The Marvel Lifeform Sickness..Has No Cure!

It’s a new update here on Rotten Ink.  It’s also wintertime and the update before my big Christmas Eve update, but also during this time of the year besides snow, toys and family comes that wonderful season of colds, flu and sickness! So this quick update will be about sickness and a virus that spread throughout Marvel Comics called Lifeform and had to be stopped by the likes of Hulk, Daredevil, Punisher and Silver Surfer before it was spread around the world. So let’s get some medicine, chicken noodle soup and a warm blanket and take a trip down Sick Blvd and try to avoid the germs and illness along the way.

Chicken Noodle Soup

While many of you might think that I am immortal like Hercules, I am here to break your heart because I am as mortal as you all.  Okay, well I am sure none of you thought this, but I felt like this was a good way to lead up to one of the worst times I was sick. In about 2008 or so I was working at a place called Hotel Liquidations.  I spent time unloading furniture trucks as well as loading pieces into customers’ cars, and while working there full time, I started to get a sore throat.  Instead of nursing it, I continued to work out in the cold weather and inhaling dust from the warehouse, and my throat got worse. Finally one day at work my throat hurt so bad that I could not talk or open my mouth without pain, and I bit the bullet and finally went to the doctor’s with the urging of my coworkers.  Before I went, I was not thinking and took a cough drop that was cherry flavored, and for those who don’t know, I am allergic to fake cherry flavoring as well as real cherries and this made me break out in massive hives.  So I had to bundle up in long sleeves with a hoodie to cover my face and looked as if I had the plague.  Thanks to my close friend and roommate at the time Patrick Neeley, I got to the doctors where I was diagnosed with having a terrible case of strep throat, one of the worse he had seen up to that point! So after getting my medications I was told that I was highly contagious and that I needed to be quarantined in my room so that I did not spread it to Patrick, my then girlfriend Jennifer and the rest of the world. For a little under two weeks, I sat in my room watching films like the original War of The Worlds, The Blob, IT! Terror From Beyond Space and many other sci-fi films. Patrick was nice enough to leave me pitchers of water by my door as well as cook me chicken and beef broth for that was all I could “eat” as I could not open my mouth much at all. Jennifer would come and visit for a short time but had to wear a mask, and she was nice enough to bring me comics to read as well as gave support and love. The pain in my throat was terrible and the swelling in my glands was out of control.  The medication I was taking was what would be called the size of a horse pill and was not pleasant to take. The days went by and slowly the medications started to help along with the sleep and drinking tons of water, and finally I was better and able to go back to work…and my first day back I got Scarlet Fever from the Strep Throat.  Yep, another pain in the ass sickness that lead to more missed days of work. While I really hate being sick I must say that the only plus side to having my throat swollen that badly was I got to re-watch many great classic science fiction films and I also saw how much my friends, family, co-workers and girlfriend really cared about me as they all went above and beyond to make sure that I was okay and had what I needed to get better. So with that, here is to good health to us all, and let’s say no to harmful germs this winter!

Just Say No To Winter Germs

I want to stroll away from sickness for a moment and take a look at a horror host that could have been a household name in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on KCRG hosting the show Saturday Nightmare.  Sadly he didn’t win the casting call as the host gig went to Dr. Morbius who hosted spooky movies from 1987-1988, but he host I am talking about would have been called Slime and was played by Eric Fournier. In August of 1987, KCRG did a call to arms for horror hosts to take the hosting gig for their new late night horror show.  42 hosts applied for the job, and only one got the honor. After some digging and looking around in many haunted houses and cemeteries, I am proud to say I have found Slime who was evil enough to answer 5 Questions for you my readers, making this the official 5 Questions With Slime!

Horror Host Slime

Me: Welcome to Rotten Ink Slime! My first question is how did you hear about the casting call to host Saturday Nightmare on channel 9?

Slime: Hello Matt, and thanks for taking the time to dig me up after all these years — although it’s spring now, and I would have come out of hibernation soon. Oddly enough, I was lying dormant for several decades when a construction crew in the area had inadvertently stumbled upon me. As it happened, it was just down the street from where the auditions had been held. Actually, my girlfriend was hounding me to get a job, so I saw that the local studio was looking for a host. I thought my looks were good enough to keep her interested, but apparently I was mistaken.

Me: Growing up did you have a favorite Horror Host that you use to watch? 

Slime: Frankly, I was hatched about 200 years ago, so by the time I’d discovered “The Acri Creature Feature” in the early 70’s, I was already quite mature. Like all kids and lizards back then, I was enthralled that anyone was so interested in the same kind of things I was, much less, would dedicate a show to it. Back in those days, there were only a handful of channels available, and none of them contained the kind of programming that would show movies that featured creatures like me. Like with so many other things, cable TV ruined that too. I remember making “Creep of the Week” several times through the 1970’s, and I didn’t even have to do any drawings. I just sent in some pics taken of me by some local kids, and I won the coveted “Creep” certificate about 4 times. I didn’t realize until later that it was actually sort of an insult. I went to take my revenge on 3 of the show’s goons, Vincent Hedges (the vampire), Emmett (the Hunchback guy), and Beauregard (the Werewolf), but the gang turned out to be so friendly, that I was content to just get their autographs.

Me: Tell us how you came up with the Host Character Slime, and a little about the character’s backstory?

Slime: Truth be told, the whole thing was pretty impromptu. I had no time to prepare any bits, and as you can see in the video, I was still busy defoliating when I got the call to be on camera. The only backstory I suppose, was that I’d put so much emphasis on appearance, that I’d completely ignored what I might actually have done as the show’s host. Besides just sitting there looking pretty, I guess nothing but spout endless gobs of fun facts about the horror cinema I’d grown up loving so much. All I could do by way of any preparation was to regurgitate an old Karloff routine I’d committed to memory decades earlier.

Me: During the Audition did you see another Horror Host hopeful and think that they could take the hosting gig? 

Slime: I was running extremely late for the auditions. Like any other lizard, I was sunning myself on a rock for some energy reserves. By the time I got to the studio, most of the other audition people had fled — or at least they did when I showed up. Since I arrived so late, and was busy most of my time at the studio in a bathroom making myself look pretty, I missed most of the other would be hosts. I’d done some stand up stuff with Bruce Gantenbein, so when I’d heard that he’d auditioned earlier that day, I wasn’t surprised when he got the gig as the show’s permanent host, “Dr. Morbius.” I was saddened to hear that he has since passed away.

Me: In closing, since hosting Saturday Nightmare was not in the cards what did you go onto do in the world of entertainment?

Slime: Well, I’m happy to report that the surgery was a success, and I’ve made the transition from reptile to human being, more or less. As far as entertainment goes, I’ve done most of my work behind the camera as a videographer and documentarian. On occasion, I’ll turn up at one of the local comedy clubs and do whatever’s necessary to get some laughs. My love for the classic horror flicks hasn’t diminished, and I dabble in recreating some of them as digitally designed characters. Every now and then, I’ll still get the hankering to put on the old latex in a vain attempt to re-capture my former good looks. You see…I miss the scales!

Me: Thanks so much for your time and long live Slime! 

It was very cool to chat with Slime, and I for one really would love to see him become a full fledged host and make a show with a title like “Slime Time” or “Slimy Midnight Theater” and be shown on YouTube, DATV and The Kreepy Kastle! But here is to not only Slime, but the other 40 horror host hopefuls as well as Dr. Morbius who all entertained Iowa on that premiere episode of Saturday Nightmare. Also if you have any episodes of Saturday Nightmare hosted by Dr. Morbius, please contact me as I would love to see them and also do a Horror Host Icon for Morbius. So let’s get back to the sickness that’s about to infect the Marvel Comic Universe.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.41.09 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-15 at 2.31.28 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.41.56 PM

It’s time to climb into our HAZMAT suits and take a look at the Progamma Virus that can change normal humans into lumpy flesh eating masses of goo and just hope that along our journey none of us come in contact with it. But before we enter the danger zone, I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock, and as always I must remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So as the rock band Disturbed says, let’s get down with the sickness!

Punisher Annual 3

Punisher: Annual  # 3  ***
Released in 1990   Cover Price $2.00   Marvel Comics #3 of 7

George is a masked man who is breaking into a lab to steal a bio-weapon that causes those affected to have hallucinations, become very violent and mutate, and worse for all of us, it spreads like a common cold! During the burglary George and a security guard get into a fight, and as the guard is killed, some of the bio weapon makes contact with George’s skin causing him to fall ill. The Punisher shows up at the lab as he had news that A.I.M. was trying to break in and makes contact with George who now looks like a zombie and is out for blood! The Punisher fends off George and finds out from an A.I.M worker that political hopeful Jethro Prufrock is the man who’s responsible for hiring them to steal the virus and that he also is stock pilling weapons for a war he thinks is coming. The Punisher escapes the lab with a crazed George following and makes it to the Prufrock residence where he overhears that George is Jethro’s son as he argues with his daughter over needing the virus and how important it is for his cause. The Punisher has heard enough, comes out of hiding, and is ready for the bust when George shows up in a wild rage looking even worse from the virus and kills his father and attacks his sister and The Punisher! Normal gun fire is only slowing George down so The Punisher finds a bazooka and blasts George away “killing” him and stopping the virus.  In the end, The Punisher learns that the Prufrock family was very much dysfunctional and that he saved the day from a highly contagious virus being spread around New York.

The origin of Lifeform explodes to life in this Punisher Annual, and this is just the start of the sickness that is sure to spread through the Marvel Universe. The plot is very simple and has a son trying to hard to impress his well to do father who takes a job robbing a place to impress him.  Things go wrong, the son is infected with a incurable virus and goes on a rampage that ends at his own house with the murder of his father. Throw in a superhero like The Punisher and the sick man’s sister, and you have the first segment in this mini series. The Punisher goes in thinking he is stopping a plot by A.I.M who is selling the bio-weapon to a presidential candidate but turns out having to fight a raged filled infectious killer who seems to be un-killable! The Punisher is cool and collected in fighting the killer even when blowing him up with a rocket launcher. George, the man who becomes the Lifeform, is by all accounts a failure who wants to impress his father but deep down hates his guts for the years of disappointment his father has had in him. When he becomes the killer, he becomes crazy and has the urge to kill those who are around him and no gun can stop him. His appearance is grotesque as his skin has turned bubbly and his features take on the appearance of melted cheese or a wet paper bag with boils all over it. I like the idea of something so simple like a robbery has sparked something that could spell doom for many people all over greed and fear. The comic has two other features that includes a look at The Punisher’s arsenal and a short adventure featuring Microchip, who is The Punishers close friend and business partner. The main story’s art is pretty well done and is done by Neil Hansen who has that very 90’s Marvel style. So far this is a nice start up to a pretty cool story that links some of Marvel’s biggest misfits of superheroing! Below is some of the artwork by Neil that shows what George looks like in this annual.  I should also note that for some reason George in this picture reminds me of the film Nightbreed and the characters called The Berserkers.

Art 1

I can’t wait to see how Daredevil will deal with this terror and how George infected with Lifeform will come back from being blown up so let’s not wait any longer.

Daredevil Annual 6

Daredevil: Annual  # 6  ***
Released in 1990     Cover Price $2.00     Marvel Comics    # 6 of 10

Daily Bugle writer Ben Urich has gotten word about the theft at the lab and that some sort of creature was on the loose battling The Punisher, but while the accounts say the monster is dead, sightings have been reported and Ben wants to know what it was and why. Along the dock Lifeform George appears and is unharmed after being blown up, but his appearance has gotten more grotesque.  It seems as if the virus now has a new mission, to consume human flesh! So George hits the streets of Hell’s Kitchen and kills and eats anyone who gets in his way, but Daredevil gets wind of this and saves street crooks The Wildboys from being Lifeform’s lunch.  In the battle the monster looses an arm and disappears into the darkness. Crooked cops Hobbes and Robbins show up just in time, and not thinking Robbins touches the arm and becomes infected. Ben Urich gets a visit from a man named Lamar Kwait who claims he can make a cure for George and turn him back to normal if he could get a sample of Lifeform’s blood.  All things come to a head when Daredevil along with Hobbs, Urich and Lamar find Lifeform George and during the meeting Lamar’s spine is broken by Lifeform who is being shot by tranquilizers and turns into a pile of ooze ending his terror once more….for now!

