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!

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Jeepers Creepers

We are so close to Halloween now, and the nights are becoming colder and even a little more spooky I think its time for us to take a look at a monster that only appears every 23 years and is hungry for human flesh and wants to collect body parts and of course I am talking about The Creeper from the film series Jeepers Creepers! This is one of those modern Horror franchises that you either love or hate with very few people standing in the middle, most of this films hate comes from the fact its creator and director Victor Salva is a pretty disgusting dude who did something very sickening on the set of his film “Clown House” and served not enough time for his actions. But I do not want to bring this update down with his despicable act and will just say I for one 100% believe he should not be able to make films with children any more and think he should have been in jail way longer. But with that out of the way let’s do our best to avoid the sinister The Creeper and take a look at his comic debut in the pages of Dynamite Comics. I also think that the Creeper is one of the better modern franchise Horror Characters that was spawned in from the early 2000’s as his mysteries backstory and creepy look makes him very interesting.

So lets start by taken a look at the films monster the sinister Creeper! The Creeper is a demonic human eating creature that goes on a killing spree every 23 years in order to stockpile bodies that will not only feed him, but he can also use the body parts to replace his own injured ones. No one knows really what, why and how The Creeper has come to be and his origin is truly wrapped in theories and rumors making him a true riddle. The Creeper has many tools to dispatch his victims that include knives, throwing stars and even a battle axe that he uses to chop, slash and remove flesh. He also shows that he is very strong with a super natural style physical power and could with ease kill a human with his bare hands. He also has his rusty old truck that has the license plate “BEATNGU” that means “Be Eating You” and this truck not only can strike fear in peoples hearts with is creepy appearance and cow catcher front end also is rigged with traps that can bet set off to keep people in as well as out, and even worse its bullet proof and seems to not be able to be stopped. The Creeper himself while can be hurt seems to truly be unstoppable as he has been shot and stabbed and keeps on coming and this aspect as well as his demonic appearance also can frighten a person to death. No known elements have been found that can truly kill The Creeper making him one of the most dangerous killers we have ever covered on one of these updates next to the likes of Godzilla, Michel Myers, Jason Voorhees and The Tall Man. While he can be slowed down he cannot be stopped and this is why The Creeper is one sinister demonic killer.

So as you can see the Creeper is a very violent killer who has no morals when it comes to killing those he has a taste for. But now we should breakdown the first film in the series as well as quickly talk about the two sequels. For the write up on the film I will be taking it from our friends at IMDB and the write up about the production and my thoughts of course will be written by me. So if you are ready and are not to scared lets take a look at Jeepers Creepers!

Jeepers Creepers (2001)

“On their way back home during the spring break, Darry and Patricia Jenner witness a mysterious person dumping something down a tunnel. Deciding to discover what was dumped down there, Darry discovers a huge disturbing hideout full of modified bodies. Darry and Patricia set off to get help, unaware that the individual is now aware of who has been down the tunnel. Darry and Patricia soon realizes that their pursuer is not just a mysterious person, but something even more horrifying, who has more in store than they could possibly imagine.”

Jeepers Creepers is a creature feature that was written and directed by Victor Salva and was released by United Artist on August 31, 2001 and stars Gina Philips, Justin Long, Patricia Belcher and Jonathan Breck played the films killer The Creeper. The film was given the budget of $10 million and had a very tight shooting schedule as filming took place in Florida in the summer of 2000 and they had to remove parts of the script in order to meet their project deadline. The film was a surprise hit for United Artist bringing in a worldwide total of $59,217,789.00 showing that Horror was still valuable in the theaters and came in at # 65 grossing movie in 2001 here in the US and beat out other cult films as From Hell, Joy Ride, Valentine, John Carpenter’s Ghosts Of Mars, Bones, Soul Survivors, The Devil’s Backbone and Session 9. The film when released was meet with some protest from groups and fans over the crime the director committed in the past, but this only slowed down the film slightly as 2001 was a very slow year in general for Horror. The film would later become a bigger hit when it hit home media and truly built up a cult following. The film has been released on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital so if you have not seen it…you can easily find it.

I can remember when this film was coming out as I had seen the trailer and even some of the Horror News websites put some heavy coverage on it. Now in 2001 I was going to the theaters but not as often and decided to skip it as while I thought the Creeper was cool looking and Gina Philips was a good looking lady…it was Justin Long that kept me away as he just had a face that made me want to punch him! Oddly enough none of my close friends who enjoyed Horror Films went and seen this film in the theaters and it would be way later before I would watch it, as in when it came to home video. At the time this hit video I was working for Blockbuster Video and I used one of my free rents for the week to take it home and give it a watch, and I can remember that I enjoyed many moments of the film as I found the atmosphere very spooky, the killer very sinister and the kills pretty cool…downside to the film for me was some of the dialogue was super bad as was the acting of Justin Long. If memory serves me as well my brother Bryan was not a fan at all and he as well disliked the terrible dialogue. As weird as this sounds while I am by no means a super fan of Jeepers Creepers I do find myself wanting to see sequels as well was pretty happy when the comic mini series was announced. One thing that’s crazy is when I hear friends of mine who love Horror Movies talk about how this is one of their favorite movies in the genre.

The first film spawned two sequels with “Jeepers Creepers 2” coming out in 2003. It follows a group of high school football players whose bus breaks down, and they become the target of The Creeper. The second film was # 80 grossing film in America and brought in $63,103,666.00 worldwide. A third film was made and is a prequel to the second film and follows a cop who sets his sights on taking down The Creeper once and for all. This film was a limited release in theaters in 2017 and brought in $2,335,162.00 in the US and was #185 for the year. Both of these films helped add new layers to The Creeper as well as let you a little further into what and why he is. A rumor of a fourth film has been going around since 2017 and as of now nothing has seen the light of day. As far as my opinion on the films, I enjoyed the second film. While it was flawed and filled with lots of eye rolling moments, it still was a fun watch. The third film on the other hand is pretty cheesy and has a real low budget look to it. I saw it in the theater for the Fathom Event and was not overly impressed. In fact for my “Matt Goes To The Movies 2017” update, the third film came in at # 19 out of 20. So while Jeepers Creepers is not the best trilogy, it at least is an entertaining one that has delivered The Creeper who has become a very iconic movie monster of modern times.

So as you can see, The Creeper is an efficient killer and has many tools of the trade to issue death to those he has selected! And Jeepers Creepers is a modern film series that has made a mark on the genre and has gathered a very loyal fan base, and that’s why I find it crazy that it took until 2018 for a comic book series to be made based on it. And now we are at the point of this update that we will be taking a look at the issues. I need to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having these in stock and pulling them for my file making this update possible. I want to also remind you 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 art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what horrors The Creeper has in store for us on the inked pages of these horror comics.

Jeepers Creepers # 1 **
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     Dynamite Comics     # 1 of 5

Devin James is in Mexico City looking into myths for his college project, and he feels like a fish out of water while in America The Creeper is back and along with his death truck hits the streets looking for body parts. While Devin is in Mexico, he sneaks into an old Aztec site and while studying the carving on the walls, he meets a young kid who he shares his theory that the Aztec Serpent God is really The Creeper! This story scares the kid who runs from the temple alerting adults, and Devin is taken to the police station and told never to return to that town and site again! As Devin is leaving, an old lady give him a box that has an old knife used by the Aztecs to do sacrifices in it and she quickly disappears! As Devin holds the knife, The Creeper takes alert and knows that someone is getting close to his origin and story.

This first issue in the Jeepers Creepers mini series is a little underwhelming and our main “hero” Devin James does not have any character development. All we really get from him is that he is a college student, has a sensitive stomach and is really into the Aztec Serpent God. The plot is also very simple and has Devin driving to Mexico to look at a temple that he is not supposed to enter and is kicked out only to have what he seeks delivered to him by a strange person who vanishes….pretty standard stuff…oh yeah and The Creeper really doesn’t do anything in this issue. The Creeper so far is built up by reputation as his horrific deeds over the centuries are what sparks fear, but he himself does very little. The comic as well is pretty much bloodless and besides a heart being shown in a flashback story, the violence is pretty tame as are the scares. To be honest when this issue ended I was entertained but I was also thinking very much so that this was a middle of the road build up for a five issue story arc. The cover is pretty great and eye catching and the interior art by Kewber Baal is solid and good. Over all I don’t have much to say about this issue as they did not give me much to really talk about, I guess I should also say I do like that they are really trying to explain The Creeper’s past or at least give a theory about it. Over all, as I have said, this is very middle of the road and makes me hope that in issue two they add a little sizzle.

Jeepers Creepers # 2  **
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     Dynamite Comics     # 2 of 5

Devin is on his way out of Mexico chatting with his friend Nina on the phone, giving her some info on what he has discovered but not what he has been given. Once off the phone he stops at a bar on a Indian Reservation and tries to strike up conversation with the bartender who has a tattoo of the Serpent God, but is quickly chased out of the bar where he is greeted by an old Native American man who tells Devin to meet him back at the bar in the morning as he can help with the answers he seeks. Devon stays the night in his car at the bar and is woken up by a cop who is giving him a hard time until the old man shows up and cools the situation down and he has Devon drive him to his home that is a tiny cabin in the woods. When inside, the old man has Devon drink a drugged wine that allows him to go on a vision quest and during it he has visions of The Creeper! When Devon wakes up he and his car are no longer in the woods but a shopping center.

Much like the first issue, there just is not much here when it comes to plot as most of the comic is splash pages that feature his vision quest….and the quest is the main plot of the issue. Devin in this issue keeps getting deeper and deeper into trying to find out what The Creeper is about and it’s becoming an obsession for him. The Creeper once more takes a back seat and kills nobody and mostly is just shown in the vision quest….so again no blood and no scares make this yet another middle of the road Horror Comic read. The worst thing is even the vision quest that is supposed to give some answers really doesn’t and is clearly filler. The cover is good and eye catching, and Baal’s artwork for the interiors is still very solid and good. Over there’s again not much to talk about as this was an okay read that was nothing special. I am starting to fear that this series is going to go on this way until the end. Let’s see what issue three has in store for me as I hope we at least get more The Creeper and less splash page filler.

Jeepers Creepers # 3  ** 1/2
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     Dynamite Comics     # 3 of 5

Devin is back at his hotel room, and he is feeling very rough after drinking the drugged wine. Worse, as he tries to feel better he finds that his mind is linked to The Creeper and he cannot trust what he sees as they both are interfering with each other’s lives. As Devin drives to his next site, The Creeper decides that he must find and kill Devon to end this. Devin heads to a reenactment village were cosplayers are all around him acting like they are from colonial times. Devin uses the Aztec knife on himself and finds that it gives him the ability to go back in time and he does so and watches as The Creeper torments people. stealing one’s eyes. In the vision The Creeper even carves a town name in the arm of Devin who wakes back up in modern times and knows that he is now on a path to a showdown with the cannibal monster known as The Creeper.

Devin is closing in on The Creeper and has figured out that the knife he was given also has powers that will allow him to seek out more information on this creature. The plot is thickening when The Creeper himself seems to be looking forward to a showdown with Devin as it’s clear he is bothered that someone is digging deep into his past as well as maybe even a way to stop him for good! Devon in this issue seems to be taking leaps of faith in order to get the answers he needs for his college paper, and this also now makes me wonder if he has more of passion to stop this monster from killing and collecting/eating humans. This issue also adds a little more blood as a gruesome panel is a man from the past whose eyeballs have been removed. Plus they added a little more scares as The Creeper attacking the village in the vision quest comes off spooky as people run for their lives and think that he is a demon straight from hell. I also am interested in seeing if this magical knife comes into play and if it really is means to stop him. The cover is pretty great and has a dark spooky look, and like before, the interior art by Kewber Baal is really solid. This third issue is bringing the story and the characters out more and finally is showcasing The Creeper better than the last two issues and makes me look forward to see what issue four has in store for me.

Jeepers Creepers # 4  **1/2
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     Dynamite Comics     # 4 of 5

Devin is in an old coal mine in Centralia, Pennsylvania, the location that was left for him by The Creeper, and now the two are at battle! Before being knocked down a shaft he is able to use an iron bar to impale The Creeper who is now really mad and heads deeper into the mine to find his prey. As Devin walks deeper in hopes of find a way out, he has a vision of 1962 when The Creeper killed a miner in those very mines and caused the fires that burn under that town still to this day, leaving the town dead and Devin knows that if he can not escape he will die as well. Devin has a stroke of luck when he finds a way out and its right by his car. As he is about to drive away the rooftop is ripped off, and The Creeper grabs him and carries him away into the night sky.

