It’s St. Patricks Day 2013, and what better way to celebrate than to take a look at a 4-issue miniseries based on the LionsGate horror film series Leprechaun! Am I right or what? Sure, many of you would love to be out drinking green beer with friends at pubs and bars like Blind Bobs or The Pub, but some people have to work or don’t drink like myself. So for those who are not having a drunken good time, this update’s for you, and for those out celebrating, this is also for you. Besides this holiday that really has nothing to do with drinking, Ireland has also brought us the folklore of a tiny elf/fairy that loves keeping gold coins in pots at the end of rainbows, making shoes and pulling some wicked pranks. Leprechauns are believed to be no taller than a small child and when captured by a human are said to grant three wishes in return if you let them free. They are known for wearing green or red coats, having long beards and at some point in the myth’s lifespan, they have also been linked to four leaf clovers. It’s hard to say if these creatures are in fact real or were real and many accounts have been written over the ages about encounters making one wonder if they do/did exist. Now that we spoke about the folklore and myth aspect of the Leprechaun, let’s take a look at pop culture and what we have turned the myth into.
In 1964, cereal company General Mills released a cereal called Lucky Charms that was one part toasted oats and one part marshmallows. It’s mascot was a leprechaun named Lucky who was used in animated TV commercials as well as plastered on the box.The marshmallows are in the shape of things that are considered magical or lucky like horseshoes, the moon, clovers, shooting star and more playing up on the old saying “The Luck of the Irish”. The brand is still going strong today. Not only is it a hit with kids, it also has a solid adult eating base that is helping the cereal to remain in the aisles at the grocery store. The TV commercials are what I remember growing up as they would play them during cartoons after school or on Saturday mornings trying to dig into my young brain so that I would ask my parents to buy me a box…like that would work…yeah, I remember kid eating Lucky Charms as a kid. While it was good, it was no Sugar Crisp or Count Chocula, and Lucky was not as cool as Sugar Bear. In late 2012, I decided to start eating some of the cereal from the past and gave Lucky Charms a shot. It still is pretty dang good all these years later. Good job General Mills, for keeping Lucky and Lucky Charms alive and well for all these years and letting a new generation of kids enjoy its sugary good taste.
But I should also say shame on General Mills who in 1975 took away Lucky as the mascot for a short amount of time and replaced him with Waldo The Wizard! Kids didn’t like Waldo either, and he was quickly replaced by Lucky who was and is everything to Lucky Charms. It shows you that without him the cereal is nothing…well it’s still something and still would taste the same, but the cool appeal of having an iconic mascot would be lost. I have an idea that in 2014 they should do ads with both Lucky and Waldo and add back all the marshmallows that they took out for a short time that includes the evergreen tree and the whale! Who’s with me on this one?
Sports was always super popular at Waynesville, and in school many kids would be wearing shirts, jackets and have backpacks with sports teams on them. One that would always stick out to me was The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame football. I was never a really big sports watcher, and to this day I am not. I will always watch the Super Bowl with my Dad and have always liked Boxing, MMA and Pro Wrestling but never got into watching Baseball, Hockey, Soccer or Football. Even when I was buying old wax packs of sports cards, it still never pushed me into wanting to watch. One thing I always did like about sports was the mascots and logos like the orange screaming bear of the Chicago Bears to Mr. Red Legs of the Cincinnati Reds and the Irish Leprechaun from Notre Dame who always looked pissed off and ready for a fight as he had his arms up in the old boxing style. It’s weird how the school’s mascot is that of a prankster Leprechaun who they turned into a pissed off ready to fight badass. I even had a sweatshirt and sweatpants of Notre Dame because of this logo. Plus I always remember for some reason kids in the gym locker room talking about how hot the cheerleaders of Notre Dame were. Odd, the weird things you remember from being a youth.
Now on a funny side note about Leprechauns is a spotting that happened in 2006 in Mobile, Alabama in which residents in a neighborhood claim to all have seen one running around at night that disappears when light from a flashlight hits him. He was thought to have lived in a tree as well has to have had a pot of gold that many of the eyewitness wanted. Many other suggestions of what it could have been included a shadow to a crackhead who was freaking out after getting ahold of some bad stuff. The event of the spotting was so big that the local news came down to look into it and even a man armed with a magic flute and ready for a magic war came to help the neighborhood! Sadly the Leprechaun nor his gold have ever been found and some other minor spottings have happened since. Most people looked at this as a joke as an eyewitness sketch came out that looked as if a child drew it, and many of the people talked to in the broadcast seemed as if they were just having a good time and were in on a town joke. The news video became so popular as well as many of the sayings given by the people of Mobile who were interviewed that it became an internet hit sparking rap songs and merchandise. Was a Leprechaun loose in Alabama? Only time and another major spotting will answer that question for sure.
