Tarzan’s Great Christmas Eve Adventure

Merry Christmas Eve! It’s hard to believe it’s that time of the year again when Santa Claus is gearing up to start his big night of present giving and spreading good cheer. And for this Holiday update I decided to take us out of the snow filled cold night of December here in Ohio and take us to the heart of the jungle as we go and visit the one and old Lord Of The Jungle Tarzan! This update is going to be a very long one as I have chosen the Marvel Comics series to review and have also decided to do a Game Boy Challenge as I try to beat the game Tarzan Lord Of The Jungle, plus talk about all things Tarzan from novels to cinema and everything in-between! I want to also let you know that this update was one that I have been working on since mid 2018 as I wanted to take my time and share my enjoyment of Tarzan with you all. So if you’re ready grab yourself a glass of eggnog, grab your safari hat and listen for the yell of Tarzan cause we are heading to the jungle for this epic and long Holiday update adventure.

Before we dive into the character Tarzan we should take a few moments and take a look at the man who created him and that is of course author Edgar Rice Burroughs. Edgar was born on September 1, 1875 in Chicago, Illinois to George and Mary Burroughs and had a pretty good childhood and was well educated and when old enough went to several Military Schools and even enlisted in the Army, but was discharged when they found that he had heart issues. In 1891 he left the Chicago area when a influenza outbreak infected many and he went to live with his brother were he worked on the ranch and was a cowboy and when returning back home he took work in his fathers battery factory. By 1900 he settled down and married is long time sweetheart Emma Hulbert and also began several years of working in many different jobs like being the manager at a mining company owned by his brother, worked for the railroad in Salt Lake City and even was a wholesaler salesman for pencil-sharpeners. But by 1911 with a wife and two children Edgar decided that he wanted to try his hand and writing and he started to do so, mainly doing pulp stories for magazines and built his style and talent. In 1913 he and his wife had their third and final child John Coleman Burroughs who would go on to be an amazing artist. Edgar also would end up being a pilot after he bought a plane and this allowed his whole family learn to fly. Edgar was getting more and more respect for his writing and in 1934 he separated from his wife Emma and ended up a year later marrying actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt who was known for her roles in such films as “Down Home (1920)”, “The Johnstown Flood (1926)” and “The Return Of Peter Grimm (1926)” to name a few…but the marriage ended by 1942. Another amazing fact is that in his 60’s Edgar was in Honolulu at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and he ended up becoming a U.S. Correspondent being one of the worlds oldest! On March 19, 1950 and at the age of 74 Edgar Rice Burroughs passed away from a heart attack, and he at the time was an artist who made so much money off the movies and shows that were based on his characters he created. During his long career of being a writer he created the characters of Tarzan The Ape Man and John Carter Warlord Of Mars among others and for these characters he was placed in The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame in 2003! While he is gone and his work will forever live on in novels, comics, movies, shows, games and toys showing that he really is an icon of Sci-Fi fiction.

Growing up I read not only comic books & magazines but also lots of paperback books and some of my favorites to find at Half Price Books and the Paperback Rack were old Tarzan novels. I would gobble up any and all Tarzan books I could find and would crack them open some nights before bed and read a chapter or two all the while enjoying the jungle adventure. Still to this day when looking at paperback novels at places like Half Price Books and Bell Book And Comic when finding a Tarzan book I don’t have I pick it up! I have many good memories of reading Tarzan books in my room in Waynesville and picturing the words I was reading in my mind. That’s the thing about Tarzan is that when I read one of the old paperbacks I felt like I was in that jungle amongst the apes, lions and warriors and these books are some of the first novels that got me into reading not just comic books. I would say my favorite book of the series is “Tarzan Of The Apes” the first book in the series as I always felt it packed such a great impact and was what introduced me to the world of Tarzan. If you enjoy sitting down and reading a good book check out one of the Tarzan adventures on a cold winter night and I am sure you’ll enjoy it!

While Tarzan was a big hit in literature he was a star when it came to the world of cinema as well, as movie goers for decades could not get enough of his adventures on the silver screen. It’s crazy to think that Tarzan as been in movies sense the days of Silent Films and even as of 2016 he got a big budget movie thanks to Warner Brothers and the release of “Legend Of Tarzan”. And lets be honest Tarzan was a major box office draw in the 1930’s through 1960’s and actors like Gordon Scott, Lex Barker, Denny Miller and Johnny Weissmuller and truly made the character Tarzan a hero from many young kids world wide. Growing up I cannot count how many of these films I have seen from seeing them on TV, VHS and DVD and every time I watch one I feel like a kid again as they just don’t make jungle adventure films like this anymore. Hands down Johnny Weissmuller is the best Tarzan but I also really liked Gordon Scott in the role as well. I mean to be honest I cannot think of a really “Bad” actor to play the role. In fact over the years I have found myself buying every Tarzan live action film and who knows maybe some day here on Rotten Ink I’ll do an update that talks about each film in the series, as well as give an answer to what film is the best! While Tarzan might not be the box office draw he once was, he still made his massive mark on the world of adventure cinema and has entertained so many viewers over the years.

While he has always been a box-office draw Tarzan has also made his mark in the world of TV, as he has not only had live actions shows he has also been in cartoons. That’s right The Lord Of The Jungle has made his way to the world of animation and Saturday Moring Cartoons! And one that always sticks out to me and is one I seen when I was a youngster in reruns called “Tarzan, Lord Of The Jungle” that was shown in 1976 on CBS when originally broadcasted. The show was created by Filmation the same folks who brought the world iconic cartoons as “Masters Of The Universe”, “Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids”, “Blackstar”, “She-Ra: Princess Of Power”, “BraveStarr” and “The Groovie Goolies And Friends” to name a very small few. The cartoon ran from 1976-1980 for a total of 36 episodes that ran 30 minutes each. In the cartoon Tarzan who was well spoken would have all types of adventures with his ape friend N’kima and all his other jungle friends. Tarzan in the show was voiced by Robert Ridgely who would also voice iconic cartoon characters like Thundarr The Barbarian, Flash Gordon in “The New Adventures Of Flash Gordon” and The Peculiar Purple Pie in “Strawberry Shortcake” showing that he was a master of the voice talent arts. I am not sure where I seen episodes of this show I tend to think TV like on USA Cartoon Express or maybe it could have been on a old VHS Tape. One thing that’s for sure that I do know is that the first season was released by Warner Brothers on DVD in 2016, and the series very much has a cult following among fans of the character. If you have not seen this cartoon series make sure to track down the DVD season and give it a watch as it does a great job of bring Tarzan alive via animation.

The first ever Tarzan comic book series was published by Dell in 1948 and was a long running series having a total of 206 issues and ending in 1972. But even before that Tarzan was the star of his own comic strip that started in 1929 and has been reprinted as well as have had many talented artist working on it like Russ Manning and Hal Foster. After Dell cancelled the series DC Comics picked it up in 1972 with issue 207 and ran till issue 258 ending the original series in 1977. Marvel Comics in 1977 decided that they were going to give Tarzan and try and re-launched it with a new number 1 and their series lasted 29 issues as well as 3 annuals. From their many other comic companies have released comics based on Tarzan from Dark Horse to Dynamite and while he is not a major player in the world of comics he has very much made his mark. Tarzan has also teamed up and fought many other comic characters in his adventures like Planet Of The Apes, Batman, Predator and Red Sonja. Growing up I have read many Tarzan comics with most of them being the ones from Marvel as my late Uncle Thurman gave my brother and me a stack of them when we were younger, and can say just like the films I have always enjoyed him in comics as well.

Like all iconic characters that is geared towards kids and collectors Tarzan has had his fair share of cool figures and dolls made in his likeness making it very easy for fans to get their hands on cool action figures and have their very own adventures. When I was a kid many companies released figures based on the Lord Of The Jungle companies like Dakin, Trendmasters and Mattel and I had figures from them all besides Mattel as they were based on the animated Disney film. In fact when I was playing Toy Wars the figure of Tarzan’s mom Kala was used and was in the rebels base helping fight off attacks from Stormtroopers and Cobra Guards. But while those toys were cool and parts of my childhood the one figure I always wanted and still want to this day is the Mego Tarzan figure as I have always found it to be a must have and never have gotten one. Plus all of these figures we have talked about are just a drop in the hat of ones made based on Tarzan. So in other words if you liked Tarzan growing up and played with action figures toy companies had you covered. Check out the pictures below to see some of these toys in all their glory.

Besides toys and comics Tarzan has also made his way onto all types of other cool merchandise like shirts, posters, magazines, buttons, lunch boxes, board games, vinyl records, comic books, video games, home video, drinking glass, books, coloring books and so much more! Showing that over the year’s fans of Tarzan has had lots of great things to choose from and could add to their love for the character. It’s crazy to thank that in 2020 Tarzan is not as big of a hero to the young and young at heart, but for those of use who still really enjoy The King Of The Jungle there is so much cool collectibles out in the world to add to your collection.

Lets now talk video games as the Lord Of The Jungle has had his share of digital adventures as well. Like in 1984 for the ColecoVision the game Tarzan was released to cash in on the film Greystroke: The Legend of Tarzan. 1991 saw the release of Tarzan Goes Ape for the Commodore 64. 1994 seen Tarzan: Lord of The Jungle come out for both Game Boy and Game Gear. Disney’s Tarzan in 1999 got many video games for many systems like Sony Playstation, N64, PC and Game Boy Color! And of course many other Disney Tarzan games were made for such systems as Playstation 2, Game Cube, PC and GBA. And even in 2019 a Tarzan slot machine was released in casinos and became a hit with players. Over the years to be honest the only video game I have played of Tarzan was the one based on the Disney film for the Playstation and always wanted to play the one for the ColecoVision. But for this Holiday Christmas Eve update I have a little something special planned. So keep reading!

Game Developers Euroncom developed a game based on Tarzan that was published by GameTech in 1994 for the Nintendo Game Boy and the Sega Game Gear. The game was called Tarzan: Lord Of The Jungle and has the player take control of Tarzan as he tries to complete six stages with each having their own storyline from stopping evil poachers to curing a primate disease. The game is an action platformer and each mission/level has a time limit that is pretty tight and leaves very little room for error. When released the game was meet with mediocre reviews and scores as many just thought it was to average and to repetitive with not having a password system meaning you had to play the same levels over and over in order to try and beat it. The games sales were also not that great as the US version for Game Gear didn’t even make it out and was cancelled. Below is some screen shots from the game as well as the cover for the Game Boy Version, and I must say the box art is great…but the in game look is a little cartoonish and reminds me more of George Of The Jungle!

So wanting to do this update for awhile as I have always been a big Tarzan fan I had to really think long and hard on what video game to play and try and beat and it came down to either the Playstation one based on the Disney animated movie or the Game Boy version and for me hands down I had to pick the Game Boy one as its more classic and closer to the Tarzan I grew up loving. So I also decided that I am going to play this game on my Game Boy Color and even better drove out to the woods to play the game as while I might not have a jungle near were I live, I do have lots of wooded areas and parks! I choose to play the game near the woods by Calvary Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio as it is a super peaceful place and one I visit often to relax and read comics at. I choose September 23, 2020 to do so as it was sunny out and was only 75 degrees out with a nice small breeze. I gave myself a playtime of 35 minutes to see how far I could get in the game and the first mission had me collecting flowers to give to a witch doctor in order to get a potion to give to a sick great ape…this level is a run around and find objects to go bring to one character to only take it to another…this level is timed like all levels in this game and after running around and failing a few times I was able to clear the first level and save the Great Ape by throwing the cure in bottles at him as he tried to attack me!

The second level is as far as I got in the time I gave myself and has Tarzan trying to get stolen gold back from a Crocodile who has hidden it. I must say he gameplay for this game is easy and not hard at all to play, the only real annoying parts is the game maps are all over the pace and sometimes swinging from the vines can be annoying. The music is pretty standard stuff and is catchy. Over all this is a pretty fun fetch side scrolling game that is worth checking out if you enjoy the old style Game Boy games.

As you can see Tarzan is a true icon in culture and has made an impact on many fans life over the decades. I would also like to thank Bell Book & Comic, Lone Star Comics, Half Price Books, Game Swap Kettering and Mavericks Cards And Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible as well as letting me relive reading them again! I want to also 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you’re ready lets head to the jungle and have an adventure with the one and only Tarzan!

Tarzan # 1  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel   # 1 of 29

A European man named Jules is on a Safari when all of a sudden he and his helpers are attacked by the Natua Tribe who slaughter them all leaving only Jules alive! The man runs through the jungle is fear and ends up loosing the tribe but gets the attention of a very hungry lion who now has his sites on him for dinner. As the lion is about to attack from the trees above comes Tarzan who fights with the beast and stabs it with his knife until it dead, saving Jules life for the first time as quickly the Natua Tribe are now on them and are looking to finish off Jules who is now being protected by the lord of the jungle. The Natua Tribe flings their spears at Tarzan who dodges them and uses his knife to keep them at bay until his backup arrives that is Tantor an elephant that stomp and flings the Natua Tribe all around and saves the day. Once the coast is clear Tarzan and Jules ride Tantor to the safety of Tarzans home in order for Jules to heal and rest up. But little does Tarzan know that the man he just saved is not named Jules but is Albert Werper an angry man who has sworn to kill Tarzan!

This first issue is as good as I remember it being when I was a youngster and delivers all the thrills and adventures of jungle films as well as brings Tarzan back to life in the pages of comics. This comics plot is very simple and has our hero saving a man from a blood thirsty tribe as well as a man eating lion only to have really saved his own enemy. This issue Tarzan is brave and a hero as he risks his life to save a strangers, he also can be very human like as well as very beast like and is just a very classic feeling hero. That’s the thing about Tarzan while he is a very old style hero he seems to never really go out of fashion. Albert Werper is a very tricky man as he acts like a victim when in fact it looks like he while be one foe Tarzan will regret saving. The Natua Tribe are savages who are hunting man like they are animals and even shrug off the fear of Tarzan when they think they can get the upper hand. The thing also about this issue is that it’s a very quick read is very fast paced. Plus it really showcases the fighting style of Tarzan as he is skilled in hand to hand combat as well as using his animal friends to win the big fights. The cover for this issue is great and captures the mood of the issues plot and the interior art is great and is done by John Buscema and has that classic Marvel Comics look. Over all this is a great read for fans of Tarzan and was a great issue to start the Marvel series on. A great read and one I have enjoyed revisiting and makes me really looking forward to doing so with the rest in the series as well.

Tarzan # 2  ***
Released in 1977   Cover Price .30   Marvel    # 2 of 29

Tarzan and Albert travel on the mighty elephant Tantor till they reach the bungalow house of Tarzan were this fake victim meets Muviro the chief of the Waziri Tribe as well as Tarzan’s wife Jane! That night after eating a good dinner Tarzan goes on a walk with one of his monkey friends as Jane sits and tells Albert the story of the legend of Tarzan. She shares that Tarzan was in fact raised by apes after they killed his parents, she tells of his wisdom to teach himself how to read, she talks of his rise to rule the apes as well as when they first meet and he saved her from a great ape. She shares that she was the one to teach him English as well as shares that she was to be married to Tarzan’s cousin unknown to them all before finally marring her true love. She also shares that Tarzan is from a wealthy family and has inherited it all. After she finishes Tarzan comes back home as Albert goes for a walk so the married couple can chat, and as he listens in at the window he learns that Tarzan and his wife Jane who had the Greystroke fortune are now broke after a bad investment and now Tarzan must travel deep into the African jungle to get gold from haunted ruins! Now Albert has a plan to not only kill Tarzan but also steal some of the gold.

Once more Marvel Comics and the creative team behind this comic series proves that they knew how to do the legend of adventures of Tarzan right! The plot of this issue is really the origin of Tarzan as well as sets up why Albert has a mission to kill the Lord of the Jungle. Tarzan in this issue opens his home to a stranger and even fills his belly with good food plus offers a warm bed for him to sleep in. Jane as well is very nice and shares her story with the stranger as well as is the one who cooked the dinner and as well welcomes the stranger in her home. Albert Werper is a military trained killer who is on the run for murder and has joined a band of evildoers who deal in ivory and human trafficking. He has sworn to kill Tarzan so he and his gang of goons can move deeper in the jungle to get what they need to grow. Plus he also shows that he is very mentally unstable as he kills his own Military commander and has becomes a cold-blooded member of a group that treats human and animal lives as nothing! The best part about this issue is that while it’s an origin issue we do not fully focus on that story that we all already know and we add elements of the current story. Plus like the first issue this one really does have a classic pulp hero feel to it as something and nothing all happen at the same time but it all feels very classic and entertaining. I must also say that I like the character of Terkoz as massive ape who once was the King of the apes who was beaten, disgraced and later killed by Tarzan! I would have liked to have known what his story was after he was kicked out of the ape tribe and was left to fend for himself all with hatred in his heart for the human Tarzan. The cover for this issue is great and shows not only our hero but also Jane and Terkoz. The interior art is done by John Buscema again and is amazing stuff. So as you can see this second issue as well is well done and has held up for me and makes me want to move onto issue # 3.

Tarzan # 3  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 3 of 29

The next day Albert Werper decides that he is “leaving” to get back home and has an escort of Waziri Tribe warriors. Once in the jungle they run across one of Albert’s fellow raiders and he plays it off as if he is lost, and on the orders of Albert the Waziri warriors are sent away. Albert informs his fellow con man that he has yet to kill Tarzan as he is going to lead them to mass amounts of gold and that while the lord of the jungle is away they need to kidnap his wife! As Tarzan leaves for the lost city of Opar his unknown enemy Albert is stalking him. Tarzan and some of the Waziri start their long quest and our hero spends time loving having to not be civilized like when he is around Jane and his mind is other places as Albert stalks in all the while. Tarzan and his warrior friends walk and climb until they finally reach the lost city and when entering they soon start to remove all the gold bars they would need to rebuild they Greystoke fortune, and all the while Albert watches with greed in his eyes. After Tarzan takes just the amount he would need to recover from the huge money loss and earthquake happens and rocks end up blocking the Waziri warriors from his friend as well as Tarzan is knocked out on the same side as the hiding Albert who leaves his one time savior for dead as he tries to find a way out only to end up captured by weird cavemen like people who are lead by a beautiful woman named LA who is the cities high priestess and the are going to sacrifice Albert to their fire god! But lucky for him Tarzan awakens with his mind foggy and decides to save him from death and takes out many of the cavemen who are being commanded by LA who is mad at Tarzan for rejecting her to become her High Priest.

This third issue brings us readers more adventure and one-step closer to the showdown between Tarzan and Albert Werper. This issues plot has Tarzan and 50 of his warrior friends heading to a lost city that is filled with wild cavemen and their very attractive priestess in order to get gold to bail out Tarzan who has lost all his families riches, and while he is on this quest he is also being stalked by a man who he once saved and thought a friend. In this issue Tarzan has his mind filled with stress of being a married man with responsibilities in the civil world who needs money to live and the Lord of the Jungle side that wants nothing more than to live in the jungle and act like a primate. And in this issue he also finds himself hurt with a rock hit to the head and his mind foggy and shaky, and also seems to be confused on who and what he is. LA is a High Priestess to this lost kingdom and has been in love with Tarzan for many years and goes into a rage when he does not love her back the same way, she also holds lots of power as her primitive followers do whatever she asks. She also likes to take human lives in order to please her God and she is cold blooded when she is crossed. Albert Werper is a snake in the grass and not only does he want Tarzan dead but also want to steal gold, and once more when he finds himself in trouble he is rescued by a man he left for dead when injured by the earthquake, showing he has no loyalty nor respect for anyone. This issue has a slow pace and builds up Tarzan’s inner thoughts on his life and because of this the action takes a backseat and does not kick in till the end of the issue, but that’s not a bad thing as I still find it to be a solid and entertaining issue. The cover is eye catching and very cool as is the interior art done once more by John Buscema as I have always loved this era of Marvel Comics and their in house style. And before we move onto issue four I need to say that issue three for me has held up like the others reread.

Tarzan # 4  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 4 of 29

Tarzan now more beast like has ended his rampage of murder as the rest of the cavemen run away and LA is left crying over the Lord of the Jungle who has blown off he love that she has held for him over the years. And after freeing Albert Tarzan returns to the treasure room and steals some jewels and snaps at Albert when he tries to take some and the pair head into the jungle. Meanwhile Jane is back home waiting for her husband to return and has a few warriors around her as protection and closing in on them is Achmet Zek and his band of traders who are going to kidnap Jane on the orders of Albert so they can get the gold! The raiders attack and kill off the warriors who fight to keep Jane safe as she herself fights by their side with a riffle, but once they have her they loot her home and set it on fire leaving her devastated and rage filled. But the raiders have failed as one warrior still lives and while severely injured Mugambi only has one thing on his mind…revenge! Meanwhile Tarzan decides that Albert and he must eat and picks a fight with a pair on panthers who have just made a kill, and Tarzan fights his hardest and wins but is hurt bad in the battle and soon finds himself down and Albert stealing his jewels and ends with Albert about to stab Tarzan with his own knife!

This is a great issue that brings action and drama together and leaves us on a cliffhanger of Tarzan about to be stabbed in the back as he is injured! This issues plot has Jane being kidnapped by an evil group of looters and traders who also slaughter and kill warriors all the while Tarzan has lost his memory and is wondering around the jungle as Albert follows along. Tarzan in this issue is like a wild animal and acts like a savage beast and even picks a fight with two panthers in order to steal their food! While Albert Werper is as sleazy and cowardly as ever, tagging along with Tarzan again, getting saved by him as all the while trying to murder him. Jane shows she is a fighter as she kills many of the looters who have came for her and her warrior friends as well are all brave and loyal. And our main bad guy Achmet Zek is a total scumbag who has zero respect for human life and only wants wealth! Two of the interesting subplots that I found myself liking are LA being in love with Tarzan and the fact she has been so for many years and has the if you don’t love me then you must die attitude about it, you know this subplot is going to come back into play. And the other is the almost murder of Mugambi who has loyalty to his friends and wants to get revenge on those who injured him and killed/kidnapped. This issue really is fantastic and captures the fun jungle adventure nature of Tarzan and shows that Roy Thomas understands how to turn the novels into comics. The cover is super eye catching and still holds up to this day and as before the art by John Buscema is amazing. To sum it up this issue is great and a solid read for fans of Tarzan and shows that this comic series help shows why Marvel was the best comic company in the 70’s! On a side note I have to say that Marvel has brought Star Wars and Conan The Barbarian home and I think it’s time they bring Tarzan and Star Trek back as well!

