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

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

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

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

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1956)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andre The Giant The 8th Wonder Of The Comic Book World

Welcome to Rotten Ink’s main event for the night as we witness First Second Book’s own Box Brown step into the ring with the one and only 8th wonder of the world, Andre The Giant! It’s no surprise that growing up I was a huge fan of pro wrestling, and you long time readers know this about me.  One of the biggest names around when I was a kid was Andre The Giant who was always billed as the biggest man in the world and seeing him dwarf the likes of King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd and Killer Khan was a sight to behold. So this update will be all about the man, the myth, the legend known around the world for being the biggest athlete in sports entertainment, Andre The Giant! So get ready to cheer for Andre as we take a look not only at the bio comic but also the man who was the true giant of pro wrestling!

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Andre Rene Roussimoff was born on May 19th 1946 in Grenoble, France, and by the age of 12 he weighed 240 pounds and was 6’3” and dropped out of school by the 8th grade to work on a farm as well as other manual labor jobs. By age 17, he became a pro wrestler after a promotor saw that he could make money off Andre’s size and the fact he was a true giant thanks to the fact he had gigantism. Going under the name Great Ferre, he wrestled for promotions in France, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. In 1970 Andre, under the ring name Monster Roussimoff, dominated the Japanese federation International Wrestling Enterprise even winning the tag team titles with Michael Nador. After Japan Andre went to wrestle in Canada as well as a few dates for AWA (American Wrestling Association)  In the US, he meet Vince McMahon Sr. who turned him into Andre The Giant and changed the character into a unstoppable monster, and together they made lots of money in the WWF as well as off other federations that Vince would lend him out to. Andre The Giant started WWF in 1973 as one of the company’s top good guys and had many great feuds with many great and talented wrestlers like Killer Khan who he defeated in a Mongolian Stretcher Match, Big John Studd who he had a body slam challenge match against as well as had his long afro hair shaved off by Studd, Ken Patera and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd even got Andre suspended during this run, and he returned as a masked wrestler called Giant Machine and teamed with the tag team The Machines. Durning this run as a good guy Andre was also the king of Battle Royals even winning one at Wrestlemania II by throwing out Bret Hart. Beloved by fans, Andre was a top draw as well as a main attraction for the WWF, but something was about to change!

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In 1987, Hulk Hogan was WWF Champion, and Hulkamania was in full swing.  On Piper’s Pit, the interview segment hosted by Rowdy Roddy Piper, Hogan was given a trophy for being champion for three years. And during this time of celebration Andre The Giant came out with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and ripped the shirt off Hogan as well as his cross necklace and challenged him for the title, changing himself from a fan favorite to a heel in the matter of minutes! Hogan and Andre clashed at Wrestlemania III, and Hogan won under some controversy. After Hogan’s win, he also began a feud with Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase who could not beat Hogan but wanted the title.  So DiBiase hired Andre to win the belt for him, and he did in 1988 making it the first and only time Andre was the WWF Champion.  But this win was also very controversial, and the belt was taken away from him and put up for grabs at Wreslemania IV in a tournament that was won by Randy “Macho Man” Savage. This sparked fights between the Mega Powers (Hogan & Savage) and the Mega Bucks (Andre & DiBiase) that ended with Mega Powers getting the upper hand and would spark the next major feud for Hogan as he and Savage split off. Andre from this point on was stuck in tag team matches and feuds with such superstars as Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Ultimate Warrior. He would also team with Ted DiBiase for a while as well as Haku, who he would win tag team gold with under the name The Colossal Connection. In 1990, they lost the belts to Demolition at Wrestlemania VI, and at this point Haku and Bobby Heenan turned on Andre who ended up beating up his partner and turned from Heel to Face.  This ended Andre’s major role as a full time wrestler for WWF. And besides some angles with Earthquake and Jimmy Hart, Andre’s health was so poor that he left WWF in 1992. His last TV appearance was for WCW during their Clash Of The Champions XX event on TBS. This is the era of Andre that I remember the most, and boy when I was younger, I thought no one could beat him.  When they did, I was awe struck! I mean other wrestlers in the back would call Andre The Boss because they all respected and some feared him. Andre was a strong good guy but in my opinion was a way better bad guy and his feud with Hulk Hogan was legendary. Now being a grown up and watching old matches on VHS and DVD, I find some of his later in ring work very sad to watch as you can tell he was in pain just barely moving around and had to use the ropes to walk around the ring. It’s sad to see Andre The Giant in that kind of shape, and you could really tell he was in the twilight of his career and his health was in decline. I should also say that sadly Andre died in his sleep on January 27th 1993 from heart failure while in Paris to attend his father’s funeral. This update is dedicated to Andre who entertained this pro wrestling fan all through my youth, not just in the ring but also in movies and TV.