This fourth issue starts right with the action as our “hero” Devin is trying his best to battle a monster that wants to eat him and collect his body parts! Setting this issue in Centralia was a very cool move as that real life town has a very spooky look and feel to it. Plus it helped inspire the video game series Silent Hill…so as you can see, creepy is what that town is. The Creeper in this issue is very bloodthirsty as he wants to kill his foe and it shows and then on top of that in the flashback he goes off and knocks the head off of a miner. And I think at this point Devin realizes that he has bitten off more than he could chew and is in fear of his life, but yet still is very much into trying to figure out what makes this monster tick. The issue does have blood and gore and the head chop off is the most brutal, plus it wins brownie points as they use this murder as the means that started the coal mine fires that rage under the town till this day. I do also need to say while I like that the story starts off strong with the pair already at each others throats, it also feels a little rush and we get no build up to their first encounter in real life. The cover for this issue is pretty good, and the art inside is good and is Baal again. Over all this is a pretty good issue that does have some pacing flaws but was a good read. So with this fourth issue, we have only one left in the series and it makes me wonder how this will play out. I am going to take a guess that Devin becomes yet another victim of The Creeper and will lose his eyes in the end…let’s see if I am right!

Jeepers Creepers # 5  **
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     Dynamite Comics     # 5 of 5

Devin wakes up in the den of The Creeper and is surrounded by dead bodies and a small pond of seasoned human blood. The Creeper walks over to his victim and covers him with the blood and then kisses, licks and throws Devin around the den as he is prepping him to be eaten. As Devin lays on the ground, he grabs a broken bone from the ground and uses it to cut the ropes around his wrists and as The Creeper approaches him with a spoon in hand in order to remove Devin’s eyes! Before The Creeper can do so, Devin breaks free and stabs the bone into his attackers eye, but this does not stop The Creeper and only buys Devin a few more moments of life as The Creeper ends up just taking his eyes and leaves him as another victim in his lair.

Yep, this ended just as I predicted with our hero Devin having his eyes removed and dying…and sadly this issue was just kind of middle of the road leaving the series as a whole just an average Horror Comic read that could have been so much more. The plot of this final issue is very simple and is just Devin’s last moments of life as he is stuck in the den of The Creeper who wants to kill the young man and begin his 23 years of slumber. In this issue and series, Devin is a man who wants to write his paper and find the answers on a monster that has become entangled in his life, but like all that cross The Creeper, he does not stand a chance and only finds his own death when trying to uncover the secret of how to stop him once and for all. The Creeper is as brutal as ever and only has the motives to kill, eat, collect and steal body parts of humans, he also seems to take joy in toying with his victims as he really is cruel to Devin as he messes with him before killing him. The side cast mean nothing and more characters go nowhere like the Old Woman who gave him the knife, the old Indian man, the cop, Nina, Devin’s Mom and so on as they all are just filler who add little elements to the story and could all have been removed and it would have had no major impact to the story as it would have been just as easy to have Devin do the actions they add like finding the knife and such. The issue has some blood and gore and ends on a grim note that helps bring out the true Horror Comic feel and highlights just how iconic The Creeper is in the genre. My biggest issue with this mini series really is that it feels like lots of filler packed around an idea for a story that forgets its direction and has so many dead ends and unnecessary side plots that drag the story down. The cover for this final issue is very cool and as always the interior art by Baal is really good and the way he draws The Creeper really well. I think if you are a mega fan of Jeepers Creepers, you might enjoy this comic mini series. While I was a little disappointed in it over all it still was a fun read this Halloween season. Check out the art below to see what style you are in for.

While Dynamite Comic’s Jeepers Creepers comic series was not ground breaking and left lots to be desired when it came to story, I would like to see them return for a second series and better yet have him tangle with another MGM monster, Pumpkinhead, that they also did a mini series based on. I do think that the Halloween season should be filled with Horror Movies, Horror Comics, Horror Video Games and of course Horror Hosts and I for one am looking forward to the next update that will be our Halloween day update and I will be covering Werewolf At Large a old comic series I read as a kid and am looking forward to once more revisiting and see how well they hold up to my memories. So with a chill in the air and the moon in the night sky make sure to read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Get ready to bark at the moon next update!

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Rottentail

Indie Horror Films and Indie Horror Comics go hand in hand, and when companies team up, great things happen! And for this countdown to Halloween and this From Horror Comic To Horror Movie update, we will be taking a look at Rottentail, an indie creature feature about a man who transformers into a killer bunny man. The killer rabbit man has been done many times in the world of Horror, and while some are pretty good, others are not and with this update, it will be the first time I have seen the film as well as read the graphic novel! I have been following this film since it was announced, mostly on websites like Bloody Disgusting, so when the film was announced for a DVD release, I made sure to pre-order it as well as ordered the Graphic Novel that spawned the film from Mavericks. So if you are ready, let’s go down this bloody rabbit’s hole and see what Rottentail has in store for us both in the world of Horror Movie and Horror Comic. I should also note that I am looking forward to this update as this will be my first time seeing the film as well as reading the comic!

So before we chat about the movie Rottentail, let’s take a look at the film’s bunny man! Peter Cotton is a scientist who is bitten by a mutated rabbit and transforms into a mutated Rabbit Man! While he is Peter Cotton, he is a very weak man who is socially awkward and whose only friends are the rabbits that are his test subjects for a sex drug. But as Rottentail, he is a crude wisecracking, super fast, super strong killing machine! His appearance is monstrous as he takes on the look of both man and bunny. Rottentail can use his strength and speed to quickly catch his target and uses his bare hands to dispatch humans very easy with neck breaks being one method. He could also use his finger & toe nails as well as his teeth if he chooses, as they are both super sharp and could easily rip human flesh. He is also very sadistic when he kills and finds gross ways to off people who have crossed him and even uses body waste to torment them before the kill. He can also use his powerful kicks as well as has no issues grabbing items and beating someone to death. He can also use his mutated appearance to scare humans and leave them open for attacks and death blows! But while he is a mutated human animal monster with super speed and strength, he does have weakness as he can be hurt like any living thing with guns, fire, explosions and so on, he also can be distracted by beautiful women and also looses his temper really quick also leaving himself open to be hurt. While he might not be the deadliest monster we have covered in a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic, he is still very dangerous.

So as you can see, this crude rabbit anti-hero knows how to deal with those who get in his way when he is trying to play hero. But next we need to take a look at the film that Rottentail came from, and as always, I will be taking the film’s write up from our friends at IMDB and after I will write a little about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you are ready, let’s hop on down the bloody rabbit trail and see what Rottentail is all about.

Rottentail (2018)

“Peter Cotton, a scientist that works on rabbits and infertility, learns that the military wishes to use his work to create superhuman soldiers. Cotton is bitten by an experimental mutant rabbit and changes into the evil Rottentail.”

Rottentail is a 2018 Horror Comedy indie film that was directed by Brian Skiba, who directed such other cult films like Blood Moon Rising, Slaughter Creek and Crushed Velvet to name a few. Once in production, the film cast such actors as Dominique Swain, William McNamara, Lisa Palenica and Corin Nemec as Rottentail, all of whom jumped at the chance to join this over the top film. Oh, I should also state that adult film actress Emily Mena also has a small part. But while there is nothing really special about the film’s production, one interesting fact that some of your readers might not know is that Rottentail was first a Graphic Novel that was written by David C. Hayes and seemed to always be planned to be turned into a film. The film’s original release date was April 12, 2018 and made a minor splash as news of it spread around the Horror circle, as people seemed to compare it to a tame Troma Film. In 2018 the film was released alongside other Indie Horror Movies as Suspiria, Malevolent, Summer Of 84, The House That Jack Built, Mandy, Hellraiser: Judgment and Climax to name a few. While Rottentail has not faired very well when it comes to critics’ and viewers’ ratings, it still has made its mark on the world of Horror.

This is one of those films I discovered while surfing the internet reading about Horror Movies that were coming soon, and once I saw the mutated bunny man, I knew this was one I had to see as I love creature features! And after looking for it on home media and seeing if any local theater in the area was going to screen it and of course none did, I had to give up my search when it was nowhere. So finally on April 26, 2019 it was released on DVD via Ammo Content, and I pre-ordered the DVD from Amazon and finally on July 10th I got my chance to watch it…and while I enjoyed it in parts like the effects were good, the ladies lovely with adult actress Emily Mena being the standout, I still was not fully sold on this being a good Horror Comedy Film. Many things did not work for me like some of the crude humor fell flat and was just not funny as did Rottentail’s terrible one-liners that are real eye rollers not to mention the fact that Rottentail most of the time got on my nerves and did nothing for long scenes but talk nonsense. The worst sin of the movie is that it feels like it’s trying to be like Wolf Cop and Toxic Avenger and it fails to even be in the same cult theater as them both. While I cannot say I am a fan of this film, I would also say that I didn’t hate it as I feel it had some great moments that are surrounded by lots of bloody marshmallow fluff so I would say check it out if you like Horror Comedies with an annoying mutated rabbit man.

So as you can see, Rottentail is a film that is a silly Horror Comedy that is in the same realm as Troma Entertainment (just not as good) as it’s filled with lots of crude and gory moments. So while I found the movie to be just okay, let’s see how the Graphic Novel fares as this will as well be my first time reading it. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for getting this Graphic Novel for me and making this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update possible. So if you are ready, let’s see if the GN is better than the film!

Rottentail # 1  **
Released in 2019     Cover Price $6.99     Source Point Press     # 1 of 1

Two guards are wandering around a scientific facility when a noise forces them to check it out, and they both meet their doom at the hands of a mutated rabbit! Meanwhile geeky scientist Peter is having a nightmare when jock Jake in front of Mandy bullied him and killed his pet rabbit Thumper in high school. After the nightmare, Peter goes to work at the lab and is just in time to see the bodies of the guards being wheeled out and is confronted by General Thaddeus Phelps who wants to use Peter’s fertility serum to make more rabbit mutant soldiers for war purposes! And as Peter goes to perfect the serum, the General goes to a secret room and watches as the now captured Rabbit massacres a man they placed in the room with him. Peter perfects his serum and makes his way to the test lab where the mutated rabbit has broken free and bites Peter on the hand holding the serum that transforms him into a mutated rabbit man himself! And after having sex with the General’s lady, Peter goes on a quest to get revenge on those who bullied him in school and after killing a truckload of backwoods friends he heads home to Easter Falls. Jake is now married to Mandy and owns a grocery store that is preparing for the town’s Easter Day Parade as Peter comes to town and starts his murderous rampage that includes Mandy as well as all of Jake’s friends. Anna is the only one in town that has figured out that all the disappearances and murders are being done by Peter and in the end at the parade in front of the town he kills not only Jake but also the comedian guest of honor! Just as he sets his sights on Anna the Air Force shows up and blows him up with a missile. In the end the General’s wife is in a secret lab and gives birth to a mutated baby rabbit as the world seems to not be safe from this experiment gone wild just yet.

This graphic novel was a fun read but also was very disjointed in spots and was an average Horror Comic that pretty much I had the same feeling about that I had for the movie, that it was just okay. The graphic novel and movie have some in common but are also very much different with the film Peter being almost an anti hero while the GN has him as a blood thirsty freak who kills not only for revenge but also just because he can. He also has no link to Mandy in the GN as he kills her brutally while in the movie he falls in love with her. Another change is Jake in the GN is a grocery store owner and in the film he is a TV preacher. The plot of the GN has Peter being used by the government for his serum that in turn when bitten by a mutated bunny turns him into a sex and murder crazed rabbit man who wants revenge on those who tormented him in high school. Peter in the comic as a man is a dork who loves his pet rabbits and is working very hard for Star Labs on a fertility serum. The rest of the characters from General Phelps all the way to Jake are kind of just generic and have no real personalities and are pretty much stereotype cardboard cutouts. As Rottentail, he is a horny, mean spirited mutant who loves nothing more than to rape and murder…in other words he is a total scumbag. The comic has lots of brutal kills and plenty of blood, guts and gore to please fans of Horror Comics. The pacing is fast, and this is part of my issue with it, as at times we jump around the story with many moments coming off rushed and head scratching to why the actions from one panel to another happened and over all the kills mean nothing as Rottentails path is a little unclear. The cover is great and captures the mood and feel of the Graphic Novel as well as the Movie, and the interior art is done by Kurt Belcher and while not my style, is pretty dang good and fitting for Rottentail. Over all this was ok ayand nothing special, and I would say if you like the movie or like over the top horror, I would say check this one out. Check out the art below to see the style used in this Graphic Novel.

So while Rottentail might have been a letdown in both the movie and comic department, it still is an original and silly Horror Comedy that aimed to please fans of Wolf Cop and Troma Flicks. And I need to be clear that while I was not a mega fan of Rottentail, I must say I was entertained by it and would watch a sequel if it was made. For our next update, we are staying in the world of Horror Movies and Comics based on them, as we will be taking a look at “Horror On Party Beach” and the amazing Photo Comic Magazine done by Warren. So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie of two and as always support your local Horror Host! Oh and remember to bring some sunscreen as Party Beach does get some sun…or and I should also warn beware of the monsters!

