Beneath The Planet Of The Atlas Vampires

Space is a vast place and so much of it is undiscovered. Sometimes we consider Pluto as a planet and other times we don’t! Image what and who is out there in the parts of space that we cannot explore and discover…imagine if many of our film/TV/Video Games/Comic aliens and space explorers were real…like what if Star Wars, Star Trek, Flash Gordon, Alien, Predator, The Black Hole, John Carter Warlord Of Mars, Destroy All Humans, Mars Attacks, Last Star Fighter, Space Invaders and all other matters of science fiction in media was real….like what if right now in the universe Buck Rogers is battling Crypto for the last slice of Pizza The Hut and The Predator is trying to hunt down some Klingons as he feels they are the ultimate prey! But in reality, it really is amazing that mankind in my lifetime will never really know what is truly out their in the Universe…heck we don’t even know much about our own deep oceans! For this update we are going to take a look at Atlas Comics and their series that blended adventure, sci-fi and horror together as of course I am talking about Planet Of The Vampires. So sit back, relax and go on a space travel with me here on Rotten Ink and let’s see what these bloodsuckers are up to in the cosmos.

When I was a youngster and first discovered Atlas Comics and it’s series Planet Of The Vampires thanks to Bookie Parlor I first thought this title was based on a 1965 film of the same name that was directed by Horror Icon Mario Bava, well that was until I read it and discovered it was its own world. Mario Bava is the master of Italian Horror and was the director of many great Horror Movies like Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Blood And Black Lace, Kill Baby…Kill!, Hatchet For The Honeymoon, A Bay Of Blood, Baron Blood and Lisa And The Devil to name a few showing that he is a true icon of the genre. American International Pictures released Planet Of The Vampires in 1965 to theaters and drive-in’s and they were happy too do so as they had made a good profit off Bava films from the past. Planet Of The Vampires is a film that follows astronauts who go to an undiscovered planet and find themselves fighting among themselves and learn that something or someone on the planet is causing them to turn on themselves. This film is really good for a b-grade Sci-Fi film and really should have gotten the Dell Comic adaptation treatment, but to make it clear this Atlas Comic series is 100% not based on this film.

Disney has superhero movies on lockdown as the box office numbers for the Marvel Comic movies have broken records! Warner Brothers are still making some great superhero movies as well that are raking in the money with their DC Comic flicks. Well Paramount Pictures and Steven Paul with is SP Media Group want a slice of that comic book movie pie and Paul himself has bought the rights to Atlas Comics and want to turn the characters into movies as well as possible TV Shows! While this has been announced nothing as of yet is set to come out and what characters will get the movie or even streaming TV treatment. And for a long time reader of Atlas Comics I can say that this news is very cool and I can not wait to see movies based on the likes of Grim Ghost, Tiger-Man, Planet Of The Vampires and The Cougar to name a few. But lets also be honest with ourselves just like Atlas failed comeback to the world of comics in 2010 this could end up being gone before it even starts. So only time will tell if Atlas Comics will make an impact in the world of movies and I for one welcome these characters back to all forums of media.

On January 19, 2020 we decided to have a Horror Movie Marathon in order to celebrate the end of the Holiday season and we kicked off the day at 8am with the 1965 fright flick “Blood Beast From Outer Space” about a strange object that falls from space that brings with it a space traveler who is kidnapping Earth’s women to bring back to his home planet. The cheesy “Return Of The Killer Shrews” was next on tap and is the sequel to the 1959 film Killer Shrews and has ship boat Captain Thorne Sherman going back to the island and once more being attacked by killer shrews. The third film of the marathon was “Bat Outta Hell” about a group of wannabe filmmakers being attacked by 4 feet tall bat creatures. Next on the blood tap was the Universal International film “Curucu: Best Of The Amazon” about headhunters, explorers and a monster by the jungle river. Hammer Horror movie “The Abominable Snowman” starring Peter Cushing was next and was about climbers and explorers looking for the mythic monster the Yeti. The 6th film of the day was the indie Kaiju film “Reigo King Of The Sea Monsters” and has the Japanese navy fighting for their lives against a giant monster. “Prison Of The Dead” by Full Moon Entertainment was next and had a group of fans at an old funeral home that evil spirits and killer dead executioners are roaming around in. The Shudder exclusive film “Boar” starring Bill Mosley and Nathan Jones was next a film about a giant killer boar in the outback. What we watched next was “Camp Blood 8” a slasher film that featured the clown masked killer once more on a rampage of blood and carnage. The slasher film “Pickaxe” was next and was about an unstoppable killer returning from death and targeting a group of friends going to a rock concert. The final film of the night was “Haunt” that has a group of friends going into an extreme haunted house that’s ghoulish performers are out for flesh and blood. As always a great time watching Horror Movies with my lady Juliet. Oh and I know many of you readers like to know what we had to eat for the Marathon and we had Breakfast Casserole and Chicken with Oh My Garlic Sauce and for snacks we had Peanut Butter M&M’s and Potato Chips.

So for this Horror Movie Marathon we watched 11 films total and all from different subgenres in the world of Horror. And when it came to the Golden Turkey of the evening Juliet and I agreed that the worst film of the day was “Bat Outta Hell” as some of the acting was terrible, the CGI creatures effects looked cheap and it was kind of boring. But I must say Pickaxe for me almost made the Golden Turkey spot as I was very much disappointed in it and found it to be just kind of bland. For me the top three films of the day was simple as I would go # 1 Haunt as it was a pleasant surprise filled with great gore effects, some creepy moments and likable characters. My # 2 had to go to The Abominable Snow Man as it’s a classic Hammer Horror film and you cannot top Peter Cushing. And lastly my # 3 spot went to Boar as it was a great animal/nature run amok throwback film with some gruesome boar kills. I should also say that Camp Blood 8 was really solid and one of the better sequels that has been released these past few years. Juliet picked the following as her top 3 films of the event # 1 Haunt, # 2 Boar and for # 3 she picked Prison Of The Dead. I love having these marathons whether it’s with just Juliet or a room full of friends, it’s a great time to celebrate the world of Horror.

The Golden Chainsaw Award for most kills for the Marathon goes to the one and only undead slasher killer Alex Black from the film Pickaxe! This hulking killer racked up a body count of over 15 people and did so with brutal glee. One of his best kills is when he guts and kills a cheating boyfriend! While the film was not to best of the Marathon nor did it even come close to making either of our Top 3 lists, Pickaxe’s killer Alex Black did walk away with the Golden Chainsaw Award as he raised the bloody body count and made the event a little more splattery!

So now that we have talked about Atlas Comics and its possible future of being movies at your local cinemas soon as well as talked about the first Horror Movie Marathon of 2020, I think it’s now time that we land and take a look at the Planet Of The Vampires! I want to say that I read this comic series when I was a young teen and can remember liking it then. I want to also thank the gone but always iconic comic store Bookie Parlor for introducing me to Atlas Comics all those decades past. I want to thank the combo of Bell Book And Comic as well as Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock making this update possible. I want to remind you readers that I am grading them on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s sit back and see if these vampires have the bite to still capture my attention.

Planet Of Vampires # 1  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 1 of 3

In the year 2010 the space shuttle Aries VII returns from a five-year mission on the planet Mars, the ships Captain is Chris Galland and on his crew is his wife Elissa among a few other members. Things are weird as they are not getting an response from Mission Control and after they have to land in the harbor near Brooklyn, New York they soon see the world has changed as the buildings are destroyed and crazed gangs of people are running loose and Captain Galland and his crew are saved by a costumed man who guns some of the savages down with his flying craft! Chris and his crew jump onto the ship and the man takes them to the Empire State building that now has a dome around the blocks around it and were what’s left of normal society lives after a war broke out that mostly destroyed the world. The crew are then introduced to The Proctor the man who built the dome and has kept people safe, and Captain Galland tells him about the mission on Mars they had. But as Galland and his people are walked out of The Proctor’s office they witness as guards are taking a savage to another room, and when he lets out a painful scream Captain Galland and crew spring into action and rush to the room to find that they savages are being drained of their blood! Captain Galland saves the savages who is being lead by Bruiser Culhane who comes up with a plan to split up into two teams to escape by air and by underground. Bruiser leads Galland and his wife underground and when they escape they are greeted by a rival band of savages!

The first issue of Planet Of The Vampires is one of those issues that is really slow moving, but is truly the groundwork for what this series was suppose to be all about. The plot takes elements from many different Sci-Fi films I feel like “Planet Of The Apes” and “Omega Man” and has a group returning to Earth after a long mission in space and when back the world is changed and filled with blood suckers and unruly wild gangs. Our main hero is Captain Galland who is a good captain, he is also kind of a firm jerk who seems to bully and talk very strictly to his wife Elissa, but while he is a jerk he is a hero who watches out for his crew, questions the murdering of people and saves countless lives but standing up for what’s right. Elissa seems like a nice woman and the rest of the crew is made up of Craig, Ben and Brenda all as well are good people and Ben was the brains of the team but he is taken down by the savages after landing. The savages are at war with those who live in the dome and are violent, but are the way they are in order to survive this new cruel world. The Proctor and his men claim they are not the bad ones and that they have to steal the blood of others in order to save themselves as the radiation they claim gave them a disease. But while slow the tense feeling is building as you are not sure really what is going on with those that live in the dome and why do they really need all that blood, not to mention those who live outside the dome are violent and act like savages for sure. I also like that our hero Captain Chris Galland while always wanting to do the right thing is also really kind of an ego driven jerk! The cover for this first issue is awesome and has a Star Wars comic look to it. The interior art is done by Pat Broderick and is really good and has a classic 70’s Marvel Comics look to it, Broderick has done art for many companies over the years including DC, Marvel, Eclipse and Devil’s Due. Over all this first issue is a great read that brings this world to life for reviewers.

Planet Of Vampires # 2  ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 2 of 3

Bruiser Culhane has lead Chris & Elissa Galland into the arms of some very dangerous people who want to murder them all, but Bruiser comes up with an idea that has him fighting the leader of the group Lenny with the winner taking the lead of both tribes! The fight is brutal with Bruiser coming ahead and running both tribes, he even allows Lenny to live as Captain Chris Galland comes up with a plan that will have all the tribes come together and fight for their lives against the bloodsuckers who is the world’s real scumbag enemies. And after Craig and Brenda trick their followers they land and use the little flying craft as a bomb killing the pursuing vampires. As the savage tribes come together the vampires attack in full force and the battle leaves many dead on each side, and worse Elissa and Brenda have been kidnapped with the idea that they will be baby carries for The Proctor! During the battle Captain Galland is injured, but snaps and wants revenge when Craig informs him of the ladies kidnapping.

The plot of this second issue has Captain Galland bringing all the outside savage tribes together to make an army and pushes them to clash and fight with the larger and better-armed Bloodsucking Vampires…who of course destroy them in the battle. In fact Captain Chris Galland gets the tribes all riled up and acts as if their primitive weapons stand a chance and with them listing many of the savages loose their lives. So in other words Galland did not come up with a real battle plan and uses his own rage to lead people to their deaths. The savage tribes show that they truly are fighters as they do what they can to fight the vampires, and while many lost their lives other are taking prisoners so that they can be drained of blood. The Vampires of the Dome are very mad in this issue and when they come for revenge they are swift and brutal and kill as well as take hostages. Most of this issue is about Lenny’s dislike for Bruiser Culhane and how he learns to respect his one time enemy as well agrees to be apart of the tribe army to fight back. The cover for this issue is great and showcases evil vampires, and yet nothing like this happens in the issue. The interior art is done by Pat Broderick again and is fantastic and I really do dig his style. Over all this is another solid issue and one I can not wait to reread the third and final issue again, so let’s get to it.

Planet Of Vampires # 3  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 3 of 3

The Vampire Dome soldiers are being warned about astronauts Captain Galland and Craig coming to the dome in order to get their ladies back, and while the guards laugh an old fighter plan crashes into them all killing them on the spot and near by our heroes start to make their way into the dome as their plan to wipeout their enemies worked. Captain Galland and Craig enter the dome and make quick work of many more vampire soldiers as they out smart the bloodsuckers, but Craig’s world falls apart when they find the body of Brenda who has been drained off all her blood! Captain Galland leaves his friend to grieve for a moment as he enters the office of The Proctor and kills the vampire leader with a bullet to his head. Captain Galland is then greeted by Craig who has found Elissa hurt but still alive. The three of them make their way to steal one of the bloodsuckers aircrafts and Craig stays behind at the dome as Elissa and Captain Galland take the craft and fly around looking for a safe place to live. The couple end up in LA that is as wild as New York and Elissa is attacked by a pair of giant vampire spiders and Captain Galland fights with all his might in order to save his wife…but to his horror she passes away from her injuries and Captain Galland is a man along in a savage and violent world.

The third and final issue in this Atlas Comic series ends like so many before and after it on a cliffhanger and the promise of a next issue that never was published as Atlas Comic closed its doors before they could hit the comic racks. The plot of this issue has only Captain Chris Galland and his best friend and crewmate Craig left as all the savages have been killed or taken and they want to get their wives back who have been kidnapped by the dome living vampires, and they try their best to do just that but in the end both men loose their wives to the grip of death and both find themselves sad, lonely and in a world that is cruel and unforgiving. Captain Chris Galland is a hero who throughout the series tries his best to take control and act as if his plans and ideas are what will change this savage world, and instead his ideas lead to many deaths of people as well as even his crew. To be honest while I do understand Captain Chris Galland’s want to stand up against the evil people of this new world, a part of me also felt like he did it all for his ego. His wife Elissa Galland is always the victim in these three issues and it goes from being talked down to by his wife all the way to being picked to be the mate of the creepy vampire leader. Craig and Brenda are good side characters and to be honest I think Craig is my favorite hero of the series as he comes off more real and loyal. The Proctor and his vampire soldiers have the weapons and numbers, but when push comes to shove they fall like a house of cards and are easily beaten and killed. I must say Planet Of The Vampires held up for me and I enjoyed it just like I did in my youth and while it’s very slow moving at the start it kicks in to be a very fun Sci-Fi, Action, Horror Comic read. While those looking for solid vampire horror might be disappointed as these vampires are not like Dracula, those who like science mixed in with their vampires will really enjoy it. The cover for this issue is good, and confusing as who in the hell are the blonde astronaut and the short black haired girl? The interior art this time around is done by Russ Heath and is as well has a very classic Marvel look to it. Over all Planet Of The Vampires is a great Atlas Comics series and while it’s not one of my top favorites, it is one that I have enjoyed and suggest to comic readers who enjoy Sci-Fi Horror. Check out the art below to see the style used in this series.

Planet Of The Vampires is a 70’s comic that showed that Atlas Comics had lots to offer in the world of comic books, as did the previous comic titles we covered like The Brute, The Cougar, Tiger-Man, Demon Hunter, The Destructor and The Hands Of The Dragon have all proven. It really is a shame that Atlas Comics closed its doors so quickly as it would have been nice to see were many of their classic characters would have went story wise and what new characters they could have created. But sadly, we cannot live in a world of what if and have to live in the now and lucky for Rotten Ink we have many other Atlas Comic titles to cover in the future. But for our next update we are walking away from the world of comic books and heading to the world of Horror Hosts as I cover a little unknown host named Theodore Puertoriquez who hosted Theodore’s Creepy Kitchen! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a Meow-Tastic good time!

The Incredible Coloring Hulk!

When I was a kid I can remember sitting in my room, at the kitchen table or in front of the fire place with crayons in hand coloring in one of the many coloring books based on a cartoon, comic or movie character. Some of my favorites growing up was ones based on Batman, Inhumanoids, SilverHawks and Masters Of The Universe to name a few, but my all time favorite was an Incredible Hulk one that was released in 1979 that I would color in and give the crudely colored in pictures to my mom as gifts when I was a youngster. For this countdown to Thanksgiving update, I am feeling the need to get into a nostalgic frame of mind so I have chosen to take a look and review three old coloring books that featured original very kid friendly adventures of The Incredible Hulk! So get your Crayola Crayons ready as it’s time to color in a good time on this update.

Growing up the Incredible Hulk and Captain America were my favorite superheroes followed very closely by Spider-Man. And when growing up I had a subscription to all three of those comics at one point as well as Uncanny X-Men and looked forward to reading them as soon as they arrived in the mail…and I need to note that our Waynesville mailman did not listen to the “Do Not Bend” warning on the package and would fold it long wise to fit in our mail box! I can even remember renewing them to get more issues sent, and this is how I got to read such story lines like Cap Wolf and the first appearance of Carnage among many other great arcs. The Marvel Comics Subscription was a wonderful way for me to be able to read modern comics since I had to always wait until we could get to Big Bear to go grocery shopping in order to get the issues I needed to complete a story I had started sometimes even missing issues here and there. The good news is that for modern comic readers who don’t live around a comic shop and dislike digital comics like myself, Marvel Comics still offers the subscription service via their website! I just wanted to briefly talk about how much this helped my comic collection as a kid and how it helped me stay up to date on many of the storylines at that time. Below are some cool ads that used to be in the back of Marvel Comics that would tell you about your savings getting your comics this way. Oh yeah and also notice how two of them feature this update’s hero the Incredible Hulk!

The Hulk has been going strong for Marvel Comics for over 57 years and has had many ups and downs in his publication history and over the decades has turned from having a child like mind to having the mind of a genesis. He has turned from grey to green and back to grey to green again. He has tangled with the Army, The Hulkbusters, Abomination, The Leader and even Dr. Doom in many of his issues. But besides the Marvel Comics, The Hulk has also had many other fights and adventures as he has also graced movie screens with Hulk released in 2003, Incredible Hulk from 2016 as well as all four Avengers films! On CBS The Incredible Hulk became a TV Show that ran from 1977 to 1982 for a total of five seasons and had Bill Bixby playing David Bruce Banner and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno as The Hulk! The TV Show started after a made for TV Film and would also go on to have three more movie specials that were The Return Of The Incredible Hulk (1977), The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988), The Trail Of The Incredible Hulk (1989) and The Death Of The Incredible Hulk (1990). He has also had his fair share of adventures in pop-up books, paperback novels, coloring books, video games, recorded audio, comic strips, cartoons and even the weirdest, toilet paper! And let’s be honest, this does not even count Fan Films and even your own adventures you made with your action figures, board games and Colorforms. So as you can see, The Incredible Hulk and his legacy in entertainment goes far beyond the world of Comic Books and has made its way into all types of media given fans even more ways to enjoy their favorite hero.

Did you readers know that in 1983 a game was being made based on The Incredible Hulk for the Atari 2600 that was going to be released by Parker Brothers? Well if not, you know now! The game would have had you play as Bruce Banner with your goal being to get through levels and avoid getting too mad and turning into The Hulk, but the trick was each level would get harder and harder. The game was to be the second in the team up between Marvel Comics and Parker Brothers with the first one being Amazing Spider-Man that was released for Atari 2600 in 1982, but sadly with the video game crash of 1982 came lots of games that never got released to consumers…and sadly The Incredible Hulk was one of those games. It would have also been a two player game meaning you and your sibling or friend could have taken turns playing as Banner and seeing how many points you could rack up. The game did have some press before it was set to be released that included ads and even a cover box design building the hype for gamers and comic readers. Over the years gamers have searched, begged for and hoaxed a prototype for this game and as of this update none have been found leaving the world without at Atari 2600 game based on The Hulk. Will a prototype for this unreleased Incredible Hulk video game ever turn up? This blogger, gamer and comic reader sadly doesn’t think so but if it ever does I for one will buy it on a cart and have an Atari 2600 Challenge update all about it. Below are some of the graphics used in the pre-promotion ads for this game so check them out and try to imagine what could have been.

So way back in the day I was one of the founders of a club called the “Dayton Board Game Society” and on July 11, 2012 at our first meeting we played the board game The Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four that was released by Milton Bradley in 1978. At the time we only had a total of three members as it was a private club and besides myself, Stephen Alexander and Josh Weinberg made up the group. I would love to share my thoughts from 2012 with you readers here about this Hulk board game so here is my review from back then: “This one was a surprise for me and I found myself liking the simple yet fun game and this would get my rating of 2.5 out of 4! Growing up I was a huge fan of The Incredible Hulk and this game has you being a member of the Fantastic Four trying to cure the Hulk as he rampages the board! While the game is a basic spinner game, it’s more fun as you the player is also forced to move the Hulk to block and steal other players cards. Very fun game.” At some point I should get the lads back together and play this board game again and see how an older me feels about it. Check out below for some cool pictures from that day.

