From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Kong Skull Island

Christmas is creeping up on us, and as always, this time of the year makes me think of things from my past that still bring me joy to this day. That’s why I decided to choose to once more take a look at King Kong, a giant movie monster that has always brought me joy, and what better way to kick off our countdown to my Christmas Eve update then to do a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update that breaks down Kong Skull Island and the Legendary Comic prequel comic series released to promote it. Now I am sure some of you readers are saying “What!? Kong Skull Island is not a Horror Movie but an Adventure film!” My answer to that is that I have always considered King Kong and Godzilla films to be giant monster horror films that have elements of fantasy, adventure and science fiction…plus if Fangoria and other horror magazines covered Kong, then it has elements of a Horror Movie. So let’s sit back and take a look at From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Kong Skull Island.

Before we explore Skull Island we should first take a look at its ruler, King Kong! King Kong is a massive giant gorilla that stands about 104 feet and makes his home on Skull Island. He is very protective of his home and most of the creatures and primitive humans that live on it. No one is really sure where King Kong and his massive family blood line came from; all that is known that in the Legendary Pictures timeline is that he’s the last of his kind up to this point. He is massive in stature and stands more like a human than a primate and is super strong as well as smart when coming to survival. He also uses the land around him to his advantage, and while not overly aggressive toward man, he could easily kill one in seconds. King Kong uses his pure power and size to crush, smash and pummel his target. He also can use his fists to deliver massive hits to his enemies and can use his huge sharp teeth to rip and tear his foe. His brain allows him to make better decisions, making him more dangerous than most of the monsters his size. We should also note he can use things like trees and chains as weapons! But while Kong is massive, he does have weaknesses like all living creatures such as fire, bullets, bites and beatings. All can hurt and even possibly kill him. King Kong also bleeds and wounds effects him like they would normal gorillas. But while he can be hurt, it’s very hard to keep King Kong down as his heart and will to survive is a true force of nature.

So now that we know the power and attack style of King Kong, we should take a look at the film that this version of Kong comes from. The film’s write up will be coming from our friends at IMDB and it will be followed up with a little production history of the film as well as some of my memories of watching it for the first time. So let’s dive into the movie that inspired this comic mini series.

Kong Skull Island (2017)

“A washed up monster chaser convinces the U.S. Government to fund a trip to an unexplored island in the South Pacific. Under the guise of geological research, the team travels to “Skull Island”. Upon arrival, the group discover that their mission may be complicated by the wildlife which inhabits the island. The beautiful vistas and deadly creatures create a visually stunning experience that is sure to keep your attention.”

In 2014, Legendary Pictures was going to team up with Universal Pictures to make a King Kong movie, but this plan quickly changed when Legendary switched to Warner Brothers in order to add Kong into the world of Godzilla. The next step for them was to find a director and many names were suggested like Guillermo del Toro, but they ended up picking Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Next up was the script that had lots of writers attached with names like Max Borenstein, John Gatins, Dan Gilroy and Derek Connolly and the finished product had elements from each writer’s ideas. Next they worked on the design and look of King Kong for the movie and then cast names like John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L. Jackson for major roles. On October 19, 2015 filming started, and it was over all a smooth production that ended on March 18, 2016. The only bump this film had was a lawsuit from writer and artist Joe DeVito who wrote about Skull Island and felt this film stole many of his ideas. The film’s budget was $185 million and brought in $168,052,812.00 at the US Box Office and $398,600,000.00 foreign. The film was also scored by Henry Jackman, and his music was very well done and fitting. The film was # 20 for the year and beat out such other Horror and Sci-Fi films as Split, Annabelle: Creation, The Mummy, Alien: Covenant, The Shape Of Water and Happy Death Day to name a few. The film was meet with mix reviews from critics and fans with most finding it very enjoyable.

Kong Skull Island was one of my most anticipated films of 2017 and was one of the films that I along with my gal Juliet and friend Jeremy Hoy went to on opening night at Cinemark Dayton South. I was blown away by it as the film lived up to what I wanted and that was King Kong fighting other giant monsters with a fun human story. On my “Matt Goes To The Movies 2017” update Kong Skull Island was my top Horror Film of the year. Since I was a youngster, I have always been a big fan of King Kong and when this film was released I made sure to get the film on DVD as well as got the CD of the score that I have played on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO Public Radio. Kong Skull Island leads to Kong’s next appearance for Legendary Pictures in 2020 that will have him taking on Godzilla with the makers of this film saying there will be a clear cut winner! While I also really love Godzilla, I am cheering for King Kong as he has the brains and raw power to stop Godzilla’s rampage and rage. Do yourself a favor if you have not seen this film yet and make sure to check it out as it’s a giant monster film packed with action and adventure and even a little horror.

Kong Skull Island was a prefect choice to make a comic series based around it, as the movie starts with a young Kong with his family already dead. So this comic series brings his past to light and allows us to witness the sadness and rise of Kong to really be the King of Skull Island. I also really want to say that I have been looking forward to sitting and reading this comic series since it was released as I truly do enjoy King Kong in films, comics and novels and this one being tied to the newest film in the Kong series really peaks my interest. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for getting me these issue for my pull file and would like to remind you all 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see what Legendary Comics brings to the table with this mini series.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 1  **1/2
Released in 2017    Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 1 of 4

The year is 2012, and a group of sailors find a Monarch recorder and return it to the company. It turns out that the recorder belonged to Aaron Brooks, a solider for the company and son of Houston Brooks that has been missing sense 1995. Houston unlocks the recorder and starts to listen to Aaron’s words. He lead a team to Skull Island as he doesn’t trust Kong to keep the islands’ monsters in check. Before Aaron and crew can land on Skull Island, they are attacked by giant flying monsters that cause them to have to leap out and the pilot and helicopter to crash. As Aaron and his crew move, they are attacked leaving one of his people dead and another missing a leg when dinosaurs attack, and if not for Kong they all would have been killed. After they regroup, they are soon greeted by natives who are speaking English, showing that Skull Island is changing!

Skull Island has become a place that has been hidden and kept secret by the government and Monarch as they just keep an eye on it as well as its King the great ape named Kong. But a young worker for Monarch does not think it’s right that the world does not know about the monsters on the island as well as relying on Kong to keep the monsters in check, so he and some other hotshot workers travel to Skull Island to expose it to the world…and this was a big mistake! Aaron Brooks is a young hotshot who thinks that he knows it all and wants to expose the world to the giant monsters, and at this point all he has done is get some of his crew members injured and dead on an island he has no business being on! His crew are all go getters, but now it’s clear they are second guessing going along with Aaron’s plan. Our baddies at this point are the creatures that live on the island, and they are just hungry and want to eat what they can kill. Kong himself appears briefly as he smacks away man eating dinosaurs who were eating our cast for lunch, and as quickly as he saves the day he also disappears. The Natives seem to be educated, which makes you wonder who has taught them and why they think Aaron and his crew are special and been foretold would come for decades. This first issue is a build up for our mini series, and while good, is a little slow and bland and thus far only adds a hint of Kong and a heck of a lot of Aaron and his cocky way. The cover is great and very eye catching for fans of King Kong and the interior artwork is good but not my style and is done by Zid. Over all this is a good issue but nothing special, and I am looking forward to issue two and hope Kong has more of a part and we get some answers to questions this issue has presented.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 2  **1/2
Released in 2017     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 2 of 4

Aaron and his crew find themselves the guests of the IWI who are nursing them all back to health and are telling them that they have been waiting for them to come. Aaron finds out that one of the young tribesmen learned English from Hank Marlow, a downed U.S. air force pilot who taught his father many years back. Aaron also begins to notice one of his own men is becoming addicted to the juice the natives are given them and is having visions of the islands past and the bloodline of King Kong! The young tribesman and some warriors take Aaron and his crew on a very important pilgrimage to the parts of the island and along the way they find some history of Kong and the people who live on the island and are almost even attacked by a massive water animal, but they also find old weapons left behind by Monarch from years back. But before they can use them, the mighty roar of Kong echoes out and the creature goes back into the water as Aaron and his crew gear up and head out to finally meet King Kong.

The second issue has Aaron and his crew being taken in by Skull Islands natives and being healed of wounds and shown the history of the Kong bloodline. While Aaron and most of his crew are cautious and focused, one of his members is acting odd and over drinking a juice and claiming to be linked to the island and filled with visions. Aaron is kind of just a man who rushed into something thinking he was going to be the hero of the day and in return just got his crew lost and in some cases dead.  Thus far to me, he has also really come off as a self centered person who craves to be that guy who sticks it to the system. The rest of the crew are just around, and one is clearly slipping into madness and is one I think will be the downfall of not only the crew but also himself. The natives seem nice and mean no harm to the crew and even seem like they would die to protect them. Kong is not seen, and we only get treated to quick flashbacks of his family from the past. While this second issue is a good read, it also is a very slow burn and even with a monster showing up and “attacking,” nothing really seems to happen and it feels like a filler issue. The issue has no blood and scary spots, and the biggest issue this comic has is that Kong, the main attraction of the mini series, is nowhere in site. The cover is cool and showcases Kongs fighting skull crawlers and the interior art is fine and done by Zid again. Over all not much to say about this issue so let’s move onto number three.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 3  **1/2
Released in 2017     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 3 of 4

Aaron and his crew, while looking for Kong, find the body of the sea monster as Kong has killed it and all the other giant beasts are coming to the area to feed.  While the feeding frenzy takes place Aaron gets word from his pilot that he is alive and the helicopter can still fly and they plan to meet up in the bone graveyard and end their trip to Skull Island! When getting to the graveyard they soon find it crawling with Skull Crawlers and must take shelter in a cave and in a vision from one of the crew, they are told about the death of Kong’s parents as well as his birth that all took place on the same day…baby Kong witnessed as Skull Crawlers killed his mother and father before his young eyes. Aaron has heard enough, and as they all rush to the approaching helicopter they witness it get shot out of the sky thanks to their crazed fellow crew member who also shoots one of his own dead and demands they all go and see Kong!

This issue brings our story more on track as Aaron and his crew decide that Skull Island is not for them and just as they are about to leave, they are forced to stay due to one of their own turning crazy and downing their helicopter killing the pilot as well as one of his fellow exploring crew! Aaron in this issue is finally becoming a character that’s likable as he knows now that he has made a big mistake in coming to Skull Island to try and test the rule that Kong has over it, but while he finally sees his mistake, he still has lead three people to their deaths. The crazed crew member is a psycho who really thinks Kong is a god and is willing to kill his own friends just to be able to see the great ape in person. The Skull Crawlers are around and are as mean as ever, and lucky for Aaron and his crew they have not been spotted and became dinner…yet! King Kong is shown as a baby in a heart breaking part of this comic as he as a newborn watches his parents die! As an adult we only get to see the aftermath of his fight with the sea creature that is dead. Two things I really like about this issue is that we do get to see Kong’s parents in action as they take on a horde of Skull Crawlers and that when Kong kills something, the rest of the beast around come and feed on the corpse of the fallen. This issue has lots more action and suspenseful moments making it the best issue in the series thus far as it delivers a more classic Kong feel. The cover for this issue is heartbreaking for fans of Kong as it shows him as a baby crying over the bodies of his Mom and Dad. Interior art again is done by Zid who I should also say did all the covers as well. Over all, a good solid issue that was a fun and quick read and really does make me look forward to see what happens when Aaron and crew finally do get to see King Kong in all his hairy glory.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 4  ***
Released in 2017     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 4 of 4

Aaron along with what’s left of his crew and the tribes men are being held captive by a Wildman who has lost tough with reality and is taking about blowing up the fence around the village to see if Kong will protect them all and prove he loves mankind. Aaron and the rest escape the madman when some creatures from the jungle appear and attack letting them get to the village, but they are too late to warn the villagers as the madman blows up the walls and allows giant spiders to enter who start attacking and killing any one they see. They even kill Aaron’s last crew member besides the madman and all hope seems gone, until Kong shows up and starts smashing the spiders and saves human lives. After Kong runs off the spiders, he also smashes the madman and looks at Aaron letting him know that he is as people say the true King of Skull Island and a protector of man. Aaron decides to stay on Skull Island and help the IWI rebuild the wall and sends his recorder on a small-unmanned boat into the ocean. We end back in modern times and Aaron’s dad at his retirement party tells his former co-workers that he is going on a cruise to some place warm.

Now this is what I have been waiting for in this comic series as we get King Kong beating up and smashing giant spiders and saving human lives and even taken one of a clear crazy man! The issue’s plot has Aaron and his crew being taken out one by one by the creatures of Skull Island as well as one of their own who has flipped his lid and believes he is one with the island as well as linked to Kong. The mad man also decides to test the nature of Kong and blows up the wooden fences around the IWI village allowing all the creatures to enter and attack and kill and waits for Kong to save them…what a nut and he does get to witness Kong who appears and saves the day but he also get the wrath of Kong who smashes him into the ground! Aaron learns that some secrets are best left hidden and that he must stay on Skull Island to help rebuild what he and his now all dead crew destroyed. And Kong proves that he really is the King of the island and that he does understand that he must help the weak and small humans from the beasts that make up his home. This issue is filled with action and adventure and really allows our characters to learn from mistakes and witness the wonders they questioned. Aaron who at first was an unlikable rebel character by the end turns into a guy you come to understand and cheer for as he does the right thing. This issue has violence but no gore or mass amount of blood and does have an adventure horror feel to many of the scenes. The cover is eye catching for fans of King Kong and has him doing what he does best and once more like the interiors is done by Zid. This comic mini series is a slow burn just like the Pacific Rim one I took a look at early this year, but unlike it, I found this one to be entertaining even with the lack of Kong in issues. Over all if your fan of Skull Island and King Kong in general check this series out. While it is not the best Kong has to offer in the world of comics, it’s at least a solid one with a fun story. Check out the art below to see the work of Zid and see what King Kong the 8th Wonder of the World looks like in these issues.

King Kong will always be my favorite giant movie monster and while I also love Godzilla, Kong will always be the tops for me. Plus I really do think that Kong makes for a great comic book character and hope that more issues of his rampages and adventures will come out sooner than later! Kong Skull Island was one of my favorite movies of 2017 and was a perfect film to go alongside the original 1933 film. So with this being the Christmas season and all, I think that my next update will be something everyone loves to chat about for this Holiday time of the year and that’s the 1961 giant ape film Konga! Wait what? You don’t gather with loved ones and chat about Konga over a glass of eggnog while sitting by the fire? Well if you have not, you don’t know what you’re missing! So we will be leaving Skull Island and go to London for our next update, and until then, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always enjoy your Holiday season with all your loved ones. See you next update for a Konga good time.

Hercules: The Turkey Day Wars

Happy Thanksgiving readers and friends, and welcome back to another Rotten Ink Turkey Day update all about the one and only mighty hero of Greece, the slayer of the Nemean Lion, the pride of Olympus and the hero who has been a main stay in culture and media as he has muscled his way into books, movies, TV, comics and video games. Of course I am talking about Hercules! Writing about Herc on this holiday as truly become something I look forward to doing; this sword and sandal hero was always one of my favorites growing up as his labors and adventures always captivated me. So while your turkey or ham is cooking and those potatoes are waiting to be mashed, let’s take another turkey day adventure with the one and only Hercules and this time the company who has brought us this adventure is Radical. So sit back, hit mute on the football game and get ready to spend some quality time with Herc and me here at Rotten Ink!

