SAW Your Way Into This Halloween!

A cold chill is in the air, and the ghouls and ghosts are roaming the streets looking for free candy.  That must mean it’s Halloween, and with this day also comes the spooky holiday update to Rotten Ink! This year we will be playing a game with Jigsaw as we take a look at the IDW comic for SAW and do so to honor the fact Lionsgate has allowed this horror series to come back to cinemas this year and reclaim the Halloween season with Jigsaw, the 8th film in the series that was released on October 27, 2017! So besides taking a look at the Saw franchise we will also be looking at a strange weird life happing in Ohio, a Horror Movie Marathon, a Creepypasta, 5 Questions with a Horror Host and a real life ghost hunt that I went on for this update. That’s the thing I love about this time of the year, something just seems to be in the air, and it makes me crave watching horror films, playing horror video games and reading horror comics even more than normal. So as I sit here for the first time in my new house that I am calling Blood Scream Comics Manor for Halloween, it’s time to get down and scary as we dive into the world of SAW.

Let’s start this Halloween update off with a Creepypasta I like that’s called “Candle Cove.” It’s about a kids’ TV show that warped and frightened kids who watched it… that is, if it even ever aired! The story goes that in the early 1970’s a weird kids’ show would air at 4:00pm on a local TV station that has seemed to be forgotten. In modern times on a website called NetNostalgia Forum, a group started a post to talk about it and share memories of the plots and characters. The show was said to be about a young girl named Janice who in her mind was friends with pirates.  They would go on odd adventures and even had to dodge a character called Skin-Taker, a skeleton pirate who wore the skin of children! They start to creep themselves out even more as they remember episodes that just was a female screaming in pain and later they even find out that the station they watched was nothing more than static! The theories of this show ran wild as people think it was supernatural while others thought it was made by the government to mess with the youth. The show was not animated and was said to be puppets and each had their own charm and sinister side and those who claimed to watch it seem to remember the characters in great detail. The mystery of this kids show is that there are zero official sources that say that it was real and on any TV station in the 70’s plus the mystery is why adults didn’t see the show when on and only saw static on the screen! Plus why were some of the characters super scary including one who skinned kids! So is this show real…well yes and no.  Recently the SYFY Channel did a TV show based on this story while all other accounts point that the old show never did air and was just a story written to try and spook people on the internet. But while this might not be a super bone chilling Creepypasta, it does make you wonder how many shows you watched as a youngster were real and what was in your mind. I am sure we all have shows we remember that we cannot place a name to and only limited amount of friends remember….was that show of your past fact or fiction?

Back in the 1920’s, a man walked to the town of Sabina, Ohio in hopes to find work and start a new life.  During his journey, he passed away of natural causes on 3C highway near Borum Road.  On June 6, 1929, his body was found and he had no ID and only thing that was found in his pocket was a slip of paper with the address 1118 Yale Ave. on it and this did not turn up anything as the address was a vacant lot! The person living nearest to the lot was named Eugene Johnson, and this man’s first name was also given to the body of the unknown man who was believed to be of the age of 50-80 years old. The local undertaker ended up embalming the body of Eugene and waited to bury him just in case a relative could come and claim him and they could find out his real name. For decades no one every claimed the body and so Eugene became a tourist attraction and his body was on display at the funeral home’s small back shack for those who wanted to see a body. Eugene The Mummy became a local celebrity and a fixture in this small town, with his fame also came pranks and thefts as high school kids as well as  college students would steal the body and take him on joyrides and leave him in weird and wild places. Each time he was taken, his body was recovered by the local police and returned to the funeral home. But finally in 1964, after many years of being on display and loved by the community, the body of Eugene The Mummy was laid to rest in the town’s cemetery after the pranks became too disrespectful and they decided it was time to let him rest peacefully. So if your ever in Sabina, Ohio make sure to stop by the cemetery and pay your respects to Eugene, a man who found fame in death and sadly never did get his real story told. So that was another Strange Ohio Tale that showcases why my home state is a weird one.

For Horror Hosts, Halloween time is like Christmas as they fill the local airwaves with their specials as well as air on any number of online stations. And for this year I chose to interivew the iconic legendary St. Louis, Missouri Horror Host Baron Von Crypt who scared late night monster kids from 1970-1971 with his show! The good Baron Von Crypt is a vampire who built himself a very loyal and rabid fan base that even got him into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame! Baron Von Porkchop and myself were very lucky to have gotten to meet Baron Von Crypt at Horrorhound, and now it’s my honor to present to you my readers on this Halloween update, “5 Questions With” Baron Von Crypt!

Matt: So Baron Von Crypt, tell us about your classic Horror Host show…

Baron: The show aired on KDNL-TV, Channel 30, a new UHF station which began broadcasting in June of 1969 in St. Louis. In early 1970, the production manager and I created a live host to try to generate buzz around and audience for classic horror films of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Invisible Man, The Mummy, The Wolfman, etc. We created a vampire character called Baron Von Crypt and also a sidekick for him called Igor (of course). We had a castle dungeon set and a casket from which the Baron arose each Saturday night at 10pm to introduce the movie. The Baron would interact with his disrespectful sidekick Igor who was always an off camera voice. We tried to do things that were new and different visually … special effects that were leading edge at the time, but nothing like the special effects of today. We just wanted to have fun. The objective was to increase the audience ratings for Channel 30 – which we did!. I wrote and performed in all the sketches as Baron Von Crypt and I also voiced the off-camera voice of Igor. During the roughly 1 ½ years the show ran, I also made a live appearance for an advertiser at the Midwest Camper and Boat Show. It was an absolute blast!

Matt: What Horror Hosts of the past influenced you as a host?

Baron: There weren’t a lot of horror hosts around in 1970 and my inspiration for the character of Von Crypt was really Bela Lugosi, the original Dracula on screen. I basically created a parody of his performance and poked fun at the whole horror genre with wacky humor, silly visuals and inane banter with my sidekick, Igor.

Matt: So being a vampire and all, do you ever get urges to drink the blood of your fans?

Baron: I never did drink the blood of my fans and since I long ago retired as The Baron, I only have vague urges. I do, however, have a strange affinity for Bloody Mary’s which I enjoy whenever I can.

Matt: You have been to a Horrorhound Convention and during this event, what celebrity were you most happy to meet? As well as what other Horror Host?

Baron: My son’s family, including my 11-year old granddaughter, who attended the event as well, are great fans of The Walking Dead and were thrilled to be able to see some of those stars up close and personal. I really enjoyed meeting the many current horror hosts such as The Bone Jangler.

Matt: You being a Vampire and all who is your favorite actor to ever play Count Dracula in film?

Baron: Clearly my favorite actor to play the part of Count Dracula is Bela Lugosi … the originator of the role and my inspiration for Baron Von Crypt.

 Matt: Any final words for my readers?

Baron: Just to share one of my favorite poems written by Baron Von Crypt:

 A birdie with a yellow bill Hopped upon my windowsill.

He broke the glass with his peck, peck, peck, And a large sharp piece just slashed his neck!

 You gotta admit that is pretty good stiff!

Great poem indeed! That Baron Von Crypt is a class act, and I for one would love to see him return to the world of Horror Hosting with new episodes that would air on say…The Monster Channel…hint, hint guys! I am also proud to say that in the world of Sparkle Comics, you just might see Baron Von Crypt soon in some pages of one of our ongoing comic series. I want to thank Baron Von Crypt for taking time to answer our questions, and I suggest you guys check out his official Facebook page for more info on this classic iconic host. Also thanks Timexx Seabaugh for not only help setting up this interview but also helping bring Baron back to the spotlight. Check out these pictures below of the one and only Baron Von Crypt.

For my birthday Juliet and I had a Horror Movie Marathon that not only had a Pre-Show but also had an After Party! The pre-show took place on September 4, 2017 that also happened to be labor day, and lucky for me, we closed early at work so I was able to get home a little after 4:00pm. We started our Pre-Show at 5:00pm, and the first film of the evening was “Camp Blood 4” that followed a young woman and her friends camping out the night before a big concert and being stalked and killed by a clown masked killer. The second fright flick of the night was “Cannibal Claus” about a fired store Santa who decides to get revenge and kills and eats people that are mostly hot naked chicks! The third film of the night was the 1987 shot on video film “Death Nurse” that is about a brother and sister who run a private clinic and kill their patients to collect the money from their deaths and care. And the final film of the night was the creature feature “In The Devil’s Courthouse” that has a young woman and her brother with friends fight for their lives against evil primates who kill in brutal ways. For dinner we decided to have pork chops and baked potatoes, and we both enjoyed the night of spooky horror! We both agreed that the Golden Turkey of the night was Camp Blood 4 as sadly this sequel was made up mostly of flashbacks of part 3 as well as montages of weird things like girls shopping at a second hand media store and putting on makeup.  Plus it ends super quickly, with a “watch part 5” ending. The pluses for the film were the soundtrack was great, the ladies were all attractive and it was cool to at least see a new Camp Blood film. My best film of the night was hard to pick as I enjoyed both Death Nurse and In The Devil’s Courthouse as I found them both to be solid shot on video films from two different eras of independent horror filmmaking, but in the end I would have to say that In The Devil’s Courthouse won out as I found that it was lots of fun with a great set of woods and hills that gave it a creepy atmosphere, the characters were likable for the most part, the gore effects worked and were pretty well done and the really had me with killer monkeys! Plus you can’t go wrong looking at actress Ashley Marie Nelson for 85 minutes. Juliet’s top pick of the night was Death Nurse as she found it to be a great example of the early roots of shot on video horror films. This first night was lots of fun and made me even more hyped to watch the films of the main attraction the next day. So with the end of the movies came winding down for the night and getting some good old sleep.

The next day we started our marathon at 7:00am, and nice enough the house was filled with a chill as we started the first movie “Devil Bat’s Daughter” about the daughter of a famed “killer” who made huge bats and her battle to deal with his legacy. The next film was “Camp Blood 5” and has the surviving young woman and her friends going back to the woods this time to get revenge on the killer. The third film was “The Night Shift” that follows a security guard watching a mansion that has a cult of demons in it. The next flick was “Evil Bong: 666” that has Eve teaming up with the survivors of the past films and doing battle with the Devil of Sexy Hell! The Jess Franco zombie film “Oasis Of The Zombies” was our fifth film and was about Nazi Zombies killing off people who try and find their hidden treasure. “The Haunting Of Morella” was next and follows a young woman whose mother was a witch and killed and now she wants to come back to life by taking over her daughters! The 1992 shot on video film “Dark Harvest” was the next fright flick and has a group of hikers fighting for their lives against killer scarecrows. The Henrique Couto film “Amityville: No Escape” about a group of filmmakers trying to document fear was then selected to try and bring the fights. The anti drug film “Hellmaster” was next and followed a group at a college kids trying to survive an attack by drug fueled human monsters. “The Wicked One” was film # 10 and is about a brutal killer called The Wicked One who attacks and kills a group of friends on a vacation at a family farmhouse. The no budget slasher film “Dark Shade Creek” was next and has masked killer Cyrus hacking up some goofy friends who make the mistake of entering his woods. The supernatural slasher film “The Windmill Massacre” was on deck next and follows a group of strangers on a tour bus ride through Holland who become the target of a burnt up monster killer! The final film of the night was the 1991 shot on video film “Hauntedween” and has a frat house being targeted by a crazed masked killer who loves haunted houses. All through the horrors of the small screen Juliet and I had cookies, Zapps potato chips, breakfast casserole, corn on the cob and flat buffalo style chicken to munch on, and man did we eat well! The golden turkey film of the night was Camp Blood 5 as both Juliet and I picked it due to it once more being mostly flashbacks and having very little of a storyline. My top three fright flicks of the day was the following # 1.) The Windmill Massacre, a really good slasher film that had a cool and interesting brutal supernatural killer as well as felt like a reimagine of the wrap around story to the original 70’s Tales From The Crypt movie. # 2.) was The Wicked One, a great slasher film with a cool killer, solid acting, likable characters and a plot that will remind you of Halloween in ways. And my # 3.) was Hauntedween, a classic cheesy shot on video film from the early 90s that had everything a maker and fan of these style films would enjoy. I want to also say that Devil Bat’s Daughter and Hellmaster both almost made my # 3 spot! Juliet’s top three films of the night were the following # 1.) The Windmill Massacre…#2.) Hellmaster and # 3.) The Wicked One! After the last film ended we chatted about the day’s movies and later went to bed in order to start the after party the next day.

Bright and early on September 6 we started the after party at 8:50am and started off with “Camp Blood 666” this time around a satanic cult brings the killer back from the grave and he starts up his killing ways once again. The second film was the 90’s shot on video film “Jungle Trap” that follows a group traveling to the rainforest and finding themselves targets of native ghosts! “Monstrosity” was our third film and this Andy Milligan film was about a group of friends making a Golem to fight crime on the streets of California. The final film of the day was the gross out flick “Night Of Something Strange” about a STD that turns people into sex crazed zombies who want to have sex and kill! It was a great after party and the films were lots of fun and this time around Juliet and I had different Golden Turkeys as she picked Night Of Something Strange as she is bored like I am with gross humor horror films being made just for shock value. Mine I would have to say was Monstrosity as while I enjoyed it and found its dark humor to work really well and the characters likeable it just kind of felt like a mess and was a little to long. Juliet however picked Monstrosity as her top film as she found it to be silly and lots of fun.  She has really become a fan of Andy Milligan’s films. I would say my favorite film of the day was Camp Blood 666 as I found it to be just like the first two camp cult classic films in the series plus it had Tina Krause in a cameo! So what a great three days to spend with my lady watching Horror Films for one of my favorite things to do and that’s a Marathon.

As most of you long time readers know, in 2016 my friend Jason Young and I opened a independent comic company alongside many of our friends who are artists, writers and creators and we have released some great all ages books like Shocking Macabre Theater # 1 that features Dayton, Ohio Horror Hosts Dr. Creep, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Baron Von Porkchop sharing spooky tales. And we also released two comics based on knock off toys of the 80’s with Defenders Of The Planets # 1 and Adventure Man # 1! And finally a comic has been made about the Independent B Movie character The Wolf Hunter who got a first issue and brought the classic shot on video character back to life. But in 2017 something really cool happened as we also opened a branch of Sparkle called Blood Scream Comics that was a way to showcase more extreme horror, underground and adult comics! I have always loved Horror Comics, and these comics are issues I am super hyped to create with my friends to entertain the readers. Check out our cool logo below!

We released several Blood Scream Comics this year with our first 3 being based on the shot on video films of Bloodline Video and Independent B Movie and they are Farmer Joe # 0, Scars # 0 and The Sadness # 0, all being 12 page comics that allow the readers to vote on what character they would like to see get a full issue # 1 in 2019! So far the amount of votes we have gotten has been great and the race to get a first issue is very close with all the characters getting respect. We then released a comic adaptation of the cult classic film Don’t Look In The Basement that scared and shocked readers with its amazing art and creepy breakdown of the film. And just this month we unleashed on the comic reading world a really spooky comic called Screaming Skull: 1888 that is a really cool reimagining of the 1958 fright flick The Screaming Skull! And this is just the start as besides all the comics that we do that are for all ages we have so many amazing Horror Comics coming your way readers! So I want to also think my Sparkle Comic family all who believe in the company motto “Comics Made By Friends For Fans”, this update is for you Jason Young, Jeff Potter, Damien Brunk, Jason Gilmore, Theresa Lopez, Marc Gras Cots, Scott Scarborough, Juliet Fromholt, Jeremy Hoyt and Stephen Alexander all of whom have made some amazing comics this year that have entertained the comic reading world. Check out the covers below for the current release of Blood Scream Comics and make sure to check out or official website at www.bloodscreamcomics.com for ways to not only order the comics but get info on upcoming comics.

On September 9, 2017 Blood Scream Comic teamed up with Horrorama Dayton at the Danbarry Huber Heights and brought moviegoers the Indie Horror Showcase! This first time event was lots of fun to do and was a great way to not only expose horror movie fans to some of these cool independent horror films but also the comics of Blood Scream and Sparkle Comics as we sold copies of our comics at the Movie Theater. The event started at 6:00pm for the preshow that played trailers for indie horror films and we screened “The Wolf Hunter” the Independent B Movie SOV film directed by Matt Hoffman as well as the zombie short film “Outpost 31” by Dustin Austen. The main show started a little after 7 with the first film being the slasher film “Babysitter Massacre” directed by Henrique Couto, and it was followed by “The Barn” the super cool 80’s throwback monster film directed by Justin M. Seaman. The next film on the playlist was the demon film “Redsin Tower” by Fred Vogel, and we ended the night with the George Romero zombie classic “Night Of The Living Dead”! In between the films we played trailers, music scores and short films and the event seemed to really entertain those who were looking for a good time of seeing great films on the silver screen. It was really amazing seeing The Wolf Hunter playing on the big screen and hearing the crowd have a good time with this shot on video cheesy rubber face werewolf flick. I hope to do another Indie Horror Showcase next year in September as I love bringing the world Horror Comics and indie horror movies and I think they both go hand and hand. I also ran the booth upstairs and had a great time watching the films from the projection booth. Check out the pictures below to see what you missed if you did not attend. And yep we did do a normal Horrorama this year on October 14th and it had the theme Revenge Of The 80’s and showcased some amazing films from that decade like Nightmare City and The Gate to name a few.

Sadly over the centuries the world of cinema has lost many films and by lost I mean they are no longer around and we all have a very small amount of hope of ever finding a copies of them. Many amazing films have been lost like many of the Fatty Arbuckle comedies and even a Paul Naschy werewolf film called “The Nights of The Wolf Man” that was possibly never finished that filmed in France. The holy grail of lost Horror Films hands down is the 1927 film “London After Midnight” that was directed by Todd Browning and started Lon Chaney Sr. as The Man In The Beaver Hat, but while I 100% would love for someone to find both London After Midnight and The Nights Of The Wolf Man, another film that I hope is found someday is a 1921 silent Hungarian film called “Dracula’s Death” that’s right a Dracula film that was released a year before the 1922 classic silent film “Nosferatu”! This lost vampire film was directed by Karoly Lajthay and this was his only film as director as he went on to be an actor in many Hungarian films. The film’s plot is about a woman who visits a mental asylum and meets an inmate to claims to be Count Dracula and after this meeting she is plagued with horrible visions and must figure out if this inmate is who he claims to be! The inmate or should we say Count Dracula was played by Erik Vanko who had a pretty long acting career and has the honor of being the first actor to ever play Dracula! I hope some day that this film as well as the many others is found in a vault, basement or in a private collection and becomes available for the world to see again just like Edison’s Frankenstein. Below are some stills and the poster for Dracula’s Death and you can take a look and see what you think this film would have been like.

On October 2, 2017 Juliet and I made our way back to Evans City Cemetery to celebrate the Halloween season right! On this day after getting some coffee from Mars Brew House, we headed to the cemetery and the drive was amazing as the weather outside was in the mid 70s and Juliet and I chatted about Lost Films as well as Sparkle Comics and all the cool comics we have in the works. Once arriving at the cemetery we took a drive through it and going around the second time we stopped and got out and walked around. This cemetery is a great place for creative people in the horror world to visit as it seems to help get the creative juices flowing, plus it’s a great place to sit back and think about the legacy that George A. Romero left behind. After spending around 45 minutes chatting and soaking in the beautiful weather we left the cemetery behind to return again next year for Monsterbash 2018! Below is a picture I snapped while there on this fun day.

One thing that I look forward to doing every Halloween season is the Alpha Rhythms Halloween Special for WYSO that is nothing but 3 hours of horror movie score music! My gal Juliet does the talking, and I do the board and select the spooky sounds that will haunt your evening. This show always is something special for me to do and with Baron Von Porkchop taking a long vacation, this is the one Halloween Special that I can count on to create every year. I choose from many different artist like Goblin, Richard Band, Danny Elfman and Fabio Frizzi and pic icon scores from such films as Bride Of Frankenstein, Halloween, Psycho and Phantasm and try my best to pick the songs that will not only chill your bones but will also make you remember the first time you watched these horror films at the theater, on VHS or even via streaming. The Alpha Rhythms Halloween Special every year is the Sunday before Halloween and starts at 8pm and runs until 11pm and can be heard locally on 91.3 FM or anywhere via their website stream at www.wyso.org! Below is a sneak peek at behind the scenes of me programing this year’s Halloween Special that aired on October 29th and if you tuned in, I want to say thank and I hope I made your night a little scary.

What is a Halloween update without a little ghost hunting adventure alongside my good pal Josh Weinberg! The big issue this year of picking a location was that over the years we have done so many of them and have debunked or even scared spooked ourselves with strange people and noises while at them. So after some time of chatting and trying to figure it out we decided on a rematch against Hyde Road’s Bridge in Yellow Springs as last time around we got ran off by the weirdo in his SUV who for some reason was hiding out in the woods and thought it would be a good idea to chase us and try and trap us on the bridge. We decided to go on October 25th and once more we had to kill some time so we had a little dinner and hung out at WYSO in Yellow Springs. For those who don’t remember the legend of the bridge and its ghost, here is the rundown again. The legend goes that a mother killed her baby and herself on the bridge at midnight, and if you park your car footprints can be found on your hood from the ghost mother trying to get in! So Josh and I drove around the bridge once and this time around no weird SUV was parked near the woods so we were able to get onto the bridge at 11:59pm and at Midnight we turned off the headlights and killed the cars engine and waited and the bridge was super quiet…and at 12:01am we turned back on the headlights and the engine and got out of the car and to no surprise we did not see no foot prints, hand prints, ghosts or ghouls and we can finally say that the bridge of Hyde Road just is not haunted by a ghost but might be patrolled by a wacko in his car! Below is a picture that I took after we turned the lights back on and shows that we were center in the bridge…shame that this one was a dud as it would have been cool to have a cool ghost hang out in Yellow Springs.

So we have chatted about lots of great spooky stuff up to this point and even had a rematch against Hyde Road and its cursed bridge. But now it’s time for us to play a game and take a look at Saw, the original movie that not only sparked a ton of sequels but also the IDW comic we are covering for this Halloween update. So lets make the right choice and play by Jigsaws rules! I also want to say that I am taking the write up from IMDB and I will also chat a little about the first film’s production and my first thoughts of seeing it as well as its legacy.

SAW (2004)

“Waking up in a undisclosed location in a unknown room two men, Adam and Gordon are trapped into a single room with a dead body. Given random tools with riddles hidden around the room. Wondering who could have done this there are clues to who might of done it; the jigsaw killer. The question is not just who but why would a serial killer leave two men in a room. Both Adam and Gordon hiding secrets they must trust and work together to get out or die…can they survive jigsaws game or die trying?”

Australians James Wan and Leigh Whannell wanted to team up and make a film on a modest budget after being inspired by The Blair Witch Project, and they came up with an idea that involved two men stuck in a elevator and being filmed on security cameras, and it later morphed into an idea of two men chained in a bathroom with a dead body between them. After the talk the name SAW was written down and became the title of the film they began to work on writing and building. During the development Leigh Whannell was having some medical issues and came up with the idea of the killer of their film known as Jigsaw being ill and having a short time to live and setting people up to feel what he does and to not take life for granted. Funding came next and to start they only had about $30,000.00 for a budget, so they made a short film to showcase the bear trap scene and was lucky enough to find Twisted Pictures who enjoyed the what they saw and invested more money into the film. Next came casting and now with a bigger budget they brought in names like Danny Glover, Cary Elwes, Shawnee Smith and Tobin Bell was hired the play John “Jigsaw” Kramer! The film started filming and once finished the film’s score music was composed by Charlie Clouser.  Lionsgate stepped in to distribute the film worldwide, and the film became a surprise hit! Saw was the # 57 of the year and beat out such other horror and cult films as “The Phantom Of The Opera”, “Resident Evil: Apocalypse”, “Secret Window”, “Exorcist: The Beginning”, “Open Water”, “Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid”, “Darkness”, “Shaun Of The Dead” and “Seed Of Chucky”! The film did great for Lions Gate as the film had a budget of only $1.2 Million and brought in a total of $55,185,045.00 at the box office here in America. While it has been dubbed “Torture Porn” the SAW series of films are really Horror/Thrillers that once you get past the mass amounts of blood and gore has a message.

I first saw SAW on home video when it came out on DVD and watched it with my then girlfriend Jennifer, and I can remember we both were glued to it, as I really enjoyed the twist and turns of the story! The funny thing about it was during this time I remember that my friends all who were into horror films really enjoying this flick and Jigsaw was the new “it” killer in horror films as Pigmasks and robes for a few years was staples at Halloween parties. But some were along the way mainstream media and none horror fans started a campaign that films like SAW were nothing more that torture porn set to turn on sickos…yeah this worked as well as many people turned on the series and the box office dollars became less and less for Lionsgate and with that came the end of the series for awhile in 2010 and not until this year (2017) has another been made. Say what you will about SAW, but it’s a solid film that spawned some good sequels that grossed out and freaked out movie goers for many years and was for the longest time the series that kept Horror in the theaters for Halloween! So if you have not see this film, do yourself a favor and check it out! Oh I also want to say that actor Cary Elwes in the films he is in for this series is laughably bad most the time.

John Kramer is the man who goes by Jigsaw, and we are going to be taking a quick look at this man who is the backbone of this long running film series. Jigsaw is the mastermind killer who never himself kills his victims, as they are responsible for their own deaths as well as those who are connected to them.  You see Jigsaw along with his helpers select a person they think is taking advantage of being alive and sets them up to play a twisted game of life and death by using traps and puzzles that lead to murder, self mutilation and sometimes salvation. John Kramer started his quest to teach his twisted life lessons after he himself was diagnosed with cancer and after treatments failed to work and his insurance company refused to pay for other forums of treatment he set his goal in life to teach those he feels abuse their lives a message in pain and sorrow all the while showing them what it means to have life. John in his torturous/teaching ways is always joined by apprentices as well as a creepy tricycle-riding puppet named Billy all who help set up and captures the players for what he calls a “game”. I will not say who is helpers are as they would be spoilers for those of you who have not watched the series yet or are not caught up. Jigsaw uses traps that result in death or mutilation as his way to get to his victims, also have to say that sometimes his apprentices are more brutal and kill in cold blood or even set up traps that can not be beat! Jigsaw is also very smart and uses words and puzzles in order to also strike fear into the hearts of those who have became his target. This next part does have spoilers, so you have been warned! But the weakness of Jigsaw is the fact he is a normal human who is dying from cancer and became weaker and weaker through out the series up until his death, but while he has been gone for some time his message and traps live on. While not a supernatural unstoppable killer John “Jigsaw” Kramer is still a very scary person who feels he is right in what he is doing, and that’s why I would say Jigsaw is a very dangerous man with dangerous followers who all have a twisted yet strong message of life.

I guess I should take a few moments and talk about the fact SAW was so popular that it sparked lots of merchandise over the years like all good Horror Film franchises before it and after it. Besides the IDW comic we are covering in this update, Jigsaw and his apprentice have graced the likes of t-shirts, posters, magazines, fan art and action figures & dolls. The film series scores have been released on CD and yep I have played music from it on Alpha Rhythms during the Halloween season. Two video games were made based on SAW that were released on PS3 and Xbox 360 and released by Konami. So as you can see, this film series has left its mark on the world of Horror and delivered lots of great items for fans to collect.

So we took a look at the original film as well as Jigsaw, the killer from the film series, and now its time to dive deep into the world of Horror Comics and take a look at the IDW Comic book of SAW! This comic was a one shot release and proves that IDW is a great company who from time to time does some fantastic work in Horror and release comics based on cult and popular films. I want to thank an Amazon seller for having this comic is stock and making this update possible and wait what’s this a tape recorder, let’s see what’s on it! “Matt Let’s Play A Game…You Have Spent Your Life Watching Horror Films And Reading Comic Books. Now It’s Halloween 2017 And You Once More Have Found A Horror Comic To Review….And I Wanted To Remind Your Readers That You Grade These On A Star Scale of 1 to 4 And You Are Looking For How Well The Comic Stays To The Source Material, Its Entertainment Value And Its Art And Story…Good Luck.” So looks like with that we are read to take a look at SAW: Rebirth from IDW Comics on this extra spooky update!

SAW: Rebirth # 1  **1/2
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 1 of 1

John Kramer is a man who is working a dead end job, he is just going through the motions and not putting any effort into advancement in the company. His boss Paul is a guy who has good pay, a family to go home to while John and his girlfriend Jill have just called it over as he would not marry her and start their own family and worse while others around him seem to have it all he is now coming home from work and getting sick every night. John decides to go to the hospital and has some tests done and soon finds that he has cancer and it cannot be cured and his life is sadly coming to an end! While in the hospital he meets Zep an orderly who spends time chatting with him filling him in on the Doctors dirty secrets as well as patients who have came in like Amanda a pretty young woman who overdosed on heroin as well as is boss Paul who tried to kill himself. John leaves the hospital and changes what’s left of his life around and shaves his head and starts to work on his mission and traps to carry it out.

This is a very slow paced and character background driven Horror Comic that does not deliver on any scares nor does it even have any gore or violence with the only blood being shown is on a bandage via an attempted suicide, but while this might sound like a dull comic I ashore you fans of SAW will enjoy it! The plot is simple John Kramer is a man on borrowed time as he has cancer and while waiting for death he comes up with an idea to teach those he feels is wasting their life to be thankful for it. The main character is John Kramer who is a man who just is living his life with no goals and when his life is on a time limit a switch goes off in his brain that makes him turn a little dark and twisted in the mind and he becomes Jigsaw a man who will torture and kill to get across a message or to teach a lesson. The rest of the characters are background players and one cool cameo is from Amanda who overdosed in this issue and who becomes a major player in the series of films that followed this comic. Besides this comic lacking in blood and scares the major flaw of the comic is off from the sequels as this comic act as if John is not married when we in the series find out he indeed is and was happily married. But I think that this part is wrong as this was released after the original film and before the second film even hit theaters. The cover is pretty eye catching as it’s just the poster with some minor changes to it, the interior art is good and while not my favorite style of art for a horror comic, artist Renato Guedes does a good job and John Kramer looks like actor Tobin Bell. Over all this is a good Horror Comic that plays more on the downbeat life of our villain and is a great read for fans of the SAW movie series, but I think normal Horror Comic readers will not be that impressed or entertained by this comic so I think they should skip it! Check out the cool artwork below to see what the art looks like in this comic, and oh yeah IDW should have made a few more issues in this series and should do more comics based on Horror Films soon!

So I hope you had a great Halloween and hope you enjoyed our look at SAW in the world of comics as well as all the other spooky stuff I chatted about. And want to thank you all again for spending a little of your Trick Or Treating time with me.  For our next update, we are starting our countdown to Thanksgiving, and we will be taking a look at a Superhero named Drastik who sadly has long been forgotten by the comic book reading masses! So enjoy what’s left of Halloween 2017 and make sure to visit your local theater and see Jigsaw the 8th film in the SAW series and until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Remember to be back here next update so we can all learn about Drastik!

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Waxwork

Welcome back to our 6th countdown to Halloween 2017 and another in our “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” series.  This time around we are going to take a look at the underrated and one of my favorite late 80’s horror films Waxwork and the Blackthrone Comic based on it! This Horror film mixes scares and laughs and is packed to the brim with monsters from Dracula all the way to an ax murderer looking lumberjack! This film has so much going for it, and I truly think that it’s an underrated Horror film from the 80’s that has enough blood, guts and gore to make Gorehounds happy and enough humor to make people with dark sense of humors chuckle. So if you’re ready to take a tour of this WaxWorks on a day they are celebrating the theme of From Horror Movie To Horror Comics, then I am 100% ready to as this is an update I have been waiting to do for a very long time.

Before we go on we must first look at the main villain of the film and that’s David Lincoln and his sidekicks Hans and Junior. David Lincoln is an evil man who has not aged in decades due to black magic amulets that hold the spirits of some of the world’s most fearsome and murderous creatures and killers. His hideout is a wax museum in the middle of a neighborhood that he hides the amulets in with the displays of the killers.  His goal is to have innocent people stumble into the displays where they will be killed and their souls taken.  Once he meets his goal of 18 souls, the monsters and killers will once more be freed into our times! David seems to have supernatural powers as he is ageless, can appear and disappear and seems to have control over his butlers Hans and Junior as well as the killers whom he is trying to bring back. David also seems to want the world to be in chaos and wants it to end with humans being killed by monsters. He also can use guns really well and has the gift of talk as he is able to come off as a nice guy even though he has sinister intentions. He is pretty strong and has killed people with his bare hands, and his is very smart making him a very dangerous man. His weakness is the fact that while he does not age, he still can be killed like a normal man.  Hans is one of his butlers who is a little person and has the attitude of a bully while Junior is a very tall man who has the mind of a child.  Both are very loyal to David and his cause of world destruction. While he might not be as unstoppable as some Horror Movie bad guys, David Lincoln is just as dangerous as he has lots of evil talents and friends in very low places.

But while David Lincoln is our main villain, I feel like we should also briefly talk about the fact most of the killing and soul taking is being done by the monsters in the wax museum as they rule their own display and dispatch those silly enough to enter them. Among the madmen that are waiting to rule our world are The Phantom Of The Opera, Frankenstein’s Monster, Alien, Man Eating Planet, Evil Demon Baby, Invisible Man and Jack The Ripper to name a few. Our main killing machines after our cast of characters are the blood sucking Count Dracula and his vampire family, a crazed werewolf, a shuffling head crushing Mummy, flesh eating zombies and the master of erotic murder and torture Marquis de Sade all who take pleasure in killing their targets. Each of these killers and madmen have their own powers and methods of killing making them all very evil and very dangerous! So to sum it up, David’s team is filled with some of the top madmen in cinema.

So now that we are up to date on the villains of WaxWork, we should now dive into the film itself as well as its sequel and see what makes this series tick. As always our good friends at IMDB will supply us with the films write up and I will follow them up with some production notes, film facts as well as chat about my first time seeing them. So let’s take a stroll through this crazy WaxWork and see if we can give ourselves a scare or two…or at least learn a little something about this underrated film series.

Waxwork (1988)

“A waxwork museum comes to town, and a mysterious man invites some teens to come to a special showing at midnight. Once inside, while viewing different exhibits, the scenes come alive and the viewer is sucked into the story being portrayed.”

WaxWorks was limited released in theaters on June 18, 1988 by Vestron Pictures and was been said to be the first self-referential horror film way before Scream and its many clones. The film when released was not a huge Box Office hit in the USA only bringing in $808,114.00 on a $1.5 Million dollar budget and coming in at # 183 for the year. But while it was a limited release, it did however beat out some other cult classics like Maniac Cop, Prison, My Best Friend Is A Vampire and Ghost Town to name a few. Not to mention 1988 was a great year for Horror Movie fans as such films as A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Child’s Play, The Serpent And The Rainbow, Friday The 13th Part 7: The New Blood, Halloween 4: Return Of Michael Myers, Poltergeist III, They Live, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Return On The Living Dead Part 2, Bad Dreams, The Blob and Phantasm II to name a very few all hit theaters! WaxWorks was met with mixed reviews with critics and fans being split on how much they enjoyed the film or didn’t. The film however did find success on the home video market as the sales for the VHS were solid and helped it get a sequel some years later. The film would also go on to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray and has gained a solid and loyal cult fan base. The film was directed by Anthony Hickox and stars Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, Michelle Johnson and Dana Ashbrook as the college kids with John Rhys-Davies, J. Kenneth Campbell and Miles O’Keeffe as the monsters! And David Warner plays the sinister David Lincoln and does a fantastic job at bringing this character to life.

I first saw this film back in my teen years when my brother Bryan and I rented it from K&L Video as it was one that we had heard of thanks to Fangoria Magazine and other horror related books. I can remember it was a day we rented a number of flicks and loaded up on junk food and soda and that night was a mini horror movie marathon.  I would say that WaxWorks was my favorite of the night as I don’t remember the other films we watched that day. After watching it, I ended up buying it on VHS and watched it from time to time as the film was one that was filled with classic monsters and gore and this made it up my ally. As VHS went away, I have gotten it on DVD and still find myself watching it at least once a year, sometimes even more. I also always recommend this film to Horror Movie fans whom have not seen it as it’s entertaining and always is a hit with them when they watch it.

