Tarzan’s Great Christmas Eve Adventure

Merry Christmas Eve! It’s hard to believe it’s that time of the year again when Santa Claus is gearing up to start his big night of present giving and spreading good cheer. And for this Holiday update I decided to take us out of the snow filled cold night of December here in Ohio and take us to the heart of the jungle as we go and visit the one and old Lord Of The Jungle Tarzan! This update is going to be a very long one as I have chosen the Marvel Comics series to review and have also decided to do a Game Boy Challenge as I try to beat the game Tarzan Lord Of The Jungle, plus talk about all things Tarzan from novels to cinema and everything in-between! I want to also let you know that this update was one that I have been working on since mid 2018 as I wanted to take my time and share my enjoyment of Tarzan with you all. So if you’re ready grab yourself a glass of eggnog, grab your safari hat and listen for the yell of Tarzan cause we are heading to the jungle for this epic and long Holiday update adventure.

Before we dive into the character Tarzan we should take a few moments and take a look at the man who created him and that is of course author Edgar Rice Burroughs. Edgar was born on September 1, 1875 in Chicago, Illinois to George and Mary Burroughs and had a pretty good childhood and was well educated and when old enough went to several Military Schools and even enlisted in the Army, but was discharged when they found that he had heart issues. In 1891 he left the Chicago area when a influenza outbreak infected many and he went to live with his brother were he worked on the ranch and was a cowboy and when returning back home he took work in his fathers battery factory. By 1900 he settled down and married is long time sweetheart Emma Hulbert and also began several years of working in many different jobs like being the manager at a mining company owned by his brother, worked for the railroad in Salt Lake City and even was a wholesaler salesman for pencil-sharpeners. But by 1911 with a wife and two children Edgar decided that he wanted to try his hand and writing and he started to do so, mainly doing pulp stories for magazines and built his style and talent. In 1913 he and his wife had their third and final child John Coleman Burroughs who would go on to be an amazing artist. Edgar also would end up being a pilot after he bought a plane and this allowed his whole family learn to fly. Edgar was getting more and more respect for his writing and in 1934 he separated from his wife Emma and ended up a year later marrying actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt who was known for her roles in such films as “Down Home (1920)”, “The Johnstown Flood (1926)” and “The Return Of Peter Grimm (1926)” to name a few…but the marriage ended by 1942. Another amazing fact is that in his 60’s Edgar was in Honolulu at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and he ended up becoming a U.S. Correspondent being one of the worlds oldest! On March 19, 1950 and at the age of 74 Edgar Rice Burroughs passed away from a heart attack, and he at the time was an artist who made so much money off the movies and shows that were based on his characters he created. During his long career of being a writer he created the characters of Tarzan The Ape Man and John Carter Warlord Of Mars among others and for these characters he was placed in The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame in 2003! While he is gone and his work will forever live on in novels, comics, movies, shows, games and toys showing that he really is an icon of Sci-Fi fiction.

Growing up I read not only comic books & magazines but also lots of paperback books and some of my favorites to find at Half Price Books and the Paperback Rack were old Tarzan novels. I would gobble up any and all Tarzan books I could find and would crack them open some nights before bed and read a chapter or two all the while enjoying the jungle adventure. Still to this day when looking at paperback novels at places like Half Price Books and Bell Book And Comic when finding a Tarzan book I don’t have I pick it up! I have many good memories of reading Tarzan books in my room in Waynesville and picturing the words I was reading in my mind. That’s the thing about Tarzan is that when I read one of the old paperbacks I felt like I was in that jungle amongst the apes, lions and warriors and these books are some of the first novels that got me into reading not just comic books. I would say my favorite book of the series is “Tarzan Of The Apes” the first book in the series as I always felt it packed such a great impact and was what introduced me to the world of Tarzan. If you enjoy sitting down and reading a good book check out one of the Tarzan adventures on a cold winter night and I am sure you’ll enjoy it!

While Tarzan was a big hit in literature he was a star when it came to the world of cinema as well, as movie goers for decades could not get enough of his adventures on the silver screen. It’s crazy to think that Tarzan as been in movies sense the days of Silent Films and even as of 2016 he got a big budget movie thanks to Warner Brothers and the release of “Legend Of Tarzan”. And lets be honest Tarzan was a major box office draw in the 1930’s through 1960’s and actors like Gordon Scott, Lex Barker, Denny Miller and Johnny Weissmuller and truly made the character Tarzan a hero from many young kids world wide. Growing up I cannot count how many of these films I have seen from seeing them on TV, VHS and DVD and every time I watch one I feel like a kid again as they just don’t make jungle adventure films like this anymore. Hands down Johnny Weissmuller is the best Tarzan but I also really liked Gordon Scott in the role as well. I mean to be honest I cannot think of a really “Bad” actor to play the role. In fact over the years I have found myself buying every Tarzan live action film and who knows maybe some day here on Rotten Ink I’ll do an update that talks about each film in the series, as well as give an answer to what film is the best! While Tarzan might not be the box office draw he once was, he still made his massive mark on the world of adventure cinema and has entertained so many viewers over the years.

While he has always been a box-office draw Tarzan has also made his mark in the world of TV, as he has not only had live actions shows he has also been in cartoons. That’s right The Lord Of The Jungle has made his way to the world of animation and Saturday Moring Cartoons! And one that always sticks out to me and is one I seen when I was a youngster in reruns called “Tarzan, Lord Of The Jungle” that was shown in 1976 on CBS when originally broadcasted. The show was created by Filmation the same folks who brought the world iconic cartoons as “Masters Of The Universe”, “Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids”, “Blackstar”, “She-Ra: Princess Of Power”, “BraveStarr” and “The Groovie Goolies And Friends” to name a very small few. The cartoon ran from 1976-1980 for a total of 36 episodes that ran 30 minutes each. In the cartoon Tarzan who was well spoken would have all types of adventures with his ape friend N’kima and all his other jungle friends. Tarzan in the show was voiced by Robert Ridgely who would also voice iconic cartoon characters like Thundarr The Barbarian, Flash Gordon in “The New Adventures Of Flash Gordon” and The Peculiar Purple Pie in “Strawberry Shortcake” showing that he was a master of the voice talent arts. I am not sure where I seen episodes of this show I tend to think TV like on USA Cartoon Express or maybe it could have been on a old VHS Tape. One thing that’s for sure that I do know is that the first season was released by Warner Brothers on DVD in 2016, and the series very much has a cult following among fans of the character. If you have not seen this cartoon series make sure to track down the DVD season and give it a watch as it does a great job of bring Tarzan alive via animation.

The first ever Tarzan comic book series was published by Dell in 1948 and was a long running series having a total of 206 issues and ending in 1972. But even before that Tarzan was the star of his own comic strip that started in 1929 and has been reprinted as well as have had many talented artist working on it like Russ Manning and Hal Foster. After Dell cancelled the series DC Comics picked it up in 1972 with issue 207 and ran till issue 258 ending the original series in 1977. Marvel Comics in 1977 decided that they were going to give Tarzan and try and re-launched it with a new number 1 and their series lasted 29 issues as well as 3 annuals. From their many other comic companies have released comics based on Tarzan from Dark Horse to Dynamite and while he is not a major player in the world of comics he has very much made his mark. Tarzan has also teamed up and fought many other comic characters in his adventures like Planet Of The Apes, Batman, Predator and Red Sonja. Growing up I have read many Tarzan comics with most of them being the ones from Marvel as my late Uncle Thurman gave my brother and me a stack of them when we were younger, and can say just like the films I have always enjoyed him in comics as well.

Like all iconic characters that is geared towards kids and collectors Tarzan has had his fair share of cool figures and dolls made in his likeness making it very easy for fans to get their hands on cool action figures and have their very own adventures. When I was a kid many companies released figures based on the Lord Of The Jungle companies like Dakin, Trendmasters and Mattel and I had figures from them all besides Mattel as they were based on the animated Disney film. In fact when I was playing Toy Wars the figure of Tarzan’s mom Kala was used and was in the rebels base helping fight off attacks from Stormtroopers and Cobra Guards. But while those toys were cool and parts of my childhood the one figure I always wanted and still want to this day is the Mego Tarzan figure as I have always found it to be a must have and never have gotten one. Plus all of these figures we have talked about are just a drop in the hat of ones made based on Tarzan. So in other words if you liked Tarzan growing up and played with action figures toy companies had you covered. Check out the pictures below to see some of these toys in all their glory.

Besides toys and comics Tarzan has also made his way onto all types of other cool merchandise like shirts, posters, magazines, buttons, lunch boxes, board games, vinyl records, comic books, video games, home video, drinking glass, books, coloring books and so much more! Showing that over the year’s fans of Tarzan has had lots of great things to choose from and could add to their love for the character. It’s crazy to thank that in 2020 Tarzan is not as big of a hero to the young and young at heart, but for those of use who still really enjoy The King Of The Jungle there is so much cool collectibles out in the world to add to your collection.

Lets now talk video games as the Lord Of The Jungle has had his share of digital adventures as well. Like in 1984 for the ColecoVision the game Tarzan was released to cash in on the film Greystroke: The Legend of Tarzan. 1991 saw the release of Tarzan Goes Ape for the Commodore 64. 1994 seen Tarzan: Lord of The Jungle come out for both Game Boy and Game Gear. Disney’s Tarzan in 1999 got many video games for many systems like Sony Playstation, N64, PC and Game Boy Color! And of course many other Disney Tarzan games were made for such systems as Playstation 2, Game Cube, PC and GBA. And even in 2019 a Tarzan slot machine was released in casinos and became a hit with players. Over the years to be honest the only video game I have played of Tarzan was the one based on the Disney film for the Playstation and always wanted to play the one for the ColecoVision. But for this Holiday Christmas Eve update I have a little something special planned. So keep reading!

Game Developers Euroncom developed a game based on Tarzan that was published by GameTech in 1994 for the Nintendo Game Boy and the Sega Game Gear. The game was called Tarzan: Lord Of The Jungle and has the player take control of Tarzan as he tries to complete six stages with each having their own storyline from stopping evil poachers to curing a primate disease. The game is an action platformer and each mission/level has a time limit that is pretty tight and leaves very little room for error. When released the game was meet with mediocre reviews and scores as many just thought it was to average and to repetitive with not having a password system meaning you had to play the same levels over and over in order to try and beat it. The games sales were also not that great as the US version for Game Gear didn’t even make it out and was cancelled. Below is some screen shots from the game as well as the cover for the Game Boy Version, and I must say the box art is great…but the in game look is a little cartoonish and reminds me more of George Of The Jungle!

So wanting to do this update for awhile as I have always been a big Tarzan fan I had to really think long and hard on what video game to play and try and beat and it came down to either the Playstation one based on the Disney animated movie or the Game Boy version and for me hands down I had to pick the Game Boy one as its more classic and closer to the Tarzan I grew up loving. So I also decided that I am going to play this game on my Game Boy Color and even better drove out to the woods to play the game as while I might not have a jungle near were I live, I do have lots of wooded areas and parks! I choose to play the game near the woods by Calvary Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio as it is a super peaceful place and one I visit often to relax and read comics at. I choose September 23, 2020 to do so as it was sunny out and was only 75 degrees out with a nice small breeze. I gave myself a playtime of 35 minutes to see how far I could get in the game and the first mission had me collecting flowers to give to a witch doctor in order to get a potion to give to a sick great ape…this level is a run around and find objects to go bring to one character to only take it to another…this level is timed like all levels in this game and after running around and failing a few times I was able to clear the first level and save the Great Ape by throwing the cure in bottles at him as he tried to attack me!

The second level is as far as I got in the time I gave myself and has Tarzan trying to get stolen gold back from a Crocodile who has hidden it. I must say he gameplay for this game is easy and not hard at all to play, the only real annoying parts is the game maps are all over the pace and sometimes swinging from the vines can be annoying. The music is pretty standard stuff and is catchy. Over all this is a pretty fun fetch side scrolling game that is worth checking out if you enjoy the old style Game Boy games.

As you can see Tarzan is a true icon in culture and has made an impact on many fans life over the decades. I would also like to thank Bell Book & Comic, Lone Star Comics, Half Price Books, Game Swap Kettering and Mavericks Cards And Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible as well as letting me relive reading them again! 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’re ready lets head to the jungle and have an adventure with the one and only Tarzan!

Tarzan # 1  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel   # 1 of 29

A European man named Jules is on a Safari when all of a sudden he and his helpers are attacked by the Natua Tribe who slaughter them all leaving only Jules alive! The man runs through the jungle is fear and ends up loosing the tribe but gets the attention of a very hungry lion who now has his sites on him for dinner. As the lion is about to attack from the trees above comes Tarzan who fights with the beast and stabs it with his knife until it dead, saving Jules life for the first time as quickly the Natua Tribe are now on them and are looking to finish off Jules who is now being protected by the lord of the jungle. The Natua Tribe flings their spears at Tarzan who dodges them and uses his knife to keep them at bay until his backup arrives that is Tantor an elephant that stomp and flings the Natua Tribe all around and saves the day. Once the coast is clear Tarzan and Jules ride Tantor to the safety of Tarzans home in order for Jules to heal and rest up. But little does Tarzan know that the man he just saved is not named Jules but is Albert Werper an angry man who has sworn to kill Tarzan!

This first issue is as good as I remember it being when I was a youngster and delivers all the thrills and adventures of jungle films as well as brings Tarzan back to life in the pages of comics. This comics plot is very simple and has our hero saving a man from a blood thirsty tribe as well as a man eating lion only to have really saved his own enemy. This issue Tarzan is brave and a hero as he risks his life to save a strangers, he also can be very human like as well as very beast like and is just a very classic feeling hero. That’s the thing about Tarzan while he is a very old style hero he seems to never really go out of fashion. Albert Werper is a very tricky man as he acts like a victim when in fact it looks like he while be one foe Tarzan will regret saving. The Natua Tribe are savages who are hunting man like they are animals and even shrug off the fear of Tarzan when they think they can get the upper hand. The thing also about this issue is that it’s a very quick read is very fast paced. Plus it really showcases the fighting style of Tarzan as he is skilled in hand to hand combat as well as using his animal friends to win the big fights. The cover for this issue is great and captures the mood of the issues plot and the interior art is great and is done by John Buscema and has that classic Marvel Comics look. Over all this is a great read for fans of Tarzan and was a great issue to start the Marvel series on. A great read and one I have enjoyed revisiting and makes me really looking forward to doing so with the rest in the series as well.

Tarzan # 2  ***
Released in 1977   Cover Price .30   Marvel    # 2 of 29

Tarzan and Albert travel on the mighty elephant Tantor till they reach the bungalow house of Tarzan were this fake victim meets Muviro the chief of the Waziri Tribe as well as Tarzan’s wife Jane! That night after eating a good dinner Tarzan goes on a walk with one of his monkey friends as Jane sits and tells Albert the story of the legend of Tarzan. She shares that Tarzan was in fact raised by apes after they killed his parents, she tells of his wisdom to teach himself how to read, she talks of his rise to rule the apes as well as when they first meet and he saved her from a great ape. She shares that she was the one to teach him English as well as shares that she was to be married to Tarzan’s cousin unknown to them all before finally marring her true love. She also shares that Tarzan is from a wealthy family and has inherited it all. After she finishes Tarzan comes back home as Albert goes for a walk so the married couple can chat, and as he listens in at the window he learns that Tarzan and his wife Jane who had the Greystroke fortune are now broke after a bad investment and now Tarzan must travel deep into the African jungle to get gold from haunted ruins! Now Albert has a plan to not only kill Tarzan but also steal some of the gold.

Once more Marvel Comics and the creative team behind this comic series proves that they knew how to do the legend of adventures of Tarzan right! The plot of this issue is really the origin of Tarzan as well as sets up why Albert has a mission to kill the Lord of the Jungle. Tarzan in this issue opens his home to a stranger and even fills his belly with good food plus offers a warm bed for him to sleep in. Jane as well is very nice and shares her story with the stranger as well as is the one who cooked the dinner and as well welcomes the stranger in her home. Albert Werper is a military trained killer who is on the run for murder and has joined a band of evildoers who deal in ivory and human trafficking. He has sworn to kill Tarzan so he and his gang of goons can move deeper in the jungle to get what they need to grow. Plus he also shows that he is very mentally unstable as he kills his own Military commander and has becomes a cold-blooded member of a group that treats human and animal lives as nothing! The best part about this issue is that while it’s an origin issue we do not fully focus on that story that we all already know and we add elements of the current story. Plus like the first issue this one really does have a classic pulp hero feel to it as something and nothing all happen at the same time but it all feels very classic and entertaining. I must also say that I like the character of Terkoz as massive ape who once was the King of the apes who was beaten, disgraced and later killed by Tarzan! I would have liked to have known what his story was after he was kicked out of the ape tribe and was left to fend for himself all with hatred in his heart for the human Tarzan. The cover for this issue is great and shows not only our hero but also Jane and Terkoz. The interior art is done by John Buscema again and is amazing stuff. So as you can see this second issue as well is well done and has held up for me and makes me want to move onto issue # 3.

Tarzan # 3  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 3 of 29

The next day Albert Werper decides that he is “leaving” to get back home and has an escort of Waziri Tribe warriors. Once in the jungle they run across one of Albert’s fellow raiders and he plays it off as if he is lost, and on the orders of Albert the Waziri warriors are sent away. Albert informs his fellow con man that he has yet to kill Tarzan as he is going to lead them to mass amounts of gold and that while the lord of the jungle is away they need to kidnap his wife! As Tarzan leaves for the lost city of Opar his unknown enemy Albert is stalking him. Tarzan and some of the Waziri start their long quest and our hero spends time loving having to not be civilized like when he is around Jane and his mind is other places as Albert stalks in all the while. Tarzan and his warrior friends walk and climb until they finally reach the lost city and when entering they soon start to remove all the gold bars they would need to rebuild they Greystoke fortune, and all the while Albert watches with greed in his eyes. After Tarzan takes just the amount he would need to recover from the huge money loss and earthquake happens and rocks end up blocking the Waziri warriors from his friend as well as Tarzan is knocked out on the same side as the hiding Albert who leaves his one time savior for dead as he tries to find a way out only to end up captured by weird cavemen like people who are lead by a beautiful woman named LA who is the cities high priestess and the are going to sacrifice Albert to their fire god! But lucky for him Tarzan awakens with his mind foggy and decides to save him from death and takes out many of the cavemen who are being commanded by LA who is mad at Tarzan for rejecting her to become her High Priest.

This third issue brings us readers more adventure and one-step closer to the showdown between Tarzan and Albert Werper. This issues plot has Tarzan and 50 of his warrior friends heading to a lost city that is filled with wild cavemen and their very attractive priestess in order to get gold to bail out Tarzan who has lost all his families riches, and while he is on this quest he is also being stalked by a man who he once saved and thought a friend. In this issue Tarzan has his mind filled with stress of being a married man with responsibilities in the civil world who needs money to live and the Lord of the Jungle side that wants nothing more than to live in the jungle and act like a primate. And in this issue he also finds himself hurt with a rock hit to the head and his mind foggy and shaky, and also seems to be confused on who and what he is. LA is a High Priestess to this lost kingdom and has been in love with Tarzan for many years and goes into a rage when he does not love her back the same way, she also holds lots of power as her primitive followers do whatever she asks. She also likes to take human lives in order to please her God and she is cold blooded when she is crossed. Albert Werper is a snake in the grass and not only does he want Tarzan dead but also want to steal gold, and once more when he finds himself in trouble he is rescued by a man he left for dead when injured by the earthquake, showing he has no loyalty nor respect for anyone. This issue has a slow pace and builds up Tarzan’s inner thoughts on his life and because of this the action takes a backseat and does not kick in till the end of the issue, but that’s not a bad thing as I still find it to be a solid and entertaining issue. The cover is eye catching and very cool as is the interior art done once more by John Buscema as I have always loved this era of Marvel Comics and their in house style. And before we move onto issue four I need to say that issue three for me has held up like the others reread.

Tarzan # 4  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 4 of 29

Tarzan now more beast like has ended his rampage of murder as the rest of the cavemen run away and LA is left crying over the Lord of the Jungle who has blown off he love that she has held for him over the years. And after freeing Albert Tarzan returns to the treasure room and steals some jewels and snaps at Albert when he tries to take some and the pair head into the jungle. Meanwhile Jane is back home waiting for her husband to return and has a few warriors around her as protection and closing in on them is Achmet Zek and his band of traders who are going to kidnap Jane on the orders of Albert so they can get the gold! The raiders attack and kill off the warriors who fight to keep Jane safe as she herself fights by their side with a riffle, but once they have her they loot her home and set it on fire leaving her devastated and rage filled. But the raiders have failed as one warrior still lives and while severely injured Mugambi only has one thing on his mind…revenge! Meanwhile Tarzan decides that Albert and he must eat and picks a fight with a pair on panthers who have just made a kill, and Tarzan fights his hardest and wins but is hurt bad in the battle and soon finds himself down and Albert stealing his jewels and ends with Albert about to stab Tarzan with his own knife!

This is a great issue that brings action and drama together and leaves us on a cliffhanger of Tarzan about to be stabbed in the back as he is injured! This issues plot has Jane being kidnapped by an evil group of looters and traders who also slaughter and kill warriors all the while Tarzan has lost his memory and is wondering around the jungle as Albert follows along. Tarzan in this issue is like a wild animal and acts like a savage beast and even picks a fight with two panthers in order to steal their food! While Albert Werper is as sleazy and cowardly as ever, tagging along with Tarzan again, getting saved by him as all the while trying to murder him. Jane shows she is a fighter as she kills many of the looters who have came for her and her warrior friends as well are all brave and loyal. And our main bad guy Achmet Zek is a total scumbag who has zero respect for human life and only wants wealth! Two of the interesting subplots that I found myself liking are LA being in love with Tarzan and the fact she has been so for many years and has the if you don’t love me then you must die attitude about it, you know this subplot is going to come back into play. And the other is the almost murder of Mugambi who has loyalty to his friends and wants to get revenge on those who injured him and killed/kidnapped. This issue really is fantastic and captures the fun jungle adventure nature of Tarzan and shows that Roy Thomas understands how to turn the novels into comics. The cover is super eye catching and still holds up to this day and as before the art by John Buscema is amazing. To sum it up this issue is great and a solid read for fans of Tarzan and shows that this comic series help shows why Marvel was the best comic company in the 70’s! On a side note I have to say that Marvel has brought Star Wars and Conan The Barbarian home and I think it’s time they bring Tarzan and Star Trek back as well!

