The Original Thunderbolt Of The DC Universe!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  For this update I decided to once more take a look at a DC Comic series of a hero that seems to not get the respect of the likes of Superman and Batman so I decided to choose Peter Cannon Thunderbolt, a character that in 1983 was sold to DC by Charlton Comics and would last a small amount of issues for them and deliver a classic style hero in a 90’s comic style and fashion. While DC Comics right now are on my bad list for their push for digital comics, I still must say I respect their classic heroes and their push to try and bring back and create new ones that started in the 70’s and ran throughout the 90’s. So sit back relax and let’s take a heroic journey with Thunderbolt!

As a young boy, Peter Cannon lost both of his parents, as they battled as medical workers the black plague, and was raised in a monastery in the Himalayan Mountains and trained his body and mind to become a super athletic and perfect person…and while studding the monks scrolls he figured out that we as humans don’t use all our brains and he figured out how to tap into those parts and became a superhero named Thunderbolt once he moved to America. As the masked Thunderbolt he would fight crime as well as still try to learn and discover more of what the mind and body can do! His first comic book appearance was in 1966 as Thunderbolt # 1 was released by Charlton Comics and was created by Pete Morisi. Thunderbolts run at Charlton Comics would last for 11 issues and his run came to an end in 1967 as many of the companies superhero titles were cancelled. Thunderbolt would next end up at DC Comics in 1985 as part of the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” even series, as DC had bought all of Charlton Comics superheroes in 1983. Thunderbolt would not get his own series again until 1992 and would last for 12 issues before being cancelled again. During his time at DC he also had a brief run with the Justice League and was used to try and draw interest in classic heroes. And lastly he was in a 10 issue run at Dynamite Comics that started in 2012. For many long years now, Thunderbolt has not been seen in the pages of comics and while it looks like he has been sent to the long box in the sky, I don’t think you can count him out and I am sure DC or another comic company in time will dust him off for more adventures.

Growing up I knew nothing of the classic era of Thunderbolt as I never read any of the Charlton Comics (nor the Crisis On Infinite Earths story) and to be honest I never even seen one of his classic issues I didn’t even know he was around until 1992 thanks to DC Comics bringing him back to comic book shelves. And as odd as this sounds I rented out issues from the local library to read. And while he was not a must read comic for me I did find myself enjoying his adventures. It’s crazy that in 2021 I will be reading some of these comics again that I have not read sense the 90’s! And to be honest I am looking forward to doing so as it will be interesting to see if me in my 40’s will find a new respect for the character and if he will become one of my classic golden age heroes. Oh and while looking up history of Thunderbolt I learned that the character creator Pete Morisi only created the character after he tried to buy the rights of the original Daredevil, but the creator wanted a share of all profits and this made Morisi just create his own hero!

Really quick I would like to talk about the CD release of “OMG I Love Jazz” by Robyn Adele who is one of my favorite female vocalist going today along side Jewel, Iggy Azalea, Poppy, Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga! I want to also say that while I have nothing against Jazz music it is not a genre I normally listen to so this should be very interesting, but Robyn’s voice is what brought me to buy and try this CD off her official website store. I choose a snowy, grey-skied day in January 2021 to listen to this album and was working on a few projects that included updates for here at Rotten Ink as well as a few comic projects for Sparkle. OMG I Love Jazz is 15 tracks and really does have a big band jazz sound and is mixed with Robyn’s golden voice, and I know this sounds weird but for some reason this CD reminds me of the 1990 Dick Tracy movie and the songs done by Madonna for the soundtrack. My top three favorite tracks on this release are Ain’t Misbehavin’, Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) and Bye Bye Blackbird as I feel all three have a great sound and Robyn’s voice on all three tracks is on point! If I had to pick my favorite track it would be Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) as it’s a upbeat song and has that classic Jazz and Swing sound that can put a smile on your face. To wrap up this quick look at OMG I Love Jazz I would say that its not for everyone as it has a very old time sound, but for those who love fun natured Jazz music song by a majorly talented female vocalist I would say go and get a copy now! And for those who are not familiar with Robyn Adele look her up on YouTube and give some of her cover songs a listen to as she really is super talented and has a wonderful voice.

So as you longtime readers and friends know I grew up in the village of Waynesville, Ohio and I have heard the news that my old elementary and middle school are being torn down and a new school is being built. And while I am super happy that the next generations of Spartans are getting new classrooms and long overdue updates, I am still a little bummed out that the school buildings that meant so much to me as a kid will be gone forever lost in memories. I mean at that school I can remember talking to friends like Fred Marion, Jeremy Patton, Todd Osborne, Joanna Fields, Wes Coffman and many others about Movies, Comics, Cartoons, TV Shows, Wrestling, Horror Hosts, Video Games and normal school topics. I can remember the cool movie days in the gym were we got to watch Home Alone or Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. In that same gym I remember listening to the Gettysburg Address being given by an actor dressed as Abe Lincoln, as well as doing the Arnold Schwarzenegger fitness challenge and watching episodes of Slim Goodbody in gym class. I remember the cafeteria pizza, the milk cartons that had Safety Pup on them and trading food with fellow classmates. I remember crushing on Tina Manning and never getting the nerve to ask her out. I remember the numerous book fairs that came through and the Garfield, U.S Acres, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and WWF books I would buy. I can remember being in a Christmas play as a Newsboy talking about a talking Snowman. I can remember playing basketball in the gym during intermission and being pretty good. I can remember watching Star Trek IV, Olympics and O.J Trail in Mr. York’s science class. The orange steps, the pencil machines that had NFL, WWF and Halloween pencils in them as well as the erasers that would sometimes be the heads of Looney Tunes characters. And just the over all bond and fun times that my classmates and I had and shared together at those school buildings.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 1Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 2Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 3

On May 23, 2021, Juliet and I headed to Waynesville so that I could at least walk around the old building before they are gone as I have heard the 1915 part is soon to be torn down and those hallways will never have young minds walking around them to get to class again. It was really cool walking around that old school building taking pictures as well as telling Juliet old stories about my school days as well as trying to remember where so many of my classes uses to be, sadly we could not get inside as I missed the reunion day that allowed past school students to do so one last time. But still just walking around the old school building and back to the old football field was lots of fun and flooded me with memories as well as oddly enough kind of made me feel young again in my old age. So really I guess I just wanted to share these pictures I took as well as share a few of those memories and I also want to say “Thank You” to all my fellow classmates that made my school time at Waynesville a very awesome time and  plus thank you all again for being apart of my life and help shaping me into the creative person I am today.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 4Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 5Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 6

Well on May 29, 2021 they opened up Waynesville Elementary and Middle School one more time for school alumni and Juliet and I showed up around an half an hour early and to our shock the doors were already open so we walked in and for a pretty good time we had the schools to ourselves to tour! The first place I headed was the gymnasium, as I had to see it one last time and the first thing once walking up the old concrete stairs I noticed was that many of the old basketball hoops was taken down and the ones still up where from my time going there! Sadly the old wooden bleachers were gone and all that remained of them was the bases, a little bummed, as I would have loved to sit on them one last time. The old scoreboard was still hanging and seeing it brought back lots of fun memories. The gym floor still looked good and while it was clearly not the same as when I was a kid it still was neat to see. The stage was a sight for sore eyes and seeing it was awesome and walking across it also felt so cool and flooded me with so much memories of gym class. This was so great to so walk that gym again and I almost wish that I would have jogged around and did one final lap.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 7Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 8Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 10

Once we left the gym we walked around the halls and past all the sadly now gutted class rooms, but seeing the old chalk boards, tube TV’s with VCR’s still hanging on the walls brought a big smile to my face. The hallway floors were torn up and it was sad seeing the destruction and dismantling all around as even some fixtures where missing or stacked in the halls. But seeing the old PA speakers that use to give us the morning announcements from still hanging as well as the old pencil sharpeners still bolted to the walls and chalkboards was great to see. While walking the hallways it was also cool seeing the changes that was made to the building after I was no longer a student like they added an elevator and the massive stairs that I remember where now way smaller and divided up. I got to walk into the old cafeteria, see the old music room, went to the school library, walk into Mr. York’s old science classroom again as well as see an old shelf that had one of my old teachers names still on it! Walking down those hallways I had a rush of memories and felt like a kid again even as my pride of being a Waynesville Spartan filled my being I knew that while this chapter in Spartan history was coming to an end the new School building would build the next legacy and memories for the future generation. Also when walking downstairs of the 1915 building I had to snap a picture of the old stairwell as I can remember some of my fellow classmates as well as myself hiding under there and jumping out to scare each other as well as we used that spot to hide things, but when I was in school they did also store stuff under there.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 10Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 11Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 12

Waynesville is known for its ghosts and even when I was walking the halls of Waynesville Middle School we all heard the tales of the school being haunted, and when walking around one last time before it was to be tore down one thing written on a blackboard made me smile and that was a message from the ghosts of the third floor saying they are not going anywhere! I like the idea that the old ghosts of the school found some old chalk and wrote the message to the living, letting them know that they will forever be roaming and haunting that land…building or no building. But I also like that a student wrote this humors and “spooky” message for people to see, also glad to see that the Horror Spirit of Waynesville youth is alive and well.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 13

It’s time now for us to dive into the 12 issues of Thunderbolt released by DC Comics and as I stated before I am looking forward re-reading this and I am going to do something a little different as after the review I am going to give my ideas of what DC Comics could have done with Thunderbolt if they would have kept him in their universe! I want to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready let’s see what Thunderbolt has in store for evildoers.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 1  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 1 of 12

Thunderbolt is fighting some thugs off in a New York ally as they just robbed some antiques from his alter-egos Peter Cannons exhibit when things go bad real fast and he is almost beaten to death by a metal suited bad guy named Trydan who leaves him for dead. But thankfully he is found and rescued by Green Lantern who rushes him to the hospital and saves his life. Once awaken Peter finds himself doubting his ability to be a superhero in this modern world filled with Superman, The Flash and Wonder Woman, even his best friend Tabu and Green Lantern come to visit and can not cheer him up after his defeat. Peter Cannon just sees himself as an orphan who was trained by Monks and scrolls in a monastery in the mountains of the Himalayas who is an outdated hero in a world filed with super powered ones. Peter and Tabu take their antiques and teachings to London and are flying around on a blimp filled with the rich and elite when Peter starts chatting with the beautiful Cairo DeFrey as news woman Anne-Marie Brogan talks with Tabu about setting up a interview with Peter when a group of masked men rush in calling themselves Crimson Dawn and claims they are going after Cairo due to her families crimes again the environment. As panic runs through the guests as the gun caring Crimson Dawn takes Cairo away to the cockpit and holds everyone one else hostage, when Tabu pushes Peter into becoming the hero again…and after fighting it Peter makes a mask and rushes to save Cairo and this ends issue one.

This is a great way to bring a classic hero back to the pages of comic books and sometimes I think DC Comics back in the 90’s had a gift to do so. This issues plot has much time jumps and takes us to Tibet to New York to London and shows Peter’s rise and fall as a hero, plus his rise once more as he fears that time has passed him by and that the villains of this modern times are getting bigger, badder and stronger! And when all seems lost for Peter to ever be Thunderbolt again he is forced to once more be the hero he was trained to be. Peter Cannon is a man who has had a hard life as he lost his parents while a infant and is raised in Tibet and trained to be a hero called Thunderbolt, and once set out into the world he still feels he needs to always be a hero. And when he gets his but kicked by a super villain and left for dead his ego and courage is bruised and this makes him question his ability to fright crime as well as life. Peter is a very interesting character because he has layers to him while he is a hero he also has some mental depression. Tabu is Peter’s best friend and also works as his agent in the world of arts and was raised with him in Tibet, he is very loyal to his friend and is also the voice of reason to try and let him know that he is a hero that’s needed in the world. Cairo DeFrey clearly is not only part owner of a massive business but is also more then she appears as she has got the attention of someone who wants her dear or at least to pay for expanding the business into places she shouldn’t! The Crimson Dawn is a bunch of red masked, gun caring terrorist thugs who while dangerous also seem very un-prepared for what they are doing. This really was a great way to bring a classic hero into the 90’s world of over powerful superheroes and does make you smile as you watch Thunderbolt meet Green Lantern who saves his life by getting him to the hospital in time. The cover is eye-catching and has a classic comic feel with a 90’s DC Comic look. The interior art is done by Mike Collins and its really great and I also have to give him credit for the story as he wrote it! Over all I think this is a really great first issue and has me hooked on wanting to re-read this series again after all these years.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 2  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 2 of 12

Thunderbolt knocks out the members of the Crimson Dawn and saves the life of Cairo DeFrey, but during the fight the blimps control is damaged and worse one of the Crimson Dawn members damages the gas line and Thunderbolt and the blimp Captain have to emergency manually crash land the blimp into London! During the landing Thunderbolt remembers back to his training in Tibet when a fellow young man in training got his face burnt trying to save the lives of his fellow kids when a plane crashes and catches fire and he rushes to remove the bombs so they don’t explode and kill everyone near. Once they land the blimp reporter Anne-Marie Brogan is on it and Thunderbolt turns back into Peter Cannon while Detective Inspector James Flint alerts Cairo that the Crimson Dawn seemed to be just hired local thugs hiding behind the masks of being environmental terrorists, she blows off the information and invites Peter to join her on her boat the next day as Tabu alerts his friend that he does not trust her. While in London a masked costumed robber uses powers to rob an ATM, Crime Boss Johnny Wheeler is out with his son to see a movie at the theater and when his son goes to get the car it explodes and kills him and lastly at the London Museum a Egyptian Coffin is opened and one guard is dead of shock as a being named Evila has returned.

This second issue is packed with lots of plots all going on and starting! As we get Peter Cannon finding the courage to become a hero again and help land an out of control blimp while chaos and crime is running randomly throughout London! Peter Cannon quickly remembers why he was chosen and loved being a hero and seems to be back in the game after kicking some terrorist butt, he also seems to be way to trusting of a pretty face and seems to always second guess his best friends words as Tabu seems to be the one who pays more attention to the actions and behaviors of those around. Tabu also is clearly the one who pushes for Peter to become Thunderbolt once more as he is doing so not only for the legacy of his temple but also for the mental health of his friend. Cairo DeFrey the rich business woman while coming off like a sweet woman who cares about her family business also comes off like she is hiding something and I think she clearly knows more then what she is saying when it comes to who sent the Crimson Dawn. The masked ATM robber and Mr. Wheeler I am sure will be coming into play in coming up issues and its clear that what ever Evila is she is dangerous and deadly! I also think the burnt face young man from Peters past will also come into play as when we see the flashback of the trials that Peter had to pass in order to become Thunderbolt…the scared face youth was not happy at all as it’s clear he thought his bravery would make him the chosen one. I really dig that this story this far is taking so many twists and truns and we are going from present day to the pass to show the whole story. Also they have a cameo from Justice League Europe member Elongated Man that is pretty funny as he is on the news denying that they had anything to do with the landing of the blimp. The story for me this far feels like a blend of Classic Comic Hero and Spy Stories and that’s a good thing as it is keeping me guessing on what is coming up and who is to be trusted. The cover of this issue is ok and while cool they should have not focused on one the trials from his past when he had to face a snow leopard in an arena. The story and art is great and done by Mike Collins again. A great first read and really does make me look forward to reading the rest of this series for the first time. So with that lest see who all the new plots and characters in this issue play out in issue three, shall we?

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 3  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 3 of 12

At the London museum two security guards are dead by the hands of the evil Egyption Queen called Evila who animates statues into her army as she wants revenge on Thunderbolt who defeated her many decades back when she first was brought back to life. Meanwhile at the posh flat of Peter Cannon he is being interviewed by Anne-Marie Brogan for a paper article as rain pours down outside and Tabu sits backs and listens. Detective Inspector James Flint heads to the hospital and talks to a friend who works for Mr. Wheeler to show respect for the hit on his son who is in the hospital and dying, the man alerts Flint that a gang war is brewing that will take place in London. Mean while at a mansion we meet Victor Cypher who is throwing a dinner party and introduces them to the half face masked Andreas Havoc who he claims will be their main muscle. While Peter Cannon rushes to the museum for his lunch date with Cairo DeFrey who informs him they will have to go another day as the mummy of Evila has came alive and is on the loose and killed two security guards, Peter Cannon is not happy to hear his old enemy is back from the grave…again! At a Disco the ATM Robber who’s name is Tekk is holding up the owners for “protection” money as he is working for Scorpio the mob that is at war now with Wheeler’s mob, when they don’t pay he uses his power and blows out all the light bulbs in the building and says he will be back for the cash after they clean up. Peter returns home only to find that the Museum is now surrounded by a force field, so he changes into his Thunderbolt costume and heads back to find that the police can not make it past the force field, and with Inspector James Flint blessing Thunderbolt gives it a try and makes it through! Once inside Thunderbolt is attacked and knocked out by Evila and her statue turned to like henchmen.

This third issue has so much going on and so many plots and characters are thrown at you as you try to keep up on who, what, when and were and I have to say that’s what makes this comic series so good! The many plots of this issue has Thunderbolt learning that his old villain Evila is back from the dead and has killed some innocent people, while mobster Mr. Wheeler is dealing with his son who is dying in a hospital from a hit his right hand man warns James Flint that a war is about to pop off! And we also have the costume goon Tekk bulling local business for protection money and we meet a rich man Cairo DeFrey who is clearly up to no good. Peter Cannon has found his want and love for being a costumed hero and as well as Thunderbolt really wants to smash and stop crime in London, England. I think Inspector James Flint wants to find who set the car bomb that has a local mobster’s son on his deathbed, while Flint is a good man of the law I think he is also loyal to his close friend who is working for the mob family. Evila shows that she is super powerful and has dark forces and powers on her side, plus she clearly lets Thunderbolt know she will not be tricked again! Our other series baddies Tekk, Victor Cypher and Andreas Havoc are around and while they have done some bad things this far have not become the full threats you know they will become. The over all fast pace and introduction of so many characters and stories is what keeps this Thunderbolt series interesting as they are talking a classic hero and showing that you don’t have to fly nor have mutant powers to be a complex hero. I will say that the cover is pretty great and has that 90’s DC Comics charm and the art by Mike Collins is top notch. At this point being three issues into DC Comics Thunderbolt I have to say I am a fan and very much looking forward to what issue four has in store for us, as well as how this over all story will play out!

