Xena The Thanksgiving Day Princess

Welcome to this Thanksgiving Rotten Ink update something that I hope has become a Turkey Day tradition for you just like the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathons use to be for me! And for this update I choose to cover something very special, as this is not only the Thanksgiving update but also is celebrating 10 Years that Rotten Ink has been up on the worldwide web. And normally Hercules would be the one to join us on Thanksgiving but as of last year we are taking a break from spending Turkey Day with him and this year will be our first without him and will instead be about a badass female warrior that is a Warrior Princess and I am of course talking about Xena and the comic series we will be looking at is the original series done by Topps Comics! So while that Turkey is still cooking in the oven and before your guests arrive or you leave to be a guest lets talk about Xena Warrior Princess on this Thanksgiving Day holiday.

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Xena Warrior Princess was a spin-off show of the hugely popular syndicated show “Hercules Legendary Journeys” as Xena first appeared in the 1995 episode called “The Warrior Princess” and she became super popular with viewers as she was a badass female warrior who could handle herself against the likes of Hercules. So because of this on September 4, 1995 she got her own series thanks to Renaissance Pictures. The show in syndication was a major hit and was a ratings draw for all the stations who added it their line up. I for one would watch the show every Sunday Morning and would even set the VCR to tape the episodes I would miss due to family trips and such. The show would have Xena not only face her past of being a raider who killed but would also have her face fellow warriors, amazons as well as even monsters and Gods! And the big thing being is that Xena grew as a character throughout the series run and this added more appeal to the character as she would fall in love, show remorse for his actions and even would doubt herself at time. The show would last for six seasons and a total of 134 episodes and even when the show ended in 2001 it still was one of the most watched syndicated shows on television at the time. During its run it would win and be nominated for many awards including the Emmys and Saturns. It would build up a huge following in the LGBTQ Community, as Xena and her sidekick Gabrielle became role models for young ladies and spawned a lot of merchandise for fans to collect. Xena was a show that was for everyone and the character Xena is still popular even to this day as fans still would love to see her return to their TV screens. And for me it still ranks in my top 10 shows of all time as I was a big fan and still am to this day. The series has been released on home media via VHS and DVD and can be found on some streaming sites from time to time.

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Xena was a feared female warrior who along with his army would loot, destroy and murder any villager in her path and she loved what she did. But her life changes when her own brother is killed in a raid by the Warlord Cortese and she sees the sorrow that her own actions has caused over the years and even her own Mother turns her back on her. Now on a mission for revenge and to right all her wrongs that she has done over the years, she also builds new friendships and trusts and becomes a symbol of change and empowerment from women. She is skilled with a sword as well as her chakram that she can throw super accrete. Xena also has a war cry that sends fear down the spines of her enemies and can stand her ground against any warlord as well as god like being. Xena was played by the lovely Lucy Lawless who was the crush for many nerdy kids of the time and in fact many still do have a crush on her, and I am not ashamed to say I still do as Lucy Laweless is an amazing actress who is beautiful on many levels. Lucy Lawless would go on to be is such shows and movies as The X-Files, The L Word, Spartacus, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Spider-Man, Boogeyman and Bitch Slap. She would even voice Wonder Woman in the 2008 animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. For those of use who grew up watching and for those of who discovered the show after its run we truly know how awesome, amazing, beautiful and ass kicking Xena and Lucy Lawless really is.

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Gabrielle was a farm girl from the village of Potidaea and after being kidnapped by a warlord and then freed by Xena she decides that she wants to follow her savior and together the two have many great journies and adventures. Gabrielle is wise, sarcastic at times and becomes skilled with a staff as well as a sword later on and she becomes a warrior in her own right. Her sister is Lila who is her only sibling and they two do get along well. The character of Gabrielle was super popular with fans and growing up for me on TV you could not beat the duo of Xena and Gabriella as they just played so well off each other. Gabrielle was played by actress Rene O’Connor who was in such films as “Night Game (1989)”, “Stone Cold (1991)”, “The Adventures Of Huck Finn (1993)” and “Darkman II: The Return Of Durant (1995)” among others as well as was on TV Shows like “Tales From The Crypt”, “NYPD Blue” and “FBI: The Untold Stories”. Rene is a great actress and Gabrielle is an amazing character and for many Gabriella rivaled Xena at being their favorite character of the whole series, and lets be honest I think it was Rene who’s acting really made the character be so iconic.

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The show had many amazing side character over the years that made up the Xena universe like the goofball wannabe hero Joxer played by Ted Raimi, Autolycus The King Of Thieves played by Bruce Campbell, Cyrene is the mother of Xena and she was played by Darien Takle, Hercules and Iolaus would show up from time to time and they were played of course by Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst. And on the villain side two of the biggest baddies in the series (and man she had many) was Aries The God Of War played by Kevin Smith and female warrior Callisto played by Hudson Leick. And this is just a small amount of the recurring characters that appeared on the show and made it so awesome. My favorite side character has to be Callisto as she was beautiful, crazy and dangerous and was a great villain for Xena and her episodes were always well done. But to be fair Ares is also a very entertaining villain and Kevin Smith was perfect in the role and it’s a shame he had to pass away at such a young age. Man writing this really does make me look back and see just how awesome all of the characters I have mentioned and more really did make this show special. Oh and I need not forget Caesar played by Karl Urban was also a great baddie who was a pain in Xena’s side. Who was your favorite side character in Xena?

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Like I have said I was an every week watcher of Xena The Warrior Princess and hands down one of my favorite episodes was called “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and was a Halloween episode that aired in October 1996. In this spooky episode Xena and Gabrielle go after Bacchus The God Of Wine who has a legion of female vampires, and during this adventure Gabriella is bitten and turned into one of his servants and its up to Xena to save her friend and kill Bacchus and allow all of those he has infected to return to being human. The episode also had appearances by Joxer and Orpheus and the episode played like a mix between a Horror Movie and a Rock Video that was airing on MTV at the time…and you can never go wrong with Gabrielle looking all gothed out…you just cant. The episode also had a very lesbian overtone and the demonic look of Bacchus was badass and it’s a shame that he was not used more often as a featured villain of the week for the Xena series. Long before the episodes made their way to home media this was one that I can remember taping off TV and watching a lot as the episode was just really cool and the plot felt like a good B-Movie vampire film. And the episode would also go on to be praised by not only fans but also critics who site this as one of the series best episodes. Those who have seen the episode know how awesome it is, and those of you who have not seen it track down the DVD set for Season 2 and give it a watch…also Toy Biz should have made an action figure of Bacchus and one of his female vampire minions…just saying.

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Like all great shows Xena Warrior Princess has had her fair share of action figures and dolls with her first figure being in the Hercules Legendary Journeys line that was released by Toy Biz and she had two figures in the line with the difference being coloring on her armor. And at the time of these figures release I was collecting them all as Hercules was one of my favorite shows and it would be cool to have them set up in my room, and Xena at the time in my area was the hardest one to track down. And I have to also say the Xena from the Hercules toys looks nothing like Lucy Lawless and for the most part is a really cheesy figure. But when Xena got her own TV Show Toy Biz also gave her a toy line that featured not only Xena but also all the characters from the show and these figures and later dolls were way better done and captured likeness better than the Hercules line did. And of course I still have many of my Xena toys and if you are a fan of the show make sure to track some of these figures down as they are pretty cool and a part of the shows history.

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When the TV Show was not on one thing fans could do is get the paperback novels based on Xena and her adventures to fill that void and these were good reads for fans. Many of the novels were written by such authors as Ru Emerson and Stella Howard and the novels most popular reads was the Quest Trilogy that was written by Emerson and consisted of “Go Quest Young Man”, “Questward Ho!” and “How The Quest Was Won”. And growing up I had these books and in fact I still have many of these books and while the lack the visional charm of the show Emerson and Howard did a great job of capturing the fun feel of it and really did deliver very entertaining reads. If you love the show make sure to tack down these novels and give them a read in your favorite spot.

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Xena The Warrior Princess made her way to the world of video games and was in a total of three home console games and a few for the PC. In 1999 Titus Interactive released the fighting game “Xena Warrior Princess: The Talisman Of Fate” for the N64. It was met with mixed reviews as it was an odd fighter but did allow you to play as such characters as Callisto, Ares, Julius Caesar and Autolycus to name a few. Also in 1999 for the Sony Playstation and released by EA came a adventure game that had you play as Xena who is on a quest to rescue Gabrielle and must fight warriors and monsters along the way, and this was a game I have played and beat so many times as I just really enjoyed the quest hack slash style game play and plus it was cool to be able to play a video game based on one of my favorite TV Shows of all time. And yet Xena would also get a Game Boy Color game as well this time in 2001, as even the handheld market needed some Xena for gamers to play as. So while I am not a mega fan of the Game Boy Color or N64 versions, I am a fan of the PS1 version and say that if you have the old console at your house and want to play a Xena adventure give this one a try.

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The score music used for Xena The Warrior Princess was done by Joseph LoDuca and is fantastic stuff as the opening theme always built the excitement for the episode and is something that we all remember to this day as it became one of the most iconic themes for a TV Show at the time. Let’s be honest, you have hummed the theme at least once as you have been reading this update. Many of you might not know that composer Joseph LoDuca is the musical mastermind behind scores for such movies as “The Evil Dead”, “Brotherhood Of The Wolf”, “Boogeyman”, “Curse Of Chucky” and “Bad Samaritan” and shows like “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”, “Cleopatra 2525” and “Jack Of All Trades” to name a few. And if you like myself enjoy the music of Xena you can get many volumes of the scores on CD thanks to Varese Sarabande; the musical episode even found its way onto CD! So make sure if you are a music collector to track these down as copies can be found on EBay and Amazon.

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As you know Xena was one of the biggest syndicated shows of all time and this is what lead to it having so much merchandise to be made about it and besides comics, novels, video games, toys and soundtracks, the show also got Home Media, Posters, Shirts, Costumes, Trading Cards, Cardboard Standees, Stickers, Drinking Glasses, Magazines, Clocks, Key Chains, Bags, Jewelry, Snow Globe and so much more official and unofficial stuff! And because I am a fan I do have much of this stuff as I have several shirts as well as some of the trading cards along with the other stuff I have mentioned I own. So if you like Xena and are a collector, the world is filled with lots of cool stuff for you to get for your collection.

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As you can see, Xena was a major force for TV in the 1990’s and sparked a tidal wave of great merchandise as well as gave female viewers a cool character to look up to as she was strong and a badass and at the time this was a little more rare for TV to have such a character in “nerdy” shows like this at the time. She also is an icon in the LGBTQ community as they show was laced with a lesbian overtones and this again was not the norm for this time on broadcast TV. And I want to also note that for fans the novels, comics, video games and even toys helped add new adventures for Xena while they waited for new seasons to start and new episodes to air. I want to thank Half Price Books and Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. I want to also 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 i’s art and story. So with that while the turkey is still in the oven and those potatoes are not yet mashe, let’s go on an adventure with Topps Comics and Xena The Warrior Princess.

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Xena Warrior Princess # 0  **1/2
Released in 1997    Cover Price $2.95   Topps Comics     # 0 of 2

Xena and Gabrielle are walking along a path and stumble on a tomb at the side of a mountain and just as they notice it the ground shakes and a horde of zombie warriors come from the ground and go on the attack! Xena fights hard but is unable to save Gabrielle who is pulled underground by the zombies. Xena rushes inside the temple hoping that she can find Gabrielle alive inside and meets Psoriasese, the undead caretaker of the temple who warns Xena of the Dragon God who dwells inside and who has already claimed the soul of Xena as he wants her to enter his temple, this does not scare Xena who enters to save her friend as she learns that if she stabs the Dragon’s heart she will not only kill the beast but also free all the souls he has trapped. Xena ends up fighting and killing the three monsters that guard the dragon’s gate and once inside the Dragon taunts Xena with Gabrielle who is now in the zombie trance and this causes the warrior princess to go on the attack! After dodging the dragons attack as well as trying to hit his heart she is lucky to shrug off his attempt to put her into the zombie trance and is able to throw her sword into his heart and kill him and this frees the souls of all those he damned! In the end Xena and Gabrielle come back together as people are back to normal all around them and continue their quest.

This is a pretty fun first comic for Xena The Warrior Princess and does a pretty good job of capturing the mood and feel of the TV Show is based on, but I will say some of the humor in the comic does fall flat at times as the jokes and one liners were cheesy. The plot is very simple and has Xena fighting zombies, monsters and a dragon in order to save her friend Gabrielle who was kidnapped by them, and like always Xena and her warrior skills save the day. Xena in this issue is skilled in her fighting and is confidante in her skills as she has no fear charging into a tomb filled with the dead and monsters in order to protect her friend, she truly is one of the best female warriors in all of fandom. Gabrielle in this issue is very bored and sadly does not get her chance to see much action as she is taken by zombies and turned into one of them before she knew what even happened, and she still is very much around for some comedy relief at the start of the issue. The issue’s bad guy is the Dragon God who is in this tomb to try and collect souls to please Hades and to get his way into being in the underworld. He has the power to use a death stare in order to turn people into his mindless zombie slaves and to send their souls to Hades! He is very mean and evil looking but is also very slow in his attacks and had one big weakness his heart that is the key to free all those he damned. The comics action is well done and I do like the fight she has with the three monsters as she makes quick work of them and makes them pay for the decades of killing of people they have done and sends them all to the underworld. The cover I have is eye catching and showcases Lucy Lawless as Xena and the interior art is really great and done by Aaron Lopresti who can truly draw dragons, zombies and monsters and his work on Xena is good and it looks like Lawless. Over all a good start to this series as its fast paced and has some great art and fun action.

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Xena Warrior Princess # 1  ***
Released in 1997    Cover Price $2.95   Topps Comics     # 1 of 2

Salmoneus is in charge of the Spring Fair and a threat has been made toward the hero turned king Perseus’s life and that is why he has called in many of his friends to help protect the king’s life as well as keep the fair safe. On hand is Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer The Brave and for a brief time Hercules and Iolaus are around to stop a drunken giant. As the heroes all come together a strange old man in a cloak offers money to a charity if Xena and Hercules would fight each other to see who the better hero is, they refuse and Hercules leaves to visit his mother. Meanwhile Xena, Gabrielle, Iolaus and Joxer stick around to protect the King during the fair but things go wrong when the Gorgon Sisters show up as they are the sisters of Medusa and want revenge on Perseus for killing their loved one. The Gorgon Sisters can turn people to stone via their eyes as well as firing laser beams from them and they are able to turn Perseus, Iolaus, Salmoneus and Gabrielle into stone and worse a spear has went through Gabrielle right as she turned! Xena tricks the Gorgon Sisters into hitting each other with their stone eye beams, and this kills them both. As Xena and Joxer go to check on their friends cloaked man appears and shows that he is classic hero Gilgamesh and that Xena should join him on a quest to get a plant that gives eternal life as in 30 Days all those turned to stone will turn normal and this would be the death of Gabrielle!

What a fun comic as this brings in so many familiar faces from the classic Xena and Hercules TV Shows and brings them all together in order to protect Perseus who many know not only by the myth of his story but also the film Clash Of The Titans from the 1980’s. The story is that Perseus is now a King and his throwing a big fair for his people that the conman Salmoneus is in charge of, but a threat is looming so he calls on his hero friends to come act as guards and security only for them to have to face the evil sisters of Medusa who turn many into stone and during this fight Gabrielle is hit with a spear right as she is turned, after killing the sisters Xena now must find a way to save her friend in 30 Days as once she turns flesh again she will surely die. Xena in this issue shows that she has no fear as she rushes head on to fight The Gorgon Sisters and out smarts them in order to end their lives, as they are immortal but they could not survive their own attacks. Xena by he quick actions is able to save many lives! Poor Gabrielle tries to help during the mayhem but finds herself being hit in the gut with a spear and then turned to stone at the same time, she has thirty days to live as stone before returning back to flesh and bleeding to death. Joxer is a goofball and during the fight has his helmet fall and saves no lives nor does not battle the Sisters. The one odd thing is that Hercules is around for a few moments, but leaves before the attack to visit his mom…its like could he not wait one day to visit her and help his friends stay safe? Poor Iolaus and Salmoneus find themselves stone, but do try to help during this attack. I for one don’t trust Gilgamesh who uses Iolaus as a human shield, tries to hire Hercules and Xena to fight and then tries to say he has a way to save Gabrielle’s life as well as give him more life as he should have been dead long ago…don’t trust him as he comes off shady. The cover is very cool and eye catching and the interior art by Joyce Chin and is great stuff, I really like her style lots and she captures the looks of the actors who play the characters and adds he own touch and style to them. Over all this is a great start for this mini series and shows that Xena is not only great on TV but also in comics!

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Xena Warrior Princess # 2  ***
Released in 1997    Cover Price $2.95    Topps Comics     # 2 of 2

Xena and Gilgamesh are on their quest to get the plant that grows every 500 years and gives a person immortality, but they are attacked by some Lion Men and they have to kill the flesh eating beasts and soon find that Joxer has been following them as he wants to help! Gilgamesh opens up to Xena and says that he once touched the flower and that is how he is still alive after all these centuries and that he does not want to die as he feels the effects fading and that watching his friend die before him is what has driven him to this quest as he thinks heroes should not have such fates. The three head to the river and meet the ferryman who uses a sea monster to get them across, once at the location Gilgamesh uses his club and knocks out both Xena and Joxer and then ties Xena up into the air and tells her that he must slit her throat in order for the planet to fully bloom, and she reminds him that he was one of the greatest heroes and that this is murder…he knows she is right and stops his attack. But before they can talk, more monsters appear and Xena and he team up to bring them down. Gilgamesh then says while his life will end he thinks the roots of the flower will heel the wounds of Gabrielle if they can make it back in time. Thirty days pass and those turned to stone turn back to flesh and at the last second Gilgamesh makes it to Gabrielle in time and saves her life! As Gilgamesh leaves to return to his homeland to die, Hercules makes it back from his mom’s home and asks Xena what he missed.

The final issue in this mini series has Xena on a quest for a plant that should be able to save the life of her best friend Gabrielle, but soon finds that she was tricked and a sacrificial lamb so that her blood can help the planet bloom, but her attacker and quest buddy Gilgamesh could not commit murder and they end up using the plants roots in order to at least save the life of Gabrielle as the root heals her wounds. I told you readers not to trust Gilgamesh and while in the end he turns into the hero is was, he had his own self in mind and was willing to kill a brave warrior in order for himself to live forever. Xena as always is brave and kills some monsters as well as goes into the unknown in order to save her friends life as well as help a legendary hero live forever. Gilgamesh is aging and dying and while he was a great warrior at one time its clear his fear of death as well as aging is breaking him down. Joxer is around but is pretty much just used as comedy for the issue. Hercules, Iolaus, Salmoneus and Perseus show up at then end of the issue and add their own charm, but are pretty much just background characters. Gabrielle turns flesh and is saved and still has her sense of humor as she talks about having a tummy ache. This comic mini series has lots going for it as I feel the story is fun and fitting for an episode of Xena, the art is really great and all artists do a great job of making the characters look like the actors and yet also add their own touches, it has lots of action, humor and monsters…plus you can not go wrong with having Hercules in a cameo role. Topps Comics really was a great indie comic company in the 90’s that delivered very entertaining reads and I think their Xena series is proof that they put care behind their releases. The cover is pretty great and showcases Xena being a badass and the interior art in this issue is done by Joyce Chin again and is great stuff, as she even adds a little sexy cheesecake feel to Xena throughout. To sum it up these comics lived up to what I remember and if you are a Xena Warrior Princess fan make sure to give this mini series a read. Checkout the artwork bellow to see the style used by Chin in the series.

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Xena Warrior Princess was a fantastic TV Show that was a big part of my TV watching growing up and made for a great comic book series thanks to Topps Comics who I feel was gone way to soon as I think the amount of amazing comics they could have released over the years they have been gone could have been very epic. You can tell that the creative minds behind this mini series at least cared about delivering a entertaining comic and great read to the fans of the show and that’s what makes it standout from many of the others that have failed their readers and fans. And I think truly that the show should return for one more season and it’s a must that Lucy Lawless and Rene O’Connor step back into the roles of Xena and Gabrielle, but enough of that talk as I could chat about Xena for days! Thank you so much for spending a small part of your Thanksgiving with Rotten Ink and I hope looking back at Xena Warrior Princess made your Turkey Day a little better. Before we part ways let me tell you that our next update is our kickoff to Christmas Eve and will be about the first Superman movie in cinemas that had him meeting Mole Men, that’s right it’s a photo comic graphic novel based on the George Reeves as Superman film “Superman And The Mole Men” so that should be a fun flashback. So I hope you are enjoying your meal with your family, friends and pets and as always until next time read an indie comic or three, watch a Xena episode or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you soon as Superman has some Mole Men to save!

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Malibu Comics Ultraverse Memories: Hardcase

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers, and welcome to another trip down memory lane with Malibu Comics and the Ultraverse line of heroes. For this one we will be taking a look at Hardcase! Growing up Malibu Comics characters were on my radar as I found them to be very cool modern heroes.  Cool looking characters like Prime, Sludge, Prototype and Mantra were all ones I felt I had to read and others I was lukewarm on as their looks didn’t get my attention like the Ultra Hero that we will be covering here, the powerhouse known as Hardcase who just looked like a generic hero and a knock off of Wonder Man from Marvel Comics.  But over the years I have come to really enjoy the heroic adventures of Hardcase and am looking forward to this update, so with that, let’s check out the Ultraverse world and the join Hardcase in it.

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Tom Hawke was a down on his lucky actor in Hollywood who was looking for a big break with a big role, and after the “Jumpstart Effect” was unleashed by the aliens to bring out the Ultra Powers of some people, he gained some abilities that included super strength, durability and decides to team with fellow Ultra Heroes and so with Starburst, D.J. Blast and Forsa they formed the team The Squad! And Hardcase and his friends became heroes who helped stop crime as well as did what they could for charity events. But after a fight with an entity called the NM-E, his superhero life was changed forever. And after returning to Hollywood he would become an action star actor and as well would once more be forced back into being a superhero, and would become a mainstay in the world of Ultras and be involved in many of the big events. His super powers include being super strong, can leap over a mile, is able to shrug off almost all battle damage, extreme temperature change does not effect him he also can hear and see long distances away. He would later team up with a female Ultra Hero called Choice who has the power to fly, fire beams from her eyes and is super strong. So as you can see Hardcase is one of Malibu Comics big Ultraverse heroes and some would say he is the leader when it comes to all the heroes having to come together to stop world shattering threats.

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If the characters of the Ultraverse ended up in the Marvel Universe in modern times and I was writing it, this is what I would do with Hardcase! I would first start out Hardcase as a three issue mini series and set it in California and have Tom Hawke getting a gig starring as the lead in a big budget action sci-fi movie that is much in the style of films like Mars Attack and Independence Day and soon he finds out that the Alien Invasion is real and that the director of the film is using the production of the film as a contact spot to bring the aliens who are from another dimension to Earth with the goal of taking over! Hardcase would also be dating Choice and in the end he feels good about being a hero again and alerts his lady that he is returning to be a superhero and will be joining The West Coast Avengers! And from here on I would place Hardcase and Choice into The West Coast Avengers and the team members would be Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Moon Knight, Tigra, War Machine, Doctor Druid and Wonder Man, and I would play up a big rivalry with Hardcase and Wonder Man as both are Hollywood actors and at some point Wonder Man gets a crush on Choice and this would be like the Jean Grey, Cyclops and Wolverine story arch but this will end up with Hardcase and Wonder Man having a massive fight that takes the team to break them apart! And from there I would have Hardcase out of the team and being embarrassed he leaves the group as well as Choice and becomes a loner as he goes missing and I would have him end up going to the Philippines and fighting super villains, pirates as well as drug runners in his own on going series and at some point would have Choice tracking him down and trying to get him to come back to The Avengers. I really do think that Hardcase could fit into the modern Marvel Comics Universe and let’s cross our fingers that someday Disney the owners of Marvel will get the guts to bring all the Malibu Ultraverse characters back to the world of comic books.

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Hardcase was one of the heroes that appeared in the short lived Ultraverse cartoon along side Prime, Prototype, Topaz, Nightman and The Ghoul and this cartoon spawned a short lived action figure line from Galoob. And because I am a fan of Malibu Comics I of course have the Hardcase figure that while cool that it was made it is a little cheesy as he comes with a glider as his accessory. The figure has the characters look down with gold shoulder pads as well as his trademark pony tail and for some reason his eyes are a little crossed and he looks like he is trying to stare into your soul. Glad I have this figure and while he is not my favorite in the series he still is a cool one that looks great alongside the others in my collection. Oh and on a side note does anyone remember the old six-minute music video made by Malibu Comics and Wizard Magazine that featured kickboxer and actor Gary Daniels as Hardcase? If you want to watch it look it up on YouTube as it’s a fun and weird watch.

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So now that we have chatted about Hardcase and who the character is and what I think Marvel Comics could have done with the character if they did not fail the fans of Malibu Comics like they did, it’s time for us to dive into the review of his comic series! Some of these issues will be a re-read for me while others will be a first time read and I am very much looking forward to diving in as I have really loved doing these updates that allows me to talk about these Ultra Heroes as well as revisit the comic series. I want to thank Bell Book And Comic, Lone Star Comics and Game Swap Kettering for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind all 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets go on an epic Ultra adventure with Hardcase and see how he holds up all these years later.

Hardcase Comic 1

Hardcase # 1  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 1 of 26

Hardcase is hurt bad he is bleeding and his arm is dislocated and he is watching as one of his fellow The Guard member Forsa is being killed by a strange looking alien robot, his other friends D.J. Blast and Starburst are on the ground and are in very bad shape, as D.J. tells Hardcase to grab Starburst and get away as fast as he can and our hero does so just as D.J. forces himself to explode taking down the Alien thing. And Hardcase gets even more bad news as it looks like Starburst may never wake up as the fight left her with server brain damage. A year after this event and Hardcase is now a full time actor making action films based around himself and his co-star in all these films is a one time washed up teen actor named Justin Kuttner who is a royal jerk and still has an ego. While waiting for the next shot to be set up Hardcase is in his trailer when a cop stops by and asks him to sign a poster and tells him he wishes he was still a superhero as what he and The Squad did was very helpful to them, Hardcase tells him that his hero days are over…just as a call goes out about a bank robbery and the cop rushes off. At the bank a Ultra powered villain named Head Knocker is killing the cops who have came to stop his robbery and even their bullets seem to not affect him. When Hardcase still on set hears the gun fire he leaves the movie to help and finds the massacre, in a rage he fights Head Knocker and beats him with a car and swears he will never loose again and then tells the media that is on hand that he is back as a Ultra Hero! Meanwhile in a underground base a naked man named Rex Mundi is watching this news and is very mad to see him return to being a hero, and it’s clear he is responsible for sending the Alien Robot now named NM-E out to kill Ultras and looks like he might just do it again.

This first issue of Hardcase is lots of fun and is a great way to kick off a series as it drops you smack in the middle of a fight that has our Ultra Powered heroes loosing with them being ripped apart and blood everywhere! And out first look at the books title hero has him bleeding, broken and beaten by a very sinister looking robot alien thing. And from there the comic is about Hardcase finding his way back to being a Hero and trying to overcome the fear of loosing and letting his friends down. Hardcase is a pretty interesting character as he is super strong, has super hearing and can leap for miles but also has issues like all of us as when he was beaten up and two of his friends killed before his eyes and another beaten so bad she has yet to wake up it effects his mind and causes him to step away from who he wants to be and instead he plays the hero he wants to be in movies. I also like that when he sees that other Ultras are running around and doing very bad things he steps back up and smacks them down and finds that spark to be the hero that he knows he is. And at this point I am not sure who all will be main characters in our story but I am sure we will see more of NM-E as well as Rex Mundi who lives underground and hates Ultras and I also think maybe Justin Kuttner that weasel will also come into play and will probably be a trader and do something to screw over Hardcase. This comic is also way more bloody then I would have thought as limbs are ripped off and skulls are crushed! The cover is a little puzzling and while it showcases Hardcase it also looks very generic and not as flashy as other first issue releases in the Ultraverse. The interior art is really good and is done by Jim Callahan and his work has the classic early 90’s look. Over all a great first issue that drew me into the story of Hardcase and is making me wanting to see what the next issue has in store for him now that he has returned as a hero.

Hardcase Comic 2

Hardcase # 2  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu      # 2 of 26

Choice is on the run as she is being hunted down as a company wants her back as they use her as a spokes person for products, and she hates her life with them and wants to find Hardcase in order to get help. Meanwhile Hardcase himself is at the funeral of the cop he meet at the film set that was killed by Head Knocker and meets his brother who is also a cop and the two seem to build a friendship. Once back home Hardcase gets a visitor in Choice who tells him that the company she works for has messed with her mind and body and she needs his help, he agrees just as her attackers appear with orders now to kill Hardcase and bring Choice back to the company. They even blow up Hardcases home and this sets him off and he and Choice take out the attackers with one being killed as he was run over by a semi truck. It looks like Mr. Dixon of the Choice Cooperation is the one who sent them and now Hardcase and Choice are heading to his headquarters to get answers.

This second issue is good and introduces us to new characters as well as shows that Hardcase is a hero who feels lots of guilt if he feels that people have died that he could have prevented if he would have arrived quicker. The plot has a runaway Ultra being hunted down by a big company and having to find Hardcase in order to get help. Choice is the new Ultra we meet and she is very cool and has some great powers like she can fly, shoot laser beams from her eyes and also shrug off attacks…but only for an hour and when she is wearing a special suit. The raise the question that she is not really an Ultra, that she might not even be a human and also that she is crazy and only future issues will answer these questions. Hardcase is willing to help Choice as its clear he finds her attractive and he is still trying to show the world he is back as a hero and what better way to showcase his return then helping a beautiful product spokes woman! I also like that he has built two new friendships in this issue with one being Choice and the other being Officer Chuck Brown who I hope comes back into play in a future issue. Mr. Dixon and the Choice Corporation who are into making profits and as well trying their best to out do UltraCorp who has Prototype as their mascot of sorts. And while at this point they are not super threatening they do have armored suit assassins on their payroll who have no issues killing people. This issue also has a little bit of blood as one of the metal assassins is ran over by a truck and his blood is splattered all over the street! The cover for this issue is good and eye catching and has Hardcase standing looking mad and ready to fight with fire in the background. The interior art is a mixed bag as a group of artists known as Cranial Implant Studio worked on the issue with some art looking great others is 100% not my style of art. Over all a good issue that takes our hero into his first mission back as a Ultra Hero and does a great job of expanding his world and cast of characters.

Hardcase Comic 3

Hardcase # 3  **1/2
Released in 1993      Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 3 of 26

Mr. Dixon is holding a meeting as things have gotten out of hand as Choice has beat his forces and he fears that she and Hardcase are on their way, but we soon find that Rex Mundi who lives under ground has offered to help him stop the two Ultra Heroes and lends them a new team he has made called Omega Team (Gun Nut, The Needler & Trouble) to get Choice back as well as kill Hardcase. Meanwhile Officer Brown arrives at the destroyed house of Hardcase and warns him that the Choice Cooperation is very powerful, and Brown stays at the destroyed house and tries to get the press out of the home as Hardcase and Choice head to the beach as Choice is acting weird and saying things that contradict what she has said before and this causes Hardcase to question if she is sane, and they are attacked by Omega Team who start off by trying to blow our hero up with a missile. Omega Team strikes hard and end up taking Choice down and its Hardcase that ends up beating the three up and he and Choice talk to the press about the attack were part of Choice’s brainwashing kicks in and has here take up for the Choice Cooperation. In the end Hardcase and Choice head to another of his homes only to find the Ultra Hero team The Strangers are waiting for them.

This third issue has the story of what is the deal with Choice thicken as we learn fully that they have messed with her mind that limits what she can say about the company in public as well as they really want her back as they think she is a investment as she sells products for them and that’s all that really matters. Poor Hardcase is confused as she says lots of things that makes him question her sanity and sense meeting her has to fight Ultras as well as lost his home all for trying to help her. I like the character of Choice she is powerful and yet also flawed and not due to her own will and this makes her more interesting. Hardcase is clearly falling for Choice but is also a little shaky on her as he is not 100% sure if he can trust her as he knows that clearly something is off about her. Mr. Dixon and his company at this point are shown that while they are bad, they need help from truly bad people in order to do the bad stuff they do as Rex Mundi and his created Ultras are clearly the true evildoers as they only at this point want one thing and that’s to kill Hardcase as they have something against him. This is a good issue that keeps the story going and keeps in interesting as it shows us readers that Hardcase has found his groove and is really ready to be a hero again as he totally kicks the butts of Omega Team. The downside is I am not to happy that they already have a crossover set up as the story and issue could have done without The Strangers. The cover for this issue is ok and has Hardcase being shocked and the interior art is once more done by Jim Callahan and is good stuff and again really is the style I think of when looking back at the Ultraverse. So with that lets see what issue four has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 4

Hardcase # 4  *1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 4 of 26

Hardcase and Choice are ready to fight The Strangers as they do not know them, but when tempers get in check Hardcase meets his new guests by his pool as they are new to the Ultra Hero business and are asking him for advice. The Strangers start by introducing themselves as well as their powers, next Hardcase tells them about how he got his Ultra powers during a film audition and how he meet those in his original hero group The Guard and they decided to use their powers to be heroes and stop crimes in California. Hardcase then tells them about the battle against NM-E that left almost all of his friends dead and gave him mental scares of having to witness it all. Hardcase then starts to think that maybe the Aladdin Company is who sent NM-E to kill them all those years ago and along with Choice and The Strangers they head to Groom Lake in order to find the answers but are meet by Ultra Villains he attack and get all our heroes as prisoners.

This issue is just a set up for the reader to but an issue of The Strangers and that really stinks as the Hardcase story really suffers from this. While in the issue we do get to see that Choice and Hardcase are getting closer and that maybe just maybe someone form the Aladdin Company is who wanted him and his old team killed! Other wise it’s mostly filled with flashback moments to the early days of Hardcase. Really disappointed in this issue and I honestly don’t have much to even say about it. Choice in the issue is very protective of Hardcase, as she gets a little jealous of the attention he is getting from one of the female members of The Strangers. Hardcase himself is stull trying to be a hero and tries to give advice as well as takes the rookie team on a mission with him, that ends up getting them all beat up! The cover is a pull out one and is pretty cool and showcases Hardcase as well as The Strangers and Choice and is eye catching. The interior art is done by James Hudnall and is well done. The reason this issue is getting such a low star rating is that it just feels like a comic that Malibu released in order to get Hardcase readers to buy the next issue of The Strangers, and I am not a fan of that tactic that comic companies use to do. Over all the Hardcase stuff that furthers his storyline is good the cheap add on stuff of The Strangers is not. Lets just move on and see what issue five has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 5

Hardcase # 5  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 5 of 26

Hardcase and Choice go and visit Officer Brown at the station and he informs them that he has never been to Hardcase’s home and that means someone acting like him showed up and watched the home after the attack, and this puzzles them all. But before the dive to deep into that Hardcase heads to the office of Mr. Dixon as well and tells him to leave Choice alone…the meeting does not go well. And while all this is going on a Ultra killer is murdering drug sellers as he is called Hardwire and is a killer for hire, and he has now been hired by Rex Mundi to kill Hardcase! A woman shows up and warns Hardcase and Choice about Rex and his hatred for them, but our heroes ignore the warning and go on a date for the night. Hardcase and Choice go dancing and have a late dinner and on the way back home they stop at a gas station and while Choice uses the restroom Hardcase is attacked by Hardwire who’s razor like nails cuts the skin of Hardcase and this shocks our hero as his skin is tough, but things get worse when Hardwire stabs Hardcase with his nails and our hero starts to bleed to death. As Choice rushes to his side unknown what has happened Hardwire is sneaking up behind her. And worse on a beach two friends find the head of NM-E and it takes over one of their bodies and wants to rebuild it’s self and finish its job of killing Hardcase it’s self.

In this issue we have zero clue on what happened at Groom Lake with The Strangers and our story picks back up with Hardcase and Choice wanting to get Mr. Dixon off her case and the meeting does not go well as its clear that he still has control over Choice. We also learn that a shape shifting Ultra is acting like Officer Chuck Brown and is keeping an eye on Hardcase and we also find out that a killer that has Ultra Powers has been hired by that scumbag Rex Mundi to kill our hero. And crazy enough we also now see that NM-3 is back and is wanting a rematch to finish the job of killing Ultra Heroes and all Hardcase wanted to do in this issue is stand up for his lady and have a nice night out with her. The issue also is a little bloody as when NM-3 takes over one of the teens he uses his powers and blows the guts out of the other with a blast! It also stinks that Mr. Dixon has a grip on Choice and can even make it so that she cannot speak at all, and that she really is living in fear as she has no control of herself when she is around him. Also Hardwire is a snuff film watching razor nailed slashing nut job that really does love killing anyone he is asked to slaughter. And another big question that I cannot wait to see how it plays out is who is the fake Officer Brown and are they friend or foe? I also wondering how Hardcase is going to survive the attack as he has been cut and stabbed pretty bad and he is bleeding out in a parking lot late at night, makes me wonder if Choice will have to go full power on Hardwire to save them both from being killed. The cover for this issue is eye-catching cause it has Hardcase bleeding and it’s more rare to show the comics hero bleeding that bad. The interior art is done by Scott Benefiel and is pretty good and while a little too sketchy for my taste I can see how some comic readers would enjoy it. I am glad this comic series is back on track and the focus is on Hardcase and Choice as they are what is making this series very good.

Hardcase Comic 6

Hardcase # 6  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 6 of 26

Hardcase is in the street dying and Choice activates her shields as well as ability to fly and dodges Hardwire and gets Hardcase to a hospital and he is lucky as he is able to heal fast and bounce back. Meanwhile Rex Mundi sees the news that he is not dead and then goes into a room that is filled with tons of Ultra Villains and they are told that they have all been hired by Rex as he wants to steal and take over The Moon! Hardware gets another visit from the mystery woman Regina who tells Choice and him that she can help them get the answers they are seeking and also tells them the location of Hardwire who is on another mission to kill. So not fully healed Hardcase and Choice head to a street that is the home of several gang members and find Hardwire there killing the crime members, but this time our heroes are prepared and they beat up the razor nailed bad guy and Hardcase even dislocates Hardwire’s shoulders to make it impossible to hurt the cops who show up to arrest him. In the end Hardcase goes home to sleep and thinks back to when he was dying and how he seen the spirit of Starburst who told him it was not his time to die.

This was another good issue in the Hardcase comic series as it starts with Hardcase at deaths gate and leaving his own body and encounters the spirit of his friend who is in a coma, and we also follow Hardcase as he heels up and gets his revenge on Hardwire they man who almost killed him! And while Hardcase and Choice are able to get their revenge on Hardwire who is brought to justice for not only the attack on them, but also all the murders he has done. But lots of new plot twists are thrown in including Regina still going out of her way in order to try and “help” our heroes, though I am not sure if I trust her as she seems to be promising lots. We also learn that while Hardcase has tough skin he can be cut by Ultra’s and can in fact die, even though he does heal fast. And the biggest new plot is why does Rex Mundi want to go to the moon and what is his end game plan for his Ultra Villains when they get there? This issue does also a great job of showing that Hardcase can be super tough and even slightly mean spirited as he uses his super strength to rip both of Hardwire’s arms out of their sockets and leaves him in pain! And due to all this other drama we still are not closer to finding anything out about Choices past and what has been done to her, and I am hoping that in the coming issues more of her backstory will start to unfold. The cover for this issue is ok and while not my taste, it does reek of 90’s Indie Superhero comic. The interior art is good and done by Scott Benefiel and looks a little less sloppy sketchy then the last issue. So another good issue that has new bait on the plot hooks to reel readers in.