Tarzan # 5  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 5 of 29

As Tarzan is passed out Albert Werper is about to stab him, but fear sets in that if his first stab don’t kill the lord of the jungle he himself might find death at the hands of Tarzan! So Albert runs off with the jewels as the Tarzan awakens with an animal rage inside him and wants to get his pretty stones back and to kill the white man Albert…but not before he takes a nap. Albert rushes to the camp of Achmet Zek and his raiders to deliver the news of Tarzan’s “death” as well as that the old ruins does hold lots of gold! Achmet Zek orders for Albert to take Jane up north and sell her to slave owners as he and his men go after the gold. Once in his tent Albert counts his jewels and soon notices that Achmet is spying on him and this makes the European know that he is a dead man for hiding the riches from the warlord, and that night Achmet returns to Albert’s tent and stabs his bed to find that his target as already escaped and has taken Jane with him. And while Achmet and many of his raiders go on the hunt for Albert, Tarzan is attacked by three apes and finds himself surrounded by LA The Princess of Opar who wants her dagger back and is willing to have her cavemen rip him apart to get it!

The plot continues in this issue and has Tarzan loosing touch with his human side and turning more animal like and his savage nature is out on control as he attacks man and animal alike. All the while his wife Jane is a prisoner of the evil Achmet Zek who has turned on his own alley Albert Werper over jewels! And the story comes to an end when LA shows up and wants what belongs to her back. I am guessing that the next issue could be an all out war as Tarzan will be in the middle of the battle between Achmet and his raiders, LA and her cavemen and the tribes who fight for Tarzan and Jane. Tarzan in this issue is very savage and has forgotten how to be a man and is more in the mindset of revenge and survival and not even slightly worried about Jane and his home as he has forgotten all about them! Plus he almost seems to enjoy killing the animals of the jungle and has no remorse for the deaths he is causing. Poor Jane is just a prisoner who is holding on to the hope that her husband will rescue her. Mugambi in the issue is healing up and stalking the raiders as he wants to save Jane as well as get a little revenge in the process. LA Princess of Opar is a woman who is very angry as she not only has been stolen from but also has a broken heart as Tarzan does not feel the same way about her as she does for him, I also think she is ready to kill and kill again along with her evil cavemen in order to get her respect back. Albert Werper is scum who is fearful of an injured Tarzan, steals jewels and even hides them from his own partner in crimes and then has no issue with selling off a woman to a slave trade in order to make extra money…total scum! Achmet Zek is as well scum who lets money and power rule his life and has no loyalty to his own raiders, he is also a coward and would kill in the night than face to face…I can not wait to see him get what’s coming to him. That’s one thing for sure this series is going right that villains are so bad you really do want to see them pay for their crimes. I also like how this comic makes you wonder when and how Tarzan will get his mind back and will he be the one to take revenge on Albert and Achmet or will the jungle it’s self deal them justice. The cover for this issue is great and the art by John Buscema is still top notch. Over all this is another great and entertaining issue that delivers all the action and adventure you would expect from Tarzan and I for one can not wait to read the next issue!

Tarzan # 6  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 6 of 29

Tarzan is beaten up by the apes and the cavemen when he shows that he no longer has the dagger and this sets LA into a rage and she vows that the next morning she will offer the Lord of The Jungles heart to their sun god! That night LA falls asleep next to Tarzan and when the morning comes his death is to take place for his crimes against them, but before he can be killed his elephant friend Tantor appears in a fit of madness as it’s matting season and he is on a warpath to kill anyone in his way and that includes Tarzan! LA frees Tarzan and the pair quickly hide in a tall tree all the while Tantor tries to get them as well as kills many of the cavemen. After Tarzan tricks Tantor in leaving he orders LA and her cavemen to return to Opar and that the men need to listen to the law of LA. Meanwhile he learn that Jane escaped the camp on her own and is trying to survive the animals of the jungle who think she could be an easy meal. Meanwhile Albert Werper has gotten a horse from a downed raider and rushes only to be taken prisoner alongside Mugambi by an army who are hunting down Achmet Zek. Meanwhile Jane runs into Achmet who is once more taken her hostage only to have his men attacked by apes as well as Tarzan who has regained some of his memory. In the end the apes and Tarzan are gunned down and Jane is once more a prisoner of a greedy madman.

This issue has Tarzan and LA hiding for from an elephant that is on a rampage and must work together to survive it. The side story has Albert being hunted and becoming a prisoner of the army as Jane once more becomes the captive of Achmet! Tarzan in this issue is gaining some of his memories back and spends much of the issue protecting LA only to late be shot while trying to save his wife from being kidnapped. The end of this comic does a great job of making the reader wonder how bad Tarzan has been shot and how will he save his wife. LA is so madly in love with Tarzan that she breaks her bound to her people as she refuses to sacrifice the Lord Of The Jungle, she is a powerful woman who really is blinded by love. Jane meanwhile in this issue is running for her life and escapes one bad location only to keep stepping into worse and worse ones! Achmet Zek is a man who feels like he has been crossed and has set his sights on killing his one time crime partner Albert Werper who is running for his life like a rat. Mugambi meanwhile finds himself as well captured by the army and taken as a prisoner, and all he wants to really do is get revenge in the name of Tarzan. Tantor is blinded with rage over wanting to find a mate and is clearly the main threat in this issue as everyone in his path are afraid of his massive power as he wants to kill any person or animal in his way. This issue is a good read but does fell a little bit like a filler issue as weird enough to say it slows the pace down of this story arch we are in, I also feel that the cover is just ok and that the interior art by John Buscema seems rushed and not his best work at all in this series this far. To sum it up I was entertained but is the weakest in the series I have read this far…but keep in mind it’s still very good just a step down from the past issues. With that lest see what issue seven has in store for us.

Tarzan # 7  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 7 of 29

Tarzan is wounded and lays on the jungle floor among the bodies of his friends the apes, his mind wonders to the evils of Achmet as well as he can not shake the sight of the beautiful blonde that was the evil mans prisoner…as Tarzan can not remember that the woman is Jane his wife. As he grows weaker his mind starts to play tricks on him as he sees himself in the jungle at night watching as his enemy tribe hide near a fire as the meat eating beasts are on the prowl, with the main threat being the lion Huma and his mate Sabor who want to make them a late night meal, and they get one when they get a tribesman and Tarzan watches with amusement as one of his enemies dies that night. Tarzan head back to his ape family and remembers back to his questions about the world around him like the moon, rain and stars and how none of his wise apes have any clues to the answers. Tarzan soon thinks that the moon one day will be eaten by Huma and this will turn night to all dark and this worries the apes as well as Tarzan! But one ape in the group has set his sights on killing Tarzan as he knows that he is not like them, and this causes great tension between the apes as well as Tarzan. As a tribe’s man is walking in the jungle the apes decide that they are going to kill him and Tarzan originally stands by the apes side until he realizes that they just want to kill him for being human and the apes have now turned on him and he as well is marked for death! Tarzan is saved by one of his friend apes as well as Tantor and as the warrior leaves and Tarzan denounces his ape tribe, the ape who started the drama is killed and things try to go back to normal. Late one night an eclipse happens and the apes think that the lion Huma has attacked and is eating the moon and in a panic they call for Tarzan who fires arrows into the sky…and when the eclipse is over they think he saved the moon and he is once more a member of the ape tribe.

This issue is one that is set around a wounded Lord Of The Jungles mind as he goes to a world when his life is more primitive and all he really knows is the ways to survive and wants to learn about the universe around him and thinks he finds the answers all about the moon! This issue is very weak on action and is more of a character driven issue and really does dive into the primitive mind of Tarzan and his memories of the past. The Lord Of The Jungle in this issue is wise in his ways but is also very cold blooded as he does not mind taking a life or even watching lives be taken, its crazy that he gets joy watching a warrior from another tribe be eaten alive by a pair of lions! I also love how the issue really does revolve around the moon and the fear that the jungle has about living in nights in total darkness. The issues main baddies are Gunto and ape who wants to have all the other apes turn on and kill Tarzan and the lion Huma who is feared by all as he is a killer and a eater of all meat. While this issue was a cool get away from out main storyline this far is does also take a little of the momentum away as we are totally removed from that plot and focus more on the past of our hero…while interesting they really should have saved it for an annual, but with that said its still a really good issue. The cover is very eye catching and has Tarzan in a battle with an ape and the interior art is once more fantastic and is done by John Buscema who really does a great job of bring Tarzan alive in the pages of a Marvel Comic. Lets see what issue eight has in store for us and lets hope that it brings us back on track and has Tarzan saving Jane from the evil grip of Achmet Zek!

Tarzan # 8  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 8 of 29

Tarzan slowly gets to his feet as he is surrounded by apes he does not know and they are angered that two of their own have been shot, but before they can turn on the weaken Tarzan one of the fallen apes is still alive and just wounded and tells them who they are about to attack and they understand and take the pair to their home to heal their wounds. Tarzan cannot shake the image of Jane out of his mind as he heals up and still don’t remember that she is his wife, but he knows that she must be his! Once he is healed enough Tarzan asks the apes for help to rescue Jane and they all want nothing to do with the mission and even one challenges Tarzan to a fight named Chulk who after defeated joins Tarzan as does Taglat and the three set out on their mission. Tarzan and his ape friends attack a trio of the Desert Warriors and steal their cloths and wear them and sneak into the camp, while inside Tarzan and Chulk try and find rare jewels to give as a gift to Jane when they rescue her as Taglat has an idea of his own goes off and rescues Jane as he now wants her for his mate! Once Taglat kidnaps Jane and runs into the jungle Tarzan finds that he has been betrayed by the ape and is now on the hunt for revenge as the warriors of Achmet Zek are left confused and scared of the noise of anger that erupted from Tarzan’s mouth. Meanwhile both Albert Werper and Mugambi are still being held prisoner, with Albert making a deal for his life and freedom that will take the army to the lost city so that they can steal all the gold and jewels.

This is another fantastic issue that brings all the jungle action one looks for in a Tarzan comic as the plot has Tarzan waking up and filled with rage and the want to rescue Jane who he has decided will be his mate not remembering she is his wife and going on a rampage with two apes to rescue her from Achmet Zek and his evil men, only to find that one of his ape friends has also selected Jane to be his mate and causing the Lord Of The Jungle to be on a rampage of revenge! Tarzan in this issue is still much like a wild animal as he has no issues killing and will fight and snarl his way to getting what he desires. In other words Tarzan really is out of his mind and has lost all connection to his civil side! Poor Jane in this issue thinks her husband is dead, is kidnapped by a group of evil warriors, is later kidnapped by an ape and all she really wanted is to have a peaceful time at her jungle home as her husband took care of business of getting some treasure to get them out of debt. Not to mention poor Mugambi who is a brave warrior and dear friend of Tarzan who was trying to save Jane as well and avenge his slain friends has been taken captive along with the scumbag Albert Werper who started this whole mess! The ape Taglat is very sneaky in this issue as acts as Tarzan’s friend and helper when his true attentions is to steal Jane away from him and make her his mate, a true scummy move and shows that Taglat is a user! Achmet Zek and his raiders are money hungry as well as cruel and after they think they killed Tarzan they planed to sell off his wife to the highest bidder, cold blooded they are! The pacing of this issue is well done and each character in our story we get to catch up with and see what they are doing as all these pieces start to fall into place before the stories climax, and I have to say Roy Thomas did a fantastic job writing these comics this far! The cover is eye catching and pretty dang cool and the interior art once again is top notch and done by John Buscema who has the classic Marvel style that I love. We are eight issues in and these are as good as I remember them as a kid and not a dud in the batch this far! Lets see what issue nine has in store for us.

Tarzan # 9  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 9 of 29

A young Tarzan is reading books at his fathers old cabin and is puzzled by all the talk of God in them as he does not understand why there is no pictures of him as he can not wrap his mind around the concept of the old mighty King of Kings! When returning to his Ape family he asks all the wise ones if they know about this good with one saying it to be the Moon, and that night Tarzan asks and screams at the Moon and when a cloud covers it he knows the Moon is not God! He next goes to a tribe of warriors and see their Witch Doctor wearing a Buffalo Head and thinks that this must be God, but once he approaches and the Doctor looses his nerve he knows that this man is not God as well. As he is leaving the tribes Chief tries to kill Tarzan with a thrown spear, as Tarzan dodges it he attacks the old man and just as he is about to kill him, he stops as he has pity for the old man who is gripped with fear. Once back home he wonders more about God, but his thinking time is cut short when a baby ape and its mom are being attacked by a massive snake! Tarzan leaps into battle and into the coils of the snake and with a well placed knife strike kills the beast and saves the lives of his primate friends! In the end Tarzan returns to his thinking about God and learns that the answer he seeks is all around him as he comes to realize that God is who gave him the feeling a pity and the act of compassion, he also soon looks around and knows that God made the Moon, The Apes, Mankind and all things good!

This issue takes place when Tarzan was younger long before he meets Jane and way before the events of our current story arch and is a nice fill in issue! The plot of this issue has Tarzan on a mission to find out who and what a being he has read about in old books called God, and goes around the jungle to find the answer only to find that the answer has been all around him at all times. This is a pretty simple plotted issue from Roy Thomas that is very heavy on religion as it takes a stance that God created everything good and that Satan created all the bad in the world. But what works for me is the fact that someone like Tarzan who lives in the Jungle with no bibles, churches and fellow believers around would question who this God is and why is he so powerful that many blindly follow him. Tarzan in this issue is very noble as he has a want to learn as well as shows that he will leap into action to save his fellow friends and as well will spare those who wish him harm when they deserve it. I also dig the Water Buffalo headed Witch Doctor as I think he added a really cool feel to the issue as many tribes back in the day did look at them as healers and saviors. The cover is eye catching and has Tarzan fighting the massive snake and as always John Buscema kills it on interior art. Over all a nice fill in issue that delivers a fun read and a solid jungle adventure.

Tarzan # 10  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 10 of 29

Tarzan is still not himself as his memory is gone all he knows is that he has spotted Albert Werper with the army and that he is the own who stole his jewels and took away the pretty white woman (Jane) that he has an attraction to! Tarzan watches as Albert leads the soliders to a burial site that is filled with tons of gold, only for them to be attacked by the raiding warriors of Achmet Zek who wants not only the gold but also wants to bring down Albert for double crossing him. Tarzan follows Albert and Achmet who are playing a dangerous game of trying to kill the other to get away with the stolen jewels, all the while Tarzan is watching as he as well just wants his jewels back and to find his lady. Meanwhile its shown that Mugambi is in fact the one who has the jewels as he has took them from Albert when they were captured together and replaced his with river pebbles! But when Mugambi takes a nap after being on the run after escaping the prison camp, the jewels is stolen by the great ape Chulk who wants them as he likes what humans have. Meanwhile the ape Taglat still has Jane and his treating her like a rag doll when the lion Numa comes to her “rescue” and attacks and brings down Taglat and then turns his bloodlust toward Jane who tries to hide from the beast in the trees. Tarzan finally finds the fleeing Albert and takes him down and as he is choking him his memories comes back and he now knows that he is Tarzan and Jane is his wife! But before he can get the answers out of Albert they are both knocked out and taken by a Military Captain who wants to put Albert on trail for murder and decides to cage Tarzan for being to wild!

Wow this issue has so much going on as we have several characters and stories going on all at once and yet they are blending together really well! The plot is this Tarzan is on the trail of the man Albert who set him up and stole everything from him as well as a evil crime lord who wants all the jewels that Albert stole, while Tarzan’s friends are on the hunt to find Jane who was taken prisoner and is now in the hands of a killer ape who is being stalked by a bloodthirsty lion and even a army Captain is thrown in who wants to capture Albert for killing one of his soldiers! Oh and most important is that by the end of this issue Tarzan gets his memory back and remembers who he is and what is going one, and when this happens he is quickly knocked out by the Captain’s men. The pacing is very fast and flows really well and at this point even with all the fill in issues that breaks up the flow of this story arch I am drawn in and really can not wait to see how this story ends. Tarzan in this issues goes from a confused Wildman back to the Lord Of The Jungle and when he is wild he seems to not be worried about killing both man and animal. Albert Werper is such a spineless coward who would do whatever he can to gain wealth or even save his own sleazy hide. Achmet Zek is as well a very evil guy who controls his soldiers with fear and again craves power and riches. Taglat the great ape is also filled with rage and only when he meets his match in the lion Numa does he realize it as he pays for his rage with his life. Poor Jane is so tormented in this issues as she is roughed up by a gorilla and then is stalked by a lion…she just can not win! The cover for this issue is amazing and very eye catching and the interior artwork is top notch as its done by John Buscema again as he is one of the all time greats in my opinion. So with that lets see what issue 11 has in store for us and see how this epic story comes to an end.

Tarzan # 11  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 11 of 29

Tarzan and Albert Werper are being held prisoner by the Congo Free State soldiers lead by The Captain who has plans to deal with Albert and have Tarzan locked away! Meanwhile poor Jane finds herself rescued and then taken prisoner by Abdul Mourak and his men who were just defeated by Achmet Zek and his raiders, and they think they can at least hold Jane for ransom and make some money this day. As night falls Tarzan is still head at a camp as a prisoner when his ape friends lead by Chulk come to rescue him, and with gunfire from the humans ringing out Tarzan and Albert are carried away into the jungle and to safety…but sadly during the gunfight loyal Chulk is shot and dies. Tarzan is upset about his friend’s death as Albert finds the jewels on the ape’s body and once more steals them. Albert then lies to Tarzan and says sense he saved his life that he will lead him to the last place he say Jane and lucky for the crook he does lead him to Jane who is once more under attack by lions who have attacked and killed most of Mourak’s people! The lion Numa once more has his sites on Jane and Tarzan comes in for the rescue and fights off the hungry lion and finally kills it and takes Jane away as the lions below still attack the soldiers. Albert Werper ran way in the jungle as Tarzan and Jane return home and are greeted by Mugambi and his warrior friends. After a few months they rebuild their home and while out hunting they find the body of Albert Werper who had died in the jungle and recover the jewels he had stolen and started all this madness.

What a fun ending for this story arch that we traveled this far with in this series, I must say I really like the ending as all comes around and all ends well and its packed with drama, sadness, action and adventure all things you want in a Tarzan story. The plot has Tarzan being freed from being a prisoner by his ape friends and saving Jane from a pride of lions and in the end reuniting with his friends, rebuilding his home and getting his jewels and gold back. Tarzan in this issue goes into full hero mode as he gets his ape friends to help save him and Albert from the Captain, he then swings into action and fights off a massive lion in order to save his wife and in the end rebuilds the life that he had before all this greed turned his world all around. Jane in this issues goes from escaping the lion, to becoming a prisoner of some corrupt soldiers, to once more being the target of a lion and in the end saved by her husband…man she had a rough go around this issue. Mugambi and the tribe warriors are noble and loyal to their friendship with Tarzan as are the apes who come to his side when needed, with poor Chulk loosing his life to save the slimy Albert. Speaking of Albert Werper he starts off this series as scum and remains scum until he dies, and its great knowing that he died in the jungle and was never able to use the jewels he stole, in fact who scummy he is its great to know he died a slow and terrible death! While The Captain, Achmet Zek and Abdul Mourak are all set up to be terrible people with agendas that will make them rich or give them some sort of power it’s the Lion Numa that is the final baddy of this story as his want and need to kill Jane is so bad that he risks his own life to get her, and even dies trying. The cover for this issue is great and eye catching for fans of Tarzan and as always the art of John Buscema is top notch. This far Roy Thomas and his team of creators show that they know how to make a great and entertaining Tarzan series.

Tarzan # 12  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 12 of 29

Numa The Lion is on the prowl and after failing to capture a zebra he sets his sights on a tribe of apes and ends up killing a mother ape, and this triggers anger in Tarzan who gets his ape brothers to come together and stalk Numa into the jungle to fight back as he warns that the lion will keep returning and killing them if they do not fight back. Tarzan and the apes use sticks and stones to anger and fight with Numa and they even trick him in order to get the body back of their fallen friend. Once back in the tribe Tarzan thinks long and hard about how they are being stalked and killed by many of the jungles predators and that its time for them to come up with a way make them safe and fight back against the ones that want to eat them. That night Tarzan sneaks into the village of a Cannibal tribe and steals the lions hide they have and the next morning he plays a prank on his ape friends as he acts like Numa to try and scare his friends, but he is happy when they fight back and use stones to defend themselves and a well thrown one knocks Tarzan out cold! As the apes discover that the lion was really Tarzan the elders of the tribe want to kill him as his younger ape friends come to his aid and are willing to fight to defend him. But before a fight breaks out in the ape tribe Tarzan wakes up and is dazed but happy to know his friends listened on how to defend themselves against lions.

In this issue Tarzan is younger and not yet married to Jane and still lives with his ape tribe family and is pushed to far by the lion Numa who kills one of the female apes that was a mother to a very young baby, and this anger makes Tarzan fight back against the predator and also comes up with a plan to always make his tribe ready to protect themselves when enemies come around. Tarzan in this issue is younger and not in charge of the tribe yet and has ideas and leadership skill that he is torn about showing as the elders clearly do not like his brash ways, but what they need to see is all his ideas and actions are done to better protect and strengthen his tribe and family. The apes are also split as many of them are clearly starting to stand with Tarzan while the older ones want to kill or chase him off, as they do not like his power that he is gaining. Numa the lion is a very hungry giant cat that wants nothing more then a meal of fresh meat and sadly the apes are in his sight and become that meal he is craving. The really cool thing about this issue that is clearly going to be continued in the next issue is that rise of Tarzan in the ape tribe as his ideas and self defense plans are proven to be useful as the old timers just have the idea of run away and leave the weak behind if they are attacked better them then you attitude. I also like that they show a village of a human cannibal tribe who have a lion skin suit just laying around…awesome. The cover is well done and once more eye catching and no shock the interior artwork by John Buscema is great stuff. A solid issue and a great read and keeps up that this Marvel Tarzan series is an above average read and are great stuff! Lets see if issue 13 is as good as all that game before it.

Tarzan # 13  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 13 of 29

Tarzan notices that his ape friends seem to be on edge and are not up for play at all, and when going back to his fathers old cabin he finds the Gomangan Tribe there and they are setting a trap for the lion Numa as they have plans to capture and torture him, and Tarzan can not allow that as he hates this tribe and their cruel ways. So Tarzan steals the bait for the trap and then captures the tribes Witch Doctor and places him in the trap as the bait! The next day the Gomangan Tribe go looking for their missing doctor and soon find his mangled body in the cage as well as Numa! The Tribe quickly gets a new Witch Doctor and they take Numa back to the village as the lion is to be tortured and killed…and Tarzan decides that this is not going to happen as he brings out the lion skin he stole last issue and enters the village and scares the tribe as they think Tarzan is a white devil that can shape shift! After tricking them into chasing him Tarzan sneaks away and into the village and sets Numa free who in turns tacks the returning tribe and kills one warrior and injures others, giving them a lesson in respect for Lions and the Lord Of The Jungle himself Tarzan.

