The Completely 3-Dimensional Misadventures of 3-D Man

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

glazed ham

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

3D Man3DmanA3D MAN 0

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

Tingler Ad Electric Chair3D GlassesMark Of The Devil Barf Bag

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

3D Man 1

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

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

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

3D Man 2

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

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

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

3D Man 3

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

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

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

3D Man art 1

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

Incredible Hulk 251

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

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

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

Hulk 251 art 1

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

holoman logo

The Deadly Hands Of The Dragon, The Quick Bite Of The Cobra!

Here at Rotten Ink I love martial arts and not just in comic and movies but also in the world of MMA! Growing up I used to watch Kung-Fu Theater on USA Network and always looked forward to a special they had on USA Network called Kung Fu June, not to mention from time to time Commander USA would host a martial art film.  Because of all this I became addicted to watching Kung Fu martial art films. Names like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and The Shaw Brothers became staples in my young mind and were at the top of the list of stars in this genre. But what also helped kick off my love for Kung Fu films was a book I found at Waynesville Antique Mall called “Kung Fu: Cinema Of Vengeance” by Verina Glaessner that was all about the films and actors of the genre.  I learned so much about the genre at a young age thanks to this book and USA Network, not to mention films like The Karate Kid and all the Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris action films I grew up watching! So this update is for martial arts fans all over the world who enjoy the art of fighting and self defense.

Kung Fu Cinema Of Vegeance Book

One of my favorite martial art films I saw on the USA Network was called “Chinese Super Ninjas,” made by The Shaw Brothers in 1982 and is also known as “Five Element Ninjas.” It’s about a young man whose teacher and fellow students are killed by a ninja.  Lost and filled with rage, the young man finds a new teacher and fellow students and learns a new style of martial arts.  Together with his new friends, he must take on ninjas who represent the elements like wood, water and fire. When I was a late teenager, I moved back to Kettering and was close to a Blockbuster Video (that I would later work many years at) where I picked up a bunch of old martial arts films on VHS in a discount bin for .99 each that included such titles as “Chinese Samson”, “Fearless Hyena”, “Snake Eagle Crane” and one of my personal favorites called “Chinese Hercules” that starred the one and only mountain of muscle Bolo Yeung! Chinese Hercules was made in 1973 and is about a peaceful man who swore off fighting and works for a dock that is taken over by mobsters.  The workers are mistreated by him and his muscle bound goon who is the Chinese Hercules.  The man is forced to fight to stand up for what’s right. When I started to work for Blockbuster, they where still renting out VHS and during one of our shipments we got a classic martial arts film in for sale.  It was called “Five Deadly Venoms,” and I was taken back on how kick ass the film was when I bought it! My friend Jason Gilmore also saw the film around the same time and he was also a super fan and we both cracked up when rapper O.D.B (Old Dirty Bastard) used samples from the film on one of his CD’s. The film was another Shaw Brothers production made in 1978 and follows five students who are trained in many styles based on poisonous animals like snake, toad and scorpion.  While all are trained by the same teacher, they all don’t know the true identity of the others and some are good and some are bad.  In the end the two sides clash in a breath taking kung-fu showdown! This is just a tiny taste of the martial arts films I truly like but these three are very much at the top of the list of some of my all time favorites. I could also list quite a few Bruce Lee films but I figured I would talk about three that some of you fine readers might not have known about, so if you have not seen any of these and enjoy classic Kung-Fu flicks, I say check them out.

