Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers. For this update we will be stepping away from the heroes of Marvel & DC and will be once more entering the short yet amazing world of Atlas Comics to take a look at one of their many heroes that never got a fair share in the world of comic books. I am talking about Demon Hunter who sadly only lasted one issue before the company went out of business. On this update we will also take a look at other demon themed things! So get ready to bash some demon scum as we take a journey with Atlas Comics and the warrior known as Demon Hunter.
Demon Hunter was created by David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler for Atlas Comics and made his first and only appearance in 1975. Now I’ll do a quick bio of the character and kind of give you a sneak peek at what he can do before we get into the comic review a little later in this update. Gideon Cross was a solider in the army who had to do some things that changed him to his very core. Once out he was lost and felt like a man out of place. One day he headed to a place that was said to be cursed by a cult called the Harvester of Night Cult who end up giving the lost solider power and turn him into a supernatural hitman for evil. Armed with his ability to cloak himself as well as his powerful axe, he is a murder for hire who is paid in blood for his services. While he starts off as a bad guy where human life is cheap, he ends up finding his way and learns that the cult he serves is not the right way. Demon Hunter would last only one issue for Atlas Comics and the character would have a rebirth of sorts at Marvel Comics when David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler created a very similar character named Eric Simon Payne aka Devil-Slayer for them in 1977 in an issue of Marvel Spotlight.
Demon Hunter is a character I first discovered as a teenager while shopping at local comic shop Bookie Parlor. At the time I was buying any and all Atlas Comics as they were ones that owner Hal had introduced me to. I found the first and only issue in one of his cheap bins and can remember reading it once I got home and enjoying it as I found it to be on par with Marvel Comics I had read from the same year it was published. And when planning what Atlas Comic character to cover this year, the first one that popped into my mind was Demon Hunter and I am glad to be able to chat about him a little on this update as I do feel he is a pretty great character.
Here in Ohio, we had a ride that was called Screamin’ Demon and later just The Demon at Kings Island, one of our areas longest running amusement parks. The ride was designed by Intamin AG and Anton Schwarzkopf and was known for its massive loop, and in 1977 Arrow Dynamics made a coaster with this design for Kings Island that was called The Screamin’ Demon that had riders enter a loading station and get into a cart and would be follow the track through a massive loop and then be forced to do the same loop again going backwards! Each ride would fit about twenty people and was a pretty popular coaster for its time at the park. The ride was an attraction and remained a must for park goers for many years…that was until 1987 when Kings Island decided to sell the ride to Camden Park located in West Virginia who would call the ride Thunderbolt Express. The ride run until 1999 until a massive board malfunction left it down and out, and it was scrapped in 2004 ending its reign of being a classic Amusement park ride. While it might have went to the big scrap yard in the sky, for those fans of early Kings Island the Screamin’ Demon remains a great ride memory. For those wondering if I ever got to ride the Screamin’ Demon, the sad answer is I did not.
When I was a teenager, I lived in a big house in Kettering, Ohio that had a big side yard that was complete with a weeping willow tree and a massive two-car garage that had a shed and a tool/work out room attached. One night my cousin Stephen came over, and it was getting late. We were hanging outside when we noticed a weird glowing red light coming from the yard of the neighbor who lived behind us. The glow was super bright and a weird hissing noise was filling the air. This weird light and sound caused use to creep to the fence and peer past bushes to see what this was and standing in their yard next to a blocked up boat was a weird looking man with a hood or mask on who had a very weird and eerie red glow around him. Stephen and I watched this strange figure standing in the glowing red light for a minute or so, and then his parents came outside and he left while I still stood outside for a while and my imagination was already going crazy as I was in movie mode in my brain saying it was a demon straight from Hell!! In reality it was just the homeowner welding his boat…or was it??!!! I can remember that the idea of a demon living behind my house was even an idea I toyed with when it came to films for Independent B Movie. Fun and weird times was my teenage years as the love of all things Horror always played into my everyday life.
One of my favorite current female rap/pop singers is Iggy Azalea as I find her to be the top of that game with a great voice, top-notch rhymes and seems like a person who loves what she does and is who she is! On August 3, 2018, she released an EP to the masses called “Survive The Summer” that features a total of six songs and sadly was only a digital release…but a few physical ones were made and thanks to an Ebay seller, I was able to get one and do this quick write up for this update. I want to also say that this EP was her final release for Island Records as she parted ways with them and is now signed to Empire with a new release in the works as well as a possible tour. While many of the songs on this EP are fantastic and showcase Iggy’s style, the opening track and the title of the release “Survive The Summer” is the weakest track on the release as the other five songs are really solid. My favorite track is “Kream” where Iggy raps about cash and ass and the track has a great club sound. My second favorite track on this release is “Tokyo Snow” that as well has a club sound and also seems like it should be used in a crime film. Over all this is another great release from Iggy Azalea and shows that she is for me the true queen of the rap game.
