Malibu Comics Ultraverse Memories: Exiles

Remember back in the 1990’s when both Marvel and DC had some competition when it came to superhero comics with companies like Image and more important to me Malibu, who had some amazing heroes like Prime, Mantra, Prototype, Sludge and Night Man to name a few fighting for readers’ attention. Malibu also had many superhero teams like Freex, The Strangers and Exiles with the latter being the topic of this update. It’s sad that in modern times the comic industry is struggling to gain readers and most fans of superheroes don’t read the issues and only know the character from the movies or TV shows based on them. Now that I am thinking about it, I do believe that Sparkle Comics is trying to keep the world of Indie Superheroes alive with such comics as Black Jack, Silver Bullet, Black Lion and Spring Heeled Jack…so I feel good that the company I own with my friends is doing its part! Also this update really did make me miss the days of when comic companies took chances and comic shops had way more variety for readers to choose from. Around here in Dayton, I would say Bell, Book And Comic and Super-Fly Comics do the best job of offering more indies and even locally made comics to their customers and are inviting to readers. So if you are ready, let’s take a quick look at Exiles from Malibu Comics.

Malibu Comics was struggling in late 1993 as sales had dipped. The comic market was being flooded with comics and gimmicks that were hurting many of the independent companies as buyers just were not buying as many comics; the interest was fading as big events and foil covers started to annoy. And going into 1994, things got worse for Malibu as they did what they could to stay afloat and even started to cancel lower selling series as a way to cut costs and stay around in the industry. But like all mega money sharks, both DC and Marvel smelled blood in the water and opened up their checkbooks and both made bids on buying out Malibu to own their characters, logos, back issues and their coloring style and most importantly, so that the other company didn’t own it! And on November 3, 1994, Malibu was sold to Marvel Comics who became the owner of so many great superhero characters. Marvel wasted no time canceling all of the Ultraverse titles and re-launching some of the more popular ones and even crossing them over with such Marvel Characters like Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk and Wolverine all through 1995. But by 1996, Marvel Comics pretty much walked away from the Ultraverse and cancelled all their titles and just stopped using the characters sending them to the long box in the sky and leaving readers and fans of the characters wondering if they ever would return. Over the years rumors have always been talked about in comic shops, comic podcasts as well as websites about the return of the Ultraverse as well as what Marvel could do with the characters to add them into the Marvel Universe.

So before we get into the comic reviews, I am going to take a few moments and give my opinion on how they could add The Exiles into Marvel and where they would fit in. So let’s use the core original group of Exiles that includes the likes of Trax, Deadeye, Tinsel, Dr. Rachel Deming, Mustang, Catapult, Amber Hunt and Ghoul and say that events of the original comic series change when the worlds of Malibu and Marvel meet in modern times. We will also say that all of Marvel’s past Exiles teams were around, just in namesake only and had nothing to do with the original team made by Deming. I would love to see The Exiles be mixed in the world of X-Men with many of the members being mutants – they fit it really well, and to start I would love to see Dr. Rachel Deming use her team as the alternative to the X-Men and allow them to be more flashy in order to make citizens see them as stars and heroes. I would have it that Dr. Rachel Deming and Professor X have a respect for each other, they just have different ideas on how to get things done with their mutant teams. I would also have it that Dr. Rachel Deming and her Exiles open their own school of gifted students as a way to recruit for Exiles. This of course would cause friction between the two mutant groups, and while their respective leaders respect each other, the teams themselves do not and do what they can to outshine the others. I would play up on Wolverine and Mustang really disliking each other and clashing lots. While rivals, I would also make sure to have The Exiles come off as good guys who just are the Pepsi to X-Men’s Coke and are more flash as they have decided to not hide in the shadows in a world filled with super beings. The Exiles could not only be a team in Uncanny X-Men and other X-Men titles but could also spin off into their own series. One thing that would be great for The Exiles is that many of their team members are powerful and could hold their own against the likes of evil mutants like Magneto, Sabertooth and Black Tom to name a few. Just a thought of mine to bring them back, and sadly the way things look for Malibu is that Marvel and Disney have zero plans for them and if the rumors are real, the deal Marvel made when buying them was so bad that the fate of these characters are forever sealed in limbo. That’s right, the story goes that if Marvel does any new comics with characters created by Malibu they have to pay a percentage to the former owner of Malibu as well as the creators of said characters leaving the profits very low for comics being sold and not worth the time and resources Marvel would put into them…or so Comic Store Urban Legend goes.

As you can see, Malibu Comics is a company over the years I find myself thinking about what could have been if they could have survived the Comic Book Crash of the 1990’s and even what they could be if Marvel would do anything with the characters. But we are now at the point of the update for the reviews, and I want to remind all you readers that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic and Game Swap Kettering for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. So if you are ready, let’s gear up and hangout with The Exiles.

Exiles # 1  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 1 of 4

Amber Hunt is a high school student who one day is bored in class when an explosion rocks the school, and she sees that bad guy Supreme Soviet along with his Cybernoids are fighting with members of the superhero team Exiles (Trax, Deadeye & Tinsel) all over her! The battle leaves many of the Cybernoids destroyed, Supreme Soviet tricked and defeated, and Trax injured and having to be rushed back to their base. They also take Amber Hunt who still is confused and angry on why she is being targeted. Once at the island base, Amber meets Dr. Rachel Deming who is the keeper of the team as well as the one who has cured them all of the Theta Virus and soon will also cure Amber Hunt who is infected and has special powers she just doesn’t know about yet. While there, Amber is acting like a brat and even meets team member Ghoul who she also treats terribly! Meanwhile in L.A. Supreme Soviet visits his boss Mr. Malcolm Kort who wanted Amber Hunt killed and for his failure Supreme Soviet is forced into a tube and injected with a virus that kills him and shows that Kort wants to really use this virus as a bio weapon! Meanwhile in a neighborhood in San Diego a young man named Timmy is taking out the trash when he is surrounded by Bloodbath and Bruut who have been sent by Mr. Kort and thankfully Exiles members Catapult and Mustang are near by and step in to help the kid from meeting his maker. The heroes get the upper hand but when Bruut attacks Timmy’s mom an accident happens and Mustang with his electric powers falls into the water from the broken sink and fries and kills Timmy’s Mom as well as Bruut! Bloodbath knocks out Catapult and escapes with Timmy.

This first issue of Exiles is a very good solid read that showcases the style and world of the Ultraverse. It also sets up that our heroes the Exiles are a team of powered beings who are brought together to do the right thing and are watched by after Dr. Rachel Deming going against entertainment tycoon and evildoer Mr. Malcolm Kort and his band of super powered hired guns. The story while it is your normal superhero fare the main plot of the issue is the Theta Virus and one side wanting to cure it and the other side wanting to use it to gain power as a weapon. The Exiles are a rag tag team that has many members who all have special powers and in this issue we meet Trax, Deadeye, Tinsel, Ghoul, Catapult and Mustang all who work well together and have one goal and that’s to save the youngsters who are virus carriers. This far I think my two favorite members are Tinsel as I dig her look and she can fly and fire energy from her hands, I also like Catapult who comes off as a surfer metal head guy who has the power to easily lift and throw things. I also like Ghoul as he is a green skinned zombie who we gather can talk to the dead…but he has not done much yet to make him a favorite. Dr. Rachel Deming who is the watcher of all the team is a very wise and smart woman as she has the cure for the Theta Virus and I am going to guess she as well has some sort of powers. Amber Hunt is a terrible young lady who is self centered, rude and mouthy who treats not only the Exiles like crap even after they saved her life but also fellow classmates as she calls one young lady a “cow” as they are trying to get away from the opening battle! Mr. Malcolm Kort is cold blooded and has no loyalties to even his own hired super powered beings as he will kill them if they fail him! Speaking of his hired guns Bruut, Bloodbath, Hot Rox and Supreme Soviet all are trained killers who don’t mind killing women and children as long as they get paid! This far I like the story that is being set up and it makes me wonder what the outcome will be once the Exiles and the Kort side clash all over a virus. The cover for this first issue is totally 90’s and for me not very eye catching as it looks super cheesy. The interior art is done by R.R. Phipps and is really good and embodies the art of the 90’s superhero titles. So with this lets see what happens next in issue two and see if Mustang can get his revenge for accidentally murdering a young man’s mom.

Exiles # 2  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 2 of 4

Mustang and Catapult are standing in the home of Timmy with the bodies of his mom and super villain Bruut when they are surrounded by the cops who want to take them in for questions, but Bruut is not dead and awakens and goes on a rampage that leave many cops hurt and dead and both Mustang and Catapult can not stop him from escaping by stealing a helicopter. And before the remaining cops can regroup our heroes escape and head back to their island base with news of their failed mission. While back at the base news is spreading of the fight at the house and Dr. Rachel Deming tells Amber Hunt it’s her choice on if she wants to be cured of the virus as it will cause change and Amber learns she has the power of fire. While Malcolm Kort and his team of scientist are trying to force Timmy into letting them “cure” him so his pain will stop as his hand keeps growing and shrinking back to normal. Rachel Deming now calls on the Exiles team and the order is to do a full attack on Kort’s entertainment building and get Timmy back before he can be turned into a henchman tool for evil. Before the Exiles leave Amber informs Rachel that she will take the treatments once the team is back from the rescue mission. In the end young Timmy is being treated by Kort’s science team and things go wrong as Timmy turns into a massive beat man with tusks and breaks free and knocks even the Exiles out of his way as he escapes into the city.

In this second issue the Exiles are forced to face lots of difficult things from one of their members accidentally killing a woman, being caught on camera and now the world knows that they are in town as well as must face a failed mission that clearly looks like is going to cause them major problems in the very near future. The Exiles try so hard to keep their existence low-key, as the world is not keen on the super powered humans walking among them. And worse is the team itself is torn about if they should come out and be seen or hide in the shadows and save the world. Dr. Rachel Deming is clearly in charge of the group and she also knows that they must do all they can in order to save as many of those infected by the virus as they can and do so before Kort and his goons turn them into raging monsters. Mustang in this issue feels terrible and he blames himself for the death of Timmy’s Mom and his powers of electricity is what lead to her neck being crushed by the unstoppable Bruut, even though he played a part in the death he is over taken with guilt. Meanwhile the rest of the team are ready to go to war and try and get the kidnapped kid back and cure him before he is mutated by the bad guys or killed by the virus. Kort once more shows he is an evil man as he forces a young man to be experimented on and all he cares about is power and control. Meanwhile his goons Bloodbath and Bruut one time partners are at odds as it’s clear within their group its all about the money and every super powered man for themselves. Poor Timmy in one day looses his mom, learns he has a deadly virus, is kidnapped and then forced to be turned into a raging monster. And man I cannot see this hulking tusked monster tangle with the Exiles in a battle that I am sure is going to be epic. The one thing that does stink about this issue is that one of my favorite characters Tinsel is just a background team member, and it’s a shame as I would have loved to seen her kick some butt. The cover for this second issue is way better and eye catching as it showcases our team looking like they are ready for action. The interior art is done by R.R. Phipps again and is good stuff. Over all this second issue is very entertaining and has locked me in as a fan of this team this far, and I cannot wait to read the next issue.

Exiles # 3  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 3 of 4

Timmy lands on the street below and is confused and just wants to be left alone, but also landing on the ground is Tinsel as well as Ghoul who try and talk to the enraged teenage monster who don’t want to hear it and just our heroes luck they are attacked by Hot Rox who takes them both prisoner as Timmy escapes deeper into the city. The remain Exiles team chase down Timmy who hides in a closed mall and they try to talk to him, but he attacks causing destruction and injuries before turning back into a young man and running off into the night. Meanwhile back at the lab Amber Hunt is trying to push Rachel Deming’s assistant into given her the treatment as she don’t wanna die from the virus and has no faith in the Exiles returning, the assistant refuses. While back at Kort’s building Ghoul has been thrown into a waste bin and barely escapes as they set it on fire with the hopes of killing him. Meanwhile Bloodbath has Tinsel in his room and is about to sexual assault her, but she is able to use her power and blind him (as she is blind as well) and he grabs his guns and fires wildly into the air and sadly kills her as Ghoul gets to her way to late and this sets him off for revenge!

Well Malibu Comics and Exiles gone and done it they killed off my favorite hero on the team and did so very brutally! You see Tinsel in this issue is taken prisoner and we learn she is also blind and needs her visor in order to see and when she wakes up she is in the room of Bloodbath who wants to rape her….and when she fights back and tries to get away he shoots her a dozen times ending her life! Why would they let a hero die like this? Don’t get me wrong it was very effective and wants me as the reader want to see Bloodbath get his, but it also makes you a little mad at the rest of the Exiles besides Ghoul as they left her in the hands of the baddies in order to save a teen who is now a monster who just wants to be left alone. That is pretty much the major plot of this issue is the Exiles trying to reach a scared Timmy who is now a massive wooly mammoth monster man who don’t trust anyone. Kort and his goons pretty much stay out of the hunt for Timmy as they figure they will just attack and get him back once the Exiles do all the hard work and get him to a safe place. Bloodbath is enemy # 1 for this comic reader as I am glad he is blind now and hopes it permit and that Ghoul once he catches up with him is able to eat his heart out! I must also say I do also really like the look of Timmy as the monster who is called Mastodon because he seems like he could be a villain for the Incredible Hulk and is well designed. The cover for this issue is also very eye catching and is a perfect cover for a 90’s superhero comic. The interior art once more is done by R.R. Phipps and is great stuff and has the 90’s look but yet also still holds a very 80’s style as well. This third issue is a great read and I cannot wait to read issue four that is the final in this very good series.

Exiles # 4  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics      # 4 of 4

The Exiles decide to give up tracking down Timmy and return to the base so they can regroup and figure out a better plan. While at the lab Amber Hunt decides that she is going to just sneak and give herself the treatment so that she can survive the virus. Meanwhile Ghoul makes contact with the soul of Tinsel and gets the name of her killer Bloodbath and sets his sights to really get revenge and massacre the super powered hitman. As Bloodbath gets painkillers and head back to his room he is attacked by Ghoul who is crazed with anger and after a brief fight he is able to kill Bloodbath and not only end his life but also his soul! And once he drained him Ghoul grabs some guns and starts his one-man war against Kort and his people. While at the lab Amber has done the treatment wrong and the machine is over loading and the Exiles and Rachel Deming are rushing back to try to stop the explosion as well as save Amber from dying. Ghoul blows up the generator at the Kort building and the explosion seems to have killed anyone in it. While back at the Exiles Lab the tank and machines explode and kills many of the Exiles in the process as Heather the Assistant, Trax and Mustang are all killed with Catapult, Deadeye and Rachel Deming are all severely injured. In the end, Amber Hunt is now a flying flaming super powered woman who’s selfish nature has killed many.

This comic series had guts as many of the team members meet their maker by the end with most being killed by the hands of a terrible narcissistic spoiled teenage girl that they were helping who ended up dooming anyone around her when she decided to treat herself. This issue’s plot brings everything together for the most part but also leaves lots of things unanswered as this was a lead in to a series called “Break-Thru” that they wanted readers to buy next…and that was always one thing that annoyed me about Malibu Comics and their Ultraverse as they tied in all their comics together so in order to finish stories you would have to buy another title in order to do so, and that was some of the silly stuff Marvel Comics also did very badly in the 80’s and still do it somewhat to this day. Amber Hunt is a terrible person who becomes even more terrible when she gets power beyond most other heroes in the Ultraverse. When you really think about it all the true evil villain of this comic series is Amber Hunt as she is narcissistic and does not seem to care about others or how her actions effect anyone around her. Rachel Deming is a woman who does want to help those with powers, but also slightly seems to be doing so to stroke her own ego as some of her decisions help lead to the teams downfall. Ghoul in this issue is a true badass as he goes for revenge of the death of his friend in the last issue and does so in a brutal way…Ghoul is very cool and a great character that walks the line of superhero mutant and horror character. This series really is a great read and shows why Malibu Comics was a great alternative to Marvel and DC as they delivered good solid stories about interesting characters who had a vast world. The cover on this fourth issue is not as eye catching nor as cool as the three issues that came before it, but while a little plan it still ok. The interior art is once more done by R.R. Phipps and is good and has a very 90’s comic look and to be honest has what I would say is the Malibu Comic house style. For me Exiles is a great series and one that fans of X-Men and all their clones should check out as these characters and stories could fit in very nicely with the Universe that Marvel Comics created for their readers. Check out the artwork below to see the style of R.R. Phipps and see what I mean when I say this looks like Malibu Comics house style.

Exiles is a great team from Malibu Comics who never got the respect from Marvel Comics when they bought the characters rights way back in 1994 and even when they did use the team they only did so in name only. It’s a shame as I do not think comic readers ever will see new adventures of the Exiles as I do feel they had many more in them, but truly only time will tell if Rachel Deming’s team will see a new series. For my next update, I will be stepping away from comic books and will be once more taking a look at a Horror Host from the Dayton area as I take a look at Rayne of Studio Cinema! So until next time read a Malibu Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a spooky good time.

 

Horror Host Icon: A. Ghastlee Ghoul

It’s late night in Dayton, Ohio and you are flipping stations waiting for the midnight hour so that you can turn to public access and catch a Horror Host that was like none other in your area. His show was a mix of Night Flight and Shock Theater and was filled with crude humor and off the wall skits, and if you were lucky the episode might have porn clips (minus all nudity) set to the song “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain”! This magical show was called The Ghastlee Movie Show, and its host was A. Ghastlee Ghoul. No joke, this was on my must-watch list every week as this show was so crazy, so fun and so off the wall, it really was something I looked forward to watching while relaxing in my room after a long week of school and laughing my butt off to Ghastlee and his cohorts’ zany segments and skits.

While Dayton has had its fair share of Horror Hosts like Dr. Creep, The Creeper, Dr. Freak, Baron Von Porkchop and Iris & Retina and all of them are top notch, there is only one A. Ghastlee Ghoul. It’s my complete honor to bring you readers this very special Horror Host Icon update that is all about the one and only master of the late night puns, A. Ghastlee Ghoul!

The Ghastlee Movie Show started in 1991 and was spawned off another public access comedy show called “The Underground Sideshow” from 1988 as it started off as a skit about a reluctant Horror Host. And with that skit, a new breed of Horror Host show was born in Dayton as it took over the time slot of the show that spawned it and became a late night hit with viewers.

The show lasted for decades, and Ghastlee was a Horror Host that I can remember kids talking about once I moved from Waynesville to Kettering as everyone enjoyed the rapid fire pacing and the chaos of the skits with the use of music and visuals. His show was like nothing seen before from a Horror Host…at least in our area!

A. Ghastlee Ghoul became such a popular host that he also began appearing on other local access shows like “Media Only” and even “New Shock Theater,” teaming him with one of his biggest inspirations, Dr. Creep! Ghastlee’s zany show even helped spawn the world youngest Horror Host Dr. Freak and this even lead to him appearing on his show “Cult Theater” and giving the film Zombie 4 the old “Mystery Science Theater 3000” treatment. The show’s popularity among public access viewers grew and this lead to A. Ghastlee Ghoul becoming the official second most popular Horror Host in the Dayton market and lead to so many other cool appearances that we will get into a little later.

One of The Ghastlee Movie Show’s most watched episodes had him starring at the camera the whole time looking sad, and this both worried and puzzled viewers as they just didn’t understand what was going on…and that was the point and it had them coming back for more! Over the years The Ghastlee Movie show has slowed down with new episodes coming only in the form of the occasional special or Ghastlee appearing on other shows like Baron Von Porkchops Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. But while The Ghastlee Movie Show might be entertaining viewers and fans with reruns right now, plans of new episodes are in the works as of this update! I will say never count A. Ghastlee Ghoul out as who knows when a new Ghastlee Movie Show will emerge from the depths of Dayton and introduce a new breed of viewers to this innovative and one of a kind show.

When I first moved from Waynesville to Kettering, I hated it so much as I was always the strange monster kid who loved to talk about Horror Movies and draw pictures of monsters and demons…and this new school was not about it as the kids were all fine but 97% of the staff was not and thought I was in some sort of cult and was dangerous…it was the satanic panic all over again! But while Kettering Schools sucked ass, it was during this time that I discovered The Ghastlee Movie Show. I had seen him on other shows like “Media Only,” but while here in Kettering I really got to discover just how amazing his show was.

I watched every Friday night and would even tape it and watch the reruns. His show was that mesmerizing to this then-teenage monster kid. My favorite episode to watch was when he hosted the film The Manster as he inserted himself into the movie and did some great comedy bits that fit perfectly with the events of the film. I also saw his starting at the camera episode and watched the whole thing…in fact several times…I know that explains a lot!

I first got to meet Ghastlee in person at one of the Horrorama Movie Marathon events and became life long friends with him when I answered a trivia question about his show and won a prize. After this, Ghastlee and I emailed each other from time to time, and I was even lucky enough to be on his show once (more on that later) and would go to events he was hosting like screenings at Neon Movies. We also both would be at many of the same conventions once my friends and I started the SOV film company Independent B Movie.

A. Ghastlee Ghoul is like a second father to me and has always watched out for me as well as has always been around when needed and has supported all my weird creative outlets as I have always been around for him. He is a true friend who has helped inspire many of my projects including the creation of Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop that I created back in 2010 alongside my cousin Stephen. I am a very lucky person as I have lots of great people in my life, and I am lucky to call many of the Horror Hosts I grew up watching friends like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Dr. Creep, Dr. Freak, The Creeper and Iris & Retina of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go all who are Dayton Hosts. So here is a big thank you to Bob Hinton, the man behind A. Ghastlee Ghoul for all his years of friendship and for being an amazing Horror Host and a great person.

A. Ghastlee Ghoul was just that – a ghoul who has a pail white face, a goatee and long hair who has a twisted and fun sense of humor and is filled with random and off the wall thoughts and jokes. His original look was wearing all black with a long black coat and a strange looking glove that was deformed looking. His attire would later change to a long red & black coat with a red hat, and this became his signature look.

Ghastlee’s sense of humor is a little twisted, and he has no filter and a manic style of hosting. While Ghastlee has hosted films, he mostly was known for hosting clips that had a gonzo style of editing that included clips of adult films mixed with old commercials and horror movies all set to music. While a ghoul, A. Ghastlee Ghoul is not the flesh eating kind and is more of the pun infested kind who enjoys making people laugh as well as become shocked by his brand of humor.

Besides his show and hosting movies, Ghastlee is also known for playing in bands in the area as well as hosting a radio show, making him a multi talented Ghoul! Besides being the host of The Ghastlee Movie Show, he has also guest starred and hosted many other shows like New Shock Theater, Cult Theater, Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre, The Spooky Movie, Weird Web Theater and many more! While A. Ghastlee Ghoul might not be of the flesh eating variety, this Ghoul how ever is the type to both humor and frighten you with his quick wit and zany personality.

Like any good Horror Host show, the Ghastlee Movie Show has its fair share of co-hosts and sidekicks! With one of the early ones being the one and only Uncle Jasper! But then was added Lou The XXX-Mas Devil, who is smooth and a ladies man and an amazing co-host that adds lots of fun moments to the show. Then came Jeff McClellan, American, a cigar chomping pro American who has strong right views. Grimsburger The Doorman was his grunting, raw meat-eating doorman, and lastly was the Horror Hostess Suspira who added a horror lady charm to the show. Plus over the ages he had many other guests that include Dr. Creep, Dow Thomas, Dr. Freak and Baron Von Wolfstein! And for those who might not know, I once played a character on his show and was called “Son Of A. Ghastlee Ghoul” who was indeed a fraud when his real life daughter showed up and fronted me out! That was such a fun time, and the episode had both not only me but also my pal Jason Gilmore. All the co-hosts are so important to this show and each added their own touch to making Ghastlee Movie Show even more special for viewers.

Good old Ghastlee has also spread his madness to many great events as well as he is a staple at many conventions over the years with his main appearance being at Cinema Wasteland in Strongsville, Ohio where he even hosts an event called “Ghastlee Night At The Movies” that showcases his zany games and even musical performances and this is a staple for Wastelanders. In 2004 Ghastlee even had his own convention here in Dayton at the Convention Center called “Ghastlee’s Scary Camp” that was a great time for everyone who attended and had many great guests like Sid Haig, Conrad Brooks, Bill Hinzman and Heather Leigh Davis to name a few, not to mention David “The Rock” Nelson was also running around!

A. Ghastlee Ghoul also has been in many bands around here with his two most popular bands being Rat Sass and Splattertude, and they have played at many great venues and has even had “A. Ghastlee Night At Gilly’s” events at the classic Gilly’s Jazz Club! He has live hosted movies at theaters like Neon Movies, Page Manor, Englewood Cinema and even Danbarry Huber Heights and even has co-hosted charity movie marathon Horrorama off and on for years. He also did Frightfest, a meet and great at a Blockbuster Video in Middletown, a very cool idea that brought video rental store and Horror Host together. He has written many short stories as well as co-authored the cult classic novel “Underpants Of The Dead” as well as wrote two of the stories used in the comic book series “Shocking Macabre Theater” that also showcases Ghastlee as one of the main characters! Not to mention he has even hosted comedy and freakshow acts alongside Baron Von Porkchop at Wiley’s Comedy Club!

In his early days as Bob Hinton, he ran many haunted houses….and this is just a drop in the hat of all the amazing things A. Ghastlee Ghoul has done in and around the Ohio area, showing that this Horror Host and the man behind it truly is a creative mastermind. Oh man I should also say that in 2004 he made the horror comedy film “Joe Nosferatu: Homeless Vampire” that also showcased many other Horror Hosts including Dr. Creep & Dr. Freak! And he even has done radio with his show “Wackadoo Wax Radio” with co-host Comrade X…man A. Ghastlee Ghoul/Bob Hinton really is a man of many talents! One more thing that is very important to Horror Host fans around the world is Ghastlee is also one of the founding creators of The Horror Host Underground, a very cool group that allowed viewers from all around the U.S to see hosts from other states!

On March 19, 2016 at Horrorhound Weekend, the “2016 Class of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame” induction took place and in this class was the one and only A. Ghastlee Ghoul. To me this was long over due as Ghastlee truly is an iconic host who had a style all to his own, setting him apart from the pack. For this event Ghastlee was inducted by Halloween Jack and Baron Von Wolfstein, and I was honored that he wanted me on stage with him during this time for him to be honored for all his years of hard work being a Horror Host. A. Ghastlee Ghoul was joined in his class by the likes of Feep, Ivonna Cadaver, The Great Zucchini and Ghost Host to name a few. It was great to see Ghastlee get the respect and honor he 100% deserved as he really is a true icon of Horror Hosting and has done so much for Hosting on screen and off it!

