best to beat the game in one day! So grab some Mountain Dew and load up a bowl with some potato chips as we are going back to the past to play a game that always kicked my ass…the one and only Werewolf The Last Warrior!

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SAS Sakata developed Werewolf: The Last Warrior, and Data East released it in 1990 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  It was a side scrolling action game that mixed in elements of horror and even a touch of super hero and was a solid success. In Japan the game was known as “Super Werewolf Chronicle Warwolf” and was released there in 1991 as well as in Europe. The game’s plot is this: on Red Earth, the second colony planet, the evil Dr. Faryan along with his evil mutants have taken over and enslaved mankind and it’s up to a man named Ken who can transform into a werewolf warrior named Warwolf to save us all. During the game you can transform back and forth between being a man or beast, and you must grab W’s to do so; the red ones turn you into a werewolf, the blue ones turn you back human and by collecting five bubbles you will be transformed into a super werewolf that can jump higher. Playing as Ken, your attacks are weak but playing as Warwolf, your attacks have a longer range and you gain the ability to wall climb. The game also got the Official Nintendo Seal meaning it was a game they green lit to come to the system.  Back in the day, Nintendo was very select on how many titles a company could put out on their system, and the seal was supposed to act as a seal of quality. For years after being released, rumors of a sequel popped up, but nothing ever came from it making this game the only one in what could have been a series.

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The first time I ever played this game was sometime in 1991 or 1992 when Mike Cessna rented it from a video store, and we all played it for a little while in his living room after school. But my time of really getting to play it and trying to beat it came in late 1992 or early 1993 when my Grandma and Grandpa Brassfield bought it from a garage sale for my cousin Nathan who would stay with them for long periods of time. When Nathan was over at my Grandparents’, he would not want to play this game and would always have us all try and beat “Karnov” or “Wizards And Warriors,” but when he was not over I would spend lots of time playing Werewolf or hooking up the Atari 2600 and try to beat Spider-Man.  Both games were super hard, and I never did beat them in my youth. But as I got older and was 19 years of age, my close friend Jason Gilmore and I started to collect old Nintendo games from our youth, and while I kept many of my old ones, there were ones I never owned and Werewolf was on the top of my have to have list as I knew I must have a showdown with this game as beating it was long over due.  Jason and I spent many nights playing and beating Video games and sadly Werewolf was one that defeated us as we could not beat it. Now I am 36 years old, and I still own my copy of Werewolf: The Last Warrior.  I think I am ready for one last showdown with this game that has defeated me in the beating the game department, and thanks to “Phasers On Stun” and owner Ron and worker Spencer, I was able to get a complete copy of the game with box, comic and booklet just for this review and showdown, so thanks guys!

My Werewolf The Last Warrior Complete In Box

Before I get to deep into this challenge, I want to chat about a few other things that I truly enjoy just so I can get myself in the right frame of mind to play and finally beat this NES Game.  First up, I want to talk about Golgotha, the newest release from one of my favorite bands, W.A.S.P., fronted by the underrated song writer Blackie Lawless. Over the years the band has gone through many changes with mostly band members coming and going but one thing that has always stayed besides Lawless is the ability to write and perform amazing Rock N Roll songs! When I pre-ordered his CD back in late 2015 it was with the hopes that it would live up to the hype I created in my own mind as I was in need of a fix of classic sounding 80’s rock and I was banking on this release to deliver, but the main question on your mind is did it. I decided to listen to this CD in my 2004 Ford Mustang as I drove around town as I wanted to mimic the days when I was a youngster and driving blaring music was my way to unwind, and the first thing I must say is that the sound W.A.S.P. delivered with this release was that of a true to life 80’s Hairband sound! The downside to this release is once more Lawless thinks every song needs to be long epic ballads with almost all songs being over 5 minutes long! Another thing I noticed is that while Lawless has been born again, this has not affected the raw feeling of these new tracks and only thing missing is cuss words and sexual undertows of his songs past. I should also note that Golgotha was released 6 years after W.A.S.P.’s last release that was Babylon that was released in 2009. The best track on the CD for me has to be “Scream” as it made for a great tune to cruise around to with the windows down and really did remind me of a classic 80’s W.A.S.P song. My least favorite track was “Golgotha” and while not a terrible tune just was more of a song I would think you would hear on a Christian Rock release and not a Hard Rock one. Golgotha is a great solid release and shows that while Blackie Lawless might be in his 60’s the man still knows how to deliver a fist pumping, head banging rock n roll record, fans of the band should check it out and I for one cant wait to see what the bands next release will bring. And who knows maybe the next release will see the return of Randy Piper, Chris Holmes and Tony Richards to the band! And for those wondering Golgotha or also known as Calvary is the name of the spot beyond Jerusalem’s walls were Jesus was crucified, just wanted to share.

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On April 10, 2016 I held another Horror Movie Marathon over at my cousin Stephen’s house and as always it was a fun time filled with good friends, tasty snacks and cheesy horror flicks! On April 9th we held the pre-show once again and in attendance was Stephen, Jeremy Hoyt and Garrison Kane and we ate Wing Zone and started off the night with “Jack ‘O’ Slasher” put out by SRS Cinema and is a no budget film about a haunted house that is run by Satanists who summon a killer Pumpkin Man to murder people who attend as well as find them a virgin. The second film was released by Wild Eye Media and was called “Morbid” and was a horror comedy about a small town being stalked by a masked killer called The Business Man who kills for the joy of it. The final film of the night was “Bunni” also released by Wild Eye Media and is about a group of young adults breaking into a closed down magic and sex toyshop during the Halloween season only to find themselves being stalked and killed by a white masked female killer who wears a corset and fishnet stockings. It was a fun time as listening to Jeremy who is not a horror fan, get worked up over the plots and characters made for some fun discussions after the films. Plus the wings from WingZone where great as I got mine with the Cool Ranch Dry Rub and it made the perfect meal to watch the splatter on the screen to. Stephen and myself choose our best and worst film of the night and we both agreed hands down the worst was Jack ‘O’ Slasher as the film lacked a good enough story and killer to suffer through all the random shots and off brand style of a director who was clearly into Rob Zombie films and was trying to make his own version of House Of 1000 Corpses thanks to a Haunted House he had at his disposal. While Jack ‘O’ Slasher had some fun and silly kills it was just kind of lacking. My favorite film of the pre-show was Bunni as I enjoyed the atmosphere of the closed up store front as well as loved the fact Bunni was a female killer who killed for the sake of killing before she can be hurt by them as she was once a abused wife. Plus Bunni had some great gore effects as well as some funny acting and even characters dressed up like Hulk Hogan and a TMNT for Halloween. Stephen picked Morbid as his flick of the night as he enjoyed the silly horror comedy nature and he liked the look of the killer known as The Business Man. Over all a good night of horror and a taste of things to come the next morning at 7am!

Jack O Slasher DVDMorbid DVDBunni DVD

The Horror Movie Marathon started at 7am with just Stephen and I up and ready to watch some Horror Flicks! We started off with a Universal Classic called “The Black Cat” that starred Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff who are mortal enemies after a war that leaves one of them a prisoner and the other swooning the captured mans wife, and when a couple stumble onto this death feud they become the pawns in a sick twisted game of revenge and Satan Worshiping. The second film was suppose to be the 1971 Philippino film called “Curse Of The Vampires” but due to a bad DVD we ended up watching “Monster High” a 1989 Horror Comedy about Mr. Armageddon and his team of monsters that include a Mummy and two dim whited aliens attacking a school to bring on the apocalypse and some teens and a game of basketball that stands in the end of the worlds way. “Dr. Jekyll And The Werewolf” was the third film of the day and starred Paul Naschy as the cursed Waldemar Daninsky who goes to Dr. Jekyll for help to cure his werewolf ways but soon finds that his very own Hyde said is waiting in the shadows of his mind! The fourth film was another Horror Comedy called “Monsturd” about an escaped killer who mixes with some contaminated water in the city sewer that turns him into a killer giant poop monster! The space alien creature feature “XTRO” was the fifth film to make the line up and follows a man who went missing for three years returning home to be with his family, but things are not what they seem as he has some very strange powers. “Demon’s Rook” was the sixth film and has three evil demons being set free on Earth thanks to a young man who as a child was kidnapped and by a protector demon that turned over the job to him, now he must stop them before they find him and kill innocent people. The seventh film was “Suburban Sasquatch” about a Bigfoot on the loose in a small town and a reporter and a female Native American huntress trying to team up to stop its rampage. The Outback deformed slasher film “Charlie’s Farm” was the eighth film of the marathon that starred Tara Reid, Nathan Jones, Kane Hodder and Bill Mosley and delivered a bloody good time. “Elves” the holiday themed horror film about a killer Elf who works along side modern day Nazis to impregnate a young virgin and must be stopped by Grizzly Adams was the ninth film of the day. The 1995 giant bug movie “Mosquito” starring Gunner Hansen was the tenth film of the day and entertained with its nature run amuck and cheesy special effects. The eleventh film was “Madhouse” starring Vincent Price and Peter Cushing about an actor known for playing a character called Dr. Death being looked at for possible real life murders, but has the actor lost his mind or is something more sinister happing. The final film of the night was “Half Human” a found footage Blair Witch Project style film about two guys and some girls they picked up at the bar heading to a state park and soon find that they are not alone as bodies are found and something or some one is watching and stalking. People who attended this Marathon besides Stephen were the following Juliet Fromholt, Thomas “Maurice” Smith, Garrison Kane and Jeremy Hoyt and while not a massive turn out it still was a fun time.

The worst film of the Marathon was Suburban Sasquatch as both Stephen and I picked this film as it was very boring, the mostly digital effects were laughable bad, Bigfoot was just a man in a cheap gorilla suit and the main character The Reporter was a unlikable turd who I was begging would die a cruel death. The only thing Suburban Sasquatch had going for it was some of it was so bad it made you laugh out loud and the fact actress Sue Lynn Sanchez who plays the bow and arrow huntress was attractive. Picking my top three best films of the Marathon was pretty tough as I enjoyed many of them for different reasons but after a couple of days of thinking about it I have decided this is my picks and the reasons why. My # 1 is Madhouse as Price was fantastic as the shaken actor and the twists and turns are fantastic! # 2 for me was Dr. Jekyll And The Werewolf a great gothic Spanish werewolf film mixed with the Jekyll and Hyde story, Naschy is as always fantastic as Daninsky. And my pick for # 3 was one I had to really think about as many films were entertaining but I had to stick with Demon’s Rook as the effects and story of this demon tale was well done and was a nice mix of art house and horror film. But I also need to stress that Black Cat and XTRO also get a shout out for almost making it into my # 3 spot! Stephen choose for his top three #1.) Madhouse, # 2.) Black Cat and #3.) Demon’s Rook! His shout out for almost making his list went to Monsturd! Another Horror Movie Marathon is in the books and once more a great time filled with cheesy flicks, good food and great friends.

The Back Cat DVDMonster High DVDDr Jekyll And The Werewolf DVD (sc)Monsturd DVDXTRO dvdThe Demons Rook dvdSuburban Sasquatch dvdCharlies Farm dvdElves dvdMosquito dvdMadhouse dvdHalf Human DVD

The day I choose for my showdown was May 2, 2016 as it was a day that I could tag team the game along with my good friend Todd The Fox who as well as me loves this game but yet it has tortured him for years on not being able to beat it as it has me! The weather outside was cool and cloudy. We choose to play the game with an original NES Controller but the system was a Retro-Bit Retro Entertainment System or a RES that I got from Game Swap many years back. My mood was calm and focused as I knew that I must become one with Chief WarWolf in order to over come this amazing quest to save Red Earth from the evil mutants that want to destroy it! Todd was as well focused and wanted to finally put an end to the Mutant attacks. We started out really good blowing through the first level and made short work of sub-bosses The Giant Head and boss Green Slime Man whom never was a factor to stop us on our mission! Stage 2 known as Mad City gave us some trouble as Area 2 has Werewolf on top of a building dodging lightning that kills you with one hit, both Todd and I tried this level many times but once we figured out were to go it became easy and boy did we have to replay not only this level but all the levels before it as the boss of this level Iron Head had our number! Todd and Myself fought Iron Head many times and for some reason he kept beating us, until I figured out a way to beat him once and then the tables turned as he became pretty simple to beat and this allowed us to continue our quest to beat this NES game.

RES with WerewolfRES Werewolf Last Warrior LevelRES Werewolf level

Stage 3 – Stalactite Cave & Madness Base became our major thorn in the thumb and the level that would crush our hopes and dreams of beating Werewolf: The Last Warrior! Todd was the skilled gamer on this level and while as skilled as he was the level was brutal and we lost many continues and had to restart the game many times as our continues would run out. While the level was super challenging it was the main stage boss that kept us at bay and made us fail at our mission and that killer of a boss was called Fireman who was so fast and brutal that the fights with Werewolf made our hero look like a helpless puppy. No matter how hard we tried and no matter our game plan we came up with Fireman was our messenger of death! Fireman showed us mercy as he would kill us quick and with no suffering, and I could almost swear that he was taking great joy in watching us fail at our task at hand. And with our many failed fights with Fireman came the cold hard reality that we were not going to beat Werewolf: The Last Warrior creeped into our brains and failure was the word looming in the air. Sad to report to you Readers and Friends we did not beat the game this day, but this I will say now I will have a rematch again soon and I will conquer this classic NES game once and for all. Below is a picture of Todd and Me as he pose with the game that beat us at its own game.

Me and Todd Failed At NES Werewolf

Werewolf: The Last Warrior is a great side scrolling game that is challenging and mixes Action and Horror really well and sprinkles in Native American and Japanese touches to make it something of its own. WarWolf the Werewolf is a great hero who might not be as iconic as Mario or Simon Belmont, but for me has his place in the 8-Bit Video Game Hero Hall Of Fame. But also what makes this game work is the bad guys who make your journey to the end challenging so for this brief moment I want to give some respect to The Big Head a character who shows up many times and wants to stop you at any coast. Green Slime Man who sludges along and even will turn himself into two bouncing balls just to beat you around. Iron Head who stomps, punches and throws chunks of rock at you to smash you into the ground. Lets not forget Fireman who zooms in and out with the fury of a runaway comet trying to burn you to ash. And lastly Monster and Lord Faryan whom I have never fought but both who I am sure wanted to snuff out my characters life. Like all media the good guys are only as good as the bad guys who challenge them and this game has the right characters in play. And on a side note am I the only one who thinks Lord Faryan looks allot like the X-Men villain Magneto?

The Big HeadGreen Slime ManIron HeadFiremanMonsterDark Lord Faryan

Man I enjoy playing a good NES game and had a blast playing Werewolf even if I didn’t beat it, Todd and I still tried our best to do so and had fun doing it. So I guess it’s time to take a look at this Data East Mini Comic that came with the game when you purchased it from your local store, and I must also say that no matter how hard people and companies push me to go digital for my video games I would rather own a disc or cart with cool packages then a file on my system. But while you find your Power Glove or your NES Max I am going to 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 lets hit the power button and see what this cool promo mini comic has to add to the world of Werewolf: The Last Warrior.

Werewolf The Last Warrior Comic 1

Werewolf: The Last Warrior # 1  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $0.00   Data East    # 1 of 1

Chief War Wolf is a man whose spirit quest has lead him to the world of wolves and more importantly Werewolves! His small tribe lives in peace in an area off the beaten path and away from the evils of the rest of the world. Dr. Lawrence Faryan has been sent on vacation by the government as he has become obsessed with bio weapons.  When climbing a mountain and finding a cave, he unleashes an evil being that possesses him and he heads back to Washington with an idea that sends a goo into space that will turn the world into slime monsters and mindless drones all willing to do his evil deeds and the lucky ones die from the exposure! War Wolf along with his tribe’s Medicine Man Kinju travel to a cave where War Wolf spends weeks with the Great Spirit and transforms into a sword handed werewolf ready to battle evil. Leaving the cave, he finds his friend Kinju dead and this sparks rage, and War Wolf the Werewolf is ready to destroy Faryan and everything he stands for!

I wish this comic would have lead into a full comic series based on this game and its characters.  I would have loved to have seen Blackthrone Comics as the company to put it out, but sadly this never was meant to be as this promo comic was the only issue ever released. Chief War Wolf is a good hero character, and while a man of few words, he knows what he must do in order to protect his tribe and get revenge for the death of his friend and medicine man Kinju. As a human War Wolf is brave, and as a werewolf with razor sharp blades for hands, he is a warrior. Medicine Man Kinju is very wise and knows that his friend and chief is the only hope and knows that once he takes him to the world of werewolves, things will never be the same, but yet the world will be saved. Dr. Lawrence Faryan is a man who is in love with war and once taken over by an evil spirit, he turns into a pure war and death hungry fiend! Besides shooting some green goop into space and turning a man into a slime monster, Faryan doesn’t do much…in fact the comic has pretty much zero action, but the story is good and short and well done. What works best for this comic is the fact it’s a nice lead up to the video game and brings depth to the characters and gives a little more of a backstory. The art is fantastic, but sadly I could not find who did it, but whoever it was sure did know how to draw a werewolf! Over all this is a short and very entertaining comic for fans of the video game while people who aren’t familiar with the game might get a kick out of it, I am sure they will find it bland and pointless…so I guess what I am trying to say is, if you love the game make sure to track this down and give it a read. Below is some artwork from this comic, and you can see just how good it is!

Werewolf Last Warrior Art 1Werewolf Last Warrior Art 2Werewolf Last Warrior Art 3

So while this game might have whipped me like a stray dog, I still had a good time reading this comic and playing a video game alongside my good friend Todd. But I think it’s time to set down the controller and turn off the power on the good old RES and once more try to hand Rotten Ink over to Juliet so she can take you into warp drive and deliver her look at Star Trek: The Next Generation and the DC Comic mini series based on that hit series! So until then, read a comic or three, play a video game or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you in space for the next update, my friends.

Another STTNG Logo

Gross For One….Gross For All….Madballs!

Growing up most kids I knew had a baseball to play with, but some of us kids of the 80’s had something better to toss around with friends; we had Madballs!! And that’s the topic of today’s update, those monster and gross balls that swept the nation of must-have toys on the playground for a short time. Growing up, I can remember seeing kids on the playground tossing around the Madball of Screaming Meemie.  My friends and I even tried to play baseball with it, but it was a very poor ball to use in a game as hitting it never seemed to equal a home run. I can remember being at my cousins Dino and Norman’s house playing in the pool and throwing Madballs at each other, and as they would hit they would make a splat sound.  We also used Touchdown Terror at their house to play football on Thanksgiving one year. For my birthday one year I can remember getting a Madball birthday card from my parents that also included a metal button of Slobulus if memory serves me. It’s weird, in my youth I never owned an original Madball, but my brother and I did each have a Head-Popping Madball that our dad got for us from Hills Department Store one winter night as a way to keep us entertained when my parents took us to one of my dad’s work friend’s houses. My brother got Wolf Breath, and I got Lock Lips.  They were very cool, and I can remember our Mom yelling at us to stop shooting the heads at each other! We both had these figures for years, but sadly, like some of the other toys of my youth, they were given away or sold at a garage sale. Weirdly enough, in my 30’s I now own two Madballs, with Mavericks Cards and Comics selling me Slobulus and Horn Head for cheap prices about 3 years ago as well as my friend Max Ervin who gave me Screaming Meemie around the same time. It’s odd to think that while I never owned any of the original Madballs in my youth, they remain one of the most iconic toy lines in my mind.  Below is a picture of the original Madballs I own now as I hope you enjoy this update as much as I enjoyed writing it!

  • Note From Matt – In April 2016 Roar Comics started up a new Madballs comic series!

My Madballs

American Greetings is the company who created and produced Madballs.  They were started in 1906 by Jacob Sapirstein and are the 2nd largest greeting card company in the world, and to this day they are still run by the Sapirstein family! Over the years they continued to make greeting cards and also became sponsors for TV shows like Entertainment Tonight and Dragon Tales and ventured out into toys and cartoons. American Greetings has created iconic toy characters like Madballs, My Pet Monster, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Lady Lovely Locks and Popples, and after owning many of them for so many years, they sold Strawberry Shortcake in 2015 to Iconix Brand Group for $105 million. I should also point out that American Greetings is an Ohio founded company showing that we Ohioans really are creative people. I wanted to share a brief look at the company that created Madballs and show them some respect before we move onto the fast pitch of this update.  So here is to you, American Greetings, for making some amazing characters who helped shape many kids’ childhoods!

American Greetings Logo

Madballs hit toy shelves in 1985 and were aimed at capturing the attention of young boys who loved horror films, horror hosts and monster comics. The gross balls were made of rubber and foam and were supposed to be used to scare your friends as well as play sports with them. The commercials for these toys flooded Saturday Morning Cartoons and started a wave of kids begging their parents to get them one.  I will admit that my brother Bryan and I were those kids that they marketed them to, and sadly and strangely, as I noted above, my parents never got us any! Series One consisted of 8 characters that included “Screamin Meemie” a baseball with a face and a large Rolling Stone’s logo tongue, “Slobulus” a green creature who’s got one hanging eye and slobbers, “Aargh” was a blue skinned Frankenstein Monster also with one eye, “Horn Head” is a purple skinned Cyclops with a nose ring, “Skull Face” is a skull, “Crack Head” a cracked head with his brain exposed, “Oculus Orbus” is a giant eyeball and “Dust Brain” a green skinned Mummy! The original Madballs were a huge hit with the kids in Waynesville and were a major talking point between my brother and me for a short time. Parents flipped out over the toys, saying they were too gross and had terrible names, and this changed Crack Head’s name to Bash Brain due to the slang use of the term crack head being used for drug addicts. The worst part about Madballs was that they cracked and parts of the paint would fall off and expose the foam underneath, very annoying and one of the flaws of this toy line for sure.