So as you can see, The Hulk truly is one of Marvel’s most iconic characters and is one that has always captured my imagination as I have always found the character to be interesting and appealed to this Monster Kid as he always had a dash of classic horror to him like a little Frankenstein’s Monster and even some Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So let’s get into the main attraction of this update, three coloring books made by Whitman Publishing that feature original very kid friendly stories centered around The Hulk. I really cannot wait to revisit the one I had as a kid as I have not seen it for well over twenty years at this point! So I want to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. I also want to stress I am going to grade these a little differently than normal comics as the stories in these are going to be really silly and goofy so I will cut them a little slack. So with that grab your green and purple crayons, and let’s get to these coloring books.

Incredible Hulk: At The Circus  *
Released in 1977     Cover Price .49     Whitman/Marvel   # 1 of 3

The Circus is in town and The Incredible Hulk is working for them doing all types of fun things like lifting heavy weights as well as setting up the tents. The owner of the circus is Mr. Barnes and as he is counting the money, a masked baddie named The Stuntman enters and steals it and sets the trailer on fire! The Hulk smells the smoke and sets into action and saves Mr. Barnes, puts out the trailer by throwing it into water and then starts to chase The Stuntman to get the money back! The chase goes all over the circus with The Stuntman always being a few steps ahead, and The Hulk gets a good idea along with fellow circus worker Rubber Man to roll him into a ball and crash into the villain, and it works leaving Hulk saving the day and getting the money back!

The first thing I want to say about this Hulk coloring book adventure is that it’s barely a story and for the most part makes zero sense as the plot is just laughably bad! No joke, the plot is The Hulk working for a circus and loving to entertain people, getting back stolen money from a cheesy masked bad guy. The Hulk in this book is always smiling and seems to be high on life, I mean why in the heck is he working….Hulk just wants to be alone not setting up tents and hanging out with clowns! This is like opposite day Hulk as he just does not seem himself at all. The Stuntman is super lame and is so terrible he even tries to use a child as a hostage in order to get away…this guy is better left out of the comics, and I am glad this is his only appearance as this coloring book adventure should never been spoken of. The cover for this one is also really bad and has The Hulk on a trapeze looking very misshapen, and the interior art is just ok and while looks nothing like the comic art it does have a very kid friendly look. Over all this first coloring book adventure is pretty bad so lets move onto the second and the one I had growing up! Oh yeah check out the art below to see the art style of this one.

Incredible Hulk: Dot To Dot  **
Released in 1979     Cover Price .59     Whitman/Marvel   # 2 of 3

Alien race The Greenies are attacking the planet Big Zero and blow it up and only one of its citizens escaped named 00-6 and he has chosen Earth to hide out. But he makes a mistake and lands at a speedway as a race is going on causing panic as he uses his number blast power to make a racecar disappear as well as a near by tree and the picnic basket of Bruce Banner who was about to enjoy his lunch. This angers Banner who turns into The Hulk who charges 00-6 who uses his number blast and figure eight spaceship to try and escape, but Hulk follows and the pair are soon both captures by the Greenie King who looks like the Hulk! He informs 00-6 and The Hulk that is plan is to steal the color green from Earth and replace it with other colors causing a green out all thanks to the robot that is called Green Machine! Hulk does not like what he hears and is ready to smash both Green Machine and Greenie King and knocks out the King with one punch but is late with Green Machine who is on his way to Earth! 00-6 uses all his life power to make a number three flying machine that Hulk rides and is able to cut off Green Machine in space and knock him out and return to Earth on it. In the end Hulk is happy to be back home taking a nap under a tree.

Dot-To-Dot was a coloring book I loved as a kid and now looking at it as a 40 year old man, I must say this is super cheesy and super simple and really just middle of the road when it comes to a kids comic style adventure. The plot has The Hulk teaming with a number alien against a race of aliens and their robot that want to steal the coloring green from Earth as they use it as energy. The Hulk in this coloring book goes from being ready to smash 00-6 to becoming his friend to being Earth’s protector in a short amount of pages and while he is not fully Hulk of the comics in attitude, he is close enough. 00-6 is a small goofy little alien who uses number to fight against is foes, he is a good guy but also a little goofy when it comes to who he thinks are his enemies as he sees a tree as a threat. I also like how he uses all his numbers in order to save the world and dies for doing so…he is the Earth’s unknown savior. The Greenie King looks like Hulk with a crown and is an ego driven ruler who cares nor for others and only his needs. The Green Machine is a robot man who is into stealing the color green on the word of his King. The story really is super simple and is hard to break down so I will say I enjoy how Hulk goes to space, I like how he rides a space board that looks like the number three, I dig when he drops the name of the Silver Surfer. The cons are that the plot is lame, the villains are no threat and 00-6 is super goofy. The cover is pretty cool and has the Hulk being surrounded by numbers as an Unknown Artist did the interior artwork that is pretty well done. Over all this coloring book I loved as a youngster did not hold up and is pretty cheesy and for Hulk fans only. Check out the art below to see what you get with this 1979 coloring book.

Incredible Hulk: Wisdom Of The Watcher  **1/2
Released in 1980     Cover Price .69     Whitman/Marvel   # 3 of 3

The Hulk is in the desert to get a break from mankind, and while lonely he at least is not being attacked, that is until a small craft appears and uses gas to knock him out! Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner and finds himself on a craft and confronted by his enemy The Leader who places a device on Banners neck that will allow him to take control of The Hulk and use him as a weapon to take over the world and beyond. The Leader after making Banner turn back into The Hulk runs him through some tests to see what his body can withstand and how strong he truly is and once his questions are answered he shares his plan with Hulk that will have him travel to the moon and steal an artifact from The Watcher who makes his home on the moon. The Leader sends Hulk to the moon, and he is greeted by The Watcher who tells him to look around as he will not interfere in his quest all the while The Leader is in Hulk’s head giving orders as old jade jaws is trying to fight off his mind control. The Leader pots a red orb and he knows that is what he needs and to take it Hulk must fight a massive alien who has also shown up to steal the orb! Hulk defeats the alien easily and takes the orb as The Watcher witnesses him vanish back to the lab of The Leader who puts the orb on his head thinking he can learn the knowledge of all the planets and instead it over loads his mind knocking him out and allowing Hulk to free himself from the mind control and wonder away all the while The Watcher knew this is how it all would end.

This final coloring book issue of Incredible Hulk I have from Whitman is a pretty fun read as it’s pure kids comic stuff! The plot is very simple and has The Hulk being tricked and mind controlled by his foe The Leader who wants to use his power and strength in order to travel to the blue side of the moon and steal a powerful orb from The Watcher. And things go bad for The Leader when he finds out some knowledge just can not be learned no matter how smart you are. The Hulk in this issue feels a little off as at some points he is the mad kid like hulking beast and others he is mentally trying to free his mind from the control and comes off super well spoken. It’s like the writer of this coloring book forgot from time to time on what comic character he was writing this story about. But while the writing is a little flawed on how The Hulk acts, it’s still great when he is the Hulk we all know and love and is complaining about mankind. The Leader is as sinister as ever and wants nothing more than to gain power and knowledge and to rule over the whole world…he is such a smart slimy character that is easy to hate as he just oozes ego. The Watcher is as natural as ever and while he could mess people and events up he decides to play by his races rules and just watch, even if people are stealing from him. The Alien thief is big and bad and is no match for the might of The Hulk and gets his butt kicked really quick! One thing I did like about this coloring book is the fact The Watcher stayed true to who he is and just sits back and watches as all the events unfold, when he could have easily sent The Hulk away and then went to Earth and smacked The Leader around. The cover for this book is great and has The Hulk punching an alien in the face as The Watcher watches while space is in the background as well as what I would guess is the moon. The art inside is once more done by the Unknown Artist and is pretty good with sometimes characters looking a little off. Over all this is a fun short and silly Hulk adventure that brought joy to the kids of the 80’s and beyond. Oh and this one only had one small part colored in and that was The Watchers eyes were colored in blue. Check out some pages below to see how this one looked.

While coloring book comic character adventures are not the best written nor drawn stories, they still are part of the character’s history and it was fun to travel back and give them a read for this update. Plus I always enjoy taking some time to chat about The Hulk who I should cover way more often here on my blog. I am not sure if I ever will do another coloring book update based on a classic superhero, but if I choose to do so, I will cover Captain America. For my next update I am thinking I am going to put up the crayons and gear up to once more spend Thanksgiving with the mythology hero Hercules as he does 12 labors of superhuman challenges! So until then, make sure to stay young at heart my readers, and make sure to read a Marvel Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for another Turkey Day Herc adventure!

Spider-Man Has The Power To Slay Dragon Man!

Who doesn’t like listening to music on vinyl? Growing up I have fond memories of listing to the likes of Weird Al Yankovic, Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Motley Crue and the WWF Wrestling Album to name a very few. But I also have some good memories of listening to comic books on vinyl…I am sure you long time comic readers remember Power Records released by Peter Pan Records as kids of the 70’s and 80’s grew up with these. I for one checked them out all the time from the library in Waynesville and most of the time the vinyl was missing, but my brother and I did have some of our own that we got from garage sales. One of my favorites from this series is the one featuring Incredible Hulk called “At Bay” that had old jade jaw taking on Abomination and Rhino at the Hulk Buster Base, a very fun listen and a good adventure for one of my favorite superheroes. Plus thanks to Power Records, I first discovered Holo-Man, an original superhero that I have covered here on Rotten Ink before. For this update, we are going to have some fun and not only chat about Power Records but also just some fun stuff going on in my life as well as in comics! So grab your record player and crank it to 11 as it’s time to power out with Spider-Man!

Synthetic Plastics Company was a plastic manufacturer that was founded by Daniel Kasen that opened in the 1920’s in New Jersey. Their main products were buttons and game pieces like poker chips, and they made a good living at making this stuff. But they would get into making vinyl records after World War II when Daniel’s brother entered the picture and they opened Peter Pan Records, that would spawn many other side labels like Power Records, Diplomat Records and Parade Records to name a few and would push for cheaper made vinyl records so the could sell them at cheap prices. These labels would mostly focus on children releases based on popular properties like Bugs Bunny, Sesame Street and Batman as well as Gospel, Comedy and budget releases and would crank out releases as they owned the press that made them. But while many listeners had these cheap made releases, they also knew that the sound quality was very poor and this was something that stuck with this company all during their time in business. Over the years and with many name changes, many of you might be shocked to know that Synthetic Plastics Company is still around and switched their home base from New Jersey to Florida and are now called Inspired Studios and are just shell of what they used to be, but it’s still very cool knowing they are still out there.

So with us talking about record companies and music, let’s take a look at the newest CD release of Dee Snider of the 80’s band Twisted Sister that was released in July 2018 and a release that I have wanted to check out for some time. Growing up, I was fan of Twisted Sister as well as Dee Snider’s other band Widowmaker, not to mention a big fan of his Horror Movie Strangeland and loved watching him out class the PMRC at the infamous 1985 Senate hearings. The release is called “For The Love Of Metal” and was released by Napalm Records and has 12 tracks. So let’s sit back, relax and get talking about this release shall we? When popping in this CD, the first thing I noticed is that Dee Snider has not missed a step when it comes to delivering amazing rock n roll vocals to heavy songs. And I must also say it blew me away just how heavy and rocking this release was. I also noticed that Dee also sounded a little bit like Alice Cooper in some of these songs and to be honest some of the songs even sound like they could have been song by him and released on “Brutal Planet”. I would say that my favorite track on this release would be “I Am The Hurricane” followed by “For The Love Of Metal” as both tracks I think really do capture the attitude and singing talent of Dee. Over all if you enjoyed Twisted Sister and like the singing style of Dee Snider this is a release that you should check out as one thing is for sure Dee Snider is a true icon of Rock N Roll!

What’s really crazy is to think that here in the Dayton area we have very little music shops left as places like Armadillo Records, Renaissance Music, CD Connection, Trader Vics, Gem City Records, Dingleberry’s and NRM Music are all shops of the past and all we have left is Omega Music, Toxic Beauty and Skeleton Dust and a few other mix media stores like Second Time Around, Game Swap Kettering and Buybacks to name a few who have solid and good music selections. I have so many great memories and moments at many of those long gone record shops and pretty much grew up visiting Renaissance Music and even to this day Geoff Burkman, who was the owner of the shop remains one of my close friends. Renaissance was a very cool place and one that I always felt at home at. The store had an amazing selection of music on vinyl, cassettes and CDs and was my go to store to get my 80’s hairbands. It was also the place I would get Horror Movies on VHS and later DVD as well as get posters, buttons, fanzines and Horror Indie Comics. It was a place over the years I would sit and chat with Geoff for hours about music, movies and comics. Even in school for one of my classes, I job shadowed Geoff for a class report and we watched Dawn of the Dead together that day on Laserdisc. I can still see and hear the old Renaissance Music TV commercials in my mind from time to time as they would have Geoff wearing a Godzilla mask and talking like Mr. T and calling himself Mr. G…classic. In fact many years later, Geoff would play Mr. G again in episodes of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. Geoff Burkman and Renaissance Music also appear in the Independent B Movie film Wolf Hunter directed by Matt Hoffman as well. NRM is another place I used to love to go as it was in the Town And Country Shopping Center that was near the High School in Kettering I went to for a short time, and I can remember cutting class and going their to pick up music to listen to on my Sony Walkman. And that’s just the two stores as I have great memories of all the stores I mentioned above and miss the atmosphere of a good classic music store and searching for the next album of a band I liked or even discovering new music. No matter how the world changes, you just cannot sell me on digital media and that goes for music, movies, comics, video games and books. For this blogger, physical will always be the way to go. Below are some of the closed music shops that brought lots of tunes to this metal heads ears when growing up.

So as you can see, in my opinion music and comic books go hand and hand as both have been a main source of entertainment for me growing up. And I am going to say this, I really wish an indie comic company would return and make classic style Rock N Roll Comics like Revolutionary Comics headed by Todd Loren did back in 1989-1994, and yeah, I know companies like Blue Water tried but failed and I am talking about comics done by fans of the bands doing unauthorized comic issues on bands like Cinderella, W.A.S.P., Danzig and Billy Idol to name a few. But let’s move past a dream I am sure will never be made true and let’s focus on Spider-Man and this adventure made just for Power Records. I want to remind you all that I grade this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see what Spidey has in store for us as he takes on a massive Dragon Man!

Spider-Man Power Record # 0  **
Released in 1974       Cover Price $1.49       Marvel/Power Records     # 1 of 1

A group of college students and their teacher are out looking at the stars. Two students sneak away to make out while stars fall from the sky that turn out to be Dragon Men lead by the massive Draco King Of The Dragon-Men, who have came to earth with the plan to take it over. At the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson is mad as the story of the Dragon-Men has broke and none of his reporters have covered it yet. He sends Peter Parker to get some photos of the aliens or lose his job! Peter Parker turns into Spider-Man when his Spidey Sense goes crazy when he passes sewer manholes, and this leads him to travel around the sewer system where he finds Draco and his Dragon-Men who have a giant laser gun they plan on using in New York that will leave all machines and humans paralyzed! Spider-Man is able to trick Draco and the Dragon-Men and use his webbing on the guns controls and floods the sewer, washing away them and their fancy massive gun. Spider-Man later is back on the streets of New York and finds in the newspaper that the bodies of the Dragon-Men had been found and are robots and not aliens at all. To clear his mind and gaze at the stars above, Spider-Man sits on top of the Empire State Building and is lost in thoughts when Draco appears and shares that he is no alien but is really a missing scientist who fused his own blood with that of a giant iguana and has transformed into a massive fire breathing dragon humanoid. As Draco attacks, Spider-Man uses his fast speed to dodge him and Draco falls 20 feet onto a roof below. As Spider-Man rushes down to check on his foe, he only finds a small iguana there that crawls away into a crack in the wall.

This Spider-Man adventure was an original story made just for Power Records, and while entertaining, you can tell it was rushed and was not a priority to Marvel who did not bring their A-Game. This comic’s plot has Spider-Man on the hunt for Dragon-Men who are said to be from space and are now in New York and have a sinister plan to take over thanks to their massive fire-breathing leader Draco. Spidey, being the hero he is, not only tracks them down but also exposes that the Dragon-Men are robots and not aliens, destroys their massive destructive weapon and as well figures out that Draco is a mutated missing scientist! Spider-Man in this issue is the friendly neighborhood web head we all love and is filled with one liners as well as the fighting skills to back up his mouth. I also have always liked that Spidey uses his mind to also figure out how to stop the baddies and not just his fists. Peter Parker even in this issue has some pressure as his boss J. Jonah Jameson threatens to fire him if he doesn’t get pictures of the Dragon Men for the paper, and he also has to blow off the attention of Mary Jane Watson in order to get said pictures and this upsets his red headed love interest. Draco is a massive fire breathing dragon man who has a massive ego and wants to rule the world as he feels his superior mind puts him above normal humans…even if he started out as one. The Dragon Men are just robots who do what their creator asks, and while threats, they are by no means as threatening as such super villains as Green Goblin, Rhino or Shocker. While I am thinking about it, this story almost feels like it could have been an issue in the “Spidey Super Stories” comic series as it’s fast paced and the villain is over the top in appearance. The cover is pretty great and eye catching as it also reminds me of a cheesy b-movie poster. The interior art is also good and is done by an unknown artist as no credits are given. Over all this is a fun read and is a must for fans of classic 70’s Spider-Man adventures, but keep in mind the story is not mind blowing and is just a middle of the road adventure that feels like a back up story. Check out the artwork below to see what you get in this book and record set.

The Book and Record Sets should make a comeback in the world of comics as they were a fun way to bring in younger readers as well as add a new level of fun for older readers. In our modern world with digital, CD and Vinyl all still being around for us to listen to audio on, I am going to guess it’s only a matter of time before a company does it again…heck, maybe Sparkle Comics will bring this trend back! Now it’s time for us to leave New York and let Spider-Man do what he does best and that’s stop crimes. For our next update we will be heading to the world of snack food to take a look at Jell-O Man! So until next time, read a comic or three, listen to a CD or two and as always support your local Horror Host! So let’s get ready to meet next time and talk about a mascot for snack food.

 

Marvel’s Fastest Gun In The West…Rawhide Kid

Once upon a time western comics were all the rage for young readers, and cowboys like Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Billy The Kid, Roy Rogers and so many others entertained and captured imaginations. In fact besides comic books, westerns also use to rule the box office as well as TV airwaves and cheap paperback novels, and it seemed like every kid wanted to be the cowboy when playing “Cowboy And Indians”. But like all super popular media, it, of course, also had a big fall and has lost its hold on the youth today who seem to prefer video game heroes to those from the old wild west. Growing up, I loved films like Once Upon A Time In the West, Magnificent Seven, Young Guns and Quick And The Dead, not to mention the classic true tales of Billy The Kid, Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok! Plus no joke. The Rifleman is one of my all time favorite TV shows, and Lone Ranger was a hero of mine when I was a kid! So while westerns in media even by the time of my youth were not as popular of a genre, they still had their hooks in my entertainment. I mean let’s be honest, many of you readers growing up have played Cowboys and Indians and even looked up to the likes of Roy Rogers or John Wayne. For this update we are going to take a look at a western hero from the Marvel Universe and after looking at all the options, I decided to take a look at Rawhide Kid and his 1985 mini series. So get your spurs on, find a trusty horse and let’s head out to the wild west and see what Marvel has in store for us when it comes to Cowboy heroes. This update will be a quick one and should be a fun one for fans of classic Marvel western heroes.