Shocking Macabre Theater has two issues released by Sparkle Comics so far and features Dayton’s best Horror Hosts like Dr. Creep, The Creeper, Baron Von Porkchop and of course A. Ghastlee Ghoul all sharing scary stories with the readers. Artist Damien Brunk is the one who brings the host parts alive on the pages. But what people do not know is that when Sparkle Comics first started in 2016, one of the first comics in development was a comic based on A. Ghastlee Ghoul that would have him and Lou The XXX-Mas Devil going on Scooby-Doo style adventures. The art for this series was going to be done by my friend Brett Prescott who also would have helped write the adventures along with myself, and we would have had A. Ghastlee Ghoul also help with the stories. The idea would have taken Ghastlee and Lou all over the state of Ohio and would have had them running into local legend monsters as well as would have had an enemy known as The Phantom who would wear all black and would almost be like the Super Goof baddy Phantom Blot but way more sinister and mean. This sadly got sidelined and never made it into full production as we mostly just worked on character designs and loose plotlines. As of now, the comic is one the list of comics that are no longer being developed, but who knows, maybe one day Brett and I will work on this comic series and at least deliver a one shot issue. Check out some of the art design below to see how this comic would have looked.

Before we get to the episodes, I would like to take a moment to talk about his most iconic one in which Ghastlee starred at the camera for 30 minutes straight as candle smoke entered the frame. The watchers of Dayton public access were mesmerized by this episode as it was met with mixed reactions! Many viewers just watched in amazement to try and figure out if Ghastlee was pulling a joke; many others thought he was trying to steal their souls or hypnotize them and it was part of some sort of devil worshiping ritual! When I saw the show when it originally aired, I picked up more of a sad vibe, almost like Ghastlee’s heart had been broken and this was his way of dealing with it. Ghastlee himself would go on and say that the episode was an experiment to see if people would watch the full episode and find a meaning in it. This episode lives on still to this day as people who love Dayton, Ohio Horror Hosts talk about this episode amongst themselves, I think one amazing thing about this episode is the fact that people wrote in to the station to complain about it and this causes major stress between Ghastlee and the station. This episode is truly one that needs to be seen as it’s one of the oddest episodes of The Ghastlee Movie Show you will ever see.

So as you can see, A. Ghastlee Ghoul is a true Dayton original Horror Host entertainer who has entertained, confused and inspired many viewers over the years of his show. And now it’s time for me to take a look at some of the shows I have of A. Ghastlee Ghoul on DVD as part of my horror host collection. I want to thank Bob Hinton himself for getting me almost all of these episodes as well as fellow Horror Host tape traders. I do not give these episodes a star rating and the host segments are written by me with the films’ write-ups coming from our pals at IMDB. I am also not going to cover the DVDs of “Best Of The Ghastlee Movie Show” nor “Grimsburger Raw” as those are clip shows and I want to showcase the full episodes. I also have a ton of episodes and these are the ones I selected at random to showcase The Ghastlee Movie Show. Some of these episodes are the ones that made me a fan all those years back. So if you’re ready, let’s dive into the weird and wild world of A. Ghastlee Ghoul and his movie show!

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Alcohol Patch
Starring – Uncle Jasper & Erin Ghoul         Not Rated       2000

Host: Ghastlee, wearing a fur coat, is hanging out with Uncle Jasper and once more welcoming us to the show with his super quick wit and racy humor. He also talks about the theme of the year as well as how only 141 people watch his show. He also showcases the new alcohol patch and then brings on a group of teens who are his live audience. He talks more about the patch and interviews the teens and shows some random clips and skits before ending the show. Also his daughter shows up to end the show properly as he is on the alcohol patch.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Anther Dimension
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul   Not Rated   1998

Host: Ghastlee joins you from another dimension to host the night’s show and treat us to soothing music over psychedelic colors and images. Ghastlee returns to warn the viewers about being trapped in another dimension and tells them all not to get stuck in one as it’s bad! Then back to the music; this time set to clips from movies. Ghastlee comes back and asks for help to escape from the other dimension and that really this episode is just a concept as he has run out of ideas! Then back to clips and skits that include classic skits used on classic episodes. Ghastlee joins the viewers again from the dimension and ushers them out of the episode.

Note From Matt: This is episode 52 of The Ghastlee Movie Show.

Ghastlee Movie Show: Bad Trip At Creepy Crick
Starring – Jesse Nutt & Gary Davis     Not Rated       1992

Host: Ghastlee shows up a little way into the movie and is upset they started the show without him and is even more mad they are showing this shot on video B-movie! Next time we show Ghastlee, he is on set and shows a fake commercial for foot care. And when the film is over, Ghastlee enters the film and beats the actors with a stick! He also shows a music video and a Little Lulu cartoon.

Movie: A group of friends are fishing at a small creek and are warned by a Monster Hunter that a fish monster is on the loose and people have been turning up dead! The group of friends decide to stay instead of leave and to their horror the monster shows up! The group of friends turn the table on the monster and find that the creature is in fact not real and is just the Monster Hunter dressed up. And in the end a twist happens and the film quickly ends.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Bill
Starring – Bill Hicks       Not Rated     1994

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul is sitting in his home and is ranting about how companies are using music from the likes of John Lennon and Janis Joplin to sell products! He also does a silly musical bit about Seattle as well as talks about his sadness of the passing of Bill Hicks.

Movie: What is shown is the last stand-up act of comedian Bill Hicks in Arkansas.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Chili Cook Off
Starring – Dr. Creep & Dave Sullivan     Not Rated   2002

Host: Ghastlee Ghoul, alongside Jeff McClellan, is heading to an Irish Pub in Brookville to meet with Horror Host Icon Dr. Creep to eat chili at a cook off! Also on hand to eat chili is Wild Man Dave Sullivan of show Media Only. Ghastlee and crew eat chili and rate it and are having a great time do so for charity. In the end, they event takes to long to pick a winner, and Ghastlee lets the viewers know in his book # 28 was the winner.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Coming Around The Mountain
Starring – Dr. Creep        Not Rated       1997

Host: Ghastlee starts the show talking about his show being “TV M” and that people should tune in because boobs. And he takes jabs at the city of Moraine as well as terrible commercials being aired. He then shows the classic “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain” skit that has the song mixed with porn clips. And then he talks about his most viewed episode –  of him just starring in the camera the whole episode and the how people complained about it. We then show Ghastlee with Dr. Creep at the Inferno club talking about running for President. And once more he starts up about being TV M and how raunchy he can be now because of it and proceeds to tell dirty jokes.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Community Watch
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul      Not Rated       1993

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul is very concerned about the community and wants to talk about censorship of books and how terrible it is that a local church is doing book burnings and how terrible it is that libraries are taking books off shelves. Ghastlee returns to his normal set and talks a little about the film Bram Stoker’s Dracula and says the movie sucks! We are then treated to skits and music montages clipped together in Ghastlee fashion. This episode also shows a live White Zombie video filmed here in Dayton, Ohio. In the end, Ghastlee makes more jokes and thanks viewers for watching.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Death Of A Rude Dude
Starring – Rick Martin & Dr. Creep     Not Rated     1995

Host: On his set Ghastlee tells some jokes and then shows a short film called “Death Of A Really Rude Dude” that ends up just being about him bragging about himself to the female workers of Public Access. And later in his set, Ghastlee starts drinking and being angry with his crew and has a guest named A. Smithee who was flown in from Hollywood. Smithee gets upset when he realizes that Ghastlee has never seen one of his films. After Smithee storms off the set, he plays a few funny spots, and then gets a visit from Dr. Creep minus his makeup who warns him to change his behavior, and after the visit he goes to the control room and gets a package that has a dead rat in it. Once back on his set he talks about boobs on public access and asks viewers if they would like to see them, and once more Dr. Creep visits with a warning, as Ghastlee keeps being rude and crude and his final warning comes while Ghastlee is in the restroom. In the end A. Smithee grabs a knife and stalks Ghastlee down the halls, and finally Smithee with a samurai sword cuts off Ghastlee’s hand and head!

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Elvis Lives
Starring – Lou Vuto     Not Rated     1993

Host: Ghastlee welcomes us to his show while he tells some crude and silly jokes on his set. He also interviews an Elvis impersonator named Lou Vuto and even ends the show lip-synching to an Elvis song.

Movie: The movie section of this episode is clips and music mixed together in a Night Flight kind of way. Also thrown in are some silly skits from Ghastlee and his old comedy troop of friends. Also plays a few Elvis inspired music videos that include the animated “All Dug Up” video of a skeleton Elvis in his coffin.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul & Jimmy Hoffa   Not Rated   1991

Host: This starts with Ghastlee doing a skit about hair loss and a hair club that will help you grow hair…because you are a werewolf! Ghastlee Ghoul emerges from a black and red screen and welcomes the viewers to the show and tells some Halloween and Pee-Wee Herman jokes and does a skit about Jeffrey Dahmer. Ghastlee next talks to a chunk of concrete that is Jimmy Hoffa and a filmmaker who claims he has slept with many famous females. Ghastlee then tells some news from the afterlife and then his friends go and share “ghost” stories. Ghastlee returns and has a segment called “Be Funny Or Be Dead” and if they win they get free White Castle burgers for life or die by them; the comedian dies by a giant burger. Ghastlee ends the show dancing and telling the viewers he will see them next week.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 4
Starring – Sock Puppets         Not Rated       1992    

Host: This episode starts with a man being killed with a hammer, and then Ghastlee starts the episode singing the blues with funny lyrics, that then goes into a talk about discrimination against the dead. And then he goes into silly skits about MTV Camera school that teaches you how to film young women. He then shows Night Of The Living Dead done with sock puppets, and Ghastlee is mad as he thought it was the real film! Ghastlee fires his producer and shows cheesy trailers for fake movies, and then reads the plots for some movies that he could possibly show. Ghastlee then just shows some clip style music video he put together.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 18
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul & Angry Neighbors     Not Rated     1993

Host: Ghastlee starts the show off with his set going crazy and then tells some of his normal crude and funny jokes about dead people and Dhamer! And after skits he returns with some more crude jokes and takes us to a segment called “Life’s Eternal Mysteries.” Then he goes to a White Zombie music video and then a skit about an old people stunt school. Back on the set, Ghastlee is visited by two guys that want to throw Ghastlee out of the neighborhood as they think he is causing issues with their TV as well as all the buried skeletons…and a mob is outside waiting to railroad him out of town for good! Ghastlee escapes, and then he shows a few more skits before the show ends.

Note From Matt: This episode is a little rough in quality at the start.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 59
Starring – The Clapper     Not Rated   1999

Host: The episode starts with a Betty Boop cartoon set to music, and then we are treated to clips and music! The clip is from an old Sword and Sandal movie ,and he has a man clap over and over as a man whips a female prisoner as more clips are overlaid with music and voices added.

Note From Matt: This episode was dubbed the “Labor Show”.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 62
Starring – Erin Ghoul & Dave Sullivam           Not Rated           2000

Host: We start with a skit making fun of hillbillies and Kentucky, and then we are treated to some music over clips. Ghastlee is shown dancing around and falls when his daughter Erin shows up and opens the show. He then takes back over and starts his quick-witted jokes once again. And after dancing and falling again, we are shown more clips set to music and sound effects. Then he shows the trailer for the unreleased horror comedy film “Stop It Your Killing Me!” Back to Ghastlee on the set who ends up talking Wild Man Dave Sullivan for public access show “Media Only” and the pair go back and fourth. We then get some music performance by a metal band. Wild Man and Ghastlee once more share shots back and fourth and then talk about how Public Access is Free TV. We then cut to music with clips, and then Erin Ghoul ends the show and tells viewers not to watch her dad’s show as it rots your brain!

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 64
Starring – Uncle Jasper & Lou The XXX-Mas Devil     Not Rated     2000

Host: This episode Ghastlee is on set and is on the phone stretching his leg high up over his head and is shocked when the viewers are there! He then shows some clips from Neon Movies and one of his Ghastlee Night At The Movie events he held in the theater. During this he also shows shout-outs from other horror hosts like The Ghastly One, Count Gore de Vol and Halloween Jack! And then to the Cannibal Harry’s fake commercial along with other odd skits are played. And then there’s more footage from Neon Movies of Uncle Jasper on guitar playing Werewolves Of London as the crowd howls!

Note From Matt: Sadly this episode has a few audio issues from the master tape at the start of the episode.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 70
Starring – Count Gore De Vol     Not Rated     2000 

Host: This episode starts with clips of Ghastlee, almost like a greatest hits package and then shows a vampire girl mixed with weird clips and footage of Blair Witch Project with the song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” playing over it. And then he shows a trailer for a film called “The Devil’s Sex Slave” and then as well shows clip from a SOV horror comedy film. And then once more we go into a crazy music videos of clips from all types of movies, shows and videos set to different music tracks. He plays a fake foul car commercial followed by the zombie Elvis “All Dug Up” animated video. And then we get a quick message from Horror Host Legend Count Gore De Vol about Ghastlee Ghoul. We then go back to the music videos one being the video for “Terror” by the band My Ruin that is mixed with movie clips.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Equinox
Starring – Edward Connell & Barbara Hewitt       Rated PG       1970

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul is in the bathtub with the Necronomicon, and horror hostess Madame Mortem reads from the book and finds that a curse has been put into place that has all horror hosts having to host the 1970 film Equinox! The next break we get a visit from Count Gore de Vol who talks about the real equinox. Next up are Remo D and the following Professor Griffin, Dr. Fear, Halloween Jack, Dr. Creep, Dr. Sarcofiguy, Bone Jangler and more with Ghastlee showing up throughout to spread his zany brand of humor and ends the show with a singing SpongeBob SquarePants and the Necronomicon!

Movie: Four teenagers go on a woods hike and encounter a creepy forest ranger and a crazy old man. The old man is a scientist who had found a mysterious book bound in human skin, the Necronomicon, and when he had read its cryptic symbols it conjured monsters into existence. The teenagers keep the book, and are then pursued by monsters, a demonic cult, and the ranger. The ranger turns out to be a red flying devil in human disguise.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Frightvision
Starring – Jeff McClellan & Sleazy P. Martini      Not Rated      2000  

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul is at Frightvision Convention and is meeting with his fans and takes a few moments to also chat with his fellow Horror Hosts and celebrities like DJ Neil, Sleazy P. Martini of GWAR, and he is joined by Jeff McClellan, American. Ghastlee also shows off his view from his hotel room and shows Jeff dancing on his bed to the song “Jungle Boogie.” Jeff also wanders around and films the antics of the convention, and Ghastlee at one point walks around and chats with some folks. He also shows a clip of Sleazy P.’s new video at the time.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Get Out Of Hell Card
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul       Not Rated       1992

Host: Ghastlee is on his set and is paranoid about people being after him, and then comes the Ghastlee style quick wit jokes! Ghastlee then does an impersonation of George Takei of Star Trek fame and then tries his best to do a female auction and all the girls tell him NO to being on the show. In-between Ghastlee’s jokes, we are treated to music video set to clips and cartoons. In the end after making some God jokes, he tries to use his Get Out Of Hell Free Card and the set blows up in a ball of fire!

Note From Matt: The end of this episode has lots of bad tracking issues and while you can hear it the picture is gone for long moments. And finally before the episodes over the recording stops.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Giant Gila Monster
Starring – Don Sullivan & Fred Graham         Not Rated           1959

Host: Ghastlee Ghoul decides to host the movie The Giant Gila Monster and puts himself in the motion picture and cuts jokes and delivers snarky remarks. And Ghastlee does this for the whole movie with funny results. We later cut to Ghastlee on his set as he has a guest that was a man who was once eaten by a Gila Monster, but when he finds that his guest was a fraud, he really does feed him to a Gila Monster! Then we go back to the movie, and once more Ghastlee inserts himself into it. At intermission Ghastlee eats something from the bottom of his boot and shows a fake coffee commercial before going back to the movie.

Movie: A couple of teenagers are reported missing in a small Texas town, and it is thought they eloped. Sheriff Jeff turns to his friend Clarence Winstead, a garage mechanic and leader of a hot-rod gang, for help. After a series of tragic motor accidents, it becomes apparent that a giant Gila monster is roaming the area depleting the town of its citizens and visitors, including two hot-rodding teens, and planning to attend the BIG record-hop party.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Ghastlee Yule ‘94
Starring – Scott Huff & Dow Thomas     Not Rated     1994

Host: The episode opens with the song Christmas in Heaven set to all types of clips. Ghastlee on his set is with the body of his dead neighbor as a young woman in a bikini dances around. He then shares more clips and skits including 1800-HiScott about a chubby man who charges you to chat with him as well as Scott’s parade footage, and then Ghastlee on his set again ushers us to more skits including Dow Thomas singing Jingle Bells as Bob Dylan. Dow Thomas then joins Ghastlee on the set and gives Ghastlee a skull for Christmas and then treats the viewers to a couple of songs. Ghastlee breaks down the film “It’s A Wonderful Life” and then we get more skit clips. Ghastlee then talks to a man claiming to be Santa, and then a clip of an elf who is mad about his treatment. Ghastlee next talks to a guy named Bo, who talks about seeing Santa and being kidnapped by him! In the end he ushers the viewers out of the episode with a song by Dow Thomas.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Ghastlee Yule ‘98
Starring – Dow Thomas & Scott Huff     Not Rated     1998

Host: Like always, this Ghastlee Yule starts with some music and clips and we then join Ghastlee in studio covered in Christmas garland and is singing his own Christmas song about getting sex for the holiday. He then tells viewers that as always he will be running reruns and so starts skits from the past Ghastlee Yule specials that include “1900-HiScott”, Dow Thomas singing Christmas songs, Bikini woman dancing and of course Ghastlee talking about Christmas in off the wall ways.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Ghastlee Yule ‘06
Starring – Suspira & Jeff McClellan     Not Rated       2006

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul is on his set along with Jeff McClellan, Grimsburger The Doorman and Suspira. While she plays the video 12 Days of Christmas and animated short, Ghastlee leads the guys in carols about William Shatner. Next Suspira and Mayhem Zann of the band Splattertude give a quick gross countdown, and then we are treated to a Christmas Cartoon. Later Ghastlee has a massive joint and then ushers us into a Bob Hope picture being set on fire after he tells some fun jokes. We then are treated to some classic segment from past Ghastlee Yule specials. In the end Ghastlee and his crew wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and he does a William Shatner impersonation on reading the twelve days of Christmas.

Note From Matt: Sadly most of the end credits are missing from this episode

The Ghastlee Movie Show: HorrorFind 2001 Pt. 1
Starring – Bruce Campbell & Michael Berryman    Not Rated     2001

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Jeff McClellan are at HorrorFind 2001 Convention and are walking around showing the amazing stuff for sale as well as showcase some of the stars on hand at the event. Ghastlee takes a moment and talks to Michael Berryman from the Hills Have Eyes. He next talks to Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell about making movies and the pair zing off each other. Ghastlee next films the costume contest at the event hosted by Count Gore de Vol and Bruce Campbell…in the end after the winner is picked the show ends.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: HorrorFind 2001 Pt. 2
Starring – Edgar Allen Poe & Drew Williams     Not Rated     2001

Host: Ghastlee and Jeff McClellan are still at Horrorfind Weekend, and before they show more convention hijinks they visit the grave of Edgar Allen Poe and Ghastlee reads a passage from one of Poe’s story. Ghastlee then shows a few moments of Horrorfind, and then we join Jeff McClellan at the grave of Poe and he as well reads a passage! Then back to Horrorfind, and then they walk around a haunted house that was apart of the convention! He then has an interview with Phantasm actor Reggie Bannister, and the pair talk trees, politics and guitars. He then interviews special effects god Tom Savini, and they chat all about getting home after a long weekend.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: I’m Sick
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul      Not Rated       1993

Host: The show starts off with clips as Type Of Negative music plays as well as other rock music, and as well as an animated Jerky Boys prank call. We catch up with Ghastlee who is sick in bed and is under covers and whining and farting….but really he is faking it and wants to go out and party! We are then treated to more clips, music and odd skits and even a Type O Negative music video for Black # 1. We next join Ghastlee as he is throwing up in the toilet, and we go to another music video as the show ends.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Jan-Gel
Starring – Conrad Brooks & Dale Clukey       Not Rated      2000

Host: Ghastlee and Jeff McClellan are on set with a VHS copy of the film Jan-Gel made by director/actor Conrad Brooks! They both take shots at the film as well as Conrad Brooks as they are clearly not fans and say that the film is the worst film in history. And of course throughout the film Ghastlee adds in his own edits and sound bits. He comes back and talks to Athens, Ohio Horror Host Lizzy Ax (who as far as I know never did one episode), and they usher us back to the cheesy movie. When we join Ghastlee next he is with his neighbor and they once more poke fun at the film and then take us back to the film. In the end Ghastlee with Lizzy wraps up the episode by showcasing his show and once more trashing the night’s film. And then we are treated to a music video that features clips from Chris Seaver film “Mulva Zombie Ass-Kicker”.

Host: Without doubt, the most intriguing caveman epic of our time. Jan-Gel, thawed from his 50,000 year sleep, dedicates his new life in the present day to mutilating anyone he can find as he roams the hills of Maryland and West Virginia. Dresses in a leopard skin, and not much else, he wreaks havoc and still finds the time to fall in love with young Beth Simmons. However, special agents Conrad Brooks and Gary West are hot on his trail. Can they stop him before he finds his next victim?

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Jeff McClellan
Starring – Jeff McClellan     Not Rated     1999

Host: This episode has A. Ghastlee Ghoul welcoming Dr. Creep back to Horror Hosting with his public access show New Shock Theater! Ghastlee also lets the viewers know that this marks his 10 years on the air and that he is going to start throwing crap at the viewers and see what sticks…but Ghastlee is soon taken off the air when Jeff McClellan American shows up and hijacks the show and answers calls from viewers giving his pro American advice. In the end, Jeff McClellan pulls out a gun and Ghastlee rushes him and the episode ends with a cliffhanger!

Note From Matt: This appears to be the first appearance of the co-host character Jeff McClellan American and makes this a true key episode in the series as Jeff would go on to be the one of the shows most popular co-hosts. This is also episode # 55.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Jeff McClellan Pt. 2
Starring – Jeff McClellan    Not Rated     1999

Host: This episode has Jeff McClellan having a debate on who will be the host of the show with A. Ghastlee Ghoul who is being backed up by Lou The XXX-Mas Devil and as their secret weapon they bring porn clips to try and get the votes. The pair take calls from viewers and give answers to questions that are all off the wall and with the dash of the classic crude humor. The debate ends with a to be continued!

Note From Matt: This is the second appearance of Jeff McClellan and is also episode 56!

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Koala
Starring – Stuffed Animal & Candles       Not Rated      2000

Host: This episode is just a plush toy koala bear sitting on a counter with candles and incense lit as music plays from bands like Type Of Negative, Phish, Journey and Jim Croce. The whole episode goes this way.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Lap Dance Computer
Starring – Corn Dervish       Not Rated      1999

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul has gotten himself a Lap Dance Computer and has fun with the machine and even runs around the set naked! He even has a fan join him on the episode named Corn Dervish! Not to mention, Ghastlee as always has his fair share of clips set to music to entertain the late night viewers, and after messing with Corn, he ends the night’s episode with looking on the bright side of life.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Leslie Nielsen
Starring – Leslie Nielsen & Green Jello     Not Rated     1993

Host: Ghastlee is on his set and starts the show off by telling some jokes and is mad that viewers are mad about him showing White Zombie videos and instead shows a video from the band Green Jello that was filmed in Dayton, Ohio. After the video, Ghastlee shows some things that fans have sent him in the mail like a glass, VHS tape and sunglasses. He next shows a segment of Grace Jones reading Little Red Riding to kids that of course ends with her freaking them out. Ghastlee next pops on and chats with Leslie Nielsen, and the interview goes awkward and the man turns out to be a fraud and is really be a human bomb that explodes on set. In the end, we are treated to another Green Jello live shot video from Dayton.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: The Manster
Starring – Peter Dyneley & Jane Hylton       Not Rated         1959

Host: In this episode Ghastlee decides to host the movie Manster and adds a twist as he adds himself into the film as well as gives his own joke remarks during scenes! And I mean really, Ghastlee shows up on screen in the movie and cuts jokes and one-liners! During a break in the movie Ghastlee interviews a drink Doctor and after drinking the powerful drink, he grows another head!! And then back to the movie… Ghastlee ends the show with his second head disappearing and talking to Neal from Public Access’ Metalmania who gives Ghastlee a bomb that blows up.

Movie: An American reporter in Japan is sent to interview an eccentric Japanese scientist working on bizarre experiments in his mountain laboratory. When the doctor realizes that the hapless correspondent is the perfect subject for his next experiment, he drugs the unfortunate man and injects him with a serum that gradually transforms him into a hideous, two-headed monster.

Note From Matt: This is one of my favorite episodes, and many of the jokes in this one crack me up with the “Wish You Were Here Larry” bath scene one for me being the best.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Messiah Of Evil
Starring – Michael Greer & Marianna Hill       Rated R       1973

Host: Live from the Monstercast on the Monster Channel has A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Jeff McClellan hiding under a bed with their Bozo The Clown doll and are chatting about the night’s first film of the evening Dead People aka Messiah Of Evil and are lured out from hiding with a beer by Suspira! But the movie is really scaring them as Suspira and Mayhem Zann are mad about them being scared so they bring in a man’s man in who makes Ghastlee and Jeff eat raw meat! And at one point Lou The XXX-Mas Devil is trying to sleep as Ghastlee and Jeff talk about the night’s second movie Funeral Home.

Movie: Messiah Of Evil A young woman goes searching for her missing artist father. Her journey takes her to a strange Californian seaside town governed by a mysterious undead cult.

Note From Matt: Sadly this is only the first movie of the Monstercast so the rest of the show is not on the disc.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Moving Show
Starring –Baron Von Wolfstein & Grimsburger     Not Rated         2005

Host: Ghastlee is moving and needs to bring down his set and move all his props as he calls this episode “The Ghastlee Moving Show” his only help is Horror Host legend Baron Von Wolfstein and the crazy Grimsburger The Doorman! After feeding Grimsburger some meat and drinking some beers, they start the task. During this time for breaks he shows some clips of Scary Camp, Twisted Nightmare among many other Ghastlee Ghoul related things as well as shows the short movie Joe Nosferatu. In the end Ghastlee and his helpers show the old set that is now barebones. Clips of Conventions and the short film Joe Nosferatu are shown.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Pantomime
Starring – Jeff McClellan & Grimsburger The Doorman     Not Rated     ???