Chinese Super Ninjas PosterChinese HerculesFive Deadly Venoms DVD

Bolo Yeung is one of my favorite classic Kung-Fu actors and is one of cinema’s best bad guys of the 70’s and 80’s. Yang Sze was born July 3rd 1946 in China and before he became an actor, he was a completive body builder and was Mr. Hong Kong Champion, a title he held for 10 years! Bolo also studied many styles of martial arts from many teachers and mastered the art of self-defense that helped him when he decided to become an actor in action films. Bolo started acting in 1970 in Shaw Brother films with his first role being in a film called “The Wondering Swordsman” and took roles mostly as bad guys in other films like “The Oath Of Death”, “Tiger”, and “The 14 Amazons.”  His biggest role was in the Bruce Lee film “Enter The Dragon” where he played a character named Bolo. Many other great roles followed like “Chinese Hercules”, “Soul of Chiba”, “Bolo The Brute”, “Bruce The Superhero” and “Fearless Hyena 3”. In 1988 he played the role of Chong Li in the film “Bloodsport” that starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and would be in another Van Damme film called “Double Impact” in 1991. Bolo continued to star in several action films through the 90’s and into the 2000’s, and it appears he will be in a film this year called “The Whole World At Our Feet”! Love him or hate him, Bolo Yeung is one of the best badass actors who made playing a bad guy cool during his career on the silver screen.

bolo yeung

The 1970’s in the world of comic books, most companies rode the wave of the popularity of martial arts films and many great characters came out of this time. Marvel Comics has two popular characters that were hand to hand combat experts, Iron Fist and Shang-Chi The Master of Kung-Fu. Growing up I had issues of both of these characters and with Iron Fist I had mostly the ones were he teamed up with Luke Cage Power Man.  For Shang-Chi I had many of his issues and enjoyed them a lot.  A couple years back, I had a pretty good run of Master of Kung-Fu’s and like a numb skull I sold them to a web based comic store….I know a run of them would have made a great update. DC Comics had Richard Dragon Kung Fu Fighter and Val Armorr The Karate Kid. I never owned an issue of either of these characters and sad to say had zero interest in both characters. The martial arts was so popular in the 70’s even independent comic companies got into the market of making comics based of karate characters like Charlton’s House of Yang and Hong Kong Phooey based on the popular cartoon. While many of today’s super heroes know karate and martial arts, the magic of the 70’s kung-fu fighters will always live on.

Master Of Kung Fu ComicKung Fu Fighter ComicHouse Of Yang Comic

I have been watching The Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) since the start thanks mostly to my uncle George who would order the PPV and invite us over to watch them with him.  It was a blast watching George get worked up over the fights! You see my uncle George is a bad ass when it comes to the martial arts and I am sure could and would have done very well in the early days of UFC. I can remember sitting at his house along with my dad, brother and cousins Dino, Norman and Nick and watching the likes of Don Frye, Royce Gracie and Maurice Smith duke it out and do whatever it took to get the win under their belts. Over the years the sport of MMA and the company UFC have changed, and UFC has become of the biggest mixed martial arts companies in the word running others like Pride FC, Strikeforce and EliteXC out of business. And along this long journey of watching the sport and seeing it evolve, I have a list of fighters that I love and loved watching in the ring and really briefly I would like to share some of them with you.  This list is in no order, and I picked my top five MMA stars.

UFC Red Logo

So let’s step into the octagon and see what I would call Rotten Ink’s MMA Hall of Fame Class 1!

vitor belfort

Vitor Belfort

Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort has always been one of my favorite fighters ever since I saw him KO the likes of Tank Abbott, Wanderlei Silva and Scott Ferrozzo in the early days of UFC. He is trained in many fighting styles like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Judo, Shotokan and Boxing with the latter truly being one of his strong suits as Belfort can throw wicked fast punches with knock out power in each strike! Belfort started his fighting career at the age of 19 at an event called SuperBrawl 2 in Hawaii and beat the much larger Jon Hess by KO in 12 seconds into the first round! Some key names he has also beaten in the sport include Gilbert Yvel, Heath Herring, Randy Couture, Marvin Eastman, Rich Franklin, Anthony Johnson, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson. To this day, Belfort is one of my favorite fighters to watch and here is to hoping that he holds the middleweight title for a long time! His record thus far is 24-11 and his career looks as if it will not be slowing down anytime soon.

Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman

Mark “The Hammer” Coleman is the godfather of ground and pound as well as the first ever UFC Heavyweight champion! Much like Vitor I have always been a fan of Mark Colman as in his early days in the sport he was one of the most dominate fighters to step into the octagon and pound his opponent down. Another great thing about Coleman is the fact he is also an Ohio boy who in college was a freestyle wrestler and went to OSU (The Ohio State University) and as well made it to the Olympics. Coleman first entered the UFC in 1996 at the point when each event was a tournament, having the fighters at some points fighting up to three times a night! Coleman’s first fight was against Moti Horenstein that he won when he pounded Moti in to sudmission! Coleman would not stay in the UFC his whole carrer and would go on to become a even bigger star in Japan fighting for Pride FC. In 2009 Coleman made his UFC return at the age of 45 and had a short run before being let go and later retiring from the sport. During his amazing MMA run he went 16-10 and beat such talents as Gary Goodridge, Don Frye, Dan Severn, Igor Vovchanchyn, Mauricio Rua and Stephan Bonnor. Mark Coleman is also in the UFC Hall of Fame and still remains a major figure in the history of MMA.

Ken Shamrock

Ken Shamrock

The World’s Most Dangerous Man Ken Shamrock was the sport’s first major megastar who helped bring MMA into the main stream. Ken was the first fighter to use a shoot style and would show the world that Royce Gracie was human after all as he wore out the legend in a 36 minute fight that ended in a draw. Shamrock also was the head of a training camp called The Lion’s Den that dominated the octagon for years and had/has such fighters as Guy Mezger, Vernon White, Frank Shamrock, Maurice Smith and Roy Nelson showing the talent that has come from his camp. Shamrock fought not only for the UFC but also companies like Pride FC, Rage Cage and Pancrase and was a major draw for each. Ken’s biggest feud in the sport was against Tito Ortiz, and their first fight was one of UFC’s top purchased PPVs.  The next three times the fighters stepped into the cage was a draw for viewers. Ken Shamrock was also on the UFC reality TV show called The Ultimate Fighter as well acted in some films like Scarecrow Gone Wild. Ken has victories over such fighters as Bas Rutten, Maurice Smith, Dan Severn and Kimo Leopoldo to name a few.  In his career Ken holds a fight record of 28-16-2, and while he has fought this year 2015 and lost in the first round to Kimbo Slice, Shamrock claims he is not retired and might fight sometime again. Ken is trained in many styles of fighting but is best described at a shoot fighter. Ken Shamrock as well is in the UFC Hall Of Fame.

Tito Ortiz

Tito Ortiz

The Huntington Beach Bad Boy Tito Ortiz is one of those fighters you like or hate, and I find myself being a fan of Ortiz who brought back ground and pound to the UFC when he busted onto the scene in 1997. Ortiz early in his career made an impact with fans with his take no crap attitude and his outlandish opinions of his opponents. I mean what other fighter can you name that in a short time could piss off a whole fight camp like the Lions Den and to back up his mouth was able to beat down many of the camp’s top stars! Ortiz has been a Light Heavy Weight Champion, a coach on Ultimate Fighter, a short lived pro wrestler, acted in movies and shows like Zombie Strippers and Crow: Wicked Prayer and married adult film actress Jenna Jameson. Ortiz was never one to keep quiet on things and has had falling outs with UFC and it’s president Dana White on many occasions and most of the times worked things out to return to the octagon. Ortiz is now fighting for Bellator after UFC wanted him to retire from the sport. Ortiz is a well rounded fighter and learned many types of martial arts to become the fighter he is and one of few to be inducted into the UFC Hall Of Fame. Ortiz in his career thus far has wins over such talent as Guy Mezger, Wanderlei Silva, Evan Tanner, Ken Shamrock, Vito Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Ryan Bader and Stephan Bonnar. His record in the sport as of the day this update was posted is 18-11-1 and here is to wishing Ortiz more wins and one last title run.

