From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Orphan Killer

Welcome back to my blog, Rotten Ink, a place I love to talk about comic books, horror hosts, video games, toys, TV shows, cartoons and movies.  As long time readers know, I have grown up watching and enjoying horror films and over the years made my own like “The Sadness”, “Werewolf of Ohio”, “It’s In The Crawlspace” and “Bark At The Moon: Scars” and produced many ohers like “Phantom Of The Grindhouse”, “Babysitter Massacre”, “Amityville No Escape”, “Church Of The Eyes” and “Alone In The Ghost House” to name a few.  Let’s forget the ones I have acted in like “Woodsman: Forest Of Pain”, “Quite Nights Of Blood And Pain”, “The Wolf Hunter 2” , “Razor” and “Atrocity Circle” among many others. So as you can see, I really do love independent horror films, and I always jump at the chance to get copies of ones that pique my interest and better yet, ones that add a little something extra for fans like comic books based on their characters.  One that did just that, and has been on my radar for a very long time, is called “The Orphan Killer,” a slasher film that was released in 2011 and was a film I heard lots about from friends who said such things as the gore was fantastic, the soundtrack was heavy and the lead actress was smoking hot.  All these things made me want to see the film even more! I ordered the comic based on the film from Indy Planet many years ago and waited to try and get the film from a convention or from Amazon, but they never seemed to have it. So finally in 2016, I tracked down a DVD copy of the film thanks to the film’s official website and knew that in 2017 an update based on this film and its comic was a must! So this update is for all you independent horror fans who like me love the films gory and enjoy the comics that follow.  So make sure your doors aren’t barb-wired shut as we dive into the psycho world of The Orphan Killer! I should also note this is another of our “From Horror Film To Horror Comic” update and is a great way to kick off our countdown to Halloween!

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It’s time to briefly learn about the film/comic’s killer. Marcus and his sister Audrey witness the killing of their parents at a young age.  Now an orphan at the nearby church, Marcus becomes too protective of his sister and does bad things to other kids who get to close. For his mean nature the nuns beat, torture and force the youngster to wear a mask to keep the other kids from wanting to talk to him and getting too close. Marcus is dubbed a monster, and the name The Orphan Killer is placed on him by the other kids, who claim he drinks the blood of kids and other horrific things. When his sister is adopted and he is left behind, his mind twists even more and Marcus becomes the living embodiment of punishment. Growing up, he becomes the killing monster they all thought him to be, and he starts at the church that kept him prisoner for all these years.  Wearing his mask and armed with barbwire, knives and an ax he goes on a killing spree that leaves blood flowing like wine and body parts flying. The Orphan Killer wears a mask that looks like a leather skull.  He loves to whistle after a kill or during torturing and has no emotion when killing his victims. He talks about being chosen by God and blessed as if he thinks that his mission from heaven is to kill anyone he feels has done him wrong. Strong, brutal and crazy is the best way to sum up Marcus Miller aka The Orphan Killer.

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The Orphan Killer is a tour de force murder flick that defies classification. It goes far beyond current trends in gore and breaks open a new suffering genre of horror. Marcus Miller is a serial murderer hellbent on teaching his estranged sister Audrey what it means to have family loyalty. His lessons are taught in massive doses of vulgar and unimaginable pain. Throughout her brutal torture we learn that Marcus is not the only Miller with Killer in the bloodline as Audrey proves to be a formidable adversary.”

The above is the plot that IMDB has for this blood soaked film that is sure to please fans of films like “Murder Set Pieces” and “Pieces” as it captures the raw nasty feel of those splatter films. The film was released in 2011 and directed by Matt Farnsworth who also wrote the script and starred in as Officer Mike Hunt and created the killer Marcus aka The Orphan Killer. Farnsworth directed the 2005 film “Iowa” as well as the short films “Poor Man’s Dope” and “Dying For Meth” as well as acted in films like “Gacy”, “The Last Place On Earth” and “The Stepdaughter”. The film stars the actors like Diane Foster who plays the lead actress Audrey, David Backhaus plays The Orphan Killer and Ed Winrow plays Father Chuck and that’s one thing the film really has going for it is the acting is great for a Independent Slasher film with Diane Foster stealing the show. The films score and metal music is licensed from Bullet Tooth and is a heavy and moody score that helps add to the downbeat nature of the film. The film won a Festival De Cine De Terror De Molins De Rei award for Best Picture in Italy with Director Farnsworth being honored with an Antonio Margheriti award at the Tohorror Film Festival for his work on the film. When released the film was meet with very mixed reviews with many gorehounds enjoying the brutal nature of the film and its twisted plot while many other critics and Horror Fans had good and bad to say about it with many claiming it was just a cheesy cash in on a genre long gone from the mainstream. One of the films biggest none supporters was Fangoria Magazine who said this about the film “these filmmakers had everything they needed to create something special, and simply chose to go the least interesting route”. IMDB reviewers were also not overly nice to the film that holds a 3.9 rating out of 10 stars. As for my opinion I really enjoyed it and found it well worth the wait of seeing it as it lived up to the hype my friends told me about. I found The Orphan Killer to be as brutal and sadistic of a killer like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers before him and Audrey was a likeable character I found myself routing for to make it out of the slaughter alive. While I liked the score music some of the heavy metal music sometimes was very distracting in scenes but still didn’t fully take me out of the movie. I did like that The Orphan Killer had his own nursery rhyme and chuckled at the metal remake of the song “Cry Little Sister” from the Lost Boys movie that acts as the song between this brother and sister. If you’re a slasher film fan and enjoy lots of gore, metal music and a truly smoking hot lead actress then check out The Orphan Killer for sure.

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In the world of Independent Horror Films I have many favorite actresses who embody the skills needed to draw the viewer into the characters they are playing and it takes more than just being pretty for me to put you on the top of my lists of actresses I would say are must watch if their names are attached to a Horror Film. Names like Danielle Harris, Denice Duff, Tina Krause, Asia Argento, Brinke Stevens, Charlie Spradling, Erin R. Ryan, Haley Madison, Maria Ford and Sara Bay are a few names on this list of actresses who are the total package who are not only beautiful but can truly act and have the ability to draw me as a viewer into the film they are in. After watching The Orphan Killer I am proud to say that actress Diane Foster has been added to that list as she is stunning and really good in her role as Audrey as she made me feel that she really had been tortured by a madman who wanted her dead from her screams and tears. What I really enjoyed about her performance is that she is not just some cute bimbo character in fact she is the opposite and is smart and sweet and when pushed just don’t role over and die…oh no she fights back and Diane truly makes the character seem real and legit. I would love to see her in more Horror film roles and think she would be a perfect cast for the next Halloween, Friday The 13th and Tombs Of The Blind Dead films and its shocking that she has not been in anymore films with her last role being this 2011 film! But while she might not be currently acting she also has roles in the 2005 film “Iowa” and the 2003 film “Descendant” that is as well a Horror Film. With lots of talks of a sequel to The Orphan Killer here is hoping that Diane will return to her role as Audrey as she is really fantastic in her acting ability and very easy on the eyes.

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The Orphan Killer is a film that clearly the films creators really believe in as the quality of the script, acting and gore are all top notch. So with this pride they had also comes merchandise products like a comic book, a limited action figure, poster, film soundtrack and even a Halloween Masked based on the title killers look! While I do own the Comic Book and the Soundtrack that came with my DVD it would be cool to own a poster of this film signed by the director Matt Farnsworth and actors Diane Foster & David Backhaus. But if you enjoy this film you can find many great items to collect and I recommend checking out the comic if you’re a Horror Comic reader. Also on December 13, 2016 thanks to Reel Gore Releasing a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack the film is now way easier to find.

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So now that you know just how sick and demented The Orphan Killer is I think its time we took a look at his nasty deeds from blood to ink as we look at the 2012 comic based on the movie. As I am sure his kills will be just as brutal from the movie screen to the comic pages and I really want to see if this is just an adaptation or a new killing spree for our killer. I want to thank Indy Planet for having this in stock and I want to remind all you gorehounds and maniacs that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So beware of the splatter and make sure to avoid his machete as we take a look at the sinister murdering deeds of The Orphan Killer.

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The Orphan Killer # 1   **1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Price $ 0.00     Matt Farnsworth    # 1 of 1

Audrey is a woman who is beaten and bloody and crawling away from a masked killer who is holding an ax and they share some words as it’s clear they are brother and sister and they don’t like each other, just as the killer is swinging down a blood splatter hits. We flashback and we are in New York as Audrey is going to her job at a Catholic School and has been dropped off by her boyfriend Mike who is a cop. The young ladies who are in the show are talking about an urban legend that has been around the school for years about Marcus Miller aka The Orphan Killer who has shown up to the church and has locked the doors after the show and the young ladies have went home. Audrey as well as the Father and workers are left inside and one by one The Orphan Killer butchers the workers and nuns in blood splattering ways. The Orphan Killer tracks down Audrey in the hallway and knocks her out and when she wakes up he has her bound by barbwire and cuts the Father’s arm off before her eyes all the while talking about God and Jesus telling him what he is doing is the right thing, you see Audrey is his sister and even at a young age he had a twisted mind and was tortured by the nuns as he was stricken with evil in their eyes and now he wants revenge on his sister for not being their for him. Mike shows up to the church to find his girlfriend and is attacked brutally by The Orphan Killer and while this is happening Audrey breaks free from her razor sharp binds and mercy kills the Father who is bleeding to death and has a showdown with her brother The Orphan Killer on top of the building that leaves the wounded Mike shooting The Orphan Killer who falls off the roof and he and Audrey have survived the massacre.

This Horror Comic is an adaptation of the 2011 film and does an ok job of translating the film into a comic, and I say ok because if you had not seen the movie many of the films key plots are speed up and looses the impact of not only the kills but also the twists of the films brother and sister plot. The plot that is used is very simple for the most part and follows Audrey a woman who is a teacher at a Church and who also has a psychotic brother who has targeted his old school and his sister for revenge on how he was treated when he was younger and an orphan, his hatred for his sister was because she was adopted and he never was plus he was forced to wear a mask and treated poorly by the nuns who thought he was evil and when becoming older and still wearing the mask he thinks God wants him to bring sinners to justice. Audrey in the comic is just kind of a bland character and her personality is not really able to shine besides the fact we see that she has the will to live and that she truly hates her brother and what he has become. It’s a shame as Audrey in the movie was a complex and great character and in the comic she is just merely around. Her cop boyfriend Mike is only at the start and end of the comic and is only around to in the end shoot the killer and to save his ladylove. The Church workers, nuns and The Father are just filler and add zero personality to the issue and are just around to be killed in horrific ways. The Orphan Killer himself is a scripture speaking, sharp weapon swinging brute of a man who just kills cause he is crazy and has been sense he was a kid, but the Nuns instead of getting him help just mentally and physical abused him and helped creature the psycho killer personality he has. But just like Audrey he is cool in the comic but way better in the film. The comic has some splatter moments but oddly enough the comic is way more tame than the movie and for the most part the violent acts seem like a second thought and pass panels way to fast loosing the impact the murders should have, but keep in mind it does have the read stuff flowing. The artwork from what I can gather is done by the films director and the creator of The Orphan Killer universe Matt Farnsworth and has a style that blends underground and American manga and for the most part while not a style I am a super fan of it looks good. The cover is very eye catching and screams independent horror comic and that’s a great thing for someone like me who loves that style of comics. While this comic adaptation of the film is good I would say that for fans of the flick this is a great comic for your collection, for those who have not seen the film I think it might be one that will not find a home in your comic box. But in closing I love the fact this comic is out in the world and wish more independent horror films would follow this idea. Check out some artwork from this comic and see they style you will see in the issue.

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The Orphan Killer is a great splatter film and an okay comic book and was the perfect way to kick off our countdown to Halloween! Again, I want to stress this comic was entertaining and well done for fans of the film, it’s just that people unfamiliar with the movie might not be as impressed. But our next update takes us out of the church and into the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland as we take a look into The Blair Witch Project and the comics made by Image and Oni based around the cult classic flick. So until next time, watch a Horror Movie or two, read a Comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time….wait, what was that noise.. sounded like….Ahhhhhh!!

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Batman vs. The Abominable Snowman: Dawn Of Winter

Forget “Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice,” this update is the real battle for Batman that you comic book readers have been chatting about at your local comic shops for years and wondering when a rematch will happen, or better yet when the movie based on this epic fight will ever make it to the big screen! I am not talking about Batman’s epic fights with such characters as The Predator, Count Dracula, Xenomorphs or even with his regular baddies like The Joker, Bane, Two Face or Catwoman.  No, this battle puts them all to shame as I am talking about his fight with the king of the mountain, the monster of Tibet, the one and only Snowman aka The Abominable Snowman! Wait what? Some of you readers seem not to remember The Snowman, a character who was a thorn in Batman’s side for two issues of his ongoing DC titles in the 70’s. For this update we will not only learn a little about The Snowman but also about the legend of the Yeti and maybe I will try to play and beat a cool custom Batman NES Batman game put out to PacnsacDave! I know it’s the middle of summer and late July, but get your warmest jacket on as we are climbing Mount Everest to become one with The Snowman as we take a look at his two Batman appearances.  So grab some hot cocoa, and let’s start our fun and dangerous hike.