Host: Ghastlee and Jeff McClellan start to show lip-synching to a trailer of the Caddy that has bad words as bloopers. He then shows music montages before we next join Grimsburger The Doorman who is listening to bad music! We then get more lip-synching between our hosts Jeff and Ghastlee to celebrity bloopers, and of course more montages of clips and trailers thrown in for good measure! Jeff then interviews Rosetta Workman who was at Cinema Wasteland working the table for filmmaker Andy Copp and even chats with Dr. Creep for a second about how women make better sales people at conventions.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Prison
Starring – Neal Turpin & Dow Thomas     Not Rated     1992

Host: Ghastlee Ghoul opens the show from a TV Screen and is in jail for giving the finger to a cop when Neal Turpin from a local music show enters the set and takes over the show! Neal spends the time making fun of Ghastlee and showing music videos from bands like Judas Priest. All the while Ghastlee acts as if he is doing a special to show how bad prison is, and he is scared when a creepy prisoner sneaks up behind him! Between the videos he also shows a comedy short done by Shock Theater icon Dow Thomas. Neal starts to give away some of Ghastee’s stuff, and he gets mad about it and once more appears on the set as everyone leaves him all alone.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Psychomania
Starring – Nick Henson & Mary Larkin     PG      1973

Host: Lou The XXX-Mas Devil is in charge of the show and is at the new set with a drunken guy named Matt, and all the while A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Jeff McClellan are in Tennessee with Horror Host Dr. Gangrene of Chiller Cinema on his set as well as a haunted attraction he was part of for Halloween. In the end Lou shows a very shortened and music over dialogue version of the film Psychomania.

Movie: A gang of young people call themselves the Living Dead. They terrorize the population from their small town. After an agreement with the devil, if they kill themselves firmly believing in it, they will survive and gain eternal life. Following their leader, they commit suicide one after the other, but things don’t necessarily turn out as expected.

Note From Matt: This is episode 84 of The Ghastlee Movie Show, and the episode oddly has no end credits.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Scary Camp Preview
Starring – Reverend Zealot & Ken Kish     Not Rated     2004

Host: This episode features Joe Nosferatu Homeless Vampire pushing for viewers to attend Scary Camp, a very cool horror convention in Dayton that was put on by A. Ghastlee Ghoul. Joe then does his best to showcase the guests that include Sid Haig and Tom Sullivan to name a very few. We are also treated to clips of films some of the guests are in as well as clips from films showing at the event. We then are treated to a revival done by Reverend Joe Bob Billy Jean with guests that include New Shock Theater’s Reverend Zealot as they try and save the souls of those horror fans who like CGI effects.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Staring
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul & Candle   Not Rated     1996

Host: A Ghastlee Ghoul starts the episode with no opening credits, but instead starts it off just starring into the camera with a candle lit underneath his face and nature sounds playing in the background almost making its own ambient music. Every once in a while you will hear someone cough in the background adding a new layer off weirdness to the episode. Ghastlee does not speak a word and just stares at the viewer, he struggles not to blink as his eyes even start to tear up. In the end he swirls some incense around, and the episode ends with a message that thanks the viewers for watching this experiment.

Note From Matt: This is one of the most iconic episodes of The Ghastlee Movie Show as viewers truly were confused by what they were watching! This also was his most watched episode and triggered people to write in to the Public Accesses station to complain about how they felt the episode was demonic. True classic Ghastlee at his best, and this is also episode # 38.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Ted V. Mikels
Starring – Ted V. Mikels & Shanti     Not Rated     2000

Host: Ghastlee opens the show letting the viewers know that he and Jeff McClellan have just gotten back from the horror convention Cinema Wasteland and shares Jeff getting beat up by a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle! But the main attraction is Ghastlee interviewing cult film director Ted V. Mikels and actress Shanti about his long history of making classic drive in films like Astro-Zombies, The Corpse Grinders, Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils and is promoting the film The Corpse Grinders 2. Ted and Shanti have a blast talking about the making of the film The Corpse Grinders 2, and it’s clear Ghastlee had a blast chatting with them. Ghastlee ends the show with saying he has to send Ted a copy of this interview and then is amazed that Ted will be watching The Ghastlee Movie Show.

Note From Matt: This is episode 66 of The Ghastlee Movie Show.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Toxic Zombies
Starring – Charles McCrann & Beverly Shapiro     Not Rated     1980

Host: It’s Ghastlee’s Halloween Special and it starts with Horror Host Remo D wishing us all a happy one! We then show that Ghastlee is hanging out at a haunted attraction with Jeff McClellan and chats with some of the folks going to the haunted path as well as the world’s youngest Horror Host Dr. Freak! Later Ghastlee, Jeff, Dr. Freak and Suspira start to walk around the haunted path and meet some of the creepy monsters and the people who paid to walk it. All the while, Ghastlee breaks the rules and runs wild at the attraction with his band of cohosts. In the end they run into Tommy Gunn of Freakshow Deluxe who tells the haunted history of the land, and they as well see the legend Dr. Creep and they chat about Toxic Zombies!

Movie: After drug crops are sprayed with a chemical by a passing airplane, the growers of the crop are poisoned by the chemical and turn into zombie-like mutants.

A Ghastlee Ghoul is a true legend of Horror Hosting, not only in the state of Ohio, but the world, and any other Host of the past or present cannot match his style and wit. Ghastlee is a host all his own that some have tried to copy, but none have mastered. If you are a fan of Horror Hosts and have never seen an episode of A Ghastlee Movie Show, check out this unique show.

I also hope that Ghastlee himself enjoyed this long overdue Horror Host Icon update as much as I enjoyed writing it. Check back on this update from time to time as I will be adding new episodes from time to time to make this update even more epic!

For our next update, we are walking away from the weird and wild world of Horror Hosts and will be entering the world of Malibu Comics and taking an adventure with the ultra team Exiles! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! I will see you next update as I am very much looking forward to writing about Malibu Comics again!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Ju-On

Some of the creepiest Supernatural Horror Movies are made in Japan, and for me the top two mainstream best series have to be Tomie and Ju-on with the latter being the subject of this “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update in honor of the new Grudge film hitting cinemas this very month here in the USA! For those who are wondering, the Ju-on films here in the US are remade and called The Grudge and both series are very popular in their home countries, and I for one cannot wait to see what this new film in the series has to offer us American Horror fans. But for this update we will only be focusing on the film Ju-on and the Dark Horse Manga releases based on it! So if you’re ready, let’s travel to Japan and enter a cursed house and enter the creepy world of Ju-on.

We must first learn about Kayako Saeki, the supernatural ghost from the Ju-on movies and her ways of killing off humans dumb enough to cross her path. Kayako Saeki was a wife and mother who was murdered by her husband in their home, and her now vengeful spirit haunts all those foolish enough to enter the house where the killing took place. Kayako has many ways of dealing death to those she has cursed that include using her look to strike fear in the hearts of those who gaze upon her. She also can use the spirit of her deceased son as well as a black cat to lure people into her cold grip. She can also play mind games and cause her victims to see things. Kayako is very cold blooded and does not think twice about ending a human life. She is pure supernatural and for the most part an evil spirit who has no emotions and no remorse, she also uses her weird noises and appearance to terrify her human targets. Kayako Saeki is a spirit that seems to not have a weakness and her power comes from the house she was killed in as well as her sadness and want for revenge. I would say that Kayako Saeki could be one of the most dangerous killers we have looked at here on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update only rivaled by maybe the likes of Godzilla, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. So as you can see, Kayako Saeki is super dangerous and one heck of a movie villain who while sinister also has a touch of sadness to her.

So as you can see, Kayako Saeki is one evil spirit that appears can not be stopped! But now that we have taken a look at the killer, we should now take a look at the movie she is from. I want to say that I will be taking the film’s write up from out friends at IMDB and it will be followed by my write up about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on it. So if you are ready, let’s enter the cursed home of Kayako Saeki and see what Ju-On is all about.

JU-ON (2002)

“In Japan, when the volunteer social assistant Rika Nishina is assigned to visit a family, she is cursed and chased by two revengeful fiends: Kayako, a woman brutally murdered by her husband and her son Toshio. Each person that lives in or visits the haunted house is murdered or disappears.”

Director Takashi Shimizu created a Horror Movie series in Japan that started with the direct to video film “Katasumi and 4444444444” in 1998 and was followed by “Ju-On: The Curse” in 2000 that as well went direct to video as did its sequel “Ju-On: The Curse 2” that was also released in 2000. In 2002, the series would get its first theatrical release with “Ju-on: The Grudge” and this would set the course for this highly popular series as the film was a success at the Japanese box office as well as had a small US run that did pretty well. And like any good Horror Movie, this loaded up on sequels that included “Ju-On: The Grudge 2” released in 2003 and in 2009 both “Ju-On: Black Ghost” & “Ju-On: White Ghost” were unleashed. In 2014 the next film “Ju-On: The Beginning Of The End” was released with the 2015 film “Ju-On: The Final Curse” following. And so far the final film in the original series, “Sadako vs. Kayako” that pitted our series main star Kayako against the evil spirit Sadako from the Ringu series. And then in America a remake series was made that started in 2004 with “The Grudge” that sparked two sequels, and this year (2020) a reboot has been released. When this film was released in 2002, it did well at the Japanese Box Office and brought in $500 million yen and even did over $3 million worldwide! The year it was released, it was joined by such other Horror Films as The Ring, 28 Days Later, Cabin Fever, Halloween: Resurrection, Red Dragon, Spliced, Wishmaster: The Prophecy and Hellraiser: Hellseeker to name a few. So as you can see, this series is very important to the history of foreign Horror and will go down as one of the better series of supernatural Japanese Horror Movies.

I first saw Ju-on on DVD when Lions Gate released it to try and cash in on the popularity of the American remake. I was home alone when I popped the DVD in and I can remember outside the sky was dark as rain poured down and could be heard hitting the widows as the wind was blowing hard. I remember pouring myself a big glass of soda and turning off all the lights to make the room even darker. This atmosphere made the film’s creepy moments even more creepy, and the scenes when Kayako would crawl down the stairs really did send shivers down my spine and my skin crawl! And at that moment I 100% realized that the original version was the better version and that the US remake tried to capture the spooky nature of the Japanese film but could not lock it fully. I first saw The Grudge, and while it was good, it paled in the comparison to Ju-on! I have watched the film a few times, and each time I find myself enjoying it more and more, this film is the perfect mix of Haunted House and Supernatural Horror and is a must see for fans who love Japanese Horror. Oh and over the years I have had many friends of mine who are into Horror that say this is one of their Top 20 Favorite foreign Horror Flicks. If you have never seen Ju-On, do yourself a favor and check it out.

So as you can see, this film and character Kayako Saeki are very iconic in the world of Horror Movies as they have left their creepy mark on it. Now it’s time to take a look at the Manga inspired by it. So I need to remind you all that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank Amazon for having these books in stock and making this update possible. So if you are ready, let’s enter this cursed house and see what Kayako have in store for us.

Ju-On # 1  ***
Released in 2006     Cover Price $9.95   Dark Horse   # 1 of 2

Kayako Saeki is a woman who finds herself being stabbed to death by her husband who later turns his sights to his young son as well. This crime was so brutal it sends shivers down the spines of those who walk past the home it took place in years later. Mizuho is a young lady whose father was a realtor who was brutally murdered after selling the old Saeki house, and worse, the people who bought the house is Tsuyoshi, the grieving girl’s new boyfriend and his family! The delivery guys who deliver the family’s belongings even have an accident and die horribly thanks to the spirit of the murdered young boy of the house. The family also had to hire a tutor for daughter Kanna, who is a mean spirited young woman who seems to get joy in being mean to her mother and bothering her brother, but when the family all have to rush out of the house for errands, the tutor is left in the house alone and she becomes the next to meet her maker thanks to the ghosts. As Mizuho and Tsuyoshi are at baseball practice, sister Kanna is at the park with her friend and she becomes the next victim as a pack of wild cats shred her and even remove her bottom jaw, and the young girl before dying walks home and dies in front of her mother. Meanwhile something strange is going on as Tsuyoshi seems to be stuck in the school and Mizuho who is waiting for him is growing more and more worried. Meanwhile the father is at work and remembers back to when he was told the house he just moved his family into has a bad vibe and almost a curse, and after thinking about what he was told he heads home. Meanwhile the ghost of the murdered son is now at the school, and after Mizuho finds and frees Tsuyoshi from the locked baseball clubhouse, the ghost child stars to follow them, and lucky for the teens Mizuho’s psychic aunt Kyoko appears and the spirit leaves…but she warns her niece and Tsuyoshi that they need to get away as fast as they can. Kyoko does what she can and faces Kayako Saeki who in turn kills the aunt and then also possesses Tsuyoshi who then beats Mizuho to death with a baseball bat. Meanwhile back at the house, the father arrives to find his own wife cutting herself up causing her death, and he himself is left with nothing but a house that holds a grudge.

Ju-On is a great Horror Manga read that tells a twisted story of a family who buys a new home, and they and those who are around them being brutally killed by the spirits of a mom and her son that were murdered in the house they have bought! Mizuho is the main character, and she is a sweet young woman who loves her boyfriend as he and his family has been there for her after the killing of her father. She is very loyal to those she loves and she also is fearless as she wants to save all those she can when the bad starts going down. And because she comes off as such a normal and loving person, her brutal killing makes a big impact on me the reader. Her boyfriend Tsuyoshi is a hotheaded young man, but clearly cares about his girlfriend and her family and stands his ground to protect her from evil, but sadly he is also the one used to possess and forced to bash his love to death with a bat! The other character I really liked in this manga was Aunt Kyoko, who can see dead people and talk to them and tried to warn Tsuyoshi’s family not to move into that house, and even gives her own life to try and save that of her niece. The rest of the characters do a great job of pushing the story along and adding a little of all types of personalities to the story. Kayako Saeki and her son are pretty evil and yet sad spirits as they are part of a curse that they seem to want to escape from, but when they kill, they kill very brutally and painfully. This manga is packed with a few creepy scares of Kayako Saeki lurking in places and does have lots of blood and gore with one of my favorite kills being the death of Mizuho as the panels of blood, her broken body and the bloody bat is pretty great Horror Comic stuff. The over all creepy feel of this manga is high, and I read this during the fall around Halloween and it helped add to my season. The cover for this manga is pretty cool and has that Japanese horror look, the interior art is pretty great if you like the manga style. Over all this is a solid read and while it lacks some of the more creepy elements of the film, this takes a great look at the cursed house and the spirits that live in it. So let’s see what the second manga has in store for us!

Ju-On # 2  **1/2
Released in 2006     Cover Price $9.95   Dark Horse   # 2 of 2

Years have passed and horror actress Kyoko Harase is appearing on the TV Show hosted by Tomoka Miura. They go to the cursed house to talk about the murders and the curse surrounding it. Kyoko is a picks up on the bad vibes of the house once she is near it, but besides a loud noise picked up on the boom microphone, there’s nothing. After the shoot Kyoko and her boyfriend are driving and talking about her acting career as well as their up coming child! Meanwhile the host Tomoka and her boyfriend find themselves the victim of the curse, and they are hung from their ceiling and other TV Crew members find themselves being targeted for death. While driving Kyoko’s boyfriend loses control of the car, thanks to the ghost child that leaves him in bad shape at the hospital and Kyoko also lose her unborn baby…or does she. Things get worse for Kyoko when her mother as well passes away due to the curse, he boyfriend finally awakens from his coma and seems off, she gets the news that the baby is going to be alright and the TV Show producer visits her and informs her about the deaths of those who filmed the show. And after hearing all this, she has a vision of the murders in the house and this sparks her to go into labor…and she gives birth to the evil Kayako Saeki who kills all the doctors and everyone around.

In this second installment a pregnant horror film actress who is about to walk away from acting takes a gig on a TV Show about haunted locations and makes the mistake of entering the old Saeki house and cursing not only herself but also those close to her. The plot of an actress who is known for her horror movie performances is pretty cool when you take a cursed trip with her as she not only has to deal with the evils of Kayako Saeki but also that of her own life and choices. Kyoko Harase really is a good character and as a reader I found myself cheering for her to make it through and survive the curse. The TV production team befriend the actress, but sadly all pay the price of entering the Saeki house with their lives. And her boyfriend is a goof who loses control of their car while driving fast and crashes causing himself to go into a coma and later just wake up to be killed by the curse. Kayako Saeki once more is evil and seems to get more enjoyment in this second manga as she kills with no remorse and targets anyone in her sight. The issue has some great kills and does deliver blood and some gore with the issue’s best death being the murder of the reporter and her boyfriend as their hanging bodies are pretty creepy in panels. I would say that I very much did enjoy this issue, but did find it a little less creepy than the first and at times kind of felt like it was filled with lots of flashback filler and storylines that go nowhere like the fact all of Kyoko Harase’s family only have females when having a baby. The cover for this issue is pretty great and does capture the mood of Ju-On, and the interior art is solid and your typical manga style. Over all if you like the Ju-On movie series, like Japanese horror or just want to check out a creepy manga series I would say give these two a read as I think you might enjoy them. Check out the art below as I think it’s my favorite piece of art from it.

For me, both the movie and manga series of Ju-On are solid and show that creepy cursed ghosts have always been scary. I also hope that this update helped set the mood for you to go see the newest Grudge movie at your local cinema, as if you are like me I always go to the theater to watch the newest Horror Movie. But for our next update we are leaving behind the cursed house of Kayako Saeki and heading to space as we travel with the crew of the Enterprise to search for Spock…that’s right I will be covering Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and the DC Comics adaptation. So until next time avoid cursed houses, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Oh and remember to bring a flashlight for the next update as who knows were we will find Spock.

Matt Goes To The Movies 2019

Welcome to the first update of 2020, and of course that means it’s time for my Best Of 2019 at the Cinema! Last year really was a great year filled with some top notch Action films, stunning Superhero epics, out of this world Science Fiction flicks and of course spine tingling Horror pictures! Plus this year going to see movies with family and friends helped make what was a stressful year way more relaxing. So grab your ticket, buy some popcorn and soda and find your seat…it’s time to talk about some movies! I also would like to say thanks to Cinemark Dayton South, Cinemark At The Greene, Neon Movies, Danbarry Huber Heights, Englewood Cinema and Cranberry Cinema for being the places that showed the movies that entertained me throughout the year of 2019.

Let’s start with the Action films I saw in the theater. While I did not see too many of them, the ones I did see were very entertaining popcorn films that brought excitement to viewers. It’s crazy to think that Action Movies in the 80’s and 90’s were some of the world’s must-watch movies, and over the years with a few exceptions Action is not the massive box office draw it used to be. It makes me wonder if it’s because the Action Heroes of the past have gotten older and the younger generation of actors have not stepped up to take their places. Well with that, grab some popcorn and let’s talk Actions films!

# 4

The world is in major trouble when a bio weapon goes missing and MI6 agent Hattie Shaw is blamed, when in reality she is now the carrier for the weapon and has been set up by cyber enhanced terrorist Brixton Lore who wants to use the weapon for the downfall of mankind. What is the world to do? Well they call in DSS agent Luke Hobbs and former mercenary Deckard Shaw to work together to save the day as Hattie is Deckard’s sister and they both get to witness first hand just how skilled and brutal Brixton is. This is a great action comedy that delivers a great time as you eat your popcorn and watch the story unfold on the big screen. The film has a great cast. Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba and WWE superstar Roman Reigns all deliver sold performances in such an overt the top film. The film did good for Universal at the Box Office here in America bringing in $173,810,100.00 on a budget of $200 million, with world wide gross being even higher. Worth watching if you enjoy fun over the top action films.

# 3

When the California John Bosley retires a new Bosley takes his place, and when another Bosley along with two Angels, Sabina Wilson and Jane Kano, are set up when talking to tech worker Elena Houghlin that leads to the Angels being defeated by an assassin and their Bosley dead. This hit was placed as Elena knows that new energy tech can be used as a weapon that will devastate the world, and it’s clear the company she works for has a rat that wants to sell the tech on the black market! With the new Bosley, the new Angels group of Sabina, Jane and Elena must find the rat, get the tech and most importantly stay alive and watch out for each other….and worse, it also seems as if someone in the Angels agency has also turned rogue! So who are the rats and can the Angels save to world from a massive and deadly tech attack, watch this 2019 sequel and find out. This was a fun watch, and, much like Hobbs and Shaw, was filled with over the top action and humor. The three new Angels are fantastic and lovely and played by Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart and Naomi Scott, with the latter being an amazing actress and super beautiful. The movie sadly tanked for Sony bringing in a very low $17,765,238.00 on a budget of $48 million. While the internet critics trashed the film, do yourself a favor and make up your own mind. Go in checking your brain at the door and just enjoy this woman empowerment action flick.

# 2

John Wick is on the run, and the High Table has a price on his head for conducting business in a safe zone. Now he must fight for his life and find a way for a second chance at life as well as call in old friends to help him find the high order and try to make the wrongs right. This third film in the John Wick series is fantastic and is nonstop action and proves that action movies still do have a place in America cinema. Keanu Reeves gives a great performance as the assassin turned target John Wick, and the fight scenes are so amazing that they will remind you of classic Jackie Chan style action. Not to mention the end of the film leaves the plot thickening even more and really makes me look forward to the fourth film that is in the works. The film did fantastic for Lionsgate and brought in $171,015,687.00 on a budget of $75 million. This film is a great watch and worth owning on home media.

# 1

John J. Rambo is trying his best to live a normal life on his family ranch, and when his adoptive daughter Gabrielle travels to Mexico to find her real father and she gets kidnapped and sold into human trafficking. This sets Rambo on a rampage to get her back as well as get revenge on those who are responsible! This 5th film in the Rambo series is great stuff and shows that Sylvester Stallone is still one of the world’s best action movie stars, and that the character Rambo still has many stories to tell. Plus a movie that shows a pissed off Rambo massacring human traffickers is oddly relaxing in this day and age. Stallone is, as always, great as Rambo, and actress Yvette Monreal is great as Gabrielle. While this film was trashed by many “film critics” and even some viewers, I for one found it to be my favorite action film of 2019 and John Wick 3 is the only other action film that came close. The film did pretty well for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in $44,819,352.00 on a budget of $50 million. This one is worth watching and owning if you are a fan of the Rambo films.

While Horror is my favorite genre of films to watch in theaters, I do also enjoy a great Sci-Fi and Fantasy film on the big screen. I mean who doesn’t love a good alien invasion or an epic quest gracing the silver screen as you get wrapped up in the story. So 2019 had some great films in this genre and this was also tough one to list as I enjoyed so many of them almost equally! So take a drink of your soda, and let’s get to this.

# 10

The world has been taken over by aliens who are stealing all of Earth’s natural resources and a group of underground fighters want to fight back and stop this invasion and prove that mankind will not just roll over. But these freedom fighters also have to face the cops who are also on the payroll of the aliens. Like all good science fiction, not all is what it seems as the story takes many twists and turns leaving viewers guessing on what is what and who is what. This film was a good popcorn flick and stars such fantastic actors as Vera Farmiga and John Goodman. The film tanked at the US Box Office for Focus Features bringing in a low $5,958,315.00 on a budget of $25 million! While this is not a groundbreaking alien invasion film it’s still an entertaining one that should have done better. Check it out on DVD or streaming on a boring night.

# 9

Explorer of the unknown Sir Lionel Frost wants to join the prestige group “Society Of Great Men” and makes a deal with the snooty Lord Piggot-Dunceby that’ll join if he can bring in a living Sasquatch. But once Sir Lionel Frost finds one, he befriends the beast and the pair go on an adventure to find the Sasquatch’s relatives called Yetis, but while they are doing so Lord Piggot-Dunceby and some hired guns are on a mission to kill the Sasquatch so Frost will never be able to join the group, and Piggot-Dunceby will go down in history as the world’s best adventurer. This is a truly fun kids’ film that has a charm much like “Wallace and Gromit” films, and has an amazing voice acting cast with names like Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldanna and Emma Thompson to name a few. The film did very poorly for United Artists at the American Box Office bringing in only $16,649,539.00 on a budget of $100 million. While this film might have tanked, I for one very much enjoyed it and would have loved to have seen a sequel that I am sure will never be in the works.

# 8

Agent H in 2016 along with High T saved the world from a massive infestation of aliens called The Hive and after the battle High T climb to the top of MIB while Agent H seemed to have slightly lost it. But when Molly Wright was a young girl she witnessed the MIB at work and even helped protect an alien on the run, and now she is a member of the group and being called Agent M who is the new partner to Agent H! The pair are sent on a standard easy mission to guard an Alien royal that ends with an assassination and our agents are blamed and have to go on the run as there is a alien mole deep in the MIB and they must clear their names and expose the true alien invaders. Oddly enough this film did not do well for Sony as it only brought in a very low $80,001,807.00 on a budget of $110 million. While the film did not set the movie going world ablaze, it was a very fun popcorn film that was filled with some funny and adventurous moments. Worth watching if you like the other films in the series and Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth and Liam Neeson all do fantastic jobs as MIB agents in the film.

# 7

Gomez Addams and his new bride Morticia must flee their old home and find a new place in an abandoned mental asylum to start their family! So with former inmate now turned butler Lurch and their hand only friend called Thing, they make this asylum a home that ends up being filled with their kids Wednesday and Pugsley. But when a reality home improvement star buys and transforms the town below the Addams home things turn bad when the reality stars turns the town against them. Now The Addams Family must prove they are not monsters and that they are just a normal…well weird family. This was a fun little family film that features everyone’s favorite weird family and did really well for United Artist at the US box office brining in $95,720,779.00 on a budget of $40 million. This film was a great way to introduce a new generation to The Addams Family, and I am very much looking forward to the sequel that is in the works. Worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray for fans of these characters.

# 6

A down on its luck circus welcomes a newly born baby elephant to the family, but to the horror of owner of ringmaster Max Medici, the baby is born with massive ears and is named Dumbo! With his circus losing money he is forced to sell Dumbo’s mom and this sets the baby elephant along with his caretaker’s children on a path to bring redemption to the failing circus. But when a rich con man amusement circus park owner gets involved, Dumbo’s safety and happiness are in danger and his friends will not let this happen. This take on Dumbo is done by director Tim Burton and has elements of the classic animated movie plus new additions to make it feel like a new tale. The effects are great, and Dumbo is adorable and the movie’s villain played by Michael Keaton is super greedy and sinister. This movie did pretty good for Disney at the US Box Office bringing in $114,766,307.00 on a budget of $170 million and brought in over $2 million internationally! Worth watching if you enjoy the animated movie and want to see those characters done with a Burton twist.

# 5

The Beast is still one the loose and kidnapping and killing young women when he is finally found by The Overseer, who is a man with superhero powers that is a vigilante who wants to stop his killing ways. This fight leads to both men being caught and brought to a mental hospital were they, alongside evil mastermind with brittle bones Mr. Glass, are being treated for their superhero complex disorder. But when Mr. Glass and The Beast team up and escape the asylum with a plan to show the world that super humans exist, things come to ahead and cards are played that expose those who want to put a lid on super beings and do whatever it takes to keep the secret away from the world. The is the third film in director M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable universe series as well as it appears to be the last, and this film mixes elements of many different film genres like superhero, science fiction, drama, thriller and even a dash of horror. The film did great for Universal at the US Boxoffice bringing in $111,035,005.00 on a budget of $20 million. A pretty solid ending the Unbreakable movie series.

