Horror Host Icon: Iris and Retina

Not all of Dayton, Ohio’s Horror Host’s are Doctors, Ghouls, Creepers or Barons. Some of them are just very cool cats who enjoy life and all the joys movies, music and companionship bring us all. The hosts I am talking about are Iris & Retina of Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go, a show like no other in the Dayton area as they blend mondo and horror together for one entreating show. Iris & Retina in my opinion are often over looked when it comes to the impact they have made in Horror Hosting in Ohio as they have always meant something to their viewers and delivered a show that was like none other in the area before or even after it. So it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: Iris & Retina, an update that has been long over due!

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go started in 2007 and took viewers of Public Access by storm as hosts Iris & Retina were unlike the hosts that preceded them and their show took a way different approach to Horror Hosting. Each episode was very different, as they would take us from locations like their home all the way to skits in cemeteries and everything in-between, and unlike most Horror Hosts of that time, they did not have a regular set and would show all types of films not just in the Horror Genre. The show would last around seven episodes as of this update and plans for more are being talked about as Iris & Retina have more films to share with viewers, and this blogger does know for a fact that one episode has been partly shot and at some point will be finished. Mondo Smash A’Go-Go aired on DATV, MVCC as well as The Monster Channel and got released on DVD by Iris & Retina and has built a following among Dayton viewers and beyond. To this day their episodes air of DATV as part of the Horror Host Underground that airs after Baron Von Porkchop on Friday Nights. Their episodes can be found on YouTube as well so do yourself a favor and give them a watch as they are highly entertaining and are truly different from the rest of the pack of Dayton Hosts.

Iris and Retina are two lovebirds that live in a world of psychedelic Americana and enjoy sharing their knowledge and love of movies with the viewers as well as their love for music and even snack recipes and really gets into hosting. Their tagline for viewers is “From Our Living Room To Yours,” and they mean it as many episodes do take place in the couple’s living room, but they also do travel outside it and each episode seems very surreal and almost hypnotic. Both Iris & Retina, besides being talented Horrors Hosts, are also talented musicians, and they will also play a little song for the viewers on some episodes! The thing that also sets these two apart from all the other Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio is that neither Iris nor Retina are the co-host and each share the same amount of the hosting duties! While Hosts like Dr. Creep, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Baron Von Porkchop have very important sidekicks and co-hosts, they are the solo star of their shows while on Mondo Smash A’Go-Go both are the main host! Plus another thing that sets them apart is that they are just normal people doing cool things and bringing you movies in a world of colors and imagination. Iris & Retina are great Horror Hosts who have made their mark in Dayton and beyond with their cool lucha laidback explosion style of hosting, and I for one would put theme in my Top 5 favorite Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio!

When not Hosting Horror Movies on Public Access, Iris & Retina who are played by Louie and El Bean Lerma put on their luchador masks and becomes El Muerto and Infinity, part of one of the area’s top psychedelic surf bands Team Void who rock the Dayton area and beyond! One cool thing about Team Void is that they have played at The Baron’s Ball hosted by Baron Von Porkchop and “A Ghastlee Night At Gilly’s,” both events that took place at the iconic Gilly’s Jazz in Dayton and teamed them up with fellow Ohio Horror Hosts. Team Void is a pretty popular band in the Dayton music scene, and if you ever find yourself in town when they are playing, do yourself a favor and check them out.

So for this Horror Host Icon update, I am lucky enough to have been granted a 6 question interview with the one and only Retina of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go! So sit back and see what this cool cat has to say about his life as a Horror Host in Dayton.

Me: Welcome, Retina to Rotten Ink.  My first question has to be what or who got you into hosting?

Retina: Loved horror movies in general growing up into my adulthood. My father was in the Air Force and was able to travel USA and abroad. My first horror show host was a gentleman, husband of my 2nd grade teacher, his host name was Sea Creep. To begin each show, he would climb out of the ocean onto the beach and chase his fellow co-host Marilyn. I thought that was so cool! When we came back to the United States, stationed at Dayton, Ohio Wright Patt. 1972 I became addicted to Dr. Creep! I was able to be on his final show, playing Bass for a local band called THE DATES -XXX. What a THRILL!!! I also tuned in to horror show hosts like The Cool Ghoul/Cincinnati Ghoulardi/Cleveland, Bob Shreve from Pat Prime Playhouse, and in a weird way, Uncle Al kids’ show host from Cincinnati. Dug Capt Wendy’s Go-Go Boots the most! From Indianapolis was Sammy Terry!!! All big influences on Retina’s career.

Me: So out of your first classic episodes of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go, what is your favorite one?

Retina: My favorite MSAGG is -of course the final one we did. The beginning of Season 2, “Night Of The Living Dead” with you and the Baron Von Porkchop’s help… also we had a killer band, Akillis Green, their song, “Cannibal Love” really fit the theme. Personally, I love the 2nd episode, “Wild Guitar” – we had such a blast making it in our living room. It was the first time we danced and played music as a duo, Iris and me, and also played multiple characters. And then we did “Bloody Pit Of Horror” the first season finale, that was in Mondo Vision, our version of 3D processing. Iris and Retina also cracked up the audience with their studio being haunted by an entity, calling another show, WRAPS and TABS to investigate and exorcise the spirit making for a funny scene! Also of course Iris and Retina were playing all roles again.

Me: There is a rumor of a new episode that is in the works, can you share with my readers what film you’re hosting and what you and Iris get up to in the episode?

Retina: Hmmm crazy… we started to finish our 2nd season, we have much in the can with the movie, not to give anything away, it’s a classic Gamera movie. Iris and Retina will be hosting as marionette puppets traveling into space to reach Gamera for an interview but ran into Godzilla first so we interviewed him as well! Bonus! We have plans for other titles “Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster” one of my favorites, “Not Of This Earth” Roger Corman classic, as well as “Undertaker And His Pals”

Me: When this episode is released, are there plans for more Mondo Smash A’Go-Go’s to be unleashed on the viewers?