This second part showcases Hell’s Kitchen in New York and has Lifeform going on the prowl to find human flesh to eat.  Reporter Ben Urich along with a doctor who’s looking for a cure, are on its trail but it’s really up to Daredevil to stop the sickness from spreading and save the lives of those who are on Lifeforms lunch menu. The issue has three really good side stories that has Lifeform trying to kill The Fat Boys, Robbins on his death bed and dying from being infected and also having a run in with Typhoid Mary in an ally. Poor George is looking very rough now and is more of a white glob of sickness and jelloed skin, and worse he seems to be having a battle in his own mind as the George side just wants to be cured and the Lifeform side wants to kill and spread the sickness. Daredevil is as noble as ever and wants to keep Hell’s Kitchen safe from crime and monsters. Darvedevil takes the opposite route of The Punisher and uses his fists to fight the monster and not guns. The crooked cops Hobbes and Robbins add some drama to the situation, and the nice extra story that shows Robbins dying from the virus also was a nice touch and shows you should never touch things when you’re not sure what they are. Ben Urich and Lamar Kwait also add to the story and the fury of Lamar wanting to inject Lifeform with the cure tranquilizers shows how focused he is, as well adds the question why does he want to do this so badly. Plus the issue makes good use of many other DD characters as Typhoid Mary, The Fat Boys and The Wildboys all have cameos and help add to the issue and storyline, and each are nice to see. The main story art is done by Cam Kennedy and is top notch early 90’s work.  I really dig the way he drew Daredevil and Lifeform as both are very well done.  Check out his Lifeform below.

Art 2

With Lifeform being a cannibal I really can’t wait to read this next issue as he takes on one of my all time favorite superheroes The Incredible Hulk!

Incredible Hulk Annual 16

Incredible Hulk: Annual  # 16  ***
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.00    Marvel Comic    #16 of 23

The Incredible Hulk is roaming the desert and is in a bad mood over loosing his job, women and friends in Vegas and goes nuts when he sees an army convoy driving by. Hulk does what he does best and that’s smash as he thinks they are after him, but he was wrong and after being embarrassed by the commanding officer, he leaps into the middle of nowhere and finds on old theater that used to house plays that’s now abandon and he decides to hang out for awhile. Ben Urich goes and visits Lamar in the hospital and finds out that he was not really trying to help George as he really needed him to find a cure for the virus that he is infected with as well.  You see, he was an A.I.M agent who was bitten by a test monkey that was infected with it and now he is dying. Mercy, who is a female with strange powers who does cruel things and acts as if they are acts of mercy, kills an old bum who is down on his luck and quickly finds out that just because people say they wish they were dead, it doesn’t mean they mean it thanks to an old woman who witnessed the act. Lifeform George is still alive and pulls himself back together and is looking for human flesh and sweet death.  When Mercy hears his plea for death, she decides that what she is going to do is grant him the gift of friendship and takes him to The Hulk who is still hiding out in the theater. This act of “kindness” from Mercy just upsets The Hulk who wanted to be left alone but now is being bothered by these two.  This causes Mercy to force The Hulk to come face to face with Bruce Banner as she makes him appear, and this makes Hulk even more mad and Lifeform hungry! The two monsters clash in a epic fight that leaves the theater on fire, Bruce Banner killed and Mercy sending Lifeform back to the docks and turning him human for short time in New York and Hulk coming to peace with no matter how much he hates Banner he needs him, as he finds out that Banner was really just Mercy in disguise. We also find out that Lamar is in the hospital with a hurt spine as well as infected with the virus as he was an A.I.M. clean up member and by accident came in contact with the virus that is killing him that is why he wanted to try and find a cure so bad. In the end the human George turns back into Lifeform and eats the dying Lamar to end his pain and suffering.

This issue has two monsters fighting it out on a stage in an old theater, which adds great atmosphere to this twisted tale of an infected man. The plot for this annual has The Hulk making a mistake and attacking the military, and after doing so, he goes to lay low in an old abandoned theater.  Lifeform once more rises from the muck and meets Mercy who takes him to the Hulk as she thinks the two monsters can be friends, and this, of course, is a bad idea as they fight and burn the place down. To say sorry, she turns George back to human for a short time and when turning back to Lifeform he kills Lamar who is infected and has a damaged spine in what’s looked at as a mercy killing. Geroge/Lifeform is really split now as the human side wants to die and the virus side wants to live and spread sickness and eat human skin! The Hulk in this Annual is the grey mean-spirited one who comes out during the fullmoon, and his anger is out of control, as he once more just wants to be left alone but trouble seems to follow him. He also takes the Daredevil approach in fighting Lifeform and uses fists to try and stop this infected puss bag. Plus watching Hulk dress as a hunchback and delivering lines from the film Young Frankenstein is pretty amazing. Mercy is an odd bad guy as she thinks she is helping people who are depressed by killing them, but when she is told people say things they don’t mean like “I want to die” she decides to try and help Lifeform who’s George side is begging to be killed.  Plus its cool to see Hulk get annoyed just by the sight of her. In the story Mercy also takes the form of Bruce Banner to try and talk The Hulk into becoming Lifeform’s friend and its cool to see the two interact.  It’s also cool to see Lifeform look at the fake Bruce as dinner! This issue is filled with a monster vs. monster fight and brings a coolness factor out of this annual, as does the fact it’s being told by George who has been cured for a short time and is telling this story to Lamar before he eats him! The art of the issue is done by Angel Medina and is what I expected for Grey Hulk storyline and issue.  Check below for how Lifeform looks in this annual, which I must also note is my favorite look for him thus far in the mini series.

Art 3

From the brute force of The Hulk to the cosmic energy of The Silver Surfer is how we are going to end the sad saga of George Prufrock, a man who is becoming a walking virus Lifeform.

Silver Surfer Annual 3

Silver Surfer: Annual  # 3  ***
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.00    Marvel Comic    #3 of 9

The Silver Surfer returns to Earth from space to share news with Captain America that Thanos has been killed by his hands during their last battle. While at the hospital Lifeform goes on a rampage eating doctors, nurses and patients and keeps growing into a large blob of flesh and teeth that now wants to eat anyone it sees! Nick Fury of S.H.E.I.L.D. contacts Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four to check up on the hospital, and while doing so, Reed runs into Silver Surfer who agrees to help him on the massacre that they stumble onto. It’s chaos and death as Lifeform has made a path for the ocean and is now eating fish.  Reed and the Silver Surfer follow, and Lifeform springs from the water and knocks Reed senseless, then sets his sights on killing and eating the people watching from the docks. But Silver Surfer has seen enough and allows Lifeform to eat him and by doing so he uses his cosmic power to make Lifeform float into space and onto a planet this is void of life. The Silver Surfer bursts out of Lifeform and as he does so, the spirit of George once more comes through and he begs Surfer to kill him.  This is not what the Silver Surfer does, so he leaves Lifeform alone on a planet in space.

It takes cosmic power to put a stop the rampage of Lifeform who in this short mini series had killed many of people by infecting them as well as eating them! This issue’s plot has George losing all control and the virus Lifeform taking over causing him to grow into a grotesque blob creature who kills humans and sea life before being stopped by The Silver Surfer who takes him to space and leaves him on a planet that has no life, thus making the Earth safe and poor George stuck with his sickness and not finding the death he so greatly wants. Silver Surfer is a very powerful and noble hero who saves Earth even though he hates visiting here due to bad memories.  He understands that Lifeform is a major threat and removes him from Earth so he can no longer spread his sickness. The pure power and heart of Silver Surfer has always made him a very interesting character in the Marvel Universe. Lifeform in this issue is a pure killing machine who seems to not be able to get his fill of flesh, blood and bone as all he wants to do is eat and eat like me at a cookout serving steak. Lifeform, while very much evil, is also a very sad character as he almost has a Larry Talbot Wolfman appeal to him as his human side hates what the monster side does and would love nothing more than to find peace in death. It was nice to see Captain America, Nick Fury and Reed Richards in cameos, and one thing that made me smile is how useless Reed was in the battle as one hit knocks Mr. Fantastic out of the fight game worse than Marvis Frazier being knocked out my Mike Tyson in 30 seconds in the first round. While this was a great issue with lots of mayhem and action I still can’t help but feel a little cheated with the way Lifeform was beat.  While it’s cool that it has to stay in cold space on a planet that is lonely and bare for the rest of it’s life, I would have much rather seen Lifeform destroyed or kept in a cell and used again at a later date to fight the likes of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Man-Thing and Captain America in another annual mini series. The art for this one was done by Ron Lim and just like the others is top notch 90’s stuff.  Check out the final look for Lifeform George below and see what the fate of others could have been if it wasn’t stopped.

Art 4

So all along the virus of Lifeform could have been stopped early if only The Punisher would have shot him into space, think about all the lives that could have been saved if instead of a bazooka he used a rocket ship to stop George. But all kidding aside, I found myself really enjoying this weird little storyline that spanned many characters 1990 Annuals. I love how through out the series George grew more and more grotesque and with each transformation, his human side kept dying little by little and the virus ate away at his brain and soul. One thing that made me chuckle was how come The Punisher and Daredevil never contacted the virus as they both had run ins with him and both are mortal with super athletic abilities, but both had contact with a man who was a carrier for a very contiguous disease. I mean I understand how Hulk and Silver Surfer didn’t become infected, but DD and The Punisher by all accounts should have. It would have been nice to also seen this storyline be in the 1990 Annuals for Captain America and Spider-Man as both were in New York at the time of this outbreak and Cap even had a cameo in Silver Surfer showing that he was around. Marvel, to my knowledge, never did use Lifeform again and have left him in space since 1990, makes me wonder why they never brought him back because this time around he also could have been a carrier for a space born virus and finds away back to Earth via a rocket ship and now sets his sights on infecting mankind with his sickness and pain! It could have been a cool idea, but with Marvel in the comic world now not focusing on the past and “updating” things, I am sure Lifeform really is dead in space. Our next update will be Rotten Ink’s big Christmas Eve update, and once more we will be visiting the DC Comic Theater as we take a look at the film adaptations of Superman.  So make sure to comeback for that one! Until then, have a safe holiday, read a comic or three and as always support your local horror host.

superman III Logo

The Completely 3-Dimensional Misadventures of 3-D Man

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, a place that we are going to go old school and take a look at a superhero who has the ability of 3-D…yes my friends and readers, we will be taking a look at Marvel Comic’s very own icon of cheesy double vision power, the one and only 3-D Man! I am sure many of you have just said to yourself who is 3-D Man? And I cant blame you for not knowing as he was a Marvel Character who has had very few appearances and started in the showcase style series “Marvel Premiere,” but by the end of this update you will feel as if he might be your favorite superhero of all time…well maybe not your favorite more like you will at least acknowledge that he exists in the world of comics. I can’t believe it’s November already and almost Thanksgiving time.  It seems like this year has flown by, and we are creeping up on 2016, a year that looks like it will be great for horror films in theater! But we are not here to talk about horror as we are here to enjoy the cool weather and gear up for turkey and ham and most importantly time with loved ones! So get your 3-D glasses out and come spend a little time with 3-D Man and me here at Rotten Ink’s Pre-Thanksgiving cheesy feast as we take a look at this icon of goofy 70’s comic might.

glazed ham

3-D Man, whose real identity is Chuck Chandler, was created by Roy Thomas and Jim Craig for Marvel Comics in 1977 with his first appearance being in Marvel Premiere issue 35. Chuck becomes 3-D Man after an accident that leaves him dead by all accounts besides when his brother puts on a pair of glasses that brings him back as a red and green superhero who has hyper senses and strengths, and all this was taking place in the 1950’s adding a classic sci-fi and atomic age feel to the character and the real horrors of that time period. Marvel did three issues following 3-D Man in Marvel Premiere and over the years he made few appearances in issues of What If, Incredible Hulk, Avengers and Agents Of Atlas, but never was given his own full series. 3-D Man’s skin color is red and green, and he has goggle like eyes.  Many people think that he is wearing a suit when in fact he is not. His arch nemesis are the alien shape shifter race known as The Skrulls as well as any foreign threat to America, but mostly it’s Skrulls who seem to also really have it out for him and the human race. When he was a normal man, Chuck was a football player and also one heck of an airman! Not much more can be shared about 3-D Man besides that fact he is an old school superhero with basic super strength and seems to be forgotten by many modern comic readers.