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So I should get a little more into Wrestlemania III, the pay per view event that shattered attendance records for a live sporting event as well as truly brought WWF into the main stream culture. Wrestlemania III took place on March 29th 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan in front of 93,173 fans locking it in as the largest recorded attendance for a live indoor sporting event in North America! The card was filled with many great matches like Ricky Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Belt, Billy Jack Haynes took on Hercules in a Full Nelson Match and Honky Tonk Man took on Jake “The Snake” Roberts who had rockstar Alice Cooper in his corner! But the main event was Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant for the WWF Championship, and I can remember all the build up for this match.  All the while WWF did a fantastic job of making Hogan look like the underdog having Andre best him on many altercations that happened before the match. During the match, it was clear that Andre was not in the best of shape and Hogan was having to carry the match for the most part, but when Hogan tried to slam Andre for the first time and buckled under the weight and was almost pinned, the odds really did look against the champ! But later in the match when Hogan slammed Andre and hit him with the atomic leg drop and got the three count, the torch was passed and Hogan’s star shined brighter. I can remember many kids from school who were WWF fans talking about the slam heard around the world and the feat of Hogan picking up Andre seemed something straight out of a comic book or greek myth, but as I grew up and became wiser to the world of pro wrestling I found out Hogan had slammed him before when Andre was good and Hogan was bad early in his career.  Also to slam Andre was El Canek and Harley Race. No matter who you were in 1987, you knew that Hogan slammed Andre, and WWF was the major force in pro wrestling.  But we have covered Andre in wrestling so it’s only right we cover his acting career briefly!

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Besides being a pro wrestler, Andre was also an actor, and one role I remember him playing was the Bionic Bigfoot in the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man. Andre played Bigfoot in two episodes called “The Secret Of Bigfoot I & II” that had Steve Rogers running into the famed creature and after doing battle with it finds that it’s a robot! The original episode aired in 1976, and the follow up aired in 1976 as well. Even after Andre stopped playing the role, the Bionic Bigfoot continued for three more episodes and was played by Ted Cassidy, better known for playing Lurch on The Addams Family. The episodes and character of Bionic Bigfoot were so popular that action figures at the time was made based on his likeness. If you watched Six Million Dollar Man, I am sure you remember Bionic Bigfoot like I do!

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Andre’s most popular acting role was the 1987 comedy fantasy film “The Princess Bride” where he played Fezzik the loveable giant friend of Inigo who helps in the kidnapping of the Princess as well as later helps rescue her along side Westley the film’s lead. Fezzik turns from a bad guy to a good guy and was loved in the film for being loyal to his friends and having a big heart. Growing up, I loved this film and watched it many times.  One of the best Andre lines from the movie has him offering peanuts to other characters. It’s funny to think that in 1987 Andre was in this move as a loveable character and also turned on Hulk Hogan and became one of the most hated men in pro wrestling!

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One role many people do not know about that Andre The Giant played was that of the horn God Dagoth in the 1984 fantasy film “Conan The Destroyer”! That’s right, one of the world’s top pro wrestlers wore a rubber suit and fought Arnold Schwarzenegger who was playing Conan in a fake blood drenched scene….and I must say that’s awesome! And in fact, I did not even know Andre played that part until recently, and this helps add to my enjoyment of this film. I loved the Conan movies, and I will tell you readers this when the new Conan movie comes out in the coming years, a Marvel At The Movies Conan edition will be going up!