As I am sure you readers know what I am about to say and it may come as no shock, but I am going to say it anyway: I am a fan of the legend of Hercules from the myth all the way to cinema and have always enjoyed the fact you could take this hero and place him in any situation and watch as he saves the day. I mean think about classic style films “Hercules Against The Moon Men” and “Hercules Against The Mongols” that took our hero out of his normal settings and had him battle people and things not from his era.  Somehow, they just worked. But one of the biggest adventures Hercules has ever had was from the myth and would be his 12 Labors. Ever since I was a kid, one of my favorites of his 12 Labors was when he took on the Nemean Lion, a true battle of man and beast. The Nemean Lion was a massive beast that had super sharp claws and his skin could not be pierced by weapons. He tormented the people of Nemea and was rumored to been created by Typhon and Echidna. King Eurystheus was in charge of giving Hercules his labors, and his first one was to kill Nemean Lion who was a super lion and who was said to be unkillable, Hercules started his journey by buying arrows and talking to locals about the location of the beast, and once he found its cave, he blocked one entrance and forced the lion to fight him in closed combat where he was able to nab the lion into a headlock and choke the life out of it. Once dead, Herc used the animal’s own claw to skin it and carried the dead animal back to the kingdom where he both amazed and scared the King who banned him that moment on from entering the Kingdom after his labors. Hercules would go on to wear the hide of the Nemean Lion as part of his armor. I am not sure why I like the first labor as much as I do….I am sure it has to do with the fact I have always liked lions and Hercules and having them fighting each other in a death match is pretty epic. I want to also say that The Nemean Lion, while dead in the mythology world, just might live again in the pages of Sparkle Comics, but you will have to wait and see how and what comic it comes back in. And I want to say this is just the start of Hercules’ Labors as we will be taking a bigger look at his labors on another update in the future.

In 2014 Radical Comics was able to have a movie made based on their Thracian Wars comic series thanks to Paramount Pictures who released it worldwide to the joy of modern sword and sandal fans. The film was directed by Brett Ratner and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Hercules along with such actors as Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell and Reece Ritchie and was a great action film with lots of Hercules moments of power…well sort of. The film is about Hercules and his friends creating a legend about himself that allows them to get paid in order to do amazing things like defeat the undefeatable and wage one man wars, all the while the story goes out about it being Hercules, when in fact it was he and his crew. But they soon find themselves being tested when one kingdom doesn’t buy into the stories, and Herc and his crew must fight for their lives. I really do like the twist in this film as it makes you wonder if Hercules really the son of Zeus or is it all made up in order to build his legacy, then at moments he is as great as he says he is…so I think it is really up to the viewer to decide. I saw the movie in the theater when released, and it was fantastic even making the # 5 spot on my “Matt Goes To The Movies 2014” update for Superhero Movies and was one I recommended to friends who ended up seeing it and enjoying it. Oddly enough, in 2014 another Hercules movie was in cinemas called “Legend Of Hercules.” While entertaining, it was not in the same league as this one. The film did poorly at the US box office only bringing in $72,688,614.00 on a budget of $100 million and was 46 over all at the cinema. But it did however bring in more than many other cult films released that year like “Purge: Anarchy”, “Robocop”, “Dracula Untold”, “Muppets Most Wanted”, “John Wick” and “Birdman” to name a few. So if you like Hercules films or just like fun action films starring The Rock, make sure to check this movie out!

So now that we have chatted a little about Hercules in myth as well as in modern cinema, I think it’s time we get to the comic review of the five issue mini series from Radical, because I am sure you are ready for some tasty thanksgiving dinner like I am! So let’s get into this one. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for pulling these comics for me when released. Yep, this is a comic mini series that I made sure to get when released as I worked for Mavericks at the time and had to check out a new Hercules book. I want to also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to join Hercules as he goes to war, we should get to the comic reviews.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 1  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $1.00     Radical Comics     # 1 of 5

Iolaus and Meneus are traveling to a poor and sloppy kingdom on Amphiaraus’ promise of gold and victory as the young King has hired Hercules and his crew to bring Thrace back together by winning a war. But these barbarians of the Kingdom all take turns making fun of Hercules as well as his mother to try and get under the skin of Meneus and Iolaus before Herc arrives. But once Hercules and the rest of his crew show up, their words and mood changes as they see they truly are warriors and can back up their words and Hercules is a man with a loyal & brutal band of friends. But when Hercules is pushed too far by the words of one of the barbarian warriors, he is forced to kill him and orders his friends to kill every man and woman in the throne room and they do just that! Hercules, who was hired to bring Thrace together and train these barbarians to fight, became their Grim Reaper, as he delivered nothing but brutal death. After the slaughter Hercules and his men soon find out that the king and his guards were not the true King and his men as outside is the true King Coyts and his men looking well armed, trained and angry.

This first issue started out a little slow and was worrisome onwhether it would deliver a fun Hercules adventure, and by the end it turned into a bloodbath slaughter that would make Conan The Barbarian happy! The comic’s plot is this: Hercules and his crew are hired mercenaries who arrive at a terrible kingdom with a jerk King and a room full of drunken slobs that end up pushing the son of Zeus’ buttons that leads to them all getting slaughtered only for Hercules to find out he has been set up as the real King is outside with his massive army! Hercules is very cocky in this issue and partly lazy and is willing to start a war over being insulted. He also very much depends on his crew in order to win battles as well as scout the way of the land before he even arrives. I also like that he is wearing the hide of the Nemean Lion. His crew are loyal to Hercules and are amazing warriors who are brutal and all have their own weirdness from one having visions to another who is a cannibal. The fake King and his drunken goons are rude and crude and all find themselves very dead and have no skills when it comes to battle! While we barely see King Coyts in this issue, you can tell he is going to be one proud and strong fighter. The one thing that I liked in this comic is the fact that while Hercules is our main hero, he is also very arrogant and showcases that he is not fully a good guy. I also really like the fact that this comic is very bloody and had kills that would fit in most Horror Comics! The cover is very cool and very eye catching for fans of Sword and Sandal and Greek Mythology style comics. The interior artwork is done by Admira Wijaya and is pretty great and very fitting for this style of comic. So I will say the first issue is a great set up for this mini series and was a great way to try and bring Hercules back to the world of comic books. So with that let’s see how Herc and his crew deals with the army that is waiting for them at the end of this issue.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 2  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 2 of 5

Hercules and his crew stand their ground as King Coyts and his army order them all to stand down and follow him into the hall where Herc and them slaughtered all those people only to find that King Coyts set them up to test how brutal they were as fighters. Hercules and his crew have now gotten the jobs to train the soldiers for war and Coyts’ daughter seems to have taken a liking to Hercules, but our heroes also seem to be very on edge on this job they have taken as things just seem very odd. Plus the army’s general Sitaces seems to also to be keeping an eye of Hercules. After months of training, the army is ready for war and they decide that night to kill a young boy to appease their God, and this act sickens Hercules and his crew. Sitaces makes his army and Hercules attack small villages and slaughter all the people they come across, and finally right before the big battle, Sitaces must return to King Coyts and tell him of their victories and as he leaves, it’s clear Hercules and his people have been set up as they are attacked by a sky full of arrows!

In this issue Hercules and his band of warriors are paid lots of money, wine and good times in order to train an army of soldiers who are just brawlers, but along the way they soon find that this army are scum and they kill to bully and their general seems to have another mission and that’s to ride the world of them! Hercules in this issue is a great teacher of war and seems to be pleased with spending time with the King’s daughter as well as have the thrill of battle, but while enjoying it all, he also seems to be on edge and aware. We also get to know female warrior Atalanta who is a lesbian and has a love hate friendship with fellow member Meleager a warrior who was a ladies man and has fallen head over heels in love with her. Sitaces is a very bloodthirsty warrior in King Coyts’ army and rocks a wicked scarred face and seems to not value any human life. And as far as King Coyts, he is a man drive by ego who will do what ever it takes to be the ruler. I really like the ending of this one as hundreds of arrows are falling from the sky and could kill not only Hercules and his crew but also any of the army who have been left behind with them. This also makes you wonder if Sitaces set them up or if it the scouts did! The cover is great and eye catching for fans of Hercules and Sword and Sandal and the interior art by Admira Wijaya is great and fitting. Over all a great second issue and one that helps build up this adventure for Hercules. So with that let’s see how Hercules escapes this deathtrap.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 3  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 3 of 5

Hercules and his crew are like lambs to the slaughter as the enemy is all around them and they are stuck in a valley, but like all heroes Hercules pushes back and drives his enemies lead by Lord Rhesus back and now have them on the ropes. Hercules himself, while wanting to end the battle, is also very mad at one of his crew Tydeus, who is bloodthirsty and not listening to orders causing them to be at odds. Hercules and his crew now have Rhesus and his guards backed against a cliff, and it’s clear they are not going to just give up and push the fight until only Rhesus is left standing and instead of dying at the hands of Hercules flings himself off the cliff! As Hercules and his crew sit for a while, an arrow comes from nowhere and kills Meneus and this sets Hercules into a rage who rips the attacker apart with his bare hands. Once they bury their friend, they head back to King Coyts with a story of victory and also slightly accuse Sitaces for the set up, but it’s quickly smoothed over as Hercules goes off with the King’s daughter and a big feast is planned. Later that night after the feast Hercules sneaks up and hears King Coyts praying to his Gods in order to get the power to his newly trained army to attack Greece and Mount Olympus!

Man, this was one pickle that I was sure would leave Hercules injured, but instead sees him win against all odds and end a war with one brutal battle. This issue’s plot has Hercules and his crew being set up, and they must fight for their lives in order to escape the valley. Once they do so, they lose one of their own members to a sneak attack and return to employer only to learn he is a scumbag who wants to over throw Greece and kill Zeus on Mount Olympus! Hercules in this issues shows why he is a true iconic fighter as he does not stress over the attack and leads his group to a victory. He also shows he is pure power as he rips a man apart in a bloody gory rage! His crew are all great fighters and sadly their youngest member Meneus is killed with an arrow to the head and Tydeus is out of control and is a warrior who just enjoys killing and eating his victims! King Coyts and Sitaces are pure scum who both crave power and terror as they just used Hercules and his crew to train an army for them that they will in turn be used to attack them and their homelands! What I really like about this comic series is that while Hercules is our “hero,” he really is no hero and is just a demi-god doing bad things for others in order to get gold! I also like that his crew, while all warriors, do seem to care about each other, well all but Tydeus who cares about no one but himself even if the others watch out for him. The cover for this issue is great and the red brings out the wicked look of Hercules who clearly is in a rage for war. The interior art once more is done by Admira Wijaya and is good stuff. Over all this is another great issue in this mini series and makes me look forward to reading the final two issues.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 4  ***
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 4 of 5

Hercules is talked out of attacking the King in the temple, and this is a bad thing as he finds the tracks of Hercules in the snow and places he and all his crew under arrest until he can figure out a way to kill them all. Hercules tries to use his charm on the King’s daughter but soon finds that she has been using him all along and spying for her father and for him escaping and plotting against the King, Hercules is taken and tortured by Sitaces who is taking joy in his evil deed! Sitaces admits that he has been with the King’s daughter and he was not the one who set them up, all the while he is whipping and burning Hercules’s flesh. But Hercules has had enough and with his power he breaks free and smashes and kills two guards as well as breaks the back of Sitaces and brings the dungeons walls down on top of him! Hercules then rushes to his crew, and they make their escape in a bloody fight that leaves King Coyts in a rage and wants all of them dead! Hercules and his friends regroup around a campfire and decide that they will not run to Greece, and they will bring the fight to Coyts as they want to bring him down.

Wow! This fourth issue is great and showcases just how badass Hercules is as he bashes, smashes and slaughters any and all who get in his way. In fact I would say that this is the best issue this far in the series and is action packed and had a real feeling of dread and danger as the issue’s plot has the King and his army holding and bullying Hercules and his friends until they have had enough and push back! I also like the fact that the King’s daughter was just a pawn in her dad’s game as she in real life hates Hercules and Greece and was only using him to get information. Hercules in the issue really has been pushed as not only does the King plan on attacking his homeland of Greece but he also has been used and now abused and this means war in his eyes. His crew are also being treated like scum and are forced to stay inside a building and are not being feed and bullied into not having weapons and are all marked for death. King Coyts is a ruler who has used and abused his way into being even more powerful and is wanting to bring down Greece and Zeus as he has zero respect for those Gods. His daughter as well is scum as she uses sex in order to try and manipulate her target. And Sitaces the army leader is sadistic and gets what he deserves as he is broken and crushed leaving him a none factor now in the coming blood battle. This issue is filled with lots of action and lots of blood and feels like a true Sword And Sandal film from the 60’s with added modern style gore. Plus I really like the cliffhanger of Hercules and friends gearing up for a battle that they are the underdogs in, but they show no fear in the face of death. The cover is great and Admira Wijaya’s interior art is as always solid. Over all this issue is a great one to build up to the final in the mini series and is making me really looking forward to see how this adventure comes to an end.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 5  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 5 of 5

Hercules and his crew sneak back in the kingdom and start their slaughter and take out many of the guards by setting a fire in their quarters while they sleep. Once inside the castle, Hercules and his friends kill even more guards and even ram a spear into the King’s Daughter! King Coyts sees that his days are numbered and runs to make his escape as Hercules and friends follow him into a chamber of mazes and traps. But after dodging traps and almost capturing the evil King, Hercules and his crew find themselves trapped in the chamber as Coyts escapes….into the waiting ax of Tydeus who beheads the King and will dine on his brain after he frees his friends. Once free Hercules and pals find the gold room and steal all they can carry and as they leave the castle, they are greeted by Rhesus who they thought was dead and now has a new army and allows Hercules and them to leave with their lives, but not the gold! In the end Hercules and some of his friends sail away on a new adventure as Tydeus and others go their own way ending The Thracian War.

Hercules and his friends have gotten revenge after being set up and have stopped an attack on Greece but as always walked away empty handed when it comes to being paid for training an army to fight. So everything they did in this war really only caused death to people and only made them look like heels in the eyes of the people who witnessed their slaughter and training of a tyrant’s army. Hercules in this issue really just wants to end the life of King Coyts and his daughter and wants to stop the planned attack on Greece and while he does get to stop the act of war and gets to kill the daughter of his enemy, he is sadly not the one who gets to kill King Coyts. That honor went to Tydeus who is crazy and is a berserker when it comes to attacking and is really the most scummy of all of Herc’s teammates and by all accounts is just a cold blooded murderer. King Coyts is not only scum but also a coward who runs when it comes to battle and the odds are not in his favor. His daughter, on the other hand is a fighter and does not die without putting up a fight. The issue while bloody and filled with action seems to be more of a fast paced issue and the action seems to go by way too fast. But with that said, I will say that I do think Radical Comics really does know how to make a good comic mini series based on Hercules and writer Steve Moore shows he really does understand the world of Sword And Sandal. Plus the art by Admire Wijaya is very fitting and is perfect for this style of comic books. The cover for this issue I have is also very eye catching and reminds me of Frank Frazetta. Over all this is a great mini series and was an enjoyable read and fun review this Thanksgiving update, and I would recommend if you like Hercules to check this series out. Below is some artwork from this series so you can see the style of Wijaya.