Waxwork II: Lost In Time (1992)

“Mark and Sarah survive to the fire in the wax museum, but Sarah is followed by a severed hand that kills her father. Sarah becomes the prime suspect and goes to trial. Mark and Sarah search evidence to prove her innocence and they go to Sir Wilfred’s house. They find a footage prepared by Sir Wilfred with a puzzle based of the Alice and the Looking Glass. They solve the puzzle and find a compass that opens portals through time. They travel to the most different places in time seeking something to help Sarah in her trial in a dangerous journey.”

This sequel was direct to video and followed up right after the events of the first film. It was released by Electric Pictures on June 16, 1992 and was directed by Anthony Hickox again and starred Zach Galligan, Monika Schnarre and Patrick Macnee as this time around in cameos you have Martin Kemp, Drew Barrymore, Bruce Campbell, Buck Flower and David Carradine! Plus I should note that Godzilla is also in the film in a weird American kind of way. The film never captured the viewers like the first film, and while it’s entertaining, it is lacking a little in the gore and is missing a main villain as David Lincoln does not return. This one focuses way too much on a character called The Master. This was another film I saw via VHS from a rental at K&L Video, and while I enjoy it and it’s an okay sequel, it is lacking the charm on the first film for me. On a side note I want to also say that a clip of this film is used in the film Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth, another film directed by Hickox. This film in 1992 was joined by the following films for Horror Fans to enjoy Candyman, Dead Alive, Dr. Giggles, Army Of Darkness, Dust Devil, Demonic Toys, Stepfather III, Critters 4 and Night Of The Executioner to name a few. So if you enjoyed the first film, this one is worth a watch.

In 1988 when WaxWork was in theaters independent comic company Blackthorne Publishing was trying to lock its place in comic stories, and they did so by offering something different from the other guys and that included 3-D Comics and comics based on Horror, and with this came them doing a comic based on WaxWork! I originally got this comic way back when from Mavericks Cards And Comics and re-bought it years later from Bell Book And Comic so I want to thank them for having it in stock and for reuniting me with many of my comics from the past. So as we enter this WaxWork, I see some rules on the wall about not being late and only one person walking in each display but I also see one that wants me to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story! So with that Hans has allowed us to go in and let’s see what horrors await us, shall we?

WaxWork # 1  **1/2
Released in 1988     Cover Price $2.00     Blackthrone     # 1 of 1

A homeless man is looking through the garbage outside of a Wax Muesum when he sneaks inside and is killed by Jason Voorhees! This traps his soul and allows owner David Lincoln to only need six more people in order to free the world’s worst killers and madmen! The next day Mark along with his friends are walking to school when they are greeted by David Lincoln who invites them all to visit the museum tonight for a private event, and they agree. Later that evening Mark and friends along with Professor Wilfred all attend, and soon many of them fall victim to the monsters in the displays as Dracula, Jack The Ripper, Zombies, The Mummy, a Werewolf and Marquis de Sade all claim victims and open the rift to allow them all to live again! Mark, Sarah and Professor Wilfred figure out what’s going on and set the place on fire all the while trying to defend themselves from the killers! Mark takes down Jason, while Sarah chops off Dracula’s head and before they can escape David Lincoln shoots Professor Wilfred as he stabs David and the WaxWorks falls down around them. In the end Sarah and Mark are greeted by the paramedics and are taken away as a lone Zombie Hand survives the fire.

When I was younger I really enjoyed this comic as it changed the plot and characters and made it a very loose adaptation of the film giving me as a reader and a fan something a little new.  Some of the changes that worked was adding a 80’s slasher killer like Jason Voorhees, but what didn’t work was how fast the story goes and that they take away any and all of the impact of the monsters as well as really downplay David Lincoln.  Also while Junior is around, he is very different and Hans is left out all together leaving grown up me thinking the comic was just okay. The plot is this: a group of college kids and their professor go to a wax museum, and some of the friends die inside the exhibits. After a brief time, they figure out that they have to burn the place down in order to stop the monsters from entering society. That’s the major issue with this comic adaptation, it all happens really quick and fast and besides the exhibit attacks all the horror and scares are gone as is the personalities of the characters, as Mark, China, Sarah and the others just come off as generic friends and villains who lack any real depth and charisma that made them cool characters in the films. Plus characters change roles as Sir Wilfred, who is the great grandfather of Mark in the films, is his professor in the comic, and he no longer leads an army of old timers that are trained to kill the monsters, but instead just figures out that they need to set the Wax Museum ablaze to stop the evil. David Lincoln is a minor role in this comic and barely gets to show off the characters evil side. The comic also cuts back on the gore and blood.  While it’s a little of a letdown, it still has some of the red stuff so it tried to at least please splatter fans. While it sounds like I am down on this comic with pointing out all its flaws and shortcomings, I do want to stress that I still enjoyed this comic after all these years.  I think lots of it has to do with that I am a sucker for Horror Comics based on cult films I love. The cover is pretty cool and is taken from the movie poster and has Hans opening the door to the WaxWorks with evil spirits all around. The interior art is done by Nigel Tully and is solid work.  While most of the characters look nothing like the actors who played them, it still holds a charm of its own. So I think if you enjoy the film and want to read almost a reimagining of the story then check this one out, but for those looking for the humor and gore of the film in these comic pages, I would say you might be disappointed. But while it’s not perfect I will say it’s a fun read and a comic that I enjoy having in my collection. Check out the artwork below to see what the art style is in this comic.

WaxWorks might not be a household name like many of the other 80’s Horror films, but it is one that I do truly think has been overlooked and deserves a cult statues. And it’s a film that mixes classic monsters and splatter effects wrapped around a horror comedy shell and is one of the better Horror Comedy films ever made. But with that we are going to leave the WaxWorks and head to out main attraction for this Countdown to Halloween as we will be playing a game and meeting the killer Jigsaw when we explore the world of SAW! So until then read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you on Halloween, boils and ghouls!

The Universal Dracula: Blood Drive Countdown To Halloween

I Bid You Welcome! The moon is full, and we are at our third update in our countdown to Halloween.  A thick mist is covering the ground as we all wait for the carriage of Count Dracula to take us to his castle. This is an update that I have been looking forward to since I started Rotten Ink over three years ago.  As all you long time readers know, I grew up a Monster Kid and loved everything Universal Monsters. Not only did I have such things as a Christmas themed Frankenstein Monster t-shirt and VHS tapes of many of my favorite monsters, I also spent much of my time drawing pictures of Dracula and all of his Universal pals in art class and at home. This update I get to cover one of the true icons of Universal Monsters, the one who brought the studio back from approaching closed doors after having too many films that did not perform at the box office, a character that also brought Universal into the monster movie business again and proved that horror was a hit with moviegoers. I am of course talking about the 1931 masterpiece Dracula.  For this update we will be taking a look at not just the film and it’s Spanish counterpart, but also Universal Dracula in merchandise, culture, my connection to the film and the main attraction will be the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of this classic flick.  So let’s wait here at Borgo Pass for our ride to Castle Dracula and chat about Universal Dracula in film, comics, toys and more. And to be safe, if you believe the rumors about Count Dracula, you might want to wear those cloves of garlic around your neck!

Dracula 1931 Poster 0

Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was a hit when it was released in 1897, and in 1922 filmmaker F.W. Murnau made his silent masterpiece “Nosferatu” based around the book.  He did not, however, get permission to do so and he was sued and all prints of his film ordered to be destroyed. Lucky for us some prints of the film did survive but that’s for another update based on the comic adaptation of the film and the series that followed. During that time a young film producer named Carl Laemmle Jr. bought the film rights and wanted to make a silent monster movie that would follow in the footsteps of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom Of The Opera (1925) and wanted to use the script from the stage play, that was a huge hit on Broadway, and even Nosferatu for inspiration to bring his version to the silver screen that would not be a silent film but now a talkie. While casting Laemmie passed on stage actor Bela Lugosi who was the talk of the town for his performance of Dracula on the stage and talked to actors like John Wray, Ian Keith and Paul Muni, while the films Director Tod Browning wanted to cast Lon Chaney Sr., but sadly Chaney passed away from cancer before the film’s production started. Lugosi lobbied hard and tried all he could to get the role he felt he was born to play not only on stage but also on the big screen and finally won over Universal and the executives when he took the small pay of $500.00 a week for seven weeks of work. The production of the film was slightly disorganized as director Tod Browning was not fully behind the film and at times would even leave the set and have his cinematographer Karl Freund take over shooting and directing scenes.  You see, at the time of this film Universal had gotten away from making horror films as they thought it was beneath them as a company, but after some shake up from inside the company, horror films were back on the slate but not taken too seriously as the company had major financial issues.  In my opinion, that is why Browning didn’t take this film as seriously as he should have because he looked at it as a low budget throw away film. The film had its premiere at the Roxy Theatre in New York on February 12, 1931, and as part of its marketing Universal reported that people fainted while watching the film.  This helped the big buzz for Dracula when it opened wide two days later. Dracula was a gamble for the studio but proved to be a risk worth taking as it was a major hit and bringing in the highest profit for them in 1931 as it did better than any of their other films released that year. The film received mixed reviews with most being positive and some negatives with complaints that it wasn’t too scary and comparing it to the stage version.  But most all agreed that Bela Lugosi was fantastic as Count Dracula. I don’t want to get into the film’s plot as I feel that the Dark Horse Comic adaptation we will be reviewing will take care of that.  Instead I would like to talk briefly about the first time I saw Dracula.  The Christmas after the one that we first got our VCR, my brother Bryan bought me Dracula as a gift.  I was pretty excited to see it, as the year before, my parents got me Frankenstein and my love for Universal Monsters was at an all time high! Like before, after the Brassfield side of the family came and went from our house in Waynesville, we sat down as a family and watched it, and I was hooked and loved every second of it. Bela Lugosi, who I had drawn pictures of for years as Dracula, crept his way into my brain and became the true Count Dracula in my eyes. Dwight Frye, who played Renfield, a sad one-time sane man who becomes Dracula’s bug eating slave, is fantastic.  Edward Van Sloan plays a cool and wise Van Helsing, while Helen Chandler was stunning and well cast as Mina Seward, the woman who captures Dracula’s eye. So before we move on, I want to give a big thanks to my brother Bryan for getting me that VHS tape all those years back and allowing me to see the film that inspired monster kids for generations.

Dracula 1931 Still 1Dracula 1931 VHSDracula 1931 Still 2

In 1931, at the same time as the Browning production of Dracula, Universal was filming a Spanish language version, rolling at night after the American production wrapped for the evening, that was directed by George Melford and starred Carlos Villarias as Count Dracula.  The cast and crew had the lucky advantage of watching the dailies from the American production before they would film and would try to one up them with better lighting, angles and acting as they wanted to be the better of the two productions. While the two films are very similar and both filmed using the same script, the Spanish Dracula changed things up and tried to make scenes more creepy for the time and was able to push the “sex appeal” up a notch by allowing their actress, Lupita Tovar, to wear more risque clothing as she played Eva who took the place of Mina in this version. This version of this film was also a hit with moviegoers of the 30’s and chilled the bones of those who watched it. But over time, the film became lost and a print of the movie would not be found until the 1970’s when it was restored so that a new generation of horror fans could enjoy it. Many critics and fans think that the Spanish version is better than the American version, and while it’s fantastic, I still find the Lugosi version of Dracula to be the better of the two.

Spanish Dracula 1931 Still 1Spanish Dracula 1931 VHSSpanish Dracula 1931 Still 2

After the runaway success of both Dracula and Frankenstein, Universal decided to make sequels to those films and poof! franchises were made. Dracula’s Daughter was the first sequel and came out in 1936.  It follows Countess Marya Zaleska, who is Count Dracula’s Daughter, who wants to be cured of her vampire ways..or does she? The next sequel, in 1943, had Lon Chaney Jr. as Count Alucard and was called Son Of Dracula. Count Dracula would go on to make appearances in both House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula for Universal that would combine all their classic monsters into the films.  In these two films, the part of Dracula was played by John Carradine. Bela Lugosi would play the role of Count Dracula again for Universal in 1948 in the horror comedy film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.  This sadly would make the second and last time Lugosi would play the role in the movies. In 1979, Universal made a “remake” of Dracula that starred Frank Langella as Dracula and was a nice update to the film series. I would love to get more into films like Dracula’s Daughter and Son Of Dracula, but at some point in time I want to have some one of a kind comics made based on those films so I will hold off talking too much about them.  I really enjoyed each of the films I mentioned above and have spent countless hours watching them over the years and have owned them on VHS and DVD.

Draculas Daughter VHSSon Of Dracula VHSDracula Remake VHS

Bela Lugosi, who’s real name was Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko, was born on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, a small town in the Kingdom of Hungary (now Lugo, Romania) and was the youngest of four children. By the age of 12, he dropped out of school and got into acting and by 1903 had roles in many local plays, not only having small roles but also major ones which him to getting great roles in Shakespeare plays. In 1911, he moved to Budapest and had a long a great run in many theater performances.  Lugosi would claim he was the leading actor of Hungary’s Royal National Theatre, but many factors go against his claim. From 1914 to 1919, Lugosi was an infantryman in the Austro-Hungarian Army and during World War I he was ranked Captain of the ski patrol and was wounded during combat and awarded medals for his service for his country. During this time, Bela also was taking on many roles in Hungarian films like The Colonel and The Caravan Of Death. During the 1919 revolution of Hungary, he was forced to flee his homeland when the actors union went crazy causing many actors to find work elsewhere.  This lead Bela to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1920 and also lead to him using the last name Lugosi in honor of his birthplace Lugos. Bela Lugosi moved to New York and by 1931 became naturalized as an American citizen. While in New York, he and other immigrant actors formed a stock company and entertained fellow immigrants with small production plays, with his first English Broadway play being the 1922 production of The Red Poppy and soon after The Devil In The Cheese, a comedy fantasy play as well as many other theater productions. His first American movie role came in 1923 for the film The Silent Command and this lead to many more roles in silent films cast mostly as the villain. His big break in Hollywood came after he wowed audiences with his portrayal of Count Dracula in the play Dracula that lead to him getting the role in the 1931 Universal Monster classic Dracula! This sparked him to be asked to play Frankenstein’s Monster in the Universal film Frankenstein but Bela turned it down as he felt that the part was not acting and just grunts and thus beneath his talents…or so rumor goes. Many more amazing horror film roles followed as Bela starred in White Zombie, Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Raven, Son Of Frankenstein, The Black Cat, Ghost Of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man and Black Friday to name a few. His role as Ygor in Son of Frankenstein is looked at as one of his finest roles by many horror fans. But Bela would not stay on top of the horror world forever as his addiction to opiates and his box office appeal was slipping.  This lead to him taking roles in many B-movies like such titles as Mother Riley Meets The Vampire, The Ape Man, Return Of The Vampire, Voodoo Man, Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla and The Black Sleep. During his decline, he started taking roles in a young filmmaker named Ed Wood Jr’s film like Glen or Glenda and Bride Of The Monster.  His final film appearance was in Plan 9 From Outer Space as old stock footage Wood shot was added into the film. Bela was able to get off the drugs before his death in 1956 at the age of 73 from a heart attack, and he was buried wearing one of his Dracula capes. Bela Lugosi remains one of my favorite horror actors of all time and his work lives on to frighten and entertain a new generation of Monster Kids.

Bela Lugosi 0Bela Lugosi as Dracula

Carlos Villarias was born on July 7, 1892 in Cordoba, Spain and was acting in his first movie in 1917 with the Spanish film “El Pobre Valbuena” and would star in many more Spanish productions throughout the 1930’s.  In 1931, he landed the role he was best known for, the Spanish version of Dracula for Universal. He continued to make movies for many years that followed and had roles in films like “The Mystery Of The Ghastly Face”, “Nostradamus”, “Tropic Holiday” and “The House Of The Fox” to name a few. His final film was in 1953 in a film called “Decameron Nights”. Carlos passed away in 1976 at the age of 83. While he might not be as well known as Bela Lugosi to horror fans, his acting and portrayal of Count Dracula for the Spanish market is amazing, and I am sure he chilled the bones of all those who watched him in the role back in 1931. I just wanted to touch on Carlos Villarias’s life as he is just as important to the Universal Dracula history as Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning and everyone else on the crew that made this movie come alive.

24482625_120291616966villarias

Don Post is considered the godfather of Halloween by many and made some of the worlds first latex masks.  He also attached himself to makings masks based on some of Hollywood’s top ghouls and monsters from The Wolf Man to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and of course he made several based on Dracula; the most important ones were based on the likeness of Bela Lugosi’s portrayal for Universal. Growing up, I can remember old ads in and on the back cover for Famous Monsters Magazine that acted as an order form to buy this classic mask. I always wondered why Dracula’s skin is green and also marveled about just how awesome the ad made the mask seem, and ideas of wanting the mask to run around my neighborhood would spring into my brain. Years later I would get to see the mask in person at the Magic Hat, a store on Brown Street, and while a great looking mask, it did not live up to the epicness of the ad. Check out the ad picture below and try not to be tranced by its latex greatness!

Don Post Dracula Halloween Mask

In 1963, Hasbro unleashed a board game to masses called “Dracula Mystery Game.”  It would allow 2-4 players to kill time and chill their bones with the horror of Dracula. The plot of the game has you and the other players rolling dice trying to avoid Dracula who wants you dead! I own this game, but sadly when I bought it from my friend David J. Getz it was missing the Dracula pawn piece, making it so that we in the Dayton Board Game Society never played it during a meeting. The game is pretty pricey and on Ebay, depending on condition, can go form any were from $20.00 – $300.00! So if you like cheesy board games, try and track this one down and give it a play for a spooky good time.

Dracula Mystery Game BoardDracula Mystery Board GameDracula Mystery Game pawn

Back in the 1960’s, kids loved to put together and paint models.  For Monster Kids, the ones everyone wanted were the 1962 Aurora Monsters, and one of the most popular ones in that line had to be Count Dracula.  The Dracula model had a Bela Lugosi looking Dracula standing in a stone and grass field next to a dead tree that houses bats. When I was a very young kid and living in Waynesville, I had one of the Dracula model kits but only the Dracula piece that was unpainted as my Mom got it for me from a garage sale. I can remember setting it up on a shelf next to Wizard of Oz dolls I had and always wishing it was an action figure and not a model. Nowadays I have seen the original model kit at many antique malls for around $30.00 – $50.00, depending on how complete it is as well as how poorly it was painted and on Ebay I have seen them go for around $10.00 to $250.00, once more depending on condition and paint job. I wish I sill had my old Aurora Dracula Model Kit, but sadly he is gone in time.

Aurora Dracula boxAurora Dracula model

In 1964, Palmer Plastics released 3” PVC mini figures based on monsters from horror movies as well as science fiction ones. And of course one of the figures released was based on the Universal Dracula. The figure was crudely designed and would come in many colors and would be sold in a three pack or even singly, all for a super cheap price. I sadly never had a Palmer Dracula, but they can be found time to time on Ebay and go for around $20.00 to $60.00 on average.

Palmer Dracula Figure

Remco was a classic toy company who, in 1980, made a deal with Universal to make action figures of their monsters, and of course Dracula was in the line. They made two styles; the first was 9” doll that had cloth clothes with movable limbs.  The Dracula one was very cool but looked nothing like Bela Lugosi. I can remember seeing this figure at flea markets and antique stores, but even loose it always carried a high price tag that my mom would not spend in order to get it for us. To this day, I do not own one but do however own Frankenstein’s Monster thanks to my friend David J. Getz. In 1981, they then released the 3 3/4” action figure versions of the Universal Monsters, and Dracula of course graced this line with his blood drinking presence. These figures were the size of Star Wars and were ones in our youth we so badly wanted but never could find them at garage sales nor flea markets. The Dracula figure’s face glowed in the dark, and he came complete with a vinyl cape.  The downside of these figures was the fact the paint chipped off very easily, and poor Dracula’s nose always had a bare spot as did his fingers. While I never did own one of these figures in my youth, a few years back for my birthday my friend Jason Young gave me almost the full run of the figures as well as the Lab playset! And yep, the Dracula had paint missing on his nose and fingers. The 9” Remco Dracula on Ebay in good shape goes for $35.00 to about $65.00, and the 3 3/4” version goes for about $8.00 – $36.00 dollars loose and in good shape. Both of these figures in package sell for over $100.00 and for collectors like myself are well worth the high price tag.

Remco Dracula DollRemco Dracula figure

Imperial Toys didn’t want to feel left out of the Universal Dracula toy releases, so in 1986, for their Universal Monster toy series, they made a Dracula that was made of hard plastic with moveable arms and head.  For some reason his face and hands are a very bright white, and he has bright red lips and cheesy rings on his fingers. The figure was sold two ways; one was loose with a tag attached to his neck and the second was in a package that showcased his castle in the background that was covered in spider webs and dust. I can remember seeing the Imperial Dracula figure at Kay-Bee Toys and wanting it to go alongside my Imperial Frankenstein’s Monster and Wolf Man that my Mom and Dad got for for Christmas that year. Sadly in my youth I never did get Dracula nor The Mummy but with in the last 3 years I was able to get them both.  Thanks to Ebay, I was able to snag Dracula with The Mummy coming from Monsterbash Convention. If you’re looking for Dracula on Ebay, this Imperial figure in good shape goes for around $4.00 all the way up to $25.00, and I must say the likeness of Bela Lugosi on this one is pretty far off, but what did you expect from a cheap toy company that made low cost figures.

Imperial Dracula

But these were not the only figures based on Dracula that have been made over the years, they were just the most popular ones. Some other amazing ones include Ben Cooper’s Dracula Jiggler and the other knock off companies that made versions. Just Toys made a very cool Dracula Bend-Em for their Universal Monster collection, and this is one figure I did own and once more got it for Christmas one year alongside The Wolf Man. Imperial also made Universal Monster Pogs that featured Dracula, not only on the milk caps but also on his very own Slammer, and yep I had this in my youth. Those are just a drop in the hat of all the cool toys made based around the Universal Dracula character. So needless to say, if you’re a toy collector and you also love Universal’s version of Dracula, you can find many great collectibles for your collection!

Dracula JigglerDracula Bendie ToyDracula Pog SlammerBig Head Dracula Figure

When I was a kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of the most popular cartoon as well as toyline, and in 1993 when Playmates, the makers of the toys, decided to combine the Turtles with Universal Monsters, an amazing thing happened for Monster Kids like myself. Ninja Turtle Donatello was the one combined with Count Dracula, and the figure came with not only a cape but also weapons like a wooden stake.  Growing up I never had the Don as Dracula figure, but I did have a few of the others and over the years have seen this figure at many places for sale like Mavericks Cards And Comics, Game Swap Kettering and Feathers. On Ebay, the figure in package sells for about $25.00 – $40.00 dollars and loose and incomplete for about $2.00 – $4.00. So if you want this figure for your TMNT collection, it’s not too expensive.

TMNT DON AS DRACULA

World Candies produced a sugar candy stick in a small box that featured a monster of Universal Studios fame, and as far as I can tell, these began in the 1970’s and were simply called Monster Candy. I remember them in the late 80’s and early 90’s because around Halloween time at Odd Lots or Big Lots, they would sell these candies by the bag full for like $1.00 or two and I would get them to give out and pig out on. The candy back then was a flat stick, and two would be in a box and on the candy would be monster faces.  Now they are more like candy sticks aka candy cigarettes. These candies were a big part of my childhood, and while they were kind of gross, I still love the idea of them to this day. Check out the super cool box for Dracula.

Monster Candy Dracula Box

In Waynesville, I lived very close to the Library and would walk there with my brother Bryan, mother, father, and we would rent VHS movies, books and comics. One of the book series I would check out the most and even make copies of the pictures on a copy machine was the Crestwood House Monster Books. I used to love sitting and reading about each monster and all the classic films that featured them.  The books would also fill you in on old legends about that monster and even talk a little about the source material they were based on whether it be a urban legend or a novel. They put out a second series that were more like kid novels based on the movies like Dracula’s Daughter. The Library used to also have a huge sale where they would sell you a bag of books for so many dollars, and I was lucky enough to snatch up many of these titles when they decided they didn’t need them anymore and still have them to this day. I find myself from time to time still dusting them off and enjoying these fun books of my youth. Some of them were based around Dracula and many of those books are a fun read for fans and the young at heart. On Ebay, you can get a used copy of the Crestwood Monster Dracula book for $10.00 – $20.00 depending on condition and if it’s a hard or soft cover.

Crestwood Dracula BookCrestwood Daughter Of Dracula

Puzzles have been a staple for kids of all ages, and to this day, puzzles are put together by kids and adults alike.  It comes as no surprise that Universal licensed out Dracula’s image to companies to make ones based around this icon of fright. The puzzles have some great artwork and are clearly geared towards younger kids with them being mere 100-200 pieces. Not much to say about these, but I figured they should at least get some respect here on Rotten Ink.

Universal Dracula PuzzleDracula Puzzle

Back in the 90’s, Doritos Chips gave away Universal Monster stickers in the bags you would find at your local grocery store, and I found myself begging my mom to buy this snack food so that I would be able to collect the whole set of these stickers. So every time we would go to Ellis, a small store in Downtown Waynesville I would get a bag of this chips.  Now I should tell you, I HATE Doritos – always have and always will – and this shows you my love for Universal Monsters as I suffered through eating those nasty chips. I can remember how happy I was when I got the Dracula sticker for the first time, and I proudly put it away for safe keeping.  When I got an extra, I put it inside the VHS tape giving my tape a little something extra. No matter how hard I tried and how many bags of powdered death, I ate I never did get a full set of these stickers making all my efforts even that more sad. I still have the stickers to this day, and they are stored away at Independent B Movie studio waiting for the day that I will proudly display them in my home. But check out below and see how cool the Dracula one is.

Doritos Dracula Sticker

I grew up in the age of breakfast cereal, and some of the best out there were the General Mills Monster Cereals with Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry and the wonders of how the world works when they put the cereal mascots alongside Universal Monsters! Let’s first breakdown Count Chocula as a character and his cereal. Count Chocula is vampire who is brown and wears brown clothes.  He is a friendly vampire to kids but hates Frankenberry and Boo Berry and thinks his cereal is the best. His feelings can be hurt when people run away from him, and he is scaredy cat. It’s clear as day that he is inspired by Lugosi’s version of Dracula because the mascot sounds like a poor man’s Bela. The cereal has a chocolate flavor to it and is my favorite out the the monster cereals.  It is one that I could eat every morning! But sometime in the late 80’s early 90’s, they put Lugosi as Dracula on the box with Count Chocula making a cool box for us kids to look at in the morning. Many items have been made in the image of Count Chocula including stuffed dolls, pencil tops, toys and shirts.

count choculacount chocula dracula boxCount Chocula Figure

Dracula has also made it to handheld video games like the ones made by Micro Games of America in 1994 and even ones made by Tiger have graced the hands of gamers. He has also been in pinball games at your local arcade and has been in a few PC games, and even had a full fledge game called simply Dracula for the Game Boy Color that was an official Universal Monsters product.  Not to mention, the mountains of other games that the character Dracula has appeared in making him one of the top classic monster bad guys used the most in video games.

Dracula Handheld gameUniversal Dracula Game Boy Color Game BoxGame Wizard Dracula Game

In 1997, fast food joint Burger King decided to have Universal Monster toys in their kids meal, and Count Dracula was one of the cheesiest and least wanted figure as for some reason his skin was flesh colored and it looked nothing like the classic Lugosi played vampire. Standing about 4 inches tall, the figure had a removable cape, a coffin and a glow in the dark sticker. The figure was perfect size to fit in with those kids of that day who played with G.I. Joe and Star Wars toys, and the best part was, they got it free for eating a cheeseburger and fries.  A pat on the back to Burger King for also bringing Dracula to a new generation of kids with these kids meal prizes even if the figure was lame in appearance.

BK Kids Club LogoBK Dracula Figure

Not to be outdone, another fast food hamburger joint also gave away figures based on the Universal Monsters, and unlike Burger King, they also included The Bride and did it twice! The first batch came in 1999 and had Dracula who looked just like the Burger King version in skin tone but had a weird grabbing feature as his action. Then in 2002, they put out a quick change magic trick Dracula that would have him turn from human into a bat via his coffin.  These figures are really cheap looking and kind of cheesy, but still worth owning for those who love all things Dracula. I don’t know much about these because there is no Jack in The Box in my area.

Jack In The Box Logo 0Jack In The Box Dracula Figure

The Universal Dracula Series has also been a big part of horror hosting as the films were a part of The Shock Theater and Son of Shock movie packages that allowed local TV stations to air the films with a host. Many of the old shows are lost like hosts such as Vampira, Sammy Terry, Dr. Creep and Melvin hosting these classic films but a few have survived, and some hosts have hosted them as late as early this year, 2016. But here are a few of the hosts I have that brought you some films from the Universal Dracula including Morgus The Magnificent and Baron Von Wolfstein.

Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 1Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 2

But this is called Rotten Ink and is a blog mostly about comic books, so we should talk about comics that are based around Dracula that are licensed by Universal. Off the top of my head, I can only think of two; one being released by Dell in 1963 as part of their Movie Classics line called “Dracula”, with it later being paired with The Mummy by Dell. The other is the Dark Horse comic “Universal Monsters Dracula” that was released in 1993 and is the subject of this epic update. The Dell comic is a new story about Dracula, while Dark Horses is just based on the script and is a movie adaptation. Both of these are comics we will get to at some point here on Rotten Ink as well as Marvel’s Tomb Of Dracula series.  I am looking forward to bringing you those.

Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell 10Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell with Mummy 20

One of my favorite internet shows has to be The Angry Video Game Nerd.  What is not to like about a funny character playing old video games from my youth and making fun of the flaws that have tortured many kids that played them. The Nerd is played and created by James Rolfe who also grew up as a Monster Kid watching the classic Universal Films, Horror Hosts like Joe Bob Briggs, making his own films and loving all things spooky. Every Halloween, he has a Nerd Special where he reviews a horror themed game, and in 2008, The Nerd covered Dracula themed games and he was in fact a vampire in the episode himself wearing a cape and all. But of course, the games he plays are terrible, including the NES unreleased game Drac’s Night Out, and uses the suns rays to commit suicide so he didn’t have to play any more terrible Dracula games. Every HalloweenJames Rolfe also has a show called Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness where he talks about Horror films, and one year for this show he did sequels and covered the whole Universal Dracula series. Fun shows and worth checking out at http://cinemassacre.com.

AVGN as DraculaAVGN Art Dracula EpisodeAVGN as Dracula 2

On Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 12:50pm at the Cinemark theater at The Greene Juliet, her mom and myself went to see the 1931 Universal Dracula on the big screen just in time for Halloween! We were all pretty hyped as the event was supposed to have a cool new intro from a film historian and was to be followed up by the Spanish version of Dracula.  With some candy and drinks in hand, we were ready for some classic horror film frights. There was a decent amount of people in the theater including mothers with their children who were talking about how scary the movie was when they where little.  This put a huge smile on my face as this classic Universal film was being passed down to a younger generation of Monster Kids.  Joining us were senior citizens who came to relive watching Lugosi in all his caped glory. But what was going to be an epic afternoon of Universal Horror once more turned into the ultimate blunder of Cinemark as they cut the new intro by the film historian, started the Lugosi Dracula film after the opening credits and to boot never showed the Spanish version! I was pretty annoyed by this as Cinemark at the Greene is my go-to theater, and they fouled up showing a classic monster movie event.  But with all blunders aside, it was great to see Dracula on the big screen along with Juliet and her Mom, who also loves a good classic Horror fright flick! So while fun, I still want to say shame on you Cinemark, for charging full price for an event you didn’t show fully.

Dracula On The Sign at CinemarkDracula Ticket CinemarkThe Theater Gearing Up To See Dracula 1931 at Cinemark

So we have arrivied at Castle Dracula, and I can see our host making his way down the long stone stairs so while we wait for him to bid us, welcome I should thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this Dark Horse adaptation in stock. I also hear the children of the night telling me to remind you all that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. Plus I want to say that I am really happy to present this update to all you readers and friends this close to the Halloween season, and hope I did this classic, iconic and impactful film justice with this update. Our host is here and inviting us in for a glass of wine, so let’s head on in and take a look at this blood sucking comic!

Dracula 1 Dark Horse Comics

Dracula # 1  ***
Released in 1993    Cover Price $4.95    Dark Horse    # 1 of 1

Renfield arrives at Castle Dracula in Transylvania to meet Count Dracula, a client who is buying the Carfax Abbey in England, but during his first night there, Renfield is bitten by Dracula who is a vampire. The next day Renfield is now the slave of Dracula, and they are aboard a ship bound for England when Dracula comes from his coffin and kills the crew during a massive storm. Renfield is the only one found alive on the ship when it docks, and he is found to be mad and taken away to an asylum as Dracula walks the streets sucking the blood of a young lady selling flowers he stumbles upon. Dracula goes to the symphony and meets the Dr. Seward who runs the asylum near the Carfax Abbey, his daughter Mina, her fiance John Harker as well as her best friend Lucy. Later that night Dracula targets Lucy to become his first bride and bites her on the neck as she sleeps, and by doing so kills her and turns her into a vampire. Dr. Seward goes to his friend Dr. Van Helsing for answers to Lucy’s death, and he in turns knows that Renfield must be the helper to the vampire that is stalking England, but he is not sure who it is. Meanwhile Dracula has now selected Mina as his next bride and also wants to use her to help bring down her father and Van Helsing only slightly turning her to a vampire and more as a slave that will do his bidding. The next day while Mina explains a bad dream she had to her father, John and Van Helsing, they spot two bite marks on her neck and as Count Dracula enters and thanks to a mirror, Van Helsing figures out that Dracula is the vampire they seek. Dracula returns later that night and allows Mina to drink his blood forming a bond between the two and later takes her to his safe place at Carfax Abbey. John and Van Helsing follow Renfield who has escaped the asylum to the Carfax Abbey, and Dracula rips the heart out of his one time slave and rushes to his coffin.  The sun is coming up after he spots John and Van Helsing have entered his home! Van Helsing drives a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Mina snaps out of her trance and returns home with her lover leaving this nightmare behind.

I first want to state that I enjoyed this comic book adaptation of the classic 1931 Universal Monster film Dracula from Dark Horse, but I also want to say that writer Dan Vado took some liberties with the story by doing such things as cutting Dracula’s Brides out of the opening, having Dracula cut his own arm for Mina to drink from, shows the stake going into the heart of Dracula, Renfield has his heart ripped out of his body by Dracula, Lucy just disappears once she becomes a vampire as well as adds blood to the hand of the flower girl that’s bitten by Dracula after he exits the ship. The story is this Dracula comes to England from his home in Transylvania and tries to turn two friends into his vampire brides but is soon on the radar of a highly intelligent doctor who is aware of the vampire legend and travels to the dark side of the world to free the soul of his friends daughter who is in danger by the curse of Dracula’s bite. So lets break down our cast of characters starting with Mina Seward who is the eye candy for Dracula who is your typical naive young female character who is under the spell of evil and does nothing to help herself to escape. But with that said Mina is a great character as she fits the part of the damsel in distress that is needed in all great fairy tales. John Harker is a man who loves his fiance and will do what ever it takes to keep her safe, while he talks a good game he is not the man who steps up and saves Mina from her fate. Van Helsing is the real hero of this tale as he is the one who knows the vampire legends, understands what can stop them, figures out who the vampire is and is the one who ends up driving the stake into the heart of Dracula ending his terror. Dr. Seward is just like John while he wants to keep his daughter safe he just has no clue how to do so. Renfield is a man who is driven insane and has enter battles with what his dark side tells him to do and what he knows is right. The poor fool who does what ever he can for Dracula is rewarded with having his heart ripped from his body as it was clear the vampire had no real care for his insane slave. Count Dracula is suave, violent and very cold as he don’t care about life and only wants his needs meet as he did not care who’s lives he ruined in his quest for new brides. Dracula in this comic is so much more evil in the film as he seems to get joy from killing and has no remorse for when he does kill. Lucy as well as the asylum workers and maids are all just secondary characters and fit their roles well. The odd thing about this adaptation is that it takes a classic black and white horror film that is known for it’s lack of blood and gore and decides to add in both! While I am sure some readers disliked these changes I looked at them as the artists and writers trying to add their own spin on this classic story. The art is done by John D. Smith and is a very cool paint style that captures the look of Lugosi very well as Dracula, but oddly enough NONE of the other characters look like the actors who played them in the 1931 film with them even going so far to give Van Helsing a beard. But while Dracula might be the only one who looks like he should I found myself really liking the art as well as the cover that is really amazing and showcases just how talented Smith is at capturing the creepy feel of Bela. Over all this was a great read and an amazing read to lead us into the month of October! If your a fan of classic Universal Monsters and love comic books I would say for sure check it out! Check out some of the art below from this comic and see just how cool it looks, I must say sorry for the poor quality of the pictures as I had to use my iPhone in order to get them and not a scanner.

Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 1Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 2Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 3

So we have made it out of Castle Dracula alive and with all our blood intact, and we should count ourselves lucky as this far we have not only survived Count Dracula with out countdown to Halloween but also this far Jaws and The Tallman! This update was lots of fun to write and really helped me get into the Halloween spirit as Universal Monster movies always kick of the spooky mood and feeling that goes along with the months of October and September for me. I hope I did this 1931 film and its legacy justice with this update as it’s in honor of Bela Lugosi, who is a true horror actor icon. But I am sure you’re wondering what’s next for out countdown to Halloween.  We are leaving Castle Dracula and heading to Ireland to come face to face with the one and only Rawhead Rex! So until next time, read a comic or three, see a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host…See you next update my ghoulish friends and readers.

PDVD_000

Star Trek : The Intergalactic Icons Of Space

Space is a vast place filled with all types of mysteries and things that we have yet to discover.  Many people my age grew up with space and planets like Mars being things that sparked imagination as well as discussion in and out of school.  Not to mention things like Star Wars, Flash Gordon and The Last Star Fighter were popular films, and some even had toy lines that all kids still played with. But one space themed show always got my attention was Star Trek.  Characters like James T. Kirk, Spock and Leonard McCoy were all interesting and already had iconic status in the mid 80’s when I first remember watching the show. So for this update, I figured that in honor of the new Star Trek film in theaters, the announcement of a new TV series in the works and the fact that earlier this year Juliet spoke about Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was time for me to take a look at Marvel Comics series based on the original crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise! So set your phasers to stun and be ready to beam aboard as we boldly go where Rotten Ink has only gone once before!

Enterprise Ship In Space

Gene Roddenberry was born on August 19, 1921 in El Paso, Texas and later with his family moved to Los Angeles and became a fan of stories about Tarzan and John Carter Warlord of Mars. Roddenberry majored in police science but found his calling in aeronautical engineering that lead to his stint with the United States Army Air Corps and would lead him to later working for Pan American World Airways.  During his time as a pilot, he would be involved in a total of three crashes, two as the pilot with and one as a passenger. The last crash, while working for Pan American, was so bad that 14 people lost their lives and many others were seriously hurt.  A short time later this lead to him stepping down in the company and pursuing his love for writing fiction and working for the Los Angeles Police Department as a traffic cop and later as a member of the Public Information Division as his writing was really good. During this time, he was also able to serve as an advisor for such shows as “Mr. District Attorney” and “Highway Patrol” in the 1950’s. These shows kicked off Gene’s dive into television as a producer and writer, and he delivered for such shows as “The West Point Story”, “Bat Masterson”, “Have Gun Will Travel” and “The Wrangler”, but in 1966 it was “Star Trek” that made Gene a true icon of science fiction Television. Gene would go on through out the 70’s and 80’s writing and producing shows and the Star Trek movies. His next TV hit would be the 1987 series “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Gene was married twice with his last wife being Majel Barrett who is the voice actress of the starships in the Star Trek universe as well as played Nurse Chapel in the original series and Lwaxana Troi in the Next Generation. He also had three children with his son Rod following in his footsteps in becoming a TV producer with his biggest upcoming work being the new 2017 Star Trek series! Sadly this icon of TV writing and producing passed away on October 24, 1991 at the age of 70, and while gone, his work lives on and entertains viewers still to this day. This update is for you, Gene Roddenberry, as well as all the cast and crew who made Star Trek possible.

Gene Roddenberry 1Gene Roddenberry 2Gene Roddenberry 3

I first watched the original Star Trek TV Show with my dad who would tune in when it aired in reruns. I can remember always being so hyped to see what strange alien was going to be on next, and Spock was my favorite character as he had pointed ears. My dad also use to tease my mom about Captain Kirk as she was not a William Shatner fan and used to say he couldn’t act.  I was around 5 or 6 years of age at the time, and as I grew up I have always had a very big attachment to this series and love it still to this day. Star Trek first aired in September 8. 1966 for CBS and was produced by Paramount and quickly became a hit for fans of science fiction television who loved the futuristic tech talk and quickly bonded with the likable crew lead by the Starfleet rebel Captain Kirk or so you would think! The truth is when Star Trek first aired, it did very poorly on the Nielsen ratings and was canceled by NBC after 3 seasons and a total of 79 episodes, and it was not until its syndication run that it built up a major cult following that sparked it into the major science fiction brand it is today. Imagine that, when originally airing the show was not catching on and was not gaining viewers, and once it was cancelled and shown in reruns it became a mega hit, much like modern shows like “Family Guy” that was cancelled and fans were able to bring it back for more seasons that lead to it wearing out its welcome years ago. Once the show picked up steam in the world of syndication, this lead to a string of movies as well as a ton of spin off TV series. It’s odd that to me as a kid, Star Trek was just so magical and filled with so much high tech wonder and was as enjoyable to me as Star Wars and Flash Gordon, both of which I also grew up with. In 2017 a new Star Trek series will be released for CBS and the premier episode will air on broadcast TV with all following episodes only available via their subscription based streaming service called “ CBS All Access,” and to me, this is a really dumb and not only limits the amount of people watching this series, but also cheapens it. I should also note that in 2006 Paramount and CBS decided to re-master and re-due the effects for the original series and once more it went into syndication, and I can remember my friend and roommate Patrick Neeley watching them at night and talking to me about them the next day. The original Star Trek series has been in my life for as long as I can remember from watching with my dad to popping it in on DVD for my viewing enjoyment, it still remains an amazing series that defines the term science fiction.

Original Star Trek Cast On Set

As I said the cheesy wonderful aliens were one of the reasons I loved this series when I was a kid, and hell, even to this day, because who could forget such characters as the lizard race Gorns, the fuzzy furballs the Tribbles, the one horned white gorilla Mugato or the Salt Vampire, not to mention the Klingons and the likes of the powerful Khan! While much of the time the aliens were just guys and women in greasepaint or rubber suits, something about these basic looking aliens was a draw for viewers like myself. I can remember as a kid loving the Gorn and Salt Vampire and wishing toys were made based on them so I could have them attack my Star Wars figures! Plus the show was our first taste of Khan who would go on to be one of the most sinister bad guys in Star Trek history. So if you’re a fan of aliens and all the different races that could be out in our shared universe…or just like cheesy TV shows with actors with greasepaint on their faces or wearing big old rubber suits, make sure to check out the original Star Trek series as its sure to please that alien need. Check out the pictures below to see some of the aliens from the series and to show you just how different they all are from each other.

Star Trek Khan TVStar Trek GornStar Trek Salt Vampaire

One thing I need to briefly talk about is the episode called “The Devil In The Dark” that has Kirk, Spock and McCoy traveling to Janus VI, a planet that has lost over 50 miners to a creature that lives underground. As the episodes goes on, Spock learns that the creature is called a Horta after a mind meld and later finds out that the Horta is just protecting eggs that will allow its race to continue. The Horta in appearance is compared to a silicon-based lifeform that has a rock and lava look. But for me as a youngster, it reminded me of meatloaf…not the singer, the food! I can even remember eating meatloaf and joking about it being on Star Trek. I mean really look at it, it’s like meatloaf with ketchup and marshmallows on it! Compare the picture below, and you be the judge.

hortaGood Old Meatloaf

Many Trekkies considered “Star Trek: The Animated Series” to be the fourth season as many of the actors returned to lend their voices to their animated versions as well as it continued the five year mission they were on. Star Trek: The Animated Series first aired on NBC on September 8, 1973 and lasted 2 seasons and a total of 22 episodes that were 24 minute long that followed Captain Kirk and his crew of the USS Enterprise on all type of adventures in space. The series was made by a team-up between Paramount Pictures and Filmation with Gene Roddenberry overseeing its production. Filmation’s original idea for the series was to have young teen characters being cadets following the main cast around turning it into more of a straight kiddy show, Roddenberry put his foot down, and that idea was later used for the 1977 live action series Space Academy. But like all Filmation Cartoons, the budget was low, and the series suffered with poor reused animation and many other small errors. The series did have William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Majel Barrett and Nichelle Nichols all return to voice their respected characters but sadly Walter Koenig did not return as Chekov was replaced in the cartoon by two characters called Arex (a three armed thin alien) and M’Ress (a female cat person) who were a major part of the crew now. While after its run ended and some years later, the film series started, the animated series seemed to be left out of canon as many issues and characters from the toon seemed to be missing and forgotten. The series during its run was not a huge hit with kids watching Saturday Morning Cartoons, but was respected by reviewers and parents who found it entertaining. Growing up I only saw episodes on reruns as well as on VHS, and I can remember liking it but also was confused by it as by that point I had watched the live action series as well as many of the movies. Love it or hate it, Star Trek: The Animated Series is a part of Trek history, and I for one enjoy every cheesy moment of it. Those looking to watch the series it has been released on VHS, DVD and Laserdisc and from time to time pops up on Netflix.

Star Trek The Animated Series 1Star Trek The Animated Series DVDStar Trek The Animated Series 2

With the animated series being canceled in 1974, fans would have to wait for their next Star Trek fix until 1979 when Paramount released “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” to the theater going audience. The film was directed by Robert Wise and brought back all the major actors and characters from the classic series with a budget of $46 million dollars and had a run time of 132 minutes.  It also had a score from Jerry Goldsmith and was produced by Gene Roddenberry. The film brought in $82,258,456.00 and came in at # 5 for the year beating out such films as “Alien”, “The Jerk”, “The Muppet Movie”, “Moonraker”, “The Black Hole”, “Mad Max”, “Tourist Trap” and “Zombi 2” among many others. The film was met with mix reviews with many critics being down on the film’s plot that they said was too thin and spread out for over two hours, but fans were a little more behind it as they got to see their favorite characters back on a all new adventure. Growing up I can remember watching this movie and while I found it entertaining, I think mostly cause the fact it was Star Trek. I was always more drawn into “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan” and “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” when wanting to watch them on VHS via a library rental. I don’t want to get too much into the plot of this movie as the Marvel Comic series first 3 issues in the series are an adaptation of the film so I will save it for those. While not as well loved as many of the sequels this film started it all for the film franchise that is still going to this day.

Star Trek The Motion Picture 1Star Trek The Motion Picture 2Star Trek The Motion Picture 3

Star Trek also has amazing music that helped not only the TV Show but as well as the Movies! The original TV Show soundtrack was done by the likes of Sol Kaplan and Gerald Fried among others with Alexander Courage being the man behind the Original Series title theme. With the movie soundtracks being done by the likes of Jerry Goldsmith as well as other composers like James Horner, Cliff Eldelman, Leonard Rosenman and Dennis McCarthy. The most iconic theme for the films that would latter be the opening theme for Star Trek The Next Generation was done by Jerry Goldsmith and remains a very iconic piece of score music. The soundtracks for the TV Show as well as the Movies starring the original cast has been released on many different formats from Cassette Tapes to CDs and are must haves for fans of the movie and show. I for one own many of these soundtracks on CD and play them on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO many Sunday nights, one of the listeners favorites is a track called “The Mountain” off the Star Trek V: The Final Frontier soundtrack. So if you’re a score music fan, make sure to check out some of the Star Trek movie releases they are well done and great songs to relax to.

Star Trek CDStar Trek TV SoundtrackStar Trek The Motion Picture soundtrack cd

Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise have not only jumped from TV to movies but also to video games! Some of the top games starring the original cast include “Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator” was originally a arcade game and in 1984 was ported to the Atari 2600 and has you taking control of the Starship Enterprise and defend against invading Klingons. Next up “Star Trek: The Rebel Universe” for the Commodore 64, IBM PC and Atari ST in 1987 and has you take control of the bridge and try and find the secrets of the Quarantine Zone. And lastly “Star Trek: 25th Anniversary” was released in 1992 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and has you take control of Kirk, Spock and McCoy and try to solve the mystery of the tear in space-time! And of course this is just a drop in the hat of video games that was released starring the original Star Trek cast, but these three are the ones I remember best from my younger days! So what is your favorite video game starring Kirk and the crew?

Star Trek The Rebel Universe C64Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator Atari 2600Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES

The Original Star Trek series has had its massive share of merchandise based around it and cover all types items like Halloween Costumes, Drinking Glasses, Trading Cards, Toys, Video Games, Lunch Boxes, Novels, Comic Books, Magnets, Shirts and so much more! Growing up I can remember playing a strategy board game with my Uncle Thurman that was lots of fun and I am sure we drove him mad as at my brother Bryan and I’s young age we didn’t get the rules all that well. Growing up I also had a Captain Kirk 3 ¾” Mego action figure I got from a garage sale that joined my Toy Wars alongside Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. I also when a youngster owned many of the Novels and Book and Record sets based on the TV Show and Movies as well as some of the Marvel Comics. Funny enough early this year while working at Game Swap a young lady brought in a large box filled with vintage Star Trek figures and toys and what was really neat was seeing the Mego dolls mint in package! So if you’re a fan of Spock, Kirk or any of the other crew members of the Enterprise many amazing products are out in the world for you to collect.

MEGO Star Trek dollsStar Trek LunchboxStar Trek Novel original cast

Playmates was a major force when I was a kid in bringing action figures into the hands of the youth with such toy lines as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Toxic Crusaders, Dick Tracy, Darkwing Duck, Monster Force, Barnyard Commandos, The Addams Family, Earthworm Jim to name a few and also on this iconic list is Star Trek! The toy line for Star Trek mostly focused on Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as the newer TV series that followed like Deep Space Nine and Voyager, but also in the line was the original series that showcased some of the characters in their younger selves and in some waves them older. While I had maybe a couple when I was a kid the older I got for some reason I started to collect them, I bought myself all the original series crew as well as Voyager and Juliet the Next Generations crew and together we have gotten many of the Deep Space Nine crew members. The Playmates figures for some reason have a collectable appeal for me and as I find them cool looking and the fact they covered not only the Starfleet crew but also many of the aliens from the past to the then present. Below is a picture of my original crew figures as well as some of the Aliens from their show and movies.

My Original Star Trek Playmates Figures

You know what just for the fun of it and cause I love going back and playing old NES games on my trusty old RES (Retro-Bit Retro Entertainment System) I picked the day May 25, 2016 to just play around and try to see how far I could get in Star Trek: 25th Anniversary in just 1 hours of play! Now this game is one I played when I was younger and never could get very far as I have found it to be a very hard play, but will it be as difficult as I remember? The weather outside was around 84 degrees with the sun pocking out from some hazy clouds, I decided to go up against the game around 6pm and stop at 7pm and see just how far in the game I could get! So with a tall glass of water I was ready to travel to 8-Bit space. I started these two hours with big dreams and hope that I would make it far and to no one’s shock I didn’t make it off the first level…as frustration of playing the same opening stage sent me into a poor game play frenzy! At first I forgot that the Blood Worms can hurt you if you don’t bring the flower to the medicine man of the village and then after getting the eye key and once in the tunnel I kept screwing up the patterns you had to memorize on the wall to get through the doors and by the time 7am came around I was still on the first level! During my little 8-Bit quest my landing Party was me as Kirk and always Spock but sometimes I would switch McCoy with a Security Officer. The game play on this game is a little clunky and has your characters follow a grid to get from point A to pint B. Still as challenging as I remember and I recommend old school gamers to give this one a try, as it’s a fun play that offers enough tough moments to make for long time play. Below is some pictures I took while playing the game.

Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES in the RESStar Trek 25th Anniversary NES RES Still 1Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES Res Still 2

Want to just touch up on this as I fell many Trekkies will agree that there is nothing more sexy than a woman who embraces geeky culture like Comic Books, Video Games and Science Fiction Films/Shows and a woman in a Starfleet uniform is pretty top notch stuff. I mean who could resist the beauty of my favorite cosplayer Ivy Doomkitty dressed as a Starfleet officer? I know I cant! But I just wanted to let all you true nerd girls out in the world that you are appreciated and keep being you!

Ivy Doomkitty star trekhottie star trek fanblonde star trek fan

So before we get into the Marvel Comic Star Trek Original Crew Series I would like to take a brief moment and just kind of give you a crash course of the main crew members of the USS Enterprise, I feel that many of you all ready know and love the characters but I figured on a slim chance their could be some newbies reading this update to the Star Trek universe I should do my duty and educate you with some slight knowledge and research. So sit back and relax and get to know the crew of the Enterprise, as I will guarantee that by the end they will seem like old friends.

Captain James Tiberius Kirkwilliam shatner

James Tiberius Kirk is the Captain of the USS Enterprise, he was born in Riverside, Iowa and as a youngster witnessed a massacre that claimed 4,000 lives by the hands of a madman. Kirk went on to join the Starfleet Academy and became the only person to every pass the Kobayashi Maru test that was designed to be unbeatable; he did so by thinking outside the box and reprograming it! He survived on many ships and even thought a class at the Academy all the while getting promotions until finally becoming the youngest Captain in Starfleet history! Kirk took over the USS Enterprise for a five year mission, and along this journey he made friends and lots of enemies as Kirk always did what was right. Kirk is also a ladies man as he has hooked up with not only human women but also a few aliens! Kirk is noble, cocky, adventures and smart and has earned the love and respect of his crew as well as higher ups of StarFleet even though he tends to break lots of rules and disobey orders. Actor William Shatner played Captain Kirk in the series who is also known for his TV Roles in shows like T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911, The Practice and TekWorld! Shatner is an icon for Sci-Fi fans and remains active in acting even at his age of 85!

Chief Science Officer SpockLeonard Nimoy

Spock is Vulcan who’s mother is human and this gives him slight emotions, something that full blooded Vulcans find illogical! His father is the very wise and highly respected Sarek, who loves his son but also finds his friendships on the Enterprise odd. On the U.S.S. Enterprise Spock has two roles: science officer and first officer and is best friend to Captain Kirk and will do whatever it takes to keep the ship and its crew safe and is very loyal to the Starfleet, Spock even gave his own life to save the lives of the crew when Kahn attacked the ship causing a radiation leak. After being reborn thanks to the Genesis Project, he rejoins the crew and takes his position on the Enterprise again and later becomes a federation ambassador where he tries to patch up the relationship between them and later also tries to help Romulus from a supernova that leaves him trapped in a parallel timeline. Actor Leonard Nimoy played Spock in the series who is also known for his TV roles in such shows as Mission: Impossible, In Search Of, Ancient Mysteries and Fringe. Sadly on February 27, 2015 the world lost Nimoy from complications of COPD. Leonard Nimoy was and still is a icon of geek culture and beyond.

Dr Leonard Bones McCoyDeforest Kelley

Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy is the medical officer for the USS Enterprise and is also very close friends with Captain Kirk. He is divorced and would later marry Natira, the priestess of Yonada, and has one daughter. McCoy at one point has to take the essence of Spock who has passed away and return it to his body on the planet Vulcon in order to return his friend and some time verbal punching bag Spock back to full life. While he gets annoyed with Spock and his logical ways, it’s clear throughout the series and movies that he really does care about him and looks at him as a good friend. While he is good at what he does in the medical field,  McCoy can be very tense and can get very angry when requests are made he feels is impossible or to demanding. One thing that has eaten away at McCoy his whole life is the fact he helped his father commit suicide when he was gravely ill, and after his father’s death a cure was found that would have cured him. McCoy is a loyal sometimes cranky crew member who is the best damn medical doctor you could ever ask for, and later in his Star Fleet career he would become an Admiral. Actor DeForest Kelley played McCoy in the series who is also known for his roles in such TV shows as The Lone Ranger, Route 66 and Bonanza among many other western shows. Kelley would sadly pass away on June 11, 1999 at the age of 79 from stomach cancer. The world lost a great character actor and one of my favorite characters of the Star Trek universe.

Commander Montgomery %22Scotty%22 ScottJames Doohan

Montgomery “Scotty” Scott acts as the Enterprise’s second officer and chief engineer and is truly the man who makes the star ship come alive and keeps up the maintenance and acts as the miracle worker when things need to be fixed in a pinch or even under pressure of battle. While many of the crew are his close friends, he looks at the Enterprise as a son and treats it with high respect and acts as if the ship is truly his responsibility. When both Kirk and Spock are off ship, Scotty becomes the acting commander of the ship, even though he would rather just be the ship’s engineer. After his retirement from the Star Fleet, Scotty gets aboard a shuttle that crashes in a Dyson Sphere and uses the transporter to store himself in the buffer for decades and is recovered by the USS Enterprise-D and its commander Captain Picard, and even in the future he saves the ship he loves one last time. Smart, witty and lovable, Scotty is a guy who is loyal to his fellow crew members and his ship. Actor James Doohan played Scotty in the original series and is also known for his TV roles in Encounter, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The F.B.I. to name a few. Sadly in 1994 James Doohan passed away at the age of 85 from pulmonary fibrosis. Scotty is a great character and really is the blood that keeps the star ship up and running.

Lieutenant Hikaru SuluGeorge Takei

Hikaru Sulu is the third officer, a Lieutenant and senior helmsman of the USS Enterprise and later becomes a Captain and commands the USS Excelsior. Sulu is very wise and good at what he does and has pulled the starship out of danger many times. He is a master of fencing, botany and gymnastics and when need be could and has taken control of the Enterprise as acting officer in charge. Sulu would later in life go on to have a daughter named Demora Sulu who as well is working for Star Fleet. Actor George Takei plays Sulu in the original series and also starred in such TV Shows as Batman Beyond, The Simpsons and Archer to name a very select few. Takei is still active in acting and even runs his own social media that is filled with some funny thoughts and posts.  He is 79 years old as of this update going up.

Lieutenant Nyota UhuraNichelle Nichols

Nyota Uhura is a lieutenant and chief communications officer for the Enterprise and is well respected for her talents and skills. She is skilled at singing and has entertained her fellow shipmates with songs during off duty get togethers. During her time with the Federation, she has been promoted to lieutenant commander and then full commander later on. She as well as the rest of the crew also get in trouble when they disobey orders to get the reborn body of Spock off Genesis and goes back to just being communications officer under Kirk’s crew. It’s implied that she and Scotty might have been romantic together and in the new Trek universe she is dating/romantic with Spock. Actress Nichelle Nichols plays Uhura in the original series, and she has also been on TV shows like Futurama, Batman The Animated Series and Heroes. While slowed down, Nichelle is still active as an actress and is 83 years old as of this update posting.

Ensign Pavel ChekovWalter Koenig

Pavel Andreievich Chekov is the navigator for the Enterprise and is super smart and an honor graduate from the Space Academy. When needed he can also fill in as the ship’s science officer when Spock is away and is very capable of doing so. He later gets promoted to a lieutenant as well as tactical officer and chief of security. He is loyal to Captain Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew and even helped Kirk hijack the Enterprise so they could get the newly reborn Spock off of the Genesis planet. Actor Walter Koenig played Chekov in the original series and also made appearances in such shows as Ben Casey, Columbo and Babylon 5. Koenig is still active as an actor and is 79 years old as of this update’s posting.

Nurse Christine ChapelMajel Barrett

Christine Chapel is the head nurse of the Enterprise and works under the orders of Dr. McCoy. She mostly stays on the ship when others explore planets but has left from time to time. While originally she was trying to work things out with her fiancé Dr. Roger Korby, his disappearance left her without a man, and she began finding herself having feelings for Spock.  The fling would end up going nowhere. Later in her career, she becomes a doctor aboard the Enterprise and later is stationed at the Starfleet headquarters. Actress Majel Barrett played Chapel.  She was the married to show creator Gene Roddenberry and appeared as the voice for the computers in many of the Star Trek shows and movies. Barrett passed away in 2008 from leukemia.  She was 76 years old.

Spock Kirk Scotty

So that was just a very brief look at the crew of the USS Enterprise and many great facts and achievements from them have been left out of this quick look as I really think that if you have never watched this show or movies, you really should check them out for yourself as they are truly great science fiction watches. So I guess we should beam onto the Marvel Comic series based on Star Trek’s original crew, and I should also thank Mavericks Cards And Comics, Bell Book And Comic, Dark Star and Lone Star Comics for having issues in stock so that I could do this review. I am also getting a message from my communicator from Kirk telling me to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and i’s art and story. So if you’re wearing a red shirt, you might want to change out of it now as it’s time to go on 18 missions with the crew of the USS Enterprise. So beam us to it Scotty!

Marvel Star Trek 1

Star Trek # 1  ***
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Marvel    #1 of 18

A powerful light cloud being is floating in space and is destroying ships and what ever else gets in its way! It’s been years sense the USS Enterprise went on a mission and Kirk is able to finally talk his way back into becoming the Captain of it once more and is setting out to try and stop what ever this thing is from reaching anymore planets, his crew has many familiar faces on board like Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura as well as some new faces including Captain Decker who is forced out of running the ship and into a officer role on this mission by Starfleet and Kirk who is taking over causing some major heat between the two. At the Enterprise Crew meeting they watch in horror live as a space station is attacked and just vanishes thanks to the light cloud! And worse just before this the teleport was not ready on the remodeled Enterprise and many new crew members lost their lives, and this brings aboard a “drafted” Dr. McCoy who was retired and Ilia a Deltan who will act as the ships navigator on this dangerous mission. Decker and Ilia know each other and its clear that this once Captain had a relationship with her. While taking off on their mission the Enterprise gets stuff in a wormhole along side a meteor and Decker over rides Kirks command to use Phasers and uses torpedo’s instead and this saves the ship damage and gets them out of the wormhole but also causes even more of a rift between the two Captains! Once safe and back on track a small ship asks to board the Enterprise and to Kirks shock and joy the pilot of the small ship is Spock!

This Marvel Comic series starts off with an adaptation of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and to be honest it was a wise choice as it was a great way to showcase the crew as well as bring everyone up to date on what was happing with the original crew. Plus it also helped add to the amazing over all enjoyment this comic reader and Trekkie had relaxing and reading it and remembering back to the first time I had seen the movie as well as read this issue in my younger days. The story this far has Admiral Kirk hooking and crooking his way back into becoming the Captain of the Enterprise that is being sent out on a important mission to stop an unknown cloud object from reaching the planet that its two days away from. Throw in some drama between the ships former Captain as well as some old relationship baggage and your have this issue in a nutshell. Captain Kirk in this issue is a man on a mission and his mission is not just save people from the unknown that’s heading their way but to also get command of the Enterprise once more. Kirk is as cocky as ever but it’s clear he is slightly outdated when it comes to all the improvements that have been made to his ship. Captain Decker is a man of pride and he feels betrayed by Kirk and Star Fleet as he is taken off Captain duty and forced to serve under the man who weaseled the position away from him, but Decker is also a slime ball when it comes to his love life as its reveled that he just up and left Ilia without even so much as a goodbye. Speaking of Ilia she is straight business and wants to do the best at her job, but while she puts on a strong front it’s clear she was hurt by Decker’s past behavior. Dr. McCoy is upset that he was forced back into active duty as he was enjoying retirement, but quickly comes around when he sees that his good friend Kirk is the one who really wanted his help on this mission. Spock starts the issue off on his home planet trying to ride himself of emotions that his human side has and soon finds he cannot and returns to the Enterprise unannounced and is a sight for sore eyes for his friends. The rest of the original crew Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura all are present but are background players. The Cloud Light Thing in the sky is clearly a force to be wreckend with as it not only takes down a federation station but also a Klingon ship! What is this cloud…I guess we will have to read more issues to find out! The plot while slow is a good way to reintroduce the crew to fans as well as to new readers and that’s why it was wise to kick this series off with the film adaptation as it was the new Trek product out and could help kick of Trek-Mania for youngsters of 1980. The cover is cool and eye catching for classic Science Fiction fans and the art inside done by the team of Dave Cockrum & Klaus Janson (Inks) and is pretty great stuff with most the characters looking close to the actors who played them. Over all a great solid first issue to kick off Marvels Star Trek series and makes me really looking forward to the next mission…I mean issue.

Marvel Star Trek 2

Star Trek # 2  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #2 of 18

Captain Kirk welcomes Spock back into the crew as he takes his place as the science officer, but while everyone is happy to see him, Spock shows no emotions toward them and this causes some tension between he and McCoy. Spock also helps Scotty figure out a way to save fuel and go into warp drive and while flying they run into the cloud that attacks! After a very powerful blast the Enterprise is in trouble until they are able to send the cloud a message of peace and that attacks stops leaving them puzzled and relieved that the cloud has given up its aggression. As the Enterprise flies through the cloud the find at in the middle is a ship so huge its like nothing they have ever seen before, and worse a living energy comes aboard and kills a security officer and tries to steal the ships records and when Spock tries to stop it Ilia gets the beings rage and it makes her vanish into thin air. The alien cloud ship then pulls the Enterprise into its docking and sends a robotic version of Ilia onto the ship who is suppose to record the everyday functions of humans for a master named V’ger, while the real Ilia is deceased this robot has her memories and Kirk decides that Decker should be her guide on the ship hoping that the relationship between the two can help take it off course for Earth as it’s now only six hours away! In the end Spock lurks in the shadows and gives a crew member the Vulcan nerve pinch and the issue ends leaving us not knowing why he did his action.

This second issue in the Movie Adaptation part is the set up for what the story is really about as we learn the cloud is really around a giant ship that is a beings named V’ger who records and loves knowledge. The Enterprise is the only hope for Earth as they are the only ones who have gotten this close to the ship and have the key to maybe save Earth in the forum of the robotic Ilia. Captain Kirk is as sure of himself as ever and his war of words and control with Decker rises to anger in this issue as every suggestion Decker gives the Captain is ignored and this even leads to Ilia being killed causing tension between the to very hostile. The thing is Kirk is not listening to Decker but is listening to Spock who he trusts and who he doesn’t feel intimidated by, and worse Kirk orders Decker to be the guide to the robotic Ilia and try to charm this machine with the memories of his one time lover in order to save Earth. Dr. McCoy is the man who figures out the make up of the robot and is the possible key to save them all if they can teach the machine to bring the message back to it’s master that people deserve to live. Bring the question who or what is V’ger and why does he want to combine with the “Creator” and if he does what does this mean for the universe? This is the main question that should and was on the minds of readers of this comic. While besides Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Decker the rest of the crew have small parts but are all very important to the issue as their actions and jobs move the plot along. The Science Fiction action is high in this issue as we get a space battle as well as a semi fight with an alien energy being that leaves two crew members dead. Plus the issue ends on a cliffhanger as Spock knocks out one of his own fellow crew and his reasoning is left with the message “Continued Next Issue”! The issues cover is pretty great and has the energy being reeking havoc on the Enterprise bridge and the art inside is once more done by Dave Cockrum who does a solid job of capturing the actors likeness in some shots, while in others his art seems a little rushed. Over all a solid issue that moves the plot along and is doing a good job of capturing the mood and feel of the movie it’s based on. So lets get to issue three and see why Spock did what he did and who or what V’ger is!

Marvel Star Trek 3

Star Trek # 3  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #3 of 18

Decker is trying all he can to get to the memories of Ilia who is very robotic and just wants more and more data for her master V’ger who plans on absorbing the crew after he gets the information he seeks. Meanwhile Spock has knocked out his fellow crew member so that he could get into a space suit and float into the center of the ship that he has figured out is V’ger! Kirk goes out after Spock and they find the V’ger breaks down all that is kills and stores it as part of it’s own being, and when Spock attempts to mind meld with it and is overloaded with its power but finds the V’ger is a living machine that comes from a planet of living machines and his quest is to find out the meaning of its life as well as find God to get the answers. V’ger has reached Earth and is about to kill all humans living on it but Kirk as an idea and says he has the answers its looking for and after a small outburst V’ger allows the Enterprise to enter into it’s main brain frame were Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Decker and the robot Ilia exit the ship and find the V’ger is really a missing NASA satellite called the Voyager Six that went missing 300 years ago and that its real creator is man! Decker enters the satellite’s missing code ending its reign of terror as it now has the answers its seeks but this turns Decker and Ilia into light beings and the next evolution for mankind. In the end Kirk and the Enterprise crew have saved the day and head into space for many more adventures.

The movie adaptation ends here and has Kirk and the crew having to use their wits and knowledge to stop the destruction of Earth. So V’ger is really just a missing NASA satellite that 300 years ago did not get to fulfill its mission of sending back data is collected to the space station after it was lost in a black hole. So in reality many people lost their lives all over a satellite that could not share its data with NASA. Kirk is very quick with his plan as he is able to save the Earth by bluffing and then able to prove that man is V’ger’s creator when he comes up with the code that is needed to unload its data. Decker is also a hero as he manually enters the code after they learn the satellite has been damaged and this causes Decker to become something more than human and as well be with Ilia forever. Spock who was having issues of his own due to his failed test on Vulcon has his answers and at one point cries for V’ger who will not truly have his. The nice touch to the end of the comic is that the Enterprise heads out into space looking for more adventures and is the perfect set up for this Marvel Comic series. The cover is great and has The Enterprise in battle showcasing the ship and what it can do, the inside art is once more done by Dave Cockrum and is fitting and better looking than issue two. Marvel Comics did a great job of adapting this film into a comic and I could say that in the 80’s and 90’s no one did these types of comics as good as Marvel. So with this Motion Picture adaptation out of the way lets see what new adventures the Marvel Bullpen have in store for us.

Marvel Star Trek 4

Star Trek # 4  ***
Released in 1980    Cover Price .40    Marvel    #4 of 18

The Enterprise has been selected to transport an alien named Raytag M’Gora who is insane and was captured and must be returned to prison that he escaped from. Also on this mission they must play host to Ambassador R’Kgg who’s people are open to negations with the federation, while Kirk don’t mind given the Ambassador a ride he is very angry about the prisoner as his ship is not set up to transport a crazed alien like that. While beaming Raytag M’Gora aboard the alien breaks free and runs amok until Spock is able to use the Vulcan Nerve Pinch to knock him out and place him into his cell. Raytag M’Gora begs Kirk not to return him to the prison planet as he claims it’s a terrible place and it is what drove him mad and warns them if they get to close to the area he will not be the only prisoner! The closer they get crew members begin to see werewolves and monsters with Sulu and Chekov seeing a ghost. Kirk don’t know what to make of these supernatural sightings but believes his crew and soon comes face to face with Count Dracula who appears on the bridge and knocks security around before disappearing, adding to the mystery that is unfolding on the Enterprise. As Dracula escapes he makes his way to Ambassador R’Kgg and kills him, and after doing so the evil visions disappear until the Enterprise finds a Haunted House planet and Kirk, Spock, McCoy and other crew members beam down and find a young woman being attacked by Frankenstein’s Monster! They are able to defeat the Monster but soon find themselves surrounded by monsters and the young blonde woman tells them she has been held prisoner there for a long time and wants to leave. But no one is leaving as well armed Klingons appears and take the landing party prisoners and send a message to acting commander Scotty that they have his friends and want the ship turned over. In the cell Raytag M’Gora lets out a crazy laugh as our issues ends.