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 4  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 4 of 12

In side the force field at the museum Thunderbolt is hurt by the beating he has taken as Evila informs him that she plans to kill him and then raise an army of the dead to take over earth, and oddly enough she seems to know more about him this time and his life in Tibet. Thunderbolt fights back hard and challenges her to fight him once more on another astral plane the place she lost their last fight on and she in a fight of anger and out of ego agrees. Meanwhile reporter Anne-Marie Brogan heads to interview Maude Grymes on old lady who is a fortuneteller and she during the interview tells Anne-Marie she has a message for Peter Cannon. Meanwhile in the astral plane realm Evila tries and uses Thunderbolt’s fears against of defeat, but he is able to conquer it when he greatest fear attacks her and that’s being buried alive. As she explains her backstory and her true power to Thunderbolt as she gets bound by mummy wrappings doing so, back in normal life hero The Crusader stops a robbery and is around as well. Back to the fight Evila informs Thunderbolt that she set him up and was never facing her fear what she was really doing was giving her statue soldiers orders to attack Thunderbolts body in the real world and this forces him to break the bound on the realm and causes stress on Evila’s power and they both are back at the museum. While across the world Victor Cypher and Andreas Havoc are talking about big plans and Havoc talks about his past destiny being taken away from him and its clear they want to take control of Tibet and that this half masked man is the kid who saved lives in Peter’s past from the helicopter crash. Thunderbolt ends up making Evila drain all her dark magic and she appears to kill herself and sends her spirit into the wind, and this confuses Thunderbolt as she would rather die again then face defeat. In the end Mr. Wheeler’s son has died and now he alerts his men it’s a gang war.

The plot of this issue has a showdown between Thunderbolt and Evila who have a bad history against each other and are very bitter enemies and fight in our world as well as a astral plane as they truly want to stop each other from winning. And during this epic fight so many questions of Thunderbolts goes unanswered as Evila seems to have returned knowing way to much about him and would rather die then to be defeated again! Thunderbolt clearly by this issue has gotten over his near death defeat in New York and is ready to be the hero London needs and will push himself to do so! Evila is powerful but her ego causes her to crack and she pushes herself way too much and looses her powers because of her push. While at the end of the issue it looks like Evila is dead I am saying she is not gone for good as I think she left the fight to regain her powers. And it’s clear as day to me that Andreas Havoc was one of the kids from the Tibet temple who was burnt and now wants revenge on the monks and Peter who he feels took away his true calling in life. Victor Cypher is clearly a man who is greedy and wants power and money and has set his sights on Tibet, his homeland. I am wondering who Maude Grymes is and what message did she give Anne-Marie to tell Peter Cannon. Plus Mr. Wheeler has lost it all and I think this war for the streets is going to be bloody and the bodies will pile up if Thunderbolt and/or James Flint don’t step in and stop it. And now we have another hero in town called The Crusader who I am sure will be a good hero friend to have during all this tension in London that is about to go down. Great story and the pace moves fast as the fight of Thunderbolt and Evila takes up much of the issues and all the side stories fit nicely in-between. The cover is ok and showcases Evila and the art is once more done by Mike Collins and is fantastic like before. Another good issue and DC is going a great job with this classic comic character, so lets see what’s next in this story!

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 5  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 5 of 12

Krater The Demolishing Man is a new super villain who is looking for a hero to beat up and even kill and he rules out Superman, Batman, The Flash and Elongated Man and after seeing the paper he sets his sights on Thunderbolt to build his name on. Meanwhile Peter Cannon and Cairo DeFrey are out on her yacht talking about their crazy lives as well as their blooming relationship, and then start to head in as they have a press conference coming up to showcase his Tibetan artifacts. We then join Mr. Wheeler and his mobsters in a meeting and they call for a kill or be killed warfare. The press conference goes well as the press only wanted to chat about Evila and not the exhibit and Peter and Cairo go their separate ways as she has work to do, Peter meets up with Tabu and they talk about the mystery of Evila and what she knows. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is out for lunch with a friend at a fast food burger joint when Krater attacks and is screaming for the head of Thunderbolt! Meanwhile The Crusader stops a hostage situation and take down the drug pushers who were responsible, while back at the Museum Peter and Tabu watches on TV as Krater calls out the hero while rampaging in the streets. Thunderbolt shows up and the pair fight with Krater showing his power comes from a force field he is able to put into place before he can be punched! But with the help of the mascot at the burger joint Thunderbolt is able to place the mascots costume head over Krater and beat him down, and with that he is arrested with the help of the Special Unit police and Thunderbolt is thanked and starting to be respected by the London police. We show that Andreas Havoc is mad when he finds out that Thunderbolt is back and fighting crime again as he truly thought that the defeat had broken him all those years back. In the end Peter Cannon meets back up with Cairo DeFrey and the two flirt as on the subway a man is killed by an unknown attacker.

This fifth issue shows that Peter Cannon is back and while having a slight issue still by almost being killed is pretty confortable with being hero Thunderbolt again and knows that while he does not have superpowers he does have skill and the heart to do the right thing and protect those who can not protect themselves. Thunderbolt also shows that if his highly skilled hand to hand combat force don’t work he has a cleaver mind to problem solve and to over come the threat at hand. Tabu is clearly both proud of his friend as well as disappointed in his friend as he feels that he still has fear of defeat and is hiding behind a false wall of heroism. Reporter Anne-Marie who has a message to give to Peter Cannon, but after an awkard run in with Cairo and being in the middle of a super villain attack she has not had the chance. I also want to say I think Thunderbolt made a big mistake in his fight with Krater as he shouts out Anne-Marie’s name and I think she will link that he is Peter Cannon! Cairo DeFrey is trying so hard to flirt and get Peter Cannon hooked, but I don’t trust her as she seems like she is playing games and has a very sinister side. Andreas Havoc is 100% the youngster who was burnt who thought he should be the chosen one, and it shows that he stole scrolls from the monks and now its clear that he himself is or at least sent Trydan. And our issues main villain is Krater a man who got his powers from a bomb that went off in the DC universe and allows him to use a force field as protection as well as a way to cause destruction, but once Thunderbolt figures out his powers he is no threat and is easily brought down. The one downside that this issue more then others have shown is that events that are spoken about take place in other comics from DC and that causes you to not get the full story of what they are talking about at times, a shame really…but all comics do it even at Sparkle Comics we have done it. The end of the issue also alerts us that another “super” villain type is in London and I am sure he as well will be looking for Thunderbolt’s blood! Its crazy to think that in only five issue we have been introduced to so many villains, lets count them down Evila, Tekk, Krater, Andreas Havoc, Mr. Wheeler, Victor Cypher and I am telling you Cairo DeFrey will be a baddy by the end of this series! The cover for this issue is pretty good and the art by Mike Collins is great like before. This issue of Thunderbolt has lots of action and as well moves the story along and is a solid 90’s DC Comic series. Lets see what issue 6 that is the half way mark for the series has in store for us.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 6  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 6 of 12

Peter Cannon is having a terrible nightmare that has many of his villains as well as his Lama, and he gets a clue of the armor Trydan is wearing looks very much like old armor from England. When he wakes up he talks with Tabu and they start their fight training, that is until Cairo shows up at their apartment flat and is looking for a lunch date. While Peter gets ready Cairo confronts Tabu about not liking her and tries to use her charm to tell him she cares for Peter. Meanwhile Tekk takes down two of Mr. Wheelers mobsters as they head to collect protection money who is now under the protection of Tekk employers the Scorpio family! Also on a London highway a crash frees a super villain called Shard a monster looking man who’s body is made from shards of glass! While on a walk Peter and Cairo are interrupted by Anne-Marie and her newspaper friends, as Cairo leaves after getting an emergency call Anne-Marie talks about her need to cover Thunderbolt when a radio message goes out saying the Special Unit Police need the help of Thunderbolt and all break away to get to the scene requested. Meanwhile we learn that Mr. Wheeler hired Mac The Knife to kill the man on the train, and that Mac is a gun for hire who will kill anyone if the price is right. Meanwhile after busting some more criminals The Crusader goes to a local pub and is having a drink when they get the news of Shard and the cops calling on Thunderbolt for help, the other people in the pub cheer and egg on The Crusader to head down their and show the world the Britain has the best superheroes…and in anger he agrees. Thunderbolt shows up to the highway and the place Shard was set free and he is holding hostages and proves he is super dangerous as just his touch shreds skin and Thunderbolt must use a metal door from a truck in order to hit this baddy, once knocking Shard down he saves some hostages but while doing so the villain us able to sneak attack the hero and hit him from behind leaving him on the ground hurt.

This sixth issue’s plot has Peter Cannon dealing with his bad dreams of defeat, his awkward relationship with Cairo, his mistake of talking to Anne-Marie as Thunderbolt during his fight with Krater in the last issue, and of course his want to be the hero that London needs. As Thunderbolt he is finding that he is way more stronger and skilled then he ever thought and also seems to be getting weird powers he don’t understand like moving things with only a thought. I like that we get that Tabu does not trust Cairo as he thinks that something is off with her and that she is using his friend for some kind of gain, and at this point in the series I don’t think he is wrong as something about her is off as she seems to always be rushing off after phone calls and other emergencies. This issue we also get a look at the backstory of Inspector James Flint who we learned use to work for Mr. Wheeler and that is why he is placed on the Special Unit as they don’t want him near the old crime family he once worked for as they think he could go back, very sad for him as he is a good cop and they know it, but his past is keeping him from reaching his dream jobs. Plus I am starting to think that reporter Anne-Marie is starting to get a crush on Thunderbolt and while she does want to interview him for the paper, she also wants to get to know him…oddly enough did I miss something as she also does not tell Peter the message from Maude Grymes when she had the chance! We see that Mac The Knife a killer for hire is in London and took his first job from Mr. Wheeler, but also lets him know that if someone hires him to kill him he will take the job if the money is right…in other words he is a scumbag who money talks to. And Shard is super dangerous as his whole body is made of sharp glass and just a light touch will cut deep, and to top it off he has a crazed mind and don’t mind hurting, killing and scaring. The cover is pretty awesome and the art by Mike Collins is great as always. Oh man I should also say I like the opening nightmare part as well as it adds more things for us readers to think about as well as for Peter to try and uncover. Lets see what issue seven has in store for us and see if DC and Mike Collins can keep up the great work on this series.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 7  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 7 of 12

Thunderbolt wakes up bleeding and hurt of the highway and just in time as Shard is about to go in for the kill and he is able to dodge the attack. With the help of people on the highway that were hostages Thunderbolt is able to clear his head for a bit and get Shard to chase him and allowing the people to get to safety. Meanwhile Andreas Havoc is fuming over the return of Thunderbolt and with his magic he learned from the stolen scrolls he brings Evila to his castle and alerts her if they work together they can stop Thunderbolt once and for all. Thunderbolt is having a hard time with Shard, as he cannot touch him without being cut, but with his newly discovered mind powers he is able to use metal from the cars that crashed on the highway and capture him. Meanwhile Mr. Wheeler buries his son and is ready for all out war, while a Tibetan Monk shows up at Peter Cannon’s home in America looking for his help and is sent to London by the old woman watching over the home. The Crusaders arrives at the Highway after Shards been defeated and this enrages the hero as he thinks he is being made a full by the American hero. In the end Peter Cannon arrives back at his apartment in London and gets a visit from a Government worker who informs him to keep his opinions on China to himself or something might happen and worse he gets a call from Cairo just as armored forces show up to take her hostage!

In this issue Thunderbolt has to face and enemy he cannot use his hand-to-hand combat skills to bring down and must use his newly discovered mental powers to bring the baddy down! The issues plot also shows that Andreas Havoc is only helping Victor Cypher because he thought Thunderbolt was gone from the hero business, and he also clearly does not really care about helping him. We also get that something bad is going down in Tibet as a Monk has travled very long and far to find him to get help, we also see that The Crusader is mad that an American hero is saving the day and taking away his glory of being a superhero and we see that Mr. Wheeler is now 100% ready to make those who killed his son pay! Peter Cannon aka Thunderbolt knows that that he is even more strong and skilled then he ever knew as not only can he knock out a villain with his kicks and punches now he can use his mind and move object! I am not sure how I feel about Thunderbolt having the powers of “Carrie” as I liked him as the classic style hero who did not have superpowers. Cairo DeFrey has found herself once more on the end of a plot that will have her kidnapped and this time the people coming for her seem way more with it and better armed! Not sure now if I am right about Cairo DeFrey as at first I thought she was up to something sinister, but now I am not sure and think that she might be a secret agent or working with some very powerful people. Shard was a pretty cool bad guy and was super dangerous, and he was only defeated when Thunderbolt used his “Carrie” powers on him. I am interested in what The Monk is needing help with, but if I had to guess I would say it has to do with Andreas Havoc and his evil ways, and let me not forget what terrible plan does Andreas Havoc have in mind now that he is teaming with Evila! As always this issue is keeping me entertained and showcasing that not all heroes have to have superpowers…oh wait DC now did give him powers…but the cover is pretty good and eye catching and the interior art by Mike Collins is great as always. Lets see what issue eight has in store and find out the answer on who is kidnapping Cairo.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 8  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 8 of 12

At the office of Cairo DeFrey the cops lead by Inspector James Flint are looking into her kidnapping and he speaks to Peter Cannon who is as well there as he was on the phone when the attacked happened. While people are being questioned Peter’s hidden mental powers flare up and let him see the act of the kidnapping happen and learns the Scorpio Mob is who has done it as he hears that name! Meanwhile Evila and Andreas Havoc discuss a plan that will get ride of Peter Cannon aka Thunderbolt once and for all as they both hate him and need him out of the way. Meanwhile after the cops have left Peter and Tabu get into an argument, as Peter wants to change into Thunderbolt and save Cairo and his friend Tabu says he can not use the ancient powers for his own personal interest, and this fight leaves Peter walking to the buildings roof were he sees the armed men placing Cairo into a helicopter and he just in times jumps and hides on the helicopter to find out where it goes. Meanwhile the Justice League Europe team is alerted to the kidnapping and Green Lantern takes notice when Thunderbolt is mentioned as he remembers helping him some years back from dying, while across town a shadowy figure under the disguise of working for the Government of England gives The Crusader an order to fight and beat Thunderbolt in a fare fight in order to prove England has the best home grown heroes and they don’t need the Americans help. Peter Cannon once they helicopter arrives at the hideout changes into Thunderbolt and takes out the kidnappers one by one until he and Cairo come face to face and she is happy to see the masked hero and alerts him that she knows he really is Peter Cannon and gives him a kiss. Also The Monk is now on his way to England to find Thunderbolt and alert him to what help the temple needs.

Well Peter Cannons secret of being Thunderbolt is out of the bag as the woman he loves has figured it out super quick! The issues plot is very simple Thunderbolt follows kidnappers to get his lady love back and then throw in some drama with the police, JLE and Crusader and you have this issue in a nutshell. Thunderbolt is a hero who is now also torn as his training says that he should only use his powers and skills to benefit and protect mankind and that he should never put personal issues on his hero to do list, but he feels different as he knows that he can save the life of a woman he cares about. Thunderbolt is also very confused over his new mental powers, as they only seem to appear when he has extreme stress or anger. Tabu is so stuck on the ways of the Temple that at times he seems to forget what it is to be human and only cares about rules. Inspector James Flint is trying to put pieces together like a puzzle as he wants to solve why Scorpio has moved into town and why Thunderbolt seems to be around when things turn bad. Cairo DeFrey proves that she is not some weak business woman and has skills of her own to get out of trouble, plus its interesting that she knows Peter is Thunderbolt and makes one wonder did she figure it out on her own or is she working for someone who alerted her to this? Evila and Andreas Havoc’s sinister plan to stop Thunderbolt I am sure will start next issue and by the mindset of those two, I am sure it will be very deadly. The Crusader while a hero is being played for a fool as he is being pushed to be annoyed by Thunderbolt and pressured into a fight for some unknown reason to cause tension between the heroes. I like the idea of a shadowy criminal organization using tricks to turn superheroes against each other as so many heroes have egos and could easily be pushed to turn on each other. Also great to see more cameos from Justice League Europe members as this time around we not only see Green Lantern but also The Flash and Crimson Fox and by the looks of it I think they might get a bigger role in a future issue! The cover is pretty great and has a direct to video action film look to it and the interior art by Mike Collins who is still doing the story as well. Another solid issue that has a few way to long talky parts, but is solid and keeps up the great work of the series and makes me look forward to the next issue.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 9  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 9 of 12

Thunderbolt is shocked that Cairo DeFrey knows that he is Peter Cannon and she tells him that she has known sense he saved her on the blimp! As the goons around them start to wake up they make a run for the exit only for them to be cut off by Tekk who wants Cairo. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is looking into the past of Cairo and finds something very interesting that she wants to investigate as well as says she might want to tell Peter Cannon what she has learned, what it is we will have to wait. Tekk and Thunderbolt start to fight and are going hand-to-hand, when Cairo watches she is likes that two super-beings are fighting over her and says to herself at some point she will tell them they are on the same side! While at the store of Maude Grymes she gets a visit by the wizard Arion The Immortal who warns her not to meddle in the world of Peter Cannon, but she tells him she knows what she is doing! As Thunderbolt and Tekk are fighting The Justice League Europe (Green Lantern, Power Girl, The Flash, Crimson Fox and Elongated Man) show up as they are looking for the kidnapped Cairo as well and join and help Thunderbolt in the fight, but finally Cairo alerts them that Tekk is her bodyguard and was their to rescue her as well. As The JLE and Thunderbolt are cleaning up the area after Cairo leaves for home questions start to pop up as Inspector James Flint also shows up and backs up the feeling that something is not right with this kidnapping. We then see Mr. Wheeler about to pull in and being mad as its clear he hired the goons to get her and at Cairo’s office she tells Tekk that its time for them to ruin Mr. Wheeler and to get ride of him and his men. While Evila and Andreas Havoc use a spell and bring Dinosaurs to London and our heroes have to rush off to try and stop the rampage. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is waiting for Peter at his apartment and in China a superhuman being is beating up protesters.