Retina: As I mentioned Q3 there are plans to finish our 2nd season. We ended 2nd season’s premiere, S2 “Ep1, “NOTLD.” Iris and Retina to share the movies and be seen to the public in different ways: marionettes sculpted by Luis Lerma. We have lined up musical guests. Also special guests, pop over to help us out throughout the season. We’ve had a nice break from our movie playback escapades pursuing our music career; TEAM VOID is at our tenth year! MSAGoGo will come out in our eleventh year, est 2008. Looking forward to bringing more MSAGoGo Movies from our living room to yours and our versions to you, Spoiler Alert… look for Mondo Vision to evolve.

Me: So if you guys could host any film what would you pick?

Retina: For me, I would like to do a Triple Feature, “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein,” “I Was A Teenage Werewolf,” actually make that a Quadruple Feature: “Blood For Dracula,” and finish it off with “How To Make A Monster!” They were all released in 1959 the year I was born. I have watched them all on television growing up. And then I will hand this question over to Iris, she loves “Dirty Dancing”…we would have a great time traveling out to the locations for a dancing cool life experience. Then travel to England for a fun run with “Witches” because she loves all the author Roald Dahl’s strange tales. And finally run through hosting and toasting “Hold That Ghost” rocking Abbott and Costello movies with “A and C Meet The Mummy” and loves all Billy Wilder, and all Trinity with Bud Spencer Movies!! Travel around the world for her favorites… We are also fans of the Beach movies, Peter Sellers movies, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, John Waters collection, William Castle mad fun, the Raimi’s Franchise,”Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein” and “High Anxiety” and “SIN CITY”… the list goes on.

Me: And lastly do you have any advice for future Horror Hosts that might be reading this?

Retina: My advice is to watch as many movies as you can! Enjoy them, experience them, and learn from them, watch them again! True fans of horror movies make a great horror show host. Find your identity and how you want to express yourself to your audience, and be informative, as well as go all in to entertain your audience! You watching you, do what you like! Be original. Stick to sharing your excitement with telling the story to host a great show! You can be creative using what you already own on the DIY editing systems, cameras, find local locations. Remember production value is important and embrace happy accidents like trains passing thru the background of your shoot, or a reflection in your car windows to add a deeper story, etc. etc. etc.

I want thank Retina for taking a few moments of his time for this interview and really do hope the world gets more Mondo Smash episodes, and while Iris & Retina and their show Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go might not be as talked about as Shock Theater, it still has made its mark on public access viewers and much like Moraine Playhouse Theater their show is safe for viewers of all ages and has top notch hosts attached to them. I for one also think that they should some day be put into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as they are truly great Horror Hosts!

So let’s now talk about the episodes I own on DVD, as lucky for me and you readers, I own all the episodes they have released so far and really want to thank both Iris and Retina for them as I bought and was gifted these episodes from them! I will not be giving these episodes a star rating and will be taking the film’s write ups from our pals at IMDB and I will write about the Host segments to give you a little taste on what Iris & Retina are up to in them. So sit back, relax and groove with Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go! Oh and I am going to do these episodes in order of release!

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Santo vs. Vamp Woman
Starring – El Santo & Lorena Velazquez      Not Rated      1962

Host: Our Hosts Iris & Retina welcome the viewers to their living room to enjoy a classic Mexican action horror movie that is a renamed El Santo film and give us some history of the night’s film as well as its Lucha star. Next break they teach the viewers how to make some very tasty nachos and guacamole for a movie snack! We next join Iris & Retina as they have Team Void play a song for the viewers with a Lucha twist. In the end Iris & Retina tell us about next week’s film and play us out with a song by Team Void.

Movie: The vampire women in Mexico have awakened from their sleep, commanded by their master, The Evil One, to find him a bride. They choose as their target the beautiful daughter of a local professor. To rescue his daughter, the professor calls El Santo (Samson in some US versions), a silver-masked wrestler for justice.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Wild Guitar
Starring – Arch Hall Jr. & Nancy Czar      Not Rated      1962

Host: Once more from their living room Iris & Retina welcome us to another episode of Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go, and Retina with his guitar in hand tells us about the night’s movie as Iris dances and as well shares facts about the flick and its stars. We next join Iris & Retina who on this break decide to teach the viewers how to do the dance the twist, before taking us back to the movie. We next join Iris & Retina as they go up against two other couples in a twist contest that include a female vampire and a werewolf! But in the end Iris & Retina win the contest and show that Horror Hosts are the best at everything! After the movie our hosts tell us about the movie that is coming up on the next episode and then play us out with a song inspired by Wild Guitar.

Movie: A young Arch Hall, Jr. is given a shot at the big time by the unscrupulous owner of a small record company played by Arch Hall, Sr. (aka William Watters).

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Carnival Of Souls
Starring – Candance Hilligoss & Herk Harvey      Rated PG      1962

Host: Iris and Retina welcome us to the show, and they share some facts about the film as well as its cast and crew. Iris and Retina are drinking cups of coffee during the break, and Iris explains how much she enjoys being a Horror Host! Iris becomes scared when she sees a zombish version of Retina in a mirror and doesn’t want to watch the movie alone! In the end Iris is dancing with the ghostly Retina, and the pair tell the viewers what next weeks film is! As the credits roll, both Iris and Retina are ghostly and dance and wish us all a good night.

