Rottweiler And His Indie Superhero Friends

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! For this quick update I think I am going to take a quick look at a superhero I discovered in a cheap box at New Dimension Comics in 2018 and got the one and only issue of this hero for only .50! When finding this comic, it made me think about how many independent comic superheroes are in the world that only lasted a handful to even one issue. Take a moment and think of some of the comics in your collection that fit what I just said…go on and take a moment and look. It makes you wonder whatever hero you’re thinking of could have been if only they lasted longer. Would they have been super popular now if they would have lasted and have video games, TV shows or movies based on them? It really does make me wonder if these characters could have been bigger to readers if Marvel and DC did not hog so much space on comic shop shelves and newsstands with their mountains of Spider-Man and Batman titles. So if you have some local comic book shops in your town that carry old cheap back issues in .25 to $1.00 bins, do yourself a favor and dig through them and see what kind of independent comic treasures you can find of forgotten superheroes like Rottweiler. And make sure if you’re in the Cranberry, PA area and love comic books, make sure to check out New Dimension Comics as they have lots of great comics at good prices and not only have a big $1.00 bin but also have a room that’s filled with $3.00 comics from the Golden and Silver Age! But if you’re ready, I am ready to take a look at masked superhero Rottweiler!

The comic company who brought the world Rottweiler was called August Comics and what follows is all that I could find about it. The information I gathered is from multiple websites as well as hearsay and things that I pieced together. It looks like August Comics was created in 1987 and was a very short lived company with only two titles under its belt, Stormbringer that lasted three issues and Rottweiler that lasted one. From what I have found, I think Paul Burke was not only one of the editors but also might have been the owner of August Comics. The company had smaller print runs but did make it into Diamond Previews and was a speck on the industry. But while they might have been small and not known by most comic readers and collectors, they did have a small fan base and have left a legacy behind for readers to discover in discount bins comic shops wide. And I for one am glad I found out about them as while on vacation. This was one of the comics I bought and read that night.

So as you can see, not much is out in the world about August Comics or the people who created it, and that was all the info I could dig up when looking for information. So let’s take a look at some other cool things going on in my life from the past few months. Last year, I had to have a pre-show for my birthday horror movie marathon way early as I had to work the PPV for Rock Star Pro Wrestling on September 7th and would have gotten in way too late for any movie watching! So we had the pre-show on September 3, 2018 as it was Labor Day and both Juliet and I were off from work. We started it off with the 1970 Kaiju film “Space Amoeba” about beings from space coming to earth to trying to take it over by entering an octopus, crab and turtle and making them giant monsters. Next was “The Creeps” a Full Moon film about Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, a Mummy and a werewolf coming to life thanks to a weirdo who wants to use them to take over the world, the only issue is they are all small! The 1987 shot on video film “Soultangler” was up next and is about a crazed doctor who is experimenting on putting part of his soul into young women he has kidnapped off the streets and can jump from dead body to dead body. And the final film of the night was the 2017 monster flick “Mountain Devil,” a documentary/found footage style film about a man and a Bigfoot he claimed to have killed in the hills of PA. Over all this was a pretty fun time as the heat outside was in the 90’s and the Horrors of the TV screen kept us entertained as we munched on a cheeseball. The Golden Turkey for this pre-show hands down for us both was Mountain Devil as it was so boring…and I mean boring, and worst it offered no scares at all. The Bigfoot is hardly seen, and it’s just mostly old white guys talking about Bigfoot. For me the best film of the Pre-Show was Space Amoeba as I found it to be a solid giant monster film, plus it was cool to see Gezora in action! And Juliet as well picked Space Amoeba as her favorite of the night! Fun time spent with some spooky Horror Movies and made me look forward to the main event day on the 8th!

On September 8, 2018 I held a Horror Movie Marathon Birthday Bash that had Juliet and I loading up on snack food and planning good eats for the day as always we have breakfast casserole, potato chips, and I decided that I wanted home made Burritos for dinner! We started off the marathon with the 1957 Universal Science Fiction Horror Movie called “Monolith Monsters” that is about giant space rocks that grow when in contact with water that are taken over a small town as well as killing people as it drains them of their body water! The second creature feature was “Curse Of The Swamp Creature” about a crazed scientist trying to make monster slaves out of transformed humans. We next watched the 1993 film “Little Devils: The Birth” about pint sized devils running amok in a boarding house. The fourth fright flick was “The Suckling” about a baby fetus that is turned into a killing beast by toxic waste that sets its anger on people at a brothel. Our next film was suppose to be Blood Mania the final film of Herschal Gordon Lewis, but a messed up DVD made us watch “Conrad Brooks vs. The Werewolf” that has Conrad Brooks and his brother battle a werewolf to the death. “Evil Bong 777” was next and had the Evil Bong and her stoner allies in Vegas on the run from Sexy Hell! Shot on video film “Burglar From Hell” was next to scare up some deaths as a killer comes back to life to torment a neighborhood. The eighth film was “Mental Scars” about a masked killer slashing his way through people silly enough to be in his junkyard. The supernatural slasher film “Thorn” about a masked madman killing his way to get to a young woman that is special to him in some odd way. Horror Comedy “Pool Party Massacre” about a madman killing off pretty women at a pool party was the next shocker. We then watched the French Horror movie “Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls” about female zombies who rise from their graves to get revenge on those who lead to their deaths and more! And the final film of the night was the 1989 film “Shocking Dark” about a group of well-trained soldiers fighting for their lives on a mission against mutants! As always a fun time spent watching the horror pictures on a rainy day for my Birthday!

So after all the films were over, Juliet and I sat and talked about them and we both agreed that the Golden Turkey of the day was Evil Bong 777 as this film seemed to have no real plot and was only used to make something quick to open the way for a part 8. It was a real let down as this one was just really bad…minus the cute ladies of the cast who were the highlights. Now onto our favorite films of the day I would say that my # 1 was Pool Party Massacre as I really enjoyed this campy modern Horror Comedy that was filled with great kills and attractive women. My # 2 was Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls while not a perfect film and clearly cut in spots this French Horror movie had a gritty feel and I loved the looks of the films dead girls. And my # 3 was Little Devils as I found it lots of silly fun with mini monsters who have weapons like acid and flamethrowers to kill humans! Juliet’s top three are as follows # 1 Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls, # 2 Little Devils and # 3 Shocking Dark! Plus I want to also say the next day it was still raining outside so we watched the 1963 film The Slime People and the 1963 Kaiju film Atragon!

So I am sure you’re also wondering what killer won the Golden Chainsaw Award for the amount of kills they pulled off! The winner, with well over 10 confirmed kills, was Frank The Tank from the SOV Horror Movie Burglar From Hell! That’s right, the rotten undead burglar turned killer Frank racked up the body count and snapped a lot of necks to win it all! The best kill from this rotten faced killer was when he shoveled a man’s guts while he sat on a toilet…yep, Frank is one sick zombie! So here is to you Frank The Tank for making this Horror Movie Marathon a little bloodier!

So now that we chatted about August Comics as well as a Horror Movie Marathon I held for my Birthday, it’s time we take a look at Rottweiler, a superhero who was gone before he could really start. As I said I found this comic at New Dimension Comics in Cranberry and want to thank them for having this comic in stock and making this update possible and allowing a reader like myself to discover the character Rottweiler. And as always I would like to remind you 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 let’s see what Rottweiler brings to the table of indie superheroes.

Rottweiler   **
Released in 1987     Cover Price $1.50     August Comics      # 1 of 1

Masked costume superhero Rottweiler chases off a pack of dogs that are attacking another dog, and once the pack runs off, he stays with the dog who is bleeding and dying. Rottweiler remembers back to his past when he was Mark Evans, a man who was working as a janitor at a lab and is bitten by a dog and must fight for his life to escape and when doing so passes out from the bite and the loss of blood. Mark awakens in the hospital and is hallucinating and attacks a nurse before busting out the window and heading into the woods, and this upsets his girlfriend who had just came to the hospital to visit. Mark feels different and almost like a wild dog himself and it’s clear the government has done something to him or the dog who bit him as they have sent out soldiers to get him back. Mark is able to take out some of these soldiers but ends up being caught again and taken back to the hospital. Back to present day and the dog passes away in the arms of Rottweiler, who starts to leave when he sees a cat and chases it away.

Rottweiler had a great story and a character that could have had an impact in the world of indie comics if August Comics would have stayed in business longer than under a year. This first and only issues in this series had the ground work for the characters origin that has a young man being bitten by a dog and this bite as well as his health care turns him into a superhero with the instincts of a dog. Mark Evans is a man with a job to do and that’s be a janitor to a lab that houses dogs that have had tests done to them, and while he is a normal guy, you can tell he really does not dig his new job. As Rottweiler he is filled with rage and power and wants to stick up for the underdogs of the world. He also changes who he is as Rottweiler, wears a full body suit and has an attitude to boot. None of the other characters in this comic have any development with the only thing known about any of them is that the army knows what’s going on with Mark and want him unharmed so they can study him. While the comic is a good read and is a great one to set up the story of Rottweiler, it does have some minuses that take away from it all. For one the comic has no major villain in place for Rottweiler and besides holding the dying dog and the backup story in the comic, we hardly see him in his costume leaving us with just a whole lot of Mark. The cover for this issue is pretty generic and is black with blood splatter and almost looks more like a Horror Comic than a Superhero one. The interior art is done by Ted Whittenbarger and is pretty good solid independent stuff and has that late 80’s feel. The one thing about this comic as well that I should say is that only 5,000 copies were printed, and if you like small press superheroes, you should give this one a read.

I feel the need to cover more independent and forgotten heroes and companies, as this update is a celebration of these micro heroes. ME Comix was a very small micro comic company that seems to have been owned by creator Pierre R. McNeil and was based out of Atlanta, Georgia and had a very small go at it all. From the way things look, the company only released two titles that each only lasted a total of two issues and both were all done by McNeil who at one point had a call out for artist and writers to join his dream of what ME Comix could have been. The first comic series was T-Bird Chronicles that was released in 1986 and that was followed by Peter Risk Monster Masher in 1987. And after 1987 they seemed to have closed for good or only made comics on even a smaller level. I have to give McNeil lots of credit as he was a man with a vision and chased his dream to be in the comic world and did so no matter how small its impact was…he did it. It also really makes you wonder what could have happened for ME Comix if Peter Risk or T-Bird would have hit it big with readers, or if other artist and writers would have jumped on board and created new characters that could have been the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spawn or Prime. Wonder what kind of stuff ME Comix would be making in 2018 if they were still around. And next let’s take a look at the comic shop that stocked the first issue of our next forgotten hero.

Bell, Book And Comic in Dayton, Ohio is one of my favorite comic shops in our area as it’s one that took the place of the Bookie Parlor in my eyes as it has amazing back issues as well as paperback books, toys and cool board games. The shop is run by Pete Bell, who has always treated me with respect when shopping and has helped me many times getting comics needed for this blog! The thing that sets them apart from the other comic shops in our area is that they have a massive Horror Comic section as well as section that has $1.00 number 1 issues and in this section on August 28, 2018 is where I found T-Bird Chronicles, which made me fully decide to make this update bigger and really showcase some amazing heroes from small time comic companies from the past. They also have a very cool cheap bin of comics that are three for a $1.00 as well as have a section for Milestone, Malibu, Valiant and other indie companies. So if you love comic books and live in the Dayton, Ohio area make sure to check out this shop as I am sure you’ll find something for your collection.

So I would like to thank both Bell, Book And Comic as well as Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock. I also want to say I am very much looking forward to reading this comic as I have never heard of it until finding the first issue in 2018. So I am sure I do not need to remind you of my 1 to 4 star rating scale and if you’re ready let’s see what T-Bird Chronicles has in store for us!

T-Bird Chronicles # 1  *1/2
Released in 1986       Cover Price $1.50       ME Comix       # 1 of 2

Thomas Bird works as a high priced security officer and not only drives an amazing thunderbird car, but also carries a very special super sonic gun and he is ready for action. Silver City is where Thomas lives, and he has a new assignment that will place him at the city’s nuclear power plant to look into drug trafficking. At the nuclear planet Leornodis Von Crock is working on a batch of radioactive steroids and cocaine and has to take matters into his own hands when worker Colleita Silverton is caught stealing info that could expose their criminal ways. Once he has captures the whistle blower, he keeps her captive and calls Carl to set up a meeting for them to buy large sums of money. As the pickup helicopter is showing up to get the drugs, Thomas Bird rushes to the power plant and uses his special super sonic stun gun to take out the workers and Leornodis Von Crock in a panic takes some of the radioactive steroids and turns into a hulking mass of muscle! Thomas Bird sets Colleita free and has her run to his car as he tricks the massive Von Crock follow him away from her, and to his shock Von Crock drops a bomb that will blow them both up! But Thomas Bird calls in his little flying robot friend A-1 and grabs on to it and is carried to safety as Von Crock is blown up. In the end Thomas is set to take Colleita home but not before he takes her to his place.

Wow this is one cheesy, silly and 80’s indie comic goofy book that showcases one smooth yet unprepared hero. Our story is very, very simple and has a doctor at the city’s power plant using his knowledge to make drugs more powerful and is found out by a hero who comes in to stop a massive sell of the drugs as well as save a young woman who has been held captive after she was captured finding dirt on the plant. Thomas Bird is a hero who has lots of tech at his disposal and uses a none-lethal gun that not only can stop humans but also mechanical things like cars! But the thing about Thomas is that while he has the means to stop crime, he really doesn’t do much in this issue besides stunning a few henchmen and freeing a young lady from captivity. In fact, he never once slugs it out with Leornodis Von Crock, he doesn’t even come prepared in his big fight as he only brought a half loaded clip for his special gun…in other words, he won this fight by luck and by his robotic friends and really didn’t even show up until way late in the dope selling game. Colleita Silverton is a young woman who wants to bring down the drugs coming out of Silver City and when she makes her big play, she ends up being knocked out and held captive and for some reason seems to fall head over heels for Thomas. Leornodis Von Crock is a smart and sinister man who uses all his knowledge to make a super drug made for the rich and powerful people. Also when pushed and near being busted, he has no issues using the super drug on himself to become a powerful hulking mass of muscle in order to smash his foe and get away from being busted. So let’s talk real quick about what I liked about this issue and that’s the indie style artwork of Pierre R. McNeil, really fun classic small press stuff. I also do for some reason like hero Thomas Bird…but also he is one of the dislikes I have for this issue as I found him to be a very ill-equipped hero who doesn’t do much to save the day and get the lady. I also found the plot a little weak and the climax a little underwhelming. The cover is great and has that 80’s small press charm, and as I said I like the simple art style of McNeil as it captures the true feeling of a true indie artist who was making a comic he wanted. Over all while I was not blown away by this first issue, I am looking forward to reading the second one to see how the final issue in this short-lived series carried on this hero.

T-Bird Chronicles # 2  *1/2
Released in 1986      Cover Price $1.50      ME Comix      # 2 of 2

Thomas Bird is not doing so well during his training that is being done by robots as his mind and actions seem to be other places while many miles away a new car with a one of a kind engine that would change the automotive world for ever is being tested. The creator of this car is C.J and he knows he will be rich and make his car company bigger than all others with it and the plan is to ship it out the next day. But unknown to him his own worker Emilo Lorre is working for Mr. Matrix the owner of the rival car company who plans of stealing the car as well as kill off Emilo so no witnesses can come forward to his crime. The next day the plane that has the car on it has been hijacked by some of Matrix’s goons and worst the plane is filled with celebrities! When Captain Hook shows up he knows this is a very bad situation and calls in Thomas Bird who along with his fancy gun is able to take the plane back as well as knock out all the hijackers before its even takes off! In the end C.J wants to pay Thomas to drive the car across country for a large sum of money making our hero an offer he cannot refuse and so he is off to do his new job.