Hardcase Comic 7

Hardcase # 7  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95      Malibu      # 7 of 26

Hardcase and Choice stop a pair of carjackers and head to the business office of Hardcase as she meets his employees who are working on trying to figure out a way for her to get out of the contract with the Choice Cooperation. Meanwhile NM-E has created a new twisted body and is looking for more Ultra Heroes as he wants to kill them all. Later that night Hardcase and Choice meet up with Regina for a late dinner and she tells them about how Ultra’s are born and it all comes from waves from The Moon! She tells them they need to get to the Moon before Rex and his crew do as there is an object up there that needs to be rescued from their grips, and Hardcase soon finds out she is making him team with the Ultra Team called The Solution. Once back home Hardcase and Choice notice an explosion on a near by island that triggers a tsunami and our heroes do they best they can to save lives before it its, they save some but sadly many die. Before our heroes have a moment to think Regina shows up and takes them to a massive space ship and alerts them its time to get to the moon.

This issue of Hardcase is pretty interesting as we now know that an object on the moon is what has give some people on Earth their Ultra powers and that included Hardcase. We learn that Rex hates Ultras and is the one who wants them dead, and is using them in order to get a power source from the moon. Regina has some answers and gives a little and is also hiding some to keep Choice and Hardcase in line to help her. And poor Hardcase feels like a pinball as he is being attacked and tricked as well as is doing what he can to help his new girlfriend to break free and discover her dark past. And this issue while not action packed is used to further the plot of the item on the moon as well as adds a little more drama with Regina knowing lots about our hero’s pasts. Plus lets not forget that we have added the team The Solution to this mission and a few members clearly do not think highly of Hardcase as they see him as an armature hero. The stuff with the tsunami is sad stuff as our heroes have to watch as many people die, and I wish they would have played out this part as their sadness is way to short due to Regina’s appearance to summon them to get to the ship. The cover is good and has Hardcase and Choice about to be hit by the tsunami, and the interior art is once more done by Scott Benefiel and is good for the most part with some panels I feel very much lacking. Over all a good issue and I cannot wait to see Hardcase on the moon!

Hardcase Comic 8

Hardcase # 8  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 8 of 26

Omega Team and the other Ultra villains have failed on the moon and are heading back to their ship only to watch it take off as Hardcase and the heroes have taken it to return to Earth leaving them stuck on the moon. They call Rex for help who tells them that he will not send a rescue ship as they have failed and if they make it back to Earth alive he will allow them to keep the money he has given them. Meanwhile back on the ship Hardcase and The Solution are starting to wonder what Regina’s real connection is to Rex as its clear that the two know each other and have the same goals, but before they can find the answers the ship is blown up by Rex still in space! Meanwhile Omega Team and the other Ultra Villains are able to get back to Earth but land in a desert when one member uses all his power to bring them home. Meanwhile in space Hardcase, Choice and The Solution survived the explosion and all head back to Earth. Once back home Choice alerts Hardcase that she has little bits of memory of her past and they find a note and some money left by Regina that tells them to head back to Groom Lake for more answers about Choice. Meanwhile Rex thinks he has killed Hardcase and is even more happy with NM-E arrives home as he now has his ultimate Ultra killing machine back.

Man Malibu Comics is really bad for these cross over series that start in one series and makes you buy another to finish the story, and with this one we miss all the moon stuff and you would have to buy Break-Thru in order to see the battle on the moon and I say that is B.S. and one reason Malibu frustrates me. The plot of this issue has our heroes coming back to Earth from the moon and wondering what Rex and Regina are all about before having the ship blown up and them having to drift their way back home. And we also see that Rex leaves his bad Ultras stuck in space and they have to use there wits and powers to as well return home. And the biggest things we get from this issue is that NM-E has returned to Rex and that Groom Lake really is the place that has the answers to Choices past. Cover is cool but miss leading as Hardcase fights no one let alone a creature in this issue and the interior art by Scott Benefiel is ok but he also uses lots of big panels to film out this rice paper thin plot of this issue. Over all just a fill in issue with some new plot elements sprinkled in.

Hardcase Comic 9

Hardcase # 9  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 9 of 26

Hardcase is at the hospital talking to Starburst who has been in a coma for over a year, and he is telling her he is sorry as she was his girlfriend and he fills her in on events that just happened that is the following. While on the set of his new movie Choice visits him and is upset that he has a love scene with an actress, as she wonders why he has never made the move on her yet, he explains he feels odd doing so over Starburst and the fact he does not want to take advantage of her. The next day they have a run in with a monster Ultra named Turf that has been killing celebrities and now wants to crush the life out of Hardcase, you see Turf is an Ultra who uses the soil around him to become the monster and who is a psychopath who is obsessed with famous people and is mad when they do not write back to his weird fan letters. When Choice shows up the heroes defeat him, as like always Aladdin shows up to take Turf away. Once home Hardcase and Choice finally fully fall in love and that brings us back to the hospital were Hardcase tells Starburst that he is in love with Choice and that he is sorry. As he leaves Starburst sheds a tear.

This is a good issue as it pushes the fact that Hardcase and Choice are now a couple and that they love each other, it is also lets Hardcase finally be able to not live in the past and dwell on his failures and opens his heart to his one time lady. While you feel good for Hardcase, you have to feel a little bad for Starburst who clearly has her heartbroken as the one she loved is now walking away from her when she needs him the most. The villain Turf in this issue is very much inspired by the Greek Mythology giant named Antaeus as they both get their powers from touching the land. But Turf is crazy as he brutally murders famous people that he feels disrespected him by not responding to his crazy letters, and while as the mud looking monster he is creepy as a person he is really just a chubby dude with no confidence. While the only major thing that happens in this issue being that Hardcase and Choice start dating, it still was a very good issue that was a way to move past the old and bring in the new plot elements. The cover is action packed and shows Turf beating up our heroes and the interior art by Brent Anderson is good and I like the way he draws the monster version of Turf. Lets see if our next issue gets us on track to once more crash into Groom Lake to find out the truth about Choice.

Hardcase Comic 10

Hardcase # 10  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu      # 10 of 26

The Aladdin Company has been watching and listening to Hardcase for weeks unknown to him and Choice, as they are thinking he is a threat to them and know that Regina has left him a note to head back to the Groom Lake base to find out about Choices past as well as her powers. Right before our heroes are set to go to the base Choice shares some memories that are conflicting like having loving parents in America as well as being orphaned in Vietnam and having to hide on a cramped boat with others to travel to America to find freedom. And after hearing these details Hardcase gets super mad and says that they Aladdin will pay for all this, as its clear he is hiding something more that is making him very mad. Agent Malik is one the case of killing Hardcase once he arrives at Groom Lake and he is allowed to release two captured Ultra Baddies in order to help his team of Ultra Heroes Dirt Devil, Foxfire and War Eagle bring down the actor turned hero, and he chooses Head Knocker and Hardwire to join the cause as each of those two hate Hardcase. And as Hardcase and Choice are driving to Groom Lake a helicopter appears and the Bad Ultras start jumping out.

Well we know that The Aladdin Company has been watching Hardcase as they do not like this Ultra Hero and want him dead now that he is trying to once more get into their base. Agent Malik is the man who has been given the duty of watching Hardcase as well as be the one who leads the task force to try and kill him. While he is clearly loyal to Aladdin his mission is clearly making him nervous. The return of Hardwire and Head Knocker is a nice touch as both of these Ultra baddies clearly want revenge of Hardcase the hero that beat them both and allowed them to be captured and placed in this situation via Aladdin, but it does make me wonder if these two will work well together as well as along with the other Ultras that have been sent to stop and eliminate Hardcase. Speaking of Hardcase his rage over Aladdin is clearly deeper then what he is sharing and he kind of rages and seems to almost forget that the mission is to help Choice and not his own grudge. This is a pretty cool issue as I like the idea that a company is spying on a Superhero as they find him to be a threat to their plans and are willing to kill him in order to have zero interruptions. And with only two Ultras against five it makes you wonder how Hardcase and Choice will survive. The cover is ok for this issue and the interior art by Kelly Krantz and is pretty good. Over all a good issue that builds up to the next issue that I am very much looking forward to reading, as I want to see how our heroes get out of this mess.

Hardcase Comic 11

Hardcase # 11  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 11 of 26

Hardcase and Choice are ready for a fight and after their car is blown up our heroes go on the attack! As Hardcase takes down Dirt Devil and Choice brings down Foxfire things turn bad for War Eagle who is also taken down. Choice tells their fallen foes that they better not see them at Groom Lake or next time they will not be so nice. Meanwhile Hardwire and Head Knocker have already headed back to the Aladdin base and are waiting for the heroes to arrive so they can attack and get their revenge on Hardcase. Our heroes decide to take a rest before attacking the base to find the answers as Choice needs to have her powers recharge but their rest is cut short, as Head Knocker and Hardwire have found them.

This issue is packed with action and has our heroes dealing with other Ultra powered heroes and this time the good guys are fighting hard as they have been pushed to far, and Hardcase is mad that all of his cars keep getting destroyed! Choice as well is more aggressive and that is because she is so close to getting the answers to her past. The team of Dirt Devil, Foxfire and War Eagle are just over powered and are defeated fast, and even Foxfire is forced to spill the beans on who sent them as well as how Aladdin has been keeping tabs on Hardcase and Choice. I have to say the team of Hardwire and Head Knocker are the smart ones as they do not rush into the fight and instead wait for the heroes to already have had a fight and need a rest before they go in for the kill, and leaving us on that cliffhanger was a great way to make readers look forward to the next issue. The cover is ok and has Choice crawling on the ground and the interior art by Scott Benefiel is good and has the classic Malibu look. Over all a good action packed issue that felt like a really quick read and with that lets see how our heroes deal with Head Knocker and Hardwire.

Hardcase Comic 12

Hardcase # 12  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 12 of 26

Head Knocker attacks Hardcase as Hardwire goes after Choice as the agents of Aladdin watch the battle via radar. Head Knocker is just as strong as Hardcase and lands some big punches and keeps our hero on defense and makes him worried for Choice who is being slashed at by Hardwire who has killing on his mind. And with the odds against them Hardcase makes the decision to grab Choice and retreat as he knows that they might not win this fight and they leap away. And with that Head Knocker and Hardwire decide that they are not going back to Aladdin as they are free and head towards a highway to try and steal a car to escape in. Meanwhile Hardcase tells Choice that they are going about this all wrong and when FireFox, War Eagle and Dirt Devil show up at their location they make a deal with Aladdin that they will both just leave each other alone…and the deal is accepted. Hardcase then tells Choice that he has another idea to get the answers about her past that is not them attacking the base at Groom Lake and they head to a hotel in Las Vegas and put a call to Tech from the group The Solution who will arrive in a few days, but while they wait they decide to have fun around town. Tech shows up and they raid the files of Aladdin and are all shaken badly when they find out that part of Choices brain is that of Starburst the ex-girlfriend of Hardcase that is in a coma.

This is another action packed issue that has our heroes going against two of the biggest Ultra Baddies they have fought this far, and worse this time around our heroes are both weakened from a previous battle and the odds are not in their favor to win. Hardcase who in the last two issues let his anger get the better of him shows that he can also use his mind to get the results he seeks and needs. While poor Choice finds that her mind is not her own and that she has part of another woman’s mind in hers and that very bad things have happened to her all to create a spokeswoman for a big corporation. And the people of Aladdin are clearly cold blooded and do not care who’s lives they ruin as long as their secrets do not leak out to the world. And Aladdin is also now responsible for letting two very dangerous Ultra Villains loose with Hardwire and Head Knocker who rival Hardcase in power once more in society to hurt innocent lives. The end of this issue leaves Hardcase and Choice heartbroken and crying and makes you wonder what will be in store for the Choice Corporation and Aladdin now that our heroes know the terrible backstory that lead to Choice and her powers. I really like that this issue as well shows that while Hardcase is strong he does have some major foes in Head Knocker and Hardwire who equal him in powers. The cover is pretty cool and showcases the heroes and villains fighting and the interior art by Scott Benefiel is good like before. The plot really has thickened for Choice and I like this new plot element that her brain has part of another’s and I for one am looking forward to reading the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 13

Hardcase # 13  **
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 13 of 26

Choice and Hardcase calm down and try and get their rage and heartbreak in check and sit down and start reading the files that Tech got from Aladdin. Meanwhile unknown beings are watching the two and are chatting that they need Choice in order to defeat their enemies. Choice learns that she was an orphaned child from Vietnam who was taken in by Aladdin once she arrived in America and was brainwashed and had her mind worked on by them and her memories erased when they choose her to be a test subject for make a Ultra that can be controlled. They use part of the brains of Starburts and other falling Ultras to give her powers, and even the boss of Choice Corporation used her and abused her. And when she started to regain memories of her own as well as that of Starblast they set her to be reprogramed in Brazil and that is when she escaped and ended up finding Hardcase for help. Choice takes a moment and then lets Hardcase and Tech know that a weight feels like it has been lifted from her, as she now knows her past and that with this information she will bring down both Aladdin and the Choice Corporation by releasing it all to the public. But just like that Choice is zapped away and finds herself face to face with the beings that welcome her to her new home.

We finally get the backstory to Choice who was a young woman who has had a very hard life from the start as her mother died, her father is an unknown American, when coming to USA she is brainwashed and experimented on and has parts of other peoples brains implanted in her own! When she is first forced with these facts she seems very upset and yet very shortly later seems to learn to be ok with it, and real quick I already dislike these alien being things that kidnap her…can we please leave aliens out of this, but to be fair they could also be demons. Hardcase is raged that Aladdin has removed part of Starburst’s brain and this will make sure she never will awake from her coma, and you know that he will not allow this to slide. This was a cool issue because they finally 12 issues in really do show the backstory of Choice, but I feel they do so poorly in presentation as its mostly done in text over splash pages of basic art and just kind of lacks the impact it should. And even more odd the shocking emotions that the characters have in the last page of issue 12 seems to disappear and they kind of all act normal and just more like “superheroes”. The cover is good and showcases Choice and the interior art this time is done by Kelly Krantz is ok but sometimes the screamy expressions on the characters faces is laughable. Over all an ok issue that does answers many lingering questions as well as moves stories along.

Hardcase Comic 14

Hardcase # 14  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 14 of 26

Hardcase is filled with anger and confusion and the burning desire to kill who ever has kidnapped Choice, but he is calmed down by Tech who calls Shadowmage an alien magician who is a member of the Solution and she shows up and says that is was alien magic like from her home world that made the portal that took Choice away. Hardware gets the two ladies to follow him home and as Tech destroys all the bugs in his home placed by Aladdin while Shadowmage tries to see if any magic has been in his home to also spy and she comes up empty handed. After the two ladies leave the home Hardcase pouts for a bit before heading out in order to alert the police of Choices abduction and he as well as swings by the hospital to visit Starburst. Meanwhile Rex Mundi has used his demonic forces to use little creatures to spy on Hardcase so that the newly rebuilt NM-E can watch and learn the heroes every move. And to top it all off Hardwire shows up at the home of Hardcase and is waiting for him to get home so that he can attack and kill him.

This issue is 100% filler and for the most part really boring as all it really does is set up that Rex is priming NM-E to learn all it can about Hardcase to kill him in their next fight, that Hardwire is waiting for his time for a rematch, magic is what took Choice away and that Hardcase goes to the police to report a missing person…this issue has zero action and has plot points that are dragged out way to long. Hardcase comes off like a child throwing a temper tantrum and then goes to the cops for help to find his missing girlfriend who has been taking away to another world, and the cops are even looking at him like he is dumb as what can they do about that. This is really a bad issue and it’s a shame that Malibu released it and did not add these elements of plot around at least some sort of action or even better drama. The cover is cool and eye catching and the interior art by Steve Carr are ok and is your standard indie 90s comic style. Over all a bland issue that I don’t want to spend any more time on so lets move onto the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 15

Hardcase # 15  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 15 of 26

Hardcase shows back up home and finds that not only his front door being destroyed but so is all the stuff inside all by the hands of Hardwire. And this pushes Hardcase to far who finds Hardwire in his house and the two start to fight, both want to do nothing more then destroy each other! Hardcase is really rough in his fighting style and beats the hell out of Hardwire who is still able to use his razor like nails to slice the skin and injury our hero. But Hardcase knocks Hardwire out when he rams his head through a wall and leaves him bloody on the floor. The whole fight Rex Mundi has been watching and as Hardcase wins and is injured he sends in NM-E to finish and kill Hardcase!

This is another action packed issue that has Hardcase very mad and ready to finish a feud that has been going on way to long and because of his crazy life for the past months and all the fights he has been in his fighting skill has gotten way better and he uses not only his powers but also plans out the fights better. Hardwire who is a deadly villain who has nails that slice and dice is a little to cocky and thinks the fight will be an easy win and soon finds out that he needed a better plan of action as he gets bloody and beatdown. Rex Mundi and NM-E meanwhile are enjoying the fight and will be going in for the kill when the fight is over as they both want to see Hardcase dead! The issue goes back to being bloody a trait that was missing from many issues and the fight between the two is really well done and both sides get some great hits off. This issue gives us nothing on what is going on with Choice and we focus on Hardcase and we add the new threat of the rebuilt and bigger and badder NM-E who has entered the battlefield on the last page and really makes me look forward to the next issue that I hope is as action packed as this one. The cover for this issue is great and eye catching and is pure 90’s superhero stuff! The interior art is done by two artist and one is good and the other is not my taste as the two’s style clashes and even at times they are drawing the character different! The good artist is Greg Luzniak and his style is fantastic and the not my cup of tea artist is Tim Hamilton. Over all this is a great issue and his action packed and delivers an ending that makes me really looking forward to the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 16

Hardcase # 16  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $3.50     Malibu     # 16 of 26

Hardcase has fear as he sees NM-E and knows that he must fight for his life, but like before he is no match for this monster who uses a blast that knocks Hardcase out of his home and burns his skin and even singes his hair off! NM-E also finds Hardwire and blasts him to keep him down and out of this final fight. Rex Mundi loves what he is seeing as NM-E keeps up the attack on Hardcase and keeps blasting, burning and punching him till he is near death. The media and the police show up and NM-E even takes down a media helicopter killing everyone on board. As NM-E goes in for the kill on Hardcase with orders from Rex to blow off the hero’s head he is stopped when Prime shows up and is ready to fight and protect his friend.

This is another action packed issue and has Hardcase getting his butt kicked by his worst enemy NM-E who was the thing responsible for killing his old team The Squad. And its clear from the start the Hardcase is our powered as well as his own fear is causing him to be on the loosing side of this fight, I mean his skin us burnt and his hair is gone and he looks like he just walked out of a massive explosion and he is the only survivor. Rex Mundi is loving every second of this one sided fight as he wants nothing more then to have Hardcase dead and if not for Prime I think his wish would have came true. And lets be honest seeing Prime enter this fight is great and lets hope he kicks some butt in the next issue! I like that we also went from an issue that had Hardcase being a badass to one that he looks weak and is tossed around like a ragdoll. The cover for this issue is great and showcases NM-E and really reminds me of a Dark Horse Comics cover for one of their Aliens comics. The interior art is done by Tim Hamilton again, but this time its not bad and I like the way he draws the injured Hardcase as he looks painful! Over all a great issue that now adds Prime into the action and this continues the trend of making me look forward to the next issue!

Hardcase Comic 17

Hardcase # 17  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 17 of 26

NM-E does not get the chance to kill Hardcase as Prime starts a fight with the creature and he as well finds that the NM-E can cause even him hard but the strongest Ultra pushes forward in the battle as he wants to avenge his friend Hardcase as well as The Squad. Meanwhile Regina shows up as well and takes Hardcase into the ocean and tells him to drink the water as it will help heal him and she as well tells him some tips about his true Ultra powers. Meanwhile Prime is doing what he can to battle NM-E, but the Ultra hero is not doing well as NM-E is just too strong and this causes Prime to turn back into teenager Kevin Green and just as NM-E goes for the kill he is stopped by the semi-healed yet still very burnt up Hardcase who gives Kevin enough time to run away and Hardcase himself keeps getting blasted but swears that this time NM-E will be the one who dies.

Another battle filled issue of Hardcase that sees him almost arrive at deaths door and if not for the help from Prime and Regina he surly would have been killed. Hardcase who’s really in bad shape truly learns that drinking water helps him heal and that he must put his fear aside if he wants to be able to truly fight NM-E who is a creature machine who clearly has no fear and only has a mission and that’s to kill. Rex Mundi is loving the fact that his assassin is able to beat up and almost kill two Ultra heroes and in time he thinks that this battle will lead to them both dying. And I think Rex now has figured out that Regina is working against his mission to kill Hardcase as well as other Ultras. The shocking thing about this issue is that Prime who is kind of like the Superman of Malibu Comics cannot seem to hurt NM-E and is almost killed by it showing just how much of a major threat this thing really is. Plus this also makes me wonder just who much this battle will change Hardcase and Prime when it comes to their attitudes of being heroes as now they have to think about how close they came to death. The cover is pretty cool and showcases Prime, Hardcase and NM-E and this makes it eye catching and the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good and once more I like they way he draws the injured Hardcase. Over all another good issue and like a broken record it makes me look forward to the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 18

Hardcase # 18  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 18 of 26

Hardcase is in a rage and goes on the attack of NM-E and while he himself is getting blasted and burned he keeps pushing the fight and this is draining NM-E who is finally starting show slowing down and showing signs of injuries as Rex Mundi is frustrated as he watches as he just wants to see Hardcase die by the hands of one of his creations. While Hardcase and NM-E are fighting the home of Hardcase is on fire and an unknown person enters the flames and saves the life of Hardwire and beams them out of danger. Finally Hardcase uses gasoline to catch NM-E on fire and then quickly tackles him into the ocean hoping that the extreme heat change from hot to cold will cause it to explode, and as NM-E sinks deeper into the water Hardcase comes ashore and is injured as the media swarms him asking silly questions. Big mistake to them as NM-E rises from the water and is firing his weapons wildly and some of the reporters are hit, Hardcase has seen enough and wants his redemption and uses all of his energy to destroy NM-E and the battle ends with the thing in pieces. After the fight is over Prime reappears and the two heroes check on each other when just like Choice our injured hero Hardcase vanishes as Prime screams out his friends name in anger.

Hardcase has finally done it as he defeats NM-E the creature machine that had killed his friends and been the source of his nightmares for years, and while Hardcase was injured bad as he is burnt horribly he still pushes himself to avenge his fallen teammates and his rage and anger no longer plays against him as it helps fuel him to victory. NM-E while super powerful and deadly shows that this creature machine even has its limits and when pushed beyond those limits it falls in battle, and this you know is the worst case scenario for Rex Mundi who’s plans keep failing when it comes to the killing of his Ultra arch nemesis. I also like how Kevin Green turns back into Prime as the battle is over and Hardcase questions him why he did not call in the other members of the Ultraforce. Another plot turn now is who is the person who saved Hardwire from burning to death and will he be coming for Hardcase again soon? I am not liking all this being zapped away to other worlds or dimensions as I feel it takes away from the true base hero stories of Hardcase and back then and even now I am sick of the alien, space and magic world adduction story lines that filled comic series for way to long. While I was not keen on the Hardcase vanishing in thin air ending I will say I do like the final fight between NM-E and Hardcase as it was a pretty brutal matchup. The cover is pretty cool and shows the twisted with anger burnt face of Hardcase and the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good and shows that Tim can do great work. Over all this is a good issue and a nice end to the nightmare of NM-E and with that lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 19

Hardcase # 19  *1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 19 of 26

Regina is on the beach as Prime stands over the broken parts of NM-E and the police are starting to show up as their investigation in this this battle is now underway, she wants to get her hands on the broken pieces of NM-E as she has a plan for them and tricks Prime into letting her take them by making herself look like Ultraforce member Mantra! Meanwhile Rex Mundi is mad about the loss of his # 1 assassin as well as the fact that Regina has its body parts, but his main concern is that the Ultras of the Earth need to be destroyed and Hardcase is the main one he wants to be brought down. While The Operator is mad as she has a mole in her crime group and she brings in Ultra Trauma who kills the mole for her and is now on her payroll. Meanwhile we also see Choice in another dimension and she is following some strange looking bugs and wonders if this will lead her back home.

This is another filler issue that has no Hardcase as Malibu wants you to buy their “God Wheel” mini series to find out what the title hero is up to, and things like this is why Malibu started to loose their grip on readers and would slip from being the third biggest comic company going in the 90’s. The only major plot element we get from this issue is that Regina has the parts of NM-E and has an idea for them and that The Operator who knows Rex and is the one who hired Hardwire for him now has an Ultra on her payroll with Trauma. The cover is bland and boring and the issue has several artist working on each character segment and some are good and some are ok and I don’t have much to say about this issue as it really is just a bad filler that once more I have to stress does not feature the title character as they want you to buy another mini series to see him…lets move on and hope the next issue is not bland filler.

Hardcase Comic 20

Hardcase # 20  **
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 20 of 26

Hardcase is on a floating city that is above the God Wheel and is talking to a hologram named Ogma who is going to send him back to Earth, but our hero asks to be sent to Choice so he can bring her home as well…Ogma sends him to her but alerts him its for a short time and that he will not be sending her back with him! Hardcase finds himself with Choice who alerts him that she has been fighting for the freedom of the people of this world against these evil god like beings and that she really can not leave until she wins! And then Choice tells Hardcase that she is pregnant with his baby, the to celebrate before Hardcase is whisked away back to Earth and at his burnt down home. Our hero knows that his lady love will return to him soon and he heads to his office were his staff at first do not recognize him due to his mask, but are soon very happy to see him back and alive. But others are not so happy to see him return like Turf, Rex Mundi and Omega Team.

This issue takes place after the events of the God Wheel mini series and has Hardcase returning to Earth after helping as well as seeing hi lady Choice and finding out he is going to be a father. We also see his new look that is a mask and a gold and black body suit. Choice seems to have found her new calling as she seems to love being a hero to the helpless on the God Wheel and she also clearly is in love with Hardcase who she is looking forward to getting back to once her work is done. We also are teased that some of his enemies are coming back around with Turf and Omega Team looking to even the score and Rex Mundi is still trying to figure out a plan that will kill off the hero for good. And while this brings Hardcase back to his own comic series as well as back to Earth the comics big revel is the fact that he and Choice are going to have a child together. The downside to the comic is if to did not read the God Wheel series you would be lost and I think the writers did a bad job of explaining to readers on what has happened with our hero as they just drop us all in like we know. The cover is good and showcases Hardcase putting on his new mask…that reminds me of a generic Deadpool clone. The interior art by Ken Bivins is ok and while some panels look great others seem a little rushed. Over all a good issue but nothing special and seems like just a way to get our hero back to Earth.

Hardcase Comic 21

Hardcase # 21  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 21 of 26

Hardcase at his office finds that his life has really changed after his battle with NM-E and the few days he vanished. Not only is his face not fully healed and he is forced to wear a mask to hide the scars, Hollywood does not want to hire him due to fear of Ultra Villains showing up to set and causing death and damage and worse he has no place to stay and all his friends are afraid to have him crash at their places! Hardcase gets an idea that he will buy a Hollywood prop RV and will live in it for a short time as well as set a course to find Rex Mundi and end this cat and mouse game once and for all. Meanwhile a man named The Genius is the one who saved Hardwire from the fire and has been treating him as well as giving him injections that he claims will make him as strong as his foe. And even odder a man who is phasing in and out is tracking Hardcase and acts as if the Ultra Hero is his dad!

This is back on track and this issue is pretty entertaining and I really like that they show that being a superhero is not that glamour’s as our heroes own friends and business partners are afraid of what trouble could be following him. And this shows another layer of Hardcase as clearly his feelings are hurt but he just keeps moving forward in order to try and make his life work the best he can. We also see that he gets along with his mom while his dad is another story as they both attempt to call to check in on him. And this weird costumed phasing man is he really Hardcases son trying to contact him for the future? I guess we will have to see in further issues if this is the case. And The Genius is a character that seems like he could be a heel that will be making a play for one of the series top villains as he has the means to make Ultra Villains even stronger! Also I am thinking that Hardcases secretary has a crush on him and he knows it as he rejects the offer to stay with her as he thinks of Choice. The cover is pretty great and has Hardcase look like he is hitchhiking and this is eye catching for the time. The interior art by Tim Hamilton is good for the most part, but does seem a little rushed in spots. Over all a good issue that adds in new elements to our story as well as picks up on old ones in the Hardcase and Rex blood feud. Lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 22

Hardcase # 22  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 22 of 26

Trauma sneaks around the mansion of a Russian crime lord and uses her power to kill him and his right hand man. Meanwhile Hardware visits Officer Brown and informs him that he has found Choice on another planet and that he as well was away doing a mission on another planet. As Officer Brown listens he is shocked when Hardcase asks about info on Rex Mundi who the cops think is really just an urban legend and together they start putting together attacks that could be put together! And with that information Hardcase starts digging deep and contacts Trouble of Omega Team for a meeting at a hole in the wall bar. Trouble tells Hardcase a little about what he knows about Rex and will tell him everything as well as how to find him if Hardcase promises to kill Rex once he finds him, but our hero can not take that deal as he will not murder someone. As Trouble and Hardcase are about to leave the bar we see that Trauma and Rex Mundi are there and Trauma uses her Ultra powers to snap the neck of Trouble killing him and everyone in the bar thinks that Hardcase is the one who killed him.

Hardcase is in deep trouble now as he is being looked at for murder that of course he didn’t do and was a set up by his arch nemesis Rex Mundi! Hardcase has finally figured out that Rex is the man who has caused him all this pain over the years as he is even the one who sent NM-E and killed all of Hardcases friends! And poor Officer Brown is so out of his league when it is coming to all these Ultra issues and battles, its as if the police can do nothing but sit back and watch and try to come in at the end to arrest the bad guy if he is on the loosing end. And when being told about Gods and new worlds you can tell Officer Brown is taken back by it all, but not shocked. I also like that Hardcase is driving around now in a RV and his basically homeless and broke and has nothing but bringing down Rex who is wise to the Ultras quest and is one step ahead of him. Also it looks like Trauma is working for Rex now and with her powers being able to kill some one brutally with the wave of her hands she could be the most dangerous villain in this series! And poor old Trouble of Omega Team is a bad dude who tries to help Hardcase on his quest as he as well hates Rex Mundi but his price tag of murder makes the two at odds is also the victim of Trauma and her powers that leaves his neck snapped and him dead on the floor of a nasty bar. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and has Trouble sneaking up and leaping on Hardcase, the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good and is fitting for this era of Malibu Comics. This was a fun issue to read and really is a countdown for a big fight that is surly to take place between Hardcase and Rex Mundi.

Hardcase Comic 23

Hardcase # 23  **
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 23 of 26

Loki looses a time gem that falls to Earth from space and Hardcase finds it while blowing off steam in the desert, you see Hardcase had just left the police station and is being accused of killing Trouble in that bar and he knows once more that Rex has set him up and that with Choice being gone he has no one to talk to. And when he finds out that he can travel back in time he wants to save The Squad from death at the hands of NM-E and he makes the mistake of doing so and warns his old group and even helps in the fight against NM-E allowing them to win this time around and saves all their lives as well as changes the course of history. Once back in modern times Hardcase finds that his face has returned to normal and when talking to his sectary he soon finds that The Squad still died and that he now has no connection to Choice at all as she is now the spokes woman still for the Choice Company and is helping them sell soda. Hardcase rushes to the Choice Corparation and tries to speak to Choice who has no clue who he is now, and just then Loki appears and tells Hardcase to give him the gem so that he can set the world back…this of course is a trick and once the stone is in his hands he disappears and tells Hardcase to deal with this new reality he created. Rex Mundi watched this happen and is now ready for another attack on Hardcase who has confused and destroyed his own fate out of self-pity.

What has Hardcase done to his life as because of his doing he has now lost Choice in his life and this also means they are not having a child together, his friends he wanted to save still died and that now all his battles and friendships are all gone in a blink of an eye. And while an interesting turn of events I also kind of really dislike this major change as it makes the past 22 issues mean nothing as they have all been wiped out thanks to time travel…and again I really am sick of this trope in comics as time travel, other world and space have been so over done and most of these plots do not leave our character in a better place then before said event. And the appearance from Loki really feels shoehorned in and was clearly done by Marvel Comic who at this time owned Malibu Comics and wanted to use their character to try and boost sales. And it looks also like that the only person who remembers the past of Hardcase is Rex Mundi and maybe after the two fight he can force Rex if he has the power to restore things back to normal. And another kind of bad element to this time change is that Choice is once more being abused and used by the Choice Corporation and man this makes the reader mad as we know what she has been through and Hardcases dumb plan makes her stuck in this part of her life. The cover is ok and showcases Loki and the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good, so lets see what happens in the next issue as maybe this terrible plot change will be fixed.

Hardcase Comic 24

Hardcase # 24  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 24 of 26

Hardcase goes to the office of J.D. Hunt and forces him to tell all he knows about Rex Mundi, and at first Hunt refuses to share any information that is until Hardcase threatens to expose Hunt’s dark dealings to the government. Hunt tells Hardcase about a building that has an American Flag painted on it that sometimes he meets Mundi at, and with that Hardcase heads to the location. Once inside the building Hardcase is greeted by Rex Mundi who is not there but is speaking to him via a intercom box and taunts the hero about never finding him, he then blows up the building with Hardcase in it and of course the police show up and blame him for the arson, and now he is facing two charges! Hardcase once out on bail contacts Shadowmage and Tech as he needs help finding some of the Ultra Villains that Mundi sent to the moon and they are able to locate Meathook and Death Dance who at first attack Hardcase until they find he came in peace, and after telling the hero about how Mundi left them for dead on the moon and that he also stole all their money they share the location of a entrance to a secret base of Mundi’s and of course Mundi is watching this happen. Meanwhile at Choice busts into the office demanding to speak to Hardcase just as the real Choice appears back on Earth at the site of our heroes burnt down house.

Hardcase’s quest to find and stop Rex Mundi continues and this time Rex blows up a building and blames our hero for it and also his own associates turn on him as Rex Mundi us truly an evil being who loves to ruin lives. Hardcase is really turning into a detective in this issue as he follows leads and asks questions to people that he might not be able to trust in order to get answers that inch him closer to his goal of capturing the man who has killed his friends and has by all accounts ruined the Ultra Heroes life! Rex Mundi as well is really playing a game as he is baiting Hardcase along and is very much enjoying doing so. And the biggest plot element shown in this issue is that there are now two versions of Choice on Earth with one being the one who is having a child with Hardcase and the other is under control of the Choice Corporation and it will be cool when these two ladies clash! Also I like that the law thinks Hardcase is turning bad as he has charges now for murder and arson and while they are trying to believe his stories of Rex Mundi being the real one responsible the lack of proof is giving them doubt. The cover is very fun and is based on the classic Amazing Fantasy # 15 and the interior art by Hugh Haynes is great and over all this really is a good solid issue and is getting the series back on track after the weird and kind of lame Loki crossover.

Hardcase Comic 25

Hardcase # 25  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 25 of 26

Hardcase is driving his RV to the location that was given to him by Meathook as he takes a phone call from Choice who is mad at him for showing up at he work talking weird and calling her “Amy” as well as acting as if her bosses are treating her wrong, and thinking fast Hardcase tries to defuse what he caused and Choice storms out of the office just as the real Choice shows up at the office looking for Hardcase herself. Once Choice hears about another Choice she heads to talk to this woman that she feels is just a clone, and when the two meet the Clone Choice attacks the real one who must be super aggressive to stop her attack and make sure innocent people do not get hurt. Meanwhile Hardcase arrives at the entrance location and is attacked by massive rock people who are acting as bodyguard for Rex Mundi and as the fight goes on Hardcase finds out that he has more Ultra Powers then he expected as he freezes the rock men and wins the fight and in the end enters the hidden base of Rex Mundi.

Hardcase has turned his Ultra Powers to 11 as he is now really close to having the final fight against his arch-nemesis Rex Mundi and while Rex has set traps along the way I feel as if this has been the plan all along and that Rex wants him to arrive at his base as he has a trap set for him! And it’s clear that this fight that is coming will be epic as both men clearly hate each other and we know that Mundi wants death for Hardcase it’s unclear just how far Hardcase wants to push the fight. The real Choice being back is awesome and I am glad she is back on Earth and out of the God Wheel nonsense, and the “Clone” version of Choice is crazy and is very aggressive. The story is getting good as we approach the final issue in the series and its crazy to think that this journey has built to this moment of Hardcase and Rex Mundi and we have seen the sad life that actor turned hero has had all because a evil being has it out for him, and now we are at the verge of payback! The cover for this issue is ok and has Hardcase fighting the rock men and the interior art by Hugh Haynes is good and his style brings me back to mid 90’s comics. I am looking forward to reading the final issue in the Hardcase series and I can not wait to see how the Mundi and Hardcase feud ends as well as what will come of the Choice vs. Choice battle…and more important will Hardcase and Choice be able to live happily together.

Hardcase Comic 26

Hardcase # 26  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.95     Malibu     # 26 of 26

Hardcase makes it to the base of Rex Mundi and finds himself easily captured and both are now very much confused when the Time Stone is brought up and Loki as neither man seems to know who or why he was there and Mundi is impressed by the power that Loki seems to have and wonders what has changed due to the gem. Rex Mundi then tells Hardcase about who he is as we find out Mundi is the original Ultra who was a caveman who was infected by the alien ship and that over the centuries he broke the ships hold on him and had even found a mate and love in Regina, but the two found that they did not see eye to eye on how to deal with Ultras and humans on Earth and Regina left their home base to teach mankind while Mundi created NM-E to kill Ultras and his enemies. Mundi then tells him that he is really the worlds good guy as he is trying to keep is safe from Aliens as well as the raw power of Ultras and with that he starts to drain the energy from Hardcase who uses some of his new power to time jump and stops the masked version of himself from saving The Squad and when he returns to present time Rex Mundi is ready to end this struggle once and for all that is until Regina who is inside the newly rebuilt NM-E busts in and knocks Hardcase out of the base and goes after Mundi! Meanwhile the two Choice are fighting and each hit each other with a kill blow, but things can change now that Hardcase once more changed time, Hardcase forces himself to forget how to time travel and returns home to find the real Choice waiting for him and the two lovers are back together and happy. But Loki is watching this reunion and has plans of his own now that he has the gem stones.

The Hardcase comic series came to an end with this issue and while the character would float around in a few Marvel/Malibu comic series for a short time he would be gone around 1997 as Marvel walked away from the Ultraverse and the Malibu Characters as a whole. The final battle between Rex Mundi and Hardcase is a little of a letdown as most of the issue has our hero captured and the baddie Mundi explaining his history on Earth and why he does what he does, its weird as they almost try and make you feel that he is doing what is right as he wants to save the world from the harm that Ultras and Aliens cause! And while Mundi does have a fight it’s with Regina in her NM-E mech-suit and not Hardcase and the battle is not even really shown. And the lack of a fight between Hardcase and Mundi is a letdown as is the fact that this issue has to spend time just to re-change the events of the terrible Loki Time Gem crossover that was a waste of time and was just Marvel being Marvel and that was to ruin the story being created by the folks at Malibu Comics. And even the Choice vs. Choice story goes no place as we have them fighting to the death and both die…only for it to be changed thanks to time travel again. And what the heck was the masked phasing cloaked guy that appeared issues back who claimed he was the son of Hardcase that never shows back up, that was the main issue with the Hardcase comic series is that story and characters have no payouts, plot elements go in circle and I do feel that once Marvel bought Malibu you can tell that the characters attitudes change and not for the good. And while I will say that the Hardcase series is not the best we have looked at here on Rotten Ink re-reading and in some issues cases reading for the first time really did make me become a fan of his as I think the character could be used still to this day and could be a big part of the Marvel Universe in comics, shows and films if they would just give him the chance. The cover for this final issue is ok and had Hardcase and Rex Mundi facing off and the interior art by Hugh Haynes is good and as I have said before its pure 90’s stuff. While the Hardcase comic series has some really bad issues it also had many above average ones and even a few really great ones and was an enjoyable read that really does make me miss the characters that made up the Ultraverse. And if you are a comic reader who likes the 90’s Superhero boom, give Hardcase a chance and check out some of his issues. Checkout the artwork bellow to see the styles used in this comics series.

