Marvel Horror Showcase – N’Kantu The Living Mummy

It’s almost October, and that means Halloween.  For this update, that is a countdown to that holiday, we will be talking a look at another of Marvel Comics’ horror characters that spooked readers in the 1970’s after the comic code ban of monsters was lifted. And this time around I choose to take a look at N’Kantu The Living Mummy, a character who started out in the series “Supernatural Thrillers” and would go onto guest in many other titles in the Marvel Universe. It’s funny as when I was a youngster I always thought that The Living Mummy was a big time Marvel Horror Character and had his own series and was on the same level as Dracula, Werewolf By Night, Man-Thing and Ghost Rider, but as I grew up, I learned this was not true and besides the handful of Supernatural Thrillers issues he was in, he mostly was a background player in books…and to be honest not very often at all. But I don’t care; to me The Living Mummy is a true icon of Marvel Horror and it will be a blast to take a look at him again as I have not read these comics in many years now and I am interested to see if his story arc holds up! So if you guys are ready, let’s travel to Egypt and see what horror N’Kantu has in store for us.

Let’s start this update off right by talking about N’Kantu himself and how he became the Living Mummy! Born in ancient times, N’Kantu was a prince of a Northern African tribe and after going through a test he proves that he is a warrior and that he can rule the tribe when his father passes away. Once her is the Chieftain of his tribe he return to his village after a hunting party to find that all his people have been taken as slaves by Egyptions and when going to get them back he himself is taken as a slave and forced to work harder then all the others as they really wanted to break N’Kantu’s spirit. And when N’Kantu and his people are taken to a pyramid to be executed a revolt happens to save their life, N’Kantu is captured and his punishment is that he is numbed and then is turned into a Mummy complete with draining his blood and placed in a sarcophagus…all this while he was alive! Centuries pass and with the numbing agent wearing off N’Kantu now known as The Living Mummy rises and goes on a rampage through Egypt, but over time his madness wears off and he finds himself going from eternal sleep and becoming a hero of sort. He has teamed with Fantastic Four member The Thing, he has been a member of teams like Legion Of Monsters, Frightful Four and The Howling Commandos and even was rejected by The Grandmaster in competing in the Contest Of Champions. And over the years he has made random appearance even been killed by Deadpool with a fire hose. Let’s hope that one day Marvel Comics gives N’Kantu The Living Mummy one more chance at his own series and brings back the Horror elements to him.

Steve Gerber and Rich Buckler created the Living Mummy for Marvel Comics Horror series called Supernatural Thrillers in 1973 for issue five and would make a total of ten appearances for the series and by issue seven of Supernatural Thrillers he took over as the series main star until the series cancelation. You see the 70’s was a big boom for Marvel Comics to create and showcase monster characters and they had vampires covered with Dracula, werewolves with Jack Russell, zombies with Simon Garth, swamp creature with Man-Thing and even more monsters in the pages of their comics as Horror Comics was big business at the time as the Comic Code was loosing its grip on the industry and they opened up what could be covered in comics. The character was well liked by readers and that’s why he took over the Supernatural Thrillers series and even later appeared alongside The Thing in an issue of Marvel Two In One. Sadly though over the years The Living Mummy has lost traction with readers and Marvel creative and was just used in appearances alongside other monster characters and is never taken as a threat nor even a main star in comics anymore. It’s a shame that Marvel Comics has turned its back on almost all their Marvel Horror characters as Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Man-Thing, The Golem, IT and so many more are just pushed back to bit parts in series or treated like outdated jokes who are easily beaten and are weak. I hope truly that Marvel one day wakes up and sees that readers like classic monsters and would love new scary issues of them.

Did you readers know that The Living Mummy has also had his fair share of other merchandise? Like did you know that he appeared in the 2017 video game “Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2” that you could play on PS4, Nintendo Switch and X-Box One? He also was featured as a sticker trading card in 1975 as apart of the Marvel Super Heroes Sticker Card Collection. As well was featured in the tabletop game called HeroClix as apart of the Amazing Spider-Man set. While he has not gotten the action figure or statue treatment yet, I am sure in time he may get those honors and who knows maybe he will rise again and even get his own comic series that will also spawn a show or movie…yeah I doubt it as well. Check out the merchandise below to see The Living Mummy in all his plastic, pixel and cardboard glory.

I have always liked The Living Mummy and I first discovered him thanks to the gone but never forgotten Bookie Parlor that was in Kettering, Ohio when I shopped there.  Hal, the owner, had all the issues of Supernatural Thrillers in stock and I would grab them all over time. I can remember reading them in my room late at night as well as have great memories of reading them while hiding in a club house that I had in my room, yeah I had a club house in my room when I was younger living in Waynesville. But let’s get to the review part of this Marvel Horror update, and I would like to think my friend Geoff Burkman for getting me better copies of this comic series many years back and I would like to remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s get ready to take a Supernatural Marvel Horror journey with The Living Mummy!

Supernatural Thrillers # 5  ***
Released in 1973    Cover Price .20      Marvel    # 5 of 15

In the desert of Egypt near a tank Avram and his girlfriend Davida are sitting talking about war and wishing it would end when they come face to face with The Living Mummy who attacks them and before he kills them the beauty of Divida causes him to walk away. A few days later in Cairo Doctor Skarab has uncovered the tale of N’Kantu a Prince turned slave who killed a Pharaoh and for this was turned into a Mummy and buried alive and allowed the evil Nephrus to rise to power, and he tells this tale to Janice and Ron. Doctor Skarab then tells them he thinks that he is related to Nephrus and that he wants to search the pyramids and find the Mummy of N’Kantu and see if the fluid used to embalm him really has kept him eternal and if his mind is still intact! The Living Mummy of N’Kantu has entered the city now and is on a rampage attacking people with a mission to find Nephrus and heads to the home of Doctor Skarab just as the Doctor and his friends leave to search the street for The Mummy as it’s rampage has been all over the news. Hours pass and when Doctor Skarab returns home The Living Mummy is out cold on the floor and when he wakes up he calls Doctor Skarab the name Nephrus and begs him to help make him human again, as the Doctor and his friends run from the room the Police show up and uses guns and tear gas on The Living Mummy enraging the creature that ends up pulling down an electric poll and by accident touches the wires and The Living Mummy electrifies himself and falls “dead” into the street. In the end Doctor Skarab asks the cops if he can take The Mummy’s body to study and make sure its dead and the cops agree for this to happen.

This was a great read that reminds me of a classic Universal Monsters film from the 40’s mixed with Hammer Horror from the 60’s! The plot has a cursed Mummy who was given eternal life over 3,000 years ago and buried alive as a punishment waking up in the 1970’s and is on a rampage in order to find a man he thinks can help end his pain and life. Doctor Skarab is a man who studies ancient Egyptian culture who thinks that he just might be the relative of an old Priest who made a fluid that have people eternal life as well as wants to find and kill The Living Mummy in order to protect Egypt! While he is a man of history as a reader I also get a very bad vibe from him as I think he is hiding something behind his tales of the past as well as his want to “help” his nation. Ron and Janice are two good young adults who are friends with Doctor Skarab and who are being dragged into his tales and also into the path of a rampaging Mummy. Janice seems to almost have a little compassion for The Mummy and even wants to try and warn him about the danger of electric wires. N’Kantu The Living Mummy was a strong young Prince who was forced into being a slave and then is buried alive after leading a revolt of slaves, and now as a Mummy he is unstable and confused and is attacking anyone in his way as he wants to find a cure for his ever lasting life. While he is a dangerous Mummy he does have a moment or two of reality setting in and it helps save a few human lives. The Living Mummy also can shrug off bullets as well as tear gas, but cannot withstand very high voltage. The Horror elements of this Marvel Horror issue is well done and while The Living Mummy goes on a rampage against mankind it’s not overly violent nor bloody and is a great issue to get young readers into Horror Comics. The story by Steve Gerber is well written and clearly was really inspired by classic Horror Movies. The cover for this issue is amazing and very eye-catching for fans of Horror Comics and the interior art by Rich Buckler is top notch and is so fitting for this style of classic Marvel tales. Lets see what the next issue has in store for us and I have to say that this issue was just as good as I remember it being.

Supernatural Thrillers # 7  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .25       Marvel      # 7 of 15

At the New York Museum late at night a crate is broken apart from the inside and out comes N’Kantu The Living Mummy who rampages through the museum until he escapes into the streets of New York. The Security Guard calls the police as well as his boss Dr. Carroll Harter who shows up with his guest Doctor Skarab who once more tells the story of the legend of The Living Mummy as well as his thoughts of being related to Priest Nephrus from Ancient Egypt, and that the fluid that runs through the body of The Living Mummy is what gives him his eternal life and helped build his strength. Meanwhile in the streets of New York The Living Mummy is wondering around and confused by the modern city and wonders how his homeland is doing and when he hears a female voice calling for help he decides to help in order to get a native to this city on his side. The Living Mummy heads to Central Park and saves a young woman from a gang of punks, but all of them run away in fear and its then that The Living Mummy unwraps his hands and notices that he is in fact a rotting walking corpse! The punks alert the Police who all show up in order to stop the Mummy’s “rampage” and after taking many bullets he escapes into an ally and disappears to the horror of the cops.

This second issue to feature The Living Mummy has his wondering the streets of New York and finding his mind as well as discovering that he is really a walking corpse with powers. The downside to this issue is that Marvel Comics and writer Steve Gerber decided to downplay the Horror elements and turn The Living Mummy into a confused superhero who just wants to help, understand and get back to his home. It’s odd cause by removing The Living Mummy being a monster changes the whole mood of the character and series. N’Kantu The Living Mummy in this issue finds himself in New York and has gained his mind back as he is unable to speak his enter dialogue is that of a hero and brave man, he also in this issues really starts to put the pieces together that he is a walking undead creature who is living because of what was done to him during his embalming. We also see that bullets don’t hurt him and it also appears that just maybe he has the ability to warp or blend into the background and he vanishes from the alley. Doctor Skarab is also in New York and is only around to once more tell the story of N’Kantu and this is annoying as it eats up many of the page count for this issue. Plus Dr. Carroll Harter as well feels like a waste and is just around to listen to said origin story. While I like the idea that The Living Mummy is gaining his mind back I do not 100% like the fact he is turning into another generic superhero from the 70’s Marvel as I mean they did this same thing to Jack Russell aka The Werewolf By Night. I do like the fact that The Living Mummy is wondering around New York as this means he could run into the likes of Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Doctor Strange or Luke Cage! The cover for this issue is great and very eye-catching and once more has a classic Horror Movie look to it the interior art this time is done by Val Mayerik and while its good he is not one of my favorite Marvel Comics artists of the 70’s as at times his style leaves out details of characters. Over all this was a fun read and one I enjoyed reading again after all these years, just not a fan of the change in mood for this series and character. Oh and this issue also has a classic reprint horror tale to add to the spooky nature of the series.

Supernatural Thrillers # 8  **
Released in 1974     Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 8 of 15

The Living Mummy is floating through a strange dimension as a beam of light has taken him from the ally of New York and has dropped him on an unknown world were he is attacked by monsters that rise from the dirt as well as wind and rain until he is knocked out and wakes up in a castle and meets The Elementals who consist of Hydron who controls water, Magnum that controls land, Hellfire that commands fire and Zephyr that controls the wind and they need the help of The Living Mummy in order to return to Earth to take over and rule and what they need him to do is get a gem that was used against them centuries ago that sent them to this world. They also promise that with the gem they can turn him back into a living man! The Living Mummy wants to so bad return to his life as the Prince N’Kantu and go back to his people, but he rejects the offer as its clear these powerful beings want to enslave the people of Earth and he can not stand by and allow this to happen and declines their order to help and they attack! The Living Mummy holds his own until his mind is affected by Zephyr and she sends him to Egypt to get the gem and return it to them. Back on Earth the Mummy has no control and starts his mission to get the gem, but is able to send a mental message to Doctor Skarab who alerts Janice and Ron that the Mummy is back in Egypt and they must go to him.

This third issue featuring The Living Mummy is a strange one and takes him into another dimension and world that is controlled by a group of would be godly rulers who want to use him in order to return to Earth and enslave mankind and take control, but of course our creature hero rejects this and tries to stop them, but in the end he falls under mind control and is forced to return to Egypt and get a gem that is the only thing that can stop them. In this issue The Living Mummy shows that while he might look like a monster he will never stand with people who want to rule and have slaves and will do what he can to try and stop them. And while he looses the battle he still puts up a massive fight and is quick witted enough to send a mental message to people he thinks can help him stop this madness even with his mind being wrapped by an enemies will. Doctor Skarab who is some how linked to The Living Mummy knows that the creature is back in Egypt and is going to go to him and it makes you really wonder is it to help him or destroy him! The Elementals are godlike beings who have been around for many centuries who want to take over the Earth and also have control of the elements like wind, fire, water and earth and have one weakness a gem stone that can send them packing their bags to another world in a strange dimension. They are pretty powerful but not really all that interesting when it comes to motive and appearance. The plot is ok and I do like the idea of The Living Mummy standing his ground as he does not want any one to become a slave, as he was once one and wants no one else to become one. The downside is much of the plot seems rushed and many big panels fill the story that is already short due to the issue having a classic reprint horror story. I also dislike the fact that New York has a zero payout and like most of Marvel’s horror and strange comics at the time deals with traveling dimensions…like we really don’t need this for this character and his story. The cover is pretty great and once more has a classic Horror Movie look to it and the interior art is good and done by Val Mayerik again. Over all this issue is a little weak but yet still a great read and a fun flashback to reading it all those years back.

Supernatural Thrillers # 9  **1/2
Released in 1974      Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 9 of 15

The Living Mummy is in Egypt with his mind filled with murder as he starts to choke the life out of a guard who was protecting the pyramid and after a few moments The Living Mummy breaks the mind hold of Zephyr and lets the guard live and now wants the gem not to give to them but to use to destroy The Elementals who are now super mad and decided that they will let The Mummy grab the gem and then kill him for it. Inside the pyramid the gem is in the hands of mutant The Living Pharaoh who is not happy to see The Living Mummy enter his research area and sends his guards to stop him and they try but fail, and as The Living Mummy gets closer Living Pharaoh uses a trapdoor to capture the Living Mummy and then fills it with water to try and kill the creature, it does not work as The Living Mummy lifts and breaks some stones and the water drains out. The Living Mummy now comes face to face with The Living Pharaoh and they start to fight over the fate of the gem and during the fight a hand grabs the gem and runs off as the two continue to battle. As the gem gets further away the power of The Living Pharaoh fade and breaks down as his powers are gone. The Living Mummy walks out into the desert to follow the footprints of the unknown person who stole the gem as high above on a plane Doctor Skarab with Ron and Janice are arriving back in Egypt.

The Living Mummy in this issue is able to break the mind control that was pushing him to find the gem and kill and also is able to do battle with the mutant The Living Pharaoh as well as an unknown thief has stolen the gem from them both and has rushed into the desert. The Living Mummy once more shows how strong he is not only in power but also in mind and spirit as he is able to break the hold a powerful being had on his mind and proves that once more while a monster he still tries to do good as he does not want to take a human life. He also shows that besides bullets not hurting him you cannot drown him either. Doctor Skarab who has a link with The Mummy does not play a factor in this issue as we only see him as he is about to land, to be honest The Elementals as well just are around and start the issue off being mad about the mind control not working and then just watch the events unfold. Seeing the X-Men villain The Living Pharaoh was a nice touch and while he tries his best to bring down The Living Mummy his powers are weak and he does not get the job done and in facts just breaks down in sorrow when he has no more powers to use. The real question that is on readers minds is who is the man who stole the powerful gem and then ran away into the desert, as who ever it was did not seem afraid to enter an area that had a Mutant and a Mummy fighting over it. The Horror Element slightly returns in this issue as we start with The Living Mummy chocking a man and also we see him shrug off attacks my man, great classic movie monster stuff. The cover is solid and eye-catching but does not fit fully for a Horror Comic and the interior art is once more done by Val Mayerik and is good. Another good issue in the series and helps had more power to The Living Mummy and shows that he is way stronger then us readers thought. Lets see what happens in the next issue and if we find out who this gem thief is!

Supernatural Thrillers # 10  **1/2
Released in 1974      Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 10 of 15

The Mummy is wandering the desert fallowing the tracks of the gem thief and remembers back to the time when his ill father sent him on a quest to kill a lion to prove that he could be the chief of the tribe and he did so and made his father proud. Meanwhile The Elementals are yelling at Zephyr about her failed mind control of The Mummy, and she decides to prove them wrong and use a bunch of her energy to return to Earth and try to get The Mummy under her control again. Meanwhile as The Living Mummy continues his search for the gem we find out that a man named ASP and his friend Old Dan are the ones who stole it and have a plane of selling it to Doctor Skarab and then stealing it back to him and continue the scheme of selling and stealing it on as many fools as they can trick. The Living Mummy hears a loud boom and watches as a tank is chasing and shooting at a female solider named Racha Meyer and once the tank runs out of shells they open fire on her with a machine gun, but luck is on her side when The Living Mummy stands in front of her and takes the bullets as she is able to throw a grenade and blow up the tank and killing her attackers. Racha thanks The Mummy for saving her life and while he does not understand the words he understands the respect and nods at her before walking off deeper into the desert.

This fifth tale of The Living Mummy has him tracking the stolen gem that holds a way to defeat his enemies as well as return him back to human and best for him he is able to get the respect of a human that sees that while he looks like a monster he is not a cold blooded undead creature. The Living Mummy in this issue has lots on his mind as he remembers the times with his father, the quest that proved his worth of leading his tribe as well as the thoughts of being human once more, and let us not forget that he shows that he understands danger when he saves the life of an out gunned female solider and helps her bring down her attackers. And the female Soldier known as Racha Meyer at first is scared of The Mummy, but soon learns to trust and respect him when he shows her that he is a protector and not the killer he appears to be. The Gem thief is a man named ASP and with him is a friend named Old Dan and they don’t do much besides share an idea to rip off as many people as they can with the gem. The Elementals are around and Zephyr goes to earth to right her wrong of not getting The Mummy under her control, I really wished that The Elementals would be phased out as they are kind of dragging the story and series down as their story arch is boring. The cover is pretty cool and has The Living Mummy taking fire from a tank and the interior art is done by Val Mayerik again and is good like before. Over all a good issue that shows The Living Mummy finally getting the respect of at least one human, so with that lets see if he finds ASP and gets the gem from him!

