From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Orphan Killer

Welcome back to my blog, Rotten Ink, a place I love to talk about comic books, horror hosts, video games, toys, TV shows, cartoons and movies.  As long time readers know, I have grown up watching and enjoying horror films and over the years made my own like “The Sadness”, “Werewolf of Ohio”, “It’s In The Crawlspace” and “Bark At The Moon: Scars” and produced many ohers like “Phantom Of The Grindhouse”, “Babysitter Massacre”, “Amityville No Escape”, “Church Of The Eyes” and “Alone In The Ghost House” to name a few.  Let’s forget the ones I have acted in like “Woodsman: Forest Of Pain”, “Quite Nights Of Blood And Pain”, “The Wolf Hunter 2” , “Razor” and “Atrocity Circle” among many others. So as you can see, I really do love independent horror films, and I always jump at the chance to get copies of ones that pique my interest and better yet, ones that add a little something extra for fans like comic books based on their characters.  One that did just that, and has been on my radar for a very long time, is called “The Orphan Killer,” a slasher film that was released in 2011 and was a film I heard lots about from friends who said such things as the gore was fantastic, the soundtrack was heavy and the lead actress was smoking hot.  All these things made me want to see the film even more! I ordered the comic based on the film from Indy Planet many years ago and waited to try and get the film from a convention or from Amazon, but they never seemed to have it. So finally in 2016, I tracked down a DVD copy of the film thanks to the film’s official website and knew that in 2017 an update based on this film and its comic was a must! So this update is for all you independent horror fans who like me love the films gory and enjoy the comics that follow.  So make sure your doors aren’t barb-wired shut as we dive into the psycho world of The Orphan Killer! I should also note this is another of our “From Horror Film To Horror Comic” update and is a great way to kick off our countdown to Halloween!

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It’s time to briefly learn about the film/comic’s killer. Marcus and his sister Audrey witness the killing of their parents at a young age.  Now an orphan at the nearby church, Marcus becomes too protective of his sister and does bad things to other kids who get to close. For his mean nature the nuns beat, torture and force the youngster to wear a mask to keep the other kids from wanting to talk to him and getting too close. Marcus is dubbed a monster, and the name The Orphan Killer is placed on him by the other kids, who claim he drinks the blood of kids and other horrific things. When his sister is adopted and he is left behind, his mind twists even more and Marcus becomes the living embodiment of punishment. Growing up, he becomes the killing monster they all thought him to be, and he starts at the church that kept him prisoner for all these years.  Wearing his mask and armed with barbwire, knives and an ax he goes on a killing spree that leaves blood flowing like wine and body parts flying. The Orphan Killer wears a mask that looks like a leather skull.  He loves to whistle after a kill or during torturing and has no emotion when killing his victims. He talks about being chosen by God and blessed as if he thinks that his mission from heaven is to kill anyone he feels has done him wrong. Strong, brutal and crazy is the best way to sum up Marcus Miller aka The Orphan Killer.

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The Orphan Killer is a tour de force murder flick that defies classification. It goes far beyond current trends in gore and breaks open a new suffering genre of horror. Marcus Miller is a serial murderer hellbent on teaching his estranged sister Audrey what it means to have family loyalty. His lessons are taught in massive doses of vulgar and unimaginable pain. Throughout her brutal torture we learn that Marcus is not the only Miller with Killer in the bloodline as Audrey proves to be a formidable adversary.”

The above is the plot that IMDB has for this blood soaked film that is sure to please fans of films like “Murder Set Pieces” and “Pieces” as it captures the raw nasty feel of those splatter films. The film was released in 2011 and directed by Matt Farnsworth who also wrote the script and starred in as Officer Mike Hunt and created the killer Marcus aka The Orphan Killer. Farnsworth directed the 2005 film “Iowa” as well as the short films “Poor Man’s Dope” and “Dying For Meth” as well as acted in films like “Gacy”, “The Last Place On Earth” and “The Stepdaughter”. The film stars the actors like Diane Foster who plays the lead actress Audrey, David Backhaus plays The Orphan Killer and Ed Winrow plays Father Chuck and that’s one thing the film really has going for it is the acting is great for a Independent Slasher film with Diane Foster stealing the show. The films score and metal music is licensed from Bullet Tooth and is a heavy and moody score that helps add to the downbeat nature of the film. The film won a Festival De Cine De Terror De Molins De Rei award for Best Picture in Italy with Director Farnsworth being honored with an Antonio Margheriti award at the Tohorror Film Festival for his work on the film. When released the film was meet with very mixed reviews with many gorehounds enjoying the brutal nature of the film and its twisted plot while many other critics and Horror Fans had good and bad to say about it with many claiming it was just a cheesy cash in on a genre long gone from the mainstream. One of the films biggest none supporters was Fangoria Magazine who said this about the film “these filmmakers had everything they needed to create something special, and simply chose to go the least interesting route”. IMDB reviewers were also not overly nice to the film that holds a 3.9 rating out of 10 stars. As for my opinion I really enjoyed it and found it well worth the wait of seeing it as it lived up to the hype my friends told me about. I found The Orphan Killer to be as brutal and sadistic of a killer like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers before him and Audrey was a likeable character I found myself routing for to make it out of the slaughter alive. While I liked the score music some of the heavy metal music sometimes was very distracting in scenes but still didn’t fully take me out of the movie. I did like that The Orphan Killer had his own nursery rhyme and chuckled at the metal remake of the song “Cry Little Sister” from the Lost Boys movie that acts as the song between this brother and sister. If you’re a slasher film fan and enjoy lots of gore, metal music and a truly smoking hot lead actress then check out The Orphan Killer for sure.

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In the world of Independent Horror Films I have many favorite actresses who embody the skills needed to draw the viewer into the characters they are playing and it takes more than just being pretty for me to put you on the top of my lists of actresses I would say are must watch if their names are attached to a Horror Film. Names like Danielle Harris, Denice Duff, Tina Krause, Asia Argento, Brinke Stevens, Charlie Spradling, Erin R. Ryan, Haley Madison, Maria Ford and Sara Bay are a few names on this list of actresses who are the total package who are not only beautiful but can truly act and have the ability to draw me as a viewer into the film they are in. After watching The Orphan Killer I am proud to say that actress Diane Foster has been added to that list as she is stunning and really good in her role as Audrey as she made me feel that she really had been tortured by a madman who wanted her dead from her screams and tears. What I really enjoyed about her performance is that she is not just some cute bimbo character in fact she is the opposite and is smart and sweet and when pushed just don’t role over and die…oh no she fights back and Diane truly makes the character seem real and legit. I would love to see her in more Horror film roles and think she would be a perfect cast for the next Halloween, Friday The 13th and Tombs Of The Blind Dead films and its shocking that she has not been in anymore films with her last role being this 2011 film! But while she might not be currently acting she also has roles in the 2005 film “Iowa” and the 2003 film “Descendant” that is as well a Horror Film. With lots of talks of a sequel to The Orphan Killer here is hoping that Diane will return to her role as Audrey as she is really fantastic in her acting ability and very easy on the eyes.

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The Orphan Killer is a film that clearly the films creators really believe in as the quality of the script, acting and gore are all top notch. So with this pride they had also comes merchandise products like a comic book, a limited action figure, poster, film soundtrack and even a Halloween Masked based on the title killers look! While I do own the Comic Book and the Soundtrack that came with my DVD it would be cool to own a poster of this film signed by the director Matt Farnsworth and actors Diane Foster & David Backhaus. But if you enjoy this film you can find many great items to collect and I recommend checking out the comic if you’re a Horror Comic reader. Also on December 13, 2016 thanks to Reel Gore Releasing a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack the film is now way easier to find.

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So now that you know just how sick and demented The Orphan Killer is I think its time we took a look at his nasty deeds from blood to ink as we look at the 2012 comic based on the movie. As I am sure his kills will be just as brutal from the movie screen to the comic pages and I really want to see if this is just an adaptation or a new killing spree for our killer. I want to thank Indy Planet for having this in stock and I want to remind all you gorehounds and maniacs 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So beware of the splatter and make sure to avoid his machete as we take a look at the sinister murdering deeds of The Orphan Killer.

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The Orphan Killer # 1   **1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Price $ 0.00     Matt Farnsworth    # 1 of 1

Audrey is a woman who is beaten and bloody and crawling away from a masked killer who is holding an ax and they share some words as it’s clear they are brother and sister and they don’t like each other, just as the killer is swinging down a blood splatter hits. We flashback and we are in New York as Audrey is going to her job at a Catholic School and has been dropped off by her boyfriend Mike who is a cop. The young ladies who are in the show are talking about an urban legend that has been around the school for years about Marcus Miller aka The Orphan Killer who has shown up to the church and has locked the doors after the show and the young ladies have went home. Audrey as well as the Father and workers are left inside and one by one The Orphan Killer butchers the workers and nuns in blood splattering ways. The Orphan Killer tracks down Audrey in the hallway and knocks her out and when she wakes up he has her bound by barbwire and cuts the Father’s arm off before her eyes all the while talking about God and Jesus telling him what he is doing is the right thing, you see Audrey is his sister and even at a young age he had a twisted mind and was tortured by the nuns as he was stricken with evil in their eyes and now he wants revenge on his sister for not being their for him. Mike shows up to the church to find his girlfriend and is attacked brutally by The Orphan Killer and while this is happening Audrey breaks free from her razor sharp binds and mercy kills the Father who is bleeding to death and has a showdown with her brother The Orphan Killer on top of the building that leaves the wounded Mike shooting The Orphan Killer who falls off the roof and he and Audrey have survived the massacre.

This Horror Comic is an adaptation of the 2011 film and does an ok job of translating the film into a comic, and I say ok because if you had not seen the movie many of the films key plots are speed up and looses the impact of not only the kills but also the twists of the films brother and sister plot. The plot that is used is very simple for the most part and follows Audrey a woman who is a teacher at a Church and who also has a psychotic brother who has targeted his old school and his sister for revenge on how he was treated when he was younger and an orphan, his hatred for his sister was because she was adopted and he never was plus he was forced to wear a mask and treated poorly by the nuns who thought he was evil and when becoming older and still wearing the mask he thinks God wants him to bring sinners to justice. Audrey in the comic is just kind of a bland character and her personality is not really able to shine besides the fact we see that she has the will to live and that she truly hates her brother and what he has become. It’s a shame as Audrey in the movie was a complex and great character and in the comic she is just merely around. Her cop boyfriend Mike is only at the start and end of the comic and is only around to in the end shoot the killer and to save his ladylove. The Church workers, nuns and The Father are just filler and add zero personality to the issue and are just around to be killed in horrific ways. The Orphan Killer himself is a scripture speaking, sharp weapon swinging brute of a man who just kills cause he is crazy and has been sense he was a kid, but the Nuns instead of getting him help just mentally and physical abused him and helped creature the psycho killer personality he has. But just like Audrey he is cool in the comic but way better in the film. The comic has some splatter moments but oddly enough the comic is way more tame than the movie and for the most part the violent acts seem like a second thought and pass panels way to fast loosing the impact the murders should have, but keep in mind it does have the read stuff flowing. The artwork from what I can gather is done by the films director and the creator of The Orphan Killer universe Matt Farnsworth and has a style that blends underground and American manga and for the most part while not a style I am a super fan of it looks good. The cover is very eye catching and screams independent horror comic and that’s a great thing for someone like me who loves that style of comics. While this comic adaptation of the film is good I would say that for fans of the flick this is a great comic for your collection, for those who have not seen the film I think it might be one that will not find a home in your comic box. But in closing I love the fact this comic is out in the world and wish more independent horror films would follow this idea. Check out some artwork from this comic and see they style you will see in the issue.

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The Orphan Killer is a great splatter film and an okay comic book and was the perfect way to kick off our countdown to Halloween! Again, I want to stress this comic was entertaining and well done for fans of the film, it’s just that people unfamiliar with the movie might not be as impressed. But our next update takes us out of the church and into the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland as we take a look into The Blair Witch Project and the comics made by Image and Oni based around the cult classic flick. So until next time, watch a Horror Movie or two, read a Comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time….wait, what was that noise.. sounded like….Ahhhhhh!!