Madballs Series 1

The popularity of the toyline sparked a second series that showcased “Wolf Breath” as Werewolf, “Swine Sucker” a mutated looking boar, “Bruise Brother” a messed up looking biker, “Freaky Fullback” a freak football player, “Snake Bait” a Gorgon, “Lock Lips” a monster with locks over one eye and mouth, “Fist Face” a hand holding a eyeball and “Splitting Headache” a half peeled face monster! The second series was popular but also was at the point where I noticed the kids at school had shifted towards other toy lines.  Madballs were cool but no longer the must have toy. This second set has many great characters that I would love to have had back in the day as well as even to this day: Wolf Breath, Swine Sucker and Lock Lips! Below are some pics from the second series that will show you also how the designs of the characters got better and how they dipped into the pool of classic monsters (Werewolf & Gorgon) as well as real life goons that scared people (the jock & biker). Also, in the 2000’s Madballs made a small comeback and were brought back to toy shelves as squishy toys.  They made a small impact before once more being sent off to toy heaven.

snakebaitwolfbreathswinesucker

Super Madballs were bigger and were not in the shape of a baseballs but the sport they were named after.  They were “Goal Eater” a soccer ball with teeth, “Touchdown Terror” a football missile monster and “Foul Shot” a basketball with a face and worms in his eye! These were big and bulky, and my cousins were the only kids I knew who had one of them. By the point Super Madballs were released, the steam was out of the line and over time Madballs faded into the world of forgotten toys.  I was not a fan of the Super Madballs back then and still don’t really have a soft spot for them. So let’s move on past, them shall we?

Super Madballs

Head-Popping Madballs featured the popular characters from the toy line, this time with bodies and the ability to launch their heads off as well as swap with other characters. The bodies were made of hard plastic with movable arms and legs, while the heads were rubber and detailed. The line had Screamin Meemie, Horn Head, Oculus Orbus, Slobulus, Dust Brain, Skull Face, Wolf Breath, Bruise Brother and Lock Lips who I had as a youngster like I said earlier. While the original Madballs were really cool, these figures were the ones I really liked, and I can remember playing with Lock Lips alongside my Masters Of The Universe figures. You see the Head-Popping Madballs were action figures, while the Madballs were, well, just balls! For a long time at GameSwap, the body of Skull Face was floating around, and many of us dug through a bin of old toy parts hoping to find its head that we sadly never did. Below are some examples of this series of Madballs, enjoy!

Head Popping Lock LipsHead Popping OrbusHead Popping Wolfbreath

Besides these toylines, over the years many other cool merchandise has been released based on The Madballs like greeting and Valentine Cards, stickers, wind-up toys, t-shirts, VHS tapes, comics and video games! That’s right, Madballs had a video game in 1988 that was made by Ocean for Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum that had you playing a Madball rolling around a maze and collecting your fellow Madballs. The game got very poor reviews and never made it to the NES. In 2009, a game for the X-BOX Live Arcade called Babo: Invasion featured two Madballs as characters, Horn Head and Oculus Orbus! So while a modern generation of kids might not know what a Madball is, for us kids of the 80’s there was lots of great merchandise to choose from back then and even a little now!

Madballs Wind UpMadballs Video Game (C64)Madballs TShirt

In 1986, Madballs got the cartoon treatment, and oddly enough, the toons were not made for TV viewing but only for the home video market by Nelvana on VHS. The first cartoon was called “Escape From Orb” and has the Madballs living on Orb, a place that music is banned.  They want to escape to Earth so they can tour as a band, but Commander Wolfbreath and the Badballs want to stop them. The second tape was called “Madballs: Gross Jokes” and had our stars acting out silly skits. I can remember renting the Escape From Orb cartoon from Mary L. Cook Public Library and being super hyped to watch it and rushing to pop it into the old VCR.  After the cartoon I was so disappointed at the back story given to these characters and hated the fact that they were aspiring rock stars…so lame and to me it came off as trying to cash in on the popularity of The California Raisins who were singing their way into hearts around the same time as well as cashing in on the success of bands like Bon Jovi and Poison who were as well very popular at the time with youngsters. Plus I was not a huge fan of the personalities they gave some of the Madballs as they should have been a little more gross and a little more mean. But while I may not have liked the story of the characters, I did find that animation to be pretty cool and it made me wonder why they went the home video route and not the Saturday Morning Cartoon one that could have given the series a shot in the arm and made them last a little longer on the must-have toy list. And before you ask, no I never did own the VHS tapes as a kid and only did get them when I got older and found them dirt cheap at a thrift store.

Madballs VHS 1Madballs CartoonMadballs VHS 2

While Madballs became popular, they also sparked knock-off toys like Bonkers The Ugly Ball, a grey skull face with a grin, and even Odd Balls, a series that had a Devil and even a Mummy as part of its line. Now I must admit that I did have two Odd Balls growing up as I can remember that they were very generic rubber balls that stung when being hit with one during a came of ball tag. The ones I had were Dirty Devil, a goofy very generic devil complete with evil twisted mustache goatee combo as well as buck teeth, and the other was Evil Knievel, a Mummy with purple skin and blood stains on his wrapping. Evil Knievel is the one I played with most, and I can remember tossing him around the backyard, rolling him off the roof of the house and shed and even tossed him over in the neighbor’s yard when my school crush was visiting her just so I could come over and say hi to her…yeah, I was such a monster kid dork back then that I used a Odd Ball to talk to a crush. Below is Ugly Ball as well as the two Odd Balls that I used to have when I was a kid.

Ugly BallOdd Balls - Dirty DevilOdd Balls - Evil Knievel

So we are at the core of this update, the Star Comic reviews! My brother and I had the first three issues of Madballs growing up, and I can remember that we both thought that our issue # 1 was going to be worth a fortune when we grew up.  To no one’s shock, it’s only worth a few dollars and is really common to find in local comic store’s dollar bins. Star Comics was so cool in the 80’s and made so many amazing comics based on toys and cartoons of the time, and Madballs was one of the lucky few that were chosen to be a three issue mini series and went on to be a total of 10 issues! I am pretty hyped to see if the final issue is a true final issue or if it will just end like so many other Star Comics at the time, quickly and dirty with no respect for the readers. Before we go bouncing around with The Madballs, I need to 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank Mavericks, Bell Book And Comic, Lone Star Comics and 2nd And Charles for having these issues in stock for this review. So let’s get ready to get totally gross with Star Comic and The Madballs!

Madballs 1

Madballs # 1  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   # 1 of 10

“The Evil Dr. Frankenbeans” A delivery truck loses 8 rubber balls from the cargo it’s carrying.  They bounce down the road and land in a pond of chemicals at the R.U.I.N. laboratories and turn into Madballs that include Screamin’ Meemie, Horn Head, Dust Brain, Crack Head, AARGH, Skull Face, Slobulus and Oculus Orbus.  They find a nearby park and meet some youths led by Tommy playing baseball, and the two groups quickly become friends. Meanwhile R.U.I.N. head scientist Viktor Frankenbeans and his dim-witted assistant Snivelitch spot the Madballs and want to capture them as Frankenbeans thinks they will lead to him winning a Nobel Prize! When Snivelitch fails to capture them, Frankenbeans plays dirty and uses free drinks to give Skull Face everlasting hiccups and tries to kidnap the Madball but is stopped thanks to Slobulus who uses his slime to trip up Frankenbeans making him fall into his own chemical pond and swearing revenge on our round heroes. In the end, Skull Face is cured of his hiccups with a look in a mirror that causes him to scare himself. The second story is called “Corn-Ered!” The Madballs are playing hide and seek with Tommy and the kids when the corn comes alive and takes the kids captive to an old barn where the Madballs come face to face with Colonel Corn who was once a normal piece of corn until he fell into the chemical pond of R.U.I.N. and now wants to take over the world! Colonel Corn uses puns and a floating ball of kernels he calls Cornball to defeat The Madballs, but they are not down for long as Screamin’ Meemie gets so mad the heat from his anger turns Colonel Corn and Cornball into popcorn!

This first issue was just as cheesy and fun as I remember it to be way back in 1986 when I first read it! This issue shows how the Madballs came to be and uses the chemical pond as a way to turn normal rubber balls into talking scary and gross living creatures who have hearts of gold and befriend the local youth as they just want to have fun. None of the Madballs stand out as the leader and each are just filled with bad puns and really silly bad habits like drooling and screaming. It’s pretty amazing seeing a kids comic use the name Crack Head as the character is used in many spots and gets his time to shine. Dr. Viktor Frankenbeans is a mad scientist who is working for R.U.I.N. and is making terrible chemicals that not only smell bad but also are causing harm to nature and people.  He seems not to care as he is only seeking fame in this issue. He reminds me of a cheaper version of Gargamel from The Smurfs as his look and attitude are kind of matching. Snivelitch is a goon who is shown to not be very bright and is the whipping boy for Frankenbeans who jumps at any chance to put his goof assistant down. I am sure Snivelitch will act as the comic relief as I can see him screwing things up in the coming issues. Colonel Corn is the master of puns and with his play on words is able to beat down The Madballs, but when he is defeated and his head kernels are popped and turned into popcorn, he is just a husk head of a man watching as the kids and The Madballs eat what was once his face…. I want you to think about that….it’s like being weak and defeated and watching as zombies ate your face flesh meat while watching the Care Bears…sick twisted stuff. The cover is top notch and fantastic and I am sure caught the eye of many kids on the newsstands.  The art inside is also well done for this style of kids comic and was done by Howie Post (Howard Post) who is known for his comic strip The Dropouts as well as his work for Harvey Comics. He also did the artwork for some issues of Wally The Wizard for Star as well as the Centipede promo comic from DC, both of which I’ve covered here on Rotten Ink. An A-list artist for kids comics was on board for this one! Over all I can say I enjoyed this comic back when I was a kid and still did when I read it again.  So let’s see how issue two holds up.

Madballs 2

Madballs # 2  **
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   # 2 of 10

“Dr. Frankenbeans Returns” The Madballs are having fun with the kids when Oculus Orbus decides to go bird watching and goes on an adventure of his own. Meanwhile Dr. Frankenbean has come out of the chemical pond and comes up with a plan with Snivelitch to get The Madballs under his control.  It includes getting the help of Miss Tic The Mystic who hypnotizes The Madballs to be under Frankenbeans’ control so he can have them turn on the kids! In the end Oculus Orbus returns and reverses the spell and has Frankenbeans, Miss Tic and Snivelitch thinking they are ducks and swimming in the pond. “Meet Weirdbeard The Pirate” Tommy and the kids are fishing with The Madballs.  They enter a fog bank that takes them back in time where they are kidnapped and forced into slavery by Weirdbeard and The Madballs are tossed into the sea. Weirdbeard needs this crew as he wants to find the hidden treasure of Peg Leg Peg.  On the Island The Madballs with the help of a octopus save the kids and find the fog to get back to their time.  As for Weirdbeard, he gets himself gets captured by Peg Leg Peg who makes him her slave!

This second issue is good but did slip a little as it’s not as fun as the first issue.  In fact, the stories in this issue seemed a little rushed and both would be better as backup stories in an issue with better plotted stories. The return of Dr. Frankenbean is a letdown as his plan to get revenge is taken apart in moments by Oculus Orbus who turns the table on him and once more places him in the chemical stew pond. Miss Tic is a goth woman who has the power of hypnotizing the weak of mind and can also read minds, funny thing about that is Snivelitch has dirty ideas in his mind when it comes to Tic! The atmosphere for the first story’s castle of Miss Tic is well played as it reminded me of a set used on a Horror Host show from the 70’s. The second story of Peg Leg Peg and Weirdbeard was not my thing and for the most part I was bored reading it as it had a very generic feel. Here is to hoping we won’t see Weridbeard or Peg again but that we will see Miss Tic again as I could see her joining the fight against The Madballs more often. Oculus Orbus is the only Madball who stands out this issue as he uses his power of being a big eye to reverse the hypnotic spell and save his friends from being mindless slaves. The rest of The Madballs all kind of do what they do and that’s deliver puns and have fun doing things with their friends Tommy and his crew. The cover is well done and once more eye catching with the first story’s art by Howie Post and the second one by Roberta Edelman.  Both do a great job with the art even if the stories are a little lackluster. I’m going to move on from this issue to the third one and hope that it has better stories.

Madballs 3

Madballs # 3  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   # 3 of 10

“Attack Of The Bad Balls” Dr. Frankenbean and Snivelitch hide and listen to The Madballs and the kids talking about how the chemical pond turned 8 regular balls into their gross friends they call The Madballs. Frankenbean returns to R.U.I.N and tries to make his own version of talking gross balls.  Only after nearly giving up and using bowling balls does it work and out come The Badballs who are Smasher, Crasher and Trasher.  They have a rumble with The Madballs that leaves our heroes having to make a run for it! But once more Crack Head comes up with a plan that leaves the Badballs falling back into the chemical pond and turning back into boomerang balls that knock out Frankenbean and Snivelitch as the Madballs spin some more puns. The second story is “Now Museum, Now You Don’t” that has The Madballs running loose in a museum and the security guards are trying to stop them as hijinks run wild that leaves them all crashing into a big gross mess and being mistaken for art! The third story is “ Spaced Out” The Madballs bring down a U.F.O as they fear it might attack Tommy and the gang.  Inside is Rojad who came in peace but feels The Madballs are attacking him so he uses his shrink gun and turns them to the size of peas! As he grabs them, they muster all their power and take Rojad for a quick ride.  The alien and The Madballs patch things up, and they soon find out that his ship is out of fuel and the fuel he needs is the drool slime of Slobulus who he tries to kidnap. The Madballs must tangle with Rojad again, but after the fight they become friends as Slobulus fills his tank up and even gets a gold tooth as payment!

This third issue is a fun goofy ride and, like issue one, captures the gross nature of The Madballs and adds in some trouble for them to face that seem like actual threats. This issue also has three stories instead of two, giving you more silly adventures for the 75-cent price tag. The best story of the three has to be “Spaced Out” as I like the idea of The Madballs fighting an alien who wears yellow and has a robot like face.  The idea that drool slime fuels his ship is also classic 80’s toy and comic stuff. The Madballs in the issue are shown to be fighters and thinkers as they outsmart not only The Badballs but also Rojad and do so with smarts and might. They are also very protective of their human friends.  If they think they are in danger, they will attack and defend with all their round might. Oh yeah, Crack Head once more shows that he is smart as he comes up with a plan to defeat the Badballs that works! Like in all of the issues up to this point, the Madballs spend lots of time spewing out cheesy puns that young kids would laugh at. The Badballs are three tough as nails bowling balls who are bullies, but soon find out that their heavy nature helped them in the fight but also was their downfall. Rojad was not really a bad guy but did have The Madballs on the ropes with his shrink gun.  For an alien that came in peace he sure did turn evil when it came to kidnapping poor Slobulus! Dr. Frankenbean and Snivelitch once more come up with a plan to get revenge and as always fail at that mission. The cover is great and would catch the eye not just of Madball fans but also Monster Kids as it has a very Frankenstein feel to it, or at least I think so. The art is once more done by kids comic legend Howie Post and shows why he was a go to guy for these type of comics. I’m glad to see the series back on track with this issue, and I hope the fourth keeps it up! Plus, this is a Star Comic that went on after its 3-issue mini series, now let’s take bets if it has a true final issue.

Madballs 4

Madballs # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 4 of 10

“The Madballs Meet The New Madballs” Dr. Frankenbean is depressed about not being able to get his revenge on The Madballs, and this has taken over his life until he and Snivelitch come up with a plan that has them throwing eight more rubber balls into the chemical pond.  Out comes eight new Madballs that are Wolf Breath, Swine Sucker, Snake Bait, Lock Lips, Fistface, Freaky Fullback, Splitting Headache and Bruise Brother! Frankenbeans tricks his New Madballs into going to the park and rumbling with the old ones, and boy do they, as each team has members fall.  It comes down to Horn Head and Bruise Brother clashing head on that causes the ground to crack, and Tommy falls in! When all The Madballs and New Madballs awaken, they figure out they are all brothers and they save Tommy and chase off Frankenbean and Snivelitch and all sixteen Madballs make their home in an abandoned dance hall. “Anchors Away” Tommy and the gang along with Madballs Screamin’ Meemie, Slobulus, Dust Brain, Wolf Breath, Snake Bait and Fist Face are rush home to watch the news, but before it comes on Wolf Breath along with Snake Bait and Slobulus all go for the kitchen for a snack and don’t see that news anchor Ben Defax has hypnotized his viewers into giving him all their wealth.  He’s also begun wearing a mask in the shape of a boat anchor and calling himself Anchor-Man! His power comes from his microphone, and the three Madballs figure out a way to defeat him and break his hold on the viewers when Wolf Breath’s bad breath breaks the hold on the fellow Madballs and Snake Bait uses his snakes to crush the microphone.

This issue is the first for The Madballs to break the mini series banner and become a full series as Star Comics listened to the readers and gave them more gross out adventures than what was planned. Plus this issues adds in the eight Madballs that were released in series two into the plot and has them joining the others as well as Tommy and his friends in having fun and foiling the plots of Frankenbeans. I must say that adding the New Madballs to the cast was really cool as seeing Wolf Breath and Swine Sucker in action is cool, but it also dilutes the cast as now some Madballs seem to take a backseat and others seem to be the focus as Snake Bait is showcased more in this issue than Oculus Orbus, AARGAH and Crack Head (who is now being called Bash Brain) combined! It’s nice to see Frankenbean and Snivelitch come back to the now on-going series, and they and the R.U.I.N. Lab are great as the major bad guys to the series. The main baddie is Ben Defax aka Anchor-Man, who wants to use his fame of being on TV and his hypnotizing microphone to steal from his fans.  He’s a real ego driven jerk who wears a dumb giant boat anchor mask to add fear to his life in crime. In this issue we also find out that The Madballs are make home in an abandoned old play theater and this run down setting is great for their gross home base. I enjoyed both stories equally, and it was nice to see The Madball rumble in the first story as it’s clear only a Madball can defeat a Madball. The art in this issue is done by Howie Post once more, and it’s fantastic and the cover is good.  Over all this is a solid kids comic based on a toy line, and so far I am enjoying it as much as I did when I was a kid and first read them.

Madballs 5

Madballs # 5   **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 5 of 10

“Plus 3 Makes 19” Dr. Frankenbean is very upset over the 16 Madballs and how they have foiled his evil plans.  When Tommy and the gang go to get ice cream, he steals their soccer ball, football and basketball and tosses them into the chemical pond and out pops The Super Madballs named Touchdown Terror, Foul Shot and Goal Eater.  He sends them out to beat up The Madballs, and the rumble starts and ends soon as Freaky Fullback and Touchdown Terror find they have lots in common and they discover that they are all one big gross family! The Super Madballs chase down Frankenbeans and Snivelitch and toss them into the chemical pond, and all ends well for the ever growing Madball family. “Veg Out” has Dr. Frankenbean getting help from a hypnotist after his last defeat at the hands (or is that heads?) of The Madballs that has him now focusing on growing vegetables.  After a mistake made by Snivelitch, instead of water he sprays his garden with liquid from the chemical pond and out comes The Vegeterribles that include Rotten Tomato, Crushroom, Paul Onion, Spud-Nick, Pea Shooter and Iceberg Lettuce who he wants to send after The Madballs! The two groups rumble in the old Abandoned Theater, and Frankenbean and Iceberg Lettuce freezes Tommy and the kids in blocks of ice making The Madballs surrender. In the end Horn Head and Swine Sucker rush to the R.U.I.N Lab and save The Madballs, and Swine Sucker eats The Vegeterribles and they bury Frankenbean and Snivelitch as if they are vegetables!

This is another good issue but I must also point out that this comic series is also becoming very paint by numbers as many of the stories has The Madballs having a run in with some sort of bad guys who they beat is some cheesy pun filled way.  Frankenbean uses the chemical pond to create new versions of the Madballs who turn on him in no time and so on and so on. But with that out of the way, let’s take a look at this issue as both stories have select Madballs fighting against another group of mutated baddies with the first ending in friendship and the second with victory as their enemies are eaten alive! Dr. Frankenbean is becoming more and more mad with revenge as this series continues and he is even willing to put children in harm’s way in order to destroy The Maballs.  If he continues down this path, by the final issue it looks like he will have a collection of bodies buried in the basement of R.U.I.N Labs all the while thinking the clock on the wall is telling him when it’s “Revenge” time….In other words, he is going crazy! None of The Madballs really stand out as at this point, there are just too many of them and they are having to be split up just to try to work them into the plot.  Some are so loosely in the story that they don’t really add much. The Super Madballs are cool to see, but I really hope this issue is the only one they appear in though I have a bad feeling they will return and clog up the weakening stories even more. The Vegeterribles are cool but kind of a waste as they are killed, and I mean murdered, by the end of the second story. The cover is great but shows you just how clustered the characters are getting with the art from the first story being done by Howie Post and the second done by Michael Gallagher.  Both are good stuff. Over all I am being a little generous with this issue’s star rating as it’s more like a two, but I did have fun reading it.  However, if things don’t change up in the next issue I will not be as kind.

Madballs 6

Madballs # 6  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 6 of 10

“Mad Love” Dr. Frankenbean and Snivelitch find one last rubber ball near the lab and along with some make-up they toss it into the chemical pond and out comes MadBelle, a gross female who causes Horn Head, Foul Shot, Fist Face, Swine Sucker and Bash Brain to fight amongst themselves to win her heart when he tricks them to come to the lab for a party. Just as they are about to ram themselves into a tree to see who wins a date with her, Madbelle stops them and tells them she is in love with Snivelitch, and The Madballs figure out they have been set up and turn the tables once more on Dr. Frankenbeans. “Maiden Hong Kong Blues” Chin, one of Tommy’s friends, is shocked when he finds that his dad’s restaurant has been wrecked by Maiden Hong Kong and her bodyguards sumo wrestler Topknot and ninja Ninjun Joe who want bad fortune cookies given out! In the end The Madballs, come up with a plan to stop Maiden Hong Kong from getting her request and send her to jail.  After the victory they have a great Chinese food meal.