This second issue is very much like the first and is a silly, weirdly paced action comic that showcases gun for hire Thomas Bird as he saves the day with his own style of grace and charm. This issues plot is very simple and has Thomas heading to an airport to save a plane that has been hijacked and does so in a matter of minutes of showing up and after doing so gets a high paying gig to drive a one of a kind car across country. Once more its odd as we start the issue off with Thomas Bird failing as his training and is almost once more setting him up as a hero who falls backwards into winning, but by the end when it matters he is very skilled and fast and saves the day like a true hero. The one thing I also find weird about the character seems to sometime lack confidence and even when his talk is big he seems like he don’t believe his own hype. The main bad guy in this issue is Mr. Matrix who does very little besides orders the stealing of his rivals new car, the hijacking of a plane and the murder of one of his spies that works for his rival…and keep in mind this guy just runs a car company and he has all this evil plans in mind! The rest of the cast are just supporting who offer nothing more than to move along the plot, plus we have a very small cameo from Colleita Silverton the lady he saved in the first issue. The plot and pacing in this issue is pure micro independent stuff and is not groundbreaking but entertaining for sure as you can tell Pierre R. McNeil who also did all the work on this comic series really did love his characters and the universe he made for them. The cover on this issue is good and captures the true micro comic company look of the late 80’s. While a third issue was suppose to have been released it looks like this second issue was the final and that’s a shame as I would have liked to have seen were this story would have went. While T-Bird Chronicles is not the best indie comic I have read, I still found its simple stories entertaining and if you like cheesy indie comics from the 80’s give this one a read. Check out the art bellow to see McNeil’s style.

But guess what readers and friends I am not done yet as I feel like looking at one more hero from the independent world and this time I have chosen Blood Bath from Samson Comics! Unlike the other two companies we have covered here Samson Comics started in the 90’s as their first comics where released in 1994 with Phobos and Cosmo and the Big Bang both that only lasted one issue each. Over the next following years they released many other issue that as well only lasted one issue each. Samson Comics seemed to want to make a massive impact in the world of Indie Comics and tried to with a verity titles, but like many they ended up making a tiny splash before disappearing to the great Long Comic Box in the sky. Who knows what heroes and adventures could have been made if Samson Comics would have stayed in business.

So as you can see just like August Comics and ME Comix not much is known about Samson Comics as they seemed to have came and went like so many others before them and have all seemed to close before they could really make their legacies and build their characters. Well lets take look at one of Samson Comics superheroes that lasted only one issue and I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having it in stock to help add to this update. And just like before I grade on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So lets see what Blood Bath had to offer the world of Indie Comics.

Blood Bath # 1  **
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Samson Comics     # 1 of 1

Greg and Taylor are young boys who find a strange man Blood Bath in the abandon lot they hang out in and decide that they need to help him in order to be heroes. Meanwhile an owner of a newspaper is loosing his mind as his life is crashing down around him. While in space aliens have locked onto two beings they want and are sending a recovery team to get them including one powerful warrior named Starguile! When Blood Bath awakens he chases off the kids who become scared and his mind as well is filled with bad memories including the deaths of his father and brother plus cannot remember how he got the costume. Once back fully on his feet her hears a woman scream and rushes to her aid as two scumbags are threating to kill her and he makes short work of one them saving her life. But one puts up a fight as he is filled with drugs and is looking to kill. But someone fires a massive gun blowing up a piece of the lot and their stands Starguile with aliens warriors ready for a fight.

First thing I want to say is that Blood Bath here is a pure product of the 90’s and would have fit in well with most of the heroes of Image Comics and I would say I am sure he was inspired by them as well as he is a mix of many heroes from the time including Venom from Marvel Comics. The plot has Blood Bath being in bad shape and waking up in a back lot in America and saves a woman from some drug fueled punks only to himself be found by aliens who are on the hunt for him. Blood Bath is shown to be a skilled fighter who has superhuman strength and a costume the puts fear in hearts, but he also seems to be confused by why and who he really is. We don’t get much out of Blood Bath in this issue but if I had to guess I would say he is a human with a living alien suit and he can be hurt like a normal person. A cool character who I wished we would have gotten more of a backstory for as we really get nothing here to fully understand and get behind him. The rest of the characters seem like background players and add nothing besides filler to the story, and that includes the newspaper owner who clearly has a demon or alien living inside him. While we have not much character development in this issue I still found the atmosphere and over all mood of the comic to be entertaining and good and I would have liked to have seen were this story and character would have gone. The cover is great and eye catching and I am sure made many of comic readers of the 90’s buy it. The interior art is good and solid and was done by Jamie Biggs and while it looks nothing like the cover its still good. Over all not much to say about Blood Bath besides he looked like a character I would have enjoyed when I was younger and I wish the second issue and beyond would have seen the light of day. Below is some art from this issue to show you just what the style was. Oh I should also say I hate being this guy but I am almost 100% sure that some of the pages in this comic were printed in wrong order…oh Samson Comics did you have any quality control?

Man that was lots of fun to read comics of heroes who have sadly been forgotten by readers and in I am sure in most cases never even discovered by many of you yet. I mean I have been reading comics sense I was a kid and have been to many comic shops, websites, garage sales and conventions and seem to always discover something new. And that’s why I enjoy digging trough cheap bins and reading and reviewing heroes like Rottweiler, Thomas Bird and Blood Bath all who could and should have been bigger in the comic world if only given longer and a chance. With myself being the owner of Sparkle Comics and if the price was right I would love to get the rights to these characters and bring on some of my friends and Sparkle creators to bring them back into the hands of readers much like we have done with Jeff Potters character Spring Heeled Jack who is given a chance to get new readers onboard. But lets have even more fun and set up a Fantasy Warfare fight between our three heroes! Lets set it on 5th Street in Dayton, Ohio on a boring day and follow Thomas Bird on his road trip to deliver the car. So lets pick up with Thomas in Ohio and see how this all plays out.

Our battle takes place on Fifth Street in Dayton, Ohio on a slow Monday night as Thomas Bird has made a pit stop at Blind Bobs and after eating a burger and fries, he goes back out to his car in order to get this high tech prototype car to its attend place when something catches his eye in the ally across the street and he springs into action and pulls out his sonic gun ready to bust what he thinks is a hired gun trying to steal the one of a kind car. He slowly and carefully walks across the street and peers down the ally when he spots a person wearing red and black hiding behind a dumpster they seem to also have spotted him! Thomas demands that the man step out of the shadows and show himself as he points his gun in the direction of the figure and fires a warning shot that is meant to stun the nerves of the figure for a short time. After a few seconds the person in the shadows steps out and it’s the hero Blood Bath, who now thinks Thomas Bird is a hired gun from the aliens who want to capture him as his weapon is nothing like he has seen on Earth! Before Thomas Bird can say “freeze” Blood Bath is on him and places a well placed punch to his jaw making Bird fly through the air and into the blind mouse statue on the side of Blind Bobs! Thomas Bird is dazed and can taste blood in his mouth and many of his teeth are now loose, and before he can rise again Blood Bath is on him and pulling him up from the ground so they can be eye to eye and informs Bird to leave him alone and to report that back to his people and before Bird can answer Blood Bath hits him super hard in the stomach and the hero crumbles. And before Blood Bath can hit his fallen defeated foe again his fist is grabbed and standing in front of him is masked hero Rottweiler, who says he “this man has had enough” and not knowing what’s going on Blood Bath reacts and starts throwing punches Rottweiler’s way! Blood Bath is in a blind fury as he just wanted to be left alone and was on his way out of town when he thought he was being attacked, and with this blind rage Rottweiler is able to out think and out move his new costumed foe and unleashes his own fury that is much like a rabid dog as he uses his fits, feet and teeth to destroy Blood Bath with the final blow bouncing his head off a brick wall causing him to be out for the count. Rottweiler goes to check on Thomas Bird who has made his way to the car and tries to drive away but only crashes into a near by pole…as Rottweiler shakes his head as the now one of a kind engine is wrapped around a light pole he heads into Blind Bobs to get himself some pickle soup and a B.L.T ending this weird superhero battle for the night and given Dayton something to talk about on a other wise boring Monday evening.

Winner: Rottweiler

So as you can see hands down for me the winner of a fight between these indie superheroes would be Rottweiler as I find him to be the one who would have the killer instinct and the skills to pull a victory off. So if any of these comics I have reviewed here on this update have peaked your attention, make sure to go to your local comic shop and see if you can find copies and better yet discover some Forgotten Heroes of your own, cause who knows what wonders await you in those long and short boxes of discount comics! For my next update though we are going to take a look at a Photo Comic Magazine that features the Universal Monsters The Mole People! And yep, it will be a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update that is sure to please fans of classic monsters. So until next update make sure, as I said, to visit your local comic shop and get a few indie comics to read and enjoy the adventures of these none main stream heroes and horrors. See you next update for an underground spooky adventure!

 

Marvel At The Movies Part 3: Bring On The Superheroes!

The doors are once again wide open at the Marvel Theater, and they have welcomed Rotten Ink in once more to take a look at more comic adaptations of movies.  This time around we will be taking a look at comics based on movies that are based on Marvel Comics! Nowadays, Marvel is ruling the box office with their films based on The Avengers, X-Men, Captain America, Iron Man and Guardians of The Galaxy, proving that these comic characters are truly box office gold. It’s crazy to think that back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s Marvel was struggling to get their movies even made and the ones that were did not live up to what they wanted as Superman and Batman were clearly the powerhouses and led DC to being the go to company if you needed a comic character to make a movie around. For this update I have chosen three comic adaptations for Marvel films I grew up watching, not the more modern ones.  My picks are Howard The Duck, The Punisher and Captain America, all considered turkeys of films and all films I enjoyed watching over and over as a kid. So let’s find the perfect seat and settle in as we have some movies to talk about!

marvel-at-the-movies-3 update logo 00

Before we get too comfortable in our seats, I should thank Mavericks Cards And Comics and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock, and most importantly, I should also sound like a broken record and remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with our popcorn and favorite drink in hand lets take a look and talk about some fun comics based on Marvel characters!

Howard The Duck Movie Still 1Howard The Duck Movie PosterHoward The Duck Movie Still 2

In 1986, George Lucas produced Marvel Comics first hero to make it to the big screen.  It was not Spider-Man nor was it the Fantastic Four as those would have proven to have been wiser choices.  Instead, we got Howard The Duck! The film followed Howard The Duck as he is sucked to Earth, befriends a female rock band, and saves the world from a inter-dimensional being who wants to rule the world. Universal Pictures as well as Marvel Comics put a lot of time and money into promoting this film and even cast some pretty great names to star in it like Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins and Jeffrey Jones with Chip Zien providing the voice of Howard.  But none of these elements could help the film with critics and moviegoers who snubbed it. The film did very poorly for Universal, only bringing in a worldwide total of $37,962,774.00 on a $37 million dollar budget! I for one always enjoyed this film growing up.  I first saw it on HBO, and by that point my brother and I already had Marvel Comic issues of Howard and I even had the paperback novel adaptation on the film,  The film was super fun and any film that had Lea Thompson in her panties was a-ok in my book! I am not so sure why this film has as much hate as it does.  None of my schoolmates on the playground in Waynesville ever trashed this film nor did I really hear all that much hate for it until the social media boom of the 2000’s happened. So let’s see how this comic adaptation series holds up and if it can capture the cheesy magic of the film.

Howard The Duck Movie Special 1

Howard The Duck # 1  **1/2
Released in 1986    Cover Price .75    Marvel Comics    # 1 of 3

Howard The Duck has just gotten off work and is sitting in his apartment, drinking a beer and enjoying the new issue of Play-Duck, when he is suddenly pulled by an unknown force out into space and left stranded on Earth in Cleveland, Ohio right outside of a rock venue were the all female group Cherry Bomb is playing. After being lost in the city and seeing just how cold and uncaring it can be, he ends back up at the rock venue just as Bev, the lead singer of Cherry Bomb is having some words with their manager who has not paid the band for their past gigs! As Beverly is walking home, she is attacked by some hoods who have bad intentions and is saved by Howard who uses Quack-Fu, and a friendship is sparked as Howard stays the night at Beverly’s flat where he opens up about his life in his world that included him wanting to be a song writer. The next day Beverly brings Howard to the Cleveland museum to meet Phil, a friend of her who works there.  After that gives them no answers, Howard losses his cool and runs off Beverly, and now he is alone and mad in Cleveland!

This is a fun first issue that holds the charm and good nature of the film and its characters. The plot for issue one has Howard being zapped from his planet and trapped on Earth and becoming friends with Beverly who is a lead singer for a rock band who wants to try and help him return to his planet, but one little argument leaves the two at odds by the end of the issue. Howard The Duck is a blue collar kind of character who is stuck between living his dreams of being a creative person and “growing up” and working a adult job. He comes off short tempered but also noble as he risks his own life when a stranger is in danger. Howard is scared and yet trying to stay strong as he really just wants to go home and get away from Cleveland. Beverly Switzler is a sweet young woman who fronts a popular all female band called Cherry Bomb.  She is an independent person who lives on her own and is following her dreams. She also has a great heart as she takes in Howard who saved her from being attacked and wants to try her best to find a way to get him home. Phil Blumburtt is a total goof who so far wants to help Howard but also wants to help himself as he feels this could get him into the Science Hall Of Fame.  While a smart person, he is also very much a goof. Ginger is a jerk and is the manager of Cherry Bomb. Howard is mistreated by Metalheads and Bikers in this issue and all the while you find yourself cheering for this duck to make it out alright. The cover for this adaptation is just okay and is lacking the major eye catching appeal, while the art inside is done by Kyle Baker and is pretty good stuff.  Some of the characters loosely look like the actors who played them in the film. Over all a very good first issue and is a fun enjoyable ride with likable characters and some kid comic like charm. Well let’s see how issue two holds up!

Howard The Duck Movie Special 2

Howard The Duck # 2  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   # 2 of 3

Howard is now on his own and finds a job at a spa, but quits that quickly when he finds out he hates to swim and his boss is a fat jerk. While walking the streets, he ends up at a club were Cherry Bomb is playing and overhears Ginger bragging about stealing the band’s money and is talking sleazy about Beverly.  This angers Howard who beats him up, takes the bands money to give to them and gets it so now he is the band’s manager! Howard goes back to stay with Beverly, and they are soon visited by Phil and a Dr. Walter Jenning who is in charge of the Spectroscopic Laser that was the tool that pulled Howard to Earth! They decide that if they reverse the experiment that they might be able to send Howard home.  This turns bad when the laser explodes and brings something more dark and sinister to Earth and leaves Howard on the run from the cops for being a illegal alien. Beverly breaks him loose from jail, and Dr. Jenning is sick and needs help as he took the blunt of the blast and is also wanted for questioning as this last experiment was not on the record. The trio ends up at a small roadside diner where Jenning goes through a transformation and is now calling himself The Dark Overlord.  He wants to use the laser to bring more of his kind to Earth and take it over! As Howard and Beverly try to escape the diner and leave Jennings behind, they soon find the locals want to cook and eat Howard, but he is saved by Jennings who roughs up the diner and takes back the gold key that starts up the laser that Howard stole. In the end it’s clear The Dark Overlord is now in control and wants to bring the end of the world with the coming of his friends.

The story is starting to bubble now as we get some action and science fiction elements that bring the plot to life. This far the plot has Howard almost finding his way back home but something goes wrong and he is instead being held by the cops who came to the lab after an accident that leaves Dr. Jenning injured and possessed by a evil being called The Dark Overlord who wants to bring down the world and a new age of evil. Throw is a greasey spoon diner straight out of Superman II and you have this issue. Howard kicks some butt as he takes Ginger and his con man ways to an end and even starts to build a crush on Beverly who he feels drawn to, Howard sadly also is so close to going home yet so far away as the accident as well as The Dark Overlord is keeping his homecoming away. Beverly thanks to Howard now has her musical career going in the right direction, but also finds herself getting a crush on the three feet tall walking and talking duck Howard. Phil is as goofy as ever, but does come up with how and who brought Howard to Earth and comes up with the possible way to send him home. Dr. Jenning as a man is a bright and helpful man who wants to help get Howard home, but once transformed into The Dark Overlord he is a mad man with plans to bring the fall of man and has no time for people or ducks who get into his way. One odd thing that you must think about is how many characters seem not to be puzzled or freaked out about a walking and talking three foot tall duck, not to mention like in the movie the comic plays up on the sexual tension between Howard and Beverly! But cant say I blame Howard as getting a crush on a woman that looks like Lea Thompson seems easy to do. The diner is filled with some blood thirsty jerks as they really want to kill Howard and eat him, I mean really they take him to the kitchen and the cook is about to chop him up before The Dark Overlord saves his tail feathers. The issue is another fun one and this time around the cover is pretty fun as it has Howard about to be chopped up, the art is done by Kyle Baker again and is good stuff. So far this has been a solid adaptation mini series and one that makes me look forward to reading the finial issue to see just how it all ends! Ok I know as I have seen the movie many times but thats besides the point.