Thanks once again for spending a part of your Thanksgiving holiday with me here at Rotten Ink as I am sure you’re much like me and are very much looking forward to diving into a tasty dinner and a chatting with family and loved ones. So next year, meet here again and we will once more talk about Hercules and cover another comic adventure of his! But to wrap this up as mashed potatoes are calling my name, make sure to spend some time with your loved ones as the Christmas season is just around the corner. Oh and I must also share with you that my next update will be a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update, and we will be traveling to Skull Island to once more visit Kong! So until next time, read a comic or three, eat a second plate of food and as always support your local Horror Host. See you all back for another tour of Skull Island on our next update.

Captain Klutz The MAD Goofy Hero That Time Might Have Forgot!

Welcome back friends and readers to another update to Rotten Ink, my blog here on the world wide web. Can you believe that we are so close to Thanksgiving 2018? That means we are at our first update in our countdown to this Turkey Day Holiday and also means we need to take a look at a forgotten hero from comic books of the past as over the years we have taken looks at such backburner superheroes as 3-D Man, Holo-Man, Solarman, Red Demon and Drastik to name a few, his year I have chosen to cover a hero that is a little different than all of them as he is a comedy goofball hero who graced the pages of MAD Magazine paperback books named Captain Klutz that was created by the amazing artist Don Martin! So sit back and get ready to get your funny bone tickled as we travel to Megalopolis and witness Captain Klutz do his best to stop crime….man, this masked hero is a true goofball.

Ringo Fonebone was a strange kid who didn’t do things normally; from eating to learning to walk he was just a little off. While other kids his age played outside and acted normal young Ringo sat alone reading comic books! As Ringo grew up, he still lived with his parents and only read comics all day long until they kicked him out, but his comic reading didn’t stop and caused him to hold no job nor home as he was kicked out of his flop house with just his boxers and his pajamas to his name. Broke and lonely, Ringo decides that he must kill himself as he has been a failure to his family and Wonder Woman, and as he falls from the top of a building, he bonks his head several times and even gets a hat on his way down. Before he hits pavement, he crashes into a bank robber who is caught by the police and so Captain Klutz superhero is born! The thing is, after his attempted suicide, Ringo doesn’t remember who he is and truly thinks he is indeed a superhero called Captain Klutz! While he is a superhero, he still is not respected and is by all accounts a goof who sometimes happens to fall backwards into stopping crime and villains. His only ally is Police Chief O’Freenbean who don’t respect him but does call on him for help with the odd cases the city is being plagued with. Captain Klutz is also very poor and at times is homeless or staying in a slum house filled with roaches and trash. Captain Klutz has no super powers and is by all accounts just a normal guy in a costume who read too many comic books and wants to fight crime and make his city safe. While he might not be as strong as Superman, as rich as Batman or as skilled as Spider-Man, the masked hero Captain Klutz is doing what he can to try and stop crime. Below are some pictures of Captain Klutz including one that shows some of his famed rogues gallery.

So know that we know a little about Captain Klutz, let’s take a look at the man who created him. Don Martin was born on May 18, 1931 in New Jersey and was into art from even a young age. In 1952 he graduated form the Pennsylvania Academy Of Fine Arts. After he graduated he took several odd jobs that included doing covers for Jazz Artist albums like Miles Davis and Stan Getz, and by 1956 he starting appearing in MAD and would be the magazines top artist for decades. Martin would use his artistic talent to deliver not only original comedy comic strips but also for parodies, pin-ups and stickers and this lead to him to be called “Mad’s Maddest Artist” and built him a huge fan base. He worked for MAD until 1987 with his last contribution being printed in March 1988. After leaving MAD, he jumped ship and joined Cracked Magazine who were super happy to have him on board even teasing MAD by calling Martin “Cracked’s Crackedest Artist”! If you’re wondering why Don Martin left MAD, it was because he and publisher William Gains got into it over royalties as they were not paying Martin for reprinting his work in paperback books and magazines, and Martin even testified before a Congressional subcommittee over the rights of freelance artists and both sides MAD and Martin seemed to have had enough of each other. Don Martin worked six years for Cracked Magazine and was happy working for them even though they were not as well respected by comedy magazine readers, and later he made his own very short lived comedy magazine called “Don Martin Magazine” as he also worked on a comic strip called “The Nutheads” that was syndicated in newspapers. During his time as a comedy magazine artist he won many awards such as the National Cartoonist Society in 1981 and 1982 and even was inducted into the Comic Book Hall Of Fame in 2004. Don Martin suffered from eye issues his whole life and even had two surgeries on them and later in life needed special magnifying equipment to draw. Don Martin was a quite man who enjoyed spending time with his family and playing jokes on tourists near his home in Florida and loved drawing and creating his off the wall characters and stories. Sadly Don Martin passed away on January 6, 2000 of cancer at the age of 68 and up until his death he was still at odds with MAD Magazine and was still a very respected comic artist. While Don Martin is gone, his work still entertains readers and his style influences many artist still to this day.

I am sure many of you like myself grew up reading MAD and or Cracked Magazine and enjoyed the silly nature of the jokes and parodies, and I am sure many of you like myself always enjoyed the work of Don Martin as well as fellow comedy artist like Wally Wood, Al Jaffee, Don Edwing, Antonio Prohias and Sergio Aragones who delivered funny comic strips to these magazines. And I am also sure many of you remember the amazing Captain Klutz, who was a favorite of my brother Bryan and I growing up as we had his paperback book adventures. And I am very happy to be going back to my youth and revisiting this goofy hero and his zany adventures and would like to say a big thank you to Game Swap Kettering and an Amazon Seller for having these paperback books in stock so that I could go back and revisit them for this comedic update. Wait a minute, my phone is ringing….and it’s a collect call and it’s Captain Klutz himself who wants me to remind you that I grade these comics 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 gear up and hit the streets with Captain Klutz and see if these comic paperback books are as good as I remember.

MAD Adventures Of Captain Klutz # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1967    Cover Price .50     Signet Books     #1 of 2

“Sissyman” in this first adventure Captain Klutz is awakened from a nightmare by his archenemy Sissyman, who taunts him with names and causing our hero get onto his scooter and track Sissyman down at his mom’s home! While getting lost trying to find the house, he runs into Police Chief O’Freenbean who informs him that diamonds have been stolen by Sissyman and when they get to the crime scene they find a handkerchief that has the evil goofy thief’s address on it. Captain Klutz goes to the house alone and uses a disguise to get into the home but is soon trapped under ice cream thanks to Sissyman’s new gun and now he is off to steal gold. After escaping the ice cream trap, Klutz gets a message from Police Chief O’Freenbean that Sissyman has just robbed the bank and is now heading to a jewelry store, Klutz jumps into a phone booth to get into a new disguise that is Count Of Monte Cristo and by accident strips down a woman who was using the phone! As she runs away naked, he enters the Jewelry store and stops Sissyman only to be himself put under arrest for stripping down the woman and in this story crime does win as Sissyman gets away free for his crimes. “The Case Of Chicken Soup” is the second goofy adventure and has Captain Klutz getting ready to give Granny Santini an award for all her good work with the homeless, and before Captain Klutz leaves, he gets a call from his downstairs neighbor who is jarring her famous pickled pigs feet and needs fast drying pectin to finish her batch. After getting the pectin, he meets the Mayor and they stop into Granny’s soup kitchen. After the Mayor tries the chicken soup he along with the homeless turn into mindless zombies who go to work at Granny’s gift shop and soon it’s seen that Granny Santini is evil and has Captain Klutz hung above a vat of boiling chicken soup! But thanks to the bag of pectin that rips, he just bounces off the once scalding soup and is ready for action and hides in a totem and shoots and kills Granny and soon finds out the effects of the soup will wear off on the homeless and mayor in a few days. Our third adventure is called “Captain Klutz Meets Gorgonzola” and has a father and son being chased by the giant spider named Gorgonzola. They run into Captain Klutz who is homeless sleeping on a bench and who says he will help them until he notices that he is face to face with a very mean giant spider and he passes out! Once awakened he and Police Chief O’Freenbean travel to a carnival on Gorgonzola’s trail. When they find him, the giant spider beats up Klutz until our hero figures out the spider is really just a machine and after plugging his leg into an outlet the man inside the suit pops out and it was Lousy Louie, a man who has been arrested before for Trick Or Treating with out a license and now is going to jail for life for his last stunt in a Halloween costume. “ Captain Klutz Meets Mervin The Mad Bomber” has our hero waking up in his rundown apartment he answers a help wanted ad from Police Chief O’Freenbean who needs help to stop and capture a mad bomber loose in the city! Captain Klutz finds that he and the police are the target of the bombs and call after call Klutz finds himself getting blown up! Finally he figures it all out and saves Police Chief O’Freenbean who is tied to a giant bomb and brings Mervin The Mad Bomber who has been disguised as the Police Chief and saving the day once more our hero in the end is blown up once more by the very last bomb he thought he stopped.

Wow! This was just as silly and enjoyable as I remember it being and I must say that Captain Klutz is a character that I wish would still be around till this day and could even have cross overs with other goofy heroes like Impossible Man from Marvel or Bat-Mite from DC! This paperback has four main adventures and two small gag stories and all of them follow Captain Klutz in Megalopolis as he tries his best to stop crime and not get hurt to bad doing so. The thing about Captain Klutz is that while he is a nerd who at times gets beat up and or passes out from fright he does in the end always find away to bring down the baddie in front of him with Sissyman being the only one to escape and Granny Santini being one that he murders with gunshot wounds. Plus you have to feel bad for him as most of the time he is homeless sleeping on the cold streets while other times he is in nasty gross motel rooms. I must say that I also dig that Captain Klutz rides around on a cheesy little shooter and looks like a fool doing it! Police Chief O’Freenbean is a gruff man who while talks down to Klutz still calls on him when the police need help, he is like a mean cornball version of Commissioner Gordon! The baddies of this book are as following Sissyman, a mama’s boy who is a nerd and likes to rob places of their riches! Granny Santini, an old woman who hides behind being super sweet and wanting to help the homeless, but really is using her chicken soup to turn them into zombies to make them slaves in her sweatshops to make cheap products for he gift shops. Gorgonzola is a spider suit warn by Lousy Louie in order to trick or treat and scare people around him. And lastly and the most dangerous is Mervin The Mad Bomber, who enjoys placing bombs in the city and watching them go BOOM! While none of the bad guys are as sinister as Batman or Spider-Man’s foes, they are perfect for the world Don Martin created for his masked hero. The humor of this comic paperback works as well as did the characters and holds up to this day given that its nothing more that sight gags and slapstick style humor, but a few things do stand out as cringe worthy like one of the names of a comic he is reading is very much a slur for gay people and is a little out of place. The cover is eye catching and the art by Don Martin is classic silly stuff and I would say that for me this book has held up and I still enjoyed it every much like I did when I was a kid and am looking forward to revisiting the second book next!

Captain Klutz II # 2  **1/2
Released in 1983    Cover Price $3.50   Warner Books    #2 of 2

“To Brusha With Love” in Brusha their leader Ivanovitch Eyebrowski and Comrade Stupidska have a plan to clog high stacks at power plants to cause poison gas clouds and to kill the good people of America and their plan works and three toxic clouds are floating around the city! Meanwhile Police Chief O’Freenbean needs the help of Captain Klutz to stop the clouds and before our hero can come to the rescue he inhales some of the toxic cloud and it gives him superhuman powers like the ability to fly and super muscles! Captain Klutz by accident captures the Brusha Spy who set up the clouds and then just as Comrade Stupidska and more Brusha soldiers are about to attack the city Captain Klutz explodes injuring Chief O’Freenbean, killing the Brushins and leaving Captain Klutz in pieces! “Hollywood Whodunnit” actress Deanna Drano is having her life threatened as accidents keep happing to her while she is filming her movies and she has hired Captain Klutz to protect her, and after more accidents happen to her and Klutz keeps failing at his task she finally comes clean and admits she did this to herself to draw press for her failing career and she and the director run off to get married as Captain Klutz tries to make up a story about when he knew it was her all along. “Agendum For Secret Messages” our masked hero Captain Klutz follows clues that were left behind by his friend Police Chief O’Freenbean and each clue leads him to a new place for only at the end to find out that O’Freenbean thinks this is a silly way for them to talk and cancels these type of meetings. Our final adventure tale is called “The Major Catastrophe” and has Captain Klutz having to watch his cousin Elmer who is a walking disaster causing major destruction everywhere he goes! And when Klutz gets a call from Police Chief O’Freenbean that the mayor has been kidnapped by drugged out terrorist he must suit up his cousin and calls him Major Catastrophe and together they save the mayor and cause the city and the mayor lots of harm!

This second book that features Captain Klutz is good but sadly not as good as the first book as this one is filled with lots of filler pages and short stories to make the page count. In fact in this book we are not only treated to some short adventures but also sound effects and a long song about our hero…each while fun also take away from some of the main stories that seem to have rushed endings. Keep in mind while this is still a really good read and does pack a few good chuckles. Missing in this issue is true super villains as we only get Ivanovitch Eyebrowski and Comrade Stupidska who are only briefly shown and sadly are no major threat as the toxic gas they unleash only brings on their downfall as it gives Captain Klutz even more power. Captain Klutz here is still as silly and goofy as ever and once more falls butt backwards into stopping crime, but odd to say he is lacking a little of the charm that made him fantastic in the first book and I cant put my finger on why he feels off he just does. Police Chief O’Freenbean and the police force are around but they seem like background characters and O’Freenbean and Klutz don’t have the same chemistry that made them a dynamic duo that we all enjoyed from the past book. Not much else to say about this second book besides the cover is really cool, the art and humor stories by Don Martin is good and this was a great blast from the past and was very cool to relive reading it even if it did coast me over $30.00 to do so and it was not as great as book 1! So below I think this one piece of art form these books captures the art style of Don Martin and the spirit of Captain Klutz.

While Captain Klutz might not be a household superhero name that the young and young at heart talk about, he is one that for those who remember him entertained with his goofy adventures and cheesy humor. It was lots of fun going back to the days of sitting in my brothers room in Waynesville and reading MAD paperback books and chatting about the one and only Captain Klutz! If memory serves me right, at one point my brother when he was a youngster wanted to or did make a Captain Klutz fan made comic book! I’ll have to ask him about that and see what he says and if he did we will have to cover it on a future update. So for our next update we are leaving the world of MAD behind us and will be going to Tennessee to visit vampire Horror Host Icon Sivad! So until next time read a comic of three, read a classic MAD Magazine or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a shocking good time.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Darkness Falls

Many Horror Movies take inspiration for their plots from sources like real life tragic events, fever inducing nightmares and even folklore, and one of the biggest movies that did this when I was in my early 20’s was Darkness Falls, based on the legend of the Tooth Fairy turned up a notch to scare kids and terrify movie goers. In the early 2000’s Horror was making a major comeback at the cinema with lower budget horror bringing in extra cash for studios much like today with Blumhouse setting lower budgets but making great profits, and Darkness Falls was one of these films released. Fairy Tales can be scary, and the Tooth Fairly can be super scary when she not only takes your lost tooth but also your soul! So if you’re ready like I am, lets take a grim trip into this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update for Darkness Falls.