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Marvel At The Thanksgiving Might Of The Mighty Hercules

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that while you are reading this your home is filled with the smell of turkey, stuffing and all the other foods of this holiday. I am once more over at my parents’ house getting ready to chomp down on some turkey all the while chatting with my parents and watching football on the TV. This year has been a crazy one filled with great moments to be thankful for like the birth of Sparkle Comics and the continued success of Baron Von Porkchop as well some very rough moments like losing my cousin Norman D. 2016 has been a year filled with great moments with my girlfriend Juliet from going to Pittsburgh, to Horrorhound Weekend and everything in-between! So far Hollywood has delivered some fun films to watch in the theaters that I was able to see with friends. Video game companies have released some great games for me to play on my PS4 and even my NES with Homebrew and hacked games. Marvel, DC, Titan and IDW have put out some amazing comics for me to read from Sam Wilson Captain America to Tales From The Darkside. I am thankful for friends like Josh Weinberg, Henrique Couto, Todd The Fox, Queen V, Garrison Kane, Dusty Austin, Dan Harkless, David J. Getz, Geoff Burkman, Chris Seaver, Louis Justin, Spencer Lucas and so many more for giving me great friendship and moments that impact my life everyday. I am thankful for my friends from the Sparkle Comic family like Jason Young, Jeremy Hoyt, Jeff Potter, Wheeler Hall, Damien Brunk, Natalie Claude, Jason Gilmore, Scott Scarborough, Tom Amrhein and Joe Grunenwald who are all so talented at what they do and are making a Dayton, Ohio based comic company come to life…it truly is comics made by friends for fans. I can’t forget my Horror Host family as people like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Halloween Jack, Fritz The Nite Owl, Dale Kay, Janet Decay, Dr. Pureblood, Baron Von Wolfstein and Riggor Mortiss who are all amazing people with amazing shows that offer such great friendships and programs that are inspiring. I am very thankful for my cousin Stephen Alexander who makes Baron Von Porkchop come alive as well as he is one of my near and dearest friends. I am thankful you all, the readers of Rotten Ink who make this blog even more fun for me to write! And of course I am thankful for my family as they are truly the people in my life that keep me sane! Man, so much to be thankful for, so before we take a look at Hercules as done by Marvel Comics let’s go grab a plate of food and stuff our bellies as we travel to the world of Greek mythology once more.  This time around we’ll see what the world’s top comic company does with the son of Zeus. I should also note that this update will be a quick one as Hercules from the Marvel Universe demands that I spend more time eating mashed potatoes and turkey, and less time writing about him!

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The 1960’s saw Hercules being pulled from his time of Ancient Greece by Immortus to fight Thor or was it? That version of Hercules was really just a space phantom, and the real Hercules would meet Thor in his next Marvel Comic appearance. Hercules would defeat Thor in battle when Odin punished his son for falling in love with a mortal Earth woman named Jane Foster. But the two would turn into friends and would join each other in battle with Thor even rescuing Hercules from Hades when his uncle Pluto tricked him into becoming the ruler of the land of the dead.  Hercules would also go on to have brief fights with Hulk, The Avengers, Sub-Mariner and Dragon Man to name a few. After being banned from Olympus by his father Zeus for coming to Earth without his permission, he would go on to join The Avengers and seal himself being a true iconic modern day superhero helping them on many missions. Hercules also join such teams as Heroes For Hire, Damage Control, The Defenders and The Champions.  In all of these groups, he not only lent his Godly strength but also his mind for war and battle, making him a major and important member of each of the teams he has joined. During his Marvel Universe Hercules journey has also battled Ares, High Evolutionary, Mister Hyde, Mongoose and Doctor Doom to name a few. He also took over for The Incredible Hulk during the events of Planet Hulk, and after Hulk returned for the story line World War Hulk, Hercules teamed with Amadeus Cho for a while. And during Civil War, Hercules took the side of Captain America as he calls the Superhuman Registration Act supporters “Traitors”! During the Secret Invasion storyline Hercules lead a team called God Squad whose members included Snowbird and Demogorge to fight the Skull. These adventures are just a drop in the hat of the adventures Hercules has had in the Marvel Universe. Hercules is super strong and is skilled in boxing, pankration, archery and Greco-Roman wrestling and as well has a healing factor. His first appearance was in Journey Into Mystery Annual # 1, and Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created this Marvel Comic version of the Greek hero who is still being used by Marvel this day. As a young comic reader I used to buy Thor comics off the newsstand, and when Hercules was guest starring, I can always remember looking at those as a treat. While not even in my top 20 favorite Marvel Comic characters, Hercules is still one I enjoy reading about, once more proving that the classic heroes of time never fully go away, they just get modernized for a newer generation.

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Marvel’s Hercules has had his share of merchandise that includes besides the comics, action figures in the Marvel Legends line and more, statues and busts done by such companies as Bowen, many board game and table-top game pieces like Heroclix and has appeared on posters as well as many video games. Hercules is just one of those characters that lends himself into being made into merchandise and also was a perfect fit for comic books. Over the years I have played HeroClix off and on with friends and have used the Hercules piece before in battles.  While a solid figure who can deal out damage, he falls a little short if the luck of the role is not on your side. So if you’re a fan of Marvel’s Hercules make sure to check out many of the items I mentioned above as they can add great options to your collection.

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So there you have it, a quick look at the history of Hercules in the Marvel Universe as well as a peek at the cool merchandise based on him.  I don’t know about you, but I am ready to take a look at this 4 issue mini series that I should thank Mavericks for having in stock those many years back that I bought them. But before we travel to Greece and see what Herc is up to, I should also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that I think we are ready to climb Mount Olympus and see just what mischief Hercules will get into, and if memory serves me correctly, this series is lots of fun and I am looking forward to re-reading it. So it’s Adventure Time!!!

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Hercules: Prince Of Power # 1  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 1 of 4

Hercules climbs to the top of Mount Olympus after years of being away and finds the day of his return is not filled with a feast but is to be spent in quiet in honor of his father Zeus. Hercules is bored and decides to horse around in his room with the wine maids and causes great noises that anger Zeus who in turn bans Hercules from Olympus and sends him into space until he learns a lesson.  With Apollo’s Chariot he enters The Andromeda Galaxy where he meets and spends the night with aliens of the Rigellians race, who record data for study.  They send a Recorder Droid with Hercules who continues his quest in space! Hercules lands at a planet that has a massive casino, and he and Recorder spend time drinking.  Hercules spends time telling stories to the waitresses to impress them, but he soon has the whole bar against him when he attacks with no cause a massive muscle alien who is actually a gentle giant! As Hercules and Recorder leave with their heads down, a spacecraft wrecks outside and Hercules saves the passengers as well as the town as he flings the fuel tank into the sky before it explodes.  Once more he becomes a hero and learns a valuable lesson of forgiveness.

Take Greek mythology and mix it with the adventures of Han Solo of Star Wars fame, and this is what you’re in for reading this fun adventure comic.  The plot is simple and very much inspired by many films based on Hercules as his reckless and self-indulgent attitude angers his father Zeus who bans him from Mount Olympus until he learns a lesson, but the twist this time around is he is not sent to Earth but instead to outer space where he quickly makes friends and has a robot sidekick named Recorder who will follow his adventures. Hercules is very cocky, and it’s clear his whole world revolves around himself and he expects everyone to roll out the red carpet when he comes around.  Most of the time, he thinks with his muscles and not his brain and thinks that fighting is the way to get respect from strangers. But he also knows what he must do when lives are in danger as he was willing to risk his own life to save those of aliens. But while Hercules is self centered, he still is a very likeble character as he is a brat but he doesn’t know he is a brat. Recorder is bland and around just to learn, but you can tell this android has a personality that will shine through by the end of this mini series. Zeus is just not having his son’s brash attitude anymore and wants to prove a point that his word is law on Olympus, and he is a character the demands and earns his respect. So far we have no major bad guys as this issue clearly is just the build up on how to get Hercules from Olympus to space. The cover is amazing and very eye catching, with the inside art being done by Bob Layton (who also wrote it) that is truly that classic 70’s and early 80’s magic! So let’s see what’s next for Hercules and see what he learns on what is his new quests.

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Hercules: Prince Of Power # 2  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 2 of 4

Hercules and Recorder lose a drag race in space, and this causes the pair to have to come up with money to pay off their debt.  This also leaves Apollo’s Carriage in the hands of the aliens who won, and the horses are not too pleased when the pair try to tamper with the gold carriage. Hercules goes on a rescue mission to rescue the kidnapped Layana Sweetwater, who is the daughter of a powerful galaxy politician. During the rescue Hercules beats up the space pirates and Recorder get his hand blown off, but they succeeds at the rescue, only to find out there is no reward money! Hercules and Layana fall in love, and while having a private time in their rented room, Recorder is arrested as they think he is a peeping tom robot! Hercules, after lying about why he and Layana can’t stay together forever, soon finds out that she ran away from home as her promised husband, who is a lizard man by the name of Count Igwanus who is “evil”, busts in and is not pleased to see his soon to be bride in bed with another man! Hercules takes the fight to Igwanus and his men but soon finds out that he has been played for fool as Layana lied about Igwanus, who in fact is a noble lizard man she was in love with and to marry the day she was kidnapped! After the matter is settled, and Igwanus takes Layana home.  He also pays Hercules the reward money, and he pays off his debt to the racers who are in the hospital now because of Apollo’s horses and Recorder is bailed out from jail.

The second issue of this mini series is just as charming as the first and once more follows Hercules and his adventure into space…wait, they should have called this “Hercules & Recorder’s Excellent Space Adventure”! The plot of this issue has Hercules and Recorder saving a young woman from pirates only to find that the money promised for her safe keeping was a fraud as are the lies Hercules and the rescued woman tell each other. Hercules is as cocky as ever but also noble as he wants to pay off his debts to a pair of space racers he lost to.  He’s also a liar as he beds a young blonde woman he rescues and then in order to get her from not falling in love with him lies about a lost love of his past. I will say that Hercules also seems to learn a lesson in this issue as he finds out lies have fall out and that when wrong, you must try to make things right. Recorder is not just a robot that is recording all what Hercules does but is also a hero as he steps up in the rescue effort and even loses his hand in the fight. The Horses of Apollo’s Chariot are very protective and it’s shown they will turn into fire eyed wild stallions if crossed that will put you in the hospital. Layana Sweetwater is a cute young blonde who was kidnapped and tells lies in order to try and get Hercules to let her stay with him.  By the end, she seems to not have learned a thing. Count Igwanus is just a Lizard Man in love who is confused when Hercules attacks him and his men, but he soon finds out that his soon to be bride lied to the Son of Zeus and even after all the fighting he still loves and wants to marry Layana. This issue was lots of fun and also has Hercules change his costume from his famous green and orange to a slick black and red one! Comedy, action, adventure and science fiction all come together so well in this issue, and for sure this was one hell of a fun read on this holiday! The cover is great once again, and the art inside is done by Bob Layton who also handled the story again. So far I would say Marvel is doing the Hercules character right, and I am having a blast with this one on this Thanksgiving Day! Let’s see what old Hercules and Recorder get into next, shall we?

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Hercules: Prince Of Power # 3  ***
Released in 1982    Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 3 of 4

Hercules and Recorder are under attack from a fleet of spacecraft ,and after trying to reason with them, Hercules gets mad and leaps into space from his chariot and takes over the aliens ship and lands it back at their base to inform them they mean no harm and only want to travel to a planet they heard had great wine.  While Hercules is trying to explain this, he meets Commander Malin who informs him that the reason he was under attack by his men was because he was flying in a restricted area as planets from this part of space have gone missing over the years and they have been put in charge to make sure no more go missing.  As Hercules and Recorder become guests of the massive war ship, they soon find that they are all under attack.  All of the fighters for the protection of the planets are destroyed, and it’s up to Hercules to stop this invading menaces.  He soon finds himself bound to the wall, the prisoner of a race of insect like aliens who worship a god they claim they must sacrifice planets to! Poor Recorder has his legs blown off, and Hercules powers up and breaks free and saves the target planet.  He and Recorder escape just in time as the aliens commit suicide after they think they failed their god. Commander Malin is pleased with the Lion of Olympus, Hercules and has Recorder’s legs replaced.  They all think things have ended well….that is till we find out that the god they worshipped was none other that the world eater Galactus!

This issue is all about planets going missing and Hercules having to step up and face odds that are against him and his robot friend.  Aliens from a planet long gone think that they must give other worlds to the one who ended theirs in order to please him for letting them live.  The one cool thing about this issue is that the good aliens are from different parts of the galaxy that must work together as a galactic Air Force in order to keep worlds safe from an unknown source of destruction.  It reminded me of the film “The Last Starfighter” as it also had aliens from all over teaming up to save worlds from danger. Hercules in this issue is brave and puts others before himself as he knows that he must stop the insect aliens from stealing planets to appease their god. In fact he goes into a brutal rage by the end and knocks the snot out of many of the bad guys and then uses a metal rod to blow up their device that sends the planets to Galactus! But what Hercules also does by saving that one planet is kill off two huge ships filled with insect aliens who kill themselves for failing and as well has pissed off the powerful Galactus, who now is on the warpath! Recorder can’t catch a break as he gets his legs blown off and must get odd shaped new ones as replacements. Commander Malin and his men are brave and noble but are also outmanned and outgunned, but they still go down with a fight. The insect aliens are cold blooded killers but do what they do in order save many planets.  They look at it this way, give one planet to save many, and when they fail to deliver this time around, they would rather die than face the wrath of Galactus. Speaking of Galactus, he only appears at the end of the issue, and man is he mad! The things I enjoyed about this issue is that it’s like they tossed elements of Greek mythology, Aerial Combat, The Last Starfighter and classic Marvel Comics into a blender and this space opera action drama is what was created. Bob Layton is on art and story again and does fantastic as he has done with the past two issues, and this time around the cover is good as the crazed madman look in Hercules’ eyes says a thousand words – all of them are cuss words and threats of bodily harm! Well let’s see what the fourth and final issue in this series has to offer on this glorious turkey day holiday update.