Pro Wrestling has its fair share of terrible gimmicks, and of course they have a few Leprechauns to entertain the masses. Back in 1996, WCW had Braun The Leprechaun who was a member of the Dungeon Of Doom that was lead by Kevin Sullivan whose main goal was to stop Hulk Hogan and later feud with the N.W.O., but Braun didn’t last long and the gimmick was quickly dropped. Dewayne Bruce better know as The Sarge and the trainer for WCW Power Plant played the terrible character. Next up let’s talk about the worst wrestling manager and part time wrestler in the last 15 years of wrestling, and that’s WWE’s own Leprechaun Hornswoggle who was unleashed back in 2006 as the partner and friend of Irish born wrestler Finlay. The two had a long solid run together that even had them at odds with company owner Vince McMahon who at one time thought Hornswoggle was is illegitimate child. During his current run for WWE, Hornswoggle has done many things from being a member of DX with Triple H & Shawn Michaels to winning the Cruiserweight title and as of late he is teaming with The Great Khali and Natalya, but one thing’s for sure while kids seem to love him he sure does not add anything to story lines and roster space in my opinion. Also this year Hornswoggle will be in the remake of Leprechaun for WWE Studios and Lionsgate. I know you all can’t wait…
Speaking of the films, let’s take a quick look at those. In 1993, Trimark Pictures released a film to theaters about a killer leprechaun that tormented a family who had just moved into a new home in a small town after a dried up four leaf clover was knocked off a box that kept the pint sized terror captive. The film was simply called Leprechaun and starred Warwick Davis as the title charterer who was know to many as Willow Ufgood in the amazing fantasy film W.I.L.L.O.W. and also starred soon to be major TV actress Jennifer Aniston of FRIENDS fame and Mark Holton who is known for his roles as Francis Buxton in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Chubby in Teen Wolf and later on for playing serial killer John Wayne Gacy in the film Gacy. The film did well in the box office, and this inspired the powers to be to make five sequels that had the wise cracking killer Leprechaun going everywhere from Las Vegas to space to The Hood, taking the scary evil complex away from the character and turning him into more of a pint sized Freddy Kruger who took more time saying cheesy one liners than before. The first two films in the series went to theaters as three on all went direct to video making this series gain a fan base of weekend warriors looking for a horror film to rent and watch. I remember the first time I saw the original film with my friend Jason Gilmore who had bought it on VHS shortly after it was released to home video. He brought it over, and we watched in amazement of how fun and cheesy the film was and laughed our asses off when he would kill. Another viewing of the series I can remember was watching Leprechaun 3 where he goes to Vegas with my friend Dave Wean on VHS. Much like the other film, we laughed at how dumb and cheesy it was, and the best part of it all was that we were eating Spaghetti O’s as we watched. While I have never been a diehard fan of the series and I think Leprechaun 4 could be one of the wost sequels I have ever seen, I still see the charm in the series and very much looked forward to the comic series that I will be reviewing this update. Will it hold a charm or will it fall flat? You will soon find out.
After all this talk of Irish folklore, bad wrestling gimmicks, cereal mascots, a possible crackhead leprechaun in Alabama and talking about a film series that jumped the shark when they went to space, I think it’s time to sit back, relax and look at some lovely Irish-inspired women. I mean what red blooded American doesn’t enjoy looking at good looking ladies? At this point and in the fun of Saint Patricks Day, I say let there be hotties!
BlueWater Comics is the company who struck a small deal with Lionsgate to make comics based on some of the old horror film series that they got from Trimark during a buyout that included both Leprechaun and Warlock. Sadly the deal never went past these two and each only got a small run. They also do a comic series based around horror icon Vincent Price as well did a series based on Ray Harryhausen’s film work. BlueWater Productions was founded in 2007 by Darren G. Davis who opened up this comic company to showcase original work alongside work based around films and celebrities. Some of the company’s best know titles besides the aforementioned are Logan’s Run based on the story by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, 10th Muse about the forgotten muse of ancient Greece time and Fem Force that are bio comics based around women with power in the world like Michelle Obama, Princess Diana, Tina Fey and more. In fact, they do tons of bio comics and also stuck a deal to reprint the old Rock N Roll comics of the 1990’s . While BlueWater Comics is not a powerhouse like other smaller comic companies, they do try to deliver good comics to their readers. While most issues I have read from them I have not been a fan of, they still are a welcomed addition to this crazy world of comic book making.