This issue is very entertaining and is fast paced and has Tarzan being puzzled by why his friends the apes are not in a playful mood anymore after he pranked them by wearing a lion suit to scare them and decides to instead pull a massive deadly prank on a tribe of humans that he dislikes as he finds them cruel. In the end he learns to respect the lions of the jungle as well as by messing with the tribe puts fear into them to never mess with him or the lions again for their cruel ceremonies. Tarzan in this issue shows that while he does have a fun loving and noble side he also very much has a cruel side as he kidnaps a man and leaves him in a cage trap that has the man eaten alive by a lion…now that’s some mean spirited revenge! The lion Numa is as well a raging beast that kills anyone and everyone that gets in its way! While the Gomangan Tribe are superstitious people who are also very cruel to the animals of the jungle as fun for them is capturing and torturing lions as a tribe, plus life is cheap to them even among their own members as they move on and forget about the dead like they don’t matter. The plot of this one is truly to show that Tarzan is using his mind to out smart both animal and man, with him also learning just ho different he is from his ape family and that he also has a playful and cruel side. The cover for this issue is great and has Tarzan in the lion skin scaring the enemy tribe and the interior art is killer and once more done by the super talented John Buscema. Over all this one is another solid issue that delivers a very entertaining read.

Tarzan # 14  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 14 of 29

Tarzan’s best friend Taug’s mate Teeka and their son Gazan are in the jungle looking for food to bring back to the tribe when a great bull ape from another tribe named Toog stumbles upon her and decides that she will now be his mate! Toog attacks and leaves poor Gazan fro dead after knocking the baby from a tall tree and beats Teeka unconscious and takes her away. When Taug finds his son he is near deaths door and this sets the ape into a rage as he wants revenge on who has taken his mate and has almost killed his son, and Tarzan who has returned from the old cabin of his parents (were he also found some bullets that he takes) makes a plan for he and Taug to track down this intruder, kill him and bring back Teeka safe and sound to her village and her injured son. As Tarzan and Taug make the journey to find Teeka she is being beaten and dragged by Toog who brings her to his tribe just in time to be warned that he has been followed, and Toog and his tribe set a trap. Tarzan and Taug are ambushed and attack with each holding their own and Tarzan even knifing one to death before he and his friend are out numbered! As all looks bad for Tarzan and his friend it’s Teeka that saves the day when she finds Tarzan’s lost pouch that has the bullets that she throws causing them to go off and scare away the attacking apes and allowing Tarzan, Taug and Teeka to return home confused by what the bullets are.

This issue follows the ape Toog who is very selfish and decides that he will kidnap a female ape from another tribe in order to return to his tribe that he was shamed from after loosing a fight with the leader. And Tarzan as always has pride in his tribe and loyalty to his best friend Taug sets his site to get her back and end the lives of the ape that took her. Lets first talk about Toog a alpha male ape who is mad that he lost a fight and was shamed by his tribe and now is wondering the jungle looking for a mate and for trouble and chooses a female at random to beat and drag back to his home and even has zero remorse for trying to murder a baby ape! In other words Toog is one evil primate who needed to be stopped as he will kill and beat the innocent in order to get what he wants. Poor Teeka goes through hell in this issue as she watches her own child be knocked form a tree and thinks he is dead, she is beaten several times by her captor and finally has to step in as her mate and friend are being ganged up on…she really does have it terrible in this issue. Taug as well has it pretty bad as he finds his son who he thinks is dead at first, then finds his mate missing and taken by an aggressive ape and then gets beaten up on by a pack of savage primates from a rival tribe. Tarzan is trying his best to understand all of the stuff he has found in the cabin that his parents died in like the books, bullets and gold…but he also shows that sometimes his anger and noble attitude will lead him to make rash and to brave of decisions. I love that Tarzan knives a massive ape with a night to show that he and his friend mean business and want their friend back! The cover is great on this one as well and as like before the interior art is amazing and done by John Buscema and this once more is a great issue that really showed that Tarzan and Marvel Comics was a great combination!

Tarzan # 15  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 15 of 29

Tarzan and his elephant friend Tantor are in the jungle when they stumble on a old man who is scared out of his mind and telling them that Arab Slavers are on his trail and wont to enslave people to work the mines of the sinister Abdul Alhazred The Mad Arab! The Slavers appear and kill the old man and then knock Tarzan out and as they are about to take him to be a slave in the mines Tantor comes to his rescue and chases the Slavers away and then carries his friend away until he wakes up. Meanwhile the Slavers have attacked a small village and have killed the King and taken his daughter Princess Ayesha as a slave and she is very upset and swears that she will get free and have her revenge. Once Tarzan wakes up he meets a group of mercenaries who have been hired to save Ayesha from The Slavers and they ask him to join in and he agrees, but as they rest he heads out into the jungle and tracks down The Slavers that killed the old man and makes them pay for the crime with their lives. Abdul Alhazred meanwhile kills one of his captives in front of the others to say they work in the dangerous mines or they die by his hands.

This issue is wow pretty dang deep as it is dealing with slavery and how others think they have the right to “own” another persons life and send them to work for them or be beaten or killed…and not to get to political but no one EVER has the right to have slaves! The plot has a vile group of slavers coming to the jungle to work a mine for the riches and is using people they are taking from villages to do so, but while doing this they have gotten the attention of Tarzan as well as have taken and angered a strong willed Princess as well has have gotten a bunch of sleazy mercenaries on their trail. Tarzan in this issue shows that he hates the idea of slavery and has set a mission in his mind first to avenge a victim of it as well as to save and free all those who are being oppressed, Tarzan is a true noble man who while be might be a wild man still understands right from wrong. The Mercenaries in my opinion should not be trusted as they are into just getting the money to get the Princess back and one is even sneaking around killing elephants in order to sell the ivory. Princess Ayesha is a very proud and strong willed woman who would do anything for her father as well as her village, and I can not wait until she breaks free and gets her revenge on the slavers who really are truly the biggest scum bad guys we have seen this far in this series. Abdul Alhazred is a massive muscle bound villain who is pure evil and has no respect for human life and really does just care about himself and his want for riches, and while he is total scum he is also a great comic book bad guy as you find yourself hating him and counting down the pages until you see him pay. Also really liked how we get to see Tantor the elephant again as it’s always cool to see Tarzan’s animal friends lending a hand against the threats the jungle faces. The cover is good and the use of red makes it eye catching and need I say anything besides John Buscema on art again. This story arch as I have said is very raw and I cannot wait to see how Tarzan shuts these Slavers down!

Tarzan # 16  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 16 of 29

The mercenaries have found the bodies of the slavers that Tarzan had killed the night before and start to question if they should team up with him to raid the mine camp, as Tarzan listens he hears them speak about how they are really going to loot and will use gliders to escape once they get what they want…but something else makes Tarzan’s blood turn cold as he finds out that the mercenary named Simon is hunting Tantor for his ivory! Tarzan rushes off to save his friend but is two late as Simon not only kills Tantor but also several apes! Simon has to leave the Ivory behind as Tarzan is raged filled and teams with ape Dak-Lat to hunt Simon down. Meanwhile Princess Ayesha is taken to Abdul Alhazred who likes what he sees and orders his men to kill all the slaves once the mine is opened wide enough! Tarzan tracks Simon down just as the animal killer uses his glider and after knocking out two of the mercenaries both Trazan and Dak-Lat give chase as the Slavers think they are demons of the sky and open fire on them all, but Abdul Alhazred has used mind control and now controls Princess Ayesha! In the end while in the Mine a portal is opened and while Tarzan fights with Abdul Alhazred and the fight comes to an end when The Slavers come in with Dak-Lat who is killed by Abdul Alhazred and Tarzan is beaten! The mercenaries tell him that they would like to join him and together they walk through the portal, and Tarzan at the last second before it closes forever is able to as well crawl through it.

Tarzan is even more enraged when he finds that the mercenaries are bad people and one has killed his friend the elephant named Tantor, and worse while this is going on The Slavers are killing the slaves and the poor Princess has had her mind poisoned! And the strangest part is that a portal has opened in the mine that takes them all away to an unknown location and the issue ends on this cliffhanger! Poor Tarzan in this issue is the hero he always is but also has some much losses as his friend Tantor is killed as well as several apes and then he also gets roughed up and watches as the odds to save the Princess and the remaining slaves become more and more low as The Salvers just gain in power. The mercenaries really are scumbags and just want to get money with Simon being the worst as he also kills animals to sell the ivory in the black market! The mercenaries are ones I cannot wait to see them get what they deserve. The Slavers are as terrible as ever as they some very evil deeds that include killing slaves on orders and not being bothered by it at all. Abdul Alhazred is so ego driven that he really does think his word is law and to him all life is cheap as he does not care who dies around him…even his own men, not to even mention he is a sleazy trickster who uses “magic” to hypnotize women into being his slaves and sacrifices. The portal in the mine is very interesting to me and makes me wonder were it leads, as was it created by Abdul Alhazred as a quick way to get back to his home or does it lead to another dimension? But I will guess we will have to read the next issue to find that out. Plus a major bummer that Tantor has been killed as he was a very loyal friend and protector to Tarzan and his death was cold blooded. The cover on this issue is ok and had that classic late 70’s Marvel look and as like before the interiors are fantastic and done by John Buscema. Like before this is a great issue and shows that Marvel Comics and Tarzan The Ape Man go hand and hand.

Tarzan # 17  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 17 of 29

Tarzan in pain makes it through the portal and finds himself in a land called Pellucidar that is filled not only with wild animals but also dinosaurs and mystic stones and carvings. As Abdul Alhazred leads the mercenaries deeper into the land as he needs to sacrifice the Princess in this land in order to gain even more power, poor Tarzan listens to the plan as long as he can before passing out. Meanwhile Princess Ayesha is the trance is walking in this savage land heading toward the place she has been told to wait at, but lucky for her she is being followed by Hyena like creatures and she unaware of the danger falls into a river breaking the mind control and alerting her to the fact she is in danger and in a unknown land. But her savior is a young wild man who fights of the hyenas and whisks her away from Abdul and his helpers when he notices the fear on the Princess’s face as he thinks she is a goddess! Simon ends up picking up the trail of the Princess once they find the bodies of the slain hyenas and Abdul is getting angry as he wants his victim and craves his soon to be power and is loosing faith in the mercenaries as he is seeing them as fools not warriors. Tarzan wakes up to find that a spear is pointed at him by a priest mounted on a bird creature and none of these natives look friendly, so Tarzan does what he does best and that’s fight and in the fight the Priest is killed and Tarzan does his best to fight off this Death Cult Tribe and finally he must jump off a cliff to escape their spears. And once Tarzan finds land again he is meet by Pirates who have their guns pointed at him and as well do not seem friendly!

This issue is like Tarzan trapped in a weird savage jungle land version of the land of Oz as its friends with cannibal death cult tribes, pirates, wild men, dinosaurs and beasts! This issues plot thickens as Abdul Alhazred leads the scummy mercenaries into a savage wild world were he plans to kill the Princess in order to gain power as Tarzan is weak and must fight for his life against cannibals as a wild man saves the Princess and is acting as her protector…this is stuff of pure cliffhanger novels and movie serials. Tarzan barely gets a moment to catch his breath as he has been beaten up and once he wakes up he is under attack again! But the one thing you have to say about Tarzan is he does not back down from danger and will fight with his last breath. The Princess Ayesha is as well fighting for her life in a strange land, and if not for the unnamed young warrior she would have been killed by the lands savage meat eating animals. Abdul Alhazred shows that he does not care about anyone or anything but himself and what can benefit him! He is using the mercenaries and I am sure once they reach their goal and when he gets the power I am sure he will kill them all! The savage land of Pellucidar is very interesting as I like that the land has dinosaurs as well as cannibal tribes and pirates and they all seem like they are in bad moods and are out to kill! And I am sure at some point in this series we will see a clash between the Pirates and the Cannibals and while I don’t remember if this happens from reading this series in my early teens, I sure hope it does. And like before this issue ends of a major cliffhanger as a pirate has his gun pointed at Tarzan as the Lord Of The Jungle is getting out of the water, and you know that these guys are bad news for our hero. The cover for this issue is great and reminds me of a Marvel Conan The Barbarian cover and as always the inside art by John Buscema is great. To sum it up another great issue and I cannot wait to reread the next issue after all these years!

Tarzan # 18  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 18 of 29

Princess Ayesha and her Warrior savior climb onto the back of a pterodactyl and try to get away from Abdul Alhazred and the mercenaries who are right behind them and they open fire on our fleeing heroes with a bullet from Simon’s gun hitting the warrior, but they are able to get away. Meanwhile Tarzan is given an offer from the Pirates and their Captain to join them or die, and Tarzan joins as he hopes they can help him get his revenge on Simon and Abdul! Meanwhile the Cannibal Death Tribe meet up with Abdul Alhazred and are on his side as they think that the profits have talked about his coming, and when the tribe mentions Tarzan the mercenaries loose their cool and this causes Abdul to turn on them as well and threaten them with death! Meanwhile Tarzan and the Pirates spot the bad guys and before they can do anything they are attacked by a sea creature that leaves many of the dead and Tarzan and the Captain fighting for their lives as they could become lunch for the creature, Tarzan ends up removing one of the creatures eyes and in the end breaks its jaw ending its terror. For his heroic deeds The Captain tells his crew that Tarzan is now his blood brother as he has saved them all. Meanwhile someone has snuck and stole the Pirates buried treasure showing that another player is in this game of life and death in a savage world.

This issue explores the savage world of Pellucidar more and lets you see more of the groups that live there. This ones plot has Tarzan hanging with the Pirates and fighting off a massive sea monster while Abdul Alhazred and the useless mercenaries team with the Cannibal Tribe! And let us not forget that Princess Ayesha and her Warrior are still on the run with the Warrior being shot and also we have an unknown person watching from the shadows and stealing the Pirates loot! Tarzan in this issue is filled with revenge as he wants nothing more then to kill both Simon and Abdul with his own hands, but as always he proves that he is a real hero as he single handedly kills a giant sea creature and saves the lives of many Pirates…I also like that in this issue Tarzan is not impressed with the Pirates gold they try and give him and he looks at it like they just threw garbage at him. Abdul Alhazred keeps up his ego driven killer attitude up in this issue as he treats his mercenaries like scum and would kill them if given the chance, and I am sure will once he gets his power. The Warrior protecting Princess Ayesha has been shot, and this issue does not show us if he is dead or how bad the wound is…so as you can see we have so many questions that need to be answered with the biggest being who is the man in the shadows that steals the gold! This issue is a fun and solid read that brings action, adventure and drama and continues this storyline and is pretty much none stop action! The cover is great and once more reminds me of a Conan The Barbarian cover and the interiors are still being done by John Buscema and are great like before. Lets see what’s next in this story and see how closer Tarzan gets to his revenge.

Tarzan # 19  **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 19 of 29

The pterodactyl that Princess Ayesha and her wounded warrior crashes and unlucky for them they seem to have been spotted by a race of mutant looking people. Meanwhile at sea Tarzan and The Pirates run into Abdul Alhazred and his ship filled with Cannibal Tribesmen and mercenaries and a bloody battle breaks out that leaves many on both sides dead as knives, swords, guns and clubs are all used to dispatch the other sides forces. The Captain pulls out his gun and shoots Abdul Alhazred in the face and finds that the bullet does no harm, and this scares the Captain and he wants to now break the ship away and no longer follow…and this angers Tarzan who punches out The Captain and tries to take over the ship only to find the crew is very loyal to The Captain and Tarzan jumps over board and starts his journey for revenge alone. Meanwhile one of the missing mercenaries is spotted on the beach and his friends what the ship pulled over but Abdul Alhazred is not having it and has the mercenaries beaten on his ship and the one is left behind. The Pirates return to find their treasure gone and they blame Tarzan and the left behind mercenary plays into it and says he watched Tarzan and the Cannibal Tribe steal it, and this letting him get a ride to the ship so get could get his revenge on Abdul Alhazred as well as Tarzan! While back on the ship of Abdul Alhazred he tells his beaten mercenaries that he had to do that because the Cannibals only respect power and that’s why he is showing it.

In this issue we follow as Tarzan becomes a blood brother to the pirates, to turn on them and now be their enemy. We learn that a mercenary that was missing is alive and is now lying and teaming with the pirates in order to get to his friends and get revenge. We also see that mercenaries are really at the mercy of Abdul Alhazred who commands the Cannibal Tribe and was able to take a bullet to his face and not be phased! And lastly we see that Princess and the Warrior have crashed and we do not know if they are alive or dead, but we do know some strange looking people watched them fall from the sky. Tarzan because of his quest for revenge goes from a hero to a scumbag in the eyes of the pirates as he turns on The Captain and then ditches them when they do not follow him as he claims he is the Captain now, man Tarzan will stop at nothing to get his revenge on the murderous dogs he chases. Abdul Alhazred is truly powerful as he shows that his coldness and evil ways really are bringing him power, as he is almost immortal as he takes a bullet to the face and does not even flinch, its clear that once he is able to sacrifice the princess and gain all that power he will kill everyone around him and will return to Earth and do the same until he rules the world with an iron fist. I am guessing also that the lost and found mercenary is the one who stole the Pirates gold and is blaming Tarzan for his own deed, but again I am just guessing here. The cover is good and eye catching and this time around Sal Buscema is doing the interior art and its great stuff. So with that lets see how this story continues and how the Princess survived the fall and who are the strange people who watched!

Tarzan # 20  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 20 of 29

The scumbag Simon is at it again in this new land as he uses his riffle and kills a whole herb of elephants to prove power to the cannibals, and when Tarzan finds them his rage burns even hotter as he wants to find and kill the men who killed his friend Tantor as well as avenge the slaves who have lost their lives in all this madness. As Tarzan heads out to find them he runs into a Saber-Tooth Tiger that is hungry and wants to make a meal out of Tarzan, and as the pair fight they stumble into weak ground and fall underground were they become allies in a fight against spear fighting lizard men who are on the attack and both man and beast win this day. Meanwhile another race of Lizard people have found Princess Ayesha and her Warrior and they watch as the lizard people hypnotize humans and lead them into the water, and sadly this fate comes for both the Warrior and Princess as they are lead into the water and disappear…but are they dead? Meanwhile Abdul Alhazred has the ship docked and sunk and tells his followers that they now will travel by foot to his desired spot, as the mercenaries and Cannibal tribesmen do what they are told. The Pirates along with the mercenary named Ike Frazier are still on the hunt for Tarzan and the Cannibal ship and while at see the are caught in a dark whirlpool at sea and The Captain, Crew and Ike are taking down into it. Meanwhile the Princess awakens in the water and fights of the Lizard people and saves the Warriors life and they run off to find safety together. In the jungle Tarzan is found by some slavers tribes men who try and take him hostage, but they fail to keep him and by the end of it Tarzan is heading toward the place of that Abdul is heading ridding on a pterodactyl.

This issue is crazy and is none stop action and plot twist and turns and is leading our cast of characters all over the place with many of them having doom all around them! And as a reader you find yourself drawn into not only this issue but also this massive story arch that has been taking place over about six issues this far. I mean just in this issue Tarzan goes from fighting a Saber-Tooth Tiger to killing a bunch of lizard humanoids living underground to getting captured and ending the issue flying away on a dinosaur…I mean if this does not draw you classic hero readers in I don’t know what would! Not to mention we really get to see the strong will of Princess Ayesha as she shakes off being hypnotized by humanoid human eating lizards, but also kills one and blinds another with one of their own teeth…The Princess is badass! Also its good to see while injured The Warrior that has been watching after the Princess is ok and is still doing his best to help her. The Pirates and Ike are in deep trouble as a whirlpool is sucking them down and both the Captain and Ike think that Abdul is being its creation and of course Abdul is on his quest to gain his power. This issue no joke is action after action and throws so much at you that it takes a moment after reading it to soak it all in! A great issue and once more shows that Tarzan should still be at Marvel Comics and that classic writers of the past should be brought back to bring the series alive again…but sadly I am sure this will never happen…but both Conan The Barbarian and Star Wars are back home at Marvel so never say never I guess. The cover is pretty great and has Tarzan choking a Saber-Tooth Tiger and Sal is on interior art again this time around and did killer work. A great issue in this great series that is bringing this story together is the best way to sum this issue up.

Tarzan # 21  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 21 of 29

Tarzan on his dinosaurs fights off more tribes men who all wish him dead now as he heads to a city in the swamp and that’s the same place Abdul is leading his people as something inside it holds the power he seeks. Meanwhile the Princess and Warrior are hiding out and watch as one of the lizard people enter and after talking to another on a screen activates a sound weapon that will hurt the humans of the planet! This sound alerts many of the animals as well including the Sabre-Tooth Tiger as well as Abdul and his pet hawk leading them all to the same location! With the weapon now set off near the swamp castle a the swamp water boils and out comes the Pirate ship and the crew find themselves in the middle of a massive amount of tribes men driven mad by the weapon and looking to kill as a large amount of them died from the canon! Tarzan once more saves The Captain from drowning and the pair with the remaining pirates fight off the tribes men and find out that all sides have been played by the now missing Ike! Abdul enters the castle and he now has no need for them even after Simon kills one of his own, but Princess Ayesha sneaks into the room and uses the cannon and has it pointed at Abdul killing his pet hawk and zapping him.

This issue answers the question we all have been asking sense this story started and that’s the power that Abdul Alhazred is crazing is really a cannon that is being used by lizards to fight human tribesmen! Now the main thing being we are not sure if he wants the cannon it’s self or if he is looking to have blasted himself with it to amp up his already dark and odd powers…so did Princess Ayesha hurt him or did she give him what he wanted, I guess we will have to wait until next issue to find out as this is the cliffhanger we are left on. Tarzan by now is just sick of all this and is taking the fight to anyone that is a Slaver or connected to Abdul Alhazred as he is taken over by rage and just wants to deal out cold justice. It is great that Tarzan and The Captain patch things up and learn that they both have been used by that snake Ike from the mercenaries who tricked them for his own gain and for his own set of plans. Simon of the mercenaries is really out for riches as he shoots his own fellow mercenary in order to get in good with Abdul who dismisses him as the madman has no loyalty just as Simon don’t. The Lizard Men are also pretty evil as they use a high tech weapon that kills many of humans lives and they seem to think its funny, these Lizard men as well need to be brought down and I hope Tarzan and the Princess do just that by the end of this tale, as I truly do hope that Princess Ayesha gets her revenge on everyone that has treated her terrible in this series! I also like how we see that the Sabre-Tooth Tiger is on his way to join this battle, and his team up with Tarzan reminds me of the 60’s Marvel Comic character Ka-Zar and his sabre-tooth cat Zabu who ran around the jungles of the Savageland. This issue is a solid read and is clearly wrapping this story arch as its clear that all the main players are in one area and an epic battle is about to break loose! The cover for this issue is ok and while fitting not all that eye catching and the interior art is done once more by Sal and is great. Over all another great read for this overly solid series based on the classic book character.