Mount Everest The Home Of The Yeti

The men and woman of Tibet and the surrounding area have had stories for centuries about a half man and half primate creature that roams the mountains around them that they call Yeti, Meh-Teh and other names like The Abominable Snowman. It’s been recorded that the Lepcha People of the Sikkim region worshipped a being from the Himalayan Mountains they called the Glacier Being and was the god of the hunt. In the 19th century, stories of a wild man who was ape-like carrying a stone as a weapon were told by people of the Bon religion. Throughout the 19th Century, many strange footprints were found in the snow on the Himalayan Mountains, and tracker B.H. Hodgson claimed that his guides had seen a giant hairy creature while climbing that scared them half to death.  He would later say he thought it was just an orangutan. The mystery of this unknown snow creature grew in the 20th Century when more and more sightings and footprints turned up in the mountains and of course more rich explorers and scientists rushed to be the first to capture, kill or get proof of the creature’s existence. Many more sightings and popped up through the decades, and the term Cryptozoology became a mainstay in believers’ vocabulary. In the 21st Century the Yeti has lost some steam and most of the time when it pops up in the news it is done by pranksters and hoaxers who are looking for attention and their 15 minutes of fame. Many TV shows, scientists and hunters have given their thoughts on what the Yeti truly is: an unknown ape species, all the way to just a plain old bear. So what do you readers think, is The Abominable Snowman real or is it a hoax? Check out the picture below that is said to be a true photo of the Yeti in the mountains and make up your own mind if he is really out there.

The Yeti caught on photo

Back in 1954, a scalp that was said to belong to the Yeti was found at a Pangboche Monastery along with a hand that was also claimed to have belonged to the creature. The monks were very protective of these items and kept them safe from outsiders and thrill-seekers who were on the hunt for The Abominable Snowman, wanting to make a name for themselves in the press. These items were just the kind of thing the Daily Mail, the newspaper who fronted the expedition, was looking for, and after pleading and ultimately tricking the monks, they were allowed to examine and extract some hair and skin tissue from the items. The media buzz around this was huge, and people thought that these samples held the truth of the Yeti’s existence, making the famed footprints look like thrift store leftover evidence. The first test on the hairs proved that they were not human nor ape, but scientists could not truly identify their species of origin, which of course sparked even more of a fever for those who wanted to find out if the Yeti was fact or fiction. The hand was also tested, and at first they claimed that it had Neanderthal qualities sending more people into the Yeti loving frenzy. Years later the hand and scalp were talked about on the hit TV show Unsolved Mysteries.  They tested a sample of the hand and found it to only have “near human” properties, but this episode sparked the hand to be stolen from the Pangboche Monks.  It would turn up in a private collection via the illegal black antiquities market and would pop back up in 2011 when new tests on it found that it had the DNA of a human. So are the scalp and the hand the real deal, or are they some from some poor human and animal? I should also note that besides these two items and the footprints, many other evidence has been found to prove the Yeti real from blurry photos to poop that is said to have belonged to the famed creature of the mountains. I am not sure what to think but would not rule out the existence of The Abominable Snowman as many unknowns lurk in this world we all share.

Yeti scalp and hand

Anyone who owned a computer in the early 90’s played a free game called SkiFree that was created by Chris Pirih and released as part of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack. The game was originally made by Pirih for his own use, but when his boss at Microsoft saw him playing it, an agreement was made for it to be released as part of their software pack in 1991. The gameplay has you take control of a skier who’s on the side of a mountain and must avoid obstacles like stumps, trees and worst of all, the a man eating creature called The Abominable Snow Monster who will chase you.  If he catches you, he’ll eat you like a chicken wing! I can remember playing this game on my brother’s old PC that he bought with his own money and finding it a cheesy way to waste time. I can remember screaming as the Yeti would give chase to my skier and how annoyed I would get when I could not out run him and had to watch as he gobbled my player up. But as you can see, even with this silly cheap game the Yeti has wormed his way into pulp culture. Check out below for some cool images of SkiFree.

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I should also note that the Yeti aka The Abominable Snowman has starred in his fair share of horror and science fiction films over the years with many of them being cheesy classics and some of them being very entertaining! Some are the 1957 Hammer Horror film “The Abominable Snowman” starring Peter Cushing and “Werewolf vs. The Yeti” starring the one and only Paul Naschy. Some of the cheesy ones include “Yeti: Giant Of The 20th Century” that was released in 1977 and the 1954 goofy classic “The Snow Creature.” Some of the not so good include “Yeti: A Love Story” that was released in 2006 and “Shriek Of The Mutilated” from 1974, a film so bad that I for some reason find myself loving it. Some video game appearances include “Plants vs. Zombies”, “Far Cry 4” and “Tomb Raider II” to name a few. And let’s not get started on all the comic books and novels that he has appeared in, let alone cartoons and toys! So one thing is for sure, The Abominable Snowman is in our culture, and he’s here to stay.

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Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, and many hikers, explores, researchers and thrill seekers have tempted their fate and tried to make the climb to the top of the mountain that is super dangerous and is not recommended for armatures or even for that fact almost anyone! The first people to successfully climb Everest were Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.  The climb was dangerous but also inspired many people to want to tempt fate and become the second, third, fourth and so on to make it to the top.  Many craved the notoriety of being one of the select few to make it to the top and back down alive. But a sad truth about Everest is that the beautiful mountain is a graveyard for the remains of many hikers who never made it down the mountain.  It’s too dangerous to bring down the dead or injured so many bodies are left frozen in time. You see, many people are not prepared for the climb to the top, and fellow climbers are told that if you find someone in a danger zone, hurt or dying, to leave them behind as those who end up trying to help a injured person end up in danger themselves and 9 ½ out of 10 times more likely end up dead themselves from the elements and brisk cold unforgiving weather. So I would like to take a moment to mourn all those who have lost their lives climbing Everest –  may their souls find peace.  I also would like to show support for all those poor climbers who have had to leave a fellow person behind as I am sure that is a terrible feeling.

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We are halfway up to the top of this update so we should take a moment to sit by the fire, warm up, and sip a warm beverage and take a look at a comic that I ordered from Indy Planet some time back and have been itching to read and review.  I think that this update is the perfect time to unleash it on you the readers. The comic is called The Railroad Killer and is put out by a company called Jimmy Daze Comics.  It was one that caught my eye when I placed my last order of independent horror comics.  So let’s sit around and use this issue as our spooky story before we go back on the hunt for the Yeti.

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The Railroad Killer # 1  ***
Released in 2009     Cover Price $0.00   Jimmy Daze Comics   # 1 of 1

An old drunk near the train tracks is angered as the train speeds by, but his anger is short lived as someone brutally beats him to death. The next day the police show up and the urban legend talk of the Railroad Killer spreads among the youth who are near the crime scene. Miranda Jr. is one of the cops on the scene, and he has a flashback to when he was a kid in 1985 and he and his brother and friends watched as the local hot teenage girl was murdered by the train tracks by a strange unknown man with a sledge hammer! Miranda decides that tonight he is going to prove that the Railroad Killer is real and waits around the train tracks all night to capture this supernatural killer. Later that night he gets his wish and comes face to face with The Railroad Killer for the last time. After the fatal meeting, we flashback to the year 1881 when a young Chinese rail worker is accused of raping a white woman and vigilante justice is served as he is beaten and run over by a train…and so the revenge spirit of The Railroad Killer is born!

This is a fun quick horror comic read that was a nice mix of slasher and urban legend and was done with tasteful amounts of blood and violence. Our story is simple and effective as if follows a cop who wants to face the town’s local unknown killer and stop it once and for all. Miranda Jr. seems like a good cop who has guilt over watching a young woman get murdered in his youth and not doing anything to help her, but his need for redemption just leads him onto a path of his own destruction. The Railroad Killer is a supernatural killer who was wronged when he was alive and now takes his revenge on anyone near the tracks at night. He is brutal using a big sledgehammer as well as the moving trains themselves to kill and takes pleasure in the act of murder. The very cool part of this one shot comic is the fact they give backstories for both our hero and bad guy and brings the reader into the motives behind their good and evil actions. Besides the story, the art done by Arturo Delgado Molina is really good and brings these characters to life. The most brutal kill of the issue has to be the death of Miranda Jr. who is beaten and then placed under the trail and decapitated! If you’re a fan of horror comics like me, The Railroad Killer is one that you will want to check out as it’s a spooky urban legend about an effective and brutal killer. Below is some artwork from this issue to show you Molina’s style.

Railroad Killer Art 1

That was a fun break, but I can hear the howl of the Yeti in the distance. I am not ready to come face to face with him yet so let’s just sit around a little longer and play a video game! I am on a kick of getting NES carts of “homebrew” or unreleased games, and one of the guys I have been getting items from is named Pacnsacdave who just so happened to have a homebrew game called “Batman & Robin: Shadows Of Gotham” that acts as the third in the NES Batman series that already consisted of “Batman” and “Batman: Return Of The Joker” and hell I guess you can count “Batman Returns.” Each of those games were a challenge so I am sure this one will be no different. Batman: Shadows Of Gotham is a two-player game that lets you choose between Batman and Robin.  The back of the box reads, “Gotham city, a city plagued by crime, violence and villains. The citizens are crying out for help. To cleanse the streets of Gotham…two shadows appear. They are called Batman & Robin, Shadows of Gotham.” I played this game on a RES (Retro-Bit Retro Entertainment System) with an original NES controller and asked my cousin Stephen Alexander if he wanted to join me on this epic game adventure, and of course he said yes.  We did not do an NES Challenge for this game; we just wanted to give it a good play and let you know that this video game is out in the world ready to be played.

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We played it on May 14 2016, and the weather outside was very chilly and perfect for playing a video game.  I should note that Stephen and I played one player and passed the controller back and fourth, and of course we picked Batman. The game is a side scrolling action game that has Batman fighting with his hands, batarangs and other gadgets from level to level.  At the end of each level, you of course face one of his major villains, in this order Scarecrow, Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and finally The Joker! The Scarecrow and his level offered no challenge as I mastered it in one try.  Steve took on The Penguin and after a couple of tries was able to smack around the umbrella-carrying madman who was hiding in a tank.  I made a quick fight out of The Riddler, and both of us tried and tried and screamed at Two-Face who was trying his best from keeping us from beating the game! It looked like Two-Face was going to be our stopping point, but once we figured out his patterning, Steve was able to smack that two sided coin out of his hand and we were at the last level. The last level is pretty tough and will take you a few tries, or at least it did for us to make it to The Joker who also took us a few tries.  But once again, when we had is pattern down, Steve hit the final blow, and a game that we were just testing became a game we beat! The nice part about this game is that it has unlimited continues and gives you no real reason to stop playing.  The challenge is there and can be frustrating but not enough to turn it off. Over all, it’s a nice addition to the NES Batman games and once more I want to thank Pacnsacdave for this amazing cart. So if you’re a classic NES fan and are looking for a new game to play, make sure to check this one out as well as many of Dave’s other games that include the likes of Gremlins, Big Trouble In Little China, The Lost Boys and Spider-Man 2! So I guess we should start our way back on the journey to find The Snowman, but while we climb maybe I should tell you a little about him.

Batman Shadows Of Gotham NES Screen Grab

Klaus Kristin is the son of a Yeti and a human mother named Katrina, and he has the ability to shift between being a human and a Yeti. As the beast, he is called The Snowman and has the power to survive in very cold elements, has super strength, a ice cold touch and can kind of control his surroundings in a winter environment. As a human, he is an albino and has the ability to charm ladies, is an Olympic skier and comes off as a normal rich jock playboy who loves to brag. The Snowman has appeared in three comics for DC that include Batman # 337, Detective Comics # 533 and Justice League Adventures # 12 as he was a part of a group called Cold Warriors alongside Mr. Freeze, Captain Cold and Killer Frost among other cold style baddies. While The Snowman has not been officially in a game, there are two that might be loosely be based on him: the unlockable Yeti character in “Lego Batman: The Videogame” and in “Batman: Arkham City,” inmates are talking about it being cold saying “It’s colder than the Snowman’s heart.”  Rumor is, that was a nod to The Snowman, while others say they are talking about Mr. Freeze. So while not a major villain, The Snowman has made his small mark on the Batman universe, and I just wanted to share a few fun facts about him before we make it to the top of the update and arrive at the review.