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Hercules: Prince Of Power # 4  **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 4 of 4

Hercules and Recorder are now on the planet they just saved and a massive feast with tons of wine, beer and brew is being served in his honor.  He even receives the most powerful of all alcoholic drinks in the world as the alien’s gratitude. Galactus is mad that his followers have failed and sends his new female herald Nova, who prepares the planet to be drained of its life by her master.  But Hercules finds out about the approaching doom and he decides that this planet is under his protection and will act as its savior once more. Hercules sweeps Nova off her feet and after he beds her, he takes Apollo’s Chariot and Recorder to Galactus’ ship and attempts to stop the world eater.  He soon finds even his mighty power and strength is not match for Galactus, who after beating the Son of Zeus still is on plan to drain and eat the energy of the planet. Hercules takes a few moments to think of a plan and decides to slip the whole bottle of the most powerful alcohol into Galactus’s drink.  This of course does not work but makes the world eater laugh and decide to leave the planet alone.  As Recorder returns to the Rigellians for repairs as well as with a memory filled with stories, Hercules returns to the alien planet and goes on a date with Nova who is now taking some time off.

This final issue is lots of fun, but also seems a little rushed and is not the note I would have like to see Hercules and Recorders’ space adventure end as they separate from each other and Herc just goes on a date with Nova. The plot has Galactus wanting to eat a world, and Hercules who is being treated like a king (or is that a god?) is enjoying the huge party on the planet and sets his sights on stopping Galactus from eating away his world that’s filled with good wine and drink. I love the idea that Hercules is so ego driven that he thinks he can stand toe to toe with Galactus and even tries his best to punch out the mighty icon of Marvel who dines on worlds and has zero feelings. Hercules, while still very much a muscle bound meat head, learns in this issue once more that he can use his mind and win a fight over using his fists, and that others in the universe are as well important as just himself and his fellow Greek gods. He also once more shows that he has the charm as he beds Nova, a female who is on fire and is the herald of Galactus. Recorder is beat up and has tons of replacement parts, but you can tell he has built up a friendship with Hercules and is very bummed when the Rigellians come to reclaim him for his information and to stop the use of their credit that the pair had ran up. Nova at first comes in like a Horseman of the Apocalypse ready to spread gloom and doom, but by the end acts more like a love struck high school girl. Galactus is as wise as he is hungry and is amused by the tricks and bravery of Hercules and decides to spare the world and allow his herald time off to amuse his new Greek hero friend. As I said before, what I didn’t like is that the team up adventure and friendship of Hercules and Recorder come to an end here and while they battle one of the Marvel Universe’s most dangerous characters, it’s hardly a battle and more like a scuffle that ends with drinks afterwards. The cover for this issue is okay and has Galactus looking as if he is melting Hercules with beams from his eyes. The art and story inside is once more done by Bob Layton and is great stuff, and really makes me wish that the series lasted a little longer. So with this being Thanksgiving and all, I would like to wrap this up by saying this was a solid and great adventure starring Hercules and shows that Marvel knows how to comic book the Greek hero right. Check out some artwork below to see how epic this comic series is!

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So now that we have returned from space on Apollo’s Chariot and from yet another Thanksgiving adventure with Hercules, I would like to wish you all once more a safe and fun holiday season and hope that this update helped brighten your day even a little bit. I want to also note that in the future i will cover the next Marvel Hercules mini-series based on his adventures in space. Our next update starts our countdown to the big Christmas Eve update and will be about those warrior trolls known as the Stone Protectors who I am sure made at least a handful of Christmas’s brighter when youngsters got the toys, VHS tapes or comics for gifts. So until, then eat a little more turkey, read a comic or three and spend some time with your loved ones! See you next update.

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Who Remembers Solarman?

Welcome to another update, our first one in our countdown to Thanksgiving here on Rotten Ink, as we once more take a look at a superhero that failed to capture readers and lead to a short-lived comic series that left the character almost forgotten in modern times.  For this one we will be taking a look at Solarman, a Marvel Comic character that’s long been forgotten by most. What’s really crazy is that this character is one that Marvel really wanted to take off as you will see during this update. It’s crazy to think that Thanksgiving is weeks away, and that great food and family time is just around the corner. I am sure some of you can’t wait to smell that turkey cooking, and for all my vegetarian friends, I am sure you hyped for the tofu turkey and all the wonderful sides like corn, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Turkey 2016

When you think of holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, one thing comes to mind, the word home. For me, the old two story house in Waynesville on Royston Drive will always be home.  One day I would love to buy it and have Juliet and I live there, but another place I call home is the basement of my parents’ house that was dubbed Independent B Movie Studios as it is the place that ideas for films like Werewolf Of Ohio 1-2, The Wolf Hunter and Cocktober Blood were all brainstormed. It was the “set” for no budget films Nightmare and One Second Too Late. It was the place that the first ever Horror Movie Marathon took place, and it hosted many long nights of playing video games with my pal Jason Gilmore as we tried to beat games like Resident Evil 2, Silent Hill and Clock Tower. It was the place that my old computer sat were I would write scripts for possible films and during breaks would play cheesy DOS games like X-Men, Waxworks and Plan 9 From Outer Space from hard disks. It was a place that acted as shelter for me and my past girlfriend Misty as we were in-between apartments and acted as a place for me to stay when I needed a place to lay my head for the night. Now, in 2016, it’s completely different from what it use to be in its heyday.  Gone are the movie posters all over the walls; gone is the floor model TV along with the VCR, DVD player and many video game systems.  Gone are the old computers, and gone are the days of it being the house of ideas for no budget movies but it will forever be a special place for me and many of my friends as it was a magical place filled with lots of amazing memories and great times. Below is a modern picture of the old “studio” with the amazing orange carpet that has been down there since the start of its legacy.

Independent B Movie Studio

In 1979-1980, David Oliphant created three digest-sized comics based on a character he created called Solarman that were more educational comics than your normal superhero fare.  The character was named Davos who lived inside the Sun and came to Earth.  He became a baseball player and taught the wonders of Solar Energy. In 1989, Marvel decided to buy the character rights and use him as a new hero that would set the world ablaze with his comic that was to be written by Stan Lee. They changed the character from just being a solar alien to the a teenager getting the power from a dying alien.  In other words, Stan Lee went the route he has traveled so many times and wanted to reproduce the magic of Spider-Man, but unlike that character, this one failed to capture the readers, and issue one came and went with a whisper. But this did not stop Lee and Marvel as in 1990 they tried again with an issue # 2, and this as well came and went with little to no fanfare. A third issue was not in the cards nor has a re-launch ever seen the light of day from Marvel. So what went wrong with Solarman as Marvel pushed so hard and even had the comic legend Stan Lee write his adventures? My opinion is that in 1990 the character had a dated feel to it, and by this time kids and readers were more into Batman, Spider-Man and X-Men and a character who’s a kid with sun powers was just too silly and tame for them.

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In the 90’s, Marvel Comics captured the Saturday Morning Cartoon world with such classics as X-Men, Spider-Man, Silver Surfer and The Incredible Hulk, but in 1991, they also tried again with Solarman by turning him into a cartoon pilot for FOX with the intent of turning it into a full cartoon series.  This also failed as FOX never ordered the series after its airing. The plot of the cartoon was that of the first issue of the comic with a little added and taken away and done in the style of The X-Men that was a huge hit for FOX’s Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup later on. I was a major Saturday Morning Cartoon viewer when I was a young, and in 1991, I was watching such toons as Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, Bobby’s World, Darkwing Duck, Doug, Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons, Tom & Jerry Kids to name a few.  I can 100% say that I don’t remember the Solarman cartoon at all and don’t remember a single kid on the playground or at lunch talking about it! So do any of you, my readers or friends, remember this cartoon special airing? Did you watch it? Was it good? Comment below and let me know.

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So now that you are up to date on who and what Solarman is, I think we are at the point of the review where we will take a look at the comic series from Marvel based on this forgotten hero. I want to thank Dark Star in Yellow Springs for having these comics in stock in their dollar bin and must also once more like a broken record tell you readers that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to travel to outer space and back to Earth again, let’s grab some water and a snack and visit the world of Solarman.

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Solarman # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel Comics     # 1 of 2

Gormagga Kraal and his robot warriors are traveling in space and draining suns of their solar energy in order to feed his ultimate weapon that will help him rule the universe. Aboard the ship is an old scientist named Dr. Sha-Han and his young daughter Altarra, both of whom are shocked by the evil of Kraal who has now set his sights on the sun the Earth orbits. Sha-Han as seen enough and steals the Circle Of Power, an item that can create a powerful life that can stop the path of destruction Kraal is blazing.  When Sha-Han’s escape pod is shot down, it crashes to Earth, and while dying he meets young want-to-be comic book artist Ben Tucker who he gives the circle of power (a bracelet) to and visits him as a spirit as he dies on the beach to tell him whenever he is in danger let the sunlight hit the bracelet and that will unleash the power of Solarman! Ben Tucker is a teenager whose dad owns a gym and wants his son to train to be a jock, while all he really wants to do is draw comics for Marvel.  On his way to school, he is attacked by some robots who are looking for the bracelet who kidnap him and take him to space where Gormagga Kraal orders for his arm to be cut off so he can reclaim the bracelet.  But Ben is saved by Altarra (who dies saving him) and her tiny robot Beepie who allows sunlight into the ship, and Solarman takes over the body of Ben and blows up the massive ship forcing Gormagga Kraal to escape on a tiny escape pod vessel. Ben returns to Earth with his new friend Beepie and starts to work on his next comic called “Solarman”.

The best way to start this off is saying that this is Marvel Comics version of Green Lantern with teen drama with a main character that looks a lot like a young Peter Parker. This first issue is pretty well done, and I for one think that if they should have put it out via Star Comics and played up the fact that it’s a superhero for kids as it mixes comics and old scifi films together to create a world where aliens want to steal the energy of our sun and robots in trench coats can walk freely down the road. The plot is: an alien overlord wants to rule the galaxy and is stealing the Sun’s energy to store for his powerful super weapon.  He targets Earth’s Sun but is set back when one of his own helpers steals a powerful weapon to crash land on Earth, passing the weapon onto a nerdy kid who now gains super powers. Yep that sums it up pretty well, and I should also add in that it has a Shazam (Captain Marvel) feeling to it as well. Ben Tucker is a button up, white shirt and tie kind of kid who spends his free time drawing comic strips with the hope of being hired by Marvel.  While most geeky kids can identify with him, the downside is he comes off like a stereotype of how people think comic “nerds” act. But while he is a nerd, Ben is still a likeble kid who I am sure has a touch of us all who are creative. Solarman is powerful and wears lots of orange and yellow and has cheesy lines that would make Flash Gordon blush.  This first issue only gives me a small taste of their hero and not enough to fully judge, I would say he’s not terrible as he makes me want to check out the next issue. Oh and I should say he’s like Solar Man from the movie Superman IV: Quest For Peace as he has to get his power from the sun and without it he’s useless. Beepie is a generic tiny robot that fans of R2-D2 and BB-8 from Star Wars will surly love.  He’s a loyal little guy who wants Earth not to be destroyed so he is kind of a hero. Sha-Han and Altarra are blue skinned aliens who serve a purpose and move the story along.  Not much more can be said about them besides they are both dead. Gormagga Kraal is also a blue skinned alien who has a metal arm that can stretch and has a terrible attitude and does not value life as he doesn’t care how many have to die for him to complete his goal of galaxy ruler.  This guy would be great friends with Zardoom (Defenders Of The Planets) and Ming The Merciless (Flash Gordon), and I could picture them at a Starbucks plotting how to take over Mars. The cover is pure late 80’s cheese and has a Star Comics look to it.  The art is done by Jim Mooney with the story by Stan Lee. While Marvel really wanted Solarman to be the next big thing for them, this issue just was not a draw for readers at the time. I for one enjoyed it and think it’s a solid above average comic that’s aimed for young readers.