Tarzan # 22  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 22 of 29

Abdul Alhazred is now in pain after being shot with the cannon as Simon thinks about shooting him and taking all the power he has from the crystal for himself as he know understands that Alhazred’s raw and strange power is tied to this land and the crystal that also powers the cannon. Meanwhile the Lizard men bust in and attack Princess Ayesha and the Warrior, but the Princess grabs a metal pipe and bashes the controls to the cannon causing it to explode and after they all lay lifeless in the rubble. Meanwhile Tarzan along with the Pirates is on their way to confront Alhazred and his lackeys, but when they are almost their Tarzan splits from the Pirates and send them on the path of Ike who is the one who stole their treasure! As The Captain leads what’s left of his men after Ike Tarzan swings away in the trees to find Alhazred and Simon as the Lord Of The Jungle wants revenge. Tarzan in front of the Pyramid meets up with the savage warriors that had been blasted by the cannon and takes lead of the remaining men as a stampede of Dinosaurs and the Saber-Tooth Tiger stomp by heading toward the pyramid themselves, while The Captain and the Pirates see this and decide to give up the search and to find a boat and leave, unknown to them Ike was killed by the stomping dinosaurs. Alhazred snaps out of his pain and starts to beat up Simon as Tarzan and his Warriors break into the pyramid and fight with The Lizard People and the Cannibal Warriors and this massive fight gets broken up when the Dinosaurs come stomping in crushing anyone in their way. Tarzan breaks away from the fight and heads toward Alhazred and once to him he finds Simon dead from a broken neck and Alhazred wants to sacrifice Tarzan to the crystal to gain more power!

Man this storyline is getting crazy as this issue has Tarzan on his way to Abdul Alhazred all the while dodging rampaging dinosaurs, beating up Cannibal tribesmen, dodging the death stares of the Lizard Men and patching up his friendship with the Pirate Captain. While Abdul Alhazred himself is injured by the thing that gives him his power, turned on by his Mercenary hired guns and needs more human lives to feed to the crystal! Tarzan in this issue is super focused on bringing Simon and Abdul Alhazred to justice as they have wronged him over and over through out this story arch, and he also sticks to his word when it comes to not given up and being loyal to his friends, even when his anger sometimes made him make bad decisions. Abdul Alhazred shows slight weakness and we truly get a look at his power as we now know that it comes from the massive crystal that demands he give it human souls in order to get more power, and he truly shows he has zero respect for human life and the only thing that matters to him…is himself. Simon is so greedy that his own want for power is what leads to his neck being snapped and his soul given to the crystal. The other Mercenaries are just lambs in line to the slaughter, well besides Ike who is crushed to death under the feet of rampaging dinosaurs. Poor Princess Ayesha and her Warrior protector go down with a fight as The Lizard Men want then dead, and after the explosion I am not sure what her fate is! So much going on with so many characters involved, but damn it this is a great story and captures the mood and feel of a good Jungle Adventure! The cover is eye catching and has Tarzan fighting with dinosaurs and the interior art by Sal Buscema is great and showcases why I love Marvel Comic from the 70’s and Early 80’s. Over all a great issue that is winding down a storyline that has been one hell of a ride this far.

Tarzan # 23  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel     # 23 of 29

Tarzan draws his knife and is ready to make Abdul Alhazred pay for all his crimes in the jungle against the slaves he has murdered, and Alhazred is more joyed with the idea of killing Tarzan to please the crystal. Tarzan goes onto the attack and after stabbing Abdul Alhazred a bunch of times he sees that the blade does not inflect any damage! That’s is until one blow cuts deeps and causes Abdul Alhazred pain and he starts to bleed and its clear that the Crystal is drawing power from his pain and anger as well, showing Abdul Alhazred is not the chosen one but just a pawn for the Crystal. This angers Alhazred and his fight with Tarzan gets more intense and grows with emotions of anger, hatred and rage and the Mercenaries do what they can to keep the Cannibal Tribe at bay, and with the combined forces of Tarzan’s knife and a gun shot from one of the dying Mercenaries they are able to wound Alhazred and he stumbles into the Crystal that drains him of all his life. With that the Mercenary dies leaving only one of them left, who now stands with Tarzan as he is ready to go home and put this nightmare land behind him. Meanwhile the savage warriors have defeated the Lizard people and the Cannibal Tribesmen and are now up with Tarzan who gives them one last order to destroy the Crystal and they obey. And at the wreckage of the cannon Princess Ayesha and her Warrior are still alive and he must fight off and bare handed kill one of the remaining Lizard People to save his ladies life, and in the end as Tarzan and the Mercenary head to find a way home, the see the Princess with her Warrior and know she is happier here then returning home to a destroyed village.

This issue wraps the story of Abdul Alhazred that madman who graved power and had no respect for human life, and in his end he learned that he himself was no one special as the thing that gave him his powers is also the same thing that took them back as well as his life. Alhazred is a great example of a classic bad guy as he is opposing, crazy, mean, strong, a killer and a great foe for our hero. His end is also very fitting as he himself faces the same grim death that he has sacrificed so many to and even with all his power and anger he just becomes a pile of dust. Tarzan after all this adventure and time in this issue he gets his revenge for the death of the old man as well as all the slaves over the years, its great to see him go full savage with his fathers knife and put up the fight of his life against a bad guy who clearly was stronger then him, but also not clearly as battle ready. I also like the fact Tarzan in this strange land has managed to make new friends with the Warriors and the Pirates! A plus for me as well is the fact Princess Ayesha and her Warrior boyfriend have a happy ending as that poor girl had some terrible luck and moments in her life in this series, so glad she was able to find happiness. I also like that the French Mercenary who was the only one among the bunch who was a good person not only lived but also found his inner power and learned how to fight to stay alive and to protect others. The Lizard People and The Cannibal Tribe are great backup bad guys who are as evil as the madman they follow, and they as well get brought down. This was a solid and great story arch that took Tarzan from the jungle all the way to a savage land in the middle of the Earth on a quest for revenge, and it takes so much twist and turns of action and drama that it really delivered a great comic book reads. The cover is eye catching and reminds me of a cover you would see for another Marvel Comic series like Spider-Man, Captain America or even X-Men. The interior art by Sal Buscema is fantastic and again holds that 70’s Marvel charm.

Tarzan # 24  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 24 of 29

Tarzan and The Mercenary have found the portal to take them back to their world and are seen off by Princess Ayesha, The Warriors and even the Pirates who all wish them well on their travel back, and Tarzan with The Mercenary enter the portal and once back home use TNT to blow up the cave that held the portal and then go their separate ways. Meanwhile Jane with the Waziri Tribe are with Jad-Bal-Ja the black maned golden lion and are watching a wild grass fire and making sure that it will not reach their houses, and also making sure that they will not be stomped to death by the stampeding animals! The fire has been started by rich white people Mr. Tory, Miss Lyle and their hired gun Ian Chalmers who ends up seeing Jane who is trying to help the scared animals who are heading toward a massive gorge and rushes to try and help, and this of course would kill them all if they fall over and Jane could not stand by and witness this. So along with Jad-Bal-Ja and the Waziri Tribe they try and save the animals life, but Jane is knocked out of her jeep and she falls off the cliff of the gorge and while hanging on the side the rhino that knocked her over is on a rampage and is about the push the jeep over as well…so death is closing in. But as Jane looses her grip Ian is to late and she falls and as the hunter is shaken he is about to be attacked by Jad-Bal-Ja as the lion blames this man for the death of Jane…but lucky for Ian Jad-Bal-Ja is netted by Mr. Tory who wants the beats head for his collection! Ian who has been a hunter in Africa knows that the black manned lion is that of Tarzan’s and that means the lady was Jane and he warns his boss that trouble is coming. Tarzan meanwhile is almost home only seeing the fire, but is more focused on getting home to see his wife.

This is a great way to end the Abdul Alhazred story to get into this new story that has British and American Game Hunters being the cause of hurting Jane and capturing Tarzan’s Lion friend! This issue’s plot has Tarzan getting back home and closing the portal to that savage land for good while his wife Jane is trying her best to save the life of animals that are running for their lives from a fire that is set by a rich hunter named Mr. Troy who wanted to eliminate the tall grass, and his actions lead to a major accident that leaves Jane falling over a cliff! Tarzan in this issue is on a mission to get back to his wife as he has gotten his revenge, but has been gone for so long due to being stuck in the savage land…and even during this quest to get home he still knows that the portal being left open would be dangerous so he uses some good old TNT and blows up the cave that houses it…Tarzan is a true hero who while flawed is a good person at heart as he wants to protect and save. Jane Greystoke as well shows how great of a person she is as she puts her own life in danger in order to save the lives of animals and she as well has no fear of danger and she is a fitting wife for Tarzan! The black maned golden lion known as Jad-Bal-Ja is awesome and is very much loyal to Jane and the beast does what he can to protect her and listen to her orders. Ian Chalmers is an American Hunter who is a gun for hire to help the rich hunt dangerous animals, and does not wish to hurt people nor even animals for no reason and I think he knows the danger they are now in with Jane being “killed” in an accident and also now that they have captured his friend the lion. Mr. Tory and Miss Lyle are so out of touch and are killing animals and causing land destruction for there own gain…and I don’t think they care or even really gets just what they have done. This is a great story to follow the long saga we just ended and I also like that this one appears to be very Jane centered as for many issues now she has been nowhere in sight so its great to see her also be a hero. Good action packed cover, great interior artwork from Sal Buscema and cool new characters make this a story I cannot wait to see what’s next.

Tarzan # 25  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 25 of 29

Tarzan returns home just as his son Jack “Korak” Clayton III does as well and the Waziri Tribe tell them of the fire and accident and this sets father and son off on a mission of rescue and revenge! Meanwhile we find out that Mr. Roger Tory is in fact not filling the animals as he wants them to put on display in New York to make tons of money as he thinks Jad-Bal-Ja will be a big prized feature as no one has seen a black maned lion before! Like before Ian tries to warn his boss that things will get really bad when Tarzan finds out about the accident of his wife, and Tory brushes it off and says they will deal and kill Tarzan if needed and they head back to camp. Unknown to them Jane has climbed out of the gorge, while she is hurt she is very much filled with anger and rage over the fire and accident. As Mr. Troy is packing up the animals to ship to New York they are confronted by a very angry Tarzan who goes crazy in the tent freeing many of the animals, beating up many of the hired men of Mr. Troy before setting his sights on the fat man himself, and just as he is about to kill the man he thinks killed his wife Tarzan is hit with a electric cattle prod and is attacked and shocked until he is knocked out. Once out cold Mr. Roger Tory, Sarah Lyle and Ian Chalmers cage Tarzan and decide they will take him and show him off in New York as a wild man! As they are loading up the animals and Tarzan they are confronted by a shotgun touting Jane who wants them to let her husband go, but Roger tricks her and gets the gun away and decides he will kidnap her are well to but in his “Great Show” and as Ian tries to talk sense into his boss he is made fun of and sent away. As Roger with his crew and cargo fly away Korak shows up with gun in hand to get answers from the natives left behind.

The plot thickens as this issue has the rich fat business man and his crooked crew now not only stealing animals from Africa but also is now kidnapping Tarzan and his wife Jane in order to turn them both into a sideshow attraction in New York! And their only hope is if their son Korak The Killer can track them down and set them free…well that is what we are lead to believe right now. Lets start with talking about the stories bad guys and the worst one is Mr. Roger Tory a rich fat American who thinks money can buy anyone and anything and that he can do what ever he likes cause he has the money to back it up. It’s also clear that life of others means nothing to Roger as he has no issues with killing animal or human and loves to also talk down to people as well as cheat them. Young woman Sarah Lyle is a greedy woman who only is around Roger as she sees him as a meal ticket to money and fame, she is also very mean hearted and only cares about herself and money. Another scumbag member of Roger’s crew is Smithers who is his accountant of crime and has it out for Jad-Bal-Ja as the beast clawed him during the fight in the tent…really he is a weasel and scum. Ian Chalmers is a hunter who needs the money of Roger’s in order to pay off gambling debuts, and he hates all the shady stuff but has to go along as the money talks and his own fears keep him in line. Tarzan lets rage blind him in battle in this issue and leads to his capture as he leaves himself open for attack. Jane is able to climb a gorge, over take a worker and steal his gun and even confront the hunting party, sure she gets captured in the end but she is one tough cookie! Korak takes his sweet time to aid his father in the search for Jane and is even late in order to save his parents from being kidnapped…in other words for a man that has the nickname Killer sure does not impress in this issue. And to me the thing that is great is that taking Tarzan to New York to display for a crowd reminds me of King Kong! The cover is great and shows action and just like before the interior art is done by the talented Sal Buscema and I great like before. So lets see what happens when Tarzan gets to New York and lets see if Korak can make up for his late to the party foul in the next issue.

Tarzan # 26  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 26 of 29

Tarzan is filled with rage and hatred as he is trapped in the cage as Roger informs him that he plans to make him the main attraction as his new themed club and that Jane is indeed alive and if Tarzan acts up he will have her killed, and in order to keep Tarzan quite Martin will be injecting his throat with a tranquilizer so that he can not alert people of his kidnapping! As the planes land Jane is placed in a sack and taken away as Ian watches, but does not act to save her while Tarzan is bound and yet still is able to almost kill Martin Smithers before he is finally injected and passes out. Roger loads up his new attractions and heads to his club as he has money to make. Meanwhile back in Africa Korak gets the answers from the helpers of Roger and heads off to try and hire a small plane to take him to America. Meanwhile back in New York Roger is leading a parade in order to build hype for his club and in this parade is a caged Tarzan as well as Jad-Bal-Ja, and as Tarzan is angry the crowd just cheer and laugh. While in a room in the Empire State Building Jane is being held captive and when she has a failed escape attempt, she soon learns that Ian Chalmers has fallen in love with her…and she will use this to her advantage. In the end we see the inside of the club that is filled with rich people and Tarzan is stuck in a cage with his yells and grunts going unnoticed.

This issues plot has Roger Tory getting to New York and with cruel tactics, drugs and beatings he does what he can to try and get Tarzan under control so that he can use this Lord Of The Jungle as a way to get money from those who enter his club. And all the while Jane is being as well held against her will and worse away from her husband as she is as well being used as a way to keep Tarzan in line. This is a great way to bring Tarzan to an American city and captures more reader’s attention as the series is not just Jungle adventures anymore and brings the drama and action to the society that they can identify with. Tarzan in this issue really is just a prisoner who while fights back against Smithers, spends the rest of the issue in a cage unable to speak and only with the want to escape and find his wife. Jane as well is helpless as even when fighting back and trying to escape the odds are just not one her side. And like before Korak is taking his sweet time to help is parents, he always seems to be like 500 steps behind when it comes to being the hero he needs to be. Roger Tory and his cronies are really put no value on human lives, as they will kill, mistreat and exploit anyone to make some money, in fact they are human traffickers…man these guys really are pure scum. Ian Chalmers shows that while he is a good hunter he really is spineless when it comes to standing up against the crimes of Roger, plus the fact that he is fallen in love with a wild man’s wife shows that this made is also not very smart! I like how this story arch is going and I feel that it shows the downside of humans as they really would pay to stare at and laugh at a human in a cage that was different from them. The cover is great and one that I remember from my youth and the interior art by Sal again is top notch. Over all another great issue in this Marvel Comics Tarzan series and to me proves that they do the Lord Of The Jungle right.

Tarzan # 27  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 27 of 29

Roger Tory is living large at his club as his customers are spending tons of money and are enjoying all he has on display including Tarzan who many think is just an actor playing a wild man, at one point many of the people at the club throw their drinks at him and laugh at his anger. Meanwhile Korak is on his way to take a private plane and fly it to New York in order to try and save his parents. Meanwhile at the Safari Club the mobster Blackjack and his gang show up as Roger owes them lots of money from a scam he pulled off in Chicago and they have came to collect and tell Smithers to go and get his boss. Meanwhile Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja are placed in a cell that is protected by unbreakable glass and are forced to fight for their lives against a massive Albino Gorilla who has been drugged and put into a rage! As Roger meets with Blackjack the alerts the mobster he can pay him in full in about a week, but this is not good enough for Blackjack to takes his tommygun and shoots the glass of the cell freeing Tarzan, The Albino Gorilla and Jad-Bal-Ja into the crowd who go into a panic! Meanwhile Jane once more take the chance to try and escape and knocks out a henchman as well as Ian and then breaks the widow of her room on the 85th floor and climbs up the building as Ian when woken up thinks she has committed suicide.

Tarzan who is the most feared and respected living being in the jungles of Africa is now stuck in a cage in New York being mocked, laughed at and used to as entertainment and all the while the man behind this torment is being threatened by a crime boss who wants the money he is owed and this is all comes to a dangerous event by the end of this issue as chaos breaks out in the club and a rampaging gorilla is set free! Oh man were to start but I for one love how this story is playing out as it really does remind me of King Kong as well as all the classic Jungle Movies of golden age Hollywood. I also like that now we have more bad guys added to the mix as the mobsters are just as bad as Roger and his goons and greed is what is pushing both bad sides. Tarzan in this issue goes from being mocked by the crowd to being put in a fight to the death against a gorilla for their entertainment, and because of the drug they injected him with he can not tell them this is not a show and he is no actor! Jane once more uses her charms and inner power to fight to escape and does just that by the end of the issue and even climbs the Empire State Building to do so! Korak besides saving a British Soldier from a panther attack he is pretty useless and spends the time trying to get to a small plane so he can fly to NY to save his parents, really this far Korak is moving at the pace of a snail and is doing no good at this point to save his family. Ian Chalmers is a guy who clearly down on his luck and while good at heart is so far in debut to Roger that he is nothing more then a hired gun that he keeps spineless. Roger, Smithers and Sarah are all about the Safari Club as they want to make all they money they can off stolen animals and a kidnapped couple, and its shows when they are faced with people that are bigger and badder then them they are cowards. Black Jack and his gang mean business and will kill to get what’s owed and will even put the lives of people not involved in order to get it, I think Black Jack is not done with causing issues for everyone. Jad-Bal-Ja the lion shows that he is loyal to Tarzan as he does what he can to help fight the rampaging Albino Gorilla who is so drugged that he feels no pain and only wants to kill anything and everyone in its sights! The cover is great and eye catching and shows Tarzan and the Albino Gorilla fighting and Sal does the interior art so you know its good. A great issue and I cannot wait to reread the next issue and remember how this story plays out.

Tarzan # 28  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 28 of 29

Ian Chalmers who original freaked out as he thought Jane jumped from the window on the 85th floor of the Empire State Building, now notices that she is trying to climb to the top of it! Meanwhile the cops have shown up to the Safari Club and before they enter the club they gunned down a lion and walk in as Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja are in a fight to the death against the Albino Gorilla and notice that The Black Jack Gang are standing with Roger watching this chaos. During the fight Black Jack starts to get a respect for Tarzan who is clearly the underdog but is fighting like a King and has zero fear in his eyes, he alerts Roger that if Tarzan dies he will die as well! And Black Jack then notices that Roger is hiding the knife of Tarzan and takes it and throws it to him and Tarzan uses it to end the battle and the life of the Albino Gorilla, and after the battle Tarzan is filled with rage and lets out a yell that chills the blood of everyone in the club. The Cops draw their guns and are about to gun down Tarzan and Jad-Bal-Ja when Black Jack and his gang pull their guns and warn the police to go take a hike or they will bring a war to the police department, and this works as the cops leave and Black Jack takes Jad-Bal-Ja and Roger to the docks and Tarzan rushes to the Empire State Building after getting Jane’s location from Roger. Tarzan reaches his destination and gets passed the cops and makes it to Jane just in time as Ian and his goons have surrounded her, Tarzan knocks them out and he and Jane jump onto a plane that flies by that is being flown by their son Korak and they head to the docks to meet with Black Jack

Wow this was a fun issue that is packed with action and drama and has Tarzan killing a massive gorilla, become friends with a gangster, knock around some police officers, get to the top of the Empire State Building, rescues his wife and flies away on the wing of a plane…yep this issue is pretty dang great! Tarzan in this issue is a man on a mission to survive a fight against the odds as well as to find and save his wife from the crazy world of New York City! Tarzan is the true hero of the jungle and his family and I love the fact he has zero fear when it comes to almost dying at the hands of the Albino Gorilla as well as when it comes to rushing past the cops like they are leaves in the wind. Jane as well has zero fear in her escape from Roger’s Goons and risks her own life in order to climb a building to safety with the idea to get away and save her husband. The useless Korak shows up at the last minute to try and play hero with his plane, he really is useless in this adventure. Black Jack and his Gang are bad guys for the most part, but do have some respect for Tarzan and his family and that’s why he decides to help the Lord Of The Jungle escape. Roger is truly a spineless coward who fears Tarzan, Black Jack as well as being sued by the guests of his club, not to even mention his goons including Ian have all failed in their missions and Sarah in the end dumps Roger! I really liked the fight between the Albino Gorilla and Tarzan who ended up having the use a knife to end the fight. I also was a fan of Tarzan running around New York City in order to find his wife and dig that they used the Empire State Building as the final stand place between Tarzan and Roger’s Goons. The cover is great and eye catching as it reminds me of King Kong and the interior art by Sal is great like before. Well next up is the final issue in the main series, so lets see how Marvel wraps up Tarzan.

Tarzan # 29  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .40     Marvel     # 29 of 29

Tarzan along with Jane, Korak, Jad-Bal-Ja as well as a few other apes are all on a small boat in the middle of the ocean, they are all weak, thirsty and being burnt by the sun that is shinning down above them…and then Tarzan remembers back to what has lead them to this situation…he flashes back to New York as when he and his family arrive at the docks they are rushed onto a massive ship set but by Black Jack who handles the police when the show up and turns in Roger for kidnapping. While on the ship Tarzan and his family are treated like guests of honor by the Captain who even events them to the massive ball that is happing that night. While Tarzan goes to the ships cargo to visit his animal friends he stumbles upon a blackmail scheme going down between a sinister chap in a Top Hat and Mr. Vorga about rigging peace talks between two nations, as Top Hat has letters that Vorga had written to a sleazy female bar singer and will release them if he does not do what is asked of him. Tarzan as heard enough and snatches the letters from Top Hats hands and runs him off and threatens him if he comes back to Vorga’s room he will regret it. While at the ships ball Mr. Vorga and his wife sit with Tarzan and his family, but things get bad when Top Hats hired goon dressed as a clown stabs Vorga in the back and Tarzan gives chase as the goon and Top Hat run away…but Top Hat as other ideas and uses dynamite to blow up the ship and Tarzan just in time is able to save his animal friends and get them on a life boat along with Jane, Korak, the wounded Mr. Vorga plus his wife and the ships captain…and then we cut back to currant times as they are all hungry, thirsty, sun baked and missing land, when in a distance they spot land and better yet right near Tarzan’s home and they are all saved!