The plots of this issue are coming at the reader fast and hard as we learn so much and get new mysteries shoved our way…and were to start! I think the biggest news is Cairo DeFrey being the head of Scorpio and while acting like a sweet businesswoman she is really a calculated mobster who puts hits out, has her goons strong-arm small businesses for protection money as well has Tekk a super villain under her control. I knew it all along that Cairo was not to be trusted as she always seemed to act a little off and very sneaky, worse thing is that she knows Peter Cannons secret and could try and use it for her own gain. Tekk is shown to be Cairo’s chuffer, bodyguard and muscle and almost seems to enjoy the bad things he is sent to do as his suit gives him big powers. We also see that Anne-Marie is digging deep into who Cairo really is and it’s clear that she has found out just how corrupt she is and wants to warn Peter as she knows he is getting way to close to her, plus poor Maude Grymes is in trouble with other magical beings for trying to deliver a message to Peter…that still has not been delivered. Plus it appears that the JLE and James Flint have also started to catch on that Cairo is a wolf in sheep clothing and are starting to question her…now if only Peter Cannon would catch on. I love that Andreas Havoc and Evila’s idea to cause issues to try and defeat Thunderbolt was to let dinosaurs loose in the city, its like they read Jurassic Park and got ideas. And one new mystery we get is who the heck is the muscle in China that is beating up the protestors and when will he tackle Thunderbolt as we knows it has to happen. Oh and I should also say that Mr. Wheeler has made a big mistake as he has been marked as a dead man now and by trying to kidnap Cairo he has also doomed his whole crew. The cover for this issue is well done and eye catching and the interior art by Mike Collins is still A+ 90’s DC Comic work. Another great issue and I can not wait to read the next issue as we are getting to the end of this series and things are starting to wrap up.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 10  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 10 of 12

Thunderbolt and the JLE are rounding up the dinosaurs that are rampaging in London and are trying to keep the people safe as well as the creatures as they know they are just scared and not causing the chaos on purpose. While at Peter’s apartment Anne-Marie is telling Tabu about what she found and the message she was to deliver that all points to Cairo using and lying to him, and as they talk the monk who is Master Tsong arrives. As Thunderbolt and the JLE are tangling with the dinosaurs, he shares that he thinks that this mess was created by Andreas Havoc who is in turn being played by Evila who wants his power stone as she knows its true power and plans on using it against those who cross her. Meanwhile all around London Scorpio is attacking and shutting down all of Mr. Wheelers businesses and the war is on and gearing towards the end. The Crusader ends up joining the fight and helps round up the dinosaurs and they all watch as Thunderbolt uses his mind powers to bring down the massive T-Rex and his fellow heroes are impressed. As the JLE leaves Thunderbolt is attacked from behind by Crusader who in turn is attacked by someone from behind as Evila and Andreas Havoc are mad as they were behind making Crusader turn on Thunderbolt due to rage. We find out that a Checkmate Knight is the one behind the attack on Crusaders and has showed up with both heroes knocked out to Peter’s apartment and informs Thunderbolt about who is behind sending The Crusader and that’s Andreas Havoc and Master Tsong backs that up and says he must come back to Tibet in order to fight a man who killed the last Thunderbolt!

This issue is pretty fun even though most of the time is spent with the heroes rounding up dinosaurs like they are cattle. In this issue Peter Thunderbolt learns that he is a man that is neck deep in all types of trouble as he has a target on his head from Andreas Havoc, his lady love is a crime boss who has been a terror to so many, he has angered England’s hero The Crusader who has been pushed to attack him and he needs to now go to Tibet and fight a person who has killed the last Thunderbolt! In other words Thunderbolt has lots of hero work to do to make things safe for not only himself but everyone around him. Evila and Andreas Havoc while they are working together are clearly not friends as Evila has an idea of turning on him in order to steal the power stone to use in her own ways. Mr. Wheeler is loosing everything as he not only had his son murdered by his rivals but now all his crime empire is falling. The powerful fighter in China is Dorje and it sounds like he does not want to go to Tibet and I am guessing he is the one that killed the last Thunderbolt. Cairo DeFrey is truly an evil woman who is given orders to ruin and take lives and all the while is playing the victim and sweet person, she is a true mobster who has bad motives. The Justice League Europe are very helpful as they make the dinosaur capture way easier and even offer Thunderbolt a place on the team, plus seeing The Flash and the others in action is always a fun DC Comic reading experience. The Crusader has to feel like a tool now that he knows he has been played for a fool and pushed to attack a fellow hero by a criminal organization. Cover is great and fitting for the time and Mike Collins art his great as always. Like before a solid issue of Thunderbolt and really does prove that old heroes can find new life generations after their final issues. Oh and I still have to say I still am not a fan of Thunderbolts mental powers, as it makes him feel like an X-Men member.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 11  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 11 of 12

Thunderbolt is gearing up to fight with Andreas Havoc and is surprised when he finds that he will have his own help going into this battle as Tabu, Power Girl, Anne-Marie, The Crusader, Master Tsong and Checkmate Knights all come to his aid. At first Thunderbolt is a little lukewarm on letting Crusader come along that is until he sees that the hero is upset that he has been played a fool and wants revenge. As The Checkmate Knights fight against Havoc’s men Thunderbolt, Power Girl and Crusader storm his castle and things start to look good for our heroes as Evila has her handsful with Power Girl and Crusader and Thunderbolt is holding his own against Andreas Havoc…that is until he gets blasted with a powerful energy blast that knocks Thunderbolt from the castle and we see that his attacker is Trydan the man who almost killed him years back! Thunderbolt finds his inner strength and uses all his skills to take down Trydan once and for all, only to fin the man in the suit was a drooling mindless fool, and as Thunderbolt starts to fight again with Andreas Havoc he learns that Trydan was just a paid assassin in a stolen suit from Lexcorp and that his brain was fried and he was a mindless tool of destruction. The fighting is going back and fourth and the Checkmate Knights get the call to pull back and return back to base, as this happens Tabu and Master Tsong rush into the castle and cause a distraction that allows Power Girl to grab the power stone and for them also to get the stolen scrolls…Thunderbolt uses the stone and his powers to transport himself and his friends to Tibet as Evila and Andreas Havoc stay in the castle that is now crumbling. In Tibet Thunderbolt and friends are by the monastery and find that it is under attack by a Chinese soldiers as Power Girl and Crusader attack the soldiers the others watch over the power stone as Thunderbolt rushes to check on the Lama only to find that he is face to face with Dorje, and worse Thunderbolt learns that Dorje is the real Thunderbolt who never dies those years back. Also during this time Mr. Wheeler heads to the Scoprio base and finds that his own right hand man has turned on him and that Cairo has hired Mac The Knife to put a dagger in his back!

So this is a bombshell as we learn that Peter Cannon has been living a lie for all these years and he is not the true Thunderbolt and protector of the order as his predecessor never really died and is back this time helping China to find the mystic powerful items that are hidden in the temple. So Thunderbolt as we know him is not the Tibetan hero we have followed, but he is a hero and a chosen one for sure as look at all he has been able to do and learn and I feel that Dorje is a man who at one point who was chosen to be the protector who now has turned his back on the job and is using his powers and skills to help with greed. Its great to see Power Girl and The Crusader lending their powers to help take down the evil magic of Andreas Havoc as both of their lives were in danger. And for that matter good on the Checkmate Knights as well for all their work in the battle. As for Andreas Havoc and Evila they are powerful and strong and if not for being distracted for a short amount of time they could have easily won the battle with our heroes…but I also feel that the defeat of Andreas Havoc, Trydan and Evila is very rushed feeling as they are the main bad guys we have spent so much time with, and now its changed to Dorje with just one issue to go. Poor Mr. Wheeler is in a bad way as it’s clear that the odds are against him and his time is running out as Cairo and her goons have his number. And speaking of Cairo she has surrounded herself with not only heavy armed foot solders but also skilled killers like Tekk and Mac The Knife…she is dangerous and I will guess will get what’s coming to her in the next issue. News lady Anne-Marie is getting the news story of her life as she has been along for the ride as Thunderbolt clashed with Andreas and also has seen China attacking a temple in Tibet! This is a great issue but again I do feel as if things are being rushed to have an end as they had to know that the series was being canceled and that they only had two issue to wrap it all up. The cover is great and showcases our heroes and villains and as always Mike’s work in the interior art is good stuff. Well let’s see how the DC Comic series of Thunderbolt ends as we are going to look at the twelfth and final issue.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 12  **1/2
Released in 1993    Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 12 of 12

Peter Cannon faces off with Dorje who sees Tabu holding the power stone and informs them all that he wants the stone as he needs to give it to China, and Peter can not allow this and fights Dorje who is older but more skilled and is showing his fighting skills. Tabu and Master Tsong watch in shock as Tabu is confused as he has pledged his life to help the true Thunderbolt, but he is best friends with Peter! Anne-Marie takes action and grabs the power stone and runs off with it trying to keep it safe and out of the hands of Dorje only to by accident giving it to Evila who is disguised at Power Girl and Andreas Havoc is also there who is now mad that Dorje is still alive as this makes his war and feud with Peter Cannon void! The Crusader and Power Girl arrive in the temple and after hitting Evila from behind the power stone falls to the floor as a fight between Thunderbolt and his friends against Evila with Andreas Havoc as well as Dorje who is fighting them all in order to get the stone. During the fight Andreas Havoc is thrown against a wall leaving him brain damaged as Dorje gets the stone and uses its power to kill Evila as well as himself in order to keep the temple and all inside it safe from her want to become the ruler, all the heroes gather as he tells them of his past years of being missing. With the fight over Peter Cannon is Thunderbolt again and the Lama sends Power Girl and The Crusader home and then sends Anne-Marie and Tabu to Peter’s apartment…as for Thunderbolt is gets a change of outfit and is sent to the Scorpio base as he needs to have words with Cairo. Once at the base he finds Mr. Wheeler who dies in front of him from his stab wounds and has to fight Tekk who uses all his power to try and stop the hero, but thanks to water and electricity Tekk fails and is left knocked out. In the end Thunderbolt faces Cairo and she alerts him that she is related to Evila and that she just wants power and order and begs Thunderbolt to join her, he rejects her offer and walks out telling her goodbye and both are heart broken as good and evil can never find love.

The final issue of Thunderbolt does a pretty great job of wrapping up all our characters and stories and allows now Peter Cannon to be Thunderbolt and not have to 100% follow the teachings of the Lama and temple as he is not the reborn spirit of the passed warrior…he is just his own warrior. Thunderbolt learns so much about himself that all his powers and skills are unlocked by his own will and training and that he is a hero no matter what label is placed on him. It’s also clear that he will always do what is right and fight on the side of good and that his friend Tabu will always be his pal and help him in life and in heroism. You have to feel bad for Thunderbolt as well when he learned that the old Thunderbolt is still alive and making his whole past being a lie, plus he has to face heart break as he must break it off with Cairo a woman he loves. To be honest Dorje the old Thunderbolt does nothing for me and seems like a waste to the story as his turn from being apart of the raiding Chinese forces to becoming the Temple hero again before his death seemed super cheesy. Evila finally meets her end thanks to the power stone and poor Andreas Havoc is left in a coma just like Trydan and both will spend their lives at the Temple in Tibet. Mr. Wheeler meets his end at the end of a knife and its cause of his own pride and want to fight that leads him to his death, well and the fact his own friend set him up! I do feel that Inspector James Flint does not have any real payout and only shows up for a second in this final issue to tell Wheeler’s men to start looking for new work, again his story seems rushed and like a wasted character. Anne-Marie is clearly a reporter who is stronger then she thinks and is clearly in love with Peter Cannon so who knows what could have been with those two. The series did do a great job of using other heroes from the DC Universe as the Justice League Europe, Checkmate Knights and The Crusader all seem important and add to the story as it unfolds. Cairo DeFrey is a killer and a woman who craves power who is from the same bloodline as Evila and while bad, I don’t think she sees her actions as evil as she just wants to lead and make the world follow her order. Mike Collins who did the interior art and the story for this series did fantastic work and really did bring a classic comic hero into modern times and made Thunderbolt fit right into the DC Universe, he also added onto the characters legend and story and did a great job of also using his classic rouges gallery while adding new baddies into the mix. It’s a shame that this series only lasted 12 issues as it was some of the better stuff DC was doing at the time with their smaller time heroes. From what I gathered low sales is what got the book canceled and Thunderbolt from here would be apart of other comics like Justice League Europe. The cover for this issue is also really cool and for some reason reminds me of Batman or even The Phantom. I have to say that I truly enjoyed Peter Cannon Thunderbolt and think that if you enjoy classic comic heroes and have not check it out yet, you should as its well done and while flawed in spots (looking at you mind powers) it holds a great classic comic feel. Check out the artwork bellow to see the style of Mike Collins.

If I worked for DC Comics around 1993 as a writer and Peter Cannon Thunderbolt was thrown my way in order to breath new life into the character after his final issue was released. I would have kept him in London for awhile and have him join The Justice League Europe for a short awhile and would have had him and Power Girl hitting it off and even dating. During this time Thunderbolt would have mastered his mental powers and this would have elevated his superpower statues, and the JLE would also hire Tabu to work their headquarters to keep all their missions in order as well as to alert members to crises. But Thunderbolt and Tabu would leave London and the JLE after Power Girl and he split up as he is still in love with Cairo DeFrey who has been spotted in New York causing him to return home to find her, and here is were I would change him up and take a really chance with him as when in New York and with his new more powerful mind powers I would have Cairo make a deal with the returning Evila and together they place a classic curse of Thunderbolt and turn him into a raging madman who is running amok in the streets and is attacking innocent people and as well as doing battle with Superheroes like one time friend Green Lantern, Batman, Hawkman, Plastic Man, Green Arrow and even Superman. I would then have Dr. Fate along with Zatanna be the ones who break the curse of Evila as well as end his mental mind powers of Thunderbolt and from there I would write him out for awhile by having him be placed in a asylum. After a year or two away I would bring Peter Cannon Thunderbolt back as a skilled fighter normal hero who has to earn the trust of the people and his fellow heroes. And from there I would just have Thunderbolt appear in other comics as a guest hero and would still be doing that to this day.

Thunderbolt over the years has been dusted off by other comic companies with his latest bigger run being with Dynamite Comics 2012 and later 2019 and would bring the hero into modern times. But for me I think he should have stayed put in the DC Comics universe. But DC is such a mess in modern times and are cutting comics, creators and even making a push for digital comics so in other words they are a shell of a company and sadly have been ran wrong for many years now and with AT&T owning them and not caring about print comic books I am not sure what their fate holds in the future. But lets not harp on the fate of DC Comics and why they let Thunderbolt slip from their fingers as for my next update I will be taking a look at another Horror Host for the celebration of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame being around for 10 years as I will take a look at Indiana’s own Baron Von Wolfstein! So until next time read a DC Comic or three, watch a superhero film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a trip to Wolfstein Manor.

The Undead Files: Isle Of The Dead

So as crazy as this sounds, I decided to cover the promo comic for the PC Game “Isle Of The Dead” and bump “Batman Nosferatu” to another update in the future. When I was growing up, my parents got a computer, and while from time to time we could use it, playing games on it was few and far and mostly I would play SkiFree, Free Cell or Minesweeper, all super classic games for PC Gaming. And then some time later, my brother bought himself a computer that he planned on using for college class projects as he was about to graduate high school and had plans of becoming a schoolteacher. Along with the computer that was rocking Windows 95 and had both a CD Rom and diskette drive, he bought a printer and a hand scanner and this opened the door for us to play a ton of PC Games. What was very cool was that my brother allowed me as well to get on the computer to play games or even get online via AOL. My brother’s PC opened the world of classic PC Horror Games for me and that is why we will be taking a look at one of those games and a promo comic that came with the game for this countdown to Halloween 2020 update! So if you are ready, let’s visit the world of Isle Of The Dead and see if we can survive the hordes of the undead! Oh and I do want to warn you that some of the gifs used on this update do have some disturbing imagery, so keep that in mind as you read on.

Isle Of The Dead was developed by Rainmaker Software and released by Merit Software in 1993 for PC and was a first person adventure survival horror game. Rainmaker Software was a very short-lived game developer who besides Isle Of The Dead only had one other game under their belt, the 1995 game “Nerves Of Steel” that was a war game that played much like Isle. The creators behind this game were A. Sean Glaspell along with Myk Friedman, Bryan Kelsch and Bruce J. Mack, and they wanted to bring a story driven hack slash game to gamers that was very much inspired by comic books. The game had music done by Scott Loehr and was shown off at the 1993 Consumer Electronics Show, and even at one point a port was made and ready to go for release on the Atari Jaguar home console, but was cancelled before being unleashed. The game was massacred by reviewers as it was getting mostly low scores with Dragon Magazine giving it a 0 out of 5 stars and PC Joker giving it a 38%. To this day YouTube gamers are still giving the game poor reviews. Most of the complaints about the game were the sloppy game play, the repetitive music, the goofy gore and the lack of real direction of where you are and what you are doing. But while for many, the game is in their Top 100 Worst Classic PC Games, it has also found cult classic status as many enjoy the cheesy nature of the game, and I am proud to say that I am one of those who grew up playing it and loving it! The game was not only released on diskette but also on CD. I think that the game was harshly panned by many reviewers is because it followed in the shadow of other first person games like Wolfenstein 3D and even Doom was released in late 1993…and because of this Isle Of The Dead was just lost in shuffle. While Isle Of The Dead never got a sequel or an official remake, I will say that a game series that I feel that could be connected to it is “Dead Island” that first started in 2011 for home consoles like PS3 and Xbox 360. While it’s not really connected, at least the undead island video game adventures lived on with it.

My Brother Bryan and I would look for PC games at a local used media shop (that we both ended up working for later) called “Replay Media,” and I can remember him buying games like “Doom II”, “You Don’t Know Jack”, “Plan Nine From Outer Space” and even one that was trivia and movie reviews that was made by Blockbuster Video. I on the other had remember having games based on “X-Men”, “Tom and Jerry” and an amazing one called “WaxWorks.” We would also hit thrift stores and that’s were my brother found Isle Of The Dead and with it being a horror game, we knew we had to buy it. The edition he had was the four diskettes version and came in a very cool big box and had the comic book in it as well. I can remember that when my brother first played it, he was not that impressed with the first person horror shooter, and when it was my turn to play, I can remember I was confused on what the heck I was doing and where I was suppose to go…and even with these frustrations…we both kept playing the game over time and each time we would get a little further and figure out the puzzles and traps. Of course once technology changed and we upgraded to bigger and better PC’s, the day and age of DOS Diskette games faded away into the background, but for some reason Isle Of The Dead always stuck with me from the simple game play, to the story of an island filled with zombie and even the music that plays throughout the game have always been something I looked back on fondly. I look back at my days sitting in my brother’s room near a window trying my best to figure out and beat Isle Of The Dead very fondly, and I have no shame in saying…I never beat the game as it would crash so many times and when not crashing I just found myself wandering around. Over all, I wish I could play Isle Of The Dead again…and just maybe I can one day on my Mac laptop!

Now let’s talk about the baddies that make up the Isle Of The Dead!! The main brains behind the horrors you face is a Mad Scientist who is evil and who seems to enjoy having the island filled with the undead and chasing off anyone foolish enough to step foot on it. He also is holding a woman hostage and is super dastardly. The island is filled with tons of flesh eating zombies that range from the mutated, female, fatty with guts out, cub scout kid zombie and of course muscle bound surfer dude zombie! Also around are massive killer bats that stalk around the caves. So as you can see, the Isle Of The Dead is filled with so many terrors that all want you dead!

I almost forgot to talk about the game’s hero, Jake Dunbar, the lone survivor of a bad plane crash that leaves all his fellow passengers dead! Jake is a man who just wants off the island and wants to survive the onslaught of the undead that appear and want him dead. Jake is a hero as well as when he finds out that the Mad Scientist has a woman held captive, and he knows he must rescue her before he escapes the island. Jake is armed with two kinds of shotguns as well as a machete in order to fight off the zombie horde and also must pick up items along the way to help in his journey. Jake Dunbar is a cool character, and while he does not have a huge back story, you get to know him and bond with him along the journey. One crazy thing about this game though, is if you quit the game this makes Jake kill himself…yeah super depressing way to end this hero’s life in this game.