Supernatural Thrillers # 11  **1/2
Released in 1975      Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 11 of 15

ASP and Old Dan are now back in the city of Cairo when The Living Mummy finds them and busts into their home and before he can attack them and get the gem back he is set on fire and as he burns his two thieving targets makes a run for it. As the fire burns out The Living Mummy lies hurt in the streets, just as Zephyr returns to Earth and notices the state of the area as its filled with the poor and sleazy people and while moving deeper into the city she finds and heals The Living Mummy of his burned wounds. Meanwhile ASP and Old Dan have found Doctor Skarab and sell him the gem, and Doctor Skarab wants to find The Living Mummy and give him the gem to try to right the wrongs that his ancestor did to him those many centuries ago. As ASP and Old Dan return to their shelter they are greeted by The Living Mummy and Zephyr who demands that they give them the gem and once they find out its sold they threaten to kill Old Dan unless ASP gets it to them and the thief agrees to get it back and along with The Living Mummy they head to Doctor Skarab. Once inside The Living Mummy and Doctor Skarab talk and know that the gem is the only way to stop the world from being ruled by The Elementals and then as they are walking back to ASP’s home they inform him that Zephyr is also on the side of good but before they get to her they find that she and Old Dan are now the prisoners of the rest of The Elementals!

Ok the plot has truly thickened now as we learn now that The Living Mummy is not the only one working on trying to save the world as with the gem and the story he now has ASP, Doctor Skarab and even Zephyr on his side as they know that if The Elementals take control the world will be in a bad place as they will control it with egos and an iron fist! The Living Mummy is hurt very badly with fire as his bandages and decided dead skin is scorched, but like before his will is strong and he even fights back the pain to try and do the right thing and that’s to help the world even if so many of mankind fears and hates him. Doctor Skarab turns out to be a good person as he really wants to help The Living Mummy, as he knows the monster is not evil and that he feels that he owes him something for what his relative did to him in the past. ASP as well as Old Dan and thieves and conmen they as well seem to understand that now the stakes are super high if the gem falls into the wrong hands. The Elementals have all returned to Earth and want the gem in order to rule, all but Zephyr who now seems to understand that what they want to do is wrong, or maybe she has fallen in love with The Mummy only the next issue will answer that for us. The stakes finally feel big now as the fate of the world is on the line and crazy enough the path falls into the hands of a Mummy, a Doctor, a Thief and a Wind Goddess! But I also still want to stress I am not a fan of The Elementals and almost wish that The Living Pharaoh would have been the main bad guy as he is way more interesting of a character. Cover is great and has The Living Mummy on fire and the interior art is good and done by Val Mayerik. Over all another good issue that is truly starting to build The Living Mummy as a superhero, so let’s see what happens in the next issue.

Supernatural Thrillers # 12  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25       Marvel      # 12 of 15

The Elementals are mad and Hellfire tells them that if they do not hand over the gem now they will kill Old Dan and Zephyr and will attack them to get it! ASP has heard enough and wants to save his friend and leaps into action and beats up Hellfire as The Living Mummy also starts his attack, but our heroes are forced to retreat when ASP is being zapped by Hydron who is draining all the water from his body and the Cairo Police have showed up and is using gas in order to break up the fight. Janice and Ron has also showed up and gets The Living Mummy and Doctor Skarab to safety as they try and figure out how to use the gem. Meanwhile The Elementals make short work of the police and decide to rehydrate ASP as they plan on using him as a hostage to get the gem the want. The Elementals place a massive force field around Cairo and madness runs through the streets as people start turning on each other and many start to serve The Elementals in their quest for the gem. The Living Mummy and Ron hit the streets, as they need to get to the collage and find some old scrolls that might be able to tell them how to use the gem and watch as Hellstorm kills a massive amount of students with his fire powers burning them alive! Ron and The Living Mummy make it inside and grab some scrolls only to have them burnt up after a student uses a flame thrower on them, as the student runs away The Mummy is burnt as are the hands of Ron and the secrets of the scrolls are gone forever and as is possibly the hope to save mankind.

All Hell has broken loose now in Cairo cause The Elementals have arrived and not only killed most of the cities police department but has also surrounded it with a massive force field causing temperatures to rise and madness to run wild in the streets. And finally I feel that The Elementals are true dangers to mankind as they have zero issues with killing humans and now are starting to showcase their full powers. And its clear that Hellfire is the worst of them as he takes the lives of so many college kids by burning them alive! The Living Mummy does what he can but while he is strong and almost un-killable he is out powered by he enemy, but he has made new friends with Ron, Janice and Doctor Skarab all who stand with him in this battle. Doctor Skarab also this far has shown that he is not a nut job crazy man and is really just trying to do what he can to help as he has a link with The Mummy. The city of Cairo has also turned mad in a matter of minutes as madness is running wild in the streets and everyone is using weapons against each other, crazy it seems like almost everyone has guns! I do like that The Living Mummy saved the life of Ron when a crazy man opened fire on them, and its now clear that the two have a friendship. Plus again I like that this story with the cheesy The Elementals is finally getting interesting and the stakes finally feel big! And we have to also talk about the collage kid who for some reason has a massive flamethrower and blasts The Mummy and Ron with it burning the scrolls and then runs off into the streets like a madman, he is a true idiot as he has doomed the world with his fire attack. The cover for this issue is good but reminds me more of something you would see for a Doctor Strange comic and the interior art is good and done by Val Mayerik still. Over all a good issue that has stripped away the Horror and is clearly a full fledge superhero comics series now, lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Supernatural Thrillers # 13  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25       Marvel      # 13 of 15

Days have passed and Ron and The Living Mummy where out to get food to bring back to their hideout when they are attacked by a group of men who are following the orders of The Elementals to bring these rebels in so that this war and dome can end and their rule can begin. As some of the men start shooting The Mummy another gets ready to blast him with a flamethrower and Ron is forced to pick up a gun and fire, the shot hits the gas tank and the man explodes and Ron has taken his first life in order to save his undead friend. Once back at the hideout they watch TV and see all the madness that The Elementals are causing, they listen as governments and superhero teams like The Avengers are on call but not being used yet and when they show ASP, Old Dan and Zephyr being held captive with reports of their executions coming up Ron as heard enough and grabs a rife and declares that he is going to save their friends as waiting on the gem is not working! Ron and The Living Mummy go to the location that their friends are being held prisoners and watch as Hydron torments people of the city, and our heroes attack knocking around those who follow The Elementals and as Hydron tries to drain the water and fluid from The Living Mummy’s body Ron is able to shoot and wound the Water God making his loose his grip on the prisoners setting them free. Zephyr uses her wind powers to push away the mob that has attacked Ron and The Mummy just as Hydron wakes up and makes it rain so hard that a great flood is in the making! But Zephyr uses her wind powers to push back the rain and then carries our heroes away like a breeze. The heroes land at the hideout only to find that Janice, The Gem and Doctor Skarab are gone!

The war in the streets of Cairo have turned even more deadly as innocent lives are being taking not only by the followers of but The Elementals themselves! While Hellfire sets ablaze to those who stand against them the equally evil Hydron is using is powers of water to dehydrate and drown those who cross his path! This twisted wannabe god even uses his powers against an old farmer and his son looking for water to use on their crops, and he kills the son in front of his father’s eyes! Hydron can be injured and by the looks of it could be killed by a gun shot if it in a deadly place. Ron who takes a mans life at the start of this issue has been pushed too much and goes after the bad guys with force by the end using a gun to mow down those who wish to enslave. Zephyr shows that she is just as powerful as her fellow Elementals and uses her wind powers to make a fool of Hydron. She is a great ally for The Living Mummy in his fight to save the world. Old Dan, ASP, Janice and Doctor Skarab are around and do what they can, well all but Doctor Skarab who has the gem and has failed to figure out the secret of using it. The Living Mummy is a true hero at this point as he has risked his undead life to save others and it’s clear that he has now a true friendship with the humans that are fighting alongside him. And again the Horror elements are gone from this issue as its pure classic 70’s Marvel Superhero story telling, and besides the fact the lead hero is a Mummy the scares are just not happening. The cover is ok for this issue but has zero to do with out story and the interior art by Mayerik is good. Over all a good issue that furthers our war to save the world and a issue that flushed out a personality and character for Ron.

Supernatural Thrillers # 14  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 14 of 15

The Living Mummy stands in the empty room and remembers back to the day when he was the living N’Kantu and watched as his own tribe was taken as slaves and he himself tried to save them only to be our powered and taken as one as well. It’s then that ASP finds a note written by Doctor Skarab that alerts them that he is going to the lab with Janice in order to try to do an experiment on the gem and with that The Living Mummy and Zephyr head to the lab to bring the pair back as Ron, ASP and Old Dan are left behind to keep their hideout safe. In the lab nothing Doctor Skarab is doing is working on the gem and he lashes out and starts speaking that he just don’t care anymore about the gem and the war and is quickly put back on track by Janice who speaks of friendships and doing the right thing. Meanwhile Zephyr herself is speaking of wishing at times she did not take the side of mankind and if not for the fact she is drawn to The Living Mummy she might have went through with ruling the world with the others. Back at the lab the gem lights up and rushes Doctor Skarab with what power is needed and informs him that he is the key to using the gem and this causes him to pass out just as The Living Mummy and Zephyr get there. Meanwhile ASP, Old Dan and Ron decide to head to the lab as well to check on their friends and this was a bad idea as they are attacked by crazed men! Meanwhile at the lab more crazed men attack and very quickly Zephyr and Living Mummy make quick work of them. As Doctor Skarab, Janice, Zephyr and the Living Mummy leave the lab they are meet by The Elementals who want the gem and want to end this war once and for all!

This issue is bringing this story to an end as we now know that The Elementals are done playing games and just want to kill our heroes and get the gem and they each have a score to settle with The Living Mummy as well as Zephyr. And speaking of The Living Mummy and Zephyr its clear that they are starting to fall in love with each other and while she is starting to second guess turning good she has no full doubts due to her connection with The Mummy and wanting to turn him back to a human once more. And really it also seems that The Living Mummy is ready to end this war and wants to smash him some Elementals brains! Doctor Skarab finally has cracked the code of the gem and made himself useful and he better do so in the next issue cause the final fight is now! Poor Ron is all mixed up as his mind is a mess as he fells bad for killing a man, but also apart of him wants to kill more of The Elementals followers as he is sick and tired of these scumbags hunting them and killing innocent people. Janice is keeping it together for her love for Ron and her respect for Doctor Skarab as the three have been friends for so long. ASP and Old Dan are around and make the silly plan to go with Ron to get to the lab and we are left with a cliffhanger if the three win the fight or if they meet their end at the hands of the mob. And again this issue has no Horror elements and this time it seems like they add a little war comic into the superhero mix. The cover is good and showcases The Living Mummy on a rampage and the interior art by Mayerik is good like before and almost seems a little better then past issues. Over all this is a great issue to build up the final issue in this series and the end of the first Living Mummy story arch as well as his first and only series. So with that lets see how this ends and if the Living Mummy will get his flesh back and if he can save the world.

Supernatural Thrillers # 15  **1/2
Released in 1975      Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 15 of 15

The Elementals go on the attack and Hellfire uses his flames against our heroes as Doctor Skarab tries his best to clear his mind and use the gem but its hard as they are being beaten around by The Elementals powers! Finally Doctor Skarab is able to use the gem and the blast from it goes wild and causes the fire from the sky to fall on them and if not for The Living Mummy they would have burned alive, and with that Zephyr uses her wind powers and buys the heroes a little more time. As Doctor Skarab is about to use the gem again it’s stolen from him by Hydron and The Elementals think they have won, but things are about to get real bad for them as its now clear that the power is Doctor Skarab himself as he unleashes his powers on them and even takes the city of Cairo into another dimension. And with this new dimension Doctor Skarab brings Ron, Old Dan and ASP to them and The Living Mummy learns that they now all have the powers of The Elementals and as he and Zephyr hold them off the others join hands and with their powers send The Elementals flying into long forgotten places and the war is over as Cairo returns back to normal and the force field is gone. With the gem drained our heroes meet up for one last time as ASP, Old Dan and Zephyr leave The Living Mummy stays with Doctor Skarab, Ron and Janice and to no ones surprise ASP has stolen the gem to sell it.

The final issue has our group of heroes having to work together against the would be world rulers and the battles take place in our dimension and others with the heroes coming out on top thanks to the gem given them the same powers to make the battle field very even. The Elementals are very cocky and while the are super strong with powers that are deadly, but because they have such massive egos they are very open for defeat and they do get beat when they are matched with their own powers. And it feels so good watching them loose the war and be flung out into a new dimension with fear on their faces. ASP and Old Dan do what they can to fight for the worlds freedom but in the end ASP is shown to be a total scumbag as he steals the gem to try and sell to make quick money, you almost wish he would get his in the end. Zephyr who is an Elemental for some reason decides to go with the thieves and not stay with The Living Mummy who she throughout the series acted like she was building a bond with, very odd payout for her. Ron and Janice really don’t have a payout besides they survive the war and end up still together. Doctor Skarab turns out to be a hero and while he fumbles and falls ass backwards into using the gem that ends up saving the day, he is a hero of sorts and not because he knows how to use the powers he was given. While Doctor Skarab had a pay off it was a little weak and slightly silly that he himself was the power. The Living Mummy is really the hero as he just never stopped and took a beating and always did what he could to protect people as well as is the one who really figures out that the power of The Elementals is now something they can all use, and the poor guy also gets stuck being The Living Mummy and looses his chance of being human again and even his lady leaves him to go with a sleazy thief! While The Living Mummy is a create, a monster even but most important he is 100% a hero and knows right from wrong and wants to always protect the weak and innocent. The comic started off as a Horror Comic and as issues kept going the Horror elements faded and it became a normal superhero story complete with dimension traveling that was a big deal in comics from Marvel in the 70’s. While I liked the over all story I do wish they would have kept it as a Horror Comic series and not mudded the ink too much with making it a standard superhero fare. The cover for this issue is pretty eye catching and well done and this time around the interior art is done by Tom Sutton and is good stuff. Over all this comic series is just as I remember it and while The Living Mummy is not the most iconic of the Marvel Horror Monsters he is one that you should give a chance to and give it a read. Checkout the artwork below to see they styles used in this series.

But we are not done with The Living Mummy just yet as I would like to also cover his appearance in Marvel Two-In-One when he teamed up with The Thing from the Fantastic Four! So if you are ready, let’s take one more comic adventure with The Living Mummy!

Marvel Two-In-One # 95   **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60       Marvel     # 95 of 100

The Thing and his girlfriend Alicia Masters get a package in the mail that has an Egyptian helmet inside and it takes ahold of Alicia and makes her the Bride Of Nephrus and she gets powers and even attacks The Thing throwing him through the air when he tries to get her to take the helmet off. She disappears as The Thing tries his best to shake off the attack and then rushes to the Museum in order to get information on Nephrus and Egyptian history and meets the really rude Lillian Templeworth who informs him that a man named Gamal Hassan stole that helmet and choose Alicia to wear the hat because she is blind and an artist and needs her to find a gem that could bring the end of the world if he gets his hands on it! At the New York dock Alicia Masters summons a ship that appears and takes her to Egypt, while The Thing and Lillian as well start to make their way to Egypt. The Living Mummy is in the desert remembering back to his past and wondering how long his undead life will last and watches as Alicia and Gamal arrive in the desert at some ruins. The Thing and Lillian make it to Egypt and as they try to blend in and buy camels they are attacked by a group Gamal supporters who believe in his quest to bring Nephrus back and The Thing makes quick work of them. Meanwhile Alicia under the trance goes into the ruins in order to find the jewel as Gamal notices and tries to fend off The Living Mummy who has made his way to the site, but all goes wrong when the jewel is found and Gamal uses it and becomes Nephrus!! The newly brought back Nephrus goes on the attack and uses his magic on The Living Mummy and The Thing when he and Lillian show up at the ruins. As our heroes are being thrown around and beaten down Lillian quickly breaks the mind hold of Alicia and she uses the power of the helmet to attack Nephrus and allow The Thing to grab the jewel and without the jewel Gamal who is now the living Nephrus turns to dust ending the madman’s rampage and also ending the only hope of The Living Mummy returning back to human and find peace, the issue ends as The Thing, Alicia and Lillian watch as The Mummy walks off into the desert.

Marvel Two-In-One just like Marvel Team-Up are fantastic fun reads as they always have The Thing for Two-In-One and Spider-Man in Team-Up paring with another superhero to fight crime and bring down a super villain or two. This is a pretty fun team-up as it pairs The Living Mummy and The Thing having to team up against a great evil, but the downside is that they barely even acknowledge each other as they fight for their lives. The plot has The Thing having to travel to Egypt in order to save his girlfriend who has been brainwashed by a crazed man who wants to bring back a dead priest in order to get power and while in Egypt this also gets the attention of The Living Mummy who wants to get revenge on the returning Priest who turned him into the walking corpse. The Thing in this issue is very high strung as he is pissed that his ladylove got a gift that was an Egyptian Hat that was a curse and caused her to beat him up and travel to Egypt to find a jewel to bring back a dead Priest…so yeah I can see why he is so high strung! I enjoy Marvel Two-In-One comics as seeing The Thing of the Fantastic Four team with so many random heroes over the 100 plus issue run is very entertaining. Alicia Masters the poor blind artist girlfriend of The Thing in this issues goes from being a mind controlled pawn to find a jewel to a free woman who uses the power of her gifted cursed hat to bring down the issues main villain. And we should also say that Lillian Templeworth while a prude museum worker also helps big time bring down the villain as she is the one that breaks the mind control of Alicia as well as who pushes her to use the powers of the hat! The ego driven Gamal Hassan who was fired from the museum is oddly really into bringing the Priest Nephrus back to life and is willing to give his own life to brining him back by allowing him to live inside his body, but while Nephrus does return without the jewel around he crumbles to dust ending his rebirth as well as the life of Gamal. The Living Mummy in this issue is alone with no friends and is trying to find the relief of death and as always he is cheated from being cured or killed and barely even notices The Thing as while the pair get beat up together they do not work together in order to defeat the evil Nephrus. The cover for this issue is really cool and has The Thing and The Living Mummy being attacked by giant snakes and the interior art by Alan Kupperberg is great and captures the feeling of both The Thing and The Living Mummy. While I wish that The Mummy and The Thing teamed up more and that the two misunderstood monsters would have become friends its still a fun read that allowed fans one more chance to have an adventure with The Living Mummy before the modern comics era arrived and took the fun out of comics. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Alan used in this issue.