Some of you younger readers I am sure do not remember the Rawhide Kid as Marvel Comics over the years have not really done much with him besides give him a MAX series and turn him into a raunchy character to try and be edgy in 2003, and then in 2010 he had another mini series put out this time again simply released by Marvel. But before we dive too deep and start the review of Rawhide Kid, I want to share a little of the character’s back story and history with you readers who might be unfamiliar with Rawhide Kid’s slinging ways. As a baby, Johnny Clay had most of his family killed by Indians, and he was left behind as his brothers fled and one was even captured and taken. Ben Bart, a fast Texas Ranger gunslinger, took in the infant Johnny and raised him as his own family on an old ranch, where Johnny at the age of 18 became the fastest gun in the west. One day Johnny heads to town for supplies, and while away, some gunslingers sneak onto the ranch and kill Ben and this sparks Johnny who finds the body to become on a quest of revenge. Once tracking them down and out-dueling them both in a gun fight, Johnny turns his adoptive father’s killers in and decides to change his name to Rawhide Kid and to use his fast shooting skills to help others. And after having it out with an evil ranch owner that leaves the man shot, the Rawhide Kid becomes a wanted man when a sheriff fails to see that the Kid was only saving the day. But even as a wanted man, the Rawhide Kid used his gun skills to help people and to fight crime. Over the years Rawhide Kid has teamed up with the likes of Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt, Phantom Rider and even Iron Man! This character ran from 1955 -1979 and lasted 151 issues for his first solo run and would come back in 1985 for a four issue mini series. While Rawhide Kid is not a popular Marvel Comic character nowadays, he was one who made his mark for the company and is one that deserves respect for being one heck of an entertaining western comic character. Growing up, I read many of his adventures from comics that my Grandma Brassfield would buy for my brother from garage sales, and can remember enjoying them pretty well but still always preferring the superhero and horror comics. If you like classic western movies and TV shows and also enjoy reading comic books, give Rawhide Kid a chance as the early stuff is lots of fun and holds a real classic feel. Oh and I should also note that Rawhide Kid’s drink of choice is milk, and him asking for it at bars and saloons is a running gag in the series.

Cowboys also made a mark in the world of video games with most modern gamers agreeing that the Red Dead Redemption series is one of the over all best games going! But one of the earliest western games I remember was for the Atari 2600 and was called Outlaw and has you having to outdraw an outlaw in order to score points. And when getting this update together I figured it would be fun to take a small NES Challenge on a western themed game for the Nintendo and decided to settle on Gun.Smoke released in 1985 by Capcom. So I picked January 22, 2019 as the day to play this game and hooked up the RES (Retro-Entertainment System) and was ready to just sit back for a few minutes and just have fun and play this game and see how far I could get. My goal this time around is to not even beat the game but to just replay it after all these years, I want to thank Game Swap Kettering for having the game in stock for me to buy and make this quick play a reality. So after pouring myself a tall glass of water and eating a good meal of home made chicken and dumplings, I set out to take a shot of surviving the 8-bit wild-west! And the game was just as fun as I remember as I just ran around shooting all the baddies in town with my goal being to collect a bounty put onto the head of a criminal. The longer I played the more I enjoyed it, but also the longer I played it my hands became more and more cramped as the game forces you to always move up and you must be dodging and shooting at the same time. Capcom should make an updated version of this game and make it like an alternative to Red Dead Redemption and have the player play as a man on the side of the law whose goal is to capture some of the worst gun slingers the wild west has ever known…just an idea. If you enjoy classic NES games and also like wild west shooters, make sure to check out Gun.Smoke as I think it’s a forgotten gem for that system that is worth your play time.

I am not a big soda drinker, but from time to time I do enjoy a good soft drink, and for those wondering it really is hard to pick between Pepsi or Coke as each I think go well with different types of meals with Coke being the best with Pizza and Pepsi going well with Mexican food. But in October 2018 I must say I had one of the worst sodas I have ever tasted (minus those weird ones like Ranch and PB&J) and it was called “Moxie Original Elixir” and my gosh it had one of the worst after tastes of any soda I have drank as it tasted like cough syrup…it was so gross! So this is just a warning for you cola soda drinkers, stay clear of Moxie unless you have a bad cough cause who knows it might help ya!

While working on this update, I got thinking about the old steakhouse Ponderosa that was really inspired by the old west and flavors of the past as well as the TV show Bonanza. Growing up here in Ohio, we had a few of them around and I can remember that my Grandparents on my Dad’s side really loved eating there. I can remember eating the salad bar and loading up on small steaks and baked potatoes and chatting with my brother about toys, comics, video games and horror movies as we ate. But while they were popular places to eat here for a while, they faded away from the Dayton market and all went out of business with the longest one to hold on being on Airway Road. So I wanted to have a meal at Ponderosa in order to celebrate Rawhide Kid and Marvel Western Comics and to relive a little bit of my youth. The nearest Ponderosa is over an hour away from where I live and is in Hillsboro, and after calling up my pal Josh Weinberg, we hit the rode to have a good lunch at an old staple restaurant for our family growing up. The only downside is that I no longer eat red meat and must find some food I can eat from a place that is a steak house. We hit the road on January 15, 2019 to the good old Ponderosa, and on the drive there we chatted a little about the future of the Wolf Hunter movie series as well as a wrestling and baseball talk. It took a little over an hour to get there, but once we did, the place was pretty epic and from the outside was one of the biggest Ponderosa’s I have ever seen! The setup inside was very nice and clean, and Josh and I decided to eat the salad bar buffet. Our waitress was super cute and looked like she could have been a model or a pop star country singer. I chose water as my drink of choice and during my lunch I had chicken wings, mashed potatoes with two types of gravy, mac & cheese, green beans, ham and chicken noodles. And I must say it was all pretty good with the mac & cheese and chicken wings being the stand out and the most tasty. Over all while the inside was very Texas Ranch looking, the meal was good southern style cooking and flavors. On the ride back we talked lots more about MLB aka the Cincinnati Reds and had a hoot as we spotted in someone’s yard a statue of the Apple Pie Tree from McDonalds. It was worth the drive to eat once more at Ponderosa Steakhouse and over all was a fun cold day in Ohio. Below are pictures I took on that day.

So now that I have my belly filled with some good old Ponderosa food, I think it’s time we sit around the campfire with a cup of coffee and start our look at Marvel Comic western hero The Rawhide Kid and the 1985 mini series I have chosen to cover for this update. Now I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready readers and friends, let’s review the Wild West adventures of The Kid! Oh and I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this whole mini series in stock.

The Rawhide Kid # 1  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 1 of 4

The Rawhide Kid is an old man now and is making his way atop Nightwind to town when railroad workers spot him, and the oldest member of the team shares the story of Rawhide Kid being the fastest gun in the west and how he avenged the murder of his adoptive father. After hearing the story, a young city boy on the rail team decides to quit his job to follow Rawhide Kid into town and asks him to train him in gun slinging. Rawhide Kid finds a saloon to relax in as the youngster also enters the bar and hears some of the men talking about the greatest gunslingers of the west and he chimes in Rawhide Kid and points him out to everyone as being the best! The saloon owner refuses to serve Rawhide Kid a good breakfast now as he thinks he is an outlaw and worse as he is about to leave some of the railroad workers have shown up for lunch and bait Rawhide into a massive fist fight that he is winning and is broke up by Sam the town Sheriff and friend of his who takes his old friend to the jail in order to give him a place to rest. That night the City Boy breaks down the wall of the jail to “free” Rawhide Kid who was not even locked up, and this makes the town go crazy as they all start firing at him and his new young goofy friend! But Rawhide Kids still keeps them safe and the Sheriff is able to calm the towns people down, as the City Boy comes to learn that the Rawhide Kid is really in town to put a flower on a grave of a young kid he gunned down in the city many years back.

This Marvel Western Comic is lots of fun and this first issue was a fantastic read to kick off a mini series as it blends his old adventures and his current story really well and brings new readers up-to-date on who the character is and was. The plot of this issue has the Rawhide Kid now an old man who returns to a town that he killed a young gun slinger in and soon finds that the town dislikes him and look at him as an outlaw, that his friend is now the town Sheriff and he also has a young city boy who idolizes him and wants to learn to become a gun slinger like him. Rawhide Kid is an aged fast draw gun slinger who is a man that is haunted by his past as he has taken so many lives with his guns. Plus I like that even though he is an old man he don’t take guff from people who want to try and test him and his legend. I also like that he just wants to avoid trouble and that all he really wanted to do in town is have some ham, eggs, bread and of course a glass of milk before visiting the grave. The City Boy is a young man who gets wrapped up in the stories of how great Rawhide Kid is and decides that by being trained by him will lead him closer to fame and fortune instead of working hard for his money. While he is a good kid, he also is a screw up and causes Rawhide Kid lots of issues with the locals in this issue. The townspeople are all mostly judgmental who hate Rawhide Kid due to old wanted posters that use to hang, forgetting that he was the one who gunned down a madman who killed many of the townsfolk many years back. Sheriff Sam is the only one who seems to know that Rawhide is a good man and he has to be the voice of reason when it comes to them getting trigger happy. And Nightwind is still the same old fast horse long time readers love. It’s great to see that Rawhide’s trusty horse is still alive and helping his owner to get out of tough spots. The comic does a great job of building up a good story that shows our hero is an aging man who still is as skilled as he was in his youth as the world around him is changing and his good deeds are out shined by damning words from the past. The cover is great and has a real classic look and the interior art is done by the iconic Herb Trimpe who is one of my favorite classic Marvel artists. I am surprised on how much I enjoyed this issue, and I am very much looking forward to reading what’s to come in issue two. So with that let’s see what Rawhide Kid gets up to in his next adventure.

The Rawhide Kid # 2  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 2 of 4

Rawhide Kid and City Boy board a train to get out of town and to check one of Rawhide’s bank accounts in a nearby town as he is owned money from a writer who has been writing dime store books about Rawhide Kid’s past adventures as well as tall tales about him and who has not paid! While on the train City Boy gets real nervous when two men approach and even tries to shoot them with a gun he has hidden in his boot causing panic on the train and for Rawhide Kid to also be the target of the two men who turn out to be the law as City Boy is a wanted man! Rawhide Kid and City Boy escape the train and the law as City Boy shares his story of how he accidentally murdered his old boss in Chicago defending the honor of his sister. The pair find an old abandoned shack and spend the night there only to wake up and find that they are in the practice area of Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show! And after some talk Rawhide Kid joins the cast of his traveling road show as does City Boy. While working for the show he runs into the writer who he makes pay him all the money owed and also runs into Annie Oakley who was an old fling of his. But the lawmen also show up and he and City Boy must race off as Oakley and the rest of the crew run distraction.

This second issue has Rawhide Kid once more being on the wrong side of the law thanks to his new student City Boy. We find out his real name is Jeff Packard and he is wanted for murder back in Chicago of a slaughterhouse owner who employed him and his sister. Our plot of the issue has two main storylines with one being City Boy and his running ways from the two officers out to get him and the other is Rawhide Kid who has been ripped off by a writer who owes him lots of back pay money for books he wrote about the living legend. Rawhide Kid is very noble and not only wants what’s owed to him but also wants to teach and protect him from the law who wants to take them both in. Jeff Packard aka City Boy is a young man who still has the idea of being a gunslinger will bring him money and tells a tale of why he is wanted in Chicago that involves a man using and abusing his sister, and when thinking about it, I am not sure I believe him and I think he killed the man in a botch theft as City Boy is very much into money and is saying this in order to get the help of Rawhide Kid to escape the law. What really is cool about this issue is the fact they add in real Wild West people like Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley and have them at the Wild West Show! Makes me hope that more real cowboys show up in this mini series! The over all feel of this issue is the great chase as our heroes spend the issue on the run from the law who are outclassed by the fast and adventures style of Rawhide Kid who always is one step ahead of them. The cover for this issue is great and holds a classic western comic look and once more Herb did the interior and is fantastic. Over all this second issue is, as good as the original and I cannot wait to see what issue 3 has in store.

The Rawhide Kid # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 3 of 4

Rawhide Kid and City Boy have made camp outside of a town were Rawhide is teaching him how to be fast with a pair of six shooters. Meanwhile the law has hired a former slave now turned bounty hunter to bring in the pair of “fugitives”. While at the camp, Rawhide Kid goes for a quick swim as City Boy goes to make breakfast and is attacked by the law and Bounty Hunter who informs him that his sister is fine and is now to be married off, but thanks to Rawhide Kid and Nightwind, they are able to free City Boy and they ride off to find shelter and a place to hide and regroup in the near by town. Once in town they find that it is made up of former slaves and all the males have been killed and the women and children are hiding in the church and tell Rawhide kid that a hate group killed all the males and are returning for them all because they want the town cause oil has been discovered under it. The Bounty Hunter leaves the law behind and tracks his bounties down to the same town. Once the Bounty Hunter finds them in the church a showdown is about to happen until the hate group shows up and they have to join forces in order to save the locals as well as themselves. In the end the good guys win and kill and chase off the hate mongers and the Bounty Hunter drops out of turning them in and decides to stay in the town and help them rebuild and protect them from others trying to steal the oil. Rawhide Kid and City Boy ride off still on the run but also as heroes.

Wow this is a great issue and shows that Rawhide Kid is a good man who does what’s right and is also teaching City Boy the same morals. This issue has Rawhide and City Boy being hunted down by a skillful Bounty Hunter who ends up joining with his bounties in order to protect a town that is being slaughtered by a group of hate and greed filled men. Rawhide Kid is still a man trying to avoid his legend as he knows that much of it was made up by writers and storytellers, and while some think he is an outlaw, he is really a man who does the right thing and even risks his own life to save others. He also has zero tolerance for those who hate due to skin color and has no issues standing up for what he thinks is right and putting haters in their place or even six feet under. So I have to say I was wrong about City Boy as it looks like he was telling the truth about killing the man over his sister, and he in this issue is learning not only to be fast with a gun but also how to be a better person and to help others. The lawmen are desperate in this issue and go looking for help to capture their “outlaws” by hiring a bounty hunter and once more when they go for the arrest they fail. The Bounty Hunter is a former slave who also fought in the civil war and is now super skilled with a gun and always gets his man and seems very happy to be hired to take down a legend like Rawhide Kid, and in the end he learns that he needs to also look at valuing innocent human life and not just look at all people as dollar signs. This issue really does take a look at racism and does it in your normal Marvel Comics way and shows that they tackled all types of issues in their comics. One of my favorite moments in this issue is when the Bounty Hunter tricks members of the hate group into a barn and traps them inside and burns them alive…very brutal! The cover for this issue is great and showcases true comic western action and interiors is once more done by Herb and is fantastic! With the next issue being the final in the series, I am wondering how this will all wrap up and if City Boy will be reunited with his sister and if Rawhide Kid will find the retirement he so badly wants. Well let’s not delay and see what issue four has in store for our cowboy hero.

The Rawhide Kid # 4  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75       Marvel       # 4 of 4

Rawhide Kid has a terrible nightmare about having to save a faceless woman from a pack of skull faced baddies who all represent death while the town around them burns! City Boy is startled but warns him that it sounds like one of the tall tales from one of the dime novels written about him and they go back to bed after Rawhide burns the book in the campfire. The next day they ride into town and Rawhide Kid finds it’s the same town from his dreams and after City Boy goes to feed the horses a woman runs to Rawhide asking for help and out comes a pack of men who are the law looking for City Boy! Rawhide Kid tells the lady to warn City Boy to leave town and out smarts and moves the lawmen who warn him they will never give up till they get him! Rawhide Kid finds City Boy who is sick of running and is going to stand his ground against the lawmen and even sucker punches and knocks out Rawhide Kid who tried to talk him out of fighting. When Rawhide Kid comes to he finds that City Boy has been shot dead by the Lawmen and in a dazed state he refights the ghosts of his past leaving them once more dead. When he comes to he finds that he has killed all the lawmen who killed his new friend and this also allows him to bury his past and embrace his legend and to move on in what’s left of his life into the sunset.

This fourth and final issue in the mini series brings together all the stories that ran through it and gives a closing to Rawhide Kid who just wanted to retire and get away from his legend. The plot of this issue has Rawhide’s nightmare of a burning town with people trying to kill him coming to life and while he is able to face his inner demons and let go of his past, he also loses his new friend City Boy in the process. Rawhide Kid is an old man who has a bad rep with some people and others view him as a hero…and all he really wants is to be left alone and enjoy the time he has left on this world without having to fear that some upcoming gunslinger wants to put a bullet through him. The thing about Rawhide is that he is very loyal to his friends as well as to his morals of what he finds right, and because of this as reader I found myself feeling bad for him as trouble always seems to find him. In other words Rawhide Kid is a western hero who has baggage and guilt for those he has had to gun down in the past and would love to just disappear and never shot another person again. Poor City Boy I really did judge him all wrong, and he is no liar or coward in fact he is a young man who has warped views on how to be a good guy and what it means to be a true gunslinger, but means well. It’s crazy that in this issue he is gunned down and his body is just left on the back of his own horse for the town to see…no wonder Rawhide Kid has to go all quick shot on some lawmen ass! The major downside to City Boy dying is that he does not get to see his sister before he died. The lawman in this issue are very cold blooded and seem to get joy in trying to gun down the “outlaws” and are proud the shot and killed a young man who only killed to protect his sister. But while they are cocky at first, they all end up dead when they piss off Rawhide Kid who out classed them and leaves them all dead in the dusty streets. The end gun fight between the lawmen and Rawhide Kid is well down as he is still dazed from being knocked out by a sucker punch and envisions old baddies he has killed as well as loved ones he has lost, and with each re-kill or re-lose he is letting go of his past that haunts him. This mini series is great and really shows that Marvel has always made the best western themed comics with some of the most interesting original characters. The cover for this issue holds a little horror element to it and is very eye catching and as I have said before Herb Trimpe’s interior art is amazing! If you like westerns, cowboys and classic Marvel Comics check out this mini series!

So while Marvel Comics has left the Wild West far behind and have not had an ongoing series for decades their ones from the past live on for readers to discover at their local comic shops as well as conventions. I would recommend tracking down such titles as Kid Colt Outlaw, Two-Gun Kid and of course Rawhide Kid if you enjoy old western films and comics as they are really entertaining reads. For our next update we are going to stay in the world of Marvel and take a look at one of their most popular Superheroes The Amazing Spider-Man…but there is a twist as we will be looking at his Power Records Book and Record release that features an original story! So until next time cowboys and cowgirls, read a comic or three, watch a classic western film or two and as always support your Local Horror Host! See next update for a web slinging good time!

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Ink!

Rotten Ink…The Final Frontier…This Is The Blog Of A Grown Up Monster Kid….His Mission Is To Write About Comics, Movies and Horror Hosts…And To Boldly Read And Review Lots Of Fun Comics!! Welcome to Rotten Ink. For this update I felt like I really had some unfinished business with the world of Star Trek. While I covered the original TV series and the Motion Picture, I did not get to really talk about the sequels that starred the original cast, and I think now is the time to travel back to space with the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise and take a look at the most well respected and loved film in the original crews sequels, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan! During this update mission we will talk about the film, its legacy, merchandise, my thoughts on the film and will of course review the IDW adaptation of the film! So put on your none-red Star Fleet Uniform and let’s take a space journey with Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the crew.

So to do this update right, we must take a look on the screen and talk about the film in general. For that we will be taking the film’s plot from our pals at IMDB and then after I will share my thoughts and memories of the film from over the years. And no joke, my friends and readers, I am really looking forward to talk about this film as well as all the other sequels in future updates as for me Star Trek films are as big of events as Star Wars films. So if you’re ready, I am ready to discuses the Wrath of Khan!

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)

“It is the 23rd century. Admiral James T. Kirk is an instructor at Starfleet Academy and feeling old; the prospect of attending his ship, the USS Enterprise–now a training ship–on a two-week cadet cruise does not make him feel any younger. But the training cruise becomes a deadly serious mission when his nemesis Khan Noonien Singh–infamous conqueror from late 20th century Earth–appears after years of exile. Khan later revealed that the planet Ceti Alpha VI exploded, and shifted the orbit of the fifth planet as a Mars-like haven. He begins capturing Project Genesis, a top secret device holding the power of creation itself, and schemes the utter destruction of Kirk.”

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek wrote a sequel to his first motion picture that would have had Captain Kirk and crew having to set history right after the Klingons change events on Earth going back in time. Paramount Pictures however was not impressed with his script and the poor performance of the first film in their eyes that they also felt had too big of a budget. After fights over the script, Paramount booted Roddenberry from the film, and Harve Bennett was called to executive produce the film. The downside of Bennett was that he was not a fan of the series and had to binge watch the original series after which he selected the character Khan Noonien from episode Space Seed as the villain for his film. The film’s script went through lots of drafts that even at one point had Kirk’s son being a leader of rebels, and finally they all agreed on a script that was done by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer and production started. The film’s shocking moment was having Spock die early in the film, but after it leaked to the press, this was twist was changed to the end of the film. Nicholas Meyer also directed the film, and production started on November 9, 1981 and made Paramount happy as the film’s budget was way smaller and even their TV branch was put in charge of its over all production. When dailies started to come in, Paramount knew they had something very special and that this film would make up for the failure of the first film in their eyes. The film’s production like all bigger blockbuster titles had a few hiccups but over all came together very well and was released in theaters on June 4, 1982 and was hit for Paramount Pictures as it was the 6th grossing film of 1982 in America bringing in $78,912,963.00 on the budget of $11 million. The film beat out many great titles that year like First Blood, Annie, Poltergeist, Dark Crystal, Friday The 13h Part III, Tron, Blade Runner, Road Warrior and many more cult and respected films. Say what you will about Star Trek, but the proof is in the Box Office that this is a film series that has had ups and downs but will forever have a place in the hearts of the Trekkies worldwide.