So as you can see, Isle Of The Dead is a PC game that is not super popular, but over the decades has built up a cult following…I mean it’s such a indie game that when I was a teenager and many of my friends were PC Gamers, none of them had ever heard of this title, let alone played it! I also am very happy that I was able to track down a copy of the comic book to make this Countdown To Halloween 2020 and Undead File update possible. Plus I want to thank the Ebay seller for having this in stock and also letting me reread this after all these years. I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s head out into the isle and see what these zombies have in store for us.

Isle Of The Dead # 1  **1/2
Released in 1993   Cover Price $0.00     Rainmaker   # 1 of 1

Two brave pilots lose control of the plane and crash land on Nuwapu, and it leaves everyone dead onboard, well besides Jake Dunbar who was tossed out during the crash. Jake uses all the strength he has and passes out on the beach. After a while he wakes up and looks around the wreckage and finds a shotgun as well as a med kit and looks for whatever else he can find. While looking around Jake is attacked by a zombie and uses the shotgun to blow its head off, and then all scared and nervous he knows that he must find the villagers of the island and see if they can help him get off it! As Jake heads into the jungle, it’s clear that he is being watched and stocked by zombies! The comic ends with the question of if Jake will get off the island and if he will find out who the madman is who is creating the zombies.

This comic book does a great job of setting up the moments before the game takes place and even gives you a few hints of what to look for in the plane like the shotgun and med kit! The comic follows Jake Dunbar, a man who was a passenger on a plane that crashes on an island that is filled with zombies, traps and mysteries…and ends with the question of whether he will survive the island or be eaten alive! Jake is a hero that does not want to be a hero and is fighting his way through the jungle in order to survive and with the temptation of a pretty woman in distress (as seen in the game) he arms himself and becomes the hero he needs to be! The zombies are hungry for human flesh and are running on instinct to eat and consume. The comic has one massive gory moment that has a zombies head being blown off by a shotgun and it reminds me of so many of the indie zombie comics of the 90’s like The Dead, The Walking Dead and Dead World. The cover for this promo comic is great and very eye catching, but I will also say very lazy, as it’s just the box cover used for the game. The interior art is great and done by a uncredited artist and really does have a indie comic look to it and the art could be at home with companies like Aircel and Arrow. Over all this is a good short promo comic that does a good job of showcasing the PC Game it was made to promote. If you like Isle Of The Dead or indie zombie horror comics, track this one down and give it a read. Oh and I have to say, when reading this comic again after all these years, much of it came back to me. Check out the artwork below from the unknown artist and see what I mean that this art style would have been right at home at Aircel Comics in the 90’s.

Isle Of The Dead for me is up there with Doom and Wolfenstein as some of the most iconic first generation of first-person shooters released for the PC! And as I have said before, survival horror and just horror video games are things that I think about around Halloween time as I think everyone reading this update should at least play one horror video game this October. This year on the PS4 I have been playing “Zombie Army 4”, “World War Z”, “Predator: Hunting Ground” and “Blair Witch” all games that are super fun and have added to this year that has started off so badly with the virus crisis. For our next update, we are escaping the Isle and will be heading to the country to take a look at a killer warlock scarecrow that is from the 1995 direct to video movie “Night Of The Scarecrow”! So until next time, read a horror comic or three, play a horror video game or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a bloody good time down on the farm.

The Atlas Comics Hunter Of Demons

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well as you can see Demon Hunter is a character who was very short lived but was able to help spawn a Marvel Comics character so his legacy still lives on slightly. And again for you comic readers who have not ever read an Atlas Comics issue do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Demon Hunter, The Brute, Tiger-Man, Iron Jaw or any other of their short lived characters and be ready to read solid and fun classic 70’s style superhero, barbarian, war and horror adventures. It really is a shame Atlas could not survive the war for shelf space between Marvel and DC in the 70’s. Well let’s get to the review for the one and only issue of Demon Hunter that I will be grading on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see just how bad these demons are and how well Gideon Cross hunts them…oh and I want to also thank Bell, Book and Comic for having this issue in stock and also a thank you to the Bookie Parlor who introduced me to Atlas Comics.

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

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

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

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

Amazing Wiggly Jiggly Jell-O Man!

Who doesn’t like eating a big old bowl of Jell-O for dessert after a good meal? It’s been around for over 120 years, has been enjoyed by billions of people in that time and has become a food product that is a major part of American pop culture. When working on blog updates this year, I needed a quick and fun update to fill a small time frame and looking through my comic collection I found my copy of the promo comic The Adventures Of Jell-O Man and Wobbly and knew that I needed to talk about it as it’s a perfect quick update topic about something very weird and yet very fitting for Rotten Ink. Why don’t more companies make promo comics based on mascots of their products? Like why aren’t comics based on say The Burger King, The Green Giant and Chuck E. Cheese? I also always question why Indie Horror Filmmakers don’t make comics based on their films, as many of them would make amazing reads and are a prefect way to promote the fright flick. But let’s not harp on what should be, and let’s talk about what is and that’s Jell-O Man! So if you’re ready for this quick update, I am ready to talk all about this fruit flavored snack.

Pearle Wait created Jell-O in 1897 as he and his wife May found out a way to add fruit flavors to powdered gelatin. In 1899 they sold it off to Genesee Pure Food Company owner Orator Francis Woodward, and thanks to new ways to make, package and store food, he was able to get his new product onto store shelves. At first it was not a hit with shoppers. In the early 1900’s they really started to push the product more, taking out ads and adding new flavors to the line even making cookbooks to hand out that used Jell-O making it increasingly a household name and a must eat for after family meals. And from there it really did become a hit with shoppers. When Genesee Pure Food merged with Postum, they became General Foods and started to add more products to the Jell-O line as well as more flavors and kept really pushing it as a brand that was in many cupboards all over America, and for years this was the case. But starting in the 1960’s and all the way to the 80’s, sales for Jell-O started to decline, and they had to once more use ads and celebrities to bring sales back and to try and bring in a younger clientele…and once more it worked! Over the years Jell-O has had many ups and downs in sales and has lost many of the flavors they used to make, but one thing is for sure, they are not going anywhere soon and still remain a very popular dessert that is now added to all types of other meals. Jell-O has now also become a very iconic brand and has sparked all types of merchandise based around the brand as well from molds all the way to shirts and even a comic book.

When I was a youngster, I can remember that if I was not feeling well my mom would heat up Jell-O and make a hot drink for me that was suppose to help settle my stomach as well as deliver a shot of energy. I can of course remember eating classic Jell-O from time to time and can safely say my favorite flavor was Lime. To this day I get cravings for it! My mom used to also make this multiple layer Jell-O dessert, and man was it fantastic and something that was a joy to eat. It’s very odd to think about, but when I was a kid Jell-O did seem like a very big brand and like it was made just for us kids, but it was also something adults enjoyed. The way this product was marketed was very smart as it made kids crave it and adults think it was a great treat for youngsters. Next I will talk a little about the commercials shown when I was a kid and the celebrity they used.

Growing up Jell-O was everywhere from snack packs that kids in school had while eating lunch, all the way to TV ads that were played during cartoons and kid shows, and at this time, the spokesman was comedian Bill Cosby! Way before he went to jail, he was considered on of the world’s top comedians who entertained young and old alike with the likes of The Cosby Show and cartoon series Fat Albert. Growing up I was a big Bill Cosby fan as I watched not only the two aforementioned shows but also liked him on “The Electric Company” as well as his movies like “Ghost Dad”, “Leonard Part 6” and “The Devil And Max Devlin” and even when I got older, I bought many of his stand up routines on CD. When he was the spokesman for Jell-O, I can remember seeing the commercials and finding myself craving it as a snack as well as wanting to try such things as Jell-O Jigglers that allowed you to eat it with your hands. Plus having Bill Cosby sell the product gave it credit to parents when they wanted to treat their kids to a tasty treat. I don’t want to go too much into it, but let’s just say that I was really disappointed in Mr. Cosby when the terrible things he did came to the light, as he was always an American Icon and was considered Americans’ Favorite TV Dad. But while he turned out to be who he was, the memories of trying to sell me Jell-O when I was watching cartoons will always be a fun, silly and will bring a smile to my face.

Back in 1981, a comedy metal band was created and called themselves Green Jello and toured around performing silly and heavy songs and building a small following. Their big break came in 1992 when they released the song “Three Little Pigs” and metal fans as well as fans of pop rock music went crazy for it! The song was off their Cereal Killer album and because of the popularity of the song, Kraft Foods swooped in and filed a lawsuit against the band as they claimed a trademark infringement on the name Jell-O. Of course the band lost and had to change their name to Green Jelly and all their music releases as well as their merchandise had to have the name change. While the band’s name is one of the factors that made Kraft mad, it was the slogan they used “Green Jello Sucks” that really set them off. The band was a one hit winder with Three Little Pigs being their claim to fame, but keep in mind, they are still a band to this day and still have a cult following. I also want to say that the band was also sued by Metallica for stealing a rift from the song Enter Sandman as well as Kellogg Company for the use of Toucan Sam that they used in art and video and called him “Toucan Son Of Sam”.

So as you can seem Kraft is very protective of their Jell-O brand and have always tried to keep up their family friendly image safe and untarnished, but they cannot stop culture. The rumor going around the campfire is that they dislike the popular party drink called Jell-O Shots that takes the product and mixes it with mostly vodka. This “drink” is very popular at college bars, parties and even Horror, Comic and Anime Conventions. But the thing that bothers them the most is Jell-O Wrestling, a sports entertainment activity that mostly has young women in skimpy cloths rolling around an inflatable pool filled with Jell-O as men cheer. This event goes hand and hand with mud wrestling and is played up as a sexy sport and has even spawned many leagues as well as websites. I just wanted to touch on both of these things as they do go hand and hand with the legacy of Jell-O and is part of American culture.

From Bill Cosby to alcoholic drinks to a comedy metal band, we have talked about many different things connected to Jell-O, and now I feel it’s time we talk about their short lived mascot named Jell-O Man and his trusty dog Wobbly and their comic book adventure. And I think while I read this comic, I am also going to eat some lime Jell-O and enjoy this promo issue. I want to remind you readers that I grade this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s see what Wobbly and Jell-O Man are all about.

Adventures Of Jell-O Man # 1  **
Released in 1991     Cover Price FREE     General Mills     # 1 of 1

“The Outrageous Origin Of Jell-O Man And Wobbly” Dr. Goodtaste along with his friend Snackens and robot Grabby are watching a computer that helps stock all the world’s stores with Jell-O products and this is upsetting Grabby who wants to also be able to eat some of this tasty snack and has an idea to do so and uses the energy from a experimental hologram laser cannon to super power his own robotic energy! Grabby traps his one time human friends in the lab and reroutes all the delivers of Jell-O products to be delivered to him as he wants it all for himself. But in the lab Goodtastse and Snackens watch in wonder as the hologram of the Jell-O logo transformers into to two beings made of the tasty snack, Jell-O Man and his dog Wobbly! Jell-O Man helps the humans escape the lab and returns and tricks Grabby into self-exploding and allowing Goodtaste to set the delivers back on track. “The Natural History Mystery” this story has Mrs. Sherman and her fourth grade class on a field trip to the museum when someone steals all the Jell-O snacks that were for dessert! But one young man calls up Jell-O Man who, along with Wobbly, vows to get their snacks back, and after wandering around the museum, he finds that the dinosaur called Snackosaurus has stolen them and after tripping the beast up is able to take back the snacks and save the field trip. “The Outer Space Case” has Jell-O Man and Wobbly on the planet of Gumongo to introduce them to Jell-O, and unbeknownst to them the evil Shoveler has followed them and steals all the snack from their refrigerators while the aliens sleep. The next day Jell-O Man comes up with a plan to capture The Shoveler and uses Jigglers to do so, as Shoveler bounce around on the giant Jell-O Jigglers the aliens and Jell-O Man bring him down and save their tasty treat from being stolen ever again.

This promo comic features three silly stories featuring Jell-O Man and his dog Wobbly and does its job of making readers think that Jell-O is a tasty treat that all kids love to eat. The three stories are pretty normal, kids comic stuff and has Jell-O Man’s origin as well as takes him to a museum and space to show that people all over the universe love pudding and gelatin. Jell-O man is a cool as ice hero who only worries about making sure people have Jell-O snacks to eat! He also sports cool whip hair and can detach his head and use it as a weapon to take down his enemies. He also talks like a cool hipster of the time and even at one point seems to be hitting on the school teacher as I think he wanted to show her his wobbly jiggler…yeah, I know that’s a cheesy joke. Speaking of Wobbly, he is pretty useless and only runs around and says “Yeah, Yeah” lots, so in other words he is a useless sidekick. Our villains in this comic are the robot Grabby, the purple dinosaur Snackosaurus and the shovel handed freak named The Shoveler, and while they are all bad dudes, none of them are major threats to mankind as all they really care about is stealing Jell-O…but if I had to pick one that I would say could more easily turn rouge and bring down mankind, I would choose Grabby as he seems very power hungry. The over all feel of this comic is fun and upbeat but spends most of each story really hammering home the idea that Jell-O is what we all need to be eating at all times and if you don’t have it, your life is depressing. None of the adventures seem that dangerous nor do the stakes really feel that big making it really just one big commercial ad for the Kraft products. The cover for this one is pretty eye catching and showcases our hero Jell-O Man and his trusty sidekick dog Wobbly. The interior art is done by Richard Howell and has a very simple style to it and yet also very cartoonish in spots and is perfect for this style comic, you long time readers will also remember that Howell did the artwork for The Shadow War Of Hawkman that I covered sometime back. Over all this is a fun promo comic that is nothing special but serves its purpose in delivering a goofy good read for kids and promote the product it was based all around. Check out the artwork below to see the style Howell used for this comic.

Jell-O Man was not a major hit in the world of mascots, and while he starred in some commercials, his main claim to fame is this promo comic as over the years of comic book shopping at stores I have seen this comic in many of .25 and $1.00 bins. And doing this update about a promo comic makes me look forward to covering more of them in the future. My next update will take us away from the world of Jell-O and place us into the world of Horror as for Saint Patrick’s Day we will be re-looking at the one and only Leprechaun! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a green beer good time!

Spider-Man Has The Power To Slay Dragon Man!

Who doesn’t like listening to music on vinyl? Growing up I have fond memories of listing to the likes of Weird Al Yankovic, Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Motley Crue and the WWF Wrestling Album to name a very few. But I also have some good memories of listening to comic books on vinyl…I am sure you long time comic readers remember Power Records released by Peter Pan Records as kids of the 70’s and 80’s grew up with these. I for one checked them out all the time from the library in Waynesville and most of the time the vinyl was missing, but my brother and I did have some of our own that we got from garage sales. One of my favorites from this series is the one featuring Incredible Hulk called “At Bay” that had old jade jaw taking on Abomination and Rhino at the Hulk Buster Base, a very fun listen and a good adventure for one of my favorite superheroes. Plus thanks to Power Records, I first discovered Holo-Man, an original superhero that I have covered here on Rotten Ink before. For this update, we are going to have some fun and not only chat about Power Records but also just some fun stuff going on in my life as well as in comics! So grab your record player and crank it to 11 as it’s time to power out with Spider-Man!

Synthetic Plastics Company was a plastic manufacturer that was founded by Daniel Kasen that opened in the 1920’s in New Jersey. Their main products were buttons and game pieces like poker chips, and they made a good living at making this stuff. But they would get into making vinyl records after World War II when Daniel’s brother entered the picture and they opened Peter Pan Records, that would spawn many other side labels like Power Records, Diplomat Records and Parade Records to name a few and would push for cheaper made vinyl records so the could sell them at cheap prices. These labels would mostly focus on children releases based on popular properties like Bugs Bunny, Sesame Street and Batman as well as Gospel, Comedy and budget releases and would crank out releases as they owned the press that made them. But while many listeners had these cheap made releases, they also knew that the sound quality was very poor and this was something that stuck with this company all during their time in business. Over the years and with many name changes, many of you might be shocked to know that Synthetic Plastics Company is still around and switched their home base from New Jersey to Florida and are now called Inspired Studios and are just shell of what they used to be, but it’s still very cool knowing they are still out there.

So with us talking about record companies and music, let’s take a look at the newest CD release of Dee Snider of the 80’s band Twisted Sister that was released in July 2018 and a release that I have wanted to check out for some time. Growing up, I was fan of Twisted Sister as well as Dee Snider’s other band Widowmaker, not to mention a big fan of his Horror Movie Strangeland and loved watching him out class the PMRC at the infamous 1985 Senate hearings. The release is called “For The Love Of Metal” and was released by Napalm Records and has 12 tracks. So let’s sit back, relax and get talking about this release shall we? When popping in this CD, the first thing I noticed is that Dee Snider has not missed a step when it comes to delivering amazing rock n roll vocals to heavy songs. And I must also say it blew me away just how heavy and rocking this release was. I also noticed that Dee also sounded a little bit like Alice Cooper in some of these songs and to be honest some of the songs even sound like they could have been song by him and released on “Brutal Planet”. I would say that my favorite track on this release would be “I Am The Hurricane” followed by “For The Love Of Metal” as both tracks I think really do capture the attitude and singing talent of Dee. Over all if you enjoyed Twisted Sister and like the singing style of Dee Snider this is a release that you should check out as one thing is for sure Dee Snider is a true icon of Rock N Roll!

What’s really crazy is to think that here in the Dayton area we have very little music shops left as places like Armadillo Records, Renaissance Music, CD Connection, Trader Vics, Gem City Records, Dingleberry’s and NRM Music are all shops of the past and all we have left is Omega Music, Toxic Beauty and Skeleton Dust and a few other mix media stores like Second Time Around, Game Swap Kettering and Buybacks to name a few who have solid and good music selections. I have so many great memories and moments at many of those long gone record shops and pretty much grew up visiting Renaissance Music and even to this day Geoff Burkman, who was the owner of the shop remains one of my close friends. Renaissance was a very cool place and one that I always felt at home at. The store had an amazing selection of music on vinyl, cassettes and CDs and was my go to store to get my 80’s hairbands. It was also the place I would get Horror Movies on VHS and later DVD as well as get posters, buttons, fanzines and Horror Indie Comics. It was a place over the years I would sit and chat with Geoff for hours about music, movies and comics. Even in school for one of my classes, I job shadowed Geoff for a class report and we watched Dawn of the Dead together that day on Laserdisc. I can still see and hear the old Renaissance Music TV commercials in my mind from time to time as they would have Geoff wearing a Godzilla mask and talking like Mr. T and calling himself Mr. G…classic. In fact many years later, Geoff would play Mr. G again in episodes of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. Geoff Burkman and Renaissance Music also appear in the Independent B Movie film Wolf Hunter directed by Matt Hoffman as well. NRM is another place I used to love to go as it was in the Town And Country Shopping Center that was near the High School in Kettering I went to for a short time, and I can remember cutting class and going their to pick up music to listen to on my Sony Walkman. And that’s just the two stores as I have great memories of all the stores I mentioned above and miss the atmosphere of a good classic music store and searching for the next album of a band I liked or even discovering new music. No matter how the world changes, you just cannot sell me on digital media and that goes for music, movies, comics, video games and books. For this blogger, physical will always be the way to go. Below are some of the closed music shops that brought lots of tunes to this metal heads ears when growing up.