3D Man3DmanA3D MAN 0

I am fan of going to the movie theater to watch a film on the big screen and over the years Hollywood has come up with all types of silly gimmicks to draw people in.  Who could forget electric shock chairs for The Tingler or barf bags and life insurance policies given out for horror flicks like Mark of the Devil and Tombs of The Blind Dead, not to mention the fact many of these gimmicks were made and thought up by William Castle. But one of these tricks to get people to their local theater that seems to not be going away anytime soon is 3-D, and I for one am ok with that! 3-D is nothing like it is now.  Imagine instead of wearing the plastic glasses at an IMAX screening of The Avengers 2 having to wear cheap cardboard glasses with one red and blue lens that made the image on the screen seem as if we were watching them live. Webster’s dictionary defines 3-D as “a three-dimensional form; also: an image or a picture produced in it” for those who were wondering. The gimmick of 3-D was mostly used for horror and sci-fi films with titles like Creature From The Black Lagoon, House of Wax, Friday The 13th Part III, My Bloody Valentine and so many more adding those eye popping thrill moments that allows the viewer feel as if they are apart of the movie. Over the years I have seen my fair share of 3-D films, but one that I would love to have seen was Creature From The Black Lagoon.  Could you imagine watching Gillman swimming in eye popping 3-D? Or even Julie Addams in her bathing suit in 3-D? While barf bags and glow in the dark plastic skeletons falling from the theater ceiling might have gone away, it looks like 3-D is here to stay and help add more bang for your box office bucks.

Tingler Ad Electric Chair3D GlassesMark Of The Devil Barf Bag

So while I could talk about movie theaters and gimmicks this whole update, I have to get myself back on track and the topic at hand is 3-D Man, a superhero who made his impact in Marvel Premiere. For those of you who don’t know what Marvel Premiere was, I will give you a quick crash course, Marvel started the comic Marvel Premiere in 1972 and was a series that would showcase characters that had no longer their own on-going series and also a way to showcase the new characters who were tested to see if readers would be into a series based on them. Many characters were showcased in this series like Warlock, Man-Wolf, Iron Fist and even rock star Alice Cooper and BBC show Doctor Who got their time to shine. The series ended in 1981 with a total of 61 issues with Star-Lord of Guardians Of The Galaxy being the final character showcased. But if you’re ready we should all put our 3-D glasses on and get ready to travel to the 1950’s and kick some butt with the one and only 3-D Man! I want to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank Bell Book and Comic as well as a dealer at Gem City Comic Con for having these issues in stock. So let’s get ready to see this Marvel Comic wonder in action.

3D Man 1

Marvel Premiere: The 3-D Man # 35   **1/2
Released in 1977    Cover Price .30    Marvel Comics    #35 of 61

It’s the late 1950’s, and 3-D Man arrives at a warehouse filled with Russian spies and starts mopping the floor with them and meets their leader Diabolik who seems to know who he really is and how he became 3-D Man! We flashback and meet Chuck Chandler who is a college football star who turns down to go pro to follow his dream of becoming a pilot.  He becomes one of the world’s top flyers, only surpassed by Ben Grimm in his ability. Hal Chandler is Chuck’s younger brother who is left crippled by polio, and is Chuck’s biggest fan as he sits out in a special spot and watches his brother fly fancy new planes. Chuck also has a loyal and loving girlfriend named Peggy who along with Hal goes to watch Chuck fly a very powerful new jet called the XF-13.  While flying this jet, he runs into a flying saucer that is being driven by Skrulls who want to wipe Chuck’s mind of and brainwash him into trying to make it so that Earthlings do not try and come to space. Chuck makes a move and escapes, and while doing so he blows up the saucer and is covered in radiation in the process.  When he gets back to Earth, he is greeted by his brother Hal and right before the brothers can embrace, an explosion turns Chuck into ash and his image is burned into Hal’s glasses.  Everyone thinks Chuck is dead, but when Hal puts his burnt glasses on and goes deep into thought he unleashes Chuck who is now 3-D Man, a red and green skinned super hero with above average abilities! 3-D Man goes after the Russian spies and finds out that they are being lead by a Skrull who informs 3-D Man that he has made an enemy for life with their race and that they will not stop till they defeat the Earth! After the fight, 3-D Man returns to Hal and together the brothers know they must be the saviors of the world.

While this superhero might be very cheesy with some of the lamest dated powers of any hero I have read about this year, I must say that I fully enjoyed this origin issue and for some reason found 3-D Man to be a perfect fit for Marvel in the 70’s. The plot of this issue has hot shot master pilot flying an experimental plane for the government while his crippled brother watches on.  When he is kidnapped by The Skrulls, he escapes and by doing so he blows up their ship and is washed with radioactive waves that leave him not human anymore but as a red and green image on his brothers glasses, and when his brother puts the glasses on and thinks really hard he will come back to life as 3-D for three hours and fight off the Skrulls who have placed him on death watch. Chuck Chandler or 3-D Man is a good man who is gifted with being very good at whatever he sets his sights on such as sports and flying. He is a loyal brother, boyfriend and American and will not give information to the Russians and will not allow aliens to try and keep Earth out of space. As 3-D Man, he has three times the speed, strength and athletic ability of any man and uses his power for good of America. Hal Chandler is not as gifted as his brother and has been dealt a bad hand getting polio, but now with his glasses he has the power to free his brother 3-D Man and even shared the adventures once he wakes up from his zombie like state. Not much is given to Peggy yet besides we know that she is Chuck’s new girlfriend and that she loves her boyfriend very much. The Skrulls, those pesky shape shifting aliens, are the bad guys, and they once more are trying to bully Earth to do what they wish us to do.  I guess the spies are also the bad guys, but they get beat up pretty fast and are no major threat. The art is classic 70’s Marvel stuff and is done by the talented Jim Craig who also worked on issues of “Master of Kung-Fu” and “What If?” to name a few. The cover is very eye-catching and is perfect for a first appearance issue, and I am sure made comic readers of 77 grab the issue off the newsstand. So let’s see what 3-D Man has up his green and red sleeve in his second comic adventure.

3D Man 2

Marvel Premiere: The 3-D Man # 36  **1/2
Released in 1977    Cover Price .30    Marvel Comics    #36 of 61

Professor Potter is being mugged by a biker gang who want to take his briefcase of notes, but lucky for him 3-D Man shows up and runs off the thugs but not before the leader of the gang shows himself to be a Skrull and rides off with the notes. The 3-D Man returns to his brother Hal’s glasses, and by a miracle now Hal no longer has a limp and can walk normally and sets up a meeting with Potter and finds out the Professor’s notes were about flying saucers being seen around town. Hal returns home, and it’s clear his father is not over Chuck’s death and even Peggy stops over as they look at her as family. New Rock n Roll star Vince Rivers is in town and selling out due to his hit song “Rocket In My Pocket.” This sets off Hal’s Dad into a hate fueled rant on rock music and gives Hal the idea he should check out this star as he thinks Skrulls might be involved. At the concert that is presented by radio DJ Doc Rock, the teenagers in the crowd go crazy when Vince starts to sing.  3-D Man comes to the rescue and stops Vince and the riot.  In the end Vince is arrested, and it’s shown Doc Rock was the Skrull.  He outsmarted them all and gets away with causing a riot.

This second issue is filled with more sci-fi superhero action and does a nice touch of adding 1950’s culture into the story from TV shows like Howdy Doodey and Have Gun Will Travel, how the older generation hated the Rock N Roll music movement and even mentions Captain America and Bucky as past heroes as they both are believed to be dead during this time. In fact, the first issue even makes a reference to the old horror host Shock Theatre package of Universal Horror Films! This second issue’s plot is about 3-D Man trying everything in his power to stop the Skrulls who are trying to cause chaos on Earth so that they can come down from space and take us over. 3-D Man is still a very noble and American loving hero, but I will say it was getting really annoying to hear him reference how he has three times the abilities of normal man over and over again.  As a reader I found myself saying out loud “For God’s sake I know this already! You have reminded us a dozen times already!” But while annoying, it didn’t make the issue any less fun. Hal Chandler in this second issue has changed a lot and has stopped being a physically challenged fan boy of his older brother.  He is now healed up and acts as the investigator for his superhero brother.  It is funny that when 3-D Man comes out to fight Hal passes out like a scared fainting goat. It was nice to see Peggy as well and watch her hear 3-D Man’s voice and know that it reminded her of her dead boyfriend.  Plus, it was nice to see Chuck & Hal’s parents again. The Skrulls are once more the bad guys, and they are still being a pain in 3-D Man’s butt and using dumb humans as their foot soldiers. Vince Rivers is a gold suit wearing, ego maniac Elvis wannabe who while not the real bad guy still deserved what he got when he would not stop singing after the riot broke out clearly when his voice was the trigger for the event. So far this comic series that I originally I started out thinking they would be cheesy throwaway issues has turned out to be a very entertaining read and the art by Jim Craig is classic Marvel stuff and makes it even more entertaining.

3D Man 3

Marvel Premiere: The 3-D Man # 37  **1/2
Released in 1977    Cover Price .30    Marvel Comics   #37 of 61

Vince Rivers is taken to jail, and The Skrull who acted as a DJ springs him out with the help of Skrull technology, but his escape is short lived as 3-D man once more comes to the world’s rescue and stops the Rock n Roller from getting freedom. 3-D man also finds the technology of the Skrulls that was used to free Vince and takes it away. The Skrull is furious and follows 3-D Man waiting for the chance to blast him with his ray. As 3-D Man makes his way to the club where his brother Hal is asleep to reemerge with the glasses. The Skrull fires his laser ray just as the two are about to merge and finds that his attempt at murder has done nothing, or so he thinks. Hal returns home with the Skrull technology as The Skrull now turns himself into Vice President Richard Nixon and cons a scientist into doing an experiment on himself that leaves him with the power of freezing and ice and is given the name Cold Warrior as well as a costume. When Hal decides it’s time for 3-D Man to come back out and look for the Skrull, he finds that he now controls the thoughts of 3-D Man and his brother Chuck seems to be M.I.A. causing some concern. Cold Warrior finds 3-D Man, who he thinks is a communist, and they two do battle that leaves 3-D Man the winner and The Skrull even more mad that yet another of his attacks has failed.

So this is the final issue in the Marvel Premiere 3-D Man saga, and while it’s good, I do feel that it seems a little more rushed and has a little less direction than the first two issues did. 3-D Man in this issues starts with the mind of Chuck but by the end has the mind of Hal, and this is a good story element that sadly is not explored much and seems to be just thrown into the storyline to add a little drama. As always, 3-D Man must remind himself as well as the reader that he has three time the abilities of a normal man and with this he always seems to come out ahead of whatever challenge is in his way. Hal is as smart as ever and spends his time also trying to figure out just how the Skrull device he found allowed Vince Rivers to escape.  He also kind of shrugs off the fact his mind is now in the body of 3-D Man making you wonder if maybe he now wants the glory of being a hero. Peggy and Hal’s parents seem to take a backseat in this issue as they are only shown during a BBQ in the backyard that gets rained out. Vince Rivers makes a cameo at the start of the issue and breaks out of jail only to be stopped by 3-D Man.  It’s a shame the young man’s only crime is being a rock star. The Skrull is one mean spirited manipulator who uses normal everyday men for doing evil things while masking it that they are doing good.  Plus I like how The Skrulls are his main bad guys. Cold Warrior is not really a bad guy as he thinks 3-D Man is a Russian spy and thinks by killing him he is doing America good.  His powers are like Ice Man, and he almost seems like a villain who would have been in a issue of Amazing Spider-Man in the mid 70’s if he would have gone fully bad. The things that work the most for 3-D Man is the 50’s time period and the well done blending of superhero and sci-fi making the character seem like he could have been seen on a drive-in screen alongside the likes of Radar Men From The Moon. It’s a shame that Marvel didn’t see too much potential with 3-D Man and he was never given a full series of his own. I mean he is no more silly than Human Fly and Machine Man. The downside is that the story just ends and leaves one wondering what is the fate of Chuck’s soul and did 3-D Man ever stop the Skrulls from causing chaos on Earth.  None of it answered unless you can track down other issues 3-D Man appeared in. Jim Craig’s artwork is fantastic and is the kind of work I love in these classic 70’s Marvel Comics. Below is some artwork done by Craig and captures the feel of this cheesy character.

3D Man art 1

So I am sure you are wondering about 3-D Man and his fate.  Well, his next appearance came in an issue of Incredible Hulk, and since you all know how much I enjoy The Hulk, we will take a look at that issue as well!