Howard The Duck Movie Special 3

Howard The Duck # 3  **1/2
Released in 1986    Cover Price .75    Marvel Comics    # 3 of 3

The Dark Overlord kidnaps Beverly and heads toward the lab to use the laser to bring his friends to Earth, as Howard rushes to her aid and along the way frees Phil from the back of a police car and the pair barrow a small plan and fly it to the lab. During this time Howard comes to terms that he has been sent to Earth for a reason and thats to save it from the upcoming doom that awaits it. Phil at the lab rigs another big laser to a cart and Howard must aim it at The Dark Overlord to stop him who is going to use Beverly as a host body for one of his friends coming from the other dimension. Howard drives the cart and heads for The Dark Overlord and as both his each other with a massive hit the spirit of the Overlord leaves the body of Jenning who tells Howard the only way to defeat these evil beings is to destroy the laser which would leave Howard stranded on Earth! Howard does what needs to be done and the laser is no more and the portal for the Overlords is closed for good. At the end Howard is now the manager of Cherry Bomb and he is content on being on Earth with his friends.

The final issue is as solid as the two before it and I must say that this adaptation over all truly does capture the feel of the film and keeps the humor and adveture nature. This issues plot is Howard going after The Dark Overlord who has kidnapped Beverly, and must man up (or is that duck up?) and choose between going home and saving Earth.Howard in this issue becomes a hero and puts his own needs in the corner so that the needs of many are meet and the human race is safe. Howard also learns a little about friendship as he and Phil must work together to accomplish their goal and also learns about love as he truly finds himself caring for Beverly. The Dark Overlord is a sinister being who does not care about anyone else besides his wants and needs and that is just for the world to end and his race’s time to begen. The downside to this powerful being is that while he can crush and shock his way into power he is easly defeated by a blast from a laser gun and goes down with out a fight really. Beverly in this issue goes from rock n roll chick to helpess damsel in distress back to rocker, she is very likebale as a character and I found myself routing for Howard to save her. Phil and Jennings are helpful in their roles and each offer the ideas that bring down the Overlord and this is fitting as neither character is over played. What I like best about this adaptation is that it holds true to the film as it captures the family fun comedy adventure and showcases the fact that Howard The Duck is a character kids could like. The art is done by Baker once again and it looks great and the cover is pretty good and is a nice way to showcase all the heroes and our issues main baddie! So far this is a great start to this Marvel At The Movies and I look forward to see what The Punisher and Captatin America adaptations have in store! Check out some Baker artwork below. 

Howard The Duck Movie Art 1Howard The Duck Movie Art 2Howard The Duck Movie Art 3

From the silly adventure of Howard The Duck now to the savage brutal action of The Punisher!

Dolph Punisher 1The Punisher (Dolph) Movie PosterDolph Punisher 2

In 1989 New World Pictures was the parent company of Marvel Comics and wanted to turn their popular anti-hero vigilante character The Punisher into a film that would blend action and comic adventure into one entertaining film starring Dolph Lundgren that could compete with DC Comics and Warner Brothers Superman and Batman films. But sadly, this film was not to be the major blockbuster hit they were hoping for as New World’s financial issues caused the film to never have a theatrical run in the United States (while it did overseas).  Its fate was Direct To Video and airing on cable. The film has The Punisher having to team with the mob bosses whose kids have been kidnapped by the Yakuza as well as dealing with his own war on crime. The film is straight action with lots of gunplay, hand to hand combat as well as some ninja action! The main reason people hated this film was the fact The Punisher didn’t wear the skull logo on his chest.  I can remember friends ranting about this all the time and saying the movie sucked.  I have always taken up for this film because if you removed the name The Punisher, people would have liked this it as a solid 80’s action film. I first saw the film via a video rental when our Dad rented it for us all to watch.  I can remember that my brother and I both liked it, and this sparked out want and need to get issues of Spider-Man that had him fighting The Punisher. The film was pretty brutal, and I am wondering how well this adaptation issue will capture the violence and grim nature of the story. So let’s not keep The Punisher waiting any longer and see just what this adaptation has to offer.

PUNISHER MOVIE SPECIAL 1

The Punisher # 1  **1/2
Released in 1990    Cover Price $ 5.95    Marvel Comics    # 1 of 1

Frank Castle and Jake are cops on a bust to bring down the Franco crime family, and while they capture some of the mob’s goons, they fail to capture their main target. Frank and Jake get the call they have been waiting for as they get to deliver a surprise to Franco before he flees the country. This makes the mob boss very angry and a hit is placed on Frank Castle and his family who all become victims of a car bomb. Five years pass as a vigilante named The Punisher has killed over 100 mobsters, and Castle’s old partner Jake thinks that Frank Castle is alive and is this punishing angel. Franco has now returned to America and wants to unite all the crime families into one corporation and sets up a big drug deal to bring them all together, but during the pick up they are attacked not just by The Punisher but also ninjas who steal the drugs and kill many in the process. The Punisher is getting his information from an alcoholic washed up stage actor as Jake gets a new partner in Sam, a young female rookie cop. Hideko Tanaka is the leader of the Yukuza, and along with her mute American adopted daughter, is responsible for the ninja attack.  They warn Franco and the crime lords that they are taking over the town and to insure this they kidnap all their children! The Punisher stays out of the war for a short time but with kids’ lives at risk, he takes the war to the Yukuza and warns them to free the children or else. The Yukuza set up The Punisher and his actor friend and torture them to try and get information as they think the crime bosses hired him to attack, The Punisher escapes and saves all the children except Tommy Franco who was taken by Yukuza members. The Punisher is captured by the cops and besides rescuing the kids, Jake finds that his friend Frank Castle is alive yet is a shell of the man he was. Franco has The Punisher rescued from going to jail and begs him to help him get his son back from Tanaka.  The pair enter her headquarters and wage war with her bloodthirsty men and her skilled mute daughter. The Punisher kills Tanaka with a knife to the head as she holds Tommy hostage and is forced to kill his father when the crime lord is about to try and kill him! In the end, The Punisher runs into the night as Jake and the police show up knowing that his war in crime is not over.

The first thing I want to say is that this is a really fun comic adaptation and adds in moments that were cut from the film.  It has a nice quick pace that captures the action feel of the film. The downside is that the art is pretty crappy and not my style at all, as well as the copy I have was misprinted which made it hard to read pages that were mis-cut during binding. The plot has The Punisher going to war with the Mob and being forced to join forces with them once a rival foreign mob comes to town and puts the lives of kids in danger. Frank Castle/The Punisher is a good man who becomes confused about justice when his family is brutally murdered and he is left for dead.  His one man war on crime has left hundreds dead and has crime lords shaking in their boots. It’s odd that he never went to his friend and partner Jake for help, but I think it goes to show you the man he was died alongside his family that day. I love how he steps up and helps the crime lords when their kids are put in danger showing that while he is a cold blooded killer he still has humanity left when it comes to the innocence of children. Jake and Sam are good cops who know that Frank is The Punisher and want to help him before the rest of the law catches up to him and puts him in jail! Franco is a slimeball who deals drugs and kills to achieve his goals in the world of crime. Even after The Punisher helps him, he still wants to try and kill the man who saved his child’s life as well as his own as Tanaka wants him to kill himself in order to save his son! Hideko Tanaka is the worst of the worst in the world of crime, and to prove how evil she is, she killed her own brother to please the Yukuza bosses! She has an army of well trained ninjas at her side as well as her daughter who is also cold blooded. Tanaka is the kind of bad girl who kills and gets enjoyment in not only the act but all the sadness that effects those who loved her victim. The rest of the characters all are well done from Tommy Franco to the drunk actor, they all survive a part and all are important to the story. Oe thing I want to point out is that in the comic for the end battle The Punisher does have to skull on his chest, and this is something that fans of the movie wanted…read this comic, and you’ll get him in the costume. The cover is amazing and eye catching.  The art inside is done by Brent Anderson and is kind of sloppy and characters look nothing like the actors who played them in the film. To sum it up, this is a solid adaptation and is well worth checking out for fans of the film as all the classic lines are present.  Check out some art below to see the style of Anderson.

Punisher Movie Special Art 1

He only punished the guilty, and now it’s time to take a look at a hero who fights for America!

Cap Movie 1Captain America 1990 Movie PosterCap Movie 2

This is the film Marvel Comics really thought would put one of their characters at the top of the box office, but like Howard The Duck and The Punisher, this one just could not get footing and was shelved for a couple of years and then quietly put out direct to video. 21st Century really wanted Captain America to be a huge success like Tim Burton’s Batman and spark a merchandise frenzy as well as sequels that would be box office gold.  Instead all they had was a cheesy film starring Matt Salinger as Captain America is a great yet laughable costume and Ohio born Scott Paulin as The Red Skull who most of the film does not have a Red Skull as he has plastic surgery to cover his face! The film had a hard time even getting made as it was passed around by production companies, and many dates were set for it to hit theaters throughout 1990 and 1991 before, as I said, it was released straight to home video. The film had the right heart with the costume being as close to the comic character’s as possible, and the casting of actors like Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox and the lovely Francesca Neri were wise choices – all the right things to do to make this a hit, but for all the good there was the mediocre script, the lack of Salinger in the suit and the terrible acting of Kim Gillingham that held it back. Everyone I knew who had seen this film when released on VHS said it was terrible, and for some reason I enjoyed it.  I think it all came down to the fact Captain America along with the Incredible Hulk have always been one of my favorite super heroes, and besides the made for TV films from the 70’s, this was as close to seeing Cap come alive I was going to get.  Plus my Dad bought me the movie on VHS for my birthday and that also made it special. The film is about Cap fighting the Red Skull during World War II and saving the world leaves him frozen and now in present day he is found and returns to stop The Red Skull who is now a terrorist. This is a total guilty pleasure film and is one I still watch from time to time when looking for a ham packed with cheese super hero film. So let’s see how the comic adaptation holds up to the film.

Captain America Movie Special 1

Captain America The Movie # 1  **1/2
Released in 1992    Cover Price $3.50    Marvel Comics    # 1 of 1

In 1936 the Nazi’s kidnap a young Italian boy who is super smart and a master piano player and murder his family in front of him.  He is taken to Dr. Vasari to be experimented on turning him into a killing machine. Dr. Vasari does not agree with testing on humans and runs for her life as the boy becomes the first human subject for the Super Soldier Formula. Flash to 1943, and the skinny Steve Rogers who walks with a limp has been picked by the government to be a test subject that might just be the tool to win the war.  Rogers is happy as he wants to help in the war but his girlfriend Bernie is not too happy and is filled with worry. Steve Rogers is picked up and taken to a secret lab where Dr. Vasari injects him with a new and improved Super Soldier Formula, but she is killed by a Nazi spy and he is forced into action fast as The Red Skull is about to set off a missile that would be heading straight for America and our nation’s capital! Captain America and Red Skull fight.  This leads to Captain America being attached to the missile and The Red Skull loosing a hand, but the White House is saved when Captain America at the last minute gets free and takes the missile off course and to the the frozen land up north. Youngster Nick Kimball was in Washington and was able to snap a picture of Captain America on the missile and this sticks with him over the years all the way till adulthood when he even becomes the President of the United States as he has always wanted to know who Cap was. Sam, who has been Nick’s friend since childhood, is now a reporter and has as well tried to find out who his friends mystery hero was. Captain America trusts no one and rushes to Bernie who is now old and meets her daughter Sharon who he stays with and gets a job at the gym she works for. Meanwhile The Red Skull along with an American turncoat named Millhouse come up with a plan to kidnap the president to experiment on him with mind control, but he also sends his daugther Antonella to kill Captain America and instead she and her goons just kill Bernie and Sam! This sets Captain America off and he travels to Italy to save the President and to stop The Red Skull! In the end with the help of The President, Sharon and a cassette tape of The Red Skull as a child playing piano they are able to stop him from blowing up Italy with a bomb more powerful than the atom bomb when The Red Skull flings himself off the side of his castle and into the cold waters below. Saving the day Steve Rogers now finds happiness with Sharon.

Besides some little changes this comic adaptation is just as cheesy and silly as the movie, but I must say that one of the pluses is that Steve Rogers stays in the Captain America suit a little more than he does in the movie! The plot of this adaptation is this Steve Rogers is injected with a super formula that turns him into the ultimate solider, he battles The Red Skull in his first mission and while a hero he is frozen in a block of ice and many years later thawed out and must stop The Red Skull who is now a terrible terrorist who know has a plot to kill our president. The major changes is that The Red Skull commits suicide by jumping off the side of his castle in this comic while in the movie he is knocked off it by Cap’s shield. The other change is that Sharon and Steve Rogers end up hooking up by the end and that Steve has a day job of being a janitor at a gym. Captain America in this comic is very heroic and does what ever he can to save not only the American people but also the people of Italy along the way of saving the President. But to break this down more its funny to think in this universe Captain America failed on his first mission to stop Red Skull and while saving the White House from a missle his legend is unknown as he never became the true hero of World War II like the comics show him to be. Steve Rogers is a man with a limp who takes some super soilder formula injections and becomes a hero, he also back in his youth had a girlfriend and when returning to modern times is able to win the heart of her daughter…what a pimp. The Red Skull in this comic adaptation as well as the movie is Italian and is forced into his life of being a Nazi super soilder and is driven nuts by the formula, but not while he starts with the Red Skull face he ends up getting plastic sugery as he does in the movie and looks normal. Sam, Millhouse, Bernie, Dr. Vasari and Antonella are just side characters that keep the comic moving along as President Kimball is also just around to be kidnapped and in the end come to the aid to save America by fighting his captors. Sharon is a fighter and also must like older men and get turned on my people who dated her own mother. The art is well done and while it looks nothing like the actors who play the parts in the movie its based on, it does look like an issue of Captain America from the 90’s. The cover is way more action packed than the story inside and is pretty eye catching with the art inside being done by Bob Hall and are well done. Over all this adaptation is just as hammy as the film and was a good read once and something I will not re-read anytime soon. Check out the art below for what this comic looks like inside that cool cover.

Captain America Movie Special Art 1

So while I stew on which one of these films should have had a comic series based around the movie universe it created, I think it’s time for a Fantasy Warfare! I have been slacking on presenting the Fantasy Warfare and feel it’s time to unleash a battle of the movie versions of Dark Overlord of the Universe, The Red Skull and Hideko Tanaka! The battleground will be the Waffle House on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road around 1a.m on a cool windy night in May right after a nasty storm. So if you’re ready to watch an epic B-movie villain battle for the ages, let’s head into the Waffle House and see who comes out the winner.