So as you can see, in my opinion music and comic books go hand and hand as both have been a main source of entertainment for me growing up. And I am going to say this, I really wish an indie comic company would return and make classic style Rock N Roll Comics like Revolutionary Comics headed by Todd Loren did back in 1989-1994, and yeah, I know companies like Blue Water tried but failed and I am talking about comics done by fans of the bands doing unauthorized comic issues on bands like Cinderella, W.A.S.P., Danzig and Billy Idol to name a few. But let’s move past a dream I am sure will never be made true and let’s focus on Spider-Man and this adventure made just for Power Records. I want to remind you all that I grade this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see what Spidey has in store for us as he takes on a massive Dragon Man!

Spider-Man Power Record # 0  **
Released in 1974       Cover Price $1.49       Marvel/Power Records     # 1 of 1

A group of college students and their teacher are out looking at the stars. Two students sneak away to make out while stars fall from the sky that turn out to be Dragon Men lead by the massive Draco King Of The Dragon-Men, who have came to earth with the plan to take it over. At the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson is mad as the story of the Dragon-Men has broke and none of his reporters have covered it yet. He sends Peter Parker to get some photos of the aliens or lose his job! Peter Parker turns into Spider-Man when his Spidey Sense goes crazy when he passes sewer manholes, and this leads him to travel around the sewer system where he finds Draco and his Dragon-Men who have a giant laser gun they plan on using in New York that will leave all machines and humans paralyzed! Spider-Man is able to trick Draco and the Dragon-Men and use his webbing on the guns controls and floods the sewer, washing away them and their fancy massive gun. Spider-Man later is back on the streets of New York and finds in the newspaper that the bodies of the Dragon-Men had been found and are robots and not aliens at all. To clear his mind and gaze at the stars above, Spider-Man sits on top of the Empire State Building and is lost in thoughts when Draco appears and shares that he is no alien but is really a missing scientist who fused his own blood with that of a giant iguana and has transformed into a massive fire breathing dragon humanoid. As Draco attacks, Spider-Man uses his fast speed to dodge him and Draco falls 20 feet onto a roof below. As Spider-Man rushes down to check on his foe, he only finds a small iguana there that crawls away into a crack in the wall.

This Spider-Man adventure was an original story made just for Power Records, and while entertaining, you can tell it was rushed and was not a priority to Marvel who did not bring their A-Game. This comic’s plot has Spider-Man on the hunt for Dragon-Men who are said to be from space and are now in New York and have a sinister plan to take over thanks to their massive fire-breathing leader Draco. Spidey, being the hero he is, not only tracks them down but also exposes that the Dragon-Men are robots and not aliens, destroys their massive destructive weapon and as well figures out that Draco is a mutated missing scientist! Spider-Man in this issue is the friendly neighborhood web head we all love and is filled with one liners as well as the fighting skills to back up his mouth. I also have always liked that Spidey uses his mind to also figure out how to stop the baddies and not just his fists. Peter Parker even in this issue has some pressure as his boss J. Jonah Jameson threatens to fire him if he doesn’t get pictures of the Dragon Men for the paper, and he also has to blow off the attention of Mary Jane Watson in order to get said pictures and this upsets his red headed love interest. Draco is a massive fire breathing dragon man who has a massive ego and wants to rule the world as he feels his superior mind puts him above normal humans…even if he started out as one. The Dragon Men are just robots who do what their creator asks, and while threats, they are by no means as threatening as such super villains as Green Goblin, Rhino or Shocker. While I am thinking about it, this story almost feels like it could have been an issue in the “Spidey Super Stories” comic series as it’s fast paced and the villain is over the top in appearance. The cover is pretty great and eye catching as it also reminds me of a cheesy b-movie poster. The interior art is also good and is done by an unknown artist as no credits are given. Over all this is a fun read and is a must for fans of classic 70’s Spider-Man adventures, but keep in mind the story is not mind blowing and is just a middle of the road adventure that feels like a back up story. Check out the artwork below to see what you get in this book and record set.

The Book and Record Sets should make a comeback in the world of comics as they were a fun way to bring in younger readers as well as add a new level of fun for older readers. In our modern world with digital, CD and Vinyl all still being around for us to listen to audio on, I am going to guess it’s only a matter of time before a company does it again…heck, maybe Sparkle Comics will bring this trend back! Now it’s time for us to leave New York and let Spider-Man do what he does best and that’s stop crimes. For our next update we will be heading to the world of snack food to take a look at Jell-O Man! So until next time, read a comic or three, listen to a CD or two and as always support your local Horror Host! So let’s get ready to meet next time and talk about a mascot for snack food.

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Halloween (1978)

Happy Halloween! I have decided to do something a little different for this haunted holiday update as I will not be having “5 Questions With A Horror Host” or even visiting a haunted place as this year I am going to bring you a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update as I have a blast doing them.  Plus I wanted to do this update in honor of the new Halloween movie in theaters right now thanks to Universal and Blumhouse! The Halloween movie series has always been one of my all time favorites and has always entertained and chilled my blood since I was a youngster, and I have been very much looking forward to covering it on Rotten Ink since I started this blog in 2012. So if you’re ready, travel to Haddonfield, Illinois on this Halloween in 2018 with me and not only go trick or treating but also be look out for the Boogeyman known as Michael Myers as the one thing I have learned over the years is that you can’t kill the Boogeyman.  No matter where you hide, he will find you!

Now I think we should start by taking a look at our killer, The Shape. Michael Myers started his killing ways at 6 years old when he brutally stabbed his sister on Halloween night while she was in her room. He was locked away at a mental ward where he never spoke and was considered pure evil. But many years after his first murder, he escapes and returns to his hometown in order to kill again and again. Michael Myers is very mechanical and cold in his movements and is a slow stalker who watches his victims before he murders them. His means of killing are brutal as he uses all types of weapons from knives, axes, needles and often his bare hands to choke the life out of someone or even snap their necks. His appearance also strikes fear into the heart of his victims as he wears a white mask and coveralls making him a very blank slate embodying the faceless horrors we all fear. Michael is also un-killable as he has been shot, beaten, stabbed, set on fire and electrocuted and only stays down for moments before getting back up to attack and kill some more. He is also very strong and has above human strength as he can easily pick up, break and impale a human with brutal power. The combination of all of the above mentioned makes him one of the most, if not the most powerful killer we have covered on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! As far as weakness goes, Michael has very few but I would say his slowness can work against him and leave him open for counter attacks.  He also seems to only kill on a cycle making one safe for most months minus October. As you can see, Michael Myers is a killing machine who cannot be stopped and will come back again and again to kill and butcher.

So now that we have taken a look at Michael Myers aka The Boogeyman aka The Shape, we should take a look at the first film in the series that was released in 1978 and was directed by John Carpenter and sparked 10 sequels as of this update. I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB, and after, I will write about the film’s production as well as my connection and thoughts on the original film. So if you’re ready lets head on down to the Myers house and chat about one of the Grandfathers of Slasher films, Halloween.

Halloween (1978)

“The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it’ll be too late for many people.”

Film producers Moustapha Akkad and Irwin Yablans wanted to make a Horror Film about a killer on the hunt for babysitters and sought out director John Carpenter and writer Debra Hill to make if for them! With the film to be set on Halloween night, the original title “The Babysitter Murders” was changed to just Halloween to capture the mood of the spooky holiday. The film’s $300,000.00 budget was put up by Akkad, and Carpenter would take a small fee for directing plus scoring the film as well as only 10% of the film’s profit. The film’s props were made or bought for cheap including the casts wardrobe and Michael Myers’ mask that was just a reworked Don Post Star Trek Captain Kirk mask spray-painted and tweaked. When casting the film, they originally wanted Peter Cushing to play the role of Dr. Sam Loomis but ended up getting Donald Pleasence in the role, and for Laurie Strode they wanted Anne Lockhart before hiring Jamie Lee Curtis! They also brought on other talented actors like Nancy Loomis, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers and John Michael Graham with Carpenter’s friend Nick Castle taking the role of adult mask-wearing Michael Myers. The film was shot on a short film schedule and rumor has it that when watching the film without the score, the producers were not scared and a little worried that the film would bomb, but once Carpenter placed the score music, they knew they had a spooky hit on their hands. The film when released to theaters was a major hit bringing in a total of $70 million worldwide! Plus the film would go on to be re-released in theaters bringing in more money, and in 1981, NBC paid $4 million to show the film on TV with new footage added to pad out its runtime as well as tie it into the second film that was hitting theaters around the same time. In 1978, Halloween was released alongside other Horror Movies like Dawn of the Dead, Jaws 2, It Lives Again, Magic, Grapes Of Death, Dracula’s Dog and Mardi Gras Massacre to name a very select few. Halloween would go onto spark the modern slasher film craze and was the first to bring to light the sex, drugs and death formula to all its clones. This was a very brief look at the production of this classic Horror Movie, and I suggest that if you have some spare time, look up the full history of the film and give it a read, as it’s very interesting to see how a small budget horror film changed the face of horror for generations after its release.

I can remember the first time I saw Halloween was with my older brother Bryan sometime in the mid to late 80’s when we watched it on cable TV one late night. I can remember being glued to the screen and finding myself drawn into the feeling of dread as Michael Myers stalked and killed the friends of babysitter Lorie Strode before coming after her. I can remember the true atmosphere of the holiday Halloween being captured on the screen as kids ran around in costumes as a masked killer walked among them. I can remember the lights in the room were off and the glow of the screen helped deliver the chills as the music of John Carpenter filled my ears. I can remember being wide eyed over P.J. Soles and her stunning good looks, being into Nancy Loomis as I really liked her character Annie, and most importantly I can remember becoming a fan of Halloween and Michael Myers for life! After watching that film, I became obsessed with Michael Myers and had to see the sequels and even used to draw him in art class as well as in comic strips. My brother ended up finding the score on cassette tape, and I used to sneak and listen to it on my little stereo in my room and would also tape the main theme onto another tape so that I could listen to it anytime. We would also go on to see all the sequels and own them on VHS and DVD. We would watch Halloween II on the USA Network all the time! In other words, Halloween was a staple for the Brassfield Brothers who between the both of us bought and read so much stuff about this film series. In fact over the years I have been a fan of almost all of the Halloween films with the only one I am not too fond of being Rob Zombie’s Halloween II as I find it very poorly written and directed. While many say that Halloween is the start of the slasher movie genre I would say Psycho from 1960 is but Halloween perfected it and is the one that inspired all the clones that were released in the 1980’s. To be honest, my love for Halloween is hard to put into words on this blog as it really does remind me of my youth, has inspired my own shot on video film The Sadness and just has always been one of my favorite Horror Film series, has one of the best scores in horror cinema, gave me my first and still going celebrity crushes Danielle Harris and is one I have to watch every Halloween! Before I ramble too much more, I just want to say that Halloween is an iconic film that grew into a solid franchise (with the original Halloween 2 being my favorite of the sequels) that everyone should watch at least once in their life as the film really does capture the mood and atmosphere of the Halloween season. This will not be the last time I talk about the Halloween movie series so with that bit of news I will wrap this part up.

Over the years Halloween has become one of the biggest horror franchises in movie history and like most big movies in horror it has had its fair share of merchandise! Over the years Michael Myers and the Halloween logos and images have been used on posters, t-shirts, art prints, drinking glasses, buttons, patches, magazines, hats, dolls, books, action figures and video games. Not to mention the films have been put out on Beta, VHS, DVD, Digital and Blu-Ray for fans to own and watch over and over. The score has also been released on vinyl, cassette, CD and digital! Over the years I have owned all types of cool items that Michael Myers has been on with some of my favorites being the score done by John Carpenter on CD, the McFarlane action figure and the Atari 2600 Video Game cart. So if you’re a fan of Halloween and enjoy collecting horror merch, there is so much great stuff out in the world for you to collect…I also recommend the paperback adaptations as they are amazing and great reads as I had them growing up and can remember reading them on dark nights.

Halloween has always been a very special film to me as it like Psycho introduced me to the world of Slasher Films and really opened my eyes to Horror Movies that did not have werewolves, vampires, phantoms or Frankenstein’s Monster in them. I also need to credit the Friday The 13th movies and Horror Host show Commander USA’S Groovie Movies for that as well. But now we are at the point of this update where we must take a look at the comic series based on Halloween that was put out by Chaos Comics. This is one of those comic series that when issue one was out, I made sure to have Mavericks save me back a copy and they did and in fact I still own that copy to this day. I can remember reading the copy and enjoying it.  That was 18 years ago so it will be cool to see if I still enjoy it as much. I was able to buy off issues 2 and 3 off Ebay many years back and oddly enough am just getting around to reading them! I want to also remind you readers that I am grading these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well these comics stays to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. So with that let’s dive into the Chaotic world of Halloween on this Halloween.

Halloween # 1  ***
Released in 2000    Cover Price $2.95    Chaos Comics    # 1 of 1

Survivor Tommy Doyle is now grown up and writing a book about serial killer Michael Myers and heads three hours away from his home to pick up old case files written by Dr. Sam Loomis for research. Before Tommy arrives, the doctor who is waiting for him is killed by Michael Myers who is lurking in the dark as Tommy comes and goes and no one finds the murdered body of the doctor as Myers has pinned it to the back of the door. Once back home Tommy starts to read the files and finds out that Loomis wanted to separate young Michael from the other young kids at the asylum and even with the help of Dr. Jennifer Hill (who Loomis is starting to have a relationship with) they could not get it to happen, and even after he attacks and almost all the other kids around him die, they keep Michael around others as he can never be connected to the deaths. Finally after years of terror, Michael kills Jennifer Hill and makes it look like a suicide and this makes Loomis forever be the person who will be the thorn in Michael’s side and be the one who tries to keep him locked up forever. As Tommy finishes part of the files, Michael Myers shows up in his home and tries to murder him, but Tommy is able to shoot him as well as set his face on fire and knocking him out of the window! But like before as Tommy looks down from the broken window, Michael Myers is missing.

It’s hard to believe that Michael Myers and the Halloween Horror Movie series first made their way to the comic book world in 2000 way after the likes of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, Pinhead, Norman Bates, Chucky and Leatherface! And even more crazy, it was Chaos Comics who finally brought him to Horror Comic readers! The plot of this first issue has Tommy Doyle, a survivor of the 1978 babysitter massacre grown up and now wanting to write a book and dive into the history of the killer Michael Myers who is now back and targeting Tommy! The other cool thing is that this issue showcases the files of Dr. Sam Loomis with him trying his best to warn everyone that Michael Myers even as a kid was a danger to others and shows that at one time he was in love and engaged to a fellow doctor who was killed by Michael who made it looked like a suicide. Tommy Doyle is a very focused man who wants to write the best book about his would be murderer and when faced with the fact he has been targeted by the mask killer again he snaps into action and takes the fight to his attacker. Sam Loomis as always is a hero who has his sights on Michael as he knows that the young man is a cold, evil killer who will do so over and over if and when he gets the chance. Having both Loomis and Tommy in this comic really ties it into the film series as both are featured in the first film and both have gone on to be in some of the films sequels. The rest of the workers at the asylum are fooled by Michael and his silent act, besides Jennifer Hill who kind of trusts the words of Loomis but also just becomes a victim to the pure evil youngster who targets her to get as Loomis who is his doctor. Michael Myers as a youngster and as a masked un-killable adult is a pure evil killing machine that is silent and brutal and is the ultimate in slasher killers and one heck of a great Horror Comic bad guy. The comic has some great kills and does have some blood, and while bloody, it’s not over done and not a total gorehound’s dream but will please fans of early slasher films. The cover for this issue has a classic movie photo of Michael Myers and is pretty cool and eye catching for fans of the film and the interior art is good and done by David Brewer and has a classic late 90’s style look. Over all this is a pretty great comic that does a fantastic job of blending the past and present and shows that Halloween was long overdue for a comic series. Oh and I have to say that this comic holds up for me as I enjoyed it back in 2000 when released and enjoyed it now in 2018!

Halloween II # 1  **1/2
Released in 2001    Cover Price $2.99     Chaos Comics     # 1 of 1

Tommy Doyle grabs his gun and heads to the old Myers house as he thinks that’s where Michael will return to after getting set on fire, shot and knocked out of the window. As Tommy Makes his way there, Richie Castle, a man who also came face to face with Michael in his youth, has had his life in ruin since then, as he knows he came face to face with evil and on this night wants to set the Myers house on fire! While across town Tommy runs into Keith and Lonnie who are friends of Richie and have spent their lives making fun of Tommy and his quest to hunt down the boogeyman. While Ritchie is killed in the Myers house by accident by former Sheriff Leigh Brackett who thought he was Michael and has now taken the body to hide in a field is followed by Tommy who has gotten away from his bullies.  The pair talk about the true history of the town and how it’s filled with Samhain worshipers who are the ones who made Michael the way he is and that his babysitter the old woman Blankenship is one of the leaders of the cult! Meanwhile back at the Myers house Michael brutally kills Lonnie and Keith who had shown up in order to find Ritchie who owed them weed. While back in the field Tommy and Brackett are attacked by the cult who tie them up and keep them prisoner in the basement with Blankenship wanting to kill them and the priest wanting to let them go. Michael is on his way to the church basement as the priest sets Brackett and Tommy free just in time as Michael shows up and kills the priest and stabs Brackett. Tommy is able to once more set Michael on fire and push him into a power box electrocuting him and allowing himself to pick up Brackett and escape the now burning church only to run into the cultist outside. Our issue ends with Tommy being blamed for all the current murders and fires and is sitting in an asylum figuring out a plan to escape and stop Michael Myers once and for all.