Solarman 2

Solarman # 2  **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel Comics     # 2 of 2

Ben Tucker and his friend Jeanie are watching the news, all about holes in the ozone layer, and as Ben draws Dr. Doom, the friends chat about him and how he is the ultimate bad guy. Meanwhile Dr. Doom has shot a satellite into space and is the one who is causing the holes and wants a ransom from the world in order to stop it. Later in the day, Ben goes to his Dad’s gym to find his father being strong-armed by some goons and quickly goes out side and turns into Solarman and runs them off. When returning as Ben, he tries to tell his Dad he is Solarman but his father thinks his son just reads too many comics. Ben decides that he must keep his secret to himself as well as must stop Dr. Doom and travels to his location and tricks him into thinking he needs an interview for the school paper as they view Doom as a legend or so his story goes.  But Doom is not fooled for long as he throws Ben into a prison room. Lucky for Ben, the room has windows and sunlight and this allows him to turn into Solarman who flies into space and destroys the satellite and comes back down to tangle with Doom until the sun is about to set and leaves Doom in a foul mood! In the end as Ben returns home and bonds with his Dad with a picture he drew him, and it’s reveled that the Dr. Doom he had fought was nothing more than a hologram as the real Doom was in the basement sick with the flu.

This is the final issue of the series before Marvel gave up on trying to make readers care about Solarman and his adventures in Sun powers at least in the comic world. This issue’s plot has Ben Tucker and his hero side Solarman dealing with Dr. Doom who is trying to ruin the ozone layer as well as try and gain the respect of his father who wants a jock for a son and not an artist. The pacing is well done, and the action of Solarman is kept being used at the right times to further the plot more and not to waste panels with fights that were just put in to take up pages. Ben Tucker this time around is more skilled in his art and seems to have a crush on his friend Jeanie who always seems to be around and pushing for him to get his big break in comics in a sly kind of way. Ben himself is weak physically, but mentally he is strong and knows after a failed attempt that he must keep his hero side a secret. Solarman is as cheesy as ever as his power is high but his one liners are so bad they would make Spider-Man cringe.  Besides his power, he can also fly and breath in space with no problems. Ben’s Dad is as gym orientated as ever but shows he is no push over as he does not back down to three thugs who want his gym to pay them for street protection. It also shows that he loves his son no matter what he does or does not do. Dr. Doom is once more mad with power and wants to world to beg at his feet as he wants to be their ruler.  The fun part about this is the whole fight I as the reader was like come on, Doom could mop the floor with Solarman.  Then at the end you find out the real Doom is sick in bed with the flu…that’s right Victor Von Doom has the flu in this comic and the Doom that’s doing all the bad things is really just a hologram. The cover is pure early 90’s ham and eggs as it’s as basic as they come, and the art inside the issue is well done by Mike Zeck. Over all while Solarman is a very lame in nature superhero, but I still found the comic to be entertaining and could not see really why it only lasted two issues and became a forgotten Marvel Comic. If you find any issues in your local comics shops .25 or $1.00 box, give it a chance as you might just find yourself enjoying it. Below is some artwork from the series so give it a look as it might be what pushes you over the edge of wanting to check it out.

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Solarman was a character who had lots of potential, and for the most part his two comic adventures were lots of fun and could have lead into more and more if fans of the 90’s would have supported it. But let’s flare away from Solarman for our next update and this time take a look at another Horror Host Icon, Iowa’s own Dr. Morbius as we continue our countdown to Thanksgiving. So I hope you enjoyed this quick update, and that you’re having a great November so far and are just enjoying life as we all live it on this great planet we share and call Earth. So until next time, read a comic or three, support your local Horror Host and as Bill & Ted would say Be Excellent To Each Other.

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The Horror In Amityville, New York!

Do you believe in haunted houses? Do you believe in ghosts? How about urban legends? Well one of the most well known haunted houses in America is a home with the address 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York, the location of a brutal family murder and later the site of a terrifying haunting.  This update on Rotten Ink is about Amityville and the horror of that house in honor of the upcoming film in cinemas from Dimension Films called “Amityville: The Awaking”, that will be released  in 2017.  So get your ghost hunting nerves in check and bust out your proton pack as we are traveling to Amityville to see if this haunting is fact or fiction.  We take a look at the murders, the haunting, the films and the comic based on this nerve shattering spooky experience.

112 Ocean Avenue House

On November 13, 1974, Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. armed with a Marlin 336C rifle shot and murdered his parents and his four siblings at around 3am. After he killed them, he rushed to the local bar and asked for help pretending he found his parents shot. When the police arrived, they noticed that all of the family members were in bed on their stomachs with each of the kids killed by a single gun shot, while the parents were shot twice. Ronald claimed to the police that he thought the murders were done by a mafia hitman and even supplied them with a name.  This lead turned out to be bogus as the hitman was out of town when the murders took place. The next day Ronald confessed to the killings and said that once he started he could not stop, and took them to where he hid the rifle and his blood stained cloths. Ronald, who was 23 years old at the time of the murders, was a drug addict who had many fights with his father Ronald Sr. and during trial claimed that he heard the voices of his family plotting against him and that’s why he killed them all. The judge convicted Ronald on six counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced 25-life six times. Ronald is still in jail at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Beekman, New York and all attempts at parole have been shot down.

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What was an open and close case for Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. also has its fair share of theories and conspiracies thanks to amateur detectives and Ronald himself.  In 1986, Ronald claimed that his 18 year old sister Dawn was the one who killed their father and that his mother, in a fit of revenge, killed her children and in self defense he killed his mom and claimed he took the blame as he was afraid his grandfather who had mob ties would kill him for speaking ill of his daughter. 1990 saw yet another story from Ronald who claimed that his sister Dawn and a unknown male killed the whole family and that he only killed her in self defense while trying to get the rifle away from her.  The judge dismissed this, but it did not stop Ronald from spreading more of his stories. In 2000, during a interview with author Ric Osuna, Ronald claimed that his sister Dawn, two friends and himself killed his parents, and he killed Dawn after he found out that she killed their siblings. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the stories about happened that November night as stories of evil spirits, an Indian burial ground, a very unnatural relationship between Ronald and Dawn, insurance money fraud and so many others are talked about and shared. While we may never really know what happened that night, one thing is for sure, six people lost their lives in a senseless act of violence, and may the DeFeo family rest in peace.

Butch being arrested

After the murders, the house on Ocean Avenue was put up for sale, and for 13 months it sat empty until December 1975 when George and Kathy Lutz bought it for only $80,000.00 and moved their newly formed family in. You see, Kathy had two sons, Daniel and Christopher, as well as a 5-year-old daughter named Missy from a previous marriage, and they had a family dog named Harry. While moving in, a friend of the Lutz family encouraged them to have the house blessed as it was the scene of the grizzly murders a little over a year before they bought it.  They did so and the priest who blessed it heard a voice tell him to “GET OUT” in one of the second story bedrooms, and after leaving the home he developed a high fever as well as blisters. When trying to call the Lutz family to warn them not to go into that room, his call was interrupted by static. For 28 days the Lutz family lived in the house and each of them reported strange and creepy things like doors & windows slamming, green ooze pouring from walls and keyholes, a demon face was seen in the fireplace. Missy became friends with a imaginary friend called Jodie who had the body of a pig.  Hoof prints were found around the yard of a giant pig.  Glowing red eyes were seen outside, items moved, family members shape shifted, foul orders filled the air, large amount of flies would gather in the house and George even found a room he called the red room that freaked out the family dog! And this is just the drop in the hat of what the Lutz family claimed happened to them during their time living in the house. George claimed that he would even wake up every night at 3:15am and have the urge to check out the boathouse.  The time was that of the DeFeo murders! During this time The Lutz family themselves tried to bless the house on their own, and one time a chorus of voices said “will you stop?” The final straw happened on January 16th 1976, when the Lutz said something so horrific and terrifying happened that they left the house for good leaving behind all their belongings, never to return.

The Lutz Family

After the Lutz family fled the house on Ocean Avenue, it became a hot bed for ghost chasers and thrill seekers as the story spread quickly of the evil spirits within its walls. On March 6 1976, the house was investigated by demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren as well as reporter Michael Linder for Channel 5 News to find if the house was indeed haunted.  What they found that night via time lapse photos was a image of a demonic glowing eyed little boy who was captured at the foot of the staircase. The Warrens went on to claim that the house indeed was home to many malevolent spirits and was indeed haunted. For those who don’t know who the Warrens are, they are the basis for the Conjuring horror film series and have been said to have captured and stopped many hauntings and are even said to have cured a man who was a werewolf! Below is a picture of the Warrens as well as a picture of the demon boy captured by their camera.

The Warrens Ghost HuntersDemon Boy of Amityville

In 1977 The Lutz Family told their story to Tam Mossman, an editor for a publishing house who introduced them to writer Jay Anson, who, alongside 45 hours of footage about the terrible events at the house on Ocean Avenue, wrote a book called “The Amityville Horror” that became an overnight success as people were drawn to read about this real life haunting. The book’s name was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s book The Dunwich Horror and would go on to sell over 10 million copies but also spark lots of talk if the haunting was fact or hoax! Many things have risen the eyebrows of people who want to debunk this haunting as no other residents of the house have ever reported any strange occurrences.  The book came out after The Exorcist hit theaters, and many think that it was a way to cheaply cash in by using it as a marketing tool to sell the book, not to mention the priest who is said to have blessed the house has changed his story a number of times and even made a appearance on the Leonard Nimoy hosted show In Search Of…, claiming to have heard the voice tell him to get out. The Lutz family made lots of money off the book as well as selling this story to newspapers, magazines, TV and film, and George would later go on to say that most of what’s in the book is true. George and Kathy would get a divorce in the 80’s, but both claimed the haunting was real all the way up to their deaths. Kathy passed away in 2004 from emphysema, and George died in 2006 from heart disease. Do you think 112 Ocean Avenue is haunted? Or do you think it was a hoax and a way for the Lutz family to get fame and money from a terrifying story? I’m not 100% sure what to believe, but one thing is for sure, it’s one hell of a good yarn and is the stuff campfire tales are made of. But here are some fun and creepy facts about the house: actress Christine Belford who is known for her roles in such TV shows as Chips, Incredible Hulk and Silver Spoons lived in the house for years, and her parents are the ones who sold it to the DeFeo’s! Peter O’Neill lived in the house for 10 years, and he sadly lost his life in the September 11th attacks. The address to the home has been changed, and renovations have been made to keep tourists and sightseers off the property, as the residents get very annoyed by all the attention the home gets. But if you find you have some extra time this year and want a good read around the fall and wintertime, give The Amityville Horror book a read and see what you think is real and what’s fake.

The Amityville Horror Book

So of course, the book being a best seller sparked Hollywood’s attention, and in 1979 they made a film based on the events. So below we are going to talk about the films and all the sequels that spawned off the original film,.  I got the write ups from our friends at IMDB, and after each write up I give a little information about the films. So be prepared to get a quick crash course on the Amityville Horror flicks!

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The Amityville Horror (1979)

Based on a true story that was claimed by writer Jay Anson, The Amityville Horror is about a large house on the coast of Long Island where newlyweds George and Kathy Lutz and their three children move into the house that they hope will be their dream house which ends up in terror. Despite full disclosure by the real estate agent of the house’s history, George and Kathy buy the house. George says, “Houses don’t have memories,” but they turn to their family priest Father Delaney who believes the house is haunted and performs an exorcism on the house. But the evil spirit in the house causes him to become blind and makes him very sick. With the help of another priest Father Bolen and a police detective, George and Kathy face the fears of the house, but not knowing the spirit is planning to possess George and then the children…

The film was a major hit at the box office, bringing in a total of $86.4 million and was the # 2 film of the year! It beat out such films as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Moonraker, The Muppet Movie, Meatballs and Alien! Stuart Rosenberg directed, and it stars James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Murray Hamilton and was released by American International Pictures.

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Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

An Italian-American family move into a house built on an ancient Indian burial ground. The oldest son is possessed by an evil spirit, and is forced to murder his family. The family’s priest feels responsible, and tries to save the possessed boy’s soul.

This second film mixed possession and slasher and did okay for Orion Pictures, bringing in a total of $12,534,817.00.  It was # 61 for the year, beating such films as Silent Rage, Savannah Smiles, Trail Of The Pink Panther, The Beast Within, Cat People and The Last Unicorn. This film was directed by Damiano Damiani and starred Burt Young, James Olson, Moses Gunn and a very lovely Diane Franklin, and remains a cult classic.

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Amityville 3-D (1983)

A man who is separated from his wife moves into the infamous Amityville House. Their daughter dies in a boating accident (after being told that she is not allowed to go to the house) and now the mother sees her deceased daughter “alive” in the house. Mr. Baxtor calls a paranormal investigator in to help and the investigator finds out the source of the household problems.

The film was not a hit for Orion Pictures, bringing in a very low $6,333,135.00 and was # 88 for the year. It did beat such films as The Hunger, Chained Heat, Smokey & The Bandit Part III, Curse of the Pink Panther, The Evil Dead and Pieces. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer and featured Tony Roberts, Tess Harper, Robert Joy and Meg Ryan in the cast.  While a misfire, it still remains a cheesy classic for fans.