Dagoth

Andre The Giant was also an animated superstar as he was used in the fun Saturday Morning Cartoon “Hulk Hogan’s Rock N Wrestling” as one of Hogan’s good guy friends along side the likes of Junkyard Dog, Wendi Richter, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Hillbilly Jim and a few other WWF wrestlers. The cartoon would have Hogan and the gang having to stop evil plots by the bad guys lead by Rowdy Roddy Piper and aired for 26 episodes lasting two season starting in 1985. The series was made by DIC Entertainment who also made such cartoons as M.A.S.K., Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors, The Real Ghostbusters, COPS, Camp Candy, The Legend Of Zelda, Swamp Thing, Street Sharks and so many other classics that entertained the youth. Andre in the cartoon was portrayed as a dimwitted giant who would fumble and bumble around all the while never meaning to harm nor break the stuff he did.  So in looking back, he was the slapstick goof of the cartoon.  He was voiced by Ron Feinberg, who also lent his voice to such characters as Ming The Merciless in Defenders Of The Earth and Vladimir Goudenov Grizzlikof in Darkwing Dunk. Growing up I loved this silly cartoon and watched it any chance I got and that was mostly on USA Cartoon Express.  While Andre was silly and goofy, he still was one of the characters I liked. While the cartoon has long been off the air and has not been released on DVD or Blu-Ray, you can find episodes on VHS and the grey market.

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So Andre was a part of TV shows, movies and even cartoons, but he also tackled music videos when he had a cameo in the video for Cyndi Lauper’s hit song “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” where he played a genie from a bottle who runs off debt collectors played by the likes of Roddy Piper and Iron Sheik! This video is epic for many reasons, and I will share them all with you real quick! The first thing about this video that I loved when I was younger was Cyndi Lauper herself as I found her cute as well as fun to watch as she could sing her heart out and never took herself seriously. The second thing was the fact that it starred Pro Wrestlers as characters and some of the WWF’s best bad guys were great running around as pirates…imagine Iron Sheik as a pirate! The third amazing thing about this video is that it’s attached to The Goonies, one of the most iconic adventure kids films of the 80’s and one I loved, not to mention The Goonies themselves show up to help Cyndi get away from the pirates! I guess I should also explain what the music video is about; Cyndi and her family own a gas station and are about to lose it when Piper and the rest of his goon squad show up to take it away! Cyndi has a map to treasure that could help save the gas station, but while on the hunt Piper and goons become pirates and try to stop her until The Goonies show up and help.  In the end, she uses a lamp and frees Andre The Giant dressed as a genie who runs off the bad guys, and they save the gas station. It’s a great music video for a catchy song that will get stuck in your head after you hear it.

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Honeycomb was a popular kids breakfast cereal in the 80’s, and the one and only commercial made about it that would air during Saturday Morning Cartoons that I remember had Andre The Giant playing a giant and trying to grab kids and their robot while they were eating Honeycomb in their club house. The kids are scared of the giant, but when they share some Honeycomb with him, he mellows out and they gain a new friend! I should also say that after they share the cereal, the cheesy jingle starts that goes “Honeycomb’s Big….Yeah Yeah Yeah! It’s Not Small…No No No! Honeycomb’s Got..A Big Big Bite! Big Big Taste In A Big Big Bite”…you’re welcome. The jingle will be in your head all day now. I always liked seeing Andre in this commercial, and it has always stuck with me; thanks to Youtube I can watch it again!

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Because he was one of the biggest superstars in WWF history, Andre had a lot merchandise come out that used his likeness, and much of that came out via WWF itself and could be bought from their catalog like posters, magazines and the classic t-shirt with his red handprint on the front. LJN had three Andre The Giant figures come out for their WWF Wrestling Superstars series.  One Andre had the afro hair, the next had short hair and the third was the bad Andre. Hasbro made an Andre The Giant action figure come out via their WWF line, and not to mention tons of other stuff like VHS tapes, trading cards, drinking glasses, DVDs and much more! My favorite Andre toy I owned was the short hair LJN figure that I would bring to school and win matches during the WWF events we would have at recess, a great figure with Andre’s good guy smile intact. So if you like Andre The Giant, there are some great collectibles out in the world for you.