This second issue is good…but not as good as the first as this time around they added in much of the plot twists of “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” with the whole Thorn Cult.  While I don’t mind the cult aspect, I did feel they took away lots of panel time from the main star of this comic Michael Myers. The plot of this issue has Tommy Doyle on the trail of Michael running into Brackett, former town sheriff, and together they want to stop the masked killer but soon find themselves at the mercy of a cult who has protected Michael for decades and who will do whatever it takes to cover for him and try and control his rage. This time around Tommy Doyle is way more focused and is ready to take the fight to Michael, plus he is a likable character who brings a touch of the classic Halloween to this comic series. It’s also great to see Sheriff Leigh Brackett back as he really does have a bone to pick with Michael as he killed is daughter Annie in 1978 and now is back in town with revenge on his mind. Ritchie, Lonnie and Keith are the goofy younger kids from the first film that tell Tommy that the Boogeyman is coming for him, and in this, they are still very mean spirited adults who all get murdered for being terrible people doing terrible things at the wrong house. Blankenship and the cultist are all cold blooded people who will do anything for the spirit of Samhain and that includes murder, kidnapping and framing others for their crimes. Michael Myers is as always an unstoppable killing machine who’s only goal is to kill and kill some more. This issue ups the blood and gore as many of people meet their end by Michaels knife, and it really feels like a 80’s style slasher film! The cover on this issue is great and eye catching to not only Halloween fans but also fans of Horror Comics in general. Jerry Beck this time around does the interior art and I think it’s better than the art in issue one as this one seems darker and more independent in style. Over all we once more have a great issue that builds up a great cliffhanger that comic readers had to wait a year in order to see how it all works out. So let’s not wait a year ourselves and see what the third and final issue has in store for us.

Halloween III # 1  **
Released in 2001     Cover Price $2.99     Chaos Comics     # 1 of 1

Tommy Doyle has been in the asylum for two years now for the “murders” of Ritchie Castle and Brackett, and on this day he finds out that he is to be killed by the orderlies in order to make it look like a suicide via orders from the cult, but lucky for him he is able to fight back and escape. Meanwhile back in Haddonfield, survivor of the 1978 massacre and now reporter Lindsey Wallace is looking into the disappearance of Laurie Strode who went missing after changing her name and becoming a headmistress at a California academy and was attacked by Michael Myers. She also learns that the bodies of the three victims of the 1978 massacre have been stolen and that Tommy has escaped the asylum! Tommy of course meets up with Lindsey who has the private diaries of Dr. Loomis, and they talk about Laurie Strode being Michael’s Sister. But before they can come up with a plan they are attacked by Michael who ends up chasing Lindsey out of the house and down the street and right into the old Myers house. Once inside, Michael tries and kills Lindsey but Tommy comes rushing in and stabs and removes the mask to find that Laurie Strode is now crazy and has killed her brother back in California when he came for her and she as well dug up her friends and has taken over at being the Boogeyman! Tommy and Laurie have a struggle and both fall out of a window with Tommy dying and Laurie is now an inmate at an asylum not speaking a word and bidding her time to escape like her brother before her. Lindsey is left to wonder is evil real or was it all just metal illness in the Myers family.

This third and final issue in the Chaos Comic Halloween series does its best to try and tie in “Halloween H20” to the rest of the series and adds a two year gap in the story from issue “2” and itself. The plot of this issue has both youngsters Tommy and Lindsey who survived the 1978 killing spree of Michael Myers coming back together as adults only to be attacked again by Myers who this time around is not Michael but his sister Laurie who was the one who kept them save from the first attack! Tommy in this issue is a doomed man as the cult wants him dead as does the Boogeyman and he gives his life to save his childhood friend.  Once more Tommy makes a great hero in this comic even though he also walks the line of being crazy. Lindsey Wallace is a great reporter now who as well has become obsessed with the legacy of terror of Michael Myers and wants to write a big report about him, and she as well finds that she has the will to fight when pushed by the masked killer. The cult members this time around take a back seat and are only at the start of the issue as they want to murder Tommy and pass it off as a suicide. Michael Myers sadly is nowhere in site as he is “dead” by the hands of his sister Laurie Strode who is now wearing the mask and wanting to go on a killing rampage in her old hometown. This is the twist I dislike about this comic series as with issue 1 and 2 we have Michael Myers doing what he does best and that’s slashing and stabbing people who are in his way, with this third issue we lose Michael and have to believe that Laurie has lost her mind and has taken the spirit of Samahin in her and is now a cold blooded killer…and to that I say no thanks as Laurie to me is best being the one who wants nothing more than to get away from her past and her mask wearing brother. By turning Laurie into a killer, they also undid all the heroic stuff she did in the first, second and H20 films and just made her feel so generic. The issue also has very little blood and gore and while it’s around, it almost feels like a PG-13 movie making it the least bloody in the series. The cover for this issue is pretty great and showcases Michael Myers with a full moon. Handling the interior art for this issue is Justiniano, and while it’s okay, I would also say it’s my least favorite in the series. Over all this third and final issue in the series is a little of a letdown and the build up to this issue was so good and we got a lame payout in this Horror Comic reader’s opinion. Below is some artwork from all three issues to show you the styles of each artist and I must say while the ending is a little bit of a letdown I do recommend tracking down this series and given it a read as the first two issues are very solid.

It would be seven years after the comic by Chaos before Michael Myers would return to the world of comics thanks to Devils Due…but those comics are for another update for another year. I also hope that you readers went and seen the new Halloween film in cinemas because by doing so, maybe we can get a new batch of sequels made and have Michael Myers be a box office draw again at the cinema! Also thanks for spending a part of your Halloween with me as I really do look forward to doing these updates on this day even if this year we did something a little different. For our next update we are leaving the world of horror behind and will stark our countdown to Thanksgiving with a forgotten superhero with this year’s being one from the pages of Mad and it being Captain Klutz! So until then read a Horror Comic or three, watch a slasher film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. And oh yeah remember you cannot kill the Boogeyman even if you shoot him six times.

Destructor The Mighty Atlas Masked Crime Fighter!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anne Francis Stars In…Our Look At Forbidden Planet

Pop quiz time, Rotten Inkers! Can you name the ten films that are referred to in Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Science Fiction Double Feature”? It’s okay, I’ll give you a minute to sing through it in your head. Done? Alright. Even if you didn’t get all of them, I can bet that one you did catch was in the chorus. Sing it with me, “Anne Francis stars in Forbidden Planet.” This musical exercise is my less than clever way to introduce today’s update, all about seminal science fiction film Forbidden Planet. I’m Juliet, occasional co-pilot here on Rotten Ink. As you may guessed by now, having read my prior contributions to Rotten Ink, although I have massive love and respect for the horror genre, my earliest and continuing love is for science fiction. If Matt’s the Monster Kid of our house, I’m the spaceships and robots kid for sure. So it’s perfect that we’re about to dive into a film, and the comic books adaptations of it, that not only feature spaceships and robots but really influenced all of the spaceship and robot things to follow it. We’ll start with some history.

Forbidden Planet was released in 1956 by MGM and was shot in Eastmancolor and CinemaScope. It was written by Irving Block and Allen Adler (who was blacklisted from Hollywood during the second part of the Red Scare), directed by Fred M. Wilcox and stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen. It was the first science fiction film to take place entirely on an interstellar planet that was far from Earth, and the first to show humans traveling faster than the speed of light in a ship of their own creation. These are two of the many reasons Gene Rodenberry names Forbidden Planet as one of his main inspirations for Star Trek. You can also see its visual and design influence on the Star Wars franchise. And remember, this film was released 13 years before the moon landing and five years before cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to travel to space.

Another first for Forbidden Planet is its score. It was the film to have an entirely electronic music score, though at the time, it was referred to as “electronic tonalities” to avoid music guild fees. The composers, Bebe and Louis Barron were discovered accidentally when an MGM producer was visiting New York and saw them perform at a beatnik club and then hired them on the spot to create music for Forbidden Planet. Many people think that the pre-Moog synthesizer electronic drones were created with a theremin, similar to part of the score for Hitchcock’s Spellbound, but the effect was actually created by electronic circuits and modulators that Louis Barron built himself. For this and their work, Heavenly Menagerie, which is considered the first piece of electronic music committed to magnetic tape, the Barrons are considered pioneers of electronic music.

tumblr_om0c7qOxTL1v61b0eo4_500.gif

Robby the Robot is notable for both his design and characterization. Robby’s design was developed from initial ideas and sketches by MGM production designer Arnold “Buddy” Gillespie, art director Arthur Lonergan, and writer Irving Block. The concepts were refined by production illustrator Mentor Huebner and perfected by MGM staff mechanical designer Robert Kinoshita, and Robby was built by the prop department. For his time, Robby sported one of the most complex robot designs moviegoers had ever seen, comparable in design only to Maria, the Menschmaschine in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (another of my favorite robot films). MGM spent a reported $125,000 on Robbie, which with inflation is about $1.1 million today, and compared to the overall budget of Forbidden Planet, he remains of the one most of expensive single props compared to the overall budget of the film he’s in. The suit itself is unique; made of three pieces that completely surrounded the actor and contained all of Robby’s electronics, it could be filmed from any angle without a reset unlike Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still, whose suit had to be reset for different angles to cover special fastenings that allowed for movement.

As a character, Robby was one of the first science fiction robots to have a distinct personality and to be considered an integral supporting character in his film. Again, Maria from Metropolis and Gort are good precursor comparisons. Contrary to Forbidden Planet’s poster and much of the advertising leading up to the film, Robby isn’t the villain, and in fact, follows a version of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics throughout the film including (and most important to the climax of the story), the fact that he cannot kill a human being. He is portrayed as physically strong, benevolent, extremely loyal to Alta and Dr. Morbius, and, at times, he’s a bit sassy.

forbidden_art1Robby Anne Francis9115ptDPsDL._SL1500_.jpg

It’s unknown whether Robby takes his name from Fantastic Island’s Robbie – a mechanical decoy used by Doc Savage or from the Asimov story of the same name, which was published in 1940. However, after Forbidden Planet was released, Robby became a pop culture icon. He had another starring film role in MGM’s 1957 movie The Invisible Boy and makes a cameo in Gremlins. He appeared in many TV shows, including the The Addams Family, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mork and Mindy. He and and several props from Forbidden Planet were used in the “Uncle Sam” episode of The Twilight Zone (the original Rod Serling version), but Robby donned an alternate head for that appearance, based on one of the original, rejected models created for Forbidden Planet. Robby also appeared in several episodes of Lost in Space, in which he battled Robot B-9 (aka Robot), who he’s sometimes confused for. In 2004, Robby was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame.

If you haven’t seen Forbidden Planet, by now you’re probably wondering what the heck it’s about. Based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the story follows the crew of the starship C-57D, lead by Commander Adams, as they travel to Altair IV with the goal of discovering what happened to an Earth expedition sent to the planet twenty years prior. When they arrive on the planet, they find its only inhabitants are Dr. Morbius, his beautiful daughter Altaira, and Robby, their robot servant. But something sinister lurks on the planet, and Dr. Morbius is keen to keep it a secret. I’ll leave the story at that for now as we’ll dive further into it when we review Innovation’s comic book adaptation of the film.

As I mentioned above, I am a lifelong scifi fan, and I’m particularly fond of space stories and robot stories so it wasn’t hard to fall in love with Forbidden Planet. I first saw it when I was around thirteen years old. In 1996, MGM re-released the film on VHS and laserdisc with a special widescreen presentation for its 40th anniversary. My dad got the VHS as a gift, and one day I decided to check it out. At the time, I didn’t know about Forbidden Planet’s place in science fiction history, how really important it was the genre and how it influenced the creators of many of the things I already loved. What I knew back then was that it was a great movie. It’s lush, beautiful and puts you completely into its world. All of the characters are smart, including Altaira who is naive about certain things, having never lived with other humans, but can handle her own with the ship’s crew. Robby has such personality, and his look, as well as that of the other props, is yet another argument for practical effects and design over CGI. The story gets at all of the great science fiction questions of forbidden knowledge and its power, the ethics of being an outsider in someone else’s world and how far artificial intelligence should be allowed to go without human intervention. Forbidden Planet instantly took a space in my top five all time movies where it’s remained ever since.

300px-ForbiddenPlanet1

After Forbidden Planet was released, Robby the Robot became a pop culture icon and a favorite for collectors of science fiction merchandise. He’s been a toy, a Funko pop figure, a talking bank, and a bobble head, among other things (I own all of those, by the way). There are also model kits for both Robby and the ship. The iconic Forbidden Planet poster (a reproduction of which hangs above my bed) has made its way onto lunch boxes, t-shirts, and variety of print formats. The film itself has been released on VHS, laserdisc, DVD and BluRay, and the soundtrack is available on CD and both vintage and new edition vinyl.

In 1992, Innovation Comics, in association with Turner Entertainment, released a four part comic book adaptation of Forbidden Planet.  These comics are the subject of today’s update, and Robby reminds us that here are at Rotten Ink, comics are graded on a scale of 1 to 4 stars and that we are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s prep to board our spacecraft and journey to the Forbidden Planet.

863153

Forbidden Planet  # 1   ****
Released in 1992      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 1 of 4

Commander J.J. Adams and his crew have been traveling the vast unknown of space for over a year on a mission to find out what happened to the crew of the spaceship Bellerophon, sent to Altair 4 twenty years prior.  Upon approaching the planet’s orbit, Adams’ ship receives a message not to land, but they do so anyway.  At first the planet appears to have no trace of any survivors of the Bellerophon, but the crew is eventually greeted by Robby the Robot, who takes Adams and his command crew, which includes Doc Ostrow, to meet his master Dr. Morbius.  Morbius is cautious, if not downright suspicious of the newcomers, informing them that, while he is the only survivor from the Bellerophon, he is not in need of rescue.  The issue ends as Adams and his companions meet Altaira, Morbius’ nineteen year old daughter who was born on the planet.

This first issue, titled Relief Ship, is a really nice start to our adaptation of Forbidden Planet.  David Campiti’s script follows the beginning of the film faithfully and closely, so you don’t miss anything that’s been shortened or adapted to work in comics.  Daerick Gröss’ painted artwork really captures the distinct look and feel of the film, and the way the panels are structured loosely on larger, more atmospheric backgrounds is really interesting.  I’ve not seen that done in other books.  My only hesitation is that occasionally Innovation’s adaptation books get too artsy and lose the story completely, and/or worse, the art slows down the pacing of the storytelling and the title is cancelled before we get a complete adaptations (I’m looking at you, Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour).  So I’m proceeding cautiously because I don’t want that to happen with Forbidden Planet.  Hopefully the association with Turner for the publishing helped move things along a bit, and we’ll get the full story in these four issues.  So I guess it’s a good time to move on to Issue 2 and see if that’s the case.

863189

Forbidden Planet # 2 ***
Released in 1992      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 2 of 4

Commander Adams and crew learn more about Altaira, Dr. Morbius’ daughter who we (and they) met at the end of issue #1.  Altaira is nineteen and was born on the planet.  Until this point, she had never met a human other than her father, and that combined with mysterious properties of the planet have somehow given her the ability to communicate with the animals residing on Altair 4.  This begins to change, however, as Altaira becomes intrigued by the crew of young men currently stationed on her planet, in particular Commander Adams, who at first spurns her rather naive advances but is ultimately unable to resist her charms.  Dr. Morbius is concerned for his daughter and for what her newly awakened passions might mean for all of their fate.

This is another great adaptation issue that, although it moves a few things around from the movie for a better page flow, once again stays faithful to the film’s story.  This issue, called The Innocence of Altaira, focuses on Morbius’ daughter.  This particular storyline is really interesting in both the film and the comic, and takes a scifi approach to the age-old story arc about the loss of innocence through the gaining of knowledge, either literal (which we’ll see more of soon) or sexual…or both.  Although she isn’t drawn to look like Ann Francis, the comic book version of Altaira is faithful to the film version, both highly intelligent and a bit naive and with a sassy relationship with Robby.  Once again the painted artwork is fantastic and full of the vibrant colors we expect from this portion of the film.  We’re at the halfway mark for this comic book series, and I think, if done correctly, based on our current pacing we could get the full film by the end of issue 4.  So onward, to Issue 3.

1077105.jpg

Forbidden Planet # 3 ***
Released in 1992      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 3 of 4

It’s time for Dr. Morbius to finally explain the truth to Commander Adams and Doc Ostrow, that Altair 4 does, as they’ve been suspecting, hold a dark secret.  Taking them through a passageway in his office, Dr. Morbius leads the spacemen into an old laboratory belonging to the Krell, a long dead race of super beings who inhabited Altair 4 in the planet’s ancient past.  The Krell were highly advanced and had managed to harness the power of their own minds to build a great civilization and in turn use the machines they created to further enhance their minds. But in doing so, they unlocked the Id, a powerful monster born from their own thoughts that was eventually responsible for the downfall of the Krell and the deaths of the crew of the Bellerophon.  Morbius is concerned that through his own actions and the arrival of Adams and his crew, the monster has once again awakened and will destroy them all.

In this issue we get the Krell mythology and the origin of the Id monster, and again, although a few things were slightly rearranged for the comic, by and large this reveal worked in the comic just like it did in the film.  The one minor place where I felt like the comic felt a little short, however, is that I don’t feel like the artwork has the same impact as the graphics in the film when it came to depicting just how vast, advanced and intricate the Krell technology was.  Don’t get me wrong, it beautiful artwork, but in the film, you could really feel the size and scope based on the both the design and the camera set up.  But don’t let my complaints fool you into thinking this isn’t a great comic with great artwork, it really is – and, unless something goes completely haywire next issue, it looks like we are poised to get the whole film adaptation in the scheduled four issues.  So let’s get to it!

627819.jpg

Forbidden Planet # 4 ****
Released in 1993      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 4 of 4

With the secrets of the Krell revealed, the Monster of the Id is growing stronger and threatens to destroy all of Altair 4.  Commander Adams and his crew are left with a choice: to flee the planet or to stay and fight.  Morbius, knowing that his own dabbling in Krell technology is in part to blame for the monster, encourages them to leave and to take Altaira with them.  As they try to make their escape, the monster attacks and Robby is unable to defend them because of a protocol that prevents him from harming Morbius or his family — you see, the Morbius has become part of the collective Id from which the monster is formed. So all hope is lost for the doctor.  Altaira and the recovered Robby agree to flee with Adams and his crew, and the ship blasts off into space as the planet implodes.

And there we have the epic conclusion to the comic book adaptation of Forbidden Planet, and yes, Innovation made it happen in the scheduled four issues.  This final issue holds the bulk of the action as our heroes must escape Altair 4 as the Id Monster grows stronger threatening to destroy them and the entire planet.  In this issue we see Altaira making the difficult choice to leave her father and Morbius having to reckon with the consequences of the damage he’s caused.  We also see Robby put to the test in a great example of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics when he cannot kill the monster because it and Dr. Morbius have become one in the same.  The was a great conclusion to a great comic book adaptation of the film.  From the script to the artwork, everything was done with care and respect for the source material which makes it a great read for fans and newcomers alike.  Take a look below at some of Daerick Gröss’ artwork.

ForbiddenPlanetSccreenShot3ForbiddenPlanetScreenShot2ForbiddenPlanet_ScreenShot1

Often comic book adaptations of films are really hit or miss, but Innovation’s Forbidden Planet is definitely a hit for the casual or diehard fan.  Be sure to track this one down and check it out.  For our next update, we’re leaving outer space and landing back in the U.S.A. for Rotten Ink’s annual Fourth of July update wherein Matt will return to once again look at a title with a patriotic theme.  This time around he’s going with a classic, and I do mean classic – a reprint of the very first issue of Captain America.  So get your grill out and your sparklers ready (though keep them away from comic books for safety’s sake!) and get ready for our next update here on Rotten Ink.Captain America Logo 00

Who The Heck Is Drastik? I Mean Really Who Is He?