As I stated before, I grew up a Star Trek fan and can remember the excitement when I first got to watch Star Trek II on cable. The one thing I cannot remember was if it was on HBO or Cinemax as that part of my memory is fuzzy. I remember that we all sat as a family and watched it, and after it was over, I can remember playing with my Mego 3 ¾” Star Trek Kirk Toy and having him take on the Empire and try and outsmart Darth Vader like he did Khan in the movie I had watched. It was a film that I would watch anytime I would find it on cable and can even remember asking my Mom to check the cable book to see when it was playing. I can also remember watching the film on VHS with my aunt Theresa, my uncle Thurman and my brother Bryan at my grandparents’ house as my Uncle was a big Trekkie! In the 80’s I feel like Star Trek films were events and would get old and young excited to get to the cinema, and these were films I can remember talking to classmates about. And this film was one of the biggest of Trek movie talk as the topic of Khan being the biggest threat to the crew and being the most iconic of their villains always being a hot topic, plus let’s not forget the most important moment of this film and that’s the death of Spock! I have had so many amazing talks about this film as it’s one of the best in the series…but this is not my favorite of the Trek films, and you readers will have to wait till I review it to find out. Star Trek II is a film I have bought on VHS and DVD and is a film I watch about once a year either at home or at work. The one thing that has always worked well for me about this film is that it always feels as if a cloud of gloom is overhead and the threat of Khan is very high and really set the tone and pace of future films in the series and showed that Star Trek could also deliver Science Fiction action just like Star Wars and Flash Gordon. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan is a very iconic and well-respected Sci-Fi film and is one I would recommend seeing if you have not. Plus I am not going to lie, actress Kristie Alley was really hot as Starfleet crewmember and Vulcan/Romulan Saavik. I thought so as a kid and still will stick by that in 2019!

The most iconic scene in the movie is of course when Captain Kirk screams the name of Khan with pure anger. And like all iconic scenes, this has been parodied a number of times on many different movies and TV shows like Robot Chicken, In Living Color, Big Bang Theory as well as many more internet parodies. It’s amazing to think how impactful this scene is as many movie watchers and lovers know this scene and some have gone on to say it’s one of William Shatners best performances. So right now I want you to take a deep breath and scream “KHHHHAANNNNNNN”…felt good didn’t it?

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan was a big hit and like all big box office hits, this film had its share of cool merchandise over the years that was and is very cool for Trekkies who can not get enough of Khan and his Wrath. We got books, magazines, soundtrack, toys, posters, shirts and even playing cards and so much more, much of which I owned when I was younger. Growing up I had the movie on VHS that as I stated before would watch pretty often. I had the paperback novelization that I read while living in Waynesville and later when older I even had the Playmates action figure of Khan! And all of the above stuff that I owned then, I still own now and the one thing I do want is the soundtrack on CD as I find the score by James Horner to be very good as is all of the scores for the Trek movies. So if you’re a fan of Star Trek II and are a collector, there are lots of cool items for you to collect.

For many Trekkies Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan is their favorite film in the franchise and is the bar that all the sequels that followed had to live up to and for sure that bar was set high due to this sci-fi motion picture as it’s a true classic. And shocking that this film did not get a comic adaptation until 2009 thanks to IDW who knew the world needed one. And thanks to Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics, I was able to get copies of these issues for this review. The voice on my communicator is wanting me to tell all you red shirts that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to battle Khan with the crew of the Enterprise, let’s boldly go where IDW allowed us to go thanks to this three issue comic mini series.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan # 1  **1/2
Released in 2009     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 1 of 3

Saavik is training to be a Captain for a starship and fails her test under the watch of Admiral Kirk who is feeling his age as well as really wants to leave the his promotion as he would rather be a Captain again and be with his crew on the Enterprise. Meanwhile Checkov has landed on a planet and soon finds himself as the prisoner of super engineered human Khan! And while Kirk is hanging out on the Enterprise with his old crew, Khan is controlling the mind of Checkov who is now tricking his way into taking the Genesis project away from Carol Marcus and her crew including Kirk’s son David he had with Carol! After Carol calls Kirk who denies the order to take Genesis and he takes back over the Enterprise and heads to Carol to get answers.

It’s amazing to think it took over 20 years for comic readers to get an adaptation of Wrath Of Khan, and I must say in this first issue IDW delivers the goods and fills that gap that used to be void of this comic in the collection of Star Trek issues. This issue’s plot has Kirk wanting to take his role of Captain of the Enterprise back and Khan who blames Kirk for abandoning him on a planet that has been left baron for decades. Now Khan is playing a game and is luring Kirk and the Enterprise where he wants them with a trick of taking the world builder tech Genesis. Kirk in this issue has gotten a promotion some time back and is now an Admiral for Starfleet when all he really wants to do is be a Captain for the Enterprise as he misses his friends and crew as well as the thrill of exploring space. Kahn is filled with anger and yet is calm and just wants his revenge on Kirk who he really does blame for everything that went wrong for him and his people that Kirk sent into space decades ago. Carol and her son David are the heads of Genesis and are also at odds over Kirk as the young man has lots of built up anger toward his father. One thing that puzzles me is when Kirk keeps calling Saavik a Mr. as clearly she is a she! The cover is amazing and is very eye catching for fans of Star Trek and the interior art by Chee Yang Ong is great stuff and characters look like the actors who played them. Over all this first issue is a great build up for the action that is to come and makes me look forward to reading the next issue.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan # 2  **1/2
Released in 2009     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 2 of 3

Kirk along with Spock and McCoy are watching a file about the Genesis Project and how in the wrong hands it could wipe out a whole planet killing everybody along with it. As Kirk and the Enterprise are about to set out to get answers of who really gave the order to hand over the project, another Starship appears and attacks taking out power and when coming on screen Kirk finds out that Khan is the man in the other starship and he wants Kirk to surrender as well as Genesis! Kirk stalls for time and in turn sets up Khan and damaging his starship as well leaving both Captains coming up with battle plans and becoming a game of chess in space. The Enterprise rushes to the Genesis labs and finds many scientist dead as well as the Genesis project, Carol and David are all missing. Kirk, McCoy and Saavik beam aboard the lab and they find Checkov who seems to be confused and things seem very bad. Kirk ends up figuring out where Carol is hiding and finds that she as well has Genesis & David with her, but it was a set up as Khan still had Checkov under control and beams up Genesis to his ship and thanks to McCoy’s fast actions he breaks the hold he had on Checkov. Now they are all stuck in the lab! But after hours pass Spock is able to fix the transport room on the Enterprise, and now Kirk is on a mission of revenge.

Our second issue has Kirk and Khan going after each other and both using their minds in order to get the upper hand. While Kirk is blindsided in this first encounter, it’s his years of being a Captain that turns the tide and allows him and his crew to figure out what to do from here by giving them a few moments to plan. And in the second chess move, Khan gets the upper hand and outsmarts Kirk and even is able to get his power monger hands on Genesis. In this issue Kirk goes from gaining is confidence back, to doubting himself due to age to getting into rage mode. Khan goes from being cocky to rage filled to blood thirsty showing that he really is a madman who only cares about his own goals and his own revenge plan. I like how David Marcus also has lots of build up anger toward his father Kirk, and this also adds a layer of stress to Kirk who has lots on his plate this far. The Enterprise Crew seems to be around but also take a back seat in the story with even Spock not being a major focus…and that’s shocking as Spock is one of the biggest characters in the series. This issue also brings in a good amount of Star Trek style action and brings us readers to a great point in the story where in the next issue Kirk and Khan’s blood feud will come to an end. The cover I have for this issue is okay and is a photo of Spock from the movie and the interiors once more are being done by Chee Yang Ong and is good stuff. This second issue is as good as the first and is a great way to lead us to the final issue in this adaptation series, so with that let’s take a look at the final issue.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan # 3  **1/2
Released in 2009     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 3 of 3

Kirk and the rest are now back on the Enterprise and must make a run for it fast as Khan and his starship are gunning for them. Kirk figures out that if they enter the nebula Khan’s shields would stop working and after sending a message that mocked Khan, the madman follows and after being out moved and outsmarted, his ship is blown up but not before the Enterprise also takes a hit that leaves the engine room to fill with radiation. Before he dies, Khan triggers the Genesis that is about to go off that would leave not only Khan dead but also the whole crew of the Enterprise, and worse Scotty cannot fix the warp engine due to the radiation! Spock takes things into his own hands and enters the engine room and fixes the core and allows the Enterprise to get away before Genesis goes off. Kirk rushes to the engine room and is able to share some words with Spock who passes away from the radiation. Kirk and the crew send Spock’s coffin into space with it landing on the new planet created by Genesis and Kirk feels the sadness of losing his best friend but does gain the respect of his son David. In the end, Kirk is back and has found himself once more and is ready to explore space.

This final issue brings us the final showdown between Kirk and Khan that shows no matter how smart and evil Khan is, he is still outclassed by the wise Kirk. I also like that this comic really does make it clear that both Khan and Kirk have massive egos and each does not want to lose to the other. The whole main part of this final issue is the fight between the two. Their weapons of war are starships, and the odds are even. Only Kirk’s experience is what wins the day. The Genesis Project is something that could really help the universe by given new places to live as well as food supplies that could last forever, but as seen here, in the wrong hands it can be used as a weapon of mass destruction and can kill the population of a whole planet if used that way. Another of the subplots going on in this issue is Carol and David having to get the help of Kirk who is the one time lover of Carol as well as the father of David who they both don’t speak to. And yet we also have the fact Kirk is having issues about getting old as he wants to be doing more for the Starfleet than just being an Admiral. And finally, the major story of this series is that fact Spock puts his life on the line and is willing to die in order to save the Enterprise Crew that he views as his friends. Sad stuff as Kirk and Spock speak for the last time (well in this comic) as Spock slowly dies. Over all this comic adaptation of The Wrath Of Khan is well done and captures the mood and vibe of what many think is the best Trek movie. The pacing is well done and keeps you on your seat for the final battle as Khan is so revenge thirsty that you want to see him be brought down…even if you do understand why he is so angry with Kirk. The photo cover on this one is as well okay, but I would have liked to have gotten the one with art. The interior art is done by Chee Yang Ong and is very good and as I said before he captures the look of the characters really well. Over all, this is a fun and great comic mini series and is a must read for fans of the film it’s based on. Check out below for the style of Chee in this issue.

So it looks like our space adventure with the crew of the Enterprise has came to an end, and next year we will take a look at DC Comics adaptation of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock! Star Trek really is a blast to the past for me and brings me back to my youth when Trek was very popular in our household. But for our next update, we are going to dive into the world of forgotten superheroes as we take a look at the masked hero Rottweiler and maybe a few other surprises. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Sci-Fi film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a indie hero good time!

Captain Klutz The MAD Goofy Hero That Time Might Have Forgot!

Welcome back friends and readers to another update to Rotten Ink, my blog here on the world wide web. Can you believe that we are so close to Thanksgiving 2018? That means we are at our first update in our countdown to this Turkey Day Holiday and also means we need to take a look at a forgotten hero from comic books of the past as over the years we have taken looks at such backburner superheroes as 3-D Man, Holo-Man, Solarman, Red Demon and Drastik to name a few, his year I have chosen to cover a hero that is a little different than all of them as he is a comedy goofball hero who graced the pages of MAD Magazine paperback books named Captain Klutz that was created by the amazing artist Don Martin! So sit back and get ready to get your funny bone tickled as we travel to Megalopolis and witness Captain Klutz do his best to stop crime….man, this masked hero is a true goofball.

Ringo Fonebone was a strange kid who didn’t do things normally; from eating to learning to walk he was just a little off. While other kids his age played outside and acted normal young Ringo sat alone reading comic books! As Ringo grew up, he still lived with his parents and only read comics all day long until they kicked him out, but his comic reading didn’t stop and caused him to hold no job nor home as he was kicked out of his flop house with just his boxers and his pajamas to his name. Broke and lonely, Ringo decides that he must kill himself as he has been a failure to his family and Wonder Woman, and as he falls from the top of a building, he bonks his head several times and even gets a hat on his way down. Before he hits pavement, he crashes into a bank robber who is caught by the police and so Captain Klutz superhero is born! The thing is, after his attempted suicide, Ringo doesn’t remember who he is and truly thinks he is indeed a superhero called Captain Klutz! While he is a superhero, he still is not respected and is by all accounts a goof who sometimes happens to fall backwards into stopping crime and villains. His only ally is Police Chief O’Freenbean who don’t respect him but does call on him for help with the odd cases the city is being plagued with. Captain Klutz is also very poor and at times is homeless or staying in a slum house filled with roaches and trash. Captain Klutz has no super powers and is by all accounts just a normal guy in a costume who read too many comic books and wants to fight crime and make his city safe. While he might not be as strong as Superman, as rich as Batman or as skilled as Spider-Man, the masked hero Captain Klutz is doing what he can to try and stop crime. Below are some pictures of Captain Klutz including one that shows some of his famed rogues gallery.

So know that we know a little about Captain Klutz, let’s take a look at the man who created him. Don Martin was born on May 18, 1931 in New Jersey and was into art from even a young age. In 1952 he graduated form the Pennsylvania Academy Of Fine Arts. After he graduated he took several odd jobs that included doing covers for Jazz Artist albums like Miles Davis and Stan Getz, and by 1956 he starting appearing in MAD and would be the magazines top artist for decades. Martin would use his artistic talent to deliver not only original comedy comic strips but also for parodies, pin-ups and stickers and this lead to him to be called “Mad’s Maddest Artist” and built him a huge fan base. He worked for MAD until 1987 with his last contribution being printed in March 1988. After leaving MAD, he jumped ship and joined Cracked Magazine who were super happy to have him on board even teasing MAD by calling Martin “Cracked’s Crackedest Artist”! If you’re wondering why Don Martin left MAD, it was because he and publisher William Gains got into it over royalties as they were not paying Martin for reprinting his work in paperback books and magazines, and Martin even testified before a Congressional subcommittee over the rights of freelance artists and both sides MAD and Martin seemed to have had enough of each other. Don Martin worked six years for Cracked Magazine and was happy working for them even though they were not as well respected by comedy magazine readers, and later he made his own very short lived comedy magazine called “Don Martin Magazine” as he also worked on a comic strip called “The Nutheads” that was syndicated in newspapers. During his time as a comedy magazine artist he won many awards such as the National Cartoonist Society in 1981 and 1982 and even was inducted into the Comic Book Hall Of Fame in 2004. Don Martin suffered from eye issues his whole life and even had two surgeries on them and later in life needed special magnifying equipment to draw. Don Martin was a quite man who enjoyed spending time with his family and playing jokes on tourists near his home in Florida and loved drawing and creating his off the wall characters and stories. Sadly Don Martin passed away on January 6, 2000 of cancer at the age of 68 and up until his death he was still at odds with MAD Magazine and was still a very respected comic artist. While Don Martin is gone, his work still entertains readers and his style influences many artist still to this day.

I am sure many of you like myself grew up reading MAD and or Cracked Magazine and enjoyed the silly nature of the jokes and parodies, and I am sure many of you like myself always enjoyed the work of Don Martin as well as fellow comedy artist like Wally Wood, Al Jaffee, Don Edwing, Antonio Prohias and Sergio Aragones who delivered funny comic strips to these magazines. And I am also sure many of you remember the amazing Captain Klutz, who was a favorite of my brother Bryan and I growing up as we had his paperback book adventures. And I am very happy to be going back to my youth and revisiting this goofy hero and his zany adventures and would like to say a big thank you to Game Swap Kettering and an Amazon Seller for having these paperback books in stock so that I could go back and revisit them for this comedic update. Wait a minute, my phone is ringing….and it’s a collect call and it’s Captain Klutz himself who wants me to remind you that I grade these comics 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 gear up and hit the streets with Captain Klutz and see if these comic paperback books are as good as I remember.

MAD Adventures Of Captain Klutz # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1967    Cover Price .50     Signet Books     #1 of 2

“Sissyman” in this first adventure Captain Klutz is awakened from a nightmare by his archenemy Sissyman, who taunts him with names and causing our hero get onto his scooter and track Sissyman down at his mom’s home! While getting lost trying to find the house, he runs into Police Chief O’Freenbean who informs him that diamonds have been stolen by Sissyman and when they get to the crime scene they find a handkerchief that has the evil goofy thief’s address on it. Captain Klutz goes to the house alone and uses a disguise to get into the home but is soon trapped under ice cream thanks to Sissyman’s new gun and now he is off to steal gold. After escaping the ice cream trap, Klutz gets a message from Police Chief O’Freenbean that Sissyman has just robbed the bank and is now heading to a jewelry store, Klutz jumps into a phone booth to get into a new disguise that is Count Of Monte Cristo and by accident strips down a woman who was using the phone! As she runs away naked, he enters the Jewelry store and stops Sissyman only to be himself put under arrest for stripping down the woman and in this story crime does win as Sissyman gets away free for his crimes. “The Case Of Chicken Soup” is the second goofy adventure and has Captain Klutz getting ready to give Granny Santini an award for all her good work with the homeless, and before Captain Klutz leaves, he gets a call from his downstairs neighbor who is jarring her famous pickled pigs feet and needs fast drying pectin to finish her batch. After getting the pectin, he meets the Mayor and they stop into Granny’s soup kitchen. After the Mayor tries the chicken soup he along with the homeless turn into mindless zombies who go to work at Granny’s gift shop and soon it’s seen that Granny Santini is evil and has Captain Klutz hung above a vat of boiling chicken soup! But thanks to the bag of pectin that rips, he just bounces off the once scalding soup and is ready for action and hides in a totem and shoots and kills Granny and soon finds out the effects of the soup will wear off on the homeless and mayor in a few days. Our third adventure is called “Captain Klutz Meets Gorgonzola” and has a father and son being chased by the giant spider named Gorgonzola. They run into Captain Klutz who is homeless sleeping on a bench and who says he will help them until he notices that he is face to face with a very mean giant spider and he passes out! Once awakened he and Police Chief O’Freenbean travel to a carnival on Gorgonzola’s trail. When they find him, the giant spider beats up Klutz until our hero figures out the spider is really just a machine and after plugging his leg into an outlet the man inside the suit pops out and it was Lousy Louie, a man who has been arrested before for Trick Or Treating with out a license and now is going to jail for life for his last stunt in a Halloween costume. “ Captain Klutz Meets Mervin The Mad Bomber” has our hero waking up in his rundown apartment he answers a help wanted ad from Police Chief O’Freenbean who needs help to stop and capture a mad bomber loose in the city! Captain Klutz finds that he and the police are the target of the bombs and call after call Klutz finds himself getting blown up! Finally he figures it all out and saves Police Chief O’Freenbean who is tied to a giant bomb and brings Mervin The Mad Bomber who has been disguised as the Police Chief and saving the day once more our hero in the end is blown up once more by the very last bomb he thought he stopped.