So now let’s get onto this look at The Leprechaun in comic book form. So I hope you have your lucky four leaf clover close, have your favorite drink in hand and are wearing Green so ya don’t get pinched and get ready to ride the BlueWater wave to Leprechaunville! Remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. This review was made possible by Mavericks Cards and Comics and Bell, Book and Comic.
Leprechaun # 1 *
Released in 2009 Cover Price $3.99 Blue Water Comics #1 of 4
Ethan is a geek who likes to play computer games with his friend Sean and drool over a sexy co-worker named Rachael. One day a strange light appears, and when it’s gone, The Leprechaun is there beaten up and in really bad shape. Ethan takes care of The Leprechaun who is grateful for the young man’s help. He tells Ethan his name is Lubdan and that he is looking for his gold that has been stolen and that he tracked down a man who was selling his stolen gold on Ebuy. That led him to Ethan’s house who bought a ring to give to Rachael when Leprechaun stole a file on his buying list. And its here that the issue ends as both Ethan and Leprechaun are discussing the the list, and he warns Ethan they are not alone as the window behind them in the kitchen shows warriors approaching. Also all along this issue we get cut backs to a war that is going on in The Leprechaun’s kingdom that has the leprechaun race at war with fellow short green skinned clan.
Where do I start to say where this first issue went off the rails? The story line of The Leprechaun being a king in his besieged homeland is dumb but adds a little to the action and gore of this otherwise boring adventure.The main plot is that The Leprechaun needs to collect his gold back that has been sold all over the world thanks to Ebuy and an unknown thief and teams with a human nerd who doesn’t seem to bothered by the fact a damn Leprechaun popped into his home. The Leprechaun, who in a total of five films was a mean spirited, violent pint size terror, tormented and killed many humans to get to his main goal of collecting his gold, but for some reason in this comic series he is a King of The Leprechauns who decides that teaming up with a human is the right thing to do. Wow, they changed the character and not for the better. They truly took everything away from the character that made him a b-movie hit with fans. He also only kills one person in the issue and that’s the Seller of his coins who didn’t know he had bought stolen goods, and all he does to him is turn his whole body into a pile of cash….yep that’s what he does. Ethan who is the main human character is a total dweeb who is not likable at all and comes off as a smug ass hat as he just smarts off and bumbles his way through the issue. Over all this comic series has started on a bad issue that is doesn’t make me as the reader really interested in seeing how the story ends. The art work is bland. The story so far is terrible, and the cover is just all right. Over all this is about as bad as a movie tie in comic can get, let’s hope issue 2 picks up.
Leprechaun # 2 *
Released in 2009 Cover Price $3.99 Blue Water Comics #2 of 4
The Leprechaun and Ethan are attacked in his kitchen by warriors from a race called the Clurichaun who want them both dead. After a quick fight, the Leprechaun makes quick work of his attackers and gets info from one that a curse has been placed on him before he kills him. Ethan and the Leprechaun find safety at Sean’s house who is filled in on the quest to find the gold coins. As Ethan goes to work late, the Leprechaun and Sean go to a blacksmith who bought a few of the gold coins from Ebuy and find that female Clurichaun Captain Caelan and her men have also tracked them there as the battle begins The blacksmith is killed as the Leprechaun’s magic is getting weaker due to the curse.
This issue at least starts off with a bang as the Leprechaun is swinging a magic sword like Conan, hacking and chopping up Clurichaun fools. In this issue, the Leprechaun still comes off as more of a good guy than a bad guy. While he does do some sinister things, he still comes off as a watered down version of the character. Ethan is still as unlikable as ever and comes off as a smart ass who really adds nothing to the story besides the need/want of a storyline around a human who loves a girl out of his league. Sean is almost as unlikeable as Ethan but for different reasons. Not only is he an annoying chatter box, but he is also given way too much panel time for it. I was getting ticked the longer I had to read his dialogue boxes with words that went nowhere besides maybe a really dumb joke. Captain Caelan takes the mantel of being the top bad guy, and guess what, she is barely used. I guess they had to cut some of her stuff down to fit more lame stuff for Sean to say and Ethan to do. Over all while issue 2 is a little better than the first, it still is not capturing the fun magic of the Leprechaun series, and I am hoping that issue 3 picks up now that we are getting near the end of the series. The art looks the same as it did in issue one, and that’s summed up with one word bland. The cover is well done and looks like Joel Robinson’s work, and the storyline is moving along at a snail’s pace. Not impressed so far.