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I have been having lots of fun looking back at the Malibu Comic characters and it seems that you readers have been as well. And if you have not checked out my other updates on the likes of Prototype, Exiles, Sleepstalker and Bones make sure to do so. I can not stress just how disappointed I am in Disney and Marvel Comics for not using the character of Malibu comics anymore as they really should be just added into the regular Marvel Universe as should the characters of CrossGen another company that they bought and have buried. And Hardcase in my opinion should have been a member of The Avengers and hell the Ultraforce team should be still around. But we can not change what is when it comes to the House Of Mouse and The House Of Ideas and with that I would like to tell you that our next update will continue our 10 Year Celebration and will take us to the world of Horror Hosting as we chat about the host of Monsterpiece Theater the one and only Alistair Cookie who lives of Sesame Street! Until then make sure to read a Malibu Comic or three, watch a superhero movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Oh remember to bring some cookies to the next update, as Mr. Cookie loves them.

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Streets Of Poison: Captain America’s Battle With Addiction

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another update in this blogs 10 Year Anniversary, and I knew I had to cover one of my all time favorite Marvel Comic superheroes for one of the updates and that of course is Captain America, but what was harder to choose was witch story arch to cover as I had many to choose from like “Bloodstone”, “The Superia Stratagem”, “Operation: Galactic Storm”, “Man And Wolf” and more as Captain America has had some great stories in his comic pages and the one I finally decided on was “Streets Of Poison” a anti-drug story that brings in heroes like Daredevil, Black Widow and Diamondback all to try and stop the drug trafficking in New York as well help Captain America fight addiction…that’s right you read that correct! In the story arch we are covering Captain America becomes addicted to a new street drug. So if you are ready lets go for an action packed update with Captain America one of my all time favorite superheroes.

Captain America 2022 Logo

Captain America was a superhero that captured my imagination as a young kid, back when the American Dream was something you could believe in and tried so hard to obtain as our Nation and the people in Government always did a great job of making you believe in this idea as even the media companies at the time did their part in making you have pride. And while I am older I still do love the core values of America even if you can not trust many of those in the Government all that much, but lets get back on track as we are here to talk about Captain America. Growing up I read lots of comics as growing up in a small village comic books was very popular among my friend groups and some of my favorites to read was Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Batman, Superman, Luke Cage, Shang-Chi, Hawkman and at the top of the list was Captain America! And I can remember buying back issues of him at garage sales and would pick up copies from Big Bear/Hearts and at one point had a subscription so I had Captain America delivered to the mailbox. But as I have said before on here back when I was a kid Captain America was not the popular superhero he is now thanks to the films by Disney and I was always teased about Cap being my favorite hero as most of my friends were Batman fans and they all said that Cap was lame and old and I would always have to defend him and talk about how great he was, and when DC versus Marvel mini series was released and Batman was voted by readers to beat Captain America it fueled the fire. But I always have and always will stick behind my fandom of Captain America as he is just a very classic hero, who like the Hulk and Spider-Man was a huge part of growing up. The old Mattel Secret Wars Captain America figure is one of my favorite toys of all time, I always liked the made for TV films starting Reb Brown as Captain America and really I enjoyed the 1990 direct to video film as well! Still to this day I read old Captain America comics and even read new issues being released from time to time and in the new Disney Marvel Movies the Cap films are my favorite in all the series. Was not ashamed to say it as a kid and not ashamed to say it now as an adult I am a fan of Steve Roger aka Captain America as he is truly a noble, brave and iconic hero who really does have a legacy in comics and media that will live on forever in some shape or fashion. And I promise this will not be the last time we take a look at Captain America here on Rotten Ink as we have lots of great story arches to get through. And for those who are wondering in live action films and serials Captain America has been played by the following actors Dick Pursell, Aytekin Akkaya, Reb Brown, Matt Salinger and Chris Evans.

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When you think of rogues galleries for comic book heroes Captain America has some really cool ones with the likes of Red Skull, Baron Zemo and Baron Blood being some of his most iconic ones, but another name on the top of the list is Crossbones who was one of my favorites growing up as he was a bad ass hired killer who looked like he was a pro wrestler and even worse a cool skull mask. So I would like to take a few moments and take a look at who Crossbones is. The man behind the skull mask is Brock Rumlow a former leader of the street gang Savage Crims and who was a terrible person as he was know for assault and murder and did just this to Diamondback when he attacked her and killed one of her brothers. He would go on to be trained by the likes of Taskmaster and his school and would even be a trainer himself of up and coming assassins. He would go on to become a mercenary for hire and would be hired by the likes of Red Skull and from there would become a major thorn in the side of not only Captain America and Diamondback but also Baron Zemo who was on the bad side of the Red Skull. And Crossbones would stay loyal to Red Skull who was paying him very well and even would search for his missing boss when he went missing and formed his own group called the Skeleton Crew. And still to this day Crossbones is around in the Marvel Universe and is causing issues for Superheroes as he is a very skilled foe for any of them. Crossbones is a skilled fighter, has a great mind for strategy, is skilled with all types of weapons and does not mind killing in cold blood to get what he wants. In fact he has even kidnapped and tormented Diamondback in order to get into the mind of Captain America and lure him into a trap. Crossbones for me is my third favorite Captain America villain as I feel he was always a big threat, had a cool look and his fights with Cap were always brutal and entertaining. And yes Crossbones has made it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is played by actor Frank Grillo and as well has appeared in Cartoons and Video Games.

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While many fans of Captain America would say that their favorite love interest for Steve Rogers would be Peggy Carter, Sharon Carter or even Bernie Rosenthal but for me one of my favorites was Rachel Leighton who was known as Diamondback who was a member of the villain team Serpent Society and who’s love for Steve added a great layer of drama to the comics as she was connected to bad guys and he is Captain America the symbol of all things good. I think what made Diamondback so interesting is that she was willing to risk everything for her love for Captain America and even could have faced death by her fellow Serpent Society members who where not pleased with her decision of following her heart and not the code of the society. And the worse part of it is that at times Captain America would ignore and push away Diamondback and it would break her heart and add so much drama to the issues. And when she went missing thanks to being kidnapped by Crossbones who was tormenting her I as a reader found myself being frustrated with Cap for not going out and looking for her. But the thing also about Diamondback that makes her my favorite is that she is a skilled fighter and can throw sharp diamond like objects at her opponents. She has went from bad to good and back again and even has been a member of S.H.E.I.L.D and while her relationship with Captain America is long over she really is one of the best love interest the hero has ever had in his very long running comic series.

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I am a kid of the 80’s and 90’s and one thing that was everywhere was the “Just Say No To Drugs” phrase and PSA’s that was geared towards kids in order to try and keep them from trying and becoming addicted to them and growing up into a life of crime. The buttons with the Say No To Drugs logo was given out at school and we would watch PSA specials about the dangers of drugs and would even get visits from McGruff the Crime Dog and local police officers trying to do their best to warn us to stay clear. On TV the likes of Pee-Wee Herman, Mr. T, Peter Weller and who could forget the egg in the pan being your brain on drugs ad! I was raised by great parents who also did a great job of warning of the horrors of addiction and that is why I have stayed away from it all, and it’s crazy to think that the War On Drugs is still going strong to this day and that is all I have to say on the subject as this blog is about fun and not drugs! But really seeing as a kid the animated special “Cartoon All Stars To The Rescue” was awesome cause who didn’t want to see the likes of Slimer, Papa Smurf, Daffy Duck, Ninja Turtle Michelangelo and more telling you to stay off drugs. I also have to say the old WWF anti-smoking PSA’s was also great as the Ultimate Warrior eating cigarettes is crazy stuff to try and get kids not to smoke. Or Pee-Wee Herman telling viewers not to smoke crack…I mean the 80’s and early 90’s was a strange time indeed.

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Who don’t love a classic arcade machine, and I am talking about the classic machines that took quarters or tokens that use to be located in almost every pizza parlor, movie theater and of course malls across America! And growing up it always seemed like only rich people and kids on TV had their very own arcade cabinet, but some 7 years ago I got my very own, and cool enough its one that I grew up playing as I am the owner of “Captain America And The Avengers” and this is the classic four player arcade that not only allows you to play as Captain America but also as Iron Man, Hawkeye and Vision as you battle against the likes of Ultron, Crossbones and Red Skull. The game was ported to Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and while they are good they cannot compare to the Delta East Arcade version. And while this is one of two Arcade Machines I own (the other being Superman) they will not be the last as at some point I would like to get the Spider-Man four player game at sometime. Below is a picture of my Arcade machine being stored and used at a local media store.

Captain America 2022 My Arcade Machine

Speaking of arcade machines I really do miss the days of the big classic arcades from my past I mean sure we have DK Effect and Scene 75 to name a few around here in Ohio but I miss the days of Crazy Cats and Cap’n Bogey’s two places that as a kid I was at lots! Crazy Cats we talked about before way back in my “The Cougar” update from 2014. So now lets talk a little about the mega arcade known as Cap’n Bogeys that was in Beavercreek off of Dayton-Xenia Road and also had some amazing miniature golf courses and even bumper boats! I can remember going here a good amount of time with my Parents and Brother as well as with my cousins Dino, Norman, Nick and Stephen. I would play so many arcade games while using their tokens like X-Men, Street Fighter II, Spider-Man, House Of The Dead and WWF games. I was a masker of their claw machine and would always return home with a handful of plush dolls with my favorite one I got being cartoon icon Snagglepuss. I never did ride the Bumper Boats and I do remember playing the Miniature Golf a couple of times, and the golf was fun but not as iconic as the course at Magic Castle a still going entertainment center in Kettering. But the thing about Cap’n Bogeys is that as a youngster it felt very magical as they had so many arcade machines and as well had food and a walk around version of Cap’n Bogey himself and that was awesome seeing. And for some reason in the early to mid 2000’s it closed and the legacy was gone, it sat empty for awhile with rumors that the old site was going to be turned into a updates Krogers and over years it sat empty until it was finally torn down and in its spot a neighborhood was placed. In 2021 Juliet and I even drove around Beavercreek and ended up finding the site that it once was, and nothing is left and homes really do sit in its spot. I miss Cap’n Bogey’s and wish that some day it will return and bring back the games, golf and boats to a new generation of gamers.

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But enough of the flashback and love for arcades as this update is about Captain America and the Streets Of Poison and to be honest I am very happy to be bring another update about the First Avenger and this time on Rotten Ink’s big 10 Year Anniversary! I would like to say thanks to Mavericks Cards And Comics, Lone Star Comics and Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. I also want to say thanks to Jack Kirby, Joe Simon and Marvel Comics for creating Captain America comics that have entertained me over the decades of reading them. I do want to also 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So with that let’s head to the streets of New York and see how Cap gets ride of the poison that is running wild in them.

Captain America Comic 372

Captain America # 372   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00    Marvel Comics     #372 of 454

Captain America is ridding around his new Sky-Cycle and decides to swing by his lady friend Diamondback’s apartment to see if she would like to go for a ride, but before he can call on her he finds Serpent Society Member Boomslang spying on her, and when trying to ask questions the villain runs and makes a mistake as a youth gang opens fire and shoots Boomslang for being in their alley and Cap has to try and save his life, but the fight cause the teens to fire their guns wildly even shooting each other. Captain America returns to The Avengers base only to find that his friend and tech mechanic Fabian is addicted to a new drug called ICE that was given to him by a friend, and now he is hearing voices and is breaking down. Cap calls a place to try and get Fabien into a drug rehab place and suspends him from working with The Avengers as well as finds out the place and the name of his dealer, a man that goes by Kid Gloves who is around Queens. Once he tracks down Kid Gloves he gets the name Moosemeat who is another dealer who then tells Cap that the main distribution for ICE and other drugs is a warehouse…and Cap gets all this information making the dealers think he is The Punisher and would kill them if they don’t share it with him. Once at the warehouse he finds a young man calling himself Napalm who sets off a bomb blowing up the warehouse! Also while this is going on two gang members are at the sight of the shooting trying to break into the gangs hideout and are run off, and Bullseye escapes prison and even kills a guard while doing so.

Captain America and his war on drugs starts here with the first part of “Streets Of Poison” as he is super mad over his young friend being addicted and wants to stop those from poisoning others with their street trash, and starts following the slime trail to figure out who is the main supplier of drugs in New York. Captain America is a man who has so much going on in his life and is even at war with himself over falling in love with Diamondback a former evildoer who was a member of the Society Member, he also has to worry about being the hero America needs as well as a roll model for the countries youth plus getting his young friend drug free! Captain America once he sets his mind set on something he does not give up until he cracks the case and stops the evil that’s plaguing America. He has John Jameson the son of J. Jonah Jameson as his back up on this mission and acts as his ride as well as eyes when staking things out. Poor goofy Boomslang a super villain who not only gets caught spying on a superheroes lady, but is also shot by young kids in a gang for running down the wrong ally, this loser cant seem to catch a break and then also makes you wonder why Serpent Society has him as a member. Bullseye proves that he is deadly even being locked away in a prison cell with nothing he could use as a weapon, he is just one of Marvel’s most deadly assassins. The Street Gang is clearly the ones pushing the ICE on the streets and they are the ones who give it to the likes of Moosemeat and Kid Gloves, but makes you wonder who the hell is their head boss! I love that Captain America fakes being The Punisher dressed as an old homeless guy in order to scare the pushers, and the best part is they are the ones who gave him the idea by thinking he is the vigilante. One character that I always disliked during this era of Captain America was Fabian as he is always a goof-up who seems to always mess things up and always blames other for his issues like in this case he thinks that the pressure Cap and The Avengers is what caused him to want to do this drug to stay up longer so he can work on repairs and gadgets…he is a liar and a goon and the worst Avengers employee. The cover for this issue is pretty fun and has Captain America falling out of a window, and the interior art by Ron Lim is great and has that classic Marvel Comics look that I grew up with. This is a great way to start off a story arch as the stakes are high as drugs are running wild in the streets of New York and a new gang is moving in to start a war with Kingpin and we end with not knowing if Cap has been blown up! So with that lets find out how Captain America survived the explosion!

Captain America Comic 373

Captain America # 373   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00    Marvel Comics     #373 of 454

Captain America’s friend John Jameson who drove him around on his quest to track down the main source of New York’s drug trade watches in horror as the warehouse explosions goes off and the fire engulfs it! He thinks quickly and calls Peggy Carter and alerts her to send the police and fire engines as well as to call in a member of The Avengers as he is not sure if Cap made it out alive! Peggy calls the authorities and then calls in Black Widow and as well calls Diamondback and alerts them of the bad situation. The Gang shows up and watches as their warehouse base burns down and think that Napalm set off the bomb cause The Kingpin’s men must have found them, and they now are ready for war. As Diamondback shows up at the scene she is in tears as John alerts her that no sign of Cap has been found, and just like that Captain America appears and says that he was able to jump out a window just in time, but the blast knocked him out for a bit on the roof from the building across the street. Cap is shaken by the blast but after a quick shower he heads back out on the street to crack this case, he has John wait in the van by the warehouse as he and Diamondback watch from across the street. Meanwhile one of Kingpins drug houses was blown up and this angers him and he hires Bullseye to find out who blew up his crack house and who is are the other crime family bringing drugs into his town. John spots someone going into the warehouse and Captain America goes in as Diamondback flies around above on the Sky-Cycle were she is attacked by Black Widow who thinks she stole it from Cap, as she does not know that he made it out of the explosion alive. Meanwhile Captain America in the warehouse sees a light and tries to sneak up on the person only to by accident makes a small noise that alerts the snooping shadow that turns out to be Bullseye who is looking for clues in order to get info on the creeps trying to take over Kingpins drug sales! Meanwhile Diamondback and Black Widow who are fighting on the Sky-Cycle crashes into the river.

The second part of “Streets Of Poison” has us the readers learning that Captain America survived the explosion only because of his reflexes and instincts causes him to leap out a window just in time, we also learn that he is acting a little off after the explosion and even finally gave Diamondback a big kiss only to not even mention it again, he also makes a rookie mistake by making noise while fallowing an unknown shadow who was snooping around a crime scene. Plus the words that Fabian said to Cap is sticking with him as he brought up that the Super Soldier Serum was like a drug, and he seems to think that maybe it is a drug that makes youngsters think that its cool. Diamondback is a one time villain who has turned hero that is confused by the way Captain America is acting and is also a little mad at him when he leaves her flying his Sky-Cycle without even telling her how to control it! Black Widow gets the call that her friend Captain America is missing after a massive accident and finds a strange woman driving his vehicle and she goes into hero mode and starts fighting without finding out answers. You have to feel back for Black Widow as she thinks her friend and teammate could be dead and is ready to crack heads to get answers to her quickly asked questions. Peggy Carter and John Jameson are doing what they can to help Captain America bust this drug ring and are for the most part doing a great job, I just wish John would rage out and turn into Moon-Wolf that would be awesome. Kingpin is really mad as he has just lost one of his drug houses by an attack done by another gang who has moved into his part of town and is selling the goods on the streets, and that other gang only attacked his drug house cause they think he is the one that caused Napalm to explode himself. Bullseye however is trying to get back into good graces with Kingpin and even takes a job of being a detective in order to find out who these people are selling ICE on the streets to they can be dealt with. And if you think about it both Captain America and Kingpin with their crews are looking for the same people, but both have their own reasons, and who are these people…we have not learned yet but we do know they hired a man named Moosemeat to sell drugs for them. The cover for this issue is ok and your typical late 80’s and early 90’s Marvel and is eye-catching for fans of Marvel. The interior art by Ron Lim is well done like before and he is another of Marvel’s underrated artists of the 90’s. So lets see what the third issue in this story arch has in store for us.

Captain America Comic 374

Captain America # 374   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00    Marvel Comics     #374 of 454

Captain America takes a leg wound from his unknown attacker that we know is Bullseye and tries to figure out a way to not only get his attacker down but also survive! Meanwhile Diamondback along with the Sky-Cycle come out of the river and she flies away to help Cap at the blown up warehouse, while Black Widow also pops out of the water and badly wants a rematch. Back at the warehouse Captain America figures out the man in the shadows is Bullseye and when Diamondback appears the man who don’t miss his target runs away into the night. Back at Avengers headquarters Captain America is mad at Peggy Carter for calling in Black Widow on his private mission and then gets back at Diamondback and kicks her out of the building, something is wrong with Cap as his anger is out of control. Meanwhile the young street gang is now doing drive by shootings on Kingpins drug sellers, and this is making the crime lord very mad and he just might send Typhoid Mary to deal with it…that is if they can figure out who the other gang is. While Captain America is fuming and storms off to continue his mission alone, Bullseye is shaking down ICE users to follow that trail, Diamondback has changed her costume in order to blend into the night and follow Cap and even Daredevil is in town wondering why Cap is acting so weird, and speaking of Cap he is bulling a rich drug user and is proud of himself. John Jameson meets up with Diamondback and the pair are walking down the street and she informs him that she thinks Cap is on drugs and he inhaled ICE during the explosion and that the drug has bonded to his blood due to the Super Solider Serum, and as John agrees a car drives by and they shoot Diamondback!

In this third part of “The Streets Of Posion” we clearly see that something is not right with Captain America as he is very filled with anger and goes off even on his own friends as Peggy Carter, Diamondback and John Jameson all feel his wrath. It’s clear that Cap is on the ICE and that he is hyped up and filled with raw emotions and has no time for anyone who questions him or gets in his way. Captain America clearly is not his normal self as he is also almost enjoying being a jerk to his friends and loves scaring the drug sellers. Poor Diamondback is yelled out and talked down to by her boyfriend (Cap) all cause he is paranoid and thanks she is talking about him behind his back, and even after being made look bad she still stands by her superhero man and is trying to figure out his strange behavior. And for all these she ends up getting shot in the back while walking down the street, I am going to guess she will be ok cause what superhero don’t wear armor? John Jameson is a loyal friend to Cap, but also its clear he is getting a crush on Diamondback, and he is fighting his emotions about her. Kingpin is getting more and more bad that his drug ring is taking a hit as its under attack by a unknown younger cartel that has moved into New York, and you know that the war is really about to go down when Kingpin sends Bullseye and Typhoid Mary to deal with them. I also like that Daredevil has a cameo and he is clearly going to come into play as he as well had a run in with Cap (in Daredevil #283) and he knows that his hero friend is acting weird. The Drug War that is about to go off is going to get really bad as people are being shot and buildings are being blowup, just imagine when the two sides really go head to head! The cover is pretty great and eye catching and has Cap being attacked by Bullseye and the interior art by Ron Lim is fantastic again. So let’s see if Captain America can just say no to drugs and kick his accidental high in the next issue.

Captain America Comic 375

Captain America # 375   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00    Marvel Comics     #375 of 454

Diamondback took several bullets to her back and lucky for her she was wearing a bulletproof vest, while she is hurt she is not dead and John goes inside a small store to check on the people inside. Meanwhile Captain America shows up at a nightclub and attacks a pusher named Jerkweed in order to get info about The Kingpin. Meanwhile at the gangs hideout Bullseye has found them and takes one hostage and gets him to squeal about who is the moneyman behind the new drug cartel in town. Captain America arrives at a small Italian restaurant were Kingpin and his men are having dinner and pushes the crime boss for answers on who is running the rival drug gang, the meeting turns up no answers and worse once Captain America leaves he runs into his friend Daredevil who shares his concerns on how Captain America has been acting, this does not go well. As Daredevil talks Cap’s anger and paranoia kicks into full gear and he attacks Daredevil and the pair fight in the streets and go back and fourth trading punches and attacks. As the fight goes on Captain America gets frustrated and ends the fight beating up Daredevil pretty bad and leaving him on the ground in pain, as Cap walks away footsteps come closer to Daredevil and its Crossbones!

The fourth part of the “Streets Of Poison” has Captain America getting closer and closer to busting the new drug family and all the while he himself is being over taken by the very drug he is fighting to get off the streets and he don’t even see his own trip into madness and paranoia. Cap in this issue not only beats up street punks and hired goons but also looses his temper on a fellow superhero that he beats up and leaves dazed on the streets. For some reason Captain America thinks that The Avengers want to silence him and take away his hero card and even at one point thinks they are sending Daredevil after him so that he can become the new Captain America! And speaking of poor Daredevil he just is coming to check on his friend and see if he can help and gets beat up for doing so, but I will say that while Daredevil looses the fight he at least put on a good showing against Cap. John Jameson is spending his time watching after the injured Diamonback who was injured after being shot several times in the back by a druggie gang. Bullseye is getting very close to figuring out who the main man is who is running the gang that is challenging the power of his boss Kingpin, and I feel bad for the ones in charge and Bullseye plays for keeps. The issue really is one that focuses on just how crazy Captain America is becoming due to inhaling that ICE, he is turning on his friends, making up conspiracy theories in his own mind, becoming more violent towards those he thinks are the bad guys and has become way to focus on his goal and even seems to forget what really pushed him to look into this new street drug. Plus we now see that Crossbones is involved in this madness and makes you wonder who’s side he is on as we know he is not with Cap but is he working on his own, is he with the new drug kids on the block or is he one of Kingpins. The cover for this issue is action packed and has Cap leaping at Daredevil like a madman and I can say is very eye catching for readers of Marvel, the interior art by Ron Lim is great like before. Let’s see what Captain America goes crazy on next and let’s see how Crossbones fits into this drug war.

Captain America Comic 376

Captain America # 376   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00     Marvel Comics     #376 of 454

Daredevil is on the ground as Crossbones mocks the fallen hero, and even lifts his mask to get a peek at the man behind it. Crossbones then heads off to the Italian restaurant and busts in as he has been hired to kill Kingpin! Crossbones almost kills the crime boss, but he is saved by Daredevil who ends up fighting the assassin as Kingpin makes his exit. As the cops are called Crossbones makes a break for it as Daredevil as well retreats as he is really hurt from his fight with both Captain America and Crossbones. Diamondback and John are ready to try and find Captain America now that she is slightly better and even run into Black Widow who ends up joining them in their hunt to try and get Cap help! Meanwhile Captain America is coming down hard in a ally as he is feeling bad and even hearing voices, but he thinks he just needs some sleep and pushes himself even harder to get up and solve this case. Meanwhile Crossbones who has failed his first attempt at killing Kingpin gets a call from his boss the man who sent him and it’s the Red Skull and he is not happy that he failed. Meanwhile Kingpin tells Typhoid Mary that they need to bring in Bullseye so that he can track and kill Crossbones and get him to rat out whom hired him. Meanwhile Captain America is ruffing up more drug addicts when Black Widow and Diamondback find him and end up having to fight the drugged out Cap and after some intense fighting Black Widow is able to knock him out with a widow sting, and along with John the two ladies take the out cold Cap back home. Meanwhile as Red Skull is having a meeting with Crossbones about his failed attempt to take Kingpins life, outside the window is Bullseye who is about to try and take the Skulls life.

Captain America is out of control fully in this fifth part of the “Streets Of Poison” storyline as the ICE drug that’s in his blood has turned him into a true wild man who is focused on solving the case but has very much lost touch with reality doing so. Captain America who has last issue beatdown Daredevil almost as well takes the heads off Black Widow and Diamondback the two heroes that are trying to help him. Captain America has not slept in days, has not bathed and looks like a homeless superhero by this point and has zero clue that he is in fact been infected with drugs that he inhaled. Poor Diamondback and Black Widow are forced to fight and fight hard in order to bring their friend down, and once they have him down they have to try and sneak him away in order to protect his image and his reputation. Daredevil as well has been beaten pretty badly and you have to feel for him as he stumbles his way home to rest up after saving the life of his biggest enemy. Kingpin can not catch a break himself as being the big crime boss of New York gives you lots of enemies as not only is their a new drug operation in town, but now he has hits placed on his life by the Red Skull and as a reader you have to wonder if Red Skull is also the main man behind the new drug business. Crossbones and Bullseye are two very deadly hitmen who are on a path to fight each other on their respected bosses orders, and what a great fight this will be! Also now its even more clear that John is having major feelings for Diamondback and is doing his best to fight them off, but I think good old CarWolf will fail the test. The idea also that superheroes had to team up to bring Captain America down because he needs to get drug rehab is something I am sure readers of Cap would never think would happen. This issues cover is pretty great as it shows many of this stories main characters with only Red Skull missing and also has a classic EC Comics feel to it with the side character bar, Ron Lim as always rocked the interior art and I have to say this is a great and fun Captain America story that I have had a blast this far rereading after all these years. So lets she what is in store for Captain America in the next issue and if he can get clean in order to bust this case wide open.

Captain America Comic 377

Captain America # 377   ***
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00     Marvel Comics     #377 of 454

Bullseye busts into the hotel room and puts a bullet into the head of the Red Skull, and this of course angers Crossbones who goes onto the attack with each assassin getting the upper hand back and fourth finally Bullseye spits a tooth into the eye of Crossbones who was choking the life out of him, and then drives a digger into his harm allowing him to escape. Crossbones is pissed that he failed his boss who he thinks is dead on the floor, but he soon finds that the Red Skull is alive and that a robot dummy was the one to take the bullet. Bullseye calls the Kingpin and tells him the hit is done, Kingpin tells Bullseye that the money is waiting for him in a hiding spot and that he needs to disappear for three months or until he calls for him again. As Kingpin hangs up the phone he tells Typhoid Mary that he does not believe that Red Skull is dead. Meanwhile Crossbones gets a call from the real Red Skull to meat him at a bunker so that they can get plans ready. Meanwhile Captain America is out cold at The Avengers medical lab as his friends gather around him waiting on Hank Pym to show up to look at the effects of ICE in his blood, Black Widow takes her leave and builds a friendship with Diamondback before she does so, as both ladies have troubled pasts. Meanwhile Captain America is having a terrible nightmare about the Super Soldier Serum being a drug and that the drug is who made him, he wakes up in a feverish rage and trashes the medical room, as he is having a breakdown his friend Hank Pym comes in and talks him down and says he will help him get clean of ICE. The only way they can get the drug out of Captain America’s system is by giving him a total blood transfusion and that means he also looses the Super Soldier Serum…and he agrees to have it done. Meanwhile Red Skull has Crossbones call Kingpin in order to stop the drug war as he is the one behind the ICE and they pair meet at Yankee Stadium and speak for the first time in many years. Meanwhile the now drug free Captain America against doctors orders gets out of bed and heads out to solve this case and before he leaves he tells Peggy Carter that this is something he has to do as he has to know if the man or the drug made Captain America who he is.

I want to start by saying this is one of the comics I remember as a kid buying off the shelves at Big Bear when I was a kid and have read this issue so many times over the years, man I miss Big Bear and Hearts and wish someone would bring them back alongside Hills and Gold Circle Department stores. Captain America in this issue goes through very bad drug withdraws and has to have his blood drained in order to ride himself of the ICE that contaminates it, and by doing this he is also stripped of his Super Soldier Serum the very thing that helped him become Americas soldier. And now he can truly find the answer to his biggest question if Steve Rogers made the hero or if the serum did. And man I feel sorry for anyone who gets in his way right now as he is clean and focused and has lots to prove to himself! Diamondback, Black Widow, Peggy Carter and John Jameson take a backseat in this issue and while they are around they play more background support characters here. And Hank Pym is the man who comes in and saves Caps life from being a junkie by draining his infected blood, but don’t worry he is also working on a way to strip the ICE or the Super Solider Serum from the blood in order to make Steve Captain America again by injecting it back into him. Red Skull being the mastermind behind ICE as well as the one who is the head of the other side of the drug war is perfect as he is such a cold blooded villain who would not care about killing and spreading his addiction to the youth and lost, he also is never to be trusted and I like that he and Kingpin are having a meeting at Yankee Stadium in order to end a drug war. Plus let’s be honest, each side has very deadly people on their payroll as Crossbones and Bullseye have unfinished business and throw in Typhoid Mary into the mix and this could be a very bloody battle for territory. Funny part is that Captain America if he figures out the location of all targets he is walking into a very dangerous situation as the stadium is filled with trigger happy goons looking to please their bosses. One of the biggest highlights of this issue for me was the opening fight between Crossbones and Bulleyes in the hotel room as both fight hard and both go to kill and wound, and they are each other’s equals making it a very well matched fight. The cover is awesome and features a sedated Captain America in the middle as Bullseye and Crossbones fighting! The interior art by Ron Lim is great and has one panel that has always stuck with me over the years and that’s Bullseye stabbing Crossbones in his arm! Great issue that held up so well for me and next is our last issue in this mini series, so let’s see how Cap closes this case or even if he can.

Captain America Comic 378

Captain America # 378   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00     Marvel Comics     #378 of 454

Captain America on his Sky-Cycle is going through a plan in his mind of what to do when he finds the ones responsible for the drugs and who have started a violent war in the streets of New York. Meanwhile Kingpin is not having any of the plan of teaming with the Red Skull as he flat out says he would never work with a Nazi! And Red Skull is not bothered by this and makes a wager with the Kingpin and its simple they two fight in a hand to hand combat with this on the line if Red Skull wins he stays in New York and they are able to sell ICE with no pushback from Kingpins men, and if Red Skull looses her leaves New York and sells his drug factories to Kingpin for a small fee…they both agree and start the fight on the field of Yankee Stadium with both men showing they are skilled and know how to defend themselves, and the fight is also taking place in a bubble that Red Skull put into place to keep others out of the fight. Meanwhile Captain America notices the lights on at Yankee Stadium and lands only to be greeted by Crossbones who wants to smash The Avenger to a blood pulp, so while Red Skull and Kingpin are fighting on the field Captain America and Crossbones are fighting off it. Captain America is able to outsmart and out fight Crossbones beating him after a very tiring battler with a chop to his throat and done on the field Kingpin is able to use his size and skills to defeat the Red Skull, sending him packing for now out of New York. In the end Red Skull and Crossbones escape, Kingpin wins his New York turf back as well as gets the ICE market and Captain America returns to The Avengers base and learns that he can get the Super Solider Serum back if he wants it, and he Just Says No as he knows now that Steve Rogers that man is who makes Captain America and not the drug.

Captain America in this issue not only kicks the drug that was polluting his body, he also finds the answer that has always bothered him and that’s if the serum is what drove him to be the biggest hero in Americas eyes or was it the drive, morals and standards of Steve Rogers! He also shows that even without his super strength he can still fight like a first class superhero when he takes on and defeats Crossbones is a fist fight, Captain America is back and while different he still is the man that America needs. But while Captain America finds himself, when you think about it he does not stop ICE or the New York drug issue as now Kingpin is in charge and will be selling the poison to those looking for a quick long lasting life changing high. The Kingpin while a crime lord and a guy who is responsible for many deaths, drug sales and over all bad deeds still has some morals as he in no way would ever work with Nazis and then beats the Red Skull in a fair fight to chase him out of New York so makes you feel odd as you find yourself cheering for him because of this. The one downside to Kinpin in this final issue is that he sends Bullseye away so he is not present for the big fight and he as well does not bring Typhoid Mary at all and she is one character I feel like they underused and wasted in this story. Red Skull is the one who has brought ICE to New York as he has a goal to kill America any way he can and he thinks what better way then watch Americans kill themselves slowly with his terrible addictive drug. He also has Crossbones a coldblooded gun for hire as his right hand man, so as you can see Red Skull means business and is truly a mastermind of crime. Peggy Carter, John Jameson, Hank Pym and Diamondback are all close friends of Captain America and care about him and all are helpless when it comes to helping him as he was on a mission to prove himself worthy of the name Captain America. I think Marvel Comics was taking a stand against the drugs that was running wild in the streets of New York at the time and was trying to make a statement that you don’t need drugs to be great and buying drugs helps put money in the pockets of organized crime, and most important that drugs are trying to ruin America. While Streets Of Poison is not one of Captain America’s most iconic stories it is one that I remember from my youth and one that I read when it was released way back in 1990, and one that I find myself still enjoying in 2022 so for me it has aged well. I would say that the story telling in this arch is a little sloppy in spots and has you as the reader fill in the holes, like the whole thing started with goofball Fabian being hooked on drugs and by the end of the story he is never mention. So in other words Streets Of Poison is not for everyone. It has Captain America appear in a Daredevil issue during so in order to get the full drugged out Cap you would need to read it as well. The cover for this issue is well done and has Cap punching Crossbones in the face, and again Ron’s interior work is great and captures the full mood of this story. Also you cannot go wrong with a fistfight between Red Skull and Kingpin going down at Yankee Stadium I wonder if Dandy their old Mascot was in the bleachers watching it all go down? Check out the artwork bellow to see Ron’s style and you can see what I mean about him having a great style that was perfect for Marvel Comics during that time.

Captain America Streets Of Poison Art 1Captain America Streets Of Poison Art 2Captain America Streets Of Poison Art 3

So as you can see Captain America has kicked a forced on him drug addiction and tried to bring down two very big drug pushers and during the time played with the emotions of Diamondback and as well got help from his friends Hank Pym, Black Widow and Daredevil. This was a comic mini series that I really do remember reading as a kid and as I stated it held up pretty well after reading it again after these decades. And This was a great one to choose as you get so many villains as well as Red Skull, Crossbones, Bullseye, Kingpin, Typhoid Mary and even Boomslang make appearances with most beside the later playing big parts in this drug fueled story. Our next update however will take us out of the world of Marvel Comics and place us into the once created by Malibu Comics as we will take a look at another of there heroes who sadly is mostly forgotten by modern readers and I will be talking about Hardcase! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a superhero movie to two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you in a few weeks for an Ultraverse good time.

Malibu Hardcase Logo Preview

American Hero: G.I. Zombie

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, and Happy 4th of July! And I am sure you are like me and waiting for the fireworks to fill the sky while eating some grilled food and chatting with friends, and as well thinking about American Heroes.  Today’s topic is a strange one as he is a zombie, a solider and a hero! I am talking about the DC Horror character Jared Kabe also known as G.I. Zombie who is a member of the U.S. Army in the DC Universe and does what he can to keep our nation safe! So while the burgers are on the grill and the fireworks are still a little while away, let’s take a look at the American Hero: G.I. Zombie. And also keep in mind this is 10 Years of Rotten Ink, and I would like for you readers to take a moment and think about your favorite hero in your life from the past or present and to sit back a relax and as always thank you for spending a small part of your Holiday with Rotten Ink.

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Jared Kabe is an American Army Soldier who has been working for the government for many decades and has been involved in many wars for his country, and he as lasted as the nation’s ultimate soldier for so many years because he is in fact dead and is a zombie that is sent into what would be suicide missions for any living soldier! So if there are bio weapons in play, chemical attacks or even good old-fashioned zombie plagues, the man for the job is Jared Kabe who is code-named G.I. Zombie. The powers that Jared has are that he is skilled in military combat, he is stronger than a normal living human, he has great use of his senses, can regenerate after being wounded and more important he is immortal! The character of G.I. Zombie was the created by the creative team of Jimmy Palmiotti, Scott Hampton and Justin Gray in 2014 for DC Comics who was making an attempt to update their universe. And weird enough G.I. Zombie is not really used by DC Comics anymore and for the most part he only lasted the one-year of his release. While not a major player in the world of DC Horror or even DC War Heroes, he is still an interesting character who had his readers that enjoyed his issues.

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G.I. Zombie is a character that I just learned about in late 2021, or should I say paid attention too as he was never on my radar as in modern times I have paid very little attention to DC Comics and he just never was a Horror Comic that I picked up at the local comic shops as most of the time I have found most of DC’s Horror Comic work to be a little weak with Swamp Thing, Man-Bat and House Of Mystery being the ones that I find to be really good. And I think really that in 2014 the Zombie comic trained started by Walking Dead from Image Comics has started to be over done and that is also why I paid no attention to G.I. Zombie. Over the years I have found myself being a little less picky about Horror Comics I read when it comes to the big two companies Marvel & DC as sometimes they are the better offerings they have as their main Superhero titles have been very poorly written for many years now in my opinion, and the Horror titles I feel lets the creators have a little more freedom in the stories they are telling. What makes me intrigued about G.I. Zombie is that I know nothing about the character and I am looking forward to seeing if they play more on the spooky aspect of the character or the army hero…or will it be a great blend of the two? Regardless of what angle DC Comics goes with the character I will say that Jared Kabe aka G.I. Zombie is an American Hero in the world of Comic Books and that is why he is getting this American Hero update.

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So as you can see, the burgers are almost done on the grill and it’s inching so much closer to firework time so I think we should get into the comic review part of this American Hero update that I have to say is also a DC Horror update for this 10 Year Celebration for Rotten Ink! I want to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind you 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 grab a sparkler and your favorite cold beverage, and let’s make a toast to G.I. Zombie and see what his comic series was all about. Oh and on a side note, this series is called “Star Spangled War Stories G.I. Zombie” but for the sake of this update we will just shorten the title to G.I. Zombie.