# 4

Aladdin and his pet monkey Abu are thieves in the streets of Egypt and meet a beautiful woman while stealing that Aladdin falls for, the issue being she is the Princess! And when Aladdin finds a magic lamp, the Genie inside helps him via wishes try his best to get the attention of the woman of his dreams, but he has a thorn in his side as the Jafar the Grand Vizier of the Sultan is also an evil sorcerer who craves power and wants to control the genie in the lamp who wants his own life as well and wants to be free. This live action film based on the hit animated film is really well done and cast with Will Smith doing great as the Genie and Naomi Scott is not only stunning as Jasmine but also does an amazing job making the character seem very important. And Mena Massoud was the prefect actor to bring Aladdin to the big screen. The film did great at the America Boxoffice for Disney bringing in $355,559,216.00 on a budget of $183 million. Worth watching and owning and a must for fans of the animated film.

# 3

When baby Simba is born, he becomes the next in line to take over the massive animal kingdom in Africa. But when is father is killed by his uncle Scar, the baby lion is forced to run away from the kingdom and thinks his fathers death is his fault. While on his own he strikes up a friendship with Timon a meerkat and warthog named Pumbaa, and the three spends years together, while the kingdom falls under the rule of Scar who teams with the hyenas and keeps all the lionesses as almost slaves. But in the end Simba returns to the kingdom with his new friends, and they bring down Scar and his hyena’s and reclaim what was always his. This live action version of the classic Disney animated film is well done and even brings James Earl Jones back as the voice of Mufasa! Also in the voice cast is Beyonce Knowles Carter, Seth Rogen and Donald Glover to name a few. The film was a hit for Disney at the U.S. Boxoffice bringing in $543,638,043.00 on a budget of $260 million. Over all this was a great film and one that should be watched and owned if you enjoy the animated film version.

# 2

The First Order is being run by Kylo Ren who has set his sights on not only destroying the rebels but also tracking down the evil and still alive Emperor Palpatine who when found wants Kylo to be his new appetence and will allow him to combine the Empires forces that have been in hidden with the First Order making them unstoppable! As Kylo still battles his inner demons, Rey is training to be a Jedi and her friends are doing their best to try and figure out how to stay ahead of the First Order and also bring them down. When Princess Leia, Rey and the rest of the rebels figure out that the Emperor is still alive and is threatening to destroy planets again as all the new Star Destroyers have weapons that can do just that! And now Rey and Kylo are on a path to change the universe and all out war is in the cards in this final film in the Skywalker series. I don’t want to say too much about the film’s plot as I do not want to give away any major spoilers as this film is still very fresh in theaters. This was a very fun mega budget Sci-Fi film to sit in the theater and watch while eating some popcorn with a large crowd of people, and while the film is flawed and had some head scratching moments, it also delivered some top-notch action. I also have to say the cameos of classic characters also made me pop in the theater. Like always, the films did fantastic for Disney at the American Box Office despite “fan boys” bad word of mouth bringing in $407,782,706.00 on a budget of around $300 million. Make up your own mind and stop depending on the opinions of Rotten Tomatoes or random net critics on social media and watch the film for yourself and make up your own mind, while not a perfect Star Wars film it still was entertaining.

# 1

Dani Ramos is a young woman who works in Mexico City at an auto plant along with her brother, but what starts as a normal day turns bad when a new breed of Terminator called a Rev-9 is sent to kill her from the future, but she as well has a guardian that is a enhanced solider from the future named Grace. Later they are joined by Sarah Connor who has dedicated her life in hunting down and killing Terminators as they appear, and she knows the locations thanks to an anonymous person he texts her the locations. With the Rev-9 hot on their trail and no clear way of defeating it, they track the person who’s been helping Sarah only to find out it is a T-800 who after filling his mission of stopping John Conner found away to blend in with normal humans. Now the new motley crew of survivors set up a showdown to stop the Rev-9 and stop a new version of Judgment Day. This 6th movie in the Terminator series acts as a direct sequel to T2 and does a pretty great job of bringing a new layer to the storyline, as while Sarah and John stopped Skynet another tech terror rose in its place and has its own version of judgment day in the works. It was great seeing Linda Hamilton return to the series as well as having Arnold Schwarzenegger return as the T-800. Actress Natalia Reyes is great as the new “John Carter” for the futures resistant’s hero and Mackenzie Davis is okay as Grace the enhanced solider of the future, though at times I feel like she over does the tough woman approach. The film sadly did very poorly for Paramount at the American Boxoffice only bringing in $62,253,077.00 on a massive budget of $185 million ending what was suppose to be a new trilogy of films with these characters. While it was not a mega hit at the cinema, I still found this film to be a fun one that I will own on DVD when released and do feel it’s a shame that moviegoers just didn’t come out to see this film.

So as you have just read, 2019 had some really good Sci-Fi, Fantasy and even Kid films! But we are going to now take a look at the film genre that has been dominating the Box Office for many years now and of course I am talking about Super Hero films!

# 7

Hellboy as well as his friends of B.R.P.D. are on the hunt for monsters all over the world and when an evil sorceress is set free, the whole world is in trouble as she is uniting the monsters of the world for a takeover! Hellboy, who is a demon, is the key for her to totally take over, and this hero must fight his instincts and listen to his human side. This film was a great monster fight film but was a mess otherwise. Really don’t have much too say about this one besides the effects were good and I had fun watching in the theater. The film bombed at the US Box Office for Lionsgate as it brought in only $21,903,748.00 on a budget of $50 million. This film is for diehard fans of Hellboy, and while it was not the best Superhero movie I saw this year, I would have liked to see what would have happened in a sequel if it was made.

# 6

Kree Empire warrior Vers and her people are at war with the Skrulls, and during one of her fights she escapes capture and crash lands on Earth where she soon finds that the Skrulls have taken residence and she wants to settle the score with her enemies! While on Earth she meets Nick Fury an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who helps her not only track down the Skrulls but also figures out what really is going on that leaves Vers aka Captain Marvel wondering what her real mission is as well as learn about her past that she does not remember. This is a pretty fun Marvel Superhero adventure that brings the powerful female hero Captain Marvel into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while some “fans” try and say this film is too preachy about Girl Power, I found it to be entertaining and a cool flashback to the 90’s culture. I mean you cannot go wrong seeing a Blockbuster Video again. My only real complaint about the film is that I felt at times actress Brie Larson is wooden in her emotions. At the U.S Boxoffice the film did great brining in a massive $426,829,839.00 on a budget of $175 million. Love it or hate it, this film is a part of the Marvel movie juggernaut and Captain Marvel is here to stay for years and movies to come.

# 5

With half the universe’s population gone thanks to Thanos, the rest of the world’s heroes track him down and kill him after he informs them that he has destroyed the Infinity Gauntlet. Once the threat is gone, the heroes don’t know what to do as they and the whole rest of life across the galaxy seem lost and with no direction. But the heroes find out that there is a chance that they could travel back in time and get the gem stones and bring back all those they have lost. So after having to push to get Iron Man and Thor on board, heroes like Captain America, Rocket Raccoon, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, War Machine, Nebula and the returning from the micro world Ant Man break off in teams and get the stones from the past! But this also alerts the past version of Thanos who uses his army to once more get his hands on the stones, and when the dusted heroes of the past like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch return, it’s all out war to end this madness once and for all that leaves some heroes dead and others changing their future. While this film is very epic, I myself found it to be both good and very disappointing as some of the goofy humor and “Big Lebowski” Thor just didn’t work for me. Coming off the downbeat, truly epic feel of the last Avengers movie, the humor of this one really does take away all the gloom the last one built up. Plus making The Hulk into Professor Hulk was not something I wanted to see in the movie universe as by making Hulk super smart it takes away the character’s….well, character. On the other side it was very cool to see Chris Evans’ end as Captain America as I felt they did it right and it was great to give characters like Nebula and Hawkeye big story plots. The film did amazing for Disney at the American Boxoffice bringing in a massive $858,373,000 on the budget of $356 million. This one is worth watching and owning if you are a fan of the Marvel films.

# 4

The X-Men are sent to space in order to save some astronauts whose ship was damaged by a solar flare, but while saving them, another massive flare erupts and Jean Grey absorbs it all to save the lives of her teammates. Once home she starts to feel odd and has fits of rage that unleashes raw power. She soon finds out that Professor X has messed with her mind making her forget what she did that caused her mother’s death and lead her to be at the school. With her mind filled with raw power and rage, Jean tracks down her father and the meeting leaves her raging that ends with her friend and X-Men member Mystique dead. Jean becomes a loose cannon and even tries to find shelter with Magneto, but finally meets up with Vuk, an alien shape- shifter who wants to drain all her cosmic powers. Can Professor X, Magneto and the X-Men save their friend and get Jean the help she needs or will the aliens take her powers and destroy the universe. This final film in the Fox X-Men series in my opinion was really good and while flawed in some part still was a very entertaining film that I enjoyed. Sophie Turner who plays Jean Grey/Phoenix is fantastic, and she has quickly became one of my favorite actresses going in Hollywood, and she does a fantastic job of going from scared to cold blooded. The action is well done, and the story of Jean getting the power of the Phoenix and learning about her past is fantastic, oh and I should also note that Dazzler makes an appearance. Sadly this film did not do well for Fox at the Boxoffice here in America bringing in only $65,845,974.00 on a budget of $200 million. While it might not have had the hype of the Disney Marvel films, I for one found this film to be very entertaining and worth owning on home media.

# 3

Billy Batson is a kid who has bounced in and out of foster homes, as he just wants to be reunited with his mother who got separated from him while at a carnival. He is placed once again in a foster home that has caring parents and many siblings, one who is a fan of superheroes and is handicapped, and when at his new school he takes up for his new foster brother against bullies and ends up losing them at the train station. And while on the train, he is taken to another world and meets the Wizard Shazam, who has chosen him to carry on the powers of the gods! Now when he says the word Shazam, Billy turns into a muscle bound superhero who still has the mind of a young teen! But an evil power hungry man that was deemed unworthy to be the new Shazam as a kid is armed with demons attacks and wants Billy dead…and so starts Shazam to rise and find his own inner strength to not only save his own life but those of his new foster siblings, and together they fight and save the day. This was a great Superhero Comedy film and was very well done, and while I do understand that they changed Shazam (Captain Marvel) from the comics, it still was fitting and was a great way to introduce kids of 2019 to the character. The film did okay for New Line Cinema at the U.S. Box Office bringing in $140,371,656.00 on a budget of $100 million, and over seas it did even better! I really enjoyed this one. The trailer made me very worried that this film would be really cheesy, but after seeing it I even own it on DVD now!

# 2

Arthur Fleck is a man with mental illness who lives with his equally unstable mother and his work is an advertising clown for hire. When he loses his job he is pushed too far when some rich dudes mess with him on the train ends their life, and so begins his downward spiral into madness, revenge, love and murder. And when Arthur who wants to become a stand up comic is made fun of by a late night host live on the air and called a joker and he finds out that his mom has lied to him his whole life, he starts to think that Thomas Wayne (yep Bruce Wayne’s dad) is his father as well and it finally comes crashing down and Arthur Fleck is no more and where this once broken man stands is The Joker. This dark themed film deals with mental illness, depression, deception, fame, poverty and sadness, making you as the viewer feel all types of different emotions. Joaquin Phoenix is fantastic as The Joker and makes the character his very own, plus Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro and Frances Conroy are all great in their roles. The film did top fantastic for Warner Brothers at the American Box Office bringing in $333,453,468.00 on a budget of only $55 million. This is not your typical Superhero film and is very dark in nature and worth owning in your collection on any home media format.

# 1

Peter Parker is upset after the passing of his friend and mentor Tony Stark and decides that he is going to go on a school trip overseas with his classmates instead of being the masked hero Spider-Man and have a somewhat normal life. But while on his school trip one time S.H.I.E.L.D leader Nick Fury calls on him to help an interdimensional hero named Mysterio who has been fighting giant monsters that have been appearing around the world. And worse for Peter is that Tony Stark has left him in his will a very powerful pair of sunglasses that if hacked can be used as a powerful weapon, and when he feels that he is not worthy of them, he gives them to Mysterio who he thinks is a real hero. But when Mysterio is found out to be a con man, Spider-Man must risk his life to save his classmates and the world from his evil plan. This hands down the best Superhero film of 2019 as I found it to be true to the Spidey character and hands down Tom Holland makes the best Spider-Man and Peter Parker. I was also happy to finally see Mysterio make his big screen debut, and he is done right by Jake Gyllenhaal who took elements from the comic as well as added his own touches to make him work. The film did fantastic for Sony at the American Box Office bringing in $390,532,085.00 on a budget of $160 million. If you like Spider-Man, make sure to watch this film. It’s worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray and having a place in your home media collection.

2019 was, as always, the year of the Superhero films as four out the top 10 grossing films in America were made up of them! But for me the main attraction for any year in cinema is the Horror Movies, and 2019 had its fair share of them that covered everything from psycho slashers to ghosts to even killer animals. This year was filled with some really good ones and choosing my top spot was really hard, so sit back relax in Rotten Ink Theater and let’s talk Horror.


# 26

Strange things are going on around the world after the Earth is rocked by too much fracking in the arctic, and this causes the dead to rise from their graves and look for human meals as well as do the things they did when alive. Now in the town of Centerville, the police force made up of Chief Robertson, Officer Peterson and Officer Morrison must find a way to protect themselves as well as warn the townspeople about the undead uprising. Throw in some zany locals like the horror film loving gas station owner Bobby and the samurai sword swinging funeral home owner Zelda, and you have a cheesy zombie comedy. The film was directed by Jim Jarmusch and has an all star cast featuring such names as Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Selena Gomez, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits and Danny Glover to name a few. For me this film fell flat on both comedy and horror, and while the actors all did great jobs in their roles, the film’s script was filled with plot holes, characters that go nowhere and “hip” dry humor. This film was a major letdown and came off too aware and preachy about the director’s own message of consumerism. The film had a limited release and brought in $6,563,605.00 for Focus Features and was one I ended up giving a second chance once on DVD and I still found it a disappointing bore. I should also note this almost made it to my Worst Films list!

# 25

Danni Ardor is a young woman who has suffered a major loss and travels to Sweden with her boyfriend and his friends to attend a secret festival, but once they get there, they find that the this peaceful place filled with oddly friendly people is really a strange cult that has some very deadly rituals. Can Danni and her friends escape…or do they even want to…check out this Drama Horror Film by Ari Aster and find out. Now this is another one of those films that I was looking forward to seeing in the theater that ended up letting me down as I found it to be overly long, poorly written and at times laughable on how cartoony it got with over acting moments and dumb decisions. Actress Florence Pugh does great for most of the film as Danni even though they make her break down in over the top ways. The film did ok for A24 at the US Box Office as on a budget of $10 million it brought in $27,426,361.00. While a disappointment on my first viewing, this will be one I will watch again someday on DVD.

# 24

Aaron returns to his small town home when is father passes away and must rebuild is relationship with his mother. And while home, he also reconnects with his old friends as well as his ex-girlfriend who is now dating the town cop. But things get weird when Aaron finds an urn and makes wishes that come true, but each one have very sinister outcomes. He soon learns that his wishes have unleashed a demon who is after his soul and wants to leave a path of deaths behind him. This is a great creepy little horror movie that is all about a Djinn demon that grants wishes and ruins lives doing so. While the movie does have some plot flaws that make for some cheesy moments, it was a film that got some good scares out of the audience I saw it with who all seemed to like it as they left the theater. The film brought in $22,912.00 at the US Box Office playing for only one day for Fathom Events. This is one I bought on DVD when released.

# 23

Frances McCullen is a young woman from a small town who is now living in New York with her friend Erica. While on the subway, she finds a purse and returns it to its owner an older woman named Greta that she befriends when she learns that the woman’s daughter now lives in France. But the friendship soon turns creepy when Frances finds out that Greta is really an unstable stalker who has set her sights on her and will not leave her alone. What is Frances to do when Greta steps over the line and will stop at nothing to become not only her friend but also her “mother”. This is a great Horror Thriller and has some really great creepy moments as Isabelle Huppert who plays Greta is devilishly sinister as Greta and Chloe Grace Moretz is fantastic as Frances and proves she needs to be in more Horror Movies as she plays a likable character very well. The film did okay for Focus Features at the US Boxoffice doing $10,519,425.00. This is one that is a fun watch and one I own on DVD once released.

# 22

The Firefly family that consists of Captain Spaulding, Otis Driftwood and Baby survived being shot over 20 times and find themselves in prison on death row and becoming almost folk heroes to the masses. And after the execution of Spaulding, the once crazy family is down to only two…or so the world thought! While out on work duty, Otis is sprung by his half brother Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, and the pair sets up the prison warden in order to free Baby. Once the three are reunited, they head to Mexico to lay low and unlucky for them they have caught the eye of a cartel who is run by one of the sons of a victim of theirs during the escape. Now what’s left of the Firefly family must once more fight for their lives when death comes looking for them. The film was a Fathom Events release and did really well for its limited run at the US Box Office for Saban Films bringing in a total of $2,172,949.00 on a budget of $3 million. Fans of Rob Zombie films will enjoy this bloodbath film for all its slaughter and foul-mouthed characters, worth watching, and I even bought once it was on DVD.

# 21

Riley Stone goes to Hawthorne College and is a member of the MKE sorority with her close friends Kris, Marty, Jesse and Helena and it’s Christmas time right before the winter break and she was the victim of an attack that was done by a sorority frat house leader who oddly was able to get away with it! But also masked killers are attacking and murdering young women around the college, and soon Riley and her friends find themselves on the hit list of these masked killers who seem to hate women and act like soulless emotionless killing machines. Throw in some humor, PG-13 kills, and message that “Boys Be Boys” is not okay and you have his remake of the classic holiday slasher film. This film does not take elements from the original film nor the 2006 remake and tries its best to make a new story set at a sorority house. The film’s main actress is Imogen Poots who plays Riley, and she is fantastic as is Lily Donoghue who plays Marty as I found them to be the best characters in the film. The downside of this film is at times it comes off preachy about its message and the characters at times seem like the after thought to it. The film did very poorly for Universal at the U.S. Box Office and only brought in $10,086,145.00 on a budget of $5 million. While this movie is not perfect, it was still a fun watch in the theater that once out on DVD I will watch again.

# 20

The Creed family have moves away from the big city to a farm house with lots of wooded lands in Ludlow, Maine and soon meet their new neighbor Jud. All seems well, that is till Louis who is a university doctor cannot save a young man hit by a car and that seems to talk to him even after death. But things for the family get worse when their daughter’s cat Church is hit by a car and Jud shows Louis a part of his land that brings the dead back to life, with some changes…Church is back, but he is not the same at all! During her birthday party daughter, Ellie is killed when she is hit by a truck and heartbroken Louis does the unthinkable and brings his daughter back…and this joy soon turns to horror. This remake is okay and does not stack up well to the original that is a true classic. This film takes its own twists and turns from the book and original film adding a new layer to the story…in fact you could almost look at this as a sequel that takes place in modern times that has history repeating itself. John Lithgow who plays Jud is fantastic at playing the aging man who knows the town’s evil secret. And actress Jete Laurence plays Ellie, and she is as well great in the role as she can snap from sweet kid to evil killer kid with ease. Not to mention all the cats who played Church also steal the film with their performances. The film did okay for Paramount Pictures at the American Boxoffice bringing in $54,724,696.00 on a budget of $21 million. While not great, this creepy tale was worth seeing in the theater and is one I have on home media. Check it out if you like the tale of Pet Sematary.

# 19

Stella is a young teen that wants to become a writer and has some emotional issues dealing with her mother leaving her and her father behind. On Halloween night she along with friends decide to break into the town’s local haunted house, and when the town’s bullies lock them inside a hidden room in the house, they find the storybook written by Sarah Bellows and take it with them…big mistake as the book seems to be writing itself and bad things are happing to people in town just like in the stories! Now Stella and what’s left of her friends must find away to stop the book, save their lives and set Sarah Bellows spirit free. This spooky PG-13 film is based on the hit book series and delivers some great creatures designs as well as brings many of the books classic tales to the big screen. The film did pretty well for Lionsgate bringing in $68,947,075.00 on a budget of $25 million. If you enjoy the book series or even like the Goosebump movies series, this is one you will want to check out. I own this one on DVD when it was released.

# 18

Mia and sister stepsister Sasha head out with some friends to a hidden swimming hole that is also an opening to a underwater tomb and tunnels that their father and his team are exploring, and for fun the girls enter the water and tunnels only to get trapped by a cave in and are being stalked by blind cave sharks who are hungry for human flesh! Can the young ladies survive this shark attack or will they just become lunch for these underwater terrors? Watch the movie and find out. This animal attack film was a pretty good follow up for “47 Meter Down” and has a really feel of dread in moments that add to the horror theme of the film. The film is well acted with Sophie Nelisse, Corinne Foxx and Brianne Tju being the standouts. The film is rated PG-13 so it’s not overly bloody but does have some pretty brutal shark attack moments. The film sadly did not do that great for Entertainment Studios at the US Box Office as it only brought in $22,260,900.00 on a budget of $12 million. Worth watching if you enjoy shark horror movies.

# 17

Detective Jack Radcliff and his niece Ashley Radcliff are close and to his horror, she and her parents are murdered one night and his world changes. After the murder oddly enough he keeps getting phone calls from his dead niece who is calling from the past and now he must change her future as he must research the past to find out who killed them. Can he save her in time and will he be able to bring the killers to justice or will he become a victim himself. This Horror Thriller is a great watch and is well acted with very likable characters. The film had the budget of $5million and brought in only $5,215,062.00 for OTL Releasing at the American Box Office. I cannot say too much as I don’t want to ruin the films twist and turns, but this film is really good and a must see for fans who like Thrillers with Horror elements.

# 16

A massive hurricane is about to hit Florida when university swimmer Haley Keller gets a call from her sister who is worried about their father who is not answering his phone and whose house is in the path of the massive storm! When checking his home, she finds he is not there and heads to the family’s old house where she finds him in the basement bitten by an alligator as several have made their home their and keep the father and daughter from escaping as the hurricane rages on inside. As the water rises and the alligators pour in, Haley and her dad must fight to survive. This Sam Raimi produced animal attack film is a fun fright flick that showcases some very brutal gator attacks and likable characters. Many times in the movie both Juliet and my cousin Stephen jumped showing the film did back some scares. The downside to this film was not anything about the film itself but the other people in our row who talked almost the whole movie!! The film did good for Paramount at the American Box Office bringing in $39,014,193.00 on a budget of $13.5 showing that lower budget Horror does make money. Well worth seeing and owning on DVD for those who love physical media like I do.

# 15

A new phone app is sweeping the nation that tells you the exact day and time you will die. Young nurse Quinn Harris downloads it when a patient shows her the app that says he will die the time he would go into surgery. Now Quinn is starting to see demonic things as her death date is getting closer and she cannot get the app off her phone. Along her countdown she enlists the help of a cellphone dealer, a weird priest, a young man who also downloaded the app and even her very own young sister who has also made the mistake. Will Quinn out smart this demonic app and save all the lives that are on the line or will she become just another victim to the growing list? This was a pretty fun film that brought together tech and classic biblical demons that felt like it could have been right at home in the late 90’s Horror releases. The film did pretty good for STX Entertainment bringing in $$25,569,747 on a budget of $6.5 million. I really enjoyed this one and will own it on DVD when it is released.

# 14

Miles was born a special child with high intelligence, but he seems to be having a very hard time making friends and interacting with kids his own age. And worse, he seems to be getting more and more aggressive even leaving painful traps for his babysitter and attacking a fellow student in class. Soon his mother finds out that the spirit of a serial killer has entered her son at birth and wants to finish a kill he started. ow she must find a way to save her son’s soul and rid the world of this killer once and for all. This is a pretty great possession/evil kid Horror Movie that brings some solid spooky moments as Miles has very sinister things on his mind and acts on his urges to hurt and kill others. The film also was a great way to see the Orion logo once more on the big screen, and the film really did feel like one that would have been right at home in the early 80’s. The film did only so-so for Orion Pictures at the US Boxoffice bringing in $14,852,586.00 on a budget of only $6 million. While this film might not be ground breaking when it comes to the killer kid Horror genre, it still was a fun watch at the cinema and one I own on DVD.

# 13

Zoey Davis is selected to take part of an Escape Room along with a group of strangers that is put on by a big company called Minos, but once the game starts, the group soon find out that the rooms are designed to kill those who don’t solve the puzzle. Now Zoey and her fellow players must use their sharp minds in order to survive and find out who is responsible for this twisted game. This was the first Horror Movie for the cinema in 2019 and was a great way to start the year as it was a thrilling PG-13 SAW inspired flick. The film also keeps you as the viewer on the edge of your seat wondering how the characters were going to escape each death trap room. The film did well for Sony at the Box Office here in America bringing in $57,005,601.00 on a budget of $9 million. The film leaves itself open for a sequel, and I hope they do one as there is more to tell about Minos and their deadly escape rooms. It’s worth owning on home media if you’re a fan of this style of Horror.

# 12

Maggie Thompson is the new girl in a small town in Ohio, and she quickly makes friends who like to hang out and drink, but being to young to buy alcohol they end up meeting Sue Ann Ellington (who likes to be called Ma), an older woman who ends him helping them get alcohol and allows the teens to party in her basement. But while it starts out fun, things soon turn weird when Ma is not what she appears and is a woman with lots of mental issues, secrets, lies and has set her sights on revenge and control on those she feels have wronged her! Blumhouse and Universal once more team up and deliver a highly entertaining Horror Thriller where the films villain is both evil and yet you do feel bad for her throughout. Octavia Spencer is fantastic in the role of Ma, and I really hope that a sequel or even a prequel is made to allow her to return to the role. The film did pretty well for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in $45,373,120.00 on a budget of only $5 million! This is worth owning on DVD, and when released I bought it for my collection.