Dark Lord (Movie)VS redLady TanakaVS redRed Skull Movie 90s

Peg is working the late shift as the waitress as Ryan is working the grill the two workers are barely talking as the two mid 30 year olds once dated and the relationship ended bad, and worse it’s been a very slow night. As the minutes tic by a stranger comes walking in he is covered up with a long grey trench coat, a scarf over his face and wearing a hat he takes a seat away from the door and orders a Texas Cheesesteak Melt, a Triple Order of Hash browns Smothered, Covered & Diced with a Chocolate Milk to drink and Peg goes to read off the order but as she does another guests comes in she is alone and has a bandage over her forehead and introduces herself as Hideko Tanaka and demainds that she becomes the leader of this Waffle House and that she will take 70% off the stores profits! Peg looks at her as if she is speaking japaness and is at a loss of words for this strange statement she ordered as another stranger comes stumbling in pushing Tanaka out of the way and demanding eggs! The Dark Lord has now entered the Waffle House and is angry and really craving eggs.  He is yelling at Ryan about sunny side up eggs, Tanaka springs into action and she plunges a steak knife off a dirty table into Dark Lord’s back, but to her shock, he just shrugs it off, turns to her and uses powers to fling her against the wall.  With his other hand he makes all the sharp knives in the place fly toward her and just before they all plunge into her body, she mumbles the words “not again” and with that she is staked to the wall never to demand 70% of profits again. As Dark Lord laughs and celebrates his victory, he turns to find a luger pistol to his face as the stranger in the long coat has taken off his hat and scarf.  We see that it’s The Red Skull as he fires a bullet into the Overlord’s brain.  The crimson faced villain makes it known that he wants his meal and all this fighting has kept him away from it! As the body of the Overlord hits the ground, The Red Skull turns back to his table just as Peg places his plate down and informs him they gave him extra pickles for his trouble. As Peg goes to get the mop to clean up the blood, Ryan is gearing up to pick up the bodies and dump them in the dumpster as The Red Skull takes a drink from his chocolate milk looking out the window and is enjoying the silence of the restaurant.

Winner – Red Skull

The Red Skull would out smart the competition, get his greasy spoon meal and leave the winner of this Fantasy Warfare, but he could not help pull off the win for the film that should have continued as a comic series as Captain America sadly came in last place because it was not as impactful and fun as the other two comic adaptations. Between Howard and The Punisher, I had a tuff decision as both had some great pros and some slight cons, but when it comes down to it I would give this win to The Punisher! Marvel could have continued the police hunt for The Punisher, and they could have fleshed out that his one time partner Jake while wanting to help him also must do the right thing and stop him from killing criminals. I think The Punisher would have made for a good series based on the film, but then again The Punisher, Captain America and Howard The Duck all have comics so whether or not Marvel wanted to make a comic series based on any of these films, fans of the characters already had issues of these heroes to make them happy!

punisher-the-1989-DI

The clean up crew is here to shut down the Marvel Theater so I think it’s time to take our leave until the next update, which will be our second Undead File as I take a look at Arrow Comics’ The Dead! So as we walk out this exit door, I would like to say that I did enjoy reading these adaptations, and that I truly think out of the three The Punisher would make the best comic series. Until next time, go see a movie at your local theater, read a comic or three and support your local Horror Host. I will see you next update for a undead good time!

The Dead Arrow Comics Logo

Forgotten Hero 101: Holo-Man

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  On this update, I want to take a look at a superhero who never quite made it to the big leagues and never become a household name alongside Superman, Captain America and Batman, a hero who had the power of holograms as well as some other science fiction style abilities…and that hero I am talking about is Holo-Man! Yeah, I know a small portion of you readers out there know about this hero, but I am sure an even larger portion are in the dark to who this bright rainbow colored hero is.  So let’s start with the basics including how I first learned about Holo-Man and his greatness. Near our house on Royston Drive in Waynesville Ohio was Mary L. Cook Public Library, a place that my family visited quite a bit to check out books and comics and rent VHS tapes, all great stuff that helped add to the enjoyment of growing up in a small village. This library is also where I discovered the Crestwood Monster Book series and is also where I would use the copy machine to make copies of pictures of monsters from books like Godzilla, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell and The Wolf Man that they stocked on their shelves.  They also had a small selection in the kids section of old Book and Record comic books that were bound in a green hardback binding and all were missing the record. I spent many of hours in that library looking at kids books, horror history books, comics and Rolling Stones Magazine, and it was a big part of my childhood for sure. I can even remember them having amazing book sales where they would sell bags of books for as low as a dollar a bag.  My Mom would take me and Bryan down there on these sales and we would load up with all types of good reads. So here is to all the libraries in the world that have helped shape many young minds and helped many in the world with good reads and a place to find peace and education. And at this library is were I first laid my eyes on and even read the first and only issue of Holo-Man as I checked it out to read. I can remember the first time I flipped through the book and saw the lack of action I knew I was in for some boring stuff and I was right! The young Matt just didn’t like Holo-Man all that much, and after this first reading he became a joke of a character between my brother Bryan and I.  At one point I think we made a beat and the loser had to check out the comic again and read it if they lost! And for some reason as a kid I thought Marvel Comics made this character, and it was not until much latter that I discovered that it was Atomic Comics and this cheesy hero was a big flop with kids and readers. So I guess I should also say thank you Mary L. Cook Libary for also introducing me to Holo-Man and his lackluster adventure.

Mary L Cook Library

Back in the 70’s, Peter Pan Records created a branch called Power Records that was a way to showcase record-based dramas featuring comic book heroes as well as TV and movie characters. Besides doing large LPs, they also started to do small 45 ones that were packaged along with a comic book and were called “Book And Record Set.”  They would be a great way for comic fans to get a little more bang for their buck as they cost more than a regular comic. Power Records didn’t pick sides in the comic war as they put out just as many DC as they did Marvel and sometimes they would even put out an independent title like they did with Holo-Man. Besides normal LPs and the Book & Record sets, they also did story books with records that were mostly based around movies of the time like Star Trek The Motion Picture. Growing up, my brother and I had lots of these style books and most of the time, the poor record would get lost or scratched and we mostly just used them as normal books! But while this style of comic isn’t not made anymore, those who had them growing up know how cool it was to read your comic/book and have a record playing the adventure you were reading acted out as a play.

Superman Book and RecordPower Record LogoIncredible Hulk Power Record

Back when I use to rent the Book & Record comics from the library, the back inside cover use to be this really cool yellow background picture that showcases many of Marvel’s top heroes as well as monsters and movie tie-in characters that included Captain America, Hulk, Man-Thing, Dracula and Apes from Planet of The Apes. I can admit this now as I ended up buying these very books from a library sale when I was a youngster, I used to try and peel off those pictures as I wanted to keep them and tape them to my cardboard playhouse I had in my room.  For some reason I really wanted Jack Russell aka Werewolf by Night as I was a huge fan of werewolves in films and comics. It was something about the black pen drawings on that yellow background that made my young mind also work into over time to set up fake fights between the characters and make up stories of how Dracula would be defeated by The Hulk or how The Thing would survive on the Planet of the Apes. I had such a great imagination when I was a kid. I am sure you’re wondering if I was ever able to peel any of them off and tape them up, and the answer is no as the picture was glued to the back of the hardback book binding and when trying to peel they would just rip and you would end up with half a character or a headless one. Below is a picture of that image and to this day for some reason I think it’s badass!

The Heroes of Power Records

While I am a old school metalhead who loves to listen to music that makes me want to bang my head and allow metal health to drive me mad, I still enjoy a good pop release that is filled with catchy songs and fun loving beats. One of the modern pop rap divas that I have found myself enjoying is Iggy Azalea, who is a beautiful young woman from Australia who has a soothing voice as she raps, well at least that’s my opinion. I first heard of her thanks to Youtube as I saw her video for a song called Fancy where she dressed up as Alicia Silverstone from the film Clueless.  The song was catchy, and her appearance caught my attention and lead me to watch more of her videos as well as listen to interviews she did. Then I noticed that she was being played on the radio more and more often as well as guest starring on many other rap and pop songs for other artists. So while I was working on this write up for Holo-Man, I was re-listening to Iggy and decided to share my thoughts on her first E.P. “Your Life” as well as her first full release called “The New Classics.”  So sit back and let me tell you about the hit and misses of these releases. In 2013, Iggy put out a E.P. to showcase her talents and build up a fanbase before her first album dropped.  This E.P. was called Your Life, and it only really has 3 songs with the rest being remixes.  This is kind of annoying but I can forgive it with it being only a E.P. my favorite song on this hands down is “Bounce,” a really catchy song that mixes pop rap with Bollywood beats.  This truly is a good song and was even used for the trailer for Spy starring Melissa McCarthy. The rest of the songs on the E.P. are okay but most are just remixes of the same song. Iggy Azalea’s first full album was the 2014 release called The New Classic, and it’s a perfect mix of rap and pop music that is filled with lots of catchy songs as well as some really silly and cheesy ones. Some of my favorite songs off this album are Fancy, a pop rap treat for the ears that has her teaming with Charli XCX that has catchy beat and some fun lyrics. My other favorite is her other radio hit Black Widow where she and Rita Ora sing about making their one time lovers hate them. But just wanted to share real quick what I was listening to when I wrote this update, and I am not afraid to say I am a Iggy fan and look forward to her next release.

Iggy Azalea Change Your Life EP CDIggy Azaleaiggy azalea new classic cd

Who is Holo-Man and what is he about I am sure your thinking to yourself, and some of my readers who have read comics most of their lives are trying to remember if they ever seen an issue of Holo-Man in their local comic shop or even on a spinner rack at the grocery store. And to answer the question, Holo-Man was only made in the Book & Record set as far as this nerd knows. But one puzzling aspect is that Holo-Man had his own fan club as well as was on a coin that was featured alongside Marvel characters who also had coins made! So it makes you wonder if Atomic Comics who created Holo-Man and Marvel had some sort of partnership where crossovers or even help distribute his comic series. Holo-Man had a huge push with merchandise, a fan club, a book & record set and the coin, so what went wrong and why was only one issue made? Did the comic sell that badly that no other issues were ordered? Did Atomic Comics go out of business and the character fell into a fate of no company to call his own? Whatever the reason that Holo-Man was not a top notch hero in the world of comics one thing was for sure is that for $5.00 you could become a HoloSquad Member!

Holo Man AdSo you know as much about Holo-Man as I do, and you learned about my introduction to this Z-Grade tight wearing hero. But even if he is a cheesy hero and his comic only lasted one issue and had to be packaged with a record, he’s still made his mark in the world of comics no matter how small the impact was. Plus you know that Atomic Comics must have had so much faith in the character and they were hoping that readers and kids would bond with the character and make him a household name like Superman and Spider-Man. I should also think Ebay for having this comic for me to review for this pre-thanksgiving update snack that is backed with enough comic sci-fi cheese that it should keep us stuffed till then. I want to remind you that I grading this comic on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to relive this comic adventure with me and see just how well Holo-Man holds up (or is that degrades?) let’s turn on a lava lamp and travel to the world of holograms.

Holo Man 1

The Adventures Of Holo-Man # 1  **
Released in 1978   Cover Price $1.50   Power Records   #1 of 1

A pair of Syrian spies break into a top secret lab in Texas and rig up a laser to explode when it’s next fired up.  They do so because The President of the United Sates is at the lab and is about to watch a laser/holographic fusion demonstration put on by Dr. James Robinson and his assistant Hugo, and they hope they all will be killed in the explosion! As the test starts and the laser overloads, James jumps in front of the President and saves him but takes a blast of Holographic rays.  This takes James to a portal in the galaxy and he meets Laserman who fills him in on his new powers of becoming the first ever living Hologram known as Holo-Man! As Holo-Man he can travel through time and dimensions, can blend in with his surroundings and can make illusions to confuse his enemies, but he must charge a charm every 12 hours or his powers become weaker. James wakes back up in the lab and finds Hugo dying who tells him that the accident was caused by the Syrians and he was the one that gave them the blueprints because they were holding his family hostage.  He also tells James that the Syrians are going to use holographic missiles to confuse the American people and then set out a real attack to take over our great nation. Hugo dies as Holo-Man rushes to the White House and tells The President about the Syrians plan, and they decide that they must stop it before it happens.  When Holo-Man leaves, his power is weaker and he must charge his disc but as he looks up the fake missiles are already filling the sky as panic people are running for their lives.

This comic ends on a cliffhanger with fake missiles in the skies as poor normal people are panicking and Holo-Man is standing around looking shocked at what he sees even though he knew the attack was in the works and that the first wave of missiles are fake. This issue is clearly an origin issue with the idea of making comic readers become attached to the hero.  It’s plot is very simple, foreign bad guys try to kill our President, a scientist who is not only super smart but brave takes the brunt of said accident and turns into a superhero who in turn must stop the bad guys from invading America. The major issue is that Holo-Man/James Robinson is not fleshed out enough for me to really stand behind him and allow him to become a hero that I would care about reading more adventures of. What I did gather about Holo-Man is that he is smart and loyal to America and while he has powers that allow him to create holographic illusions and travel in time, he does not have any type of super human strength so a well trained thug with fists of stone could knock him out with a well placed punch. Another downside to Holo-Man is the fact his powers can be drained if used too long and he must spend time to charge his HoloDisc that he must keep safe. While I understand his family was in danger, Hugo still is a traitor to is country and single handedly has helped turn America into an upcoming warzone. Laserman is a mix of Zeus and a Wizard and rocks a white long beard and just flings powers on James and gives him one of the quickest crash courses ever on what his powers are. I would say he would have to be one of the worst mentors in comic history. The President looks a lot like Jimmy Carter who would have been the President at the time of the comic and records release. While I read the comic first by itself I later did listen to the record to help add to the over all cheese and fun of this comic. I must say that this comic is slightly better then I remember it being as a kid, but with that said it still is a bland yet entertaining comic. Shame on Power Records and the creators of Holo-Man for not finishing this story as the end makes it appear that all hope is gone and that America is going to become like Red Dawn with Syrians instead of Russians taking over. The art work is done by Joseph Giella and has that classic 70’s comic look, and is well done for what is really a throw away comic. Over all this is as cheesy as I remember it being and for all accounts is a superhero that time has truly forgotten.

Holoman Art 1

Reading back to back comics about superheroes that have cheesy outdated powers and even goofer costumes gave me the idea to have a fantasy warfare that will pit 3-D Man against Holo-Man in a battle of might and power. The setting will be downtown Belmont, Ohio during a Thanksgiving Day Parade right outside Rich’s Pawn Shop in the year of 1983. So let’s sit back and see who will win this showdown of epic proportions as 3-D Man vs. Holo-Man!

Holo-ManVs Boom3-D Man

A float for Renaissance Music is going down the street as the Godzilla masked Mr. G is waving at the people watching the big parade as its followed by a Mike-Sells float that is throwing out potato chips the the hungry crowd.  One couple watching is Hal Chandler and his wife Peggy who wave back and as they do so Hal notices that near Ritch’s Pawn Shop a man in a trench coat is looming around looking as if he is a man on a mission! Hal fears that this man might be a pervert flasher and fearing that his wife might be his target he slips away and puts on his special glasses and transforms into 3-D Man.  As the red and green hero rushes off the knocked out body of Hal hits the near by dumpster and looks like a drunken fool who couldn’t handle his liquor. As 3-D Man rushes to the trench coat menace he grabs him by the shoulder and off comes the coat to show before him a man in rainbow colors and a red cape! The man turns around and screams “Who dares put their hands on Holo-Man, the master of holograms as he tries to enjoy this parade?” as 3-D Man says “ I do as I am 3-D Man the master of 3-D, and you my friend is no watcher but a flasher!” These words send Holo-Man into a rage as he is really there to watch and not show off his goods, and he places a powerful hit onto 3-D Man’s jaw knocking him through the window of Belmont Catering. A crowd starts to gather as people watch as 3-D Man leaps from the window filled with anger and knocks Holo-Man to the ground and starts pounding on the his face.  Holo-Man after a minute of having his face smashed is able to kick 3-D Man off him with the power of a mac truck and knocks him across the street, and stands to his feet his face bloody and swollen he looks at 3-D Man who is back to his feet holding his ribs.  Holo-Man knows that this is his chance as he bull rushes his opponent and starts landing punches to 3-D Man’s body like Rocky hitting a slab of meat, the punches are powerful and you can hear ribs cracking and breaking. 3-D Man falls to his knees as Holo-Man turns to the crowd to let the crowd know that the fight is over, but he should never had turned his back to 3-D Man who uses all his power to place a punch to the back of Holo-Mans head and through it as his fists exits the master of hologram’s mouth killing him on the spot. The crowd screams in horror and runs away as the police are nowhere to be found.  This buys 3-D Man some time as he crawls to Hal and enters awakens his brother only for Hal to wake up and find that his wallet, watch and shoes have been stolen and his wife had ran off with a young scientist form Dayton named Bruce Banner.