GI Zombie Comic 1

G.I. Zombie # 1  ***
Released in 2014     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 1 of 8

At a small bar in the backwoods of Mississippi recent released female prisoner Carmen King meets Duke and his men who have just captured a F.B.I Agent and have him tied up in the back of the bar and worse the Agent have been beaten up and will not spill the beans on how many are with him and were they are based out of. Carmen in order to impress Duke and get a job with his outlaw gang tortures and shoots the Agent in the head killing him when her interrogation does not work. Carmen takes the body of the agent away and Duke sets up a night meeting time for the two. We soon find out that the agent is G.I. Zombie who repairs his body and that Carmen is working with him. The two while having to work together do not know each other and Carmen is a little nervous about having to stay in a motel with a zombie. As Carmen takes a shower and then goes to bed, G.I. Zombie sneaks out of the room and ends up attacking and killing a man who was abusing his wife in front of a gas station, he kills the man to eat him…but sadly he does so in front of the mans wife and child. Later that night Carmen and Zombie head to the farm that is were Duke told Carmen to meet him, and they have a car wreck when Carmen hits a deer and they have to travel by foot. Once they arrive at the farm the notice that Duke and his gang of outlaws have missiles!

The first issue of G.I. Zombie is really good and they drop us right into the story that has our undead solider teaming up with a female agent in order to bring down an outlaw group that is dealing in stolen guns and more. We learn that G.I. Zombie has been around for a very long time and has always survived his country and really loves America, we also see that while he is a good guy he still craves human flesh and feeds on it when he can get it. His uncanny powers of not being able to die and being able to reattach cut off limbs and heal up his wounds is really cool and very useful in his line of work. Carmen King from what we gather is a good solider/agent who is doing her job, but clearly only kind of trust her undead partner, as she knows very little about him and his character. Duke and his gang are a bunch of outlaws who look like they deal in all types of crime from murder to stolen guns and I am sure while he looks like the big fish now, someone else is truly calling the shots. The comic has some blood and gore in it and that was nice to see and some moments are gruesome like when G.I. Zombie is shot in the head by Carmen so she could impress Duke and his gang. The issue also does a great job of ending on a cliffhanger as our heroes see missiles are part of the groups weapons they have stockpiled and this is proof that Duke is working for a bigger threat. The cover for issue one is really good and eye catching and captures both the War and Horror aspects of the series, and the interior art by Scott Hampton is not the style I like in comics but it is really good work. Over all a great start for this series, and I am looking forward to see what happens in issue two.

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G.I. Zombie # 2  ***
Released in 2014     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 2 of 8

Carmen arrives alone at the gate and is let in to see Duke after she alerts the guard that she has had a car wreck and that is why she is late. Meanwhile G.I. Zombie is out in the woods and takes out one of Duke’s men and then takes another hostage with the threat of eating him alive he is able to get some info as well as the man’s cellphone in order to hear the communication between the rest of the outlaws. While inside a deadly virus has been delivered to Duke and as the two that dropped it off leave G.I. Zombie is able to snap a picture of them and send it to his bosses via the stolen phone. Carmen is shown by Duke a massive pot field on the farm compound and he then starts talking to her about his distaste for the government and if she has the same dislike he wants to offer her a job with his group. But G.I. Zombie is spotted and the alarm goes off and Duke has Carmen leave with some of his people to go to another secret farm compound while G.I. Zombie has a shootout with the outlaws, and Zombie gets back up when Commander Gravedigger and fellow soldiers show up to help in the fight. Duke has his men fire off one of the missiles that has the virus inside it and its headed toward Washington D.C., but G.I. Zombie jumps on the missile and pulls out wires and causes it to crash into a small town in Tennessee.

This second issue is as good as the first as this story progresses and has me drawn in on what is going to happen next! In this issue Carmen and G.I. Zombie make it to the farm hideout of Duke and his militia outlaw group and while Carmen gets deeper in their ranks, G.I. Zombie finds himself trying to stop a virus carrying missile that will have collateral damage of human life. G.I. Zombie in this issue shows that he is also very skilled in combat as he uses guns as well as his zombie ways to take out many of the outlaws and its clear that he is very hard to stop and those who face him seen see the horror that this solider can inflict on them. Carmen meanwhile has to play it cool and build up trust with Duke who is clearly a very dangerous man who is now also getting bio-weapons from some government agency or maybe its ones made up of former workers, we will have to read more issues to find out. And Duke and his outlaw militia clearly are dangerous and do not care about how many people die in their quest to stick it to the government, and they have all tools and weapons to really be a threat. I like how the officer in charge of this mission is called Gravedigger, a nice touch sense he is in charge of a zombie soldier. The issue has some good blood and gore moments of G.I. Zombie eating some flesh and the story is really good and does a good job of keeping you interested as a reader. The cover for this issue I have is cool and eye catching even though it’s also misleading as G.I. Zombie does not parachute into battle at all. The interior art is done by Scott Hampton and is again really good if you like the more modern style art in comic books. With that the series is staying strong and I want to see what chaos this missile is going to cause and what will Carmen witness next from this outlaw group.

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G.I. Zombie # 3  ***
Released in 2014     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 3 of 8

The missile goes down in Tennessee and G.I. Zombie knows that the virus inside it will cause a zombie outbreak and it seems that the animals around are now attacking him in aggression is it cause of the virus or are they just scared. Meanwhile Gravedigger has captured Duke who is not giving up any information on what his group is truly up to and who is the people behind getting them the weapons. Meanwhile Carmen is with some of the outlaws on their way to the farm and she is trying to get as much information out of them as possible. Back in the small town the animals are infected by the virus and when they are biting people its making them infected as well with a sort of rabies that is turning everyone in contract with a bite into a zombie in seconds. G.I. Zombie ties up an infected person and finds the towns doctor when they find that the people who are infected are pretty much brain dead and a cure is unlikely, and then the G.I. Zombie safely gets the doctor and her assistant home safe and then gets the towns exits from the mayor to give to Gravedigger who is on his way with soldiers to try and contain the outbreak. As G.I. Zombie waits on one of the bridges out of town he is attack by a horde of zombies and is fighting them off, as he cannot let one single human or animal that is infected to leave the town.

This poor small town gets infected by a virus that was unleashed by a nut job who is anti government, but all he did was hurt the innocent people in a town by infecting them and the animals with a zombie rabies! We know that the animals are the first to be infected by the virus and that when they bite people the virus passes and they become raging zombies who kill and infect others. G.I. Zombie is not scared of being infected but does hate watching and having to kill the animals and feels bad for the people who are being hunted down by those infected, but when it comes to protecting the innocent people as well as the fellow towns he goes into solider mode and will do what must be done. Meanwhile Carmen is still on her road trip to the other farm and is not getting too much information for her female road buddy. Gravedigger and his soldiers have captured Duke and are now on their way to the infected town to back up G.I. Zombie to contain the virus the best they can. The end also is a nice cliffhanger as G.I. Zombie armed with a knife is being over taken by a massive zombie horde that are on the path of getting out of the town and spreading this infection to a wider population. The issue has some blood and really is doing a great job of keeping me interested in the storyline as well as wondering what is next for the characters. The cover for this issue is really cool and has G.I. Zombie fighting a zombie horde and like before the interior artwork by Scott Hampton is good stuff. DC Comics and the creators behind this series have delivered a good series this far and let’s see if they can keep it up in the fourth issue.

G.I. Zombie # 4  ***
Released in 2015     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 4 of 8

Carmen and her escort who’s named Cat find a motel room and while trying to rest she has a nightmare about a helicopter crash she was the only survivor in during a war, and even when up she can not get any info out of Cat about were they are going. Meanwhile G.I. Zombie breaks free from the zombie horde and finds a safe place on top of a building and watches as Gravedigger and the army show up and blow up the zombies, once G.I. Zombie joins them they find that the infected can drive some what and this adds to the possibility of them leaving the town so Gravedigger and G.I. Zombie must act fast to fully contain this. Meanwhile Cat and Carmen arrive at a massive spa in the middle of nowhere that is the hidden base and Carmen meets Forrest, the money man behind Duke and his movement, and she also notices that he himself has weapons of all types around him.

This issue is very fast paced and we get more information on many of the characters as well as some questions are answered. G.I. Zombie himself goes from being out numbered and fighting off zombies to escaping the attack and spending some time on a flat tar roof of a store and ends the issue alongside the army and Gravedigger as they try and figure out the best way to stop this virus from spreading. While on the other hand, we learn that Carmen was the sole survivor of a helicopter crash and this is what haunts her dreams and drives her to protect her country.  We also see that she might be in over her head when she finally arrives at the next hidden base location as it is packed with weapons. Forrest is a rich man who is clearly the moneyman behind this home grown terrorist group and is investing in even more weapons to fight the fight and this includes more of the zombie virus as well as suits that can take bullets and is indestructible! I really think that Forrest and his indestructible suits will be a huge pain for G.I. Zombie in the coming issues, I also hope that Carmen’s cover is not blown as the odds would be against her as her army friends have no clue to were she is even at. The issue has some blood and the story is good as the zombies can drive adds even more drama, horror and stress for the army to deal with! The cover is great and has G.I. Zombie and Carmen backed into a massive tree on a hill and are surrounded by zombies and this is very eye catching. And like a broken record the interior art by Scott Hampton is good stuff, so with that said again I have to say that DC Comics are on a good stretch as this was another great issue and G.I. Zombie is proven to be one of their best modern series for me. So let’s see what issue five has in store for us, and I am going to guess it will be a fun Horror War Comic surrounded by a simple yet entertaining story.

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G.I. Zombie # 5  ***
Released in 2015     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 5 of 8

G.I. Zombie is back in the small town and is having issues as his craving for flesh is taking control as he needs to eat and soon before he loses control, so they send for a child killer on death row and is sent into a tent with Zombie who eats him and gets back on track to save America. Meanwhile Carmen is shown around the base by Forrest who alerts her to some of the over all plan that he and his groups have for the world, that includes over throwing the US Government and give the power to the people. Meanwhile a few miles away the this base G.I. Zombie meets up with longtime agent friend Elliot who fills him in on the last sighting of Carmen and tells him of the base that is also acting as a spa for the rich, he also tells him to head to this small motel down the road and he will find his “new” identity as a video game maker who has a treatment set at the spa for the next day. Later as G.I. Zombie sits alone in his room a young woman named Libby enters and is running for her life as she hides in his bathroom as two men are following her, after exchanging some words with them Zombie takes them down only to be shot in the head by Libby who is the true baddie as she works for Forrest and after cleaning the room she is taking the bodies to the spa hideout for disposal.

The plot thickens in the fifth issue as we now know that Forrest and all of those who follow or are apart of his group’s true goal is to take over America as they claim they want the power back to the people, but somehow I feel that Forrest has other true plans and is using these militia groups and ex-criminals to further along his true underline plan that I can not figure out yet. Poor Carmen is truly stuck in a very dangerous situation as she is truly in the hornet’s nest and has seen and heard too much to be figured out as a spy as they would and could easily kill her. Libby and Cat are also two females who work for Forrest and it’s clear that they will also kill for him on his orders and will leave no loose ends. Gravedigger and Elliot are two of the good guys who clearly want to try and stop this group from doing another attack as they have unleashed a virus once that has taken way to many innocent human and animal lives, and they both know that G.I. Zombie is America’s only hope. Speaking of G.I. Zombie we have all seen up to this point how much of a good undead guy he is who is always helpful, respectful and follows orders…but I do love that he does have the urge and craving for human flesh and that the army gives him inmates of the worst kind from near by prisons in order to fill the hunger! A very cool aspect of the character as he could snap and kill if he is not fed after a while. The story is really keeping me intrigued and I like the small turns we get as well as the character development and new characters being added into our story. This issue has some blood and murder and the cover is a strange one as its G.I. Zombie kissing a woman and blood is linking their lips, and you know the interior art is done by Hampton and is good. So with another good issue in the books let’s see what issue six has in store for us.

GI Zombie Comic 6

G.I. Zombie # 6  ***
Released in 2015     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 6 of 8

Forrest is on the phone and is calling Leo, the man who is making the zombie virus in Ecuador and explains that the sample has been used in Tennessee and was a success and that he needs his full shipment sent, Leo is annoyed that Duke used it already and agrees to send more, but it comes with a threat if the virus is linked back to him. Forrest then leaves and creeps around Carmen’s room and half hearted flirts with her before leaving. Meanwhile Carmen tries to sneak around to find a phone to call Gravedigger, but instead runs into Cat and they both go and get a midnight snack from the kitchen. G.I. Zombie who was set to be burned up in a furnace snaps into action and takes down several guards and top officials for Forrest and even finds his gun stockpile room before he himself is caught on a security camera and a red alert goes out to the guards. Forrest recognizes G.I. Zombie and knows that he works for the Government and tells Libby to get the jet ready that they along with a few other including Cat and Carmen are leaving the hideout, and the rest of the people will sadly die as he is dropping a nuke bomb on it as he can not have any information leak out!

The gig is up at the spa hideout of Forrest and his crew of over throwers and his big plan to deal with being caught is for him and few to escape and them bomb and kill all the others who have been loyal to him and the cause, so it shows you that Forrest is a rich a-hole who does not care about anything but himself as I am sure if push comes to shove the likes of Libby and Cat would be sacrificed if it meant saving his own hide. And Carmen is really trapped as she keeps getting deeper into the trust of these people and this makes it so if she is exposed for being an undercover agent, she will be killed and the worst part is her own people are always a few steps behind her in order to save or get the information she has out of her. Also it looks like Leo and his people are surly the ones behind the creation of the virus and this also shows that this network is even bigger and spread out then what it appears in the first few issues. G.I. Zombie snaps into action and goes after the baddies in their own base and uses a knife and a gun to deal death and gets a few before being caught on a security camera, he so wants to get to Carmen and also complete this mission before anymore innocent Americans are hurt. Some blood and death in this one with a gruesome one being a man set on fire and then gets a knife to his skill as he ran around, pretty brutal kill from G.I. Zombie. The cover is our hero being nuked and you all know by now who did the art and that it’s good stuff. Over all a great issue that leaves us on a good cliffhanger of the hideout being blown up and only a few of Forrest closest crew escaping along side him, can G.I. Zombie stop the bomb and save lives or will be apart of the explosion…I guess we have to read issue seven to find out.

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G.I. Zombie # 7  ***
Released in 2015     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 7 of 8

Forrest has set the timer for the nuke bomb to go off and he along with a select few have escaped the hideout via a private jet set for California to another secret lab hideout. Meanwhile G.I. Zombie tries to figure out a way to stop the bomb from going off and soon finds that that task is impossible and that everyone inside this hideout is going to die. Gravedigger meanwhile along with a hammer is able to get a little bit of information out of Duke and he learns just how dangerous this group is as they plan to truly unleash a massive attack on America. While stealing a car and trying to get as far away from the explosion as possible G.I. Zombie is able to get a cellphone and call Gravedigger to tell him about what is going to happen and sure enough the bomb goes off and also unleashes more of the zombie virus, the explosion causes G.I. Zombie to wreck and he is even injured cause of this, and he is saved just in time by some Army guys as two civilians who was hit by the virus tried to kill him. Meanwhile at the new hideout Carmen makes a run for it as she thinks Forrest and the others have caught on that she is an agent, and after calling Gravedigger she is surrounded by heavily armed guards. In the end Gravedigger alerts G.I. Zombie that they have to leave now and try and stop this Armageddon style attack that Forrest is about to commit.

That Forrest is one evil man as not only has he killed innocent people and animals with his zombie virus but this time around he used a bomb to blow up his discovered hideout killing hundreds of his own workers in order to cover his own butt. Plus it’s clear that he is more like a rich doomsday cult leader than a give the people the power one. Duke the big bad biker leader of the Mississippi sure does squeal when a hammer is taken to his fingers in order to get questions answered as this also proves Gravedigger will do what he must in order to save America from this threat, and that includes bashing a mans fingers with a hammer. Carmen is was over her head and its clear that by the end of this issue she is spooked by Forrest and his people as she thinks they have made out that she is an agent spy, and when escaping the hideout she also shows that she is a skilled fighter as she takes a gun with only four bullets and makes it work. G.I. Zombie does what he can to try and figure out how to stop the bomb and how to save the workers inside, but sadly time was just not on his side. While he is undead it shows that he still cares about living people even if most fear him. We also see that the end game is near as Forrest is about to set off tons of his zombie virus in order to shake up America, and we have to see in the next issue if G.I. Zombie and this secret branch of the Army can stop it. This issue also is more about building to the final issue and is less about the horror aspects, don’t get me wrong we still get blood and death, it’s just a little more toned down. The stakes feel high coming up as the threat is world changing and the fact that only a small few know and can stop this also adds to the drama. The cover for this issue is eye catching and has G.I. Zombie fighting zombies and you know what I am going to say for the interior art. Over all a great issue that was perfect for setting up the final issue in the mini series.

GI Zombie Comic 8

G.I. Zombie # 8  **1/2
Released in 2015     Cover Price $2.99     DC Comics     # 8 of 8

Carmen escapes the ambush and is able to kill all the armed guards that was sent after her, she has a mission to stop this threat and that is just what she is going to do. Meanwhile G.I. Zombie and Gravedigger board a jet and head to the next hidden base of the outlaw terrorist in hope to stop them as well as save Carmen from danger. Back at the hideout Forrest decides that Cat is the one who brought the agent to their doorstep and puts a bullet in her brain for doing so. Once at the location G.I. Zombie, Gravedigger and the team find Carmen and go into the base with orders to stop the bomb and kill anyone inside as they are terrorist and need to be taken down. Carmen and G.I. Zombie enter the base and take out anyone they come across and finally they find Forrest who has set another bomb to go off to let the virus out all over and spread this zombie infection. Forrest has a past with G.I. Zombie as once they see each other they both realize they have a past, and when Carmen decides she has had enough she beats up Forrest as G.I. Zombie alerts Gravedigger to the location of the launch room and as well gets Forrest’s cellphone and calls Leo the creator of the virus and says that they are coming for him as well! Gravedigger lets off a sonic device that not only takes out the terrorist who are not wearing earplugs but also gives them time to find the main power and to stop the bomb from going off. In the end Gravedigger tells G.I. Zombie and Carmen that they make a great team and that they will be placed together from now on.

I am not going to lie I am a little disappointed in the ending of this series as I found the wrap up to be a little weak and not pack a punch like it should. While the good guys do stop the bomb from going off, characters like Forrest just don’t seem to really get what is coming to him, sure he gets shot in the ear and beat up…but his “death” by sonic vibes is a little bland. I also feel that the fact that they call and alert Leo that they know who he is and that they are coming after him also was a strange move as now all he has to do is relocate…why warn him. I do like the team up of Carmen and G.I. Zombie and I would have liked to seen more of them, maybe even at some point teaming alongside the Creature Commandos or even Unknown Soldier. I also feel that the end “battle” was way to easy and quick and all of a sudden Forrest and his men seem less threatening as they fall like a house of cards on a windy day, and it really is disappointing as the creators of this series did such a great job building to this last issue and for this comic reader it fell a little flat. Now I am not saying I didn’t enjoy this issue, it’s just a weak ending to a very solid series. G.I. Zombie is a very interesting character that we have learned lots about in this series as he is an American Army member who even in death tries to protect the land that he loves and is a true warrior and skilled in fighting and strategies, and that a lost body part of his is what helped create the zombie virus being used by the terrorist. We also see that he is a caring man as he looks out for not only his agent friends but also innocent people and animals. Carmen is also a pretty cool character an army vet who survived a terrible crash during war and is using her skills still to help keep America safe and to honor her fallen friends. Gravedigger is pretty cool as well as he clearly is a veteran of situations like this and does not crack under pressure. This mini series really did do a great job of mixing Horror and War Comics with elements of both getting time to shine and the amount of blood used throughout was a nice touch for those readers who loved zombie comics, plus bonus points to them for some of the more gruesome deaths. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and lacks the punch of the covers before it and throughout the series Scott Hampton has really rocked it with his art and won me over as at first I was not a fan of the style, but by the end I really liked and respected it. Over all DC Comics had a good series here and a cool character that they should still be using today! Check out the artwork below to see the style of Scott Hampton used in this series.

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But wait there is more! Given that this is July 4th and Rotten Ink’s 10 Year Anniversary, let’s take a look at G.I. Zombie special that was released in 2014 and was part of the “Future Ends” stories that DC Comics had going at the time. So with that, let’s dive into this one and spend just a little more time with G.I. Zombie.

GI Zombie Comic Special 1

G.I. Zombie: Special # 1  **
Released in 2014     Cover Price $3.99    DC Comics     # 1 of 1

G.I. Zombie is on a ship and his partner Carmen has been infected with the virus and is now a flesh eating zombie and doctors are going to try a treatment that they hope will help her. But things get worse when zombies are parachuting out of the sky and are now attacking the agents and G.I. Zombie is given the orders to attack and get these undead nightmares off the ship. And he does so when he charges into them and turns into a massive deformed zombie that rips many of them to shreds, but he is attacked by the helicopter that dropped the zombies off and is taken down for a few moments before he can comeback together. The scientists deliver the antidote to Carmen and at first it looks as if it didn’t, work but just in time she is cured as G.I. Zombie pulls himself together and they come up with a plan to drop the antidote from a crop duster on the city of Gotham that has been infected by the virus. But the enemy helicopter approaches and shoots down the crop duster, but G.I. Zombie is able to leap into the copter and gets it to crash…and the man behind this attack is Gravedigger who himself is now a zombie that is just like G.I. Zombie and the two fight for a moment when G.I. Zombie removes his head and takes it away causing Gravediggers body to wonder around, after this fight G.I. Zombie gives the order for the antidote to be dropped so that lives can be saved. Later G.I. Zombie and Carmen are having dinner and she has decided to retire as an agent and go live in the mountains, while G.I. Zombie is sad, he understands and the two enjoy one last meal together.

What a strange One-Shot comic as everything we know from the mini series is thrown out of the water and in this one G.I. Zombie is calling the shots, the army has found a cure for the virus, Carmen goes from being a zombie to cure and the most weird change is that now Gravedigger is pro the virus infecting people and is now a bad guy that is as well a super zombie solider who is taken down very easily by G.I. Zombie. And so many questions are not answered in the comic and that’s why this is a very odd read like why is Gravedigger bad now, who is spreading the virus and why, why is Gotham City under attack and why does G.I. Zombie turn into a massive zombie Hulk for a few panels and then its never spoke of again…just so many weird moments in this one that made it slightly less enjoyable of a read as I really do feel that this story kind of disrespects the characters and story that the mini series introduced us to and I dislike the fighting and large changes to personalities of the main three and those of course as G.I. Zombie, Carmen King and Gravedigger. The story also seems very bland and rushed and I hate to say this was a major letdown for me, as I feel that DC had something very cool with G.I. Zombie and this comic makes him and the lore seem like an after thought to just delivering a comic with a cheesy gimmick cover that while cool does not save this issue from being lazy. The interior artwork by Scott Hampton is good and helps bring some of the charm from the mini series into this. Not much to say besides this is just an ok issue and if you like the mini series and have not read this one I say skip it as it does nothing but ruins aspects of the series. Checkout the artwork below, and again art is good sadly this comic story is not.

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Well it’s time to go eat some grilled food and enjoy time with family and friends before the fireworks fill the sky, so once more thanks for spending some of your holiday with me here at Rotten Ink and also I need to say that while DC Comics had a few miss fires with G.I. Zombie, I do feel that in 2014 they created a good American Hero character that truly did walk the line between War and Horror. Well for the next update we will be leaving the DC Universe Zombies behind but will be once more visiting the Romero Zombies when we cover Dead Dog Comics series “Night Of The Living Dead: The Barbara Chronicles” as well as take a look at Monster Bash Convention 2022 and Juliet and I’s adventures in Cranberry Township, PA. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a zombie film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you soon as we are coming to read you Barbara…

NOTLD Barbra Chronicles Preview Logo

The DC Dream Warrior Known As The Sandman!

Here on Rotten Ink we love ourselves some Jack Kirby as he really is The King when it comes to the Golden Age of comics as over the years I have covered him in such blog updates based on his art and characters like Devil Dinosaur, Captain America and Satan’s Six and with many more to come this update will showcase just how important Jack is to the world of comics as well as Rotten Ink and how can I celebrate my blogs 10 Year Anniversary without covering him! While thinking about what character to cover for this update I ruled out one of his Marvel Comics characters as we have covered his Marvel work already and I also ruled out his indie work as well for the same reason and that’s why I landed on covering his DC Comics work and choose a character that I can remember reading when I was a kid and that’s The Sandman! So grab a glass of Warm Milk, Count Some Sheep and lets catch some Z’s and take a comic book superhero adventure with The Sandman, Jack Kirby and DC Comics.

The Sandman Kirby 1

Jack Kirby was a true legend at Marvel Comics as he has created many iconic characters for them along side Stan Lee like The Fantastic Four, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk to name a few, but in late 1970 after years of talking to them he made the jump to DC Comics as they wanted the creative mind of Kirby to help bring them new characters as well as his skilled art style. The contract was for three years with an option for two more years and would allow him to create multiple series and characters that would be blanketed under “The Fourth World” and would allow Jack to have his own say with his characters and build his own world within the DC Universe. And that brought characters New Gods, Mister Miracle and The Forever People to comic pages and all characters are still being used from time to time in comics for DC. During his early years he also worked on the comic Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. And Jack Kirby was loving working on his Fourth World comics and added touches of his own life into the books, as well as even his views of the youth at the time in The Forever People. At this point in time Jack Kirby had lots of bad feelings toward Stan Lee and Marvel Comics and even created a character called Funky Flashman that was a dig at Lee, and would also create during this time DC Comic’s biggest and more powerful super-villains Darkseid. But while DC Comics was hoping for that Kirby magic and help sales they also did some pretty crappy things to him like having fellow artists Al Plastino and Murphy Anderson redraw the faces of Superman in comics as they did not like his style of drawing The Man Of Steels face. Jack Kirby was so proud of his Fourth World books he even came up with the idea of putting several issues together aka the Graphic Novel and DC being goofy failed to do so, so those of you who love reading comics in Graphic Novels should thank Jack Kirby who came up with that idea. During his years with DC he would also go on to create such characters as OMAC, The Demon, Kamandi, Kobra, The Sandman and as well did a few characters for the “1st Issue Special” comic series like Manhunter, Dingbats Of Danger Street and Atlas The Great showing that the characters where flowing from his creative mind. He would also do work for the war comic “Our Fighting Forces” by doing the stories and art for The Losers. But by 1974 the honeymoon was over between Kirby and DC Comics as they started to make him work on characters he did not care for, the political games at the office was out of control and many of the classic DC Artists did not want Kirby at DC as they viewed him as an outsider and a threat to their position at DC. And by 1976 Jack Kirby and DC Comic split ways and he would return to work for Marvel for a short time, before becoming a gun for hire artist and working for Cartoons for Hanna-Barbara as well as would do spot work for indies like Topps Comics and Pacific Comics as well as even DC up until his passing in 1994. And while his time with DC Comics was not as grand as his time with Marvel he still made a great impact on that company given them some amazing heroes and villains as well as entertained readers with compelling stories. Jack “The King” Kirby really is one of the comic industries truly iconic and inspirational artists and creators.

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I want to also take a moment to share a photo I found on the net that shows the art desk of Jack Kiby! This is a surreal image for sure as you realize that he had drawn so many comic pages at the desk, he created so many characters at the desk and he spent so much time being creative at that desk. The crazy part being is the chair, desk and his art supply cabinet was nothing overly fancy and his area he created in was near what appears to be a fire place. Imagine Jack Kirby sitting at the art table with a snow storm outside and a fire going in the fireplace as he drew a Fantastic Four page…its very inspiring as Jack really was one of a kind and a true artist who was to be looked up to and admired. I feel that Jack’s desk should be placed in a museum of art and young inspiring artists should be able to see it and get inspired by it.

Jack King Kirbys Desk

Now I want to talk a little about The Sandman a character created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in 1974 and was one of many characters Kirby created when working for DC Comics. The Sandman is a hero that lives in the Dream Dome alongside his two friends Brute and Glob who are nightmare creatures and are called in when The Sandman cannot right the wrongs that are going on in the dream world as well as reality. The Sandman can enter the dream world via a sled that takes him to the Dream Stream a place ruled by the Nightmare Wizard where all the creatures that make up Nightmares live. He can also slide into reality and can lend a hand to help during attacks and natural disasters. The Sandman wears a red and yellow costume and looks like a superhero and uses dream sand and his Hyposonic whistle to fight crime as well as to put people and things to sleep. The Sandman mostly watches over the nightmares of kids and will enter the dream if he feels the youngsters are in true danger. He is original portrayed as the mythical legend Sandman the watcher of dreams, but later in 1983 DC Comics and Roy Thomas tried to say the he was really Garrett Sanford a Professor at UCLA who was trapped in the Dream Dimension and even becomes a part time member of the Justice League, but this just is cheesy and shows once more that DC Comics had no respect for Jack Kirby’s creations. The Sandman is a character that never was used much by DC Comics and while he has his fans he never made an impact on the world of comics like so many other Jack Kirby creations.

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It’s a shame that DC Comics treated Jack so badly when he worked for them in the 1970’s as I truly think that given more time and freedom with them who knows what kind of great reads and characters he could have given the world. And I am pretty sure that the cool art we all seen of Kirby drawing the Horror Movie character Dr. Phibes who was played by Vincent Price would have been a pitch that he would have made for DC…and I wonder why this comic was never green lighted and I would have loved to have seen what Jack had in store for Phibes! Well enough of what could have been for Kirby, DC and Phibes as we are now at the part of this update that is about the what was and for me when I think of DC and Kirby together three series come to mind New Gods, Mister Miracle and The Sandman, with the later being what I will be covering! And one reason I choose The Sandman is that Kirby teamed with Joe Simon on the book, and for those who don’t know that pair is who created one of my favorite superheroes Captain America! I want to thank Game Swap Kettering for having this series in stock and making this update possible. I also would like to say that I have read almost this whole series before this update and this makes me exited to reread them after all these years. I want to also 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets travel to the land of dreams and see what DC Comics and The Sandman have in store for me.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 1

The Sandman # 1  ***
Released in 1974       Cover Price .20      DC Comics      # 1 of 6

On Dolphin Island young Jeb who has asthma and lives with his grandfather Ezra Paulsen is having a terrible dream about a man drowning in the ocean right in front of his home that is holding a strange doll. Meanwhile in another dimension The Sandman watches the dream and awakens the boy who runs outside with hid Grandpa and pull a dying sailor from the ocean who gives them the strange doll he calls the Werblink before he dies. Jeb, who is a lonely kid on the island, spends time with Werblink and the doll becomes his best friend. One night Jeb has a nightmare that Werblink is trying to kill his Grandpa and as Jeb gives chase he slips in his dream and is about to fall to his death…but The Sandman has seen enough and enters the nightmare and saves the boys life even though the creatures he keeps in glass tubes Glob and Brute tell him to let the child die! Once saved Jeb wakes up and falls back to sleep as his Grandpa grabs the doll and smashes it and then buries it on the beach. We cut briefly to the past and see that a rebuilt solider named General Electric was the man behind building the doll and he escaped a hospital and runs holding Werblink into the night. We cut back to Dolphin Island present time and a stray dog digs up the grave of Werblink and this causes Jeb and other kids around the world to have a four alarm nightmare and even an earthquake breaks loose in California and The Sandman leaves his Dream Dome in order to help the wounded using his sand to heal those in need and then rushes to Dolphin Island just in time as Jeb has found his broken doll and a group of Nazis have appeared and taken both The Sandman and Jeb hostage. While back on the mainland we find out that General Electric is in charge of the Nazis and they are collecting all the dolls he made as by linking them it will blow up the US Capital! And before they do so they beat up The Sandman and one of the Nazis finds his whistle and blows it freeing Brute and Glob who come to their friends aid, and Glob turns up the wave length of the whistle and this blows up the glass bowl on General Electrics head that holds his brain, ending the madman’s terror and with that Jeb is safe and The Sandman with Brute and Glob return to the Dream Dome.

The first issue of The Sandman was suppose to be a one shot comic, but due to good feedback from readers it would go one to have five more issues and The Sandman proved to be a minor creative hit for both Jack Kirby and DC Comics. The plot is pretty cool and has The Sandman watching the dreams and nightmares of sleeping kids via his Dream Dome and has to come to earth when the evil General Electric has a plane that will kill many and will bring back the alliance of Japan and Nazi Germany. The Sandman is a being that is humanlike in nature but has the powers to put people to sleep with his sand as well as enter your sleeping mind and cause and change the events that are taking place. His friends Brute and Glob are creatures of nightmares and while they look like monsters they are not bad. Jeb and his grandpa Ezra are also good people who live on an island and while it’s a lonely life they do have each other. The issues main bad guy is General Electric a Japanese kamikaze pilot who survived a crash and had his head and brain repaired and created by a doctor who cannot get over loosing World War II and is masterminding a way to strike at the US and once more have the Nazis rise to power. He is as scummy as they come, but do not threat cause as you see his head exploded and it appears he has truly died this time. The plot really does have that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby feel to it and during this time Kirby was very obsessed with other worlds and Simon loved telling stories of Nazis getting their butts kicked by heroes. The one odd thing about The Sandman as while he helps save Jeb from falling in a dream and helps injured firefighters he gets beat down by the Nazis and its his friends that really win the end fight as he is tied up on the floor and never even throws a punch. This is a comic I can remember reading at a young age and enjoying it, but I think now as an adult I found myself enjoying it more. The cover is awesome and eye catching as its classic Kirby stuff as is the interior art, but I will say that this is not some of Kirby’s best stuff as its pretty basic in look and lacks the Kirby detail on backgrounds. Over all the first issue of The Sandman is a fun read featuring a hero who has the powers of dreams, so with that lets see what issue two has in store for us.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 2

The Sandman # 2  ***
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25      DC Comics     # 2 of 6

On Dolphin Island Jeb is sound asleep in his bed when two hooded men enter his home knock out his Grandpa and kidnap him to take him to Dr. Spider a strange man who is using Jeb now to bring his nightmare creatures to life and they are under his control. While at the Dream Dome The Sandman notices that the youth of the world are not having nightmares and enters the dream stream to see what is blocking the nightmares from happing. While in this realm he tracks down the old man known as Nightmare Wizard who tells him that Dr. Spider has stolen all the creatures and is going to use them to take over the world, and he approves of this horrific plan! The Sandman is furious and heads to the real world to see if he can stop this sinister plan from fully being realized and with his hyposonic whistle and dream sand he is able to bring down a few of the creatures in front of the army, only to find himself attacked by one of the hooded goons of Dr. Spider and taken as a prisoner to their hideout with the idea of also using his powers to bring more nightmare creatures alive. While at the Dream Dome Brute and Glob watch as their friend is tied up and knocked out and Brute reveals that he has his own seceret whistle and they pair free themselves from the glass tubes and travel to reality and loosen the straps holding down Sandman and then wake him up before hiding and Sandman rushes to bring down Dr. Spider. The Hooded Men try and attack The Sandman who uses the hyposonic whistle to put them to sleep, but fails to capture Dr. Spider who uses Jeb’s nightmare creatures to attack him and if The Sandman kills one of the creatures then Jeb will die! The Sandman then uses his dream sand to put the creatures asleep, then uses his whistle to send them to the Dream Stream, he then destroys Dr. Spider’s machines and this wakes up Jeb that he send back home. In the end The Sandman is to late to stop Dr. Spider who uses a submarine to escape or does he as it blows up and this makes The Sandman wonder if he really has seen the last of this new foe.

The second issue of The Sandman is really good and still holds that classic superhero feel even though both Jack Kirby and Joe Simon had nothing to do with this issue as DC gave it to a new creative team, well I should at least say Kirby did the cover for this issue. The plot brings in a new foe called Dr. Spider who is a strange man who is just a torso that’s body in a metal frame and has mechanical arms that look like spider legs. He almost looks like a mutated melted cheese face version of Spider-Man villain Doctor Octopus and I am sure this really was a dig at Marvel Comics. A couple of things I do like about Dr. Spider is that he has a good idea of taking creatures from the nightmare world and using them to bring the world to its knees and allow him to take over, he also has hooded men who look like cultist as his henchmen and that’s also pretty cool. We also in this issue meat Nightmare Wizard a creepy old man who runs the realm of nightmares and who is very bitter about the real world. Jeb is around and is nothing more then a tool in the bad guys plans who spends almost the whole issue asleep and feeding them creatures from his nightmares, in other words he is the one that is feeding the evil doers with soldiers in order to take over the world. Plus we have zero clues if Grandpa Ezra is alive after his shock he received at the start of this issue, so Jeb could have been sent back home by The Sandman only to find the dead body of his grandpa! The Sandman once more is the hero of the day…but really does not do it on his own as once more Glob and Brute are the ones who really are the heroes as they once more free the captured hero that allows him to win the battle in the end. The Sandman really has only two weapons and tools to take on evil doers and that his Sand that puts people to sleep as well as his Hyposonic Whistle that can as well put things to sleep, send creatures back to the dream world and free his two friends that he keeps locked up in tubes. Now that I am thinking about it why in the world does The Sandman keep his two friend locked up in small tubes with him only letting them free when he needs help, seems pretty unfair and makes The Sandman come off as kind of a villain. The cover is great as its Kirby and eye catching for fans of his art as well as DC Comics from the 70’s and the interior art this time is done by Ernie Chan who was going by Ernie Chua and I will say while its not Kirby I would say that its still very good, but while the issues art and story are fun and good I still miss the Kirby and Simon touch as they where a iconic team that could make great art together. Well with that lets see what issue three has in store for us and if it holds up like the first two issues in the series.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 3

The Sandman # 3   **
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25     DC Comics      # 3 of 6

In Europe the people of a village storm a castle ran by The Count and his Zombie Gorillas as they want to hang him for the decades of abuse he has put them through, but he cheats them of revenge as he drinks poison just as they find him. Once “dead” his body is taken by the Zombie Gorillas to America as this was a plan by The Count to get his body to Professor Rundhaven so that he can remove it and allow it to live inside a tank that not only allows him to speak by also gives him mental powers. The Count uses his new mental powers to zap and kill Professor Rundhaven and then uses his mental link to get into the mind of the young daughter of Scientist Ralph Ervin who has been working on experiments dealing with the human brain. While The Count is in her dream The Sandman in his Dream Dome picks up on the intrusion and heads into the dream himself and foils the plot of The Count hypnotizing the young girl and causes The Count to have to retreat. As the young girl wakes up the hold on her mind is truly broken and The Count decides to send his Zombie Gorillas to the house the next night to steal the research papers and then to also steal medical equipment to free him from his glass prison. The Cops follow the Zombie Gorillas and gun them down, but not in time as they succeed and free The Count who is now a powerful floating Brain that kills the cops and then heads to the city where it drains all the power out of the power planet and The Sandman once more returns to reality and gets himself arrested before he can stop the blackout! He then uses his whistle to free Brute and Glob who once more rescues him this time from jail and The Sandman sends them back to the Dream Dome and the tracks down The Count and uses his whistle to blow up the villain ending the terror the giant brain caused New York.

