Another Night Of The Living Monster Bash Vacation (2019)

It’s that time of the year again when Juliet and I pack our bags and put them into the old Mazda 3 and head to Cranberry Township to enjoy yet another Monster Bash Convention and some relaxing days in Cranberry Township taking in all the local stores, sights and restaurants the area has to offer. As always, I was very much looking forward to getting some time away from work, comic book making and filming and being able to sit back and relax and spend some time with Juliet as well as all the classic monsters at Monster Bash! This year’s theme was very heavy on Hammer Horror as guests like Martine Beswicke, Veronica Carlson and Christopher Neame were all on hand while other guests included Ricou Browning, Tom Savini, John Russo and Horror Host Son Of Ghoul! So if you are ready, grab a snack pack, jump on in and let’s have some fun as we celebrate the best Horror Con in the world and all of cool wonders around it!

We started our quest on June 20th and hit the road at around 11:30am after eating a breakfast that Juliet from Dorothy Lane Market. Once on the road we chatted about wrestling, comics and goofy stuff! We also talked about our plans for the night and made a stop at our normal Ruby Tuesdays where I had a meal of Bourbon Salmon, Loaded Baked Potato and Dirty Rice and as always it was a good meal that helped give me energy for the road. At around 5:30pm, we made it to our hotel that was yet another new one for us to stay at as both of the ones we stayed at before were filled so we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, and I must say that first impression was it was nice and the staff was friendly! After relaxing for a few minutes, we headed out to go to New Dimension Comics so I could pick up a few good reads for the weekend. As always I found some cool comics that included issues of Thor, Uncanny Tales From The Grave, Tower Of Shadows and Comet Man from Marvel. From DC, I got issues of Batman, The Comet and Super Friends. And finally I also got some indie comics like Ex-Mutants, The New Krofft Supershow, Escape To The Stars and Radical Dreamer. For dinner we decided to have Eat’n Park and I had a Hot Turkey Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes and a Baked Potato! For the rest of the night I read some comics, watched some TV, chatted with Juliet and geared up for the first day of Monster Bash! Oh and I should note that the day was filled with lots of rain and muggy weather…making it a perfect day to hang out in the hotel and read and write.

On June 21st marked the first day of Monster Bash and sadly the convention did not open until 3pm so in the morning we got up around 9am and after eating a quick breakfast from Starbucks, we headed out and our first place to visit was The Living Dead Museum in Evans City as its been a while since we got to visit it and when in the Pittsburgh area you have to spend time with the living dead! I really like The Living Dead Museum as it celebrates the rich history of the Romero Zombie films as well as zombies in Horror Movies in general. And when we arrived, Juliet and I were happy to see our friend and Nashville Horror Host Dr. Gangrene also waiting to enter the museum and even better he was going to be at Monster Bash and the area all weekend! The Museum was as great as always and after walking around and taking some pictures, we bought a t-shirt and a pin and headed back toward the hotel to gear up for Monster Bash. And after a meal at Max & Erma’s, we headed to The Bash!

As Juliet and I made our way to Monster Bash I wondered what statues would greet us and what cool car would be parked up front…if I had to make a guess on car I would say once more the Dragula from The Munsters, and as far as statues, I would guess Hammer Horror as it seemed like the theme of this year. And as we made it to the front of the hotel we noticed no car was in place yet and the wait to get tickets was not too bad. The dealer room was packed with people, and it was great to see so many people enjoying the world of classic movie monsters, and what was nice this year was I saw some younger kids in the crowd enjoying the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster. After walking around to all the dealer tables and making several purchases (more on that later) we also took time to chat with our Horror Host friends Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri about Horror Hosting and cool classic local TV! Much like last year, some of the people looking around were kind of rude and would step in front of you while you looked, would stand really close and sometimes just stand in the way of items as they looked off into space or at their phone…while annoying, I have been to Horror Conventions where this behavior is a lot worse. As we were leaving, we ran into indie filmmaker and friend David “The Rock” Nelson and we chatted for awhile about the production of his newest film Howl Of The Werewolf. It’s always a blast to see David. Over all a very cool first day of Monster Bash that once more showcases why this is my favorite show. Oh and as for the statues, this year they did have Hammer’s Frankenstein’s Monster as played by Christopher Lee many of them were based on classic Universal Monsters as well as a few Silent Horror Icons and even one of Bela Lugosi from White Zombie!

So I am sure you are wondering what the first day’s haul was like…well it was really good! I picked up a Universal Mummy bendy toy by JusToys for $8.00, Masters Of The Universe He-Man drinking glass for $10.00, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell Wooden Plaque for $25.00, The Werewolf from Sungold Monsters for $15.00, Two Knock-Off Mini Figures of Phantom Of the Opera and Yeti from a series called “Un Mundo De Figuras” for $10.00 each, Eerie Greatest Hits Graphic Novel for $5.00, The Tomb Of Dracula # 37 comic for $5.00, The Creation Of King Kong Novel for $4.00, Predator Movie Adaptation Novel for $3.00, The Adult Version Of Jekyll & Hide DVD for $7.00, two episodes of The Son Of Ghoul Show that has him hosting The Hideous Sun Demon & Lady Frankenstein for $10.00 each and what would Monster Bash be without me buying David “The Rock” Nelson movies as I got Mummy A.D. 1993 for only $20.00 and Howl Of The Werewolf for $25.00! So as you can see, this was a pretty amazing day 1 of Monster Bash goodies!

So for the first night we wanted to have Dinner and a Movie at the hotel so we chose to eat our favorite restaurant in this area, Wing Kings where I had Garlic Wings and Cheese Fries with a Coke to drink. The night’s film was Howl Of The Werewolf, the newest no budget monster movie classic from David Nelson. The film was over 3hrs and 30min long and was pure classic Rock stuff complete with Detective Rock eating and random attacks by the film’s monster. And I will give all you readers a little info on something very cool….Sparkle Comics will be doing some comic books based on David “The Rock” Nelson films and Howl Of The Werewolf will be the first one released in 2020! The script will be written by Juliet, and the art will be done by Don Stephenson. So keep your eyes open for more news soon on this comic release. Over all a great night of good food and a super fun film and this ended the first night of Monster Bash!

On the second day of Monster Bash we woke up early and had popped into Monster Bash really quick before heading to Pig Iron for an amazing breakfast! Once done we headed back to Monster Bash and soaked in all the amazing sights of classic monsters! This year I noticed that more vendors had DVD’s and Blu-Rays and people were buying like crazy showing physical media is alive and well. Juliet and I also were able to look around a little better as while packed again people seemed to be aware of others around them and this allowed us to shop for not only ourselves but also our friends. We then chatted some more with Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri and once walking around and buying some more we headed out of the Bash and into the world of Cranberry!

The second day of Monster Bash goodies was also great pick ups as I got a Phantom Of The Paradise Wood Plaque for $25.00, Two more Un Mundo De Figuras of Dracula and Werewolf for $12.00 each. A Scary Monsters Magazine Vampire Detection Kit for FREE and lastly I got two episodes of Gunga Jim of him hosting Revenge Of Dr. X and Assignment Terror on DVD for only $5.00 each! So while this time around I did not buy as much, they still are some great finds.

After Monster Bash we headed back to New Dimension Comics as they had a massive store sale so we loaded up on some comic books as I got issues of Silver Surfer, Roger Rabbit, Ex-Mutants and G.I. Joe all for only .30 each! After that we relaxed for a few minutes and then headed back out and ended up at Barnes & Nobles and looked around at books, magazines and POP figures all before we headed to get a tasty treat at TCBY Yogurt that is always a must for Juliet when we come to Monster Bash. The traffic on this day was terrible but at least the weather was nice and sunny with a high of only 73 degrees. Once back at the hotel we watched The Mummy Returns on SyFy and later for dinner Juliet wanted to have Moe’s and as always I had a Chicken Burrito, and as always it was a good meal and made us both miss Moe’s being in Dayton.

After dinner we ended the night with a Horror Host feature as we watched Son Of Ghoul hosting Lady Frankenstein! The art of Horror Hosting to me goes hand and hand with classic monsters, and I wish Monster Bash would do a massive Horror Host gathering at one of the conventions as this year was pretty great as on hand was Janet Decay, Grimm Gorri, Drac, Countess Carita, Son Of Ghoul, Gunga Jim and even Dr. Gangrene around! Always a fun time to end a Saturday Night with a Horror Host and why not do so with one from Ohio!

June 23rd not only marked the final day of Monster Bash 2019 but also was the birthday of the late great Dr. Creep who was a great friend and a true icon in the world of Horror Hosting. For the last day we walked around for a few minutes and enjoyed the classic monster atmosphere as well as ran back into Dr. Gangrene and we chatted about classic amusement parks and roadside attractions. And after one more sweep through to pick up some last minute goodies we left Monster Bash for the last time in 2019 and looking back I truly feel that this is an event that if you love classic monsters should make the trip to as it’s a great and is filled with good times, great guests, top notch vendors and spooky monsters.

The final days Monster Bash Goodies was very small but pretty dang cool as I had to buy four more Un Mundo De Figuras figure and this time I got The Mummy, The Fly, Jack The Ripper and Swamp Creature for $10.00 each. These little things are amazing and I feel now I need to collect the whole set. And lastly I bought the double feature DVD of The Beast Within and The Bat People and the main movie I wanted on this set was Bat People and I paid $20.00 for this out of print MGM release. Another great year of pick up’s, as Monster Bash has never let me down!

After we left Monster Bash, we headed to a little amusement park called Conneaut Lake Park as they have a classic Horror Ride called “The Devil’s Den” and we heard about it thanks to Dr. Gangrene. It was around an hour away from Monster Bash, and the ride to it was nice and filled with some small towns and really beautiful landscapes, and when we arrived at the theme park it was everything we ever wanted and more! After parking in a field, we walked to the main gates and found that we had to buy the wristbands from a stand that is in the middle, and walking to the stand we saw many of the classic style rides like Tumble Bugs, Paratrooper, Music Express, Bumper Cars, Carousel and Blue Streak an amazing wooden roller coaster…and no joke people who grew up in the Dayton, Ohio area will know what I mean when I say my first feeling was “Wow, this has a Fantasy Farm and Americana Amusement Park feel”! And after a short line to get our admission wristband we headed straight to The Devil’s Den as this was the main attraction for us, and man I have lots to say so we will get to it shortly. The rides were also connected to a water park as well as a lake and all around us were families and couples having fun and this helped added to the great atmosphere of the park. Not to mention all of the park workers seemed very nice and helpful. After Juliet and I rode The Devil’s Den, she rode The Blue Streak and had a blast and from there we went and rode the train that went around Blue Streak and the park all the while we would pass wooden cutouts of famous cartoon characters. From there, Juliet rode the Tumble Bugs and after we ate some loaded fries and funnel cake from one of the food stands and just soaked in the park. After leaving Juliet and I both agreed that we will come back to Conneaut Lake Park as it was a very fun time!

The Devil’s Den was everything in a classic Horror Ride I could ever want! We got at the park right at open so the ride had no line and Juliet and I were able to walk right up. Sadly the cars were tiny and we had to ride separately and as the worker pushed my cart into the track, the spooky ride started! Now keep in mind I loved the cart and while it would have been fun to ride with Juliet, it also was an amazing ride to experience alone. And Devil’s Den was filled with creepy paintings, spooky sounds, flashing lights, darkness, a gum caked wall and the Devil and his minions. This made me flashback to the old Horror Ride that was at Fantasy Farm and I had a massive smile on my face the whole ride as each dark turn made me come face to face with another monster. The highlight for me is when I got to see The Devil that looked just one straight from a B-Horror Movie. The ride had some great old school scare moments like string hanging down to touch your face in dark rooms and had lots of twists and turns. This was a fantastic way to feel like a kid again as I enjoyed every moment of this ride and I think that if you are in the Pittsburgh area, you need to take a trip to Conneaut Lake Park and pay the $10.00 entrance fee and do yourself a favor and take a ride on The Devil’s Den and after doing so soak up all the amazing attractions of a true indie amusement park. The pictures below come from the rides official Facebook page at CLP Devils Den so make sure to check it out and give it a like. No joke, this was a perfect attraction for Juliet and I to spend a good part of our day at….and oh yeah I also bought myself a Devil’s Den T-Shirt!

After Conneaut Lake Park we headed toward The Snowman as I needed a good old Yeti Shake and to my shock and sadness, the horses were gone! While I was sad not to see the horses again, the shake was fantastic as always! Later in the day we ate dinner at a restaurant called Burgatory and it was fantastic and I made a custom chicken burger that was one of the best I have ever had! The waitress we had was super nice and the restaurant itself was very welcoming and had a cool look. We ended the evening once more watching an episode of Son Of Ghoul that had him hosting The Hideous Sun Demon as I figured what better way to end the final day of Monster Bash than with a Horror Host program.

June 24, 2019 marked the first day of after Monster Bash blues, but marked the first full day of lets go do cool stuff in Cranberry! We started out morning with a breakfast from Einstein Bros Bagels and then made our way to see the remake of Child’s Play at Cranberry Cinema, as I have said before this is a great indie ran theater that has a great feel and no joke I also really enjoyed Child’s Play! From there Juliet and I had lunch at Moe’s and just like last time the meal was really good. After lunch we headed back to Evans City and visited the Cemetery, as it’s a must every time we are in PA. The drive to the cemetery is so peaceful and once there we soaked up the sun, nature and just the over all creative vibe you get when there. The cemetery was filled with chipmunks again and besides the caretaker, no one else was around and made for a very peaceful visit. After enjoying the wonders that is Evans City Cemetery we headed back to the hotel and waited for dinner…that was Wing Kings of course and then we watched WWE Raw on the USA Network.

June 25 marked our last day in Pennsylvania and on this day we started out by going to Target to pick up some road snacks. We then headed to Mars and had some coffee from Mars Brew House and walked around the small town for a few moments. Juliet and I chatted about our time at Monster Bash as well as talked about Horror Hosting and even about Rotten Ink. We then went and filmed the UFO in downtown Mars to send to my pal Victor for a project for Rockstar Pro Wrestling. But this was just the start of our journey back to home as I wanted to make a stop that was very important to me…and that was to visit the grave of a true wrestling legend.

Before we made the long drive back to Dayton we stopped at Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh so I could pay my respects to WWE Legend and Wrestling Icon Bruno Sammartino. For those who don’t know who Bruno was, I first want to say shame on you, as he is the longest WWE Champion in history and was one of the world’s most popular wrestlers in the 60s-80s and hands down is one of the best in the business. And after paying my respects Juliet and I walked around the massive cemetery and we talked about how important Bruno was and still is to the legacy of the WWE as much like Hulk Hogan he was what kept them in business for decades. And I am making a promise to all you readers that when Inverse Press finishes the comic series based on Bruno Sammartino I will cover it here on Rotten Ink and truly talk about this icon of the squared circle. Once we left the cemetery we headed back to Ohio, but not before stopping again at Ruby Tuesdays for a quick meal.

Once we ended up back home I had to deliver copies of the Sparkle Comics release of Spring Heeled Jack # 2 to local shops as well as spent some time with family and friends and even went to the theater to see Annabelle Comes Home! I also ended up filming a one off cheesy Horror Host show with my pal Damien…more on that in the future. But on June 29, 2019 we decided to have a Horror Movie Marathon that would be packed with some great Horror, Science Fiction and Thriller films. We started the marathon at 8am and started with the Universal Horror film “The Thing That Couldn’t Die!” that is about a cursed head tormenting a group of people on an isolated ranch. The second film was “Zarkorr! The Invader” about a massive space monster on a rampage to test earthlings that must be saved by a postal worker. We then watched “Golem” from 2018 that brings the silent film and classic Jewish folklore and is about a woman that brings to life a Golem to protect her village. The 1995 thriller “Mommy” starting Patty McCormack was next and was about an evil woman who will kill those who get in her young daughters way…and more so her own. Our fifth film was the Sc-Fi classic “Target Earth” about a group of strangers that wake up in a city alone during a mechanical alien invasion! “The 27 Club” is about a musician who sells her soul to the devil to get fame, but it comes with a price on her 27th birthday. The shot on video film “Masked Mutilator” was next and is about a group of kids in a halfway house that are being killed by a crazed masked pro wrestler. Indie Horror Movie “Close Calls” starring the lovely Jordan Phipps is about a young woman who is battling drug addiction being grounded as strange and deadly things are going down at her home. Our 9th film of the marathon was “Leprechaun Returns” the newest sequel in the long running series that has him coming back again to claim his gold and torments a group of sorority girls. And the final film was the 1975 fright flick starring Peter Cushing “The Ghoul” about a mansion that holds a terrible secret and a murderous thing in the attic.