The Living Mummy is a fun Marvel Horror character that should be given more respect by them and they should make a mini series about him and go back to his Horror roots and deliver a spooky read featuring a Mummy! One thing that I should also say about The Living Mummy and his Supernatural Thrillers run is that every issue is filled with flashbacks of events that we have covered so many times and it almost seems like they did so as filler as it was before the Jim Shooter years as editor in chief who forced the rule of explaining the heroes origin in every issue. Silly I know but the reason they did it was because they looked at each issue could be the first issue a reader could have discovered and that way they would not be lost about how the superhero is the way he or she is. But while The Living Mummy will never get his time to shine in this modern Marvel world as they have moved past many of their lower tier Horror Characters and sadly they will forever be left in supporting roles in issues as well as be treated as jokes and punching bags for the likes of Deadpool, but he and all the others will forever get the respect here on Rotten Ink. For the next update we will be walking away from the world of Marvel Horror and will be stepping into the squared circle as I share my Top 60 Luchadors! So until next time read a Marvel Horror Comic or three, watch a Mummy film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Really I can not wait to share my list of favorite Luchadors with you friends and readers so will see you real soon for the countdown.

Ride The Demoncycle Straight To Hades!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my blog that covers all types of fun stuff in the world of comic books and beyond and as well things from my past, present and future.  On this quick update I want to talk a little about bicycles! That’s right, we all have so many great memories of bike riding around the neighborhood with friends in our youth or even maybe taking our bike on a trail and seeing nature all around us! And here at Rotten Ink, we are all going for a bike ride together…a bike ride from HELL as we take a look at The Demoncycle and his promo comic that tries to scare readers into bike safety! So grab your water bottle, put on your sweatband as I am ready to head out on a ride around the comic stores and want to share the chilling tell of The Demoncycle!!!

Growing up I had a bike that was blood red and had white handlebar grips with a silver sparkle seat. On the back reflector I placed a Michael Jackson sticker and on the wheels I had some cool reflectors that I got from cereal boxes. I can remember three of the reflectors I had on the wheels: one was Garfield, one was a robot and one was Tony The Tiger. My bike was super old and if I remember, my parents got it for me from a thrift store or possibly a garage sale and while super old, it was pretty cool looking. I can remember the training wheel days and then learning to ride on two wheels….and well I really stunk at riding a bike and crashed so much and so often that it lead to lots of frustration for me. And because of that frustration I never rode the bike around and missed out on all types of cool adventures as I grew up in a small town and it would have been a great time to ride around, but I missed out doing so all cause I sucked at bike riding. The older I got, the less I even wanted to ride a bike as driving a car was more my thing. My old bike was donated to one of my dad’s friend’s kids and I never have owned a bike since, and at this point being in my very early 40’s I doubt if I ever get one. Bikes are very cool and I wished that I would have rode mine way more often as they are a great way for people to get around. Sadly I do not have any pictures of my old bike, but I did find some pics of the reflectors so check them out, and no they are not the exact ones I owned but look just like them.

While in school at Waynesville we had so many safety classes that would have us learning about Stranger Danger, Say No To Drugs, Fire Safety, Bike Safety, Halloween Safety, Tornado Safety, 911 Use and even War Time Bomb Safety! And man some of these things was so much fun to watch as who doesn’t remember “Cartoon All Stars To The Rescue” an amazing animated special that brought together so many animated characters together to warn you about the dangers of drugs…and man it has stuck with me for all these years as who don’t want to be told to Say No To Drugs from the likes of Daffy Duck, The Smurfs, Muppet Babies, Alf, Garfield, Winnie The Pooh, Tigger, Bugs Bunny and Alvin And The Chipmunks to name a few! I can also remember Count Floyd and The Smoke Detectives teaching me what to do during a fire. Plus who can forget the go under your desk in case of a tornado, go single file into the hallway in case of a missile being dropped and cover our heads as well as watching episodes of Rescue 911 and being told that is what you need to do during an emergency. And of course there is the amazing Safety Pup that graced the milk cartons at lunch that gave us tips. And who can forget that promo safety comics that had heroes and comic characters like Spider-Man, Supergirl and Andy Capp teaching us a life lesson in what to do and what to avoid. In other words growing up in the 80’s and 90’s I was bombarded with safety lessons and I wonder if it’s the same today for kids in school?

Safety is very important and coming off the virus crisis of 2020 it’s super important to educate the youth of America of ways to stay safe. And speaking of being safe, that brings us to our review of this very cool promo comic that was released by “Highway Safety Division Of Virginia” as a way to try and save lives of kids by educating them on the right things to do while riding their bikes. I want to thank a seller on Etsy for having this comic in stock and making this update possible. And like always, I need to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if your ready and your blood don’t turn to cold from fright we have to take a wild ride with The Demoncycle!

Danny And The Demoncycle # 1  **1/2
Released in 1955     Cover Price FREE    Commercial Comics     # 1 of 1

Danny Skooter is a kid with a bad attitude and once he jumps on his bike he is a real terror to all those around him! While riding his bike recklessly one day, he ends up causing car wrecks as well as hurts an old man walking with a cane, and Danny doesn’t care as he just wants to be a daredevil biker rider! Well his carelessness ends up hurting him as he crashes into another bike and is thrown from it and gets a concussion and is take to the hospital, and when he wakes up he finds that his Doctor is really The Devil who gives him a new high speed bike that is also a demon! The Demoncycle makes it that Danny can not remove his feet from the peddles or his hands from the handlebars and the creatures takes off with the boy forced to take a joy ride from Hell. The Demoncycle takes Danny into many dangerous routes that includes the highway, closed roads, train tracks and bridges, all the while the Demoncycle is being wreckless and scaring Danny, and finally on the bridge the pair lose control and fall into the ice river below it. Danny once more wakes up in the hospital and the Demoncycle and The Devil Doctor were just a dream and Danny tells him parents that he learned his lesson and will follow all the rules of the road from now on, and grows up a biker rider who follows his dreams and the law.

Okay, let’s all just say it first The Demoncycle and The Devil Doctor are awesome and turn this safety promo comic almost into a Horror Comic! The plot of The Devil making a promise to an uncaring human who is selfish is true stuff of Silent Horror Cinema! The plot has a young kid who loves to ride his bike, but follows none of the rules of the road and ends up hurting others and himself and winds up in the hospital and has a nightmare about a demon possessed bike that leads him on a path to death…and of course once he wakes up he changes his life and wants to follow the rules from now on! Our youngster and rule breaker is Danny Skooter, a brat of a kid who cares nothing about others and for the most part don’t even care about his own wellbeing, but of course he has a change of heart when he has a terrible nightmare that scares him into a caring person. Danny is that kid that we all knew growing up who had everything handed to them and yet still treated everyone around them like they did not matter and somehow the world owed them. The Demoncycle is also cold and don’t care about the safety of Danny or other people and only cares about speed and being always on the go! I love the fact that when Danny is begging for it to stop the Demoncycle just keeps on going with no care of safety at all! The Devil Doctor is sneaking around the hospital and just looking to make some deals with the sick, injured and dying…somehow I could see this being used in an episode of the Twilight Zone, Outer Limits or even Tales From The Darkside! Plus The Devil has so much happiness as he watches the The Demoncycle ride off with young Danny on it and having no control on where it goes! The cover for this promo comic is amazing and very eye catching and I am sure had people thinking it was a Horror Comic, really this would be such an amazing old Horror Comic and who knows maybe one day if it’s possible Blood Scream Comics will make an issue or two based on it. I am not sure who did the interior art but it’s well done and very fitting for the time. Over all Danny And The Demoncycle is a well done safety promo comic that does have a good message as well as brings in horror elements that will please fans of classic style spooky stories of The Devil, check out the artwork below to see the style.

I hope that everyone reading this has learned two very important lessons that this comic tried so hard to teach us: don’t take a gift from The Devil and never, ever get on a Demoncycle as you will have no control of your fate…oh and I guess I should say the message is be safe while riding your bike. All joking aside, if you are a bike rider be safe while on the roads and for those in cars you as well be safe and watch out for bicyclist as they have rights on the road to. But all this safety talk is driving me crazy as I am starting to feel like Smokey The Bear or Safety Pup telling you my readers all about it so for my next update we are leaving safety behind as well will travel to the station SCTV and take a stroll around the set of Monster Chiller Horror Theatre and take a look at a Horror Host Icon that howls like a werewolf but is a vampire and I am talking about Count Floyd! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you in a few weeks as this is one Horror Host that I cannot wait to chat about.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comics: Blade The Iron Cross

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update series. For this one we got something very fun that I have been looking forward to covering on here since it was announced as I am a fan of the character, the film series he is from, a fan of the production company as well as all the comics that have been released around his universe…and this pint size terror is the main star for many of the fans of the films as he is very cool looking and is one badass dealer of death to good and bad people depending on who’s pulling his strings! And if you have not guessed it yet, I am talking about Blade from the Puppet Master film series created by Charles Band and his Full Moon Entertainment! And Full Moon Entertainment understands that comic books are an amazing way to promote films and even opened their own company to release them! So if you are ready, let’s head into the world of Puppet Master and chat about everyone’s favorite tiny knife handed killer Blade!

Let’s take a look first at Blade and his was of dealing death to foolish humans that cross his path or set as his target. Blade is 1’9” tall puppet that wears a black hat as well as a black trench coat and shoes. He has a white face with spiked bullet eyes and white hair. His left hand is a hook and his right hand is a razor sharp knife and all this above is part of his tool to set up the kill as it puts fear into the hearts of those who see him. Because of his small size, he is super fast and can use it to rush in for an attack as well as can use it to hide from those he wishes to get away from or be undetected. His hook and knife hands are booth sharp and he uses them to cut, stab and slash human flesh and are the main tools of his death dealing. He also has two tiny blades in his eyes that can cut and stab through human flesh. The soul that resides inside Blade is that of Dr. Hess, a surgeon who was forced by the Nazi’s to use his skills in order to try and create super soldiers, and when his kidnappers killed him, his soul was placed inside one of Andre Toulon’s puppets. Blade is also very much a pack hunter as while he kills on his own he is also kills alongside his fellow Puppets and when they kill together he is very much more dangerous. The fact that while Blade has a soul it for the most part don’t effect his personality as what really does is who controls him at the time, and because whomever is the Puppet Master at the time brings us to one of Blade’s weakness…the fact he can be controlled and told what to do as via all his movie appearances Blade has went from a good guy to a bad guy several times. Another weakness of his is that he needs a serum made of brains to survive as that is what makes his puppet body and gears come alive, but if he don’t have it he will become weak and at some point just stop moving and go into a freeze state. His small size, while a good for attacks and hiding, also can be a weakness as people can knock him around if they get their hands on him. Blade can be broken as well and stuff like gunshots, fires and dismemberment can stop him and cause him to have to be repaired…stopping his killing spree cold. While Blade is pint sized, he is super dangerous if you become one of his attended victims.

Now that we know just how deadly Blade is, I think we should take a few moments to talk about the film this one shot comic is based on! The film’s write up is coming from our friends at IMDB and then I will write about the film’s production and history as well as my thoughts of the film. So if you are ready, let’s talk about this film in Full Moon Entertainment’s Deadly 10 film releases.

Blade: The Iron Cross (2020)

“In 1945 a psychic war journalist gains a telekinetic link to a murderous puppet and uses its help to sabotage a top secret Nazi experiment that involves using a Death Ray to transform people into zombies.”

In 2019 Charles Band, the owner of Full Moon. made a major announcement that sent shockwaves through fans of independent horror films when he talked about the “Deadly 10” film releases and showcased the 10 films on the list. Fans were super excited when titles started to be announced as new titles like Grim Rapper, Hourglass, Shadowheart Curse and Weedjies peaked interests, but the sequels were what drew everyone in as we finally were getting new films in the worlds of Subspecies, Necropolis, Sorority Babes In The Slime Bowl-O-Rama, Head Of The Family, Femalien and of course Puppet Master with it being a solo Blade film! Full Moon teased fans with not only the titles but also posters of the titles as well with the bombshell that the only way to see them first was to subscribe to their streaming service called “Full Moon Features Streaming” and that they would be released over the next several years. The film went into the filming stages and as always Full Moon did a fantastic job of showing clips and on set images to build up the release of the film. They also released a comic book based on the film to promote it and many Horror Websites covered the film coming out and kept building the hype for the film. The film had John Lechago as the director who had directed many of the companies Killjoy sequels and had such actors and actresses as Tania Fox, Vincent Cusimano, Griffin Blazi, Angelica Briones and Roy Abramsohn in big roles and even indie film director and creator Dustin Ferguson as a production assistant, not to mention Richard Band doing the score music! And finally when the fright flick was released in 2020 it was met with mixed reviews with many fans enjoying it and even some critics enjoyed it! After a little time of it being on the streaming platform it was released on both DVD and Blu-Ray for collectors to own. The film was one of three of the Deadly 10 films released in 2020 with the other two being Necropolis: Legion and Weedjies, both who also got comics and will be covered her on Rotten Ink soon! Blade: The Iron Cross was one of the biggest releases for the Deadly 10 films and made its impact on the world of Puppet Master as that is a massive indie horror franchise and this film is apart of its legacy.

When Full Moon announced the Deadly 10 releases, I was super hyped as I have been a life long fan of the company and even a member of the old fan club, I joined it when I was a teenager! I was really the most excited by Subspecies V: Blood Rise as them bringing back Anders Hove as Radu and Denice Duff as Michelle with Ted Nicolaou back as director was something I was waiting for many years now, but a solo Blade movie was also on my radar as the Puppet Master series hands down is Full Moons most iconic movie series. As the film was in production I noticed many websites as well as Facebook groups I was apart of promoting it and then I noticed that even indie filmmaker Dustin Ferguson was on the crew showing that as always Full Moon was helping up and coming filmmakers get their name and experience in film. I of course bought the comic when released and waited for the film to be released on home media before watching it as I am a fan of physical media and theater and not so much of streaming a film as I feel the streaming aspects makes the movies seem disposable. Juliet and I choose to watch the film in January 2021 while eating a good meal from Ajanta a great Indian food restaurant. And the first thing we both noticed was the weird bigger size of Blade as he was way to large and his jaw was weird looking, but Blade looking weird aside the film was an alright watch that had some pretty cool kills and made me more of a mega fan of actress Tania Fox who has played the character Elisa Ivanov in two Puppet Master films, she is a great actress and very lovely. The over all acting of the film as well was good with a few bit part players being way to over the top and hammy, I also would say that the film needed more Blade as the first solo film in the Puppet Master series he sure did seem to take a back seat in much of the plot. But I would say that while the film was flawed it was over all a fun watch on a late cold night, Juliet thought the same as said it was “Ok”. Puppet Master is Full Moons main franchise and Charles Band knows it and this I think will be the start of many more solo films featuring the Puppets to come.

The Deadly 10 is a great concept from Charles Band and allowed Full Moon fans a look at films to come and had films for everyone, while Blade: The Iron Cross was not a mega hit with critics or fans it still is a film that fits into the legacy and story of the series. Now let’s take a look at the comic that was released along side the film a very cool promotional item that helped spark even more interest for the film. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for getting me a copy of this comic and would like to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what Blade has in store for the Nazi’s in this Horror Comic one-shot!

Blade: The Iron Cross # 1  **1/2
Released in 2019    Cover Price $3.99    Full Moon    # 1 of 1

The year is 1939 and Andre Toulon and his young apprentice Peter are about to go to bed, but they first welcome Blade to their puppet family. You see Blade is really German Dr. Hess a man who was working on a project that would bring dead soldiers back to life for the Nazis, you see while he had to work for them he was not loyal to them and was killed when he helped Toulon escape a camp. Once Toulon is asleep Blade gets up and runs out into the streets and towards his old lab and watches as two Nazis are talking about stealing the dairy and notes of Hess and sealing them to the Americans so that both sides can kill each other off! Once inside they find the notes just as Major Vogt enters and takes the notes from them as he wants the glory for turning them into the Reich. As the two soldiers grab more from the lab Blade ends their life by slitting ones throat and then rips another out with a hook! As Vogt and another Soldier enter they as well fall victim to Blades vengeance as he slashes the belly of the soldier, and then massacres Vogt by cutting his eyes and removing both his tongue and head! But Blade is not done and also kills the Nazi truck driver before returning back to his new home with Toulon and his fellow puppet brothers. But the solider with the belly slash is not dead and has the notes and escapes into the night.

What a fun comic based on Blade of the popular Puppet Master film series! The story has Blade trying his best to get rid of loose ends from his human life and he wants to stop the tests to try and bring the dead back to life as well as deal good old fashioned death to some Nazi scum. The issues main bad guy is Major Vogt who serves the Third Reich and wants to be the one who gets the glory of finding the notes of Dr. Hess so that the tests and project of re-animation can continue, he clearly was a man driven by ego and greed and that’s why he gets the most gruesome death in the issue! The Nazi soldiers as well are spineless worms who are looking out for themselves and would sell away secrets that will coast many of human lives for their own gains, and that’s why its nice to see them pay…well, all but one maggot that is able to get away. Andre Toulon and Peter are just trying to hide and get some sleep in a war stricken building, and deep inside I think Andre Toulon knew that Blade was going to go and massacre some fools that night as when the puppet returns its as if Toulon was waiting for him. Blade is on a mission in this comic as he heads to his lab, listens to plans, sizes up how many targets he has and then takes his shot and brings them all down super fast and super brutal. He is silent, tiny, deadly and focused and shows that while the puppets from Puppet Master can be pack killers they are just as deadly on their own. The comic is pretty violent and is filled with blood and gore as a head is removed, blood is pouring out of massive slash wounds and a tongue is ripped from a skull, great stuff for a Horror Comic like this! I should also note that this comic is opened and closed by The Gore Collector from the Bunker Of Blood series that was released by Full Moon that showcases clips from their most popular films. The story was written by Shawn Gabborin who is a great writer for Horror Comics is the man behind the stories for Action Lab comic series like Puppet Master and Black Betty to name a few and his story for Blade: The Iron Cross fits really great into the world of the films and shows that Shawn understands the Full Moon world he is writing in. The cover I have is very eye catching and has Blade standing on a mountain of skulls with the Charles Band Deadly Ten logo at the top, very cool! The interior art for the Blade segments is done by Yusup Idris and is fantastic stuff and he is super skilled in the world of Horror Comic art, I would love to see him tackle more comics based on spooky films. Over all Blade: The Iron Cross is a great comic book that is well written and fits like a glove in the cinema world created by Charles Band. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Idris and you will see just what I am talking about when I say I want to see him do other Horror Comics based on films.