Tarzan # 5  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 5 of 29

As Tarzan is passed out Albert Werper is about to stab him, but fear sets in that if his first stab don’t kill the lord of the jungle he himself might find death at the hands of Tarzan! So Albert runs off with the jewels as the Tarzan awakens with an animal rage inside him and wants to get his pretty stones back and to kill the white man Albert…but not before he takes a nap. Albert rushes to the camp of Achmet Zek and his raiders to deliver the news of Tarzan’s “death” as well as that the old ruins does hold lots of gold! Achmet Zek orders for Albert to take Jane up north and sell her to slave owners as he and his men go after the gold. Once in his tent Albert counts his jewels and soon notices that Achmet is spying on him and this makes the European know that he is a dead man for hiding the riches from the warlord, and that night Achmet returns to Albert’s tent and stabs his bed to find that his target as already escaped and has taken Jane with him. And while Achmet and many of his raiders go on the hunt for Albert, Tarzan is attacked by three apes and finds himself surrounded by LA The Princess of Opar who wants her dagger back and is willing to have her cavemen rip him apart to get it!

The plot continues in this issue and has Tarzan loosing touch with his human side and turning more animal like and his savage nature is out on control as he attacks man and animal alike. All the while his wife Jane is a prisoner of the evil Achmet Zek who has turned on his own alley Albert Werper over jewels! And the story comes to an end when LA shows up and wants what belongs to her back. I am guessing that the next issue could be an all out war as Tarzan will be in the middle of the battle between Achmet and his raiders, LA and her cavemen and the tribes who fight for Tarzan and Jane. Tarzan in this issue is very savage and has forgotten how to be a man and is more in the mindset of revenge and survival and not even slightly worried about Jane and his home as he has forgotten all about them! Plus he almost seems to enjoy killing the animals of the jungle and has no remorse for the deaths he is causing. Poor Jane is just a prisoner who is holding on to the hope that her husband will rescue her. Mugambi in the issue is healing up and stalking the raiders as he wants to save Jane as well as get a little revenge in the process. LA Princess of Opar is a woman who is very angry as she not only has been stolen from but also has a broken heart as Tarzan does not feel the same way about her as she does for him, I also think she is ready to kill and kill again along with her evil cavemen in order to get her respect back. Albert Werper is scum who is fearful of an injured Tarzan, steals jewels and even hides them from his own partner in crimes and then has no issue with selling off a woman to a slave trade in order to make extra money…total scum! Achmet Zek is as well scum who lets money and power rule his life and has no loyalty to his own raiders, he is also a coward and would kill in the night than face to face…I can not wait to see him get what’s coming to him. That’s one thing for sure this series is going right that villains are so bad you really do want to see them pay for their crimes. I also like how this comic makes you wonder when and how Tarzan will get his mind back and will he be the one to take revenge on Albert and Achmet or will the jungle it’s self deal them justice. The cover for this issue is great and the art by John Buscema is still top notch. Over all this is another great and entertaining issue that delivers all the action and adventure you would expect from Tarzan and I for one can not wait to read the next issue!

Tarzan # 6  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 6 of 29

Tarzan is beaten up by the apes and the cavemen when he shows that he no longer has the dagger and this sets LA into a rage and she vows that the next morning she will offer the Lord of The Jungles heart to their sun god! That night LA falls asleep next to Tarzan and when the morning comes his death is to take place for his crimes against them, but before he can be killed his elephant friend Tantor appears in a fit of madness as it’s matting season and he is on a warpath to kill anyone in his way and that includes Tarzan! LA frees Tarzan and the pair quickly hide in a tall tree all the while Tantor tries to get them as well as kills many of the cavemen. After Tarzan tricks Tantor in leaving he orders LA and her cavemen to return to Opar and that the men need to listen to the law of LA. Meanwhile he learn that Jane escaped the camp on her own and is trying to survive the animals of the jungle who think she could be an easy meal. Meanwhile Albert Werper has gotten a horse from a downed raider and rushes only to be taken prisoner alongside Mugambi by an army who are hunting down Achmet Zek. Meanwhile Jane runs into Achmet who is once more taken her hostage only to have his men attacked by apes as well as Tarzan who has regained some of his memory. In the end the apes and Tarzan are gunned down and Jane is once more a prisoner of a greedy madman.

This issue has Tarzan and LA hiding for from an elephant that is on a rampage and must work together to survive it. The side story has Albert being hunted and becoming a prisoner of the army as Jane once more becomes the captive of Achmet! Tarzan in this issue is gaining some of his memories back and spends much of the issue protecting LA only to late be shot while trying to save his wife from being kidnapped. The end of this comic does a great job of making the reader wonder how bad Tarzan has been shot and how will he save his wife. LA is so madly in love with Tarzan that she breaks her bound to her people as she refuses to sacrifice the Lord Of The Jungle, she is a powerful woman who really is blinded by love. Jane meanwhile in this issue is running for her life and escapes one bad location only to keep stepping into worse and worse ones! Achmet Zek is a man who feels like he has been crossed and has set his sights on killing his one time crime partner Albert Werper who is running for his life like a rat. Mugambi meanwhile finds himself as well captured by the army and taken as a prisoner, and all he wants to really do is get revenge in the name of Tarzan. Tantor is blinded with rage over wanting to find a mate and is clearly the main threat in this issue as everyone in his path are afraid of his massive power as he wants to kill any person or animal in his way. This issue is a good read but does fell a little bit like a filler issue as weird enough to say it slows the pace down of this story arch we are in, I also feel that the cover is just ok and that the interior art by John Buscema seems rushed and not his best work at all in this series this far. To sum it up I was entertained but is the weakest in the series I have read this far…but keep in mind it’s still very good just a step down from the past issues. With that lest see what issue seven has in store for us.

Tarzan # 7  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 7 of 29

Tarzan is wounded and lays on the jungle floor among the bodies of his friends the apes, his mind wonders to the evils of Achmet as well as he can not shake the sight of the beautiful blonde that was the evil mans prisoner…as Tarzan can not remember that the woman is Jane his wife. As he grows weaker his mind starts to play tricks on him as he sees himself in the jungle at night watching as his enemy tribe hide near a fire as the meat eating beasts are on the prowl, with the main threat being the lion Huma and his mate Sabor who want to make them a late night meal, and they get one when they get a tribesman and Tarzan watches with amusement as one of his enemies dies that night. Tarzan head back to his ape family and remembers back to his questions about the world around him like the moon, rain and stars and how none of his wise apes have any clues to the answers. Tarzan soon thinks that the moon one day will be eaten by Huma and this will turn night to all dark and this worries the apes as well as Tarzan! But one ape in the group has set his sights on killing Tarzan as he knows that he is not like them, and this causes great tension between the apes as well as Tarzan. As a tribe’s man is walking in the jungle the apes decide that they are going to kill him and Tarzan originally stands by the apes side until he realizes that they just want to kill him for being human and the apes have now turned on him and he as well is marked for death! Tarzan is saved by one of his friend apes as well as Tantor and as the warrior leaves and Tarzan denounces his ape tribe, the ape who started the drama is killed and things try to go back to normal. Late one night an eclipse happens and the apes think that the lion Huma has attacked and is eating the moon and in a panic they call for Tarzan who fires arrows into the sky…and when the eclipse is over they think he saved the moon and he is once more a member of the ape tribe.

This issue is one that is set around a wounded Lord Of The Jungles mind as he goes to a world when his life is more primitive and all he really knows is the ways to survive and wants to learn about the universe around him and thinks he finds the answers all about the moon! This issue is very weak on action and is more of a character driven issue and really does dive into the primitive mind of Tarzan and his memories of the past. The Lord Of The Jungle in this issue is wise in his ways but is also very cold blooded as he does not mind taking a life or even watching lives be taken, its crazy that he gets joy watching a warrior from another tribe be eaten alive by a pair of lions! I also love how the issue really does revolve around the moon and the fear that the jungle has about living in nights in total darkness. The issues main baddies are Gunto and ape who wants to have all the other apes turn on and kill Tarzan and the lion Huma who is feared by all as he is a killer and a eater of all meat. While this issue was a cool get away from out main storyline this far is does also take a little of the momentum away as we are totally removed from that plot and focus more on the past of our hero…while interesting they really should have saved it for an annual, but with that said its still a really good issue. The cover is very eye catching and has Tarzan in a battle with an ape and the interior art is once more fantastic and is done by John Buscema who really does a great job of bring Tarzan alive in the pages of a Marvel Comic. Lets see what issue eight has in store for us and lets hope that it brings us back on track and has Tarzan saving Jane from the evil grip of Achmet Zek!

Tarzan # 8  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 8 of 29

Tarzan slowly gets to his feet as he is surrounded by apes he does not know and they are angered that two of their own have been shot, but before they can turn on the weaken Tarzan one of the fallen apes is still alive and just wounded and tells them who they are about to attack and they understand and take the pair to their home to heal their wounds. Tarzan cannot shake the image of Jane out of his mind as he heals up and still don’t remember that she is his wife, but he knows that she must be his! Once he is healed enough Tarzan asks the apes for help to rescue Jane and they all want nothing to do with the mission and even one challenges Tarzan to a fight named Chulk who after defeated joins Tarzan as does Taglat and the three set out on their mission. Tarzan and his ape friends attack a trio of the Desert Warriors and steal their cloths and wear them and sneak into the camp, while inside Tarzan and Chulk try and find rare jewels to give as a gift to Jane when they rescue her as Taglat has an idea of his own goes off and rescues Jane as he now wants her for his mate! Once Taglat kidnaps Jane and runs into the jungle Tarzan finds that he has been betrayed by the ape and is now on the hunt for revenge as the warriors of Achmet Zek are left confused and scared of the noise of anger that erupted from Tarzan’s mouth. Meanwhile both Albert Werper and Mugambi are still being held prisoner, with Albert making a deal for his life and freedom that will take the army to the lost city so that they can steal all the gold and jewels.

This is another fantastic issue that brings all the jungle action one looks for in a Tarzan comic as the plot has Tarzan waking up and filled with rage and the want to rescue Jane who he has decided will be his mate not remembering she is his wife and going on a rampage with two apes to rescue her from Achmet Zek and his evil men, only to find that one of his ape friends has also selected Jane to be his mate and causing the Lord Of The Jungle to be on a rampage of revenge! Tarzan in this issue is still much like a wild animal as he has no issues killing and will fight and snarl his way to getting what he desires. In other words Tarzan really is out of his mind and has lost all connection to his civil side! Poor Jane in this issue thinks her husband is dead, is kidnapped by a group of evil warriors, is later kidnapped by an ape and all she really wanted is to have a peaceful time at her jungle home as her husband took care of business of getting some treasure to get them out of debt. Not to mention poor Mugambi who is a brave warrior and dear friend of Tarzan who was trying to save Jane as well and avenge his slain friends has been taken captive along with the scumbag Albert Werper who started this whole mess! The ape Taglat is very sneaky in this issue as acts as Tarzan’s friend and helper when his true attentions is to steal Jane away from him and make her his mate, a true scummy move and shows that Taglat is a user! Achmet Zek and his raiders are money hungry as well as cruel and after they think they killed Tarzan they planed to sell off his wife to the highest bidder, cold blooded they are! The pacing of this issue is well done and each character in our story we get to catch up with and see what they are doing as all these pieces start to fall into place before the stories climax, and I have to say Roy Thomas did a fantastic job writing these comics this far! The cover is eye catching and pretty dang cool and the interior art once again is top notch and done by John Buscema who has the classic Marvel style that I love. We are eight issues in and these are as good as I remember them as a kid and not a dud in the batch this far! Lets see what issue nine has in store for us.

Tarzan # 9  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 9 of 29

A young Tarzan is reading books at his fathers old cabin and is puzzled by all the talk of God in them as he does not understand why there is no pictures of him as he can not wrap his mind around the concept of the old mighty King of Kings! When returning to his Ape family he asks all the wise ones if they know about this good with one saying it to be the Moon, and that night Tarzan asks and screams at the Moon and when a cloud covers it he knows the Moon is not God! He next goes to a tribe of warriors and see their Witch Doctor wearing a Buffalo Head and thinks that this must be God, but once he approaches and the Doctor looses his nerve he knows that this man is not God as well. As he is leaving the tribes Chief tries to kill Tarzan with a thrown spear, as Tarzan dodges it he attacks the old man and just as he is about to kill him, he stops as he has pity for the old man who is gripped with fear. Once back home he wonders more about God, but his thinking time is cut short when a baby ape and its mom are being attacked by a massive snake! Tarzan leaps into battle and into the coils of the snake and with a well placed knife strike kills the beast and saves the lives of his primate friends! In the end Tarzan returns to his thinking about God and learns that the answer he seeks is all around him as he comes to realize that God is who gave him the feeling a pity and the act of compassion, he also soon looks around and knows that God made the Moon, The Apes, Mankind and all things good!

This issue takes place when Tarzan was younger long before he meets Jane and way before the events of our current story arch and is a nice fill in issue! The plot of this issue has Tarzan on a mission to find out who and what a being he has read about in old books called God, and goes around the jungle to find the answer only to find that the answer has been all around him at all times. This is a pretty simple plotted issue from Roy Thomas that is very heavy on religion as it takes a stance that God created everything good and that Satan created all the bad in the world. But what works for me is the fact that someone like Tarzan who lives in the Jungle with no bibles, churches and fellow believers around would question who this God is and why is he so powerful that many blindly follow him. Tarzan in this issue is very noble as he has a want to learn as well as shows that he will leap into action to save his fellow friends and as well will spare those who wish him harm when they deserve it. I also dig the Water Buffalo headed Witch Doctor as I think he added a really cool feel to the issue as many tribes back in the day did look at them as healers and saviors. The cover is eye catching and has Tarzan fighting the massive snake and as always John Buscema kills it on interior art. Over all a nice fill in issue that delivers a fun read and a solid jungle adventure.

Tarzan # 10  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 10 of 29

Tarzan is still not himself as his memory is gone all he knows is that he has spotted Albert Werper with the army and that he is the own who stole his jewels and took away the pretty white woman (Jane) that he has an attraction to! Tarzan watches as Albert leads the soliders to a burial site that is filled with tons of gold, only for them to be attacked by the raiding warriors of Achmet Zek who wants not only the gold but also wants to bring down Albert for double crossing him. Tarzan follows Albert and Achmet who are playing a dangerous game of trying to kill the other to get away with the stolen jewels, all the while Tarzan is watching as he as well just wants his jewels back and to find his lady. Meanwhile its shown that Mugambi is in fact the one who has the jewels as he has took them from Albert when they were captured together and replaced his with river pebbles! But when Mugambi takes a nap after being on the run after escaping the prison camp, the jewels is stolen by the great ape Chulk who wants them as he likes what humans have. Meanwhile the ape Taglat still has Jane and his treating her like a rag doll when the lion Numa comes to her “rescue” and attacks and brings down Taglat and then turns his bloodlust toward Jane who tries to hide from the beast in the trees. Tarzan finally finds the fleeing Albert and takes him down and as he is choking him his memories comes back and he now knows that he is Tarzan and Jane is his wife! But before he can get the answers out of Albert they are both knocked out and taken by a Military Captain who wants to put Albert on trail for murder and decides to cage Tarzan for being to wild!

Wow this issue has so much going on as we have several characters and stories going on all at once and yet they are blending together really well! The plot is this Tarzan is on the trail of the man Albert who set him up and stole everything from him as well as a evil crime lord who wants all the jewels that Albert stole, while Tarzan’s friends are on the hunt to find Jane who was taken prisoner and is now in the hands of a killer ape who is being stalked by a bloodthirsty lion and even a army Captain is thrown in who wants to capture Albert for killing one of his soldiers! Oh and most important is that by the end of this issue Tarzan gets his memory back and remembers who he is and what is going one, and when this happens he is quickly knocked out by the Captain’s men. The pacing is very fast and flows really well and at this point even with all the fill in issues that breaks up the flow of this story arch I am drawn in and really can not wait to see how this story ends. Tarzan in this issues goes from a confused Wildman back to the Lord Of The Jungle and when he is wild he seems to not be worried about killing both man and animal. Albert Werper is such a spineless coward who would do whatever he can to gain wealth or even save his own sleazy hide. Achmet Zek is as well a very evil guy who controls his soldiers with fear and again craves power and riches. Taglat the great ape is also filled with rage and only when he meets his match in the lion Numa does he realize it as he pays for his rage with his life. Poor Jane is so tormented in this issues as she is roughed up by a gorilla and then is stalked by a lion…she just can not win! The cover for this issue is amazing and very eye catching and the interior artwork is top notch as its done by John Buscema again as he is one of the all time greats in my opinion. So with that lets see what issue 11 has in store for us and see how this epic story comes to an end.

Tarzan # 11  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 11 of 29

Tarzan and Albert Werper are being held prisoner by the Congo Free State soldiers lead by The Captain who has plans to deal with Albert and have Tarzan locked away! Meanwhile poor Jane finds herself rescued and then taken prisoner by Abdul Mourak and his men who were just defeated by Achmet Zek and his raiders, and they think they can at least hold Jane for ransom and make some money this day. As night falls Tarzan is still head at a camp as a prisoner when his ape friends lead by Chulk come to rescue him, and with gunfire from the humans ringing out Tarzan and Albert are carried away into the jungle and to safety…but sadly during the gunfight loyal Chulk is shot and dies. Tarzan is upset about his friend’s death as Albert finds the jewels on the ape’s body and once more steals them. Albert then lies to Tarzan and says sense he saved his life that he will lead him to the last place he say Jane and lucky for the crook he does lead him to Jane who is once more under attack by lions who have attacked and killed most of Mourak’s people! The lion Numa once more has his sites on Jane and Tarzan comes in for the rescue and fights off the hungry lion and finally kills it and takes Jane away as the lions below still attack the soldiers. Albert Werper ran way in the jungle as Tarzan and Jane return home and are greeted by Mugambi and his warrior friends. After a few months they rebuild their home and while out hunting they find the body of Albert Werper who had died in the jungle and recover the jewels he had stolen and started all this madness.

What a fun ending for this story arch that we traveled this far with in this series, I must say I really like the ending as all comes around and all ends well and its packed with drama, sadness, action and adventure all things you want in a Tarzan story. The plot has Tarzan being freed from being a prisoner by his ape friends and saving Jane from a pride of lions and in the end reuniting with his friends, rebuilding his home and getting his jewels and gold back. Tarzan in this issue goes into full hero mode as he gets his ape friends to help save him and Albert from the Captain, he then swings into action and fights off a massive lion in order to save his wife and in the end rebuilds the life that he had before all this greed turned his world all around. Jane in this issues goes from escaping the lion, to becoming a prisoner of some corrupt soldiers, to once more being the target of a lion and in the end saved by her husband…man she had a rough go around this issue. Mugambi and the tribe warriors are noble and loyal to their friendship with Tarzan as are the apes who come to his side when needed, with poor Chulk loosing his life to save the slimy Albert. Speaking of Albert Werper he starts off this series as scum and remains scum until he dies, and its great knowing that he died in the jungle and was never able to use the jewels he stole, in fact who scummy he is its great to know he died a slow and terrible death! While The Captain, Achmet Zek and Abdul Mourak are all set up to be terrible people with agendas that will make them rich or give them some sort of power it’s the Lion Numa that is the final baddy of this story as his want and need to kill Jane is so bad that he risks his own life to get her, and even dies trying. The cover for this issue is great and eye catching for fans of Tarzan and as always the art of John Buscema is top notch. This far Roy Thomas and his team of creators show that they know how to make a great and entertaining Tarzan series.

Tarzan # 12  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 12 of 29

Numa The Lion is on the prowl and after failing to capture a zebra he sets his sights on a tribe of apes and ends up killing a mother ape, and this triggers anger in Tarzan who gets his ape brothers to come together and stalk Numa into the jungle to fight back as he warns that the lion will keep returning and killing them if they do not fight back. Tarzan and the apes use sticks and stones to anger and fight with Numa and they even trick him in order to get the body back of their fallen friend. Once back in the tribe Tarzan thinks long and hard about how they are being stalked and killed by many of the jungles predators and that its time for them to come up with a way make them safe and fight back against the ones that want to eat them. That night Tarzan sneaks into the village of a Cannibal tribe and steals the lions hide they have and the next morning he plays a prank on his ape friends as he acts like Numa to try and scare his friends, but he is happy when they fight back and use stones to defend themselves and a well thrown one knocks Tarzan out cold! As the apes discover that the lion was really Tarzan the elders of the tribe want to kill him as his younger ape friends come to his aid and are willing to fight to defend him. But before a fight breaks out in the ape tribe Tarzan wakes up and is dazed but happy to know his friends listened on how to defend themselves against lions.

In this issue Tarzan is younger and not yet married to Jane and still lives with his ape tribe family and is pushed to far by the lion Numa who kills one of the female apes that was a mother to a very young baby, and this anger makes Tarzan fight back against the predator and also comes up with a plan to always make his tribe ready to protect themselves when enemies come around. Tarzan in this issue is younger and not in charge of the tribe yet and has ideas and leadership skill that he is torn about showing as the elders clearly do not like his brash ways, but what they need to see is all his ideas and actions are done to better protect and strengthen his tribe and family. The apes are also split as many of them are clearly starting to stand with Tarzan while the older ones want to kill or chase him off, as they do not like his power that he is gaining. Numa the lion is a very hungry giant cat that wants nothing more then a meal of fresh meat and sadly the apes are in his sight and become that meal he is craving. The really cool thing about this issue that is clearly going to be continued in the next issue is that rise of Tarzan in the ape tribe as his ideas and self defense plans are proven to be useful as the old timers just have the idea of run away and leave the weak behind if they are attacked better them then you attitude. I also like that they show a village of a human cannibal tribe who have a lion skin suit just laying around…awesome. The cover is well done and once more eye catching and no shock the interior artwork by John Buscema is great stuff. A solid issue and a great read and keeps up that this Marvel Tarzan series is an above average read and are great stuff! Lets see if issue 13 is as good as all that game before it.

Tarzan # 13  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 13 of 29

Tarzan notices that his ape friends seem to be on edge and are not up for play at all, and when going back to his fathers old cabin he finds the Gomangan Tribe there and they are setting a trap for the lion Numa as they have plans to capture and torture him, and Tarzan can not allow that as he hates this tribe and their cruel ways. So Tarzan steals the bait for the trap and then captures the tribes Witch Doctor and places him in the trap as the bait! The next day the Gomangan Tribe go looking for their missing doctor and soon find his mangled body in the cage as well as Numa! The Tribe quickly gets a new Witch Doctor and they take Numa back to the village as the lion is to be tortured and killed…and Tarzan decides that this is not going to happen as he brings out the lion skin he stole last issue and enters the village and scares the tribe as they think Tarzan is a white devil that can shape shift! After tricking them into chasing him Tarzan sneaks away and into the village and sets Numa free who in turns tacks the returning tribe and kills one warrior and injures others, giving them a lesson in respect for Lions and the Lord Of The Jungle himself Tarzan.