This was another great Horror Movie Marathon filled with some great flicks and amazing food and snacks! After we watched the films, as always Juliet and I sat and talked about them and picked our best three as well as our Golden Turkey. For Juliet she selected Masked Mutilator as her Golden Turkey as she did not hate the film she just felt it dragged in spots, and I choose Zarkorr! The Invader as I found it to be a little to slow with a so-so hero and a lackluster final battle. My Top Films went as following # 1 went to Golem as I found this to be a very fun and bloody way to bring this classic horror icon back to modern viewers, plus it was well acted, well shot and the blood effects were really good. # 2 for me was Leprechaun Returns as I felt this was a fantastically silly and fun sequel and washed the bad taste of Leprechaun Origins out of my mouth, plus the film was way more gore in it than I expected. And my pick for # 3 was The Ghoul as I found it to be a fun spooky atmospheric classic style Horror Flick that once more showed why Peter Cushing is one of the best actors in Horror ever. And for me Close Calls was a runner up as I found myself still thinking about the film way after it ended as it left me thinking about what the ending meant. Juliet’s picks were as follows # 1 The Golem, # 2 The Ghoul and # 3 went to Target Earth, but she wanted to let you all know that the film The Thing That Wouldn’t Die almost made it on her list and was her runner up. So as you can see, another great Marathon and a great way to end my Monster Bash 2019 vacation!

This Marathon’s Golden Chainsaw Award for most kills goes to Golem as he had about 13 on screen kills and a ton of off screen! While he looked like a child this creatures was brutal and ruthless when it came to murdering those who crossed him or his creator. The Golem’s best kill for me is when he would make peoples heads explode into a mess of bloody goo filled with chunks of brains! So thanks Golem for not only being the best movie of the Marathon but for also making it a little bloodier!

It’s crazy to think that the world lost George A. Romero over two years ago. I mean the man delivered some of the most iconic zombie films of all time with titles like Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead, Land Of The Dead, Diary Of The Dead and Survival Of The Dead, all amazing films in their own right. But many others love his none-zombie horror work like Season Of The Witch, The Crazies, Martin, Knightriders, Creepshow, Monkey Shines, Two Evil Eyes, The Dark Half and Bruiser all films that delivered chills and entertainment to viewers. They just don’t make filmmakers like Romero anymore who had a vision and brought a group of creative minds together like he did in the Pittsburgh area. While George might be gone and no one can make zombie films like him no matter how they try, his legacy will live on forever not only in his work but also in all those film creators who he inspired.

George A. Romero’s masterpiece of zombie horror cinema Night Of The Living Dead is truly a film that has inspired and has been imitated by so many filmmakers and media creators. I mean NOTLD is even a film that has been hosted by so many Horror Hosts around the world, and I would even bet that it’s the most hosted movie of all time! And oddly enough, beside the official sequels like Dawn of The Dead, Day Of The Dead and Land Of The Dead to name a few it has also spawned a remake from effects master Tom Savini and a ton of unofficial sequels that all branding the name Night Of The Living Dead….now I am sure your wondering how this is so, right? Well the film has fallen into the public domain and this allows creative minds to do what they want with the title and the film itself and this is how these “sequels” and “ different takes” are able to be made and viewed by Horror Movie viewers world wide. So let’s take a moment and talk about some of these films that cashed in and continued the legacy of NOTLD. And let’s talk about what we will call The Good, The Bad, The Ugly And The Turkey as I will pick what one I find to be the best, the so-so, the worst and the golden turkey! So be ready as they are coming to get you readers! They’re coming for you….look here comes the rip offs now!

The first film in these unofficial sequels is “Night Of The Living Dead 3D” that was released in 2006 and stars the likes of Sid Haig and Brianna Brown and follows Barb and college student Ben as they try and survive a zombie horde while finding shelter in the farmhouse of the Cooper family. But when the zombies arrive, things get bad for the survivors, as they cannot stop the living dead! Next up is “Night Of The Living Dead Re-Animation 3D” that was released in 2012 and is a prequel to the above mentioned film and stars Jeffrey Combs and Denice Duff and follows a mortician who foolishly exposes dead bodies to medical toxic waste that brings them back and hungry for the living. “Night Of The Living Dead Resurrection” was as well released in 2012 and stars Sule Rimi and Kathy Saxondale and is about a group of humans hiding in a farmhouse as the dead rise and they drama inside the house seems to be worse than the horrors outside. And lastly is “Night Of The Living Dead Darkest Dawn” that was released in 2015 and stars Danielle Harris and Tony Todd and is an animated fright flick that changes the location to New York as humans hide out in an apartment building as the dead try and get them! So these are the dirty undead four, and man all of them are the same and yet all so different! I would say The Good For me would be Night Of The Living Dead Darkest Dawn as it’s a weird take and the voice acting from some of the greats of the horror world was a nice addition. The Bad, who is not terrible but average, would go to Night Of The Living Dead 3D as it is cheesy and bad but Sid Haig is solid in it. The Ugly that is bad but not the worst would go to Night Of The Living Dead Re-Animation 3D, an underwhelming sequel to NOTLD 3D and is just nothing special and an average lower budget zombie film. And the Golden Turkey is Night Of The Living Dead Resurrection as it’s just very, very boring and is clearly a cash in on the namesake of NOLD. So there you have it, a quick rundown of the knock off films of Night Of The Living Dead…and if you want to see a good zombie film just watch the original or even the remake as they both are leaps and bounds better than all the films mentioned above.

While we took a look at the films that cashed in on the legacy of NOTLD, I also want to take a brief moment to talk about a cool tribute short movie called “Flowers For The DEAD” that was released in 2013 and is directed by Joe Barbarisi who clearly loved the classic work of Romero and even shot parts of the film in the Evan City Cemetery that the original film shot in. The films plot is about Linda a woman whose parents have passed away who finds herself in the cemetery during a zombie outbreak and to make things worse she is being stalked all through the massive cemetery by zombies who want to make her their dinner and she has no signs of help. Now Lisa must fight for her life and find a way to out step the dead and get back to her car! Does she make it out alive…or does she become another meal for the living dead…watch this film on YouTube and find out for yourself! This short film is well shot and making it black and white was a very nice touch as it helps make it feel right at home with NOTLD. The zombies as well are well done for an indie film with some being make-up and others wearing masks, and again this added to the vibe and feel of the film. I want to also say that I really dug the films score as it fit the film perfectly, and to be honest I would love to have it on CD! I love indie horror, and this was a fun one that someday I would love to show at an Indie Horror Showcase event that is put on by Horrorama Dayton and Blood Scream Comics! So I want to just say good work to Joe Barbarisi and his cast and crew for making such a fun and classically spooky Horror Short film.

So now that we have traveled to the land of the living dead once more and had a great time at Monsterbash, I think we should see what the second series based on Night Of The Living Dead by Fantaco has in store for us! So before we find a good crypt to hide in, I should remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank a vendor at Cinema Wasteland many years back for having these comics in stock. So if you’re ready to once more walk with the Living Dead, let’s see what this Fantaco mini series has in store for us.

Night Of The Living Dead # 0  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $1.95     Fantaco     # 0 of 3

Actress Kate Koresh is taking a vacation in Haiti and becomes the target for a voodoo cult who wants to sacrifice her to zombies of the sea, and unlucky for her, they kidnap her and take her to the beach to do the ceremony. Meanwhile zombie hunter Randy Von Richtofen is also on a getaway in Haiti as he is staying at the hut of Papa Shaka while he is away, and Randy is lucky when he meets Amber and Bianca two beautiful women who are the trainees of Shaka. While relaxing in the hot tub, Randy hears the drums on the beach and rushes off and he and the ladies end up saving Kate from being eaten by zombies and they kill not only the undead but also the voodoo cult! In the end Randy and the ladies return to the hut as Kate returns to America never wanting to see a zombie again! We end with the government talking about a satellite in space and hope that this time around it does not start another zombie outbreak.

This quick read is an odd one as it was a fun read and really does capture the indie zombie horror comic feel of the 90’s from that time…but it also has a weird very cheesy over the top nature that is nothing like the spirit of Night Of The Living Dead as it all just seems a little off! The plot follows two people on vacation, one being an actress and the other being a zombie hunter who cross paths when a cult wants to feed and please the undead from the ocean. Our main hero is the sleazy and overly gun happy undead basher Randy Von Richtofen who is a man who has seen and done so much to rid the world of the zombies that have infested it. We know he loves the ladies, and he loves to blow away zombies. Bianca and Amber are two hot women who are loyal to their teacher the voodoo master Papa Shaka and who are very handy with guns and taking down zombies. Our would-be victim, the snooty actress Kate Koresh, is also a survivor as she as well fights for her own life and takes on cult members as well as zombies to escape. The Cult, who are the issue’s baddies, are silly and love bikinis and want to please the zombies of the ocean that are divers, swimmers and seamen and are no major threat as they are taken out with ease. The comic, while horror, also has a dash of comedy to it, as the over all feel really is cheesy as well as comic indie action moments. Thus far as well I am not 100% sold on Randy and am more cheering for Amber and Bianca who seem more like the heroes of the book and are not just into killing zombies to be macho and brag about it. I do like the nice addition of the government once more making a mistake in space and this could spark another zombie upraise and spell doom for mankind. The cover for this issue 0 is not all that eye catching and besides the name does not make one think of NOTLD! The interior art is done by Rik Rawling and is pretty standard indie horror stuff. Over all this is an average comic that offers some blood and kills but is not scary and was worth the read. Let’s see what this story arc has in store for us with issue # 1.

Night Of The Living Dead # 1  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $3.50     Fantaco     # 1 of 3

The Government’s Star Wars satellite is set to be used in a foreign land in order to test if it can do mind control when the machine decides to choose another target and hits in California and hits the set of Kate Koresh’s TV show killing many of the crew as well as infects others to become zombies! Para-gliders Phil and Phred land and find that zombies are all around and want to eat some human flesh, and as they flee the beach they come across Kate Koresh who has returned from Haiti and finds herself as well being attacked by zombies and the two dudes with attitudes try and save her! After the pair kill the zombies attacking her the trio rush off to a house in the hills to wait out the outbreak! Meanwhile the Government is in damage mode and realize that they once more have created a undead uprising again and set to come up with a plan to neutralize it. Meanwhile the safe house for Kate, Phred and Phil is being swarmed by zombies, and the guns they are using to protect themselves are running out of bullets when they remember an ad in the newspaper and call Randy Von Richtofen who shows up and kicks some undead butt! They all team up and trick the infected townspeople into entering a meat factor and fill it with gas blowing it up and containing the outbreak in California, but the satellite has fired again this time in Florida!

The first issue in the series as well lacks the true charm of Night Of The Living Dead and once more is a little too sleazy/cheesy and not so scary, making me a little puzzled why they moved away from their first style of NOTLD comics and went for more of a The Dead and the original Walking Dead mood and feel. The plot has the satellite firing in California causing a zombie outbreak that once more poor actress Kate Koresh is stuck in, but she is lucky enough that two goofy dudes are around to protect her and that once more zombie killer Randy Von Richtofen is back in town as well! This issues main heroes are Phil and Phred who are a pair of beach bums who enjoy chicks and paragliding, but while goofy when the dead start to rise and crave human flesh these two step up save a life and protect themselves and others. Kate Koresh can not win to lose as she returns from vacation were she was attacked by zombies only to once more find herself on the menu for lunch, but just like before she defends herself well and has the survival instinct. Randy Von Richtofen is still the same as the last issue and is a butt-kicking machine with no real personality. The Zombies in this issue attack in hordes and are hungry for human meat and flesh, not much else to say about them besides they are lined up to be slaughtered by our heroes in gory fashion. The real bad guys of this issue are the Government as they with their Star Wars program are what has caused all this chaos, seems they learned nothing from the outbreak they causes in 1968! The issue has some great bloody and gory kills and the pacing is good keeping my attention throughout. The cover is eye catching for fans of zombie comics and the art by Rik Rawling is ok. Over all another average and entertaining zombie book that is an odd direction for one based on such an iconic film.

Night Of The Living Dead # 2  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $3.50     Fantaco     # 2 of 3

The amusement park McKie Moose World in Florida is hit by the laser from the Star Wars Satellite next and this causing employees to turn into flesh eating zombies! Randy Von Richtofen sees the reports on the news and calls in a favor to Papa Shaka and his two trainees Amber & Bianca for help to rid the park of the undead. Meanwhile at the park, the President’s Daughter is enjoying here time when the zombies attack and she is stuck with a Secret Service who is scared and offers her no protection! Meanwhile when out zombie hunter group lead by Randy shows up they use the voodoo skill of Papa Shaka to flood the park and kill off the zombies who infested it. Meanwhile the Government tries to destroy the satellite and fail as now it begins to fire randomly all over the planet!

This second issue is a mix of horror, comedy and sleaze and comes together pretty well and is an entertaining read. The plot follows once more Randy as he takes care of a zombie outbreak that this time takes place at an amusement park. And he brings in voodoo master Papa Shaka and his lovely ladies to help! I really love the idea of a zombie outbreak taking place in an amusement park all the while the President’s daughter is stuck inside as the Government and a group of zombie hunters are the only hope for those stuck inside…and while this sounds fantastic right, the issue never offers any real moments of danger as they are easily killed and are wiped out by water! The zombies in this issue are not scary or a threat, the Government this time around come off more like fools and not major baddies leaving a void for any serious threat. Randy Von Richtofen shows slightly more of a personality when he knows that he is out numbered and needs help to take out the zombies that was eating people in Florida, a cool generic badass hero character that so far just doesn’t do much for me. Papa Shaka shows that he doesn’t need a gun as the man’s voodoo skills are great, and he wipes the floor with the zombies. Amber & Bianca are very much downplayed in this issue and are more eye candy than zombie fighters, very disappointing as they could be very cool characters. Again the setting for this issue is great, the feel and mode are off, the comedy didn’t work for me and the horror is very slight. The cover is great and eye catching for fans of 90’s Horror Comics and the interior art done by Rik Rawling is the same level as the other issues. Over all this issue was slightly better than the previous two and was worth reading, let’s see what the final issue has in store for us.

Night Of The Living Dead # 3  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $3.50     Fantaco      # 3 of 3

Outbreaks are taking place all over the world as the Star Wars Satellite has gone crazy and fired its ray all over creating zombies everywhere! The American President knows that things are bad and that under his watch this terrible thing has happened so he calls Randy Von Richtofen to help give pointers to S.C.U.D (Specialist In Cannibal Undead Destruction) a team that is government based and are ready to save the world. Randy agrees to give them some pointers and is shocked when he finds that actress Kate Koresh is one of the team’s leaders and he soon finds that he is being forced to join her group of soldiers as they head to Germany to ride the area of zombies that are breeding! The team is made up of Jane Redhawk, Jimmy Woo, Waylon Creole and Lunk. Once there they find out that the zombies are way more powerful and that this mission is going to be very hard tor pull off and survive. Kate takes Randy and Redhawk on a recon mission and they pair soon finds that they are at odds with each other as both have different ideas on how to deal with the zombies all around them, as those who are left behind at the base camp must fend off a wave of zombies. Once they make it to a massive tower made of dead humans that is acting as the base for the zombies, they find that the undead are reproducing at a fast pass and the only way to bring them down is to get into the tower and blow it up! Once back at camp Randy leaves the group behind as he thinks this is nothing more than a suicide mission, and Kate gets super mad and leads her team on the mission and to her horror one by one they are taken out by the zombies! Kate starts to lose her mind and shuts down as Redhawk is able to get them both to the center of the tower and as the zombies close in Randy appears again with his zombie bashing car and saves Kate as Redhawk sets off a bomb killing herself and also bringing down the tower and the zombie horde around it. In the end Randy and Kate stand at the graves of her fallen soldiers and pitches the idea of her and Randy becoming a team as he gives a none committed answer.

This final issue in this mini series goes out as average as it started as the story wraps up with no major impact nor does it have horror in sight. The plot of this issue has Randy joining Kate as she leads a rag tag team into the heart of a major zombie outbreak in Germany that is the worlds last defense to truly get this undead emergency under control. And I must say that the stakes in this final issue are bigger and it does feel as if the dead could truly win the final battle as they are all over and ready to kill and eat our heroes. And this is refreshing as through out this mini series I never found the zombies to be a threat nor dangerous as they were easily taken down and barely killed any one who could see. Our series main hero is Randy Von Richtofen, who is a man who enjoys killing zombies and has no real personality at all, and while I did not hate this character, I also had no real connection to him as he also just felt to dang generic. Our second main hero would be Kate Koresh as she grows as a character and goes from cheesy actress to leader of a military team! She is way more interesting of a character she just lacks the major will to kill like Randy does. The side characters in this series are pretty good and I would say my favorites would be Jane Redhawk, Amber & Bianca as they all had potential and all could have been better used in this series. As you long time readers know, I am a major Horror Comic reader and have always enjoyed a good zombie comic and love Night Of The Living Dead and its legacy and I think would have enjoyed this series a little more if it did not carry the NOTLD name as the comics holds none of the spirit of that film and again really comes off as a clone of other dark indie zombie comics that came out before it. The series does have some great moments of carnage and bloodshed, but does not get too overboard. The cover for this issue is just okay and is nothing special, the interior artwork is again is good normal indie style done by Rik Rawling. The best way to sum up this comic mini series is that it’s entertaining and also very disappointing. If you like dark horror comedy comics this might be one you will want to check out, if you’re a pure NOTLD fan you might find yourself finding this one a little of a letdown as even the zombies just feel all wrong. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Rawling used in this series.