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Andre The Giant has also been in some video games, starting with WWF Wrestlemania for NES and even in the most recent WWE Game, WWE 2K15. Also Andre was in the arcade game WWF Superstars that had your team having to will a series of matches to take on Andre and Million Dollar Man to win the game. But the one I played the most was WWF Wrestlemania made by Acclaim in 1989 for the NES, and I must say Andre was one tough cookie to beat and Hulk Hogan was the only character that was able to slam him! One odd Andre The Giant in video games has to be the 2011 THQ game WWE All Stars where Andre was overdone as were all the wrestlers, who look like cartoon characters. So if you’re a gamer and like wrestling, there are many games out in the world that you can play as the one and only 8th Wonder Of The World.

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Before we get to the comic, I should also talk about the underground phenomenon known as Andre The Giant Has A Posse created by Shepard Fairely for the skateboarding culture and beyond as an experiment of phenomenology. Stickers, flyers and posters of Andre The Giant with the phrase Has A Posse began popping up in Rhode Island and then went around the USA and spread like wildfire. The craze went on for many years and even when WWF tried to sue over it, the stickering did not not slow down. Over the years the sticker has changed and now has a closer image of Andre’s face and instead of him having a posse, it now reads “Obey”. I can remember seeing these stickers around town when I was younger and always getting a chuckle from them.

Andre Has A Posse

So now that we have talked about Andre as a wrestler, actor, video game character and everything in between, I think we are ready to look at him as a bio comic character! I need to thank Mavericks for getting this graphic novel in stock for me and also should remind everyone that I will grade this 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 let’s lace up the boots and step into the ring with the 8th Wonder of the World, Andre The Giant, and First Second Books.

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Andre The Giant: Life And Legend  *** Released in 2014   Cover Price $17.99   First Second Books   #1 of 1

Andre lives in France and when he was 12 years old, he already was a giant and could not even ride the school bus and had to catch rides in the back of people’s pick up trucks. Years pass, and Andre just keeps growing and taking odd jobs around town.  By the late 1960’s he became a pro wrestler in his homeland and became a major attraction cause of his large size. Andre leaves the European wrestling behind and heads to Japan to make a name for himself and then goes to Canada where he starts out as major star selling out events, but his attraction starts to run thin and he finds that fans are sick of seeing him. Andre goes to the United states and with the help of Verne Gagne and Vince McMahan Sr., he becomes a super star as they travel him around from territory to territory and make him unbeatable in some cases even beating two men at the same time! This also starts Andre’s run working for WWF, where he was one of the company’s top baby faces. But while things were looking good for Andre, around this time his health began to decline.  He was drinking a lot, and he had many run-ins with fans and fellow wrestlers like Bad News Brown and Black Jack Mulligan outside the ring. During a feud with Big John Studd and Bobby The Brain Heenan, Andre takes some time off to get surgery on his back to release pressure and pain due to the fact his giantism disease is causing him to still grow, causing much pain in his joints and bones. During his time away from wrestling, Andre also takes a role in Princess Bride, and then he gets the call from Vince McMahan Jr. that he wants him to come back to WWF and be a bad guy and wrestle Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III! Andre comes back to wrestling and becomes one of the company’s biggest bad guys and is in pain but does so due to his friendship with Vince. Andre sticks around in the WWF for a while even after his feud with Hulk Hogan ends until his body just can’t take it any longer and the fans could see the pain in Andre’s face when he moved. Andre after WWF went to Japan one last time and did a few gimmick matches before his death in 1993.