Before we get into the film itself, we need to take a look at the killing monster, Matilda Dixon or, as her victims call her, The Tooth Fairy! Matilda was a kind older woman who would give gold coins to the children of the town when they would lose their teeth as an act of kindness earning her the nickname The Tooth Fairy. When a house fire left her face burnt and sensitive to light, she would walk the streets at night wearing a porcelain mask, and when two children go missing she is blamed and hung for a crime she didn’t commit as the kids were found alive and well. Before her death, she cursed the town and the children of it.  When they lose their last baby tooth and if they look her in the face, it brings a terrible death to them as she is now a vengeful spirit. Matilda is a supernatural being who enjoys killing and placing cold fear into her victims with not only her appearance but also her sinister screams. She lurks in the shadows and pounces on those who don’t follow her rules of never looking at her when she comes for your last tooth. Matilda can fly and glide through the air to track and hunt down her victims, and once she has them, she does use her looks and noises to put the fear into them before she uses her hands to claw and mutilate. She also uses the darkness to her stalking advantage as she must stay in the dark in order to get her target. Her weakness is light; whether it’s the glow of the sun or the light of a bulb, she cannot stand it as it burns her skin and enough of it will kill her and send her soul where it belongs. So while she has a pretty big weakness in light, she is one murdering supernatural being in the dark making The Tooth Fairy a really dangerous killer for all who has not followed her rules.

So as you can see, Matilda Dixon was a woman who turned her kindness into vengeance when her own town turned on her due to her horrific appearance.  Now that we have taken a look at her killing ways, we need to dive into the movie she stars in and for that our friends at IMDB will bring us the film’s plot and after that I will talk a little about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you’re ready, we have to stay in the light and whatever you do, don’t look at her face!

Darkness Falls (2003)

“A vengeful spirit has taken the form of the Tooth Fairy to exact vengeance on the town that lynched her 150 years earlier. Her only opposition is the only child, now grown up, who has survived her before.”

Darkness Falls was released in 2003 and was directed by Jonathan Liebesman and was a team up production of American and Australian companies. The film was written by John Fasano and Joe Harris and was a twisted supernatural reimagining of the Tooth Fairy legend and was riding the popularity of The Ring that was released a year before it. It starred such actors as Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield, John Stanton and Antony Burrows played Matilda Dixon aka Tooth Fairy. The film had a budget of $11 million and brought in $47,488,536.00 worldwide making it a hit for Sony. The film also was pretty well liked by critics and fans making it odd that a sequel was never made. The film was released during a Horror Movie boom as 2003 also saw the release of such films as Freddy vs. Jason, Jeeper Creepers 2, Wrong Turn, Underworld, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Willard, House Of 1000 Corpses and Beyond Re-Animator to name a very few showing that 2003 was a good year for fans! Darkness Falls also had some merchandise released like movie poster, soundtrack, novel adaptation, an action figure and of course the comic book. So while it’s not a major franchise, it’s still one that has made its mark on the world of Horror Movies. I want to also bring to you readers’ attention that in the original script, The Tooth Fairy only showed up in the final act of the film and her appearance was way different from the one used in the final film.  If you want to see her original look, just get yourself the Movie Maniac figure as that was supposed to be her main look in the film before the change.

Darkness Falls is a film I can remember hitting theaters and the ads being on TV and posters in the theaters, and while I was very much into going to the cinema to see films, for some reason I skipped seeing this one. Honestly I think I skipped it to see Final Destination 2 as they both were released in the same month. It would be when it hit VHS and DVD that I finally watched the film as I was working at Blockbuster Video and rented it and remember watching it with my brother and I found it to be a pretty good shocker with some cool effects and a spooky monster. Once watching it I ended up getting the film on DVD and still have it in my collection to this day, and will dust it off from time to time to watch. I also ended up getting the comic book from Dark Horse Comics as well as have the music score CD that I play on the Halloween edition of Alpha Rhythms on WYSO from time to time. For me what works very well in this film is that it has a very mean and dark tone as our main villain takes joy in scaring and killing children, and I like that she does not speak and only screams and moans making her come off way more creepy. Over all while this film is not groundbreaking, I do find it to be a very entertaining and spooky film from the early 2000’s that has built up a solid cult following and is one that should have gotten a sequel as one was talked about but never made.

So now that we have refreshed our memories of Darkness Falls and its supernatural killer The Tooth Fairy, we are going to take a look at the prequel comic released by Dark Horse Comics based on the films folklore. It’s really cool that a comic was made about this film as it’s a Horror Movie that really does lend itself to be one. And I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having this comic in stock and want to remind everyone that I grade 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 lets stay in the light and enter Darkness Falls…and for the love of comics whatever you do don’t look at her!

Darkness Falls # 1  **1/2
Released in 2003       Cover Price $2.99     Dark Horse     # 1 of 1

Emma and William live in the small town of Darkness Falls.  The year is 1841, and the young man has lost one of his baby teeth and they are on their way to visit Matilda Dixon to trade the tooth for a tasty treat! Along the walk, the kids talk about how five years earlier Matilda’s husband Sonny died at sea. As they continue to walk, they run across youngster George who tells them how a year ago Matilda’s house was set on fire by accident when kids were snooping. The fire left her terribly burnt and forced her to wear a mask made of porcelain to hide her burns and disfigured face. The children were scared of her now, and she would have to leave the treats on their porches as they left their lost tooth there as well. William and Emma leave George behind after his story as it’s getting later. William’s father is mad and thinks that Matilda has done something to his son and gets a mob together to do something about her! Meanwhile William and Emma get to her house and meet her, and as she gives them treats, the mob shows up and hangs her for “killing” the kids only for them to find the kids okay and all of them are guilty of murder!

This comic is a great prequel to the film and really helps build the mood and world that the film was creating as the plot of this is all about the sad life and tragic death of Matilda Dixon. The thing that works great for this comic is that it makes you feel bad for Matilda as she was murdered for no reason and she really just wanted to make kids happy as she was just a very lonely person who always wanted to have her own children, and a town full of superstitious judgmental people took her life over. Emma and William are two kids who are on their way to visit Matilda to get baked treats for a lost tooth. It’s clear they are best friends and each kind of has a crush on the other, and while they do want the treats they also want to see her appearance as she is kind of the town’s boogeyman. And while they are the cause for her murder, they by no means meant for it to happen and just really lost track of time. William’s dad is a terrible person who bullies not only his family but also the townsfolk to do what he wants as he is a mean spirited person with a bad attitude. George the little kid who is semi friends of Emma and William is also a little jerk as he is the one who plants it into the adults mind that the kids are missing cause of Matilda even though he knows that the woman has done nothing wrong. Matilda Dixon is a woman who had faced all types of tragedies as she lost her husband to death by sea, was never able to have children of her own, has been treated like a weirdo by her neighbors and has been burnt due to plundering kids setting a fire in her home…in other words, she is the victim of this comic tale as she is murdered for no reason. Matilda is really just a lonely woman who enjoys being around youth as she fills it gives her a real purpose in life, and because of the evil deeds done to her they are the ones who forced her to become a monster! The comic’s horror comes from atmosphere and not blood & gore as the comic is pretty much bloodless but still delivers some chills. The cover is cool but is also just the film’s poster making it kind of lame as original art would have been better. The comics interior art is done by Charlie Adlard and is pretty great stuff! Over all this is a solid good Horror Comic based on a Horror Movie that could have made a really good mini series if Dark Horse would have been on board to do so, and I would say if you enjoy folklore style tales and liked the film Darkness Falls give this one a read. Also check out the art below to see the style that Adlard brought to this comic.

Darkness Falls is a pretty good 2000’s Horror Movie that featured a very classic style monster that is perfect for cinema and literature, plus is great for one of our from Horror Comic To Horror Comic update as we countdown to Halloween. As I have said before, I am really shocked we never got a Darkness Falls 2, as I would have liked to see more of the Tooth Fairy and her killing ways. But for my next update it will be our big Halloween update and we will leave the Tooth Fairy and Darkness Falls behind as we will be heading toward Haddonfield, Illinois and witness the killing spree of Michael Myers as the film Halloween will be our topic! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Oh and remember you can’t kill the Boogeyman!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Plague Of The Zombies

It’s almost Halloween and what better way to spend this spooky time of the year than with Hammer Horror and their 1966 undead romp Plague Of The Zombies! Hammer is much like Universal.  They both brought the world classic movie monsters, and each did it with their own touch and style that entertained and scared moviegoers for decades. With Titan Comics dropping the ball on their Hammer Horror comic line, I have decided to go back to and make a custom comic taken from the Hammer House Of Horror Magazine in order to cover a classic Hammer Horror for a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update this Halloween season. So if you’re ready to enter the world of gothic horror, lets take a look at Plague Of The Zombies and all the horrors of voodoo it brings with it.

Before we travel to deep into the undead voodoo cursed world of Plague Of The Zombies, we should take a look at the killers that roam this film and comic. The main villain is the voodoo priest Squire Clive Hamilton who once lived in Haiti and learned the black art of voodoo and has used it on the villagers of his new hometown in England. He is able to use his evil ways and make the deaths seem like sickness and later make the dead rise and become his zombie slaves who will do his bidding. Hamilton himself uses his voodoo power to deal out death as well as fear to his targeted victims; he also has a short temper and lashes out when angry showing he is a man who can also use his hands to cause damage. Besides his zombies, Hamilton also has a batch of humans who also do his bidding. But Hamilton is just a man and this makes him have weakness like any other man as he can die by any means of violence and his temper and ego also leaves him open to mistakes. The zombies are slow moving grim messengers of terror who do not have a mind of their own leaving them to do the bidding of their master who mostly has them work for him in the mines near his house. But while they are mostly workers, they will also attack the living if given the commands to and can easily strike fear into the hearts of victims with their grey/greenish skin, white eyes, twisted cold faces and weird noises! They also move very quietly giving them the element of surprise and use their bare hands to choke the life out of the living. They can attack in packs or by themselves and when together they can over whelm their victims for an easy kill. Being undead does not mean they cannot be killed again as they can die by beheading, fire and damage to the voodoo dolls that made them into controllable zombies. While Hamilton and his zombies are not as brutal or bloodthirsty as some of the other killers we have looked at in a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, they still are a very deadly combo who have made their mark on those they crossed their paths.

So now that we have taken a look at Squire Clive Hamilton and his voodoo zombies we should take a look at the film they come from, Plague Of The Zombies, that was released at the peak of Hammer Horrors popularity before the 70’s and a change in the world of Horror Movies closed the company’s doors. The film’s plot will be taken from our pals at IMDB with me writing after a little about the films production and my connection and memories of the film. So if you’re ready to dive into the world of zombies powered by voodoo lets get to it.

Plague Of The Zombies (1966)

“Young workers are dying because of a mysterious epidemic in a little village in Cornwall. Doctor Thompson is helpless and asks professor James Forbes for help. The professor and his daughter Sylvia travel to Thomson. Terrible things happen soon, beyond imagination or reality. Dead people are seen near an old, unused mine. Late people seem to live suddenly. Professor Forbes presumes that black magic is involved and someone has extraordinary power. He doesn’t know how close he is: the dead become alive because of a magic voodoo-ritual, and so they must serve their master as mindless zombies…”

Plague Of The Zombies was released in 1966 as part of a double feature alongside “Dracula: Prince Of Darkness” and was a popular double feature at the cinemas. Peter Bryan handled the script with director John Gilling and James Bernard handling the score. The film went into production on July 28, 1965 and was filmed on the same sets as The Reptile and was a pretty normal shoot for Hammer. They also brought in such actors as Andre Morell, Diane Clare and Michael Ripper to lend their talents to the characters. The film was released to theaters in the U.K. on January 9, 1966 with the US release being only three days later. When released and still to this day, the film was well reviewed by fans and critics with many even going as far as saying this movie is the best Hammer has made. I know that many of my friends who really love classic Horror Movies have said that this is one of their favorites. The film was joined in 1966 by these selected other fright flicks Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, Queen Of Blood, Manos: Hands Of Fate and Billy the Kid Versus Dracula showing it was a fun year for fans who enjoyed spooky films at the cinema and drive-ins. Plague Of The Zombies is a great film and those who enjoy classic or British horror should give it a watch.

The first time I got to see this classic Hammer Horror movie was when it came out on VHS, rereleased by Anchor Bay. My brother Bryan bought it and we watched on one of our many all night Horror Movie marathons. I can remember that while the film was very slow much like most of Hammer’s films (wouldn’t have them any other way) it had a great atmosphere and over all creepy vibe that made me enjoy it and go and get the film on DVD when released. And over the years I have watched the film a handful of times on my own as well as with friends who were major fans of Hammer Horror like Chris Workman. This is also one of those films that I have recommended to friends of mine who have gotten into classic horror as I find that it’s a good one to introduce to fans of modern zombie films as this is one that pre-dates the godfather of all zombie films Night Of The Living Dead (1968) and was after the underrated White Zombie from 1932. So while Plague Of The Zombies is not the most popular film among the releases of Hammer, it is one that is a solid and creepy film that is sure to please fans of 60’s and early 70’s gothic horror films. If you have not seen it, do yourself a favor and track it down on VHS, DVD or Blu-Ray and give it a watch. I want to also say that this film is in my top 10 best Hammer Horror films! Plus need to say that the score done by James Bernard is great and well sounding and fits so well for this film.

So as you can see this aging Monster Kid has lots of respect for Plague Of The Zombies and Hammer Horror in general as I found it a great source of classic style monsters done with more blood, busty female cleavage, color and gothic atmosphere then before, plus they picked up vampires, werewolves, zombies and Frankenstein’s Monster after Universal had drifted away from that type of Horror and was more into the atomic age horror and giant insects. But before we get into this custom comic book I want to thank Juliet Fromholt for formatting the pages while we were on vacation at Monster Bash and Eric Shonborn for putting it all together to be printed! I also want to thank Amanda for printing this comic making this update possible. I want to also let you all know that I read and reviewed this comic while sitting in Calvary Cemetery to help add to the over all spooky mood of this comic experience. And now I need to remind you readers that I am grading this comic 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 if you’re ready, lets travel to the cemetery and see why voodoo and zombies do mix!