So while this Fantaco NOTLD comic series has not the best zombie comics I have ever read, it still delivered an entertaining read for this update. It’s odd that no comic company is making comics based on Night Of The Living Dead as it just lends itself to be an amazing comic series. I want to also stress that if you love classic movie monsters, comics books and cool old toys you need to do yourself a favor and go to one of the Monster Bash Conventions as they are great events that deliver a spooky good time. So to keep up my love for classic monsters I think our next update we will be taking a look at the Marvel Horror character The Golem! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a classic monster movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for my first Marvel Horror Showcase.

American Hero: Rambo

Happy Independence Day 2019 to all you readers, family and friends. This is a very important holiday for Americans as this the day that we truly celebrate our Independence! On this holiday we all prepare for the fireworks and are gathered with friends and family grilling out burgers, steaks and hotdogs. Here at Rotten Ink I have been working hard to once more bring you an update about an America Hero in the world of comic book, and this year I have chosen to take a look at John J. Rambo, the iconic character of novels as well as a film series that later this year sees a fifth installment! And I feel 100% that Rambo goes alongside other American themed heroes we have covered in the past like Captain America, Fighting American and The Original Shield who all fight for freedom and deliver amazing comic adventures. So while the burgers are grilling and the gathering is going strong, let’s sit back, relax and celebrate the one and only Rambo!

Let’s talk about the book that started it all for Rambo. First Blood was a novel written by David Morrell in 1972 and was about a Vietnam Vet named John Rambo who is being harassed while hitchhiking through a small town in Kentucky and fights back when the police department treat him like scum and cause him to flashback to when he was a POW. He escapes and this causes a manhunt for him that leads to a terrible shoot out where in the end both Rambo and the sheriff meet their maker, as Rambo dies by a shotgun blast to the head at the hands of his one time commander Trautman. The novel is a dark sad twisted ride as one man who served his country is treated like a common scumbag by the hands of those he defended just because of his look and the length of his hair. The book is a great read and is worth checking out if you like war books and or like the films.

The novel was turned into a film in 1982 and starred Sylvester Stallone as Rambo and made some major changes to the story having Rambo and the Sheriff both living and Rambo going to jail in the end. The film still followed the manhunt through the woods and the stand off in the town making this open for a sequel that came in 1985 with “Rambo: First Blood Part II.” This time Rambo is asked to go back to Vietnam and take pictures of POWs but instead rescues them! “Rambo III” was released in 1988 and had him helping Afghanistan fight off Russia as they tried to invade them. This film also had Rambo fighting a tank with a bow and arrow while on horseback! 2008 saw the release of “Rambo,” the final film in the series thus far that had Rambo saving some missionaries in Burma, and proving that he is a man of honor as he also helps take down an evil general who is committing genocide on his own people. The Rambo films are all badass and rank as some of the best action/drama films ever made! I could go on and on about the films and will in a future review. I just wanted to touch up on the films for this write up. If you have not seen these films, do yourself a favor and go watch them. You can find them on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray.

2019 is filled with many great films like “Avengers: Endgame”, “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters” and “Star Wars IX,” but for me my most hyped film of the year is “Rambo V: Last Blood”! I have been a fan of not only actor Sylvester Stallone but also the Rambo films for as long as I can remember and to see what is reported as the final film in the series this year is something very special for me as the character has been a big part of my childhood and even adulthood. In fact many people are shocked when I tell them my favorite actor, writer and director is Sylvester Stallone as many people always think that I would say John Carpenter, Wes Craven, George Romero, Tod Browning or some other icon of Horror Cinema. But do me a favor, if you’re reading this and enjoy the Rambo films or even just action films in general, make sure to go to your local cinema on September 20th and see this film as I am sure its going to be one amazing ride as Rambo takes on a drug cartel!

Now let’s talk about the man John James Rambo, who is the son of R. Rambo and Marie Drago. He was born in Bowie, Arizona and in 1964 at the age of 17 he was drafted to fight in Vietnam straight out of high school, and after his tour at war, he returned to the U.S and joined Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg and was trained by Colonel Trautman. Rambo returns to the Vietnam War as part of the SOG brigade in 1969 and during this time he is traumatized by events he sees with one being the death of his close friend Joseph Danforth. He would later also become a POW. and he was repeatedly tortured and only he and one other member of his team were able to escape the camp. A short time later, Rambo asked to return to the war and even learned new skills like how to fly a helicopter. By 1974 he finally was discharged from the military holding a pretty high rank, mostly likely a Captain. Once back home in America he returns to find that people are very hateful towards the soldiers returning home and he himself is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Rambo, now a drifter and homeless, goes to Hope, Washington to visit an old war friend only to find he is dead and that the local law enforcement don’t want him around as they are cruel and try and bully him to leave their small town. Rambo is pushed and he fights back and takes the war to the Sheriff’s office, and it’s only Colonel Trautman that is able to talk him down. After these events Rambo is sent to prison, but Colonel Trautman is able to get him out to do a secret mission for the government to find out if Vietnam still has prisoners of war…Rambo takes this mission and disobeys orders as instead of just taking pictures and reporting back, he saves them and brings them home. In 1988 Rambo is next sent to Afghanistan in order to help the people fight the Russians who have tried to invade their country. In 2008 Rambo is now living in Thailand and makes his living capturing snakes and selling them to locals for fighting as well as giving rides on his boat. Rambo is asked by a bunch of missionaries to take them to Burma that is a warzone in order to help its people with medical and spiritual aid. And after saying no at first, it’s because of a woman named Sarah he agrees to…and once he does his job and the Burmese army captures and kills some of the missionaries, it’s up to Rambo to go in and save them, and of course he does. At the end of this rescue Rambo decides to let it all go and returns home to America. And this is where we are at in the life of Rambo as the events of the fifth film will tell us more about his life and who knows maybe death. Rambo is very layered and deep character, and the film and novel versions have different paths for his life, but one thing is for sure, Rambo is an iconic character of American pop culture.

Rambo has also made it to the world of video games and has had games on systems like Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Arcade Machines and as of late a rail first person shooter for PS3 and X-Box 360. The one that most know about is the NES version that has you playing Rambo who is wearing red spandex pants and mostly uses a knife to fight Vietcong, spiders and other animals. This game was also on the receiving end of a review done by The Angry Video Game Nerd for his popular YouTube show. So for those who like Rambo, there are video games out there for you to play. I thought about doing a NES Challenge for the Rambo game but decided that maybe we will tackle that on a later update.

In 1986 Rudy- Spears Productions was at it again when they decided to turn the R rated Rambo films into a cartoon series called “Rambo: The Force of Freedom” in which Rambo was no longer a loner but instead helped lead a group called The Force of Freedom alongside his friend Colonel Trautman into doing battle with a terrorist group code named S.A.V.A.G.E. lead by the General Warhawk who was a trader in his home country in Europe. The series ran for one season and a total of 65 episodes before being canceled, and the episodes would have Rambo and gang stopping such plots as stopping takeovers of small countries, fighting cults, stopping missiles and everything else in between. While Rambo and Trautman were the main attractions, characters like White Dragon and Touchdown Jones were the support that helped make the cartoon series more fun. While it only lasted one season, it had a lot of episodes and helped fans of Rambo with the wait in between movies. Growing up I remember watching this show from time to time and found that all I wanted in the series was to watch Rambo kick some S.A.V.A.G.E. butt! Not a lot of kids I knew watched the series, and by this time a lot of them were watching more Nickelodeon shows or the more popular shows on ABC, NBC and USA. The series did get some VHS releases as well as later some episodes released on DVD.

So besides the movies and cartoon on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray and other home media and the novels and video games, many other very cool merchandise items have been made based on Rambo! Many action figures have been put out and have been done by companies like Coleco, NECA and Toy Island to name a few…my favorite is the Coleco Rambo figure that was based on the cartoon that I had as a kid. Also made were the films’ score soundtracks that have been released on Vinyl, Cassette and CD! These scores are amazing and the song “Home Coming” by Jerry Goldsmith from the First Blood album is powerful and iconic. There were also T-Shirts, Posters, Comics, Buttons, Chewing Gum, Trading Cards, Stickers, Magazines, Lunch Boxes, Halloween Costumes, Erasers, Toy Guns, Arcade Machines and so much more amazing products! So if you are a fan of Rambo, there are many amazing things in the world for you to collect…and I suggest not only the Coleco toy but also do yourself a favor and get the score soundtracks for the film as they are top notch.

So as you can see, Rambo and America go hand in hand and in fact all through the 80’s he was used as an icon to show the American Spirit and even the likes of President Ronald Reagan used him as an inspiration to hype up his run. And now that the burgers are probably almost done and the fireworks are about to fill the sky, we should get to the review of the Blackthrone Comic simply called Rambo! I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having this issue in stock and want to also remind you all that I grade this comic 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 get your red headband ready as we are going to war alongside the one and only John J. Rambo.

Rambo # 1 *1/2
Released in 1989     Cover Price $2.00     Blackthrone      #1 of 1

Major Valane was a bad apple and was dealing in the black market during his time in Nam and after being investigated by higher ups in the US Military, things turn bad and he is believed to be dead…until he is spotted on a nature documentary. The government sends for Rambo to make sure that he can spot Valane and make sure he is alive as Rambo was one of his solider who witnessed the Major set up his own people and even killed Rambo’s friend Wild Bill and forced a wounded Rambo to be in a prisoner of war camp! So ready for a rematch and revenge against Valane, he heads to Canada and battles the harsh weather until he can track Valane and his band of militant hoods. During his search Rambo is attacked by a mountain lion and is saved by one armed vet Brewster who befriends the war hero and helps him stand his ground when Valane’s men track them down and Rambo comes face to face with the man who helped murder his friends.

Sad to say this is really bad and does not capture the feel, mood or character of John J. Rambo at all and really just feels like a cheesy C-Grade army comic! The plot has Rambo traveling to Canada to find a beloved to be dead army Major who was a trader and a black market dealer that set up his own men leaving many of the dead and Rambo a prisoner. Rambo then fights for his life and finds that his old foe is indeed alive and surrounded by a new group of mercenaries. John Rambo in this comic is a man who loves America and loved his fellow solider who survived beside him in Vietnam, he also is a survivor and is willing to run into danger to get the Intel his country needs. But this does not feel like the Rambo from the films, as he is way to positive talkative, makes lots of mistakes and seems to be really aligned with the army in this comic….so in other words the comic Rambo seems very much off. Brewster is a pretty cool side character who is missing an arm that happened during the war being a hero and lives alone in a cabin in the woods of Canada, and the best part is he is still great with a gun! Major Valane is a scumbag who sold out his own team in order to gain money and now has faked his death and is still doing crime! He is cocky and surrounded by tons of militant soldiers who are willing to kill and be killed for him. He is a great bad guy for this style of army comic and sadly didn’t get to live up to his full potential…and the reason being is that the series was canceled after this issue and we never even get to know how Rambo escaped Major Valane and his goons grip! Yep Blackthrone pulled a Star Comics and canceled this series before it got a proper ending for readers. The cover for this comic is pretty eye catching if you’re a Rambo fan even if the art is only so-so. The interior art is very hit or miss as at times it looks like your standard late 80’s indie comic and other pages almost seem unfinished or rushed, and I am sure artist Aaron Lopresti knows that this is not his best work. Over all this Rambo comic is a big letdown as it does not tell all that great of a story, does not do justice to the character and is over all below average. Check out the art below to see the style used in this comic…and yeah Rambo looks nothing like Sylvester Stallone.

While the comic might have been a letdown, we still have all the movies we can watch to scrub this from our memories. I hope you are having (or had) a good fourth of July as this day is one we should truly take pride in our nation and celebrate our freedoms. For the next update we will be leaving Rambo behind and will be going on vacation to once more visit Monster Bash and talk about Night Of The Living Dead as we spend some time in Evan City Cemetery! So until next time, watch a Rambo film or four, see Rambo V in the theater and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time as we spend more time with the undead.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1956)

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame is one of the oldest movie monsters in the world of cinema, only behind the likes of Frankenstein’s Monster, Vampires and Witches to name a few. Over the years, many amazing films have been made about his deeds to save a young gypsy from the crooked arms of the law and church with the most popular being the 1923 version starring Lon Chaney Sr. as Quasimodo aka the Hunchback. But one of the most respected versions of the film came in 1956 and was a French and Italian production that brought together actors Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida as the main leads. And with this version came a very cool comic book adaptation done by Dell Comics in order to promote the movie and make a few coins while selling copies. And with this we will be having a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update all about this amazing film! I should also remind, and I am sure most of you never forget, that all the films based on the Hunchback of Notre Dame are based on the 1831 novel of the same name written by Victor Hugo. So if you’re ready let’s take a look at one of the world’s most classic movie monsters who in fact is no monster at all, it’s the cruel people around him that are the true monsters!

Before we take a look at the 1956 production we should come to understand the misunderstood “monster” of the film Quasimodo and the ways he deals with those who are evil and cruel. Quasimodo in this version is simple minded with his speech being bad. He has some strength and is easily told what to do by those he trusts. His means of dealing with people who stand in his friends’ or his way is the following: his appearance is deformed and it seems to shock those who look at him causing hysterics, he uses large stones, wood beams and even hot boiling metal that he drops from high above his Church home! He also will use his bare hands to throw humans off the roofs as well. Quasimodo also can use this knowledge of the Church itself to his advantage when it comes to fighting off his enemies. He also has a very high tolerance for pain making him very hard for people to hurt. But Quasimodo does have weaknesses as he is a normal man who can easily have his feelings hurt and can be killed with any manner of weapons like a sword or arrow. He is also very easy to confuse, and if you are a beautiful woman, he can be controlled and tricked. While Quasimodo might not be the most powerful nor even the most deadly we have covered on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, he is one that is a force to be tangled with when he thinks those he cares about are in danger.

So as you can see, Quasimodo in this version is not super bloodthirsty unless you mess with the love of his life and then he would attack like a savage. But now that he have looked at the Hunchback Of Notre Dame himself we should now dive into the film he is from and chat about it. As always I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB and it will be followed by some production chat and then some brief memories and thoughts I have on the film. So I hear some bells ringing in the distance so I think that’s our cue to take a look at the 1956 version of Hunchback Of Notre Dame!

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1956)

Paris, 1482. Today is the festival of the fools, taking place like each year in the square outside Cathedral Notre Dame. Among jugglers and other entertainers, Esmeralda, a sensuous gypsy, performs a bewitching dance in front of delighted spectators. From up in a tower of the cathedral, Frollo, an alchemist, gazes at her lustfully. Later in the night, Frollo orders Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer and his faithful servant, to kidnap Esmeralda. But when the ugly freak comes close to her is touched by the young woman’s beauty.”

Producers Raymond Hakim and Robert Hakim teamed up with director Jean Delannoy to bring the Victor Hugo story Hunchback Of Notre Dame to cinemas for the first time in color! The film was an Italian and French production, and it followed a very sword and sandal style of filming as those films were very popular at the time. The film’s two leads Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida were the only two who spoke English and the rest of the cast all spoke French and were dubbed over to play western theaters. The film’s production was for the most part pretty smooth, and the budget of the film was $1 million dollars. The film brought in $2.25 million in the US making it a success for distributer Allied Artist Pictures. The film was also the first to more closely follow the novel and has the character Esmeralda die in the tragic ending. Anthony Quinn who played Quasimodo is also known for being in such classic films as Lawrence Of Arabia, Last Action Hero and Avenging Angelo to name a very few and was on TV shows like Hercules And The Legendary Journeys and the Cosby Show. While the lovely Gina Lollobrigida is known for her roles in films like Beat The Devil and Death Laid An Egg. The film is well respected by film critics as well as film lovers and is truly a well made film.

I first saw this film when I was a youngster and it was on regular TV and can remember enjoying it as I have always been a fan of the tale of the Hunchback as he is truly a misunderstood man who people think a fool and a monster. I can still see in my mind the bright colors of this film and can remember thinking even as a kid that Gina Lollobrigida looked beautiful. And while I enjoyed this film, I never did own it until 2018 when I ordered it on DVD from Ebay…and that’s shocking as I have collected Horror Movies on VHS and DVD/Blu-Ray for many years and am a true sucker for classic monsters. And to be honest, I know why I didn’t own this film and just recently re-watched it after all these years and that’s because I forgot all about it as the film oddly fell out of the light and was not shown on cable nor was the home media release easy to get. The one thing that always stuck out to me about this film was the fact that the horror aspects are very much downplayed and the drama is turned up on high, not to mention even the look of Quasimodo is downplayed with less deformities and even his back is not as humped like in other film adaptations and is more just curved. But while the film is by no means scary, it is a great watch and is another great film released about the world’s favorite bell ringer. There’s not much more to say about this film besides if you have an extra 2 hours and enjoy the Hunchback, I recommend checking this one out.

We are now at the point of this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update where we will talk about the comic adaptation of the film. This one was done by Dell Comics as part of their Four Color comic series that featured fun comics based on not only movies but also TV shows and cartoons. I want to thank an Ebay seller for having this comic in stock and making this update possible as well as my gal Juliet who ordered this comic for me. And before the bells start ringing, I want to remind you that I will be grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the issue stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s join Quasimodo and see if this comic captures the magic of the film.