Mark Kerr

Mark Kerr

The Smashing Machine Mark Kerr is a fighter that I feel is often overlooked when people talk about the legends of MMA.  Much like Belfort and Coleman, he is a fighter that I have found myself cheering for since he broke into the fighting world. Mark Kerr comes from a collegiate wrestling background and was one of the best at what he did, making people submit and dominating them with his pure power. Mark made his MMA debut in 1997 at World Vale Tudo Championship 3 where he beat down three opponents to win the event and did so with a broken hand! Kerr went on to fight for the UFC where he made a name for himself by smashing the competition.  He later went to Pride FC and became a mega star but at the time he was always battling some demons and his career took a hit for it with a string of loses in the company. After Pride, Mark went on to fight for many smaller companies and was a draw for them on his name value. Mark Kerr was the subject of a documentary about his addictions and the sport of MMA for HBO called “The Smashing Machine” that helped open eyes for many about the dangers of addiction and it also showed how competitive MMA is. While later in Mark’s career he had a string of losses those can’t take away the impact of what he contributed to the sport and showed that wrestlers can be top fighters like Mark Coleman before him. I should also state that Kerr is born in Ohio making him one of us! In his career Kerr has victories over the likes of Paul Varelans, Dan Bobish, Nobuhiko Takada and Enson Inoue. Kerr, who is retired, holds a MMA record of 15-11-1, and is sadly not in the UFC Hall of Fame.

ronda rousey

Rhonda Rousey

I am still a huge fan of MMA, but I seem to think the sport is currently lacking the type of top notch athletes that made the sport from the start, I mean who can look up to the likes of Jon Jones or Chael Sonnen? But one fighter I find myself liking is Rowdy Rhonda Rousey who is a Judo machine who even has Gold Medals from the Olympics to prove it! Rhonda who is only 27 has already won the UFC Light Weight Championship and has starred in many movies like The Expendables 3 and Furious 7 and is sponsored by Reebok Shoes. She has wins over the likes of Miesha Tate, Sara McMann and Alexis Davis and holds an impressive record of 11-0! I am keeping an eye on Rhonda as I feel she is truly the next big thing on the world of MMA, and I see her holding the title for a very long time! Plus she loves Pro Wrestling so she is A-OK in my book!

The Octogan

Well we talked about Kung-Fu films, martial arts comics and MMA so I think it’s time we jump into our comic made by Atlas Comic,s a company you long time readers know I love and learned about thanks to the gone but not forgotten comic shop The Bookie Parlor. But much like the other Atlas titles we have covered in the past, this series disappeared as fast as it appeared as the company folded up thanks to the shelf hogs Marvel and DC who made it impossible to get their issues on the news stands when they would flood the racks with tons of titles at a time. And if you think about it, they both still do it to this day – I mean how many Batman and Avengers titles do we need? The title we are looking at today is so fitting for this update, The Hands Of The Dragon, and follows a masked Kung-Fu hero named The Dragon as he attempts to stop his evil brother and avenge the death of his grandfather. I found this comic at an antique mall so I want to thank that vendor for having it in stock for me to buy and review. So let’s see what The Dragon can do, but before we do, I must remind everyone that I grade this issue 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 karate chop our way to an adventure packed time.