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and to our first update in the countdown to Thanksgiving! Just like covering a Hercules comic series on Thanksgiving, covering a Forgotten Hero is now a tradition for November, and for this one I am picking a hero from 2004 that seems to really be lost with time as finding information on him has been dang near impossible and I am talking about Drastik! As I said his name, I can hear the crickets from you readers as many of you I am sure just said out loud “Who?” and maybe, just maybe, this update will inform you a little about he is and what he is about. So sit back, relax and enjoy this fine November as we take a journey into the comic world of Drastik….and I will say this will be a very short journey!

The company who made Drastik was called Critical Element, and they appear to have had their home base in California.  The company was owned and run by Robert Rowe and by all research and accounts that I could find, this is their only comic release! When looking up Robert Lowe to see what he has done in the world of comics, it as well turned up to be a dead end unless he is one of the following people with the same name: Robert Rowe the writer of music and audio research, or Robert Rowe who is a real estate agent for RE/MAX in Columbus, Ohio, or he could even be Robert Rowe the actor in such films as The Living And The Dying and The Stone House! So I am going to guess that it’s none of the above and that this Robert Rowe is just a normal independent comic writer and creator who believed in his comic and character and opened up a comic company to try and get his vision out into the world and into the hands of comic readers! The comic artist on this book is James E. Lyle, who is an independent artist who has done work for such companies as Solson Publications, IDW and Zenescope and is a journeyman of comics. But I have heard that artist Fred Carrillo also is said to have done the art for this comic…so who knows, but I’ll soon find out once I read this comic for the first time. And it appears that comic legend Gil Kane did the cover art, and all classic comic readers will know him from his work with Marvel and DC. So that’s about all I could dig up on the folks who brought this comic alive and again I have to praise the fact that this small company tried to make a mark on the comic world and did so no matter how small it was.

This update for some reason also reminds me of an odd piece of superhero merchandise that was released in 1975 and was a rock opera based around Spider-Man! This musical release was called “Spider-Man: Rock Reflections Of A Superhero” and shows that Stan Lee would whore out the mighty Marvel characters to anyone who had cash and would offer him a place on the project –  of course Lee narrates this musical journey of Spider-Man. This rock opera is about Peter Parker’s struggle of being a college student and a web slinger superhero and is a mixed bag of singers and musical artists making this come alive with such names as Marty Nelson, William Kirkland and Terence P. Minogue and characters that make appearances include Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. And I should also note that one of the funniest things about this is they act as if other Marvel Superheroes are playing the instruments as they have Incredible Hulk on drums, Luke Cage on bass, Silver Surfer on keyboards, Conan The Barbarian on strings and many of the other heroes lending their talents. That’s what I love about the good old days of comics, so many off the wall merchandise was made in order to spread the heroes to new set of eyes and try and bring in new readers. This weird Rock Opera was released on vinyl and late on CD, and after hearing about it I made sure to track down a CD copy of it and I must say this is one weird and wild ride and it should be turned into a stage musical play as I would 100% pay to see it! Do yourself a favor, if you enjoy Spider-Man and cheesy 70’s Rock N Roll, find this CD and give it a listen.

So here we are at the point of looking at the comic Drastik showing that this character made a very small mark on the world of comic heroes. So with a chill in the air this cold November day, I would like to think my pal Jason Young for getting me this comic from the Gem City Comic Con and would like to once more remind you that I grade this on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story! So if you readers are ready, I am as well as this will be the first time I read this comic, and I am looking forward to seeing what its really about!

Drastik # 1  **
Released in 2004     Cover Price $2.95     Critical Element     # 1 of 1

Drastik busts into a lab where an evil doctor was hatching an evil scheme and kills him for his soon to be crimes. We then cut to Los Angeles where a bank is being robbed, and the robbers decide to kill the security guard on duty! Meanwhile, while on a walk, Drastik hears the gun shots as well as the ambulance on its way to the bank and rushes there to make the robbers pay for their crime. As the robbers try and get away, our robot hero Drastik stops their getaway car and blows it up with one of the robbers still inside! As the others run away, he goes and checks and finds that the guard is in fact dead.  The police want the robbers badly, as does Drastik who is hoping to track the others down as well as the person who hired them to rob the bank. The robbers decide to set up Drastik and try to smash him in-between cars and this goes south when the robot jumps out of the way and is able to kill the robbers as well as get the name of their boss who he kills with a shotgun! Next Drastik swears that he is going to kill a serial killer calling himself the Ape-Mask Strangler and finds him and knocks him out with one punch!

This is a weird superhero comic that is very much pro vigilante justice as our robotic hero goes on a one bot killing spree of criminals! The plot of this comic is simple: Drastik has zero tolerance for criminals and goes into a rage when robbers kill a guard during a bank robbery and spends little time hunting them down and killing them and even finding their boss and murdering him all the while he also kills a mad doctor and a killer! It’s a very simple plot with not much depth to it as it was very cheesy stuff and feels very dated for 2004 when it was released with such a simple story. Drastik is a robot who acts like a human but has an ego that will not allow him to fail in his quest to stop crime for good, he is super powerful and smart and seems to have no emotions for those he kills but does for the victims of their crimes. He also is very much a smart ass as he has puns and jokes for the evil doers he is killing and for the most part is a pretty likable hero if you like vigilante justice! His friend in this comic who only is seen walking with him down the streets of LA is Valori Vane a woman he saved from a crime scene who know acts as his closest friend, she is not flushed out at all and is just kind of a background player. The bank crooks are just normal gangster looking criminals who are being lead by a homeless guy and none of them really put up a fight and all meet their end in the name of justice. The Mad Doctor and Ape-Mask Strangler are barely in it and we get no feel for who they are and how bad they were! That’s the main downside to this comic, NONE of the bad guys seem like they even stand a chance against this killing machine of a hero, and with no threat comes no suspense and that leads to an average independent hero comic adventure. The cover is pretty plan and is clearly just a sketch done by iconic comic artist Gil Kane set over a yellow background, but while simple it is eye catching due to the bright color and cool character design. The interior art is done by another iconic comic artist Fred Carrillo and is great classic comic book art and I really dig it as it reminded me of the comics I grew up reading. The story and character creation was by Robert Rowe and it makes me if he or some one he loved was the victim of a crime and this kill all the bad guys character was created as a way to deal with it…makes me wonder. But over all this was a fun average comic book that was a fun read and a great one to share with you readers as he really is a forgotten hero! Check out the art below to see the style of Carrillo and the classic look of it.

While Drastik is not a household name and is not ever going to get a big budget movie based on him, he still made is tiny mark in the world of comics and added his own brand of justice for readers to enjoy. It’s very weird to think that this character never got a second issue, and in fact, I don’t think he ever appeared again after this issue! But thanks again goes to Jason Young for giving me this comic as it was a fun one to cover on this countdown to Thanksgiving update and introduced me to a new character I would have never know was created. For our next update, we are walking away from a Forgotten Hero and back into the world of From Horror Movie To Horror Comic as we will be talking about the horror, comedy musical Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes! So make sure to join me back here for that one.  Until next time, read a comic or three, call a friend or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Oh yeah and until next time avoid tomatoes ’cause who knows, maybe they are trying to eat you!

NES Challenge: The Adventures of Bayou Billy

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! I am sure you’re wondering why we are here in the bayou of Louisiana in the middle of gator ally.  Well, we are here waiting on the one and only Bayou Billy! So you readers know what that means, we are at another NES Challenge.  This time around we will be playing The Adventures Of Bayou Billy on the good old RES (Retro-Bit Entertainment System) to see if I can beat it once and for all! Bayou Billy is a game for the Nintendo that almost every kid I knew owned, and not a one of them could beat it much like Dick Tracy and Goonies II that seemed almost impossible to beat and made for many hours of frustrating play. My cousin Stephen Alexander hates this game as he also has never beat it and in fact can barely get off the first level, and he is a pretty good old school NES game player with over the last few years beating such titles as The Karate Kid, Monster In My Pocket, Jaws, Karnov, Metal Fighter and Super Mario Bros, to name a few. So as you can see I have a pretty tough challenge ahead, but I am up for it as for this play through I am going to pig out on Cajun style food and drink to get me into the mindset of Billy! So let’s watch out for gators and see if we can lend a hand to Bayou Billy as he tries to save his lady from the evil grasp of Godfather Gordon!

the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-cool-promo-art

In 1989 Konami unleashed The Adventures of Bayou Billy onto the masses in North America, and a cult game was born. The game is a hybrid of side scrolling beat-‘em up, jeep driving and light gun shooter that follows Billy from level to level as he fights his way through a total of 9 of them. The plot of this adventure is pretty simple: you take control of Billy West, a former U.S. soldier turned vigilante who goes by the name Bayou Billy who is going up against crime boss Godfather Gordon’s smuggling operation.  For this, the crime lord kidnaps his girlfriend Annabelle Lane! This of course is a trap and leads Billy on a butt kicking New Orleans high stakes adventure to get her back and to stop Godfather Gordon’s reign of terror. The game was originally released in Japan in 1988 by Konami under the title “Mad City.”  When coming to America, the game went through some changes as they decided to make the game way harder, added in voices and laughter plus changed some background layouts & colors! The game was a pretty big hit for the NES and is one that most kids of the late 80’s had in their game collection.

the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-nes-screen-1the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-nes-box-coverthe-adventures-of-bayou-billy-nes-screen-2

I first learned of The Adventures Of Bayou Billy thanks to TV commercials that aired on TV during Saturday Morning Cartoons as well as after school toons and can remember being pretty hyped to play the game as the hero reminded me of the movie character Crocodile Dundee. My parents decided that we did not need The Adventures Of Bayou Billy in our collection and did not buy our household a copy, but lucky for me, neighborhood kid brothers Jeremy and Aaron did and they would invite me over to play the game or try to as I can remember it being so hard that it became almost a challenge between us to try and beat it…we as young kids failed. The next run in with The Adventures Of Bayou Billy came when my cousins Dino and Norman had the game, and once more we played it and failed and I even borrowed it from them to try and beat it and could not even get to the final battle with Godfather Gordon. When I was older, I ended up buying a copy of the game from a second had store around here called Replay Media, and this time around my good pal Jason Gilmore and I tried to beat it and just like before, we failed…so as you can see, failure and Bayou Billy go hand and hand for me as a gamer. And just last year I bought a copy of the game complete in box from Amazon just for this update, cause now at 37 years old I am looking forward to trying to beat this game for the first time…but to be honest I would be surprised if by the end of the day I get to the end screen…I know I have no faith in my abilities of being an old school player. Check out below for a look at the copy of the game I will be playing as well as its box and booklet.

my-the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-nes-in-box

The Adventures Of Bayou Billy TV commercial was one I remember as it had an actor playing Billy in the heart of the swamp wrestling with an alligator all the while he was telling us about the game play of it being three styles in one from side scroller, to driving to shooter, all the while doing a terrible and over the top bad Cajun accent. The alligator in most shots was a rubber one with one close up of a real one. This overly done and cheesy commercial worked on the youth at the time as it made this game a must have for kids as Konami built it up to be so grand that we just had to have it to impress our friends and to be cool on the playground.  Not to mention that we had to try to beat the amazing adventure that awaited us. Video game commercials like this were a great way for companies to get the attention of the youth who would see it and talk about it at school and with friends building a buzz around the game that caused many kids to bug their parents enough to get it. Nowadays I feel like YouTube and sites like IGN are the tools that spread the hype and game trailers to the target audiences. If you feel like having a good flashback or even want to see the commercial for the first time, check it out on YouTube and be ready for a laughable good 31 seconds with the one and only Bayou Billy.

the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-commercial-1the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-commercial-2the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-commercial-3

Besides the TV commercial, Konami pushed Bayou Billy by running sales on the hit game in toy store ads like Children’s Palace, Toys R Us and Kaybee Toys making it easier for kids to get the game by showing their parents the marked down sale price. They also made a handheld version to give young gamers another way to play the game besides on the NES and to get more money from what they saw as a franchise I am sure. Thinking about it now, I wonder why Konami never made a sequel to Bayou Billy as it would have been neat to have seen the character make the leap to the Super Nintendo or even the Sony Playstation. But any chance of Bayou Billy making a return with a new game on any video game systems is slim to none as Konami is a shell of a company they use to be and many of their workers have left them as they are focusing on gambling machines mostly…so sad.

kb-toys-ad-the-adventures-of-bayou-billythe-adventures-of-bayou-billy-handheldthe-adventures-of-bayou-billy-gordon

Bayou Billy also made the leap to the cartoon world as he appeared in two episodes of the 1989 cartoon series “Captain N: The Game Master” and was resident of Bayouland in the Videoland universe. In the cartoon, Billy had a pet gator named Loafer and helped main character Kevin Keene learn to survive in the swamp land as his game was one that Kevin could never beat, sounds like the story of many gamers’ lives. The episodes that Billy appeared in were called “How’s Bayou” and “Having A Ball,” and this once more showed that both Konami and Nintendo really wanted to push this game and title character to the moon by even adding him to their popular video game themed cartoon. The Billy character in the cartoon acted like the movie character Crocodile Dundee and this was a plan again, to help push the character as Mick Dundee was very popular in pop culture at the time. If you want to see these episodes, make sure to check out the Captain N: The Game Master complete series DVD boxset put out by Shout Factory, but be warned, it is out of print and carries a high price.

captain-n-the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-cartoon-1captain-n-the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-cartoon-2captain-n-the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-cartoon-3

Before we get to the NES Challenge and the Archie Comics Bayou Billy comic reviews, I would like to take a moment to take a look at the band Zebra and their first album that was self-titled as they were formed in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1975 and fit perfectly for this bayou themed update! The band members are Randy Jackson, who is the vocalist and guitarist, Guy Gelso on drums and Felix Hanemann on keyboards and bass, and this line up is still going to this day! They built their name playing clubs around Long Island, New York and covered songs by bands like Rush, Led Zeppelin and The Moody Blues, and this got the attention of Atlantic Records who signed them and released their self-titled album in 1983 making it a huge hit for the company and band. Over the years they released a few more albums via Atlantic like No Tellin’ Lies (1984), 3.V (1986) and Live (1990), but none of them did as well as their first release.  They were dropped in the early 90’s from Atlantic and took a break as a band while Randy Jackson made a side band he called Randy Jackson’s China Rain, but fans would be happy when Zebra would return in 1997 and in 2003 would release their final studio album to date Zebra IV. While not a band that is a household name, Zebra is still active and rocking clubs in New York and New Orleans showing that this band knows how to rock.

zebra-band

I decided to cruise around Kettering, Ohio in my 2004 Ford Mustang and listen to Zebra’s 1983 release, and on this day the weather was chilly with slight rain and the sound of Zebra was fitting for the smooth and peaceful ride. The first thing I noticed about this album is that it has a weird mix of styles.  The best way I can describe it is if you mixed bands like Keel, Asia, Alan Parsons Project and slightly Cinderella into a blender and poured it all into a glass that had the logo of the band Fastway on it! With that said, this is my type of rock n roll as I enjoy the sounds of 80’s rock, and singer Randy Jackson has the pipes much like Ron Keel of Keel and Dave King of Fastway. Many of the tracks on the disc are solid and great tunes with the two most famous tracks off the disc being the best and those are Who’s Behind The Door? and Tell Me What You Want with the latter being my favorite as it is catchy and has great guitar rifts. Another great track is Take Your Fingers From My Hair, a ballad that is soothing and well structured, so much so that band Dream Theater even did a cover of it back in 2009. I don’t want to spend too much time on this CD, but if you enjoy good clean 80’s metal, make sure to check this disc out as it’s a good one.

zebra-cd

I selected the day January 24, 2017 for my showdown with Adventures Of Bayou Billy, and for this epic day of another NES Challenge, I decided I needed food and drinks that fit the New Orleans bayou theme of the game. Juliet, whose family is from Louisiana, bought me some snacks that are favorites for the bayou like Zapp’s Potato Chips, and to drink I stuck to my classic ice water. She made some chicken and sausage jambalaya as sadly I am allergic to shrimp, and it slowly cooked in the crockpot. The weather outside was grey and cloudy with slight rain with the high of only 45 degrees so it was perfect to sit inside and try and beat this classic Nintendo game! Below is a picture of the jambalaya and Zapp’s that we ate during this epic NES Challenge.

jambalaya-and-zapps

I started my quest to beat this game at 12:00pm in the mindset that I had to beat this game as it has tormented me for years, but I must also say that doubt also was lingering as the visions of just how hard the game is kept creeping in as did the failure of my last NES Challenge of trying to beat Werewolf The Last Warrior. But I shook those thoughts off and fired up the RES, took the controller in my hands and began my quest to save Annabelle Lane from that evil crime lord Godfather Gordon! To my surprise, after only a few tries I was able to defeat the first level only dying a few times kicking at the alligators and moved onto the second level that was an easy shooter where I had to take on a helicopter while using my d-pad for the gun. The third level was the start of me having a real hard time with the stage boss who is big, mean, and ready to fling Billy around like a rag doll. After losing on stage 3 and wasting all my continues, I took a break and watched Hatchet III for the second time to keep with the New Orleans bayou feel of the day. I jumped back into my quest to save Annabelle after the movie, and I failed really hard as I was not in the groove and kept dying on stage one! I walked away for a moment, and Juliet gave it a shot and sadly she didn’t last long as she allowed Billy to be beat worst than S.D. Jones against King Kong Bundy in a WWF Wrestling match! I cleared my head of the butt whooping I had just taken, and after taking a deep breath, I turned on the RES for the last time of the day and got into the zone of trying like hell to help Bayou Billy get his girlfriend back! I started out strong once again kicking the crap out of the bad guys who are just hit sponges who take way too many hits, and after losing my cool after cheap enemy hits I came to the conclusion that this game is just way too hard for no reason and instead of busting a blood vessel to try and beat it I would rather just turn off the RES and sit back and relax and read some comics because this game was not worth the anger it induces.  All joking aside, this game was just too hard for this aging gamer to beat in one day. But with that said, I must say that the Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtators potato chips and the homemade jambalaya were fantastic and made this day of defeat a heck of a lot better!

bayou-billy-stage-2bayou-billy-in-my-resbayou-billy-stage-3

To no surprise I was unable to beat The Adventures of Bayou Billy as I find it to be one of the hardest games in the whole Nintendo library! But I need to give a shout out to all the henchmen and crazed animals who all tried their best to keep me away from their boss. I need to show some respect to Godfather Gordon, that man who made this adventure so hard to beat not only because of his toughness but also his ability to hire the right muscle to keep me and Billy at bay! I also need to speak about Gordon’s bodyguards Rocky and Rocco who show their power by stopping you into the ground like you were just a tiny ant under their boot. In other words, all these bad guys do their jobs of making this game almost impossible to beat very well! So here is to all of them for making this old school gamer once more walk away from his RES a defeated man.

rocky-and-roccobayou-billy-failgodfather-gordon

So while beating the game was a complete bust, I still was able to enjoy some good bayou style food and a fun filled silly day of playing a classic NES game on my RES while hanging out with my girlfriend Juliet! I also want to thank Konami for making this classic game because while it has tormented me for years, it still has added entertainment to my life. But now it’s time to tackle the Archie Comics series based on this video game that thanks to the team up of Lone Star Comics, Darkstar and Bell, Book and Comic I was able to collect, read and review for this NES Challenge Update. And as Bayou Billy dusts himself off after the butt kicking we both just took, he wants me to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So grab your giant Crocodile Dundee knife and let’s head back into the swamps and this time enjoy some comic books based on this video game adventurer Bayou Billy.

the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-comic-1

Adventures Of Bayou Billy # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989   Cover Price $1.00     Archie Comics   # 1 of 5

Bayou Billy is on his way to testify in court when he stops some street punks from robbing an old couple on vacation from New Jersey. Once in court the words Billy says and the fact he can point out the perpetrator who started some wicked fires named Hurricane Hank, leads to the pyro to be found guilty, and along with Assistant District Attorney Annabel Lee he is able to get one of Godfather Gordon’s henchmen off the streets. That night Annabel gets an anonymous call to meet some people who have the dirt on the Gordon Crime family only to find herself the target of a hit that leaves her shot and wounded, but luckily she knows karate and is able to steal the hitmen’s boat and finds herself weak at the doorstep of Bayou Billy’s home deep in the swamp. Godfather Gordon is mad at his son Rock Gordon for botching the hit as now they know Billy is now at her side. Rocco Gordon, Godfather’s stepson, comes up with an idea to send their mercenary team F.I.S.T to kill not only Annabel and Bayou Billy but also his Delta Force friends who were heading to the home to join their friend in the approaching war. Bayou Billy is joined by trap master Broadside, Tracker a Native America tracker and fighter and lastly the eye-patch wearing Sureshot who is a master of the bow and arrow and together they protect Annabel and defeat the likes of Mr. T.N.T and Cut Throat. In the end the battle leaves Bayou Billy’s swamp home destroyed but he and his team have mopped up some of Gordon’s top henchmen and saved the town’s Assistant District Attorney who is now out to get Godfather Gordon in a jail cell.