Once more Frankenbean tosses a ball into the Chemical Pond to create something to get his revenge on The Madballs.  By this point I am getting pretty sick of this format and starting to wonder why they are doing this plot over and over again. I mean, I get the comic is based on a toy and that they are trying to do a cartoon style format with it, but good God enough is enough! Madbelle is lame and her whole reason to help bring down The Madballs is thrown out the window as she is just used to deliver dumb puns and fall in love with Snivelitch. Speaking of Snivelitch, he and Frankenbeans once more are just around for blah revenge and in the end both get what’s coming to them. The second story is the better of the two by far and has select Madballs having to tangle with a sumo wrestler and ninja all in the name of fortune cookies! But still nothing new over all and in fact it’s as stale as the last issue.  While enjoyable, the been there, read that feeling creeps into your brain and makes it slightly less enjoyable. If not for the second story, this one would have been rated lower. The cover is okay, and the art is done by Howie Post and Michael Gallagher again marking at least good art quality making up for the lack of story in the first segment. Also I am pretty sure we have not seen the last of Maiden Hong Kong and her goons as I think they will be out for revenge soon, but I hope this is the end of Madbelle as she was kind of a waste. Let’s just move onto issue seven and hope it steps it up next issue.

Madballs 7

Madballs # 7   **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 7 of 10

“Body Builders” Madballs Skull Face, Dust Brain, Slobulus, Snake Bait, Lock Lips and Wolf Breath are feeling down that they do not have bodies and come up with a plan to trick Frankenbean into making them bodies! After a trick that has them breaking down a old building, Frankenbean thinks they have turned evil and shares with them his new invention the FrankenTank that will be used to cause panic and help him take over the world! With the help of the chemical pond and the bodies of dolls, The Madballs now have bodies and rush off to test them out. Unbeknownst to Frankenbeans, they are really building vehicles to combat his and in the end they are able to destroy his tank and save the world from his evil plan. “Tourist Trap” has select Madballs like Screamin’ Meemie, AARGH, Goal Eater, Fistface and Bruise Brother all going on a vacation to an island where they meet the scum bag Bermuda Schwartz The Terrible Tourist, who uses his cheap cigar smoke, freezing camera and tacky shorts to rob people and places, but with the help of a cheap mirror and luck, Fistface is able to turn the tables on this terrible man and send him to jail while they enjoy the rest of their vacation.

Finally a slight change of pace that kept lots of the same feeling but added a little seasoning to spice it up. The first story has select Madballs getting bodies and tricking and defeating Frankenbeans as the second story has select Madballs stopping a terrible tourist from robbing banks, hotels and people! The second story is short and is a nice backup to the first, even if it lied and used the name Tourist Trap as I did not see Chuck Connors as Mr. Slausen from the film of the same name.  But really it’s a cool fun short story with a funny baddie set up for them to knock down as Bermuda Schwartz is the perfect example of a person who takes the fun out of being places with his only-me attitude. Frankenbeans in this issue goes from hating Madballs, to loving Madballs like they are his children to hating them again! He is who he is and while paint by numbers, I will say he is the perfect 80’s kid comic/cartoon bad guy! None of The Madballs stand out once more and share about the same panel time, but the stand out in this issue for me has to be Fistface, who is the one who beats Schwartz at his own annoying game. The art is done by Post again, and the cover on this one is pretty cool even if it misleads a little as Frankenbeans never rides a cycle and Horn Head is not in the issue at all. Over all, it’s good standard kid comic stuff that for the most part is doing these toys justice.

Madballs 8

Madballs # 8  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 8 of 10

“Younger Than Springslime” Our story starts with Frankenbeans and Snivelitch running up a mountain from Touchdown Terror, Wolf Breath and Horn Head who caught the R.U.I.N Lab workers trying to blow up their home! But while hiding in a cave, Frankenbean finds the fountain of youth and comes up with a plan that leads to the three Madballs diving into a small pool of the water and turning them into Baby Madballs! But he soon finds that the toddler Madballs are driving him crazy with trying to win his attention, and after a dip in the Chemical Pond, they turn back into adults and decide to drop Frankenbeans and Snivelitch into the youth water giving them a taste of being young all over again! “Weather I’m Right” is the second story and has Skull Face, Goal Eater, Lock Lips, Snake Bait and Screamin’ Meemie heading to the TV Station to yell at weather lady Gail Warning who reported it would be sunny but in fact it’s a severe thunderstorm! They meet up with reformed former bad guy, Ben de Fax aka Anchor Man, who tries to warn them but it’s too late as Gail is indeed evil and she controls the weather! After freezing them and sending them to the North Poll, The Madballs find away to return to town and thanks to Snake Bait’s snakes they are able to get her weather wand and break it and safely deliver her to the cops as she is booked on crimes against nature.

The Madballs in this issue turn into babies and fight the weather, and readers are treated to these two silly stories that are pure kid comic gold.  This is a fun way to showcase The Madballs as they do good and in some odd way are teaching some sort of lessons like don’t mess with nature and be proud of your age. The Madballs that stick out in this issue are Goal Eater, who saves his fellow Madballs from freezing to death, and Snake Bait, who uses is snake like charm to rid the world of the weather wand. Frankenbeans and Snivelitch are pretty much the same as every issue as revenge is on their minds, and they know that their plan will end badly but they still take the chance. Nice to see Ben de Fax aka Anchor Man back in a cameo and that the TV Station didn’t fire him even after he robbed viewers. The new TV Station evil on air personality is Gail Warning, and she is a hot to trot blonde who for some reason gets joy in reporting the weather wrong…yeah, what an odd motivation. The best story of the two I would say is Weather I’m Right as I liked the flow a little better and the story moves at a wacky and fun pace. The art for the first story was done by Post and the second one was Gallagher, and like I broken record I will say it was fantastic and fitting.  The cover as well is pretty dang cool and showcases the Madball Babies! On a side note before we move onto the next issue, this marks the final issue under the Star brand name as the next two will sport the Marvel Comics logo.

Madballs 9

Madballs # 9  ***
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 9 of 10

“The Return Of Everyone” The twisted mind of Dr. Frankenbeans comes up with an idea to free Miss Tic The Mystic from jail, and when he and Snivelitch do so, they also free some of the other Madball baddies like Anchor-Man, The Bad Balls, Weird Beard The Pirate, Maiden Hong Kong and Colonel Corn.  Their plan is to attack five locations unless money is paid to them! The city calls on The Madballs for help who break into five groups to try and stop the madness and return these bad guys to jail. The first group goes to the Midwest, and they are Goal Eater, Snake Bair, Oculus Orbus and Screamin’ Meemie as they take on Colonel Corn! While in China, Dust Brain, Lock Lips, Bash Brain and Swine Sucker tangle with the sinister Maiden Hong Kong! In L.A. Wolf Breath, Splitting Headache, AARGH and Horn Head find the wicked Anchor-Man up to his old tricks, while on the Atlantic Ocean Skull Head, Fist Face, Freak Fullback and Touchdown Terror battle on a ship with Weird Beard who has kidnapped Tommy and the gang of kids! While at R.U.I.N Lab, Foul Shot, Slobulus and Bruise Brother must come face to face with the team up of The Bad Balls, Dr. Frankenbeans, Snivelitch and Miss Tic! And with the readers help to solve puzzles like cross word, connect the dots and word find The Madballs defeat their enemies and make them all jump into the Chemical Pond.

This issue is hands down one of the best in the series and tells one story that brings back almost all the series’ main bad guys for one final battle! Plus it also showcases all The Madballs, New Madballs and Super Madballs making it feel like a one issue Madball version of Secret Wars. Miss Tic The Mystic is the brains behind the newly formed team of haters, and she is also one of the last to fall in battle.  It was great seeing her again as well as all the other baddies. While the fights are not fully shown as the puzzles act as your way to defeat them, it was nice for many of them to get that one last shot at being in the comic and trying to get revenge on those dang Madballs. Once more none of The Madballs stand out as they all play a part in trying to save the world from paying these goons to not do evil deeds. I like the idea of the puzzles being the way for The Madballs to win as it gave kids a challenge and made their minds work to solve them to further the story. My favorite bad guy who returns has to be Colonel Corn who uses his corny puns to defeat his enemies, and like before The Madballs pop his head into popcorn! Plus is clear that Snivelitch wants some Miss Tic booty and even dresses up to try and impress her. The cover is great and showcases some of The Madballs as well as some of the Bad Guys and is eye catching for fans of the series. As always Post does the art and rocks it! For the first issue being done under Marvel, this one is better than almost the whole Star Comic run and that’s because this one has action, fun games and a solid story.  Let’s see how the final issue holds up!

Madballs 10

Madballs # 10  **1/2
Released in 1988   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   # 10 of 10

“Fantastic Voyeurs”  While walking in the field near R.U.I.N Lab,Dr. Frankenbean finds the shrink gun of Rojad and wants to use it to shrink The Madballs into micro size terrors he can deal with but Touchdown Terror, Bash Brain and Fist Face come crashing in and cause Frankenbeans to have a breakdown and a virus called Unchained Melody is running rampant in his body! Snivelitch begs them to let him shrink them so they can save Frankenbean from death’s door and after thinking about it, they agree and enter Frankenbeans throat to save his life! But they only have 20 minutes to do so as the effects of the gun will run out and they will grow normal size stuck in his body! But in the end they beat the virus and escape his body and all things go back to normal. “Compose Yourself” this last adventure has Swine Sucker, Freaky Fullback, Oculus Orbus and Screamin’ Meemie going up against Grammar Moses, an old lady who uses a grammar stick to beat people who abuse the words! After being knocked around by her, thanks to giant question marks and quotations Screamin’ Meemie uses his loud words to bust her hearing aid and is able to defeat her, but they see she is a good person and it ends with her being a tutor to them so they can speak better.

The final issue is not a farewell issue, and the series does not get its ride off into the sunset instead it just ends like so many other Star Comics and Marvel titles before it. The first story is like the film Innerspace and has The Madballs entering a human body to save a life, dumb silly and a fun read for sure. The second story is a grammar lesson and has them fighting an old lady with her board that she has dubbed the board of education. The Madballs final battle with Frankenbeans and Snivelitch is really more of a rescue mission, and I am okay with that as in my head this could be the moment the feud ended between them. Grammar Moses is pretty silly but fitting when used to educate about the use of words and grammar. Touchdown Terror is the standout in the series as he seems to be calling the shots in the first story when some of The Madballs are shrunk. Would you like to know my top four Madballs that appeared in this series? While I liked them all in my own way, I would have to say my favorites in order are Horn Head, Swine Sucker, Wolf Breath and Crack Head (Bash Brain) with Dust Brain and Fist Face also coming in very close. The art is done by Howie Post again, and I will say that his work shines in these kind of kids comics, and he would be the artist I would have loved to have seen make a Commander USA comic for Star. The cover for the final issue is okay, nothing ground breaking but would for sure get the attention of fans of the series and toys. Again to sum up this series, it was pretty good and I would say it’s on the level with such other Star Comics we have looked at like Inhumanoids, Foofur, Hugga Bunch, AniMax and Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos but not as good as Thundercats, Wally The Wizard and Defenders Of The Earth. If you grew up with the toys and enjoy comics based on toys check it out, if you like Star Comics and kid comics in general check it out. Below is some artwork from the series that showcases select Madballs in action, enjoy!

madballs art 1

Madballs is a good average kid comic series based on a toy line but it’s also very limited as they are just flying balls who can only really fight with the power of being gross and headbutting…so He-Man or G.I. Joe they are not, but entertaining they were. For our next update, we are heading back to the old theater as we take our third look at Marvel At The Movies! So make sure to come back for that one as we will be covering some fantastic adaptations in it. Until then, read a comic or three, collect your childhood toys and support your local horror host! And make sure to bring enough popcorn to share with others for the next update.

marvel-at-the-movies-3

Harland Sanders The Fried Chicken Colonel Of Kentucky

Who doesn’t love some good old greasy fried chicken? Well maybe vegetarians, vegans and people who are watching their weight are not so much fans of this crispy fried death. When I was a youngster, my Grandma Salyers was an amazing cook and made lots of great southern style meals complete with collared greens, green beans with salt pork, fried green tomatoes, green onions and of course fried chicken! I loved eating at my Grandma’s house as her home cooking could not be beat and her fried chicken was at the top of my request list next to her homemade chicken or beef noodles and fried green tomatoes. One of the best parts about the meals also was that all the veggies were picked from their garden.  Man, I miss those days and more importantly miss my grandparents who sadly both have passed away. The theme of this update is fried chicken and one man, who along with 11 herb and spices made a recipe that took the United States by storm and gave us the fast food restaurant called Kentucky Fried Chicken.  That man is Colonel Sanders! So let’s order a bucket of chicken with some mashed potatoes and gravy and some biscuits with honey and talk about this Kentucky icon.

KFC Bucket Of Chicken

Harland David Sanders was born on September 9, 1890 in a small house near Henryville, Indiana and was the oldest of three children. He grew up going to church and enjoying a good farm family environment, but things got a little rougher when his father passed away and his mother had to take a job. Harland was forced to act as his siblings’ caretaker, but at this young age he learned to make food and do some creative things with meats, breads and vegetables. At the age of 10, he also took a job as a farmhand for a to help out with money. In 1902, seven years after his father’s death, his mom re-married, and they all moved to Greenwood, Indiana.  Harland found himself at odds with his new stepdad, and this lead to him dropping out of school in the 7th grade and taking lots of jobs in the surrounding towns. At the age of 14, he moved away from his mother with her blessing and lived with his uncle in New Albany, Indiana to work as a steelcar conductor. In 1906 Harland joined the United States Army as a teamster and survived in Cuba until being honorably discharged in 1907 as he lied about is age.  He then moved to Alabama where another of his uncles lived and worked for the railway as a blacksmith’s helper and later cleaned ash pans of trains, and at 16 he became a steam engine stoker. While working for the railway of Alabama, he meet Josephine King who he would marry and have one son and two daughters with.  Sadly his son Harland Jr. passed away very young from infected tonsils.

The Sanders family would next move to Jackson, Tennessee as Harland took a job for the Ilinois Central Railroad as steam engine stoker and studied law at night via La Salle Extension University. Harland lost his job at the railway when he got into a a brawl with a fellow worker. He found work at another railway company and his law work came to an end when he once more got into a brawl with his own client in court! Harland and his family had a rough time as he floated from job to job and even was fired from selling life insurance for insubordination. Things turned around for him in 1920 when he established a ferry boat company on the Ohio River that operated from Jeffersonville and Louisville. In 1922, he took the job of Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, Indiana but was not very good at the job and left his post less than a year into it. Sanders made a boneheaded move when he sold off his shares in the ferry boat company to open  an acetylene lamp manufacturing plant that failed after Delco sold electric lamps on credit. Sanders moved to Winchester, Kentucky to work as a sales person for Michelin Tires but once more was let go after one of their manufacturing plants closed.  He then went on to work at a Standard Oil Gas Station as a manager, but it closed during the great depression in 1930 leaving him once more jobless.

But his luck would once more save him as Shell offered him a service station in North Corbin, Kentucky rent free as long as they shared a percentage of sales with them! Sanders started to make good home cooked meals that he would sell at the station like country ham and steaks as well as chicken and would later attach a restaurant to the gas station which became a huge hit with visitors. Sanders did have his enimies at this time as Matt Stewart owned a rival station, and a fight over a street sign lead to Stewart shooting and killing a Shell Oil official and being convicted of murder, eliminating his only competition. In 1935 Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon commissioned Sanders as a Kenticky Colonel as his popularity and reputation of serving great food grew and grew. Over the years Sanders opened more restaurants that were also attached to hotels and motels and would do his part to help during Word War II and the gas shortage. In 1947, Harland divorced Josephine and married his mistress for many years Claudia Ledington-Price in 1949.  By this time he had also perfected his fried chicken that was the talk of the town as his 11 secret herbs and spices as well as his style of cooking the chicken became a signature flavor. By 1952, Sanders allowed his “Kentucky Fried Chicken” meals to be franchised to a man named Pete Harman of South Salt Lake, Utah.  Pete saw his sales triple, all of it coming from the fried chicken! A fun little fact is that Don Anderson, a sign painter hired by Pete, came up with the name Kentucky Fried Chicken as he used the term to draw people into his restaurant in Utah as the customers loved the southern sound and style of this tasty chicken.  Plus, Sanders made .04 off each chicken sold at this location.

But by the age of 65 Sanders sold his restaurant, and he and his wife Claudia opened a new restaurant and headquarters in 1959.  Sanders would travel around to places and try to sell the franchise rights to his friend chicken.  This would include him making a batch of his famous chicken and having workers eat it, and when they liked it he would work out a deal with the owners on the price of the deal.  This was the birth of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fast food restaurants that are still going strong to this day. Sanders would later just sell all the US rights to the chicken concept but retained the rights in Canada and Englund and would remain the spokesman and mascot for the fast food joint to this day. But Sanders and KFC had feuds over the years as both have slung lawsuits at each other over all types of things such as bad mouthing gravy all the way to misusing Sanders’ image on products.  Sadly Sanders’ time came to an end as on December 16 1980 he died of leukemia at the age of 90, but his legacy and chicken still lives on to this day.

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Colonel Sanders was known for his white suit, classic southern black bow tie as well as his white goatee. But here are some weird a fun things you might not know about Sanders: at first he treated the whole Kentucky Colonel thing as a joke but later would take it seriously.  He was a foul mouthed man when it came to food quality and would visit KFC restaurants in the 70’s and if the meal did not live up to his standards he would cuss and shove the food to the floor! He used his own stock holdings to create the Colonel Sanders trust as well as Colonel Harland Sanders Charitable Organization that were used to aid charities as well as scholarships. Japan’s Hanshin Tigers baseball team has an urban legend called “Curse of the Colonel” that has them performing poorly after some fans in 1985 tossed a statue of Colonel Sanders into a river that lead to the statue being lost. In 2011 in KFC’s archives, a manuscript was found written by Colonel Sanders that had recipes as well as life lessons.  They claimed that they were going to try some of these recipes and put the 200 page writings online but to my knowledge they never did. Lee Cummings, the nephew of Colonel Sanders traveled around with his uncle selling the 11 Herd and Spices as well as pressure cookers in 1952 to franchises, and in 1966 Lee made his own recipe that he called his “Famous Recipe.”  He is the creator of the chicken restaurant known as “Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken,” one of KFC’s big competitors in the fast food chicken world.

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Growing up my parents were not fried chicken eaters, and we would get KFC only time to time as my Dad always thought the buckets cost too much.  As I stated before, most of the time we did have it was at my grandparents’ house as my parents would get a big old bucket so my grandma didn’t have to cook as she and my grandpa were big chicken eaters. As I got older, my brother had a KFC kick, and he and I used to go out to eat.  Most of the time he chose between Taco Bell and KFC, and now I think he enjoys eating Lee’s more than KFC. At work we seem to eat KFC pretty often as Todd The Fox loves himself some fried chicken or a famous bowl, and Garrison Kane loves his double down sandwich. For those who don’t know what a double down is, it’s two chicken patties that act as the bun to some bacon and cheese…yeah it’s an artery clogger for sure. When I eat at KFC this is my standard order: 3 piece dark meat meal with mash potatoes and green beans with water to drink. So what do you enjoy eating at KFC?

KFC Choose Your Bucket

I covered KFC’s birth above, so I figured I would skip the huge history lesson on KFC and what big company owns them and how many times it’s been sold and such and decided to instead cover the classic KFC Commercials that use to air on broadcast TV and can now be found on Youtube. It’s really cool to see these classic commercials from the late 60’s and 70’s and watch Harland Sanders in his white suit and cane prepare chicken or watch cooks make chicken, all the while the catch phrase “It’s Finger Licking Good” is said to highlight just how good the chicken at Kentucky Fried Chicken is thanks to the secret recipe. Also, you can see commercials from the 80’s. 90’s and even the modern stuff with the “fake” Colonel Sanders…we will get into those a little later in the update. It’s really crazy to think that while other fast food joints had more colorful mascots like Ronald McDonald for McDonalds, The Magical Burger King for Burger King and The Noid for Dominos Pizza to name a few, KFC more played up Colonel Sanders, a Southern gentleman who lived the American Dream. So if you’re bored and have a few minutes to kill, check out these commercials on Youtube and learn why the chicken is finger licking good as well as how you can get buckets of chicken to go for that after church dinner!

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Over the years besides the two comics we will be diving into on this update, many other great merchandise has been made based around Colonel Sanders that includes Halloween costumes, penny banks, PVC kids meal figures, hand puppets, clocks, t-shirts, vinyl records, bobble head, a Let’s Play At Kentucky Fried Chicken playset and statues to name a few. It’s great to see Colonel Sanders live on with lots of these collectable items, and while I don’t own any of these things besides the comics I have mentioned above I have seen the penny banks at many antique stores and have thought about buying one many times. So if you’re a collector of fast food mascots or just love KFC, you might want to try and track down some of these collectibles for your own collection.

Colonel Sanders puppetColonel Sanders bankColonel Sanders pvc figureColonel Sanders clock

With the original Colonel Sanders passing away in 1980, KFC thought of other ways to use his image like in the late 90’s they had an animated version who was cartoony in nature and was voiced by actor Randy Quaid. In 2015, we had two actors playing the “role” of Colonel Sanders, both former Saturday Night Live actors.  The first was played by Darrell Hammond, who had a touch of creepy to his portrayal.  This caused a huge backlash on social media from people who found it disrespectful to turn a classy gentlemen into a giggling chicken obsessed freak. I for one enjoyed the silly nature of Hammond’s version of Sanders, and it’s a shame they fired him from the role. During Hammond’s commercials he would sing little songs about fried chicken like “Chicken In The Bucket, Chicken In The Beans” or the classic about the $5.00 Fill Up Meal in which he explains that you not only get taters and gravy but also a big ol cookie! Norm Macdonald took over the role of Sanders and plays him more straight laced, but no matter how much or is it how little he tries, he just sounds like the Norm Macdonald we all grew to love while he was on SNL. During his commercials, Norm also explains that Hammond was an imposter trying to act as if he was the real Colonel Sanders. So will these three be the last to play the gone but not forgotten Colonel of Fried Chicken? Only time will tell. I should also note that it’s nice to see them at least use Colonel Sanders again as sometime in the 2000’s I can remember them wanting to drop his image from their marketing and wanted to embrace the KFC name and phase out that it stood for Kentucky Fried Chicken as health food nuts of the net went on a smear campaign against fast food joints.