The Super Powered Cow Heroes Of Chick-fil-A!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, can I take your order? Wait what am I saying!? I am in the mood to talk Fast Food again, and this time around we are leaving McDonalds, Dominos and KFC behind and will be looking at the chicken place Chick-Fil-A and their kid’s meal comics called “Amazing Cow Heroes” that features super powered cows who want the world to eat more chicken! In this update we will be taking a look at not only the comics they made but also the history of the company, its founder, their mascots and of course I will eat a meal from there and review it as well! So if you’re ready to once more dive into the greasy world of fast food restaurants, let’s slide our way into Chick-fil-A and see why this is Americas favorite chicken place.

So let’s start by taken a look at Samuel Truett Cathy, who was the founder of Chick-fil-A and was more than just a man who wanted to sell chicken sandwiches! Samuel was born on March 14, 1921 in Eatonton, Georgia and when older went to Boys High School in Atlanta. Once able, he joined the army and survived during World War II. Once back he opened his first restaurant in Atlanta called the “Dwarf Grill” and while the owner he and his brother Ben created what would be the signature chicken sandwich for the chain of restaurants they would call “Chick-fil-A”! And in 1948, he married his wife Jeannette and had a total of three children all of whom now own and run his chicken empire. Samuel was also a very religious man and was a Baptist who taught Sunday School for 50 years at the First Baptist Church in Jonesboro. He made it that his Chick-fil-A as well as his pizza place called “Upscale Pizza” closed on Sundays in order for workers to spend time with their families as well as attend church. He also had scholarships for his workers and was given many awards over the years like President’s Call to Service Award and he was named a Georgia Trustee! He also wrote five books and even became a motivational speaker and was well respected by his friends, family and community. And in 2013, he retired from being the CEO and chairman of Chick-fil-A and turned it over to his son Dan. Sadly Samuel passed away on September 8, 2014 at the age of 93 from complications from diabetes and so ended his legacy of being a visionary when it came to fast food. During his lifetime, Samuel built himself an empire of chicken and even pushed that all his restaurants food quality be very high and never settled for processed and low-grade food. While some people judge him for his overly religious views and how that’s reflected in the current Chick-fil-A, the one thing many of us can agree on is that their chicken sandwiches are pretty dang good.

Chick-fil-A was created as its own brand in 1967 and was an offshoot of a restaurant called Dwarf Grill both created by Samuel Truett Cathy who used a pressure cooker for his chicken that would rival the cook time of any burger place. Many people may not know that the first Chick-fil-A was in the Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta, and from there, the expanded and wound up in many malls all over the USA making them a must eat for many mall goers. The first stand-alone store was in Atlanta as well and opened on North Druid Hills Road in 1986, and this helped spark them to grow even more. And besides malls and stand alone restaurants, Chick-fil-A is now in hospitals, colleges and airports making it a very popular place to eat for people in a hurry. Over the years Chick-fil-A has dug its claws into the world of fast food chicken and has taken the lead money maker in that fast food fight and has made KFC have to step up their game and has left “Lees Famous Recipe”, “Krispy Krunchy Chicken” and “Popeye’s Chicken” way behind when coming to bringing in money. But while they are a very popular chicken restaurant, they have also had their share of issues with fast food eaters and people in general as they have been questioned about the ingredients of their food as well as the use of antibiotics in their poultry, all things they are claiming to be fixing or have fixed. But the biggest hit against them comes from their stance on same sex marriage and LGBTQ rights, and current owner Dan Cathy has gone on the record denouncing marriage equality as well as had their company donate to many anti-LGBTQ churches and groups. This, of course, sparked heat on them as people are upset that a Fast Food place would take a stand that would deny human rights, while other sides were proud that they stood strong in the religious beliefs that their company was founded on. While nothing has been really settled about their political agenda, Chick-fil-A continues to be a money making fast food place who for a short time after marriage equality became federal law tried to distance themselves from political issues. But let’s move away from that as Rotten Ink is about fun and not politics and religion which seems to be the source of lots of anger. As of today they have over 2,200 stores and plans for more in the cards, not to mention they are a company worth billions of dollars! If you like chicken sandwiches, they are a place to go…unless it’s Sunday…then you will have to go elsewhere for your fast food.

Here in the Dayton, Ohio area the Chick-fil-A that I knew of was in the Dayton Mall and is still there to this day in 2019! And I can remember eating there when I was a youngster with my parents as well as cousins and always enjoyed their waffle fries and a chicken sandwich with cheese. Over the years now they have gone into all our indoor malls as well as stand alone restaurants have popped up, and I have found myself eating at them more often than before because of co-workers at work who enjoy them and one of my ex-girlfriends also really enjoyed them. So for this update I am going to go and get myself a meal from there and grade it! For this update I ordered myself a Chicken Sandwich with Cheese and a large order of Waffle Fries with a chocolate milkshake to drink from the location that was near Town N Country on September 18, 2018. I will grade this meal on a scale from 1-4 stars and keep in mind this scale is based on fast food level and not on the scale for a good home cooked meal or a higher end restaurant. So let’s start with the chocolate milk shake that was well made and had a rich taste with a fresh taste, I would gave it 3 stars as it was very tasty! The waffle fries that normally are my favorite part of the meal at Chick-fil-A this time around were a little bit of a letdown as they were just kind of bland and I even had to use Texas Pete to spice them up and give them a little more taste, I would give them 2 stars for this visit. Now the main event is the chicken sandwich with cheese and pickles, and man I have to say this was one tasty juicy sandwich that gets a 3 ½ star rating from this comic reader as the taste was top notch and the mix of chicken, pickles and cheese was a great combination. Oh and I would say the over all experience at the restaurant would be 3 stars as it was a nice and clean and the workers were all nice people and did their jobs well. Over all I would say this was a good meal from a place that does chicken sandwiches right.

Most fast food places have a mascot like Burger King has the Magical Burger King, McDonalds has Ronald and Dominos had The Noid to name a very few, and Chick-fil-A is no different as they have Cows as theirs….yep cows….beef….and the slogan “Eat Mor Chikin” was made for them as they want you to stop eating burgers and eat chicken instead. These cows are always trying to warn and get their message across that red meat is not good and chicken is tasty! It also seems like their main target is “McDonalds” that is called “Circus Burgers” in their world. These cows do silly things in the commercials from stealing fast food burgers from humans all the way to interrupting football games with their messages. The thing that sets the Chick-fil-A Cows apart from most other fast food mascots is that they are not just geared toward youngsters but are fun and silly for all ages. But while they are meant for all ages, this also makes them a little less fun and iconic as the other mascots meant for kids as they are nowhere near as iconic as Ronald McDonald, but I would say they are on par with Mr. Delicious from Rax who was also more geared toward all ages. But while they might not be that colorful or over the top entertaining, they still have made their mark on the world of fast food advertisement and many fast food eaters know who they are and have enjoyed them over the years.

I want to also bring to you reader’s attention that the superheroes the Amazing Cow Heroes were pretty popular, and Chick-fil-A really pushed them hard by making not only the comic books but also a t-shirt and wall calendar! They even had them in a few commercials showing that they really did stand behind their heroes. It would have been crazy if this group of cows ended up taking off and taking the comic world by storm…would we be all flocking to theaters to see the newest CFA Properties Inc. shared universe movie? Would Netflix have a show based on Cold Cuts that millions would binge watch? And would Hasbro be releasing action figures of the Gristle Missile! All these questions could have had the answer yes if only Amazing Cows would have hit it big with comic readers.

So now that we have taken a look at Chick-fil-A as a restaurant, their cow mascots and even their founder S. Truett Cathy, it’s that the time we take a look at the comic books based on their cows who are now superheroes! These comics were promos in their kids meals and started in 2010 with a total of five issues, and then in 2012 it came back for another five issues. The first five issues are adventures of a single cow, and think of them as the “Marvel Premiere” issues as they showcase our cast of heroes with the last five being more like “Marvel Team Up” as it pairs two of them together in an adventure. So for this update I decided to only cover the first five issues as they seemed like the more fun ones plus they all had amazing and silly covers as you will soon see, plus for some reason these comics are pretty pricy for something so silly. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comic as well as Amazon for having these issues in stock for making this update possible. And these cows are standing next to me and want me to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. And I should say these are first time reads for me and my first impression is that I am going to dig Gristle Missile the most. So if you’re ready, let’s eat a chicken sandwich and take a look at these super powered cows brought to us by Chick-fil-A!

Amazing Cow Heroes # 1  **1/2
Released in 2010      Cover Price $0.00      CFA Properties Inc.      # 1 of 10

Sir Brisket, the owner of Royale Beef Buffet has a sinister plan to set free a cloud that will make the people of Burgerburgh crave only burgers from his restaurant, and this evil plan is being carried out by burger robots! But before this plan can happen, cow hero deciBell and her super sonic moo saves the day and defeats the burger bots and destroyes the cloud machine. The cops and deciBell are clueless to what fast food burger place had this plot at hand and deciBell finds some scrap metal from the machine and decided to run some tests on it to find the mastermind behind this plot! Meanwhile King Brisket is ragging mad at his plot failing as he wanted to make tons of cash and his sidekick Amazing Merloin has a magic lasso that he can use on people and make them crave burgers from their restaurant, and they start using it on the good people in town. Meanwhile deciBell finds BBQ sauce on the metal and traces it back to King Brisket and she informs the cops who head to Royale Beef Buffet as does she. But when she gets there, to her horror, the cops are all eating burgers as is the good people of Burgerburgh as the lasso has turned them all into mindless red meat eaters! deciBell does what she knows will work and that’s sonic moo at them all and it breaks the trance, and she along with the cops head towards Sir Briskets homebase and bust him, but not before he himself is lassoed by accident and now craves chicken sandwiches!

Wow, this was a silly read and yet I found myself enjoying this kids comic as I feel like it fits perfectly with many of the comics that Archie, Harvey and even Star released in the 80’s and early 90’s. The plot is very simple and has our super sonic voiced cow hero deciBell stopping plots by a greedy fast food burger tyrant that only cares about money and not the food he is making for people to eat. The Amazing Cow Hero we meet in this first issue is deciBell who has the power of a sonic moo that can defeat enemies as well as break trances and brainwashing people are under. She is also super smart and can run analyzes on clues as well as can drive a van. Her goal is to protect the good people of Burgerburgh and to spread the word that people should eat more chicken. Our main villain is Sir Brisket, a fat mascot and owner of a fast food burger place that really loves money and will do under handed and illegal things to make people crave and eat at his restaurant and is a parody clearly of the Magical Burger King and maybe even a little Roy Rogers thrown in as he owned a chain of Roast Beef food chains. Sir Brisket is also surrounded by other weird characters that are a mix of medieval and cowboys including the even more goofy Amazing Merloin! No joke, while the story is very cheesy, it does serve a purpose as making a cow a likable hero could turn young readers away from eating red meat as it humanizes and gives cows a bigger more lovable personality and pushes for them to eat chicken. The cover is great and also for some reason reminds me of a milk ad and for a kids meal promo comic cover, it’s pretty eye catching. The interior art is done by Jason Howard who many of you comic readers might know from his work on the Image Comic series Amazing Wolf-Man, and his art is really good and fitting for this type of kids comic. Over all this is a great start for a comic series given away by a fast food chicken joint.

Amazing Cow Heroes # 2  **
Released in 2010     Cover Price $0.00     CFA Properties Inc.     # 2 of 10

A cow is involved in a very bad tractor accident that leaves her head and limbs damaged. Her owner Dr. Waffl Frize rebuilds her using parts on an old broke down mechanical bull turning her into Cowborg, a half cow and half machine creature who has powers beyond any normal cows including super jumps and the power to lift things with her fake eye! Dr. Waffl Frize and Cowborg decide to go to the county fair and enter the cow judging contest, and there they meet the evil The Judge who disqualifies her and then fails all the other cows and tries to steal them to turn into hamburger meat! And while the townsfolk are in an uproar Cowborg goes into action and has to save the people on a ferries wheel that The Judge has sabotaged as well a stop a rampaging monster truck! Finally Cowborg is able to track down The Judge and save the cows from the slaughter and have this crooked crook judge arrested.

This second issue is just as silly as the first and has the plot of a cow that is rebuilt with mechanical parts and given super powers having to save other cows from being kidnapped and turned into hamburgers! Our Cow Hero in this issue is Cowborg who is clearly based off DC Comics Cyborg with a little of TV’s Six Million Dollar Man thrown in. Her superpowers are she is able to run fast, jump super high and far, freeze things, short out wires and has a tractor beam eye. While Cowborg is cool, she is also lacking a personality like deciBell and seems to come off kind of you know robotic. Her owner Dr. Waffl Frize is a goof who clearly cares about cows as imagine all the hard work and money that was spent to turn one injured cow into a superhero. The Judge is a bad guy who has a big ego and seems to enjoy bulling others and really just wants to make money on selling stolen cows for their meat, and he doesn’t mind injuring and possibly killing people to get what he wants. This issue does have a great kids comic vibe I just found it to be a little slower and lacking slightly in the charm department. The cover is good and looks more like a poster and not a comic cover, and the interior art is solid and is done by Dan Panosian who is known for his work with Marvel Comics and heroes like Hulk, Conan and Iron Man. Over all it’s a good silly read that is nothing special and is used to spread the message of red meat is bad and chicken is good.