The Crew of the Enterprise vs. the monsters is the best way to describe this fun and entertaining issue, and while it does not feel like a Star Trek episode it does feel like an episode of the animated series mixed with Scooby-Doo. The plot has Kirk and crew getting tricked into a Haunted House world while trying to deliver a alien prisoner back to prison and it appears that the illusions and plan was that of the Klingons who hate the federation and want to see Kirk and his crew pay for crimes they feel the universe has infected them with. Kirk is right to not want to take this mission as the ship and crew was not prepared for the evil and madness that waited them during this one. Spock tries his best to put logic to what he is seeing as many of the monsters that appeared were based on legend of Earth’s novels and ghost stories, but he is also the one who finds that the monsters are made of a living organism. Ambassador R’Kgg seemed like a good natured alien and while killed supposedly by Dracula I think there is more to R’Kgg than what we have seen in this issue and almost think he is playing possum on the words of Raytag M’Gora who was the last person he talked to. Speaking of Raytag M’Gora while I think he is crazy and has a violent streak in him, I do think he was trying to warn the Enterprise of what was awaiting them at the Haunted House planet. Plus who is this young blonde woman and why is she in this Haunted House world? Nice to see that the Klingons are the ones behind this set up and fake haunted planet, as it makes sense that they would do whatever they can to capture Kirk and his crew. Not to mention a highlight for this Monster Kid comic reader is the fact that Dracula from the Marvel Comic series Tomb Of Dracula has a cameo as the issues also has a werewolf, ghost, grim reaper and Frankenstein’s Monster to name a few of the ghouls who attack. While again it does not feel like the TV Show nor the movie that spawned this series it does have a nice comic book feel to it and that’s what makes it fun. The cover is cool and the art is still being done by Dave Cockrum making this solid and fun issue for this reader. While again many of the crew take small roles its great to see Kirk and Spock take on monsters even if they are not real and makes me look forward to how this mission will work out for them, so lets not wait and move onto issue five.

Marvel Star Trek 5

Star Trek # 5   **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .40   Marvel   #5 of 18

The Klingons to show Kirk on this Haunted House planet they mean business kill one of his crew members as everyone watches on unable to help. They then turn on Kirk and the crew and take Spock hostage and they beam up to their Bird-Of-Pray were they tell Spock that he is the only one that will survive from the Enterprise as they have orders to kill the crew and take the ship to learn how it’s new warp drive works! While Kirk and his crew deal with the unknown woman they beamed aboard that they find out is not human and worse the Kingons attack their warp drives and leaves the Enterprise stranded in that location! Spock finds out that the “Monsters” that are attacking his fellow crew members is due in part to a man who was a Horror Movie archivist who is being used as a weapon by The Klingons! Working with the Klingons on this take over mission is Raytag M’Gora who has a projector implanted in his skull that helps bring the monsters to the ship, and we also find out that the unknown woman is the image of the “weapons” wife! Spock figures out and is able to warn The Enterprise to destroy the image of the woman that triggers the archivist to wake up that in turn over loads the projector inside Raytag M’Gora killing him and sending the monsters to the Klingons ship! Spock and the Archivist beam aboard the Enterprise and they leave the area and complete there mission and deliver the dead body of Raytag to the prison planet.

The monsters of the movies run wild on the Enterprise thanks to a horror movie fan! The plot of this issue has The Klingons using a new weapon they developed that allows a persons fears to come to life against the Enterprise so they can take over the ship and learn new federation secrets, but thanks to the brilliant mind of Spock the plan not only fails but also backfires as they become the target of the monsters. Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise Crew are helpless in this saga as The Klingons dismantle their warp drive, take Spock hostage and have the monsters under their control, but I should say while the odds were grim Kirk very lost the fighting spirit. Spock meanwhile even as a hostage keeps his wits just like all Vulcans would and is the brains behind turning the tables on his captures. The Klingons are cold-blooded killers and not only murder one Star Fleet security officer but also have plans in place to kill everyone on the Enterprise! The monsters while just made real by imagination and memories are still a force of destruction and murder, and the poor sap who is creating them is just a pawn in a sick game of ship stealing. Raytag as well is a pawn but a willing one as he felt by helping the Klingons they could save him from a fate of being a prisoner the rest of his life, as for the mystery woman she is just a sad case as she is just the memory of the Archivist’s murdered wife. The classic banter between Spock and McCoy is present in this issue and that’s always fun to read as it really made me flashback to many of the scenes from the films were the two were at odds over silly disagreements or just McCoy not understanding the lack of emotions of Vulcans. While this was a silly plot for the most part I still found myself enjoying reading it and wondering what adventures the Enterprise would have next. Being five issues in I must also say that my favorite character has to be Spock as while not done perfect and for some reason is slightly off he seems to shine more than most the other crew members. Kirk is great just as is McCoy but while they are as well close to their movie and show characters they still are slightly off. The art in this issue is done by Dave Cockrum again and while it is good for some reason some panels seem off as in one panel has Kirk looking like a pig face version of The Phantom Of The Opera and another has McCoy looking like a bug eyed monster, very odd a very sloppy. The cover is great and eye catching and leaves you wanting to see why McCoy is killing a woman with a phaser. Over all a slightly above average comic adventure of the crew of the Enterprise that leaves you wanting to see what the next adventure awaits us.

Marvel Star Trek 6

Star Trek # 6  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #6 of 18

The Enterprise is picked to escort Ambassador Phral of the planet Yannid VI to a signing that will allow them to join the federation, but after the transporter has an issue and when Phral appears onboard he has a knife in his back and is dead! Kirk calls the palace on Yannid VI and they confirm that the Ambassador was alive and well when he left to beam aboard The Enterprise and this could cause major issues of them joining the Federation. Kirk assigns Spock and McCoy to try and figure out what happened while he tries to talk peace and confirm that they will find the murderer of their citizen. While investigating Spock and McCoy find lots of odd details about this murder like that fact it appears he has dead 15 minutes before he was beamed up as well as all video of the beam up is missing due to a power surge. Tension is running wild on Yannid VI as many of the people want to join the Federation while others want to join the Klingons and this becomes dangerous when Sulu, Chekov and a female crew member DiFalco are attacked at a bar and are able to escaped when they are beamed aboard the Enterprise. Kirk has been very edgy sense the death of the Ambassador even snapping at his crew and finally comes clean and tells them about when he was younger he on accident shot Phral on a rescue mission that at the time was a prince and put the would be ruler into a coma making him miss his turn of ruling. Spock has news for the Captain as he thinks the body on the ship is that of an imposter set up by the real Phral who wants revenge on Kirk and wants to start a new life. Kirk, Spock and McCoy put on disguises and beam down to Yannid to find a famed plastic surgeon as they think she might be helping him on this set up, but she is killed and Kirk and crew are found by the Prince and his guards who blame them for the death of the Doctor as well as the Ambassador! Spock using his logical mind is able to trick Phral who has had plastic sugary into exposing his true idientity and this clears Kirk of wrong doing as well helps Yannid VI in joining the Federation as they see Kirk and crew are men of their word.

Spock does it again as just like Sherlock Holmes, Dick Tracy or Batman he uses logic and great detective skills to solve a crime of murder, set up and betrayal. This issues plot is this an Ambassador who is to sign for his planet to join the federation and who has bad blood with Kirk is killed while beaming aboard the Enterprise and this leads to Kirk being the prime suspect and puts a strain on them joining the greater cause of peace with the Federation, but thanks to McCoy and Spock they are able to find the answers to who is the real killer and expose a plan that would have not only caused Kirk to loose his career but also could have caused war! Kirk is a man with lots of stress and some guilt as he feels like an accident when he was a young Star Fleet member left a man who was to be King in a coma making him loss his chance at ruling, not to mention he was sent to save the Prince and in turn is the one who ended up hurting him. But while Kirk is short tempered he still does his job and puts his two best crew members on the case to solve who set this murder up. Spock and McCoy are fast and solve the case in short time as all the evidence don’t add up and they are onto the twisted plan that was put into place thanks to video from Yannid and the body onboard. Nice to see Sulu and Chekov get to show off a little as they sword fight off their attackers in the bar! Ambassador Phral is a bitter, greedy and lying man who set up his own “death” in order to get away with stolen money. His actions caused a Civil War on his home planet as well as could have caused a war with the Federation! Not to mention he murdered a doctor as well as some poor soul to get away with his crimes, but thanks to Spock and McCoy his cover is blown and he is taken away for punishment. This was another great adventure and love that Sherlock Holmes reference and feel to it, not to mention McCoy gets to deliver “She’s Dead Jim” during the books final. The cover is ok and nothing special and the art is done by Dave Cockrum again and is pretty good, I should also note that Marvel’s Editor In Chief at this time was the one and only Jim Shooter! To sum it up a good issue that made for a fun read that blended Science Fiction with Detective touches that entertained for sure.

Marvel Star Trek 7

Star Trek # 7   **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #7 of 18

The Enterprise is sent to a planet that in a short time will be surrounded by a poisoned cloud that will leave its 200 residents dead and the world un-livable. Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy and two security officers beam down to the planet to try and talk to its people to come with them in order to survive. Once on the planet Kirk and crew soon find that the simple minded aliens have been awaiting them and have giant statues built of the crew members in town that have been their for millenniums, and worse they will not leave as they think Kirk, Spock and McCoy will protect them from the approaching death cloud. While Scotty takes control of the Enterprise and tries to disrupt the cloud with phasers and fail Kirk, McCoy and Spock follow a alien who is about to evolve and find that these aliens are very smart and when Spock mind melds with the alien he finds that the planet has a defense system that defeats the cloud and that this alien race can see the future and as our crew leaves they have more questions than answers.

A planet is in danger over a dangerous cloud and Kirk and crew must try and stop it and save the alien race that dwells on the planet is the plot of this issue and while solid and good it does kind of feel like a throw away issue, as the dangerous cloud has a been there done that feel to it. The threat seems high for the crew as always as they must risk their own necks in order to do their job for being the saviors of the universes. The Alien race are simple weird looking creatures who are all kind hearted, but while they seem dim witted they are in fact slightly more intelligent than they appear and can also see into the future. Kirk in this issue goes to the planet to try and talk to it’s people about beaming aboard the Enterprise in order to survive but finds himself stuck on the planet and death approaching and must send his own ship and crew on what could be a suicide mission in attacking the cloud to try and break it up! Kirk is under lots of pressure but as always he holds his cool and helps lead the charge in everyone’s survival. McCoy and the security guards are just around and don’t offer too much to this issue but are at least cool to see around. Scotty steps up this issue and burns his hands bad trying to beam down Kirk and his landing party even after he warned them this was not a good idea and as well takes control of the Enterprise and tries his best to defeat the cloud and protect his fellow crew members. Spock is the true hero once more as his actions and quick thinking is what saves the day and gives him the idea of pulling a lever that activated the planets defense. The Cloud is just that a cloud that floats around space and spreads poisoned air and radiation to planets it passes by. The cover is pretty great and is very eye catching and the art inside is done by Mike Nasser and is really good! Over all a good issue but nothing special.

Marvel Star Trek 8

Star Trek # 8  **1/2
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #8 of 18

The Mox an alien race has attacked The Enterprise and has the ship in a force field that is also sending out electronic waves that is driving the crew mad with massive headaches as well as is draining their weapons and warp drives of energy and if this continues to much longer the ship will explode. Kirk and crew are in bad shape and when Spock is kidnapped and beamed aboard the enemy ship it is now not only a battle for survival but also now a rescue mission. Kirk, McCoy, Chekov as well as a few fellow crew members beam down to a near by planet that is populated by The Mox and start their rescue mission as the Enterprise is still in a bad way in space. While on the planet they are attacked with older style weapons from guns to spears and find another race is on the planet that as well are after The Mox! On the ship Professor Fowler is dying from a heart element as Dr. Christine Chapel tries to explain to her that the ship is stuck due to an attack and her life is in danger as she needs a heart transplant! On the planet Kirk soon finds out that the aliens that attacked them are called The Orgs and they are on a mission to attack The Mox who are really robots who are at war with the Orgs who they find threatening as they are battling over the planet they both share. In the end Spock is able to use his skills to free the Enterprise from the force field that was holding it and in turn Kirk uses the ships phasers to stun all The Orgs and with the help of Professor Fowler who sneaks herself onto the planet she with her new robotic heart is able to bring peace between The Mox and The Orgs and this mission comes to an end.

The war between machines and humanoids takes place in this Star Trek issue as they cant get along as one wants what the other has and the other lives in fear of what the other wants to take away. Kirk and the crew are under attack as well as The Mox who are the machines go on the attack and hold them at bay as they want to steal Spock who they think can talk to some simple creatures who have strong psychic powers that live on the planet and think they can protect them from the attacking Orgs who are planning to go to total war that night, so as you can see once more Spock is the main hero who not only helps The Enterprise escape the force field trap that is about to blow up the ship from the pressure but also helps stop the war that is about to break out. So what I have learned these eight issues so far is that while Captain Kirk is in charge the really hero in Marvel Comics eyes was Spock. Professor Fowler is a character who is very sick and is in need of a heart transplant who for some reason gets a second wind knocks out several crew members, hijacks the transporter room and beams herself to the planet as the war is going on, is able to get a robotic heart and stay on the planet and brings peace to the two feuding sides. But really you could have cut Fowler out and the story would have been just as impactful and a little less mashed up feeling. The cover has Spock being surrounded by The Mox and is ok and the art inside is done by the team of Dave Cockrum & Ricardo Villamonte and looks pretty good and the characters look like the actors pretty well. Over all another fun issue and shows that Star Trek and Marvel Comics made a good team to bring entertaining issues to readers hands.

Marvel Star Trek 9

Star Trek # 9  ***
Released in 1980   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #9 of 18

The Enterprise is heading for some down time and while heading back to a base station they find a missing federation ship named the Endeavor that has been missing for 22 years! They try to communicate with the ghost ship and get no response, but they do get attacked by the ship and must defend themselves and shot down the attacking ship. Once the Endeavor is down Kirk and crew beam aboard it and find the crew all long dead and killed by phaser shots, and worse one of the Enterprise crew members becomes possessed and tries to murder his friends! Spock and McCoy get the possessed crew member under control and they all head back aboard The Enterprise and learn from the ghost ships logs that a madness swept the ship and caused people to become murderous and savage after picking up an 89 year old woman who was supposed to have died at the age of 36 who is the grand mother of Enterprise crew member Karen Hester who is a zoologist and one time lover of Captain Kirk. The mission is clear now and Kirk along with Spock, McCoy and fellow crew head to the freezing cold planet and find that it held a secret and illegal lab that was conducting transporter beam experiments that caused many deaths and the possessed crew members have the spirit of those who died being guanine pigs and want to kill Karen as she is related to the head doctor who conducted these experiments. In the end Kirk figures out a way to trap the possessed spirits that call themselves Unity on the planet and blows up the secret lab with them inside and in the end the infected crew members are getting better and Karen transfers off The Enterprise as she still loves Kirk and knows she has to let him go.

This feels like an episode of the classic Star Trek series as the plot has a ghost Starfleet ship being taken over by the spirits of people who were killed during transporter experiments and now want revenge against the doctor who conducted them, who has long been dead and they confuse her relative and currant Enterprise crew member as their target and its up to Kirk to save the day. The Unity is the spirits and by all accounts they are very dangerous as they can force living people to turn on each other in fits of rage and don’t care about anything else besides revenge. Kirk is calm and shows why he is the captain of the Enterprise as he is quick witted and able to trick The Unity to it’s death as well as saves his infected crew members from a death that would be right around the corner, so for this issue Kirk is the true hero! Karen Hester is a woman who while a member of the Federation is really just hung up on Kirk as she dated him for three years and can not get over the fact they broke up, she is an interesting character as he grandmother was responsible for the deaths that made up The Unity. The rest of the crew are around and play background characters very well and add their own touches to the adventures that unfolds before us readers eyes. The cool thing about this issue is that it allows Kirk to be the hero and not Spock like so many other issues in this series has allowed. The cover is pretty cool as The Unity looks great, but the crew members look pretty sloppy. The art is done by Dave Cockrum & Frank Springer and looks good and fitting for this sci-fi comic based on a TV Show and Movie. Over all issue nine is really solid and one that was a great read and captured the mood and feel of Star Trek really well.

Marvel Star Trek 10

Star Trek # 10  **1/2
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #10 of 18

Captain Kirk is getting over the flu and worse the planet the Enterprise is researching is surrounded by magnetic fields and a ground team must take some readings form it’s surface. Spock and McCoy volunteer and after crashing on the planet thanks to the magnetic field they soon find themselves without a way to communicate with the Enterprise and have even stumbled upon a primitive race that is about to sacrifice a woman named Shulu to the dragon god, and after she escapes their grip she runs into Spock and McCoy to protect her from the angry tribe that want to see her dead! Spock and McCoy’s phasers clog up as well thanks to the magnetic field and while McCoy and the girl get away, Spock is captured and forced to be a slave to the Dragon Lizard worshiping tribe as McCoy along with the smaller tribe that Shulu comes from come up with a plan to rescue Spock that has McCoy teaching them how to make and use bow and arrows. A rescue mission happens and Spock is set free and the evil tribe leader is killed and McCoy soon learns that his new friends are just as cruel as the ones they over threw and Spock and McCoy find themselves once more being hunted as the new tribe in power turns on them for questioning their customs, in the end Kirk and a shuttle comes down and saves the pair from what would have been a for sure death at the hands of primitive humanoids.

This tenth issue adventure is pretty good but also feels a little lackluster and almost like a throwaway episode of the show as they stretch the plot out as long as they could and than padded the rest of the issue with looks at the uniforms and gear of crew members to meet the page count. The plot is this Spock and McCoy get stuck on a planet with primitive man and save the life of a young woman who was going to be killed to please a false god, Spock gets kidnapped and enslaved and this forces McCoy to team with the smaller tribe and break federation rules when he teaches them how to make new weapons and defeat their enemies and saves Spock. And before the pair is saved they learn that one mans evil ways just leads to more evil ways. Captain Kirk in this issues takes a back seat as he is sick with the flu and only in the end comes to his friends aid when they are late to report back to the Enterprise. Spock is noble and stays behind to save the life of the young woman and McCoy and becomes a slave for his deeds, Spock truly is a logical and iconic hero character. McCoy shows that he is a loyal friend to Spock as well as proves he will not stand by if human lives are in danger. The cover for this issue is great and makes it look like in the issue Spock was going to gladiator fight with a primitive man and while that would have been amazing and fit the tag line “ Spock…The Barbarian” it sadly did not live up to that epicness and instead we got a middle of the road fun story. The art in this issue is done by Leo Duranona and Klaus Janson and for the post part looks rushed and seems unfinished, and besides the ships and a few panels of crew members it’s the sloppiest work this far in the whole series up to this issue. To sum it up a cool read but by far the weakest issue this far, so lets just move on past this one.

Marvel Star Trek 11

Star Trek # 11  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #11 of 18

Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise watch the logs of another federation ship that’s crew was slowly killed by radiation and the effects it had on their bodies and minds. The Enterprise is to move Dr. Wentworth and his patients off a planet that could be effected by the radiation and must beam them all aboard and take them to a new location. First beamed aboard is a young lady named Andrea Manning who is the doctors assistant and who also has a unknown strange past with Scotty who seems sad and not to pleased to see her. With the guests now all aboard Dr. Wentworth tries his best to spill his mumbo jumbo on the crew about not taking orders and to live their own lives as it’s clear his clinic is not so much for healing, as it is a cult! In the engineering room a Witch from classic folklore attacks Scotty, knocks Kirk and Spock around plus kills two security officers before disappearing. The Witch’s name was “Black Annis” and was a myth from Scotty’s youth and after seeing it he has fallen into a bad state of fear that leaves Kirk, McCoy and Spock worried about his health and mental well being. Meanwhile Wentworth has used his power of persuasion on Sulu and Uhura and they have changed course from the Starfleet base to now a vacation planet and this angers Kirk who does not know why now his crew are not listening to his direct orders. After arresting those who are uprising against orders they soon find that more Scottish folklore monsters are after Scotty and that Andrea Manning is the one who is responsible for these terrors! As Spock and McCoy try to stop Andrea from bringing more monster to life, Kirk has it out with Wentworth who is on a quest to take over the Enterprise and spread his mind control across the galaxy…but this don’t end well for the Doctor as Kirk with a well placed punch leaves the old man knocked out on the floor. And after summing the Loch Ness Monster to attack the Enterprise, McCoy quickly sedates Andrea and the monster vanishes and they crew snap out of their brainwashed trances and deliver the Cult members to the Starfleet base.

This issue’s mission has Captain Kirk and crew going up against a Cult ran by a doctor who has the power to mind control and his assistant who can bring things form your memories to life and use against you. This has a real 60’s Manson Family and even Health But Guru feel to it as Dr. Wentworth the madman with the power of mind control wants to rule the galaxy and will use other to get it all the while faking spreading the message of being once self, when really your just being his puppet. Andrea Manning while a cult member and the doctors # 1 (as The Joker from the Tim Burton Film would say) has he own reasons for unleashing monsters from Scottish folklore onto the Enterprise as she is very upset with Scotty who was once her boyfriend and who dumped her for so he could focus on his career in Starfleet, and man she wants to mentally break him before she murders him as she tries her best to scare him to a state of 100% terror. Kirk handles his crew turning against his orders, his friend Scotty being scared out of his wits and a cult leader trying to steal his ship really well and gets to work out his frustration from all these things with one well placed and powerful punch to the cult leaders face. Scotty gets the worst of it all as the fears of his youth are used against him and all because he broke up with a young lady many years back. Crew members McCoy, Spock and Chekov all do their part to stop this sinister plan while poor Sulu and Uhura fall victim to mind control. Over all this is a very solid fun issue that had the right blend of action and science fiction sandwiched in-between a cool cover of the Enterprise under attack. The interior art was great and done by Joe Brozowski and Tom Palmer and could be my favorite art this far in the series as the characters look like the actors who played them and all side characters as well looked fantastic. This issue is making me look forward to the next issue mission as Marvel at this point in time is doing Star Trek justice in the world of comics.

Marvel Star Trek 12

Star Trek # 12  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #12 of 18

Janice Rand is now a Lt. Commander of the Icarus and is married to a Phaetonians alien named Kadan who is without a body and a energy ball inside of a pyramid case and along with more of his race they are about to take on a mission to travel to uncharted space, the downside is that Rand will be the only human aboard the ship and for the rest of her life she will not have any more human contact. This upsets Kirk who has had a past relationship with Rand, as he feels that not only her time in space alone is a bad idea but so is the fact that she is married to a alien with no body! After some words Kirk gives her his blessing on this mission that turns bad quick as the barrier drives the Phaetonians mad and now her once loving and logical husband Kadan is a madman who is controlling the starship that is now gone mad killing ships that get in its way, all the while Rand is now a prisoner! Rand during the impact with the barrier gains physic powers and sends a mind message for help to Spock and this causes Kirk to spring into action and try and save his one time woman and also the planet of the Phaetonians as Kadan plans on crashing the Icarus into it as he and the crew feel homesick! Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sulu beam aboard the Icarus and fight off traps and force fields until Spock is able to join minds with Kadan and save the planet and the Icarus crew from certain death. In the end the Phaetonians are taken to a mental asylum as they have gone mad, Janice Rand goes back to normal and is now safe and feels important as she helped Spock with Kadan’s mind meld as well as now she can divorce her husband and all ends well for Starfleet.

Captain Kirk has done it again as he on this mission not only saves a planet from destruction along with his crew but also hits on a married woman and by the end of the mission opens her mind up for a divorce! Kirk is a real ladies man as well as a great Captain and friend to those aboard his ship The Enterprise. Janice Rand is still hung up on Kirk and marries a alien who has no body, but does have a big brain and chooses to take on a mission that will have her dying in space with a ship with no human crew members! Her goal is to chart un-charted galaxies and to make an impact in her life time…but in the end does so as she truly does help Spock take control of her husbands mind who is the one controlling the out of control ship headed for impact with his home planet. Spock once more is the main man who saves the day as his mind meld technics is what allows them to take control of the ship and deliver it to a safe place. What really worked for his issue was the fact that the ships Enterprise and Icarus played cat and mouse games and the chase felt like a true episode of Star Trek! I also want to note that while Kirk and crew were on the Icarus the Enterprise was being commanded by Scotty who’s idea to save the planet was to wreck the two ships together killing everyone on board both ships, and the worst part is he was going through with the idea until Spock at the last moment was able to take control of the runaway starship! Over all while this issue is nothing to special it does have a great feel to it and I found myself enjoying reading the story as it unfolded. The cover is great and has Kadan in the center as well as an illusion of what his people use to look like above Kirk, Rand and Spock who are in pain over his power…very cool Marvel Comics stuff! The art inside is ok and is slightly sloppy in spots and is done by the team of Luke McDonnell and Tom Palmer and again while ok it does not have the appeal like the last issue did in the art department. Over all our 12 mission with the crew of the Enterprise and Marvel is well done and shows that comics based on Movies and TV Shows can be done right when in the hands of creators who care.

Marvel Star Trek 13

Star Trek # 13  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #12 of 18

Hephaestus is a resort planet filled with peace, as it’s a neutral zone and important minerals wanted by the Federation so Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise is sent down to get permission form the planets president named Mukii and talks go well as he agrees for them to mine the minerals they need. But also on the planet is Klingon Commander Kagg and his crew who want to talk Mukii and his people out of helping the Federation and more allow them to protect them and act as their allies. As tension between Federation crew and Klingon crew heat up leaving Chekov in a fistfight with a very rude Klingon who was abusing a native of Hephaestus, this resort planet is slowly turning into a war zone. As Dr. McCoy enjoys a drink at the bar he is approached by his estranged daughter Joanna who lets out her rage on her father who in turn tries to defend is actions and even meets her ill Vulcan soon to be husband Suvak who during the argument passes out! The fight leaves the native Hephaestus dead and both the Klingon and Chekov in jail, with Dr. McCoy and Dr. Chapel having to perform an autopsy on the dead primate man learning that a chip is what gives them intelligence, and when Kagg shows up the plan is revealed that the Klingons want to take over the planet and want to know were the secret base that makes the chips that makes the Hephaestus people smart is and has found it and placed a bomb in the factory to blow it up and stop the only source for the chips to be made! In Kaggs escape he takes nurse Joanna McCoy hostage and this leaves to Spock and Kirk trying to track him down, as Dr. McCoy and Dr. Chapel stay with Suvak who is dying and shows true love and courage as he goes to his loves aid in the factory and holds Kagg at bay as Kirk and the rest of the crew are beamed aboard the Enterprise, but not before Kirk sends the blueprints of making the chips to his ship. The factory blows up killing Suvak and Kagg in the process. In the end the rift between Joanna and Dr. McCoy is even wider as her love is now dead, but words from Spock speak logic to Bones who ends up ending the issue beaming down to speak to his daughter and rebuild their relationship.

This is like classic Star Trek meets classic Planet Of The Apes as the natives of Hephaestus are smart ape people who look and dress a lot like the apes from that film series wrapped up into one classic Marvel Comic issue. The plot of this issue has the Enterprise having a showdown with Klingons on a natural planet that is run by smart primate people who are being targeted by the Klingons as they want to take over their planet and by the Federation who wants to have them as allies and use some of their land for mining. And throw is a couple of murders of the Hephaestus people as well as the drama of Dr. McCoy seeing his daughter after many years of being at odds as well as the fact she wants to marry a Vulcan who is dying and you have this action back issue wrapped up. While Kirk and Spock are the main focus of the hero part of the issue and both risk their lives to save the Hephaestus people, it’s Dr. McCoy who steals the show as his drama with his daughter and the raw emotions of hating the fact she is marring a Vulcan is what drives the issue into being more than just another space adventure and rescue comic. Joanna McCoy has followed in the footsteps of her father as she is a nurse, but her feelings toward her father are every bitter and she does not respect him nor want him in her life! The Klingons lead by Commander Kagg are as blood thirsty as ever and kill and bully their way into trying to conquer and take what they want, but as always they fail and end up one the bad end of the outcome. The Hephaestus is a race of Primate Aliens who have gotten their smarts from Aliens who visited their planet years back and gave them chips in the back of their necks that allowed them to become smart, I dig the fact that with smarts came the want to make money as they turned their planet into one giant spa! The cover is great and has Kagg holding a gun to Joanna McCoy’s head and Kirk and Spock about to spring into action to save her! The interior art is done once more by the team of Tom Palmer and Joe Brozowski and looks great! Over all another great issue and proved that Jim Shooter who was the Editor In-Chief during this time was one of the best things to happen to Marvel Comics, a great read about a fun mission from the crew of The Enterprise.

Marvel Star Trek 14

Star Trek # 14  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #14 of 18

The Enterprise has found a planet that looks like ancient Egypt and it’s about to be in the patch of a lethal meteor shower that will leave any living thing dead. Kirk, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura, Chekov and many more crew members beam down to look for life and warn them of the coming doom from the sky while Scotty, Spock and a small handful of others stay aboard the Enterprise to monitor the approaching meteor storm. While on the planet Kirk is possessed by the spirit of Menteptah II a long dead pharaoh who watches as the Enterprise crew have to fight off a giant sphinx robot that they finally bring down by blowing its head off with their phasers, but the crew themselves are soon on the end of a phaser blast as the possessed Kirk blasts them and keeps them hostage. Kirk then takes his new prisoners communicators and destroys them as he thinks they can help him bring his long dead people back to life, but he missed one as McCoy had taken one off of a security officer that was killed during the battle with the giant robot. When caught using it McCoy is stunned and he and Sulu are taken to a primitive sick bay that has the hole crew getting iv’s filled with drugs that will make them slaves to the possessed Kirk who has already conned Uhura into thinking she was his queen. Spock beams down to the planet and snaps Kirk back into reality as McCoy escapes the sick bay and uses modern medicine to snap the crew out of their brainwashing. The mummies come alive as they were just normal men in a state of long slumber and are beamed off the planet to a safe location away from the meteors and harmful sun radiation that was effecting their planet. Kirk and Spock were also able to save Scotty and the Enterprise that was hit by a powerful shrinking ray fired off by one of the pyramids when they figure out the ancient computer system that controls the plants defense system. In the end everyone is back to normal and once more the crew of The Enterprise has saved the day.

“Captain Kirk and the Curse of the Space Pharaoh” is what I nicknamed this issue that has Kirk being possessed by a dead pharaoh and controlled by an Egyptian God statue who wants to use the Enterprise crew to wake up his followers that have been asleep for decades. When Captain Kirk first goes to the planet he is doing so with a noble cause as he wants to save anyone that may be on the planet from the approaching meteor shower of death, but once he gets possessed he becomes a madman with power who wants slaves and wants to please his God by doing what he commands. If not for Spock Kirk and most of the Enterprise crew would have been in a trance and no longer themselves forever! Spock for most the issue hangs out on the Enterprise with Scotty and a skeleton crew, but once he hears the message from McCoy he becomes a one man army as he beams down and rescues the day. I also like the side story of the Enterprise shrinking due to a pyramid laser ray as it adds even more adventure and drama as Scotty is in total danger. The cover is classic early 80’s Marvel and the art inside is done by Luke McDonnell and Gene Day and looks fantastic! Over all this is another solid and good issue and holds the magic of the TV Show and the Characters and is worth the read for sure.

Marvel Star Trek 15

Star Trek # 15  **1/2
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #15 of 18

Captain Kirk calls a meeting in his room and when McCoy and Spock show up they are greeted by a monster who shocks them, but they soon learn that its just Kirk in a costume and that many of the crew will be wearing them as they are going undercover on a prison world! Their mission is for a four man team to act as guards and break into the death row section of the planet where prisoners are killed in brutal ways no matter the crime they committed, the second part of the mission will follow after the success or failure of the first part of the mission. The Enterprise captures the real guard ship and Spock uses mild melding to calm them and sends them back home as members of the Enterprise will be taking their place as the mission is now told as they are looking for a young man named Tak who went missing heading for the prison planet and they need to bring him back safe and find out why he went their in the first place. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Uhura put on the costumes and head for their mission were they run across just how brutal the planet and its executions really are. While sent out to find a missing prisoner Kirk and the crew find Tak as well as are busted by a guard they must knock out and leave in a ditch! Tak informs them that he wants to die on this planet as an accident he had while drunk left his true love dead! Tak once more runs away before he can be rescued and shape shifts into a prisoner about to be executed and is saved my Kirk and crew again only for they themselves to be saved by the guard they knocked out who kills the evil warden and takes over the prison and wants to run it way different. Kirk and crew along with Tak are beamed aboard the Enterprise and Tak is set to get the mental help he needs.

This fifteenth issue in this Marvel Comic series of Star Trek issues is a good read, but could be one of the weakest this far next to maybe issue ten. The issues plot has the Enterprise crew going on a top-secret mission in a territory that is hostile and must save a young alien man who has went missing on a planet that is the galaxies worst prison with the most brutal death row! Kirk tells his crew that this mission is one they can by no way connect to the federation so if they must die in order to protect their employer so be it! The crew is wearing goofy costumes most the issue, besides Kirk who’s mask is ripped off so the good old captains face is seen by not only the prison guards but also us readers. The Warden is super evil and gets pleasure in watching the killing of his prisoners as he finds that they do not deserve respect in life or death, but he meets his maker by the hands of his own guard who puts a phaser blast hole in his back as he wants to change the evil ways of the planet. The cover for this issue is pretty good as it makes it look as if Captain Kirk has turned into The Devil as the crew look on fearful! The interior art is pretty sloppy and weak and is done by Gil Kane, and that’s shocking as his work for the most part was pretty good in other Marvel and DC Comics. While this issue is not terrible and was an enjoyable read, I just found it to get semi generic and nothing special. I do like how it has a message of don’t drink or do drugs and drive as it could lead to death! To sum it up this issue is like a throw away episode of the TV series and while worth the read will be one that you would rate lower.

Marvel Star Trek 16

Star Trek # 16  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel   #16 of 18

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Chekov, a security guard and Themon (who is Chekov’s girlfriend) beam down to a federation planet for its annual check-up to its people but what they find instead is a tribe of trolls who attack them and kidnap Themon! Before the battle gets to fierce McCoy and an injured Troll are beamed aboard the Enterprise so they can study what they are! While Kirk and the crew fight on against the trolls they are saved by gnomes that are lead by Torval who informs them that the colony people of this planet they were looking for are dead and eaten by the trolls! Kirk and his crew are lead to a cave were the trolls live in order to try and save Themon, while aboard the Enterprise beamed up with the now un-needed supplies are two bat riding trolls who attack and are quickly captured when the crew learn they are powerless with out their hats on and once this happens they turn back into gnomes! When Kirk and crew find Themon she is trying to communicate to the trolls who are far less hostile now and seems to understand what they crew are saying! Meanwhile McCoy figures out the real trolls are in fact people and with some medicine they will turn back normal and he comes down to the planet and transforms the trolls back to normal. Kirk and Spock put two and two together and figure out Torval and his gnomes are the real bad guys who have set this whole thing up, in the end they defeat the gnomes who explain that only four of their race are alive and they just wanted a place to be left alone, and they get it as the leave them be and transport the colony away and all ends well.

This issue pits Kirk and the Enterprise against Trolls and Gnomes on a planet that was set for research and once the smoke clears they find that the gnomes whom they thought were allies are in fact the enemies who are using hat magic to destroy and trick those who stand in their way of living on the planet alone! Kirk in this issues is leading not only the ship but the landing party and seems to be is a world of disbelief as he jokes off the fact that they are being attacked and saved by creatures of Earth folklore. Not sure why he is acting like those who are stating and believe what they are seeing is real are crazy, he just does. Nice to see Chekov used more in this issue and even given a girlfriend in the blue skinned Themon who seems to be just as into Chekov as he is into her. The rest of the crew serve their purpose with McCoy being the real hero as he figures out the cure to make the trolls back to normal and saving them from a terrible life. The Gnomes who get their power from the their hats are few in numbers with only four being all that’s left of their race, but when their little minds are together they can kill and disrupt to get their way of wanting to live in peace. The Trolls are savages at first but once they can calm down and understand what the Enterprise crew is saying they become as gentle as babies. The threat in this issue while small still packs a great adventure feel to it as the gnomes try their best to even crush the crew and trolls alive with a cave in! The cover is eye catching and the art inside is done by Luke McDonnell and is ok but in some spots is really bad as one panel has Kirk looking like Sloth from the film The Goonies, as he eyes are weird and off center. Over all another fun Marvel Trek mission that was well worth the read and highly entertaining for fans of the TV Show and the movies.