This first issue sets the groundwork that Bayou Billy is a bounty hunter who once was a Delta Force solider who still has war buddies and is a legend around New Orleans as criminals think that he can not be killed and will not die…hey wait, just like The Phantom! The story for this issue is that Annabel Lee has become a target of the Gordon Crime Family as she has been very outspoken about their crimes.  This leaves her the target of a hit that she is lucky to escape from, getting help from the town’s hero Bayou Billy who along with his own team are ready to tackle crime and bring it down. Bayou Billy is a little cocky yet very loyal and committed to doing the right thing.  You can tell he has a crush on Annabel Lee, who doesn’t have the same feelings for him. He has no fear and tackles trouble head on laughing off threats from baddies. His Delta Force buddies Sure Shot, Tracker and Broadside are loyal friends and clearly guys Billy can depend on for the coming turf war. Godfather Gordon and his two sons Rock and Rocco are pure evil crime lords who have their hand in all types of crimes and don’t care who they kill in order to get what they need and want. Their elite team called F.I.S.T is made up of all types of criminals from the hitmen Cut Throat and Creole all the way to helicopter pilot and gunner Wild Bill.  But while they are all skilled at what they do, they are just out classed by Billy and his group. Annabel Lee is a woman who wants to use the justice system to put criminals away and does a great job at doing so; she is also pretty and can defend her self as she as a green belt in martial arts. Over all this is a fun kid friendly adventure comic that takes some liberties with the video game it’s based on.  One of the major changes is that Rock and Rocco are the sons of Godfather Gordon and not his bodyguards. But while changes like that might upset The Adventures of Bayou Billy diehard fans, I can look over it, as I found they mixed action, drama, crime and war comic well to make for a kids comic that packs a gator sized bite. The cover is great and is a more cartoonish version of the NES cover box.  The interior art done by Amanda Connor is fantastic and she helps bring Bayou Billy to life on the comic pages. I should also note that The Adventures of Bayou Billy is apart of the Archie Adventure Series line and joined its place in history along side other titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, The Fly, Sonic The Hedgehog and ManTech Robot Warriors for delivering quality comics aimed toward early teen readers. But with issue # 1 being a great read, I am looking forward to seeing what issue # 2 has in store for us.

the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-comic-2

Adventures Of Bayou Billy # 2  **1/2
Released in 1989   Cover Price $1.00     Archie Comics   # 2 of 5

That firebug Hurricane Hank is having nightmares in prison about his last run-in with Bayou Billy that not only landed him in jail but also minus a hand! He wants so badly to get out of jail and get his revenge once and for all and must come up with a plan. Meanwhile Bayou Billy pays Godfather Gordon a visit, and after roughing him up, is able to get money to build a new house as his F.I.S.T agents blew up his last one so Billy finds it fair that the crime boss pays to build him a new one. Worse for our heroes is that the whole F.I.S.T group is freed, and Hurricane Hank does escape jail and sets into motion a scheme to kill Bayou Billy! Tracker however followed Hurricane Hank and alerts Billy as the Gordons alert Annabel Lee to where he is hiding as they find their one time henchman too much of a loose cannon now. Bayou Billy knows it’s a trap and shares a story with Annabel from his Delta Force years about how he was set up by a Gordon back then that left him dead for a short time and was only brought back thanks to the effort of his friends.  He shares the story of the second time he was dead and saved when a hitman sent by Godfather Gordon named Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill used a nerve gas that took his breath away.  If not for an old man living in the bayou named Papa Jambo, he would have once more been in a grave. Bayou Billy takes Annabel Lee to his friend Grease Monkey and her garage as he goes after Hurricane Hank.  A battle breaks out that leaves a warehouse burnt down, Bayou Billy bruised and sore and Hurricane Hank once more on the losing end of life.

This second bayou adventure is a fun kid friendly read that loses the charm of issue # 1 slightly as this one just was kind of middle of the road and comes off as almost a watered down version of a Dick Tracy story. The plot is: a criminal who Bayou Billy put away and cost him to lose one of his hands escapes jail more crazy than ever. and his madness to get revenge is what leads to his downfall. Hurricane Hank is a man who had slipped into madness as he is plagued with nightmares of losing his hand and every moment of his life is used plotting the death of Bayou Billy and setting the world on fire. While once a respected henchman for Godfather Gordon, his mental state has even made the crime family turn on him. Plus his ego gets the better of him as when he had Bayou Billy down for the count and could have fried him like chicken on a boat, he instead chooses to try and kill our hero with his bare hands that just leads to him being out smarted and out classed and at the bottom of the water. Godfather Gordon as well as his sons and F.I.S.T stay out of this fight and pretty much lay low after the last beating they took, but Godfather does at least call in a tip so that Hurricane Hank can be found with the hope he and Billy will just kill each other! Tracker, Broadside and Sure Shot act as distractions so Billy can get Hurricane Hank and each play their part well.  We also meet Grease Monkey, the cute redhead female mechanic and friend of the Delta Force group who works on their trucks and boats. Annabel Lee is now clearly in love with Bayou Billy and is still trying her best to put the Gordon crime family behind bars, but is faced with lots of setbacks and bribes to judges. I also enjoyed Papa Jambo who not only saved Bayou Billy from death but also taught him all his tricks of the trade in the swamps. The fights in the issue between Hurricane Hank and Bayou Billy are great and reminded me a lot of classic comic book fights you would have seen in Mighty Crusaders and other independent hero comics. The cover is just okay with the black lines being used as shadows on Bayou Billy being a little cheesy.  The interior art is also a little off and is done by a team up of Amanda Connor and Mike Esposito who both normally do great work. While this issue is just okay, I did have a good time reading it and enjoyed the idea that Konami and Archie Comics put time and thought into trying to make this comic series based on a video game work. Well let’s see what issue three has in store for us. Oh and I have to say, I want to know more about Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill ,the man who killed Bayou Billy for the second time and wore a trench coat, a hat and a gasmask!

the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-comic-3

Adventures Of Bayou Billy # 3  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00     Archie Comics   # 3 of 5

The New Orleans Police Department is having a heck of a time trying to break down a man named Blackie Blue who is in fact really a creature that is part human and part ferret thanks to a scientist to did an experiment on him while on death row in prison! After Blackie makes short work of the cops, he rushes away and the job of finding him goes to Tracker, Sure Shot and Broadside as Bayou Billy goes out on his own to try and find Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill, the man who killed him many years back. But when Billy joins his friends, he soon finds out that Blackie Blue is as strong as an ox and escapes our heroes with ease. Later Bayou Billy and Annabel Lee meet up and return to Billy’s new home paid for by Godfather Gordon’s money, and they are as well visited by Tracker, Broadside and Sure Shot and plan to talk over a cup of coffee when Blackie Blue attacks and pulls Billy underwater almost killing him if not for the help of the alligators of the swamp who attack and keep Blackie at bay! As Billy fills his lungs with air and warms up, Annabel Lee comes up with a plan to capture both Blackie Blue and Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill by pitting them against each other! Bayou Billy likes the idea and sets up the trap that works as a charm as Gaskill is knocked silly by a mighty punch and Blackie is knocked out via gas grenades and all Billy has to do is cuff them and bring them to face justice. In the end as Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill is in court he escapes thanks to a smoke grenade and a terrible lawyer who allowed him to get his hands on one.

This issue’s plot has Bayou Billy on a mission of revenge as he wants to bring down Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill, a hitman who was hired to kill many years back, but to add to the madness an inmate that had been experimented on has escaped and is now more beast like and he has his sights on killing Billy! The two fights between Bayou Billy and Blackie Blue are one sided as the beast man is way stronger and has raw animal instincts to kill his targeted prey making you really feel as if our hero could be taken down! Blackie’s fight with Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill is also pretty much one sided as the beast pushes through the madman’s gas attacks in order to knock him silly and only after he complete his goal does he fall. In this issue Bayou Billy is as noble as ever but does have the nagging want for revenge that keeps him off the case of the major threat at the time as he wanted to stop his old foe who had been laying low for years. Plus I like the fact that Bayou Billy is very loyal to his friends as well as his girlfriend and that they all hang out not only in town but also in the swamp…that’s what I call friendship goals! Blackie Blue is an interesting bad guy as when human he had an accident that dyed his skin and hair blue and it’s hinted that Batman was responsible and that his partner in crime was The Joker! Blackie was on death row and because he didn’t want to die, he was chosen to be a subject in a experiment that turned him into a wereferret that has raw power and the need to kill his prey! As the beast Blackie’s appearance is this blue fur all over, sharp teeth and claws and wearing a prison jumpsuit.  For Wolf Hunter 2 fans, think Panthor. Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill on the other hand has a hideout in a shack near an old farmhouse and is still toying with making new gas grenades and is taken by surprise when he is attacked by Blackie, but is smart enough to escape in court. This issue was lots of fun and had just the right amount of action, adventure and even a dash of horror to keep this 37-year-old comic reader entertained. The cover is pretty cool and showcases the horror element with a dash of late 80’s Marvel Spider-Man cover appeal, and the art inside is solid again and done by the team of Amanda Connor and Mike Esposito again showing that they work very well with each other. We are three issues in and over all Archie Comics as part of there Adventure Series is doing a great job of making this Konami video game character a very fun comic one, well worth reading, and I can’t wait to see what the next issue brings.

the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-comic-4

Adventures Of Bayou Billy # 4  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00     Archie Comics   # 4 of 5

Bayou Billy is having a nightmare about the death of his first wife Laurie who was blown up with a car bomb that was meant for him.  The hit was placed on him by one of the Gordon family and after quitting his job as a New Orleans police officer, he became the bounty hunter he is today…that was two years ago to the day and he still wants answers to who wanted him dead. Once more he gears up and sets out to look for Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill whom he thinks might have the answers and heads to a rough bar called the Rue Morgue.  A lead brings him to loan shark enforcer Two-Head McGraw and after a brief fight, they send him to a slimy man named Snitch who spills his guts that Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill is hiding in an old chemical plant. Bayou Billy shows up and tries to get the jump on his old enemy only to find himself on the receiving end of a gas bomb that leaves him disorientated! Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill goes to Grease Monkey’s garage and knocks out the young mechanic and steals one of Billy’s monster trucks.  Once Billy awakens to try and find Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill, he is attacked with his own truck! But with the aid of a can of red paint and good luck, Billy is able to trick Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill and use his own jeep as a bomb that leaves the killer gas man at the mercy of Bayou Billy who gets the name of the man who placed the bomb that killed his wife.  It’s Hurricane Hank, the man who drowned two issues back, but with this shattering news he also has delivered Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill to the cops and justice….but through out his adventure a shadow figure has been following him!

This issue works really well as we get a good background on to why Bayou Billy does what he does and why he hates the Gordon crime family so much.  Plus his reasons are legit as they tried to not only kill him but killed his wife! Bayou Billy has spent the last two years of his life hunting down criminals in the big easy all to find out who of the Gordon’s paid for the bomb to be placed that killed his wife, and sadly at the end of the issue he does not get the answer he seeks. Also packed into this issue are many of the criminals who work for the Gordon Crime Family like Snitch a skinny eye glass wearing weasel of a man who will spill his guts for the right price, Two-Head McGraw who are joined twins who act as muscle for Rock Gordon when people cant pay pack the loans he has given them, and lastly Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill who we all know is the gas mask wearing killer who tried to murder Bayou Billy a few years back. All the bad guys are pains in the butt this issue but all fall to the hands of Bayou Billy who is a man on a mission to get answers. Grease Monkey, the female mechanic and friend of Bayou Billy, also comes into play as she is attacked by Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill who knocks her out and steals one of the monster trucks she has in storage.  Lucky for her, she was not killed. This issue is packed with drama but also an equal amount of action making for one heck of a good kid friendly comic read! The cover on this issue is a little downbeat with Billy at the grave of his wife, and I am sure scared some parents away from buying the issue for their child. The interior art was done once more by the team of Amanda Connor and Mike Esposito and is great as always.  In fact, the month this issue was released, Amanda Connor was Archie’s Artist of the Month, way to go Amanda! Over all this was a great issue and worth reading for sure, now sadly we are at the last issue in the comic series based on The Adventures Of Bayou Billy.

the-adventures-of-bayou-billy-comic-5

Adventures Of Bayou Billy # 5  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00     Archie Comics   # 5 of 5

Bayou Billy robs criminal La Rue and his henchmen Mitts and Slugger of a briefcase filled with dirty money, and now he is wanted for questioning by the local law.  This shocks his friends Tracker, Sureshot and Broadside as they don’t know why Billy did it! Also at this time, fellow bounty hunter Black Gator is very upset that the media only pays attention to Bayou Billy and wants to shutdown his competition permanently! We soon find out that Godfather Gordon has hired Schwartz N. Eiger, a criminal ex-soap opera actor to play as Bayou Billy and pull off the crime so that his enemy will take the rap for the crime and be out of their hair for awhile.  Meanwhile Billy himself is having bad dreams about a black gator and is under arrest for a crime he did not commit when he wakes up, but lucky for Billy he has some tricks up his sleeve and escapes the cops only to run into Black Gator who wants to kill Bayou Billy to prove he is the best bounty hunter.  All the while Godfather Gordon is watching as it all comes to a head when Bayou Billy, Black Gator, The Cops, La Rue and Schwartz N. Eiger all meet up at an abandoned theater where Billy clears his name and comes out the winner in the fight with Black Gator.

This final issue was clearly not intended to be so as many questions are still left unanswered like how will Bayou Billy get his revenge of the Godfather Gordon family for putting a hit on him that backfired and killed his wife as well as many bad guys are still out in the world including Black Gator who clearly wants to kill Billy and ruin his reputation at being the best bounty hunter in the bayou. But with that said, I must also say this issue has a fun vibe to it as it pits our hero Bayou Billy against a Black Gator, a man who wears a ninja outfit and is as skilled as he is in fighting! Plus throw in washed up actor Schwartz N. Eiger as well as smaller crime lord La Rue and his baseball dressed bodyguards Mitts and Slugger and you have a recipe for a fun kid friendly crime caper. This issue as well is really cool as many of the faces of the past issues are around like his mentor Papa Jambo as well as Godfather Gordon and his sons making this a cool send off for the comic series. Bayou Billy is a solid character who is badass when he needs to be as well as a quick thinker when the time calls for mind over muscle.  I also like that while he kicks the crap out of people he is also shown getting his head knocked around to making him a more believable character than many comic heroes based on video games. Tracker, Sureshot, Grease Monkey and Broadside are all great sidekick characters who help add to the story as well as each have their own generic yet so good personalities. Annabel Lee is a cool character as she is not only a lawyer but also Billy’s girlfriend and not a female character that is always needing to be saved by the hero! Godfather Gordon and his sons Rock and Rocco are slimy, and you want to see them get theirs.  They also employee so many colorful and odd mercenaries & scumbags like Schwartz N. Eiger, Swamp Gas Charlie Gaskill, Hurricane Hank and Wild Bill to name a few! Not to mention this series had some other cool bad guy characters like Black Gator and the werewolf-like Blackie Blue both who were foes that Billy had a hard time with. I think the best fight in the whole series took place in this issue as the Billy and Black Gator’s fight was epic and was what comic book fists fights are all about. The cover for this issue is good and reminds me of something you would have seen on a Marvel Comics G.I. Joe cover. The art inside is solid once more and is done by Amanda Connor and her partner in crime for this final issue Robert Downs, and it’s great kids comic work. Over all Adventures of Bayou Billy was a very good kid comic series that showcased a Nintendo game character in a great way and gave him even more of a personality, and I am sure it drove some comic readers into buying the game, just like the game forced people to look into buying the comic. I for one wished the series had more issues as I enjoyed reading this for the first time for many of the issues and again for others. Check out the art below for a sample of what you will see if you read this comic series.

bayou-billy-art-1

While I might have failed at beating The Adventures of Bayou Billy on my RES, I did get a victory in getting to read the Archie Comic adventures based on the character! I am also very shocked that this game never did get a sequel as like I said, many kids I knew owned it and for the most part it’s a pretty beloved game for many old school gamers. But for our next update, we are going to be leaving the bayou and heading into the world of animals running wild with the taste for human flesh as we take a look at the Action Lab: Danger Zone series The Final Plague! So until next time friends and readers, play a video game or two, read a comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host.  See you in about 10 days!

the-final-plague-logo