This issue is very entertaining and is fast paced and has Tarzan being puzzled by why his friends the apes are not in a playful mood anymore after he pranked them by wearing a lion suit to scare them and decides to instead pull a massive deadly prank on a tribe of humans that he dislikes as he finds them cruel. In the end he learns to respect the lions of the jungle as well as by messing with the tribe puts fear into them to never mess with him or the lions again for their cruel ceremonies. Tarzan in this issue shows that while he does have a fun loving and noble side he also very much has a cruel side as he kidnaps a man and leaves him in a cage trap that has the man eaten alive by a lion…now that’s some mean spirited revenge! The lion Numa is as well a raging beast that kills anyone and everyone that gets in its way! While the Gomangan Tribe are superstitious people who are also very cruel to the animals of the jungle as fun for them is capturing and torturing lions as a tribe, plus life is cheap to them even among their own members as they move on and forget about the dead like they don’t matter. The plot of this one is truly to show that Tarzan is using his mind to out smart both animal and man, with him also learning just ho different he is from his ape family and that he also has a playful and cruel side. The cover for this issue is great and has Tarzan in the lion skin scaring the enemy tribe and the interior art is killer and once more done by the super talented John Buscema. Over all this one is another solid issue that delivers a very entertaining read.

Tarzan # 14  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 14 of 29

Tarzan’s best friend Taug’s mate Teeka and their son Gazan are in the jungle looking for food to bring back to the tribe when a great bull ape from another tribe named Toog stumbles upon her and decides that she will now be his mate! Toog attacks and leaves poor Gazan fro dead after knocking the baby from a tall tree and beats Teeka unconscious and takes her away. When Taug finds his son he is near deaths door and this sets the ape into a rage as he wants revenge on who has taken his mate and has almost killed his son, and Tarzan who has returned from the old cabin of his parents (were he also found some bullets that he takes) makes a plan for he and Taug to track down this intruder, kill him and bring back Teeka safe and sound to her village and her injured son. As Tarzan and Taug make the journey to find Teeka she is being beaten and dragged by Toog who brings her to his tribe just in time to be warned that he has been followed, and Toog and his tribe set a trap. Tarzan and Taug are ambushed and attack with each holding their own and Tarzan even knifing one to death before he and his friend are out numbered! As all looks bad for Tarzan and his friend it’s Teeka that saves the day when she finds Tarzan’s lost pouch that has the bullets that she throws causing them to go off and scare away the attacking apes and allowing Tarzan, Taug and Teeka to return home confused by what the bullets are.

This issue follows the ape Toog who is very selfish and decides that he will kidnap a female ape from another tribe in order to return to his tribe that he was shamed from after loosing a fight with the leader. And Tarzan as always has pride in his tribe and loyalty to his best friend Taug sets his site to get her back and end the lives of the ape that took her. Lets first talk about Toog a alpha male ape who is mad that he lost a fight and was shamed by his tribe and now is wondering the jungle looking for a mate and for trouble and chooses a female at random to beat and drag back to his home and even has zero remorse for trying to murder a baby ape! In other words Toog is one evil primate who needed to be stopped as he will kill and beat the innocent in order to get what he wants. Poor Teeka goes through hell in this issue as she watches her own child be knocked form a tree and thinks he is dead, she is beaten several times by her captor and finally has to step in as her mate and friend are being ganged up on…she really does have it terrible in this issue. Taug as well has it pretty bad as he finds his son who he thinks is dead at first, then finds his mate missing and taken by an aggressive ape and then gets beaten up on by a pack of savage primates from a rival tribe. Tarzan is trying his best to understand all of the stuff he has found in the cabin that his parents died in like the books, bullets and gold…but he also shows that sometimes his anger and noble attitude will lead him to make rash and to brave of decisions. I love that Tarzan knives a massive ape with a night to show that he and his friend mean business and want their friend back! The cover is great on this one as well and as like before the interior art is amazing and done by John Buscema and this once more is a great issue that really showed that Tarzan and Marvel Comics was a great combination!

Tarzan # 15  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 15 of 29

Tarzan and his elephant friend Tantor are in the jungle when they stumble on a old man who is scared out of his mind and telling them that Arab Slavers are on his trail and wont to enslave people to work the mines of the sinister Abdul Alhazred The Mad Arab! The Slavers appear and kill the old man and then knock Tarzan out and as they are about to take him to be a slave in the mines Tantor comes to his rescue and chases the Slavers away and then carries his friend away until he wakes up. Meanwhile the Slavers have attacked a small village and have killed the King and taken his daughter Princess Ayesha as a slave and she is very upset and swears that she will get free and have her revenge. Once Tarzan wakes up he meets a group of mercenaries who have been hired to save Ayesha from The Slavers and they ask him to join in and he agrees, but as they rest he heads out into the jungle and tracks down The Slavers that killed the old man and makes them pay for the crime with their lives. Abdul Alhazred meanwhile kills one of his captives in front of the others to say they work in the dangerous mines or they die by his hands.

This issue is wow pretty dang deep as it is dealing with slavery and how others think they have the right to “own” another persons life and send them to work for them or be beaten or killed…and not to get to political but no one EVER has the right to have slaves! The plot has a vile group of slavers coming to the jungle to work a mine for the riches and is using people they are taking from villages to do so, but while doing this they have gotten the attention of Tarzan as well as have taken and angered a strong willed Princess as well has have gotten a bunch of sleazy mercenaries on their trail. Tarzan in this issue shows that he hates the idea of slavery and has set a mission in his mind first to avenge a victim of it as well as to save and free all those who are being oppressed, Tarzan is a true noble man who while be might be a wild man still understands right from wrong. The Mercenaries in my opinion should not be trusted as they are into just getting the money to get the Princess back and one is even sneaking around killing elephants in order to sell the ivory. Princess Ayesha is a very proud and strong willed woman who would do anything for her father as well as her village, and I can not wait until she breaks free and gets her revenge on the slavers who really are truly the biggest scum bad guys we have seen this far in this series. Abdul Alhazred is a massive muscle bound villain who is pure evil and has no respect for human life and really does just care about himself and his want for riches, and while he is total scum he is also a great comic book bad guy as you find yourself hating him and counting down the pages until you see him pay. Also really liked how we get to see Tantor the elephant again as it’s always cool to see Tarzan’s animal friends lending a hand against the threats the jungle faces. The cover is good and the use of red makes it eye catching and need I say anything besides John Buscema on art again. This story arch as I have said is very raw and I cannot wait to see how Tarzan shuts these Slavers down!

Tarzan # 16  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 16 of 29

The mercenaries have found the bodies of the slavers that Tarzan had killed the night before and start to question if they should team up with him to raid the mine camp, as Tarzan listens he hears them speak about how they are really going to loot and will use gliders to escape once they get what they want…but something else makes Tarzan’s blood turn cold as he finds out that the mercenary named Simon is hunting Tantor for his ivory! Tarzan rushes off to save his friend but is two late as Simon not only kills Tantor but also several apes! Simon has to leave the Ivory behind as Tarzan is raged filled and teams with ape Dak-Lat to hunt Simon down. Meanwhile Princess Ayesha is taken to Abdul Alhazred who likes what he sees and orders his men to kill all the slaves once the mine is opened wide enough! Tarzan tracks Simon down just as the animal killer uses his glider and after knocking out two of the mercenaries both Trazan and Dak-Lat give chase as the Slavers think they are demons of the sky and open fire on them all, but Abdul Alhazred has used mind control and now controls Princess Ayesha! In the end while in the Mine a portal is opened and while Tarzan fights with Abdul Alhazred and the fight comes to an end when The Slavers come in with Dak-Lat who is killed by Abdul Alhazred and Tarzan is beaten! The mercenaries tell him that they would like to join him and together they walk through the portal, and Tarzan at the last second before it closes forever is able to as well crawl through it.

Tarzan is even more enraged when he finds that the mercenaries are bad people and one has killed his friend the elephant named Tantor, and worse while this is going on The Slavers are killing the slaves and the poor Princess has had her mind poisoned! And the strangest part is that a portal has opened in the mine that takes them all away to an unknown location and the issue ends on this cliffhanger! Poor Tarzan in this issue is the hero he always is but also has some much losses as his friend Tantor is killed as well as several apes and then he also gets roughed up and watches as the odds to save the Princess and the remaining slaves become more and more low as The Salvers just gain in power. The mercenaries really are scumbags and just want to get money with Simon being the worst as he also kills animals to sell the ivory in the black market! The mercenaries are ones I cannot wait to see them get what they deserve. The Slavers are as terrible as ever as they some very evil deeds that include killing slaves on orders and not being bothered by it at all. Abdul Alhazred is so ego driven that he really does think his word is law and to him all life is cheap as he does not care who dies around him…even his own men, not to even mention he is a sleazy trickster who uses “magic” to hypnotize women into being his slaves and sacrifices. The portal in the mine is very interesting to me and makes me wonder were it leads, as was it created by Abdul Alhazred as a quick way to get back to his home or does it lead to another dimension? But I will guess we will have to read the next issue to find that out. Plus a major bummer that Tantor has been killed as he was a very loyal friend and protector to Tarzan and his death was cold blooded. The cover on this issue is ok and had that classic late 70’s Marvel look and as like before the interiors are fantastic and done by John Buscema. Like before this is a great issue and shows that Marvel Comics and Tarzan The Ape Man go hand and hand.

Tarzan # 17  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 17 of 29

Tarzan in pain makes it through the portal and finds himself in a land called Pellucidar that is filled not only with wild animals but also dinosaurs and mystic stones and carvings. As Abdul Alhazred leads the mercenaries deeper into the land as he needs to sacrifice the Princess in this land in order to gain even more power, poor Tarzan listens to the plan as long as he can before passing out. Meanwhile Princess Ayesha is the trance is walking in this savage land heading toward the place she has been told to wait at, but lucky for her she is being followed by Hyena like creatures and she unaware of the danger falls into a river breaking the mind control and alerting her to the fact she is in danger and in a unknown land. But her savior is a young wild man who fights of the hyenas and whisks her away from Abdul and his helpers when he notices the fear on the Princess’s face as he thinks she is a goddess! Simon ends up picking up the trail of the Princess once they find the bodies of the slain hyenas and Abdul is getting angry as he wants his victim and craves his soon to be power and is loosing faith in the mercenaries as he is seeing them as fools not warriors. Tarzan wakes up to find that a spear is pointed at him by a priest mounted on a bird creature and none of these natives look friendly, so Tarzan does what he does best and that’s fight and in the fight the Priest is killed and Tarzan does his best to fight off this Death Cult Tribe and finally he must jump off a cliff to escape their spears. And once Tarzan finds land again he is meet by Pirates who have their guns pointed at him and as well do not seem friendly!

This issue is like Tarzan trapped in a weird savage jungle land version of the land of Oz as its friends with cannibal death cult tribes, pirates, wild men, dinosaurs and beasts! This issues plot thickens as Abdul Alhazred leads the scummy mercenaries into a savage wild world were he plans to kill the Princess in order to gain power as Tarzan is weak and must fight for his life against cannibals as a wild man saves the Princess and is acting as her protector…this is stuff of pure cliffhanger novels and movie serials. Tarzan barely gets a moment to catch his breath as he has been beaten up and once he wakes up he is under attack again! But the one thing you have to say about Tarzan is he does not back down from danger and will fight with his last breath. The Princess Ayesha is as well fighting for her life in a strange land, and if not for the unnamed young warrior she would have been killed by the lands savage meat eating animals. Abdul Alhazred shows that he does not care about anyone or anything but himself and what can benefit him! He is using the mercenaries and I am sure once they reach their goal and when he gets the power I am sure he will kill them all! The savage land of Pellucidar is very interesting as I like that the land has dinosaurs as well as cannibal tribes and pirates and they all seem like they are in bad moods and are out to kill! And I am sure at some point in this series we will see a clash between the Pirates and the Cannibals and while I don’t remember if this happens from reading this series in my early teens, I sure hope it does. And like before this issue ends of a major cliffhanger as a pirate has his gun pointed at Tarzan as the Lord Of The Jungle is getting out of the water, and you know that these guys are bad news for our hero. The cover for this issue is great and reminds me of a Marvel Conan The Barbarian cover and as always the inside art by John Buscema is great. To sum it up another great issue and I cannot wait to reread the next issue after all these years!

Tarzan # 18  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 18 of 29

Princess Ayesha and her Warrior savior climb onto the back of a pterodactyl and try to get away from Abdul Alhazred and the mercenaries who are right behind them and they open fire on our fleeing heroes with a bullet from Simon’s gun hitting the warrior, but they are able to get away. Meanwhile Tarzan is given an offer from the Pirates and their Captain to join them or die, and Tarzan joins as he hopes they can help him get his revenge on Simon and Abdul! Meanwhile the Cannibal Death Tribe meet up with Abdul Alhazred and are on his side as they think that the profits have talked about his coming, and when the tribe mentions Tarzan the mercenaries loose their cool and this causes Abdul to turn on them as well and threaten them with death! Meanwhile Tarzan and the Pirates spot the bad guys and before they can do anything they are attacked by a sea creature that leaves many of the dead and Tarzan and the Captain fighting for their lives as they could become lunch for the creature, Tarzan ends up removing one of the creatures eyes and in the end breaks its jaw ending its terror. For his heroic deeds The Captain tells his crew that Tarzan is now his blood brother as he has saved them all. Meanwhile someone has snuck and stole the Pirates buried treasure showing that another player is in this game of life and death in a savage world.

This issue explores the savage world of Pellucidar more and lets you see more of the groups that live there. This ones plot has Tarzan hanging with the Pirates and fighting off a massive sea monster while Abdul Alhazred and the useless mercenaries team with the Cannibal Tribe! And let us not forget that Princess Ayesha and her Warrior are still on the run with the Warrior being shot and also we have an unknown person watching from the shadows and stealing the Pirates loot! Tarzan in this issue is filled with revenge as he wants nothing more then to kill both Simon and Abdul with his own hands, but as always he proves that he is a real hero as he single handedly kills a giant sea creature and saves the lives of many Pirates…I also like that in this issue Tarzan is not impressed with the Pirates gold they try and give him and he looks at it like they just threw garbage at him. Abdul Alhazred keeps up his ego driven killer attitude up in this issue as he treats his mercenaries like scum and would kill them if given the chance, and I am sure will once he gets his power. The Warrior protecting Princess Ayesha has been shot, and this issue does not show us if he is dead or how bad the wound is…so as you can see we have so many questions that need to be answered with the biggest being who is the man in the shadows that steals the gold! This issue is a fun and solid read that brings action, adventure and drama and continues this storyline and is pretty much none stop action! The cover is great and once more reminds me of a Conan The Barbarian cover and the interiors are still being done by John Buscema and are great like before. Lets see what’s next in this story and see how closer Tarzan gets to his revenge.

Tarzan # 19  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 19 of 29

The pterodactyl that Princess Ayesha and her wounded warrior crashes and unlucky for them they seem to have been spotted by a race of mutant looking people. Meanwhile at sea Tarzan and The Pirates run into Abdul Alhazred and his ship filled with Cannibal Tribesmen and mercenaries and a bloody battle breaks out that leaves many on both sides dead as knives, swords, guns and clubs are all used to dispatch the other sides forces. The Captain pulls out his gun and shoots Abdul Alhazred in the face and finds that the bullet does no harm, and this scares the Captain and he wants to now break the ship away and no longer follow…and this angers Tarzan who punches out The Captain and tries to take over the ship only to find the crew is very loyal to The Captain and Tarzan jumps over board and starts his journey for revenge alone. Meanwhile one of the missing mercenaries is spotted on the beach and his friends what the ship pulled over but Abdul Alhazred is not having it and has the mercenaries beaten on his ship and the one is left behind. The Pirates return to find their treasure gone and they blame Tarzan and the left behind mercenary plays into it and says he watched Tarzan and the Cannibal Tribe steal it, and this letting him get a ride to the ship so get could get his revenge on Abdul Alhazred as well as Tarzan! While back on the ship of Abdul Alhazred he tells his beaten mercenaries that he had to do that because the Cannibals only respect power and that’s why he is showing it.

In this issue we follow as Tarzan becomes a blood brother to the pirates, to turn on them and now be their enemy. We learn that a mercenary that was missing is alive and is now lying and teaming with the pirates in order to get to his friends and get revenge. We also see that mercenaries are really at the mercy of Abdul Alhazred who commands the Cannibal Tribe and was able to take a bullet to his face and not be phased! And lastly we see that Princess and the Warrior have crashed and we do not know if they are alive or dead, but we do know some strange looking people watched them fall from the sky. Tarzan because of his quest for revenge goes from a hero to a scumbag in the eyes of the pirates as he turns on The Captain and then ditches them when they do not follow him as he claims he is the Captain now, man Tarzan will stop at nothing to get his revenge on the murderous dogs he chases. Abdul Alhazred is truly powerful as he shows that his coldness and evil ways really are bringing him power, as he is almost immortal as he takes a bullet to the face and does not even flinch, its clear that once he is able to sacrifice the princess and gain all that power he will kill everyone around him and will return to Earth and do the same until he rules the world with an iron fist. I am guessing also that the lost and found mercenary is the one who stole the Pirates gold and is blaming Tarzan for his own deed, but again I am just guessing here. The cover is good and eye catching and this time around Sal Buscema is doing the interior art and its great stuff. So with that lets see how this story continues and how the Princess survived the fall and who are the strange people who watched!

Tarzan # 20  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 20 of 29

The scumbag Simon is at it again in this new land as he uses his riffle and kills a whole herb of elephants to prove power to the cannibals, and when Tarzan finds them his rage burns even hotter as he wants to find and kill the men who killed his friend Tantor as well as avenge the slaves who have lost their lives in all this madness. As Tarzan heads out to find them he runs into a Saber-Tooth Tiger that is hungry and wants to make a meal out of Tarzan, and as the pair fight they stumble into weak ground and fall underground were they become allies in a fight against spear fighting lizard men who are on the attack and both man and beast win this day. Meanwhile another race of Lizard people have found Princess Ayesha and her Warrior and they watch as the lizard people hypnotize humans and lead them into the water, and sadly this fate comes for both the Warrior and Princess as they are lead into the water and disappear…but are they dead? Meanwhile Abdul Alhazred has the ship docked and sunk and tells his followers that they now will travel by foot to his desired spot, as the mercenaries and Cannibal tribesmen do what they are told. The Pirates along with the mercenary named Ike Frazier are still on the hunt for Tarzan and the Cannibal ship and while at see the are caught in a dark whirlpool at sea and The Captain, Crew and Ike are taking down into it. Meanwhile the Princess awakens in the water and fights of the Lizard people and saves the Warriors life and they run off to find safety together. In the jungle Tarzan is found by some slavers tribes men who try and take him hostage, but they fail to keep him and by the end of it Tarzan is heading toward the place of that Abdul is heading ridding on a pterodactyl.

This issue is crazy and is none stop action and plot twist and turns and is leading our cast of characters all over the place with many of them having doom all around them! And as a reader you find yourself drawn into not only this issue but also this massive story arch that has been taking place over about six issues this far. I mean just in this issue Tarzan goes from fighting a Saber-Tooth Tiger to killing a bunch of lizard humanoids living underground to getting captured and ending the issue flying away on a dinosaur…I mean if this does not draw you classic hero readers in I don’t know what would! Not to mention we really get to see the strong will of Princess Ayesha as she shakes off being hypnotized by humanoid human eating lizards, but also kills one and blinds another with one of their own teeth…The Princess is badass! Also its good to see while injured The Warrior that has been watching after the Princess is ok and is still doing his best to help her. The Pirates and Ike are in deep trouble as a whirlpool is sucking them down and both the Captain and Ike think that Abdul is being its creation and of course Abdul is on his quest to gain his power. This issue no joke is action after action and throws so much at you that it takes a moment after reading it to soak it all in! A great issue and once more shows that Tarzan should still be at Marvel Comics and that classic writers of the past should be brought back to bring the series alive again…but sadly I am sure this will never happen…but both Conan The Barbarian and Star Wars are back home at Marvel so never say never I guess. The cover is pretty great and has Tarzan choking a Saber-Tooth Tiger and Sal is on interior art again this time around and did killer work. A great issue in this great series that is bringing this story together is the best way to sum this issue up.

Tarzan # 21  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 21 of 29

Tarzan on his dinosaurs fights off more tribes men who all wish him dead now as he heads to a city in the swamp and that’s the same place Abdul is leading his people as something inside it holds the power he seeks. Meanwhile the Princess and Warrior are hiding out and watch as one of the lizard people enter and after talking to another on a screen activates a sound weapon that will hurt the humans of the planet! This sound alerts many of the animals as well including the Sabre-Tooth Tiger as well as Abdul and his pet hawk leading them all to the same location! With the weapon now set off near the swamp castle a the swamp water boils and out comes the Pirate ship and the crew find themselves in the middle of a massive amount of tribes men driven mad by the weapon and looking to kill as a large amount of them died from the canon! Tarzan once more saves The Captain from drowning and the pair with the remaining pirates fight off the tribes men and find out that all sides have been played by the now missing Ike! Abdul enters the castle and he now has no need for them even after Simon kills one of his own, but Princess Ayesha sneaks into the room and uses the cannon and has it pointed at Abdul killing his pet hawk and zapping him.

This issue answers the question we all have been asking sense this story started and that’s the power that Abdul Alhazred is crazing is really a cannon that is being used by lizards to fight human tribesmen! Now the main thing being we are not sure if he wants the cannon it’s self or if he is looking to have blasted himself with it to amp up his already dark and odd powers…so did Princess Ayesha hurt him or did she give him what he wanted, I guess we will have to wait until next issue to find out as this is the cliffhanger we are left on. Tarzan by now is just sick of all this and is taking the fight to anyone that is a Slaver or connected to Abdul Alhazred as he is taken over by rage and just wants to deal out cold justice. It is great that Tarzan and The Captain patch things up and learn that they both have been used by that snake Ike from the mercenaries who tricked them for his own gain and for his own set of plans. Simon of the mercenaries is really out for riches as he shoots his own fellow mercenary in order to get in good with Abdul who dismisses him as the madman has no loyalty just as Simon don’t. The Lizard Men are also pretty evil as they use a high tech weapon that kills many of humans lives and they seem to think its funny, these Lizard men as well need to be brought down and I hope Tarzan and the Princess do just that by the end of this tale, as I truly do hope that Princess Ayesha gets her revenge on everyone that has treated her terrible in this series! I also like how we see that the Sabre-Tooth Tiger is on his way to join this battle, and his team up with Tarzan reminds me of the 60’s Marvel Comic character Ka-Zar and his sabre-tooth cat Zabu who ran around the jungles of the Savageland. This issue is a solid read and is clearly wrapping this story arch as its clear that all the main players are in one area and an epic battle is about to break loose! The cover for this issue is ok and while fitting not all that eye catching and the interior art is done once more by Sal and is great. Over all another great read for this overly solid series based on the classic book character.