Movie: Mary Henry is enjoying the day by riding around in a car with two friends. When challenged to a drag, the women accept, but are forced off of a bridge. It appears that all are drowned, until Mary, quite some time later, amazingly emerges from the river. After recovering, Mary accepts a job in a new town as a church organist, only to be dogged by a mysterious phantom figure that seems to reside in an old run-down pavilion. It is here that Mary must confront the personal demons of her spiritual insouciance.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: White Zombie
Starring – Bela Lugosi & Madge Bellamy       Not Rated        1932

Host: Iris & Retina have been invited to Haiti to attend a friend’s wedding and talk about the night’s film as well as its crew and cast including Bela Lugosi. We next join Iris & Retina who are at a small table having a cocktail when Iris falls into a trance over a rose Retina was going to give to the bride! During one break, they show the short film “Betty Boop Meets Dracula” for the intermission of the episode. Iris & Retina bring you a 3-D Three Stooges Short film after the film to help add to the episodes fun time! In the end our hosts Iris & Retina share what the next film will be.

Movie: Young couple Madeleine and Neil are coaxed by acquaintance Monsieur Beaumont to get married on his Haitian plantation. Beaumont’s motives are purely selfish as he makes every attempt to convince the beautiful young girl to run away with him. For help Beaumont turns to the devious Legendre, a man who runs his mill by mind controlling people he has turned into zombies. After Beaumont uses Legendre’s zombie potion on Madeleine, he is dissatisfied with her emotionless being and wants her to be changed back. Legendre has no intention of doing this and he drugs Beaumont as well to add to his zombie collection. Meanwhile, grieving ‘widower’ Neil is convinced by a local priest that Madeleine may still be alive and he seeks her out.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: A Bucket Of Blood
Starring – Dick Miller & Barboura Morris       Not Rated       1959

Host: Iris & Retina are at a coffee shop and are doing an open mic, and Iris is hyping up their show via spoken words, and once done they talk about the film as well as its cast and crew all the while cleaning the tables of the coffee shop…the film is also being shown in Mondo-Vision! Through out the episode the people around Iris & Retina act like beatniks as our hosts serve drinks to them as a snitch named The Fink keeps calling into his “boss”. The snitch figures out that Iris & Retina are frauds and their show is really just a drawing on a TV Screen that is static! In the end they coffee shop still celebrates Iris & Retina and they show a trailer from the next film to be shown!

Movie: Walter Paisley, nerdy busboy at a Bohemian café, is jealous of the talent (and popularity) of its various artistic regulars. But after accidentally killing his landlady’s cat and covering the body in plaster to hide the evidence, he is acclaimed as a brilliant sculptor – but his newfound friends want to see more of his work. Lacking any artistic talent whatsoever, Walter has to resort to similar methods to produce new work, and soon people start mysteriously disappearing.

Note From Matt: This is the first episode that Iris & Retina brought in background actors to fill roles of people at the coffee shop. Plus is the first film shown in Mondovision that required special glasses to watch.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Bloody Pit Of Horror
Starring – Mickey Hargitay & Rita Klein       Unrated       1965

Host: Iris & Retina are in their living room once more and give us viewers a little history on the night’s film as well as its crew and cast. They also call friends of theirs from a ghost hunting show called “Wraps & Tabs” and try and get them to come over. The night’s film is also shown in Mondovision! Once back they welcome Wraps & Tabs to their home, and these guys are going to try and help them find a weird shadow and voice that seems to be coming from a spirit! Iris & Retina give the ghost hunters and viewers a tour of their house and show some of the spots they think are haunted. The next segments have Wraps and Tabs investigating the house as odd things happen around them. They soon make contact with the spirit that was really just the show’s executive producer who was yelling at them to get the episode done and turned in so that it could air! In the end Iris & Retina show back up and end the show with a trailer for their next film “Manster” that was never made.

Movie: Writer Rick and his publisher Daniel Parks finally find the ideal location in Italy to shoot some photographs for Rick’s Horror photo-novel when they come across an ideal spot. The seemingly deserted castle looks perfect from the outside, so Rick and Daniel, accompanied by his secretary Edith, their photographer Dermott, and his five young models decide to break in. They soon find the castle is actually occupied by former actor, Travis Anderson, who initially is annoyed with these visitors until he recognizes Edith, his ex-fiancée amongst them. He decides to give them permission to use his castle, but warns them that the dungeons are off limits. Will they heed his warning?

Note From Matt: This is the second film in the series to have a film shown in Mondovision that required the special glasses.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Night Of The Living Dead
Starring – Duane Jones & Judith O’Dea       Not Rated        1968

Host: As always Iris & Retina welcome us to the show and introduce the night’s film and talk about it as well as the cast and crew as well as tell us about guests Team Void and Akillis Green! While in the cemetery, Iris & Retina are attacked by a pair of zombies who chase them into a near by house. Later in the cemetery a News Reporter and his Camera Man are reporting on the zombie outbreak as Team Void show up and are interviewed by him as this Lucha Rock Band are master zombie killers. They also update the viewers to locations in the area that are safe. As Team Void gun down zombies, we go back to the classic movie. Once back to the house Iris & Retina run into band Akillis Green, and they perform the song Cannibal Love, but the zombies get in and bite band member Dave who they lock in the basement as the rest go out and protect the house from the zombie horde, but in the end all of the band dies in a zombie attack. In the end Team Void is still killing zombies in the cemetery as the News reports on the safety! Iris & Retina also return and thank the special guests and so ends the final episode of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go…for now!

Movie: Barbra and Johnny visit their father’s grave in a remote cemetery when they are suddenly set upon by zombies. Barbra manages to get away and takes refuge in what seems to be an abandoned farm house. She is soon joined by Ben who stopped at the house in need of gas. Beset by the walking dead all around them Ben does his best to secure the doors and windows. The news reports are grim however with creatures returning to life everywhere. Barbra and Ben are surprised when they realize there are 5 people hiding out in the basement: Harry, Helen and Karen Cooper; and a young couple, Tom and Judy. Dissensions sets in almost immediately with Harry Cooper wanting to be in charge. As their situation deteriorates, their chances of surviving the night lessen minute by minute.

Note From Matt: In this episode Baron Von Porkchop plays the News Reporter as well as one of the zombies, Count Van Lambchop plays one of the zombies and I play the News Camera Man!