Plague Of The Zombies # 1  ***
Released in 1978    Cover Price 35p.   Top Sellers      # 1 of 1

Dr. Sir James Forbes and his daughter Sylvia are headed toward the small own of Tarleton on the request of one of his former students Peter who is the town’s acting doctor and is puzzled by the rash of unexplained deaths. While the father and daughter travel, they pass a fox hunting party and Sylvia gives them the wrong direction on purpose, causing the hunters to make a scene in town when they all arrive during a funeral even knocking over the casket and causing the body to roll out! The townspeople are not pleased and this of course angers the dead man’s brother who blames the young woman for causing the scene. Once at the home of Peter, they also see that his wife Alice seems to not be feeling well and Peter explains that for some reason people just keep dying and the cause is unknown and the townspeople will not help in finding out the reason. That night James and Peter hit up the local cemetery and find that the grave of the young man buried that morning is empty! Sylvia follows Alice into the woods as her friend is acting weird and is heading toward the old tin mine shafts, but before she can catch up with her friend Sylvia is kidnapped by the hunters she tricked and they take her back to the mansion home of Clive Hamilton the town’s squire who is not pleased at the behavior of his hired hands. Once back on the dark roads, Sylvia finds the body of her friend Alice as well as sees the zombie of the young man buried that morning! Peter is heartbroken over the death of his wife and even feels worse when he and James witness her rise from her grave and they are forced to chop off her head. Meanwhile Sylvia is visited by Clive who by “accident” scratches the young woman with his ring and this causes her to think about him all the time. James and Peter soon find out that Clive is a voodoo priest who is causing the deaths as he is making zombies to work for him in the tin mine shafts, and they go to his mansion to stop him. While inside the mansion, James fights with one of the hunters and during the fight a fire breaks out, meanwhile Sylvia in a trance is now in the grip of Clive who is going to sacrifice her to please his dark lords! But all ends well when the fire sets the voodoo dolls on fire that causes the zombie to be ablaze.  They turn on Clive who is eaten and burnt to death at the same time. In the end the town is safe, and James, Sylvia and Peter all walk away heroes.

I need to first start off by saying that Plague Of The Zombies is one of the Hammer Horror movies that lends itself really well to be a comic book adaptation and series, and Titan Comics really dropped the ball on not choosing this title to be a part of their very short lived Hammer Horror Comics line. The plot of this Horror Comic has a father and daughter going to a small town to try and help figure out why people are dying, only to uncover a sinister plot that involves voodoo and zombies! Our main hero is James Forbes, an old medical surgeon who wants nothing more than to solve why people are dying and why their graves are empty so close after being buried. He is strong minded and willed and even if he is old, he still will never give up until he solves it. Peter is a doctor who is also a former student of James and is baffled by the mystery of this town he now serves. He is a helpful hand but also is dealing with some bad stuff as his wife has fallen victim to death and being brought back from the dead. Sylvia Forbes is a good hearted person who cares about both humans and animals and becomes a sick pawn in this game of life and undead. And our villain is Clive Hamilton who acts as a caring member of the town even acting as the squire when in reality he is a voodoo priest who is using the town to mine tin in order to become rich and powerful and is killing people to bring back as zombies to do it. I think the fact he is a soulless murderer who allows greed to be his motivation behind taking a human life makes him a real bad guy. I do like the fact he gets what’s coming to him in the end as tons of zombies who are on fire swarm him ending his reign of terror once and for all. The comic has very little blood in it, but does have some gruesome deaths like a beheading and being burned alive. This comic adaptation while a quick read does capture the mood and spooky atmosphere of the film very well and brings a none-gory yet scary Horror Comic to readers who enjoy a classic style fright. The interior artwork is done by the team of Trevor Goring and Brian Bolland and is top-notch stuff and will remind you of artwork used in the Warren horror magazines. While this is a custom comic book, you can find this comic adaptation in the pages of “Hammer’s House Of Horror” and its worth tracking down if you like the film or just enjoy classic horror zombies. Check out the artwork below to see what the art style is and bask in its creepiness.

Hammer Horror will always be the bar just behind Universal Monsters when it comes to classic movie monsters, and they, just like Universal, deserve more comics based on their characters. I mean in a prefect Horror Comic world, we would have ongoing series based on Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolves, Mummy and Creatures from both companies and would be must reads for old school Monster Kids. Well I hope that Plague Of The Zombies helped add to your countdown to Halloween as it was a fun one for me to cover for sure. For our next update we will take a look at another “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update about the 2003 monster movie Darkness Falls! So this dark night make sure you stay clear of your local abandoned mine as who knows what kind of zombies are lurking around looking for a new victim to become just like them. So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you readers and friend’s next update for a creepy good time with the Tooth Fairy.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Playing With Dolls

Slashers are very brutal killers in the world of Horror Movies, and in comics the killers are able to up the gore and brutal nature of how they murder their victims. For this update, we are going to take a look at a very brutal slasher killer called Metalface or Prisoner AYO-886 from a movie series called Playing With Dolls. This film has spawned two sequels and is a franchise that seems to be bigger overseas than here in America. So lets prepare for a brutal look at the film and comic for Playing With Dolls as this one is prefect for a Halloween countdown From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update!

Let’s take a look at our brutal killer Prisoner AYO-886, also known as Metalface, a masked madman with murder always on his mind. Prisoner AYO-886 is a cold blooded killer who was once just an inmate at an asylum who is now a tool in a sick game of life and death as he is controlled by The Watcher Scopophilio, who enjoys watching him kill the women he sets up for him. Prisoner AYO-886 has a truly creepy look as his leathery style mask is highlighted by metal braces as well as barbwire giving him the element of fear when seen by his victims. He also is very quiet and can move quickly making him super dangerous when he is stalking and setting up his prey. He uses all type of weapons from knives to hammers to kill his victims and does so with no remorse and has no loyalty to anyone, even others who work for Scopophilio, who only can control him with threats of being sent back to his cell. While he is a mass murdering killer, he does have weaknesses as he is after all human. Prisoner AYO-886 can be killed like any normal man so if shot, he will bleed. He also is told what to do so sometimes he leaves himself open for an attack and makes it as if he does not have a mind of his own until he is told to rampage. He also seems to get sloppy when he is set to rage and this is also a weakness as it leaves him open to making mistakes. So while he is only a human madman in a mask, he is one mean spirited killer who is a true master of splatter in the world of modern horror.

So as you can see, Prisoner AYO-886 is a killer who does not care about human life and is cold blooded like many masked killers before him in the world of Horror Movies. So now that we have taken a look at the killer, lets talk about the first film in the series as it’s the only one to have a physical media release while the sequels only got digital here in the US. When released on DVD here, the film Playing With Dolls turned into Metalface and we got a DVD-R release. For this, the films plot will be taken from our friends at IMDB, and the brief production notes and thoughts will be written by myself of course. So let’s get to the look at this underrated modern slasher film.

Playing With Dolls (2015)

“A serial killer is purposely released from an asylum for the criminally insane so that he can continue his rampage.”

Playing With Dolls (also known as Metalface) is a 2015 slasher film that is directed by Rene Perez and was released digitally worldwide with some home video release. The film was written by Perez and Barry Massoni and brought in actors like Natasha Blasick, Richard Tyson and Charlie Glackin as Prisoner AYO-886, with each actor doing a great job in their respective roles. Many Horror fans will recognize Richard Tyson as he has been in many great cult films over the years like Dark Tide (1994), Big Bad Wolf (2006), Flight Of The Living Dead (2007), Bigfoot (2009) and Hayride (2012) to name a few. The film spawned two sequels, “Playing With Dolls: Bloodlust” that came out in 2016 and the following year “Playing With Dolls: Havoc” was released. These two films made it to DVD in the foreign markets and digital here in America, but I have heard a rumor of Havoc coming to DVD here as well.

I first found out about Playing With Dolls while surfing the web for cool independent slasher horror films and the look of the killer drew me in! I found the trailer for the film on YouTube and it made me know even more that I had to see this film as it had all the elements of a Horror film like this needs…cool killer…lovely ladies…lots of gore…and a creepy story. There is this guy who comes into my work that we all call VHS Steve as he loves to collect Horror Movies on VHS and has for many years now as he is in his late 50’s or early 60’s.  He always talks about the elements of a Horror Movie: blood, story and nudity, and Playing With Dolls definitely fits his requirements and none are over done to scare away the more causal watcher. Once the film was released on DVD under the title Metalface, Juliet and I watched it during one of our Horror Movie Marathons and both of us found it very enjoyable. This film also seems like it would have fit perfectly on a video rental store shelf in the late 80’s or early 90’s and would have built up a cult classic status if released then. So there’s not much more I can say about this film but if you like slasher killers who kill in the snowy weather, then check this one out.

Now that we have taken a look at the film and it’s killer we should move on and take a look at the comic based on them. The comic was released around the same time as the third film in the series called “Playing With Dolls: Havoc” and was used to help promote the film and bring interest to the series. The comic was a digital comic release and lucky for me with permission from the makers, I was allowed to make a print version of it so that I could review it here on Rotten Ink! So I want to thank artist Simon Laprise for hooking me up with the digital files to make this review happen. I would also like to remind you all that I grade 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 if you think your stomach can handle it, lets dive into the world of Prisoner AYO-886.

Playing With Dolls # 0  **1/2
Released In 2017     Cover Price $0.00     Rene Perez     # 0 of 0

A man is in a motel room with a prostitute and has blindfolded her and has handcuffed her to the bed. He then rushes into the bathroom to pop some pills and meets his doom as a meat cleaver cuts the top of his head off and he is just another victim of Prisoner AYO-886 who then disembowels the man and goes into the room and puts the mans guts into the woman’s mouth who is still blindfolded. Once her blindfold comes off, she notices that she has human guts in her mouth and that a masked killer is in the room with her, and he quickly cuts one of her hands off and places a hook in her flesh and throws her out the window. As the woman falls, the hook tears out her skeleton and her flesh splats on the street below as cops watch in horror. Prisoner AYO-886 then grabs the body of the man and goes to the top of the building and throws it on top of the police helicopter causing it to crash and kill all the cops below. As this happens on top of the building stands the brutal killer Prisoner AYO-886.

This short promo comic of Playing With Dolls is a brutal Horror Comic that is sure to please fans of gore and over the top deaths. The issue’s plot has our killer Prisoner AYO-886 in a motel on a killing spree and after killing a man and his paid for woman, he takes the battle to the cops that are waiting to take him down once and for all. The old man who is just a victim is a sleazy guy who is into paying for sex and doesn’t stand a chance once our killer shows up and cleavers his head in two. The poor sex worker also does not stand a chance and meets her end even more brutally than the man as her skin is ripped from her bones and before that, she has one of her hands cut off! Prisoner AYO-886 is quiet and brutal and showcases his killing skills as well as his mental process of getting out of trouble before getting caught by the law. This comic’s story is very basic and is your typical set up for any slasher comic or film and has a masked killer targeting a couple who are about to have sex, but what does make this different is the fact that it turns up the gore and sleaze and is a true gorehound’s delight as the mood is pure grindhouse and the blood, guts and gore are plenty. The only major downside to the comic is that it’s a very fast read and leaves you wanting more! The cover for the comic is very cool and has a great modern day Horror Comic look to it, plus it also seems like it could fit in a modern art gallery that’s theme is killers. The interior art is done by Simon Laprise and is really great stuff, In fact his style would have been perfect for companies like Dead Dog Comics, Blackthrone and B-Movie Comics and it would have been great to have seen him do work for those companies. Over all this comic might be short but is a great read for fans who enjoy their Horror Comics based on independent Horror Movies. Check out some art below to see the style of Laprise and see just how cool Prisoner AYO-886 looks as a comic villain.

Playing With Dolls is a film that could make a great ongoing series and proves that more independent Horror Movie makers should look at comics as a way to advertise their film as many fright flicks fans are also comic readers. I want to also let you readers know that artist Simon Laprise also does “Gorehound Fanzine” a great magazine that can be obtained in Canada. With it being our countdown to Halloween, we are going to stay in the world of Horror Comics and in fact our next update will be another From Horror Movie To Horror Comic, and this time it will be Plague Of The Zombies, another Hammer Horror custom comic made from the old adaptations of the Hammer Magazine! So until next time, watch out for slasher killers, read a Horror Comic or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a Hammering undead good time.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: I Sell The Dead

Not all Horror Movies have to be scary; many are laced with humor, and Horror Comedies have been very popular with viewers many of years now.  One of these Horror Comedies is called I Sell The Dead and was released in 2008. While I Sell The Dead never reached the popularity of other Horror Comedies like Shaun Of The Dead or Zombieland, it has built a cult following and even spawned an Image Comic book one shot that we will review here on this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! So grab a shovel and pick a cemetery, it’s time to become a ghoul and dig up the graves of the undead for some quick cash as we dive into the world of I Sell The Dead.

Before we get into the movie, lets take a look at the monsters that make up I Sell The Dead as it’s filled with many different types. We will start with the weakest of the batch, the Alien Corpse that is freezing cold to the touch and even freezes the land it’s buried under. The thing about the dead Alien is once he is unearthed, he will be beamed up by a U.F.O and taken back to space. The threat of the Alien Corpse is not high as it will cause cold chills and once beamed up to the mother ship it will blind you for a moment and deliver a wicked headache to humans around. We next have the female vampire. This bloodsucker is killing machines who want to suck the blood of the living. She is super fast and strong. The harm she can do to humans is drain them of their blood and kill them. Her weaknesses are crosses, garlic and a stake to the heart! We also have zombies; these flesh eaters are primed to kill the living around them and will do so with their teeth and their hands with which they try to rip and tear flesh. Also their bite can turn humans into one of them, the walking dead. The zombies are not shown to have any weakness in this film so I’m not sure if head trauma would work to stop them. While this film is filled with many ghouls and monsters, none of them are major killing machines but each have their own threats to mankind to make them all a thorn in our collective side. The major baddy hands down would be the female vampire as she is quick, strong and deadly. Below are some pictures of some of the zombies and the female vampire from the film.

So as you can see, this small town in Ireland used to be crawling with all types of monsters who were undead and thirsty to kill the living. I should also note that while the monsters are indeed just that, the true evil is the rival gang of grave robbers called The House Of Murphy…but we will get into them during the comic review. We are now at the point where we need to chat a little about the film. As always we will take our film write up from our pals at IMDB and following that I will talk about the production of the film as well as my first time viewing and thoughts. So let’s not delay and take a quick look at I Sell The Dead, the movie.

I Sell The Dead (2008)

“18th century justice catches up with a pair of grave robbers. With only a few hours to go before his date with the guillotine, Arthur Blake tells his life story to Father Francis Duffy. Before long, Arthur spills the beans on how he got started in the grim corpse peddling business with seasoned ghoul Willie Grimes.”

I Sell The Dead was an independent horror comedy film that was written and directed by Glenn McQuaid.  It was based on a short film he made in 2005 called “The Resurrection Apprentice” and was a film production that was filled with love and allowed McQuaid to work with friends and crew members and actors he had worked with before. The film cast iconic horror actor Angus Scrimm as well Ron Perlman, Dominic Monaghan, Larry Fessenden and Heather Bullock. The film was filmed with no major set backs and when done, IFC picked up the film for distribution in the USA in 2009 and released in on DVD and Blu-Ray. The film was met with pretty good reviews from critics and fans and built itself a very good cult following.

