Black Bow And His Indie Superhero Forgotten Friends

Being the owner of an indie comic company has just really cemented my love for true independent comics. You know the ones I am talking about, the comics that are made by creators who sell their books directly to readers at conventions, public appearances and at local comic shops. These creators are the true backbone of the comic industry as their passion and love for their creations shows. While the Marvel and DC both just see marketing tools for blockbuster movies and streaming TV shows nowadays, it’s the indie guys that are delivering amazing reads and fresh new characters. So with this update I have decided to once again dig through the cheap boxes at comic shops and search the web for some superheroes from indie comics that didn’t get a fair shake when it came to getting the popularity of Spider-Man or Superman as well as even the courtesy of getting more than a small handful of issues released. I really did have a blast back on February 3, 2019 when I covered the likes of Rottweiler, T-Bird and Blood Bath and with that I am going to add a fourth hero to the update as like all good “sequels” you need to up the action! So if you are ready, let’s take a look at some truly amazing forgotten and over looked Superheroes of the comic shop cheap bins. Below is the comic book case at Game Swap Kettering when they first started carrying higher end comics.

First up is a character named Black Bow from a company called Artline Studios. I heard about this comic on an episode of Cartoonist Kayfabe!, a YouTube show hosted by comic creators Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor who also seem to enjoy these type of indie comics. Artline Studios looks like it opened its doors in 1990 and boarded them up in 1992 with a total of four titles released, all only lasting one issue each. The comics they released besides Black Bow were the following: DeathWind, Tekknights and Sting/Killer Synthetic Toads…and yes all of them at some point will get the Rotten Ink treatment. From what I gather Artline Studios was based out of Illinois and was a collective of artist coming together to create the company and bring new and fresh superheroes into the hands of readers. And like so many Indie companies before them and even after them, Artline Studios made a small mark on the world of comics and created many heroes that make you wonder what if they would have lasted or caught on with readers.

So to start this review off right, we are going to start with the character Black Bow that made me want to do another of these updates about indie heroes that never got the chance to becomes icons. I got Black Bow off Ebay from Mile High Comics and am pretty hyped to read it for the first time. This comic and all the ones that follow I want to remind you all that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s enter the world of Black Bow as well as the heroes that have been selected for this update.

Black-Bow # 1  **1/2
Released in 1991    Cover Price $2.50     ArtLine Studios    # 1 of 1

Black Bow lives in the sewers of Chicago, and on this night he stalks a drug dealer. Before shooting him with arrows, he gets the name of his supplier. The main drug dealer is John Atkins, who not only is a drug seller but also a man who deals in illegal porn and runs his own Satanic Cult. Once Black Bow breaks into his mansion, he soon finds out that it’s a trap and he is caught in a pentagram on the floor that has hands trying to pull him down to Hell. Black Bow fires arrows at his demonic enemies and escapes the pentagram trap and is then confronted by a demon named Slaze who goes on the attack, but Black Bow knows he is on bad footing and escapes the mansion and heads into the dark with the idea of returning and ending the Demon and his master. We then cut back to the drug dealer who awakens from being shot with arrows and questions his life of crime. And worse, a woman appears at Black Bow’s mother’s house and alerts her that her baby is indeed Black Bow’s!

This series ends on a major cliffhanger and it stinks, as I really would have loved to read other issues featuring Black Bow and see how he would bring down a satanic drug lord and his demonic forces. The plot of issue one has Black Bow getting the location of a very evil man who is doing lots of very bad things who has been waiting for our hero and sets a trap for him that leaves Black Bow almost dragged to hell and forced to flee the fight in order to stay alive. Add in the side plots of Black Bow’s girlfriend alerting his family he has a child and the drug dealer who ratted out his boss rising from what appears the dead after being shot with arrows, and you have this fun indie issue. Black Bow is a pretty cool hero who has a very late 80’s indie hero look complete with a metal facemask and hood. I really like the idea of a hero with a mystical bow living in the city’s sewer who wants to clean up the streets of all the crime that is running rampant. I also like the fact he is a full fledged vigilante and has zero tolerance for criminals. The issue’s villain is John Atkins and sadly we never do get a look at him, but we do know that he is a massive drug lord, deals in porn, owns a massive mansion and has his own cult that worships Satan. We also know he has opened a portal to Hell and has many demons under his control including one named Slaze who seems to almost be John’s bodyguard. The comic is a very quick read as it also has two back up stories with one being the origin of Black Bow and how he got his power, and the other features another costume hero named Alley Cat. Both of those backup stories are worth reading. The cover for this issue is eye catching for fans of Indie Comics and would have been a comic I would have picked up if I had seen it as a kid. The comics interior art was done by Ed Decker, and I must say it pretty dang good, oh and Ed also created the character! Over all I must say Black Bow is a very solid comic with a pretty cool character who never got his time to shine. Check out the art below to see the style of Ed Decker and see just how cool Black Bow looks.

While looking around the cheap boxes of comics at Bell, Book And Comic, I found an interesting issue in the box of $1.00 # 1’s called My Name Is Mud, and I knew this hero was perfect for this update as he was a hero that only lasted one issue from a company no one has heard of. Incognito Comics looks like it started and died in 1994 and only had this one comic under its belt. I am guessing that the company was owned by artist and creator Brian Denham who went on to work for companies like Marvel, IDW, Image, DC among many others. So as you can see, this company’s rise and fall came with the same issue. So here is to you, Incognito Comics, for making a tiny speck in the world of comics.

My Name Is Mud is a comic when that I saw it, I knew that this had to be one of the forgotten heroes I covered on this update as he fit perfectly as he only lasted one issue, was released by a very short lived comic company and had an interesting look! So let’s see what Mud is all about.