Marvel Star Trek 17

Star Trek # 17  ***
Released in 1981   Cover Price .50   Marvel    #17 of 18

The Enterprise is called to a planet where a federation satellite crashed, and its fuel may cause the atmosphere to become toxic when coming in touch with the air. To see if the fuel has affected the air Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to the planet that is very primitive in nature much like medieval times.  A young child witnesses them beaming down and believes they are angels. While in town McCoy heads to the town’s hospital that is a barbaric house of pain and suffering as the sick are not cured but left to heal by the hands of faith. While Kirk and Spock make the mistake of talking to a old man who studies the stars, the townspeople think they are evil so they are attacked and taken away, and when they discover Spock’s pointed ears they think he is a devil. McCoy finds that the air is poisoned and that the sick and elderly are being affected, but he as well is arrested and branded a devil worshiping evildoer.  The young child is also captured as they think she is mindlessly following the evil ones, and Gorman, who is the star researcher, saves her from being tortured and causes the holy warrior guards to give chase tricking them to leave and making it easier for Gorman and the young child visit Kirk and Spock in their cell and give them back their broken equipment that they use to free themselves, but sadly they must leave McCoy behind as he is in another cell and informs them that the air is turning toxic and they must get the Enterprise to drop the anti toxin into the atmosphere before it’s too late. In the end Kirk saves McCoy, who is about to be drowned by the Holy Warriors that think he is a witch, as Spock is able to contact the Enterprise by making a primitive radio that alerts them to drop the antidote right on time. In the end Kirk, Spock and McCoy return to the Enterprise, and Gorman and the young girl know that science is the way to cure and create things to better mankind.

This issue’s mission lands Kirk and select crew on a planet that is much like the medieval era where superstition runs wild and people still think witches and devil are out to get them.  In reality, the ones they target just understand science and want to use it to better mankind in its quest to evolve and cure illness and understand the world around them. This issue reminds me a lot of the third Evil Dead film “Army Of Darkness” as the future seems to clash with the past and by the end it all mashes together for the better. Kirk, Spock and McCoy put themselves in danger in order to find out if the planet’s people are in trouble from toxic air thanks once more to the federation who goofed up and wants the Enterprise to be the clean up crew in secret to protect its reputation. The people of the planet are so into superstition that they are on a witch hunt and are clueless that the air around them is slowly killing them. Gorman and the little girl are great side characters as they are clearly the only ones smart enough to figure out Kirk and crew are their to help and even are the key to how Spock and Kirk free themselves from the jail. The story feels like a classic 1960’s episode of the TV show, and once more, Marvel showed that they could do science fiction right when based on a popular franchise. The cover on this issue is okay and while not really showcasing what the issue was about, is eye catching to Trekkies for sure. The interior art this time around is being done by Ed Hannigan and looks pretty good like your typical B-Title art from Marvel. Over all this issue was great and a fun read that captured the silliness and epic nature of Star Trek missions.  So what I am saying is this issue was good stuff.

Marvel Star Trek 18

Star Trek # 18  ***
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Marvel   #18 of 18

The Enterprise is being blocked by a giant ship planet that sends over probes that allows it to beam aboard both Kirk and Spock.  They meet a giant robot named Sustainer who informs them that he wishes them no harm and needs their help, but this help will have one returning to the Enterprise and will leave the other dead. Before they can get answers, Kirk and Spock find themselves on opposing pirate ships.  Kirk dies saving Spock’s life when a piece of the ship falls and crushes him. As Spock carries his dead friend and Captain, the Sustainer informs him that he can bring Kirk back to life.  This confuses the pair even more as they escape the sick bay and find they are now in some sort of mechanical maze, that this time leaves Spock dead and resurrected. Sustainer brings Kirk and Spock to the bridge of his planet ship and shows them the Enterprise on the screen and starts to use his ships power to heat up the Enterprise, slowly cooking the crew alive! The only way he will stop this massacre is if Kirk or Spock give their life for them and this time the death will be final, Spock uses the nerve pinch on Kirk and volunteers death for the lives of his fellow crew members, but Kirk awakes just in time and once more saves Spock from death’s grip. Sustainer is happy this has happened as he never wanted to kill and was only stealing the emotion of friendship and doing great things for others as his creators are in sleep chambers on this ship.  They are greedy and self centered, and by stealing these emotions from Spock and Kirk, he can now install those feelings into his creators making them a better race. In the end Sustainer sends Kirk and Spock back to the Enterprise, and all ends well as the galaxy is shaping up to be a better place for all alien races.

The final Marvel Comic mission has a message about loyalty, sacrifice and helping others in need and is told between Kirk and Spock who are being tested by a giant robot who in turn is trying to use emotions to teach his creators a better way to live their lives instead of being selfish. Kirk and Spock have respect for each other as fellow Starfleet members but also are close friends as they clearly would risk their own lives to save each other from danger and death. The rest of the crew of the Enterprises sadly are just pawns in this game of stealing emotions and self sacrifice as they are trapped in a tracking beam and later are almost cooked to death like sardines in a can. Sustainer is a giant robot that is loyal to his creators and yet knows that they are flawed and that their own selfish nature is what has lead to their almost complete extinction. His plan for help is to trick Kirk and Spock into doing tests that always leave one person dead.  Each time the death comes from a selfless act in order to help the other, as Sustainer is taking that emotion and thought process and pumping it into the sleep chambers of his creators in hope it will make them better beings. It’s strange that this story is how they decided to end the Star Trek Marvel Comic series with a moral meaning issue and not a battle with the Klingons or some other alien race, as I would have liked to have seen maybe a few more aliens from the TV show make an appearance during this 18 issue run. While Marvel only ran Star Trek for 18, far less than the 107 made for Star Wars, it still was a fun and high quality science fiction comic adventure that took classic characters and allowed them to battle Klingons, fight gnomes and even find a haunted house planet to keep their mission going and act as a way to keep fans happy as they waited for the next movie to come out in the series. The cover is okay and informs you that this was the final issue in the series and showcases Kirk and Spock in a mind meld.  The final issue art duty went to Joe Brozowski, and you could tell he gave it time and respect. Being a long time fan of Star Trek I will say that while I highly enjoyed this comic series, it does have flaws like odd character attitude changes and cheesy missions, but if you like fun with your Trek I would say make sure to give this series a read. Below is some art from this series and yes it’s all taken from when they fought the monsters as it combined two things I really love lots: Star Trek and monsters!

Marvel Star Trek Art 1Marvel Star Trek Art 2Marvel Star Trek Art 3

This month I covered things that I was a huge fan of in my youth and still am to this day including Horror Host show Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grampa, Sunday Funnies iconic character Dick Tracy and last but not least sci-fi mainstay TV and movie franchise Star Trek.  It was a blast going back to my past and re-visiting my past memories and joys that these media characters gave me and still do. Our next update will be our first in our countdown to Halloween and will take us out of the unknowns of space and into the deep blue ocean as we take a look at Jaws 2 and the Marvel Comic adaptation of the film.  So until then, make sure to take a few moments and give some thought to movies, TV shows, comics, music, books, video games, horror hosts and most importantly the people who have been impactful on your life and helped shape you into the person you are today. So read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host, and I’ll see you on Amity Island for our next Jawsome update.

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I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost Of Dracula

Welcome back, readers!  I know that one of the top questions on your mind is what did I do for Friday The 13th in September 2013…did I go to Cap’n Johnny’s Whiz Bang at Gillys Jazz Club to see bands Nightbeast and Todd The Fox with performers like Sunny Wonderland? Nope. Did I stay home and watch Horror Host Riggor Mortiss on DATV hosting the film Five? Nope. What I did was something I love to do, going to a haunted location in Ohio with friends to see if we can experience anything from the unknown.  That night we decided to go to Fudge Road in Gratis, Ohio. Fudge Road is spoken of as being filled with legend and myth, and depending on who you talk to, it’s either the most haunted road in all of Ohio or is a road that is filled with nothing but B.S. stories. Now before I get into the story of us going there and what we saw or didn’t see, I want to give you all a little run down of all the odd things/creatures/people that are suppose to be on the road.

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Cry Baby Bridge

Every small town has this legend.  The small village of Gratis is no exception, and has a few stories about the bridge. One is that sometime in the 1800’s, a mother tossed her baby over the bridge, and the infant’s spirit is suppose to haunt the cold waters below. Another ghost that is supposed to haunt the bridge is that of a truck driver who drove his rig off the side of the narrow road and into the ditch near the bridge, and he died at the scene. Another legend speaks of the ghost of a woman who was killed on the bridge by a biker gang who beat her with baseball bats even knocking one of her eyes out.  She is said to haunt the bridge and the woods around the bridge. The most famous ghosts of the bridge are those of a mother and child.  When the child passed away, the mother was so struck with grief that she hung herself on the bridge, and now late at night you are supposed to park on the bridge and say “Mama” three times and wait to hear a baby cry and sometimes see the ghost of the woman who in turn seems to be looking for her child. Also some people who have gone to this haunted bridge have claimed that they have seen dead animals such as deer and dogs hung up and gutted hanging by the neck from the rails under the bridge!

White Fur Monster

The Cocker/White Fur Monster

The Cocker is a white furred humanoid, Bigfoot-type creature who is said to have been spotted numerous times around the woods near the “Midget House”. The creature is known to make loud high pitched screams sounding like a woman and seems to not have a pattern on when and what time to witness it. Some accounts say that the creature is more of a killer and is known for killing animals and leaving their mangled bodies as a warning to all those who enter his domain. The creature is said to be about 6 foot tall with long white hair all over and is ape-like in appearance. Some also think that this creature is from another dimension and moves through portals and that’s why it’s seen less than other spooky “attractions” on the road.

Fudge road Midget house

The Midget House

There is a strange tiny house that sits back aways from the road on a plot of land that is said to be a place that houses giant pigs or also sometimes reported dogs that are used in scarifies for witches and or the KKK. The pigs in some stories also are said to be man-eaters, and those who trespass on the land could find themselves in their bellies! The house is said to also be a source of evil, and those who walk around it get odd feelings and feel as if they are being watched. The white furred Cocker monster has been spotted around it a few times making it a major source in spotting it. The house cannot be seen at night via the road as it has no lights in or around it and is surrounded by a barbwire fence. Also around this part it’s said that a barn sits somewhere nearby that was the site of 17 teens who were murdered. The Midget House location is one of the most popular attractions on the road next to Cry Baby Bridge.

Fudge Road Old Lady

Crazy Old Witch Lady

The locals of Fudge Road don’t like wanna-be “ghost hunters” or thrill seeking teens to drive up and down the road, and one of the worst for hating these people is a shotgun carrying old woman who also video tapes everyone that drives up and down and also is known to chase them down the dark and narrow road. She is said to own all the houses on the road besides one and that many of the houses are really empty but she leaves a lamp on in each to make it look as if someone is home. Some reports have her riding around with an older man in a black/red truck and chasing people down the narrow road video taping and firing guns in the air as warning shots. Some reports also have her hiding in the woods and the corn fields on the road ready to call the police or even fire her trusty shotgun at you. Many say that she is a witch and that she is known for killing animals and having large satanic gatherings in the woods and can place curses on those who drive down her road. Is she a witch or just a batty old lady with a shotgun? All that’s really known is it’s not safe to ask her!

Fudge Road Baby on Bridge

So on that Friday The 13th after work around 8:15pm at night Stephen Alexander II, Josh Weinberg and myself decided to go visit a haunted place for the night.  We went through a list of possible locations that included the classics like Carpenter’s Road and Frankenstein’s Castle, but Fudge Road ended up being the winner so we piled into Stephen’s white Lumina and headed out to the famed road in Gratis.  On the ride there, I used Stephen’s smart phone to look up stories to read aloud in the car to help build the mood of the spooky road we were about to visit. We found the road with no issues and turned onto it.  On one side was a farmhouse with lots of land and a shed, while on the other side was a massive corn field.  We made jokes about Children Of The Corn and even killer Scarecrows as we slowly drove down it keeping our eyes open for a white furred monster, ghosts and yes, the crazy old lady with a shotgun! As we reached the bridge, we saw that it was blocked off.  So we turned around all hyped on just how creepy this smaller part of the road was. and we knew we had to find the other end of the road to see what spooky horrors it held. We stopped at a small gas station and filled up with gas and some drinks and headed back out to find the road. After driving a few minutes, we found the other side of the road and traveled down it.  The road was dark, and the worst part was the road was barely big enough even for one car, let alone two! We passed a carload of kids who were leaving the area and clearly were also there to find a good scare, and they were nice enough to pull all the way over to allow us to get past them and get deeper down the dark road. The sites from the road were odd as many of the houses did seem empty with just one single light on in each, making me wonder if the crazy old lady really did own most of the road. We past one house that was boarded up with a big fence around it as well as no trespassing police tape, but it was clear that someone or something had lifted part of the fence to allow people to sneak onto the land. Some parts of the road had some wicked turns and with it being pitch black and both sides covered with deep woods, you had to pay more attention more where you were driving. When we made it to the other side of the closed up Cry Baby Bridge, we parked the car and we all got out.  While Steve and Josh walked over to the bridge, I began snapping pictures around the car wanting to get as much of the creepy atmosphere as I could so that I could share it here on Rotten Ink. The Bridge was covered with graffiti with words like R.I.P and a number of names, and as I snapped pics, a flash of light went off in the woods near the car. I waited and saw it again…it was super fast and almost reminded me of a cellphone being awoken from sleep mode.  So I alerted the guys, and we headed back to the car and got out of dodge! We began talking about what we thought the light could be, and I stuck with my cellphone theory.  As we pulled out of the road we noticed a cop drove by, turned on Fudge Road and blocked it from anyone else going down it.  I truly think that the light was the Crazy Old Woman calling the cops on us! On the way home, we talked about the creepy feel of the road and wanted to find another haunted location to visit.  We ended up not going to another and while we have talked about going back to Fudge Road, we never have made the journey back. While we didn’t see any white furred monsters or even giant pigs in a tiny house, we did, it seems, have contact with the Old Lady of the road, and while no shotguns or car chases happened, it’s clear as day she doesn’t want you around. Below are some of the pics I took that night of the road near the bridge as well as the Corn field straight out of Children Of The Corn.

Fudge Road CornFudge Road BridgeFudge Road Woods

But enough of Fudge Road, let’s talk about Count Dracula also known as TV’s Count Dracula of “Horror Incorporated” that ran from 2000-2002 on Channel 45 in Minneapolis. Count Dracula began his hosting career in 1984 on a show called “Count Dracula Presents” that lasted for two years on Channel 29 out of Minneapolis, and after the show ended, he came back to TV and did a few more shows before landing the host gig on Horror Incorporated that for years was a un-hosted program.  This was in 2000, and for two solid years he hosted the show with his vampire charm. I just wanted to make you readers aware of Count Dracula and don’t want to spew too much knowledge about him just yet because who knows, maybe in the future I’ll do a Horror Host Icon update about him!

Count Dracula (host)

As you all know, I am a video game player and enjoy sitting with my controller in hand and playing the newest Resident Evil or WWE game on a big TV screen. Growing up during the good old days of handheld games, I always found myself not buying a Gameboy, Game Gear or even an Atari Lynx and would choose a console game or even a Tiger Handheld game instead. So this last winter, my girlfriend Juliet’s mom and dad gave us an Apple iPad, and the only thing we use it for is games. Juliet plays a game called Smurf Village, and I play Simpsons Tapped Out and an odd little gem called Zombie Cafe, where you build a cafe and have zombies and monsters act as your waiters! As of June 13th 2014 I have a total of 6 main waiters on staff that include Mummy Fritz, Female Mummy Megan, Zombie Hipster Gary, Female Zombie Eliza, Zombie Construction Worker Jason and my long time staff zombie Alex. This game is silly and a way to waste time on a bored night. The game also allows you to send your workers to another cafe and attack them and some of these cafes are owned by the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster! If you’re looking for a fun, simple and free game to play on your iPad, I would say check this on out. Below are most of my staff minus Mummy Megan as she joined the staff a little later on.

Zombie Cafe Workers

Growing up, for one Christmas I got some Imperial Universal Monster toys for The Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster, and I loved them and played with them a lot.  I even have them to this day, and then when Juliet and I went to Monster Bash this year I was able to finally get my hands on The Mummy.  With him I was only missing one of the figures from the series so I pulled the trigger and ordered it from Ebay and that figure was for the Vampire King Count Dracula! The figure has a very loose likeness to Bela Lugosi and stands taller than The Mummy. The figure I was able to win at opening bid of .99 due to some paint loss to its fingers and hair, but over all I think its a nice display figure. If you’re a classic Universal Monster fan and collect action figures based on them make sure to check out the Imperial line.  They fit in very nicely with your Remco and Marx figures. Check out the pic below for what the Dracula figure looks like.

Imperial Dracula Toy

Now that we talked about Fudge Road a haunted location in Ohio, iPad game Zombie Cafe and a little about Horror Host Count Dracula, I think it’s time we get to the main attraction, Eternity Comics’ mini series called Ghost of Dracula! Now I have to be honest many years back when I was a teen I had some of these issues from this mini series that I got from Mavericks, but when I could not find all the issues I never fullly read them and they got sold way back when with almost all my comics to pay rent for me and my then girlfriend Misty. So it being 2014 and getting the whole set thanks to Dark Star Books, I can finally read the whole series. Just a friendly reminder I graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s sit back and see what kind of Ghosts Dracula has, and if we should also call the Ghostbusters for him!

Ghosts of Dracula 1

Ghosts of Dracula  # 1  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #1 of 5

The year is 1925, and the city is London as a man named Mr. Beck is asking for help not to fall asleep from a doctor who in turns makes the mistake of drugging the patient who then transforms and kills his would be savior. Meanwhile in New York, Count Dracula is roaming the streets and snacking on people late at night! In Amsterdam, Professor Van Helsing is dealing with his wife who has slowly slipped into madness and is in an asylum, and returns to London when a rash of murders breaks out that has victims with ripped out throats. Dracula meets Harry Houdini who exposes a fraud medium, and the two exchange stories of trying to contact old loved ones.  Dracula turns into a bat and disappears as Van Helsing finds that Mr. Beck, his old friend, is in fact the killer and is a demon! Dracula barely makes it back to his coffin in time and it’s shown he has a female vampire named Ellen who he does not care for but uses her to keep his coffin safe.

This is a fun issue, and a great way to kick off a mini series based on Count Dracula! I love the way it has numerous stories going at once and not only shows you what Dracula is doing but also shows that a demon killer is on the loose and shows all the crappy stuff that is going on in an aging Van Helsing’s life. The addition of real life magician Henry Houdini is also bad ass and a great way to keep a person like me truly interested in the story. The issue’s plot is this: London has a killer that is a demon, and Van Helsing goes to stop him thinking it to be Dracula, while Dracula himself is in America looking for a way to contact his old love. I also like Ellen who is clearly crazy and wants nothing more than to be a full fledged wife of Dracula, all the while he wants nothing to do with her and treats her like a cheap porn star! The art work is that pure 1990’s independent horror comic look, and Count Dracula has short curly style black hair and a classic 70’s porn mustache and looks like the love child of Burt Reynolds and Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Van Helsing looks like a crazy old man, a perfect look for an aging hero. Over all I dig the art work and think that issue 1’s cover is just okay. I am looking forward to see where this story goes. Oh I should also say that for a horror comic this has very little blood and is more of a story driven issue than a blood bath.

Ghosts of Dracula  2

Ghosts of Dracula  # 2  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #2 of 5

Harry Houdini is a mess after seeing Dracula and comes to grips that vampires are real, but in acting strange, he is pushing is girlfriend Bess away! While Dracula himself is hung up on Lucy (from the novel), Ellen uses her blood and charms to seduce the vampire king, but makes the mistake of mentioning Lucy causing Dracula to freak out and set her free no longer in his control or bond.  This leads to Ellen jumping off a cliff to her death. Van Helsing meanwhile tries to get an ageing friend to help him in his Dracula/demon hunt and is turned down and returns home to find Mr. Beck there asking for help! Houdini, after one of his shows, gets information about a person who can help him, but is warned by Dracula not to go and if he does death awaits him. In the end we see that the man Houdini is supposed to meet with his Van Helsing and the threat from Dracula does not work as he prepares to travel to London. Meanwhile at the town morgue, Ellen is alive and well and is now a fully fledged vampire!

Issue two slows the pace a little, and with this much story, it makes sense to flesh out the true missions of each of the characters. I like how it’s clearly showing that Harry Houdini is being geared up to be the mini series’ hero and Van Helsing seems to be spinning his wheels and knowing he is too old to do this alone.  Also I am not 100% sure yet, but I think the friend he goes to and asks for help from was none other than Sherlock Holmes! While the issue does not say the detective’s name, his look and hat are a giveaway, and I hope that this is looked at further in the series. Dracula in this issue seems to be an emotional mess and has Lucy on the brain; he even makes the mistake of giving into Ellen who he hates! Plus love the fact Dracula could kill Houdini but doesn’t because he respects him as a human.  Wow, Dracula must love magic in order to spare his life! Mr. Beck almost seems like a Jeykell and Hyde type character as the good side wants help and the evil side just wants to kill. The art is still great in this one, and this time they add a tiny bit of blood and the cover is a tad bit better than issue 1’s. Over all the story in this one is good but a little crammed making this one a solid issue just not as impactful. I can’t wait to see what issue 3 has in store and hope that these characters all start interacting I mean a Dracula and Mr. Beck demon fight could be epic! So let’s get onto issue 3.

Ghosts of Dracula  3

Ghosts of Dracula  # 3  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #3 of 5

Both Dracula and Houdini cross the sea to Europe to get the answers they seek. Van Helsing takes Beck to a church where there is a young girl named Angelica who has the power to heal anyone she comes across that needs to be saved, but each time the young girl does this she herself becomes more and more weak and even gets the wounds of Christ. Not to be left behind, Ellen also comes across the sea to be close to her beloved Vampire King! Beck is taken to the church’s dungeon where he once more turns into the evil Demon and scares all the nuns as Van Helsing gets a late night visit from Dracula who now has Houdini as his servant after he forces him to do his bidding! Dracula and Helsing meet outside on a cold snow filled night in a epic stare down.

Wow, this issue takes some twist and turns and takes Harry Houdini who you think is going to be the hero of the series and turns him into Dracula’s slave! I didn’t see that coming at all, and in fact, you find yourself cheering for Harry to break the spell. Dracula in this issue is pissed and kills a bunch of sailors and dock workers letting everyone know that he is not to be messed with. Ellen as well shows a little more of a mean streak and kills a young woman who is thinking of suicide and takes a dock worker who has a family as her slave. Beck as the demon is one scary soul stealing creature of hell, and when even being inside a holy place doesn’t seem to bother him, you know Van Helsing has his hands full. Speaking of Van Helsing, old age seems to have slowed him down a little, but he still is a warrior of fighting for good. Angelica is an interesting character that is as pure as snow and seems to be a young woman with such amazing power. The story is starting to heat up, and now all in one place are Dracula, Van Helsing, Demon Beck, Angelica and Houdini so let’s just get into issue 4 and see what big battle is about to go down! Oh yeah, the art work is still good, but this cover is a little lame and has zero to do with the comic.

Ghosts of Dracula 4

Ghosts of Dracula  # 4  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #4 of 5

Demon Beck has escaped and has kidnapped Angelica and taken her to a castle that belongs to Dracula! A horrified nun runs out in the middle of the Dracula and Van Helsing stare down and tells them that Angelica is gone.  The two along with Houdini put all their differences aside and decide to team up to save the young girl who is the key to something they all want or need. For Van Helsing, she is the key to saving the soul of his friend Beck; for Houdini she is the key to talk to his dead mother and for Dracula it’s so he can talk to Lucy, his lover who died many years back. Ellen travels to Dracula’s castle and has visions of what, why and how Dracula became the vampire he is to this day, but while there she sees the demon and tries to save the young girl and get this demon out of her master’s house.  She fails as Dracula and crew come in and challenge the demon!

This is a good issue that serves as mostly the back story of Dracula, and while it’s cool and a fun read, I almost feel they just added this all in as filler and to get one more issue out for this mini series so that it would be one issue longer. Dracula and Van Helsing having to team up to save Angelica is a cool concept and makes one wonder what if Universal or Hammer decided to do this in their films, how would fans have taken that idea. Plus it’s nice that already Houdini has broken the hold Dracula has on him and is like yeah, this ain’t happening no more. Ellen once more shows that she is way too in love with Dracula who up to this point uses her and dislikes her to the point of hate, but it is cool to see her try and take a stand against the demon Beck even if she does lose fast. The players are all set for an epic battle of good & evil and something in-between. The artwork is the same as other issues, and Dracula still looks like a porn star of the 70’s mixed with Tony Stark.  The cover this time around is pretty cool and eye catching.  The use of the bright red I am sure helped it get some attention on the stands when released in 1991. So with this let’s move onto the final issue and see how this epic final battle plays out.

Ghosts of Dracula  5

Ghosts of Dracula  # 5  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #5 of 5

The demon Beck is not impressed with the team-up before him, and it’s clear that Dracula is the only one who stands a chance in fighting him. Dracula sends wolves after demon Beck, and Van Helsing rams a stake through its body allowing Beck to turn human for a few moments.  Houdini shoots him in the head killing Beck, but this frees the demon who now is ready for all out war. While Dracula tries his best to fight the demon, Van Helsing and Houdini take Angelica away and try to get her to safety. Dracula puts up one hell of a fight but is no match for the raw evil power of the demon, who then goes after Angelica who in turn awakens and is able to defeat the hell spawn herself. After the battle, Van Helsing goes and rams a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Angelica uses her powers to answer many questions.  For Houdini, she tells him she is truly able to speak to the dead; Dracula even in death in now able to find peace, and Van Helsing comes to the realization that his wife is a vampire and must not be protected but destroyed for his own mental health.

If this issue and even series teaches you one thing, it’s don’t mess with Dracula even if you are a demon from Hell, cause when he’s mad he is going to try his best to kill you! Dracula in this issue is still a a bad guy but he knows that he must team with these humans in order to rid the world of an evil demon that is trying to open the gates making the world a dangerous place for humans and vampires alike. Dracula, while a mean blood sucker, also shows compassion and love as he is shown to care for Lucy, and in death is finally able to find that inner peace and light that he has been lacking for centuries. 70’s porn mustache Dracula is a well written character and is clearly the antihero from start to finish. Van Helsing is still a noble hero, but it’s clear that he is old and broken down and has the stress of the world on his shoulders.  His hatred for Dracula is out of control and consumes him at times. The real cool aspect of the character this time around is that his true love has been affected and now a vampire herself, and he is in denial that she has becomes what he hates most. Plus while Dracula gets a happy ending, Van Helsing only kind of does and he kills his wife and then spends his time in a cell for murder! Angelica is a powerful young woman who has unknown powers racing through her body.  It would be cool to have seen just all the things she could do, and would have been a great ally for Van Helsing if he would have continued to hunt and kill creatures of the unknown. Houdini is a character that adds something to the story that’s hard to place your finger on.  While he doesn’t do anything too heroic nor does he kill any of the enemies at hand, there is just something so cool about this magician’s appearance that helps add a level of cool to this mini series. The demon is one mean sucker who kills and torments anyone who gets in his way.  It’s saying something when you as the reader are worried for Dracula, the world’s most powerful vampire when he has to step toe to toe with this powerhouse of hell fire might. This was a well done series that showed with the right writers and artists, a Dracula comic series can be done well.  I for one would have loved to see another mini series done with Houdini, Van Helsing, Dracula and Angelica going up against another major threat to all kind. The artwork in the series is done by Seppo Makinen and is fantastic and has that classic early 90’s horror comic look to it, and I would like to see some modern Dracula comics done by Seppo. While a horror comic, the series is bloody but not too over the top adding a level of Hammer Horror charm turned up a bit for more shocking aspects. Over all this is one fun comic series and was worth revisiting and completing for sure! Below are some of the artwork from this mini series of Dracula and his ghosts.

Ghost of Drac Art 1Ghost of Drac Art 2Ghost of Drac Art 3

Folklore and magic collided in this comic series that was surprisingly very good! It was nice to see yet another adventure being done around Count Dracula and taking him out of the same old same old element and placing him in a position where he must come face to face with evil that is straight from Hell. Taking an iconic horror character and turning him more good was really cool to read and was way ahead of the Dracula TV series on NBC that was kind of doing the same before it was canceled. And it looked like we didn’t even have to call in The Ghostbusters to help with Dracula and his Ghosts! Well, while May is in mid month, our next update will be about a giant and not just any old giant but that of an icon of the squared circle known as Andre! I want to also remind everyone that Ghost of Dracula was supposed to go up in August 2014, but due to the issues being misplaced before my write up was complete, it was placed on the back burner, and finally Dracula got his time in the sun…oh great I forgot he dies in the sun! So make sure to go out and enjoy this weather, and visit a amusement park or two, read a comic under your favorite tree and watch a big blockbuster movie at your favorite theater and as always support your local Horror Host.

Andre The Giant Logo

Hammer Horror Halloween Hootenanny!

It’s Halloween, and I hope you have a bellyful of sweet treats and are ready to have some spooky fun with me here at Rotten Ink. Halloween has always been special to me, and I can remember looking forward to this holiday more than any other and loving the cool fall weather with the leaves on the ground and a chill in the air as my brother and I would dress up and have our pillow cases ready for some door to door begging for candy. In the early years, our Mom would of course go with us as our Dad would pass out candy at our house.  Then as we got older, we went on our own or with a group of friends. Those of you who grew up in a small town or even fellow Waynesville kids that grew up with me know how magical this holiday felt back in the day before all the rules and Stranger Danger took full effect…but wait we did have the Satanic Panic at that time but even that could not stop us from having a good time. One thing that I would love to do some Halloween soon is what I spoke about before, have friends like Josh Weinberg, Stephen Alexander, Garrison Kane, Dave Wean, Maurice Blurton, Henrique Couto, Juliet Fromholt and a few others and sit around a fire in the middle of the woods on a cold fall night and exchange spooky stories and real legends.  Now that would be a real fun time. So for the first Halloween day update, I decided that I would go all out and have a spooky kooky packed house of things to talk about from horror host Count Gregula who answered 5 Questions, all the way to a scary trip to old amusement park Fantasy Farm! But the main attraction will be my look at Hammer Films.  I will talk about some of the films and actors that made this English company an icon of horror. I will also be reading comics based on Hammer films at real haunted locations in and around Dayton.  But enough with this introduction, let’s get to the scary and weird stuff, shall we?

Count Gregula

To start things off, I figured we would take a look at Chicago horror host Count Gregula. In 1998, a Vampire attended a Halloween party held by horror host icon Svengoolie, and this inspired this cool ghoul into becoming a host himself.  After centuries being undead the option of showing cheesy horror films seemed like a great idea. In 2005 his first show called “Count Gregula’s Crypt” aired as he hosted the film Night Of The Living Dead.  After two episodes, the show took a break and came back on the air in 2007 when he hosted Missile To The Moon and would again take a small break until 2010 when he scared viewers once more by coming back to TV/DVD with the hosting of the films Grave Of The Vampire and Eegah. Count Gregula would go on to also interview celebrities on his Youtube account as well as guest on many other horror host shows. In 2011 he also starred in a film called The Giant Rubber Monster Movie where he was able to show his acting fangs. On his show Gregula is joined by his wife Countess Gregula, the Daughter of Satan, and The Children of The Night. The Gregula’s were also some of the first none Ohio hosts to fully support and stand beside Baron Von Porkchop as he started hosting movies with his show Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. So now that you know a little about Gregula, let’s get to what I call ” 5 Questions With Count Gregula”!

Me: So tell me about your show, and that wicked cool theater you host your movies from in your crypt?

Gregula: Vell, ve host the good old classic horror movies that all of us grew up vith as little monsters. Only thing is that ve don’t have access to that theater anymore, but ve are planning on doing a live stage show version of COUNT GREGULA’S CRYPT in the near future! Keep checking my sites for further details.

Me: Very cool, live hosting is always fun. I have seen Dr. Creep and A. Ghastlee Ghoul host movies live and it’s been a real treat if your a horror host fan. So what horror hosts of the past inspired you to become a host yourself?

Gregula: Son of Svengoolie (a.k.a. Svengoolie) & Elvira!

Me: Both are so great and both are in the Horror Host Hall of Fame, proving how inspiring they were to viewers. So this is something I have always wanted to know: does drinking blood ever get old? And if the artificial blood like True Blood (from the HBO show of the same name) was real, would you drink it or stay with the fresh stuff?

Gregula: Drinking blood never gets old! Only the people I drink from get old. *vink* Oh, it has to be the fresh stuff! Nothing beats tapping a vein!

Me: No fake stuff for you.  I guess nothing does beat fresh on whatever your choice of drink is, well besides wine, the older the better. You travel around to many conventions of all types.  Who has been the one movie star you have been most hyped to meet and interview and what horror host as well?

Gregula: Finally interviewing Pat Priest (Marilyn Munster) of THE MUNSTERS made me the most hyped because I missed meeting her several years ago vhen I made the trip all the vay to Texas for a special Munster Masquerade that I vas invited to attend. I heard she vas too sick to make the trip there herself. I even mention about vaiting all these years to meet and interview her in my video and she seemed very pleased. Interviewing horror host Svengoolie vas my nightmare come true vithout a doubt!

Me: It’s always nice to meet a star you always have wanted to.  Sadly we are on our fifth question so I will ask something that my readers and I must know: who is the better Dracula: Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee?

Gregula: Bela Lugosi of corpse! He is the BEAST claws down!

Me: I am a Lugosi man myself, but I still have a hard time picking.  Both are so great as that character. So once more thanks for answering these five questions for us.

Count Gregula DVD 1Gregula and pretty ladyCount Gregula DVD 2

Gregula is such a fun undead ghoul to be around and at one Horrorhound Baron Von Porkchop, Juliet and I went out to eat with him and the Countess and he was in his full vampire gear and made for one fun dinner. Also in the Dayton market on DATV during the HHU (Horror Host Underground) showcase that plays when Baron is off filming a new season, we from time to time show an episode or two of his show. If you want to learn more about Count Gregula and his Crypt you can also always check out his website www.count-gregula.com. I would also like to show off a cool piece of artwork that was done by my talented friend Justin Wasson of Count Gregula that was made for the upcoming comic idea I had called “Who’s Who of Late Night Horror Hosting”.

count_gregula art

Speaking of artwork, while listening to my friends Jason and Eric’s podcast Gutter Trash, I found out about some cool projects that could have been made into a comic book series and a TV show based on the classic Vincent Price Horror Film “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” done by comic book icon Jack Kirby that looks like it would have been called “The Sinister Dr. Phibes”! Yeah, so think about that, a comic drawn by Kirby that would have been a companion piece to a weekly TV show based around Phibes who according to gossip would have had him as a detective working for the good of mankind and not for his quest of revenge. Phibes is said to have use his masks and traps to capture criminals, and the issues were rumored to have came out via DC Comics. I can’t tell you how amazing this comic series would have been, and I for one would have gotten them and for sure they would have been used as an update on this very blog! Test artwork came to light when the original art went up for sale on Ebay and many say that it was Kirby’s nephew that was selling off much of the artwork.  With this Ebay auction also came questions and the guessing game to what it was drawn for and this is one big puzzle that has many internet “answers.”  What ever the reason it was drawn, it’s a sweet piece of artwork that I wish would have gotten a full comic series. Below is the original artwork as well as a colored version done by a fan and of course of pic of Price as Phibes.