Winner: 3-D Man

So as you can see even though 3-D Man won, he still lost as his alter ego has been robbed of his wealth and his wife and as the super hero his ribs have been almost smashed into powder. But to be honest ,this would be a great fight between two very silly superheroes who are very much dated, but still have a cool factor to them. Our next update will be our traditional Thanksgiving Day update and will once more feature the greek hero Hercules.  This time he will be teaming up with none other than The Three Stooges thanks to Dell Comics and their adaptation of the classic comedy film The Three Stooges Meet Hercules.  So make sure to save some room for this cheesy and fun update after your turkey and/or ham feast. So until then have a safe holiday, read a comic or three, support your local horror host and as Bill & Ted would say “Be Excellent To Each Other.”

Three Stooges Meet Hercules Logo

Marvel At The Movies Part 2: Rise Of The Machines

Welcome back to not only Rotten Ink but also Marvel Theater, a place where we can talk about those amazing comic adaptation made by the comic juggernaut back in the 80’s and 90’s. I really wish that Marvel had not been sold to Disney some years back as I feel that the overall vibe of the company switched from solid stories and fun events and adaptations for the readers, to making huge budget movies and large “epic” events that con people into buying mountains of issues they don’t need. But I guess we can’t change the past…or can we? You see for this Marvel At The Movies, we will be taking a look at the likes of Terminator 2, Transformers The Movie and Robocop 2, and if T2 taught me anything, it’s that the past can be changed to save the future! But really I chose these three films as I feel that in the 80’s and early 90’s robots and cyborgs were some of the most popular subjects in comics, video games and movies, and these three best fit that time of the robotic obsession. So grab some popcorn, get yourself a large soda or Icee and let’s get the perfect seats as we step into the theater for Marvel At The Movies Part 2. marvel-at-the-movies 2 I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material, and I will give these comics a little slack on not keeping 100% to the film because they have only so many pages to contain it all in, but it will only be a little slack. I also want to thank Lone Star Comics, Half Price Books, Bell Book And Comic, Ebay as well as Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock.

Transformers Movie 1Transformers Movie PosterTransformers Movie 2 Released in 1986 by DEG, this first animated film was a showcase for the Transformers and a way for them to pass the torch from Optimus Prime to the new hip character Rodimus. The film has the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons raging hard and leaves Optimus Prime dead and Megatron injured at death’s door. But things change when the Matrix of Leadership is passed down and the Decepticons become the henchmen for the living robot planet Unicron. This animated film was a hit with the Brassfield brothers as we watched it many times on VHS that our parents would rent for us from the rental store. The film of course was based on the Hasbro toys as well as the Toei Animation cartoon that was super popular and helped secure Transformers’ spot as a top brand in children’s entertainment. I can remember many kids on the playground in Waynesville talking about this film as it shook the foundation of what we all knew and loved about The Transformers! The film did poorly at the box office, only grossing $5,849,647.00 but remains a cult classic film that is loved by young and old. So let’s not waste anymore time, and let’s take a look at Marvel’s three issue adaptation of Transformers The Movie. Transformers The Movie 1

Transformers: The Movie # 1 ***
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #1 of 3

Unicron is a planet eating robot who is on his way to eat the planet Cybertron that is being controlled by Megatron and the Decepticons but cannot when the Matrix of leadership is still fueling energy to the Autobots! Megatron, thanks to Laserbeak, finds out about a plan that has some members of the Autobots going to Earth, and this allows Megatron to get an upper hand as they kill all the Autobots on board and and hide on the ship coming to the Earth base. Rodimus Prime watches as the ship lands and all the Decepticons come out and attack the Autobots.  During the battle Optimus Prime and Megatron come face to face in a brutal showdown that leaves Megatron wounded and Optimus Prime at death’s door. The Autobots run off the Decepticons as Optimus dies and passes the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus, who now becomes the leader. The Decepticons turn on the injured Megatron and the other hurt Decepticons and throw them into space where the are greeted by Unicron who heals Megatron and makes him more powerful.  He even gets a name change as he is now Galvatron and has the goal to destroy the Matrix of Leadership!

This is a great comic adaptation, and I must say changes enough from the animated movie to give it a slightly fresh feel. The plot of this issue has Megatron and Optimus Prime duking it out in order for both of them to be wounded bad enough that Prime dies so he can pass the Matrix down and for Megatron to be near death’s door and have his own robot companions turn on him allowing him to make a deal with Unicron to become more powerful and get a make over complete with a name change. The action is fast and brutal, and the death of Optimus Prime is impactful and handled well, even if it doesn’t capture the full sad moment like the film does. Optimus Prime is outstanding as the issue’s lead hero and stands his ground even when the odds are against him. He, much like Duke from G.I Joe and Lion-O from Thundercats, is a perfect example of an 80’s leader. Megatron in this comic is cold blooded and wants to kill and conquer and almost seems to be getting gleeful as he kills fellow robots. Unicron is just a giant hungry planet in this issue and reminds me of Marvel Comics bad guy Glactus with all his world eating. The art in the issue is fantastic and captures the look of not only the movie it’s based on but also the comic series that Marvel had going on about the Transformers. To sum it up, great first issue, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store in the other two issues left in this adaptation! Transformers The Movie 2

Transformers: The Movie # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #2 of 3

Starscream is about to be crowned the new leader of the Decepticons when Galvatron and his new more powerful men show up and kill Starscream.  By doing so, they get the rest of the Decepticons to join their side in getting the Matrix of Leadership. Meanwhile Ultra Magnus, who is now the leader of the Autobots, gets a call that a living planet has eaten one of the moons of Cybertron.  He gathers the troops to help when they are attacked by Galvatron and his men but luckily are able to lose them by causing a meter shower in space. Hot Rod, Kup and the Dinobots are on a shuttle and are attacked and crash on a planet filled with a race of robots who run a crude court that leads to death penalties for Hot Rod, Cup and Grimlock who are all to be eaten by small razor toothed bots called Sharkticons, but are saved when the rest of the Dinobots join the fight and Grimlock scares the Sharkticons into being his followers and they attack their old masters! Hot Rod and crew meet Wheelie who says he has a ship they can all escape on.  Ultra Magnus and crew have been found by Galvatron.  Their main shuttle is shot down, so they get inside a tiny one that’s loosing control.  Galvatron is called back to Unicron, who has just eaten human Spike and Bumblebee!

This second issue does a nice job of moving the story along and does a fantastic job in showing the odds that are now stacked against the Autobots and just how evil Galvatron and Unicron are, as power seems to be their motivation in killing and destroying anything that gets in their way. I do also like how they show Galvatron not really wanting to be loyal to Unicron and if he could he would turn on the world eater. The plot has the Autobots on the run as Galvatron and his army are out to kill them and collect the Matrix of Leadership.  Ultra Magnus is being pushed to the limit as he must come up with a plan in order to defeat the Decepticons and stop Unicron from eating anymore planets. Ultra Magnus, while a strong leader type, also seems to be a little cold as he shrugs off the would be deaths of some of his fellow Autobots, and really as of yet hasn’t taken the fight to his enemies. Galvatron just doesn’t care and wants to kill as many Autobots as he can so that his pact with Unicron can come to an end.  he also gets joy in killing Starscream and does so with no remorse. This issue ends with a nice cliffhanger as it makes you wonder if Bumblebee and Spike are dead, as they both are eaten alive by Unicron! The artwork is done by Ian Akin & Brian Garvey and is fantastic and captures the movie as well as the on-going Marvel series’ look and feel. Over all this is a pretty solid issue and does a good job of bring the film to comic.  So let’s see how the final issue in this adaptation ends. Transformers The Movie 3

Transformers: The Movie # 3  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #3 of 3

Ultra Magnus and crew crash on a planet of junk and meet a race of TV talking robots who watch as Galvatron attacks and rips apart Ultra Magnus, who could not open the Matrix.  This allows Galvatron to steal the Matrix, and he thinks he can use it against Unicron and make the giant planet eater his slave! As Galvatron leaves, Hot Rod and his band of Autobots have tracked Ultra Magnus to the junk planet and finds him dead and the TV Robots hostile! But after talking with them using a nonsense greeting, they become friends with the Autobots and rebuild Ultra Magnus.  They all join forces to stop Unicron and Galvatron from destroying anymore planets! Galvatron tries to use the Matrix against Unicron and fails and is eaten for his backstabbing and as further punishment Cybertron will be his next planet meal! As Unicron attacks Cybertron, Hot Rod and the Autobots come to the rescue and attack the giant robot and enter his insides via his eye! While inside Unicron’s body, Hot Rod runs into Galvatron, and the two start fighting and during this fight Hot Rod is able to open the Matrix of Leadership and becomes Rodimus Prime and not only beats Galvatron but also destroys Unicron from the inside causing him to blow up.  Rodimus saves all the remaining Autobots who were stuck in Unicron’s belly and takes back control of Cybertron!

The final issue of Transformers The Movie comic adaptation is good but also very rushed as the plot seems to fly by and the end payout is very lackluster. Hot Rod finds out he is the chosen one and becomes Rodimus Prime and leads the Autobots into war with Galvatron and Unicron and in a matter of minutes is able to beat them as well as the Decepticons who had taken over Cybertron. Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime is a good hero and only in the first issues does he show any immaturity and pretty much from the start shows that he has good leadership skills. Ultra Magnus is useless; not only does he get his butt kicked and the Matrix stolen, he also is ripped apart and goes down like a chump. It’s sad to see both Optimus Prime and Bumblebee killed off in this comic while Prime dies in the movie, Bumblebee does not but in this comic he sure does as does human Spike and many other old school Autobots. Megatron/ Galvatron is again one mean son of a gun who kills with pleasure and is so power hungry that he even tries to turn on a more powerful robot who controls him with unworldly powers. Unicron is a big bully who likes throwing his huge size around and while powerful, can be beaten with the light power of the Matrix. Ian Akin & Brian Garvey do the art again, and it’s fantastic and shows that Marvel did put some time and care into this movie adaptation even if it did feel rushed in the end. This is a nice kick off to this second Marvel at the Movies and makes me wonder how Robocop 2 and Terminator 2 will compare in quality. So to sum up the Transformers The Movie comic mini series, I would say solid work that was entertaining and was a nice counter piece to go alongside to movie for fans.

Transformer Movie Art 1Transformer Movie Art 2Transformer Movie Art 3

From Rodimus Prime to Robocop, we now move from a giant robots to a police cop cyborg! Robocop 2 Movie 1Robocop 2 PosterRobocop 2 movie 2

The original Robocop was a blockbuster Action/Sci-Fi film.  So in 1990, when Robocop 2 was coming out fans like myself were super hyped for a new adventure for the law enforcement of the future! While the first film was dark and brutal, this second film took a more silly cheesy approach and made Robocop even more appealing for kids. The film had Robocop, during a bad time for the cops of the city, going after a drug lord who is slinging his new toxic fix onto the streets.  Both sides clash, and the drug lord himself is turned into a metal cyborg.  The streets of Detroit are wrecked as the two cyber men clash. I can remember that this film was very popular with the kids I knew.  My brother and I also enjoyed it, and we would watch it along with the first movie many times on VHS and HBO. Looking back at it now, it’s still a fun cheesy film, but it does lack the charm of the original.  The story that was written by Frank Miller is a little over the top and filled with eye rolling moments. But what I always thought worked for the film is the fact they got Peter Weller back to play Robocop and that they had him fight yet another out of control machine that was twice his size. Rumor has it that many of the actors of this film were very displeased with not only the shooting of the film but also many of the changes that were made to the script. This film would also mark the final time Weller played the future of law enforcement. The film did pretty well at the US box office bringing in $45,681,173.00 and a decent money maker for Orion Pictures. As I stated, I liked the film growing up and even still don’t mind it as an adult so I can’t wait to see what Marvel does with this three issue adaptation. Robocop 2 1

Robocop 2  # 1  ***
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comic   #1 of 3

Detroit is in deep trouble as the police are on strike. The O.C.P corporation has loaned the city money, and because they missed the first payment, they now own the city.  Plus they are trying to make a more updated version of Robocop that has been leading to many suicidal cyborgs.  Worse, a drug called Nuke made by a man named Cain is flooding the streets! But not all cops are off the road as Robocop, his partner Lewis and a few other cops are still busting crooks and trying to have a war on Nuke! Robocop learns that Cain has a few trusted associates that include a 12-year-old boy named Hob, femfatale Angie and cop turned drug addict rat officer Duffy. Robocop busts Duffy red handed who spills the beans about where to find Cain.  Robocop goes to but him but sadly is outwitted.  Cain and his gang of thugs rip Robocop apart and leave his destroyed body in front of the police station as a warning.

This first issue is great and really captures the action of the film as at no point does the story really slow down; it’s action and sci-fi adventure from page to page. The plot of this first issue is simple, a drug is on the street called Nuke being made and distributed by a man named Cain and his thugs.  The town’s only hope is Robocop, who sadly is outmatched and turned into a tin can by the end of the issue. Throw is a major corporation trying its best to disrupt the city so they can own it.  Robocop is as noble and on point as he is in film and comics and makes for one likable good guy. What works about Robocop is the fact he is more then just a machine as it’s clear some of his human side comes out and he wants to do the right thing by stopping Nuke from corrupting the youth of Detroit. Robocop even disobeys orders to try and stop the mastermind of the drug, but sadly it backfires and he gets his metal butt kicked.  So far all we know about Cain is that he is a murderer, a very mean guy and makes a drug called Nuke…so yeah, he is a terrible person. Officer Anne Lewis is his partner on the streets, and while she takes a back seat in this issue I am sure she will have a bigger part in the upcoming issues. The end panel of Robocop’s body being seen by the cops is stuff of nightmares! Really good comic adaptation so far, and I am looking forward to the rest of the issues. Mark Bagley does the art, and it’s pretty solid and captures the film as well as has that early 90’s look. The cover is great and has Robocop being shot by punks, and he don’t look happy as he is returning fire making it very eye catching. So let’s move on and see if Robocop can be rebuilt and take down Cain. Robocop 2 2

Robocop 2  # 2  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comic   #2 of 3

Robocop is on life support, and O.C.P is dragging their feet on helping him and are moving ahead with a plan to build a Robocop II from the brain of a killer instead. Cain and his men kill Duffy as they feel he had ratted them out.  This is to also serve as a message to those who stand in Cain’s way. By the time they do fix Robocop, they fill his program data with all types of weird orders that take away his ability to be a good cop by being light on major criminals and overreacting to people who smoke and cuss. Lewis is upset about the changes in her partner and along with his handlers at the department, they discuss a way to try and remove all the bad commands.  One idea is use a large amount of electricity. Robocop hears this and on purpose grads high voltage higher and rids his mind of the bad commands and fires up the cops on strike.  Together, they go after Cain and his men! Robocop busts Cain and roughs him up doing so.  In the end O.C.P pull the plug on the dying Cain and are going to use his brain for Robocop II as the young Hob takes over the drugmaking racket.