# 11

Brandon Breyer is adopted by Tori and Kyle, but from any orphanage as he really came from a rocket that fell from the sky and on his 12 birthday he starts to change and the sweet boy they raised has turned into a egotistical super powered being who wants to take over the world and will silence anyone who stands in his way. With deaths and missing persons piling up around them, the Breyer’s must figure out a way to stop their son who is really a monster. This film is almost like a ‘’What If” Superman was evil story and is really a fantastic watch as the tension is high and the character of Brandon Breyer is so cold that he truly is scary. Elizabeth Banks who plays Tori Breyer does a fantastic job as well as being the voice of reason for Brandon and the one who keeps him slightly in line and keeps his raging evil powers in check…well at least hidden. The film is gory in spots with some of the kills being brutal and gross, and this was refreshing in a world filled with Paranormal Horror Films. I for one hope this film does get a sequel as I would love to see how the world will fight back against Brandon, and the film’s credits tease that there are more like him in the world with different powers and how would they fit in…so come on Gunn family give as a sequel. The film did really well at the US Box Office for Sony brining in $17,300,439.00 on a budget of only $6 million. So if you like Superhero films as well as Horror, do yourself a favor and make sure to see this one as I even rushed out to get it once on home media!

# 10

Andy and his young mom have had to move back to the city she grew up in when they fall on hard times. Andy is having a hard time making friends, and the cop who visits his mom down the hall is the only one he is making. But things change when, for his birthday, Andy gets a Buddi doll that is defective, but still makes him the talk of the school and he makes friends as they use the doll to pull off pranks…you see the doll that is very high tech and can learn and move and is named Chucky! When Chucky feels that Andy is being wronged or that someone is standing in the way of their friendship, he takes bloody revenge on them as he learns to murder by watching horror movies. But when Andy wants nothing to do with Chucky, the doll is mad and wants revenge and sets up a bloody showdown at the department store his mom works for that leaves several dead, many injured and a son fighting for the life of his own mother. This remake is very familiar and yet also very different as Chucky this time around is a computer powered doll who is sinister, but does not hold a candle to the classic Chucky who was the reanimated spirit of a serial killer. Mark Hamill does great as the voice of Chucky, and Audrey Plaza plays the mom and is fantastic. The film also has some good kills and has a them song sung by Hamill that will be stuck in your head for days. The film did okay for United Artists at the American Box Office bringing in $29,208,403.00 on a budget of $10 million. While not in the same ballpark as the original, I was still very much amused by this remake and was a fun popcorn film at the Cranberry Cinema. When released, I  bought it on DVD to join my Child’s Play movie collection.

# 9

Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock are back years after the events of the first film and have made a home for themselves in the White House, and life is a normal as it can be with zombies all around them. But things change when Columbus purposes to Wichita. Things get crazy again as she and Little Rock run away stealing the car again! While heartbroken, the pair go shopping and Columbus meets Madison, a young ditzy blonde, and the pair start to date. But Wichita shows back up and informs them that Little Rock has ran away with a hippie and they need to get her back! Now with emotions high Wichita leads Tallahassee, Columbus and Madison on a quest to save Little Rock that leads them all over from Graceland to a Sanctuary that is weaponless! In a world filled with zombies and weirdo people, this mission is dangerous and funny and made a great sequel to this Horror Comedy. Woody Harrelson is funny and fantastic as always, having Rosario Dawson as an owner of an Elvis Hotel was a nice touch as she as well is great. One of the funniest actors in the film is Zoey Deutch who plays the ditzy Madison as she cracked me up! The film is packed with good jokes, zombie kills and over all was a great popcorn film. The film did alright for Sony at the U.S. Box Office as on a budget of $42 million it brought in $72,785,288.00! This was a fun sequel and one I will own on DVD when released, and I do hope they make another film in the series.

# 8

Tree Gelbman’s life is going good as she has broken the cycle she was in and had stopped her killer for good…but things get bad for her again as she is once more stuck in living the cycle of her birthday and murder…but there is a twist as this time around she finds herself not the main target and stuck on a loop in another reality where her mother is alive but her boyfriend is dating Whitney, her main frenemy! Now Tree must choose to stop the killer in this new world and stay to be with her Mom or go back to her own reality and be with her boyfriend! The choice hard, and the Baby Face Masked Killer is on the loose what is Tree to do? This is a very fun sequel that blends elements of Horror, Comedy and Sci-Fi together to make for a fun ride to figure out who the killer is and what will Tree do when it comes to her decision. Sadly this film did not do overly great at the US Box Office for Universal as it brought in $28,051,045.00 on a budget of only $9 million…yeah Universal was not pleased even though the film made a profit and sadly it looks like the third film is now in limbo. But if you liked the first film and enjoy the replaying world around Tree, this is one you must see, and yep bought it when released on home media.

# 7

Young Adelaide separates from her family on Coney Island and finds herself in a hall of mirrors when a thunderstorm knocks out the power and she sees a reflection of herself that seems to have a mind of its own. Years later Adelaide is married to Gabe Wilson, has two kids and they are about to vacation near Coney Island and her memories of that night are making her uncomfortable. And her worries are corrects as attacks start to take place all around by what appears to doppelgangers of the victims, and when Adelaide and her family come face to face with twisted versions of themselves, they must fight to stay alive! This second Horror Movie by Jordon Peele is a really cool mind bending journey that not only tries to scare you but also tries to enforce that nothing is stronger that a family bond. The film has some great twists and turns, and I will not spoil them here for you, but do yourself a favor and check this one out. The film does a great job of blending humor into the blood horror and the pacing is excellent. The film did outstanding for Universal at the American Box Office bringing in a total of $174,702,345.00 on a budget of $20 million. This was the highest grossing Horror movie of 2019 and really does show Horror is back being a draw at the cinema! I bought this fright flick as well on DVD when released.

# 6

Danny Torrance is an adult now and the events of the Overlook Hotel have left him a drunken mess with no direction in life, that is until he drifts his way into a small town and finds friends, a job and the help he needs. He also uses his shining power to make friends with a young girl named Abra Stone, and life seems to be going good as he also learns how to capture and lock away all the spirits from the Hotel that have tormented him for years. But both Danny and Abra’s life is about to change as Rose The Hat, a cult leader who has her followers feed off the psychic powers of folks with The Shining, is on the track of Abra who has so much power. ow Danny and Abra must fight back in the real world as well as the spiritual, and this fight leads them all back to the Overlook Hotel for a showdown that will leave you chilled and thrilled. This sequel to The Shining is really well done and Ewan McGregor as the adult Danny Torrance delivers a top-notch performance. Rebecca Ferguson as Rose The Hat is creepy, and in my opinion one of the best villains in Horror Cinema this year. The film for some reason did very poorly for Warner Brothers at the Box Office here in America bringing in only $31,488,764.00 on a budget of around $55 million. I’m not sure why this film did not do well as it was a fun Horror Thriller ride that delivered some good scare moments and likable and frighting characters. I will own once out on home media as I would like to watch this one again sooner than later.

# 5

Grace is marring Alex who is part of the Le Domas board game empire, and while the family is odd, she loves her soon to be husband, and after the wedding she is told that the family plays a weird game as a family to welcome her into their fold…the game is picked at a blind random by Grace and unlucky for her its Hide And Seek as this means while she hides the family armed with weapons hunt her down to kill her! You see their family made a packed with a Devil that if that card is drawn they must kill the person as a sacrifice or they themselves will die by morning light! Now Grace must fight to escape with her life from a family that is crazy and are fighting for theirs! This is a great Horror Thriller that even adds a dash of Comedy to bring entertainment to the viewers. Samara Waving is great as Grace and is a hero I found myself cheering for the whole film as she fights back, in fact she is the female hero the genre needed this year! The film I should also say has some great kills and adds in that supernatural element to make for a soon to be cult classic for sure. The film did pretty well for Fox at the U.S. Box Office as on a budget of only $5 million the film brought in $28,901,546.00! While it could be a stand alone movie I do hope that it gets a sequel as I would like to see were the story goes with The Devil and his deals. And of course when released on DVD I got it for my collection and think you should get yourself a copy as well.

# 4

Judy Warren is left with a babysitter while her parents Ed and Lorraine are out. Her babysitter is Mary Ellen and her friend Daniela Rios decide to bake a cake for Judy as her birthday is coming up, but things for not go well once Daniela goes into the Warrens room filled with cursed objects and touches things and even opens the case that houses the evil doll Annabelle! After doing this the three young ladies are in for a night of terror as Annabelle awakens many of the ghosts and demons that were trapped in that room and they want nothing more then to torment and kill with the likes of such creatures as a werewolf, The Bride and The Ferryman running loose looking for souls. Now Judy must be as brave as her parents and return and lock Annabelle into her case to stop this madness before it’s to late! This film has some good twists and turns as you learn lots about Judy Warrens as well as why Daniela touched the cursed items, this third film in the Annabelle series is well done and adds more to the story of this cursed doll. The film did well for New Line Cinema at the U.S. Box Office bringing in $74,152,591.00 on a budget of around $32 million. Another great film in The Conjuring universe that delivers some very amazing evil sprits with The Ferryman being the best in my opinion!

# 3

Anna Tate-Garcia is a single mother and a caseworker who stumbles upon a client who has locked her kids into a closet with bruises on their body and this sparks for them to be taken away from their mother. Once in custody the kids have a fear of a woman…but not their mother and when they are found drowned in a nearby stream while in care their mother is blamed for the killings and is arrested. But things get worse when Anna and her own children soon find themselves being marked by La Llorona who is an evil sprit who was responsible for killing the kids in the stream as well as hundreds of others over the decades and now wants to murder Anna’s kids! Now Anna must find a way to save her kids before they end up just another number in the body count of La Llorona! This supernatural horror flick is part of The Conjuring universe and is filled with creepy moments and lots of jump scares that truly bring the classic Mexican legend to the big screen, that is perfectly casted and has a suspenseful pace. This movie did well for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office bringing in $54,733,739.00 on a budget of $9 million dollars showing that New Line is a very solid player in the Horror World again. This film is worth seeing for those who like The Conjuring films, enjoy the Weeping Woman Legend and who get scared from Supernatural Horror. Worth owning as I bought on DVD when released.

# 2

Years have passed and Pennywise The Dancing Clown has not been seen, until 23 years after the Losers Club brought him down in Derry, Maine. Now much older and forgetting the pas must reunite in back in Derry and try and end Pennywise once and for all, but this time this killer clown is fighting back and wants to end the Losers Club before they end him. This is yet another amazing, scary and spooky film based on the hit novel written by Stephen King. This second chapter is filled with some very nasty kills and moments and brings a feel of dread throughout it, not to even mention that Bill Skarsgard is once more fantastic as Pennywise and brings a real mean spirit to the character. What really works for this film is that it flows so well with Chapter 1 and the elements of youth and adulthood facing a terror are done so well. It’s crazy to thank that Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema are climbing back to the top when it comes to making Horror Movies with its only other main rival being Universal! The film did great for WB bringing in $211,593,228.00 on a budget of $79 million at the American Box Office. IT Chapter Two is a fantastic film that almost took my # 1 spot and was only slightly edged out, and yes worth owning on home media for sure.

# 1

Godzilla King Of The Monsters is one of those films that critics and online “fans” doomed at the Box Office with their over trashing and poor scores…but I for one say ignore all that nonsense and never trust Rotten Tomatoes and make up your own mind on films. This film as Monarch in trouble over not sharing with the world about all the Titans that live among us, and worse a terrorist group has decided to wake them up with the hopes they will destroy mankind and become the rulers of the world once more! So they wake up Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah among others….and the worlds only hope is Godzilla who needs to defend his thrown as Alpha when Ghidorah decides he wants to rule all the monsters and make the Earth in his own vision. In other words it’s Godzilla vs. Ghidorah with Rodan and Mothra injecting themselves into the fight! Add in the drama of Monarch and the terrorist group with a dash of family drama between a husband, wife and daughter and you have one entertaining film! The film stars the likes of Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown and Ken Watanabe who all do fantastic and the score from Bear McCreary is amazing! This sequel to the 2014 film makes major improvements and delivers a good Kaiju film that is filled with some cool fights as well as badass monsters. The film sadly did not do great for Warner Brothers here in America bringing in only $110,500,138.00 on a massive budget of $170 million. While the negative modern Horror Fans may have trashed it on their social media those who go into movies to be Entertained and don’t spend the whole movies runtime looking for flaws enjoyed the hell out of it. Worth owning for sure!

2019 was filled with lots of great films and it was amazing to see all of the listed above in the theaters with my friends at all the different cinemas. I must say this year in Horror Movies was really good filled with so many good ones with only one being on the border of being one of the worst films I have seen in a very long time. But as you can see the usher is here and wants to clean up all the spilled drinks and popcorn from the floor, so I think it’s time for us to wrap up this review and before we go, I want to let you know that my next update is going to take us to an evil cursed house as we talk about Ju-On as the new film in the American Grudge series is in theaters now. So until next time watch a movie or three and support your local theater. See you next time to settle a Grudge.

Earthworm Jim Saves Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve! It’s crazy to think that another year is almost over and that we are about to celebrate another Christmas here at Rotten Ink. This time of the year is always very special for me and makes me think back to my youth and all the cool toys, games, music, comics and books I used to get for the holidays as well as always makes me think about how lucky I am to have so many amazing people in my life as I have a great family, amazing friends and am blessed to be able to have so many creative outlets like Game Swap Kettering, Sparkle Comics, Bloodline Video, Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre, Radio, Rockstar Pro Wrestling, Rotten Ink and so many other top notch projects that allow for me to have an outlet. As I have said here before, one of the coolest Christmas gifts I ever got was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and that’s why I always think about classic video games around this holiday as if brings back great memories of playing them with family, friends and even trying to beat games myself! So for this update I have decided to take a look a video game character that made his major splash on the Sega Genesis that spawned a cartoon and even a comic series, and this cheesy character is the one and only Earthworm Jim! So if you’re ready to take a trip with Rotten Ink, Marvel Comics and Earthworm Jim this Christmas Eve, you should find a comfy chair, pour yourself some eggnog. and as we all wait for Santa, I think it’s time to have a classic game flashback.

Earthworm Jim was a normal worm on the planet earth that spent his days digging around in dirt and avoiding being eaten by birds. Meanwhile in space Psy-Crow, a feared bounty hunter, accidentally drops a cyber space suit from his ship that falls to Earth and Jim who is on the run from birds looking to make him a meal hides inside it and the suit evolves him into a more human-like life form with intelligence and a goofball charm. But with his new found power and mind, he becomes a marked worm as Psy-Crow on the orders of the evil Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is set for death and Jim himself now wants to meet the Queen’s lovely sister Princess What’s-Her-Name! And so began Earthworm Jim, space explorer and hero, who armed with his ray gun has saved worlds as well as those who are in need. Earthworm Jim in his cyber suit weighs around 154 pounds and stands about 5’8” and has super strength and a heroic heart, but he also is a little goofy as he still is a worm! Say what you will about Earthworm Jim, but he is the hero we didn’t know we needed.

Earthworm Jim is a side scrolling game that was created by Doug TenNapel and was a fun silly concept that captured the attention of not only gamers but also game publishers. The first Earthworm Jim game was released in 1994 for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo and has Earthworm Jim avoiding his enemies and trying to save Princess What’s-Her-Name! The game over the years would go on to be on many other systems like Sega CD, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo Game Boy, PC and Game Boy Advance. The game was super popular and by 1995 the sequel Earthworm Jim 2 was released and continued the story of the first game and was released for Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, PC and the Sega Saturn to name a few. This game was a hit but was not fully embraced by gamers and critics as the game did not change enough to warrant its quick release to cash in on the popularity of the original. The game series took a break for a while, and it was not till 1999 when the world got Earthworm Jim 3D that was only released for the Nintendo 64 and has Jim fighting to wake from a coma and must battle his rogues gallery who have all entered his mind. This game was not well received and marked the end of the series for home consoles.

In my youth, I can remember spending many of hours playing both Earthworm Jim and Earthworm Jim 2 for the Sega Genesis at my friends houses as well as at my cousins Dino and Norman’s. Shocking enough, I never did ever buy my own copy of the game and always just played it with them or borrowed it from them for a short time. Sadly I have never played Earthworm Jim 3D as it just never was on my radar as by the time it was released I was all about the Sony Playstation when it came to playing games. One other thing that is crazy to think is that games like Earthworm Jim helped spawn many other weird themed games like Conker, Crash Bandicoot, Banjo-Kazooie and Boogerman to name a few, and yes I know Boogerman was released the same year as Earthworm Jim. Say what you will about the Earthworm Jim series of games, but one thing is for sure, if you grew up in the 90’s and played video games they were on many of our must play games list.

Did you know in 1995 a cartoon series was released based around the adventures of Earthworm Jim? Released by Universal Cartoon Studios and airing on Kids WB starting on September 9, 1995, this series followed Earthworm Jim as he is being attacked by all types of baddies who want his power suit for their own evil plans! This cartoon was part action, part adventure and part silly as it played up on the over all goofy nature of the character and its universe. Voice actor Dan Castellaneta played Earthworm Jim, Jeff Bennett played Peter Puppy and Kath Soucie voiced Princess What’s-Her-Name showing they had some great voice talent on this show. The series only lasted for 23 episodes and ended its run on December 13, 1996 making it a very short run cartoon that built a very small cult fan base from those who grew up in the 90s. The cartoon has made its way to home media on both VHS and DVD with the latter being the complete series. This was a cartoon I can remember seeing from time to time, but was not something I watched often as I was a little older when it was released and was more into other shows at that time. But if you like this cartoon, make sure to do yourself a favor and get the DVD set put out by VEI and relive this classic toon.

In the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s toy company Playmates was one of the kings of the toy aisle as they delivered figures based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Trek, The Addams Family, Toxic Crusaders, The Simpsons, Dick Tracy, Skeleton Warriors, Flash Gordon, Coneheads and Zorro to name a few and along with these figures they also did Earthworm Jim ones based on the cartoon and video game! These figures were released in 1995 with a total of eight figures being made with three of them being different versions of Earthworm Jim. Also in the line was Princess What’s-Her-Name and Peter Puppy as well as baddies Psycrow, Henchrat and Bob! Each figure also came with weapons as well as a mini character like goldfish # 4 and Snott! The series of toys never made it to a wave two even though they made an appearance at Toy Fair with figures of Evil Jim, Queen Slug-For-A- Butt and The Hamstinator all planned. The figures were really cool and fit alongside Playmates other figures. Growing up I did not own any of them but do remember them in stores, to be honest it’s a little crazy that I did not at least buy Earthworm Jim as I was a fan of the game even in 1995!

Back in the 90’s Marvel Comics had already closed down their kids comic branch Star Comics and absorbed many of those titles under Marvel Comics proper like Muppet Babies and Thundercats to name a few. But they also had Epic Comics still going as it was a creator owned branch that was founded in 1982 and featured comics based on Horror Movies like Hellraiser and Nightbreed. In 1994 they tried to open a branch called Marvel Music that was comics based on musical acts like Alice Cooper, Rolling Stones and Billy Ray Cyrus and this was very short lived as by 1995 this branch was history and all titles canceled. But out of the ashes of the weirdness of Marvel Music and the cool kid friendly comics based on cartoons and toys of Star came Marvel Absurd a branch that would have issues of weird teen style comics based on popular toons and video games of the time. Some titles in this branch was just carry overs from Marvel Titles like the Nickelodeon cartoon “Ren And Stimpy” plus the hit MTV cartoon “Beavis & Butthead” that switched over to this branch way into their series. And the new title launched for this branch was “Earthworm Jim” based on the popular video game at the time not to mention the silly parody comic “Marvel Riot” that lasted only one issue. But like most things at Marvel Comics at the time as soon as it started in ended as its whole run was from around 1994-1996 as the brand was just not super popular for Marvel. But I want to take a moment to let you readers know that in 2020 I will do a Top 10 Countdown Of Things That Should Have Gotten An Absurd Comic!

So as you can see, Earthworm Jim was a perfect fit for the short lived Marvel Absurd comic line as he was wacky, weird and over the top! And not so surprisingly, this comic series is a little hard to get and the issues hold a decent price on them to get so I want to thank sellers on both Ebay and Amazon for having them in stock and making this holiday update possible. I want to remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready to see what Marvel Comics and Earthworm Jim have in store for us, let’s get to the comic review section of this update.

Earthworm Jim # 1  ***
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.25      Marvel      # 1 of 3

Queen-Slug-For-A-Butt, Major Mucus and Doc Duodenum have entered Heck and asked the underground ruler Evil to let them hire an army of evil lawyers so they can sue Earthworm Jim for all the years of stopping their evil schemes! Meanwhile Jim himself is on a “date” with Princess What’s-Her-Name and they are attacked by Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head who take them prisoner, as Professor wants the cyber space suit and Psy-Crow wants to eat Jim once he is out of the suit!!! As Jim escapes the grip of Psy-Crow his suit runs amuck in the lab while talking goldfish Bob and his catmen have Princes What’s-Her-Name prisoner and force her to agree to marry him as they fake that they will kill Jim if show don’t! Meanwhile the escaped worm Jim finds himself in the prison area and meets many failed experiments that are being locked up and that includes a small puppy man named Peter Puppy, and once Jim finds these creatures need help he returns to the lab and gets his suit back by beating Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head, heads to the dungeon and frees the creatures and along with Peter jumps on a rocket to stop the wedding of Princes What’s-Her-Name and Bob!

This comic is super silly and really is Absurd and that’s a great thing as a comic based on Earthworm Jim needed to be this way. The plot has all of Jim’s bad guys wanting to defeat him with some trying to hire lawyers to sue him with others wanting to kill him and steal his suit to build an army of super soldiers! But while the lawyers do not find Jim in this issue, they are still on the lookout for him as his main nemesis are Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head who kidnap him and his Princess girlfriend and want him dead in the ground! Earthworm Jim in this issue is heroic and slightly goofy but shows that he will always stand up for the little guy and do whatever it takes to do the right thing! I love how Jim in this issue also finds his inner hero when he meets a group of freaks that have been created and kept prisoner and knows he must set them free! Princess What’s-Her-Name also shows that she is a great person that is able to take care of herself as she mops the floor with many catmen! I also feel bad for her as she thinks her man Jim has been tortured and even cut by his captures, and this makes her agree to marry a goldfish. Professor Monkey-For-A-Head and Psy-Crow are the issues main bad guys as they are teaming up with the idea to finally bring down Jim once and for all and they are cruel and seem to get joy in this sick game they are playing. Bob the goldfish as well is a sick man who is a terrible creature who is trying to force love in order to gain power. We shall see how the lawsuit goes if the Lawyers of Heck come into play in one of the further issues. Over all this is a very fun action, adventures, comedy and silly comic that brings the video games/cartoon character to life on the pages of a comic book. The cover is fantastic and very eye catching and captures that 90’s style, the interior art is done by Barry Crain and is top notch and does capture the fun nature of the Earthworm Jim universe. So with this first issue being great, let’s see what the next issue has in store for us.

Earthworm Jim # 2  **1/2
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.25     Marvel     # 2 of 3

Evil, the cat leader of Heck, is upset at his lawyers and orders them to get the job done this issue or they will all way the price! While Earthworm Jim and Peter are lost in space, as they cannot find the hideout of Bob and even after getting directors from a Gas Station planet it takes them sometime to find their way. Meanwhile Bob is gloating and bullying his soon to be wife Princess What’s-Her-Name, as a cat slips a bomb into the Princess bouquet! Meanwhile Earthworm Jim has found the directions to stop the wedding, as Bob now knows that Jim is on his way to stop the wedding! Even Queen-Slug-For-A-Butt the sister of Princess What’s-Her-Name shows up for the wedding as this will truly give Bob power. Once Jim and Peter arrive they take a mutated hamster and head to the ceremony to save the day. Jim just in time is able to save the Princess before they say the “I Do’s” and Bob climbs into a mega mech suit and puts a hurting on Jim, but lucky for Jim he is able to crack Bob’s fishbowl and wins the day! As Jim, The Princess and Peter celebrate the Heck Lawyers have arrived and worse the bomb in the bouquet is about to explode!

Earthworm Jim and his puppy friend Peter are on a mission to stop a forced wedding that will see Princess What’s-Her-Name being the wife of the cruel goldfish Bob…and along the way Jim must fight off catmen, not get lost and come face to face with Bob who also now has a massive suit that is more powerful! I like in this issue that Earthworm Jim once more has a good heart and so wants to be the hero, not to mention he is still shown to be a total goof who it seems by luck is able to save the day. Peter Puppy is shown in this issue that when pushed he can and will turn into a dog monster, making him a good ally for Jim to have. Princess What’s-Her-Name who is a great and loving character shows she is willing to ruin her life in order to protect the life of her wormfriend Jim! Bob is such a jerk and when he don’t get what he wants in this issue spends his time beating up Jim, oh and he also seems to love to boss around his catmen henchmen. The Lawyers From Heck at the end of this issue finally find Jim, but worse just as they have the bomb planted is about to blow. The issue is filled with dumb humor as well as some zany action and adventure moments making for a good read. I also really enjoy the fact that both Pinhead from Hellraiser and the Creature From The Black Lagoon have cameos in this issue and Pinhead is shown as one of the Lawyers of Heck and Gillman is the Preacher for the wedding. The cover for this issue is lots of fun and has a James Bond feel to it and the interior art for the start of the comic is done by Barry Crain and is great with the later part of the issue being done by Manny Galan & Carlos Garzon and is just so-so. Over all this was a good issue, and I cannot wait to see how this series ends.

Earthworm Jim # 3  **
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.25      Marvel     # 3 of 3

Earthworm Jim is being surrounded by all his rogues gallery as well as Lawyers from Heck as they were their for the wedding of their evil friend Bob, but things turn good when Peter by accident sneezes the flowers with the bomb in it into the crowd of baddies and the explosion leaves most of them down and out! As Earthworm Jim, Princess What’s-Her-Name and Peter escape the planet the Lawyers try and figure out where he went now so they can serve him papers. Peter would like to go back to his home world and Jim agrees to take him, but he soon learns that Peter when hurt, scared, mad or even slightly annoyed will turn into a wild dog beast that is looking for a fight! They go back and fourth with Peter raging and threatening to fight Jim that is until the Princess has had enough and puts them both in their places. Now at Peter’s home planet, they have been followed by Evil and the Heck Lawyers who know have decided to kill Jim and just sue his estate! But before Evil and them can commit the murder Jim and his people are attacked by a giant red dinosaur and Jim is stomped into the ground and is loosing the fight, but lucky for him Princess What’s-Her-Name gets into Jim’s suit and powers up her already massive power and she beats the Dinosaur with ease. With Peter home and Jim back in the suit, the puppy ends up asking if he could just go home and live with them as he now knows that his planet is a terrible place to live. Jim and The Princess agree to take Peter to their home planet and while there Peter ends up saving the day as he attacks and eats Evil and chases off all the Heck Lawyers after becoming the dog monster! In the end Earthworm Jim and Princess What’s-Her-Name continue their date and all ends well.