Leprechaun # 3 *
Released in 2009 Cover Price $3.99 Blue Water Comics #3 of 4
The Leprechaun and Sean are at battle with the Clurichaun. It’s an epic battle, and leader Captain Caelan is killed. The Leprechaun then has to beat an Iron Stove Monster that the group’s wizard makes. Ethan gets to work and buddies up with teacher and his crush Rachel to ask her all she knows about both Leprechauns and Clurichauns, and he soon finds that she as well bought some of the gold off Ebuy and that his work (a college) is now being surrounded by Clurichaun looking to kill them both and steal the gold coins. Sean and The Leprechaun rush to help their friends from a death that awaits.
This issue is two parts: one part the action of The Leprechaun killing and fighting. While this is cool, all the art on most pages is big to fill space, and sadly that’s what most of the battle feels like, filler. At this point the curse that was placed on him is making him weaker, but he sure doesn’t seem weak as he kills numbers of his enemies at the same time. Sean is a dumb ass and spends most of the issue blabbing about one liners and other useless stuff; he really is a waste of a character. The second part of the issue has Ethan talking to Rachel about the Irish myths and legends. At least this adds a little to the weak storyline this series has. Captain Caelan puts up a fight but looses her heart in the end as we are also shown And-Ri. who looks as if he is the king and top warrior of The Clurichaun who is at the college and ordering the death of Ethan. The story is getting paper thin, and this issue almost seems like a waste. While it does have lots of action, none of it is exciting nor at this point do I care if Ethan and his friends die nor do I care if the Leprechaun gets his gold coins back. That’s a bad sign since we’re near the end of the series. The art work is still bland. The cover is terrible, and the hope of this being a good series is dead. So with that disappointment let’s take a look at issue 4, the last issue in the series.
Leprechaun # 4 *
Released in 2009 Cover Price $3.99 Blue Water Comics #4 of 4
Ethan and Rachel are under attack as the Clurichaun try to accomplish their mission to kill them both. Meanwhile Sean and the Leprechaun, who are talking to Ethan on the phone, are trying to get to the college as fast as they can, the one issue being that they don’t know where it’s at. And-Ri is barking orders for his men to make quick work of this murder as Ethan and Rachel out move and out smart their attackers and even blow up the science building with the help of gas lines. By the time The Leprechaun gets there, And-Ri and Ethan have had a fist fight the leaves the human now as the hostage of the ill tempered king. When Rachel gives The Leprechaun the gold coins she bought he gets a little more of his magic powers back and saves Ethan and chases off And-Ri who says he will get his revenge on the friends. In the end The Leprechaun gears up to travel the world to get his gold back as Ethan, Rachel and Sean all join his team of hunting.
This is one cheesy end to a mini series that has no payout in the end besides the fact that there could be more issues coming of this not thought out storyline. This last issue builds up that The Leprechaun is going to have a show down with And-Ri, and while they do meet, they don’t fight making this one anticlimactic ending. This series goes so far away from the source material that it’s down right laughable as now The Leprechaun has a name (Lubdan) and has a bond with humans who are now his sidekicks….say what?! The Leprechaun of the films would have killed Ethan, made Sean turn into a toad and stomp him and then make Rachel’s boobs explode. When buying this comic series and seeing the covers of him bitting toes off a foot, you want to see the wicked mean character of the films, not a watered down PG-13 lame version. I also felt that most of the issues were just filler from overblown fight scenes to overly long talking that went nowhere. This mini series just felt like a mess from the start, and it became a train wreck by the end. The art was just okay, and not once in any of the four issues did I think the Leprechaun character looked anything like the film character taking me even further out of the story. It was in the plans for this to be a regular series and was cancelled. Even the crossover with The Warlock was scrapped, showing that this series just was too lame even for diehard fans. I don’t even drink, but this terrible series makes even me want to drink a green beer. To sum it all up: terrible lackluster story, just plain bland and unappealing artwork, not even in the ball field with the source material and just plan waste of an opportunity to make an entertaining series. This makes we worried to read The Warlock series, and believe it or not I actually read these comics twice to try and give it a shot months apart and both times I felt this same way.
So for the next update, we might take it a little smaller as we take a look at DC Comics’ Sherlock Holmes, and maybe I will talk about a few other cool things from the past. So until then, Happy Saint Patricks Day, and as Commander USA would say “Keep your nose in the wind… and your tail to yourself…”