Phibes colorphibes Jack Kirby artDr Phibes

In the 1960’s and 70’s, a Bigfoot like creature frozen in a block of ice traveled around state fairs, carnivals, sideshows and shopping malls as an attraction of the macabre, and the creature was called The Minnesota Iceman. People all over America and Canada paid money to see this creature in the ice who had a back story told by the body’s owner Frank Hansen.  He said the Iceman was shot and killed in Siberia and that it’s true owner was a rich man who allowed him to travel around showing the creature off to all who want to pay and see it. Some people at the time thought that the Iceman could be a caveman, a person that time forgot who was shot and killed, while others thought it was a murder victim who was dressed up to look like a creature so that the killer could hide the body in plain sight. Bigfoot researchers back then have even examined the body and claimed that some of the creatures flesh could be touched via some melted ice and that it was 100% real and was proof that Bigfoot is real! The body even caused some panic at the Canadian border when officials would not allow it to cross because it was a cadaver, but after some smooth words Hansen was able to get it across. But in the late 1970’s the Iceman just vanished from the public eye and as quickly as it hit the sideshow scene it disappeared, causing many people to wonder what had happened to the evidence that Bigfoot was real. But like all things, not everyone believed that The Minnesota Iceman was real and many labeled it as a hoax claiming that it was nothing more than a prop to con people out of their money. Eyewitnesses and some photos of the creature showed it to be a hairy humanoid that stood about 6 feet tall and had a bullet wound to its eye, and many say that its arm appeared to be broken.  For many this sight was horrifying and chilled the bones of many customers. For years the Iceman was missing until this year (2013) when The Minnesota Iceman showed up….on… Ebay for sale! The listing blew the top off what the creature was and stated it was in fact a hoax and was crafted by a team that later went on to work for Disney. The Minnesota Iceman sold for an accepted offer to a man who plans on putting it on display in Texas.  This marks the end of what the Iceman was, fact or fiction and thanks to Ebay it’s been proven as a hoax. But while the body and freezer sold online, many think that the Ebay listing was the true hoax and that the real body of the iceman is still out there. Only time will tell what the true fate of the Iceman is and rest assured, I will be waiting to discover the truth. I should also say that I learned about the Iceman from a old book I checked out from the library in Waynesville and after seeing the creature’s picture I became obsessed with finding out all I could about it and spent many days reading about it.  Once the internet hit I would spend time trying to find info on where it was….sadly though the image and wonder of the Iceman is now shattered over an online auction for me.

minnesota icemanThe Minnesota Iceman nowThe Minnesota Iceman hoax

Wow, we have just gotten started and thus far we have talked about horror host Count Gregula, Jack Kirby’s could have been Dr. Phibes comic and hoax of The Minnesota Iceman, and yet we have so much more to come! So now I would like to talk to you about a moment in my life that scared that crap out of me.  While it was not a near death experience or a Halloween prank gone bad, it was a moment that has stuck with me for years. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and for summer vacation my parents took me and my brother to Fantasy Farm, an amusement park and petting zoo in Middletown, Ohio, a place that we would go every summer (that or Americana) to ride all the rides and pet and feed all the animals. Two events at Fantasy Farm always stick with me, and one is more traumatic for me than the other so let’s get to the less scary one first. As you long time readers know, I grew up as a monster kid and loved everything horror.  At Fantasy Farm, they had a haunted house ride with the side of the building was painted with images of Dracula, The Wolfman and Frankenstein’s Monster and I can remember taking my old camera out and snapping a picture (that I still have to this day and that I will post on here for you all to see) and before we went in I remember my brother Bryan teasing me about how scary the ride was going to be and how Frankenstein’s Monster was going to grab me. I acted like I was not scared, but to be honest I was terrified.  Back then I believed what my brother said and didn’t understand he was just teasing and having fun and adding to the horror of the haunted house ride. Bryan and my Dad were in one car, and my Mom and I were in the other.  I still was acting tough and as if the horrors that awaited me in the ride were nothing but pure cheese and nothing to be scared of.  All the while I was waiting for Frankenstein’s Monster to jump out and get me! As the ride started I had this idea that I would close my eyes, making it so that he could not find me in the dark.  I missed the ride but heard all the spooky sounds, and it just added to the fear that was building up in me.  At one point my Mom, not knowing that my brother said anything about him, said look it’s Frankenstein as the attraction had a cardboard version of The Monster and this triggerd the “this is the end” moment for me, but in seconds nothing happened and I opened my eyes as we approached the end of the ride and I remember a skeleton. After the ride my Dad and brother made fun of me for having my eyes closed but deep inside I was just happy to have not been taken away by The Monster! But the scare of Frankenstein’s Monster getting me was nothing compared to the terror that awaited me in the petting zoo! Besides monsters, I also love animals and one of the highlights of Fantasy Farm was always petting and feeding the animals.  It was always cool feeding goats corn that they would eat from your hand. But this one time we went into one of the barns that held the animals, and I spent time petting cows and other barn yard animals and in the last stall in the barn was a giant bison.  I mean he was huge and as I walked up to this massive animal he started to make this weird snorting and throat noise and he locked on staring at me.  I was scared yet I still walked forward and stuck my hand out to pet him, as my hand touched his face he let out a load snort and I jumped back at least 4 feet and was scared as this giant animal kept making noises.  Needless to say I got they hell out of dodge. The moment when that Bison snorted could have been one of the biggest scares I had ever gotten in my life. Sadly Fantasy Farm is gone, and it’s a shame as it was a place I would have loved to taken my future kids to.  I blame Kings Island for it’s departure. 

Bison-Ceasol

By 1955 with the Universal Comedy film “Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy,” the end of the classic monster movies based on Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein and The Mummy had came to an end.  By this time the classic monsters were not treated as scary but as jokes as the horrors of the real world and the coming atomic age seemed much scarier. But by 1958 with the release of Horror of Dracula, classic monsters were making a comeback and this time they were laced with blood and large breasted women.  The company responsible was English company Hammer who up to this point were known more for film noir movies. With the success of the film they found that making horror films was more profitable than noir and drama and started turning out films based on many classic monster to the delight of monster kids of the time. Hammer became so popular in in the UK that USA companies took notice as Paramount, Warner Brothers and even Universal started to release their films in theaters across America exposing even more fans to the blood soaked monster mayhem. Hammer was getting so popular in its home country that in 1976 a magazine called “House of Hammer” was released by Top Sellers.  The issue showcased Hammer stars and films as well as had comic book adaptations of their popular films. But like all good things, the classic monster film ride came to an end again as Hammer’s box office draw dwindled in 1979, and the company closed the production doors until 2007 when a new group came in and breathed life into the company once more and started making films again like Let Me In, The Woman in Black and The Resident. I grew up watching many of the Hammer Horror films, seeing many of them on Commander USA’S Groovie Movies and Super Scary Saturday and then later on VHS tapes. While I liked the Hammer versions of the classic monsters, I still feel Universal did them better, but that said, Hammer was and still is one of my favorite studios to make classic monster movies.  They added just the right amount of blood and sleaze to make the viewer think they are watching something they shouldn’t be, but at the same time they do so with such class you feel as if the budgets on these films were bigger than they were. I credit a lot of Hammer’s early film success to a director named Terrance Fisher who seemed to get the gothic feel and tones of these movies really well and was able to bring that dark and brooding feeling to the movie screens.  My friend Chris Workman is a huge Fisher fan and could teach a class at a college about the impact of Hammer films on the horror genre. If you love classic monster and have never seen a Hammer film, do yourself a favor and go watch one. I am sure you’ll become a fan just like I did.

Hammer logo

The biggest series in all of Hammers classic monster films was its Dracula series that had a total of 9 films that are as follows Horror of Dracula (1958), The Brides of Dracula (1960), Dracula: Price of Darkness (1966), Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968), Taste The Blood Of Dracula (1970), Scars of Dracula (1970), Dracula AD 1972 (1972), The Satanic Rites Of Dracula (1973) and ending with The Legend Of The 7 Golden Vampires (1974). In all but two of the films Count Dracula was played by Christopher Lee who grew to dislike and despise the character and films Hammer was making.  The rumor goes that he was forced to play the part when studio higher ups said basically that if he did not act as Dracula then a lot of people would be put out of work. As the films went on and Lee grew more bored with the scripts, rumors say that he refused to do the lines because he felt that they were all just so poorly written. But Christopher Lee made for an amazing Dracula and in moments he comes off super scary and in control whenever he’s on screen, making for the perfect vampire king.The two films that Lee did not play Dracula were Brides of Dracula, that in fact didn’t have Dracula at all in it, and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires where actor John Forbes-Robertson played Dracula. While Lee might have grown tired of his character, actor Peter Cushing seemed to enjoy playing the hero Van Helsing and played him a total of five times. In this series Dracula has been killed by stake in the heart, frozen in ice, sunlight and even captured in thorns, but after every death by the next film he would come back to life with the help of some numbskull or freak accident. My favorite film in the series has to be Horror of Dracula and my least would be Satanic Rites of Dracula as I feel by that time they were running out of ideas and putting Dracula again in modern times like they did in Dracula AD 1972 and it just lost its charm. Over all while Hammer’s Dracula films were great, the next series was my favorite!

Horror of Dracula posterScars of Draula PosterSatanic Rites of Dracula poster

Before Dracula Hammer gave Frankenstein and his monster a try and made The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957 that was followed by a total of 6 sequels.  Unlike the classic Universal series their Frankenstein series focused on the Doctor and not the monster, as each movie had a new monster and the same Doctor almost always played by the amazing Peter Cushing, with Ralph Bates playing him in Horror of Frankenstein. The films in that series are as follows: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974). Baron Von Frankenstein in the Hammer films was a selfish man who did whatever he wanted in order to make his creations work, from murder to rape! Changing the focus of the movies and taking away the likable element of the Doctor allowed Hammer to make the characters their own. These are by far my favorite series done by Hammer with my favorite film being Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell and my lest favorite being Revenge of Frankenstein.  While a good film the “monster” in this film is the weakest. I recommend watching these films if you’re in the mood to watch some classic gothic horror with that touch of sleaze and blood.

revenge of frankenstein posterhorror of frankenstein posterfrankenstein and the monster from hell poster

Besides Dracula and Frankenstein, Hammer did lots of other creatures of the night films! They have done films on vampires, mummies, a werewolf, zombies, devils and so much more, and each of them were well done on lower budgets and had just the right amount of horror to make them chill your blood on late night viewings. As the years passed, Hammer also added in more gore and nudity to try and spice up their films and compete with the boom of Grindhouse and shlock films that were filling up the theaters and drive-ins, and while it made the films more R-rated, the charm of the classic monsters had once more lost it’s appeal to movie going audiences.  This lead Hammer into trying many different monsters and ideas to stay on top of the growing horror market. I for one am glad that Hammer has risen out of the ashes in the past years and are backing making horror films that are solid shockers with time and passion put into each production. My favorite none Dracula/Frankenstein film has to be Curse of the Werewolf, and my lest favorite is, well, I can’t really think of one really! I know that one I have not seen that I really want to is The Gorgon, and I look forward to watching it on DVD or even VHS very soon. 

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Hammer is also a studio that helped create stars that almost every horror, sci-fi and just movie fans will know! First, we have Christopher Lee, an actor who for Hammer has played Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and even Sir Henry Baskerville (Hounds of Baskerville) and is known also to me for playing Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II and III, Stefan Crosscoe in The Howling II, and Doctor Catheter in Gremlins 2: The New Batch among many other roles. Lee, who is 91 years old as of this year (2013) and has also been knighted, is the last remaining true icon of the the classic horror era. Peter Cushing was the true face of Hammer for me and during his amazing career with Hammer stared as Dr. Frankenstein, Van Helsing and even the Sheriff of Nottingham and is also know to me for playing Grand Moff Tarkin is Star Wars Episode IV, Arthur Grimsdyke in Tales From the Crypt, Professor Paul in Legend of the Werewolf and Baron Corofax in Land of the Minotaur. Cushing truly is one of my favorite actors, and sadly he passed away in 1994 at the age of 81. Oliver Reed is another great actor who got his acting chops sharpened in Hammer films with roles like the werewolf Leon Corledo in Curse of the Werewolf, Lord Melton in Sword of Sherwood Forest and a bouncer in The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll to name a few and is also know to me for roles Dr. Hal Raglan in The Brood and Antonius Proximo in Gladiator. Reed was an actor who just seemed to have it and could play any role that he was given.  Sadly Reed passed away in 1999 at the age of 61. Lastly I would also like to mention David Prowse, who in the 70’s and 80’s was the Kane Hodder of his time and could rock a monster suit like it was his job..wait it was his job for Hammer.  He played The Monster in Horror of Frankenstein and The Monster from Hell in Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, and even a Strongman in Vampire Circus. I also know him for Julian The Body Guard in A Clockwork Orange and Darth Vader in Star Wars Episodes IV-VI! Prowse is the man, and don’t let George Lucas tell you any different as the two seem to have had a falling out that has lead to Prowse being banned from official Star Wars gatherings. These are also only a drop in the hat of the talented actors, actresses and directors that worked for Hammer!

christopher leepeter cushingOliver Reeddavid prowse

Besides the blood and monsters, Hammer was also known for its lovely large chested actress who helped add to the gothic and gritty new legends being told about classic monsters. By this time films in the horror genre were changing, but they were still not using females as full eye candy.  Hammer figured a way out to get sexy yet talented actresses to star in films and have them showcase their acting talents as well as their massive cleavage! I remember growing up and seeing Hammer movies on TV or VHS and crushing on Hammer starlettes Madeline Smith and Yvonne Romain and being taken by their beauty. Smith drew me in with her amazing eyes and girl next door looks while Romain has the exotic beauty to her. Two of the most popular actresses that worked for them are Raquel Welch and Caroline Munro who both went on to be in bigger Hollywood productions. The women of Hammer are so popular and have made such a mark on fans that many books, magazine articles and conventions showcase them. Now I could spend all Halloween update talking about Madeline Smith and how sexy she is, but you are here to be spooked so let’s move on! And for those wonder Smith is the first picture and Romain is second. 

madeline smithYvonne RomainCaroline Munrojulie

So before I dive into the spooky world of Hammer Comics, I would also like to talk about a brief two-day long mini horror movie marathon I had at my apartment with Juliet that consisted of a handful of films and one horror host Halloween special! The first film of the night was the new Child’s Play movie called “The Curse of Chucky” where the killer doll comes back one last time to torment a wheelchair bound young lady and her family in a giant mansion. The film was a little slow paced but it was nice to see Chucky back. The second film was “Frankenstein’s Army,” a neat found footage film about Russian soldiers during World War II that stumble on Dr. Frankenstein who is making an army of monsters! Really cool creature designs, great gore effects and an original plot made this one a good watch. Juliet than wanted to watch “Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales of the Macabre: Halloween 2012” episode were Baron and Melvin go trick or treating and have a run in with New Burlington’s Headless Horseman.  The film he is hosting is Werewolf of Ohio! I will say out of all of the specials we shot, this could be one of my favorites. “Razorback” was next, an Australian film based on a giant Razorback hog that is killing people in the outback and has to be stopped by an American who lost his wife to the beast.  I waited along time to see this film, and Warner Brothers put it out via their on demand disc burn service and I will say the film is fun. The next day of film watching started with “Wrong Turn 5” that follows a group of collage kids going to a music festival that has a deadly run-in with the inbreed hillbillys. This one was a bloodbath and not as bad as I had heard it was, it was filled with blood, boobs and killers and was just ok. Then we went into “World War Z” about a zombie outbreak that leaves the world at the mercy of the undead and one man must find a way to stop them. I saw this in theaters as well and I must say I liked it, a good PG-13 horror film and nice to see Paramount make a bigger budget horror picture. The next film I went for a Universal Classic with the 1935 film “The Raven” were a mad doctor played by Bela Lugosi sets his sight on a young female he has saved the life of and wants to use torture to get ride of those who stand in his way. The film stars Boris Karloff as well as a disfigured brute who is used as a tool. It’s a very fun old black and white horror filmed based very loosely on the work by Edgar Allen Poe that’s worth the watch! Next up was the underrated film “Waxworks” about a wax museum that kills people by having them meet the monsters of wax. If enough souls are taken, the horrors of the past and classic monsters are set loose in the world. It’s a very cool film that I have loved since I was young, filled with lots of great effects. October horror movie-thons are the best.

Curse of Chucky DVDFrankensteins Army DVDTerrifying Tales of the Macabre Halloween 2012 DVDRazorback DVDWrong Turn 5 DVDWorld War Z dvdThe Raven DVDWaxwork Poster

So let’s get to the comic reviews, and this first Halloween update I have gotten some comics based on Hammer films and I read them at haunted locations in and around the Southwestern Ohio area. Almost all the comics came from a U.K Magazine called House of Hammer and were then made into normal modern sized comics complete with custom covers and numbering! So how this update will go is I will tell you about and share picture of the haunted location and then get into the comic review of the issue I read at the location, and will share the mood and such of the location and if it helped add to the horror of the issue. And as always I want to remind you readers I grade these comics on a 1-4 star ranking and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So with this, let’s get into some creepy reviews and places! 

Scary Pumpkins

Carpenters Road in Beavercreek Ohio is the area’s most haunted road, and stories of what has happened there have been around for generations.  My Dad and his friends use to travel that road to scare dates and each other as the road use to be filled with woods, fields, swamp lands and hardly any lights. When I was a teenager, my friends and I use to go up and down this road late at night hoping to be scared silly, and a few times I am sure our imagination got the best of us. The road has many legends that range from super natural to real life horrors, and many people swear that they have been scared by something on this road. A ghost farmer on a tractor is said to chase off anyone who is parked on the road during the fall months and is said to be very aggressive and mean. A hooked hand killer is said to have once roamed the swamp lands in the area and looked for young couples making out to make them his next victim. A car on prom night is said to have crashed on the street’s sharp turn killing the young couple, and it’s said on late nights you can see the car crash and watch as the ghosts of the two killed teens climb out of the ditch.  This is said to work if you turn your car lights on and off three times than exit the car and watch the horrific event unfold before your eyes. The most popular ghost on the road is that of a man who hung himself from one of the roads large trees in the 1970’s.  It’s said if you park your car under the tree at midnight and turn off your head lights, you can hear the mans feet drag across your roof top and hear him moan and gasp for air! So on this road I have one legend killer, one mean farmer ghost and three sad case spirits who left this world before they should have! Some scary stuff happens here, and it still remains a popular destination for teens around Halloween. 

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So with that let’s get into our first comic as at Carpenters Road I read “Curse Of The Werewolf”! 

Curse of The Werewolf 1

Curse of the Werewolf  # 1  ***
Released in 1978   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 1 of 1

An old beggar makes the mistake of wandering into the castle of a lord who has just gotten married, and after he is made into a fool, he is locked into a dungeon where he grows into a savage man that attacks a maid some years later who has been locked up for not making out with the now old and creepy lord of the manor. She is raped, and once she is let out, she kills the lord and escapes into the night where she is found by writer Alfredo and his sister Teresa who nurse her back to health.  Sadly she dies in child birth, and they raise the woman’s son Leon as their own nephew. But young Leon has something very wrong with him as he is struck with the curse of the werewolf and kills the locals farmers sheep, and while a werewolf he is shot by the local hunter and returns home were his uncle discovers his dark secret. Years pass and Leon grows up and leaves home and takes a job at a winery where he meets the owners lovely yet soon to be married daughter Cristina who he falls madly in love with. Leon can’t control his sinister curse and kills his co-worker and some female bargoers and roams the land as a werewolf.  This murder leads to him going to jail where he transforms once more at the full moon and runs wild in the village and Alfredo uses a silver bullet and kills him as sadness rushes over him as well as Cristina and Teresa for the loss of a man they all truly loved.

Curse of The Werewolf transfers to a comic really well, even if major plot changes happen from the lack of Cristina’s fiance to the rush death of his co-worker this short comic adaptation does it right and makes you almost forget about the elements that are missing. The one thing that doesn’t work as well is how fast and out of nowhere it seems that Leon and Cristina fall in love. The werewolf murders are all done fast paced, and all the blood is left out making this a bloodless horror comic.  While it would have been nice to see the red stuff, it doesn’t effect the well written story line or the likeable characters. Leon is a sad case and is a man who really just wants to live a normal life, hold a job and find true love and once he leaves his hometown this all goes to hell when his curse of being a werewolf runs wild. The town hunter in the comic plays a smaller role, but it’s still his silver bullet that brings down the blood thirsty beast. Cristina is used in the comic as both a love interest and a trigger as her first rejection of Leon is what sets the curse back off. The story is simple a baby is born out of rape on Christmas Day, and this is a bad omen and causes him to have a curse of being a werewolf. The love of his adoptive family keeps the curse at bay for years until he grows older and moves away and the rejection of a woman he falls for triggers the curse back up and in the end love is what has to kill the beast once and for all. The artwork is amazing, and I truly wish more comics would have been made about Leon so artist John Bolton could have worked on them and made them looked as stylish and artistic as this issue. The cover is also very eye catching and would have been a perfect match on comic shelves with the likes of Werewolf By Night and Tombs Of Dracula. Over all this is an amazing good creepy comic that should be read by fans of the Hammer film and fans of horror comics.

The day I read this, Carpenters Road was covered with fog and the sky was grey. I parked near the swamp where the hook handed killer was said to have prowled and began the trip into werewolf madness. The fog helped add to the creepy feel, and I was very much getting into the over all feeling of the comic. The downside is that many cars passed and this broke the brooding danger feel of the location. The area has changed for the worse as many new houses and even the back of a giant high school are now around. The curve where the wreck was to have taken place is now gone and has given way to a new housing neighborhood.  The hanging tree has been cut down and even the stump removed! The only things left is the swamp of the hook handed killer and the field of the ghost farmer. Nothing happened this evening of reading and while the fog and swamp made the reading more fun, it’s a shame that what use to be a kick butt haunted road is now just a shell of what it once was.

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Woodland Cemetery in Dayton is the area’s most haunted site, hosts many spooky stories, and is one of the oldest graveyards in the area. The cemetery is the final resting place for many famous people such as Wilbur & Orville Wright, inventors and first humans to fly in a flying machine, Loren M. Berry the inventor of the Yellow Pages, James Ritty inventor of the cash register, Leslie Carter silent film actress in movies like Rocky Mountain Mystery and The Heart of Maryland, not to mention the King and Queen of the Gypsies Levi and Matilda Stanley are also buried there. But while it’s a peaceful and lovely place, it also is a source of many haunts that include a blonde college teenage girl who wears jeans, a stripped shirt and white shoes who talks to those she comes in contact with.  It’s also said the gravestone she hangs out around glows blue/green at night. She is said to haunt the area because she is mad that she is buried so far away from her father and this is her way at getting back at those she thinks did this as well as fill her loneliness. The cemetery is also said be haunted by many other ghosts from all ages and decades and many “orbs” have been seen in the area. The most famous ghosts are that of Johnny Morehouse, a five year old boy who drowned in a canal and his dog who died at his gravesite when it refused to leave its deceased master’s side. Johnny and his dog’s ghost can be seen walking in the cemetery after close through the gates and his dog’s bark can be heard at night. His tombstone also has a statue of him and his dog that was put up in 1861 to honor their bond. This is a perfect place to read issue’s one and two in the Hammer Dracula series so I will be covering Horror of Dracula and Brides of Dracula at this amazing and creepy place! 

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Now let’s get spooky and take a read of the first two issues of Hammers Dracula.

Horror of Dracula 1

Horror of Dracula # 1   ***1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price 30p   Top Sellers   # 1 of 9

Johnathon Harker is an invited guest to Castle Dracula to look over some papers, but that first night you see that he is not just there to look at papers but to try and find the real secret of who and what Dracula is. He hides his journal in the woods near the castle and finds that he is in the mist of vampires as Dracula and his bride show him their true nature. The next nigh,t Harker kills the bride but in return is killed by Dracula himself who is now on his way to the Harker home to seduce and turn his soon to be wife Lucy into a vampire. Van Helsing, a long time friend of Harker’s, has found the journal and is on a quest to kill Dracula and save Lucy, but sadly he is too late as Lucy becomes one of the vampire brides.  Her brother Arthur is the one to end her blood sucking ways, but this death also angers Dracula who now has sights set on Arthur’s wife Mina! Van Helsing and Arthur are tricked, and Mina becomes a slave to the vampire king.  The two vampire hunters track him down at his castle, and it’s Van Helsing that uses sun light and a cross to burn the vampire to death and free Mina’s soul.

This comic book is AMAZING! I enjoyed every second of it and found it to be very close to the film that it’s based on. Van Helsing is a great hero, and this first issue shows that while he is smart, he is not yet the vampire killer he soon will be in many other issues and films.  The artwork also makes the character look like actor Peter Cushing, who played him in the film, and this helped add to the mood and vibe of the comic that sucked me in. Dracula is a pimp in this comic and truly loves the ladies as he jumps from bride to would-be bride with the drop of a stake in the heart.  Plus when he is mad in this comic, his rage comes out and his fangs are flashed. The rest of the supporting characters in this little vampire romp are all well written and each serves a purpose. The death of Dracula looks great and seeing his face being burnt by the sun is stuff of nightmares. The comic takes its time and builds the story and captures the true soul of a Hammer film.  This is why I think that this issue will be hard to beat for any of the following Dracula issues, and I for one wish that this would have been made into a comic series that would have 100% truly followed each film. I could not find the artist who drew this comic but I must say he did a fantastic job, and each character looks like the actor who played them on film.  His Lee Dracula is stunning and made the horror kid in me very happy to see. The cover is okay and the use of Yellow makes it very eye catching, but the cover art does not do the comic justice as the work inside is so much better. 

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Well let’s move onto Brides of Dracula and see how well issue 2 compares to the first.

Brides of Dracula 2

Brides of Dracula # 2   **1/2
Released in 1977   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 2 of 9

Marianne Danielle is a young woman who is left by her coach driver near an inn where she meets and befriends an older woman named Baroness Meinster who invites her to stay at her castle. Marianne, while in her room, looks out her window and sees a man standing on the balcony below.  She finds out that he is Count Meinster, the Baroness’ son who is supposed to be a mad man. When she sees him again, it looks as if he is going to jump off the balcony to kill himself, and Marianne rushes to stop him to find that he is chained to the wall. She is shocked by his treatment as he seems real sweet to her and cons her into getting the key to free him and she does just that. Count Meinster is in fact a vampire and turns his own mother into one setting his site to make Marianne his bride. Enter Van Helsing, who gets wind of the vampire and sets out to stop him and save Marianne from his evil grip.  Along the way Count Meinster turns a friend of Marianne’s into a vampire and she tries to trick her one time friend into following her so that Count Meinster can turn her too! Van Helsing has a final battle with Count Meinster at a mill and uses holy water and the blades of the windmill as a cross and kills the vampire.

This second issue is a fun quick read, but the quickness of it is also its down fall. It’s only 13 pages long, and the story moves so quickly that I didn’t get an attachment to or fear any of the characters.  That’s a shame as I feel that the story line was really well done. The comic does follow the film but as one would guess, large chunks have been cut out. Count Meinster is a smooth talking vampire whose reign of terror could have been avoided if Marianne just left the blood sucker alone like his mother told her to. Marianne, while sweet in nature, does not fully get to shine in the comic like she does in the film.  I did find myself trying to get behind her in the comic. Van Helsing is once more back as the hero, and in this issue he is more than ready to kick some vampire butt and even when things go south for him, when he looses his cross, he makes due with what he has and gets the job done. The story is simple girl enters house, helps a stranger who in turn is a crazed vampire and she spends time trying not to become his next meal while a hero comes to her aid and rids the area of his curse. The art work is well done like all of these comics thus far ,and once more I could not find the artist’s name who did this cool short comic. The cover is good but not great and is a take on the official movie poster. Over all it’s a good follow up but not in the same league as issue one.

On the day I went to read these comics, Woodland Cemetery was quiet and a cool slight breeze was in the air. I was pretty relaxed to read these, and the lack of sounds around me made the mood just right. I read them both pretty fast and had very little interruption making the time nice and not very spooky. I wish I could have gotten into the cemetery at night as I feel that this would have been the prime time to get the true spooky feel, imagine sitting around the grave of Johnny Morehouse with a flashlight reading about Count Dracula and Count Meinster while the moon is full and the air chilled, and as you turn a page you hear a dog bark….now that would have been amazing! Over all not much to report on the reading of these two besides Woodland is a beautiful place to relax and read a comic. 

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To finish out Hammer’s Dracula series of “Dracula Prince of Darkness” and “Legend of The 7 Golden Vampires,” we will be reading them at Yellow Springs, a place filled with many ghost and ghouls, a perfect small town to read these spooky comics. The town is the home of many ghosts like the “Thunderstorm Ghost,” who is a woman who was stuck and killed my lightning durning a thunderstorm at the turn of the century near an oak tree.  It’s said when she was found, her face was stuck in a half scream and her arms were outright, and it’s said that durning thunderstorms if you go and sit under that oak tree that when lighting flashes you can see the woman’s ghost looking the same twisted way she was found. “The Jersey Angel” is the ghost of a 1870’s cattle rancher named Joseph S. Saberton who was the first rancher to bring Jersey Cows to the area and was land owner of what would be now John Bryan State Park. Joseph was a good man who loved his cows so much he gave them all names and treated them not just as livestock but as pets. Joseph passed away from an infection and asked to be buried in his pasture next to his cows, and it’s said after his death and even after his cows had been sold off, late at night you can hear Joseph call for his cattle. The ghost of Helen Birch Barlett, for whom The Glen Helen Nature Preserve is named, is said to haunt the woods around the area. In life Helen was said to have been a spoiled brat who died at a young age of cancer. “Woman in Blue” is an angry ghost that brings down the vibe at The Olde Trail Traven and knocks things off the walls and counters an is always in a foul mood. “The Twilight Man” is one of the towns biggest legends.  He is a ghost who walks the roads at night wearing a blue shirt, overalls and a red handkerchief around his neck and always has his left hand in his pocket he just walks the road and disappears before he reaches Meredith Road. Other takes on Twilight Man have him being a man in a car who watches and does sinister things, almost like a small town serial killer! Besides these, many other ghosts and orbs have been seen all over town and on the Antioch College campus. So with that, I am going to kick back and read these two comics outside near John Bryan Park, Near Town and Near the Collage wish me luck that the Twilight Man doesn’t get me!

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I should note that I am a dork and didn’t bring a camera to all these locations, so I would like to send a big thank you to all the people who took these pics! I did take two of the pictures at Carpenters Road with my crappy cell phone…go me! Well, let’s get back to the creepy and Dracula.

Dracula Prince of Darkness 3

Dracula Prince of Darkness # 3   **1/2
Released in 1977   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 3 of 9

A group of travelers are stuck at the side of a road and speak of how while in town no one would give them a ride near the old castle at night. The travelers are Alan, his wife Helen, his brother Charles and his wife Diana, and they are shocked when an un-maned stage coach comes for them and takes them to the castle where they meet Klove, the servant of the dead Count Dracula who has rooms and a meal waiting for them. That night Klove tricks Alan into following him into the basement where he kills him and drains his blood into the coffin of Dracula’s ashes.  The blood brings him back to life! Kove then tricks Helen into the basement and she becomes the first new bride of Dracula as her husband’s body hangs from the ceiling with his neck slit. As Diana and Charles wake up the next morning, they see that their family members are gone and that something is not right with the castle so they flee.  But Charles can’t leave his brother behind and after returning he finds that his sister in law is now a vampire and that his brother is dead! Klove tricks Diana to return to the castle and after a run in with Dracula and vampire Helen, the couple barely escape and have a terrible coach wreck and are rescued by Father Shandor who takes them to the church for safety. But they are only safe for a short time as Dracula, Klove and vampire Helen come for Diana, and a battle breaks out that leaves Klove and Helen dead and Diana kidnapped by Dracula! In the end Dracula tries to escape with Diana over a frozen river and meets his doom when they break the ice from under his feet and he falls into the moving water below.

The third issue in the Hammer Dracula series is pretty good but does lack the charm of the film as a 90 minute movie got squeezed into a 16 page comic book. The story has Charles and Helen’s battle to survive from the grip of Dracula and meeting their only hope Father Shandor who teaches them how to out smart and kill the vampire king with nothing more than running water. Sadly, you don’t get a full attachment to either Helen or Charles as they are not fleshed out enough for me to truly care about.  Helen is given less than Charles who kind of is a laughable hero in this comic because he kind of just in a round about way manhandles Dracula with lame stuff like makeshift crosses and ice covered water. Dracula is as always bad ass, but man is his death in this comic as well as the movie lame.  Ice is shot from under his feet and he falls into the running water below and dies…yep, I know that could be the worst death of a vampire ever. In the issue Dracula kills zero people and transforms only one person into a vampire. Dracula seems more into scoring Diana than killing and feeding in this comic. Klove, the strange servant of Dracula, is one sadistic son of a gun and tries to kill a few and at least has the body count of one. Vampire Helen seems like a second thought in this comic and is killed off pretty fast.  While an extra threat to the heros, she is wasted. Father Shandor takes the place of Van Helsing, and while he is interesting, he is not as cool.  In fact I feel that he comes off a little preachy with his advice on how to kill vampires. The art in this comic is done by John Bolton, who is known for his work on such comics as Kull, X-Men Classics, Man-Bat and The Book of Magic, and it looks amazing! His drawings of Christopher Lee’s Dracula is very well done and makes this all right comic adaptation a little better. Bolton’s style has an almost solid pencil look to it, and his shading is well done and makes his work pop. The cover on this issue is also pretty eye catching, and I am sure caught the eye of horror kids of 1977! Over all this issue is just okay with a rushed storyline, cheesy Dracula death, great artwork and some creepy classic monster moments.  

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After this issues 4-8 have been M.I.A. for decades.  Many think they were never made, while others say they are lost in a haunted crypt.  This brings us to our next issue, “7 Golden Vampires.” So let’s chill our blood some more here in Yellow Springs, test our luck against Twilight Man, and read the last issue in the Hammer Dracula series. 

7 Golden Vampires 9

7 Golden Vampires  ***
Released in 1977   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 9 of 9

Dracula kills a man who is in charge of guarding the legendary 7 Golden Vampires, and after killing him Dracula takes his appearance. Meanwhile across the world, Van Helsing is giving a lecture about the legend of the golden vampires when he gets a visit from a man named Hsi Ching, who tells him that the legend is true and that he comes from that village and needs his help to stop the remaining 6 Golden Vampires who wish to avenge the death of the 7th on the seventh moon! Leyland Van Helsing, his son, and a rich young widow Vanessa Buren are attacked by a warlord, and his men and are saved by Ching’s brothers.  This act and the money of Vanessa send the Van Helsings, The Chings and Vanessa on a quest to stop the 6 Golden Vampires who attack along the way. The battles are filled with lots of death, and both sides lose many.  Once more Van Helsing tricks the overly cocky Dracula into showing himself to be staked,and as the vampire king dies so do the remaining golden vampires.  Once more peace is brought to the small village.

This final issue in the Hammer Dracula comic series is well done and is a comic adaptation of a film done right. The down side of the comic is the fact it is very talkie and the action seems like the second thought and is crammed into only a few panels while the long talks of legend and fears seem to take up pages. In the issue  Dracula is not in his true image for most of it nor is his taken image….in fact Dracula is barely in the comic at all! Dracula in the issue is just not a threat at all and is almost forgotten about.  Not to mention Van Helsing kicks his butt quickly in the end, and this makes the supposed vampire King look like a cheap fool. The 7 Golden Vampires while spoken about being complete evil killing machines, they don’t kill as many of the brothers as the reader would think and makes them more of a threat than Dracula but still not totally challenging. Van Helsing is the main hero of the story, and he is once more filled with the knowledge and the means to kill some vampires. His son Leyland seems to be thrown into the mix only to fall in love with the Chings’ only sister.  This is the drama that was needed to make the film have some “oh no” moments as his love is kidnapped by the vampires. The Ching brothers are cool and have an almost Shaw Brothers feel to them that comes out even on the comic pages.  They are bad asses, and they know it. Vanessa Buren seems like a background character until she turns into a vampire and is killed by her crush Tsi Ching who also kills himself in freeing his would-be lover’s soul. Over all the comic is well done and got three stars for sticking pretty close to the movie and making the pages they had very enjoyable. Thoough this is a sad way to end the Hammer Dracula comics and not to mention the film series with a weak lame Dracula who does not look like nor is played by Christopher Lee. Sadly I could not find who did the artwork in this issue, but I will say that its well done and captures the feel of the film. The cover is also well done and is very eye catching! Over all I would say a good issue with a cool story that has the worst payout for any iconic bad guy character, but is totally worth a read.  