I first saw I Sell The Dead in 2018 as I found out about it via Ebay when looking for comic books that were based on Horror Films and found the Image Comic based on the film listed. I ordered the comic and the movie from Amazon and both got to me around the same time.  Before I read the comic I wanted to watch the movie and chose a very cold late night in January to do so, and as the rain storm outside raged on I turned off all the lights and started to watch the film to see if it chilled my blood or tickled my funny bone….and I have to say that while it was not all that scary, it did have some goofy moments that made me chuckle. The acting was well done and seeing Angus “Tall Man” Scrimm in the role of an evil doctor was very cool as he was a very underrated actor. The film was not that bloody, but they use blood well when it does come into play as the effects are really solid for an independent film. My favorite side character in the film was Valentine Kelly, a white mask wearing female who was set on fire by an ex-lover who now works for The House Of Murphy as a grave robber and enforcer, but sadly I think she is down played really bad in the film. Over all I really enjoyed the film and even watched all the extras on the disc before going to bed that night. I would say if you like Horror Comedies, you should check this film out.

So now that we have taken a look at the film as well as the monsters that dwell in the universe of I Sell The Dead, we are at the point where we will be taking a look at the comic book based on it put out by Image Comics and see if it holds up the charm and fun spooky nature of the film. I want to thank an Amazon seller for having this comic in stock for this review and would like to remind you all 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. So we are in the graveyard and it’s time for us to read this comic based on a Horror Comedy.

I Sell The Dead  # 1  **1/2
Released in 2009      Cover Price $4.99      Image Comics      # 1 of 1

Our tale starts with the beheading of grave robber Willie Grimes.  His friend and helper of selling the dead Arthur Blake is in his cell being visited by Father Francis Duffy who is there to get the young man’s life story of crime. Over some wine Arthur shares his story that starts with him at a young age helping Willie get bodies from the cemeteries all for the super wicked Dr. Quint who pays the pair poorly  for the bodies and also is always threatening them with the law and death! One night Arthur and Willie find the body of a young woman with a stake in her heart, and after removing it, they find out she is a vampire.  After she attacks, they stake her again with some luck and deliver her to Quint who removes the stake and meets his fate…and this frees our grave robbers from his evil grip. Once free, they start stealing bodies for all types of clients and making more money than before. When stealing the body of an Alien, they have a run in with a UFO that steals the body.  They also start hearing rumors of crates that have zombies in them that the owners of the crates have lost some during a ship crash that have washed up on an island and they are paying to get them back! And while the money is good, the pair get a little scared when they hear that The House Of Murphy has been hired to get the boxes back.  The house of Murphy is lead by the father Samuel Murphy and his gang includes his son Cornelius, burnt faced Valentine Murphy and brute Bulger.  But they decide to take the job before them thanks to Fanny, a call girl who is their friend and wants a cut of the money. Once at the island Fanny sneaks up on Bulger and cuts his head off and as they start to remove the crates, a zombie escapes and bits Willie in the arm before they can force it into a cage. As they celebrate and before they can get another zombie crate, a knife is thrown and kills Fanny as Cornelius and Valentine are there, and they are pissed! But things go south as the zombies escape and kill Cornelius and Valentine as Willie and Author escape the island and are later arrested. As the story comes to an end, Father Francis Duffy shows that he is really Samuel Murphy and he is there to kill Author for leaving his gang on the island to die, but before Samuel can kill Author, the decapitated Willie, now a zombie, comes in and saves the day and the pair escape the jail cell. In the end Cornelius now as a zombie is coming from the water and wants revenge.

This adaptation does a great job of capturing the horror comedy aspects of the film and delivering it onto the pages of this comic. The main plot of this comic follows two goofy grave robbers who over their adventures have run into all types of strange creatures from aliens to zombies.  Upon being caught, they are to be executed for their crimes and besides the law they are also wanted dead by a rival gang of body snatchers who some of their actions have left members of that faction dead. Our main hero is Author Blake, a young man who from a young age has had to steal bodies in order to survive and always avoid danger and the law. While he has done bad things he really is not a bad person and has never killed in order to get money or to survive, but he also is not one to go out of his way to help others in need unless you’re in his inner friend circle. Willie Grimes is a gruff life long criminal who as well is not 100% a good guy nor bad guy and is driven by greed. But with him, he is willing to kill and even when a zombie he still remains his own goofy gruff selfish person. The comic is filled with lots of ghouls like a female Vampire who is hungry for blood and is pure evil.  We also have aliens who just want the body of their dead friend back and of course zombies who want to eat some flesh. But our main baddies in this comic are the House Of Murphy who are cold blooded killers who hate those who stand in their way and will do whatever it takes to get their job done. Samuel Murphy is the leader of this group and calls the shots, but when his son and “daughter” are killed, he finds a way to try and get revenge by acting as a Father! Cornelius Murphy is a mean man who is a master of knives and does like to kill! Valentine Murphy is a woman who was burned in a fire and must wear a mask to hide her disfigured face; she as well is a cold blooded killer. Lastly we have the super strong brute Bulger who is the muscle of the group. While they don’t get to really shine in this comic as being badass bad guys, the way the other characters fear them show that they are terrible people. Also Dr. Quint is a terrible person who clearly does not value life or death and uses people and bodies for his own causes. The comic follows the film pretty well, but does add its own touches in order to keep it feeling a little fresh and make it feel slightly like something new. The cover is okay and looks like a cheap independent zombie comic and does a poor job of letting you know it’s based on a film. Brahm Revel does the interior art and while it’s good and has it’s own style, it at times does not fit the mood of the comic. Over all this is a pretty good Horror Comic based on a Horror Movie and fans of the film will really enjoy it as well fans of fun natured zombie comics. Check out the artwork below to see the style used in this comic.

I Sell The Dead is one of those Horror Movies that many people do not know about and has slipped under the radar of many horror comedy fans and even I feel slipped past many readers of Horror Comics based on films as I only even found out about it this year. So while this comic and movie are not ground breaking, I do think that it should have a cult following and people should give them both a chance. For our next update we are leaving the world of the dead behind and will be taking a look at a Horror Host as we do an Icon update on Tennessee-based short lived host, Benedictine The Mad Monk! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for some quality time with a mad monk!

Horror Host Icon: Chiller Theatre Six-Fingered Hand

The year is 1971, and it’s Saturday night at 8pm. You have your Mello Yellow drink in hand and a small bowl of potato chips as your favorite show is on air.  We are talking Chiller Theatre, and your blood turns cold as the Six-Fingered Claymation Hand comes out of the ground and spells out Chiller from growing twisted weeds! This Horror Host Icon update is a tribute to that Claymation Hand as well as the legacy that Chiller Theatre has spread around not only the Horror Host Community but also the world of Horror in general! Now I am sure many of you are saying, “Hey wait a minute – that hand is not a fully fledged Horror Host,” but to me just like the voice on USA Saturday Nightmares that Claymation hand brought terror to the hearts of viewers and also acted as their guide and source of nightmares so indeed that Six-Fingered Claymation Hand is a Horror Host! So it’s with great honor that I bring to you readers Horror Host Icon: Six-Fingered Claymation Hand of Chiller Theatre.

Six-Fingered Hand took over Chiller Theatre in 1971 and creeped out viewers with its awkward movements and billowing voice that would announce CHILLER as it made letters emerge from the swampy land that it lives in. The letters spell out CHILLER, and the Hand would then grab the letters, slowly sink back into the swamp and say chilllllleeerrrrrr as it disappeared back into the bloody looking water. The Six-Fingered Hand is a mystery, and not much is known about its origin or where it comes from. But the one thing that is known about this hand is that it creeped out viewers and left them with chills before the horror movie even started. The Six-Fingered Hand would be the “Host” of Chiller Theatre from 1971-2011, and even when other hosts would be on the show, the hand would always follow before or after commercial breaks. The Six-Fingered Hand was a creature of few words; besides saying Chiller it would also say “Hoo…” and sound as if it was in pain. Another thing that makes Six-Fingered Hand so scary for viewers was the weird music that was played during its appearance that sounded straight out of one of the horror movies shown on the program. While simple, the Six-Fingered Hand is a true titan of fright and remains very popular with fans who grew up watching it emerge from the bloody swamp to usher them into their favorite late night fright program.

Now here are some fun and cool facts about Chiller Theatre from over the years. Chiller Theatre started in 1961. 1963 was when Zacherley was the host of the show, and he is the Godfather of Horror Hosting and was and still is one of the most beloved Hosts of all time. Chiller was first canceled in 1982 but was brought back for one night in 2008 as well as in 2009 where they had Elvira Mistress Of The Dark as the host, and she proved to be a major hit for her one time appearance. Also 2009 marked the first time WPIX would make merchandise for the show allowing fans to collect things based on their beloved Horror Host program. For Halloween like the years before, they let Chiller Theatre once more hit the airwaves in 2010 and 2011 allowing The Six-Fingered Hand and their evening newscasters to host the final airing of Chiller. Another very cool thing about Chiller is that it sparked many creative minds in the New York area to become filmmakers, comic book makers, musicians, writers and artists and even helped spawn the Chiller Theater Convention that was founded in 1990 and is still running to this day. Say what you will, but Chiller Theater is one of the biggest Horror Host shows in the nation and is one that still has a major following to this day even though at this point it has not been seen in seven years.

I first heard about Chiller Theatre in the pages of old horror movie magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland and always seemed to know it was something special for the viewers of New York. I can even remember being at Horror Conventions here in Ohio and people wore shirts of Chiller Theatre showing that its influence runs deep in the world of Horror. We are now at the point of this update where I will take a look at the one episode of Chiller Theatre featuring The Six-Fingered Hand, and I want to think my brother Bryan for getting me this episode for this update! So if you’re ready to hit the swamps of Chiller lets travel back to one of NY’s top Horror Host shows!

CHILLER Theatre: Gorgo
Starring – Bill Travers & William Sylvester      Unrated       1961

Host: The six-fingered hand shows up in second clips and does his thing.

Movie: A salvage vessle is nearly sunk off the Irish coast by an undersea earthquake. A few nights later, a walking sea monster tangles with the fishing boats and enters the town. The salvage vessel captures Gorgo and takes it to London for display. Gorgo’s mother, who is upset and significantly larger follows his trail to London leaving a wake of destruction in her path.

Note From Matt: Sadly most the bumpers and commercials are cut out from this episode, but this was the only episode I could find with only The Six Fingered Hand as the host.

WPIX, in my opinion, have really dropped the ball as they should make CHILLER Theatre at least a Halloween night tradition year after year and do a double feature of frightful horror features to entertain and scare the viewers of late night New York television. And you know that Six-Fingered Claymation Hand is ready for his return to TV! I know that this was a really quick Horror Host Icon update and that the Six-Fingered Hand might not have a back story or skits like most classic Horror Hosts, but I really do feel that it needed to have a Icon update. As you have read this update I hope that you yourself thought back to watching Chiller Theatre or even to your own hometown host. For our next update, we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting and be kicking off our countdown to Halloween with a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic that will showcase the Horror Comedy I Sell The Dead. So until next time, watch a horror movie or two and support your local Horror Host! See you next update for an undead good time!

From Horror Comic To Horror Movie: Killer Condom

The world of Horror in film and comics has all types of killers and monsters that make them up, from masked slasher killers to blood sucking vampires and everything in between. In this new update, we will be taking a look at a comic book that sparked an independent horror comedy movie that’s about a ravenous contraceptive condom monster! I will let that set in for a moment…and I am sure by now you know I am talking about the Troma film called Killer Condom.  This will be a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic that has a twist as it was not a movie first but was a comic that was turned into an independent Horror Movie. Here in the US, the film is better known as the comics were German and not really released here until the movie was released. So if your ready to dive into this From Horror Comic To Horror Movie update (see what I did here) lets practice some safe comic reading and explore the weird world of the Killer Condom.

It’s time to take a look at our monster killers that just so happen to be a bunch of condoms with teeth! The Killer Condoms are living organisms that do not have to eat to stay alive but do enjoy biting the privates off males. The Killer Condoms were created by a captive Professor who created them for an overly religious female doctor who thought she was doing God’s work by killing off people she viewed as impure. They are living organisms who attack males and sometime females when they least expect it. While they are a pack, they only mutilate their victims one at a time, and when they attack, they go for blood. The Killer Condoms look like regular condoms up until they turn killer and then they grow flexible razor sharp teeth, are slimy inside and turn from playful to blood thirsty crotch butchers in seconds. Killer Condoms use their teeth to chomp of their victim’s targeted area from private parts all the way to noses. They also can use the element of surprise in order to sneak attack as no one suspects a condom will kill! The weakness of the Killer Condoms is that while they do have a brain, they are not that smart and can be tricked. They also can be killed by gunshots and other manner of attacks humans can inflict on them. So while they mostly only chomp off private parts and are killable, the Killer Condoms are still a pack of evil little monsters who are a threat to mankind and who have a very wicked bite!

So as you can see, the Killer Condoms are true pint size terrors who have terrorized in the world of comics as well as film…and that brings us to the part of the update where we will need to take a look at the film that was made based on these little critters. I will get the film’s plot from our pals at IMDB, and I will write a little about the films production as well as my link to watching the film for the first time. So lets get to our look at Killer Condom in the world of cinema.

Killer Condom (1996)

“The plot takes place in New York, and in the present. In a Hotel called “Quicky” a professor blackmails a student of his into having sex with him. But when the professor puts on a condom, the carnivorous condom bites off his penis and disappears. Detective Mackaroni who gets the case thinks that the college girl just bit off her teacher’s penis! Mackaroni goes to the motel himself to check out the crime scene, in the lobby he finds a gigolo named Bill and he asks him to follow him to crime room, there the two men attempt to have sex when they are suddenly interrupted by the attack of a killer condom.”

Killer Condom was originally a comic book by artist Ralf Konig and in 1996 was turned into a Horror Comedy Movie that was a German production. The film had a fun and quick production and even had help from artist H.R. Giger as a consultant on the Killer Condom designs. In 1998 Troma was the US company to release it and promoted it at the Cannes Film Festival even having a man walking around in a Killer Condom costume. In fact the film was met with good reviews from critics as well as fans who praised the film for its humor. Plus the film got a very limited theatrical run and helped spread the dark strange world of Killer Condom to moviegoers. The film was directed by Martin Walz with Ralf Konig helping him on the screenplay, with actors Udo Samel, Iris Berben, Peter Lohmeyer and Meret Becker in roles. The film in 1996 was released alongside such other Horror Movies as Scream, Hellraiser: Bloodlines, Licantropo, Mary Reilly, Bad Moon, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Craft and Island Of Dr. Moreau to name a very few. While it might not be a household name when people think of classic Horror Movies, it is however a cult film that has made its mark in the world of cinema.