Robocop might have been down and out in issue 1, but a little ways into issue 2 he is back and ready to kick Cain’s drug making butt! This second issue’s plot has Robocop being rebuilt and taking down his most-wanted tagert Cain and does so with aggression and authority. Robocop, when reprogramed, was a weather loving, pep talk giving odd ball who would be lucky to arrest a 85 year old woman who just stole coffee from the local grocery store. Robocop back to normal is fired up and wastes zero time in going after Cain and ramming a motorcycle down his throat. Cain is sleazy as ever and thinks he’s untouchable until he himself is at death’s door and smacked down to reality. One odd thing is, why and the world would O.C.P want to use a man’s brain who is a drug making, murdering addict who craves power and thought of himself as a god….all I can say is they are doing this to themselves, and once more shows even in comics based on a movie, huge corporations are just out of touch. I really like this issue as well, but I felt like the plot and story in this one seemed rushed and besides Robocop, no other character is fleshed out. Mark Bagley does the art again, and the second issue cover is good by not nearly as eye catching as the first. With another good issue, let’s move onto the final adaptation issue and see just how well Marvel did with Robocop 2. Robocop 2 3

Robocop 2  # 3  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comic   #3 of 3

Robocop, who was once Officer Alex Murphy must tell his one-time wife that the man she loved is dead and that he as Robocop is just a tribute to his memory. The Mayor of the city is holding a telethon to try and save the city from getting into the hands of O.C.P and gets a call from Hobs who wants to make an offer to help save the city with cash in exchange to the city to back off on busting the selling of Nuke. O.C.P finds out about the meeting and send Cain now as the massive cyborg Robocop II to kill everyone.  While the Mayor escapes, Hob, Angie and many others are not so lucky as they are killed in cold blood. Robocop figures out the O.C.P is behind this and breaks into their lab and finds that they used Cain’s brain in the new machine, and he knows he must stop it. The deadline is here, and O.C.P now runs the city.  During the live take over on TV, they also introduce Cain as Robocop II to the audience, but when Cain has other things on his mind and starts to run wild, Robocop comes in and saves the day.  As the two battle it out on the streets of Detroit, it’s Robocop’s mind the beats the robo Cain who is still addicted to Nuke, and he uses that against him and is able to rip the brain from the machine and crush it on the street, killing it on impact. In the end O.C.P play the blame game on one of their own and get away with all the crappy things they did.

A really good, yet once more rushed finale to this Marvel Comic adaptation that captured the action of the film on comic pages. The final act in this series has Robocop finding out that O.C.P is using the mad man Cain’s brain to power a new robot cyborg who has just killed a warehouse full of people on the orders of the evil big business. And when Cain acts out, it’s Robocop who comes to the rescue and battles it to the death. Robocop, in this comic series, is a badass and even when the odds are against him as Robo Cain is more powerful and has way more weapons, he still finds a way to beat his stronger opponent down and even smash his brain on the street like roadkill. Cain as Robocop II is cold blooded and don’t care what it hurts as it even turns on its creators and only wants power and Nuke.  In fact he is a very classic movie bad guy as he is as soulless as they come. Poor Hob is shot and killed, and Angie gets stabbed leaving two criminals dead at the hands of their one time friend Cain. Officer Anne Lewis is Robocop’s loyal friend and partner, but her part never seems to pick up and she seems lost in the rushed shuffle. I will say that while I felt that the adaptation was sped along and at times things seem to happen without explanation as the lead up was cut out of the comic. I still really enjoyed this comic adaptation and felt that for the most part it did everything right. Mark Bagley did the art again, and it’s fantastic and really well done.  The cover for this third issue is just ok and is kind of sloppy looking. Another solid Marvel adaptation and so far chosing the winner will be very hard! Below is some art from the series for your robo enjoyment. I should also say that the art does make the characters look like the actors for the most part and Robocop looks fantastic.

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The Future of Law Enforcement to a robot from the future.

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Terminator 2 was the biggest film of 1991 beating out many other great films like Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, Silence Of The Lambs, JFK, The Rocketeer, Star Trek VI and Freddy’s Dead The Final Nightmare to name very few, and it also marked in many peoples eyes, a sequel that was better then the original. The film follows another Terminator coming back in time to protect John Connor, the leader of the rebels in the future from another terminator who is made of liquid metal. The film was directed by James Cameron and brought back stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton from the original and turned up the action full blast and added a more drama to the mix as John builds a bond with his metal machine protector. In 1991, this film blew my socks off and was a movie I watched many, many times along with my brother who got the film on VHS for Christmas. The film was so amazing I can remember playing with G.I. Joes and acting as if they were characters from the movie, and then when the official toys came out, I rushed to buy a Terminator T-800. The film pushed Arnold as an even bigger top of the line action star and launched the career of Edward Furlong as well helped James Cameron become an in-demand director. The film rocked the US box office, bringing in a total of $204,843,345.00 making TriStar very happy. While I have read this Marvel comic adaptation before as the old library in Waynesville use to allow you to check out comics, I am excited to reread them and wish I still had one of my old Terminator 2 shirts so that I could squeeze into it to relive the time when T2 ruled the world of movies.

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Terminator 2  # 1  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #1 of 3

John Conner is the target of Sky Net again, and this time they plan on taking him out while he is a teen and send a T-1000 model after him who is liquid metal and takes the look of a police officer.  The John Conner of the future sends a T-800 back that looks like the original Terminator. Meanwhile John’s mother is at an asylum and is trying her best to get to medium security so she can get visits from John and she fails her review, but The Terminators are on the track of John and find him at the mall’s arcade.  Both try to nab him, but John escapes on his motorbike as they both give chase. The T-800 saves him and tells him the truth of why he is here, and they both head to the asylum to save Sarah who is also being targeted by T-1000! Throw in Miles Dyson a worker for Sky Net who is working with the hand from the original Terminator as part of the cover up over the original attack from the future. Sarah Conner meanwhile is trying to escape the asylum on her own and ends the issue with taking her doctor hostage with a needle filled with drain cleaner.

The # 1 film of 1991 got the Marvel adaptation, and I found this first issue to be pretty good and keeps the action up and still finds enough time to put in that pesky plot to tie it all together. The plot in this one has two Terminators coming from the future to the past to get John Conner.  One wants to kill him, while the other wants to protect him, so it’s a race to John! Also throw in the fact his mom’s in a nut house and a big corporation is working on making the robots that will kill off the human race in future. The T-800 at this point is all business and orders and has no issues killing people that are not John in order to protect the teen, but is also loyal to John who even as a teen can order him around. The T-1000 is a cold steel killing machine who can change his appearance and even turn his hands into knives and spikes to use to kill off the humans who get in his way.  He can also mimic the voice of people he steals the appearance of. Sarah Conner is a woman who is sane in a world of the insane as she is looked at as a loony tune all because she knows all our fates in the future, but even while she is a prisoner ,she still has a fighting spirit. While the issue has some action, it also has the build to the story that while rushed, is well done and at all points I get what’s going on as they didn’t cut out important elements. Now for the downside of this issue and it’s one that really stands out and is in your face, that’s the bad art done by Klaus Janson. I am sorry I am not a fan of the sloppy 90’s art that plagued many comics at this time and for some reason Marvel went the sloppy art route with T2. The cover is great and reminds me of an old T-Shirt I had with the same design when I was younger. So a pretty solid start and can’t wait to get onto issue 2 and see how well Marvel keeps up with the film.

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Terminator 2  # 2  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #2 of 3

John and T-800 get to the asylum and save Sarah, who at first is freaked out at the sight of The Terminator who looked like the one who tried to kill her in 1984. As John calms her down and they try to escape, the T-1000 also makes his move, and they all just barely escape his sharp pointy hands. Sarah thinks about destroying T-800 when they stop at a run down gas station to rest and they switch his brain chip to learn like a human, but John talks her out of it and the three travel to the desert to visit Sarah’s friend who houses all her guns and they prepare for war. While in the desert John and T-800 are starting to have a bond, and The Terminator is learning lingo and about human feelings. But things go south when Sarah leaves to kill Miles Dyson, and John and T-800 go after her to stop the murder.

The second issue starts off with action in the asylum but is really just the build up for the bond between John and T-800 making this issue one I have dubbed “A Boy and His Terminator.”  This is by no means a put down as I feel the issue is great and really well done and held my interest as I enjoyed every page. T-800 is now becoming more like a person than a machine in this issue as he learns not to kill people and how to use words like jerkwad. John Conner also turns from punk teen to caring teen that starts to come to terms with himself being the hope for the future and also shows he cares about human life. Sarah Conner, while a caring mother, is also overbearing and doesn’t show her son the affection he needs and is more about living the future then the present. T-1000 is badass but was slightly behind when it came to killing John at the asylum and then takes a back seat for the rest of the issue besides killing another cop along a stretch of highway. The cover is pretty eye catching and has John and T-800 on a motorcycle.  The inside is sadly once more done by Klaus Janson and has that same sloppy look. The art is truly the only thing taking me out of this otherwise solid Marvel adaptation, but let’s not let the terrible art get me down and move on to the third and final issue.

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Terminator 2  # 3  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #3 of 3

Sarah Conner can’t kill Miles, and when John shows up with the T-800, they fill him in on the future and the rise of the machines. Miles takes them to the lab, and together they try and destroy any and all research that has to do with the original Terminator. Miles gives John the original Terminator’s hand and chip, and the police show up and open fire hitting Miles who has the trigger to the explosions they have set.  As John, Sarah and T-800 get away, Miles passes away and the building goes boom! As they flee, the T-1000 finds them and a chase happens that ends at a steel plant where the T-800 and the T-1000 have a final showdown.  While it looks bad for T-800, he has an ally in Sarah, and together they defeat T-1000 by knocking him inside a vat of molten steel. As John throws in the arm and chip, the T-800 says farewell to them and jumps into the molten steel and gives the thumbs up as mother and son watch their friend melt away.

This third issue slips a little in the quality story department and rushes way too much of the film’s finale as the big end fight between T-800 and T-1000 is way too fast and loses all the excitement of the film’s fight. Not to mention, they cut out the scene when T-800 uses the mini gatlin gun on the police cars from the lab’s window. Plus I feel the death of Miles Dyson has no impact in the comic as he is shot and left to die via explosion really quick. For that matter, the death of the T-800 is handled all wrong too as in the film he lowers himself in as the sadness builds in the comic he leaps in like a kid in a swimming pool. The plot of this final issue is this John and group destroy all the research being done that would create The Terminators and then have a final battle with the T-1000 in a steel mill where they defeat him and T-800 learns why humans cry as he must end his own life. T-800, while outdated compared to the T-1000, shows that newer is not better as he takes a beating and is still able to defeat his predecessor by burning him alive in molten steel. Not to mention he is the true hero of the story and does whatever it takes to protect John even risking his own mechanical body. T-1000 is still just a killing machine who sadly spends a lot of the issues looking for John and having brief fights with T-800.  That’s one thing that kind of stunk about this adaptation, the main villain felt like an after thought. And to be honest, besides killing a few humans and beating up T-800 for a few panels he goes down pretty easy in the end. John and Sarah stay the same as they did in issue 2, and Sarah only changes slightly as now she knows that she needs to show love and affection toward her son and not just bark orders. The comic while having violence never shows blood and keeps the comic very PG, and I’m okay with that as you get the point when people are being hurt. The characters in this film/comic would and could have made a great series from Marvel making this a tough on to pick what of the three films should have continued on as a comic, but again the thing working against this series is the bland and sloppy art of Klaus Janson that is just so cheesy bad that many times I found myself being annoyed by it. Below is some samples of the terrible artwork and you can be the judge for yourself if you like it out not.

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So before I choose which of these films should have gone on to become a full series from Marvel Comics, I want to once more have a Fantasy Warfare match that will pit all the bad guys from the series against each other to see who rules supreme of the world of robotic bad guys! The setting will be AK Steel in Middletown Ohio during a very cold winter and a snow storm has just hit toward the end of the day. So let’s sit back and read about the chaos that could have been if these titans ever fought. So get ready for Galvatron vs. Cain vs. T-1000!

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Jim Wilson Jr. is the last man to leave AK Steel that night as a major snow storm is hitting in Middletown, you see Jim is the janitor and while the workers got sent home for the evening due to driving risks his boss decided that Jim needed to mop all the floors and change some lightbulbs before he could leave to get home to his studio apartment at the Dayton Towers. Jim is about to lock up when he hears a noise from inside the factory that startles him, and it’s coming in from some molten steel that was just brought in from another steel plant early that morning as Jim slowly makes his way to the noise he lets out a very weak sounding “Is some one there?” as he turns the corner his fear turns to terror as he watches a liquid mass turn into a human form of a cop and it’s none other then the T-1000 who turns toward the janitor with his arm transforming into a knife and has murder in it’s cold eyes. Jim starts to run when he hears a massive rumble at on of the loading gates as the door bursts apart and in comes a Robot Cain who is covered with snow and his high on Nuke and is out of control with rage, Jim before Cain can see him hides behind the forklift as Cain spots the T-1000 and thinks that it’s a real cop and goes on the attack! T-1000 turns it’s sights from Jim to Cain as well and leaps into the air and tries to drive it’s now spiked hands into Cains head, but the attack fails for a moment as Cain catches T-1000 in air and rips him in two! Cain gloats with his “win” but to his surprise the T-1000 melts in mid tear in the air and reforms into his police cop shape and his hand a giant spike that he rams through the right shoulder of Cain, who in turn flings T-1000 off slamming him into the wall. As T-1000 stands up behind him, in the shadows giant red eyes appear and an echoing voice rings out saying “ENOUGH” and a fire blast erupts from the darkness blasting T-1000, the heat is intense and extreme and melts the liquid robot into a puddle! Cain looks on as oil is pouring out of his shoulder, Galvatron emerges from the shadows and raises his fist and comes down and crushes Cain like a pop can ending the battle fast and allowing Galvatron to go back into the darkness and find the rest he was seeking. After the battle has died down and Galvatron is napping Jim comes out from behind the forklift and looks around the plant and see’s the crushed body of Cain and the melted mess that was T-1000 and rushes to his old beat up Ram Truck parked outsides, the snow is falling even harder now and the Janitor is happy to have escaped his work alive this night.

Winner: Galvatron

Like Cain and T-1000 had a chance against a giant pissed off robot with a cannon arm! But while Transformers’ Galvatron might have won easily the Fantasy Warfare, I can say that Transformers: The Movie didn’t win The Marvel Comic award that I would like to see turned into a full series.  The reason being that Marvel already had a long running Transformers series going, and the fact I don’t know how hyped I would be to read about the adventures of Rodimus Prime. Robocop 2 was followed by a Marvel Comic series based on Robocop and again, not sure how much more life they could have gotten out of Cain. So the winner hands down would have to be Terminator 2, as I would like to see the T-800 take on the T-1000 again as well as see how John and Sarah deal with the rise of the machines not being over. But while I picked T2, I should also note that I would choose it only if they took Klaus Janson off the comic and put someone like Herb Trimpe on the art!

Winner T2

The Marvel Theater is getting ready to close, and the clean up crew is waiting for us to get out so they can clean up all the popcorn on the floor.  So I should tell you that our next update is going to be another Horror Host Icon as we take a look at that cool Detroit Vampire, Sir Graves Ghastly! So with that we should head out.  Make sure to read a comic or three, watch a movie at your favorite theater, and support your local Horror Host.

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Hellraiser III: Hell In Ink

It’s now October, and we are ever so close to Halloween.  In this update as promised we are going to open the Puzzle Box and take a look at Epic Comics’ adaptation of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth! But to really tell the story of how I first got to see the film, we have to focus on video rental stores, not your Blockbuster Videos or West Coast Video but the ones that were in super market and department stores. Back in the 1980’s, the video rental industry was in a huge boom and alongside the massive chains, you also had smaller mom and pop shops and still yet major retail chains even got into the business and had small sections in the store that acted as their rental shop. One such store that had a video rental store in it was Kroger on Whipp Road.  It was a full grocery and midway in the store, they had a very small electronics department that was filled with cameras, film and blank cassettes and VHS tapes; that’s also were the video store was. For me, way before Netflix took its soulless grip on movie watchers, video rental stores were a very important way to discover horror films that I had never heard of, and nothing can take the place of cruising the isle of a video store looking at the amazing cover art for VHS and DVD scary films to choose what ones to watch that weekend. That’s one thing I will always love about my teen years, hanging out with my older brother Bryan and going to the local video store and renting a ton of horror films to watch over the weekend, only taking a break to watch TNT’s Monstervision or USA’S Up All Night, but I am getting off topic. One weekend my Dad and I went over for a quick visit to my uncle’s house.  It was early in the morning, and the visit was a couple of hours.  On our way home my Dad stopped at Kroger to pick up some food for dinner, and while he went shopping I beelined to the video department and started looking at the PVT’s (Previously Viewed Tapes) and there it was Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth on VHS and I so wanted it! My Dad found me holding the tape in my hand as if it was a prize.  I had seen the first two Hellraiser films and loved them and so wanted to see the third film in the series. My Dad told me it was time to go and reality hit me in the face that I was just a young kid with no money and as I slowly started to put the tape back on the shelf my Dad said “You want that movie? Well go on and get it and let’s go” and this is why my Dad rules.  He could see in my face how much I wanted that movie and spent the money to get it for me, and this small thoughtful act meant the world to this strange Monster Kid.