Incredible Hulk 251

The Incredible Hulk  # 251  **1/2
Released in 1980     Cover Price .50     Marvel Comics   #251 of 474

Bruce Banner is hiding in a ally when he is discovered by a family, but this isn’t just any family, it’s Hal Chandler, his wife Peggy and their two children Chuck and Hal Jr.  They invite him in for dinner and a place to stay for the night. After dinner Hal explains the disappearance of his brother Chuck who his firstborn son is named after, and Bruce tells stories of the town they now live in. Bruce is shown to their guest room, and the family goes to sleep, all but Hal who knows Bruce’s secret of being the Hulk and calls the police and gets out his old glasses to unleash 3-D Man after a 20 year break. Meanwhile in a cabin in the woods some hundreds of miles away, Rick Jones is in the middle of a showdown between the hoofed feet Woodgod and Doc Samson that has creatures of myth coming to the aid of their leader the Woodgod.  Rick uses an old CB radio to call for help and to his luck Chuck hears the call! Chuck rushes down to his dad and finds him in the trance and meets his uncle The 3-D Man who has been called on to protect Hal’s family from The Hulk in case the cops jar him into a fighting mood. As the cops show up and join 3-D Man, they prepare to surprise the sleeping Bruce Banner, as young Chuck rushes and warns the sleeping stranger that he has to leave and turn into The Hulk to save Rick Jones but it’s too late Bruce turns into The Hulk and starts to fight with 3-D Man who is over eager to fight the green skin monster! Hulk shows that he is too strong for 3-D Man and with some kind words from young Chuck and Peggy to stop fighting, Hulk rushes to his friends aid.  3-D Man returns to the glasses of Hal who has lots of explaining to do to his family.

Hal Chandler is not as nice of a person as we all thought he was in the Marvel Premiere three issues as in this Hulk comic it is shown that he has kept his brother 3-D Man in limbo for 20 years and has lied to his brother’s girlfriend who is now his wife about her first true love. Hal’s ego comes out and shows that he is jealous of his brother even in death and feels that if people know that he is still alive that Peggy would fall back in love with him and leave Hal in his coma state and they will see Chuck as a hero as he is 3-D Man. With that out of the way, I should point out some of the plot holes that this comic gives us.  For one, Hal is back to having a limp, and the second major one is that the last time we saw 3-D Man, he had the mind of Hal and Chuck was missing.  In this one for 20 years 3-D Man sat in limbo with the mind of Chuck and no explanation was given on how their minds switched again! 3-D Man is clearly annoyed he’s been in limbo for over 20 years yet seems very eager to fight The Hulk whom he knows nothing about, and he soon learns that his three times the power is no match for The Hulk who is the strongest there is! Peggy, who clearly settled for Hal, seems to be a little shocked when she finds out that her husband has lied to her for many years. The young Chuck is clearly a good kid as he not only warns Bruce Banner of the police but also is trying his best to get him to leave to help Rick Jones. The Hulk is as he always is, a monster who wants to be left alone but superheroes and normal men won’t leave him alone so he does what he does best and that’s smash! The Hulk in the issue is very much provoked into a fight with 3-D Man, as Hulk clearly just wants to be left alone so that he can rescue his friend. This is a good solid classic Hulk issue with art done by Sal Buscema, and next to Herb Trimpe, this is the Hulk art that I grew up on. Over all I really enjoyed this issue and any chance I get to read and talk about The Hulk here on Rotten Ink I will take, so it was very cool that in this issue he took on this update’s topic 3-D Man. So check out some of the artwork below and see the art style of Sal.

Hulk 251 art 1

3-D Man last was seen in 2008’s “Secret Invasion,” but before that Hal and Chuck no longer were 3-D Man as Chuck was able to become a real person again and they passed the costume and name to Delroy Garrett who is now the official 3-D Man. So as you can see 3-D Man has done it all from fist fighting The Hulk to being a pain in the Skrull empire’s butt, and while he is not well known, he still has made his mark on the Marvel Universe. Our next topic is a hero who is forgotten by many and never made it to the top of anyone’s favorite superhero list and that poor hero is Holo-Man.  So make sure to come back and learn about him! Until next time, watch a movie at your favorite theater, read a comic or three and as always have a fun and safe holiday season.

holoman logo

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

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

No Turkey

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

Hulk 66 Cartoon 1Hulk 66 Cartoon LogoHulk 66 Cartoon 2

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

hulk 82 cartoon 1hulk 82 cartoon logohulk 82 cartoon 2

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

hulk 96 cartoon 1hulk 96 cartoon logohulk 96 cartoon 2

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

Hulk 82 when monsters meet 1Hulk 82 when monsters meet logoHulk 82 when monsters meet 2

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

Curse Of The Cannibal Confederates 1Curse Of The Cannibal Confederates dvdCurse Of The Cannibal Confederates 2

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

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

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

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

H vs Q Art 1h vs q art 2h vs q art 3

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

The Tomb Of Ligeia Logo

MarvelProbe: When Pixels And Ink Meet

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Today I would like to talk about video games; right now on the home console market PS4 is kicking the butt of its competitors, the Nintendo WII-U and the Xbox One and with the Steam Box and even rumored Amazon Game System in the works this generation of gaming is going to be an interesting one. Most modern Triple A titles are like playing a movie as they are heavy on plots and the graphics are top notch.  Games of this style would be like Assassins Creed, Halo, God of War and Legend Of Zelda.  When playing a game like this, you are treated to beautiful breathtaking cut scenes that help draw you deeper and deeper into the plot. Also popular nowadays are the tiny mobile games that kids and adults play on their smart phones and tablets and most of these style games have very little plot and are quick play games that can kill boredom when waiting.  Examples of these games are Planets Vs. Zombies, Minecraft and Angry Birds. But for me mobile games are just kind of bland and when I want to play a video game, I want to pop in a cart or disc and grab my controller and play. In this day and age a player does not have to use much of his or hers imagination like they did back when Atari 800 or 2600 ruled the home game market with wire thin plots and pixels that were kind of in the shape of whatever your character was suppose to be. While I am sure gamers now look at classic video games like Pac-Man, Frogger and Q*Bert as primitive, nothing could prepare them for text adventure games! Yes, in the 1980’s text based games were very popular, and while some of them had some graphics at the top of the screen, many of them did not and looked like just a bunch of words on a screen waiting for simple commands to further the “adventure” along. Think of text games like the book series called Choose Your Own Adventure where by reading and making a decision, you have your character’s fate in your hands, because let’s be honest kids want to read a bunch of text in order to play a video game….right? Text based games have been made about all types of things from Dracula to World War II but some of the most popular ones were based on Marvel Super Heroes and would you know they also made comics based on their text based adventures and that’s what our main subject will be all about! So get ready to have a text not texting good time as we jump into the world of pixels and ink.

questprobe hulk screenQuestprobe Spider screenQuestprobe Human Torch Screen

Adventure International was an early video game company run by husband and wife Scott and Alexis Adams who specialized in making games for the home computer market like the Commodore 64 and Apple II that started in 1978. Scott Adams was a big name in the world of video games throughout the early 80’s, and he was mostly known for making top of the line text based adventure games.  This helped his company lock a partnership with Marvel Comics in 1984 to make a text based game series that would focus many of their top heroes.  In fact, 12 games were planned in the line as were comics that would come out alongside the games via Marvel. The first three games to come out were adventures based on The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and Human Torch & The Thing from the Fantastic Four. The main plot had the heroes being studded by a unknown figure called Chief Examiner who would place them in odd places and situations to see how they would react to them. But sadly Adventure International hit a financial snag and closed up shop in 1985 leaving the 4th game,which was based around the X-Men, unfinished and the remaining titles in the line canceled. While his company may have closed shop Scott Adams still continued to make computer games throughout the years and even as of 2013 made a comeback after 10 years of not creating his own game made a text game called “The Inheritance” and remains an icon of PC Gaming.

Questprobe SpiderMan C64Adventure International logoQuestprobe Fantastic Four Atari

Growing up the only text based games I could remember playing were ones that my Uncle Thurman would bring to our house in Waynesville when he and my Aunt Teresa would come visit us as kids. Most of the ones he had were more like dungeon and dragons and were the strict text ones with no graphics and were all for Commodore 64. I can remember one time looking through his massive collection of games all on floppy disks and finding Dracula and asking him if we could play it but after several tries the game never did load.  That’s one of the downsides to Commodore 64, it had lots of issues loading and when it was loading the time to get your game to start was very long. Imagine kids of today who already complain about the install times of modern games trying to play a full game on Commodore where you had to wait for it to not only load the game but also most of the times each level! But I will move on and over the years text games seemed like an oddity to me and captured my attention as I never could wrap my head around why gamers of the past found them to be hours of fun, and I got a reason to buy some when I started to review Video Games on my old website for my production company Bloodline Video a few years back under the name of Xmortis. So after getting a complete working Commodore 64 with the datasette reader and floppy drive from Game Swap, I looked for a text based game that I could review and it came down to one called Wolfman and the other being Questprobe: Incredible Hulk and when a cassette version of Questprobe popped up cheap on Ebay it became the lucky winner. The game is text based but does have graphics that for the time are really fun and try their hardest to look like comic book art.  I have to admit playing the first few times I hated it and was so frustrated by the lame commands that I would get bored and shut the game off or even gasp! Die in the game! How could I let The Hulk, one of my favorite comic characters, die in a lame text game is what I kept thinking, but finally I hate to admit it but I used an online walk through for what commands to give him and beat the game by cheating. The review never made it up on the site, and I hope to someday get back to Bloodline’s site and return it to the review and production glory it once was. As for now how I feel about Questprobe Hulk, I hate to admit it but I do like the idea of it, mostly cause it was the first video game based on Hulk. Below is the cover box for the game as well as some screen shots for you to feast your eyes on and enjoy all the pixel goodness.

Questprobe hulk 1-1Questprobe Hulk C64Questprobe Hulk 1

Marvel Comics had a great thing going, not only did they have characters in video games now being written by Scott Adams but they could also get a 12 issue mini series from it that would help boost the sales of the game as also the game could boost the sales of the comics. This team up was truly a time when ink meet pixels, and the team up would have been perfect if not for the game company’s sudden shut down. Marvel during this time I am sure had a tough decision to make as they could continue a comic series based on games that were no longer being made or they could do the unthinkable and just cancel the mini series and leave fans hanging on what and who Chief Examiner was and what he wanted…and Marvel did what they always do they pulled the plug and walked away from the idea and as time passed did kind of wrap up the story in Marvel Fanfare # 33 where they printed the X-Men story and later in Quasar they added in the story of Questprobe. So on this update we are only going to cover the three issues released in the original mini series and will be graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I want to thank the vendor at Fright Night Film Fest for having issue # in stock and Lone Star Comics for the remaining two issues. So let’s pop these comics into the datasette player and type in the load keys and enjoy pixels and ink together.

Questprobe 1

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

A race of peaceful aliens are preparing for an invasion from other aliens who are war hawks and want to kill them all as well as their planet.  They all turn on Durgan, a member of there council who wants to fight back and not just roll over and die. When Durgan leaves the meeting he knows that something has to be done so he dons a giant helmet and calls himself the Chief Examiner and heads to Earth to steal the powers of some of our top super heroes to use in a fight with the invading aliens. On Earth The Incredible Hulk is facing off with the National Guard and after making short work of their tanks, he heads off to find a place to sleep and does so in a cave on the side of a cannon. When entering the cave, the Hulk sees the Natter Energy Egg and the Blood Red Bio-Gem right as the two explode.  This event makes The Hulk tired and he falls asleep turning back in Bruce Banner and finally getting some piece and quite. Banner’s rest is quickly cut short as Chief Examiner enters the cave and tells him that he needs to have him walk through a door portal so that he can drain his power! Banner fights back and runs from the cave but soon learns that the cave is high and he is fallen to his death! Before he hits the ground he turns into The Hulk as the Chief Examiner tries to force him to enter the door portal, The Hulk doesn’t like to be told what to do and goes on a rampage to smash the dome headed alien into the ground, during this fight a group of white water rafters are knocked over when Hulk goes under water and breaks off one of the sides of the canon and pins Chief Examiner down, but by doing so the huge rock is blocking the river and causes the rafters to fall into the raging water. The Hulk dives in and pulls out all the males and see’s that the female is stuck in a whirlpool! The only way to get to her is by jumping into the portal doorway and he does so losing some of his power yet saving a young woman’s life. The Chief Examiner leaves with his prize the stolen energy as The Hulk waits to make sure the woman is okay and to remain some energy and leaps off into the sky.