It’s crazy as this was the final issue in Marvel’s amazing Tarzan series and just like almost all the others before it, this issue delivers a great read that features the classic hero doing what he does best and that’s saving the day as well as beating the odds that are stacked against him. This issue has Tarzan and his family on a cruise ship that is taking them back home and before they can be dropped off a crazed man blows up the ship and causes Tarzan and the rest to fight for their life against the cruel sea and the blistering hot sun. Tarzan in this issue takes up for a man who is being bullied and as well shows that he is not only loyal to his family and animal friends but also to those who can not defend themselves, and when things get bad on the ship he not only goes after the bad guys but also does all he can to save lives from the sinking ship. Jane and Korak are around and while they are only bit players in this issue they do serve a purpose of being the motivation for Tarzan to fight harder and the reason to survive. Top Hat is a crazy man who wants to bride to get what he wants and when that doesn’t work he decides murder is the answer and then when confronted he ends up killing himself and others by blowing up the ship causing it to sink! I think the best part of Top Hat is that he looks like a cartoon bag guy complete with curly mustache…its great classic bad guys stuff. Marvel in this final issue gets Tarzan and his family home and it’s a fitting end, but also I wish his final adventure with Marvel would have been bigger and better and would have had him fighting a great cat or a super crazed witch doctor, and not the sun being the main threat. The cover is good and pretty dang eye catching and as always the interior art is done by the great Sal Buscema who did a great job of bringing Tarzan to the pages of this comic series. Tarzan The Lord Of The Jungle is great and is one comic series that I feel was really well done by Marvel and that the team on this book cared about what they were doing, and I for one had a blast re-visiting this series after all these years…and once more I want to thank my late Uncle Thurman for introducing me to it as him giving me these comics when I was a kid made me a life long fan of the character. Check out below for artwork done by Sal for this series.

But I know what you readers are thinking this is the Christmas Eve update for 2020 so we need more Tarzan…well you are in luck as its now time for me to take a look at the King Sized Annuals! So here is more Tarzan for your Holiday enjoyment.

Tarzan Annual # 1  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .50     Marvel     # 1 of 3

Tarzan returns to a site in the jungle that holds all types of memories from his time as a youth picking berries with his mother and then he remembers back to his first crush Teeka a young female ape who captured his attention, and he remembers back to having to fight Taug in order to win her hand! Tarzan and Taug are in a battle to the death that is until a panther shows up and is looking to bring down an ape for lunch and the cat has its eyes on Teeka, and while the others flee Tarzan with his rope and knife come to her rescue and after running the panther off Tarzan and Teeka spend the afternoon together, but when he leaves to find food she ends up going to Taug and this breaks Tarzan’s heart who goes on a multiple day long solo hunt. While in the jungle we watches a tribe build a cage and then later watches as Taug is captured in the cage and is taken away by the tribe. Tarzan thinks that this is the best thing to happen for him as with Taug out of the way he thinks Teeka will be his, that is until she sees the sadness in her eyes and this sparks him to try and rescue Taug. Tarzan saves Taug and the ape returns to his mate as Tarzan at that moment knew he was different from his ape family. We join Tarzan once more as he chuckles about his part memory and then he finds his old vein rope in the spot and remembers back again to a time when he first learned to swing from vines, and during a time he had a major fight with Bukawai a disfigured human witch doctor who lives in a cave near the ape tribe and has two hyenas as pets. One day a massive storm hits the jungle and Tarzan is injured when lighting hits the tree he was seeking shelter from, and who finds him is Bukawai who takes him to the cave and ties him to a pole and wants to watch as Tarzan dies, but Bukawai during this is being cruel to his hyenas who see Tarzan as a fresh meat meal. Tarzan figures away to free himself and ends up chasing off the hyenas and then ties Bukawai to the poll and the hyenas return to eat him! Back in currant times its now getting late and Tarzan is done remembering the past and swings off back into the heart of the jungle.

This first King Sized Annual is a great read for Tarzan fans and has a good plot that follows the Lord Of The Jungle as he dealt with his first crush and the heartbreak that comes along with it, and he also remembers back to the time when he had to face and bring down a evil witch doctor. Tarzan really is feeling nostalgic for his past as he remembers times with his ape parents, his first crush and even the first time he learned to swing around on vines in the trees. Tarzan even in his younger days had no fear and would fight to the death against anything that gets in his path of what he wants as he takes on a raging ape, a panther, a pair of hyenas and a crazed witch doctor. I think what works for this annual is the fact its moments from Tarzan’s past and showed how he has grown as just a young boy living with apes to becoming The Lord Of The Jungle! It’s also great to see that Tarzan’s ape father truly hated him and wished for his adoptive son’s death all the time. The issues main bad guy is Bukawai a witch doctor who was badly disfigured from disease and was shunned by his tribe cause this as well as the fact Tarzan disproved his cures and medicines, while he is crippled and broken down his hate and want for revenge keeps him going and all he wants to do is watch Tarzan die! But because his hate took him over when he had the chance to do so his cruelty to his pet hyenas turn them on him and he became a quick meal for them. The cover for this issue is great and very eye catching and features Tarzan standing over the body of a gorilla he brought down and the interior art done by John Buscema and is great stuff and once more has the classic 70’s Marvel appeal. Great read and a must for fans of Tarzan as it’s a fun story with more of Tarzan’s backstory explored.

Tarzan Annual # 2  ***1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 2 of 3

Tarzan and his lion Jad-Bal-Ja stumble upon a massacre, as dead bodies of humans are all around and only an old man who clings to life is able to tell Tarzan what has happened. You see a King, Queen and the Princess had been overthrown from their kingdom by the Kings brother who then gave the order to slaughter them all while they left…but the old man begs Tarzan to care for The Princess who is still alive with his dying breath. Tarzan finds the Princess who was in hiding and she is mad and wants revenge for the death of her parents…and Tarzan agrees to help her do so. Tarzan gets them to the Kingdom Of The Cliffs and as they walk across the bridge they are attacked and taken as prisoners to see The King! As the Princess shouts about how her parents were murdered by this new King he himself acts shocked about the death of his brother and ordered that Tarzan and Jab-Bal-Ja be placed in a cell and the Princess to be taken to her old chambers. The King is worried now as many of the warriors are grumbling about if the claims of a murder squad sent to kill the former King is true. Tarzan finds out that he is be to sacrificed to the Kingdom’s giant snake god and when that time comes all hell breaks loose as The Princess is able to stab The King with a dagger, Tarzan breaks the skull flame pillar that held the serpent back, the giant snake appears and is looking for human meat and Jab-Bal-Ja break free of his cage and attacks the giant snake along with Tarzan who as well breaks free! Tarzan and his lion with the help of the warriors would the giant snake that makes an escape that is heading toward the Kingdom’s High Priest who wants to throw the Princess from a cliff and end her rule before it even starts! Just as the Priest is about to toss her over the giant snake appears and knocks the Priest over the cliff as it as well goes over ending both terrible lives and as The Princess is about to fall Tarzan once more saves her and she takes her place as the true Queen of the Kingdom as Tarzan heads home with his lion to see Jane.

The second King Size Annual could be the best issue in all of Marvel’s Tarzan series as it really is a great fantastic read that brings action, adventure and even a dash of fantasy and has Tarzan saving a Princess and helping her get revenge on those who murdered her parents and stole her place of ruling the Kingdom. Tarzan is as always a true hero as he fulfills an old mans dying wish, protects and helps a Princess reclaim her kingdom as well as slays a massive snake that has been keeping a kingdom at bay. Jad-Bal-Ja the golden black manned lion is also very much a hero in this issue as he fights off warriors, sets Tarzan free and then also starts the main attack of the giant snake! The Princess is young but is a true fighter and is filled with rage and revenge and wants to bring down her Uncle who is the man who took over her Kingdom and as well ordered the murder of her parents. The Uncle King is truly a coward and scum as he forced his way into power and murdered his own brother and then also wanted to marry his own niece…yeah he is gross and when he takes a knife to the gut and dies you as a reader feels good about it. The High Priest as well to the Kingdom is a terrible person and wants power and wants to murder those by feeding them to a massive snake that ends up being the key to his own death. I loved the over all feel and story of this issue as it truly brings out a great adventure for Tarzan that would have made for a great movie as well! The cover is pretty great and the interior art is done by Sal Buscema and is great stuff! Now that I am thinking about it this issue reminds me of an issue of Conan The Barbarian and in fact it could easily been an issue if you just swapped out Tarzan for Conan. Over all this could be hands down my favorite issue in this series and shows that 100% Marvel knew how to make comics based on The Lord Of The Jungle.

Tarzan Annual # 3  **1/2
Released in 1979     Cover Price .60     Marvel     # 3 of 3

Tarzan, Jane, Korak and guests are in London and are celebrating Guy Fawkes day by given dressed up kids pennies and heading toward the Opera for a show that features Jane’s friend Julia Hague, and while going in they find out Julia’s sister Evelyn has gone missing in Africa! Jane and Tarzan make their way to Julia’s dressing room and find out that she is not missing but kidnapped, and that she is not allowed to tell a soul…but she has and a Dwarf in the Opera house has heard this and before Tarzan can grab him he escapes into the crowd. Later as the Opera starts Julia is singing her heart out and Tarzan is able to stop her murder as the Dwarf armed with a gun, Tarzan and Korak surround him and the Dwarf ends up jumping to his death from a booth. Now safe Julia shows Jane and Tarzan a box her sister sent her that has a tiny human skeleton in it and Tarzan knows were he must travel to Africa to save her, but worse someone in the shadows is once more watching and listening. Tarzan and his friend Pierre D’Arnot are on a small plane flying over the place called The Great Thorn Forest and are shot down by Max Hunter a man who works for Sykes and is the kidnapper of Evelyn, Tarzan is thrown from the plane wreck as Pierre is knocked out and still in the plane when its attacked by a savage all female cavewoman tribe called the Alali Women and after Tarzan and the now rescued Pierre run them off they soon find that Sykes and his group are also under attack and that the Alali Women have run off with Evelyn after Tarzan uses a flamethrower tank to scare them off, Tarzan and Pierre then capture the kidnapers and find out that they did so to sell off the mini skeletons that she found as they think they would be worth millions to the right buyers. Tarzan then rushes off after the Alali Women to save Evelyn only to find them at war with the tiny Ant-Man warriors, and the tiny warriors make short work of the Alali Women and during the fight both Tarzan and Evelyn are hurt and are shrunken down to have their wounds treated as the warriors and their King and Queen are friends of Tarzan! Meanwhile a rival race of Ant-Men use their tiny arrows to bring down Pierre and the kidnappers quickly tell the Ant-Men that Tarzan is the one who dug up their graveyard and that they will ride with them in the tank to get revenge for this crime! Tarzan leads the good Ant-Men against the invaders and white small and even turning normal size he is able to stop the flame tank and bring the would be kidnapers to justice as the good Ant-Men run off the bad ones. In the end Korak arrives with a plane and picks up Tarzan, the injured Pierre and Evelyn and they return to London.

This final Tarzan Annual is a great read and delivers a solid adventure for Tarzan as he goes from a London Opera House all the way to a tiny Ant-Man village in Africa and all the while he is fighting off a mad dwarf with a gun, wild cavewomen out for blood and a group of greedy kidnappers who seek money and fame. Really this story is as crazy as that summery discretion sounds! Tarzan clearly does not understand the customs of the civil world, and yet he at times is more human then the people that surround him in the big city of London. Tarzan also shows that he is loyal to his friends as well as his wives friends as he is willing to travel to a part of the Jungles of Africa that is dangerous in order to save the sister of a woman he has just meet, but is close friends of his wife Jane. He also shows once more he has no fear as he is willing to fight off all enemies that come at him in this issue. Pierre D’Arnot is a Frenchman who is close friends of Tarzan who as well rushes into a unknown danger to help, and is very useful with a gun, and thank the heavens that he wears a leather jacket of he would have been a dead man thanks to the tiny arrows of the Ant-Men. Korak and Jane are around and do their best to help with this kidnaping plot as well as keep the victims sister calm. The Ant-Men have two sides one kingdom is peaceful and is ruled by friends of Tarzan while the other side is bad and are looking for a war as well as a reason to truly hate Tarzan. The Kidnapers Martin, Max and Sykes are true scumbags who will snuff out a life, lie, cheat and steal all in the quest to make a quick fortune off anyone and everything. Plus the Kidnapers in their grasp has eyes, ears and killers in London and also are in control of a very powerful flamethrower tank that makes them super deadly. The Alali Women are a cave woman clan who want to mate and kill males that are foolish enough to stumble in their area, they are deadly and bloodthirsty and not to be messed with. This is a crazy adventure that is well paced and showcases once more that Marvel Comics knew how to make a great Tarzan adventure comic. The cover is eye catching and showcases Tarzan in danger from not only the Ant-Men but also the Alali Women. The interior art is done by the team of Sal as well as Ricardo Villamonte and is great stuff. No joke I am a little sad that this is the final issue for this update as I have had a great time covering Tarzan and his Marvel Comic adventures and wish it would have lasted a little longer. But with that said check out the artwork below to see the style used in these annuals.

Wow that was lots of fun re-reading the Marvel Comics adventures of Tarzan and for me they really held up and were fantastic 70’s comic reads that showcases just why Tarzan is still to this day a classic hero of pop culture. It’s a shame that Marvel Comics have not brought Tarzan back to the company as I feel that he could fit in perfect with their currant plans of returning characters like Star Wars and Conan The Barbarian as well as the newly added Ultraman. I would love to see a comic that would pit Tarzan against Conan as that fight would be epic and awesome. This was a long and epic Christmas Eve update and I hope that this holiday season brought you some joy and thank you for spending some time here at Rotten Ink. Our next update will be my countdown of films I seen in the theater this year and it’s a strange one indeed so I will see you back for that one. Until next time make sure to send a message to your loved ones, enjoy your holiday season the best you can and as always make sure to leave milk and cookies out for Santa! Be safe and I will see you next year to chat about the cinema.

Avengers Assemble…We’re Needed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Robotech: Defenders Not To Be Confused With The Anime Robotech

Robots ruled the 80’s and early 90’s.  I know I have said this before, but it was so true.  Toy aisles were filled with Transformers, Go-Bots, Robotix, Robocop and Robo Force to name a few, and they were always a hit on the playground as almost every kid I knew owned tons of Go-Bots and Transformers.  Many even drew pictures of robots as they seemed like the most popular during my youth! Not to mention that also around this time lots of Japanese cartoons were being dubbed, renamed and repackaged for American audiences, and if you think we are going to be chatting about Robotech, the anime that took US by storm in 1985, you are sadly wrong as we will be talking about the model kits from Revell that helped name the famed series that many of you know and love to this day. So sit back, grab an oil can and let’s briefly dive into the world of Robotech: Defenders, the models and the comic mini series from DC.

Revell was founded in 1943 by Lewis H. Glaser, an entrepreneur from California who made kitchen products that were heavy on plastics.  Their first major toy/kit released was a HO scale train set, and this started the company down the path of being one of the top early plastic model makers as they became kit makers in 1945. By the 1950’s they started making models of cars like the Ford Model T as they teamed with English company Gowland Brothers and these models became a hit in the American market. And these type of older cars would be released many times by the company under all types of line names as model makers seemed to not be able to get enough of the classic cars. In the 50’s they also made models of battleships, airplanes, rocket ships and even modern cars of the time. By the 1960s the market had changed and so did Revell’s releases as they focused on Hotrods and racing cars.  This kept them at the top of the line for those who enjoyed the hobby of model building. But the party of being one of the companies at the top of models came to a harsh end when the 80s came around and kids of the time wanted to get new interests like video games, comic books, sports cards and action figures and the bubbled burst on the world of model kits as sales became very weak and companies who made their fortune with these plastic kits found themselves losing profits.  Revell even merged with another company only to once more be on its own two feet in around 1983. By 1986 Revell was bought by Odyssey Partners who had the model kit brand Monogram, and they decided to merge the two companies using both brand names to try and keep them alive. But while fighting to get plastic model kits to be in fashion again, Revell was bought by Hallmark Cards in 1994 as they wanted to try and cash in on the products they made.  By 2007, they as well sold Revell this time to Hobbico Inc. and still to this day are the parent company. Also I should note that Germany also had a branch of Revell that is also owned by Hobbico, who bought them in 2012. While I have never been a model kit kind of guy, I can respect the hobby and do enjoy seeing the ones people have built based on monsters. So this was a quick crash course on Revell as a company and to sum it up they make plastic model kits and have been bought and sold several times.

Back in 1985, DC Comics decided to make a deal with Revell to make a comic series based on their model kits called Robotech: Defenders, and I think we should take a few moments to take a look at the history of the Revell model kits of the same name. As you have read, Revell was in some trouble finically back in the 80s as they were at one time one of the biggest names in plastic model kits.  They needed new life breathed into the stale market of cars, boats and planes and decided to jump on the giant mecha robot craze that was sweeping Japan at the time to see if they could as well make it stick here in America.  So they licensed kits from foreign kit makers and put them out under a name they created called “Robotech: Defenders” and unleashed these in the American and European markets. This series had a higher price, and while they did okay in America, they did not fare well in Europe as sales were low. But while the kits were trying to bring in money for Revell, it was media company Harmony Gold USA that helped make Robotech: Defenders a payday! You see Harmony Gold USA had bought the rights to Japanese anime series Macross to release in the American market, and the downside for them is that Revell had licensed the model kits of Macross and this made for a bad situation as market confusion could ruin both parties’ plans of making big cash on their investments. So Harmony Gold made a deal with Revell to co-license Robotech, and this became the series that American fans watched and loved as Robotech was used for the models and the anime! So as you can see Revell turned a semi hit plastic model kit line into a beloved anime that had nothing to really do with each other as nothing but the name was used for the toon. So if you’re a fan of the anime, these model kits and the story of its characters has nothing to do with your characters. Check out some of the model kits packages below.

Robotech: Defenders was the birth of the Robotech universe here in America even if the product itself had zero to do with the anime that has made the name Robotech mean something to fans. But Revell themselves really did believe in their plastic model kits and even before the Harmony Gold USA deal, they had a team up with DC Comics to make a 3 issue comic mini series to give their models a back story and to market them to youngsters who were enjoying reading comics at the time. The funny thing is that when the deal with Harmony Gold USA came into play,  they did not want the comics to confuse their watchers and when combined with the the poor sales of issue # 1, this comic mini series went from 3 issue to being wrapped up in 2! So here we go my friends and readers, I think we should move onto the comic review part of this update as I am really interested to see what kind of personalities DC came up with to give to plastic models! I want to thank Half Price Books for having both issues in stock and for even alerting me that this series was even made. And as I climb into my favorite mech-suit, the computer system keeps repeating this “You, Matthew, grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story,” and this robotic voice is right! So sit back and relax, and let’s see what this Robotech: Defenders is all about.

Robotech: Defenders # 1  **1/2
Released in 1985    Cover Price $.75    DC Comics    # 1 of 2

The planet Zolteck is under attack by an evil race of aliens called Grelons who have advanced weapons and lay waste to towns. Opposing the evil aliens are the Robotech: Defenders, a group of noble pilots who risk it all to save innocent lives and bring the Grelons down. Malek is the leader of the Robotech: Defenders, and Zolteck was her home planet.  Now all that’s left after the battle was a stone statue of a robot that turns out to really be a giant robot mech-suit! Malek in her new robot fighting machine tracks down the warship that attacked her home planet, and she makes quick work of it, and best of all the suit alerts her that they are six more mechs like hers on different planets. Her team is fellow human Dex and aliens Eedon, Icik, Akros, Scal and Silky, and they are all ready to find the mech suits and take the war back to the Grelons who started the war months back after killing ambassadors of planets who would not allow the Grelons to take over other planets, so they made a deal with S’Landrai the adviser for an alien race to get machines of war. Meanwhile our heroes all travel to their home planets and each find their robot waiting for them and as they all meet back up on Zolteck, the Grelons attack with hundreds of battle bots and the Robotech: Defenders must gear up and get ready for the fight of their life.

This comic about giant robots that is based on plastic model kits was way better than what I expected as I found it to be a nice touch of action, adventure and science fiction all wrapped around a traditional space war story. The plot is pretty simple and has a terrible race of aliens making a deal with another alien race in order to take over other planets.  The only thing standing against them is a group of pilots who find ancient mech robot suits and are the galaxy’s only hope. Our main hero is Malek, a wise female pilot who’s spirit is almost broken when she witnessed the destruction of her home planets town, but she gets her fighting spirit back when she finds the giant robot. Her crew is loyal and also understand that in this war that they might not survive as the odds are against them, but they as well find a new insight on the battle when they get their own robots. The Grelons are being lead by Ssegma, who is the brains behind these attacks that are leaving planets destroyed.  They are barbaric and think of nothing more than universe domination. Not much at this point is known about S’Landrai, who is the alien who’s people are supplying the Grelons with their weapons of world destruction. This first issue does a great job of building and introducing or heroes and villains and makes you want to learn more about them in the issue to come. They also do a great job of leaving you with a cliff hanger that makes you wonder how our heroes will survive a horde of 100 war bots rushing them with orders to destroy. The cover is pretty badass and showcases our hero robots and I am sure was very eye appealing for kids and readers at the time. The interior art is solid and done by Judith Hunt and is topnotch 80’s DC stuff. Over all this was a way better read than I was going in thinking it would be and I really can’t wait to see how this story plans out. So with that let’s head to issue # 2 and see how Robotech: Defenders save the galaxy.