My Name Is Mud # 1  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50     Incognito Comics   # 1 of 1

Kid Chaos is a young teen who has the powers of a God and when bored he decides to go on a rampage in the city streets as people watched on in fear. As he tires of the destruction, he floats away and from the shadows Mud appears, a hero who was enjoying his day off and knew he was no match for the evil doer. Later on Mud returns to the police station, his home away from home, and finds out that a fellow officer has been murdered and his boss wants him on the case even if it’s his day off. Mud must break off his date with girlfriend Liz ,and she is angry telling him not to come back, and in his gut Mud has a bad feeling about his new case. After heading to a pub to drink a beer and get a ham & cheese sandwich, he meets an old man who tells him he can see his future and he will be going on a major journey…and before they can talk some more, Kid Chaos is back and sets up a fight with Mud. A few hours pass and Mud arrives at the meeting spot and Kid Chaos hits him with a massive energy blast that leaves our hero hurt. Filled with rage Mud goes on the attack and looses control and beats Kid Chaos to death! After he murders the teen, Mud decides to quit the force and move away from the city and finds that he is just wondering around a canyon when he happens upon a young woman who ends up being his new love interest.

This one was a little surprising and was a really solid read that created a world that I would have liked to have seen more of. This comic follows the massive superhero Mud who works for the police department, and while he loves his job, he does also enjoy his time away from it, and when he must battle an overly powerful teen that leads to the youngster’s death, the hero must face what he is doing with his life. This is a pretty great superhero comic and takes a turn in the end that I did not see coming as I was shocked that our main hero beat a teenager to death with his bare hands, even if the teen was a super powered villain. Mud himself is a costumed hero who is hulking in size and loves his job as a law enforcement officer, but also battles in his own mind as he knows he is over worked and his free time he wants to spend away from crime and with his lovely lady Liz who sadly he has to break so many dates with as duty always calls. While a good guy superhero, Mud also has a temper and seems to loose his cool when he is scared and has been injured. Kid Chaos is an ego driven teenager who has the power of a God and doesn’t mind using them against innocent people as he seems to get joy in striking fear in the hearts of the townies. But with his ego also comes his downfall as he uses his might against a hero who got the better of him in battle and paid with his life. The world that creator Brian Denham made for Mud was very interesting, and I would have liked to have seen where this comic series would have gone if it lasted more than this one issue. I also have to give Brian credit as he was a one man show of this comic as he was not only the artist but also write, colorist, letterer and even editor! I also find the cover very eye catching on this issue. My Name Is Mud might share a name with a popular Primus song, but this comic stands on its own and was a really solid read. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Brian that I found very good…even if I could see pencil lines left behind.

Dimension Graphics seems to have started around 1986 and closed up shop in 1986 with only four titles under their belt and only one series lasting more than one issue. Series include Hero Man, Secret Doors, Happy Birthday Gnatrat and ElfTrek, the only comic to get a second issue. It appears that Dimension Graphics was run by editor Marcus C. Lusk who truly believed in and loved his company. Like all the indie companies we are covering on this update, there is very little information on Dimension Graphics as it lasted so shortly that it was a blip on the screen of the comic shelves.

So when picking which four heroes to cover on this update that celebrates indie superheroes that never got a fair shake, I landed on Hero Man because all the rest of the heroes we are covering are very serious and I felt the goofy ones also needed to get a little respect. I want to also thank Bell, Book and Comic for having this comic in stock and making this update a little better.

Hero Man # 1  **
Released in 1986     Cover Price $1.75     Dimension Graphics     # 1 of 1

Louis Oak Riley is a Scout Leader who while out in the woods gets crushed by a bowling ball spaceship driven by alien bowling balls who feel bad for crushing him and design a suit for him and give him superpowers and with these powers he becomes Hero Man! Louis works a day job at a factory, and his boss is the man his wife left him for. His life is very bad and his co-worker wants to cheer him up and makes plans for the two of them to travel to amusement park Drexelland to pick up single moms and have a good time. But Louis feels weird going there to pick up women as his daughter Rocks-Ann works there as a clown. So Louis runs to the bathroom and changes into Hero Man as he feels this would go over better with the crowds, and once entering the park fully he runs into his daughter and knocks the balloons from her hand causing her to have to talk to her boss. Once she heads to the office, she finds herself as well as her boss being taken hostage by terrorist who make them stand atop a ice cream mountain and shout demands, and when he notices his daughter has been taking hostage, Hero Man rushes to the rescue and grabs a massive spoon and eats his way to the top of the mountain and beats up the bad guys and saves his Daughter and her boss. In the end the ice cream hurts Hero Man’s stomach and when his co-worker brings two twins with ice cream to him for a date…he pukes and so ends the adventure of Hero Man.

This silly superhero comic is a fun read and Hero Man is lot of fun, but sadly some of the politically incorrect humor took me out of the comic in spots as it was just bad. The story is very simple as a down on his luck guy is granted amazing powers by aliens and even though he is a superhero he still gets no respect and must rise to save his daughter from terrorist. Hero Man is a hero who lacks respect and knowledge and clearly saves the day by coming up with silly ideas. His costume is goofy looking as well but was made of bowling items that his creators the bowling balls from outer space made for him. I also like that he is just a normal guy with normal problems, and even while he has superpowers, he doubts his own ability when it comes to stepping up. Plus I love that Hero Man’s origin is tied into Superman’s as the reason the bowling ball ship crashes to Earth is because baby Superman’s ship crashes into it! The bad guys of this issue are called the P.P.L.O. and are dressed as mascots from the park and threaten to kill hostages and use bombs to blow people up, but while they seem dangerous they are taken out very fast by Hero Man who shows them no mercy. And while I enjoyed this Indie Comic, I need to state I do not find it funny when you as a creator poke fun at a person’s religion or race and do so with nasty names and stereotypes. I also need to say I do not think the creators of this comic had mean intentions at all, but the bad jokes/name calling just doesn’t hold up to modern readers. The cover for this comic is very eye catching for fans of goofy superheroes, and the interior art done by John Cummins is really good as it has a fun almost kids comic look to it. If you like bumbling heroes with cheesy jokes and sight gags, make sure to give Hero Man a read. Check out the artwork below to show the style of Cummins.