Iris & Retina take their place in the history books of Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio, and they truly are the most unique Hosts as they have a style that is unlike all the others. I for one am a fan and very much looking forward to new episodes, as Dayton needs more active Horror Hosts! I also want to thank Retina for the interview as well as alerting me to Sea Creep, a Host that I now must find footage and learn all about, and who knows maybe one day if I can uncover footage he may get a Horror Host Icon update! Also if you want to check out Mondo Smash A’Go Go, episodes can be found on their official YouTube page, so make sure to check them out if you enjoy Hosting and good classic Public Domain films. For our next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting behind and will be taking a look at the world of Horror Fan Films, those amazing films made by fans that keep characters alive and bring new scares to viewers. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a new update that I hope will become yearly!

Marvel At The Mighty Black Goliath

Welcome back, my friends, to Rotten Ink.  It’s amazing to think we are in 2016, and my little place on the web has been going for over three years now with my first official update being about The Smurfs and the Marvel Comic series based on those little blue guys back on September 10th 2012.  It’s grown so much from there and has allowed me to cover such topics as horror hosts, movies and video games as well as talk about my life as a child and adult and cover things from making no budget movies to old school crushes and everything in-between! People have asked me over the years what my favorite update I have ever done is, and while I have enjoyed them all and have put my thoughts and memories into each, I would have to say it was “Start Halloween With The Universal Monsters!” as I got to cover Dell Comics takes on the classic monsters like Dracula and The Wolf Man as well as got to talk about what the Halloween season reminds me of, a great trip down memory lane for sure. Lots of readers and friends have also asked me what my favorite comic company is to cover.  That’s an easy one as I have to say classic Marvel Comics.  While I do love companies like DC, IDW and Dell, Marvel has always been my top choice to read as all my favorite superheroes come from that company: Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Conan and Man-Thing. Another question I get is what horror host am I most looking forward to covering on a Icon update.  My top two that I knew that were a must for me, I have already done,Commander USA and Dr. Creep, but as for the ones I have not covered it’s a tie between Sammy Terry, Joe Bob Briggs, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Grandpa Munster, all of whom have influenced me in the world of horror hosting as well as no budget filmmaking. The question that I always look at is what your most read topic is, as of this update, the top three go like this Hellraiser III, Smurfs and Rob Zombie’s Bigfoot. One last question I will answer is people ask what of my old media projects would I like to see turned into a comic book series, and while of course the answer is Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre that wish could be coming true thanks to my friend Damien Brunk so out of the other stuff I would say my old slasher film The Sadness who is a killer who murders women and video tapes it all the while doing these horrible acts to please his fathers voice that echoes in his brain. So in closing, if you are a long time reader or just discovered me, I want to say thanks for taking the time to check out my little place on the web, and here is looking forward to the next three years and beyond. This update we will take a look at Black Goliath, a classic 70’s Marvel Character who was a cash in on the Blaxploitation cinema of the time.  So here is looking on to the future and bringing more fun updates to you my friends and readers.

Happy 3 Year

Once many centuries ago, it was believed that giants could have walked among us, even the Bible has Goliath a giant warrior who was killed by a stone from David’s slingshot. It’s been said that giants even battled early settlers here in America and that when their bones are found, the Smithsonian covers it up! In pop culture giants are among us from pro wrestler Andre The Giant to comic character Giant Man. But one giant that has always peeked my interest is The San Diego Mummy, a giant mummified body that measured 8 foot 4 inches and was found in a cave by prospectors in the early 1900’s.  It’s said that you could see the twisted teeth and giants ribs trough the skin and it looked like the Aztec Mummy from the classic south of the border horror film series to me. The Smithsonian was all over this discovery and even bought the body for a large sum of money. They came and looked at it and were hyped by what they saw, but the story goes that once they tested parts of the giant’s skin they found it to be a hoax and made of gelation and claimed the remains were a fake and deposed of it. This is where things get crazy as many people claim that the Smithsonian was on a fever pitch to buy large skeletons and many people claim they claimed hoaxes on many that are believed to be the real deal including the San Diego Giant! The odd thing about San Diego Giant is where is it now? Did they dispose of it? If he is real, why are they storing him and not sharing him with the public? And why are the people of Smithsonian trying to buy and hide all the giant skeletons in the world? So many questions un-answered! On a side note, the body also reminds me of the Atlas Comic character The Brute…could this be the body that inspired that comic series?

The San Diego Giant Mummy

WWE 2K16 came out on October 27th 2015, and this year the main attraction was that it had the largest roster in the game’s history as well as had a spotlight on the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin, whom I have never been a fan of during his WWF/WWE run but the possibilities of other wrestlers he had faced made for a interesting wait to see who was announced. Plus they added a ton of names from NXT and this as well made me hyped and ready for the game.  The downside was the pre-order bonus wrestler, as it was the T-800.  Yeah, that’s right, a Terminator…a fake movie character who has never been in a WWE ring…Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor who plays the character has and at least would have made a better choice as he is in the WWE Hall Of Fame…yeah, terrible bonus for sure. But terrible bonus and all, this was one game I was super hyped to play as I found that the new additions of Finn Balor and Kalisto and legends like Bret Hart, Sting and Ultimate Warrior made this a must-have video game for me. Plus any wrestling game that sports the largest roster in WWE game history, I had to play!