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Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

The demonic force lurking in Amityville for over 300 years escapes to a remote California mansion. It encounters a struggling family living together by uncertain means. The beast manipulates a little girl by manifesting itself in the form of her dead father. Soon it will be able to possess her completely… is it too late for a young priest to defeat the demon and end the curse?

This film was made for TV for the fine folks at NBC and never made it to the big screen of theaters! The film was directed by Sandor Stern and starred the likes of Patty Duke, Jane Wyatt and Fredric Lehne.

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The Amityville Curse (1990)

Five people spend the night in an abandoned house, the Amityville haunted house, and soon find themselves terrorized by assorted ghosts, venomous insects and ghostly apparitions.

This was the first in the film series to go direct to video, released by Vidmark and was directed by Tom Berry and starred Kim Coates, Dawna Wightman and Cassandra Gava.

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Amityville: It’s About Time (1992)

When an old clock arrives at home as a gift, strange things begin to happen. The family that proudly assigned a privileged place to the clock in the living room, is unaware that this thing is a link to an old and evil house…

Another direct to video sequel that was directed by Tony Randel and starred Stephen Macht and Shawn Weatherly and was released by Republic Pictures.

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Amityville: A New Generation (1993)

Photographer Keyes is given an old mirror from an homeless person he photographs on the street, takes it home and gives it a friend. He doesn’t know yet that people see horrible things happen to themselves in the mirror and later these things come true. Are these really suicides or is there a demonic force behind the mirror?

Another direct to video release that was directed by John Murlowski and stars the likes of Ross Partridge, Julia Nickson and Lala Sloatman.

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Amityville: Dollhouse (1996)

A dollhouse that is a replica of the infamous Amityville haunted house is given to a little girl. Soon after, all sorts of horrible unexplained accidents start to happen. The family must work together to fight off the terrifying evil that has inhabited their lives.

You guessed it, this went direct to video and is directed by Steve White and stars Robin Thomas, Starr Andreeff and Allen Cutler.

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The Amityville Horror (2005)

Newlyweds are terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a large house that was the site of a grisly mass murder a year before.

This was a remake of the 1979 film produced by those goons at Platinum Dunes and brought in $65,233,369.00 and was # 38 for the year.  It beat out such films as Red Eye, White Noise, Corpse Bride, The Skeleton Key, Boogeyman, Legend of Zorro and House of Wax. The film is directed by Andrew Douglas and stars Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George and Chloe Grace Moretz.

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Amityville: The Awaking (2017)

Belle, her little sister, and her comatose twin brother move into a new house with their single mother Joan in order to save money to help pay for her brother’s expensive healthcare. But when strange phenomena begin to occur in the house including the miraculous recovery of her brother, Belle begins to suspect her Mother isn’t telling her everything and soon realizes they just moved into the infamous Amityville house.

This movie is up against some other great horror films next year and is making me really hyped to see not only which one will take the highest spot at the box office but what will rank highest in my year-end review for 2017. 

Amityville Horror House

While those above are the more “official” sequels, many independent and no budget companies have made films to cash in on the Amityville name. Amityville Death House, Amityville Asylum, Amityville Theater, Amityville Haunting as well as many documentaries and even short films like High Hopes, a school project flick from my friend Dusty Austen from Wooster made that breaks down the DeFeo murders, all have flooded video shelves as well as streaming sites. The cool thing about these films are that while Hollywood would backburner the “official” series, these films kept the story fresh and added new twists to the terrifying haunting tale. Baron Von Porkchop even hosted High Hopes by Dusty on one of his Halloween special adventures, and he was able to share that film with viewers who may have never gotten the chance to see it. So if you’re a fan of Amityville Horror, make sure to give some of these independent films a watch.  Who knows, they might scare you more than the official films!

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My close friend and filmmaker Henrique Couto has also released a Amityville film this year called “Amityville No Escape” that is a found footage style film.  One of the coolest thing about this film is that my cousin Stephen Alexander II and myself have cameos in it. That’s right, I am in an Amityville Horror-inspired film! I play a worker at a shop in Amityville that is being asked questions by the film’s lead, and I am not ashamed to say I ham it up on the screen telling him that he doesn’t want to go around that house. The set we used was Game Swap in Kettering and being asked to star in this film came at the right time as I was all ready doing research for this update. So make sure to check out this film when it’s out DVD and also support your local hometown filmmakers as they are the new breed of creators that will bring films to the big and small screens across the world. I am proud of my friend Henrique as well as my other filmmaking friends Dusty A, Chris Seaver, Chris LaMartina, Fred Vogel, Matt Hoffman, Eamon Hardiman, Eric Widing, David “The Rock” Nelson and so many others all who are talented and skilled masters of what they do.

Amityville No Escape Teaser Poster

I would also love to take a moment to talk about the 1979 score soundtrack for The Amityville Horror done by Lalo Schifrin. The score is something that I bought on CD many years back when I started to collect horror film scores.  The main theme is something I have played for many years on WYSO’s Alpha Rhythms Halloween Special, and it always gets high remarks and “thank you” for playing messages. The main title is pretty iconic and most old school horror fans can name that tune only a few bars into the song, but the rest of the score as well is really well done and fits the mood of the film and is great background music when working on a blog update like this or any other horror themed update. If you enjoy creepy mood music that is the perfect background to not only your halloween party but also your relaxing comic book reading time, I would say check out Schifrin’s score as it is well done and is sure to please any score music fan.

The Amityville Horror 1979 Soundtrack CD

Before we move on, I want to talk a little about my connection to The Amityville Horror book and movies. Growing up, I can remember my Mom and Dad talking about The Amityville Horror when it was coming on TV, and my brother Bryan and I wanted to watch it. My Mom being her normal self told us that while the film claimed it was based in fact, it was indeed not and that she thought that the family made up the haunting in order to get rich. I can remember watching it in the dark sitting in the living room at our house in Waynesville and being a little creeped out by the glowing eyes looking in the home via the window, but also being slightly bored as I wanted to see the ghosts! Over time I can remember seeing the book at garage sales and second hand book stores and always asking to get it to read but my Mom always saying no.  When she finally gave in, I remember reading most of it and saying this is good but not nearly as scary as I was led to believe. As I grew up, the Amityville Horror films found their way into my VHS collection, and I found a new love for how cheesy and over the top the sequels were. When I met my friend Mike Ritchie, who was working at Blockbuster Video at the time, his love for The Amityville Horror helped spark our friendship and still to this day I look at him as one of my nearest and dearest friends. Plus I can remember being a young teen and thinking just how hot Margot Kidder, who played Kathy Lutz in the first film, and Diane Franklin, who played Patricia Montelli, were and marveled at their near nude scenes. Nowadays I own all the official Amityville Horror films on DVD and even have an import of Amityville: The Curse to complete my collection and have a soft spot in my heart for this series as growing up it always seemed more of a major franchise than it was. Check out the pics of Kidder and Franklin below to see why the younger me had horror film crushes on them.

Hot margot kidderHot Diane Franklin

Okay, I think it’s time that we gear up to enter the house at 112 Ocean Avenue and see what Rosen Publishing has in store for us! I want to thank Amazon for having this in stock for me to review. Wait, did you hear that? It’s like a voice out of the darkness saying that I should also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that message from beyond, we should step over the green ooze and see what horror awaits us in these comic pages.

Ghosts of Amityville 1

Ghosts In Amityville # 1  **
Released in 2006    Cover Price $7.95    Rosen Publishing    #1 of 1

In 1975, The Lutz family move to Amityville, New York in a big house on Ocean Avenue, but their dream house has a dark side as a year earlier a young man murdered his family and claimed voices in the house commanded him to do so. The Lutz Family start to hear noises late at night, see shadows and ghosts as well as a sinister pair of glowing eyes that watches them from the outside from the windows. The youngest Lutz child makes a friend with the spirit of a child and more odd things start happening around the house including George being sick many nights, him waking up at 3:15am in the morning with the urge to check the boathouse, loud doors slamming, moving shadows and furniture that arranges itself in the middle of the night. Things kept getting worse including finding giant hoof prints outside, and finally the family has had enough and leaves the house never to return. After the Lutz leave, a paranormal investigator group comes to look at the house and makes a judgment that something wicked does live there.

This felt like a stub on a Wikipedia page; it gave you some basic information but over all by the end you fell like you really didn’t learn anything new. The story of the comic is based on the tale of the Lutz family and has them moving into a house and being scared off by ghosts and evil spirits. None of the Lutz family is fleshed out, so you don’t build up to much of a bond with them.  The father, George Lutz, is the only one who kind of shines as he is shown to have gotten sick while living in the house and is the last of the family to see a ghost as they flee the house for good. The evil spirits on the other hand are pretty mean and seem to enjoy tormenting the family and even at one point try to kill the family dog! The comic is not scary and has zero blood show.  This is pretty normal as it is a kids horror comic meant to help kids to read and learn about a unknown phenomenon. The comic goes by fast and seems to be more pictures than dialogue and most scary moments are dulled down in the art as they didn’t go for many scares. At the end, the comics has Did You Know Facts, Glossary, Index and a link to websites taking up space that could have been used to flesh out more of the story. The art is done by Q2A and is pretty good stuff, basic but good as the story is written by Jack DeMolay and is summed up as good for the level of reader this comic was made for. Over all this is a cool little graphic novel comic for horror fans and was at least a tool for me to write a fun update. Check out some artwork below…sorry for the quality, I had to take it with my cellphone.

Ghosts of Amityville Art 1

So we made it out of Amityville, and it looks like the evil spirits might have been on vacation as this Jr. graphic novel failed to deliver a scare or even a chill. But with it being for kids, I knew that it would not be to over the top in scares or blood. It was really fun talking about Amityville and was something I wanted to do for a couple of years now, but our next update might be even scarier than the haunting in Amityville, and I am sure grossed out kids of the 80’s…that’s right, we will be taking a look at Madballs! So until then, go on a ghost hunting adventure with friends, read a comic or three and support your local Horror Host!

Madballs Logo

Marvel At The Mighty Black Goliath

Welcome back, my friends, to Rotten Ink.  It’s amazing to think we are in 2016, and my little place on the web has been going for over three years now with my first official update being about The Smurfs and the Marvel Comic series based on those little blue guys back on September 10th 2012.  It’s grown so much from there and has allowed me to cover such topics as horror hosts, movies and video games as well as talk about my life as a child and adult and cover things from making no budget movies to old school crushes and everything in-between! People have asked me over the years what my favorite update I have ever done is, and while I have enjoyed them all and have put my thoughts and memories into each, I would have to say it was “Start Halloween With The Universal Monsters!” as I got to cover Dell Comics takes on the classic monsters like Dracula and The Wolf Man as well as got to talk about what the Halloween season reminds me of, a great trip down memory lane for sure. Lots of readers and friends have also asked me what my favorite comic company is to cover.  That’s an easy one as I have to say classic Marvel Comics.  While I do love companies like DC, IDW and Dell, Marvel has always been my top choice to read as all my favorite superheroes come from that company: Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Conan and Man-Thing. Another question I get is what horror host am I most looking forward to covering on a Icon update.  My top two that I knew that were a must for me, I have already done,Commander USA and Dr. Creep, but as for the ones I have not covered it’s a tie between Sammy Terry, Joe Bob Briggs, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Grandpa Munster, all of whom have influenced me in the world of horror hosting as well as no budget filmmaking. The question that I always look at is what your most read topic is, as of this update, the top three go like this Hellraiser III, Smurfs and Rob Zombie’s Bigfoot. One last question I will answer is people ask what of my old media projects would I like to see turned into a comic book series, and while of course the answer is Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre that wish could be coming true thanks to my friend Damien Brunk so out of the other stuff I would say my old slasher film The Sadness who is a killer who murders women and video tapes it all the while doing these horrible acts to please his fathers voice that echoes in his brain. So in closing, if you are a long time reader or just discovered me, I want to say thanks for taking the time to check out my little place on the web, and here is looking forward to the next three years and beyond. This update we will take a look at Black Goliath, a classic 70’s Marvel Character who was a cash in on the Blaxploitation cinema of the time.  So here is looking on to the future and bringing more fun updates to you my friends and readers.