The Hands Of The Dragon 1

The Hands Of The Dragon  # 1  ***
Released in 1975    Cover Price .25    Atlas Comics    #1 of 1

It’s World War II and an old man along with his two baby grandchildren (Wu Ten & Ling) have returned to Japan at a horrible time as the atomic bomb is dropped and the radiation burns the face of Ling badly.  The old man goes to the only place he feels safe, the monastery where he grew up. As the kids grow up, Wu Ten is a noble and strong young man who has mastered the art of fighting as has his scarred brother Ling but he is filled with rage and anger and has been hanging around a bad influence named Dr. Nhu.  A fight between the brothers leaves their grandfather dead by the tip of a spear thrown by Ling, and this starts a feud between the brothers that leaves them as mortal enemies. The years pass and Wu Ten moves to California and becomes a news anchor.  At night he puts on a mask and calls himself The Dragon and is looking for his brother Ling who is now going under the name The Cobra! After he finds a picture taken by co-worker Nicky he finds that Cobra as well as Dr. Nhu are in town and planning on killing the Prime Minister of Japan! During a speech at a college, the Prime Minister is shot by the Cobra as The Dragon is fighting Dr. Nhu who escapes after The Dragon himself is shot by the Prime Minister’s scared bodyguards in the back! In the end at the hospital, the Prime Minister is in a coma but comes out of it thanks to The Dragon who uses a mystic medallion to give him strength.  When The Dragon leaves the hospital in the shadows, he knows that he must find his brother and stop his killing rampage.

This is a great Atlas Comic that I had never heard of until I found it at the antique mall, and I must say I am glad I did as I think it was fantastic and had so much potential to be a great martial arts comic series. Sadly I must say that much like the other Atlas Comic series I talked about, The Brute and The Cougar, this series just ends on the promise of a new issue coming that never came to be thanks to the doors of the company closing. The plot of this comic is pure Kung-Fu movie stuff as it has two brothers on two different paths becoming enemies over the death of their “master”. The plot thus far was really well done and easily could have given Marvel’s Master Of Kung-Fu a run for its money. Wu Ten/ The Dragon is a noble and nice young man who defends the defenseless and has a sense of pride in his family and his heritage. He is skilled in hand to hand combat and can shut out pain when it comes to saving lives and stopping bad guys, and I can’t forget that he is super strong. When becoming The Dragon, he wears a mask to hide his face and hides in the shadows much like Batman…in fact The Dragon/ Wu Ten is a combination of one part Peter Parker, a dash of Clark Kent with the appearance of Iron Fist, and for good measure add in some Jackie Chan. Ling/The Cobra is not as fleshed out as his brother.  All we really know is that he is badly scarred in the face, he is filled with rage and doesn’t care about taking other people’s lives, he hangs around with shady people and he is not as skilled as his brother. The Cobra/ Ling is a mix of the following: add one splash of Storm Shadow, two parts Shredder with the appearance of Freddy Kruger and the attitude of Bolo Yeung. Dr. Nhu is a man covered in tattoos who is a bad man and is not liked by the monks, and when Ling kills his grandfather this man takes him in. Grandfather is a fighter who did whatever he could do to save his grandchildren whose parents were killed in the war.  Grandfather hates war and hates the needless violence of others. I also need to add that Grandfather had radiation poisoning and was able to kill a polar bear with his bare hands….now that’s a badass! It’s a shame that this comic series ended before another issue was able to come out as I would have liked to have seen a little more character development for The Dragon and The Cobra. The art is pretty solid and is done by Jim Craig and holds that 70’s comic feel and also looks like it could be a Marvel Comic in it’s style. Once more Atlas proves why it’s one of my favorite independent comic companies of the past and delivered another action pack character whose life was sadly cut short by lack of rack space at the comic racks at the five and dime stores.

Hands Of The Dragon Art 1Hands Of The Dragon Art 2Hands Of The Dragon Art 3

Well it’s the fifth round of this Atlas Comic title fight, and I had a blast taking a trip down memory lane of the old love I had for martial arts films as well as talking about the warriors of MMA that I cheer for as they step into the octagon. But our next update is taking us away from hand to hand combat and into the world of spooky ghosts as we not only take a look at the comic series based on Filmation’s Ghostbusters but I will also go on a local ghost hunt and tell you all the spooky details! So until then, Young Grasshoppers, be active and make sure to take some time to read a comic or three and remember: No Retreat and No Surrender!

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