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When we got home, I rushed to the VCR and popped in my new VHS tape as my parents went outside to do some yard work, and I was treated to the wonders of the Hell on Earth! The film is about Joey Summerskill a TV reporter who is stuck doing lame stories, but one night she stumbles onto a case while at the ER.  She witness a teen coming in for help who is ripped apart before her eyes by chains! The dead youth was brought in by a young pretty girl named Terry who is dating JP Monroe, the owner of a club called the Boiler Room, and Joey really needs to find her to crack this story. The club is filled with all types of odd artwork that includes a pillar that houses the evil spirit of Pinhead and when Joey goes looking for Terry she gets to see just how scummy JP is. Terry breaks up with JP and stays with Joey to fill her in on the puzzle box that is revealed to be the source of the chains that killed the youth, and to make things worse Pinhead is breaking free of the pillar and is using JP to bring him victims to get stronger with false promises. But when Pinhead uses Terry to free himself from the his prison its up to Joey armed with the puzzle box to fight off Pinhead and his new crew of cenobites who want to bring Hell to Earth! Joey is helped by Captain Elliott Spencer (Pinheads human counterpart) in her dreams who is the key of ending his terror forever. Is Joey strong enough to defeat Pinhead or will she be the reason the world as we know it coming to an end? The write up was taken from my old Review site for Bloodline Video were I gave the film a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. I would watch the film several times over the years on that VHS tape and at times I think I drove my Mom crazy with watching it as she hated a scene that took place in a church. But I don’t want to talk to much about the film’s plot and my thoughts because we will save all that for the comic!

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One thing I should point out is that on my first viewing I was amazed by the body and boobs of actress Aimee Leigh, who plays Sandy a young woman from the club that is used for sex and then is killed by Pinhead. When watching the scene where she is naked on the bed, I felt as if I was watching something I should not be seeing and that my parents were going to come in the living room and ask what kind of filth was I watching! But I made it past the scene and her performance will always live on in my mind!

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While Pinhead is the most popular Cenobite, his fellow minions also have their own following.  I mean who could forget Chatter or even Butterball from the original 1987 movie, and this third film has its own cast of weird cenobites characters that include CD Head, a cenobite that has Compact Discs in his head and he can fling them as a deadly weapon. Barbie is a Cenobite with barbwire around his face who can also blow fire from his mouth! Camera Head has a camera for an eye that he can use it as a tool to shoot through the skulls of victims.  Piston Head is a cenobite with a piston running through his head, and last is Terri a female cenobite who well, dreams….yeah, these cenobites could be the lamest of Pinhead’s henchmen in the whole series, but their cheesy names and gimmicks also makes them pretty damn cool! I can remember fellow horror film fan friends of mine as well as my cousins Dino and Norman making fun of the likes of CD Head.  Poor CD seemed to be the one everyone pointed out as being lame and was the butt of many jokes. Bellow is a group pick of the cenobites from the film as well as I believe the director of the film.  So check em out and see CD Head in all his glory!

Hellraiser III Cenobites

I can’t remember too much merchandise coming out in 1992 when the film was released to theaters besides the movie poster, cardboard cut out and maybe a T-Shirt, but in the 2000’s toy makers NECA made a line of figures based of the Hellraiser franchise and many of these figures were based on the Cenobites from the third film. The figures are well detailed and are great collectors items and are worth a buy if your a fan of the series, and yes I do own many of them and yes, one of them is CD Head. Check out the pics bellow for what they look like.

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The film had two soundtracks come out on CD and Cassette, one being the score and the other being music used and inspired by the film that includes artist like Motorhead and KMFDM. While the Rock N Roll soundtrack is pretty dang good, the score music by Randy Miller is the better choice of the two for me. While Miller’s music fits the film, it’s very 90’s sounding and very different from the Christopher Young score of the original. So if you like horror film soundtrack music, then you can pick your poison and bang your head or soak in the mood of this film. And for those wondering I do play Miller’s score music on Alpha Rhythms from time to time.

Hellraiser III SoundtrackHellraiser III score soundtrack

So it’s time.  The Puzzle Box is open and the chains are flying and I can hear Pinhead creeping around so before we get stuck in his nightmare world and we are forced to read Epic Comics’ adaptation of the third Hellraiser film, I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So the time is here, let’s get ready to walk the dark side with the cenobites!

Hellraiser III Comic 1

Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth   **
Released in 1992   Cover Price $4.95   Epic Comics   # 1 of 1

J.P. Monroe is a night club owner who buys a pillar statue from an abandoned art house from a strange homeless man.  Meanwhile news reporter Joey Summerskill is at the ER covering a boring story and as Doc, her cameraman, leaves a young man is rushed in with chains hanging from open wounds on his body, Terri, a young goth girl who brought him, in is the only clue to what has happened to this young man as Joey watches as he chains rip him apart! The news station she works with thinks Joey’s story is too fantastic, and she goes out on her own to find answers to what has happened to the exploding youth. She tracks Terri to a night club called The Boiler Room that’s owned by J.P. and leaves her business card for Terri to call her.  Terri does so once she and boyfriend J.P break up and Joey allows Terri to stay with her at her apartment. Joey and Terri work as a team and try to find answers to what the Puzzle Box is and what is its connection to the youth’s death. Meanwhile J.P finds that Pinhead, the evil cenobite, is living in his statue and wants human blood to become stronger and free himself from his stone prison and unleash hell on Earth! Joey gets a visit in her dreams from a man named Elliot who was the human side of Pinhead who teaches her the way to kill the cenobite once and for all! But Pinhead has some tricks up his sleeve as he turns J.P., Terri, Doc and some of the bar workers into cenobites and tries to bully Joey into giving him the puzzle box, the only tool that can send him back to Hell! In the end Joey, with the help of Elliot’s ghost, tricks Pinhead and sends him back to where he came from, and she buries the box in concrete.

First thing I must say is that for a comic adaptation of a Hellraiser film, this sure does wuss out on the blood and gore and for the most part is pretty tame! In fact I think that some Vertigo and Marvel Horror titles might be bloodier than this! The story of the film is pretty intact with only a few things being left out, the most notable one being the slaughter at the night club that is nothing more than the aftermath of the massacre with bodies being around but no blood. I think the biggest issue with this comic is the whole thing seems rushed from the story to the art. Joey is a pretty likeable hero who you find yourself rooting for as she tries her best to solve the puzzle of how to rid the world of Pinhead once and for all.  She is also very brave as she heads towards danger and befriends a ghost. Terri is a confused young woman who tries to do the right things but is easily manipulated by scummy people like J.P and Pinhead.  She’s a pretty good “sidekick” and helps add to the over all story. J.P. is a pure scumbag and is one of those characters you love to hate. Pinhead, while the main villain in this comic, really doesn’t seem to do much besides talk a lot and murder people, many of them not seen on any panel. I really hate to say it, but I was really bored reading this comic adaptation and while I really like the movie, I would tell comic fans to skip this one. At some points while reading this comic I found my mind wondering and losing interest and that’s a bad sign. The art is done by Miran Kim and in some spots it looks good, but many of times it looks terrible and down right laughable! The cover is the best part about this comic and is the only really good piece of artwork connected to this Epic Comics failure.  It’s a shame because I really wanted to like this comic adaptation and was looking forward to reading it. Below is some of the artwork from the comic, and I must also say sorry for the poor scans, the comic was a tough one to use my scanner on.

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So there you have it.  While I have some very fond memories of the film, this comic adaption is bland and sadly not very good. I really hate that this comic was bad as I was really looking forward to reading it for this year’s Halloween countdown. I also wish I would have kept that old VHS copy of the film looking back now because how I got it and who bought it for me made that something special. I should also thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this in stock and should also note that Epic Comics was a sub branch of Marvel. Well next up on our countdown to Halloween is something really cool as we take a look at Innovations’ comic adaptation of the classic film Psycho! So until then make sure to watch some horror films, support your local horror host, rent a movie from your town’s video store and read a horror comic or three and for the love of God, please don’t open any strange puzzle boxes.

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Enjoy The All You Can Eat Blood Fountain Only At Blood Feast

Welcome back my fellow comic and pulp culture lovers.  Today’s update is going to be a quick one and will focus on a master of splatter film director and comic adaptation of one of his films. A few updates back I spoke about “The Godfather Of Gore” being Lucio Fulci, and some of my friends and readers say that that title really belongs to Pittsburgh born independent filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis who used lots of blood and guts in his films over the ages. At the age of 6, Lewis had his father pass away.  A few years later his mom remarried a man, and they all moved to Chicago where he spent most of his youth. Lewis got a masters degree in journalism, became a teacher, ran many radio stations and worked with a friend to make commercials under the company name Lewis And Martin Films. His first venture into film came in 1959 with the film called “The Prime Time” where he acted as the producer.  This film also marked the end of him not directing his own flicks for his company. In the 1960’s Lewis made more adult softcore style films like Living Venus, Bell Bare And Beautiful and Boin-n-g! making him one of the grandfathers of the modern exploitation films. It was in 1963 that he dove head first into blood soaked horror films with the film Blood Feast, and while after this film he made a few more non-horror pictures, none of them have the cult following as films like Two Thousand Maniacs, Color Me Blood Red, A Taste Of Blood, The Gruesome Twosome, The Wizard Of Gore and The Gore Gore Girls to name a few. In 2002 Lewis made a sequel to his first horror film called Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat and showed that even after all these years he still can pack a gut punch that would turn your stomach.  While over the years Lewis has slowed done on making films, the director, who as of early 2014 is 84 years old, still makes a film from time to time with his latest being Zombificador that is due out soon. I have meet Mr. Lewis at Cinema Wasteland Convention some years back and will say that he was very nice and was swamped with people looking to not only get his autograph but also just to have a few moments to talk film with him. While many of his films are hit and miss with me, I have many friends that truly love Lewis and his work, and one thing is for sure, the man helped make micro/independent movies important for the modern horror viewers like George A. Romero did with Night Of The Living Dead in 1968.

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Considered the first splatter film, 1963’s Blood Feast was a bloodbath that viewers enjoyed and the critics hated. The film is about a food cater who kills woman in order to steal body parts to use in rituals of eating human flesh to please an ancient Egyptian Goddess. The film did pretty well at the box office, bringing in $4 million making it some major profit off the small budget of $24 thousand. The film’s reputation earned it a spot on England’s Video Nasty list, making it the oldest film to make the list.  For those who don’t know what Video Nasty list is, I will explain. In the 1980’s video rental was a major deal all over the world and many horror films were made just for this market let alone.  It was the only way viewers could see many of these films from all over the world. Well in England they didn’t want people to watch many of these films, thinking that the violent acts from the movies were bad for people’s brains and could cause major acts of murder and mayhem across their country. They decided to go in and cut many of the films into poor chop jobs and some films were just banned out right.  These films were dubbed “Video Nasties” and were illegal for people to watch uncut and could even cause a police raid of your house if reported you had copies of some of these films. Films like Blood Feast, Zombi 2, Night Of The Demon, House By The Cemetery, Cannibal Holocaust, Mardi Gras Massacre, Faces Of Death, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and so many more made up the list of films that were cut or just banned. Many films never made it to the Video Nasty List but were also confiscated by the police if found in your home such as Dawn Of The Mummy, Hills Have Eyes, Gates Of Hell, Basket Case, Friday The 13th, Night of The Seagulls and many more. While the list and the punishments for watching/owning these films is still around to this day, it’s enforced a little less and viewers have since been able to watch many of the films uncut without fear of punishment. Wow, I just got way off topic of Blood Feast, but here in the US if you’re looking to watch the film, it can be found on VHS and DVD uncut and uncensored.

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The fans wanted it, so in 2002 Lewis revisited his film Blood Feast and made a part two called Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat. In this film we follow the grandson of the first film’s butcher as he follows in dear granddad’s footsteps. The film got positive reviews from critics but had trouble finding a distributor causing it to sit a year on the shelf before coming out via Media Blasters. The film is filled with more blood, guts and gore causing fans of the original to enjoy every crimson soaked second of it. Unlike the first film, the sequel never got a major theatrical release and really did find its home on the DVD market. The film also marked the first time in 36 years that Lewis teamed up with his old producer of the first film David F. Friedman, making this sequel as close to the original as possible.  The film also turned up the splatter making it a true follow up that tried to one up the film that came before it.

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So while I will credit Lewis with being a master of Splatter and the Godfather of Splatter films, I would still have to stay with the decision that Fulci is the true Godfather Of Gore! And this does not take away from the fact that Lewis is one of the best America micro budget horror film directors of the 60’s and 70’s and his influences on filmmakers is still seen in many of the films of today. I just find that the effects and gore in Fulci films are better done and have more impact on me as a horror fan and viewer.  Nothing Lewis has done in the gore department has stuck with me like the gut puking and eye ball bleeding scene from Gates of Hell or the splinter in the eye effect of Zombi 2. But I guess the main question is, what director had the better comic adaptation of their film? Was it Fulci with Gates of Hell from Xmachina or Lewis with Blood Feast from Eternity? Well I will soon find out as I am about to tackle Blood Feast…But before I do, I want to remind my readers I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I want to thank the team up of Mavericks Cards and Comics and Lone Star comics for having these issues in stock. So with all that, let’s not be late for dinner and find our spot at the table for this Blood Feast.

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Blood Feast # 1   **1/2
Released in 1991     Cover Price  $2.50    Eternity Comics    #1 of 2

It’s 1963, and a young woman returns to her home only to be brutally killed and mutilated in her bathtub by a savage killer.  Her leg is taken in the attack, and the police are baffled by who the murder is as he leaves no clues behind. Fuad Ramses owns an exotic Egyptian catering store and is hired to cook an Egyptian feast for a young woman named Suzette, and he is happy to do so as he has a plan that will restrict the goddess Ishtar with the body parts he is taken from the young ladies he is killing.  Yep, he is the killer! Faud is not done with his killing yet as he attacks a couple on the beach and knocks out the guy and butchers the woman stealing her brain and later attacks a woman in her room and cuts out her tongue! The police are at a loss, and Suzette is upset over the murders but is looking forward to her party.  We end the issue with her going to a lecture about Ishtar and the Pharaoh Ramses.

This comic didn’t waste any time and is filled with lots of blood and murder mayhem and 100% captures the spirit and raw terror of the film it’s based on. The plot of this issue builds that the cops are clueless to who is killing young women around town, that Suzette is a smart woman who likes Egyptian history and comes from a well off family and that Fuad Ramses loves an ancient Goddess and is killing woman in a plan to bring her back to life. The plot is pretty simple stuff, right? It’s the fact it is so simple that makes the whole comic work so well it’s clearly not about plot as it’s about shocking murders. Suzette, who is clearly the lead, is not given much of character development and is hardly shown in the issue, but you know that she is going to be a major player in the second issue. The cops are trying to hard to crack the case of who is killing the woman, but are pretty much clueless and useless. Fuad Ramses is one evil man who goes into a craze when he butchers woman and selectively harvests parts of their bodies.  He reminds me for some reason of Jack The Ripper mixed with Norman Bates of Psycho. Over all Ramses is a great movie slasher that transferred to comics really well. The comic is printed on very cheap paper and the issue I have had ink bleed really bad on many pages, but I can’t hold it really against a company that was smaller and competing with Marvel and DC. The cover I have is called “The Graphic Cover Version” and I will say that it’s pretty bad and really cheapens the comic with a terrible shock image that’s a poorly blown up picture still from the movie. The art is great independent 90’s comic stuff and is done by Stan Timmons & Mike Matthew and for a black and white comic, they are really able to make the gore pop out. This first issue is a solid film adaptation and really makes me looking forward to reading the second issue and seeing just how well the comic series will look and translate.  So let’s get to it cause it’s time for that Egyptian Feast!