Happy 3 Year

Once many centuries ago, it was believed that giants could have walked among us, even the Bible has Goliath a giant warrior who was killed by a stone from David’s slingshot. It’s been said that giants even battled early settlers here in America and that when their bones are found, the Smithsonian covers it up! In pop culture giants are among us from pro wrestler Andre The Giant to comic character Giant Man. But one giant that has always peeked my interest is The San Diego Mummy, a giant mummified body that measured 8 foot 4 inches and was found in a cave by prospectors in the early 1900’s.  It’s said that you could see the twisted teeth and giants ribs trough the skin and it looked like the Aztec Mummy from the classic south of the border horror film series to me. The Smithsonian was all over this discovery and even bought the body for a large sum of money. They came and looked at it and were hyped by what they saw, but the story goes that once they tested parts of the giant’s skin they found it to be a hoax and made of gelation and claimed the remains were a fake and deposed of it. This is where things get crazy as many people claim that the Smithsonian was on a fever pitch to buy large skeletons and many people claim they claimed hoaxes on many that are believed to be the real deal including the San Diego Giant! The odd thing about San Diego Giant is where is it now? Did they dispose of it? If he is real, why are they storing him and not sharing him with the public? And why are the people of Smithsonian trying to buy and hide all the giant skeletons in the world? So many questions un-answered! On a side note, the body also reminds me of the Atlas Comic character The Brute…could this be the body that inspired that comic series?

The San Diego Giant Mummy

WWE 2K16 came out on October 27th 2015, and this year the main attraction was that it had the largest roster in the game’s history as well as had a spotlight on the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin, whom I have never been a fan of during his WWF/WWE run but the possibilities of other wrestlers he had faced made for a interesting wait to see who was announced. Plus they added a ton of names from NXT and this as well made me hyped and ready for the game.  The downside was the pre-order bonus wrestler, as it was the T-800.  Yeah, that’s right, a Terminator…a fake movie character who has never been in a WWE ring…Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor who plays the character has and at least would have made a better choice as he is in the WWE Hall Of Fame…yeah, terrible bonus for sure. But terrible bonus and all, this was one game I was super hyped to play as I found that the new additions of Finn Balor and Kalisto and legends like Bret Hart, Sting and Ultimate Warrior made this a must-have video game for me. Plus any wrestling game that sports the largest roster in WWE game history, I had to play!

WWE 2K16 Ultimate WarriorWWE 2K16 PS4WWE 2K16 Sting

But like THQ before, 2K has also been snubbing wrestlers that should be showcased in the game! I know that WWE has lots of say on who is in the game and who is left out but so does the company who is distributing the game, and the following 3 wrestlers are my picks of wrestlers who were down right snubbed and should have had a place on the 120 on-disc roster or at least DLC. So sit back and take a look at my picks and in the comments feel free to leave your list of snubbed wrestlers from WWE 2K16!

wwe 2k16 Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan

Let’s start off this list with the biggest and most iconic name left out of this game, as well as one wrestler who was slated to be in the game but pulled amidst controversy. First we should talk about why they pulled him from the game; in 2012 Hogan was recorded making dumb and hurtful raciest comments that were centered around his daughter Brooke’s personal life and music career.  It should be noted that he made these commits at the lowest point in his life when he and his wife were splitting, he was sleeping with one of his best friends wife and he was suicidal. Hogan has done his best to do damage control and clear his name of not being a racist person; wrestlers and stars have come to his aid and yet WWE has washed him from their records and fired from his deal, canceled all his upcoming merchandise and pulled him from WWE 2K16. Now let’s look at why Hulk Hogan should have been in the game and the reasons are many! I mean he was a top wrestler not only just in WWF/WWE but also AWA, WCW and TNA as well was an actor in movies and TV. He has been WWF/WWE champion as well as World Heavyweight Champion a number of times, has headlined not only the first Wrestlemania but many more over the years and is one of the biggest icons in the business. While he should have been let go from his WWE contract or even suspended and made to make his dumb decision right, his fans should not be punished by taking him out of the game as he would have been a great grappler to have in the world title mix against the likes of Triple H, Roman Reigns, John Cena and Kevin Owens.

WWE 2K16 Jimmy Snuka

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka

Jimmy Snuka, much like Hulk Hogan has had a bad 2015 as he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and then picked up on murder charges of his then girlfriend in 1983! While I’m not sure if he was suppose to be in the game, I am sure if he was he was pulled out of the mix pretty quickly. But like all crimes Jimmy is innocent until proven guilty, but to WWE and 2K he is guilty until proven innocent. Jimmy Snuka was one of the biggest wrestlers in the 1980’s and was a top draw for WWE over his career and had epic matches against the likes of Don Muraco and Roddy Piper, and even when coming back in 1989 he was a solid mid-card worker who took on the likes of The Honkey Tonk Man, The Undertaker and Rick Rude! Jimmy even had a good run in AWA and WCW and remained a fan favorite. If Jimmy Snuka would have made it into WWE 2K16, I would have put him in NXT and would also use him on the main roster as matches against Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, Kalisto and Seth Rollins would be booked for many of my Raw’s and PPV’s! The sad thing is even if proven not guilty, I see Snuka not being in any upcoming WWE games.

Jim Duggan

“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

It’s crazy to think that Hacksaw has not been in a WWE main game in years given that during the 80’s and 90’s he was a huge fan favorite and is on great terms with the company and has had no run ins with the law in decades. Hacksaw had a great run with WWF/WWE from 1987-1993 and had great matches against the likes of King Harley Race, Andre The Giant and Bad News Brown. In 1988, he was even the first winner of the Royal Rumble that aired on the USA Network. When Hacksaw’s star started to drop in the WWF, he moved onto WCW and became a major draw once more winning many belts and having matches with the likes of Stunning Steve Austin, Bunkhouse Buck and Diamond Dallas Page. He left WCW in 2002 and worked some independent federations before returning to WWE in 2005 for another short run that would have him being used to put over younger talent.  This run ended in 2009 but for many years after, he appeared from time to time one WWE programing. I would love to have Hacksaw as part of my roster and would make a new tag team with him and Jack Swagger that would be trying to win Tag Team Gold! Very disappointing that Hacksaw seems to have been forgotten by not only WWE but also 2K.

It’s a shame these legends of wrestling have been left out and only time will tell if any of them will be in WWE 2K17, and I want you all to keep in mind none of these guys made it into the game but the T-800 did…shameful.

WWE 2K16 Finn

So in 2015, four of my favorite artists released new albums and of course I had to buy all three of them on CD from Amazon. So let’s start off with the softest artist on the list and one that I have been a huge fan of since the 1995 release of her first album called “Pieces of You.” Of course I am talking about Jewel; her new release is called “Picking Up The Pieces” and this her counter piece to her first release. The first thing I noticed after listening for a few minutes is that Jewel’s voice is as soothing as ever and made me fall in love with her all over again. The sound was a mix of folk and country and is clearly a record to work out some of her personal issues and as always her heart is in every song. I really enjoyed the whole CD, and I think my two favorite tracks off the disc have to be “Everything Breaks,” a song of changing love, and “My Father’s Daughter,” a sweet song about family that is a duet with Dolly Parton.  I also really liked the song “Mercy” and for the most part liked every song on the disc. I cannot praise Jewel enough as I feel she is one of the best singer songwriters of my generation, not to mention she can blend pop, country and folk together so well that it shows just how talented she is. I recommend this CD to fans of hers as well as fans looking for a heartfelt album with outstanding songs. The other artists that we will be covering at a different update are Danzig, W.A.S.P. and Alice Cooper with his all-star band called The Hollywood Vampires! So make sure to check back in and see my thoughts on their newest releases soon.

jewel picking up the pieces cd

When I was younger I had lots of Marvel Comics as did my brother Bryan, and I spent lots of late nights reading issues before bed or just kicking back in my room on a rainy day and reading them as the rain hit the widows.  One character that I saw a lot of over the years is Black Goliath.  I always had this idea that he was good friends with The Thing as I mostly remember his from issues of Marvel Two-In-One that had The Thing of Fantastic Four fame teaming up with a fellow Marvel hero. One other thing I can remember about him was that he was dying from an illness that was caused by his ability to change size and The Thing was really upset by this. But this is all I really knew about the character until I did some research over the years, so here is a quick bio of Black Goliath. Bill Foster is a biochemist who is from Los Angeles California who works for Tony Stark’s Plans And Research Division and was Hank Pym’s lab assistant who helps Pym turn to normal size when as his alter ego Giant Man he was stuck being a giant. Sometime later, Bill Foster starts taking the formula Hank did so that he as well can grow and takes on the name Black Goliath and teams with the likes of Luke Cage Power Man, The Thing and even Spider-Man to take on and defeat all types of super baddies. Black Goliath even joined the superheroes team The Champions and would later go on to change his name to Giant Man taking over the role from his friend Hank Pym. As Bill Foster, he at one point found himself working in the Savage Land for High Evolutionary and once he figures out that his employer is up to no good he calls in the West Coast Avengers and they put a stop to his evil scheme of a genetic bomb. Sometime later Bill Foster loses the power to grow and becomes a staff member for Centers For Disease Control and lend his brain to The Avengers to stop a bio-weapon. Later he once more regains his growing powers and joins a short lived team alongside Luke Cage, Brother Voodoo, The Falcon and Iron Fist as well as teams with the likes of Spider-Man and The Thing on separate missions. During the Civil War of Superheroes, Black Goliath took the side of Captain America in that heroes should not have to register their identities and during this conflict he is killed by a clone of Thor.  His death changes the balance in teams as many leave Iron Man’s side to join Captain America’s. Up to this point Bill Foster aka Black Goliath is still dead and that’s a shame as I feel he is a great classic Marvel Character who had many more adventures to bring us readers. I should note that during the Dark Reign storyline Black Goliath’s clavicle bone is stolen by Norman Osborn in hopes to be used to track down Hank Pym and his spirit can be seen in Erebus, a realm in-between life and death alongside Baron Zemo, Jack Of Hearts, Jack O’Lantern, Wasp and even Elvis Presley!

Black GoliathBlack Goliath and The ThingTHE THING

So now I am sure if you didn’t know who Black Goliath was, you do now as I hope my little history of the character helped. I really would like to thank Mavericks Cards and Comics who in June 2015 bought a huge comic collection that contained so many amazing issues and full runs from companies like Marvel, DC, Charlton and many more and Black Goliath was one I was lucky to be able to buy for this update! I was lucky enough as my friends Jason Young and Jeremy Hoyt both work for Mavericks and allowed me to go in the back and look through the boxes before they were priced and put out for the masses! I was able not only to get Black Goliath but also issues of Amazing, Spectacular & Web of Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Jungle Action with Black Panther, Master of Kung-Fu and a few other titles. So a big thanks goes to Mavericks and their crew for making this update possible. I should also note that while as I stated before I mostly knew Black Goliath from his appearances in “Marvel Two In One” and “Marvel Team Up”, growing up my brother and I did have issue # 3 of this series and I remember very little about it. So let’s grab a glass of milk so we can grow up to be big and strong and set out for a five issue adventure with the one and only Black Goliath.

Black Goliath 1

Black Goliath # 1  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #1 of 5

Bill Foster is walking in the rain down a ghetto road in Los Angeles remembering back to the days of his youth growing up in the neighborhood playing baseball in the streets with his friends as well as the old soda shop that he use to buy cokes from for a dime. While wandering the streets, he comes across some punks who try and rob him and turns into Black Goliath and teaches them crime don’t pay! Bill goes home and is torn between becoming a full time superhero or only focusing on his scientific career that was given to him by Tony Stark.  While trying to come to a decision, he gets a call from Hank Pym who tries to push him into a career into crime fighting. After visiting his assistants called The Whiz Kids, Bill decides to become Black Goliath and stop the next robbery that will be for the lab he works! Atom-Smasher and his goons show up at a warehouse to steal some Radium and take out the two guard posted at the front and to their shock they run into Black Goliath who makes quick work of the goons, but is chopped down by Atom-Smasher who blasts him with a energy beam and is about to finish him off with an even more powerful one as our issue comes to an end!

This first issue is fantastic and captures the 70’s Blaxploitation cinema vibe and mixes it very well with the classic 70’s Marvel and is very much on par with Luke Cage Power Man! The plot of this issue has Bill Foster having a internal war with himself over becoming a full fledged superhero or being a full fledged scientist! And when robbers keep stealing shipments and breaking into labs, Bill decides that he must embrace his super powers and become Black Goliath to stop these crimes. Black Goliath is a very interesting character as he got his powers from helping Hank Pym when he was stuck as Giant Man and took that formula and improved it.  What also makes him stand out is the fact he was once a  ircus sideshow performer who lied to his girlfriend by telling her he could not control his size and was beaten up by Luke Cage who in turn walked away with Bill’s now ex! Black Goliath is a man who is quick witted and has an edge of take no bull attitude making this issue a fun read as it leaves you wondering what he is going to do. The Whiz Kids (Herbert Bell, Dale West & Talia Kruma) are nice back up characters who a being set up to be inventors of gadgets that Goliath can use in his crime busting. Atom-Smasher is a cheesy yet powerful villain who rocks his bald head and powerful energy well, in fact he seems not to be bothered by the size of Goliath as he fires an energy blast and cuts him down to size. Atom-Smasher can control matter and can use his power to go through walls and even fire powerful blasts from his hands. The cover for this first issue is fantastic and very eye catching.  Plus the art inside is well done and is done by the talented George Tuska who does a fantastic job of capturing the mood and vibe of this comic. This first issue makes me hyped to read issue # 2 and see how Goliath gets away from the deadly hands of Atom-Smasher so let’s not waste anymore time and get to it!