While reading these comics in Yellow Springs, the sun was going down and a slight breeze was in the air making it a little chilly. Noises of birds and squirrels in the trees filled the air as well as the thuds of walnuts falling from the trees echoed like sounds of heavy footsteps pounding the ground.  Fall was in full effect this day and the atmosphere was just right. Bugs were all over the air flying around in large groups and landing on my arms making me have to swat at them to knock them away. As I sat on a old park bench in the middle of a field that had trees all around me making almost a perfect circle that I was trapped in, I waited to hear a whistle or a ghostly noise from something from beyond the grave! After Dracula Prince of Darkness, I heard and saw nothing besides normal nature sounds.  So for 7 Golden Vampires I decided to walk around and read, as the sun was fading fast the air got a little cooler and helped add to the spooky nature of the Golden Vampires. But sadly after reading this comic and being in Yellow Spring,s I can 100% say that while the atmosphere was right the evening of reading, these comics just was not scary. So here is to hoping I can get a creepy charge from Frankenstein’s Castle! 

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Frankenstein’s Castle/Witches Tower is a haunted tower in Kettering that is the source of many haunts and strange things. The “Castle” is the source of many orb spottings all around it that interfere with people taking pictures and video of the area. A ghostly blacked cloak figure can be seen at the top peering over and watching people below late nights.  It’s said that the cloaked figure is a witch who curses those who get to close. A shadow man roams the woods near by and has been known to kill animals and chase cars of those who cross its path. The ghosts of four teens who were killed inside the tower during a thunderstorm that had lightning hitting the metal rail as they climbed down, are also said to haunt around the tower. The giant metal monument of Henry Patterson is also said to be haunted and that the book he carries is said to have occult writings in it, and the head of the horse he is riding is said to follow you. The tower itself seems to be a mystery as no one can find why it was built and by whom. I have been to this location and the woods around it many times late at night and have in fact had some odd things happen mostly having to do with the shadow man, I have also had camera issues around the tower that at one point locked up a camera that we were using to film an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. I very much look forward to reading Curse of Frankenstein in this area and wish that Eric and Kurt could have gotten “Frankenstein and The Monster From Hell” comic adaption done in time.  But like all good things, these things take time ,and I will review it and do a whole write up on that film and comic when it’s done. Well with that, let’s get scared and have some spooky times at Frankenstein’s Castle. 

Frankensteins Castle Ohio

Yep, just look at it….I know its creepy and yet super cool!

Curse Of Frankenstein 1

The Curse Of Frankenstein # 1  ***
Released in 1976   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 1 of 7

Baron Victor Frankenstein along with his good friend Paul are robbing bodies from graves and hangmen nooses to try and build a new super being and to give life to the dead. Paul is getting cold feet and is backing out of helping, and to make things worse Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s fiance, has come to live at the castle and he has very strong feelings for her. Frankenstein continues his experiment and even hides the fact he has been sleeping with his maid from everyone.  His obsession gets worse as he kills an old Professor friend for his brain that is damaged when Paul and him have a fight over what he is doing. The Monster awakens and is out of control and escapes, and this leaves Paul and Frankenstein having to shoot and kill the Monster and bury its body in the woods. But as days pass Frankenstein can’t let his creation go that easily and digs it up and brings it to life once more.  This time he fixes the damaged brain, and the Monster acts more like a dumb dog than a raged-filled monster. This doesn’t last long as The Monster kills the maid and tries to kill Elizabeth, leaving Frankenstein to have to torch his monster with an oil lamp and knock it into acid. But it’s not a happy ending for Frankenstein as he loses Elizabeth to Paul who also does not come to his friends aid, and he is hung for the murder of his maid.

This comic adaption is super fun, even if the first six pages are super fuzzy and are hard to read. The comic is filled with sinister deeds and paints Victor Frankenstein to be an evil man who does what he wants when he wants and will take a life if it benefits his needs. That’s what makes Victor one of the best bad guys of any of these comics; while Dracula and Leon are monsters, Victor is a real man who does not feel bad for his deeds. Paul plays the good guy who for the most part is also kind of a scum bag as he had helped Victor up to a point and only started to get odd about it once it came close to the monster getting life. The Monster, while a killer, doesn’t do much in this comic and is more of a tool to show the evils of its creator. I like the fact that Frankenstein has a lovely woman in his life, but also likes to slum it and get some of his maid who he kind of treats like a no good whore. The fact that Frankenstein dies in the end of this issue just like in the film is shocking and helps add to the message that being an evil doctor with a bad heart leads to death. The comic captures the mood and terror of the film, and right behind “Horror Of Dracula” this could be one of the better comics we looked at this Halloween. It’s crazy to think that no other Hammer Frankenstein comics were made because this series of films were perfect for comics. The art work is well done and once more no artist name was given.  The cover is one of the better in the Hammer comic series. Over all this is a great read and I recommend finding this one.

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Frankenstein’s Tower was in full effect when I went to read this comic, and the leaves were falling from the trees all around.  The sounds of people in the park filled the air, and the air was chilled and that perfect temperature to read a horror comic in. Sounds of leaves blowing around and animals running about filled the air as The Monster came alive in the comic. After reading the issue, I drove around the park at night and waited for The Shadow Man who didn’t come this night, but I could kind of see The Black Cloaked Witch at the top of the tower.  I am sure it was all in my head, right?

What would Halloween be without a fantasy warfare?  So in this one we will pit Hammer’s heavy hitters Count Dracula, Leon The Werewolf and Victor Frankenstein against each other at a haunted Ohio location known as Prospect Place that is filled with many hauntings and ghost. The day the battle will take place is Halloween Night, and the moon is full.  A storm is coming, but for now the stars are bright. So let’s get into this epic battle of Hammer Horror icons!

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The moon is full and is shinning and a storm is blowing in at the old mansion that is known as Prospect Place.  Inside near one of the windows is an oil lamp, and a man sitting at a makeshift desk writing down notes of the morning’s failed experiment.  The man is none other than Baron Victor Frankenstein! The air is so cold he warms his gloved burnt hands over the lamp and is deciding if he should try and get some sleep. Meanwhile in one of the second story rooms, a coffin sits.  Inside is Count Dracula sleeping in the box filled with his home land’s soil, and he his now getting up and looking for a blood snack. The coffin door creaks and this noise alerts Frankenstein who now knows he is not alone in this creepy old place.  He makes a decision to leave the old house and hold up in the barn until morning for he knows he can’t be seen because he is a wanted man for all his crimes against God. The Baron turns off the lamp and grabs his top hat and slips out the front door.  As he looks back he sees that a man is watching him leave the house.  Unbeknownst to him, that man is Dracula who has just found his next victim.  Victor rushes to the barn to fetch his horse.  He has been seen, and he knows it’s time for him to leave and not look back. As he enters the barn, he finds that his horse has been killed, and a werewolf is the killer.  As the beast is drinking the blood from an open wound on the dead animal’s neck, Victor backs up slowly and right into Dracula who lets out an unearthly hiss.  This noise alerts the werewolf who now is up and ready for a fight! The Werewolf lunges toward Victor who just in time side steps, and the werewolf tackles Dracula instead.  This enrages the vampire king who in turn grabs the beast by the neck and starts to squeeze.  As Dracula’s death grip tightens Victor runs to the house and grabs the oil lamp.  Meanwhile the werewolf scratches at Dracula’s face ripping chunks of flesh off, but this does not phase the vampire as he gives one more powerful squeeze and ends werewolf Leon’s life and torment. As Dracula turns, Victor throws the oil lamp at him and it explodes covering him in oil.  Victor strikes a match as quickly as he can and as he is about to flick it at Dracula, the rain starts to poor down.  Victor looks at the wet match as Dracula moves closer. The wind blows and the last scream of a evil yet brilliant Baron fills the air.

 Winner: Dracula

So there you have it.  While both Werewolf Leon and Victor Frankenstein tried, they just could not beat Dracula on this haunted battlefield.  But make it near running water, and they stand a chance. This was a fun Halloween, and the month was filled with lots of good times as well as sad times but I hope you all enjoyed yourself and hope your bellies are filled with candy. Next update we will take a look at Wally The Wizard, one of Star Comics’ original characters.  So until then, stay spooky and read some comics!

Wally The Wizard Logo

Start Halloween with the Universal Monsters!

The late night has a chill, and the leaves are blowing in the air as we approach my favorite month with my favorite holiday that’s filled with ghost, goblins, witches and ghouls.  Of course I am talking about October and Halloween! Growing up, Halloween, also known as beggars night, was always one of the highlights of the year.  Dressing up in whatever costume you or your parents wanted and going around town and getting free candy from neighbors and hearing spooky stories shared amongst friends always seemed like a perfect night. In Waynesville, Halloween always seemed more special as I was younger and enjoyed seeing friends from school walking around town dressed up, getting the free candy and walking around with my brother and his friends. When we moved back to Kettering, I was much older and spent most Halloweens watching horror films on tape or TV or driving around backwoods with Matt Hoffman or Josh Weinberg. One funny story about driving around had Matt Hoffman and I driving late around Bellbrook on Halloween night.  I was dressed up as Jason Voorhees (Friday The 13th), and he was dressed as The Wolf Hunter (a character he played in the movies we made).  We got lost and drove up what we thought was a small road that turned out to be someone’s driveway, and when we got to the house, a group of people were sitting on the porch and one had a shotgun in hand! Hoffman and I saw this, and I rolled down the window in the mask and all and said we were looking for the killer party, and then we quickly backed up and they just stared at us.  In my mind I was hoping they thought that we were real ghouls looking for a secret party. Before we get into the comic reviews on DELL Comics take on Universal Monsters Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolf Man, Mummy and Creature From the Black Lagoon, I am going to share things that I look forward/think about every Halloween season!

The first thing is the Halloween decorations from cheap plastic skeletons to the traditional Jack O Lantern.  They make the season of fall seem so much more magical. Growing up my mom use to let me decorate the living room for Halloween.  It was quickly filled with ceramic painted ghosts and vampires, cardboard skeletons and frankenstein monsters in the windows and Addams Family flashlights of Lurch and Fester on the mantel. I like to drive around and look at Halloween displays people have in their yards and windows like some people do with Christmas decorations. I have seen some really cool stuff in Kettering, Waynesville and Fairborn.

witch halloween Decorationsjack-o-lanternwerewolf halloween Decorations

Another thing that kicks off the fall/Halloween season for me is the Sauerkraut Festival that my hometown Waynesville has put on for 44 years that’s always held of the second full week of October. The event is filled with great food, outdoor vendors that sell homemade crafts and almost all the amazing shops and restaurants are open for business. Over the years I notice the crowds at the event get bigger and bigger and lots of kids come and have fun. One of my best memories is buying ceramic halloween decorations that me and my mom later painted in her craft room that was also taken over as the NES Game Room, and also buying really cool homemade buttons of Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson and Billy Idol. If you have not ever been to this event and are a fan of homemade crafts and food and like the feel and fun of a small town, I would highly recommend you check out this fun festival.

Sauerkraut Festival  logo

Of course one of the best parts of Halloween is finding the right costume and dressing up as your favorite hero, fiend or celebrity. Over the years I can remember dressing up as Rell the Cyclops from Krull, Skeletor from Masters of the Universe, Dracula, a Clown, The Wolf Man, Bigfoot, Jason Voorhees, Billy Idol and Alice Cooper. The Rell costume was one that scarred me.  Longtime readers will know the story.  I dressed as The Wolf Man from my own film Werewolf of Ohio for a Halloween party held at my friends’, brother and sister Chris and Rosetta Workman’s old house in Troy. The lamest costume I can remember is being a clown.  My mom was too scared to put the black makeup close to my eyes so she left them bare. I looked like a meth addict clown who just couldn’t get his stuff together for that one last show of the night. One of my favorites was Dracula it was pretty cool putting in the fake teeth and wearing the cape with white grease paint on. But I also loved dressing as Bigfoot for my cousin Steve and his then girlfriend Emily’s Halloween Home Warming Party.  It was great spending a spooky night with friends like Max Ervin, Nate Stevens, Josh Weinberg and all the rest of the gang. Halloween lets anyone feel like a star as they can dress up and act like what ever they want to be.  If you want to be a zombie, then be it.  If you wanna be Lady GaGa, then dress like her! Below are a few pics of me from the ages dressed as all types of ghouls and fools.

me as clownme as draculame as wolfman couto as philme as bigfoot

The main point of Halloween is to go trick or treating, and every kid, with his pillow case, plastic pumpkin or plastic bag, hopes for the good stuff like Snickers, Kit Kats and Milky Ways and dreads candy corn, pennies and taffy. Some of my favorite treats to get were Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  They were and still are my favorite candy to treat my sweet tooth to. I like the old wax type wrapper better then the more lame plastic type. Another favorite was Monster Candy sugar sticks put into boxes that showed Universal Monsters on them. We use to buy these to give out for Halloween by my request and before Halloween I would sneak and eat a few.  I am sure my Mom and Dad knew but didn’t care. One other fun one I use to love was Wax Lips.  Terrible candy, but a fun trick! I remember getting a pair one year that I would wear around and then in a few hours I decided to chew on them and made them into a wax ball….such a lame treat but really fun and lame entertainment. I wonder if I dressed as Bigfoot this year and went door to door here in Dayton, if people would give me candy….hmmm makes me wonder!

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Halloween TV Specials were also something I looked forward to and some of my favorites include The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” every year.  They are fun horror themed stories that have The Simpson family in situations that are not in the normal season story arcs. Roseanne had some of the best Halloween episodes on TV.  The Conners understood the spirt of Halloween, and the episodes were done so well and had that blue collar appeal to them that made them over the top yet realistic. As the series went on, they slowly lost some of the charm but Roseanne had some of the best episodes for this holiday. Two specials that used to air when I was younger every Halloween and that I still love to this day are “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” and ” Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.” Both were fun animated family entertainment.  Charlie Brown is the better of the two, and who can forget Chuck’s many holed ghost sheet and the fact he got a rock for a treat, classic stuff. Garfield had that wonderful ghost story meets John Carpenter’s The Fog feel to it, and the creepy old man that tells them the story is great stuff for young ones to get their bones chilled by. Halloween Specials are a fun way for TV Shows to cut loose and have fun and CBS, FOX, ABC and the rest need to look back at the golden age of specials on TV and bring this generation some spooky stuff for their Halloween nights.

The Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror dvdRoseanne Halloween dvdcharlie brown halloween dvdGarfield Halloween Adventure VHS

Speaking of TV, another thing that Halloween Season always makes me think about is Shock Theatre and The New Shock Theater both hosted by the late great Dr. Creep! Late night TV watching in October was always a treat when Dr. Creep and crew would host a terrible b-movie shocker, and the Creeper would be on the screen hamming it up in skits and later interviews with the horror stars of the past and present. Halloween time in Dayton and the surrounding area always belonged to Dr. Creep who will always be the icon of fright to anyone who grew up watching his show. During the holiday time Creep would make many public appearances, one of which was the charity horror film event called Horrorama where films would be shown from 35mm prints and Creep, along side Andy Copp and Rick Martin and later myself, would hold contests and entertain the crowd in between films.  Fall will never be the same without the Creeper who sadly passed away in early 2011, and while he might be gone, he will never be forgotten and his local TV work will forever have a legacy that will entertain generations to come thanks to DVD and VHS.

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This time of year also brings the Halloween Specials of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre to local Dayton airwaves.  These hour long specials are some of my favorite episodes I shoot in a season and are for Dayton’s Scare-A-Thon, a long block of Horror film programing that airs on both DATV and MVCC. Baron Von Porkchop, the host of the show, always seems to get himself into trouble during this time of the year and for the first one The Baron meets the killer The Sadness from the film of the same name at Wright State University during another one of his killing rampages.  The second one had Baron hosting “Werewolf of Ohio” and going trick or treating with his weird hunchback friend Melvin.  They make the mistake of getting the wrath of The Headless Horseman after them! These episodes are so much fun to make and rank always as the top sellers for us at the end of each year. I hope that the fans have as much fun with them as The Baron and I have making them. I am also so glad to have dug up The Baron from his grave and share his silly adventures with the fans, and I hope that The Baron adds to people’s Halloween experience as Dr. Creep did for mine. I should also mention another great Halloween event is Boo-Fest, a Halloween party put on by a friend of the show named Len, that he has Baron Von Porkchop as the guest judge of the costume contest, a fun time with really good people.

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When I was young, McDonald’s was the cool place to eat for kids, and Happy Meals and the toys inside were things we all collected and traded on the playground. Some years around Halloween time they would also have pumpkin and ghost buckets for sale and when released they were everywhere in kids hands during trick or treat. But another thing I always remember is when the Chicken McNuggets in a commercial dressed as classic monsters.  I mean who can forget the Vampire McNugget or The Mummy McNugget? The commercial had them doing all kinds of silly stuff that all was to make their own dipping sauce.  Later in the short commercial Ronald McDonald just gave them dipping sauce. I don’t know why, but this commercial has always stuck with me and I thought it was even cooler when they gave away McNugget toys in the Happy Meals that had them dressed as the monsters. Fun stuff, and man now I am hungry for McNuggets!

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Kids and the young at heart always wish that Halloween Town from Tim Burtons “A Nightmare Before Christmas” was real.  Well here in Ohio, we have something very close with Foy’s Halloween Shop and all of it’s other shops (adult and kids costume stores, a haunted house supply shop, etc) in Fairborn! Foy’s is run by Mike Foy and is a one stop shopping for all your halloween needs they have masks, costumes, candy, decorations, make up, gag gifts and so much more. In October the store really comes alive with a DJ outside that plays music.  When Dr. Creep was with us, he signed autographs and DVDs out front. They have a Batman on top of one of the buildings and lots of animatronics of people puking! The street is filled with people just hanging around and having a good time.  Every year I try and make at least one trip to Foy’s in October because the over all energy of that area is great Halloween fun. If you ever find yourself in Ohio in October, do yourself a favor and check out Foy’s.

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Speaking of costumes the older I got, the more I took notice of the sexy halloween costumes that are just wowing. Halloween is one time a year when many hot ladies dress up as French Maids, Sexy Cats, Nurses and Playboy Bunnies and it’s like cosplay for the masses. Don’t want to spend to much time of this one, but I just want to say that women in sexy costumes is another reason I love Halloween! Thoough I will say that my girlfriend Juliet made a good observation that it’s harder for girls to find costumes that don’t have the word sexy associated with them.  Guys can be a scary Freddy Kruger while woman have to be Sexy Freddy Kruger.

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Halloween time also makes me think of my friend Max Ervin, a guy I knew for over 10 years and a guy that I worked with at two jobs. Max was like me, a big kid at heart and loved to look at Halloween stores and decorate the stores we worked at. His family also used go all out and decorate their house, and this I think always made the holiday special for Max. He also loved dressing up and every year jumped at the chance to come to work in costume. Max and I also loved to go to abandoned houses and root around hoping to find some cool stuff and maybe even get a slight chill. He also worked on many horror films with me and was a fan of cheesy horror like myself. Sadly, the world lost Max this year and I will forever miss his friendship.  He truly was a fun spirit who knew how to make the world around him laugh. Rest In Peace my friend, this Halloween blog is for you. Below are some pics of Max in Halloween costumes and one of him and I at Steve’s Halloween Party.

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What is Halloween without The Universal Monsters? The answer to the question is a little less fun for me! Growing up I loved the classic black and white horror films.  Every Halloween I use to watch the 1932 Frankenstein on VHS, and as I acquired more of the Universal Monsters VHS releases, they joined in the October must watch list. Besides the fact they are great films, the characters themselves are traditional scary monsters that kids and adult dress up as and all seem to mimic when thinking of that said monster. I can remember a few years back sitting in my darkened room with the TV glow as the only light as a thunderstorm poured down outside as I watched Frankenstein on DVD.  The sensation of watching the classic film on a night like that in mid October made me think of how terrifying this film was for movie goers in the 1930’s.  They must have been in total shock as The Monster, played by Boris Karloff, first appeared on screen with his bolted neck and flat scarred up head. The Universal Monster films are also a fun way to watch “scary” movies with your kids and help add to their Halloween experience.  So this Halloween do me a favor and watch a Universal Monster Classic and enjoy the horror pictures of the past.

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Horror films are my favorite kind of films.  Up to 89% of my movie collection is made up of horror movies, and like most people during the fall and October, I watch a lot of them. When thinking of horror films during this time of the year, the series that always pops into my head is “Halloween” with its white masked killer Michael Myers who stalks and kills teens and adult alike on Halloween night. This series happens to be my favorite of the mainstream franchises and is a series one should watch the week of the holiday. Modern horror fans might also think about the “Saw” or “Paranormal Activity” series.  Both that had sequels that came out every October.  While I like the Saw films, the Paranormal Activity series has run its course after the second film. At least one day in October I set some time back and watch mass amounts of them, and this year I watched Hatchet III, Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead (2013), Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, Cabin In The Woods, Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan, Corpse Eaters, Stephen King’s IT, Demons, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III,  Texas Chainsaw 3D, The Mummy’s Hand, My Bloody Valentine (1981), Venom, Dawn of the Mummy, C.H.U.D., Frankenstein Stalks,  Miss Werewolf, The Wolf Man (1941), Curse of the Werewolf, I, Madman, The Wolf Hunter, Maniac Cop, Dracula (1931), An American Werewolf in Paris, Curse of Frankenstein, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell and so many more! So this holiday season try and watch a film series like Friday The 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Howling, Re-Animator, Creature From The Black Lagoon, Phantasm, Psycho, Tombs of The Blind Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or whatever you choose and have a fun fright filled night, cause Halloween is not complete without the horror films!

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One film that takes place around Halloween and is one of my favorite cheesy 80’s horror films is a little film called “Trick or Treat” directed by Charles Martin Smith and starring Marc Price as Eddie “Ragman” Weinbauer, Tony Fields as Sammi Curr, Lisa Orgolini as Leslie Graham with cameos from Gene Simmons of Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne. The film is about rockstar Sammi Curr who dies in a hotel fire coming back via a vinyl record.  When his # 1 fan Eddie plays the record backwards he gets messages from Curr on how to get even with the bullies of the school. When Eddie turns against the orders of Curr when people start getting hurt, Curr comes back to life to finish the killing spree he wanted. The film is pure 80’s hair metal horror that has the killer Sammi Curr traveling through electricity and using his guitar to kill teens with bolts of lightning. I first saw the film when I was 10 years old while my brother Bryan and I were being babysat by our older cousin Chris Jones who before this fed us Taco Bell and bought me a Hulk comic off the comic rack at a local convenience store. He and his friend put it on, and I watched it and thought wow this movie is great.  As I started collecting Horror films on VHS, I went out of my way to find a copy of it for sale at all the local video stores and second hand stores. A fun fact: my cat Leslie is named after the love interest of Eddie in this film. If you like 80’s rock, a killer who dances, plays guitar and sings, then this is a film for you. Be warned the film is not a bloodbath slasher film but more of a supernatural film. Also last year’s Horrorama and the last one we were able to show 35mm film prints for, Andy Copp was able to get a print for us to show so that I could see the film the way it was suppose to be seen. The film was also planned to be a franchise with many sequels like A Nightmare on Elm Street, but the it did poorly at the boxoffice and the plans for the series were scrapped. So in the words of Sammi Curr aka Fastway (the band who did the soundtrack) “Knock, Knock. Knockin For A Sweet Surprise..It’s a Trick Or Treat”!

sammi currTrick or Treat PosterSami Curr Lives

When I was younger I use to really want to get a group of my friends together in the woods next to a camp fire and tell scary stories like in the Nickelodeon show “Are You Afraid Of The Dark” but this sadly never came about. But what I did spend a lot of time doing was reading ghost stories from old cheap paperbacks that I would by from the school book fairs. My favorite one to read was “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” by Alvin Schwartz that had creepy drawings by Stephen Gammell and all that book’s sequels. That series of books had short stories about murders, ghosts, ghouls and pranks gone wrong and each story was well written and had a creepy illustration to accompany it. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark is a book that has a cult following to this day and I know many of people my age and younger that still love reading these creepy stories from time to time. Two other popular series of books that were big when I was younger were both written by R.L. Stine, the geared for kids”Goosebumps” and the geared for teens “Fear Street.” Growing up I read many of these books and for some reason read Goosebumps: The Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb a lot. Also around this time teen thriller novels based on Michael Myers (Halloween), Jason Voorhees (Friday The 13th) and Freddy Kruger (Nightmare on Elm Street) hit the market, and while they were very cheesy they still were fun.  I remember reading the Friday the 13th ones after I checked them out from the library. One of my favorite books to read were the “Crestwood Monster Series” that were facts, plots and later the novel adaptations of classic horror and sci-fi films.  The series would cover Dracula, Godzilla, The Mummy, King Kong and so many more monsters. I own some of these books that I bought when I was younger from a library sale in Waynesville. More great reads that I learned about in my teens were the “Haunted Ohio” series written by Chris Woodyard.  They are real life tellings of hauntings in the state of Ohio and covers all the famous stories that are said to spook us Ohioans. If you’re a ghost hunter and sprit chaser like myself, these books are worth a read. And of course there are all the classic novels one thinks about around this time like Bram Stokers “Dracula”, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, H.G. Wells “Invisible Man” & “War of The Worlds” and Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” to name a few. Or you could even read novelizations of horror films that flooded the market in the late 70’s and through out the 90’s. Novels are fun ways to work the mind and give yourself a fright this halloween season!

scary stories to tell in the dark bookGoosebumps The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb bookhalloween old myers place bookmonster series mad scientist bookHaunted Ohio booklegend of sleepy hollow book

This time also makes me think of video games and all the horror themed ones that have come out in my generation of being a gamer. I play a lot of video games and have played so many survival horror games that I could write a full blog on just that so I will be brief and only talk about a few. I remember playing “Haunted House” for Atari 2600 at Brad Burns’ house, a neighbor from across the street in Waynesville.  The game is simple and has a pair of eyes looking around a dark maze trying to finds pieces of an urn while dodging bats and spiders. The game was pretty lame but I remember always asking to play it because it was a horror themed game. I also remember Brad making fun of the game. Another game I played a lot was for PC and was on diskettes that he bought from a thrift store called “Isle Of The Dead” when he first bought his own PC. The game had you play a surviver of a plane crash that landed on an island run by a mad scientist and overrun by zombies.  This was a first person shooter that was one on the imitations of Doom. The game was super cheesy and would crash a lot but I remember so hard trying to beat it and not coming close. Another PC game I played a lot was “Waxworks,” a horror game that would send you to different time periods to retrieve stolen goods and kill evil beings. I used to play this game a lot and had fun doing so.  It was pure first person meets point and click game and had a great soundtrack. Lastly I will talk about “The Walking Dead: The Video Game” made by TellTale Games, a point and click adventure that follows Lee who was on his way to prison for murder and escapes when the zombie outbreak happens and comes across a little girl named Clementine who he in turns protects through out this amazing plotted game. This was one of my favorite horror games for the PS3 era of survival horror. But this is just a drop in the hat to all the wonderful horror games out there like the series Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Clock Tower, Dead Space, Castlevania, F.E.A.R., Doom and so many more. Horror video games much like the movies, shows and novels go hand and hand with the season, and are worth playing for a bone chilling good time.

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One thing I look forward to every Halloween that takes place on the internet is “Monster Madness,” a show done by James Rolfe aka The Angry Video Game Nerd where he talks about horror films and gives mini reviews and facts about the movie he is covering. James knows his stuff, and it’s cool to see that he not only loves video games but also horror films, and he also has a soft spot for the Universal Monster films and holds them in a high respect so he goes up on the cool points in my book. I highly recommend his sequel-a-thon where he covers Universal’s Frankenstein, Hammer’s Dracula, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween series.  It’s a super fun watch and filled with some great opinions and facts. Also his Godzilla series retrospective is an amazing watch and brought back many great memories of the past sitting and watching them on TBS and VHS. Another good watch is his Top Ten Lost Horror Film Countdown.  While not part of Monster Madness, it is still one hell of a good watch, as are his Nerd Halloween specials that cover horror themed games. James Rolfe and his shows are now apart of my holiday tradition and are worth checking out.

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Horrorama is a charity event that happens every Halloween and was started in 1997 by horror host Dr. Creep, filmmaker Andy Copp and Rick Martin and is going strong to this day. I joined the group over 6 years ago and have been helping out ever since, bringing great films to the screen all for charity and for the audience to have a good spooky time. The event has trivia, contests and even one year a Miss Horrorama Pageant that had a young lady named Jesi Witt win for being a female Beetlejuice and let me say the ghost with the most never looked that good. The event is a mainstay here in the Dayton area and I hope it’s something many people look forward to every year.  I will say that the event this year will be a little sadder for me as Andy Copp my friend, film mentor and all around great guy passed away early this year.  I always looked forward to planning this event with him and hearing his ideas and opinions on what films we should show. Andy was the one guy who really pushed me into making films and much like my old media teacher, I think he saw the potential in me. Andy is truly missed, and this year’s Horrorama is for him!

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Dayton’s Scare-A-Thon is a public access marathon of horror films and shows that Terrifying Tales of the Macabre does Halloween Specials for. The event was the brain child of Henrique Couto, a filmmaker who is like a little brother to me, who decided Halloween around here needs a little more. The event aired on both DATV, MVCC and via DVD at Game Swap and also marked the return on Dr. Freak, who at one time was the world’s youngest horror host, as he did a new “Cult Theater” just for this marathon! The event also played many Pop Cinema horror titles and one year had live segments with callers! Overall this block of TV programming is some good stuff and is perfect for the background at any Halloween party. Oh yeah I should also say that during the live segments two years back, I dressed up as Scars, a werewolf I played in the Independent B Movie film “Bark At The Moon: Scars.”  So that was a nice fun tribute to that film. Scare-A-Thon is taking a break this year, but here’s top hopping it makes a return for Halloween 2014.

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I know I’m not alone in knowing that October also brings the breakfast monster cereal back onto shelves as General Mills puts out Count Chockula, Frankenberry and Boo Berry for a limited time, but man it sure does make Halloween even sweeter. The best out of the three is Chockula, and my least favorite is Boo Berry, but mixing Boo Berry with the other flavors is really good and worth trying if you haven’t. Growing up I remember the animated commercials and wishing they would be full cartoons that would have aired on Saturday mornings and sparked toys and comics that I for sure would have bought. I remember growing up when they sold the cereal year round and eating many of boxes for breakfast and snacks over those years. Previously Fruit Brute and the Fruity Yummy Mummy didn’t get re-released because they were shorter lived on store shelves than the rest of the monsters, but this year they’re making an appearance next to the big 3. I have crayons of all the monsters besides Fruit Brute (who was not made) and they are some amazing sculpted prizes that were given away with proof of purchase. The Breakfast Monsters just help add to my Halloween excitement and are something I look forward to every year.

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Those are just a few of the things I remember and look forward to every Halloween time, but now it’s time to get to the comics that are Dell’s take on the classic monsters of Universal films. A total of five comics were made and were released from 1962-63 are were a part of the “Movie Classics” line that was popular for them. It’s a shame that none of these one-shots sparked a full run comic series because I would have loved to have collected a run of comics that told me what The Wolf Man was doing after the films had stopped. The only one of these issues I had ever read was The Wolf Man and that’s been some 8 years ago.  The rest I am going into blind so I am very much looking forward to reading what ideas this comic company had for these classic characters of the silver screen. I just want you all to remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So with that, let’s get onto these spooky reviews! Oh yeah and these will have spoilers to the issues so you have been warned. Thanks to Bell Book and Comic, Mavericks Cards and Comics, Ebay and my pal David J. Getz for hooking me up with these comics and making this Halloween update of Rotten Ink possible.

The Mummy 1

The Mummy # 1   * 1/2
Released in 1962   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   #211 of ?

A unknown tomb is found in Egypt, and when it’s opened The Mummy of Ahmed is set loose.  The Mummy goes out for revenge on the ancestors of those who buried him alive after he was convicted of being a follower of Seth, the God of evil and was left to suffer for generations in a tomb that was hidden away. Ahmed uses his eyes to hypnotize a few men and has them do his bidding, eventually killing themselves in horrific ways. But when Egyptian beauty Kipa gets a scroll that is a death note, her American boyfriend Bart figures out that she is next to be killed and along with the police they are able to capture The Mummy Ahmed.  The Mummy escapes but is killed as he falls from pyramid steps and shatters at the bottom. But Bart and the police chief wonder if The Mummy really gone as his laughter fills the night air.

This is one of the weirdest and dumbest Mummy stories I have ever read! The Mummy Ahmed can talk and uses his eyes to hypnotize people into doing what he wants and worst of all he can run and move fast plus shoots lasers from his eyes.  One of the goofiest things about this Mummy is that when trying to run away he is tackled by the American Bart and then handcuffed and put into the back of a police car….how weird and lame is that? Just think about that image of The Mummy in handcuffs in the back of a cop car.  It’s mind numbing. Plus The Mummy dies after falling down stairs, what a lame way to go.  The heroes of this comic are Bart and the police chief, and both are pretty much a waste and only add a very generic good guy character to this rushed story.  Kipa is also a waste and adds nothing to this story besides being the would-be victim . One funny moment has Kipa showing that she wore special contact lenses to protect her from the stare of Ahmed, and this so reminds me of something you would have seen in a classic Dick Tracy comic strip with BB Eyes or an episode of the 60’s live action Batman TV show. This comic is a pure disappointment and is a bad start for Dell’s Universal Monster comic tie-ins. This comic has nothing to do with the Universal films based on The Mummy and really comes off as a cheesed version of a horror story comic that was written by a 10 year old who likes sci-fi films and thinks lasers are cool. The cover is very well done and by looking so cool helps lead you to the disappointment that is this issue.  The interior artwork is pretty good and The Mummy looks like Kris, played by Lon Chaney Jr. in several of The Mummy sequels. Over all this is a bad start for the Dell series and makes me hope that Dracula will be better.  So with that let’s move onto that issue and the second in this series.

Dracula 1

Dracula # 1   **1/2
Released in 1962   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   #212 of ?

Basil Shawcross is driving late during a rain storm to get to the home of his close friend Janos Tesla, an expert on myths and folklore. Basil is there to ask about vampires and dismisses everything his friend is telling him as medical issues and nothing more. Janos questions why his friend came on a night like this only to argue about the information he is asking for.  Basil breaks down and tells Janos his son died in Transylvania and how be believes he has been wrongly pronounced dead, especially after his son met a girl in the graveyard named Irina.  Basil wants his friend to travel and get answers with him. The pair travel to Transylvania and only get news that his son’s body is missing and more talk of vampires. Basil still doesn’t want to hear this and late that night he gets a visit from his son, who, along with Irina, takes him to Castle Dracula where Count Dracula tries to bully him into bringing them fresh blood.  Unbeknownst to all, Janos has followed and uses wolfsbane and garlic powder to frighten off the vampires, but its too late for his friend Basil who dies during the commotion. In the end Janos tells the townspeople that he will kill Dracula and the vampires and avenge his friend.

This title is a slow moving classic comic style thriller that has one weak payoff in the Dracula department and in the “final” battle. Most of the issue features Janos Tesla and Basil Shawcross in a den late at night during a rain storm speaking in front of a fire about vampire folklore and about Bruce Shawcross’ odd death in Transylvania. While this aspect is interesting and helps build the scares, the payout is not worth the wait as Dracula only appears in three pages of the comic and when around really adds nothing but a few lines, one a rehash of him talking about not drinking wine. The idea that Dracula really just wants blood delivered to him so that he doesn’t have to go out and kill is something that should have been more of the focus of this comic and maybe had Basil being torn about doing it in hopes this would help his son in some way.  But then again that would have taken away from the den talking. The end makes you think that this comic would have sparked a series based on Janos and his quest to end Dracula but instead it lead to a comic series about a super hero named Dracula who uses bat blood….yeah. This comic has very little to do with the film it was based on, and that’s a shame because I would have loved this to be all about Count Dracula. The cover is great and eye catching and captures the Bela Lugosi Dracula look and mood.  The art inside is okay and looks like most Dell comics from the 60’s, and Dracula inside only slightly looks like Lugosi. While this is not a bad horror comic, it just is a weak comic based on Universal’s Dracula, and would have gotten at least another 1/2 star if it would have not claimed to be connected to the film. Let’s see how the Creature does and if Dell can deliver a solid comic based on these classic cinema monsters.