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame # 1  **1/2
Released in 1957     Cover Price .10     Dell Comics   # 854 of 1354

It’s the Feast Of Fools in Paris, and the town’s people of Notre Dame are drunk and rowdy and are even ruining the play done by Pierre Gringoire. When it comes to picking the King Of Fools, they disturb Church Archdeacon Claude Frollo with their noisy ways and he sends hunchbacked, deaf and deformed Quasimodo to ruin the throne. During the celebration, gypsy Esmeralda and her pet goat Djali are singing and dancing in the town square and has captured the attention of all the males in the crowd as she is beautiful. And then comes the time to choose the King Of Fools, an honor given to the ugliest man in Paris, and thanks to Esmeralda the crown goes to Quasimodo who soaks up all the attention. But as always, the stick in the mud Claude Frollo orders Quasimodo to follow him and wants him to kidnap Esmeralda and bring her to the church! But as Quasimodo does what he is ordered, he is stopped and captured by the King’s guards lead by Captain Phoebus who leads Esmeralda away where the two hit it off before Esmeralda runs off into the night. Meanwhile poor poet and play writer Pierre Gringoire is mugged and set to be hung by the gypsies but is saved by Esmeralda who agrees to take him as a husband for four years. The next day Claude is visited by the King who wants the Archdeacon to use alchemy to make gold as Paris needed more riches, after they talk they watch as Quasimodo is whipped and is shown mercy by Esmeralda who gives him water. And later that night the soon to be married Captain Phoebus meets Esmeralda at an inn, little do they know they are being watched by Archdeacon Claude who has as well fallen in love with the gypsy girl and he uses her own dagger to sneak and stab Phoebus in the back leaving her under arrest and the Captain shamed for cheating on his fiancé. The next day Esmeralda is tortured to confess she is a witch and is set to be hung, but Quasimodo saves her and brings her into the church where she is safe from the laws of man. While in the church, Quasimodo and Esmeralda become friends and she learns that Archdeacon Claude is a cruel man who wants her dead for she does not return his feelings of love and has convinced the King to go into the church and remove Esmeralda to pay for her crimes. When news spreads, the Gypsy rush the church to save her and are attacked by Quasimodo who believes they are there to hurt her. In the end the Kings men show up and kill Esmeralda with an arrow! Quasimodo in a rage throws Archdeacon Claude from the top church window ending this sad tale.

This Dell Comic Four Colors issue does its best to try and cram an almost two hour movie into pages of a comic book. The main story is intact with Quasimodo falling in love with Esmeralda and wanting to protect her because she also showed him compassion when he was in need of help and a friend. But many moments from the film are missing like the build up of Captain Phoebus healing from his stabbing and turning his back fully on Esmeralda when she asks for him to meet her at the church. It also changes the ending and does not have Quasimodo going to the crypt where Esmeralda’s body is and dying next to her of sadness. It also has Archdeacon Claude begging not to be thrown from the church, but in the movie, he embraces his death and does not say a word as he wanted to die. One other change this comic makes is that Quasimodo uses his fists and punches lots of people in the face and uses brute strength. So while it has most of the core of the film, it does change lots making it feel a little off as far as a full adaptation, but it is a great read for fans of the story and the 1956 feature. Quasimodo in this comic is a man with a big heart who allows love to guide him to do what’s right. The sad part is he knows he is “ugly” and the people of town treat him really badly and tease and mock him. Esmeralda is a gypsy who everyone loves as she as well has a big heart and is stunning to look at and wants to always do the right thing. Her only flaw is how good looking she is as she gets the attention of a Hunchback, a Captain, a Poet and an Archdeacon, and this becomes her downfall. Archdeacon Claude Frollo is a man of not only the church but also science who is not a good person as he would rather a woman he has a crush on die than to not return his feelings and be his. This comic has a few moments of violence but is bloodless and really feels like a Drama/History/Horror story with the latter being the most down played. The cover for this comic is a photo from the movie and is pretty cool and eye catching for fans of the film. The interior art is done by an unknown artist and is pretty good classic 60’s style art and very loosely looks like the actors from the film. Over all this is a cool comic based around one of cinemas classic movie monsters. Check out the art below to see how this comic looks.

So while Hunchback Of Notre Dame from 1956 might be more drama than horror, it’s still a very cool film based on a classic monster movie character that spawned a comic book from those crazy folks at Dell. And while Quasimodo aka The Hunchback Of The Notre Dame might not be as brutal as Uber Jason from Jason X, as silent and deadly as Michael Myers from Halloween or even as menacing as Tall Man from Phantasm, he still has the skills to kill, and while he is not a bad guy, he is a killer. For our next update, we are leaving the world of Horror and Notre Dame far behind and heading toward the world of DC Comics to take a look at another hero they barely use as a main character, and that’s The Atom! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a micro hero good time.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is out in theaters, and this update is our final  for Kaiju Month. For this “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update, we will be taking a look at Godzilla: Awakening that was released in 2014 based on the Godzilla film by Legendary Pictures that is part of their Monsterverse. Godzilla is one of the world’s biggest icons when it comes to Kaiju and giant monster films, and he has proven that his films can be successful here in America, not only in Japan. I also would like for you readers to know that Godzilla comics have been released by many different companies like Marvel, Dark Horse and IDW and all of them are well worth finding and reading as well. So if you’re ready, let’s see what kind of mayhem and fear the one and only Godzilla has in store for us.

So before we get into Godzilla from 2014, we need to take a look at Godzilla from this film and his powers of destruction. Godzilla is a massive Kaiju that is 350 feet tall and weighs 164,000 tons making him a massive force to be reckoned with and so big that he could crush city blocks with one stomp of his foot. His appearance is reptilian and just the sight of him sends humans into a frenzied panic causing them to also to be involved in accidents that leads to human injuries and deaths. Besides his massive body size he also can use his long tail to knock down buildings and other giant monsters that get in his path. Godzilla’s main weapon of attack is his atomic breath that is so extremely hot that it can melt steel and severely burn and even kill other giant Kaiju so just imagine what it can do to a normal person! He also has a wicked loud roar that sends fear and chills down the spine of all those who hear it. And let’s not forget that Godzilla also has razor sharp teeth that can shred and grip onto his enemies. While on land Godzilla is a little slower but he can also swim and be in the water for long periods of time making him a threat on both land and water. In this film Godzilla does not go out of his way to kill humans or even cause destruction as his main focus is to protect the world and stop other Kaiju who do have very bad attentions. But with this said, just with battling the other Kaiju creates collateral damage. Godzilla cannot be hurt by bullets or normal ways of stopping a threat and for all accounts he does not seem to have that many weaknesses as it looks like maybe attacks from other Kaiju might be the only thing that can hurt him! Godzilla is a true Kaiju who is very powerful and if he wanted, he could massacre most of the world’s populous, so let’s be happy that he is on our side…for now.

So as you can see, Godzilla is the most powerful of the three Kaiju we have looked at this month as Gorgo nor Reptilicus don’t even come close to the power of the King Of The Monsters. But now that we know about Godzilla and his ways of destruction, we need to know take a look at the 2014 film that spawned this update! The film’s plot will be taken from our friends at IMDB and after I will talk about the films production as well as my thoughts on the film. So take shelter as Godzilla is on the loose!

Godzilla (2014)

“In 1999, the Janjira nuclear plant was mysteriously destroyed with most hands lost including supervisor Joe Brody’s colleague and wife, Sandra. Years later, Joe’s son, Ford, a US Navy ordnance disposal officer, must go to Japan to help his estranged father who obsessively searches for the truth of the incident. In doing so, father and son discover the disaster’s secret cause on the wreck’s very grounds. This enables them to witness the reawakening of a terrible threat to all of Humanity, which is made all the worse with a second secret revival elsewhere. Against this cataclysm, the only hope for the world may be Godzilla, but the challenge for the King of the Monsters will be great even as Humanity struggles to understand the destructive ally they have.”

Hollywood originally tried their hand at making a Godzilla film in 1998, and the film was a bomb as its budget was way too high and word of mouth was brutal causing all plans for a franchise to be cancelled. But while Toho continued to make Godzilla films, America was out of the game until 2014 when Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures released a new film…but it was a very long road for them to get this in theaters and even was responsible for putting the death nail in many other Godzilla films that were being developed or even stuck in developmental hell including “Godzilla 3D,” a sequel to Godzilla vs. Hedorah that was being done by Yoshimitsu Banno. Once Legendary worked out a deal with Toho, all these other projects were cancelled, and by 2010 they took complete control and decided to develop their own story and direction and would even make sure to let the world know that this would not be connected to the 1998 film. By 2011 they had Gareth Edwards on board to direct, and David S. Goyer was brought in to rewrite the script with Drew Pearce putting the polishing touches on it in 2012. This whole time Legendary Pictures did press appearances at comic cons and interviews on websites to keep the build for the film as well as to answer concerns that this film would be a letdown as they could not shake the dread of the ’98 film. And crazy enough, in 2013 Frank Darabont was brought in to add more to the script that was original written in 2010 and was penned by David Callaham! During this time as well, the film started to be cast with names like Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ken Watanabe to name a few and of course during this time as well the design of Godzilla was being worked on to perfect his new American appearance. And from here production went like all mega budget films go and took place all over the world and much time was spent to make sure this was made just right for fans of Godzilla. On May 16, 2014 it was released in theaters and was met with pretty big fanfare and delivered a better Godzilla film for America. Godzilla was the 13th grossing movie in 2014 and brought in $529,076,069.00 worldwide on a budget of $160 million. The film beat out such other cult films as Annabelle, The Purge: Anarchy, Dracula Untold, Ouija, Deliver Us From Evil, Oculus and I Frankenstein to name a few, and would make it to # 6 out of 11 for my “Matt Goes To The Movie 2014” update. So as you can see, Godzilla was a massive hit for moviegoers worldwide and had lots of other great Horror Films released alongside it that year.

In 2014 when this movie was released, both Juliet and myself were really hyped to rush to the theater and see it as we are both massive fans of Godzilla, and we got our tickets to see the film on the IMAX Screen at the Cinemark Theater at The Greene and rushed to get the best possible seat. We had ourselves a large popcorn to share, and I drank a Blue Icee as we settled in and waited for Godzilla to smash his way back onto the big screen! As the theater filled up and the lights went down, we both were glued to our seats waiting for the film to start…and after watching it, we both left the theater a little under whelmed and slightly annoyed by the film’s choice to only show Godzilla in glimpses for most of the film until the end. While I did not hate the film and for the most part was entertained, it was Juliet who really had a dislike for it. And as time went by even at work we talked about Godzilla from 2014 as one of my former employees Jeremy really loved this film and even has said its better than “Kong: Skull Island” and to me that’s crazy talk! When this film was released on home media, I did end up buying it on DVD, and after watching it a few more times I have learned to enjoy it a little more. While Godzilla 2014 is not even close to being my favorite film in the long going movie series, it at least is one that brings destruction thrills and chills to the big screen and has sparked more interest in the character here in America. So while some of you readers love this film and others dislike it, one thing that I think we can all agree on is that it’s great to have new Godzilla films coming out that as well sparked some new King Kong films so for that I will say, Thank You Legendary Pictures! Oh and I call this version of Godzilla old fat neck as his neck is huge, and this nickname seems to annoy Jeremy who really does love this film and the Godzilla attached to it.

Godzilla from the 2014 film is a true Kaiju that seems to not have his sights on stomping out human lives and almost seems a little more interested in protecting us, but even with that said he still is a master of destruction and could be one of the most dangerous monsters we have covered on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this graphic novel in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I will grade this comic 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 it’ art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s spend a little destructive time with Godzilla…from the 2014 film that is not the original Toho one.

Godzilla: Awakening # 1 ***
Released in 2014     Cover Price $12.99    Legendary Comics   # 1 of 1

An older man named Serizawa invites his son over and starts to tell him that all he knew of his work was all false and that he has worked for the government for many decades and that the world is filled with giant monsters! He tells his son that the first time he ever saw the Kaiju known as Godzilla was when America dropped the big bombs on Japan and that he later saw him again when he was a member of a ship’s crew that was called to help an American ship a year later on a small island. Serizawa meets Shaw, an American who has been hired to study Godzilla as well as the other massive monsters of the world and is trying to now save his crew who are trapped on the ship that has been docked on land in the trees! Once they save the crew Serizawa finds himself joining Shaw as a team member that is made up of both Japanese and American Soldiers that are working for Monarch in order to find and stop giant monsters that are running wild throughout the world with one being Godzilla and the other being a bat-winged Muto. While Godzilla is talked about as a savior, the Muto is talked about with fear by those who have seen them. The team travel even to the bottom of the ocean to find out more about Godzilla and then also find out that the Muto is really multiple living organisms that come together and grow as they feed on radiation and the bombing of Japan is what awoke the creatures and that we have pretty much doomed ourselves and that Godzilla is really our only hope of bringing it down as he is the creatures life long enemy! When they finally meet, Godzilla destroys half of the Muto creature and the government tracks down the other half later and nukes it killing off the Muto once and for all. But back in present day Serizawa passes away and now his son joins Shaw and sets his sights on bringing down and understanding Godzilla!

Legendary Pictures did a fantastic job taking the film and making a good solid action horror comic read with Awakening that delivers a Godzilla rampage to fans of the film. The plot of this comic is not so much about Godzilla nor the Bat-Winged Muto but mostly follows Serizawa, a Japanese survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima who has become a bitter person toward America and learns to work alongside them when he becomes a part of a team that is exploring the Kaiju that have been awakened from the bombing as well. Serizawa, as the story goes along, grows as a person as well and finds that he really cares about human life and does whatever he can to save lives as well as learn what he can about each of the giant monsters they are hunting and studying. Serizawa is a really interesting style of hero as he does not do amazing fight moves nor does he have any superpowers…all he has is his brain and a caring soul. Shaw is a military man all the way, and he befriends Serizawa when he saved his life as well as many of his crew members from a Muto attack. Shaw also seems to be a good person, but he does seem to doubt his friend about the legend of Godzilla throughout the graphic novel. Serizawa’s son is learns a lot from his father when he comes clean about what he really did for a living, and this also sparks the son into wanting to follow in his footsteps and he as well joins Monarch in order to study and stop all the Kaiju. The Bat-Winged Muto is sadistic as the multiple organism creatures goal is to eat radiation, kill humans and grow to a massive size and become truly unstoppable! Godzilla is the story’s main hero as he protects the world and fights off the Muto and trying his best to keep him from growing in size. But while he is the main attraction, Godzilla in this graphic novel much like in the movie takes a backseat to the human leads that take up 85% of the over all book, and while the story is good, I am not going to lie, way more Godzilla would have been nice! The graphic novel is bloodless and has very little death in it but does bring one some destruction and deep meanings about us being our own worst enemies with all our mass weapons of war. It was written by Max and Greg Borebstein and both are clearly fans of Godzilla as they do their very best to capture the mood and feel of the 2014 film its spawned from. The art is really good and is done by a team that includes Eric Battle, Yvel Guichet and Alan Quan and all of its pretty solid stuff and each draw Godzilla really well! Over all this is a solid and fun graphic novel tie-in to the 2014 Godzilla and was an amazing tool to help promote the film. Check out the art below to see what Godzilla looks like in this book. Oh and if you loved the movie, make sure to give this a read!

So as you can see, the Godzilla from the 2014 film makes a great comic book character and with “Godzilla King Of The Monsters” hitting theaters in just a few days, another graphic novel is in the works and you can look forward to be covering it as well here at Rotten Ink! I also hope you enjoyed Kaiju Month, and we will have another one next year for the release of King Kong vs. Godzilla so you will have that to look forward to in 2020. But for my next update we are leaving the Kaiju behind and will be taking a look at super powered cows that were the mascot of for the chicken restaurant Chick-Fil-A! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for an epic cow hero good time!

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Gorgo

For this second update of my “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” Kaiju Month, we will be traveling to jolly old England to take a look at their giant monster named Gorgo! This is one of those Horror Movies I grew up watching on TV as TBS use to show it all the time, and I can always remember being glued to the screen when it was on. Many fans of giant monster movies seem to forget about Gorgo as he is always over shadowed by the likes of Godzilla and King Kong, but today he and his Momma will be getting the respect they deserve and it will be lots of fun to talk about them. So if you’re ready to find some shelter as Gorgo goes on the destruction city stomp, let’s talk about him and the film he’s from.

So first let’s see what Gorgo brings to the table when it comes to his destruction ability and his way to dispatch humans who are unfortunate enough to be in his way. Gorgo stands at 200 feet and has a reptilian appearance and an aggressive attitude. Gorgo hates humans and will not only use his massive size to stomp and smash but will also use his sharp teeth and claws to dispatch human lives. He also can use his appearance and roar to scare humans into being in frenzy, leaving themselves open for panic and leading to accidents that could cause death. Gorgo not only is a threat on land, he is also very dangerous in water as he can swim and breath underwater for long periods of time. What makes Gogro a big threat to mankind is the fact his mother Ogra is over 250 feet tall and is even more pissed and can cause way more damage. While Gorgo is a massive creature, he can be hurt as he hates fire, and even explosions and firepower can cause some damage. He can also be captured and by large nets and be kept as a prisoner by mankind. So while Gorgo might not have any special fire breath nor any other powerful abilities, he and his mother do have the tools to bring mankind to their knees if they truly go on a rampage.