I am glad that Charles Band has opened up Full Moon Comics and has the likes of Shawn Gabborin who was once the main man at Action Lab Comics on staff. As Full Moon has so many great characters that would make for great comics like Castle Freak, Killjoy and Tourist Trap all films that have never gotten the comic treatment. Blade is the most popular puppets in the Puppet Master series it was cool seeing him not only get a solo film but also a solo comic adventures and I hope more of these type of films and comics are released in the future as I am looking forward to a Jester ones if they every decide to do them. Well for our next update I will be turning over Rotten Ink to Juliet and she will be covering a Horror Hostess that she loves as she will give Stella Desire the Horror Host Icon treatment! So that should be a great update for Horror Host fans like myself and until next time read a Indie Horror Comic or three, watch a Full Moon film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a update with Stella and her show Saturday Night Deeeeaaaddddd.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Zombi 2

Happy Scary Halloween! For this year’s spooky holiday update I decided to do a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update based on one of my favorite Italian horror movies that was directed by one of Italy’s best directors, the godfather of splatter & gore, Lucio Fulci, and the comic series released by one of the world’s best Indie comic companies going, Eibon Press! I am sure that by now you guessed that I am talking about “Zombi 2.” This is one that is long over due and one that I have been looking forward to reading and reviewing here at Rotten Ink, and after a very terrible 2020, I figured why not make it this Halloween update as this is sure to make your holiday a little more spooky! So if you’re ready, let’s get on this boat the S.S. Eibon and set sail for the island of the dead. Along the way we have to watch out for sharks and the zombies of the ocean as they are both super hungry and super deadly. Oh, I do want to say that this update does have spoilers.

Let’s first break down the zombies of this film and their way of dealing with the living that are foolish enough to be in their paths. The zombies in Zombi 2 are undead reanimated bodies that range from freshly dead to the long dead and have a hunger for human flesh and guts that drive them to find their meal. In appearance, the zombies range from rotten flesh to bloody flesh and can use their looks to frighten and shock their human victims as, for example, they can be missing eyes and have open eye sockets complete with worms crawling out! The zombies will shuffle and stalk alone or in large groups and seem to also be smart in some of their attacks, not to mention that in a massive horde they could overtake and overwhelm a person or even a group of people. But I also do not want to downplay how dangerous they are on their own as one zombie could easily sneak up and take a bite out of you. These zombies can swim and walk under water. They do not need air and can take gunshots and massive hits to the body and still get back up to try to rip you apart. The zombies use their hands and teeth to rip away your flesh and do not slow down or get tired, making them super dangerous to the living; not to mention a bite from them can be toxic and lead to becoming one yourself. The zombies do have a few weaknesses though.  The main way to bring them down is head trauma and that means a gunshot to the brain or bashing the brain in with a heavy object. They can also be stopped with fire; if you set them ablaze, they will eventually fall and not get back up. Like all zombies, the ones in Zombi 2 are very hungry and very dangerous and the more of them there are, the more your days are numbered.

Now that we all understand that the zombies of Zombi 2 are flesh eating terrors that will not stop until they are ripping your guts out and scarfing them down, we should now take a look at the cult classic film that they are from and that really is one of my all time favorite films from Italy. As always, I will be taking the film’s plot from our friends at IMDB and after I will write briefly about the film’s production and then share about my thoughts on the film. So sit back and alert the crew that the boat can leave now.

Zombie (1979)

“A zombie is found aboard a boat off the New York coast which belongs to do a famous scientist. Peter West, a journalist, travels to the Antilles with Ann, the daughter of the scientist. On the way, they meet with with Brian, an ethnologist, and Susan. When they arrive at Matul Island, they find Dr. Menard, and discover a terrifying disease which is turning the islanders into horrifying zombies which devour human flesh and seem indestructible.”

In 1978, George Romero with Dario Argento released Dawn Of The Dead as Zombi in Italy, and the film was a mega hit. With that enter producer Fabrizio De Angelis, who wanted to make a “sequel” and tried to bring filmmaker Enzo G. Castellari on to direct but he turned it down. And then enter Lucio Fulci who was coming off two very good splatter horror films and was making a name for himself as an up and coming horror director. The screenwriter was Dardano Sacchetti, who called the script “Nightmare Island” and was very much inspired by the novel The Island Of Doctor Moreau and classic zombie films like Voodoo Island and I Walked With A Zombie.

Filming started in June 1979 in Latina, Italy with shots in New York City and Santo Domingo. Actors like Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Olga Karlatos and Al Cliver were hired on with Fabio Frizzi joining to score the zombie fright flick. During filming, the producers lied to the actors as no trailers were provided for them and it was a very demanding film to shoot, with even the classic shark vs. zombie scene being shot without Fulci even knowing about it!

When finished, the film was rushed to Italian Cinemas for release on August 25, 1979. It would hit English speaking markets in 1980 and was a major hit world wide and built a very big cult following. In fact, in England the film was labeled as a Video Nasty and was banned! Years after its released it found even more success on home video, DVD and Blu-Ray, becoming a must have film for horror collectors.

When the film was released in 1979, it was joined by such Horror Classics as Phantasm, The Amityville Horror, Alien, Tourist Trap, Savage Weekend, Capture Of Bigfoot and Salem’s Lot, to name a few. The film was followed by Zombi 3 (that was also partly directed by Fulci) and then the series here in America would have more sequel numbers slapped on VHS boxes that really were just other films from foreign markets like After Death, Killing Birds, Absurd and A Virgin Among The Living Dead, to name a few. If you have never seen Zombie and are a major fan of zombie films or even Italian horror, do yourself a major favor and give it a watch.

I first heard of Zombie thanks to the book Gore Score by Chas Balun, who peeked my interest when he kept talking how about a splinter going into a woman’s eye changed his life and gave it very high on the gore level. I would see more coverage of the film in the pages of old Fangoria Magazines, and seeing pictures of the worm-eyed zombie locked it in my mind that I had to see the film someday! For years I waited for the film to play on TV as well as looked for it at video rental stores my parents visited and could not find it, and this was so frustrating.

Years would pass, and as a teenager, I was finally able to find a copy of the film on VHS at Suncoast in the Dayton Mall and I was hyped to get home and watch it. While the quality of the film transfer was poor, after watching the film I became hooked as I loved so much about it. The gore was fantastic, the zombies looked creepy, the score was top notch, the atmosphere was spooky and the ladies were beautiful with Olga Karlatos who played Mrs. Menard being stunning. Plus seeing the splinter to the eye scene that haunted the nightmares of Balun was as gruesome as I imagined and truly grossed me out. The crazy thing is that this film is a sequel to a sequel that spawned more sequels…and in reality this film has zero to do with Dawn Of The Dead and was a cheap cash in that ended up being really good and can stand on its own and became a cult classic. Plus I am not going to lie, I really do also like Zombi 3 that was its follow up, but Dawn Of The Dead’s follow up Day Of The Dead is my favorite zombie film of all time.

Over the years I have often recommended this film to my friends who enjoy horror films if they have never seen it and enjoy Italian films. And of course over the years I have owned this film on VHS and DVD and it still remains in my top 10 best zombie films of all time list! I will say that at times some horror fans tend to make fun of this film due to a scene of a zombie fighting a shark and hands down that scene is awesome and sets it apart from all the other undead films that flooded the market at that time. Over all this is a great film and if any of you readers have not seen this film, make sure to check it out!

Like all cult horror movies, Fulci’s Zombie has had its fair share of cool merchandise for fans that include posters, t-shirts, buttons/pins, toys, comics, hats, books, CDs, magazines and of course the film on all types of home media. Over the years I have had my fair share of items based around Zombie like the classic Blackest Heart Media soundtrack on CD, the original Zombie graphic novel, and t-shirts with worm eyed zombie on it. I own a rubber figure of worm eyed zombie that was made by Rubber Monsters, and I have the enamel pin that my cousin Stephen got me. Plus of course I have the full set of comics from Eibon Press that in my opinion are must own comics for any horror comic reader.

I also want to take a moment to remind readers about Eibon Press, the masterminds behind the Fulci Comic universe that not only includes Zombie but also mini series based on The Beyond, Gates Of Hell and House By The Cemetery!

Eibon Press is an indie comic company that is for fans of horror comics and horror movies as. They do a fantastic job of bringing these films to pages and keeping true to the source but also adding their own touches and adding to the classic stories delivering ghoulish nightmare soaked pages. They also have comics based on other film series like 1980’s Maniac and Laserblast, plus original series like Bottomfeeder and Wasteland 1989 proving they can also deliver original frights to readers. Shawn Lewis, who is also the main man behind Rotten Cotton, is the brains behind Eibon Press, and hands down if you readers and friends have yet to check them out, make sure to do so as they are doing some really killer horror comics. Make sure to support indie comic companies as they are the ones who are truly allowing creative minds to express their ideas and bring stories to life. They are also the ones who are not taking the cookie cutter route of Marvel and DC and making comics based on fresh ideas as well as cult classic films that go beyond Star Wars and other Hollywood blockbusters. Long live Eibon Press as well as all the other micro and indie comic companies that are making comic reading fun again!

Before we move on, let’s also talk about just how crazy the world of Zombi is and how it has sparked a truckload of sequels and re-labeled films shoehorned into the series!

So we all know that Zombi is the title for George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn Of The Dead in Italy and that the Fulci film Zombi 2 called Zombie here in America is an unofficial sequel. But here is where things get crazy: the real Zombi 3 was directed by Fulci, and yet there is Zombie 3: Return Of The Zombies that is just the Paul Naschy film The Hanging Woman renamed and released in the U.S. on VHS.

The fourth film in the series, Zombie 4: After Death, is really just the film After Death that has the Zombie title slapped on it, and there is also Zombie 4: A Virgin Among The Living Dead, a VHS release here in America that is just a Jesus Franco film with the Zombie 4 prefix tacked to it! And the tacked on title of Zombie continued with the fifth film as Zombie 5: Killing Birds was an Italian film called just Killing Birds, and here in the U.S. on VHS we had Zombie 5: Revenge In The House Of Usher that is another Jesus Franco film. Now we are getting into the rest of the VHS releases here in America, all put out by T-Z Video with Zombie 6: Monster Hunter that is just the Joe D’Amato film Absurd!

Many other films have been tagged with the Zombie label such as Anthropophagus, Night Of The Seagulls, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Zombie Holocaust, Nightmare City, Pulgasari, Panic, Burial Ground, Zombie ’90 and The Dead Next Door, to name a few! So as you can see, this series is a mess and is filled with tons of false sequels to the original films, and to be honest, someone in the indie filmmaking world should take up the mantel from T-Z Video of making and releasing zombie films with the Zombie brand taped onto the covers. Below are the covers for the films that have Zombie tagged onto the film by T-Z Video.

So as you can see, these zombies are true flesh eating soulless killing machines and are in one of Italy’s best horror movies ever made, and thanks to Eibon Press, they also got this comic series! First I want to thank Shawn Lewis and everyone at Eibon Press for doing these comics as the world needs more spooky comics based films and they are delivering and have many more to come. I also want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s head to this island filled with the dead and see why the dead are rising.

Zombie # 1  ***
Released in 2016   Cover Price $10.00   Eibon Press   # 1 of 8

A voodoo ceremony is going down, and after a sacrifice, a zombie tribal priest type figure named Biacando comes alive! Doctor David Menard wakes up from a feverish dream of that event and then has to shoot a dead patient in the head that was bitten by his dead wife. This is when Menard knows that the dead have risen. We then cut to a boat in New York that appears to be unmanned. The harbor cop comes aboard, and they find that a fat bloated zombie is on the ship. He kills one cop and the other guns down the bloated zombie down who falls overboard into the cold water below. Reporter Peter West reports to work and gets an assignment to check out the pier near where the cop and the bloated zombie were killed. While at the hospital, the dead cop comes back and kills the two doctors, spreading the zombie infection. Near the edge of the water a homeless man is attacked by the bloated zombie, who is now also in New York! Meanwhile Peter West meets Ann Bowles, the daughter of the man who owned the abandoned boat, and together the sneak into the pier at night to see if they can get answers as her father has been missing for a while now while working on an exotic island and the police are being rude and no help. While on board Anne finds a letter from her father that tells of a disease, a native tribe and unknown things on the Island of Matul. Peter gets his bosses at the paper to allow him to travel with Anne to the island to break this scoop that could be the biggest story in the world. While in Jamaica, Anne and Peter hire vacationing couple Bryan Hull and Susan Barrett to take them to Matul as a man with a voodoo doll watches them sail off.

This first issue of Zombie brings elements of the Lucio Fulci film as well as original plots from the mind of writer Stephen Romano! The plot of the issue has zombies infecting the island of Matul as well as later New York and a journalist and a missing doctor’s daughter are traveling to get the answers they seek after reading a letter written by her dad and left on a boat that washed into NY’s harbor.

The new plot elements that break away from the film show the natives of Matul bringing on the curse of the undead, complete with a clearly powerful zombie named Biacando! They also add in the fact that Peter West had a brother that was murdered on his first day out as a cop by a drug pusher, and that they were close…I smell the dead brother returning from the grave in a future issue. They also show the classic bloated zombie coming out of the water and making his way into New York and also stress that he is in fact the one who starts the zombie invasion in America.

Peter West is a goofball who admits to himself he is bad at his job of being a reporter and if not for his uncle owing the paper, he would have been fired long ago. But while bad at it, he still has the heart and right frame of mind when he gets wind of this story that could be the biggest the world has ever read if all works out right.

Ann Bowles is a strong willed woman who is not taking crap from the cops and wants to find her father and figure out why his boat was being sailed by someone other then him, and she even will team with a reporter she doesn’t know in order to get what she seeks.

We are only introduced briefly to Doctor David Menard, who worked with Ann’s father on Matul and who is stressed out and worn down by the zombies, as well as Bryan and Susan, the married couple who are enjoying life off the island of Jamaica, as Bryan is a retired Green Beret and Susan is a journalist for a nature publication.

The zombies are flesh hungry and brutal in nature as they just don’t eat the living, they massacre them! It’s great seeing the bloated zombie come alive in comic pages, and plus I want to know more about Biacando, who I am sure is a major force in what’s spreading this disease, as with every zombie kill, it seems maybe his spirit is around.

The comic does not shy away from blood, guts, gore and nudity and each kill is done in a glorious splatter fashion, and fans of comics like The Dead (Arrow Comics) and the original Walking Dead (Aircel Comics) will surely be pleased in the gore department. The cover for this first issue is very eye catching and will surely please fans of the film as it showcases the film’s most popular zombie. The interior art work is top notch and is a team up of artists Michael Broom with additional art by Derek Rook, and these guys capture the gritty nature of indie horror comics as well as Italian horror movies really well. To sum up this first issue, I will say that it’s a very solid horror comic that is doing the film its based on justice thus far and the creators adding their own touch makes it feel fresh and new. Let’s see what issue two has in store for us via story and gore!

Zombie # 2  ***
Released in 2016    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 2 of 8

Doctor David Menard is once more having a dream about the tribe and the undead Biacando, who is doing more and more brutal sacrifices, and worse Doctor Menard finds that the hospital’s radio is no longer working and his wife Olga Menard is now upset. They get into an argument as she wants to leave and he wants to stay as he thinks he is close to finding a cure! And when things get too heated, Doctor Menard slaps Olga and she alerts him that she hates his guts! Later that night Olga is home alone taking a shower and unbeknownst to her, zombies are outside watching and looking for a way inside. They break in and force her eye onto a giant wood splinter and end her life. Meanwhile Peter, Ann, Bryan and Susan are on the boat heading toward Matul when Susan asks them to stop so that she can dive and get some underwater photos. Once in the water, a zombie attacks her and she only escapes from by using razor sharp coral that she scraps across its face. As Susan swims back to the boat and tells her story of a bloody man in the water which insights Bryan to be mad at Peter as he feels the reporter is not telling him the truth on what is going on in Matul. Meanwhile, the zombie ends up fighting with a shark! After Peter shares what he knows about the island and the rumor of the undead curse, they get on a rowboat and head toward Matul as Doctor David Menard watches them approach.

In this second issue our “heroes” are almost to the island, and while taking a break, they find a zombie under water. The threat of voodoo and the undead really starts to sink in, while Doctor David Menard decides that he will find a cure, even if it costs him his marriage and life.

The second issue once more is mostly based on the cult film from 1979, and once more the Eibon Press crew added their own touches to it that add a fresh layer to the comic and also adds more of a backstory to many of the characters! First, they show that David Menard was a man who really only has cared about experiments and even was a part of some in World War II. Olga Menard was shown to have been a lady of the night way before she married Menard and has looked at all these people who used and abused her as monsters. Lastly they hint that Susan was assaulted by her father when she was a youngster…adding many dirty secret layers to them.

Peter is one of those “hero” characters that have somewhat good intentions, but along the way he comes off as a snarky smartass. At one point when Bryan is upset that his wife was attacked by a man at the bottom of the Ocean and looks to Peter for answers as its on his request they are heading toward a cursed island that will only really benefit Peter (and somewhat Ann) as he will get a story that will make him famous. Ann kind of takes a backseat in this issue and is on the boat but keeps mostly to herself besides trying to keep Susan calm after seeing the zombie in the water. Bryan and Susan at first seem to be game to drop their paying guests at the island and start to second guess their decision when they notice that the legends of the island could be true.

Doctor David Menard is a man on a mission for answers, but sadly his want to find a cure is not fully in order to help mankind as its more to fulfill his ego to be the best. Poor Olga Menard; we hardly get to know her before she becomes dinner for zombies.

This issue again pulls no punches on the blood and guts and delivers the splinter to the eye death and its done pretty damn well! The cover is cool and eye catching and features another key zombies from the film, and the interior art is top notch and done by Michael Broom with others. So far this is very great series, and I cannot stress how cool it is that this adaptation has some new fresh elements added to the plot to deliver a familiar and yet new experience. Let’s see what issue three has in store for us!

Zombie # 3  ***
Released in 2017    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 3 of 8

Doctor David Menard has the island’s new guests in his jeep and is heading back to the hospital when he tells Ann about the death of her father that had him being taken into the tribe of Biacando and that he along with the hospital crew went into the tribe and shot all the undead including Biacando and returned her father to the hospital where he was infected and turned into a zombie and Menard himself pulled the trigger when he reanimated. The boat crew was sent to New York for supplies and had orders to dump infected bodies into the ocean, and Menard says they must have been infected before they arrived in America. Once back at the hospital nurse Stephanie runs out and alerts Menard that his friend Fritz is inside in bad shape. Menard gives his guests the keys to the jeep and asks them to check in on his wife and to wash up as he will come for them a little later as he rushes inside. Peter, Ann, Susan and Bryan take the jeep and head to his house, and they don’t think his story of voodoo adds up. Things get worse for them as they enter the house and find his wife being eaten by zombies that are now all over the place as they are hungry and they are on the menu! Bryan snaps and grabs a shovel and smashes zombie skulls, and the group makes it safely to the jeep as the voodoo drums once more fill the air. Unlucky for them, a little way down the road the jeeps engine just stops working and they know they have to get to the hospital for shelter as the zombies are coming. While at the hospital, Doctor David Menard has to shoot his injured friend who turns into a zombie and orders his two helpers Lucas and nurse Stephanie to lock all the doors and windows. Meanwhile Peter and the rest are making a run for the hospital and have to go through an old cemetery, and as they take a momentary breather, the ground beneath them starts to rumble. The long dead are also coming back to life, and one with worms in one of his eye sockets takes a bite out of Susan’s neck, killing her! Peter and Ann help the shocked and sad Bryan as more and more zombies are coming.