Colonel Sanders cartoonColonel Sanders HammondsColonel Sanders Norm

For this update, co-workers Stephen Alexander, Garrison Kane and I ordered some food form our nearby KFC, and I wanted to break the meal down and give each food item a grade like on a report card! I ordered a 3 piece meal dark meat (leg, thigh, thigh) with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans and a lemonade to drink. The meal cost about $8.50, and let’s see if it was worth it! Let’s start with the sides, the green beans were fantastic and had a nice mix of diced onions mixed in, and the flavor was really good. I would get them a B+! The mashed potatoes and gravy were okay. The potatoes tasted great, but the gravy was so-so. I would give them a grade of C. The biscuit was dry and tasteless, and I only ate a small part of it before I gave it to Stephen; I would give it a D. The lemonade was really good and tasted freshly made so I would give it a solid A! The main event was the chicken, and man it was dry.  The chicken leg was so small and dry, it was a waste of frying! The two thighs the meal came with were a little more meaty but tasted kind of bland, and I had to use the Finger Licken Good Sauce to make it pop with flavor.  I would give the chicken a C – as it was not great but not total garbage. Over all, it was an average meal from KFC that did its job of filling my tummy on a long day of work.

Winner Winner KFC Chicken Dinner

Speaking of eating chicken, while working on this update I thought of yet another idea for a comic book that I would like to see made and that’s one based on a Troma Movie that has a metal teethed maniac who bites the heads off chickens, murders people and can only speak with clucks…that’s right, I am talking about Luther The Geek! This 1990 film was directed by Carlton J. Albright and was about a man named Luther Watts who as a child got his teeth knocked out while at a freak showing watching a geek eat the head off a live chicken.  He had his missing teeth replaced with steel ones and became crazed and craved human flesh. After being in prison for twenty years, he is paroled and sets back out biting people’s necks in order to taste their blood, and sadly for Hilary and her daughter Beth, their farmhouse becomes a nightmare as Luther comes to roost.  I should also mention Luther does not talk but clucks and crows like a rooster! Luther kills anyone foolish enough to get in his way as his thirst for blood knows no bounds and no age, gender or race is safe from his metal teeth of death. I first saw this film on VHS when my Brother and I rented it from K&L Video, and from that moment on, it became a film that I enjoyed for its over the top nature and creepy killer. I also want to mention that Stacy Haiduk, who played Beth, is a stunning raven haired beauty in this movie and is also helped fuel my like for this film as she has a great shower scene! My idea to make this into a comic would take place after the events of the movie and have Hilary being insane and locked up in an asylum, but little does she know that the body of Luther is missing and he is on the hunt for his “hen” as he thinks that she is now his mate! When Luther sets the crazies of the asylum free to run the nut house, Hilary must gain her wits back in order to survive as Luther is on the prowl and hungry for human blood and flesh. The best part of this comic idea is that Luther, while in the Asylum would also be attacking other inmates as he does not understand friendship. I would also throw in the original geek that inspired him to become one, who would be really old and the end would have the two fighting over Hilary like two roosters. I would love to see Troma make this comic themselves, and if not them, then I would say Blood Shed. From my friends, I think Bruce O’Hughes or Jason Young would do fantastic work making it come alive. Who knows maybe one day this comic idea will come alive!

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With all this fried chicken talk, I am sure many of you readers are craving some KFC or some sort of other chicken restaurant like Lee’s, Churches or Popeyes so I am now going to bring out the main course of this review, the comics based on Colonel Sanders! One of them was made by KFC themselves, while the other was made by DC Comics and has Sanders teaming up with The Flash and Green Lantern to stop bogus chicken from being served trying to ruin KFC’s good name. I want to thank both Amazon and Ebay for having these comics in stock and I need to remind you that I grade these comics on a 1-4 star ranking and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So let’s bring out a 500pc bucket of Chicken and get looking at the comic adventures of Colonel Sanders!

Colonels Adventure 1

Colonel’s Adventure # 1  **1/2
Released in 2015    Cover Price FREE    KFC    # 1 of ???

Colonel Sanders is sitting on a stool and decides to share his life story with the readers.  He explains about his childhood, from losing his father at the age of 5 to cooking meals for his siblings when he was only 7. He goes on to tell of his teen years lying about his age and joining the army where he was stationed in Cuba to watch after the donkeys.  He then tells of his time working for the railroad as well as later opening and selling a boat company on the Ohio River and losing his money when putting it all into gas lamps. This issue ends with Sanders opening his gas station and restaurant and having a shoot out with his rival who had been painting over his sign, that left one man dead, his rival wounded and sent to jail and Sanders still alive and kicking ready to make some chicken!

This promo comic is fast and straight to the point and is 100% a marketing tool to show the weird and wild life Colonel Sanders lived before and during making his world famous chicken. The story is basic and nothing is really fleshed out as each life event and milestone for him is summed up in a panel or two, and no names are used besides his own. The one nice thing is also you get a mini history lesson as they give you the dates when the phone, jazz music and electric lamps all came into culture during his lifetime. Some things I didn’t know were that he had a terrible car wreck on a bridge when he was selling tires and was lucky to be alive and that he spent time also delivering babies! Also, the father of a new born baby in this comic looks a lot like Don Knotts! The bottom of each page as a tiny adventure of Colonel Sanders going on, and at one point he runs into The Incredible Hulk.  Yeah, how weird is that?! The art in the comic is pretty good but has a kind of souless digital look to it and was done by Dan Burke.  The cover is pretty kick butt and makes Colonel Sanders look like The Lone Ranger! Over all, this is a cheesy quick read comic used to make one learn and respect Colonel Sanders. Check out some artwork from this comic below.

Colonel's Adventure Art 1

Now let’s get onto the next comic based on Sanders done by DC Comics that was given away at Comic Con and features some famous superheroes and villains.

The Colonel Of Two Worlds 1

Colonel Of Two Worlds # 1  **1/2
Released in 2015    Cover Price FREE    DC Comics    # 1 of 1

Captain Cold and Mirror Master are sick and tired of being on the losing end of fights with The Flash, and they decide to join forces with Colonel Sunder who came from another dimension called Earth-3. They open a restaurant called Easy Fried Chicken where henchmen go out and rob people to get money to open more of these lousy fried chicken joints, while Mirror Master and Captain Cold serve lousy food for cheap prices to customers. The Flash and Green Lantern stop a bank robbery, and The Flash goes to look into Easy Chicken as crime has went up when they moved into town.  As he is about to enter, he runs into Colonel Sanders who is pissed off about this fake looking Colonel making chicken the easy way when the world knows it tastes better when you do it the hard way! Colonel Sanders confronts Sunders, and the pair fight as Sanders mops the ground with not only Sunders, who is using a pink slime gun, but also his henchmen.  All the while, Captain Cold and Mirror Master watch in shock as their hope to be crimelords is tossed back into a portal that leads him to Earth-3 where he belongs! In the end The Flash and Green Lantern visit Colonel Sanders at KFC and find out that both Mirror Master and Captain Cold are working there as part of community service as Sanders has taught them that working hard is better than the easy way.

This comic is as silly as the description above sounds. First off, the plot is about another world Colonel Sanders coming to our world and trying to make cheap gross fried chicken restaurants as his way to take over the world and rip people off of money.  Along for the ride are two of The Flash’s top bad guys who are forced to work in this gross fast food restaurant as they think this will lead them to world domination! And the kicker is that the real Colonel Sanders is the one who kicks butt as the superheroes just watch in amazement and later offer Sanders a seat in the JLA…yeah, this is truly a strange take of crispy strange goodness. Colonel Sanders is so heated up when he finds out someone looking like him is selling gross friend chicken that he marches down to his restaurant knocks The Flash out of his way and starts to rumble with anyone who stands in his way! Colonel Sanders in this issue is a badass and by the looks of it could have gone toe to toe with Doomsday if he was selling chicken that was not of high standards. While they do stop a robbery, the Flash and Green Lantern are clearly just background players in this silly game of chicken. Colonel Sunder is a black suit wearing lazy Sanders look alike who on Earth-3 is the king of poultry but here is just a no good thief who sells gross food and is such a bum that he won’t even lift a finger to take over the world. I do like how he uses guns that shoot chicken nuggets as well as pink meat slime! Captain Cold and Mirror Master as well just take backseat roles, but they do take a strange role in the end as both work for KFC and seem to enjoy doing so! It also makes the pair of baddies aware that they are looked at as a joke when it comes to super villains. The cover is amazing as it shows the two Sanders clashing as the DC characters watch on in amazement. The art inside looks like most of your modern DC issues and is done by Tom Derenick.  While not my favorite style of art, it works well for this promo comic. Man, they should have had Colonel Sanders join the JLA as I would have loved to seen him beat The Joker to death with his cane or even uppercut Darkseid through a window as this issue makes Sanders out to be a ticking timebomb of pride that, if pushed, nothing can stop! Check out a piece of art from the comic below, and if you like weird promo comics featuring mainstream heroes, then make sure to add this to your must-read list!

The Colonel Of Two Worlds Art 1

I hope you enjoyed this deep fried look at Colonel Sanders and his chicken.  It was a fun one to write as I always like talking and researching mascots for fast food restaurants. But while many of you might think that KFC’s greasy chicken is scary, our next update will be about that famed haunted house in New York that spawned many movies, books, theories and yes, even a comic.  That’,s right be prepared to be scared as we look into The Amityville Horror! So get your nerve of steel as we will enter the house and expose the curse, but until then, read a comic or three, support your local Horror Host and enjoy some fried chicken if you eat meat!

Ghosts In Amityville Logo

Matt Goes To The Movies 2015

Matt Goes To The Movies 2015 Screen Logo

This past year was pretty solid for the movies as fans of all genres had something to look forward to with three of the top choices being The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Jurassic World and Star Wars: Force Awakens! But while many movie goers were waiting for those three films, I was silently waiting for the new Mad Max, Rocky and Terminator sequels as well as all of the horror films that were released last year. This time, I didn’t just see movies at my favorite theater Cinemark at the Greene but also watched flicks at Regal, Cinemark Dayton South and Cranberry Cinema and watched films along side the likes of Juliet Fromholt, Josh Weinberg, Jeremy Hoyt, Stephen Alexander II, Anne Rotolante, Patrick Steele and my brother Bryan and his family! I ate many bags of popcorn and drank many Icee’s and loved the cinema experiences…well for the most part! This year was flooded with lots of other moviegoers who brought rowdy kids to the films, morons on cell phones and of course the loud talkers, but even these pesky people couldn’t bring down the mood and feel of the cinema. The ones who annoyed me the most were the loud talkers and kids during horror films, as their behavior took away from the atmosphere of films like Woman In Black 2, Green Inferno and Insidious Chapter 3! But let’s not waste too much time on cell phone zombies and talkers; let’s get to the Rotten Ink Theater and discuss the films I saw! Be sure to read on with caution as some write ups might have spoilers!

MMMMMM Popcorn

As always, we are going to take out the trash first as I present to you the worst films of the year…and oddly enough, I didn’t see too many bad films this year.  Only one film has made the list and while it was not terrible, I found it to be a major letdown.  So let’s get to the worst!

WORST 15 logo

# 1

Vacation 2015 poster

Rusty Griswald decides to take his family on a trip, not to Europe, but to Wally World, the same place his father Clark took him to so many years back. So Rusty hits the road with his wife and two sons, and along the way, they run into all types of crazy and crude adventures till they reach their goal of Wally World.  Throw in cameos from Clark and Ellen Griswald, and you have Vacation. The things that work for the film is some moments will make you flash back to the other films in the series, the downside are the moments that reminded me of the crude humor of American Pie and The Hangover. While I didn’t hate this film, I was just very much disappointed with it as I was really looking forward to a true National Lapoon’s Vacation sequel, not a crude humor cash in. The film did just okay for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office bringing in a total off $58,863,141.00 on a $31 Million Dollar budget. Again, if you have not seen this yet, skip it and just pop in the DVD of the original and enjoy a comedy classic.

So now that the stinky worst film has been taken out, let’s take a look at action…and oddly enough, this year I didn’t see too many action films and that’s a shame as it’s a genre I enjoy seeing in the theater! I missed the new Fast And The Furious film as well as several others, but here is the list of the ones I did get to see! I even added a sports drama in the action section to help add depth.

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# 2

No Escape (2015) Poster

No Escape” was a fun action thrill ride that has Owen Wilson playing a father who took a job overseas in the water service and soon finds that who he works for forced themselves into the market.  Now a group of rebels have risen up and are killing anyone who they think is ruining their county.  So Wilson has to save his wife and two daughters and get them to safety before they become victims in a bloodbath of anger. This was a fun edge of your seat movie that had many moments that made you wonder how the family was going to survive this riot uprising! The film also adds in Pierce Bronson as a man who is trying to help the family out but also has his own reasons for being there.  Really, this was a good action flick that mixed in just the right amount of a thriller to make it work. The film did pretty good for the Weinstein Company and brought in $27,079,507.00 just in the US Box Office on a $5 million dollar budget. Well worth the watch in the theater, even if the person I went with was Josh Weinberg and he kept texting throughout it!

# 1

Creed Poster

Creed was hands down one of the best films of the year for me and was one that I was most looking forward to as I have been a fan of the Rocky franchise since I was a youngster.  This movie lived up to everything I wanted from it, from drama to sports action, it had it all. Adonis Johnson-Creed is the son of Apollo Creed from a woman he had an affair with.  He fought his whole life to prove something to himself and thanks to the guidance of Rocky Balboa, he stands a chance at becoming a famed fighter like his father. Adonis must learn not only to fight as a trained boxer but also balance his life with his mom (Apollo’s wife), girlfriend Bianca and learning that Rocky is sick. I don’t want to spoil too much of the film’s plot nor the ending but fans of Rocky and Rocky II will eat it up. Sylvester Stallone is fantastic as the aging Rocky and gave the performance of a lifetime, and Michael B. Jordan is amazing and makes Adonis Creed a likable character and delivers the “Rocky” of this generation. The film had a great showing for Warner Brothers bringing in a total in the U.S of $98,756,653 on a $35 million dollar budget as of Dec 30th 2015. Again, I can’t stress enough how great this film is and when seeing it in the theater with my girl Juliet, she teared up at moments of well written and acted drama.  Do yourself a favor, and check it out on DVD or Blu-Ray.

Yeah, I really was slacking in the action department.  I mean I had to add a sports drama film to the list, but it counts because it has Sylvester Stallone and boxing action in it, right? But what I did not slack on is science fiction and fantasy films that had some major heavyweights duking it out, not just at the box office but also for my # 1 spot! So let’s take an epic journey and see who won the pick to be the best 2015 had to offer.

SciFi 15 logo

# 8

Pixels Poster

Aliens have sent Earth a challenge and are using our classic video game characters like Frogger, Pac-Man and Space Invaders as their warriors to battle our top arcade players of the past in a best of three match that pits the humans against real life pixel characters. This film got a lot of hate for no reason and many judged it because it starred Adam Sandler who for some reason is now the kiss of death for a film.  But while it’s no masterpiece of cinema, it is a fun space invader comedy film with cool retro video game characters like Donkey Kong, Space Invaders & Q*Bert and some fun chuckles. Pixels failed at the US Box Office only bringing in $66,412,189.00 for Columbia Pictures on a $88 million production budget. If you watch this film on DVD or Blu-Ray, go in with a clear mind and all the pre-online hate washed from your brain.  You might find yourself having a good time.

# 7

seventh son poster

The evil witch Mother Malkin has escaped and is causing death and terror.  The only hope is Master Gregory, a monster hunter who captured her many years back.  But when his ward dies in battle, he must find a new one who has to be the seventh son of a seventh son and finds him in a young farmer named Tom who he trains to become a killer of witches. Things get tricky when Tom falls in love with a witch and Malkin has called some of the top generals in the world of supernatural.  Gregory must face massive odds to save the world as we all know it. This is a cool fantasy film set in the age of knights that has many monsters and over the top battles that are sure to please most fantasy film viewers. The film was panned by critics, and sadly it tanked at the box office.  I feel like this is yet another of those films that got unfairly judged due to all the delays this production was plagued with. With that said, though the film does have some goofy moments like the over the top accent Jeff Bridges uses while playing Master Gregory, but for the stuff like that there is a dragon, attractive women and a foul troll like monster to make up for it. The film only grossed in $17,223,265.00 at the US Box Office for Universal on a $95 million dollar budget, but luckily it did a little better overseas.

# 6

jupiter ascending poster

Jupiter Ascending is one of those films I think was unfairly judged before it even opened in the theaters, due to delays, and the so called internet “press” before it came out was very negative.  Many moviegoers listened to these “critics” who said it was no good before even seeing it…this is what I call The Lone Ranger Effect. Juliet and I happened to enjoy this sci-fi flick that seemed like a mixture of many genre classics of the past thrown together. It felt like Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon and Masters Of The Universe had a child that was filled with lots of explosions and air chases. The story follows a young woman named Jupiter who works as a maid for a cleaning service run by her family, but she soon finds out she is much more as she has the soul of a reincarnated galaxy queen in her genes.  The Queen’s two sons and daughter want to manipulate and kill her to retain all she left them when she died in the past! But one lone bounty hunter along with his allies want to keep her safe and allow her to rule without the harm of her children’s greed. How can one woman change the fate of the world, and how will a simple maid deal with all the power and drama? This film’s plot has so much more to it but I don’t want to spoil too much as I think it’s worth a watch for sure. The film stars Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and Sean Bean, and all of them do a good job pulling off their characters.  The film was directed by The Wachowski’s who are known for The Matrix films. It did poorly for Warner Brother only bringing in $47,387,723.00 at the US Box Office, but while it did poorly in theaters I can see this film gaining a cult following on the home video market.

# 5

Cinderella Poster

Disney has been doing a great job of making live action versions of their classic cartoon films, and Cinderella, much like Maleficent, is a perfect example of that. The story follows Ella, the daughter of a traveling merchant who sadly loses both her parents but not before her father remarries and she has to take care of her stepmom and two step sisters. They treat her not as a family member but more like a slave as they make her cook, clean and wait on them hand and foot. Poor Ella is even made fun of, and they start calling her Cinderella as they tease her looks after she cleaned the fireplaces and had ashes on her. The Prince of the kingdom is having a ball and with the help of her fairy godmother, she is able to attend and steals the Prince’s heart.  After she leaves before the magic of her glamorous life runs out, she leaves behind a glass slipper that is used in finding her. The classic story has never looked this good on the big screen, and I really liked all the actors casted as Lily James is perfect as Cinderella and Helena Bonham Carter is fantastic as The Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett is sinisterly good as the Step Mother. The film did pretty well for Disney at the U.S boxoffice bringing in a total of $200,025,513.00 proving that the classic stories never go out of style.

# 4

Terminator Genisys poster

The fifth film in the Terminator series was one of the films I was looking forward to this year as I heard that it was a film that would change the series timeline as we know it.  After viewing it, the film lived up to what I wanted it to be. In the future John Conner sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother Sarah, but when he gets there he finds things are not like they should be as Sarah alongside a Terminator she calls Pops are hunting down and killing every attempt that’s made by Skynet to take her life! They travel through time and soon find out that John Connor himself has been compromised by Skynet and he is the ultimate Terminator! Can Sarah, Kyle and Pops stop the coming of judgement day or is all hope really lost for mankind? The film has lots of action and some cool twists that made it a solid sci-fi action adventure, and while Juliet and I both liked it, it appears that the moviegoers in America were not as hip to the idea of a 5th Terminator film and would rather have spent money on such classic 2015 films like “50 Shades Of Grey”, “Get Hard”, “Spy” and “Trainwreck”! The film did very poorly at the US Box Office, only bringing in $89,760,956.00 on a $155 million dollar budget. While this film was suppose to be the lead in to another trilogy of films, it appears Paramount has pulled the plug on that idea ending the threat of Skynet once and for all…or until they remake it…ugh!

# 3

jurassic world poster

Finally, after 14 years of being closed, Jurassic Park reopens with the fourth film in the series called Jurassic World, and it was amazing and well worth the wait! The film is packed with the charm of the original series but also brings in a touch of horror to make the dinosaurs a little more scary. The plot has the park opening and becoming a huge attraction for families around the world to come and see living dinosaurs, but like all big business comes the want and need to bring in more visitors.  So in come genetic hybrid dinos, but they make a mistake with one that becomes the ultimate killing machine and worse it escapes and is on a killing warpath! Throw into the mix a park big wig and her nephews as well as a trainer who has bonded with a pack of raptors, and you have one fun rampage film! The film stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt and B.D. Wong, who fans of this series will know as Henry Wu. The film was a mega hit all over the world and brought in $651,519,326.00 for Universal at the U.S. Box Office, and by doing so, left itself open for many sequels in the coming years.