The third issue as well cut Kirby from art (besides the cover) and Simon from story and delivered an ok read that has followed the same formula as the last two issues and that recycled tale is getting a little warn thin as each story has a kid in need, a new dream world entering villain, The Sandman being captured and having to have his friends save him and lastly the bad guys meet their end by explosion. The plot of this third issue has a bad guy entering the dreams of a young girls dreams in order to get her to steal the research papers of her father, and when that fails he steals them and becomes a powerful being that is exploded by The Sandman who was arrested and saved by his Nightmare friends in order to do so. The Sandman is a dream master who watches and monitors the dreams of kids that by all accounts tries his best to be a hero, but he really is just bad at it as he seems to always get captured and has to have his friends save him in order for him to take down the bad guy and take all the glory for the rescues and world saving missions. While I as a reader like The Sandman by this issue he should be better at being the Superhero he so wants to be. Brute and Glob we are miss treated and kept behind glass are the real heroes as they are the ones who seem to always get The Sandman’s fat our of the fire and even at times take down the henchmen of those who are keeping Sandman captive. The Count is a brain who grows in size and power and while he does kill a roomful of police officers, he really is not that big of a threat as he is blown up with a whistle with ease and once he becomes all powerful all he does is drain the electric power from The Bronx, New York. The Zombie Gorilla henchmen of The Count are pretty cool and they are very loyal to their master and even give their lives to protect him. Again I have to stress that DC Comics and the creative team they had behind The Sandman series really at this point needed to get past the same story format that they had followed for three issues as it really cheapened the character and really does make him look like a zero and not a hero. The few things that I did like about this issue was The Zombie Gorillas and the secret lab of Professor Rundhaven being in a old farmhouse, but to be honest this third issue is not very well done and is an average at best superhero romp. The cover done by Jack Kirby is great and the interior art by Ernie Chan is solid and good, just to bad the story by Michael Fleisher is so weak and had clearly places a bruise on the character as the series end will come just three issues later and would force them to bring back Kirby on art. Well with that lets see if Kirby’s return to art can pull this series out of the downward spiral.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 4

The Sandman # 4  **1/2
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25     DC Comics     # 4 of 6

An alien race is watching Earth and the dreams of Jeb as they are coming up with an idea that will allow them to take over the world and will use the dreams and nightmares of mankind in order to do so! They come up with an idea that will have them enter the Dream Stream and take Nightmare Wizard hostage as well as the creatures of that world and the Aliens would then enter people’s dreams and control or kill them. Brute and Glob are in the Dream Stream visiting family and becomes trapped in a dome dropped by the invading Aliens UFO ships, and worse the Aliens as well are able to sneak up on and take Nightmare Wizard down given them control to enter dreams! Meanwhile on Dolphin Island Jeb is showing his Grandpa how good he has gotten with his Yo-Yo before heading to bed, and its when the youngster falls asleep that The Sandman catches that the Alien starships have invaded the Dream Stream and uses his powers to wake up Jeb and then The Sandman enters the Dream Stream to stop the Alien plan that has them dropping bombs and killing many kids while they sleep! While wondering around The Sandman finds Nightmare Wizard but before he can free him the Aliens attack and knock out The Sandman and now have him as a prisoner, and this time he uses his whistle to bring Jeb to the Dream Stream and has the young boy unties the two dream masters and even uses his Yo-Yo to knock out an alien! Once free The Sandman, Jeb and Nightmare Wizard rush to the dome and the whistle is used to free the Nightmare Creatures and a clash with the aliens breaks out with The Sandman and the Creatures winning the big fight and sending the Aliens running back to space. After the fight is over The Sandman sends Jeb back to reality and best of all he is sound asleep and having good dreams.

The fourth issue of The Sandman brings back Jack Kirby on art but keeps Michael Fleisher on writing and while better then issue three it still has some of the same old same old moments that have plagued this character and the writing style of Fleisher as The Sandman once more finds himself captured and a friend having to save him and like fore the issues bad guys get into the dream world of a youngster with plans of world domination. It’s clear that Michael Fleisher just had no real ideas for The Sandman and was just retelling the same story over and over worse then a Joss Whedon and a part of me wonders if this was also the case cause Fleisher was placed on the book and he did not care for this Kirby creation so he put zero effort into the scripts. The bad guys for this issue was a race of fish looking Aliens who want to take over the world via the Dream Stream and has plans of using bombs to wound the youth of the world and come into the dream world in full force. But while they have the firepower they also had very little knowledge in combat as the Nightmare Creatures once freed make short work of them and send them running back home like chickens. Brute and Glob for once are free from their tube and are given permission to go on vacation by their “friend” The Sandman and while visiting friends and family they are captured, but once set free they fight hard. I also like at one point Brute uses the catchphrase “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” that was made famous by Fantastic Four member The Thing a character created by Kirby for Marvel. Nightmare Wizard makes an appearance as well and gets taken hostage way to easy, as you have to think he controls everything in the Dream Stream and seems to call on none of them to set him free once tied up and left in his cave home. Jeb and his Yo-Yo skills come in handy and he pops an alien in the eye with it and is able to free The Sandman, so keep that in mind a kid is the one who had to save The Sandman this time around cause like always he got himself beat up and caught. The Sandman and his whistle in the end is what breaks the dome that sets the creatures free and cause this ends the aliens packing. The Sandman really is a terrible hero and seems to walk into battles and gets himself captured every time this far! Also he finally see that Grandpa Ezra is alive after the shock from the stun gun from issue two and that he and Jeb are the only people that live on the island. The cover is great Jack Kirby stuff and his interior art is fantastic as well showing that Kirby is what’s keeping this comic series alive. I really think that in issue five they need to make The Sandman look stronger and more hero like and for the love of The King Jack not let him get captured and have to be saved by others as his track record right now is 4-0 on that! So with that lets see what The Sandman gets into for issue five.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 5

The Sandman # 5  ***
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25      DC Comics      # 5 of 6

Grandpa Ezra and Jeb are on a fishing boat looking to catch some big fish when they are attacked by a giant sea creature that crushes the boat and leaves them both in grave danger of not only being eaten but also drowning, in other words they need help! The Sandman watches this unfold from his Dream Dome and rushes to the world of reality in order to save them and after hurting the sea creature he gets Jeb and Ezra to shore and sadly Grandpa Ezra dies from this attack. The Sandman gives Jeb a whistle that will alert him if he needs help. Days pass and Jeb is living along on Dolphin Island when he gets a visit from his Aunt Clarice and Uncle Barnaby who get the youngster to come live with them at their farm. At the farm he meets his cousins Susie and Bruce and finds out that his relatives are lazy people and he is forced to do all the hard work and is being feed poorly even. After getting into a fight with Bruce over the whistle, Jeb is forced to chop lots of wood as his punishment and will not even get dinner until its all done! Jeb takes a nap and gets a visit from The Sandman who has him travel to the Dream Stream to help fight the Frog People who are attacking the Winged People and have kidnapped their Queen, and after saving her and returning back home Jeb wakes up to find the wood chopped and his aunt in shock as she invites him in to have dinner. As Jeb walks into the house we see that Brute and Glob chopped the wood for him while he was out with The Sandman.

The fifth issue of The Sandman is a really solid issue with a good plot that mostly focuses on Jeb and his life after loosing his Grandpa to a Sea Creature and his journey of leaving Dolphin Island and living on the mainland with his Aunt and Uncle who treat him oddly. Jeb does really well dealing with all the major changes in his life and while he misses his Grandpa he makes do with his situation. The Sandman who tries his best to save both Jeb and Ezra from the attack at sea is also the one who has to deliver the bad news to Jeb that his grandfather has died, then gives him a whistle before leaving a young boy alone on an island right after his only guardian has died…I will say it again The Sandman is not good at being a superhero! But I do have to give him credit this time around as he at least does not find himself being taken prisoner and he does but some heads with his fists this time around and not his sand or whistle. And this time around Brute and Glob take a back seat and while they help in the end they are not the heroes of saving the day like they normally are. The Frog Men are the bad guys but they are defeated easily once The Sandman and Jeb find their hidden kingdom. The Aunt, Uncle and Cousins of Jeb are all terrible people who use the young lad to do all the work around the farm and while they eat lamb chops they feed him oatmeal, showing that they do not care if he is blood as they just want someone to work hard and get the chores done. And I have to say that I think writer Michael Fleisher did a great job on this issue and it feels like a true classic superhero comic story even if the parts with the death of Grandpa Ezra are awkward and weird and the emotions of all seem very off. The cover and interior art by Jack Kirby is amazing and outstanding like always and some of his art for The Frog Men is fantastic and for some reason reminded me of Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES. Over all this is a great issue in the series and is a great lead up for the six and final issue that we will be taking a look at right now.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 6

The Sandman # 6  ***
Released in 1976       Cover Price .25     DC Comics      # 6 of 6

The Sandman is watching the dream monitors and notices that Jeb is having a bad nightmare about drowning and worse it seems as if this nightmare is being forced and is coming from an unknown source. The Sandman goes into the Dream Stream to save his young friend but soon finds out that the youngster is not real and is a bomb that blows up knocking him out, we then see the hooded henchmen of Dr. Spider coming for our hero and taking him away. Moments later an android version of The Sandman arrives at the Dream Dome and he tricks Glob and Brute into following him back to Dr. Spider’s ship, but Brute holds back for a moment and poor Glob is zapped and held prisoner. Dr. Spider alerts the real Sandman that he plans on taking over America and his sea ship that can go from the dream world to reality is the key to doing so as is the Hyposonic whistle that now is in the hands of Spider. Meanwhile back at the farm Jeb is once more being mistreated by his family and is forced to do all the chores at the farm while they go to a carnival, and that night Bruce sneaks in and steals the whistle and gives it a blow and Brute shows up and delivers some creepy crawlers to the brat cousin and then wakes up Jeb and says that they need to get ready as he thinks that The Sandman is in danger. While back on the ship Dr. Spider is set into a rage over The President and the News making a joke of his threat to use a magic whistle to bring down Washington, and at midnight now he plans on using the whistle to teach the Government a lesson! The Sandman uses all his strength and breaks free and takes out a few henchman before being zapped by a laser gun and then tied up and thrown into the ocean as Dr. Spider has no use for him. Meanwhile Jeb and Brute arrives at the base of Dr. Spider and are not sure what they are going to be up against, and soon find themselves the prisoner of Dr. Spider and are put in a cell with Glob and all will be forced to watch the destruction of the US Capital. The Sandman escapes his watery death and even punches a shark in the face to do so and then arrives at the base and frees his friends and the heroes take out all his henchmen but are too late to stop Dr. Spider from escaping on a rocket. In the end The Sandman, Brute and Glob return to the Dream Dome as Jeb is returned to the farm.

The final issue of The Sandman is a good issue but an odd ending for the series as I think that the sixth issue was not originally meant to be the final in the series as we have no real closure for any of the characters. And I think once more writer Michael Fleisher did a good job on the story for this issue as he brought back the sinister Dr. Spider who this time wants to take over America and is going to use the magical Hyposonic Whistle to do so! The Sandman in this issue shows more superhero tendencies than ever before as he not only saves the day he even gets himself out of danger twice and does not have to have his friends to be the true heroes of the day. The Sandman also shows that he is very skilled with his fists as he punches his way through henchmen and even shows that he is strong as he breaks a crystal cage and tosses people around like ragdolls. While most of this series The Sandman has been a dud of a hero, by this final issue he shows that he was becoming more and more one. Brute and Glob are nightmare creatures who are The Sandman’s friends and allies and while they spend most of their lives in glass tubes, when needed, they always come through and do the right thing to save lives. Jeb whose life is bad now that he has to live with his Aunt is also more then just a youth having nightmares by the end of the series as a few times he helps save the day and adds elements to the story, in fact by the end of the series its clear he is part of the team. The sinister Dr. Spider is as crazy as ever and wants so bad to become a ruler of something, but seems to never be able to get the chance, he is also the only villain to be used twice and is clearly the main baddy of the series. While Kirby draws him different then Ernie Chan I still think Dr. Spider looks life a mound of melted cheese in a metal body. While I think that The Sandman is a comic series that suffered from changing creative teams, a writer who seemed disinterested in the character at the start, DC Comics lack of respect for the creator and character and a handful of other issues, I for one have always found it to be a fun and simple read and while I think many readers enjoyed The Sandman I also thank that by the mid 70’s this type of superhero was dated and readers had moved based the simple nature of good vs. evil. The cover for this final issue is ok and the least impressive of the series, but does do a good job of building up the danger aspect of what The Sandman had to face. The interior art by Jack Kirby was great and he was also inked by Wally Wood and this was a great combo and these two are amazing artists and icons of classic comics. To sum it all up I would say that The Sandman is not a comic series for everyone and while super flawed its simple plots and classic style heroes are enjoyable and worth checking out if you like Kirby and those style of heroes in comics. Check out the artwork below as I think it showcases the work of Kirby as well as captures the over all vibe of this series.

The Sandman Kirby Comic Art 1

Reading The Sandman again after all these years I can say that I really did enjoy his adventures and the character was very interesting even if DC Comics truly didn’t believe in him. Jack Kirby really was a man with many ideas and The Sandman was one of them that I feel should have been bigger then what it was, and again I say the same thing about Satan’s Six. Also imagine if DC Comics, Jack Kirby and the other creators that helped on The Sandman explored the Nightmare World better and think of the creatures, monsters and madmen that could have made up that world. Well let’s not harp too much on DC Comics always dropping the ball with a cool character and let’s talk about what I have in store for you readers for the next for this 10 Year Celebration and that a new update theme that I will be calling “R.I.W Wrestling Legends.” I will be talking about the wrestler Missing Link! So I hope you are all looking forward to that one as this will be an update series that will be around for a long time just like my Horror Host Icon updates! So until next time read a Jack Kirby comic or ten, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you all next update at the Rotten Ink Arena as Missing Link is in the main event!

Missing Link Promo Preview 1

The Wacky Comic World Of Daffy Duck

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and the 10 Year Celebration of this blog! On May 5, 2015 I took a look at Bugs Bunny and called him “The King Of Saturday Morning Cartoons” and pointed out how he was the most popular and recognizable Looney Tune character, but if Bugs is the King then our next character would be the Jester as his antics and crazy nature made him a hit for me and my brother who both loved watching his cartoons…and I am talking about the one and only Daffy Duck! I know that it’s Easter Bunny season and not Duck season, but what better way to celebrate this holiday time than to cover a true icon in the world of classic cartoons and one that will surely make you month a little better. So as you find a comfy place to sit and enjoy this blog update, let’s get crazy with Daffy!

Daffy Duck 1

Daffy Duck made his debut in the Porky Pig cartoon “Porky’s Duck Hunt” that was seen on April 17, 1937.  In the toon Daffy was a no-name character but got viewers’ attention as his aggressive and zany attitude brought something fresh and new for the time and he became a favorite of many viewers. Early Daffy Duck was really crazy, a total loon who would bounce off the walls and laugh like a mad man all the while getting laughs from viewers and annoying his target in the toon.  He became the subject of many discussions of viewers and Daffy quickly became one of the top characters in the Looney Tune universe. Over the years Daffy Duck went from crazy to snarky and became very short tempered and would even become a frenemy of Bugs Bunny as who can forget the “Duck Season…Rabbit Season” bit! Warner Brothers knew that Daffy Duck was something special and to this day feature him in many cartoons, merchandise and even feature length movies like Space Jam 2 that was released in 2021. The term “screwball character” was termed after Daffy who was the first of the kind and started a trend of character that followed his personality and tropes. Daffy was so well liked by fans that he became one of the must watch cartoons and would rival the popularity of many other characters of his time like Popeye, Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop. And even in 2019 website ScreenRant ranked Daffy Duck as # 1 in their Top 10 list of Funniest Looney Tune characters. Daffy Duck was created by Tex Avery and Bob Clampett and has had many voice actors as well as cartoon makers help flesh out the character and make him the icon he is to this day. Say what you will, but we all know that Daffy Duck is a true icon of cartoons and over the decades has made so many viewers lived just a little bit more silly and fun.

Daffy Duck 2Daffy Duck 3Daffy Duck 4

The main voice of Daffy Duck during my childhood was the iconic voice actor Mel Blanc who created the characters iconic lisp as well as sarcastic tone and line delivery. Mel is considered one of the biggest icons in voice work in the early days of cartoons as he lent his voice to many iconic characters like Looney Tune ones like Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn, Speedy Gonzales and Sylvester to name a few. And non-Looney Tunes characters include Flattop, Tom & Jerry, Barney Rubble and Speed Buggy to name a few. Mel would voice Daffy Duck from 1937 to 1989, the year that he passed away. And after Mel’s passing, three different voice actors would voice Daffy off and on through the years during my childhood with one being Jeff Bergman and the other two being Joe Alaskey and at a lesser level Greg Burson. And in modern times Eric Bauza has been the voice behind the Duck. And with all respect to those who followed him, let’s be honest, Mel Blanc is the amazing voice actor who made Daffy Duck the zany character we all love to this day.

Daffy Duck 5Daffy Duck 6Daffy Duck 7

Like all great cartoon characters, Daffy Duck has had his fair share of amazing merchandise for fans of all ages to collect and I as a kid was one of those fans who owned lots of cool Daffy stuff! Over the many years of the character, such items as books, comics, shirts, dolls, toys, posters, magazines, statues, trading cards, Music, Home Media, drinking glasses, video games, hats, Shoes, Erasers, Buttons, Pins, Watches, Candy, cups, jars, stamps, socks, towels, Halloween costumes, necklaces, night lights and so much more were made. If you are a Daffy fan and have any need for an item you can find it as there are also Daffy Duck toothbrushes! Growing up some of my favorite things that I owned that featured Daffy Duck besides the comic books was an old plush doll that I had when I was super young, an old Pepsi glass that as a kid I can remember drinking Kool-Aid and chocolate milk from, a McDonalds Happy Meal Toy that had Daffy Duck as Batman and lastly an eraser of Daffy’s head that was for your pencil that I got from school in Waynesville! Daffy is awesome and has some very cool items for fans, and I for one am still a Daffy fan and have many of his items in my collection.

Daffy Duck 8 dollDaffy Duck 9 glassDaffy Duck 10 gameDaffy Duck 11 pop

Growing up I would watch Daffy Duck on Saturday Mornings via old reruns of Looney Tunes on TV and also would watch them via home media on Beta and VHS that we would rent from the library or even would buy them from a dollar store that use to stock all types of cheap VHS tapes that featured cartoons as well as silent horror movies. I would raid that section and would buy everything that I would enjoy or ever wanted to see. There was always something very special about watching Looney Tunes and for both my brother and I, some of our favorite ones to view featured Daffy Duck as we loved his crazy laugh, his bouncing around, his sarcastic attitude, his Duck Dogers persona and so much more that made him so fantastic and one of the top cartoon characters in our household. Also we would find ourselves reading Daffy Duck comics and even as a kid I can remember my brother reading the comics out loud to me and even doing goofy voices to go along with it.  It was almost like a story time. But now I am off subject and I really just wanted to share my memories of old Daffy VHS tapes and how when growing up I used to watch them all the time as I would always find myself laughing when watching him act like a total nut job! And I am sure many of you reading this blog have very similar memories of watching your favorite cartoon characters on owned or rented VHS tapes.

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One Daffy Duck cartoon that was amazing was from 1988 and was called “The Night Of The Living Duck” that has Daffy reading a horror comic book called Hideous Tales # 176 that ends of a cliffhanger and when he goes to find the next issue a clock falls and hits him in the head, and when knocked out he thinks he is a singer at a club that is filled with many classic monsters like Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Fly, Leatherface, The Mummy, Creature From The Black Lagoon and The Blob to name a few. And after being attacked by the Godzilla inspired Smogzilla in his dream world he wakes up and finds his issue of the horror comic. And for a Monster Kid like myself seeing Daffy Duck sing to many classic monsters of the movies was really awesome to see as who would ever guess that Leatherface of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame would appear in a Looney Tunes cartoon! And seeing the Universal Monsters being sung to by a sauvé Daffy is very surreal and was something that I never would have thought could have happened in the world of Looney Tunes. The animation is great in this episode and really makes me wish that Warner Brothers would have made animated monster movies as it would have been great to see classic monsters get the animated treatment. So if you love classic movie monsters as well as Looney Tunes cartoons make sure to track this one down and give it a watch.

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Well now that we have taken a trip down memory lane and talked about Daffy Duck and all the elements that have made him a cartoon icon, I think we are at the point of this review that we take a look at the comics I own of him and have selected the comics from Gold Key and Whitman to cover. I want to thank several stores for having these in stock like Bell, Book and Comic, Game Swap Kettering and Mavericks Cards And Comics as well as Mom Young for having these issues for me to buy and make this update possible. I want to also 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 are ready, let’s get wacky and silly with Daffy Duck!

Daffy Duck 83 Comic

Daffy Duck # 83  ***
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Gold Key    # 83 of 145

“High And Flighty” The Road Runner and his fellow birds are running from Wile E. Coyote and they run through the sidewalk that Daffy Duck was making and the job goes south with footprints and Daffy looses his job. Road Runner feels bad and sets up a new job for Daffy that has him trying to help Wile capture them, and of course all goes wrong. “Ego-Tripped” has Daffy Duck a host of a late night talk show along side Elmer Fudd and they have many guests that night Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester Cat and Petunia Pig and the topic is how after the cartoons end that they are all friends and this turns bad real quick as all of the Looney Tunes characters start arguing over who is the best on their shows and even leads to a end chase of Elmer trying to capture Daffy for his harsh words on the way Elmer speaks. “Dough Nuts” has Daffy Duck owning a bakery and he ends up getting Clovis Cat as a helper who is the cousin of Sylvester and he causes so many issues as he is kind of silly and ruins many orders, but he does end up stopping a robbery. “Stamp Scamp” has Daffy by accident letting one of Elmer Fudds high priced stamp blow out the window and the two have a wild chase to try and get it back, only for it to be a cheap stamp instead as Elmer was wrong on the price.

This issue has lots of guest stars and Daffy while the main attraction can kind of be lost in the shuffle when it comes to each little segments plot as sometimes the likes of Road Runner and other steal a little of the spotlight. And because of the guests and Daffy antics this is a better than average read! All four stories are really good with my favorite one being “Dough Nuts” as I enjoyed the fact that Daffy owned a bakery and was making cakes and hired a goofball cat who stumbles around ruining all his business and making customers mad. When picking my least favorite it was hard but I guess I would have to choose “High And Flighty” as it was just kind of a one joke story that had Daffy always taking a break when trying to capture Road Runner when the Runner would make a whistle noise. But with that said seeing Daffy on the payroll of Wile E. Coyote was really cool. The cover is cool and like a broken record him in the birdbath never happens in the comic. The art by Unknown Artist is really good and I like the way he drew Wile E. Coyote as well as Clovis Cat and of course Daffy and the rest look great. Over all a good read and a cool kids comic based on an amazing cartoon character and series!

Daffy Duck 86 Comic

Daffy Duck # 86  **1/2
Released in 1974     Cover Price .20     Gold Key    # 86 of 145

“Dr. Elmer And Mr. Fudd” Daffy Duck is babysitting a young duck who wants to hear a spooky story before bed so Daffy makes one up about Elmer Fudd being a mad scientist who makes a formula that turns a mouse into a raging monster and he as well takes the formula and turns into a monster and torments the village and its up to Daffy in the story to save the day when he follows Fudd into a warehouse that the big mouse is in and they two fight. After the story the young duck puts on a Halloween mask and scares Daffy who runs out of the house. “The Duck Who Came To Dinner” The Tasmanian Devil is locked up behind bars at a zoo and Daffy goes to mock him, but soon Taz traps Daffy in the cage and as well when Daffy escapes Taz follows as he wants to eat duck for lunch! Daffy ends up tricking and knocking Taz out and leaves the country quick to be away from Taz once and for all only to find himself stuck in Tasmania! “An Alarm Clock Is A Rooster’s Best Friend” Daffy Duck is jobless and decides that he wants to take the job of Foghorn Leghorn as the rooster of the farm and does his best to set up Foghorn so that the farmer will fire him! Once Foghorn is fired Daffy takes the rooster job, but is soon found out by The Farmer and Foghorn who end up giving Daffy a new job on the far and that’s the top of the weather vein! “Hair Today And Gone Tomorrow” Daffy has made a formula that grows hair and his fellow ducks make fun of him as they doubt that it works, and when Daffy finds Elmer he tries to use the formula on his bold head and Elmer runs away and as Daffy gives chase he is attacked by a hawk it leaves Daffy featherless and when his formula falls on him Daffy becomes a duck covered in hair and must return to the drawing board to make a formula that will grow feathers.

This is an action packed issue when it comes to guest cameos as joining Daffy Duck in this issue is Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird, Yosemite Sam, Tasmanian Devil, Foghorn Leghorn and Petunia Pig and each add fun moments to the stories they are in. This issue has the normal four stories and each of them bring their own styles of humor and put Daffy Duck in all types of situations that include him almost being eaten and even being a mad scientist! The kid friendly humor in this issue works really well and the best story for me in this issue is “An Alarm Clock Is A Rooster’s Best Friend” as I like how Daffy is so lazy that he thinks that being a rooster would be easy work and gets Foghorn Leghorn fired, but of course his sneaky tactics blow up in his face. Plus besides Daffy being awesome in the story so is Leghorn who is in my Top 10 favorite Looney Tunes characters. My least favorite story in this issue is “Hair Today And Gone Tomorrow” as I found it very lackluster and the lamest in plot in story, but seeing Daffy covered in hair was a little funny. The cover is awesome and has Daffy lifting weights that are really balloons, and you guessed it this never happens in any of the stories. The artwork is great and is very cartoonish and looks like the cartoon characters on the comic pages and is done by Unknown Artist! A good issue for sure and I am looking forward to read more of these Daffy Duck comics.

Daffy Duck 92 Comic

Daffy Duck # 92  ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Gold Key     # 92 of 145

“Duckula” Daffy Duck and Porky Pig are driving a pizza truck and it runs out of gas near a creepy castle as a storm blows in and the two end up having to stay the night in the castle as the owner Count Duckula invites them in, but soon Daffy and Porky find themselves on the dinner menu as Duckula is a vampire and his friend Engelbert is a werewolf! But before Daffy and Porky can be eaten Daffy comes up with a plan the leaves them safe and the two monsters big fans of Pizza. “A Rare Bird” Daffy is in a museum looking at dinosaurs when two professors spot him and see that he is a rare breed of duck and they want to capture him and taxidermy him to place on display! And Daffy must run for his life to escape them and the museum! “Movie Madness” has Daffy Duck trying to get into Warner Brothers Studios to be casted on the new Raquel Robin film that he learned about from Sylvester Cat and Porky Pig! But standing in his way is Elmer Fudd who is the new guard at the studio gate and is told no none employees are allowed in! So Daffy has to use his bag of tricks in order to get in and meet Robin. But Daffy becomes a hero when two cast members try and steal her jewelry and he almost goes into a date with Robin that us until Yosemite Sam scares him off by wearing a monster mask. “Stop, Look, And Duck!” has Daffy faking that he is a traffic officer in order to get into Elmer Fudds house to raid his refrigerator and eat all his food, but Daffy is followed by a hungry bank robber who also breaks in and wants all the food that Daffy is stealing! But thanks to Daffy’s traffic signs and his quick thinking the robber is caught and in the end the Police make him act as a traffic signal for borrowing the signs from the city junkyard.

Wow this was a really fun kids comic and had Daffy Duck in all types of different and zany adventures! Plus like before this issue does a great job of having fellow Looney Tunes characters guest star and that includes Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam and Sylvester Cat and they all play off Daffy very well in each of the segments. And really after reading this issue I had a smile on my face as it was such a silly good time, I mean Warner Brothers Studios even appears and they even make a joke about the MGM lion! And when sitting back and having to pick the best and least favorite story in this issue it was super hard but I would say “Duckula” was my favorite as I love the spooky horror feel of it and it read like a classic kids haunted house with a vampire story. And picking the least is really hard as all the stories were good but I guess I would say “Stop, Look, And Duck!” is the weakest as it’s just a Daffy stops a robber story that we have read before and it seems to be a big idea that the comic makers had when writing Daffy stories. The cover is great and showcases Duckula and shockingly it does tie into a story in the comic and that’s rare! The art is good and done once more and like always when it comes to Gold Key Comics by an Unknown Artist, and like always its very good and the characters look like they should for the most part. To sum it up this is a great issue and one of the best this far I have read of any of the Looney Toon themed comics. So with that lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Daffy Duck 98 Comic

Daffy Duck # 98  ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Whitman     # 98 of 145

“Snowman’s Land” Daffy Duck travels to the Himalayan Mountains in order to find the Abominable Snowman to ask him how often he clips his toenails in order to get $2.00 from Elmer Fudd who asked him that question. But once he finds the Snowman he learns that he has been fired as people do not find him scary so he makes a deal with Daffy if he helps him get his job back he will tell him the answer to the toenail question. And after trying to teach the Snowman to be scary and failing, it’s the rescue of two lost kids that gets the Snowman his job back and also gets Daffy the answer to Fudd’s question and he gets his $2.00 that is owed! “Northern Exposure” Daffy is stuck outside in a blizzard and meets an Eskimo who has been sent out by his wife to hunt a duck so they can have it for dinner, the man has never seen a duck and Daffy leads him in wild goose chases and after the poor guy is almost killed by a whale, Daffy saves him and comes clean that he is a duck and he is instead invited to dinner and they all eat fish. “Rainbow Riot” in this one Daffy is playing in the rain and after the rain stops a rainbow appears and Daffy uses this to his advantage to try and trick a free meal out of Porky Pig by dressing up as a leprechaun and promising a pot of gold to Porky if he can make Daffy happy and makes him a big meal and makes a fool of himself. And after finding out that the leprechaun was really Daffy dressed up he rushes back to the end of the rainbow and shoves a pie in the face of a leprechaun that was not Daffy but a real one!

This is such a fun read and has Daffy Duck meet the Abominable Snowman, Tricking a Duck Hunter and even acting like a leprechaun in order to get a free meal. And this one like the issue before has a Horror Comic element to one of the stories and Daffy even dresses like Count Duckula at one point in order to try and teach Snowman how to be scary. And as I am sure you guessed my favorite story in this issue is Snowman’s Land as how great and silly is it that Daffy tries to teach the Snowman how to scare people in order to find out how often he clips his toenails…and the two become friends. The weakest story of the group is Rainbow Riot as its not a bad story just the weakest of the three as it was just kind of blah as its just Daffy being a terrible friend to Porky Pig who is this issues only Looney Tune cameo. The cover is great and showcases what happens in this comic and that’s a rare thing in these types of comics made by Gold Key/Whitman. The interior art for at least the first story (Snowman’s Land) is done by artist Joe Messerli and is good stuff and I like his kid friendly take on the Abominable Snowman. Over all a solid issue that showcases just how fun these Daffy Duck comics can be for readers of all ages.

Daffy Duck 104 Comic

Daffy Duck # 104  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30     Whitman     # 104 of 145

“Shopping Cart Caper” Art is a man who owns a grocery store who is having an issue with someone stealing all his shopping carts and making him having to buy more of them for his customers. Both Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd end up trying to help Art find who is stealing and after thinking its each other, they end up finding the real thief and it is the man selling Art the carts as he is stealing them with a magnet gun and then sells them back to the store. “Relatively Speaking” Elmer Fudd is really mad at Daffy who eats much of his food acting as a food inspector, and after being chased off Daffy returns to Elmer’s home with a train jumper who looks like Elmer and the two in order to get a free meal and a place to stay lie to Elmer and act as if this guy is a long lost cousin. But when Elmer figures this out as a lie after reading his family tree he chases the two out of his home with a gun and Daffy joins the fraud on rail riding as they jump on a train. “The Broccoli Bungle” Porky Pig is shocked and worried when he finds Daffy Duck talking to a piece of broccoli, and when asked about it Daffy acts as if Porky is rude and this causes Porky to go to the grocery store and buy some broccoli and talk to it! But it was all a big joke as Sylvester Cat bet Daffy that he could not trick Porky into talking to broccoli. In the end Porky is mad and chases Daffy around and the pair run into a cop and both have to serve public serves at a broccoli farm. “The Duck Bunch” Elmer Fudd goes to a cabin by the lake to relax, but soon his peace is shattered when Daffy and his duck friends rent the cabin next door and have a party…after being mad for a bit Elmer ends up partying with Daffy and the ducks.

This is an issue that I almost forgot I owned as I had gotten it from Mavericks Cards And Comics when I worked there and after moving this issue along with other comics was missed boxed and has sat at a friends house for many years, and by luck I found it just in time to be covered…and I have to say the issue is another above average read and brought Daffy Duck into four silly adventures with three of them being alongside Elmer Fudd! And also the issue has Porky Pig and Sylvester both making a cameo in a story making this one feel like a Daffy Team-Up issue, and thinking about it they should have done a DC Comics Presents and had Superman team with Daffy Duck at some point in the 70’s or early 80’s, a wasted opportunity if you ask me. The best story in this issue for me is The Broccoli Bungle as I love the idea of Daffy and Sylvester making a free lunch bet with each other on if they could trick Porky Pig into talking to a piece of Broccoli, like a harmless prank but also poor Porky as he seems to be the butt of the joke. My lest favorite story in this issue is The Duck Bunch, nothing wrong with this one just bland as it has Daffy and fellow ducks harassing Elmer Fudd. The cover is cool but like always has zero to do with the pages inside, speaking of interior pages the art is done by Unknown Artist and is good the only thing really off is the color of Sylvester’s noise that should be red but is blue. Over all a good issue that delivered some cheesy, silly, goofy Daffy Duck comic book laughs.

Daffy Duck 107 Comic

Daffy Duck # 107  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Whitman     # 107 of 145

“Knight For A Night” Daffy Duck is lost flying around and finds an island the rest out and also sees an ad for a Knight wanted at a round table and he rushes to apply for the job as he thinks there will be food on the round table, but soon finds out that the King indeed of the Knight is poor due to an evil knight named Gore Thor who is stealing all his food, and after some tricks Daffy chases off the evil knight and the King’s Kingdom gets its food and knights back. “The High-Flying Queep” Daffy is in the park when a scientist and his henchman grabs Daffy and put a tracker on his leg in order to track were he goes, and Daffy ends up flying away to a western town but his tracker messes with the towns only TV and Radio and causes the sheriff to miss the weather warning of a flash flood, but the flood ends up causing Daffy to find a band of counterfeiters and for his reward the town gives him a reward and Daffy decided to fly on a plan to Hawaii but the tracker is also messing with their radio! “The Mysterious Mr. Big” Daffy Duck gets a job to go to the scary castle of Dr. Frankenfritter with a big check from Mr. Big who wants to buy the doctors new mechanical dog! And after Daffy is chased around the castle by mechanical monsters he makes the deal and takes the dog to Mr. Big who turns out to be a small flea. “The Hitch-Piker” has Daffy Duck trying to get home when he tries to get a ride from Elmer Fudd who is not happy to see him, but after getting tired Fudd ends up allowing Daffy to travel with him and even drive the car. Daffy ends up speeding around the highway and is pulled over and after finding out Daffy does not have a drivers licenses he and Fudd end up in court and Daffy has to pay a fine and work community service for seven days and Fudd must pay a fee.

Another great Daffy Duck comic that has Daffy being crazy and goofy and once more shows that Daffy Duck is great in cartoons as well as comics and in this one he even meets robotic Frankenstein Monster’s as well as takes down a evil knight that has a great name like Gore Thor! And all of the four adventures in this comic is a great read and it will be hard to choose what I think is the best but if I have to I am going to go with The Hitch-Piker as I like the idea of Daffy trying to hitchhike home cause he is to lazy to fly and ends up getting Elmer Fudd into trouble with the law when he makes the mistake of picking up Daffy. And I cannot pick a bad one from this issue as I really did enjoy them all so I am going to select none for this issue! Yeah this will be my only get out of selecting a Bad One card for this update. I mean were else can you read about Daffy busting a counterfeit ring, buy an electric dog for a man named Mr. Big, was rude to a judge and got himself and Elmer in trouble and even becomes a Knight and does battle in order to get a free meal! Great eye catching cover with Daffy making ice cubes and the use of a purple background makes it standout. The interior art is done by Unknown Artist and is great as I like the designs he/they created for side characters like Gore Thor and the robotic monsters. Over all a top notch read and this far is one of the top three best I have read from this Daffy series.

Daffy Duck 122 Comic

Daffy Duck # 122  **
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Gold Key     # 122 of 145

“The Robot Robbery” Armchair Daffy is back on another case and this time while at a science fair a robot steals an invention that takes control of items and allows the person with the invention to control a selected object. And when Armchair Daffy goes after the crook his armchair is thrown around and Daffy uses a bowling ball to bring down the crook and the people at the fair upgrade his armchair to fly. “Ye Olde Time Machine” has Daffy at an amusement park and goes into a funhouse called the Time Machine that really is a time machine and takes him back in medieval times and Daffy as a knight takes down a dragon as well as the Fight Knight before finally being able to go back to his own time, and he runs away from the fun house and then spends his time riding kids rides. “Aerial Grease Monkey” has Daffy becoming an in air mechanic for plans in need, and it’s hard and fast work and after an emergency landing leaves him aching he changes jobs to work as a water mechanic for boats in order to sooth his aching wounds. “Water Follies” Elmer Fudd is getting ready for a bath when he finds that Daffy Duck is in the tub and tells him that he is going to stay awhile as the government is working on the swamp! Elmer chases Daffy our only to find him now soaking in the kitchen sink! Elmer gets Daffy out of his house and ends up sneaking back in and turning Elmer’s basement into a pool and invites other ducks over! In the end Elmer is even more mad when the swamp is moved next door to him and he has to see Daffy more.

In this Daffy Duck comic he has all types of weird adventures from using a bowling ball to bring down a crook, going back in time to bring down a dragon and an evil knight, fixing planes in air and even helping other ducks in a swamp have a place to swim! But while it’s an entertaining issue it’s also very bland and middle of the road compared to other issues we have read this far. While Daffy is as zany and silly as ever he just does not do anything that truly stands out here. The best story is “Ye Olde Time Machine” as I like the idea of Daffy Duck at an amusement park and stumbling into a real life time machine and finding himself in danger in medieval times! Plus his lucky ways of defeating a dragon and an evil knight is pure cartoon/comic book stuff. My lest favorite story in this issue has to be “The Robot Robbery” and that’s sad to say as I think truly it is the weakest of any Armchair Daffy case we have read here this far. It was nice to see Elmer Fudd once more have a cameo and its great as in this issue he truly hates Daffy and it shows. The cover is good and has zero to do with any of the stories and the interior art by Unknown Artist is as good as always and helps add to the silly stories you are reading. Over all a very average read, but still a good one for the most part.

Daffy Duck 123 Comic

Daffy Duck # 123  **1/2
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Whitman     # 123 of 145

“Tin Pan Daffy” Daffy and his trusty horse Deadpan are trying to travel around the Old West to sell pans and by accident they wake up a pair of thieves who steal Deadpan and go and rob the towns bank, but Daffy thinks quick and uses a pan to mock the sound of a rattle snake that scares Deadpan who throws the robbers and Daffy is then able to return the money to the bank. “Rude On The Tube” has Daffy Duck going to a TV station in order to help Petunia Pig on a cooking show, and while at first it goes bad as Daffy ruins the show, but when Petunia switches his role to a taste tester things go smooth. “Big Switcheroo” Armchair Daffy is on the case, but Slippery Sal has messed with the armchair and has switched it out with a fake chair that controlled by a controller. But when Daffy finds Sal’s hideout he is able to get his armchair back and also takes Sal down and brings him to jail. “Hot Tub Snub” Elmer Fudd has belt a hot tub in his backyard on his doctor’s orders in order to relax and like always Daffy Duck ruins it by wanting to also soak in the tub, and after tricking Elmer several times and getting into the tub Elmer ends up turning the tub into a jail cell and traps Daffy in it in order to finally find his peace.