Amazing Cow Heroes # 3  *
Released in 2010     Cover Price $0.00     CFA Properties Inc.     # 3 of 10

All across America hamburgers from Circus Burger have become missing off the company’s grills as well as out of customers hands! And the CEO Seymor Greez of the company decides to send in three clowns to solve the mystery, and they find out that the cow hero Swatter is to blame. Seymor hires a pair of rodeo clowns, and they are able to sneak attack Swatter and tie up his tail that leaves him captive and at the mercy of Circus Burger. Seymor ends up having a big circus event in town and uses the captured cow hero as the main attraction as he is going to force him to do the trapeze with no net and his tail still tied up! As the evil CEO pushes Swatter off the platform, our hero’s tail becomes untied and he is able to pull off some amazing stunts and even leave a message drawn on the ground by his tail that says “Eat Mor Chikin”!

This superhero cow adventure kids comic is sadly not all that good and is really bland and kind of boring. The plot of this issue has Swatter, a cow hero stealing grills and burgers from people at Circus Burger with his super long and fast tail, and this makes the CEO mad who ends up kidnapping the cow hero and tries to force him to do a stunt and die in front of a crowd of people…only for his plot to fail. Swatter is thus far the only male hero in our comic series, and I guess he should be call Amazing Bull Hero! His superpower is that he has a long tail that he can use as a whip…yep, that’s it. The main bad guy is Seymor Greez, who is the CEO of Circus Burgers who has hired clowns as goons and doesn’t mind taking an animal and trying to make it have an accident in front of a ton of families who came to a circus for good times! So think about that, this guy wants kids to watch a cow fall from the sky and splat on the ground. This guy could be the worst in our villains thus far as he is cold blooded, not only to cows but other humans. Over all not much to say about this issue besides it was pretty lame and not much adventure goes on in it. Oh and it’s clear that this one is making fun of McDonalds. The cover is good, and Gregg Schigiel who is known for his work on Spider-Man for Marvel and is just okay in this comic as its nothing special does the interior art. So with that, let’s move onto issue four and see if they can get this moootastic series back on track.

Amazing Cow Heroes # 4  **
Released in 2010     Cover Price $0.00     CFA Properties Inc.     # 4 of 10

A massive ship at sea is caught in a terrible thunderstorm and lightning hits the side of the ship causing a hole, and one of the cows being shipped falls through it and is left to freeze in the water. Once the cow turns into a solid block of ice, a whale helps get her to land and penguins unfreeze her and give her a superhero suit as now her breath can freeze things and she is now known as Cold Cuts! While mastering her powers she even saves her new friends the penguins from a hungry seal by freezing it and knows she must find the ship she fell from so she can save her friends from becoming people’s dinners. Cold Cuts uses her ice breath to build an ice bridge and catches up with the ship and takes down the captain and his crew and frees her friends and sails the ship back home as her mission is clear and that’s to spread the word that people need to eat more chicken.

This is another fun but average kids comic featuring the hero cows of Chick-fil-A who really are trying their best to make kids fall in love with cows so they will stop eating at McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s and other fast food burger places. This issue’s plot is bare bones and has a cow freezing and getting powers to freeze other things with her breath stopping a ship filled with cows who are slated to be killed for their meat. Cold Cuts is very much inspired by Marvel Comics Iceman and can use her breath to not only freeze objects and people but also can use it to communicate and tell a story. She is a pretty cool cow hero and one of the better ones thus far behind deciBell. The bad guys in the issue are the ship’s crew but they put up no fight and are super weak and are defeated really fast. I dig the idea of Cold Cuts’ friends being penguins and that at the end of the issue she is steering the ship…I just picture her still lost at sea as clearly she can not read a compass! The issue is over all pretty good but really gives not much to talk about as it’s so simple and only has two real messages and that’s eat more chicken and be a good person. The cover is pretty great and eye catching, and the interior art is done by John Sprengelmeyer and is good as you might know his work for well Chick-fil-A! Over all fun kids comic read and showcases cows can be heroes!

Amazing Cow Heroes # 5  **
Released in 2010      Cover Price $0.00     CFA Properties Inc.     # 5 of 10

As a young calf, Gristle Missile came in contact with a meteor from space and gained the ability to run super fast! Once grown up he has had enough as his owner the farmer is grilling out hamburgers and he decides to zoom by and take them as well as leave a message for him to eat more chicken! The farmer is mad and gets on his lawnmower and starts to chase the Gristle Missile who makes the run of his life as he zooms past race horses and wins the big one. He then zooms past a cop who joins the chase and he is able to out run them all! Once away from the farm, he knows his mission in life is to stop people from eating burgers and sets his sight on Beefytown Burger and always steals all their meat! Well they set a trap for him that backfires as Gristle Missile escapes it and saves the day by taking down the Beefytown Owner and exposing his plan to take over the town! In the end Gristle Missile gets the key to the city and is the town’s savior.

This 5th issue in Amazing Cow Heroes not only shows our second male hero but also is a pretty solid kids comic issue that features a hero who means business when it comes to people not eating red meat! The plot has a cow getting super powers from a meteor that allows him to run super fast and this scares evil people who push hamburgers on people as his goal is to make sure they don’t! Gristle Missile is silent yet super cool as I think he is my favorite of the cow heroes as his speed is like The Flash and he has a go get them attitude and really hates hamburgers. Plus he doesn’t treat people like the enemy only the meat is. The issue’s main bad guys are the Beefytown people as they push terrible burgers on people and are placing restaurants all over town with the goal being to over run and take over, plus I think they really hate Gristle Missile as he steals their meat giving new life to the saying “Where’s the Beef?” that Wendy’s made popular in the 80’s. So while the plot is pretty standard, the over all feel has a nice mix of Fast Food Promo Comic and Kids Comic making it a fun and enjoyable read for youngsters and the young at heart. The cover is eyecatching and reminds me of a Flash cover with the interior art being good and done by Josh Adams. Over all a great comic to end our look at Chick-fil-A comics on and is one I enjoyed. As I said before, this comic series has five more issues but they are team up issues and I only wanted to cover the solo issues so if you have any interest make sure to track them down. Below is some art from some of the first five issues so you can get a feeling for the series.

So as you can see, Chick-fil-A entered the world of fast food promo comics and over all did not do that bad of a job bringing enjoyable kids comics to readers. In fact, I would like to see them return and offer more solo Amazing Cow Adventures featuring new super powered cows done by new artist and writers. But I think it’s time we leave the world of greasy fast food behind and take a look a classic Horror Movie character! Yep, we will be taken a look at The Hunchback From Notre Dame from the 1956 version! So until next time Eat More Chicken, Read a comic or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a bell ringing good time!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is out in theaters, and this update is our final  for Kaiju Month. For this “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update, we will be taking a look at Godzilla: Awakening that was released in 2014 based on the Godzilla film by Legendary Pictures that is part of their Monsterverse. Godzilla is one of the world’s biggest icons when it comes to Kaiju and giant monster films, and he has proven that his films can be successful here in America, not only in Japan. I also would like for you readers to know that Godzilla comics have been released by many different companies like Marvel, Dark Horse and IDW and all of them are well worth finding and reading as well. So if you’re ready, let’s see what kind of mayhem and fear the one and only Godzilla has in store for us.

So before we get into Godzilla from 2014, we need to take a look at Godzilla from this film and his powers of destruction. Godzilla is a massive Kaiju that is 350 feet tall and weighs 164,000 tons making him a massive force to be reckoned with and so big that he could crush city blocks with one stomp of his foot. His appearance is reptilian and just the sight of him sends humans into a frenzied panic causing them to also to be involved in accidents that leads to human injuries and deaths. Besides his massive body size he also can use his long tail to knock down buildings and other giant monsters that get in his path. Godzilla’s main weapon of attack is his atomic breath that is so extremely hot that it can melt steel and severely burn and even kill other giant Kaiju so just imagine what it can do to a normal person! He also has a wicked loud roar that sends fear and chills down the spine of all those who hear it. And let’s not forget that Godzilla also has razor sharp teeth that can shred and grip onto his enemies. While on land Godzilla is a little slower but he can also swim and be in the water for long periods of time making him a threat on both land and water. In this film Godzilla does not go out of his way to kill humans or even cause destruction as his main focus is to protect the world and stop other Kaiju who do have very bad attentions. But with this said, just with battling the other Kaiju creates collateral damage. Godzilla cannot be hurt by bullets or normal ways of stopping a threat and for all accounts he does not seem to have that many weaknesses as it looks like maybe attacks from other Kaiju might be the only thing that can hurt him! Godzilla is a true Kaiju who is very powerful and if he wanted, he could massacre most of the world’s populous, so let’s be happy that he is on our side…for now.

So as you can see, Godzilla is the most powerful of the three Kaiju we have looked at this month as Gorgo nor Reptilicus don’t even come close to the power of the King Of The Monsters. But now that we know about Godzilla and his ways of destruction, we need to know take a look at the 2014 film that spawned this update! The film’s plot will be taken from our friends at IMDB and after I will talk about the films production as well as my thoughts on the film. So take shelter as Godzilla is on the loose!

Godzilla (2014)

“In 1999, the Janjira nuclear plant was mysteriously destroyed with most hands lost including supervisor Joe Brody’s colleague and wife, Sandra. Years later, Joe’s son, Ford, a US Navy ordnance disposal officer, must go to Japan to help his estranged father who obsessively searches for the truth of the incident. In doing so, father and son discover the disaster’s secret cause on the wreck’s very grounds. This enables them to witness the reawakening of a terrible threat to all of Humanity, which is made all the worse with a second secret revival elsewhere. Against this cataclysm, the only hope for the world may be Godzilla, but the challenge for the King of the Monsters will be great even as Humanity struggles to understand the destructive ally they have.”

Hollywood originally tried their hand at making a Godzilla film in 1998, and the film was a bomb as its budget was way too high and word of mouth was brutal causing all plans for a franchise to be cancelled. But while Toho continued to make Godzilla films, America was out of the game until 2014 when Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures released a new film…but it was a very long road for them to get this in theaters and even was responsible for putting the death nail in many other Godzilla films that were being developed or even stuck in developmental hell including “Godzilla 3D,” a sequel to Godzilla vs. Hedorah that was being done by Yoshimitsu Banno. Once Legendary worked out a deal with Toho, all these other projects were cancelled, and by 2010 they took complete control and decided to develop their own story and direction and would even make sure to let the world know that this would not be connected to the 1998 film. By 2011 they had Gareth Edwards on board to direct, and David S. Goyer was brought in to rewrite the script with Drew Pearce putting the polishing touches on it in 2012. This whole time Legendary Pictures did press appearances at comic cons and interviews on websites to keep the build for the film as well as to answer concerns that this film would be a letdown as they could not shake the dread of the ’98 film. And crazy enough, in 2013 Frank Darabont was brought in to add more to the script that was original written in 2010 and was penned by David Callaham! During this time as well, the film started to be cast with names like Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ken Watanabe to name a few and of course during this time as well the design of Godzilla was being worked on to perfect his new American appearance. And from here production went like all mega budget films go and took place all over the world and much time was spent to make sure this was made just right for fans of Godzilla. On May 16, 2014 it was released in theaters and was met with pretty big fanfare and delivered a better Godzilla film for America. Godzilla was the 13th grossing movie in 2014 and brought in $529,076,069.00 worldwide on a budget of $160 million. The film beat out such other cult films as Annabelle, The Purge: Anarchy, Dracula Untold, Ouija, Deliver Us From Evil, Oculus and I Frankenstein to name a few, and would make it to # 6 out of 11 for my “Matt Goes To The Movie 2014” update. So as you can see, Godzilla was a massive hit for moviegoers worldwide and had lots of other great Horror Films released alongside it that year.

In 2014 when this movie was released, both Juliet and myself were really hyped to rush to the theater and see it as we are both massive fans of Godzilla, and we got our tickets to see the film on the IMAX Screen at the Cinemark Theater at The Greene and rushed to get the best possible seat. We had ourselves a large popcorn to share, and I drank a Blue Icee as we settled in and waited for Godzilla to smash his way back onto the big screen! As the theater filled up and the lights went down, we both were glued to our seats waiting for the film to start…and after watching it, we both left the theater a little under whelmed and slightly annoyed by the film’s choice to only show Godzilla in glimpses for most of the film until the end. While I did not hate the film and for the most part was entertained, it was Juliet who really had a dislike for it. And as time went by even at work we talked about Godzilla from 2014 as one of my former employees Jeremy really loved this film and even has said its better than “Kong: Skull Island” and to me that’s crazy talk! When this film was released on home media, I did end up buying it on DVD, and after watching it a few more times I have learned to enjoy it a little more. While Godzilla 2014 is not even close to being my favorite film in the long going movie series, it at least is one that brings destruction thrills and chills to the big screen and has sparked more interest in the character here in America. So while some of you readers love this film and others dislike it, one thing that I think we can all agree on is that it’s great to have new Godzilla films coming out that as well sparked some new King Kong films so for that I will say, Thank You Legendary Pictures! Oh and I call this version of Godzilla old fat neck as his neck is huge, and this nickname seems to annoy Jeremy who really does love this film and the Godzilla attached to it.