The first thing I want to say about this comic/graphic novel is that the artwork is not what I would want for this style of comic, but it does hold a very Jason Young of Veggie Dog Saturn look to it so that makes it a little cooler. But while I feel the artwork is a little weak. I know many fellow comic readers who loved its style though.  What makes the comic good for me is the fact that the story of Andre’s life is nicely wrapped up in a little 240 pages bundle and most of his life highlights are showcased. In fact my write up leaves some elements of his life out as I would really encourage you, if you’re a fan, to give this graphic novel a read. One thing I really enjoyed about this comic is that lots of it focused on Andre’s life outside the ring from his medical issues all the way to how he treated fans showing that while he was larger than life in the world of Pro Wrestling, he still was real person with issues. At times Andre comes off lovable, while other times he comes off a a jerk by being rude to his fans, starting fights at parties and even telling inappropriate jokes on the tour bus that cause drama among some of his fellow wrestlers. One thing I learned from this comic is that after leaving the WWF for the last time, he did a few matches in Japan and was in no shape to do so but did them for a paycheck. The book ends on a higher note with Andre on a plan playing poker against a fellow wrestler and only in a small paragraph mentions that he passed away from heart issues.  This was the right way to end it as I feel to go all the way to his death would have really been a downer. It also has lots of humor like Andre watching Princess Bride with Terry Funk over and over again while Funk kept falling asleep! Box Brown did a fantastic job with this Bio-Comic, and I would love to see him do some more like it based on wrestlers like Macho Man Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior or even Big John Studd. Reading this made me very nostalgic and miss the days of classic wrestling.  So if you’re a fan of independent bio comics or of Andre The Giant I would recommend checking this one out I am glad I did.

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Even if you don’t like Pro Wrestling, or as it’s called now Sport Entertainment, you still have to respect the performers who go from town to town and entertain the crowds of people who pay to see them. Much like the Road Warriors, this update was one comic I was happy to bring to you, and I can safely say look for other wrestling-inspired comic updates in the future. One other thing I should bring up about Andre The Giant is that I remember when Hulk Hogan and Andre had to sign a rematch contract for Wrestlemania IV.  With the encouragement of The Million Dollar Man, the 8th Wonder Of The World used Hogan’s head as the stamp of approval and tipped a table over on him.  Now that’s when wrestling was wrestling! Well our next update will take us out of the squared circle and into the woods along side comic strip icon Andy Capp.  So with that I am going to end this update with Rest In Peace Andre The Giant, and thanks for all the memories.

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The Incredible Hulk vs. The Great, Great, Great, Grandson Of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

Welcome back readers! Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and that you’re not to burnt out on turkey as Christmas is just around the corner. My Thanksgiving was nice as always, spent with my family. This month of December we will be leading up to my big Christmas Eve update that will be as fun as last year’s look at Thundercats. So I am sure you are wondering what I have planned, but you’ll have to wait until next update for that teaser. This update we will be taking a look at a one shot comic that was based on an episode of the 1982 NBC Incredible Hulk cartoon put out by Marvel Comics the same year.

No Turkey

In 1966, a 30 minute cartoon series called “The Marvel Super Heroes” went on the air in the US via syndication.  It was made by Grantray-Lawrence Animation and Marvel Comics Group and features not only The Incredible Hulk but also episodes based around Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Prince Namor. But we are not going to talk about the other superheroes of the show and just focus of the Hulk ones that were based on the comic books and used artwork done by Jack Kirby and others as the animation.  They would crudely animate them and use over the top voice overs.  Each episode would be chopped into three chapters to tell the whole story of the chosen story arch. The Incredible Hulk had a total of 13 solo episodes and along with the others lasted till late 1966 for a total of 65 episodes among them. I can remember catching these shows years and years later in the 80’s on TV and also on VHS and always thinking how cheesy they were.  While I enjoyed the Hulk episodes, I found the Captain America ones to be the best. Some episodes can be found on VHS, and on DVD for Region 2 players but as of 2014 no DVD nor Blu-Ray are planned for the US market.