This third and final issue is fun, but is the weakest issue in the series as I feel they waste so much time with the joke everything sets Peter off in becoming the dog monster…and while funny maybe the first couple of times it wears thin pretty fast when its back to back to back, making me as a reader kind of be annoyed with the Peter character. It almost seemed liked they ran out of story ideas and just made this final issue filled with lots of filler moments. The plot has Earthworm Jim and Princess What’s-Her-Name taking their new friend Peter to his home planet, and they are being stalked by Evil cat ruler of Heck and his demonic army of lawyers as well as trying to survive the planet that is filled with all types of creatures all want blood and kills. In this issue, Earthworm Jim is still a hero but also shows that he can be defeated and also can have a short fuse when annoyed time and time again. As I said before, Peter is pretty annoying in this issue and spends almost all the issue being triggered by everything and going back and fourth into becoming a monster and a normal puppy man. Princess What’s-Her-Name is as always a hero and shows that she don’t even really need Jim to be her hero as she has the power and mind to take care of herself. Evil and his Heck Lawyers are pretty silly and like in the other issues just kind of fumble around and miss their chances to strike. The threat in this issue is around but the stakes don’t seem as high as really this whole issue’s purpose is to get Peter home, and to this reader I kind of feel that this is just a average read with not real thought put into the story and was made to fulfill the contract made with the people who made Earthworm Jim. The cover on this issue is great and eye catching, and the art in this issue is all done by Barry Crain and is good but also seems rushed. To sum it up, this is an entertaining comic mini series based on a very goofy video game character, and I am sure will please fans of Earthworm Jim. Check out the art below to see the style of Barry Crain and enjoy.

So before we end this update, I really wanted to share some of the Horror Movie characters that have cameos in this series. The first one I spotted was Pinhead from the movie series Hellraiser in issue # 2 who is on the planet Heck and is one of the Lawyers that has been hired to bring a lawsuit against Earthworm Jim. It was pretty cool seeing him as Marvel Comics under their Epic line use to make Hellraiser comics. Also in issue # 2 was Gillman from the Universal Monster movie Creature From The Black Lagoon as he is the preacher that is marrying Bob and Princess What’s-Her-Name! Sadly I think these two are the only two Movie Monsters in this series, but I must say this is very cool and I wish more comics would add little Easter Eggs like this more often.

So I hope you enjoyed this Christmas Eve update all about Earthworm Jim and it helped add to your holiday season with great memories of playing the video game, watching the cartoon, playing with the toys and even reading the comics. This time of the year really is filled with magic and makes me always think of my youth and all the great memories of Christmas pasts. So I don’t want to take up more of your holiday with my ramblings, but do want to let you know that our next update will be my Films Of 2019 update and will be the first update of 2020! So until next time enjoy your time with loved ones, have fun opening your gifts and always watch out for each other. Oh and make sure to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Ballad Of Stretch Armstrong

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! I am sure you readers are as excited as I am for Christmas, which is just around the corner as is my Christmas Eve special! For this update, I decided that I was going to take a look at a toy that started in 1976 and is still going strong today, Stretch Armstrong! I am sure if you’re an older reader or a younger reader to this blog, you either had a Stretch Armstrong figure, know someone who did, or at least know who he is. It’s crazy to think that Stretch Armstrong, as of the posting of this update, is 43 years old and has faded in and out of toy stores over those decades and has now finally made it to an update here on Rotten Ink as one of my countdown to Christmas Eve updates. So sit back and pour yourself some eggnog, and let’s talk about the one and only blonde muscle-bound stretchable hero known as Stretch Armstrong and enjoy this flashback down action figure lane.

Jesse D. Horowitz developed the concept of Stretch Armstrong (originally called Stretch Man) for Kenner, and he had two different directions they were going to look at with one being a muscle blonde man and the other a large sumo wrestler. They went with the muscle bound blonde to keep costs down as the sumo was just too bulky. They brought in Bill Armasmith to develop the figure once Kenner loved the idea. When the figure went into production, they used a liquid sugar gel to give the figure his stretching ability and it became a hit with youngsters. And this also sparked other figures in the Stretch Armstrong series that included bad guys that he could fight with. The original run for this toy series lasted from 1976-1980, and those are now major collectors’ items as many of the originals now are long gone to the toy chest in the sky thanks to them degrading. In the 1990’s, Cap Toys got the IP of Stretch Armstrong and tried a come back to the world of toys to once more capture the attention of the kids and become a must-have toy. They added a new villain as well as a dog sidekick called Fetch Armstrong, and this once more has a short lived run in toy stores before once more fading away. And from then on, off and on many more Stretch Armstrong remake figures have been released to stores, but have never captured attention like the original did in the late 70’s and has never made it back to the must-own figures on Christmas lists. Who knows what the future will hold for Stretch Armstrong and his conquest to once more dominate the toy aisles, but one thing is for sure, those youngsters from the past who owned one sure did enjoy playing with it and he will forever live on in their minds.

As I stated above, Stretch Armstrong had his own set of villains with the most popular being Monster Man who was a green skinned reptilian like humanoid who was released in 1978 and is our heroes most popular baddy. Monster Man is also worth lots of money as many of the original figures have not made it undamaged to this modern time. In 1977, the see-through alien Stretch X-Ray was released and was a strange looking guy who grossed out youngsters with his appearance of being able to see his guts and organs. He as well is very rare and the original sales for lots of money. Vac-Man was released in 1994 and was the newest of the Stretch bad guys and was also unique as he came with a pump that allows you to suck the air out of the toy and that made him stretchy. Vac-Man is a red skinned alien who was one mean creature. Growing up I remember the same kid who had Stretch Armstrong also had Vac-Man and all of us kids took turns playing with this figure! One thing is for sure, Stretch Armstrong had one kick butt rogues gallery that I would have loved to have seen in the pages of a comic book series when I was a kid and should have been made by Star Comics in the late 80’s or even early 90’s! Check out the pictures below to see his foes in all their evil glory!

Really quickly, we should talk about the clones of Stretch Armstrong as this figure series had its fair share of imitators that tried to cash in on its popularity with youngsters. Some of the most popular were Mego’s “Elastic Heroes” that started in 1979 and featured DC Comic heroes Batman, Superman and Plastic Man and from Marvel they had Hulk and Spider-Man. They would later add cartoon characters Casper, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Growing up, I always wanted the Hulk one but never could find one used at one of the antique stores in Waynesville or at a garage sale. In the 1980’s LJN decided to get into the game and made “WWF Stretch Wrestlers” that were stretchable pro wrestlers and in the line was Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff, Randy Savage, George Steele, Junkyard Dog, Ricky Steamboat and King Kong Bundy. I knew one kid who had one of these and I can remember of the playground a lot of us kids stretching the heck out of Randy Savage! Also released in more modern times is a stretch Scooby-Doo figure that is sure to please fans of this classic cartoon character and collectors of stretchable action figures. And these toy series are just a drop in the hat of figures that were inspired by Stretch Armstrong showing that he was a major player in the world of toys and was pretty innovative in its stretchable feature. Check out the pictures below for a look at some of these inspired toys.

Like I said, as a kid I never did own a Stretch Armstrong and only played with them when my friends brought one to school or over at my cousin’s house when they had one for a short time…until they decided to cut him open and see what he was made of. Well I am proud to say that in 2018 I finally got myself a Stretch Armstrong, and best of all he is called the World’s Smallest! And while he is super small and does not stretch as far as the normal larger sized one I would say this that he is single handedly the worst Stretch Armstrong figure ever made! He is made just of rubber and has a hard plastic skeleton and a vey cheap paint job…no joke when opened I was 100% disappointed in this figure and after only stretching him for a few moments I placed him on a shelf and that’s were he has sat for over a year now. So this is just a warning if you want a Stretch Armstrong don’t go cheap and just order a normal sized one like I wish I did.

Hasbro, who now owns the rights of Stretch Armstrong, decided that they wanted to develop the toy property into movies, comics and TV shows and for years talk went around Hollywood about a big budget movie when Disney bought the rights and wanted to make a family comedy film that had many different scripts written and even stars casted including Tim Allen and Danny DeVito at one point being cast in the title role. But Disney failed to make the movie and then the rights went to Universal and it has well turned out many scripts. They wanted actor Taylor Lautner to play Stretch, but Universal as well dropped the ball and never made the film Relativity Media picked up the rights and before anything really went too far the film was scrapped once again. And the last rumor going around I have heard is that Paramount is now the ones who have the rights to make a movie and have as well just sat on the property with no movie set for production. But in 2017 Hasbro and Netflix decided to team up and make a kids cartoon based on Stretch Armstrong and called it “Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters” that would change the age and nature of Stretch and would has him be a young man and his friends who mutate into stretchable heroes! The series is still going now and is the first of Stretch Armstrong media projects to ever see the light of day.

So while Stretch Armstrong never did get his big screen flick, as you have just read, he did get his streaming show in the forum of a cartoon and because of this cartoon we also got a comic series that made this update possible! And while I wish this comic mini series was based on the original figure or even the 90’s one and not a kids show with a younger Stretch, but beggars can’t be choosy and this is was IDW has given us. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics and Lone Star Comics for having these comics in stock and need to also remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you’re ready I am ready to have an adventure with Stretch Armstrong and see if he can bring some fun to this holiday season.

Stretch Armstrong And The Flex Fighters # 1  **
Released in 2018       Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 1 of 3

Jake Armstrong along with his friends Nathan and Ricardo become superheroes Stretch, Wingspan and Omni-Mass respective and go by the team name The Flex Fighters. They are now in the city fighting a massive praying mantis that has emerged from the ground attacking workers for a drilling company. The Rook Company lead by Mr. Rook who is responsible for training The Flex Fighters has ground troops also on the ground being lead by Malcolm Kane who can use force if the super team fails to get the mantis under control. The Mantis is strong and is given the powered teens a run for their money, but they are finally able to use extreme sound to knock out and capture it in order for Mr. Rook to study it…but their giant insect is taken away when The Extreme Hazard Unit a government agency takes it away with plans to burn it to death. But while this is going on Omni-Mass has Stretch and Wingspan follow him into the whole the mantis came from and find that its filled with babies and she was only attacking to protect them, and the team now make a pact to save the mantis mom from death.

This very kid friendly comic captures the silly nature of the NetFlix cartoon series and delivers a pretty good middle of the road read with this first issue. The plot has Stretch Armstrong and the rest of the Flex Fighters taken on a massive insect all the while getting orders to capture it alive and protect all civilians while being heroes, and for Stretch to be dealing with the pressure of time schedules his father gives him. Stretch Armstrong is a teen who has lost his mother and has an over baring dad who pushes his son way to hard, and unknown to his father Stretch is also a super hero who has the same powers as Plastic Man and Mr. Fantastic. Stretch seems like a good kid with lots of stress and just wants to do the right thing as well as not disappoint his father. Mr. Rook and Malcolm Kane are the heads of a private group that do good deeds and try and use what they uncover to help mankind, good guys with good values. The Extreme Hazard Unit I am not sure about as they appear when the danger is neutralized and take the creature away with the promise of killing it….I think they have other plans. Wingspan is a teen with flying powers and Omni-Mass is a teen with the power to make his limbs grow massive and kind of has a rude attitude. The Mantis is just a giant mantis who fights to protect her babies and really is not bad at all. Over all not much to say about this first issue as I feel it does a great job of capturing also the atmosphere and style of classic superhero books of the 60’s and we get a little backstory on most of our heroes. The cover is pretty great and eye catching for fans of the cartoon series and the interior art by Nikos Koutsis is really good and has a very modern style of what I would think if Star Comics was still around would look like. To sum it up a pretty good first issue and does make we wonder what is going to happen next in issue two.

Stretch Armstrong And The Flex Fighters # 2  **
Released in 2018       Cover Price $3.99    IDW     # 2 of 3

The Flex Fighters are in the tunnel with all the baby mantises and make a call to their boss Malcolm Kane who shoots down their idea and plan to save the giant mantis as he reminds them that their authority runs only through the city. This does not stop them as Stretch and Omni-Mass head to the Extreme Hazard Unit base and Wingspan stays behind the babysit the little ones. Stretch and Omni steal some haze mat suits and enter the lab and set free the giant mantis and as they are about the escape they are stopped by Agent Rathjani who is the one in charge at the Extreme Hazard Unit and uses her tech to capture Stretch, Omni and the Mantis…but to the rescue comes Wingspan and the baby mantises who free their mom and friends and they all try to get away with the Extreme Hazard Unit on their tails.

The second issue the pressure and heat is turned up on the Flex Fighters who want to save a momma creature from being killed and taken away from her babies as well as must disobey their own bosses to do so! In this issue we get more of the backstory of Nathan aka Wingspan as he is from a large family and often feels as if he is over looked and never listened to. And while he is creeped out by the baby Mantises they seem to really like him and is able to lead them to help in their mom’s rescue. Stretch in very confidante that he and his friends are doing the right thing in saving the giant creature and even does a good job of trying his best to lead his friends on this rescue mission. Omni-Mass does what he does best and that’s be ready for a fight and have an attitude doing it! The Giant Mantis and her Babies seem to understand when they are being talked to and offer support and help when they can on this breakout. The Extreme Hazard Unit are jerks as is their boss Agent Rathjani as they really don’t care about leaving babies orphaned and claim they have to kill the mantis for mankind’s safety. As a reader and the cliffhanger ending of the Flex Fighters as well as the giant Mantis and her babies being stuck in the lab of The Extreme Hazard Unit with armed troopers all around! The issue still captures a real kids comic feel and delivers a simple yet entertaining adventure that helps bring more life to our hero characters. The cover is pretty great and eye catching and Nikos Koutsis interior art is great and is truly a through back to classic kids comics of the late 80’s and the 90’s. So with that let’s see what issue three the final issue has in store for us and let’s see how they wrap up this tale.

Stretch Armstrong And The Flex Fighters # 3  **
Released in 2018       Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 3 of 3

The Flex Fighters and the giant creatures are making a run for it and Omni-Mass is holding off all the armed guards by smashing the ground around them. Once outside they are faced with tanks and it’s up to mama mantis and her babies to take them down, but while this is going on Agent Rathjani captures Stretch and informs him that he and his team are trespassing on their land and that they are going to be in very big trouble! That is until Mr. Rook shows up and informs everyone that he has bought the land and it now falls under Charter City rule and that the The Extreme Hazard Unit has 30 days to move their base and now the Mantis and her babies fall under their care! Mr. Rook and the Flex Fighters end up taking the creatures to an island Rook owns and allows them to live their life there. But as they good guys are about to leave they are being watched by Monster Man who has plans to experiment on the mantises once they leave and so ends this mini series with a cliffhanger for another that is clearly not ever coming.

Stretch Armstrong And The Flex Fighters is a mini series that has a story that could easily been wrapped up in two issues but they needed three in order to make a graphic novel to make a little extra money on licensing the IP. The story of the Flex Fighters fighting and then saving a massive mantis all the while thinking back on their personal life moments that fit for this mission at hand really does have a Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe mixed with a Star Comic issues from the 80’s. In this issues we get to learn more about the life of Omni-Mass and find out that his parents move from town to town and its been hard on him to make friends and even trust people as they are never in his life long enough, we also see he fears letting people down. Stretch and Wingspan take a back seat in this issue and just react to the battle going on around them, but they are fighting the best they can in order to save a life. Mr. Rook is the real hero who out smarts the Extreme Hazard Unit by just buying the land from under them and making their jurisdiction smaller and further out! Super smart move and a way to show up Agent Rathjani who is a pretty mean spirited government worker who loves that she has power and has no remorse for her bad actions and behavior. Another cool aspect of this series is that the giant mantis understands English and does her part in the escape and tries to not only protect her babies but as well as her new human friends. Sadly we get very little of Monster Man as he is on the island and has experiments he wants to do, but never once does he fight a Flex Fighter making the cover very misleading, but to be fair comic companies have been doing this for decades. The art for the series done by Nikos Koutsis is great in this issue as well and I would like to see him at sometime take on doing a comic based on the old Nickelodeon show Doug. Over all this kids comic is nothing special but is very well done and I am sure young readers who watch this show would also really enjoy this silly adventure. While I wish this had been a comic based on the classic Stretch Armstrong this is the series we were given and after reading it I am ok with it as I originally thought this was going to be terrible and poorly written and it really did turn out to be not that bad. Below is a look at art from this series so you can see the style of Koutsis.

So while I am sure that Stretch Armstrong will get his chance again in the world of comic books, I do think it will be many years away and will not be based on the Flex Fighters. And will a live action film based on Stretch ever be made…I am going to guess no and if he does ever show up it will be in a crossover film done by Hasbro in something like G.I. Joe or Transformers. But with this update done the next one will be my Christmas Eve update and originally I was going to cover “He-Man & She-Ra: Secret Of The Sword” in honor of the live action film that was slated to be released by Warner Brothers this holiday season, but they dropped the ball and did not get the film into production in time so I decided to take a look at something super silly and fun and that’s video game icon Earthworm Jim! So until next time drink a glass of eggnog or two, spend time with your family and as always support local business this holiday season. See you in space with a mechanical suited worm very soon!

 

The Holiday Challenge Of The Go-Bots!

As I have said many times here at Rotten Ink in the early and mid 80’s robots ruled the world for kids as so many cartoons, toys, comics, video games, model kits and movies showcased them and the young and young at heart could not get enough. For many the King of 80’s cartoon/toy robots are the Transformers followed by Voltron…but for me the top are the Go-Bots! Yeah I know many of you are laughing out loud and saying how in the world could you put the Go-Bots over Transformers, Voltron, Robo Force and the answer is very simple as I liked the fact they were in scale with my G.I. Joe’s and Star Wars figures plus I liked many of the characters like Leader-1, Scooter and Cy-Kill! For me this update is lots of fun to cover and write about as The Go-Bots deserve way more respect than they get from toy collectors and it’s about time they get a proper comic book series! I also want to remind you all that Go-Bots was my # 5 out of 10 for my Should Have Been A Star Comic way back in 2013 and it took till 2018 for IDW to make this happen! So if you’re ready to take a trip down memory lane and chat about the Go-Bots lets get to it!

Go-Bots hit toy shelves in 1983 thanks to Tonka Toys who was able to get molds from a Japanese toy company Popy who had a series called Machine Robo that was going strong there. Tonka wanted to cash in on the Robot-Mania that was going strong in America and taken an unknown toy series and rebranding it for the US market seemed like a quick and easy way to cash in and deliver a cool toy line for kids who would buy them up. And this worked as Go-Bots became a pretty popular toy brand and had a good following with youngsters who enjoyed these simple changing robots who were in scale with their Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. These guys also ended up getting their own cartoon series in order to help push the toys and give the figures more character. The figures like all good 80’s toys had good guys called Guardians that were lead by Leader-1 who could turn into a jet and the Renegades lead by the motorcycle transformer bot called Cy-Kill and they were bitter enemies who lead their respected sides into battle and every day life. But Go-Bots time at being the most loved changing robot figures was cut short when America was blessed with Transformers both as toys and a cartoon in 1984 and they dominated pretty much ever sense when it came to robot action figures. The figures even though loosing the grip of being must have transforming robot toys for kids survived until 1987 when the final GoBots were released. Tonka sold the Go-Bots to Hasbro in 1991 and that is were the brand is still to this day, even having modern figures that were made for very youngsters. While they might not be as respected nor collected like Transformers the Go-Bots are still a very cool toy and cartoon brand that was spawned in the 80’s! I for one remember using the figures in my toy wars and Leader-1 was always in the planning room with Luke Skywalker, Buck Rogers, Captain Kirk and First Sergeant Duke!

Hanna-Barbera in 1983 to go along side the toys made a cartoon mini series to help push the figures and give the characters a backstory as well as personalities. The main series “Challenge Of The Go-Bots” started in 1984 and lasted 65 episodes with 2 seasons and ended in 1985! The episodes followed the war between the good guys lead by Leader-1 as they try and stop the evil ways of Cy-Kill and his band of evil bots! Each episode ran for 22 minutes and was made by Hanna-Barbera Productions and was a semi popular cartoon for the time. I mostly remember it airing in reruns on USA Cartoon Express on the USA Network, and with this sparked my love for the figures even more! It’s crazy as just like the figures the cartoon is often over looked and forgotten about as it’s our shadowed by Transformers even in the toon world, and while the cartoon is great and I have lots of great memories of watching it…I must admit that the Transformers toon is a better show over all. The cartoon has been released on VHS as well as on DVD and are worth watching if you grew up with the Go-Bots as its are true blast from the past viewing.

A short time after the Challenge Of The Go-Bots ended Hanna-Barbera Productions and Clubhouse Pictures teamed up and made “Go-Bots: Battle Of The Rock Lords” an animated movie that hit theaters in March 21, 1986! The film is about robotic transforming rock people from space who need help from Leader-1 and the Guardians to return to their planet and overthrow the evil Rock Lord Magmar who is killing his own kind to get their power sceptres! And of course Cy-Kill joins the fight and helps Magmar and his evildoers. The film did very poorly at the Box Office here in the US only taken in $1,338,264.00 and worse critics and fans alike also trashed the film as they thought it was a poorly made family flick….not to mention “Transformers: The Movie” was also released that year and once more it out shadowed Go-Bots in another medium…is it just me or do you feel like Transformers was the bully of robot properties in the 80s? GoBots: Battle Of The Rock Lords was released on VHS and has yet to get a proper DVD or Blu-Ray release here in America. While it might be the weakest of the 80’s toy line movies released it still is a flick that entertained fans of the Go-Bots. I can remember renting this movie on VHS and liking it, but it sadly was a shell of a film compared to “He-Man & She-Ra: Secret Of The Sword”, “G.I. Joe: The Movie” and “Transformers: The Movie” all that are amazing watches and captured the mood and feel of the toys and cartoon series that spawned them.

Growing up I had lots of Go-Bots that I would get from stores, garage sales and even trades with fellow kids and they seen lots of play as I really did like them, while I know they are very basic in their transforming features but they held a special place in my toy collection. I had many favorites as Cy-Kill and Turbo were at the top but for me the best figure was Leader-1 as he just was such a cool figure as both robot and jet and he was always a major part in my Toy Wars and always looked after the droids during battle. As I got older many of my toys were donated to my cousins and in that batch was my Leader-1 figure and while I am glad he made them happy and they were able to have adventures with him, he was one figure I missed. But lucky for me while at Mavericks Cards And Comics one day they had a near mint one for very cheap so I was able to get one back and now he sits on a shelf at my job looking over the store. I can remember many of my friends growing up who had Go-Bots always mentioned Leader-1 as one of their favorite figures from the line. So if you grew up with the Go-Bots or still love them to this day leave me a comment and let me know what character was your favorite.

Also besides the toys and cartoon the Go-Bots also spawned lots of cool merchandise over the years for the fans to get their hands on and for them to bring in extra money for the brand. They have and had Halloween costumes, magazines, posters, home media, lunch boxes, shirts, computer game, comic books, books, soundtrack, coloring books, card game, board game and so much more! Over the years I have had many of these items like the cartoon on VHS, a T-Shirt of Leader-1, some of the books, coloring books & magazines and of course I have the comics from IDW as they are the main attraction of this update! So if you are a fan of Go-Bots there is some great stuff out there for you to collect.

I have worked for both a Comic Book store as well as several Media stores and a topic that has came up at many is the Go-Bots or Transformers talk and I have always found it very interesting as in all the talks I have been apart of most have a very weird hatred for GoBots as the fans of the Transformers are very rabid when it comes to the honor of their favorite changing robots, and to be honest besides myself I can only think of one other coworker who would take up for them during these topics. One phrase that is said so much during talks is that Go-Bots were the K-Mart versions of the Transformers, and to me this is a silly statement as while they might not have been as detailed nor as popular they were released before and did bring transforming robots into the minds and hands of the kids to pave the way for the Transformers. Plus most modern mass market Transformers in my opinion are really junky and are bargain basement level toys. So I also need to stress I love Transformers and grew up watching the cartoons, playing with the toys as well as reading the Marvel Comics and they were a major part of my youth, I just want to take up for Go-Bots as they seem to always get the short end of the stick when it comes to respect for them when it came to 80s toys and cartoons. Plus the art below is pretty great and well played to whom ever the artist is!

So as you can see I am a fan of Go-Bots and I know many of you readers are or were a fan at one point and had at least one in your collection. So now lets get to the comic reviews and I want to thank IDW for making them and Mavericks Cards And Comic for stocking them. And for me this is really a great way to start the countdown to Christmas Eve as Go-Bots really does make me flashback to my youth. I want to remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready like I am, as I have wanted a comic series based on the world of Go-Bots sense I was a youngster and now its time to finally read one.

GO-BOTS # 1  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 1 of 5

The Go-Bots are leaving among humans now and Leader-1 and human Mark are one secret missions to save prisoners of war. Scooter along with his human friend A.J are hanging around and while she is at classes he is getting paid to drive people around to get extra money for A.J. And the world’s top sport now is racing Go-Bots and Turbo and his human rider Matt Hunter are champions of that sport. And after winning the big race Matt and Turbo are approached by. T. Coriander Banks who takes them to an underground fight arena and the witness Cy-Kill kill other Go-Bots and robots. And Matt and Turbo soon find that Banks has tricked them and wants them to fight with Cy-Kill and they decline and barely escape alive. They return to the site of the arena and everyone is gone besides dead bodies of Go-Bots and Humans! Meanwhile Mark and Leader-1 get a new mission to stop a rouge band of Go-Bots and once found Leader-1 is tricked and all his programing and codes stolen by Cy-Kill who is running the pack of evil Go-Bots as he wants to kill all the humans and rule the world! A.J meanwhile goes to have a quick meal with her teacher Professor Braxis who informs her that he as well has his own Go-Bot and shoves her into his basement were she see’s Vamp who approaches to attack when Scooter busts in and saves her and roughs up the Professor who claims he was just joking. Once outside the world is going crazy as the Go-Bots have turned on humans due to the stolen codes and A.J asks Scooter if he is going to turn on her as he stands with his fist clinched.

This first issue shows that Go-Bots are not just kid’s toys anymore as this issue is filled with murder and death plus does a great job of building this comic universe. The plot of the comic has the Go-Bots being programed to obey humans and work alongside them and for our entertainment and when Cy-Kill the evil robot decides he wants to take over the world he and his followers start a Go-Bot revelation and turn on the humans they once served. And all of this is set in motion when Leader-1 is tricked and defeated and all his secrets and codes stolen. Leader-1 and his human friend Mark are heroes who help our government in secret missions and really is a hero who don’t care to take a human life in order to save those who are in need…that is as long as Mark allows it. Scooter and Turbo as well are good bots that as well have befriended humans and seem to do their best to protect both Matt and A.J who are their pals. This far hands down my favorite good Go-Bot is Leader-1 as I find him to be smart, brutal and yet noble. Cy-Kill is as evil as ever as he does not mind killing his fellow Go-Bots as well as humans and robots and wants nothing better than to kills anyone who opposes him on his quest to take over the world. Very evil Cy-Kill is and the perfect bad guy for this series and really is a baddie that you can fear and I look forward to see just how bad he will get as more issues are released. To be honest I have read lots of IDW comics based on toys/cartoons over the years and I must say that Go-Bots # 1 is the best I have read and really makes me hyped for this series as a whole. The cover I have is very eye catching and showcases Leader-1 who is the true icon of the Go-Bots. The interior art is done by Tom Scioli who also wrote the script and at first I was a little “blah” on the artwork when seen in previews but once reading the full book I must say I really liked it and I feel he captured the look of the characters as well as has a dash of the old school yet has a modern and updated feel. So lets see what issue two has in store for us.