Our last hero comes from the company Brainstorm Comics that was started around 1989 and was an indie comic company that delivered all types of styles from Horror to Super Hero and would last as a company until around 2000. Many of the company’s comics were based on Vampires and had a very adult nature to them packed with violence and nudity. Brainstorm lasted a little longer then the other companies on this update and to be honest I have seen more of their books in comic shops then all the others above combined! While Brainstorm Comics was not a major player in the world of Indie Comics, they at least left behind a body of work that is still being collected to this day.

So from Brainstorm Comics I decided to choose Hammer Girl to talk about as she only lasted two issues and feels like she belongs in the world of Forgotten Heroes. I want to thank Lonestar Comics for having both issues in stock, and I have to say this is the first time I will be reading this comic series. So let’s see what Hammer Girl has to offer.

Hammer Girl # 1  **1/2
Released in 1996   Cover Price $2.95   Brainstorm Comics   # 1 of 2

A group of scientist who are playing with time and space have had an experiment go wrong, and John, one of their team members, is now missing in time, and they must figure out a way to rescue him. And while the scientist have a meeting about rebuilding a machine to bring John back, a repair woman known as a Hammer Girl speaks up and tells them they could just send her back in time to fix his transporter and this is the plan they decide to go with. So along with Sonia and a male guard, Hammer Girl travels back in time of the dinosaurs to find the missing man and fix his gadget, but what they find is that they miscalculated time, and John is now a crazed caveman who thinks he is a God and they are there to attack him! Hammer Girl uses a rubber mallet and knocks out John and they find his hidden cave and his transporter that Hammer Girl fixes in no time and once they use it something goes wrong and they are dropped off in an unknown time and once more John is missing.

This first issue of Hammer Girl is just ok and reminds me slightly of a weird mix of “Tank Girl”, “Cadillac and Dinosaurs” and “Super Mario Bros.” with a dash of Anime and while that mash up sounds weird, it kind of works here as it’s a very simple comic with a simple plot and a likable, underdeveloped hero. The story is this a repair woman is sent back in time to fix a stranded scientists gear, and finds herself now stuck in time travel with two others on a quest to get home. Hammer Girl is a hero who is bright, strong willed and will do what ever she can to get the job done she is hired to do. He also get the feeling that she loves her job of being a fix it woman who uses hammers to get most of her work done. The two scientists that are with her while smart and by no means survivors and they are good side characters for Hammer Girl to play off of. The dinosaurs of the world they travel back to are well dinosaurs with the T-Rex being the most dangerous! John who was once a wise man of science is now a caveman who has a delusion of being godlike and while mad they crew sent back still want to help him. Over all this issue is a fun read but also is nothing that special as the story is very normal indie comic. The cover is eye catching for the most part and has a very American Anime style to it. The art is done by Lloyd Meek and is pretty good and his style really makes this story pop. So the first issue is pretty good and makes me want to see what issue two has in store for me.

Hammer Girl # 2  *1/2
Released in 1996   Cover Price $5.00   Brainstorm Comics   # 2 of 2

Hammer Girl and her friends find that they are no longer even on Earth and are on another planet! Meanwhile a race of Eagle humanoids are holding gladiator games in a arena and their champion is Byrdax who after make show work of an alien is challenged by John, and after a quick fight and before he can kill the looney scientist Hammer Girl with a massive hammer enters the arena and challenges Byrdax. The battle starts off very brutal and as the crowd and King watch Hammer Girl wins the fight, and to save face and to find out how they arrived on their planet the King invites them to stay in the Kingdom and even gives them a tour and tells them of the history of their race. Once in their rooms they find their time travel devices and Hammer Girl and the Scientist decide to use them and return home with the still knocked out John. When they arrive back at home they whole city is destroyed and they find that the Bird Race had used the info they learned from them and their time travel equipment and have taken over!

This second and last issue in this series leaves the reader on a major cliffhanger as the Earth they return to is destroyed and over taken by an alien race of bird people and they are super aggressive and only crave worlds to take over and make their own. In this second and final issue in the series Hammer Girl shows that she is not only skilled at fixing stuff, but can also swing that hammer and defend herself like a true warrior. That’s the thing about Hammer Girl as these issue went on you seen more layers to who she really is. The Scientists and John are around and while John tries to fight he is easily beat by the Bird Warrior and the Scientists stand around in fear…in other words they are not helpful. The Bird People are sneaky and creatures of war as they attack and once defeated they lie in order to get information they need in order to find out about Earth as they want to conquer it! When you think about it the end of this comic takes very much from the end of the movie “Planet Of The Apes” with the world being taken over and destroyed by human/animal hybrid people. I think the weird thing about this comic as well is the fact that Brainstorm Comics upped the cover price from $2.95 to $5.00 and I think that hurt sales as this was the final issue in the series that was slated to last lots longer. The cover for this issue is good but does have an adult comic look to it. The interior art is done by B. Dallas Patton and while good it is very much off from the style of Lloyd Meek from the first issue. Over all this canceled series was entertaining but was nothing groundbreaking or new. Check out the art below to see the art style used in these issues.

So like before when I covered Rottweiler, T-Bird and Blood Bath each of these characters have sadly been forgotten by the masses as maybe to less of issues and impact have left them in cheap bins at local comic shops. I mean how many of you readers out there talk about Black Bow, Mud, Hero Man or Hammer Girl with your friends? How many of you even own issues of these characters…while I am sure some of you do the large majority don’t and it’s a sad thing as these characters really are forgotten heroes. And like before I am sure you are all wondering who of the four characters we covered here is the one I would have liked to have seen continue on in the world of comics…I know you are all wondering who I will choose, and like before I am going to show the winner via a Fantasy Warfare battle! So sit back an enjoy this battle between forgotten heroes.