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In 1988, Marvel Productions made a cartoon series for NBC called “The Incredible Hulk” that was played during their Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup. The animation style was chosen because it was very close to the artwork that was being used in the comics at the time, but much like most cartoons of the 80’s many shots were reused saving money for the company. The episodes would follow Bruce Banner who would find himself in bad situations that only is alter ego, The Hulk, could get him out of. In this series he would meet and fight with such super villains as Doctor Octopus, Puppet Master, Spymaster, Hydra and Quasimodo, and would also team up with the likes of Rick Jones, She-Hulk and Betty Ross. The series also introduced a new set of friends with a Hispanic father and daughter named Rio and Rita who joined The Hulk on his adventures. The series only lasted one season and a total of 13 episodes, but even with such a short run thanks to reruns and VHS when I was a kid I was able to watch this series and will forever say it’s my favorite Hulk animated series to date. The cartoon had a few episodes make it to VHS and once more as the complete series was released on Region 2 DVD. No US release on DVD and Blu-Ray are planned.

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In the 1990’s FOX Network was one of the top stations when it came to cartoons, and I am not just talking about the Saturday Morning line up.  They showed many great cartoons from Batman The Animated Series all the way to X-Men; they had the lock on superhero cartoons for years. In 1996 UPN started to show another cartoon based on Hulk called yet again “The Incredible Hulk” that was made in the hopes to capture the same popularity as FOX’s major Marvel cartoon hits like 1992’s X-Men and 1994’s Spider-Man, and while many others cartoon series tried like 1994’s Fantastic Four and Iron Man and even later 1998’s Silver Surfer, they all failed to capture the magic and Hulk was as well a miss when it came to kids watching. This series followed The Hulk who was less dimwitted than the cartoons that came before and would add more smashing and fighting as baddies like Abomination, Wendigo, Leader and so many more became the punching bags for the old green menace. The cartoon’s main attraction was that it had the voice acting of Lou Ferrigno doing the Hulk, giving it a tie into the live action show and that it had many cameos from other superheroes like Iron Man, Thor and Fantastic Four. I watched the cartoon from time to time but was way older at this point and was more into girls, rock and roll and horror films than watching toons on TV. The series lasted two seasons for a total of 21 episodes that have not come out complete on DVD in the US, though at one point this series and many of the others that came before it could be watched on Netflix for a short time. Over all seen a few episodes even as of late and must say it’s a pretty good series but not nearly as fun as the 1982 one. Oh yeah and for season two, the show had a name change to “The Incredible Hulk And She-Hulk” after UPN felt that the first season was way too dark and that by adding She-Hulk they might can get a female audience to watch.

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So that was a look at the cartoons based on The Hulk from my generation, but a 2013 series called “Hulk And The Agents Of S.M.A.S.H.” airs on Disney X-D and follows The Hulk who leads other Gamma monsters into battle is being made for kids of this generation. I have not seen the show but will probably watch it once it hits DVD. But now let’s talk about the 1982 episode of The Incredible Hulk called “When Monsters Meet” where Bruce Banner and Betty Ross travel to Paris and become the target of an ancestor to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame who wants a key that Betty is wearing around her neck as he knows it will unlock a vast amount of treasure just waiting for his taking. Of course when this Hunckback appears so does Banner’s anger, and The Hulk is set to stop the creep once and for all. What a cool idea for a cartoon, and I am sure it had both Super Hero and Monster Kids happy as the two titans of brute power slugged it out for their amusement on Saturday Morning Cartoons. This episode as well as the rest in the series was narrated by Stan Lee who helped try to build the mood as well as fill in the blanks of what and who the characters are, making you as the viewer feel as if you now knew everything about the likes of Quasimodo. The episode is the fourth episode in the series when it aired and helped set the bar for the episodes to come. I first watched this episode on VHS via the Marvel Comics Video Library Volume 5 that I bought from a local video store when I was in my mid teen years, and I can remember thinking just how fun and silly the cartoon was and how The Hulk looked like he should in animated cartoon world. If you’re looking to watch this episode you can via VHS, DVD and even on Youtube, check it out if you like 80’s cartoons and enjoy all things Hulk.