The Snowman DC

As I have stated before, music has been a major part of my life growing up, and I have spent countless hours listening to many different songs from many different artists with them all acting as the soundtrack to my life. Who doesn’t have memories of driving around with friends late at night blaring music or sitting with the love of your life listening to music in your car talking about the future? I have artists that I call my must-buy-day-one-of-release favorites: Motley Crue, Billy Idol, Alice Cooper, W.A.S.P., Jewel, Cinderella, Guns N Roses and Danzig.  The last one this list brings me to a CD that I would like to briefly chat about as I feel the music from the band was a huge part of my teen years. Danzig was one of those bands I discovered on a Public Access music show called Metalmania (and I should also give props to MTV for making the song “Mother” a Buzz video) and became a fan of, as I felt singer Glenn Danzig has an almost Elvis Presley sound and being a fan of The King made this a no brainer that I would dig a harder rock version of that sound. In 1996 when “Danzig 5: Blackacidevil” was released, I can remember leaving school midday and walking to NRM Music at the Town And Country shopping center to get my hands on the cassette and listening to it on my Walkman during classes. Danzig was also a band my pal Jason Gilmore and I would always listen to and chat about our favorite songs and videos. I can also remember being at my friend Jeremy Foster’s house and hanging out while listening to a mix of Danzig and Pantera. These great memories bring me to Danzig’s 2015 release, the 10th album for the band, an album of cover songs called “Skeletons” that I got for Christmas of 2015 as I had to wait to buy it because of the holiday season. I was pretty hyped to listen to this CD, but lots of things kept me away from being able to pop in the disc and listen to what Danzig had to offer on this release…and I must say that when I got around to it I was pretty underwhelmed! Now I want to stress that this is not a bad album.  In fact, I found myself enjoying many of the tracks on the release like the Black Sabbath cover “N.I.B” and “Lord Of The Thighs,” a cover of the Aerosmith cheesy classic song from the album “Get Your Wings”. While tracks like those were good, there were some that just sounded off and un-mastered, almost like a recorder was placed in a room with a band next to some beer and they said just jam and record and who cares if it doesn’t sound polished or hell even in tune…just do it.  The song “Satan” from the biker film Satan’s Sadists is a prime example of the odd sound that many of this tracks on this CD offer in terms of sound quality.  Again, I want to stress that it’s not a bad song and Glenn’s take on this song is solid…it just sounds very off, as if his vocals was recorded in a living room. Over all Skeletons is a interesting listen but lacks the true sound that Danzig fans have came to expect…if I had to give it a Rotten Ink 1-4 star rating, I would say for me it would be a solid 2, middle of the road.  If the sound issues were fixed, I could see myself giving it a 2 ½ or 3. Danzig still remains a must-buy artist for me, and I can’t wait to see what his next release brings to the table. Well I can see the top of the mountain, and as Butthead would say, “ And it is good”.

Danzig - Skeletons CD

We have reached the top of the update, and it’s time to take a look at Batman vs. The Snowman.  I have been on a kick of reading classic Batman comics as of late and can remember reading both these issues in my youth.  When re-buying them, I knew they had to be something I reviewed here on Rotten Ink. I want to think both Game Swap Kettering and Mavericks Cards And Comics for having these in stock, and while the wind is blowing and the snow is coming down I can hear the howl of the Yeti saying “ Remember he grades these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and is looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.”  Now let’s snap this picture of the Yeti and get back down the mountain, and we should also get to the reviews of this classic and epic battle issues that pit Batman against The Snowman!

Batman 337

Batman # 337  ***
Released in 1981     Cover Price .50   DC Comics   # 337 of 713

It’s a cold night in Gotham City, and a sporting good store has a robber inside who is shooting at Commissioner Gordon and the cops.  Batman shows up, gets inside and finds that the robber is scared out of his mind and his partner has been frozen solid! When the robber is under arrest and his nerves calm down, he tells them a story of how he and his friend started to rob the place and were attacked by a snow creature he called The Snowman who stole the cash from the store and left the scene as well made him go mad with fear. Batman changes back to Bruce Wayne and heads home as he is holding a huge party.  His guest of honor is playboy Klaus Kristin who is winning the hearts of many of the woman with his tales of skiing, but Bruce notices that Klaus’s shoes have slush on them and the morning’s snow has been gone for hours. The next night The Snowman strikes again, robbing a jewelry store and killing the night watchman! While Batman is in Klaus’ room looking through his stuff, he finds a diary written by Klaus’s mom and his aunt, and it tells of how Klaus is the son of a normal woman and a Yeti, which explains why and who Klaus really is.  After his last crime, Klaus skips town and heads for Austria’s ski resort, and Batman follows and has a showdown with The Snowman on top of a mountain.  While Snowman is stronger, Batman is smarter and with the help of a flare in the eyes of his opponent, the Bat wins the fight when The Snowman falls from a high cliff and to his death.

What an epic battle, right? I mean Batman and The Snowman trade a total of one kick that Batman lands to the back of The Snowman….yep, that’s the fist to fist action you get in this issue! But even though it’s not super action packed and does not deliver an all out drag down Batman fight, it does have a fun entertaining superhero horror story with some entertaining characters. The plot is this: world class Olympic skier Klaus Kristin is a shape shifter who can change into a Yeti and is stealing money from stores around Gotham as he needs cold weather to live and must move around in order to stay cold weather.  His crime spree that leaves two people dead makes Batman spring into action and crack the case. Batman/Bruce Wayne is shocked when he finds the first body of a crook that was frozen stiff, and this makes Batman’s mind work over time as he wants to solve the crime and get this killer off the streets.  This just shows you that no matter how rich Bruce Wayne is and no matter what else is going on around him, solving crime is the most important thing in his life. Batman is truly a master detective as he pieces together who The Snowman is and where he has run to really fast.  Let alone, he make quick and easy work of this man creature in a fight that is in his opponent’s favor. Klaus Kristin is a snooty sort of bragger who thinks that because he won three medals in the Olympics and travels the world to high end ski resorts, he is better than most normal people.  He also has a weird charm that makes woman flock to him as he tells his stories of being a playboy. As The Snowman, he seems to not care about killing to get the money that he needs in order to stay where the cold weather goes, but it makes one wonder if his ego is so big that he would rather kill than to live say in Alaska or the North Pole where it stays cold year round. As always, Commissioner Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth (Bruce Waynes Butler) have cameos in this issue, and both are always great to see. Batman thinks that The Snowman might have thrown the fight as he wanted to be stopped and this was his way of ending his cursed life, but I am not so sure as it’s clear he has an ego.  I think he lost the fight because Batman out smarted him. The issue has two deaths of people who are frozen to death and has the possible death of The Snowman. The cover is super eye catching and has Batman on skis looking shocked as The Snowman, who looks like a giant, is popping out of snow ready for the attack. The story in this issue was written by Gerry Conway, and the art was done by Jose Garcia-Lopez with inks by Steve Mitchell.  All is well done, and that art has stuck with me since I was a kid as has the whole issue. I am sure many comic readers would look at this issue as just a fill in, but to me it has and will always be a key issue. I should also say this issue has a back up story about Robin! Check out some artwork from this issue to see just how massive and abominable The Snowman is, or is that was?

Batman # 337 art 1Batman # 337 art 2Batman # 337 art 3

So the first meeting is down, but there’s one more to go.  The first meeting lead Batman to believe that The Snowman was dead, as did all of us readers, so let’s see what happens in round two!

Detective Comics 522

Detective Comics  # 522  ***
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics   # 522 of 881

Batman and a guide named Chi are climbing the Himalayan Mountains looking for the famed creature Yeti as Batman thinks that it might just be his foe The Snowman returning from his supposed death. While climbing Batman and Chi are almost killed by an avalanche, Batman witnesses a tall and strong looking shadow above them, and after this near death experience they decide to spend the night in a near by cave for shelter. In the cave Batman, remembers back to being in Vicki Vale’s office and waiting for her to go on a date.  He flipped through a magazine and spotted Klaus Kristin in a photo, and this is what lead him to this hunt in the mountains. In a small village, Batman spots Klaus, and the two struggle falling into the cold water.  Batman strikes his head on a rock and Klaus pulls him from the water, but when they are back on land Klaus is shot by a villager and stumbles into the cold and disappears up the mountain.  Batman now needs to check on his one time foe who saved his life and follows the blood trail. Batman climbs the mountain and is attacked by the Yeti along the way and finds Klaus in a Buddhist temple as he is bleeding to death.  We soon find out that his dad, the Yeti, was the one who has been attacking Batman while in the mountains, and he takes his dying son into the cold as Batman watches as a father mourns his fallen son.

So the second epic battle between Batman and The Snowman is not really a fight between the two but instead has the Bat tangling with the Yeti, the father of The Snowman. This issue has Batman traveling to the Himalayan Mountains in order to look for his foe The Snowman, who is wanted for not just robbery but also murder, and soon finds that his old foe is not a threat and just wanted to find peace alongside his father! Batman has lots on his mind from drama with the ladies in his life Vicki Vale and Selena Kyle, as well as just being a crime fighter and focusing his sights on The Snowman, but he soon learns that people (or is that things?) can change. Batman also shows compassion as he could have taken down the Yeti, who has tormented villagers for years but instead lets him be with his son in his dying moments. Klaus Kristin never changes into The Snowman in this issue and after faking his own death really just wanted to be left alone.  He also shows that he has grown as a character as he saves Batman from drowning. Chi is a villager guide and acts as a good side character, loyal to Batman and trying all he could to guide him on his quest. The Yeti is in a fury and wants his son’s pursuers dealt with and tries to do all he can to stop them, but sadly he as well has a weakness and that’s bright lights from the likes of a flare. Once more, this issue is not wall-to-wall action.  It feels more like an adventure that pits our superhero not only against his foes but also nature and his surroundings. This issue as well held up all these years, and as I read it, moments came back to me in memories that proved for some reason that the Batman vs. Snowman issues had a impact on this young comic reader’s mind. The cover is fantastic and has Batman on the side of a mountain as The Snowman is lurking into battle. The story was written by Gerry Conway again with art duties this time around going to Iry Novick and Pablo Marcos, and they do a great job of making The Yeti look different from The Snowman. The back up story in this issue is a Green Arrow adventure and is worth checking out if you like that emerald archer. Check out the art below that will showcase the mighty Yeti as well as other art from this fun and entertaining issue.

Detective Comics 522 art 1Detective Comics 522 art 2

Was this a better fight than Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice? Depends on your opinion…but I will say these comics made more of a impression on me than the film. While The Snowman might not be a big name villain like The Joker, Killer Croc or The Riddler, he was one I always remembered as a kid, and for some reason I really did think he was a huge deal in my youth. I can remember talking to kids on the playground in Waynesville about how Batman took on The Abominable Snow, and many of them looking puzzled or claiming they remembered with blank unsure look in their eyes. But now that we are off the hunt for The Snowman and made it back down unharmed, I think it’s time that we take a break from comics and once more step into the world of Horror Hosting as our next update will be about an icon who like Commander USA and Dr. Creep helped shape me into the person I am today.  I am talking about Grampa who hosted Super Scary Saturday on TBS! So until next time, read a comic or three, enjoy your summer days and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a Super Scary good time.

Super Scary Saturday Preview Logo

The Plagued Journey Of The Dust Devil

Welcome to Rotten Ink.  Our topic today is about dust devils, you know those whirl winds of dust that happen in the desert; they swirl like a tornado while most of the time harmless they can sometimes grow more powerful and cause damage to people and property! Oh wait, we are not chatting about those dust devils so we must be talking about the vacuum cleaners named after those whirlwinds that took homes by storm with their technology of sucking up dirt action…right…oh that’s not the topic either. Well are we talking about the Dust Devil villains in the online multiplayer games World of Warcraft or RuneScape or are we chatting about the song Dust Devil by 80’s ska band Madness or even the DC Comic character Dust Devil who is a member of the Blasters team? But while all those things would make for an odd update, the Dust Devil we are covering is the 1992 film by Richard Stanley and the small promo comic that came with the DVD when released! So grab your sunblock and cover your eyes we are heading into the harsh sand to tail a killer who might be a little more than human.

Dust Devil VaccumDust Devil WhirlwindDust Devil pc

But before we travel into the weird world of Dust Devil, I got an order from Indy Planet not too long ago that had an interesting looking horror comic in the batch and I figured we could take a look at it here real quick to help add to the horror theme of this update. So here we go as we take a look at “Ghastly Goodies,” a comic put out by Almost Normal Comics.

Ghastly Goodies 1

Ghastly Goodies # 1  ***
Released in 2015   Cover Price $2.99   Almost Normal Comics   # 1 of ??

Our first twisted tale is called “The Hand Of Glory” and is about a thief who cuts off the hand of a hanged man that is supposed to be a good luck charm if you light candles around it’s fingers.  It works for awhile until the crook soon finds out the hand has a mind of its own and is killing the victims he is only stealing from! The second story is called “The Howling Jar” and has two young boys spying on their old neighbor that they think is a witch as she drinks from a large jar in her basement.  They break in to see what’s in the jar and find out the old woman is a witch, and they are the next drink in her jar! Third story is “Dance Of The Corpse Worm.” Ed’s uncle has passed away and during the funeral he strikes up a one night stand with the young attractive mortician who worked on his uncle.  He soon learns that this young lady really “loves” her work and passes on a nasty little pet to Ed! “The Sickness” is the final story and has parents being attacked by their ill baby who wants them to be just like him!

This is a great little independent comic that is much like Tales From The Crypt and Creepshow in its anthology styling. Its host is a strange man in a black hat with candles around the brim with a handlebar mustache wearing a straight jacket who acts as the pun master after each gruesome tale of terror…or is that ghastly tale of terror? Each story has its own charm and each seem like they could have easily been a story in Creepy or Vault Of Horror as each doesn’t end well for those involved and the outcome is always gruesome and fitting for their fates. It’s hard to pick a best and worst story as all of them were well done but I will say the weakest story was The Sickness as the zombie baby with a knife killing its parents was creepy but also the shortest and tamest of them all. The best one was tough to pick, and I had to think about it for a day before choosing, but I finally picked one and it is the opener The Hand Of Glory.  The reason I picked it was because it had a classic horror story feel to it and for some reason reminded me of a Hammer Horror Film! Warren E. Elliott is the writer and artist for this comic, and his style is great and holds a charm of 60’s underground comics mixed with late 80’s horror independent comics charm. This needs to be an ongoing series, and I wish my local comic shops Mavericks or Bell Book And Comic would stock it if a full series is in the works. I would recommend this to fans of classic horror anthology comics as I think the over all creepy and fun feel to it is sure to please. One last thing before I give you some samples of the artwork is I want to know who the host of these tales is!