Well as you can see Demon Hunter is a character who was very short lived but was able to help spawn a Marvel Comics character so his legacy still lives on slightly. And again for you comic readers who have not ever read an Atlas Comics issue do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Demon Hunter, The Brute, Tiger-Man, Iron Jaw or any other of their short lived characters and be ready to read solid and fun classic 70’s style superhero, barbarian, war and horror adventures. It really is a shame Atlas could not survive the war for shelf space between Marvel and DC in the 70’s. Well let’s get to the review for the one and only issue of Demon Hunter that I will be grading 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 just how bad these demons are and how well Gideon Cross hunts them…oh and I want to also thank Bell, Book and Comic for having this issue in stock and also a thank you to the Bookie Parlor who introduced me to Atlas Comics.
Demon Hunter # 1 ***
Released in 1975 Cover Price .25 Atlas Comics # 1 of 1
Gideon Cross with his shadow cloak becomes Demon Hunter a man who fights demons on Earth and in Hell in order to keep them from taking over and works as a gun for hire via a cult …but he also finds himself working for mafia crime boss Mr. Severs who has a price on his head and right before he is to be killed by a sniper Demon Hunter takes down the would be assassin. Once back and he collects his blood payment he gets another mission and that’s to kill the wheelchair bound mobster Harvey Aldous who wants Severs dead! After going with Severs on a dug sale as his bodyguard his employer makes big money and Demon Hunter heads to the airport to travel and finish his mission on ridding the world of Aldous. While at the airport he starts to question the motives of the cult he is a part of and also learns that Mr. Severs has been reported as to have committed suicide, and the cult has send demon Hamremmiz to kill him off as they have picked up on his thoughts of questioning their motives. After a very quick fight Demon Hunter dispatches the foul creature and returns to the cults hideout and watches as they kill a man and bring a demon up from hell to possesses and take over the corpse! Demon Hunter leaves the scene of the horrific crime and tries to figure out a plan to bring down the cult and even has the idea of having his own target Harvey Aldous join him in the fight, not knowing the man killed and possessed was indeed Harvey Aldous who has set his sites on killing the Demon Hunter.
This supernatural superhero comic was a fun read when I was a youngster and still is at the age of 39! The comic does a great job of mixing in elements from multiple comic genres like Superhero, Horror, Crime and even a dash of Thriller into one issue that showcases a supernatural superhero that was a former war vet who works for the mob as well as a cult and yet still thinks he is a good person…but only after they turn on him and want him dead. Demon Hunter, as a normal man, lost it all and found a new purposes in life after given powers of the occult from a cult what want him to do jobs for people and take samples of their blood before doing it. He has a magical cape as well as a sword that he can use on his enemies and that includes both humans and demons. Demon Hunter is kind of a stone cold cocky kind of slayer who thinks he is the end all be all, but also seems to have no real common sense. Like let’s be honest, only after watching them kill a man and throw his heart into fire does he finally realize the cult is evil….come one Demon Hunter you are not that dumb. He also weirdly takes a grandstand against evil after working for the Mob and even killed for them. It’s clear that Demon Hunter is a broken person with broken views. The main villains of this issue are the members of the cult Harvesters Of The Dark who not only have black magic and demons on their side they also have money and power it seems! They seem to have no loyalty to their members if they are to question the group’s motives and while they do like the dark world they also seem to be very motivated by money. These bad guys really are bad and mess with dark forces and have learned to use them to do very bad things. Plus now that a demon is inside a mob boss like Harvey Aldous who knows just how dark and evil they will get…as sadly the world never found out as this comic never got a second issue leaving us on a major cliffhanger. And like many of Atlas titles the true potential of the character as well as their story arch never was met. The cover for this comic is fantastic and is very eye catching and rivals anything DC was releasing at the time. The interior artwork is done by Rich Buckler and is great stuff and could easily fit in at Marvel Comics at the time. While this is an incomplete story due to the companies closure this comic is still an amazing read and is worth checking out if you enjoy classic indie superheroes that are mixed with a little bit of supernatural thrills. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Rich Buckler.
Demon Hunter is for the most part a forgotten superhero from the age of Atlas, but for those of us who have read his one and only comic adventure he added his flair to the world of comics. With so many more Atlas Comic character left for me to cover, you readers and Atlas fans do have many more updates to look forward to that will showcases these great heroes. But for our next update we will be walking away from the world of Supernatural Superheroes and will be taking a look at a Biblical/Sword & Sandal hero that is known as Samson! So until next time, read a indie comic or three, watch a indie movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for an epic adventure good time.