GO-BOTS # 2  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 2 of 5

Cy-Kill listens as Screw Head who tells of how he and a human were working in a dangerous mind that ended up taking the like of the human and leaving the robot hurt showing mankind does not care about the Go-Bots! This sets Cy-Kill off who demands some of his followers to dump Leader-1 in a junkyard as he and his crew cause chaos and damage that will hurt mankind. Meanwhile we find out that Scooter fights the urge to attack and tries to get A.J. to safety and they end up running into Turbo and his driver Matt Hunter and they quickly know that they will have to all stick together as they are found by police Go-Bots who want to break up these do gooders. Meanwhile Leader-1 barely escapes being crushed and kills his captives and is now our for revenge. Scooter and Turbo ditch the police bots and make their way to Tonka as they hope to find a patch that can fix all this and meet a programer and his forklift Go-Bot Spoons and are informed that this has nothing to do with the chip and is all about the fact the Go-Bots are having a revolution! Once outside A.J., Matt, Scooter and Turbo figure out that they must fight to live and find T. Coriander Banks who is dying and admits he is the cause of this all and as he dies the evil GoBots attack Turbo and Scooter who fight for their lives as well as of their human friends. As things look bad for our heroes they are saved from death when Leader-1 and a band of good bots show up to take on Cy-Kill and his renegades as the humans also make their play with the army! As Leader-1 and Cy-Kill have a bloody fight that leaves them both injured its Leader-1 that comes out the winner and he is surrounded by both sides who want them to lead them…one sides wants to get things back the way it was with humans in charge while the other side want to take over…what is Leader-1 to do.

This second issue is fantastic and brings GoBots to a whole new level as the Renegades as cold blooded and enjoy not only killing humans but also fellow robots who are loyal to mankind. The plot of this issue has Cy-Kill leading his Renegades to war with the humans as Turbo and Scooter along with their humans try to survive and almost are killed until the once injured Leader-1 shows up and wins a massive battle that now leaves him with a decision to make on to help mankind or be loyal to his own GoBots who are sick of being used and taken advantage of by man. I love that this issue leaves us on a cliffhanger that leaves the hero Leader-1 with a decision that will change the lives of many and will give him not only power, but will also make him a hated figure as he will not be able to please both sides. Leader-1 in this one is a hero who steps up and becomes the warrior we all know that he is, plus I love that even with his face cut halfway off and bleeding like a stuck pig he never gave up and was able to defeat a well more rested Cy-Kill. Speaking of Cy-Kill he is 100% cold blooded and gets joy out of killing and loves that his followers do so blindly and do whatever he says. Turbo shows that he as well is a fighter and even with the odds against him is willing to fight to save his human friend as well as do what he thinks is right, meanwhile Scooter is kind of a chicken who is by no means a fighter and quickly begs for his life when things go bad. I also love that Tonka is the company who make the GoBots and they through up their hands when things go bad and say well people should have treated them better! And somehow I feel this is a hidden message for toy collectors who always seem to trash GoBots and treat them like they are generic dollar store toys. The cover for this issue is great and showcases Cy-Kill and the interior art is great and done by Tom Scioli, again his style has grown on me. So lets move onto issue three and see what Leader-1 decides and if Cy-Kill will once more rise to cause an issue for humans and robots alike.

GO-BOTS # 3  **1/2
Released in 2019      Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 3 of 5

On GoBotron the planet of the Go-Bots and under the rule of Leader-1 is being visited by a group of astronauts from Earth who is with space shuttle bot Spay-C and are attacked by Zod a massive dinosaur robot who is the terror of the planet! And before the attack Leader-1 and his followers chase Zod off and take Spay-C prisoner and it’s clear that Leader-1 is running his world with an iron fist as he sets Spay-C to be reprogramed the next day, and the astronauts are lucky enough to escape, and they risk their lives to save him. Leader-1 has a vision and returns to ask Spay-C to help him and his followers and as they start their journey they are attacked by Cy-Kill who once more has followers and has also got Zod as an ally and this causes Leader-1 and his crew to flee to space but the renegades give chase, but are tricked and left behind. Leader-1 and his group hyperspace to the other side of the planet and Leader-1 explains that the item they seek is here, as the enter the inner layer of the planet its clear its not like the above world as this one is covered in rocks and sand and Spay-C runs off only to fall and become injured, he is later found by Turbo and Scooter who share with the astronauts that Leader-1 is not the kind Go-bot he claims to be, and as Spay-C tries to attack Turbo the astronauts run off and find Rocklords as well as that the planet they are on is Earth!

This issue takes place way after the events of issue 1 & 2 and has Leader-1 ruling over the world and is paranoid about his enemies trying to over throw his rule, but while once noble he is now more unfair and has no issues killing those who do not follow as well will brainwash to get allies. And when he meets a Go-Bot from space he thinks that he has the answer of how to bring peace to the worlds, but of course Cy-Kill and the Renegades want to rise to power and will do whatever they can to stop this quest. In this issue Leader-1 really is not a nice robot as he comes off as a crazed paranoid leader who will do whatever it takes to keep his power…and this makes him very dangerous. Cy-Kill is as power crazy as ever and seems like he will not stop until he takes over. Zod who is a massive dinosaur robot that is such a killer that all the Go-Bots fear him, plus once he joins forces with Cy-Kill all bets are off! Spay-C is an interesting character who goes from protecting his human friends to drinking the Kool-Aid that Leader-1 is forcing on him. The true hero of this series is Turbo who really is the one who watches after humas as well as his fellow Go-Bots like Scooter, he really is the most heroic bot of this series this far. I like also how in this issue the Go-Bots under the rule of Leader-1 build their own world GoBotron over Earth causing the world as we know it to be forever changed. The series has taken a real downbeat turn as it’s clear that there are very few heroes left and the world is filled with lots of greys that seem to be only looking out for themselves. The cover for the issue I have is pretty cool and showcases Spay-C and the interior art is great and done by Tom Scioli again. I do also want to say that while I enjoyed this issue it’s story does seem a little disjointed and that hurts it slightly when it comes to the star rating. But while flawed still highly entertaining and I cannot wait to see what issue four has in store for me.

GO-BOTS # 4  ***
Released in 2019     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 4 of 5

The astronauts are shocked and sadden by the fact Earth is now a shell that is the underbelly of a world created by the Go-Bots. Turbo meets up with the humans and forces Spay-C to explain what happened to the world and he lets them know that he has been looking out for them as from space he witnessed the destruction and was waiting to wake them from sleep chambers when things got better…but they never did. As Turbo shows the astronauts the remaining humans who have devolved Cy-Kill and the renegades appear and snatch up some humans causing Turbo and Spay-C to spring into action and save some of them. But the Renegades drop Zod who is ready to kill all in his way, and during the drop the ground shakes and Leader-1 has a vision of the Go-Bot God named Courageous and sets his way to find the Lazer Lance a staff he thinks can kill Zod and stop this fighting once and for all. After the explosion Spay-C is down for the count and Leader-1 runs into Turbo and Scooter and tries to call for a truce and asks them to help him find the Lance so they can all defeat their enemies, and Scooter knows the location! So they all climb to a skull cave and even have a run in with some of the Rock Lords, but once in the cave the run into Professor Braxis who is old and crazy and has created an army of Vamps who attack Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter and the rest of the Go-Bots but lucky for everyone during this fight the Lazer Lance is found and the Vamps flee as Leader-1 goes outside with lance in hand just as Zod and Cy-Kill and the rest of the Renegades appear! Just as Leader-1 is about to use the Lazer Lance it’s taken from him by Cy-Kill who breaks it and all looks bad for our heroes until the Rock Lords help them and cause all the Renegades to fall into a pit! Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter and the repaired Spay-C with the astronauts all join forces and use the damaged Lazer Lance to take down Zod once and for all as he explodes and causes a massive earthquake! As they regroup they notice the Go-Bots Command Center approaching and it open fire and many blasts hit Leader-1 and it even beams up Scooter and other Go-Bots…and we learn that Cy-Kill and the Renegades are the ones controlling the massive ship, and Turbo and Spay-C decide to go on a suicide mission to try and get Scooter back as the Go-Bots mourn what looks like the death of Leader-1.

This fourth issue is a great read and one heck of a great chapter in this mini series! This issues plot has Leader-1 still on his vision quest to get a lance that is his only hope to finally stop Zod, but along the way he must face Cy-Kill and his band of evil doers as well as make peace with Turbo, Scooter and the Rock Lords! Leader-1 in this issue comes off a creepy, crazed cult leader who has a vision and makes his followers follow him on a quest blindly. While in this issue Leader-1 starts off a little power crazed, by the end I think he is starting to realize that he has become a monster himself and tries to rebuild a friendship with the likes of Turbo and Scooter. And while Leader-1 was gunned down at the end of this issue and it looks like he is dead…I am going to say he is not and will be back for the 5th and final issue in the mini series. Turbo once more is the real hero as he looks out for his now dimwitted friend Scooter, is man enough to put his fight with the Go-Bots aside in order to bring down Zod. Cy-Kill is a psychopath who guns down and kills many Go-Bots, tortures humans for his own amusement and is just as power hungry as Leader-1 as he wants to rule the world. Spay-C in the issue comes around and fights on the side of good, glad to see him have a bound with Scooter and Turbo. Oh I also really like that Cop-Tur tries to step up and challenge Leader-1 to become the leader and gets his block knocked off…great stuff! One element I also found very interesting in this issue is the addition of Courageous who is a God like figure for the bots, I also like that the Rock Lords are around and have been created by the “Gods” and they are the more pure versions of the Go-Bots. While the story again jumps oddly in spots it is a great read that is packed with action, drama and even some cool cliffhangers. The cover I have is a little weak and does not do this issue justice. And like before Tom Scioli did the interior art and does a fantastic job. So with that lest see what the final issue in this mini series has in store for us, and most important lets see what the fate of Leader-1 is!

GO-BOTS # 5  ***
Released in 2019     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 5 of 5

Spay-C drops Turbo off on the command center that has been taken over by Cy-Kill and his Renegades in order to get his friend Scooter back and bashes and smashes all that get in his way. He finally makes it to the control room and confronts Cy-Kill and gives him a choice fight him and die or let Scooter go and let them leave…Cy-Kill decides to fight and his gunned down. Turbo finds Scooter and the pair try and leave but are found by Crasher who ends up becoming allies with them and both want to end this war that was started by Leader-1 and Cy-Kill! The newly allied Go-Bots return to Earth and Spay-C and some of the Humans are going to try time travel while the others stay and find that the Earth has been under attacked by an army of Vamps being controlled by Professor Braxis and they meet a younger generation of Go-Bots who are now fighting this war, showing that the fighting will never end. The new Go-Bots decide to head to space and make their own world and even take the bodies of Cy-Kill and Leader-1 and rebuild them as one new Go-Bot. While the humans on Earth along with Go-Bots start their own quest to rebuild the planet and in the end Spay-C and some of the some of the astronauts return to the past to warn the world about the uprising of the Go-Bots…but like always those in power do not listen so it as it appears our future is doomed.

This mini series is fantastic and has a surprise connection that I will discuss a little later in this issue review, as it’s a big spoiler. The plot of this issue has Leader-1 dead and Turbo on a quest to save his friend Scooter from the command center that is being controlled by the coldblooded killer Cy-Kill. Once Turbo finds his enemy he kills him and saves his friend only to find that GoBotron has been attacked by Vamps and that the younger Go-Bots have grown in size and have no ties to Earth and want to make their own way on a new planet so they leave. And with that the humans that are left as well as many of the old Go-Bots must find away to rebuild the Earth that has been left in terrible shop after the rise of the Go-Bots. Turbo once more shows that he is the true hero of this series as he does not care about this war that rages on over two Go-Bots egos and just wants to save his friend and respect humans and their lives. I like the fact Turbo don’t want to be in charge and really just want the world to get along and for both humans and Go-Bots to live together. I also like that this series had the guts to kill off both Leader-1 and Cy-Kill who are the franchises two biggest characters, and this move reminds me of how they killed Optimus Prime in the Transformers Movie. I also like how the astronauts decide that they will try and make the best of the new Earth and will help and try and educate the remaining humans who have almost became cavemen again. Plus its so true to life that with major warnings of doom for the world we all share, those who have power choose not to listen as they don’t want to change their lifestyles to make a difference. Now I have to talk about the series main spoilers so if you don’t want to know skip the rest of the review…..Ok I need to stress I think that it’s amazing that the younger Go-Bots will grow to be the Transformers and that the artificial planet GoBotron will become Cybertron! That’s right we get a sneak peek of Optimus Prime who is GoBot Road Ranger as well as Bumblebee and the bodies of Leader-1 and Cy-Kill and are turned into Starscream! I love that finally someone gives Go-Bots the respect they deserve, as they are really the first major changing robot toys! The cover for this issue is cool and yet silly and has Leader-1 holding the body of Cy-Kill and I must also say again the art of Tom Scioli at first was not my cup of tea, but this series made me a fan. Check out the art below to see the style of Scioli.

Go-Bots really do make me think about my youth and Christmas time so this comic mini series was the prefect way to get me into the holiday season! I would love for IDW to do more as I feel that many other stories could be shared about Turbo, Scooter and the rest of the Go-Bots. And for the next update and our countdown to Christmas Eve I will be staying in the world of classic toys turned into comic book heroes as we will be looking at Stretch Armstrong! So until next time readers and friends read a comic or three, watch a Christmas Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a stretching good time.

The Turkey Day Labors Of Hercules!

Happy Thanksgiving friends, family and readers, and thanks for spending a part of your holiday with me here at Rotten Ink once again. As we all are sitting here waiting for the turkey, ham or whatever your main dish choice is to cook and while Football is on the TV, I want to reflect that this year will be the seventh time I have covered the one and only Greek Mythology hero Hercules. With this go round we will be covering a comic that showcases his 12 Labors! The tale of Hercules is one that I have always enjoyed, and I can remember renting many books from the library and even buying some all about Greek Mythology as it has always captured my attention as well helped fuel my creative mind, not to mention the classic Sword And Sandal films were staples of my viewing when I was a youngster. So if you’re ready to go on another Turkey Day Adventure with Hercules and myself, we should start our amazing adventure and see how Herc conquers his 12 labors and delivers another special update.

One of my favorite Hercules films of the 60’s has to be the one called “Hercules Against The Mongols” from 1963 that had Mark Forest play the role of Hercules! The film follows Hercules as he takes on the heirs of the conquerer Genghis Khan and shows why good always beats evil. But while this is a fantastic Sword and Sandal fantasy adventure film that showcases the power and noble was of Hercules, the sad fact of the matter is that this film was not originally a Herc film and was only dubbed one in the USA when distributers thought that the name meant more to movie goers than Maciste, the real hero behind this film as well as many of the Hercules, Samson and Goliath films here in America. The thing I like about this film is that Hercules takes on an army of bloodthirsty warriors who just want to conquer, take over and kill…and they don’t stand a chance against the pride of Olympus. Mark Forest makes a pretty good Hercules, and while he is now Steve Reeves, he captures the cocky hero nature of this demigod hero. This movie can be found on VHS, DVD and even plays on TV Station Comet TV from time to time, so if you love Hercules flicks, make sure to check this one out.

While we are talking about the film Hercules Against The Mongols, we should take a few moments and talk about actor Mark Forest who played the title role. Lou Degni was born on January 6, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York and began his bodybuilding career at the age of 13 as he knew that becoming a strong man was his calling. This lead to him opening his own gym in Long Island so that lifting would always be a part of his life. But during his adult life, he also tried his hand in acting and auditioned to play Tarzan in a film and did not get it but did end up taking a gig in Las Vegas playing one of Mae West’s musclemen and even helped earn his status of strongman by entering and winning weightlifting competitions including Mr. Muscle Beach in California. In 1958, the world of cinema changed when Hercules starring Steve Reeves hit cinemas around the world and the sword and sandal films became big business! And the second American actor approached to travel to Italy and make these films was Mark Forest who made his first film in 1960 with “Goliath And The Dragon” and many more would follow like “Son Of Samson” (1960), “Mole Men Against The Son Of Hercules” (1961), “The Lion Of Thebes” (1964) and “The Terror Of Rome Against The Son Of Hercules” (1964) and many more. During this time of course Lou Degni took on the stage name of Mark Forest, and this was the name he was best known for. Mark would ride the short lived popularity of the Sword and Sandal genre until the end, and afterwards got involved in opera in Italy and later became a vocal coach in California. Mark Forest is one of those classic actors that I hope someday soon Monster Bash Convention brings in so that I can meet him, while long retired from acting and weightlifting, Mark is a true legend of Cinema strongmen.

Remember in our first update about Hercules when we took a look at the DELL Comic and the Steve Reeve movies? Well we also talked about WWF Wrestler Hercules Hernandez during that update, and for this update I want to briefly talk about another Pro Wrestler who went by the ring name Hercules Ayala and was a monster of the squared circle. Hercules Ayala, whose real name is Ruben Cruz, was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico on July 14, 1950 and upon moving to the mainland of the U.S., he meet NWA wrestler Angelo Savoldi at a gym and was trained by him to become a wrestler himself and had a very brief run in the WWWF. He then would go on to wrestle in such federations as Stampede Wrestling for around 8 years and even won the Tag Titles with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart! Also during this run, he worked for smaller Canadian federation Lutte Internationale where he became their Heavyweight Champion beating David Shultz and losing it a month later to Abdullah The Butcher. He would return to Puerto Rico and would join WWC and as well would capture their World Title beating Randy “Macho Man” Savage! He would go on to feud with Carlos Colon and would lose a loser leaves town match in 1989 and was written off from WWC. A few years later, he would show up in AWF and become a World Champion again for a short time. He would go on from there to work sport appearances in Puerto Rico even for WWC again. While he is not a huge name here in America, he does have a big name around the world and his many title wins in many federations show that he made his mark in the world of Pro Wrestling.

So I am sure many of you readers are wondering about the Hercules Comic that I was writing and my friend Jeff Potter was doing the art for that was going to be released by Sparkle Comics as part of the Sword And Sandal Comic line…well sadly the comic has been placed on the back burner for now as the first release in the series Samson was not the mega hit we had hoped for causing some shifts in the production line, and Potter and I worked on bringing back classic superhero Black Jack back to the comic world instead! But while on the backburner for now, it does not mean that this Hercules comic is 100% dead as at some point Jeff and I will return to it and unleash it onto the indie comic reading masses as I am proud of the story I wrote and I know Potter’s art will kill it! So for those of you Hercules comic fans know that we will be releasing this comic soon it was just not in the cards for 2019. Below is some very early concept art that Potter did for the series so you can see the style we were aiming for.

So I think it’s time for this update that we take a look at the graphic novel of Hercules and the 12 labors set before him, and this one is a great pick to showcase Hercules in all his heroic glory. I want to thank Amazon for having this in stock and making this update possible. And as always I want to remind you all that I grade 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 are ready, let’s head out and see just how Hercules can complete his 12 labors!

Hercules: The Twelve Labors  **1/2
Released In 2007     Cover Price $8.95     Graphic Universe   #1 of 1

Zeus, the King of the Gods, had an affair with a mortal woman that spawned the demigod Hercules who was hated by his stepmother Hera! When Hercules was a youngster the evil Goddess even sent venomous snakes to his crib to kill him, but they were no match for his power. As an adult Hera, masking herself as Zeus, makes Hercules pledge himself to his cousin King Eurystheus who is jealous of his powerful cousin, and with Hera whispering in his ear, they come up with labors for Hercules to do. The first labor has Hercules going to Thebes and killing the man-eating lion with the thick hide with his bare hands, and when he does so, he skins the lion and makes himself a new cloak! His second labor is to go to the swamps of Lernea to take out the Hydra! Once in the swamp Hercules and his nephew figure our how to defeat the Hydra and do so. The third labor is to bring back a golden deer, that King Eurystheus thinks Hercules will kill and bring down the wrath of the gods for killing it…but Hercules is too smart and brings it back alive! After each finished task, King Eurystheus is getting more and more angry at his cousin and Hercules with ease finishes the next that are to kill a massive Boar, clean out multiple stables in a single day, chase off killer birds who are tormenting farmers, steal a angered white bull from a King, later steal a pair of horses that are being abused by a king that are now cruel and man eaters and his ninth labor has Hercules at was with the Amazon Women as he is tasked with getting the queens golden belt! And after each task King Eurystheus grows more frustrated, and Hercules himself gets more disappointed as he does not like being a thief for his greedy cousin. The tenth labor has Hercules stealing cattle from a Monster that he ends up killing. With his eleventh labor he must get a golden apple from a tree that he needs the help of Titan Atlas to do so and must switch places with him holding up the sky for a short time! With his twelfth and final labor, King Eurystheus send Hercules to Hades to bring back the three headed dog Cerberus and with the blessing of Hades, he tames the beast brings it to King Eurystheus and ends his labors!

This graphic novel is a great kid friendly read that brings the legend of Hercules alive for readers. The plot is simple and has Hercules having to do labors that are impossible for most in order to please his greedy cousin who is a King with the hopes that Herc will die as that is what Goddess Hara, who is the one who set this up, wants. Hercules is very prideful, noble and respectful to the demands of the Gods as he does what he is asked even if he disagrees with it. Plus I feel like the Hercules has the feel of Hercules from the old Sword And Sandal films, making it a very fun adventure to read. Hara is the issue’s main villain as she gets joy out of trying her best to kill and ruin Hercules and his legacy. She pushes so much for his downfall that she herself gets outsmarted by Hades who figures out that she is the one who has set this all up. The second baddie has to be King Eurystheus who is just a cruel and jealous man who hates his cousin cause he has the power and respect that he wishes he had! The side killer animals are great as well as who don’t love the Nemean Lion or Cerberus! The pacing of this graphic novel is also very fast and teaches you the story without dwelling on the small details, making it a cool action comics mixed with a little history in folklore. It’s also very cautious of showing any violence as it’s clear this is meant for all ages and to be used as a teaching comic. The cover reminds me of something you would find at a School Book Fair and is eye catching for youngsters, but not so much for adult readers. The interior art is done by Steve Kurth and is good stuff and has a real Marvel/Star Comics appeal. Over all this is a great read and one that could help get kids into Greek Mythology as it delivers a fun time. Check out the art below to see the style of Kurth!

Thanks for spending another Thanksgiving with Hercules and myself here at Rotten Ink, and as always Sword And Sandal comics will always have a home here on this site….but I am sad to say that next year will be the last time, at least for a while, that I will cover Hercules on a Thanksgiving update as I felt I have talked about almost all I can about this iconic mythology hero. Now don’t get too sad as I will continue to do Thanksgiving Day updates as many of you readers seem to enjoy them on this holiday, so next year I will be taking a look at Hercules Unbound from DC Comics and this will wrap up this tradition of Herc on Turkey Day! I hope you enjoyed this update and that you are having (or had) a great Thanksgiving as holidays with loved ones, something you should never take for granted. Our next update will start our countdown to Christmas Eve and we will be taking a look at the GoBots, those underrated changing robot toys from the 80’s! So until next time enjoy your turkey, watch a football game or two and as always cherish your loved ones. See you next update for a robotic good time!

The Incredible Coloring Hulk!

When I was a kid I can remember sitting in my room, at the kitchen table or in front of the fire place with crayons in hand coloring in one of the many coloring books based on a cartoon, comic or movie character. Some of my favorites growing up was ones based on Batman, Inhumanoids, SilverHawks and Masters Of The Universe to name a few, but my all time favorite was an Incredible Hulk one that was released in 1979 that I would color in and give the crudely colored in pictures to my mom as gifts when I was a youngster. For this countdown to Thanksgiving update, I am feeling the need to get into a nostalgic frame of mind so I have chosen to take a look and review three old coloring books that featured original very kid friendly adventures of The Incredible Hulk! So get your Crayola Crayons ready as it’s time to color in a good time on this update.

Growing up the Incredible Hulk and Captain America were my favorite superheroes followed very closely by Spider-Man. And when growing up I had a subscription to all three of those comics at one point as well as Uncanny X-Men and looked forward to reading them as soon as they arrived in the mail…and I need to note that our Waynesville mailman did not listen to the “Do Not Bend” warning on the package and would fold it long wise to fit in our mail box! I can even remember renewing them to get more issues sent, and this is how I got to read such story lines like Cap Wolf and the first appearance of Carnage among many other great arcs. The Marvel Comics Subscription was a wonderful way for me to be able to read modern comics since I had to always wait until we could get to Big Bear to go grocery shopping in order to get the issues I needed to complete a story I had started sometimes even missing issues here and there. The good news is that for modern comic readers who don’t live around a comic shop and dislike digital comics like myself, Marvel Comics still offers the subscription service via their website! I just wanted to briefly talk about how much this helped my comic collection as a kid and how it helped me stay up to date on many of the storylines at that time. Below are some cool ads that used to be in the back of Marvel Comics that would tell you about your savings getting your comics this way. Oh yeah and also notice how two of them feature this update’s hero the Incredible Hulk!

The Hulk has been going strong for Marvel Comics for over 57 years and has had many ups and downs in his publication history and over the decades has turned from having a child like mind to having the mind of a genesis. He has turned from grey to green and back to grey to green again. He has tangled with the Army, The Hulkbusters, Abomination, The Leader and even Dr. Doom in many of his issues. But besides the Marvel Comics, The Hulk has also had many other fights and adventures as he has also graced movie screens with Hulk released in 2003, Incredible Hulk from 2016 as well as all four Avengers films! On CBS The Incredible Hulk became a TV Show that ran from 1977 to 1982 for a total of five seasons and had Bill Bixby playing David Bruce Banner and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno as The Hulk! The TV Show started after a made for TV Film and would also go on to have three more movie specials that were The Return Of The Incredible Hulk (1977), The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988), The Trail Of The Incredible Hulk (1989) and The Death Of The Incredible Hulk (1990). He has also had his fair share of adventures in pop-up books, paperback novels, coloring books, video games, recorded audio, comic strips, cartoons and even the weirdest, toilet paper! And let’s be honest, this does not even count Fan Films and even your own adventures you made with your action figures, board games and Colorforms. So as you can see, The Incredible Hulk and his legacy in entertainment goes far beyond the world of Comic Books and has made its way into all types of media given fans even more ways to enjoy their favorite hero.