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Before we move onto the comic adaptation of the episode we just spoke about I want to talk about another horror film I would love to see get made into a comic mini series and it as well was made in 1982! The film is called “Curse Of The Cannibal Confederates,” and it could be one of the cheesiest horror films I have ever seen, but damn would it be a fun film to turn into a comic. The film was directed by Tony Malanowski and follows six friends, one being a blind girl, as they go camping and hiking, but while finding an old church and graveyard in the woods they bother some items left behind and one takes a journal written by a Confederate general who was tortured alongside his men and are the ones buried in the graves. Taking the journal off the Church land makes the General and his men rise from the grave as zombies to eat the living and get back what’s theirs. The movie is released by Troma and is ranked as one of the worst films in their vast library or so Lloyd Kauffman says in his book “All I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger”, but this didn’t stop the film from coming out on VHS and DVD from Troma as well as part of Brentwoods/BCI sets on DVD called Toxie’s Triple Terror Volume 1. If a comic series was to be made, it could follow a new set of campers who go out into the woods and stay the night at the old church after hearing the legends of the Confederate Zombie Soldiers.  They bring cameras along with them to make a documentary and at night they all get a little drunk and get destructive and burn an old confederate flag taunting the spirits of the soldiers, and this act brings the dead back to life once again! The comic is then about them trying to get out of the woods alive, and as a side story two cops, who are the sons of the cop characters from the movie who are killed and eaten, are also around trying to see if the legends are true and if their fathers really died as legend tells. This could be a fun mini series and could make up for the lame movie kills with over the top zombie art kills and a spine tingling story. I would like to see Troma make the comic themselves and if not them than IDW.  If I could get one of my comic book friends to make it I would say that Bruce O’ Hughes, Eric Shonborn or Justin Wasson would be the best for the job as each have their own styles and all that could fit the mood of the story and characters. Maybe someday once I get the Night of The Demon Comic done. I will try and get this one done. Oh yeah and the film has an alternate title “The Curse Of The Screaming Dead”. So until then for god’s sake please don’t read any journals found near cemeteries.

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So we took a look at cartoon versions of the Hulk, the episode from 82 that this comic is based, a comic series I would love to have made based on a Troma movie as well as a little about my Thanksgiving.  So now I think its time that we take a look at this one shot Marvel Comic starring one of my all time favorite superheroes, The Incredible Hulk, and guest starring one of Horrors most iconic characters The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  So I have to remind everyone that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I was lucky to get this comic for free thanks to Joe G and Mavericks Cards and Comics who gave this away for Free Comic Book Day some years back. Joe use to work for Mavericks and was helping out on Free Comic Book day and when the normal stock of free comics were given away Joe brought some of his own in to continue the fun…and I was lucky enough to get this issue, so a big thanks goes out to Joe and Mavericks for going above and behind that Free Comic Day. So let’s travel to Paris and watch two monsters clash in the streets for our amusement.

Hulk Vs Quasimodo 1The Incredible Hulk vs. Quasimodo # 1   **1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price .60   Marvel Comics   #1 of 1

Bruce Banner and Betty Ross are on a trip to Paris and visit the famed cathedral of Notre Dame, as high above them Quasimodo and his large bat humanoid friend Salvatore watch and target a key necklace that Betty is wearing.  You see her necklace key alongside The France Prime Minister Of Finance’s opens a hidden vault filled with money and gold. While Quasimodo hatches a plan to kidnap Betty and get the key, Bruce and Betty meet up with Professor Jaques Royale who gives Bruce an untested cure, that Bruce shrugs off as a cure for a cold so Betty doesn’t get hip to the fact he is also The Hulk. As Bruce tries to get them a taxi, Quasimodo pops from the sewer and grabs Betty, taking her back down with him.  As Bruce gives chase Quasimodo puts Betty in a hidden room deep in the sewer and comes out to face Bruce who quickly turns into The Hulk, and the two monsters exchange punches. As the fight between the monsters rages on the formula cure falls from the Hulks pocket and Betty climbs the side of her prison wall and escapes only to be followed by Salvatore who finds out the location of the hidden loot and tells Quasimodo who has shaken the Hulk off his trail by making him fall into water and almost drowning! Betty meets up with The France Prime Minister Of Finance, and they enter a metro car filled with gold and head to the secret hidden spot.  Meanwhile The Hulk has turned back into Bruce and finds the cure at the same time Quasimodo finds him. Quasimodo says he will trade information on where Betty is and will not go after her and the gold if Banner gives him the cure. Bruce gives him the cure, and when it doesn’t work fast enough Quasimodo goes on a rampage to steal the gold as Bruce turns into the Hulk and makes quick work on the attacking Salvatore, and goes to stop Quasimodo who turns into a normal man thanks to the cure.  The Hulk stops the train car that was out of control. In the end all ends well for everyone besides Bruce Banner who still is cursed with The Hulk.