Wow! This was just as silly and enjoyable as I remember it being and I must say that Captain Klutz is a character that I wish would still be around till this day and could even have cross overs with other goofy heroes like Impossible Man from Marvel or Bat-Mite from DC! This paperback has four main adventures and two small gag stories and all of them follow Captain Klutz in Megalopolis as he tries his best to stop crime and not get hurt to bad doing so. The thing about Captain Klutz is that while he is a nerd who at times gets beat up and or passes out from fright he does in the end always find away to bring down the baddie in front of him with Sissyman being the only one to escape and Granny Santini being one that he murders with gunshot wounds. Plus you have to feel bad for him as most of the time he is homeless sleeping on the cold streets while other times he is in nasty gross motel rooms. I must say that I also dig that Captain Klutz rides around on a cheesy little shooter and looks like a fool doing it! Police Chief O’Freenbean is a gruff man who while talks down to Klutz still calls on him when the police need help, he is like a mean cornball version of Commissioner Gordon! The baddies of this book are as following Sissyman, a mama’s boy who is a nerd and likes to rob places of their riches! Granny Santini, an old woman who hides behind being super sweet and wanting to help the homeless, but really is using her chicken soup to turn them into zombies to make them slaves in her sweatshops to make cheap products for he gift shops. Gorgonzola is a spider suit warn by Lousy Louie in order to trick or treat and scare people around him. And lastly and the most dangerous is Mervin The Mad Bomber, who enjoys placing bombs in the city and watching them go BOOM! While none of the bad guys are as sinister as Batman or Spider-Man’s foes, they are perfect for the world Don Martin created for his masked hero. The humor of this comic paperback works as well as did the characters and holds up to this day given that its nothing more that sight gags and slapstick style humor, but a few things do stand out as cringe worthy like one of the names of a comic he is reading is very much a slur for gay people and is a little out of place. The cover is eye catching and the art by Don Martin is classic silly stuff and I would say that for me this book has held up and I still enjoyed it every much like I did when I was a kid and am looking forward to revisiting the second book next!

Captain Klutz II # 2  **1/2
Released in 1983    Cover Price $3.50   Warner Books    #2 of 2

“To Brusha With Love” in Brusha their leader Ivanovitch Eyebrowski and Comrade Stupidska have a plan to clog high stacks at power plants to cause poison gas clouds and to kill the good people of America and their plan works and three toxic clouds are floating around the city! Meanwhile Police Chief O’Freenbean needs the help of Captain Klutz to stop the clouds and before our hero can come to the rescue he inhales some of the toxic cloud and it gives him superhuman powers like the ability to fly and super muscles! Captain Klutz by accident captures the Brusha Spy who set up the clouds and then just as Comrade Stupidska and more Brusha soldiers are about to attack the city Captain Klutz explodes injuring Chief O’Freenbean, killing the Brushins and leaving Captain Klutz in pieces! “Hollywood Whodunnit” actress Deanna Drano is having her life threatened as accidents keep happing to her while she is filming her movies and she has hired Captain Klutz to protect her, and after more accidents happen to her and Klutz keeps failing at his task she finally comes clean and admits she did this to herself to draw press for her failing career and she and the director run off to get married as Captain Klutz tries to make up a story about when he knew it was her all along. “Agendum For Secret Messages” our masked hero Captain Klutz follows clues that were left behind by his friend Police Chief O’Freenbean and each clue leads him to a new place for only at the end to find out that O’Freenbean thinks this is a silly way for them to talk and cancels these type of meetings. Our final adventure tale is called “The Major Catastrophe” and has Captain Klutz having to watch his cousin Elmer who is a walking disaster causing major destruction everywhere he goes! And when Klutz gets a call from Police Chief O’Freenbean that the mayor has been kidnapped by drugged out terrorist he must suit up his cousin and calls him Major Catastrophe and together they save the mayor and cause the city and the mayor lots of harm!

This second book that features Captain Klutz is good but sadly not as good as the first book as this one is filled with lots of filler pages and short stories to make the page count. In fact in this book we are not only treated to some short adventures but also sound effects and a long song about our hero…each while fun also take away from some of the main stories that seem to have rushed endings. Keep in mind while this is still a really good read and does pack a few good chuckles. Missing in this issue is true super villains as we only get Ivanovitch Eyebrowski and Comrade Stupidska who are only briefly shown and sadly are no major threat as the toxic gas they unleash only brings on their downfall as it gives Captain Klutz even more power. Captain Klutz here is still as silly and goofy as ever and once more falls butt backwards into stopping crime, but odd to say he is lacking a little of the charm that made him fantastic in the first book and I cant put my finger on why he feels off he just does. Police Chief O’Freenbean and the police force are around but they seem like background characters and O’Freenbean and Klutz don’t have the same chemistry that made them a dynamic duo that we all enjoyed from the past book. Not much else to say about this second book besides the cover is really cool, the art and humor stories by Don Martin is good and this was a great blast from the past and was very cool to relive reading it even if it did coast me over $30.00 to do so and it was not as great as book 1! So below I think this one piece of art form these books captures the art style of Don Martin and the spirit of Captain Klutz.

While Captain Klutz might not be a household superhero name that the young and young at heart talk about, he is one that for those who remember him entertained with his goofy adventures and cheesy humor. It was lots of fun going back to the days of sitting in my brothers room in Waynesville and reading MAD paperback books and chatting about the one and only Captain Klutz! If memory serves me right, at one point my brother when he was a youngster wanted to or did make a Captain Klutz fan made comic book! I’ll have to ask him about that and see what he says and if he did we will have to cover it on a future update. So for our next update we are leaving the world of MAD behind us and will be going to Tennessee to visit vampire Horror Host Icon Sivad! So until next time read a comic of three, read a classic MAD Magazine or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a shocking good time.

The Undead Files: Original The Walking Dead

Welcome back to another Undead File here at Rotten Ink. For this update we are going to dive into a comic series that shares a name with one of the world’s most popular zombie horror comics turned highly rated TV Shows ever made, The Walking Dead! Yes, back in the late 1980’s, a comic series was unleashed at comic shops from Aircel Comics that was about the living battling the dead and was a true independent black and white horror comic! I am sure many of you readers are wondering if this series helped inspire the current series, and once I give these issues a read, I will be able to answer that question. So get your zombie repellent ready as it’s time for us to once more walk among the dead as we truly take a deep look at The Walking Dead.

Before we get to deep into the world of the living dead, I want to share a fun event. On January 20, 2018 another Horror Movie Marathon took place as both Juliet and I wanted a day of sitting back and relaxing while watching the horrors of the small screen since the holidays were over and winter was still with us. So I took off that Saturday, and we stocked up on snack food as well as breakfast casserole and made chicken wings for dinner. We started our marathon at 7am with “Teenage Monster,” a horror mixed with western film from 1957 that has a mother whose son is turned into a monster who kills in anger and she must protect his secret. The shot on video film “Death Nurse 2” was next up and followed Nurse Edith and Doctor Gordon once more killing their patients to collect free money from the government for their care. The sleazy America giallo film “The Rain Killer” was next and was about a killer who killed recovering drug addict women on rainy nights. This film has stared Maria Ford in a tiny role. The spooky Universal film “The Old Dark House” was our fourth film and is about travelers on a stormy night having to stay with an odd family in their mansion in order to find safety. “The Return Of The Ape Man” was next and is about a scientist who found a way to return life to people who have been frozen and makes the mistake of bringing back a caveman. This film stars the great Bela Lugosi! “Amityville: The Awakening,” the newest film in the Amityville series, was next on tap and follows a family that move into the house. Things get weird when the brother, who is brain dead, suddenly starts to get better! The 1986 cheesy horror film “Spookies” was next and is about a group of friends who make the mistake of entering the abandon home of a crazed warlock and his creepy monster friends. The next horror film to try and scare us was “Puppet Master Axis Termination,” the newest film in the Full Moon Entertainment series that follows the Puppets and their human friends trying to put a stop to the Nazi’s and their evil puppets. The slasher film “Silo Killer” was next and was about friends on a desert camping trip being stalked and killed by a masked killer. “Metalface,” a modern slasher film with a snuff film twist was next to try and scare us. The newest film in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series “Leatherface” was next and followed a teenage Leatherface and fellow inmates at a youth mental asylum escaping on a quest to get home. We next watched the 1989 slasher film “Rush Week” about a masked killer on the loose at a college that is targeting young female coeds. And the final film of our main day of the Horror Movie Marathon was the short film “Klagger” about an evil undead killer in an abandon factory stalking a worker who is their to get the building ready to sale.

This was once more a great time that I had with my gal Juliet watching Horror Movies in one of my favorite past times, The Horror Movie Marathon. We had some great snack food like chips, hummus and carrots and for meals we had Breakfast Casserole and Chicken Wings! This time around it was hard for both Juliet and I to choose our best films but was super easy to pick the worst film of the day as we both agreed that Silo Killer was the Golden Turkey of the day as it was filled with unlikable characters, terrible dialogue, lame kills, over use of a terrible yellow filter and was too long and boring. The only good highlights of the film was that the killer looked cool and it had lots of attractive naked women. As for the best films of the day, my order went like this: # 1 Old Dark House – this was hands down the best film of the day and is a great Universal film that is filled with great characters, creepy atmosphere and kept me glued to the screen every second. Plus you can’t go wrong with Boris Karloff playing a disfigured mute drunk butler! # 2 Amityville The Awakening – I picked this film as I found it to be a solid Amityville movie with a likable lead character plus is packed in lots of great jump scares, and it’s also cool to see the Haunted House on Ocean Avenue in a Horror Movie. To choose my # 3, it was very hard as I enjoyed many of the films, but I decided to go with Leatherface as it was great to see a new Texas Chainsaw movie. While the middle of the film felt like a Rob Zombie Devil’s Reject knock off, the opening and end of the film felt like a gritty Chainsaw sequel. I do want to say that Metalface and Puppet Master Axis Termination almost made the spot over Leatherface! Juliet’s top 3 films are a little different as she selected for her #1 Old Dark House, #2 Metalface and #3 Spookies! She and I both also agreed that Klagger was a fantastic short film, and we both can’t wait to see the full-length movie when it’s released. So once done for the night Juliet and I chatted about the movies and prepared for the next day’s after party films! As Juliet went to bed, I decided to stay up a little longer and watched the first Killjoy movie before counting chainsaws myself.

For the After Party, we decided to watch six more films. We started it at 10am with our first film being the newest Horror Flick from my pal Henrique Couto called “Devil’s Trail” about TV Show hosts going the Pine Barrens in New Jersey and come across witches and what could be The Jersey Devil! The second fright flick was “Bloody Drama” that as a smile face masked killer stalking a group of women who are having a pool party. “Day Of The Reaper” the 1984 Super-8 slasher film from Tim Ritter was our third movie and had The Reaper killing and eating people that got in his way. The fourth film was “Camp Blood 7: It Kills” and had the Camp Blood Clown Killer once more stalking and killing a group of friends silly enough to enter his killing grounds. “The Houses October Built 2” was up next and has the group of haunted house thrill seekers back at it again and once more run into and are stalked by The Blue Skeleton extreme group. And the final film of the night was to Todd Sheets film “Bonehill Road” that is about a mother and daughter who get stranded on a back road that is swarmed with werewolves!

This after party was lots of fun, and Juliet and I had a great time watching these films and talking about them after.  In fact we enjoyed all of them so it was hard for us to pick our Golden Turkey of the day! But we both had to choose, so I picked Day Of The Reaper as my Turkey, and this film is by no means terrible, it was just the weakest of the lot and was clearly never meant to be a blockbuster horror film. Juliet picked Bloody Drama, and she wanted to stress that it is not a terrible film either, she just felt it was the weakest one on the day’s line up. My # 1 film of the day was The Houses October Built 2 as I found it to be a great sneak peek into haunted attractions and had some great creepy moments plus I dig the character Porcelain. # 2 hands down was Bonehill Road, an amazing werewolf film that had practical effects, great transformations and likable characters…not to mention it has a great plot that also takes place that involves a creepy dude who “loves” women! And my # 3 spot goes to Camp Blood 7: It Kills as it was a solid sequel to the cheesy franchise that had cool kills and along with part 6 helped wash the taste out of my mouth of parts 4-5. Juliet’s picks went as follows #1 The Houses October Built, #2 Bonehill Road and #3 Devil’s Trail! So comes to an end another Horror Movie Marathon that makes me very much look forward to the next! I also want to thank every director, actor, producer, musician and crewmember that made these movies that I got to watch as no matter how great or terrible the movie is, you are doing your part to keep Horror Movies alive for viewers.

Oh I am sure you want to know what master of murder had the top kills from this two day Marathon While many racked up a body count, it was The Camp Blood Clown Masked Killer who took the Golden Massacre Award home with his 11 kills that he won by slashing and stabbing his victims! So here is to you Clown Masked Killer from Camp Blood 7 as your bloodletting was enjoyable and made the Horror Movie Marathon oh so much bloodier.

Back in the early 2000’s while Independent B Movie was hitting its second wind with films like Who Keeps Feeding Grandpa, Razor and Farmer Joe coming out on VHS, we had a slew of films in all stages of production. One that I was working on was to be an epic zombie film that I called “Stairway To Heaven,” and it was going to be the biggest budgeted and goriest film I ever made! The film was one that I had lots of faith in and spent lots of late nights writing the script on my old computer in Independent B Movie Studios while drinking down sodas and pacing the floor with ideas of the plot and kills pouring out of my brain and onto the screen of the glowing monitor. This zombie opus was going to be my shot on video masterpiece, and I had all the faith in it and spent my days off work scouting locations. While all this was going on, we even had students at Fairmont High School design and print us out T-Shirts for our films, and one of the films we choose was Stairway To Heaven and many of the I.B.M family would wear it to help build buzz for this film. I would spend many nights hanging out with my then best friend Andrea Seay and tell her about the ideas for the film, and she was loving it as were other friends like Josh Weinberg, Jason Gilmore and Dave Wean who I would tell about this undead flick. I also had my friend Patrick Neeley willing to score the film that would have also had an official soundtrack CD release that would have been released at the same time as the film on VHS. While I was placing the final touches on the script, I took the old VHS camcorder out to cemeteries at night and filmed around as test footage as well as for possible trailer usage. I even began casting the film with such names as Matt Hoffman, Zach Prater, Sarah Yates, Josh Weinberg, Andy Copp, Rosetta Workman and many others onboard, and my two main leads were to be played by Andrea and a young lady that worked at Blockbuster Video I knew named Leah and she was nice enough to go around and do a photo shoot in a graveyard so that I could promote the movie in one of our many email updates we sent to friends and fans. The buzz around this film was super thick and many people kept asking about its production as I continued to work on the script and raising the budget.

The film’s plot was to follow multiple people in a small town during the start of a massive zombie outbreak, one was a pregnant woman who was alone at home another was a couple who’s car broke down on the out skirts of town plus I throw in a cheerleader, a homeless vet, a preacher and random town folks and this was the cast of characters who had to survive the undead. The gore effects was going to be done by Andy Copp and myself and was going to be over the top with boobs, blood guts and gore and was very much in the same nature of the Italian Zombie films complete with gut munching and baby eating as the film’s most over the top scene had zombies ripping the fetus out of a woman and eating it as well as her as she had to watch her child die as she herself was being murdered. And just when production of this film was about to start, I was silly enough to allow others in Independent B Movie to talk me out of filming it when I wanted as they wanted to move onto Wolf Hunter 2, Long Dead Winter as well as Suicide 3 and Two Seconds Too Late and I agreed as I figured these films would be better for the group, and not shockingly, most of them during this time were filmed and never finished as the directors of those films dragged feet and lost interest in the direction of their films were going. Sadly too much time has past and this shot on video zombie epic is now in the massive pile of scripts and ideas that Independent B Movie nor Bloodline Video ever got to film, and who knows maybe if I could track down the original script maybe one day it will turn into a comic book via Blood Scream Comics. Below are some pictures that I took on a snowy winter day early this year as well as a pic of Leah as her character. Enjoy this look into a film that could have been if I would have only went with my gut and not what others wanted.

So imagine you’re outside taking a hike along a path that is near a creek, the sounds of the water is echoing and you are having a great time just soaking up nature and breathing in the fresh air. You’re a couple of miles away from your car and to avoid interruption you even left your cellphone in the trunk. But while walking you notice a strange man in a distance he is stumbling around and at first you think he might just be drunk but you soon see that his face is rotten and that he is not alive but the walking dead as you turn to run back to your car you soon are faced with a horde of zombies that have infected the woods and you have no hope of escaping! This scenario is one of many if a true Zombie Apocalypse were to break out that you could find yourself in, and the main questions that you would have to ask yourself is would you be ready for the living dead if they were to rise today? I mean many of us think we would be ready as we have watched movies and TV shows about zombies and have read novels and comics about them…but would what we read really help us to survive? Look around your house, apartment, car or place of work and think is this place safe if the zombies were to rise today? Would you be able to secure the doors and windows from the hordes of the dead? Right as you read this who is at your current location with you, would they be able to help you survive a zombie attack? Just wanted to take this part just to make you think about the possibility of a zombie attack and if you think you could survive it. No matter what we say or how we feel about it, I really don’t think any of us would truly be ready for the undead.

So the world of video games much like the world of cinema is a graveyard wasteland of zombie titles that have flooded the market. Some are fantastic and some are terrible, and I am about to play one that many say is the latter and has been the punching bag for reviewers as being one of the worst first person zombie shooters ever made…that game is called Dead Alliancem and I am about to play it for the PS4! The plot is simple to this mostly multiplayer game and has you and fellow survivors fighting each other in a wasteland of zombies that you can use as allies when using the right weapon. The game is mostly a run of the mill shooter that adds the thrill of zombies to the mix and sadly just falls a little short when it comes to being entertaining. Now the game is by no means bottom of the barrel, but it’s repetitive and very limited in area maps and even weapons and when playing the single player mode it even becomes more simple and lackluster. The game is getting trashed by gamers and has not sold well for parent company Maximum Games. While this game is below average, it still was a fun time waster to kill zombies and shoot other players.

So now that the dead are all around us and we have even took a few moments to chat about a Horror Movie Marathon, let’s see if this original Walking Dead inspired the modern Image Comic Walking Dead series. It’s crazy to think that in my youth I never did pick up an issue of this series or if I did, it must not have made that big of an impression on me as I don’t remember it. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering, Ebay, Amazon and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock for me to cover for this Undead Files update as these were pretty hard to track down. I also want to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s fright our way through the zombie horde and hope that Aircel delivers a scary and well done zombie comic that could possibly be the inspiration for thee Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead # 1  ***
Released in 1989       Cover Price $2.25       Aircel Comics     #1 of 4

In space two breed of aliens are at war with each other and when one of them crash lands on Earth while carrying a gas that reanimates the dead, all hell breaks loose as the dead start to rise from the cemeteries, morgues and funeral homes all hungry for human flesh. While some zombies are mindless roaming flesh eaters some are more than that as they also retain their memories and know how to talk and use tools and none are worse than the undead gang called The Kidz From Hell who slaughter their own kind and eat fresh alive victims. They are lead by Jak Krak who has them shooting guns and sharpening their teeth all in the hopes to capture and kill their “meat”, and after a kill and feast the gang of zombies is attacked by ex-cop Joe Barker who kills many of their members before rushing back to his home base were he is greeted by Keith but yelled at by Max and Kris who are mad he went out alone. Our issue ends with Joe telling them he will not stop until he kills Jak and The Kidz From Hell once and for all.

In this story the zombie outbreak is started by a crashed U.F.O that releases gas that makes the dead walk again. This is origin seems like a mix between “Night Of The Living Dead” that states that the outbreak could have been started by a down satellite falling from space with radiation on it and “Return Of The Living Dead” that has it starting from a gas that sweeps around and gets into our air. The plot of this issue is to clearly set up how the outbreak started and mixed in with the different styles of zombies as well as introduces us to the evil Kidz From Hell zombie gang plus their enemy Joe Barker who is our comic’s hero. Joe Barker is a man who is angry at what the world has become as the dead have out numbered the living, he is also clearly brave as he takes on the living dead all by himself! So while all we really know about Joe is that he is fearless and an ex-officer of the law I for one like him and can’t wait to see what he does next to try and kill the undead. The Kidz From Hell are street talking, gun shooting, razor sharped teethed, flesh eating evil zombies who enjoy killing and have no respect for the living or the dead! Jak Krak the gang leader is the most evil of them all and seems like he will not rest until he kills Joe and helps the dead fully take over the Earth. One odd thing about The Kidz From Hell is that while they are dead it seems as if they also still do drugs or so one of them claims after they eat a poor man alive. I also want to see who Max, Keith and Kris are as I wonder if they are also one time cops or just survivors who have created a safe place for the living, I guess only future issue will hold those answers. The comic is somewhat bloody and gore filled, but not even in the same ballpark as The Dead from Arrow Comics with the most brutal kill being a dead husband biting the face off of his widow who is mourning at his casket. The black and white art as well as the story is done by Jim Somerville and is well done with his zombies looking like a mix of classic with punk rock. The Cover is also pretty well done and eye catching as it features a zombie eating the brains out of a skull! This far this original series and the Image Walking Dead series don’t share too much besides zombies and a group of survivors living together and the name. So let’s shuffle our way to issue # 2 and see if Joe can kill even more of the undead punks.