Ghastly Goodies ART 1Ghastly Goodies ART 2Ghastly Goodies ART 3

But before we get to Dust Devil, I should talk about an area here in Ohio that is said to be a portal to Hell called “Satan’s Hollow” in Blue Ash, Ohio.  It’s said that Satanist use this place to meet and sacrifice people and animals and was even said to have opened a gate to Hell and that Satan himself appeared! This is a place that I have wanted to visit on one of my adventures into the Unknown Ohio but never got the chance as stories of it being on private property among rumors that it is also used as a drug hub always pushed it back on the list of stuff to do as none of us wanted to mess with any of that kind of drama. But over the years I kept looking into Satan’s Hollow as a place that is said to have housed Satan for a short time peeked my interest and this is something that I think at some point this coming year Stephen, Josh and I might take a look into. But I have heard that it’s just really a drainage tunnel that kids have turned into an urban legend about Satan that they have spray painted with creepy messages and that the tunnels the further you get back into them get tiny, but I still want to see for myself. Below is a photo of Satan’s Hollow from the blog Creepy Cincinnati.

Satans Hollow

I first heard of director Richard Stanley from my friend and film mentor Andy Copp who was a huge fan of his renegade film style and would often talk about him in the same breath as Quentin Tarantino and Alejandro Jodorowsky showing his amount of respect for his directing style. Stanley was born on November 22 1966 in Fish Hoek, South Africa and at a young age followed his mother Penny Miller as she traveled the world to document witchcraft and folklore from all over the world for her books as she was a artist and anthropologist. Stanley got the film bug in High School when he joined the Young Filmmakers Workshop and created a 8mm short film called “Rites Of Passage” that won him an IAC International Student Film award! He would go onto follow it up with another 8mm short film called “Incidents In An Expanding Universe” and it as well won a IAC award showing that this young filmmaker had a bright future in cinema and he continued making short films. Stanley now older moved to London, England and started making music videos for bands like Public Image Limited and Fields Of The Nephilim and did a documentary on the Soviet war in Afghanistan called “Voices Of The Moon” that followed the lives of Afghani people. In 1990 he made his leap to feature films with “Hardware” a cyberpunk film starring Iggy Pop and Lemmy of Motorhead! The film made a splash and the Weinstein Brothers picked it up for distribution exposing the film to a wider audience. In 1992 he made the film “Dust Devil” and had a terrible time with the production as the budget was small and distributor Miramax kept messing with the editing of the film, this was his first bad taste of Major Hollywood studios. His next project as well was a headache as he worked with band Marilion on a video for their concept album Brave and this to was messed with during editing, so much so he disowned the finished product! His next project came in 1996 when he landed the writer and directing gig for his dream project a telling of “The Island Of Doctor Moreau” for New Line Cinema and this turned out to be a doomed project as it was plagued with lots of setbacks, heartaches and disappointments and this lead to Stanley being fired only a few days into production. Most of the drama for Stanley came from star Val Kilmer who clashed with the director and caused lots of problems for many of the cast and crew. This was the final straw for Stanley as after he watched his project get taken away he walked away from film making for awhile and returned to making documentaries and short films including 2008’s werewolf epic called “Black Tulips” among many others. Stanley also started writing films and comics for others and 2011 he directed a segment for the film “The Theatre Bizarre” called Mother Of Toads. In 2014 Stanley was interviewed for a documentary about The Island Of Doctor Moreau called “Lost Souls: The Doomed Journey Of Richard Stanley’s Island Of Dr. Moreau” that told his side of the story of what happened on set. Stanley has also hinted that his original version of Dr. Moreau might be made into a comic and a film sometime soon, and this is something I would love to see. While Stanley has been mistreated by Hollywood the man is very talented and I would love to see him make more stylish Horror Films in the future. This was just a quick look at Stanley as he is a very interesting person with some creative beliefs and if you get time you should Google him and read more about not only his cursed productions but also his interviews.

Richard Stanley 1Richard Stanley 2IMG_0448.JPG

Dust Devil started filming in 1991 in Namibia, and the story was loosely based Nhadiep, a serial killer who was said to have had dark magic powers that helped him in his killings. The film’s plot follows many paths including a cop, a female traveler as well as the killer known as The Dust Devil! IMDB has the film’s plot described like this” “A shape shifter comes from the desert in search of victims, a spirit the locals call ‘The Dust Devil’. He prays on the lonely and the unloved, those who have already lost everything but life itself. Wendy has broken up with her husband and wanders aimlessly in her car. She picks up a stranger and begins having misgivings about picking him up when strange things begin to occur. Meanwhile a local police officer tracks the killer. Aided by a shaman’s admonishments about witchcraft he sets off to try and stop the beast before it can complete its grisly task”. Late in 1991, Stanley cut the film to 120 minutes and then to 110 minutes hoping that the longer cut would be the European version as Miramax had the US rights and they wanted a much shorter film, and boy did they chop it down to a runtime of 87 minutes when they released it on VHS and Laserdisc. Off and on the film was getting cut by Miramax until finally Stanley was able to get the film prints back and cut a final cut of the film that lasted 105 minutes and later a directors cut that lasted 114 Minutes long was released on DVD by Subversive Cinema in America. The film is a weird one, and I can remember buying the DVD when I found it at a local second hand media store in Dayton called Second Time Around, and my then girlfriend sitting with me to watch it…yeah she didn’t last long as she was bored pretty quickly of the odd story line and pacing of the film. In 2015, my friends Jason Young and Eric Shonborn covered Dust Devil on their podcast Gutter Trash and that was a fun listen. Love it or hate it, Dust Devil is one strange horror film that has made it’s mark on the world. This update I would like to dedicate to Andy Copp as I am sure he would have enjoyed this one.

Dust Devil Movie 1Dust Devil VHSDust Devil Movie 2

So are you ready to face The Dust Devil in this short promo comic? Are you ready to see what kind of horror this has in store for us? I mean what kind of murder will this fiend commit on these pages and even better will it keep to the film’s odd nature? Before we travel to with the Dust Devil, we should grab some water or your choice of a cold beverage, and I need to remind you that I am grading this issue 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. Also thanks to Game Swap in Kettering for having this comic in stock as now I have two of them as one was also placed inside by single disc DVD release. So let’s get ready to witness a tale of madness!

Dust Devil Comic 1

Dust Devil  # 1  **1/2
Released in 2006   Cover Price FREE   Subversive Cinema     # 1 of 1

The Dust Devil is looking at why he does what he does and talks in thought about how the souls of his victims call to him even before he has murdered them.  To top it off he also shares that he has been around for decades and even was there to kill Hitler! He says it’s the scent of his victims that draw him to places. He shares that over the years he has taken the look of animals and even things in-between human and animal but has as of late settled for a human look which opens him up for the weakness of pleasure and wanting to sex up the women. He loves what he is and loves what he does, and the thrill is wandering the world and not knowing were the scent of victims will take him.

This comic is short and sweet and is used to give you a inside look at the Dust Devil and all his bloody deeds from being the real Jack The Ripper to killing a young woman who he meets and has sex with and then decides to kill her with a knife! It shows that he collects the fingers of the famous people he kills and that as a human he has the desires of humans. I love the fact also it has taken the shape of animals as well as monsters and has disposed of many people. The Dust Devil is clearly evil and in this comic it shows that he loves to kill and that he does not care who is on his list of death. The comic also does a great job of helping you really understand the film and is a nice counter piece as it teaches you a little more about the character before you watch the film or even after! The comic is pretty violent but doesn’t go overboard on blood but does keep the sleaze and uneasy nature of the film. The cover is pretty bland, and if this was a issue that could be picked up at your local comic shop I am sure you all would look over it as would I.  The art inside is pretty cool and is done by Phil Avelli who also wrote the script.  His art is cartoonish yet holds a horror appeal. To sum it up, while very short, it is a great comic that fans of the film will surely enjoy as much as I do.

Dust Devil Art 1

Well this was a fun quick update that allowed me to relive the film Dust Devil as well as enjoy this cool promo comic that added more layers to the legacy of the film. I truly wish that more companies would make comics based on films they release besides Arrow Video.  I would love to see Troma and Pop Cinema get back in the comic game as well as would love to see companies like SRS Cinema, Tempe and Retromedia Entertainment make comics based on their films. Speaking of films being turned into comics, our next update is yet another of the Draculina Photo Comics based on The Vampire Conspiracy so make sure to grab some garlic and cover your neck for that one. Until then, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local horror host! Oh yeah and beware of the Dust Devil as he could be anywhere, even at your local coffee shop….beware take care…beware…see what I did there worked in a little Ed Wood Jr. for the fun of it!

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Starriors: The Robots Who Ruined Christmas

When I think of the month of December, lots of things come to mind like Christmas, cookies, hot chocolate, family, snow and of course toys! Kids of my generation and before know the wonder of all the cool toys that became the must-have gifts you wanted from Santa or your parents so you could go to school and show off all your new stuff. And in the 80’s robots were super hot, and toylines were very popular and on many wish lists. One line that many kids of my time wanted was Transformers, with a smaller group wanting the likes of GoBots or Robotix, and then there was a toy line that disappointed kids with their cheap appearances and loose arm joints.  Those toys were Starriors. So as you already know, these cheap robot toys made by Tomy as well as the mini-series made by Marvel are the topic of this update. But before we move onto that I want to share some Christmas memories with you about how Marvel and DC Comics were a part of my Christmas mornings as a youth. Do you remember when you were younger on Christmas Eve night, and you were in your bed trying to sleep but you were so hyped for all your gifts the next day?  You’d be ready for when your cousins came over to play Nintendo or ball tag, weather-permitting, and by the time you finally fell asleep it seemed like you slept for only a few minutes before you were up and ready to open your gifts! Most years we would start with our stockings that “Santa” would leave, and they would be filled with such things as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cookies, Cracked Magazines, magic grow sponge animals and lots of comic books! Most of the time, it would be issues of Spider-Man, Captain America, Batman or Incredible Hulk or some other weird kids comic based on a cartoon, like Little Dracula and Count Duckula. I can remember that it was like clock-work, once Christmas was over and all the family went back home, I would go to my room and sit in bed and read the comics I got so that I could tell my brother and mom about what crazy thing happened to Spider-Man or what new bad guy he was facing. Those early years of Christmas for me were something special and filled with so many good times spent with family who would all gather to spend time together and eat a good home cooked meal that my mom would make. I miss those days, as they seem to be a thing of the past as we all got older and holidays began becoming less of family gatherings.  It’s a shame, but things change. But I would like to say thank you to Marvel, DC and all the other comic companies who made my Christmas day more special and entertained me on a day filled with lots of great memories. Below is a picture of me from Christmas morning 1990 when I was 11 years old and just opened my stocking, and as you can see that year I got Spectacular Spider-Man # 171 among my stack of comics.  Also check out that sweet Beta player, my Joker t-shirt, the warm fire going, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cookies as well as the Sugar Bear ornament on the tree!

Me Christmas Morning 1990

Sometime in 2004, an idea was floating around Independent B Movie Studios to have a slasher film made that would be shot in the winter.  Mike Ritchie was just coming off making Farmer Joe and took the project on that was to be called “Long Dead Winter,” and he came up with evil jester mask serial killer called The Jester Killer who was brutal and sadistic and who was attacking people during a massive snow storm leaving a body count.  Mike was not only going to direct this feature but he was also going to write it. One day when hanging around at Mike’s, we began to bounce ideas back and fourth on this film that’s start date was creeping up super quickly, and that’s when we came up with having a second killer added to the film that would be the opposite of The Jester Killer and not enjoy the fact he kills, and we called him The Sadness. The film began production soon after, and Mike Ritchie cast himself to play The Jester Killer, Garrison Kane played The Sadness and the two heroes were played by Matt Hoffman and Josh Weinberg and the film had the budget to add blood, gore and boobs. I acted as the cameraman, and we shot during the winter during and after snow storms to add the right atmosphere to the grim storyline. So I am sure you’re wondering what the film’s storyline was going to be, well let me tell you:  it was set in a small town during a nasty winter filled with blizzard-like weather and a serial killer wearing a twisted court jester mask goes on a killing spree.  Not to be outdone, another masked killer gets mad that his name is no longer in the town paper so he decided to go on a rampage as well.  With each kill, the killers were trying to out do each other. The town’s only hope is a pair of cops who are hot on the trail of the killers, but while they are good cops, do they have what it takes to stop the madness? The film shot for many days and was going pretty well with lots of deaths being shot from stabbings to a hammer to the skull, each done with cheesy backyard effect goodness! Sometimes the creepy vibe of the film was off track as Mike added many lame inside jokes toward friends of ours, and like Farmer Joe 2, the film stopped filming as Mike began delaying production.  Finally the film was scrapped as films like Razor, Who Keeps Feeding Grandpa and Two Seconds Too Late started productions, and Mike never did get back on track getting the film done. The footage we shot sat on VHS for many years and at some point I put it on Mini-DV and even used some shots on a couple of Baron Von Porkchop episodes! The Sadness would go on to get his own film in 2006 written and directed by me, but that’s for another update. At some point I would love to take some of the old Independent B Movie scripts and turn them into comic books, and Long Dead Winter would be at the top of that list! Any takers my comic book-making friends…Jason Young? Bruce O Hughes? Justin Wasson? Eric Shonborn? Below are some screen grabs from the VHS master tapes complete with time code.