This third issue is super action packed as the plot has our heroes meeting the island doctor who gives them answers to some of their questions. They discover the half eaten and mutilated body of the doctor’s wife, battle their way through zombie and lose one of their own to the series’ top zombie in Worm Eye! And this all happens super fast.

We also get more of a look into Biacando whose voodoo that is causing all of this and who is the one who infected Ann’s dad with the infection that lead to his death and then re-death at the hands of his own friend.

It’s clear by this third issue that Doctor David Menard is a man on the edge as the stress and the horrors he has seen on this island are starting to really get to him, and being the kind of guy he is, giving up and running away is not an option. I mean it’s crazy as so far in the series, he has had to shoot two of his close friends in the head after they have returned as zombies, not to mention all the other villagers he has had to do this with and soon he will find out his wife as well has fallen victim to this infection!

Bryan and Susan are clearly second guessing themselves as they went to this cursed island only because strangers offered money and they had a intriguing story…but thus far all they have gotten is Bryan losing his mind and flashing back to his military days and Susan ends up dead with a bite hole in her neck! Peter and Ann have gotten answers about the death of her father as well as a little about the infection that is bringing the dead back to life, but they don’t fully trust what they have been told! Also it’s clear that they are now also starting to fall for each other and that they all must watch out for one another if they want to get off the island alive.

Poor Stephanie and Lucas are trying to help with the sickness and the dead at the hospital, but it’s clear they are scared out of their minds.

The main attraction of course is seeing the Worm Eyed Zombie do his thing and take a chunk out of Susan’s neck! Like before, this issue adds its own touches to the adaptation like showing Ann’s father was under the cursed charm of Biacando and Bryan going crazy with a shovel and bashing and smashing zombies at Menard’s home. The jeep’s engine fails, and they don’t crash into a tree like in the film. Those are just some of the small and big changes. The story is reaching the fever pitch of what is to come with the living against the dead in a showdown of survival, and this comic series is doing a great job of building the hype! The cover is eye catching and once more showcases a zombie from the film, and the interior art by Michael Broom and Derek Rook is top notch and is perfect for a horror comic based on a film. This issue also pours out the blood and guts on the pages and has some true splatter moments! So let’s see what issue four has in store for us.

Zombie # 4  ***
Released in 2017    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 4 of 8

Peter takes charge in the cemetery as Bryan is breaking down over the death of his wife Susan while zombies are surrounding them. Finally Peter is able to get them all to run and make it to the boarded up hospital. Inside Doctor David Menard is getting Stephanie and Lucas to get bottles and kerosene to make molotov cocktails, and then lets in Peter and the others who inform him that his wife is dead and that the hospital is being surrounded by zombies! Doctor David Menard informs Bryan to go to a closet to fetch guns to arm themselves, and then the Doctor wanders off and records his final message before being eaten by a zombie as he has embraced death. Poor Stephanie and Lucas also get attacked and eaten by zombies leaving Peter, Ann and Bryan to fend for themselves. The three hold their ground and use guns and the molotov cocktails on as many of the undead as they can, and once the hospital is burning down, they run out the back door and standing there is the zombie of Susan…who bites Bryan. Peter shoots her, and the three rush back to the boat and set sail to get back to New York. Meanwhile Doctor David Menard is now a zombie and gets the call from Biacando, who clearly had more plans for the dead. As Peter and Ann listen to the confessions of war from Bryan, he dies, and they store his body in the belly of the boat to use him as proof of their story. As the couple get close to New York, they hear on the boat’s radio that the zombies are now in New York and have started to slaughter and kill and that things are really bad. As they listen, zombie Bryan busts out of the door and charges for an attack as we end this issue with hordes of zombies entering the city.

The adaptation part of this comic series comes to an end with this issue, and it goes out with a massive bang and does a great job of building up the excitement of what is to come as it’s clear the zombies are many and mankind needs to take a stand to try and end this terror. And I have to say that writer Stephen Romano did a fantastic job of capturing the feel and spirit of the Fulci film as well as added his own touches that truly brought a new level of fright to the story. The stuff he added was well done as he fleshed out the characters of Peter West, Ann Bowles, Doctor David Menard, Olga Menard among others and this was wise as it made you understand the characters better and showcased some of their dark secrets.

I also like how he added the touch that maybe the zombies are not being brought back by voodoo or an infection as it could also be the fault of toxic waste that has been hidden on the island thanks to Doctor David Menard and his shady war crime past. That’s the thing, Doctor David Menard clearly did some terrible things during war and should have been jailed, but thanks to his knowledge and friends in dark places, he and his wife were spared paying for what he did…it’s also crazy as he is now a zombie, and I am sure he will be coming back into play later in the series. To me it seemed like when he got the news that his wife was dead and zombie food, he lost the will to live and was sick of running from his past.

Peter West is the story’s main hero as he fights through the fear and doubt and does what he can to keep Ann safe as well as watch after Bryan who is losing it due to the killing of his wife. Peter shows great growth as he starts off as a snarky reporter and by the end he turns into a reluctant hero.

Ann and Bryan are great backup characters, and I like that Bryan at the end is a zombie and could continue on in later issues. Biacando, the zombie witch doctor, is also still around as Dr. Menard as a zombie goes to him, and this is cool, as I cannot to see what Biacando is and why he is!

The end of New York being attacked by zombies is truly awesome as it’s a bloodbath of flesh and blood being spilled all over the place and shows just how easily a zombie apocalypse could be upon us all if one would to break out. With that said, the issue does not shy away from blood, guts, gore and some nudity delivering a truly classic horror comic feel. The cover is great and showcases another amazing zombie from the film, and I cannot praise the interior artwork of Michael Broom and Derek Rook enough as their style is so fitting for a comic like this. I have to say that the first four issues of Zombie is really great stuff and everyone at Eibon Press and the creators who have done this series should be proud of it, as it truly is a treat for horror comic readers! So with that, let’s see what issue five has in store for us and where this series goes beyond the movie’s plot as I am really hyped to read and find out!

Zombie # 5  ***
Released in 2017    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 5 of 8

The zombie of Doctor David Menard is now under the orders of zombie witch doctor Biacando who has chosen Menard to continue his experiments this time, on zombies…and has replaced his fingers with needles. Meanwhile in New York, the city is overrun with zombies. Peter has taken Ann on a date to a fancy restaurant. When zombies bust in, Peter guns them down and after clearing them out, the couple is confronted by Colonel Louis Fulci who at first thinks that Peter and Ann are looters but soon after killing more incoming zombies takes them along to their base. Meanwhile in a cemetery William West, who is Peter’s brother who was a cop and murdered while on duty, has returned from the grave and is mad when he flashes back to his funeral and the fact his brother did not cry for him. Now the zombie cop wants answers! Back at the base camp, Colonel Fulci informs them that he and his men are the only hope right now of keeping these zombies in New York, and Peter tells him about the Island as well as how they had stayed on the boat for months after killing their friend Bryan again once he turned into a zombie. He says that after running out of food they had to come to shore to get something to eat when he and his men found them. Colonel Fulci then alerts them that he has heard of Doctor David Menard and is looking for a toxic waste dump site that is said to be what is bring the dead back to life! Colonel Fulci’s campsite is a grindhouse movie theater and he takes his two new allies out and shows them the street that is filled with thousands of zombies. He and his men open fire on the zombies as well as blast them with flamethrowers, after many of the zombies are down for the final count, Ann informs him she might have an idea where the toxic dump is!

Months after the events of the film, the state of New York is in really bad shape as the zombies are all over and have killed most of the living. A group of Army soldiers lead by a tough as nails Colonel is our only hope, and Peter and Ann find themselves in another blood soaked adventure as they tag along for the ride with the soldiers.

Peter and Ann are clearly a couple now and just want to have a little bit of normalcy to their lives as they live on Bryan’s boat until they run out of food and only then adventure into the city only to find it a wasteland of death and destruction.

Colonel Fulci is a man on a mission to kill all the zombies they see and get to the bottom of this undead nightmare, though he clearly has a dark side as he has a very bad reputation that is known by Peter West. On a side note, I love the fact Colonel Fulci looks like director Lucio Fulci as it’s a great touch to let the true godfather of gore’s memory stay alive. I also look forward to seeing more of Colonel Fulci’s history unfold and if the world can really trust him.

The zombies are truly everywhere now and are looking for blood and guts as they want to show that this is their world now and that mankind is coming to an end. Biacando is using his voodoo to bring the zombies all together on the island as well is forcing the undead Doctor David Menard to do some experiments that I am sure will help make the zombies even more unstoppable. I also like that Doctor David Menard has embraced his undead nature and even removes his own fingers to replace with needles. Something tells me what ever they are up to on the island will be very bad for the world.

The use of 42nd Street in this issue is also really cool as the street back in the 70’s and 80’s was very much filled with many adult theaters and shops and was the place to see grindhouse films…so it’s great seeing it the way it was not the tourist stop it has become. The issue is filled with lots of blood and gore like before, and we even get cameos from The Worm Eyed Zombie as well as the Bloated Zombie and they are always welcome additions to see in issues.

Writer Stephen Romano did a great job making this feel like it belongs in the Zombie universe and ties it into the film really well by delivering classic characters in a new storyline as well as bring in new ones with a plot that has depth. The cover is fun and has Peter and Ann looking like they just stepped out of a James Bond movie poster, and the interior art is done by Pat Carbajal and is great as his style does a great job of capturing the likeness of the actors and characters. Over all this original story kick off in the Fulci Zombie universe is well done and feels like a true sequel to the film series. Let’s see what issue six has in store for not only us the readers but also the characters!

Zombie # 6  ***
Released in 2018    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 6 of 8

Doctor Menard is being followed by zombies as they enter a hut of a female villager and her son. It’s clear that Menard is not like the other zombies as he can talk and takes the life of the young boy and alerts the mom that the future is here! While back in New York the fires still burn as Colonel Fulci goes on the news and explains that it’s up to him and his men to save the world from the undead. As Ann and Peter argue over the tactics he is using to do so, Colonel Fulci shows up with a gun to the head of Peter as the Colonel alerts Ann to the fact that Peter is the one who got him thrown out of the military and his story lead to the death of many soldiers! Colonel Fulci then says that he is going to kill Peter as all he really needs is Ann to find the island of Dr. Menard! Meanwhile Dr. Menard has taken the woman from the hut and has her rigged up to machines and then shows her his grand plan of making the zombies more powerful with upgrades. He also speaks of time travel and the ways of the past with the ways of the future. Menard then shows that if he injects his blood into the zombies it makes the stronger, and their power comes from their eyes…he also shows that he has saved Worm Eyed Zombie and places one of the zombie’s worms into the eye of the mom and alerts her that he is the kid’s father and once they had an affair that lead to the child…but the mom fights off the infection, and this is interesting to Menard. The President Of The United States is then shown to be the one who sent Colonel Fulci into New York. He wants the zombie hordes taken care of fast as he is worried the press will figure out the he ordered the attack on the city by the rogue military that has left many civilians dead! As Colonel Fulci and his crew head to the island, they push Peter out of the helicopter into the middle of Central Park with a gun that only has six bullets, and unlucky for him, the park is packed with tons of zombies! Ann meanwhile has had enough and when the soldiers are ordered to torture her for information on the island, she snaps and kicks some ass, which even leads to Colonel Fulci being shot. She alerts him that her mom was a Marine and now she is in charge of this mission. In the end Peter watches as a escaped zoo gorilla rips apart zombies, and when the beast sets his sights on him, his undead zombie cop brother shows up and starts fighting the beast!

This series is getting more and more crazy as the lore of the Zombie universe gets more and more dark and weird!

The plot of this issue has Dr. Menard doing experiments on the dead to make them more powerful as he is preparing for war and wants to take down the world as we all know it! While Peter and Ann are stuck with a crazy man and his army that are secretly being given orders by the American President!

Dr. Menard has changed so much thus far in the series as he starts out as a man trying to crack the code of what is causing the dead to rise. By now he himself is a undead mad scientist who loves creating this new type of zombie and even as a man he took advantage of a young village girl and had a child with her! Speaking of that villager, her name is Jamilya and she was only 16 years old when he met her, and with the promise of teaching her medicine he seduced her, got her pregnant and now has turned their son into and zombie and wants to do the same to her, but she seems like a fighter!

Colonel Fulci is a sadistic madman who clearly doesn’t care about human lives and only cares about finishing his mission, plus it’s now clear he is the hired gun for the President! Ann and Peter are prisoners of Fulci, and when Peter is shown to have a past with Fulci that gives him a death sentence and Ann shows that she is sick of this all and proves she can take care of herself!

Plus the issue features Worm Eyed Zombie, Bloated Zombie and as well as zombies based on other cool zombie film characters! Now I have to say that I feel that the machine experiments are a little blah as I like the voodoo aspect of the curse more, but with that said, I cannot wait so see how it plays out and makes me wonder where this is going…and I guess I should also say it’s an interesting twist to add these wires and machines and takes it out of the classic style of zombie films and comics. One really cool aspect of the comic is that the President looks like one of my favorite horror actors Joe Spinell and the Gorilla is based after the look of King Kong from 1976! Oh I should also say that Peter’s undead cop brother fighting the gorilla is the Zombie vs. Shark moment for this comic series.

The cover for both the Eibon Sleeve and the issue are great and show case zombies as well as the Kong inspired Gorilla! And the interior art by Pat Carbajal is fantastic like before. I have to stress that thus far Eibon Presses Zombie series is a fantastic read and is the best comic series that features zombies I have ever read…and is way more entertaining then Image Comics Walking Dead Series and more bloody and creepy than it as well!

Zombie # 7  ***
Released in 2018   Cover Price $10.00   Eibon Press   # 7 of 8

Jamilya is fighting hard to not become a mindless zombie and watches as Dr. Menard and Biacando take the heart of her son and place it inside a weird humanoid that was born from her when she threw it up! She escapes her bindings and runs off into the jungle after taking out a few zombies and promising to return for her son. While back in New York, Peter and his undead cop brother William team up and with a bullet to its brain kill the rampaging gorilla. Peter is in shock as he watches his brother speak and the zombies around listen! While in Washington D.C. the President has a plan to use a nuke on New York to stop the zombies, and when questioned about his motives, he shoots and kills a general and continues with his attack plan. Back at the base, Ann has Fulci tied up and is torturing him with his own sword, as she has ordered some of his soldiers to go back to Central Park and rescue Peter and if her boyfriend is dead, she tells Fluci that his life will also come to a bloody end. When the Helicopter arrives Peter along with William are on board, but so is a horde of zombies that attack Fulci and his remaining men who become lunch! While Jamilya uses her own voodoo knowledge to try and beat the curse on herself and gears up for war against Biacando! Back at the base Ann along with Peter know that they have to return to the island and end this undead curse once and for all.They soon learn that Colonel Fulci and his men are now zombies and willing to be the army needed to fight against Biacando and burn Matul to the ground!

The war between the living and the undead is about to go off, and this issue is the build up to that war and sadly also to the final issue in this series!

Ann, Peter, William and the undead Colonel Fulci and his men are gearing up and ready to go to Matul and wipe out the evil voodoo curse that is plaguing the world. Ann is showing that she is one tough lady as she proves she has a killer instinct when she tortures Fulci and barks orders at his men that are listening to her orders!

Colonel Fulci, who is an S.O.B., is mean spirited all the way until the very end, and even when he gets his eye poked out and faced slashed up, he still trash talks! And oddly enough, once he is attacked by zombies and turned into one he seems to be more on track to team with Ann and Peter to head to the island and bring it all down. Peter and his zombie brother William are a team once more, and we learned that they moved to America after they defended themselves and left one person dead. Now William can speak to the dead and some zombies seem to follow his orders.

Jamilya..what can be said about her besides she is awesome and not only does she escape the zombie hell, but she also shakes off the infection with her will and own voodoo powers and is also on a one woman warpath to save her son and end these zombies’ reign of terror.

Dr. Menard and Biacando are showing they are pure evil and are mixing old voodoo with modern technology and medicine to create super zombies whose eyes are the key to their souls. And the President clearly doesn’t care about the lives of the people as he is willing to drop a nuke on New York to kill the zombies and save his own hide and bury his dirty little secrets.

This is a great read and I am cheering for Jamilya as she is a great original character created by the Eibon team, and I am sure will be joining with Ann and Peter in the fight against the evil zombies. The issue has a lot of blood and guts, and sadly the Gorilla meets his end with a bullet to his brain, and it’s a shame as it would have been awesome to seen the Gorilla turn into a zombie and go on a rampage in New York and end up being around the Empire State Building before being gunned down. That would have been amazing and played more into the King Kong connection. Writer Stephen Romano has really has killed it with this series so far and did the film adaptation portion justice and then has added new layers to the characters and lore. The super talented Pat Carbajal did the interior art again and he captures the savage nature of this story and his gore art his great. Well we only have one more issue in this series to go and it’s a shame as I wish it had more then 8 issues! So let’s see how this war of the dead and living ends.

Zombie # 8 ***
Released in 2018   Cover Price $10.00   Eibon Press   # 8 of 8

On the island of Matul, the zombies have all been treated and are ready to march into the ocean and start a war with the living, and Biacando is leading the way and even smacks down Dr. Menard when he gets too cocky about his blood being part of what is giving them the power. Jamilya meanwhile is in the jungle watching the rift in the ranks between the two zombie leaders and plans an attack with the goal to save her zombie son and return his heart. Ann and Peter are in a helicopter that is on its way to Matul to start a war, and Peter notices that Ann has changed, as she is now so cold and filled with the want for revenge. Back in Washington, the President has killed many of his aids and now is forcing the last two to help in his plan to blow up New York. When the helicopters get to the island, they find that over a thousand zombies are on the beach, and Colonel Fulci orders for fire to be fired into the horde, and he does so in waves taking down many of the zombies! Biacando is not having it as he uses the two zombie kids in order to get into the minds of all the zombies and causes the helicopters to crash and William West and Colonel Fulci to lead their undead army against the remaining island horde! William West was in bad shape after fighting the gorilla in New York, but after biting and tasting the blood of an island zombie he regains his missing limbs and leads them to victory. Meanwhile Peter and Ann find themselves in the jungle and being stalked by Biacando who in turn is being stalked by Jamilya! Biacando and Dr. Menard are at it again when Jamilya armed with a bazooka fires on the pair and then stabs Menard in the eye killing him once and for all! She then gives her own life of immortality to her son and turns him normal. Ann and Peter show up just in time to witness this act of love and this triggers Ann to give her life in order to stop Biacando once and for all. In the end Peter watches out for the son of Jamilya as The President goes ahead and nukes New York!