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Blood Feast # 2    **1/2
Released in 1991     Cover Price  $2.50    Eternity Comics    #2 of 2

After the lecture Suzette meets up with Pete Thornton, an officer who is investigating the murders and is clearly a semi-boyfriend to the lovely young lady. While Pete is giving Suzette a ride home, a call goes out that another woman has been found and while she survived the attack, she was at death’s door as one side of her face had been cut off and one eyeball removed. The cops get to the hospital, and they get a few words out of the young woman before she dies. To make things worse Suzette’s friend Trudy Sanders has been kidnapped by Fuad Ramses and is being whipped to death in order to use her blood for the feast that will bring back Ishtar. At his desk Pete takes what little information he got from the faceless woman as well as info from a professor and puts it all together and figures out that Ramses is the killer! The cops rush to Ramses’s shop and find the body of Trudy as well as many other body parts and rush to Suzette’s party. At the party Ramses asks for Suzettes help in the kitchen and just as he is about to kill her and set Ishtar free, Pete and the cops pull in and chase him to the city dump where he is crushed in the back of a garbage truck as he tries to hide. All ends well as the killer is dead and Suzette’s party can continue.

The second issue is pretty fun stuff.  While a little lighter on the blood and gore, the storyline is more in full swing and we get to know Suzette and Pete a heck of allot better. Suzette is pretty likeable and is your average girl next door type who likes to learn and have fun with her family and friends.  It’s easy to see why Ramses targeted her to be the rebirth shell for his Goddess. Pete is a man with a quick mind as he took small clues and busted the case wide open and got the right man on the first try and saved his girl just in time! Fuad Ramses is out for blood again, and in this issue he skins a woman’s face, beats one to death with a whip and tries to use a giant meat cleaver to kill the comic’s lead gal. Ramses’s death is brutal as well, as he is crushed by a garbage compactor and some how it seems very fitting that the scumbag dies that way. This issue also seems to be filled with little touches of black humor that mostly comes from Suzette’s mom. The cover is very much an improvement over issue 1’s, and the art is once more well done by the team-up of Timmons and Matthew who knew how to capture the feeling of the film with ink. Over all this issue was a nice closing to a b-movie comic adaptation. Below is a look at the art style of these comics.

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So we have covered a lot of horror comics in the past couple of months, and I have not done a Fantasy Warfare since The Predator took on The Cougar back in April, and to me it just seems like it’s time to have another battle! Coming out of the Red Corner is that undead priest of fright, Father William Thomas from The Gates Of Hell! And his opponent coming out of the Blue Corner, naked and ready to snap some necks Goddess from Lust For Frankenstein! And lastly their opponent out of the Green Corner is that master of the butchery, the bug eyed master of disaster, Fuad Ramses from Blood Feast! The battlefield will take place in a graveyard off of a wooded path that has not been in use for over 87 years in the small town of Corwin.  So let’s see what happens in this battle of Demon, Madman and Stitched Together Monster, shall we?

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Maria is a 26 years old jogger and fitness fanatic.  Today she has decided to rundown an old path that runs through a part of the woods that is near an old cemetery that is said to be haunted, the local kids call it the mouth of hell but she has ran down this path a few months back and found the sites very pleasing and never seen a living soul let alone a dead one! Fuad Ramses has chosen this path to claim his next young victim but has been let down when he has not seen a person for the 3 hours he has been waiting in the woods near the path with meat cleaver in hand, just as he is about to give up Maria in her yoga pants comes running by and he knows that she has the left butt cheek he needs for his Feast. Ramses starts to follow her and when the moment is right he pounces on Maria who has stopped to tie her shoe, as Ramses is about to hack his victim, an unknown hand smacks him away and the killer goes flying and crashing through the old gate that leads to the cemetery.  As Maria sees who her protector is, she lets out a scream as standing before her is a naked woman with stitches making awkward and weird faces and let’s out the words “your pretty” as she holds out her hand and helps the jogger up. Maria thanks the woman who tells her that she is called Goddess and just at that moment Ramses sneaks up behind Maria and pulls her into the cemetery screaming “That Butt Cheek Is Mine!”  As Maria screams, Goddess moves towards the cemetery to save her new friend and possible lover from the hands of a killer. Inside the cemetery Ramses swings the cleaver and clips Maria in the leg causing her to fall, he raises the cleaver high and is about to place the sharp metal blade into her skull when Goddess grabs the back of his neck causing him to stiff up in pain.  She turns the killer over to look him in the eye before she snaps his neck, and as Ramses pleads for his life Goddess freezes for a moment and has a dead stare.  She looses her grip on Ramses and her eyes start to bleed and she begins to puke up her guts and falls to the ground dead once again. Ramses grabs his meat cleaver and turns to see Father Thomas standing there.  He then sees Maria who has made it out of the cemetery and is down the path.  He makes a run for the gates to exit and get his intended victim but the gates slam shut in his face.  He turns to see Father Thomas right behind him, and Ramses takes a swing with his cleaver. As Maria makes it back to her car, she sits in the driver seat and hears the last cry of life from Ramses, and she now truly knows why that path is compared to hell.

Winner: Father William Thomas

Like Ramses or Goddess stood a chance against the evil Father who can kill with a blink of his eye! So now I am at the point where I have to pick which series was better in comic form.  While I like the art and story of Gates of Hell, I would have to pick Blood Feast as the better comic series, mostly because the full set was released and didn’t leave me hanging on the storyline. But movie-wise I would say Gates of Hell is way better than Blood Feast so I would guess they are tied. I love the fact that Eternity Comics took a chance and made a comic book version of a 1963 film in 1991 and wish they would have done more comic versions of Lewis films. I would have loved to have had comic versions of Wizard of Gore and Two Thousand Maniacs to read and review on this blog. Wow I have written like a machine as of late and need to take some time away to get some work done on Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre.  So for the next update I am going to turn Rotten Ink over to my girl once again as she is going to talk to you all about IDW’s C.S.I comics! So until then, read a comic or five and make sure to watch a local horror film and enjoy nerd life to the fullest.

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World’s Lamest Stunt Man…The Cougar

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Today’s topic is The Cougar! Now I know what you’re thinking, we are covering that apex predator also know as The Mountain Lion, the vicious man killer meat eater of North America..but you’re wrong We are not talking about the Mercury car called the Cougar that’s first run was in 1967 and last was in 2002. And no, we are not even covering that terrible 2009 reality TV show on TV Land about older women who love younger men.  We are not even covering Barry “The Cougar” Dawson, the black belt of man skills who was the mascot for Fosters dark rum & bourbon in Australia. We will be covering Jeff “The Cougar” Rand, stuntman and hero from Atlas comics 1975 comic series called The Cougar!

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The last time I covered an Atlas Comic was on my birthday, September 8th 2013 when I covered The Brute as well as closed and missed local comic shop The Bookie Parlor, and I felt it was long past time that I cover another series from this amazing comic company. But before we dive into this, I would like to briefly talk about another local business that is no longer around, and that’s Crazy Cats Arcade! I know, I know, I spelled it wrong the last time I talked about it on this blog and was spelling it like Krazy Kats, which is the way the local Tattoo Parlor spells their name. Crazy Cats was located in Van Buren Shopping Center.  The windows were tinted black and had decals of a cartoon orange cat dressed in a pirate outfit that graced their windows. The parking lot was always filled, and many kids hung out outside the building drinking pops and some smoking cigarettes. Once you opened the door, the sounds of arcade machines and pinball would fill the air and the place was lit with very low dimed lights…this was THE place to play video games…sure The Dayton Mall had a large arcade and Magic Castle was around and sure Captain Boogies Golf and Games showed up later, but Crazy Cats was the king. Some of my memories of going and playing games at Crazy Cats were with my brother Bryan, cousin Stephen and his dad and my uncle Bubba.  You see, when Stephen would get good grades on his report card, his dad would take him to the arcade and give him $10.00 in tokens and let him loose! Bubba would always ask our parents if we could come too, and this was really a fun time.  Family time in an arcade playing games with loved ones is stuff of the 80’s and early 90’s that’s lacking nowadays. The tokens at Crazy Cats were great and had the cartoon cat on the front doing his famous pose, while on the back it had him playing an arcade machine.  To this day, I have a few Crazy Cat tokens and even late last year gave one to Stephen as a reminder of those fun times. Some of my favorite games to play at Crazy Cats were WWF Wreslefest a wrestling game that had the Royal Rumble, Creature From The Black Lagoon Pinball (I can’t tell you how many quarters I wasted on that one) and Primal Rage, the fighting game that pitted giant monsters against each other. Sadly sometime in the late 1990’s Crazy Cats closed its doors for good, and rumors went around that it was because too many teens were fist fighting over rivalries on games and also they said drug deals were going down and disrupting the other business in the shopping center. Now I had been to Crazy Cats many, many times and I will go on record and say I never saw a fight nor drugs being sold when I was there.  While I am sure that it was possible I don’t think it was as out of control as Kettering would like to have had you think. I think the real reason it closed was because Krogers didn’t like having teens around and Kettering likes to take the fun out of everything! While gone, it’s not forgotten by those who entered.  You are missed Crazy Cats, and this update is for you and all your workers that made it such a special and fun place. 

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He ain’t Superman, and he ain’t Captain America.  So before we move onto the comics, let’s introduce you readers to Jeff “The Cougar” Rand so you can have a feel for the character. Jeff grew up in the swamplands of Louisiana and learned his fast and daredevil stunt skills from swinging from trees and acting as if he was Tarzan. His only friend growing up was an old witch named Hattie who told him the secrets of the swamps, and she was run off by the rudeness of his brother Rick. After his mom and dad were murdered and his brother went missing, Jeff moved to Hollywood and became a stunt man for the movies though at first he wanted to be an actor but his first major role in a film called The Cougar bombed at the box office. Jeff is called The Cougar by his friends because of his cat like speed and agility and is the best in the stunt man business. Jeff wears a red skintight body suit complete with a cougar head belt buckle and is a man of action! His powers and skills include great hand to hand combat, quick minded and quick on the defense.  He also don’t break under pressure and is used to seeing things of a super natural level. He can be compared to Marvel’s The Human Fly and even early Wonder Man. So there you go, you now have a little more knowledge of who The Cougar is and what he is about.

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So now it’s time to go to the Hollywood back lot with our safety helmet on and see what crazy adventure and stunt our good friend The Cougar is going to do next.  I want to remind everyone that I grade comics on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So as Darkwing Duck use to say “Let’s Get Dangerous”! 

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The Cougar # 1  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25   Atlas Comics   #1 of 2

The Gore Of Dracula” is a new horror flick being filmed on location at a small village complete with a old spooky castle and it’s own vampire legend! Stuntman Jeff “The Cougar” Rand along with his friend Harve are working on the picture with a complete jerk of a director.  After the day’s shoot the stuntman goes into town along with make up girl whose boyfriend has to stay behind to set up the castle for the next morning’s shoot. While Jeff and friends are in town drinking it up, the young lady’s boyfriend finds on old coffin with a stake driven through an old dusty cape and thinks it’s a movie prop and removes it setting free a real vampire named Count Krolok who kills him and enters town and falls for the make-up girl who looks like his dead lover! Krolok tries to take the girl as Jeff and Harve swing into action.  The fight leaves the vampire girl-less, Harve with broken ribs and Jeff with lots of questions. When the body of the boyfriend is found the next morning, Jeff has had enough and is going to stop the vampire once and for all.  When Krolok gets the young woman, Jeff must travel to the castle and save her from his bite! Jeff does so with the help of a wood table he shatters and rams a stake into the chest of the vampire during combat ending his blood sucking ways.

I have to point this out first the fact that Jeff The Cougar walks around town in a red tight spandex suit with a cougar head belt buckle is classic 70’s cheese, and this guy should have had his own live action show and been played by Lee Majors! Jeff is a cocky stuntman who laughs in the face of danger and even seems not to be afraid of a vampire who up to this point no one thought existed.  His fast movements and hand to hand combat skills seem to be what allows him to be so fearless and ready for adventure. But while he is daring and a butt kicker in this first issue, he lacks a personality and charm making me not attached to him just yet.  The fact he seems not to be bothered by the fact his friends ribs had been shattered and a fellow film worker is dead, those are just second thoughts as he is now worried more about the young hot make-up girl who he almost seems to be putting the moves on by the end of the issue even though she just lost her boyfriend to murder. The vampire Krolok is just as cocky and walks right into his death in the end of the issue that the likes of Count Dracula and Morbius would have seen a mile away.  I will say that his power and strength did make him a very powerful villain for a stuntman to fight. One thing that also lacking a little is that all the other characters are full fledged background players and none of them shine or make you care about them. While it sounds like I didn’t like this comic, it’s the opposite.  It was a lot of fun, and I loved the 70’s action film/show feel to it.  The art was done by two artists, Dan Adkins & Frank Springer, and it looks pretty good, not on par with major Marvel and DC books at the time but it looks well for this comic. The cover is cool, but not a very good one for a first issue and would not have drawn too many Super Hero readers in as much as it would draw the monster kids of the 70’s. Just as cheesy as I remember it back in the day, so I am hyped to see how issue 2 holds up after all these years!

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The Cougar # 2   **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25   Atlas Comics   #2 of 2

Jeff “The Cougar” Rand is working on a new flick and during his big stunt, he finds the dead body of a man whose neck has been ripped out! This murder triggers a memory in Jeff’s mind about his youth, growing up in the swamps of Louisiana and how his friend, an old witch placed a curse on his mean brother Rick that years later turned him into a werewolf that killed their parents and disappeared into the night. And when Jeff’s cousin is killed, he knows his brother is in town, but the police just aren’t fully sold on his werewolf theory. But while his new girlfriend, Janie, a lead singer for a band, plays at her sold out concert the werewolf attacks and Jeff goes on the offense and uses a silver knife to kill the werewolf who is of course Rick, but the fight leaves Jeff injured and paralyzed for life due to a spinal cord injury.

Well this was the final issue of The Cougar that Atlas released, and just imagine if DC ended Batman like this when Bane broke his back…just yep he is paralyzed and that’s the end you don’t need to know anymore. It’s a shame that the series ended as fast as it started thanks to the closing of Atlas. This second issue also tries to add a little more to the life of cocky Jeff “The Cougar” Rand and even tries to explain that silly suit he wears around town, explains his humble beginnings and even gives him a girlfriend who is a popular singer. The telling of why he wears the costume as a joke for a film he stared in that was a bomb is really silly as is the fact that his brother is a werewolf who killed his parents and after their deaths he just goes on with his life…he doesn’t even try to look for his brother? His girlfriend Janie seems to be just flung into the story because in issue one there is no mention of her, but in this issue they act as if they have been a couple for awhile. His brother Rick is given very little to do, and the show down while he is a werewolf is a little weak. The art in issue two is done by Frank Springer and seems a little more sloppy in spots.  The cover is pretty good and shows action with another super natural being. Once more this series tries to mix superhero and horror comics and is a pretty average read.  It’s truly a shame this series did not get time to blossom into something really good because the route this was going, I could Frankenstein’s Monster and The Mummy on the plate for The Cougar to fight.

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While Jeff Rand in the world of comic book stuntmen is not as well known as Johnny Blaze or Wonder Man, nor is he as well known as real life stuntmen like Evil Kanivel, he was Atlas comics only stuntman and he had to do. But our next update we will walk off the Hollywood set and into hot jungles of South America as we go on the hunt for The Predator! That’s right, we will be looking at Dark Horse Comics first 4 issue mini series based on the cult sci-fi action thriller.  So be ready to be watched from the shadows and look into the skies because The Predator is waiting for us! Until next time, make sure to support your local comic shop and read a comic or two.

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