Long Dead Winter 1Long Dead Winter 2Long Dead Winter 3

Speaking of long winters, this time of the year also makes me think of one of my favorite bands Cinderella and their album Long Cold Winter! Growing up I listened to pop music like Paula Abdul, Michael Jackson, Adam Ant and Janet Jackson, but I also listened to lots of rock due to my Dad, who is a music lover.  At a young age he introduced me to the likes of Alice Cooper, Warren Zevon and ZZ Top and from there wit the help of MTV and radio station 104.7 WTUE I started to find bands from my generation that I enjoyed like Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Billy Idol, W.A.S.P. and RATT and one of the tops on my list was Cinderella, a band that mixed hair metal and the blues so well with releases like Heartbreak Station. I can remember how hyped I was when I found the cassette of their first album Night Songs at Half Price Books. I took that tape home and almost wore it out from all the times I would crank it on my tiny little boom box radio. In 1988, they released Long Cold Winter, and I can remember seeing it in ads for places like K-Mart and wanting it so badly.  The singles off that album included Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone), Gypsy Road, The Last Mile and Coming Home, all that charted and all of them played on our local radio stations. I was lucky that my mom and dad listened to my wish list and got me it on cassette for Christmas that year and just like Night Songs, I can remember cranking it up. So after writing this, I think I am going to make myself some hot chocolate put on the vinyl of Long Cold Winter and reflect on a time when big hair ruled the music world, and to be honest if you have not heard this album, make sure to check it out!

Cinderella Band 1Cinderella Long Cold WinterCinderella Band 2

I want to also talk about something a little more creepy, something that might send shivers down your spine thinking that this thing might be real and wondering the world we all live in. In July of 2007 in Bahia, Brazil, a 15 year old girl was walking alone along a riverbed and woods when she was attacked by a horned monster who grabbed her and was trying to force mud into her face and hair for unknown reasons.  Luckily the young girl was able to escape by knocking this creature off balance making it so that she could flee and take this one single picture of the beast giving chase while in the water. The girl went home, and she and her dad released the photo, and since then another picture of it has been released from another person who saw it roaming around.  This thing is now called The Bahia Beast, and what it is is up for debate. The Beast is believed by Cryptozoology fanatics to be a mud demon, a foul creature who gets pleasure in degrading his victims before eating them. But many people think that it’s a hoax and is nothing more than a man in a cheap Halloween mask and costume roaming around to try and bring tourists to the area to see if they can spot the monster in the woods. I have also heard that some people think that the young girl’s story is fake and that she just snapped a picture of an actor in a costume while an independent horror film was being made. So as you can see The Bahia Beast is an unknown thing/person with an unknown origin, and this makes you wonder is this mudslinging demon out there waiting to make you taste mud?

Bahia beast 1Bahia beastBahia beast 2

While we are on the subject of spooky and horror I should take a brief moment to cover a comic book I got off the website Indy Planet that is about a zombie cop hunting a werewolf in the snow! I figured this update would be the best place to cover it as we are talking about the cold month of December, so let’s take a quick look at it.

Corpse Cop Arctic Wolf Front 1

Corpse Cop: Arctic Wolf # 1  **
Released in 2013   Cover Price $3.00   Black Box Comics   # 2 of 2

Corpse Cop is dropped off in Alaska as something has been killing hunters and the wildlife off and he has been hired to exterminate it. While wandering around in the snow, he finds the corpse of an animal and knows he is on the track to find the monster. Corpse Cop takes shelter in a cave for the night and while trying to warm up his undead body near the fire, he is attacked by a bear and must kill it. After the fight, a woman appears and sits with him near the fire and turns into a werewolf and attacks but is quickly killed as Corpse Cop cuts off it’s head and leaves her body to be eaten by animals.

This comic is too short for its own good with only 12 pages. I didn’t get to build a bond with Corpse Cop nor did I feel the werewolf was any threat to him. The story moves super fast and has the supernatural enforcer being dropped off in the snow doing very little investigating and killing his target, a werewolf, with ease. Corpse Cop seems to be an undead man with a sarcastic attitude and a real dislike for things of the supernatural. The werewolf is a female who seems to be in hiding in the cold caves as she knows that once she turns into the beast anything around her is as good as dead. But what stinks is that the werewolf is killed in seconds as Corpse Cop chops off its head, and the comic ends with it on a stake. While I was not to impressed with the story, I was impressed with the scratch board art of the comic done by Alan Bennett that helps add flare and style to this comic with it’s dark colors. Over all this has major potential for being a cool comic series as long as the next issues go longer than 12 pages and the characters are developed. The artist and creator Alan Bennett does not want you to share images from this comic or so I took it as via his website so out of respect I will not.  So instead I will show off some of my friend Rachel Lare’s sketch board artwork. I think she does fantastic work, and one day I hope that I can work alongside her and make a comic book just for Rotten Ink based on a cool horror film like Night of the Demon or Project Metal Beast! So check out her work below based on some icons for horror.

Rachael Lare Art 1Rachael Lare Art 2Rachael Lare Art 3

Does anyone remember those really cool comic catalogs that use to come out via Superhero Enterprises called “The Superhero Merchandise Catalog” that featured stuff like toys, posters, shirts, jewelry and all other manner of goodies that featured the likeness of your favorite hero like Spider-Man, Batman or Conan The Barbarian? It was place where you could order your Mego Toys and Spider-Man pajamas from the same order form. Nowadays, they just don’t do this kind of thing unless you count the giant Diamond ordering book used for customers to place what they want via their favorite local comic shop. I should also note that while writing this review I have been listening to two “Weird Al” Yankovic CD’s “In-3D” and “Polka Party!” and I must say it was a lot of fun going back and listening to his parodies of 80’s pop music classics like “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer and even “Beat It” by Michael Jackson and hearing him turn them into juvenile silly songs about food or some other off the wall thing. In 3-D came out in 1984 and to be honest was one of the first vinyl records I owned when I was a kid, and listening to this again after so many years was like listening to an old friend telling you stories that you heard so many times but the way they tell it keeps you happy and entertained. My favorite tracks off In 3-D have to be “Nature Trail To Hell,” a song that is about Friday The 13th and other slasher camp movies, “The Brady Bunch,” a fun take on The Men Without Hats song Safety Dance that deals with not wanting to watch the Brady Bunch on TV. “Eat It” of course is the take on Jacksons Beat It and is an all time classic Weird Al song, but to be honest this whole CD is packed with great songs and really took me back to being a kid sitting in the room with the NES playing a game and listening to this on vinyl.  Good memories, and this Weird Al album will always have a place in my heart for making me go back to the past. Polka Party! was released in 1986 and was one of those albums that I would see on cassette at K-Mart in the discount bin and for some reason my Dad would always say that we didn’t need that because it had no good songs on it! While I will agree that it’s not as great as In 3-D it does have it’s charm and some of my favorite songs from off the CD are “Addicted To Spuds” as I myself love eating potatoes and “Living With A Hernia” that’s a parody of James Brown’s Living In America is silly and fun but also makes me think of Rocky IV and the death of Apollo Creed! I should also note that this CD also has a Christmas song that adds to this time of the year, and it’s called “Christmas At Ground Zero” and is about a nuke being dropped on the jolly holiday, a grim song that’s done with a upbeat spirit makes for a fun listen. So yeah, I just wanted to share what I have been listening to these days.  I feel that music was also very important to me growing up and help shape me into the person I am today just as much as friends, family, comics, movies, horror hosts and video games did. So next year (2016), once a month I am going to let a friend of mine pick their favorite band or artist and have me listen to their favorite album by said artist. But at this point we should get back our look at The Starriors!

Weird Al Yankovic In 3-D CDThe Superhero Merchandise Catalog 1975Weird Al Yankovic Polka Party CD

In 1984, Tomy released a toy line with the help of Marvel that was a spin off of Zoids and gave the characters a storyline that involved humans going underground during solar flares and leaving robots up top to awaken them once the disaster was over. The toys were broken up into two lines, one being the good guys called the Protectors who were led by a laser chested bot named Hot Shot and the bad guys called the Destructors lead by Slaughter Steel Grave. The figures’ gimmick was that they would perform actions via windup, pullback or remote control making them more “alive” than Transformers. They also came with mini comics made by Marvel to help showcase the characters and their backstories. The series of figures would last for two waves and could be found at many department stores at the time of release. Growing up, I can only remember having one of these figures when I was super young and that was Hot Shot, but if memory serves me I am pretty sure its arms fell off and my mom ended up throwing it away.  Needless to say, this series of toys was not one that the Brassfield Brothers had to have. None of my school friends had any of these figures that I know of, and the only other people I personally knew who had any were my old Vietnamese neighbors when I first lived in Kettering and my Brassfield Grandparents because my grandma would buy toys all the time to keep at her house for my cousin Nathan from garage sales. Starriors was slated to get an animated mini series in 1985 but production on the series seems to be a mystery as it has never seen the light of day.  This is what makes this toy line so interesting, it had no back up from TV, movies or video games.  All it had was the Marvel Comics and the time put into the story shows that everyone involved believed in them and wanted Starriors to be the next big thing in action figures. I feel that Marvel and Tomy really loved the mythology of The Starriors much like Marvel and Remco loved what they came up with for The Saga of Crystar, and this helps make this toy line all the more fascinating for a person like me who grew up knowing very little about them. While I might not have been a fan or had many of the toys, I am sure some kids of the time loved them and looked forward to getting the figures to play out their own robot adventures. Below are some pictures of the figures as well as the checklist of figures so enjoy.

Starriors Hot Shot toyStarriors Character PosterSlaughter-Steelgrave toy

Before we get to the Marvel Comic mini series I would like for those readers who have had Starriors toys to reflect back to that time and remember all the adventures and battles you had with them during your youth…go on take a few moments, I don’t mind. So are you ready now to travel to a time when Earth is no longer man’s but that of machines that we left in charge? If so I need to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see if Hot Shot can bring back man and if he can stop Steel Grave once and for all. I want to also thank Lone Star Comics and Dark Star Comics for having this mini series in stock.

Starriors 1

Starriors # 1 **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel    #1 of 4

Hot Shot, Crank, Cut-Up, Tinker and Nipper are robots called Protectors, and they are helping rebuild a wall while robots called Destructors (Slaughter Steel Grave, Gouge, Sawtooth to name a few) shout orders and act as if they are slaves to them. Nipper finds a human skull and rushes to show her friends when Gouge jumps down and smashes her to pieces and tells them to get back to work. Hot Shot and Tinker take Nipper’s body to Think Tank hoping he can place her circuits into a new body, and they do. But this has caused a riff between the Protectors lead by Hot Shot and the Destructors lead by Slaughter Steel Grave that leaves Hot Shot using his laser against Gouge who was going to hurt one of his friends and Steel Grave unleashing the massive dinosaur robot named Deadeye to kill off many of the Protectors. In the end a small amount of the good robots are left alive after they flee to look for man, who they think can help them win the war.

This is a pretty cool first issue, but I did find it to be crammed with way too many characters and not enough character development for the main ones. The plot has two different types of robots fighting it out for the fate of their planet.  The Protectors are worker robots who are gentle in nature and are waiting for humans to come back, while the Destructors are mean spirited and bullies who get joy in mistreating and back stabbing. Hot Shot is wise and truly thinks that man can help them.  His main weapon is a laser, and his mentor is Think Tank who gives him advice. Slaughter Steel Grave is a robot who loves the power he holds and enjoys destroying the weaker robots using them as slaves.  He even hates humans and doesn’t want them back as he fears they will take his power away. The rest of the characters as well fit in this generic bad guy and good guy style with only a few being in the grey, who could go either way. I must also say that the names of many of the robots are just silly and not fitting for what they look like. I mean a blind all red robot who looks like a T-Rex is named Deadeye…you get it, because he’s blind. The art is well done and helps make the characters’ personalities pop a little more allowing them to be more deep than what’s been written for them.  It’s done by Michael Chen who it seems didn’t do much work for Marvel after this series and that’s a shame as I think he was a talented artist. So far this is starting off pretty good, and I am hoping that by the next issue they explain more about the characters and that it also packs in a little more fights as this issue was more drama than action. So let’s get to issue # 2 and see what Marvel has in store for us.

Starriors 2

Starriors # 2  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel   #2 of 4

Hot Shot, along with the remaining Protectors, are in the desert to look for man and are climbing a mountain towards a volcano. Slaughter Steel Grave is leading his men to go after them and has given orders to destroy the Protectors and even turns on Sawtooth and buries him under rocks as they leave him and continue their hunt. Think Tank and Crank enter the volcano to try and mind meld to get locations when they are attacked by Deadeye who is in turn attacked by a giant mutant spider! As the Destructors enter the volcano, they as well attack the spider and during this rocks fall on Crank.  As the other Protectors, escape he becomes the prisoner of the evil robots who plan on wiping out his memory and ripping him apart. Hot Shot and his men can’t let this happen as Crank is their close friend and his body also hosts the mind of Think Tank because the mind link was interrupted and didn’t allow things to go back to normal. During the fight Steel Grave and his men capture some of the Protectors and plan on executing them.  This causes Hot Shot and crew to enter the bad guys’ camp save their friends by stealing a powerful transfer ring that gets Think Tank’s mind back in the right body.