WWE 2K16 Ultimate WarriorWWE 2K16 PS4WWE 2K16 Sting

But like THQ before, 2K has also been snubbing wrestlers that should be showcased in the game! I know that WWE has lots of say on who is in the game and who is left out but so does the company who is distributing the game, and the following 3 wrestlers are my picks of wrestlers who were down right snubbed and should have had a place on the 120 on-disc roster or at least DLC. So sit back and take a look at my picks and in the comments feel free to leave your list of snubbed wrestlers from WWE 2K16!

wwe 2k16 Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan

Let’s start off this list with the biggest and most iconic name left out of this game, as well as one wrestler who was slated to be in the game but pulled amidst controversy. First we should talk about why they pulled him from the game; in 2012 Hogan was recorded making dumb and hurtful raciest comments that were centered around his daughter Brooke’s personal life and music career.  It should be noted that he made these commits at the lowest point in his life when he and his wife were splitting, he was sleeping with one of his best friends wife and he was suicidal. Hogan has done his best to do damage control and clear his name of not being a racist person; wrestlers and stars have come to his aid and yet WWE has washed him from their records and fired from his deal, canceled all his upcoming merchandise and pulled him from WWE 2K16. Now let’s look at why Hulk Hogan should have been in the game and the reasons are many! I mean he was a top wrestler not only just in WWF/WWE but also AWA, WCW and TNA as well was an actor in movies and TV. He has been WWF/WWE champion as well as World Heavyweight Champion a number of times, has headlined not only the first Wrestlemania but many more over the years and is one of the biggest icons in the business. While he should have been let go from his WWE contract or even suspended and made to make his dumb decision right, his fans should not be punished by taking him out of the game as he would have been a great grappler to have in the world title mix against the likes of Triple H, Roman Reigns, John Cena and Kevin Owens.

WWE 2K16 Jimmy Snuka

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka

Jimmy Snuka, much like Hulk Hogan has had a bad 2015 as he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and then picked up on murder charges of his then girlfriend in 1983! While I’m not sure if he was suppose to be in the game, I am sure if he was he was pulled out of the mix pretty quickly. But like all crimes Jimmy is innocent until proven guilty, but to WWE and 2K he is guilty until proven innocent. Jimmy Snuka was one of the biggest wrestlers in the 1980’s and was a top draw for WWE over his career and had epic matches against the likes of Don Muraco and Roddy Piper, and even when coming back in 1989 he was a solid mid-card worker who took on the likes of The Honkey Tonk Man, The Undertaker and Rick Rude! Jimmy even had a good run in AWA and WCW and remained a fan favorite. If Jimmy Snuka would have made it into WWE 2K16, I would have put him in NXT and would also use him on the main roster as matches against Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, Kalisto and Seth Rollins would be booked for many of my Raw’s and PPV’s! The sad thing is even if proven not guilty, I see Snuka not being in any upcoming WWE games.

Jim Duggan

“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

It’s crazy to think that Hacksaw has not been in a WWE main game in years given that during the 80’s and 90’s he was a huge fan favorite and is on great terms with the company and has had no run ins with the law in decades. Hacksaw had a great run with WWF/WWE from 1987-1993 and had great matches against the likes of King Harley Race, Andre The Giant and Bad News Brown. In 1988, he was even the first winner of the Royal Rumble that aired on the USA Network. When Hacksaw’s star started to drop in the WWF, he moved onto WCW and became a major draw once more winning many belts and having matches with the likes of Stunning Steve Austin, Bunkhouse Buck and Diamond Dallas Page. He left WCW in 2002 and worked some independent federations before returning to WWE in 2005 for another short run that would have him being used to put over younger talent.  This run ended in 2009 but for many years after, he appeared from time to time one WWE programing. I would love to have Hacksaw as part of my roster and would make a new tag team with him and Jack Swagger that would be trying to win Tag Team Gold! Very disappointing that Hacksaw seems to have been forgotten by not only WWE but also 2K.

It’s a shame these legends of wrestling have been left out and only time will tell if any of them will be in WWE 2K17, and I want you all to keep in mind none of these guys made it into the game but the T-800 did…shameful.

WWE 2K16 Finn

So in 2015, four of my favorite artists released new albums and of course I had to buy all three of them on CD from Amazon. So let’s start off with the softest artist on the list and one that I have been a huge fan of since the 1995 release of her first album called “Pieces of You.” Of course I am talking about Jewel; her new release is called “Picking Up The Pieces” and this her counter piece to her first release. The first thing I noticed after listening for a few minutes is that Jewel’s voice is as soothing as ever and made me fall in love with her all over again. The sound was a mix of folk and country and is clearly a record to work out some of her personal issues and as always her heart is in every song. I really enjoyed the whole CD, and I think my two favorite tracks off the disc have to be “Everything Breaks,” a song of changing love, and “My Father’s Daughter,” a sweet song about family that is a duet with Dolly Parton.  I also really liked the song “Mercy” and for the most part liked every song on the disc. I cannot praise Jewel enough as I feel she is one of the best singer songwriters of my generation, not to mention she can blend pop, country and folk together so well that it shows just how talented she is. I recommend this CD to fans of hers as well as fans looking for a heartfelt album with outstanding songs. The other artists that we will be covering at a different update are Danzig, W.A.S.P. and Alice Cooper with his all-star band called The Hollywood Vampires! So make sure to check back in and see my thoughts on their newest releases soon.