This is another fun comic featuring the zany Looney Tune character Daffy Duck and has him as always annoying the heck out of Elmer Fudd as well as solving crimes in his armchair and selling pans in the west! And in this issue the only two Looney Tune character to appear are Elmer Fudd and Petunia Pig and they both are used well and I really like the idea that Petunia Pig has a TV Cooking Show that has Daffy Duck as her assistant, imagine if this was a real show and Daffy would ruin the recipes as well as just shovel the food into his mouth. The best story in this issue is Rude On The Tube and is for the reasons I mentioned about as it really is a fun silly read. My least favorite is Big Switcheroo just a kind of un-interesting Armchair Daffy case that kind of puts along and has a payout that is kind of bland. The cover is good and has Daffy with pie on his face after he took a bite from one on Elmer’s window seal, and yep this never happens in the comic. The interior art done by Unknown Artist is good and I really like the way whom ever they are draws Daffy as well as Elmer Fudd. So with that let’s take a look at whats next for Daffy Duck in the next comic book.

Daffy Duck 124 Comic

Daffy Duck # 124  **1/2
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Gold Key    # 124 of 145

“Tasters Choice” At a small diner a newspaper editor is worried as his food critic just quit and he notices Daffy Duck eating a ton of food and giving reviews of it to the chef and the editor finds his new critic! Daffy does a great job at the start and travels around eating all types of food, but after awhile Daffy is getting fat and brings in Tasmanian Devil as his assistant to help eat the food and that goes wrong when Taz destroys the dinning room of a restaurant and this causes Daffy to be fired by the paper and chased by Taz who is still hungry and wants to eat Duck! “The Missing “Missing Persons” Person” Daffy as his Armchair Daffy crime solver persona gets a case that takes him to a boarding house to find a missing Officer as well as a boarder of the place, but when he gets there the chair can not enter the haunted room were the people have gone missing from! Once inside Daffy solves the case as the officer and boarder fell into the caller via a loose floorboard. “Duck Calls” Yosemite Sam has decided to give up on sea life and has built a cabin in the woods to get away from stress and sound, but Daffy Duck shows up and makes all types of noise and this causes Sam to try and stop him from doing so. And when his attempts fail to keep Daffy quite Sam just leaves his cabin to return to life at sea, and Daffy takes over the cabin and enjoys the quite life. “Meteor Hunt” a scientist forces Daffy Duck to help him hunt for a fallen meteor and instead of finding the falling space rock, Daffy ends up ruining a group of friends beach clam bake when he thinks it’s the meteor that smoldering in the sand and his chased off by the angry friends.

A solid Daffy Duck kids comic here that brings the reader four tales featuring Daffy being silly, hungry and just plan old crazy! It’s always nice to see a crime being solved by Armchair Daffy and this one is classic Horror Comedy stuff as the missing people have fall through the floor and are stuck in the locked cellar, I mean come on this could be the plot of a Don Knotts film. It also was cool to see other Looney Tune characters like Yosemite Sam and Tasmanian Devil as they help add to the stories they take apart in. My lest favorite story in this issue has to be “Meteor Hunt” as it was just kind of bland and the pay out of Daffy ruining a clambake is kind of just lame even for kid friendly humor. Plus let’s be honest in that story Daffy is kidnapped and forced into help labor by a nut job scientist. But for me I would pick the story “Tasters Choice” as the best as I love the idea of Daffy Duck being a food critic for a big newspaper and eating like a slob and becoming fat and ends up on the dinner menu for Taz who Daffy was silly enough to bring in as his assistant to help eat and review the food. The art is great and like before done by an uncredited artist. The cover is cool and like most Looney Tune comics from Gold Key and Whitman what Daffy Duck is doing on the cover is nothing he does in the issue. Over all another great comic featuring Daffy and is a great read for fans of the character.

Daffy Duck 126 Comic

Daffy Duck # 126  **1/2
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Gold Key    # 126 of 145

“Artsy Daffy” Elmer Fudd is near a pond trying to paint the landscape and Daffy Duck will not leave him alone as he wants to be in the painting, and after harassing Elmer who gives in and paints Daffy who in turn is annoyed by the painting as he thinks its bad. But while walking home a man buys the painting of Daffy from Elmer for $10.00 and claims that paintings of ducks are rare. Daffy says he will let Elmer paint him only if he allows him to eat everything in his fridge, Elmer agrees and after Daffy eats everything Elmer rushes outside to try and sell all his new paintings to people who seem to have no interest. In the end we learn that Daffy Duck paid the guy to buy the painting from Elmer in order to eat all his food. “Breakfast Blahs” Daffy Duck becomes a spokesman for a breakfast cereal and his commercial helps sell the food to the masses, but he is also forced to only eat the cereal for every meal and to make sure he does just that the company even hires a man to follow and watch Daffy to make sure the cereal is his only meals. But Daffy is able to get out of his contract as he finds out the dirty secret of the owner of the cereal company and uses it against him…the secret is that he eats another brand of cereal for breakfast! “Swamp Swap” Daffy is upset as the lake is now filled with swimmers and fishermen and he decides to find a new place to relax and that is a near by swamp. Once at the swamp he finds Elmer Fudd is there and is fishing and the two go back and fourth as Daffy ends up stealing food and now has to work it off by steering the boat, but after an accident the boat sinks and Daffy has to pull Elmer on a raft while he still fishes. “Just Plumb Daffy” A stamp collection worth thousands of dollars is saved by Daffy Duck and his monkey assistant M.W as they are plumbers and by doing this they get a big front page article in the newspaper. A criminal tricks Daffy to help him break into a house and search pipes for a coin collection, but when Daffy figures it out he and M.W alert the homeowner and stop the theft.

Daffy Duck as always brings us four more zany tales of silliness and like all before is a good kid comic read that brings the Looney Tunes world to the comic pages, and I do need to say that I feel as if they do an alright job at doing so…but the characters like Daffy and the others also do not 100% feel and act like the cartoon versions as these ones are way more friendly and Daffy is far less crazy and is really more about eating lots of food. And with this being a kids comic Elmer Fudd does not have his trusty shotgun and does a lot of kicking when it comes to getting Daffy Duck out of his way. And it’s also odd while characters are annoyed with each other they all also come off as if they are friends. And that’s the one thing about these Looney Tunes comics from the 60’s and 70’s they really are good kid friendly reads with characters that most of us grew up watching and while its not 100% like the cartoons they have a very familiar feel that makes them very much enjoyable to read. My lest favorite story in this issue was a hard one to choose as I enjoyed them all but the weakest of the stories is “Breakfast Blahs” as while it is entertaining the payout at the end is weak of the boss eating another brand of cereal is his dark secret. My favorite from this issue is “Swamp Swap” as I like the idea of Daffy and Elmer on a swamp trying to fish and run into issue with a ranger as well as Daffy’s hungry that causes them wreck a boat! The art as always in this series is done by an Unknown Artist and its good classic kids comic art and they character look like they should. The cover is good and has Daffy annoying Elmer and this act at least happens in two of the stories, even if it’s not the same way shown on the cover. Over all a great read and any of these comics are must have stuff for fans of Daffy Duck and Looney Tunes in general.

Daffy Duck 136 Comic

Daffy Duck # 136  **1/2
Released in 1981      Cover Price .50      Whitman     # 136 of 145

“Demolition Duck” has Daffy Duck working for the demolition track as a janitor and after moping the floors in drivers dressing room the demolition derby champion trips and injures his back and Daffy is forced to take his place in the derby and wins it all. “Super Salesman” has Daffy selling Elmer Fudd a trick door that is suppose to scare unwanted guests away, and when Elmer buys it he chases off a game show worker that could have won him lots of money and of course Elmer is mad at Daffy! “Armchair Daffy’s Dilemma” has Armchair Daffy on a case when a Crime Boss goes after him for getting his gang all locked up, and he even messes with Daffy’s chair in order to get him out of the way so he can try and breakout his gang. But in the end it back fires and the chair ends up capturing Crime Boss and putting him behind bars. “Striking It Rich” Daffy sells out of pans in the Wild West due to a gold rush but a pair of robbers steal all of Daffy’s money as well as his donkey’s gold tooth! And both are not happy and once they find the robbers they get the money back and the donkey strikes gold and becomes super rich as due to his tooth he is sensitive to gold and that allows him to find it easy. “Ambition Nutrition” Daffy Duck is so lazy that his pond land is littered with trash and Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig and Petunia Pig try and ask him to clean it up and they can not get him to do so, the three end up going to a local scientist who makes a salt that will motivate who ever eats it and after tricking Daffy into using the salt on hamburgers he uses to much and is super motivated that he cleans the pond and turns it into a tourist attraction! But it’s noisy and annoying for all the neighbors and once Daffy gets lazy again when the salt wears off and Elmer, Porky and Pentunia decide to clean the pond themselves as a motivated Daffy is dangerous.

Daffy Duck is still going strong as this is another fun issue that as always takes Daffy on so many zany adventures and has him involved in some goofy moments. Plus this issue brings on the cameos from other Looney Tunes characters like Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd and Petunia Pig and they are used well as neighbors and friends of Daffy who are annoyed with his laziness. The best story in this issue is Demolition Duck as I like the idea of Daffy by accident hurting the Demolition Derby champ and having to take his place in order for the fans not to riot and ends up beating a challenger as well as win the event! My least favorite story is sadly Armchair Daffy’s Dilemma as the Crime Boss of Crime Co. is cool but also the story of his capture and being a thorn very briefly in Daffy’s side just is a little weak and I hate that Armchair Daffy is the weakest story again. The cover of Daffy holding onto a flying toy is cool and eye catching but as always has zero to do with any of the stories inside the issue. The Unknown Artist interior art is good and like I have said before captures the characters pretty well. So with that lets get to the next issue and see what Daffy has in store for us.

Daffy Duck 137 Comic

Daffy Duck # 137  **1/2
Released in 1981     Cover Price .50    Whitman     # 137 of 145

“The Flying Detective” Armchair Daffy is back and this time is on the case of trying to stop a pair of thieves who have a flying car, and sadly the armchair can not keep up! So Daffy adds on wings and makes his armchair fly, but did not count on rain clouds that makes the armchair fall apart, but thanks to the springs from the chair Daffy bounces up and tags a ride with the car. And after shooting the robbers in the eyes with onion juice Daffy delivers them to the police. And in the end uses the reward money to rebuild his armchair this time with wings and an umbrella. “Eskimo Daffy” in this one Daffy is an ice cream man and an accident puts his igloo shaped cart into the water and people of the town think that he is from the North Pole and throw a big feast in his honor, but when his secret is exposed that he is just an ice cream man, Daffy is forced to run out of town and when doing so he and his cart crash into a limo that ends up saving the life of the Mayor as the rail sign was not working and the limo would have been smashed by the train! And Daffy then returns to the town as a hero and is selling tons of ice cream. “The Raindance Kid” has Daffy Duck as a pot and pan salesman in the old west and most towns are mad at him as his wagon makes all kinds of noise, but soon Daffy finds out that his banging of the pans causes rain and while in a town suffering from a drought he makes it rain and it will not stop and now the town wants him dead as the streets are flooding and the roofs are leaking! But when they soon find that the rain is causing gold to come up they forgive Daffy and end up buying all his pots and pans to capture the rain from the leaky roofs and to carry their gold. “Beaver Fever” has Yosemite Sam on the hunt for beavers as if he captures and kills them he can sell the fur for $30.00 each! So he sets some traps and Daffy Duck is here to save them as he uses Sam’s own trap against him and the beavers build a dame that sweeps his house away.

This Daffy Duck has four stories as well as two small one page gags given us a lot of Daffy for very small pocket change! Daffy in this issue once more is a duck of all trades as he is a rainmaker, an animal savior, an ice cream salesmen and a detective! The best story in this batch for me is The Raindance Kid as I like the idea of Daffy in the wild west and with his pans he is able to make it rain, very silly stuff and plus I am a fan of rain so Daffy being the bringer of it is silly funny to me. My least favorite is Beaver Fever just a middle of the road story and pretty gruesome for a kids comic ad Yosemite Sam wants to murder a whole family of beavers to skin them…pretty gross stuff for what is pretty much a light hearted comic issue. I also need to say I do enjoy reading the cases of Armchair Daffy as well as he is like a very lazy version of Sherlock Holmes, but yet is also very inventive when using his chair and making upgrades and repairs to it. Interior art is done by Unknown Artist and is good as always, and the cover is good and kind of at least fits the Wild West feel of one of the stories. Over all a great issue in the Daffy Duck comic series and had many enjoyable tales to share.

Daffy Duck 139 Comic

Daffy Duck # 139  **1/2
Released in 1982     Cover Price .60      Whitman     # 139 of 145

“The Missing Moosehead” Armchair Daffy gets a case that takes him to a mansion where a mounted moosehead as well as a late night snack has gone missing! And as the owner goes to sleep Daffy sits guard and ends up finding a secret door and that the previous owner of the house is living in the walls as he is sad to have lost him mansion. In the end the new owner allows the old owner to live in the mansion as well and Daffy takes the moose head as payment. “The Clang-Bang Day” Tin Pan Daffy is arrested for all the noise his pots and pans are making as this old west town likes it quite, but also thrown into jail is a banker who has been stealing and hiding money from the safe. A pair of crooks bust Daffy out of jail thinking he is the banker and force him to show them were the money is hidden, and after leading them around he ends up using his pots to capture them and also uses the noise of his wares to annoy the banker who tells them were the money is hidden and leaves the town a hero. “Airmail Mallard” Elmer Fudd hires Daffy to deliver a poem to the wrong lady and after a second try he looses the letter and ends up writing a bad poem that coasts Elmer a date! But it works out for Elmer when he wins a free trip and Daffy is then paid to house sit and while there can eat all the food in the refrigerator. “Migration Tribulation” Daffy is flying across the ocean and is getting tired when he gets involved in hijinks as two pirates are in a sub and Yosemite Sam is on his ship hunting whales. But in the end Daffy gets both ships sunk and uses the sail to glade across the ocean. “Deputy Daffy” in this adventure Daffy becomes a Junior Deputy and annoys the town as well as Elmer Fudd, but when Fudd is robbed its Daffy who stops the crook and by the end Daffy becomes a Detective.

Well this is the final issue of Daffy Duck I have and I must say that this issue as well as all the others covered here on this update are just as fun as I remember them being from my youth growing up reading them. The thing about Daffy Duck as well as all the other Looney Tune characters is that they make great comic book characters as well and that is why they still make comic appearances from time to time as Warner Brothers and DC Comics both seem to agree. In these Gold Key and Whitman Comics they do a pretty good job of capturing the nature of Daffy from the cartoons but they do play down is zany crazy nature and add more of a food obsession to him and I get it as the comics needed to be a little more simple for young readers. And while Daffy is different from cartoon to comic he still is very much fun. The best story in this issue has to be The Missing Moosehead as this Armchair Daffy adventure is silly and has a haunted house feel and seeing the panel of Daffy zooming around the mansion in his armchair was great stuff. My least favorite story in this issue is Migration Tribulation as the story is weak, the payout bland and is a short filler story for sure. The cover is very cool on this issue and has Daffy being fired out of a circus cannon and he is scaring Elmer Fudd who is selling popcorn. The interior art is done by Unknown Artist again and is good stuff and fitting for this comic series and they do a good job of making all the Looney Tune Characters look like they should. Over all these Daffy Duck comics are great reads and if you are a fan of Daffy and enjoy reading comic books you should check these out as they are Daffy adventures that put him into more goofy situations than the cartoons ever did. Checkout the art below to see the work of the Unknown Artist and the style used to bring Daffy alive in these classic comics.

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Daffy Duck truly is one of my all time favorite Looney Tunes characters and while his comics are not 100% like the character they are still great reads that really made me flashback to being a kid and reading them when I was a youngster. And while these Daffy Duck comics might not be the most amazing cartoon based comics you will ever read, they are entertaining and bring Daffy into adventures the cartoons would not take him on, in fact almost all of the Dell/Gold Key/Whitman comics based on Looney Tune characters are worth reading. Showcasing Daffy Duck was a great way to spend one of Rotten Ink’s 10 Year Anniversary updates with as Daffy really was a big part of my life growing and needed to be apart of the fun. And our next update takes us into the world of Jack “The King” Kirby and his DC Comics creation The Sandman, one that should be a blast to talk about. So until next time, read a Looney Tune comics or three, watch a cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a chat in the dream world…or is that nightmare world.

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80’s Fantasy Unleashed: Clash Of The Titans (1981)

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and our third update for my blog’s 10 Year Anniversary. For this one I want to take a look at one of my favorite fantasy films based on myth and folklore and that’s the 1981 film Clash Of The Titans! This is a film that I grew up watching and even had the action figures from Mattel.  It was a staple of movie watching at our house in my youth and this is one update that I have been looking forward to since I started Rotten Ink all those years back and now for this big anniversary, it’s time to finally cover it as it’s long overdue. And I think kids of the 80’s and 90’s will really love this one as I am sure it will bring back lots of memories, so with that, let’s go on an epic quest with Perseus and Pegasus and try and save the day by bringing you one epic update

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The first thing I would like to do is take a moment to really showcase the 1981 film Clash Of The Titans as sadly many younger readers might only know the 2012 remake film that is not even in the same league as the original. Plus for many of you, just sitting back and reading about the classic film might feel you with nostalgia like it did for me writing about it. So I will be taking the film’s write up from our friends at IMDB, and from there, I will write about the film’s production and then my thoughts and connection to the film. So with that, let’s get to Clash Of The Titans, one of the many great fantasy films from the 80’s.

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Clash Of The Titans (1981)

“Perseus is the favored son of the god Zeus, but he has unwittingly ticked off the sea goddess Thetis. Just to make things worse, Perseus falls in love with the lovely Princess Andromeda, who used to be engaged to Thetis’ son, Calibos. Soon Perseus is off on one quest after another, with Zeus helping, Thetis hindering, and lots of innocent bystanders getting stabbed, drowned, and squished.”

Fantasy films were very popular at the cinema in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Script writer Beverley Cross had an idea for a film that would be called Clash of The Titans, and he wanted a rating that would allow young and old to enjoy his adventure masterpiece. But many changes had to be made to the script before it could get a softer rating: removing nudity from the character Andromeda, the Kraken killing the flying horse Pegasus as well as part of the fight between our hero Perseus and the creature man Calibos. And once the script was green lit, stop motion effects master Ray Harryhausen was brought on board to create the creatures as well as co-produce the film and would retire shortly after the film’s release. While films like Star Wars, Star Trek The Motion Picture and Superman had newer state of the art effects, Clash Of The Titans relied on the more classic effects of cinema that was made popular in the 1933 film King Kong. The film had a rocky start when it came to distribution as Columbia Pictures was originally on board but dropped the film due to the budget being too high for them to want to invest. Then Orion Pictures wanted them to have bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger to play the lead. He was coming off the films Hercules In New York and Pumping Iron, but the film’s producer rejected this so they had to try MGM who ended up liking what they read and saw of Ray’s creatures and the film found its home with MGM even giving more money to get more cast added. Many name actors and up and coming ones were brought into play parts in the film with Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier and Ursula Andress playing lead roles and director Desmond Davis was selected by producer Charles H. Schneer to helm the film as he had history of working on period pieces. The film was shot in many locations like England, Italy and Gozo and was a very normal filming production for the time. Once done, composer Laurence Rosenthal was brought in to score the film, and it was released to theaters on June 12, 1981. Clash Of The Titans would bring in $41,092,328.00 at the American box office and would be ranked # 11 for the year and would gross more then such films as Tarzan The Ape Man, The Fox And The Hound, Excalibur, The Great Muppet Caper, An American Werewolf In London, Halloween II, Escape From New York, Friday The 13th Part 2, Mommie Dearest, The Howling, Caveman and The Legend Of The Lone Ranger to name a few. The film was mostly met with positive reviews from both film critics and viewers and has become a classic film over the years. The film went on to be released on cable TV as well as on home media and is well watched and loved to this day.

Clash Of The Titans is a film that I can remember my brother seeing first at school and rushing home to tell me how awesome it was, and a short time later I remember seeing it on TV and being drawn into the adventure it brought to the screen. As a kid I was always very much into mythology and the Greek and Roman ones captured by imagination and films like Clash Of The Titans helped fuel that love. The classic story of an epic quest to save the day as well as help a ladylove is stuff of classic fables and is why films like Clash Of The Titans, Beastmaster, Legend, Krull, Excalibur, Lady Hawk, Robin Hood and so many other films in the fantasy genre are some of my favorite films from my youth. I can also remember first time I saw the film on VHS and not on TV, I was mesmerized by the fact that the film had brief nudity and also just how awesome the effects are in the film as all of the monsters and strange characters look so cool and nothing can beat the effects of such an icon of movie special effects and that is of course Ray Harryhausen. While I liked the characters of Perseus, Medusa, The Kraken, Zeus and Princess Andromeda, my favorites as a kid were Calibos, Bubo and Thallo who I always felt was one of the film’s unsung heroes who is loyal to his kingdom and to protect the princess and when he died in the film, it held a big impact. I also remember reading the novel adaptation when I was a youngster and had many of the toys, but more on that later. Say what you will, but the 1981 version of Clash Of The Titans is one of the best fantasy films of the 1980’s and is one that I feel everyone should at least see once just for the effects alone. Really do yourself a favor and go and buy a copy of this film on VHS, DVD or Blu-Ray and sit back and enjoy the epic ride.

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The creatures of Clash Of The Titans are very epic as the main baddy is Calibos who was turned into a devilish looking satyr by Zeus, and besides his monstrous appearances, he is very sinister and sets up schemes and evil plots. For some reason his look always reminded me of the gargoyle leader played by Bernie Casey from the 1972 made for TV film Gargoyles. Calibos is a great movie villain and one of my favorites from the film as he just is so selfish and sinister. Another of the great monsters of Clash Of The Titans is Medusa who is half snake and half human woman who has crawling snakes as hair and whose stare will turn any man into stone. She is a character from classic Greek mythology and her appearance in this film is fantastic as Ray Harryhausen did a great job designing and bringing her to life on the big screen. And the big monster attraction of this movie of course is the monster of the sea The Kraken who wants to kill our film’s leading lady and is a truly sinister creature who kills with no remorse and keeps a whole city gripped in fear. While most reports of what a Kraken should look like is that of a giant squid, Ray Harryhausen made it more look like a Kaiju monster straight out of the world of King Kong or Godzilla films. And these three are only some of the monsters and creatures of the film as we also have the winged horse Pegasus, the two headed guard dog Dioskilos, a giant scorpion, the skeleton boatman Charon of the river Styx, a giant vulture, the three blind Stygian Witches and even the tiny golden robot owl Bubo. This movie has all types of cool creatures and horror themed baddies to make for a great watch for Monster Kids from all ages.

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When I was a kid, Mattel was one of the biggest toy companies only rivaled by Kenner and Hasbro and in 1980 they decided to make action figures based on Clash Of The Titans with four figures around 3 ¾” tall, Perseus, Calibos, Thallo and Charon. And a figure of Pegasus and The Kraken was also made with The Kraken being a rare figure these days that fetches a good amount of money on the second hand market. Growing up my brother and I owned many of these figures. We had several Thallo as we would find him at garage sales all the time and would buy him and we also had Perseus and Pegasus and I can remember them all being on the side of good in my toy wars and teaming with Star Wars Jedi Luke Skywalker and G.I. Joe leader Duke. As I got older I was able to find Calibos and Charon at local comic shops and now have them in my toy collection. And sadly I have never owned The Kraken even though I have seen it for sale at local comic shops as well as at toy conventions, but the price is always super high. And after all these years, I still own the figures minus Pegasus who sadly broke when I was a kid as he was made of cheap plastic and cracked. These figures are super cool and fans of this film series should track them down and add them to your figure collection. And for those wonder my favorite figure of this series is Calibos with Perseus not too far behind in second. And no, the pictures below are not from my collection.

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Besides the very cool Mattel action figures, many other cool merchandise was and has been released based on Clash Of The Titans that include a lunch box, comic book, t-shirts, posters, the soundtrack, novelization of the film, stickers, lobby cards, magnets, magazines and of course fan art. And for me the novel and soundtrack were must-have stuff and I have played tracks off the soundtrack on the radio show Alpha Rhythms. So again if you are a fan, there is lots of really cool stuff out there for you to collect.

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Clash Of The Titans was always a film that was popular at our house when I was growing up as it was a great adventure with some great monsters and brought the classic stories of Greece to the big screen. And with that said, it’s also very cool that Golden Book decided to bring the film to the world of comics, just like they did with Gremlins another from them we have covered here on Rotten Ink some years back. And also I have to say that with Clash Of The Titans I have two copies of this comic book thanks to a vendor at Monster Bash Convention as well as Game Swap Kettering, so a big thanks to them for making this update possible. I would like 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that, let’s have Golden Book unleash The Kraken!

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Clash Of The Titans # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1981     Cover Price $2.50       Golden Book      # 1 of 1

King Acrisius of Argos has angered Zeus when the King has placed a woman and her baby son Perseus into a wooden box and had them thrown into the ocean. And for this crime against the Gods, Zeus orders Poseidon to unleash a terrible storm as well as the last of the Titans, The Kraken, on the city as he wants them all dead…and the deed is done. And some time later Perseus and his mom are discovered and spend their lives in a new village and Zeus watches with pride as Perseus is really his son. But one goddess Thetis is not happy as Zeus has turned her son Calibos into a monster after he has hunted down and killed all the winged horses besides one named Pegasus, and this curse makes it so he can not marry princess Andromeda due to his monstrous look, but yet has given Perseus everything. When Zeus is away, Thetis sends Perseus to the city of Joppa that is very dangerous, and when finding out Zeus asks his fellow goddesses for help and they make his magical and powerful tools like a sword, helmet and shield. While in Joppa he also befriends the old poet Ammon who is watching after him and knows who he is. While in town Perseus meets Thallo, a royal guard who tells him that death comes to those who wish to win the hand of the princess Andromeda but cannot answer the riddle put before them, and just like that Perseus puts on the helmet and sneaks into the castle and watches as a giant Vulture takes the spirit of the princess away as he body remains on the bed. The next day Perseus and Ammon come up with a plan in order for our hero to follow the vulture to the lair of Calibos who they know is the one doing this to her. In order to fly, Perseus tames and rides Pegasus and follows the vulture that night to the swamps where he hears the answer to the riddle and also has a fight with Calibos who ends up getting his hand chopped off and later begs his mom to help him get revenge, but Perseus loses his magical helmet in the swamp. Perseus solves the riddle and on his wedding night, the goddess Thetis gets angry and curses Andromeda that she has to be sacrificed to The Kraken and if they do not the Titan will destroy all of Joppa! So now Perseus along with Thallo, Ammon, Andromeda, Guards and a robotic owl named Bubo begins a quest to find a way to stop The Kraken once and for all! Along the way Perseus gets the all seeing-eye from the Stygian Witches. He travels the River Styx to the island of Medusa, fights her two headed guardian Dioskilos, beheads Medusa to use her head to fight the Kraken but in the process loses his shield as well as many of his men. As Thallo and Perseus, sleep Calibos creeps into their camp and poke holes in the bag that holds Medusa’s head and her spilled blood turns into giant scorpions and sadly are defeated but not before killing Thallo and one other guard. But Perseus gets his revenge when he kills Calibos with a sword through his gut. In the end as Andromeda is chained to the cliff and The Kraken and Perseus appears riding Pegasus and uses the head of Medusa to turn The Kraken to stone and save the love of his life.

The first thing I need to say is that I really do think Golden Books did a great job of capturing the film Clash Of The Titans in this kid friendly comic book adaptation and while they cut some of the more racy and violent moments, they really do capture the adventure elements of the film well. The plot is that of a classic quest as our hero Perseus must find a way to defeat a massive Titan that is set to kill his bride all because a goddess is jealous of his attention from Zeus. Perseus is your classic hero who is the son of Zeus who is a skilled fighter, brave and true to who he is. He is willing to risk his life in order to fight for the life of his new wife the princess Andromeda, but to be fair during is very dangerous quest he does have the help of the gods. But over all a very great hero and the comic does him justice. Bubo The Golden Owl who was sent by the gods in order to help on the quest really is a hero as well as he is the one who finds the way, saves the head of Medusa from falling into the ocean and even brings Pegasus to Perseus to make the rescue in time. And sadly Thallo is down played in the comic as they only had so many pages, and it’s a shame as his death in the comic does not pack a punch at all. All the baddies do their part with Calibos being the biggest pain in the butt as he wants revenge and to deal death out to those he feels wronged him. The Kraken as well is pretty cool and does his damage to people and that is what he is a major danger…but I should also say so is Medusa who can turn people into stone as well as have poison arrows and blood. I really do feel that Golden Books did a great job with this comic, and I would have love to seen them continue making comics like this as they covered the ones that the other companies like Marvel and DC failed to do that really should have had comics. The cover for this comic is pretty eye catching and showcases the classic painting as well as promo pictures from the movie, and I am sure if you were a fan of this film this would have gotten your attention. The interior art is done by Dan Spiegle and is simple and yet really great and reminds me of the adaptations done by companies like Gold Key and Dell Comics, and I feel his art for the monsters is great and who ever also did the coloring deserves praise. Over all if you love Clash Of The Titans you should check this Golden Book Comic out as it is very much worth reading. Check out the artwork of Spiegle below to see his style.

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Before I wrap up this update, I would like to touch on the “What If” of other films that Golden Books could have made into these comic book graphic novels that would have been awesome to have in the world. I am sure remember you long time readers know that Golden also gave Gremlins the comic treatment as we covered it back in 2016 and you can read that one HERE. Let’s take a look at the years 1980-1985 and choose some films that fit the kid friendly nature of Golden as well as ones that did not get the attention of other comic companies going at the time. So for me these could have and should have gotten the Golden Book treatment: The Beastmaster (1982), The Last Unicorn (1982), The Secret Of NIMH (1982), Hercules (1983), The NeverEnding Story (1984), Legend (1985) and The Peanut Butter Solution (1985) and if they went a little into the PG era of horror since the 80’s was a hotbed for that genre I would say Poltergeist (1982), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and Cat’s Eye (1985) would have all been great picks to get the comic treatment and give readers something cool to go along with the films they enjoy. Again just imagine these as a What If, that sadly never happened.

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Clash Of The Titans is a great fantasy quest film that ended up getting the comic book treatment thanks to Golden Books. And if you have not seen Clash Of The Titans from 1981 make sure to give it a watch as it really is a fun film that has some really cool creatures in it and will surely deliver you with a few hours of entertainment. So for our next update, we are leaving Joppa and heading to Japan as we will be talking about Tomie one of my favorite Manga and Japanese horror films. So until next time read, a comic or three, watch a fantasy film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a truly scary update that will surely send shivers down your spine.

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Have Yourself A Very Mighty Max Christmas!

Merry Christmas Eve! I am sure you are like me and are shocked about how fast 2021 has flown by, and after the terrible 2020 I think we are all just happy to have life back to somewhat normal. And like the updates before, for this countdown to Christmas Eve I decided to have some fun and take a look at a comic that was based on a toy series and cartoon from when I was a youngster, a toy that had many playsets released and all of them featured something like a monster, madman, alien and even dinosaurs…and I am talking about the one and only Mighty Max! It’s a very cool toy series that started in 1992 and spawned a cartoon, video games and more and helped bring tiny mini figures with playsets to the boys. And thanks to Game Players Comics, Mighty Max also got a comic book based around the toys, cartoon and video game! So if you are ready, grab some eggnog and let’s sit around the Christmas tree and wait for Santa while we talk of Mighv Max and his adventures in all things nostalgia.

Now let’s talk about the figures in the Mighty Max series as Bluebird really made these figures to cash in on their success with the Polly Pocket line that was super popular with young girls in the UK and later America. You see Bluebird started in 1980 as a toy company created by Torquil Norman with their first major hit being the “Big Yellow Teapot House.” While they had some major hits, by the mid 80’s they started to struggle and it was Polly Pocket that saved them from closing their doors! They had the girl market but they needed something to capture the boys, and that’s when they created Mighty Max in 1992. It was a major hit as it brought the tiny figure playset craze to kids who liked monsters and aliens. And this helped them even more stay afloat and many sets were released. Sadly by 1996 Mighty Max toys came to an end, and by 1998 Bluebird was bought out by Mattel who carried over many of the company’s toys. It’s crazy to think that Mighty Max was so popular when I was a kid and many of my friends had them, but now it’s unknown to modern kids! Growing up for some reason I never had any Mighty Max figures but I really wanted them and can remember seeing them on the shelves at Big Bear/Hearts, very cool figures and a great idea for kids to take on trips. I do remember my Mom saying that the figures were too little and we could lose them easy.

Following the success of the toys, Bluebird Toys teamed with Bohbot Entertainment to deliver to the fans a cartoon series that would follow Mighty Max, a young box who travels trough time to fight evil all the while being stalked by the henchmen of the sinister Skullmaster. During his adventures, Max makes friends with Virgil, a humanoid who has a fowl look, Norman a warrior who will protect Max with his own life as well as his family, friends and pet iguana named Thor. The cartoon was well liked by fans of the toys and brought a story and new characters into the Mighty Max universe with many of them making it into the toy series. But some parents were not as keen on the cartoon as it was filled with reference to death, characters died and at times it had a very grim outlook, and like all annoying parent groups, they had to complain and cause issues for the cartoon. But these sticks in the mud did not bring the toon down as it ran for 40 episodes and a total of 2 seasons. Episodes of the cartoon have been released on VHS and weirdly enough has never been released on DVD or Blu-Ray and no official release of the full series has ever been made. You can find the series on the Grey Market as well as episodes on YouTube.

Like any great toy and cartoon series from the 80’s and 90’s, Mighty Max got the video game treatment thanks to Ocean who delivered a fun side scrolling game for systems Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, heck even a Tiger Handheld game was made featuring Max having a pixel adventure! The cool thing about the SNES and Genesis release was that Ocean packed them each with a different VHS episode of the cartoon, making players get more bang for their money spent. I have played the Genesis version of this game as I can remember renting it from K&L Video many years after it was released. The Genesis game had you trying to fight and bring down the evil ways of the Skullmaster and was a pretty fun play. So if you are an old school gamer and enjoy the Mighty Max toys, I would say give the game a play. As far as the Tiger Handheld version, I am sure it plays just like every other Tiger game…and that is both a bad and amazing thing.

Plus like all good toys Mighty Max has had its fair share of other cool merchandise that includes comic magazines, posters, board games, card game, a puzzle and even his trademark red hat with the M was sold to fans! Max even had his fair share of bootleg merch showing and proving just how popular the character was around the world as fake stuff was being passed off to fans. Sadly I never had any of these cool items growing up, but as I have stressed before I wanted them! Oh I should also say that some of this merchandise was released overseas only like the comic magazines.

But in 2020 I finally cracked down and decided that I needed to collect the toys, keep reading for my collection breakdown, and man its going to be a long one. The first Mighty Max playset I want to chat about I own is called “Hammers Ax Man” and this one is really cool and plays up a slasher killer theme! The compacts look is that of a monster with green skin and wooden handles and a blade sticking out of his flesh! He has bloodshot eyes and purple teeth and looks like he is ready to eat your face off. It’s a medium sized playset and is called a Horror Heads release and is from the second series of the lines release. Below is a look at this playset closed and open that is from my collection, give it a look!

The top part of the set has a man chained to a wall and he looks super skinny and while I think he is alive, he could also be a zombie! It’s clear that he is in a dungeon and is being held captive by the sets bad guy and is clearly his next victim if Max fails to save him. The bottom part has a massive blade trap as well as a metal trigger that Max can set off to chop up the bad guy! Also there is a massive wooden pillar and almost all the floor and walls are green. A very cool over all set in the Mighty Max Horror Head series. Take a look below to see the layers of this playset.

The figures that came in the Hammers Ax Man set of course is Mighty Max who is in an almost flexing pose, and he has a goofy smirk on his face. And the sets bad guy is Ax Man aka Spike is a Viking warrior who was buried alive and has now returned with murder on his mind and is armed with an ax and a chainsaw! Very cool figures and Ax Man is badass and one of my favorite figures in the line! Check them out below.

Next lets take a look at the set called “Brain Face” and is from the Shrunken Head series and this set is a little different as its smaller and comes with only one figure and that’s Mighty Max who in this set is holding a pair of wire cutters as he will need those to bring down the playsets villain! The compact is a face one what looks like a surface of a brain and is a light green in color and he has bronze probes on his head and silver teeth! His eyes are red with his pupils being green. When opening the compact we get the sets bad guy who is called Brain Face and he is brownish in color and well has a brain for a head and is wearing a white lab coat as he was a scientist who’s experiment went wrong and now wants to use his knowledge in electricity to fry Max! A pretty cool bad guy and it’s a shame he is built into the set and never got his own mini figure. The bottom of the compact has a trap for Max that has wires connected to a metal floor plate. A pretty cool mini set that showcases a fun scenario for you to try and get Mighty Max to safety and stop the evil Brain Face from frying his brains with his trap. Check out the pictures below to see what this set looks like.

Next up lets take a look at the some of the mini figures I have and two of the loose figures I have are the good guys Norman the warrior who is rocking his green and grey armor and humanoid Virgil who has his purple robe on, these figures are really cool and where sold in figure packs that where tie-ins for the cartoon. These two are really great and if I were a kid they would have been helping Mighty Max on his adventures! Again I really wish I had got some of these when I was a kid. Take a look at Nathan and Virgil’s mini figures below.

The next playset we will take a look at is called “Totally Toy Holiday 93” and was a playset that was given away in McDonalds Happy Meals in 1993! This compact has the face of the Yeti on it and for a fast food toy the design is really cool and is the Yetis face! Once opened the top of the compact has two Yetis on ice and snow and hidden away is golden treasure. The bottom of the compact is Max and a massive Yeti surround by a blue ring of ice that appears to have eyes! This playset is also very different as its figures are both attached to the base as Max runs around the Yeti that’s in the middle. Max is very generic in appearance and is all yellow with a green cap on, while the Yeti is really cool and is all white with a snarl on his face. This is a really cool novelty item for fans of Mighty Max to add to their collection. Check out below to see what this Happy Meal toy set looks like.

I also have the set called “Battles Skull Warrior” and is a pretty cool little playset that’s compact show cases a weird green teethed mutant with a big green eye and a nose and a ears like a bat humanoid, he looks like a comic book bad guy! This is a medium size playset and is form the first set of Horror Heads line. This ones theme is a bounty hunter from space, so basically an alien attacks feel. This was one I was able to get off Ebay for a good price. Here is the compact closed as well as opened to show you the style of this set and what you had to work with during play.

The top part of the compact has gears and a platform for Max to stand on and with some skill you can remove the platform and make it into a flying board for Mighty Max or Skull Warrior to ride! The top part of this set is a little boring and is not all that exciting of a place for Max to battle Skull Warrior! The bottom of the compact is also not all that eye catching as its brown in color and just has a few broken robots on the ground, its clear that this set wants you to take the villain Skull Warrior and place him on his flying board and to chase Max outside of this so-so playset. To sum that up when closed the compact looks really cool…when opened its kind of bland. Check out below to see what the top and bottom halves look like.

The figures in this set is of course Mighty Max who is rocking a purple hat and has a really awkward side pose, but he does have his hands in fists so just looking for a reason to punch a baddie in their eye. The bad guy for the set is Skull Warrior a green skinned mutant cyborg bounty hunter from the Skull Territory who thinks Max is a fugitive and uses his sky board and his pistol to try and deal out intergalactic justice! Skull Warrior by all accounts sounds like a generic throwaway baddie, but I think his look helps bring him to the level of cool. Over all this is not my favorite set, but is a good one to own. Take a look at Skull Warrior and Max below.