It’s a hot summer day in Chicago and the temperatures are in the high 90’s and it’s around lunchtime as a line at a local pizza joint is out the door as this place is said to have the best deep dish pizza in town. In this line is Louis Oak Riley who is on a lunch break as he has been sent to Chicago by his factory job to supervise the manufacturing of a weird product he don’t even know what it does! Also on a lunch break is Hammer Girl who has spent all morning swinging her hammer to fix some high-end equipment for some high tech company paying her a fortune to maintenance their mechanical junk. The restaurant is hot as the ceiling fans and air conditioner just can’t keep up with the blistering heat from the bright sun and the pizza ovens, and worse tensions inside the restaurant are starting to boil over as the person in the front of the line is taken forever to order his food, and finally after have been waiting for over 17 minutes in the same spot Louis Oak Riley snaps and screams at the front of the line that “other people want to eat lunch too lard ass!” after he says it he feels bad almost instantly as that’s not him he is normally a very nice person, but he really regrets it when the person holding up the line is a massive man that is known as Mud and he is mad at the comments as he is on a date with his lady and cant not be made a fool of and turns to see who was so rude, and when everyone in line see’s how massive he is they all point at poor Louis who is now turning red and knows that this is going to turn south really fast. Mud makes his way over to Louis and grabs him by his shirt so they can be face to face and asks him what he just said with his fist ready to punch his block off, when another voice echoes out that says “Leave Him Alone” and as Mud away from Louis he sees Hammer Girl standing there with a hammer in hand, as she says “I Am Not Going To Say It Again”, Mud laughs her off and goes back to screaming in the face of Louis about manners when Louis tries to apologize he by accident spits a tiny drop on Mud who them backhands Louis across the restaurant and he falls into the Pepsi machine! As this happens Hammer Girl enters the fight now and smashes Mud across his face and this makes him stumble through the front window and Hammer Girl rushes out after Mud who she has now deemed a threat to the people of Chi-Town. Louis gets up covered in Mountain Dew and stumbles into the bathroom and a few moments later comes out in his Hero Man costume and joins the side of Hammer Girl as the massive Mud shakes off the hammer hit and is now really pissed off.

Across the street from the pizza place on the rooftop a masked hero has just sat down to have himself a loaded Chicago Hot Dog that he had just bought off a street vender and he has been looking forward to lunch all day and the heat has been terrible and he had just gotten done bashing a demon that had returned to Earth thanks to a silly cult running out of an abandon building. As he takes his first bite he looks down at the street as a commotion has caught his attention and their stopping traffic in front of the pizza place is Mud who is in a full rage and is charging Hero Man and Hammer Girl who are standing their ground as well ready to take down this rampaging hulking hero man down who only wanted to order 16 pizzas for lunch so he and his date can enjoy a meal together. As Black Bow keeps eating his Hot Dog he watches as Mud and Hero Man lock up in a test of strength the ground beneath each start to crack and crumble as each gain a little ground then loose it, and finally Mud gets the upper hand and knocks Hero Man against a near by van and then follows up with several punches to Hero Man’s face, and now the costume hero is out for the count…as Mud turns around he is meet with a shot from Hammer Girls hammer knocking him to his knees. As Mud looks up he see’s Hammer Girl about to swing down to smash him on the head and he lets her know he will not hit a woman.

Black Bow takes the last bite of his Hot Dog and wipes his fingers off as he then removes a special arrow out and pulls back his bow string and fires just before Hammer Girl is about the smash Muds head like a melon, the arrow lands and sticks into the road next to the fighting heroes and a green gas pours out and fills the lungs of Hammer Girl and Mud and causes them to pass out in the street next to the already knocked out Hero Man. Black Bow makes his way down to street as people have gathered around to watch and among the crowd stories of what Black Bow is going to do to the fallen and short tempered heroes starts to spread as things like execute them and blow them up with an exploding arrow is the top gossip among them, but they are all shocked as he walks passed them all and into the Pizza place and buys a bottle of Pepsi to drink plus a several two liters of Mountain Dew plus orders around four pizzas and once done he walks back out takes a drink from his Pepsi and calmly walks over to the heroes and uses smelling salts to wake them all up and says something to them all that the crowd can not hear and they all follow him. And a few minutes later in an abandon store front Black Bow has brought Hammer Girl, Hero Man and Mud together for a pizza party and all ends well as the one time feuding heroes are now chomping down on some deep dish sausage and extra cheese pizza.

Winner: Black Bow

So as you can see, I really do think that Black Bow would win in a battle against the others and also had the best comic out of the lot and the one that I think had the biggest potential to be a full series with interesting stories to tell about his battle against drugs and Satan worshipers. Plus while the look of Black Bow screams 90’s Indie Comic hero he could be updated and made into a very cool Green Arrow meets The Punisher Character. And if we had him at Sparkle Comics I would place him in the world of Black Jack, Spring Heeled Jack and Adventure Man and would also give him his own mini series that would have him taking on a Satanic Cult that is killing women in the Purple Church in Oklahoma and they make the mistake of selecting Black Bow’s baby’s mother to kill and he goes on a rampage to get her back. But sadly Black Bow will never join the Sparkle Comics world and it’s a shame as he is a great character that would be entertaining readers again.

Before I end this update I want to also share with you readers about a epic Horror Movie Marathon that Juliet and I had starting on March 27, 2020 as we decided that it was a good day to sit back and relax and get away from the drama of scariness of the real world and enjoy the horrors of the home screen. And for the Pre-Show we ordered Wing Zone with a split can of Coke and selected two films to enjoy for the night as a kind of a Pre-Show kick off with the first one being “Unknown Terror” a 1957 film that is about a cave of the dead and a group of Americans that go looking for it and find that the cave holds a dangerous living fungus and the people infected by it. The second film is slasher film “The Furies” that is about a group of young women who are kidnapped and dropped in the woods and are hunted and also protected by masked killers! And I must say this was a great way to start this three-day Marathon event.