# 2

Star Wars The Force Awakens Poster

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box office records and washed the bitter taste of the prequels out of the mouths of fans with a solid and well done sequel directed by J.J Abrams, the man who also rebuilt the Star Trek movie franchise. The story has Luke Skywalker missing and in the shadow of the Empire arose The First Order who is also trying their best for galaxy domination! Scavenger Rey alongside one time stormtrooper Finn must deliver a droid called BB-8 to the rebels lead by Leia Organa and get help from some familiar faces, namely Han Solo and Chewbacca! Throw in a new sith named Kylo Ren and add in some drama, action and heartbreaking moments and you have one hell of a great space war movie! Plus the new characters of Rey and Finn are likeable and great additions to the Star Wars universe. I saw this in IMAX 3-D opening weekend, and the place was packed.  It was amazing seeing how many grown men and women cried during this movie and how many got swept up in nostalgia when the opening credits popped up or when Han and Chewie first appeared. The score was fantastic and done by John Williams once more, and I can’t stress how amazing after all these years it was for me to see iconic characters like Luke Skywalker, C3PO and R2D2 on the big screen again. The film is doing fantastic for Disney bringing in an amazing $629,034,583.00 as of the day this update went up just at the US Box Office! If you enjoy Star Wars movies, video games, comics, novels, cartoons or toys then check this out for sure as major things happen, some that just leave you stunned and heartbroken.  It’s worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray when released.

# 1

Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max Fury Road was one of the films that I was the most hyped for in 2015, and it lived up to everything I wanted and more! The film follows Max who is kidnapped by a group of wasteland warriors known as War Boys and is used as a human blood bag for their ill warriors. Furiosa is a driver for the War Boys and their leader Immortan Joe.  On a run to get gas, she steals some things that mean a lot to Joe, and he will do whatever it takes to get them back! Max ends up free and tags along for a wild and furious ride with Furiosa that pits them against Immortan Joe and his War Boys! This movie is filled with lots of amazing car action and lives up to what a Mad Max fan would want from a new film in the series. While I did miss Mel Gibson as Mad Max, Tom Hardy does a pretty good job filling his boots. Immortan Joe who is played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Toe Cutter in the first Mad Max film, is fantastic and is one screwed up false idol! The film is not so much about gas as it’s about the shortage of water and how one crazy person/company in the future could control it all…cough: Nestle. The film also stars Charlize Theron as Furiosa who has become a very popular character and is a cool strong female character. The film did okay at the U.S Box Office for Warner Brothers as it brought in $153,636,354.00. Here is hoping that this film did well enough to make another sequel as I am ready to travel in that wasteland again in my favorite local theater.

There were so many sci-fi and fantasy films this year and to boot, so many great ones! But sorry, Star Wars and Jurassic Park, while you both were great, you’re just no match for Mad Max on the Fury Road! Next up, we move to the topic of comic books as we once more were treated to many super hero films in 2015.  So grab your cape and let’s take a wild ride to see what hero took the # 1 spot for me!

SUPER HERO 15 logo

# 3

Fantastic Four Poster

Fantastic Four was another movie that suffered from being judged before it even hit theaters, all based on a poorly put together trailer and the fact they changed the Human Torch Johnny Storm’s race.  Like Pixels, I think people were way too hard on this movie. Now I must say that this film does have lots of flaws and at times it felt as if the actors had no real direction or motive to put in a powerful performance. The film’s plot has Reed Richards being offered college tuition as he has mastered sending objects to another realm and along with Victor Doom and brother and sister Sue and Johnny Storm, they make a machine to send humans to that dimension.  An accident leaves them all with super powers and turns them into freaks of nature, even his best friend Ben Grimm is suckered in to this mess and transformed. Reed gets the power to stretch his body, Sue can turn invisible and create forcefields, Johnny can turn into a walking talking fireball, Ben turns into a living rock creature and Doom becomes something more and builds a godlike complex that leave the four having to battle Doom in the other dimension to stop his takeover of Earth. The film is silly, and the characters at time seem lost or as if they are bored, but over all I had fun seeing it at the theater. The film did poorly for Fox and is considered one of the biggest bombs of the year as it only brought in $56,117.548.00 at the US Box Office on a budget of $120 million! Love it or hate it, the film entertained me so it did its job.

# 2

avengers age of ultron poster

The Avengers came swinging back into action in 2015 and was an entertaining summer popcorn film that combined two of my favorite things: movies and comics. Iron Man wants to save the world, and by accident, he creates a living robotic being named Ultron who wants to clean the world of humans and start over! Tensions mount as The Avengers are defeated for the first time by Ultron and his two new mutant helpers Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver! But in the end, the team comes back stronger than ever and gets the help of the twinsas well as a clone of Ultron named Vision who all soon learn Ultron is a menace.  Together they save the Earth and defeat the robot armageddon. The film was a lot of fun, but I didn’t feel as it was as strongly as the first film and some subplots seemed out of place and were too Wheadon “Buffy” for me as now Black Widow and Bruce Banner have a forbidden love..silly. With this said, I enjoyed this superhero mega budget action movie and am looking forward to Avengers 3! Avengers 2 did amazing for Disney bringing in a total of $459,005,868.00 at the US box office showing that these heroes still pack a punch for movie watchers.

# 1

Antman Poster

When I first heard they were making a movie based on Ant-Man, I chuckled and thought who is going to play Hank Pym! Then when I heard Hank Pym was being played my Michael Douglas and he was not the focus of being Ant-Man as that was going to Scott Lang played by Paul Rudd, I thought Marvel had lost their minds putting an actor who’s been in a bunch of cheesy comedies as the title hero. But when I saw the trailer, all those doubts flew out the window and I became even more hyped to see this film based on a B-grade Marvel Comic character. The plot has Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, having to trust a master cat burglar named Scott in order to stop his one time company from getting the shrinking human technology.  So Scott becomes Ant-Man, and along side Hank and his daughter Hope, must stop this from happening as well as defeat the sinister Yellowjacket! This film is not only a superhero one but also part heist with a dash of comedy. Paul Rudd surprised me and turned in a great performance, and everything from the acting to the soundtrack worked. In my opinion, hands down this was the best superhero film of the year! The film did well for Diseny at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $178,780,134.00 on a budget of $130 million and at the foreign Box Office add on another $275,900,000.00! Say what you will, but Ant-Man packed a big punch for movie fans.

Never in my life would I think a film about Ant-Man would beat out a film that had Captain America and Hulk in it.  Crazy, but it did and took my # 1 spot! Up next is my favorite genre of films and one I look most forward to writing about for this Best Of update, horror! Once more this year was filled with lots of ghost and possession films as Hollywood thinks that’s all we horror fans want to see at the theater, but I think they are starting to learn as many of these titles did good but not great at the box office. Give me Slashers and classic monsters back and keep the ghost films away for awhile.  I would like to see more Halloween, Friday The 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre films in the theaters. But let’s waste no more time and jump into my top 15 list of horror films I saw in the theater this year!

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# 15

The Boy Next Door Poster

Jennifer Lopez looks fantastic in this horror thriller that has her playing a single mom who is a high school teacher that is trying to move on past her ex-husband who is trying everything in his power to get her back! Her neighbor is a sick old man whose nephew has come to live with them after his parents died in an accident.  This young man befriends J-Lo’s son. After a bad date and a few glasses of wine, she is seduced by the young man next door and they have sex.  This starts her downward spiral as the young man is unstable and becomes so obsessed with her that it leads to possibilities of losing her job, her husband and possibly her life! This film was a fun cheesy thriller that has some moments of suspense and even violence that help it along to be entertaining.  While the plot is mostly predictable, it was still very much worth watching. I saw the film with Josh Weinberg, and he also thought the film was okay. The film at the US Box office has brought in $35,423,380.00 for Universal on a lower budget making it a good solid hit for them.

# 14

the lazarus effect poster

Is there a afterlife? And what if science could find away to bring you back after death? This is the plot for The Lazarus Effect. Zoe is the leader of a research team that includes her fiancee Frank.  They are being filmed by a student as they embark on using a serum they created to bring the dead back to life and have success in bringing back a dog. But things go wrong when the college pulls funding and their research becomes property of a major drug company! Zoe and her crew sneak into the lab for one last test, and an accident leaves Zoe dead and her team using the drug on her.  But when she comes back, something is different, and their beloved co-worker is now an evil killer who is out for blood and can’t get past the major sin of her past. The film was a fun watch, and on the day we saw it, Juliet and I were the only people in the theater watching. The film has some cool yet cliched spooky moments, and Olivia Wilde who plays Zoe does a great job of being the sweet doctor who turns into a black eyed demon.  But the film does have some major plot flaws and characters who make some of the dumbest decisions in any movie I have seen this year, with Frank being one of the most annoying characters I have seen in a long time who seems to be as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to the fact his mate is not his sweet girl anymore. The film was not a huge hit at the US Box Office but did well for Relativity bringing in $25,784,902.00.  While not a great film, it was worth watching for sure.

# 13

The Gallows Poster

The Gallows was one of those lower budget horror films that when I heard about it piqued my interest and was one that I wanted to see if it could be the next franchise in the genre.  Sadly, while I had a good time watching it in the theater, it was a letdown for the most part. When I saw the name New Line Cinema attached and the trailer dropped the names of Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees and compared them to this film’s villain, named Charlie, I thought for sure we would get a supernatural slasher film, but instead we got another Paranormal Activity clone with a killer that is hardly seen. The film is about a young man who is hanged by accident during a play in 1983, and in 2013, the school is trying the play again.  A group of teens get trapped in the school at night and are hunted down by the ghost of the dead actor who wears an executioner’s mask and carries a noose. The film is bloodless and is of the found footage nature, making for lots of moments of shaky camera work and jump scares but has no really bloody moments. The film’s main attraction for me was actress Pfeifer Brown, who plays the character Pfeifer, the queen of the drama department who was easy on the eyes, as well as the setting of an old creepy school at night which worked in spots. The film did okay for its low budget for New Line and brought in a total of $22,764,410.00 for them at the US Box Office. It could have been better and could have been worse.  This is a film I might watch one more time when it hits DVD to see if I missed anything that might have made this scary.

# 12

Unfriended Poster

Laura Barns was a girl in high school who was filmed passed out at a party after she had an “accident.”  Someone posted the video to Youtube, and so Laura’s harassment and bullying began, which leads to Laura killing herself. On the anniversary of her death, a group of friends meet up for a Skype chat that is hijacked by the account of the dead Laura wanting answers about who posted the video, and if it doesn’t get the real answers people begin to die! One by one the friends drop off but not before each person’s dirty little secrets are shared.  In the end does the spirit of Laura get the answers she seeks? Check out this horror film that takes place almost solely from the view of a computer screen.  While silly in parts, it at least tries to have a message about thinking before you put something on the world wide web that could be hurtful to others. The film’s murders are a little cheesy and amateurish, but they at least get an A for effort in having the guts to murder someone with a curling iron. The only major downside to the film is the ending that felt tacked on and takes away from a more powerful ending that it could have had by having one of the characters have to live with her mistake and secrets out in the world, but instead they went the route of spooky ghost coming to get you. The film made some money for Universal bringing in a total of $32,482,090.00 at the US Box Office. While not a fantastic horror film by any means, I still was entertained by this modern digital way to showcase horror by adding in social media and the cruel nature of high school drama.

# 11

poltergeist poster

This is one of those cases when you look at a film that been remade by Hollywood and ask yourself why would they do that? The original Poltergeist is a perfect rated-PG horror film that scared kids and parents alike and was a team up between Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg that was just a good scary flick. Sam Raimi and his Ghost House Pictures decided that they needed to remake it, and while they believed in their remake, moviegoers didn’t as the film performed very poorly at the theater. The film follows the Bowen family who are down on their luck and must move into a house in a not so nice neighborhood that seems to have some odd issues with the lighting and static electricity. After they learn that the house was built on top of a graveyard, their young daughter Maddy is taken away by spirits, and the family along with paranormal investigators must find a way to save her before it’s too late! The film adds some changes that help make it different from the original, and by all accounts Raimi should have made a sequel and not a remake.  Over all it was okay and was a nice summer popcorn film. The film only brought in $47,425,125.00 for MGM and shows that maybe movie goers are getting tired of remakes of classic horror films. I should also note that I am not a fan of kid actors, but the ones in this film do a good job!

# 10

The Green Inferno Poster

The Cannibal gerne was alive and well in 2015 thanks to Eli Roth, the director of Hostel and Cabin Fever. The film follows Justine, a young college girl who gets wrapped up in helping an activism group try and stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.  After they help slow it down, their small plane crashes and they become captives of a tribe of cannibals who kill not only to eat but also for ritual. Justine must muster up the inner strength to make it out alive.  This really gives a new meaning to who will survive and what will be left of them! The film is brutal, but not as brutal as one would think of when watching a cannibal film of the 70’s as only one scene really pushes the envelope on the splatter. Lorenza Izzo plays Justine and is fantastic as she is likeable and you find that you don’t want her to end up as dinner for the tribe. The film was supposed to be released last year but was pushed to this year and made High Top Releasing $7,105,595.00 on a $5 million dollar budget in the US.  So while this leaves itself open for a sequel, it was by no means a hit at the box office.

# 9

krampus poster

The Engel family have gathered for Christmas but when young Max looses faith in Santa Claus, he unleashes the sinister Krampus and his helpers who are out to ruin his Christmas or is that save it? One by one Max watches as his family disapear by the hands of Krampus and his minions.  As they fight back, the odds seem grim.  Can Max take back his Christmas and save his family…watch and find out! This film is one part horror and one part comedy and is brought to you by Michael Dougherty, who also did the holiday themed film “Trick r Treat” and made for a fun watch in early December when it was released in theaters. The film had a good atmosphere as the family is stuck at home with their neighborhood deserted during a freak snow storm with no power and no cellphone reception, and one pissed off shadow of Santa Claus looking for some new souls to take! The creature effects are pretty cool with twisted elves wearing human masks being the most freaky and killer gingerbread men being the silliest and dumbest.  Over all the film was okay and nothing too special. I found other Christmas themed horror films like the original Black Christmas and Silent Night Deadly Night to be way better to chill the holiday season. The film did okay for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in this far $41,333,325.00. If you like Christmas themed horror films or are looking for a fun watch, check it out.

# 8

goosebumps poster

Goosebumps was a popular book series and TV show when I was a youngster, and it’s still popular with today’s youth.  When I heard a film was being made I was pretty hyped, but when I heard Jack Black was in it playing the series creator R.L. Stine, I lost some steam on wanting to see it. But all that changed when I saw the first trailer and all the classic Goosebump monsters on the prowl – I was sold on the idea of seeing it! The film follows a young man who is new in town and in next door to a strange man and his daughter.  You soon find out the man is R.L Stine and that when one of his Goosebumps manuscripts is opened, it frees the monster from within its pages.  Worse, the books are in the hands of that evil ventriloquist dummy Slappy all thanks to the young man accidentally opened one and caused a panic. Can R.L. and the teens stop this monster invasion of their town or will they end up being the monster capital of the world! This is “The Monster Squad” for this generation and was lots of fun, even for me at the age of 36.  It’s well worth seeing in the theater and was a nice change of pace to see a family friendly horror film in the theater! The film made $78,121,323.00 at the US Box Office for Sony, making it not as big of a hit as they were hoping but still one heck of a fun watch for those who wanted to see zombies, a yeti, a werewolf, gnomes and so many others ghouls and monsters at their local theaters.

# 7

Crimson Peak Poster

Edith Cushing is the daughter of a wealthy New York businessman who can see the souls of the dead.  As a child she gets a visit from her mother, who had passed away, warning her to stay away from Crimson Peak. Grown up and after the death of her father, Edith moves away to England with Sir Thomas and his sister Lucille and soon finds that their crumbling mansion is filled with not just red clay but also ghosts, all disfigured and haunting.  Once Edith figures out she is at Crimson Peak, can she not only survive but also solve the mystery of this dreaded family and their home? This film is a gothic romantic horror film that embraces the ghost genre but also tries to add its own charm and atmosphere the way only director Guillermo del Toro can. The film has lots of twists and some surprises that sadly I could see coming 5 miles away.  While this did make the movie slightly less enjoyable for me, it did not take me out of it and I will not spoil the surprises and twists for you here. What kept this movie entertaining for me was not only the set designs and the gruesome ghost effects, but the acting that was top notch with Mia Wasikowska who played Edith being the stand out.  She is fantastic, and I found myself cheering for her to escape Crimson Peak! The film was not a US Box Office winner, only bringing in $31,090,320.00 for Universal on a $55 million dollar budget. While this is not del Toro’s best horror film, it was at least entertaining and had some great moments mixed in with the predictable ones.  It’s worth checking out if you like gothic horror.

# 6

insidious chapter 3 poster

Insidious Chapter 3 is not so much a sequel as it’s a prequel to this new popular horror series. Quinn is a young woman who lost her mother to cancer and wants to have one last chat with her.  She goes to talk to a retired Elise, a former medium who had to give it up after her husband died and an evil spirt tries to attack her whenever she now does a reading.  Her mistake is that she tries to do one for Quinn and by doing so, has a spirit called The Man Who Can Not Breath (an old looking ghost with a oxygen mask on) start to follow Quinn! A bad accident happens that leaves Quinn in a wheel chair with broken bones and even had her flatline in the hospital.  The spirit claims half of her soul when this happens, and it’s up to Elise and Quinn’s father to save her from its evil grips! The film once more is filled with pop up frights as well as a cameo from the series original evil ghost The Black Bride, and adds more to this series back story and shows that while a horror film is slow, it can still back many good scares as Juliet, who I saw this with, jumped out of her seat many times! The film did okay at the U.S Box Office for Focus Features, bringing in a total of $52,218,558.00. The film ends with a possibility of an Insidious Chapter 4, and it will be interesting to see what they did with the new spirit thats introduced at the end.

# 5

The Woman In Black 2 Poster

Hammer Horror has cranking out films about ghosts and possession since their comeback and don’t skip a beat with this sequel to The Woman In Black. The film takes place in England during World War II and follows a group of children and their teachers leaving the city for the safety of the country.  One little boy is targeted by the spirit of a vengeful mother who is The Woman in Black, and she wants him to die like her child did so many years back. It’s up to one brave school teacher and an air force pilot to save the child and find out the secret of this evil spirit. The film has some great atmosphere with the old house and ocean scenery and a chilling soundtrack but is plagued with cheap loud jump scares and a predictable story. Over all The Woman In Black 2 is a fun PG-13 rated horror film that was a nice way to kick off the horror films of 2015 as it was the first to be released to theaters. The film brought in $26,501,323.00 for Relativity and sadly was not a big money maker, but will hopefully do so on home media and digital.

# 4

The Visit Poster

Paula has been at odds with her parents for years after a big blow up causing them never to meet their grandchildren until one weekend that has Rebecca and Tyler meeting them and staying with them after a train ride. Rebecca brings along some cameras and wants to make a documentary for her mother about the trip, but what seems like a fun time with the grandparents turns into a bizarre creepy one as they act odd, complete with good old Grandma running around the house like a wild woman late at nights! This film has a twist ending like all M. Night Shyamalan films, and this one works better than most. The film is not a blood bath and has none of the red stuff flowing.  What it does pack is spooky elements and creepy old people doing odd things that makes you as the viewer uneasy. I don’t want to spoil the ending and twist so I will just say check it out on DVD or Blu-Ray and have a creepy good time with a film set out in the middle of nowhere! The film did okay for Universal and brought in $63,882.720.00 at the US Box Office on a small $5 million dollar budget! Check it out if you want to see a cool film with great atmosphere.

# 3

Victor Frankenstein Poster

Victor Frankenstein suffered from bad marketing and a trailer that made it look more like a dark comedy than a sci-fi, horror drama film that it really is. The film follows Victor Frankenstein and his assistant who he names Igor after rescuing him from a life of being a hunched back clown for the circus and their scientific journey into creating life! The pair build a primate creature, and this leads to the main goal of bringing a man back to life.  Along the journey Igor wins the heart of his dream girl and the pair do business with a rich cut throat scientist and must dodge a police officer who is obsessed with stopping them from messing with God’s nature. This was a fun classic monster film that showed that done right the classics will never go out of style…well at least for fans of the classic monsters. The acting is well done with James McAvoy playing Victor and Daniel Radcliffe playing Igor.  The pair blend the horror, sci-fi, comedy and drama elements perfectly together, and they make the characters seem like legit friends. The moving going public once more did not come out and support this film making it a bomb for Fox and bringing in a very small $5,747,301.00 in at the US Box Office, showing that Americans would rather spend their money at the theater seeing Kevin Hart or Melissa McCarthy play the same roles over and over again. The Frankenstein Monster shows up at the end of the film and is a pretty cool design and the action that takes place in the final battle is pretty fun and packed with fantasy epic moments. Do yourself a favor, and check this film out when it comes to DVD and Blu-Ray.

# 2

Sinister 2 Poster

Sinister II is yet another film this year that I feel was unfairly judged by critics and fans that caused it to strike out at the box office when it was a solid follow up to the original that was packed with creepy moments and some brutal deaths. The film follows Courtney Collins and her two sons Dylan and Zach who live in a old farmhouse hiding out from their father who is abusive.  Meanwhile Deputy So & So is on the hunt to figure out who has been killing families that leaves one child always missing. But we all know that Mr. Boogie and his ghost kids are to blame, and when one of the kids is targeted to watch 8mm films of brutal deaths the cycle continues! This film was lots of fun and have some really disturbing deaths as well as some jump scare moments, I for one really like the Mr. Boogie character and would like to see a part 3 sometime in the future. This film does not just rely on gruesome deaths to chill the bones of the viewer it also uses lots of cult and paranormal elements to add more shivers. The film has some great surprises and elements that are sure to shock and scare. The film didn’t do that well at the US Box Office for Focus Features only bringing in $27, 714,992.00, sadly not sure if this will ger a sequel but here is hopping it does as it was the closest thing I got to a Slasher film this year overrun by films about ghosts and possessions.

# 1

IT Follows Poster

It Follows is one of those independent horror films that shakes up the world of horror and shows that not every film this generation needs to be a ghost or possession story. The film is about Jay, a college co-ed who goes on a date with a young man.  After they make love, he knocks her out and when she awakens, she is tied up and he tells her that she will now be followed by It, a shapeshifting walking thing that if she is touched by she will die! The only way to save yourself is to sleep with someone else and pass it along. The film follows Jay as she comes to terms with a thing that follows that her friends cannot see, just so desperately want to help defeat. The movie is filled with surprises and twists that will sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. I saw this film at the Regal Cinema in Beavercreek with Jeremy Hoyt, and we both agreed that this was a top notch thriller with an original and entertaining plot and is worth watching for sure. While this was a hit at filmm festivals and art house theaters when it opened wide, it brought in only $14,674,076.00 in the US for Radius, and thats a shame as I would have hoped horror fans would have went to the theater and supported this great film.