This is a fun Hulk adventure that is a cool tie in for a video game and explains the strange world that the Hulk is found in during the text based adventure Game. The plot is pretty simple and has an alien who’s planet is under attack who travels to Earth to steal powers off powerful humans so that he can use it against the attackers, the first one he targets is Hulk cause of his brute strength. He tries to force the Hulk to enter his black doorway that allows him to steal/mimic his power and only does so when he forces The Hulk to make a decision to save a woman’s life and jump through the door or let her die and avoid the door. The Hulk in this issue is the simple minded version who just wants to be left alone and knows that his brute power is the best way to keep everyone away, this is my favorite version of the Hulk as he is the one truly grew up reading and the one that made me a lifelong fan next to the TV Show. I love the fact that while The Hulk is a “monster” in the eyes of humans he risks his own safety in this comic to save the life of one of them and by the end the humans seem to have a new respect for the green skin goliath. The Chief Examiner while not a full bad guy still is going about getting help in his planets soon to be war all the wrong ways, not once does he even try to explain to the Hulk why he needs his power nor does he even tell the power house about his planets upcoming doom or asks if Hulk would come back and help. Plus it’s great when The Hulk pins Chief Examiner down with a giant stone and how easily in the alien’s mind he gave up and knew that the Hulk could kill him with one punch. The comic’s art is done by the amazing Mark Gruenwald and inked by John Romita Jr. making for one powerful team that turned in a great looking comic, and the cover is amazing and is also what’s used for the video game. So in this first issue Chief Examiner gets the power of the Hulk, and now who’s next on his hit list of stealing powers?

Questprobe 1-1 artQuestprobe 1-2 artQuestprobe 1-3 art

So in this first issue Chief Examiner gets the power of the Hulk, and now who’s next on his hit list of stealing powers? Let’s jump into issue two and see what he has planned for Spider-Man!

Questprobe 2

Questprobe # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #2 of 12

Spider-Man is feeling a little down in the dumps as the city is hot and he has a lot on his mind as his personal life is a mess. Meanwhile in prison, Quentin Beck comes up with a plan to escape so he can don his Mysterio outfit once more and challenge Spider-Man to a final fight! While on a distant planet the peaceful aliens watch as The Black Fleet conquers another planet and is heading their way, as Durgan also known as The Chief Examiner sets his sights now on steal/borrowing the power of Spider-Man to mix with that of the Hulk he already has taken. Tuskar is a student of Durgan and wants to find his old teacher and see if he can help as it’s shown the Black Fleet really just wants the Red Bio-Gem’s cause when put together they hold massive power, and the kicker are the Gems are alive and are kind of evil! Mysterio shows up to the Daily Bugle and holds everyone hostage as Spider-Man shows up to save them and the two fight it out, all the while Mysterio is using cheap and dirty FX inspired tricks on his foe. The Chief Examiner shows up and tries to get Spidey to go through his portal but web-head thinks that Examiner is just a costume change for Mysterio as they both wear domes over their faces, in the end Spider-Man figures out they are not the same person and is forced to dive into Examiner’s portal to escape an attack by Mysterio that leaves our hero weak, and just as Mysterio is to finish off Spider-Man the Red Bio-Gem uses its power to make The Chief Examiner try and steal the power of Mysterio given Spider-Man some breath time and getting his energy back to beat Mysterio and watch as The Chief Examiner disappears.

This issue is a good one and is a fun story to break up the normal story line that was going on in the main Spider-Man comic series at the time, but I will also say that it almost feels as if the writers of this issue in this mini series didn’t talk to the ones who made issue # 1. Because now I am not 100% sure if Durgan is The Chief Examiner or if the Red Bio-Gem on his planet is, as both seem to be in control of the dome headed power stealing loony. The Chief Examiner seems to be a little more polite in this issue and less forceful in making Spider-Man get into his portal than he was with The Hulk, but in this one he seems to be almost a ghost as nothing is under the robe making me scratch my head to as how then in issue # 1 Hulk was able to pin him to the ground and make him fear for his life. I kind of am so-so with the idea of the Red Power-Gems being alive and having the Energy Eggs around them as a way to keep them in line.  Yep, if the egg feels they are in danger it blows up killing the gem and it’s power. Spider-Man is as he was in the 80’s, filled with one liners and drama with girlfriends, but I wouldn’t want the web slinger any other way. Mysterio was the perfect  bad guy to use in this issue as he does look a lot like The Chief Examiner making for Spider-Man to have an almost “Who’s On First” kind of moments as he jumps from room to room. We will have to see what Tuskar is all about and if he will play out as a major player in the next issue. The art is by Al Milgrom and has that 70’s style Spider-Man appeal, the cover as well is just taken from the video games cover box. One smart move they did in this issue is they ask the question want to see what happened to Spider-Man’s power once he entered the portal, cause if you do go buy the game! Over all a good issue two that sadly leads us to the final issue in what was to be a 12 issue mini series.

Questprobe 2-1 art

So The Chief Examiner has collected the powers of The Hulk and Spider-Man but can he now get the powers of members of the Fantastic Four? Lets read issue # 3 and find out!

Questprobe 3

Questprobe # 3   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #3 of 12

Johnny Storm and his blind girlfriend Alicia Masters return to the Baxter Building the base of The Fantastic Four to retrieve some books but while their they get a visit from The Chief Examiner who wants Storm’s powers! Johnny Storm flames on and turns into The Human Torch just in time to fight some robots that are being controlled by The Examiner who has taken over all of the electronics in the Baxter Building. After destroying many of the robots Human Torch is sprayed with water and tuned back into Johnny Storm and he and Alicia try and escape as The Chief Examiner still is forceful that Torch goes through is portal so he can have his power! Johnny and Alicia get onto a secret elevator to try and escape and give Johnny time to dry off to become Human Torch again, meanwhile She-Hulk has returned home from grocery shopping and rushes to Johnny’s aid as The Chief Examiner forces them out of the Elevator he uses a fantasticar to try and kill She-Hulk who knocks it away and it bounces off the wall and heads towards Alicia Masters and Human Torch rushes to save her from being crushed just as The Chief Examiner places his portal in front of them tricking him into going through and stealing the power of the Human Torch and poof he’s gone and they are all safe.  The Power-Gem during this time also overhears that Durgan wants the help of Tuskar to gain more superpowers and to stop the Black Fleet. The Chief Examiner then pops up onto the alien planet that The Thing is on after the events of the Secret Wars and uses a twisted version of The Baxter Building to trick him into going through the portal and stealing his power.

This third issue is good but not nearly as good as the first two issues in the series and almost seems like a filler issue that has a touch of rush feeling. The first target is The Human Torch who The Chief Examiner tricks into getting into the portal by placing it between him and Alicia who was in danger, his intent to kill She-Hulk shows that the character is really at odds with being controlled by The Power Gem who is starting to really be the main villain of the series. It’s clear that The Human Torch is the main focus hero of this issue as the second target The Thing’s brief moments at the end of the issue is kind of a waste and not nearly as interesting as all the others who have been tricked before him. Weird enough as well is the fact the main story of Durgan also seems to be a second thought in the issue, making this one that’s kind of bland to talk about so lets just go ahead and wrap it up shall we. I will also say its odd that The Chief Examiner didn’t want to try and steal the powers of She-Hulk instead his first thought is to try and kill her, I am sure her power on top of Hulks and The Things would make him even more powerful and a force to be reckoned with.  This issues art is done by Ron Wilson and is clearly a Fantastic Four style art. Cover is like the game same as the others and I must say while again a fun read it was also very lackluster and lost the “epic adventure” feel that the other two issues had.

Questprobe 3-1 artQuestprobe 3-2 artQuestprobe 3-3 art

It’s truly a shame that this mini series and video game series was cut so short as they had so many more Marvel heroes that could have been made into both.  Just imagine this series continuing not only with the already planned X-Men but also Captain America, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Thor to name a few. I truly feel that Marvel let all the fans down of the comic mini series and the video game series by just stopping the story arch before anything was really settled. But I guess that truly was the Marvel way just stop production on series without a second thought about their fans. So next month is September, and it will be the kick off to Rotten Ink’s second Halloween update that will go up on October 31st. For those who remember last year we took a look at comics based on Hammer Horror films well this year will be a little different and something I am super happy to bring all you friends and readers. But our next update will be a secret but I will drop you a giant hint when I say he hates New York! So until then think about it, plus play a video game and read a comic or two.

The Incredible Brute

Welcome back, everyone! After traveling the comic shops in the area looking for issues to get for this blog, I got a sad feeling when I remembered that one of the best comic stores in the area has not been in business for many years now.  That was a shop called The Bookie Parlor, run by Hal and Sue Blevins. Bookie Parlor not only had the new comics that came out every Wednesday, but they also had a huge selection of back issues, old comic related books, t-shirts, posters, and sports and trading cards. When I was younger I spent many hours going through their cheap bin and Incredible Hulk back issues and remember always be greeted with Hal’s gravelly voice as he would say “Welcome to the Bookie Parlor” and would go right back pricing sports cards.  Most of the times I was there, he seemed to be messing with sports cards. Many teens and kids would complain about Hal being rude to them, and while he was gruff, he always treated me with respect and would help me find issues I needed. His wife Sue was always super nice and would always make you feel welcome. Everything in the shop was easy to find and Hal always seemed to get new back issues that he would restock like clock work. My brother and I used to always imitate Hal to each other and would chuckle as we would watch him go off on people in his shop, oh the good times of that. My first knowledge of Bookie Parlor came when his shop was on Wayne Ave near downtown Dayton. The side of the building had a huge painting of Superman plus the bicentennial march of Spider-Man, Hulk and Captain America.  Every time we would pass it going to my grandparents’ house or Renaissance Music (the best record store EVER in Dayton), my Brother and I would get super hyped to see the paintings. It wouldn’t be until years later when the shop moved to Wilmington in Kettering that we would actually get to shop there. Thanks to Hal and his trading cards, I learned who Bettie Page was as I would buy cards based on the sexy pin-up model. Bookie Parlor maybe gone but it won’t be forgotten.  The years of great nerdom the store spread is still felt to this day.

marvel 1976Hal Bookiebettie page

The Bookie Parlor also introduced me to a small comic company from the 70’s called Atlas Comics that will lead us into our look at The Brute. As I mentioned, The Bookie Parlor had a great cheap bin of comics that I would raid for off the wall comics, some that were in terrible shape but among these misfit comics I found a comic called The Brute, that had a huge ape like man rampaging in the streets like the Incredible Hulk. The cover piqued my interest, and the issue came home with me.  I read the comic and loved it and so began my love for Atlas Comics. In 1974 Seaboard/Atlas Comics was created by Martin Goodman (the man who made the launch company that would become Marvel) and was his way to compete with Marvel and DC. Goodman hired many veteran comic workers and aimed to make his company # 1 in the market. But sadly only one year later the company would shut down, and Atlas was forgotten. But not only did great characters like Iron Jaw, Wulf, Grim Ghost, Brute and Son of Dracula come from this company but so did the power to creators! You see if you made a character for Marvel and DC, they would own the character once it was green-lit but at Atlas the character was the creator’s property and this gave the power back to the people who made comics what they were.  There could be no Stan Lee slapping his name onto anything and everything, making the world believe he created it. This noble stand was also what Image Comics was founded on showing that Goodman had truly the right Idea. In 2010 Goodman’s grandson relaunched the company that is still going. To this day I still love Atlas Comics and look forward to exploring its many back issues.

Atlas Comic Logo

Now I am sure many of you are thinking what the heck is The Brute?! Well let me sum him up real quick for you so that you might have more of a bond with the savage man-beast. The Brute is a primitive man, half human and half ape.  He has the mind of a hunter and was frozen in a block of ice during the ice age.  In 1975 the temperatures have heated up and freed this hunter from his icy prison. Now he is free and has traded bears for human prey as this hunter does what he knows best and that’s killing. The Brute has blue skin, long black hair and ape like features making him very different looking than modern man. He is also very tall and very strong making him a major threat to those he crosses.

Brute 2

 So with that let’s get down to business and take a look at the 3 issue run of The Brute for Atlas Comics.  Remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. This review is a team up from Bookie Parlor, Mavericks Cards and Comics and Bell Book and Comic. 

The Brute 1

The Brute # 1  ***
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25   Atlas Comics   #1 of 3

Three brothers enter a limestone cave and only one leaves alive as a primitive missing link of a man makes two of them dinner! Sherif Frazier with his force alongside Dr. Turner, a female scientist who wants to study the beast man once he’s captured, go to the scene. Frazier and his men capture The Brute and then it must stand trial for the murders. Dr. Turner wants to study the creature while the father of the dead boys wants it dead.  The judge sides with Turner but puts her fully in charge of the beast man. Turner works for months with The Brute and forms a bond with it.  One night the father breaks in and knocks Turner out, letting The Brute free! The Brute kills the father and leaves the jail.  When Turner comes to, she is in trouble for it escaping and Sherif Frazier gives the order to capture it alive or dead!