For the main day we of course loaded up on good eats that included Breakfast Casserole and Burritos and a few snacks the classic chips and dip combo and started at 8pm with the 1957 drive-in cult classic “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein” that has Dr. Frankenstein creating life from dead teenager parts in order to show the scientific world his genius. Found Footage Cult Classic film “The Mcpherson Tape” was next and is about a family filming a kids birthday party that is attacked by aliens. The third film was “The Curse Of Buckout Road” about a haunted cursed road that has set its evil sites on a group of collage kids who shot a documentary debunking the legends. David Sterling produced “The Yeti Experiment” was next and followed a group that travels to the Himalayas to search for answers at a science base that has went dark, only to find a Yeti on the loose! The fifth film is the 1985 cult film “The Strangeness” about a group of people that go into an old gold mine only to find that something evil is down there with them. “Dark Light” was on tap next and is about a mother who must save her daughter from light head creatures that live under their house. We next watched the super cheesy “Thankskilling” about a killer Turkey who wants revenge on white people and can only do so once in every 505 years. Unlucky flick number eight was “The Snarling” about a low budget zombie film being shot in a small town that is being plagued by murders done by a werewolf! The Monster killing in the woods film “Clawed” was viewed next. The next terror film was “Cupid” about the arrow shooting Valentines Day icon going crazy and killing kids at a school to stomp out love. The next film was one I finally got to see and was the slasher film “Curse Of The Slasher Nurse” about an escape mental patient who targets a group of friends at a cabin in the woods. And the final film of the night was the indie film “Pumpkins” about a pumkinheaded slasher killer carving up people that get too close to his yard. Over all another fun day of watching Horror movies with more fright flicks to be watched the next day!

The After Party to this very epic Horror Movie Marathon that took place on March 29, 2020 starting at 10am and we kicked it off with the 1934 Horror Mystery Thriller film starring Lon Chaney Jr. called “A Scream In The Night” that is about the police trying to stop a murderous crime lord called Johnny Fly. The second film is the remake of the 1959 spooky film “Attack Of The Giant Leeches” that has a local cop trying to stop the killing ways of giant leeches in a swamp in Louisiana, the film was done by indie filmmaker Brett Kelly. The third film of the day is “Restricted Area” about some soon to be laid off steel workers who go camping and run into a very dangerous cult. The fourth and half way to the end of the Pre-Show film is from Full Moon Entertainment and is called “Birth Rite” and is about Rebecca an 18 year old girl who is a leader of a witch cult that she just finds out about and is torn to her personal life and those of the black arts. Then we watched the 80’s film “Fatal Games” that is champion athletes fighting for their place in the Olympics and their lives against a masked killer. What we watched next was “Polaroid” a supernatural film about a cursed camera that kills anyone that has their picture taken with it and a young woman who is trying to break the curse. The next film was the remake of the David Cronenberg film by the Soska Sisters called “Rabid” that is about a woman who after an accident has a stem cell treatment that leaves her blood craving and a virus carrier…or is she? The final film of the marathon was another modern remake of a cult classic film “Gila” is based on the 1959 film The Giant Gila Monster and is about Chase a hot rodder well liked young man who’s home town is being attacked by a giant man eating Gila Monster! A great time once more being spent with my lady Juliet and watching some great Horror Movies on the small screen while enjoying good food.

So by the end of this marathon we had watched a total of 22 films over the span of three days and ate some really good food all while safe and sound in our home. And of course we picked our Golden Turkey for the event with Juliet selecting “Thankskilling” as she found it to be a film that tried to hard to be like a Troma Movie as well as a Full Moon one like Gingerdead Man. I picked “Pumpkins” as the events Golden Turkey as I found it to get generic and disjointed and just not good. And because we had so many films we picked our Top 6 films of the Marathon and we will start with Juliet’s with her # 1.) Rabid, # 2.) I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, #3.) Birth Rite, # 4.) Cupid, #5.) The Strangeness and #6.) The Furies!

And for me my #1.) was “Rabid” as I found it to be a very interesting take on the Cronenberg story and was filled with some great effects, plus funny to see wrestlers CM Punk and AJ Lee in roles. My #2.) was “The Furies” as I liked how they pulled off a Beauty And The Beast in a twisted game of life and death with some great kills and cool looking masked killers. For my # 3.) spot I picked “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein” as it was a great black and white chiller that shows a then modern take on the story and man Dr. Frankenstein is a huge jerk in this one. #4.) was “Gila” as this 2012 remake was lots of fun and added some new elements to the story to make it feel like it’s own fright flick, plus you cant go wrong with that classic Horror feel. The #5.) spot went to “Cupid” as I found this monster movie a fun indie watch filled with some silly arrow kills and a evil killer winged monster. And my final spot that that wicked #6.) was a tough one but I chose “Fatal Games” as I found it to be a fun 80’s slasher film filled with over the top kills and lots of nudity. So as always The Horror Movie Marathon was a great way to take ours minds off the sadness of the real world and delivered hours and entertainment.

Many of the killers and monsters from this extra long Horror Movie Marathon racked up a massive body count but only one can be awarded The Golden Massacre Award…or can it be several as this Marathon has a three-way tie with them all having 12 confirmed kills! The first is the Bear Claw Monster who slashed and ripped apart is body count! Joining him was Uncle from Pumpkins as they pumpkin headed monster slashed and hacked his way to this tie. And finally The Killer Nurse from Curse Of The Slasher Nurse tortured and brutalized her way to hang with these two. So a big thanks goes out to all three for making this epic Marathon one bloody and gruesome good time.

So as you can see the world of comic books is filled with forgotten superhero’s as so many companies have came and went over the years from major players to micro companies with each creating their own hero’s and villains that are now blown away in the sands of time and lost to the masses never to see the light of day again with a new adventure. Like Rottweiler I 100% find that Black Bow had the potential to grow as a character and not to mention you could have built a good rogues gallery for him based on demons, monsters and even cults…but only lasted one issue and being placed in the Long Box in the Sky made Black Bow a true forgotten hero with lots of potential. But for our next update we will be walking away from Unknown and Forgotten Heroes and will talk a look at a Horror Host that has went under the radar by the name of Tim The Enchanter and his show Scary As Hell Theater that was seen only on VHS to a select few! So until time read a indie comic or three, watch a indie film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Get ready to be scared as Hell on my next update.