This comic follows the cartoon it was based on for the most part; the one major change is that I felt the fights between the two in the toon were way more epic than they are in the comic. The plot is simple: Bruce and Betty go to France each with their own “secret” mission. Betty is to help transport gold to a hidden vault with a key that was entrusted to her by her father Thunderbolt Ross, and Bruce is there to give some science lectures but mostly around to get an untested cure. The Great, Great, Great Grandson to The Hunchback of Notre Dame Quasimodo wants what both of them have and more so wants to be cured and not an ugly monster any more. This clearly is not in the main story arc of the ongoing comic series as many changes are around from Betty not knowing Bruce is the Hulk and the fact that Quasimodo for the most part fought the Hulk fist to fist and was able to hold is own for the most part. The Hulk is the slow-witted Green Skin Goliath that we all know and love who just wants to protect Betty and smash things. Bruce Banner is the same old same old smart guy, but is a lot less of a sad bastard. Betty for some reason is like a secret agent in this issue and holds literally the key to all of France’s money.  While she does play the helpless victim for a short time, she clearly can take care of herself as she escapes Quasimodo’s prison cell on her own. Quasimodo is a jerk for the most part and while he knows he’s ugly and a monster he thinks by stealing gold and money that he can buy himself happiness. In fact even though it looked as if Bruce was going to give him the cure formula Quasimodo bullied his way into snatching it from his hands. Salvatore the giant bat is pretty much a generic henchman who can bully the weak humans but is no match for The Hulk. The comic, while not the completely the same as the cartoon, holds true enough to the source material to make it an enjoyable read. Oh yeah and at the end of the issue, they try and make sure to remind you to watch Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends and Incredible Hulk on NBC Saturdays! The comic’s artwork is well done and is by the two talented artists Sal Buscema and Steve Mitchell, and the cover is fantastic and reminds me of an old Monster Magazine like Creepy meets a classic 70’s Hulk Comic cover. Great Read, Great Cartoon Adaptation and once more thanks Joe G and Mavericks for having this comic out for Free Comic Book Day.

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Nothing says the holiday season to me more than The Hulk…am I right or am I right? Here is to hoping that some day Disney will get in gear and release all these Hulk cartoons as well as all the rest of the classic Marvel cartoons on DVD/Blu-Ray. Thus far they have released the 1967 Spider-Mans, The 1992 X-Men series as well as the 1994 Iron Man and Fantastic Four, but nothing more for a few years now. Fans have begged for them to release the 1994 Spider-Man series, and while they have put select episodes on DVD and VHS no full seasons are in the works. Well over all I find this one shot issue a very cool tie into a very underrated Saturday morning cartoon tht should have truly lead to a comic series based on his animated adventures, and if Star Comics was around at this time it would have been a perfect fit to go alongside Wally The Wizard and Thundercats. Our next update will bring us a little closer to Christmas, and while doing some deep thinking on what to do and I decided that we will take a look at a Dell Comic based on a Roger Corman film that was adapted from the writing of Edgar Allen Poe that stars horror actor icon Vincent Price and that’s Tomb Of Ligeia! So until next time have a safe Holiday Season, buy your Christmas presents from local stores and make sure to stay nerdy and read a comic or two.

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