Godzilla from the 2014 film is a true Kaiju that seems to not have his sights on stomping out human lives and almost seems a little more interested in protecting us, but even with that said he still is a master of destruction and could be one of the most dangerous monsters we have covered on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this graphic novel in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I will 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 it’ art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s spend a little destructive time with Godzilla…from the 2014 film that is not the original Toho one.

Godzilla: Awakening # 1 ***
Released in 2014     Cover Price $12.99    Legendary Comics   # 1 of 1

An older man named Serizawa invites his son over and starts to tell him that all he knew of his work was all false and that he has worked for the government for many decades and that the world is filled with giant monsters! He tells his son that the first time he ever saw the Kaiju known as Godzilla was when America dropped the big bombs on Japan and that he later saw him again when he was a member of a ship’s crew that was called to help an American ship a year later on a small island. Serizawa meets Shaw, an American who has been hired to study Godzilla as well as the other massive monsters of the world and is trying to now save his crew who are trapped on the ship that has been docked on land in the trees! Once they save the crew Serizawa finds himself joining Shaw as a team member that is made up of both Japanese and American Soldiers that are working for Monarch in order to find and stop giant monsters that are running wild throughout the world with one being Godzilla and the other being a bat-winged Muto. While Godzilla is talked about as a savior, the Muto is talked about with fear by those who have seen them. The team travel even to the bottom of the ocean to find out more about Godzilla and then also find out that the Muto is really multiple living organisms that come together and grow as they feed on radiation and the bombing of Japan is what awoke the creatures and that we have pretty much doomed ourselves and that Godzilla is really our only hope of bringing it down as he is the creatures life long enemy! When they finally meet, Godzilla destroys half of the Muto creature and the government tracks down the other half later and nukes it killing off the Muto once and for all. But back in present day Serizawa passes away and now his son joins Shaw and sets his sights on bringing down and understanding Godzilla!

Legendary Pictures did a fantastic job taking the film and making a good solid action horror comic read with Awakening that delivers a Godzilla rampage to fans of the film. The plot of this comic is not so much about Godzilla nor the Bat-Winged Muto but mostly follows Serizawa, a Japanese survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima who has become a bitter person toward America and learns to work alongside them when he becomes a part of a team that is exploring the Kaiju that have been awakened from the bombing as well. Serizawa, as the story goes along, grows as a person as well and finds that he really cares about human life and does whatever he can to save lives as well as learn what he can about each of the giant monsters they are hunting and studying. Serizawa is a really interesting style of hero as he does not do amazing fight moves nor does he have any superpowers…all he has is his brain and a caring soul. Shaw is a military man all the way, and he befriends Serizawa when he saved his life as well as many of his crew members from a Muto attack. Shaw also seems to be a good person, but he does seem to doubt his friend about the legend of Godzilla throughout the graphic novel. Serizawa’s son is learns a lot from his father when he comes clean about what he really did for a living, and this also sparks the son into wanting to follow in his footsteps and he as well joins Monarch in order to study and stop all the Kaiju. The Bat-Winged Muto is sadistic as the multiple organism creatures goal is to eat radiation, kill humans and grow to a massive size and become truly unstoppable! Godzilla is the story’s main hero as he protects the world and fights off the Muto and trying his best to keep him from growing in size. But while he is the main attraction, Godzilla in this graphic novel much like in the movie takes a backseat to the human leads that take up 85% of the over all book, and while the story is good, I am not going to lie, way more Godzilla would have been nice! The graphic novel is bloodless and has very little death in it but does bring one some destruction and deep meanings about us being our own worst enemies with all our mass weapons of war. It was written by Max and Greg Borebstein and both are clearly fans of Godzilla as they do their very best to capture the mood and feel of the 2014 film its spawned from. The art is really good and is done by a team that includes Eric Battle, Yvel Guichet and Alan Quan and all of its pretty solid stuff and each draw Godzilla really well! Over all this is a solid and fun graphic novel tie-in to the 2014 Godzilla and was an amazing tool to help promote the film. Check out the art below to see what Godzilla looks like in this book. Oh and if you loved the movie, make sure to give this a read!

So as you can see, the Godzilla from the 2014 film makes a great comic book character and with “Godzilla King Of The Monsters” hitting theaters in just a few days, another graphic novel is in the works and you can look forward to be covering it as well here at Rotten Ink! I also hope you enjoyed Kaiju Month, and we will have another one next year for the release of King Kong vs. Godzilla so you will have that to look forward to in 2020. But for my next update we are leaving the Kaiju behind and will be taking a look at super powered cows that were the mascot of for the chicken restaurant Chick-Fil-A! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for an epic cow hero good time!

 

Avengers Assemble…We’re Needed

Welcome back, True Rotten Ink-lievers!  Juliet here, on this momentous occasion where we’ll be covering one of the greatest team-ups to grace both the page and the screen. I’m talking about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, John Steed and Emma Peel.  That’s right, I’m joining you to talk about The Avengers….but not those Avengers. We’ll be looking at the spies played by John Macnee and Diana Rigg in the 1960s British television show, The Avengers, and their 2012-13 comic book series from Boom Studios.  So grab a bowler hat and a stiff drink, readers, we’re needed.

Avengers02

Although knowledge of the show is more widespread these days, there are many people that don’t realize that the Avengers existed both before and after the Emma Peel years.  The show premiered in 1961 from the English ABC (Associated British Corporation), focusing on the espionage adventures of Dr. David Keel with Patrick Macnee’s John Steed showing up in the first episode offering his assistance.  Steed would remain in the assistant’s role for all of series one, which was cut short due to an Actor’s Equity strike. When production resumed in 1962, Steed was now the focus of the show partnering briefly with Dr. Martin King and Venus Smith and more permanently with Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman.  It was during this time that the show as we know and love it really took shape: Steed’s look was established as the bowler-wearing English gentleman spy, while Cathy donned leather catsuits, which Emma Peel would also adopt along with the latest in mod fashion.

Avengers03

In 1965, the show was sold to the American Broadcasting Company (also ABC) and became one of the first British shows on to air on American television. The show moved from shooting on videotape to 35mm film, and in October, Diana Rigg debuted as Steed’s new partner Emma Peel.  We’ll discuss more about Steed and Peel momentarily, but for now let’s focus on the show itself. Along with Emma Peel, this new era of the Avengers introduced science fiction, fantasy and the occasional fetishistic elements to the plot. With the fifth series (aka season since we’re talking about British TV) in 1966, the show began shooting in color.  This was also the year that several of the show’s signature elements were introduced.

Avengers05Avengers04Avengers06

Two of the best known elements that in truth only lasted for 15 episodes, are “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed” and the “Steed does/Emma does” tags, both appearing at the start of an episode after of course the murder or inciting incident for the case had been established. We’d see Emma doing something ordinary. She’d then receive or encounter the message “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed” at which time Steed would appear from seemingly nowhere and their adventure would begin.  The tag would show up under the episode title and give a comedic description of each character’s actions during the episode. For example, in “The Winged Avenger,” the tag is, “Steed Goes Birdwatching. Emma Does a Comic Strip”

Avengers07

Diana Rigg left the show in 1967, gone was Emma Peel and gone were the sci-fi/fantasy elements with her.  The producers opted to return to the more realistic spy adventures that viewers had seen in the Cathy Gale era, and this time Steed’s partner was Tara King, played by Linda Thorson.  This sixth series would also introduce the characters of Mother and Father who would be central characters in the 1998 movie remake of the Avengers (more on that further down). But series 6 was to be the last as, although the show was popular in the UK and Europe, in the U.S. it was airing opposite the then number 1 show in the country Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and just couldn’t compete.  When the show cancelled in the U.S., the finances became unsustainable and Avengers ceased production in May 1969.

Avengers08Avengers01Avengers09

Now that we’ve talked about the history of the show, let’s get into the characters and the people who portrayed them.  Born of a noble family and having served in the RAF in WWII (like his portrayer Patrick Macnee), John Steed is an agent in an unnamed British intelligence agency that some claim exists in the same universe/canon as James Bond.  In his initial appearances in Avengers, Steed was less refined than the character we’d come to know and love, but fairly quickly, he adopted the signature suave look of a three-piece suit, bowler hat, and umbrella, which would become his signature look. Steed is both sassy and sauve, and although he can be playful, when the time comes, he’s an ace spy and is well verse in hand to hand combat and swordsmanship. The role of Steed came around at the precise right time for actor Patrick Macnee.  After serving in WWII for England, he began his acting career in Canada with smaller roles but didn’t meet with much success. By the late 1950s, he was smoking and drinking to excess and had nearly given up on acting opting to produce documentaries when he was offered the role of John Steed, which he would play until 1969. Macnee helped establish the character’s look and personality, insisting, for example, that Steed never use a gun, in part because of the horrors that Macnee had witnessed in WWII.  He wrote two novels based on The Avengers and later hosted a documentary about the show. Macnee would go on to be in a James Bond film, Magnum P.I., The Howling and more, including a cameo in the 1998 Avengers remake (I promise, we’re getting there). Patrick Macnee died in June of 2015 at the age of 93.

Avengers10Avengers11Avengers12

Dame Diana Rigg made her stage debut in 1957 and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959.  When Elizabeth Shepherd, originally slated to play Emma Peel, left the production, Rigg auditioned for the role having never seen The Avengers.  She was an instant star, despite making very little money for her work on the show, which is what ultimately drove her to leave after two years. Rigg went on to star in both film and television roles, including a stint hosting Mystery on PBS (taking over for Vincent Price), and she continued her work on stage. More recently, she’s captivated a new generation of TV viewers as Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones.  As for Rigg’s most iconic role, Emma Peel is a great mix of brains, battle-readiness, and sex appeal. She’s an accomplished scientist and martial artist who dabbles in many other fields, especially when it aids her investigations with Steed. Born Emma Knight, Mrs. Peel’s husband Peter is a pilot whose plane went down in the Amazon rainforest prior to her work with Steed. Peter was presumed dead for many years, returning as a plot device to write Emma off the show and introduce Tara King when Diana Rigg decided to move on.  Though the leather catsuits were introduced in the Cathy Gale era of Avengers, they became Emma Peel’s signature look along with the mod styles of the day. A quick wit with a silver tongue, Emma was the perfect verbal match for Steed, and their back and forth was part of what made the show such a joy to watch.

Avengers13Avengers14.jpgAvengers15.jpg

I first encountered The Avengers on VHS at my local library.  I was lucky enough to grow up with two awesome libraries close by, one of which had an amazing selection of science fiction paperbacks and the other sported any amazing VHS selection, featuring a lot of British television and foreign and classic films. In the same way I have an affection for both really good and really cheesy science fiction, I adore both really good and really cheesy spy movies and TV shows, and I feel like The Avengers fall right in the middle.  It’s as classic as James Bond, but has an entirely different feel that’s so completely of its era. In the last five or six years, I’ve managed to watch the entire Emma Peel run of the show on DVD thanks to Matt, who bought me the Emma Peel Megaset after we found it at Half Price Books. In the same spirit as ST:TNG and the X-Files, I have certain favorite episodes that I go back to again and again, but I can also watch the series as a whole all over again and enjoy it, securing The Avengers’ spot among my all-time favorite TV shows.

Avengers20Avengers23Avengers21

In 1998, Warner Brothers and director Jeremiah Chechik (of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation fame) sought to revive Steed and Mrs. Peel for a new generation on the big screen.  The film, simply titled The Avengers starred Ralph Fiennes as John Steed, Uma Thurman as Emma Peel and Sean Connery as weather obsessed villain Sir August de Wynter. Rumor has it that Warner refused to pre-screen the film for reviewers to prevent negative reviews after test screenings prompted the studio to cut it from 115-minute to 89 minutes, removing key plot elements.  An original cut of the movie has never emerged, though Jeremiah Chechik has offered Warner Brothers a director’s cut for free. The movie as it stands is universally regarded as one of the worst movies ever, but I have to tell you something, dear readers: I love it. Okay, okay, it’s by no means a cinematic masterpiece, but I see the campy potential in the look and feel. Plus, it came out at a time in my life where I was actively seeking out very cheesy spy films and novels, the more bizarre, the better….and this one is certainly bizarre.  To parrot Stefon from SNL, this movie has everything: Uma Thurman with a bad English accent, giant teddy bears, a weather device, human sized hamster balls, Patrick Macnee as the Invisible Man, Eddie Izzard. If you have an open heart for utterly ridiculous trash, give it a try. It has little to nothing to do with the original TV series, but it’s silly fun if you’re up for that sort of thing.