The 9th Wonder Of The World Of Wrestling: Chyna

When I was a kid, 80’s pro-wrestling was filled with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Ultimate Warrior, Sting, Lex Luger, Kerry Von Erich, Jerry Lawler and so many other amazing superstars who drew large crowds to the arenas for sold out matches and drove up Pay Per View buy rates. When it came to the female wrestlers, names like Wendi Richter, Fabulous Moolah, Jumping Bomb Angles, Sherri Martel and Rockin’ Robin were used as special attractions, and Richter was one of the first non-valets used as eye candy and a role model for young woman around the world as she gave it her all in the squared circle even becoming the Woman’s Champion. By the early 90’s, female wrestlers in the WWF were becoming respected by the fans.  Many amazing talents were competing like Alundra Blayze and Luna Vachon, and they paved the way for the likes of Sable, Lita, Trish Stratus, Ivory and the one who made a major impact in female wrestling, the 9th Wonder Of The World Chyna! Wrestling fans in the Attitude Era enjoyed Chyna as she broke the boundaries of what a female wrestler was supposed to be and even was a manager and a role model for young women the world wide. Love her or hate her, Chyna was a major player for WWE in the Attitude Era, and it’s my pleasure to talk about her on this Rotten Ink update.  So get a ring side seat as we are going to take a look at the life, career, death and comics of the one and only Joanie “Chyna” Laurer.

Joan Marie Laurer was born on December 27th 1970 in New York and had a rough childhood after her parents separated.  Besides moving a bunch, she also had three different stepfathers and no stable life. Joan learned how to play cello and violin and developed an eating disorder as a teen! Joan and her mom had a falling out, and she moved to Spain with her father and finished school there. She went to the University of Tampa and graduated in 1992 and joined the Peace Corps and even was stationed in Guatemala. Back home, she took a few weird jobs like a waitress in a strip club and a phone sex operator for a 900 number line! But in 1995, she found her calling in life, to be a Pro Wrestler.  She was trained by the legend Killer Kowalski and started working the independent wrestling scene under the name Joanie Lee. In 1996, while at a independent wrestling event, she met WWF Superstars Triple H and Shawn Michaels who wanted her to come to the WWF and become their bodyguard for DX.  At first Vince McMahon was not hip to hiring her until he heard WCW was thinking of bringing her in to be a member of the n.W.o and this made him hire her.  She started in 1997 as Triple H’s manager and bodyguard before DX was formed. She spent the next years helping HHH and HBK win matches.  Her main move was the low blow, and she was the muscle that helped back up DX’s mouths. She would be the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble as she drew number 13 in 1999 while in DX. She would later turn on Triple H and DX and join Kane and Vince McMahon who at the time was feuding with DX and would jump back to DX and then turn on them again this time with Triple H as they joined The Corporation a group of “company” guys that was being lead by Vince McMahon.

After a while The Corporation split up, and Chyna went her own way leaving Triple H behind as well.  She was the first female to enter the King Of The Ring tournament and also was able to earn a spot for a run at the WWF Championship that she sadly lost when she lost to Mankind. She would go on to a feud with Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Championship and would also gain a valet Miss Kitty during this time.  At No Mercy in 1999, she won the belt form Jarrett and became the first and only woman to win this belt! She would go on to wrestle Chris Jericho to defend the belt and would lose and win back the belt during this feud.  At one time, the two had to be shared champions as they both pinned each other at the same time! After losing the belt to Jericho again, she would move onto teaming with Jericho for a short time before moving onto the next chapter of her WWF career.

In 2000 she would go on to manage and team with Eddie Guerrero who would call her his “Mamacita” and the pair would go onto have a weird angle with the Intercontinental Championship after Chyna won it again after beating Val Venis and Trish Stratus in a intergender tag match at SummerSlam. But she would lose the belt two weeks later in a triple threat match against Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle when Eddie picked up the win! The pair split later in 2000 when she caught Eddie in the shower with two other women! From there, she would go onto have a program with Ivory who was a member of the Right To Censor group who were upset over Chyna posing for Playboy Magazine. She would win the Women’s Championship from Ivory at Wrestlemania X-Seven and would defend the belt later against Lita.  Chyna won the match, but this proved to be her final match in the WW.  She vacated the belt after being taken off TV and was later let go from the company after she had a breakdown in her personal life when she found out her boyfriend Triple H was having an affair with the owner’s daughter Stephanie McMahon! 2001 was the end of Chyna’s WWF run ,and sadly she would never come back to the company and this also was the end of her major wrestling career.

In 2002, Chyna would show back up in wrestling as she appeared in New Japan Pro Wrestling refereeing and even wrestling a few matches including against Masahiro Chono with her final match for that company being a tag match were she and a Fake Great Muta lost to Hiroshi Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kenzo Suzuki. She started with them in 2002 and also ended her run in 2002 giving her less than a year with the company. She took many years away from the ring, and in 2011, she showed up in TNA where she was the associate to Kurt Angle and entered one battle royal and only had one major match with them as she teamed with Angle to take on Jeff and Karen Jarrett.  Chyna got the win when she made Karen tap out. This was the final match Chyna would ever wrestle and sadly, both runs in New Japan and TNA were both very short and no other federations wanted to take a chance on her like Ring Of Honor. So while her time in the world of Pro Wrestling was pretty short, she was a trend setter as she was the first female to be Intercontinental Championship, be in the Royal Rumble and King of The Ring as well was the WWF Women’s Championship showing that she was a true WWF Superstar. Sadly on April 20, 2016 Chyna was found dead in her home in California at the age of 46; the cause of death was an overdose of alcohol and anxiety drugs.