Tarzan # 22  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 22 of 29

Abdul Alhazred is now in pain after being shot with the cannon as Simon thinks about shooting him and taking all the power he has from the crystal for himself as he know understands that Alhazred’s raw and strange power is tied to this land and the crystal that also powers the cannon. Meanwhile the Lizard men bust in and attack Princess Ayesha and the Warrior, but the Princess grabs a metal pipe and bashes the controls to the cannon causing it to explode and after they all lay lifeless in the rubble. Meanwhile Tarzan along with the Pirates is on their way to confront Alhazred and his lackeys, but when they are almost their Tarzan splits from the Pirates and send them on the path of Ike who is the one who stole their treasure! As The Captain leads what’s left of his men after Ike Tarzan swings away in the trees to find Alhazred and Simon as the Lord Of The Jungle wants revenge. Tarzan in front of the Pyramid meets up with the savage warriors that had been blasted by the cannon and takes lead of the remaining men as a stampede of Dinosaurs and the Saber-Tooth Tiger stomp by heading toward the pyramid themselves, while The Captain and the Pirates see this and decide to give up the search and to find a boat and leave, unknown to them Ike was killed by the stomping dinosaurs. Alhazred snaps out of his pain and starts to beat up Simon as Tarzan and his Warriors break into the pyramid and fight with The Lizard People and the Cannibal Warriors and this massive fight gets broken up when the Dinosaurs come stomping in crushing anyone in their way. Tarzan breaks away from the fight and heads toward Alhazred and once to him he finds Simon dead from a broken neck and Alhazred wants to sacrifice Tarzan to the crystal to gain more power!

Man this storyline is getting crazy as this issue has Tarzan on his way to Abdul Alhazred all the while dodging rampaging dinosaurs, beating up Cannibal tribesmen, dodging the death stares of the Lizard Men and patching up his friendship with the Pirate Captain. While Abdul Alhazred himself is injured by the thing that gives him his power, turned on by his Mercenary hired guns and needs more human lives to feed to the crystal! Tarzan in this issue is super focused on bringing Simon and Abdul Alhazred to justice as they have wronged him over and over through out this story arch, and he also sticks to his word when it comes to not given up and being loyal to his friends, even when his anger sometimes made him make bad decisions. Abdul Alhazred shows slight weakness and we truly get a look at his power as we now know that it comes from the massive crystal that demands he give it human souls in order to get more power, and he truly shows he has zero respect for human life and the only thing that matters to him…is himself. Simon is so greedy that his own want for power is what leads to his neck being snapped and his soul given to the crystal. The other Mercenaries are just lambs in line to the slaughter, well besides Ike who is crushed to death under the feet of rampaging dinosaurs. Poor Princess Ayesha and her Warrior protector go down with a fight as The Lizard Men want then dead, and after the explosion I am not sure what her fate is! So much going on with so many characters involved, but damn it this is a great story and captures the mood and feel of a good Jungle Adventure! The cover is eye catching and has Tarzan fighting with dinosaurs and the interior art by Sal Buscema is great and showcases why I love Marvel Comic from the 70’s and Early 80’s. Over all a great issue that is winding down a storyline that has been one hell of a ride this far.

Tarzan # 23  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 23 of 29

Tarzan draws his knife and is ready to make Abdul Alhazred pay for all his crimes in the jungle against the slaves he has murdered, and Alhazred is more joyed with the idea of killing Tarzan to please the crystal. Tarzan goes onto the attack and after stabbing Abdul Alhazred a bunch of times he sees that the blade does not inflect any damage! That’s is until one blow cuts deeps and causes Abdul Alhazred pain and he starts to bleed and its clear that the Crystal is drawing power from his pain and anger as well, showing Abdul Alhazred is not the chosen one but just a pawn for the Crystal. This angers Alhazred and his fight with Tarzan gets more intense and grows with emotions of anger, hatred and rage and the Mercenaries do what they can to keep the Cannibal Tribe at bay, and with the combined forces of Tarzan’s knife and a gun shot from one of the dying Mercenaries they are able to wound Alhazred and he stumbles into the Crystal that drains him of all his life. With that the Mercenary dies leaving only one of them left, who now stands with Tarzan as he is ready to go home and put this nightmare land behind him. Meanwhile the savage warriors have defeated the Lizard people and the Cannibal Tribesmen and are now up with Tarzan who gives them one last order to destroy the Crystal and they obey. And at the wreckage of the cannon Princess Ayesha and her Warrior are still alive and he must fight off and bare handed kill one of the remaining Lizard People to save his ladies life, and in the end as Tarzan and the Mercenary head to find a way home, the see the Princess with her Warrior and know she is happier here then returning home to a destroyed village.

This issue wraps the story of Abdul Alhazred that madman who graved power and had no respect for human life, and in his end he learned that he himself was no one special as the thing that gave him his powers is also the same thing that took them back as well as his life. Alhazred is a great example of a classic bad guy as he is opposing, crazy, mean, strong, a killer and a great foe for our hero. His end is also very fitting as he himself faces the same grim death that he has sacrificed so many to and even with all his power and anger he just becomes a pile of dust. Tarzan after all this adventure and time in this issue he gets his revenge for the death of the old man as well as all the slaves over the years, its great to see him go full savage with his fathers knife and put up the fight of his life against a bad guy who clearly was stronger then him, but also not clearly as battle ready. I also like the fact Tarzan in this strange land has managed to make new friends with the Warriors and the Pirates! A plus for me as well is the fact Princess Ayesha and her Warrior boyfriend have a happy ending as that poor girl had some terrible luck and moments in her life in this series, so glad she was able to find happiness. I also like that the French Mercenary who was the only one among the bunch who was a good person not only lived but also found his inner power and learned how to fight to stay alive and to protect others. The Lizard People and The Cannibal Tribe are great backup bad guys who are as evil as the madman they follow, and they as well get brought down. This was a solid and great story arch that took Tarzan from the jungle all the way to a savage land in the middle of the Earth on a quest for revenge, and it takes so much twist and turns of action and drama that it really delivered a great comic book reads. The cover is eye catching and reminds me of a cover you would see for another Marvel Comic series like Spider-Man, Captain America or even X-Men. The interior art by Sal Buscema is fantastic and again holds that 70’s Marvel charm.

Tarzan # 24  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 24 of 29

Tarzan and The Mercenary have found the portal to take them back to their world and are seen off by Princess Ayesha, The Warriors and even the Pirates who all wish them well on their travel back, and Tarzan with The Mercenary enter the portal and once back home use TNT to blow up the cave that held the portal and then go their separate ways. Meanwhile Jane with the Waziri Tribe are with Jad-Bal-Ja the black maned golden lion and are watching a wild grass fire and making sure that it will not reach their houses, and also making sure that they will not be stomped to death by the stampeding animals! The fire has been started by rich white people Mr. Tory, Miss Lyle and their hired gun Ian Chalmers who ends up seeing Jane who is trying to help the scared animals who are heading toward a massive gorge and rushes to try and help, and this of course would kill them all if they fall over and Jane could not stand by and witness this. So along with Jad-Bal-Ja and the Waziri Tribe they try and save the animals life, but Jane is knocked out of her jeep and she falls off the cliff of the gorge and while hanging on the side the rhino that knocked her over is on a rampage and is about the push the jeep over as well…so death is closing in. But as Jane looses her grip Ian is to late and she falls and as the hunter is shaken he is about to be attacked by Jad-Bal-Ja as the lion blames this man for the death of Jane…but lucky for Ian Jad-Bal-Ja is netted by Mr. Tory who wants the beats head for his collection! Ian who has been a hunter in Africa knows that the black manned lion is that of Tarzan’s and that means the lady was Jane and he warns his boss that trouble is coming. Tarzan meanwhile is almost home only seeing the fire, but is more focused on getting home to see his wife.

This is a great way to end the Abdul Alhazred story to get into this new story that has British and American Game Hunters being the cause of hurting Jane and capturing Tarzan’s Lion friend! This issue’s plot has Tarzan getting back home and closing the portal to that savage land for good while his wife Jane is trying her best to save the life of animals that are running for their lives from a fire that is set by a rich hunter named Mr. Troy who wanted to eliminate the tall grass, and his actions lead to a major accident that leaves Jane falling over a cliff! Tarzan in this issue is on a mission to get back to his wife as he has gotten his revenge, but has been gone for so long due to being stuck in the savage land…and even during this quest to get home he still knows that the portal being left open would be dangerous so he uses some good old TNT and blows up the cave that houses it…Tarzan is a true hero who while flawed is a good person at heart as he wants to protect and save. Jane Greystoke as well shows how great of a person she is as she puts her own life in danger in order to save the lives of animals and she as well has no fear of danger and she is a fitting wife for Tarzan! The black maned golden lion known as Jad-Bal-Ja is awesome and is very much loyal to Jane and the beast does what he can to protect her and listen to her orders. Ian Chalmers is an American Hunter who is a gun for hire to help the rich hunt dangerous animals, and does not wish to hurt people nor even animals for no reason and I think he knows the danger they are now in with Jane being “killed” in an accident and also now that they have captured his friend the lion. Mr. Tory and Miss Lyle are so out of touch and are killing animals and causing land destruction for there own gain…and I don’t think they care or even really gets just what they have done. This is a great story to follow the long saga we just ended and I also like that this one appears to be very Jane centered as for many issues now she has been nowhere in sight so its great to see her also be a hero. Good action packed cover, great interior artwork from Sal Buscema and cool new characters make this a story I cannot wait to see what’s next.

Tarzan # 25  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 25 of 29

Tarzan returns home just as his son Jack “Korak” Clayton III does as well and the Waziri Tribe tell them of the fire and accident and this sets father and son off on a mission of rescue and revenge! Meanwhile we find out that Mr. Roger Tory is in fact not filling the animals as he wants them to put on display in New York to make tons of money as he thinks Jad-Bal-Ja will be a big prized feature as no one has seen a black maned lion before! Like before Ian tries to warn his boss that things will get really bad when Tarzan finds out about the accident of his wife, and Tory brushes it off and says they will deal and kill Tarzan if needed and they head back to camp. Unknown to them Jane has climbed out of the gorge, while she is hurt she is very much filled with anger and rage over the fire and accident. As Mr. Troy is packing up the animals to ship to New York they are confronted by a very angry Tarzan who goes crazy in the tent freeing many of the animals, beating up many of the hired men of Mr. Troy before setting his sights on the fat man himself, and just as he is about to kill the man he thinks killed his wife Tarzan is hit with a electric cattle prod and is attacked and shocked until he is knocked out. Once out cold Mr. Roger Tory, Sarah Lyle and Ian Chalmers cage Tarzan and decide they will take him and show him off in New York as a wild man! As they are loading up the animals and Tarzan they are confronted by a shotgun touting Jane who wants them to let her husband go, but Roger tricks her and gets the gun away and decides he will kidnap her are well to but in his “Great Show” and as Ian tries to talk sense into his boss he is made fun of and sent away. As Roger with his crew and cargo fly away Korak shows up with gun in hand to get answers from the natives left behind.

The plot thickens as this issue has the rich fat business man and his crooked crew now not only stealing animals from Africa but also is now kidnapping Tarzan and his wife Jane in order to turn them both into a sideshow attraction in New York! And their only hope is if their son Korak The Killer can track them down and set them free…well that is what we are lead to believe right now. Lets start with talking about the stories bad guys and the worst one is Mr. Roger Tory a rich fat American who thinks money can buy anyone and anything and that he can do what ever he likes cause he has the money to back it up. It’s also clear that life of others means nothing to Roger as he has no issues with killing animal or human and loves to also talk down to people as well as cheat them. Young woman Sarah Lyle is a greedy woman who only is around Roger as she sees him as a meal ticket to money and fame, she is also very mean hearted and only cares about herself and money. Another scumbag member of Roger’s crew is Smithers who is his accountant of crime and has it out for Jad-Bal-Ja as the beast clawed him during the fight in the tent…really he is a weasel and scum. Ian Chalmers is a hunter who needs the money of Roger’s in order to pay off gambling debuts, and he hates all the shady stuff but has to go along as the money talks and his own fears keep him in line. Tarzan lets rage blind him in battle in this issue and leads to his capture as he leaves himself open for attack. Jane is able to climb a gorge, over take a worker and steal his gun and even confront the hunting party, sure she gets captured in the end but she is one tough cookie! Korak takes his sweet time to aid his father in the search for Jane and is even late in order to save his parents from being kidnapped…in other words for a man that has the nickname Killer sure does not impress in this issue. And to me the thing that is great is that taking Tarzan to New York to display for a crowd reminds me of King Kong! The cover is great and shows action and just like before the interior art is done by the talented Sal Buscema and I great like before. So lets see what happens when Tarzan gets to New York and lets see if Korak can make up for his late to the party foul in the next issue.

Tarzan # 26  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 26 of 29

Tarzan is filled with rage and hatred as he is trapped in the cage as Roger informs him that he plans to make him the main attraction as his new themed club and that Jane is indeed alive and if Tarzan acts up he will have her killed, and in order to keep Tarzan quite Martin will be injecting his throat with a tranquilizer so that he can not alert people of his kidnapping! As the planes land Jane is placed in a sack and taken away as Ian watches, but does not act to save her while Tarzan is bound and yet still is able to almost kill Martin Smithers before he is finally injected and passes out. Roger loads up his new attractions and heads to his club as he has money to make. Meanwhile back in Africa Korak gets the answers from the helpers of Roger and heads off to try and hire a small plane to take him to America. Meanwhile back in New York Roger is leading a parade in order to build hype for his club and in this parade is a caged Tarzan as well as Jad-Bal-Ja, and as Tarzan is angry the crowd just cheer and laugh. While in a room in the Empire State Building Jane is being held captive and when she has a failed escape attempt, she soon learns that Ian Chalmers has fallen in love with her…and she will use this to her advantage. In the end we see the inside of the club that is filled with rich people and Tarzan is stuck in a cage with his yells and grunts going unnoticed.

This issues plot has Roger Tory getting to New York and with cruel tactics, drugs and beatings he does what he can to try and get Tarzan under control so that he can use this Lord Of The Jungle as a way to get money from those who enter his club. And all the while Jane is being as well held against her will and worse away from her husband as she is as well being used as a way to keep Tarzan in line. This is a great way to bring Tarzan to an American city and captures more reader’s attention as the series is not just Jungle adventures anymore and brings the drama and action to the society that they can identify with. Tarzan in this issue really is just a prisoner who while fights back against Smithers, spends the rest of the issue in a cage unable to speak and only with the want to escape and find his wife. Jane as well is helpless as even when fighting back and trying to escape the odds are just not one her side. And like before Korak is taking his sweet time to help is parents, he always seems to be like 500 steps behind when it comes to being the hero he needs to be. Roger Tory and his cronies are really put no value on human lives, as they will kill, mistreat and exploit anyone to make some money, in fact they are human traffickers…man these guys really are pure scum. Ian Chalmers shows that while he is a good hunter he really is spineless when it comes to standing up against the crimes of Roger, plus the fact that he is fallen in love with a wild man’s wife shows that this made is also not very smart! I like how this story arch is going and I feel that it shows the downside of humans as they really would pay to stare at and laugh at a human in a cage that was different from them. The cover is great and one that I remember from my youth and the interior art by Sal again is top notch. Over all another great issue in this Marvel Comics Tarzan series and to me proves that they do the Lord Of The Jungle right.

Tarzan # 27  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 27 of 29

Roger Tory is living large at his club as his customers are spending tons of money and are enjoying all he has on display including Tarzan who many think is just an actor playing a wild man, at one point many of the people at the club throw their drinks at him and laugh at his anger. Meanwhile Korak is on his way to take a private plane and fly it to New York in order to try and save his parents. Meanwhile at the Safari Club the mobster Blackjack and his gang show up as Roger owes them lots of money from a scam he pulled off in Chicago and they have came to collect and tell Smithers to go and get his boss. Meanwhile Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja are placed in a cell that is protected by unbreakable glass and are forced to fight for their lives against a massive Albino Gorilla who has been drugged and put into a rage! As Roger meets with Blackjack the alerts the mobster he can pay him in full in about a week, but this is not good enough for Blackjack to takes his tommygun and shoots the glass of the cell freeing Tarzan, The Albino Gorilla and Jad-Bal-Ja into the crowd who go into a panic! Meanwhile Jane once more take the chance to try and escape and knocks out a henchman as well as Ian and then breaks the widow of her room on the 85th floor and climbs up the building as Ian when woken up thinks she has committed suicide.

Tarzan who is the most feared and respected living being in the jungles of Africa is now stuck in a cage in New York being mocked, laughed at and used to as entertainment and all the while the man behind this torment is being threatened by a crime boss who wants the money he is owed and this is all comes to a dangerous event by the end of this issue as chaos breaks out in the club and a rampaging gorilla is set free! Oh man were to start but I for one love how this story is playing out as it really does remind me of King Kong as well as all the classic Jungle Movies of golden age Hollywood. I also like that now we have more bad guys added to the mix as the mobsters are just as bad as Roger and his goons and greed is what is pushing both bad sides. Tarzan in this issue goes from being mocked by the crowd to being put in a fight to the death against a gorilla for their entertainment, and because of the drug they injected him with he can not tell them this is not a show and he is no actor! Jane once more uses her charms and inner power to fight to escape and does just that by the end of the issue and even climbs the Empire State Building to do so! Korak besides saving a British Soldier from a panther attack he is pretty useless and spends the time trying to get to a small plane so he can fly to NY to save his parents, really this far Korak is moving at the pace of a snail and is doing no good at this point to save his family. Ian Chalmers is a guy who clearly down on his luck and while good at heart is so far in debut to Roger that he is nothing more then a hired gun that he keeps spineless. Roger, Smithers and Sarah are all about the Safari Club as they want to make all they money they can off stolen animals and a kidnapped couple, and its shows when they are faced with people that are bigger and badder then them they are cowards. Black Jack and his gang mean business and will kill to get what’s owed and will even put the lives of people not involved in order to get it, I think Black Jack is not done with causing issues for everyone. Jad-Bal-Ja the lion shows that he is loyal to Tarzan as he does what he can to help fight the rampaging Albino Gorilla who is so drugged that he feels no pain and only wants to kill anything and everyone in its sights! The cover is great and eye catching and shows Tarzan and the Albino Gorilla fighting and Sal does the interior art so you know its good. A great issue and I cannot wait to reread the next issue and remember how this story plays out.

Tarzan # 28  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 28 of 29

Ian Chalmers who original freaked out as he thought Jane jumped from the window on the 85th floor of the Empire State Building, now notices that she is trying to climb to the top of it! Meanwhile the cops have shown up to the Safari Club and before they enter the club they gunned down a lion and walk in as Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja are in a fight to the death against the Albino Gorilla and notice that The Black Jack Gang are standing with Roger watching this chaos. During the fight Black Jack starts to get a respect for Tarzan who is clearly the underdog but is fighting like a King and has zero fear in his eyes, he alerts Roger that if Tarzan dies he will die as well! And Black Jack then notices that Roger is hiding the knife of Tarzan and takes it and throws it to him and Tarzan uses it to end the battle and the life of the Albino Gorilla, and after the battle Tarzan is filled with rage and lets out a yell that chills the blood of everyone in the club. The Cops draw their guns and are about to gun down Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja when Black Jack and his gang pull their guns and warn the police to go take a hike or they will bring a war to the police department, and this works as the cops leave and Black Jack takes Jad-Bal-Ja and Roger to the docks and Tarzan rushes to the Empire State Building after getting Jane’s location from Roger. Tarzan reaches his destination and gets passed the cops and makes it to Jane just in time as Ian and his goons have surrounded her, Tarzan knocks them out and he and Jane jump onto a plane that flies by that is being flown by their son Korak and they head to the docks to meet with Black Jack

Wow this was a fun issue that is packed with action and drama and has Tarzan killing a massive gorilla, become friends with a gangster, knock around some police officers, get to the top of the Empire State Building, rescues his wife and flies away on the wing of a plane…yep this issue is pretty dang great! Tarzan in this issue is a man on a mission to survive a fight against the odds as well as to find and save his wife from the crazy world of New York City! Tarzan is the true hero of the jungle and his family and I love the fact he has zero fear when it comes to almost dying at the hands of the Albino Gorilla as well as when it comes to rushing past the cops like they are leaves in the wind. Jane as well has zero fear in her escape from Roger’s Goons and risks her own life in order to climb a building to safety with the idea to get away and save her husband. The useless Korak shows up at the last minute to try and play hero with his plane, he really is useless in this adventure. Black Jack and his Gang are bad guys for the most part, but do have some respect for Tarzan and his family and that’s why he decides to help the Lord Of The Jungle escape. Roger is truly a spineless coward who fears Tarzan, Black Jack as well as being sued by the guests of his club, not to even mention his goons including Ian have all failed in their missions and Sarah in the end dumps Roger! I really liked the fight between the Albino Gorilla and Tarzan who ended up having the use a knife to end the fight. I also was a fan of Tarzan running around New York City in order to find his wife and dig that they used the Empire State Building as the final stand place between Tarzan and Roger’s Goons. The cover is great and eye catching as it reminds me of King Kong and the interior art by Sal is great like before. Well next up is the final issue in the main series, so lets see how Marvel wraps up Tarzan.

Tarzan # 29  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 29 of 29

Tarzan along with Jane, Korak, Jad-Bal-Ja as well as a few other apes are all on a small boat in the middle of the ocean, they are all weak, thirsty and being burnt by the sun that is shinning down above them…and then Tarzan remembers back to what has lead them to this situation…he flashes back to New York as when he and his family arrive at the docks they are rushed onto a massive ship set but by Black Jack who handles the police when the show up and turns in Roger for kidnapping. While on the ship Tarzan and his family are treated like guests of honor by the Captain who even events them to the massive ball that is happing that night. While Tarzan goes to the ships cargo to visit his animal friends he stumbles upon a blackmail scheme going down between a sinister chap in a Top Hat and Mr. Vorga about rigging peace talks between two nations, as Top Hat has letters that Vorga had written to a sleazy female bar singer and will release them if he does not do what is asked of him. Tarzan as heard enough and snatches the letters from Top Hats hands and runs him off and threatens him if he comes back to Vorga’s room he will regret it. While at the ships ball Mr. Vorga and his wife sit with Tarzan and his family, but things get bad when Top Hats hired goon dressed as a clown stabs Vorga in the back and Tarzan gives chase as the goon and Top Hat run away…but Top Hat as other ideas and uses dynamite to blow up the ship and Tarzan just in time is able to save his animal friends and get them on a life boat along with Jane, Korak, the wounded Mr. Vorga plus his wife and the ships captain…and then we cut back to currant times as they are all hungry, thirsty, sun baked and missing land, when in a distance they spot land and better yet right near Tarzan’s home and they are all saved!