The Walking Dead # 2   **1/2
Released in 1989      Cover Price $2.25      Aircel Comics     #2 of 4

Peter is the President of the United States, and he gives a state of the Union address that the American people need to stay strong during this terrible zombie crisis and hints to even using nuclear bombs as the last resort. But while the President is safe behind think concrete walls guarded by armed solider is poor wife is very sick and near death’s door. Meanwhile back at the base of Joe Barker and his friends they breakdown the possibility of the government dropping nuclear bombs in order to kill zombies, when they are attacked by The Kidz From Hell who attack hard and blood thirsty, in other words they want to end the feud now! Joe and friend fight back they best the can but are out gunned and must flee the base or lose their lives, the issue being for them is the wheelchair bound Max gets trapped and they must leave him behind in order for Joe, Kris and Keith to escape the gun firing undead. As they leave and save their own skins it’s Joe who says they are going back for Max and will bring him home alive or dead, as he doesn’t want the zombies to have him either way.

The second issue in this series loses some steam as many pages are taken up with one art panel per said page showing that they were just killing pages to reach their count. The plot has the President trying to build up the spirit of the American people during the zombie outbreak as Joe Barker and his survival group is under attack by the undead Kidz From Hell who want revenge from the attack on them from issue 1. Joe Barker in the issue is still tough as nails but also is smart and knows when to run when the odds are not in his favor. I think one of the cool things about Joe is also the fact he has the no man left behind attitude and wants to go back for their friend who was left at the base during the attack. Max, Kris, Keith and the rest of the survivors as well do what they can and try with all their might to defend their base but figure out that real fast they are no match for the gun shooting zombies. I feel for Max as that poor guy is left to fend for himself once he and his wheelchair get caught in some rubble. The Kidz From Hell and their leader Jak Krak are cold-blooded killers and slaughter any living person that comes in their way. President Peter is a wild card as he has the power to blow up the world and might do so if he loses his sick wife to the zombie curse. While this is a good issue it really is just an action issue with some small plot thrown in to move the story along, and while that’s not a bad thing it still makes the issue not as good as the first that offered a nice build up. The cover is ok but reminds me more of a cheesy late 80’s action comic than a horror comic and the art is once more done by Jim Somerville and is fitting for this undead romp comic. Over all his is a solid middle of the road comic that should be checked out if you enjoyed the first issue.

The Walking Dead # 3   **
Released in 1989      Cover Price $2.25      Aircel Comics     #3 of 4

Joe, Keith and Kris go back to their old base with the hopes of saving Max but all they find instead is a note from Jak Krak warning them if they want to see Max again they will meet The Kidz From Hell at the playground! When they get there, they find Max dead crucified with his feet cut off and his eyeballs missing, as Joe breaks down from the loss of his friend a zombie attacks Keith with a knife and kills him as Kris fights back it takes Joe a moment to snap to and they pair enter a building that’s clearly a trap being set. While inside Kris as well is stabbed and Joe is knocked back and as he is about to get up and fight the issue ends.

This third issue seems as if they ran out of ideas as again lots of splash pages and even a back up story to boot fill out this issue padding it out so they can squeeze out one more issue and get zombie fans to spend another $2.25. The brief story is this Joe and crew go to get Max who has been taken to another location, once there it’s a trap and Keith and I would guess Kris are killed easy and Joe now stands alone to face the zombie gang. Oh and throw in a quick small part about the President’s wife now being a zombie. Yeah, it’s that deep of a plot in this issue. Joe shows he has a soft side as he is clearly shaken after the death of his friend Max, but it’s also clear by the end of the issue he is going to stomp some zombie butt. Keith and Kris are just in the issue to be lined up and slaughtered, but only after the shoot some slow moving zombies with machine guns. Jak Krak and The Kidz From Hell are as flesh hungry as ever as they eat the eyes of Max and taunt his friends afterwards. The slow Zombies make an appearance but are just being mowed down at the start of the issue by our heroes. President Peter is pretty much wasted and offers nothing besides the fact his wife is now dead and a zombie that he keeps in a cell. The cover looks great and eye catching for zombie fans, but the art inside done by Jim Somerville is hit and miss as at the start it looks as sloppy as the plot of this issue but as it goes on it looks a lot better. Over all this is the weakest issue in the series this far and while it does have blood, guts and gore it seems so rushed it has no real impact and this while entertaining was a major letdown and I hope the final issue is not this sloppy and brings its A Game to end the series right.

The Walking Dead # 4    *1/2
Released in 1989      Cover Price $2.25      Aircel Comics     #4 of 4

Joe is bleeding pretty bad as Jak Krak and what’s left of the Kidz From Hell come circling around, Jak offers Joe a choice to join them as a zombie gang member or to become their dinner! Joe would rather be dinner and just when Jak is about to shoot him Kris with what little life she has left fires her gun and blows Jak’s hand off and then she kills some more Gang Members before herself being blown away. With only Joe and Jak left the pair square off and Joe is armed with an ax and Jak has a switchblade knife! Joe goes crazy with the ax and chops Jak up into pieces and after killing his enemy decides that he himself must die and kills himself with a gunshot to the head.

Splash Page special is what this issue is and that makes me really mad is every page is a single panel with many pages also being one single image filling two pages….this could have been wrapped up with the third issue if they would have dropped the backup story, oh speaking of backup story, this issue has one as well! This issue’s plot is just the showdown between hero Joe Barker and zombie gang leader Jak Krak and what leads to Joe winning and killing himself. This final issue offers a true ending to the series as for some reason they take the route of Joe just ending his own life instead of fighting the fight to take back the world and to be honest he takes down Jak Krak pretty easy and makes me wonder why didn’t the survivors just attack The Kidz From Hell from the start as the whole gang is pretty much wiped out by three people! The Zombie Gang started out as a major threat and for all accounts scary but by the end they seemed like punching bags lined up to be knocked down. Joe Barker was a interesting character to start off but by this issue he becomes nothing more than a man waiting for death who had lead all his friends to the slaughter only to avenge them and then kill himself, the whole suicide thing just didn’t feel right for this character. Kris, Keith and Max in this series once more started off as good side characters but in the end just turned into one sided humans set up to be killed with no personalities shining through. Remember President Peter well writer Jim Somerville didn’t as his storyline goes nowhere and he is not seen at all in this issue and the fact he wants to nuke the world if the zombie outbreak is not under control never comes back up nor does the fact his wife is now a zombie, the character could have had just that character but bad writing and the lack of a follow through story makes him yet another tossed to the side character. The slow Zombies are just around when they need the body count to rise as they only come into play after the first issue to be shot by the two feuding sides. The final issue has lots of blood gunshots and also has some gore when Joe kills Jak with an ax but by this point I was so disappointed with this comic series it took the fun out of what should have been an epic battle and moment. The thing about this zombie series is that it started out really good and the story was drawing me in and wanting me to read more and more but by the end of the second issue on the series took a nose dive as it was clear Jim Somerville had no real idea on where the story was going and just knew he had to fill four issues worth of something. The fact that side stories go nowhere, the art gets more and more sloppy, he does cheap splash pages to pad out the issues makes me not to not track down his other work! The only major plus I can say about this issue is the cover is pretty cool and reminds me of a serial killer comic. For those who think Tony Moore and Robert Kirkman might have been inspired by this comic series when they made their Walking Dead series, I am sure the only thing they took away from this series is what not to do in a zombie comic series! Started out with a big bang but ended on a whisper this could have been the biggest letdown in comics I have read this year. Below is some artwork from this four issue mini series, while I would not say that fans of Independent Horror Comics shouldn’t check this out I would say don’t get your hopes up for an epic zombie bloodbath with a good story.

But wait, there is more Walking Dead from Aircel and Jim Somerville as in 1990 they released “Walking Dead Zombie Special” and I am hoping that this one can redeemed the series by ending with a solid and good issue…here is hoping that they pull it off.

The Walking Dead: Zombie Special # 1   **
Released in 1990     Cover Price $2.25     Aircel Comics     #1 of 1

Scav is a young boy in a town alone who acts as the law as he imagines himself as a western sheriff and the zombies in his mind are the outlaws! Billy and his motorcycle gang enter the small town looking for a place to stay for the night, this was a bad decision as Scav thinks that Billy is Billy The Kid! One by one the bikers are shot and killed by Scav until only Billy is left and with his trusty gun Scav takes out the biker and the young man goes back to living in his fantasy world of read comics and pretending this zombie infested world is the old west. The second story follows the fall into madness from a Preacher who by the end rises the dead from the church cemetery.

Well I want to say that this Zombie Special issue has some zombies but not a lot and none of them are seen eating people and only once is it implied. The fist story is the best of the two as the second story is clearly just a backup story to pad out the page count. What works in the first is the fact its from the point of view of a young kid who has lost all his loved ones and his sanity in the zombie crisis and has turned his terrible situation into a fantasy world that mirrors the western comic books he reads. Scav is a cool character who is handy with a gun and machete and has lost touch so much that he can not tell the difference between human and zombie. Biker Billy and his gang seem like nomads who just stopped in the wrong place at the wrong time and are out gunned and outsmarted by the towns “Law”. The second story is well drawn at the last two pages but is pretty much a waste. Jim Somerville once more did the art and it’s pretty good, his story telling in this special issue is average and the cover is cool and very miss leading as nothing like that is in the comic. Not amazing but good is the best way to describe this final issue in the original Walking Dead series. Here is some artwork from this issue.

So as you can see this series is not all that great, while it is entertaining and really does capture a great late 80’s independent horror comic mood it’s clear as day that they creators just ran out of ideas and needed to fill four issues and a special. The bottom line did the Image Walking Dead take anything from this comic series besides it’s name…well maybe a tiny amount, but Robert Kirkman and his guys have done a way better job with making the name into a quality horror comic book series. And now that all the living dead have returned to their graves I think it’s time to wrap up with update. But while I closed this Undead File or next update will be a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update and I will be talking about Killdozer! So until next time make sure to read a horror comic or three, visit a graveyard or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Be ready to come face to blade with Killdozer as this one will be a fun update for sure!

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Legend Of Diablo

The Aztec culture has contributed many great monsters to films based around their ancient legends and practices including The Aztec Mummy and the evil demon Azar, who is the main movie monster from today’s film and comic, The Legend Of Diablo! In the last 10 years Hollywood has filled the cinemas with films about ghosts and possessions, and independent labels have flooded the DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming market with lower budget films of the same kind filling the horror genre with lots of films that carry a PG-13 rating and deal with the spirits of evil. The Legend Of Diablo is a possession film that pre-dates the big boom and was, instead, riding the coattails of The Exorcist, Stigmata and The Blair Witch Project making it a low budget clone of its own time. Also The Legend Of Diablo shows that no matter how big or small your horror film is, it could be made into a comic book and people will buy it as one things for sure, Horror Comic readers love what they love! So get ready to open the box and free the evil Azar and learn about the film and the comic and enjoy another “From Horror Film To Horror Comic” update.

So let’s take a look at what Azar is and what it’s capable of! Back in the time when the Aztec’s were still sacrificing humans and ruled the land an evil demon was among them that had the ability to raise the dead as well as brainwash the living. It was up to the Aztec Chief to defeat the demon who had claimed many lives and with this defeat he was imprisoned in a box for centuries. When in 2003 he is freed from the box thanks to a noisy researcher, he once more is on the prowl, this time in California, and possesses innocent people and have them kill one another and this is his mission as death and destruction is what it craves. Azar’s main power comes from creating zombies who will do his evil will and allowing his followers to defend him and cause their victims to become slaves as well. He craves human flesh and by consuming it his powers become greater. He also seems to enjoy playing mind games with his intended victims by using possessed loved ones against them as well as speaking to them via their mind. He can also teleport and jump from body to body when needed in order to avoid being defeated. The main body he takes in the film is that of a preacher who was trying to stop him and his spirit form has the view of seeing red. While in his ancient times he looks like a huge demon with horns and even a long sinister tongue. His weakness is the box and artifact that his being was trapped in for years, as he fears being trapped again and loosing his grip on his plan to infest the world with his slaves. He also has an ego and is on a power trip that leaves him open for defeat as spreading his work of possession clouds his judgment to truly win. While only a spirit, his evil body jumping ways makes his a true evil demon who can cause major havoc and destruction to any one and place that he sets his sight on.

So as you can see, Azar is pure evil and if unleashed could easily bring the world as we know it to an end! Plus besides the change in appearance as far as the eyes and voice, the demon Azar could be walking among us. But now that we understand who and what Azar is, I think we now should learn a little about the movie.  As always, the description will be taken from our pals at IMDB and after I will share my memories and thoughts about the movie, so let’s see what this Horror flick is all about.

The Legend Of Diablo (2003)

“The small California town of Diablo is plagued with mysterious deaths after Sheriff Roberts Lopez unearths an ancient box. Legend has it that the box holds the sixteenth-century Mexican demon named Azar.”

This is a movie that I can remember being on the shelves at Blockbuster Video when I worked for them.  It was what was commonly called shelf filler by my manager who would always laugh at the cheesy horror films that filled our new release wall. I never rented The Legend Of Diablo from work which is kind of shocking as I watched all the horror films I could get my hands on.  Plus I have always been into Latina Women and this flick has its share of them. Many years had passed and this film slipped from my mind and I forgot it even was made until one day working at Game Swap in 2017 it crossed my path again when a regular customer named Steve who loves horror films as much as I do thought about buying it but didn’t.  This lead to me seeing that it had a comic based on it and made it a perfect fit for a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update. On a cold February in 2017 via a new DVD I bought for only $1.67 on Amazon. I watched this film for the first time and was amazed at just how low budget yet kind of charming it was, but while charming it is by no means a good. Azar for most of the film is just the POV of the camera with a red filter and when taking over bodies, the effects are nothing more than contacts and make-up and this is slightly disappointing as seeing a creature/demon version would have been pretty cool! The plus to the film was actress Calvi Pabon who played Mary Lopez who dressed in alternative Goth cloths, and this rocked! The film was released on DVD and VHS on March 2, 2004 and was lost in the shuffle for most horror fans as other films released that year were Seed Of Chucky, Dawn Of The Dead, Ginger Snaps 2-3, Tremors 4, Bone Sickness, Dracula 3000 and Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys to name a few and they all gained their cult status over this film. The Legend Of Diablo was directed by Robert Napton and stars Fred Estrada, Lindsey Lofaso, Mario Soto and Calvi Padon all who try their best with what they had to work with and that’s a very small budget with the DVD I have being released by Trinity. Over all this film may not be an amazing piece of horror cinema but no matter how small it still added to the genre as a whole.

So now that we have an understanding of Azar and the film that spawned him, The Legend Of Diablo, I think it’s time to go from the movie to the comic book that was released by Image Comics. The only reason I knew this comic book was made was again thanks to Game Swap and the customer who brought up the DVD that boldly states “based on the popular comic character!” And that sparked a hunt for what comic this film was based on and with the help of Todd The Fox we found it, but only after asking many comic reading friends of mine if they knew like Jason Young and Jeremy Hoyt and none of them knew…so Azar must not have been that popular of a comic character. I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having this issue in stock as that made this update possible. The Aztec spirits are wanting me to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So beware of the stalking red light that lurks outside as it could be Azar, and let’s dive right into this comic that helped spawn the film or is that they spawned each other!

Knights Of The Jaguar # 1  **
Released in 2004    Cover Price $0.00     Image Comics     # 1 of 1

The year is 1819, and the Aztec’s have called upon their warriors called Knights Of The Jaguar who, when wearing their helmets, become Jaguar men who’s main goal is to fight the evil of demons like Azar who tried to take over their land.  With their tribe’s chief they tried their best to defeat the evil demon and were able to trap him but not fully defeat him. Now in modern times Agent Vega takes the trial of the Jaguar and becomes a modern member of this secret order of warriors and heads to the city of Diablo in order to try and bring the war back to Azar and end his evil ways once and for all.

This short ashcan comic acts as a way to try and explain the legend and lore of Azar and the men who spend their lives trying to stop his evil rampage known as the Knights Of The Jaguar. The plot goes back in time when the Aztec people fought against the demon Azar who would corrupt many and that only brave warriors who would dawn the jaguar helmets are the ones who can save mankind form the evil. We then show modern times and a good Agent takes the trial to become a member of the order of the Jaguar and when he passes, he heads to a town that is rumored to house the spirit of Azar. Really the plot is that faced paced and really just acts as a tool for readers to rent or buy the film The Legend Of Diablo. The downside is besides the fact you know the Knights Of The Jaguar and Agent Vega are good guys and that Azar is an evil demon so you get no real time to bond with the characters or fully get to know them, and that’s the weakness of this comic as you really don’t get to care about any of them! The comic has little amounts of blood and is not really all that scary making it feel like it’s a horror comic that’s spinning its wheels and not living up to the demon possessed comic it could be. The art is pretty good and has a true 90’s feel to it and is done by Mike Choi who does a good job of making the story seem more epic.  The cover is cool but really does not represent the film and the characters in it at all and that’s odd as this comic was meant to be a tool to get readers to become viewers. Over all not much can be said about this comic besides Aazar is evil, the art is good and its way to short for its own good. Fans of the film might want to give this a read as it gives more back history to the demon Azar as well as Agent Vega. Your average horror comic reader who has zero clues that the movie was even made will probably want to stay clear, as it offers nothing for you besides more questions than entertainment. Below is art from this mini comic and shows Azar in all his glory.

So as you can see The Legend Of Diablo might not have set the horror movie world on fire it still got the comic book treatment, and I wish more smaller horror films and companies producing and releasing these films would take note and make comics based on their films as there are readers out there like me. While we leave Azar behind, we are starting our countdown to Halloween with out next update and I feel like we should take a look at another “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” so I decided to take a look at the comic and slasher film The Orphan Killer! What better way to kick off a Halloween countdown than with a gory slasher comic and film…am I right? Well until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a very bloody good time!

American Hero: Fighting American

Happy July 4th! If you’re like me, you can smell the hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill and are ready to pig out on that tasty grilled meat as well as loads of potato chips and all types of salads from macaroni to pasta. Like last year I hope I can add a little fun to your holiday by bringing you another “American Hero” update that showcases a comic character that embodies the spirit of America.  This year I decided to choose Fighting American, and out of all the companies that had released adventures based on him, I chose the DC Comics version to review as I feel that this 1994 series was the closest to my youth, and I feel like DC is lacking the love here on my blog so why not give them another holiday update! So sit back with your favorite summer time beverage and spend just a moment of your Independence Day before the fireworks with me here at Rotten Ink, as we are about to get into the world of Fighting American!

When I was a kid, lunch time was always really good in Waynesville Schools as they had amazing cheese pizza that was made even more tasty with salt and even the hamburger with a pickle on it was good. But the one thing I always looked forward to was drinking milk.  From 2% to chocolate milk with my meal, I really enjoyed that as my drink of choice.  In fact, I still love a good tall glass of milk from time to time. One of the cool parts of the milk cartons was seeing Safetypup, a superhero puppy who wore a mask, cape and costume who would give a message of safety to us kids. My brother was the first to tell me about Safetypup as he called him “Superpuppy,” and I can remember he brought home the carton so I could see him! Growing up I have always wondered why they never made a Safetypup comic book, you know, like a promo comic that they could have given away at schools and family events.  Imagine comics where Safetypup could teach us about stranger danger, drugs and Halloween safety! Another thing that would be cool is that Safetypup has a walk around mascot costume, and it would be amazing to have him on an episode of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre teaching kids safety tips alongside BVP! So I just wanna thank Safetypup for making my childhood safe and for all his years of making milk cartons cool in school.

Jack Kirby and Joe Simon were the team that created Captain America for Timely Comics in 1941, and after the company was bought out by Atlas Comics, their character was continued without their permission.  This angered the pair and caused them to create a new American themed character called Fighting American, and in 1954 the first issue came out for Prize Group and lasted a total of 7 issues. The character was created to fight The Communists as at the time the Red Scare was in full effect and the comic reading world needed an outlet to release the fear they felt. The most important thing about Fighting American is that he is, in fact, the first comic hero to tackle the Cold War and was also the first to switch gears and just become a fun superhero comic thats Kirby had fun with. After the character’s seven issue run, he has returned to comics via many different companies like Marvel, DC, Harvey, Awesome and Dynamite! Fighting American is really Nelson Flagg who has his mind and life force placed into the corpse of his brother who was a murdered star athlete and war hero, thanks to the top secret military project dubbed “Project Fighting American” to seek revenge and fight the Red Scare and other costumed baddies. Over his original adventures, he also had a sidekick named Speedboy who is a teenager that worked at the same place as he and his brother. While Fighting American might not be as iconic as Captain America or even as known as The Shield, he still truly is an American Comic Icon that stands for the red, white and blue that we all love here in America. Check out below for three looks at Fighting American over the years in comics from different companies.