I can remember when Killer Condom came to VHS and DVD as I was very much into collecting Horror Movies and was a big fan of Troma, but the term Horror Comedy used to always scare me away from buying it and giving it a chance. When walking around Dayton Mall and going into stores like Suncoast and FYE with friends like Jason Gilmore and Josh Weinberg, we would see it on the shelf and would always just chuckle at the silly name, but none of us would ever pull the trigger on buying it. Believe it or not, just now in 2018 did I finally breakdown and buy the film on DVD off Ebay and watched it for the first time…and I must say I found it enjoyable. I know one other reason I had stayed away from it was because my pal Andy Copp had seen it and told me it was not very good so I took his word and skipped it. So what has been cool for me doing the update is that it’s my first time seeing the movie as well as reading the comics. One other thing I do remember as well is that at the time of its release, a windup toy of the Killer Condom was made.

So as you can see, Killer Condom is one of those cult films that when released was well reviewed by critics and has maintained a good following and fan base still to this day. So we are at the point of this update where we will be taken a look at the comic book that spawned the cult film and I want to thank Amazon for having both of these books in stock. I want to also remind you all that I grade these books 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 lets see what Killer Condom has is store for us in the world of Horror Comics.

Killer Condom   ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $9.95     Ignitel Entertainment      # 1 of 2

A man returns home in New York to his wife and bratty kid after turning tricks on the street in order to get drug money, but something went wrong as the man who paid him for sex was in massive pain and next thing they both knew, his penis was detached and stuck inside the man! Once home he passes it out only for something to jump out of the toilet and attack him. Cut across town and a professor has taken one of his students to a sleazy hotel with the idea of sleeping with her in order for her to graduate. She gives in after the creep pushes her, and once he puts on a condom his penis explodes! The young woman is under arrest as they think she bit the penis off of her professor. Detective Luigi Mackeroni is on the case and heads to the same hotel taking a young man to the room to make love to when they witness a condom coming alive and biting off the right testicle of Mackeroni! His partner Sam doesn’t believe him about a Killer Condom and blames the young man for the attack, but once out of the hospital Mackeroni and the young man head to the hotel and set up a hidden camera in a room in hopes of capturing the Killer Condom. But while they wait in that room, the Killer Condom attacks in another! After the attack, the story gets into the press and Sam is pissed about it as he does not think the Killer Condom is real. More and more people are being attacked and having their private parts bitten off, and Mackeroni will not give up until he can stop the Killer Condom. While home Mackeroni takes a shower and gets a phone call from the young man who has fallen in love with the cop who now finds that the Killer Condom is alive and well in his own home looking to bite off his privates! After battling the Killer Condom and even losing one of his fingers, Mackeroni with the help of the young man is able to trick the Killer Condom into biting a gas hose and then throwing it out the widow and shooting it causing it to explode and ending its reign of terror in the city.

The comic and the movie, while similar in spots, are very much different, and oddly enough I think the movie does a better job of bringing the character Mackeroni to life and this is strange as the comic came first. The comic’s plot is about a sleazy hotel that is used by prostitutes and people wanting to remain under the radar to have sex at, and when many visiting males are having their privets bitten off, one Detective is called in to solve the case and finds that its all being done by a razor sharped teeth condom! Our hero is a snarky detective named Luigi Mackeroni who loves his cigarettes and loves his casual sex. Plus he is the only one in law enforcement who knows that a condom is really doing the mutilations. He is both unlikable and likable, and you find yourself cheering for him to get his revenge on the condom for ripping off his testicle. The side characters all fit their parts and do what they need to do to keep the plot going and add to the New York created for this story. The Killer Condom is a mean razor sharped teeth private part eating machine that has no remorse for his blood soaked deeds, plus it has no background on how or why a condom is now alive and a chomping machine. This horror comic does have lots of blood and gore but it’s all done in a cheesy cartoonish nature. It also has lots of sex and what’s funny is the art style reminds me of MAD Magazine who never would have done this style of raunchy. Ralf Konig was a one-man show on this comic as he did the art, cover and story and its all-good stuff. One thing I do want to stress is that hands down this comic is not for youngsters. It’s really an adult comedy horror comic that is really odd and packed with lots of themes that will make even adult readers squirm as private parts are being bitten off! Over all this was a fun comic, and I can’t wait to see the second book has in store for me.

Down To The Bone  **1/2
Released in 2011     Cover Price $14.95     Ignitel Entertainment     # 2 of 2

New York wakes up on New Years Day to find three dead bodies all connected to the gay club scene. Detective Luigi Mackeroni is asked to take the case, and he of course is not to pleased about it. Mackeroni arrives at one of the crime scenes where his captain informs him that he will be teaming with Officer Plumley and that the victims are only skeletons now and no blood, flesh or organs were found! So Mackeroni and Plumley set out to check out the crime scenes and get some leads about a gay porn star who is in town that one of the victims was trying to flirt with. Meanwhile a muscular stranger in leather is the one going around and having sex with men who are sucked into his crotch area and their bones are spit out of his mouth showing this massive and quiet stranger is indeed the killer. Mackeroni sends Plumley dressed in leather to the bar to interview the porn star who seems to be sad and not into his work as he feels people only want him for his body. Mackeroni and the porn star hit it off and hang out for the night and are about to make love when Plumley shows up and has a heated talk with Mackeroni. This allows the Billy the porn star to escape, and he or someone who looks like him is the killer who is really a weird looking mutant in a flesh skin costume! Mackeroni finds an old professor named Smirnoff who once made fake flesh and condoms. He and his Asian assistant are prime suspects for who made this killer Mutant and the Killer Condom! Mackeroni soon finds a hidden lab that has all the answers to his questions as he learns that Smirnoff has been kidnapped and forced by drugs to make a mutant monster who eats gay men and the Killer Condom who has a spawn in the lab as well! He also learns that a trusted female doctor who is really a crossdresser and the Asian assistant are part of a religious cult that forces these creations to be made to kill of all the impure. In the end Mackeroni and Plumley are able to kill the mad doctor and all her evil friends including the Killer Condom and save Smirnoff from his captors. Mackeroni is able to clear the name of Billy who quits porn and the two become close friends.

This second issue in the Killer Condom saga has Mackeroni on the case of a killer who is stripping the flesh off victims that turns around to be connected to the Killer Condom! In this issue, Mackeroni has lost his boyfriend as well as his drive to be a cop and is called once more to crack a weird case that is effecting the gay community. This time he is forced to work with a partner and finds new love when he meets a porn star named Billy. Just like before, he outsmarts his foes, saves the day and stops the plot that’s in place to kill many innocent people just because of their sexual orientation. His partner Officer Plumley is a straight laced guy who is forced on the case by the Chief and soon finds that he himself is attracted to men. He also saves Mackeroni twice in the final battle! Professor Smirnoff is a crazy old man who is addicted to berry jelly that has been laced with drugs and is a whiz at creating artificial flesh as well as strange creatures. The flesh-eating monster takes on the look of famous male porn stars and eats people in order to survive. He also spits an acid like venom and while a killer is not fully evil. The Killer Condom’s spawn is alive and well and is mad as hell and wants to attack and chomp on any privates he can find, but I should note he plays a very small part in the over all story. The evil crossdressing cult leader is crazy and wants to clean the Earth of the “impure” and when she gets hers in this comic, I was happy. The story this time around was only okay, and while entertaining, it dragged in spots and felt a little more crude for being crude’s sake. I will also say that I felt that Mackeroni also seemed a little off and not like he was in the first issue making it feel a little off. I did notice that elements of this comic were used in the film but much of it was cut out. The comic as well has blood, gore and lots of sex and is clearly not for kids. Once more, the art reminds me of MAD Magazine and the work of Don Martin. It is fun and silly and once more done by Ralf Konig who also wrote and did the cover. Over all the Killer Condom comics are a fun and silly read that helped spawn a goofy cult horror film. Check out the art below to see the style of Konig.

As you can see, the Killer Condom is one mean S-O-B, and while in the comics only two of them were ever made, in the movie several of them were in New York chomping away. But no matter the amount, Killer Condom is one Horror Movie baddie I would never want to meet! For our next update we are staying in New York but instead of looking at a Horror Movie, we will be taking a look at a Six Fingered Hand that hosted them and of course that must mean Chiller Theatre and another Horror Host Icon update! So until next time, watch a Horror Movie or two, read a Horror Comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a real CHILLLLLEERRRR!

Destructor The Mighty Atlas Masked Crime Fighter!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  I think it’s once gain that time where we take a look at a character from the world of Atlas Comics.  For this update I chose the one and only Destructor to be the latest to get the update treatment! It’s always a great time looking back at the world of Atlas Comics as I really do think they are one of the best 70’s independent comic companies to be created to try and compete with Marvel and DC. In modern times, I would say that for me the companies that I find to be the best of the best in the world of Indie Comic publishers that I enjoy way more than DC and Marvel would be IDW, Eibon Press, Dynamite and of course my own company Sparkle Comics. Besides looking at The Destructor, I will also talk about a few things cool from my past and present. So if you’re ready to take a look at Destructor, let’s get our Atlas Comics on and take a trip with a hero who should still be around today!

When I was a youngster I was an occasional gum chewer, and while I was not like Violet Beauregarde from “Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory,” chewing on some Bubblicious, Bubble Tape and Fruit Stripe while reading comics or watching cartoons was something I did from time to time. And for some reason one gum I really liked was a brand called Tongue Splashers that’s gimmick was that it would dye your tongue different colors. I can remember the gum’s taste was pretty gross as it tasted like dye and didn’t last long, but I will say that the blue ones were the best and had the best flavor of them all. As far as I know, this gum is no longer made and was such a 90’s thing. I just wanted to flashback a little and talk about it as I don’t see the topic of gum coming up any time soon here at Rotten Ink.

I have been listening to lots of music as of late and thanks to a customer at my job, I found out about this very cool record store online that releases classic 80’s Hair Metal/Glam bands on CD, and of course being a fan of this style of music, I had to place and order and check them out. The site is called Demon Doll Records, and the first band I chose to look at is Miami Riot and their 1990 release of Dirty Living In The City! The first thing I need to say is that by 1990, the music scene was starting to change and rock n roll was only one year away from the grunge rock boom started by Nevermind released by Nirvana and had many rockers trading in their hairspray for flannel shirts. But for Meatalheads like myself, I was sticking to my 80’s rock and stayed clear from the first big wave of grunge bands, and I have to give Miami Riot lots of credit for making this record so close to the big change that was on the horizon. This Florida band consists of Bobbie Apel doing lead vocals, Robin Wilde on guitar, Eric Vee on drums and Micki Lords on bass, and they look like a mix of Britney Fox and Poison, true glam rockers. Once I got the CD in my hands, I listened to it on my drive to and home from work and played it very loud, and was surprised about just how good Miami Riot is and how much they reminded me of early Motley Crue with a mix of Ratt, What I also liked about this release is that it’s not overly polished and holds a grimy feel to it that brings out the style of this music. Some of the best tracks on this release are the title track “Dirty Living In The City” plus “Rock N Roll Suicide” and “Boys Are Gonna Rock” are all solid tracks and deliver a true sound and song structure that only the 80’s hair glam bands could deliver. If you enjoy 80’s rock n roll, do yourself a favor and check out Miami Riot as well as Demon Doll Records as they both are worth your time and both are worth spending money on.

On June 8, 2018 along with my friends Josh Weinberg, Victor Bonacore, and his seven-year-old daughter Riley, I headed to Burns, Tennessee.  Montgomery Bell State Park was our goal as it was Ernest Day and this location was the filming site for his 1987 film Ernest Goes To Camp! The drive was long and took about 5hr 40min and the weather outside was in the 90’s, but the trip was worth it when we finally made it. Because we arrived early, Victor and I were able to chat with a super cool Ranger as well as few other cool people who made this event possible. We also got to take a picture with the Kamp Kikakee sign before the crowds showed up. Then we all went and got some food from a near by Wendy’s and waited until the event opened. Ernest Day was very cool and was a kid friendly event filled with all types of cool event like archery, canoe rides, hikes, arts & crafts, a birds of prey show, face painting plus of course turtle catapulting! Also they had some meet and greets with the likes of John Cherry, the creator and mastermind of the Ernest universe, as well as actors from the film. They also had a museum open that featured some props from the film as well as other amazing Ernest stuff. Plus many of the cabins as well as other locations used in the film were available to visit and hang out at, and we could go to the mess hall and eat as well as buy cool stuff like t-shirts and stickers. Besides hanging out with friends, one of the coolest moments of the day was meeting John Cherry, such a cool guy and a person along with the late, great Jim Varney helped make my childhood rule. I also really loved eating a hotdog and chips in the mess hall as it felt really cool and I imagined Ernest P. Worrell walking out from the kitchen with a big plate of Eggs Erroneous. I really enjoyed Ernest Day 2018 and even though the heat was killer, the staff and Rangers were all super cool and had free water all over the place. At some point, I will definitely make the long trip back, and if you’re an Ernest fan, do yourself a favor and go to this event. Below are some pics from this cool day, check them out and yep that’s me and John Cherry!

My pal Travis Hatch is an amazing bargain finder as he goes to thrift stores, garage sales, auctions and flea markets, and during his many hunts he has found me some really cool stuff from old Incredible Hulk toys all the way to amazing Halloween makeup kits. In June 2018, he found something very cool, an item that I had as a kid and one I really loved and wanted to get back when older, a Russ Vampire bendy toy! I can remember I first got this figure when I was a youngster living in Waynesville at one of the many antique shops.  The same day I got the Vampire, I also picked up the Mummy and had them battle each other on the walk back home. Over the years I am not to sure what happened to my original one. If I had to guess, it was given away to a cousin or even sold in a garage sale. But really quickly I wanted to thanks Travis for finding me another one as it good to see the hooded caped vampire once again in my home. I’ll now also have to keep an eye out for the Mummy as he needs to also come back home. Check him out below to see him in all his cheesy goodness. I should also note that Travis also found the super cool 70’s Frankenstein’s Monster puzzle that I am using as the background and gave it to me.

On June 28, 2018 Juliet and I stopped by Jet Freeze in Beavercreek as we had just gotten back into Ohio after a long trip and we both decided to treat ourselves to some ice cream! Plus I had to try the Blue Raspberry Ice Cream, that is also known as Smurf Ice Cream and was a staple of Kings Island back in the day and is now at Jet Freeze…the rain was coming down pretty good when we pulled in, and to our luck, due to the rain, they were not that packed so we ordered and I got a small cone of this Smurfy good treat. What a great flavor of Ice Cream as it took me back to the good old days of Kings Island when Hanna Barbara cartoon characters were kings of the park and at any moment you could see Yogi Bear or Fred Flintstone walking around taking pictures with guests. The ice cream tastes like a berry cream soda and is true nostalgic bliss and a great treat for a long day spent on the road driving home from Pennsylvania. Also if you live in the Dayton, Ohio area and have not tried Jet Freeze located in Beavercreek, make sure you do as next to the Dairy Corner that was in Waynesville, it was my childhood ice cream place. Oh and on a side note at Kings Island, the blue ice cream was also called Huckleberry Hound Ice Cream due to his color being the same as the ice cream.