It’s crazy as this was the final issue in Marvel’s amazing Tarzan series and just like almost all the others before it, this issue delivers a great read that features the classic hero doing what he does best and that’s saving the day as well as beating the odds that are stacked against him. This issue has Tarzan and his family on a cruise ship that is taking them back home and before they can be dropped off a crazed man blows up the ship and causes Tarzan and the rest to fight for their life against the cruel sea and the blistering hot sun. Tarzan in this issue takes up for a man who is being bullied and as well shows that he is not only loyal to his family and animal friends but also to those who can not defend themselves, and when things get bad on the ship he not only goes after the bad guys but also does all he can to save lives from the sinking ship. Jane and Korak are around and while they are only bit players in this issue they do serve a purpose of being the motivation for Tarzan to fight harder and the reason to survive. Top Hat is a crazy man who wants to bride to get what he wants and when that doesn’t work he decides murder is the answer and then when confronted he ends up killing himself and others by blowing up the ship causing it to sink! I think the best part of Top Hat is that he looks like a cartoon bag guy complete with curly mustache…its great classic bad guys stuff. Marvel in this final issue gets Tarzan and his family home and it’s a fitting end, but also I wish his final adventure with Marvel would have been bigger and better and would have had him fighting a great cat or a super crazed witch doctor, and not the sun being the main threat. The cover is good and pretty dang eye catching and as always the interior art is done by the great Sal Buscema who did a great job of bringing Tarzan to the pages of this comic series. Tarzan The Lord Of The Jungle is great and is one comic series that I feel was really well done by Marvel and that the team on this book cared about what they were doing, and I for one had a blast re-visiting this series after all these years…and once more I want to thank my late Uncle Thurman for introducing me to it as him giving me these comics when I was a kid made me a life long fan of the character. Check out below for artwork done by Sal for this series.

But I know what you readers are thinking this is the Christmas Eve update for 2020 so we need more Tarzan…well you are in luck as its now time for me to take a look at the King Sized Annuals! So here is more Tarzan for your Holiday enjoyment.

Tarzan Annual # 1  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .50     Marvel     # 1 of 3

Tarzan returns to a site in the jungle that holds all types of memories from his time as a youth picking berries with his mother and then he remembers back to his first crush Teeka a young female ape who captured his attention, and he remembers back to having to fight Taug in order to win her hand! Tarzan and Taug are in a battle to the death that is until a panther shows up and is looking to bring down an ape for lunch and the cat has its eyes on Teeka, and while the others flee Tarzan with his rope and knife come to her rescue and after running the panther off Tarzan and Teeka spend the afternoon together, but when he leaves to find food she ends up going to Taug and this breaks Tarzan’s heart who goes on a multiple day long solo hunt. While in the jungle we watches a tribe build a cage and then later watches as Taug is captured in the cage and is taken away by the tribe. Tarzan thinks that this is the best thing to happen for him as with Taug out of the way he thinks Teeka will be his, that is until she sees the sadness in her eyes and this sparks him to try and rescue Taug. Tarzan saves Taug and the ape returns to his mate as Tarzan at that moment knew he was different from his ape family. We join Tarzan once more as he chuckles about his part memory and then he finds his old vein rope in the spot and remembers back again to a time when he first learned to swing from vines, and during a time he had a major fight with Bukawai a disfigured human witch doctor who lives in a cave near the ape tribe and has two hyenas as pets. One day a massive storm hits the jungle and Tarzan is injured when lighting hits the tree he was seeking shelter from, and who finds him is Bukawai who takes him to the cave and ties him to a pole and wants to watch as Tarzan dies, but Bukawai during this is being cruel to his hyenas who see Tarzan as a fresh meat meal. Tarzan figures away to free himself and ends up chasing off the hyenas and then ties Bukawai to the poll and the hyenas return to eat him! Back in currant times its now getting late and Tarzan is done remembering the past and swings off back into the heart of the jungle.

This first King Sized Annual is a great read for Tarzan fans and has a good plot that follows the Lord Of The Jungle as he dealt with his first crush and the heartbreak that comes along with it, and he also remembers back to the time when he had to face and bring down a evil witch doctor. Tarzan really is feeling nostalgic for his past as he remembers times with his ape parents, his first crush and even the first time he learned to swing around on vines in the trees. Tarzan even in his younger days had no fear and would fight to the death against anything that gets in his path of what he wants as he takes on a raging ape, a panther, a pair of hyenas and a crazed witch doctor. I think what works for this annual is the fact its moments from Tarzan’s past and showed how he has grown as just a young boy living with apes to becoming The Lord Of The Jungle! It’s also great to see that Tarzan’s ape father truly hated him and wished for his adoptive son’s death all the time. The issues main bad guy is Bukawai a witch doctor who was badly disfigured from disease and was shunned by his tribe cause this as well as the fact Tarzan disproved his cures and medicines, while he is crippled and broken down his hate and want for revenge keeps him going and all he wants to do is watch Tarzan die! But because his hate took him over when he had the chance to do so his cruelty to his pet hyenas turn them on him and he became a quick meal for them. The cover for this issue is great and very eye catching and features Tarzan standing over the body of a gorilla he brought down and the interior art done by John Buscema and is great stuff and once more has the classic 70’s Marvel appeal. Great read and a must for fans of Tarzan as it’s a fun story with more of Tarzan’s backstory explored.

Tarzan Annual # 2  ***1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 2 of 3

Tarzan and his lion Jad-Bal-Ja stumble upon a massacre, as dead bodies of humans are all around and only an old man who clings to life is able to tell Tarzan what has happened. You see a King, Queen and the Princess had been overthrown from their kingdom by the Kings brother who then gave the order to slaughter them all while they left…but the old man begs Tarzan to care for The Princess who is still alive with his dying breath. Tarzan finds the Princess who was in hiding and she is mad and wants revenge for the death of her parents…and Tarzan agrees to help her do so. Tarzan gets them to the Kingdom Of The Cliffs and as they walk across the bridge they are attacked and taken as prisoners to see The King! As the Princess shouts about how her parents were murdered by this new King he himself acts shocked about the death of his brother and ordered that Tarzan and Jab-Bal-Ja be placed in a cell and the Princess to be taken to her old chambers. The King is worried now as many of the warriors are grumbling about if the claims of a murder squad sent to kill the former King is true. Tarzan finds out that he is be to sacrificed to the Kingdom’s giant snake god and when that time comes all hell breaks loose as The Princess is able to stab The King with a dagger, Tarzan breaks the skull flame pillar that held the serpent back, the giant snake appears and is looking for human meat and Jab-Bal-Ja break free of his cage and attacks the giant snake along with Tarzan who as well breaks free! Tarzan and his lion with the help of the warriors would the giant snake that makes an escape that is heading toward the Kingdom’s High Priest who wants to throw the Princess from a cliff and end her rule before it even starts! Just as the Priest is about to toss her over the giant snake appears and knocks the Priest over the cliff as it as well goes over ending both terrible lives and as The Princess is about to fall Tarzan once more saves her and she takes her place as the true Queen of the Kingdom as Tarzan heads home with his lion to see Jane.

The second King Size Annual could be the best issue in all of Marvel’s Tarzan series as it really is a great fantastic read that brings action, adventure and even a dash of fantasy and has Tarzan saving a Princess and helping her get revenge on those who murdered her parents and stole her place of ruling the Kingdom. Tarzan is as always a true hero as he fulfills an old mans dying wish, protects and helps a Princess reclaim her kingdom as well as slays a massive snake that has been keeping a kingdom at bay. Jad-Bal-Ja the golden black manned lion is also very much a hero in this issue as he fights off warriors, sets Tarzan free and then also starts the main attack of the giant snake! The Princess is young but is a true fighter and is filled with rage and revenge and wants to bring down her Uncle who is the man who took over her Kingdom and as well ordered the murder of her parents. The Uncle King is truly a coward and scum as he forced his way into power and murdered his own brother and then also wanted to marry his own niece…yeah he is gross and when he takes a knife to the gut and dies you as a reader feels good about it. The High Priest as well to the Kingdom is a terrible person and wants power and wants to murder those by feeding them to a massive snake that ends up being the key to his own death. I loved the over all feel and story of this issue as it truly brings out a great adventure for Tarzan that would have made for a great movie as well! The cover is pretty great and the interior art is done by Sal Buscema and is great stuff! Now that I am thinking about it this issue reminds me of an issue of Conan The Barbarian and in fact it could easily been an issue if you just swapped out Tarzan for Conan. Over all this could be hands down my favorite issue in this series and shows that 100% Marvel knew how to make comics based on The Lord Of The Jungle.

Tarzan Annual # 3  **1/2
Released in 1979     Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 3 of 3

Tarzan, Jane, Korak and guests are in London and are celebrating Guy Fawkes day by given dressed up kids pennies and heading toward the Opera for a show that features Jane’s friend Julia Hague, and while going in they find out Julia’s sister Evelyn has gone missing in Africa! Jane and Tarzan make their way to Julia’s dressing room and find out that she is not missing but kidnapped, and that she is not allowed to tell a soul…but she has and a Dwarf in the Opera house has heard this and before Tarzan can grab him he escapes into the crowd. Later as the Opera starts Julia is singing her heart out and Tarzan is able to stop her murder as the Dwarf armed with a gun, Tarzan and Korak surround him and the Dwarf ends up jumping to his death from a booth. Now safe Julia shows Jane and Tarzan a box her sister sent her that has a tiny human skeleton in it and Tarzan knows were he must travel to Africa to save her, but worse someone in the shadows is once more watching and listening. Tarzan and his friend Pierre D’Arnot are on a small plane flying over the place called The Great Thorn Forest and are shot down by Max Hunter a man who works for Sykes and is the kidnapper of Evelyn, Tarzan is thrown from the plane wreck as Pierre is knocked out and still in the plane when its attacked by a savage all female cavewoman tribe called the Alali Women and after Tarzan and the now rescued Pierre run them off they soon find that Sykes and his group are also under attack and that the Alali Women have run off with Evelyn after Tarzan uses a flamethrower tank to scare them off, Tarzan and Pierre then capture the kidnapers and find out that they did so to sell off the mini skeletons that she found as they think they would be worth millions to the right buyers. Tarzan then rushes off after the Alali Women to save Evelyn only to find them at war with the tiny Ant-Man warriors, and the tiny warriors make short work of the Alali Women and during the fight both Tarzan and Evelyn are hurt and are shrunken down to have their wounds treated as the warriors and their King and Queen are friends of Tarzan! Meanwhile a rival race of Ant-Men use their tiny arrows to bring down Pierre and the kidnappers quickly tell the Ant-Men that Tarzan is the one who dug up their graveyard and that they will ride with them in the tank to get revenge for this crime! Tarzan leads the good Ant-Men against the invaders and white small and even turning normal size he is able to stop the flame tank and bring the would be kidnapers to justice as the good Ant-Men run off the bad ones. In the end Korak arrives with a plane and picks up Tarzan, the injured Pierre and Evelyn and they return to London.

This final Tarzan Annual is a great read and delivers a solid adventure for Tarzan as he goes from a London Opera House all the way to a tiny Ant-Man village in Africa and all the while he is fighting off a mad dwarf with a gun, wild cavewomen out for blood and a group of greedy kidnappers who seek money and fame. Really this story is as crazy as that summery discretion sounds! Tarzan clearly does not understand the customs of the civil world, and yet he at times is more human then the people that surround him in the big city of London. Tarzan also shows that he is loyal to his friends as well as his wives friends as he is willing to travel to a part of the Jungles of Africa that is dangerous in order to save the sister of a woman he has just meet, but is close friends of his wife Jane. He also shows once more he has no fear as he is willing to fight off all enemies that come at him in this issue. Pierre D’Arnot is a Frenchman who is close friends of Tarzan who as well rushes into a unknown danger to help, and is very useful with a gun, and thank the heavens that he wears a leather jacket of he would have been a dead man thanks to the tiny arrows of the Ant-Men. Korak and Jane are around and do their best to help with this kidnaping plot as well as keep the victims sister calm. The Ant-Men have two sides one kingdom is peaceful and is ruled by friends of Tarzan while the other side is bad and are looking for a war as well as a reason to truly hate Tarzan. The Kidnapers Martin, Max and Sykes are true scumbags who will snuff out a life, lie, cheat and steal all in the quest to make a quick fortune off anyone and everything. Plus the Kidnapers in their grasp has eyes, ears and killers in London and also are in control of a very powerful flamethrower tank that makes them super deadly. The Alali Women are a cave woman clan who want to mate and kill males that are foolish enough to stumble in their area, they are deadly and bloodthirsty and not to be messed with. This is a crazy adventure that is well paced and showcases once more that Marvel Comics knew how to make a great Tarzan adventure comic. The cover is eye catching and showcases Tarzan in danger from not only the Ant-Men but also the Alali Women. The interior art is done by the team of Sal as well as Ricardo Villamonte and is great stuff. No joke I am a little sad that this is the final issue for this update as I have had a great time covering Tarzan and his Marvel Comic adventures and wish it would have lasted a little longer. But with that said check out the artwork below to see the style used in these annuals.

Wow that was lots of fun re-reading the Marvel Comics adventures of Tarzan and for me they really held up and were fantastic 70’s comic reads that showcases just why Tarzan is still to this day a classic hero of pop culture. It’s a shame that Marvel Comics have not brought Tarzan back to the company as I feel that he could fit in perfect with their currant plans of returning characters like Star Wars and Conan The Barbarian as well as the newly added Ultraman. I would love to see a comic that would pit Tarzan against Conan as that fight would be epic and awesome. This was a long and epic Christmas Eve update and I hope that this holiday season brought you some joy and thank you for spending some time here at Rotten Ink. Our next update will be my countdown of films I seen in the theater this year and it’s a strange one indeed so I will see you back for that one. Until next time make sure to send a message to your loved ones, enjoy your holiday season the best you can and as always make sure to leave milk and cookies out for Santa! Be safe and I will see you next year to chat about the cinema.

Earthworm Jim Saves Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve! It’s crazy to think that another year is almost over and that we are about to celebrate another Christmas here at Rotten Ink. This time of the year is always very special for me and makes me think back to my youth and all the cool toys, games, music, comics and books I used to get for the holidays as well as always makes me think about how lucky I am to have so many amazing people in my life as I have a great family, amazing friends and am blessed to be able to have so many creative outlets like Game Swap Kettering, Sparkle Comics, Bloodline Video, Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre, Radio, Rockstar Pro Wrestling, Rotten Ink and so many other top notch projects that allow for me to have an outlet. As I have said here before, one of the coolest Christmas gifts I ever got was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and that’s why I always think about classic video games around this holiday as if brings back great memories of playing them with family, friends and even trying to beat games myself! So for this update I have decided to take a look a video game character that made his major splash on the Sega Genesis that spawned a cartoon and even a comic series, and this cheesy character is the one and only Earthworm Jim! So if you’re ready to take a trip with Rotten Ink, Marvel Comics and Earthworm Jim this Christmas Eve, you should find a comfy chair, pour yourself some eggnog. and as we all wait for Santa, I think it’s time to have a classic game flashback.

Earthworm Jim was a normal worm on the planet earth that spent his days digging around in dirt and avoiding being eaten by birds. Meanwhile in space Psy-Crow, a feared bounty hunter, accidentally drops a cyber space suit from his ship that falls to Earth and Jim who is on the run from birds looking to make him a meal hides inside it and the suit evolves him into a more human-like life form with intelligence and a goofball charm. But with his new found power and mind, he becomes a marked worm as Psy-Crow on the orders of the evil Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is set for death and Jim himself now wants to meet the Queen’s lovely sister Princess What’s-Her-Name! And so began Earthworm Jim, space explorer and hero, who armed with his ray gun has saved worlds as well as those who are in need. Earthworm Jim in his cyber suit weighs around 154 pounds and stands about 5’8” and has super strength and a heroic heart, but he also is a little goofy as he still is a worm! Say what you will about Earthworm Jim, but he is the hero we didn’t know we needed.

Earthworm Jim is a side scrolling game that was created by Doug TenNapel and was a fun silly concept that captured the attention of not only gamers but also game publishers. The first Earthworm Jim game was released in 1994 for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo and has Earthworm Jim avoiding his enemies and trying to save Princess What’s-Her-Name! The game over the years would go on to be on many other systems like Sega CD, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo Game Boy, PC and Game Boy Advance. The game was super popular and by 1995 the sequel Earthworm Jim 2 was released and continued the story of the first game and was released for Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, PC and the Sega Saturn to name a few. This game was a hit but was not fully embraced by gamers and critics as the game did not change enough to warrant its quick release to cash in on the popularity of the original. The game series took a break for a while, and it was not till 1999 when the world got Earthworm Jim 3D that was only released for the Nintendo 64 and has Jim fighting to wake from a coma and must battle his rogues gallery who have all entered his mind. This game was not well received and marked the end of the series for home consoles.

In my youth, I can remember spending many of hours playing both Earthworm Jim and Earthworm Jim 2 for the Sega Genesis at my friends houses as well as at my cousins Dino and Norman’s. Shocking enough, I never did ever buy my own copy of the game and always just played it with them or borrowed it from them for a short time. Sadly I have never played Earthworm Jim 3D as it just never was on my radar as by the time it was released I was all about the Sony Playstation when it came to playing games. One other thing that is crazy to think is that games like Earthworm Jim helped spawn many other weird themed games like Conker, Crash Bandicoot, Banjo-Kazooie and Boogerman to name a few, and yes I know Boogerman was released the same year as Earthworm Jim. Say what you will about the Earthworm Jim series of games, but one thing is for sure, if you grew up in the 90’s and played video games they were on many of our must play games list.

Did you know in 1995 a cartoon series was released based around the adventures of Earthworm Jim? Released by Universal Cartoon Studios and airing on Kids WB starting on September 9, 1995, this series followed Earthworm Jim as he is being attacked by all types of baddies who want his power suit for their own evil plans! This cartoon was part action, part adventure and part silly as it played up on the over all goofy nature of the character and its universe. Voice actor Dan Castellaneta played Earthworm Jim, Jeff Bennett played Peter Puppy and Kath Soucie voiced Princess What’s-Her-Name showing they had some great voice talent on this show. The series only lasted for 23 episodes and ended its run on December 13, 1996 making it a very short run cartoon that built a very small cult fan base from those who grew up in the 90s. The cartoon has made its way to home media on both VHS and DVD with the latter being the complete series. This was a cartoon I can remember seeing from time to time, but was not something I watched often as I was a little older when it was released and was more into other shows at that time. But if you like this cartoon, make sure to do yourself a favor and get the DVD set put out by VEI and relive this classic toon.

In the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s toy company Playmates was one of the kings of the toy aisle as they delivered figures based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Trek, The Addams Family, Toxic Crusaders, The Simpsons, Dick Tracy, Skeleton Warriors, Flash Gordon, Coneheads and Zorro to name a few and along with these figures they also did Earthworm Jim ones based on the cartoon and video game! These figures were released in 1995 with a total of eight figures being made with three of them being different versions of Earthworm Jim. Also in the line was Princess What’s-Her-Name and Peter Puppy as well as baddies Psycrow, Henchrat and Bob! Each figure also came with weapons as well as a mini character like goldfish # 4 and Snott! The series of toys never made it to a wave two even though they made an appearance at Toy Fair with figures of Evil Jim, Queen Slug-For-A- Butt and The Hamstinator all planned. The figures were really cool and fit alongside Playmates other figures. Growing up I did not own any of them but do remember them in stores, to be honest it’s a little crazy that I did not at least buy Earthworm Jim as I was a fan of the game even in 1995!

Back in the 90’s Marvel Comics had already closed down their kids comic branch Star Comics and absorbed many of those titles under Marvel Comics proper like Muppet Babies and Thundercats to name a few. But they also had Epic Comics still going as it was a creator owned branch that was founded in 1982 and featured comics based on Horror Movies like Hellraiser and Nightbreed. In 1994 they tried to open a branch called Marvel Music that was comics based on musical acts like Alice Cooper, Rolling Stones and Billy Ray Cyrus and this was very short lived as by 1995 this branch was history and all titles canceled. But out of the ashes of the weirdness of Marvel Music and the cool kid friendly comics based on cartoons and toys of Star came Marvel Absurd a branch that would have issues of weird teen style comics based on popular toons and video games of the time. Some titles in this branch was just carry overs from Marvel Titles like the Nickelodeon cartoon “Ren And Stimpy” plus the hit MTV cartoon “Beavis & Butthead” that switched over to this branch way into their series. And the new title launched for this branch was “Earthworm Jim” based on the popular video game at the time not to mention the silly parody comic “Marvel Riot” that lasted only one issue. But like most things at Marvel Comics at the time as soon as it started in ended as its whole run was from around 1994-1996 as the brand was just not super popular for Marvel. But I want to take a moment to let you readers know that in 2020 I will do a Top 10 Countdown Of Things That Should Have Gotten An Absurd Comic!

So as you can see, Earthworm Jim was a perfect fit for the short lived Marvel Absurd comic line as he was wacky, weird and over the top! And not so surprisingly, this comic series is a little hard to get and the issues hold a decent price on them to get so I want to thank sellers on both Ebay and Amazon for having them in stock and making this holiday update possible. I want to remind all 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready to see what Marvel Comics and Earthworm Jim have in store for us, let’s get to the comic review section of this update.

Earthworm Jim # 1  ***
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.25      Marvel      # 1 of 3

Queen-Slug-For-A-Butt, Major Mucus and Doc Duodenum have entered Heck and asked the underground ruler Evil to let them hire an army of evil lawyers so they can sue Earthworm Jim for all the years of stopping their evil schemes! Meanwhile Jim himself is on a “date” with Princess What’s-Her-Name and they are attacked by Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head who take them prisoner, as Professor wants the cyber space suit and Psy-Crow wants to eat Jim once he is out of the suit!!! As Jim escapes the grip of Psy-Crow his suit runs amuck in the lab while talking goldfish Bob and his catmen have Princes What’s-Her-Name prisoner and force her to agree to marry him as they fake that they will kill Jim if show don’t! Meanwhile the escaped worm Jim finds himself in the prison area and meets many failed experiments that are being locked up and that includes a small puppy man named Peter Puppy, and once Jim finds these creatures need help he returns to the lab and gets his suit back by beating Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head, heads to the dungeon and frees the creatures and along with Peter jumps on a rocket to stop the wedding of Princes What’s-Her-Name and Bob!