The next Shrunken Head mini play set that I own is called “Vampyre” and the Mighty Max figure in this set is holding a massive wooden stake, he is a very cool figure for Max and breaks the norm of his generic posses. The compact has a purpled skinned, red-eyed vampire with bloody fangs! A cool little compact for fans of classic monsters like Dracula as if really does play up on the look of a vampire that we grew up with on cheap Halloween decorations. When opened the top part of the compact is our villain who is the vampire called Von Viesky who looks like Sesame Street character The Count strung out on blood from an addict! Really Von Viesky looks like a pissed off Muppet, and he is awesome for that reason! The bottom of the compact is an open grave, very spooky and once more packs that classic horror movie feel into it. Over all a cool tiny playset that youngsters and collectors of vampire and Dracula merchandise will love. Check out the pictures below to see Max and Von Viesky in all their tiny glory.

The next figures I have that I would like to take a look at is Skull Master and his evil fire henchman! For those who do not know Skull Master is the main villain of Mighty Max and is a super bad guy who wants nothing more than to kill Max! Skull Master’s figure is pretty cool and has him wearing a purple cape and looks like he is ready to jump out and scare anyone foolish enough to enter his Mountain base. He is a living skeleton as well and was created for the cartoon and latter shows up in the play sets as seen here with this figure. I also have one of Skull Master’s Orange Lava Henchmen who is pretty dang cool as he has a sword and shield and is ready to slash Max’s head off! Check out the figures below and see these two villains.

I also have another of the McDonalds Happy Meal Mighty Max releases and this one is called “Totally Toy Holiday 95” and this one is pretty cheesy and hands down the worst of the Mighty Max play sets! The compact has a cool look as it is a blue ice skeleton and really does have a cold horror look to it. The compacts upper layer has nothing, and the bottom has our figures that are built into the set and is an ice maze that has a bottom pit that is filled with stolen Christmas gifts! Mighty Max is in a running pose with as cheesy smile on his face, and also features Ice Creatures that are the sets villains. Over all this one is just kind of blah and wish they would have had mini figures and not things built into the toy. Check it out below and see it in all its lameness!

The next major set and in my opinion one of the most iconic in the series we will be looking at is called “Escapes From Skull Dungeon” and is from series one of the toys. The compact looks like a giant skull with sharp fangs, has one red bared out eye with the other being a yellow and red in color. The color of the skull is grey and looks like concrete and it also has the Mighty Max classic MM logo on its forehead! A very cool looking set and really has a creepy Halloween horror look to it. The theme of the set is Mad Scientist in a creepy castle dungeon and surly is inspired by classic Universal Monster films. Check out the over all look of this set below and see how cool it is, oh yeah and the jaw of the skeleton also opens!

The top inside of the compact has many levels with the top being a study that is filled with a desk, books and lab stuff, the next level has a hidden door as well as a skeleton chained to the wall, and the final level has stairs that lead up stairs as well as the front door. The bottom of the compact is the lab that has electronic equipment as well as the table for the Monster as well as levers and desks. I am missing two parts of this set and it the two rods that go next to the table. Over all a very simple and affective design for this play set that really does bring a classic monster feel to the toy series.

The three figures in this set include of course Mighty Max who is rocking a blue cap, has big bug eyes and is given the arms up victory pose like he just ate a bowl of Wheaties. The bad guys of the set are Dr. Gore a mad scientist who has a hunchback and is wearing a white lab coat, the other is a green skinned Frankenstein’s Monster looking creature that is named Smasher! The figures are really cheap looking and not as detailed as the figures in later sets but this lack of detail also gives them some charm. Check out the picture below to see what the figures look like.

The next Shrunken Head mini play set I want to talk about from my collection is called “Head Case” and the compact has a melted zombie look with two shades of green and purple skin with an eyeball out of socket. When opened the top of the set has the villain known as Dr. Toxin standing among lab items, he looks like a melted green skin zombie, as he loves toxic chemicals! Max from this set is holding a flamethrower and looks like he knows that he is going to torch Dr. Toxin and still have time to go to McDonalds for a kids meal! This Max figure is really cool and one of the best in the series and Dr. Toxin is a great looking villain who reminds me of the 80’s film Return Of The Living Dead! Very cool set and make sure to give it a look below.

The next solo figure I want to showcase is a very cool one as it’s a double-headed orange dragon that was apart of the “Trapped In Skull Mountain” play set! This figure is really cool as beside having orange skin and two heads he also has green eyes and is looking for Max so he can end his adventures once and for all! This was a must have figure for me when I started my Mighty Max collection, check him out below.

Next up is another from the Horror Head series and was called “Survives Corpus” and has a cemetery theme! The front of the compact has two openings and has a face of a zombie with green goo coming out of his noise and worms coming out of his eyes and crack in his skull. The face also has tan skin and brown metal plates screwed into his skull. He also has a weird purple color around one of his eyes and crack in his skull! This one has a creepy look to it and is pretty dang cool over all, check out the pictures below and see what I mean about its creepy cemetery vibe. Wait now looking at it again it also has a generic b-movie Frankenstein’s Monster look as well!

The top part of the compact is a creepy stairwell with a tiny door, boards, a green goblin head, a torch and lots of skulls and bones. This is clearly the steps that lead to our bottom part of the compact that is a crypt! In the crypt are some bones that have been left behind as well as an old wooden coffin that is broken and busted! This graveyard theme is very classic and creepy and will remind you of classic horror movies as well as Halloween ghost stories. Check out below to see this play set open!

This play set as well came with three figures with one being Mighty Max of course with this figure having him rocking a red cap and a weird stance! The bad guys are Mort The Gravedigger a short chubby guy with a shovel who likes to dig up bodies, as well as a massively tall zombie who wants to drag the living into the grave with him. Great figures for Mort and the Zombie as he looks great with purple skin and red eyes! I will say the Max of this set is just ok…but give them a look below!

Let’s take a look at another Shrunken Head set I own, this one is called “Mummy King” and the compact is a purple skinned Mummy with brown wrappings and blood shot eyes and reminds me of old Halloween decorations in appearance. When the compact is open the top part is the bad guy mummy named Thanatos who is in pyramid and is standing with a snake and scorpion and has a true undead look to his face! The bottom of the compact has sand and some treasure and has a very generic Egyptian horror look. The Mighty Max figure of this set is pretty cool and has him holding a torch and ready to use it to not only light his way but also to also use it against the Mummy, snake and scorpion! A very cool set that features a classic monster, check out the pics below and see what this set looks like.

Next up let’s take a look at another loose figure from my collection and it’s from the “Skull Mountain” play set and his name is Rock Monster and he is a henchman of Skullmaster! He is made of solid rock and wants nothing more to bring down Mighty Max and will do whatever it takes to do so! This figure is really cool and has red eyes and looks super mean! Hands down this was a must have figure for me to add to my collection.

The next play set I have is called “Trapped By Arachnoid” and is from series one Doom Zone set! The compact of this set when closed looks like a massive spider with six green eyes, a furry back complete with a batch of purple spider eggs, has two fangs and eight legs. It also has the massive MM (Mighty Max) logo as well. A great and creepy looking compact that surly fits the mood and style of this toy series. This is another of the sets I remember the most being on toy shelves as well as friends having on the playground, with Escapes From Skull Dungeon being the biggest one from my childhood. Give it a look below and see how cool and creepy it is.

When open the top part of the compact has lab equipment that is also covered with purple webs as well as skulls, also a massive circle window is present. Clearly this is where the sets villain does his evil deeds. The bottom of the compact has a stone floor that has well has bones as well as a purple teleporter and a small web cage. Also some blood splatter covers the floors showing that many of people have lost their lives in this lab. A great looking set that fits the theme of this release.

The three figures of this set are of course Mighty Max who in this set is rocking a blue cap and has a go-getter pose, very fun and cheesy Max figure for sure. Next up is Arachnoid a four armed, green-eyed spider person mad scientist, he is pretty dang cool and a great bad guy for this set and he reminds me of a monster from a 50’s sci-fi film. And last is Creep a massive spider and creation of Arachnoid who is also like his bloodthirsty pet! This really is an amazing set with some great figures and leads to some great adventures you could have with Max.

Let’s take a look at another Shrunken Head set I have that’s called “Rat Trap” and sadly is one of my least favorite mini sets I own as it over all feels very lazy. The compact when closed does look great, as it’s a yellowed sharp toothed, dark purple furred rat with red and silver eyes with a patch of red fur on his forehead. When opened we get a look at the sets bad guy the giant rat himself Rat Trap who is standing on a silver shelf and looks awkward and poorly thought out, one of the worst bad guys in the Shrunken Head sets. The bottom of the compact has a dirty floor and is ok looking and the Mighty Max figure of this set is also pretty cool as he his holding a lantern and a sword! So what the best thing about this set being is the Max figure and the compact when closed…the main villain and the rest are at the bottom of the barrel in the Mighty Max world.

Next up I want to take a look at some more loose figures I own and these figure are from the “Takes On Terror Talons” large play set that sadly I don’t own fully. I have from this set Space Aliens # 1-4 with each having their own look and Space Alien # 2 being my favorite as he has a sharp yellow teethed grin! Alien # 3 and 4 are small red guys and are pretty dang cool with one being dinosaur like. Very cool figures and check them out bellow.

The next Horror Head set I will be looking at from my collection is called “Defeats Vamp Biter” and is a creature themed set. When closed the compact has the appearance of a massive grinning bat with razor sharped teeth and red eyes, to be honest he is very menacing looking and a very frightful looking playset. The ears of the bat for this compact are also made up from the bad guy figure from this set. This is a great looking set that once more almost has a classic Halloween feel to it. This is a medium sized set and features two figures so take a look below to see just how cool this set is.

The top of the compact when opened not only acted as a perch for the massive bat, but also has stones, slime and stairs. The bottom of the compact is rocky and has bats as well as a pool of blood! Very cool and fitting for the style of this playset and is what I would imagine a lair of a giant bat would look like! A very cool compact for this set and makes good use of the medium size.

This play set comes with two figures with one of course being Mighty Max and this time around he is rocking a blue hat and a stance that makes it look like he is going to punch you in the face! The sets baddie is the giant bat that is called Nightwing and this massive guy is looking super mean and is flashing a sinister grin with a mouth full of teeth! And his backstory is that Nightwing is not only a blood drinker but also is super smart! While only consider a minor villain Nightwing really is a cool looking bad guy!

Next I want to take a look at a single figure I have and that’s Lava Lord who was from the “Blasts Magus” set and to be honest is the second biggest villain in the world of Mighty Max as he was once a minion who rises up with a goal to overthrow Skullmaster and be the one to capture and kill Mighty Max! Lava Lord is a cool looking figure and is lumpy and red and green in color and looks mean and ready to smash the face of Max, check him out below.

I want to next take a look at another medium sized Horror Head set I own that’s called “Pulverizes Sea Squirm” and this is a cool ocean monster compact when closed and like before the bad guy figures help bring the look of the compact complete making up the creatures tongues, eyes, horns and nose! The blue color of the compact is also very eye catching and to be honest when seeing Mighty Max sets used at toy and comic stores around here in Ohio this is the one I have seen the most showing that it had to be a big seller and a well liked one among Max fans. Check out the pictures below to see what this set looks like closed as well as opened.

When open the top part of the compact showcases a underwater cave look with some sea creatures around the walls, nothing to special and a little bland in look but fitting for the set. The bottom of the compact is like the bottom of the oceans floor and has shells, bones, sea creatures, an anchor, slime and a treasure chest all things you would surly find one any water based floor bed! I like the treasure chest as kids could use it as to the main reason of why Max is wondering around in the water. This set is well thought out and while not the flashiest or even the coolest set in the series it’s a solid one with a basic and yet super fitting design.

The Pulverizes Sea Squirm set comes with three figures with one being our main man and hero Max and in this set he is rocking a green hat and is standing looking like he is scared our of his mind, I am guessing he is scared of drowning as he is not wearing any diving equipment and is probably wondering why he has made such a poor life choice. The first of the sets villains is the black and blue skinned, red teethed Sea Serpent a wicked creatures that wants to kill the foolish Max for entering his watery home. And the sets main baddie is the massive Krillor that rocks blood stained claws and bright red eyes who is the protector of this cave as well as the watery graveyard…so you can see he wants to kill Max cause he is in the cave with the idea of stealing money and jewels from the treasure chest that belongs to those who are buried there…in other words Max is being a real drag! Check out the pictures below to see what they all look like.

Another of the Horror Head Series I have is called “Hounds Werewolf” that is really cool as I am a massive fan of werewolves in pop culture and Horror. The compact when closed is a werewolf face that has red eyes, yellow teeth and blood coming from his mouth. The ears of the werewolf is made up from the wings of the sets bad guy figures and he has like a purple/grey fur and this is a really cool looking set. Take a look at the pictures below to see the Werewolf in all his glory as well as open so you can see it fully as it has a kind of castle theme.

Once open the top part of the compact you see grey stones, green stairs, an iron gate as well as a dead rotten tree and a tombstone. Some of the stones at the top also have blood splatter on them and this has a classic spooky Horror vibe. The bottom part of the compact has more grey stones as well as more graves with one cross tombstone being broken and on the floor. Also a gold iron cage is present as is more blood splatter. This really is a cool playset and has lots of danger for Mighty Max to face.

The Hounds Werewolf set comes with three mini figures with one being our hero Mighty Max himself, this Max is rocking a red cap and is in a flexing pose like he is showing off his massive muscles…that he has none of. The other two figures are the Horror Hounds a pair of winged purple skinned wolves that are ready to attack and maul our hero. The Horror Hounds are cool and help make the ears of the werewolf compact, but I do wish they would have just had a normal werewolf in the set and not these winged hounds. Check out the pictures bellow to see them in all their glory.

Ok this is getting out of hand as you readers and friends can see I went on a Might Max shopping spree so I am only going to cover one more from my collection and its my favorite and is from the Doom Zone sets…and this one is called “Tangles With The Ape King” and is hands down one kick butt set! The compact when closed is a very angry looking gorilla who has black fur, purple skin and blood on his fangs! Truly a menacing looking creature who plays on the old Jungle Adventure movie vibe. The set when open as well has a great jungle them and really is one of my top picks when it comes to Mighty Max sets!

When opened the top part of this set features green thick vines, a golden cage, bottles and even shrunken heads! A part of the vines also swings out and make a platform for some of the figures to stand on, this is really well done and designed. The bottom of the compact is also fantastic and features the jungle floor, a dead warrior, a pot filled with with bones simmering over a fire, bloody skulls and even a massive purple cobra snake! Great classic Jungle Adventure stuff here.

The playset comes with three figures with one being of course Mighty Max who is wearing a red cap and has a pose and a look on his face of being surprised. It also comes with a native who looks like he is ready to fight both Max and the Gorilla and last of course we have Ape King a massive gorilla who is looking to eat some human meat and deal out some death…very cool figures and some of my favorites in the toy series. Check out the picture below to see them.

Mighty Max is as classic 90’s toy that while I never owned in my youth but as I said always wanted to, and in 2020 as you can see I went a little crazy and ordered so many of them! It’s crazy to think that kids of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s had so many amazing toys that are now in days very collectable. Thanks for taking that walk through my collection as its crazy to say at the age of 42 I find this toy series to be really cool and just wanted to share with you my readers and friends.

So now that we have taken a look at the Toys, Video Games and Cartoon of Mighty Max we need to now get to the Promo Comic that was released by Game Players in order to promote the video game that was being released of the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo. I would like to thank an Ebay seller Holiday Comics for having this comic in stock and making this update possible. I want to also 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if your are ready lets jump into the portal and go on a adventure with Mighty Max, Norman and Virgil as we all try and save the day.

 The Adventures Of Mighty Max # 0  **
Released in 1993   Cover Price $0.00   Game Players     # 0 of 0

Easter Island is being plagued with earthquakes and the cause is coming from Skullmaster who is using his lava men to try and open a portal so that he can return to the above world from his underground prison. Meanwhile Mighty Max and his friend Felix are at a baseball game and enjoying their time, when a home run is hit Max’s way he catches it only to find a message from Virgil that he is needed and where to find the portal that will take him to his destination. Max rushes to the portal that is located on the ball field and finds himself at Easter Island along with Virgil and Norman and find that the Lava Men are hard at work working on the hole that would bring Skullmaster back! But after Virgil reads old scrolls Max gets an idea and jumps onto one of the Easter Island Statue Heads that triggers them to come alive and use the near by ocean water to cool off the Lava men that’s now dead bodies seal the hole trapping Skullmaster even more. After the fight is over Max along with Norman and Virgil return to the baseball game being the heroes of the day once more.

This Mighty Max promo comic was just ok and while entertaining it also was very uneventful as Max does not really fight any monsters and the only danger he finds himself in is when a Lava Man throws a rock at him. The plot has Skullmaster trying to escape his underground prison only to be easily stopped by Might Max and his friends. Mighty Max in this promo comic is a very young ego driven lad who is kind of a brat, but does rush to be the hero of the day and even figures out what the scrolls mean in order to stop the plot of one of the worlds super villains. Norman is shown to be on alert and takes his bodyguard statues of Max very serious and leaps into action when ever he thinks he is in danger and that means when a rock is thrown or even a foul baseball is coming his way. Virgil is around and mostly just makes the call for Max and reads the old scrolls, a cool character that is just not given much in this comic. Skullmaster besides causing the earthquake doesn’t do much besides scream orders at the Lava Men who as well don’t do much. I do think it was a wise choice to also feature Baseball in this promo comic as MLB was very popular with the youth of America in the early 90s as Baseball Cards had a major boom. I am not going to lie and act as if this comic is fantastic, while I do think it does justice to the Mighty Max toys and cartoon I do find this promo comic to be very underwhelming and nothing special at all. And it’s really a shame as to be honest there just is not much of a plot nor a threat to really write about. The cover is eye catching and is just the reused cover for the video game. The interior art is really good and captures the Mighty Max vibe is done by Gary Hartle who worked on may Marvel Comic titles like Thor, Daredevil and Conan The Barbarian. Over all this just an ok kids comic that is a fun read for fans of Might Max…but will not change your life. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Hartle.

Mighty Max in the early 90’s was a to series that I am sure made many of kids Christmases brighter when Santa brought them their most wanted play set and that is why I truly enjoyed writing this update for Christmas Eve 2021! That’s one great thing about doing this blog as it not only brings back memories of my youth for me but I hope it does the same for many of you. While Mighty Max is no longer a toy nor cartoon being made it’s still a very iconic one from the 90’s that helped make so many childhoods awesome. For the next update I will be of course talking about my favorite films that I seen in the theater in 2021 and I hope you will all return and join me for that one. And again I would like to send a heartfelt thank you for joining me this Christmas Eve and because of you this blog has been going for 10 Years!! That’s right 2022 marks 10 Years of Rotten Ink and next year I will be covering many things that I find near and dear to my heart and has captured my imagination in youth and even some more modern day discoveries that have got my attention. So until next time enjoy this Holiday Season, spend some time with a friend or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you at the movies!

Comic Strip Funnies: Ziggy

The Sunday paper for many youngsters of my generation meant looking at the ads from stores like Toys R Us, Hills Department Stores and Children’s Palace, allowing us to see all the new action figures, board games, dolls and video games that were awaiting us on the shelves, and it would also alert us to toys that were on sale that we could alert our parents to. The other major part of the Sunday paper was the Funnies, you know those classic comic strips that brought joy to your Sunday mornings as the antics of Garfield, Peanuts, Family Circus, Dennis The Menace, Andy Capp, Far Side, Blondie, and Marmaduke brought the entertainment as you ate your breakfast of cereal or bacon & eggs. Here in Ohio where I grew up, the paper is Dayton Daily News and my must read strips consisted of Peanuts, Andy Capp, Garfield, Blondie and for some reason Ziggy…yep Ziggy was a comic strip that I loved, and it’s odd as I had always seen Ziggy more as an old person comic strip but something about the little guy who always seemed like the world was out to get him made me a fan. So let’s get a cup of coffee or maybe a glass of milk and open up the good old Rotten Ink Daily News Paper and find the Rotten Funnies and see what silly humor Ziggy has for us.

Ziggy is a short balding man who lives along with his dog Fuzz, cat Sid, his pet Rock, a fish, duck named Wack and Parrot in a small house with a garden. He is a likable guy who seems to always have things go wrong for him and people around him are super rude and treat him badly…but Ziggy, while down and depressed at times, takes it all in stride and will in the end always look at the brighter side of life. Ziggy is single and loves his animals and enjoys his days off and spending time outdoors or even reading a good book. One of his best friends is a seagull that he hangs out with at the beach and it’s clear as day he cares about his animals a lot! Ziggy is also a sucker and easily tricked by people and is often taken advantage of. Ziggy is a hard worker who is a lovable character who is truly a classic Sunday Comic Strip Character.

Thomas Albert Wilson was born on August 1, 1931 in Grant Town, West Virginia and later his parents moved him to Uniontown, Pennsylvania and that’s were he spent his childhood. In 1950 he started doing advertising layouts for the Uniontown newspaper for a short time. Wilson then joined the U.S. Army from 1953-1955 and also went to the Art Institute Of Pittsburgh where he graduated from also in 1955. Also in 1955, he got a job at American Greetings as a designer and by 1958 he was Creative Director. He became an instructor for a year at Cooper Union and Art and Science institute from 1961-1962. In 1968 he created the character Ziggy, and by 1971 it was a syndicated comic strip thanks to Universal Press Syndicate and started out in only 15 newspapers but quickly grew to over 600 papers running the comic strip. In 1978 Wilson became Vice-President Of Creative for American Greetings, showing that the company knew they had a talented and creative mind on staff and needed to promote him to tap his ideas. During his time at American Greetings he also was responsible for being the head of teams that created the likes of Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. In 1982 Wilson won an Emmy for the “Ziggy’s Gift” animated Christmas Special that aired on ABC, a true classic special that was later released on VHS and DVD for home media collectors. By 1987 Tom Wilson turned the Ziggy comic strip over to his son Tom Wilson Jr. who is still working on the strip to this day for both papers as well as online. Wilson got and beat lung cancer, but sadly died of pneumonia on September 16, 2011 at the age of 80 in Cincinnati Ohio. While Thomas Wilson is gone his legacy of creative projects including Ziggy will live on forever! Below is a picture of Thomas Sr., Ziggy and Thomas Jr.

Ziggy became such a lovable and popular character that in 1982 a TV Special was made called “Ziggy’s Gift” that was an animated short that played on ABC on December 1st as one of their Christmas Specials. The cartoon as Ziggy as a street Santa collecting money and the world around him is filled with crooked people who are lying and stealing from everyone as Ziggy is the only honest person who really wants to help. The Special won an Emmy Award in 1983 for Outstanding Animated Program. The film was released on VHS and DVD but sadly is now out of print. You can find the special on YouTube from time to time. Very cool animated special that features one of the best comic strip characters in a truly heartwarming Christmas animated tale.

Ziggy was a true icon of early American Greetings as his image was used on so many other items besides greeting cards and the comic strip. Ziggy has been on T-Shirts, Drinking Glasses, Board Games, Paperback Books, Stuff Dolls, Mini Figures, Stickers, Buttons, Penny Banks, Home Media, Posters, Christmas Ornaments, Wrapping Paper and so much more! Ziggy was and still is somewhat of a true icon of Comic Strips! And over the years I know myself I have had the books, dolls and even a mini figure. And for some reason when I think of Ziggy I think of my Grandparents on my mom’s side.

Real quick I want to also share a picture of a cool mini figure of Ziggy that I got from Game Swap in Kettering that is Ziggy with an ice cream cone and the ice cream has fallen off the cone and onto his foot! These little PVC figures are really cool and I can remember by Aunt Donna having some of them when I was a kid. So if you like Ziggy make sure to get yourself one of these little figures that you can find on Ebay and Etsy most of the time pretty cheap.

So let’s crack open some of these Paperback Books that features Ziggy for this update about this classic comic strip character. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering and an Etsy seller for having these books in stock. I want to remind you all that I grade this book on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what Ziggy has in store for us in these books.

Ziggys Of The World Unite!  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price $1.50     Signet   # ? of ?

This book is tons of one-page stories featuring the one and only Ziggy having silly and lovable adventures! So while I cannot cover each one I will select 10 of my favorite strips in no real order. First I would pick were Ziggy is going to pop some popcorn over the stove and because nothing can go right for him the popcorn gets out of control and buries him under a mountain of the tasty snack. The second has Ziggy at a restaurant called Mom’s Place and is having to stand up for himself as Mom wants him to eat all he can eat! Lucky third has Ziggy at a palm reader who is having a hard time finding his lifeline! The fourth has Ziggy wearing sunglasses and claims that celebrities wear them so people don’t know who they are, and he wears them so people don’t know what he is not. The halfway point is this fifth choice that has Ziggy standing in front of an antique shop looking at toys that he had as a child and how depressing it is that the toys of his youth are called antiques now. Number six has Ziggy’s car missing it’s wheels after it ran out of gas and he is returning from the gas station with gas…some one robbed Ziggy! Seventh has Ziggy taking out the trash and right before be can drop the bag it busts and the trash is all over the ground. I picked for eight has Ziggy being held up at gunpoint by the teller at the teller desk at a bank! Number nine has Ziggy being bullied by an ice cream truck driver as he is forcing Ziggy to eat chocolate ice cream and like it! And the last pick aka ten has Ziggy running from the movie theater watching JAWS as he was way to scared of the shark!

When reading “Ziggys Of The World Unite!” I found myself feeling like a kid again sitting reading the Sunday Funnies and seeing what Ziggy was up to or should I say lack of up to. Many of these jokes and situations got a chuckle out of me, but to be honest many of them also fell flat and were very dated…like the talking margarine that was based on the now outdated and modern forgotten Parkay commercials, but some things that would be looked at as dated worked and still holds an impact like Ziggy being scared out of his mind by JAWS as still to this day many people are terrified of this film. The odd thing about this paperback is that none of Ziggy’s animals are shown and most of the humor really does come at Ziggy’s expense as he is treated poorly by everyone around him, it makes you really feel bad for him as he is the worlds doormat! This is a great quick read and does a great job of showcasing who Ziggy is and what this comic strip is about. But I am not done and would like to at least cover one more Ziggy paperback for this update!

This Book Is For The Birds ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price $1.25     Signet   # ? of ?

This book is tons of one-page stories featuring the one and only Ziggy having silly and lovable adventures! So while I cannot cover each one I will select 10 of my favorite strips in no real order. First: has Ziggy sitting with a bird watching book by his side starring blankly at his pet bird that alerts him that this is not what they mean by bird watching. Two: a line is at the doctor’s office for shots to protect your family from the swine flu and Ziggy has all his animals with him, as the Doctor with the needle looks shocked and disheveled. Three: Ziggy is walking his pet duck as a construction worker is shouting at him to DUCK as a wrecking ball is heading toward Ziggy who alerts him that his duck is nice. Four: Has Ziggy sitting on a beach asking the a seagull where all the people are, and the bird alerts him they have stopped coming after Jaws was released in theaters. Five: Ziggy is walking under a branch and a bird poops on his head, and he says some people are lucky and the birds sing for them! Six: Ziggy is on the phone with his duck calling a radio station and asking them to play the song Disco Duck again. Seven: Ziggy is in a towel and is standing among turkeys and says he thought the sign said Turkish Bath! Eight: It’s snowing outside and a bird is in a nest and is cold as Ziggy is bringing the bird a hot water bottle to keep it warm. Nine: Ziggy has birdseed and is feeding birds and reminds us all to be kind to all the birds. Ten: Has Ziggy playing cards with his friends and his parrot is telling them what cards he has in his hand!

This paperback features Ziggy and all his animal family and friends as he tries to make it through life with them by his side. This is very heavy on Ziggy with birds and shows his friendship with a Seagull as well as his life with a pet parrot and duck and is all pretty funny and lighthearted stuff. I will say that in this book Ziggy gets pooped on several times by birds and those are funny and yet also very sad as he gets it a lot even though he is super friendly to birds and feeds them and takes care of them. His pet duck is pretty funny and seems to be a goofball just like him and just enjoys his little life. I also like how the Seagull at the beach and Ziggy seem to share deep talks, but also have time to talks silly topics. This paperback book is really good and showcases the more warm side of Ziggy as he is a true lover of animals as they besides pooping birds at least treat him well. If you like Ziggy and more heartwarming loser humor this one is for you! Check out some artwork below to see the style of Wilson and the humor of Ziggy.

I cannot help it for some reason I really enjoy Ziggy and his life is out to get him humor, I think the thing that works for Ziggy is the fact that he really is just a likable guy who always seems to be on the wrong side of the world. Well I think its time we put away the Rotten Funnies and I tell you what the next update will be about and it’s a good one in my opinion as we will be leaving the world of comics books and head into the world of sports as I will do a countdown of the best main active mascots of MLB! That’s right a countdown that will feature the sport of baseball’s best of the best, well in my opinion! So until next time read a comic strip or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update as I take you all out to the ballgame.

The Original Thunderbolt Of The DC Universe!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  For this update I decided to once more take a look at a DC Comic series of a hero that seems to not get the respect of the likes of Superman and Batman so I decided to choose Peter Cannon Thunderbolt, a character that in 1983 was sold to DC by Charlton Comics and would last a small amount of issues for them and deliver a classic style hero in a 90’s comic style and fashion. While DC Comics right now are on my bad list for their push for digital comics, I still must say I respect their classic heroes and their push to try and bring back and create new ones that started in the 70’s and ran throughout the 90’s. So sit back relax and let’s take a heroic journey with Thunderbolt!

As a young boy, Peter Cannon lost both of his parents, as they battled as medical workers the black plague, and was raised in a monastery in the Himalayan Mountains and trained his body and mind to become a super athletic and perfect person…and while studding the monks scrolls he figured out that we as humans don’t use all our brains and he figured out how to tap into those parts and became a superhero named Thunderbolt once he moved to America. As the masked Thunderbolt he would fight crime as well as still try to learn and discover more of what the mind and body can do! His first comic book appearance was in 1966 as Thunderbolt # 1 was released by Charlton Comics and was created by Pete Morisi. Thunderbolts run at Charlton Comics would last for 11 issues and his run came to an end in 1967 as many of the companies superhero titles were cancelled. Thunderbolt would next end up at DC Comics in 1985 as part of the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” even series, as DC had bought all of Charlton Comics superheroes in 1983. Thunderbolt would not get his own series again until 1992 and would last for 12 issues before being cancelled again. During his time at DC he also had a brief run with the Justice League and was used to try and draw interest in classic heroes. And lastly he was in a 10 issue run at Dynamite Comics that started in 2012. For many long years now, Thunderbolt has not been seen in the pages of comics and while it looks like he has been sent to the long box in the sky, I don’t think you can count him out and I am sure DC or another comic company in time will dust him off for more adventures.

Growing up I knew nothing of the classic era of Thunderbolt as I never read any of the Charlton Comics (nor the Crisis On Infinite Earths story) and to be honest I never even seen one of his classic issues I didn’t even know he was around until 1992 thanks to DC Comics bringing him back to comic book shelves. And as odd as this sounds I rented out issues from the local library to read. And while he was not a must read comic for me I did find myself enjoying his adventures. It’s crazy that in 2021 I will be reading some of these comics again that I have not read sense the 90’s! And to be honest I am looking forward to doing so as it will be interesting to see if me in my 40’s will find a new respect for the character and if he will become one of my classic golden age heroes. Oh and while looking up history of Thunderbolt I learned that the character creator Pete Morisi only created the character after he tried to buy the rights of the original Daredevil, but the creator wanted a share of all profits and this made Morisi just create his own hero!

Really quick I would like to talk about the CD release of “OMG I Love Jazz” by Robyn Adele who is one of my favorite female vocalist going today along side Jewel, Iggy Azalea, Poppy, Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga! I want to also say that while I have nothing against Jazz music it is not a genre I normally listen to so this should be very interesting, but Robyn’s voice is what brought me to buy and try this CD off her official website store. I choose a snowy, grey-skied day in January 2021 to listen to this album and was working on a few projects that included updates for here at Rotten Ink as well as a few comic projects for Sparkle. OMG I Love Jazz is 15 tracks and really does have a big band jazz sound and is mixed with Robyn’s golden voice, and I know this sounds weird but for some reason this CD reminds me of the 1990 Dick Tracy movie and the songs done by Madonna for the soundtrack. My top three favorite tracks on this release are Ain’t Misbehavin’, Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) and Bye Bye Blackbird as I feel all three have a great sound and Robyn’s voice on all three tracks is on point! If I had to pick my favorite track it would be Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) as it’s a upbeat song and has that classic Jazz and Swing sound that can put a smile on your face. To wrap up this quick look at OMG I Love Jazz I would say that its not for everyone as it has a very old time sound, but for those who love fun natured Jazz music song by a majorly talented female vocalist I would say go and get a copy now! And for those who are not familiar with Robyn Adele look her up on YouTube and give some of her cover songs a listen to as she really is super talented and has a wonderful voice.

So as you longtime readers and friends know I grew up in the village of Waynesville, Ohio and I have heard the news that my old elementary and middle school are being torn down and a new school is being built. And while I am super happy that the next generations of Spartans are getting new classrooms and long overdue updates, I am still a little bummed out that the school buildings that meant so much to me as a kid will be gone forever lost in memories. I mean at that school I can remember talking to friends like Fred Marion, Jeremy Patton, Todd Osborne, Joanna Fields, Wes Coffman and many others about Movies, Comics, Cartoons, TV Shows, Wrestling, Horror Hosts, Video Games and normal school topics. I can remember the cool movie days in the gym were we got to watch Home Alone or Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. In that same gym I remember listening to the Gettysburg Address being given by an actor dressed as Abe Lincoln, as well as doing the Arnold Schwarzenegger fitness challenge and watching episodes of Slim Goodbody in gym class. I remember the cafeteria pizza, the milk cartons that had Safety Pup on them and trading food with fellow classmates. I remember crushing on Tina Manning and never getting the nerve to ask her out. I remember the numerous book fairs that came through and the Garfield, U.S Acres, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and WWF books I would buy. I can remember being in a Christmas play as a Newsboy talking about a talking Snowman. I can remember playing basketball in the gym during intermission and being pretty good. I can remember watching Star Trek IV, Olympics and O.J Trail in Mr. York’s science class. The orange steps, the pencil machines that had NFL, WWF and Halloween pencils in them as well as the erasers that would sometimes be the heads of Looney Tunes characters. And just the over all bond and fun times that my classmates and I had and shared together at those school buildings.

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On May 23, 2021, Juliet and I headed to Waynesville so that I could at least walk around the old building before they are gone as I have heard the 1915 part is soon to be torn down and those hallways will never have young minds walking around them to get to class again. It was really cool walking around that old school building taking pictures as well as telling Juliet old stories about my school days as well as trying to remember where so many of my classes uses to be, sadly we could not get inside as I missed the reunion day that allowed past school students to do so one last time. But still just walking around the old school building and back to the old football field was lots of fun and flooded me with memories as well as oddly enough kind of made me feel young again in my old age. So really I guess I just wanted to share these pictures I took as well as share a few of those memories and I also want to say “Thank You” to all my fellow classmates that made my school time at Waynesville a very awesome time and  plus thank you all again for being apart of my life and help shaping me into the creative person I am today.

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Well on May 29, 2021 they opened up Waynesville Elementary and Middle School one more time for school alumni and Juliet and I showed up around an half an hour early and to our shock the doors were already open so we walked in and for a pretty good time we had the schools to ourselves to tour! The first place I headed was the gymnasium, as I had to see it one last time and the first thing once walking up the old concrete stairs I noticed was that many of the old basketball hoops was taken down and the ones still up where from my time going there! Sadly the old wooden bleachers were gone and all that remained of them was the bases, a little bummed, as I would have loved to sit on them one last time. The old scoreboard was still hanging and seeing it brought back lots of fun memories. The gym floor still looked good and while it was clearly not the same as when I was a kid it still was neat to see. The stage was a sight for sore eyes and seeing it was awesome and walking across it also felt so cool and flooded me with so much memories of gym class. This was so great to so walk that gym again and I almost wish that I would have jogged around and did one final lap.

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Once we left the gym we walked around the halls and past all the sadly now gutted class rooms, but seeing the old chalk boards, tube TV’s with VCR’s still hanging on the walls brought a big smile to my face. The hallway floors were torn up and it was sad seeing the destruction and dismantling all around as even some fixtures where missing or stacked in the halls. But seeing the old PA speakers that use to give us the morning announcements from still hanging as well as the old pencil sharpeners still bolted to the walls and chalkboards was great to see. While walking the hallways it was also cool seeing the changes that was made to the building after I was no longer a student like they added an elevator and the massive stairs that I remember where now way smaller and divided up. I got to walk into the old cafeteria, see the old music room, went to the school library, walk into Mr. York’s old science classroom again as well as see an old shelf that had one of my old teachers names still on it! Walking down those hallways I had a rush of memories and felt like a kid again even as my pride of being a Waynesville Spartan filled my being I knew that while this chapter in Spartan history was coming to an end the new School building would build the next legacy and memories for the future generation. Also when walking downstairs of the 1915 building I had to snap a picture of the old stairwell as I can remember some of my fellow classmates as well as myself hiding under there and jumping out to scare each other as well as we used that spot to hide things, but when I was in school they did also store stuff under there.

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Waynesville is known for its ghosts and even when I was walking the halls of Waynesville Middle School we all heard the tales of the school being haunted, and when walking around one last time before it was to be tore down one thing written on a blackboard made me smile and that was a message from the ghosts of the third floor saying they are not going anywhere! I like the idea that the old ghosts of the school found some old chalk and wrote the message to the living, letting them know that they will forever be roaming and haunting that land…building or no building. But I also like that a student wrote this humors and “spooky” message for people to see, also glad to see that the Horror Spirit of Waynesville youth is alive and well.

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It’s time now for us to dive into the 12 issues of Thunderbolt released by DC Comics and as I stated before I am looking forward re-reading this and I am going to do something a little different as after the review I am going to give my ideas of what DC Comics could have done with Thunderbolt if they would have kept him in their universe! I want to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready let’s see what Thunderbolt has in store for evildoers.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 1  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 1 of 12

Thunderbolt is fighting some thugs off in a New York ally as they just robbed some antiques from his alter-egos Peter Cannons exhibit when things go bad real fast and he is almost beaten to death by a metal suited bad guy named Trydan who leaves him for dead. But thankfully he is found and rescued by Green Lantern who rushes him to the hospital and saves his life. Once awaken Peter finds himself doubting his ability to be a superhero in this modern world filled with Superman, The Flash and Wonder Woman, even his best friend Tabu and Green Lantern come to visit and can not cheer him up after his defeat. Peter Cannon just sees himself as an orphan who was trained by Monks and scrolls in a monastery in the mountains of the Himalayas who is an outdated hero in a world filed with super powered ones. Peter and Tabu take their antiques and teachings to London and are flying around on a blimp filled with the rich and elite when Peter starts chatting with the beautiful Cairo DeFrey as news woman Anne-Marie Brogan talks with Tabu about setting up a interview with Peter when a group of masked men rush in calling themselves Crimson Dawn and claims they are going after Cairo due to her families crimes again the environment. As panic runs through the guests as the gun caring Crimson Dawn takes Cairo away to the cockpit and holds everyone one else hostage, when Tabu pushes Peter into becoming the hero again…and after fighting it Peter makes a mask and rushes to save Cairo and this ends issue one.