This second issue showcases just how much Slaughter Steel Grave hates the Protectors and humans and how he will do whatever it takes to stop them both even if that means killing! The search for the truth and for a better life is all Hot Shot and his followers are looking for, and they have to travel to a forbidden land in order to find the answers as well as escape the evil bots who are after them. This issue is a solid giant robot story, but it is also pretty dull in spots. I think the story is dragging along to fill out the four issues in this mini series, and this issue is a clear filler as the coolest thing that happens is a fight between the good robots, the bad robots and lava spiders.  But while this sounds amazing in words, the battle is too quick and leads to nothing but Hot Shot and his men escaping again. It’s interesting what they are doing with Sawtooth who clearly is not sold on the evil ruling of Steel Grave and is more of a leader than Grave ever will be. Hot Shot is a cool leader of the good guys and while at times he should fight back harder, he still does what he feels is right. The art is done by Mike Chen again and is well done and has a great 70’s comic toy tie-in look. While this issue is not groundbreaking and for all accounts a very mediocre issue, I still can’t wait to see what happens in the third issue so we should not waste anymore time and check it out.

Starriors 3

Starriors # 3  **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .75   Marvel   #3 of 4

Sawtooth is warning his fellow robots about the lies of Slaughter Steel Grave about man, and this leads to Steel Grave ordering the death of Sawtooth who is torn apart, and ordering his followers to get the transfer ring back! Meanwhile Hot Shot and his friends are thinking about how they must find man and fight back if they are pushed. The Protectors send Runabout to scout ahead and find the hidden base of the humans as Slaughter Steel Grave sends Speedtrap after her.  The two robots fight and both are left hurt and dying. Meanwhile Slaughter Steel Grave leads a sneak attack on The Protectors that leaves all the good natured robots slaughtered! Meanwhile a robot named Stinger comes out of the base and kills Speedtrap and brings Runabout back to life and tells her that the base had been attacked many years back by Slaughter Steel Grave who wants to snuff out mankind! Stinger gives Runabout a transfer ring, and she rushes back to the Protector camp and finds all her friends slaughtered.  She uses the ring to heal those she can including Hot Shot who tells his friends it’s time to go to war and not only save themselves but also mankind!

This third issue is really cool and has a hint of Transformers to it and that makes the story feel more epic and builds the doom of Slaughter Steel Grave who doesn’t care about anything besides himself. The story in this issue is Hot Shot and his friends are shown to be weak as the Destructors fight them and leave them all destroyed, but thanks to one robot who is kind of a chicken, they are rebuilt because she faces the odds and comes to her friends aid. Slaughter Steel Grave is shown to be even worse than before as he kills his own if they cross him and has a plan to kill off humans because he thinks he should be the one ruling the world! Hot Shot, who is an honest good robot, also finds that he needs to go against his programing and fight for what’s right and comes to see Steel Grave is one evil bot. Motormouth, who is the Protector who is telling Slaughter Steel Grave secrets, is a terrible little robot and when Steel Grave has him ripped apart for being a rat I found myself cheering for him to bite the dust. Mike Chen once more does the artwork, and it’s really good.  As I said before, the story has really picked up, and I can’t wait to see what the fate of mankind is! So with that let’s move onto the fourth and final issue in this Marvel mini series based on a cheap toy line.

Starriors 4

Starriors # 4  **1/2
Released in 1985    Cover Price .75   Marvel   #4 of 4

Slaughter Steel Grave and the Destructors are heading toward the base to rid the world of man as Stinger watches on frozen with fear, but things are not going to plan as many of the Destructors turn against orders to attack the base as they don’t want to kill man and the base has some defenses of its own to slow down the attack on it. Hot Shot and the rest of the Protectors bring back Sawtooth who joins them in the fight against Steel Grave, who he looks at as a major threat to the world. The Protectors and The Destructors have all out war that leaves many of them dead as ThinkTank, Deadeye, Stinger and Crank fall in battle, but Hot Shot won’t back down and with the help of the base, they chase off Steel Grave and are able to bring back all the hurt Protectors to life! In the end Hot Shot finds man and brings them back to life where humans and robots make an alliance and decide to stand with each other in the war against The Destructors.

The final war in this issue is filled with so much death and destruction it was like watching a war movie like Saving Private Ryan or Glory! The wrap up story of this issue has Hot Shot getting the good robots ready for war and fighting for their lives as Steel Grave is shown to be a bully, but when clearly they start fighting back, he retreats so not to be defeated. Hot Shot grows as a character by the end of this mini series.  A first, while he is kind of a wimp, he still stands up for what’s right, and by this issue he is filled with revenge and rage and even leaves Motormouth out in the sun to rust showing he no longer is going to be pushed around and has no mercy on bad robots. The Protectors are all pretty cool characters, and all of the main cast had some sort of small storyline going on from a love triangle to friendships, making them all come off human like and not just robots. I also liked how Sawtooth as well as other The Destructors turned to the side of good when they saw that the orders they were getting were that of a madbot! Slaughter Steel Grave is a robot who is on a power trip and uses power to bully and force his fellow robots into doing what he says when he says.  He took so much joy in killing either by his own hands or having it ordered that he remained me of a evil prison warden in those old women in prison movies. The humans do nothing at all, even when they wake up they are dressed as if they are in some weird superhero cult with the lead bearded man looking like he is some new age Charles Manson. I just don’t trust them…all joking aside, they don’t do much and only come into play for the last two pages of the comic. In fact the whole story to me seemed like the creators of the comic and toyline sat at a table and took elements from The Transformers, The GoBots and Mad Max and scribbled them onto a notepad and out came The Starriors, and I am okay with what they came up with for the most part. This was a great way to give these generic toys a backstory and personalities and proved that while they might not have been as cool as The Transformers, they still could deliver an entertaining comic adventure. So if you grew up a fan of these figures or even collect them today, do yourself a favor and check out this Marvel series you’ll be glad you did. Check out a piece of Chen’s artwork below to see the quality of his work and the style that brought these characters to life.

Starriors art 1

Man this update took us all over the place, and we covered The Starriors, a unfinished Mike Ritchie no budget movie, Weird Al music CDs and so much more makes me really look at and love my blog! Well it’s getting cold in here so I am thinking I am going to crawl under some covers and pop in a DVD movie or watch the WWE Network and relax this night away. I wouldn’t want to get sick! And speaking of, sickness that is the topic of the next update as we take a look at Lifeform, a man who could infect the whole Marvel Universe with an infectious disease and it’s up to the likes of Daredevil, The Hulk, Punisher and Silver Surfer to stop him from doing just that. So until next time stay warm, stay healthy, read a comic or three and have a safe winter.

Lifeform Logo

The Spooky, Kooky Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Boo! I’s sure that I scared no one with that, but welcome to this very spooky Pre-Halloween update here on Rotten Ink that’s sure to chill the bones of at least a few of you readers as we take a look at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in all media including the book, movies, video games and of course, comics! This update we will look at all types of things from a creepy voice mail to a horror movie marathon Juliet and I had, as well as take a look at another independent horror comic and of course the history of Mr. Hyde! So open the windows and let that chill fill the room because it’s going to be a creepy and spooky good time with Mr. Hyde and all his bizarre friends! In the world of classic monsters, most people think of Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Wolf Man and even The Mummy but many seem to always forget about Mr. Hyde, a character who is so twisted and brutal that he enjoys turning people’s stomachs as well as murder.  So this update is for fans of the mostly over looked classic horror character.

All Hallows Eve Hyde Mood

In 2009 a voicemail message was uploaded to Youtube by a member named Hellsinger85 that had a man warning him not to answer they door if he came to it because it wouldn’t really be him.  As the message goes, the man lets out a yell and seems to turn into something sinister complete with evil laugh and his last words are a name, Kaylee. Hellsinger, the uploader, seemed puzzled and a little scared of the message as he did not know who the strange man was on the other line and wanted help to see if it was a prank or really some sort of psycho with a Mr. Hyde side. He claimed that a CD arrived in the mail and that the message was what was on it taken from someone’s answering machine.  It’s complete with a message left by AT&T. Now for some time this message was up for debate on whether it was real or a stunt cooked up by Hellsinger85, who was working on a movie about the strange things going on in and around his town of Amory, Mississippi that included zombies and sewer people.  His work on this film has many people thinking it’s a hoax and all part of the plan for his film and website. So if you’re not too scared make sure to look it up on Youtube under the title “Creepy Voice Mail” and give it a listen and see what you think…is it real or fiction? Is there a Mr. Hyde running loose in Mississippi? Only those who have come face to face with him when he came to the their door knows for sure. So during this Halloween season if you get a knock on the door, think twice before opening it.  Who knows, it could be Hyde.

Creepy Voice Mail

So before we get to far into this strange case of a doctor with a split personality, I would like to take this time to look at an independent horror comic book that I got from a cool little website called Indy Planet that only deals in small independent comics that you can buy digitally or print on demand.  Since I am an old school comic reader, I buy the physical copy because digital just doesn’t have the soul of a paper comic in my hands sitting in my favorite spot. But any way let’s see what this spooky comic made by Zak Greene Comics has to offer on this creepy update!

Tomb Of Madness 1

Tomb Of Madness # 1  **
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   Zak Greene Comics   # 1 of 1

The first spin tingling tale of terror is called “ The Creeping Vine” and has a man in the middle of the jungle with a broken GPS and a cellphone battery that’s about dead.  He finds a flower he has never seen before and when asleep at night, the vine of the flower infects his foot and body with a rash that causes open wounds! The man must stop the infection the only way he knows how and that’s with a very sharp machete! The second story is a slasher called “Night of The Massacre” and has a masked killer butchering a dorm of college girls but get the surprise of his life when they return as zombies!

This horror comic is entertaining in its own right, but I should also point out that it’s by no means original as many elements of the plots of the two short stories are lifted from horror films like The Ruins, Maniac and Slaughter High. The first story, The Creeping Vine, is a nice way to start the comic as it’s a very simple plot with some very gruesome moments as the flesh is peeled away around the wounds as well as the fact the man chops off his own body parts with a machete.  The reader never finds out  who the man is, and I like it that way. The second story had some major potential and is the better of the two stories as it follows a masked killer who is killing off some coeds but gets the tables reversed on him as the girls begin to rise again in death…are they zombies or demons…I couldn’t tell you. In my mind I would like to think that this segment took place right when the zombie outbreak is happing in the film Return of The Living Dead or if they are demons, then some one read the book of the dead like in Evil Dead. The killer is a mix between Michael Myers of Halloween and ChromeSkull from Laid To Rest, and once more we have zero background of who he is nor do we even get a name to attach to him. And the lack of backstory on this story is what hurts it from becoming a solid horror story. The art is good and is done by Zak Greene and has a very independent comic look to it. As far as I know a follow up issue was never made, and the Tomb of Madness only stayed open for one issue, so who knows what other terrors awaited us if Greene would have made an issue two. Over all fans of cheesy independent horror comics might get a kick out of this one as I know I did. Also just look at the killer’s mask…it reeks of cheap and cheesy slasher films and reminds me of the Conscious Killer from the film Frightmare released in 2000.

Tomb of Madness Comic Killer Art

Man, I love a good Horror Movie Marathon, and Juliet and I decided to have another on August 11th 2015 to relax and watch the horrors that our DVD player had to offer. I really enjoy having these events with Juliet as well as a house full of friends who all have fun dissecting the films after they have completed. We skipped doing the pre-show as I was worn out from work and went to bed early so that I could be fully charged for the day of horror watching that started at 7am! As always we loaded up with all types of yummy snack foods like potato chips, M&M’s, hummus and trail mix and ate breakfast casserole for brunch. We spiced up dinner this time around as normally we always fix a bunch of chicken wings but instead we went for a roast cooked slowly in a crockpot and it was fantastic! The first movie to kick off the marathon was “Night Of Terror” starring Bela Lugosi about a scientist who invented a serum that can bring someone back to life after 8 hours without oxygen.  But during his test run a killer is one the loose around his mansion and twists and turns take hold. The next film called “Curse Of The Witching Tree” has a mother moving her two children into a farmhouse that some terrible crimes took place in, and now the spirit of the witch hung in a near by tree wants revenge for her death. “Tales Of Dracula” is a black & white film that’s in the spirit of the classic Universal Monsters movies that has Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and a Werewolf all arriving in a small village around the same time and each have their own reasons.  It’s a fun film but a terrible ending that is tacked on for a sequel. The next film has a slasher that will appear in the We Kill The Dead comic book and was called “Billy Club” about a baseball team getting back together to honor some of their teammates that had been murdered way back when by a fellow team member.  Now someone dressed as an umpire is killing off the rest of the team. “IT Follows” was next an amazing film that was great when I saw it in theaters and was just as great on watching it on DVD.  The film follows a young woman who is being stalked by an unknown force. The sixth film was “Jinn,” a flick that pits a man against an evil Jinn who has cursed his family for centuries. A found footage style film called “The Den” was next and was about a woman who is on a chat site that’s targeted by a killer who ruins her life along his hunt. Next was another found footage flick called “The Pigman Murders” and follows a group on a hiking trip being killed by some hill people who wear pig masks. “Jessabelle” is about a woman who is injured in a car wreck and must return to her Dad’s home and finds some freaky tapes that her mother made before she passed away, and worse some evil spirits are on the loose, and the story has twists and turns. The reboot to “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” was next and followed a young woman in 2013 who was attacked by the Phantom Killer and her race to figure out who or what the killer is. Low budget slasher flick “Blood Slaughter Massacre” was next about a clown masked killer on the loose and a cops quest to stop him. The last film and another slasher that will appear in the We Kill The Dead comic called “Jonah Lives” is about some youngsters playing with a oujia board and bring back a zombie who has blood lust on his brain! The event was a blast and Juliet and I had a lot of fun watching all these different types of horror flicks and as always we had a blast picking our worst film and our top three best! We both agreed for the worst film as The Pigman Murders was a boring bland film with no real horror elements to it.  In fact, by the time the killers start their murder party, I found myself not caring about the people they were killing off. Juliet felt the same way and this was the only film of the day I couldn’t wait for it to end. My top three best of the night are # 1. IT Follows as I love the atmosphere, characters and creature of the film.  I don’t wanna say too much about this film as I think it’s well worth the watch for those have not seen it. # 2. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a movie I waited for a long time to come to DVD and it lived up to what I wanted.  While by no means a must see film, I love the small town feel as well as seeing The Phantom Killer once more on a rampage was a fun time. And my last # 3. was The Den, a cool film that mostly takes place as if you’re watching it from the lead character’s laptop.  It’s filled with suspense, horror, good looking women and even some funny moments, good stuff and if you like found footage films check it out! Billy Club and Jessabelle almost made it to the list as I found them both really cool as well. Juliet’s top three are as follows #1. IT Follows, # 2. The Den and # 3. Jessabelle, all good choices for sure! Horror Movie Marathons are a fun time, and I suggest that if you and your friends like horror get together and have one.  It’s a fun way to share your love for horror and be around good friends all day long.