So we have taken a look at the history of Fighting American as well as a brief character bio, but for many of you like myself the grill is still going and the fireworks are about to go off, so I think its time we dive into the DC Comic mini series based on this true American comic hero. The sky flowers are wanting me to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having issues in stock to make this update possible. So if you’re ready let’s grab old glory and head into the battle against those who wish America ill will with the one and only Fighting American.

Fighting American # 1  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 1 of 6

Big Brother is with two of his wrestling federation’s pro wrestlers Bear and Bull watching the madness of the New York stock exchange when Fighting American appears looking for a man named Little Brother.  After making short work of the wrestlers, he loses Big Brother in a car chase that leaves Fighting American falling off a bridge and into a boat filled with garbage! He is called back to Washington D.C. and finds that the government scientists lost monitoring contact with him and that he has pleased the Army who is financing his superhero adventures. Fighting American flashes back to how he became a hero and remembers the story of two brothers Johnny Flagg and his younger brother Nelson who make a TV talk show that pushes lots of buttons.  When Johnny talks ills of Ivan Brotski, he becomes a target for a hit that leaves him dead and Nelson at a cross roads as the government has offered him a way to merge with his dead brother and become a fighting machine for America.  The catch is the merge will take years! He snaps back to present day when he is reamed by one of the scientist for failing and is told one attack on his brother’s killers was enough, but he soon finds that Big Brother and his Pro Wrestling federation has a show that night and after making short work of their champ Mister Fixit he is able to bust Big Brother who is being taken away by cops after admitting his part in the Flagg murder and also informs him that Ivan has been missing for years. On his way back to the base, Fighting American finds Ivan who is now homeless and dies in front of him of a heart attack. Meanwhile a secret meeting is held by people in shadows, and the topic is how to deal with Fighting American.

What we have here is DC Comics trying to update a character from an era gone-by and make him hip and cool for readers of the 90’s, and for the most part it works. The plot of this first issue shows how two brothers became the target of a hit when they talked about the wrong crime family on their talk show.  With the help of science, the two brothers become one person and are now a tool for America to help with domestic terrors. But also revenge is on the mind of our new hero called Fighting American as he wants to bring down those who gunned down one of the brothers causing them to become this science experiment. And when getting to the one he thinks is responsible, his revenge is snatched from him due to natural death! Johnny Flagg is a talk show host who was a former soldier who speaks his mind on his TV show as he believes in America and what it stands for, and while a stand up guy, he does get gunned down before we truly get to know him. Nelson Flagg is a nerdy kind of guy who idolizes his brother and gives up his own life in order to merge with his dead brother, kind of weird but I guess that’s the American way! As Fighting American thus far all we get from him is that he is a superhero who works for the government who is more wrapped up into revenge than following orders. Big Brother, “Poison” Ivan Brotski and Mister Fixit are all just scumbags who were tops of the crime world but quickly fell from grace as they lost power, and all they have left is one Pro Wrestling Federation! It was nice to see Fighting American fail at his first attempt at revenge and later gear up and head into the lion’s den (or is that wrestling ring?) and try again until he was victorious.  It shows he has heart but is not going to be a puppet for anyone. The cover for this first issue is pretty eye catching and showcases the modern era Fighting American really well.  The one change to the costume that I find just silly if his blonde hair flopping out of the top of the mask…just silly and reminds me of The Shield that we covered last 4th of July. The interior art is done by Greg LaRocque and is pretty great stuff and is truly a capture of 90’s mainstream comics appeal. Over all this first issue was a great way to start off this series, and I am looking forward to see where the story goes and how our hero grows.

Fighting American # 2  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 2 of 6

Fighting American has become a media sensation after he gave an interview after saving a cat from a flag pole high above the city. The Shadow Organization are plotting a way to bring him down in the people’s eyes while the Government has decided to give him his own TV Show back as Johnny Flagg and has come up with a story that he has been MIA because his plan crashed in a jungle over 10 years ago, and this is were he meets his new producer Mary Loo. Meanwhile the ones who want to ruin him hire a band of performance art terrorists called Media Circus that has members like Anchorman, Spin Doctor, Sound Byte and Satellite Dish who are going to ruin Fighting American’s image and start by manipulating video of the kitten rescue to make it appear he placed the frightened cat on the pole to start with! The smear campaign hits, and the people turn on Fighting American and even on his show as Johnny Flagg.  He must cover the topic and Media Circus are the guests, but as the show goes on Mary Loo and a show worker find the tapes that clear Fighting American’s name as Johnny shows the whole world he is in fact the star spangled hero and along with his show crew they clear his name and take down the Media Circus as the evil shadow people are not happy.

This second issue lets the cat out of the bag as now the whole world knows that Johnny Flagg is the one and only Fighting American as he is sick of living a lie and telling untruths to the American people. The plot has a band of terrorist using TV to smear the name of the superhero, and he and his friends not standing for it and taking them down for the count. The Fighting American is a good man who does what he can to save the day no matter how big or small if he can help he will. As Johnny Flagg is out of touch with the times but is finding his way as he is now making friends thanks to the return of his TV Show and is also very much into his cute producer Mary Loo. The Media Circus are a band of weird looking carnies who can be hired to ruin someone’s life, and they try so hard but fail in their mission as they were just out classed and out matched by the pride of America. This issue does a great job of balancing both the character development of our hero as well as delivers lots of fighting action! The only downside to this issue is that Media Circus are not major threats and when push comes to shove they are beaten and exposed as frauds super fast giving the reader a lack of a really powerful villain. The one thing I do like is the fact Johnny no longer has to hide is identity as he has told the world he is the superhero that they all need. The cover of this issue is pretty cool and showcases the weird and wild look of TV mixed with the circus and a touch of costumed hero! The art is once more done by Greg LaRocque and is good stuff! Over all this is a solid second issue and really makes me look forward to reading the third to see what’s next for Fighting American.

Fighting American # 3  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 3 of 6

Fighting American is a hit with the American people again and has taken on a sidekick named Kid who works for his TV show that is also a ratings hit! But next the evil shadow group has hired Gross National Product, a fat yellow skinned man who is in Government power and who eats and eats.  He and his conman sidekick Def Izzit have caused madness with the people all in the name of greed and excess. Madness is running wild in the streets and people are attacking each other, not helping their fellow man and even has Fighting American arguing with his sidekick and during a fight almost breaks the finger of Def Izzit who in turn has the superhero arrested! In the end, the Fighting American is in jail waiting for a lawyer and gets the news that the head professor of the program has been kidnapped!

This third issue has Fighting American in a battle of good and greed as he is outsmarted by the hairy, fat, spaced toothed Gross National Product who has used his powers of persuasion to trick the people of America into being self-absorbed mindless tools. And when Fighting American gets the upper hand, he still is in the wrong and goes to jail for assault. Fighting American in this issue is still the pride of the goody two shoes but also has an edge to him as he has been mind tricked by his foe. His new sidekick, who they have not given a name to, is on his way to becoming the next Bucky as he is skilled and yet still young and sloppy in battle. Mary Loo in this issue takes a back seat, and while she shoots down Johnny Flagg’s dinner dates, it’s clear that she is a lesbian as her date shows up to take her to lunch and it’s a woman. Def Izzit is annoying and talks in riddles and rhymes and is one character that I hope gets the tar kicked out of him! Gross National Product is a great villain as he is pure evil and uses his powers to cause chaos and enjoys the evil he does and gorges himself while doing it on food, paper, boots and whatever else he can shove down his fat neck! The cliffhanger of Fighting American being in jail and his friend and the program doctor being kidnapped makes for a great way for the reader to want to see what’s next. The cover is pretty cool and showcases not only Fighting American but also his new sidekick and Gross National Product allowing the readers to know what they are in store for. The inside art is once more done by Greg LaRocque and is again great.  So to sum up this issue good classic superhero stuff with a touch of the 90’s.

Fighting American # 4  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 4 of 6

Fighting American is sitting in prison and is keeping his fellow inmates in good behavior all the while Mary Loo and Senator Dorkin are trying to get plan together to get him out. Gross National Product and Def Izzit have spread greed to the American people who are all now rushing to stores and spending all their money on products that they don’t need. The Kid is also inflected bad with the want to buy as he does not care about his friend Fighting American and even mouths off and steals from his parents. Mary Loo has the TV show film in the jail as The Kid snaps out of his trance and goes after Gross National Product and is able to find out that the heavyset baddie’s power comes from his sunglasses and uses it against him turning him into a man who regrets what he has done and even drops the charges against Fighting American and does work in the community to make things right! Out of jail, Fighting American goes back on the streets to save the town from evil, and we find out that Senator Dorkin is not a friend to our hero and is working with the shadow people to find whys to bring him down.

This issue should be called “Fighting American Goes To Jail” and should have been written and drawn like the Ernest movie! But really the plot has The Kid showing why he is a superhero now and with the help of his parents locking him in a back stock room, he is able to shake off the effects of the consume idea planted in his brain and single handedly defeats Gross National Product by using his own power and tricks against him and in turn gets the charges dropped against Fighting American who is now free and can do his TV Show and Superhero the streets. The Kid, who at first kind of felt like a way to make fun of classic Captain America stories by parodying Bucky, really became his own with this story, and they gave him more of a personality than just a goofy kid who tags along side our book’s hero. Fighting American takes a back seat in this issue as he is in jail all the way until the very end so he does not get to fight nor even clear his own name. Even while helpless Fighting American is still a very cool classic style superhero! Gross National Product is scum who in this issue makes the world want to buy, buy and buy all the while he still stuffs his face! But when the roles are turned and he sees what he has done, he turns over a new leaf and does good by the world and tries to keep it clean! Def Izzit is still just a rhythm-talking goof who sadly does not get his face pounded in! This issue also shows the read evil mastermind behind the attempted downfall of Fighting American and it’s Senator Dorkin! You see, he is the one works along the shadow people who want him out of the way so they can do their evil stuff. Nice twist as he seems like a friend the whole time. The poor Professor is set free and becomes self aware that the whole lab dislikes him as been the story of his whole life and becomes an alcoholic whom no ones seems to care that is free nor not returned to the lab.  I see him coming into play soon as a tool for evil…I could be wrong just have the feeling. Over all this is another solid issue with a cool cover and great art done by Greg LaRocque who is making this American Hero come alive in the pages of this DC Comic series.

Fighting American # 5  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 5 of 6

Senator Dorkin is being threatened by the shadow crime group for failing at getting Fighting American to be out of the hero business, and his last chance is the helmet wearing, mind controlling eye doctor named Phoroptor who is set to clean up the bad turn he sees America heading down and fills them with nostalgia! Meanwhile the Professor is going to blow the whistle on Senator Dorkin to Fighting American as Mary Loo herself finds that Dorkin is on the run and has a sinister past and present! While out Fighting American and The Kid are battling Phoroptor who is attacking civilians causing them to cry and go into rages over the present not being like the past. After a quick fight Phoroptor gets the upper hand and makes Fighting American question who he is as he has the memories of Nelson and Johnny and this makes him in the end realize that he is in fact both and is the hero known as Fighting American and with the help of the Professor he defeats Phoroptor and is soon joined by The Kid and Mary Loo who tells them that Dorkin has fled the USA and now they are all going to Europe to get answers and stop this evil plan.

This fifth issue of the Fighting American mini series from DC is lots of fun and crams in lots of great classic comic book hero moments as well as adds messages about America at the time. This one has the rug being pulled out from under Senator Dorkin who is being targeted by the shadow people as well as is now on the radar of Fighting American who’s TV producer has found his dark secret and the Professor is about to spill the beans on everything her knows. Fighting American in this issue is brave and fights past the crippling power of his foe and even seems to finally become one with who he really is and that’s both brothers! The Kid is around and is a solid generic style young sidekick character and shows that he as well is a good man as he saves people from the nostalgic feeling that was being spread by the evil foe in this issue. Mary Loo does a great job of piecing together the evil deeds of Senator Dorkin by entering his office and finding odd papers and a bad answering machine message. The Professor who is now a drunk is trying to turn his life around and wants to spill his guts to Fighting American on what he knows about the Shadow Group who want to ruin his heroic ways as well as keep America down. Senator Dorkin is a man with lots of power who is also now running for his life as he has gotten involved with the wrong type of people who don’t like failure! Phoroptor is a purple bubble mask wearing eye doctor who loves the past and cant stand the future and uses his special mask to make people become walking talking crybaby’s who yarn for the good old days of their youth. Over all this really is a silly and fun issue that is a great one to build up to the final issue in the mini series as we end with Fighting American on a mission to go to Europe to get answers and justice on Senator Dorkin! The cover is cool and the interior art is great and done by Greg LaRocque and not much more can be said besides this is a great and fun issue and keeps this series solid and enjoyable.

Fighting American # 6  **1/2
Released in 1994   Cover Price $1.50   DC Comics   # 6 of 6

Fighting American arrives in Ireland with his crew The Professor, Mary Loo and The Kid and soon find out that the shadow people are called The Free Association and that they have spies and workers all over.  Word gets to the group that they now have Dorkin and are taking him to a site that is said to be a gateway to another realm and soon find out that in this place has unknown spirits like Banshee’s that are really just holograms to keep people away.  Soon Fighting American and crew find themselves in the secret base of The Free Association and start to crack heads when they are trapped to the floor and an alien appears and tells them he is in fact the leader of The Free Association and that he is the one who ordered the killing of Johnny all those years back.  He is in fact the one who started the Fighting American program as he wanted to control him as a super solider for the bad guys! After some tourist stumble into the secret base Fighting American is able to break free and chase the Alien back to his UFO and ride the world of The Free Association!

The final issue of this mini series brings Fighting American and his war with The Free Association to an end and shows that the mastermind behind the attacks on our hero was a fat old alien who when confronted makes a run for his UFO and returns to space the loser in the battle. While the battle is not super epic and if not for the goofy tourist the fight might have gone another way as Fighting American was being held as bay as well as his crew and if not for the distraction the Alien had the upper hand! That’s one thing about this hero, he is just a normal guy and many times in this series luck and friends is how he beats his enemies. I also like that while he looks and is Johnny Flagg, he has the mind and smarts of Nelson Flagg and after some inner drama he is able to come to terms that his superhero alter ego Fighting American is in fact both brothers as one person. The Kid is a cool young sidekick who worked for the TV Station, and I like the fact that he comes from a family who owns a little bar that also bookies bets just to make ends meat. Mary Loo is also a cool hero who loves her job as a TV producer but also is not afraid to dig deep into trouble in order to get the truth.  I also like that she is not ashamed of being a lesbian and that the part of the character is treated really well and made me laugh when she finally told the aged Fighting American that she is gay and that’s why she don’t want to go on a date with him and at first he takes it as that she is happy…funny out of touch hero stuff. The Professor starts out as an over bearing grump who is the head of the program and after being kidnapped and made to feel useless he becomes an alcoholic only to snap out of it and join the team that is surrounding our hero. All the villains from the Alien to Media Circus to Senator Dorkin are great cheesy bad guys, but none of them feel like major threats and all are beaten pretty easily. The one thing that I really enjoyed about this comic that while done very over the top, it did have a message about how we as society at the time believed what we saw on TV, trusted all our politicians that they have our best interest in heart, how we buy things we don’t need just to spend money and so on and while its major part of the stories, it’s not super in your face. I also liked the fact that they took the main female character Mary Loo and had her be a strong gay character, and his sidekick was a young black male who broke the comic stereotypes.  Both were perfect for the roles they played in this comic adventure. Another cool thing is that while Fighting American is a fish out of water, they do not play up on that too heavily and just allow the character to accept times had changed. To me its crazy that DC Comics did not do anything with this character after this six issue mini series and allowed it him to just fade away from their company.  The only thing I can think of is super low sales or maybe the creative team moved onto another project and they could not find another team who wanted to keep the story going. The cover for this final issue is fantastic and showcases our three main heroes and the art inside once more was done by Greg LaRocque and is top notch 90’s comic book stuff! Over all I really enjoyed this comic series, and he was a perfect fit for this July 4th update as he embodied the sprit of this holiday and that’s a celebration of freedom and being American. Check out the artwork below to see what Greg LaRocque work looks like, and enjoy.

That was lots of fun, and Fighting American truly is an American Hero and is in league with The Shield and Captain America at being a true patriot superhero and a perfect fit to talk about on Independence Day. I am sure you are wanting to get back to the cook out or gear up for the fireworks so I will wrap this update up so you can all get back to enjoying your holiday! Our next update will be my vacation update where I will chat about Monster Bash and the Romero Dead film Day Of The Dead! So until next update, I want to thank you friends and readers for spending a small part of your July 4th with me and make sure to read a comic or three and support your local Horror Host! See you next update to relax with the zombies and monsters…

Body Count The Forgotten Horror Series From Aircel

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, a place for me to share my past, present and future! On this update, I want to chat a little about independent horror comics and my love for them! Growing up I was a avid comic reader, and super heroes like “Captain America”, “Batman”, “Spider-Man”, “Superman” and “The Incredible Hulk” were what I was reading at almost any given time as those were comics that we could find at the local grocery stores and comic racks at convenient stores. Besides the superhero comics, I also read lots based on toy lines, books and cartoons like “G.I. Joe”, “Masters Of The Universe”, “Transformers”, “Conan The Barbarian” and “Thundercats” that were also easy to find. The only horror comic titles I had were copies of “Werewolf By Night”, “Swamp Thing”, “Tomb of Dracula”, “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not”, “Godzilla” and “Man-Thing,” all mostly obtained at garage sales that acted as another source of a way for me and my brother to get comics. Growing up in a small town like Waynesville made it super hard to find out about other comics as it did not have a comic store (besides antique store Spencers that carried back issues of Power Man and Secret Wars 2). The closest ones around were Dark Star in Yellow Springs, Mavericks in both Kettering and Centerville and my all time favorite store Bookie Parlor that was also in Dayton/Kettering, and my parents would only take us to these stores from time to time when I was really young and more so when I was around 12 or 13. I can remember discovering that comic companies like NOW, Innovation, Eternity, Malibu and Epic were cranking out comics based not only on super heroes but also horror and science fiction comics and being blown away at the huge selection that comic shops had us readers able to choose from as I was used to the magazine section of Big Bear and Hearts in Lebanon where I got most of my comics from other than the subscriptions that my Mom and Dad would finally break down and get me and my brother. The good old Marvel Comics subscriptions through the mail was where I would get my issues of Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Amazing Spider-Man delivered to my waiting hands, but the worst part about it was our mailman would fold the issues in order to place them in our mailbox leaving the issues with a bend down the center! But while I loved my super hero adventures, I was a Monster Kid so I also loved to read about the night time terrors of Dracula from the pages of Tomb Of Dracula, the inner struggle of Jack Russell the Werewolf By Night, the stomping rampage of Godzilla as well as the burning touch of Man-Thing who I always enjoyed more than Swamp Thing in the comic world…I know it’s because I am a Marvel Guy. The only independent horror comics that I owned and had access to were from Gold Key and Whitman and were such things as Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and some very beat up and in some case coverless issues of Boris Karloff Tales Of Mystery that my brother Bryan shared with me. But my love for horror comics really exploded when visits to the local comic shops started to happen more often and my parents started to enjoy the fact I was reading a bunch and encouraged me to choose comics and even paperback novels I would enjoy.

The first time I walked into the Bookie Parlor, I was a fan as the owner Hal and his wife Sue were super nice to me and my brother, and after coming in for a few times and spending money Hal would start to let me know when he got new back issues of Hulk and Captain America in. At the Bookie Parlor, I discovered Atlas Comics and its characters like The Brute, Son Of Dracula and their series like “Tales Of Evil”. And at Bookie Parlor is where I found comics by Epic based on the Clive Barker films “Nightbreed” and “Hellraiser” and started my obsession with the Nightbreed and Rawhead Rex cross over. It was also where I discovered Eternity Comics and the fact they made comics based on Full Moon Entertainment films likes “Subspecies” and “Puppet Master” that I had to have and read. Claypool was another comic company Bookie Parlor introduced to me who made comics based on “Elvira Mistress Of The Dark”!