So that’s what Gorgo brings to the table when it comes to his path of destruction and his way to deal with pesky humans. We should now take a look at the 1961 film Gorgo that this Kaiju appears in. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our pals at IMDB and I will talk briefly afterwards about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you’re ready, I am ready to take a look at Gorgo!

Gorgo (1961)

A salvage vessel is nearly sunk off the Irish coast by an undersea earthquake. A few nights later, a walking sea monster tangles with the fishing boats and enters the town. The salvage vessel captures Gorgo and takes it to London for display. Gorgo’s mother, who is upset and significantly larger follows his trail to London leaving a wake of destruction in her path.”

Gorgo is a British giant monster horror movie that was released by MGM in America and British Lion-Columbia in England. The film was directed by Eugene Lourie and cast such actors as Bill Travers, William Sylvester and Mick Dillon as the man in the Gorgo suit. The film had a pretty normal production for this type of movie at the time and MGM was hoping that this film would be a mega hit for them and would be their Godzilla at the Box Office and usher in a new monster icon. Gorgo was released in 1961 alongside such other frightful shockers like Konga, The Curse Of The Werewolf, Reptilicus, Brainiac, Doctor Blood’s Coffin, The Pit And The Pendulum, The Beast Of Yucca Flats and Mr. Sardonicus to name a few. And the film ended up doing pretty well and built up the world of Giant Monsters at the cinema that was sparked by the success of Godzilla in 1954. There’s not much special about this production besides at one point the film was going to be set in Japan first and then was changed to France, Australia and finally was settled on England. And the film for the time was also praised very highly for its monster special effects.

Much like King Kong and Godzilla, the mighty Gorgo has always seemed to be a part of my life as I have seen this film so many times on TV as well as home media like VHS and DVD, and I have seen this film over a dozen times…in fact even while writing this update I re-watched the film again on DVD! And while I really enjoy Gorgo as a film, I have talked to many other Horror Fans of Kaiju films and one phrase always seems to come up and that’s, “It’s good but it’s kind of bland” or some phrase like it, and I think I know what they mean as the film is a little slow moving in spots and has a very British slow paced feel until the amazing climax. And I get what they mean for the most part as the film itself is a great giant monster film that showcases two massive and cool monsters, but it does have a very slow pace like many of the Hammer Horror films released in the 60’s and 70’s. But for me, the pacing and slow build are kind of what makes this film special as the over all runtime is pretty short at only 78 minutes long. The film also spawned not only the comic book series but also had a novel adaptation of the film, model kits, shirts, posters and many more merchandise items showing that Gorgo does have his own cult following. There’s not much more to say about Gorgo besides it’s a fun Kaiju film that delivers monster mayhem and shows just how popular these giant monster movies were back in the 60’s.

So now that we have taken a look at Gorgo as a Kaiju as well as the film he is from, I think it’s now time we take a look at the comic book adaptation of the film that was released by Charlton Comics! I want to send a big thank you to the Ebay seller that had this comic in stock and made this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I grade this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready let’s see just how monstrous Gorgo really is when it comes to the world of Horror Comic Books.

Gorgo # 1  ***
Released in 1961    Cover Price .10    Charlton Comics   # 1 of 24

Sam Slade and Joe Ryan are business partners who search the sea for hidden treasure when a massive storm hits that is so bad that fish from the bottom of the sea are coming to the top. And after the storm they return to a small port that as well has been hit hard by the storm and are run off by Professor McCartin who is searching the sea for something. They soon follow one of McCartin’s ships, and they send a diver down who later comes back with a fist full of Viking gold but also dies of fright before their eyes! Sam and Joe dive next as Joe wants the gold and Sam wants to make sure his greedy partner comes back alive, and while down in the ocean they soon come face to face with a giant monster that makes them flee. Once back at the island they watch as the townspeople do a ritual and then watch as a massive creature Gorgo comes from the water and is forced back by fire by Joe and Sam who have figured our the creatures weakness. The villagers praise the pair as they Joe comes up with an idea to capture the massive creature with a steel shark net and the idea works and they take their massive find to London and are making tons of money showing it to the world. But Professor McCartin warns them that Gorgo is just a baby and that his mother is on her way to get him back, and she does show up and rampages across London until she gets her son back! The army, fire, electricity and everything is useless against the mother who grabs her offspring and heads back to the water ending her terror.

Gorgo was made for comic books and that’s why he lasted 24 issues even though the final issue was renamed Fantastic Giant as he is a cool monster that has an amazing look to him. This comic follows the plot of the film pretty well and has humans capturing Gorgo and turning him into a paid attraction and by kidnapping him they unleash his even more massive mothers rage on the city to get him back. Our hero is Sam Slade, who is a man who co-owns a company that finds treasures at the bottom of the oceans and also is the one who don’t like the idea of capturing a massive Kaiju when all around him warn of dangers and bring it to a city…he and they were wise for their fears! Joe Ryan is a sleazy conman who allows money to rule his life and seem to not even care about other peoples lives and safety if money is involved, in fact even when everything goes to hell he is still willing to wait it out in order to see if he can come out ahead. Ogra is Gorgo’s Mother and she is one massive creature of the sea who can not be stopped once she starts and her child is involved, she brings down the military with ease and even shrugs off fire like its nothing…in other words she is really unstoppable! Gorgo while just a baby as well is a creature of destruction and if not for his fear of fire he could have crushed the small island and all those on it! Gorgo, just like his mother, seems to always be in a destructive mood and always in a bad one. While this comic does a good job capturing the film, it does feel a little rush and some characters from the movie seem to take more of a back seat in the comic like the Professor and the young boy who is his assistant. The comic is bloodless but does have death, injury and destruction in it and has a real classic Horror Comic feel to it. The cover is very eye catching and fans of the movie I am sure flocked to get a copy of the comic just based on it! The interior art is done by the amazing Steve Ditko and is top notch stuff and shows that his art and giant monsters go hand and hand. Over all this is a great adaptation of a solid Kaiju film and is one that you should check out if you like Gorgo and other giant monsters like him. Check out the art below to see what Ditko brought to the table.

Gorgo is a Kaiju that I think the world seems to be gaining more respect for over time as his design, movie and legacy is pretty great, and he deserves to find his cult following. Now that we have survived the rampage of Gorgo and Ogra and before that we barely got out of the way of Reptilicus’, it’s time for the main destruction event as our final Kaiju for this month long themes updates is the one and only Godzilla from the 2014 film and the graphic novel Awakening that was spawned from it! So be ready for that as it will be a massive good time. Until then, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! I hope you’re prepared for the Kaiju that is Godzilla!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Reptilicus

For the month of May, in honor of “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters” hitting theaters and it bringing us one step closer to King Kong and Godzilla battling it out in 2020, we are going to have Kaiju month here on the blof that will be filled with “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” updates all featuring giant monsters! And our first Titan will be Reptilicus, a sinister dragon-like beast who was the first Danish monster in cinema! Many people seem to forget about the likes of Reptilicus when they think of Kaiju and just giant monsters in general so that is why he was selected as my first choice to start off this event month. So if you’re ready, let’s see the terrors Reptilicus has in store for us and what destruction he leaves behind.

Reptilicus is a massive snake-like reptile that was frozen underground for centuries and is very combative in nature once awoken. The massive Reptilicus has many means to snuff out the life of humans as he can use his size and weight to crush and smash any and everything that gets in his way. He also sports very sharp snake-like teeth that could easily eat, impale and rip apart a man in no time. He doesn’t only attack on land but also water and even air with a strike upward. He also has the ability to grow back missing limbs and can heal from attacks pretty quick as he is a massive monster who can regenerate. Bullets, missiles and even fire from tanks do not hurt him, as he is able to shrug it off and keep on his path of destruction. And we are not even sure what his green acid spit could do when in contact with human flesh! Not to mention just the sight of him will cause panic and leave his human targets more easy to pick off as they make mistakes with minds full of fear. While he is massive and very hard to truly hurt, he can be killed as he hates fire and if burnt too long, he would die. He is also pretty slow moving on land and this also leaves him open for attacks and other means to stop him. He can also be drugged, and it’s even possible make him die of an overdose. While he might not be the most massive or destructive Kaiju in the world, Reptilicus is one of the most cold blooded who goes out of his way to kill and destroy, making him one deadly foe.

So now that we have taken a look at the destructive and killing nature of Reptilicus, we should now take a look at the film he is from. The film’s write up is taken from our friends at IMDB, and after, I will talk a little about the film’s production as well as my connection with and feelings about the film. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at the film.

Reptilicus (1961)

A portion of the tail of a prehistoric reptile is discovered in Denmark. It regenerates into the entire reptile, which proceeds to destroy buildings and property and generally make a nuisance of itself. It can fly, swim, and walk, and has impenetrable scales, which makes it difficult to kill.”

In the 1960’s, giant monster movies were all the rage, and in 1961 American International Pictures and Denmark company Saga Studio teamed up to make Reptilicus! The film was directed by Poul Bang for the Danish version and Sidney W. Pink for the English one…as you see, the film was made in two different language in order to maximize the film’s audience with the only major change being the actress who played the character of Connie Miller. Another story goes that the English version was so bad that American International Pictures called in screenwriter Ib Melchior to help shape it up for release. This also caused Pink to be upset and threaten to sue the company, but rumor has it, after watching his version he dropped the lawsuit as he saw how bad it was! The film built a cult following in Denmark as well as the US, but critics were not kind to this film as they all mocked its cheap looking production values. So while Reptilicus might not be as loved and respected as King Kong, Godzilla or even Gamera, it still made its mark on the world of giant monster cinema. A fun fact is that in 2001 director Sidney Pink wanted to remake the film to try and cash in on the 1998 American Godzilla movie…but sadly this did not happen as Pink passed away in 2002 from a long illness.

Reptilicus was one of those movies I know I saw when I was a youngster and cannot remember if it was just shown on broadcast TV or if it was on a Horror Host program but I can remember enjoying the heck out of it. It would be years and years later that I would see the film again when my friend Jason Gilmore bought it on DVD and we watched it on one of our many late nights of video game playing and Horror Movie watching hangouts. Gilmore and I had a blast laughing at the Reptilicus puppet as it went on its rampage and for a while it was a film we loved to laugh at and reference. One surprising thing isthat growing up I never did have one of the comics by Charlton nor did I have the paperback novel adaptation even though I was into all those things at a young age. I would go on to own the film on VHS and DVD and from time to time still dust it off to give a watch. Many modern Horror Fans have also seen it on the rebirth of Mystery Science Theater 3000 that is on Netflix. I feel that, much like Konga we have talked about in a past update, Reptilicus is often over looked when it comes to Kaiju in movies as the monsters of Toho dominate it, and I feel that’s not fair as many of these less known Giant Monsters are as cool as those we all know and love. While Reptilicus might not be a household name, he is a movie monster that has built a cult following and has left his green acid spit all over the world of Horror Cinema.

So now that we know the killing power of Reptilicus as well as took a look at his only film appearance, I think we should gather our nerve and take a look at Charlton Comics adaptation of the film that ended up spinning off into a comic series. While we run for our lives from the rampage of Reptilicus, I want to remind you all that I am grading this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank an Ebay seller for having this comic in stock and making this update possible! So let’s seek shelter and enjoy this horrifying adventure of Reptilicus.

Reptilicus # 1 **1/2
Released in 1961     Cover Price .10     Charlton Comics   # 1 of 8

Svend Alstrup is a foreman and is drilling for copper when he uncovers a bad smell and a chunk of skin that is covered in scales from deep in the Earth. After closing down the drilling, Svend calls for Professor Martens who takes the flesh to his lab. Later on as Svend finds more hunks of flesh of the beast, he delivers them to the Professor whose two daughters have formed a crush on him. One night by accident the freezer door where the flesh is held is left open, and this causes the flesh to grow and heal causing them to inform the United Nations of the discovery who in turn send two military men to supervise the experiment. The army once at the lab dismiss the chunk of flesh as a joke and seem not to be bothered that it has grown 100 times its size in eight days. But things change when a freak thunderstorm roles in and a blot of lightning strikes the tank releasing the flesh that has now grown massive and is called Reptilicus! Professor Martin and the Army come together fast to try and figure out a way to bring down this massive monster and each attempt fails as Reptilicus keeps growing and even learns to fly causing chaos and destruction every where he goes. In the end General Grayson and Professor Miller create a drug that they load into a shell and fire at the creature knocking it out and leaving it open to be disposed of, but little do they know a piece of Reptilicus skin is in the ocean waiting to grow and bring the monster back.

The plot of this comic adaptation is based on both the American Version of the film as well as the Danish Version and delivers a fun read for fans of this monster flick. The major downside is that it’s an hour and twenty minute movie crammed into twenty pages and keeps lots of the boring science and military talk from the film in. The plot is pretty cut and dry and has a blob of flesh being discovered that regenerates into a massive monster that breaks free from a lab and goes onto a massive rampage in Demark as the scientist and army try to figure out a way to stop it. Professor Martens is one of the heroes of this tale as his knowledge of these types of creatures as well as his research on the skin allows him to stop the army from making big mistakes like blowing it up and causing all the small pieces to become full fledged Reptilici (Repitilicuses?)! General Grayson is also a hero as he does not back down from the creatures and does not allow his failed attempts to shake his nerves as he wants to save the people and stop the monsters rampage once and for all. Reptilicus is one mad giant monster who wants to take out all his rage and hatred on humankind and seems to not be phased when attacked by some of mankind’s most used weapons of murder. He also is so powerful that he does not stop when attacked and in fact it only seems to make him rampage more! The comic is bloodless and the body count is very low and all shown off pane, but it fits for this style of Horror Comic. The scares come more in the vein of nature running amuck and the idea of a massive beast crushing your city than blood, guts and gore. The cover for this issue is pretty great and is very eye catching for fans of 60’s monster movies, and the interior art is done by the team of Bill Moino and Vince Alascia and is fantastic classic style. If you like the film Reptilicus and enjoy Kaiju in your Horror Comics, this is one you should read, while not a perfect adaptation it is an enjoyable one. Check out the artwork below to see the style of this issue.

Reptilicus’s rampage might have came to an end, but not to worry friends and readers, Kaiju Month continues next update as we leave Denmark and travel to England and see what destruction Gorgo and his Mother will do! It’s weird that some Kaiju have never gotten a comic book adaptation or series as ones like Kraa!, Q The Winged Serpent and Deadly Mantis all would have made for great comics, and only time will tell if they ever will get their time to shine in the pages of a comic. So until next time, watch out for giant monsters, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update as we witness the destructive power of Gorgo!

 

Avengers Assemble…We’re Needed

Welcome back, True Rotten Ink-lievers!  Juliet here, on this momentous occasion where we’ll be covering one of the greatest team-ups to grace both the page and the screen. I’m talking about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, John Steed and Emma Peel.  That’s right, I’m joining you to talk about The Avengers….but not those Avengers. We’ll be looking at the spies played by John Macnee and Diana Rigg in the 1960s British television show, The Avengers, and their 2012-13 comic book series from Boom Studios.  So grab a bowler hat and a stiff drink, readers, we’re needed.

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Although knowledge of the show is more widespread these days, there are many people that don’t realize that the Avengers existed both before and after the Emma Peel years.  The show premiered in 1961 from the English ABC (Associated British Corporation), focusing on the espionage adventures of Dr. David Keel with Patrick Macnee’s John Steed showing up in the first episode offering his assistance.  Steed would remain in the assistant’s role for all of series one, which was cut short due to an Actor’s Equity strike. When production resumed in 1962, Steed was now the focus of the show partnering briefly with Dr. Martin King and Venus Smith and more permanently with Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman.  It was during this time that the show as we know and love it really took shape: Steed’s look was established as the bowler-wearing English gentleman spy, while Cathy donned leather catsuits, which Emma Peel would also adopt along with the latest in mod fashion.

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In 1965, the show was sold to the American Broadcasting Company (also ABC) and became one of the first British shows on to air on American television. The show moved from shooting on videotape to 35mm film, and in October, Diana Rigg debuted as Steed’s new partner Emma Peel.  We’ll discuss more about Steed and Peel momentarily, but for now let’s focus on the show itself. Along with Emma Peel, this new era of the Avengers introduced science fiction, fantasy and the occasional fetishistic elements to the plot. With the fifth series (aka season since we’re talking about British TV) in 1966, the show began shooting in color.  This was also the year that several of the show’s signature elements were introduced.