Robotech: Defenders # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price $.75 .    DC Comics     # 2 of 2

The Robotech: Defenders are ready for war and do well against the ground bots but are over matched by the warship high above that leaves our robot hero team defeated and one member Silky dead. The Grelons bring up the robots to the monster warship and start heading toward their home planet. Malek figures out that they all must push the glowing red buttons in the suits and the robots come alive and have a mind of their own and escape the warship and go into hiding to repair themselves and inform the humans/aliens that the true evil is S’Landrai who is a parasite and is using the Grelons to fulfill is own evil plan! And that they need to get back the fallen robot that was driven by Silky if they want to win this battle.  With the help of a Cyba, a Grelon General who has turned against his race, after hearing the true plan of worlds destruction they come up with a plan to get the robot back and they do when Cyba and Dex enter the planet under the guise of the human being a captive and as a team they active the robot and get him back to his friends. Meanwhile S’Landrai is pissed and uses his power to kill Ssegma and some of his warriors in order to steal their energy and try and bring some of his own race back, and by doing this he also destroys the planet of Grelon! As the Robotech: Defenders are reunited the plan is for one rider and one robot to arrive at their planet and wait for the attack of the S’Landrai who are using satellites to steal the energy of planets and leave the world dead and everything on it in order for them to steal the life energy and become powerful once again. As the attacks are launched some of the Robotech: Defenders stop the launches while other fail as both sides are in a power struggle to get the upper hand, and this all comes to ahead as the Robotech: Defenders face off with the S’Landrai mothership and while out gunned they are not outsmarted as the Defenders reroute the syphon satellites to the sun and the power surge explodes the S’Landrai mother ship and ends the war as they are all killed. The Robotech: Defenders and their riders return to the planet Zolteck and stick together to rebuild what was destroyed.

The battle to save the worlds was won by the Robotech: Defenders, and I can not say I am shocked as even when the odds was bad and their spirits broken they never ever fully gave up on hope and fought until they could change the odds into their favor. The plot as Malek and her crew finding out that their new robots also have a mind of their own and that they have been awaken in order to stop the destruction of a galaxy by the hands of a parasite race called the S’Landrai who are using the Grelons in order to drain planets of their life in order to feed their hunger for the energy. The robots are all ready for battle but weird enough they as well at times seem to make dumb mistakes just like the riders did and while in the end they do win they used brains and not the massive weapons they had to win. Malek and her team seemed loss as they no longer are in charge of the war as they are just going along for the ride as its clear the bots are in charge now. I did really like General Cyba who turns against his race the Grelons in order to stop the multiple worlds destruction and even takes the place of Silky who died during the first wave of attacks. The S’Landrai are real scumbags as they live off the live energy of the others and kill whole planets and everything on it just to feed, so when they get blown up at the end of this story you find yourself cheering! The Grelons who as well crave power are just puppets and when they cross the true evil of their puppet master the S’Landrai they are squashed like a bug. So if you really look at this story, its like World War III in space as you have the S’Landrai, the Grelons and Robotach: Defenders all really in a struggle against each other each with their own reasons. It’s funny how this comic drew me in when I am not a model kit nor an anime kind of guy and I found this series well written and entertaining and no joke it really surprised me on its over all quality. The cover for issue two is ok and reminds me for some reason of issue # 2 of the DC Comic mini series for Power Lords another toy line from the 80’s that we will have to cover sometime. The interior art is done by Judith Hunt as well as Mike Manley and is really great and captures the magic that was 80s comic style. Over all this is a really cool mini series and by all accounts made plastic model kits cool. Check out the art below to see what this series looks like.

So crazy as it sounds, this mini series made me want to check out the comics based on the Robotech anime series and sometime do an update about it…well maybe not as I just never see myself watching the toon in order to do the update justice. So for our next update we are walking away from robot plastic model kits and into the world of horror films as we are going to kick off our countdown to Halloween a little early with a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update.  The film we will be chatting about is the low budget flick Legend Of Diablo from 2004 and the Image Comic based on it. So until next time, read a comic or three, build a model kit or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you all next update as we explore the legend of Azar!

Motorcycle Riding Rodents From The Red Planet

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! If you grew up in the early 1990’s then I am sure you knew just how tight of a grip Teenage Mutant Ninja had on the youth, but then you also know how many knock offs flooded the toy and cartoon market the years that followed.  Who could forget Street Sharks, The Toxic Crusaders, Cowboys Of Moo Mesa, Creepy Crawlers, Extreme Dinosaurs, SWAT Kats and of course The Biker Mice From Mars! While all these had their own charm, they still were very much inspired by the Turtles’ popularity, and the one we will be focusing on today is Biker Mice From Mars. Growing up through the 80’s and 90’s I was around for the huge boom of popularity of the Turtles, and Biker Mice From Mars was the butt of many jokes between me and my friends who just laughed about the silly name and the idea of alien mice on bikes saving the day. I can remember that you were made fun of if you said you watched the cartoon, and no one I knew admitted that they had any of the toys as they were afraid of being mocked. While I never owned any of the toys, I did watch the cartoon and thought how wonderfully cheesy it was.  At the time I was the proud owner of pet mice so of course I was going to check out a cartoon about ones that rode motorcycles! So you could say I was living a double life as at home I watched the cartoon but at school I made fun of it as if it was garbage left in the bottom of a Burger King trash can. So I admit it now; at a young age I watched Biker Mice From Mars.  Now at age 35, I am going to do an update about them here at Rotten Ink so let’s jump on our bikes and have some adventure, shall we?

The Biker Mice From Mars

In 1993, Biker Mice From Mars was released by Saban Entertainment to the syndicated cartoon market and had many companies behind its creation that include Galoob Toys, Marvel Productions and Worldwide Sports & Entertainment. The series followed three anthropomorphic mice that came to Earth from Mars after their planet was stricken by a harsh war and their race was wiped out.  They are Throttle, Modo and Vinnie, and they love to ride motorcycles.  They crash land in Chicago where they meet garage owner and mechanic Charlene “Charley” Davidson. Each of the mice have serve injuries that they got on their home planet and each have a different personality and color of fur. Throttle has tan fur and is the leader.  He is noble and driven to save Earth as well as his fellow mice men.  His injury is his eyesight that was damaged in an accident. Vinnie has white fur and is a smooth talker.  He has a crush on Charlene and had one side of his face burned off in the accident and must wear a metal mask to hide and protect it. Modo has grey fur and is the team’s powerhouse and lost one of his arms that is replaced with a metal one. Their friend and ally is Charley Davidson, the owner and mechanic for a small garage in Chicago called Last Chance Garage.  She is tough as nails and pretty to boot. But things are not all well as they find that the owner of one of Chi-Towns biggest industries is a Plutarkian named Lawrence Limburger, the same fish-headed smelly race that ruined their planet and worse, he has allies with him like dumb as a box of rocks henchman Grease Pit, evil scientist Dr. Benjamin Boris Zachary Karbunkle and weirdo Fred The Mutant to name a few. Now on Earth, the Biker Mice must try and stop Limburger from trashing their new home. The series lasted for 3 seasons and a total of 65 episodes. In 2006, The Biker Mice From Mars made a small comeback and had new episodes made for one season with a total of 28 episodes. So one thing’s for sure, while they might have been the butt of jokes at school, they still had an impact on the world of cartoons.

Biker Mice 1Biker Mice 2 logoBiker Mice 3

In 1993 to go along with the cartoon Galoob started to make action figures to push Biker Mice From Mars toward becoming a name in children’s entertainment.  The figures stood a little taller then Ninja Turtles and came with all types of weapons as well as vehicles and playsets that could be bought separately. All the main characters were made into the toy line that lasted till 1994, but before the toys were canceled, many different variations of the biker mice themselves were made and released. Besides the action figures there were also bendable figures, 12” figures as well as Micro Machine versions of the bikes. Growing up, I didn’t know any kids that had any of these figures, nor did I, but to be honest by 1993 I was older and not really buying a lot of toys as girls were more on my mind than buying an action figure. Over the years, I have seen lots of Biker Mice figures at local thrift stores and flea markets showing that somebody bought them back in the day.

Biker Mice Toy 1Biker Mice Toy 2Biker Mice Toy 3

Like all good cartoons of the time, it was turned into a video game for the Super Nintendo, and for the re-launch a game was made for PS2 and Nintendo DS. But let’s focus on the SNES version as it’s the classic of the bunch and was released during the height of Biker Mice Mania. In 1994, Konami released a racing game based on Biker Mice From Marsfor the Super Nintendo that would allow the player to choose a character and race around different tracks. The game was over all praised for its game play and is somewhat of a cult classic in the world of SNES games. I can remember seeing the game for rent at K&L Video years later and never renting it.  Maybe I’ll see if Game Swap in Kettering has it in stock.

Biker Mice SNES 1Biker Mice From Mars SNESbiker mice snes 2

So we took a look at the cartoon, toys and video game attached to Biker Mice, and we even talked a little about the uncool factor it had from my former classmates so now I think it’s time we take a look at the Marvel Comic mini series based on it. I want to thank Half Price Books and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and allowing me to read them for the first time here on Rotten Ink. So before we hop on a chopper and go for a ride, I want to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s hit the road and see what adventure we can have with The Biker Mice From Mars and Marvel Comics.

Biker Mice From Mars 1

Biker Mice From Mars # 1  **1/2
Released in 1993      Cover Price $1.50     Marvel Comics    #1 of 3

In space aboard a ship the biker mice Throttle, Modo and Vinnie are relaxing and even a little bored when they are attacked and shot down by evil, smelly, fish faced Plutarkians and crash land in Chicago during a baseball game. The Biker Mice mount their bikes and avoid security.  While leaving the ball field, Vinnie even stops a robbery of a hot dog dealer, and they ride off and notice how the place they are at now looks as run down as their home on Mars. Meanwhile in a big skyscraper Lawrence Limburger, the town’s bigwig business man, is talking to his henchman Grease Pit about his plans to drain Chicago of all its natural resources in a week.  He needs a location to complete his task, the Last Chance Garage, and sends Grease Pit there to rough up its female owner Charley Davidson. As she tries to fight off Grease Pit, the Biker Mice arrive and save the day by making a fool out of Limburger’s henchman and send a message that they are here to uphold justice.

This comic series clearly would have been a Star Comic if Marvel would have let the company stay open long enough. This mini series is clearly just based on the first couple of episodes in the Biker Mice cartoon series, and this first issue shows how they crash land on Earth and how they become friends with Charley and get on the radar of Limburger. The Biker Mice come off as noble rodents who love to ride and relax and most of all love to stand up for good and justice. Vinnie is the one who comes off more reckless and focused on fighting than the other two.  It’s clear he in is the Raphael as he follows his own set of rules and is the first to jump in a fight. Throttle and Modo don’t get to shine as brightly in this issue and very little of their personalities shine through.  All we really get is the basics. Charley Davidson comes off as an independent woman who is not afraid to stand up to those trying to bully her and take what she has worked hard for. Grease Pit is a muscle bound goon who is dimwitted and covered with motor oil and uses his muscles to try and push around those he views as weaker. Limburger is scum and is a big business man all the way as he doesn’t care about people or environment when a quick buck can be made.  Plus it shows he has no guts as he sends others to do his dirty work. So far despite giving some of the lamest lines in kids comics history, the Biker Mice are likable characters and ones that I think translate very well to comic books. The art in this issue is done by Rurik Tyler, and he does a great job of making it look like the cartoon.  The cover is also fantastic and very eye catching. So let’s move on to issue # 2 and see how this mini series plays out, shall we?

Biker Mice From Mars 2

Biker Mice From Mars # 2  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.50    Marvel Comics    #2 of 3

Charley Davidson is confused and amazed by her new friends and rescuers The Biker Mice who explain that they are from Mars and that they are the last of their kind because a race called the Plutarkians raided and stole all their natural resources and wiped them out.  Charley tells them she thinks the same thing is happening there in Chicago.  Limburger is mad at Grease Pit for not getting the garage and is even more upset when he hears that he was stopped by the Biker Mice who he knows all too well as they were his prisoners sometime back.  So he gets the crazy mad scientist Dr. Karbunkle to build an ultimate mouse trap, and they set out to capture the Mice. Charley works on the mice’s bikes and even adds new weapons.  This leaves her open to be kidnapped by Grease Pit and placed on the twisted mouse trap as bait, but once more Grease Pit is outsmarted and The Biker Mice send him back to Limburger, save Charley, and destroy the mouse trap. In the end The Biker Mice are on the way to Limburger’s to take the fight to him as Karbunkle is bringing in an enforcer from another planet!

This second issue is used as a quick back story of Mars and all the bad stuff that happened that forced the Mice to live a life on the run.  It also shows that Limburger is already at his boiling point, and he wants those pesky rodents dead. I also like how it shows that Limburger has many oddballs working for him and each is as crazy as the next. Once more The Biker Mice come off as major good guys, and finally Throttle comes off as a leader and is clearly smart in his “war” tactics. Vinnie comes off a little more goofy in this one, always talking about how good looking he is and how his body looks.  He’s a little silly and makes you wish he would have stayed more like the brooding kick butt type. Limburger is as sleazy as ever and bullies his own men and wants to make short work of this planet so he can move on and pillage the next city. Grease Pit is as dumb as ever, and Karbunkle is super crazy and seem to be getting his kicks in torturing some strange little man who’s getting off on the abuse…it’s kind of creepy. At one point they ask Charley if she wanted to be rescued by Turtles, showing that they were aware that many kids compared the two. This second issue is pretty entertaining, and I found it to be on par with issue # 1 making this a good read for fans of the cartoon and characters. The artwork is done by two artists this time with Rurik Tyler returning and Gary Fields helping out.  Tyler’s work is better, and you can tell when Fields is working the pencil. The cover on this one is kick butt and eye catching, and I am it was appealing to kids who spotted it on the newsstand. Well let’s get to the third and final issue in this Marvel series based on a cartoon.

Biker Mice From Mars 3

Biker Mice From Mars # 3  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.50    Marvel Comics    #3 of 3

The Biker Mice are on the way to Limburger’s building and are greeted by armed guards and must fight their way to the top where they come face to face with Grease Pit and Limburger who cower to the Biker Mice. But when Limburger calls on Dr. Karbunkle who is the man responsible for the injuries to the Mice, they are filled with rage and are ready for a fight.  Instead they’re greeted by a killer robot called X-Terminator who knocks them out the window.  A chase on Motorcycles ensues that leaves Throttle knocking The X-Terminator into boiling metal and the Biker Mice win a big victory. In the end they meet up at the baseball field and decide that their base will be inside the scoreboard and out of the radar reach of Limburger and his goons.

This third and final issue is good but it’s clear that everyone who worked on it knew that this was the final issue.  Many pages are large art splashes with little to no dialogue.  That said, I still found it to be a very fun and silly good read. The story is that The Biker Mice get to the location of Limburger and come face to face with the evil doctor who has scarred them for life.  They tangle with a robot man who is programmed to kill them and in the end destroy their robotic stalker and find a new place to live at the baseball field. The part of the story I really liked is that Dr. Karbunkle is the one who did some horrible things to The Mice while they were prisoners and he gets joy when he sees his dirty work up close again – sick serial killer kind of stuff. This time around The Biker Mice are more fleshed out as we see Throttle really show leadership skills.  Vinnie is still ego driven but ready to kick some fish men butt, and Modo is a powerhouse who beats up anything that gets in his way. While Grease Pit takes a backseat in this final issue, Dr. Karbunkle moves to the front and shows he is a man with plans and cruel ideas. While X-Terminator has the weapons to kill the Biker Mice, he seems more into delivering one-liners taken straight from Terminator 2 then killing them off, not to mention he goes down like a chump at the hands of Throttle. Limburger, while loud-mouthed and very mean, sure is a coward when having to come face to face with the Mice. The comic was a nice treat for fans of the cartoon, and I can’t help but feel that if Star was open when this was released, the series would have lasted a little longer than three issues.  Much like Camp Candy, I feel Marvel just put little to no care into making this series work while the people working on the comics put time and care into making a quality kids comic for readers. The art for the final issue was Rurik Tyler and like the others, the cover is fantastic. To sum it up, if you enjoyed the cartoon when this was released, I am sure you had a great time collecting and reading these issues, but TMNT super fans might find the series to be a rip off of their favorite heroes in a half shell. Check out the artwork below to see how good it looks compared to the style of the cartoon.

Biker Mice Art 1

So The Biker Mice have just rode off on the forgotten highway into a sunset as our time with them has come to an end.  I will say that the comic series was pretty good and was a nice way to help promote them at comic stores and on newsstands. Our next update is a subject very special to me as well as I am sure many horror host fans from the Dayton, Ohio area and beyond/.  I will be taking a look at the one and only Dr. Creep in a new Horror Host Icon update! So until then, make sure to read a comic or three, watch a classic cartoon or two and as always support your local horror host.  See ya next update for a Shocking good time…

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Marvel At The Movies Part 2: Rise Of The Machines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

terminator 2 1terminator 2 2terminator 2 3

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

T2 1

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

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

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

T2 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winner: Galvatron

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

Winner T2

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

Sir Graves Preview Logo

The Saw Is Law Here at Rotten Ink!

For the second Halloween update I had a hard time choosing what comic series to do. I thought to myself, should I pick one of Marvel’s classic horror titles like Tombs of Dracula or Werewolf by Night.  Then I thought, why not do something from Dead Dog Comics or Fangoria Comics, two horror comic companies that disappeared way before they should have and had a lot to offer in the comic world in my opinion.  But finally I decided to stick to a film adaptation of a classic horror film, and I was torn between Psycho and Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.  While Psycho is the better film by far, I chose to go with Leatherface because I felt the need to speak about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre this Halloween season. I first saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre with my brother when I was young as he bought it on VHS from Half Priced Books and hyped it up to me as one of the first slasher films made.  My expectations were high as we watched it and after that first viewing I was not as impressed as he was. I was still very much into the classic black and white horror film stuff, and I just felt while Leatherface was scary he still was just a man. Now being older I see that Leatherface being just a man is way more scary then The Wolf Man who is a unreal creature because people like Leatherface are real and are the true terrors that walk among us. But even in my teens I grew to to respect the film and what it had done for the world of horror films.  Not to mention I truly thought star Marilyn Burns was a super fox! So with that let’s first take a look at the real life killer that inspired Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel, and then we will look a little deeper into each Chainsaw film among other things as we travel to the heart of Texas on this October night and stop along the way for some good old BBQ and remember The Saw is Family.  Fair warning, this update will have spoilers.

The Saw is Family

Edward Theodore “Ed” Gein is a killer from Plainfield, Wisconsin who killed two known females and may have killed others including his own brother. Ed, who was attached to his mother, slipped into madness after her death in 1945 and took to digging up bodies from the local cemetery and making not only furniture from the bones and skin but also a suit that was made up of human flesh to make himself into a woman. Ed’s first victim was Mary Hogan, a saloonkeeper that he killed with a shotgun in 1954.  His second victim was hardware store owner Bernice Worden who was also shot in her store.  Both women were dragged back to his farmhouse where they were cut up, skinned and treated like cattle at a slaughterhouse. Ed not only was a grave robber but he also took part in cannibalism as he ate pieces of his victims. Ed was busted for the second murder and was sentenced to life in an asylum where he died in 1984 from respiratory failure at the age of 77. The Gein’s farm house was set on fire, and his truck was sold to a carnival where people paid a quarter to see it after his death. Ed’s tombstone is the target for vandals and thieves as pieces are broken off for keepsakes and graffiti placed on it. As I have stated, Gein was only convicted and only admitted to two murders but there was the possibilities of many more including his brother who was found dead years before on the property during a controlled burn.  The authorities ruled that he died from asphyxiation from the smoke but wounds were found around his skull leaving some to wonder if Ed had attacked and murdered him. Ed also has been the inspiration for many Hollywood bad guys like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Norman Bates from Psycho, Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs and Ezra Cobb from Deranged. Not to mention Ed has had a few bio films based on him and has had such actors as Kane Hodder and Steve Railsback step into the role of portraying him. To this day Ed Gein seems to catch the attention of many true crime followers and seems to never be forgotten as his name lives on in film, comics and songs.

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Let’s take a look at the films of Texas Chainsaw Massacre….and these do have spoilers! I will include standard 1-4 star rating as the end of each small write up.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Sally Hardesty, her wheelchair bound brother Franklin, her boyfriend Jerry and friends Kirk and Pam are on a road trip through Texas in 1973 to see if their grandfather’s grave has been disturbed by a rash of grave robbers and to go to their family’s old home that is now in ruins. Along the way, they pick up a crazed hitchhiker who attacks Franklin before being booted from the van. They also meet a gas station owner named W.E who warns them not to go to the old house and warns them his station is out of gas. The group doesn’t listen and heads for the farm where their fun and games turn into a nightmare as a killer known as Leatherface (because he wears human skin as a mask) picks them off one by one. Leatherface uses all his tools of the trade to dispose of the teens like his trusty hammer, chainsaw and meat hooks. Finally Sally is the only one left alive and comes face to face with the true horror of Leatherface and his deranged brothers that include W.E., the hitchhiker and their wheelchair bound blood-drinking Grandpa who was a slaughterhouse worker. Sally is chased, beaten and forced to have a cannibal dinner with the family before she tries to escapes the madness with her life as Leatherface with chainsaw and hitchhiker with straight razor are in hot pursuit. In the end the hitchhiker is smashed by a semi truck, Leatherface takes his own chainsaw to the leg and Sally escapes with her life but not her mind. 4 Stars!

Classic LeatherfaceThe Texas ChainSaw Massacre Video Treasures vhsleatherface pt 1

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II – Stretch is a DJ for a popular rock radio station that captures the deaths of two callers on her request line by the killer known as Leatherface. In town, Lefty Enright, uncle to Sally and Franklin Hardesty and a former ranger, wants to capture and kill those responsible for the murders taking place in Texas. The Sawyer clan now lives in an abandoned amusement park, and the Cook (Drayton) is now in the catering business selling his human BBQ and chili all around town and soon at the big football game. But when Lefty talks Stretch into playing the kill call live on the air, she and her coworker L.G. become the targets of Leatherface and his brother Chop-Top (a vet with a metal plate in his head) who want the tape and want them dead. The attack leaves Stretch’s co-worker at death’s door and Leatherface with a crush on her, which saves her life. The Sawyer clan heads home as Lefty and Stretch follow and get lost in the maze. Stretch is found and forced to eat dinner with the family as Leatherface’s new “girlfriend.” Meanwhile Lefty spends time trying to bring the whole place down. After he finds Stretch and saves her from the hammer what follows is a showdown between a crazed family of killers and a crazed man who lost it all when his family was taken away. The result is chainsaw duels, hammer blows to the head, the return of the blood-drinking Grandpa, the hitchhiker’s corpse as a puppet and the death of many of the Sawyer family. 3 1/2 Stars!

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Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III – Michelle and Ryan are driving cross-country and made the mistake of driving through Texas as another Sawyer body pit has been found. It throws them off the normal highway and to the Last Chance Gas Station run by a pervert named Alfredo Sawyer who gets into a fight with a hitchhiker named Tex after he catches him peeping on Michelle as she uses the restroom. Before Tex is “gunned” down for being a hero, he tells them to take a back road that leads to a run-in with Leatherface and an accident with a survivalist named Benny. With no cars and no hope, the three along with a crazy young woman who has escaped the Sawyer clan become the prey as Leatherface and his brothers Tinker (a hook handed technology lover and tow truck driver), Tex (the hitchhiker) and Alfredo (the gas station owner) hunt them down and kill them for meat. Michelle is alive after the others are killed and taken to the Sawyer farm were she gets to meet Mama Sawyer, Grandpa and Leatherface’s young daughter. But when Benny, who’s not dead, comes to her aid the two must kill or be killed to stay alive. Do they make it out of Texas alive, and if so, what is left of them? 2 1/2 Stars!