Black Goliath 2

Black Goliath # 2  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #2 of 5

Black Goliath uses all his strength to dodge a fatal blow by Atom-Smasher and turns the table on the high energy villain! But the fight doesn’t stay in Black Goliath’s favor for long as once more Atom-Smasher is able to beat him up as well as causes a huge fire that was heading toward the L.A. airport’s fuel tanks! As Smasher escapes, poor Goliath is weak and trying his best to not to catch fire or drown in the water from the firefighters’ hose, and passes out to wake up in the care of Celia Jackson who was a stewardess for the airport and saved him from being fried to a crisp. Returning home as Bill Foster, he gets The Whiz Kids to create a tracking devise to locate Atom-Smasher.  He gets the drop on Smasher and his goons ending his reign of terror, but unknown to Black Goliath, an assassin is watching and getting orders from a hidden in the shadows crime boss to take him out!

This second adventure of Black Goliath is a very good follow up to the first and retains all the wonderful 70’s Blaxploitation action and one liners making fans of such films as Hammer and Foxy Brown happy as well as comic readers who enjoyed Power Man. In this issue Black Goliath suffers a terrible defeat, but it does not slow him down as he not only stops the bad guys in the end but also has time to make it with the young woman who saved his life! In this issue Black Goliath at first tries to only depend on his power to bring down the bad guys, but by the end learns that using his power as well as his mind is the best way to get the victory. While at first he does doubts how good of a superhero he will be, he turns it around in the end to embrace that he is new to the crime fighting game and can make mistakes. The Whiz Kids once more are used as helper characters and with their super smarts are able to make a tracking device to hunt down the location of Atom-Smasher. The tricky part is that Bill lied to them and said the device was made for the police. By this point we also are picking up on the personalities of the Whiz Kids with Herbert being the worry wart, Dale being the goofball troublemaker and Talia being the more private one who keeps her private life to herself leaving her open to be the most interesting one of them all. Celia Jackson seems like she could be a new love interest for Bill or could be just a one nightstand as the next panel after he leaves her house, Bill thinks to himself how he “scored” with her. At the warehouse Atom-Smasher puts up a fight that leaves the giant hero on his butt and proves he has power, but in the last battle when taken by surprise he goes down pretty easy as Black Goliath knocks machine parts on him and then bonds him in graphite. The Smasher’s men are about as helpful to him as cats would be in a fist fight against ninjas as they are knocked around and run like chickens. The cover is once more very eye catching, and the art done by George Tuska is fantastic.  I should also note the story in this issue was done by Chris Claremont who is best known for writing Uncanny X-Men and is the brain behind so many of that series top arcs. So far I‘m really liking this series and am looking forward to each issue that follows! Let’s see if the third issue can keep up the charm of Black Goliath.

Black Goliath 3

Black Goliath # 3  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #3 of 5

As Black Goliath is about to take Atom-Smasher to the police station, the sniper attacks and grazes Goliath in the forehead causing him to drop Atom-Smasher and try to find cover. Atom-Smasher breaks free from his bonds and tries to escape, but before he can he takes a bullet to the back showing that he was the target.  Before Black Goliath can get to the sniper he is gone, but something worse happens as he starts to feel ill and as if he is dying! Meanwhile back at Stark Labs, The Whiz Kids are covering for Bill Foster as he is not at work and a very angry Tony Stark needs to speak to him, and worse a motorcycle gang breaks into the lab and steals a important package and causes mayhem to the workers including Dale and Talia who are injured in the attack. The cops give chase to the gang but soon meet their leader Vulcan, a super strong hunchback with laser shooting wristbands who kills a rookie and injures a veteran female officer. Black Goliath shakes off the sick feeling and goes after the gang to get the package back and makes quick work of the gang, even giving Vulcan a beating, but once more making a rookie mistake he goes for the stolen package and takes a laser blast from the downed Vulcan that causes a building to fall on him and let the bad guy escape. In the end some of the cops are mad about Black Goliath not saving the killed rookie and this makes Goliath mad as he has no plans on stopping being a superhero.

This third issue now adds the motorcycle gang craze of the 70’s to the mix and even adds a touch of horror as Vulcan the gang’s leader is clearly a weird looking hunchback. The plot of this issue is that someone hired an assassin to kill Atom-Smasher as they looked at him as a loose end.  Black Goliath is still a rookie at being a hero and makes some mistakes but during this time he is also having some issues with his powers as he is feeling ill. Throw in a biker gang who has been hired to steal a package from the lab and you have this issue. Black Goliath is getting better at stopping crime and is not backing down from bad guys and will do anything he can to save a life, even if he is always late at doing so. The main question is what is making Black Goliath sick and feeling like he is going to die? My thought on this is that he is straining his body as he is using the powers more often and this is causing his insides to become damaged. The normal Bill Foster part of Goliath’s life seems to be spinning out of control as he is neglecting his day job and could be facing a pink slip if he isn’t more attentive to his work. The Whiz Kids are pretty helpful in this issue as not only do they try and cover for Bill, but Dale tries his best to fight the biker gang and protect his fellow workers, and we learn that Talia is the way she is cause she left a loved on to die in the jungle to save her own butt! The Sniper and the Shadowy Big Boss are still a mystery as their identities are still unknown, but I am thinking that the big boss could be The Kingpin. Poor Atom-Smasher after being captured tried to run to fight another day, but is killed as I think they felt if the cops got ahold of him he might snitch. Vulcan is a brute, and while he is good at smashing cars and killing cops, he is not so good at fighting people with above average powers as Goliath whoops him pretty good.  While he packs some laser wristbands and leads a gang of bikers, he just does not seem like a major threat. I should also mention that Tony Stark who all Marvel Comic readers as well as the movie watchers know is Iron Man comes off as a butthead in this issue as he yells and screams and threatens to fire Bill for missing one day of work, talk about a horrible boss! The cover is once more top notch, and the team of Claremont and Tuska are back and proves that when the right team work on a book no matter how big or small the character is, they can make quality work. So with this let’s move onto issue number four.

Black Goliath 4

Black Goliath # 4  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #4 of 5

Black Goliath stops some bank robbers and even breaks a stolen weapon that could kill many innocent people if used, all before heading to work where he gets chewed out by Tony Stark over the stolen package.  That leaves the two at odds, and a man named Ballard being odd and wanting to keep what’s in the box from Bill.  It’s clear the two have a past with each other. Bill changes into Black Goliath and heads to the police station where he gets news from Keith who is the nephew of Celia Jackson, the stewardess who Goliath “scored” with that the bank is being robbed.  As Black Goliath and the cops arrive, they soon find that the robber is not a common man but the super villain Stilt Man who is mad and wanting to make a statement and does just that as he manhandles Black Goliath and to prove a point uses his new Z-Ray gun on Black Goliath, Keith and Celia making them vanish into thin air as the police look on in horror.

This forth issue is good but I will say slipped a little as I feel with this one they took away the cult feel and made it more of a main stream comic that could have as easy been an issue of Spider-Man or Captain America. The issue’s plot has Bill Foster being mad at Tony Stark his boss and goes head to head with a villain who matches him in size and power and by the end uses a ray that turns our hero into nothing as he just disappears. Black Goliath is pretty cocky now at being a superhero and seems not to be bothered by having to choose between it and his career. Plus it looks as if the cops are now on his side and want his help on trying to stop crime. Bill Foster seems to be blowing off his work in this issue and even mouths off and makes his boss Tony Stark wait. The Whiz Kids take a backseat with nothing major to do besides telling Bill that Tony is on the phone for him. Tony Stark is still acting as a terrible boss, but does show that he likes Bill as a person and a friend. Ballard, I am not sure what his deal is, but he seems to have a chip on his shoulder and have a strong dislike for Bill. Celia Jackson and her nephew Keith are clearly fans and friends of Black Goliath and it’s nice to see that she is just not a one night stand. Stilt Man is a major threat in L.A. and wants to be that town’s crime lord and starts his path of doing so by robbing a bank and beating the city’s protector with little to no effort. Stilt Man is proving that he is not a joke and while the likes of Daredevil and Captain America have beaten him, Black Goliath was just out matched. The way this issue ends and with only one issue left in the series it makes me wonder how in the heck are they going to wrap up who the shadow crime boss is, where is Black Goliath at and how will he get back as well as how will he defeat Stilt Man. This issue’s cover is great like the others, and while Chris Claremont wrote the script, they changed the artist as the team of R. Buckler and Don Heck take over and do a solid job. Well it’s time to move onto the final issue.  Let’s see how Marvel wraps this one up or will it get the Steel: The Indestructible Man treatment where DC just upped and cancelled it before the story is finished.  Well let’s see, shall we?

Black Goliath 5

Black Goliath # 5  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30   Marvel Comics   #5 of 5

Black Goliath along with Keith and Celia find themselves on another planet called Kirgar, thanks to Stilt Man’s Z-Ray Gun that during the day the temperature is so hot and by night it’s freezing, leaving them will little hope of survival. One night while they are sleeping, they are visited by a friendly alien named Derath, who gives them clothes that will help with the severely changing weather and together they try to find a shelter area that has parts on it that can send them home! Along the journey they come across a Dune Cat who tries to make Celia lunch but is quickly dealt with thanks to a laser pistol blast from the gun of Derath. Once they make it to the shelter they soon have to tangle with Mortag, a giant of a man monster who is the protector of the shelter and kills Derath with his mighty axe! The murder of his alien friend puts Black Goliath into a rage and the battle leaves Mortag in pieces as they find out that he was a robot. In the end Black Goliath, Celia and Keith use the equipment around to try and get back home.

This final issue of Black Goliath feels like they mixed superheroes with Flash Gordon as it has a very science fiction feel to it. The plot has Black Goliath along with Celia and her nephew being stuck on a planet where they meet an alien who helps them and together they must try and find a way home and battle an ancient guardian who is protecting the only building on the planet that has they stuff to send them home. Black Goliath in this series really grows as a character as he starts off not being too sure of his hero-like abilities and by this issue he is a protector of his friends and ready to fight for what right. I can 100% say that my opinion of this character changed after reading this limited run series as he went from being a cheesy character who was friends with The Thing to being an interesting hero who brought so many genres together from Superhero to Blaxploitation and a little of everything in-between like bikers and sci-fi! Celia is very much like Pam Grier in the way that she is sexy and tough with a touch of gentle. It was cool to see her go from a one nightstand to a full fledged girlfriend for Black Goliath. Keith is kind of just a background player who is used to give Celia a little more depth and draw out that she is just a normal person with a family. The Whiz Kids are really cool background players who start out as bickering co-workers and by their last appearance, it’s clear they all are good friends and care about each other.  I wish they had a little more to do before this series ended. The worst part of Marvel just pulling the plug on this series is that this issue ends with Black Goliath still on another planet and as he beats his final foe in passing he says something about them getting back home.  It’s really lame that Marvel at least didn’t give this one last issue to really tie it all up. In the letters page in this issue they did have the courtesy to warn the readers that this series was cancelled due to low sales. This final issue’s art was done by Keith Pollard, and it looks great and holds up the quality that this series had. Pollard is a fantastic artist who is known for his work on Amazing Spider-Man, The Mighty Thor and Fantastic Four in the 70’s and 80’s. This issue’s story is written by Chris Claremont again, and as always he did a pretty great job of telling a tale of adventure the Marvel way. I should also note that throughout the series Black Goliath tangled with some powerful super villains like Stilt Man, killer robot Mortag, pure power Atom-Smasher and hunchback biker Vulcan each of which you can believe as a threat to our hero. Over all, I can say that I enjoyed this series from the great art, fun stories all the way to the rotten ink smell this was for sure a great way to spend a January day reading. Below is some artwork from issue 4 done by R. Buckler and Don Heck, enjoy!

Black Goliath Art 1

Black Goliath is a Marvel Character that for the most part is forgotten or even misused and that’s a shame as he is a very cool and interesting character who could have held his own with other African American super heroes from Marvel like Luke Cage and Black Panther. But our next update we will be leaving Marvel behind and will be looking at a promo comic based on the 1992 film Dust Devil! So until then read a comic or three, support your local Horror Host and make sure to have a safe and fun February.

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The Axeman: The Killer Of New Orleans

A chill is in the air, and we are getting so close to October and Halloween time so I figured we would take a look at a graphic novel based on an unknown killer from the early 1900’s. This killer claimed he was not human and loved the sound of jazz music and would stalk his victims at night, but as quickly as the murders started, they also stopped. I am a true crime buff and always enjoy reading a good novel about an unknown killer, and next to Zodiac Killer and Phantom Killer of Texarkana, The Axeman of New Orleans – this strange case of an unidentified killer – has always peeked my interest.  I was curious about who he was and why he did what he did. So for this update we will be taking a look at the information Rick Geary collected to try and bring to life in his graphic novel based on this sadistic brutal killer. So lock your doors and shut your windows as Rotten Ink takes a look at The Axeman who tormented New Orleans.