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Two of the best known elements that in truth only lasted for 15 episodes, are “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed” and the “Steed does/Emma does” tags, both appearing at the start of an episode after of course the murder or inciting incident for the case had been established. We’d see Emma doing something ordinary. She’d then receive or encounter the message “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed” at which time Steed would appear from seemingly nowhere and their adventure would begin.  The tag would show up under the episode title and give a comedic description of each character’s actions during the episode. For example, in “The Winged Avenger,” the tag is, “Steed Goes Birdwatching. Emma Does a Comic Strip”

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Diana Rigg left the show in 1967, gone was Emma Peel and gone were the sci-fi/fantasy elements with her.  The producers opted to return to the more realistic spy adventures that viewers had seen in the Cathy Gale era, and this time Steed’s partner was Tara King, played by Linda Thorson.  This sixth series would also introduce the characters of Mother and Father who would be central characters in the 1998 movie remake of the Avengers (more on that further down). But series 6 was to be the last as, although the show was popular in the UK and Europe, in the U.S. it was airing opposite the then number 1 show in the country Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and just couldn’t compete.  When the show cancelled in the U.S., the finances became unsustainable and Avengers ceased production in May 1969.

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Now that we’ve talked about the history of the show, let’s get into the characters and the people who portrayed them.  Born of a noble family and having served in the RAF in WWII (like his portrayer Patrick Macnee), John Steed is an agent in an unnamed British intelligence agency that some claim exists in the same universe/canon as James Bond.  In his initial appearances in Avengers, Steed was less refined than the character we’d come to know and love, but fairly quickly, he adopted the signature suave look of a three-piece suit, bowler hat, and umbrella, which would become his signature look. Steed is both sassy and sauve, and although he can be playful, when the time comes, he’s an ace spy and is well verse in hand to hand combat and swordsmanship. The role of Steed came around at the precise right time for actor Patrick Macnee.  After serving in WWII for England, he began his acting career in Canada with smaller roles but didn’t meet with much success. By the late 1950s, he was smoking and drinking to excess and had nearly given up on acting opting to produce documentaries when he was offered the role of John Steed, which he would play until 1969. Macnee helped establish the character’s look and personality, insisting, for example, that Steed never use a gun, in part because of the horrors that Macnee had witnessed in WWII.  He wrote two novels based on The Avengers and later hosted a documentary about the show. Macnee would go on to be in a James Bond film, Magnum P.I., The Howling and more, including a cameo in the 1998 Avengers remake (I promise, we’re getting there). Patrick Macnee died in June of 2015 at the age of 93.

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Dame Diana Rigg made her stage debut in 1957 and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959.  When Elizabeth Shepherd, originally slated to play Emma Peel, left the production, Rigg auditioned for the role having never seen The Avengers.  She was an instant star, despite making very little money for her work on the show, which is what ultimately drove her to leave after two years. Rigg went on to star in both film and television roles, including a stint hosting Mystery on PBS (taking over for Vincent Price), and she continued her work on stage. More recently, she’s captivated a new generation of TV viewers as Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones.  As for Rigg’s most iconic role, Emma Peel is a great mix of brains, battle-readiness, and sex appeal. She’s an accomplished scientist and martial artist who dabbles in many other fields, especially when it aids her investigations with Steed. Born Emma Knight, Mrs. Peel’s husband Peter is a pilot whose plane went down in the Amazon rainforest prior to her work with Steed. Peter was presumed dead for many years, returning as a plot device to write Emma off the show and introduce Tara King when Diana Rigg decided to move on.  Though the leather catsuits were introduced in the Cathy Gale era of Avengers, they became Emma Peel’s signature look along with the mod styles of the day. A quick wit with a silver tongue, Emma was the perfect verbal match for Steed, and their back and forth was part of what made the show such a joy to watch.

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I first encountered The Avengers on VHS at my local library.  I was lucky enough to grow up with two awesome libraries close by, one of which had an amazing selection of science fiction paperbacks and the other sported any amazing VHS selection, featuring a lot of British television and foreign and classic films. In the same way I have an affection for both really good and really cheesy science fiction, I adore both really good and really cheesy spy movies and TV shows, and I feel like The Avengers fall right in the middle.  It’s as classic as James Bond, but has an entirely different feel that’s so completely of its era. In the last five or six years, I’ve managed to watch the entire Emma Peel run of the show on DVD thanks to Matt, who bought me the Emma Peel Megaset after we found it at Half Price Books. In the same spirit as ST:TNG and the X-Files, I have certain favorite episodes that I go back to again and again, but I can also watch the series as a whole all over again and enjoy it, securing The Avengers’ spot among my all-time favorite TV shows.

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In 1998, Warner Brothers and director Jeremiah Chechik (of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation fame) sought to revive Steed and Mrs. Peel for a new generation on the big screen.  The film, simply titled The Avengers starred Ralph Fiennes as John Steed, Uma Thurman as Emma Peel and Sean Connery as weather obsessed villain Sir August de Wynter. Rumor has it that Warner refused to pre-screen the film for reviewers to prevent negative reviews after test screenings prompted the studio to cut it from 115-minute to 89 minutes, removing key plot elements.  An original cut of the movie has never emerged, though Jeremiah Chechik has offered Warner Brothers a director’s cut for free. The movie as it stands is universally regarded as one of the worst movies ever, but I have to tell you something, dear readers: I love it. Okay, okay, it’s by no means a cinematic masterpiece, but I see the campy potential in the look and feel. Plus, it came out at a time in my life where I was actively seeking out very cheesy spy films and novels, the more bizarre, the better….and this one is certainly bizarre.  To parrot Stefon from SNL, this movie has everything: Uma Thurman with a bad English accent, giant teddy bears, a weather device, human sized hamster balls, Patrick Macnee as the Invisible Man, Eddie Izzard. If you have an open heart for utterly ridiculous trash, give it a try. It has little to nothing to do with the original TV series, but it’s silly fun if you’re up for that sort of thing.

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In terms of merchandise for the TV show, the modern fan can enjoy the series on DVD as well as a plethora of Steed and Mrs. Peel-themed goodies on sites like Etsy.  More classic gear includes trading cards, and most interesting, paperback books. The first novel, simply titled The Avengers and written by Douglas Enefer, was published by Consul Books in 1963.  It’s the only book of the original run to feature Cathy Gale. Many novels featuring Emma Peel and Tara King would follow in the UK and US, including several co-written by Patrick Macnee who was one of the first actors to write licensed spin-off fiction of their own shows.

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The Avengers first made it to comics in the U.K. as comic strips in TV listing magazines (similar to the US’ TV Guide).  Their first American outing was a 1968 collection of these strips released by Gold Key called John Steed Emma Peel because, of course, Marvel made it impossible for them to release a comic called The Avengers. In 1990 Eclipse released a three issue series called Steed and Mrs. Peel with script by Grant Morrison and art by Ian Gibson.  Boom Studios would re-release that series in early 2012. For our purposes, however, we’ll be covering the 2012-13 Steed and Mrs. Peel series from Boom Studios, written Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe. Before we begin our adventure, I must remind you that here at Rotten Ink, we grade comics on a 1-4 star scale and look for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s get started, dear reader, we’re needed.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #0  *** 1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #0 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel investigate the mysterious of Agent Colin Whitcomb. Although the cause of death is straight forward (he was shot pointe blank), the strange part is that the missing agent has aged significantly.  Their only clue is the scent of a particular cheap perfume on Whitcomb’s body, sending the daring duo to the Hellfire Club, or rather the “New Hellfire Club” to investigate. There they meet the future obsessed Cartney who leads Steed into a fight with Father Time.  Meanwhile Emma outwits Futura, the automotan, and dons her outfit as a disguise to locate the missing Steed. Steed awakens older and grayer discovering that it’s no longer 1966, but the year 2000, and that he’s now a part of the National Archives, having served as an agent of much acclaim.  But of course Steed is on to the true plot of the Hellfire Club, using an aging serum to fool intelligence British agents. With Emma’s expert martial arts skills, the baddies, which include their old Hellfire nemesis Cartney, are defeated. With the aging serum’s effects wearing off, Steed treats Mrs. Peel to a concert.

When I first heard that Boom Studios would be doing a comic based on The Avengers, I was nervous to say the least.  The charm of the show is so particular – there’s a formula to the stories, but moreover the way Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg portrayed the relationship between Steed and Peel is so very specific.  I was hopeful once I saw that Mark Waid was writing, and he did not disappoint. This introductory issue was everything I had hoped for – it felt right at home in the universe of the show, teasing a time jump but keeping things firmly in the 1960s.  Longtime fans of the show got recollections of the Hellfire Club (**find out the name of this episode) and Emma’s spiked collar, cybermen (who also appeared in Doctor Who), the familiar “We’re Needed” start to the action. Most importantly, the dialogue was perfect.  I could hear MacNee and Rigg’s voices in my head as I was reading. Steve Bryant’s art is a good balance of realistic and stylistic and captures both the feel of the 1960s and the action well. I was pleasantly surprised by this one when I first read it in 2012, and 7 years later, it’s still a great read.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #1  ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #1 of 11

Masked men infiltrate a secluded base and launch a missile attack on London.  Steed and Mrs. Peel watch the carnage, along with Lord Bailey, in an underground bunker, but just as everyone has a moment to absorb what’s just happened, an alert sounds and our heroes leap to action.  A fire in the bunker forces Emma and a fellow scientist to lead everyone in the bunker topside, but once there, Mrs. Peel discovers something unusual. Although London is leveled and their instruments are showing radiation, there’s no effect on the soil or water.  There’s no time to question it further, however, because their fellow survivors spot a figure in the distance rapidly coming towards the group. The figure is some sort of mutated creature, and it’s not alone. Steed and Mrs. Peel battle the horde of monsters, and the book ends with them getting a vital assist from none other than the Hellfire Club.

This proper first issue of Steed and Mrs. Peel begins with action that’s sustained through the book.  Our heroes seem to be in some kind of post-apocalyptic disaster scenario, which is such a perfect melding of Cold War-era spy show sensibility and our modern obsession with post-apocalyptic stories (I see you, The Walking Dead and your many and varied progeny).  The action is such that we don’t get a lot of information about what’s happened other than London has apparently been nuked, and I like that because we’ll get to discover what’s happening along with Emma and Steed. The dialogue between the two is once again spot on thanks to the team up of Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe, and the artwork, this time from Will Sliney, is really great, classic looking comic style that lends itself to both action and dialogue well.  I know you’re probably wondering, like me, what the Hellfire Club is doing there and what they do or don’t have to do with this disaster so let’s get to the next issue.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #2 ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99     Boom Studios    #2 of 11

Steed, Mrs. Peel, and the British MPs they were previously sheltering with are now all guests of the Hellfire Club in their lavish bunker.  Although most of the other guests seem pretty comfortable, Steed and Emma are worried that they’ve not seen Lord Bailey, General Crampton or Mr. Stanton, the other scientist, since arriving. Although our heroes don’t yet know it, we see the general being brainwashed by a member of the Hellfire Club.  She and her brother, both the offspring of Cartney, chat a bit about how Steed and Mrs. Peel will of course be the hardest to break but it’s worth it get revenge for father. Steed and Mrs. Peel work on a plan over a game of chess. Emma goes to talk to Miss Cartney about the missing general, and gets attacked.  Later Steed stumbles into another brainwashing session and is also taken out, but when he awakens, it’s revealed that his attacker was Mrs. Peel, decked out in a familiar outfit, her Hellfire Club leather and spiked collar.

More of the mystery is unraveled and new twists appear in the second issue of this story arc.  While it’s no shock that the Hellfire Club is up to no good, what their goals are and who the mysterious Dirigent is remain a mystery. Also a mystery is whether or not this story ties in some way to the Cartney time-travel story in issue #0.  I like that we don’t know (and I genuinely don’t remember if it does from my first reading of this series seven years ago). As with issue #0, I love that this story is taking elements directly from the series and expanding them on the page, especially since they’re using one of my favorite plot elements that the Avengers shares with X-men: the Hellfire Club.  Is Emma once again brainwashed or she pretending to gain the trust of the Club? Onward to Issue #3, we’re needed.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #3 ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #3 of 11

Steed is hopeful that the leather-clad Mrs. Peel is simply undercover, but alas, that’s not the case as she sends him through a wall behind which the younger Cartney is enjoying his lavish Hellfire existence. Steed snaps Mrs. Peel out of her brainwashed state using some trigger words they had developed “after the first few times someone tried this.” After Emma knocks her brother out, Miss Cartney arrives with her henchmen leading Steed and Mrs. Peel to flee.  They commandeer a motorcycle (and a new outfit for Emma) and lead the Hellfire Club on a chase into the nuked out wasteland. After fighting hand to hand with Miss Cartney, Emma shoots a flare, signaling the British Air Force, who she and Steed had secretly been in contact with after figuring out that the nuclear attack was a hoax and they the MPs had been kidnapped and taken to the South China Sea. Steed and Mrs. Peel sail off into the sunset, and back at the Hellfire Club the Cartney brother plots his next move.

Thus concludes the first story arc in Steed and Mrs. Peel…sort of.  Although they’ve solved the mystery of the fake nuclear blast and London’s destruction, something tells me that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Hellfire Club in the least.  This one is the last issue for which Mark Waid did the story and Will Sliney the art, but luckily scriptwriter Caleb Monroe sticks around for the rest of the series. There’s a temptation to say that the story wrapped up too quickly, but honestly it felt right in line with the TV show, and the pacing of these three issues felt like the pacing of the hour-long episodes.  So what’s next for Steed and Mrs. Peel? Let’s find out!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #4 ** 1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #4 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel have been invited to a ball. In full fancy dress, they, along with many British dignitaries attend the masked party of author Lloyd Cushing.  As part of the evening’s entertainment, they meet Mr. Blackwell, an eccentric conductor accompanied by his two Butoh dancers. But a party can never be just that for our two heroes as they’re soon called upon to investigate the murder of a man who turns out to the the real Mr. Blackwell.  Trading her ball gown for more action oriented clothes, Emma joins Steed in the ballroom where all of the guests are now missing. Steed tracks them outside where the Butoh dancers are to blame for the mass exodus. Meanwhile Emma confronts the imposter conductor, who turns out to be the Hellfire Club’s hypnotist Dirigent from their prior island adventure.  Dirigent explains that he can manipulate high frequency sound to bend people to his will, but he’s no match for Emma. As Steed and Mrs. Peel continue their previously interrupted dance, we zoom out, all the way to out space where a satellite baring the Hellfire Club logo looms over us all.

Upon first glance, the is your typical post-story arc issue, a one-shot where the characters get to have a minor adventure and perhaps some fun before the next big thing.  But actually, this issue, although basically a one-shot, continues our Hellfire Club storyline and presumably is going to bridge the prior arc with the one to come in Issue #5.  Although this one has significantly less action than the last few issues, there are some really nice things happening in the dialogue, both between Steed and Peel and among the other characters.  I feel like this was perhaps Caleb Monroe’s chance to provide some of his analysis on the original show and characters, and as I fan, I really enjoyed reading it. Yasmin Liang takes over on artist duties for this issue, and although she doesn’t capture Steed and Peel’s expressions as perfectly as Will Sliney did, she’s a great addition to this story, and I’m excited to see how she tackles the action scenes that are surely coming in the next book.  So let’s get to it!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #5  **
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99     Boom Studios    #5 of 11

The fallout from last issue’s ballroom party gone awry continues as Steed and Mrs. Peel find out that his friend Trevor Seabrook has been arrested for a theft related to his wife’s disappearance from the party. The curious part is that the kidnappers tasked Seabrook with stealing a seemingly empty jar, but the truth is the jar contains something that has regenerative properties, which is of course of interest to the Hellfire Club’s Dr. Peter Glass, previously presumed to be dead.  Seabrook’s wife is returned, Steed and Mrs. Peel begin to piece things together, and Glass unveils a special piece of tech as this issue ends.

The interesting thing about this issue is that both everything and nothing happens, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like the prior issue, this one was low on the action but high on information that’s obviously leading to the next chapter in the Hellfire Club’s evil plans that Steed and Mrs. Peel are constantly working to unravel.  

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #6 **
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #6 of 11

Through a flashback and conversation, Steed and Mrs. Peel reflect on the aforementioned Dr. Glass and his death, for which Steed was an eyewitness.  Seabrook’s wife is awake but only repeating the words “bleeding heart” so Steed and Emma decide to regroup. On the way, however, Emma is tricked by Glass’ assistant Jamie and kidnapped.  Meanwhile, Steed is nearly ambushed when inquiring about Seabrook’s stolen empty jar, but soon our heroes are reunited in Glass’ lair where it’s revealed that the mad doctor survived his untimely death using special goggles sported by three versions of Jamie that allow him to time travel. As Glass is apprehended, one of the Jamie’s slips away to inform someone on the other end of a video camera that this phase of the plan has failed.  Steed and Mrs. Peel end our issue reflecting on the practicality of time travel over a drink as a rocket launches on the horizon.

One of the things that I really love about this series is the layered story.  Each arc leads to another and contributes to a larger story. This is especially interesting because the show generally did not do this, but I wish it had.  All of that said, this wasn’t the most exciting arc. Granted, this issue had more action than the prior two, but the payout felt a bit weak. Although thinking of it in the grand scheme of a larger story makes even a weak arc feel important.  So let’s get to the next one, and hopefully we’ll find out who Jamie was talking to and what dastardly plans they have in store for Steed and Mrs. Peel.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #7  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #7 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel are sent to a small Welsh mining town to investigate an unprecedented wave of suicides. Posing as scientists (though Steed is the only one posing, as he points out), they begin their investigation by consulting with Dr. Mortimor, a psychologist specializing in suicide.  After tea with Moritmor, our duo walks back to the inn where they’re staying, taking the scenic route to stop by some of the scenes of the some of the crimes. On a seaside cliff where several people fell to their deaths, both Steed and Emma seem to lose control of themselves and nearly jump off the cliff, the other stopping them just in time. They of course realize that Dr. Mortimor and his terrible tea is to blame.  The evil doctor explains that he’s not a murder, merely an experimenter in the weaponization of suicide. Steed, Mrs. Peel and the gathering crowd of villagers are less convinced of this excuse.