This 1st issue reads like a pure B-Movie and would have been right at home not only in comics but also on a drive-in movie screen. In this issue, The Brute is very much a killer and more animal then human, but after his friendship with Turner, more of its human side is shown giving this nonspeaking character some depth. Dr. Turner is turning out to be just like Rick Jones as far as being a mindless monsters friend and trying to make it do good. Sherif Frazier is a hero but not given much to do after he captures the Brute. What works the most for this comic is the story.  While it’s very simple and for all accounts not all that original, it still holds something that’s sure to please cheesy horror/sci-fi fans as well as fans of comic characters like The Hulk, Man-Thing and Solomone Grundy. The art is pretty good and has that classic 70’s look and could easily have the Marvel logo on the front in terms of quality. The cover while very cheesy is still a classic Atlas cover. At 33, I found myself still loving this issue and enjoying the hell out of it! So let’s get down to issue 2 and see if the charm is still there for the blue skinned Brute.  Oh yeah think about that: The Hulk is green skinned and The Brute is blue skinned – clearly this was Atlas’s attempt to capture Hulk fans. 

The Bute 2

The Brute # 2  ***
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25   Atlas Comics   #2 of 3

The Brute hides on a small plane and in fear causes it to crash deep into the woods.  But before the crash, the pilot is able to send out an SOS call and speak of a monster on board. After the crash, The Brute is injured but alive and is found by a mad scientist named Dr. Speer and his deformed assistant Eric who take him to their secret lab and turn The Brute into a mindless slave. No longer needing Eric, Speer has The Brute kill him and then go after members of the science board that had taken his license away so he can turn them into reptile people! As this goes on, Sherif Frazier goes to Dr. Turner tells her of the plane crash and says if she can get there before the cops she might be able to save The Brute’s life. When Dr. Turner gets there, she is attacked by Speer who wants her to become a female reptile person in order to mate with one of his other freaks, but The Brute breaks the mind control and proceeds to beat up all the reptile people and then kills Dr. Speer. The fight leaves the hidden lad in flames, leaving Dr. Turner to think The Brute is dead but this is not the case as it wanders off into the woods.

It’s Frankenstein meets cave man once more, much like the 1974 film “Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks.”  But this time throw in some reptile people, and you have an issue that is slightly better than the first. In this issue The Brute is still the mindless killing machine but for the most part is mind controlled by an evil doctor who is hell bent on making all humans into reptiles. Once more The Brute is shown to understand friendship as he breaks his mind control to save his only friend, Dr. Ann Turner. The plot of this one also reminds me of “House of Frankenstein” in which a Mad Scientist wants nothing more than revenge on fellow scientists who have spoken out against his crazed work. Dr. Turner is a likable character who you find yourself wanting to see help The Brute from being killed. Sherif Frazier has very little time in this issue and is shown to be a friend of The Brute as he gives Turner a lead to save its life. The art is pure Marvel Horror and makes the comic seem even better. The cover again is good work and makes for an eye catching issue. I think so far this is a great solid series that showcases an amazing powerhouse character. Let’s see if issue 3 can end the series with a good finisher.

The Brute 3

The Brute # 3  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25   Atlas Comics   #3 of 3

The Brute is alone in the woods, confused and hungry, when Sherif Frazier sends his men out to capture him.  At first they are told to kill The Brute, but Frazier’s crush on Turner makes him change his mind to capture him. One cop disobeys orders and puts a bullet into The Brute’s brain.  What should have killed him only puts him at death’s door. The Brute is rushed to surgery where its life is saved and it starts to learn to talk, but when The Brute escapes again he runs around looking for a ball to play with like a child would. But The Brute is about to meet his match as a super being called Doomstalker takes the beast down and makes threats to the cops! And so ends Issues 3 on a cliffhanger that was never resolved.

This third issue starts off with a bang and is a great story but when Doomstalker enters the issue, it slips a little. This one has The Brute learning how to speak, showing that the primitive man is learning. In this issue the Brute is pure Hulk rip off at the start complete with torn purple pants and childlike actions. Dr. Turner is turned up a notch as well and for some reason is a total flirt! Sherif Frazier is more of a hard ass with a soft spot in this issue, changing the past vibes the character has given off. The addition of another mad doctor with a super being is a little silly and Doomstalker seems like a total hammy generic bad guy goof. There’s also the normal drama of the cops trying to kill or capture the Brute, making it have a slight been-there-done-that feel. This was not intended to be the final issue but as fate would have it, this issue did mark the end of The Brute’s run at the Seaboard Atlas Comics.

The Brute was the first comic I read from Atlas comics and remains one of my favorites from the short lived company. It’s a shame that his tragic story never fully unfolded and at the end of issue 3 you are not sure if he’s alive or dead and what the fates of Dr. Turner and Sherif Frazier will be. That’s one thing that always sucks, when a series never gets to have a full ending much like many of the STAR Comics we have reviewed in the past.  It makes your wonder the fate of characters you have invested time and emotions into. While it’s clear as day that this is a cheap cash in on Incredible Hulk, the Brute still makes his mark in my comic world. Man with all this talk of Incredible Hulk, I have decided to also do a quick review for issue # 121 from that series and will also try something new after that! So with no further wait, let’s take a look at Incredible Hulk. 

Incredible_Hulk_Vol_1_121

The Incredible Hulk # 121   ***
Released in 1969   Cover Price .15   Marvel Comics   #121 of 474

The Incredible Hulk has a hurt leg and decides to hide out in the swamps of Florida after he has a mishap with a rocket. The Hulk wanders the area enjoying the peace and quiet, taking in the sights of nature. General Thunderbolt Ross, alongside Major Talbot, is planning his next attack on The Hulk when they get word he has been hit by a rocket and landed in the swamps of Florida.  They whisk off to attack him. Meanwhile in the swamp, a thing has come out of the muck, once a man who was on the run, now a giant mucky monster known as The Glob. Thunderbolt and his men head into the swamp as Talbot stays with Betty Ross (the general’s daughter and lover of Hulk’s other side Bruce Banner) and they stay at a hotel near the swamp. As The Hulk fights with the army, The Glob is attracted to Betty and comes for her and takes her deep into the swamp. After Hulk beats the army he must save Betty from The Glob and must do so with a very badly hurt leg! In the end a toxic substance the army put into the swamp water ends the Glob and he makes sure Betty is out of harms way and into the hands of The Hulk.

This is a great classic Hulk vs. other monster match as he takes on the swamp muck man The Glob. This fight is pretty lackluster as The Hulk is fighting with a bum leg and The Glob seems not to even care to fight. The Glob is very underused in Marvel Comics and mostly only fought The Hulk and Man-Thing.  While he is a mute villain, he can still add some trouble for any hero he faces. It was also nice to see The Hulk hurt in this issue stacking the odds against him as he had to take on Thunderbolt and his men as well as The Glob, The Hulk is one of the strongest characters in comic history so seeing him as an underdog was nice. Thunderbolt Ross is as always a bitter old man who will stop at nothing to crush The Hulk once and for all, but does show some mercy as The Hulk saves his daughter and quietly gets away into the swamp. Betty Ross is still sweet as ever and cares about Bruce Banner and The Hulk knowing they are one in the same. General Talbot is as sleazy as ever and while a good man, he still is not to be trusted. Over all this is a great issue in the long running Incredible Hulk comic series and has a monster battler as well as an monster vs. army battle so what more could a reader want! The art is amazing classic Marvel and the style I miss in modern comics.  The plot is your classic Hulk story. The cover is eye catching and lets you know that you will see two monsters fighting it out.

So with that, let’s take a new look at something new here: a dream match up that pits three monsters against each other! Fighter one is The Glob, the muck monster of Florida! Fighter two is the primitive powerhouse The Brute! And the third is the green skin power house The Hulk!

The GlobVSThe BruteVSIncredible Hulk

The battle place will be the swamps of Louisiana and The Glob will be the first one there.  As he comes from the muddy banks he shuffles around, almost lost in his own thoughts, but at that moment The Hulk lands from one of his mighty leaps.  The Hulk knows The Glob and knows they have fought in the past and a battle is about to happen as Thunderbolt Ross drops in his new secret weapon that he captured known as The Brute into the battle ground! The three monsters would size each other up, and then the battle would start. The underdog of the fight would have to be The Brute.  While he is strong, he is still mortal and can feel pain. The wildcard would be The Glob.  While he is not super strong, he has enough power to inflict some major damage, and with being mute he could hide in the back and choose when to strike. The odds on favorite is The Hulk with his brute strength and pure raging power. I think The Hulk and The Brute would go at each other first, and The Hulk would make quick work of The Brute with a few well placed punches.  The Glob would then attack from behind and would get the best of The Hulk for a brief moment, but when Hulk got his balance back, a well placed Thunderclap and ground stomp would send The Glob into the opened Earth.

WINNER: The Incredible Hulk

Atlas Comics is a short lived company that had a good impact on my life and showed me a whole new world of independent company. So this update I got to look back on The Bookie Parlor, The Brute, a primal man and The Hulk, my favorite superhero of all time. Next up is Dark Horse Comics’ short take on horror icon Pumpkinhead! See ya next time.

Pumpkinhead logo

Marvel vs. DC….. Round 1…..FIGHT!

Growing up, horror films were always important to me and nothing could get my attention more than a classic Universal Monster movie.  There was just something about those black and white spooky motion pictures that drew my young mind in, and another thing that always got my attention was horror host shows! Horror hosting is an art that has been around since 1954 when Vampira took to the airwaves in California and hosted bad b-films on late night television.  Many great names have followed that include Zacherley, Marvin, Sammy Terry, Sir Graves Ghastly, Ghoulardi, The Cool Ghoul, Bob Wilkins, Sivad and so many more ghouls took to local airwaves and chilled the blood and tickled the funny bone of their local towns from the 1950’s throughout the 1960’s. Sadly younger fans like myself who weren’t born yet were unable to watch these hosts in their prime, and due to the fact most were shot live or the ones that were taped were erased and reused to film other programs, many of these classic shows are gone forever. Two hosts from this period really have peaked my interest.  The Great Zucchini of Supernatural Theatre started in 1968 on WDCA-TV channel 20 in Washington D.C.and was a one time actor who was horribly burned and now lived in the stations basement and was a mean spirited chap who hated glass and would smash bottles and such with his cane.  He also was very mean to his off screen sidekick Waldo and the viewers.  Zucchini was played by Bill Miller who worked at the station and was fired from the show when he asked for a raise. Next up is The Madman of Des Moines, a host that not much is known about, who hosted flicks in Iowa.  His look was that of a beast type man who looked like he could have been from The Island of Dr. Monroe! If anyone has any of these two’s shows please contact me; I would love to see them and will make it worth your while!

great zucchinithe madman of des moins

Horror hosting continued into the 70’s and many classic iconic hosts were born out of this era that include Dr. Creep, Baron Von Wolfenstein, Fritz The Nite Owl, Svengoolie, The Ghoul, Sir Cecil Creape, Count Scary and many more.  1972 was when Dr. Creep (Barry Hobart) hit the airwaves in Dayton, Ohio with his show Shock Theatre and things would never be the same for those he entertained. Dr. Creep was a loveable ghoul who would host films along co-hosts like Duffy The Dog, Dow Thomas, Obieyoyo, Firma and more.  They would parody TV shows, commercials and music giving the viewers some great laughs before they witnessed the late night horror picture. At a young age I was living in Kettering, Ohio and my brother was going to Beavertown Elementary.  At Christmas time he went on a field trip to Chakeres also known as The Kettering Theater to watch “Sindad and the Eye of the Tiger” and while there he got to meet Mugruff the Crime Dog and more importantly Dr. Creep! My brother won a gift that turned out to be a Transformer and got his picture taken with the pair.  When returning home from school I got an earful about this ghoul named Dr. Creep, and when the picture came I was amazed by this man! After always talking about Dr. Creep my Mom gave in and let us stay up and watch an episode with our dad who was already a fan, and this was the start of my love for horror hosting. My mom also tells me when I was young like 4 or 5 she and my dad took me and my brother to Beavertown for a meet and great with Dr. Creep where I got his autograph! In 1985 Shock Theatre had come to an end, and Channel 22, who ran the show, retired the character and would not allow Barry to don the make-up and cape, leaving the area without a horror host. During his first run, Dr. Creep was a man on a mission as he helped numerous charities and made public appearances whenever he could, making him a true star to all those who got the chance to meet him. But you can’t keep a good ghoul down when in 1999 local filmmaker Andy Copp and RMM Agency owner Rick Martin brought the Creeper back to TV sets with The New Shock Theater that had Creep hosting public domain films on public access.  This ran until 2005. It was during his second run that I got to become friends with Dr. Creep and learned not only about the host but also the man who played the host, Barry Hobart. Getting to spend time with him at conventions like Cinema Wasteland, Scary Camp and Horrorhound Weekend and hanging with him at Foy’s Halloween Shop in Fairborn are memories that are truly special. Sadly Barry Hobart passed away in 2011, and the world lost a true icon in hosting and more important I lost a friend. Halloween in this town won’t be the same with out him.