The Ax of The Axeman

On May 22, 1918 in New Orleans, Italian grocer Joseph Maggio and his wife Catherine were asleep in their bed when The Axeman entered the home, slit their throats with a straight razor and then bashed them in the head with an axe. Catherine’s wound to her neck was so bad that her head was almost severed from her body, while Joseph lived for a short time after his brother found the victims and was able to get him help. On June 27th 1918, the killer struck again when he attacked and nearly killed Louis Besumer and his mistress Harriet Lowe.  Both were hit with a hatchet but were found in time by a delivery driver named John Zanca. Sadly, Lowe would later die from surgery linked to her attack, and Besumer would go on to be a suspect in his own attack as well as a German spy and was arrested and died in jail. On August 5th 1918, the killer struck again.  This time his victim was a 28 year old pregnant woman who he bashed in the face repeatedly cutting her scalp wide open, and if she hadn’t been found by her husband, she could have bled to death.  Five days later, the Axeman attacked and murdered Joseph Romano in his home with two ax blows to the head.  Romano was found by his two nieces, who were able to get him help, but sadly he died two days later from trauma. Charles Cortimiglia and his wife Rosie and baby daughter Mary were attacked on March 10th 1919.  All were hit with an ax, and Mary passed away while Charles and Rosie were treated and released. On March 13th 1919, a letter was sent by the Axe-Man claiming he would not kill anyone who played jazz all night and that he was in fact not human but a demon among many other claims. On August 10th, 1919, Steve Boca was attacked in his home with an ax and was lucky enough to survive. 19 year old Sarah Laumann was found in her home with ax wounds to her head and several of her teeth knocked out; she would survive the attack. The Axe-Man’s final target was Mike Pepitone, who was killed with ax blows to his head. Over the years of his attacks many people were suspects and some were even arrested but none were ever proven to be the real killer.  A letter was written by the killer claiming unworldly things, and he was even compared to fictional character Mr. Hyde. One thing is for sure, he was never caught and if he truly was a demon or a monster, he still might be out their waiting to strike again.

Axeman Trading CardAxemans Jazzaxeman shadow

So there is a quick run down of all the mayhem this killer caused in New Orleans, but his crimes and infamous style of murder also went on to be in many media projects besides this graphic novel. In 1919, a song called The Mysterious Axman’s Jazz (Don’t Scare Me Papa) was written by Joseph John Davilla. Gumbo Ya-Ya: A Collection Of Louisiana Folk Tales, a book with a chapter about the Axe-Man, was released in 1945. In 1984, The Beasts of Bourdon released their first album called The Axeman’s Jazz after the killer. 1991 saw a fiction novel based on the murders called The Axeman’s Jazz written by Julie Smith. In issue # 94 of Swamp Thing, DC Comics also did a take on the Axeman. 1992 saw the release of True Crime trading cards, and in the second series, The Axeman was a featured card. English band Fila Brazillia used parts of the Axeman’s letter as lyrics in their 1998 song Tunstall And Californian Haddock. In 2004, I wrote a movie script for Independent B Movie called The Return Of The Axeman that was to take place in modern times and have the killer back, killing college age people on a trip to a rural farmhouse.  Sadly, the script was not picked by the group to turn into a movie. Red, White And Blood is a 2012 novel by Christopher Farnsworth that has an evil spirit called the Boogeyman who body jumps into people throughout history and was written to be inside the Axeman during his murders. A year later in 2013, The Axeman, played by Danny Huston, was a character in the TV series American Horror Story: Coven. Ray Celestin wrote a fiction detective novel called The Axeman’s Jazz in 2014. And this is just a drop in the hat of the stuff this case has influenced.  It’s a shame that the real case never had an ending like all these media projects did as it would have been nice for the killer to have been brought to justice and his victims to have seen their tormentor captured.

Gumbo Ya-Ya, A Collection of Louisiana Folk Tales bookBeasts of Bourbon CDThe Axemans Jazz Book

So as you can see, The Axeman has chopped his way into history as well as in to the comic world as he not only has this graphic novel based on his crimes but also inspired an issue of Swamp Thing! I think it’s time for the main event, and I need to remind you all that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s try to solve this case and see what Rick Geary has in store for us this Halloween update season!

The Terrible AxeMan Of New Orleans GN

The Terrible Axe-Man Of New Orleans  ***1/2
Released in 2010     Cover Price $15.99     NBM Publishing   #1 of 1

The story begins with a history of Louisiana, how it became a state, how New Orleans came about and who it was named after as well as some of the ups and downs throughout the city’s history. It covers the culture that grew in the city from music like blues and jazz to Mardi Gras all the way to the Union holding it during the Civil War and terrors that stalked the nights like Needleman, a chap who injected poison into his victims and even Jack The Clipper, a freak who liked to cut schoolgirls hair in theaters and buses. But our main story starts in 1918 when Andrew awakens to hear thuds and strange noises coming from his brother’s room.  Upon checking on him, Andrew finds that his brother is dead as is his wife in what is described at the bloodiest crime scene in the city’s history! A razor was used and found on the bed as was an ax that was left in the bathtub.  Nothing was stolen from the house, and the killer got in by using a chisel on the back door’s lower panel and crawling in, and even more oddly, a strange message is left on the sidewalk in chalk that is linked to the crime. Andrew and his other brother Jake are arrested for the murders but are both later cleared of the charges.  As one old time police officer remembers, some cases from 1911 that had Italian grocers being killed in this fashion, and the Mafia and a group called The Black Hand became the suspects. More murders and attacks accrue, many with the killer using the victims’ own axes or hatchets to attack them with as well as entering via door panels or open back windows. Many people are accused of the crimes and all are proven not guilty, and the lucky ones who live through the attacks are unable to describe the killer. One case with survivors has the wife accusing another family who runs a store that competes with their own, and it seems as if anyone can be a suspect! Over time people start buying guns, and The Axeman fails at many attempts at breaking into houses.  Things seem to go back to normal until he attacks a family and murders an infant child! He then sends a letter to the Times-Picayune on March 14th 1919 stating he is a demon who chooses to kill whenever he wants and that he will strike on the following Tuesday and will murder anyone who is not playing jazz as he is very fond of that style of music.  All over town that night jazz music echoes, and the killer does not strike. The Axeman strikes once again in 1919 but also during this year he is run off by aware townspeople who react and scare away the killer before he can claim a life. And after killing a total of six people and wounding six others, the killings just stop, and The Axeman fades away into the shadows and memories of New Orleans. On December 2nd 1920, a man named Joseph Mumphre was shot and killed on a sidewalk in Los Angeles by Rose Pepitone, who was the wife of the Axeman’s final victim.  She claims that Joseph was the Axeman and that she wanted nothing but revenge on him for killing her husband; others don’t think this was the case at all. So ends the story of The Axeman who could have died a man or lives on as a demon roaming the world looking for his next time to strike terror.

This graphic novel is a well-done true crime spectacular that will wrap you up into trying to figure out who was the Axe-Man of New Orleans and also lets you look at the horrific crimes he committed in glorious black and white art. The comic covers a very brief history of Louisiana and New Orleans and then goes into the horrific acts committed by the Axeman and gives you dates and facts about each crime and even a little history about the poor victims. While it’s about a brutal killer, this graphic novel does not go overboard on the blood and gore, but that’s not to say that the red stuff don’t flow from wounds nor splatter walls cause it does, just very tastefully. The interesting part about this is that in 1911, years before the official Axeman attacks, horrific murders with the same M.O. were committed showing that this killer could have had even more victims than reported, and it also brings light to the fact someone in New Orleans really disliked Italian grocers. But the million dollar question that this graphic novel really gets you thinking about is who was The Axeman as the suspects are plenty and almost all of them at some time were ruled out even if they had motive to commit the murders.  Plus the thought of several murderers all doing the crimes to look like one also comes to my mind when reading it. But I really do think the main suspect, and probably the man who was the Axeman of New Orleans, was Joseph Mumphre.  When he was in jail, the killings stopped for a brief time, and then once he moved away to L.A. the killing were done.  This is clearly the main suspect and the right one for the police to have kept an eye on even though they didn’t, and it took the widow of one of the victims to give him justice at the end of a bullet. Rick Geary’s artwork is fantastic and captures the mood and feel of this grim subject and brings a touch of class to such a horrible crime in American history. If you’re a comic book fan and love true crime, this is a great read on a late fall night, really worth checking out.  After reading this one, I ordered more of his work, and I am sure you will see them pop up here on Rotten Ink as future updates. Below is some art from this graphic novel of the Axeman, so sit back and give it a look, and you also might want to look over your shoulder because who knows, he might still be out there!

The Terrible AxeMan Of New Orleans Art 1

We finished this a little early, and I know you want to be scared a little more from this Pre-Halloween update so we will take a look at Swamp Thing # 94! I have been a fan of Swamp Thing for many years, and when I was a kid I had The Saga Of Swamp Thing # 1 comic and thought I had a true collectors item…now being 36 and a comic store connoisseur, I see that that issue is not worth the thousands of dollars I thought it would be when I was that comic collecting youth. Also, thanks Lone Star Comics for having this in stock so that I could cover this issue for this update!

Swamp Thing 94

Swamp Thing # 94   **
Released in 1990     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics    # 94 of 171

The Axeman is back and has killed in the small town of Houma during Mardi Gras leaving the bodies in the swamp where they are found by Swamp Thing. In town is a jazz band named Cocodrie whose lead singer has gotten an ax from a fan that holds magical powers of music for every blood drop on it.  This ax really came from a descendent of the original Axeman of New Orleans who wants the legacy of the killings and the spreading of jazz music to continue. Abby Holland, the wife of Swamp Thing, wants him to come to the big concert tonight as she thinks no one will notice him as everyone will be in costume and too drunk to care.  All the while murders are happing, and the new Axeman is collecting blood and setting jazz music free from the hearts of his victims.  You see, while the singer plays the jazz, the killer does his thing and murders poor people in their homes. The killer is being pushed by a giant purple demon who is getting joy of the madness and terror these killings are causing. While at the concert Abby has to leave as her baby daughter starts to cry because the infant can see the demon.  This makes them the target of the Axeman, and just as he is about to chop them up, Swamp Thing appears and beats not only the killer but also the demon.  This marks the end of the terror of the Axeman as even the band’s singer is effected by the defeat.

This issue while good is a disappointment and clearly a filler issue in this series as both Swamp Thing and The Axeman of New Orleans are after thoughts to the demon who is the cause of the murders as well as the lead singer of Cocodrie and his love for his musical ax and wanting to be the top jazz musician in the world. The plot is this a demon who us the man behind making a man become an ax murder is back and is using a new batch of goons to commit the crimes is stopped once Swamp Thing gets wind of what’s going down and saves his wife who was the next target to be chopped up. Swamp Thing in this issue is disgusted by the murders and wants to seek answers to what kind of demon could be pushing a person to do these acts, he also takes no mercy on how quick he takes down The Axeman! Abby Holland is a free spirited woman who loves her family and also loves running around the swamp naked and trying to get Swamp Thing to do normal activities. The Axeman has two different types of axes one for killing and one for making music and when he kills he wants to be a brutal as possible and targets many woman this time around, really like how the killer is related to the original axeman and that a demon is really calling the shots just as the letter stated back in 1919. The Cocodrie are used a filler to help spread Jazz music and the lead singer is the pawn in a sick game of promised fame and fortune, I mean who ever has heard of a magical musical wood chopping ax? The issue has some horror elements as people are chopped up and a Demon jumps for joy when people are killed, the downside is the story is weak and has a lame pay off with Swamp Thing stopping the Axeman with ease and at no point is he or Abby really in any danger! The major plus side to the issue is that they use the song The Mysterious Axman’s Jazz (Don’t Scare Me Papa) as the motivation of the killer and his musical butthead lacky. The artwork is done by Kelley Jones and the story is done by Doug Wheeler and while a little lacking they both are fitting for this Swamp Thing filler issue. Over all I am a Swamp Thing fan I just was let down by this issue and I think it might have been my own fault as I might have over hyped it in my head.

Swamp Thing 94 Art 1Swamp Thing 94 Art 2Swamp Thing 94 Art 3

So this Halloween season while zombies, vampires and werewolves might scare you late nights in movies, comics, video games and novels know that the real horrors of the world are people like The Axeman of New Orleans who stalk the innocent to satisfy their sick bloodlust! Our next update I am very happy to say that the first update for October is going to be Panic Beats another very cool comic based on a Paul Naschy film! So until then watch a horror film or two, read a horror comic or three and support your local Horror Host as this time of the year is made for having a good scare or two.

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