This comic is super silly and really is Absurd and that’s a great thing as a comic based on Earthworm Jim needed to be this way. The plot has all of Jim’s bad guys wanting to defeat him with some trying to hire lawyers to sue him with others wanting to kill him and steal his suit to build an army of super soldiers! But while the lawyers do not find Jim in this issue, they are still on the lookout for him as his main nemesis are Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head who kidnap him and his Princess girlfriend and want him dead in the ground! Earthworm Jim in this issue is heroic and slightly goofy but shows that he will always stand up for the little guy and do whatever it takes to do the right thing! I love how Jim in this issue also finds his inner hero when he meets a group of freaks that have been created and kept prisoner and knows he must set them free! Princess What’s-Her-Name also shows that she is a great person that is able to take care of herself as she mops the floor with many catmen! I also feel bad for her as she thinks her man Jim has been tortured and even cut by his captures, and this makes her agree to marry a goldfish. Professor Monkey-For-A-Head and Psy-Crow are the issues main bad guys as they are teaming up with the idea to finally bring down Jim once and for all and they are cruel and seem to get joy in this sick game they are playing. Bob the goldfish as well is a sick man who is a terrible creature who is trying to force love in order to gain power. We shall see how the lawsuit goes if the Lawyers of Heck come into play in one of the further issues. Over all this is a very fun action, adventures, comedy and silly comic that brings the video games/cartoon character to life on the pages of a comic book. The cover is fantastic and very eye catching and captures that 90’s style, the interior art is done by Barry Crain and is top notch and does capture the fun nature of the Earthworm Jim universe. So with this first issue being great, let’s see what the next issue has in store for us.

Earthworm Jim # 2  **1/2
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.25     Marvel     # 2 of 3

Evil, the cat leader of Heck, is upset at his lawyers and orders them to get the job done this issue or they will all way the price! While Earthworm Jim and Peter are lost in space, as they cannot find the hideout of Bob and even after getting directors from a Gas Station planet it takes them sometime to find their way. Meanwhile Bob is gloating and bullying his soon to be wife Princess What’s-Her-Name, as a cat slips a bomb into the Princess bouquet! Meanwhile Earthworm Jim has found the directions to stop the wedding, as Bob now knows that Jim is on his way to stop the wedding! Even Queen-Slug-For-A-Butt the sister of Princess What’s-Her-Name shows up for the wedding as this will truly give Bob power. Once Jim and Peter arrive they take a mutated hamster and head to the ceremony to save the day. Jim just in time is able to save the Princess before they say the “I Do’s” and Bob climbs into a mega mech suit and puts a hurting on Jim, but lucky for Jim he is able to crack Bob’s fishbowl and wins the day! As Jim, The Princess and Peter celebrate the Heck Lawyers have arrived and worse the bomb in the bouquet is about to explode!

Earthworm Jim and his puppy friend Peter are on a mission to stop a forced wedding that will see Princess What’s-Her-Name being the wife of the cruel goldfish Bob…and along the way Jim must fight off catmen, not get lost and come face to face with Bob who also now has a massive suit that is more powerful! I like in this issue that Earthworm Jim once more has a good heart and so wants to be the hero, not to mention he is still shown to be a total goof who it seems by luck is able to save the day. Peter Puppy is shown in this issue that when pushed he can and will turn into a dog monster, making him a good ally for Jim to have. Princess What’s-Her-Name who is a great and loving character shows she is willing to ruin her life in order to protect the life of her wormfriend Jim! Bob is such a jerk and when he don’t get what he wants in this issue spends his time beating up Jim, oh and he also seems to love to boss around his catmen henchmen. The Lawyers From Heck at the end of this issue finally find Jim, but worse just as they have the bomb planted is about to blow. The issue is filled with dumb humor as well as some zany action and adventure moments making for a good read. I also really enjoy the fact that both Pinhead from Hellraiser and the Creature From The Black Lagoon have cameos in this issue and Pinhead is shown as one of the Lawyers of Heck and Gillman is the Preacher for the wedding. The cover for this issue is lots of fun and has a James Bond feel to it and the interior art for the start of the comic is done by Barry Crain and is great with the later part of the issue being done by Manny Galan & Carlos Garzon and is just so-so. Over all this was a good issue, and I cannot wait to see how this series ends.

Earthworm Jim # 3  **
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.25      Marvel     # 3 of 3

Earthworm Jim is being surrounded by all his rogues gallery as well as Lawyers from Heck as they were their for the wedding of their evil friend Bob, but things turn good when Peter by accident sneezes the flowers with the bomb in it into the crowd of baddies and the explosion leaves most of them down and out! As Earthworm Jim, Princess What’s-Her-Name and Peter escape the planet the Lawyers try and figure out where he went now so they can serve him papers. Peter would like to go back to his home world and Jim agrees to take him, but he soon learns that Peter when hurt, scared, mad or even slightly annoyed will turn into a wild dog beast that is looking for a fight! They go back and fourth with Peter raging and threatening to fight Jim that is until the Princess has had enough and puts them both in their places. Now at Peter’s home planet, they have been followed by Evil and the Heck Lawyers who know have decided to kill Jim and just sue his estate! But before Evil and them can commit the murder Jim and his people are attacked by a giant red dinosaur and Jim is stomped into the ground and is loosing the fight, but lucky for him Princess What’s-Her-Name gets into Jim’s suit and powers up her already massive power and she beats the Dinosaur with ease. With Peter home and Jim back in the suit, the puppy ends up asking if he could just go home and live with them as he now knows that his planet is a terrible place to live. Jim and The Princess agree to take Peter to their home planet and while there Peter ends up saving the day as he attacks and eats Evil and chases off all the Heck Lawyers after becoming the dog monster! In the end Earthworm Jim and Princess What’s-Her-Name continue their date and all ends well.

This third and final issue is fun, but is the weakest issue in the series as I feel they waste so much time with the joke everything sets Peter off in becoming the dog monster…and while funny maybe the first couple of times it wears thin pretty fast when its back to back to back, making me as a reader kind of be annoyed with the Peter character. It almost seemed liked they ran out of story ideas and just made this final issue filled with lots of filler moments. The plot has Earthworm Jim and Princess What’s-Her-Name taking their new friend Peter to his home planet, and they are being stalked by Evil cat ruler of Heck and his demonic army of lawyers as well as trying to survive the planet that is filled with all types of creatures all want blood and kills. In this issue, Earthworm Jim is still a hero but also shows that he can be defeated and also can have a short fuse when annoyed time and time again. As I said before, Peter is pretty annoying in this issue and spends almost all the issue being triggered by everything and going back and fourth into becoming a monster and a normal puppy man. Princess What’s-Her-Name is as always a hero and shows that she don’t even really need Jim to be her hero as she has the power and mind to take care of herself. Evil and his Heck Lawyers are pretty silly and like in the other issues just kind of fumble around and miss their chances to strike. The threat in this issue is around but the stakes don’t seem as high as really this whole issue’s purpose is to get Peter home, and to this reader I kind of feel that this is just a average read with not real thought put into the story and was made to fulfill the contract made with the people who made Earthworm Jim. The cover on this issue is great and eye catching, and the art in this issue is all done by Barry Crain and is good but also seems rushed. To sum it up, this is an entertaining comic mini series based on a very goofy video game character, and I am sure will please fans of Earthworm Jim. Check out the art below to see the style of Barry Crain and enjoy.

So before we end this update, I really wanted to share some of the Horror Movie characters that have cameos in this series. The first one I spotted was Pinhead from the movie series Hellraiser in issue # 2 who is on the planet Heck and is one of the Lawyers that has been hired to bring a lawsuit against Earthworm Jim. It was pretty cool seeing him as Marvel Comics under their Epic line use to make Hellraiser comics. Also in issue # 2 was Gillman from the Universal Monster movie Creature From The Black Lagoon as he is the preacher that is marrying Bob and Princess What’s-Her-Name! Sadly I think these two are the only two Movie Monsters in this series, but I must say this is very cool and I wish more comics would add little Easter Eggs like this more often.

So I hope you enjoyed this Christmas Eve update all about Earthworm Jim and it helped add to your holiday season with great memories of playing the video game, watching the cartoon, playing with the toys and even reading the comics. This time of the year really is filled with magic and makes me always think of my youth and all the great memories of Christmas pasts. So I don’t want to take up more of your holiday with my ramblings, but do want to let you know that our next update will be my Films Of 2019 update and will be the first update of 2020! So until next time enjoy your time with loved ones, have fun opening your gifts and always watch out for each other. Oh and make sure to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A Garfield NES Christmas Eve Challenge!

Merry Christmas Eve to all my family, friends and readers!  I am sure that you’re like me and are looking forward to spending your holiday with loved ones and remembering the past Christmases. When thinking about what topic to cover for this Holiday update, I racked my brain to pick one that would be not only fun but also nostalgic for all of you. I thought about covering an Amazing Spider-Man storyline that took place during Christmas, I thought about covering one of the following toys that had comics Dino Riders, Air Raiders or Battle Beasts that are all toys from my youth. I even thought about covering the Horror Movie Krampus and the comic based on the film. But in the end I decided that I was once more going to cover Garfield as looking back on his Halloween Special a few months ago made me want to re-read his Christmas Special! So make yourself a mug of hot coco and be ready to spend a part of your holiday with Garfield and me as we have a cheerful good time.

Jim Davis is the creator of the Garfield comic strip, and I think we should take a brief moment to talk about him and his life. Davis was born on July 28, 1945 in Marion, Indiana and lived the farm life with his family and their 25 pet cats! Davis was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity while at Bell State University where he studied business and art, and in 2016, he himself became an adjunct professor at Bell State. In 1969 Davis worked for an advertising agency and helped on the comic strip Tumbleweeds as well created his own strip called Gnorm Gnat that ran in Indiana newspapers. He would create Garfield in 1978 and it would become a major hit in the world of comic strips with over 300 million readers on a daily bases! With the popularity of Garfield, Davis opened up Paws Inc. in 1981 in order to manage the high demand of the character as well as created the Professor Garfield Foundation that helps promote children’s literacy. Along the way he also created the comic strip “U.S. Acres” and “Mr. Potato Head” based on the classic toy. Over the years, Jim Davis has been married twice and has three kids. He has won a number of awards for his art and comic strip work. At the time of this update, Jim is 73 years old and shows no signs of slowing down and continues to deliver a high quality entertaining comic strip based around a character that is well loved worldwide.

On December 21, 1987, the cartoon animated special “A Garfield Christmas” was first shown and entertained the young and young at heart. Being a youngster who was really into Garfield, I can remember waiting and counting down the days to when this was coming on, and as always, my parents were super cool and let my brother and I watch it as they always did for Holiday Cartoon specials. And I must say most of Garfield’s holiday specials have always had a special place in my heart just like the Peanuts ones as they were always must watches for the holidays for me and my brother. A Garfield Christmas special was loosely based on Jim Davis’ holidays with his family, and he added some dramatic plots to spice it up and give it that make sure to always cherish your loved ones vibe. The special was nominated for awards and was well liked by viewers and critics and would run on TV all the way till 2000 before finally being taken out of broadcast rotation. In 2004, the special was released on DVD and was a big hit with buyers who wanted to watch this holiday special again. Say what you will but if you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, I am pretty sure you watched and enjoyed this special at least once in your life. I want to also note that before the DVD this special was also released on VHS for fans to own and watch when ever the mood struck them.

Growing up, between my brother Bryan and I, we had lots of cool Garfield toys and one of the oldest things we had was a very old plush doll of the fat cat. It was my brother’s, and I am not sure were he got it from, I just remember it was around in our youth. We also had several PVC style figures that I can remember playing with in my Toy Wars as Garfield was always on the side of the Jedi and was always back at the Rebel base alongside other “good guy” figures. I can also remember growing up having some Garfield items that came from McDonalds like glass mugs that was released in 1987 and can remember drinking Kool-Aid, Milk and Pop from them while watching cartoons or Horror Host shows on USA Network. I also remember owning a few of the Happy Meal Toys from 1988 that had a mini Garfield figure and a vehicle. Not to mention, we also had many of his comic strip books that I would get from School book fairs and from Half Price Books. So as I have said, Garfield was always around in my youth.

The Nintendo Entertainment System was a major force in the 80’s and 90’s as home console video games were at a fever pitch, and any kid who wanted to be cool had to have a system and tons of games to impress the neighborhood kids and school yard pals. In fact, we Brassfield Brothers got our first video game system that was a Nintendo for Christmas one year, and we could not get enough games fast enough. One game that was made but never released here in America was one called “A Week Of Garfield,” a side-scrolling game released in Japan on home computers that was met with very mixed reviews that has you as Garfield having to save Odie in a week in game time. But thanks to the fine folks at Fan Brew Games I am able to get my hands on a copy of the game that plays in the RES System and one I can have a NES Challenge with! So take a drink from your Hot Coco as we are about to go gaming, and see if we can save Odie for this Holiday season of 2018.

After waiting forever for Fan Brew Games to send me the game as it was a special order, I chose October 16 2018 to play the game as the weather outside was perfect to stay indoors and get my retro game playing on. So I hooked up the good old RES (Retro Entertainment System) and put the game into the system and hit power and was ready to save Odie! And sadly my original RES died, and I had to select another day as I had to buy a new one. So the next day I selected was December 19 and I poured myself a tall glass of water as well as some cola and set my sights to focused on my mission at hand and that’s to beat A Week Of Garfield for the NES well or at least give it a good play. My first impression of the game when firing it up was that this game had a cool soundtrack as well as some good classic 8-Bit graphics…but then I started to play this game, and all I can say is, wow is it boring! As Garfield, all you can do is walk, crawl, look up and kick and for the most part all you do is dodge bugs, frogs, mice and other animals and when hit, your blood goes down pretty fast. You start with only one life and this leads to you playing the same levels over and over…and sad to say readers and friends, all I can say is this is one I walked away from after playing for a little under an hour as it’s just so bland and I felt I could do something better with my day before work like watch some Horror Movies and read some comics. So in other words, avoid this game unless you’re a massive Garfield fan and like games about walking.

I also want to let you all know that the Cinemassacre did a video play through this game that had James Rolfe and Mike Matei trying to play and review “A Week Of Garfield” back in 2017. And hearing these two play this game was lots of fun as they pointed out the flaws and over all cheesy nature of this kids game. And for those who enjoy video game and movie reviews and discussions, check out their Youtube station as it’s always packed with fun uploads. So did they like it, well you will have to watch the video and find out!

So now that you have all seen me fail at beating a kid’s game of Garfield for the NES, we should gather around the warm fireplace and take a look at the comic strip book adaptation of the Garfield Christmas Special! I want to thank an Etsy seller for having this book in stock. Plus as I sit here near the fire, my cat Leslie wants me to remind you all that I am grading this book on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the book stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So take a drink of your eggnog or hot coco as it’s time to spend a part of Christmas Eve with the Arbuckle Family as well as Odie and Garfield!

A Garfield Christmas # 1  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $5.95     Ballantine Books   # 1 of 1

Garfield is having a dream about a mechanical Santa Claus that will give him any gift he can think of, and just as he is getting all the jewels and riches he can think of, he is awoken by Jon who needs him to get ready for their trip to spend Christmas with his family. Jon along with presents and his pets Garfield & Odie hit the road and arrive at the family’s farm in no time. They are all greeted by Ma and Pa Arbuckle as well as Grandma and Doc Boy who is Jon’s brother. Jon goes out and helps his dad and brother do some chores around the farm as Odie and Garfield as well must go outside and “help” before they all can have a good home cooked meal. After dinner as a family they set up the Christmas Tree, sing a carol together and even Pa reads them all a Christmas tale! Garfield all the while bonds with the Grandma who feeds him food during dinner and sits in a rocking chair and pets him while remembering back to her husband who is no longer with us. That night they all go to sleep with joy and love in their hearts as the next day is Christmas and it’s a perfect snowy night. The next morning Jon and Doc Boy open their presents, Garfield gets one from Odie and the final gift given is when Garfield finds old love letters in the barn written by the deceased Grandpa to the Grandma when they first started dating! In the end the Arbuckle family are happy to have each other for the holiday, and Garfield lets everyone know that the best thing about Christmas is love.

This comic strip book captures the good feelings of Christmas and showcases the small country feel for this holiday as family is very important and chores still have to be done. The plot of this one is simple and has Jon, Odie and Garfield visiting Jon’s family at their farm for Christmas and all spend time together and just enjoy being around each other and partaking in family traditions. Jon Arbuckle is a man who loves his family and his pets and while he has been away from the family farm, he still lends a hand when needed and tries his best to do it the best he can when clearly he is rusty at farm life. Garfield while still being himself in this books shows lots of love to his family and is not only super kind to Odie but also has a real bond with Jon’s Grandma who is clearly having a rough time missing her husband who has passed away, and while Grandma is a very strong woman with a big personality she still has a soft side that enjoys sitting by the window watching the snow come down and petting a cat. Odie is as fun loving as ever and even makes Garfield a present that’s a back scratcher. Once more Odie shows that he is just an all around good dog. Ma and Pa Arbuckle are good folks who enjoy their farming life and celebrate the holidays with big meals and lots of love. Doc Boy who is Jon’s brother is a farm boy who enjoys having his brother around as they always seem to be picking on each other. What really works for me the most about this comic strip book is the atmosphere as who doesn’t want to spend the holidays with loved ones with good food, great talks with snow fall coming down and no place to go! There is just something very special about this book and Garfield in general for me as I really does bring me back to my childhood and when times were simple and everything seemed larger than life. The cover for this book is fantastic and has the Arbuckle Family with Garfield and Odie sitting around a piano and the tree enjoying carols. Jim Davis’s art is as always on point and is classic 70’s and 80’s Comic Strip stuff. This was a prefect read for me and was one great flashback as well, so if you like Garfield and want to read a simple Christmas comic strip this one is for you. Check out the art below to see the holiday cheer that are packed into each panel of this book.

Thanks for spending a part of your Christmas Eve with me here at Rotten Ink as this update. I hope made you think back to your connection to Garfield as well as the NES and just brought a little cheer to your day. Well for me I am going to sit back with a mug full or eggnog while sitting in my backyard and look back at how great this year has been for me when it came to creative stuff! But I will not take up any more of your Holiday time and with that I will see you next update as I break down my best in cinema for 2018! I think I hear Santa and his reindeer, so I need to say I hope you all have a great Christmas and I will see you here again in 2019!

A Very Merry NES Challenge Christmas Eve: Dragon’s Lair

Merry Christmas Eve to all you readers and friends, and this year has been a weird and wild ride for me as lots of great things have happened, from moving into a new home to making amazing comics with my friends at Sparkle Comics and even getting to travel to Evans City Cemetery twice this year! But sadly this year has also been a rough one for fans of horror as we lost many of our icons like George A. Romero, Tobe Hooper, Martin Landau, Michael Parks, Bill Paxton, Umberto Lenzi and Lon Madnight and each loss was very sad. Not to mention the world of entertainment lost many other names like Tom Petty, Bernie Wrightson, Adam West, Jerry Lewis, Chuck Berry, Ivan Koloff, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, George Steele and Basil Gogos to name a few. So make sure this holiday season to cherish your family, friends, co-workers and celebrities and anyone who offers something to your life. So let’s get back to the joy of the holiday and our topic at hand: Dragon’s Lair in the world of video games, cartoons and comics, and yes, I will even have an NES Challenge and try my best to try and beat the game! So grab your armor and helmet as we are about to go on a winter wonderland adventure with Dirk The Daring!

The hero of the world of Dragon’s Lair is the one and only Dirk The Daring, a high ranking knight for the kingdom who is selected to save the Princess Daphne from all the evil that keeps trying to kidnap her and do her harm. Dirk is well respected by the Kingdom as he is very loyal and brave and later even becomes the husband of Daphne, making him an heir to the throne! Dirk was trained at a young age to be a brave knight as he was in the Squire Scouts and even earned top badges during this time. When ready for battle Dirk gears up with his iconic armor that includes his orange over shirt and uses his sword as well as his fists, feet and head in order to fight off his enemies. I should also note that Dirk The Daring was only chosen to save the Princess after all the other knights in the Kingdom failed and were killed on this quest! So to sum up Dirk The Daring it would be this, he is a brave, loyal and smart knight who is willing to risk his life to save the Princess from a dragon and wizard and for this selfless action even finds himself the heir to the crown! Dirk The Daring is a very simple character who embodies the classic knight of old lore and is one iconic and yet sometime forgotten classic video game character.

In 1983, arcades were all the rage as machines were all over the place from pizza parlors to grocery stores.  These machines gobbled up many of players’ quarters as games like Pac-Man Jr., Donkey Kong 3 and Mario Bros. had eager gamers waiting in long lines to get a chance to try to get the top score on the machine! And during this early day of arcade machine domination, cartoonist Don Bluth and writer Rick Dyer created an interactive animated laserdisc game that as well took the arcade world by storm and even sparked sequels and many homeports of the game! The arcade game was such a hit that it, along side Pong and Pac-Man, are the only three arcade machines stored at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.! The game has been ported and remade for many home systems like Sega CD, Xbox, Playstation 2, CD-I, Nintendo DS and so many others including cell phones! In 1990, the game was released by Imagesoft, who made the game more of a side scrolling adventure game and took away the animated character of Dirk The Daring and made him into a 8-Bit hero of the home console generation as the game followed the same plot of the arcade game and turned up the difficulty to deliver a true challenging game. But with this change and the difficulty level came frustration as Dirk can be killed with one hit and almost everything can kill him including closed doors. This made gamers and critics go crazy, and the game was not well received and is considered as one of the worst games for the NES. So now that we have a brief history of this game and we learned about its over all poor reception from gamers, I can’t wait to spend a day trying to beat it on the NES!

Really quick I also need to briefly talk about the episode of The Angry Video Game Nerd where he took on Dragon’s Lair for the Nintendo Entertainment System! Back in 2007 for episode 37, The Nerd took a funny and frustrating look at Dragon’s Lair and went crazy trying his best to beat the game for the NES and found out that the game is brutal and unforgiving and nothing at all like the arcade game it was based on. Try after try he ended up losing his character’s lives and losing his cool in the process! This is a very funny episode that has the nerd drinking to try and deal with the brutal nature of the game and ends with him bumping into a close door and dying just like the character of Dirk in the video game. If you like crude and funny humor videos on YouTube, give this one a watch as it’s a good one.