It was a great year for movies at the cinema, and it was made better by all my friends and family that came with me to the theater. It was amazing seeing sequels to films like Star Wars, Mad Max, Terimator, Rocky, Jurassic Park, Sinister and others that didn’t take the cheesy remake or reboot route. The Horror Films of the year did a pretty good job of scaring viewers when they were suppose to. This year is also filled wall to wall with great films and will be another year of films that will make me nerd out! So up next we are going to take a look at the mini comic based on the Atari 2600 game called YARS’ REVENGE so all you old school gamers and comic readers make sure to come back for that one! In the comments below make sure to let me know what you favorite film of 2015 was as I would love to see what you my friends and readers are enjoying these days. So until then watch a movie or two and support your local movie theater.

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DC At The Movies: Superman (The Christmas Eve Special)

Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas to all my friends, family and readers on this special Christmas Eve update to Rotten Ink. I hope on this day you are surrounded by loved ones and sharing good stories and memories with one another. Last year for Christmas Eve I took a look at DC Comics movie adaptations of the early Batman films, and this year I have chosen to cover the one and only Man of Steel, Superman, and the films from the Christopher Reeves years and those that followed and were inspired by it. So pull up a comfy chair near your heater or fireplace and pour yourself a glass of eggnog or your favorite choice of holiday drink, and let’s take a fly around the world of Superman as we enter DC At The Movies: Superman!

Superman The Movie Logo

Before Batman in the late 80’s and Marvel’s The Avengers were the top notch comic book movies in the world, Warner Brothers had Superman a series of films that made kids and the young at heart super hyped to visit their local cinema and watch the adventures of Superman on the silver screen. Superman was no stranger to being the world’s most popular comic book hero as before the 1978 film, he had already taken over the world of comics with Action Comics as well as had a very popular radio drama and TV show called The Adventures Of Superman along with many other forms of media like cartoons and movie serials. But in ’78, he took over the world of movies and held the top spot until 1989 when Tim Burton’s Batman took the mantel away. I sadly was not born when Superman: The Movie came to theaters and was only a tiny baby in 1981 when Superman II was released, but I do remember the hype for Superman IV: The Quest For Peace as my brother Bryan and I wanted to rush to a theater and watch it in 1987.  For some reason I want to say we did go and see it at Beaver Valley Cinemas and when asking my Mom, Dad and brother, they said that they think a family member took us to see it and our main guess was my Aunt and Uncle, Laverne and George. Christopher Reeve to me was the perfect Superman and Clark Kent, as he was able to balance the boy scout do-gooder aspect of Superman and the goofy, nerd aspect of Kent.  To this day, I feel no actors before or after him have 100% captured the character like he did. I was so sad when in 1995 Reeve had a terrible accident while riding his horse that left him paralyzed.  His condition later lead to his death at the age of 52 in 2004. I can remember watching these films many times when they aired on TV and buying them on VHS and enjoying every cheesy moment of them.  When Reeve passed away, it looked as if the Superman series was over with, that is until Bryan Singer, who made the X-Men movies, decided to make a sequel to the first two Superman films and cut out parts 3 and 4.  The film was Superman Returns and cast Brandon Routh as The Man of Steel.  It had charm but was not in the league of the originals. But before I ramble on and decide to give you a full rundown and review of each of these films, I should instead give you all a quick rundown of the films’ plots as well as who played Superman, the films’ main bad guy as well as the lead actress. I took these write ups from our good friends at IMDB as I would have been too long winded. So enjoy this quick rundown, and I hope this triggers good memories of watching these films.

Superman The Movie 1Superman The Movie PosterSuperman The Movie 2

Superman (1978)

Unable to convince the ruling council of Krypton that their world will destroy itself soon, scientist Jor-El takes drastic measures to preserve the Kryptonian race: He sends his infant son Kal-El to Earth. There, gaining great powers under Earth’s yellow sun, he will become a champion of truth and justice. Raised by the Kents, an elderly farm couple, Clark Kent learns that his abilities must be used for good. The adult Clark travels to Metropolis, where he becomes a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet…and a caped wonder whose amazing feats stun the city: Superman! Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, the world’s greatest criminal mind, is plotting the greatest real estate swindle of all time. Can’t even the Man of Steel stop this nefarious scheme?

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

Superman II 1Superman II PosterSuperman II 2

Superman II (1981)

Picking up where “Superman: The Movie” left off, three criminals from the planet Krypton are released from the Phantom Zone by a nuclear explosion in space. They descend upon Earth where they could finally rule. Superman, meanwhile, is in love with Lois Lane, who finds out who he really is. Lex Luthor escapes from prison and is determined to destroy Superman by joining forces with the three criminals.

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

General Zod – Terence Stamp

Superman III 1Superman III POSTERSuperman III 2

Superman III (1983)

Wealthy businessman Ross Webster discovers the hidden talents of Gus Gorman, a mischievous computer genius. Ross decides to abuse his talents, in a way to help Webster with his plans for economic control. When the man of steel interferes, something must be done about Supes. When Gus’ synthetic Kryptonite fails to kill Superman, it turns him in an evil incarnation of his former self. The tar-laced Kryptonite pits man against himself, setting up the Clark vs. Superman battle.

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Ross Webster – Robert Vaughn

Superman IV 1Superman IV PosterSuperman IV 2

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)

Superman does a lot in his newest adventure. Archvillain Lex Luthor, determined to make the world safe for nuclear arms merchants, creates a new being to challenge the Man of Steel: the radiation-charged Nuclear Man. The two super-powered foes clash in an explosive screen extranvaganza that sees Superman save the Statue of Liberty, repulse a volcanic eruption of Mount Etna, rebuild the demolished Great Wall of China and perform many more spetactular feats.

Superman – Christopher Reeves

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

Nuclear Man – Mark Pillow

Superman Returns 1Superman Returns PosterSuperman Returns 2

Superman Returns (2006)

Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth in the epic action-adventure Superman Returns, a soaring new chapter in the saga of one of the world’s most beloved superheroes. While an old enemy plots to render him powerless once and for all, Superman faces the heartbreaking realization that the woman he loves, Lois Lane, has moved on with her life. Or has she? Superman’s bittersweet return challenges him to bridge the distance between them while finding a place in a society that has learned to survive without him. In an attempt to protect the world he loves from cataclysmic destruction, Superman embarks on an epic journey of redemption that takes him from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space.

Superman – Brandon Routh

Lex Luther – Kevin Spacey

The first Superman film was directed by Richard Donner, who did a fantastic job of showing the character’s origin story as well as balanced between Clark Kent and Superman. The second film was directed by Richard Lester as well as in parts Richard Donner, who was replaced by Lester after Donner had some bad blood with the film’s producers, but the film did add General Zob and his followers who had the same power as Superman making the threat more real for the man of steel. The third film was directed by just Richard Lester and took a more comedic turn even casting Richard Pryor as a lead for comedic relief.  This was the first film not to have Lex Luther in it. Superman IV was directed by Sidney J. Furie and has Superman trying to get the world to get along. Superman was the # 2 movie in 1978 bringing in $134,218,018.00 and beat out such films as Animal House, Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, Jaws 2, Revenge of the Pink Panther and Deer Hunter. Superman II in 1981 was # 3 and brought in a total of $108,185,706.00 and beat out such films as Stripes, Clash of the Titans, An American Werewolf In London, The Great Muppet Caper, Halloween II, The Howling, Friday The 13th Part II and Tarzan The Ape Man. In 1983 Superman III was # 12 and brought in $59,950,623.00 and bested films like Jaws 3-D, Scarface, Psycho II, Never Say Never Again, The Outsiders, Krull and Strange Brew. Superman IV in 1987 did not do well and brought in $15,681,020.00 and was # 69 but did beat out such films as Hellraiser, Creepshow 2, House II, Teen Wolf Too, Death Wish 4, Evil Dead 2 and Chipmunk Adventure. Superman Returns in 2006 was # 6 and brought in $200,081,192.00 and pulled ahead of such flicks as Casino Royale, Borat, Saw III, Rocky Balboa, Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Beginning and Pans Labyrinth. So as you can see, the original Superman series had many ups and downs, but as I stated before, they were the original superhero films that made kids and the young at heart hyped to watch at their local theater. Now we should briefly talk about the ladies of Superman, and the lovely actresses who played them.  The most popular and the one who was in a total of 4 of the films is Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane and was not only a tough, smart and independent woman who was the Dailey Planet’s top reporter but was also a cute as a button! She is Superman’s love interest in two of the films, and he spends so much time saving her from dangers and battling his own judgement of telling her he is also Clark Kent. In Superman II, while Lois Lane was his main love interest, Sarah Douglas played Ursa, the goth looking tough woman who is part of General Zod’s trio of super villains.  While good looking, she does have a goddess complex as she looks down on normal man! In Superman III, Annette O’Toole plays Lana Lang, a small town girl who went to school with Clark Kent who he had a crush on.  She is a single mother, has a sweet heart and is amazingly good looking. Superman IV has Mariel Hemingway playing Lacy Warfield, the daughter of a mogul who buys the Daily Planet.  She is a nice woman who wants to do real journalism and has a crush on Clark. Kate Bosworth plays Lois Lane in Superman Returns, and the character is now a mom and is still strong minded and looks great but somehow got younger looking…odd. If I was Superman/Clark Kent and I had to date one of these women, I would choose Lana Lane hands down.  Not only is she beautiful, but she is also a kind and loving person. But all of these women are fine choices and all of them have their pluses to why they would be dateable.

margot kidder Superman The MovieUrsa_supermanannetteotoole2Lacy_Warfieldsuperman-returns-20060428000200918

The Superman films also sparked a tie-in film called Supergirl in 1984 and had Helen Slater play the title part, the cousin of Superman. The film’s plot is this (from IMDB): “After a power source for the community of Krypton survivors is accidentally whisked to earth, Kara-El, cousin to Superman and niece to Jor-El, chooses to go to earth to find it, and bring it back. Upon her arrival, she becomes just a powerful and Super as her cousin, but encounters dangerous battles and unexpected obstacles when a mean spirited woman who practices rituals of the occult takes the power source for herself, and uses it to cause destruction and attempt zenith human status..”  Although this was to be a new blockbuster franchise, it fizzled at the US Box Office, only bringing in $14,296,438.00, placing it at # 66 of the year. It did however beat out such films as Ice Pirates, The Evil That Men Do, Terror In The Aisles and Cloak And Dagger. 1997 saw the release of Steel, based around the character who was a major part of the aftermath of the Death of Superman storyline that was rocking the comic book world.  The main character Steel was played by NBA player Shaq and had this as its plot: “John Henry Irons designs weapons for the military. When his project to create weapons that harmlessly neutralize soldiers is sabotaged, he leaves in disgust. When he sees gangs are using his weapons on the street, he uses his brains and his Uncle Joe’s junkyard know-how to fight back, becoming a real man of “steel.”  The film was a total bomb at the box office, bringing in a total of $1,710,972.00 in the US making for the lowest money maker for the Superman series of films. Steel was # 178 for the year and beat out the likes of Kiss Or Kill, The Van and The Winter Guest. But I should also mention the first official Superman film was 1951’s Superman And The Mole-Men starring George Reeves as Superman who was also the man who played him on the hit TV Show The Adventures Of Superman. Say what you will, but even with two poorly received spin offs, Superman and his friends at least did what they could to entertain us at the movies.

Superman mole men PosterSUPERGIRL postersteel poster

Now before we go on, I know may of you readers are waiting to see if I mention the Superman film that was being worked on by Tim Burton and would have had Nicolas Cage playing Superman.  To answer your questions, of course I am going to cover it, but also some of the other Superman films that never came to light. “Superman V” or also called “Superman: The New Movie” was being developed by Cannon Films before Superman IV was even out in theaters and would have had Superman dying and coming back to life in a shrunken city called Kandor that was original on his home planet of Krypton.  The film was to be directed by Albert Pyun, who was the director of such films as Alien From L.A., Cyborg and Captain America and Christopher Reeve was slated to play Superman once more. But when Superman IV was not a super hit and Cannon Films went bankrupt, the plan for this film disappeared and was never meant to be, but as many people point out, this would have had the death and rebirth of Superman way before the comics did it. In early 1993 Warner Brothers wanted to cash in on the Death of Superman comic craze and came up with a film called “Superman Reborn,” a hip take on the character that would please the MTV Generation and would make great action figures for toy companies. The original idea was to have Superman die at the hands of Doomsday, but before Sups passed on he would have his life force go into Lois Lane and make her pregnant with a baby that would be the reborn him…yep….the second idea had Brainiac teaming up with Doomsday, Silver Banshee and Parasite to kill Superman who would later come back to be reborn. This film did not come about when Kevin Smith was hired to rewrite some of it, but he decided the film was too campy and he had ideas of his own. This lead to “Superman Lives,” a film that would have had Superman dying, a giant Spider and even Brainiac fighting polar bears! The film would have had Superman dying by the hands of Doomsday who was sent by Brainiac and Lex Luther, and Superman when coming back alive must find a way to over through his enemies. The film was offered to Robert Rodriguez, but he had to decline and the directing seat went to Tim Burton and the role of Superman went to Nicolas Cage, even though Smith wanted to hire his friend Ben Affleck. Burton, before filming, would bring in his own guys and would rewrite Smith’s script.  This was the beginning of the end as many actors were attached for roles and all of them came and went.  The film died when Burton left the film as well saying he wasted a year of his life working on it. Other would-be films came after like Batman vs. Superman, a movie that would have had Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent down on their luck and being set up to fight each other thanks to The Joker and Lex Luther as well as an origin film called Superman: Flyby! One things for sure, while none of these films made it to the big screen, I am sure some of the films that have been made in recent years have taken bits and pieces from these scrips. Below is Nicolas Cage in a version of the Superman suit, and I can 100% say that I wish this film would have been made as well as Superman V.

Nick Cage as Superman

Some of the best merchandise to come out of the Superman Movies has to be the doll action figures made by MEGO as well as MEGO’s 3 3/4” Pocket Hero figure line. Growing up, I sadly never had any of these figures as they were out of stores way before I was old enough to play with action figures, and when we found them at garage sales they were always way over priced for our Mom to buy us one. My brother Bryan, on the other hand, did have a Superman one that was his favorite toy for awhile.  He even swung it around a string once when he was a kid at my grandparents house and lost it on top of their roof! By the time he got the figure back, it was dirty and gross as it sat up there for awhile.  When they finally got it down, the figure was thrown away. Don’t be too sad for him, he got another many, many years later and it sits in his hallway in his house. When I was in my mid-twenties, I was able to track down and get a full set of the Pocket Hero Superman figuresm and I must say I really wished I had them when I was young as Zod would have made a perfect ally for Darth Vader in my Toy Wars!

Mego Superman Dolls

Collector drinking glasses were super popular for fast food joints and gas stations to give away or sell dirt cheap in the 60’s-80’s, and Taco Bell and Pepsi did just that with very cool Superman glasses in 1979! The series had six different glasses, and if you bought a medium soda and payed .69, you could get one with your meal, a very cool way to get customers into your restaurant to buy food as well as give them something to take home that they drink out of and will remind them of your food. While we never had one of these glasses, we did have a Pepsi Superman glass from the comic books that had him busting out of chains, and it was one of my favorite glasses to drink chocolate milk out of. Over the years I have seen these Taco Bell/Pepsi Superman glasses at Antique Stores and Flea markets, and they are on my list of glasses to get for my apartment. I wonder if Christopher Reeve ever drank tea or lemonade from a Superman glass?

Taco Bell Superman Glass 1Taco Bell Superman GlassTaco Bell Superman Glass 2

Another popular part of merchandising back in the day besides toys and glasses were trading cards.  Topps was the king company who not only made cards on sports but also movies and TV shows, and of course they made some for Superman 1-3! Besides the base card set, each series had a sticker set, and each pack came with a stick of bubble gum. Growing up, I did have lots of these trading cards for all these films as I was a trading card fiend and would buy all that I could new from places like UDF and would buy bags full from garage sales. One thing I should say also is that at Game Swap Kettering this year someone traded in a complete set of Superman: The Movie trading cards as well with the stickers and even a unopened pack.  It was lots of fun to flip through the base card set as each were so vintage and cool.  It makes me miss the days of classic Topps Trading cards as lots has changed in that world that includes not only the price per pack but also the quality of the cards themselves. But as always you can’t stop change, and those who collect cards I am sure have at least one of these films in their collection.

Topps Superman And Superman II Wax PacksTopps Superman III Wax Pack

I was going to cut this from my update as I didn’t have that much to say about it, but I think those who had one or wanted one would like to take a trip down memory lane so here it goes. Iron on T-shirts were super popular for some reason back in the day, and I can always remember hating them as the image on the shirt after a few washes would crack and peel away leaving the shirt looking like a mess, something even as a youngster I would not wear out in public. But for those who remember these, Superman II had an iron on transfer shirt that I am sure brought joy and happiness to those who had it.  I’m not sure if the terrible lack of quality these style shirts had makes any of my readers mad like it did me but for those things ruined my childhood by ruining my Skeletor and Star Wars shirts!

Superman II Iron On Transfer

While I was working on this update I was listening to the Superman: The Movie and Supergirl soundtracks and enjoying the epic nature of these themes as I remember my childhood of watching these films and reading Superman comics. The first film’s score was done by John Williams, and his theme is so iconic that whenever people think of Superman, that theme comes to mind.  Believe me, it was a great score to have playing in the background while I read the comics. Ken Thorne did the score for Superman II and is great just as the original and captures the vibe of the film and the mood of the John Williams score that came before it. Ken returned to score Part III and once more did a great job of capturing the action and comedy moments with his music. Superman IV’s score was done by Alexander Courage and is good, while not as iconic as the scores that came before it, this score still helped add to the film’s over all vibe. Superman Returns’ score was done by John Ottman and is a solid piece of work and was fitting for the film. For those wondering, Supergirl’s score was done by Jerry Goldsmith, Steel’s was done by Mervyn Warren and 2013’s Man of Steel’s was done by Hans Zimmer. While all have their own great tracks, I would say that if you’re a music score fan like me, I would suggest buying the John Williams score for Superman: The Movie on CD, cassette or vinyl and give it a listen some late evening, and yes, I play some of these scores on Alpha Rythems.

Superman The Movie SoundtrackSuperman II SoundtrackSuperman III Soundtrack

While no direct video game has been made around the Christopher Reeve Superman films, one was made for Superman Returns that was on Playstation 2 and Xbox 360. The one I remember is Superman for the Atari 2600, where you play Superman and must rebuild a bridge that Lex Luther blew up and all this is timed! Superman also had a game for Commodore 64 made by First Star and an arcade game made by Taito that I can remember playing at a video store that had the machine.  Years later, that same machine is now at Game Swap in Kettering ready to be played by shoppers! One game for Nintendo was released by Seika and was a game that not only made The Angry Video Game Nerd mad but me as well as the game was terrible and treated Superman like a bigheaded small weakling. Sega Genesis had Superman, a game released by Sunsoft, that was a side scrolling cheesy action game that was one of the first games I ever bought for our Genesis as I used by birthday money to buy it. This is just a drop in the hat on video games that are about or even star Superman.  A big rumor going around is that Rocksteady and WB Games, the same team who brought us the Batman Arkham games, are working on a new Superman game that will be out for PS4 and Xbox One.  So here is hoping that these rumors are true. If you’re a gamer and you can’t sleep this Christmas Eve night, maybe pick up a controller and play a Superman game while you wait for Santa.

Superman Atari 2600Superman C64Superman NESSuperman Genesis

So I think at this point in the update we are ready to take a look at the DC Comic adaptations of the Superman films.  For some reason DC Comics were late to the game and did not do adaptations for Superman: The Movie or Superman II, but they started at Superman III so that is where we will starts as well. Well maybe for fun I will throw in the Treasury Editions that breakdown the first two Superman movies! I want to thanks Game Swap Kettering, Lone Star Comics, Mavericks and Ebay for having these issues in stock and while you turn up the heater or throw another log on the fire, I want to remind you that I grade these 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. I must say that just like last year’s Batman update I am really looking forward to reading these adaptations of Superman films and hope that like the Batman issues they do the films they are taken from justice.  So let’s look to the night sky and look for Santa..I mean Superman!

Superman The Movie Comic

Superman The Movie # 0  ***
Released in 1979    Cover Price $2.50    DC Comics    # 0 of 0

This book adds more to your Superman The Movie experience as it acts as a way to show the connections and differences between the movie and comics. It breaks down Krypton and Smallville, shows the layout of the Fortress of Solitude and speaks of the wonders of the Daily Planet and it’s workers. It also tells about Superman, Lex Luther and his fellow team of evil doers. One amazing thing is, it does a great job of showing the characters in the comic and how they look in the movies.  For some they did a fantastic job, while others they were close but not on the dot. It also gives you some history on much of the crew and makers of this film like the producer, director, costume and production designer and John Williams, the composer of the film’s soundtrack. It shares information on actors from the film from Christopher Reeve to Gene Hackman and in-between and shows some behind the scenes looks into how they made a scene. One cool thing is that they also show the two young kids who won DC Comics contest to get a cameo in the film and shows who they played. While most of this information could be looked up much quicker on the internet than fumbling through this over sized book, I still found this a fun read on a chilly night to spark the nostalgia of the film series in me.