Avengers19

In terms of merchandise for the TV show, the modern fan can enjoy the series on DVD as well as a plethora of Steed and Mrs. Peel-themed goodies on sites like Etsy.  More classic gear includes trading cards, and most interesting, paperback books. The first novel, simply titled The Avengers and written by Douglas Enefer, was published by Consul Books in 1963.  It’s the only book of the original run to feature Cathy Gale. Many novels featuring Emma Peel and Tara King would follow in the UK and US, including several co-written by Patrick Macnee who was one of the first actors to write licensed spin-off fiction of their own shows.

Avengers16Avengers17Avengers18

The Avengers first made it to comics in the U.K. as comic strips in TV listing magazines (similar to the US’ TV Guide).  Their first American outing was a 1968 collection of these strips released by Gold Key called John Steed Emma Peel because, of course, Marvel made it impossible for them to release a comic called The Avengers. In 1990 Eclipse released a three issue series called Steed and Mrs. Peel with script by Grant Morrison and art by Ian Gibson.  Boom Studios would re-release that series in early 2012. For our purposes, however, we’ll be covering the 2012-13 Steed and Mrs. Peel series from Boom Studios, written Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe. Before we begin our adventure, I must remind you that here at Rotten Ink, we grade comics on a 1-4 star scale and look for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s get started, dear reader, we’re needed.

AvengersComic00

Steed and Mrs. Peel #0  *** 1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #0 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel investigate the mysterious of Agent Colin Whitcomb. Although the cause of death is straight forward (he was shot pointe blank), the strange part is that the missing agent has aged significantly.  Their only clue is the scent of a particular cheap perfume on Whitcomb’s body, sending the daring duo to the Hellfire Club, or rather the “New Hellfire Club” to investigate. There they meet the future obsessed Cartney who leads Steed into a fight with Father Time.  Meanwhile Emma outwits Futura, the automotan, and dons her outfit as a disguise to locate the missing Steed. Steed awakens older and grayer discovering that it’s no longer 1966, but the year 2000, and that he’s now a part of the National Archives, having served as an agent of much acclaim.  But of course Steed is on to the true plot of the Hellfire Club, using an aging serum to fool intelligence British agents. With Emma’s expert martial arts skills, the baddies, which include their old Hellfire nemesis Cartney, are defeated. With the aging serum’s effects wearing off, Steed treats Mrs. Peel to a concert.

When I first heard that Boom Studios would be doing a comic based on The Avengers, I was nervous to say the least.  The charm of the show is so particular – there’s a formula to the stories, but moreover the way Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg portrayed the relationship between Steed and Peel is so very specific.  I was hopeful once I saw that Mark Waid was writing, and he did not disappoint. This introductory issue was everything I had hoped for – it felt right at home in the universe of the show, teasing a time jump but keeping things firmly in the 1960s.  Longtime fans of the show got recollections of the Hellfire Club (**find out the name of this episode) and Emma’s spiked collar, cybermen (who also appeared in Doctor Who), the familiar “We’re Needed” start to the action. Most importantly, the dialogue was perfect.  I could hear MacNee and Rigg’s voices in my head as I was reading. Steve Bryant’s art is a good balance of realistic and stylistic and captures both the feel of the 1960s and the action well. I was pleasantly surprised by this one when I first read it in 2012, and 7 years later, it’s still a great read.

AvengersComic01

Steed and Mrs. Peel #1  ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #1 of 11

Masked men infiltrate a secluded base and launch a missile attack on London.  Steed and Mrs. Peel watch the carnage, along with Lord Bailey, in an underground bunker, but just as everyone has a moment to absorb what’s just happened, an alert sounds and our heroes leap to action.  A fire in the bunker forces Emma and a fellow scientist to lead everyone in the bunker topside, but once there, Mrs. Peel discovers something unusual. Although London is leveled and their instruments are showing radiation, there’s no effect on the soil or water.  There’s no time to question it further, however, because their fellow survivors spot a figure in the distance rapidly coming towards the group. The figure is some sort of mutated creature, and it’s not alone. Steed and Mrs. Peel battle the horde of monsters, and the book ends with them getting a vital assist from none other than the Hellfire Club.

This proper first issue of Steed and Mrs. Peel begins with action that’s sustained through the book.  Our heroes seem to be in some kind of post-apocalyptic disaster scenario, which is such a perfect melding of Cold War-era spy show sensibility and our modern obsession with post-apocalyptic stories (I see you, The Walking Dead and your many and varied progeny).  The action is such that we don’t get a lot of information about what’s happened other than London has apparently been nuked, and I like that because we’ll get to discover what’s happening along with Emma and Steed. The dialogue between the two is once again spot on thanks to the team up of Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe, and the artwork, this time from Will Sliney, is really great, classic looking comic style that lends itself to both action and dialogue well.  I know you’re probably wondering, like me, what the Hellfire Club is doing there and what they do or don’t have to do with this disaster so let’s get to the next issue.

AvengersComic02

Steed and Mrs. Peel #2 ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99     Boom Studios    #2 of 11

Steed, Mrs. Peel, and the British MPs they were previously sheltering with are now all guests of the Hellfire Club in their lavish bunker.  Although most of the other guests seem pretty comfortable, Steed and Emma are worried that they’ve not seen Lord Bailey, General Crampton or Mr. Stanton, the other scientist, since arriving. Although our heroes don’t yet know it, we see the general being brainwashed by a member of the Hellfire Club.  She and her brother, both the offspring of Cartney, chat a bit about how Steed and Mrs. Peel will of course be the hardest to break but it’s worth it get revenge for father. Steed and Mrs. Peel work on a plan over a game of chess. Emma goes to talk to Miss Cartney about the missing general, and gets attacked.  Later Steed stumbles into another brainwashing session and is also taken out, but when he awakens, it’s revealed that his attacker was Mrs. Peel, decked out in a familiar outfit, her Hellfire Club leather and spiked collar.

More of the mystery is unraveled and new twists appear in the second issue of this story arc.  While it’s no shock that the Hellfire Club is up to no good, what their goals are and who the mysterious Dirigent is remain a mystery. Also a mystery is whether or not this story ties in some way to the Cartney time-travel story in issue #0.  I like that we don’t know (and I genuinely don’t remember if it does from my first reading of this series seven years ago). As with issue #0, I love that this story is taking elements directly from the series and expanding them on the page, especially since they’re using one of my favorite plot elements that the Avengers shares with X-men: the Hellfire Club.  Is Emma once again brainwashed or she pretending to gain the trust of the Club? Onward to Issue #3, we’re needed.

AvengersComic03

Steed and Mrs. Peel #3 ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #3 of 11

Steed is hopeful that the leather-clad Mrs. Peel is simply undercover, but alas, that’s not the case as she sends him through a wall behind which the younger Cartney is enjoying his lavish Hellfire existence. Steed snaps Mrs. Peel out of her brainwashed state using some trigger words they had developed “after the first few times someone tried this.” After Emma knocks her brother out, Miss Cartney arrives with her henchmen leading Steed and Mrs. Peel to flee.  They commandeer a motorcycle (and a new outfit for Emma) and lead the Hellfire Club on a chase into the nuked out wasteland. After fighting hand to hand with Miss Cartney, Emma shoots a flare, signaling the British Air Force, who she and Steed had secretly been in contact with after figuring out that the nuclear attack was a hoax and they the MPs had been kidnapped and taken to the South China Sea. Steed and Mrs. Peel sail off into the sunset, and back at the Hellfire Club the Cartney brother plots his next move.

Thus concludes the first story arc in Steed and Mrs. Peel…sort of.  Although they’ve solved the mystery of the fake nuclear blast and London’s destruction, something tells me that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Hellfire Club in the least.  This one is the last issue for which Mark Waid did the story and Will Sliney the art, but luckily scriptwriter Caleb Monroe sticks around for the rest of the series. There’s a temptation to say that the story wrapped up too quickly, but honestly it felt right in line with the TV show, and the pacing of these three issues felt like the pacing of the hour-long episodes.  So what’s next for Steed and Mrs. Peel? Let’s find out!

AvengersComics04

Steed and Mrs. Peel #4 ** 1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #4 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel have been invited to a ball. In full fancy dress, they, along with many British dignitaries attend the masked party of author Lloyd Cushing.  As part of the evening’s entertainment, they meet Mr. Blackwell, an eccentric conductor accompanied by his two Butoh dancers. But a party can never be just that for our two heroes as they’re soon called upon to investigate the murder of a man who turns out to the the real Mr. Blackwell.  Trading her ball gown for more action oriented clothes, Emma joins Steed in the ballroom where all of the guests are now missing. Steed tracks them outside where the Butoh dancers are to blame for the mass exodus. Meanwhile Emma confronts the imposter conductor, who turns out to be the Hellfire Club’s hypnotist Dirigent from their prior island adventure.  Dirigent explains that he can manipulate high frequency sound to bend people to his will, but he’s no match for Emma. As Steed and Mrs. Peel continue their previously interrupted dance, we zoom out, all the way to out space where a satellite baring the Hellfire Club logo looms over us all.

Upon first glance, the is your typical post-story arc issue, a one-shot where the characters get to have a minor adventure and perhaps some fun before the next big thing.  But actually, this issue, although basically a one-shot, continues our Hellfire Club storyline and presumably is going to bridge the prior arc with the one to come in Issue #5.  Although this one has significantly less action than the last few issues, there are some really nice things happening in the dialogue, both between Steed and Peel and among the other characters.  I feel like this was perhaps Caleb Monroe’s chance to provide some of his analysis on the original show and characters, and as I fan, I really enjoyed reading it. Yasmin Liang takes over on artist duties for this issue, and although she doesn’t capture Steed and Peel’s expressions as perfectly as Will Sliney did, she’s a great addition to this story, and I’m excited to see how she tackles the action scenes that are surely coming in the next book.  So let’s get to it!

AvengersComic05

Steed and Mrs. Peel #5  **
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99     Boom Studios    #5 of 11

The fallout from last issue’s ballroom party gone awry continues as Steed and Mrs. Peel find out that his friend Trevor Seabrook has been arrested for a theft related to his wife’s disappearance from the party. The curious part is that the kidnappers tasked Seabrook with stealing a seemingly empty jar, but the truth is the jar contains something that has regenerative properties, which is of course of interest to the Hellfire Club’s Dr. Peter Glass, previously presumed to be dead.  Seabrook’s wife is returned, Steed and Mrs. Peel begin to piece things together, and Glass unveils a special piece of tech as this issue ends.

The interesting thing about this issue is that both everything and nothing happens, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like the prior issue, this one was low on the action but high on information that’s obviously leading to the next chapter in the Hellfire Club’s evil plans that Steed and Mrs. Peel are constantly working to unravel.  

AvengersComic06

Steed and Mrs. Peel #6 **
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #6 of 11

Through a flashback and conversation, Steed and Mrs. Peel reflect on the aforementioned Dr. Glass and his death, for which Steed was an eyewitness.  Seabrook’s wife is awake but only repeating the words “bleeding heart” so Steed and Emma decide to regroup. On the way, however, Emma is tricked by Glass’ assistant Jamie and kidnapped.  Meanwhile, Steed is nearly ambushed when inquiring about Seabrook’s stolen empty jar, but soon our heroes are reunited in Glass’ lair where it’s revealed that the mad doctor survived his untimely death using special goggles sported by three versions of Jamie that allow him to time travel. As Glass is apprehended, one of the Jamie’s slips away to inform someone on the other end of a video camera that this phase of the plan has failed.  Steed and Mrs. Peel end our issue reflecting on the practicality of time travel over a drink as a rocket launches on the horizon.

One of the things that I really love about this series is the layered story.  Each arc leads to another and contributes to a larger story. This is especially interesting because the show generally did not do this, but I wish it had.  All of that said, this wasn’t the most exciting arc. Granted, this issue had more action than the prior two, but the payout felt a bit weak. Although thinking of it in the grand scheme of a larger story makes even a weak arc feel important.  So let’s get to the next one, and hopefully we’ll find out who Jamie was talking to and what dastardly plans they have in store for Steed and Mrs. Peel.

AvengersComic07.jpg

Steed and Mrs. Peel #7  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #7 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel are sent to a small Welsh mining town to investigate an unprecedented wave of suicides. Posing as scientists (though Steed is the only one posing, as he points out), they begin their investigation by consulting with Dr. Mortimor, a psychologist specializing in suicide.  After tea with Moritmor, our duo walks back to the inn where they’re staying, taking the scenic route to stop by some of the scenes of the some of the crimes. On a seaside cliff where several people fell to their deaths, both Steed and Emma seem to lose control of themselves and nearly jump off the cliff, the other stopping them just in time. They of course realize that Dr. Mortimor and his terrible tea is to blame.  The evil doctor explains that he’s not a murder, merely an experimenter in the weaponization of suicide. Steed, Mrs. Peel and the gathering crowd of villagers are less convinced of this excuse.