In 1984, a cartoon of Dragon’s Lair was released by Rudy-Spears Productions for ABC and was part of the sadly long gone Saturday Morning Cartoons. The toon followed Dirk The Daring as he once more did his best to save and protect the lovely Princess Daphne from evil such as Singe The Dragon and Phantom Knight and at the end of each episode we are left with a cliffhanger leaving the viewer wondering how Dirk is to escape his approaching doom. The cartoon was short lived and only lasted 13 episodes and would later be replayed in reruns on USA Cartoon Express and Boomerang where it found a new audience. Voice actor Bob Sarlatte voiced Dirk The Daring while Ellen Gerstell lent her pipes to Princess Daphne. While this cartoon was not super popular and never made a huge impact in the world of toons, it was released on DVD thanks to Warner Brothers and now fans can relive it or even discover it for the first time. I remember barely it and know that I have seen episodes on USA Network but sadly don’t remember much about it besides I liked it.

Before I get into the NES Challenge part of this update, I want to also talk very briefly about some of the cool merchandise that has been made based on Dragon’s Lair that included coloring books, picture books, DVDs, comics, video games, stickers, plastic toys, trading cards, lunchbox and even very cool action figures! So what I am trying to say is that if you’re a fan, you can get yourself some cool items or heck maybe even ask Santa for some next Christmas! I think the action figures are pretty dang cool and are something that I feel I must track down.

So I decided to take my NES Challenge of Dragon’s Lair on November 8, 2017 as Juliet had to work all day and I was itching to try and tackle this legendary hard game! So starting at 9pm I hooked up the old RES (Retro-Bit Entertainment System) and grabbed my NES Controller and was ready for the show down of a lifetime! I poured a large glass of water, grabbed my iced coffee and opened a small bag of chips and cleared my head of other projects I was working on and knew that I had to take control of Dirk The Daring, as he needed to save Princess Daphne…so here is what happened in my showdown: upon starting the game up I noticed that the good old RES is starting to have some issues and that the controller has having major issues as it acted like it was not plugged in, and after working on it, I finally got it to work and my first impression was wow this game sucks as the controls seem delayed and this causes you to be open to the attack of the sea monster that is the first baddy you encounter! Plus while bats only drain your energy such things as rocks, doors, fire and most other bad guys can kill you in one hit! After playing for a few moments and lots of frustration, I was able to get into the castle and then that’s when the major frustration kicked in as the slow sloppy controls, one hit kills and random pop up enemies all kept causing Dirk to die and me to start the quest all over! No matter how much I tried, I was stuck in that damn dungeon and was driven to anger on just how terrible this game I was playing really was! After several hours of playing I really built up a strong dislike for the game and quickly forfeited to its suckiness, and I am not ashamed to say I did not beat Dragon’s Lair for the NES as its terrible controls made it a waste of time in trying to play as it seemed like it was fighting you not to advance. Below are some pics of me playing this game….man it was so bad!

So that NES Challenge was a waste as I found myself really disliking the game play and the delay really annoyed me to the point I just needed to walk away. But we are now at the point of the update where we will be taking a look at the comics based on Dragon’s Lair, and we will start with the Cross Gen series and work our way into the Arcana release. So as we sit here waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney, the snow man in the front yard would like for 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 some hot chocolate or even some eggnog and let’s take an epic Christmas Eve journey with Dirk The Daring! I also want to thank Lone Star Comics, Ebay and Amazon for having these comics in stock so that I could do this update.

Dragon’s Lair # 1  ***
Released in 2003     Cover Price $2.95     Cross Gen     # 1 of 3

The evil dragon Singe has his sights on revenge when it comes to Dirk The Daring, and this revenge has also sparked pure hatred and bloodlust of wanting to see our hero dead for all of the dragons he has killed in the past! Princess Daphne has been asked to run the Kingdom while the King is away, and as she and Dirk are on their way there, they are attacked by Singe and his smaller sidekicks.  Soon Dirk and Daphne find out that this dragon is super powerful as he defeats Dirk and takes Princess Daphne prisoner. After waking up from his defeat, Dirk The Daring heads to the Kingdom and finds a group of heroes that want to help on his quest to get the Princess back that are Leraene, the female Captain of the Royal Guard, and Drake, a young wizard’s apprentice who uses what little knowledge he has to look into the flame and sees lots of enemies and the dark castle that Singe is hiding the Princess in. Dirk tells his friends they must stay and guard the kingdom, and he finds that Daphne is being held in a magical bubble that in two days will warp her mind and cause her to be Singe’s slave and that the only way to kill Singe is by using a magical sword called the DragonFang that is as well in the castle. Dirk has the info he needs and gears up and heads out to save the day as our first issue ends.

The is a very fun and slow burn fantasy adventure comic that does its best to bring the video game characters and universe to the comic book world, and in my opinion they do a pretty good job of doing so. The plot is simple, that the granddaddy of all dragons Singe is mad at Dirk The Daring for killing many of his kind and wants revenge and sets out his plan that includes kidnapping the princess and taking her to a place that will be filled with lots of dangers all with the hopes of ending the life of Dirk! Our hero is Dirk The Daring, a noble and strong knight who does not back down in the face of danger and will do whatever he can to protect The Princess who he respects and loves. Dirk also kind of has an ego but not to the point that he is narcissistic or cruel to characters around him he just is very confident and don’t have time for those who drag their feet around him. Daphne, while a princess, is also very much a skilled fighter, and while she was kidnapped during this issue, she at least tried her best to fight back even biting the dragon, so clearly she is not your typical weak princess kind of character. Singe is a massive dragon who is not only powerful and filled with fire breathing rage but also is super smart and has hatched a plan to get revenge. I really cant wait to see what Singe has in store for our heroes. Drake is a goofball but his limited magical knowledge could come in handy, and Leraene is skilled and a great warrior to be at Dirk’s side in this rescue quest. I also am looking forward to seeing what they will offer in the upcoming issues. While the action of this comic is at the start and the rest is building up the story, I found this first issue to be a solid read and showed that CrossGen understood the folklore and character history of Dragon’s Lair. The cover is eye catching, and I am sure not only brought in fans of the video game but also adventure comic fans. The comic’s interior art was done by Fabio Laguna, and is top notch classic animated looking art showing they hired all the right people to make this comic book work! Over all I am looking forward to reading issue two, and can’pt wait to see what Dirk The Daring and his friends are planning on this rescue mission.

Dragon’s Lair # 2  ***
Released in 2003     Cover Price $2.95     Cross Gen      # 2 of 3

Dirk The Daring enters a creepy swamp, and after finding a Hydra Snake, he finds himself in quicksand and must hope that his trusty horse saves him in time. Meanwhile Singe thanks that Dirk died from their first battle and Princess Daphne soon finds out that the Dragon has many human brides that were once princess as well and that soon she will loose her free will and become one of his brides as well! As Dirk is saved by his lucky horse who is named Bertram ,and they find themselves at a dark castle that belongs to the Lizard King who is helping Singe and wants to do his best to kill our hero! As Bertram leads the alligator henchmen away from the castle Dirk and Lizard King have a fight that leads the evil Lizard King falling out of a window and into the mouths of his hungry alligators who eat him alive, as Dirk The Daring and Bertram head toward the dark castle of Singe.

In this second issue, Dirk The Daring fights the Lizard King (no, not Jim Morrison of the band The Doors!) as well as all the creepy crawlers of the swampland and gets one step closer to rescuing his true love. Dirk The Daring is focused on his quest at hand, and once more proves he is not scared to risk his own life in order to save his Princess. I also really like that Dirk on his quest is really leaning on his trusty horse Bertram for backup and boy does this horse help pull his fat out of the fire a couple of times. Dirk is a great hero in comics just like he is in video games, and in this issue he acts like a true knight! Singe is once more shows that he is cold blooded as he enjoys the fact that he has enslaved many of Princesses and that he killed Dirk The Daring or so he thinks. The Lizard King is a loud mouth little reptile man who tries his best to end the quest of Dirk but is out classed when it comes to battle and finds himself dinner for his very own pet gators! I really like the dingy swamp atmosphere in this issue as it adds a feeling of dread to the quest and is filled with snakes, spiders and killer lizards showing that many sinister things are going to stand in the way of Dirk’s rescue mission. While the first issue was part action and part story drama, this second issue goes for mostly action and only a small part drama making for a quick and fun read. The cover is pretty cool and once more eye catching for fans of the game and adventure comics. The interior art is once more done by the talented Fabio Laguna and is great stuff. This second issue is just as entertaining as the first, and I can’t wait to see what the third and final issue has in store for Dirk The Daring and us the readers.

Dragon’s Lair # 3  **1/2
Released in 2003     Cover Price $2.95     Cross Gen     # 3 of 3

Princess Daphne finds herself stuck in the bubble, and none of the other Princess will help her escape as the mind washing of free will is creeping even closer, and Singe himself has the only key to open the bubble around his neck! Meanwhile Dirk The Daring and Bertram have entered a graveyard and soon find that they are being surrounded by zombies and skeletons that want both man and horse dead as they are craving death and souls! Dirk and his trusty horse fight the horde of the undead and even trick a massive skeleton into destroying himself! After they escape the graveyard they make their way even closer to the castle of Singe.

This issue is lots of fun but also slips a little as I found it to be a little lackluster on the adventure part, and Dirk fighting the undead seemed like it was just him running through them and them exploding into piles of bones…and I never felt he was in danger in this issue like I did in the past two. But while this issue is not as solid as the past two, I still want to stress that it is a very good issue even with this slight flaw. The issue’s thin plot has Dirk The Daring charging through a graveyard filled with the reanimated dead while Princess Daphne tries to figure out how to escape the magical ball she is trapped in as it’s trying to drain her of her own will and mind. Dirk and Bertram in this issue are once more working as a team and do well for themselves in this battle, and Dirk’s sword cuts down their enemies, as does the mighty back kick of Bertram.  They make a great comic duo and are top notch heroes for sure. Princess Daphne, even while captured, proves that she herself is also a warrior as she is not giving up and tries all she can to escape the odds that are clearly against her. It’s a shame that CrossGen lost the rights of Dragon’s Lair comics, and this was the final issue in their series as it leaves the story unfinished and Daphne still in that dang bubble! Singe is a sinister and sleazy dragon as he eats people, bosses princesses and makes them dress sexy and seems to get joy in causing death and destruction. The Undead, while they swarm in masses, they just were outmatched by Dirk, and they mostly just fell apart after one hit making them no major threat. I think what works for me about this series this far is the fact they did a fantastic job of blending the Dragon’s Lair video game and the cartoon together to make a fun and entertaining comic series that brings all the elements that made Dragon’s Lair special together. The cover on this third issue is okay and in my opinion is a little generic, but still also somewhat eye catching and the interior art is once more done by Fabio Laguna and is top notch stuff as he captures the mood and spirit of the characters. I think the downside to this comic series is that CrossGen dropped the ball when they did not finish the story arch as three issues are missing to make this series complete. But lucky for readers, in 2006 independent comic company Arcana decided to finish this series and allow readers to see how the adventure quest ended. I feel its my duty to track those down to give you all a true look at Dragon’s Lair so let’s see what is next of Dirk thanks to Arcana! And not to confuse any of your readers I will number them as if they are part of the CrossGen set, but keep in mind while it will say its issue 4 for Arcana it’s only issue # 2!

Dragon’s Lair # 4  **1/2
Released in 2006     Cover Price $3.95       Arcana     # 2 of 4

Dirk The Daring and Bertram find themselves at a flowing river of lava and must split up in order to get across. Dirk dashes across on boulders and finds that he is not alone as Mud Men appear and attack! Dirk decides instead of fighting them and wasting what little time he has left to save the Princess, he dives below into a river that ends up leading him to the castle of Singe. Meanwhile inside the castle Princess Daphne tries to trick Singe and his slave women into believing that she is indeed wanting to be a part of his harem but soon finds the dragon king is smart and knows she is playing games in order to escape. Dirk meanwhile has entered the castle and finds all types of ghouls and baddies waiting for him that includes small purple ones that are multiplying! Dirk outsmarts them but soon finds himself behind a door that leads to a fire pit and attacking purple enemies behind it!

Dirk furthers his quest as he makes it past the Mud Men, out runs tiny purple knife swinging goblins and makes it to the castle of Singe! While this is a great adventure and continues the quest, I did once more feel that none of the baddies he faces are any threats to stopping him! Dirk The Daring as always is super brave and shows that he is also smart as when time or the odds are against him, he knows just they way to get away safe. Bertram is barely in this issue as he breaks away from Dirk in the lava river and disappears.  I hope they don’t write him out of the series and that he comes back in the next issue. Drake and Leraene also make a small cameo as they can see what the Princess is doing and mostly chat about her sexy outfit…weird. Princess Daphne however is still not giving up the fight and wants to murder Singe with her own bare hands if she can escape the bubble! Singe is getting cocky as he thinks Dirk is dead and that the Princess will soon be mind wiped and his slave forever. The Mud Men and Purple Goblin guys are cool but are easily tricked and are left in the dust for the most part. I do like the idea of Mud People and for some reason it made me think of the Muck Men in the 1980’s horror film Spookies. The cover for this issue is pretty fantastic, and the interior art is once more done by Fabio Laguna and is topnotch stuff. So over all it was great to see the next issue in this series after Cross Gen dropped the ball withnot finishing it. So let’s see what the next issue has in store.

Dragon’s Lair # 5  ***
Released in 2006     Cover Price $3.95       Arcana      # 3 of 4

Dirk The Daring is stuck on a small ledge above a fire pit with the creepy little purple goblins behind him and climbs his way out and dodges a horde of bats before entering a chamber where a beautiful dark haired woman is asking Dirk for his help. The woman is brainwashing Dirk that she is the true one she needs to help and while seducing him, he notices that she is not a hottie but a green skinned witch! Meanwhile Princess Daphne’s will is starting to break as she is down and almost given up as Singe tries to tell her he is not the bad guy that Dirk is as he has killed many of his dragon children and he is doing this for revenge…and that he is evil! Dirk meanwhile fights off the trance, and the witch calls in the Black Knight, an armored killing machine, who throws Dirk around and just as he is about to choke our hero to death the Black Knight gets his arms cut off by a gasping Dirk who then also kicks his armless foe out of a window. The Witch is now very mad and tries to use a spell to turn Dirk into a statue, but our hero is too smart for her and her spell bounces off a mirror and freezes her. As Dirk leaves her room he falls through a trap door!

This fifth issue is really good, and my only major complaint is that for some reason Dirk The Daring spews one-liners like Ash from the Evil Dead movie series, and it’s just not fitting for Dirk. The plot of this one is very simple Dirk is now in the castle where his true love is being held captive while she is being tormented by the evil dragon. Dirk in this issue gets seduced, wises up and hacks up a knight who is trying to kill him…so as you can see Dirk is a man on a mission and will not back down from his quest at hand. Singe is an evil dragon that really does get joy is torturing his captive prisoner and who clearly likes being powerful and in charge. I also like how Singe at first makes it that you feel bad for him as he talks about the reason he is doing this is cause Dirk killed so many of his children and he felt he needed to get revenge for them, and then says plus he is just evil and enjoys all the bad he does. Poor Princess Daphne is starting to loose her strong will as it appears she is stuck with no hope of being rescued before the next full moon and her mind is turned to mush and she becomes another bride of Singe. The Witch is sinister and uses the appearance of a very hot woman to lure Dirk in and when he finds out she is not what she appears she wants him dead and is indeed a threat! The Black Knight as well is very much a threat as he only has one thing on his dark mind and that’s to kill Dirk and even when his arms are chopped off and is kicked out of a castle window he still is silent and its clear he would still fight Dirk until his very last breath! The plus for this issue for sure is the fact The Witch and Black Knight appear as if they could in fact kill Dirk and both at least put up a major fight. The cover is super cool and I am sure caught many eyes of comic readers and the interior once more is done by the talented Fabio Laguna and man its really sad that we only have one more issue to go in this series so lets see how this quest ends.

Dragon’s Lair # 6  ***
Released in 2006     Cover Price $3.95       Arcana      # 4 of 4

Dirk The Daring falls hard to the ground after stepping onto a trapdoor and shakes off the effects and finds himself at the gold treasure room of Singe who is fast asleep.  As he makes his way to Princess Daphne, it’s clear the bubble is starting to make her dumber and when all the other slave women freak out over seeing a real man, a screaming match breaks out and this awakens Singe who is ready for battle. Dirk tries all he can to defeat the dragon from his trusty sword, an ax and even a spear and nothing seems to slow Singe down, but this is all a plan as Dirk tricks Singe into melting the stone that traps the DragonFang sword, and he uses this blade to slay Singe and is just in time to get the key from around the dragon’s neck and free Princess Daphne from the bubble, and by shattering the bubble, this also frees the minds of all the other slave women and once more Dirk The Daring is the hero!

This final issue is fast paced and has a good and fantasy final battle between Dirk and Singe that leads to an ending fitting even for the game, as almost the whole issue is the final battle and it ends with a sword to the heart of the dragon. Dirk The Daring shows why he is considered the top knight of the kingdom as he uses both skill and smarts to slay the dragon and free the Princess. That’s one thing about Dirk throughout these six issues he stays as noble and heroic making him a true hero and icon of video games and comic books. While he can also be goofy and stumble around, it was the one-liners in issue five that was the only thing I didn’t like about the comic version of this character. Princess Daphne in this issue is becoming dumb and her will is almost broken, but once save she is the kick butt woman she needs to be and becomes a great character that can also defend herself. Princess Daphne is a great character and while her captive outfit might border on porn star look, she still is a very strong female character who does not play the victim even when she is in trouble. Bertram is a loyal horse who in his own right is a hero as he saves Dirk’s life many times in this comic and is also very brave, the down side is when Arcana took over doing the comic series this horse takes a back seat and only appears at the start of issue 4 (2) and does not show back up to the very end of issue 6 (4) making him a minor player when he should have been major. Leraene and Drake are very much background hero characters and in fact add nothing really cool to the story and could have been cut out and it would have not mattered to the story. Singe is a great bad guy as he is not only a massive dragon but he is also sleazy and dangerous who enjoys all aspects of being evil! I also like the fact he is ready to fight and kill any hero who dares cross his mean spirited path. The other baddies in this comic series are just speed bumps in Dirks quest with The Black Knight being my second favorite villain in this series being Singe. I must say I do think that the creative team behind these comics really did a great job of capturing the fun and epic feel of the Don Bluth’s video game. The cover for this final issue is pretty great and show cases Dirk with Singes image in his sword. The Interior art is once more done by Fabio Laguna and is good stuff as even some of his rushed looking panels are still amazing! I also like how in this issue a panel has golden statues of Orko from Masters Of The Universe as well as one of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker! I also really like the fact that this comic series when dropped by the original publisher was able to be finished three years later thanks to a Publisher who picked up the slack and allowed fans to get the full story. If you’re a fan of the video game and or the cartoon this comic series is for you! Below is some artwork form this fun adventure series.

So as you can see, while the NES game based on Dragon’s Lair is a stinker, the comic series was not. Growing up I never had a full connection to these characters but always did at least find them cool, and I really wished I had read these comics when released in 2003/2006 as I think I would have even enjoyed them back then. But I just finished my last glass of eggnog, and I think I can hear reindeer hooves on the roof so I think we should get some slumber so Santa can do his work. Our next update will be my Best Of Cinema of 2017, and man ,I am looking forward to you readers checking it out. So have a wonderful Christmas, and I will see you all next year!

Spend Christmas Eve With The Gremlins!

Merry Christmas Eve, and welcome back to Rotten Ink, my cozy little slice here on the web. This day is always filled with big smiles and heartwarming moments, another thing it brings is Christmas movies and TV specials! How many of you remember watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or even “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” on your local station? Or even watching classic holiday films like “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas”, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, “Ernest Saves Christmas”, “Prancer” or the ever so classic “A Christmas Story” on a cold December night? But for monster kids like myself, this time of the year also brings horror Christmas films that warm the heart as well as chill the blood. I mean who can not want to watch films this time of year like “Silent Night Deadly Night 1-5”, “Santa Claws”, “Silent Night Bloody Night”, “Jack Frost”, “Christmas Evil”, “Elves” or even the film that’s todays update and of course I am talking “Gremlins”! I mean every kid I knew growing up loved this film and everyone I knew talked about it with affection and wonderment, as it was a film we could all bound over. So I want to think you for spending a small part of your Christmas Eve with me and am very proud to bring you this update based on the beloved classic film Gremlins, so join me on this zany update that I hope will fill your mind and soul with a little joy. And I need to remind you of the rules of Gremlins for our own sanity and safety! 1.) No Bright Light, the light will hurt them and could kill them. 2.) Don’t Get Him Wet, as that makes them multiply! 3.) Never Feed Them After Midnight, as this will cause them to spawn from cute little Mogwai to a cacoon that hatches and now you have a sinister Gremlin on your hands! So with those rules in mind lets move onto this Joyess update.

Christmas Gifts red

So as always we should start our look at Gremlins with taking a look at the 1984 movie, I can remember watching this movie around Christmas every year when I was a youngster on Beta Tape and later VHS and it really did become a staple of my Holiday viewing. Even when I got older and worked for Blockbuster Video for the Holidays my Store Manager use to let us play G and PG films that fit the season and I always selected Gremlins, and not much has changed on that front as now at Game Swap if Gremlins is in stock it goes in to entertain shoppers and employees alike! So as always the films write up is coming from IMDB to keep me from being long winded and I’ll also break down its Box Office numbers here in America.

Gremlins Movie Still 1Gremlins PosterGremlins Movie Still 2

Gremlins (1984)

Miniature green monsters tear through the small town of Kingston Falls. Hijinks ensue as a mild-mannered bank teller releases these hideous loonies after gaining a new pet and violating two of three simple rules: No water (violated), no food after midnight (violated), and no bright light. Hilarious mayhem and destruction in a town straight out of Norman Rockwell. So, when your washing machine blows up or your TV goes on the fritz, before you call the repair man, turn on all the lights and look under all the beds. ‘Cause you never can tell, there just might be a gremlin in your house.”