Superman II Comic

Superman II # 0 **1/2
Released in 1981    Cover Price $2.95    DC Comics    # 0 of 0

This oversized Treasury Comic breaks down the film Superman II with a look at the actors, sets, characters and even filming elements like the films fight scenes! It covers lots of great stuff and even contains some amazing pictures of actress Sarah Douglas looking pretty hot in low cut shirts. It’s much like the first Superman: The Movie breakdown and really while entertaining, just makes you wish these were comic adaptations of the films instead of oversized magazines. So let’s move onto the real highlight of this update the DC Comics based on the rest of the Superman films.

Superman III Comic 1

Superman III # 1  **1/2
Released in 1983    Cover Price $1.00    DC Comics    #1 of 1

August “Gus” Gorman is a man down on his luck who has been on unemployment for over 36 weeks and might have found his break on the back of a pack of matches that leads him to become a computer programer for Archibald Data Processing and he does things that even his instructor never knew a computer could do! At the Dailey Planet editor Perry White lets Lois Lane take a vacation to Bermuda, Clark Kent go back to Smallville for his high school reunion and Jimmy Olsen go along to snap photos, but during the trip back home Clark must turn into Superman as a chemical plant has caught on fire and it houses the most dangerous acid in the world that could kill many if it gets too heated up! As Superman saves the lives of workers, he also must save Jimmy Olsen who breaks his leg trying to snap pictures and uses a nearby lake to put out the fire and save the day. With Jimmy Olsen having to go back to Metropolis, Clark goes to his reunion and runs back into Lana Lang, his crush who is now divorced and has a young son Ricky.  Lana is trying to dodge Brad, a drunk one time jock who is the jerk of town who wants to win her heart. Ross Webster has lost $85,000.00 from his company Webco Industries as someone embezzled it, and he know its Gorman, who he ropes into helping him take control of a satellite that can control the weather so that he can ruin all of Columbia’s coffee beans and can be the king of coffee. Meanwhile Clark in Smallville is becoming close to Lana and her son Ricky and must turn into Superman and save Ricky’s life after an accident in a field almost leaves him plant food! Gorman gets the satellite to work as bad weather unleashes itself on Columbia but is stopped by Superman who know becomes the target of Ross and his sister Vera and his girlfriend Lorelei who want to build a piece of kryptonite to use against and kill Superman! But they make a mistake, and the kryptonite does not kill Superman but turns him bad.  As the Man of Steel does evil things, Ross and Gorman set their sights on building a super computer and taking over the oil industry. Lana and Ricky move to Metropolis and find the Evil Superman.  The boy’s kind words leads to an inner fight and turns Superman good again.  He fixes all his wrongs and goes after Russ and his goon squad who have built the super computer and use it to fight The Man Of Steel! Gorman realizes that the computer is evil and tries to save Superman, but the computer is now working for itself and even turns Vera into a robotic droid of destruction! In the end, Superman uses the acid from the chemical lab and destroys the computer and takes Gorman to safety and lets the cops deal with Ross, Vera and Lorelei.

This comic adaptation is pretty dang good, but the odd thing is it takes lots of the film’s comedy aspects away.  While it’s still very light hearted, it’s by no means as goofy as the film. The plot has Superman going back to his hometown of Smallville, falling in love with his crush and trying to find a way to get her to move to Metropolis, all the while a con man named Gus is working for a big business man who wants to rule the world.  Superman must find away to stop them and their scary giant computer. The first thing that I noticed is that the comic has lots of changes like Lana in the end does not get a job with the Daily Planet nor does the fling go anywhere, also Brad, the sleazy one time jock is down played and is not nearly chasing Lana like he is in the film. All of Gorman’s slapstick over the top comedy is gone, and he is played more like a normal guy who, while a con man looking for a quick buck, is really just a nice guy. The worst part that was cut and happens to be my favorite part of the film is when Superman goes to Lana’s house for something to drink and the fake kryptonite starts to turn him bad and he gets all sleazy on her. Superman is as noble as ever and saves many lives and stops lots of disasters all the while doing so with a smile as he takes joy in helping out mankind. Superman, in this comic adaptation, is strong but seems slightly weaker than the comic book version but who really is looking at that aspect? Ross Webster and his sister Vera are rich snobs who thinks the world owes them everything because they have more money than you, are really snooty and are willing to kill Superman so that they can get more money. Gus Gorman is a man who as well is looking for quick cash, but while he will steal your cash, he by no means wants to kill or hurt someone to do so. Gus is almost a puppet to the evil Ross who is the puppeteer and is pulling his strings by using his own greed to get him to obey. Lana Lane and her son Ricky are great characters as they are used to show a human side to Superman who has a bond with the pair.  I really like Lana as well because unlike other lead female roles in these style of films, she is in no need of saving and can take care of herself. The cover is okay, but it’s odd they chose to use a blurry still of the film instead of drawing something original.  The artwork inside is done by Curt Swan & Sal Amendola and looks like a normal issue of Superman but the characters only slightly look like the actors who play them in the film.  That’s kind of a let down as I would have loved to have seen it look like Christopher Reeve and Annette O’Toole. To sum it up, while good, it does lose some of the charm of the film and is an okay adaptation of a classic superhero film I grew up watching. Below is some artwork from the issue that shows the inner battle between Clark Kent and the Evil Superman.

Superman III Art 1

So from Superman III, it’s now time to take a look at DC Comics look at Superman IV: The Quest For Peace movie adaptation.  The question is, will it capture the cheesy magic of the film or will it fall a little behind like the Superman III did?

Superman IV Comic 1

Superman IV # 1  ***
Released in 1987    Cover Price $2.00    DC Comics    # 1 of 1

In space, a Russian astronaut has an accident and is about to float away into space when Superman saves him.  Superman returns to earth and as Clark Kent has his family’s old farm house for sale in Smallville and finds a old message from his real father and a crystal that will act as a shot of power if he ever needs it. The next day on his way to work Superman saves a train full of passengers as the conductor suffers from a heart attack and when at work he gets news the Daily Planet has been bought out by tabloid tycoon David Warfield and his daughter Lacy who want to change the Planet into a trash paper. Lex Luther escapes from jail thanks to his nephew Lenny, and they steal a strand of Superman’s hair from the science museum and use radiation to create a dimwitted super guy who fights Superman in the street and is destroyed with ease by the man of steel. Jeremy is a young boy who is flown to Metropolis in order to talk to Superman as the child wants him to destroy all the nuclear weapons in the world, and Superman does just that as he flings the weapons into the sun. Lex Luther, with the help of some top war monger government army brass, sends a chemical human stew into the sun hidden into one of the missiles and so is born Nuclear Man, who feeds off the sun rays and is now out to destroy Superman on Lex Luther’s orders. The pair fight all around the world, and Nuclear Man lands a powerful blow that leaves Superman injured and oddly makes him start to age faster! While Superman/Clark Kent tries to nurse himself back to health, Nuclear Man decides he is in charge and turns on Luther and Lenny and also comes to the decision that Lacy Warfield will be his Queen, but before things get too bad Superman uses the crystal of power.  After a tough fight Superman beats Nuclear Man with the help of an eclipse and Lacy and puts the super baddy into a nuclear core where he will be drained of power and die! In the end Superman and youngster Jeremy teach all the people of the world we are all the same, and Perry White with the help of the banks buys the majority shares to become the owner of the Daily Planet.

The first thing that I must say is that all the flaws and moments of the film that make no sense are fixed and explained in this comic adaptation as no film editor took their scissors to the print to make a runtime. The plot is very simple: Lex Luther escapes jail as the world is in a nuclear weapon panic, Superman saves the day by ridding the world of all those nasty warheads and by doing so creates his own worst enemy in the Nuclear Man, all the while the Daily Planet is being taken over by a creepazoid smut news publisher. Throw in some love story with Lacy and Clark as well as Superman aging, and you have this cheesy comic storyline. While the film is a mess, I did find this comic adaptation to be lots of fun and better than part III. Superman in this comic is very noble and after fighting with his mind, listens to his heart and tries his best to rid the world of evil nuclear war weapons and truly embraces Earth as his home. Lois Lane is sassy, Jimmy Olsen is a background player, David Warfield is a scum bag, and Perry White is a man on a mission and saves his paper from being a tabloid magazine. Lacy Warfield is a rich woman who at least has some kindness in her heart as she wants to do the right thing and wants to win the heart of Clark Kent. Lex Luther once more is filled with pure revenge as world peace is not enough for him; he would rather risk that all for money and the death of Superman. Lenny is a goofball, as is the first Super clone, and Nuclear Man is a powerful narcissistic hothead who uses all his power for evil. The big things that are different from comic to film is that this comic shows the first attempt of the super clone as well as explains him getting sick when injured and turning old.  These scenes in the comic help make the whole thing make sense as some of these elements are left in the movie with no backstory. The art is really well done and is done by a handful of artists, and while they don’t look anything like the actors who play the characters in the film, it does hold the DC Comic charm and looks as if it could have been just a normal issue in the Action Comic series. So over all, this is a good comic adaptation done right by DC and really makes me wish they did ones based on the first film and Superman II, but we can’t change the past so before we move onto Superman: Returns, check out some art from Superman IV.

Superman IV Art 1

So from Nuclear Man to, you guessed it, more Lex Luther.  Let’s see how this more modern comic adaptation holds up, shall we? I should also note that while I don’t hate this film, I did find it to be just mediocre at best so it will be cool to see how this adaptation holds up to the film.

Superman Returns Comic 1

Superman Returns # 1  **
Released in 2006    Cover Price $6.99    DC Comics    #1 of 1

Superman has left Earth for over five years on a quest to find his home world in space and comes up empty handed.  He returns home to find his mother dating another man and wanting to sell the family farm to move away from Smallville. Lex Luther is out of jail and has dated an old sick rich woman who has just died and is now a millionaire and uses his new wealth to track down Superman’s Fortress of Solitude along with his girlfriend Kitty and his hired hand goons.  They learn all of the Man of Steel’s secrets. Clark Kent returns to work at the Daily Planet, and Superman returns in saving people as he saves a plane full of reporters that includes Lois Lane who is now a mom and engaged to Richard White, the nephew of Perry White. Lex Luther has found the the secret of Krypton is that the crystals can build land, and he has a plan to just do that as well sink America in the process, and along the way he kidnaps Lois Lane and her son Jason as they head out to sea. Lois is able to fax her location to the Daily Planet.  Richard takes the sea plan and Clark turns to Superman, and they both rush to the rescue. Luther has began creating land that is laced with Kryptonite, and this makes Superman weak as he is beat up by the likes of Luther and stabbed with a kryptonite dagger and thrown into the cold water. Lois and Jason was saved by Richard and in turn Lois saves Superman who lifts the newly made crystal land mass and leaves it into space, but this takes a lot out of Superman who falls to Earth and looks as if he could die! In the end Lex escapes, and Superman lives and makes peace with Lois even when he finds out Jason is his son.

First thing I have to say is I hate when DC Comics did the prestige binding for their adaptations of their films.  It just doesn’t feel like reading a comic as much as it feels like I am reading a book or a graphic novel, and sadly this was the only way you can get this issue. This adaptation is pretty good, but does suffer from what I felt dragged the film down and that’s a snail’s pace plot with not a lot of action. The plot of this comic is Superman returns to Earth after time away and must battle Lex Luther who wants to control land and also battle his feelings for Lois Lane who is now a mom. The story is not terrible, just a little weak and best of all Superman is a deadbeat dad as it’s shown Jason is his son and he has not taken care of him for over five years, and decides to not to do so even after he finds out! Superman in this issue is still noble for the most part but is not given much to do besides stop a plan crash, stop some robbers and lift a crystal land mass that really makes no sense as the Kryptonite should have left him weak as a baby. Clark Kent is not given much to do as Sup’s secret identity is more of a background player in this adaptation. Lois Lane is as snarky and strong willed as ever and while happy with her life, does still have feelings for the Man of Steel. Richard and Jason White are background players and serve a bigger purpose than Perry White and Jimmy Olsen. Lex Luther is such a so-so bad guy in this comic as I am sorry his main goal is to make new land to sell to nations as well as kill Superman…out of the the six Superman films Luther has been the bad guy in four and in this one he should have been given a rest.  It would have been nice to see Parasite or Doomsday. This comic follows the film pretty well and only has some changes like Jason killing one of Luther’s men with a piano is gone as is Kitty and Luther being stuck on a tiny island.  Not to mention that many parts also seem sped up and lose impact like Lois saving Superman goes by with a blink of an eye. The art in this adaptation is okay but is slightly sloppy and is done by Matt Haley.  This just adds to the boring nature of this adaptation. Over all while it was fun to read this adaptation, it is one that I am sure I would never read again. I would say that it was bland and boring! Check out the art below done by Haley for this adaptation.

Superman Returns Art 1

That marks the end of comic adaptations of Superman movies as none was made for Man of Steel, the film that came after Superman Returns.  So I figured why not take a look at Supergirl and Steel films that were spin offs of Superman! So up first is the Woman of Steel Supergirl!

Supergirl Comic 1

Supergirl # 1  **1/2
Released in 1985    Cover Price $1.25    DC Comics    #1 of 1

Argo City is in space and is the last of Krypton where Kara, the cousin of Superman lives.  An accident caused by artist Zaltar makes them lose the powerful and magical Omegahedron sphere as it’s sucked into space. Kara feels that she is also to blame and climbs aboard a tiny ship and follows it to Earth, during her travel she ages from a youngster to seventeen years of age and takes on the secret identity of Linda Lee and joins Midvale School. Meanwhile the Omegahedron has fallen into the hands of a witch named Selena who along with her roommate Beanca want to take over the world, all the while her one time mentor Nigel watches on trying to get his own hands on the powerful sphere. Linda has a roommate in school that is Lucy Lane, the sister of Lois, and who is dating Jimmy Olsen! Selena spots a lawn worker named Ethan and uses a love potion on him that backfires when he spots Linda Lee and he falls head over heels in love with her.  This leads to Selena trying to kill the pair on a carnival ride as well as sends an invisible monster to kill Linda Lee at school.  Both fail, and this sets the hatred up for Selena and Supergirl/Linda Lee. Later in rage, Selena kidnaps Ethan as well as Lucy Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Nigel and threatens to kill them as Supergirl comes to their rescue, but she is tricked and sent to the Phantom Zone and must use the help of Zaltar, who has been sent there for stealing the Omegahedron in the first place, to escape. When back on Earth Supergirl defeats Selena, frees her friends and heads back home to Argo City with the Omegahedron a new self confident woman.

This was a fun adaptation for a film that I grew up enjoying and owning on VHS and watched many times. I must say that growing up Helen Slater, who played Supergirl, was an actress I had a crush on and I am shocked that I did not own this comic as a kid. The comic does a good job on capturing the overall fun and silly nature of the film and while it makes some changes and rushes some others, it does not take away from the enjoyability of the comic.The plot is that Supergirl comes to earth to get back a powerful sphere that was lost from her home planet and must do battle with a sorceress who has the sphere. Throw in a love story and some friend characters who are connected to the Superman movies, and you have the story of this adaptation comic. Supergirl/Kara/Linda Lee is a gentle and sweet young woman who is not only strong on Earth like her cousin Superman but also has a very strong will and a sharp mind.  The way she rushes to her friends in need and stands up to any of the challenges thrown at her proves she truly is a hero. Lucy Lane is a nice side character as she is the sister of Lois Lane who she takes a lot of her personality from, and to top it all off she is dating Jimmy Olsen! Ethan is just a generic boyfriend character who falls for Supergirl thanks to a love potion, but his love breaks that magical spell as he truly just loves the seventeen year old Supergirl…wait he is out of school and works for lawn care…yeah, he’s a creeper! Selena is a wicked and selfish woman who is into black magic and treats her “friends” like trash as she clearly views them as lower than her. Not to mention she wants to murder a teenage girl over a man! The cover is pretty cool and shows Supergirl flying over the city, and the art inside is done by Gray Morrow.  While not my favorite style of art, it works well for this adaptation as the characters look enough like the actors who play them in the film. One nice addition to this comic are all the pinups of Helen Slater in her Supergirl outfit..very nice indeed! If you enjoyed this movie, put on the Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack for the film and give this adaptation a read.  Also check out the artwork below to see Morrow’s work.

Supergirl Movie Art 1

So Supergirl was not the only spin-off film to the Superman movies as in 1997 Warner Brothers hired Shaq to play Steel…let’s see if the comic is better than the movie, shall we?

Steel Comic 1

STEEL # 1  *1/2
Released in 1997    Cover Price $4.95    DC Comics    #1 of 1

John Henry Irons is part of a military group that tests and design new weapons that also includes Sparky, a cute and highly smart female solider, and Burke, a know it all hothead glory hog. During a presentation for a senator, an accident happens caused by Burke that leaves Sparky paralyzed and the senator dead, and Irons has to testify against his one time partner in military court. Irons quits the military when they allow Burke to walk away from the accident and he returns home to the streets of L.A. where is young brother and grandma try and avoid gang violence. After gangs on the streets have the high powered secret weapons of the military and Iron’s cop friend is hurt, he gets the help of Sparky as well as his Uncle Joe who runs a junkyard.  They make a metal suit, and so Irons become Steel and takes the fight to the gangs. Meanwhile Burke is the man behind the guns in the gang’s hand, and he is also using a video arcade store as his front and has Iron’s younger brother on his payroll! Burke sets up Steel with a bank robbery and outguns him and makes him look like a fool, and then sets him up with the cops and has Irons arrested on suspicion of being a gang member with illegal guns. Joe and Sparky trick the cops and get Irons free and he tracks down Burke and as Steel has a showdown with all the weapons and all Burkes men.  In the end Steel wins and saves the day by blowing up Burke in his super cannon powered truck.

This box office bomb made for one comic bomb as well as this was a dumb cheesy read that clearly was the worst of not only the Superman films, but also comic adaptations! The story is John Irons is a military weapons maker who quits after an accident and turns into a metal suited superhero when his home town streets are infected with gangs with high power weapons. John Henry Irons/Steel is a cool character who is super smart and very noble and risks his own life to try and get the weapons he help create off the streets. Uncle Joe and Sparky are great side characters who are very important in Steel’s quest as they do just as much as he does in order to rid the streets of the gang punks. Burke is a scumbag who wants to sell weapons to terrorists all over the world and doesn’t care how many people die in his quest for money.The thing that doesn’t work for this adaptation is that Steel has no connection to Superman.  In fact he is just a tall guy who is supposed to be this genius that’s bad at basketball, oh yeah they have to point out several times that he is smart and that he could never make it in the NBA…you get it… because Steel is played by Shaq…yeah, terrible. The art is okay and is done by the team of Jon Bogdanove & Dick Giordano.  This at least helps the comic to be a little better as at least characters look a little like the actors who played them. The reason this comic is so bad is because the source material was bad, and I feel like I have spent more time talking about this adaptation than the writers took to write the script so I think it’s time to end it. Check out a sample of the art below.

Steel Movie Art 1

Superman is not only a icon of comic books & the box office but he also rocked the world of comic adaptations.  While he might not have the impact he did on any of these the way he did when I was a kid, he still remains one of the most recognizable superheroes in the world. I really enjoyed taking a look back at the Superman movies and hope you had at least a small amount of good time reading this Christmas Eve update. I also hope you are having a great Christmas Eve that is filled with good times with loved ones and some great food. Our next update will be my best films of 2015 so that should be a great way to kick 2016 off! So if you’re reading this late in the evening, you should get yourself a warm glass of milk and head to bed as Santa Claus is on his way with his bag full of goodies! So have a great a safe Christmas and enjoy your time with friends and family, and I look forward to sharing 2016 with you all.

FILMS OF 2015 LOGO

Starriors: The Robots Who Ruined Christmas

When I think of the month of December, lots of things come to mind like Christmas, cookies, hot chocolate, family, snow and of course toys! Kids of my generation and before know the wonder of all the cool toys that became the must-have gifts you wanted from Santa or your parents so you could go to school and show off all your new stuff. And in the 80’s robots were super hot, and toylines were very popular and on many wish lists. One line that many kids of my time wanted was Transformers, with a smaller group wanting the likes of GoBots or Robotix, and then there was a toy line that disappointed kids with their cheap appearances and loose arm joints.  Those toys were Starriors. So as you already know, these cheap robot toys made by Tomy as well as the mini-series made by Marvel are the topic of this update. But before we move onto that I want to share some Christmas memories with you about how Marvel and DC Comics were a part of my Christmas mornings as a youth. Do you remember when you were younger on Christmas Eve night, and you were in your bed trying to sleep but you were so hyped for all your gifts the next day?  You’d be ready for when your cousins came over to play Nintendo or ball tag, weather-permitting, and by the time you finally fell asleep it seemed like you slept for only a few minutes before you were up and ready to open your gifts! Most years we would start with our stockings that “Santa” would leave, and they would be filled with such things as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cookies, Cracked Magazines, magic grow sponge animals and lots of comic books! Most of the time, it would be issues of Spider-Man, Captain America, Batman or Incredible Hulk or some other weird kids comic based on a cartoon, like Little Dracula and Count Duckula. I can remember that it was like clock-work, once Christmas was over and all the family went back home, I would go to my room and sit in bed and read the comics I got so that I could tell my brother and mom about what crazy thing happened to Spider-Man or what new bad guy he was facing. Those early years of Christmas for me were something special and filled with so many good times spent with family who would all gather to spend time together and eat a good home cooked meal that my mom would make. I miss those days, as they seem to be a thing of the past as we all got older and holidays began becoming less of family gatherings.  It’s a shame, but things change. But I would like to say thank you to Marvel, DC and all the other comic companies who made my Christmas day more special and entertained me on a day filled with lots of great memories. Below is a picture of me from Christmas morning 1990 when I was 11 years old and just opened my stocking, and as you can see that year I got Spectacular Spider-Man # 171 among my stack of comics.  Also check out that sweet Beta player, my Joker t-shirt, the warm fire going, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cookies as well as the Sugar Bear ornament on the tree!