Wow, what an ending for one of the best comic series based on a film. I mean it –  the creators as Eibon Press nailed this one out of the ballpark as they not only captured the mood and spirit of the Fulci film but they also added a new level to the over all story and allowed us to see what happened to some of the characters we became attached to in the film!

The biggest change comes from Ann as she goes from being a worried daughter to a survivor and ends by being a hero who brings the terror of Biacando to an end…and even gives her life to end his madness.

Peter loses so much in this series as he loses his job and story because New York is blown up, his brother has returned from the grave and is now a zombie commando and worst of all, he lost his true love Ann! Peter also faces death many times and cheats it and by the end he ends up having to watch over a child who’s mother he watched be eaten by a zombie kid including the one he is watching over now! Peter is a character that you start off thinking is a scumbag and by the end you find yourself cheering for him as well as Ann as what started out for them as a missing persons case turns into a fight to save the world from evil voodoo and zombies.

I love that Jamilya is able to save her son’s soul and life, plus she gets her revenge on the terrible Dr. Menard, but I do wish she had survived, as I would have loved to see her character continue on in more zombie comics or even other releases from Eibon Press.

Dr. Menard in this series goes from a drunken doctor trying to dodge his past and doing what he can to make up for his sins, to being an undead right hand man to Biacando who has a god complex because his blood is what gives the zombies the extra power. Biacando is pure evil and shows his voodoo power is very strong and wants to be the only one in power of the army of the dead, and want to give to credit to Menard and his science. I also like that Biacando can use his powers to take over the body and souls of the living to keep his powers strong and to give his evil spirit a vessel to live in.

William West and Colonel Fulci are zombies who lead other zombies in war and in the end becomes supped up on the blood of Dr. Menard and have a mission to stay a team and make the world safe. The President is…well, crazy, and to be in charge he kills all his men and then still blows up New York thinking he is ending the war for everyone, and more importantly himself.

Now let’s talk about the over all series as it’s fantastic on almost every front as the writing and art are top notch and I cannot stress enough that it does the film its based on justice. The characters are likable and have growth and the ones you are suppose to despise you do as the baddies are truly evil and have no redeeming quality. The blood and gore is brutal as so many eyes are popped like grapes, guts are ripped out, blood is splattered and violence happens to men, women, animals and children. So in other words, gorehounds will love this!

The comic is fast paced, and the 8 issues fly by as the story draws you in, and that to me is a sign of a good comic mini series.

Now I have to point out some of the issues I have with the series and they are pretty few and far between as the only thing I wished for is that some characters got a little more panel time as sometimes with some characters like The President it would have been really cool to see why he is such a self centered ass. And my major complaint is this…I wanted more than 8 issues as they were just not enough as this could be an ongoing series and I for one would be game to get every issue! I mean imagine Peter being placed in the situation of Zombi 3, like what would he doing during the events of that film…and what if he would be mixed in with the survivors of that film in future issues of Zombie…just saying, Eibon GIVE US MORE ZOMBIE! The cover and the Eibon Sleeve are great and eye-catching, and the interior art by Pat Carbajal is great as always. To sum it all up, if you love the films of Lucio Fulci, love indie horror comics, love great art and story telling then do yourself a big favor and check out this series, hell, check out all the titles from Eibon Press! Check out some artwork below from this series.

Eibon Press is really one of the best Indie comic companies going as they really do make some of the best horror comics today, and they clearly care about what they make and it shows in every issue. Not to mention, they pack each Eibon Sleeve with some amazing extra goodies like stickers, trading cards, bookmarks, posters and even CDs that have soundtracks for the comic and or the film its based on, giving you more bang for your buck! But with that said, let’s leave the island of Matul behind and head into the world of myth as our next update will be about the titan Atlas and a Dark Horse Comics mini series based on an adventure on modern Earth. So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a Fulci film or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. Wait, if Atlas is in a comic book who’s holding up the sky?

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Night Of The Scarecrow (1995)

For this Halloween Countdown, update we will be taking a look at the 1995 direct to video horror movie Night Of The Scarecrow! Back in the 90’s video rental stores were still king of movie viewing with streaming services not even around yet, and it was an event to go to the video store and look at the shelves to find the right movie or movies to provide entertainment for the weekend. This was a major part of my late teen years, and during this time I was able to watch many great direct-to-video horror movies and Night Of The Scarecrow was one of them! So let’s take a look at this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update all about that film and its promo comic.

Before we dive too deeply into Night Of The Scarecrow, we should first talk about its killer, the sinister Warlock who has many ways to dispose of human lives! The Warlock Scarecrow is very sinister in appearance and also uses his creepy voice to startle and scare those he has targeted to be his victims making it very easy for him to attack. He also has supernatural powers that allow him to control some farming machines and parts of nature and can do so to help capture and kill anyone stupid enough to get in his way. He can also use illusions to lure people into his traps as well as morph from place to place making him very cunning and deadly. When those dark magic tricks fail, he also uses brute force to kill his enemies by bare hands or sharp weapons, as his main goal is to kill and cause terror on the path for revenge. He can also implant seeds into females and cause them to explode open with killer vines coming out of the wounds dealing out pain and death. He also draws powers from his old Warlock book that has all his spells. And let’s not forget, he can shoot straw needles from his hands that act like mini arrows dealing pain and possible death to those unfortunate enough to have them fired upon them. Normal weapons like guns, fire and knives have zero effect of The Scarecrow, and his only weakness is damaging his bones from his human corpse. So in other words, if you destroy the bones, you destroy the Warlock Scarecrow. With only one weakness and with supernatural powers and a rage-filled attitude for death and revenge, The Warlock Scarecrow is one killer that is hard to kill and is cruel in his ways of dealing death.

 

So with that you can see that The Scarecrow is very deadly and evil and is one supernatural killer you should not mess with. So now that we broke him down, let’s take a look at the film that spawned him. I would like to remind you that I will be taking the film’s plot from our pals at IMDB and then I will write about the film’s production and release as well as my first time seeing the movie.

Night Of The Scarecrow (1995)

“A group of drunk teenagers accidently set free the spirit of a warlock, which possesses a scarecrow. The scarecrow goes on a bloody rampage killing the descendents of the men who had killed the warlock a century before. A newcomer and the daughter of the mayor try to stop it before it is too late and the warlock can reincarnate.”

Night Of The Scarecrow was directed by Jeff Burr, who is known to horror fans for directing such films as Stepfather II, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Puppet Master 4-5 and Mil Mascaras Vs. The Aztec Mummy, to name a few. The film’s cast was made up of such names as Elizabeth Barondes, John Mese and Howard Swain as The Scarecrow. The film was released on home video by Republic Pictures on August 8, 1995 and was a very typical standard direct-to-video release and got some press from the likes of Fangoria Magazine. When released in 1995, this film had stiff competition to get Horror fans’ attention alongside films like Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight, Halloween: Curse Of Michael Myers, Castle Freak, Tales From The Hood, Leprechaun 3, Project Metalbeast, Vampire In Brooklyn, Mind Ripper, Sleepstalker, Burial Of The Rats, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and Jack-O, to name a few. Over the years, Night of the Scarecrow has built up a cult following and finally was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2013.

When Night Of The Scarecrow was released on VHS, I can remember going to the video rental store K&L Video with my brother Bryan and renting it during one of our weekends of binge watching horror flicks. The owner Kenny also had a poster for the on the wall, and it was awesome looking. It was one of my picks as the cover drew me in and I have always been a sucker for a good creature slasher film. And with the sodas and chips that we bought from Dot’s Market in hand, we popped the movie into the VCR, and I enjoyed the hell out of the film! I liked the look of the Scarecrow, and much of the film’s gore effects were well done making it a very solid direct to video horror shocker. I spent some time trying to get a copy of the film on VHS for my collection and finally got it thanks to a local second hand media store, and later I would get it on DVD when it was finally released. For some reason I have always been into horror movies that have killer Scarecrows in them, and I think that it started for me with the made-for-TV movie “Dark Night Of The Scarecrow” that was released in 1981 as something about that movie always captured my attention and imagination. Also back in my youth, my Grandma Brassfield use to make a stuffed Scarecrow for Halloween to place on her swing on the front porch that she called “Mokernose” and this also became the thing of ghost stories between my brother and cousins and I as we would tell each other “What If it came alive” tales. The directing style of Jeff Burr is also really well done, and he always can make smaller budget films appear bigger by hiding limitations and highlighting the aspects that work. Howard Swain is pretty dang good as the Scarecrow, and it was great seeing the likes of Martine Beswick, Duane Whitaker and Robert Harvey in roles. Over all, if you like 90’s direct-to-video horror films, killer scarecrows, slasher flicks and evil curses, then this is a film you should check out this Halloween season.

So as you can see, this killer Scarecrow is one evil spirit who enjoys taking lives and stealing souls! I really do think this film is underrated as it’s a great film from director Jeff Burr and one that you should check out if you like films about murderous scarecrows. And now it’s time to take a look at this promo comic made about this film. I want to thank an Ebay seller for having it in stock and making this update possible. And before we get to this spooky comic review, I want to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, lets head to the town of Clayton and see if we can spot and survive this night of the Scarecrow.

Night Of The Scarecrow # 1 **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $0.00   Republic Pictures   # 1 of 1

Clayton is a small farming town, and in this town is lifer Jed Faney whose father had told him something very bad before dying that has caused him to be drinking very heavily at the bar. Jed blows off his friend Todd and grabs a six-pack of beer and heads to the old cornfield and wants to drink with The Scarecrow who comes live and tells Jed that he has his father’s soul and now wants his! Jed runs away and drives off in his trunk as The Scarecrow follows threatening to steal his soul, and this causes Jed to wreck his truck and be killed during the wreck. As the town’s sheriff rushes to the scene of the wreck, The Scarecrow enters town and kills Todd and his drunk friends as this town has a curse that won’t end until the entire town is dead.

This promo comic does a pretty good job of getting your attention and building interest in the film as it gives you just enough to wonder why and how this killer Scarecrow has it out for the people of this small town. The plot is very simple with man who is told a secret by his father on his deathbed and decides to face the “legend” face only to become just another victim in the curse. The “hero” (if you can call him that) of this comic is Jed Faney who we first meet getting drunk in a bar and blowing off pulling pranks on high school students with his friend, only to drink and drive in his massive truck to a cornfield where he comes face to face with evil and wrecks his truck at a high speed and dies…that’s our hero. Now I get that Jed is told by his father that the whole town is on a one way path to dance with death and meet the Grim Reaper, it’s just that he really does nothing to try and warn people or even stop the killer Scarecrow…his plan of action is to drink heavily and drive drunk. The Scarecrow is pure evil and wants to collect the souls of those he kills and does not care who must die that cross his path as he just wants death and pain. The issue has some blood and deaths and does bring a slasher film style of horror to the reader, and for that the makers of this comic really did capture the mood and style of the film. The cover is great and is the poster that was used to promote the film at the video rental stores. The interior artwork is done by Leonard Kirk and is great stuff and has a real indie 90’s horror comic appeal. Over all if you like this film, direct-to-video horror movies in general or just love horror comics based on films, make sure to check this one out. Take a look at the artwork below to see Kirk’s style.

Night Of The Scarecrow from 1995 is a really entertaining film and also had a good comic book based around it. I want to thank my pal Nathan Steinke for alerting me to this comic book, as he and his brother Justin are like me and love to read and discover new horror comics as they are true comic book readers and fans. And now I am going to sound like a broken record as I take a moment to say this to filmmakers who are making horror films…why in the world are you guys not making comic books based on your films to help promote your fright flick? Really this is something that needs to come back full force from our past. Heck, movies like Giant Spider Invasion, The Willies, Sleepstalker, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Babysitter Massacre, Human vs. Zombies and so many more have comics, why not your film…think about it. Well the air is turning bone chilling as Halloween is coming up, so I think we will be next taking a look at a shot-on-video film series called SNIX that was created by James Rolfe! So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a horror movie or two and as always, support your local horror host! See you next time for the SNIX pack challenge.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: M (1931)

Greetings, everyone!  Juliet here once more taking the blog reigns from Matt temporarily.  Today I’m going to take you From Horror Film to Horror Comic with a look at a film that made a huge impact on me, both on its own and because of its influence on the larger world of filmmaking that came after it.  I’m talking about Fritz Lang’s M, a serial killer story that helped set the stage for so many of the movies we know and love and celebrate as classics today.  So let’s get to it with a look at the killer Hans Beckert.

When we first meet Hans Beckert, he appears as a shadow on the poster warning villagers of the child murderer in their midst.  Although his first line is seemingly innocent enough, telling Elsie he likes her ball and asking her name, it’s chilling — especially for those of us who grew up in the era of Stranger Danger.  Although we never see it in the film (one of the many awesome things about M is that the murders are up to the audience’s imagination), it’s implied that he stabs or butchers his victims, likely very brutally.  Among his advantages are Beckert’s ability to blend into society seemingly undetected until it’s too late, but being a mere man he’s subject to the same harm any man can fall victim to.  Beckert’s mental state is another weakness; it drives him to kill despite his realization that it’s wrong, which pushes him to near madness and helplessness.

Now that we’ve met the titular “M” from M, it’s time to look at the film itself.  The description will be taken from IMDB, and then I’ll follow with some production history and my own history with the film.

“In Berlin in the early 1930’s, children are being lured to their death by a psychopathic killer. In the space of a year, 8 children have been murdered. The police have redoubled their efforts to find the guilty man but have yet to find him and citizens are beginning to dispense their own justice on otherwise innocent people. The heads of the city’s criminal element are paying a high price due to the increased police presence and decide to find the psychopath on their own. They approach the beggars union to have their members blanket the city with spies. They’re successful in finding the killer and put him on trial in their own special court but the police make progress and have their own views on how justice should be administered.”

Dubbed the Master of Darkness by the British Film Institute, Austrian-born filmmaker Fritz Lang began writing some ideas for films when he was recovering from injuries and shell shock he sustained while serving in the Austrian army in WWI.  Once he was discharged from the army in 1918, Lang worked briefly as a writer before being hired as a director for Germany’s UFA.  The Expressionist movement was at its zenith, and Lang would quickly claim his place among its makers with his particular talent for combining the visual techniques of the movement with popular genre storytelling.  

In 1930, Lang announced that he was making a film called Mörder unter uns (Murderer Among Us), which was to be about a child murderer, but when he went to begin shooting, he was denied access to a shooting stage because the head of the studio, a Nazi himself, assumed based on the title alone that the film was meant to depict Nazis in a bad light.  However, when he found out what the film was actually about, Lang was given access to the stage. M would go through several other names before its simple title was adopted.  The film was shot in six weeks and featured real criminals as extras in many of the mob scenes.  

As with all of his films from this era, Lang co-wrote M with his then-wife Thea von Harbou.  As of part of his research for the film, Lang spent time in a German mental institution talking to serial killers including Peter Kürten, known as the Vampire of Düsseldorf, who many people thought was a direct inspiration for Peter Lorre’s character, Hans Beckert, though Lang denied that.

Prior to his casting in M, Lorre was a comedic actor, but it’s said that Lang had him in mind for the role of the killer in M while the film was still being scripted.  It began Lorre’s first starring role, though it also began a trend of the actor being type-casted as a villain that would follow him to Hollywood. 

M was also, and perhaps most notably, Fritz Lang’s first sound film.  Unlike other, sometimes disastrous first forays into sound, M’s soundtrack is complex featuring narration, off camera sound, and narrative silence to build suspense.  It’s much more in line with what modern audiences are accustomed to the the majority of the “talkies” of the era.  The sound element most people instantly remember from M, however, is the whistling.  Using the tune “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” Lang used an opera technique called leitmotif where a melody is associated with one character throughout the entire story. Fun fact: Peter Lorre couldn’t whistle so the whistling you hear in the film is Fritz Lang himself. 

Although M isn’t technically the first film to portray a serial killer (both The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Hitchcock’s The Lodger had already done so prior to M’s release in 1931), it’s considered by many to be the first official serial killer film in a lineage that includes Shadow of a Doubt, Psycho, and especially the boom of films in the late 80s and early 90s that includes Silence of the Lambs, Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer, and Manhunter.  It gets this distinction because of its exploration of the complicated psychology of serial killers (without straying too far into the sympathetic) AND the conditions of a society where serial killers can thrive, if only temporarily. M, along with Lang’s other German films, is also considered to be one of the films which helped pave the way for film noir, both in terms of storytelling and theme elements and in terms of visual style.  

I first saw M when I was in film school in the early 2000s.  Although I left that program and pursued another major after two years, one of the things for which I’m most grateful from that time was discovering the German Expressionist movement.  Although I was aware of a some of the films from the movement (Nosferatu being the most obvious choice) and I was already a fan of silent cinema, getting to really know the work that paved the way for some of my favorite historic and modern genres (horror, science fiction, and film noir) was amazing, Lang quickly emerged as my favorite director and the subject of several of my papers.  Although Metropolis remains my favorite of his films, M is just stunning.  It’s a long film (nearly two hours), but it’s filled with incredible angles and lightning that make you want to watch multiple times — for the story and for how the visuals help tell the story.  You really can see the technical throughline from M to some of Hitchcock’s more seminal work to film noir to the serial killer films of the 80s and 90s. It had actually been a while since I watched M all the way through, but upon rewatching it to prepare to write this blog, I found myself once more enchanted and excited by this film…and wanting to do a full Lang rewatch.

Before I dive into Fritz Lang’s entire film catalog, however, it’s time to dive into the 90s comic miniseries based on M. Thanks to Bell Book and Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these issues.  As usual, we grade these comics on a scale of 1 to 4 and look for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. So whistle an eerie tune, and let’s see how a tale of murder translate from the silver screen to the page.