Night Terror dvdCurse Of The Witching Tree DVDTales Of Dracula DVDBilly Club dvdIT Follows DVDJinn dvdThe Den dvdThe Pigman Murders dvdJessabelle dvdThe Town That Dreaded Sundown 2014 dvdBlood Slaughter Massacre DVDJonah Lives DVD

So I think its time to take a quick look at the man whose mind created Mr. Hyde as well as the first time I fully read the book! Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13th 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland and from a young age was a very sickly person as his body was sensitive to cold weather giving him coughs and colds very easy.  This caused the family to move several times and affected his schooling and ability to make friendships. His father’s family’s trade was in lighthouse design, while his mother’s side has his grandfather being a preacher. Much of his education came from tutors as he was sick more often than not and could not attend school, but as he got older and well in health he attended many schools and universities and formed friendships that helped shape him into a worldly person. Over the years Robert became a traveling man and visited France, United States and all over the South Seas, all the while writing and becoming very good at it! In 1880 Robert married Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne who was a divorcee with two children at the time of their wedding from her first husband who was a solider in the Civil War.  He fell madly in love with her the first time he met her and risked his own health to travel to be with her as he fell ill many times on his journey. When better and now a married man Robert did some more traveling and took his journeys as inspirations for his writing.  That’s one of the coolest things about him, he used life experiences and things he had seen as the foundations for many of his wonderful stories. Sadly in 1894, his life would come to an end when trying to open a bottle of wine for he and his wife he collapsed after asking her if his face looked strange.  He died a few hours later to what’s believed to have been a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 44. The man lived a life full of adventures and illness and wrote some of the world’s most classic stories like Treasure Island in 1883, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886 and The Master of Ballantrae in 1889, to name a few.  Not to mention, he co-wrote in his later years with his stepson Lloyd as well as authored tons of short stories used in magazines and such. This tiny write up doesn’t do the man justice so I encourage you to go out and read more about this interesting and talented man who’s mind brought us all Mr. Hyde.

Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was a young kid, I used to love to get paperback novels and read them, and The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was one of them that I owned but for some reason I never got around to reading the whole book until about three years ago when I picked up another copy of it on paperback from Half Price Books and spent a cold winter day relaxing on the couch with the novel in my hand and under covers, and I was blown away by it! The atmosphere of the writing and setting really draws out a dark and grim picture, and I am sure scared people of 1886 silly as he wrote about Hyde’s twisted deeds. The original novel I had was from Wal-Mart when they had a ton of classic literature paperbacks two for a dollar.  I loaded up and read many of them like The House of Seven Gables and The Invisible Man, but for some reason I never got around to reading The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and if memory serves me right, I am sure I didn’t cause I was starting to work on a comic series based on Bat-Bat from Mighty Mouse and was getting into also writing my own horror short stories. But if you have not gotten around to reading this classic novel, please take the time sometime this winter and give it a read, I know I was glad I did!

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 1The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 2The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 3

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde over the years has been transformed from the pages of the novel to the silver screen in many film adaptations with some good, others bad, and some just plan odd like Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde and Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde. But whichever are your favorites below I am going to give you a quick rundown of five of the most popular classic ones that chilled the bones of movie goers from the 1910’s all the way to the 1940’s and one from the 50’s that tickled funny bones. The write ups are taken from IMDB, a good site to learn all those who were involved in your favorite horror films as well as all other type of films. So enjoy this quick look at Mr. Hyde in cinema!

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Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1913)

“Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.” On imdb it has 5.4 out of 10 stars.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – King Baggot

Utterson – William Sorelle

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1920)

“Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story: Doctor Henry Jekyll’s enthusiasm for science and his selfless acts of service have made him a much-admired man. But as he visits Sir George Carew one evening, his host criticizes him for his reluctance to experience the more sensual side of life. Sir George goads Jekyll into visiting a music hall, where he watches the alluring dancer Gina. Jekyll becomes fascinated with the two contrasting sides of human nature, and he becomes obsessed with the idea of separating them. After extensive work in his laboratory, he devises a formula that does indeed allow him to alternate between two completely different personalities, his own and that of a brutish, lascivious person whom he names Hyde. It is not long before the personality of Hyde begins to dominate Jekyll’s affairs.” It’s imdb star ratting is 7 out of 10!

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – John Barrymore

Utterson – No One The Character Does Not Appear

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 1 Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1931)

“Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Henry Jekyll believes that there are two distinct sides to men – a good and an evil side. He believes that by separating the two man can become liberated. He succeeds in his experiments with chemicals to accomplish this and transforms into Hyde to commit horrendous crimes. When he discontinues use of the drug it is already too late.” This is my favorite film version of the story and has a 7.7 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Fredric March

Utterson – Arnold Lacy

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1941)

“Dr. Jekyll believes good and evil exist in everyone. Experiments reveal his evil side, named Hyde. Experience teaches him how evil Hyde can be: he kills Ivy who earlier expressed interest in Jekyll and Sir Charles, Jekyll’s fiancée’s father.” This version has a 6.9 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Spencer Tracy

Utterson – Cut from the film again

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 1Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 posterCostello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 2

Abbott/Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1953)

“Slim and Tubby are American cops in London to study police tactics. They wind up in jail and are bailed out by Dr. Jekyll. Jekyll has been murdering fellow doctors who laugh at his experiments. He has more murders in mind. At one point the serum that turns Jekyll into the murderous Hyde gets injected into Tubby.” This fun and silly comedy has a 6.7 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Boris Karloff

So as you can see, Jekyll and Hyde have been on the silver screen quite a bit, and these are only a drop in the hat of the films based on the characters as I left our such ones as “Mary Reilly”, “Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde” and “Dr. Black And Mr. Hyde” to name a very few more. But they were not just in movies. I should also note that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has also been turned into TV mini series and made for TV Movies as well as turned into a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. So let’s spend some time taking a look at the video game that haunted many players’ dreams. In 1988 Bandi and Toho teamed up to release a side scrolling action horror game that followed Henry Jekyll trying to get to the church in time for his wedding but for some reason the towns people are not having it and attack the good Doctor as he walks through the town. As Jekyll, you have no weapons to defend yourself so you must try and dodge and jump your way to safety, but if you take to much damage you go into a nightmare world and become Mr. Hyde who can punch and use his Psycho-Wave powers to fight off strange creatures. As Hyde you play the stage backwards and if you don’t calm down by the time you reach where Jekyll transformed, you will be stuck by lightning and die ending the game and causing you to start over. The game is very challenging and as Jekyll it’s almost impossible to dodge every bomb placed for you and every crazed animal out for your blood. As Hyde it feels like a normal side scrolling game were you as the player are trying to get from point A to point B. I can say that I have beat this game some time back and found it to be one of the hardest NES games I have every played. The game is pretty much hated by most gamers and has been the butt of many jokes on the net. I will say while it is a pretty bad game it is not as bad as people say it is and I for one have played a lot worse.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES 1Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES BoxDr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES 2

The Angry Video Game Nerd hates the NES Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  He considers it the worst game in history and has made two videos about just how terrible it is! The first one is just him sitting in a chair cutting to gameplay as he rips the game apart. The second one is fantastic and has him playing the game more in-depth all the while he is drinking hard liquor and getting more and more worked up over the game. Finally he gets so drunk that he blames Robert Louis Stevenson for ruining his life and turns into Mr. Hyde and goes to the graveyard and digs up the body of Stevenson who is now an evil skeleton who overpowers the Hyde Nerd. When Nerd wakes up he finds that the game he has hated for all these years is in fact a deep game that teaches players about Good and Evil and after playing a few more seconds he remembers that nope the game just sucks. If you’re a classic game fan and enjoy good old comedy, check out his video for this game.

AVGN Hyde 1AVGN Hyde 2AVGN Hyde 3

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have had such an impact on society that many other products have been made with their image from posters, t-shirts, toys, model kits, comics, Halloween masks, magazine covers, video games and so much more! There is something to be said about a horror character who was created in 1886 who has had so many items based in its image even in 2015! Some of my favorite Mr. Hyde items have to be the NES game because while its cheesy and frustrating it still has childhood memories for me, the Marx model kit and the Silent Screamers action figure. One that I wished I had was the Don Post Halloween Mask as if I would have had it in my teen years I would have surely made a film that pitted The Werewolf of Ohio against Mr. Hyde, and if I had it now as an adult you would surly see it on an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre! So from comics to toys, if you are a fan of the sinister Mr. Hyde there is merchandise out in the world to make the collector side of you very happy.

Hyde on Famous Monsters MagazineMr. Hyde Halloween Mask 0Reel Monster Hyde Figure

My favorite comic company has to be Marvel Comics and even to this day I find myself buying golden, silver and bronze age issues from local comic stores and beyond. And while we are on the topic of Mr. Hyde, I feel the need to talk about the character that has had many appearances in Marvel issues! While he has been featured in Marvel Classic Comics and Supernatural Thrillers, the one we are going to look at is Calvin Zabo who after drinking a serum turns into the super strong criminal Mister Hyde. Mister Hyde was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck in 1963 with his first appearance being in Journey Into Mystery # 99 where he fought Thor who would go onto be the thorn in his thieving side alongside other superheroes like Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America and Ghost Rider. The character’s appearance in the Marvel Universe is a twisted and brutish face, muscle bulk with messy hair, and most of the time wears a green coat. He is super strong and has a very bad attitude as greed and power is what drives him to commit the crimes he does. I don’t want to spend to much time on Marvel’s Mister Hyde, but I must say I did really enjoy the storyline that had him on the hunt for his one time partner in crime The Cobra who he blames for them getting busted and ratting him out.  He is so filled with rage you know that he would crush his skull like a melon if you could get to him, but thanks to Spider-Man, no Cobra head smashing happened. Below is a picture of Marvel’s Hyde, not as scary as he’s described in the novel but still a great character in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel Mister Hyde

So are you scared yet…are you thinking about that odd voice mail or text you have gotten this past week? Are you thinking about the horror film you just watched or the survival horror game you just played? Or maybe deep inside you fear Mr. Hyde because you realize that we all have a monster side just itching to get out and do whatever your primitive urge is…or maybe you’re just scared because we are getting so close to Halloween! So to keep up the cold chills running up and down your spine it’s time we look at Classic Illustrated look at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a classic comic adaptation of the novel. I need to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this issue in stock and need to remind all you ghouls 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 get your lab coat on as we are about to help Jekyll defeat his evil Hyde side, or at least witness this strange case unfold on comic pages that are given off a true rotten ink smell.

Classics Illustrated 13

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde #13   ***1/2
Released in 1968   Cover Price .25   Classics Illustrated   #13 of 169

Dr. Henry Jekyll is acting odd and calls his close friend Mr. Utterson to his estate and draws up a will that leaves everything to a man named Edward Hyde, and when Utterson tries to ask questions, he is asked to leave. The next day Utterson goes on a walk with his friend Richard Enfield who tells him a story of a man who ran into a young girl on this very street and stomped on her! He chased the man down and made him pay the parents of the young girl for her pain, and this creep’s name was Edward Hyde! Utterson now wants to know more about Hyde and wonders what he has on Jekyll that makes him leave all his wealth to this strange looking man. Hyde and Utterson meet, and the meeting does not go well, nor does the one with Jekyll after to tell him of the foul things Hyde is doing in town. Later that night it’s shown that Jekyll, after taking a serum, turns into Hyde who goes out on the town and this goes on for awhile until one night Mr. Hyde stomps and beats a man to death as Jekyll’s maid witnesses the attack.  Now the police and Utterson are on the hunt to bring the murderer to justice. Utterson goes to Jekyll and finds that his old friend looks sick and makes a promise that Hyde will never be seen again, and gives his old friend a letter written by Hyde but is found out to be written by Jekyll! Time passes and Hyde is not seen, and Jekyll seems to be doing better health wise that is till he once more drinks the serum and turns into Hyde and robs and causes mayhem. Worse now Jekyll is turning into Hyde without the serum and sadly his secret is known by a fellow Doctor friend who watches him turn from Hyde to Jekyll with his medical help the think they might have found a cure.  This sadly is not the case and in the end Hyde/Jekyll take a lethal dose of what could be a cure and dies.