jewel picking up the pieces cd

When I was younger I had lots of Marvel Comics as did my brother Bryan, and I spent lots of late nights reading issues before bed or just kicking back in my room on a rainy day and reading them as the rain hit the widows.  One character that I saw a lot of over the years is Black Goliath.  I always had this idea that he was good friends with The Thing as I mostly remember his from issues of Marvel Two-In-One that had The Thing of Fantastic Four fame teaming up with a fellow Marvel hero. One other thing I can remember about him was that he was dying from an illness that was caused by his ability to change size and The Thing was really upset by this. But this is all I really knew about the character until I did some research over the years, so here is a quick bio of Black Goliath. Bill Foster is a biochemist who is from Los Angeles California who works for Tony Stark’s Plans And Research Division and was Hank Pym’s lab assistant who helps Pym turn to normal size when as his alter ego Giant Man he was stuck being a giant. Sometime later, Bill Foster starts taking the formula Hank did so that he as well can grow and takes on the name Black Goliath and teams with the likes of Luke Cage Power Man, The Thing and even Spider-Man to take on and defeat all types of super baddies. Black Goliath even joined the superheroes team The Champions and would later go on to change his name to Giant Man taking over the role from his friend Hank Pym. As Bill Foster, he at one point found himself working in the Savage Land for High Evolutionary and once he figures out that his employer is up to no good he calls in the West Coast Avengers and they put a stop to his evil scheme of a genetic bomb. Sometime later Bill Foster loses the power to grow and becomes a staff member for Centers For Disease Control and lend his brain to The Avengers to stop a bio-weapon. Later he once more regains his growing powers and joins a short lived team alongside Luke Cage, Brother Voodoo, The Falcon and Iron Fist as well as teams with the likes of Spider-Man and The Thing on separate missions. During the Civil War of Superheroes, Black Goliath took the side of Captain America in that heroes should not have to register their identities and during this conflict he is killed by a clone of Thor.  His death changes the balance in teams as many leave Iron Man’s side to join Captain America’s. Up to this point Bill Foster aka Black Goliath is still dead and that’s a shame as I feel he is a great classic Marvel Character who had many more adventures to bring us readers. I should note that during the Dark Reign storyline Black Goliath’s clavicle bone is stolen by Norman Osborn in hopes to be used to track down Hank Pym and his spirit can be seen in Erebus, a realm in-between life and death alongside Baron Zemo, Jack Of Hearts, Jack O’Lantern, Wasp and even Elvis Presley!

Black GoliathBlack Goliath and The ThingTHE THING

So now I am sure if you didn’t know who Black Goliath was, you do now as I hope my little history of the character helped. I really would like to thank Mavericks Cards and Comics who in June 2015 bought a huge comic collection that contained so many amazing issues and full runs from companies like Marvel, DC, Charlton and many more and Black Goliath was one I was lucky to be able to buy for this update! I was lucky enough as my friends Jason Young and Jeremy Hoyt both work for Mavericks and allowed me to go in the back and look through the boxes before they were priced and put out for the masses! I was able not only to get Black Goliath but also issues of Amazing, Spectacular & Web of Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Jungle Action with Black Panther, Master of Kung-Fu and a few other titles. So a big thanks goes to Mavericks and their crew for making this update possible. I should also note that while as I stated before I mostly knew Black Goliath from his appearances in “Marvel Two In One” and “Marvel Team Up”, growing up my brother and I did have issue # 3 of this series and I remember very little about it. So let’s grab a glass of milk so we can grow up to be big and strong and set out for a five issue adventure with the one and only Black Goliath.

Black Goliath 1

Black Goliath # 1  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #1 of 5

Bill Foster is walking in the rain down a ghetto road in Los Angeles remembering back to the days of his youth growing up in the neighborhood playing baseball in the streets with his friends as well as the old soda shop that he use to buy cokes from for a dime. While wandering the streets, he comes across some punks who try and rob him and turns into Black Goliath and teaches them crime don’t pay! Bill goes home and is torn between becoming a full time superhero or only focusing on his scientific career that was given to him by Tony Stark.  While trying to come to a decision, he gets a call from Hank Pym who tries to push him into a career into crime fighting. After visiting his assistants called The Whiz Kids, Bill decides to become Black Goliath and stop the next robbery that will be for the lab he works! Atom-Smasher and his goons show up at a warehouse to steal some Radium and take out the two guard posted at the front and to their shock they run into Black Goliath who makes quick work of the goons, but is chopped down by Atom-Smasher who blasts him with a energy beam and is about to finish him off with an even more powerful one as our issue comes to an end!

This first issue is fantastic and captures the 70’s Blaxploitation cinema vibe and mixes it very well with the classic 70’s Marvel and is very much on par with Luke Cage Power Man! The plot of this issue has Bill Foster having a internal war with himself over becoming a full fledged superhero or being a full fledged scientist! And when robbers keep stealing shipments and breaking into labs, Bill decides that he must embrace his super powers and become Black Goliath to stop these crimes. Black Goliath is a very interesting character as he got his powers from helping Hank Pym when he was stuck as Giant Man and took that formula and improved it.  What also makes him stand out is the fact he was once a  ircus sideshow performer who lied to his girlfriend by telling her he could not control his size and was beaten up by Luke Cage who in turn walked away with Bill’s now ex! Black Goliath is a man who is quick witted and has an edge of take no bull attitude making this issue a fun read as it leaves you wondering what he is going to do. The Whiz Kids (Herbert Bell, Dale West & Talia Kruma) are nice back up characters who a being set up to be inventors of gadgets that Goliath can use in his crime busting. Atom-Smasher is a cheesy yet powerful villain who rocks his bald head and powerful energy well, in fact he seems not to be bothered by the size of Goliath as he fires an energy blast and cuts him down to size. Atom-Smasher can control matter and can use his power to go through walls and even fire powerful blasts from his hands. The cover for this first issue is fantastic and very eye catching.  Plus the art inside is well done and is done by the talented George Tuska who does a fantastic job of capturing the mood and vibe of this comic. This first issue makes me hyped to read issue # 2 and see how Goliath gets away from the deadly hands of Atom-Smasher so let’s not waste anymore time and get to it!

Black Goliath 2

Black Goliath # 2  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #2 of 5

Black Goliath uses all his strength to dodge a fatal blow by Atom-Smasher and turns the table on the high energy villain! But the fight doesn’t stay in Black Goliath’s favor for long as once more Atom-Smasher is able to beat him up as well as causes a huge fire that was heading toward the L.A. airport’s fuel tanks! As Smasher escapes, poor Goliath is weak and trying his best to not to catch fire or drown in the water from the firefighters’ hose, and passes out to wake up in the care of Celia Jackson who was a stewardess for the airport and saved him from being fried to a crisp. Returning home as Bill Foster, he gets The Whiz Kids to create a tracking devise to locate Atom-Smasher.  He gets the drop on Smasher and his goons ending his reign of terror, but unknown to Black Goliath, an assassin is watching and getting orders from a hidden in the shadows crime boss to take him out!