The Creature 1

The Creature # 1   ***
Released in 1963   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   # 302 of ?

Scott Warden is a paleontologist who has been sent a hand of some sort of creature that once lived in the deep waters of the Amazon.  When the scientist who sent it goes missing near the site the hand was found, Scott tries to go along on a trip with a rich man named Dudley Gaustad.  At first he wants nothing to do the Scott until his diver Mitch Love and his olympic swim star sister Monica Love convince him it’s a good idea to have him aboard and that he can also help dive and find the treasure that Gaustad is looking for. Upon arriving in the Amazon, they meet the ship captain and against the crew’s wishes Gaustad hires former Nazis as crew members who are clearly helping to gain something in return. When they get to their spot, the weather is super hot and Monica goes for a swim and captures the attention of The Creature who watches her every move.  When Scott and Mitch go for a dive they are not sure but think they might have seen something in the waters. That night The Creature attacks and kills some of the crew and this is when the remaining two Nazi’s make their move and hold the group captive, wanting to use them to find the gold that they think is hidden in the waters below. The next morning Mitch, Scott and Dudley are forced to dive and into the water.  Dudley is attacked by The Creature and then becomes lunch for piranha.  As Scott and Mitch flee, The Creature comes aboard the ship, killing the nazis and flinging them into the piranha feeding frenzy and chasing Monica in the water as she swims to get away. Scott and Mitch see this and come to her aid and kill the Creature with spear guns and take his body back to the USA to be studied as the boat is going away the waters below is shown to house many more Creatures.

This issue starts off very slow and the build up is for the most part boring, but once they get to the Amazon and meet the one time Nazi’s and The Creature shows up this comic starts to become really fun. Scott is your typical smart hero, who while a nerd is still a strong heroic guy who wants to get to the bottom of what The Creature is and when it comes time he deals with him and delivers quick painful death. Mitch Love is just the background friend who adds the extra muscle and filler to make it all connect to Scott as Mitch was once in the navy with him. Monica Love is the beauty for the hero and the monster to both fall in love with and the comic also adds two other sleazy characters to fall for her, making Monica the most powerful character in the comic as she has all the love of the major and minor players. Dudley Gaustad is a rich asshole who is not a total creep but gets the worst death in the whole comic.  It’s pretty messed up how he goes from punching bag to fish food in mere panels. The Nazis are scum as always and are the true bad guys of the comic while The Creature does what he does best:  kill and try to make it with human women. The idea behind the story is pretty good and as I stated while it takes time to really get going, it does have that old horror film charm to it.  I was not too keen on the fact that a whole race of Creatures are living in the waters.  I like the idea of only one being left in the world. Adding the Nazis was a nice touch as well and really gives the reader some characters to hate because let’s be honest, no one reading this comic can truly hate the Creature. The cover is okay and only somewhat looks like The Creature (Gillman).  As for the art inside, I really liked it because it had the EC comic feel and The Creature looked like he should. This comic is a closer to the Universal films based on the character and is a big improvement over The Mummy! Next up is The Frankenstein’s Monster so let’s see what Dell does with him.

Frankenstein 1

Frankenstein # 1   ***
Released in 1963   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   # 305 of ?

Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant Fritz are creating life in the lab, but things go wrong when Fritz steals a criminal brain and The Monster awakens after being struck by lightning. The Monster stumbles around the room and is angered by Fritz who uses a torch to keep him at bay.  The Monster decides to leave the castle and roam the countryside where he accidentally leads two young teens to their deaths.  The townspeople are furious and burn down Frankenstein’s Castle as The Monster, Fritz and the Dr. hide in a secret bunker.  As days pass, Dr. Frankenstein gets an idea to leave Europe and head to New York to show a group of scientist that he has created life.  Frankenstein uses hypnosis on The Monster to listen to his commands and along with Fritz, the three are smuggled to America, but along the way the Dr. becomes power mad and uses The Monster to kill people that are getting in his way to become the top scientist he thinks he should be. In New York, Dr. Frankenstein speaks to the science community, but Fritz once more screws up and sets The Monster free.  It goes on a rampage and heads back towards the boat that brought him there and makes the mistake of getting on one with explosives and starting a fire! Frankenstein and Fritz try to save The Monster but it’s too late.  As they dive into the waters The Monster is left to burn on the boat.

This is a fun re-imagining of the classic 1932 Universal Frankenstein film and is truly what these comics should have been like! While I would love to have them directly follow the films, I am fine with them taking the characters from the film and proposing a what if world around them. The Monster is very much the confused brute he should be at first and while people die, he does this by accident and feels terrible for what he has done. You really feel for him when Dr. Frankenstein barks orders at him to kill and he must do so against his will. Plus his death is very much in the same vein as how he dies in the film.  Instead of a windmill in Europe, it’s now a boat in New York. Fritz in this comic is a pure dumbass and is the cause of most of the troubles in the issue, from stealing the wrong brain to waking The Monster at the wrong time he is a true moron! And with him being such a pain, it makes you wonder why Dr. Frankenstein would bring him all the way to New York knowing all his mistakes in the past haved caused so much issues. Dr. Frankenstein is a power hungry man that only cares about fame and proving his critics wrong.  The fact he would order his Monster to kill changes him so much from the film that you find yourself disliking him in the comic. He almost feels like the character is only a pinch of Universal Dr. Frankenstein and a whole lot of Hammer Horror Dr. Frankenstein who was way more mean spirited. The plot is well thought out and brings the horror to America and closer to home for the younger readers of 1963.  I am sure this added to the shock and wonder. I for one really enjoyed this issue and would have loved to see this go onto a full series.  This marks the best so far of the Dell Movie Classics Universal Monsters run. So let’s see how the final issue in the series holds up as we take a look at The Wolf Man!

The Wolf Man 1

The Wolf Man # 1   *1/2
Released in 1963   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   # 308 of ?

Milo Zak has just graduated collage and is now a doctor who wants to return to his hometown, a small village that still cures its sick with an old witch and a gypsy and bases everything off superstition. When returning home he is reunited with his girlfriend Lyana and his aunt & uncle and quickly opens a doctor’s office that does no business.  This makes him want to set out to prove that his medicine is better than any of the old remedies. But his goal to prove superstition and supernatural takes a turn for the worse when he meets Vorcla, a man who can control wolves and uses his power to take money from the villagers.  Milo decides to prove him as a fake and embarrasses him in front of the whole town! The town starts to believe in Milo as the witch and gypsy warn him that his future looks bad.  It indeed turns bad as Vorcla, who has been banned from the town, comes back and kills his aunt and uncle and many of the townspeople and then bites Milo making him a werewolf. Lyana calls for one of Milo’s school buddies who comes to town and kills Vorcla with a silver cane and frees Milo of his curse.

This comic has absolutely nothing to do with the Universal film and should not have The Wolf Man named attached to it.  This comic does not have a single mention of Larry Talbot. Vorcla is the bad guy, and he is only somewhat a werewolf as he walks around even during the day looking like a crazed beast with style in his suit, cape and hat. His only real power is he can control wolves and he can pass on his curse of being whatever he is. Milo Zak, who is the main focus of the comic, is a man who has embraced modern medicine and turned his back on the old ways of his home town, and by doing so he messes with the wrong person and some of his family and friends pay the price as he is also cursed with werewolf meets vampire like powers. Tha’ts the one dumb thing about this comic, the “Werewolf” Vorcla always looks like a hairy freak who walks around and talks like a normal man and controls the minds of wolves.  When he’s passing on the curse, he bites Milo on the neck like a vampire and neither casts a reflection in the mirror….yeah, who ever wrote this mess got the legends of vampires and werewolves mixed up. This is the most disappointing of the Dell Universal Monster Comics for me as The Wolf Man has always been my favorite, and he deserved way better than this mess that only uses his name to try and draw in readers. The art is okay and once more has that classic 60’s horror comic look.  The “werewolf” Vorcla looks more like Jack The Ripper meets Mr. Hyde, and the cover is pretty generic showing the outline of Wolf Man with a snow background.  Much like the name, the cover is misleading as this comic doesn’t have a flake of snow in it. This comic didn’t live up to what it could have been and gets only one and a half star because it’s so far away from the source material that it’s an insult to fans of the film. And that marks the end of the Dell run!

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I want to say that these comics are NOT terrible, and while The Mummy and The Wolf Man got low stars it’s because they went way too far away from the source material. This series is very dated and the twists that they took with characters for the most part don’t work! I went in looking at these as re-imaginings of the films, and while I can respect the attempt at reinventing the monsters’ images and stories, I am not sure why some of them lost the very essence of what the monster was. Dracula is the closest one to what he should be followed closely by both Frankenstein’s Monster and The Creature, while The Wolf Man is the farthest away from the source followed by The Mummy. The best drawn of these comic would have to be The Creature followed really closely by Frankenstein.  Both have a great style, and Frankenstein has some amazing panels that use odd colors very well to enhance the chilling factor. Once more The Wolf Man comes in with the worst as his comic is very bland and run of the mill cheap horror comic style, though I will say I do like how they tried to use shadows in many of the panels. Over all I did have a lot of fun reading these comics and did enjoy the fact that Dell tried to update and deliver Universal Monsters to comic readers of the early 60’s and wish more comic companies today would take chances in what they put out besides 7 different books with Wolverine or Batman in them. Our next update will continue the Halloween spirit, and we will take a look at a small company called Northstar as they did a four issue loose comic adaptation of the film “Leatherface: A Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.”  So until then, stay scared!

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Battle of The Horror Legends! Brought To You By Topps

When I was a kid I used to love to buy packs of trading cards, and while sometimes they would be sports, I would mostly target the cards based on movies or TV shows.  9 out of 10 times the cards I would buy would be from Topps who always gave you a stick of gum and a sticker in packs based on films like The Goonies. As I got older I got away from collecting cards and turned my nerdy collecting ways toward things like movies, video games and comics. But sometime in 2012 things switched, and I found myself buying and collecting base card sets and started to buy sets based on Superman, Incredible Hulk and even WWF Wrestling and as quick as it started it faded again as a hobby. But what makes cards so cool? Is it the great image on the fronts with the cheesy lines or is it the back that gives some history of what the card you’re holding means or even a puzzle piece?  Whatever it is, I hope that the hobby doesn’t fade away and when I have kids they can enjoy the simple pleasure of opening a new pack of cards. So with that let’s look at Topps as a company.  It was founded in 1938 and was a spin off from the old company American Leaf Tobacco.  After World War I left the parent company broke, the sons of the owner Abram, Ira, Philip and Joseph Abram took over the company and changed its name to Topps and began making bubble gum, and one of the most popular items they made being Bazooka Bubblegum that featured a character named Bazooka Joe in a mini comic strip that was included with the stick of gum. The brothers then had an idea; to help gum sales they would include trading cards of Hopalong Cassidy, a famous TV western character and this blew up into making cards for all types of things over the years.  From baseball players to rock bands like the Beatles to movies like Rocky and TV Shows like Star Trek to cartoons like Masters of the Universe, Topps owned the trading card market! Topps also tried their hand at other products like candy, posters and even comics (we will get into that a little later), but even when times got rough Topps still was able to hold strong and is still considered the top of the food chain when it comes to sports cards. I for one have many fond memories of opening up wax packs of cards and being happy to see the sticker I got as a munched on the gum. So here is to Topps for making great memories to so many kids from so many decades in time.

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Topps had taken over the trading card market, and in 1992 they made an announcement that they would now be getting into the comic book one with the opening of Topps Comics. The following year in 1993 the first comics were to come out that were based on ideas and drawings from then retired comic master Jack Kirby who came up with such heros as Bombast, Captain Glory and NightGlider for a made up universe that was called The Kirbyverse.  Sales were just okay, and the series failed to make that big of a splash they were hoping for. Topps also went for blood against Marvel and DC by buying up licenses to make comics based on such shows as The X-Files, Xena Warrior Princess, ExoSquad and Duckman. They also went for classic characters like Lone Ranger and Zorro and gobbled up films like Jurassic Park, Jason Goes To Hell and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But only a few comics seemed to have the sales they needed, and quickly as they started Topps closed the comic branch in 1998. But before they left the game, they did give us horror comic fans some amazing and fun stuff such as Jason vs. Leatherface, a twisted Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre crossover, Dracula vs. Zorro pitting the masked hero against the vampire king, Dracula Vlad The Impaler a fiction look at the man who spawned the vampire legend and the series we are going to review this go around The Frankenstein Dracula War a comic that has the world’s most famous monsters clashing. And all this is a drop in the hat of some of the cool comics this company put out. I can remember my brother and I going to comic shops and buying Topps Comics off the newsstands. Some day I hope Topps once again gets the urge to come back to the comic world and unleashes the same wild and fun ride they did back in 93.

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Dracula has met the Frankenstein Monster in many films such as Universals House of Dracula and even Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, not to mention in the USA the Paul Naschy film Los Monstruos del Terror was changed to be Dracula vs. Frankenstein (also known as Assignment Terror). One of the most infamous ones was directed by Al Adamson who was the master of drive-in movie shlock called Dracula vs. Frankenstein and in this film he also had aging horror icons Lon Chaney Jr. who was deathly ill and J. Carrol Naish who was also not in good health. The film was released in 1971 and was about a mad doctors want to bring The Monster back from the dead and makes a deal with Dracula that if he brings the Monster back he will get a serum that will make him immortal. The deal goes south and ends with a fight in the woods that leaves The Monster ripped apart and Dracula running for his life as the sun is coming up. This film is a turkey but such a fun watch.  Troma Entertainment, the same folks who gave us Toxic Avenger and Mother’s Day, also put out this film on VHS and DVD. The acting is terrible and watching Chaney and Neish act in this film as ill as they were is heartbreaking. Zandor Vorkov plays the Bearded and echo voiced Count Dracula as John Bloom played the bloated faced Frankenstein Monster. This film was made for horror hosting, and if you have some spare time and want to watch a cheesy film you might wanna give this one a shot.

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The Topps Comic “The Frankenstein Dracula War” was a series I was hooked on from the start, and I remember buying the first issue from a small comic shop in Centerville, Ohio and becoming obsessed with trying to get every issue the day it came out.  This included going to a number of shops and trying to ask any worker when the next issue was coming out. And like clockwork my Mom, Dad and Brother would take me to the local comic shops to find these issues. I even remember writing a letter to Topps Comics hoping to see my letter in the next issue, but sadly they never published it. I mean this comic series had it all for me two classic monsters from the past fighting and lots of over the top gore. One year I sold my comics to a store I was working for called Replay Media and only kept a few comics from my collection, and you guessed it The Frankenstein Dracula War was one of the sets I kept. This series meant so much to me in my youth, and I used to tell fellow comic kids about this fun series so let’s see if it still holds that charm to this day.  But before we do, let’s take a quick look at both monster characters. First up will be the vampire prince Count Dracula.

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Count Dracula was the creation of novelist Bram Stoker who based his vampire around real life Romanian leader Vlad Tepes aka Vlad The Impaler who used to impale his victims on wood stakes and dip his bread into their blood among other cruel acts. Dracula in the novel was very odd looking and not an attractive man at all, it wasn’t until Bela Lugosi played him in the 1931 Universal film that Dracula became the suave good looking blood sucker that has stuck with the character ever since.  Other actors who played the part of Dracula on the silver screen include Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman, George Hamilton, John Carradine, Jack Palance, Udo Kier, Frank Langella and Leslie Nielsen to name a few. Dracula’s powers include being able to change into other things like a wolf, bat and mist.  He is super strong and is skilled in fighting due to his past.  He is also very smart and can hypnotize people into doing is bidding . His weaknesses are sun light, if one beam of light hits him he burns, garlic, holy water and crosses act as a repellent and make it so he keeps away from you.  He can be killed by being beheaded or a wooden stake driven into his heart. Over all Dracula is one vampire you don’t want to mess with.

Son of Frankenstein art

Frankenstein’s Monster was created by Marry Shelley one stormy night as she and some friends exchanged scary stories.  The Monster in the novel is very grotesque and is nick named Adam and has a mean streak that is different from how movies and shows depict him as being misunderstood, and yes in the book we also get a hint of that. In 1931 actor Boris Karloff played The Monster in the Universal classic film Frankenstein, and alongside make up genies Jack Pierce they created the look and actions of The Monster that is the standard look and thought of the character to this day. The Monster in the film was very misunderstood and while having a mean streak he also had a sad side, just wanting to find compassion and love. Other actors to play The Monster include Lon Chaney Jr. Glenn Strange, Robert De Niro, Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Charles Ogle, Peter Boyle and many more. The Monster’s powers are his brute strength and his near inability to die! His weakness is his fear of fire and his slow reflexes and almost sinister child-like brain. The Monster is a force to be reckoned with!  

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But all the powers and weaknesses are dependent on who is writing about those character.  So while on paper Dracula looks like he has the edge, it could not be the case in this comic series. Before we movie onto The Frankenstein Dracula War, I would like to take a moment and share some info on the second film I ever shot.  It was a sequel to the first film I shot, and this film was called “Werewolf of Ohio 2: 10 Years Before.” After finishing Werewolf of Ohio in 2001 and also working on the short films One Second Too Late directed by by Josh Weinberg and helping and being deleted from Nightmare, a film my brother Bryan directed, it came time for me to grab my VHS camera again and head back into the woods to tell another tale of The Wolfman from Ohio.  I always had an idea to do a sequel that would pick up after the events of Josh’s suicide from the first film and follow a new hero who was being tormented by the werewolf rampage after his girlfriend was murdered by the beast. I was going to cast my friend Jason Gilmore as the lead and his then girlfriend Andrea Seay as the character’s girlfriend, but the plans changed as schedules and fighting among the real life couple canceled that idea. I then returned to the idea of mixing The Wolfman into the Suicide film series we made and decided it was not a good idea. The next idea was to have a werewolf hunter come to Ohio and try and track and kill the beast and this idea was heavily inspired by the 1987 TV Show called Werewolf.  The hunter was going to be my pal Dave Wean or Matt Hoffman but this idea was killed when my brother Bryan and our pal and fellow filmmaker Andy Copp pushed for the return of Josh Weinberg as Josh.  So began the idea of a prequel that combined several of the above mentioned ideas into one “epic” no budget shot on video movie. So I spent time and thought out an idea that would have Josh going out and hunting with a trained werewolf hunter along side a film school student who is brought along to film the hunt. I then added in Josh’s dead sister Kanny to the mix who was a ghost and spoke to Josh via his mind. I spent weeks in Independent B Movie Studio writing the script on an outdated PC, trying to tie in all these ideas and deaths together, and finally after a few rewrites I had the script I wanted. So with the script written, I went and cast the roles.  Besides Josh returning, so did Brandon Womeldorff who played The Camera Man once more.  I also returned as not only the Director of the film but also as The Wolfman and as the special effects guy. New to the cast was The Wolf Hunter played by Matt Hoffman, and this character would later go on to spawn his own series of films.  The beautiful Sarah Yates played Kanny who was a young lady I worked with at Blockbuster Video.  Patrick Neeley played The Modern Gypsy as well as did the title song again and many more friends joined the cast to be killed off by the killer werewolf that included Jason Gilmore, Garrison Kane, Chris Weinberg, Rosetta Workman and Jeff Ricks to name a few. So now it was all in place, the camera batteries were charged and now it was time for me to make a movie once more! We shot the film during the summer, and man was it a hot one.  I can remember the sweat just pouring out of the Wolfman mask as I acted out the scenes.  Needless to say I drank a lot of water and Mountain Dew during the filming of this movie just to stay hydrated.The filming was quick paced, and we filmed numerous scenes in a day.  I can remember we had to drive all over as the story took us to many homes and many woods in the area, and my cast were troopers barely complaining of the heat and the long filming days. This was also the first film that I did actual special effects that were taught to me by Andy Copp himself, but I will touch up on that a little later. Matt Hoffman stole the show with his performance as The Wolf Hunter who in the script was pretty much a throw away character, but he was so happy to get a role that didn’t make a wimp out of him that he went in a 110% with his performance. Josh Weinberg cheesed up his performance to deliver some laughs and did a good job for the most part. Josh was also the only major cast member to not read the script and came unprepared to most of the shoots causing for many missed filmed scenes. When the film was done Brandon, Hoffman, Weinberg and myself went back to Fairmont Highschool where our old teacher K.B.let us edit the film in two days, making it that my second film was done and ready for the masses to watch and enjoy.

Oh I guess I should tell you the plot: Josh wakes up to find that his whole family has been killed by a werewolf (Wolfman) and hires a film student only known as Camera Man and a world famous werewolf hunter The Wolf Hunter to hunt down and kill the beast that has ruined his life. Along the quest Josh gets help from a modern day gypsy and the voice of his dead younger sister Kanny. But all the while The Wolfman is killing around town and has a helping hand as well as a man in a skull mask seems to be watching out for this blood thirsty creature. In the end the two sides must have a showdown in the woods that will leave everyone scared.   

Werewolf of Ohio 2 VHS

The film when done, it first was screened at Patrick Neeley’s house in front of every member of the Independent B Movie family, and to my surprise they all liked it! While the film had flaws and some odd music moments that in spots made the audio hard to hear, the film got the group’s seal of approval. The next screening was at sister and brother Rosetta and Chris Workman’s house and it screened in front of not only them but Andy Copp, Rick Martin, my brother Bryan and Dave Wean and once more they seemed to have fun watching the cheese shot on video werewolf film. Josh Weinberg began working on the VHS cover and came up with a design that featured the three hero of the film with a photoshopped version of Kanny placed in the middle on a red back ground with the title wrote out in white letters.  At the time we thought it looked cool, but looking back it was a terrible looking cover! We traveled around conventions selling this title on VHS and to our surprise it sold really well even to this day the VHS copy of Werewolf of Ohio 2 is the best selling title Independent B Movie ever released! This title also got us some fans, and even Chris Seaver of Low Budget Pictures enjoyed the no budget full moon romp. After the film’s release we even heard rumors of this film showing at parties and people loving the high camp of the film.  I can remember one day being at a United Dairy Farmers with my girlfriend Misty at the time and being recognized by a worker as the guy who made Werewolf of Ohio. You can imagine my shock and pride at that moment as he told me how much fun he and his friends have watching the film. Thats one thing I have always been glad about is that the people that watched this film got the fact it was meant to be a fun cheesy z-grade horror film that was laced with dumb humor. One question I do get about the film is who the hell was Skullman and why the hell is he in it, and I will answer that question soon! Most of the Werewolf of Ohio legacy is based around this film and it gained even more of a fan base than the original, and while both are very small it still has a fan base none the less. Oh and another fun thing that I was always teased about was that many people thought that the Josh character was in love and had a incestuous relationship with his sister Kanny, when in fact it was more of my writing that made this seem that way because I was the one with the crush on Sarah who played the part. 

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One of the major complaints we had about the first Werewolf of Ohio was the lack of blood.  While originally I was aiming for the 1941 Universal Monster classic The Wolf Man, in the sequel people wanted The Howling. Now at this point I knew very little about special effects and when blood was used in films before this, it was ketchup or hot sauce poured on one of my friends heads.  This all changed after this film as Andy Copp director of such films as Mutilation Man, Black Sun and Atrocity Circle had already taken me under his wing and was teaching me so much more about filmmaking.  He also took the time to teach me about special effects and gave me his blood recipe and his secrets of how to make chunks of flesh on victims. Andy Copp was my film mentor and a great friend who spent time trying his best to teach me the do’s and don’ts of film making, and as we got older I think he also respected my opinions on film making. Sadly Andy passed away in Jan 2013, and I lost a dear friend and a person that believed in me and all the things I do.  He truly was a great man. I will talk more about this loss of a Independent icon of cinema and how he guided me into the filmmaker I am today at another time. But in the film, with the secrets Andy taught me, I was able to pull off multiple neck bites and even some gut ripping.  While the effect look 100% backyard they were still effective and helped add to the over all feel of the film. Below are some behind the scenes pics of the effects that were done on friends and cast members Chris Weinberg, Jason Gilmore, Jeff Ricks, Patrick Neeley and Matt Hoffman.

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After feeling good and the “success” of Werewolf of Ohio 2, we moved onto other film projects as I toyed around with the idea of a third film in the series, and serious thought about it when “fans” started asking for it. The idea I had for the third in the series would have The Wolfman running around even worse in the state of Ohio killing and chasing people from their homes as The Skullman is shown to be a warlock who feeds off the panic and death the werewolf creates. But in town now would be Chasity, the true love of The Wolfman, who was shown via a painting in part two, who is a witch who also had ideas of chaos for her one time hairy lover. Meanwhile The Camera Man finds out that Josh was not dead after the attempted suicide of the first film and together they once more get the help of a new werewolf hunter named Bjorn and set out to finally end the evil of the werewolf of Ohio. Josh Weinberg was set to come back as Josh, Brandon Womeldorff was set to play The Camera Man once more and even Matt Hoffman would have played The Wolf Hunter as a ghost. New to the cast would have been Andrea Seay who would have played Chasity, Dave Wean was to play Bjorn and Patrick Neeley going as Bela Chaney would have put the skull mask on and played Skullman. The film was set to be the final film and we even spoke to Chris Seaver about in the end having Teen Ape and Bonejack in cameos coming to join the hunt to kill The Wolfman, not to mention the films gore effects were to be stepped up a notch as was the look of The Wolfman who would have also had transformed hands and wore a trench coat. The film had a half written script as we took pre-production stills and even filmed a teaser trailer with The Wolfman attacking a young couple in a park, as well as shots of other character acting out scenes. But sadly the film fell apart as we shifted away from rubber mask werewolf films and aimed for more slasher style flicks that were selling well for no budget directors at the time. The film would be on and off again for years but never would see the light of home TV screens as the film was officially cancelled in 2007. Below are some pics from the production that show The Wolfman’s new look, Josh Weinberg’s return as Josh, Hoffman as The Wolf Hunter’s Ghost and Patrick as Skullman as well as Andrea Seay as Chasity.

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In 2012 Warlock Home Video run by Chris Seaver and The Warlock asked us if they could re-release Werewolf of Ohio on VHS and for the first time on DVD for their classic shot on video line of films, and we jumped at the chance to get this film out into the world once more. And instead of the series being two films we cut them into one film and even added shots from the unfinished part three given viewers the full Werewolf of Ohio viewing experience. We even went out and shot new footage for the DVD’s main menu, and man it felt odd and weird putting on the old Wolfman costume and attacking my lovely friend Jaimie in the same woods we shot both the films at. Not to mention Josh and I took new pics of ourselves as the characters we played way back for the first time in 1999. Oddly enough it sparked my want to make a new Werewolf of Ohio film for Warlock, and if any of you readers would like to see me return as The Wolfman and torment Ohio, let me know and maybe we can work out a deal with Warlock and make a new film possible. From what I hear the sales of the rerelease have been pretty good, and Game Swap in Kettering sold out of its stock. Oh yeah and my friend Eric Shonborn did the cover for the Warlock VHS and DVD release and did an amazing job!

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So now its time to take a look at a fight that is not a battle but a war as two of the world’s biggest icons of horror clash in an all out blood feud. I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So with that let’s get ready to rummmmmmmbbbbbbbllllleeeeeeee!

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The Frankenstein Dracula War # 1  ***
Released in 1995   Cover Price $2.50   Topps Comics   #1 of 3

Count Dracula wants the lovely Mirka’s hand in marriage, but her fathers is disgusted with everything Dracula and his family stand for and is even more shocked when he refuses to let his daughter marry him and the Count turns into a bat and flies away into the night. This leaves the father no choice but to try and kill Dracula the next morning to break the spell he has on his daughter. Meanwhile in a small village in the Transylvanian Alps, a group of French soldiers, led by the cruel Monsieur Massacre, are killing villagers and taking what they want until dark haired beauty Irena rushes home and gets The Frankenstein Monster whom she lives with to come with her and stop the massacre in the village. Upon arriving, The Monster makes a fool out of Monsieur Massacre and manhandles the blood thirsty soldier in front of his men.  The Monster is stopped from a fire ball thrown by an alchemist solider named Count Saint-Germain who is looking for the heart of Count Dracula so that he may continue to live forever as his last batch of live forever juice is running out, and he forces The Monsters hand to help by holding Irena hostage. While at Castle Dracula, the Count has changed Mirka into a vampire and together they kill her father and his men who have came to end the curse. It ends with The Monster going to the castle and being welcomed by Count Dracula himself.

This issue is clearly a quick way to make it so that Frankenstein’s Monster is forced to go after and kill Count Dracula and what better way then to use a woman as the bait to get what you need done. The Monster is a 8 foot tall, stitched together yellow skinned, long stringy haired skinny man made monster who is as strong as an ox who seems to not really care for mankind besides Irena who has taken him in after telling him he dark secret that she poisoned and killer her father and brother. Irena herself is not given much but her backstory of a woman scorn by her family who raped her is sure to become more of an interesting character. Count Dracula, in this series, is a grey haired suave man who is equally as cruel as he is charming, and seems to take much from Vlad The Impaler who he is based on as he uses wooden stakes to impale his new bride’s father and his friends. His new bride Mirka is not fleshed out.  At this point all we know is that she is a vampire now and was in the trance of Dracula. The only other major character in this issue would be Count Saint-Germain, a man you can tell is as sinister as Dracula and only cares about his own wants, to continue to live forever.  He is one character you want to see get his in the end. Over all this issue’s story is a great way to rush in the back stories of The Monster and Dracula and add in some flare with lovers for each.  Plus they add fights for both Dracula and The Monster showing you what both can do in hand to hand combat.  In this issue I would give the upper hand to Dracula as he seems more violent and sadistic in his fighting nature. The story is great, the art is good and the cover is done by the great Mike Mignola of Hellboy fame so this is a solid issue to start the war with.  Let’s see how issue two holds up for me.

Frankenstein Dracula War 2

The Frankenstein Dracula War # 2   ***
Released in 1995   Cover Price $2.50   Topps Comics   #2 of 3

The Monster and Dracula square off.  The vampire underestimates the power of The Monster who is trying to cut out his cold heart with a silver dagger, but while getting the upper hand The Monster makes the mistake of chasing Dracula who traps him in a cage like a rat. Dracula in mist form takes the appearance of The Monster and tricks Count Saint-Germain, Monsieur Massacre and the rest of his men into coming into the castle to get the “heart” of Dracula.  The vampire makes short work of the men, but he is then over powered by the magic of Saint-Germain who when about to cut out the heart of the vampire is attacked by The Monster who escaped the cage and realized he had more in common with Dracula than this evil man and together they kill Saint-Germain and Massacre and save Irena. Count Dracula and The Monster begin an odd friendship that turns sour when Mirka hits on The Monster and is turned down.  She in turns tricks Dracula into feeding on Irena and turning her into a vampire that The Monster must kill to set her soul free and now the true war is on!

This issue starts off with a fight the has The Monster clearly winning as Dracula seems to have finally meet his match, but he ends up getting the victory by using his brain and out smarting the man made monster. Once they have a friendship in place, The Monster seems more loyal to his love for Irena and his new friend Dracula when he turns away Mirka’s advancements. Dracula on the other hand is cocky as ever as he chooses to feed over this friendship and loyalty to The Monster. Irena gets a fitting death as she is killed by the thing that loves her and it listens to her pleas to be killed rather then becoming a blood sucker. Mirka is a bitch who set this all up cause she didn’t want to be told no – hey wait I have a few ex-girlfriends like that. Plus Count Saint-Germain gets his in this issue, and it’s rewarding watching him get his by the hands of both monsters. The way this issue ends with The Monster screaming Dracula’s name in anger letting you know that in the final issue the gloves are off and that these two titans of terror or going to throw down until one of them is dead. Issue two holds up really well, and I will say the storyline is still solid and the art is as good as last issues as is the cover, still done by Mike Mignola, making this issue still as good as I remember it being the day it came out.  So with that let’s get into issue 3 the final battle in this war.

frankenstein Dracula War 3

The Frankenstein Dracula War # 3  ***
Released in 1995   Cover Price $2.50   Topps Comics   #3 of 3

The Monster beheads and buries the body of Irena and heads to Castle Dracula where he calls upon and fights female vampire Mirka.  He proceeds to mutilate and kill her and takes her head as his first act of war of the Vampire King. As Dracula returns home from feeding, he is greeted by The Monster who throws the head of his lover at him, and the two go to war! The fight has Dracula taking many different forms from mist to a bat like creature to his human appearance and has the two fighting as the castle around them falls apart and catches fire. After a battle that leaves both of them bleeding and worn down the war ends as both know that they cannot truly kill one another. Dracula goes on living in a crypt with three new brides, and The Monster heads to Greece with the hopes of someday making himself a mate.

Issue three is all about the battle and from almost start to finish is the two monster fighting it out, and man when they fight, they go hard. Dracula once more seems to have the upper hand in abilities but also always underestimated the power and will of The Monster who has one fighting speed and that’s go. In the war neither monster wins, and both have losses as The Monster loses his love and Dracula loses his bride and castle. This final issue was a perfect way to end the war and had enough action and drama to keep you hyped as you turned the page.  Plus it was left open for a second war that sadly never came. The story was well written, and the art throughout the comic series was well done and eye catching, and after all these years in 2013 I still find this three issue mini series to be as good as it was when it was released in 1995. Topps Comics is one of the fallen comic companies that I would have loved to see stick around to this day and see what new and cool issues they would be putting out.  Other companies I would like to have seen make it include Fangoria Comics, Chaos Comics, Atlas and of course Star. Fans of both classic monsters will find this series a fun read and should enjoy the over the top gore and epic battles. Over all this series is A+ in my book!

The Monster heart broken

So with that I am going to do the fantasy warfare of the two iconic characters, and I will say how I see the fight going and who would win. So to me when I think of both Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster I think of the 1931 Universal films that had Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Boris Korloff as The Monster.  So that’s who this battle will be between, and the setting will be the outskirts of a small village in Romania. So let’s go back in time and see a classic battle between the worlds top monsters.

Frankensteins MonsterVSDracula

The Frankenstein’s Monster is shuffling through the woods trying to avoid mankind and to find a place to rest his worn down body.  The sun is going down as The Monster finds a run down gate that leads to a massive castle. He walks forward as the rain starts to come in as the sun goes down, and the moon is now shinning as he walks up the staircase a wolf howl can be heard from a distance in the woods he is leaving behind. As the monster pushes the wooden front door open and then slowly closes it, he is met with a pale figure dressed in a black suit and a cape who moves fast for the attack knocking The Monster through the door shattering it into splinters as both fall into the rain soaked ground. The Monster knocks Dracula off him as the vampire King starts to question why the brute has come to his castle.  The Monster just growls and walks toward his now new enemy as Dracula jumps quick on The Monster again and sinks his fangs into the neck of the stitched together man made monster and gets a mouth full of stale rotted tasting blood.  The vampire pulls back in disgust as The Monster shoves him away and Dracula hits the stone steps hard. The Monster comes lurking toward Dracula who shakes off the impact quick and gets to his feet as he does so The Monster’s huge hand wraps around the vampires neck and starts his death grip.  Dracula grabs The Monster’s hand and uses all his power to remove The Monster’s hand from his throat as well as from his body as Dracula tosses the hand aside, The Monster reacts to the pain of his torn off hand and swings his hurt arm madly knocking Dracula into one of the splinters from the busted front door.  The wooden spike drives deep into Dracula who slowly turns into bones as The Monster in pain stumbles into the woods in the pouring rain. As The Monster is out of sight one of Dracula’s Brides appear and remove the wooden splinter.

 Winner: Frankenstein’s Monster

As you can see in my opinion it would be a very close brawl, and in the end while The Monster looks to have won, Dracula is not fully beaten and would live again to fight and suck the blood of his victims. I love both of these classic monsters and both of 1931 films based on them are some of my favorite films to watch. While Topps Comics run was way too short as a company, they gave me some great comics to read in my teen years, and with that I am going to take a look at next a book from another company I loved finding back issues of as a teen and that’s Atlas Comics, and the series I will be looking at is The Brute! Hope you had a good time reading about Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, Topps and Werewolf of Ohio 2 because I had a blast writing it. So until, then read a comic or two for me!

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