Chyna’s biggest Wrestlemania match was at “Wrestlemania X-Seven” where in a squash match she defeated Ivory for the WWF Women’s Championship! The lead up for this match has Ivory, who was a member of the group Right To Censor, trashing Chyna for being in Playboy Magazine and even having Ivory beat Chyna at the Royal Rumble as she injured her neck causing her to lose the match. This rematch was hyped as Ivory made Chyna sign that if she hurt her neck again, the 9th Wonder Of The World could not seek legal action and the rest of Right To Censor was banned from ringside. The match would have Chyna dominate Ivory and “Chynabomb” her, only to raise Ivory at the two count to press her over her head with a massive slam and then go for the three count that had Chyna win the WWF Women’s Championship! This match showcased that Chyna was a force to be reckoned within the women’s division and that she could bounce back from a injury and take the biggest prize in the company for the female wrestlers at the time. This match only also helped seal Chyna’s popularity as Ivory was a major heel at the time who was loud and annoying trying to tell the WWF Universe what they should watch and like. While the match was super quick, it just showed you how powerful and popular Chyna was in the WWF.

Besides being a wrestling superstar, Chyna also appeared in TV shows as well as movies! She appeared in such shows as 3rd Rock From The Sun, The Howard Stern Show, Fear Factor, Hollywood Squares, Robot Wars: Grand Champions 2002, The Surreal Life, My Fair Brady, Larry King Live, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and Celebrity Boxing where she took on Joey Buttafuoco and sadly lost to the scumbag. She also starred in some low budget films like Just Another Romantic Wrestling Comedy, Alien Fury and Illegal Aliens. She was on reality shows like Cristina’s Court where she went up against a dog breeder. While Chyna never made it in Hollywood and many of her appearances on TV were in bad lights from Rehab to Boxing a convict for low pay, she will best be known for playing Officer Janice on 3rd Rock From The Sun in a total of 3 episodes. While she made cameo appearances in many other shows, she just never was considered a great actress but she was always well liked by her fellow actors.

2004 marked the downfall of Chyna’s wrestling career and the birth of her becoming a full fledged porn actress after Red Light District Video bought the rights and released a homemade porn she had made with her then boyfriend X-Pac that was called “1 Night In Chyna” and this made her become an in-demand actress in such titles as “Another Night In China”, “Backdoor To Chyna”, “Chyna Is Queen Of The Ring”, “Avengers XXX: A Porn Parody” where she played She-Hulk and her last adult film was “She-Hulk XXX that was released in 2013. Many could say that she got her first taste in the world of adult entertainment when she posed nude for Playboy in 2000 and again in 2002. Many people have a theory that her adult film acting is what has kept her from going into the WWE Hall Of Fame, and while this I am sure is partly true, I am sure her odd and erratic behavior, her drug abuse, her outspoken nature and history with Triple H are also major factors on why she is not in. Say what you will, but Chyna should be in the Hall Of Fame as she did lots for the women division in WWE and made her mark on the world of Pro Wrestling. Oh yeah, and do you like the Little Roddy Piper heads I used to cover her naughty bits?

Chyna has had her fair share of amazing merchandise like all great Wrestling Superstars of the past and still to this day have. She has graced T-shirts, posters, mugs, magazines, VHS tapes, books, action figures, video games, DVDs, valentine cards, trading cards, dinner plates, photos, stickers, comic books and so much more! She was one of the first female wrestlers I could think of who had so much merch that she rivaled some of the bigger male superstars in just the sheer amount the WWE made with her image. It’s crazy to think about just how much they pushed Chyna and how fast they dropped her and down played her impact in the WWE after she was upset over Triple H and his affair with Stephanie McMahon.  After her release no other merchandise was made nor was she signed to a Legends Deal. Growing up a wrestling fan (keep in mind way before the Attitude Era) I did have much of Chyna’s merch from DVDs, VHS, magazines, her book and video games, and if your wondering, I did indeed have the Playboy of her in it as a friend of mine got it for me as a gift cause he thought it was funny! So I am sure if you loved wrestling in the late 90’s and 2000’s you owned something that had Chyna’s image.

Speaking of video games, I am a mark for buying wrestling games and have picked up every WWE game when released, many of the times even special ordering it so that I could get it on day of release! Chyna has been in many of the games with her first being “WWF Attitude” that was released for N64, Dreamcast and Playstation in 1999. She would also appear in “WWF Wrestlemania 2000” for the N64 in 1999 putting her in two games in the same year. In 2000, she would be in “WWF Smackdown!” for Playstation as well as “WWF No Mercy” for the N64 with her final game, also released in 2000 when Playstation delivered us gamers ,“ WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role”! I owned all these games and while she was in them, I never really remember playing her against friends or the computer as while I enjoyed her in ring work, I was still more into playing as wrestlers as The Undertaker, Essa Rios or Bret Hart. I do however remember my friend Jason Gilmore playing as her in No Mercy and Attitude and being pretty good with her tossing opponents around. So did or do you own any of these games, and do you find yourself playing as Chyna?

So as you can see in her short wrestling career that really only lasted from 1995-2002, Chyna made a major impact and broke the mold of what a female wrestler should be as she won belts held by only male wrestlers up to that time, was the first ever female to enter the Royal Rumble and was a role model for young girls who wanted to be a pro wrestler. She was not a “Diva” and while not ground breaking in the ring, she could hold her own with both females and males in matches. She also broke the mold of women wrestlers at the time having to be super model looking and embraced the fact that she was different and sent the message out for anyone to be who they are. I know that she had many surgeries to make her appearance more feminine after “fans” claimed she looked too much like a man, but that was in real life that she felt the need to change for society to accept her, while her character was more confident in who she was. With female wrestling being very big in the WWE right now with talented wrestlers like Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Natalya, Naomi and so many other top notch ladies on the roster, all I am sure look at Chyna, Trish Stratus, Ivory and Lita as the performers who paved the way for “Divas” to become wrestlers.