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Next Generation – It’s prom night in 1994 as mousy Jenny, a young woman who is being abused by her mom’s boyfriend, is on her way to the prom with Sean and her friend Heather and Heather’s asshole boyfriend Berry. They get into a wreck in the backwoods of Texas and meet Vilmer Sawyer, a towtruck driver with a mechanical leg brace, Darla an insurance agent with fake boobs, W.E. a shotgun welding history quoting asshole and of course Leatherface. One by one, like before, the friends are killed off as Jenny is the only one left to spend a horrific dinner with the Sawyer clan, but this time it’s different as they spend time playing mind games and cat and mouse chases with her. Weirdly, they refer to all of this as a job given to them by a secret government agency. But strangely a man dressed in black, a clear member of the secret government agency named Rothman, shows up and yells at the family but lets the madness continue. Jenny escapes the house with Vilmer and Leatherface in pursuit as a plane swoops down from nowhere killing Vilmer and stopping Leatherface dead in his tracks. Jenny gets to a limo where Rothman apologies for all she has been through and drops her off at a local hospital where she sees a crazed Sally Hardesty. The two lock eyes as we end with Leatherface swinging his chainsaw as the sun sets. This film was also known as “Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. 2 stars!

Leatherface pt 4Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre posterleatherface pt 4!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre – In 1973 Erin, her boyfriend and a van full of friends are driving back home from Mexico and make the mistake of taking the backroads of Texas. After picking up a hitchhiker who blows her head off, they are lead to Sheriff Hoyt who makes them stay until this case can be closed. Erin and her friends soon learn that something is not right with the small almost abandoned town as everyone they meet seems a little off. When Erin’s boyfriend goes missing and becomes the first victim to Leatherface’s hammer, Erin and her friends start becoming human cattle to the Hewitt family that includes crazy Sheriff Hoyt, wheelchair bound Monty, little boy Jedediah and old lady Luda May. One by one the friends die. Erin is the last survivor who must escape her hellish nightmare, but before she does she saves a kidnapped baby, kills Sheriff Hoyt and chops off Leatherface’s arm. It ends with Erin driving off as a one-armed Leatherface makes one last attempt on her life. 2 1/2 Stars!

leatherface pt remake!!!texas chainsaw massacre remake posterleatherface pt remake

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning – In 1939 a deformed baby is born in a slaughterhouse and is quickly thrown away in the trash can out back where Luda May Hewitt rescues it and takes it home to raise as her own. Flash to 1969, and the small Texas town is dying as the baby grows up to be Thomas Hewitt, working for the very same slaughterhouse that threw him away just some 30 years before. Brothers Eric and Dean, along with their girlfriends Chrissie and Bailey are on their way to be dropped off to go to Vietnam as Thomas kills his old boss and his Uncle Charlie kills the sheriff to protect his nephew and becomes Sheriff Hoyt. The Hewitt family stays in the town and makes a vow that they will do whatever it takes to keep the family farm, including eating human flesh to never go hungry. Eric and crew get in a wreck as a female biker tries to rob them. This brings Sheriff Hoyt who kills the biker and takes Eric, Dean and Bailey under custody and to the Hewitt farm. Chrissie comes to the rescue with the help of the leader of the biker gang. But one by one they start meeting an end at the hands of Leatherface who ends up cutting Eric’s face off and taking off his leather strap mask to truly live up to what he is to become. Finally, after being caught and watching her loved ones get killed Chrissie escapes or so she thinks. 3 Stars!

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Texas Chainsaw 3D – The Sawyer family is under attack after the events of the first film as the Sheriff wants Leatherface to come out and turn himself in.  Things go south when some good old boys show up and kill the Sawyer family and burn down the farm house. One baby survives the attack and grows up thinking she is the daughter of some of the rednecks who killed her real family. When she gets a notice that her real grandma has died and left her a mansion, she finds out the truth that she was adopted and returns to Texas to acquire her family’s estate. But she and her friends get more than what they bargain for as Leatherface is still alive and lives in the basement and worse the towns redneck get wind of a Sawyer being back in town and are not happy. In the end the young woman must join forces with her chainsaw welding cousin and stop the rednecks that wish them nothing but harm. The film was the first in the series to be shot in 3D and is a direct sequel to the Tobe Hopper original. 2 1/2 Stars!

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The films have over the years built up a huge cult following, and while none of them were huge box office winners, they all are still well made fun horror films that deserve their spot in horror history. If your interested in reading my full reviews of most of the Texas Chainsaw films, then take a look at my old review site Bloodline Video for those and many other film and video game reviews. And speaking of video games we can’t talk Texas Chainsaw Massacre without talking about the 1982 Wizard Video Game based on the film for the Atari 2600 and that turned out to be a major flop but is now highly collectible today. The game has you play as Leatherface and armed with your trusty chainsaw and a select amount of fuel, you must chase after screaming females and hack them to pieces to gain points.  But the whole time you must also dodge obstacles like bulls skulls and wheelchairs because if you get caught up in one you lose fuel and your score will drop.The game when released was considered too adult for the video game market and could only be bought from select stores that chose to stock it and was sold behind counters limiting its sales. The game tested poorly with critics and gamers at the time and over all was trashed for its terrible plot and stiff gameplay. I happen to have an original copy of the game complete with its manuel that I bought from Ebay for $150.00.  While it’s a terrible game, it still holds some charm when you think about the fact it was one of the first horror themed games and the fact that Wizard Video, who was a popular VHS horror film distributor who was owned by Charles Band (Full Moon Entertainment) was the one to put it out. Only time will tell if Leatherface will ever get a full modern game again, but at this point I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Atari 2600texas chainsaw massacre atari adAtari 2600 Leatherface

Speaking of the Atari 2600 game based on the film one of the funniest reviews I have ever seen about this game was done for The Angry Video Game Nerd’s two-part Halloween special where he looked at this game as well as Haunted House, Frankenstein’s Monster and Halloween all for the Atari 2600. In the episode The Nerd buys both the Texas Chainsaw and Halloween Game (both who were rare and released by Wizard Home Video) from a garage sale run by a banjo playing hick smart ass. When he gets home, he plays the game and rips it to shreds for being a poor programed and thought out game. After the review he gets a visit from Chop Top and Leatherface who give chase and he is attacked by the Banjo Hick who is also part of the Sawyer Family. They force The Nerd to play the game longer until he escapes and is chased by Leatherface who gets hung up on a bike and allowing The Nerd to get away. This episode is so much fun and his Halloween specials always stand out for being well done and a great way to remember the horror games of the past. If you have not seen this episode, you should check it out on his website Cinemassacre or his Youtube page.

AVGN LeatherfaceAVGN Texas Chainsaw MassacreAVGN Chop Top

A cool short film that thus far has never been released and was directed by William Hopper, the son of original director Tobe Hopper, called “All American Massacre” was started in 1998 but not fully finished, It was supposed to be about Chop Top (played by Bill Mosley once again) and picks up after the events of part 2 and has Chop Top in jail spilling his guts to a Tabloid Magazine about the history of his family. The music score was being done by strange guitarist Buckethead, and the film had a lot of buzz after a teaser trailer was released. In 2011 the film tried to get the remaining funding via Kickstarter but the online attempt failed. At a convention a few years back I spoke to Bill Mosley about the film and he expressed that he wished it would come out as well. So here is to hoping that one day fans of Texas Chainsaw Massacre will be able to see this 60 minute sequel gem. I for one would love to see this because I am a fan of the character Chop Top and would love to see how he survived the chainsaw gut check from part 2 and see how he was captured by the police. So spread the word about this film, and let’s see if we can all help get this made.

All American Massacre Chop Topall american massacre posterAll American Massacre Chop-Top

The Sawyer family is also very popular when it comes to the merchandise department and have had so many product based around them.  They have had comics, shirts, toys, a video game, models, Halloween masks, soundtracks, jewelry and so much more. So if you’re a fan of this film and or Leatherface, then you should be happy at the amount of collectibles out in the world for you to own. I for one have a cool retro Leatherface T-Shirt, the video game and some of the action figures. My favorite Leatherface item I own is the 3 3/4″ action figure that is in scale with classic Star Wars and G.I. Joe’s.  Now that’s a cool toy. And I also love my CD soundtrack done by an old website called Roger’s Basement that has music and sound clips from the first two films.  Around Halloween time I play some tracks off these on the WYSO show Alpha Rhythms.

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One little unknown fact is that back in 2001 while Independent B Movie was still going strong I wrote and was going to direct and star as Leatherface in a fan made film based on this series called “Texas Chainsaw Massacre:Return Of The Saw”! The film was taking place after the events of Texas Chainsaw Massacre the Next Generation and would have followed a beauty queen named Gabriella and her photographer friend Paul as they make the mistake of having a run in with the Sawyers who consisted of Leatherface, The Hitchhiker, Vilmer, W.E., Grandpa and Rose who was based on the young girl from part III. The film also had a bounty hunter on the trail of the Sawyers named The Cobra who was hired to kill them by a family member of a past victim. The film was slated to star all the old fimilar faces of I.B.M like Matt Hoffman, Josh Weinberg, Andrea Seay, Dave Wean, Garrison Kane, Jeff Ricks, Brandon Womeldorff and Patrick Neeley. The script was finished and most the props were bought as we got a Leatherface and Grandpa Halloween Mask, lots of fake blood and body parts and even fake brown slime to use on the fake decomposing bodies. The film was about to go into production but it was pushed to the back burner when original scripts started to come in and films like Who Keeps Feeding Grandpa, Farmer Joe and Razor were made instead. Josh Weinberg was a true sport as he acted as the producer of this unfinished project and for many years after we kept talking about getting it into production, but sadly we were never able to.  The film’s script has fallen into the big blue folder of un-shot scripts along side Dracula film Eternal Sleep, Farmer Joe 2 and Matt Hoffman’s fan made Creature From The Black Lagoon film. Below is a fake teaser poster done by my friend Eric Shonborn just for this blog so take a look and think about the no budget fan film that never was.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Return of the Saw Poster

While on the topic of Texas, I just want to also mention that I don’t watch much TV these days and when I do watch TV shows they are on DVD.  But one show that I do watch is a really silly reality show called “American Hoggers”! I know right now many of you are laughing at me and shaking your heads at how I can watch such a dumb show, so allow me to explain. Last year Juliet and I were having some issue with our apartment, and while it was getting fixed I stayed at my parents’ house or we would rent a hotel room.  While at my parents’ house I would stay up late and have the TV on. A show that I kept catching was called American Hoggers, and the first thing that caught my eye was one of the show’s stars Krystal “The Pistol” Campbell and the second was Lea Penick.  Both are good looking women who were taking down giant hogs in the state of Texas, and this was mesmerizing to me late nights. The show is about The Campbell’s, a father and his kid team that go out and get wild hogs in Texas before they can cause more damage to peoples property or cause physical harm to kids and animals.  The show is so much fun and I enjoy the wild antics of father Jerry and the hotness of Krystal and Lea who also seem like really cool people and both girls are great at what they do and are down right fearless. After the apartment was fixed I still found myself watching the show with my Mom and Dad on Wednesdays. I know it’s a sickness.

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Now before we take a look at Northstar comics four issue loosely based comic adaptation of the film Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, I would like to also take a moment to talk about another planed adaptation from them that never happened, a mini series that was in the works based on the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. By the midway mark of the Leatherface series, the sales of this title were high and issue one was a total sell out and helped the company gain momentum who were only a gore and horror comic company who made many original titles like KlownShock and Splatter and those titles sells were never as solid as they were on the Leatherface series, making them look at The Sawyer Family as a cash cow and a quick way to become a player at the growing comic shops around the United Stares and hang with the big boys of Marvel and DC. The fourth and final issue in the Leatherface mini series revealed that the company was working on a adaptation of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and many new original Chainsaw stories that was in the works.  The adaptation comic was said to have J.J. Birch who worked on the Catwoman comic on board and was going to be the kick off to this new series of books. Fans were hyped and the comic even had advertisements for these comic books.  Years passed and the comics never seen the light of day nor did Northstar ever speak of them again making many forget that they were even in the works and others who did just moved on to other comics. I spent hours looking into why this book was canceled and could never find an answer. I for one would have loved to have read both the film adaptation and the new series and know that I would have bought them when they came out. I am wondering if the book was finished and if so who owns it and is there any chance that it would ever come out! Fangoria Comics would have been a great company to put this out if they didn’t go south way too soon. Below is one of the ads that was published in issue 4 of Leatherface so that we all can look at it and wonder what it could have been.

Northstar Leatherface adNow that we have taken a look at Leatherface in film, video game and merchandise I think it’s time that we dive into the backroads of Texas and adventure into reading this series! When I was younger I only owned issue 4 and always looked at local comic shops like Mavericks and The Bookie Parlor for the other three and was never successful in my quest. Years later thanks to the team up of Lone Star Comics and Amazon, I was able to find the other three and replace the issue four I sold off to pay rent way back when. I just want you all to remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So let’s gas up the chainsaw and have a bloody good time.

Leatherface 1

Leatherface  # 1  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics   # 1 of 4

Leatherface bashes a young woman’s head in and removes the skin around her face to make a new mask from it, as a woman outside watches in horror and flee’s into the woods. Michelle and Ryan are stuck in a traffic jam that’s caused by the discovery of a massive body pit that is housing the remains of 70 to 80 victims. When they can finally hit the road, Michelle hits an armadillo and when Ryan goes to kill it she finds a chrome skull ear ring at the side of the road. The couple stops at the Last Chance Gas Station run by a eye patch wearing goon named Alfredo who speaks like a pervert, and they also meet Tex a hitchhiker cowboy who just wants to get home.  After Tex catches Alfredo peeping on Michelle as she uses the restroom he flips out and gets a shotgun and shoots the cowboy and tries to blast the couple who speed off and turn down an old abandoned road where they are chased by a giant monster truck that throws a decapitated dogs head at the window and causes the couple to wreck and get a flat tire. As the monster truck speeds off, Ryan is trying to fix the flat tire as a noise is heard in the woods, a simple squeak noise that turns into the sound of a chainsaw as Leatherface is upon them!

This issue is a fun way to start off this movie adaptation and uses Leatherface in only two spots: killing the person at the start of the issue and the quick flash of him getting ready to kill our heros. Leatherface in this issue seems very mean spirited and is very much like he is in the film this comic is based on.  His look is also great, and he is sporting long hair and a giant knee brace. Michelle and Ryan are a good couple who are clearly at odds with each other.  In this comic they seem to argue a lot and Ryan is pretty much a pure ass who takes any chance to try and push Michelle’s buttons trying to get her to fight with him. Tex comes off as just a cowboy who is a drifter and is a puzzle as he is the one who gave them the route they took when they were attacked by the monster truck, and Alfredo is a pure sleaze ball who is crazy as Ygor from the Universal film Son of Frankenstein. The comic has a nice amount of gore to go along with the plot of a couple driving a car across Texas who are fighting over a break up that is in the works and make a mistake of stopping at a gas station that is run by the Sawyers. One nice touch is that in the body pit part two of the workers are FX maser Tom Savini and classic b-actor Dick Miller! The art work by Kirk Jarvinen is good stuff and is the style of 90’s horror comics that I like, and the cover is also well done and eye catching. I can see why this first issue sold so well, and I for one wish I would have gotten it off the stand when I was a kid as I am sure both The Bookie Parlor and Mavericks had it stocked. While it’s very close to the film, the changes are well done and make this first issue a good read.  I don’t know about you but I am pretty hyped to see what issue two brings to the table. 

Leatherface 2

Leatherface  # 2  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics   # 2 of 4

Ryan and Michelle are shocked at the side of the road as Leatherface comes at them with his chainsaw a buzzing.  Ryan thinks fast and kicks Leatherface in the balls and as the killer drops, he and Michelle speed off! Leatherface tries to stop them but breaks his chain on his saw, and they get away. While speeding Michelle crashes into a truck driven by Benny, a weekend warrior who is a survivalist, after she thinks she sees an injured Tex in the road. They couple tell Benny about Tex and the chainsaw madman who tried to kill them, as he thinks they are just talking smack after being shook up from the accident. Benny goes to the road to get his gun just in case and waiting up there is Tinker, a tow truck driver with a hooked hand, who turns out to be yet another crazy member of the Sawyer family.  Benny is able to get his gun and escape being run over just in time, but his escape is short lived as he is now being attacked by Leatherface! Benny fights his hardest but just as it looks bad, the woman who at the start of issue one saves him and has Leatherface chase after her! Meanwhile Michelle and Ryan are trying to shake off injuries when a shotgun carrying Tex comes for them and fights with the couple to keep them captive. While the poor woman who saved Benny’s life is captured by Tink and is cut up by Leatherface.

Issue two is all action and does not pull the punches with the gore, action and blood! This time around Leatherface is given more depth and at one point when he breaks his saw takes to bashing his own head against a tree as punishment! Leatherface is also way more blood thirsty in the issue and takes glee in chopping up the woman in the end, not to mention it’s super cool as they put dialogue in as to what he is thinking. Ryan is still an ass even being in danger, and the character is not likeable at all.  When he gets his face smashed with the butt of the shotgun you don’t feel sorry for him, but you feel sorry for Michelle who is left to fight of Tex alone. Michelle is likable but does make dumb mistakes in the comic just as she did in the film and the top one being getting into the crash with Benny. Tink is an odd duck who it’s clear he is now the brains of the family after the death of Drayton Sawyer aka The Cook from the first two films, and seems to love technology. Tex is shown to be a part of the family and is a sick son of gun who uses his looks to trick people into going along with what he says. The art work is now being done by Guy Burwell who also did the cover, and while his art work is good, it kind of lost some of the charm of issue one.  Plus the cover is not as eye catching. Over all this is a good issue and keeps you entertained with all the action and blood.  I also love the changes from the film like Leatherface slaughtering the girl, being pissed about his saw breaking and even Tex fighting with Michelle and Ryan; all nice touches and truly flushes out the story a little more. Let’s get onto issue three, shall we?

Leatherface 3

Leatherface  # 3   ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics   # 3 of 4

Tink and Leatherface are having a blast playing around with the body parts of the woman they had just killed, even playing baseball with her skull! Tink finds Ryan’s cassette tape walkman and gives it to Leatherface as a gift and has Leatherface do the classic chainsaw dance for his amusement. Meanwhile Michelle has escaped Tex and is wandering the woods and finds that the Sawyer family have traps set everywhere to capture and kill anyone who stumbles onto their place.  As she is wandering, she finds a normal looking house with a Little Girl sitting on the porch and asks her for help. The Little Girl takes Michelle inside and soon enough she finds out she is in the killers’ home as Tex and Little Girl try and capture her yet again. Meanwhile Benny in the woods finds a pond where Alfredo is dumping body parts of victims, and the two have an exchange of words that leaves Alfredo knocked out and thrown into the pond. Michelle meanwhile is captured and meets the family from Mama to a crazed old man who the family has taken in as their own, and she is forced to watch as Leatherface bashes in the head of Ryan who they have brought home to slaughter and eat!

This third issue is more about suspense and builds up a very gloom and doom feeling for Michelle who is truly on her own against a family of crazed rednecks. Michelle is a likable killer.  While she fights back a tad, you really keep wanting her to fight as hard as she can to get away from the Sawyer family. Ryan in the issue is nothing more than a dead man walking as his date with the sledgehammer is near. Benny is trying his best to find the couple and get rid of the Sawyer family but is always a few steps behind. Tex and Little Girl make a good team of trying to capture Michelle, and Little Girl is just as nuts as the rest of the family. Mama is not given to much in the issue but now it’s clear her word is law. Leatherface is still the mean brute he is in the first two issuea and once more seems to get pleasure in bashing in Ryan’s face. The issue is a nice set up for the big blow out you know is coming up in issue four, the final issue in the mini series, and makes you wonder what changes will be made next. Art in comic and cover is done by Guy Burwell again and once more is good work with an improvement on the cover. So with this let’s get into issue four and see how the story ends. 

Leatherface 4

Leatherface # 4  **1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics  # 4 of 4

Tink is happy with Leatherface and takes him out to the barn to give him a giant chrome chainsaw, but the gift is cut short as Benny has found them and opens fire, killing Tink with a wave of bullets.  As the war outside is going on, Michelle escapes and kills Tex with a butcher knife leaving the cowboy a bloody mess. Benny enters the house and has a standoff with Mama, but she is quickly killed as he bashes her head in with his gun.  Leatherface is now in the action and chops off some of Benny’s fingers and causes him and Michelle to flee into the woods, but while by the pond Alfredo pops back up and attacks Michelle as Leatherface catches up and fights with Benny! Michelle wins her fight and drowns Alfredo in the dirty pond water as Benny is decapitated by Leatherface’s chainsaw and Michelle uses the head to bash Leatherfaces brains in! In the end Michelle is by the side of the road, deathly sick from the pond water that was covered in disease from the dead bodies in it as a sheriff’s car drives by containing Leatherface, the old man and Little Girl as they are just driving on to make home somewhere else in Texas.