What a breath of fresh air after that slightly lackluster last arc!  Although the story was a bit predictable, it shone because of both the art (great panel structure in this one!) and the writing.  We got a lot of great little moments of Steed and Emma quipping back and forth while working to solve the mystery, and these moments are golden.  I didn’t realize how much of this was missing from the prior issue until I read this one. The chemistry between them, both in the dialogue and the artwork, was so spot on, and this definitely felt like an episode of the show that I would have loved. With that, let’s see what our next issue has in store!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #8  **1/2
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #8 of 11

The Cartney family is back!  Steed and Emma’s beachside holiday is interrupted with the news that Joan Cartney has been broken out of jail by a strange silver man.  While Steed and Emma investigate, knowing there’s more to this than meets the eye, the Cartney siblings are reunited with their father who is alive, but not well. Donning costumes to make them look like Steed and Emma, the younger Cartneys set out to fulfill their mission of killing our heroes by blowing up Steed’s flat, while their father undergoes a procedure to rejuvenate his body…as a Cybernaut.

With last issue’s palate-cleanser, I’m ready to dive into a new story arc, and this one sets up our story nicely.  It’s no surprise that the Cartney’s are back, and we learn that it was, indeed, them that Jamie was contacting in Issue #6.  As we set up our villain’s story, we once again get really cozy fun interactions between Steed and Peel, making me thinking that writer Caleb Monroe has gotten into the same comfort zone that Mark Waid began the series with.  I’m eager to see where the Cybernaut story is going so let’s get to the next issue!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #9  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #9 of 11

While Cybernaut Cartney shops for a suit, his children learn that even a bomb can’t take down Steed and Mrs. Peel.  The siblings’ bickering about what went wrong is interrupted when their intended victims confront them, and quickly things turn into a street fight (with swords!). The Cartneys get away, but of course that was the plan as Steed, harkening to the original Cybernauts TV episode, plans a transponder his umbrella which he allows them to escape with.  After a quick wardrobe change, Steed and Mrs. Peel head to the Hellfire Club’s base of operations where they spy General Seabrook smuggling army tech to the enemy. Although they’re able to sneak in undetected, Cybernaut Cartney uses his super strength to bust through a wall and grab our heroes.

With the last issue being mostly set up for the new story, I was worried this one would be more of the same.  But happily, this issue is heavily on wonderfully drawn action with some great dialogue to accompany it. The way the panels mimic the style in which the show was shot is a really nice touch and combined with the coloring gives the book such a great retro feel.  My only concern moving forward is that there are only two more issues, and I honestly can’t remember if the book ends at the conclusion of an arc or if we’re going to be left hanging. I guess there’s no way to find out until we get to the next issue….

AvengersComic10Steed and Mrs. Peel #10  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #10 of 11

Cybernaut Cartney is about to kill our heroes but Emma appeals to the villain’s hedonistic side, saying that if he kills them now, it’s all over. This is much to Joan’s chagrin as Steed and Mrs. Peel have been a thorn in her side for far too long, but father knows best…..only Cartney isn’t really her father. Joan and her brother discover documents in Cartney’s desk revealing that they’re a young married couple who went missing and were subsequently brainwashed by Cartney in what he calls, “my greatest practical joke of them all.” After her husband (formerly her brother) is killed by Cartney, Joan sneaks back to the prison to get help from a former ally.  Meanwhile Jamie is torturing Steed in the Hellfire Club dungeon forcing Emma to strike a bargain with Cartney – Steed’s life for her hand in marriage. The issue ends with Cartney presenting Emma to the rest of the Club as his fiance and the new Queen of Silver.

This issue has so much going on!  The reveal about the Cartney siblings (or rather the not Cartney, non-siblings) was really great.  I truly didn’t see that coming, and in addition to being a great twist, it packed an emotional punch.  Cartney’s line about this being “my greatest practical joke of them all” was an amazing touch. In this issue we get more about Cartney’s weird obsession with Emma, which is framed in both flashbacks and present moments, something I like because it really gives the reader the sense that Cartney is an absolutely twisted villain.  I also loved the touch of the Silver Court being introduced to the Hellfire Club. But my concern from last issues remains; there is a lot to resolve in one issue to wrap up both the arc and the series. I suppose the only way to know how that works out, however, it to read on.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #11 ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99   Boom Studios    #11 of 11

We open in a church where Cybernaut Cartney stands at the altar with a silver bedecked Mrs. Peel.  The officiant asks if there are any objections to the union, and right on cue, John Steed drives his car through the window of the church.  He shouts Emma’s trigger words, but she doesn’t need to be un-brainwashed this time, she was merely buying time for Steed. While a battle ensues in the church, Joan sneaks into the room containing John’s human body that’s feeding the Cybernaut and gives him the brainwashing serum, prompting the Cybernaut to seek out its human body to destroy it. Emma and Steed follow, and Emma uses the aging serum from all the way back in issue zero to prevent the Cybernaut from destroying human Cartney.  But alas, he dies shortly thereafter anyway. The issue ends with Joan escaping to make a better life, and Emma and Steed watching the sun set and reflecting on this latest chapter in their adventures together.

This issue does a pretty good job of wrapping things up.  Yes, the Steed crashing the wedding scene is ridiculous, but it fits the show quite well.  I really liked that the aging serum from issue 0 comes back into play, but the sequence of Cartney dying anyway was slightly confusing.  The ending with Steed and Emma watching the sunset was quite lovely, and I do like that the Hellfire Club story wasn’t so final that they can’t come back again in some future series.  Speaking of future series, Boom Studios would try for another arc in 2014 called Steed and Mrs. Peel: We’re Needed, but alas, what was to be a six issue series only made it three, and quite honestly those issues didn’t hold a candle to this series. Avengers22

Part of the reason I chose to cover this particular comic version of The Avengers is that, in my opinion, it’s the most faithful to the spirit of the show, and despite a few missteps, uses the structure of comics to create an ongoing story in a way that the show didn’t back in the 1960s (though I suspect a modern rendering would).  For our next update, we’ll be leaving the world of spies, but staying in the 1960s as Matt kicks of a month of Kaiju updates in anticipation of Godzilla: King of the Monsters with a look at Reptilicus. In the meantime, read a comic or three, and support your local horror host!

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From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Giant Spider Invasion

The 70’s were filled with nature run amuck Horror Films, and many of them had to do with animals and one of these films was the 1975 cult classic Giant Spider Invasion, a film that was so cheesy and goofy that movie goers for decades have enjoyed! And you guessed it, this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update will be all about Giant Spider Invasion as I feel this is a great time to chat about this movie as well as the promo comic adaptation of it. So arm yourself with spider repellent and watch out for webs as we don’t want to fall victim for these giant spiders who want us all dead!

So let’s first take a look at the Giant Spiders, their killing ways, and why they are so massive! The Spiders’ origin is that they have fallen from space while inside rocks that also contain diamonds. Once freed from their stone homes, they wreak havoc on people and animals as they eat the flesh of both and grow very rapidly to massive size. The Giant Spiders use their speed and size in order to take down their victims as well as their many legs and sharp fangs that they rip and tear human flesh with. They also use their webs in order to trap humans so they can go in for the kill. The larger ones can use their size also to bring down homes and hiding spots while the smaller ones can get into tighter spaces and cause damage and harm. They also can use fear to their advantage as most people freak out when they are seen and cause people to panic and make mistakes when trying to flee. They also can kill in packs, making them deadly not only on their own but more so when they are together and can swarm and overwhelm. They also can shrug off gunfire, as it has no effect on them. While the Giant Spiders are dangerous, they do have some weakness and it all comes from a hole that was created by them falling to Earth that acts as a black hole and is the source of them living; if the hole can be closed the Giant Spiders die off! So as you can see these, Giant Spiders from Space really are very deadly and they have a taste of human flesh!

So now that we have taken a look at the Giant Spiders, we are at the point where we should take a look at the film they are from. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB with everything that follows coming from my own words. So if you’re ready, I am ready to talk about some very large and angry space spiders who want to ruin days and make us all their human prey.

Giant Spider Invasion (1975)

A black hole hits North Wisconsin and opens a door to other dimensions. Giant 15 meter spiders emerge from it, who have an appetite for human flesh! Dr. Jenny Langer and Dr. Vance from the NASA try to save the world.”

Transcentury Pictures teamed with director Bill Rebane to make a Horror Science Fiction film that would feature giant spiders running wild in a small town. And with a budget of only $300 thousand the film Giant Spider Invasion went into production in order to cash in on the killer animal trend of Hollywood with Bill Rebane as the director and the script by Robert Easton. Richard L. Huff handled the casting that included aging actors like Alan Hale Jr., Steve Brodie, Barbara Hale and Leslie Parrish as well as fresh faces like Diane Lee Hart who would do the film’s nude scene. The film’s special effects for the giant spiders was mostly done with puppets as well as a car made up to look like a spider, adding to the film’s over all cheap and silly feel. The film’s score was handed by Bill Rebane as well, and once done the film was released by Group 1 and was a Box Office hit here in the US as it did $2,347,000.00 making it very profitable. After the film was done with its theatrical run, it would gain more fans when shown on ABC a total of three times. It would also gain more fans again when it was featured on the Horror Host shows Mystery Science Theater 3000 plus Dr. Creep’s New Shock Theater and even was praised by Razzie Movie Award creator John Wilson as being a bad movie worth seeing. The film would also be released on VHS, DVD and even Blu-Ray and became a massive cult classic film! Director Bill Rebane is known for his other very cheesy films Monster a Go-Go, Rana: Legend Of Shadow Lake and Blood Harvest to name a few. This film in 1975 was released alongside such other Horror Movies as Jaws, The Devils Rain, Legend Of The Werewolf, Night Of The Seagulls, Bug, Deep Red and many more! So while this film was lost in the shuffle of better films, it still made its mark on the world of Horror.

My first memories of seeing this film was when Dr. Creep showed it on his public access rebirth show New Shock Theater back in the early 2000’s, and I also remember it showing on MST3K proving the Horror Host are a great way to be introduced to movies. The thing about seeing Giant Spider Invasion is that it was a cheesy film that, while entertaining, I would always just wish I was watching the films that inspired it like the Universal Monster films “Deadly Mantis” and “Tarantula” or even the films that followed it like “Grizzly” and “Day of the Animals.” Now I am not saying that Giant Spider Invasion is bad, it’s just an okay animal runs amok film that features lots of aging actors and poorly put together giant spiders. When watching the film, I can remember always laughing out loud about just how bad the spiders looked in many of the scenes, but always enjoyed the quick nudity scene of Diane Lee Hart who I knew from the comedy film The Pom Pom Girls. It’s also really funny to see Alan Hale Jr. as the police chief when all you can really see him as is The Skipper from Giligan’s Island, even at one point he calls someone little buddy…so cheesy! The thing about this film is while I have seen it multiple times I just never really had a connection to it and for the longest time only owned the Horror Hosted versions of the film before finally breaking down and getting the Retro-Media release in order to get the comic reprint to cover for this blog update. So if you like Horror Sci-Fi films based on giant spiders that attack humans in a small town that is directed by a master of b-movies and is packed with old TV actors…this film is for you! And keep in mind I do not hate this movie. I really do enjoy it just don’t have much to say about it nor any cool stories about watching it besides the fact Dr. Creep hosted it.

So with that it’s time we take a look at the promo comic for Giant Spider Invasion that was originally given away at the theater and was later reprinted for the DVD release. I want to thank an Ebay seller for having this DVD & Comic combo in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to put your arachnophobia aside and come take a look at Giant Spiders from Outer Space with me, we should get to it!

Giant Spider Invasion # 1    **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price FREE      Group 1      #1 of 1

Ev and Dan Kester discover a meteor that fell from space and crash landed on their farm and inside this space rock is diamonds like they have never seen before! But they fail to notice there’s also a spider…while this is going on Dr. Jenny Langer is calling NASA to warn them of the radiation that also has came with the meteor. Little do Dan and Ev know that their house is being over run by the space spiders who are also growing in size, and with this the couple meet their end by the fangs of the spiders who are also now making their way toward town! Dr. Jenny along with some soldiers arrive and think that a black hole in space is what’s feeding the spider and causing them to grow massive! While the townspeople arm themselves and try to kill the spiders and save others, a massive 30-foot spider has entered the town and all looks doomed as our mini promo comic comes to an end and informs us to go to the theater and see this movie!

This is a very cool little theater promo comic from the 70’s that I am sure did its job and got movie goers to flock to their local cinema and see the film! This is one thing movie makers are lacking right now is making free promo comics to give away to movie goers I mean imagine if movies like Hell Fest, The Conjuring and Sinister had cool comics made and given out…these From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates could go on forever! Now I need to also stress this promo comic is super short and is only 4 pages long as both front and back cover is used for story as well. Our plot is also very simple and has a meteor falling from space that is also caring space spiders that grow massive here on Earth and start killing in a small Wisconsin town. Our hero of this short comic is Dr. Jenny Langer who is the one who warns of the fallout of radiation from the meteor and is the one who tries to enlist the help of NASA as well as find the source of the spawning point. Dan and Ev Kester are a couple who seem more into harvesting the diamonds and not paying attention to their farm being infested by spiders who are growing large at an alarming rate, but they of course meet their end by fangs. The Giant Spiders are the baddies of the comic and man once they grow they become aggressive, are unstoppable and very mean spirited. In fact even smaller the spiders are very much blood thirsty and want to kill any human who comes close to them. The comic does not have any blood and has two confirmed deaths that happen off panel, but while it does not show the red stuff, it does have a great classic horror atmosphere that will surely please fans of old school 50’s horror movies. I am not sure on who did the art, but I will say one thing it’s pretty dang great and I wish that Dell Comics or Gold Key Comics would have made this into a full comic with the same artist brought on board. The cover is pretty great as it’s the movie poster mostly with the bottom half being the first four panels of our adaptation. Over all this is a pretty great promo comic that adapts a cheesy B-Horror Movie that also leaves us as a reader on a cliffhanger making us want to see the movie to figure out how we can rid ourselves of these pesky Giant Spiders! Check out the art below to see how great the art is in this promo comic.

So as you can see Giant Spider Invasion is a fun movie that had a fun promo comic book that shows even the cheesiest of the B-Movies can make a great comic book for fans of Horror Comics. Plus for many people spiders let alone giant ones will always strike fear into their hearts and this short comic delivers scares for those with the heebie jeebies of these eight-legged creatures. For our next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Movies behind and will be taking a look at another Atlas Comic superhero with Demon Hunter, should be a real fun time. So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time as we go on a demon hunt!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Leprechaun (1993)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day ! For this update I think we are going to revisit that nasty little movie monster killer The Leprechaun! Last time I covered him was way back in 2013 when I reviewed the very cheesy BlueWater Comic series and that was also for Saint Patrick’s Day. For this update, we will be looking at the Trimark promo comic released when the film hit theaters, and it will be a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update so we can really breakdown the 1993 movie as well as Leprechaun the character. I am also doing this update in honor of the SYFY network’s newest Leprechaun sequel that is being released today. So if you’re ready to drink some green beer and look for the pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow, let’s dive into this pint size terror killer.

To start off this update, we need to take a look at our title killer of the film, the one and only Leprechaun, and while he has been in several films, we will only be talking about his killing abilities and flaws from the first film only as that is what this promo comic is based on. The Leprechaun is an over 3 feet tall supernatural creature who has a wicked nature and a thirst to kill those who make the mistake in taking his gold from him. The Leprechaun is very cunning and is a trickster and can use his size and appearance to scare his target victims leaving them open for the kill once panic sets in and they notice they are being stalked and hunted by a mythic creature with a frightening face. The Leprechaun also uses magic in order to dispatch his victims as, while he is not earth shattering with his powers, he can in fact use them on those who stole his gold and ones that get in his way. He also has no issues using his bare hands nor any weapon or item he can find around him on the sad person who crossed his path. He also has razor sharp fingernails that can also be used in hurting a human as well as his teeth that he will use to chomp down with. And all the while he also makes puns and jokes during his violence causing the victim to feel helpless and weak. He also can regrow body parts that have been cut off and can heal from wounds pretty fast. Oh and lets not forget, he is also good at leaving traps to capture his victims! While The Leprechaun is powerful, he does have weaknesses like four leaf clovers hurts him and leaves him powerless and open to attacks and is the true way of stopping him if one is placed on him. If he is forced to swallow the clover, he melts from the inside out. He also has a weakness for dirty shoes as he feels like he must polish them, once more leaving him open for an attack or for a person to get away from him. He is also very much empowered by his gold and is weaker without it, once more leaving him able to be hurt from counter attacks. He also can be hurt/stunned with more direct attacks like using a gun on him. While he can be stopped, this pint sized terror is a force of evil and when stolen from he has no issues ripping your guts out!