This second adventure of Black Goliath is a very good follow up to the first and retains all the wonderful 70’s Blaxploitation action and one liners making fans of such films as Hammer and Foxy Brown happy as well as comic readers who enjoyed Power Man. In this issue Black Goliath suffers a terrible defeat, but it does not slow him down as he not only stops the bad guys in the end but also has time to make it with the young woman who saved his life! In this issue Black Goliath at first tries to only depend on his power to bring down the bad guys, but by the end learns that using his power as well as his mind is the best way to get the victory. While at first he does doubts how good of a superhero he will be, he turns it around in the end to embrace that he is new to the crime fighting game and can make mistakes. The Whiz Kids once more are used as helper characters and with their super smarts are able to make a tracking device to hunt down the location of Atom-Smasher. The tricky part is that Bill lied to them and said the device was made for the police. By this point we also are picking up on the personalities of the Whiz Kids with Herbert being the worry wart, Dale being the goofball troublemaker and Talia being the more private one who keeps her private life to herself leaving her open to be the most interesting one of them all. Celia Jackson seems like she could be a new love interest for Bill or could be just a one nightstand as the next panel after he leaves her house, Bill thinks to himself how he “scored” with her. At the warehouse Atom-Smasher puts up a fight that leaves the giant hero on his butt and proves he has power, but in the last battle when taken by surprise he goes down pretty easy as Black Goliath knocks machine parts on him and then bonds him in graphite. The Smasher’s men are about as helpful to him as cats would be in a fist fight against ninjas as they are knocked around and run like chickens. The cover is once more very eye catching, and the art done by George Tuska is fantastic.  I should also note the story in this issue was done by Chris Claremont who is best known for writing Uncanny X-Men and is the brain behind so many of that series top arcs. So far I‘m really liking this series and am looking forward to each issue that follows! Let’s see if the third issue can keep up the charm of Black Goliath.

Black Goliath 3

Black Goliath # 3  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #3 of 5

As Black Goliath is about to take Atom-Smasher to the police station, the sniper attacks and grazes Goliath in the forehead causing him to drop Atom-Smasher and try to find cover. Atom-Smasher breaks free from his bonds and tries to escape, but before he can he takes a bullet to the back showing that he was the target.  Before Black Goliath can get to the sniper he is gone, but something worse happens as he starts to feel ill and as if he is dying! Meanwhile back at Stark Labs, The Whiz Kids are covering for Bill Foster as he is not at work and a very angry Tony Stark needs to speak to him, and worse a motorcycle gang breaks into the lab and steals a important package and causes mayhem to the workers including Dale and Talia who are injured in the attack. The cops give chase to the gang but soon meet their leader Vulcan, a super strong hunchback with laser shooting wristbands who kills a rookie and injures a veteran female officer. Black Goliath shakes off the sick feeling and goes after the gang to get the package back and makes quick work of the gang, even giving Vulcan a beating, but once more making a rookie mistake he goes for the stolen package and takes a laser blast from the downed Vulcan that causes a building to fall on him and let the bad guy escape. In the end some of the cops are mad about Black Goliath not saving the killed rookie and this makes Goliath mad as he has no plans on stopping being a superhero.

This third issue now adds the motorcycle gang craze of the 70’s to the mix and even adds a touch of horror as Vulcan the gang’s leader is clearly a weird looking hunchback. The plot of this issue is that someone hired an assassin to kill Atom-Smasher as they looked at him as a loose end.  Black Goliath is still a rookie at being a hero and makes some mistakes but during this time he is also having some issues with his powers as he is feeling ill. Throw in a biker gang who has been hired to steal a package from the lab and you have this issue. Black Goliath is getting better at stopping crime and is not backing down from bad guys and will do anything he can to save a life, even if he is always late at doing so. The main question is what is making Black Goliath sick and feeling like he is going to die? My thought on this is that he is straining his body as he is using the powers more often and this is causing his insides to become damaged. The normal Bill Foster part of Goliath’s life seems to be spinning out of control as he is neglecting his day job and could be facing a pink slip if he isn’t more attentive to his work. The Whiz Kids are pretty helpful in this issue as not only do they try and cover for Bill, but Dale tries his best to fight the biker gang and protect his fellow workers, and we learn that Talia is the way she is cause she left a loved on to die in the jungle to save her own butt! The Sniper and the Shadowy Big Boss are still a mystery as their identities are still unknown, but I am thinking that the big boss could be The Kingpin. Poor Atom-Smasher after being captured tried to run to fight another day, but is killed as I think they felt if the cops got ahold of him he might snitch. Vulcan is a brute, and while he is good at smashing cars and killing cops, he is not so good at fighting people with above average powers as Goliath whoops him pretty good.  While he packs some laser wristbands and leads a gang of bikers, he just does not seem like a major threat. I should also mention that Tony Stark who all Marvel Comic readers as well as the movie watchers know is Iron Man comes off as a butthead in this issue as he yells and screams and threatens to fire Bill for missing one day of work, talk about a horrible boss! The cover is once more top notch, and the team of Claremont and Tuska are back and proves that when the right team work on a book no matter how big or small the character is, they can make quality work. So with this let’s move onto issue number four.

Black Goliath 4

Black Goliath # 4  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #4 of 5

Black Goliath stops some bank robbers and even breaks a stolen weapon that could kill many innocent people if used, all before heading to work where he gets chewed out by Tony Stark over the stolen package.  That leaves the two at odds, and a man named Ballard being odd and wanting to keep what’s in the box from Bill.  It’s clear the two have a past with each other. Bill changes into Black Goliath and heads to the police station where he gets news from Keith who is the nephew of Celia Jackson, the stewardess who Goliath “scored” with that the bank is being robbed.  As Black Goliath and the cops arrive, they soon find that the robber is not a common man but the super villain Stilt Man who is mad and wanting to make a statement and does just that as he manhandles Black Goliath and to prove a point uses his new Z-Ray gun on Black Goliath, Keith and Celia making them vanish into thin air as the police look on in horror.