M # 1  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $5.95   Arcane/Eclipse   #1 of 4

In a German town, children play and sing a playful yet cautionary song about a murderer who will chop you up if you’re not careful.  In a tenement, neighbors go about their days work.  One wishes the children wouldn’t sing “the murderer’s song,” while another says that as long as the children are singing, their parents know they’re safe.  While her mother sets the table for dinner, young Elsie plays outside with her ball and encounters a shadowy figure who compliments her on the pretty toy. Soon the town receives news of a new murder, and the police receive a letter from the murderer saying that he could be anyone among them.  The townspeople take this idea to heart as anyone perceived as behaving suspiciously is indicted by the mob.  Meanwhile the police are working through their official investigation, trying to figure out patterns among the clues to narrow the search and figure out who might fit the psychological profile of the killer.  The assumption, of course, is that the killer must be part of the town’s seedy underbelly. The denizens of said underbelly, however, are equally frustrated – the murderer on the loose is making it difficult for their usual criminal activity to go on undetected, and it’s scaring their children.  The crime lords discuss this while they await Schranker, who, upon his arrival, tells his colleagues that they have business to discuss. 

The first thing that struck me about this comic book adaptation of M is how of its era it is with art and layout styles feeling right at home with other dark/horror titles of the late 80s and early 90s, which would pave the way for companies like Vertigo a few years later. That said, I wish that the start of this book had richer coloring/shading.  Although beautiful, some of it felt too soft for a film that’s noted for its high key, pre-noir style lighting and use of shadows.  By and large this was a good, albeit abridged adaptation of the film’s opening in terms of the story itself, but as with the shading, it fell a little flat for me when it came to capturing the chilling intensity of Hans Beckert’s encounter with Elsie.  Perhaps it does go back to the shading, but the lack of real, substantive shadows for Beckert in those panels made that moment less effective. All told, however, the first issue of the adaptation makes me want to continue reading the series. The sparing use of color is something I’ll discuss in regards to one of the next issues as I want to see how it plays out further into the story.  Before we get to it, I want to note that this issue came with (or comes with if you’re lucky enough to get an intact copy) an tear out record featuring an original score composition to accompany the comic on the A side and “Hall of the Mountain King” on the B-side.

M # 2: Crackdown  ***
Released in 1990   Cover Price $4.95   Arcane/Eclipse   #2 of 4

Schranker calls the meeting of the crimelords to order saying that someone outside their union is making it impossible for their work of organized crime to continue.  As the criminal leaders of the community, they must do something about this interference. Meanwhile the police discuss how to enlist the public’s help in identifying a killer amongst them without inciting a mob.  Schranker and the crimelords make better progress with their plan, enlisting the beggars’ union to help keep watch on suspicious activities and individuals.  As they station a man on every street corner, the police go door to door investigating a list of individuals who’ve been released from mental hospitals in the last five years.  An officer arrives at the building of Hans Beckert, and after chatting with a neighbor, he searches Beckert’s Room for clues. Meanwhile Beckert himself is wandering the streets whistling, lost in his own torment. He focuses on a girl, presumably his next victim, but abandons that course of action when her friends arrive.  Instead, he stops in a small eatery for a coffee and brandy, but leaves just as quickly as visions of dead girls are everywhere he turns.  Beckert’s whistling tips off a blind beggar who had been vending balloons the day Elsie was killed, and a chain of actions is set into play resulting in a chalk M being placed on Beckert’s jacket to alert the criminal mob to give chase.  But Beckert’s would-be victim notices the chalk, and when she offers to clean it off, Beckert realizes he’s being watched.

One of the things that M the film does really well is that it uses crosscutting to juxtapose the crime lords and the police planning and beginning their respective investigations.  This issue of the comic portrays that really well with the tinting to clearly indicate each group being a nice visual touch. Like the first issue, however, there are also moments that fail to capture the magic of the film.  This time around it was the whistling scenes where Beckert is grappling with and being tormented by his need to kill. I get it – it’s hard to translate something that’s so sound-dependent into a strictly visual medium.  The other thing of note is Beckert doesn’t quite look like Peter Lorre; my guess is that was necessary/intentional because of likeness issues.  It’s not a huge problem as writer/artist Jon J Muth captures the feeling of the scene with the chalk M well, it’s just a bit of a disappointment as so much of what makes that and many other scenes in the film is Peter Lorre’s facial expressions and acting. I did really like the way the final scene of the issue was drawn.  The chase on top of the train is so iconic, both for its role in this film and for all of the imagery it begat in thrillers to come to, and I thought it translated well to the page.  

M # 3: The Hunting  ** 1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $4.95   Arcane/Eclipse   #3 of 4

Having lost Beckert during their chase in the train yard, the crime lords and their men are on the lookout and receive a tip that their suspect is hiding in the railroad’s office building.  Meanwhile the police have returned to Beckert’s apartment for a stakeout, having discovered several clues in their previous visit linking him to the killer’s letter.  Schranker and his men perform an elaborate scheme to gain entry to the railroad office building after it is closed and neutralize the building’s guards without triggering any of the automatic alarms that will alert the police.  They want Beckert for themselves and will go to great lengths to extract him from the building.  As the police read a letter meant for Beckert that casts doubt on him as the suspect, Schranker’s men seemingly have Beckert trapped, but one of the building’s night watchmen manages to trigger the alarm.  Schranker and his men only have mere minutes to flee the building with their prisoner.

Have I mentioned that M also has elements of a classic heist film?  Well it does, though the target of the heist is a murderer not jewels or riches.  This issue of the comic book focuses, by and large, on the “heist” section of the film, and while the pacing is pretty good, this is the first issue of this series where I wonder if someone who’s either never seen or isn’t super familiar with the film would understand everything going on at the beginning with Schranker’s men getting into and searching/breaking into various parts of the building.  The end of the issue, however, is super solid and the back and forth between the action and Beckert’s reactions as his pursuers get closer is really great. The action is coming to a head so let’s get to the conclusion of the film and comic. 

M # 4: The Trial  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $5.95   Arcane/Eclipse   #4 of 4

Franz is in police custody, one of the criminals left behind in the confusion at the railroad building.  The police are willing to let him go free as long as he provides them with information about who the criminals were looking for and where they’ve taken him.  The answer is that Beckert has been taken to an abandoned distillery building, which Schranker and his men are using as a kangaroo court.  As the trial gets underway, a near mad Beckert launches into an impassioned speech about how he didn’t ask for and can’t control his murderous urges but that all of the people trying him are criminals by choice.  The criminal acting as Beckert’s lawyer argues for mercy, but the mob is thirsty for justice and blood.  Before they can be satisfied, however, the police arrive and Beckert once more stands trial, this time in a legitimate courtroom, as the mothers of the murdered girls look on and lament not keeping a closer eye on their children.

In this conclusion to M, we see some larger deviation from the film in Beckert’s hallucinations of his victims.  Although this doesn’t appear in the film, it’s a nice addition given how much adaptation had to be done to Beckert’s monologue.  As for the monologue, I think it worked, but this was definitely the place where it was most noticeable that they weren’t using Peter Lorre’s likeness for Beckert.  Not only were his incredible facial expressions missing throughout, but in this issue Beckert looked almost like a young Johnny Depp, really placing us in the era in which the comic was made, not necessarily the film.  Overall, this series was a really solid adaptation of the classic film.  Did certain things get cut?  Of course.  Having just recently written a film adaptation for Sparkle Comics, I have a renewed appreciation for the choices that have to be made when translating a film to comic.  So I don’t begrudge Jon J Muth his choices.  I also don’t begrudge him the graphite artwork, which I didn’t love in the first issue but got used to by the end of the series.  It’s not the style I would choose for this story, but it was really lovely. See below for some examples.

 Although M the comic doesn’t quite do M the film justice, it’s still an interesting read and worth checking out for fans of the films, especially those who are also fans of late 80s/early 90s comics.  Speaking of the 80s and serial killers, for our next update, Matt will be exploring 80s talk show The Morton Downey Jr. Show with a special focus on the slashers episode.  So until then, read a comic or 3, revisit your favorite classic films, and stay safe.

Blah Blah True Blood Comics Blah

Greetings, Inkers! Juliet here, with a look at a show and one of its comics that combines several of my favorite things. Zombies have dominated horror-centric pop culture for the past decade, and while fans’ appetites were already primed for the arrival of the Walking Dead television show in 2010, the years prior to that were devoted to another undead creature: the vampire. The bloodsuckers had already enjoyed quite the pop culture run in the mid to late 1990s with the film versions of Interview With a Vampire and Queen of the Damned and TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, among fan favorites. But after Buffy ended in 2003 and spin-off show Angel in 2004, it seemed that the vampire’s time in the film and television limelight was done.  But several series of books were already waiting for readers and waiting to be adapted by Hollywood, and 2008 and 2009 brought viewers the first film in the Twilight saga, the Vampire Diaries TV show, and the focus of today’s update, True Blood.  So warm up a bottle of your favorite blood type, and get ready to travel to Bon Temps, Louisiana as we talk about the TV show and its prequel comic.

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In 2001, author Charlaine Harris began her Southern Vampire Mysteries series (also called The Sookie Stackhouse Novels) with the book Dead Until Dark.  The series, which would go on to have 12 novels total, was narrated by Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps who has telepathic abilities and falls in love with a vampire.  The series was set around the same time each book was published, but in this near-reality world, a synthetic blood beverage called Tru Blood made it possible for vampires to become part of mainstream society.  As the books progressed, werewolves, shapeshifters, faeries, and even a maenad also emerged, among other supernatural creatures.  

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The series had been optioned for television twice before 2005, when producer Alan Ball, fresh off Six Feet Under (another of my favorite HBO shows), was embarking on a new deal with HBO to develop new content. Having read the series thus far, the Southern Vampire Mysteries was his first project under the deal, and production on the television show True Blood began.  

Like the novels, True Blood takes place by and large, in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana and begins by focusing on telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, played Anna Paquin, who falls in love with vampire Bill Compton in a world where vampires are “out of the coffin,” and many other supernatural beings emerge.  That’s the simplest possible description I can give for the kickoff of a show that gets very complicated very quickly and stretches for seven (HBO-length) seasons.  As in the books, we meet werewolves, shapeshifters, faeries, a vampire hating mega-church-esque cult, witches, and yes, a maenad. The show is, however, a loose adaptation of the books with some big changes at the start and, like many books turned shows, True Blood’s plot definitely veers completely away from the plot of the book series at a certain point. 

In contrast to its teenage contemporary Twilight, True Blood is overtly sexy and puts sexuality in all of its forms at the forefront.  (Funny enough though, just as Twilight had Team Edward and Team Jacob, True Blood had Team Bill, Team Eric, and eventually Team Alcide.) Some people have chosen to interpret the vampires’ struggle for equality throughout the show as an allegory for the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights, though Alan Ball, who is gay himself, disputes that interpretation as being reductive.

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When True Blood premiered in 2008, a service like HBO Go was merely a dream for fans like myself who had been hooked by the premium network’s still relatively new slate of dramas that came to prominence with The Sopranos and the aforementioned Six Feet Under. So that meant that viewers either had to have both cable and HBO to watch a show or wait for each season to come out on DVD. And so it was on DVD that I first saw True Blood.  Admittedly, I was a little uncertain about whether I was even interested; as a lifelong Anne Rice fan, I wasn’t sure anyone could do a Louisiana vampire story to my satisfaction other than her.  It took a combination of Matt buying me the first season on DVD as a gift, and the endorsement of several of my fellow Six Feet Under devotee friends for me to take the plunge.  And of course, it was love at first bite.

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I was initially drawn in by the fictional world of Bon Temps, along with the idea of vampires and the world adjusting to each other.  But what kept me coming back season after season was in Shreveport: Eric Northman, Pamela Swynford De Beaufort, and their vampire bar Fangtasia.  I was honestly more invested in them than the main Sookie Stackhouse story, especially after the reveal about Sookie’s origin, which remains for me one of the weakest plot points in the show, and to that end, I should clarify that I was not at all interested in (translation = pretty adamantly against) Eric and Sookie’s romantic storyline.  While at first I loved the slightly kitschy atmosphere of Fangtasia and Pam and Eric’s delightfully snarky banter, it was their unique relationship as century long companions that kept me watching until the very end. 

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Eric and Pam are also the reason I chose not to read the Southern Vampire Mystery books.  After watching the few seasons of True Blood, I strongly considered reading the books, but in doing a little research and finding out that their characters and storylines, among others I enjoyed, were very different than those portrayed on the show, I decided, to stick with the TV versions.  I typically don’t have this luxury as I usually end up watching shows based on books I already love and sometimes being disappointed at the translation.  Funny enough, as I was working on this update, AMC announced that they had acquired the TV rights to both the Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches properties.  So I’ll end up having the book to TV experience with a different set of vampires at some point.  

But back to Eric and Pam, or more specifically, back to Pam.  I mentioned before that there became different camps of viewers, and while I suppose I could be Team Eric, I am most definitely Team Pam.  When I start watching a show I really enjoy, there’s usually one character that from their first appearance I can instantly claim as my favorite, and Pamela Swynford De Beaufort is most definitely that character on True Blood.  It’s not a huge surprise as I have a “type” when it comes to favorite characters: sassy, in charge, but still complex and exploring their place in the world.  For me, Pam was also often a sounding board for the viewer (okay, maybe just this viewer), dryly commenting on some of the more ridiculous aspects of the story. And she’s got some of the most memorable lines (and outfits) from the show.  

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Before we move on, I should note that while Eric and Pam are my favorite characters/progeny-maker pair/otp/imaginary vampire best friends, in contrast Matt is firmly on Team Bill Compton and Jessica Hamby.  I actually really like Jessica too, but the Bill vs. Eric debate raged on hilariously in our house through the entire run of the show.  

Another memorable thing about True Blood was the show’s use of music.  In addition to the sexy, swampy theme song “Bad Things” performed by Jace Everett, the show is beautifully scored by Nathan Barr.  Also, notably, each episode is named for a song that describes something about the story and appears as part of it, usually as punctuation right as the end credits roll.  These are often classic and new classic songs from the likes of Dr. John, Neko Case and the Talking Heads. Some of these, along with notable other songs from within the episodes appear on 4 soundtrack albums that are still available on CD.

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During the height of its popularity, True Blood was known for a ton of merch and some really great marketing, and sometimes those two would go hand in hand.  Shortly after the show began, HBO began marketing bottles of actual, drinkable Tru Blood.  Okay, so it was blood orange soda, but the look and feel of the packaging was authentic to the show making it great for watch parties and collectors.  On the more traditional marketing front, the billboard and print ads for the show were always super distinctive and clever, opting for an attention grabbing image or phrase with the show’s signature red, black and white color scheme.  In the online/tv realm, there were several runs of “minisodes” used to bridge gaps between seasons.  The first was called A Drop of Blood and took place between seasons 2 and 3.  These 3 to 5 minute videos helped give viewers a look at smaller moments between the seasons.  In Eric and Pam’s, which was the first one released, we see them audition new dancers for Fangtastia and land on Yvetta, who we’d meet in season 3.  There was also an ongoing series of short videos that began in 2010 after season 3 and lasted until 2014 featuring Jessica.  These were vlog style videos in which our favorite redhead learned more about life as a vampire with Pam, Tara, Bill, and Ginger among her guests.

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Along with the soundtrack albums, the soda and of course DVDs of the seasons, fans of True Blood could take their pick from a slew of official and unofficial merchandise including more shirt designs than I can count, drinking and shots glasses, coffee mugs, a cookbook (which I own), a makeup line from Tarte cosmetics (which I wish I owned), and a line of Funko Pops.  Fun fact: I held off buying Pop figures for quite a long time until they made Eric and Pam, and then the floodgates opened up and I now have entirely too many. 

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True Blood also inspired several comic series. In both 2010 and 2012 IDW published comic series simply called True Blood, which were six and 14 issues respectively.  In 2011, there were two miniseries, also from IDW, True Blood: French Quarter and True Blood: Tainted Love, all of which spun off the TV show and used familiar characters.  But before all of that, there was True Blood: The Great Revelation.  This Top Cow comic was released in 2008 at ComicCon as a part of the pre-promotion for the show.  It’s a prequel to the show, and it’s the comic we’re going to look at here on Rotten Ink.

As a reminder, we comics on a scale of 1 to 4 and are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get a refill on your Tru Blood (or maybe some New Blood), and get ready to do some bad things.

True Blood The Great Revelation Comic 0

True Blood: The Great Revelation # 1 ***
Released in 2008     Cover Price: Free    Top Cow     # 1 of 1

A centuries old vampire named Lamar is flying through the night sky on an airplane.  As his journey begins, he reflects on how strange it is for vampires to be out in the open and how Tru Blood is making that happen.  Lamar arrives in the Shinjuku District of Tokyo, recalling his first visit to Japan ages ago as he makes his way to his hotel. There he tells us more about the emergence of Tru Blood that led to the Great Revelation: when a group of Japanese vampires found out that human scientists were close to developing synthetic blood, they bought up the patents, invested in the company, and began to spread the word to vampires around the world.  Even now, however, Lamar isn’t sure that humanity is ready for vampires, and he recalls that his friend Samson was eager for integration between vampires and humans and paid for it with a stake through his heart.  Lamar finally arrives at the headquarters for the Yakonomo Corporation where he’s eager to show them a secret of his own.

The first thing I should tell you about this comic is that the story ends on a cliffhanger that was continued digitally as pre-promotion for the show.  Comic Con attendees in 2008 got the first read, and eventually these pages and the rest of the story were released weekly on HBO’s website to gear up for the show’s premiere.  Unfortunately, after lots of searching and several Wayback Machine fails, I was unable to find the rest of the pages beyond what’s in the physical comic, which is disappointing, but is also worth noting because some of the questions I have about the story may have been answered in those extra pages.  That said, I thought this was a really nice introduction to the larger mythos of True Blood.  I thought it was really smart to create a character that exists outside of the world of the show and to make the setting someplace other than Bon Temps because it didn’t fall into the clumsy trap of some prequel promo comics where the comic and show aren’t being written in sync so the characters feel off.  Lamar is a compelling character and the little glimpses of his backstory we got made me want to spend more time with him, and I definitely want to know more about the weapon he revealed in the last panel.  The backstory about the Great Revelation and origin of Tru Blood also felt really well in line with the show, albeit with a few elements missing – the vampire Kings and Queens are mentioned but the authority isn’t mentioned by name, likewise we only see vampires at the Yakonomo Corporation with no sign of Mr. Gus (or perhaps his father).  It is interesting that we get the name Yakonomo this early in the show’s history, however, as it’s only referred to as “a Japanese Corporation” onscreen until season six. 

The story is primarily told in “voiceover” style, which works nicely for this shorter story, especially since the whole point is to give a lot of background in only a few pages.  Jason Badower’s art is great, and the colors by Blond were particularly great because they captured the mood of the show and all of the early marketing materials ahead of the premiere.  Speaking of, there are several bonus pages that include a two-page interview with Alan Ball and several “ads” that tie into entities in the show and had accompanying web buildouts (some of which you can find on the Wayback Machine – yay!) like the American Vampire League and the Fellowship of the Sun. All told, this is a really great addition to the True Blood story, and fans of the show should have this in their collection.