What a breath of fresh air after that slightly lackluster last arc!  Although the story was a bit predictable, it shone because of both the art (great panel structure in this one!) and the writing.  We got a lot of great little moments of Steed and Emma quipping back and forth while working to solve the mystery, and these moments are golden.  I didn’t realize how much of this was missing from the prior issue until I read this one. The chemistry between them, both in the dialogue and the artwork, was so spot on, and this definitely felt like an episode of the show that I would have loved. With that, let’s see what our next issue has in store!

AvengersComic08

Steed and Mrs. Peel #8  **1/2
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #8 of 11

The Cartney family is back!  Steed and Emma’s beachside holiday is interrupted with the news that Joan Cartney has been broken out of jail by a strange silver man.  While Steed and Emma investigate, knowing there’s more to this than meets the eye, the Cartney siblings are reunited with their father who is alive, but not well. Donning costumes to make them look like Steed and Emma, the younger Cartneys set out to fulfill their mission of killing our heroes by blowing up Steed’s flat, while their father undergoes a procedure to rejuvenate his body…as a Cybernaut.

With last issue’s palate-cleanser, I’m ready to dive into a new story arc, and this one sets up our story nicely.  It’s no surprise that the Cartney’s are back, and we learn that it was, indeed, them that Jamie was contacting in Issue #6.  As we set up our villain’s story, we once again get really cozy fun interactions between Steed and Peel, making me thinking that writer Caleb Monroe has gotten into the same comfort zone that Mark Waid began the series with.  I’m eager to see where the Cybernaut story is going so let’s get to the next issue!

AvengersComic09

Steed and Mrs. Peel #9  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #9 of 11

While Cybernaut Cartney shops for a suit, his children learn that even a bomb can’t take down Steed and Mrs. Peel.  The siblings’ bickering about what went wrong is interrupted when their intended victims confront them, and quickly things turn into a street fight (with swords!). The Cartneys get away, but of course that was the plan as Steed, harkening to the original Cybernauts TV episode, plans a transponder his umbrella which he allows them to escape with.  After a quick wardrobe change, Steed and Mrs. Peel head to the Hellfire Club’s base of operations where they spy General Seabrook smuggling army tech to the enemy. Although they’re able to sneak in undetected, Cybernaut Cartney uses his super strength to bust through a wall and grab our heroes.

With the last issue being mostly set up for the new story, I was worried this one would be more of the same.  But happily, this issue is heavily on wonderfully drawn action with some great dialogue to accompany it. The way the panels mimic the style in which the show was shot is a really nice touch and combined with the coloring gives the book such a great retro feel.  My only concern moving forward is that there are only two more issues, and I honestly can’t remember if the book ends at the conclusion of an arc or if we’re going to be left hanging. I guess there’s no way to find out until we get to the next issue….

AvengersComic10Steed and Mrs. Peel #10  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #10 of 11

Cybernaut Cartney is about to kill our heroes but Emma appeals to the villain’s hedonistic side, saying that if he kills them now, it’s all over. This is much to Joan’s chagrin as Steed and Mrs. Peel have been a thorn in her side for far too long, but father knows best…..only Cartney isn’t really her father. Joan and her brother discover documents in Cartney’s desk revealing that they’re a young married couple who went missing and were subsequently brainwashed by Cartney in what he calls, “my greatest practical joke of them all.” After her husband (formerly her brother) is killed by Cartney, Joan sneaks back to the prison to get help from a former ally.  Meanwhile Jamie is torturing Steed in the Hellfire Club dungeon forcing Emma to strike a bargain with Cartney – Steed’s life for her hand in marriage. The issue ends with Cartney presenting Emma to the rest of the Club as his fiance and the new Queen of Silver.

This issue has so much going on!  The reveal about the Cartney siblings (or rather the not Cartney, non-siblings) was really great.  I truly didn’t see that coming, and in addition to being a great twist, it packed an emotional punch.  Cartney’s line about this being “my greatest practical joke of them all” was an amazing touch. In this issue we get more about Cartney’s weird obsession with Emma, which is framed in both flashbacks and present moments, something I like because it really gives the reader the sense that Cartney is an absolutely twisted villain.  I also loved the touch of the Silver Court being introduced to the Hellfire Club. But my concern from last issues remains; there is a lot to resolve in one issue to wrap up both the arc and the series. I suppose the only way to know how that works out, however, it to read on.

AvengersComic11

Steed and Mrs. Peel #11 ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99   Boom Studios    #11 of 11

We open in a church where Cybernaut Cartney stands at the altar with a silver bedecked Mrs. Peel.  The officiant asks if there are any objections to the union, and right on cue, John Steed drives his car through the window of the church.  He shouts Emma’s trigger words, but she doesn’t need to be un-brainwashed this time, she was merely buying time for Steed. While a battle ensues in the church, Joan sneaks into the room containing John’s human body that’s feeding the Cybernaut and gives him the brainwashing serum, prompting the Cybernaut to seek out its human body to destroy it. Emma and Steed follow, and Emma uses the aging serum from all the way back in issue zero to prevent the Cybernaut from destroying human Cartney.  But alas, he dies shortly thereafter anyway. The issue ends with Joan escaping to make a better life, and Emma and Steed watching the sun set and reflecting on this latest chapter in their adventures together.

This issue does a pretty good job of wrapping things up.  Yes, the Steed crashing the wedding scene is ridiculous, but it fits the show quite well.  I really liked that the aging serum from issue 0 comes back into play, but the sequence of Cartney dying anyway was slightly confusing.  The ending with Steed and Emma watching the sunset was quite lovely, and I do like that the Hellfire Club story wasn’t so final that they can’t come back again in some future series.  Speaking of future series, Boom Studios would try for another arc in 2014 called Steed and Mrs. Peel: We’re Needed, but alas, what was to be a six issue series only made it three, and quite honestly those issues didn’t hold a candle to this series. Avengers22

Part of the reason I chose to cover this particular comic version of The Avengers is that, in my opinion, it’s the most faithful to the spirit of the show, and despite a few missteps, uses the structure of comics to create an ongoing story in a way that the show didn’t back in the 1960s (though I suspect a modern rendering would).  For our next update, we’ll be leaving the world of spies, but staying in the 1960s as Matt kicks of a month of Kaiju updates in anticipation of Godzilla: King of the Monsters with a look at Reptilicus. In the meantime, read a comic or three, and support your local horror host!

mst3k_reptilicus

Amazing Wiggly Jiggly Jell-O Man!

Who doesn’t like eating a big old bowl of Jell-O for dessert after a good meal? It’s been around for over 120 years, has been enjoyed by billions of people in that time and has become a food product that is a major part of American pop culture. When working on blog updates this year, I needed a quick and fun update to fill a small time frame and looking through my comic collection I found my copy of the promo comic The Adventures Of Jell-O Man and Wobbly and knew that I needed to talk about it as it’s a perfect quick update topic about something very weird and yet very fitting for Rotten Ink. Why don’t more companies make promo comics based on mascots of their products? Like why aren’t comics based on say The Burger King, The Green Giant and Chuck E. Cheese? I also always question why Indie Horror Filmmakers don’t make comics based on their films, as many of them would make amazing reads and are a prefect way to promote the fright flick. But let’s not harp on what should be, and let’s talk about what is and that’s Jell-O Man! So if you’re ready for this quick update, I am ready to talk all about this fruit flavored snack.

Pearle Wait created Jell-O in 1897 as he and his wife May found out a way to add fruit flavors to powdered gelatin. In 1899 they sold it off to Genesee Pure Food Company owner Orator Francis Woodward, and thanks to new ways to make, package and store food, he was able to get his new product onto store shelves. At first it was not a hit with shoppers. In the early 1900’s they really started to push the product more, taking out ads and adding new flavors to the line even making cookbooks to hand out that used Jell-O making it increasingly a household name and a must eat for after family meals. And from there it really did become a hit with shoppers. When Genesee Pure Food merged with Postum, they became General Foods and started to add more products to the Jell-O line as well as more flavors and kept really pushing it as a brand that was in many cupboards all over America, and for years this was the case. But starting in the 1960’s and all the way to the 80’s, sales for Jell-O started to decline, and they had to once more use ads and celebrities to bring sales back and to try and bring in a younger clientele…and once more it worked! Over the years Jell-O has had many ups and downs in sales and has lost many of the flavors they used to make, but one thing is for sure, they are not going anywhere soon and still remain a very popular dessert that is now added to all types of other meals. Jell-O has now also become a very iconic brand and has sparked all types of merchandise based around the brand as well from molds all the way to shirts and even a comic book.

When I was a youngster, I can remember that if I was not feeling well my mom would heat up Jell-O and make a hot drink for me that was suppose to help settle my stomach as well as deliver a shot of energy. I can of course remember eating classic Jell-O from time to time and can safely say my favorite flavor was Lime. To this day I get cravings for it! My mom used to also make this multiple layer Jell-O dessert, and man was it fantastic and something that was a joy to eat. It’s very odd to think about, but when I was a kid Jell-O did seem like a very big brand and like it was made just for us kids, but it was also something adults enjoyed. The way this product was marketed was very smart as it made kids crave it and adults think it was a great treat for youngsters. Next I will talk a little about the commercials shown when I was a kid and the celebrity they used.

Growing up Jell-O was everywhere from snack packs that kids in school had while eating lunch, all the way to TV ads that were played during cartoons and kid shows, and at this time, the spokesman was comedian Bill Cosby! Way before he went to jail, he was considered on of the world’s top comedians who entertained young and old alike with the likes of The Cosby Show and cartoon series Fat Albert. Growing up I was a big Bill Cosby fan as I watched not only the two aforementioned shows but also liked him on “The Electric Company” as well as his movies like “Ghost Dad”, “Leonard Part 6” and “The Devil And Max Devlin” and even when I got older, I bought many of his stand up routines on CD. When he was the spokesman for Jell-O, I can remember seeing the commercials and finding myself craving it as a snack as well as wanting to try such things as Jell-O Jigglers that allowed you to eat it with your hands. Plus having Bill Cosby sell the product gave it credit to parents when they wanted to treat their kids to a tasty treat. I don’t want to go too much into it, but let’s just say that I was really disappointed in Mr. Cosby when the terrible things he did came to the light, as he was always an American Icon and was considered Americans’ Favorite TV Dad. But while he turned out to be who he was, the memories of trying to sell me Jell-O when I was watching cartoons will always be a fun, silly and will bring a smile to my face.

Back in 1981, a comedy metal band was created and called themselves Green Jello and toured around performing silly and heavy songs and building a small following. Their big break came in 1992 when they released the song “Three Little Pigs” and metal fans as well as fans of pop rock music went crazy for it! The song was off their Cereal Killer album and because of the popularity of the song, Kraft Foods swooped in and filed a lawsuit against the band as they claimed a trademark infringement on the name Jell-O. Of course the band lost and had to change their name to Green Jelly and all their music releases as well as their merchandise had to have the name change. While the band’s name is one of the factors that made Kraft mad, it was the slogan they used “Green Jello Sucks” that really set them off. The band was a one hit winder with Three Little Pigs being their claim to fame, but keep in mind, they are still a band to this day and still have a cult following. I also want to say that the band was also sued by Metallica for stealing a rift from the song Enter Sandman as well as Kellogg Company for the use of Toucan Sam that they used in art and video and called him “Toucan Son Of Sam”.

So as you can seem Kraft is very protective of their Jell-O brand and have always tried to keep up their family friendly image safe and untarnished, but they cannot stop culture. The rumor going around the campfire is that they dislike the popular party drink called Jell-O Shots that takes the product and mixes it with mostly vodka. This “drink” is very popular at college bars, parties and even Horror, Comic and Anime Conventions. But the thing that bothers them the most is Jell-O Wrestling, a sports entertainment activity that mostly has young women in skimpy cloths rolling around an inflatable pool filled with Jell-O as men cheer. This event goes hand and hand with mud wrestling and is played up as a sexy sport and has even spawned many leagues as well as websites. I just wanted to touch on both of these things as they do go hand and hand with the legacy of Jell-O and is part of American culture.

From Bill Cosby to alcoholic drinks to a comedy metal band, we have talked about many different things connected to Jell-O, and now I feel it’s time we talk about their short lived mascot named Jell-O Man and his trusty dog Wobbly and their comic book adventure. And I think while I read this comic, I am also going to eat some lime Jell-O and enjoy this promo issue. I want to remind you readers that I grade this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s see what Wobbly and Jell-O Man are all about.