This is a great comic adaptation of a classic horror novel that keeps all the classic chills and thrills of the source material. The story is pretty close to that of the novel and has a well liked Doctor falling victim to having a split personality due to an experiment that went wrong. As Doctor Jekyll, he helps the people of London and spends time with his friends and servants, making him a model citizen. And as you the reader as well as other characters notice a change in his health and even attitude of Jekyll it makes you worry about him showing that he is a well-developed character. Mr. Utterson is like a poor man’s Sherlock Holmes who is loyal to his friend and won’t give up until he solves the mystery of who Hyde is as well as what hold he has on his dear friend. Mr. Hyde is a nasty man who is odd looking and has a face that reminds you of a mix of a primate and a drug addict who has been strung out for 3 days on a bender.  Plus it’s said he has a face that makes people hate him and look away with disgust. He is short in stature and always walks with a cane, hat and long coat. Hyde is a thief and a murderer and even gets joy on stomping on a young girl who by accident runs into him on the street.  In fact that seems to be Hyde’s thing as he also stomps a man to death in the road, makes me wonder why he stomps so much and let alone that a pretty brutal way to kill someone. I think that is what makes Hyde such a scary character, the fact he don’t care about his fellow man and he is so filled with barbaric rage that he is willing to crush them with his feet. The two sides of Jekyll also reminds me of friends who have battle drug and alcohol addiction and how when they did their said poison they became a totally different person, not quite like Hyde but one could see a change in who they were. While some of the plot is changed, and the story felt a little sped up in spots Classic Illustrated did a fantastic job on making a comic that I didn’t want to put down and enjoyed reading for his Halloween update. The cover of this 1968 reprint edition is cool and has an oil painting look to it, while the interiors is stuff classic horror comics are made of as the colors are not too bright and in many panels lots of black is used on and around Hyde. I could not find the name of the artist who did this comic, but from what others say, it’s a man named Arnold L. Nicks.  If he is in fact the artist I have to say I really like his take and look of Mr. Hyde. The comic had a great rotten ink smell to it and best of all the night I read this comic the wind was howling and the air was super chilled helping add to the comic’s atmosphere. The one downside that I must point out is that in the book it’s a nice slow burn into finding out Jekyll is Hyde, and the ending when the servants and Utterson along with the police are at the door and they find the body loses lots of impact in the comic as its rushed into a small amount of panels. But even with those flaws I would say that this is one heck of a fun read and classic horror literature fans should check it out. Below are some of the artwork from this comic so you can see the cold stare in Hyde’s eyes and the look of a madman who wants to stomp your guts out!

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So I hoped this update didn’t scare you too much on this cold October night but I also hope it opened your eyes to be on the look out for Mr. Hyde, a nasty guy who wants to stomp the life out of you! I can’t stress that if you have not read the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde you should and after that you should give this comic a read. After reading this comic and doing this write up this October night, I figured out that we have covered The Fly, unknown serial killer The Axeman of New Orleans, a ghost knight named Alaric de Marnac, Horror Host Dr. Creep and the mean Mr. Hyde but what’s next on the major Halloween update is a mystery to me as I am not sure what my friend and great artist Eric Shonborn has in store for us! So until then make sure to visit a local haunted place, watch a horror film or two, support your local Horror Host and have a creepy and fun time!

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Atari Centipede Invasion!

Welcome to Rotten Ink Home and Garden Edition.  Today’s topic is centipedes and how to rid your garden of them, but first before we learn how to get rid of them we must first come to understand them. Centipedes are arthropods who are elongated metameric little fellas who can have 20 to over 300 legs! They are carnivorous and live for 3-6 years given what species they are. They are eaten by mice, snakes, birds and even beetles. Some centipede bites can be fatal to small children as venom is used when they bite; in adult humans a bite will just cause the person to be ill. Wait a minute, this is not the centipede we are talking about for this update!!! Oh we are talking about The Human Centipede, that shocking 2009 Horror flick directed by Tom Six about the mad doctor who sews peoples mouths to others’ butts to make a weird human centipede thing right? Wait, I am wrong again.  We have to be talking about the DC Comics character Crimson Centipede who was created by Ares The God of War to to fight Wonder Woman and rob banks….wait….Oh I know what the topic is about!

Vietnamese CentipedeCrimson CentipedeHuman Centipede

In 1981, Atari produced an arcade machine that was designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey that had you defending against the likes of centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas in a field of mushrooms, with the player being an elf trying your best to defend yourself.  This game was called Centipede. The machine was a hit, and many players of the day dropped many of quarters into it. For many years, alongside the likes of Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Pong, it sat as one of the kings of the arcades. Nowadays classic gamers still enjoy playing this simple yet challenging game, and any retro arcade place must have it among the games to play. Game Swap in Kettering has this game, and when it first showed up I was lucky enough to have my name on the score board.  Now, a few years later, I have been knocked off. One thing that sets Centipede apart from other arcade cabinets is the fact that it uses a trackball for movement and not the traditional joystick; this gave the player the feeling of more control of their character. So for this blog I decided to grab a lucky quarter and head to Game Swap and have a showdown with the Centipede arcade machine! I really enjoy the game and on this day, January 12, 2015, the air was cold and it was after a freezing rain storm.  I went to Game Swap Kettering an hour before it opened and popped my quarter in and began my mission of conquest. And after playing it for several minutes, I ended up making it to the board but only in the # 4 spot! But nothing can beat the sounds of several arcade machines playing at the same time.  If you’re an old school gamer, you know what I mean. I should also note that at Game Swap as of this posting there is a feud going on to have their name in the top three spots and its between Garrison Kane, Josh Weinberg and a customer named Dan Little, this far Dan has the # 1 spot and looks like the others have their hands full to claim it.

Game Swap Centipede

Beside the arcades, the one place many people could play Centipede was at home thanks to their Atari 2600! The cart was put out by Atari themselves and came packaged with a special DC Comic Book that is the comic we will be reviewing this very update! Centipede was a solid selling game for Atari 2600, and those few kids that I knew who had a 2600 all had this game. While the port of this arcade game to home console was a fun play, it did lack the smoothness of the arcade as well as the graphics were below mind blowing. But I am sure if you own an Atari 2600 now or even then, I would almost guarantee that you have or had a copy of Centipede, and you have some great memories of playing it.

atari 2600 centipede bixcentipede 2600Atari 2600 Centipede cart

If you didn’t have an Atari 2600 or an arcade near your home there were many other ways to play Centipede at home as it was also ported on Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, PC and many others! A new and improved version of Centipede came out for PC in 1998 and for Sony Playstation and Sega Dreamcast in 1999 that changed the vibe and core of the classic game. Instead of the Elf, the player now played as a ship called Shooter who was fighting the bug and mushroom invasion. I can remember the hype being around the reboot game, and I for one bought it when it was released as well as the many other PSX reboots that followed like Frogger, Pong and Blaster Master. So no matter how you look at it, if you play video games at all there was many of ways to play Centipede at home!

Centipede Box Atari 7800Centipede psxcentipede C64

So we took a quick look at Centipede at the arcade and home consoles, and now I am thinking it would be a good time to take a look at the mini comic book made by DC Comics based on this video game! Now for those of you who don’t know and are wondering why and the world did DC make a comic based on Centipede to be a give away when gamers bought the game, the answer is simple: as DC’s parent company also bought Atari and to modernize and utilize their assets, they had DC help make an extra bonus for those who bought the game. So with that I need to thank Game Swap Kettering for having this comic in stock and I also need 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. So grab a pocket full of quarters, cause we are headed to the DC Comic Arcade to read a little Centipede and maybe even get the top score!

Centipede # 1

Centipede  ***
Released in 1983   Cover Price 0.00   DC Comics   # 1 of 1

Oliver is the littlest elf of his village on Mt. Mushmore where he and his parents harvest mushrooms. Oliver’s best friends are insects that live in the forest like Spider, Scorpion, Flea and Centipede and they all play games and eat berry jam and mushroom bread together. Well one day the evil Wizard who lives nearby turns all of the mushrooms into poison toadstools as he hates shrooms but loves stools! Oliver’s Dad gets all the other elf villagers together and leaves Oliver to watch over the family farm as they all storm his castle and try to get him to stop his evil ways.  This of course backfires, and all the elves are turned into Toadstools! Oliver is the last elf left, and the Wizard goes after him and a chase ensues that ends up with Oliver getting the Wizard’s wand and the Wizard using his magic glance on his insect friends to turn them bad.  They hunt Oliver down in the forest and against their will, they are out to kill their little elf friend! But Oliver uses the wand and turns his attackers into mushrooms, and right when he is about to turn the wand on The Wizard the two come to terms and The Evil Wizard turns his frown upside down and becomes friends with the elves that are turned back into humans.

This is a pretty fun promo comic made by DC for Atari and almost has a Smurfs feel to the whole thing that gives it a family fun vibe. The story is pretty simple and true to the spirit of the game with a evil wizard making toadstools and turns the forest insects into blood thirsty creatures.  The world’s only hope is the smallest elf in town who outsmarts the Wizard and saves the day. Oliver is a likable hero who is very simple and enjoys life with his insect friends and helping on the mushroom farm his family owns.  While he is the smallest elf in town, he has a big heart and courage to back it up. Think of Oliver like this Willow Ufgood from the film W.I.L.L.O.W. meets Wally The Wizard with a dash of Papa Smurf. The Centipede and the fellow creatures of the woods are fun loving and only turn evil when a spell is placed on them.  One weird thing is that the Centipede’s whole body is made up of tiny circle smiling faces that when they come apart each section has a mind of its own. The very evil Wizard is your generic old sorcerer who hates all the nearby villagers and wants to ruin their crops in order to plant his own and can do so thanks to his trusty magic wand. Without the wand, he is no threat and in fact even with it all he does to stop you is turn you into a toadstool, but of course he is taught a lesson by Oliver and he turns his frown upside down. Think of the Wizard as a cheap imitation of Gargamel from Smurfs with the look of Jarvis the Cookie Crisp Wizard.This comic is really well done and gives more depth and character to a video game with zero story on screen and tiny spirits as the characters! DC could have turned this into a kids comic series, and I am sure it would have done better then the likes of Atari Force, a series DC made that we will have to cover at some point here at Rotten Ink. The art is done by Howard Post and Robert Smith and looks fantastic and holds the charm of a classic 70’s kids comic! To sum it up, this is a great promo comic that did its job in adding something more special to the source material. Check out some of the art samples below and enjoy the video game inspired goodness.

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We finished with Centipede way early so I figured why don’t we take a look at an Independent Comic I got off the website Indy Planet that is based on the classic Sci-Fi comics of the 60’s thats called King Cactor! So let’s go leave the safety of Oliver the elf and see what a giant angry monster can do!

King Cactor #1

King Cactor  # 1  ***
Released in 2014   Cover Price $3.00   James Rubino Comics   # 1 of 1

King Cactor is a giant cactus man who has just emerged from the hot sand near Las Vegas and is on a destructive path going towards towns.  The army is trying to step in and stop him, but to their horror, nothing they have is fazing him! By the time he hits a small town, the army drops a nuclear bomb on him killing the over a thousand residents and barely hurting the green prickly skinned beast! The general has no other options as he calls on a creepy scientist named Professor Tarterez who spends two weeks and over two billion dollars on an aircraft that he tells them will drain the water from King Cactor’s body leaving him a dried up husk! This is a set up as Tarterez uses the craft to gain mind control over the giant beast and use him to destroy all the humans! Professor Tarterez thinks he is about to rule the world with his mind controlled King Cactor, but he forgot about Benefield, a solider who never trusted him and snuck aboard the craft and saves the day! As the craft crashes to the ground with both Professor Tarterez and Benefield inside, King Cactor heads into the heart of the desert away from towns and people. But like any good sci-fi story, this is not the end as it shows that Benefield is alive, but is he human?

This is a fun science fiction throwback comic that captures the feeling of a 60’s comic books that inspired it, and I must say that I fully enjoyed this comic and all the cheesy action it packed inside the pages. The story follows a giant monster who has returned after a few years of hibernation and is back causing destruction.  The military, who is powerless against it’s rage, has to count on an evil Professor who will do what he can to make things go his way. King Cactor is a giant cactus monster who is super strong and can shoot needles and can survive all types of bombs and guns! Professor Tarterez is an evil man who looks like the Devil and wants to rule the world and kill off many human lives.  One thing about him is that I am not sure why he is so anti fellow human. Tarterez is clearly a bigger bad guy than King Cactor as he is doing is evil deeds with a human mind and it’s been thoughtout. The Army, who are the good guys, are noble but are also outmatched by the pure power of King Cactor, and this makes them have to do so drastic things like bomb a whole city killing everyone who lives there. Benefield is clearly the issue’s true hero as he cares about his fellow man and even sacrifices his own life to save the world from more destruction. The comic has a great pacing, and I would read every issue if this was to be turned into a full fledged comic series. I should also say that King Cactor was used in another comic before this issue called Tales From The Seventh Galaxy # 1 making this the big guy’s second comic appearance. The art is done by Thomas Ahearn and looks fantastic and captures the right feel for this style of comic. I say check out this independent comic if you’re a fan of old school sci-fi comics starring larger then life giant monsters.

King Cactor Art 1

So from an arcade classic turned into a DC comic to a giant Cactus monster who runs amok, this update is coming to an end, and I still must say I could not knock Josh Weinberg off the # 1 spot on the Centipede arcade machine at Game Swap Kettering, but one day he will drop to the # 2 spot and my name will be the new champ of the machine! Our next update will be all about that lovable rich blue cartoon dog named Foofur! So until then, read a comic or two, visit your local comic shop, play a classic video game and as always have a good time!

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