This last issue is what I would call Faces of Death of the Sawyer Family as members of the family are shot, stabbed, drowned and bashed! Michelle in this issue has had enough and kills two of the family members and even beats Leatherface down with a human skull! The change in Michelle builds up in all four issues so as she snaps and kills her would be murders, you find yourself cheering for her to get them. Tink is wasted in the issue as for the most part the whole mini series as it’s clear he’s crazy but is also kind of the brains of the brothers. Tink’s death in the film is similar to the comic as in he is shot in both. Alfredo is out of his mind crazy and is a character I love seeing both in the comic and film get his.  His death in the comic is way different from that of the film as in this one he is drowned and in the film he takes a shotgun blast to his face. Tex is the suave brother and it comes across in the comic that while he will kill and do violent acts, he just doesn’t get into it as much as his brothers. His death is way different in the comic as he his stabbed and gutted by Michelle and in the film he is set on fire by Benny during an ax fight. Mama is just around in the comic and seems not as important as she does in the film.  Her death is also way different as in the film she is shot up by Benny and not getting her brain bashed in like the comic. Little Girl is pretty much the same nut job little kid, and her character is well done because it adds the uneasy feel to all the deaths that she sees before her. The Grandpa in the comic is some coot who just babbles and his over all a waste. Leatherface in this comic mini series is a pure blood and gore crazed bad ass who is after one thing and that’s to make his family proud! I truly do like the way he is written in this mini series, and I think adding what he is thinking is a thing of pure genies when it comes to horror comics like this based around an over all mute character. The art work and cover is once more done by Guy Burwell, and while I don’t like his style as well as I liked Kirk Jarvinen’s work in the first issue, I would say that over all the artwork for the whole series is well done and fitting for such a grim story. To round up this review I would say while it kept some of the core things from the film it’s based around, it adds enough change to make this comic series seem like a “Marvel What If” version and gives the reader a new ride on what could have been a bad paint by numbers comic adaptation. As Joe Bob Briggs would say over all “Three Stars. Check It Out.”

leatherface 3 art 1LEATHERFACE!Leatherface 3 art 2

So thanks for traveling the back roads of Texas with me and looking back at Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. I do have a quick story about this film that I will share with you. Growing up I collected horror films on VHS and I had a really good collection going.  This was before the days of online shopping, and I would spend a lot of time looking at places like Second Time Around, Half Price Books, Replay Media, West Coast Video and Blockbuster Video looking for more horror films to add to my collection.  One film I always wanted was “Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III,” and the only place I could find it was at the little video store K&L Video that me and my brother would rent from and I can remember harassing him forever about buying it, and the owner Kenny would always give me some super high quote like $50-$80. Years passed and when sadly K&L went out of business I was finally able to buy the VHS, but what should have been a happy day for my collecting ways turned out to be a sad one as I would lose a place that always felt like a second home. But the next update will be our first Halloween update and I will post it on October 31st and we will be taking a look at custom comics based on Hammer horror films that I will be reading at haunted places in and around the Dayton area! So make sure to come back for that spooky good time! Until then watch a horror film, play a horror game and always make sure to read a horror comic, and stay scary!

HAMMER HORROR comic logo

Marvel At The Movies Part 1

It’s summer time, so let’s go to the movies! Marvel Comics and movie adaptations went hand and hand in the 1980’s and many Hollywood blockbusters found themselves as comic miniseries, giving fans of both films and of comic books something to collect and re-read at any time, reliving the adventure. So with this update I decided to take a look at three films that got the Marvel treatment: Krull, The Last Starfighter and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension.  I chose these three to start with because I feel all of them have a very rich cult status, not to mention each could have easily been a full series after the movie tie was done.  Lastly I grew up watching all three films! While movie tie in comics are still made today they are fewer and far between as Marvel no longer focuses on them unless they own the character in the film outright. But with this update I will tell you a little about the film and my thoughts on it as well as break down each issue in the Marvel comic adaptations.  So with no further ado let’s get to what I am calling “Marvel At The Movies,” and we are reading this at the imaginary Marvel Theater.

Marvel at the movies

I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material.  I will give these comics a little slack on not keeping 100% to the film because they have only so many pages to contain it all in, but it will be only a little slack. I also want to thank Dark Star Comics and Half Price Books for having these issues in stock.

Krull 1Krull PosterKrull 3

Released in 1983, Krull is about a young prince and his new bride whose offspring will be the ruler of the galaxy and whose world is under attack by a monster called The Beast and his evil warriors known as The Slayers. When The Beast has the princess kidnapped, it’s up to the prince to save his bride and the world alongside a rag tag motley crew of warriors. I grew up watching this film and have always been a fan of fantasy films.  While this is not my favorite, it’s a good solid film with likeable characters and a sinister bad guy. I can remember renting this film on VHS from the public library and before that watching the film on HBO. As you long time readers know, I also was the cyclops Rell for Halloween one year and my brother went as The Beast, showing that the film did have an impact on my life. While I know a board game and an Atari 2600 game were made based on this film, I never played them. The film has gained a cult status and my friend Thomas “Maurice” Smith, founder of Beard Team Ohio, is a big fan. So with that let’s take a look at Marvel’s two issue film adaptation of the film.

Krull issue 1

Krull # 1  ***
Released in 1983   Cover Price .60   Marvel Comics   #1 of 2

The world of Krull is under attack as an evil monster known as The Beast and his warriors The Slayers are laying waste to all the kingdoms and turning the whole world into a bloodbath of pain and carnage, traveling around in their spaceship called The Black Fortress. Prince Colwyn and Princess Lyssa are getting married, and legend says that the two will be the ones to save Krull and that their child will grow up to rule the galaxy.  But the honeymoon is cut short when Slayers attack the castle, kill as many of the men inside they can and kidnap Lyssa who has also captured the loving eye of The Beast. Colwyn awakens to his friends and family dead and his wife missing as Ynyr The Old One comes to his side and speaks of a magical weapon that will be able to kill The Beast once and for all called the Glaive that is hidden in a mountain in running lava! After retrieving it, they start on a quest to find The Black Fortress and pick up characters like Ergo The Magnificent, a goofy magician and Torquil and his ten men all who are convicts that join to get their freedom. They find the blind prophet Emerald Seer and his young apprentice Titch who try and find the location of The Black Fortress but are stopped by the even more powerful magic of The Beast. The group set out for the swamp to get a better grip on the location, all the while a cyclops seems to be following them. Meanwhile Lyssa is trapped in The Beast’s fortress and is being primed to be his mate!

This first issue packs so much action, drama and adventure that it makes you want to turn the page and find out what is in store next for Colwyn, who is a likeable and nobel hero who wants his true love back safe and wants to save his world from the death that awaits it. The comic captures the fantasy of the film, and while the battle scenes are not as epic in the comic, when The Slayers attack it still is just as impactful as it was in the film. The Beast is a mean spirited monster who almost seems to get pure joy out of all the murder and death and gets glee from keeping Lyssa prisoner. Ergo acts as the comic relief in the comic just as he does in the film.  Look at him as a less over the top version of Orko from Masters of the Universe or Snarf of Thundercats as he trips and makes a fool of himself almost at every moment. Torquil and his men seem like second thoughts in this first issue and just seem like they are around for the ride. Ynyr is used like he should be, as the wise old man who wants to set everything right and pretty much is right on to his on screen counterpart. Over all this first issue is a well done movie adaptation with pretty good artwork and an amazing cover that uses the film’s poster. For fans of the film like myself, this is a good read and for those who have not seen the film, this comic could be used as a tool to get them to watch. The only flaw that I see is that the storyline is pretty epic and this makes for lots of dialogue moments to get the story out that could lose some younger readers. Let’s see if the fantasy magic holds up in issue 2. 

Krull issue 2

Krull # 2  ***
Released in 1983   Cover Price .60   Marvel Comics   #2 of 2

Colywn and his group are deep in the swamp as Slayers attack, and the cyclops comes to help.  After the fighting he joins the group on the quest, and they find out his name is Rell. Emerald Seer is killed, and his apperance is taken by a shapeshifter who in turn tries to kill Colywn but is stopped by Rell who found the old man’s body in the swamp water. Now the group is lost without a guide to show them where the Dark Fortress is.  Ynyr sacrifices himself to find the answer when he cross paths with the spider lady and her giant spider! Colywn and his men get the answer they need but lose a dear friend in Ynyr, but they continue to the Black Fortress.  Upon entering Colywn and his true love Lyssa are reunited and must use their love to defeat the evil power and grip of The Beast!

The second issue just like the first is a solid film to comic transfer and adds all the action and drama of the film to inked pages. Colywn is a likeable hero who you find yourself cheering for and in my opinion looks less geeky than he does on film.  He has just the right amount of badass in him to make his against the odds quest more believable. Lyssa in the comic and even somewhat in the film is your very helpless princess who adds the classic fairy tale feel to this epic adventure.  While she does very little to help bring down the evil, she’s who the whole quest is truly about. Ynyr The Old One is a great guide to the hero and is truly the comics’ Obi-Wan Kenobi, even dying like a hero like the Jedi Master before him.  In fact, this whole film has many connections to Star Wars! Rell is a nice side character who adds the brute power to the team much like Chewbacca. Torquil is a convict who still has a good heart and is noble like Han Solo. Ergo The Magnificent is like C3PO and is a goofy sidekick who even takes on a friend with Titch, who in the comic adds nothing to the plot. Even The Slayers are very much like Storm Troopers in their mindless attacks and the way they all look the same. The Beast is a kick ass bad guy who should have gotten more panel time and seems as if he truly could take over a planet with his army and magic, and yes he reminds me of a blend of Darth Vader and The Emperor. The Glaive is a silly weapon that mixes knives with a boomrang, but I do give it credit as it’s at least original and gets the death blow started on The Beast. The end battle should have been a little more over the top and had way more tense moments but even the film in my opinion lacked that. The comics’ art work is solid, but this time around the cover is a little lacking and could have been spiced up a bit. Over all this comic did a great job of bringing the big screen to the panel and does justice to the film by not cutting too much of its charm. Over all I would say this is a good comic film adaptation.

Laststar1laststar2laststar3

In 1984 a film hit theaters called The Last Starfighter about Alex Rogan, a young man with dreams to better himself through school or the military.  He works at a trailer park and spends his days with his girlfriend Maggie, fixing issues at the trailer park and playing an arcade game called The Last Starfighter. But his dreams come true when Centauri, an inventor from the galaxy comes to take him away after he gets the highest score in the game’s history and in his place on Earth an android named Beta who looks like him is left to work his everyday life. Alex is flung into a galactic war that leaves he and his alien co-pilot Grig as the last Starfighters and the only hope for mankind. As a kid I remember loving this film and wishing for toys, comics and video games to be made around it.  I did get the video game that came out on the NES, and I did get the comic thanks to Marvel’s 3 issue movie tie in run. But I never did get the action figures. I can remember watching this film on VHS and on cable while playing with Star Wars and G.I. Joe’s acting out my own intergalactic battles. So let’s see if the comic series can hold up to this fun 80’s sci-fi film.

Last Star Issue 1

The Last Starfighter # 1  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #1 of 3

Alex Rogan is a young man with big dreams who can’t seem to get his life in order and get out of the trailer park his mom runs. He has a job working maintenance for the trailers and even has a loving girlfriend Maggie, but his life just seems so boring.  His only real escape is playing a video game called The Last Starfighter in which he has gotten the highest score possible! Late one night Alex meets Centauri, the man who created the game who takes him away to the planet Rylos to join in a war that threatens all worlds and wants him to become a true to life starfighter. Back on Earth, an android named Beta has taken the appearance and life of Alex so that his loved ones would not worry about him. After listening to a meeting for new recruits, Alex decides he wants to go home even after meeting his reptile like co-pilot Grig, but everything stops when a hologram of the sinister Xur leader of the Ko-Dan Armada appears.

This first issue is a great way to introduce you to Alex and his family and girlfriend as they live their everyday lives in the trailer park. It also makes you really root for Alex as all he really wants to do is better his life with a good college education. While the issue leaves him almost spineless as he wants to leave instead help fight the good fight, you can see a true hero in the making. Even in the comic Centauri comes off like a good guy but also has that sleazy used car salesman charm. Maggie comes off as a loving and supportive girlfriend and is the nice counter piece for Alex to really care about. Other than that these are the only three characters to truly stand out, and I look forward to seeing more of Xur and Grig.  The comic follows the movie pretty well and holds onto the kid friendly sci-fi action and adventure appeal that made it a cult classic to this day. The art work is a little weak and in spots looks unfinished, while the cover is pretty good and eye catching for the time. I can’t wait to read issue two and get more into this adventure.

Last Star issue 2

The Last Starfighter # 2  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #2 of 3

Xur’s message is clear, and it’s that anyone who stands in his way of ruling the world is as good as dead.  Alex hears this warning and wants to go back home.  Disappointed, Centauri starts the journey to take him home. After Alex leaves Xdur and his Commander Kril unleash an attack on the starfighter base that kills them all.  While on Earth Centauri gives Alex a communicator if ever he changes his mind and wants to help fight the good fight. Alex returns home and gets the cold shoulder from Maggie and also finds Beta sleeping in his bed.  The two talk about what’s happened in Alex’s life on Earth while he was away.  When Beta is leaving an alien bounty hunter tries to kill Alex, and Centauri comes to the rescue but takes a shot in the process. Alex sees now that he must take a stand and returns with the wounded Centauri to Rylos where he not only sees his guide and now friend dying from his wound but also sees that the whole star fleet has been killed in an attack.  Grig has survived, and the two get aboard a starship to prepare for battle, and that’s just what they do as enemy fighters approach and Alex finds out that he truly is the last starfighter!

This second issue is filled with sneak attacks, death, assassination attempts and finding one’s inner strength. Alex, while still reluctant to be a hero, steps up when he sees that the whole universe needs him to be a hero and stop Xur and his goons from taking over.  While he still speaks of going home even, he knows he must do the right thing. Beta is a cool character who mimics Alex, and Centauri shows that while he might be a con man, he is a great friend and truly a believer in the cause to stop Xur once and for all.  In this issue it appears that he is dying from a gun shot that was meant for Alex. Grig is more fleshed out in this issue and acts not only as a partner but also as a coach as he boosts Alex’s ego and self worth. Xur is a spoiled brat and comes off not so much as an evil mastermind but more of a child who wants a new toy off the shelf when his mom told him no.  That said, he does have the means to take what he wants as he had his men blow up the starfighter base killing almost all of the world’s hope. I like the idea that hitmen are sent to kill Alex because he was at one starfighter meeting, showing that Xur is cold blooded and wants no one to oppose him. The issue’s art work, much like issue one, seems not done in spots and at times Alex looks laughable with the lack of human expression.The cover is pretty good and makes the issue look action packed.  I say this is a pretty good issue that kept me reading and even remembering the parts of the film so let’s get to issue 3!

Last Star Issue 3

The Last Starfighter # 3  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #3 of 3

Alex and Grig are at war in space while Beta is on a date with Maggie when he is attacked by another alien hit man who shoots the robot, and he now must tell Maggie that he is in fact a robot and that they must stop the alien from reporting back that the real Alex is alive.  They do so by crashing a truck into his spaceship. Meanwhile Alex and Grig are one ship against many, and Xur is overthrown by Commander Kril who now is in control and wants to destroy Alex and control the universe. Alex beats the odds and brings down the attacking army and becomes a hero to the whole galaxy.  He returns to Earth to visit his mom and brother and then takes Maggie to space with him so they can live happily ever after.  Oh yeah, Centauri is alive and proud of his friend!

This final issue is fully about the space battle that shows Alex as the hero we all know he can be. Alex is a great character who as the issues go on gains more and more self esteem and shapes up to be a hero much like Luke Skywalker of Star Wars and Prince Colwyn of Krull. Xur, who thinks he holds the power, is shown to be nothing more then a pawn for the war hungry aliens who put up with him until they felt like they had the upper hand. Xur is the perfect spoiled brat character who you’re happy to see betrayed. Grig is a good side character who acts as the character who helps push Alex to his potential though I wish in the comic they would have given him a little more panel time. Commander Kril for most of the 3 issue series is nothing more than a lapdog for Xur, but when he turns on his one time ruler he is also shown to be a madman. Maggie is a good girlfriend character who is loyal to her boyfriend even when he is acting odd. And last Centauri is a perfect wise old man character that is one part conman and one part nice guy. The comic series does a pretty damn good job at making the film come to ink and the only true downfall to the mini series is the fact that the art is below par and not as solid as most Marvel Comics at that time. While some things were changed slightly from film to comic, it still is a good film adaptation that only has its art as it’s negative marks.

Buckaroo 1Buckaroo posterBackaroo 3

In 1984 moviegoers were treated to a fun over the top Sci-Fi adventure film thanks to 20th Century Fox that told the tale of Buckaroo Banzai, a scientist and rock star who along with his band must try and stop an invasion of inter-dimensional alien beings from another planet lead by Lord John Whorfin who has taken over the body of a fellow scientist Dr. Lizardo. The film was a strange and fun film that I remember watching as a kid and even remember parodying the end credits with my brother. We mostly saw this film thanks to HBO and a beta tape that we recorded it on.  While I liked the film, I was never a super fan like friends of mine are like artist Eric Shonborn. The cast was a big plus for me as I was a fan of Peter Weller who plays Buckaroo, John Lithgow who played Lizardo/Whorfin, Christopher Lloyd who played Bigboote and even Jeff Goldblum who played New Jersey at the time. Sadly the film, while a cult classic today, never had toys or board games based around it, but did have a text based game for Adam Computer/DOS and only had this two issue film adaptation as far as comic books go for the longest time. So let’s see how this over the top film transfers to comic ink, shall we?

Backaroo issue 1

Buckaroo Banzai # 1  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #1 of 2

Buckaroo Banzai is performing surgery and rushes to a test site were he takes a super fast car and has it travel through a solid mountain and into the 8th Dimension.  This is a good and bad thing. While the experiment is a success, he also sees the inter-dimension and returns with a goo like substance attached to the car. Dr. Lizardo, who is possessed with the inter-dimensional sprit of Lord John Whorfin, escapes from the asylum when hearing about the test run and wants to open a portal to his world so that his people can take over Earth as we know it. That night Buckaroo Banzai along with his band The Hong Kong Calvalers (Rawhide,Reno,Perfect Tommy, New Jersey and Pinky) are playing at a club, and before they take the stage they find out that the goo is alive.  During the show Buckaroo meets Penny, a woman who captures his eye and his heart.  After she tries to kill herself Banzai befriends the young woman and she goes to the press conference set to speak about the goo and during this event The Black Lectroids, a good race from the 8th Dimension share knowledge about the Red Lectroids and Buckaroo finds that two of the evil are among the press at the event.

This comic has to cram in so much story that it comes off really slow, and while entertaining still lacks the real excitement that one would expect based on the adventures of Buckaroo. Banzai is a man of many talents who is trying to live life to its fullest and is a doctor, scientist, rock star and saver of the masses all rolled into one cool dude. Buckaroo is a prime example of Sci-Fi hero of the 80’s, and by that I mean that he is over done and has that nerd mixed with cool guy attitude.  The Hong Kong Calvalers are given very little to do in this first issue and are mostly used to fill in plot and to be background filler. Lord John Whorfin is bat shit crazy and is a perfect wild eyed bad guy, and the race he rules over The Red Lectroid’s are perfect war hungry, world conquering baddies. Penny kind of gets the short end of the stick as her back story is rushed and not as impactful as it should be. Over all while this is an entertaining comic, the rushed feel of it takes the magic away and makes what could have been a solid movie adaptation into an okay one. The cover is well done and one of the better ones done for this whole review.  The art work is also well done and has that classic early 80’s Marvel look.  So let’s jump into issue 2.

Backaroo issue 2

Buckaroo Banzai # 2  **
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #2 of 2

Buckaroo and his band chase the Red Lectroid’s out of the press conference, and they become the target of a battle the leaves them finding a Black Lectroid sent to Earth to help in the fight to save Earth. Along the way Penny finds out she had a twin sister that was once Banzai’s girlfriend and is kidnapped and put into a coma, and a member of the band is killed! This all leads up to a showdown with Lord John Whorfin that has them flying spaceships, leaving the Red Lectroids blown up, Banzai saving the world and his new girlfriend Penny with a kiss.

This second issue is where all the action is at, and while again rushed, this issue is an improvement over the first and delivers more of the story not just the action. Buckaroo in this issue is more of what one would say is a hero and goes around kicking butt and saving lives, Banzai is a good comic book ready character. Lord John Whorfin, while again a good crazy bad guy, just does not seem as much of a threat as he should be  He could have gone back to Sci-Fi bad guy school and learned a little from other villains. The Hong Kong Calvalers again are background guys, but do add to the over all feel of the story and are the perfect background soldiers all with their own personalities. Penny is a good love intrest and when they show she had a sister who she never knew who looked just like her, it makes more sense why Banzai fell so fast for her. The cover on this issue is a little lame.  While eye catching, it’s not nearly as cool as issue one’s, and the art is the same good solid work it was before and seeing the comic version of Peter Weller (Buckaroo Banzai) is pretty cool. I would say fans of the film might feel a little cheated by these two issues, but I am sure they would get some enjoyment out of them as well.

So now I would like to take this time to have a fantasy warfare between all the films’ bad guys.  So it will be Krull’s The Beast going up against Last Star Fighter’s Xur and Buckaroo Banzai’s Lord John Whorfin.  They will be doing battle in Yellow Springs Ohio on a Sunday afternoon. So let’s get ready to watch a rumble of 80’s baddies who all want to take over our world!

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It’s a sunny day in Yellow Springs, and the street musicians are in full swing as Tom’s Market and Dark Star Comics are packed with customers as is Dino’s Coffee Shop where would-be ruler Xur sits sipping his Carmel Pumpkin Latte and mumbling to all who will listen about being so close to ruling the Galaxy and almost killing the last starfighter, when he is interrupted by a voice proclaiming that nobody cares about his failures.  This voice belongs to Lord John Whorfin who is gulping down his Frozen Hot Chocolate. Xur takes offense and walks over and slaps Whorfin across his face and challenges him to a duel outside the Whorfin gladly accepts. The two go outside spewing hateful remarks to each other, and as they set the rules for the duel the ground starts to shake and crack as the Black Fortress appears in the middle of town next to Ha Ha Pizza and The Beast comes walking out as everyone looks on with horror the two feuding baddies get upset that this volcano headed monster stole their spotlight and decide that they will start a fight with him and show the people who are the ones they should fear. The Beast makes his way toward Ha Ha Pizza, after choosing to eat there over Sub Way across the street, as Xur and Whorfin quickly stand in front of the door and try to intimidate him.  This don’t work as quickly The Beast grabs the head of Xur and crushes it with his bare hands and makes ground beef of it as Whorfin lands a left hook to The Beast’s jaw that don’t phase the monster who then in turn uppercuts Whorfin so hard he flies through the air and lands in John Bryon Park and the impact snaps his neck like a twig. The people of the town cheer as The Beast is handed his large sausage pizza and walks back to the Black Fortress which disappears to end yet another day in Yellow Springs.

Winner – The Beast

Hands down, this would be an easy win for The Beast who would truly make short work of Xur and Whorfin combined, while the latter would at least put up a better fight. So after reading all three films comic adaptations, it’s time for me to pick the one I think should have gotten a full comic series from Marvel that would have moved past just the film and into its own epic adventure much like they did with Star Wars and Star Trek. While I truly think all three would have made amazing comic series and all three have so much more adventures to be had for the hero, I was really torn between Krull and The Last Starfighter.  After days of thinking about it, I have chosen Krull because like Conan, Red Sonja and Kull, the film opens itself to be made into one hell of a good action series and many more bad guys could be made to try and take over the kingdom.

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So while the clean up crews here at the Marvel Theater clear the floors of dropped popcorn and spilled soda and the last Screening of Buckaroo Banzai is letting out, I am going to stay seated for awhile, soak in all the epic comics I just read and give you readers the low down on what the next update will be all about: getting back on track and taking a look at IDW’s IT! Terror From Beyond Space.  So until then, read a comic, watch a movie/TV or play a video game and stay nerdy.

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