Adventures Of Jell-O Man # 1  **
Released in 1991     Cover Price FREE     General Mills     # 1 of 1

“The Outrageous Origin Of Jell-O Man And Wobbly” Dr. Goodtaste along with his friend Snackens and robot Grabby are watching a computer that helps stock all the world’s stores with Jell-O products and this is upsetting Grabby who wants to also be able to eat some of this tasty snack and has an idea to do so and uses the energy from a experimental hologram laser cannon to super power his own robotic energy! Grabby traps his one time human friends in the lab and reroutes all the delivers of Jell-O products to be delivered to him as he wants it all for himself. But in the lab Goodtastse and Snackens watch in wonder as the hologram of the Jell-O logo transformers into to two beings made of the tasty snack, Jell-O Man and his dog Wobbly! Jell-O Man helps the humans escape the lab and returns and tricks Grabby into self-exploding and allowing Goodtaste to set the delivers back on track. “The Natural History Mystery” this story has Mrs. Sherman and her fourth grade class on a field trip to the museum when someone steals all the Jell-O snacks that were for dessert! But one young man calls up Jell-O Man who, along with Wobbly, vows to get their snacks back, and after wandering around the museum, he finds that the dinosaur called Snackosaurus has stolen them and after tripping the beast up is able to take back the snacks and save the field trip. “The Outer Space Case” has Jell-O Man and Wobbly on the planet of Gumongo to introduce them to Jell-O, and unbeknownst to them the evil Shoveler has followed them and steals all the snack from their refrigerators while the aliens sleep. The next day Jell-O Man comes up with a plan to capture The Shoveler and uses Jigglers to do so, as Shoveler bounce around on the giant Jell-O Jigglers the aliens and Jell-O Man bring him down and save their tasty treat from being stolen ever again.

This promo comic features three silly stories featuring Jell-O Man and his dog Wobbly and does its job of making readers think that Jell-O is a tasty treat that all kids love to eat. The three stories are pretty normal, kids comic stuff and has Jell-O Man’s origin as well as takes him to a museum and space to show that people all over the universe love pudding and gelatin. Jell-O man is a cool as ice hero who only worries about making sure people have Jell-O snacks to eat! He also sports cool whip hair and can detach his head and use it as a weapon to take down his enemies. He also talks like a cool hipster of the time and even at one point seems to be hitting on the school teacher as I think he wanted to show her his wobbly jiggler…yeah, I know that’s a cheesy joke. Speaking of Wobbly, he is pretty useless and only runs around and says “Yeah, Yeah” lots, so in other words he is a useless sidekick. Our villains in this comic are the robot Grabby, the purple dinosaur Snackosaurus and the shovel handed freak named The Shoveler, and while they are all bad dudes, none of them are major threats to mankind as all they really care about is stealing Jell-O…but if I had to pick one that I would say could more easily turn rouge and bring down mankind, I would choose Grabby as he seems very power hungry. The over all feel of this comic is fun and upbeat but spends most of each story really hammering home the idea that Jell-O is what we all need to be eating at all times and if you don’t have it, your life is depressing. None of the adventures seem that dangerous nor do the stakes really feel that big making it really just one big commercial ad for the Kraft products. The cover for this one is pretty eye catching and showcases our hero Jell-O Man and his trusty sidekick dog Wobbly. The interior art is done by Richard Howell and has a very simple style to it and yet also very cartoonish in spots and is perfect for this style comic, you long time readers will also remember that Howell did the artwork for The Shadow War Of Hawkman that I covered sometime back. Over all this is a fun promo comic that is nothing special but serves its purpose in delivering a goofy good read for kids and promote the product it was based all around. Check out the artwork below to see the style Howell used for this comic.

Jell-O Man was not a major hit in the world of mascots, and while he starred in some commercials, his main claim to fame is this promo comic as over the years of comic book shopping at stores I have seen this comic in many of .25 and $1.00 bins. And doing this update about a promo comic makes me look forward to covering more of them in the future. My next update will take us away from the world of Jell-O and place us into the world of Horror as for Saint Patrick’s Day we will be re-looking at the one and only Leprechaun! 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 green beer good time!

Hercules: The Turkey Day Wars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Destructor The Mighty Atlas Masked Crime Fighter!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So as you can see, The Destructor is a superhero who should still be busting heads of bad guys in comics, but sadly he could not defeat his greatest enemy the closing of his publisher. We are now at the time for the review of the comics, and I am really excited to revisit this series as they are ones I bought from the old local comic shop Bookie Parlor when I was a young teen. Sadly the old issues I had were sold off a while ago in order to get some money to help a young lady I was dating in my early 20’s who had some issues at her apartment…it’s sad I sold most of my comic collection, but I’m glad I was able to help someone. The issues I have here I was able to track down thanks to Bell Book And Comic, Mavericks Cards And Comics and Ohio Antique Mall who had issues in stock. I would also like to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready like me, let’s take a look at Atlas Comic masked superhero The Destructor! I want to also dedicate this update to Steve Ditko who sadly passed away on June 29, 2018 while I was working on this update. His art and inspiration will live on forever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Hero: Captain America

It’s that time of the year again, when we as a nation celebrate our independence by grilling out meat and setting off fireworks while hanging out with family and friends, sharing a good drink and fun stories. That’s right, it’s July 4th and here at Rotten Ink that means I am going to take a look at an American themed comic book hero, and this year I decided not to mess around and go straight to covering the one and only Captain America! We will be talking about his first issue and his very early history before Marvel owned his rights and he was being published by Timely Comics. As always, I will try my best to make this update go by super fast as I know that many of you like myself have cookouts and fireworks in your future for tonight. And I will say that while this is my first time talking about Captain America, it will not be the last time I talk about this Star Spangled Avenger! So with America pride at a fever pitch this holiday, it’s my great honor to bring to you this American Icon Captain America update!

In 1940, Joe Simon was messing around with a new idea for a comic book war hero and doodled a character he loosely was calling “Super American,” but after thinking about the name of this new character he decided that the world of comics had so many Supers and that’s when he came up with the name Captain America! Then he came up with the character’s sidekick Bucky who was named after his friend who was a basketball star in his high school. After pitching it to Martin Goodman, who was the publisher of Timely Comics who later would become Marvel Comics, the comic series was green lit and went into a quick deadline production. Simon brought on his long time friend and calibrator Jack Kirby to do the art as well as really design and bring the character to life. Simon and Kirby would add in their views about the horrors of what the Nazis were doing at the time, and it was their way of taking a stand. Also brought on board to help bring Captain America alive was Al Liederman who inked, and Howard Ferguson did the lettering. The first issue was released on March 1941 and was a hit with comic readers of the time and became the top American themed superhero of the time, a title he still holds to this very day. The comic became one of the biggest comics and printed media of its time showing that the American people needed a superhero like Captain America. During this time MLJ was upset as they felt that Captain America’s shield looked too much like the symbol on used on the chest of their patriotic hero The Shield and this caused Simon and Kirby to change Cap’s shield to look more round. This of course became iconic to the character’s look. The character would run for many years and even tried his best to stick around after superheroes fell out of favor with comic book readers. During this time he created a team called the All-Winners Squad and even dated a superheroine named Golden Girl. But while they tried to save Captain America from the hero crash by adding in elements of Horror, Romance and Science Fiction, his time in comics came to an end in 1954. But that was just the early days as Captain America was destined to be brought back to comics thanks to Marvel…but that’s for another update.

Steve Rogers was a young man who had a hard life as by the time he was out of high school he had lost both his father and mother and wanted nothing more than to join the army and join the fight against the Nazis in World War II. But due to his small size and health issues, he was not accepted, but was selected to be apart of a secret project called “Operation: Rebirth” lead by Professor Erskine. This project involved a super solider serum that would turn a man into a perfect physical super solider and the key to win the war. Steve takes the serum and takes blasts from a vita-ray machine turning him into a true solider of super nature, but Steve would be the only super solider made as the Nazi’s sent a spy who kills Erskine and this forever seals the secret of the serum. Steve Rogers was sent to fight in World War II as a counter-intelligence agent and a costumed mascot for US that was given the codenamed Captain America! During his early adventures he got a teen sidekick named Bucky Barnes, he fought Nazi’s and super agents like Red Skull and even changed comic companies and became a member of the team The Avengers! Over the years, he has battled such baddies like Baron Zemo, Crossbones, Serpent Society, Baron Blood, Batroc the Leaper, Baron Von Strucker and Hydra. He has faked his own death via an assassination, fought against Iron Man in a superhero Civil War as well as was in a Secret War on another planet. He became a hero named Nomad as well as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D and even had turned into a werewolf. Captain America is a hero who has a rich history and many great stories in his own ongoing series as well as Avengers and cameos he has made in others books as well as mini series. This is just a very, very brief look at Captain America, and I think if you enjoy the movies being done by Disney via Marvel Studios or even enjoy reading comics you should do yourself a favor and go to your local comic shop and pick up some classic Capt comics and enjoy the stories that will unfold in the pages.

Hands down Captain America is one of my all time favorite superheroes alongside the Incredible Hulk and has been since I was a very young kid. I can remember talking comic books on the playground with fellow students and them making fun of the fact he was one of my favorites and they would all use the term “boring” when talking about him…now thanks to the Marvel Universe movies from Disney, those same people are now fans of the character! But let’s not harp on the past as it’s a holiday and we should be up and ready for fireworks! I do want to share some of my connection to Captain America as besides always being one of my favorite superheroes, one of my first ever comic books was Captain America # 185, one of my favorite action figures was my Mattel Secret Wars Captain America figure and the only arcade machine I own is Captain America And The Avengers! I want to think Mavericks for having this reprint comic in stock and would also like for remind you all that I grade on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So lets sit back and enjoy July 4th and take a look at the true American icon Captain America!

Captain America # 1  ****
Released in 2017     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel Comics     # 1of 1

German spies have made their way into the US Army and have been sabotaging and causing lots of mischief and this makes it hard for our top rated officers to trust anyone. But Mister Grover has a top-secret project in the works and takes two top ranked officers with him to witness it.  They are lead to a secret lab by Agent X-13 where they watch as skinny Steve Rogers, a man who could not get into the army, is injected with a serum that makes him smarter and stronger and the hero that America is needing. But as the experiment is done, one of the army officers turns out to be a spy and shoots the Doctor, shoots the remaining serum and also shoots and kills Mister Glover! Steve Rogers springs into action and is able to stop and kill the spy and after is sent out to find the spies and help win the war against the Nazis! One night while getting into his Captain America suit, he is found out by Bucky Barns, a youngster who is the mascot of the troop and becomes Cap’s teenage sidekick. A stage show that features a pair predicting terrible events is getting lots of press and even gets the attention of Captain America and Bucky who go and see Sando And Omar and quickly find out that the pair are spies for the Nazis and have set up the attacks they predicted! Cap and Bucky bring them down, and they find out that Sando is the true mastermind of this con and defeat him.

As you can see, to me the first appearance of Captain America is one of the biggest milestones in the history of comic books and for the most part is a very classic and standard comic superhero story as it should be as this is one of the originals to set that bar. The plot of this issue has a group of American agents and scientists taking an unhealthy young man named Steve Rogers and using him as a test subject in a experiment that turns him into the ultimate soldier with a mission to protect America and smash enemies like the Nazis. Once Steve becomes the masked hero, he is discovered by a youngster named Bucky Barns who becomes his masked sidekick named Bucky and together they beat up and stop the sinister plot of Omar and Sando who plan on doing harm to Americans. Really the plot of this first groundbreaking issue is that simple, and yet so good. What works is the fact that Captain America is such a great hero who represents a time in the world when a hero like him is really needed as things were so grim and many of people lived in fear and with unknown futures. Captain America himself is a noble man who loves his country and the people who make it up and is willing to risk his own life to save us from evil of all types.  He also is not afraid to crack some heads and bust some crooks when he see’s injustice. Bucky is a goofy teenager who idolized Captain America and upon finding out who the man behind the mask is turns into a skilled crime fighter himself who is always at Cap’s side when the battle starts. The issue’s main baddies are Sando And Omar, a pair of spy conmen who set up terrorist attacks and then predict them at a live stage show, and once found out they are beat up and brought to justice faster than you can read the words “Marvel Comics”. The cover for this True Believers reprint release is well-done and very eye catching for fans of Captain America and also rocks and amazing cover price of only $1.00! The interior art is done by the true legend of comics Jack Kirby and showcases some of his earliest work and his first time drawing Captain America, truly amazing classic comic book work. This is such a great read and fans of classic Marvel, Jack Kirby, Captain America and classic style Superheroes should 100% check it out. A perfect classic comic book with one of the most iconic heroes of all time and one that I can say I truly enjoy from cover to cover. This reprint comic also has a backup story from one of the early Marvel Comics issues and is as well worth the read. Check out below for a look at some of the classic style Kirby art you will see in this issue.

Well for me Captain America is the best patriotic superhero ever created as his comics and adventures has always been my favorite to read when comic to costumed heroes. I could go on and on about Captain America but for this Holiday update I will just leave you with this, if you have never read a Captain America comic do yourself a favor and grab an issue or two from the 60’s through early 90’s and enjoy a classic hero of the Marvel Universe. So I want to thank you for spending a part of your July 4th with me, and I hope you have enjoyed some cooked out food and are with loved ones to watch some fireworks on this American holiday. My next update will be about my Monster Bash vacation, and we will take a look at the fourth film in the Romero Dead films Land Of The Dead and the IDW adaptation of the film! So go enjoy Independence Day, and I’ll see you for the next update!