At Mavericks Cards and Comics in Kettering, a place I would later work for, I met owner Jack who always treated me and my brother like we were his friends and would also give us discounts as well as free comics.  During these early years is when I met Jason Young who years later would be one of my closest friends as well as Jeremy Hoyt! While shopping Mavericks I discovered NOW Comics who made comics based on the TV Show “Twilight Zone” and horror film “Fright Night” as well as Innovation who did comics based on the films “Psycho”, “Child’s Play” and “A Nightmare On Elm Street”! Another independent comic company Mavericks introduced me to was Apple who did weird adult horror comics like “Dracula In Hell” and another company, Blackthorne, who shocked me with comics based on the film “Waxwork” and TV Show “Werewolf”. Between these two stores my want and need for horror comics was in full effect as I would buy whatever ones I could get my hands onto, from comics based on killer “Jack The Ripper” to ones based on classic monsters like “Phantom Of The Opera” and even ones that I had no idea what they were even about before buying like “Body Count.”  All I knew was that I needed to read them all! During this time I also started buying Topps Comics as they had many amazing titles out like “Dracula Frankenstein War”, “Bram Stokers Dracula”, “Satan’s Six”, “Jason Goes To Hell” and “Jason vs. Leatherface” and with Dracula Frankenstein War started my first ever comic store pull list. During this time was also the birth of me having to have all the comics based on horror films as many of the films I loved had adaptations and new comic killing adventures for them as such titles as “Re-Animator”, “Halloween”, “Army Of Darkness”, “Night Of The Living Dead”, “Blair Witch Project”, “Pumpkinhead” and so many more from many different comic companies all had comics based around them. For me the comic killing sprees for these movie monsters was another way to add to the characters’ legacy and a way for fans to get a little more while waiting for the next film.

During this time as well I didn’t give up on Marvel Horror as I went out of my way to get more and more issues of Werewolf By Night and the others as they also filled the need to read horror comics. During this time was a true magical age for horror comics as besides the companies mentioned above you had Arrow, Fantaco, Aircel, Northstar, Chaos, Dead Dog, IDW, Avatar, ONI, Fangoria and many others publishing and making horror themed comics from the late 80’s thru the mid 2000’s with each delivering blood and gore filled issues. But during what I call the Golden Years of Horror Comics also came the crash of the 90’s when Marvel and DC once more went to war to dominate the shelf space at comic shops and by putting out so much product, they forced many amazing companies to go under as did cut throat politics in the industry among small press companies. The companies that have fallen to the comic rack in the sky that I miss the most and wonder what they would be making now if still around have to be Topps Comics, Fangoria Comics and Dead Dog Comics all of whom were some of my favorite companies going and all who delivered some amazing horror comics into readers hands. During these years horror comics were coming out less and less, and many of them were not based on horror films as they were just original titles mostly based on vampires or zombies with 2003’s Walking Dead from Image being the biggest horror comic title in years.

We are now in 2017, and over the past two years, independent horror comic companies are back on the rise and are making some amazing and entertaining stuff. While the bigger companies like Image, IDW, Boom and Devil’s Due are putting out horror comics with titles like Lord Of Gore, Godzilla, Kong Of Skull Island and Walking Dead, it’s also the smaller guys who are coming into your comic shops and online stores with some amazing stuff that is bringing back the boom of these comics that has been long dead for to long.

My favorite small press company is Eibon Press, run by Shawn Lewis who is also the owner of t-shirt company Rotten Cotton.  They are doing amazing comic books with releases based on Italian director Lucio Fulci movies like “Zombie” and “Gates Of Hell”! They also have titles based on such films as “Laserblast”, “Maniac” and many more including an original series called “Bottom Feeder” in the works. Another cool thing about Eibon is that they have what’s called the Eibon Sleeve that is like a record sleeve for your comic.  They also back it with all types of great stuff like stickers, trading cards, bookmarks and even vinyl records!

Action Lab has a sub company called Danger Zone that has put out some great spooky series and mini series like ones based on Full Moon films “Puppet Master”, “Gingerdead Man” and “Trancers” as well as original titles like “Final Plague”, “Southern Dog” and “Blood & Dust”. While it seems at this time the Full Moon comic deal has come to an end, I have faith that their editor-in-chief Shawn Gabborin will unleash more horror themed comics to the market.

Small publisher Lion Forge has released the series “Night Trap” alongside other horror themed books like “Mad Balls” based on the spooky toys. This company prices their comics at a great price at $2.99 each and sadly seem to be gone or on hold as I have not seen much from them in Diamond Previews as of late. But while their fate of physical comics is up in the air, they still tried to make a small mark for Horror Comic readers.

Rough House Publishing run by Derek Rook has brought back two classic horror comics from the graveyard as they have released “The Dead Omnibus” as well as new issues of “Gore Shriek” with a comic based on the remake of the film “Nightmare City” coming soon. This is a company I cannot wait to see what else is coming from as rumors of music and other cool media items have surfaced as has lots of gossip about what’s in store for the comics they are doing.

The Blood-Shed Publishing has a series called “We Kill The Dead” on the way that showcases over 20 movie slashers from independent horror films doing battle with a government elite team. This is a mini series and rumors of new horror comics from them have been floating around. This is one comic company that is attached to a horror news website that you might want to keep your eyes on.

Space Goat is a company that has been around since 2014 making comics as well as board games. They have also delivered some great horror comic titles like “Evil Dead 2”, “The Howling”, “Zombie Camp” and “Forty Coffins” to name a few. And I also want to give a shout out to Titan Comics who have been doing their best at delivering entertaining spooky comics like “Anno Dracula”, “It Came” and even have Hammer Horror comics with “The Mummy” and rumor of “Captain Cronos Vampire Hunter” coming soon! Plus American Mythology is doing some great comics and even one based on the Adam Green film “Hatchet” as is Alterna who has titled like “Croak” and “The Chair” to name a few so as you can see the world of horror comics has lots of great companies doing amazing things.

When opening Sparkle Comics alongside Jason Young in 2016 and after getting friends and amazing artists like Damien Brunk, Jason Gilmore and Scott Scarborough joining the comic making family, I knew we had to make horror comics so we even opened a branch we are calling Blood Scream Comics that is slated to showcase gore and more mature style horror comics with the all ages and teen horror comics coming out via the Sparkle label. Sp far for Sparkle Comics, we have the free online comic called “Don’t Play With Monsters” that features foolish kids coming across monsters who are not as cute as they appear. “Shocking Macabre Theater” is an anthology comic that has Dayton, Ohio horror hosts Dr. Creep, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Baron Von Porkchop sharing twisted tales with a stranded motorist. We also have “The Wolf Hunter” based on the shot on video film of the same name that was directed by Matt Hoffman who also played the title role and has The Wolf Hunter killing werewolves in the state of Ohio. We have a series called “Unknown Creatures” that features tales of cryptozoology creatures with the first issue being about the Flatwoods Monster! We also have 12 page issue # 0’s in the works that are based on shot on video films from Independent B Movie and Bloodline Video that will feature stories based on “The Sadness”, “Farmer Joe” and “Scars” and will allow our readers the chance to vote on which horror baddie will get a full # 1 issue! With many more amazing horror comic titles in the works, we hope to entertain readers with spooky, gory and twisted tales. One thing I am the most proud of is that via Blood Scream Comics we will be doing issues based on the films of Paul Naschy as well as have comics based on films from such companies as Warlock Home Video, Massacre Home Video, Brain Damage Films, Scream Time Films and Nevermore Productions in the works as well as comics based on pro wrestlers who fit the horror theme! So there are lots of great spooky reads are coming your way via Sparkle and Blood Scream Comics.

Sorry for being so long winded; it’s just I really do think that it’s a great time to be not only a horror comic reader but also just a comic reader in general. And I really do feel that horror comics have a bright future with many of these companies turning out very high quality comics that are well written and well drawn driving the market back up for the independents. But let’s get focused on the comic I have chosen to review for this spooky epic update and that’s Body Count, a silly horror comedy comic that I discovered at Mavericks Cards And Comics when I was a teen and bought and read and enjoyed for the wacky killer and the large chested heroine…oh and the over the top kills. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic, Ebay and Lone Star Comics for making this update possible and having these issues in stock so that I could own them again and cover for this review. So if you’re ready, check your brain and taste at the door and let’s dive into a late 80’s and early 90’s horror comic that will have you screaming with fear and laughing after with joy. I also want to note that even as a youngster I never could find the 4th and final issue so this will be my first time reading how this story ends! Oh yeah I grade these 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 take a look at Body Count!

Body Count # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Aircel Comics    # 1 of 4

Winter Falls College is a high priced school where the students are watched by the hotheaded Dean Burns and make fun of simple minded janitor Wanker. Professor Chill is a science teacher and has caught the eye of his student and assistant Becky who will does what she can to get him to notice her.  From short shorts to tights shirts, she brings her A-game, and together they are working on a formula that will in theory turn a nerd into a jock.  After they leave to get some dinner, a pair of students looking to steal knock over the formula and rush away telling Wanker about the mess in the lab. Wanker, being simple minded, takes a taste of the formula goo and it starts to melt him and flings his body into a deep sea divers suit.  He dons the helmet and becomes a crazed killer, and his first victims are the two thief kids that meet their ends with a mop through the head and a telescope through the eyes! When Prof. Chill and Becky return to the lab they find the dead bodies as well as the missing formula and call Dean Burns who heads to the lab to cover up the murder. Meanwhile Wanker is still on his killing spree and drops power cables into the pool killing three students by electrocution causing a power outage and as he is leaving the pool area, he catches Dean Burns and makes him drink Drano! As Chill and Becky leave the lab, they find the bodies and guess that Wanker must have drank the formula and is now a killer and is headed toward town!

This comic is just as silly and over the top as I remember it being when I first read it in my mid teen years. The plot is very much like an 80’s B-movie horror film as a geek puts on a mask and murders those who tormented him, the setting is a college, and the victims are all mean spirited and selfish people who are killed in horrific ways. Professor Chill is our hero, and while smart, he is also pretty goofy and has a hint that he does not really know what they heck he is doing in the lab.  While a goof, he still remains calm with all the bodies pilling up around him and it’s clear he is thinking of ways to stop the killer. Becky is a typical hot chick who showcases her amazing body and uses it to get her way, but when the killing starts she also becomes hysterical and screams her head off in fright! While she is just a scared woman now, it’s clear that she is in for the long haul with her man Prof. Chill. Wanker is just a simple minded janitor who is mistreated by both staff and students and after tasting the foul smelling formula goo, he transforms into a brutal killer who is on a rampage of revenge.  He also turns ugly and disfigured from the goo and wears a diver’s helmet as his killing mask. Wanker is cold and brutal with his best kill being the telescope through the eye as it’s so brutal and gross, it made my own eyeballs hurt! The gore is slightly over the top.  Not on the level of Arrow Comics’ The Dead but it’s more brutal than IDW’s The Fly: Outbreak so Gorehounds have a little splatter to make them happy. The true nature of the comic is also horror comedy as many silly lines are delivered by characters as is cheap sexual jokes that are fitting and add to the cheesy fun of the comic. The cover is okay and does not truly do justice to what the comic is about and the art inside is cartoonish and done by Dave Cooper, fitting for this style of horror comic. Over all, this is an above average horror comedy comic that acts as a build up for this four issue mini series.

Body Count # 2  **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Price $2.25     Aircel Comics     # 2 of 4

Professor Chill and Becky, along with a device they created that picks up the chemical that created the killer Wanker, head out into town to see if they can find him before he kills again. Meanwhile two fisherman in a boat are not so lucky as the now farting and stinky Wanker sets his sights on them and kills one by crushing his head and leaves the other in a state of shock wandering the roads when he runs into Chill and Becky who take him into town and try to warn the law of the killer on his way. Meanwhile Wanker has found a new pair of college victims who are on a motorcycle joyride as he decapitates the man with a fish and causes the woman to be flung from the bike and smash into a tree! Chill arrives at the police department, and the Sheriff and Deputy rush off to the College before they even could hear why they are running! As Prof. Chill and Becky wonder what they can do to stop Wanker, the police run into the killer that leaves the Deputy dead from a ricochet bullet and the sheriff is bull rushed into some bushes, After the screaming stops Wanker appears, this time around bigger in size!

The rampage of Wanker continues as he makes his way closer to town with murder and destruction on his sick and twisted mind. Professor Chill and Becky come up with a tracking devise that goes off when the killer is around and can also be used to save others, as it’s a warning to the approaching death dealer. They also try the best they can to get help and rush an injured scared to death man to the local law office only to be greeted by the world’s worst police officers! So as you can see the pair of scientists have done all they can up to this point to try and save lives of the townspeople. The Sheriff and Deputy are as backwoods as they come and think everyone is an alien or a communist and are easily slaughtered and out smarted. Wanker is now turning worse and is smelling terrible, becoming more ooze-based with even more of a thirst for blood. He is slowly making his way to the town and killing almost anyone that gets in his way, but oddly enough he allowed one of the fisherman to live! It’s shown that bullets can’t kill and stop Wanker as he is shot a number of times by the Sheriff and simply shrugs them off like Michael Myers from Halloween. Plus at the end of the issue, he grows in size and makes you wonder: did he eat the sheriff or can he body jump like in the films The Hidden and Jason Goes To Hell. The best kill in this issue has to be the decapitation of a collage age brat on a motorcycle with a fish! It’s an over the top and dumb kill but is hands down my favorite in the issue. The blood and gore is once more present and not terribly over done. The cover this time around is better and shows Wanker in all his slimy glory, and the art once more is done by Dave Cooper and is well done for this style of horror comedy comic. And just like the first issue, this one is holding up to what I remember and was a fun read and makes me look forward to reading the next issue again after all these years.

Body Count # 3  **1/2
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.25    Aircel Comics    # 3 of 4

Becky and Professor Chill are at the bar in Winter Fell and trying to get the locals to believe them about the Wanker Killer that is heading their way, but no one does no matter how hard they try. Meanwhile Wanker stalks and kills a young man on a date by ripping his head off and than turns his attention to the young man’s girlfriend who is running toward town to warn others. Chill and Becky next try to warn the town barber shop of the killer’s rampage but she as well meets her fate by the hands of Wanker who snaps her neck. Chill and Becky run around town trying to warn people of the killer after the barber shop also gives them the high hat as does the post office and the mayor who allows his bodyguard to beat up Chill on his front lawn. In the end Chill and Becky spot Wanker now in town and run to the town’s switchboard operator, and they phone the National Guard and talk to General Howitzer who tells them they are on their way.

The plot thickens as now Wanker is in town and no one believes the warnings being given by Chill and Becky who try every major place in town to spread the coming of a killer. Chill, who feels responsible for the Killer as his formula is what turned a nerdy janitor into a head crushing killer, must push as hard as he can to inform the townspeople as their deaths would be on his hands…kind of. After being beat up and called a communist by all the towns people he almost just walks away to let them deal with the approaching death, but he is reminded that he loves this little town that has acted as away for him to score with collage chicks and get away from his nasty wife. Becky tries to help spread the warning the best she can, but sadly she is just eye candy and no one really listens to her. Wanker is shown to be using the Sheriff’s body as a suit as he has half way crawled up the bodies back and controls it. Wanker is stronger now and after killing a couple on a date has entered town to cause some major damage. This issue only has two deaths and while violent, they are not super gory and a little toned down, with the best being the head rip off from the shoulders of the boyfriend. The story in this issue reminds me of “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” and “The Blob” as no one is listening to our heroes as everyone thinks their story is to over the top, and this brings more of the B-Horror Movie aspect out of this comic series. The cover is pretty good and once more captures what this series really is all about and the interior art is still done by Dave Cooper and is fantastic for this goofy, gory comic. This issue is filled with lots of humor and once more is a mix of redneck humor, slap stick and adult humor all done at the expense of Becky. Another fun issue just like I remember it and is the lead up to the last issue in the Winter Fell rampage of Wanker and his over sized divers helmet. So let’s move onto the fourth and final issue and discover how Wankers is stopped…or is he, as this will be the first time I have read issue four as I never could find it, so it will be a first time read for me!

Body Count # 4  **
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.25     Aircel Comics     # 4 of 4

Professor Chill and Becky wait in town, and the pressure hits Chill who feels bad about the rampage of Wanker as his formula goo is what created him! But before they can wonder if the Army can stop the rampage, they show up lead by the crazed and kill hungry General By-God Dry-Heaves McArthur who’s first plan of action is to blow up the bar with his tank as Wanker is inside killing off drinkers, but his attack fails to stop Wanker! The next target is the barbershop as Wanker enters it and kills off the barber and a man looking to get a shave, this time The General hits the business with a missile from a helicopter…it as well fails as Wanker is spotted again alive and unwell! Chill informs them that if they can capture it alive he might be able to cure Wanker and the Army turns on the Professor calling him a monster lover and boot him and Becky off the tank and head back into the hunt for the killer. As Becky and Chill hide the Army finds Wanker who is not scared of the tank and guns and charges causing The General to panic and order for the big bomb to be dropped, as the plan does so and the atomic bomb goes off our story ends with Chill hugging Becky and wondering what effect the radiation will have on Wanker!

The final issue is by far the weakest issue and I am pretty sure even in my middle teens I would have not been a super fan of this overly plotted army based issue that seemed to be rushed and with a very weak ending for the killers rampage. Prof. Chill and Becky are once more thrown to the side when the army gets mad that they want to cure the killer and not kill him like they want to do, but by the army turning on them and chasing them off is what saved their lives as they were able to hide as the bomb was dropped. These lovers are more just waiting to be saved as they have done all they could to save the townspeople and watch in horror as not only Wanker kills those who were rude to them but so does the army! The Army and their leader General By-God Dry-Heaves McArthur are fools who like to blow things up and really have no plan of action of how to really stop Wanker besides just that blow things up…reminds me of the army in Return Of The Living Dead. The townspeople are all crazy and rude and none of them want to believe that a killer is heading their way ready for mayhem and murder, and they get what’s coming to them for being such scummy people. Wanker who is still using the body of the Sheriff as almost a suit of armor is finally in town and wants to make his body count rise hire and hire by knocking off the towns people, and he proves that he is not even scared of a whole army as when they finally have him cornered he don’t back down he lunges forward to take them all one and their tank! His brutal and quite nature makes him like Jason Voorhees (Friday The 13th) and Michael Myers (Halloween) but not taken as serious by the writer and creators of this comic mini-series. The issue has some blood, guys and kills but they seemed very toned down this issue as does the art done by Dave Cooper that seems very much rushed and lacks the appeal and moody nature of the issues that came before it. The cover as well is not all that great as it just showcases the army…yep, not the killer or even something that shows it’s a horror comic at all! While this might not be the best Independent Horror Comic series of the late 80’s and Early 90’s and by most accounts I am sure this is forgotten and issues can be found in .25 or $1.00 boxes around the world at comic shops, to me it is one that stands out and one I can remember picking up from Mavericks all those years back and reading them while sitting in my room in Waynesville and wondering just how the story was to unfold as I never could find this final issue….and after all these years finding a copy and reading it, while I am little disappointed in the way Wanker’s rampage came to an end I do enjoy the fact it was left wide open for another mini series that sadly never was made. If you love horror comics from the 90’s that have a hint of humor in them, I suggest you check out Body Count, as it is sure to please or at the very least entertain you slightly. Below is some artwork samples from the Body Count series and I should also note that artist Dave Cooper is known for his work on such comics as Suckle and Bent as well as he worked on Nickelodeon Magazine and co-created the cartoon “Pig Goat Banana Cricket” for the station.

I see lots of great horror comics on the horizon for us readers, and it really is a great time to be alive and a comic book fan. Body Count was one of the early independent horror comics I read and after all these years, it kind of holds up as I still find it entertaining, silly, bloody and gory with a lackluster ending. I would love to hear from you friends and readers about what horror comic you first remember reading when younger and even what horror comics are you reading now.  Leave me a comment as I would love to hear from you about this. So for our next update we are leaving Winter Fell behind and joining a underrated Superhero from DC Comics, the super android The Red Tornado! So until next time, make sure to read a comic or three, watch a horror film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you soon for some DC Comics talk…