Creep PartyDr. Creep HorrorhoundDr. Creep and Me

Another host that I have been looking for copies of his show is The Shroud of Nightmare Theatre that ran on Fort Wayne, Indiana WFFT-TV channel 55 from 1979 – 1983. The Shroud wore all black and would wear an almost executioners mask as well as a long cape. The Shroud was a host that took the grim approach and would host the film without jokes and gags and give you the straight terror as he spoke with his deep voice. The Shroud was played by Don Paris, and I would love to see this man come back to host one more show for the fans! Again if you have copies of this show, please let me know.

The Shroud

The 1980’s brought horror hosting to an all new level as major cable networks and companies got into the host business and such horror hosts as Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Joe Bob Briggs, Commander USA and Grandpa Munster all had shows that aired all over the USA. Growing up I tried to never miss an episode of Commander USA’s Groovie Movies that aired on the USA Network and always tried to tape Super Scary Saturday with Grandpa Munster that aired on TBS.  I know a beta tape is floating around somewhere at my brother’s house that has the episode where Grandpa hosts King Kong vs. Godzilla! Joe Bob Briggs was on the Movie Channel so I didn’t get to watch at first but once he jumped to TNT and started hosting Monstervision, I was hooked on his style of hosting. I caught Elvira a few times.  While a fan of her looks and gothic style, I mostly remember her from her film and years later became more of a fan of her show Movie Macabre. These hosts paved the way for many more that include the cast of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and Rhonda Shear & Gilbert Gottfried of USA’s Up All Night. But also local hosts were still going strong with such names as Stella Desire, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Son of Ghoul and many more, all leading viewers to tune into home grown shows. I loved catching horror host shows in the 80’s and thanks to the magic of trade sites I have been able to get my hands on many great episodes of Commander USA and Grandpa making me feel like a kid again as I watch.

CommanderUSA the manGrandpajoe bob briggs0

The 90’s in hosting still had many of the main stay cable hosts, and lots of the 80’s local hosts stuck around, but this was also the birth of hosts being on public access television.  As local markets changed many stations did away with local made shows, driving the horror host off airwaves and many of them turned to the local accesses stations in order to continue entertaining. This change also led to local access hosts no longer being able to show films owned by major studios like Universal, Paramount or WB and left them with films in the public domain, free of copyright. Great hosts like Dr. Gangrene, Dr. Sarcofiguy, Spooky Spectre, The Gravemaster and more all filled the airwaves entertaining late night viewers.This was truly the birth of a new breed of host, the kind who worked under no strict station rules and were able to make their vision of their own shows.

dr gangrenespooky spectreThe Gravemaster

Now on to the present day hosts, and man there are a lot of them! In this day and age horror host fans are treated to many amazing hosts and best part is they are also treated to legends who after all these years still do a shows from time to time. Horror hosting has become available in many different formats, from syndication TV, public access, direct to DVD, internet, trade lists and downloads, giving fans new ways to watch their favorite host or discover a new one! Plus many horror, sci-fi, car and paranormal conventions book hosts as guests giving the viewer many ways to connect with a host. Some of the modern hosts include Ms. Monster, Roxsy Tyler, Riggor Mortiss, Victor Von Scary, Horror Dungeon, Count Gregula, Uncle Wolf Man, Atomic Age Cinema, Professor Gillman, Mod Ghoul, Wolfman Mac, Marlena Midnite and so many more colorful ghouls. Marlena Midnite hosted a show called “Midnite Mausoleum” alongside Robyn Graves and directed by Blake Powell, and they are some of the nicest people you will ever meet! Marlena is the true definition of what a horror hostess should be and she has so much charm and appeal that I could easily see her being the next big hostess next to Elvira.  Sadly in the Spring of 2013 Midnite Mausoleum stopped production on new episodes, I hope that one day they return to the hosting world.

MidniteRiggorroxsy

Growing up watching the likes of Dr. Creep, Commander USA, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Grandpa Munster, Joe Bob Briggs and a handful of others made me think to myself “Hey why don’t I dig up a ghoul and make a show of my own,” and that’s what I did in late 2010 when I dug up Baron and Baroness Von Porkchop, and together along with their butler Bean, we made Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. The Baron is a 1800’s Slaughterhouse baron who was the times largest manufacture of pork meats, his lovely wife Baroness was a beauty queen who would always win the annual Slaughterhouse Queen pageant and let’s just say they had an accident that left them both dead that involved a terrible wagon wreck! Now The Baron and friends entertain Dayton area viewers via public accesses stations DATV and MVCC and online station The Monster Channel. Working alongside The Baron has also let me meet some amazing hosts and befriend them like Sammy Terry, Stella Desire, Count Gore De Vol, The Atomic Age Cinema gang, Count Gregula and many more! Terrifying Tales of the Macabre is still going strong with no signs of slowing town and for me this is a blessing for I have found a media that to me feels just like home.

Baron Von PorkchopBaron Episode 15Baroness Von Porkchop

But enough of my small little history lesson about horror hosting, the main reason we are here is to talk about big time battles between two iconic characters that leave you breathless and wondering who is going to win in the epic show down. One of the first movies to do this for me was the 1943 Universal Monster Classic “Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man” in which they paired two of their icons against each other. The film’s plot has Larry Talbot (The Wolf Man) being awaken from his death by two grave robbers and wanting to find a way to find peace whether by death or a cure. Along the way he meets a granddaughter of Dr. Frankenstein and along with another small town doctor they decide to help end the curse, but they also find The Frankenstein Monster who is weak yet alive! In the end the small town Doctor makes the mistake of wanting to see The Monster at full strength and by doing so it’s too late Larry turns into The Wolf Man as The Monster gets his energy back and the two battle before the village damn is blown drowning both monsters.  This film has always been epic to me, and the strangest part about it is that the two monsters don’t really clash at all until say the last 2 or 3 minutes of the film. When the two titans of fright do fight it’s just smacks, jump attacks and sluggish blows.  Imagine two 400 pound wrestlers going at each other and that’s what you get with this fight. While not a slugfest like one would imagine, this film did help pave the way for many other great monster fight films like Freddy vs. Jason, Dracula vs. Frankenstein and even Alien vs. Predator. If you have not seen this film and you love classic horror, check out this Universal Monster mash up.  It’s worth your time.

Frank wolfFrankenstein Meets The Wolf Man PosterMonster chokes Wolfman

In my youth another amazing monster fight film was the 1963 battle between the giant gorilla King Kong and the fire breathing lizard Godzilla. As a kid I was obsessed with Godzilla, and thanks to TV station TBS and shows like Super Scary Saturday, I was able to catch his films on Saturday mornings. I can remember watching it on Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grandpa Munster and being amazed as they had wrestlers from the NWA on acting as the monsters’ managers! King Kong had Michael “P.S.” Hayes in his corner as Godzilla had Jim Cornette in his and Grandpa Munster acted super hyped to witness this battle of the giant rubber suited monsters. The film has Godzilla once more tormenting boats around Japan, and a group goes to an island and drugs and brings back King Kong to make money off off him and to fight and stop Godzilla. The fight is epic as both monsters go for the kill, and both are fired up to win the bragging rights. For some reason in the film King Kong gets stronger if he is struck by lighting, and I heard that this is the case because originally it was supposed to be The Frankenstein Monster fighting Godzilla. In the end there is no clear cut winner as it looks as if maybe King Kong got the upper hand as he crosses the ocean to go back home. If you like pure cheese giant monsters movies and want to watch two of the worlds top big monsters slug it out, then check out this film, but be warned as always there is a lot of human talking that is boring in spots.

Zilla Kong DanceKing Kong vs Godzilla posterKong vs Zilla

Now at this point I could go on about other monster fight films and weed out the good from the bad, but instead I figured before we got into the main events of this entry I would give you all a warm up fight that many of you who love Nike Shoes will be hyped for; none other then basketball player Charles Barkley fighting King of The Monsters Godzilla!! Before we get into the comic, I should explain the commercial this was based on. In 1992 Nike the shoe company decided that it would be a great idea to mix basketball and giant monsters to sell sneakers and hired Charles Barkley who was playing for the Phoenix Suns at the time as the pro player who challenges Godzilla to a game of basketball in Toyko.  It’s never shown how Barkley became a giant, but by the end of the commercial and a slam dunk later Barkley is the winner and the two walk off as friends. This for the time was a cool commercial but looking back at it now, it was a very silly way to hype over priced gym shoes.

NBA Zillanothing but cheesecharles-barkley-takes-on-godzilla

Godzilla vs Barkley 1

Godzilla vs. Barkley # 1  **
Released in 1993   Cover Price $2.95   Dark Horse   1 of 1

Godzilla attacks a Japaneses ship on its way to California.  Meanwhile Matthew and his Grandfather rush to the beach to try and get the chance to talk to NBA Superstar Charles Barkley who is there to film a commercial, but Matthew is pushed away and leaving down in the dirt as his grandpa gives him a magic silver dollar. On that same beach one of the sailers from the ship washes ashore and warns of Godzilla.  No sooner does he speak of the King of Monsters when he is there to wreck the Sunshine State. Matthew rushes to Charles Barkley and with the help of the silver dollar and some push from Matthew, the NBA star becomes a giant and uses his basketball skills to distract Godzilla, and even beating him in a game. After the court beat down Barkley buys Godzilla a giant pair of Nike shoes and his own private court to practice on and keep him busy and becomes a friend to Matthew and his family.

Man, this is one cheese ball comic that is so dumb of an idea that it some how turns out to be super fun. Matthew, the young boy, is your typical “super” fan who believes no one else in the world loves the celebrity like he does and for the most part is also kind of a smart ass. Grandpa is your typical loving elder who is not given much to do in the story besides pass over the magical silver dollar. Charles Barkley is, well, Barkley but is given more of a nice guy attitude when on court and real life he was a hothead and a stiff player. Godzilla at first is a badass but quickly becomes the punching bag to Barkley and his basketball that even is used to bounce off the head of the fire breathing monster. The stupidest moment of this comic is when Godzilla is out in the middle of nowhere wearing a pair of Nike shoes and practicing basketball…WOW who thought this silly stuff up. Over all the art in the comic is well done, and the cover is cool.  This is worth a read to those who love trashy pop culture like myself. 

Brakley smackcharles-barkley-vs-godzillazilla slam

In 1976 both Marvel and DC comics got together and decided to put two of their most popular super heros in a comic against each other.  This was after a pitch was made to cross both Superman and Spider-Man together in a film that would not have worked out for both companies who already had projects in the works for both heros. What fans got was a crossover that was in an oversized comic that sparked the imagination and debut of who would really win The Man of Steel or Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. This team up of Marvel and DC was not the first as both titans of funny books put out an oversized comic together in 1975 called MGM’s Marvelous Wizard Of Oz. So before we dive into this battle of the comic, icons let’s take a short look at both super heros.

superman

Tale of the Tape for Superman – Baby Kal-El was shipped to Earth by his parents as his home planet of Krypton exploded, ending life on it forever. Landing in Kansas, he is found by Martha and Johnathon Kent who adopt the space child and name him Clark. Growing up on the farm, Clark finds out as do his adoptive parents that he is special as he is super human strong, has x-ray vision, can fly, has heat vision and so much more. When grown up, he decides that he is going to move to the big city of Metropolis and becomes a reporter and become the cities protector as a hero called Superman. Clark/Superman’s friends consist of Lois Lane the cities top reporter, Jimmy Olson a photographer and Perry White the boss of the newspaper they all work for. Superman also has a hidden base in the Arctic called The Fortress of Solitude that also acts as a learning center for him. His weakness is a green rock from his home planet called Kryptonite that leaves him as weak as a baby and can also lead to his death  Red sun light and magic are the other only things that can hurt him as Superman is almost godlike. His top foes include Lex Luther a super evil smart tycoon, Braniac a robot from space, Doomsday a hulking monster and General Zod an outcast from his home planet. Superman is DC Comics’ strongest Character.

Spider-Man

Tale of the Tape for Spider-Man -Peter Parker was a nerdy high school kid who was raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben.  One day Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider during a science expo that leaves him with super powers that include super strength, the ability to climb walls, and have a sensor in his brain that warns him of coming danger that he calls his Spider-Sense. After the murder of his Uncle Ben, Peter makes a costume and becomes Spider-Man, and even makes a strong binding wire that acts as his web that shots out from gadgets on his wrist. Peter later works as a freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle owned by J. Jonah Jameson who goes out of his way to smeer Spider-Man in the papers. Peter’s/Spidey’s friends consist of Mary Jane Watson a super model and later Peter’s wife, Black Cat a one time master thief and girlfriend of Peter’s, Harry Osborne old school pal and his Aunt May. Spider-Man’s weaknesses include his heart because he cares way too much about his loved ones, normal ways to hurt a normal man.  While he can take more, he still is just a man with super powers and a mouth that sometimes distracts him from fights. His foes include Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Venom, The Lizard, Scorpion and Vulture to name a few. Spider-Man is the golden boy of Marvel and is also the biggest wise ass next to Deadpool.

Remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. This review is thanks to a team up of Mavericks Cards and Comics, Ebay and Amazon. And I am reviewing the normal comic size reprints.

Superman vs Spiderman 1

Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man   ***1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price $5.95   Marvel & DC Comics   #1 of 1

A giant robot is attacking Metropolis and Superman comes to save the day, but he figures out that the robot was just a distraction as the main brain behind the attack is Lex Luther who used to robot to steal a gadget to control satellites but quickly is taken down by Superman and taken to jail. Doctor Octopus has created a ship that he plans on using to steal money and has it hidden in a zeppelin balloon.  But he soon meets up with Spider-Man who makes short work of his arch nemesis and takes him away to jail. Back in Metropolis, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are asked to go to a giant expo that showcases a very powerful satellite; it is held in New York so Peter Parker and Mary Jane are there as audience members. In prison Luther and Octopus team up and escape and have big plans to get even with their nemeses, that will involve pitting them against one another. While the event is being set up, Peter is taking pics and saves Lois Lane who is about to fall off a scaffold and introduces her to Mary Jane.  The two hit it off as a fake Superman appears and zaps both women with a beam leaving them missing as they all disappear. Peter changes into Spider-Man, and Clark changes into Superman.  Both men meet up and blame each other for the attack, leaving the heros at odds.  When Luther zaps Spider-Man with the power of Red Sun rays, the fight is on as they both land hits back and fourth.  Finally the two figure out they have been set up and travel around looking for the answer that finally leads them to space where Lex Luther and Doctor Octopus have Lois and Mary captive and our heros come to save the day and out smart the baddies by making them turn on each other this leading to once more the bad guys going to jail. The heros return to the expo along with the rescued ladies and have pics and footage in hand to give both their alter egos a boost in the corporate ladder of media.

This comic is awesome and shows you that if two major comic companies could put their egos in check, great adventures like this could happen more often. The way that both universes mix comes off really well, and Spider-Man’s wise cracks and Superman’s boyscout image go so well together that you could swear that they both were made by the same companies. Spider-Man comes off as a hero who can handle himself after he is zapped with the red sun ray that leaves him packing more power to his punch and is the only way that he could ever stand toe to toe with Superman.  Plus he does well against both Doc Ock and Luther when it comes to fighting. Superman, even in this team up, comes off as the goody to shoes who is nobel and has to be pushed to let loose on Spider-Man and even doesn’t really let go even when he is taking major hits.  The one thing I did notice is that they play up Superman’s weakness to red sun rays and after thinking about it, I can see why because without it he would smash Spider-Man, Lex Luther and Doc Ock into pink McDonalds Chicken Nugget paste. Lex Luther has always been my least favorite of Superman’s list of AAA villains and once more seems like a throw away as all he does is laugh and set traps.  Doctor Octopus, I feel the same way about.  While a classic bad guy, he just doesn’t do nothing for me when it comes to his character. The fight between Superman and Spider-Man is well done and goes back and fourth giving fans of both moments to cheer for the one they like the most. I found myself cheering for Spider-Man because he was the clear underdog. The art work in this is pure grade A stuff and is the style I like when it comes to comics, that straight cartoon look that lets you know you are reading a funny book. The cover is iconic, and I can remember being a kid and seeing ads in issues that offered this issue in the giant comic size and being amazed and drawn in with thoughts of who would win. This is a cross over done right and is worth checking out for any fans of either heros.

sPIDEY RUNSuperman spidermanSpidey Super Punch

Now with the issue done, let’s take a look at the fantasy warfare aspect of this epic fight and act as if both heros were real people.  We will take them from the closest live action film or show that was around at the time.  So we will be taking the Christopher Reeves’ Superman from the 1978 film and putting him up against the Nicholas Hammond’s Spider-Man from the 1977 CBS TV Show, The Amazing Spider-Man.  We will pit them in an area that is fair to both so let’s say they meet up in Cincinnati, Ohio on Super Bowl Weekend. Let’s see how it would play out in my mind!

superman christopher reeveVSSpiderMan Nicholas Hammond

Peter Parker is in town to cover a NFL Super Bowl event in Cincinnati and has his Spider Sense go off as he spots a con man passing off cheap bootleg copies of New Shock Theater in the arena’s parking lot’s.  As he changes into Spider-Man, he approaches the bootlegger to tell him that pirating movies, music and shows is a crime but as he gets closer the man runs off leaving Spidey with these fake DVD’s and to his shock Superman The Man of Steel is behind him looking on in shame thinking that Spidey is the dirty pirate! When a shout comes from a parked car that Spidey has a ray gun, this statemnet is false and is being shouted by Lex Luther who has set this whole thing up!  As drunk football fans gather around and start cheering Superman rushes to see if there is a gun, and Spidey is able to act fast to dodge the attack due to his amped up senses.  This goes on for a while as Superman punches as Spider-Man dodges and makes his wise ass remarks and tries to pepper him with blows but learns that hitting Superman is not smart as it break every bone in his hand.  As Spider-Man grabs his hand in pain, this leaves enough time for Superman to place a light uppercut to Spidey’s Jaw leaving him knocked out and the loser of this bootleg battle.

Winner – Superman

I know that was a silly one, but I tried to put some humor and cheese to it much like the 77 TV show, but now let’s get onto the co-main event of the entry and that’s yet another Marvel and DC crossover as The Worlds Greatest Detective Batman faces the Rampaging Hulk! This is going to be epic! And now let’s take a quick look at these heros’ backgrounds.

BATMAN

Tale of the Tape for Batman – Bruce Wayne was just a boy when both his mother and father were gunned down in a robbery that he witnessed. Wanting to do something about all the crime in his town of Gotham as he got older, he became a well trained fighter and thinker and donned a costume and became Batman. This super hero is super smart and has many wonderful gadgets and vehicles at his disposal.  He also has a hideout called The Bat Cave where he is able to use a super computer that can give him info on any opponent or object giving him the upper hand of knowing his opponents and their weakness. He is also highly trained in combat and is super smart. Batman’s friends include Robin his sidekick, Alfred his Butler, Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon. Batman’s weakness are the fact he is human, just smart and well trained, and his brooding can leave him open for attacks. Some of his foes include The Joker, Killer Croc, Bane, The Riddler and Mr. Freeze. Batman is DC’s cash cow and is also their most popular character to mention he one kick ass character.

HULK

Tale of the Tape for Hulk – Bruce Banner is accidentally transformed into a raging green monster known as The Hulk whenever he is upset or angry. As The Hulk, he is unstoppable, and the madder he gets, the stronger he gets making him dangerous to tangle with. The Hulk mostly wants to be left alone and hates his other side, Bruce Banner, who he views as weak. The Hulk’s major weapon is his pure power that is beyond measure.  Most known weapons cannot hurt him, and in one single leap he can move several miles. His friends include Betty Ross, the woman Bruce and The Hulk love and Rick Jones, a young man who Bruce saved from the explosion. His major weakness is the fact his brain is child-like and he can be out smarted into losing or even doing the wrong thing. His foes include The Abomination, The Leader, Madman and Zzzax. The Hulk is the strongest character in the Marvel Universe that is still somewhat human and is a force to be reckoned with.

So now that you’ve gotten a brief look at the two heros, let’s dive into this cool team up!

Batman vs Hulk 1

Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1982   Cover Price $3.95   Marvel & DC Comics   #1 of 1

Bruce Banner is working at a lab that is in control of a gamma gun machine that he thinks could be the key to curing the curse of becoming The Hulk and to his horror the Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker and his goons show up to steal the machine.  As they are doing so, they set off Banner who becomes The Hulk as Batman also shows up to stop the crime. Joker tricks Hulk into thinking Batman is the bad guy, and he goes full force after the Dark Knight who must outsmart the brute with gas in order to escape his mighty fury. After the fight, the Joker gets away with the gun as Batman has The Hulk taken away and once he becomes Banner again as Bruce Wayne he is given a job to help himself find a cure. The Joker is working for The Shaper of Worlds who lives off the dreams of humans who needs the gun in order to get his mind on straight for he is slipping into madness. After the gun fails to give him what he needs he sets his sights on The Hulk and wants to drain him of his gamma power in order to cure himself.  This eventually leads to Batman and The Hulk teaming up against The Joker who has been granted a wish to become a bender of reality and uses his power to torment the heros in an Alice in Wonderland environment that leads to Batman outsmarting the Joker and making him fry his own brain out. In the end The Shaper leaves Earth, Banner moves onto the next town, Batman is still Batman and The Joker is nuts in a asylum.

This works really well, and while Batman holds his own against The Hulk when they fight it makes sense as he just outsmarts the brute at any chance he gets. While I am a huge fan of The Hulk and only like Batman, I can see why some fans get upset that The Hulk just doesn’t crush Batman where he stands, but to that I would say if he just smashed him the comic would only be like two pages long. Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne come off smart and caring as he seems to really feel for Banner and even The Hulk.  The way he is able to team up with The Hulk and get his help when needed is pretty good stuff. The Hulk and his alter ego Bruce Banner come off as they always do, a man sad with a curse and a monster who just loves to smash things when he is pushed. Who would have thought that one of the comic world’s smartest character could team with one of the child like minded characters and they would make such a great team. The Joker plays the henchman to The Shaper and comes of scared of this giant alien who wants all the dreams, and when he goes mad with power its a true sign of just how crazy he is. The Shaper Of Worlds is more of a Mind Freak like Criss Angel as in he just messes with characters minds and don’t really fight in the war that breaks out in his new Earth Warehouse base. My favorite moment of the Batman and Hulk fight is when Hulk has Bats in a bear hug and is crushing his spine, and Batman does this karate chop to his ears making him go deaf for a moment and dropping him, good classic comic stuff. The story in this one is well written.  The art is fantastic, and the cover is super eye catching this one is great and only slightly less awesome then the Superman vs. Spider-Man comic, well worth checking out for fans of Hulk or Batman.

Batman kick hulkHulk Batman super fighthulkbatman2

Now let’s get onto the fantasy warfare of The Incredible Hulk fighting Batman if they were real people. For this one we have to go with the Adam West Batman from the 1966 ABC show called, you guessed it, Batman and for The Hulk we would go with Lou Ferrigno version from the 1977 CBS show The Incredible Hulk. Let’s set the fight up at a Horror Convention in Salem, Massachusetts and see who would win this fight!

Batman Adam WestVSHulk and David

A horror convention is near closing down for the night as guests like Vincent Price, Horror Host Sammy Terry and Christopher Lee are packing up when a drifter comes walking by.  It’s David Banner and he has his backpack close and his eyes to the ground when a masked man dressed as Phantom of The Opera runs by and grabs the backpack knocking David down, and as one final insult the thief kicks David in the ribs causing pain and anger.  As the transformation starts to happen, the Batmobile pulls up and Batman jumps into action giving the thief and pow and a bang to the jaw.  As Batman is about to use the batcuffs on the snatcher, The Hulk appears and is not happy as Batman sprays his batmace into the brute’s eyes causing the green skinned monster to swing wild and smashing the Batmobile into scarp iron.  Batman then pulls out some of his anti-bully batgas pellets and throws them in the direction of The Hulk who by now is seeing red through his burning eyes and as the gas comes out he lets out a thunderclap that blows the smoke back at Batman who is now blinded.  As Batman waits for the smoke to clear, the Hulk is on him and with one powerful blow to the top of the head of Batman he is able to crush the caped crusader into a pile of hamburger meat. As Batman lies dying, The Hulk runs way into the woods next to the convention center to later change into David Banner and not remember the fact he killed the world’s silliest detective.

Winner – The Incredible Hulk

Was it any surprise that The Hulk would win? So in this update we took a look at Horror Hosts, Godzilla in Nike Shoes, Spider-Man fighting Superman and Batman and The Hulk Teaming up.  I hoped you all enjoyed. But the VS. don’t end here with this blog as next time we will take a look at a great mini series from Topps Comics that pits Frankenstein’s Monster against Count Dracula! We will also take a look at the old Independent B Movie film I directed called Werewolf of Ohio 2: 10 Years Before, so until then stay nerdy and read a good comic series for me.

Frankenstein Dracula Logo