So now that we chatted a little about Chyna and who she was, I am sure many of you friends and readers are remembering her career in wrestling while others who didn’t watch wrestling are learned a little about her and I hope want to learn more.  I would suggest reading her autobiography book called “If They Only Knew” if you do want to know more about her. So now it’s time to take a look at the comic series of Chyna that was done by Chaos Comics starting in 2000 and had two one shot issues that make up the series. I want to thank Lone Star Comics and Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock.  The Ref just walked by and wanted to tell us these rules “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 lets get our ring side seat and see what Chaos Comics has to offer to the legacy of Chyna and her comic book series.

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

Chyna arrives in Chicago just in time to save Jamie Banks, a young girl who is being kidnapped by masked members of The Death Cult! Chyna uses her fighting ability and takes out the masked goons and meets her father Elliot Banks who wants to hire Chyna as his and his daughter’s bodyguard as he claims that he has very powerful enemies.  She decides to take the job and becomes close to Jamie but soon finds that Elliot is nothing more than a rich scumbag. The Death Cult leader Kassandra is upset and sends more troops to the Banks Mansion, and while Chyna deals with them, others come in and kidnap Jamie! Elliot orders Chyna to go save his daughter, and Chyna does as she asked not for money but for Jamie and soon finds out that the reason The Death Cult has kidnapped the young girl is because Elliot screwed them on an illegal weapons deal and they have been priming Jamie into being unwilling killer as her Nanny was a part of the cult! Chyna fights tooth and nail as they take Jaimie back to her father who is given a speech to his backers and just as his young daughter is about to stab him Chyna appears beats up Kassandra and saves the day and warns Elliot to get out of the arms business and be a father or she will kick his butt! Chyna then takes Jamie home to put her to bed and so ends this action adventure of Chyna.

This is a fun and yet kind of bland action comic to feature a WWE Superstar that is not a bio comic but an adventure one that takes Chyna out of the ring and into a battle with a cult. The story has Chyna as a bodyguard to a crooked rich man and his daughter who have crossed paths with a evil cult on a deal gone bad.  So the cult wants revenge and has a plan to brain wash the daughter into killing her dad, and Chyna must stop this from happing. Chyna comes off cold as ice and uncaring for human life besides that of the young girl whom she has started a bond with. She is skilled in hand to hand combat and seems to have the power and strength of Hercules as she can toss around many grown men at the same time. So her powers are being cold and strong and have no real personality as she is a woman of few words. Elliot Banks is your typical sleazy corrupt businessman who deals in firearms and don’t care who he hurts or rips off as he thinks money can buy him out of any trouble. Jamie Banks is just a nice young girl who is stuck with a terrible father and has no one to really watch after and is being used to be a killing machine thanks to a cult…wait, is she the female Michael Myers?! The Death Cult and their leader Kassandra are many but seem to be easily beat by one woman…so how dangerous are they really? This comic is a good read but really does lack a solid plot and at no time did I feel Chyna was in trouble nor did I feel that she was all that likable as a comic hero. The cover I have is a photo one and is cool if you’re a fan of Chyna.  The interior art is good and done by Eddy Barrows who does his best at trying to capture the look of Chyna. Over all, there’s not much to say besides this is a mediocre comic based on a one time super popular wrestler. So let’s move on and see what Chyna II has in store for us.

Chyna II # 1  **
Released in 2001     Cover Price $2.99     Chaos Comics   # 1 of 1

Chyna is at a party and saves a woman named Shelly Marko from a hit that was placed on her by a crime lord Nicky Decampo as she is going to testify against him in court. After she saves her, the police hire Chyna to get Marko to the district attorney so that they can bring Decampo down. Chyna and Marko begin their quest and along the way they find out that some of the cops are dirty and been paid off and that they have been tracking them via Marko’s cellphone. Once into town and after beating up some bad guys, Chyna soon finds that she has been set up as Marko is really there to kill the district attorney and that she herself is to be killed! After Chyna makes short work out of the assassin she is also able to stop Marko from killing the district attorney as it has been a double cross as Chyna knew she was being set up and was hired by the district attorney who knew the hit has been placed on her.

This is another Chyna is a badass bodyguard comic adventure and this time has her acting as a double agent as the bad guys think they have tricked her into helping them and really she is working with the good guys in order to set up them up! Much like the other issue this comic just really is a basic plot with over the top action and one liners that brings us readers a mediocre adventure. Chyna in this one is snarky and a woman of few words besides some terrible lines she delivers to come off tough. Chyna in this one as well is super powerful, has the skill of s stuntman and the wit and smarts of a trained military leader. Shelly Marko is a sneaky young woman who at first comes off as a scared witness who wants to do the right thing, but really is a cold hearted woman who really wants to help her crime lord friend and is willing to kill many to do it. The rest of the bad guys are useless and get knocked around like a crash test dummy. Sadly I can see why this comic series based on Chyna only lasted two issues with both being first issues as it offered nothing new and really fells like a generic comic that you could have added any character into the role of Chyna and it would not have mattered. The comics didn’t capture the nature of Chyna, and I get they were trying to play up on her bodyguard role for Triple H and DX, it’s just they didn’t get her attitude and over all personality right. The cover on Chyna II that I own is the photo cover and I must say that it looks more like a workout video pose and not a pro wrestler one! Mike Deodato Jr. did the interior art and it’s pretty good and in many panels he did a great job of capturing Chyna’s look. Over all this wrestling comic series is mediocre at best and while enjoyable for the most part, I really wish they would have brought a little more of a wrestling theme to this comic series and maybe even added Miss Kitty as a sidekick. Check out some art from this comic series to see what Chyna looks like as a comic book character.

So while Chyna’s time in the world of comics might not have been as memorable as her time in wrestling, she still was able to get her time at being a comic hero. Cool thing is in the coming years, we will be taking a look at more Chaos! Comics based on WWE wrestlers like The Undertaker, The Rock, Mankind and Stone Cold Steve Austin and we will see if these comics hold up to what I remember or if they will be mediocre adventures like Chyna’s was. But our next update will take us out of the ring as we will finally make our way to The Mummy’s Tomb and talk all about the Universal Monster series and the Dark Horse Comic adaptation. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a local wrestling match or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update.