So now that we have taken a look at the Leprechaun and his powers and ways of killing, we should now take a look at the original movie that spawned him. For this part, the film’s plot write up is taken from our pals at IMDB with the production notes and thoughts being written by myself. So if you’re ready, let’s travel back to 1993 and enter the world of the Leprechaun.

Leprechaun (1993)

When Dan O’Grady returns to the U.S. after stealing some Irish leprechaun’s pot of gold, he thinks he can settle down and enjoy his newfound wealth. He thought wrong. The leprechaun followed him and O’Grady barely gets away with his life, having locked the little monster in his basement. Ten years later, J.D. and his spoiled daughter Tory move in. By accident, the leprechaun is released and almost immediately the annoying creature starts to look for his gold, not displaying any respect for human life.”

Mark Jones was a man who made his name producing TV shows and cartoons, and one day decided he wanted to direct and make a movie and choose the horror genre to make his debut. Inspired by the film series Critters and the breakfast cereal Lucky Charms, he went to Trimark and pitched the idea that became the company’s first home grown theatrical film release and brought them to the dance. Mark Jones wrote and directed the film and got a million dollar budget and began casting bringing in such names as Warwick Davis to play the Leprechaun, Mark Holton, Ken Olandt, Shay Duffin and a Jennifer Aniston in her first feature role! Gabe Bartalos was brought in to do the special effects that took three hours to apply and forty minuets to remove. One of the main shooting locations was Big Sky Ranch that was also used back in the day for locations for The Waltons and Little House On The Prairie. Before being released, the film received a massive push from Trimark as they really wanted this film to be a big hit and help bring them more attention and money to make future films. The film did okay for Trimark at the US Box Office bringing in $8,556,940.00 on a budget of only $1 million! The film ranked number 117 for the year and beat out such other cult films as Dazed And Confused, The Meteor Man, Children Of The Corn II, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm, Surf Ninjas, Mr. Nanny, Warlock: The Armageddon and Ernest Rides Again to name a few. While this film might not have been a box office smash nor is Leprechaun as iconic as other Horror Killers like Michael Myers or Leatherface, he does have a cult following and has made a mark for sure in the world of horror.

I can remember in 1993 when Leprechaun was being released to theaters as of course my brother and I wanted to see it and our Dad laughed at the trailer of it, and this of course meant we did not get to see it in theaters! When I was a young Monster Kid, movies with weird creatures and monsters were ones I always felt like I had to see and Leprechaun fit that bill. And of course not much has changed as I still love these style of movies! When I was finally able to see Leprechaun, it was when it came out on VHS and my brother Bryan rented it, and I can remember we both enjoyed it for all its cheesy goodness and years later I can remember watching it with my friend Jason Gilmore and he as well always really enjoyed it! In 1993 I can also remember clipping the newspaper ad from Dayton Daily News and keeping it along with other Horror Movie ads for a short time. Later I bought the film on VHS as well as DVD and even at one point remember owning the movie score on CD that was sadly stolen during a move. Even now in 2019, I find myself enjoying the original film as well as most of the sequels with the reboot Leprechaun: Origins being my lest favorite, and I really cannot wait to see the new film coming to SYFY called “Leprechaun: Returns” that should be premiering the day this update goes live. It’s odd to think that growing up the Leprechaun films have always been a part of my childhood as I have so many good memories of this series like hanging out with my friend Dave Wean watching Leprechaun 3 and eating Spaghetti-O’s while off from school, and watching Leprechaun In Da Hood and making out with my then girlfriend Misty on our couch right after moving in together and even watching Leprechaun Origins with my gal Juliet while a thunderstorm was going crazy outside. While not my favorite of the lower level Horror Movie series, it’s one I do enjoy and recommend watching them all if you like a little cheese and humor with your horror.

The Leprechaun was such a cult hit that even Saturday Night Live got in on poking fun at it via their Wayne’s World skits that were the shows most popular at the time and was based around two goofy guys Wayne and Garth and their cheesy public access show called Wayne’s World. And during some episodes as well as the second movie as Wayne armed with a flashlight would torment Garth by acting as if he was the Leprechaun! The segment on the show was really funny and Juliet and I break out reenacting the segment at home from time to time. I don’t want to spend too much time on this but also wanted to show it a little love and respect.

So now that we have chatted about The Leprechaun and his ways of murder, I think it’s time we take a look at a promo comic that was released by Trimark in order to help promote the film. I want to thank an Ebay seller who had this comic for sale and I am happy to say that the money I spent on this film went towards a charity. I also want to remind you all that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready lets dive into this first comic based on the horror movie Leprechaun.

Leprechaun # 1  **
Released in 1992       Cover Price FREE       Trimark      #1 of 1

In Ireland Farmer O’Grady follows a rainbow to the end and finds a pot of gold and rushes to sell it to the local jeweler and gets a large sum of money for it all, but unbeknownst to them all, the Leprechaun has arrived and wants his coins and jewels back! The Leprechaun starts off with burning down O’Grady’s farm and then starts his killing spree starting with the Jeweler and makes the terrified man’s fingers turn into snakes and attack himself. Then he goes after all those who bought his gold and jewels from the shop! His path of death includes decapitating a woman, makes a man’s head explode, drives one crazy and even electrocutes another! We then find out that Farmer O’Grady is on a plane on his way to start a new life in America, and in the baggage area The Leprechaun is hiding as the Farmer has kept one of the coins…and he wants it back!

This super short Horror Comic acts as a prequel to the film and sets up how the gold coin got to America as well as how The Leprechaun did. The plot is pretty paper thin and has a farmer finding the gold of Leprechaun and the sadistic little killing machine wants it back. Farmer O’Grady is a man who falls into luck when he finds the gold at the end of a rainbow and is able to sell it off and better his life even moving to America with the money he got…but sadly, we do not get to really get much character development from him as he is just kind of a bookend character for this short comic. The Leprechaun is filled with rage when he finds his gold missing this shows that this rhyme speaking mythical creature will kill in brutal ways! I like that it shows he very much enjoys killing people and even likes to get creative with his kills. The comic is filled with violent acts but does not show blood and gore and the kills are done in shadow, off panel or in a comedic way making the comic safe for readers of all ages. While this is a quick and fun read that does do a good job of feeling like it is a part of the film it’s based on, its small page count and rushed story also kind of hurts it as the kills fly by way too fast. The cover is fantastic and is just a drawn take of the film’s poster and is 100% eye catching for fans of the flick as well as Horror Comic readers. The comic’s interior art is done by William Clausen and is well done in spots as The Leprechaun looks great…the victims not so much, but to be fair it all does have a very underground comic book look and feel to it. Over all this promo comic is a fun read and captures the silly spooky nature of the film it was made to promote and is great for collectors who love comics based on films. Check out the art below to see the style of Clausen used in this comic.

So as you can see, Leprechaun makes a great character for comic books and while this Promo Comic nor the BlueWater Comics could do him full justice, they both show that with the right writer and artist a solid comic could be made and could help add to the character’s Horror legacy. I hope you enjoyed drinking your green beer and reading about this Horror Flick icon of murder on this update, and I also hope you get home safe and watch Leprechaun Returns on TV! And I have said it once and I’ll say it again, I do not understand why more companies don’t do promo comics to advertise their upcoming film…and I am not just saying this about Hollywood films, I am also looking at you Indie creators! I mean so many amazing Horror Movies have been put out over the past years that would make for a great comic series or promo that readers and fans would love to get their hands on…but yet nothing! That’s why I do want to send a big shout out to comic companies like Eibon Press, IDW, Blood Scream Comics and Dynamite who do deliver some amazing Horror Comics based on Horror Movies. For our next update we are going to stay in the world of Horror and do another “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update as we take a look at the promo comic for The Giant Spider Invasion! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for an arachnid good time!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Mole People

The Universal Monsters are in some of my most favorite Horror and Science Fiction films and have been something I have really been into since I was a very young kid. Looking over my list of comics to choose for a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic,” I quickly decided on the Warren Photo Comic Magazine for The Mole People as I think they are very underrated when it comes to classic monsters and are sadly often forgotten when fans talk about great Universal Horror. So for this update we are going to showcase the Mole People and let them shine in the spooky spotlight of Rotten Ink. So if you’re ready, let’s go underground and visit with the Mole People!

Let’s first take a look at the Mole People who are the film’s bad guys and also good guys as they walk the line. The Mole People are a race of humanoid moles who walk upright and are underground dwellers who have been forced to be slave labor to the Shadow Dynasty who are a batch of albino people who think they are the only living people. The Mole People have a very odd appearance with a lumpy style skin and have big eyes plus weird mouths. The Mole People, while slaves, do act out and have ideas and motives of their own, and they are also very much a horde society that have a history of eating human flesh! The Mole People, while slow and lumbering, use their weird appearance to scare victims with their main source of killing coming from their massive clawed hands that can rip and tear human flesh with ease. They also can burrow deep underground to travel faster and can pull victims under with their raw power that is well above an average man’s. But while The Mole People are killing machines when pushed, they also have some intelligence that makes them loyal to not only each other but also those who are nice to them. But like all things the Mole People do have some weakness like sunlight that blinds them and can possibly also burn them to death. They can be beaten with items as well as killed like any normal human, as they are not immortal. And let’s not forget that they can also be kept at bay with a flashlight that hurts their eyes. The Mole People’s slowness also makes them easy to get away from while walking on land, and they can also be starved to death as they do need to eat in order to get energy like any normal living thing. So while Mole People are not the most brutal nor vicious monsters we have covered here, they still are very efficient when it comes to killing humans.

So now that we have taken a look at The Mole People, we should dig our way into the film that spawned them. As always we will be taking the film’s plot from our friends at IMDB and after I will share some production notes as well as my thoughts on the film as well as other cool little information about it. So if you’re ready, let’s dive into some talk about this great Universal Science-Fiction Horror flick!

The Mole People (1956)

“On an archaeological dig in Asia, Dr. Roger Bentley finds a cuneiform tablet referring to an ancient society, the Shadow Dynasty, that was destroyed. An earthquake soon after reveals an ancient artifact and the scientists discover the ruins of an ancient temple world on a remote mountain site. It leads them to an underground world, lost in time, where people have adapted to low light. The High Priest Elinu doesn’t welcome the presence of the new arrivals and wants them eliminated.”

In the 1950’s Universal had moved away from Horror Films that dealt with Dracula, Wolfman, Mummy and Frankenstein’s Monster and headed toward giant insects, atomic age and mixes of science fiction and horror. And in 1956 they made such a horror film when they released The Mole People to the cinemas all across America. The film was written by Laszio Gorog, and produced by William Alland with the directors chair going to Virgil W. Vogel who was originally an editor for Universal, and this was his first film as a director. The film would cast John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont and Alan Napier as its leads and was one of the first Universal Monster films to show a woman disrobing, pushing the limits of what they did for their monster films. Rumor also has it that the film’s budget was $200,000.00 and its returns are unknown. When the film was done, it was released on December 1, 1956, and in some places it was shown with the jungle monster film “Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon”. The film was released the same year as these other classic Horror Flicks: Creature Walks Among Us, Bad Seed, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Godzilla, Rodan and Indestructible Man to name a few. The film over the years has had a very mixed response and mostly is met with negative reviews by critics and fans that enjoyed when it was blasted on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The film went on to be released on home media like VHS and DVD and Blu-Ray in our and foreign markets.

The Mole People is a film I learned about at a young age as I used to read any and all books I could get my hands on that featured classic Universal Monsters and many of them featured The Mole People. One of the books I remember the most was the Crestwood House book that was all about The Mole People and acted almost as an adaptation of the film. Sometime later I can remember seeing the film on broadcast TV and was drawn in by the Mole People themselves and was angry when the Shadow Dynasty were on the screen being mean to them. Some years later I found the film on VHS at an event called Belmont Days from a small video store that had a ton of Horror Films for sale on VHS when it was still king of home media, and in 2014 I got the film on DVD thanks to Universal’s Vault series of releases. Over the years I have shown Mole People to friends who enjoy classic horror and even have toyed with the idea of doing a fan film sequel to it…but that will never happen. So while this film was released many decades before I was born, for some reason it has always been in my life…for some reason I also remember my Mom talking about this movie when I was a youngster! So if you have not seen this film, do yourself a favor and track it down and give it a watch.

So as you can see, the Mole People, while not bloodthirsty, can and will murder and eat humans when the time is right! We also learned a little about the film and my connection to it, and now we are at the point of reviewing the photo comic magazine. I want to first thank Mile High Comics for having this magazine in stock and making this update possible. I need to also remind you all that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, make sure to grab your flashlight to fight off the Mole People and let’s get into this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update.

Mole People # 1  ***
Released in 1964       Cover Price .35     Warren Publishing     # 1 of 1

Researchers Dr. Roger Bentley, Dr. Jud Bellamin, Dr. Paul Suart and Prof. Etienne Lafarge along with others are in Asia looking for artifacts from a lost civilization, and get their dreams fulfilled when they find a tablet and lamp connected to them. They head to the mountains as that is where their finds lead them, and after an earthquake happens at the sight of ruins, a hole opens up and Dr. Suart falls to his death and Bentley, Bellamin and Lafarge are trapped underground! Once down in the dark only armed with a flashlight, they wander the caves and find buildings from the old world, and when they decide to get some rest, a race of humanoids called the Mole People attack while they sleep and drag them underground. When they awake, they are met by two albino guards who take them to see the High Priest who orders them to death as he claims they do not have the food to feed them! Our heroes fight and escape their albino captors and find themselves in a place that has Mole People all around who are being treated like slaves by albinos with whips. While trying to escape, Lafarge is killed by a Mole Person and Bentley and Bellamin figure out that the flashlight hurts both the albinos and Mole People giving them power and are now in the favor of the albino king. Once back at the kingdom Bentley meets a young normal servant girl named Gizelle who he saves from a whipping, and she is given to him by the King as a gift. The pair of doctors try to figure out a way to return above ground and even save some Mole People from being beaten by the albinos, but while they save them, the flashlight also goes dead as its batteries die! The High Priest dislikes the outsiders and thinks they are not gods like the King does but just normal guys and even sacrifices a group of woman to the burning light in order to please their god. The High Priest is able to convince the King that the Doctors are mortal and not gods, and they drug their dinner and set to murder them. But luckily for our heroes, Gizelle runs into the caves and tries to get help from the Mole People who have grown to respect the doctors for saving them from beatings and death sentences. The Mole People attack and kill the albinos, and the Doctors along with Gizelle escape the underground and once back to normal life another earthquake hits and a stone falls and kills Gizelle before she could even live a few moments of life above ground and our tale ends.

This is one cheesy and yet fun Photo Comic that blows through the movie really fast and delivers an entertaining quick read for readers that holds true to the film for the most part, but also adds its own touches with a few twists not from the movie. Our story has a group of doctors on the hunt to find a lost city that end up falling into a hole in the ground that leads them to the lost city as well as to the people still living there and a race of humanoid mole people. The doctors must fight for their lives to find away to escape, and their only weapon is a flashlight that is getting low on power! Dr. Roger Bentley is our main hero and the one with the flashlight. He is also the one who is saving peoples hides from beatings as it’s clear he does not like the albino people of the lost city and their cruel and selfish ways. The one down side to Bentley is that at times he as well comes off as kind of full of himself, and I think gets a slight god complex as he knows he has the power. Dr. Jud Bellamin is a smart man who clearly follows the leader as he is a fish out of water when it comes to the underground world. Prof. Etienne Lafarge is an old goof who leads himself to his own death and also is the weak link of the group and his dead body is also the one who leads the albinos back to the headhunt of our heroes as it showed they are also mortal. Slave woman Gizelle, who is normal, is also very sweet and is the true hero of the story as she is the one who gets the Mole People to help the doctors. The Albinos are very cruel and keep slaves, beat and kill those who cross the King and treat the Mole People like scum. The High Priest is the worst of the albinos as he is very much the one who pushes for cruel punishments and hates the power the Doctors and their flashlight had over the King. The Mole People are starving and will attack and kill people and yet also have a loyalty to them as they will help those who help them. Some of the changes made in the magazine are noticeable and are nice surprises, and I will not spoil them for you readers as you should read it and catch them yourselves. The comic downplays the horror elements and does have some blood via a massive scratch done by one of the Mole People and does have death as many albinos die during the final attack. The cover is eye catching and is that classic 60’s Horror Magazine look, the picture layouts is done by Russ Jones who also did the script for this photo comic. Over all this is one of the better Photo Comics I have read and is cool retro Universal Monster item for a Science Fiction Horror Movie that is often forgotten. Check out the panels below to see they style used in this magazine.

So while many comic readers don’t like Photo Comics (Magazines) and others view it as a dated style of comics, I for one find them fun and enjoyed reading this one. Plus it’s been very fun talking about the Mole People as well as the first time I have covered Warren Publishing here at Rotten Ink. But I fear it’s time we walk away from the underground world of the Mole People. We will be heading to the old west for my next update as we take a ride with the one and only Rawhide Kid from Marvel Comics! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Universal Monster Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. So hope you’re ready for a western done Marvel style!