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It’s almost dawn, when, unless you’re Billith, all vampires need to find a place to hide from the sun.  And it’s about time that I hand Rotten Ink back to Matt.  For his next update, he’ll be revisiting the world of horror fan films with another batch of movies to tell you about.  In the meantime, read a comic or two, support your local comic shop and bank blood, and avoid any and all vampire emergencies. 

Marvel Horror Showcase – The Zombie Simon Garth

Marvel Horror was a gateway for me to the world of Horror Comics. As I have stated before the likes of Werewolf By Night, Man-Thing and Tomb Of Dracula all were comics I would read late nights in my nearly darkened room. One of my favorite past times was reading a Marvel Horror comic as it rained or a thunderstorm raged outside. I would grab an issue I had not read and listened to the storm as I read the eerie story that unfolded on the pages. But one classic Marvel Horror Monster that seems to not get as much respect as he should is Simon Garth, also known as The Zombie who was the main character in Marvel Horror Magazine “Tales Of The Zombie”! So I feel it’s my duty as a comic reader to bring you an update that is long overdue and one in my “Marvel Horror Showcase” themed updates based on Simon Garth The Zombie. So sit back and enjoy this spooky and yet heroic update.

Simon Garth was a mean businessman who treated everyone near him badly as he felt they were below him and his successful ways. One day he made the mistake of his life when his behavior and snooty ways lead to him firing his gardener, and this sparks his former employee to snap and kidnap Garth and stab him to death near the swamps of New Orleans! Once dead he takes the body and forces a Voodoo Queen (who happens to also work for Garth) to turn him into a mindless zombie that can be controlled with two necklaces that are worn by the zombie and the one who wants to control him. The gardener filled with a new sense of power uses the Zombie to do his will, but soon finds that even the undead can fight back when a line is crossed and he was commanded to kidnap his own daughter and instead fights the order and kills his master! For a while The Zombie wandered the Earth with many people controlling him when they got the amulet necklace, and at one point the necklace went missing and he roamed around until he could get it back and that was only after having a run in with Spider-Man. Sometime later the amulet landed in the hands of vampire Lilith Drake, and this time around Zombie had to team up with Spider-Man to get it back, and once they get it back Zombie returned to his slumber for years. His body would be found and taken to a morgue where he would once more rise and this time took a corpse bride before returning to his slumber. The Zombie would later be recruited to be a member of the supernatural team “ The Howling Commandos” alongside other Marvel Horror characters like Man-Thing, The Living Mummy, Golem and Frankenstein’s Monster. The Zombie would rise from time to time, and his most recent appearance came in 2018 that is the issue we will be reviewing shortly. As you can see, while Zombie is not a major character in the Marvel Universe he is one that is well loved by us readers who have always enjoyed the dark world of Marvel Horror.

Tales Of The Zombie started in 1973 and was a Horror Magazine that was created by Roy Thomas for Marvel Monster Group, and the character Zombie was taken from the 1953 Atlas Comic Menace # 5 with the character being created by Stan Lee. You see, in the 70’s Horror Comics became big money as the Comic Code Authority had become more relaxed and allowed werewolves, zombies, vampires and ghouls back in comics and violence and blood could also be added. The series lasted for 10 issues and had one Annual, and along with original stories, each magazine also had reprints of classic horror comics as well as showcased some other characters from their horror line like Brother Voodoo. Tales Of The Zombie came to an end in 1975 ending his spooky ride for a time, but like any good zombie, you can’t keep him down. Simon Garth The Zombie would return and make appearances in such Marvel Comics as Daredevil, Spider-Man, S.H.E.I.L.D., Deadpool and Marvel Zombies to name a few. Even in 2008 for the Marvel Max line, The Zombie once more had a mini series that lasted four issues and entertained readers who enjoy this character. His most recent comic appearance was in 2018 with Marvel Zombie a one shot issue that brought him into the world of an alternate Marvel Zombies universe. Who knows what Marvel has in store for the future of Zombie, and one wonders if he ever will get his own series or mini series ever again…and this even makes one wonder if he ever will make an appearance in a Marvel Movie Universe or TV show! One thing for sure, if you have never read a comic book featuring Zombie, I would say do yourself a favor and get an issue or two and give them a read.

Over the years Marvel Comics has dusted off the Zombie when someone working for them had a great idea for him, and this made his fans very happy! And one cool thing that happened in the world of Marvel in 2018 was when they released a One Shot issue of Zombie and set it in a world of gloom and doom, and this is the comic we are going to review for this Marvel Horror update as I stated earlier. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this copy in stock. I want to remind you readers that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready to walk on the undead dark side of Marvel, let’s take a look at Zombie!

Marvel Zombie # 1  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $4.99     Marvel Comics     # 1 of 1

The Marvel Universe is in bad shape as a plague has infected the world and has caused most of the population to turn into bloodthirsty zombies. Simon Garth is wandering the decayed world enjoying his undead life, some humans still remain and are protected by The Defenders that are Daredevil, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Moon Girl, Devil Dinosaur 2.0, Hawkeye and Misty Knight who fight off the zombie horde. While the heroes battle the horde, young Donny finds a necklace and puts it on and during the fight he falls and is about to be eaten alive by zombies when all looks dark he is saved by Simon Garth and the pair start up a friendship. The heroes return to base and Moon Girl has figured out a way to use a bomb to dispose of a large section of the zombie horde. When Donny returns to base with Simon at first the heroes were going to kill the zombie until he proves he is different and a hero like them, but then things turn bad again when they want to use him to wear the bomb and become their suicide bomber! Falcon is another hero that is still alive and he returns to base with news that a massive horde is on the way and that they need to act soon, and this sets the suicide bomber plan into action. Donny is upset by the decision that Daredevil made to send his friend on a death mission. When the time comes Donny talks to Moon Girl about the original Devil Dinosaur and compares their friendship to his friendship with Simon and this causes Moon Girl to take the bomb off him and The Defenders die when they are swarmed waiting for the suicide bomber to appear. In the end with the heroes gone, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur 2.0 go their own way as do Donny and Simon Garth.

This was a great read, and I read this comic in the middle of a cemetery on a chilly day with my car windows down. The plot of this comic has the world being overrun by zombies with only a small amount of people and heroes left alive. And when a young boy finds the necklaces of Simon Garth, he controls the zombie and he chooses friendship over the fate of the world. Donny is the main character of this comic, and while he is a youngster he has lived his whole life in a world filled with flesh eating zombies, and when he befriends one he chooses to save the life of one undead creature to the masses as he allows all the rest of the worlds superheroes to be eaten alive. Think about that… Donny allows the world’s only hope to survive to be killed in order to have a “friend”…. Simon Garth is a zombie with a mind who is living in a world filled with zombies who only want to feed and kill. He is a good soul who protects those who has his necklace. Daredevil is the leader of The Defenders and with his crew of heroes, he thinks that there is a hope to save the world, and sadly his master plan backfires due to a young kid’s selfishness and leads to his own death as well as that of all his fellow heroes. What works the best for this issue is the fact is a self-contained issue and has a “Marvel Zombies” meets “What If?” feel to it. I like the aspect of Simon wandering the world filled with other zombies that he has nothing in common with and is almost super thankful when the young kid finds the necklace that controls and bonds with him. The comic does have some blood and violence and proves that Marvel still knows how to do Horror. The cover I have is amazing and very eye catching, and the interior art is top notch and done by Stefano Raffaele. If you like classic Marvel Horror characters, make sure to check this out as it’s a great read. Check out the art below to see the style of Raffaele and see how Simon Garth looks like in this issue.

This one shot Marvel Zombie issue to me proves that they as a company should do this more often! Why not make a one shot issue based on Tomb Of Dracula, Werewolf By Night, Living Mummy, The Golem and Man-Thing to introduce the classic Marvel Horror characters to new readers as well as deliver something new to their long time fans. I truly do think they should make these type of comics a Halloween season tradition. They should also use Simon Garth the Zombie more often in the regular Marvel Universe. For our next update, we will be walking away from Horror and will once more be stepping into the wrestling ring as we take a look at GLOW wrestler Sunny! So until next update, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Get ready for the original wrestling Sunny days next update so I will see you then.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Godzilla King Of The Monsters (2019)

Kaiju Month comes to an end with none other than Godzilla King Of The Monsters.  He is probably the world’s most famous Kaiju Movie Monster as he has spawned so many films and is a household name all over the world! In fact I have even heard people refer to all giant monsters in movies as Godzilla, showing just iconic he is to the world’s culture. And again as we wait till November for Godzilla vs. Kong, I think Rotten Ink Kaiju Month at least can help add some giant monsters into your life and make the wait a little better. For me, one of the biggest movies announced so far for 2020 is Godzilla vs. Kong as watching these titans clash will surly be a great experience for all us monster movie fans. So let’s not waste anymore time as The King Of The Monsters doesn’t like to be left waiting.

Let’s take a look at the tools of destruction that Godzilla had at his disposal in this film to deal with the enemies he faced. Godzilla stands a massive 393 feet and weighs more than 99 tons, making Godzilla one massive Kaiju that can uses his appearance first and foremost to scare the life out of any human that is silly enough to be in his path. Because of his massive size, his feet also become a weapon of death and destruction as if he steps on a person, it’s instant death! Godzilla’s tail is also a method he can use to dispatch a target and is also very effective against other giant monsters, and would annihilate a human. Godzilla also has razor sharp teeth that he can use to chop down on flesh of his enemies, not to even mention his hands have claws. Godzilla is also pretty smart and uses his brain in his attacks, and even more to his advantage, he does not back down from any fight and will stand his ground. His main attack is his radioactive fire breath that will melt human flesh and bone and even burns and hurts other massive Kaiju, and this power gets even stronger and dangerous when its mixes with the spirit of giant Kaiju moth Mothra! While for the most part Godzilla is unstoppable as he shrugs off bullets and missiles, one human made weapon can zap him and bring him to a very weak state and it’s called the “Oxygen Destroyer.” Godzilla also gets his strength from radiation and if he can find a high source of it, he can heal himself. He can also be hurt by other powerful Kaiju monsters, but as I have stated, only one man made weapon could hurt him. Godzilla is truly one of the most powerful monsters we have covered here on Rotten Ink on one of our From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates. Godzilla is truly one of the true King Of The Monsters.

So now that we have talked about Godzilla and his power from 2019 we should now talk about the film he is from. So as always we will be taking the films write up from our pals at IMDB and the films production and of course my thoughts & connection will be written by me! So lets seek some shelter and talk even more about Godzilla.

Godzilla King Of The Monsters (2019)

“The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient superspecies, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.”

Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers once more teamed up to bring the moviegoers another Godzilla rampage for their Monsterverse, and this time around decided to add more Kaiju that fans know and love like Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah to the plot and used this film to build up the clash between King Kong and Godzilla that will now be out in theaters later this year. For this second film, they brought in Michael Dougherty to direct who had built up a name in the Horror genre with films “Trick ‘r Treat” and “Krampus. He also had a hand in writing this massive film. When it came to casting, they did not pull any punches and brought in heavy hitters like Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Zhang Ziyi, Bradley Whitford, Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler. And like all big budget film (they spent over $200 million on it), they had their fair share of production woes from script rewrites all the way to studio interference, but they pulled it off. When the film was done, they brought in Bear McCreary to score the film and when they started to release the trailers, no joke both Juliet and I thought they were the best trailers of 2019 as they built the hype so well and did a fantastic job of blending the movie footage to classic and creepy versions of classic songs like “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. The film did pretty good for Legendary and Warner Brothers bringing in a worldwide total of $386,600,138.00! The film was released alongside other Horror and Cult films like “IT: Chapter 2”, “Doctor Sleep”, “Happy Death Day 2U”, “Brightburn”, “Black Christmas” and “Midsommar” to name a few.

Godzilla King Of The Monsters was everything I wanted in an American made Godzilla film and was leaps and bounds better that the 2014 attempt as it delivers some amazing Godzilla moments and gives viewers more Kaiju then they could shake a stick at. When the film’s first teaser trailers hit the theaters both Juliet and myself became kids again as we knew this was going to be an amazing movie going experience, and boy we were right as we enjoyed it and it was ranked my # 1 Horror Movie on my Matt Goes To The Movies 2019 update…that you can read right here. When seeing the film, I made sure to buy lots of tickets to bring my friends along with me as this was one of the films I was most hyped for and it really did live up to what I wanted from it. I loved seeing the other classic Toho monsters on the big screen as Rodan has always been one of my favorites and watching him clash with King Ghidorah and Mothra made me feel like a kid again, not to even mention that the use of the original Godzilla theme on the soundtrack put a massive smile on my face. When my friends and I all left the theater all of us really enjoyed it and all agreed it was what we wanted from Legendary Pictures and their Monsterverse. When the film was released on home media I made sure to buy it on DVD and even after re-watching it I found myself very much still enjoying it! So if you have not watched Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, I want to say shame on you and go and see it now and enjoy the monster fights and the great acting.

So let’s get to the review part of this Kaiju update. We will be taking a look at Godzilla: Aftershock a graphic novel that takes place after the 2014 movie and before 2019’s Godzilla King Of The Monsters. I for one can not wait to read this Graphic Novel as I have had it since it was released and want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for ordering me it and having it in my file. I want to also remind you that I grade this comic on a 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 if you are ready, let’s find a safe spot to hide, as this is surely going to be a Kaiju battle that will leave building smashed and monsters prowling.

Godzilla: Aftershock # 1  ***
Released 2019     Cover Price $12.95     Legendary      # 1 of 1

A giant Muto is attacking in Guam when Godzilla shows up and the Kaiju fight for a moment, but as the Muto escapes, Godzilla leaves by the ocean. Because of this Monarch is called in to investigate, and Dr. Emma Russell and the team are about to travel to Japan and must bring government worker Miles Atherton along for the ride. Once there, they look at the damage and the patterns of each monster with Emma being very negative toward Godzilla as she and her family lived through the events of San Francisco when they get a call that Monarch is needed in Japan. As she boards a plane, Emma is threatened by terrorist Alan Jonah at gun point and he is not able to do anything besides flee when Monarch Security Agent Tarkan Cavusgolu comes to the rescue! Now that the attempted attack is over, Emma along with Tarkan and Miles head to Japan where they enter a temple and find a massive hole that the Muto made. As they try to investigate it, a cave in happens and Tarken and Emma barely escape with their lives. They next get a report to head to Russia as another massive hole has been found. But they have issues as Alan Jonah has hacked into their entail and oddly enough Miles has been secretly talking to Dr. Mark Russell, the ex-husband of Emma. Once in Russia, they enter the hole and find frozen Muto eggs, and once more Alan appears and tries to take Emma prisoner, but this attempt fails as well as Tarken and Russian agents were waiting and take him prisoner. While in France, Godzilla once more fights with the Muto that is now being called Jinshin-Mushi, and the fight has left Godzilla injured and Monarch watching the situation as it’s now clear that Miles Atherton is watching Emma and reporting in his findings on her. It’s discovered that during the last fight Jinshin-Mushi bite and then inserted eggs into Godzilla that once hatched will end up killing the King Of The Monsters and that this seems to be a scenario that has played out for centuries! And in order to stop the eggs from hatching, Emma leads a team with heavy weapons to fight the Kaiju to save mankind from what would be a terrible event, and her plan goes wrong and leads to many deaths at the hands of Jinshin-Mushi and puts Emma in the hot seat with the government. But when things look grim, Miles Athertonx speaks up for her and she is granted another chance for Monarch to try and help Godzilla and bring down Jinshin-Mushi. And with a keyboard and speakers inside one of Jinshin-Mushi dug holes, she is able to use a few notes to kill the eggs in Godzilla who then kills Jinshin-Mushi by stomping on his head! In then end Emma and her young daughter are together, and she warns her the world is changing.

This was such a fun read and to me proves that Legendary Pictures not only makes entertaining movies but also does some damn good comic books and graphic novels and Godzilla: Aftershock is one heck of a great read. The plot of this GN has Godzilla fighting a giant ground digging Muto while Monarch is hot on the monsters tails as a terrorist is stalking them and stealing very sensitive information about the Kaiju. Godzilla is clearly very pissed off about this new Muto that is causing issues in the world and even loses a fight and has eggs placed into his body like a parasite! And while Godzilla is powerful in this graphic novel, he still shows that he can be weakened and that when hurt, his power goes down. The Muto called Jinshin-Mushi is very dangerous and is on a path of destruction and just wants to use another Kaiju to hide its eggs in to hatch and use the offspring to help take over the world, not only is it a Giant Monster killer but it also kills many humans as well. Dr. Emma Russell and the Monarch workers are working themselves almost to death as the world is in chaos over all the Kaiju running wild and a terrorist group trying to hack them and even kidnap one of their leads. Emma is really drained and worried about the fate of the world as she lost so much when Godzilla and the Muto’s fought in San Francisco as her young son was killed. I will say one lackluster part is the payout for Miles Atherton who is a government worker who seems to be collecting dirt on Emma only to help her out and then disappear. The plot of Aftermath is pretty simple and many pages showcase some great monster fights that are the true highlights of the comic, but there are some slow moments that come with Emma talking to the Government that lasts for many pages about plans and history. The cover is pretty cool and has a movie poster look to it and is very eye catching, plus the interior art done by Drew Edward Johnson is fantastic and captures Godzilla and the mood and feel of the Monstervese very well. Over all Godzilla: Aftershock is a great and fun read and does a pretty good job bridging the gap from Godzilla (2014) to Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019), even if the movie as far as I remember never mentions Jinshin-Mushi and his rampage and fights with Godzilla. Oh and before I wrap this up and tell you the fans of Godzilla to make sure to check this out, I was a little sad we did not get at least a King Kong cameo or reference. Check out the art below to see the style of Drew from this Graphic Novel.

With Godzilla vs. Kong being moved and this frightening virus spreading around the world, I really hope that this update helped make your day a little better and your wait for the film at the cinemas more bearable. Godzilla and King Kong really are two of the world’s most popular Giant Monsters/Kaiju movie monsters and each have their own diehard fans. I loved growing up and watching both these titans films on TV and VHS and they were parts of why my childhood was so awesome. And speaking of entertainment that made my childhood awesome besides Monster Movies, another thing that you longtime readers know is that Horror Hosts were a major part of my life. My next update will be about one that, along with such iconic names as Commander USA and Dr. Creep, made me the creative person I am today, and the host is Dayton, Ohio’s very own A. Ghastlee Ghoul of the Ghastlee Movie Show! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a strange and wild time with one Ghastlee Ghoul!

Beneath The Planet Of The Atlas Vampires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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