With this being an update about a character who sadly went away before he could really take the comic book world by storm, I wanted to also briefly talk about one who never made it to print but looks like he would have been a very cool comic character and that’s Slug Slayer Of Darkness! As you long time readers know, there was a comic company from Minnesota called Dead Dog Comics, that was created by Chazz DeMoss among many other creators, that would be at Cinema Wasteland when I was there working for Independent B Movie or even Andy Copp. Their table was a must stop for me as I had to have the new issues they released. I always really enjoyed their Horror Comics and even bought many of their none-horror books and enjoyed them…but one comic that would have been cool but sadly never made it into printing production was Slug, a green skinned warrior from the past who returned to modern times in order to battle demons and save us from Hell of Earth and was very much in the vein of Spawn but loaded up with way more medieval weapons. The comic series was written by DeMoss and was to have art by Matt Munn that was very much a 90’s style and clearly Spawn, who was very popular at the time, inspired this unpublished character. So who knows, maybe one day this character will see the light of day soon or even I will be able to track down elements and do a full update about him! In my opinion characters really should never be forgotten. Check out the pics below to see what Slug and his logo looks like.

The Destructor is one of Atlas Comics’ most popular Superheroes who had many of the industry’s top free agents working on it including Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Larry Lieber and Archie Goodwin showing that Atlas meant business when delivering quality comics to readers. Just like all of Atlas Comics, this character had a world of potential and was a hero like no other as he started out as a low life thug and due to his father’s unselfish act, he gets a new lease on life and decides to use his life now to crush baddies. But even being an interesting character, he could not fight the biggest of all villains and that’s “Going Out Of Business” as Atlas closed its doors the same year this comic series was released. I first discovered The Destructor at Bookie Parlor as many of his issues were in the cheap bin.  I was hooked on reading Atlas Comics so I gobbled them up and would read them in my room or in the living room in front of the fireplace and after reading would tell my brother Bryan about him. At a young age, The Destructor always reminded me of Captain America mixed with a dash of Spider-Man and Daredevil. He could have easily been one of Atlas’s best Superhero characters and the one that could have fit perfectly in the Marvel Comics universe. I don’t want to get to deep into The Destructor’s character’s history as the comic reviews will do that. But I also really do think that Atlas Comics saw lots of potential in Destructor and he would have been a major player for them if the company would have lasted as all the talent were in place. So check out the pictures below to see our masked hero in all his glory!

So as you can see, The Destructor is a superhero who should still be busting heads of bad guys in comics, but sadly he could not defeat his greatest enemy the closing of his publisher. We are now at the time for the review of the comics, and I am really excited to revisit this series as they are ones I bought from the old local comic shop Bookie Parlor when I was a young teen. Sadly the old issues I had were sold off a while ago in order to get some money to help a young lady I was dating in my early 20’s who had some issues at her apartment…it’s sad I sold most of my comic collection, but I’m glad I was able to help someone. The issues I have here I was able to track down thanks to Bell Book And Comic, Mavericks Cards And Comics and Ohio Antique Mall who had issues in stock. I would also like to remind you all 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready like me, let’s take a look at Atlas Comic masked superhero The Destructor! I want to also dedicate this update to Steve Ditko who sadly passed away on June 29, 2018 while I was working on this update. His art and inspiration will live on forever.

The Destructor # 1  ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics       # 1 of 4

Max Raven is a crime boss of Harbortown and thinks that two bit hood Jay Hunter has seen too much and orders for him to be killed after leaving the hangout one night. Jay arrives home and talks to his father who is a scientist and has created a serum that heightens senses when the hitman enters and opens fire striking them both.  Before he dies, the father is able to give his serum to his son saving his life and making Jay rethink his life of crime. He decides to become the superhero his father always wanted him to be, known as costumed masked hero The Destructor! Max Raven has his hitman killed for not getting the job done, and Jay goes into hiding and goes out as Destructor to bring down Max’s operations one at a time.  This means war to the crime boss who calls in Slaymaster, a top underworld assassin! Max Raven sets up The Destructor at an old warehouse as Slaymaster is waiting inside and is able to get the jump on our hero, and bullets hits him in the shoulder and arm, but lucky for him the serum heals him faster. Slaymaster plays a game of cat and mouse with Destructor who in the end finally gets the upper hand and brings down the masked assassin. In the end Max Raven is set up by his own men who gun him down for losing all the rackets, and Destructor brings them all down and swears on the graves of his parents that he will be the superhero the world needs!

The first issue of The Destructor shows that besides Marvel and DC, Atlas Comics also knew how to do superheroes right in the 70’s! Our story is very simple: a young man who is heading toward a life of crime gets himself and his father shot and with both dying, his father is able to give his son a serum that heals him and gives him superhuman senses. Upon putting on a costume, he becomes a superhero and wages a one-man war with his former crime boss who is the man that wanted him dead. This comic series takes a lot from Spider-Man as both masked heroes think they have lead to the death of a loved one and now with new powers dedicate their lives to stopping any and all crime, great classic superhero stuff indeed. Jay Hunter is a young man who wants to make a name for himself in the underbelly of New Jersey and wants fast cash and respect and disrespects his father’s hard work in Science, but he makes a life change when his father is murdered and uses his own serum to save his life. Jay is also a young man who is plagued with guilt as he knows he is the cause of his dad’s death and wants to get revenge for it. As The Destructor, he is a crime fighting machine who busts heads, takes lives and cracks one liners! Destructor is very much into busting crime as he feels he owes it to his father and wants to make something better of himself. With his heightened senses he is strong, fast and can heal from wounds that should be fatal pretty fast. Our bad guys of this issue are Max Raven and his mobsters who are cutthroat and have no respect or loyalty even to each other. Max is cold blooded and once crossed will do anything to get his revenge of Jay Hunter…well that is until he dies from multiple gunshot wounds fired by his own men. Slaymaster is also a very cold blooded person who is the highest paid assassin in the world of crime.  This masked killer is skilled and is the boogie man among the scum he works for. But his skill doesn’t do him a world of good once he meets Destructor who makes short work of him and leaves him dead! The cover for this issue is amazing and the kind of comics I looked for when I was a kid and still do to this day. Plus I have to say that the interior art by Steve Ditko is top notch, and to me Ditko is just like Jack Kirby, a king in the world of comics. This first issue sets the bar high for the series as it captures what made Marvel Comics special at the time and adds its own flare and appeal to it. I loved this comic when I was a kid and it still holds up for me to this day. I can’t wait to read issue # 2 and see if it holds up as well.

The Destructor # 2  ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25      Atlas Comics       # 2 of 4

It’s a cold night in Harbortown, and Mr. Lash and his goons are on the docks trying to pull off their next heist when The Destructor shows up and busts some heads and gets a name from Mr. Lash on who is the true crime lord of New Jersey. The Destructor leaves Mr. Lash behind as someone emerges from the shadows and it’s clear our hero has been set up. The Destructor heads out into the night still thinking of his father’s murder and how he must right the wrongs of his life. He knows he must rid his town of crime and chase off The Syndicate crime family once and for all. Big Mike Brand is the name given as the main crime boss, and he lives in New Mexico, while the man with Mr. Lash is Deathgrip a killer with a metal hand that is amped up with power who has been told to kill Mr. Lash after the plan is set in motion and he does. Jay Hunter heads to New Mexico and is setting up Mike Brand by getting to know him via his daughter as Deathgrip is also in New Mexico to make sure Brand is dead and Destructor gets the blame. Jay ends up taking a job at Brand’s ranch and soon learns that Big Mike Brand is sick and that he has been set up and soon must come face to fist with Deathgrip who has kidnapped Brand’s daughter and is going to crush her in a compactor in an auto junkyard! Destructor has a brutal battle with Deathgrip who is strong and a good fighter.  Once Destructor is able to save Brand’s daughter he also tricks Deathgrip who in returns gets crushed to death in the compactor.

Issue two is also a very great read that captures the true spirit of superhero comics from the 70’s and is great work from the creative team who brought it to life. This issue has Destructor going to New Mexico in order to bring down a high-ranking crime boss or so he has been told, when in reality he has been set up by a mechanical hand madman who wants revenge on the sick crime boss and wants to kill the masked hero. This time around Jay Hunter is a man on a mission as he has been a crime fighter for about a month now and is still plagued by the death of his father. At this point he as well has used his brain and not just his fists to bring down crime. As The Destructor, he is on a mission to shut down as many baddies as he can and best of all he is able to, one racket at a time, with ease. Mr. Lash has taken over the crime scene in Harbortown and is a scumbag who helps set up Destructor and is part of a network in the Syndicate who wants to take over with a sub group, and for his deed he is also killed by his own side as they feel he is a failure. Big Mike Brand was once a crime lord who now lives in New Mexico with his daughter as well as his close friend and is in the processes of turning his entire former crime friends in. The issue’s main baddie is Deathgrip, a bold headed creep who has a metal hand that is enhanced with strength as well as extreme heat.  He also does not mind killing and is brutal in his ways of doing so. What’s cool about him is that he meets his end as brutally as he dealt death. Once more the cover is fantastic and has that great 70’s superhero look, and as always Steve Ditko’s artwork for the interiors is great and shows he really knows how to draw superheroes right! Over all the second issue helps build the world of Destructor and is a top notch read for fans who enjoy independent heroes.

The Destructor # 3  ***
Released in 1975      Cover Price .25      Atlas Comics       # 3 of 4

The Syndicate is upset over the defeat and slaying of Deathgrip and blame Dr. Shroud, the creator of his mechanical hand for the defeat. They are also upset that this might slow down a plan they have called “Darkriver Project”, but he has an answer to their worries as he sends the laser whip slinging The Huntress and her two lions after Destructor. While back in New Mexico, Destructor drops off Angela Brand at the front gates of her father’s ranch and as she gets into it with her father for being a former crime boss, Destructor sneaks back into his room and passes out. Later that night Angela goes to Jay’s room and talks to him about all her fears and anger with her father plus all the lies she has been told her whole life, and Jay is starting to crush on the young woman. The next day as Destructor heads back to the junkyard looking for answers, he is tricked and gassed and taken to a valley in a cage to be hunted live via remote cameras by Huntress, her two lions and her assistant Lobo for the crime bosses who are watching! The odds are against Destructor as he takes damage from the lions that he ends up knocking out and tries his best to dodge Huntress’s laser whip, and when Lobo goes rogue and tries to kill Destructor on his own, he is quickly tricked and beat leaving him and Huntress alone to go hand to hand that leaves Destructor tricking Huntress and having her fall to hear death! Destructor escapes the room and finds the crime bosses and beats many of them up before escaping into the night.

The third issue is fantastic and once more has a real Amazing Spider-Man feel to it as the plot has our hero being trapped and hunted by a villain that is deadly and skilled with a laser whip. Jay Hunter in this issue is torn on bringing down Mike Brand as he knows the old man is near death’s door and is trying to make a change, as well as Jay is starting to get a crush on the crime lord’s 19 year old daughter. As Destructor, he has the odds once more stacked against him as he must survive being the prey in a human hunt that’s being done by a skilled hunter and her animals and sidekick, but like before, he uses his power and brain to bring down the bad guys and save his butt. Dr. Shroud is a mad scientist who seems to hold some power in the crime world and is the mastermind of most of the attacks on Destructor as well as the powers the super villains have. The Huntress is a powerful and skilled hunter and fighter who looks at Destructor as the ultimate prey, and she enjoys having her great cats and her hulking sidekick Lobo on her side to help in the hunt. Plus she is very much dangerous and a great threat to our hero. I like the side story going that Jay is falling in love with the daughter of an ill crime boss that he is torn on if he should bring him down. Plus I love how Huntress is clearly inspired by Kraven The Hunter who is a master hunter who always tries to hunt Spider-Man, it’s clear to this comic reader that Destructor is Atlas Comics version of the wall crawler spiced up. The cover and interior art both once more are amazing and great stuff for fans of classic hero comics. This issue is a great and makes me look forward to revisit the fourth and final issue in this series, so let’s get to it.

The Destructor # 4    **1/2
Released in 1975      Cover Price .25      Atlas Comics       # 4 of 4

Destructor is hiding in a cave in New Mexico when two hired guns come looking for him to collect a bounty that was put on his head. While taking out the goons, he meets three strange humans who have weird powers calling themselves The Outcasts. The Eye, Sister Siren and Kronus take Destructor against his will to their hideout deep in the cave. Once in the cave hideout, Kronus tells Destructor about the underground city’s history that includes scientists trying to hide from the atomic weapons nations collected as well as murder of the people who funded this city by the scientists over nuclear energy! The Destructor listens to the tale and starts to feel for these oddly powered freaks and thinks that he himself might fit in their world as he like them has these powers and fights for what he thinks is right. While above ground, the Army tests an atomic bomb underground and the radiation hits the underground city and soaks them all in rays. Destructor finds that he has the power now to fire power blasts from his hands, and, along with The Eye and on the orders of Kronus, he goes above ground to take out the armies radar as The Outcasts are now at war with the army to stop the atomic bomb tests.

The fourth and final issue, like all of Atlas Comics we have looked at, ends in the middle of a storyline that never has seen the light of day due to the company closing. The story in this final issue as well goes away from the crime bosses and trades them in for weird underground mutants with powers. The plot is straight from the pages of Science Fiction comics as well as movies as it follows Destructor in an underground city befriending a race of freaks that need his help to keep their society safe from the terrible military who are testing bombs underground. I need to talk about The Outcasts first as I don’t trust them as their sinister glances at each other comes off as if they are playing our hero like a fiddle. Plus they all have weird powers like Sister Siren can sing a song that gets into your brain and Kronus can send you to another dimension. They are shady and again I would not trust them. Destructor, who has a price on his head, finds himself in a war between the army and the Outcasts and he easily tricked into becoming a foot solider for Kronus, plus due to radiation he now has the power to fire blasts from his hands making his superpowers even more powerful. And this is the thing I really liked, the masked hero taking on crime in the city and the criminals hiring weird masked bad guys to take him on…what I don’t like as well is the sci-fi direction this final issue went as I feel it changed the character and the world it had created in past issues by adding underground super powered freak beings who felt like something Jack Kirby would have added in a random issue of Fantastic Four. Plus this leaves us on a cliffhanger as Destructor and The Eye are heading to the military base to bring down their radar and we never know if they made it or not! I really wished that Atlas Comics would have lasted longer on the comic racks as they did deliver quality comics that had good stories and cool art and should have been the third biggest comic company then and even still now. I would also say that hands down I would put Destructor in my top three comic heroes from Atlas Comics as I find him interesting and his short time in the world of comics has held up with me as I find them all to be very well done and make for great reads. The cover for this issue as well is great and not to even mention that Steve Ditko’s artwork is amazing and makes me miss they days of that style art in comic books. Over all if you’re a fan of classic superheroes, the art of Ditko or just looking for a vintage comic series to read I would recommend Destructor! Check out some of the artwork from this comic series done by the icon Steve Ditko.

I know it sounds weird, but I really do think about what would happen if comic and movie companies had stayed in business and what amazing projects they would have unleashed. Atlas Comics has always been one I think about as I really do think they had some great characters and many of their comics ended on cliffhangers. But we all can’t live in the past, and we readers just are not meant to know what fate was in store for Destructor. For our next update we are leaving the world of Destructor behind and entering the world of Horror as we take a look at the 2006 film Driller! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See ya next update for a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic spooky good time.