This forth issue is good but I will say slipped a little as I feel with this one they took away the cult feel and made it more of a main stream comic that could have as easy been an issue of Spider-Man or Captain America. The issue’s plot has Bill Foster being mad at Tony Stark his boss and goes head to head with a villain who matches him in size and power and by the end uses a ray that turns our hero into nothing as he just disappears. Black Goliath is pretty cocky now at being a superhero and seems not to be bothered by having to choose between it and his career. Plus it looks as if the cops are now on his side and want his help on trying to stop crime. Bill Foster seems to be blowing off his work in this issue and even mouths off and makes his boss Tony Stark wait. The Whiz Kids take a backseat with nothing major to do besides telling Bill that Tony is on the phone for him. Tony Stark is still acting as a terrible boss, but does show that he likes Bill as a person and a friend. Ballard, I am not sure what his deal is, but he seems to have a chip on his shoulder and have a strong dislike for Bill. Celia Jackson and her nephew Keith are clearly fans and friends of Black Goliath and it’s nice to see that she is just not a one night stand. Stilt Man is a major threat in L.A. and wants to be that town’s crime lord and starts his path of doing so by robbing a bank and beating the city’s protector with little to no effort. Stilt Man is proving that he is not a joke and while the likes of Daredevil and Captain America have beaten him, Black Goliath was just out matched. The way this issue ends and with only one issue left in the series it makes me wonder how in the heck are they going to wrap up who the shadow crime boss is, where is Black Goliath at and how will he get back as well as how will he defeat Stilt Man. This issue’s cover is great like the others, and while Chris Claremont wrote the script, they changed the artist as the team of R. Buckler and Don Heck take over and do a solid job. Well it’s time to move onto the final issue.  Let’s see how Marvel wraps this one up or will it get the Steel: The Indestructible Man treatment where DC just upped and cancelled it before the story is finished.  Well let’s see, shall we?

Black Goliath 5

Black Goliath # 5  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30   Marvel Comics   #5 of 5

Black Goliath along with Keith and Celia find themselves on another planet called Kirgar, thanks to Stilt Man’s Z-Ray Gun that during the day the temperature is so hot and by night it’s freezing, leaving them will little hope of survival. One night while they are sleeping, they are visited by a friendly alien named Derath, who gives them clothes that will help with the severely changing weather and together they try to find a shelter area that has parts on it that can send them home! Along the journey they come across a Dune Cat who tries to make Celia lunch but is quickly dealt with thanks to a laser pistol blast from the gun of Derath. Once they make it to the shelter they soon have to tangle with Mortag, a giant of a man monster who is the protector of the shelter and kills Derath with his mighty axe! The murder of his alien friend puts Black Goliath into a rage and the battle leaves Mortag in pieces as they find out that he was a robot. In the end Black Goliath, Celia and Keith use the equipment around to try and get back home.

This final issue of Black Goliath feels like they mixed superheroes with Flash Gordon as it has a very science fiction feel to it. The plot has Black Goliath along with Celia and her nephew being stuck on a planet where they meet an alien who helps them and together they must try and find a way home and battle an ancient guardian who is protecting the only building on the planet that has they stuff to send them home. Black Goliath in this series really grows as a character as he starts off not being too sure of his hero-like abilities and by this issue he is a protector of his friends and ready to fight for what right. I can 100% say that my opinion of this character changed after reading this limited run series as he went from being a cheesy character who was friends with The Thing to being an interesting hero who brought so many genres together from Superhero to Blaxploitation and a little of everything in-between like bikers and sci-fi! Celia is very much like Pam Grier in the way that she is sexy and tough with a touch of gentle. It was cool to see her go from a one nightstand to a full fledged girlfriend for Black Goliath. Keith is kind of just a background player who is used to give Celia a little more depth and draw out that she is just a normal person with a family. The Whiz Kids are really cool background players who start out as bickering co-workers and by their last appearance, it’s clear they all are good friends and care about each other.  I wish they had a little more to do before this series ended. The worst part of Marvel just pulling the plug on this series is that this issue ends with Black Goliath still on another planet and as he beats his final foe in passing he says something about them getting back home.  It’s really lame that Marvel at least didn’t give this one last issue to really tie it all up. In the letters page in this issue they did have the courtesy to warn the readers that this series was cancelled due to low sales. This final issue’s art was done by Keith Pollard, and it looks great and holds up the quality that this series had. Pollard is a fantastic artist who is known for his work on Amazing Spider-Man, The Mighty Thor and Fantastic Four in the 70’s and 80’s. This issue’s story is written by Chris Claremont again, and as always he did a pretty great job of telling a tale of adventure the Marvel way. I should also note that throughout the series Black Goliath tangled with some powerful super villains like Stilt Man, killer robot Mortag, pure power Atom-Smasher and hunchback biker Vulcan each of which you can believe as a threat to our hero. Over all, I can say that I enjoyed this series from the great art, fun stories all the way to the rotten ink smell this was for sure a great way to spend a January day reading. Below is some artwork from issue 4 done by R. Buckler and Don Heck, enjoy!

Black Goliath Art 1

Black Goliath is a Marvel Character that for the most part is forgotten or even misused and that’s a shame as he is a very cool and interesting character who could have held his own with other African American super heroes from Marvel like Luke Cage and Black Panther. But our next update we will be leaving Marvel behind and will be looking at a promo comic based on the 1992 film Dust Devil! So until then read a comic or three, support your local Horror Host and make sure to have a safe and fun February.

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