This is a great way to bring a classic hero back to the pages of comic books and sometimes I think DC Comics back in the 90’s had a gift to do so. This issues plot has much time jumps and takes us to Tibet to New York to London and shows Peter’s rise and fall as a hero, plus his rise once more as he fears that time has passed him by and that the villains of this modern times are getting bigger, badder and stronger! And when all seems lost for Peter to ever be Thunderbolt again he is forced to once more be the hero he was trained to be. Peter Cannon is a man who has had a hard life as he lost his parents while a infant and is raised in Tibet and trained to be a hero called Thunderbolt, and once set out into the world he still feels he needs to always be a hero. And when he gets his but kicked by a super villain and left for dead his ego and courage is bruised and this makes him question his ability to fright crime as well as life. Peter is a very interesting character because he has layers to him while he is a hero he also has some mental depression. Tabu is Peter’s best friend and also works as his agent in the world of arts and was raised with him in Tibet, he is very loyal to his friend and is also the voice of reason to try and let him know that he is a hero that’s needed in the world. Cairo DeFrey clearly is not only part owner of a massive business but is also more then she appears as she has got the attention of someone who wants her dear or at least to pay for expanding the business into places she shouldn’t! The Crimson Dawn is a bunch of red masked, gun caring terrorist thugs who while dangerous also seem very un-prepared for what they are doing. This really was a great way to bring a classic hero into the 90’s world of over powerful superheroes and does make you smile as you watch Thunderbolt meet Green Lantern who saves his life by getting him to the hospital in time. The cover is eye-catching and has a classic comic feel with a 90’s DC Comic look. The interior art is done by Mike Collins and its really great and I also have to give him credit for the story as he wrote it! Over all I think this is a really great first issue and has me hooked on wanting to re-read this series again after all these years.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 2  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 2 of 12

Thunderbolt knocks out the members of the Crimson Dawn and saves the life of Cairo DeFrey, but during the fight the blimps control is damaged and worse one of the Crimson Dawn members damages the gas line and Thunderbolt and the blimp Captain have to emergency manually crash land the blimp into London! During the landing Thunderbolt remembers back to his training in Tibet when a fellow young man in training got his face burnt trying to save the lives of his fellow kids when a plane crashes and catches fire and he rushes to remove the bombs so they don’t explode and kill everyone near. Once they land the blimp reporter Anne-Marie Brogan is on it and Thunderbolt turns back into Peter Cannon while Detective Inspector James Flint alerts Cairo that the Crimson Dawn seemed to be just hired local thugs hiding behind the masks of being environmental terrorists, she blows off the information and invites Peter to join her on her boat the next day as Tabu alerts his friend that he does not trust her. While in London a masked costumed robber uses powers to rob an ATM, Crime Boss Johnny Wheeler is out with his son to see a movie at the theater and when his son goes to get the car it explodes and kills him and lastly at the London Museum a Egyptian Coffin is opened and one guard is dead of shock as a being named Evila has returned.

This second issue is packed with lots of plots all going on and starting! As we get Peter Cannon finding the courage to become a hero again and help land an out of control blimp while chaos and crime is running randomly throughout London! Peter Cannon quickly remembers why he was chosen and loved being a hero and seems to be back in the game after kicking some terrorist butt, he also seems to be way to trusting of a pretty face and seems to always second guess his best friends words as Tabu seems to be the one who pays more attention to the actions and behaviors of those around. Tabu also is clearly the one who pushes for Peter to become Thunderbolt once more as he is doing so not only for the legacy of his temple but also for the mental health of his friend. Cairo DeFrey the rich business woman while coming off like a sweet woman who cares about her family business also comes off like she is hiding something and I think she clearly knows more then what she is saying when it comes to who sent the Crimson Dawn. The masked ATM robber and Mr. Wheeler I am sure will be coming into play in coming up issues and its clear that what ever Evila is she is dangerous and deadly! I also think the burnt face young man from Peters past will also come into play as when we see the flashback of the trials that Peter had to pass in order to become Thunderbolt…the scared face youth was not happy at all as it’s clear he thought his bravery would make him the chosen one. I really dig that this story this far is taking so many twists and truns and we are going from present day to the pass to show the whole story. Also they have a cameo from Justice League Europe member Elongated Man that is pretty funny as he is on the news denying that they had anything to do with the landing of the blimp. The story for me this far feels like a blend of Classic Comic Hero and Spy Stories and that’s a good thing as it is keeping me guessing on what is coming up and who is to be trusted. The cover of this issue is ok and while cool they should have not focused on one the trials from his past when he had to face a snow leopard in an arena. The story and art is great and done by Mike Collins again. A great first read and really does make me look forward to reading the rest of this series for the first time. So with that lest see who all the new plots and characters in this issue play out in issue three, shall we?

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 3  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 3 of 12

At the London museum two security guards are dead by the hands of the evil Egyption Queen called Evila who animates statues into her army as she wants revenge on Thunderbolt who defeated her many decades back when she first was brought back to life. Meanwhile at the posh flat of Peter Cannon he is being interviewed by Anne-Marie Brogan for a paper article as rain pours down outside and Tabu sits backs and listens. Detective Inspector James Flint heads to the hospital and talks to a friend who works for Mr. Wheeler to show respect for the hit on his son who is in the hospital and dying, the man alerts Flint that a gang war is brewing that will take place in London. Mean while at a mansion we meet Victor Cypher who is throwing a dinner party and introduces them to the half face masked Andreas Havoc who he claims will be their main muscle. While Peter Cannon rushes to the museum for his lunch date with Cairo DeFrey who informs him they will have to go another day as the mummy of Evila has came alive and is on the loose and killed two security guards, Peter Cannon is not happy to hear his old enemy is back from the grave…again! At a Disco the ATM Robber who’s name is Tekk is holding up the owners for “protection” money as he is working for Scorpio the mob that is at war now with Wheeler’s mob, when they don’t pay he uses his power and blows out all the light bulbs in the building and says he will be back for the cash after they clean up. Peter returns home only to find that the Museum is now surrounded by a force field, so he changes into his Thunderbolt costume and heads back to find that the police can not make it past the force field, and with Inspector James Flint blessing Thunderbolt gives it a try and makes it through! Once inside Thunderbolt is attacked and knocked out by Evila and her statue turned to like henchmen.

This third issue has so much going on and so many plots and characters are thrown at you as you try to keep up on who, what, when and were and I have to say that’s what makes this comic series so good! The many plots of this issue has Thunderbolt learning that his old villain Evila is back from the dead and has killed some innocent people, while mobster Mr. Wheeler is dealing with his son who is dying in a hospital from a hit his right hand man warns James Flint that a war is about to pop off! And we also have the costume goon Tekk bulling local business for protection money and we meet a rich man Cairo DeFrey who is clearly up to no good. Peter Cannon has found his want and love for being a costumed hero and as well as Thunderbolt really wants to smash and stop crime in London, England. I think Inspector James Flint wants to find who set the car bomb that has a local mobster’s son on his deathbed, while Flint is a good man of the law I think he is also loyal to his close friend who is working for the mob family. Evila shows that she is super powerful and has dark forces and powers on her side, plus she clearly lets Thunderbolt know she will not be tricked again! Our other series baddies Tekk, Victor Cypher and Andreas Havoc are around and while they have done some bad things this far have not become the full threats you know they will become. The over all fast pace and introduction of so many characters and stories is what keeps this Thunderbolt series interesting as they are talking a classic hero and showing that you don’t have to fly nor have mutant powers to be a complex hero. I will say that the cover is pretty great and has that 90’s DC Comics charm and the art by Mike Collins is top notch. At this point being three issues into DC Comics Thunderbolt I have to say I am a fan and very much looking forward to what issue four has in store for us, as well as how this over all story will play out!

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 4  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 4 of 12

In side the force field at the museum Thunderbolt is hurt by the beating he has taken as Evila informs him that she plans to kill him and then raise an army of the dead to take over earth, and oddly enough she seems to know more about him this time and his life in Tibet. Thunderbolt fights back hard and challenges her to fight him once more on another astral plane the place she lost their last fight on and she in a fight of anger and out of ego agrees. Meanwhile reporter Anne-Marie Brogan heads to interview Maude Grymes on old lady who is a fortuneteller and she during the interview tells Anne-Marie she has a message for Peter Cannon. Meanwhile in the astral plane realm Evila tries and uses Thunderbolt’s fears against of defeat, but he is able to conquer it when he greatest fear attacks her and that’s being buried alive. As she explains her backstory and her true power to Thunderbolt as she gets bound by mummy wrappings doing so, back in normal life hero The Crusader stops a robbery and is around as well. Back to the fight Evila informs Thunderbolt that she set him up and was never facing her fear what she was really doing was giving her statue soldiers orders to attack Thunderbolts body in the real world and this forces him to break the bound on the realm and causes stress on Evila’s power and they both are back at the museum. While across the world Victor Cypher and Andreas Havoc are talking about big plans and Havoc talks about his past destiny being taken away from him and its clear they want to take control of Tibet and that this half masked man is the kid who saved lives in Peter’s past from the helicopter crash. Thunderbolt ends up making Evila drain all her dark magic and she appears to kill herself and sends her spirit into the wind, and this confuses Thunderbolt as she would rather die again then face defeat. In the end Mr. Wheeler’s son has died and now he alerts his men it’s a gang war.

The plot of this issue has a showdown between Thunderbolt and Evila who have a bad history against each other and are very bitter enemies and fight in our world as well as a astral plane as they truly want to stop each other from winning. And during this epic fight so many questions of Thunderbolts goes unanswered as Evila seems to have returned knowing way to much about him and would rather die then to be defeated again! Thunderbolt clearly by this issue has gotten over his near death defeat in New York and is ready to be the hero London needs and will push himself to do so! Evila is powerful but her ego causes her to crack and she pushes herself way too much and looses her powers because of her push. While at the end of the issue it looks like Evila is dead I am saying she is not gone for good as I think she left the fight to regain her powers. And it’s clear as day to me that Andreas Havoc was one of the kids from the Tibet temple who was burnt and now wants revenge on the monks and Peter who he feels took away his true calling in life. Victor Cypher is clearly a man who is greedy and wants power and money and has set his sights on Tibet, his homeland. I am wondering who Maude Grymes is and what message did she give Anne-Marie to tell Peter Cannon. Plus Mr. Wheeler has lost it all and I think this war for the streets is going to be bloody and the bodies will pile up if Thunderbolt and/or James Flint don’t step in and stop it. And now we have another hero in town called The Crusader who I am sure will be a good hero friend to have during all this tension in London that is about to go down. Great story and the pace moves fast as the fight of Thunderbolt and Evila takes up much of the issues and all the side stories fit nicely in-between. The cover is ok and showcases Evila and the art is once more done by Mike Collins and is fantastic like before. Another good issue and DC is going a great job with this classic comic character, so lets see what’s next in this story!

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 5  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 5 of 12

Krater The Demolishing Man is a new super villain who is looking for a hero to beat up and even kill and he rules out Superman, Batman, The Flash and Elongated Man and after seeing the paper he sets his sights on Thunderbolt to build his name on. Meanwhile Peter Cannon and Cairo DeFrey are out on her yacht talking about their crazy lives as well as their blooming relationship, and then start to head in as they have a press conference coming up to showcase his Tibetan artifacts. We then join Mr. Wheeler and his mobsters in a meeting and they call for a kill or be killed warfare. The press conference goes well as the press only wanted to chat about Evila and not the exhibit and Peter and Cairo go their separate ways as she has work to do, Peter meets up with Tabu and they talk about the mystery of Evila and what she knows. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is out for lunch with a friend at a fast food burger joint when Krater attacks and is screaming for the head of Thunderbolt! Meanwhile The Crusader stops a hostage situation and take down the drug pushers who were responsible, while back at the Museum Peter and Tabu watches on TV as Krater calls out the hero while rampaging in the streets. Thunderbolt shows up and the pair fight with Krater showing his power comes from a force field he is able to put into place before he can be punched! But with the help of the mascot at the burger joint Thunderbolt is able to place the mascots costume head over Krater and beat him down, and with that he is arrested with the help of the Special Unit police and Thunderbolt is thanked and starting to be respected by the London police. We show that Andreas Havoc is mad when he finds out that Thunderbolt is back and fighting crime again as he truly thought that the defeat had broken him all those years back. In the end Peter Cannon meets back up with Cairo DeFrey and the two flirt as on the subway a man is killed by an unknown attacker.

This fifth issue shows that Peter Cannon is back and while having a slight issue still by almost being killed is pretty confortable with being hero Thunderbolt again and knows that while he does not have superpowers he does have skill and the heart to do the right thing and protect those who can not protect themselves. Thunderbolt also shows that if his highly skilled hand to hand combat force don’t work he has a cleaver mind to problem solve and to over come the threat at hand. Tabu is clearly both proud of his friend as well as disappointed in his friend as he feels that he still has fear of defeat and is hiding behind a false wall of heroism. Reporter Anne-Marie who has a message to give to Peter Cannon, but after an awkard run in with Cairo and being in the middle of a super villain attack she has not had the chance. I also want to say I think Thunderbolt made a big mistake in his fight with Krater as he shouts out Anne-Marie’s name and I think she will link that he is Peter Cannon! Cairo DeFrey is trying so hard to flirt and get Peter Cannon hooked, but I don’t trust her as she seems like she is playing games and has a very sinister side. Andreas Havoc is 100% the youngster who was burnt who thought he should be the chosen one, and it shows that he stole scrolls from the monks and now its clear that he himself is or at least sent Trydan. And our issues main villain is Krater a man who got his powers from a bomb that went off in the DC universe and allows him to use a force field as protection as well as a way to cause destruction, but once Thunderbolt figures out his powers he is no threat and is easily brought down. The one downside that this issue more then others have shown is that events that are spoken about take place in other comics from DC and that causes you to not get the full story of what they are talking about at times, a shame really…but all comics do it even at Sparkle Comics we have done it. The end of the issue also alerts us that another “super” villain type is in London and I am sure he as well will be looking for Thunderbolt’s blood! Its crazy to think that in only five issue we have been introduced to so many villains, lets count them down Evila, Tekk, Krater, Andreas Havoc, Mr. Wheeler, Victor Cypher and I am telling you Cairo DeFrey will be a baddy by the end of this series! The cover for this issue is pretty good and the art by Mike Collins is great like before. This issue of Thunderbolt has lots of action and as well moves the story along and is a solid 90’s DC Comic series. Lets see what issue 6 that is the half way mark for the series has in store for us.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 6  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 6 of 12

Peter Cannon is having a terrible nightmare that has many of his villains as well as his Lama, and he gets a clue of the armor Trydan is wearing looks very much like old armor from England. When he wakes up he talks with Tabu and they start their fight training, that is until Cairo shows up at their apartment flat and is looking for a lunch date. While Peter gets ready Cairo confronts Tabu about not liking her and tries to use her charm to tell him she cares for Peter. Meanwhile Tekk takes down two of Mr. Wheelers mobsters as they head to collect protection money who is now under the protection of Tekk employers the Scorpio family! Also on a London highway a crash frees a super villain called Shard a monster looking man who’s body is made from shards of glass! While on a walk Peter and Cairo are interrupted by Anne-Marie and her newspaper friends, as Cairo leaves after getting an emergency call Anne-Marie talks about her need to cover Thunderbolt when a radio message goes out saying the Special Unit Police need the help of Thunderbolt and all break away to get to the scene requested. Meanwhile we learn that Mr. Wheeler hired Mac The Knife to kill the man on the train, and that Mac is a gun for hire who will kill anyone if the price is right. Meanwhile after busting some more criminals The Crusader goes to a local pub and is having a drink when they get the news of Shard and the cops calling on Thunderbolt for help, the other people in the pub cheer and egg on The Crusader to head down their and show the world the Britain has the best superheroes…and in anger he agrees. Thunderbolt shows up to the highway and the place Shard was set free and he is holding hostages and proves he is super dangerous as just his touch shreds skin and Thunderbolt must use a metal door from a truck in order to hit this baddy, once knocking Shard down he saves some hostages but while doing so the villain us able to sneak attack the hero and hit him from behind leaving him on the ground hurt.

This sixth issue’s plot has Peter Cannon dealing with his bad dreams of defeat, his awkward relationship with Cairo, his mistake of talking to Anne-Marie as Thunderbolt during his fight with Krater in the last issue, and of course his want to be the hero that London needs. As Thunderbolt he is finding that he is way more stronger and skilled then he ever thought and also seems to be getting weird powers he don’t understand like moving things with only a thought. I like that we get that Tabu does not trust Cairo as he thinks that something is off with her and that she is using his friend for some kind of gain, and at this point in the series I don’t think he is wrong as something about her is off as she seems to always be rushing off after phone calls and other emergencies. This issue we also get a look at the backstory of Inspector James Flint who we learned use to work for Mr. Wheeler and that is why he is placed on the Special Unit as they don’t want him near the old crime family he once worked for as they think he could go back, very sad for him as he is a good cop and they know it, but his past is keeping him from reaching his dream jobs. Plus I am starting to think that reporter Anne-Marie is starting to get a crush on Thunderbolt and while she does want to interview him for the paper, she also wants to get to know him…oddly enough did I miss something as she also does not tell Peter the message from Maude Grymes when she had the chance! We see that Mac The Knife a killer for hire is in London and took his first job from Mr. Wheeler, but also lets him know that if someone hires him to kill him he will take the job if the money is right…in other words he is a scumbag who money talks to. And Shard is super dangerous as his whole body is made of sharp glass and just a light touch will cut deep, and to top it off he has a crazed mind and don’t mind hurting, killing and scaring. The cover is pretty awesome and the art by Mike Collins is great as always. Oh man I should also say I like the opening nightmare part as well as it adds more things for us readers to think about as well as for Peter to try and uncover. Lets see what issue seven has in store for us and see if DC and Mike Collins can keep up the great work on this series.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 7  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 7 of 12

Thunderbolt wakes up bleeding and hurt of the highway and just in time as Shard is about to go in for the kill and he is able to dodge the attack. With the help of people on the highway that were hostages Thunderbolt is able to clear his head for a bit and get Shard to chase him and allowing the people to get to safety. Meanwhile Andreas Havoc is fuming over the return of Thunderbolt and with his magic he learned from the stolen scrolls he brings Evila to his castle and alerts her if they work together they can stop Thunderbolt once and for all. Thunderbolt is having a hard time with Shard, as he cannot touch him without being cut, but with his newly discovered mind powers he is able to use metal from the cars that crashed on the highway and capture him. Meanwhile Mr. Wheeler buries his son and is ready for all out war, while a Tibetan Monk shows up at Peter Cannon’s home in America looking for his help and is sent to London by the old woman watching over the home. The Crusaders arrives at the Highway after Shards been defeated and this enrages the hero as he thinks he is being made a full by the American hero. In the end Peter Cannon arrives back at his apartment in London and gets a visit from a Government worker who informs him to keep his opinions on China to himself or something might happen and worse he gets a call from Cairo just as armored forces show up to take her hostage!

In this issue Thunderbolt has to face and enemy he cannot use his hand-to-hand combat skills to bring down and must use his newly discovered mental powers to bring the baddy down! The issues plot also shows that Andreas Havoc is only helping Victor Cypher because he thought Thunderbolt was gone from the hero business, and he also clearly does not really care about helping him. We also get that something bad is going down in Tibet as a Monk has travled very long and far to find him to get help, we also see that The Crusader is mad that an American hero is saving the day and taking away his glory of being a superhero and we see that Mr. Wheeler is now 100% ready to make those who killed his son pay! Peter Cannon aka Thunderbolt knows that that he is even more strong and skilled then he ever knew as not only can he knock out a villain with his kicks and punches now he can use his mind and move object! I am not sure how I feel about Thunderbolt having the powers of “Carrie” as I liked him as the classic style hero who did not have superpowers. Cairo DeFrey has found herself once more on the end of a plot that will have her kidnapped and this time the people coming for her seem way more with it and better armed! Not sure now if I am right about Cairo DeFrey as at first I thought she was up to something sinister, but now I am not sure and think that she might be a secret agent or working with some very powerful people. Shard was a pretty cool bad guy and was super dangerous, and he was only defeated when Thunderbolt used his “Carrie” powers on him. I am interested in what The Monk is needing help with, but if I had to guess I would say it has to do with Andreas Havoc and his evil ways, and let me not forget what terrible plan does Andreas Havoc have in mind now that he is teaming with Evila! As always this issue is keeping me entertained and showcasing that not all heroes have to have superpowers…oh wait DC now did give him powers…but the cover is pretty good and eye catching and the interior art by Mike Collins is great as always. Lets see what issue eight has in store and find out the answer on who is kidnapping Cairo.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 8  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 8 of 12

At the office of Cairo DeFrey the cops lead by Inspector James Flint are looking into her kidnapping and he speaks to Peter Cannon who is as well there as he was on the phone when the attacked happened. While people are being questioned Peter’s hidden mental powers flare up and let him see the act of the kidnapping happen and learns the Scorpio Mob is who has done it as he hears that name! Meanwhile Evila and Andreas Havoc discuss a plan that will get ride of Peter Cannon aka Thunderbolt once and for all as they both hate him and need him out of the way. Meanwhile after the cops have left Peter and Tabu get into an argument, as Peter wants to change into Thunderbolt and save Cairo and his friend Tabu says he can not use the ancient powers for his own personal interest, and this fight leaves Peter walking to the buildings roof were he sees the armed men placing Cairo into a helicopter and he just in times jumps and hides on the helicopter to find out where it goes. Meanwhile the Justice League Europe team is alerted to the kidnapping and Green Lantern takes notice when Thunderbolt is mentioned as he remembers helping him some years back from dying, while across town a shadowy figure under the disguise of working for the Government of England gives The Crusader an order to fight and beat Thunderbolt in a fare fight in order to prove England has the best home grown heroes and they don’t need the Americans help. Peter Cannon once they helicopter arrives at the hideout changes into Thunderbolt and takes out the kidnappers one by one until he and Cairo come face to face and she is happy to see the masked hero and alerts him that she knows he really is Peter Cannon and gives him a kiss. Also The Monk is now on his way to England to find Thunderbolt and alert him to what help the temple needs.

Well Peter Cannons secret of being Thunderbolt is out of the bag as the woman he loves has figured it out super quick! The issues plot is very simple Thunderbolt follows kidnappers to get his lady love back and then throw in some drama with the police, JLE and Crusader and you have this issue in a nutshell. Thunderbolt is a hero who is now also torn as his training says that he should only use his powers and skills to benefit and protect mankind and that he should never put personal issues on his hero to do list, but he feels different as he knows that he can save the life of a woman he cares about. Thunderbolt is also very confused over his new mental powers, as they only seem to appear when he has extreme stress or anger. Tabu is so stuck on the ways of the Temple that at times he seems to forget what it is to be human and only cares about rules. Inspector James Flint is trying to put pieces together like a puzzle as he wants to solve why Scorpio has moved into town and why Thunderbolt seems to be around when things turn bad. Cairo DeFrey proves that she is not some weak business woman and has skills of her own to get out of trouble, plus its interesting that she knows Peter is Thunderbolt and makes one wonder did she figure it out on her own or is she working for someone who alerted her to this? Evila and Andreas Havoc’s sinister plan to stop Thunderbolt I am sure will start next issue and by the mindset of those two, I am sure it will be very deadly. The Crusader while a hero is being played for a fool as he is being pushed to be annoyed by Thunderbolt and pressured into a fight for some unknown reason to cause tension between the heroes. I like the idea of a shadowy criminal organization using tricks to turn superheroes against each other as so many heroes have egos and could easily be pushed to turn on each other. Also great to see more cameos from Justice League Europe members as this time around we not only see Green Lantern but also The Flash and Crimson Fox and by the looks of it I think they might get a bigger role in a future issue! The cover is pretty great and has a direct to video action film look to it and the interior art by Mike Collins who is still doing the story as well. Another solid issue that has a few way to long talky parts, but is solid and keeps up the great work of the series and makes me look forward to the next issue.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 9  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 9 of 12

Thunderbolt is shocked that Cairo DeFrey knows that he is Peter Cannon and she tells him that she has known sense he saved her on the blimp! As the goons around them start to wake up they make a run for the exit only for them to be cut off by Tekk who wants Cairo. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is looking into the past of Cairo and finds something very interesting that she wants to investigate as well as says she might want to tell Peter Cannon what she has learned, what it is we will have to wait. Tekk and Thunderbolt start to fight and are going hand-to-hand, when Cairo watches she is likes that two super-beings are fighting over her and says to herself at some point she will tell them they are on the same side! While at the store of Maude Grymes she gets a visit by the wizard Arion The Immortal who warns her not to meddle in the world of Peter Cannon, but she tells him she knows what she is doing! As Thunderbolt and Tekk are fighting The Justice League Europe (Green Lantern, Power Girl, The Flash, Crimson Fox and Elongated Man) show up as they are looking for the kidnapped Cairo as well and join and help Thunderbolt in the fight, but finally Cairo alerts them that Tekk is her bodyguard and was their to rescue her as well. As The JLE and Thunderbolt are cleaning up the area after Cairo leaves for home questions start to pop up as Inspector James Flint also shows up and backs up the feeling that something is not right with this kidnapping. We then see Mr. Wheeler about to pull in and being mad as its clear he hired the goons to get her and at Cairo’s office she tells Tekk that its time for them to ruin Mr. Wheeler and to get ride of him and his men. While Evila and Andreas Havoc use a spell and bring Dinosaurs to London and our heroes have to rush off to try and stop the rampage. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is waiting for Peter at his apartment and in China a superhuman being is beating up protesters.

The plots of this issue are coming at the reader fast and hard as we learn so much and get new mysteries shoved our way…and were to start! I think the biggest news is Cairo DeFrey being the head of Scorpio and while acting like a sweet businesswoman she is really a calculated mobster who puts hits out, has her goons strong-arm small businesses for protection money as well has Tekk a super villain under her control. I knew it all along that Cairo was not to be trusted as she always seemed to act a little off and very sneaky, worse thing is that she knows Peter Cannons secret and could try and use it for her own gain. Tekk is shown to be Cairo’s chuffer, bodyguard and muscle and almost seems to enjoy the bad things he is sent to do as his suit gives him big powers. We also see that Anne-Marie is digging deep into who Cairo really is and it’s clear that she has found out just how corrupt she is and wants to warn Peter as she knows he is getting way to close to her, plus poor Maude Grymes is in trouble with other magical beings for trying to deliver a message to Peter…that still has not been delivered. Plus it appears that the JLE and James Flint have also started to catch on that Cairo is a wolf in sheep clothing and are starting to question her…now if only Peter Cannon would catch on. I love that Andreas Havoc and Evila’s idea to cause issues to try and defeat Thunderbolt was to let dinosaurs loose in the city, its like they read Jurassic Park and got ideas. And one new mystery we get is who the heck is the muscle in China that is beating up the protestors and when will he tackle Thunderbolt as we knows it has to happen. Oh and I should also say that Mr. Wheeler has made a big mistake as he has been marked as a dead man now and by trying to kidnap Cairo he has also doomed his whole crew. The cover for this issue is well done and eye catching and the interior art by Mike Collins is still A+ 90’s DC Comic work. Another great issue and I can not wait to read the next issue as we are getting to the end of this series and things are starting to wrap up.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 10  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 10 of 12

Thunderbolt and the JLE are rounding up the dinosaurs that are rampaging in London and are trying to keep the people safe as well as the creatures as they know they are just scared and not causing the chaos on purpose. While at Peter’s apartment Anne-Marie is telling Tabu about what she found and the message she was to deliver that all points to Cairo using and lying to him, and as they talk the monk who is Master Tsong arrives. As Thunderbolt and the JLE are tangling with the dinosaurs, he shares that he thinks that this mess was created by Andreas Havoc who is in turn being played by Evila who wants his power stone as she knows its true power and plans on using it against those who cross her. Meanwhile all around London Scorpio is attacking and shutting down all of Mr. Wheelers businesses and the war is on and gearing towards the end. The Crusader ends up joining the fight and helps round up the dinosaurs and they all watch as Thunderbolt uses his mind powers to bring down the massive T-Rex and his fellow heroes are impressed. As the JLE leaves Thunderbolt is attacked from behind by Crusader who in turn is attacked by someone from behind as Evila and Andreas Havoc are mad as they were behind making Crusader turn on Thunderbolt due to rage. We find out that a Checkmate Knight is the one behind the attack on Crusaders and has showed up with both heroes knocked out to Peter’s apartment and informs Thunderbolt about who is behind sending The Crusader and that’s Andreas Havoc and Master Tsong backs that up and says he must come back to Tibet in order to fight a man who killed the last Thunderbolt!

This issue is pretty fun even though most of the time is spent with the heroes rounding up dinosaurs like they are cattle. In this issue Peter Thunderbolt learns that he is a man that is neck deep in all types of trouble as he has a target on his head from Andreas Havoc, his lady love is a crime boss who has been a terror to so many, he has angered England’s hero The Crusader who has been pushed to attack him and he needs to now go to Tibet and fight a person who has killed the last Thunderbolt! In other words Thunderbolt has lots of hero work to do to make things safe for not only himself but everyone around him. Evila and Andreas Havoc while they are working together are clearly not friends as Evila has an idea of turning on him in order to steal the power stone to use in her own ways. Mr. Wheeler is loosing everything as he not only had his son murdered by his rivals but now all his crime empire is falling. The powerful fighter in China is Dorje and it sounds like he does not want to go to Tibet and I am guessing he is the one that killed the last Thunderbolt. Cairo DeFrey is truly an evil woman who is given orders to ruin and take lives and all the while is playing the victim and sweet person, she is a true mobster who has bad motives. The Justice League Europe are very helpful as they make the dinosaur capture way easier and even offer Thunderbolt a place on the team, plus seeing The Flash and the others in action is always a fun DC Comic reading experience. The Crusader has to feel like a tool now that he knows he has been played for a fool and pushed to attack a fellow hero by a criminal organization. Cover is great and fitting for the time and Mike Collins art his great as always. Like before a solid issue of Thunderbolt and really does prove that old heroes can find new life generations after their final issues. Oh and I still have to say I still am not a fan of Thunderbolts mental powers, as it makes him feel like an X-Men member.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 11  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 11 of 12

Thunderbolt is gearing up to fight with Andreas Havoc and is surprised when he finds that he will have his own help going into this battle as Tabu, Power Girl, Anne-Marie, The Crusader, Master Tsong and Checkmate Knights all come to his aid. At first Thunderbolt is a little lukewarm on letting Crusader come along that is until he sees that the hero is upset that he has been played a fool and wants revenge. As The Checkmate Knights fight against Havoc’s men Thunderbolt, Power Girl and Crusader storm his castle and things start to look good for our heroes as Evila has her handsful with Power Girl and Crusader and Thunderbolt is holding his own against Andreas Havoc…that is until he gets blasted with a powerful energy blast that knocks Thunderbolt from the castle and we see that his attacker is Trydan the man who almost killed him years back! Thunderbolt finds his inner strength and uses all his skills to take down Trydan once and for all, only to fin the man in the suit was a drooling mindless fool, and as Thunderbolt starts to fight again with Andreas Havoc he learns that Trydan was just a paid assassin in a stolen suit from Lexcorp and that his brain was fried and he was a mindless tool of destruction. The fighting is going back and fourth and the Checkmate Knights get the call to pull back and return back to base, as this happens Tabu and Master Tsong rush into the castle and cause a distraction that allows Power Girl to grab the power stone and for them also to get the stolen scrolls…Thunderbolt uses the stone and his powers to transport himself and his friends to Tibet as Evila and Andreas Havoc stay in the castle that is now crumbling. In Tibet Thunderbolt and friends are by the monastery and find that it is under attack by a Chinese soldiers as Power Girl and Crusader attack the soldiers the others watch over the power stone as Thunderbolt rushes to check on the Lama only to find that he is face to face with Dorje, and worse Thunderbolt learns that Dorje is the real Thunderbolt who never dies those years back. Also during this time Mr. Wheeler heads to the Scoprio base and finds that his own right hand man has turned on him and that Cairo has hired Mac The Knife to put a dagger in his back!

So this is a bombshell as we learn that Peter Cannon has been living a lie for all these years and he is not the true Thunderbolt and protector of the order as his predecessor never really died and is back this time helping China to find the mystic powerful items that are hidden in the temple. So Thunderbolt as we know him is not the Tibetan hero we have followed, but he is a hero and a chosen one for sure as look at all he has been able to do and learn and I feel that Dorje is a man who at one point who was chosen to be the protector who now has turned his back on the job and is using his powers and skills to help with greed. Its great to see Power Girl and The Crusader lending their powers to help take down the evil magic of Andreas Havoc as both of their lives were in danger. And for that matter good on the Checkmate Knights as well for all their work in the battle. As for Andreas Havoc and Evila they are powerful and strong and if not for being distracted for a short amount of time they could have easily won the battle with our heroes…but I also feel that the defeat of Andreas Havoc, Trydan and Evila is very rushed feeling as they are the main bad guys we have spent so much time with, and now its changed to Dorje with just one issue to go. Poor Mr. Wheeler is in a bad way as it’s clear that the odds are against him and his time is running out as Cairo and her goons have his number. And speaking of Cairo she has surrounded herself with not only heavy armed foot solders but also skilled killers like Tekk and Mac The Knife…she is dangerous and I will guess will get what’s coming to her in the next issue. News lady Anne-Marie is getting the news story of her life as she has been along for the ride as Thunderbolt clashed with Andreas and also has seen China attacking a temple in Tibet! This is a great issue but again I do feel as if things are being rushed to have an end as they had to know that the series was being canceled and that they only had two issue to wrap it all up. The cover is great and showcases our heroes and villains and as always Mike’s work in the interior art is good stuff. Well let’s see how the DC Comic series of Thunderbolt ends as we are going to look at the twelfth and final issue.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 12  **1/2
Released in 1993    Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 12 of 12

Peter Cannon faces off with Dorje who sees Tabu holding the power stone and informs them all that he wants the stone as he needs to give it to China, and Peter can not allow this and fights Dorje who is older but more skilled and is showing his fighting skills. Tabu and Master Tsong watch in shock as Tabu is confused as he has pledged his life to help the true Thunderbolt, but he is best friends with Peter! Anne-Marie takes action and grabs the power stone and runs off with it trying to keep it safe and out of the hands of Dorje only to by accident giving it to Evila who is disguised at Power Girl and Andreas Havoc is also there who is now mad that Dorje is still alive as this makes his war and feud with Peter Cannon void! The Crusader and Power Girl arrive in the temple and after hitting Evila from behind the power stone falls to the floor as a fight between Thunderbolt and his friends against Evila with Andreas Havoc as well as Dorje who is fighting them all in order to get the stone. During the fight Andreas Havoc is thrown against a wall leaving him brain damaged as Dorje gets the stone and uses its power to kill Evila as well as himself in order to keep the temple and all inside it safe from her want to become the ruler, all the heroes gather as he tells them of his past years of being missing. With the fight over Peter Cannon is Thunderbolt again and the Lama sends Power Girl and The Crusader home and then sends Anne-Marie and Tabu to Peter’s apartment…as for Thunderbolt is gets a change of outfit and is sent to the Scorpio base as he needs to have words with Cairo. Once at the base he finds Mr. Wheeler who dies in front of him from his stab wounds and has to fight Tekk who uses all his power to try and stop the hero, but thanks to water and electricity Tekk fails and is left knocked out. In the end Thunderbolt faces Cairo and she alerts him that she is related to Evila and that she just wants power and order and begs Thunderbolt to join her, he rejects her offer and walks out telling her goodbye and both are heart broken as good and evil can never find love.

The final issue of Thunderbolt does a pretty great job of wrapping up all our characters and stories and allows now Peter Cannon to be Thunderbolt and not have to 100% follow the teachings of the Lama and temple as he is not the reborn spirit of the passed warrior…he is just his own warrior. Thunderbolt learns so much about himself that all his powers and skills are unlocked by his own will and training and that he is a hero no matter what label is placed on him. It’s also clear that he will always do what is right and fight on the side of good and that his friend Tabu will always be his pal and help him in life and in heroism. You have to feel bad for Thunderbolt as well when he learned that the old Thunderbolt is still alive and making his whole past being a lie, plus he has to face heart break as he must break it off with Cairo a woman he loves. To be honest Dorje the old Thunderbolt does nothing for me and seems like a waste to the story as his turn from being apart of the raiding Chinese forces to becoming the Temple hero again before his death seemed super cheesy. Evila finally meets her end thanks to the power stone and poor Andreas Havoc is left in a coma just like Trydan and both will spend their lives at the Temple in Tibet. Mr. Wheeler meets his end at the end of a knife and its cause of his own pride and want to fight that leads him to his death, well and the fact his own friend set him up! I do feel that Inspector James Flint does not have any real payout and only shows up for a second in this final issue to tell Wheeler’s men to start looking for new work, again his story seems rushed and like a wasted character. Anne-Marie is clearly a reporter who is stronger then she thinks and is clearly in love with Peter Cannon so who knows what could have been with those two. The series did do a great job of using other heroes from the DC Universe as the Justice League Europe, Checkmate Knights and The Crusader all seem important and add to the story as it unfolds. Cairo DeFrey is a killer and a woman who craves power who is from the same bloodline as Evila and while bad, I don’t think she sees her actions as evil as she just wants to lead and make the world follow her order. Mike Collins who did the interior art and the story for this series did fantastic work and really did bring a classic comic hero into modern times and made Thunderbolt fit right into the DC Universe, he also added onto the characters legend and story and did a great job of also using his classic rouges gallery while adding new baddies into the mix. It’s a shame that this series only lasted 12 issues as it was some of the better stuff DC was doing at the time with their smaller time heroes. From what I gathered low sales is what got the book canceled and Thunderbolt from here would be apart of other comics like Justice League Europe. The cover for this issue is also really cool and for some reason reminds me of Batman or even The Phantom. I have to say that I truly enjoyed Peter Cannon Thunderbolt and think that if you enjoy classic comic heroes and have not check it out yet, you should as its well done and while flawed in spots (looking at you mind powers) it holds a great classic comic feel. Check out the artwork bellow to see the style of Mike Collins.

If I worked for DC Comics around 1993 as a writer and Peter Cannon Thunderbolt was thrown my way in order to breath new life into the character after his final issue was released. I would have kept him in London for awhile and have him join The Justice League Europe for a short awhile and would have had him and Power Girl hitting it off and even dating. During this time Thunderbolt would have mastered his mental powers and this would have elevated his superpower statues, and the JLE would also hire Tabu to work their headquarters to keep all their missions in order as well as to alert members to crises. But Thunderbolt and Tabu would leave London and the JLE after Power Girl and he split up as he is still in love with Cairo DeFrey who has been spotted in New York causing him to return home to find her, and here is were I would change him up and take a really chance with him as when in New York and with his new more powerful mind powers I would have Cairo make a deal with the returning Evila and together they place a classic curse of Thunderbolt and turn him into a raging madman who is running amok in the streets and is attacking innocent people and as well as doing battle with Superheroes like one time friend Green Lantern, Batman, Hawkman, Plastic Man, Green Arrow and even Superman. I would then have Dr. Fate along with Zatanna be the ones who break the curse of Evila as well as end his mental mind powers of Thunderbolt and from there I would write him out for awhile by having him be placed in a asylum. After a year or two away I would bring Peter Cannon Thunderbolt back as a skilled fighter normal hero who has to earn the trust of the people and his fellow heroes. And from there I would just have Thunderbolt appear in other comics as a guest hero and would still be doing that to this day.

Thunderbolt over the years has been dusted off by other comic companies with his latest bigger run being with Dynamite Comics 2012 and later 2019 and would bring the hero into modern times. But for me I think he should have stayed put in the DC Comics universe. But DC is such a mess in modern times and are cutting comics, creators and even making a push for digital comics so in other words they are a shell of a company and sadly have been ran wrong for many years now and with AT&T owning them and not caring about print comic books I am not sure what their fate holds in the future. But lets not harp on the fate of DC Comics and why they let Thunderbolt slip from their fingers as for my next update I will be taking a look at another Horror Host for the celebration of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame being around for 10 years as I will take a look at Indiana’s own Baron Von Wolfstein! So until next time read a DC Comic or three, watch a superhero film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a trip to Wolfstein Manor.