Did you readers know that in 1983 a game was being made based on The Incredible Hulk for the Atari 2600 that was going to be released by Parker Brothers? Well if not, you know now! The game would have had you play as Bruce Banner with your goal being to get through levels and avoid getting too mad and turning into The Hulk, but the trick was each level would get harder and harder. The game was to be the second in the team up between Marvel Comics and Parker Brothers with the first one being Amazing Spider-Man that was released for Atari 2600 in 1982, but sadly with the video game crash of 1982 came lots of games that never got released to consumers…and sadly The Incredible Hulk was one of those games. It would have also been a two player game meaning you and your sibling or friend could have taken turns playing as Banner and seeing how many points you could rack up. The game did have some press before it was set to be released that included ads and even a cover box design building the hype for gamers and comic readers. Over the years gamers have searched, begged for and hoaxed a prototype for this game and as of this update none have been found leaving the world without at Atari 2600 game based on The Hulk. Will a prototype for this unreleased Incredible Hulk video game ever turn up? This blogger, gamer and comic reader sadly doesn’t think so but if it ever does I for one will buy it on a cart and have an Atari 2600 Challenge update all about it. Below are some of the graphics used in the pre-promotion ads for this game so check them out and try to imagine what could have been.

So way back in the day I was one of the founders of a club called the “Dayton Board Game Society” and on July 11, 2012 at our first meeting we played the board game The Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four that was released by Milton Bradley in 1978. At the time we only had a total of three members as it was a private club and besides myself, Stephen Alexander and Josh Weinberg made up the group. I would love to share my thoughts from 2012 with you readers here about this Hulk board game so here is my review from back then: “This one was a surprise for me and I found myself liking the simple yet fun game and this would get my rating of 2.5 out of 4! Growing up I was a huge fan of The Incredible Hulk and this game has you being a member of the Fantastic Four trying to cure the Hulk as he rampages the board! While the game is a basic spinner game, it’s more fun as you the player is also forced to move the Hulk to block and steal other players cards. Very fun game.” At some point I should get the lads back together and play this board game again and see how an older me feels about it. Check out below for some cool pictures from that day.

So as you can see, The Hulk truly is one of Marvel’s most iconic characters and is one that has always captured my imagination as I have always found the character to be interesting and appealed to this Monster Kid as he always had a dash of classic horror to him like a little Frankenstein’s Monster and even some Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So let’s get into the main attraction of this update, three coloring books made by Whitman Publishing that feature original very kid friendly stories centered around The Hulk. I really cannot wait to revisit the one I had as a kid as I have not seen it for well over twenty years at this point! So I want to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. I also want to stress I am going to grade these a little differently than normal comics as the stories in these are going to be really silly and goofy so I will cut them a little slack. So with that grab your green and purple crayons, and let’s get to these coloring books.

Incredible Hulk: At The Circus  *
Released in 1977     Cover Price .49     Whitman/Marvel   # 1 of 3

The Circus is in town and The Incredible Hulk is working for them doing all types of fun things like lifting heavy weights as well as setting up the tents. The owner of the circus is Mr. Barnes and as he is counting the money, a masked baddie named The Stuntman enters and steals it and sets the trailer on fire! The Hulk smells the smoke and sets into action and saves Mr. Barnes, puts out the trailer by throwing it into water and then starts to chase The Stuntman to get the money back! The chase goes all over the circus with The Stuntman always being a few steps ahead, and The Hulk gets a good idea along with fellow circus worker Rubber Man to roll him into a ball and crash into the villain, and it works leaving Hulk saving the day and getting the money back!

The first thing I want to say about this Hulk coloring book adventure is that it’s barely a story and for the most part makes zero sense as the plot is just laughably bad! No joke, the plot is The Hulk working for a circus and loving to entertain people, getting back stolen money from a cheesy masked bad guy. The Hulk in this book is always smiling and seems to be high on life, I mean why in the heck is he working….Hulk just wants to be alone not setting up tents and hanging out with clowns! This is like opposite day Hulk as he just does not seem himself at all. The Stuntman is super lame and is so terrible he even tries to use a child as a hostage in order to get away…this guy is better left out of the comics, and I am glad this is his only appearance as this coloring book adventure should never been spoken of. The cover for this one is also really bad and has The Hulk on a trapeze looking very misshapen, and the interior art is just ok and while looks nothing like the comic art it does have a very kid friendly look. Over all this first coloring book adventure is pretty bad so lets move onto the second and the one I had growing up! Oh yeah check out the art below to see the art style of this one.

Incredible Hulk: Dot To Dot  **
Released in 1979     Cover Price .59     Whitman/Marvel   # 2 of 3

Alien race The Greenies are attacking the planet Big Zero and blow it up and only one of its citizens escaped named 00-6 and he has chosen Earth to hide out. But he makes a mistake and lands at a speedway as a race is going on causing panic as he uses his number blast power to make a racecar disappear as well as a near by tree and the picnic basket of Bruce Banner who was about to enjoy his lunch. This angers Banner who turns into The Hulk who charges 00-6 who uses his number blast and figure eight spaceship to try and escape, but Hulk follows and the pair are soon both captures by the Greenie King who looks like the Hulk! He informs 00-6 and The Hulk that is plan is to steal the color green from Earth and replace it with other colors causing a green out all thanks to the robot that is called Green Machine! Hulk does not like what he hears and is ready to smash both Green Machine and Greenie King and knocks out the King with one punch but is late with Green Machine who is on his way to Earth! 00-6 uses all his life power to make a number three flying machine that Hulk rides and is able to cut off Green Machine in space and knock him out and return to Earth on it. In the end Hulk is happy to be back home taking a nap under a tree.

Dot-To-Dot was a coloring book I loved as a kid and now looking at it as a 40 year old man, I must say this is super cheesy and super simple and really just middle of the road when it comes to a kids comic style adventure. The plot has The Hulk teaming with a number alien against a race of aliens and their robot that want to steal the coloring green from Earth as they use it as energy. The Hulk in this coloring book goes from being ready to smash 00-6 to becoming his friend to being Earth’s protector in a short amount of pages and while he is not fully Hulk of the comics in attitude, he is close enough. 00-6 is a small goofy little alien who uses number to fight against is foes, he is a good guy but also a little goofy when it comes to who he thinks are his enemies as he sees a tree as a threat. I also like how he uses all his numbers in order to save the world and dies for doing so…he is the Earth’s unknown savior. The Greenie King looks like Hulk with a crown and is an ego driven ruler who cares nor for others and only his needs. The Green Machine is a robot man who is into stealing the color green on the word of his King. The story really is super simple and is hard to break down so I will say I enjoy how Hulk goes to space, I like how he rides a space board that looks like the number three, I dig when he drops the name of the Silver Surfer. The cons are that the plot is lame, the villains are no threat and 00-6 is super goofy. The cover is pretty cool and has the Hulk being surrounded by numbers as an Unknown Artist did the interior artwork that is pretty well done. Over all this coloring book I loved as a youngster did not hold up and is pretty cheesy and for Hulk fans only. Check out the art below to see what you get with this 1979 coloring book.

Incredible Hulk: Wisdom Of The Watcher  **1/2
Released in 1980     Cover Price .69     Whitman/Marvel   # 3 of 3

The Hulk is in the desert to get a break from mankind, and while lonely he at least is not being attacked, that is until a small craft appears and uses gas to knock him out! Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner and finds himself on a craft and confronted by his enemy The Leader who places a device on Banners neck that will allow him to take control of The Hulk and use him as a weapon to take over the world and beyond. The Leader after making Banner turn back into The Hulk runs him through some tests to see what his body can withstand and how strong he truly is and once his questions are answered he shares his plan with Hulk that will have him travel to the moon and steal an artifact from The Watcher who makes his home on the moon. The Leader sends Hulk to the moon, and he is greeted by The Watcher who tells him to look around as he will not interfere in his quest all the while The Leader is in Hulk’s head giving orders as old jade jaws is trying to fight off his mind control. The Leader pots a red orb and he knows that is what he needs and to take it Hulk must fight a massive alien who has also shown up to steal the orb! Hulk defeats the alien easily and takes the orb as The Watcher witnesses him vanish back to the lab of The Leader who puts the orb on his head thinking he can learn the knowledge of all the planets and instead it over loads his mind knocking him out and allowing Hulk to free himself from the mind control and wonder away all the while The Watcher knew this is how it all would end.

This final coloring book issue of Incredible Hulk I have from Whitman is a pretty fun read as it’s pure kids comic stuff! The plot is very simple and has The Hulk being tricked and mind controlled by his foe The Leader who wants to use his power and strength in order to travel to the blue side of the moon and steal a powerful orb from The Watcher. And things go bad for The Leader when he finds out some knowledge just can not be learned no matter how smart you are. The Hulk in this issue feels a little off as at some points he is the mad kid like hulking beast and others he is mentally trying to free his mind from the control and comes off super well spoken. It’s like the writer of this coloring book forgot from time to time on what comic character he was writing this story about. But while the writing is a little flawed on how The Hulk acts, it’s still great when he is the Hulk we all know and love and is complaining about mankind. The Leader is as sinister as ever and wants nothing more than to gain power and knowledge and to rule over the whole world…he is such a smart slimy character that is easy to hate as he just oozes ego. The Watcher is as natural as ever and while he could mess people and events up he decides to play by his races rules and just watch, even if people are stealing from him. The Alien thief is big and bad and is no match for the might of The Hulk and gets his butt kicked really quick! One thing I did like about this coloring book is the fact The Watcher stayed true to who he is and just sits back and watches as all the events unfold, when he could have easily sent The Hulk away and then went to Earth and smacked The Leader around. The cover for this book is great and has The Hulk punching an alien in the face as The Watcher watches while space is in the background as well as what I would guess is the moon. The art inside is once more done by the Unknown Artist and is pretty good with sometimes characters looking a little off. Over all this is a fun short and silly Hulk adventure that brought joy to the kids of the 80’s and beyond. Oh and this one only had one small part colored in and that was The Watchers eyes were colored in blue. Check out some pages below to see how this one looked.

While coloring book comic character adventures are not the best written nor drawn stories, they still are part of the character’s history and it was fun to travel back and give them a read for this update. Plus I always enjoy taking some time to chat about The Hulk who I should cover way more often here on my blog. I am not sure if I ever will do another coloring book update based on a classic superhero, but if I choose to do so, I will cover Captain America. For my next update I am thinking I am going to put up the crayons and gear up to once more spend Thanksgiving with the mythology hero Hercules as he does 12 labors of superhuman challenges! So until then, make sure to stay young at heart my readers, and make sure to read a Marvel Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for another Turkey Day Herc adventure!

Who Are The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos?

If you grew up reading comic books like I did in the 80’s and 90’s, you remember the big boom that happened for Indie Comic publishers after the massive success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Mirage where companies sprang up like weeds with their own dreams of creating the next fighting animal based hero team. For many, as quickly as they sprang up, they soon found themselves debunked and just a grain of sand in the comic world. And worst of all, when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got their own cartoon and toy line many, companies tried to cash in that was as well, and while some found footing, many of these cash in’s also bit the dust. In fact I have covered some of these copycats here on Rotten Ink like Biker Mice From Mars, Toxic Crusaders, Stone Protectors and Old Age Green Fighting Gerbils over the years of writing this blog. And while searching the comic stores and online outlets, I discovered that one company cranked out more TMNT knock offs then any other indie company going and that was Blackthrone! So for this update, we are going to scrap once more some of the gunk off the bottom of a soggy comic box that is rotting in the basement of a long closed comic shop and cover the TMNT knock off series the Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos! So if you’re ready to dive into the world of knock offs and generic rip offs, let’s see what these slimy green skinned heroes have in store for us.

In modern time comics, I feel like no indie comic series has changed the landscape like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did back in the late 80’s as it made indie creators feel like they could bring the world the next big hit that was not made by DC or Marvel Comics that would be on readers’ pull lists and become a must own series that would spark movies, toys and cartoon. The only thing that comes to mind would be maybe Walking Dead by Image Comics as it helped usher in a rebirth of zombie Horror Comics and made Horror Comic creators feel like they could make a big scary indie comic hit series that would strike a nerve with readers. But to tell you the truth, while Walking Dead is a good series I still feel it has not reached the iconic level of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who have spanned decades of being popular and in all types of media keeping them fresh and popular. Plus I feel that Walking Dead was not a fully original idea series and took lots from zombie comics made by Arrow and Aircel without properly creating them. Keep in mind I do very much enjoy Walking Dead even though I am not a big fan of Robert Kirkman or most of his other writing in comics. So with this update while I am covering a comic series that clearly was cashing in on them, I want to say that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are clear icons of comic books and that they have to be at the top of any list when it comes to the most impactful characters to come out of the world of indie comics.

The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos were created by the team of William Clausen and Michael Kelley in 1986 as a way to parody as well as cash in on the popularity of the TMNT. They first appeared in their self-titled comic series the Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos, and it was a moderate hit for publisher Blackthorne who wanted more and more issues to ride the successes. But while the readers were around and enjoying it and the publisher was happy with the series, it had issue keeping up to release dates and delivering new issues to comic shops, and this caused pressure as well as stress on the series production. In fact, when issues fell behind Blackthorne even created a new one-shot issue series called Rivit about a humanoid frogman to fill the void for radioactive enhanced animal people…and yes, I will cover it at some point here at Rotten Ink. But while Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos was popular for a short time and lasted for five issue, it lost steam in 1987 and was canceled from Blackthorne’s releases. Now while looking up info on why it was canceled I found a number of different theories with one being the title dropped big in sales when readers got sick of the rip off TMNT titles and just stopped buying them. Another reason I heard was that the creators being behind so much and running out of ideas lead to the comic’s doom. And the last reason I found was that publisher Blackthorne was having financial issues and they were forced to cut many titles in order to save money and cut costs. No one will really know the reasons why Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos was cancelled besides those who worked for Blackthorne, but what is known is that they made a mark on indie comics and entertained readers who enjoyed the spawns of the Turtles.

I first discovered the Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos in the mid 90’s thanks to Mavericks Cards And Comics who had some issues in their back issue section for a little over cover price. I ended up getting a copy of the first issue when my parents took my brother and I to the comic shop to get a few issues to read one winter break, and while grabbing some Marvel Comics as well as Horror Comic and Rock N Roll Comics, it was in my stack and I can remember reading it and laughing it off as being very cheesy and never really tracked down the other issues until many years later. Like all kids of the time I was a massive TMNT fan and would watch the cartoon and movies, read the Archie Comic adventures and would get as many of the Playmates figures as I could grab. And while I was annoyed and made fun of all the Turtle knock-off products, I still for some reason also very much enjoyed them and Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos was one of the comic rip-offs that has always stuck out to me. So it’s been really fun to revisit and reread this comic series for this update and see how I feel about them now as an older comic reader. But really this also makes me miss Blackthorne as a comic publisher as they did all type of knock-off books as well as very cool classic reprints and adaptations and media tie ins.

The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos might be a very cheesy fighting animal cash in comic series that never hit the success of the Teenage Turtles, but it did deliver its own tiny legacy to those who bought the issues and enjoyed reading the knock off comics. While writing this I must say I do miss Blackthorne Publishing and wish they would have lasted longer than 1990 as who knows what cool comic one shots and series could have landed in our hands. For this update I want to thank Bell Book And Comic and Lone Star Comics for having all the issues in stock. I want to remind all you readers like a broken record that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what these Chameleon Commandos have to offer when it comes to kicking bad guy butt!

Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos # 1  **1/2
Released in 1986     Cover Price $1.75     Blackthorne    # 1 of 5

The US Government has hired scientist Doctor Poindexter to work on a serum that will turn regular lizards into walking, talking, fighting machines and pay him lots of money to do so! His experiments work great, and so the team of the Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos is born with members like Sarge, Rivit, Radion and Nerves all who have their own strengths and abilities. Poindexter ends up looking at these human sized fighting lizards as his own children and they look at him as their father, but one day a group of masked terrorist fighters from the Night Brigade enter the lab and kidnap him and leave our heroes ready to get him back! The Commandos also get a new Doctor to watch after them and help them on their mission to get Poindexter back by the name of Wurmhauser who gets them on a plan and to the location of the Night Brigade. Once at the terrorist base, the Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos face all types of baddies and attempt to save a pair of Ambassadors that have been taken hostage. In the end the Commandos find out that Poindexter is not there, and they must go on another mission to save him as the Night Brigade prepare for war.

I hate to say this, but I found Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos to be a fun and solid TMNT knock off comic that had likable characters and a goof yet classic cheesy storyline. The plot for the first issue has a batch of lizards being injected with an experimental serum that turns them into human sized soldiers who are forced into battle in order to save the Doctor who created them when he is taken by terrorist. Once at the battle zone, they soon find that they are not the only super powered animals in the world as the terrorist group have their own army of them. The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos are a group of three mutated lizards that are skilled fighters and can not only use weapons but can also use their animal abilities. Thus far I think my favorite of the Commandos is Rivit who is a frog and seems like the badass of the group and who can use his tongue and mighty legs in battle. Doctor Poindexter is a skilled scientist who looks at his creations as his own kids, but I for one also get the vibe he is not the super nice caring man they think he is and if I had to guess I would almost be so bold to say that he is working with the terrorist and have created all their animal humanoid fighters. As for Doctor Wurmhauser I am not so sure what his deal is as he is the one feeding the Commando’s plans but also is the one who speed up their serum treatments, makes me wonder if he is as well not what he seems and has dark motives. But the answers to those questions about those doctors I hope will be answered later on in the series. The Night Brigade are a group of terrorist who are very feared, yet I am not 100% sure on what they do to strike terror in the hearts of the world as the only major act of terror they do is beat up and kidnap a doctor and I guess make mutated animal people to be their warriors for terror. The issue moves along at a great pace and delivers some great indie tongue in cheek action and proves that some TMNT Knock Offs can and are entertaining! The cover is eye catching and has that Blackthorne look, and interior art is done by Michael Kelley is well done. So let’s see what issue two has in store for us!

Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos # 2 **
Released in 1986     Cover Price $1.75     Blackthorne      # 2 of 5

The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos are now heroes and the world loves them, as they are now somewhat celebrities! They are being watched by the evil crime boss Overlord who wants them destroyed, and they also get a singing telegram from Doctor Poindexter to meet him in California and get a microchip and our heroes gear up and head out. While in California they are in disguise and run into a street gang who tries to rob them, but the gang soon ends up being slaughtered and left dead in the streets. The Overlord sends a group of Moles to follow The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos to Doctor Poindexter and to bring him the chip. When our heroes find the good old crazy Doctor, he is attacked and killed by the moles as Chameleon Commandos fight the moles and slaughter them all for killing their dear friend. In the end a Government agent shows up and takes the microchip to the President as the Chameleon Commandos find out that the Doctor Poindexter that was killed was an imposter and a man in a rubber mask, and now they want answers.

This second issue is a little sloppy and the plot is paper-thin showing that I think the creators truly did have no major plans for the characters and it really was just a quick cash in to get readers money who enjoyed the TMNT. The issue’s plot has Doctor Poindexter holding a microchip that is needed and the Chameleon Commandos come to get it only for them all be attacked by moles and more mysteries and questions come up! In this issue the Chameleon Commandos are filled with egos as they are being loved by the people of America and think they are the next Superman or Spider-Man, but they also still maintain their killer instinct as they do not show any hesitation when it comes to killing scum that gets in their way. Not sure why but Rivit comes off as the most ego driven Commando in this issue, and it’s a shame cause it plays down his character and makes him feel generic. The Overlord seems to be a man who wants powers and does not want any do-gooders to get in his way! One of the issues mysteries that I cannot wait to see how it plays out is who is the fake Doctor Poindexter and why did the good Doctor send a fake to deliver the microchip? The cover for this issue is good and eye catching, the interior art is done by Michael Kelley, and I must say in many spots comes off very rushed and lacks the charm of the first issue. Over all this is just a so-so issue with no real heart behind it I still cannot wait to read issue three!

Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos # 3  *1/2
Released in 1986     Cover Price $1.75     Blackthorne      # 3 of 5

The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos are upset and want to know what has happened to their dear friend Doctor Poindexter who is like a father to them and they get even more worried when they find that the mask the imposter was wearing was made of human flesh! Chameleon Commandos decide that they think the government and the workers at the lab might be in on this and hack a computer and find the locations of two secret labs and head to the first to see if they can track down Poindexter who they truly think is in danger. Once inside the lab they take out guards and find the prisoners who they set free to help bring down the remaining guards. Once the Chameleon Commandos find Doctor Poindexter in a prison cell they find he has been mutilated and his tormentor has been waiting for him!

This issue feels like a full fledge filler issue that is filled with massive panels and splash pages and it’s clear this comic series was being made part for artistic love and part cause they wanted to make that quick TMNT cash! The plot has the Chameleon Commandos breaking into a lab to save their creator Doctor Poindexter who is being tormented by a bigheaded worker for our very own Government. And that’s pretty much it most of the issue just has the Chameleon Commandos running around and beating up guards while also slightly infighting among themselves as who should be the leader of the group. None of the Chameleon Commandos stand out in this issue and all come off just as generic gun shooting late 80s knock off characters. And it’s a shame as the first issue had so much potential to be a stand out from the pack of other clones, but by this third issue it’s clear they steam ran out after issue 1. The Bigheaded Doctor who is the film’s villain does come off as a true evil madman as he seems to get massive joy in the torture and disfiguring of his prisoners. The action in this issue is one part slapstick and one part brutal as the two different artist bring their own flavor to the rescue fight. The cover is misleading as the Snake Monster on the front is not in the issue, and the interior art is done by both Michael Kelley and William Clausen which also goes for the past issue with one being good and one being not my cup of tea. Over all this is a pretty lack luster issue and there is not much to talk about with it, so let’s move onto issue four.

Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos # 4  *1/2
Released in 1987     Cover Price $1.75     Blackthorne      # 4 of 5

The evil Wurmhauser captures most of the Chameleon Commandos and forces them along with Doctor Poindexter to watch a movie he made that is about taking all of them and mixing their body parts to make an ultimate solider! Meanwhile Nerves is the only member to have escaped the trap and finds himself being held at gun point by an insect that has questions. But the unlikely pair join forces and rush into the lab of Wurmhauser who kills the insect man and uses a chainsaw to remove the arm of nerves! As Nerves lies bleeding on the floor, Wurmhauser moves in for the kill!

Sad to say this is clearly another filler issue as not much goes on and its over packed with the massive panels to use up the page count. The plots is the Chameleon Commandos being captured by Wurmhauser who wants to experiment and create a Frankenstein Monster soldier from their body parts. The groups only hope is a wheelchair bound fly and team member Nerves. I must say that Wurmhauser is truly an evil man and again will do whatever he wants to his captives. The Chameleon Commandos are the same as always with Nerves being the standout as he shows he will do whatever he can to save his brothers in arms. But like before the plot is so paper thing and nothing really at all stands out as its clear that they had a nugget of an idea here that they smashed out to make bigger and longer than what is really presented. The cover is fun and eye catching and the interior art is the same as the last two issues and is a mix of good and so-so. So not much to say about this issue besides the wheelchair fly man is murdered and our heroes are captured and Nerves is very much injured. Let’s see what the final issue has in store for us and if it will wrap up or leave us on a cliffhanger that more than likely will never be resolved.

Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos # 5  ***
Released in 1987     Cover Price $1.75     Blackthorne      # 5 of 5

The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos land in the Swamp Of The Dead and have lost all their weapons in the bad landing and soon find themselves surrounded by zombies who want our heroes dead! As they fight off the dead they are joined by Beastie Fly a voodoo master who uses his powers to blow up the zombies and save the hides of the Chameleon Commandos. They follow him back to his cabin in the swamp and eat a good meal and during the battle they all discover a little about themselves and the fact they also have special powers that can help them in battle. The Overlord however is not happy as he is watching this take place via his monitors and he has set up the wreck and lack of weapons and now he has a plan to bring them down once and for all. While in the swamp our heroes are visited by Hazel The Swamp Witch who is very angry and starts to attack when a ship from the sky falls on her and Dorothy and the Tin Man appear! After the visitors from Oz leave the ship opens and a killer robot comes out sent by The Overlord to kill them! The Chameleon Commandos work together and bring the machine down and turn its body into a ship and fly themselves to a pool to have a relaxing and good time!

Ok this is crazy as this fifth and final issue is the best in the series and while I like it, I also am confused as to why they did a hard reboot to the series and never talk about how they got away from Wurmhauser and how Nerves still has his arm and is alive…I mean I get his arm probably grew back but still a very cheesy way to just start the series over. The plot has the Chameleon Commandos having and accident set up by The Overlord that leaves them in a swamp that has them facing the likes of zombies, a swamp witch and a giant robot in order to survive. This time around the Chameleon Commandos have personalities and each are unique and interesting Nerves while always scared finds his inner strength when he learns he can shoot fire and characters like Rivit is the muscle who has a hothead and is always looking for a fight. What’s odd though is this issue makes zero reference to the events from issue four nor do they even mention Wurmhauser or Doctor Poindexter showing that they really did wipe the series after issue one. Our new hero Beastie Fly is a little cheesy and all we really know about him is that he lives in a cabin in a swamp in Haiti, and to be honest he adds nothing to the story and was just a so-so character…in other words could have done without him. The Overlord is a man who hates the Chameleon Commandos and will do whatever it takes to bring them down and does so while wearing his mouse mask. The issue does a great job of blending both humor and action with a dash of cheese and it works very well! It’s a shame that the series did not find the right formula until this last issue and its also a shame that the series just ended….but at least it ended with a none cliffhanger ending. The cover for this issue is terrible and just showcases the lame Beastie Fly in all his lame glory, the interior art is great and done by Michael Kelley who in my opinion was the best artist on this book. Over all this series was filled with a good first issue a run of three issues that were bad and a final issue that was the best in the series showing why the TMNT Knock Off comics get a very bad name! Check out the artwork of Kelley’s below to see his style in this series and check out The Chameleon Commandos if you love cheesy rip off comics like I do.

So as you can see, The Cold Blooded Chameleon Commandos is a comic series that has built a cult following on the facts it has a silly title and cheesy stories and while I am not a super fan of it, I still enjoy it even if many of the issues were below par and had no thought into them. But let’s leave the knock off world behind and lets take a look at one of my favorite comic heroes The Incredible Hulk! But we will not be taking a look at him in comic books, nor the movie and TV version…but we will be looking at him in the world of coloring books! Yeah you heard that right coloring books as Marvel back in the day teamed with companies and made comic like adventures with many of their heroes and I think its time we take a look at them. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a Hulk Smash colorful good time!