Me Christmas Morning 1990

Sometime in 2004, an idea was floating around Independent B Movie Studios to have a slasher film made that would be shot in the winter.  Mike Ritchie was just coming off making Farmer Joe and took the project on that was to be called “Long Dead Winter,” and he came up with evil jester mask serial killer called The Jester Killer who was brutal and sadistic and who was attacking people during a massive snow storm leaving a body count.  Mike was not only going to direct this feature but he was also going to write it. One day when hanging around at Mike’s, we began to bounce ideas back and fourth on this film that’s start date was creeping up super quickly, and that’s when we came up with having a second killer added to the film that would be the opposite of The Jester Killer and not enjoy the fact he kills, and we called him The Sadness. The film began production soon after, and Mike Ritchie cast himself to play The Jester Killer, Garrison Kane played The Sadness and the two heroes were played by Matt Hoffman and Josh Weinberg and the film had the budget to add blood, gore and boobs. I acted as the cameraman, and we shot during the winter during and after snow storms to add the right atmosphere to the grim storyline. So I am sure you’re wondering what the film’s storyline was going to be, well let me tell you:  it was set in a small town during a nasty winter filled with blizzard-like weather and a serial killer wearing a twisted court jester mask goes on a killing spree.  Not to be outdone, another masked killer gets mad that his name is no longer in the town paper so he decided to go on a rampage as well.  With each kill, the killers were trying to out do each other. The town’s only hope is a pair of cops who are hot on the trail of the killers, but while they are good cops, do they have what it takes to stop the madness? The film shot for many days and was going pretty well with lots of deaths being shot from stabbings to a hammer to the skull, each done with cheesy backyard effect goodness! Sometimes the creepy vibe of the film was off track as Mike added many lame inside jokes toward friends of ours, and like Farmer Joe 2, the film stopped filming as Mike began delaying production.  Finally the film was scrapped as films like Razor, Who Keeps Feeding Grandpa and Two Seconds Too Late started productions, and Mike never did get back on track getting the film done. The footage we shot sat on VHS for many years and at some point I put it on Mini-DV and even used some shots on a couple of Baron Von Porkchop episodes! The Sadness would go on to get his own film in 2006 written and directed by me, but that’s for another update. At some point I would love to take some of the old Independent B Movie scripts and turn them into comic books, and Long Dead Winter would be at the top of that list! Any takers my comic book-making friends…Jason Young? Bruce O Hughes? Justin Wasson? Eric Shonborn? Below are some screen grabs from the VHS master tapes complete with time code.

Long Dead Winter 1Long Dead Winter 2Long Dead Winter 3

Speaking of long winters, this time of the year also makes me think of one of my favorite bands Cinderella and their album Long Cold Winter! Growing up I listened to pop music like Paula Abdul, Michael Jackson, Adam Ant and Janet Jackson, but I also listened to lots of rock due to my Dad, who is a music lover.  At a young age he introduced me to the likes of Alice Cooper, Warren Zevon and ZZ Top and from there wit the help of MTV and radio station 104.7 WTUE I started to find bands from my generation that I enjoyed like Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Billy Idol, W.A.S.P. and RATT and one of the tops on my list was Cinderella, a band that mixed hair metal and the blues so well with releases like Heartbreak Station. I can remember how hyped I was when I found the cassette of their first album Night Songs at Half Price Books. I took that tape home and almost wore it out from all the times I would crank it on my tiny little boom box radio. In 1988, they released Long Cold Winter, and I can remember seeing it in ads for places like K-Mart and wanting it so badly.  The singles off that album included Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone), Gypsy Road, The Last Mile and Coming Home, all that charted and all of them played on our local radio stations. I was lucky that my mom and dad listened to my wish list and got me it on cassette for Christmas that year and just like Night Songs, I can remember cranking it up. So after writing this, I think I am going to make myself some hot chocolate put on the vinyl of Long Cold Winter and reflect on a time when big hair ruled the music world, and to be honest if you have not heard this album, make sure to check it out!

Cinderella Band 1Cinderella Long Cold WinterCinderella Band 2

I want to also talk about something a little more creepy, something that might send shivers down your spine thinking that this thing might be real and wondering the world we all live in. In July of 2007 in Bahia, Brazil, a 15 year old girl was walking alone along a riverbed and woods when she was attacked by a horned monster who grabbed her and was trying to force mud into her face and hair for unknown reasons.  Luckily the young girl was able to escape by knocking this creature off balance making it so that she could flee and take this one single picture of the beast giving chase while in the water. The girl went home, and she and her dad released the photo, and since then another picture of it has been released from another person who saw it roaming around.  This thing is now called The Bahia Beast, and what it is is up for debate. The Beast is believed by Cryptozoology fanatics to be a mud demon, a foul creature who gets pleasure in degrading his victims before eating them. But many people think that it’s a hoax and is nothing more than a man in a cheap Halloween mask and costume roaming around to try and bring tourists to the area to see if they can spot the monster in the woods. I have also heard that some people think that the young girl’s story is fake and that she just snapped a picture of an actor in a costume while an independent horror film was being made. So as you can see The Bahia Beast is an unknown thing/person with an unknown origin, and this makes you wonder is this mudslinging demon out there waiting to make you taste mud?

Bahia beast 1Bahia beastBahia beast 2

While we are on the subject of spooky and horror I should take a brief moment to cover a comic book I got off the website Indy Planet that is about a zombie cop hunting a werewolf in the snow! I figured this update would be the best place to cover it as we are talking about the cold month of December, so let’s take a quick look at it.

Corpse Cop Arctic Wolf Front 1

Corpse Cop: Arctic Wolf # 1  **
Released in 2013   Cover Price $3.00   Black Box Comics   # 2 of 2

Corpse Cop is dropped off in Alaska as something has been killing hunters and the wildlife off and he has been hired to exterminate it. While wandering around in the snow, he finds the corpse of an animal and knows he is on the track to find the monster. Corpse Cop takes shelter in a cave for the night and while trying to warm up his undead body near the fire, he is attacked by a bear and must kill it. After the fight, a woman appears and sits with him near the fire and turns into a werewolf and attacks but is quickly killed as Corpse Cop cuts off it’s head and leaves her body to be eaten by animals.

This comic is too short for its own good with only 12 pages. I didn’t get to build a bond with Corpse Cop nor did I feel the werewolf was any threat to him. The story moves super fast and has the supernatural enforcer being dropped off in the snow doing very little investigating and killing his target, a werewolf, with ease. Corpse Cop seems to be an undead man with a sarcastic attitude and a real dislike for things of the supernatural. The werewolf is a female who seems to be in hiding in the cold caves as she knows that once she turns into the beast anything around her is as good as dead. But what stinks is that the werewolf is killed in seconds as Corpse Cop chops off its head, and the comic ends with it on a stake. While I was not to impressed with the story, I was impressed with the scratch board art of the comic done by Alan Bennett that helps add flare and style to this comic with it’s dark colors. Over all this has major potential for being a cool comic series as long as the next issues go longer than 12 pages and the characters are developed. The artist and creator Alan Bennett does not want you to share images from this comic or so I took it as via his website so out of respect I will not.  So instead I will show off some of my friend Rachel Lare’s sketch board artwork. I think she does fantastic work, and one day I hope that I can work alongside her and make a comic book just for Rotten Ink based on a cool horror film like Night of the Demon or Project Metal Beast! So check out her work below based on some icons for horror.

Rachael Lare Art 1Rachael Lare Art 2Rachael Lare Art 3

Does anyone remember those really cool comic catalogs that use to come out via Superhero Enterprises called “The Superhero Merchandise Catalog” that featured stuff like toys, posters, shirts, jewelry and all other manner of goodies that featured the likeness of your favorite hero like Spider-Man, Batman or Conan The Barbarian? It was place where you could order your Mego Toys and Spider-Man pajamas from the same order form. Nowadays, they just don’t do this kind of thing unless you count the giant Diamond ordering book used for customers to place what they want via their favorite local comic shop. I should also note that while writing this review I have been listening to two “Weird Al” Yankovic CD’s “In-3D” and “Polka Party!” and I must say it was a lot of fun going back and listening to his parodies of 80’s pop music classics like “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer and even “Beat It” by Michael Jackson and hearing him turn them into juvenile silly songs about food or some other off the wall thing. In 3-D came out in 1984 and to be honest was one of the first vinyl records I owned when I was a kid, and listening to this again after so many years was like listening to an old friend telling you stories that you heard so many times but the way they tell it keeps you happy and entertained. My favorite tracks off In 3-D have to be “Nature Trail To Hell,” a song that is about Friday The 13th and other slasher camp movies, “The Brady Bunch,” a fun take on The Men Without Hats song Safety Dance that deals with not wanting to watch the Brady Bunch on TV. “Eat It” of course is the take on Jacksons Beat It and is an all time classic Weird Al song, but to be honest this whole CD is packed with great songs and really took me back to being a kid sitting in the room with the NES playing a game and listening to this on vinyl.  Good memories, and this Weird Al album will always have a place in my heart for making me go back to the past. Polka Party! was released in 1986 and was one of those albums that I would see on cassette at K-Mart in the discount bin and for some reason my Dad would always say that we didn’t need that because it had no good songs on it! While I will agree that it’s not as great as In 3-D it does have it’s charm and some of my favorite songs from off the CD are “Addicted To Spuds” as I myself love eating potatoes and “Living With A Hernia” that’s a parody of James Brown’s Living In America is silly and fun but also makes me think of Rocky IV and the death of Apollo Creed! I should also note that this CD also has a Christmas song that adds to this time of the year, and it’s called “Christmas At Ground Zero” and is about a nuke being dropped on the jolly holiday, a grim song that’s done with a upbeat spirit makes for a fun listen. So yeah, I just wanted to share what I have been listening to these days.  I feel that music was also very important to me growing up and help shape me into the person I am today just as much as friends, family, comics, movies, horror hosts and video games did. So next year (2016), once a month I am going to let a friend of mine pick their favorite band or artist and have me listen to their favorite album by said artist. But at this point we should get back our look at The Starriors!

Weird Al Yankovic In 3-D CDThe Superhero Merchandise Catalog 1975Weird Al Yankovic Polka Party CD

In 1984, Tomy released a toy line with the help of Marvel that was a spin off of Zoids and gave the characters a storyline that involved humans going underground during solar flares and leaving robots up top to awaken them once the disaster was over. The toys were broken up into two lines, one being the good guys called the Protectors who were led by a laser chested bot named Hot Shot and the bad guys called the Destructors lead by Slaughter Steel Grave. The figures’ gimmick was that they would perform actions via windup, pullback or remote control making them more “alive” than Transformers. They also came with mini comics made by Marvel to help showcase the characters and their backstories. The series of figures would last for two waves and could be found at many department stores at the time of release. Growing up, I can only remember having one of these figures when I was super young and that was Hot Shot, but if memory serves me I am pretty sure its arms fell off and my mom ended up throwing it away.  Needless to say, this series of toys was not one that the Brassfield Brothers had to have. None of my school friends had any of these figures that I know of, and the only other people I personally knew who had any were my old Vietnamese neighbors when I first lived in Kettering and my Brassfield Grandparents because my grandma would buy toys all the time to keep at her house for my cousin Nathan from garage sales. Starriors was slated to get an animated mini series in 1985 but production on the series seems to be a mystery as it has never seen the light of day.  This is what makes this toy line so interesting, it had no back up from TV, movies or video games.  All it had was the Marvel Comics and the time put into the story shows that everyone involved believed in them and wanted Starriors to be the next big thing in action figures. I feel that Marvel and Tomy really loved the mythology of The Starriors much like Marvel and Remco loved what they came up with for The Saga of Crystar, and this helps make this toy line all the more fascinating for a person like me who grew up knowing very little about them. While I might not have been a fan or had many of the toys, I am sure some kids of the time loved them and looked forward to getting the figures to play out their own robot adventures. Below are some pictures of the figures as well as the checklist of figures so enjoy.

Starriors Hot Shot toyStarriors Character PosterSlaughter-Steelgrave toy

Before we get to the Marvel Comic mini series I would like for those readers who have had Starriors toys to reflect back to that time and remember all the adventures and battles you had with them during your youth…go on take a few moments, I don’t mind. So are you ready now to travel to a time when Earth is no longer man’s but that of machines that we left in charge? If so I need to 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see if Hot Shot can bring back man and if he can stop Steel Grave once and for all. I want to also thank Lone Star Comics and Dark Star Comics for having this mini series in stock.

Starriors 1

Starriors # 1 **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel    #1 of 4

Hot Shot, Crank, Cut-Up, Tinker and Nipper are robots called Protectors, and they are helping rebuild a wall while robots called Destructors (Slaughter Steel Grave, Gouge, Sawtooth to name a few) shout orders and act as if they are slaves to them. Nipper finds a human skull and rushes to show her friends when Gouge jumps down and smashes her to pieces and tells them to get back to work. Hot Shot and Tinker take Nipper’s body to Think Tank hoping he can place her circuits into a new body, and they do. But this has caused a riff between the Protectors lead by Hot Shot and the Destructors lead by Slaughter Steel Grave that leaves Hot Shot using his laser against Gouge who was going to hurt one of his friends and Steel Grave unleashing the massive dinosaur robot named Deadeye to kill off many of the Protectors. In the end a small amount of the good robots are left alive after they flee to look for man, who they think can help them win the war.

This is a pretty cool first issue, but I did find it to be crammed with way too many characters and not enough character development for the main ones. The plot has two different types of robots fighting it out for the fate of their planet.  The Protectors are worker robots who are gentle in nature and are waiting for humans to come back, while the Destructors are mean spirited and bullies who get joy in mistreating and back stabbing. Hot Shot is wise and truly thinks that man can help them.  His main weapon is a laser, and his mentor is Think Tank who gives him advice. Slaughter Steel Grave is a robot who loves the power he holds and enjoys destroying the weaker robots using them as slaves.  He even hates humans and doesn’t want them back as he fears they will take his power away. The rest of the characters as well fit in this generic bad guy and good guy style with only a few being in the grey, who could go either way. I must also say that the names of many of the robots are just silly and not fitting for what they look like. I mean a blind all red robot who looks like a T-Rex is named Deadeye…you get it, because he’s blind. The art is well done and helps make the characters’ personalities pop a little more allowing them to be more deep than what’s been written for them.  It’s done by Michael Chen who it seems didn’t do much work for Marvel after this series and that’s a shame as I think he was a talented artist. So far this is starting off pretty good, and I am hoping that by the next issue they explain more about the characters and that it also packs in a little more fights as this issue was more drama than action. So let’s get to issue # 2 and see what Marvel has in store for us.

Starriors 2

Starriors # 2  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel   #2 of 4

Hot Shot, along with the remaining Protectors, are in the desert to look for man and are climbing a mountain towards a volcano. Slaughter Steel Grave is leading his men to go after them and has given orders to destroy the Protectors and even turns on Sawtooth and buries him under rocks as they leave him and continue their hunt. Think Tank and Crank enter the volcano to try and mind meld to get locations when they are attacked by Deadeye who is in turn attacked by a giant mutant spider! As the Destructors enter the volcano, they as well attack the spider and during this rocks fall on Crank.  As the other Protectors, escape he becomes the prisoner of the evil robots who plan on wiping out his memory and ripping him apart. Hot Shot and his men can’t let this happen as Crank is their close friend and his body also hosts the mind of Think Tank because the mind link was interrupted and didn’t allow things to go back to normal. During the fight Steel Grave and his men capture some of the Protectors and plan on executing them.  This causes Hot Shot and crew to enter the bad guys’ camp save their friends by stealing a powerful transfer ring that gets Think Tank’s mind back in the right body.

This second issue showcases just how much Slaughter Steel Grave hates the Protectors and humans and how he will do whatever it takes to stop them both even if that means killing! The search for the truth and for a better life is all Hot Shot and his followers are looking for, and they have to travel to a forbidden land in order to find the answers as well as escape the evil bots who are after them. This issue is a solid giant robot story, but it is also pretty dull in spots. I think the story is dragging along to fill out the four issues in this mini series, and this issue is a clear filler as the coolest thing that happens is a fight between the good robots, the bad robots and lava spiders.  But while this sounds amazing in words, the battle is too quick and leads to nothing but Hot Shot and his men escaping again. It’s interesting what they are doing with Sawtooth who clearly is not sold on the evil ruling of Steel Grave and is more of a leader than Grave ever will be. Hot Shot is a cool leader of the good guys and while at times he should fight back harder, he still does what he feels is right. The art is done by Mike Chen again and is well done and has a great 70’s comic toy tie-in look. While this issue is not groundbreaking and for all accounts a very mediocre issue, I still can’t wait to see what happens in the third issue so we should not waste anymore time and check it out.

Starriors 3

Starriors # 3  **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .75   Marvel   #3 of 4

Sawtooth is warning his fellow robots about the lies of Slaughter Steel Grave about man, and this leads to Steel Grave ordering the death of Sawtooth who is torn apart, and ordering his followers to get the transfer ring back! Meanwhile Hot Shot and his friends are thinking about how they must find man and fight back if they are pushed. The Protectors send Runabout to scout ahead and find the hidden base of the humans as Slaughter Steel Grave sends Speedtrap after her.  The two robots fight and both are left hurt and dying. Meanwhile Slaughter Steel Grave leads a sneak attack on The Protectors that leaves all the good natured robots slaughtered! Meanwhile a robot named Stinger comes out of the base and kills Speedtrap and brings Runabout back to life and tells her that the base had been attacked many years back by Slaughter Steel Grave who wants to snuff out mankind! Stinger gives Runabout a transfer ring, and she rushes back to the Protector camp and finds all her friends slaughtered.  She uses the ring to heal those she can including Hot Shot who tells his friends it’s time to go to war and not only save themselves but also mankind!

This third issue is really cool and has a hint of Transformers to it and that makes the story feel more epic and builds the doom of Slaughter Steel Grave who doesn’t care about anything besides himself. The story in this issue is Hot Shot and his friends are shown to be weak as the Destructors fight them and leave them all destroyed, but thanks to one robot who is kind of a chicken, they are rebuilt because she faces the odds and comes to her friends aid. Slaughter Steel Grave is shown to be even worse than before as he kills his own if they cross him and has a plan to kill off humans because he thinks he should be the one ruling the world! Hot Shot, who is an honest good robot, also finds that he needs to go against his programing and fight for what’s right and comes to see Steel Grave is one evil bot. Motormouth, who is the Protector who is telling Slaughter Steel Grave secrets, is a terrible little robot and when Steel Grave has him ripped apart for being a rat I found myself cheering for him to bite the dust. Mike Chen once more does the artwork, and it’s really good.  As I said before, the story has really picked up, and I can’t wait to see what the fate of mankind is! So with that let’s move onto the fourth and final issue in this Marvel mini series based on a cheap toy line.

Starriors 4

Starriors # 4  **1/2
Released in 1985    Cover Price .75   Marvel   #4 of 4

Slaughter Steel Grave and the Destructors are heading toward the base to rid the world of man as Stinger watches on frozen with fear, but things are not going to plan as many of the Destructors turn against orders to attack the base as they don’t want to kill man and the base has some defenses of its own to slow down the attack on it. Hot Shot and the rest of the Protectors bring back Sawtooth who joins them in the fight against Steel Grave, who he looks at as a major threat to the world. The Protectors and The Destructors have all out war that leaves many of them dead as ThinkTank, Deadeye, Stinger and Crank fall in battle, but Hot Shot won’t back down and with the help of the base, they chase off Steel Grave and are able to bring back all the hurt Protectors to life! In the end Hot Shot finds man and brings them back to life where humans and robots make an alliance and decide to stand with each other in the war against The Destructors.

The final war in this issue is filled with so much death and destruction it was like watching a war movie like Saving Private Ryan or Glory! The wrap up story of this issue has Hot Shot getting the good robots ready for war and fighting for their lives as Steel Grave is shown to be a bully, but when clearly they start fighting back, he retreats so not to be defeated. Hot Shot grows as a character by the end of this mini series.  A first, while he is kind of a wimp, he still stands up for what’s right, and by this issue he is filled with revenge and rage and even leaves Motormouth out in the sun to rust showing he no longer is going to be pushed around and has no mercy on bad robots. The Protectors are all pretty cool characters, and all of the main cast had some sort of small storyline going on from a love triangle to friendships, making them all come off human like and not just robots. I also liked how Sawtooth as well as other The Destructors turned to the side of good when they saw that the orders they were getting were that of a madbot! Slaughter Steel Grave is a robot who is on a power trip and uses power to bully and force his fellow robots into doing what he says when he says.  He took so much joy in killing either by his own hands or having it ordered that he remained me of a evil prison warden in those old women in prison movies. The humans do nothing at all, even when they wake up they are dressed as if they are in some weird superhero cult with the lead bearded man looking like he is some new age Charles Manson. I just don’t trust them…all joking aside, they don’t do much and only come into play for the last two pages of the comic. In fact the whole story to me seemed like the creators of the comic and toyline sat at a table and took elements from The Transformers, The GoBots and Mad Max and scribbled them onto a notepad and out came The Starriors, and I am okay with what they came up with for the most part. This was a great way to give these generic toys a backstory and personalities and proved that while they might not have been as cool as The Transformers, they still could deliver an entertaining comic adventure. So if you grew up a fan of these figures or even collect them today, do yourself a favor and check out this Marvel series you’ll be glad you did. Check out a piece of Chen’s artwork below to see the quality of his work and the style that brought these characters to life.

Starriors art 1

Man this update took us all over the place, and we covered The Starriors, a unfinished Mike Ritchie no budget movie, Weird Al music CDs and so much more makes me really look at and love my blog! Well it’s getting cold in here so I am thinking I am going to crawl under some covers and pop in a DVD movie or watch the WWE Network and relax this night away. I wouldn’t want to get sick! And speaking of, sickness that is the topic of the next update as we take a look at Lifeform, a man who could infect the whole Marvel Universe with an infectious disease and it’s up to the likes of Daredevil, The Hulk, Punisher and Silver Surfer to stop him from doing just that. So until next time stay warm, stay healthy, read a comic or three and have a safe winter.

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