Gremlins is one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time as it mixes the magic and wonder of the Holiday season and tosses in a dash of Horror. I can as I have said remember watching this film on VHS/Beta when I was a kid and almost wearing out the tapes, as I could not get enough of Gizmo and his war with Stripe and the evil Gremlins. The film was directed by Joe Dante who directed such films as The Howling, Piranha, Explorers and Innerspace to name a few. The stars of the movie are Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Dick Miller, Hoyt Axton, Judge Reinhold and Corey Feldman to name a few as well and had Howie Mandel doing the voice of Gizmo and Megatron himself Frank Welker lending his pipes to Stripe as well as other Gremlins. The film was Scored by Jerry Goldsmith and distributed by Warner Brothers and executive produced by Steven Spielberg with it being released on June 8, 1984 with an $11 million dollar budget. The year it was released Gremlins made $148,168,459.00 at the US Box Office and was # 4 for the year beating out such other classic films like The Karate Kid, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, Purple Rain, The Terminator, Friday The 13th IV: Final Chapter, Conan The Destroyer, The Last Starfighter, Dune, A Nightmare On Elm Street and so many more classic and cult films! In fact 1984 was one epic year for movies as it was filled with many classics as well as cult classics! The film is packed with so many moments that have stuck in my mind over the years from the baby Mogwai’s eaten cold fried chicken after midnight to them playing a miniature Donkey Kong arcade machine, clips of classic Horror movies and TV shows playing on the televisions, Robbie The Robot (Forbidden Planet) walks by in a scene and the stacks of Comic books in Billy’s room all stuff that is fun, silly and great moments of the film.

Gremlins Movie Still 3

The films main star is a cute little guy called Gizmo who is a species known as a Mogwai. Unlike others in his species he is kind and gentile and refuses to be evil like his brothers and sisters who want to morph and become Gremlins. Gizmo is named that after Billy and his father talk about how he likes and can figure out how to use the gadgets the father makes. Gizmo was originally owned by Mr. Wing and later belonged to Billy and then back to Mr. Wing until the old mans death and then he returned to live with Billy and Kate in New York. Almost every fan of this movie growing up I can remember them owning a Gizmo doll and almost every woman I have ever meet who loves this film series LOVES Gizmo. Super smart, super cute and much like Rambo when pushed he will fight back…in other words Gizmo rules!

Gizmo 1Gizmo from Gremlins.Gizmo 3

So we talked the hero of the film so we might as well chat a little about the leader of the bad guys the sinister and evil Stripe! Stripe was born from Gizmo after water is spilled on him and from his birth on he had a sinister streak and also seemed to be a leader to the other Mogwai. Stripe is named this as he has a white Mohawk that looks like a stripe on the top of his head. Stripe also hates Gizmo as he not only as a Mogwai but also a Gremlin will do what ever he can to hurt or kill him. Once a Gremlin the more murderous side of Stripe comes out as he uses guns, saws and arrows to try and kill anyone who gets in his way namely Billy. Super smart and having a real mean streak makes Stripe a very mean foe, but by the end he meets his end and we will get into that a little later in this update. While gone some say he was reborn in the second movie as Mohawk who spends the movie trying to kill Gizmo and Billy and even turns himself into a Spider Gremlin. Love him or hate him Stripe was one of the 80’s coolest bad guys of kid movie cinema.

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The original Gremlins had many stand out creatures from the ski mask wearing robber Gremlin to Stripe the white Mohawk leader of the pack of mischief makers, but for me one of my all time favorites has to be the popcorn bag eared Gremlin who was watching Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs at the local movie theater! Something about this strange Gremlin who decided that wearing popcorn bags on his ears was the right choice always made me laugh as a kid and has always stuck with me even as a adult. I think someone should make a Gremlins comic book series and have issues that follow some of the Gremlins during the first break out and do one on old popcorn bag ears! I think IDW would be the perfect home for comics based on Gremlins and while at it they should also do a series about The Goonies another film my generation and beyond holds near and dear. While he only had seconds of screen time Popcorn Bag Eared Gremlin will always be one of my favorites in this film just behind Stripe.

Popcorn Bag Gremlin

One thing I should touch up on is the fact many youngsters of the 80’s had a huge crush on Phoebe Cates who played Kate Beringer in Gremlins 1 & 2 as well as had roles in other classics like “Drop Dead Fed”, “Date With An Angel” and of course “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” where she has the famous pool scene were she pops her top! And I was one of those youngsters who thought actresses like Phoebe Cates, Mia Sara, Helen Slater and Kerri Green were the be all of beauty. Phoebe is pretty much retired from acting with her last role being in the 2001 film “The Anniversary Party” and she is married to actor Kevin Kline who is known for his roles in classics like “A Fish Called Wanda”, “Dave” and “Wild Wild West” to name a very select few. Phoebe Cates at the time of this update is 53 years old and as lovely as ever, thanks Mrs. Cates for making the 80’s and early 90’s awesome with your beauty and your acting skill and film choices. Check out below for some pictures showing the beauty of Phoebe Cates.

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While this update is based on the adaptation of the original Gremlins movie, I feel that it’s my duty to cover the second film as well! So once again the film’s plot is taken from IMDB and for me was another fun must-watch as it now added horror hosting, Christopher Lee and over the top silly comedy to the mix.

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Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

An army of malevolent little monsters take over a high-tech corporate skyscraper when a cute and intelligent exotic pet is exposed to water. The “Mogwai’s” owner joins forces with the Trump-like head of the corporation to regain control.”

You cant keep good Gremlins down and in 1990 a sequel called “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” was released in theaters to add another crazy and silly adventure for Gizmo, Billy and Kate to get through. Many things made this movie stick out to me and I might as well share them real quick with you on this Holiday update. I loved the New Gremlins who were cross breed with other things to create such gremlins as Electric Gremlin, Brain Gremlin, Vegetable Gremlin and Bat Gremlin to name a very few. It’s great to see Christopher Lee as Doctor Catheter in the film as well as having Dick Miller return as his character Murray Futterman from the first film. I also really like the fact that they have a Horror Host character named Grandpa Fred who is a vampire that’s hosts terrible movies. You have to think that parts of this movie is spoofing Ted Turner and Al Lewis aka Grampa from Super Scary Saturday. Also a Pro Wrestler has a cameo in the film but we will get to that a little later. The film didn’t do to well for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office bringing in $41,482,207.00 on a budget of $50 million, but made up for it on Home Video. The film ranked # 31 for the year of 1990 and beat such classic and cult films as Rocky V, Darkman, Predator 2, Child’s Play 2, The Exorcist III, Ernest Goes To Jail, Quigley Down Under, Tremors, Duck Tales: The Movie, Death Warrant and Tales From The Darkside: The Movie to name a select few. While not a Box Office hit every kid I knew growing up loved this silly, goofy film! Oh and the picture below is the Phantom Of The Opera Gremlin…yeah he was one of my favorites! I should also note that the sequel was directed by Joe Dante again and starred returning cast Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates and Dick Miller and has actors like Christopher Lee, Robert Prosky and John Glover added to the lineup.

Phantom Gremlin

When I was a youngster as all you long time readers and friends know I was and still am a huge Pro Wrestling fan and I can remember going crazy when Hulk Hogan showed up in a cameo in Gremlins 2! During the movie The Gremlins stop the film being mischief making little monsters and the theater usher goes into the theater and asks Hulk Hogan if he can help to get the film back on track and after cutting a great promo about soda and popcorn the Gremlins in fear start the movie up again! Hulk Hogan was such a big icon amongst kids I can remember kids on the playground after seeing Gremlins 2 talking about his scene in the movie among the excitement of all the different Gremlin styles. As always The Hulkster added to the enjoyment of the youth with his over the top cameo in Gremlins 2.

Hulk Hogan in Gremlins 2

Like all good kids movies of the 80’s Gremlins sparked a rush of merchandise based around its characters! Such amazing things like toys, novels, kids books, posters, Halloween costumes, trading cards, Shrinky Dinks, Colorforms, shirts, breakfast cereal, candy, Plush Dolls and a slew of other cheap products and junk foods. Growing up I can remember eating Gremlins cereal in the morning as well as had many of the trading cards and ate the candy that we would get from UDF as it came in a plastic head of Stripe or Gizmo and they seemed like something I had to have in my youth. I also owned the Novel adaptations of both Gremlins 1 and 2 as well as many of the kids books based on it. As an adult I own theatrical posters for both Gremlins and Gremlins 2 that are hanging on the wall inside of Game Swap in Kettering and as well have the Colorforms I got from the store Twin Evil. So much merchandise was released for this film showing you that Warner Brothers knew they had something special with this film. So growing up what kind of Gremlin stuff do you guys own?

Gremlins Shrinky DinksGremlins Kids BookGremlins Trading CardsDon Post Gremlins Halloween Costume

Some of the best merchandise has to be the action figures and dolls that was made when the film was released and are still being made even to this day. Growing up I had many PVC figures from Gizmo to Stripe that latter who I also owned a bendable of. I can also remember my Uncle had one of the larger Stripe action figures and my brother and me were so obsessed with it. With in the last few years I started to collect some of the NECA figures based on Gremlins and Gremlins 2 as they are very well made figures and look great on a shelf. Last year Funko as part of the ReAction figure series of retro style 3 ¾” action figures released ones based on Gremlins that showcased not only Gizmo and the Gremlins but also Billy! Growing up I wish they had these Star Wars size Gremlins figures as they would have been a welcome addition to the Toy Wars, imagine Stripe and his fellow Gremlins trying to murder the Ewoks at the Ewok Village playset! So if you’re a toy collector many great actions figures have and are being made based on this iconic holiday classic movie and it’s sequel!

Stripe Toy In BoxNECA Gremlins FiguresReAction Gremlins Figures

Jerry Goldsmith is a legend of making score music and has done so for many iconic films like “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, “Alien”, “First Blood”, “Psycho II”, “Congo”, “Mulan” and so many more and of course on this list was both Gremlins and Gremlins 2! The films main theme called “The Gremlin Rag” is such an iconic piece of music and a tune that I find myself humming pretty often, and to be honest I have also caught my girlfriend Juliet as well humming it! The soundtracks are something we play on Alpha Rhythms from time to time as well as on Game Swap’s Radio that plays overhead. While I would say that the original Gremlins soundtrack is a must own for fans of score music, I would say Gremlins 2 while very good and solid is more for diehard fans of the film. But if your love score music like me make sure to give these a listen as they will help add to your Holiday Mood if you’re a Monster Kid.

Gremlins SoundtrackJerry GoldsmithGremlins 2 Soundtrack

Gizmo would also make a leap into the world of Video Games and started out in 1984 when two games based on the movie for Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 was released to gamers, and while the game was nothing special it seemed like a must have for my friends who had Atari’s growing up. The Nintendo not to be left out in 1990 thanks to SunSoft released a video game based on Gremlins 2, this was a game I can remember renting from the video store and latter ending up just buying it used. But while those two are the video games that stand out to me many other more modern games have been made as well based on this film series for such systems as Wii and Game Boy Advance. I should also note that Commodore 64 as well had games based on Gremlins come out it can be said for PC as well. I would love to see a company like Telltale Games make a modern game based on Gremlins for the PS4, but sadly I don’t see this happening.

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So with it being Christmas Eve and all I think it’s time to take a quick break and plug in the old RES (Retro-Bit Retro Entertainment System) to play a Pacnsacdave game based on the original Gremlins! Yes this is a homebrew NES Games based around the 1984 film and has you take control of Gizmo as you make your way through a building that’s been over run with Gremlins all looking to kill you! I got this game on a NES Cart as well in a great clamshell style package with cover art and must say I was very happy with the presentation of this product and must say that Pacnsacdave does fantastic work with his reproduction products. Christmas time always makes me think of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) as way back in my youth my parents got me and my brother one as a shared gift on this holiday, and I can remember the pure hype we had when playing our very own system and trying as a family to beat Super Mario Brothers and all having a blast playing Duck Hunt. So many great old school memories of the NES with friends, family and co-workers and here tonight I want to share another NES memory and that’s me playing and maybe trying to beat Gremlins!

Gremlins for the NES

I decided to play this game on May 31, 2016 as I had the day off from work and it was right after Memorial Day spent with Juliet and her Parents. I was focused and ready to try my best to see just how far I could get in this game as well as see just how fun and challenging it was. When the game first came in my Cousin Stephen Alexander and myself played it and found that it was super hard, but we were not fully trying like I am today so let me tell you about my time playing this game. As Gizmo I started my mission on top of building and was only armed with baseballs that had to throw at some dogs we want to throw me off the building! Once inside one of the buildings you must dodge not only Gremlins but also security cameras that hurt you when you’re spotted. The game is very challenging and I spent lots of time trying to get into the building as the two crates that I was suppose to stack and climb did not want to cooperate with me on this day. And Once inside I did pretty well dodging the cameras and Gremlins and played for about an hour or so when something really annoying happened…the controller just stopped working! I tried unplugging it and putting it back in but sadly nothing helped and this cut my game playing a little short, but damn what I was able to play was lots of fun and well worth the buy and I really do look forward to playing all the way through soon! So if you like classic 8-Bit games and enjoy Gremlins make sure to check out Pacnsacdaves Etsy shop and get your self a copy of this fun and challenging game.

Gremlins for the NES in a RESGremlins NES Screen ShotGremlins for the NES Case

It’s time for the review part of this update and with the chill in the air I think we should all take a moment and grab a mug of hot chocolate or even eggnog and while at it a few Christmas cookies, as I feel it’s the right time to do so! But remember if your reading this after Midnight do not give any cookies to your pet Mogwai! I want to thank Amazon for having this comic in stock and Gizmo is telling me to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I want to also share with you that when I was a kid I had this Golden Book comic adaptation of Gremlins and at some point over time it was gotten ride of and I thought I imagined that a comic of Gremlins was made when I was 36 and later this year after digging around the internet I found that it was not just in my mind and my memories of art from it was real! So I am really looking forward to re-reading this again and sharing it with you my Friends and Readers this on this special Holiday update. So I hope you have your drink of choice in hand and have Gremlin insurance as its time to unleash Stripe and his band of mean spirited Gremlins!

Gremlins 1 Golden Book

Gremlins # 1  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price $2.95   Golden Book   # 1 of 1

Rand Peltzer is a inventor who is one business trying to sell his new invention called the Bathroom Buddy when he stumbles onto a shop while looking for a gift for his son, the shop is filled with strange items and is run by an old Asian man and his grandson that owns a little creature called a Mogwai that Rand tries to buy but is shot down by the old man. After leaving the grandson tracks down Rand and sells him the Mogwai and tells him the three rules of the creature. The rules are simple no sun light, no water and do not feed it after midnight. Meanwhile in Kingston Falls Billy Peltzer’s car will not start so he and his trusty dog Barney have to walk to work and while doing so saves a cat from being hit by a car that belongs to the town’s snotty old lady named Mrs. Deagle who after Billy leaves she discovers her snowman destroyed and she comes to his work and lets him have it in front of everyone. Billy after work visits Kate a co-worker from the bank he works at, who is also working for a small bar and returns home just in time as his father Rand is coming back and gets his gift the Mogwai he names Gizmo. While visiting to drop of a Christmas Tree Billy’s young friend Pete by accident spills water on Gizmo that causes him to spawn more Mogwai’s who are more mean spirited than Gizmo who they pick on as well as Barney! The next day Rand takes Barney to the Grandparents house and Billy takes a Mogwai to Mr. Hanson who is going to study the creature. But things quickly get worse when the Mogwai’s all eat after midnight and turn into eggs that hatch and unleash mean little creatures known as Gremlins! One with a Mohawk named Stripe kills Mr. Henson and Billy’s Mom is even attacked and must fight for her life against a house full of the Gremlins. After Billy saves his mom he and Gizmo go on a hunt to try and kill all the remaining Gremlins but by accident in the local YMCA thanks to Gizmo armed with a flashlight Stripe falls into the pool and spawns a heck of a lot more Gremlins! Now the town is under attack and this leaves many of the citizens of Kingston Falls dead including Billy’s boss at the bank, his neighbors the Futtermans and Mrs. Deagle! Billy saves Kate who is being swarmed by Gremlins at the bar and along with Gizmo they set up and kill all the Gremlins at the local movie theater by blowing it up! But what they thought was the end of this crisis soon turns into a war as Stripe is still alive and hiding out at the department store and while Kate and Gizmo hide in the main office Billy goes in armed with a baseball bat to defeat Stripe who is using buzz saw blades and bow & arrows to take down Billy, but thanks to his dad Rand and dog Barney his life is spared just in time. In the end as Kate turns on all the store lights Stripe heads to the home and garden area and jumps into the water fountain to spawn more of his kind, but thanks to Gizmo he takes down the tarps covering the window and allows sunlight in and this kills Stripe. That night at the Peltzer house Billy, his parents, Kate, Barney and Gizmo are all together, as the old shop keeper shows up and takes Gizmo back and walks away into the night with his Mogwai, as Billy misses his friend but knows he had to leave.

This adaptation is very kid friendly and tones down the violence and adds bigger panels with large text to allow an easier read for youngsters. The story is intact for the most part but is a little rushed but the plot is still young Billy gets a new pet called a Mogwai and by not following the rules it spawns and his clones turn into evil Gremlins that torment the small town and Billy must man up and along with his true love and his pet Mogwai must stop the invasion. Billy Peltzer is a good young man who is trying his best in the small town he lives in, he loves a girl whom he as crushed on for years, he works a bank job that he don’t fit in at and has his bosses always run him down the road for minor things like the fact he wears clip on ties! But Billy really is a good guy and when the town starts to go to hell he is the one who stands up and takes the fight to the Gremlins and rids the town of their evil ways. Rand and Lynn Peltzer are good parents who love their son and are trying to just get by, while Rand means well with is invention they just don’t work and they are not paying the bills as their home is about to be foreclosed on. But like their son when things go bad they fight back against the Gremlins and try to do their part in ridding the town of them. Kate Beringer is a sweet, attractive and big hearted young lady who does what’s right and clearly is the girl next door who every guy crushes on. Gizmo is also a very nice Mogwai who is well behaved and knows the rules himself of his species and quickly turns from a pet to a member of the Peltzer family, plus in the end to win the final fight he puts his own life on the line to save Billy’s and the towns. The Gremlins are mean spirited and get joy in hurting and killing and in a short time causes so mush problems in the small town that it’s like a bomb was dropped. Stripe is the leader of the Gremlins and is the most evil one of them as he really enjoys killing and wants nothing more than to be cruel and destroy all that’s around him. Side characters like the Futtermans, Mrs. Deagle and Pete all serve their purposes and add some great background characters and in some cases victims. Some major changes from the film to comic is these things No depressing story from Kate about her father dying, the deaths of characters are toned down and less impactful and many of the funny Gremlin characters are missing and besides Stripe they all look the same. The cover for this comic is ok but not really that eye catching as its just a movie still of Kate, Billy and Gizmo placed below a cream colored box that has the Gremlins logo as well as the Golden Book one and the price. The art in side is pretty well done with none of the characters looking like the actors from the film, but the Gremlins and Mogwai look really good. The art is done by Adrian Gonzales who is know for his work on comics like Arak Son Of Thunder and World’s Finest Comics for DC. The best part about reading this comic is the fact that while doing so many of the art panels came back to my memory from when I owned this as a kid and a real sense of nostalgia swept over me. Over all this is not amazing as it does feel rushed and watered down, but it is good and well worth reading for fans of the film and I would say that I am glad to have it in my collection. Check out some art work from this comic below to see the style of Gonzales.

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Ok now that the comic review is over and you know the twists and turns of the story if your new to the world of Gremlins I can talk about a scene from the movie that was super brutal and reminded me of Dracula’s death by the sun in the Hammer Horror film “Horror Of Dracula” and of course I am talking the death of Stripe in the water fountain via the sun! I mean when first watching that movie as a youngster my jaw dropped when Gizmo opens the blinds in the home and garden area and the suns rays hit the body of Stripe causing him to jerk around and melt into a puddle of slime and ooze! At one point Stripe turns into a skeleton and even his bones bubble and melt away, I am sure if you seen this movie as a kid you remember just how brutal this death scene is in a kids film! While Stripe was the most evil of all the Gremlins he in fact meets his end the worst of anyone or thing in the film. But I don’t want to give you to much nightmare fuel this Christmas Eve so all I will say is the death of Stripe I am sure has scarred many of you readers and below is some pictures from his gross death!

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Wow this was lots of fun talking about Gremlins as it really is one of many of my favorite films of the 80’s and is something that for sure has it’s place here at Rotten Ink thanks to Golden Books who made this fun adaptation in 1984. So with Santa coming soon and the Christmas Tree lights glowing I want to say I hope you all have a great Christmas that is spent with loved ones, great food and gifts as that is what mine will be like as I plan on spending the day with my parents and girlfriend Juliet. Our next update will be my top films of 2016, something that we do every year…and wow it’s almost 2017 a year that is packed with many great films including a new Halloween film! So until then have a safe and fun Holiday season, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host, see you next year.

Films of 2016 Preview Logo

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

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

Superman The Movie Logo

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

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Superman (1978)

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

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

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Superman II (1981)

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

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

General Zod – Terence Stamp

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Superman III (1983)

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

Superman – Christopher Reeve

Ross Webster – Robert Vaughn

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Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)

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

Superman – Christopher Reeves

Lex Luther – Gene Hackman

Nuclear Man – Mark Pillow

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Superman Returns (2006)

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

Superman – Brandon Routh

Lex Luther – Kevin Spacey

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

margot kidder Superman The MovieUrsa_supermanannetteotoole2Lacy_Warfieldsuperman-returns-20060428000200918

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

Superman mole men PosterSUPERGIRL postersteel poster

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

Nick Cage as Superman

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

Mego Superman Dolls

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

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

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

Topps Superman And Superman II Wax PacksTopps Superman III Wax Pack

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

Superman II Iron On Transfer

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

Superman The Movie SoundtrackSuperman II SoundtrackSuperman III Soundtrack

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

Superman Atari 2600Superman C64Superman NESSuperman Genesis

So I think at this point in the update we are ready to take a look at the DC Comic adaptations of the Superman films.  For some reason DC Comics were late to the game and did not do adaptations for Superman: The Movie or Superman II, but they started at Superman III so that is where we will starts as well. Well maybe for fun I will throw in the Treasury Editions that breakdown the first two Superman movies! I want to thanks Game Swap Kettering, Lone Star Comics, Mavericks and Ebay for having these issues in stock and while you turn up the heater or throw another log on the fire, I want to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I must say that just like last year’s Batman update I am really looking forward to reading these adaptations of Superman films and hope that like the Batman issues they do the films they are taken from justice.  So let’s look to the night sky and look for Santa..I mean Superman!

Superman The Movie Comic

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

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

Superman II Comic

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

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

Superman III Comic 1

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

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

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

Superman III Art 1

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

Superman IV Comic 1

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

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

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

Superman IV Art 1

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

Superman Returns Comic 1

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

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

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

Superman Returns Art 1

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

Supergirl Comic 1

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

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

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

Supergirl Movie Art 1

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

Steel Comic 1

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

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

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

Steel Movie Art 1

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

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